After dealing with unruly Terrors and haunted dolls while trying to graduate from university, Keith just wants a break. His psychic abilities have got him in as much trouble as they’ve gotten him out of, though they also helped let him protect his two boyfriends — Lucas, a ghost, and Hiraeth, a deer-antlered cryptid — so he can’t complain that much.
When Hiraeth’s son appears looking for help to remove a curse that’s been placed on his lover, Keith is pretty sure his anxiety over his powers is nothing compared to how he feels about trying to get along with his boyfriend’s family.
“Hiraeth might like me, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna be welcomed into his entire family. … and that all aside, you know how they feel about other things going into the vessels they’ve claimed as their bodies. Just, like, major taboo. So yeah, the fact I possess him sometimes so we can bang you together is gonna… well. They’re gonna wonder how we do it, and you know most Others are gonna find that real freaky.”
Trying not to get distracted thinking too hard about the times they’d banged him together, Keith did his best to focus on the actual problem at hand. “It’s still probably better than being just some kind of human loser,” he stammered. “At least ghosts are literally as close as humans can get to being Others and… you know, understanding the whole body-as-Vessel thing. Me, I’m just some guy—”
“With psychic powers that let you experience the world a bit like the way they do, yeah—?”
“With PTSD and anxiety—”
“—who is alive—”
“Boys,” Hiraeth’s light, lilting voice said from behind them. “I think you’re both pretty.”
Keith jumped, and they turned as one to see Hiraeth, the Horned Boy, standing behind them with a bag of takeout in his hand.
As always, he was a gorgeous enough sight that even with the current mood hanging over them, Keith’s stomach gave an almost involuntary flop. Hiraeth was pale, with platinum hair that he’d let down from its customary ponytail to fall around his shoulders, his silver eyes reflecting the streetlights like a cat’s—or, well, like a deer.
Because that much alone would be enough to captivate even the humans who couldn’t see the rest: his antlers, which he’d shed for the winter, regrowing and beginning to branch to their usual, tree-like shape—if only just—and covered with soft velvet that Keith hadn’t been able to keep his hands off of lately.
Hiraeth huffed a breath of air inelegantly upward to flip some of his hair out of his eyes. “Going to stand on my step arguing all night over which of you is more tragic, sweethearts, or shall we head around back together?”
“Uhhh,” Keith said. “I. Actually. Yeah don’t think we need to keep arguing.”
“It’s me,” Lucas said with faux good cheer.
“Yeah, it’s definitely Lucas,” Keith agreed.
© 2020 Meredith Katz. All Rights Reserved.