a/n: A little note about where this story came from…I’ve often heard ADHD described as an inability to focus. But the most accurate description I’ve read is it’s more like having a focus cannon that likes to go off at random. Which is awesome when it’s aimed where you want; less so when it isn’t. I wanted explore this by playing with the idea of a fairy’s focus directly affecting how her magic works.
As with any stories of this nature, Clover just reflects my own experiences–she’s not meant to represent a whole group of people. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the story!
Clover’s Sight was broken.
Not her sight as in her ability to see…Sight as in the most basic element of fairy magic.
Every spell focused on something, sought to change something. A fairy could focus their Sight on any object and pour their magic into it. An apple could become a pear. A rock could become a pillow. Normal fertilizer could become rainbow-colored fertilizer. Though why anyone would want to do that, Clover had no clue.
Even fairy art relied on Sight. Rather than painting as humans would, fairies changed the colors of their canvases in intricate, magical strokes.
Clover loved art. And so did her Sight, it seemed. Unfortunately, when her Sight focused on an easel, and her mind imagined layers of mauve and indigo when she was meant to be transforming an apple…well, that was a problem.
“…practice tonight,” she caught her teacher saying. He was giving her the angry eyebrow look, which meant he’d probably said something she’d missed again. She looked down at the apple on her desk. Its bottom was slightly swollen with what might have been a pear-ish shape, but otherwise it was an apple. A slightly purple apple. She slunk in her seat and blushed.
“Okay?” her teacher asked again.
Clover just nodded. He seemed satisfied enough and turned to the class. “Now, everyone, I have an important announcement. I’ve just received word that the fairy queen will be visiting us in two days’ time.”
The room erupted into excited gasps. Their teacher raised a hand to quiet the chatter. “I would like a volunteer or two to prepare a small gift. Something simple yet elegant. And, of course, something that could be created in forty-eight hours. Anyone interested? Any ideas?”
Clover’s hand shot up. “I have an idea!” she blurted out without waiting. The other students snickered.
Their teacher cleared his throat. “Yeeees…?” he said, drawing it out to emphasize his annoyance.
Clover ignored him. “How about a series of murals? Six of them!” she exclaimed. “We’ll set up some rock walls on the beach and create one mural for each of the fairy elements!”
The class giggles transformed into nods of approval. Their teacher stroked his sparse beard. “That’s an ambitious project,” he said. “Are you sure you’ll have time?”
Clover smiled. A whole forty-eight hours? She had time to do this solo if needed. But to be safe, she said, “If enough of us work together, yes. Absolutely.” The project was approved, and Clover sat back feeling thoroughly pleased with herself.
Whatever amount “enough” was, Clover did not reach it. Most teenagers, as it turned out, had astonishingly busy schedules.
“I’m working all week,” one of them told her. “Sorry.”
“I promised the neighbors I’d watch their kids.”
“Yeah…if I don’t finish tonight’s homework, I’m literally gonna fail school, get taken from home, and never see my family again.”
In the end, only Clover’s best friend, Sea-Glass, was available to help. The two worked as hard as they could, staying up well after dark, but the evening before the queen’s arrival, they still stood with only three murals done.
Clover wanted to cry. She always did things like this–getting grand ideas without understanding the hours involved. Her time management was as messed up as her Sight was. And representing only three fairy elements looked incredibly rude. She should have at least picked a project that wouldn’t insult half of fairy-kind if she couldn’t finish it.
“I’m really sorry, but I think this is hopeless,” Sea-Glass sighed, collapsing onto a lounge chair. “I can’t work on these anymore. My magic’s drained.”
Clover looked down at her hands, tears still welled up but not falling. Her magic wasn’t drained yet. The images of the finished murals were still firm in her mind. Her Sight had fixated on hardly anything else since yesterday. If she shifted the art style a bit for the remaining ones…if her focused Sight kept her magic going…if she drank more coffee than anyone reasonably should…
“Go on home,” she told Sea-Glass. “It’s okay.”
The ocean fairy reluctantly admitted defeat and hugged Clover good-bye.
“Don’t worry. It’ll all work out,” Clover assured her. And this time, she was right.
Clover put the last touches on the final mural mere minutes before the queen arrived. They weren’t perfect. Some still looked sketchy in places. She really had to improve her time estimation skills. Not to mention pulling an all-nighter was going to make her Sight even less controlled the next few days. But…if it hadn’t been for her Sight, she never would have finished at all.
My Sight isn’t broken, she realized. It’s just different. It’s magic. My own quirky, frustrating, inspiring magic.
And despite the serious coffee hangover, she sat a little taller.