"I feel so useless!" Flora shouted, looking up at the sky and throwing her arms up in the air.

"You're not useless, Sweetheart, don't ever say that," Neckarius said firmly as he hung the multicolored shirts on the fishing line that was strung between two twigs line a clothesline.

It had been three months since Flora had been rescued. She still had occasional flashbacks and panic attacks, but she was getting better everyday. It was September, which meant it was time for the fairies to make thicker clothing for the cold months ahead. Some genius had decided to make her do the same job she had always done, so she was charge of sewing the cut fabric into the dresses for a third of the girls. Not only was the minuscule needle and thread she was using was causing her to constantly balance on the edge of another attack, but she also had to have Sola bring her the fabric after she cut it. She'd always been able to get it herself and it was making her feel inadequate. She was slowing everyone down.

"What good is a fairy who can't fly?" she said irritably. "I'm holding everyone back, and this needle and thread isn't doing anything for my recovery! I mean, this is just asking for a catastrophe! I'm still getting used to my new arms, and if I stick myself with this thing," she held up the needle, "I'll curl up into a ball and then I'll be completely useless! Why can't I just switch jobs with Sola or Latanya?"

"Don't ask me," he said. "Gladiolus said you should do this job. You'll have to ask him. I agree with you, but there was no changing his mind."

"How am I supposed to ask him if he's way up there in the tree and I can't fly?!" she yelled fiercely.

"Would you like me to take you up there to him?" Neckarius offered.

Flora folded the fabric and stuck the needle into it so it wasn't lost and stood up.

"Yes, please," she said, taking a deep breath and trying to calm herself. She knew Gladiolus would only refuse to speak with her if she wasn't calm.

Neckarius grabbed his wife under the arms and flapped his wings. In just a few moments, they were outside the hole in the tree where the eldest fairy was dying cotton thread an off-orange color.

"Gladiolus?" Flora said, getting his attention.

"I had a feeling you would be coming up to see me," said the indigo fairy.

"Why do I have to sew the dresses?" she asked, walking into the niche. "I'm just slowing everyone down because I can't fly, and the needle is really putting me on edge. Why can't I spin the thread or cut the fabric or something?"

"Because sewing is what you're good at," he said. "It's what you've done twice a year, every year for more than two-hundred years. You've never spun thread or cut fabric. You'd be slowing us down even more if you were trying to learn how to do something that you've never done before."

"But if I stick myself, I'll just have a panic attack and I won't be helping anybody," she said. "Not to mention that would make Neckarius have to stop whatever he's doing to try to comfort me. My recovery would be pushed back to the stage I was at a month ago, if not more—"

"There's and easy solution to that," he said. "Don't stick yourself. It's been years since you were negligent enough to hurt yourself with a needle, anyway, hasn't it?"

"Yes, but my hand-eye coordination has been a little bit off since my arms were ripped from their sockets!" she said furiously.

"Settle down or leave," he said emotionlessly.

She took a deep breath and leaned against the inside wall of the nook.

"Sorry," she said.

"Look, Flora," Gladiolus said. "I'm nearly three times your age. I've had experience with fairies losing their wings and even with them being kidnapped and hurt by humans, just like you. I know the best thing to do for them is to get them back into the routine they've always had. It restores a sense of normalcy—"

"There is nothing normal about me, anymore," she said.

"Not now, but if you make an attempt to return to your normal life, that will change."

"I will never be back to normal. I will never fly on my own, again. That's not normal."

"You're still the same person you were before. You don't have to change your routine, you just have to alter it, slightly. If you do anything more than that, you'll never move on from what happened to you. Trust me," he said. "I know what I'm doing."

"This whole conversation is pretty much pointless, isn't it?" she asked, finally. "I'm not going to change your mind, am I?"

"Nope," he said. "You might as well give up now."

Flora headed toward the opening of the hole. When she reached it, she turned around and glared at him.

"I hate you," she growled.

"For now."

As her husband flew her back down to their spot on the ground, Flora's anger faded. As she picked up the needle and fabric again, she was filled with an odd feeling, one that she had not felt in a very long time.

Hope.


I know this seems sort of random. I'm sorry, but I couldn't think of a better way to end it. Maybe I should stick to fanfiction.

I also wrote an odd little chapter that would go somewhere between chapters five and six about Gladiolus telling Sola about her sister, Helia. If people like this, I might decide to post it somewhere in here.