Winter had taken to sleeping late, curled up on a pile of pillows in the sun room and wishing fall would come a little faster. Summer was so hard sometimes, it wasn't his season, and he missed the cold. He still shared a bed with Phouka most nights, but when sleep failed him in the middle of the night, he crept up to the top floor of the tree house, built a little nest, and sat reading books by the soft glow of fairy lights. Then, when sleep did finally come for him, he just curled up in his nest of glittery and pretty pillows and let it wash over him.
It was nearly noon by the time he woke, and the pixie staggered about in a groggy haze as he set about his morning routine. Teeth polished nice and shiny, to keep the tooth fairy well away (What kind of fairy collected teeth after all? Not one you'd want under your pillow, that's for certain), face scrubbed and fresh, even though a moment later there was always, always, glitter on his cheeks again anyway. ...Not applied, simply there. Then it was time to do battle with his hair. Today his hair was shock white, the curls soft and short. Winter never wondered why it was or wasn't this, he simply accepted that his hair would be as it wished to be, and dressed accordingly. Lately he'd been dressing quite plainly, but today he found himself digging a bit deeper into his closet, emerging in a bright and unusual jumper, along with a pair of colourful trainers.
He was just headed down to the kitchen when he heard a strange noise, and he went still on the steps as he tried to work out what it was.
"Shh! You're making too much noise!" a voice whispered.
"No, you are!" came another. "Besides, we have to make noise or he'll never wake up!"
There was a loud clatter, like a wooden spoon hitting the floor, then the sound of laughter, like tinkling bells. "Who won't wake up?" the first voice asked.
"Winter! Remember? We're visiting Winter, Soot, that's the whole reason we came!"
Wandering down the last few stairs, Winter peeked around the corner just in time to see two pixies on his counter attempting to open the five-pound bag of gummy bears he'd not yet broken into. Soot, an almost rosy and dusty skinned pixie with short and silky black hair, and eyes like tiny chips of obsidian, was currently attempting to drag the bag across the counter, while Moss, a very pointy looking pixie with wild grey hair and eyes to match, was currently attempting to remove a knife from the butcher's block.
"Oh, shit!" Winter gasped, rushing over and removing the other pixie from the knife and putting him down on the table. "You're gonna slice yourself in half, you twit!" he scolded, though that only prompted more giggles from the pair. "Winter!" they squeaked, launching themselves into the air and circling the pixie. "We're here! We're visiting!" they chirped.
"I know, I can see that," Winter replied, yelping when Soot pulled his hair.
"Make us big! Make us big! Let's play!" the pair chanted.
Winter hesitated a moment, then sighed. If his friends were here, there was no point in keeping them tiny. They'd only make more mischief that way.
"Alright, alright, stay right here. I'll be right back," he said, opening the bag of gummies to ensure his energetic house guests didn't wander. Moss swiftly swooped down to steal one, snatching it from the bag and then tumbling down onto the counter with the plump green bear.
Suddenly Winter understood all too well why Finlay had, at one point, always looked like he had a headache in the morning. ...He almost felt sorry about it too. ...Almost. Winter hadn't quite mastered guilt yet.
He returned a moment later with some of his potion, and he lifted the pair off the counter before offering them each a dose. This, of course, only prompted more excitement and chaos, but eventually, Winter had them settled down and dressed in much more mortal friendly garb. It would have been ideal to keep the pair tucked away in his tree, but his kin were having none of that, and soon they were all settled in at a table outside Starbucks.
"Ow!" Winter yelped, as Soot pulled his hair for the seventh time that morning. "Stop it. You're just trouble!" he scowled.
"You're trouble!" the dusty skinned pixie squeaked happily.
"I'm pretty sure Trouble lives in that village near the wizard school," Moss supplied helpfully. "She's pink now you know, wings and all."
Winter couldn't help himself, and he smiled a little at the thought. "It would be very nice to be pink, I think," he admitted.
"Or lavender," Soot said wistfully. "With pretty pearl wings..."
"I like your wings," Winter said, shaking his head. "They're like cobwebs. No one has wings like yours."
Soot perked up a bit at that, looking very pleased. "I am very unique."
"Hey! I have good wings too!" Moss insisted, forgetting the potion had vanished them temporarily, and trying to show them off. This was enough to send the pixies back into a pile of giggles, and the sound of pure joy filled the air with a hint of magic and sweetness all around them.