Title: The Forever Dance

Author: Weezer42(aka formerly Squeezynz)

Chapter: One - if wishes were horses.

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Rating: PG13 (shameless fluff).....set initially a few months after the movie, but moving on to a couple of years after fairly quickly. Wendy accepts that she has to grow up, but she craves one last adventure, and Peter is more than happy to oblige.

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"And with a kiss, the Princess opened her eyes and beheld the Prince for the first time. With a glad cry, she leapt from the bed and threw herself on his chest. At that very moment the door was flung wide and the ogre, King Holrick swept into the room, brandishing his axe and roaring. In one move the Prince pushed the Princess behind him and faced the enraged ogre. They fought a pitched battle back and forth across the room, the Prince hard pressed to keep the mad King at bay, until eventually he managed to get in a lunge that cleaved the ogre Kings wicked heart in two."

Wendy's audience gave the appropriate oohing and ahing noises as their story teller swept her arm in a wide arc before pretending to plunge her invisible blade into the hapless villains vitals.

"With the ogre dead, the Prince pulled the Princess to her feet and ran out of the castle, to where his trusty friend waited with the horses. As they thundered away, the castle started to collapse behind them, returning to the dust it had been before."

Wendy paused, her lips pulled into a smile as she stared back at her enraptured audience of small, and some not so small boys.

"After battling their way once more through the forest of Doom and the swamps of Slime, the Prince and his Princess arrived back at his kingdom......where they married and lived happily ever after."

The nursery erupted into a mass of young bodies clapping and shouting as Wendy rose and took a small bow. One figure rose and started towards the window.

"Are you going so soon Peter?" Wendy called, her hand starting to lift before she stifled the gesture, unsure still of his reaction. The boy thus address paused and turned back to her.

"That was the end of the story, wasn't it?"

"Well......yes.....but I thought...." Wendy felt the heat of a blush stain her cheeks, ducking her head to hide it from Peter's all too knowing gaze.

"Then I have to leave......you know the rules,"

Around them the former Lost Boys and Wendy's brothers surged and ebbed like a tide as they scrabbled to get into night-shirts and slippers before leaving the nursery to cram into the small bathroom, leaving Wendy and Peter alone.

"I know that the rules were made up by you......but I don't understand why?"

Peter stepped closer, his lips twisting in a half smile, his eyes dancing.

"And I don't understand why you always ask the same question. I came back, didn't I? I didn't forget you, did I?" Peter came within a foots-length of where Wendy was standing, his grubby feet coming into her field of vision, limited by her downcast eyes.

"No, you didn't forget......I just wish.......I just wish you'd stay and keep me company after the boys go to bed. Now I'm not in the nursery anymore, it gets lonely...and I thought......maybe."

Peter folded his arms over his chest, his mocking smile still in place.

"Okay."

Wendy's eyes flicked up to meet Peter's, hers wide with surprise.

"Peter?"

"I'll keep you company.....for a little while. I'll wait for you in your room, otherwise the boys will see me still here and expect another story." Grinning, Peter lifted off the ground and twisted in the air, swooping out of the window and out of sight.

Smiling to herself, Wendy gathered up the scattered toys and straightened a couple of the beds crammed together in the large room. With eight boys now in the nursery, there wasn't room for Wendy even if she wanted to stay, which she didn't. Despite the loneliness of her room, she also revelled in the quiet, able to shut the door on her rowdy family for a few brief moments. As she moved to close the window, the door opened and her brothers, natural and foster, piled into the room like a rollicking bundle of over-excited puppies.

"Has Peter gone?"-"Give us another story?"-"Do we have to go to bed?"

Before Wendy could voice her answers to the age old questions, her mother appeared looking as lovely and calm as only she could, marshalling the many small boys into their respective beds, stilling their active bodies and quelling their shrill voices of protest, allowing Wendy to slip out the door and along to her own room.

With her hand on the door knob she paused, her shoulders relaxing as she let go the slight tension that storytelling always left her with. Faintly, she could hear the sound of pipes trilling a simple melody, both familiar and hauntingly strange as she pushed the door open.

Peter was sitting crosslegged on her bed, the pipes to his mouth as his fingers danced over the holes in the flute. Wendy closed the door behind her carefully, not wanting to break the thread of the music. She stood there as the melody washed over her until it started to fade, Peter lowering the pan-flute and looking over to where Wendy stood.

"That was lovely Peter.....does it have a name?"

Peter looked slightly nonplussed for a moment, his forehead clearing when memory supplied the name of the tune.

"It's called the song of the Tooralee bird."

Wendy approached the bed and sat on the side, smiling sweetly.

"I don't think I've ever seen a Tooralee bird."

"You won't have.....they're very rare and secretive. I've only ever seen one myself, and that was only for a few seconds as it flew over my head. They are said to be the drabbest birds on the island, but they have the most beautiful song."

"Maybe you'll take me on a hunt for the Tooralee bird, next time you take me to Neverland?"

Wendy held her breath, waiting for Peter's answer.

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It had been several months after their epic adventures in the land of Pirates and Indians, on the island of Neverland when Peter finally flew back to the nursery window. When Wendy had returned, together with her brothers and the Lost Boys, she had been certain that it would be the last she'd see of the magical boy, Peter Pan. It had saddened her and made her heart ache to think of not seeing him ever again, so it was all the more joyous when three months later, as she was telling the eager crowd in the nursery one of her stories, she spotted the shadow at the window. Despite her heart leaping in her chest Wendy ignored the shadow, continuing with her story, willing herself not to glance too often at the window in case it scared him off. When she finished, she saw the shadow fly away and she almost leapt to her feet in her agitation. Sure enough, when she reached the window Peter was gone and she sighed heavily. Ignoring the bustle of the boys around her, Wendy walked to her room only to find the shadow at the window of her new bedroom, knocking his fingers against the glass to gain entry.

Wendy had flung the window open and Peter had swooped inside, dropping to the floor and placing his fists on his hips, a smirk firmly plastered on his laughing lips. She had been so excited she'd almost run forward to hug him, but a small movement, as if anticipating her, made her check, her hands dropping to her side.

"You didn't forget.........you came back!"

"Of course.....didn't I say I would?"

"You did Peter." Wendy smiled as Peter dropped his hands and started to look around her small room, his eyes skimming over the bed and furniture. "Did you enjoy the story?" She asked.

"I've heard it before," he shrugged nonchalantly, shooting her a quick smile before lifting the lid on her jewellery box, as nosy as ever. The tinkle of music filled the air as the box started to play. Dipping his grubby fingers inside, he pulled out the length of chain holding the battered acorn with a hole at its heart. Holding it up, he smirked to himself, swinging it back and forth. "You kept this....it'll go rotten soon."

A little piqued at his dismissal of her story, Wendy reached past him and took the chain with its precious momento.

"It will keep for a long time....acorns do, you know. They live in the ground for ages before sprouting into oak trees. The trees themselves can live for hundreds of years."

Peter moved away, already distracted. Wendy lifted the chain and fastened it around her neck, the nut cool against her throat. Peter was looking at the various volumes on the small bookshelf above the dresser. Lifting one down he started to flip through it, stopping to look at the pictures, his finger tracing the outlines before moving on to the next. Wendy sat down on the edge of her bed, watching him, her eyes skimming over his form, noting his more than usual amount of dirt coating his bare shoulders and back, his hair even more tussled than usual. She knew that Neverland time passed differently than the real world and she wondered if he was looking after himself properly, all her girlish instincts wanting to mother him, but knowing he would quite possibly be very rude if she tried to.

"What are all these books about Wendy?"

"Oh....lots of things, about history and geography and literature."

"Why do you have them all here?"

"Because I like to read them....and they'll help me when I start writing myself."

Peter replaced the book on the shelf and turned to face her, walking the few steps to the bed and sitting down beside her, twisting himself so that he faced her. For a long minute they stared at each other, Peter's eyes skimming her features as if reminding himself of something he'd forgotten, his hand lifting as if on its own volition to softly touch her slightly parted lips. Wendy sat completely still, her heart thumping in her chest as she let him explore her face, his intense regard leaving her breathless. At last his eyes stopped their exploration and fixed on her mouth.

"Wendy?"

"Y-e-e-s Peter?"

"I would like to give you....a thimble."

"As you wish," Wendy squeaked, blinking.

Slowly, Peter brought his face to hers, Wendy's eyes sliding shut as she felt his faint breath brush against her skin. Gently he pressed his lips to hers, warm and firm, imparting a chaste kiss before pulling back. Their lips clung for a second, Wendy's eyes opening so that she found herself almost cross-eyed, drowning in Peter's blue-green depths. Her lips remained parted, her breath puffing out in short spurts as her heart hammered unevenly in her breast.

Peter snaked his tongue out, tasting his own lips as if licking off juice.

"You taste sweet." He whispered.

"Do I?" Wendy whispered back, her mouth suddenly dry as Peter moved forward again, his own eyes shutting as she felt him kiss her again. This time he pressed harder and Wendy put her hands up to clutch at his shoulders as she felt herself falling backwards.

Wendy suddenly felt something like a spark of lightening pass between them, the shock making her gasp and pull away, her eyes flying open to meet Peter's startled gaze, both of them panting quickly.

"What was that?"

"I don't know!"

Feeling a little frightened, Wendy took her hands off Peter's shoulders and scooted further along the bed, putting some distance between them. Flustered, she put her trembling hand up to smooth her hair behind her ear, not daring to look at the boy still sitting beside her.

Peter had his hand up, his fingers touching his lips, as if expecting to find some injury or evidence of the spark that so startled them.

"I don't think you'd better do that again." Wendy whispered, fear making her voice sharper than she meant it to. Peter's head snapped up, his brows coming together in a frown as he stared at her.

"It wasn't my fault!"

Wendy bit her lip, wanting to yell back that it wasn't her fault either, but she suddenly became aware of how thin the walls were and that her family were only on the other side of the wall.

"Maybe you'd better go.......I should really be getting to bed, I have school tomorrow."

"Fine....I'll go," Peter said shortly, his face still pulled into a scowl.

Suddenly fearful, Wendy jumped up and caught at his arm, flinching when he pulled it out of her grasp as if burnt by her touch. He waited impatiently, his lips pulled into a thin line as he stared at her.

"Don't be angry Peter," she saw his face instantly soften, his mouth curving into a smile.

"I'm not angry with you Wendy."

"Will you come back again.....to hear more stories?"

"If you wish it."

"Oh I do Peter....and I promise to tell a few that have your adventures in them as well."

"Good......I like them best of all."

Once more in accord, they grinned at each other, the seconds stretching out before Peter reluctantly turned to leave.

As he prepared to leave, Wendy felt a lump in her throat, her conflicting emotions leaving her vulnerable and needy. Peter also seemed hesitant to leave, shaking himself inwardly to free himself from the overwhelming urge to stay.

"I'll look out for you Peter.....and my window will never be locked."

Giving her a wide smile, Peter launched himself out of her window, almost instantly turning to float in the air, looking back in as Wendy leant on the sill, her face upturned to his, her eyes moist.

"Goodbye Wendy,"

"Goodbye Peter,"

Lifting his hand in a small wave, Peter stiffened his resolve and turned away, streaking towards the sky, leaving the girl in the window far behind.

Wendy watched until he disappeared in a streak of starlight, her eyes straining but not seeing him anymore. Shivering slightly in the cool night air, she turned away and walked back to her bed her thoughts all about Peter.

That had set the pattern for the next two years, Wendy telling the stories, sometimes with Peter as the hero, sometimes not, his shadow at the window becoming his presence in the nursery, sitting beside the other boys, his face eagerly turned up to watch her as she wove her tales, as enthusiastic as her brothers and foster brothers when the stories ended, clapping and whooping and re-enacting the battle scenes until the boys and Wendy had to go to bed. Her parents accepted Peter's presence, realising that he, like all children, craved attention and company, his presence no longer a threat to their children, a set of rules drawn up between Peter and Mister Darling as to a code of conduct to keep everyone happy.

Wendy had thought that Peter would not want any rules to stop him doing precisely what he wanted, but to her surprise he eagerly joined in the creation of the rules, arguing the fine points with her father, creating a charter that both were happy with.

The rules were simple and few. Peter could visit the children whenever he wanted, as long as he didn't disrupt their schooling and homework times. Peter promised not to bring any dangerous weapons on his visits, no pistols, swords or cannon. Peter wouldn't take any of the children to Neverland without the express approval of either Mister or Mrs Darling, and finally, that Peter would return to Neverland between visits, never staying longer than the children's bedtimes.

The last had been Peter's rule, and Wendy didn't understand why he'd made that unless it was to keep himself distant from her and avoid any possibility of that spark from leaping into life and burning them again.

Now Wendy was approaching her fifteenth birthday, her face and figure taking on its adult shape. In a few short weeks she would be leaving her childhood behind her completely and entering the world of adults and adult concerns. It was the reason she had asked Peter to break his rule and stay behind to keep her company. She wanted one last adventure before she had to put it all behind her and consider her future. A future that she knew would not include Peter Pan.

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"Do you want me to take you to Neverland?" Peter asked, snapping Wendy from her thoughts.

"Yes Peter I do."

"Why now?......you've never asked me before, despite me offering to."

"Because in a few weeks I won't be able to ask you to. I won't be able to go with you....ever."

Looking alarmed, Peter peered at her, trying to see what was wrong with her. "Are you sick? Why wouldn't you be able to come in a few weeks?"

Wendy hung her head, her bottom lip trembling slightly.

"Because when I am fifteen I will be leaving this house and going to live with my Aunt Millicent, and once that happens I can never return, I will be an adult."

"No Wendy......you can't......I won't let you!" Peter's vehemence surprised them both, Wendy rounding her mouth into an oh of surprise as Peter jumped to his feet, his dagger drawn as if to slay the dragon of adulthood from taking Wendy.

Looking at him, Wendy felt a warmth curl through her body, her heart jumping erratically as he continued to look fierce, his fingers clenched tightly around the hilt of his knife.

Peter's stance started to relax as he acknowledged the futility of his actions, Wendy rising to stand in front of him, her eyes pleading for his understanding.

"That's why I wanted one last adventure.....before I had to say goodbye to you forever."

A stone seemed to have lodged in Peter's chest, his breathing becoming ragged as he contemplated his life without the visits to the Darling nursery to hear, see and enjoy Wendy and her stories. Without realising it he had reached for her hand, clasping it strongly in his, tugging her towards the window. Wendy only put up a token resistance until the cold of the air outside bit through her thin nightdress, snapping her back to reality.

"Come away with me Wendy, come to Neverland.......don't grow up yet...." Peter pleaded, reaching for her hand again, drawing her forward, his eyes holding hers.

Blinking, Wendy found herself almost nose to nose with Peter, her body quivering as his warmth seeped into her bones.

"I can't go in my nightdress....." She protested faintly. Peter only cast a cursory glance at her clothes as if for the first time.

"Then wear something else.....but hurry." He grinned at her as she pulled away again, her eyes still glued to his.

Breaking the contact, Wendy mentally reviewed her wardrobe, trying to fit her clothes into the world that was Neverland. Giving up, the task simply impossible, she looked down at herself, noting the sensible cotton neck-to-knee creation that graced her curves. It had elbow length sleeves and looked very similar to several dressed in her cupboard. The major difference between them and her nightdress was the application of a whale-bone corset that pulled her burgeoning curves into the required shape during the day, giving her dresses their required outline and her body a refined form of torture. As she stood undecided, Peter came up behind her, his mouth coming to rest next to her ear. "I like what you're wearing," he whispered, making her jump, a shiver chasing its way down her back. "Neverland is warm, the sun always shines.....you don't need anything else."

"I'd forgotten......it is warm, isn't it."

"Warm....sunny....what more do you need."

"And we won't be gone for long...." Wendy finished, blushing as Peter took her hand once again, his fingers wrapping around hers, tugging her around and leading her to the window. All thought of rules and her family seemed to have flown from her mind, her eyes once more captured and held by the boy in front of her, his hand pulling her to the window, her feet carrying her towards another adventure.

As they stepped onto the tiny ledge outside her window, Wendy felt Peters arm snake around her waist, pulling her into his side.

"Second to the right and straight on 'til morning....are you ready Wendy?"

"I'm ready Peter."

Putting her arm around his back, Wendy sucked in a big breath as she felt Peter's muscles tense in preparation of lifting off. Together they flew slowly from the window, Wendy feeling a small tremor of fear ripple down her limbs before a squeeze of reassurance from Peter dispelled all her fears and she started to enjoy once more the experience of flying unfettered above the earth. They passed over the chimney stacks and rooftops, rising quickly above the clouds, the half moon painting them in silver as Peter drew them ever higher, Bloomsbury and London left far below.

Ahead gleamed a bright star, its neighbour only slightly less bright as they picked up speed.

"Hold tight Wendy.....don't let go!"

As with her first trip to Neverland, the sky became streaks of starlight and the air roared past her ears, then just as suddenly they exploded through the portal to Neverland and were floating calmly above a star studded sea, the dark bulk of the island in front of them.

The sun rose majestically behind the tallest peak, bathing the island in radiant gold, gilding the trees and rocks as Peter drew Wendy closer, the clouds becoming like a cotton candy forest, tinted with the colours of dawn. Peter chose a particularly dense looking cloud to set down on, putting Wendy down carefully, her feet sinking a little way into the cloud.

"Its just as beautiful as I remember Peter.....except I don't expect to see the Jolly Roger this time."

"Oh its still here.....the pirates that survived use it to fish off, but it's mostly a wreck these days."

Peter lay down on the cloud on his belly, Wendy joining him as he flipped his telescope out to its full length, putting it to his eye and scanning the land below. He spotted some mermaids sporting in the surf but moved on by, not wanting to repeat Wendy's last experience with the slippery creatures. Further along the coast he saw an Indian fishing party, the braves casting their nets off the rocks, flashes of silver from their catch.

"Peter.....what's that?"

Peter looked over at Wendy, seeing her pointing to something far out on the horizon. Shifting slightly, he lifted the telescope once more and tried to fix it upon the dark shape. It took a few seconds but he finally brought the object into view.

"What is it Peter...what do you see??"

"Ur....its a ship, it's not flying a flag. There's something on the sails, but I can't make it out."

"A ship? How did it get here?"

Peter snapped the telescope shut, tucking it back into his belt before turning to Wendy, shrugging. "The same way the Jolly Roger did, I suppose. Its on a direct course for Neverland, so I guess we'll find out soon enough what its purpose is."

"Aren't you worried?"

"What's the point....it'll arrive in its own good time."

"I suppose so," Wendy agreed, peering at the dark shape so far away.

"Come on....I want to show you all the things we missed the last time you were here." Peter cajoled, rising to his knees and pulling Wendy up beside him.

His teasing smile brought an answering one to her lips, her eyes sparkling as he pulled them both to their feet.

"What sort of things Peter?"

"Well.......there's the volcano, Old Smoky. It's quiet today, but sometimes it erupts and the lava pours down the side like a river."

"Oh dear....isn't that dangerous...I mean, lava is unbelievably hot, and the fumes..."

Peter gave her an exasperated look, cocking an eyebrow at her which made her blush at her own feeble worries.

"This is Neverland, Wendy.....nothing here will really hurt you, not even the volcano, I won't let it."

"You really are the most egotistical boy I have ever met!" Wendy laughed as Peter once more circled her waist and pulled them into the air, flying amongst the clouds and veering off towards the tallest peak of the mountain range. As they flew he pointed out other hidden treasure like the waterfall cliffs, the crystal canyon and the crocodiles cave. He explained that the beast had never returned after swallowing Hook and it was conjectured that the beast may have died from indigestion, but as no corpse was ever found, no-one could say for sure.

As they flew lower, Wendy cast a last glance over her shoulder at the blue sea, the black speck of the unknown ship coming ever closer to Neverland.

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Have at ye, me hearty's......adventure is afoot.....all with me so far? Oh good......time to swash a few buckles, with a yo! ho! ho!....