Part 2

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It was snowing outside the windows of the Chicago airport while I went through the rest of the security theater. I tried to focus more on the snow than anything else; there were plenty of people staring at me and whispering, and most days I would indulge in some more showing off like I’d done with the TSA agent. I was late, though, and rather tired. I’d only spent less than 48 hours in the Chicago area, coming in just long enough to finish up a meeting and scurry back to Portland for my first regional bridger conference.

So much to-do with all these things. I hovered the rest of the way through the winding mall-like terminal, searching for my gate. My lips kept drying out from the brush of artificially heated air against my cheeks. Wing flight was lovely no matter where it was done, but it was so much more refreshing to fly when the air was cool and just a bit humid – the Northwest in Fall came to mind. I couldn’t wait to be back with hills and trees around the Portland metro. Chicago simply did not compare.

I buzzed past several cooing children who pointed and giggled. Most Fae had a soft spot for children, sometimes bordering on obsession. Personally I found the vast majority of them rather boring and repetitive, though on rare occasion a child caught my attention. I had a very long relationship with a youngling from Northern California when I was barely old enough to travel outside the glade, a girl who would be a grown woman now. She was quite brilliant for such a little thing.

I supposed that it was exactly that which drew us Fae to the children – their smallness made them much more approachable. They also tended to pay attention to us even back before The Reveal. Human adults had the strangest habit of ignoring perfectly real magick around them, thinking it was a trick of the light or their imagination. I was so young when The Reveal happened that I never got to play tricks on adults like some of my elders. Their stories were quite amusing – almost frightening. Humans insisted on driving giant metal vehicles around yet were historically incapable of noticing the most important of details.

I was almost too late to catch my flight, which was almost exactly on time by my standard. I’d never been known for my patience, and I loathed waiting in lines. Such tedium. A human construct, really – the Fae didn’t line up for anything, but humans seemed to be obsessed with waiting their turn. Fae society had a rather different view of time. We lived twice as long, after all.

“Excuse me,” my wings steadied me at eye-level over the boarding counter. The middle-aged attendant at the computer looked up with veiled alarm. I continued as if I didn’t notice. “I’ll be needing a modified belt.”

The attendant – Thomas, per his nametag – cleared his throat. “Yes, yes of course ma’am. I’ll get that for you immediately.”

I bowed at the waist, crossing my legs to keep my shoes off the counter. Tiny or not, I always found it rude to put ones shoes on another’s working surface. “Much appreciated, Thomas.”

Thomas smiled at me before putting through the order on his radio device. He ended up escorting me to my seat personally, and made sure that I was tucked in. More people stared at me from the rows in front and behind me, a soft murmuring that was so conspicuous that they may as well have been yelling GOOD GODS IT’S A FAERIE ON A PLANE. I stayed polite, taking my window seat without making a fuss and keeping everything as normal as possible as I clicked in my much-smaller modified seatbelt. My briefcase fit very easily under the seat in front of me, the only issue being that I could scarcely nudge it forward with my feet. I supposed it was better than the opposite problem of being too tall for plane seats. I would gladly trade having ample legroom for the inability to easily access my items when my belt was buckled.

No, legroom was not an issue for Faeries on planes. Plane flight instead came with the same inconveniences as almost every other method of mundane travel. I frowned at the plastic wall framing my window. I’d asked for an aisle seat, of course, but with the way the airlines liked to overbook their flights I didn’t get it. I sighed, thrusting my hand into my pocket. I’d brought a small container of water – less than 3 ounces, of course – along with my ever-present bottle of benadryl.

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