Uh… You're probably kind of mad at me at the moment due to the long wait. All I can say is that I'm sorry and that my imagination was temporarily kidnapped by a couple shows from the 80s and a wonderful Disney movie. I also saw the newest "Fairly Oddparents" episode that added yet another member to the Turner household: Sparky, the fairy-dog. I'm not sure how I'm going to like the canine, but I'm not going to go back and attempt to work him into the storyline. That's one of the dangers of writing for an on-going series. So let's assume that my story takes place somewhere before that episode.
Thanks for all the feedback so far and for staying with me during my long absence from updating this story. I'm afraid that's just what happens sometimes. So, please enjoy and I hope this makes up for some of the wait.
Timmy decided, quite firmly, that he absolutely loved having someone to share the secret of his fairies with. He'd encountered other godchildren a few times, such as Remy Buxaplenty and his fellow companions at Wishing Well. Unfortunately, Remy was too jealous and vindictive towards other kids with fairies and the challenges from Jorgen prevented him from enjoying his time with Molly and Dwight. And while Jimmy Neutron and his friends from the more bulgy dimension might accept Cosmo and Wanda's capabilities as "science," thus allowing them to enjoy his wishes too, Timmy knew it just wasn't the same as being able to share the truth without fears.
But Amanda offered so many possibilities. He didn't have to keep the magic subtle or worry about her noticing his habit of talking to "inanimate" objects. He didn't even have to bring out his traditional excuse of "internet" even once. If he wanted cookies to start raining down from the ceiling of his bedroom, all he needed to say was that she could help herself.
The days after The Meeting (capital letters not optional), the pink-hatted boy took full advantage of his companion's relative inexperience with the full potential of wishing. He took her to amusement parks across the country, to movie theaters in the past so she could see films she missed out on, and to the moon to show off some zero-gravity skateboarding tricks. Yes, he could do something far more impressive with her like traveling back in time to see dinosaurs or introducing her to the action-packed world of the Crimson Chin, but he doubted that it was smart to simply toss Amanda into the deep-end of extreme wishes. She was simply too unused to that level of excitement and Timmy really didn't want to find out how Norm would react if she came home scared after an afternoon of wishing.
Pretending the genie didn't exist and wasn't living across town was a little unnerving for the boy. He already had enough enemies living in the area and at least Vicky and Crocker didn't have magic on their side. But Norm remained out of Timmy's sight and the pink-hatted child started to believe that the unsteady truce might hold. The only evidence that the genie was even still around was Amanda's comments and Vicky spontaneously going bald after another double babysitting job watching both children. Over the next couple of weeks, it became clear that as long as he didn't do anything bad to the girl, Timmy wouldn't even see the genie. Norm would keep the deal, if only because Amanda wanted it.
And, as strange as it was to imagine, Timmy felt that Norm was actually better for the girl than her actual parents. His first impression of them hadn't improved with time. There was something wrong with the world when he could see more concern and care for the girl from an evil genie than her own family. He couldn't even imagine what holidays would be like growing up.
So, after discussing it with both his fairies and his parents, Timmy decided to invite Amanda to join his family for Christmas. He highly doubted the girl's real family would make the holiday very enjoyable and it would be fun to have her. Wanda loved the idea, his godmother having already accepted the child into their close-knit family to an extent that Timmy would have been jealous of it he'd not already realized Amanda was in desperate need of maternal affection and yet would never seek it. Cosmo and Poof were simply excited about having her around to play with that day. His mom and dad, while mildly surprised that he wanted to invite someone to spend the holiday with them, agreed to his idea with only a little convincing. All that was left was to ask Amanda herself. Timmy was even beginning to grow hopeful that this Christmas might even be a peaceful one without a major disaster to fix.
Amanda stared at the boy. She'd thought that she was beyond being shocked by Timmy's actions. He was such a nice boy, allowing her to be involved in his magical adventures and even inviting her to more mundane activities. The entire situation felt similar, yet different to her games of chess and stories with Norm. She liked having people enjoy her company and feeling like she belonged with them. But even after she'd grown to accept the fact that at least a few people were truly her friends and that they felt she wasn't even close to a waste of time, Amanda couldn't believe how far their approval went.
"You're inviting me?" she asked quietly.
"Yeah," he nodded, shifting in his bus seat slightly. "It'll be fun. Mom and Dad will be home instead of being gone. We can play with the presents. They'll sit down and watch the Christmas specials on television with us while Dad obsesses over eggnog. We can laugh about all the coal Vicky will probably get. Maybe we can have a snowball fight if we get bored. Honestly, you'll love it."
Cosmo, disguised as a green pencil, added helpfully, "As long as Timmy doesn't almost ruin the holiday again."
"That's not very nice," his pen-disguised wife scolded.
"But completely true," he chirped back cheerfully. "Remember? First he made everyday Christmas. They had to invent a new rule for that one. Then, he almost replaced the holiday with…"
"I know, I know," interrupted Timmy. "But I'm being careful this time. No big wishes either immediately before or after Christmas."
"What about on Christmas?" Amanda asked, growing curious by the conversation.
"That won't work," the boy responded. "Turns out fairies loan Santa most of their magic on Christmas since he needs all the power for providing gifts for all those kids in one night. Other than just enough magic for disguises, they've got nothing. I learned that the hard way our first Christmas together."
"He wished everyday could be Christmas," sang Cosmo before Wanda waved her tiny wand and a gag appeared on her husband's mouth with a small poof.
"I'm pretty sure pencils aren't supposed to sing," she remarked.
"Poof poof poof," the purple eraser added.
Timmy smiled briefly at his disguised god-brother before turning back towards Amanda, "But I honestly think you'll have a good time. What do you think?"
The girl bit her bottom lip briefly and her eyes darted to the floor of the bus before returning to the bucked-tooth boy. What he was describing sounded so nice. It reminded her of how the holidays would be with Grandma. Cookies, a decorated tree, gifts, family, colors and lights, a sense of belonging, and love. She missed it. Her parents didn't do anything special for Christmas, so it would be wonderful to experience it regardless. It wouldn't be her family, but it was still a real family experience. She wanted that and somehow she was beginning to believe she might even deserve it. But there was someone else to consider.
"What about him?" asked Amanda, patting her backpack so that there was no question about who she meant.
Timmy frowned, "I know he's your friend, but I'm not inviting the genie to meet my parents. They might be oblivious, but even they might notice the guy without legs floating around and insulting them."
"I know, but I wanted to spend part of the day with him too," she mumbled.
The small group fell silent, leaving the surrounding noise of the other students on the bus to fill in that absence of conversation. No one had to say a word to know what they were thinking. The truce was only working because Norm was keeping out of sight of Timmy and his fairies. And vice versa. Having them in the same place at the same time might be too great of a temptation, even on the holiday. Amanda might be able to keep the peace, but it would still be tense.
"You don't have to spend all day at Timmy's house," pointed out Wanda reasonably. "You could stay at home during the morning and come over later."
"Yeah, that'll give me time to open my presents first," the boy agreed. "That would work out great."
While she gave a brief smile at the solution, Amanda also realized she'd forgotten something important. She needed to get gifts for everyone. That wasn't usually a problem. Mom and Dad never seemed to expect or wanted anything from her, even on holidays, their birthdays, or anniversary. Though she should probably at least get them something for Christmas since she planned to get her friends presents. Her lack of money might make it difficult, but the girl intended to find a way.
"What do you think?" Timmy prompted. "Do you want to come?"
Amanda hesitated just a moment before stating, "I'll talk about it with Norm first, but I think it'll be nice. Thank you."
Ms. Keys watched her students cut construction paper and glue glitter with varying levels of focus. It was too close to the holiday for any of them to pay attention to their lessons and their grades for their most recent test were improved, so she'd decided to let them work on arts and crafts projects instead that afternoon. Most seemed to be working on Christmas cards, though Mike apparently wanted to build the Eiffel Tower out of popsicle sticks. It at least kept her students occupied.
Moving around the room, her attention was gradually drawn to Amanda's desk. The shy, quiet child was usually so easy to overlook, but today her multiple projects were enough to hold the woman's gaze. Popsicle sticks, glitter, clay, and yarn were scattered around as she worked on the small objects. Each one was obviously made with great care.
"What are you working on?" the teacher asked, causing the student to nearly jump in surprise.
Her eyes never rising from the glue and glitter in her hands, Amanda mumbled, "Making presents."
"That's nice," she stated gently. "How many more presents do you need to make?"
"I made a couple of cards for Chester and AJ," she said, her voice barely above a whisper. "And one for Tootie since I think she needs one too. But I still need about six more gifts and I don't think cards are going to be enough for them."
Ms. Keys had seen other students take advantage of art projects to create gifts in the past, but never for quite as many at once. But she could see that her student intended to reach her goal regardless. Perhaps the child could use a little help with that.
"You know, I have a few projects I generally save for later in the year," Ms. Keys remarked quietly. "I even have the instructions printed out and the materials in my supply cabinet. If you need some ideas on gifts, maybe you could try some of them."
Amanda actually looked up this time, meeting the woman's eyes before dropping back to her desk. The girl nodded quickly. As soon as she received her student's agreement, Ms. Keys headed towards her supply cabinet and began pulling out the various instructions and more specialized arts supplies. None of her other students glanced at her. They were probably too distracted by their own projects and were simply hoping she wasn't going to provide more work for them.
Trixie stared at family's Christmas tree. It was certainly larger and more beautifully decorated than any other evergreen in the town. That was one of the advantages of having money, after all. Wrapped gifts were stacked around the base, each one labeled and waiting. Most were expensive and impressive, no doubt. She received them from her various admirers, just like she would on her birthday. Yes, some would go to her father from his friends, colleagues, and more distant relatives, but she was the proud recipient of most of them.
She was a materialistic girl. It was practically an essential component of being a popular kid. She needed to always have the best of everything. New gifts helped provide her required accessories, clothes, and belongings. The presents also helped to demonstrate her popularity and importance. They were physical representation of her self-worth. The items helped assign a value to herself that could be calculated and understood. There was a dollar amount to how much others liked her. She did find it remarkable that it seemed like those with less money to spend on her gifts tended to be more clever in picking something specific that she would appreciate (though she didn't know for certain about those at the lowest end of social hierarchy since those gifts were never unwrapped). Tad and Chad would select expensive items she didn't particularly like beyond their connotation of wealth while less popular ones would pick shoes or make-up that looked nice on her. Then there was the time Timmy tried to offer an honest friendship to her…
Trixie picked up one of the smaller presents under the tree and smiled slightly to herself. In the past, the name on the box would have been enough to doom the gift to the fireplace. Now, she looked forward to opening the package when Christmas morning came around. Sanjay's gift wouldn't be expensive or impressive, but she already knew it would undoubtedly be far more appealing to who she was underneath the shell of popularity she maintained so carefully. She was already receiving comics from him, carefully smuggled to her house under the guise of tutoring sessions. The shape was wrong for it to simply be another issue of Skull Squisher, but she looked forward to the present regardless.
She'd also selected a small token for him as well. She could have afforded something far more extravagant, but it would look odd enough already for her to get something for her tutor if someone was to find out without her going overboard in the process. But to make up for the price, she'd selected something more… personal. She bought him a photo album with the letter "S" printed across the front. She'd even tossed in a few photographs of everyone at the Snow Ball. Somehow, she could already imagine him filling the pages up with images of his friends having fun and relaxing. And maybe he'd even want to put her picture in it. That might be nice; to be included because he liked her rather than because he liked the popular girl.
Norm couldn't believe he'd ever see the day, but he was actually beginning to slightly pity the Canadians. Earthquakes shook and split the land, leaving behind jagged crevices that cut off the frightened population from any route of escape. Volcanoes burst up and spewed molten rock onto the surroundings while rivers burst their banks to sweep across inhabited areas. Clouds of locusts blackened the sky only to be interrupted by bolts of lightning tearing through the air. Fire roared as it consumed forests and hissed as it met oncoming glaciers ripping the troubled landscape at an astonishing speed. Tornados swarmed the ground, pulling up other vengeful elements and hurling them even farther along the troubled countryside. Moose ran through the streets like a plague, knocking over small vehicles and crashing through windows that got in their way. And every hockey player within the borders lost the ability to skate in a straight line without falling.
Needless to say, the genie was in a bad mood.
He felt that he hid it well when Amanda gave him the news, all things considered. She'd returned home from school, walked past her parents who apparently didn't even acknowledge her arrival, and went to her room where Norm was already waiting with a pizza for the kid. He knew she was planning to visit Turner later that evening, so he intended to at least spend dinner with her. The girl slipped a rather curious bag under her bed before accepting the offered plate, but she'd shared her news before the genie could ask about it. He then spent the rest of the meal trying to hide his reaction and act casual until Amanda left for the bucked-tooth boy's house. It took all of his self-control to go after Canada rather than the boy.
Turner invited Amanda over for Christmas. How dare that pink-hatted, Smoof-for-brains, pain-in-the-neck, manipulative, annoying jerk do that? It wasn't as if Norm was particularly excited about the holiday. It wasn't that remarkable or entertaining after living through thousands of them, mostly alone in his lava lamp. He wasn't looking forward to this one. Not at all. He was upset about what the boy was doing. Turner was trying to pull the kid over to his side.
It was subtle. Oh yes, the brat could apparently be more conniving than Norm gave him credit for. Turner was trying to spend more and more time with the girl, impressing her with all his extravagant wishing and probably trying to make himself look perfect. And now he was trying to make Amanda like him more by making her feel like family on Christmas, something she'd obviously not really experienced in years. Turner was trying to steal her away and force the genie to the side. The boy was trying to replace and get rid of him.
Norm wasn't jealous. The genie refused to even consider the possibility that he could be envious of that boy's role in Amanda's life. He wasn't jealous that Count Buck-ula was apparently trying to replace him completely as the girl's closest friend. That stupid tangle of emotions didn't include a burning knot of envy and it definitely didn't include a thin thread of fear that stealing away the one human he liked might actually work. No, that wasn't it at all. He was mad. That was it. Anger. He could accept anger. He could work with it.
He was mad that Turner was trying to find a loophole in their truce. Granted, the genie intended to do something similar, but he wasn't doing it yet and definitely not in this manner. The boy wasn't attacking the genie, but he was trying to break things apart by influencing the girl and monopolizing her time. The brat was trying to shove Norm out of the picture by other means. Well, two could play at that game. Being underhanded was something the genie was a master of.
Fury bubbling again, Norm sent another wave of aggressive magic pouring down to the ground with a snap of his fingers and a loud gong. A rather large and carnivorous plant burst out of the ground and sent a rather terrified-looking Canadian scrambling back. The poor man ended up crashing right into the store filled with mirrors, shattering them.
Smirking slightly at the individual's misfortune, the genie was startled when he heard a soft foop and the floor collapsed beneath the man so that he dropped into the basement. A quick glance in the direction of the sound revealed a dark-blue figure giggling in the corner of the mirror store. Even floating above the destroyed countryside, Norm could detect magic from the odd creature. Not genie magic. It wasn't even fairy magic. He'd describe it as a dark reflection of fairy magic. That and the fact it appeared after a mirror broke quickly identified the species he was dealing with as an anti-fairy. A closer look demonstrated another intriguing detail of the magical creature. She wasn't particularly pretty, but he still knew her face. Sort of.
Curiosity won out and he floated closer to her.
"You certainly look familiar," he remarked, capturing the attention of the blue-skinned individual. "What's a curly-haired lady like you doing here?"
"Well, howdy there," she greeted, waving at him. "Ain't you a handsome sort? I better warn you. I'm married."
"Let me guess," the genie said, giving her one of his most charming smiles out of habit rather than any actual attraction. "You would be Anti-Wanda? And your husband would be Anti-Cosmo?"
The crooked-tooth, bat-winged anti-fairy giggled, "You're so smart. And destructive. I like you. How'd you figure out who I am?"
"I've met you and your husband's counterparts. They and their godchild have been pests for quite some time."
"You don't like Timmy either? That's great," she smiled, producing a sandwich with a quick foop and began to eat the thing using her feet. "My Anti-Cosmo and a bunch of grey folk are planning on some kind of revenge scheme against him. I don't really get it or anything, but they say it should work and make him suffer for all the trouble he's been causing us."
"Really?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. "A revenge scheme against Turner? You have my interest. Is this a good plan or one of those overly-complicated ones that is almost certainly doomed to fail?"
"Well, my Anti-Cosmo is really, really smart and that funny pointy-headed fellow seemed like he knew what he was talking about."
Smiling evilly to himself as chaos continued around them, Norm asked, "Any chance I can come watch the main attraction? Turner suffering is always entertaining, even if I can't be the one arranging it."
"I don't know," frowned Anti-Wanda. "I don't think my husband would be too happy about me bringing along someone else whenever we put that plan into play. And he's the one in charge, even if that pointy-headed person thinks that he's also in charge. It gets complicated when lots of folks work together, but my Anti-Cosmo is good at figuring that sort of thing out."
"Hey, I'm not saying you have to start selling ringside tickets to all of the kid's enemies," he grinned, spreading his arms innocently. "Just see if you can sneak me backstage for the show and let me watch him whimper and cringe while you do whatever you have in mind."
The anti-fairy seemed to be considering his request as she took another bite of her sandwich. The act of thought wasn't apparently an easy task for her and he spent several moments waiting with only the screams and sounds of destruction in the background to occupy him. Norm didn't consider conspiring with Turner's enemies to be technically breaking the truce as they'd stated it. He agreed not to attack the boy and he wasn't. The Anti-fairies were. All he was doing was not warning the brat and watching the show instead.
"I'll ask my husband about that, I guess," she stated slowly. "But you got to promise that you aren't trying to trick us or something sneaky like that. I mean, you really do hate the boy, right?"
"Fine. I promise you that I would love to watch Turner suffer horribly and be miserable," replied Norm. "I also promised that I've dreamed of seeing him sacrificed to a volcano, lose his fairies and memories forever, have him teleported to Mars, and numerous other cruel and unusual fates. And I promise that, as long as your plan will not cause problems to me even indirectly, I won't interfere in your revenge scheme against Turner. Satisfied?"
Anti-Wanda nodded quickly, "Yep. Works for me. Of course, Anti-Cosmo and the pointy-headed fellow might want you to sign one of those contract things saying that stuff too. Those grey people sure do love those contract things."
The idea of a contract made the genie pause momentarily, but he eventually gave her a short nod. He wasn't being forced to sign because it was a wish and he could read fine print almost as well as a lawyer. If he didn't like the terms they presented, he could always leave without writing his name on the dotted line. There were always other ways he could watch Captain Overbite suffer.
Gonging up a small business card, Norm handed it over to her and she accepted it with her foot. He resisted the urge to wipe off his hand afterwards.
"Just call me whenever you are ready to put that plan of yours into action," he instructed. "I mostly use the number to order takeout, but my coverage should allow me to receive calls from Anti-Fairy World if necessary."
"Sure thing," she smiled before vanishing with a foop.
Turning his attention back towards the country that used to be Canada before he took out all his frustration on it, Norm realized that he'd actually calmed down enough during the conversation to be able to think clearly again. He was probably giving Turner way too much credit if he thought that there was some elaborate plan to force the genie out of the picture. He could be clever, but he wasn't a long-term planner. The boy's wishes were evidence of that. And Norm already knew that the bucked-tooth kid, for all his faults, did care about Amanda's happiness. Hence why the truce even existed in the first place.
Taking a deep breath, the genie forced himself to admit that Turner wasn't trying to ruin things. He was just trying to make the girl's Christmas special. The boy wanted her to be happy, just like Norm did. The genie didn't like sharing Amanda's attention; she used to be completely his unique and intriguing child that no one else seemed to notice. And even when she first started making friends in Dimmsdale, she was still mostly his. She talked to him about everything and she turned to him for advice. Now, she had Turner and his plague of wand-wavers trying to fill in the voids that her lonely past and useless parents left behind. And her slowly growing confidence was helping her learn to stand on her own two feet a little bit. It wasn't a quick process, but he could still see it. Turner didn't have to be making conscious choice to force Norm to the side; Amanda simply had more people in her life now than before.
There were essentially two basic options for him, though he could certainly devise variations of those choices if necessary. He could try to reclaim his more exclusive role as her sole confidant by shoving everyone else out of her life. He was still capable of subtle manipulation if he needed it and she'd been willing to sacrifice companionship in the past. Or he could adjust to the changes, that she would now be spending even more time with Turner since the boy enjoyed having someone to relate to and would continue to seek her out, and the genie would still have her sole attention at least part of the time.
Or, suggested a particularly rebellious voice in the back of his head, he could learn to be around Turner without fighting the urge to ridicule and/or smite him into a greasy smear on the ground.
Norm immediately silenced that particular thought and focused on the two more logical options. He wanted Amanda to be happy. Above all else, he would ensure that she came out of this with a smile. As much as he hated it, the genie knew that he really didn't have much of a choice if her feelings were the main deciding factor. Besides, he'd already turned down his freedom because he wanted his impossibly-sweet and innocent master more. Surely putting up with Turner's existence in her life and his increased time in the girl's presence wasn't any harder than that?
Resisting the urge to shudder, Norm briefly considered the notion that perhaps his dislike of the bucked-tooth boy might actually rival the genie's desire for freedom. He tried to cheer himself up by reminding himself that he would at least have Amanda for Christmas morning and he could at least make that memorable for the girl. Plus, there could be an opportunity to watch Turner suffer in the near future. That could always boost his spirits.
Feeling a more in control than when he arrived at the country, Norm prepared to head back to Dimmsdale. As he started to snap, a loud crash broke through his thoughts and reminded him of the chaos his little "temper-tantrum" caused to everyone north of the border. While he was strongly tempted to leave Canada in its current condition, especially since some of it was rather entertaining, something tugged at his mind and made him feel uneasy about leaving yet. He just couldn't bring himself to go. The genie kept imagining Amanda's face with a look of pure disappointment at his actions.
Groaning quietly to himself in frustration, Norm snapped his fingers. A gong rang out and all of the chaotic elemental forces died down. Everything he'd done to the country reversed and repaired itself, leaving behind only a confused memory in the minds of the Canadians and one man stuck in a basement of a mirror store with no recollection of how he'd arrived down there. Satisfied that the damage was fixed, the genie snapped again and vanished with a gong.
Yeah, Norm might have a truce with Timmy and vice versa, but neither one is exactly happy about it. And the genie is really not enjoying having Amanda's time monopolized by the boy and his fairies. Timmy loves it because he finally has someone to hang out with and take on adventures with his godparents (but only mild adventures since she's new to them). Still, even if the genie disagrees, Norm is kind of jealous and angry about the boy hogging all that time with her. The two of them sort of have this weird custody battle tug-a-war going on from the genie's perspective while Timmy is just trying his best to pretend that Norm isn't around. Meanwhile, the anti-fairies and pixies are busy with their own plans. And now a certain genie has a slight idea that they are up to something, but he doesn't know what. But since he still despises Timmy, he isn't really in that much of a rush to warn anyone.
Check out the new cover art. It is undeniable proof that I can't draw the best (though I can manage if given enough time and a proper frame of reference). Anyone who has better drawing skills than me is free to work on some art for my story. Just let me see it when you're done.
I still don't know when the next update will be. I apologize for that. But I have enjoyed all the wonderful feedback and hope to hear more from you soon. Thanks.