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Green Wings and Shiny Things

Chapter Text

Chapter 1


The Guardian looks down at his four tiny charges where they lie asleep in their burrow. His gaze travels over each one, takes in the soft spread of wings and the slender arms and legs, the small pixie faces with their delicate features, so innocent in sleep. They are wrapped around each other in a pile such that it's almost impossible to tell which limb belongs to which fairy. Nevertheless, the Guardian brushes a fingertip along the contour of each brightly colored wing, counting as he goes to ensure that each fairy feels his touch and gets the nourishment they require to survive - Felicia's red wing is one, Misha's purple is two, Alona's yellow is three, and Jensen's green makes four.

Touch starvation in fairies can happen rapidly and with very little notice due to their rapid metabolisms. Christian has seen it happen in other guardians' quadrals. It can happen in a matter of moments. A fairy flits away from the group when its guardian is distracted and is found later near death, too weak to move. Only many days of constant touch therapy can restore them and, even then, some don't make it. That's why fairies are put into groups of four - two male and two female - from the time of their birth, so they will always have companionship and a familiar touch when needed.

Christian takes his responsibilities as Guardian seriously. Danger can be lurking anywhere for creatures so small and fragile. Fairies have some protective magic of their own, but often it isn't enough. The fairy population is dwindling and with each fairy death a little of the joy and happiness in the world disappears, gone forever.

Christian's jaw clenches. No harm will come to the four fairies entrusted to his care. He will keep his quadral safe at all costs. Widening his stance, arms crossed, Christian scans the meadow, ever vigilant as he waits for his charges to awaken.

At break of dawn, Alona extricates one arm from the pile of her sleeping brethren, lifts her head from Misha's stomach, and blinks open her blue eyes. Misha is the next to rouse, stretching languidly before pushing his unruly hair out of his face. Jensen rubs his eyes with the knuckles of one tiny fist while Felicia props her head up on his shoulder.

"Good morning, little ones," Christian greets them.

"Good morning, Guardian," they chorus in their bell-like voices.

Jensen unfurls his iridescent, green wings. They beat the air faster than a hummingbird's, a blur of scintillating color that allows him to hover in place or dart in and out of sun motes, however his heart desires. He flies up to dance in a circle around Christian's head, grabbing a lock of hair and giving it a playful tug. His laughter tinkles through the air like the sound of a burbling brook.

Christian holds out his hand, palm up, and Jensen lands there as light as a feather. From the tips of his spiky hair to the soles of his bare feet, Jensen is no taller than a pencil from eraser to lead. His eyes match the color of his wings and golden freckles dust the bridge of his nose.

Just like any other self-respecting fairy, Jensen refuses to wear clothing. Many a Guardian has tried to talk his charges into at least wearing a loin cloth or a leaf, all to no avail. Christian has never worried overly much about the little ones' nakedness. It is simply their way and it's not up to him to force them to do something they don't want to do. Unless it's for their safety, of course.

Jensen's eyes sparkle with a certain mischief. "Guardian, the squirrels say the houses on the other side of the meadow are nearing completion. Humans will be moving in soon."

"Probably," Christian responds, head tilted to the side. "You'll have to be extra careful once that happens, won't you?"

A humming sound resonates from Jensen's wings, a sound of excitement. "I hope some of the humans come to our meadow. Young ones, maybe. What are young humans called again?"

"Children," Christian supplies the word. "But why do you want them to come to your meadow?"

"I wish to play with them." Jensen flashes a lopsided grin as he whizzes off to join his quadral mates where they are performing complicated aerial acrobatics and showing off for one another.

Christian watches as Felicia zips about, forming curlicues and loops in the air, fairy dust trailing behind her. It takes him a couple seconds to figure out that she's forming the letters of her name as though someone has requested her autograph.

At the end of her performance, Misha kisses the tip of her nose and caresses her arms.

Touching, always touching. The more they touch and are touched the happier the fairies are, not to mention the healthier they are. Felicia puts her hands on Misha's hips and together they twirl around mid-air, laughing.

A smile tugs at the corners of Christian's lips. His duties don't include liking the fairies. He doesn't have to enjoy their antics in order to protect them. But hell if he doesn't love them just the same. He loves Misha's quiet courage and silly sense of humor, Alona's daintiness and fierce determination. He loves the way Felicia pretends to be independent even though she needs more affection than the other three combined. But most of all, he loves Jensen's eager curiosity, his compassion for all living things, and his sheer joy.

Christian knows that Jensen is curious about humans. The small, green-winged fairy has asked about them before, often wants Christian to tell him stories about human customs and traditions. The fact that humans eat food intrigues him, as does their strange propensity for keeping animals as pets instead of allowing them to roam free.

As a satyr, Christian has only encountered humans a few times so, aside from the training all Guardians are required to take on human lore, he doesn't really know all that much about them. What with the human dwellings being constructed so close to his quadral's meadow though, it's only a matter of time before Jensen's wish to meet some of them gets granted. Christian only hopes his good-natured fairies don't come to regret any such interaction. Humans can be unpredictable and Jensen is far too trusting.

The day progresses and the fairies do what fairies are meant to do which to say they, well...they frolic. Fairies spread their happiness to the world through fairy dust. When they are happy, they produce more dust. The dust floats through the air and, everywhere it goes, burdens seem lighter, hearts are lifted, worries ease. Fairies are the light bringers, the shadow chasers.

Most people will never know what the fairies do for them on a daily basis just by being alive and well, but without them the world would be a much darker place.

In keeping with the train of Christian's thoughts, the white, fluffy clouds on the horizon begin to give way to a band of grey. Humidity descends and the air gets that crisp, clean smell that promises a spring shower. Alona makes a trilling noise to call the other three fairies to her side. Together they link arms to form a circle and tilt their heads back, waiting to feel the first, cool drops on their faces.

They don't have long to wait. Soon there are drops of moisture beading on their skin and shimmering on their wings. Felicia shakes the droplets off and laughs, a few strands of her vibrant red hair sticking to her face. Alona reaches over to tuck the strands behind Felicia's delicate ear. Her hand lingers on Felicia's cheek and the red-winged fairy leans into the touch with an affectionate grin.

The little ones love the rain just as much as they embrace the sunshine. Getting wet doesn't bother them.

Christian is less pleased by the rain. The tree he's standing under provides only a modest amount of cover and his clothes are getting soaked.

Jensen notices his frown and approaches him with a tiny frown of his own. "Guardian, the rain displeases you," he states rather than asks.

"Only because wet clothes are not incredibly comfortable," Christian confesses. As soon as the words are out of his mouth, he wishes he could take them back. "It's nothing you need to concern yourself with though, little one. They will dry out quickly enough once the rain stops."

It's too late though.

Jensen gives him a sage nod. "Yes, clothes are very impractical. You should take them off."

"I should be even more uncomfortable without them," Christian tries to explain, for the hundredth time.

"Very well," Jensen gives in much more readily than he normally does during these types of discussions. "I shall advise the rain that you do not want to get wet." With that, he abruptly closes his eyes.

The space around Christian and the tree he's standing underneath are immediately devoid of any water, to the point where even the moisture already permeating his cotton tunic and breeches disperses, leaving him dry and free from any musty dampness.

Christian inclines his head. "Thank you, Jensen. You are very kind."

"It is nothing." Jensen gives a courtly bow before zipping away to tackle Misha into a small puddle.

Both fairies emerge a moment later, laughing and hugging.

Amused, Christian sits cross-legged under his very dry tree in his very dry clothes.

For such is the magic of fairies.