Changing Toward Love
Notes of the Authoress Anthy: I return from the depths of my regrettable life to bring to you this chapter! I do hope that you enjoy it. I'm sorry that it took me so long to get it out ... more notes at the end, I suppose. I love you all! Take care and read on!
Disclaimer: No, I don't own the movie or the book, but whoever does should be so proud! Please, don't sue me. ;_; I am just a poor romantic!
Slightly breathed, letting his eyes drift up toward the parlor ceiling. The eyes of the other boys followed suit, wide and but not really surprised. A moment later, the echo of the slam (and in fact, partial shatter) of the nursery room door faded into silence.
Having a lovers' quarrel, I suppose, Nibs added uneasily. What do you think happened?
one of the twins whispered. Of course, they all knew it was Peter who had slammed the door. They had never seen their gentle sister in any sort of rage, and even if one did come upon her, there was no doubt in their minds that she would still quietly let her door click shut.
Of course Peter happened, John commented, turning a page of his leather-bound book. Young eyes turned from the ceiling and each other to their eldest brother, who still sat firmly in his straight-backed, burgundy armchair. Nothing happens unless Peter is around. When he isn't, life is simply planned.
Is that an insult? Slightly hissed, defensive over his brother-prince.
Is the pond insulted by the rock that is thrown into it? John replied poetically, his nose still buried in his book. Or does it enjoy the ripples?
Oh, shove it John, Curly sighed. If you've got something to say about Peter, say it.
I'm just commenting on his uncanny ability to ruffle feathers, John answered smoothly, turning another page.
That's the truth, Nibs added thoughtfully. Although I sure hope he decides to pluck the feathers off of a certain rooster soon enough, if you lads know what I mean.
And then, we'll cook him! one of the twins exclaimed excitedly. In burning hot oil!
With butter! yelped the other. When he isn't quite dead!
Slightly interrupted loudly, standing. The twins hushed themselves, and all of the other boys (less John) turned to face him, eyebrows raised.
Slightly grinned, satisfied with the sudden attention that was shining upon him.
My friends, first things first, he commanded. Why did Peter slam the door?
He's angry that Wendy is marrying that pig? Nibs answered, and Slightly nodded approvingly.
Or maybe the talk Father had with him shattered all his hopes about the, uhm, you know, suggested Curly. Bees and birds thing.
John sighed from behind his book. Slightly turned to him, irritated.
And what's your guess, dear ol' brother? he asked testily.
Perhaps Peter has just learned a bit too much about our world, John silkily replied, A bit too fast.
The boys looked around at each other, digesting this. None seemed willing to accept their brother's answer as the truth, as they all wanted a simple explanation.
I still think Father disturbing him is a valid reason, Toodles shrugged.
John spoke again, and again the boys' eyes all turned on him, for John rarely spoke much now in their discussions, Why don't you go and find out?
As if on cue, a series of loud thumps and rumblings began to sound from the floor above. Loud, distant crashes echoed down the staircase, some deep and heavy, like a bed being flipped over, and some quick and high-pitched, the sound of glass shattering.
I think he's angry, Curly cringed, raising his eyes to the ceiling.
Bloody hell, Nibs cursed, standing. He's going to rip apart the entire nursery!
It's time for some brotherly intervention, Slightly declared, albeit somewhat nervously. Come on men, upstairs. John, you too.
I think you can handle this one, John said from his burgundy perch, turning a third page of his book.
Not this time, John, Nibs said, frowning. You're the biggest. You're the least likely to die if he throws the bookcase at you.
John answered, blinking down at his book. It's not my desire to get in the middle of this.
Trying to stay away from love, eh? Curly asked daringly. John said nothing, only creased his brow in slight anger.
Come off it, John, Slightly encouraged. You know that if you were Peter—
John scoffed. I am nothing even remotely like Peter.
But if you were, Slightly continued insistently. And Wendy were Tiger Lily, you'd be on her like butter on bread. Very warm, melted butter- right boys?
Oh, very true, Nibs smirked. Help us reunite the lovebirds, won't you? You can be the knife that spreads on the butter on Wendy!
That is sick, John commented dryly. And wrong.
Only metamorphicly speaking, Curly grinned. Come on, John. Just help us. You know Wendy deserves better than that slimy old prick.
John grunted, his lips curling into a half-hidden sneer. Smiles broke out among the boys; a sneer from John's mouth was a sign of true disgust, and true disgust in John was a rare thing indeed. They knew that their brother had an all or nothing type of spirit- if he didn't feel strongly about something, he was firm in avoiding it, but when genuine emotion inflamed him ... he was a force to be reckoned with.
That and, of course, they knew their eldest brother's greatest weakness. He loved his only sister more than anyone in the world.
Right then, yelped Slightly, grinning upon realizing that John had just joined their ranks. To the nursery, before the floor caves in from the impact!
Take the stairs by two, Nibs ordered excitedly. He smiled his wide, toothy smile before quickly saluting his comrades, then gestured wildly for them to follow. In a clumsy bit of a charge, every boy rushed for the stairs.
Behind them, a book was quietly closed.
I hope you know this doesn't mean, he said quietly to himself as the boys stumbled up the staircase, That I at all approve of anyone else, simply because I hate the current.
He smiled secretly, elegantly standing.
Peter shuddered, releasing the air from his lungs in slow, quaking breaths. He lay flat upon his back, having thrown himself tiredly onto John's neatly made bed after finally, finally having drained himself completely of the rage that had taken hold of himself.
All about him, the nursery lay in shambles. The greatest disarray was near the bookcase, which he had pushed over onto its side; dozens of books, many open to reveal torn and brutally bent pages, scattered the floor. He'd thrown a glass snowglobe of the London skyline at the door, shattering it in an explosion of glitter, water and tiny flakes of rubber snow (it had reminded him cruelly of first finding the window). One of the boys' pathetic excuses for a sword, made from silver-painted wood, found itself four inches deep into the wall over Michael's bed, its handle still vibrating eerily.
Peter lazily let one of his eyes grace the room, sighing dejectedly. It reminded him a little bit of the night he'd first truly invaded the nursery, the night when he had sent Tinker Bell in to search for his lost shadow. She too had knocked down books, thrown nightclothes and school uniforms all about.
But no, he decided after all, it didn't really look much like a rampage of Tinker Bell. His was a thousand times worse, appearing the work of at least thirty fairies at once, all furious.
He remembered the night Tink had done that.
It was blurry and aged, as were all of his memories, but this particular one seemed pleasantly folded away and crumpled, like a love letter read too often. That night, he'd awoken her with his crying (though even in his memory he scarcely dared to admit it), and she had tutted cheerfully at his stupidity in trying to reattach his shadow with soap, offering instead to sew it on for him.
It had hurt, he remembered, tiny pricks of pain one after the other, but her soft fingertips tickled the soles of his feet, and even as he winced he laughed, somehow put at ease by the fact of her mere presence.
She'd kissed him for the first time that night, thimbled him really. She'd tricked him into believing that the tiny metal bucket was a kiss, but he knew far well now what a kiss really was.
In fact, he knew so well the meaning of a kiss that he knew that their first thimble hadn't been a real one at all. It was more of a practice than anything, he reflected, but even when oblivious he had enjoyed it. Tasting her lips had sent a warm shiver up and down his spine, something he had then never before savored, nor longed for.
Peter let his hands curl slowly into fists, grabbing handfuls of the blanket under him as he did so.
It had all started when she'd heard him crying. She had awoken, reached out to him with her heart and help and needle and thread. She had heard him and came to him, and it was because of that that he'd decided to take her home, and it was because of that that now he lay here, cold and numb of everything.
When he tore apart the nursery, it had been half out of pure, blind rage. He'd thrown things about, shattering them on walls and doors just to vent the frustration that tightened his chest, to somehow free himself from the helplessness that tied him down.
He'd also done it, however, for a different, more focused reason. He knew that Wendy was in her bedroom, just a thin wall away, and for that reason he had made as much noise as he possibly could, expressed his anger and fear in a way impossible for her to ignore. He'd smashed and broken things in the hope that he would startle her, and that she would rush into the nursery to stop him.
The nursery now lay in ruins. She had never come.
At one point he had thrown himself against the wall that separated them, pounding on it while screaming out for her, not with her name but with the agony within himself that called for her, starved for her. He had screamed and then cried, resting his head against the wallpaper as his tears stained it, dribbled down it in warm drops.
Still, she had not come. She had not made so much as a sound in return.
And now, he lay on a bed, staring blankly up at the ceiling. He blinked as his eyes began to burn; hot tears flowed from them, rolling silently down his cheeks.
It frightened him that he could not think. Usually, ideas flowed to him constantly, filling his mouth with words and his mind with plans and images instantly. Nothing would come, now. A fog the color of a wilted rose clouded his mind, letting only the vaguest whispers voice themselves.
She did not love Caleb, they taunted. She'd been lying all along. It was not that she loved him that she wanted this.
She'd pushed him away. She had ignored his screams of pain.
Nor did she love him.
Their lips had been so close ... he'd felt her breath, moist and warm, sweet.
He'd wanted to kiss her. He'd wanted more than anything to kiss her.
He'd wanted to touch her, claim her sweetness everywhere upon her, kiss not just her lips but her throat, her shoulders, her hands and palms and fingertips. He wanted to keep her. He wanted to know, indefinitely, that she was his.
But she wanted to marry him. She would never be his to have.
But she didn't love him. She only wants to marry him so that she can keep children, and live a life separate from her birth family.
Because she can only have that if she marries, because grown-up women cannot have their own lives. They need a grown man to keep them, because ...
Because the world is wrong. The world is twisted, turning, terrible, wrong.
The world of growing up is horrible. He wanted to go back, go back to being ... being young. He wanted to be himself again.
He wanted to stay young forever. He wanted that ... right?
Yes, but no. He wanted it, but a deep part of his mind knew it had been barred from him.
Because it will never be real again, his mind chanted. You can do it, you can go back to always being a boy, but never again will it be real. It will from now on be a game, a fantasy- a storybook life. It will be a facade, and it will all be spoiled because you will always know that it cannot be real.
It will never be enough again.
But what else could he do? Wendy would not come with him; she would not go back with him. She wanted to remain in London to become a bride, and then a wife ... a wife to a man she didn't love.
A man he hated, and wanted more than his own life to slaughter.
He had no choice. He could not go back to being a boy always, that was ruined for him now. He felt, not thought, that fact. But he could not be a man, because to be a man would be to surrender to the cruel rules of this suddenly clear world and ... and to be a man without Wendy ...
He would be nothing.
He could not be a man.
He could not care for Wendy like a man would. He didn't have the things called finances, nor pounds, nor stocks, nor anything related to it. He had the leaf-clothes he'd brought with him and the handful of kisses he'd given to Wendy.
He had nothing more, and he had no idea how to gain wealth in a place like London. He couldn't buy her a house, or nice things. That and, on top of it all, he had no idea where you got your own children. He'd always just found the left-behinds.
Children ... hmm.
Peter felt a warm sort of feeling fill his chest at the thought of children. It wasn't happiness, nor was it the terrible ache he felt in relation to Wendy, but at the same time it was ... needing. He must like children, he decided.
He'd thought before that children ought never to grow, but when he had returned to the nursery and met all the boys grown older, they hadn't seemed especially unpleasant to him. He frowned; long ago, seeing them so changed would have disgusted him.
It was really rather neat that they changed like that, he decided. It was a thought that calmed him somehow, made him feel as if this nature flow of things was just that ... natural.
He wouldn't mind watching children grow.
He knew that Wendy probably loved it, most likely adored watching it happen and perhaps occasionally helping them along.
Peter smiled then, just a tiny bit, though he didn't notice.
He let his mind hover on Wendy, let her shimmering image sink deeply into his mind. He pictured her just as she looked in present time, only in his thoughts she was smiling, laughing ... and her smile brightened her pale skin and set aflame her dull blue eyes, and she was beautiful, gorgeous.
And in her arms ... a baby. A very small one that cooed as she rocked it back and forth tenderly, carefully. She smiled down at it, letting it clutch one of her slender fingers.
A hand descended, a great hand that rested on her shoulder. She turned her head, smiling at its owner. He stepped into the bright scene out of wavering darkness.
Peter's glazed-over eyes widened, darkening with fear. No.
He kissed her cheek, smiling down too at the baby.
No ... no, please, not ... not him ...
He reached out, letting the baby clutch his thick finger instead. It laughed, and so did Wendy, the sound of it resonating beautifully through his mind.
No, Peter's mind raced. His heart clenched painfully, the blood within him suddenly flowing slow and thick. He blinked his burning eyes, letting warm tears fall. The warmth that had moments ago flooded his breast shattered, exploding into cold, sharp fragments of glass.
He remembered this. This was Hook's warning.
This was what had broken him years ago. This was the one fear he'd managed to shove down and forget over the past years. This was his fear of a threat he had always before been able to ignore, and now it was upon him ...
Not him, Peter whimpered, turning onto his side and curling into a tight ball as he began to cry. He wasn't sure why, but it had been such a nice image, such a warm, nice idea ... and then ... and then he had to enter it ...
But he was supposed to be there, wasn't he? That was the plan, wasn't it?
It was not his dream to have, after all. It would never be his.
Peter shut his eyes hard, forcing out salty tears even as new ones flowed to replace them. It would never be his. It would never be his.
It would never be his.
He pushed his knees deeply into his stomach, crying out as his heart clenched with pain.
-- End Chapter Eighteen --
Ending Notes: Yeah, it only took me ... ahh ... how long exactly to get this out? Probably like a month ... heh ... heh, I'm sorry! I know, it's wrong of me, but ... ahh ... I don't know, my life has just been so ... rushed and sad and complicated. That and I was on vacation for two weeks.
This chapter ... mmm ... it came out differently than I had anticipated. It was just very angsty. I'm eager to write the chapter after the next two chapters, very eager in fact, because according to my CTL that chapter will be very, very interesting. Kind of a shocker, really, something that might end up being just a tiny bit exciting.
It's not angst, either.
And in the chapters before that one, more of Caleb's snakelike charms will be revealed. I don't know if anyone was wondering just why he's been so approved by Mr. Darling, or if anyone still remembered that one letter he gave him many chapters back but ... yes! You will find out.
In conclusion, thanks so much to everyone. I love you all, and I'm very sorry it took me so long to get this one out. I'll try to be faster this next time. Thanks to everyone who reviewed even while I was away. Love to you! Please come back for the next chapter!