Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon A Time. I would say that I own Jess, but I think she belongs to no one but herself.
It only takes a few minutes for Pan to wake up. By now I've moved away from him, and sit in a chair to the side of the Dark One's shop. Part of me expects Pan to immediately start trying to throw spells, trying to escape, but he doesn't. He just opens his eyes, and stares at the ceiling, as if he's trying to figure out where he is. No traces of fear, panic, or anything.
Of course. He already has won. He's killed Felix. He's killed Felix, and used his heart to enact the Curse. What does he need to fear anymore?
It's funny, really. He's killed my brother. He's killed Felix. And right now, all I can feel is… numbness. Because if I feel anything else, then I'll be rendered into the weeping mess in Bae's arms. And I won't let Pan see that. I won't let him see how much agony I feel about Felix.
But where is the justice in that? He killed Felix, and he just lies there, calm and collected, while I have to feel only numbness in order to keep myself from breaking down. How is that fair?
The Dark One stands in front of him, not tearing his eyes off of his father.
"Hello, Papa," he says, sarcasm dripping from every word.
Pan doesn't look at his son. He only smirks, and slowly starts to sit up.
"Thought you'd have killed me in my sleep, laddie," he comments as he swings his feet over the side of the cot he's been lying on. "I guess you changed your-"
He stops, finally noticing the cuff on his wrist. The one that I made, the one that prevents him from using magic. His face still doesn't show any trace of fear. His smirk falls, and he frowns slightly, but there is no way anyone can believe that he is afraid.
"Ah, I see," he says, almost to himself, before turning back to his son. "You've taken away my magic. That's why it's so easy for you to strut around and pose."
Even if his son has blocked his magic, he's still won. His Curse is still coming. And Felix is still dead. And nothing is going to change that. Dammit, I can't think about that.
I shift in my seat, blinking rapidly before my eyes can begin to mist. I won't let him see me like that. I won't let him see me this way. I won't let him know what he's done to me. But the slight movement is enough to get Pan's attention. His eyes move away from his son to me, and for a split second they meet. As soon as they do, I see it return. I see that sick lust in his eyes, the twisted desire that has followed me for ages, without me ever truly realizing what it was. The look that would always freeze my blood, and make me want to run.
And yet now… I can't feel afraid, or disgusted at the look in his eye. Not because I'm no longer afraid, not because I'm no longer disgusted. I just… can't feel…
Pan's brow furrows with confusion as he meets my eyes, and I refuse to feel anything. For now, it's better. It's better that I feel nothing. Better that I keep that fire at bay, better that the beast does not get it's chance to devour me. Better that he doesn't see how broken I am inside. It occurs to me that Pan doesn't know why I'm like this. He may think it has to do with Felix, but he also admitted that he has desired me for years. I guess he expects me to feel something, be it rage or disgust. But not this time. I don't give him that.
"I wanted to talk to you," the Dark One says, drawing back his father's attention back to him. "I wanted you to see me, and think about what you've done."
For a split second, Pan blinks, as if surprised by his son's desire, but he quickly hides it. Instead, he scoffs at the Dark One's words, and sits up a little further.
"Of course," he replies, mockingly . "To look at my son here at the end, and really see him, and think about what might have been. Is that what you truly want? Because I do."
He sighs, and his eyes get a far away look, as if he's remembering something.
"I remember looking at you, the littlest babe," he explains. "Helpless and all, mind. Those big, big eyes, just full of tears, pulling at me."
He frowns, and slowly his eyes lose their far away look. He looks at the Dark One, who looks like he's doing everything to remain impassive, but I can see the hurt in his eyes.
"Pulling away my name," Pan continues, his voice getting angrier with every word. "My money, my time. Pulling away any chance I had at making a better life for myself. This pink, naked, squirming little larva, that wanted to eat my dreams alive and never stop! And what are you now, a couple hundred? Can't I be free of you?"
Gods, I thought it was impossible for me to feel. I thought it would be impossible to feel anything besides the numbness that I've been feeling since my break down. But now that I hear these words, now that I hear what Pan truly thinks of his son…
Disgust rolls through me, and I find my fist clenched in anger. So that's how he sees it. He blames his son for making his life miserable. He blames his son for any unhappiness he had before he abandoned him. Even though the Dark One is standing before me, all I can see is the helpless little boy, begging his father not to abandon him. One who was crying at the foot of the pixie dust trees, because he thought he had lost his father. One who only wanted him and his father to stay together.
And Pan blames him for that. He blames his son, that little boy, for any unhappiness he had. He abandoned him, and yet he blames his own child. And I thought Pan couldn't disgust me any further after he told me he desired me.
Part of me absently wonders if that's how my father saw me when he left. Did he see me as a burden? Did he blame me for being married to his mother, and not the woman he left us for? Did he blame Abby and I for any unhappiness he had before he left us?
I should have realized, I think. He and my father are truly alike every time I think about it. The only difference is that my father left my family for another woman, while Pan left his son for power.
The Dark One's eyes shine with the same disgust I feel. While part of him is hurting at his father's words, I can tell he isn't blaming himself the way Pan blames him. He knows that he was only a child. He knows that his father's words are just the twisted words of a sick bastard. One look in his eyes, and I can tell that his anger at his father outweighs any hurt from his father's words.
"Oh, you will be," the Dark One replies to his father, every syllable filled with barely contained rage. "In death."
He grabs the sword off the table, beside him, and holds it up to Pan's throat. Almost involuntarily, I tense, waiting for the Dark One to do it. It's strange, how I feel nothing as I watch. I promised Pan that I would feel nothing as I watched him die, but now that it is happening, it's strange how I don't feel angry, or scared, or sad. Hell, even my disgust is fading back into numbness. I should be covering my eyes, or grinning with anticipation, but I'm not. I'm just sitting here, waiting for the Dark One to strike Pan down.
Pan glances at the sword at his throat, and yet his face doesn't change. No fear, no surprise, not even grim acceptance like I had only hours ago, when he was going to rip my heart out. Something about this strikes me as wrong, and yet through my numbness, I can't see what it is. I don't know if my thoughts are just too muddled, or that my numbness has taken over me so completely that I just don't give a damn.
Pan turns to me, quirking an eyebrow in surprise.
"And you, Vin?" he asks, finally speaking to me since he woke up. "You're alright with watching this?"
I feel nothing. Even when I should be angry, even when I should be screaming bloody murder, even when I should be making him feel the pain I feel for losing Felix, I still feel nothing. It's as if losing Felix has burned away any other feeling I have, and replaced it with numbness until the grief hits me again.
After all this time, after everything he's done to me, I'm going to watch him die, and yet I don't feel anything. It suddenly strikes me how wrong that is, and how even after knowing how wrong it is, I still don't care.
The Dark One glances at me when I don't reply, and I think he can read between the lines. Even though we've only interacted a handful of times, he can tell that I've just stopped caring enough to even reply to Pan's words.
"She won't help you," he tells Pan, turning his attention back to his father. "She wanted to watch."
Pan's eyes widen ever so slightly with surprise, but it strikes me that it isn't horror in his eyes. He isn't scared. He's surprised at the news, but he isn't afraid. But… his son is holding a sword to his throat, and he knows I want to see him dead. So why isn't he afraid? Why isn't he begging for his life? Why isn't he struggling to find some way to escape all of this?
There's something else going on. We have him trapped and cornered but… that doesn't mean he's played all his cards. There's something else, something we're missing. What…
"Then one last lesson, son," Pan says slowly, almost earnestly, his eyes back to the Dark One.
He looks at his son for a split second, almost sincerely, when the facade drops, and his smirk returns, his eyes triumphant.
"Never make a cage you can't get out of."
With that, he reaches down, and almost casually rips off the cuff as if it were nothing.
What? How is that possible? I made that cuff. I made it myself. I made it so it would work on him. Hell, I saw it work on him! How is he able to take it off? How-
I stare at him, my body frozen. I should be running, I should be standing up and attacking him. I should be doing everything in my power to grab him and stop him. But I just sit in the same place, my body refusing to move, and my mind refusing to feel anything. No fear, no alarm just… nothing.
But how? How did he get the cuff to… what? How?
Pan glances at me, and his smirk only grows at my stunned expression.
"What, Vin?" he asks, brandishing the cuff. "Did you think I wouldn't notice the look you got when you made this? That you thought you could take away my magic and just run?"
Oh gods, he knew… he knew that I almost ran away that day. He knew that I was ready to run after putting the cuff on him. He knew all along, because I had a moment where he was helpless, and I could have run, and I didn't take the chance. So of course he would ensure that I would never get another chance like that. He changed the cuff so it no longer works on him. He must have changed it before sending it to his agents searching for Henry.
Gods, why am I not afraid? Why am I not running? I should be doing everything I can to escape, and yet I can't move my body at all. It's almost as if something inside of me has stopped caring if I live or die.
Because Felix is dead. He's dead, so why should I keep going? Why should I do anything? He's dead, and I died with him. Why should I be afraid, when I'm already dead inside?
"This cuff?" Pan scoffs, turning back to the Dark One. "It doesn't work on me."
His eyes are lit with a wicked gleam, as he sees the Dark One's shock at Pan pulling off the cuff.
"But on you," Pan goes on, gesturing to his son.
Without warning, the cuff vanishes from Pan's hand. The Dark One and I instantly look down at the man's wrist, where the cuff has suddenly reappeared. Pan put the cuff on him, which means… oh shit…
Pan grins, before leaping to his feet. He doesn't even spare me a second glance. It's almost as if he can tell that I can't move. As if he knows that part of me has already given up, that I've already died with Felix. Even now, as I watch the scene play out before my very eyes, I don't feel alarm, or fear. The adrenaline that should be rushing through me refuses to come.
"Down, boy," he sneers, sending a burst of magic at his son.
The Dark One might have been able to resist it with his full power, but he has the cuff on now. He can't fight back, no matter how hard he tries. As soon as Pan shoots the magic at him, he flies back, hitting the shelves behind him. Instantly, the glass objects on the shelves shatter, as the wood breaks underneath his weight. While I can't bring myself to feel anything, I can see the fear and desperation written across the Dark One's face as he sits up.
"Let's see how you do without magic!" Pan exclaims, his voice almost maniacal, as he slowly makes his way over to where his son has fallen.
The Dark One scrambles to get the sword he dropped when he was pushed back, but Pan swiftly kicks him, as if he were no more than a dog. Instantly, the Dark One crawls back, trying to put as much distance between himself and his father. He glances at me, but I am still frozen. He can shout at me to run, but it will only be a waste of breath. I don't think I could run,even if I wanted to.
"I've come to far for this," the Dark One pants. "For them."
Pan quirks an eyebrow with an expression that clearly says his son is pathetic.
"For your son?" he asks, his voice mocking. "No, it's too late. Soon that fine green smoke will fill their lungs, then fog their brains. And unlike the rest of this town, I'm not just going to take their memories. No, because of their special meaning to you, I'm going to take their lives."
He bends over his son, clearly enjoying the panic building in the man's eyes with every word. And yet, all I can think about is how strange it is to watch it from the side, rather than being the one that Pan is trying to make afraid.
"And you won't do a thing to stop me," Pan continues. "Do you know why? Because without magic, you are right back to where you started. The village coward."
With that, he stands, and turns, leaving his son lying on the floor. Immediately, the Dark One desperately tears at the cuff, doing everything in his power to pull it off. But it won't work. I made the cuff so it can't be removed by the wearer. He can't take it off, not unless someone else does it for him.
It's only after this thought that I realize that Pan is advancing towards me. I meet his eyes, and I see all the same things that I saw only hours ago, when he tried to rip my heart out. Lust, desire, anger, a sick enjoyment. And yet, this time I can't bring myself to be disgusted or afraid. I can't feel anything as he roughly grabs me by my arm and pulls me to my feet.
"You aren't running, Vin?" he asks, his voice half mocking, half confused. "I would have thought you would have been long gone, like you were when Felix let you go."
The blow is low, and he knows it. He and I both know that when I ran, it was adrenaline, and pure survival instincts that made me run. If I stayed, there was no way I could have survived, so I had to run. And yet, the words still hurt. If I could feel anything, it might have caused me to collapse and burst into tears. But in my numbness, it's only a dull pain, like gently pressing down on a fading bruise.
I don't reply to Pan's comment. I should be afraid for my life and yet I don't feel a thing. Part of me wonders when I made the decision not to feel when Pan died if it affected any other feeling, even if he lived. It would explain why I'm not struggling, but only staring blankly at him as he slams me against the wall.
Pan frowns at my lack of response, his eyes roaming over my face in confusion.
"Vin?" he asks, for once sounding genuinely concerned. "What is it?"
Huh, how about that? He actually is afraid that he broke his favorite toy. It turns out the mermaids were right. I am just a toy…
And yet… how can he not understand? How can he not get why I am like this? He made me this way when he killed Felix. He killed Felix, and I died with my brother. How can he ask me why I'm like this when he's the one who made me this way?
"You killed Felix," I answer, and I'm surprised at how broken my voice sounds. It's as if the grief that I'm holding back is demanding to be released, if only through my words. "I can't feel anything anymore!"
For a second, Pan looks taken aback at my outburst. As if he didn't expect me to have that much emotion inside me. Hell, I didn't think I would either. I feel nothing but a void, and yet the words that have escaped me carry every ounce of grief that I have felt since I realized Felix was gone.
But then the surprise melts into a gleeful anticipation. The same sick anticipation he got every time that I was on the brink of breaking, but still came back. Every time that I almost let him win, but still fought back. Every time that I kept this sick game between us going.
"Really?" he asks, his mouth twisting into a sadistic grin. "Not even this?"
Before I can react, he crushes his cold lips against mine. His tongue invades my mouth, and he inhales as if taking in my scent. One hand goes to my head, tangling itself in my hair, while the other snakes around my waist, pulling me to him. He continues to ravage my mouth with his kiss, as the hand around my waist tears at the fabric of my shirt. Instinctively, I try to scream in protest, and pull away, but his other hand holds me in a vice like grip as he tears through the fabric, until my abdomen is exposed. He tosses away the fabric of my shirt, as he assaults me again with his mouth, still holding me to him. His hand free hand returns to my body, caressing the scar from where he stabbed me.
Something, something finally breaks through the numbness. As if some pure, animal instinct inside me finally snaps and demands that I open my eyes. To realize, despite the numbness that has consumed me, that this is wrong!
GET THE HELL OFF OF ME!
Adrenaline finally kicks in, and I shove him with every ounce of strength inside of me. Immediately, his grip falters, and his lips leave mine. His eyes grow wide for a split second as he stumbles back into the table behind him, still reeling from the force of my push. The second that he isn't touching me, my body remembers how to move. I don't even think as I bolt for the door, running with a burst of speed I didn't think I was capable of.
It's not enough.
Before I have even left the back room, when Pan's hand shoots out, grabbing me by my arm, and flinging me against the wall. The breath is knocked out of me, but the instinct to survive still pushes on. Without hesitation, I charge forward, ready to push him out of the way, but Pan snatches my shoulders, and he slams me against the wall again. I glance at his eyes for a heartbeat, and I involuntarily scream. Everything I saw before is still there, but it has increased exponentially. He grins like a madman, and his eyes are lit with what I can only describe as insanity.
"There it is, Vin!" he crows. "There's the fire I love to play with!"
Without warning, his swings forward, and kicks me hard in my left knee. I barely have time to register a loud crunch! when-
Blinding white pain consumes me, searing through me like a hot iron.
For a second, I can't see, hear, or do anything as the pain takes over my mind.
I don't know if I scream or not. I'm only aware of a second flash of pain that shoots through my entire body.
Oh gods! Oh gods!
Blackness almost takes over me, as I gasp, my throat suddenly raw. I realize that I'm panting as the black and white start to ebb away, and my senses start to return to me. Only one clear thought runs through my head, as I realize that I've collapsed to the floor of the pawnshop.
My leg. He's broken my leg.
"Oh gods," I pant, trying to think through the pain. "Oh gods…"
I don't even have time to think past that. I don't have time to comprehend anything, or move, or breathe, or do anything. I don't have time to figure anything else out, as Pan's hand shoots out, grabbing me by hair, and pulling me up to look at him.
My eyes are watery, so his face his blurry, but I can still make out the sheer pleasure and insanity in his eyes as looks me over, as if admiring his handiwork. I gasp sharply as he pulls my hair a little harder, and another burst of pain shoots through me.
Don't pass out. Don't pass out, dammit!
Through the pain, it suddenly occurs to me as Pan looks me up and down that he's looking at me like I'm a work of art. My arms bear the bruises he gave me, my abdomen has the scar that he gave me, and now my leg is broken because of him. A perfect masterpiece of his handiwork. Pan almost drinks it in for a moment, before smiling, and throwing my arm around him.
"Right then," he says, his voice almost casual. "Come along, Vin. Our work isn't done yet."
I can't suppress a cry of pain as he stands, forcing me to stand with him. Again, I almost black out from the pain as he shifts my arm so that I'm leaning on him for support, while his other arm wraps around me, half in support, half as a kind of embrace. Tears are freely leaking from my eyes, I can feel blood trickling down my temple and from my lip, and I know that if he lets go, I'm going to collapse. I'm absently aware of the Dark One still struggling desperately against the cuff as Pan half carries, half drags me out of the shop. Every step is another burst of agony in my leg, and it suddenly occurs to me that this is what he wanted. He wanted to make it so that I can't run away. He's going to make watch whatever it is he's planning.
Oh gods… my brothers…
Pan says nothing as he pulls me out of the pawn shop, and I gasp with pain as he starts to make his way down the street. Part of me almost wants to pass out, but every time I do, something inside me fights back, and refusing to go down now. My resolve starts to falter the further down we go, and if I wasn't already doing everything to keep from screaming with every step, I would ask Pan where he's taking me.
My brothers… if he's heading for my brothers…
My unspoken question is answered only seconds later, when I see a small group of people standing in the middle of the street. Through my pain, it takes me a second to recognize them. The blonde hair, the woman in a white coat, Bae, Hook, Henry…
They don't see Pan and I, and I almost shout a warning when Pan roughly readjusts his grip on me, sending another wave of pain through my leg.
Damn bastard! He did that on purpose!
The others are gathered around Regina, who is gently cupping Henry's face, nothing but love and resolve in her eyes. In her other hand, she holds a velvet bound scroll. I hear Henry ask her if she's going to be okay, but I can't focus as Pan starts to pull me closer to them.
"The important thing is that you will be," Regina tells her son.
Pan grins, and lets go of my hand, his other arm still supporting me. A split second later, the scroll in Regina's hand vanishes, and reappears in Pan's, just like the cuff did on the Dark One moments ago. The others only have a split second to react before Pan gets their attention.
"No, he won't!" Pan calls, drawing all of their attention to him and I.
Instantly, Regina and Emma start to pull Henry away, but Hook and Bae's eyes widen at the sight of me, beaten and bloody at Pan's side.
"Jess!" Hook shouts, his hand whipping out, as if to reach out to me.
"He has the-" David begins to shout at the same time as Hook.
Pan waves a hand over all of them, and for a split second, they all glow with a red light. Instantly, all of them are frozen in place.
Oh gods… oh gods…
"Curse?" Pan finishes cheerfully for David, holding up the scroll in his hand. "Indeed I do."
With that, he lets me down. Not roughly, but not gently either. As soon as he lets go, I collapse, another burst of pain flaring through my broken leg. For a second, angry black spots dance before my eyes, as I gasp in pain.
Dammit, I won't pass out. I won't pass out!
It takes me a second to grit my teeth and try to focus, but when I do, I can only sit up, using my arms to support my weight, my broken leg at an awkward angle. The gravel bites against the exposed skin of my abdomen, where Pan tore my shirt, and blood is still dripping from my lip and temple. Luckily, my eyes have stopped watering, and I can see clearly. The others are still frozen, but their eyes can still move from what I can see. Emma, Regina, Snow and David are all staring at Pan, while Hook and Bae are looking at me with worry.
Gods, I can't do anything, I realize. Not with my leg like this. I can't do anything. I can't run, I can't fight. I'm as helpless as the rest of them.
I realize that Pan has dropped me so that I'm at his feet. Part of me wonders if he's being dramatic, or if it's just a coincidence. I'm willing to bet it's the first one. Either way, Pan steps forward, looking at the frozen people in front of him.
Oh gods… what he said to the Dark One… he's going to kill them. He's going to kill them!
No… no, dammit! No…
"Look at you all," Pan drawls, "a captive audience. I could play with you like a pack of dolls, couldn't I?"
He glances back at me, and he meets my eyes for a brief second. Gods, the sick bastard is enjoying this. He enjoys seeing that I'm helpless. He enjoys knowing that he's going to kill them, and I can't do a damn thing to stop them. He's going to kill them… just like he killed Felix. Pan's lip curls with amusement at the sight of me.
"Of course," he says, his voice almost fond. "Vin is my favorite doll, so I'll have to save her for later."
Save me for later? Is that a joke? Considering how he just broke my leg, I'd say the son of a bitch has played with me more than anyone else.
I snarl at the jab, only for Pan to step on my broken leg. The snarl becomes a cry of pain, as I struggle not to pass out again. This time, the adrenaline isn't enough. I find myself collapsing on the gravel, as sweet sleep consumes me and relieves the pain. I try to fight it, but there is only so much I can do.
What happens next becomes a blur as I go in and out of consciousness.
I see Pan stepping towards the others, a sneering grin on his face.
I see the green storm getting closer and closer.
I see Rumplestiltskin struggling to stop Pan, only for a shadow to swoop down and throw him to the side.
Without hesitation, Pan breaks his legs.
I see three figures lying on the ground, but their shapes are only blurs, as blackness consumes me.
I open my eyes only briefly to see the green fog approaching me at a rapid pace only feet away from me.
As the repulsive smoke forces its way into my mouth, and into my lungs, I can only make out one single thought.
He's won. Pan has won.
My eyes fly open, as I start awake.
Felix! Pan! No!
I sit upright, and vaguely hear something slide to the floor with a thud. But my mind is still rushing with what occurred only moments ago.
Pan had won. The curse was coming, it was taking over all of us, and he had won. He had taken the Dark One's magic, he had broken my leg, and he had won.
The others were… oh gods, he had the others paralyzed. They were trapped. Hook, Bae, and Henry. I have to find them. I have to-
I freeze, as a new realization washes over me: I don't know where the hell I am.
The first thing I notice is that my leg is no longer broken. The lack of pain alone tells me that. But as soon as I look down at my leg, I see that my clothes have changed. Instead of wearing Ruby's torn up hand-me-downs, I'm in what I can only describe as a white evening gown. A white, silk, sleeveless evening gown.
This is crazy…
I look around the room, finally taking in my surroundings. I'm lying on a couch, in the middle of a small library, lit by a crackling fireplace. There are no windows in the room, so I have no idea what time it is, or where I am. As I sit up, my bare feet touch a rug and a book that looks like it slid off of me. I just know that I've never been here before, not even in my dreams of the Enchanted Forest.
Wait. Pan's curse was coming. I remember inhaling the smoke. And then I suddenly woke up in this place.
The curse. This is because of the curse.
Which means if I'm here, the others are likely also in danger. Bae, Hook, my brothers. I have to get out of here and find them.
Without thinking, I stand up, hiking the stupidly long skirt up to my knees and run for the door. But before I even put my hand on the handle it swings open, leading me to almost collide with the person on the other side.
I'm greeted with a familiar face, and feel a sudden burst of relief.
The Evil Queen gasps, evidently surprised that I was on the other side of the door. But the second I see her, an uncharacteristic fear flashes in her eyes, as she quickly backs away.
"Milady, I'm so sorry," she whispers, bowing her head. "I… I didn't know… I'm sorry…"
What? Since when did Regina ever apologize to anyone?
As she backs up, I see her clothes have changed as well. She is wearing a long, modest black dress, a wrinkled apron, and white cap. She looks like a maid.
I feel something wet against my bare feet and I look down to see that she has dropped a silvery tray with what looks like the remnants of a tea set. The pieces are now broken on the floor, the floor stained with the hot, brown liquid.
What the hell?
Right I have no time for this. I've found the Evil Queen, and that means I have something of an ally. At least someone who can help me find the others.
"Regina, what is going on?" I ask quickly. "Where the hell are we?"
She looks up at me, as if I'm speaking gibberish, but she still seems afraid. Keeping her eyes on me, she hesitantly sinks to the ground, and begins to mop up the spilled tea with her apron.
"You must have fallen asleep, Milady," she says sheepishly. "The Master asked me to fetch you, when-"
The Master? Milady? What the hell happened after the smoke consumed us?
"Regina, where are we?" I ask again, sinking down to eye-level with her. "Where are the others? Where-"
But as soon as my knees touch the ground, she gasps and shakes her head.
"Milady, your dress!"
I look down and see the evening gown quickly turning a murky brown color as it soaks up the tea that Regina didn't get.
That's what she's worried about? Our friends are out there somewhere, and she's worried about some stupid dress?
"I don't care about the damn dress, Regina!" I shout in frustration. "We need to find-"
I stop when I see her visibly flinch at my raised voice.
I admit, I didn't know Regina well but I know her well enough to know that she's not that kind of person. She doesn't show any fear, even to people she knows are powerful. She never lets anyone know if she's scared or hurt. It's her way of staying in control.
Is this the Curse? Has she been changed by it? But if that's the case, why doesn't she remember? I know I remember what had happened before. Why not her?
For a terrifying second, my heart drops with fear as I wonder if that is really true. Do I really remember everything? Or did Pan use the Curse to wipe my memories?
My name is Vin. I'm a Lost Girl of Neverland, but I'm meant to rule Neverland, not Pan. My sister is Abby, my brothers are the Lost Boys. My father left my family, but Captain Hook became a father to me. My best friends are Baelfire and Felix-
No… no, that's not completely true is it? He freed me to save me from Pan, and Pan killed him in retaliation. He used Felix to activate the Curse. He killed my brother, because he wanted to have his way.
Felix is dead.
Tears sting my eyes as the thought rips at my gut. I have no idea how long it has been, but to me, it only seems to be hours ago. Before, I was numb and empty, because I was so exhausted physically and emotionally. But now, despite my panic, the wound is still fresh to me, and the pain is still blinding.
My brother is dead.
Regina seems to sense the change, because she looks up at me again in confusion, but the fear is still present as she picks up the broken pieces with shaky hands.
"Lady Vin?" she asks hesitantly. "Are you alright?"
There it is again. Lady Vin. What the hell does that mean? It has to be linked to the Curse, but it makes no sense. I was such a thorn in Pan's side, so why would his Curse have Regina calling me her lady?
"It's alright, Regina."
My blood runs cold at that voice. My breath almost leaves my body as I look up to see Pan casually leaning against the wall behind Regina. The expression on his face is nothing short of triumphant. As I slowly stand, his eyes follow me, as if he's admiring his work. As soon as he looks at me, I can see the same twisted look in his eyes that he's always had around me. The one he had only hours ago, when he told me I was the thing he loved most.
He killed Felix. He killed Felix to bring me here.
Every inch of me wants to run, and yet I'm not sure if I want to run away, or run and attack him. He killed my brother. The bastard killed my brother, and he's acting like he has the world in the palm of his hand!
Without thinking, I bend down, and grab the largest, sharpest piece of broken china.
It isn't one of my knives, but it will do.
I hear Regina gasp as I lunge forward, jabbing my weapon at Pan. I haven't even gotten close when he stands straight, his gaze intense.
"Stop!" he orders.
Without even thinking, my body stops moving, my arm dropping to the side. The shard of china slides out of my hand, and shatters on the ground. My heart is pounding against my chest, and every part of me still wants to run, to attack, to escape. But I can't even flex a muscle. I just stand, as if frozen, staring at Pan in horror.
I stopped… because he told me too.
I meet Pan's gaze, and the grin on his face is pure ecstasy. Even though I can't move, I feel chills creep up my spin, as my stomach twists into a knot.
Oh gods… oh gods, no. Please, no…
Pan turns to Regina, who is watching the scene with terrified confusion. As soon as his eyes land on her, his face twists into amused disgust.
"What are you staring at?" he demands, his tone harsh. "Clean up this mess!"
Regina flinches again at his words, and quickly scrambles to follow his instructions. Her mannerisms, her expression, the undeniable fear she has as she obeys him. It's as if someone has completely erased her, and replaced her with someone else. Hell, it's only because Pan called her Regina that I'm sure it's her.
I'm pulled back to reality, when Pan roughly grabs me, and pulls me with him. Almost instantly, the paralysis vanishes, and I can suddenly move with him, keeping pace.
As soon as he starts dragging me, I twist like an eel, trying to free my arm from his grip. Pan shoots me an irritated glance, as if I'm a child who hasn't learned to say 'please.'
"Stop struggling, Vin."
I stop struggling.
Without hesitation, I involuntarily go still, and let him lead me into another room.I can feel his eyes on me, but I don't dare look back. Instead, I grit my teeth, and try to pull away from him.
But my body doesn't react. It doesn't react.
No matter how much force I put into it, no matter how much I will myself to run, I physically can't make my body move. Just as it was when he poisoned me to trick Henry into giving up his heart.
No… no! Not this. Not this again! Damn it, no!
A familiar feeling of panic rises within me as I start to struggle again, just to move. I can feel adrenaline rushing through me, my heart is pounding at high speed, and every instinct is screaming at me to run. But my body doesn't react. Even as I keep pace with Pan, as he leads me into another room, I can't struggle no matter how much I try.
I can't run from him. I can't run!
I sit down.
The room itself looks like a living room, luxuriously decorated to the point that it's absurd. As if someone is trying to go out of their way to display their wealth. And if Regina meant what she said about calling me "milady" and Pan "master," I have a pretty good idea who is trying to show off like this.
Pan himself is standing in front of me, looking down on me. He looks so smug and pleased with himself. Much like he did when we first met thirty years ago, and he dragged me away from my little sister. I almost bite my tongue hard enough to draw blood, as I glare back at him.
My hands are clenched tightly in the folds of the dress, curling the brown and white fabric into balls.
He wants me to fight back, I remind myself. That's what he wanted when I was in Gold's pawn shop. It's no different here. He told me as much anyway. He told me he liked it when I fought against him, because I was challenging him.
Right before he was going to rip out my heart, to make the Curse.
So I don't say a word. I don't say a damn thing. I just glare back at him, refusing to give him the satisfaction of seeing just how terrified I really am.
And I'm as terrified as hell. Because right now, I'm alone in the room with Pan. And I know that he can do anything he wants with me right now, and I can't move a damn muscle to get away.
Felix… he killed Felix… There is no way in hell that I am giving him any sort of satisfaction from me.
Both of us remain where we are. I can tell that Pan is waiting expectantly for some sort of comment, or jab, or even fear from me. But I stay silent, never once looking away.
After a couple of minutes, Pan rolls his eyes, and groans.
"Oh come on, Vin!" he say, sounding annoyed. "Say something. I know this is killing you."
He's right. It is. But not because of this. Because of what he did to Felix.
My mouth is opening involuntarily, again obeying him without a second thought.
But he wants me to say something? Fine.
"Go to hell."
Pan grins, satisfied at my response. I don't know if it's a mark of how well I know him, or if it's just so obvious. But I already know his next words. And they are completely true.
"Sorry, Vin. But we're already there."
A/N: And, the adventure begins!
Welcome, my lovely readers! I'm so glad to start this new story as we move on to the next adventure for Jess.
For new readers who have decided to read this story on a whim, I highly recommend that you read the first story Fading Away, to help you make sense of this story. For old readers, I'm so excited to get this started, and I can't believe we have gotten this far. I hope y'all will enjoy this as much as you did Fading Away, and that I won't be chased down by the torches and pitchfork mobs for my capricious updates. I just got the roof repaired from the last one.
As I said in my update in Fading Away, this story will be rated M, as it will deal with issues involving sexual assault, sexual harassment, emotional, physical, and verbal abuse, prostitution, and possible suicidal thoughts. If any of these will be harmful to your mental health in anyway, please put yourself first and don't read this story. If you have had a history with any of the above issues, I implore you to seek help if you need it, and to know that you are not alone. At the end of this note will be the numbers to the American National Hotlines for Sexual Assault, Domestic Abuse, and Suicide. Please know that you are not alone, and that there are many who have your back and will support you no matter what, myself included.
And on that note, please follow, favorite, review, or do whatever y'all want (if you wish to print a chapter on paper so that you can burn it, I applaud your efforts). Right now, my diet consists of coffee and reviews, and I am low on coffee creamer!
Thank you, let's get this story started, and above all, do not forget to love each other.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255