Arthur woke with his fairy friends floating around him. “Arthur,” Dandelion said softly as she lighted on his chest. “I had a vision. Can you feel it too?”

“Something’s coming,” he said softly. He sat up and slipped out of the bed. Silently, he crept through the house. It was an old Victorian house and the ceilings were very high. He was amazed at how many of his fairy friends were in the house, even the ones that usually stayed outside in the forest.

“Something bad is coming, Arthur,” Poppy added.

“If… when it comes, hide. I can sense that whatever comes it will be worse for you, than for me.” He gathered up his magic. He could feel the fairies around him helping him, drawing more energy to him. “Thanks, all of you. Now hide, it’s here.”

He ducked down as the door flew off its hinges. He was glad to see most of the fairies flew out of the room, up toward his bedroom. Dandelion and Poppy remained with him though and he sighed softly.

“I’m not leaving you, Arthur,” Dandelion whispered as they ducked away from the form that moved into the house.

“Understood,” he hissed. “Poppy, please, go. I’d hate for anything to happen to you.” He was relieved when she flew up to follow the others but then Poppy cried out in pain and she seemed to be dragged toward the form.

“Poppy!” Arthur screamed. He heard Dandelion echo him and then there was a shrill scream and then the soft red glow that always floated around Poppy disappeared.

Dandelion lighted on his shoulder and gasped, “She’s gone.”

“He… he ate her,” he said softly. Tears filled his eyes, but he dashed them away and then dodged as something tried to catch his arm. “Please Dandelion. I – I couldn’t bear to lose you too.”

“Nor I you, Arthur. Do you trust me?” Dandelion said.

“With my life – my very soul,” Arthur breathed. She floated down to the palms of his hands and he felt words enter his mind. Softly, he repeated them. As the spell took hold, everything around him seemed to grow. Now, he could hide more easily. He noted, with a small start that Dandelion was the same size as he was.

“Run,” she said, tugging him by his hands. Soon they were hiding together under the couch. He was afraid, but not for himself. He was afraid for Dandelion. Suddenly, he was keenly aware of how very beautiful she was.

“What now?” he whispered. “It’s still out there.”

“Place a ward up,” she said softly. They nestled together and he held out his hands and murmured the word that would set up the ward. A moment later, a glistening shield surrounded them. “It’s smaller so it won’t take as much energy to maintain.”

“Which is why you shrunk me,” Arthur said. He sighed softly and leaned back against the wall. He couldn’t restrain the smile on his face when Dandelion leaned against him. “We’ll have to wait until morning, I think.”

“It’ll leave by then and since we’re down here and not moving, he can’t find us. We’ll be safe now,” Dandelion said.

“Wish we’d thought of this before… Poppy…” Arthur looked away as tears filled his eyes again.

“Let them come, Arthur. You’ve known Poppy for centuries. We both have.” He felt her tears soak into his chest as his flowed into her hair. Soon they had cried themselves to sleep.

They woke together in the morning. Arthur sat up and loosed the ward. He slipped out from under the couch. “What was that thing last night.”

“A monster… made by the fears of a… a nation,” Dandelion said. She looked down and sighed as Arthur gasped softly.

“I made that thing,” Arthur whispered. “My fears and anxieties… summoned it? And… it killed Poppy.” He looked down and sighed. “Damn it,” he murmured. “What do I do, Dandelion? If I made it and summoned it then I’m the one who needs to deal with it.”

“And it’s made up of your fears so that will be all the more difficult for you,” she said. She took his hand and said, “You can do it with help, Arthur.”