She’s finally asleep. Ana was so full of energy I wondered if she’d stay up all night. But she’s out like a light now, looking like any other little girl, dreaming peaceful little girl dreams.
I thought Fernando and Angela would be the hardest to convince to let her stay over, but they were so thrilled to have an evening to themselves that it didn’t seem to matter that they normally think of me as flighty and possibly not the best influence for their imaginative daughter. No, it was Yuuki who had difficulty letting Ana stay by herself. He (She? I honestly don’t know. Ana does but she refused to tell me when I asked. She said that the fox spirit likes making people figure out riddles on their own) trusts my love for my niece but had doubts about my ability to protect Ana in his/her absence. I demonstrated my skill with shields, showed all the wards I had in place and that finally seemed to suffice. Yuuki and Ajani are in Philly tonight, doing whatever fae in a city do.
I guess it’s fair to say I have my doubts about Yuuki. Oh I believe that there is genuine affection there, but how far can a creature known for tricks and general mischief be trusted with the welfare of a child? Ana adores Yuki. Even her choices in cartoons shows that (tonight’s feature was Ana’s choice – a Japanese cartoon where a little girl goes into a strange Japanese fae world with a giant bathhouse at its center). But does she know this world isn’t as cute as a cartoon one? And that for every Yuuki there are things that don’t care she’s only a little girl and wouldn’t hesitate to cause harm?
Tonight between cartoons, pizza, and toe nail painting I taught her how to ground, center and most importantly, shield. She took to it quickly, just another fun game she and her crazy aunt play. I tucked her in and reminded her to do it again before sleeping because it was good idea to help keep nightmares away. She told me she never worried about that before. Yuuki always keeps her safe. And she knew I would too.
I wish I had a Yuuki growing up. I wish I had someone to talk to when there were things and feelings coming from nowhere that scared me no matter how many times I’d say the rosary. Until I learned how to shield I saw the things around me as terrifying. There was no doting fox fae standing at the gate making sure the dead were at least polite when trying to get my attention. I’m looking out the window now. The usual assortment of ghosts are flitting around, trying to get someone to listen, annoyed that a shield keeps them from me. They’re a mostly harmless, though annoying bunch. One, a little bolder than the others floats right to the edge of my shield and puts a finger to her lips. I don’t know if Ana has a hard time sensing the dead, the same way I have a hard time properly sensing fae, but tonight is not the night to find out. I let them know that for tonight at least, I’m not taking any visitors, even the ones I do know, no matter how quiet they promise to be.
I think I’ll check on Ana one more time before I go to sleep.
Song Choice: Dragon Boy from the Spirited Away soundtrack
This bit of flash fiction was written as a response to the picture prompt given by Magpie Tales. For previous stories about Ana and Yuuki, check here.