Disclaimer: I do not own Peter Pan, characters, places, etc. All rights belong to J.M. Barrie and The Great Ormond Street Hospital. Also, parts mentioned from the 2003 P.J. Hogan film belong to Universal Studios and their respected owners.
Summary: The years of innocence have faded, leaving a woman, not a child, in its wake. The desire to accept the inevitable advent of adulthood approaches, and she, upon her wedding day, considers before a fatal twist of destiny comes by the grave turn of a Hook.
Promise of the Last Kiss
The hook struck true as it punctured the leather-worn armour that had greedily encased it within its gilded confines of victory. It remained inert after its initial thrust, if only for a passing moment of dread, but then continued its proposed pursuit, the curved silver casing moving ever so gracefully across the massive cavity of scales and ivory tissue. A brilliant shard of pain followed in its dark descent to freedom, the deep cast of a perfect crimson once more tainting the fathomless waves of the unchanging sea.
A shroud of abject silence fell to the crashing upsurge when the crocodile, whose timeless ticking was put asunder by the wisdom of an ingenious child, cried out into the lurid depths of the black sea, its golden gaze now dimming as its victim moved to escape the dark prison from within. It was a pity, it mutely thought, that such a delightful morsel would finally destroy its eternal disciple by the mere turn of a hook. It silently cursed the name of the one who dared to defy the ever-auspicious hand of Fate. For such feigned audacity was to court disaster. It considered this, and then emitted a low, condescending growl, feeling the dulled blade sever through its tattered flesh as all thought, all sense of life faded into the welcoming arms of oblivion.
The crocodile, without word or deed of its godlike machinations, released its prisoner without regret as its ultimate triumph lay within the fact of rendering the sanity of a man who craved the precious freedom he so desired. He would be forever changed after this moment, and would thus be driven to an everlasting madness since death would now forsake him. The reptile grinned, its crocodile tears showing only sympathy for its victim, as no one else, living or dead, would.
It then liberated its unborn son to the world beyond its gutted remains, and thus bestowed life to the broken captain once more. Its part in this man's tragedy was over, as the fatal tear of its insides bespoke the end—and also beginning—of many things…
A cry, filled with both the pain and misery of the world, rose from the murky depths of its watery grave, ascending into the darkened skies as the soul of one presumed dead escaped Hell and death only to breathe as a man once more. This man, whose body was now stripped of its former radiance, rocked madly against the waves like a string-less puppet. And as such, allowed himself to be taken by the taciturn current, his pitiful form succumbing to its unspoken mercy.
He thus drifted into the dimming twilight hours of eternity, his immobile form rendered helpless by the searing, blinding pain of the turbulent waves. He felt the numbness that came before death—the bitter acceptance of Fate's cruel irony. He would die, not from the crocodile, but from the sea he knew so well. The waters of the Neverland would be his final resting place as nothing else, no testament that bespoke of his foul deeds, nor epitaph heralding his demise, would remain after this fatal moment. And thus, he gave in to the chaotic despair and tragedy of his misfortune as he vaguely felt his beleaguered form collide against the island's pale, moonlit shores. He closed his eyes, the fleeting sensation of relief overcoming the poisoned disenchantment of suffering defeat. His mind then fell away from the shattered hopes and broken dreams of reality as all else diminished from his fading sight…
He fell then, his bloodied soul dissipating into a world beyond space and time, a world where only those who have passed on dwelt. And so he conceded, his mind giving over to the torrent of memories that came after the fall. But even in the shadow of death, he dreamed, his eyes, which were now coloured with the darkest of all sorrow, looked to the starless heavens above. He closed them then, feeling only profound dejection subdue the minute relief of living. Pain racked through him once more, and he felt the coldness of the world transcend and overshadow his broken body. His head turned away from the heavens, the misery of being abandoned forcing him to long for what could never be, for the stars had cursed him long ago, as their glorious light departed from his presence, and thus leaving him to the darkening abyss of his own despair.
Nevertheless, time, in its perpetual consistency, had passed before him. But whether it had been days, hours, or merely seconds caught in a brief moment of uncertainty, he did not know. The only legitimate thought that lingered in his tattered mind was that he lived, despite his soul's inherent cry that he not. Hell and damnation would be a release next to this pitiful existence. The cold acknowledgement of it almost made him weep with the bitter tears of self-pity. But he stilled them before they could fall and reveal their treachery. In spite of being broken and scarred, the remaining pride that—which he had been first subjected to in his youth so long ago—was instilled within him would not allow him to. He faintly smiled. It would indeed be bad form to cry over his losses, like some misbegotten child.
The darkness of his ruminations seemed to force him out of his transitory state of despair, as he willed himself to move. He inwardly flinched at the pain that now riveted through his pitiful form, the absent hook—which the damnable beast still obtained in its tattered flesh—left the pale monstrosity of his severed hand for all to see. He vaguely considered it, noticing the uneven end that still ached with the loss of the cold metal's security, as the obscure memory of the one who relieved him of it burned within his aching mind. And upon this mordant reflection, he cursed the eternal child for such guiltless cruelty.
But despite this, he could no longer focus upon his immortal adversary as the gloom of his unending torture clouded the edge of his remaining sanity. He felt the shadows overcome him, the sea water no longer burning the torn flesh of his arm. He dismissed the aching appendage that had, despite the layer of skin missing from it, remained intact. Perhaps there would be no need for another amputation. That was, if he survived.
He instantly frowned at the morose thought. Death would indeed be a mercy next to existing in this eternal hell. The years of isolation in this flawless wasteland of despair had all but rendered the fragment of remaining hope that he might somehow escape and return to the land of his forbearers. He inwardly smirked at the irony of it; the desire to abandon one hell for another seemed…paradoxical to his given nature of a gentleman pirate. Indeed, it seemed almost sacrilegious to consider such inherent blasphemy. And yet, it was what he wanted.
To depart from a land of make-believe where faeries, savages, and most of all, children, resided only to torment him would be a blessing. He had suffered from their petty cruelties long enough, as the will to survive overcame any irrational notion of submitting to death. He would not do so, not when the pain of living forced him to endure the probability of retribution. And he would have it. Dear God, he would reap his vengeance upon each little head who dared to curse him. And where no children could love him before his death, there would be no one to possess that hollow emotion upon his return.
No. No one would ever come to love him, for he had no desire to be loved. The hatred that tainted any wish of that long forgotten sentiment stirred profoundly in his veins. His chest ached grievously where his enemy had felled him. He then glanced at his wounded arm, almost flinching at the strange dark colour of blood that coated it. The brazen stain was almost as dark as obsidian, its potent taste a bittersweet poison to those who dared to imbibe in its metallic flavour. The blood of an ancient legacy, he absently thought. It was truly a pity that he could not live up to the expectations of those who decided his fate. However, affairs beyond his control would not allow him to.
Perhaps under different circumstances, would he have completed his duty to those who expected more of him. But would it have made any difference in his life, he quietly asked himself. Would his duty—for that was truly what he had been destined for—been enough to give him to contentment that every man yearned for before death? He had no answer, but inwardly knew that he could never be content with anything. The ever-gaping void left within his black heart widened with each passing day. And it would do so until it was filled to the brim with something that could quench its longing for completion.
But what it was, that could restore his embittered soul and make him whole once more, he did not know. Only the faint reminder of a whisper gave him any inclination as to what it was. And much like the griffin's riddle, he could only presume its enigmatic answer.
A weakened sigh escaped him then, his dignity forgotten as his inborn pride faded into the darkened strands of night. He cast a brief glance towards the opaque moon and secretly admired its opulent splendour from afar. Distantly he felt the pale light move against his weathered flesh, the torn remnants of his left arm basking in its gentle lunar radiance. He considered it in silence, as a strange, and yet wonderful, sensation coursed through the gaping wound like a river undone, the intricate network of nerves and tissue coming to life and restoring the broken flesh.
The odd sensation in his arm left him utterly baffled, for never before had he felt such power emanate from a wound. In all actuality, he was almost frightened by its implications. For what dark sorcery had the beast imparted on him when he gutted it? He dimly realised that his freedom had not come without a price. But was he willing to accept the cost of such liberation? He could find no answer.
However, in spite of these ill-foreboding musings, he set his reservations aside as he thought upon his pitiful existence once more. In truth, he had nothing left of his former life. The few, meagre possessions he owned, his now-disbanded crew, even the tattered clothing he now wore were gone, lost forever to a child and his cruel games of make-believe. The boy had yet to consider the lives he had inadvertently ruined this night, as well as many other countless nights, the pirate abjectly thought, frowning abstractly. No, the eternal boy who embellished childhood in all of its magnanimous grandeur would never see, never understand the pain and loss he had left others to helplessly drown in. Dear God, the child believed it to be nothing more than a splendid game where he, the hero, would rescue his captive friends from the villainous clutches of one he dared wrong decades before.
The captain inwardly shuddered at the memory of it. The loss of his hand had been painful, if not excruciating in the unending torture it elicited even now. Oh, yes, he still felt pain in the pitiful stump that now bore the claw. The brutal sensations that shot through his arm at times seared every fragment of reason as the madness overcame all traces of his remaining sanity. The many bottles of rum and liquor had done little to suppress the raw agony he endured; the wretched repercussions it left forever tormenting him, like that damned crocodile, which now lay in its cold grave at the bottom of the sea.
He silently considered his fallen adversary, recalling the dull groan it drew out into the darkened waters, before it descended into the idle depths of oblivion. Yet instead of feeling contentment of felling such a strange and almost preternatural creature, he felt only a shallow sense of victory, one in which the long-awaited elation of its end had become nothing more than a false illusion. In truth, he almost felt pity for the beast whose only desire was to claim the man who tantalised it so many years before. The constant ticking would echo no more in the hollows of his mind, the nightmare of its deadly chime ceasing at the final, fatal stroke of its own demise.
Nevertheless, he did not fault the crocodile for his handicap. That privilege belonged solely to Pan, the eternal child, whose childlike ignorance was matched only by his wilful malevolence. The petty desire to have so-called adventures, despite causing consequential pain for others, had all but rendered his decadent nature, which ironically held the balance of all things in the Neverland. This child, this foreboding entity of malice, was the link, the ultimate key to the mystery of a world that refused to release any from its hidden constraints. There would be no escape, he dully realised. His eternal punishment would be to remain here and make atonement for his sins.
And there were many, he aptly noted. Oh, yes, his past transgressions were countless, as were many of hapless lives lost by his own, brutal hand. He could not remember how many he had sent to their doom, only the endless melancholy remained after the murderous rage, which had long since dissipated into the gathering darkness that forever encompassed him. And much to his dismay, he could, at times, hear the mournful cries of each wailing their dejected sorrows in his sleep. It was why he did not dream, for he feared the final condemnation of his bloodstained soul, a vengeful God coming for him at last.
And He had. The God of his forefathers had come with a terrible vengeance. For to be consumed by his eternal fear, was the worst of all punishments, the imprisonment of his soul not lacking in the utter torment and shame of it all. He would never be the same after this night, not when the desire to live collided madly against his will. And he would live, he vowed. He would survive this, as he had escaped from such a prominent figure as Death before. And then he would have his revenge.
The very thought of seeing the boy suffer under the slings and arrows of his misfortunate end brought a smile to the captain's grim face. Hence, Peter Pan would finally come to understand what sadness truly was, as he would know pain and all of the marvellous joys derived from it.
A brilliant stroke of insane laughter engulfed the captain's soul, the darkness imbued from it echoing into the silent night. It would indeed be a pleasure to shatter his nemesis, not by the permanence of death, but by the ill-forgotten truth of something both he and Pan knew all too well: the idle prospect of growing up. The mild consideration of it was far too tempting to set aside, as death would be a mercy compared to the harsh realisation of the one thing that would be the boy's truest end; he would then live, each day, knowing that he could never retain the simple innocence he once had, as he would always remain in a childlike state forever.
The vengeance exacted would be in another form, however, the captain silently thought. For whereas Pan would continue on with his childish charade, others—the Lost Boys and all other children of the world and beyond—would eventually forget their simple whims of imagination and become the most dreaded of all figures: adults.
It was a tragic truth, he realised, but one all the same. Each of Pan's confidants would lose his baby teeth and tangled mass of hair and replace them with that of the qualities of a true gentleman. They would forget their meagre existence here, passing it off as nothing more than a child's idyllic fancy that lay strictly on the edge of dreams. Even those who accompanied Pan, albeit briefly, would, without question, forget, as they returned to their respectful homes in the dismal, darkened corners of reality.
But as he thought upon this revelation, he slightly frowned, the instrument of his truest revenge coming to mind at last. Eyes of the darkest obsidian penetrated his thoughts, like a serrated blade cutting through the mass of congealed hatred and desolation, the hellish black fire found from within searing all else and rendering him mute of words. He felt the fatal twist of the knife plunge further, deeper until the fleeting remnants of his inborn humanity faded away, the name of the one responsible echoing in a stifled whisper:
He briefly considered her then, the young and adequate Miss Darling whose charm and grace refused to diminish, even as she cursed him to his inevitable death. How he had loathed her then, just as she must have reciprocated her spite when he decided to make her a memorable sacrifice unto his timely nemesis. And he had, without thought or conscience of his actions, willingly offered her to Fate itself, casting her pleading, terrified gaze aside for more susceptible prey. And the prey had, in all reason of the word, come to save his Wendy from certain doom. The boy could never allow a defeat, even as trivial as the girl's abrupt demise.
The captain inwardly baulked at the notion of his adversary and the one who dared to deceive him. She was nothing to Pan, as the boy would soon forget her, like all else that he had carelessly disregarded in the absence of his ever so fleeting interest. The brief fascination he held for her would falter, and then fade into the dark recesses of his ill-forgotten mind. He would thus leave her with the undying hope of returning to her, just as he had promised others but never honoured the deed of his glorified return.
She would grow up then, the pirate realised. Her idle intrigue with Pan would eventually wane in the grand passage of time, and she would, consequently, set aside all thoughts of childhood and become a woman in the midst of those who loved her. His black heart ached at the timeless word, the slight pain it elicited no less condemning than the mortal wounds that forever scarred his person. He would never know of love, for no one could bestow such a prized and most sacred sentiment upon one who was denied the innocence he once longed for. The time for such frivolities had long since evaded him, leaving him to the mercies of a broken existence between Heaven and Hell. As he would remain at this accursed place until the world ended and made corpses out of all.
He sighed dejectedly. For in spite of this mordant truth, he did not avert from his need of retribution. And he would have it—on both of them. Pan's shattered reality would be a minor consolation compared to what he would do to the other. Oh, yes, he blamed her, as well. For how could she ever dare to be so merciless, so cruel as to deny him the one thing he desired most?
And though she was still a child in many ways, she would not remain so forever. Pan would indeed forget her, but he would not. Miss Darling would soon see her brilliant error in wishing him dead, as he would kindly show her mistake in abandoning him. Her treachery in choosing death over his most sincere proposal was still a raw offence carved on the cold, un-beating muscle within his chest.
The wound would never fully heal, just as the uneven stump, where his right hand should have been, graciously reminded him of that mordant truth. And as such, he felt the bitterness stir within him once more, its ireful depths churning the ever-maddening despondency into a torrent of impotent rage. He felt this, as it boiled and shaped its dreadful poison from within. His heart—which was the centre of such calamitous fury—constricted its inner hostility, and his piercing blue eyes burned a murderous shade of crimson.
And thus, Captain James Hook moved forward, his mind set. The time for longing and self-despair was over, as the universe itself—the greatest of all being—shattered in that wakeful moment; the planets and stars falling from their fixed positions, like an shameless shower of shattered hope. He felt the heavenly bodies fall and transcend around him, encircling him with their ethereal essence. He felt reborn, revitalised, and would therefore begin life anew.
His quest would thus begin, as he found his bo'sun, the witless, yet reliable, Mr. Smee, and the rest of his paltry crew of ingrates. The need to reclaim his ship, which the boy had conveniently confiscated with his wild faction, reinforced the bitter rage rising from within. He knew without question that his men could never hold the ship against such an inexorable adversary. And Pan was, in all truth, one of the worst…
…But no more.
No more would he dare endure the child's petty cruelties. To be innocent, and gay, and heartless was a fool's idyllic fantasy. And he was no fool. He would accept this fatal blow to his pride, and somehow, despite Fate's other designs upon him, survive. Pan's blood would then fall to shame, as it stained his nemesis' hook with its beautifully-toned colour of pain.
The captain smiled at this, wondering, considering—his thoughts coming full circle, the last being that of the one he would use—and eventually break—under the pretence of the sweetest of all revenge: love.
Wendy Darling would suffer under that false sentiment, since she foolishly believed that something pure lay beyond the edge of childhood. And he would be the one destined to show her. Indeed, he would be the man to carry her over that beautiful, breaking threshold between innocence and experience. And then, after all was said and done between them, would he reveal all, to both her and Pan. It would shatter them, he could not deny that. But the faint trace of remorse found within his dark musings was abruptly cast aside by grave anticipation.
He would have to wait; he could not take her now. Too young, he thought dismally. She would need to return to those who cared for her, feel their love and concern. Her time with them was already diminishing by each passing second, and it would not be long until she returned here—forever. Oh, no, he silently vowed, he would not let her go then. Not even after breaking that lively spirit—that relentlessly antagonised him even now—could he ever dare release her. She would stay, with him, and remain by his side for the rest of eternity.
He then realised, with painful clarity that his ultimate desire could only be found within her. He would break her, and then shape and mould her into what she was truly meant to be: the instrument of Pan's destruction, as she would inevitably bring about the boy's downfall.
His eyes closed, and his thoughts went out to her, their idle tidings promising her, vowing that he would one day come for her in the fatal throes of adulthood. He would find a way. The laws that kept this godforsaken land in balance could not hold him in bondage forever. Nor could they retain him from taking what was rightfully his. And he would have her—eventually. Wendy Darling would then be his, and no one, not even Pan's vast influence in godlike intervention could ever take her from him.
And with this vow, he regarded his strange fortune as of late, a wave of understanding compelling him to acknowledge one final truth:
James Hook, pirate captain of the elusive vessel, the Jolly Roger, was, after so many years of numbed transition, alive.
Author's Note: And thus begins our dramatic tale of the ill-fated promise of the captain. But will he succeed in this wild endeavour of his? Perhaps. Or perhaps his adversary will once again defeat him, with the lovely Wendy in tow; such excitement to be had, truly. But I must confess right now that this story, in particular, will be a semi-Peter/Wendy/Hook love triangle. Also, quite a bit of the story will be more focused around Hook than it will Peter, albeit our favourite flying boy will most certainly be in it!
With that said, I also hope that this does not sound too much like anyone else's story. I do not mean to use another person's idea or anything. And I can promise that although the beginning may sound very similar to others, the rest will not. Everyone will see that from the next chapter on. You have my word!
Also, a word of warning to all who decide to read this. Seeing as I am known to subtly interweave important details to the plot in my chapters, I advise everyone to pay very close attention to everything, even words marked in italics can be vital to the plot. I also advise everyone to keep this chapter, in particular, in mind, as some things may be drawn from it…
On a further note, I need to acknowledge that my page breaks will be done with an ellipsis (…), so as to quell any confusion on a scene change.
Anyway, I hope that the beginning was interesting enough. I fear that it was a little disjointed between the thoughts of the crocodile and that of the captain. But I wanted to have its view, for it is rather vital to the story. Nevertheless, this is also the beginning—so…much will be explained in the coming chapters. I do hope that everyone enjoys the romance, drama, and danger that will ensue in later chapters!