This is it. The final chapter for this story. It has been a long and interesting journey. This story started a little over three years ago. And I can honestly say I never imagined that it would end up with over 500 reviews before I finished. I figured I'd only get a handful of loyal readers while everyone else searched for a story supporting their preferred pairing instead. But it seems that focusing on friendship rather than romance works sometimes. People read the story and actually seemed to like it.
I've got a lot of positive feedback, questions, comments, and theories that kept me happy and writing all the way to the end. Somehow I wound up with an amazing group of readers who put up with long delays and emotional story moments where I tried to make you laugh, cry, and care about a bunch of characters. So to everyone who stuck by me though the entire story and those who joined in later, thanks so much.
If you remember the very first author note, I said that I had a couple of goals with this story. And I believe that I've accomplished them. Norm has been redeemed in a gradual and believable manner without the use of romantic love and Amanda turned out to be exactly what I hoped she'd be. Not to mention all of you seemed to adore her, which I consider to be a success.
But now it is time to reach the only natural conclusion to this tale. And when I say "only" natural conclusion, I mean it. I've known from the start that there was only one way this story could end.
Norm looked over at where Amanda slept peacefully, her teddy bear gently tucked beside her and a lava lamp resting on the night stand. He didn't have the heart to disturb her. No, not yet. He wanted her to rest just a little longer as he collected his thoughts.
It was her birthday. Of course, that also meant it was the anniversary of when they first met, back when she was the most painfully-shy and selfless child in the world. It seemed like only yesterday. For him, it was practically no time at all.
That thought nearly brought the genie to tears.
Jorgen warned him. Multiples times, in fact. Even if he and the fairy never ended up as friends, they wound up at least on neutral enough terms for him to offer Norm advice. But even if part of him knew Jorgen was right, the genie purposefully ignored those warnings. He'd never been one to listen to those dumb wand-wavers anyway.
So Norm really didn't have anyone else to blame for his pain except himself. It hurt, a tight knot in his throat and an ache in his chest that nothing could ease, but he endured it for her. No matter what it cost, he could never leave her for long. And thus he was paying the price for his stubborn decision to stay.
He reached out and stroked her hair, the long brown strands having long since faded into white. Her face was sagging with wrinkles even in her sleep. Her hands were weak and fragile things, her fingers almost like knot-covered twigs. She always felt cooler to the touch than she did during her childhood. Everything about her seemed so much more delicate and breakable than before. She was a skeleton draped in loose, wrinkled skin. Recently, the sleeping figure barely left her bed, most of her past energy long since gone. She was like a candle burned down to the end of her wick, guttering in the breeze.
And even past all the ravages of time, Norm could still see his sweet and kind-hearted Amanda. He could still see his precious human child and final master. That was why hurt so much to watch it happen, to watch her waste away and fade. It hurt because he could still see her within the fragile and withered form.
He could have stopped this. Even as a free genie with less magic, he could have prevented this from happening. He'd even managed to stealthily delay it for a while, strengthening her heart, reducing the effects of arthritis, and preventing her mind from deteriorating away. But she made it clear she wanted a semi-normal life. If no one else got perfect health, eternal youth, and immortality, then she didn't either. She didn't think it was fair to get special treatment in that regard just because a certain genie loved the child with all his heart. She wanted a regular human life and all the experiences that came with it. So while he could extend her life and influence her health subtly enough that she couldn't prove he was doing it, Norm respected her wishes enough to avoid using too much magic on Amanda. He just watched her grow old as his heart broke in helplessness.
No, that wasn't quite correct. He wasn't helpless. He did have the power to change things. But she would hate him if Norm magically kept her alive and young forever. Maybe the fact that he could fix her and yet chose not to was why it hurt so much. Even after his time around Amanda, he was still not used to acting selfless. The more natural and selfish choice, after all, would be to ignore what she wanted and make sure the human continued to live for another few centuries at minimum.
Not to say she didn't have a long and fulfilling life by the standards of humanity. He'd watched her grow up and blossom into a wonderful young lady with a better level of self-esteem and the same selfless heart. She never married, though she did date a few times. Amanda just claimed that she never really found the right one who would be happy with her (though Norm did admit now that scaring away any and all guys who seemed even slightly undeserving of the girl might have been a tad excessive, but he was acutely aware of the thoughts in some men's minds towards sweet girls like her). The lack of husband, however, never stopped her from having a family.
She ended up with tons of foster and adopted kids (and thus, grandchildren), taking in the various children who felt unwanted and undeserving of a home. Norm remembered how happy she'd been to take the first one in and Amanda gave the kid the affection that her own parents denied her. The genie used a little magic to ensure that the red tape and paperwork never got in Amanda's way. Dozens of children, from little toddlers to teenagers that no one else was interested in, were carefully shuffled into the household over the years. Some were only there temporarily, but those who left "mysteriously" ended up with fairy godparents afterwards (messing with Jorgen's files was so satisfying, especially since Norm knew for certain the wand-wavers' selection system needed work).
The genie also interacted with a few of the kids personally, spotting some similarities to the shy girl who freed him. Most thought he was just a relative of Amanda's or a friend of the family who visited often. A small handful, however, learned the truth at some point during their time in the household. They were cute children and Amanda certainly cared for them, but Norm still knew that his particular human was an exception to all the rules and special. But out of all them, he had to admit that some were pretty nice to deal with. The numerous kids and the resulting grandchildren were part of the reason she was in such a nice facility currently. After years of taking care of them, they were returning the favor.
His thoughts were briefly interrupted by a snore from across the room, drawing Norm's gaze briefly away from the sleeping woman. While normally the people who ran the nursing home would argue against having roommates of different genders, a little magic could be very convincing. Besides, neither of them tended to have the energy to do much by this point. In fact, in the last week, neither had left their respective beds. And since it made Amanda happy to see her friend, Norm made sure they ended up rooming together after the morning she didn't have the strength to go down the hall to visit him.
Turner, unlike Amanda, did eventually get married. Granted, there was plenty of drama surrounding the situation of who he would ultimately end up with, but it worked out. There was absolutely no murder or violence at the wedding itself. He and his black-haired wife ended up with the standard two children and a nice house. Norm had to admit that the guy did a good job pretending not to remember his fairies over the decades, even finding the right balance of happiness and misery so that his kids ended up with godparents of their own. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), they ended up with a certain trio of fairies. Jorgen probably worried about the chaos Turner's offspring could cause without proper supervision. Even if Cosmo, Wanda, and Poof didn't know Turner remembered, the genie was certain they wanted to be near their former godchild. They stayed with him until college, so it only made sense they were more attached to Turner than their past kids.
Even now Norm occasionally saw brightly-colored objects around Turner when they were between godchildren. However, the purple items weren't appearing as often now that the bucked-tooth man's age took its toll. No reason to make the baby watch the inevitable, after all.
Time was running out for them. The magic placed on the pair subtly (Norm knew the wand-wavers were trying to do their best to extend Turner's lifespan too) was only slowing it down a bit. It was frustrating how little time humans possessed. For them, reaching the age of one hundred was shocking, let alone 108 and 111 like Amanda and Turner respectively. But it was practically a blink of an eye for Norm. That was what made the entire situation so difficult. And he couldn't give them anymore magical help without making it obvious that something was going on. All he could do was let things proceed naturally by this point, which was painfully difficult.
It hurt to see her in this state. But it would have been worse to leave her alone. He endured it because that was what Amanda wanted out of her life and he didn't dare miss any precious time with her. Then he overheard one of the nurses commenting on her condition and the genie's heart felt like it shattered. That was why he was floating there that morning, trying to figure out exactly what he was going to say. They were simply out of time.
Brushing away a tear at the memory of the news and frustrated with himself for reacting that way again, Norm looked back at the sleeping figure. Crying wasn't something he generally did, though he'd done it several times in the last five years especially. Watching her slowly dying as time wore her away was simply awful. So many times he'd wanted to stop it, to reverse her aging. But even when Amanda could have wished for anything in the world, she never wanted to trap or force someone into something against their will. She didn't even try to force her genie into granting wishes he didn't want to. She never took away their choice. And living a normal human lifespan, with all the suffering and problems that came with it, was her choice. The least he could do was extend her the same courtesy by not forcing her. That didn't change how difficult it was for him.
Death did not come easily to creatures of magic. It wasn't common and it certainly didn't strike due to living for a single century or less. After all, the youngest fairy was that old and barely a toddler. Mortality was something foreign and strange, something that only applied to those without magic. It was difficult at times to relate to the idea. But Norm could relate to it better now than he could a millennium before. Sometimes nightmares filled with the sounds of breaking glass, pain and numbing cold enveloping his body, and a brief empty silence still tried to haunt him. His close brush with death left him shaken and reluctant for another encounter. Now it was coming for Amanda, someone truly mortal and more easily snatched away. And all the magic that a freed genie might possess wasn't enough to truly bring someone back afterwards.
The sun was rising. He could see it through the windows of the cheerfully-painted yellow room. On most mornings, someone would be coming in soon to check on the pair of roommates. They would bring breakfast for Turner and Amanda while urging them to eat, though they barely possessed any appetite by this stage. And since it was her birthday, several of her younger adopted children would be arriving with their families. They would visit individually throughout the year, rarely leaving Amanda alone for more than a few days, but birthdays and holidays would gather the family in mass. And they definitely would be flocking in after that one nurse's phone call. But neither nurses nor relatives would be arriving for awhile. The genie had arranged for a little privacy and no one was going to ruin it.
He waited a little longer as the sky grew brighter. Norm wasn't generally one to really notice or care, but he had to admit that it was a beautiful morning. He hoped she liked it since this would be the last one of her far-too-short human lifespan.
Just as he began to worry he'd have to wake her up, Amanda began to stir. It was subtle since she lacked the energy to stretch and crawl out of bed, but he saw her blink her eyes and look towards him. A small, warm smile instantly spread across her wrinkled face.
"Norm," she said, her voice tired and yet honestly pleased.
"Hey, kid," he responded as he shoved his shades further into place, making sure that he also sounded cheerful and that his grin appeared reasonably authentic. "Happy birthday."
With a weak chuckled, Amanda said, "I can't believe you still call me that. I haven't been a kid for a long time."
"It wasn't so long for me," he muttered. "And you'll always be my kid."
When his pitiful tone sparked a look of concern, Norm hurried to find something else to say. He didn't want her to worry or be upset. The day was supposed to be about her. His feelings could wait until after.
"So you're 108 years old now," said the genie. "That's apparently impressive for humans. How do you feel about that?"
"Tired. But that's normal. How have you been? I haven't seen you in a few days. Was it a date?"
"No, no dates. And I've been around. You're just not alone much anymore," he said, gesturing towards the slumbering Turner across the room. "It's just a little trickier getting to you now."
She frowned momentarily, which Norm instantly hated himself for causing, and said, "Sorry. It used to be easier, but I just can't manage to move around the place anymore."
"Don't worry about it," he quickly assured. "In fact, don't worry about anything. Today is a special day and you're all that matters. So let's get you fixed up nice."
A quick finger snap and a gong later and her white hair was untangled and tied with a teal bow. Another quick gong and her nightgown was replaced for the first time in weeks by a cozy turtleneck and well-worn jeans. No matter how much time passed, some things never changed. And her preferred appearance was one such thing.
"There," he said with as much pride and cheer as he could force into his voice. "Much better. You look almost presentable."
"Norm," said Amanda quietly. "What's wrong?"
"What are you talking about, kid? What in the world could possibly be wrong?" he bluffed, not wanting to lie and not yet willing to tell the complete truth.
Somehow that withered old face managed to hit him with a stern look as she said, "Really? After all this time, you think you can fool me? I know you, Norm. And I can tell when you're hiding something. You always shove your sunglasses all the way up when you don't want people to know how you feel. That way the shades cover your eyes and we can't see your expression."
He should have known she'd figure out something was on his mind. She was always observant. Of course, he'd hoped she'd not notice. Approaching this particular topic was just so hard. He wanted more time to work up the courage.
Then, as if answering the genie's desire for any form of a distraction, a drowsy voice remarked, "What's with all the racket first thing in the morning? Some people are trying to sleep."
At the ripe age of 111, Turner was still easily recognizable as the former average kid that no one understood. A worn and faded pink hat was perched on his unruly white hair and his bucked teeth were amazingly still securely attached to his upper jaw with the strength that could only be the work of the Tooth Fairy. As he blinked his bleary blue eyes and peered at them, any of his past enemies would quickly realize his identity. Even age could not conceal his appearance.
It was, however, extremely amusing to watch Turner's reactions as he spotted the genie floating across the room from his bed. The first expression was one of clear recognition, the former godchild recalling Norm's identity easily. Then there was a brief moment of panic as Turner's sleep-addled mind remembered that he wasn't supposed to remember anything to do with magic and that he would be in huge trouble if someone realized his memories were still in place. That panic was quickly hidden by the fakest look of innocent confusion that the genie had ever witnessed in the thousands of years he'd existed. It was obviously a miracle no one realized Turner remembered about magic. The success of his secret was apparently not due to his amazing acting ability.
"Uh… Hello, random stranger I've never met before who is clearly a completely normal human," greeted Turner nervously. "Don't mind me. I'm probably going senile anyway."
"Save it, boy," Norm grumbled, rolling his eyes. "You're wasting your time with that oblivious routine. We know you remember me, your fairies, and everything. The kid wished for you to regain your memory no matter how many times Jarhead tried to erase it."
The wrinkled old man frowned briefly, "Well, that explains a lot."
"I thought you should be able to remember your god-family. It wasn't fair to make you forget them," said Amanda.
"Thanks. I'm happy to remember Cosmo, Wanda, and Poof. I miss them, but at least I got to keep my memories of them. That's more than I could have hoped for." Turner smiled thoughtfully, "I think they check on me sometimes. I think I spotted them out of the corner of my eye a few times over the years. It was nice… knowing they were still around. And that they were still thinking about me."
"Of course they're still thinking about you," remarked the genie. "How else do you think you managed to live this long? You may not have noticed, but you're a little outside the average human lifespan by this point and magic certainly works better than the healthcare plan in this country."
"So if Cosmo, Wanda, and Poof are responsible for Timmy living to 111 years old, I have to wonder who was responsible for me," remarked Amanda, directing a look at the genie that declared that she already knew the answer.
Norm winced slightly. He'd enjoyed the slight distraction provided by Turner. It was easier to talk about him. But now the topic was winding back towards the touchier subject. Unfortunately, he couldn't delay much longer. He had to tell her.
"Yes, I admit it. I've been using a little magic to keep you in good condition. Well, you and Turner a little," he said reluctantly, purposefully ignoring the old man's expression, "but mostly you. I know you didn't want it, but I simply couldn't float around doing nothing. But I've been cutting back on the magical assistance lately. Otherwise you'd start attracting attention. People in general might be idiots, but they'd notice your incredible age and health eventually."
"Norm," said Amanda quietly.
"I can get you helping her, but why me?" Turner interrupted.
"She likes you. And you make her happy," he said simply. "But I stopped. Needless to say, nature started taking its course again the moment I stopped cheating with magic. Time finally caught up."
Turner's face twisted into an expression of confusion, but not hers. Between the genie's resigned tone and his words, Amanda understood what was happening. She knew. Norm always knew she was smarter than most humans. The old and tired woman nodded in understanding and acceptance of her fate. She was perfectly fine with it. And her calm acceptance made the genie's heart clench painfully.
"How long?" she asked quietly.
"According to one particularly gossip-prone nurse working here, before the end of the week," said Norm reluctantly, turning to stare out the window rather than meet her eye. "And since it is currently Friday morning… Yeah, let's leave it at that."
"What's going on?" asked Turner, either truly not understanding what they were saying… or just in too much denial to accept it yet.
When the genie couldn't bring himself to answer, Amanda said, "I'm dying."
Silence descended on the room at her words. Norm stared out the window firmly, trying to regain control of his rebelling emotions before he faced them again. Hearing her actually say it and doing it so calmly had hit him harder than he'd expected. It was worse than how the girl once repeated her parents' words about wasting time and energy on their child. There was just something wrong about her accepting and surrendering to it rather than seeking to survive somehow. It was like she wanted to die. And that would just…
No, he couldn't think that way. It would only make things worse. Norm wrestled those thoughts and emotions back under control and shoved them in a mental corner. He needed to focus. He could deal with everything else later.
It was such a beautiful morning. Too bad reality was putting a damper on things.
"I'm sorry," Turner said. "I'm so, so sorry."
"It's fine. I've had a long and fulfilling life," she assured. "I've raised so many children and even out-lived some of them. And I've met my numerous grandchildren. Each and every member of my family are wonderful people who I love very much. And I've had several dear friends, even after I spent so much time certain I would never even have one. Honestly, I've had a good, long, amazing life. I have no regrets."
Turning back to the room finally, Norm said, "Unfortunately, I disagree on the 'long' part."
"I know," Amanda said quietly, reaching out a withered hand towards his. "You've been alive for thousands of years. My life must seem like a blink on an eye for you."
Squeezing her hand gently, he nodded, "Pretty much." Norm couldn't help how choked up his voice sounded when he spoke those two words, but he couldn't let it stop him. "You humans have such… short and fleeting lives. You barely exist in this world before you're gone. That's what makes it so difficult when…" The genie grimaced briefly, trying regain some control of his voice while also figuring out how to say the next part properly. "I did my best to give you as much time as possible. And I guess it is kind of appropriate that it ends on the same day it all began. I've known you for exactly a century, Amanda Adams. And you have always been an amazing and wonderful human being. But I have to accept… you've reached the end of your human lifespan. And there isn't much anyone can do about it."
Norm closed his eyes briefly, hating the finality of his own words. But this was the entire reason he came to see her. Reluctantly, he released her hand and gave her a weak smile. Then he reached into his pocket of his teal vest.
"I'm not like you, Amanda," Norm admitted. "It takes a while to change after a few millennium of behavior. Being nice and selfless isn't exactly a habit for me. I'm more used to thinking about my own desires. I've never had anyone in my life more important than myself, at least not before I met you. So please forgive me if I'm not the best of letting events unfold naturally just because someone else wants to accept them. Especially when I really don't want to lose."
He pulled out the small object from his pocket. The genie had managed to keep a hold of it through the destruction of his original lava lamp, his near death experience, and about a hundred years of life with his former master. He'd been saving it for just the right situation. After all, he knew better than most the value and importance of making the right choice when using his most precious gift.
"What is that?" asked Turner, his face etched with confusion while recognition lit up Amanda's.
"What does it look like, boy? It's a birthday candle," Norm said, looking at the tiny teal object. "Today is Amanda's birthday. There has to be a candle on some kind of cake."
He snapped his fingers and a gong rang out, leaving a purple cupcake in his hand. As he placed the candle on top, he realized that tears had started escaping at some point earlier. Briefly, the genie wondered when that happened and was annoyed he'd not stopped it before, but he decided that he didn't really care. His reputation was already in shreds, especially in regards to these two. Besides, he needed to hurry before he changed his mind.
"Norm, what are you doing?" Amanda asked.
Lighting the candle with another quick finger snap and a gong, he said, "What does anyone do when they have a birthday candle on a cake, kid? You blow it out. And wish for the one thing that you want more than anything else in the entire universe. You gave me that. Remember? You gave me the one thing that I never had. In fact, you gave me the one thing that no genie has ever had and probably will never have again. You gave me the freedom to choose my own wish, to use the full magical wish-granting potential for their own desires. And I'm so sorry."
He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to at least slow down the tears. She was going to hate him. She was going to hate him and it would break his heart, but he was going to do it. He'd considered all his options for the last several years as he watched his former master wither away into almost nothing. He'd imagined various scenarios and tried to figure out what would be the best way to fix everything that was wrong. And he'd wanted to ask her, but he knew she would never agree to any of them. After all, she was the one person who could never wish for herself.
But he could. He could make the decision to be selfish. And no matter how he might try to rationalize his final choice on the matter, Norm knew that it was ultimately selfish. He picked what he wanted most.
"I'm sorry," he repeated as he opened his eyes again. "I know this isn't what you wanted, Amanda. In fact, you don't even get a choice in the matter." The genie gave a choking laugh at his words, still crying against his best efforts, "Which is really unfair since you always gave me a choice. You never forced me to grant a wish that I'd regret or that would make me miserable. You never tried to make me do anything that I didn't ultimately agree to. You'd say 'please' or try to convince me or sometimes guilt me, but I always had a choice in the end. Of course, you're the most wonderful and selfless human being on the entire planet. And I'm the untrustworthy, selfish, manipulative jerk who never deserved to have you in my life."
"You're not," she whispered, a shocked and confused look on the wrinkled old face. "You're my friend."
"What are you planning?" asked Turner, trying to climb out of bed while not having the strength in his withered body to make it. "I know you, Norm. You would never hurt her. What are you doing?"
"I'm sorry, Amanda," he continued. "I am truly sorry that I'm taking away your say in the matter, but I'm too selfish to change my mind. You're welcome to hate me for the rest of your life. That's perfectly understandable. I wouldn't blame you at all. But I'm over 50,000 years old and I know that even a single millennium with the memory of you dying like this, after only 108 years of life, would be too painful. I'd rather go through the destruction of my lamp again. I refuse to live with that knowledge." Norm gave a weak and very fake smile. "So I won't."
She'd hate him for this. It was a selfish, weak, and heartless choice. He shouldn't do this, but the genie knew it was the only decision he could live with.
He glanced towards Turner briefly, the old man clearly confused and worried by this point. Maybe he understood Norm's point of view. After all, Turner outlived his wife. And now the genie was about to outlive the child he loved. Maybe Turner would have made the same selfish choice if he'd had the opportunity. Or maybe Turner was just stronger than the genie and would have chosen differently.
Regardless, it didn't matter. Time was up.
Her voice filled with concern, the old and dying woman said, "Norm, what are you—"
"Please forgive me for this, Amanda," the genie interrupted. "But this is what I want."
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. This was it.
"I wish," Norm stated in a wavering and tear-choked voice, "that Amanda Adams was… a genie… and Timmy Turner was a fairy."
And then he blew out the candle.
Even though he felt the magic unleashed from the birthday candle and heard the familiar sound ring out, Norm was afraid to open his eyes. Too many things could go wrong. What if it didn't work if a genie made the wish? After all, other genies couldn't use each others' lamps to make wishes. They'd tried in the distant past, but it never happened. What if her attempt to give him a wish didn't work? Or at least, it wouldn't work for him? He didn't want to even risk trying to make her a free genie, just in case. He only had one chance at a wish and he didn't want it to fail. And even if his wish did work, she'd probably hate him for transforming her against her will. He took away her choice in the matter. No one liked having their freedom stolen away, even if the person who took it did it out of love.
The voice made him open his eyes. The exhaustion and burden of age was gone from her voice. He remembered how it used to sound and that was how it sounded now.
The white hair, wrinkles, and the glimpses of death trying to steal her were gone. It was like an entire century had reversed. She was a young child again, her physical appearance so similar to that of when he first met her. Of course, there were certainly some differences. She was floating above her bed now, her body ending in a dark blue smoky tail. She was probably the only genie in existence who wore a turtleneck, but it certainly suited her better than the traditional style of clothes that were more popular with the species. The gold bracelets on her wrists were new, but Norm really couldn't prevent those from appearing. Similarly, the purple bottle now resting on her nightstand was part of the package deal. From his guess, she had about five minutes before she vanished inside and was trapped.
"Norm?" she repeated. "What—?"
"Why am I a kid again?" interrupted Turner, floating into view.
He definitely looked a lot like his annoying child self, only there now seemed to be a crown that encircled his floating pink hat. The two almost seemed to be fused together. It was actually kind of amusing that nothing could separate the kid from his hat. He also seemed to be handling the wings quite easily and apparently had a smidgeon of common sense about not waving his new wand around too much yet.
"Well, you would technically be a toddler by fairy age standards, but apparently the wish rounded you up to the age where you were first exposed to magic," Norm remarked. "So be grateful that diapers aren't an issue."
"Why? Why did you wish for… this?" asked Amanda, gesturing to herself and Turner.
The genie glanced down in guilt, "You lived a full human life, just like you wanted. And it was over. Your time was up. But I couldn't just… If your human lifespan was up, then I wanted to give you more time somehow. You deserved better than just a single century. And I didn't want to lose you. So even if you'll hate me for this and probably never want to see me again, I knew there was nothing else that I could ever wish for."
Norm was almost knocked out of midair as the child genie tackled him with a hug, declaring, "I don't hate you. I could never hate you. You were my first friend and you've always been one of my best friends."
He couldn't respond to that. He'd been certain she would be at least a little mad at him for this. He'd gone against what she'd wanted, to live a normal human life. He took away her choice and transformed her without asking. And she didn't seem to care.
Would she ever stop surprising him?
"I know these last few years must have been tough on you, watching me get old. I'm sorry," she said, as if she was responsible for the problems of being mortal. "Thank you for staying with me. And thank you for letting me live out my human life. You were right. It was over. But I guess I'm not quite done yet. It would have been nice if you told me, but I can understand why you wouldn't. You were afraid I'd say to just let me die as a human. But that wouldn't be fair for you. It wouldn't be fair to leave you alone for millennia."
Norm let himself relax for the first time in what felt like years. She didn't hate him. And he wasn't going to lose her. His sweet and wonderful girl was going to be alive for a long time. Everything was going to be all right.
"And me?" Turner asked. "Why did you include me in your wish?"
"I told you. You make Amanda happy. And… maybe your particular wand-wavers aren't so bad and would probably love to have you around a little longer."
The new fairy grinned, "You really have changed from when I met you."
"Don't spread it around. I might still have a few tiny shreds of a reputation left, Turner."
"So what now?" asked Amanda, glancing at her bottle with a small frown.
"You'll get forcibly sucked in there pretty soon. I'll see if I can fix up some fake dummies that look like the two of you for the funerals. Then I'll visit the adopted kids who actually know about me and tell them the truth. And I'll figure out which one is likely to wish you free without getting to crazy with the whole 'three rule-free wishes' thing," Norm explained. "After that, who knows? But we'll have plenty of time to figure it out."
"Great," remarked Turner. "And while you take care of that, there's a few people I really want to see again."
"Do you know how to work that thing?" asked Norm as the boy raised his wand.
"Yeah, I temporarily turned myself into a fairy godparent once. And then there was the time they gave me an emergency wand after Poof was born. I know how to do this," he answered. "I'll tell Cosmo, Wanda, and Poof that the two of you said 'hi'."
With a quick wand wave, the pink-hatted fairy vanished with a poof. The genie could only imagine the chaos that would erupt in Fairy World soon. Hopefully someone would get it on video. Jorgen's reaction would be particularly fun to see.
Amanda gave him a smile that he quickly returned, pushing away all other thoughts. His kid was safe and sound. And she didn't hate him. That was all that mattered to him at that moment.
"Come on, kid," he said. "Let's get out of here before Jorgen Von Stupid shows up to freak out about me turning Turner into a fairy."
She nodded and grabbed Teddy from her bed. Then, with a look of concentration, she snapped her fingers. The young genie vanished into her lamp with her ancient teddy bear, a gong ringing out from her first use of magic. Norm gathered up her bottle and the lava lamp from the night stand in his arms. Then, sparing a final glance around the room, he snapped his fingers.
Part of me really hopes that you felt a little choked up at some point in this chapter. Yes, Amanda grew old and was dying. And yes, Norm is forced to deal with watching the rate of human aging, which is something he'd never really cared about since he'd never really cared about humanity in general. So that can't have been easy for him to handle. But that doesn't mean he won't find a way to cheat death so he can keep her. After all, genies tend to like finding loopholes.
And yes, I did pretty much ignore the issue of whether Timmy married Tootie or Trixie. As I said before, with a little character development, either girl is a viable option for him. So just use your imagination on who he married and pick the one that you prefer.
As I said previously, I'll probably have a side story/sequel eventually. Most of the chapters will be set between Chapter 33 and this distant finale. So you'll get to enjoy them as human kids for a little longer. But I'm not taking suggestions. So Elizabeth, Lee, and anyone else who keeps telling me to do certain scenarios for these characters, I'm not taking your ideas. If you are so insistent that your story ideas for my characters must occur, you can get an account on the site and borrow Amanda for your own stories that you write as long as you give me credit. Otherwise, I don't need your detailed and continuous suggestions for plot developments. I already have my own plans in mind.
Anyway, that's the story. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope not too many people are disappointed with the ending.