Disclaimer: Not mine.
The Verge Of Everything
Wendy was surprised to learn that Captain Hook was offering to take her out for a stroll on land. She had thought she was not allowed off the ship, but Mr. Smee (who had come that morning, bearing a bath and a new dress and loads of papers and ink with which to write) told her that the Captain wished it, and of course whatever the Captain wanted the Captain received.
She supposed it was a bit childishly selfish of the Captain to be like that, having each and every one of his whims be met. But then again, she felt a little guilty as her complaints vanished as she soaked in the warm scented bathwater, or when she slipped into the light, silk dress he'd provided. Also, her only other good friend was Peter, the epitome of childishness, so who was she to judge?
Hook appeared at her door with flowers, a whole array of exotic blooms. She was particularly surprised by what must have been a blue lily, except that such things did not exist. She said as much, absentmindedly.
"How do you know they do not exist?" he asked her in all seriousness.
Wendy was slightly taken aback. "I would have known about them if they did," she said.
He arched a brow. "You know about it now."
She shook her head, fingering a particularly vivid indigo petal. "I do not know if I can trust what I see in this place. Neverland, I mean. It's magic, surely. And, while I love magic," she paused, staring at the vibrant blue in a somber, distracted way. "It is not honest," she finished, frowning.
"I think," said Hook after a time, "that you have grown from that young sprite of a girl who first came aboard my ship."
Wendy inclined her head and looked to the floor, embarrassed for being pleased with the comment.
An hour later Hook was ready to retract his thoughts about Wendy's maturity. As soon as they had arrived on the island her liveliness leapt and danced freely. He had to hold back a smile as she still attempted to maintain her Victorian reticence. She flitted to things that held her interest as a storyteller, such as fairies dancing in the air, or the whooping cries of the Indians not too far away. Then, as if recalling who she was or who she was with, she would slow her pace, or wipe dirt from her long skirts.
She practically ran, as daintily as she could, to a small patch of flowers. Blue lily's.
"I thought you said they weren't real," Hook purred in her ear, causing Wendy to stiffen and straighten. Then she relaxed, and gave him a small smile.
"Perhaps it is, perhaps it is not. Maybe what is real does not matter, so much as it is enjoyed?" To prove her point, she plucked a blue bloom from the patch and brought it to her nose.
"Indeed," said Hook, watching the girl as she laughed and spread her arms wide, gathering all sorts of flowers and leaves around her. She carelessly threw them to the ground, or placed especially well crafted ones into her hair.
"You're killing them," Hook noted. The girl faltered and looked at him in a oddly miserable, happy sort of way.
"Yes," said Wendy. "I suppose so. But it makes them more lovely in this moment, doesn't it?"
She looked so beautiful, then. Like a fae child, something magical even in this sparkling land. He wanted to snatch her up and bind her to the lowest cabin of his ship. Even if she withered and wasted away, she would be his, and wasn't that better than not having her at all?
But he too also wished that he could set her loose, for what a magnificent creature she was, and what a shame that she would ever lose any of her vitality or her imagination. These thoughts conflicted, and he wondered if it would be better to tear out his heart, or her heart, than to have to choose. Instead, he called her over to him, and though her face fell, she obediently came to stand before him.
"Are we going back?" she asked. "The stars are going to come out soon," she said, wistful.
"We'll dally a little longer," he said, though he greatly desired to see her aboard his ship. Instead, he motioned to a fallen log, and they took a seat next to one another, looking up at the stars. Wendy hesitantly began to make up stories of the constellations. She grew more confident when Hook dutifully made appreciative comments at the right places, until the hour grew late, and her head rested against the fine velvet of his coat.
Without thinking, Hook placed his arm around the girl. The cold steel of his hook jerked her momentarily, but before he could retract his arm, she snuggled back into him, and asked him to tell her a story of high seas adventures until the stars shined no more that night.
Once Michael had convinced Peter that a Wendy was a thing that needed rescuing, the flying boy had called up his miniature militia of lost boys and painted his face like the fierce warriors of Tiger Lily's tribe. And while Michael was pleased that they were making progress towards rescuing his sister, he was discomfited at the thought that Peter was more inclined to fight Hook than to rescue Wendy.
He sat near the fire and used a rock to sharpen the end of a sturdy, straight branch he'd found in the woods earlier. He tried to push away the thought that this sort of thing used to be fun. Even years ago, when they'd boarded the pirate ship, it had been dangerous, the kind of stuff that made his heart beat like a soldier's march. But now, as he pricked his finger on the point, he recalled a brief moment a year ago when his father had taken him to the tailor to get a new suit for Sundays, and there had been an old, toothless man selling fresh rabbits across the street. And a fine proper lady with a silk scarf over her blond hair had asked for one, and the man grabbed the little trembling thing by its throat and raised a rusted cleaver, and how the thing had screamed. Michael hadn't been able to watch the actual slaughtering, but he remember the scream, and how the woman had a stain on her bodice after, from where the blood had spurt.
Even now, that memory sickened him, and he thought it odd that he would think of it now that he was about to do a good thing. Wasn't Hook the butcher, and Michael and Peter and the others the rescuers who would swoop in and rescue his fragile sister, who honestly wasn't very good at war games. She was only a storyteller, a mother.
"We leave at dawn," Peter said, smudging war paint on Tinkerbell's cheek with his pinky.
Michael's stomach twisted.
So, I realize it's been awhile. Actually, I was going through some old files and found this on my old laptop. I haven't written anything new on this story in quite awhile, but I figured I should share this since it is all written and such. I should probably finish this story. One day I imagine I will, since I have it still planned in my head, but when will this be? Perhaps years from now. Perhaps tomorrow. People are driven by terrible whims, you know.
Thanks so much for those who have supported this story and are still(?) reading, thank you.