Blue Bottled Belly Dancers and other fine myths
Of all the stupid things I could have done, I did the classical, wish by accident. Itís not like I could take it back once it was out of my mouth either, but I wasnít really sure if I wanted to. I mean, I had what I wanted; Iíd get to learn more about the Djinn.
Heero had been smirking ever since my little impromptu wish. I think he was happy about it. Who knows, maybe heíd been dying to tell his story to someone? Like a tell all for Djinni. I wondered whom else he might have worked for, though I wasnít sure if worked was the right word for it.
Heíd gone back to watching the TV, while I mentally smacked myself for wasting a wish, or not wasting it, I had yet to decide. He seemed to take an awful lot of interest in the television, and how did he know about TV anyway? Heíd supposedly been in a bottle for about fifteen hundred years. "Heero?"
He shifted slightly so he could keep an eye on the flashing screen.
"How come you know how to, or what to... Why are you watching so much television?" We were both still sitting with our backs against the bed, his long legs stretched out, and my shorter ones tucked in.
"It is real, is it not? It will tell me what the world is like now?"
Well, I had to agree with that, it would indeed show him exactly what the world was like. Not very good, especially since he seemed to have a thing for the news.
"Well, we arenít like what youíre going to see on that thing." I said pointing at the TV, and glancing around for the remote.
"TV lies all the time." I finally spotted the little black remote and turned off the flickering boob tube. "So you granted my wish. Does this mean if I ask questions about you, you have to answer them? Or will you just tell me your life story. How exactly does this whole wish work anyway?"
"Do all humans talk as much as you?"
I felt the feathers of my dignity ruffle. "No, I have a rare gift for the gab." He tilted his head and regarded me with amusement.
"Yeah, I can talk very well and all the time. But only if, well, if I have something to say. You have to admit I keep asking questions, right?"
"Yes, too many."
"Thanks, but maybe the number of them will go down if you answer some of them?" I smiled at him and inched closer. "Was there really so much horse shit with Attila? Who else have you served?"
He did the strangest thing then, a soft red inched its way up his neck and into his face, and I realized he was blushing. But what on earth was he blushing about?
He glanced at me and then looked away. "I lied."
I choked. "You lied? About what?" I gave him a puzzled look.
"Attila, he wasnít my last master, he was one of the first. My last master was alive in the 1800ís."
"Why would you lie about that? Thatís kind of weird if you ask me."
"We Djinn donít like to tell the truth. Humans donít value it."
"Of course we value the truth, why do you think weíre always asking people to tell the truth? Donít lie, we say. And we mean it. I donít like to lie unless I absolutely have to. I mean, itís harder to get yourself out of a lie then out of the truth." I sighed, and slumped lower to the floor. "So my wish was for nothing? Youíre going to lie to me?"
"I cannot lie to you now. You wished that I would tell you about myself. I have no choice but to comply." He didnít sound incredibly happy about that.
"So, who was your last master? Anyone famous?" I still wasnít too happy about being lied to, but what could I do? Maybe now he would tell me the truth. I didnít know how wishing worked for him, maybe he really did have no choice.
"I do not think he was a famous man. He was quite ordinary compared to some of the others. He liked to read and study his books. He was a scholar."
"What were his wishes?" I asked curiously, hoping to get some ideas.
"He wished for time, so I gave him some. He wished for a companion that would suit him, I gave him that as well."
"What was his last wish?"
"He wished I would let him die." Heero said sadly and stared at the floor.
"Wait a minute," I held up a hand, "let me get this straight. He wanted you to let him die? I think Iím missing parts to this story. Maybe you should tell me how you granted his wishes. I donít mean how you did it, I mean what you gave him."
"I gave him time, time to study and learn, time to be by himself. It was what he wanted. But then he grew lonely and wanted someone to share his time with. So, he wished for the perfect companion. I gave him a woman, a charming, intelligent woman, who also studied and knew much."
"So, why did he wish for you to let him die?" That was the part that puzzled me the most, I mean, if a Djinni wanted to keep me alive...
"The woman died."
"Oh, I guess that explains it, love can be like that."
"Yes." He went back to staring at the blank screen of the television. I watched his face. It was really beautiful, all sharp angles and planes, high cheekbones, stunning, exotic eyes.
I shifted around again and lay with my head on the floor and my legs on the bed, stretching my arms out above me, eyes on his face. "Why didnít you bring back the woman from the dead? Or is that a no-no? Wasnít there anything you could do?"
"I cannot bring things back from the dead." His face went stiff again.
"When a person or thing dies, the soul leaves. It is hard to bring back something without the soul to occupy it."
I wiggled my legs on the bed. That made sense. I mean you wouldnít want your lover to come back as a zombie. Well, maybe if you were really sick and didnít care that their personality was gone. "Why were you trying to stop his death?"
"He died of old age, he was too proud to try and kill himself." The look on his face became even sadder; it made me want to comfort him somehow, just watching the misery in his eyes.
"But thereís more? He couldnít have just died of old age. Why would you be so sad about it otherwise?" I inched closer to his legs, my feet nearly brushing his shoulder where he leaned against the bed.
"He aged prematurely, overnight it seemed. One day she died and the next he was ready to follow her."
I knew suddenly, that he had loved that master, cared for him. "True love." I breathed and he glanced at me sharply.
"What do you know of love? Youíre young, certainly life has not imprinted itself upon you."
I flinched back from the anger in his eyes, written all over his face. Then I got angry myself. Who was he to tell me what I knew or didnít, what I had felt in my life. "Age has nothing to do with life or love. Just because Iím young doesnít mean a thing." I stayed still when he leaned closer to me, his cobalt eyes dark.
"And how old are you human? You donít look a day over fifteen." There was a sneer at the corner of his mouth, and I felt the sudden need to wipe it off.
"Iím twenty-two if you must know, and how old are you?" I sat up and leaned towards him, trying not to be afraid of him. But he was so big, so much taller than me, and not just by height, it seemed. It was like he out-weighed me with sheer presence. I blamed it on him being a Djinni.
"I am older then the sands of the deserts, older then the oceans, I am older then time."
"Thatís... pretty old. Youíve held up well I think." He gave me a look, and if I hadnít known better, I would almost have bet my life that he was about to roll his eyes. But he didnít, he merely continued to look at me, and his gaze seemed to grow heavier, as if he were trying to peer inside my skull.
"Youíre a very strange human." He said finally, relaxing back against the bed once more.
"Well, youíre a very strange Djinni, so weíre even." I settled back down on the floor and grinned up at him, and he almost smiled back, it was progress, of a sort.
I wound up switching back to lying on the bed. The floor had been comfortable, but I felt the need to be on higher ground then my large Djinni friend. He didnít seem to mind. I got the feeling that many of his masters felt uncomfortable around him, striving to put themselves on higher footing in one way or another.
He still sat at the end of the bed, though I had taken the remote and hidden it. I didnít think TV would be good for him. It might teach him bad things about the humans of today. So, for a time we sat in silence. His profile was to me, so I spent most of that silent time looking at him. Iíd never really thought about males in this strange light before, well, I had, but I donít think Iíd ever meant it. Something about my Djinni, he was beautiful, in a tall, refined, Djinni kind of way, different. My Djinni, I liked the sound of that. And briefly, I wondered if I could wish for him, to keep him.
Even if I had been able to think of something to wish for that I didnít already have, I would have wanted to keep him. Despite his arrogance.