Disclaimer: Peter Pan, all characters, places, and related terms belong to J.M. Barrie. The plot belongs to little ol' me.
Author's Note: This one-shot is quite different from what I usually write for Peter Pan. The rating is just to be safe. Please let me know what you think.
I Might Have Lost You
The house under the ground was empty except for two silent children. Sounds of the boys half-hearted playing were heard above them, a great contrast to the great seriousness and distress felt in the house.
Wendy glanced across the table at Peter. He had not spoken a word since the battle had at last come to an end and he had quickly scooped her up in his arms, warning the boys to keep alert before flying to the house. In the light from the fire he still looked quite pale, with sweat on his brow, and a terrified expression on his face. She half-feared he might faint or become sick. She could not remember ever seeing him like this before, and a knot formed in her chest. She could not find any words of comfort to offer as her face was also troubled, and she attempted to even her breathing and hold back whimpers of pain
Willing his hands to remain steady, Peter wiped the last of the blood from the girl's hand and arm with a wet cloth. The usual dainty pink skin was turning an ugly purple and black color. He then took some salve from a piece of bark. "This may hurt a little," he warned in a trembling voice, glancing up at Wendy.
She only nodded and used her right hand to keep up her left arm. Carefully, he tabbed some of the salve on the palm of her hand where the cut began. He clutched his jaw as he heard Wendy inhale sharply. A quick glance of her face revealed her eyes shut tight and her teeth biting her bottom lip.
A tremor passed through the boy's body, and he had to force himself to continue covering his friend's wound with the salve, the image of her pain-filled face making Peter want to cry. He hated to hurt her; but she needed this to help her arm and hand heal. Quickly, thoroughly, he completed his task, not daring to find out how she was making out.
On legs that wobbled and threatened to buckle, he retrieved a bunch of bandages from a basket Wendy kept in case a boy was ever in need of one. This was the first time she herself needed them. Sinking back into his seat, Peter slowly wrapped the strips of cloth around her hand and nearly up to her elbow. Once finished, he did not bother to put the things away at first. Instead, he stared at the small bandaged arm that rested on the table between him and Wendy. Then he gazed at the nightgown which was speckled with drops of dried blood. He pursed his lips into a firm line as he gazed at the marred cloth.
"I have another dress I can wear," Wendy supplied at seeing her friend's expression.
He nodded once slowly and then at last brought his eyes up to Wendy's face. She was calmer now that the ordeal and the taking care of her wound were over; but the slight tremble of her small frame exposed the fear that still clung to her: the realization of what could have happened to her.
"Peter?" she said, concerned that Peter looked worse than he had been. The look in his eyes was heartbreaking, and she wondered what else troubled him. "Peter?"
The boy, unable to keep calm or still or have this long dreadful distance between them any longer, rose to his feet. With a cry of, "Oh, Wendy!" he was at her side in a second and dragged her up to her feet, capturing her in a tight, unrelenting embrace, though mindful of her hurt arm. He buried his face in her neck and began to sob long and hard.
He had never thought of the possibility of Wendy getting hurt during one of the children's fights with the pirates. Of course, the possibility was always present, just as it was possible for one of the boys to get hurt. The thought had just never occurred to Peter.
Several years surely had been scared off him when her scream floated above the rest of the battle cries earlier that afternoon. Immediately forgetting all else, Peter had searched wildly for where her scream had come from. He was fortunate when the pirate he had been fighting fell at his feet and did not rise again. He had finally spotted her trying to keep a pirate at bay. The sleeve of her left arm was red with blood and hung limply at her side.
Also aware that Mother had been struck down, the other boys fought with new strength, and amazingly the fight was soon over when those pirates who remained retreated. Now allowed to fly to her, Peter caught her up in his arms as she started to fall over. He had at first feared the worst when he saw her closed eyes and pale cheeks. But then her lids opened to reveal teary eyes looking into his, and her face grimaced with pain.
A shudder racked Peter's body as the memories crashed over him. She could have been killed. A second shudder passed through him. He would never again allow her to take part in battle when there were so many pirates.
Slowly, his sobbing quieted a bit, and he gradually became aware of Wendy's voice whispering words of comfort in his ear. He tightened his arms around her.
"I might have lost you," he whimpered against her skin.
Wendy was silenced by his words. She had not expected him to say something like that, and to realize that this was what troubled him so. "But you did not; I am here," she reassured him, though shaken by the truth of his confession.
"I might have, though." He could not imagine what he would do if he did not have her here with him anymore.
"Peter," she sighed, sliding her good hand free to brush his curls.
Hardly aware of what he was doing, Peter laid a thimble on Wendy's pulse and then proceeded to cover her cheeks, nose, forehead, and the top of her head in a rain of thimbles, unable to find words to express what he had gone through while tending her wound, relieved that he had not lost her, and drained of his fear that was now replaced with contentment. When he drew back to see her face, Wendy's eyes were glazed over slightly, and she was thankful for Peter's arms supporting her.
"I am sorry, Wendy, for hurting you," Peter said in a thick voice.
Taking a moment to realize what he referred to, Wendy nodded and said, in turn, "And I am sorry for causing you such worry."
At last the shadows seemed to leave Peter's face completely, and a small smile lighted his face. For a few moments both children were happy to remain hugging each other.
"The boys will be back soon," Wendy spoke, reluctantly stepping away from Peter's warm arms. She was relieved that her strength was slowly returning and her legs were steady.
In a companionable and contented silence – much different from before – Peter and Wendy cleaned up the table.