Disclaimer: I do not own Finding Neverland, nor do I own any of the characters, unless otherwise specified, or not named in the movie. (I am one serious bitch).
James sat on his favorite bench in the park, scrawling his thoughts and observations onto his notebook. Porthos was lying on the ground in front of his feet, as though he were guarding his best friend from any stranger who was suddenly going to attack him, because as we all know, people randomly show up and attack others. Sometimes he would take a break to watch the boys and make sure they weren't hurt, or getting into trouble, or just because they were so carefree, innocent, and happy together. The weather had become sufficiently nicer, so there was no rain, and there were no clouds. The sun was shining brightly, and the air was beginning to get that summery feeling. Everyone could sense it.
James closed his journal and stood. He looked around the park to spot the boys, but they were nowhere in sight. He started walking, his journal by his side, along with Porthos, who was on his other side. He was walking slowly, so he could take in the picture of the laughing children, the stern looking old ladies with their dogs, and the crisp new leaves on the trees. A few minutes passed, when:
"Hi Uncle Jim," came a voice from down below. James looked down to see George sitting against a tree. He smiled.
"Well hello there, my young prince. What, may I ask, are you doing over here all alone, and where are your brothers?"
"I don't know," George said with a shrug, "I think Michael went off to bother some lady. Peter stopped playing tag with us a while ago, and went to sit on a bench to watch us instead. Jack's probably proposing to the same lady Michael's bugging. But I'm not really sure."
"And what are you doing?" Uncle Jim squatted down so he was eye-level with George.
"You'd laugh if I told you."
"Of course I wouldn't. Go on, lad."
"Well, alright. But only if you promise not to think I'm mad."
"Okay," he thought for a moment, "Well, I guess I should start from the beginning. That one day when Michael, Jack, Peter and I went fishing after school, when we were about to leave, I saw something. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me at first, but I wasn't so sure…"
"What did you see?"
"A mermaid. She was sitting there, on that small peninsula across the pond. Lake. I don't know what it is."
"It's a pond. Lake's are far bigger. But, you saw a mermaid?" James raised an eyebrow.
"Yes. Our eyes met, and hers grew large and round and she dove into the water. Then Jack nagged at me to give him some help with the fish. So I did. That night I had a dream about mermaids screaming at me for hurting the fish, and I woke up in a sweat."
"This was last Friday?" George nodded. "I see. Well, is that all?"
"'Course not. The next day, Saturday, was Jack's birthday. When we came here, to the park, we were playing Hide and Seek. Well, I was hiding exactly in this spot, and I caught a glimpse of something. I looked down and there was a small, glowing orb not two feet away from me. It had some silver and some blue, and I reached out to touch it and then the thunder crashed overhead, and it got scared and flew into this hole." He pointed at the dark hole.
"Huh. Well, that's odd isn't-"
"Wait! I'm still not done! The Monday after that, four days ago, when school let out I got this weird feeling. I felt like something was waiting for me at the pond, so that's why I got home late. I went to the pond, and searched around the spot where I though I'd seen the mermaid. And then…" He continued telling the events of that day, how he talked to her, about the dream he had about the mound under the bush, and how he didn't think mermaids could possibly live in ponds. Uncle Jim only smiled and nodded.
"It seems like you're creating your own Neverland, doesn't it?" Uncle Jim said.
"But it's all real, Uncle Jim! I've seen it all, and I've heard it all, and I've felt the water on my skin from the mermaid! I felt the heat from the little fairy orb...thing…! It isn't in my head. It can't be." He looked down at the hole, still waiting for the fairy to show itself.
"I never said it wasn't real. I believe you entirely. Perhaps you could go back and talk to your mermaid friend and ask her how she manages to live in a pond. I think you should also wait until the park isn't so crowded, so that less people are around when trying to talk to the fairy. They don't always live in forests. They can live anywhere they want." George sighed, and got to his feet. James stood also.
"We should probably just go home. I don't want to talk about it anymore." And with that, he started walking, his Uncle Jim close behind, searching for the other Llewelyn-Davies boys.
George sat against a tree, overlooking the pond. He was, as far as he could see, alone, but he had a feeling that someone was watching him. George hoped, of course, that this mysterious feeling was coming from the mermaid. He heard a rustle in the bushes behind him, but he paid no mind to them. After much thinking and staring, he found his eyes fixed upon a perfect mound of dirt that lay under a few scraggly bushes to his right.
The dream. That was something that was on his mind. What was so special about this insignificant piece of Earth?
George sighed and looked down. He studied some wildflowers while fingering it's leaves. It was so simple. Purple petals formed together atop a thick, green stem, leaves protruding every which way. George wished his thought could be like this flower. Nothing confusing or unreal. Easy to pick out the parts that made it up. But, no.
Another rustle from the bushes, along with a small "ouch!". George turned and saw Michael, detangling his foot from a clingy branch. The older boy's heart sank.
"What are you doing here, Michael?"
"Looking – for – you!" He said through sharp tugs in attempt to free his foot, and then fell backwards when it was released. George rolled his eyes.
"Well, why are you looking for me? I'm perfectly fine being alone."
"Uncle Jim sent us out. It's nearly supper." George's eyes grew wide. Supper? That meant he had been there for nearly two hours. Supper was at 6:30, and he'd been there since school let out, which was at 4:00. But…us?
"What do you mean us?"
"I mean Porthos and me." As if on cue, the dog emerged from behind Michael. He opened his slobbery mouth, clamped it around the shoulder of Michael's shirt, and pulled in attempt to get him on his feet. Michael stood. George sighed and looked out longingly at the pond. If she hadn't shown up by now, she must not be coming today. The older boy picked himself up and the three of them walked back home, talking (and barking) about what might be for supper, and George listened while Michael told him about Jack and Peter getting into another fight. Apparently, Jack had been calling Peter names. Again.
During the week, George had been so busy that he didn't have a chance to go back to the pond or the park. Between Grandmother coming over (which required much help from the boys to make sure the house was 100 clean), homework, babysitting, and school, there hadn't been much time to do anything. But, today was Friday. That meant no homework and no school the next day. The house was still spotless from supper with Emma duMaurier on Wednesday, and she certainly wasn't coming back anytime soon.
George was planning on going to the park today. He hadn't been there in nearly a week, and hoped that the fairy was still living in the tree.
"Shut up! You don't know anything! You're too young to understand!" Jack's voice rang throughout the house, echoing up the stairs and into every little crevice. Barking escaped Porthos's mouth, and Uncle Jim's quick footsteps were heard rushing down the steps.
"I'm only a year younger than you, and I'm better in school than you are, so don't tell me I don't know anything!" Peter shouted in defense. George looked at Michael, who stared back with big eyes. George shrugged one shoulder. He leaned over as far as he could without falling out of his desk chair and closed the door.
"Well what should you know about what she wishes? It's not like she's here to tell you, now is she?" Jack spat back.
George shook his head. Jack was getting all worked up over a girl. He looked at Michael. The six year-old sighed, hopped off of his bed, and walked toward his eldest sibling. George ruffled Michael's hair, and put his arm around the boy's shoulders.
"Boys! Jack! Calm down! What's going on?" Uncle Jim to the rescue…The two ignored him.
"You're just jealous because she was closer to me than you ever would have been." Peter said, calm as ever. This made Jack's blood boil. Peter turned to go upstairs, but Jack grabbed his arm, spun him around, and punched him in the jaw. With a cry of shock from both Peter and Uncle Jim, Jack moved past them and ran up the stairs. He bounded into the bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
"Who is it now, Jack? The same girl from last month who told you to jump off a –"
"Michael, shh." George stood and walked over to Jack, who was pacing the room. "Jack, sit down. Tell me what happened."
"No! Peter's…stupid! He makes me so angry! He thinks that he was her favorite and that he's so much better than us!" Tears were now falling freely down Jack's cheeks. He sat on his bed and put his face in his hands.
"Peter doesn't think he's better than us, Jack, why would he?" George was trying to calm Jack down, but he wasn't sure just speaking calmly would do the trick.
"Because! He's always saying how close he was to her and he just seems so bloody proud!"
"Who's 'she', exactly?" George sat next to him. This was ridiculous. 'She's only a girl, Jack; don't beat yourself up over it…' Jack looked at him with red eyes and wet cheeks. A long, hard pause rested between them. Jack seemed to not believe that he had asked who the girl was. He shook his head slowly.
"Mum, George. Peter thinks he was her favorite. She loved us all equally, didn't she?"
Oh. That made everything different. George's face turned soft, and he smiled just a little.
"'Course she did, Jack. Don't you ever think otherwise. Peter doesn't think those things, you just really tick him off." Jack's lips curled into a smile.
"Rather good at that, aren't I?"
"You're a pro."
"Jack!" Uncle Jim bounded up the stairs. Emma and Sarah were tending to Peter. "Jack Llewelyn-Davies!"
"Oh, no." Jack looked at the door, and as it opened, a trying-to-remain-calm Uncle Jim was standing in the doorway, his face slightly red, and very obviously angry.
As Jack started explaining and Uncle Jim tried not to yell, George announced that he was going to the park, and would be home soon. Michael followed him down the stairs to get away from Jack and Uncle Jim, and also to be with Peter. George grabbed a book on a table before leaving the house.
When George arrived at the park, he headed straight towards the tree. Being Friday, he had guessed that there would be a lot of people around, but was surprised when he found only a few old ladies huddled by a bench speaking to one another in hushed tones, and a man playing catch with his dog in an open field. George sat against the trunk, less than a foot away from the protruding root.
"Hello," he whispered softly. He waited for something, anything to happen. 'Patience is a virtue,' he kept reminding himself. He watched the hole for a few minutes, and then retired to the book. As he looked at the cover, he realized that he had grabbed Peter's journal. Excellent. Now he had nothing to read. He knew better than to read someone else's personal journal, tempting as it may be. He rest his head back against the trunk, put the book on his stomach, and laid his arm over the book protectively. He closed his eyes and slowly dozed off into a light slumber.
Twilight had filled the night sky, and George remained stationary in his spot by the tree. His sleep was dreamless for the first time in a while, and it was rather relaxing, except for that horrible annoying poking that occurred every few seconds at his face. George opened his eyes and saw in front of him a small, bluish-silver orb, moving back and forth, and every time poking the tip of his nose.
A/N: I think that's a good place to leave you hanging. Omigosh I am SO SO SO SO sorry for the uber-long wait…With the end of school and studying for exams and babysitting and sleeping and going places and cleaning my arse off, I haven't had much time to write, but I've FINALLY gotten this posted, so now you can't be angry with me! Uhh…well, I don't really have a name for this chappy yet…but I will get one. Once again, sorry for the like…month-long wait! I STILL LOVE YOU GUYS!
Thanks to those who reviewed Ch. 3 –
Meredith A. Jones (MJ!)
Sanguinans Lupus (NAAAAATALIE!)