A/N: OMG, I can't believe I finally finished this chapter. It's only been half-written for the last 5 months! Inspiration and free time have not been lining up correctly, and I've basically been writer's blocked ever since I started my new job. I love my job, but it doesn't allow me the free time I used to have to sit and think of plots and dialogue, and write things down. I hope that you enjoy this chapter, those of you who are still reading it. I promise I'll try to update again in a more reasonable amount of time, and I apologize for taking so long on this one. BTW, this is my first update since the new rating system went into effect. Does T fit this story, or do you think I should move it to M? Let me know and I'll change it if I need to.


Chapter 31

She was clean, her skin still tingly, her hair only slightly damp. She was bandaged, her wounded arm properly washed and wrapped in clean, white linen. She was clothed, wearing one of the simpler dresses that Smee had made. She was full, her belly happily digesting the surprisingly edible fare of bread and broth that Cookson had prepared. She was chained, staring in dismay at the strange, heavy shackles on her ankles that Billy Jukes had specially designed just for her, the cuffs weighted to sink her to the bottom of the bay if she tried to swim again. But most of all she was miserable, listening to Hook drone on and on while trying her best not to show the bitterness she still harbored towards him or the utter depression that threatened to overwhelm her.

"Are you listening to me, Kitten?" Hook snapped, irritated. The girl kept staring at her feet with a pained expression, and Hook couldn't fathom why she was having such a hard time paying attention. He was being patient with her while he explained the rules that would govern her life aboard his ship, yet she was sorely trying that patience by not showing him proper respect. "Pan!"

Peter's eyes snapped up to meet Hook's, and for an instant the man saw her brow furrow into a deep frown before she schooled her face back into a mask of polite interest. "I'm listening, Captain," she answered, her voice uncharacteristically respectful. "I am to take my meals either in my own room or with you, at your direction. If I'm invited to dine with you, I'll not complain if you make it a formal affair, and I will dress accordingly. I will mind my manners and follow the rules of etiquette that you teach me. I won't…"

"That's enough, Kitten," Hook interrupted, mollified that she apparently had been paying attention. "It's good to know that your memory has vastly improved since your godfather removed those spells...though the rest of you seems to have degenerated somewhat." Her expression turned to one of hurt and her gaze dropped again. Hook sighed in frustration. He was still angry at her, but it was muted now, satisfied with her punishment and recent contrition. He rightfully didn't trust her, and it would be some time before she would be able to redeem herself sufficiently to convince him to take those shackles off her feet. But he was also, strangely, worried about her, and not just because of the dire pronouncement the pixy healer had made about the girl's health. Peter had seemed almost cheerful when she'd emerged from her bath and while she ate, obviously refreshed by the comforts of cleanliness and sustenance. Now, however, she was quiet and withdrawn... so respectful in fact that it made Hook's hackles rise. Peter Pan had never been this well behaved; something was obviously wrong with her and he wanted to know what it was.

"What is the matter, Kitten?" he asked, deciding to be direct. If she were merely sulking, he'd send her back to her room for the night and allow her to vent her childishness there. If she felt ill or was otherwise distressed, he wanted to know what ailed her so that he could do something to alleviate it.

Peter snorted at Hook, looking up to meet his gaze again. "Are you being serious, or is this some new way for you to ridicule me, Captain?" When the man merely frowned at her, she shook her head in exasperation. "There's nothing wrong. I feel great, wonderful," she said flatly, not even trying to pretend to mean it. She'd apologized and promised to obey, and she fully intended to do her best to avoid provoking him, but she wasn't going to go out of her way to be friendly with him either. She'd just as soon kiss Oolok the Troll as trust Captain Hook again. "What could I possibly complain about?"

Hook's eyes narrowed at her dry tone. "Something is bothering you and I want to know what it is."

"There's nothing wrong. I'm fine," she repeated, rising from her chair. She raised her feet experimentally, testing the weights clamped about her ankles. She could walk, but they would definitely hamper her. The chain that connected the shackles would keep her from running anywhere, and she could already envision the many difficulties she was going to have navigating about the decks without getting snagged on something. "May we continue this tomorrow, Captain? I'd like to go out and get some fresh air."

Hook stood as the girl turned away, grabbing her arm to halt her. Peter gave a pained cry and tried to pull back, and it took the man a moment to realize he was squeezing her injury. He relaxed his grip and slid his hold down her arm to grasp her just below her elbow. "Not just yet, Pan," Hook growled, jerking her closer. "I've told you before: when I ask you a question, I want it answered. And I warned you about lying to me. Now, I'm fairly certain I can guess what is upsetting you, but I'd prefer you to tell me." She'd turned quiet when he'd clapped the shackles on her feet and he suspected she was sulking about being bound. Surely she didn't think I'd be so foolish as to let her go about unfettered so she could jump ship again?

Peter glared at him for a moment, remembering the night he'd become angry at her because she'd refused to answer his questions. It was the night she'd confided in him about Liam. Her anger at Hook flared as she remembered how he'd later used her confidence against her. "Why should I tell you anything, Hook?" she hissed, pulling against his grip. "I trusted you before and you betrayed me. I won't make that mistake again."

"If anyone's trust has been betrayed, Pan, it's mine!" Hook retorted. "I'm still astounded that I wasted all of my good intentions on such a thankless…"

"Lying, worthless little slut," Peter finished for him. "Yes, Captain, I know what you think of me: I'm not worth wasting a half-penny on; I've had more hands up my skirt than you've got on deck; I…"

"What's your point?" Hook snarled, dismayed to hear his words flung back at him. In the absence of his mind-blurring rage, they sounded much worse than he'd remembered.

Peter ceased pulling against the man and took a deep breath, trying to regain her calm. "Did you mean it?" she asked, looking up at him reproachfully. "After you saw my memories you said you didn't think I was disgusting... when I confided in you about Liam you said it wasn't my fault. Were you lying to me?" She didn't know what bothered her more: that he had said those hateful things to her, or that his opinion seemed to matter to her so much. She hadn't intended to bring this up, actually had hoped to avoid any further confrontation with the cruel pirate for the rest of her stay aboard his ship... but now that the matter had come up she found that she needed to know what he truly thought of her.

Hook let go of Peter's arm with an annoyed huff, fighting the odd burn of shame her question had ignited. "I shouldn't have said that to you. It is unseemly for a gentleman to say such things to a lady, much less a young girl." Hook felt his discomfort increase, realizing that Peter was very much still a young girl. He'd slandered her horribly and added injury to his insult by whipping her… actions which flew in the face of the chivalrous education his dear mother had striven to instill in him.

"Well, you said it," Peter insisted, lightly rubbing her hurt arm while glaring at him. "What I care about is if you meant it."

"One thing you should have learned by now, Pan, is that when I'm angry, I strike out with any weapon at my disposal... and I aim to wound as deeply as I can. You made me very angry, and I wanted to hurt you as much as I could. That's why I said those repugnant things to you." He saw the angry hurt in her eyes and continued, knowing that he'd gone too far the night of her escape and that his words had been inexcusable. "No, Kitten, I didn't mean what I said." Hook knew that he should apologize to her – good form demanded that he kneel before her and beg for her forgiveness, that he lavish her with praise to soothe her injured feelings and warm her heart towards him again. But his knees wouldn't bend and the apology died on his lips, the remnants of his anger and bitterness getting in the way. Had she been any other girl he would have; but this was Pan, his nemesis still, and he could not forgive her lightly.

Peter watched the man's face intently. He wasn't being completely forthcoming about something, she could see the conflict in his expression but she didn't know what it meant. Was he lying, or was there something else he was going to say and changed his mind? "You didn't mean to call me a lying, murdering whore? Thank you, Captain, that makes me feel so much better." Her voice dripped with sarcasm that she couldn't hide, and she decided that the sooner she left the man's company, the less likely she'd eventually lose her patience and say something she'd regret. "If you'll excuse me, I need some air."

Hook reached out his hand to place it upon her shoulder, but to his shock Peter winced and shied away. She flinched from me! Peter Pan has never flinched from me, no matter how close I came to killing him! It dismayed him more to realize that it was the memory of her uncle she was really flinching from, because Hook had reminded her so much of that boorish sot.

"I wasn't going to hit you, Kitten," Hook said soothingly, turning his palm upwards in a peaceful gesture.

"How should I know that?" Peter replied, watching his hand carefully. "You whipped me, what's a slap or a punch after that?"

Hook closed his eyes briefly, steeling himself for what he knew he needed to say. "I shouldn't have flogged you. I do not regret recapturing you, and you deserved to be punished for your transgressions. You're lucky I decided not to keep you locked in your room until such time as we've left Neverland. I regret striking you in that manner... there are more appropriate ways I could have punished you. I promise you, Pan, I won't strike you again unless it's a fight you've started."

"Don't worry, Hook," Peter replied, "that night was my last chance to get away and go home. I don't believe I have the strength left to try again, and I'd rather not spend my last days fighting you."

"You're not going to die, Pan."

"Oh?" Peter asked. "Did you change your mind and decide to take me ashore to rebond?" She sighed at Hook's frown, chiding herself for allowing herself to feel that brief spark of hope. "Of course not. You're too selfish to bear setting me free. You'd rather see me dead."

"I still hope that your godparents will find a replacement for you long before your possible demise becomes an issue," Hook corrected her. "That pixie healer will be by tomorrow to check on you, and she will monitor your health daily. We should have ample warning if your health begins to deteriorate."

A wild, slightly hysterical laugh was the girl's response to that plan. A moment later Peter bit her lip and shook her head, feeling as if she would weep. "You'll do what you must, Captain, as will I. May I go outside now? I've been cooped up too long and I'd like some fresh air." Please say yes or I think I might go insane.

Hook stared at her intently and for a horrible moment she thought he'd tell her 'no' and make her listen to more of his lecture, but at long last the man gave her an indulgent smile and a nod.

"I'll escort you to your room when it is time for bed," he promised.

Peter let out a relieved breath and shuffled to the door, the heavy chains on her feet slowing her. Hook's voice made her pause as she stepped through the doorway. "Just a warning, Kitten, despite your assurances that you'll stay put. If you do manage to slip those restraints and attempt to escape again," he said matter-of-factly, "I will pursue you. And when I recapture you, I'll not go through the trouble of bringing you back. I'll simply slit your throat and leave your sodden carcass to rot on the shore. Is that understood, my dear?"

"Aye, Captain," Peter answered, unfazed by his threat. She wasn't planning to escape again, so she had nothing to worry about. She'd only try to run if it was assured she would get away, but until then she didn't have time to play games. She had a gunner to concentrate on. Peter stepped outside, feeling a great sense of oppression slip from her as she breathed in the twilight air. Allowing herself a small smile of pleasure at being out in the open, Peter made her way to the ship's railing and stared out over the island. The sun had set and the last of the light was fading beyond the horizon, but she could still see the silhouette of the island against the darkening sky.

I miss you, she thought towards Neverland and felt her sentiment returned by the magical isle. It was hard, knowing she'd never go home again, but she distracted herself by going over Hook's new rules and planning how to work around them to accomplish her goals.

Hook stood in the doorway for a few moments, contemplating Peter as she leaned against the railing and stared across the water. While he seriously doubted that she could get away from him again, he still felt a slight apprehension that she might discover some unforeseen way to escape. Hook had the experiences of countless clashes with Pan to justify his concern – the cocky brat was too clever and too damned lucky to underestimate, and she had managed to slip free of every seemingly foolproof trap he'd ever set. The only reason he'd possessed her this long was because of the collar Oberon had used to tether her to the ship, and now that magical leash was gone. Hook's justified apprehension was the reason he'd taken certain precautions during Peter's incarceration, and the girl's weighted restraints was but one of them.

The captain turned his gaze to the crewmen on deck, noting with approval that each man was bent to his task yet keeping a weather eye on Pan. They'd all learned their lesson with Smee, and not a one of them wished to be held responsible should the girl manage to escape again. Smee…Hook's eyes narrowed as he caught sight of the bosun. Hook still felt a pang of anger at Smee's idiotic disloyalty. The bosun had not only slept on the watch and allowed Pan to escape, he'd further betrayed his captain's trust by having the audacity to sing with the girl, despite Hook's order that no one communicate with her. No, Smee had certainly lost favor with Hook, and it was going to be quite awhile before the captain would be able to trust him as he once did.

"Cap'n?" a young voice called, and Hook turned his attention to Billy Jukes, who had just finished putting Long Tom away for the evening. The captain allowed himself a faint smile for the boy. Jukes, on the other hand, had performed admirably the night of Pan's escape, and Hook's esteem and trust in the boy had risen immeasurably. It was Jukes who'd discovered what the girl was up to, Jukes who had raised the alarm, and Jukes who had sunk her boat and thus returned her to Hook's tender care. If not for the gunner, the captain would have lost his prized possession, and Hook was most grateful for that. He trusted Jukes implicitly when it came to Pan, and it was a relief to know he had at least one crewman he could depend on. Hook gestured towards Peter, indicating the boy should go to her. Billy replied with a nod, wiping his hands off on an old towel. When the gunner began making his way towards the girl, Hook returned to his cabin, confident that his Kitten was safe and secure.

Billy heaved a sigh of relief when he saw Hook disappear into his quarters. He was nervous enough as it was without having the imposing man watching his every move. He settled his weight against the railing a few feet away from Peter, trying to appear calm and non-threatening even though he felt as if a hundred pixies were fluttering in his stomach. What do I say to her? What can I say to her? She probably hates me! I shoulda let her go, I shoulda kept my promise to Slightly!

"Evenin', Miss Pan," Billy greeted, deciding a friendly approach would be best. He found himself hoping that perhaps the girl had miraculously forgotten his role in her recapture.

Peter rolled her eyes. "So that's what you call it when the sun goes down!" she answered dryly, venting the surge of resentful anger that had welled up within her when the gunner had interrupted her revere. "Thank you so much for enlightening me."

Billy winced at the girl's sarcasm, knowing he deserved far worse than that for what he'd done. It didn't slip his mind that Pan had always been a dangerous adversary, though it was easy to forget at times now that she was in a dress. The knowledge that she was capable of exacting just vengeance upon him, added to the inexplicable nervousness he tended to feel around her, sorely tempted him to just give up now, cut his losses and run. But he did want to make amends somehow, to find a way to keep Slightly's trust. Plus, the captain had made it clear that he expected Billy to get closer to Peter in order to keep an eye on her. The young gunner feared Hook's ire much more than he feared Pan's. He heaved a deep sigh and turned to face the girl.

Peter forced down her anger at Billy, focusing on her resolve to win the boy over. She needed Billy Jukes, needed his trust and, if possible, his friendship. She wasn't used to needing anyone, despite these last few weeks of dependence upon Hook for sanctuary, and it was so terribly hard to always hide how she truly felt. Pretending to be nice was like lying, and Peter had had enough of lying… but she had no choice, not if she wanted to save Neverland and her friends. She turned to look at him when she heard him sigh, and her eyes were immediately drawn to the blackened bruise on his right cheek, a reminder of how she'd sucker-punched the gunner the night of her escape. I hope he's not mad at me for that, she mused.

"I'm sorry," they said in unison. Both paused a moment in confusion before again chorusing, "What?" Billy blushed and looked away.

"What is it, Mr. Jukes?" Peter asked as politely as she could, her mild annoyance at the gunner subsiding as she focused her will upon accomplishing her goal to win Billy over.

"I'm sorry, Miss Pan," Billy said quickly, eager to say his piece before his courage failed him. "I'm sorry for the hand I played in helpin' Hook catch you. I should'a just pretended I didn't hear ya that night and let you slip off."

Peter remained silent for a long while, considering this unexpected turn of events. She'd had no idea what Billy wanted, but she never would have guessed that he'd want to apologize to her. She frowned slightly as she wondered about his apology, but after a few long moments her patience wore out. "Why?" she asked, honestly at a loss and needing to understand the young pirate's motivations so that she could determine the best approach in befriending him. I smell an opportunity here…

"Because I like you," Billy blurted without thinking, his face blanching with horror at the realization of what he'd just said. Billy felt his face flame with sudden heat and he dropped his gaze, embarrassed and feeling more awkward then ever before. That's not what I meant to say! "I mean… It's just that…" he stammered, flustered. He'd meant to tell the girl about his friendship with Slightly, to tell her about the promise of protection he'd made to the lost boy. She's going to laugh at me now and I'm going to just die.

"You like me?" Peter repeated, feeling a sudden surge of hope. He's not mad at me! He doesn't hate me or think I'm horrible like everyone else does! Peter smiled and stepped closer to the gunner. She'd thought that she would have to debase herself at Jukes's feet, to jump though untold hoops in an effort to win the boy's good will. To have the boy apologizing and confessing to actually liking her was an unexpected god-send. "Would you like to be friends then, Billy?" If he wished to be friendly with her, if he would come to trust her and be willing to help her, then things would be so much easier for her. Maybe I won't even have to apologize for hitting him.

"Friends?" Billy repeated, his scattered thoughts coalescing around that concept. Hook wanted Billy to make friends with Peter, to win the girl's confidence at all costs so that he could keep an eye on her. Even without the Captain's blessing, though, Billy would still have wanted to be in Pan's good graces, to be close to her and maybe even have her like him back. "Aye, Miss Pan, I'd like us to be friends."

"I don't know," Peter mused, her tone playfully doubtful. If Billy was this eager to apologize and play nice (and it was obvious from the way he acted that he was the supplicant here), then Peter intended to take full advantage of her unexpected position of power. "You say that you're sorry, but how do I know its not some kind of trick? You tried to kill me! How can you like someone that you were shooting at with a cannon? Did Hook put you up to this?"

"I am sorry, Miss Pan, please believe me!" Billy pleaded, keeping his tone low so that the other men wouldn't hear him. He'd never live their teasing down. "I really do like you; that's why I didn't want you to leave and that's why I helped Hook catch you. I swear, if I'd of known he'd hurt ya like that, I wouldn't have done what I did." He thought he saw doubt in the girl's eyes and held up his hand to forestall any objections. "A token, Miss Pan, of my sincerity," he offered, reaching into the pouch on his belt and pulling out his gift to her.

"My pipes!" Peter exclaimed, excitedly reaching for the object Jukes held out to her. "How did you find them? There were with the rest of my things and sank with the dinghy!"

"Cap'n had us salvage the dinghy the next morning," Billy explained, Peter's obvious delight igniting a sense of satisfaction in his heart and restoring some of his confidence. "I found the sack with the bulk of the wreckage on the beach, tucked under one of the seats. We were told to fix yer quarters back up while you were havin' a bath, and I put the rest of your things on yer bed." He didn't mention that it had been Hook's idea to return the items to the girl, as a way to garner her trust.

Peter ran her fingers across her beloved pipes, afraid to believe they were real. She'd thought all of her things were lost. "Thank you, Billy," she said softly, giving the gunner a happy smile. "For giving me this back, I do believe we can be the best of friends."

Billy grinned in relief. "So you forgive me then?"

Peter pursed her lips and cocked her head sideways, considering the gunner with a mischieveous gleam in her eyes. "I didn't say that," she drawled, grinning, "I just said we could be friends." Billy's face crumpled into bewildered disappointment, and Peter stepped closer and continued, pressing her advantage before he could speak.

"I'll forgive you, under one condition," she offered, standing toe to toe with him and staring him straight in the eyes, trying to convey the seriousness of her proposal to him.

"Condition?" Billy repeated, feeling very awkward and very warm at his proximity to the girl. He stared into her large blue eyes, oblivious to everything else around him.

"One day very soon, I'm going to ask you to grant me a wish. Promise me that you'll do what I ask when that day comes and I'll forgive you for anything you've ever done."

The ambiguity of that request sent warning signals through Billy's bemusement, making him blink and step back. "Can't help ya escape, Miss Pan," he said, his voice sharp with disappointment in the truth of his words. He would help her, if he thought there was a way to survive Hook's wrath afterwards. "Cap'n's got the only key to yer chains and yer door."

Peter laughed, shaking her head. "I know better than ask you for that! Hook would kill you… kill me too if it didn't work. No, I'm not going to ask you to do anything that would get you in trouble, and I won't ask you to do anything that you can't do." She sighed at Billy's doubtful look and turned away slightly, staring out across the bay towards the island. "I'm afraid I might die, Mr. Jukes, and I just want to know that someone on this ship will honor any last wish I might have. Will you do that for me?"

"Ah, s-sure," Billy stuttered, thrown by her declaration. Die? "But don't worry, Miss Pan, you'll be fine. You don't look sick or anything and as long as you don't piss the Cap'n off again I doubt he'd kill ya. You'll be grantin' my last requests long a'fore you've got any reason to make yer own."

She didn't argue with him, deciding that she really didn't feel like explaining to the gunner about her gift and what it was doing to her, even though he'd be the one most likely to understand after seeing the magical world with his own eyes. The important thing was that he'd promised to grant her wish… Of course, he's a pirate, so I can't be sure that he'll keep his promise. I have to stay on his good side – he won't help me when the time comes if he hates me.

Peter turned towards the gunner and grinned. "I forgive you, Mr. Jukes!" she laughed, not having to fake her joy at his agreement. "We'll be great friends, Billy, and as friends you should stop calling me Miss Pan. My name is Peter."

"I think I better stick with Miss Pan ," Billy returned, his lips turning up into a smile in response to Peter's enthusiasm. "Cap'n Hook'll gut me if he hears me call you that." The boy thought for a moment, curious about the girl he'd known for so long as a boy. "What's yer real name, Miss Pan? I can't imagine anyone'd name their daughter Peter."

The girl's face lost its happy expression and her eyes became somewhat distant, memories of long ago calling to her. She shook them away and sighed, turning to lean once more upon the railing. "I don't want to talk about that, Mr. Jukes. The girl that went by that name's been dead a long time. Maybe one day, if we've really become good friends, I'll tell you who she was."

"I didn't mean to upset ya, Miss Pan," Billy said apologetically, wondering why something like that would be such a sore topic, but understanding from experience the need to keep the past buried. He had his own demons he was perfectly happy to ignore, and couldn't fault Peter for doing the same.

"It's alright, Mr. Jukes," Peter replied, staring out over the water. "I think I'd just like to enjoy the fresh air for awhile before Codfish sends me back to that prison cell he calls my quarters." She barely noticed when Billy took his leave, too lost in the memories of days long past.

Sometime later, when the stars sparkled brightly in the pitch black sky, she was pulled from her reverie by the island's soft call of need. I can't come back, she thought towards the island, but I'll make sure you and everyone else will be okay. Mr. Jukes is Pan-worthy and he'll take care of you when I'm gone. Her hand settled over her heart, where the Gift was housed, trying in vain to sooth the ache that was becoming near-constant as time wore on. You'll go to Billy soon, I've just got to make him ready for you first, or he'll reject you and we'll both die.

She smiled briefly at the thought of a Billy Pan, glancing over her shoulder to watch the boy sitting with his shipmates, telling stories around a small fire in one of Cookson's pots. He's a pirate, and hardly innocent and pure… but then, neither was I when they chose me, and I did a good job of it until my secret came out.

The small group of pirates looked surprisingly friendly and warm, and Peter felt a yearning for companionship swell within her. She walked towards them without even thinking about it, but as soon as she stepped within the light of their fire Hook's door opened and the Captain strode out. His piercing eyes searched the deck for an instant before locking upon her, and he gave her a smile that held no warmth.

"It's bedtime, Pan," Hook announced as he strode up to her. His posture was menacing, and Peter quickly suppressed the urge to argue, realizing that the man fully expected her to fight. I won't give him a reason to lock me away again. I have to be able to talk to Billy.

"Aye, aye, Captain," she replied, turning away from the men with a regretful sigh. She held out her arm for Hook to take and felt a touch of smugness at the surprised look on the captain's face. See? You DON'T know me as well as you think you do! She maintained her compliant façade as Hook escorted her below, pretending that this was all some great joke she was playing on Hook and not that she was helpless as his prisoner and forced to do his bidding. It helped… somewhat.

The room looked as it had before her escape, furnished with a bed, a trunk, a small table with chairs and a vanity. The bed was turned down and seemed, after sleeping nearly a week on a cold floor, immensely inviting. Peter sat on it and smiled lightly at the thought of a comfortable night's sleep. Her smile faded an instant later when Hook knelt in front of her and grabbed her ankle, eliciting a startled cry from the girl.

"Would you rather sleep in chains, Kitten?" Hook teased the girl, maintaining a firm grip on her foot.

"Of course not," Peter returned, stilling so that the man could release her from the heavy chains. She didn't even try to hide her sigh of relief once the weights were removed from her ankles and wrists.

Hook frowned as he examined the girl's reddened skin where the restraints had already begun to chafe, realizing that the heavy restraints were going to cause Peter serious problems if she had to wear them for too long. "I'll have Jukes line these with something to keep them from rubbing," he murmured, gathering up the chains and turning to leave. "I'll fetch you in the morning, my dear. Sleep well."

"Leave the light!" Peter blurted as he approached the lantern, the thought of yet another night spent locked in this room unable to see making her sick to her stomach. "Please, I don't like the dark." She hated the pleading tone to her voice, but she hated the darkness even more.

Hook, on the other hand, felt more than a little satisfaction at her tone of voice. His Kitten was again asking him for something, and doing it in a most un-Pannish way by saying 'please'. "Since you've been such a good girl today, Kitten, I'll let you keep your light." He gave her a warm smile before making sure the lantern was secured and wouldn't cause a fire. "You see? I can be a very reasonable man if you only behave. The sooner you learn that lesson, the sooner you'll discover that life with me needn't be unpleasant." Peter didn't respond, staring at him with and expression that seemed to be relief tinged with defiance. "Good night," he bid her and left the cabin, locking the door behind him.

Peter shook her head, emotions warring within her and leaving her suddenly exhausted. She was worried about her future, yet relieved that her plan to make Billy her heir had gotten of to such a grand start. She was angry at Hook and frustrated by her resolve to keep her temper in check and to be as obedient towards him as she could manage, a trick she was long out of practice performing. Yet she was, oddly, somewhat grateful towards the man. He had, after all, been there for her when everyone else had abandoned her, and had been someone she'd come to depend upon and even to trust. But he's Hook! He can't be trusted, he proved that when he refused to let me go home because he was more interested in owning me dead than letting me live free. But she missed the man she'd thought cared about her, the man who had reassured her and comforted her, the man who had cared for her when she was injured and protected her from her godparents' wrath.

That man didn't really exist. He did those things for his own selfish reasons, not because he cared about me. No one really cares about me, or I wouldn't be here right now. Hook just wants to own me, as a way to punish me for cutting off his hand. My godparents only want me because they can't find someone to take my place. My Lost Boys don't even miss me I bet… I wonder if Nibs ever came back to see me?

It doesn't matter, she told herself, pushing away her depressing thoughts. Concentrate on Billy from now on, he's our only hope. Peter closed her eyes, planning how best to gain the boy's trust and trying to think of all the different ways she could try to make him comfortable with the thought of using magic. Eventually she slipped into sleep, and dreamed dreams of flying through the forests of Neverland, Billy gliding effortlessly by her side.