Taming Sweet Puck

an excerpt

Chapter One

The in-between in the Valley of the Fairy was considered a sacred place for the King and Queen of Fairies, so it was no wonder Puck chose that to be his place to go and relax. Despite the rumors in the mortal realm, the in-between was the place where the magic of the Seelie and UnSeelie mixed. Mortals thought that the two courts lived on different realms, which was completely wrong. In fact, you could see Titania's Court acting like imbeciles just across the lake.

Titania's Court was all sunshine, rainbows, and eternal Spring Break. Oberon's side, which was where Puck lived, was night, shadows, and cold enough never to see your balls again. So, when he wanted a few minutes to get away from the UnSeelie, he came to where the magic mixed, making it Fall and Spring in one. The closer you got to the UnSeelie, the more Fall it became. After all, the UnSeelie were considered the Death Court, too. Spring was closest to the Seelie side, which was in a constant state of having small buds on trees and flowers.

Puck's favorite thing to do was to lie on the dry, fallen leaves and either look up at the starry night or meet with his brother, Foster. They met here as much as they could and talked until the morning hours. Foster chose to live on the Seelie side for whatever reason. Puck had spent a day there and, by the end of the day, he wanted to pull out every pixie's wing and duct tape every giggling mouth.

Ooh, that sounded like a great idea...maybe he could do that tonight while they were sleeping off their partying.

The Gathering had been going on for over a decade now. It was the longest time in a while that Puck had remained in the Valley. He liked to go over to the mortal realm and play havoc on them. It was petty of him, being immortal, but he needed something to pass the time, and Oberon loved hearing the stories.

Sure, over the years, the entire UnSeelie Court went over there and had fun. Despite what a lot of mortals thought, they weren't all bad. Oberon always left the truly evil ones in the Valley to be guarded until they returned. It wasn't that long anyway, since time was so much slower here. In Fairy, a day or two passed, and the UnSeelie were actually away for a couple weeks in the human realm. There had been many times Puck and Oberon got into a great deal of trouble over there.

Oberon and Puck had always been really close. Puck was one of the few fairies that were a mix of Seelie and UnSeelie. While all the UnSeelie sported white hair and fathomless, icy blue eyes, Puck had dark red hair that looked like an autumn leaf with white morning frost tips and pale green eyes. He loved being different, and so did Oberon. When Puck made the choice to go to the UnSeelie Court, Oberon had immediately made him his emissary. Sure, Puck might have screwed up a time or two, but Oberon trusted him completely, and it was vice versa. It was a rare commodity amongst the fairies.

As if his thoughts conjured the fairy himself, Oberon came walking up to Puck. He was close to seven feet tall and completely ripped. He was shirtless and wearing black pants that were actually made of black fog. When he got pissed, you could see tendrils creep along the ground like a plague. The UnSeelie were immune to his black fog, Puck included. However, Seelie and mortals met an untimely death when they pissed off the king.

"I thought I'd find you here." Oberon sat next to him resting his elbows on his knees.

"Bored?" Puck inquired.

"Yes, you think you could go over and find us a worthy changeling? We need new blood to mix it up--something to entertain us, perhaps. Of course you'll have to bring them one, too." Oberon jerked his head towards the Summer Court.

It was a known fact that summer and winter had made a pact that if one were to increase their numbers, they had to make sure both courts had a changeling to keep the numbers equal. There was a precious balance between Seelie and UnSeelie. If one member of a court was lost, they could go over to the mortal realm and acquire a changeling as replacement. It was extremely rare to lose a Fae, but it had happened once or twice.

"Do you want a male or female?" Puck asked.

"Your choice. I trust your judgment." Oberon leaned back on his hands and looked up at the stars.

Puck picked up a fallen leaf and began fiddling with it in his hands. "You missing her again? Do you want me to go over there and talk to her?"

Oberon sighed. "No, she'll come around eventually. I know I fucked up this time--maybe a changeling will soften her up." The fuck up had been crashing their Midsummer Night's Eve celebration. There was nothing like celebrating the beginning of the summer with freezing rain and a foot of snow. To top it off, Puck had the buttery sprites wobble their way over, pushing snow cone machines he'd seen on the mortal realm. Titania had thrown a temper tantrum like a three year old getting her toys taken away.

Puck stood up, brushing the leaves off his ass. "When do you want me to leave?"

"You can go now, if you want--there's nothing going on. The quicker you get back, the less monotonous this place will be. Will you pick me up me up some beer while you're over there? You know what I like."

"Sure. Anything else you want?" Puck raised his eyebrow, knowing what was coming.

"Yeah, go and get her a new wardrobe. You know, the high-end summer dresses and sandals she misses so much since she came back here. Tell anyone, and I'll banish you to go live with all the Frankies and Dee Dees over there. Got it?"

"Crystal," Puck chuckled.

He walked away, excited for the first time. It had been millennia since the king last requested changelings. It was an honor to be the one chosen to find them. He looked down at his own clothes, thinking maybe it was time for him to get a new wardrobe from the humans himself.

* * *

Torque sat at the dining room table studying for his last final exam before the winter break. He had been studying calculus all night long and was now functioning by means of coffee flowing through his veins. The exam was an hour away and all the way across campus, so he needed to wolf down a quick breakfast before hauling ass. He needed to get a B on this exam, if he wanted to keep his scholarship. The rest was covered by financial, aid but it wasn't enough to keep him in school, if he didn't pull a miracle with this final.

Torque had just finished stuffing a piece of toast in his mouth, when his older brother Axle walked in the door with three of his friends. They looked like they were coming off a week of partying...which they had. Axle was allergic to school--they couldn't have been any more opposite. Axle was dark haired, huge muscles, over six feet tall, and into anything illegal, where Torque was a blond, blue-eyed small fry. He was barely five and a half-feet tall and weighed a hundred and twenty pounds. It was amazing that they were actually blood brothers.

The only thing they had in common was that their awful father named them after the transmission system parts he'd spent twenty years working on. He had died a couple years ago, driving drunk into a tree. Torque didn't miss his father at all. The only thing his dad had been good for was beating the shit out of Axle and him. The one good thing Axle did was take custody of Torque, so he could finish high school and not go into the system.

It was amazing they could even survive under the same roof. Torque's way of getting by in life was being a bit of a smart ass, which his brother hated. Axle didn't have a funny bone in his body. The last time he'd smiled was when Rugrats were popular.

"Where have you been?" Torque mumbled around his piece of toast.

"Out." Axle was famous for his one-word answers lately. All of his friends chuckled. It was a known fact that all of Axle's friends despised Torque. They would try to fuck him first, and when he denied them, then they hated him. Plus the more Axle hung with them, the more of an asshole his brother became. They used to be close, real close. Now, Torque barely knew who he was.

"No shit. Where were you?" Torque began gathering his books into his bag.

"What are you...my fucking mother?" Axle scowled and fell onto the couch, muddy black boots and all. His friends spread out all over the living room and began passing out one by one. God, Torque hated each and every one of them. Axle's friends treated Axle and him horribly but especially him, whenever Axle looked the other way. It was okay for Axle and him to fight, there was love between them, but the friends, well, they could just get the fuck out.

"Original...and you know our mother wouldn't have cared less what you were up to all night long." Their mother had never been in the picture. Ever.

Axle groaned, "Fine, I went to a club, found a couple people to fuck, and we went at it until about thirty minutes ago. Happy now?" Axle peered over the couch at Torque.

Well, Torque figured there was a middle ground in the information department. There was no info with the phrase staying out all night and TMI with fucking all night long. The thought of his brother getting it on was enough to make him lose his toast. It was just as nasty as thinking of your parents, which Axle kind of was to Torque, albeit a unique one.

"On that note, I'll leave you guys to go take my final. Enjoy your hangover," Torque said, walking to the front door to grab his parka, hat, and gloves.

Torque made his way outside of the rundown house and yard only to see another one of Axle's friends leaning against the wall, finishing off a cigarette. Donovan was the worst of all of them. He wouldn't let up on Torque even after he'd rejected him. Torque made sure never to be alone with him. He knew he would not come out of it unscathed, if Donavon ever got him by himself. It seemed as if Donavon was cloaked in darkness.

"Well hello, sweetheart," Donavon began to stumble his way over to Torque.

"I got to go, Donavon. They're all up there crashed--just let yourself in." Torque skirted around him on the icy sidewalk.

"Wouldn't you be the perfect cherry on top to my night? Come up with me." Donavon commanded.

Eww... The thought of being on the end of his string of nasty people just grossed him out. Donavon didn't care how he got off just as long as he did.

"No thanks, Donavon. I have a final and just...well, never, okay?" Torque began to walk away and Donavon came at him with his pug face full of rage.

"What the fuck, man? Who do you think you are?" Donavon roared.

Torque had had enough. Sober up asshole! He turned and ran as fast as the slippery surface would let him. He could hear Donavon shouting at him, but never looked back. This was a great way to start his morning.