He woke to find her standing in the doorway of his bedroom, but had to shield his eyes to see her.
Bright white light tinged with sky blue surrounded her, but her wings had a softer glow; they were graceful and powerful, and the veins in them seemed to be filled with circulating glitter.
At first, he thought it was his fiancé with a costume, but when he managed to bring his gaze up to her eyes, all thoughts of his fiancé were erased so suddenly it seemed like he would forget her name.
This one’s eyes were kaleidoscopic, but not simultaneously; colors drifted from one side to the other, green on the left, moving to the right, with blue moving in to replace the green, then brown, then hazel, then violet, and on it went.
It seemed as if tiny colored bubbles drifted over her irises, and never came out.
It was fascinating, and frightening, and he sat up, not knowing whether to move any further.
She exuded no menace, but neither did she exude any indication of lust, or affection, or naiveté about being in a man’s room at a strange hour, with nothing to protect her.
He held his position, and managed, somewhere in the jumble of thoughts zigzagging across his brain, to find his voice.
“Who are you?”
She regarded him with some caution, but wasn’t unsure of herself at all; he seemed to be as much a curiosity to her as she was to him.
“My name is Given.”
“Yes. Given, as in your custom of exchanging gifts. I am yours, and so, Given.”
He watched her some more; she was still except for the silent susurration of whatever was nourishing her wings.
“What do you want with me?”
She shifted slightly, and the light around her seemed to sway with the motion.
“The question is mine to ask; what do you want with me?”
“I didn’t ask for you; I never asked anyone for anything like you.”
“Are you saying you don’t want me?”
He wanted to say no, but the suddenness and unlikelihood of the whole thing had his brain still racing to catch up. He didn’t want to make her angry, or hurt her feelings, if she had them.
“I don’t know.”
She nodded, as if that made sense, and waited some more.
He took a chance, lowered the covers. He was wearing pajamas, so there’d be no nudity as such for her to see, though now that he was looking, she wasn’t wearing much, and what there was seemed diaphanous enough that it didn’t matter, but in some inverted humorous twist on what was normal for men, he couldn’t stop watching her eyes.
“Given, what exactly are you?”
“We have many names, timeless beyond speech, and men called us many things, but you have one that has lasted through the ages, and tell some of our ancient tales for amusement to your children, though they are much altered: I am a fairy.”
“A fairy.”
“And I have told you my name. What is yours?”
“So someone gave you to me, and you don’t know my name?”
“They knew your name, but it is you who must tell me; it must be a willing thing, for the bond to form, and our time grows short.”
He began pacing, running his hands through his hair, over his face, and she watched him going back and forth for a bit before he finally stopped, and looked at her again.
She took a couple of tentative steps toward him, leaving a short trail of light that lingered before it wrapped around her again, and pushed a strand of platinum hair from her eyes, as they changed from turquoise blue to a dark forest green.
“Are you willing?”

© Alfred W. Smith Jr. 2015