|Red Handed Jill
Author: Smart Alex PM
One cold winter's night, Red Handed Jill is surrounded by pirates. 'Tell us a story,' they ask. 'Tell us about him.' [Based on the 2003 movie. Oneshot.]Rated: Fiction K - English - Drama - Wendy D. & Peter Pan - Words: 1,687 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 3 - Published: 12-04-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3929335
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Late one night, she finds herself surrounded by pirates. The moon reflects off of the ice that keeps them captive in the bay of Neverland, and causes her hands to appear pale and insignificant, reaching for the dagger attached to her belt.
"Don't crowd so, if you please," she scolds. Her tone is polite enough, but her meaning is clear.
They back away.
"The Captain's fallen asleep," says Noodler. "He said we can't make noise, else we wake him up."
She regards them with a tolerant look, as if they were merely children, sneaking around behind their father's back; and fully expecting their mother to support them. Hook has often given such orders, but it is unusual for them to disregard them.
"It's terrible cold tonight," Bill Jukes points out.
"If you move about, you should soon warm up," she responds sensibly.
"To tell the truth, Miss," Smee says, "we were hoping you could tell us a story."
"Yes, do," the pirates echo. "Tell us a story."
She smiles despite herself. In spite of being grown men, they really are no better than children. She settles herself upon a barrel that had not yet been pushed below deck, and they sit around her, looking up with eager eyes.
"Shall I tell you Cinderella?" she asks, magnanimous.
A low murmur of dissent goes through them, and Noodler speaks up once more.
"Would you tell us about.. him?" he suggests.
"Oh, but the Captain wouldn't like it," she says, frowning.
"He doesn't need to hear it," Smee says quietly.
She considers this. It is no great surprise that they wanted to hear about him. He has been gone from Neverland so frequently that it is almost always winter, these days. The ice that keeps the ship from leaving has left Hook in a raging black mood, which affects them all.
"This is the mystery of Pan, you see," Hook croons to the iron hook on his hand. "We cannot leave when he is here, and we cannot leave when he is not."
"But why?" she asks, in a small voice.
Hook had almost forgotten she was there. "You see, my dear, we live for Pan," he responds. "By which I mean, we live for his amusement. Without us, who else should the boy fight? He should have to make war on the Indians. Barbaric stuff."
He moves closer to her, and catches her chin with his left hand, raising it up so that they are eye to eye. His hook catches in her hair, almost to her scalp. It could have passed for a caress, but was more of a threat.
"But why did he need you?" Hook demands. "Why did he need a Wendy?"
She shrugs, desperately trying to mask her fear. "I told him the stories he wanted to hear."
"Once upon a time," Wendy begins. "There was a boy who never wanted to grow up."
The pirates sit sullenly through the prologue. They have heard this story before, as it is part of their own story, and they did not like to think much on the past.
"However," Wendy continues, in a voice that implied that they should begin to pay attention, "the boy soon grew tired of his old games. The fairies took him back to the town of London, where he went in search of adventure."
"I remember London," Bill Jukes murmurs, staring at the mermaid tattoo on his wrist, and does not elaborate.
"Every night he flew through London, looking for an open window. But all the pretty nursery windows, so pleasant to look at during the day, were closed and barred at night. Finally, towards the end of summer, he found an open window, filled with light, where he could listen to the children playing inside. And so he found a girl, and her Darling family."
Smee snorts quietly. Those Darling boys managed to steal most of the loot from the ship, the last time they came on board, right out of his hands.
"The boy would sit outside the window and listen to the girl's stories," Wendy says softly. "He would tell them to his own boys, when he thought to come home again, but he kept coming back to hear more. One night, he lost his shadow in the girl's room, and when she found it for him he was so happy that he took her and her brothers away with him to Neverland."
"To Neverland," the pirates echo dreamily.
"They had wonderful
adventures there. The boy found new surprises every day, and each was
great fun. The boy was their father, and the girl became their
mother, and cared for them all, especially that one clever boy. And
then, one terrible day, she realized that they were no longer merely
playing a game. The girl truly loved him, but the boy would not think
of it. Love was unnecessary, a grown-up emotion that, like so many
others, had no place in his heart.
"The more he thought, the more afraid he became. He realized his mistake in bringing a girl with him, and could not bear to face her."
"Red Handed Jill may be a brave swordsman," she suggests.
"Brave or not, I shall cut her throat!" Peter crows, jabbing at midair.
The fury of a woman scorned breaks upon her, and she faces him as his enemy.
"You would truly join a villain like Hook?" he asks her softly.
"On the contrary, I find him to be a man of feeling," she says, daring him to try and kill her, to show her that he truly does not care about her. For a moment, he seems ready to do it, and she bravely welcomes her death at his hands, unflinching.
He cannot strike. Or perhaps he will not strike, feeling the eyes of their children watching his every move. He refuses to look at her.
"Are you really going to be a pirate, Mother?" asks one of the boys.
"Yes," she says simply. She collects her things, kisses her brothers, and leaves.
"And so, he gave up his feelings, hiding behind his pretense. The girl could not, however. Feeling rejected, and rightly so, she went where she was needed."
"But did the boy miss her very much?" Noodler asks.
"He would not let himself think of it," Wendy says severely. "For there was no room for sorrow in his careless nature."
"Begging your pardon, Miss," says Smee. "But I don't think you've got the story quite right this time."
Behind him, the ice creaks ominously against the ship. The lanterns flicker. And the pirates watch her closely, waiting for her answer.
"Perhaps," she agrees, and says no more.
"It's terrible cold tonight," Bill Jukes says again, rubbing his hands together, and one by one they stand and go back to their duties.
Dawn comes early, that morning.
It comes from that other world where the nursery windows are all shut and barred, and the fairies have left the parks. The pirates stand watch on the ship, each at their stations, and at a sign from Hook they aim Long Tom up at the clouds.
Peter is taken by surprise, and is knocked down towards the ship. He catches himself by running his knife through the sails, and lands upon the ship. Hook lunges for him, and he evades, seizing his sword from where it fell on the deck, and parries.
Another sword comes at him, expertly, and Hook steps out of its path. Peter spins, blocks, and strikes back blindly.
With a loud clang, his sword meets another. He looks up and sees a face that he never wanted to see again.
"You can't be," Peter says, eyes wide.
"Yes," his attacker says.
Hook puts up his hook, warning his pirates to stay back. Let us see what the girl does next, it says silently.
"I could not be expected to pillage," she protests upon joining the pirate crew.
"Yet it would not hurt to learn," the Captain says, and smiles.
"You're a pirate," Peter sneers. "You're one of them."
"And you are still a little boy, playing at pretend games," she retorts hotly.
For the moment, they are equally matched, swords crossed and faces close together. Peter is furious, but at the same time, unsure of himself. He faces not a Pirate, but a Girl.
"I cannot go home, Peter," Wendy explains. "I cannot fly, because I had to grow up. I have nowhere else to be."
"You could have stayed with me," Peter insists.
Wendy smiles, and the right-hand corner of her mouth crinkles, mockingly. "I could not have. You were too afraid of me."
She pushes his sword away, abruptly, so that they are both disarmed. She moves closer to him.
"I can see your fear, Peter," she says quietly. "Might I take it from you?"
She takes advantage of his confusion to give him the kiss which has gone to waste for so very long. He doesn't know what to do, whether to move or mimic her or fly away, and such is his undoing.
"There, now," says Red-Handed Jill, stepping away. "I have taken your fear and given you my love. Ye cannot say it was not a generous gift."
"I did not want it!" Peter snarls, leaping into the air. "How dare you try to give me your feelings."
"Oh, it is too late for that, I'm afraid," says the pirate girl. "Now you'll have them forever."
"I suppose he'll have to grow up, now," says Hook, watching the boy fly away. "You've adapted to piracy quite well, you know."
Wendy closes her eyes. She can feel the confusion and fear and desperate wish for things to be as they used to that she had taken from Peter, and it all seems to be situated in the lower right-hand corner of her stomach, like a painful lump.
This was not the ending she had wanted.