E.L.F.: Extremely Livid Faerie

Inane Christmas music that some idiot had decided was the perfect Santa’s Workshop tune, echoed blandly in the noisy room. Just hours away from the Fat Man’s only reason for existing, everyone including those preposterous excuses for reindeer, were getting ready for the Visit.

ELF- Extremely Livid Faerie
Began 11/10/10

Aine stared at the plastic doll before her. Just how long had she put up this bullshit? Once she’d been a goddess dispensing justice and healing, and what was she now?

Inane Christmas music that some idiot had decided was the perfect Santa’s Workshop tune, echoed blandly in the noisy room. Just hours away from the Fat Man’s only reason for existing, everyone including those preposterous excuses for reindeer, were getting ready for the Visit.

The tinsel pompom at the end of the ridiculous elf hat she wore swung around in front of her eyes. Her anger flowed out like a miasma, surrounding her.

Her gaily dressed companions, working on their own toys, froze and slowly, but carefully scooted away on the long benches where they worked. They’d seen it happen before. When one of the Old Ones couldn’t adapt and went ‘postal’ it was never, ever funny.

The tic at the corner of her eye promised this would be one to remember.

Fuming, Aine was well aware of her ‘fellow’ elves reaction. Lowly Brownie, High Fey, or ex-deities, they all worked for the Fat Man. Oh, she well recalled the day when that cursed covenant was signed. What choice was there between ceasing to exist and a chance to continue?

Ironic that the same religion that’d caused their downfall, was their only chance for survival. Now she ground her teeth, remembering. This wasn’t even that. They were slaves to whatever moronic ‘fad’ that appeared in human culture.

Listening with her ‘other’ senses, children’s prayers and wishes for Christmas gifts filled her ears. Many wanted only toys, like the doll in front of her, but others dreamed desperately of miracles. Illnesses, starvation and uncaring guardians were only a few of the catastrophes they suffered. It was tearing her apart that she couldn’t help.

Oh sure, some few would have their wishes granted by the Fat Man who wore the suit of blood, trimmed in the color of death. Even if she trusted his intentions, which she didn’t, there were far too many for the available magic to aid.

Simply too many needed help, and not enough truly believed in miracles any more to provide the necessary power. A grim law of supply and demand that doomed countless little ones.

More than any other reason, she’d signed that bloody accord because she’d believed that she would be still helping others in some fashion. Glaring at the cheap plastic doll that no doubt would be in pieces well before a single year, this was not what she’d agreed. Crossly, she made a decision.

Looking at her neighbor cringing away from her, she politely asked, “May I have the use of your mallet?”

She didn’t even know why freaking mallets were even still in the traditional tool boxes by every workstation. Who the hell wanted wooden toys any more?

“Sure,” He replied with a squeak, handing it to her at arms length, fearing for life and limb.

“Thank you,” Aine said, weighting the tool in her hand for balance. Tradition? She’ll show them tradition.

In frenzy of blows the plastic blond haired head popped off, flying across the room shattering a Christmas ornament. The echoes of her vengeance on the offending icon silenced the busy room of elves.

“Hmm…” She smiled, satisfied.

Ignoring the others shocked expressions, she stood regally. Spoiling the moment, that damn pompom swung around in front of her face, again. As much as she would dearly love to torch the thing, the rules of magic she operated under now, would simply re-materialize another. Carefully she put it back where it belonged, she still had her dignity, damn it.

Taking a deep breath, she strolled to the massive door leading into the Arctic. Every step in those preposterous curled toed shoes made her fists clench. A wave of her hand blew the door open, letting the frigid winter roar within. Stately, she walked into the icy dark.

Who in their right mind put this place at the North Pole? Didn’t anyone know the Arctic was an ocean for pity’s sake? Trust the Fat Man to find the worst place on the planet to hole up. No doubt to hide all his slave laborers from the eyes of men.

Calling the winds to her as she once did ages ago, she flew into the darkness. She would live or die on her own terms.

Listening to the voices, she had the storm carry her southward. This corner of Africa had suffered terrible droughts for years. Calling the power to her, Aine carefully wove her intent to bring relief, but not flood.

Landing, she dug her fingers into the parched, worn out soil. Singing, she enriched it, coaxing the power from the earth herself. For at least a few years, crops would grow bountiful and no one would go hungry.

Another voice touched her heart and the zephyr carried her up and northwards, where a child was so deformed by a tumor he couldn’t stand and could barely eat.

Silently she touched him as he slept. The doctors wouldn’t believe his sudden recovery, but she saw that he would always remember. The boy would grow up to become a doctor himself, devoted to curing others as he himself had been helped.

Reaching into the sleeping child with her powers, she granted his prayers.

Stepping outside, she breathed in, feeling the world’s heart beat. Her magic was nearly gone, but there was one more she had to help.

Once again the winds carried her high and to the west. There it was still early evening, but on this night children were urged to go to bed early, so their parents could prepare.

Sitting on the roof top, unseen among the gaudy lights of the decorations, she sighed. This child’s parents didn’t lack for money or material things. It was so sad that they failed to see what was in front of them. How could they not know of the unhappiness and sadness that infused this youngster’s heart?

Just feet away, Aine heard the tears falling, and soft sobs. Her ‘sight’ showed the despair that filled that soul. So powerful, her own tears fell. She regretted now the dramatic and brazen use of her limited magic as she departed her previous employer. Now, she only hoped she had enough left to help this little one.

“Please Santa I need your help. I know that I’m too old to believe in you, but maybe thirteen is still young enough for you to hear me. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” The child wept.

“I’ve tried to be like everyone is telling me, but I just can’t! It always turns out wrong. No one at school will let me be on their team or have anything to do with me, except to stuff me into lockers or trashcans. I know that there are others like me, but Mom and Dad won’t listen to me.

“He tells me to be a man,” The young teen quoted, “Or Mom says it’s just a phase I’m going though. But it’s not!”

“I don’t want to hurt anyone, not even myself, but I don’t know how much longer I can do this. It just hurts so much!” Crying and hugging himself, he cried begging, “Please, please just make me right, Santa.”

Exhausted by the crying, the child stumbled to bed, curling into a tight miserable ball.

Not willing to wait any longer Aine husbanded her magic to unlock the window. Opening it and slipping within, she closed it behind her. Feeling her power wane, she dared not even use enough to see if the child was asleep.

Looking into the, oh so heartrending face, she used her ’sight’ to look within. Planning how to best use what power she had left, she touched the child’s head gently.

His green eyes opened, looking into hers. Predictably, that damn pompom swung around in front of her face, again.

An look of pure amazement filled his eyes. “Are you an elf?”

No, I’m a goddess, died on her tongue. He deserved to keep his dreams. “Yes, I’m here to help you, but are sure this is what you want? If I do this it’s not going to be easy on you.”

“How can it be worse?” He asked, the pain in his eyes made her heart ache.

“It can be.” She replied, softly, “I can’t change you all the way to a girl tonight. That’s because, I’m sure you know, how strange people can be. Your parents and others might even deny you’re who you say you are. I have to make it happen over time. The moment I start you’ll start growing like any other girl.

“Within, inside you,” she explained, “Everything will be of a girl becoming a woman, but your outsides will slowly change from a boy to a young lady.” The goddess clarified. “This way everyone will think it was nothing more than a little mistake, easily fixed by medical science. This is so everyone who doesn’t really believes in magic has an explanation. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard for you, dear,” She warned.

“You’ll have to be firm with your parents and the doctors about what you want. And that doesn’t begin to address the problems with your classmates and friends.” She continued laying out more problems that were ahead.

“You mean I won’t grow anymore of those yucky hairs on my face, and be like other girls?” He asked, his eyes shining in hope.

“No more than other girls, dear.” She comforted. “Plenty of girls have hair in places they don’t want. You won’t be perfect, only a girl instead of a boy.”

“Yes!” Tears misted her eyes in happiness. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Just to be really, honestly and truly me!”

Aine gathered him in her arms as they both cried. “Shhh now, we don’t want your parents to hear. So you are sure this is what you want?” Her ‘sight’ showed her the truth within the child’s heart, but she needed to hear him say it. He had to make the commitment to herself this night to make the most of the life to come.

“Yes, please make my wish come true,” He said, holding onto her.

Looking into his, eyes, she asked, “Twice I’ve asked, and twice you’ve said yes. For the third time, so there’s no mistake, is this what you desire?”

“Yes.” He wiped his tears. “However many times I’ve got to say it, yes, yes and yes!”

“Three times it was asked, and three it was answered, so mote it be!” She officially intoned.

He waited a moment in suspense, but then asked, “Now what?”

“Now you go to sleep, so I can start fulfilling your wish.” Aine replied. It hadn’t been her intention to receive his agreement, but to grant his desire while he slept. However, since she had gotten it by the old rules and forms, her task should be easier. Risking a small trickle of power, she blew gently on his face, casting sleep upon him.

Suddenly drowsy, he blinked trying to fight it.

“It’s alright. When you awake you’ll see the start of your dreams coming true. Now, sleep little one, sleep, and dream of happier, better tomorrows.” Still holding him, she eased him down to his pillow and tucked him in.

“Thank you, Miss Elf,” he mumbled as the fairy magic overcame him.

“You’re welcome,” Aine told the sleeping child with a smile.

As an ex-goddess of healing none of the body’s mysteries were strange to her. She crafted a puzzle for the doctors that would examine the child in the future. Completely and utterly female, but with the flimsiest appearance of a male child. She was taking no chances that they would try and deny the girl hidden within.

Stretching her word, she did ‘cleanup’ only a few things. The girl would have very little body hair and her few blemishes vanished. A tweak here and tweak there insured that no one in their right mind would consider her a boy.

Then, using a fairy ‘glamour,’ she concealed her work. Each day a bit would erode revealing the another bit of truth. Happening gradually, along with her other changes, it would all protect her from those fearful of what they didn’t understand, appearing like an unusual, but explainable medical cause.

Smiling, Aine kissed the young girl’s sleeping eyes as her final gift. When she waked in the morning she would be able to see past the concealing magic to see the promise underneath.

“Merry Christmas, dear. Have a good life,” She blessed the sleeping teen.

Taking a deep breath, she hardly felt the air moving though her lungs at all. Nearly all of her magic was spent in this last task of love. She was more air herself now, than solid matter. Floating to the frost covered peaked roof she began her long night’s vigil.

Hours passed, and she hugged her long legs, looking to the east where the sun would soon rise. Behind her, the sounds of boots crunching the frosty crystals signaled a visitor.

“So what now?” He asked.

“What do you think, Fat Man? My magic is spent, and I’m more spirit than living now. The rising sun will scatter what is left to the four winds.” She paused, thinking of her long life, but satisfied in the end. “I will be no more.”

He grunted a reply, sitting down beside her, his boots dangling over the edge. “So why this child, when so many others are just as deserving?”

Aine cut him a glare. She wanted her final moments for herself, but decided to answer. “I couldn’t help them all. I could only attempt to help those who would hopefully pass it on to others.”

“Her heart,” She said, inclining her head to the occupant still sleeping in the room below, “Is so large and caring. The impact of this night will spread far and wide. Instead of the butterfly’s wings causing a tornado, this one girl’s smile will shine, bringing light and warmth to multitudes.”

“At the cost of your existence.” He stated, as if she didn’t know.

“Far better than making useless dolls!” She shot back in anger. “It’s my life. I decide its ending.

“Don’t underestimate the healing power of even a doll.” He shook his head sadly. “However, like you said, it is your life. I do think that others will have some say about that ending you mentioned though.”

Before her, the lightening sky heralded Christmas day was only minutes away. However, even the sun couldn’t compete with the brilliant lights that had appeared about her. In spite of being mostly spirit herself, she was blinded by their power. Beautiful beyond the ken of those bound to the earth, their wings glowed like rainbows as they gently settled to the roof.

Questioningly, she turned the Fat Man. “What is this?”

“They’ve come for you Aine.” He answered.

“That’s not possible. I have no soul, just spirit. Without magic to give me life I’m nothing, but what the belief from others make me. Not nearly enough truly have that faith in these latter, sadder days.” Still, she couldn’t take her eyes off the messengers who simply smiled at her, lifting her heart.

“You sacrificed yourself for others. Perhaps you do lack a soul, but never ever a heart. The Creator of all cares for us all, no matter who or what we are. These angels are here for you.”

Aine stared at the Fat Man. That damn sleigh with those freaky excuses for reindeer sat behind him. As she stood, the messengers held out their arms for her.

“Surely you don’t think your work is done?” He asked, a twinkle in his eye. “I can however, assure you that no one will risk putting a doll in front of you again!”

She glared at him again, but couldn’t keep her smile away. “Farewell to you as well, Fat Man.”

Stepping into their arms, she and the messengers rose into the dawn.

His breath frosting in the chill Christmas morning air, he watched as they ascended out of sight.

“You too ELF,” He replied.

Taking a moment, Santa looked in on the girl who stood before her mirror, crying softly with happiness.

“You did good ELF, you did good.” Sadness touched him, because he couldn’t help all who needed help, but there was still only one of him. Sighing, he turned to walk to his ride.

There before him was a small, green elf cap with it’s tinsel tassel sparklingly in the morning sun.

Reverently, he picked it up, a tear in his eyes. Then with a smile he carefully tucked it away inside his coat.

Today was the time for cheer and happiness, not tears. Climbing into his sleigh, he picked up the reins.

“Come on, boys. Let’s get back to the ranch.” He told his team.

“Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!”

The End

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