Poppy opened her eyes and looked around, pleased that at least this time she recognized her surroundings. The young pixie smiled, she warm and comfortable even with a mass of pixies cuddled up to her. A group of them had found a nice comfortable spot on the couch in Morgan Rynders home. For the most part all of the pixies huddled together in one big mass of girls.
One part of the young green haired pixie was rather annoyed that with a score of half-naked women surrounded her, a couple even using her as a pillow, it issued no response other than contentment. Still, reaching down, Poppy gently brushed the hair from Laurel’s face, there was a bond with these girls that Matt only experienced with those who fought by his side 40 years ago.
More and more of her analytical self was in the opinion that this was not a dream but even so, it was totally, outside her experience. Oh sure, she remembered listening to fairytales as a child. She even remembered reading Tolkien in college but those were just stories. Perhaps some of what lay in the pages of those books truly held some glimmer of truth. Shakespeare’s Hamlet immediately came to mind. The good doctor was finding that the world was indeed larger than it seemed.
To further reinforce this was reality, Poppy never heard of anyone falling asleep in a dream. However, why didn’t her conscience move back to her other body? Was it because Matt’s body was currently in a drug-induced coma? Upon awakening today unlike the two other times, there seemed now to be a peaceful coexistence between her two states. Poppy was a pixie, that was a fact but she was also Matt. His memories were her memories. So now, which existence was real? She felt as if she was living in-between worlds. If Matt’s body died, would she continue her pixie existence or would she fade away like a memory. It did give the doctor something to think about.
“Laurel” Poppy gently nudged her friend. “Wake up sleepy head, you’re on my arm.”
Turning over, Laurel looked up with a smile. “Oh you’re still here.” Although it wasn’t unwelcome, Poppy was surprised when her friend reached over and gave her a big hug. “Good morning.”
Poppy grinned; she decided she could get used to it.
Syringa groaned. “Why are you two so loud?” A few other pixies agreed with her whole-heartedly.
“Don’t you guys do anything but sleep?” Laurel giggled. Not that pixies couldn’t go for an inhumanly long time without sleep but even they felt the need on occasion to just relax,
“No, not when it’s still dark outside.”
Poppy, now free, hovered in midair. She could already feel the sun breaking the horizon. It had been a long night, with the Clan Chief and others discussing the Spriggans and what their presence might mean. Bria had even sent a number of armed pixies into the darkness to search for any signs of them. Poppy half expected that most of her day would be spent flying around doing the same; she was right.
Hours later Poppy found herself flying towards the outskirts of town. Along with Laurel, Syringa too joined the pair to help search for any signs of Spriggans. None of the three truly expected to find anything. They hoped that the grey-skinned goblins would stay away from their peaceful community, however; there was a part of Poppy that wanted to see Menadue again. The blade he wore definitely called out to her as if it was being held prisoner. What she was going to do about it was another story.
“I wouldn’t mind if we did a little trading though.” Laurel said pulling Poppy away from dreams of mounting a rescue operation.
“What do you normally trade for?” Both Pixies looked a little red in the face. “What?”
Poppy smiled; she remembered the Woodwife speaking to her about it when she first appeared in the Sacred Grove. “I’m guessing it’s that good?”
Syringa rubbed her hands together. “Oh yes.”
“So we don’t make it?”
Laurel shrugged. “It’s their magic; they seem to have the knack for it.”
“But we have magic too?”
“Of course silly.” Syringa pulled her purple hair from her face. “We are magic.”
“Oh.” Poppy hadn’t given it much thought. It made sense; beyond being a foot tall, how the three of them managed to stay aloft wasn’t easily explained. She decided that pixies must be inherently magical, although Poppy had a feeling all Fae were magical to some degree. “But some are more powerful than others?” She remembered the white haired pixie creating the ball of light. Someone mentioned later that she was Xera apprentice. “Like Xera.”
“The Keeper is the most powerful of all of us.”
As the three pixies gently spiraled downwards, they picked out a long wooden fence to land on. Poppy wondered what she might be able to do. Surely if she was magical, even creating a ball of light wouldn’t be too difficult. Looking down she grinned. The young pixie was now wearing green surgical scrubs. Really if that was the extent of her magic, she wasn’t going to complain. At least she wouldn’t have to worry about what to wear.
“Oh, I have seen those before.” Laurel pointed towards Poppy’s outfit.
“You’ve been to the hospital?”
“Sure.” The red haired pixie pointed off to the east. “It’s beyond those woods.”
Poppy contemplated visiting her body, then decided that was a little too macabre, perhaps another day.
“Still no sign.” Syringa fiddled with her long spear knocking the snow off the top of one of the fence posts.
Poppy nodded, she couldn’t feel any difference in the land around her. She had felt the Spriggans move through the woods and expected to be able to do so now.
“That looks like fun.” Laurel said pointing to a group of teenagers sledding down a long snowy hill. Since it was Saturday, the late evening snow had also brought out a number of families as well. “Come on, let’s watch.” Without another word, she took off flying over the snow-covered street and into the field beyond.
“Laurel.” Syringa huffed. “We have other things to do.” Turning around she looked at Poppy who only smiled.
“I guess we need to follow her.”
The pixies giggled at the antics of the children as they slid down the impressive long hill. From the littlest who stared at the white stuff in wonder to the older more jaded children who still had a sparkle in their eyes. However, the sight of the older children’s antics was the most impressive. A few teenagers were on skis but a number of them flew down the hill on snow boards. Several small snowy ramps or banks allowed the snow boarders to sail high into the air. One boy was exceptional, taking to the air as if he was a bird, however as he came down after a particularly spectacular maneuver a binding on the deck of the snow board snapped. As his left boot separated from the board, it sent him head first into the snow. The teenage boy did not get back up.
“Poppy!” Lauren yelled at the pixie leaped off the branch they were sitting on and hit the snow running. Scooting past a number of small children, Poppy was the second person to reach the obviously injured boy. “Don’t move him.”
Kneeling in the snow, Poppy began to check for injuries.
“Who are you?” A red headed girl asked.
“Leave her alone Heidi, I bet she’s a nurse.” A second girl ran up all out of breath.
“Doctor.” Poppy quit listening at that point. Why wasn’t the child wearing a helmet? So many head injuries could be avoided by wearing that simple piece of equipment. As soon as the pixie touched him, something unexpected happened. She could actually feel his injuries. They pulled at her and somehow she knew that with just that touch, she had healed a life threatening neck injury. Confused and a little frightened, Poppy pulled herself out of the boy. As she looked for other injuries, more of his friends made it down to the bottom of the hill.
“Kind of young for a doctor.”
“Bet she’s an intern at the hospital.”
“Her green hair is rockin’.” A heavily tattooed, blue haired girl giggled.
“Man did you see that wipe out, Paul?” A large boy walked up and slipped his arm around the blue haired girl.
“Yea, hope Josh is OK.” Paul sat watching the doctor, his chin resting on the top of his snow board.
“Looked like it hurt a lot.” Another teenage boy commented while admiring the young doctor’s figure.
“She must be cold.” Heidi put her own freezing hands in her pocket and gave a sympathetic smile. “Where did she come from?”
“I thought I saw her run down from the street.” The blue haired girl pointed to a number of parked cars at the top of the hill.
“Guys shut up and let the doctor work. Hey doc…is Josh going to be OK.”
“Shut up yourself Alex, you’re all too damn loud.” Josh groaned, opening his eyes he tried to focus. “Hey you have green hair, sweet.”
Poppy looked up and smiled. She could feel that her smile brought a sense of relief to the entire group. The boy might not be snow boarding for the rest of the winter with a fractured left arm and ankle but he wouldn’t have any problems walking once it healed.
“Yes, although he won’t be snow boarding for a while. You guys have cell phones, right, please call 911.”
When one of the adults slipped a jacket across her shoulders, reality set in like a sledgehammer. The young pixie was standing in the snow, full sized, thankfully without wings, wearing surgical scrubs. Looking up, she spied two very concerned and confused pixies.
“Poppy how did you do that?” Syringa asked.
Poppy could only make a confused face and shrug. Pulling the jacket around her, she reflected the cold she felt wasn’t from the snow. After speaking with the injured boy, Poppy was able to get a hold of his parents instructing them to meet the ambulance at the medical center. Taking control of the area, Poppy quickly spoke with a couple of other parents of the younger children who had been sledding. They happily made sure everyone kept out of the doctor’s way. The young pixie was relieved to hear sirens only a few minutes later.
Standing beside the injured boy, she watched as two EMTs half walked, half slid down the snowy hill with a backboard in hand. Suddenly they stopped. “Juan she’s…” Although the conversation between the two EMTs was no louder than a whisper, Poppy heard it perfectly.
“You’re positive man?” The one called Juan was staring at her, for some reason the pixie had a weird thought she was looking at a raccoon.
“Of course…she has the same smell...” The second EMT approached with a smile on his face and whispered. “Your Ladyship, are you the one who called?” The second EMT was quick to kneel in the snow next to the injured boy.
“How you doing man, looks like you had a nasty spill.”
As she half listened to the conversation with the EMT and Josh, Poppy was taken aback, how the two knew that she wasn’t quite what she appeared to be was a mystery. “Yes, my name is…Doctor Poppy Sully.” For some reason, Poppy used Matt’s wife maiden name.
“I see. I’m Brett and that’s Juan.”
Poppy could tell that the EMT named Brett was confused until she began to explain the boy’s injuries. As soon as the he realized that the woman standing in front of them knew what she was talking about they became very professional. As the three worked on the injured child, the pixie found herself liking Brett, he reminded her of a German Shepherd Matt’s family owned when he was a child.
With Josh finally strapped to the backboard and prepped for transport, Poppy wondered how she was going to get out of here. It’s not as if she could just turn into a pixie in the middle of everyone. Noticing her distress, Juan smiled. “Doctor, why don’t you come with us back to the hospital? I’m sure that someone will take back to your car later.”
With the help of a few strong backs, although she was sure the two EMT’s could have done it themselves, Josh was placed inside the waiting ambulance.
As Poppy handed back the jacket, a dozen people come up to thank her for her help. “See you later, doc.” The group of teenagers was especially grateful that she happened to be driving by. Sliding into the rear of the ambulance, it felt familiar and alien at the same time. What was she doing? With a shake of her head, the young Pixie leaned over and made sure that her young patient was comfortable.
With sirens blaring, it took no time for the ambulance to make its way back to Eastside Medical Center. Although the two EMT were disappointed, it came as no surprise when they looked back they found their patient sound asleep and that Doctor Sully had vanished.
Bria, Clan Chief of the Skogshaven pixies sat on an outcropping of rock deep inside the forest. What had started as a long night soon turned into a long day. Sending dozens of her sisters in search for any sign of the Spriggans so far had been futile. She didn’t doubt their presence; normally it would have caused no real concern except for the one called Menadue. Now she had another issue to deal with.
“Please Xera; don’t tell me we have another magical prodigy in our midst.”
Xera laughed and walked up to the nervous looking pixie. Poppy could feel her body tingle when the Keeper touched her. “No, however she is special.” Xera gave a little giggle at Poppy’s expression. “Don’t worry child, you did nothing wrong.”
“Xera.” The Clan Chief frowned, of course she would say that. Her Keeper also happened to be the only other pixie that had the ability to take a mortal form.
“Bria, she is a Gan-ainm; besides my friend helping a human child while appearing as a mortal is not against our laws. No one except for that particular Were could even tell that she was not simply a mortal woman.”
“But I couldn’t just leave the child in the snow…I’m a doctor…I couldn’t…”
“You’re a healer?”
Poppy nodded to Bria. If she had the ability, how could they ask her not to help those in need?
“It’s been sometime since we had a true healer in our midst.” Xera commented. She looked towards the center of the forest was the spirit of the forest at work again? “However we are not permitted to heal everyone.”
Poppy looked at Xera, for a moment she thought that she was speaking of something else.
Bria nodded. “True, mortals have their own healers.” The Clan Chief has seen her Keeper’s reaction; she too stared at the center of the forest. Could it be the spirit of the forest at work again? The death of the Green Man was bringing about great change. “Can you help her, Xera? I wouldn’t ask you to take on another apprentice unless it was necessary.”
Xera shook her head, “No, she doesn’t need to be my apprentice. In addition, she is the true healer not me. Still Poppy, I would be remiss if I let you wander around with no instruction.”
Poppy smiled in gratitude. She didn’t know how she grew to normal size, or how she was able to heal the boy. The green haired fairy had a feeling that Xera was probably a lot more capable then she was letting on. Further instruction or punishment was not to be forthcoming as Eglantine flew into their midst.
“Bria, the Spriggans are in the forest and Menadue is with them.”
Authors Notes: A special thanks to djkauf for a little elvish editing. If you like the story please leave a Kudos, if you have the time I would love to hear from you. Thanks to all for reading! - Elsbeth
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