Curse of a Dead Man – Awakenings
A/N - well I've got my quill out (so to speak) and finally got round to a long awaited chapter that I hope rekindles where we left off and that will lead up into the next part! I appreciate all those who have followed Emerald eyes and thank you for your kind support and reviews! I hope you all get back into this fic with as much enthusiasm as you all had and I hope you enjoy Curse of a Dead Man.
Just to let you know everything belongs to the wonderful J.M Barrie and the only things that belong to little ol' me are Sarah, various minor characters and places. Thoughts are in italics.
Thank you and enjoy…
A rancid smell of rotten fish and dead carcasses were still lingering in the evening air. The orange was now turning dark blue and a few twinkles of starlight kept blinking, as always watching Neverland.
Nibs swallowed, his eyes darting to the taverns and the drunken state of people; women and men, their gaze eyeing him and Sarah curiously. His more so relaxed face had suddenly become his shield again, his frown lines making a small groove between his eyes, his angled face becoming harsher as his eyes slit, becoming hawk like.
"Where again?" Nibs asked quietly, noticing a couple of drunken men, eyeing them suspiciously.
"Up to the top, he had a large town house where all the rich lived."
A few cobble streets later and an uphill trek with aching feet, Sarah and Nibs past a small quaint church, a couple of candle lights flickering from inside the stain glass windows. The candles brought a peaceful glow as the darkness enveloped them.
Sarah stooped and looked at the church, suddenly remembering her coach journey with Betty and seeing James' son Ruben for the first time.
I wonder if he knows what's going on, maybe he already does, I'll have to find him.
Nibs caught her gaze and looked back to the pretty building.
"Have you been in?" He asked.
"No, just passed it once, that's all, looked really nice."
Nibs frowned a little wondering what the story was behind the building, noting the very small smile creeping on his lovers ruby lips, mingled with the anxiousness.
"What do you call it again?"
Sarah noted the hint of embarrassment at the question he had asked and felt sorrow for all the things this lost boy couldn't remember or had been denied of.
"It's a church Nibs." She replied. "Sanctuary to some and a place of blessings and miracles to others."
Nibs starred at it in fascination, the warm glow from inside enticing them to join. After a couple more seconds he blinked and then spoke suddenly.
"Are we to keep walking up?" Nibs asked, his hands creeping onto hips in a gesture that wasn't implied to look impatient.
Sarah turned to him with a light smile and nodded apologetically. "Still a bit of a way, I'm afraid. But you see up there, it's somewhere there." Sarah pointed up a slopping cobble street.
"Ravens town is strange isn't it?" Nibs muttered, taking each breath with caution as if the town's air polluted his veins, as if he'd turn into a pirate or worse, James Hook.
A moan uttered his lips as he tried to turn onto his side. Pain infiltrated every nerve, every sense and only calm and relief came from the alcohol he had emerged himself in dramatically. With not much money for medicine, James Hook sighed. The only thing that topped his ever growing pain and sorrow was the shouting coming from another room. A familiar voice followed by the wails of a small child. James felt useless. He knew one step out of bed would result in falling in a state of dizziness causing him to topple over. It was pathetic, he felt pathetic, his life felt pathetic. His thoughts were interrupted as Matilda stormed in the room and placed his child on the bed roughly ignoring her tearful look. Swinging her cloak around her slim shoulders dramatically she gave him a sneer and left the room quickly.
James looked into the forget-me–not blue orbs that were currently looking at the ceiling. With all his strength, he pulled himself up, ignoring the pain to hold his child. The small girl recognised the sights and smells of her father and smiled briefly showing that she knew it was him. James smiled and a tear escaped his tired eyes.
I'm so sorry Marcia, my brave little one, I'm so, so sorry…
Sarah's jaw dropped as she took in the sight before her eyes.
The place still had essences of smoke and ash floating in the air. The white brick, tarnished with black stains, curtains burnt to frazzle and windows smashed. The whole house had been looted. Nothing remained.
Nibs didn't say anything, just starred, quite simply as shocked as Sarah.
"He's maybe still alive Sarah." They were words Nibs didn't really want to say, but he had to, for her.
Sarah turned to him and nodded, looking back once to the house, a house that for the beginning held security and warmth. A house that nurtured a physical love between James and herself. Sarah closed her eyes at the memories that entered her head that weren't so pleasant. Losing her friendship with Betty, the lonely nights and Matilda. Suddenly she felt older.
An unknown sigh escaped her lips and she didn't realise Nibs had come closer to her.
"What do you want to do?"
"I don't know."
"Well? His house is burnt down, the Jolly Roger isn't about. Is there anywhere else he could be?"
Sarah closed her eyes again and shook her head as if in defeat. Then suddenly she looked up and back down into the town.
"Wait, Betty's room, the room where I was cared for. We haven't checked there."
"The room I saw you in?"
"It's late Sarah, I don't think… if anyone is there, they won't appreciate us barging in."
"I'm not gonna barge in!" Sarah replied a little defensively.
"I know but, think about it, where the hell are we gonna stay around here? We can't hang around Ravens town. It's still dangerous to us, even now that Peter's dead."
"Can I just see if he's there please Nibs?"
Nibs put a hand to his temples and Sarah crossed her arms at his gesture.
"If you don't want to help me you don't have to!"
"Fine go, please….it might make things better, your mood is pissing me off."
"The last time I let you run from me terrible things happened, or don't you remember." Nibs stated with strength. "I lost you, I lost my best friend, everything went wrong. I am NOT letting you be alone and even if you find that womaniser you seem to be oh so fond of, I still wouldn't let you be alone with him."
"Nibs I've had it! I'll see you at camp ok?" Sarah replied stalking off.
"Where are you going?" Nibs demanded.
"I'm going to find the 'womaniser' or didn't you realise."
"Sarah?" Nibs spoke sadly. "I'm sorry for what I said. Please… don't go."
Sarah stopped in her tracks and turned to him slowly, she suddenly felt bad for talking to him like that. Nibs knew she wasn't capable of looking after herself yet after so much pain and worry.
"Nibs I know you're right, you always are. I know what he is….I….I know what he did with other women and I know I wasn't the only one, but I'm not doing this because I love him, it's just returning a debt. If I find out he's ok, then, yes, I'll be satisfied, but please Nibs don't bring up the death of Curly ever again please. It pains us both, or do you not remember?"
Nibs' look said it all; it was complete misery and sorrow. "I'm sorry…..Let's find your room, ok?"
"Ok." Sarah replied with a very slight smile.
A soft, light, warm rain showered in Ravens town as Nibs and Sarah made there way down to the cobbled streets where Betty had nursed Sarah back to health. If anyone had been about they would have eyed the couple up suspiciously as they stood in silence looking up to the small flicker of light creeping from the open window, their clothes and hair sticking to them from the down pour.
Sarah sighed and a small smile appeared on her lips. She wiped her hands down her dark skirt, not noticing for once the tattered, frayed material. Instead her heart beat faster and she found her mouth dry wishing for a drop of saliva…
Her hand was coming up to knock the door but she dropped it and turned to Nibs.
"Will you come in with me? You don't have to see him if he's in but…"
Nibs contemplated and then nodded silently.
After the knock and a few moments silence, Sarah seemed doubtful.
"We could try tomorrow, it's late after all." Nibs commented blinking through the rain and shaking his damp, dark locks out of his eyes, revealing the grey orbs Sarah found extremely attractive.
"No." Sarah mentioned, hitching up her skirt and pulling off her leather slippers. "There's a light…"
Nibs watched, his muscles ready to pounce to get her as he noticed she headed for an old drain pipe.
Trusty drain pipe who lead me to freedom for a while.
"Sarah!" Nibs called raising his voice but she wasn't listening. "Watch it you'll slip."
James who had laid back down his headache coming on, opened his eyes immediately.
"Sarah? He huskily whispered to no one in particular.
She heaved herself up the pipe, it wasn't hard, her body weight had since decreased from her more comfortable days and her nimble limbs heaved her up, her muscle tone returning from the harsher days in the jungle.
Nibs watched, completely unamused and felt in himself he should just grab her slim ankle and pull her down. What frightened him more than ever was fearing that the moment she stepped into that room she could be shot or even worse, never return.
He sighed heavily and crossed his arms. He stayed because he loved her, he waited because he cherished her. Slinking into the shadows he waited patiently, an intense frown now lay on his face mingled with worry.
James heard the scratching on the drain pipe. He eyed the open window carefully and looked to the dresser for a small pistol lying by the powder puffs and rouge. Just in case. Marcia's blue eyes looked up to her fathers in inquisition.
The urge to shout out to the window was suppressed and James lay and waited, a slight nervous disposition coming over him.
The whisper was quiet but loud enough to be heard. It was velvet to his ears; it was a thousand church bells singing their glorious tune.
Strong arms pulled the body over the window sill. Her skirt had hitched up in the process and her thigh was visible and less dirt was settled there. There may have been a scratch resting there but James couldn't be sure. She was thinner that was for sure it was only till she looked up that it was inevitable.
She was shocked he looked so fragile. His grooming skills had long gone and dark circles lay under his eyes the colour of the darkest ocean. The hooked hand was naked without its claw and his other strong arm was doubling up with the weight of a small child cradling into it.
"James?" The small voice asked again, her hand pushed a wisp of longer honey blond hair from her green eyes.
James Hooks heart beat faster, he'd never felt so alive for such a long time.
"Sarah." The gruff but velvet reply came.
It was an awkward moment.
Sarah's eyes darted to the child with black ringlets only a year or two old. She was such a beautiful little thing, it magnified the nature of the James Sarah had known.
Finally the captain spoke.
"I never thought I'd see you again."
"Me neither….what? What happened?"
"Where do I start? The attack? My men dying and leaving me? The Jolly Roger looted and then burnt lying in her watery grave too early? The fact I'll never get off this damned island."
Sarah was shocked and twiddled her fingers.
"Or perhaps the fact I'm dying?"
Time stopped. Sarah's breath froze. Dying?
James could see her mind spinning, her brains trying to fathom an answer, a reason.
"Couldn't tell you what it is? But it's confined me to bed most of the time.
Sarah for the first time noticed a bowl on the floor with bloody water and a rag inside.
Coughing up blood? She was by no means a doctor and knew little about medical things but coughing up blood wasn't a good thing, anyone knew that.
A couple of steps let her nearer James. The bright blue eyes still shined and enticed her still. Images of those eyes looking at her so ferociously, the eyes that melted when she smiled, the eyes that held the passion in their love making. A strong arm, his tight body dominating hers, the feel of him inside her, the forcefulness of his thrusts, his moves taking her over the limit.
Sarah blinked rapidly and couldn't believe what she'd just been thinking. Thoughts that she hadn't thought of in a long time. Thoughts like that belonged to the face of her grey eyed lover, whose skin was still soft and his muscles so young in comparison.
"How did you know I was here?"
"I had a hunch but Nibs was told you were back by some mermaids."
Sarah watched him intensely as she spoke Nibs' names, though his look never changed.
"So the lost boy got his princess in the end?"
Sarah for some reason felt embarrassed.
James knew she didn't have to answer. He knew she was trying to find something to say regarding their last few days. Hell, he was desperately trying to think of something that meant anything of any worth to say to her.
Marcia made a noise in her throat and looked up at her father.
Sarah watching in fascination at the child that possibly should have been hers, Matilda's child. Luckily for Marcia, she'd inherited her fathers blue eyes which for the moment dominated her chubby little face. On top of that, her beautiful black ringlets were forming nicely.
She hadn't realised her feet had shuffled to a metre from the bed in awe of this little child.
James finally looked up from his little one to notice Sarah's presence.
"Sarah would you?" James spoke softly noting Marcia to her.
Sarah frowned but quickly understood his meaning and instinctively reached for the small child, seeing the relief of the weight from James.
Sarah without warning sat on the edge of the bed and carefully settled Marcia in a position that she hoped looked motherly. It must have been correct as the little girl yawned and starred silently and sleepy to her.
James watched the small smile appear on her red lips and found his gaze linger on them a little longer. His own smile joining hers at the sight of his child in her arms, it looked right.
It wasn't a ploy to get Sarah to stay longer, nor was it to spite her with the fact she hadn't held a child of her own, no, it was purely for relief. He stretched his good arm and hand as he felt a familiar stabbing pain in his chest. Instinctively his hand rubbed the spot on his chest and Sarah for the first time noticed his bare upper body, a map of wounds and a shield of masculinity.
It was lucky Summer's baby had given Sarah a little practice of caring for a child as Marcia suddenly felt weightless in her cradled arms, her little body trying to snuggle into her chest making her stomach fill with a strange sensation.
"Are you ok? Do you need anything?" Sarah asked.
"No." James coughed and closed his eyes after taking a deep breath.
Sarah looked on in sadness. He didn't look good at all. His skin was sallow and pale. He looked messy and tired. It upset her. This wasn't James Hook at all. Something had to change.
James caught her worried look and she laid her closest hand on his, a sincere and understanding smile on those bright, full lips.
Crouching with his back to the cobble wall, looking on at the Rat pub wasn't Nibs' idea of the night. Minutes had passed by without Sarah coming to the window to at least show him she was alive. He'd noticed after some time an older woman peering from one of the windows next to the one Sarah had disappeared into and crept closer into the shadows as best he could. After a moment of contemplation Nibs headed down to the beach. It wasn't to go back to camp as much as he wanted to, though just for some cleaner air.
He took off his leather sandals that had seen better days and felt his feet sink into the cool sand. The darkness surrounding the beach would have been unnerving to anyone who wasn't afraid of the dark or who happened to live without much light after dusk and so Nibs took the opportunity to relax his body and walk in time with the waves. The dark waves crashed in the distance and its bright foam lingered on the sandy grains. Looking out to the moon high up in the clouds Nibs sighed. He wasn't sure what to think at this point of time. Things had recovered well after Peter's death and things were gradually getting back to normal, though he himself still felt unsafe in Neverland. Nibs couldn't put his finger on it but something still didn't seem right. There was nothing to fear these days apart from hunger and still Nibs could feel it in the air. He'd notice the Indians weren't their cool selves recently, though no one else from his tribe would have guessed with their young love, babies and frolicking in Neverland sun. Slightly the poor fool was weighed down with his family, though Nibs couldn't have doubted for a second it was what the young man with black hair wanted. His little family had opened him up as a leader of the tribe and someone to lead the greatest lost tribe Neverland had ever seen. He'd been filled with a streak of jealousy before Summer had given birth, watching her and Slightly caressing her huge belly, the miracle bringing them closer than any of the other couples. The miracle? Hmm, the nightmare. Non of the tribe had actually witnessed a birth as such and so when the time for Summer came, a wash of white, blank faces echoed around the camp. The panic flared up in everyone and the anticipation was higher. There were screams and blood like the older ones had never seen. It was only Sarah who'd remained calm and tried with all her might to deliver the child safely as she could and safely for mother. The smell had been the worst. Nibs knew he'd never forget that smell, the smell he could only describe as birth. The night had made way for the morn and in the quietness of the Neverland jungle, a small child wailed like a banshee, red as raw. Everyone at first had wanted a look but were instantly pushed out by Jake. Good old Jake had certainly out grown his previous life as a twin and had settled himself into the role of a young man who had to take care of himself and those younger than him. Tougher tasks were assigned involving hunting and his independence shone with courage and bravely. He'd certainly turned into a better friend than Nibs had hoped for, though he knew he was no replacement for Curly.
No one had smiled quite as much as Summer and Slightly that day, but the whole birth had brought not only Slightly and Summer closer, but the tribe. Here was the first baby of the lost tribe and mother and baby were safe. Something so scary and precious had made itself known in the tribe. Word gradually got to the Indians and Lady Quiller praised Sarah as a midwife and asked her if she'd be interested in learning the art of the medicine woman, a rare privilege by many standards especially from someone not of the Indian tribe, though Nibs knew it was for the dependence and stronger survival of the Lost tribe that Lady Quiller had proposed the question.
Sarah had washed the blood from her hands and Nibs had flexed what felt like broken fingers and the couple had decided to try to produce their own little miracle again themselves to no avail. Nibs didn't understand. He didn't know much about the in depth details of conceiving but he felt it in himself to lay the blame on himself and let Sarah try to believe it was him, though she was never fooled but it made him feel better. It was times like this that Nibs had to wonder if the Lost tribe was some how cursed or at least perhaps that Sarah had been by the Island or Peter.
Standing on the beach now, Nibs sighed with his thoughts in the cooling air. One would be deeply fooled if they thought Neverland was hot all the time. The strange thing was Neverland cast its own weather when it wanted, at its own choice, though some believed that Pan controlled the seasons and such, Nibs knew the weather and seasons changed for different reasons, though he couldn't doubt that it always had felt like Pan had contolled the island and all associated with it.
He'd thought the mermaids may have been out again as he wanted to ask a few more questions about Hook and such though it had to be another time.
After a brief stretch, he felt blood rush around his toned muscles and he headed back to where he'd come from, the dark, disserted beach a welcome goodbye. It was at that moment that the chill passed his neck and his vision was caught by a hideous form to his right a fair distance away, after he'd heard its distantly familiar, frightening cry.