Disclaimer: Mine, all mine, none needed really. A goofy little fairytale somewhat lacking of thought, at most. A thanks to Lilian's sister for lending me the use of the name Rianna.

Feedback would be very welcome at rosmari.karlssonfaltin@telia.com

For my himechan, I hope you'll approve of it, such as it is.

Faerie Folk

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by Carola "Ryűchan" Eriksson

The Forest was home for all manner of creatures that all had their particular place and purpose in it. Animals moved around, doing their animal things and fertilizing the soil, keeping the forest vibrant and alive. Dryads helped the trees they were bound to grow tall and strong for many years, the various sprites tended the elements that where theirs, the gnomes herded the animals and maintained their balance, and brownies did the same for plants and growing things.

The fairies though, the fairies maintained all yet nothing at the same time. They sang and danced life into the veins of the forest, made the seasons turn, made flowers bloom and gave animals the urge to bear young. The fairies were kept apart from the others, and gnomes and brownies stayed respectfully away from fairy dwellings. All the others could and would sometimes mingle, although dryads tended to be elusive and, as they grew older, become one with their trees and therefore not able to communicate very well with others, but fairies danced and sang only with one another. It was the way it had always been.

In this green and prospering world was once born a brownie called Olu. Little redheaded Olu was different from her sister brownies since she was born, for her father had been a river sprite, and when Olu's dreams and ideas led her into things that was considered un-brownish, the elders of her tribe would shake their heads with wry affection and say it was the sprite in her that caused it. Perhaps this was true, and Olu often wondered about this, but regardless of why, Olu was a dreamer who thought and felt things very deeply, and who would find herself on paths no brownie wandered, just to see where they led.

Little Olu asked questions no-one else did, always curious about the world. "Mama," she would say, "why are we called brownies when we are not brown?" And her mother would hide a smile, secretly quite proud of her special offspring, and answer in the knowledgeable way of mothers everywhere "We are brownies because we can't all be fairies. Now eat your soup."

Her mother's words made Olu think about brownies and fairies, and wonder why being a fairy would be better than being a brownie, which in turn made Olu think very much about fairies overall and made Olu very, very curious about fairies in general. As all brownie children eventually do, little Olu grew older and had her own duties to perform in the forest around her, but she never lost her curiosity nor her dreams.

She also never ceased to be fascinated by fairies.

Her friends, for Olu had several very good friends, knew these things about her, and that was why Olu's friends Nya and Hoe told her that they had heard from some sprites that fairies had started coming to a certain glen not far from there to sing and dance at night. Olu immediately pulled her green cap down a little more securely on her head, and planned to go watch the fairies dance that night.

Nya, Hoe and two more of Olu's friends came with her to the glen that evening, and together they climbed a great big oak tree, hiding among the leaves while waiting for the fairies to appear. They waited and they waited, and Hoe had fallen asleep in Nya's lap as night fell and no fairies appeared, but Olu would not give up and go home. Then, just as the others were about to try again to convince Olu they should just go home, a light approached the glen.

From their hiding place in the oak tree, Olu and her friends stared in open-mouthed wonder at the fairies as they danced and sang summer to this part of the forest. The fairies fluttered through the air on their gossamer wings, each and every one shining brightly with their fairy magic and singing to the heart of the forest.

Finally Olu knew why being a fairy was better than being a brownie... the fairies were so beautiful where they danced through the air, and the plants, the trees, the flower, they all loved them. Olu was hypnotized.

All the brownies were as quiet as could be, because it would not do to get caught spying on the fairies, and it was quite an amazing sight to see. Still, even though the brownies were all hidden and very very quiet, a few fairies fluttered by their hiding place, and stopped.

The curious fairies lifted the leaves away and saw Olu and her friends, giggling in delight at the discovery. Olu's friends tried to hide anyway, making the fairies giggle even more, and flutter around to poke playfully at the funny brownies, touch their hair and their clothes, try on their hats, and just generally annoy the brownies.

Olu noticed none of this however, because in the group of fairies that had discovered them was this special fairy. Her hair was almost white and her eyes large and blue like the river that ran through the forest, and she was the most beautiful thing Olu had ever seen.

The beautiful fairy smiled at Olu, and while the other fairies tormented Olu's friends, this fairy fluttered rather shyly up to Olu and touched her hair as if she had never seen hair that red before. Olu blushed when the beautiful fairy came so close to her, and the fairy seemed delighted, touching Olu's reddening cheeks with pale, glowing hands. Then she leaned in further and looked deeply into Olu's leaf-green eyes as if searching for something. Olu forgot to breathe.

A singing call of sorts rang nearby, and the little group of fairies reluctantly returned to the others, but not before giving their unexpected visitors another giggle and a few light kisses or pokes to further fluster the embarrassed brownies.

Olu's friends grabbed her and began to scramble down the tree, afraid that the fairies would return and bring all their friends with them, but Olu was very reluctant to leave. In the end Olu was forced to concede defeat as her friends dragged her away, but silently Olu decided that she would return as soon as she could.

The following evening, Olu intended to do just that. Her friends, although they had talked excitedly about their adventure all day, did not want to come with her, in fact they tried to talk her out of going. But Olu would not be swayed, she so wanted to see that beautiful fairy again.

When night fell, Olu had hidden herself in the leaves of the big oak tree again, waiting patiently for the fairies to come and dance in the glen. And they came, with swirling light and songs, making Olu wish suddenly that her father had been a wind sprite instead of a river sprite, because most wind sprites had wings and could fly, and Olu would have liked to be able to fly. Instead Olu was connected to the water, could move through it almost as easily as she did on land and even breathe it. It had been something that came in handy a few times in Olu's life, but still, to be able to fly!

Olu was still watching the fairy dance and contemplating the wonder of being able to fly, when a single fairy threaded through the leaves near her. It was the one Olu so much had wanted to see.

Olu promptly forgot all about the wonders of flight and dancing fairies, concentrating instead on being all tongue-tied and shy looking at the prettiest girl she had ever seen.

The fairy sat next to Olu and began playing with Olu's hair, and Olu was too shy to say anything to her. At first the fairy did not speak either, only giggling softly at the expressions on Olu's face, and the fierce blush that covered Olu's features when she shivered involuntarily at the sound. But eventually the fairy began to talk to Olu, even though Olu just nodded or shook her head in response.

The fairy's name was Rianna, and Rianna, being a rather young fairy, had never seen a brownie before. She was quite curious about Olu, and clearly enjoyed talking, so eventually Olu found herself answering Rianna's questions and actually keeping up her side of their conversation.

The night passed too quickly, and while they still had so many things to talk about, Rianna's fairy friends came to tell her that it was time to leave. Rianna had Olu to promise to come back the next night, and when Olu nodded shyly, Rianna clapped her hands excitedly and then quickly leaned in to kiss her before fluttering off.

Olu sat stock still, eyes impossibly wide and her face nearly the same shade as her red hair, for quite some time after the fairies had all left.

The following days Olu slept a lot after doing her chores, so that she could go see Rianna every evening in the glen. Her friends began complaining, worried for Olu and saying that wanting to see the fairies once or even twice was all well and good, but going to see them every night could not be a good thing. When asked what it was that was so interesting about the fairies that she returned to them every evening, Olu would blush and smile a silly little smile, but not answer.

Olu would get a dreamy expression on her face and suddenly stop what she was doing, to instead get lost in remembering how she had woken up near dawn one day, sitting in the tree with Rianna asleep in her arms.

It had been such an incredible feeling... the soft, warm weight of someone curled up next to her. The sensation of waking up with someone... Olu's heart constricted in her chest, and she spent long moments just watching Rianna sleep. It was a moment of pure bliss, and her thoughts kept returning to that moment, the moment she had felt completed and no longer alone.

Rianna had been forced to hurry to catch up to her sisters then, but she had not left before once again bestowing a light kiss on Olu's lips. They had not spoken of the small kisses Rianna sometimes gave Olu as they parted for the morning, even though they made Olu's heart beat so much faster in her chest.

Then came the night that Olu decided she had to speak, because the words felt as if they were bursting her chest, she just hoped she would find the courage to say the words she wanted to the lovely Rianna.

Olu no longer hid in the tree when she waited for Rianna to appear, as the other fairies knew she was there by now, and many stopped by to greet Olu and speak to her as Rianna was not the only fairy curious about brownies. Fairies had so little contact with the other magical denizens of the forest and were eager to learn about their elusive neighbours when they could, and so Olu's fixed presence in the glen was most welcome.

After a while though, the other fairies would leave Olu and Rianna alone, and this particular night the fairies giggled and pushed playfully at a somewhat blushing Rianna before they left, making sure no-one of their sisters would come that way for the rest of the night. Olu wasn't entirely sure what was going on, but was very glad to be alone with Rianna, for whatever reason. And then there was the question of the words that Olu needed to be spoken.

Olu had not expected Rianna to speak first. And speak she did.

Pale cheeks dusted with the palest rose of a blush, Rianna told Olu that Olu had changed everything Rianna knew. That she thought of her all the time and missed her so when they were not together... finally Olu and Rianna both said the words, awkwardly and blushing, but oh so happy together. Olu found her courage and kissed Rianna like she wanted to, holding her so close that any forest critter that might have seen them then would have thought them to be one being instead of two.

They ended up spending the night in the secure, secluded embrace of a groove in the old oak tree, away from prying eyes although neither of them remembered their surroundings or the fairies that sang to the forest not far away. When Olu finally awoke the following morning it was very late, the sun shining strongly down through the filter of the leaves and somehow catching Olu's eyes with a tiny ray... and Rianna was sleeping with her head on Olu's shoulder and body draped over across hers, while Olu held her close and twined her fingers in long pale hair.

Rianna made a tiny mewling sound and burrowed deeper into Olu's shoulder for a moment before reluctantly raising her head and gaze sleepily with those large blue eyes at Olu. After a while, they both began to realize how late it was and that the other fairies were long gone, the day already well underway around them. Olu did not want Rianna to travel after her sisters all by herself, so they decided that Rianna would follow Olu home.

Olu admitted, still shy, that she wanted Rianna to meet her mother, and Rianna nodded, smiling, and held Olu's hand all the way to the brownie village.

It was the first time Olu had seen Rianna in the full light of day, and she discovered that during the day a fairy does not glow like she does during the night. It didn't matter though, to Olu's eyes Rianna shone brightly no matter what.

Once in the village Rianna got very shy, hiding slightly behind Olu as all the other brownies gaped and stared when Olu pulled Rianna with her past them, heading for her home. They were both glad to see some friendly faces as Olu's friends, though they too were gaping, walked up to them and kept them company on the last part of the way to Olu's home.

Introducing Rianna to Olu's mother as Olu's girlfriend had an unexpected result, as the older brownie took one startled look at the blushing fairy and quite promptly fainted.

Rianna got quite upset by this, but Olu assured her that her mother was just surprised, and would come to love Rianna almost as much as Olu herself did... well, perhaps not quite, but anyway. Olu's friends took Rianna outside so that Olu could wake her mother and talk to her alone for a moment, and it didn't take long before the brownie children of the village dared up to the pale fairy to have a closer look. Soon enough Rianna forgot to be anxious and played with the giggling and squealing brownie children outside, while Olu woke her mother up and told her everything that had happened since that first night that Olu and her friends saw the fairies.

Olu's mother was quiet through Olu's story, stirring the pot with her back to Olu while Olu spoke. When Olu had stopped talking they stayed quiet for a long moment, then Olu's mother turned around to speak to her only child, intending to gently warn her daughter of the heartache of loving someone that was not of her own kind, like she herself had once done. It would surely end in sorrow, as a fairy could not possibly truly be devoted to a brownie for more than a moment's passing fancy, and she did not want her daughter to love so deeply and be so hurt when it ended. Was it not possible for Olu to find a nice, stable and most of all safe brownie girl, one of those nice friends of hers perhaps?

She never spoke the words, because as she turned around Rianna burst into the tiny kitchen, hurling herself into Olu's arms with a delighted squeal, then proceeded to breathlessly tell Olu of the children's antics and how she thought they liked her. Olu's mother silently watched the smile that bloomed on Olu's face, and how she held the fairy to her as if she never wanted to let go. There was nothing she could say in the face of the utterly adoring look that passed between the two younglings, and so, as a good mother, she nodded to herself and set out to get to know the person that had captured her daughter's heart.

The day passed, and Olu's mother and friends got to know Rianna better, learning that there was a very sweet girl underneath the impossibility of a fairy being in a brownie village. It also quickly became obvious that Rianna herself was enamoured of the way the brownies lived and moved around, as apparently fairy dwellings were quite different, and fairies tended to do little but sleep or eat for most of the day, being in essence rather nocturnal creatures. But Rianna very much enjoyed playing in the sun with the brownie children or talking to the young brownies that approached them, until finally she and Olu both were too tired to remain awake for much longer.

At that point Olu took Rianna to her room for a nap, but Rianna was quite delighted with the construct of Olu's wooden bed, and so they did not get to sleep for some while yet.

During all this, Olu's mother wisely chose to go visiting with some friends, which ended her up having to explain matters to the concerned elders of the village. Most were quite disturbed to have a fairy among them, but no-one could truly give any reason why a fairy would not be welcome in brownie dwellings, nor say that Rianna posed some kind of threat or even caused any particular problem for them. There were those that said that the threat was to young Olu's heart, but Olu's mother was quick to point out that Olu was far from the only person in the village to have fallen in love with a non-brownie, and it was never questioned with any of the others so why should it be questioned now just because Rianna was a fairy?

Younger brownies were enthusiastic about Rianna's presence, seeing it as a unique opportunity to bridge the gap to the fairies, learn more about them so that they would be no different than the sprites or gnomes that crossed the lives of brownies daily. It would shame the brownies, they said, to treat this visitor badly just because she was a fairy and the brownies did not know how to treat fairies... and so it was more or less decided that Rianna's presence would be treated as any other non-brownie's would, and that she should be made to feel welcome there.

When night came and Olu would walk Rianna back to the glen and her fairy sisters, an unusually large group of brownies decided to join them. Olu's friends were with them as well as other young brownies, made curious about the fairies by Rianna's presence, but also several of the older brownies, deciding to try and reach out to the fairies in a gesture of neighbourly friendliness, hoping to begin to bridge age-old gaps between their species. Olu and Rianna were a little embarrassed and awkward to have so many join them when they mostly just wanted to be alone, but they did not want to be selfish and begrudge the others their chance at meeting the fairies.

The brownies in the village all gasped as one when Rianna left Olu's home that evening, as with the approaching night Rianna began to glow with fairy light. Little children, allowed to stay up just this once to see their new playmate off, all squealed in delight, and Rianna spent a few moments flying them around before she had to leave. The adult brownies whispered in hushed awe and respect, suddenly seeing Rianna as a true fairy after all, and being quite taken aback by it.

The fairies, when they came to the glen and met the unusual sight of a large brownie contingent, were elated to say the least. Rianna's friends teased her and Olu good-naturedly for spending the day together, then took quite a bit of pleasure in playing and flirting with the other young brownies there. The brownie elders were met by a group of the fairies that appeared to be the fairies' version of elders, and sat down to have serious and lengthy discussions about their respective species and the lack of communication between them. All in all it would be a very productive night that resulted in brownies and fairies becoming much closer, moving back and forth between each others' dwellings and learning about one another.

Olu and Rianna watched for a moment, then sneaked away to a secluded corner where they could be alone, and in all the excitement no-one noticed that they had gone.

Summer passed by, brownies and fairies getting on rather friendly terms, going so far as to having the fairies considering making the glen another permanent fairy dwelling place in order to be closer to the community of brownies, gnomes, sprites and other creatures, that the fairies were only just beginning to understand and want to be a part of. It would take a long time, but the first steps had been taken to close the gaps between them all.

Meanwhile Olu and Rianna were planning building their own home, together, on the edges of the brownie village closest to the glen. It was partly the dream of building a life together that spurred them, but also the fact that Olu's mother was giving them somewhat dirty looks upon occasion, when she once again had to flee her own home for the sake of her sanity, as well as the many occasions she accidentally walked in on them in embarrassing situations. It was time Olu and Rianna considered a home of their own, and it was a task they embarked upon most gladly.

As summer gave way to autumn, the forest would see the fairies singing the change of seasons into the heart of the forest alongside of their brownie friends. Especially a certain pair of young lovers stood out amongst their kin, Olu sitting in a tree near where Rianna fluttered around, her deeper brownie song mingling with Rianna's ethereal fairy voice and making something new, their love for one another bringing the forest around them into abundant wealth and riches.

Some forest folk say that although many seasons have turned since then, there are times when one can still come upon the image of a brownie and a fairy serenading one another in the heart of the forest, while nature itself around them rejoices in their union. Those so fortunate to behold this they say, will carry the blessing of that love into their own lives, as if that song could bring summer to the heart as well.

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