“Robby, help, I'm stuck.” yelped Barry, one arm out of his T shirt, the shirt twisted around so he couldn't get his head or other arm out. Amused Robby straightened out the T shirt, pulled it over the four year's head and handed it to him.
“In the hamper, with your shorts and underpants.” Robby ordered.
The naked boy bent and scooped up the rest of his clothes and trotted over to the corner where the clothes hamper was. Opening the hamper, he dropped them in with a make believe splash, closing the hamper lid with a bang.
He turned around with his hands above his head. “What now Robby?” he asked,
“Bathroom, I'll bring your pajamas.” Robby said.
Barry nodded, saying, “Okay.” and bringing his arms down to his shoulders he became an airplane and zoomed out the open door. As Robby got Barry's pajamas from under his pillow, he could hear the boy out in the hall, “Hi, Mommy. Robby's gonna give me a bath. When will I be ol' enoug' for a sleepover like Teddy.”
Hary said, “I'm afraid it'll be a about a year and a half, darling. I didn't let Robby or Teddy go to their first sleepover until they were six. But we've got an idea about that. You'll find out when Teddy opens our presents after his birthday party tomorrow. Will you trust us till then?”
“Sure, Mommy, is it a secret too?” Barry asked.
“Yes, it's top secret, only Paul and Robby know about it, so don't tell anyone.” she said, as she showed up in the doorway, Barry in her arms. Hary said to Robby, “Paul and I should be home by eleven. Don't stay up any later than ten o'clock, Robby. When you're acting as an Elder you set your own hours, but the rest of the time you're still my little werewolf and ten o'clock is late enough for an eleven year old.” as Robby started to make a protest, “or an eleven and two-thirds year old or a twelve year old for that matter, so I've got you covered for over a year. Try again then.”
Robby grumbled under his breath, she'd outmaneuvered him this time, as he followed her. She let Barry off by the bathroom door, then headed for the stairs and Barry stood in the doorway until Robby got there and shooed him inside.
Robby woke up with Barry shaking him. Like the majority of young werewolves of his age he came awake instantly and looked at Barry. He asked, “What's wrong, Barry?”
Barry explained, “I hadda go to the bat'room and I heard the hall clock ring two, I'm lonely. Can I sleep wit you?” he asked.
“Sure,” Robby told him, lifting up the covers, “hop in.” and Barry did so, lying in bed, facing him. “Why are you so lonely, you don't sleep in the same bed, he's up above you.”
Barry told him, “Yeah, but I can hear him breathing and moving in his sleep and it feels comfy.”
“Okay, turn over so we can both get comfortable.” Robby said. Obediently Barry turned over and wriggled until he was comfortable in Robby's arms, his back against Robby's chest and the two of them quickly went back to sleep.
Unlike Teddy, who was an active sleeper, neither Robby nor Barry did much moving in their sleep. They were still in the same position when their sleep was rudely interrupted by a returned Teddy. He blew the whistle that he had recently acquired from Charlie Ronson, in their ears, waking them up abruptly.
Expecting retaliation, he headed for the door, intending to head down the stairs and through the front door, knowing that Robby who only wore underpants to bed most of the time, wouldn't follow him and he could delay retribution. But he hadn't counted on Rose Peters blocking the doorway. Robby only took a few seconds to untangle himself from Barry and his older brother tackled Teddy before he could get by her. He began tickling Teddy, being cheered on by Barry.
While Teddy wasn't as ticklish as Barry, he was still pretty ticklish and he was soon screaming for mercy and laughing uncontrollably. Finally, Robby stopped tickling Teddy, “What did Mom tell you about that whistle, Teddy?” he asked sternly.
Teddy hiccupped a couple of times, tears streaming down his face before saying, “Not to blow it in the house and not to blow it in people's ears. I guess I done both, huh?”
“You done both. Can you be trusted for the rest of the day, or should I confiscate it for the day?” asked Robby.
Teddy considered, then sighed, “You better confuskate it for the day, Robby, I don't wanna ruin my birthday.”
Robby, still sitting on Teddy's legs, looked up at Rose, “Did you want us for something, Rose?”he asked.
She said dryly, “No, I just came to warn you that Teddy was home. He beat me to it.”
Robby was just going to get up, when Barry came over and whispered in his ear. He settled back on Teddy's legs, the younger boy searched his face and asked suspiciously, “What did Barry tell you.”
Robby said gleefully, “He just reminded me of that great and noble tradition, especially in werewolf families. The birthday spanking.”
Teddy's face fell. Their mom didn't believe in corporal punishment, so he only got spanked once a year, on his birthday. But werewolf kids played rough and they wouldn't be light swats on the bottom, they would be hard painful spanks. He realized he'd made a serious mistake, when he got dressed this morning at the Ronson's, he hadn't bothered to put on any underwear just throwing them in his bag, so his bottom would only be protected by the thin cloth of his shorts.
Teddy asked hopefully, “Can I put some underpants on first?” While Rose didn't have any kids of her own, she had plenty of nieces and nephews and birthday spankings tended to be painful and sometimes tear bringing among werewolf siblings. He was lucky he had only one big brother. Four year old Barry's spanks wouldn't be very hard. Seeing the look on Robby's face, she thought that Teddy really shouldn't have forgotten underpants, especially if the first thing he planned to do was to attack Robby. She said tactfully, “I think you'll remember next year, Teddy. I'll go get breakfast.”
Robby looked down at him dreamily, saying, “Oh, Teddy, you've been caught so you aren't allowed to run when I let you up. Right?”
Teddy nodded reluctantly. It was a point of honor, once caught you couldn't run, until all the spanks had been given. He'd get sixteen, seven for his birthday and one for good luck, so eight each from Barry and Robby. He was mirroring Rose's thought, that he was lucky he only had one big brother.
Robby got off of Teddy, letting him up and got dressed in gym shorts, a T shirt and sandals. Then after whispering to Barry, he helped him get dressed, pointedly holding up a pair of underpants and glancing meaningfully at Teddy who was biting his lower lip and he helped Barry put them on. Normally on a day like this Barry wouldn't bother with underwear either and he was quite capable of getting dressed by himself, only needing the occasional help. Robby was just rubbing it in.
Robby sat on the edge of his bed and crooked his finger at Teddy, who came over reluctantly and draped himself over Robby's knees. Barry was first and while he couldn't hit very hard, by the time he got to the last two it hurt. It wasn't until the third spank by Robby that Teddy realized that Robby wasn't hitting as hard as he could, taking pity on Teddy.s underwearless state.
Robby got to six and then he bent down and whispered in Teddy's ear. “The last two are going to be full force and remember Wil, Cary and Gary are going to be here to help supervise your party, this afternoon. You and I have gotten enough birthday spankings from Gary to know, you'd better be wearing underpants.”
The last two, were as promised full force and when Teddy was pushed to his feet, there were tears at the corner of his eyes, but as he rubbed his sore bottom, he knew that eight at full force would have had him crying. He took the hand offered him by Robby in the equally traditional handshake and shook it vigorously, then did the same with Barry.
Robby told them, “Okay, the two of you have until two to spend the time as you want. I'll call you at two for baths and clean clothes. Wil and Cary are going to be here for lunch. I don't know if the birthday spanking is a part of their tradition, but I intend to tell them about it, so Teddy I suggest you add a little more protection for your bottom.”
It was a little before noon and Wil and Cary had just arrived, when Rose came into the kitchen, from the back yard where she had gone to get Teddy and Barry. She said anxiously, “Robby, Teddy and Barry aren't in the back yard, there's no fear smell but there is a strange scent I've never smelled before.”
Robby got up immediately and followed her out the door, the other two children right behind him. Rose led him to the spot where she had discovered the strange scent. Robby changed and as Rose said, the scent was unfamiliar and yet familiar at the same time. Playing a hunch he headed directly into the woods and about ten feet into the woods, which started right at the boundary of their back yard, he found their clothes.
Robby changed to human form and squatted on the ground beside the clothes, trying to think of why the scent was familiar. Rose, Wil and Cary looked down at him while he thought. Then it came to him and he realized that the scent wasn't from personal experience but from recently imparted Elder knowledge. He looked up at the others and smiled, “Don't worry, they've been kidnapped by the last of the Faerie.”
Wil and Cary looked confused, but Rose said, “I thought they were all gone?”
Robby said, “Not really. But the ones I'm talking about were imprisoned about four thousand years ago. The clan was taken from Britain, ACROSS THE SEA, by three other clans and imprisoned. The clan that tasked the Elders with this duty, twenty-five hundred years ago, were the last of the Faerie clans to leave and they didn't know exactly what ACROSS THE SEA meant, whether it meant, to France, to Ireland, to Scandinavia or to somewhere in the America's. They knew they were placed in a magic sleep but they didn't know for how long and then hidden with magic.”
He explained, “The Elders have been watching for them since that time, in all of the European locations and here since we first arrived, their scent is handed down to each new generation of Elders. We knew we wouldn't find them until they awoke and it looks like that just happened. They changed the boys into Faerie with magic, reducing them in size and giving them wings to enable them to fly, it's also supposed to remove their memory of their previous lives. That's how the Faerie expanded on Earth, by collecting the abused and outcasts,”
Robby grinned,saying, “They probably picked up the feelings from Teddy, that he was hard done by, but I seem to remember that Teddy hit pretty hard on my last birthday.”
He said more seriously, “However even twenty-five hundred years ago the memory spell didn't work on werewolves and just changing breaks the other part of the spell. But since we want them back by four for Teddy's birthday party, we'd better get moving.”
Gathering up the boys clothing Robby had a look at it and seeing no problem with it, he handed it to Rose, He told her, “Here please put these in a bag and we'll take them with us. Faerie don't wear clothing, so the boys will be naked.”
Robby looked at Wil and Cary critically, he said to Cary, “You'll have to leave your barrette here.” She was wearing a pair of yellow shorts and a yellow T shirt and sandals and had on a necklace. “I've got a pair of old sandals that should fit you. Is that necklace silver?”
She nodded, “That's okay.” Robby said, looking at Wil who was wearing just about what Robby was wearing, gym shorts and a T shirt, but with a pair of hiking boots. “I've got an extra pair of sandals, big foot and since they're adjustable they'll even fit you.”
Wil just looked back at Robby complacently, at almost twelve he was years closer to puberty than Robby was and he had big feet. Werewolves lived about a third longer than humans did and they didn't enter puberty until fifteen or sixteen, sometimes even later.
Robby explained, “In case you're wondering why I'm so careful, Faerie are allergic to anything iron or steel. They call it the death-metal and even a touch can cause serious illness and contact for more than a few seconds can kill. The sandals I'm wearing and the ones I'll give you have bronze buckles, as do the ones that Teddy and Barry were wearing. Teddy's shorts have a zipper, but it's plastic.”
Carrying the shopping bag with the kids clothing and a blanket, they walked into the woods. Robby went about a half mile in until they came to a clearing. Taking out the blanket, he spread it on the ground. Taking in the confused looks on Cary and Wil's faces, he suppressed a grin, telling them, “Faerie are insatiably curious. So, we're the bait. We'll pretend to sleep and they'll come to look us over. When you hear giggles and whispers keep your eyes closed, until I tell you it's all right to open them.”
The Prince was thousands of years old, yet physically, emotionally and mentally he was eight. A brave eight, so he was leading the small band of Faerie children that were exploring the wooded area they had woken in. Coming upon the three children, to their eyes asleep, they approached cautiously and then the Prince found himself staring at a pair of wide open green eyes. He yelled a warning and the other children fled, as he tried to do, but he felt something seem to wrap around his body and he was forced to land.
He blinked and suddenly the three figures who had been enormous were only a little bigger than he was. The children got to their feet and folded up the blanket and put it in some kind of shiny holder. The green eyed boy bowed to the Prince, since Robby could tell from the coronet on the Faerie boy's head that he was royalty. “Good afternoon, Your Highness. I don't intend to keep you, or to hurt you or your kind, I just need a guide.” Robby couldn't resist and with a grin, he said, “Take me to your leader.”
As mentioned the Prince was a brave eight year old and if there had been any danger, he wouldn't have agreed. The magic that allowed him and those around him to communicate even when they didn't speak the same language told him that the green eyed boy wasn't lying, so he said, “Of course, my name is...”
Robby held up his hand, saying gravely, “No names, Your Highness. They can bind you to a place. Cary hand me Teddy's sandals.” She delved into the bag and pulled out the asked for sandals. Robby took them and said, “Here, Your Highness, put these on, you're not used to walking and the ground will be hard on bare feet.”
Seeing the metal buckles on the sandal, the Prince pulled back. Robby assured him, “Don't worry, the metal is bronze and death metal wouldn't affect you much right now, because you're in human form.”
Robby to place them on his feet and after tentatively kicking out with
one of them a couple of times, he said, “I do not like the feel of
them, but you are right, I am not used to walking, so I do need the
It didn't take long to get to their destination, which was a small clearing with about forty or fifty small huts in it. The Faerie children, who had fled from Robby and his friends, were surrounding a man and a woman, each wearing a small crown and yelling and screaming. When the children entered the clearing, the queen screamed and fainted at the sight of her son human size. Their warriors took to the air bravely facing the intruders with their tiny spears.
When Robby and Wil and Cary bowed respectfully to the king and then sat down crosslegged on the ground, they relaxed a little. Robby keeping his voice low, asked, “Does she do that very often, Your Majesty.”
The King sighed, telling him, “Alas, yes, when she saw...”
Robby held up his hand, “I'm sorry to interrupt, Your Highness, but please do not use any names. I'll just take it that when she saw her son human sized she panicked. I just needed a guide to get here, he isn't locked into that form, you can change him back quite easily.”
The King nodded and waving his scepter his son was back to his original form. He asked, “What did you need a guide for?”
Robby explained, “Since you don't seem to know, Your Majesty, one of your people, your Queen perhaps, transformed two of my brothers into Faerie and I came to get them back. If you want you can ask your Queen, she just opened her eyes and then closed them real fast.”
The King looked down and seeing that she was indeed awake he helped her to her feet. “Did you take a couple of boys, my dear.”
“Certainly,” she said, “one of them had been beaten horribly.”
Robby laughed, saying with amusement, “Not horribly, Your Majesties. It was just a birthday spanking.” and he explained the custom. “I admit when it comes to werewolves, we're much rougher than human children would be, but we also heal somewhat faster so any bruises I left should almost be gone by now.”
“Werewolves, but, but...” sputtered the Queen.
Robby said quietly, “I know, Your Majesty, before you were spelled into sleep, you could tell a werewolf by sight. But then, almost half of us could not control our change, it was all affected by the moon, by the time the last of your people left this world, fifteen hundred years after you were imprisoned, only a very few couldn't control their changes. Today there are none.”
Robby said gravely, “Except for our young. We first begin to change when we're about two and a half to three years old and that change is caused by the full moon. It lasts until the child is somewhere between six and eight. They start to control their own change then and it's under complete control until we die.”
Robby told them, “When the last of your people left, the doors to the world, which were originally opened were closed, but not sealed. They asked our Elders to take on a task. To watch for you and when you awoke, to contact them so they can escort you to the new world. There you will lose something and gain something.”
“But we're fine right here!!” protested the Queen.
Robby shook his head, telling them soberly, “I'm sorry but you're not, Your Majesty. Much of your magic will no longer work in this world. If you had come across human children and tried to change them into Faerie, you might have given them a headache but that's the only effect you would have had upon them. Since we are already magically inclined to change, you were able to change my brothers, but the spell did not take their memory, nor did you lock them into Faerie form as you once would have done.”
He said, “I'll demonstrate. Teddy it's time for you to change.”
*Do I haveta, flying is fun.* Teddy said to him.
“Yes, you have to.” Robby said firmly.
*All right.* he sighed and a small figure rose from the crowd behind the King and Queen and moved toward Robby. Setting down when there was plenty of space, he changed into a puppy. He yapped a couple of times.
“Now human.” Robby ordered.
This took a little longer, Teddy was still perfecting the ability to change back to human form, but when he managed it he looked down at himself, he commented, “I got no clothes on.” undisturbed by the fact.
Robby told him, “The clothes you were wearing are in the shopping bag, except for the sandals which are right behind you. Put your underpants on, but bring me your shorts before you put those on.”
Turning his attention back to the Faerie's he said, “As you can see your spell has no lasting affect on us. My other brother is too young to control his change, but you don't want to keep him. If you did you could be responsible for his death. His change is involuntary and with him, it generally starts three days before the full moon. Just think of what could happen if you kept him. He could be soaring above the trees when the change comes on him. He'd fall to his death.”
Robby took the shorts that Teddy offered, saying, “Thanks, Teddy. When I came into the woods to find my brothers, I had to make sure that the three of us didn't have any death-metal on us. The buckles on our sandals are made of bronze, the watch I'm wearing has a bronze bracelet and case and the machinery that makes it run is made of gold. We knew someday that we would find you and werewolf Elders and their families have always worn things made of bronze, silver or gold, or something which you are entirely unfamiliar with, plastic, whenever possible.”
Taking Teddy's shorts, Robby pointed to the zipper, explaining, “However it’s not always possible. The death-metal is used to make too many things that our society finds useful. This is a closure device,” and he moved it up and down several times to demonstrate. “This zipper is made of plastic, but zippers made of death metal are very common.”
Robby handed the shorts to Teddy, “Thanks Teddy, you can put them on now." As Teddy got dressed, he waved his hand around, saying, "Outside of these woods you can't go more than fifty yards before coming upon enough death metal to kill everyone here.”
He could see dismay on all the little faces in front of him. The Prince took Barry's hand and flew up into the air and landed in front of Robby, then took to the air again. The King waved his scepter again and Barry was once again a boy. He flung himself into Robby's arms and hugged him around the neck. After about thirty seconds, he pulled back, “I know, you're gonna tell me ta get dressed. Do I haveta. I like not havin' no clothes on.”
Robby smiled, telling him, “I have no objection, you little smart alec, but I'm going to have to point out that it's not going to be permanent. Once you get home you can either wear no clothes and have nobody to play with, or wear clothes and have playmates. Most parents wouldn't allow their children to come to play if you didn't wear clothes, so I'm afraid you're stuck with them.”
“Really, truly?” asked Barry plaintively.
“I'm afraid so.” Robby said. Barry looked disappointed.
He sighed, “I guess I gotta wear clothes then, I don't wanna have no playmates.”
Robby said with sympathy, “Put on your sandals for now.”
He looked back at the King, who was hiding a grin with his hand.
Robby explained, “Well, Your Majesty, you have three choices, to have me contact the other world and go there and lose something. That something is your immortality, but in compensation, you gain something, the ability to have children again.” There was a buzz of conversation, coming from the group, the King and Queen included.
After about ten minutes the King turned back to Robby, “What are the other choices?”
Robby told them, “A surprising number of Faerie decided that they could not leave this world and they changed themselves irrevocably into humans, giving up the ability to fly and most of their magic. Two of their descendants are sitting here beside me.”
He heard a gasp from Cary and Wil and he turned his head to look at them, smiling. “Yes, it's true. Not even your Elders know. The originals entrusted our Elders with the secret. That's why you can tell we're werewolves, unlike your brethren,” he nodded at the winged Faerie. “Your ability evolved over the centuries and stayed viable, also some of your fortune tellers still have the old talents.” he grinned. “With a few fakes here and there.”
Robby sobered, looking back at the King, saying gravely, “The third choice, isn't a very good one, Your Majesty, but some chose it. That choice is death.”
The King nodded, saying with a sigh, “No, not a very wise choice, I think you have already guessed that we choose to go to the new world. To have more children is a fair exchange for immortality.”
“Don't get me wrong,” Robby explained seriously, “You'll still live a very long time, you will live long enough to see your son grow up and to see his children grow up. But I think you made a wise choice, Your Majesty.”
He closed his eyes, bringing up the required memory. He began to speak and as he spoke each word, it was erased from his memory and the memory of all werewolf Elders. Finally he stopped and opened his eyes. A pinprick of light appeared about ten feet in the air and slowly enlarged. When the light was about three feet in diameter it stopped growing and a winged figure flew through.
Ignoring his brethren for the moment he flew toward Robby and hovered just in front of his face. He said with gratitude, “We thank you for this service, Elder. For a race with such short life spans we did not know if you would remember, but obviously some of us underestimated you. We have little to give that will work on this world, but we give this gift to you in the hope that you can use it.”
He moved forward and touched Robby on the forehead and a burst of light seemed to explode through Robby's head. It wasn't painful but it took a few minutes to recover and when he did, he saw the last of the Faerie disappear into the light. All but the King and Queen and the Prince.
“We also wish to thank you, mortal. Alas, we have nothing to gift you with,” said the King, the Queen nodding.
Robby said seriously, “You just gave it to me, Your Majesties, the gift of gratitude. The Elders and I will share this gift and when the moment is right we will share it with all of our kind. I wish you many more children and grandchildren.”
They nodded once more and then they too flew up to the light and through. A voice was heard by the children, “The portals between your world and ours will be closed and sealed now, but it doesn't mean that our worlds will never be in contact. The elves created these portals and they can always reactivate them. Goodbye to you all.”
As Robby and the two Gypsys stood up, the huts that had been situated in the clearing began to disappear. Created by magic they only continued to exist as long as the Faerie were around.
They watched until they were completely gone and then headed for home. Teddy hadn't bothered to put his T shirt on and Barry of course was naked. As they got close enough, Robby contacted Rose and told her that they were almost home.
Robby said with amusement, *You're going to have a naked boy streaking through the kitchen in a minute or so, Rose. Barry preferred to leave his clothes off, but I think I persuaded him that it's clothes and playmates and the other way round won't work.*
He put his hand on the younger boys shoulders and gave them a bit of a shove, saying, “Okay, it's time for your bath, so Teddy and Barry, up to the bathroom.” and Teddy headed for the porch door, Barry right behind him.
The birthday party was long over and Hary and Paul had finally shown up at seven, having eaten out. Robby had accused them of cowardliness the night before and they freely admitted it. The bank closed at three on Saturday and Hary wasn't even on duty, but had gone in to do some paper work anyway. They had told him the night before that they weren't up to facing forty children and he was so much better at it then they were and they relied on him entirely, etc. etc.
After they had really laid it on thick, Robby admitted that he didn't mind and in fact, with him in charge, it had been a fairly calm party. All of the kids adored him and mostly obeyed him. Two of the boys had gotten into a fight and ended up going home at the end of the party, one with a black eye and the other with a sore nose. That was the norm for the fraternal Ronson twins, Charlie and Peter. To fight one second and be best friends the next. That wasn't even considered a serious incident by their parents, just a normal everyday event.
The party gifts were given by kids and were considered kidstuff, though very much appreciated. After supper was the time for the family gifts. The special ones. The main gift from Hary and Paul, was full camping equipment so the boys could sleep out in the backyard. A tent that slept five, three sleeping bags, a propane stove and cooking gear.
Hary said, “You know I don't believe in corporal punishment right.”
“Yeah, Mommy, we know.” said Teddy somewhat bored by the oft repeated statement.
She got real close and stared right in his eyes, and stated flatly, “Wrong,” and his eyes went real wide. She said emphatically, “In this one case, if I find that stove lit and you around, without either Wil or Gary or Robby around, I'll give you a spanking, so you can't sit down for a week and I intend to give them the same right!! Got it?!!”
Both Teddy and Barry were staring at her and they were utterly convinced that she meant it and they nodded vigorously, which was a good thing, since she did.
“Aside from that make sure that Robby doesn't try any cooking.” She shuddered at the very thought and Robby just grinned, he couldn't help it if he did burn water. “One last thing,” Hary said. “From your grandparents. They're sorry they couldn't be here but they couldn't get away. Three airplane tickets for children twelve and under to Florida, to stay with your grandparents from June 29 to July 15th. Over that time you will get to see Disneyworld and there is no full moon during that period.”
Teddy and Barry's eyes went wide with delight, they mobbed Hary and she ended up on the couch under two ecstatic boys. Robby looked at the pile up and thought it looked like fun, but he figured that his mother had enough to deal with, so he yelled, “Charge!” and jumped at Paul, who caught him easily and manhandled him to the floor and began tickling him.
He was just as ticklish as Teddy or Barry. That caught his brothers' attention and they lay on top of Hary looking at Robby being tickled and squirming and shrieking with laughter. Since they were usually the ones being tickled, they enjoyed the unusual sight of Robby getting the same treatment.