Author’s Note: Well, it was supposed to be cute.
It was, for a moment or so.
“We are not supposed to go to the human world. Humans are not developed. Humans must be allowed to grow without interference. Humans do not know of the universe.”
“I am aware of that, and I never said you had to follow me,” he said, wondering if the creature was now missing its hive and seeking to forge some kind of similar relationship with Tynan instead, needing something to cling to as it left so much behind that was familiar.
He did not ask. He was a bit tired of sorting through the hive-speak, never quite sure when the “we” included him and when it didn’t. Someone wanted a name, and he knew where books full of names were, and that meant that there was only one place to go.
“We must go where friend goes.”
“We are not a hive, you know. You and me? We may be… different than the typical representations of our relative species, but we are not the same. That does not make us a hive. We are not connected, and we do not have to travel together.”
“Must go with Tynan. Follow, follow.”
He grimaced, shaking his head. “You are like that man’s dog, and that is an unfortunate comparison, I must say.”
“Oh, how cute. You got a pet.”
He turned around, knowing that she was mad even before he saw her—the red in her hair and the way she held herself would have been further indications of that—but he smiled anyway. She wore her normal sort of clothes, the shirt too big for her, and yet she looked perfect, just as she should be. “Luna.”
“She is Luna? Luna of the names?”
She frowned. “Exactly what did you tell this guy about me? And what is he? Where should I hide him so that people don’t think I’ve stolen an extra from a Star Wars movie?”
“Right. You haven’t learned about movies yet, have you? I’ll show you later. Or maybe I have a book around here that goes into—what am I saying? I’m mad at you. You were supposed to come back, you idiot.”
“He is not back? Yes, we are back. You are Luna, so we must be back.”
She shook her head. “Tynan, explanation and apology. Now. I suppose one part can wait, but what is going on?”
“He wanted a name. He has left his hive. It is a bit difficult to get past the hive-speak, I admit, but he seems to want to… follow me. He understands that he cannot touch me, at least, so there is that, but I don’t know what I will do with him. I pass for human. He does not.”
“You look nothing like her, if that is what human is. She has no wings.”
She opened her mouth, closed it, turned around and went into the shop without a word. He knew she was upset, and he thought perhaps he should go, but the other one didn’t. It opened the door, flying inside, pulling books off the shelves with all of its hands.
“We like. We like lots.”
He gave it a smile and rounded the shelves. “Luna?”
She slammed a book down on the table. “You don’t even look the way I think you do, do you? I don’t know what you really look like. All this time, I thought that it was just a problem with the way I was trying to draw—it’s not like I can ask you to sit down and pose for me because you’d probably destroy something while you were there—but it’s also because you’re not real.”
“I am real.”
“What you look like isn’t,” she said, turning to the other. “You. Get over here. You think Tynan looks like this, don’t you?”
“We are not that ugly. We do not have such big lumps protruding from our face. Still, it is almost similar to what we are. We are blue, yes, and we are winged, and we are four-legged. Yes, yes.”
She closed her eyes, leaning back against the books. “Your appearance changes… what, reflecting the people around you? So that you look human to me but like whatever he is to him? How does that work?”
“Um… some kind of distortion of space and time. I admit, no one knows much of our physiology. We are not studied. We destroy or are destroyed.”
“Vortex! Vortex! Not the vortex! The vortex will eat all the hives. We will die,” the other one said, cowering behind Luna.
She studied the whimpering alien for a moment and then looked back at him. “Well, I guess that explains how you can touch some things with some ‘parts’ and not others. You’re not touching it when you walk or when you sit and my whole theory was wrong because I didn’t know anything about you. I don’t even know how you really look.”
He lowered his head. “I… I did not mean to deceive you. I do not know how I look, either. Will you at least give that one a name? He wants one, a lot, and I do not know what to call him. His species is sometimes called bluebelly, but it is not a nice term.”
“Yeah. A name. I can find a name,” she said, walking away, and he sighed. He’d known coming back would only hurt her, but he’d found an excuse to come anyway. He should not have done it, no matter how much the creature wanted a name.
He did not think that Luna would still call him a friend now.