Cole’s Hunt

This is a continuation of the story I originally posted on twitter – more of Cole’s story.

It takes Cole six months before he finds the wizard again.

He does other things in that time, obviously. It’s not like he’s obsessed or anything. But this is important. He’s made it this long without owing anyone anything – at least not for long – so he’s not going to start now.

Especially not if that something is an open-ended favor to a half fae who’s already done something that should be well beyond what fairy magic can do.

He goes back to Eltz. Back to the tucked away shop front. But there’s nothing. Just a door that leads to an empty, dusty space with nothing in it.

It doesn’t even match the room he’d been in.

But over the course of centuries, one gets around. He’s learned the architectural styles and building quirks. Really, Cole is disappointed that he didn’t notice immediately. He’d just been too wrapped up in, well, everything.

Except when he gets a lead, it doesn’t align with what he’d thought, either. Still, he wastes no time. Books a flight to the States before he’s even made a call to anyone he knows there.

He’s on a layover when he finally gets a chance. Double checks the time and exhales slowly before he taps the dial button on his phone.

“Evening, sweetheart,” he says when the call is picked up.

“Hey!” comes the enthusiastic reply. “What’s up? Been a while.”

It makes him smile and relax slightly. Maybe, just maybe, this won’t be a bad trip.

“Too long,” he agrees, already feeling like the cat that got the canary and the cream, both. “I’m on my way to your end of the world and though I’d see what you were up to.”


“Who’s that?” A third voice asks. It’s one he doesn’t recognize, although the easy, familiar tone is one he knows.

“Cole,” he says, which means that whoever it is they know about him, which means-

“Oh, cool. He coming to visit?”

“That’s what we were just getting to. Dinner ready? Sorry, gimme a second.”

“Just about.”

“Ok. Be there in a minute.” There’s the brief sound of kissing, and then, “Sorry about that. So you’re come over? Wanna meet for uh. Well I was gonna say dinner, but-“

“No, it’s fine. You’re clearly otherwise-” he clears his throat, “-engaged. Glad to hear you’re doing well, though.”

“Thanks, Cole,” he says, sounding entirely, characteristically genuine. “Still, if you’re in the area and want to catch up I’d be down.”

“It’s a business trip, but depending on how things turn out, I’ll let you know.”

“Alright. Take care of yourself, man.”

“Mm, you too,” he says before ending the call.

Well, fuck. He drains his coffee, then scrolls through his contacts. Angrily taps call and brings the phone back to his ear.

“Hello, love.”

“Hey, just a sec.” He hears a sliding door open and close. “How’ve you been?”

“Oh. Not too bad. Waiting on a flight to America right now.”

“Oh. Really?”

“Mhmm,” he hums. “A business trip of sorts.”

“The good kind or the bad kind?”

“Undecided. Puts me near your neck of the woods after a couple more flights, though, so I thought I’d see if you were busy.”

“Oh, um-” the sliding door opens and he hears her hand cover the microphone. “Hey what’s up?”

“Dinner’s almost- oh sorry are you on the phone?”

If it’s not the same voice, then Cole is losing his mind.

“Ok I’ll be right in. Did you tell Tate already? Ok. Two seconds.”

Son of a bitch.

“Hey Cole? I’ve gotta go. If you wanna grab a drink or something I can meet you after work though?”

“No worries, love. I’ll see how things pan out.”

“Ok. Have a safe flight!”

“Thanks. Go enjoy your dinner.”

“Will do. Bye!”

He sighs and sags in his seat. What are the fucking odds.

Coffee very suddenly isn’t sufficient and he’s not spending an entire flight hungry. Tossing his cup into a nearby trash can, Cole heads to one of the always-open airport bars.

It’s easy from there – if not as satisfying as the more comfortable familiarity he’d hoped for earlier – and by the time Cole leaves the bathroom he’s sated in more ways than one and far more amicable to a long flight.

When he finally lands in America, he’s very ready to be done with people. His disappearance from the airport is a quick one. Cole soon finds himself in the hotel lobby, forcing a smile as he ensures the girl at the desk that yes, he will be staying alone and no, he will not need anything else.

Once he’s in his room, he deflates. Dead or no, he feels sticky and gross after almost a full twenty four hours of traveling. He showers quickly, then spends another half hour standing under the hot water until he almost feels human again. Only then does he turn off the water and dress in new clothes.

He checks the time. Still over an hour before the appointment he’s set up through… questionable means. A benefit of being as old as he is, even if it’s not something he does often.

So he checks over his appearance one final time and leaves to find somewhere closer to his destination to wait.

Unlike the tiny town where he’d found the wizard the previous time, this one has options. Cole ends up sat in a shadowy corner table at a normal bar, looking very much the stereotype.

It works, though. People leave him alone to sip his drink and waste time in peace. And when he’s done, he just leaves cash on the table and disappears.

Again, the door swings open. This time, though, the wizard is already facing the door and greets him with a tense, “Well hello again.”

“What do you want?”

The wizard raises one eyebrow, his other covered by his hair like before. “Excuse me?”

“What. Do. You. Want,” he reiterates. “For this. I know your kind don’t do things for free.”

“My kind?” The pale eyebrow climbs further.

Cole inhales a slow breath and looks around the room, searching for magical edges. He exhales. “Y’know. Fae. Halves. Whatever exactly it is you are.”

“Yes well, that goes to show how little you know about me or my kind, I suppose. If you want the other half done, I’ll take payment though. That’s a good deal more involved. I did some reading, after our last encounter.”

“Some reading.”

“Yes?” His head cocks just slightly, hair hiding more of his face and for all the world looking genuinely perplexed.

“Is that all you do? Read and do impossible magic on those who need it in exchange for more books?”

“More or less,” the wizard replies, brows furrowing as the corners of his mouth drop into a frown.

“What, the other fairies don’t even like you because of what you do? Is that what it is?” Cole asks. Because he needs to understand. To know what makes the man tick so he can figure out what to offer to get out of this favor.

“Are we still discussing payment for something I did without any requirement of recompense or something else?”

Cole rolls his eyes at the wizard’s pretty words. At his pretty, neat outfit that makes him look like some kind of Victorian dandy – a look Cole was well familiar with before this wizard was even born – and his pretty little golden freckles and his soft frown.

“Yes,” he says. “That. And no, I don’t want ‘the other half.’ Why would I get rid of something that works just fine?”

The wizard lifts a finger and opens his mouth, then closes it again. His frown deepens. “I don’t normally care, but have I done something to offend you?”

He laughs before he can stop himself. “Offend? No. But I don’t owe people favors. Especially not fairies.”

“Well,” the wizard says after a moment, “I suppose this is a good growth moment for you. You had a problem. I fixed it. No payment was arranged in advance, so it’s unreasonable of me to expect one.”

His jaw clenches reflexively as he takes a step forward. “If you think that you can force me to do-“

“Ah.” He holds up a few delicate fingers in warning. “Now you and I both know that that’s not very polite, to come in under false pretenses, then make threats.”

“I’m not making threats. Not yet. But you’ll be the first to know when I am.”

“Let me say this simply for you… I’m sorry, I don’t know that I ever caught your name?”

“Cole,” he spits out.

“Cole,” the wizard repeats. “You have nothing that I want, nor am I interested in doing business with someone whose preferred method of negotiation is thinly veiled allusions to violence. I’m sure it gets you plenty in whatever circles you normally run it, but it will get you nowhere with me. Now, I do apologize, but you’re going to have to make your own travel arrangements home this time. Enjoy your stay in America.”

Again, his voice seems to slide toward inhuman. To something that speaks of galaxies and magic beyond what Cole has seen in his time on Earth.

“I’m not leaving until I have answers.” He takes another step.

“You’ll leave when I say you will,” the wizard says, flicking his hair away from his mouth and nose. And oh, that was something.

The rescinded invitation starts to itch, but he’s old. He has time.

“Name a price.”

“My peace and quiet. Will that make you happy?”


He’s across the room in front of the armchair in a flash, catching the wizard’s blue eye with his gaze. “Make a deal, not a favor.”

The rush of magic sounds like something tearing, and suddenly the being in front of him is very much not human. Not even fae, although the golden freckles are still there. But grey-blue skin has replaced the creamy pale, and in all his years he’s never seen a human with horns, or multiple sets of fangs.

And then there’s his eyes. The one is still as bright blue as before, but up close he sees that the other is a fiery red, his sclera black instead of white. His pupils are crescent shaped – not quite anything he can pinpoint.

“Oh,” he says, laughing because he is so, so fucked. “You’re not a fairy at all.”

The door isn’t far. He could maybe make it before the being in the chair does whatever he intends.

The corners of his mouth quirk into a wry little smile. “Well, not quite,” he says with a wink. “But sorry darling, you’re not my type. Now get. Out. Of. My. House.”

He flicks his fingers and the door slams open just before Cole flies through it.

The impact forces a little huff out of his lungs, but he’s back up in a flash.

It’s too late, though. The door swings open to reveal… nothing. Sunlight streams through the beams above, just enough to allow dandelions to grow up through cracked cement.

“Fuck,” Cole swears, kicking the head off of one. “Fuck!”

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