Author's Note: It's been a long trip, hasn't it, readers? I hope you've enjoyed reading it as I've enjoyed writing it, through all its twists and turns. I hope I did a good job with the story overall, and this chapter in particular.
Please continue to read and review my other pieces. Thank you for your support.
Timmy bit into the Fairyversary muffin and winced, its bitter astringent taste like needles scraping his tongue. Worse yet, the taste lingered, haunting the back of his mouth. He coughed and sputtered, whining.
"I wish I had water!" he said and a glass appeared in his hand. His faeries slapped palms to their foreheads, including Poof.
"Weren't you going to wish for something for Crocker?" Wanda reprimanded.
"Yeah, but this thing tastes awful!" he complained.
"That doesn't count as a rule free wish, fortunately," she said and rolled her eyes at him.
"You can wish for anything you want," Cosmo said. "But you just can't wish for a better tasting muffin."
Timmy swallowed the water but the aftereffect remained. Pulling a face, he took another bite and caught himself before he wished for something else to wash it down. The Fairyversary Muffin should be used for rule free wishes. So he should wish for something he couldn't get normally. He looked at Cosmo and Wanda and thought about how happy Crocker had been with them. His throat constricted, not due to the muffin sticking in it.
"I wish, for one day, Crocker had you guys again and you gave him whatever he wanted," Timmy said. "Except for revealing you to the world."
"Sport, are you sure that's such a good idea?" Wanda said.
"Too late," Timmy said. He pointed at the whirlwind appearing where his ceiling had been. It swept Cosmo and Wanda up within it and left Poof, who whimpered and stared after his parents with wide eyes. The ceiling reappeared and Timmy hugged Poof tightly.
"C'mon, Poof," he said. "I owe you one for helping save the world. Why don't we see what lame kiddy thing is going on in town?"
"Mama? Dada?" Poof said, looking at the ceiling and producing Cosmo and Wanda dolls he shook. Timmy stroked Poof's single hair.
"They'll be okay," Timmy said. "What could happen in a day?"
"I'm not so sure about this," Cosmo whispered to Wanda. They were in Crocker's bedroom waiting for the teacher to return. At the moment, he was having breakfast with his mother. They were disguised as parrots, which felt familiar and comforting for some reason.
"It's what Timmy wished," Wanda reminded him.
"But what if he seizes us and tries to take over the world?" Cosmo replied.
"I don't think he will…" she said. Crocker flung open the door and ended their conversation. His eyes were narrowed and he looked upset. Shuffling around the room, he went through his closet and Cosmo and Wanda exchanged a look.
"Nothing I ever wish for becomes a reality," Crocker said. "Nothing I ever want comes true. My mother didn't love me until she was stuck with me, and now I'm stuck here, because no one believes me. I'd love to just have one day with faeries…just to prove I'm not crazy."
"You're in luck!" Cosmo said and he and Wanda transformed into their normal selves. "I'm Cosmo!"
"And I'm Wanda!" Wanda said, producing the spotlights. "And we're-"
"Your temporary one day only fairy godparents that you can't tell anyone about so don't even try!" they said in unison.
"Wow," Crocker said. "I'm amazed you fit all that on a marquee."
"It wasn't easy," Cosmo said.
"What do you want to do first?" Wanda said. She produced Da Rules. "Bearing in mind you can't use our power to take over the world, tell anyone about us, hurt anyone, or make anyone fall in love with you."
"Why are you really here?" Crocker said and narrowed his eyes. "No one ever gives me anything."
"We were wished here," Wanda said simply.
"And time's a wasting!" Cosmo said. "You've got…" He consulted his watch. "Twenty three hours and forty five minutes left of magic before we have to go away forever and you forget the whole thing!"
"Can I humiliate people with your magic?" Crocker said and Cosmo and Wanda exchanged an uneasy look.
"Yes…" Wanda said hesitantly. "But wouldn't you rather do something fun?"
"Like wish for a roller coaster? Or to have the best day ever? Or have everyone tell you how great you are? Or that you're not crazy?" Cosmo suggested.
"Or I could humiliate Turner…" Crocker said.
"No!" Cosmo and Wanda said in unison. "Uh…"
"Do you two know Turner?" Crocker said.
"Small, brown hair, buck teeth?" Wanda said.
"Pink clothing, people think he's crazy?" Cosmo said.
"Never heard of him," they chorused.
Crocker paced back and forth. "You don't want me to humiliate Turner. I can't rule the world, and I'm assuming politics are out. What else could I possibly wish for?"
Cosmo produced a list and handed it to him. Crocker scanned it and Cosmo and Wanda stared at each other. They were really hoping he didn't decide to force them to embarrass Timmy anyway. It wasn't against Da Rules to do it while they were on loan, and it'd be a pretty poor way to pay him back for being so generous. They wouldn't be happy about doing it, either.
"Hmm…" Crocker said. "What if I wished for a new car and lots of money?"
"Yes on the car, no on the money," Wanda said. "That would be counterfeiting, which is against Da Rules."
"But you can wish for a ton of stuff without paying for it!" Cosmo said. "Aren't loopholes great?"
"Would it be gone tomorrow?" Crocker said.
"Unfortunately, yes," Wanda said.
"But tomorrow's a day away!" Cosmo said. He grinned. "You know you're itching to do some wishing."
"You two seem familiar, somehow," Crocker said. He studied them. "Like I've met you before."
"Nope!" they chorused. "Never happened."
"My parrots…and Turner…" Crocker frowned. "Are you sure you don't know him?"
"Nope!" they chorused again. Anxiety tightened in Wanda's chest. The faster the topic got off Timmy, the better she'd feel. Crocker studied the list again, looked at them, and then looked at the pictures from the time capsule. A lost, hurt expression entered his eyes and she had a flash of memory.
"Mother's never around. Sometimes, it feels like you're the only ones who really care about me."
Wanda blinked and Cosmo stared at her.
((Nothing,)) she sent.
"How about wishing for something you never had as a child?" Wanda suggested brightly. "Or to be a kid again for one day? You could just enjoy yourself and not have to worry about anything."
"I could…" Crocker said. "I don't know…"
"Do you really wanna spend your day with us being bitter and depressed?" Cosmo said. He and Wanda posed, beaming at him. They blazed light and goodness and hoped Crocker got the hint. Batting their eyelashes, they held hands and he frowned, staring at them.
"I'm not sure…" he said. He stared out the window. "The last time I was really happy was when I had D.J., this random faerie baby."
Cosmo and Wanda winced.
"I don't remember being happy as a child," he said. "Or being happy, period. I don't even know if I know how to be."
"Everyone knows how to be happy!" Cosmo said. "You just have to try!"
"We can help!" Wanda said.
"You'll have to give me a moment to think about this," he said.
"Take all the time you need," she said.
"We're not going anywhere for a while," her husband added. Crocker frowned, moving away from them, and she sighed. Timmy had meant well, she knew he did, and it was so seldom he wished for anyone else. What were they supposed to do for him?
"Can't wish for everyone to know about faeries," Crocker said and spazzed, smacking himself in the head. He looked at them. "I can't think of anything."
Wanda snatched Cosmo's list from Crocker's outstretched hand. Aside from a few activities that were illegal, and a couple that would probably kill him, it actually looked pretty good. It resembled the last hundred or so wishes Timmy had had. With a few modifications, they could work off this.
"Why don't you leave it to us?" she suggested.
"Well, Poof, I almost died of sheer boredom," Timmy said. "But I hope you had a good time."
Poof was lost among the toy bundles and props from the show. Dimmsdale had its version of a certain purple dinosaur and Timmy had nearly given himself a concussion trying to avoid listening. Poof, however, was beside himself with joy and after what he'd done, he deserved a treat. He wished Poof would hurry up and get older so these stupid kiddy things would go away.
"Poof, poof!"his brother asserted.
"You don't know what happened, do you?" Timmy said. "Before time went all weird?"
Poof stared at him blankly and Timmy rolled his eyes. "That's what I get for asking a baby."
They walked past a family with a son about his age with thick black glasses and two pink and green balloons. Not giving them a second glance, Timmy cradled his brother and his stomach grumbled. It was time for lunch.
"We are not eating baby food," he told him. "And if you turn yourself into a pizza again, someone really will eat you."
"I hope Cosmo and Wanda are enjoying themselves," he said. At their names, Poof wilted in his arms and Timmy tossed him up into the air, which was difficult because his arms were encumbered with toys.
"They'll be back before you know it," he said. He looked back once more at the Dimmadome and thought, Good riddance. He never noticed how the pink and green balloons had faces.
((I feel kinda bad for Crocker,)) she sent. ((He won't remember any of this and it'll be like it never happened.))
((Yeah, but all the kids are like that,)) Cosmo said. ((Timmy won't remember us either.))
She was silent and he nudged her.
((Wanda?)) he said. ((You're not going into your head and leaving me out again, are you?))
((I get the feeling we forgot something. Something big.))
((But how could we? Everything's all neatly wrapped up and look, even Crocker's happy. For now.))
((After Timmy, we're going to have to quit godparenting, you know. We'll have Poof and Aurora to worry about.))
((But as long as we're together, what could possibly go wrong?)) he said and kissed her, even though they were both rubber and she tasted latex. ((I love you, my balloon wife.))
((I love you too.))
A child again and surrounded by his parents, including his missing father, Crocker looked up at Cosmo and Wanda. He smiled and it was the first genuine smile they'd seen.
"I know you said you don't know Turner, but…" Crocker looked at his parents, who had regressed back to the ages they'd been when he was a child, "tell him thanks."
"We're not saying we do, but…" Wanda smiled. "You're welcome."