First off, I'd like to get one thing straight.
Disney got it wrong. Completely, irrevocably wrong. Me in particular, actually. Am I a little on the petite side? Yes, but I am certainly not the tiny, doll-sized creature they made me out to be. But at least they were closer than J.M. Barrie was. I like to think I am much more than a silly little light, thank you very much.
I simply loathe those pixie stereotypes, though I will plead guilty to the wings and pixie dust.
Peter was only a hand-span or two taller than me, and I have never been tiny enough to fit in his pocket, though he may have wished to stuff me in there at times. Especially when Wendy arrived in Neverland.
Peter and I were best friends, and we always had been. I do not remember how many years we passed together, baiting Captain Hook and playing in the mermaids' lagoon. Because of my magic, Peter could remain young for countless years with me, and he did. Together, we were both forever on the cusp of adulthood, neither grown-ups nor children. I wanted it to last forever, and so did Peter, at least for a little while.
"She's beautiful, isn't she?" Peter was gazing off into the distance, watching her as she flew, giggling with joy and amusement at her newfound power.
I rolled my eyes at his foolishness. "I don't know why you made me give her my pixie dust. She'll only hurt herself in the air." Picking a speck of something sparkling off of my dark green pants, ones that matched Peter's, I continued, "And I think she is rather plain looking, to be blunt."
"Plain?" He leapt up in incredulity and hung suspended in the air. "She's extraordinary!"
"Nearly every other human has those boring brown eyes and boring brown hair," I yawned, tugging self-consciously at my own shining blonde locks. "Just look at yourself, although I suppose your eyes are a tad on the bluish side," I commented, studying his features closer before leaning back and crossing my arms. "There is nothing extraordinary about her."
Peter ignored my statement, opting instead for his usual pride and boastfulness. Flying up into the sky, he glanced down at me and laughed. "Tink, you're only afraid that I'll like her better than you!" he taunted, soaring off in her direction.
Naturally, I had no choice but to follow him.
Peter's bluish eyes followed Wendy, awkward and bumbling at best, in a way that they never had followed me. They would light up as she entered a room, tripping over the ugly, woolen nightgown that she was always wearing. I assumed that it was likely because the ugly, woolen nightgown would occasionally show off her legs in a flattering way, or fall off of her shoulders just so.
In return, I took to wearing a short, pale green dress that I was sure would draw Peter's attention back to me.
"What are you wearing, Tink?" Peter asked in disbelief, as I landed gracefully on the grass in front of him.
"It's new. Wendy always wearing that gown of hers, so now I've got one, too," I said shortly.
He barely gave it a second look. "Wendy's is a lot—" he searched for the right word, "—different from yours. It gives her the appearance of an angel, you know?" When I just glared at him instead of nodding complacently in agreement, he shook his head dismissively. "Anyway, do you want to go to Hook's ship with me? I hear that the crocodile has surfaced again, so watching Hook cry ought to be good for a laugh."
"Why don't you get Wendy to bug Hook with you?" I replied bitterly, pronouncing her name with disgust.
"Because I know Wendy won't go," he said, his voice clouded with disappointment. "I invited her, but she's afraid of pirates. Besides, she hates to make light of the misfortune of others, or at least that's how she puts it."
My spirit lightened considerably. No matter how innocent and angelic Wendy might be, if she was afraid of Captain Hook, then Peter would never prefer her over me. "How very adult of Wendy," I said sweetly, though there was venom behind my words.
"Yes, it is adult of her, isn't it?" There was no sarcasm in his tone, as there usually was when we spoke of grown-ups. Instead, it was replaced with a new kind of thoughtfulness and consideration I had never heard from Peter's lips before.
"Peter!" I called, flying breathlessly into our cave, my wings fluttering restlessly. "I made a hole in the bottom of Hook's ship, and it is starting to sink!" I crowed with pride. "You must come and see!"
He was bustling around the cave, moving things from one place to the next. "I'm busy," he said tiredly.
"With what?" I asked curiously. "What are you doing?"
Peter stopped and turned to me. "Wendy calls it cleaning. She said that we live like pigs and have to be more responsible about our living space."
"Where is Wendy?"
"She took the Lost Boys out, so that they won't mess anything up before I'm finished," he said, looking down at his feet.
I tugged at his arm hopefully. "Come on then! We'll make a dash for it before they get back. We can fly much faster than them, and make it back in half the time."
He pulled his arm away from mine. "No, I can't. Wendy is right, Tink. It wouldn't hurt to tidy up the place."
"What has she done to you?" I burst out in a shrill voice. "Ever since she came to Neverland you've been acting strange—"
"Tinkerbell!" he shouted back, cutting me off. "Wendy has tried to be nice to you, but you keep shutting her off from yourself! It wouldn't kill you to be a little kinder!"
"Don't turn this around on me! You are the one who has been changing, and it's all her fault! I will not forgive her—or you—for that!" In a whirl of temper, I launched out of the cave and towards the sunlight, my wings waving wildly with anger.
The sun had set on Neverland. I was perched upon a cliff, looking out across the dark blue seas. Billions of stars were reflected in the great expanse of water, more than could ever be seen anywhere in Wendy's world. Still fuming, even after hours had passed, I began to idly count those stars, although my eyes occasionally drifted to where Hook and his crew were attempting to salvage their ship about a mile out. That is, until another distraction found me.
Peter landed lightly beside me, and he sat down, letting his legs dangle over the cliff's edge next to mine.
"How did you find me?" I asked him through gritted teeth.
"Easy. I followed the trail of pixie dust."
I scowled and cursed under my breath. "Well, I would appreciate it if you would leave now. I want to be alone."
Peter did not respond. He gazed out at the ocean, his mind elsewhere. Irritated with him, I stood up and rose a few feet in the air, preparing to fly away, when he finally spoke. "When Wendy leaves Neverland, I'm going with her."
My wings stopped abruptly, and I sank slowly to the ground. "You're what?" I gave him a sharp look, but he was pointedly avoiding my eyes.
"I'm a human. I belong in Wendy's world," he said gently, though there was also a firmness in his voice that told me there was no room for discussion.
I did not even know how to reply. "Why?" was all I managed to whisper.
"I'm not a pixie like you, Tink. I'm not meant to be young forever. Wendy…." He paused for a moment and thought about his next words. "She has made me grow up somewhat, I suppose. Now that I've spent time with her, on her way to being an adult, I realize that that is what I need to do, too. I can't go back to how I was before."
"But we're best friends. We've always done silly things and gotten into mischief together. How can that change now?" There was a desperation in my tone, begging for things to stay the same.
"I'm growing up." Peter had a sad smile on his, tinged with a humility that didn't belong on his usually arrogant face. "But you're a pixie, so you're not. I hope you know I'm jealous of that."
"Don't be," I assured him, trying to keep my voice light. "There's nothing good about being left behind while everything else is moving around you." I rested my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes, trying to shut the world out and best as I could. "Just promise me one thing."
"When you're an adult, don't be a pirate, okay?"
It has been seven years since Peter Pan and Wendy left Neverland together. I visit them once every year, and every other day of that year is just a buildup to seeing Peter again. I enjoy harassing Hook from time to time, though my heart is not really in it anymore, not like it used to be. The only reason I still do is so that I can have stories to tell Peter. He laughs at them, although I can tell his heart is not really in it either.
I'm not going to visit Peter this year. Last year, Wendy had a thin band on her ring finger, and she told me that they were going to be married. Since their wedding, my glow has slowly faded, until I am hardly visible. A candle sheds more light than I do, these days, and flying tires me.
Humans say that pixies can only live if people believe in them. Humans are rarely right about anything, and in this they are no different. Pixies really only need one particular person to believe in them, and we thrive on that faith.
As I expected, when Peter fell in love with Wendy and married her, he stopped believing in me. I can't blame him for that, though. He is a human, and unfortunately, they must all become adults at some time or another. Not like pixies. We are left behind, stuck in immature, childish adolescence, until we finally fade away of loneliness.
Now, at the end of my life, I realize that I may have grown at least a little wiser, become somewhat of an adult, after all.