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Title: Love and Light
Day/Theme: 5. And they'll say that you're so sick, boy, but you're only sick of love
Series: Strange Magic
Character/Pairing: Marianne/Bog King
Rating: G

She had always thought the Dark Forest was unhealthy. She had cringed from the borders, ill at the very thought of going there. It had to be twisted and unnatural, growing in on itself without enough sunshine, without enough love to light the way. No wonder the goblins living there were such monsters, living in fear, living in the dark. No wonder they weren’t free and brightly colored like the Fairy Fields had always been. She knew better now.

Back then, she would’ve thought the place of her nightmares was just a reflection of the Bog King who ruled there. She would’ve been horrified at how different he was from her own kingly father and Roland, the would-be king. He would’ve seemed so feral and bitter and broken and twisted, just like the rough trees. He would’ve wanted her to think that, too. They both knew better now.

Her heartbreak had turned her into something her father and Roland barely recognized. She didn’t know what Bog had been like before, but she knew what he had hidden from everyone, even himself. As bitter and dark as he had become when his own heart had broken, there was still love and light in him. It was true of the Forest too. It wasn’t wrong or misbegotten, it was just different.

There were lights there in the moon and the foxfire and the glowworms. Even the sun found its way down in golden patches. It reshaped itself to dance there, just like she had. It turned out that she liked the mix of light and dark, thrived on it like the primroses did. She liked the jagged teeth and the rough hide protecting the world’s bluest eyes. It was a welcome change from phony winks and shiny armor and the smiling lies. It fit her better.

Now, she crossed the border without only relief. The cool shade was a balm on her wings and her spirits as she went. The goblins waved as she passed by. They knew her. She knew them. Deeper into the Forest, there were luminous mushrooms and patches of blue flowers. There was nothing wrong with them, or him, or her. No matter what she thought before, or what was still being said by anyone who hadn’t learned better, this was the healthiest she had ever been.


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