Disclaimer: Peter Pan, all characters, places, and related terms belong to J.M. Barrie. The plot belongs to me.
Author's Note: Originally this was to be part of a chapter for another story, but that didn't work out, so I made it into this one-shot instead of tossing the whole thing. It stands completely on its own; it does not relate at all to any of my other Peter Pan stories.
Peter reclines in his chair, one leg hanging over the arm. His pipes lie forgotten in his lap. His newspaper, which Wendy had made especially for him, rests in his hands. Lazily he watches Wendy rush back and forth between the kettle which bubbles merrily and the apples being cut on the table. She has not even touched the fish yet. He gives her a cocky grin when she catches his eye.
"Honestly!" she huffs. "You're just sitting away while I have too few hands to handle the cooking."
Peter laughs carelessly at her ill humor; she scowls at him. "I am just acting as a real father would. He stays out of the kitchen and has a smoke while reading the paper." To emphasize his point, he lifts up his paper and pretends to read, his dancing eyes peeking over the top to watch Wendy occasionally.
"Well!" Wendy turns her attention back to the kettle, shaking her head disapprovingly. "You could be a gentleman and offer to help." At receiving no response, she huffs again and mutters, "Conceited," under her breath.
Carefully she stirs the broth, adding tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and various herbs and spices as she mixes the soup. A small smile lights her face as she breathes in the delicious aroma that tickles her nose. Several minutes later, she tastes the soup. Nodding in approval, she puts the lid over the kettle and removes it from the fire, setting it on the stump in the middle of the house. She sets one of her frying pans over the fire.
Pausing for a moment, she looks at Peter to discover he has not moved an inch from his chair, with his face still buried deep in his newspaper. Pressing her lips into a straight line, she marches back to the table to finish cutting the apples. Her eyes widen, and her mouth forms a perfect "o." She stares in surprise at the now cleaned fish which seems to be waiting patiently to be put in the pan and fried.
Slowly, Wendy turns back to her friend. His newspaper is lowered, and he watches her with twinkling, anticipation-filled eyes and a smile tugging on the corners of his mouth. "Is that how a gentleman would help a lady?" he teases.
For a long moment Wendy gazes back and forth between the smug boy and cleaned fish. Shock finally wearing off, she smiles brightly at Peter and, rushing to him, throws her arms around him.
"Yes, yes! Oh, thank you, Peter!"
"Hmm," Peter mumbles in her hair, returning her embrace awkwardly. "I do believe I deserve a reward."
Wendy pulls back and studies him. "A reward?" she repeats, raising her eyebrows, placing her hands on her hips.
"Indeed. If I had not helped, then it would take you much longer to make supper," he reasons.
"I suppose," Wendy sighs, giving in.
With a grin, Peter stands and waits expectantly. Wendy's brows knit together, wondering what will serve as a just reward. Her eyes land on the apples, and quickly she takes one and presents it to Peter. His face falls slightly. Wendy draws back her hand at his look.
"Well, what reward do you want?" she asks.
Peter is silent for moment before answering, almost shyly, "Perhaps a thimble," pointing to his right dirty cheek, which is a faint shade of pink.
Also blushing, Wendy gazes at him in astonishment (he has never seemed to care for being kissed, while the other boys are delighted with the physical affection she gives them), then nods slowly.
She steps closer to him and rises on the balls of her feet, while he lowers his head and turns his cheek towards her. Quickly she gives his cheek a light kiss, his skin feeling slightly rough under her lips. She comes down on her heels and means to turn away but Peter's hand on her shoulder stops her. Raising her eyes, she discovers Peter has turned his other cheek to her.
"No use leaving a job half done," Peter says for explanation.
"I believe this is two rewards instead of one," Wendy counters, leaning back a bit.
Peter turns, and their eyes clash. "I see it as just one big reward, which I deserve, don't you think?" He pouts.
Wendy can never refuse him when he gazes at her like that, with that cocky pout on his face. And he knows, of course, he will get his way, which is why he does this in the first place – clever boy.
She nods in resignation. He grins victoriously and turns his cheek to her once more. This time she does not kiss him as quickly before, allowing her lips to remain on his cheek for several moments. Drawing back, she simply shakes her head at Peter's pleased face. She turns away, not seeing Peter touch his cheeks one by one, something akin to dazed disbelief in his eyes. Blinking, he focuses on her retreating back.
"Now it is my turn to reward you, Wendy-lady," he declares.
Wendy whirls, puzzlement on her face. "You reward me?" she says quietly. Her heart starts racing. She has rarely been called "Wendy-lady."
Peter nods, coming toward her. Deciding to let him have his way – again – she wordlessly holds up her hand. Last time Peter rewarded her she had received an acorn button. For a second he looks blankly at her empty hand; then amusement fills his eyes. He meets her clear, nervous eyes, and chuckles.
"Silly girl," he states.
Wendy, feeling insulted, opens her mouth to argue, but then before she realizes it, Peter is cradling her chin in the palm of his hand. She watches him with wide eyes. Gently, he turns her face a little and leans forward placing a soft, lingering kiss on the corner of her mouth. Slowly he pulls away and smiles at seeing Wendy's stunned expression. A long silence passes with the two watching each other.
"The fish!" Wendy suddenly remembers. The mood broken, she hastily puts the fish in the pan. His smile slowly fading, Peter returns to his chair and lowers himself into it. He takes up his paper with half-interest. At the same moment each sneaks a glance to the other and looks away when their eyes meet. A secretive smile graces each child's face.