Title: The Forever Dance

Author: Squeezynz

Chapter: Twelve - (finale) - Farewell's and Fair Words

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Wendy snuggled back into Peter's arms, her back against his chest, their faces turned to stare out of the moonlit bay, the waves sparkling with phosphorescence as they lapped the beach.

"Warm enough?"

Wendy nodded her head, too happy to speak. It was two weeks since the death of Captain Lilliana Moon and a week since the departure of the Moonshadow from Neverlands' shores. Life had returned mostly to normal, whatever that equated to, in Neverland. Wendy's knee had healed, she was now able to walk without the help of the crutch Smee had carved for her, although she missed Peter carrying her around as he had been want to do whenever the opportunity arose. Paolo was currently still living at the Indian village, but had plans to build himself a cabin somewhere nearby, still close to the sea. After years spent aboard a ship, he wanted somewhere to call his own, a home. As welcoming as the Indian's had been, and as rough and ready a welcome as the former pirates of the Jolly Roger had given, Paolo felt the need to be separate, but not entirely alone. Peter understood and helped with the location of the building site, a sheltered valley that sloped gently to the shore, a stream handily situated and a lagoon abundantly supplied with fish. It was also just around the headland from the Pirates cove and only a shortish walk to the Indian camp. To Paolo it was perfect. Tiger Lily had her own views but wisely kept them to herself, seeing for herself the advantages of having her lover elsewhere than in the middle of a busy and unfailingly nosy Indian village.

When the Moonshadow had finally sailed, everyone had stood on the cliffs to watch it disappear over the horizon and into the mists of oblivion. The people watching the ship sail away were beset with a mixture of emotions ranging from elation, in the case of the Jolly Rogers' former pirates, to a sense of grief tied up with the loss of part of his life, from Paolo. He couldn't entirely quantify his feelings at seeing such a huge part of his life sail away, but he knew that it was over and that a new life beckoned. He had a lot to thank Lilliana Moon for, and he had a lot of regrets, but even though he might have lost some things, he had gained a whole world, a brother in Peter, a sister in Wendy and a new love in Tiger Lily. What more could a cabin boy ask for.

"Peter?"

"Hmmmmmm?"

"Now that Neverland is safe again.......I think......I think I need to go home." She felt the arms around her tense, Peter drawing in a sharp breath. Before he could speak she twisted around and faced him, her fingers covering his lips. "We left without leaving a note or letter or anything....my parents will be worried, I've been gone so long." Peter's eyes pinned her in place as she removed her hand, her fingers tracing his features as he watched her. "I want to stay here...with you....forever.....but I can't ignore that I have a family who will be wondering and worrying. I have to go home and say goodbye...."

Relaxed once more, Peter gave her a lopsided grin before leaning forward and kissing her, his arms like steel bands across her back as he drew her against his chest, the kiss deepening as her body relaxed in his arms.

"When do you want to go?" He finally asked, Wendy raising her head to kiss his cheek before laying her head back on his chest.

"Would tonight be too soon?"

"No......come on, the sooner we go, the sooner we get back."

Scrambling to his feet, he pulled her up beside him, pulling her into his arms and kissing her again, their bodies rising into the sky still entwined. When she felt a cloud brush its cool tendrils against her legs Wendy pulled back with a gasp, laughing at Peter's cheeky grin as he adjusted his grip on her, circling her waist so they flew side by side, rising higher into the moonlit sky before streaking off towards the stars.

The house was in darkness when they arrived back above London, the rooftops just as sooty, the sky overcast. Slowly they approached the nursery window, Wendy feeling unaccountably nervous the closer they drew to the tall, terraced house. At the tree she paused, Peter silent at her side. They knew from the clock steeple that it was late in the evening, so it was not a surprise to see only night-lights illuminating the boys beds. Drifting closer, Wendy rested her hands against the cold panes of glass, peering into the room, a smile curving her lips as she counted the heads, noting the dropped teddy on the floor beside Michaels bed. Pushing away, she caught Peter's eye, his head nodding to the side to indicate they try her bedroom window next. Taking his hand they floated slowly across the back of the building and around the corner, finding the window to her room wide open, the curtains not pulled, light streaming warmly out of opening.

As they approached, Wendy peeped inside, gasping when she saw her Mother curled up in Wendy's old bed, the lamp still lit, casting a golden glow over the frilled bed linen and pretty furnishings.

Wendy and Peter stepped over the window sill and down to the carpet, Peter staying by the opening while Wendy crept across the floor, excited and nervous, wanting, but not wanting to awaken her sleeping parent.

Kneeling beside the bed, she reached up and touched her Mother's cheek, stroking the velvet softness.

"Mother.....I'm home....it's Wendy....I'm back."

Stirring, Mary Darling slowly opened her eyes, blinking at the light, her hand coming up to shield her face as she raised herself up on the pillows.

"Mother....?"

Hearing the voice, her eyes suddenly focusing on the girl kneeling in front of her, Mary Darling launched herself off the bed and onto her daughters neck, wrapping her in her arms, both of them bursting into tears, both talking at once.

"Where did you go? Why didn't you tell us?"

"I'm sorry.....I had to go......I couldn't stay,"

Pulling away, Mary cupped her daughters face in her hands, searching her face before pulling her back into her arms and rocking her.

"Oh it doesn't matter, you're back, you're safe....Oh Wendy, I was so worried....."

"I'm sorry I worried you.....oh Mother....."

Laughing and crying, Mary pulled back again and kissed her on the forehead, stroking her hair from her face. Seeing a movement, she raised her head, gasping when she finally noticed the figure by the window. Peter returned her stony regard with a slight twinge of alarm, his own face unsmiling, his arms crossed over his chest as he waited for her to speak.

Climbing to her feet, pulling Wendy up with her, Mary Darling stood, her arm around Wendy's shoulders, staring at the boy who had stolen her child away for a second time.

"You promised Peter.....you promised you wouldn't take her away!"

Before Peter could answer, Wendy pulled away from her Mother and backed away towards Peter, her hand reaching back for his.

"I asked Peter to take me away....I begged him...."

Her hands outstretched, bewildered, Mary Darling watched as her daughter glanced over her shoulder at the boy, their eyes meeting, a look of intense emotion in that one glance, Peter's face softening as he half-smiled reassuringly at Wendy before she turned back to face her Mother. In that instant Mary Darling understood.

"You're leaving with him again.....for good this time..."

"Yes.....I am...I wanted to come back and say goodbye...Peter brought me here to do that.....please understand......I love him."

"Yes.....yes dear....I can see that...." Letting her hands drop to her sides, Mary Darling sat down heavily on the side of the bed, her face sad and defeated. She had always felt that Wendy had returned from her first trip to Neverland quite altered, somehow older than her years. Now it was obvious that her child had fallen in love with the boy, had given her heart despite her tender years, had also given her hidden kiss to a boy she had thought never to see again those first few months after she'd returned. Mary had seen the desolation in Wendy's eyes when he didn't, the hope burning brightly against all reason when he finally appeared again. Raising her head, Mary looked at Peter, really looked, for the first time she tried to see him as Wendy did. She had to admit, he was quite the most handsomest of young men, his figure very fine despite the odd clothing, hair and sun-kissed skin ripe with health and vitality, his sheer life-force filling the room with sunshine and the promise of adventure. That same vitality was easy to see in her daughter as well, Wendy positively glowing as she glanced back once more at Peter, her face flushing pink as he returned her smile, both of them almost oblivious for that moment of the woman sitting on the bed.

Sighing, Mary Darling stood up, drawing the attention of the two young people. Walking forward, Mary approached them both, her eyes fixed on Peter's, searching their sea-blue depths for something to reassure her. For a long minute they stood silent, Peter returning her regard steadily and unflinchingly. Then Mary Darling smiled, her beautiful face coming forward to kiss Peter on the cheek, her hands resting lightly on his shoulders. The young man stiffened for an instant, startled, his eyes darting to Wendy's, who was smiling broadly.

"You will look after my darling Wendy, keep her safe for me Peter?"

"With my life....." Peter answered without hesitation.

"Will you bring her back to visit sometimes?"

"If you wish it..."

"Then I will go and get my husband....he will want to see Wendy too....and the boys.....to say goodbye."

With a small smile, Mary walked to the door of the room and opened it, glancing back only once before walking through.

Wendy instantly threw her arms around Peter and hugged him, the bemused youth returning her embrace, still staring after Wendy's mother.

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The leave-taking was boisterous and poignant, Wendy crying against her fathers shoulder, while he hugged her fiercely against him. The boys were excited to see Peter again, plying him for news of Neverland and its inhabitants. Peter kept the stories free of anything related to the Moonshadow and the harrowing times of Wendy's capture and later injuries, keeping his narrative to the things they already knew. George Darling, having been briefed by his wife as to the situation, made no demur, simply shaking Peter's hand before pulling the boy into a quick hug and extolling him to take great care of Wendy and himself, and to visit as often as they liked.

Wendy, together with her Mother, sorted through her drawers of clothes and belongings and put together a bag of essentials, along with a small photograph of the family taken shortly after the Lost Boys were adopted into the Darling household. Wendy wept briefly over the picture, tucking it well down in the bag, before falling on her Mother and weeping again.

Finally the time came to leave, the Darling's all gathering in the stone flagged courtyard outside the glassed conservatory, Peter clasping the bag in one hand, as he waited for Wendy to finish her goodbyes.

"Don't forget us Wendy?" Michael piped, staring up at his suddenly very grown up sister, his eyes darting from her to Peter and back again.

"Of course I won't forget you, dearest one..." Wendy bent down and dropped a kiss on his ginger curls.

With a last hug for each of the boys and a kiss for her parents, Wendy walked to Peter and took his hand, looking up into his eyes with such a look of love, which in turn was mirrored in Peter's, that her Mother felt overwhelmed with the conviction that her daughter had indeed found her one, true happiness, and a worthy recipient of her tresured, hidden kiss.

"Goodbye......I love you...." Wendy blew a kiss to them all as Peter drew her up into the air, her family waving madly, calling goodbyes to her as they rose higher, finally disappearing from sight in a streak of glittering starlight.

Peter drew her into his side as they flew through the barrier between her world and his, the explosion of stars as they broke through and flew towards the awakening island unnoticed by the silent girl beside him.

Setting them down on a grassy knoll, Peter turned Wendy to face him, the bag dropping from his hand to land heavily on the grass.

"Wendy......don't cry....don't be sad....we're home...."

Lifting her head, Wendy smiled weakly, her eyes still bright as she looked up at Peter, her lips curving into a broader smile at his worried expression.

"Don't worry Peter.....I'm not sad.....I'm happy.....really.....I just....I just didn't think it would be so hard to say goodbye."

"You can go back and visit anytime you want."

"I know.....and we will......but for now.....I'm just happy to be here, in Neverland....with you."

With a whoop, Peter wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off her feet, twirling around and around, Wendy squealing and clinging to his neck, Peter shouting out loud that they were home, the crazy gyrations stopping only when they both fell to the lush grass, panting and laughing, still holding tight to each other.

Rolling her onto her back, Peter loomed over her, his face blotting out the sky, his eyes brighter than the stars.

"I love you Wendy Darling......."

"I love you Peter Pan...."

Lowering his head, Peter sealed their declaration with a kiss, their embrace quickly turning to passion, their clothes shed in a frenzy of need as the sun rose, bathing the small hollow in warmth and light.

The two young lovers were oblivious to anything but their own senses, lips and hands making sweet music on their bodies, taking them both to the heights of heaven to dance forever in each others arms.

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The Forever Dance.....the end.

(and there you have it.....once more the curtain falls. Thank you for joining me on this adventure, I hope it gave you a serious case of the warm fuzzies.....it certainly did for me. Take care, and have a great day.)