“This was a bad idea,” Charlie mutters. She glances askance at me. “Do you even have a passport?”
“I am the wandering magician.” I shrug.
“Trust me: this is the TSA. That’s not an answer.”
“I have one,” Jay says and pulls his out of thin air. “Oh! And the birth certificate the fae gave me and did you know the one plane outside to our right is secretly a dragon?!”
“No,” Charlie says patiently. She eyes me and mouths, ‘Is it?’
I just smile my second-best magician’s smile and she responds with a middle finger.
Charlie pulls out the tickets, hands them over at the counter. A magician, a god-eater and an eleven year old boy from Outside the universe get on a plane ... Jay wanted to fly, so we’re trying this. If it works. I pull out a passport, because the universe favours magicians and hand it over.
The man at the counter glances at them, at the three of us. “Purpose of visit?”
“We’re having an adventure,” Jay boasts.
The man looks caught off guard, returning Jay’s smile. “I see. No luggage?”
“Nope! Charlie says I can’t count as luggage and be stored in baggage even if that would be an adventure too,” Jay says happily.
Charlie tries not to blush and I fight back a grin as we head in the line for security.
“Honcho?” Jay says. “They’re doing a lot of bindings you know!”
“This is airport security. They tend toward being thorough.”
Charlie goes first, and they pat her down, pause. One of the TSA employees frowns, looking puzzled, but Charlie has a passport and ID the fae made. It gets her through.
Jay runs up, bounces onto the spot he’s asked to stop at, hands over his phone and says they can’t really search him because he’s ‘hugey like a Jay!’ Which is true, but innocent is armour and they laugh see nothing more to what he says. Jay is so good at hiding he’s from outside the universe that he’s let through without even a pat-down and runs over to tell Charlie he was entirely jaysome at this.
One of the TSA employees twitches at that word. I step forward, holding his gaze. There are wards about this place, as there are about all airports. Linking them into a certain space, a certain focus. Using magic here would be unwise, but that’s only part of being a magician. I walk forward, holding the gaze of the other agents.
Charlie clasps a hand over Jay’s mouth and pulls him away as a few other TSA officers converge. No one draws a weapon, but I’m not hiding what I am. Nor the authority that comes with being the wandering magician of an era.
The TSA officer who twitched steps forward. “Use of the word ‘jaysome’ means an in-depth examination and at the least missing a flight,” he says very quietly.
“I imagine so. But do you want to be the one who stops Jay from having an adventure?”
He’s never met Jay, but he’s heard stories. When you’re eleven and can do bindings on levels even magicians barely know exist, a lot of stories spring up. Most of them good, because Jay seeks nothing more than adventures and making friends.
The ones about me are generally something else entirely.
“You’re the wandering magician,” the officer says slowly.
“You saved my brother. Niagara Falls, 2011. He still has scars from the waterfall trying to eat him.”
“Wrong place and wrong time. It happens. This isn’t that: Jay wanted to fly on a plane. You have my word that nothing will go wrong.” And it is one of my talents to speak truths that can’t be ignored.
The other officers step back, and I walk through the magician. It doesn’t go off even though my phone is still in my pocket. One TSA agent is staring at my metal belt buckle, but won’t meet my gaze as I’m waved on through. Charlie lets out a breath of relief.
We head toward a plane that isn’t a dragon in disguise and I just hope I can keep Jay from having too many adventures on the flight. Jay dashes on ahead to find food at a restaurant and Charlie looks over at me. The god inside her eyes is quiet, her own power held in check.
“Twenty says Jay has at least five adventures.”
“That’s not even a bet,” I say as we snag Jay before he can order three meals for himself and draw even more attention.
We’re allowed to board the plane first, and Charlie tries not to have hysterical laughter at that. Jay is, of course, quite proud of that and begins talking to the airplane once we’re on board. It is rather shocked anyone can speak airplane and wisely does not take Jay up on his offer to give it dinosaur wings.
I hand Charlie forty dollars before she can say a single word.