Disclaimer: Still not my characters.

Author's Note: Here it is; the end of the story.

Chapter VII

Haply I May Remember, and Haply May Forget

Hook stood directly in front of the empty mirror, staring at its blank expanse. What would it take to finish this? He was tired of everything; he wasn't meant to live in such solitude. If this place would just finish with him and let him truly die. Or at least give him something to fight.

"Let this end," he said, laying his hand flat against the glass. Though he would never have actually said 'please', he was thinking it.

The mirror started rippling outward over his hand and around his body. He couldn't move as the glass flowed around him like a sea of mercury, encasing him inside a bubble of glass. The room was gone, and he was floating above London just above hefty fog banks. It took him a few moments to orient himself to his strange position. Then he was stunned by the sight of his ship sailing towards him in the skies of London. It was a magnificent spectacle, glowing with fairy dust, if he could only take her and fly to lands far beyond Neverland and away from that dratted boy, but that was not to be. He sighed as he began to sink below the fogline (or perhaps everything was rising around him, it was impossible for him to tell). He'd hoped to see the children leave the ship, but instead found himself drifting over the streets in the direction of the Darling home. He felt as insubstantial as a ghost, floating through the fog. Once or twice, he thought he caught a glimpse of that ridiculous doghouse going through the streets, though he was never certain.

Soon however, he found himself just above the nursery window of the Darling home, where he could see Mary sleeping in a chair by the window, waiting for the brats to come home. It would have served them right if she'd locked them out and went away on a long holiday. But that's something she would never do.

The sight of Mary sleeping so peacefully was sublime but for Hook, it was short lived. The vision before him began to fade. At first, he didn't think much of it. This was an experience to which he had grown accustomed. However, something was different this time. Everything was swirling violently and he felt as though an unseen hand had reached through his back, grabbed his stomach, and was pulling him quickly from the window.

Just as the distorted image of the window disappeared into darkness, another began to form. Hook feared he was about to be flung back into that accursed room but as he slowed and the vision grew more detailed, it soon became clear that he was going somewhere else. Ignorant though he was of his destination, he thought that anyplace would be better than the mysterious keep from which escape heretofore seemed impossible.

Curiously, the window was coming back into view. Only this time, he was on the inside of it looking out into the sky where he had been suspended only moments before. "I'm coming! What is it?" Was that his voice? It couldn't have been. It seemed to come from his head but it sounded nothing like him. Hook tried to move, to speak, to shout, to curse, but it was all to no avail.

Suddenly, the brats stood before him. "We're back, Father. Did you miss us?" The boy was talking to him! Something else was happening to him as well, emotions not his own were beating on his mind, relief, joy, embarassment.

"You're back. Good. Excellent. Well done." There was that voice again, ringing in his head. A hand, an actual right hand instead of a hook, reached out in front of him and took the boy John's hand. Gradually, the truth became evident. Hook had become little more than a spectator in George Darling's head. He could see, hear, and feel everything just as if he were George but was powerless to do anything of his own volition. For a fleeting moment, the keep seemed somewhat inviting.

Hook watched helplessly as George wrapped his arms around John, overwhelmed by the man's joy. "Oh, my angels." He knelt and reached out to hug Michael, laughing. "Of course I missed you." He looked at Wendy, smiled, and reached out to hug her. For a moment, Hook wondered if she could see him through her father's eyes.

Millicent entered the room, followed by the lost boys. Hook tried harder than ever to will George to lash out at the lot; he felt as if he were drowning in George's happiness and deafened by Millicent's squeals of delight.

Wendy ran over to the boys. "Mother, Father, I would like to introduce the Lost Boys."

"Hello," all said in near unison.

"May I keep them?" Wendy asked.

George stood up and groped for the right words. "Well, I . . . I . . ." Mary looked at George pleadingly. "I mean, the expense," he said.

"Think of the neighbors," Milicent said just above a whisper.

"Think of me," Hook thought, even though he knew what George was thinking and feeling.

George looked at the boys and then at Millicent. "Dash the neighbors!" he bellowed. "And dash the expense! Welcome to the family, boys."

They all rushed him and knocked him down in a hug, saying thank you repeatedly.

"Oh! You had to pick now to finally grow a spine!" Hook wailed. Of all things in his life he never expected to experience, this was well up in the top, pummelled by Lost Boys out of gratitude.

Michael dumped out the bag of treasure they took from Smee: "Will this help the expense, Father?"

George stared at it the pile in utter amazement for a moment, but Hook knew that the treasure was of small importance to him. Hook though was fuming at the thought. "Anyone for a pony ride?" George shouted. The children cheered and descended on him afresh.

In the midst of hugging and talking, Mary sidled over to George who leaned in and kissed her gently. "Oh, well. I suppose there is something to be said for this life of George's," Hook mused.

Unnoticed by most of the room but not by Hook, Pan watched outside the window. "To live would be an awfully big adventure," he murmured. Hook was torn– what would be worse Pan here forced to grow up or back in Neverland always the same, never changing? Next to Pan, Tink played a little violin. Whatever thought had held Pan seemed to pass, and he was himself again, all sufficient boy. Hook wanted to gut him, as he saw Wendy going to the window.

"Peter!" she called.

Pan paused in midair and looked back to see Wendy at the window. "You won't forget me, will you?" she asked.

Hook desperately tried to will George to grab her by the heels in case she started after the boy. "Mary will never forgive you, if you fail again. Let me loose and I'll drown him for you."

"Me? Forget? Never." Pan gave a kind of half wave as he started to leave. Oh, he knows he won't remember, Hook thought, still itching to slap the irritating fellow down.

"Will you come back?" Wendy asked.

Pan turned back, looking a little more cocky than usual. "To hear stories . . . about me."

You won't return if you know what's good for you, boy, Hook thought. Neverland is your realm, stay there and be damned with you.

There was more celebrating back in the nursery, and Hook lost himself in the festivities. With Pan gone, most of his fighting spirit seemed to have left him; he felt tired. After Mary, George and Millicent (who somehow seemed to have acquired one of the Lost Boys as her own) got the children settled down for the night or as settled as overly enthusiastic children could be expected to be, Hook found himself for a moment alone with Mary. She was so happy that she seemed to glow. He was entranced by the vision of that kiss on the right hand corner of her mouth. With a strange impulse that seemed to come from neither George or himself, he with a curious autonomy leaned forward and just managed to catch that kiss. Mary looked at him with a gentle smile that seemed to reach inside to just where Hook was.

Ha, he thought with satisfaction, not everything is for the boy after all. Now, now, I think I can rest. He felt tired, and over Mary's shoulder he caught a glimpse of George's reflection in the mirror. Odd, to see a mirror that was just a mirror again. Everything around him seemed to darken and he felt as if he was drifting off to sleep. Peace at last, unless Pan returns. If he does, George, I'll be waiting right here. I just hope you're up to what we'll have to do.