Willow was knocking one fist furiously on the door of a hotel room. In her other hand was a rolled up newsletter that was published every morning during the convention. It contained interesting facts from the previous day and gave any updates or changes on yet-to-come activities.
The knocking continued despite the cries of "Hold on" heard from behind the door. Willow finally desisted once she heard the lock click open. She held out the newsletter for the opener of the door.
"What?" an irritated voice answered.
"This is a disaster!" Willow cried shaking the article of her distress at the other fairy. The paper was grabbed and its front page was studied. On it was a picture of Willow on the stage desperately clutching a paper that she was obviously reading from, her face pale. The title read "Tinkerbell opens ceremonies." And the first line of the article read, "And we don't care." Needless to say it was not a flattering article.
"I thought we've been over this. I thought you didn't care about the bad press anymore. It's the price we pay for being famous." The fairy stated.
"Buffy, check the 3rd page, first paragraph about the work meeting."
"Bastards!" was Buffy's response to the blurb.
"That's the price we pay for being famous." Willow responded in kind with a mocking tone.
Buffy continued to scan the newsletter. "Damnit Will!" She had read the blurb about the mixer the previous night. Not only was there a mention of the rogue Toothfairy but there was also a picture.
"You promised me to watch Faith last night!" Buffy seemed to get more frustrated.
"Yeah she got pretty out of hand but we made sure she made it to her bed safely."
"That doesn't explain why I found her passed out in the bathroom this morning..." Buffy commented. Then it hit her... "Wait... we?"
"That's part of my disaster!"
"I'm sensing a rather long story. How about we get breakfast. We can chat over mochas."
So Willow told Buffy about Tara and mentioned how Tara didn't seem to know who she was.
"And you didn't tell her?" Buffy questioned.
"I was going to as soon as I dropped her off. But we were interrupted. A call from Corporate and because of the contract they say 'jump' and I say 'how high?'" Willow demonstrated with wild arm movements.
"I'm glad I don't have a contract but I know how you feel. The Council controls my every move."
"Yes but the fairy populous as a whole hates me more because I choose to enter the contract whereas you had no choice at being the Toothfairy."
"Yep. I'm the chosen one." Buffy just shook her head.
"Oh. That reminds me. Tara thinks Faith is moderating the meeting. Gave her the 'one and only' line."
This quickly started Buffy's usual tirade. "Hey, I was the one and only until the Council decided the job was too big for just one fairy. I had no idea they had a list of potentials lined up to take over the job if need be. And who knows why they picked Faith because she refuses to take the job seriously. It's very frustrating."
"Buffy admit it you love the fact that you get to have time off. Plus I don't recall you minding when Faith helps take care of your other frustrations..."
A grin spread across Buffy's face and her minded wandered to a different place. Willow started waving her hand to get her attention back.
"Buffy we need to get back to my problem." When Buffy snapped out of it Willow continued. "I know... you should talk to Tara. She'll be at the meeting."
"Come on Will, maybe she didn't even see it." Buffy offered.
"No you don't know Tara."
"And you do? You just met her."
"But I do know her. I can't explain it... just trust me on this one okay. She will have read it. She would look at it to see if there were any changes to the meeting. She probably thinks it will be cancelled after how much Faith drank last night. Look, just talk to her and see and explain anything. Just help me!" Willow was begging at this point. She looked defeated and pathetic. It wasn't her usual puppy dog eyes she used when she tried to get something she knew she didn't really need. This look was desperate it was something Willow couldn't survive without.
"Look it will be okay." Buffy tried to comfort her friend. "If she is as nice as you say I really don't think you have to worry. I will do everything I can."
Tara sat in a conference room choosing a seat along the wall instead one of the many empty chairs along the large table. She held a notebook and the daily newsletter. She was confused to say the least. Last night she thought maybe she heard wrong. Maybe there was more than one Tinkerbell. 'It could have been a popular name.' Tara mused. But no because her name was Willow right? 'Maybe it is a nickname?' So many thoughts and explanations ran through Tara's mind. The truth however spoke when she read the newsletter.
Not that it cleared everything up. Instead it produced more questions. How could the fairy community dislike the kindest, funniest, most wonderful, beautiful fairy she had ever met? Tara was so lost in her thoughts that she barely noticed the room was now rather full and the meeting was about to start. She did quickly notice the small blonde in a pink tutu trying to get everyone's attention. The new confusion was enough to distract her briefly from the Tinkerbell issue.
Buffy had planned the meeting in order to bring a voice back to the working fairies. She was one of the few who had direct contact with the council and was more likely to make changes that she often overheard as complaints from various fairies. However the fairies trusted the Toothfairy about as much as they did the Council. It was a rough meeting for Buffy but at least it appeared it was going to be short.
Tara took in the situation and looked over the crowd. In particular she focused on the Toothfairy. There had been some unflattering things in the newsletter about her but when Tara had read it she assumed they were about Faith. Even then it seemed absurd but the aura she got of this other fairy made the news insane. Tara had a knack for reading others: humans, fairies, even animals. She could tell who was threatening and who was not. Mostly what she saw in others was fear. It was fear that caused low self-esteem, violence and other disruptive behaviours.
She saw a lot of fear in the room. Buffy however had a strength all her own. There was also a wall, a sort of detachment of herself. Tara could only guess it was due to the constant barrage of insults flung at popular fairies. It was worse than being a member of the Royal Family.
"You can't believe everything you read you know." A voice appeared directed towards Tara.
Tara realised she had spaced out, the newsletter in her lap and her finger poised to read the line about the Toothfairy. Tara looked up to find Buffy had directed the comment at her. She glanced around the room to see just a few fairies left and they were filing out the door. Tara looked back to Buffy again meeting eye to eye. Tara didn't see malice or worry in them, it was merely a statement. Or was it?
"I know." Tara answered. She paused with a curious look to Buffy as if deciding what to do next. She stuck out her hand. "I'm Tara."
"I'm Buffy." She shook Tara's hand and proceeded to sit down next to her.
"This entire newsletter reads like The Sun." Tara smirked.
"Sadly without Page 3 girl." Buffy snickered. They both giggled at the idea until it hit them that there was a sad truth to it which wasn't so funny.
"Does this happen a lot? I mean I gathered from the crowd here and the newsletter that they haven't given you a chance."
Buffy knew there was more to Tara's words. She wasn't just asking about Buffy. And Buffy, well she had spotted Tara immediately when she entered the conference room. There was a sense of confusion and concern in her facial expression. The concern didn't appear to be founded in herself it was projected outwards. But the beauty and calm that came from the fairy that Buffy would have picked up on even without Willow's description.
"Nope. Most people take what they read and hear for face value. They never bother to find out if it's true or not." Buffy stated flatly, the truth leaving a bitter taste.
"Everyone deserves a chance." Tara replied in a sad hopefulness.
Buffy flipped the Tara's newsletter over and pointed to the picture of Faith sprawled out and tangled in chairs. "Even her."
"I met her last night. I must admit my first impression was... well... shock." Tara shook her head at the thought that had popped in her head when she first saw Faith.
"Doesn't matter though, I heard you gave her a chance."
"You helped her get back to the room safely. It's certainly more than any other fairy would do."
"She, uh, failed to mention there were two of you..."
Buffy waved it off. "Don't hold that against her. We are a little competitive. She may be an ass sometimes but she is a loyal friend. Plus I'm sure she'd know you'd figure it out, think it was funny and give her a second chance."
Tara took in her words, played a quick game of connect the dots and realised there was more to Buffy's words. Tara just nodded.
"I can see why she likes you." Buffy stated as she reached for the newsletter and flipped it to the first page. They both were drawn to the picture of Tinkerbell. Buffy continued.
"She has stage fright. They fail to mention that. She practiced for days. She had it down, memorized and even could get through it without babbling." Tara smiled at the thought of the redhead's babble. "I heard the speech so often even I have it memorized. But Willow got up there and froze, panicked. It was Faith who came to the rescue with a copy of the speech."
"It sounded like she was reading from something... I remember." Tara said receiving an odd look from Buffy. "I was late and way in the back. I never saw her." Tara explained.
A new figure was approaching the doorway. "Well I think I see her now and I don't think she's waiting for me." Buffy pointed towards the door where the redhead now stood. Willow gave a weak but hopeful smile and little wave.
Buffy watched as the two finally locked their gaze and saw both fairies begin to glow as their smiles brightened. Buffy grabbed her things. She knew Faith would be on break soon. She was looking forward to finish the argument they had this morning. Or more in particular it would be the making up that would be happening afterwards. Tara and Willow never even noticed she left.
The two were seated in the restaurant immediately. The walk was quiet as Willow started to get more nervous about the conversation they were going to have. She nervously wrung her hands now they were no longer in Tara's.
"So I guess I have some explaining to do." Willow started.
"Willow, you don't have to explain yourself to me. I'm just disappointed I had to find out from someone else. I would have rather you told me."
"I was going to tell you last night. But then that stupid phone call and well there was no way I could not take it and I felt really bad making you wait for me. But then there was this whole disaster of some fairies causing problems in the park and messing with the people and for some reason Corporate assumed I could do about it. And so then I couldn't even say goodnight to you or give you a goodnight kiss." Willow started to blush but the babble continued. "That is of course if you had wanted me to. I mean I wouldn't have if you didn't..."
"Willow." Tara calmly interrupted.
"Sorry... What I mean is that I was going to tell you but then you found out from that newsletter this morning which didn't make me look good which compounds the fact that I had already made myself look bad because I didn't tell you in the first place who I was when I figured out that you didn't know."
"Actually I found out last night when the hotel clerk referred to you as Tinkerbell. I thought maybe I was mistaken until the newsletter confirmed it."
Willow got this 'Oh great' look as she gulped, a reaction of fear, she was waiting for Tara to drop the shoe.
"But a newsletter doesn't tell me who you are. All it did was spout other fairies' unfounded opinions of you." Tara grabbed Willow's hands and looked her directly in the eye. "I'd rather discover who you are from you. What I have learned so far I like and I hope we can continue to get to know each other better."
The sincerity in Tara's words would have melted a glacier if there were one nearby. Willow beamed with happiness. They got lost in each other's eyes again. All was well in the world.
"Well now that we got that settled. It's time for me to learn more about you. I do believe you have a story that you inspired to tell."
So Willow disclosed it all while they ate lunch. It started with her and Xander as young fairies always the best of friends and playing games. It so happened that a writer happened to pick up on the two. The difference between inspiring a story and being born of an inspiration is that certain details can differ between the real fairy and story fairy whereas being born they are exactly as they were seen. Willow and Xander weren't seen the same either. Willow was seen as a light while Xander had been visualized human boy sized which was rare. They were also given different names for the story. "Where they got Peter Pan and Tinkerbell I'm not entirely sure."
"Things were going alright until Disney came along. If you know the rules they didn't require any permission to produce us in cartoon form. However once Disney wanted to use my image outside the story they contacted me. They offered a contract. I was a young playful frolicking fairy I didn't really look over the contract or put too much thought into it. Now my image in automatically associated with Disney, small children everywhere want to be like me and all the other fairies think I'm a sell out."
"And the image?" Tara was curious how this redhead ended up portrayed as the blonde cartoon fairy.
"That was part of the contract I didn't read. They based the image off of the story and my character was played more often than not by a candle. So it was left up to them and they can change it at any point they want to."
"So what is it that you do... as stated in the contract?"
"You mean my 'job'?" Willow asked visually putting emphasis on job by making quote marks with her hands.
"I'm a liaison between the company and its other fairy employees. Which means I pretty much do nothing until some fairy has a problem or gets into trouble. Occasionally I make appearances, or they force me to give speeches." Willow made an ick face causing Tara to giggle.
"Hey! That isn't very nice to make fun of my phobia."
"I'm sorry it's just that face you made. It's adorable." Tara reached across the table and stroked Willow's cheek. Willow whimpered when Tara broke contact but was quickly calmed as Tara's hands once again found Willow's. They stayed that way for a while just looking into each other's eyes enjoying the silence and contact.
"What do you want to do now?" Willow asked.
"Let's go for a walk."