Under Your Skin
by Sauron Gorthaur

Part 1: Be the Bigger Man

"OK seriously, can you watch the wings, man? That's like the third time you've whacked me in the last ten minutes!"

"Maybe you should stay out of my way, elf. I've nearly tripped over you three times in the last five minutes."

"Uh, Sunny, the name is Sunny."


The spring storms had hit the Fairy Meadows particularly hard this year, and the one last night had taken off several roofs in the elfish village, including the one on Sunny's cottage. Dawn of course had immediately offered to help with the repairs and had additionally volunteered both her sister and her sister's boyfriend.

Which was all well and good, except for the fact that Sunny and the Bog King's relationship was still a bit prickly. Which was putting it mildly.

The girls were away at the moment, getting more supplies for the patching job, leaving their boyfriends to work on the damaged framework of the structure. Bog was laying down the new reed frame while Sunny used a length of twine to tie the reeds together, making a crosshatch pattern across the hole in Sunny's roof. The cottage was not large to begin with, and with half the roof gone, it was a tad cramped. Again, putting it mildly.

Sunny tried to scoot backwards out of Bog's way to work on the next crosshatch and accidentally put a knee down on the goblin's wing. Bog snarled and snapped at him. "Watch it! Can't you go two seconds without running into me?"

Sunny threw his hands up. "Maybe if you weren't so freakishly tall, I'd have more places to step. I didn't ask to have a walking tree on my roof!"

Bog growled. "Well, at least I'm not the size of an acorn with no wings and the arm's reach of pill bug. I'd be done already if I didn't have you dodging around between my feet."

"And I'd have the job done already if I wasn't having to watch out for your noodle limbs spread out all over the place. And anyway, it's my house!"

"What would you do? Sing at it and hope it magically fixes itself?"

"It's better than what you'd do without my help, which is throw a tantrum at it and hope that scares it into fixing itself!"

Bog snapped his crooked teeth in Sunny's face, causing the elf to cringe. "I can't even imagine being a tiny, wee, stubby, useless, clawless, wingless little clod like you. I have no idea what Dawn even sees in you!"

"Hey, hey, hey," Sunny shot back. "Not cool, man! And anyway, if I'm so useless, how'd I manage to get all the way through the Dark Forest, into your castle, and back out, twice, without you catching me, huh?"

"To steal a love potion that you planned on using on Dawn! A few cheap tricks and some gymnastics don't make you a hero."

"Well, at least I didn't kidnap her and lock her up in a dungeon like some slimy villain. Seriously, man, who does that? I'd rather be an elf any day than a bad-tempered, spiky, meanie goblin who locks people up! Maybe, I don't see what Marianne sees in you!"

Marianne and Dawn arrived back at the impromptu construction site to find their boyfriends on the verge of pummeling each other.

"Hey, hey, hey, whoa," Marianne shouted, darting between them. "We leave you two alone for five minutes and you're trying to rip each other's heads off. What is going on?"

Sunny and Bog glared back at her with equally vitriolic expressions. "He started it!" they both said simultaneously, which prompted them to return to glaring at one another.

Marianne held them apart. "I don't care who started it, but I'm going to finish it if you two don't cut it out right now."

Dawn gave them both her disappointed doe-eyes. "Come on, this is supposed to be an opportunity for all of us to work together and get to know each other better. It's more fun working with friends."

"Yeah, who says I'm friends with any two-pint elf?"

"That's right, maybe I don't want to be friends with a hulking stick bug goblin!"

"Boys," Marianne growled in her don't-push-my-buttons voice.

"Here," Dawn said, landing next to Sunny. "Why don't Sunny and I work on finishing the framework? Bog, you can go with Marianne to finish gathering the stuff for the caulking. OK?"

"Fine," both boys muttered sullenly.

As Marianne and Bog took off, the fairy gave the goblin a sharp elbow in the ribs. "You're going to have to learn to be nice to him eventually, you know."

Bog just snorted.

Back on the roof, Dawn gave Sunny a pleading look. "I know he's prickly, but can't you at least try to work with him. He's very likely going to be your brother-in-law one day, so you might as well try getting along with him sooner rather than later."

Sunny shook his head. "And what am I supposed to do if he doesn't want to get along?"

Dawn started unwinding a coil of twine. "Then I guess that means you'll just have to be the bigger man, Sunny."

Sunny snorted and muttered, "Haha, funny. There are a lot of words you could use to compare me to that goblin, but I'm pretty sure "bigger" is never going to one of them."