Griffin bullied Dev into his room, slamming the door shut behind them and leaning his back on it in a suitably
dramatic fashion for the occasion. Dev, having no idea what the occasion was, just sat on the edge of Griffin's bed
with a heavy sigh and crossed his arms over his chest.
“I've seen that look before,” Dev said finally. “Well, don't just stand there, Griff. Spit it out. What have you done this
With a snicker that just couldn't be contained, Griffin peeled himself off the door and crossed the room towards his
best friend. It had taken more than a few minutes and a fair amount of asking around for Griffin to get his hands on
the plastic baggie of magic mushrooms he now held on his person, but he was sure it would be worth every second.
“I've got some Earth food I want you to try,” he said, forcing a straight face.
Dev eyed him warily. “Earth food?”
“Yes, yes. It's a delicacy. Daisy told me about it, and I got some for us to try.”
At that, Dev's suspicion seemed to evaporate a little. “Oh. What is it?”
Griffin plopped on the edge of the bed beside Dev, unable to stop himself from grinning as he reached into his
uniform jacket and withdrew the little baggie. He popped open one corner and slipped his finger in, sliding the bag
open wide and then fishing out a few of the flat mushrooms. He held them pinched between his fingers, wincing at
the smell. They really did smell awful, but he wouldn't let that stop him.
“Here. Eat these,” he said, fishing out a few more and dropping them into Dev's hand.
Dev hesitated, sniffing at the mushrooms and wincing. “Seven gods, Griff, these smell like shit!”
“You sound like a right sodding baby, you know. Just eat them.” Griffin fished several of them out of the bag for
himself and popped them into his mouth. Somehow, he hadn't been prepared for just how awful they would taste,
and his gag reflex attempted to kick in, but Griffin struggled against it.
Dev, however, only managed to eat one of them before handing the others back. “Guess I just don't like that Earth
food,” he said, and stood up.
Griffin grabbed him by the wrist, hard, effectively stopping him from walking away. “Sit back down.”
“I don't like them, and I don't want anymore.”
“You'll like 'em better in about fifteen minutes, I've been told,” Griffin replied, and the smirk that had been trying to
take his face all along finally won out, sending his lips up into a devilish smile of triumph. “Just try another one,
At this, Dev sat back down, studying his best friend. “Those aren't just some disgusting food, are they?”
“Well, they are disgusting, but they're much more than that.”
“Are they mood enhancers?”
“Something like that.”
Dev let out a groan and removed his boots, helping himself to settling on Griffin's bed, propping against his thin
pillow. “You're an idiot, Griff. You can't handle half a mood enhancer, and these aren't even from Kalesstria. Who
knows what it will do to you?”
Griffin didn't turn, but he did glance over his shoulder at Dev, shooting him a nasty look. “Hasn't done a bloody
thing to me, actually.”
“Well, if we're lucky, it doesn't have any effect on our kind.” Dev pushed a button on the control panel beside
Griffin's bed and slid Griffin's Pad from its charging station. “I'm going to read a bit until I'm sure, though. I'd best
not leave you alone.”
With a grunt, Griffin looked back down at the baggie. He drew a few more of the mushrooms from the bag and
shoved them into his mouth, forcing them down despite their taste.
“All of the important rock stars ate these,” Griffin said, raising his chin and swiveling on the end of the bed. “It's how
they came up with their brilliant ideas.”
“I remember your last brilliant idea when you'd had that Earth drink, er, the pink one.” Dev scrolled on the Pad.
“And I remember our security team carrying you out of the bar.”
Griffin huffed, feeling more than a little frustrated. He'd been promised a powerful experience, something far more
exciting than Earth alcohol, but so far he felt absolutely nothing but a bit sick to the stomach.
Once his boots were off, and his uniform jacket removed, Griffin drew his legs up and sat cross legged on the bed,
shooting occasional glances at his best friend. Dev seemed to be completely absorbed in his reading now.
“Oi. What are you reading about?”
“Of course you are.” Griffin huffed a bit more, shaking his head. He didn't feel like David Bowie. He didn't feel
powerful. He wasn't tasting colors. He should have just bought some new shoes while he was visiting Earth, rather
than those blasted mushrooms.
He laid back on the bed, stretching his legs out in front of him, and then noticed the gentle glow of the lighting
fixture over his head had gotten a bit sharper. Odd. Maybe he'd make Dev climb up there later and check on it.
Griffin rolled onto his side, finding himself coming face-to-leg with Dev's... well, legs.
Dev looked a bit sharper too, actually. And the Pad was glowing brighter than it should have been. Hmmm. The
insulation blanket on the bed looked the same as always, though...
Griffin blinked, and Dev wasn't holding the Pad anymore. In fact, the Pad was nowhere to be seen, and Griffin was
floating above the bed.
Dev tugged on his arm, pulled him back down, and Griffin felt a bit embarrassed. He hadn't meant to do that. How
long had he been floating like that?
“I feel a bit strange,” Dev said, frowning at Griffin.
“You do? Well, I do.” Griffin heard himself say it and started laughing and couldn't stop for a long time. Every time
he looked up at Dev, his best friend was just frowning back at him, all furrowed brows and pursed lips.
The room slowly shifted back and forth, and everything was vaguely alive. Griffin climbed off the bed with a bit of
difficulty, worried that maybe he shouldn't step on the floor. Did the floor like it when he walked on it? Was he
hurting the floor? What was the floor's name?
Griffin approached the small record player that Daisy had wrangled back to Kalesstria and eyed it. He had played it
many times, mostly when he wanted to listen to David Bowie records.
“You... you did this,” he said to Dev. “You made this record player work here. Bloody brilliant, you know.”
Dev made a noise from somewhere far away, but Griffin didn't turn to look at him. Instead, he focused every ounce
of his strength and brain on choosing the right David Bowie record to listen to. Heroes. Yes, Heroes. That was the
David Bowie's black and white face stared back at Griffin from the album cover, and then winked at him.
David Bowie. Winked at him.
Griffin's mouth fell open and he tried to tell Dev what had happened, but David Bowie did not want him to do that.
He wanted him to keep it personal, a special thing just between them. So Griffin nodded to David Bowie.
“Thank you,” he whispered.
David Bowie smiled at him, and Griffin had never felt more pleased in his life. Except last week. Or maybe the week
before. Or that one time. Or his concert. Or when he and Daisy first did that thing--
“Griff, who are you talking to?” Dev called from somewhere across the room.
“I'm not talking to anyone.”
“Yes you are. You've been talking for ages, going on and on. I don't need to hear EVERY detail about you and
Daisy's sex life, you know. Just the highlights, and only occasionally, at that.”
Griffin couldn't look away from David Bowie, though, because it would be disrespectful, so he just continued to
stare at the record cover while pointing a finger in Dev's general direction.
“David Bowie is speaking to me,” he said finally. “If you must know.”
“I only hear your voice.”
“Yes, well...” Griffin couldn't think of an explanation, so he just reverently put Heroes on and returned to staring at
the album cover.
The music tingled in his blood, danced over his skin, crawled through his head and hair. He had never felt anything
like it before, and he knew without a doubt that this was what music was supposed to feel like. This is what he
needed to do.
He was a warrior king.
No, no, he was not. No. He was a rock star.
He was a pop or rock star, something, he was supposed to make music that felt this good. Griffin Tamanoc
Anterysli needed to create music that tasted like... like... like happiness.
“You're a warrior king?” Dev called.
“No. I am a rock star.”
Dev didn't say anything for a long time, and then finally said, “Griffin, this blanket.”
“Yes, I know it's beautiful.”
Griffin danced around the room and swam with the music. He accidentally knocked something over, and apologized
to it, and then coaxed Dev off the bed for a bit to dance too.
And then Griffin sat in front of the record player for a very long time, because David Bowie told him to. And then he
laid down on his back on his bed and watched colors fly by his eyes for so long that he was worried he might have
“I'm a warrior king,” he said again. “Oh, gods, I don't want to be a warrior king! I don't want to!”
David Bowie told him he didn't have to be.
“You're wrong. I do have to,” Griffin said, holding one of his hands over his face. He'd never noticed his fingers
before. Or, at least he'd never realized how long they were. They were really long. “David Bowie, you're wrong.
You're not Anterys' son. I have to be a warrior king.”
David Bowie reminded him that he could be a hero.
“I was born wrong,” Griffin concluded. “They needed a warrior king, not a healer.”
Sparkly stars danced around Griffin's head, trailing little silver and gold glitter behind them. They were so beautiful
that he knew they must have come from David Bowie.
Griffin thought very hard and very long about being a warrior, and being a healer, and how good he'd been at
shooting when he'd taken part in his mandatory military training. He could hit a target easily, better than his peers,
but he didn't like it. He didn't want to do it. He wanted to do fun things. He wanted to make people adore him.
Hmmm. His fingers were really long.
Had he always had five fingers on his hands?
Griffin traveled a very long way in his mind, bumping around his own memories, until he saw himself standing
beside his younger self, and his mother. He couldn't speak to her, no matter how much he tried, but he was
powerfully aware of the fact that she loved him and she did not think he was a warrior king.
When Griffin finally came to, he was sprawled on his belly sideways across his bed, an arm flung over Dev's knees.
Dev was staring at the ceiling, quiet and seemingly peaceful.
Griffin tapped his friend's knees, prodded at him, and sat up. The lights of the room still looked too sharp, and he
felt both exhausted and wide awake at the same time, but the worst of it seemed to be wearing off slowly.
“Finally coming down from it, Griffin?” Dev asked, but still didn't move.
Dev raised his head, glancing at Griffin. “You know, that wasn't so bad after all. I had a rather interesting idea...”
“Well, I didn't! I've not written any songs, or thought of anything exciting!” Griffin said, throwing his hands up in the
air and frowning. “David Bowie winked at me, though, I think.”
With that, Dev sat up and stretched his arms over his head before nodding and smiling. “Griff, do you remember
what you kept saying?”
Griffin grimaced, feeling suddenly paranoid. What had he said? Had he said something really stupid? Had he told
all of his deepest, darkest secrets? Had he told Dev what he would have been willing to do to get his hands on an
Alexander McQueen 2007 original? “I said nothing,” he mumbled, covering his face with his hands.
“You kept saying you're not a warrior. And you're right. You're much more than that, much more than what Anterys
wanted you to be. You make people happy, you little idiot. Even when you do stupid things like bring Earth mood
enhancers back here and trick me into taking them.”
Griffin peeked out from between his fingers. “I do?”
“Yes, but that's all I'll say. Anything more and your head will get even bigger than it already is.” Dev stood up.
“There now, will you be alright to sleep? I want to get some work done while this idea is still in my head.”
“I'll never sleep again,” Griffin said, dead serious.
“You'll be asleep as soon as I leave, I'll wager.”
Griffin called for Dev as he reached the door. “Do you really think I make people happy?”
“Course you do.” The door slid open and Dev grinned back at Griffin. “I mean, sounds like you made Daisy well
happy that one time...”
Griffin picked up his shoe from the floor and threw it at Dev, hitting him in the chest.
“Get some rest, mate.”
“I won't sleep!” Griffin shouted.
Within moments of Dev leaving, though, he was sound asleep.
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