Finn woke up with a foggy head and an aching body. The few times he’d gotten stupidly blind drunk he had felt just like this. Wiggling his fingers, he then touched the tips of them to his palms and rotated his wrists.
Excellent, he had full mobility. It had only happened a few times but waking up in a strange location was never pleasant. He dared to open his eyes, blinking rapidly when they began watering from the bright light. Once the tears were cleared away he tried to sit up. Pain seared from his shoulder to his waist. Stabbing, bright agony, like the one time a suspect stabbed him.
“Fuck,” he whispered.
“Great, you’re awake.”
He recognized Shadowvent’s cheery voice and wished he had a knife to stab him.
“I kind of wish I wasn’t,” he groaned.
A pinprick on his arm burned.
The pain vanished.
“What was that?”
“A muscle relaxer developed by the fae to help with wing pain for children.”
“Great…what?” Finn looked over his shoulder. Black lacy wings fluttered and brushed his cheek. “What the hell happened? I thought I was getting the duke’s DNA.” A duke was high up in the food chain but he wasn’t winged royalty.
Spears broke into the conversation, jolting Finn almost into sitting up. He’d been unaware the dragon shifter had entered the room. He turned his head slightly to see who else was there.
“It turns out there is a reason your blood came back completely human,” Spears said.
“And that was?” He was getting truly sick of bits of pieces of facts they liked to dole out to him. Finn bit back his impatience. Detective work was all about waiting and carefully putting clues together, but not something Finn appreciated in his personal life.
“Someone hid your genetic blueprint. You have royal fae blood. Do you know which of your parents might have had it?”
His mother’s library, his father’s absence, they led to an obvious conclusion. “My father must have been the fae. My mother wouldn’t have needed to research them if she had been born one. How or why it was hidden I don’t know. What does this mean for me? Who is my father?”
“We don’t know,” Shadowvent’s tone wasn’t as cheery as before.
“Can’t you find out?” They took a duke’s DNA surely they could find out the identity of his father, he might still be alive.
“It isn’t easy to get royal DNA. We were lucky with the duke. When he died we were able to take a few samples with permission from his family,” Nightstorm said.
“What if you introduce him as a lost fae?” the captain asked.
Finn fought against the pain and dragged his body into sitting position. He flopped back down twice before he figured out how to move his wings out of the way so he could sit sideways across the bed. “What do you mean?”
“No, that’s a good idea,” Shadowvent said. He paced back and forth as he built up the case in his mind. “We say we found a fae and need to track his ancestors. At the least, they will assign a genealogist to him and Finn will be allowed to hang around the court while they try to track him. He would be considered a great find and folded into court while the busy matchmakers try to find out where he came from. It will be easy to insert him now that he has wings.”
“Wait, wait, wait.” Finn waved his hands. “Does this mean I’m going to stay this way?” He pointed at his wings. “Am I always going to have this?”
“You should be proud to have wings!” Shadowvent protested. “Any fae would be excited.”
“I’m not fae.” His wings fluttered agitatedly. Finn grabbed the covers to keep from falling to the floor. “I mean obviously I am but I don’t want to stay this way. I can’t function if I have wings. How am I going to get anything done with these on my back!” Finn fought back a panic attack by the skin of his teeth.
“You can retract them! Honestly, have you ever seen a winged fae walking down the street?” Smith snorted.
“I figured I just hadn’t met any royal ones.” Finn blushed at the disbelieving expression on their faces. “What? It’s not like they wander around here all the time and the one time the light fae queen showed up she had her wings out.”
“Fair enough,” Smith said, losing a bit of his scorn.
Before they could start another round of harassing Finn the door to his room burst open. He hadn’t even got a chance to ask where he was before a tall man with golden skin and eyes that shifted from green to gold marched inside. “I hear you are keeping one of our royals prisoners.” His deep, gravelly voice rumbled through Finn. He tried to focus on the stranger’s face but it blurred whenever he tried to concentrate on making out any particular features. “I demand you hand him over.”
Through the open doorway, he could see two other golden-haired fae standing in the hall.
“And who are you?” Spears dared to ask.
“I am the queen’s guard, Amon and she has trusted me to rescue her kin.” He scraped an angry gaze at the men standing. His gaze only softened when it fell upon Finn. “I am here to help.”
“We weren’t keeping him prisoner,” Shadowvent began.
Amon interrupted in a scathing voice. “You think we don’t know of your experiments Shadowvent? That we don’t know about your little serum? We only let you carry on in the hopes you will do something positive for once. And finally our patience has paid off.” He pointed at Finn. “Finally you have revived a lost line. Come with me, little fae, I will take you home.”
A compulsion pulled at Finn. He stood on wobbly legs as if yanked up by a puppeteer string. Any other day and time he would’ve fought it but wasn’t this what they wanted? After all if the fae ‘rescue’ him, he will be in position like they wanted.
Amon wrapped an arm around Finn, just under his wings, to steady his stance. “I’ve got you,” he soothed.
Finn tried not to think of all the ways he wouldn’t mind this man ‘getting’ him, and just enjoyed the calmness that sprung up when they touched.