A Patchwork Fantasy Snippet full of faerie lore and urban fantasy professionalism.
In which a surprised social worker gets a visit from two very enthousiastic fae.
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- Read the full transcript below:
[Soft, mysterious music]
Laura: Hi, you can call me Laura, and you’ve just stumbled upon a Patchwork Fantasy Snippet. I hope you’re in the mood for an urban fantasy social worker.
Six years working with child protective services should have taught him to keep a straight face even when confronted with the weirdest situations, but the social worker has to admit that he’s struggling right now. He looks down at his papers for a moment and then back up at his visitors.
No, the pointed ears are still there. So are the just slightly sharper teeth in their hopeful smiles. In fact, they look exactly the way they do in the stories. Right down to the emerald green eyes.
“Excuse me,” he says, nervously clearing his throat. “Could you go over that for me one more time?”
“Certainly! We would like to apply to be foster parents.”
“Right…” The social worker looks anxiously from one of the couple to the other. “But…but you’re fae.” He really doesn’t know a way to be delicate about this fact.
“Oh you noticed!” the one on the right says. (The couple introduced themselves as Mr. and Mrs. Peters, but he doesn’t remember who was who and as far as he is concerned their appearance gives him no clue whatsoever.)
“Well, yes,” he says uncomfortably. “And this being the case, I did wonder…”
The Mx. Peters (surely that can’t be their real name) on the left nods understandingly. “Of course, it’s quite alright, we do understand. But you see, the whole changeling thing doesn’t really appeal to us at all.”
“Taking care of a human child sounds wonderful!” their partner smiles brightly. “And we have plenty of room to love one or two more! But we simply refuse to give ours away, and that is regrettably a big part of the changeling business.”
“Your children?” the social worker blinks.
“Yes,” the parents beam proudly. “Two of them,” one of them adds. “A wee one of barely four summers and our eldest, who is nearly eight.”
The other smiles enthusiastically. “It is preferred for foster parents, is it not, to already have children of one’s own?”
The social worker pulls himself together. “Yes,” he says. “Yes it is.” Parents are parents, aren’t they? And if he forgets about the teeth, and the ears, and the intangible feeling that his carpet might start sprouting daisies, these two are giving off practically nothing but parent vibes.
“So you’ll consider us for the programme?”
He nods. “Yes, certainly, I will. Just—” He clears his throat. “We will need to visit your home fist, to verify your circumstances.”
“Of course!” the parent on the left agrees.
“That should be quite alright as longs as we remember not to offer refreshments,” their partner nods.
The social worker nods along and silently scribbles a discrete little note on their file. He is going to have to have a talk with his supervisor about this. And another thing—
“I will need your full legal names for the forms,” he says, looking up.
The two fae meet his eyes with silent stares.
He swallows. “…a legal name for the forms?”
The radiant smiles return.
To his relief, his supervisor did not think he was crazy. She was actually rather excited. Apparently she has dealt with fae before, albeit non-professionally, and she seemed to think that when it came to following agreements and keeping their word, they couldn’t wish for better parents. Be that as it may, the only cases he’s looking at right now are for pairs of siblings in need of a permanent foster position. Because no matter how eager they are to find some new temporary foster families, something tells him that even if they’re not into stealing or exchanging people, fae are never very big on giving children back. That’s kind of their whole deal, isn’t it. Go with the fae and you never…
The social worker’s face falls. Surely that can’t be-
He sighs and picks up his phone.
“Now,” Ffion Peters – as they now introduced themself – asks pleasantly. “What did you want to ask us? I’m very sorry my partner can’t be here today, but it is nearly midsummer, you know.”
As a matter of fact he does not know, but the social worker nods all the same. “Yes, I quite understand,” he says. “And I really appreciate you meeting with me again on such short notice.”
The last thing he wants to do is make the Peters feel like he isn’t happy with them. He has never worked with parents that are so readily available for questions and so eager to provide the necessary proofs and paper work. ‘You will have our complete cooperation,’ they had said. Well, they hadn’t been kidding. His supervisor had been correct. The forms look like he filled them out himself and they have kept every single appointment and agreement he has made with them so far. Without reminders.
“Really, it is no trouble,” Ffion says brightly. “I know you work very hard.”
“Eh, yes, thank you,” he says, a little embarrassed. “Well, first of all. I would just like to say that in future you only have to fill in your, ehm, human address on the forms. While I realise that your house is also accessible via…the pond, and the clearing in the woods-”
“Only during autumn, when there’s toadstools,” Ffion interjects helpfully.
“Only during autumn, yes,” he nods along. “While I realise this is very useful information, it is not strictly necessary for the forms. And I do think it would cause less…confusion, if you did not mention it next time.”
Ffion gives him a surprised smile. “Oh, of course! If you think that is best. We were merely being thorough.”
“I understand,” he says hastily. “And I do appreciate it. Just, the normal address will be quite sufficient.”
“Alright,” the fae smiles cheerfully.
The social worker clears his throat. “And then we had some… additional concerns.”
“You have been very kind providing a list of things to watch out for during future house visits.” He slides his finger down the paper. “No bringing cold iron, no ringing the doorbell, no accepting food or drink, even when it’s offered.”
Ffion nods, their eyes crinkling pleasantly.
“That last one, we did wonder. If humans are not supposed to eat in your home, how will you be feeding the children?”
The astonishment on Ffion face is almost anxious. “You thought we would not be able to feed our new children! Why of course not! They would not be guests, would they! They would be part of the family. Families don’t have to get tangled up in the rules of hospitality! Any child we take into our home we would consider as quite our own and they would never need to worry about either their food or their freedom.”
“Well,” the social worker breathes. “That is a relief.”
“We have been thinking, though,” Ffion says seriously. “That we ought to figure out how to get some groceries from human stores.”
“Yes, this list you sent us, with nutritional health for human children. There is a lot of bread on it.”
The social worker blinks. “Bread is a problem?”
“I am afraid we are very inadequate bakers,” Ffion confesses dejectedly. “We cannot seem to get the hang of it. It is a very human food, you see, always has been. It is really very frustrating.”
He smiles sympathetically. “I‘m sure you won’t need to worry about that. It’s grains more than actual bread that are important. And if it bothers you, there are still bakeries in the area that deliver.”
Ffion’s emerald eyes light up. “There are? That’s wonderful!”
“I will have to arrange for one of them to be able to find our house then,” they say happily. “And warn my love not to invite them inside.”
The social worker’s smile turns just a tad nervous. “Yes, that would probably be best.” He clears his throat. “But, this being the case- We did discuss the possibility of you taking in a pair of siblings, yes?”
“Oh yes! We have more than enough room and love for two at once,” Ffion beams.
There are a lot of things he is doubtful about, but that is not one of them. “Well, there’s a brother and sister right in between the ages of your little ones that we’d really like you to meet. When you’re ready.”
The noise Ffion makes is too far from an actual human word to be quite comprehensible to him, but the fact that his rather listless office plant has just spontaneously burst into bloom can probably be taken as good sign.
[Soft, mysterious music returns]
Laura: Thank you for listening, I hope you enjoyed this little snippet. If you want more content like this, check out my tumblr at laurasimonsdaughter.tumblr.com
Until next time, leave a loaf out for the fairies, and be safe.
Copyright Laura Simons, please do not copy my stories without my permission, lest you insult the fae.