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Title: A Whole New World, Part 1, 1/2 (Cut in two because of LJ's post limits)
Chapter: 1 of 3
Author: Boots
Rating: THIS CHAPTER: PG-13. FIC AS A WHOLE: NC-17
Genre: Urban fantasy AU, romance, smut
Warnings: : FOR THIS CHAPTER: None. FIC AS A WHOLE: Male/male sex, rimming, sex toys, magically enhanced sex
Pairing: Yo-ka (DIAURA) x MiA (Mejibray), MiA x Subaru (Royz), some Yo-ka x Yuuki (Lycaon)
Disclaimer: Mejibray belongs to White Side Group, DIAURA belongs to Ains, Royz belongs to B.P. Records, Lycaon belongs to Vogue Entertainment, I own the story only. This fic is partially based on elements from Walt Disney Pictures’ film Aladdin, which is property of Disney, and the TV series I Dream of Jeannie, which is property of the estate of Sidney Sheldon and Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures.
Summary: Once upon a time, there was a lowly photographer’s assistant that pined after Yo-ka, a gorgeous model – who, it was said, only dated other models. Then, one day, he happened upon a mysterious bottle on the beach. Enter Subaru, someone who could give him a whole new life – and you ain’t never had a friend like him.
Comments: Since this story came out rather long, rather than post it all at once like I normally do, I'm posting it over three days, hopefully consecutive (and this first part had to be further chopped in two because of LJ's post limits). Inspired by a certain recent photo of Subaru in which he looked, well, like a genie in a bottle – at least to me. In the first part of this fic, I’m using a rumored real name of MiA, Azu Shouya.

Azu Shouya figured he was the only person in the world who could be bored in a beautiful location, surrounded by beautiful people.

He was on a beach, watching as the gorgeous models who had been hired for this shoot were photographed against backdrops of waves and sand and seaside rocks. They turned this way, turned that way, struck poses, gave the camera sultry glances . . .

And he wished he were the one operating the camera. But he wasn’t. Not yet. His big break was far from being a reality. No, he was the same thing he’d been since he came to Tokyo: a photographer’s assistant. Which meant he set up lighting equipment, arranged for cars to take the models to and from the shoot, ran for water, kept abreast of the latest weather radar to see if any outdoor-shoot-wrecking storms were coming . . .

In short, he was a glorified gofer. Not exactly the kind of thing he had in mind when he came to the big city armed with a couple of cameras and a head full of dreams.

“The shoot’s running a bit long, isn’t it?” said a voice next to him. It was Akito, one of the stylists for the models – someone Shouya had seen quite a bit of since this new, not-quite-what-he-wanted phase of his life began.

“No longer than usual,” Shouya said. “They like to take their time.”

“They’d better speed it up pretty soon, or it’s going to be dark,” Akito said. “And they’ve got to remember they’re on a deadline.”

“That doesn’t always matter,” said Shouya. “They always manage to get them pushed up.” He quickly checked his trusty weather app – nope, they still had another hour and a half to go until sunset. Oh, and there were no storms in the vicinity, either.

“You sound like you’re not exactly happy with all this,” Akito said.

Shouya shrugged. “It’s a job,” he said. And that’s all it was to him. Something to keep food on the table, and a small roof over his head, and maybe, just maybe bring him into contact with people who’d help him get somewhere with his own career . . .

It beat being a street rat. But just barely.

“Surely there’s got to be something you’re happy about,” said Akito. “The location? The pretty people? What do you like, male or female? We have them both on this shoot. They’re not wearing much, either.”

Shouya glanced at the pretty bodies posed before the camera – one guy, two women, all of them with broad grins plastered across their faces. None of them did anything for him. Not like . . .

Not like the one person he’d seen on these shoots who’d managed to actually move him. The glorious beauty with the wide eyes and full, plush lips, whose hair shifted back and forth between red, blonde and black, but who never failed to look absolutely beautiful.

His stomach tightened at the thought of him. He’d watch this guy walk by – no, more like glide by – at innumerable photo sessions. Proud, confident, in control . . .

And he never noticed Shouya. Of course he didn’t. Models – the princes and princesses of the fashion world – never noticed mere photographer’s assistants.

“None of them are my type,” he said.

“Oh, really?” said Akito. “So what is your type, then?”

“I don’t like to mix business with pleasure,” Shouya said, quickly, pretending to be very interested in his phone again.

“You’re missing out on one of the best things about being in this industry,” said Akito. “You can just about have your pick. They’re all spread out in front of you, and . . .”

Suddenly, Shouya wasn’t listening to what the stylist was saying. He wasn’t seeing or hearing anything around him, in fact. An entire flock of birds could have hovered just over their heads, chirping the score from an opera while shooting fireworks out of their beaks, and he wouldn’t have noticed.

HE had walked onto the beach. The magnificent creature that Shouya had his eyes on. He had blond hair now, kind of long, hanging down over his leather jacket . . . he obviously wasn’t here for the swimsuit shoot. No, he had come to talk to the photographer about the next day’s shooting.

Akito poked Shouya. “Hey! What’s going on there! Hello, earth to Shouya! Oh, I get it – you DO see something you like, don’t you?”

“Um, well . . .” Shouya said.

“You have good taste. Yo-ka’s a hottie, all right. I’ve worked with him a few times.”

Shouya turned his head. “You have?”

“’Course I have. Everyone has – he’s the hottest thing in the industry right now.”

“Do . . . do you know anything about him?”

“Well, yeah. I know he’s been in the business about three years, he got some kind of Newcomer of the Year award the year he made his debut, he works mostly in hip fashions for young men . . .”

“And?” said Shouya.

“And he only dates other models. So don’t get your hopes up.”

Well, there went the last little light of his dreary life, winking out like the last twinkle bulbs of Christmas a week after New Year’s. “I . . . I see.”

“But, hey – plenty more where he came from, right? And you’ll find someone just as hot who’ll want to date you.” Akito gave him an elbow in the ribs.

Shouya looked forlornly in the direction of the model. He doubted he’d find someone else like him. Yo-ka had a quality that went beyond merely “hot” He seemed to have, well, a glow that came from within. That was a quality that didn’t show up every day.

* * *

The session was long over. The models were gone, the cameras put away. Darkness had fallen on the sand. The only sound was the waves whispering on the beach.

But one remnant of the photoshoot remained – in the person of the boy at the water’s edge, staring out at the horizon.

Shouya didn’t feel like going home. Not yet. There were a few hours until the train he was booked for. Besides, he’d rather be out here in the fresh air than at home in his dingy four walls. Especially the way he felt right now.

He didn’t know why the Yo-ka thing was so painful to him. He knew the difference in their status within the industry. He also knew he was, well . . . rather plain. Not the kind of guy that gorgeous people gravitated to anyway.

But still, hearing that he only dated other models . . . it was a crushing blow.

Shouya picked up a rock and flung it out into the water. Maybe it was because it was a disappointment on top of all the other disappointments. The failure to get his career off the ground, the inability to find someone special, the regular phone calls from his mother telling him how oh-so-successful his cousins were, in both work and life, and hadn’t he given up on this crazy fashion photography thing yet . . .

He felt like his break was hovering over his head, just waiting for him to grasp it – except he didn’t know how to reach it. It kept shifting, moving, like a butterfly that fluttered away when you got too near.

Shouya sighed. He’d go drinking to ease his pain – but that wasn’t in his budget right now. Maybe he shouldn’t be hanging out here moping. Maybe he should just try to switch his ticket to an earlier train, go home and . . .

That’s when he noticed the unusually shaped object at the water’s edge.

At first, he thought it might be some sort of small animal – wasn’t that a head at the end? No, the body was way too skinny to support a head like that. Some kind of unusual shell, then?

He moved closer, pulling out his phone and turning on the “flashlight” function. Okay, it was . . . a bottle. Some sort of antique decanter, with a squat, round bottom leading to a long, long, thin neck. It was made of some sort of dark colored glass, covered with gold latticework, topped with an elegant glass stopper that was carved like some kind of outsized diamond.

Well, it was . . . pretty. And potentially very valuable. He wondered if it fell off a rich person’s yacht while they were drinking cocktails onboard. He picked it up, pulled out the stopper and glanced inside – it looked to be empty.

He could faintly make out some sort of writing on the front, covered with water and fibers from some kind of sea plant. Shouya sat down, putting the phone back in his pocket for now, and began to rub at the blockage.

The bottle began to shake – as if an earthquake were taking place inside it.

Shouya yelped, dropped it and jumped back . . . only to see smoke start to pour out of the top of it. In the light of the full moon, it looked vaguely pinkish. The smoke formed a column next to the bottle, and began to take the shape of . . .

A woman? No, the smoke was gradually turning into a man, a slender young man with long blond hair, some of it bound in a ponytail on the top of his head with silvery bands. He was wearing a maroon or purple top that only came halfway down his stomach, with sheer sleeves; matching pants with balloon-style legs that were bound with cuffs at his ankles, gold slippers that curled at the toes . . .

Shouya blinked. What . . . the . . . hell . . .

Did he hit his head on the beach? That had to be it. He slipped and hit his head, and this was a hallucination. Because guys just didn’t form out of columns of smoke that poured out of bottles. That didn’t happen. Nope.

The bottle-man looked around – and Shouya could notice that he had very fine, pretty features. Wide eyes, lush lips, high cheekbones . . . just about anything he liked to see in a potential date. Yes, he’d definitely hit his head and made this guy up. He’d just enjoy the view until he got back to normal.

He watched those lips open, and the man start to speak . . . and what came out was a string of words in a foreign language that sounded vaguely Middle Eastern. The newcomer stepped toward him, a look of wonderment on the pretty face . . .

And Shouya said, automatically, “Who are you? How did you get here? Where did you come from?”

The blond man blinked. “Japanese?” he said. “I’m in Japan again?”

“You speak Japanese?” Shouya said, scrambling to his feet.

“I speak the languages of every country I’ve been in,” the newcomer said. “But . . . I’ve forgotten my manners.” He suddenly flung himself to his knees, bowed his head and held his hands in front of him, straight up and down, palms pressed together. “You have freed me from the bottle, Master, and for that, I show my gratitude. From now on, I am bound to serve you.”

Now Shouya was utterly baffled. Was this guy into BDSM? If so . . . who found a partner for that kind of thing by pulling some sort of special effects trick? “I’m . . . I’m not into that . . .”

“I mean that I am to grant you three wishes, Master. That is the law whenever such as me is freed from a bottle.”

Now Shouya’s head was running through films and TV shows he had seen as a child. A being emerging from some sort of container . . . three wishes . . . this person saying he was bound to serve him . . .

Oh, no. No, it couldn’t be. Such things didn’t exist – at least not outside of theme parks.

“You’re . . . you’re . . . a GENIE?”

“We’ve been called such by humans, yes.”

“And you’re here to serve . . . me?”

“Yes, Master. You’re the one who freed me.”

“You don’t have to call me Master. You can call me Shouya. That’s my name.”

“All right, Shouya-sama.”

“Just Shouya. And what is your name? And . . . you can look at me, you don’t have to bow like that. Really.”

The genie looked up, slowly, putting his arms down stiffly – as if he wasn’t used to doing such a thing. “I was named after the brightest star in the sky. So in your language, my name would be Subaru.”

“All right . . . Subaru. I . . . I . . .” Shouya sat down. “I need to process this.”

“Take your time,” Subaru said. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“You’re really . . . you’re going to stay with me? All the time?”

“Not all the time. I don’t have to go everywhere with you. I will appear when I’m needed, though. And I’ll stay in your home.”

“Home?” Subaru pulled out his phone and looked at the time. “Oh, my God, I only have a few minutes to get to the station. If I miss this train . . .”

“I can get you home.”

“You can?”

“Of course. I’m allowed to do little things to help you without it counting as a full wish. Now, where do you live?”

“You . . . know the geography of Japan?”

“I don’t have to. Just tell me.”

As if in a trance, Shouya recited his address – street, building number, apartment number. No way was this going to work. No way. It was still a hallucination – right?

Subaru raised his hand in the air, snapped his fingers – and suddenly, it felt like the air was warping around Shouya. He was somewhere in the heart of a cyclone, nothing visible outside him but a blur . . .

As quick as the sensation came, it faded. He blinked. He was sitting on . . . wood. A floor. It was dark, but he could make out vague shapes of a table, a chair . . .

He stood up and reached for where his light switch was. Yes, right where it was supposed to be. He flipped it – and sure enough, he was in his apartment.

Standing in front of him was Subaru, with the bottle in front of him on the floor. Now that he could see him fully, he could tell his outfit was purple – the same color as the glass of the bottle. There was a silver ornament of some sort on his forehead, hanging on a chain threaded through his hair . . .

And he was even more gorgeous than he’d looked on the beach. Sweet and innocent looking – but with an undeniable sexiness.

“Now do you believe what I am?” he said.

Shouya plunked down in his chair – one of the few pieces of furniture that could fit in the tiny room. “This is real,” he said, as if in a stupor. “This is real, it’s really happening . . .”

“Of course it is.” Subaru gave a little hop, levitated in the air for a moment, and then floated over to the table/kotatsu that was in front of Shouya’s chair. He landed on top of it, sitting cross-legged. “You’re here, and so am I.”

“And you’re going to give me three wishes.”

“Oh, yes. About that.” Subaru sat up straighter. “There’s some rules around those wishes, you know. For the most part, you have free reign, but there’s some things I can’t do. First of all, I can’t kill anyone. I also can’t bring anyone back from the dead. I can’t make you travel through time, and you can’t wish for more wishes.”

It was slowly registering in Shouya’s mind that this could mean that he could have anything he wanted. Or . . . anyone. Like, for instance . . . Yo-ka. He could ask this genie to make Yo-ka fall in love with him, couldn’t he? All it would take would be a few words, phrased in the form of a wish, and . . .

“Oh, and one more thing,” said Subaru. “I can’t force someone to fall in love with you. We can use other kinds of mind tricks on people, but love is a sacred emotion, so we don’t fool with it.”

And with that, Shouya promptly deflated. Well, there went that idea.

Subaru immediately noticed this. “Shouya-sama? Something wrong?”

Shouya shook his head.

“It’s the last thing I said, isn’t it? There’s somebody you have your eye on?”

“Well, yes,” Shouya sighed. “There is. He’s somebody I know from work, but . . . he’s not going to notice me. I’m a nobody.”

“Don’t say that,” Subaru said. “Everybody is a somebody. It’s just that some people don’t know that yet.”

“Guys like him . . . they don’t pay attention to photographer’s assistants. We’re the low men on the fashion industry totem pole. We’re . . .”

And suddenly, an idea was forming in his mind. It was . . . nuts. Totally insane. No way could it happen. Except . . .there was someone in front of him who could make it happen, wasn’t there?

He suddenly blurted out, “Subaru, can you make me a model?”

Subaru looked puzzled. “A model?”

“A fashion model. A guy who gets his pictures taken for magazines and on the runway.”

Subaru suddenly looked delighted. No, that was an understatement. His entire face lit up. His eyes sparkled, and his mouth curved into an enormous grin

“Of course I can!” he said. “That would be a fun project! Nobody’s ever asked me for something like that before!”

“They haven’t?” Shouya said.

“No!” Subaru levitated off the table and moved himself over so he could put his feet back on the floor. “They usually ask for wealth or power straight off. And then . . .” He sighed, a dark expression suddenly clouding his eyes. “They ask for MORE wealth and power.”

“I . . . I couldn’t do something like that,” Shouya said.

“But we’re not going to think about my old masters,” said Subaru. “We’re going to think about YOU. Now, what do you sleep on?”

“A futon. It’s rolled in the closet.”

“Go get it.”

Shouya blinked. “Why?”

“The first stage of this involves me putting you to sleep for a few minutes. The magic might be painful otherwise.”

Shouya suddenly looked startled. “PAINFUL?”

“Don’t worry – I’m not going to hurt you. Just make a few . . . adjustments.”

Shouya looked dubious. “I don’t know . . .”

“You want to be a model, don’t you?”

He flashed back to earlier that day (God, it seemed like a century ago now) – the ethereal sight of Yo-ka gliding into the shoot, Akito saying, “He only dates other models . . .”

This was his one shot at reaching for the prize he wanted – to get Yo-ka’s attention and keep it. And he found himself moving toward the closet.

Once the futon was unrolled on the floor, he lay on his back, a bit awkwardly. “What do I do now?”

“You phrase what you want in the form of a wish. I can’t do anything until you do. And remember – from now on, if you say anything with ‘I wish’ in front of it, it’s an official wish. I have to grant it to you, and once there’s three of them? Well . . .”

He glanced over toward the bottle, sadly. Shouya got the message. He’d be trapped in that bottle again – until the next person released him.

“All right.” Shouya took a deep breath. “Genie . . .Subaru . . . I wish to be a fashion model!”

“And your wish is my command,” Subaru said, holding his hand over Shouya. “Night-night!”

He snapped his fingers, and Shouya instantly found himself dragged into a vortex of sleep, falling faster and more soundly than he could ever remember.

* * *

When he opened his eyes, the first rays of dawn were peeking through the window. Well, that was a weird dream, he thought, blinking and starting to stand up . . .

And promptly stumbling. There was something wrong with his legs. It felt like there was, well . . more of them. Like he was standing on stilts.

What the hell? he thought. He took a few steps – and stumbled again. He took a deep breath, tried to get his bearings . . .

And saw Subaru sitting on the table, bottle next to him – and his phone in his hand.

“Boy, surfing the Internet is a lot easier now than it was the last time I was out,” Subaru said. “Back then, you needed a computer!”

“Subaru!” said Shouya. “What did you do to my legs?”

“I made them the most gorgeous legs in the world,” said Subaru with a broad smile.

“You did WHAT?”

“You asked me to make you a model, right? Well . . . take a look at this!” He jumped up from the table, grabbed Shouya’s arm and steered him over to the full-length mirror on the back of the closet door, Shouya wobbling all the way.

The sight that greeted him in the glass shocked him.

It was him, and yet . . . not him. The features were still basically the ones he’d started out with, but . . . reshaped. His nose was considerably more narrow now. His eyes were wider. His lips were fuller, his teeth straighter. His hair was now blond, falling down to his shoulders in soft, curling waves.

And then, there were the legs. He could see the calves poking out of the bottom of the pants he was wearing before. They were definitely . . . longer.

“Go on,” Subaru said. “Take your pants off.”

“WHAT?”

“I’m not going to consider it indecent. Take your pants off and get a look at your legs.”

Shouya paused, and then unzipped his pants, glancing nervously at Subaru. He pulled them down his legs, stepped out of them . . .

And he was greeted with the sight of a pair of long, shapely male legs. Nicely sculpted calves, beautifully muscled thighs . . . the kind of legs one fantasized about kissing their way along during sex.

He just stared at the whole picture. Was that him? Really him? This . . . beauty? This hot guy?

Subaru game him a friendly thump on the back. “Say goodbye to plain old Shouya . . . and hello to MiA!”

The befuddled master looked at his genie. “MiA?”’

“That’s your model name. It’s your NAME-name now, for all intents and purposes. That’s you now. Beautiful, fabulous MiA! It’s even on the cover of your portfolio!”

Shouya – no, MiA, because he couldn’t think of this person looking back at him from the glass as Shouya – looked at Subaru. “What portfolio?”

“This one!” The genie snapped his fingers, and a leather-covered, zippered case appeared in his hand. He gave it to MiA. “Look!”

MiA (still feeling a bit wobbly on his new legs) glanced at the cover – which was, indeed, stamped with the name MiA in the lower right-hand corner. He flipped it open, and there was . . .

Pictures. Of him. With the new MiA face and body. Wearing high-fashion clothes and impeccable makeup, posed in all kinds of glamor-shot manners.

“I didn’t pose for these,” he said. “How did you get them?”

“Well, you wouldn’t understand the magic, exactly . . . but basically, it involved finding glamor shots on the Internet and replacing the model there with you.”

“You STOLE other people’s pictures?”

“I didn’t steal. I just used them as a template, so to speak. Oh, and the portfolio’s on a flash drive too, if they want it in that form.” He snapped his fingers again, and a data stick appeared in his hand, which he gave to MiA.

“I . . . I don’t believe this,” MiA said.

“Oh, and by the way . . . we have an appointment with the Swan Agency at 11 this morning.”

Swan? That was the top male model agency in the country – the one Yo-ka was with. “We . . . we do?”

“Yes. They had an opening in their schedule then.”

“You hacked their system?”

“I didn’t hack it. We just have ways of looking into these things.”

“And what do you mean . . . we?”

“I have to go with you, right? To make sure you get hired by them. We’re going to say I’m your photographer.” He impulsively hugged MiA – nearly knocking him off his new legs again. “I’m so glad you turned out so beautiful! You’re going to be a great model.”

MiA just stood there, stunned. First of all, that he was, well, MiA. Second of all, that this was happening so fast. Twenty-four hours ago, he was a frumpy photographer’s assistant, and now . . .

Now, he was on the verge of . . . well, a new career. And being able to make a play for Yo-ka. And . . . well, he had Subaru in his life now. That was an adventure in itself.

* * *

When MiA was getting ready to go, he realized he had a problem. His old pants no longer fit his new legs.

He just stood there, wobbling (since he still hadn’t gotten used to the length of them yet), staring at what were once a pair of very well-fitting black dress pants . . . and were now, well, what could only be described as dorkwear. Too short to be pants, too long to be shorts.

Subaru gazed at him critically from across the room. “That won’t do,” he said.

“Subaru,” said MiA, “can you do something? Please?”

“I was planning to, anyway,” said Subaru. “You have to look a lot hipper than that.” He snapped his fingers – and MiA’s outfit was suddenly a pair of perfectly tailored pants, matched with hip-looking, shiny black shoes, a silver-gray shirt with a slight metallic sheen, a white jacket covered with colorful patterns . . .

“And now, your makeup.” Subaru snapped again. “Oh, and yes – the hair. Should have taken care of that detail last night.” Another snap, and MiA watched as the tips of the blond waves turned a light violet. He turned toward the mirror – and stumbled, flailing around madly.

“Oh, and I need to do something about the balance.” Subaru snapped again. “There – you should be able to walk perfectly now.”

MiA took a couple of tentative steps . . . yes, he could now walk as easily as he could when his legs were their old length. “Thank you,” he said. “That’s much better now.”

“No need to thank me,” Subaru said. “It’s what I’m here for.”

“But . . . have I used up all my favors already? You’ve done so much . . .”

“This is all covered by the one wish. You wanted to be a model. Everything I’m doing now – fine-tuning your appearance, your walk, getting you the appointment – is going into that wish. Once your career is launched and you’re actually in front of the cameras, the wish is fulfilled. From that point, I can do little things here and there, like I said – but if you want something else big, that’s another wish.” He put his hands on MiA’s shoulders and turned him back toward the mirror. “Now, take a look at yourself.”

MiA just stared. He couldn’t believe it. Now the new face was enhanced with perfectly applied makeup. It was like looking at the models he used to see al the time when he was running errands.

“Well?” said Subaru. “What do you think?”

“I’m . . . I’m beautiful,” MiA said. “I’m really beautiful!”

“Told you,” Subaru said. “You’re going to knock them dead at the agency.” He picked up the portfolio from the table and handed it to MiA. “Oh, I almost forgot – I need to change my appearance, too. Let’s see, I’m supposed to be your photographer . . .” He thought a moment, and then snapped. He was wearing blue jeans, sneakers, and a flannel shirt over a T-shirt, with a baseball cap. “This look about right?”

“For an amateur photographer helping out a friend, yes,” MiA said. “Subaru . . . what do you mean, you’re going to make sure I’m hired?”

“You’ll see,” said Subaru. “Okay, I’m going to transport us into the alley next to their building. It would look pretty strange if we appeared right in the middle of their reception area, wouldn’t it?”

There was a snap, and MiA experienced the strange, warping, vertigo sensation he had the night before. He blinked – and they were, indeed, in an alley. “We’re . . .”

“Right where I said we were,” said Subaru. “Go on – just walk out in the street casually and hang a left, you’ll be right there.”

When he stepped out into the sun, he realized he was in Shibuya, on a street loaded with gleaming buildings. He was making a turn into the most gleaming of them all.

“Here it is,” Subaru said, reading the sign. “Swan Agency, sixth floor.”

MiA walked toward the elevator in a trance. This was a dream. This was a long, detailed dream. He was going to wake up and find out he’d passed out on the beach after yesterday’s shoot, and everything was like it always was, and he was just schlubby Shouya, not fabulous MiA, and he’d be calling all the photographers he had in his phone to see who needed an assistant for their next shoot . . .

But he didn’t wake up as the elevator whooshed upward, nor when it clinked to a stop and the doors opened on a reception area that was all glass and chrome and white, with a young woman who looked like she could be a model herself sitting at the desk, smiling. “May I help you?”

“I . . . I have an 11 o’clock appointment, my name is MiA . . .”

“Just a moment,” she said, pushing a button on the console in front of her and speaking into her headpiece. “Adachi-san? Your 11 o’clock is here. Yes, I’ll send him in.” She turned to MiA. “Straight back, it’s the big door at the end of the hall.”

“Thank you,” MiA said, bowing to her. He was going to wake up . . . now, right? No, he and Subaru were making their way down the corridor, past more white and chrome, past framed photos of ridiculously beautiful men . . .

The big door at the end of the hall opened, and a tall, elegant man with a thick shock of perfectly groomed hair and a tailored suit of Italian style stood waiting for them. “Welcome, MiA,” he said. “Won’t you come in?”

“Thank you, Adachi-san,” MiA said, bowing. Good Lord – this wasn’t just any agent seeing him. It was Adachi Naoki himself, the head of the agency. How on earth did Subaru . . .

“I was very impressed with the photos your photographer friend send me,” Adachi said. “I am in the presence of the photographer, am I not?”

“Yes, Adachi-san,” Subaru said, bowing. “You may call me Subaru.”

“All right, Subaru-san. You did a very good job with the pictures. And you?” He looked at MiA. “You looked all-pro.”

How did he see the pictures if Subaru just conjured them into existence last night? MiA thought. Subaru must have mind-controlled the people at the agency, made them think they’d looked at the pictures before they actually did.

“Thank you,” MiA said. “I have to admit, I haven’t done a lot of this.”

“Oh?” said Adachi-san.

“Yes. I’ve been on the other side of the camera until now, you see. I’m a photographer myself.” No need to bring up that his professional experience at this point had been limited to being a glorified gofer.

“Sometimes, photographers make the best models,” said Adachi. “They know just what the photographer is looking for, and they give it to them. So tell me – what made you decide to try out this side of the business?”

Well, he couldn’t very well say, “I want to be a model to have a shot at impressing a guy I have my eye on,” could he? Instead, he said, “It’s what you just said – only opposite. I felt that becoming a model might help me be a better photographer – to understand every aspect of the process better.”

“Interesting,” said Adachi. “Very interesting! Well, MiA, I think I might be willing to give you a shot. Let me see which of our photographers I can set you up with . . .” He turned to his computer, bringing up a database . . .

And at that point, Subaru raised his fingers and snapped, winking at MiA.

“Yes,” said Adachi. “We had a model drop out of tomorrow’s Black Moral shoot all of a sudden. I’m going to send you over there.”

MiA’s jaw nearly hit the floor. “B-b-b-Black Moral?” Holy hell. Holy HELL. Black Moral was HUGE. Top models posed for that brand . . . including Yo-ka.

“Yes,” Adachi said. “Oh, and I understand Ruki-san himself will be at the shoot.” He punched a few keys on the computer. “I’m going to send you the details of where and when . . .”

MiA’s heart was racing. He was expecting to be told he was going to do some test shots with a professional photographer – not that he was being assigned to a Black Moral shoot! One that was being attended by the line’s head designer! “Yes,” he said, bowing. “Yes, thank you so much, Adachi-san!”

“Now, I’m going to turn you over to one of my assistants. She’ll go over the fine details of your contract with you.”

Contract? CONTRACT? He glanced at Subaru – who just winked. When he said he was going to make his wish come true, he meant it. Okay, this wasn’t his REAL wish. He just wanted the status of “model” so Yo-ka would notice him. But now that he had the idea of modeling in a Black Moral shoot staring him in the face, he realized he wanted it more than he thought.

If this really was a dream, he was beginning to hope he’d never wake up.

* * *

Rather than go straight back to his apartment afterward, MiA felt like going for a walk. His head was still spinning with all this. He had a contract – and while he wasn’t exactly making the same salaries as the top models, it was a sum that flattened what he’d been making before.

He and Subaru made their way into a park. “Are you pleased?” Subaru said.

“Pleased?” MiA shook his head. “Subaru, this is incredible. Unbelievable. Except . . .”

“Except?”

“How did you do it? Did you . . . manipulate their minds?”

“Well, yes,” said Subaru. “It had to be done, you see? They had to think they saw your portfolio a week ago, and that you came recommended by someone in the industry they knew and trusted – they think I’m the protégée of a big-name photographer.”

“And the Black Moral shoot – did you do something to the model to make him drop out?”

Subaru shook his head. “Negative. I just scanned for a possible future shoot I could insert you into. It just so happened a model had dropped out of the Black Moral shoot due to the flu right before you arrived at the office.”

“You can read minds?” MiA sat down on a bench.

“My powers are enhanced when my master is in, shall we say, active wish mode,” Subaru said as he plunked down next to him. “I can’t read minds all the time. When I’m granting a wish, I can look into just about anything I need to at a glance to find information I need. Once this wish is fulfilled? I’ll power down a little. And remember – the wish only covers launching your new career. What happens from there is up to you.”

MiA shook his head. “How was I lucky enough to find you?” he said.

“It’s pure chance,” Subaru said. “I have no control over who ends up my master. It’s just a matter of where the bottle washes up.”

“What do you mean – where it washes up?” MiA watched a couple of schoolgirls walk past – and then do a double-take to glance at him again. He wasn’t used to that – to being noticeable.

“Whenever I complete a set of three wishes, I get sucked into the bottle again,” Subaru said. “Then the bottle ends up at the bottom of the sea. The sea tosses it around until it hits land – and then I hope for someone to find it, and open it, and rub it, and free me – so I can grant the next person’s wishes. Sometimes it’s found just days after I go back in the ocean, sometimes it’s years.”

MiA wondered how old Subaru was. He looked about his own age – but he imagined genies were ageless. “So when you’re in the bottle, you do . . . nothing?”

Subaru nodded. “I have sort of a magic mirror in there that lets me see what’s going on in the world – or at least in the geographic area I’m closest to at the moment. Before you found me, I knew I was going to end up somewhere in Asia, because I was seeing scenes of China and Japan in the mirror. That’s how I’m able to keep up with clothing, technology, that kind of thing.”

MiA glanced over at the other man. “Subaru, is it like that for all genies? Are they all bound to bottles like you?”

The genie looked down at the ground, a pained expression crossing his face. “No,” he said, softly. “It isn’t.”

“What happened? How did you end up like this?”

Subaru glanced upward. “My people are called the Djinn,” he said. “We live in, well, a world of our own. Call it a parallel Earth, where we have magic instead of technology. It’s a society a bit like your own Middle East, only more socially liberal on most fronts. There’s some ways in which we’re very traditional. Like . . . we deal with crime harshly. Being a bottle slave . . . cast out of our own world, forced to serve whatever human that finds you . . . is usually the worst of our punishments. The Djinn don’t think much of humans – and for good reason. Most of them are greedy and selfish.”

“Crime?” MiA said. “You’re a criminal?”

Subaru shook his head. “I did nothing wrong,” he said. “Not really. I just . . .” He sighed. “I told you we’re still traditional in a lot of ways, right? Well, one way is that the higher-ranking families still practice arranged marriage. I was born into a very noble family – I’d probably be the equivalent of a European earl or count. And so, I was betrothed to the daughter of a very powerful and very overprotective vizier. But . . . there was a problem . . .”

“You didn’t want to marry her?”

“I couldn’t,” said Subaru, looking up at the sky again. “I knew I couldn’t be the kind of husband she wanted or deserved. Because I don’t like women. I mean, I like them, just not in THAT way. I’ve always been attracted to men only. If I were to marry her, it would be a lie – and she was a sweet woman. She deserved better. So I tried to let her down easy. Except . . .”

MiA reached over and put a hand on Subaru’s shoulder. He knew the telling of this part of the story couldn’t be easy.

“She took it a lot worse than I thought she would. And her father flew into a fury. An absolute fury. To him, breaking his daughter’s heart was a crime as bad as murder or treason. And a government official as high-ranking as him is entitled to act as judge, jury and executioner in our society – they can sentence someone without trial. He found me, and bound me to a bottle, and . . .” He looked down. “I’ve been a bottle slave ever since.”

“Subaru . . .” MiA suddenly felt his heart breaking for the genie. He’d been sentenced to the harshest punishment for being honest about who and what he was. Nobody deserved that.

“It’s all right,” Subaru said. “I’ve accepted it as my lot in life now. At least it’s predictable, right?”

“It shouldn’t be your lot in life,” MiA said. “It shouldn’t be anyone’s lot in life, especially for something so minor!”

Subaru put a hand over the one MiA had on his shoulder. “Let’s not think about that, okay? Let’s think about you, and the fabulous career you’re going to have.”

“I don’t want it at the expense of your freedom!” said MiA.

“Really, it’s making me happy to do this,” said Subaru. “It’s the most fun wish I’ve had in a long time. Besides, once the magic’s done, it can’t be undone. So go forward and be a great model.” He stood up. “Why don’t we go out for ramen to celebrate?”

“You eat?” MiA said, getting up as well.

“I don’t need to,” Subaru said. “But I do enjoy it sometimes. Especially when I’m in Japan. You have some great food here.”

“Why do you sound like you’re from Osaka, by the way?” MiA said. It was still bothering him that Subaru had been sentenced to this fate in such a cruel manner – but Subaru seemed to be trying to move past their discussion.

“My last Japanese master lived there,” Subaru said. “And it took him a really long time to decide on his wishes, so I was there long enough to pick up the dialect.”

As the two of them went off in search of ramen, MiA thought about the genie stories he’d heard as a child – about how the genie could be freed with his master’s third wish, if the master so chose. Obviously, none of Subaru’s previous masters heard those stories . . . or were too selfish to use the third wish that way . . . or maybe it just plain didn’t work.

But he was bound and determined that he was going to test the story when the time came.

To The Rest Of This Chapter


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
hamhamheaven
Nov. 22nd, 2015 02:58 pm (UTC)
So good I hardly know where to start! I like the limitations on Subaru's powers; they're all very logical, particularly "no time travel". It's so sensible that Subaru has the power to tweak things as they go along in order to make MiA's wish fully realized. That's much more believable than simply snapping fingers and having everything already done.

The explanation of what happens to Subaru between masters is really fascinating...something I never bothered thinking about before. And the story of how he was bound to the bottle is quite sad, since he was trying to do the right thing. Poor Baru!

One teeny typo I notice: At the beginning of the scene where MiA is getting dressed for his modeling appointment, you have Yo-ka talking to Subaru instead. Off to read Part 2...
puss_nd_boots
Nov. 23rd, 2015 05:00 am (UTC)
The time travel thing is the one addition I made to the Disney list of limitations - and it really makes sense. (Quite frankly, I'm surprised Disney didn't have it!) I figured that a wish would need a few adjustments to be properly fulfilled - especially something as big as what MiA was asking for. (When you think about it, he was asking to have every aspect of his life altered - his physical appearance and his livelihood.) Subaru's backstory is pretty tragic, because all he was trying to do was save the poor girl pain - though her over-doting father didn't see it that way! And I fixed the typo, thanks so much for catching it!
write_my_dreams
Nov. 23rd, 2015 07:33 pm (UTC)
I love your urban fantasy stories like this one and Heart of the Sea. Aladdin is also one of my favorite Disney movies. I liked how you added to the limitations of a wish by preventing time travel and then Subaru doing more to be able to help MiA with the launching of his wish. It was cute when MiA got his new model worthy legs and was stumbling around on them like a newborn deer.

At least Subaru isn't bored to death when he's trapped in the bottle. He's able to see what's going on even though he can't come out. Poor Subaru with his backstory. Tried so hard to do the right thing by his betrothed and her father went ballistic. I imagine their society wouldn't be accepting of him for loving men either.

Off to part 2! If my puppy allows me.
puss_nd_boots
Nov. 24th, 2015 02:08 am (UTC)
The thing with MiA's new legs was actually fun to write - I figured that someone whose legs were suddenly lengthened by magic wouldn't exactly be steady on their feet, at least without further magical help! I figured the extra limitations on wish-giving made sense - time travel has the potential to screw a LOT of things up, so it would be wise for the Djinn to forbid it for humans.

Subaru's backstory is undeniably tragic - and you're right that his society would not exactly take kindly to him loving other men. It was his misfortune to end up betrothed to the daughter of a man whose possessiveness was matched only by his ruthlessness. Where his new life takes him, though, remains to be seen at this point of the story . . .
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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