Toot checked the paper again. No, he wasn't in the wrong place. In fact, he was precisely where he'd been asked to meet the mundanes. Harry had only given vague details, and nothing more. Not that the dew drop faerie expected anything else.
The sound of a locking mechanism on one of the newer model cars caught his attention. He rose into the air, over the tall grass to get a better look. Yes. It was the person he was to be meeting. But she wasn't alone. In her arms was a basket of fine weaving. Distant squalling came from within it. A baby?
Toot watched motionlessly as the woman set the basket down. Once she righted herself, she called out. "God forgive me..." Then she turned, leaving the baby to cry.
Toot scowled. This woman was crazy. He picked up a small rock with weight in it, and threw it, aiming directly for the mother's calf. "Come back here!" He yelled, at the same time picking his way towards the basket. He peeked inside, and was surprised. There was no baby. Inside his eyes met the most gorgeous brown ones he'd ever seen on a small child. "Hey, there..."
"You! Just... get away from her!" The woman's voice hurt Toot's ears it was so shrill.
"Why should I?" He demanded. Toot frowned. She had some nerve, giving him orders when she was going to abandon her daughter. "You didn't want her."
"Well, magic scum like you sure aren't taking her!" The woman announced. She pulled a small dagger out. "You think I don't know what your kind is like? Well, I do! And Stasia isn't going to be part of that." She knelt. At first Toot thought it was to stab the little girl, so he jammed his own arm in the way, disregarding the material the dagger might have been made of. Then he sighed in relief, as he heard the snap of ropes being cut. "You, get out of here!"
"But Mama, the demons, mama, they'll..."
"Just go!" The woman insisted, standing. This time she glared at Toot. "Keep your dirty pixie paws off my daughter. She's smart, and she can take care of herself."
Like hell she can. Toot thought, watching as the child tromped her way through the deepening meadows. Her cries of fear, and panic weren't lost on him. It broke his heart. He glanced towards the woman who'd made her own tracks back to the car. He wished Harry was there, to try and talk some real sense into the woman. But now, Toot found himself feeling responsible for the little girl she was leaving behind. He turned and zipped into the direction she'd gone.
By the time Toot caught up to her, the child had already done a good job of falling into the softened dirt, and scraping her knee. He came to a landing just a few inches from her. When she started to back up, he spoke gently. "It's alright. I'm not going to hurt you." He watched her, measuring her nervousness. "Let's face it. You're bigger than I am." He pointed out, taking a few steps forward. "Name's Toot-Toot."
To his surprise, Toot's new charge giggled. "Toot toot?" Then she winced, starting to put a hand over her bloodied knee. "I'm 'stasia."
"Uh, don't touch it..." Toot warned. He pulled his satchel over his shoulder, and began to rummage. It was fortunate that he'd been out just then, gathering. Toot himself didn't live in a kingdom perse, but he liked to keep things on hand should someone need it. "I can help you not hurt anymore... and I know someone who can probably help with the demons, too..." He frowned, wondering if Harry would charge him, or the child for the services Toot would ask of the wizard.
"No magic..." The girl withdrew, pulling her knee away.
Toot wondered what the woman had been doing to her own daughter. The child was naturally spooked, and it bothered him. "Listen. If we're going to be friends, you've got to trust me." He flitted to stand on her shoulder. "Here." He licked one of the herbs he'd dug out. "Put this on your knee. It will take away some of that pain." The faery knew he needed to get the girl out of the middle of the field. Insects liked to feed on the blood of humans, and faery alike. He just didn't know if he was up for the trek to Harry's right then, either.
Stasia put the herb to her knee, looking up at him. "All better..." She watched as the medicinal herb dissolved. " How do that?"
"Its a secret." Toot said. He took to the air long enough to land again, this time beside her. We need to get out of here. Rain is coming. He watched her. The girl was inspecting her scraped knee. It had turned a little pink, healing only slightly. "Can you get up? I want to take you somewhere you'll be safe."
Stasia stood, wincing a little. "Mama's going to come back..." She said, glancing towards the road where her mother's car had been. "She will."
Toot didn't bother to comment. He'd known mundanes to do outlandish things to their own kind, and her mother had committed the worst crime in the faery's eyes. Instead, he positioned himself so that he blocked the girl's vision from the road. "If she comes back, one of my friends will tell me." Personally, Toot hoped the woman wouldn't come back. The girl would be better off in the foster care system, really. "Come, it's going to rain." He waited only a minute, as the girl tore her eyes from the road, before flitting off towards the place he lived.
He stopped a couple of times, when he felt the child tire. He could have flown much longer, Toot knew that. He just didn't want to force Stasia. However, he tensed at the first cracks of lightening. "We've only got a little ways to go, Stasia." The child was tired. He guessed that between what she and her mother had gone through, and being thrown away like trash, her emotions were taking a tiring toll on her. The faery was about to say something else when he heard the sirens. "Not again..." He muttered.
In a second, he'd Magicked himself to the height of a teenager, and he picked up his charge. "Come on, we've to get going faster."
"What's going on?" Stasia asked, her eyes scanning the path Toot took them down.
"Nothing." Toot replied, though he felt strangely even more protective of her.
"General Toot-Toot, they're going to end up destroying our area." One of his followers said. The smaller pixie was flying back and forth, making it harder for Toot to follow his words. "I don't know what to do!"
"Just gather the smaller kind with you, and make sure that everyone meets at the Rendezvous 2." Toot said. The faery hated when it was tourist season. They always tended to mess up the nests the wyldefae set up. He felt the child in his arms shift a bit. "Relax, Stasia. We'll be alright." He turned to the other pixie. "and make sure there is one special room, for her. I will be there soon with our guest."
"Yes,Sir." The pixie sped off then, and Toot moved towards the nature walk path. He'd not intended to show up at Harry Dresden's door that night, but now.. well, he needed to. At least to find out what he would need, to take care of his new charge.