She stood on the platform, anxiously rubbing one heel against her ankle. She had never felt more prepared and unprepared at the same time. Today was the day she would finally get her wings; the day when all her dreams would come true. You see, she couldn’t become a fairy unless she proved herself worthy, and Bell had worked the hardest in her group to make sure that she got her wings. She felt a sudden rush of pride and anticipation, wondering about all the places she could see and the good things she could do with her wings.
She didn’t even notice when her name was called.
She quickly rushed across the platform to Madam Luciana, blushing furiously.
“Congratulations, dear,” she said with a warm smile. She beamed back at her mentor, and closed her eyes as she tapped her head with her wand, and a dainty pair of wings seemed to appear from her back, shimmering like a mirage with a glow until they solidified. The moment was so surreal; she had finally gotten her wings. She was a real fairy. Flying was a bit strange to her at first, but she picked it up very quickly. And as she soared, she felt an overwhelming rush of joy engulf her. She could finally travel across the realms, and spread joy and happiness everywhere.
That night, at the congratulatory party, she heard about a place called Neverland, where all kinds of creatures and magic thrived, waiting to be explored. Bell had always wanted to explore and see places beyond Pixie Hollow, and she figured there was no better place and time to do that. She set off the next morning, for the Second Star, the brightest star in the sky, beyond which lay the infamous Neverland.
She travelled long and far until she finally got there, but when she did, she could hardly believe her eyes. There lay before her an island, more vast than she could imagine, with waves crashing against its sandy shore, leading up to a thick, dense jungle. As she hovered above it, she saw many rivers travelling the length of the isle, leading to a blue lagoon, which seemed to shimmer in the daylight.
Leaving the beach behind, she slowly flew into the jungle. She was still taking in her surroundings, when she saw a little boy running in her direction, seeming frightened. He was wearing a strange, furry costume, like that of an animal. As she approached, she saw he was being chased by some other little boys, wearing similar costumes. She didn’t know what the little boy was doing, but she knew she had to try to help him. This was what she had been trained to do as a fairy. With a little wave of her wand, she froze the other boys in place, and the boy who was being chased finally stopped running. He looked stunned as he saw them, and his expression only became more frightened.
“Don’t be afraid!” she said, finally revealing herself. The little boy, at first startled, began to eye her with a curious glint in his eyes.
“Are you alright?” Bell asked.
“Yes,” said the boy, sniffing, “we were just playing a game. Who are you? What did you do to them?”
“Oh, they’re just fine,” she said calmly, and with a wave of her wand, she unfroze the boys. They stumbled forward with startled cries, and then joined their little friend as she introduced herself.
“My name is Bell,” she told them. “I’ve come here from Pixie Hollow. I’m afraid I don’t know anyone here. Where do you boys live?”
The little boys were more than happy to show her their living quarters. Bell sensed that they were lonely and guessed that they didn’t have a lot of people to talk to besides themselves. They told her that they were called the ‘Lost Boys’, because a long time ago, they had been brought to Neverland, leaving their homes, parents and families forever.
The poor things!, she thought to herself. Bell instantly felt sorry for them, and was determined to help them as much as she could, filling the role of the mother that they never had. However, they told her they had been looked after by a mysterious boy named Peter Pan, who had been in Neverland longer than any of them, and as they told her stories about him, it made her more and more curious about this great ‘Peter Pan’.
They finally made their way to a small clearing amidst the trees, where all the Lost Boys sat around a little campfire. Bell began to introduce herself to them, when she heard a rustle of leaves instigated by a sudden rush of wind. And with one final swoop, the leaves finally settled, revealing a boy, who looked just a little bit older than the other boys, who had swooped down from the skies and landed in the clearing. His arrival was clearly long awaited by the rest of the boys, as they all rushed to him. Bell, however, was completely frozen. He was a handsome, young boy, with brown, mischievous eyes and light brown hair that swayed with the wind, and a leafy green shirt and tights, matching a little hat on his head with a red feather sticking out of it. As she looked at him, Bell felt every bit of her mind slowly slip away. She had never felt like this before.
One of the lost boys then beckoned her forward. “Peter,” he said, “this is Bell.”
“A fairy?” he said, looking confused. “I’ve never seen any fairies at Neverland before.”
“Well,” she said swallowing, “I’ve actually come here from Pixie Hollow.”
“That’s fine.” Peter said with a grin. “Well, Bell, I guess you are part of the family now. Welcome to Neverland, the place where time stands still and we can have fun forever, without ever growing up.”
She smiled at that. She couldn’t believe she had already found a new family.
Over the next few months, Bell spent every moment with Peter, going on all sorts of adventures across Neverland, from his endless battles with the notorious Captain Hook, the ruthless pirate who ruled the seas, to just talking about their hopes and dreams.
He told her about how he had run away from home when he was a little boy, and how he wished he would never have to grow up to be an adult, with responsibilities and burdens. He told her that he had wished upon the Second Star, and how the next day, his wish had been granted, and he was brought to Neverland. And he told her that since that day, he had never once dreamt of leaving.
Bell grew to love Neverland, and she never wanted to leave Peter. She knew she was falling in love with him. She thought she could keep herself from falling over the edge, but before she knew it, she was already gone.
The sad thing is Peter never seemed to catch on; he would shamelessly flirt with the mermaids at the lagoon, who needed no further encouragement. Especially Serena, whom according to her sisters, had been in love with Peter since she first laid eyes on him. A fire burned within Bell at the mention of this. She promised herself that she wouldn’t get jealous, but every time she visited the lagoon, it only fuelled the flames, which were slowly growing to an inferno in her belly, and neither did he change his demeanour toward her, nor did he see her as more than a partner, his very own sidekick. And it hurt her more than he could ever know. But she tried to let it go.
One day, she was passing through the Pixie Dust factory, run by the woodland creatures, on her way to the delivery station to pick up her monthly supply, when she heard two gnomes whispering in the corner. Gnomes were huge gossips, and she figured they would just be talking about some scandal between two squirrels. However, just as she turned away, her ears perked up at the sound of something far more interesting.
“You know,” one of the gnomes said to the other in a hushed tone, “you could always just sprinkle her with a dash of pollen from the Stardust Sunflower. It’s rumoured to make anyone fall in love with you instantly.”
“Really?” the other said with a high-pitched giggle. “Oh no…
“It’s up to you,” said the other, shrugging his shoulders. “It was just a suggestion.”
She watched as the two went ahead, laughing about the preposterous thought of bewitching someone with real magic. A single thought lingered in Bell’s mind, as she made her way back to the clearing she called home, where Peter was waiting for her.
“Bell! Finally, you’re home! Where have you been?”
“Oh, I just went to the pixie dust factory to get some………”, and then as she looked into her empty hands, she groaned and smacked herself on the forehead.
Peter just laughed, and brushed against her shoulder with his giant finger. “Silly little Bell,” he said affectionately.
“So, I needed to talk to you about something. It’s about Serena. She called me over to the lagoon today.”
She hadn’t really been listening, still thinking of her tingling shoulder until he mentioned her name. Her head snapped up at once.
“Serena? What did she say?”
“She told me she was in love with me,” he said uncomfortably, taking off his hat and running his hands through his hair. “That’s crazy, isn’t it?”
“Not really,” said Bell, shrugging her shoulders, hiding her true feelings. “I’ve known for a while now.” She saw his dumbstruck face and continued exasperatedly. “Well, it’s not exactly a secret, she told all of us months ago, and to be honest, half the mermaids at the lagoon are head over fins with you.”
He looked startled at this revelation, which made Bell want to smack him. Only he could be so oblivious. But then, he just sat back against a tree and folded his arms across his chest languidly. “Well, it’s not as if it matters. I mean, I never want to fall in love.”
“What?” Bell said, a little louder than she intended to.
“I never want to fall in love,” he said matter-of-factly. “I ran away from home, because I wanted to escape responsibility. That meant getting a job, settling down; I didn’t want any of it.”
Bell found it very hard to stay nonchalant after that and the conversation was indeed very taxing on her. She knew Peter would notice, and so she quickly excused herself feigning fatigue. All night, she thought about the Stardust Sunflower, and how in one simple night, with a little sprinkle of hope, she could have everything she had been yearning for the past year. She knew it was a selfish deed, and that it was against everything she had been taught growing up in training to be a fairy, but it all seemed so inconsequential to her at that point, she needed that flower. After all, all’s fair in love and war.
She set off the next morning, before Peter could wake up. She went to the gnome tavern, and found a friendly gnome, who seemed to love to talk. He was perfect for what she needed. She carefully worked the Stardust into the conversation, and the gnome told her exactly where to find it, just beyond the Blue Lagoon in the meadow. He led her to it, and they actually had a rather lively discussion on the way there. After they got to the meadow, it wasn’t too hard to locate the flower. At the centre of the meadow, there was a little clear pond, and around it grew the most beautiful flowers that Bell had ever seen. The delicate petals were a brilliant gold with a intricate pattern of veins in the leaves, and at the heart of the bud, shone the blinding pollen, glittering in the sun.
She was mesmerised by it, and just caught the next few words of the gnome.
“Just be careful, alright? These flowers were planted by fairies long ago, and legend has it that every time someone picks a flower, they know.”
“How could they possibly?” Bell said with disbelieving laugh, as she picked it up. Suddenly, the stem of the flower caught fire and she let it go with a loud yelp. Wincing, she cradled her fingers, just as a little whirlpool began to form in the pond. Both she and the gnome shared a look of confusion. It only grew, when out of the whirlpool, appeared Madam Luciana!
Bell didn’t know what to say as her old mentor stepped into the sunlight. Finally, she found her voice.
“M- madam, what are you doing here in Neverland?”
She sighed softly. “Bell, we have been watching you. And ever since you came to Neverland, you have been forgetting everything we taught you. You have been thinking such awful things, and I see a deep-rooted hatred in you, filled with jealousy. We want you to come home, Bell. We don’t want you to forget who you are.”
“Madam, you don’t understand. I need that flower. I need its pollen. And my home is now here, in Neverland. I can’t come back to Pixie Hollow.”
“But is this really what you want to do?” asked Madam Luciana in disbelief. “You want to force him to fall in love with you?”
“I need him. I have to do this.”
“Well then,” Madam said with a sad, wistful expression, “I have to do this,” she said, waving her wand. Bell gasped and shut her eyes, shielding them from the blinding flash of light. When it was over, she opened them, and she didn’t feel any different.
She decided to tell Madam that this was who she was now, and to let her go with the flower. She opened her mouth to speak.
She clutched her throat desperately, trying to say something, but all that she heard were the little sounds of bells tinkering. She looked at her old mentor, horrified.
With a grave face, Madam told Bell, “I can’t let you go on like this, Bell. From now on, you cannot speak and you can never tell Peter that you love him. I am doing this for your own good. You have been swallowed by your own world of greed and selfishness. You can have your voice back when you come back with me. And we will welcome you back with open arms.”
Bell still couldn’t believe what Madam Luciana had done. This just fuelled her rage, and she took a defiant stance, folded her arms across her chest and puckered her eyes into the coldest glare she could muster.
She almost saw Madam Luciana flinch. “Very well, then. I hope to see you again, Bell, before it is too late.” And with that, she vanished once again into the whirlpool.
Bell looked around with wild eyes, when it dawned on her; she had no idea how to get home. She looked around for the gnome, but it seemed that he had left. She cried in frustration, and was heartbroken to hear only the sounds of little bells instead. They were coming from little bells on her shoes that hadn’t been there before. She tried to take them off, with all her might, but in vain.
She was angry, lost and confused. She sat down defeated, and wept in silence.
It took her two days to get home, and when she finally did, the Lost Boys rushed to her. They tried asking her questions but she said nothing. Finally they took her to Peter.
“Bell! Where have you been? Are you alright?”
She tried to tell him what happened, but of course, he didn’t understand. It took him a little while to understand that she could no longer speak, but he took it surprisingly well.
“No worries, then. We’ll just call you Tinker Bell.”
She could see Peter was absolutely smitten with that Wendy girl. And it didn’t help one bit that she was such a darling. They had left Neverland to go looking for Peter’s shadow, and once he found it in her house, Wendy actually stitched it back on for him. He even offered to bring Wendy and her little brothers to Neverland. Bell was appalled at the suggestion and even refused to give them any of her pixie dust. And then Peter did something she never thought he would do to her. He turned her upside down and actually shook the pixie dust out of her!
She was furious, and she knew what she had to do to get revenge on Wendy.
She sobbed as she recalled the events of the previous day. How Peter had found out that she had ordered the Lost Boys to attack Wendy as she was flying and knock her down, how Peter had saved Wendy, and how angry and disappointed he had been when he found out what she had done.
She had begun to cry, trying to explain to Peter why she did it, she was in love with him and she hated Wendy for taking him away from her. But of course, he didn’t understand. He would never understand her. He had sent her away in his anger, and blinded by her jealousy and anger, she had taken to the beach, where she found a quiet place to let out all her frustration. After she had stormed all around the beach, she finally sat down in dismay, wondering what she would do. When suddenly, she felt herself being picked up by her wings and thrown into a glass cage. And as she stood up, ready to scream at whoever had done that to her, she stared at the face of Mr. Smee, Captain Hooks’s head henchman, and every bit of fight in her flooded out her body instantly.
“Well, well, well. Look who it is. Little Tinker Bell” he sneered. “Let’s see how Peter Pan will do in the next battle without his trusty sidekick.”
And now, here she was, in Captain Hook’s ship, trapped in a glass lantern, all alone, waiting for someone to rescue her. Peter would not come looking for her and the Lost Boys wouldn’t do anything against Peter’s orders. Even the fairies would not be able to help her. There was no one left who cared about her.
Suddenly, Captain Hook entered the room. She recoiled at this sight of him, seeing a hook where his hand should have been, remembering when Peter had cut it off during one of their battles. It almost made her feel sorry for him.
“Well, if it isn’t my favourite little fairy”, said Hook, with a sickly sweet tone. She stared defiantly back at him. “Now, now”, he said quickly, “I know you will never help me catch Peter Pan. But I don’t want him. I only want your help to catch Wendy Darling.”
This caught her attention, and the gears in her head began to turn. The girl had been nothin but a nuisance, and with her out of the way, Peter would be all hers again. Something changed in her expression, and Hook did not miss it.
“All that you have to do is show me where Peter’s hideout is, and Wendy will be out of your life for ever” he said slyly.
Tinker Bell was delighted to help. As Hook let her out of the lantern, she dipped her toes in a bottle of ink, and danced across a map of Neverland which she found on Hook’s desk, her clever little movements clearly marking a path straight to Peter’s hideout. She didn’t even think of Hook’s ulterior motives, or anything really. All she knew was that she wanted Wendy out of the way, one way or another, and Hook was just the man for the job.