Disclaimer: And I still don't own anything...
Oh, how her head hurt. She wanted to sink into the warm surf of unconsciousness, where she could ride with the waves of comfort and quiet...
Something called to her--a drop of sunlight in the pool of black. She turned her face from it and drifted off.
There were voices now. They echoed in the expanse. Her name. Always her name. "Wendy."
She tried to ignore it, but it only became more and more persistent. There was nothing in this darkness. Nobody to say her name so she reluctantly climbed out of the all encompassing black and searched for the voices. Her eyes slowly opened. It was quiet once more. There was no one calling for her. Where am I?
She viewed her surroundings. She recognized this place. The familiar stacks of books placed on every available space. The desk, a chaotic mess of spare paper, much of it written on in her own loopy hand. This was her room. In England. With this realization, there was a sudden tsunami of memory. The Jolly Roger. Fire. Raging battle. The Lost Boy. The dagger. Pain. Water. Frantic crimson eyes. Nothing. She sat forward with a gasp.
Hook! The image of him, his frightened expression as he leaned over her, refused to wash away. Why wasn't she dead? Why wasn't she in Neverland? What happened to the Captain? She looked down at herself, felt where she'd been wounded. No pain. Nothing. Almost frantically, she moved the fabric of the nightdress to see the skin. Unmarred. Could she possibly have dreamed the whole adventure? No. No, she couldn't accept that it could have been just a dream. Everything had been so real.
A clattering on her right caught her attention. A short woman with long hair tied tightly behind her stood in the doorway, carrying a pitcher on a tray. She stopped when she saw Wendy looking at her, nearly dropped the tray, and all but ran from the room. Wendy recognized her, but had never remembered her name. She was the maid who had been hired when Nanna died a few years ago.
"What is it, Henrietta? I cannot understand you when you speak so quickly!" Wendy's mother came in, Henrietta pulling at her sleeve. The maid ceased her incomprehensible French and pointed to Wendy.
"Hello, Mother," Wendy said quietly. She was feeling decidedly dazed and confused.
"Wendy!" Her mother nearly launched herself at her, squealing like a school girl."Oh, Wendy! My darling!"
She found herself locked in her mother's tight embrace, listening as love and comfort was whispered into her ear. "I've missed you so much! When you disappeared, we had no idea where you might have gone! There have been searches, but nothing came of them. Oh, my dear Wendy!"
Wendy pulled back, searching her mother's teary eyes. "How long have I been away?"
"Nearly two months. When that poor man brought you here we were all so happy!"
Her breath caught and she nearly choked on her words as she asked, "What man?"
Henrietta was still in the doorway and Wendy's mother sent her to "fetch him, please."
"He's barely left your side, the poor dear. Must have hit his head, because he asked the most peculiar questions. I sent him to rest for a few hours. I do hope he's feeling better."
Wendy hardly heard a word her mother said. She couldn't breathe; couldn't think. Could it really be him? Henrietta came in, pulling another victim by the sleeve, speaking hurriedly. There was nothing different about him. He wore a loose shirt, open at the neck, and tan breeches. His long hair fell about his face in loose curls. The hook still gleamed by his side.
He was here! In England! He didn't seem to be hurt in anyway. However, his shoulders drooped with fatigue. She opened her mouth to say something, anything, but nothing came out. He had yet to look in her direction. "What is the matter? I can't understand a word when she speaks so hastily," he said to her mother.
"James," she said gently and motioned towards the bed. "Wendy has awakened."
He froze, his entire body tense. Slowly, as if reluctant to, he turned. His gaze was steady--the forget-me-not betraying nothing. Her mother smiled knowingly and exited, taking Henrietta with her. "How are you?" Hook asked, finally.
"Physically, I am very fine. Better than fine. Otherwise, I'm only severely confused."
"It's to be expected. Not even I fully understand it."
He rubbed at the back of his neck, thinking. "I'm afraid I'm not much of a storyteller. We were on the beach. You were..." he paused, swallowing thickly, "Dead. You were dead. No breath. No heartbeat. "I don't know how long we were there. Long past when the Natives and Pan retreated," he smirked at that, but a frown appeared with the next thought. "There was a... light. Like faerie dust. I don't know where it came from or why. It was soft at first, but grew gradually blinding. I had to shield my eyes. The next thing I saw were children playing. In Kensington Gardens. You were... breathing again."
There was an awed silence where each took in the information. "How did you know where to go?" Wendy asked.
"There has been a lot of excitement due to your disappearance, my beauty. It wasn't difficult to find someone who knew where the Darling residence is."
There were so many things she wanted to know--needed to know. She knew the Captain felt the same. They would never quite understand how any of it happened. "How are you?" she asked when she could think of nothing else. Those haunting crimson eyes still stared at her when her eyes closed.
He blinked, surprised by the question. He took a breath, let it out. Tension seemed to flow out of him in a steady stream. "I'm free," he said, as if tasting the words for the first time. "No more Neverland. No mermaids. No Natives. No Pan."
"What will you do now that you're in England?"
"I'm not entirely sure. I've been learning as much as I can since we arrived. Everything is so different. So new..." he trailed off. Wendy noticed that for the first time since she met him, he looked genuinely happy. There was a new glint in his eyes; new color to his pale skin. His perpetual anger was missing--no longer present at all.
He looked at her suddenly, intently, before looking away. He was excited, but hesitant. Wendy smiled, knowing that he must have thought of something to ask her. "Yes?"
He started and looked to her again. "Do you remember the promise you gave me?" He didn't wait for her to answer, "You said you would always stay with me."
Wendy remembered, "Yes, I did."
"Do you still mean to?"
Blushing, Wendy asked, "Do you still wish me to?"
Seeing her nervousness, he came to her, kneeling before the bed. "Oh yes, my beauty. Ever so much so."
Her heart flipped, like a dolphin in the sparkling surf. Her hand came up to gently caress his face. "I love you, James Hook."
Hope flooded his gaze and he took her hand in his. "I love you more than I can ever hope to express in words, Wendy Darling. I know that I'm a difficult man. The madness is gone. I can no longer feel it. However, I have always been quick-tempered and bitter."
He paused and searched her eyes, "Will you...? Could you ever...?" he pulled her close so that his arms were wrapped around her waist and his head bent so that he could softly ask in her ear, "Would you marry me Wendy? Would you spend eternity with me?"
Happy tears welled in her eyes. "Eternity is such a long time," she felt his body tense around her, "but I fear it may never be quite long enough. Of course I will marry you, James!"
He embraced her, tightly, and kissed her.
Before she fell completely into the kiss, Wendy thought, Life with James Hook will be an awfully big adventure.
A shadow moved in the window behind the pair that neither of the lovers noticed. "She really loves him, doesn't she?" Peter Pan cocked his head to the side, curiously. This window wasn't the nursery window. Nights of looking in and watching her tell stories were long gone. She and her brothers, even his old Lost Boys, had all grown up. Sometimes though, he would visit this window and listen to her read aloud.
He had never really forgotten her. Not entirely. Who could ever forget the storyteller who had almost persuaded him that to grow up would bot be so bad. He smirked. He is Peter Pan and he will never grow up. Not even for a storyteller. Not even for Wendy. He heard Tink's jingle of assent. He knew that this was all her doing. She brought Wendy to Hook; took both of them from Neverland.
He glanced at his faerie understanding her reasoning. She wanted him all to herself and she could never have that when he was in danger from Hook. Or when he spent many an hour discussing the pirate captain--obsessing with the game. The game was over now. There would always be other games. He would not worry. He gave a nod to the couple beyond the glass in silent farewell. Then he turned to Tinkerbell and laughed at the face she'd been making at him.
"You'll never catch me, Tink!" He sped off, knowing that his faerie would always be right behind him. It was like Wendy's stories. Everyone would live 'happily ever after.'
Final note from the author:
Thank you all so very much for reading this. It's been a few years since I finished this fanfiction and I've just gone back and fixed a few things. I know there are still some typos and errors. I'll go back and fix those as they're pointed out to me. I never expected this many people would enjoy Caring for Hook and I'm eternally grateful to each of you for lending your support. Thank you once again.
May life always be an adventure.