Note: Your sister convinces you to watch one or two episodes of something, and next thing ya know, boom! You're writing fanfiction. Saaaad. But I can pretty much guarantee doing more for Winx, simply because it's caught my interest, and just won't let me go. Hope you enjoy following me along for the ride!

Disclaimer: What's this?! Winx doesn't belong to me? Serious let-down, man. Heartbreaking. :(

A Little Unorthodox

"Girls, is it just me, or have we not seen the Red Fountain boys in, like, ever?" Stella plopped herself on Musa's bed and let out a long, agonized sigh. The dark-haired girl lowered the volume on her headphones long enough to catch the gist of the princess's lament, and rolled her eyes.

"Stella, if you had your way, we'd see them every day."

"And why shouldn't we? I think it'd be a great idea," the blonde retorted. She let a single goofy grin spread across her face as the images flitted through her mind: Brandon taking her on a shopping spree, Brandon surprising her with a romantic picnic, Brandon wrapping his arms around her on the beach and whispering sweet nothings in her ear—

"Are you quite done daydreaming?" Tecna quipped, poring over her latest technological discovery. "If you keep picturing these fantasies, you're simply going to be disappointed when Brandon gives you the standard dinner and movie date. It's quite popular, so statistics say."

Not that anyone cared enough to notice, Tecna's eyes were currently glued on the screen as it described a videogame so advanced, so dimensional, and so personalized that it made her skin crawl. Why, it said right here that the graphics had a 9.5 rating, and nothing had been that high since the epic "Knights of Nee" that had been released a few years back. Better still, the handling was near perfect, and unlike its predecessor, this game allowed for multiplayer mode. Yes, "Steel Samurai" would be an art of a game.

Tecna turned to her friends, mouth open to ask if there would be any willing participants, then snapped shut as Stella's rant continued. "I mean, I shouldn't have to be the one asking, right? That's his job as the guy!"

"So what's your job, then?" Musa wondered aloud. "To complain when he doesn't ask you out, and run around squealing when he does?"

That earned her a face full of pillow, as a very annoyed princess of Solaria announced, "For your information, yes, that is totally part of my job! And I have to beautify myself for him every single date, and kindly suggest where to eat when he wants to take me somewhere low-class--!"

"Sounds exhausting."

Stella shook her head and sighed, Musa's sarcasm traveling breezily over her head. "Oh, you don't know the half of it! This one time, he tried to take me to this place where the meals were—get this—half-price! If a meal is half-price, you're sacrificing quality, honey, and I think we all know the saying goes that you should never, ever sacrifice quality for quantity. Am I right?"

Tecna glanced from the bickering friends back to the screen and sighed. There was no way she could tie Stella down to a controller, that was certain. There was about that much chance of that as there was of forcing Tecna to blow off studying for a manicure, or prying the headphones from Musa's head.

Maybe she should start a gamer's club at Alfea or something. That could work.

"Hey, guys!"

Three heads turned to see a beaming Bloom in the doorway, clutching a paper to her chest excitedly. "What's up, Bloom?" Stella inquired, swinging her legs over to face her friend. Musa let her headphones fall like a choker about her neck and nodded.

"Yeah, what gives?"

"It's pretty much about Stella," the redhead admitted. Still, her grin was wide, and soon Stella had jumped off the bed, facing Bloom with the rapt attention of an eager puppy.

"Ooh, what is it? Spill!" she demanded.

In answer, Bloom extended the small crumpled up paper, explaining, "Sky gave it to me to deliver. It's from Brandon. He—"

"Yes!" Stella pulled her poor Earth friend in a bone-crushing hug, squeezing her tightly as she exclaimed, "Yes, yes, yes, yes!" in a steady, but shrill, mantra. She took a moment to stick her tongue out at Musa—that doubter!—who shrugged, thoroughly amused.

"Um, Stella?" Bloom squirmed slightly in her grip. "I haven't even told you what it says yet."

The princess pulled away hurriedly, blushing. "Oh. Totally forgot that. So what's it say?"

"Basically," Bloom told her, "he's free tonight, and if you want to catch a movie with him, just meet him at the theatre at six. Pretty cool, huh?"

"The movies. Just as I thought," Tecna stated, satisfied. "Thoroughly predictable."

Stella whirled about the room, radiant. "This is totally fate! He must have known I was dying of boredom around here, and decided to heroically save me from the clutches of lethargy!"

"Drama-queen much?" Musa muttered. She'd already blocked out the stream of squeals with the deafening beat of her headphones, music surging through her and blissfully removing the all-too-commonplace excitement of yet another of Stella's dates from mind.

"I wouldn't get too excited," Bloom cautioned, her friend already tearing apart her closet a few rooms away.

"Why not?" Stella called in reply, rejecting the pink miniskirt she had stumbled upon—so last year. "Every date is important, Bloom."

She twirled a strand of her flaming hair about her finger, biting her lip. "Well," Bloom began, "it won't just be the two of you."

"You're coming along with Sky?" was the easy-going response. "Fine, I can deal. Just make sure we color coordinate; wouldn't want to clash or something."

"Uh, no, Stella." Bloom shook her head. "Timmy's going to be there. Apparently Riven and Sky are having this big blow-out fight or something, and Timmy didn't want to be caught in the middle, so he's going to be there with you."


There was a crash as a few dozen hangers of clothes fell from Stella's arms, her mouth open in shock. "Timmy? Timmy?!" She dashed into the room, searching Bloom's face for a hint of jest or a "just kidding." When it didn't come, she pouted. "C'mon, Bloom! Timmy?!"

"Well, yeah. Timmy." Bloom shrugged. "Hey, it's better than nothing. Weren't you complaining all day about not seeing Brandon? This is a way to see him."

But Stella continued pouting, muttering something about "alone time," "third wheel," and "never ever having any fun." Dejected, she sat once more on the bed, head propped on her chin as her bottom lip quivered in disappointment. Musa glanced up at her, and with a shrug, said, "It's really no big deal."

"Easy for you to say," Stella moaned. "Your evening hasn't just been totally wrecked."

"And neither has yours." Musa leaned back onto her pillow and continued, "Look, all you need to do is make it so Timmy isn't the odd one out, right?"

"Right," Stella agreed carefully.

"So find him a date."

Tecna pretended to be interested in the ad that had just popped up for how-to-wash-your-dragon-with-ease as three pairs of eyes all centered in on her. As the intensity of their stares increased, she finally looked up in defeat and sighed. "Oh, honestly, girls."

"It doesn't have to be romantic if you don't want it to," Bloom pressured her, Musa nodding in agreement from behind. "You're friends, aren't you?"

"It could be fun," Musa piped in. "Maybe it'll be a good flick."

"I simply don't feel like it," Tecna protested, turning away. Two manicured hands latched onto her shoulders, and a very distraught princess began begging in a very undignified manner.

"Oh, please, Tecna!" she pleaded. "Pleasepleasepleaseplease? I'd totally owe you forever and always, and it's just one night, you know! Just one little insignificant night at the movies, for my sake. Pleeeease?"

Imploringly, Tecna glanced Musa's and Bloom's way, neither offering support. "If Layla were here," she frowned, "she'd tell you all you're acting like silly adolescent girls. And Flora would no doubt save me from the guilt you're piling on me; I'm feeling terribly selfish thanks to you three."

"Which is why it's fate that they're not here yet!" Stella persisted. "C'mon, Tecna!"

With no allies, Tecna shrunk lower and lower into her seat, and finally mumbled, "But, girls…I'm afraid I haven't a thing to wear."

It had been mostly Stella, but all the Winx girls had taken poor Tecna in under their wing as she admitted, ashamedly, that this would be her first date. "I've never been interested enough in anyone to even think of such a thing," she explained. "Love always seems so terribly complicated and unpredictable; too many variables tie in for my taste."

"No problem!" Stella assured her, whipping a few of last year's couture up and scrutinizing the fabric. "Violet would be a nice match with your shade of hair, Tecna. I'm pretty sure of it."

"Any one of these clothes would be gorgeous on you," Bloom added; all these outfits piled on Stella's floor could even turn Griselda into a current and trendy fashionista. Tecna fingered the fabric of a shimmery gown and frowned. The flimsy material wasn't nearly durable enough for her taste. Hardly practical, to say the least.

"Two words for you," Stella exclaimed, bright purple outfit in hand. "Strapless Sundress."

Tecna blinked at it as it was thrust into her hands and felt her cheeks coloring as she saw how much skin would be showing. "Girls, I think this is a bit—"

"Oh, just try it on! You'll look fabulous, you'll see!"

Betrayed once again, Tecna found herself in the closet, shrugging off her casual attire and pulling the soft material over her head. Thankfully, it fit tightly about the bust; she'd never been one to trust strapless dresses, especially with her less-than-ample figure. Feeling absolutely ridiculous as the air left her bare shoulders prickled with goose-bumps, Tecna closed her eyes and instead imagined all the new features of "Steel Samurai": the ability to fight on either the side of good or evil, unlocking an ending based on your love interest, more elemental spells to master…

"Can you say gorgeous?" Stella showered her friend with praise. Tecna's lips were still drawn in a taut line as she exited the private confines of the closet. She could in fact think of many other things to say, like, "May I please have my ordinary clothes back now?" or, "You're not going to make me wear platform sandals with this, are you?"

"You really do look nice, Tecna," Bloom encouraged.

"Timmy's gonna be blown away," Musa agreed.

She fidgeted nervously in the gown, each second making her regret agreeing to this more and more. Drat. She'd have to find a way to avoid getting guilted into this sort of mess in the future, or she'd find herself wearing high-end contraptions for all sorts of misadventures.

"Stella, you should get ready yourself," Musa suggested, jerking her pigtails towards the clock. "Six o'clock's coming fast."

In a flash, the Solarian princess disappeared into her closet, and Tecna sat herself down at her database once more. "This is an awfully inconvenient time constraint," she muttered, researching at light speed.

Dating: (gerund) the act or process of being in a relationship romantically; most common between males and females from the ages fourteen to thirty-five.

She pursed her lips; fat chance that was going to be of any help. With a few more clicks, she found herself at an advice column aimed at young girls. Better.

First Date Know-How: The first and most important thing about the first date is being yourself. Self-confidence is attractive, and guys should like you for who you are, not for what you wear or what you do.

Tecna couldn't help chuckling to herself at that last line; someone had forgotten to tell poor Stella that. Why else was Tecna stuck wearing a fashionable get-up that itched her at every given moment? Amused, she continued:

(cont.): Dates should be something you both can enjoy. Plan a picnic on the beach, or take a slow walk in the park, or go out dancing—there's no rule that you have to go on dinner-and-a-movie dates. Just first and foremost have fun.

"Tecna!" Stella poked her head into the room, and breathlessly, she announced, "Let's go! Don't want to be late, right?"

And thoroughly prepared, Tecna followed, the skirt of her dress flowing behind her like a long, unwanted purple banner.

Tecna didn't exactly know what to call what she and Timmy had, but she knew it was Something. She could just feel it, like when he'd stumble over his words and let out an awkward, bashful laugh that she couldn't help but giggle along with. It was in the way he never told her she was giving "too much information" or "confusing him," and how he always had some useful input in their conversations. No, Tecna didn't know what to call it, but it was Something, and this Something just wouldn't go away.

Mostly because she didn't want to sound like an idiot, she'd kept her little analysis to herself, thinking it would pass with time. To the contrary, it had gotten worse with every visit to the Specialists', which was driving Tecna absolutely mad.

"Tecna? Do you have a fever or something?" he'd say, and she'd pull away, blushing and blushing in a completely unsophisticated and inexcusable way. Not a single database in the world offered a cure; she'd checked. So Tecna had deemed the complete and total avoidance of the involved party the only way to stay competent for good.

But now…

"Hey, girls! Over here!"

Tecna stared over Stella's shoulder to see the two figures standing outside the Magix Theatre. Brandon flashed his girlfriend a grin, and as he approached her, his cloak flowed behind him to reveal a nervous and awkward Timmy, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose.

"Honey-bunny, I'm so happy to see you!" Stella gushed, wrapping her arms around him immediately. "It was so sweet of you to invite me tonight."

"Nah, I wouldn't say that," he chuckled. "I mean, it was completely last minute, and I was almost positive you wouldn't show up with Timmy here."

Hands on her hips, Stella lifted her chin high and scoffed. "Honestly, Brandon, don't you think I'm smart enough to see to that? I've brought along a date for him so he's not lonely this evening."

"You did?" Timmy exclaimed, and only then did his eyes lock on Tecna, desperately avoiding eye contact as she stared at the ground. She stiffened as Stella pointed at her for effect, and she tucked her hands behind her back, managing a slight grin.

"Yes, well, I couldn't very well say no."

He ran a hand through his carrot-top hair and smiled. "Wow, it's been ages since we've seen each other, huh?"

"Four weeks, six days, and thirty eight minutes," she blurted out without thinking. Cheeks hot under his scrutiny, she amended, "I—I've been doing relationship charts on my off-time lately, and I just so happened to have done yours today. That's all, really."

For anyone else, it would have been a bold-faced lie, but for Tecna, it could very well have been true. Timmy nodded, oddly amused by this bit of minutia, and joined her by her side, Stella and Brandon's small-talk the background to their lull in conversation. They were already entering the theatre now, the line for tickets mercifully brief to get through.

"So I understand we're viewing a motion picture today," Tecna spoke finally. Well, obviously, she berated herself. What an absolutely useless sentence.

"Brandon's choice," he apologized in advance, wrinkling his nose. "Apparently Stella's interested in seeing the latest romance flick about an Earth girl who falls in love with a hero from Vallisto…" He rolled his eyes, his faith in the movie apparent.

"I was under the impression that there's a science fiction movie out as well?" Tecna offered.

"Yeah. But you know Stella and science."

"They don't go together," they finished in unison. Blinking at each other in surprise, giggles rose unbidden from their throats, and as they grinned at each other in delight Stella and Brandon exchanged looks.

"Guys, the show hasn't even started yet," Brandon reminded them. "Save your laughs for the movie, alright?"

"It's going to be great!" Stella assured them, latched onto Brandon's arm as they seated themselves. "Romance, drama, tragedy--!"

Wait a minute. "Popcorn," Tecna spoke belatedly. "It would seem we've almost forgotten the popcorn." She stood up from her seat, but Timmy stopped her, assuring her he'd go instead. His hand held her bare shoulder down before he stood up to leave, and she shivered at the contact; normally, a shield of fabric would hide her skin from view.

"He totally gets points for being a gentleman," Stella whispered in her ear, and Tecna shrugged it off, still trying to shake off the lingering feeling of his skin against hers. He didn't really have to get the popcorn. Statistically speaking, she was slightly faster of foot than him in this outfit; that cloak of his could trip him up, after all. Tecna almost voiced this, but Stella had already snuggled close to her date, and something told the fairy she didn't want to be disturbed.

Images flashed across the screen, and the opening credits began to roll as Tecna looked anxiously up the aisle. Still no Timmy. A bunch of irrational fears clouded her otherwise perfect judgment: did he trip, as she'd feared? Gotten lost, or perhaps ambushed by the Trix? Perhaps he'd left—though that might have been the most irrational worry of all. This was ridiculous; the refreshment line had been longer than expected, that's all. Simple as that.

"Back." Timmy passed a tub of popcorn to the cuddling couple, and after distributing the drinks in a likewise fashion, sat himself beside Tecna and nudged her, offering some of his popcorn. "You hungry?"

"Perhaps slightly," she admitted. Taking a handful, she commented, "So how much should I expect to owe you?"

"Owe me?"

"Yes." Tecna nodded, a shock of her magenta hair falling over her eyes. "The popcorn cost we could split between us, but I'd expect to pay for my own drink. Now, do you remember the price, or shall we check the receipt later?" To her astonishment, he chuckled, and shook his head.

"Listen, Tecna, you don't have to pay for anything. I would be happy to pay for my date—you just enjoy the movie, okay?"

Oh, what ridiculousness! There was nothing chivalrous about taking all the costs upon himself, but…it was terribly thoughtful, Tecna had to admit. And he'd even missed the beginning of the film for her! It was sweet, in a way.

"That's the earth girl," Tecna explained as Timmy—fifteen minutes late—failed to catch onto the gist of the flimsy plot. "She's supposed to have traveled there through that fellow's portal—but what's beyond me is how a mortal made it through with no glitches."

"Huh, that's odd," Timmy agreed. His brow furrowed, and as he adjusted the rim of his glasses, he added, "And didn't Bloom say there was pizza on Earth? I think the girl would know what it was."

"Indeed. This actress portrays humans as poor, undeveloped beings," Tecna scoffed. "And the way she clings to that fellow--!"

The redhead nodded, the light from the screen reflecting off his lenses. "It makes Vallisto men out to be awfully pushy and insensitive, too. He keeps laughing at her, when it's not her fault she doesn't know what it's like to see magic—"

"Though she ought to be aware of the existence of pizza," his date glowered. "Oh, honestly. Whoever wrote this script has no regard for research."

"And you loudmouths have no regard for other people!" the viewers behind them hissed. "Shut up and watch the movie!" Stella and Brandon threw them similar glances, their tender moment spoiled by the two's outspoken criticisms.

As they sunk deeper into their seats, Tecna raised an eyebrow and turned to her partner-in-crime. "Why are we watching this unsophisticated film, anyway?"

He shrugged, grinning. "Because Riven can't keep his mouth shut around Sky, and because Stella loves a good romance?"

"Yes, I understand that, but why are we here?" she challenged. Crossing her legs, she winked, and continued, "Unless you'd like to view more grossly irrational portrayals of Earth girls and Vallisto princes, I'd suggest we leave the theatre and find something more sophisticated to do."

"Sophisticated, huh?"

She colored a bit at her poor choice of words (Sophisticated? For a date?!) but nodded, trying to regain composure. "W-well, don't these dates also occur in other environments? The park is quite popular—"

"The park, Tecna?" Timmy repeated, disappointment slipping into his tone unbidden. "Um, I guess that'd be fine—"

"Or the beach—that's logical, too," Tecna persisted. Another frown creased Timmy's lips. "Maybe we could go dancing?"

Timmy shook his head. The expression on his face was a level beyond simply confused, and he reminded her, "Tecna…um, we don't dance."

Research, research, research! What an unreliable reliability! Tecna quietly fumed in the darkness of the theatre as Timmy watched on, puzzled. Oh, of course normal dates would work normally with people like Sky and Brandon—but this was Timmy! Timmy, who preferred a cafeteria to eating outdoors any day. Timmy, who knew more about web surfing than surfing any wave. Timmy, who did not and would not dance, and would rather spend the evening simply listening to Tecna ramble on about technology.

And Tecna—

The fairy glanced down at herself and frowned. The Tecna Timmy knew wouldn't wear a dress as flammable as this. The Tecna Timmy cared for wouldn't go to a chick flick littered with errors. The Tecna Timmy adored wouldn't suggest meaningless places to go—because guilted into it or not, this was her first date, and it should be all about herself and Timmy.

Starting now.

"Grab a hold of your belongings, Timmy," Tecna announced, standing up. Turning to him, she grinned, and explained, "We're going to go on a real date—our way."

"Tecna, pick up already!"

Stella groaned, Tecna's answering machine answering her for what seemed like the millionth time. (Greetings from Tecna. There is a 45 percent chance of me receiving this message in the next twelve hours, so I'd suggest you leave your message at the sound of the beep.) By now, Stella was about ready to "beep" her missing friend; the movie had ended a full hour ago, and she hadn't even told Stella where she was going! So uncool.

"I'm sure she and Timmy are having fun," Brandon assured her. Growling, Stella faced him, and he braced himself for his girlfriend's signature don't-you-tell-me-what-to-think glare he so often fought to avoid. There was no reasoning with her in that state, none whatsoever. Still. "I bet they snuck into that other movie that they wanted to see—the one about the, uh, science thing."

Stella snorted. "Tecna and Timmy? Sneaking into a movie? Please, Brandon."

"Hey, you never know," he shrugged, the blonde already redialing Tecna's number. "Timmy can surprise you sometimes."

Stella examined her nails anxiously, the phone still ringing. "Well, whatever, all I know is that Tecna's totally blown me off and I—Tecna?!"

"Yes, Stella?"

Yes, that was her voice on the other end; no doubt about it. And wait a second…was that music in the background? Cradling her cell phone to her ear, Stella exclaimed, "Where have you been? Where are you? This isn't funny, Tecna!"

"I quite agree. This isn't funny in the slightest. Timmy is—how would you put it? 'Kicking my butt'? No, no, that sounds far too crude…"

"I'm going to kick your butt if you don't tell me exactly what's going on, right now!" the princess fumed. "I swear, I'm worried sick, and here you are all calm and--!"

The bright pink phone was snatched up by a sighing Brandon, and with Stella letting out an indignant "Hey!" in protest, he spoke, "Sorry, Tecna. Stella's kinda on edge at the moment."

"Understandable. Now Brandon, what exactly is the problem?"

"The problem is you creeping away from our double-date without even telling me!" Stella wailed. Brandon rolled his eyes and, once again, sighed.

"Stella wants to know where you are. She's worried about you."

"Worried?" A laugh cackled through the static. "Oh, don't be ridiculous! I'm absolutely fine. Timmy and I are quite enjoying ourselves down at the arcade down the street."

"You spent your first date at an arcade?" Stella squeaked. Flashing lights and dance mats hardly screamed romance. Neither did poorly cooked arcade food, dirty floors, and rhythmic videogame theme songs. Urgh, she couldn't even imagine such a thing herself.

"And please tell Stella I could very well be beating Timmy right now at 'Steel Samurai' if I wasn't wearing her lovely, but unsuitable, dress. Statistically speaking, I could do far better in my own clothes and—oh, wait, Timmy wants to say hi."

Brandon waited patiently as a crinkling sound ensued before being followed by an exuberant, "Hi, Brandon! How was the movie?"

"To be honest," he laughed, "I wasn't really watching. Stell and I were too busy with our own show, I guess." At this, he winked Stella's way, and she lashed out about how this was "none of their business" all while blushing madly and grinning ear-to-ear. Darn the effect his eyes had on her!

"Well, Tecna and I are having a blast over here. I've even got the high score on their new game—aw, but Tecna, I do! The game doesn't judge by the dress you're wearing, it judges by how you play. Now you're just asking for a rematch, you know…no, we can't stop by Alfea so you can change clothes!"

Brandon smiled to himself, the laughter on the other end musical and full of joy. It was good to hear Timmy laugh like that…good to know he'd found someone, just like Brandon had. Timmy deserved that."I'm gonna let you go, okay, man? Have fun." Slamming the phone shut, he dropped it into Stella's palm as she simmered with anger.

"Can you believe her?" she whined. "Can you believe she did this to me? I'm the one who's responsible for her for dragging her on this date, and that makes me, like, her chaperone or something! I don't approve of this whole arcade thing or whatever, and I think Tecna deserves something more romantic than—!"

"Stella." Brandon's fingers had landed atop the fairy's lower lip, and she was silenced immediately with one glance from those warm eyes. "You did a kind thing, bringing Timmy and Tecna together like this. Because of you, Tecna is having one of the best nights of her life, and she'll always remember what you did for her." A smile creased his lips. "I'm proud of you, darling."

And as Brandon's kiss stole the protest from Stella's lips, she couldn't help but think maybe—just maybe—there was something cute about Tecna and Timmy fighting over high scores and laughing over movie glitches and allowing themselves, for the first time, to be open to their feelings and experience that unknown thrill called a "date."

Even if, Stella admitted, it was a little unorthodox.

End Note: Um…this one rambled a lot. I honestly didn't expect so much Brandon x Stella leanings, either, but I'm not complaining. I just hope I can write something more directly centric on Timmy and Tecna next time, since this one was more indirect.

Also, I haven't seen ALL of the show, so this might break with canon. For all I know, Timmy and Tecna had their first date hiking on a mountain while arguing about wavelengths and such. (First Winx fic. I beg your forgiveness.)

One last thing: kudos to whoever guesses the two references used for the videogame titles. ;) And hope you enjoyed!