Once inside the cricket again began to shake and to shiver and to come apart in pieces that enlarged until the same small woman stood proud as before, only this time she seemed to be wearing the black armor of a cricket carapace instead of a dress of glimmering fly scales.
The woman stared even more than the first time as the fairy was even more magical and wonderful to her after the experiences of the last few days than she had seemed even on the frist day. Inside of her welled a fountain of such relief and gratitude that she had no words even to say it.
The fairy understood this and as is the way with fairies, she preferred it. All fairies hate to be told Thank You as it is the words one would tell an underling to dismiss them and fairies are never servants nor underlings nor menial nor drudge nor employee to anyone, human or otherwise, but especially not human.
Fortunately, although the woman did not know this, her dumbstruck mind skipped over the "Thank You" that would have been expected in common polite society, and instead realized that what should do was to offer her guest refreshments. "Would you like some coffee?" she asked. "I have some Diet Cola in the refrigerator, but I don't know how much carbination it has...." The woman trailed off, seeing nothing in the reaction of the fairy at all. The woman took a deep breath and let the fountain of gratitude finally release.
"I owe you everything. My job. My life." The woman would have continued but the fairy said, "Fair payment for what i owed you. Now we are even. What did you think of the justice meted out to the malicious?"
"It was fun to see," the woman said. And then she thought a moment. The boys who splashed water. That punishment had been perfect. That they were doused instead and the small damage to the car seemed to perfectly fit the crime.
Then there was the office. Again, justice was meted out, and seemingly to the right people. Or was it? At the second presentation it had seemed that the entire office looked guilty. As if they were all in on the scheme to get rid of her. And at the time she was angry enough to want them all fired. She'd even determined to do that on Monday morning. But now that anger had somehow blown away with the next events and she held no anger at them anymore. The punishments for her boss and her boss's boss were fair. Anyone boss involved in such a thing should be fired. But she couldn't help but feel for him. He was near retirement age, but had recently acquired a young wife and new baby to care for.
He had a big house that he could barely make payments on when he was working. He had a new expensive car. The woman suddenly could feel his insecurity. Why he felt he needed all of these things. Why he would wish to promote someone he could keep as a strand in his web, catching and sticking to his words and policies. The woman knew she would work hard, but would also follow her conscience above all. She saw why he could not promote her, and a small part of her, very small, just a sliver of a sliver, felt sorry for him. She did not know where this part came from. This sliver of a sliver. But she thought it must have been from the past three days.
The gunman, who had tried to kill her and her friends she could not fathom. Except that there would be people who loved him and would be shocked at this. That he had been a swaddled baby once and then a little boy who brought home painting and drawings from school. Yes, it was justice and she would not condemn what had saved her life. But she couldn't cheer it or feel happy for it either.
And so, after much thought, she answered, "Even when things are perfectly just, it doesn't mean that anything is easy."
The fairy nodded quietly. "This is true," she said. And it was neither a complement nor a condemnation. Neither good nor bad. It was a statement that let the woman know the fairy now though of her as more than a human. That the fairy considered her wise.
The fairy seemed lost in her own thoughts. Finally the woman said, "May I ask you another question?"
They fairy looked up and said, "Ask whatever you wish."
"What about the kind? There was justice for the wicked, but what about the kind? Shouldn't they receive more justice than the wicked?"
The fairy looked somewhat shocked at this query. "I've never thought of such a thing before."
"It stands to reason," the woman shrugged.
"Yes, it does, doesn't it?" The fairy frowned. Then she stomped her foot, suddenly angry. "You ask far too many questions, human. I don't have an answer for you. Why should I have? I'm not a philosopheress."
The woman took a step back, confused by this sudden change in demeanor of the fairy. "I did meet your kindness with justice. And more! You saved my life. I saved your life, your job, and your clothes. What more do you want? Justice for all the kind? Justice for all the evil? I just told you I spent quite a lot of energy to do what I did for you. Since that is not enough, you tell me what justice should be given to the kind. I'll return in 3 days for your answer and if it seems you do not have one, then it shall be as if you'd never seen me."
The woman started to protest, saying she hadn't meant it in such a mean way. That she was just... but it was no use. The fairy didn't even bother to change form. There was a small pop, and she was gone.