For lunamaria's challenge.

Haha, I can't remember the last time I did a fic outside of Kingdom Hearts. And, admittedly, it took me a while to even find a category to write about, because though I'm a Harry Potter fan I suck at writing fics about it, and the same goes with the Twilight series. Plus, my friend was talking about the Peter Pan fic she was gonna write (which she should write, poke poke), so yeah. Haha, I was a little influenced.

So, it's probably bad, but I still hope you like it.

Disclaimer: Don't own it.

-- - --

Inside of her, there was a child begging not to grow up.

She sighed. But growing up was inevitable, they all said, and as she drew the brush through her honey locks, she wrinkled her nose. Yes, yes, growing up was a part of life, a metamorphosis into the beautiful stage of the social butterfly, and she should be so proud that she was blooming so well. Why, she'd soon sprout her wings and take off, joining that swoon-worthy little dance of flitting away and playing hard to get with suitors. Of which she'd certainly have a lot of, considering how she looked already at the tender age of fifteen.

She snorted in perfect unladylike fashion, a brutal tug of the brush making her wince and take care to be more careful with her hand movements. Still, a small smirk played on her lips as she gazed at her visage in the mirror from under her lashes, imagining the scandalized look Aunt Millicent no doubt would've had had she seen and heard her Wendy Moira Angela Darling behave so outlandishly.

Rolling her eyes, Wendy placed her brush on her dresser and shook her hair, locks cascading down her back as she tried to be proud of her appearance. But all she saw in her crystal blue eyes was the shadow of the little girl forcefully locked in chains inside of her, probably never to return again. She would soon be launched into society, into balls and gossip and wealth and engagement, and the tender soul she used to be, the girl who would dance barefoot on winter-chilled wooden floors, who would play pirate with her brothers and whisper stories in the dark of night when she would creep to their bedsides, who would close her eyes on a blustery day and spread her arms, dreaming that she could actually fly into the clouds…that soul, that girl, would be gone.

Lips pressed in a thin line, she averted her gaze and pushed herself to her feet, deciding that dwelling on what used to be would only do a fine thing to her already thin temper. So, sweeping her hands along the wrinkles of her nightgown, she padded across the floor to her window, leaning against the sill to take in the break of a new day, strains of cold, golden light yawning across the sky as the breath of falling snowflakes shivered past. The chill was seeping in through the windows, and the quiet Saturday seemed utterly sleepy and uneventful as she dropped her gaze to the roofs and chimneys of London, but she would make do, because a little bit of freedom still called to her in those cobblestone streets and snow-covered hills, and she was in need of some form of relaxation.

To her elders – Aunt Millicent – who seemed to think they knew what was best for her – Aunt Millicent – dreams were dead. One could positively not go about dreaming and sighing wistfully over fascinations of the mind, leaning against a windowsill and taking in the subtle beauty of life beyond glorious parties and glamour and gossip, as she took to doing so often. No, leaning her cheek against her palm and reflecting with her hair unpinned and sliding down her shoulders was improper, and she should be like others, with a mask of elegance and a penchant for fineries.

She snorted again and rose stiffly, tugging at the waist of her nightgown and then whirling on her heel. Well, then. Aunt Millicent would be in a fine fix when she found out Wendy had decided to stomp and run through the snow rather than sit placidly in a chair and sew all day.

Her brothers – both blood and adopted – were already stirring in the other room, trying their best to muffle their laughter as they chatted excitedly about London's early snowfall, and shared their plans of snowmen and sledding and skating on ice. A reminiscent smile spread across her lips as she glided over to her closet and grabbed a heavy dress, thick leggings, tall boots, and a comfortable scarf, a reminder to take her overcoat in the downstairs closet playing in her mind as she dressed for the day. She hoped they wouldn't mind their sister Wendy joining them for an outing, as she was positively sick of sitting and watching them have all the fun.

Eyes a little more excited, grin a little more feverish, she hurried through the tedious process of clothing herself, nightgown pooled at her feet as she slipped on her day dress.

No, she supposed they wouldn't mind too much at all.

-- - --

She shrieked and stumbled through the snow, laughing as she scrambled to compact the small snowball in her hand. The Lost Boys – as her adopted brothers so called themselves – Michael, and even John, ever the growing boy, had not only welcomed her into their games with open arms, but had taken to teaming up against her, raining her with a hail of snow as she stumbled for her footing in the field. Her laughter was louder than she'd heard in a while, and her pathetic attempts to fight them off, almost always missing, had her falling back with hysterical giggles as they ambushed her, so that in the end they were all laughing in the snow.

She hadn't felt so weightless in a while, nor had she been so happy. And she rather wished the day would last forever, if only she could relish in a life beyond blister-inducing high heels, constricting corsets, uncomfortable lace, and abusive pins to hold up her hair. If she wanted to be, she could be a lady without those damnable objects.

She giggled at her language, rolling over and shoving her brother John into the snow. She just didn't want to be.

When later the Lost Boys had run off to play cops and robbers about the park, shrieking like little hellions, and John had sighted his current infatuation – a sharp-tongued, bright, and temperamental beauty Wendy had nicknamed "Tiger Lily" – Wendy remained sunken in the snow, her little brother Michael curled up next to her as she smoothed his hair and smiled into his maturing face. He was still young, and had those adorable childish features, but even he was changing on her, and had taken to locking away his precious teddy bear in the toy chest, bidding it good-bye with a few tears shed.

"Must you grow up and become a lady, Wendy?" he asked softly, the question by now quite familiar to her ears.

And she smiled sadly, hugging him as she watched a couple walk along a path leading around the park, sparing her playful brothers a few chuckles as they nodded their heads knowingly at one another and continued on, holding hands.

"I'm afraid so, Michael," she murmured, smoothing his hair again, loving the softness of his hair. Everything about him was so gentle. He had the sweetest heart she'd ever known, and it absolutely broke her heart when he cried.

She had a soft spot for Michael. She always had, and knew she always would.

"Don't worry, though," she said with a hint of play in her voice after moments of silence. He looked up at her curiously. "I'll resist it as long as I can. I'm a fighter at heart, you know."

He grinned, reassured, and stood, pulling her after him as he proposed that they make a snowman. And she couldn't resist his childish cheer, falling onto her knees further down with him as she began pulling snow closer to her, patting it in place as Michael chatted incessantly about nothing.

The time, a thing so precious to her know that her childhood was slipping away, was going by so fast, and when she next glanced at the sky, a now clouded-over gray with the snowflakes falling harder, she caught just the outline of the hazy sun, practically at the center and indicating noon. But only a soft sigh passed her lips before she was smiling down at her brother, who exclaimed that they were finally finished. As she stood back, examining their work, he ran off to join the Lost Boys, her gaze secretly following him as it trailed past the snowman's head. He'd grown so much more energetic and open, now that he had boys his age to relate to in the household.

Steps crunched behind her, nearing her form as she situated her hat more comfortably on her hair. She could only assume it was John, cheeks red from both the raw wind and his time spent with Tiger Lily, come back to just chat idly with her for a while. This was, after all, one of the rare times she could speak openly and about anything with her brothers, her actions not being watched with hawk-like scrutiny.

Looking to her side, she beamed a smile, but it slipped as she noted that the person she'd been prepared to greet was not her brother. Instead, a boy with wind-swept hair and mischievous green eyes was tilting his head at the snowman before them, hands clasped behind his back and posture calm.

"A mighty warrior," he finally noted, smirk slipping to his face as his eyes twinkled, the laugh barely covered behind his words.

Shoulders easing, she relaxed around the stranger, looking back with a grin. "You think?"

"Of course. He'd be a natural with a sword."

"I dunno," she laughed, enjoying the foolishness of the conversation that was starting up. "He seems more inclined to be a pirate. See that devilish grin of his," and she pointed to emphasize.

"But pirates are vile fiends with black hearts. He's definitely got a strong heart, with bravery to match."

She giggled behind her hand, attracting his gaze. "He'd have to, because once the sun comes out he's facing his toughest adversary."

He grinned easily, and she glanced back with twinkling eyes. Already he didn't seem like most boys, able to relax in her presence and speak of trivial, playful things rather than the dreary matters of money and politics. And there was an innocence and intelligence in his eyes that attracted her. No doubt he had a wild imagination, a thing she greatly respected.

Looking back to her transformed man of snow, now a valiant warrior, her smile remained on her lips. "So to train his strength against his mighty opponent, the sun, he must fight countless pirates, then."

"It's only proper," he said with a nod, stating it as if it were truth. "And he'd have a little companion to whisper encouragement into his ear, a friend that's very loyal…"

"A magical fairy," she said, clapping her hands together as she grinned. "A jealous little thing, who's very close to her mighty, pirate-fighting warrior and is very protective of him, because she supports his wish to never melt."

His chuckle beside her sent a pleasant feeling rushing through her body, and she again turned her head, though slightly so she could secretly take in his handsome profile. When his eyes flicked to hers she looked ahead, pretending to pick lint off of her snow-covered coat as a devilish grin appeared on his face.

"And she sounds like the tinkling of bells, a sound that always captivated this youth who fights pirates."

"And they have such great adventures," she said with a sigh, "flying together, touching the clouds, and even hunting in the forests with the Indians."

"But he gets lonely, you know."

"Oh?" And she turned her head, staring at him in open curiosity.

He looked at her, grinning. "Of course. He's always had a love of fairy tales, because secretly he's never wanted to grow up and has always longed to be free." She smiled fondly at that. "And he wanted a storyteller for his own to keep him company, whom he could protect and in turn get rewarded with infinite stories."

"So he flies from his Neverland to find this storyteller, then?"

He nods, looking back. "And he knows he's found her when he hears her laugh like bells, and soon becomes entranced by her."

She flushed, the winter wind unable to cool her flaring cheeks. "And what's his storyteller's name?"

"He doesn't know," he said simply.

Fixing her icy blue eyes on the snowman who apparently had such fantastic adventures, she smiled, tentatively brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. "And…and what's his name?"

He laughed gently. "Peter Pan."

She smiled. A nice name, really. "Wendy Darling."

He looked over playfully and winked. "Nice to meet you."

-- - --

Peter Pan loved adventures. And as she grew to know him, he awoke inside of her a rebellious nature, so that she was often sneaking out – and when she should've been sewing or studying further in etiquette – to just spend time with him, listening to him further their wild tales of the Neverland they had created. And then he would sit back and ask her to tell him her stories, half-way through leaning on his hands in rapt interest as she soon became absorbed in her tales of a Cinderella saving her Prince Charming or a Sleeping Beauty slaying the dragon that had injured her prince to near death. She apparently fascinated him with her tales of strong and confident females, impressing him with her wit and imagination.

She merely teased him in embarrassment, calling him a flatterer, but he never took his words back.

In some ways, Peter held her back from growing up, a thing she'd wanted all her life. But then, in other ways, there were the undeniable marks of change, such as her growing need to try to impress him and the way she would fidget and blush when he would lean obliviously close.

He was a child at heart, unaware that he was affecting her so, whereas she, even lost as she was in their Neverland tales, couldn't forget about growing up. And she rather wanted to see if such a boyish person as he was capable of love yet, because she found herself growing increasingly more affectionate of his person, but she didn't want to drive him away from her.

So she would listen to his laugh and muffle her heart, even though it was becoming harder and harder to quiet it.

He was an unknowing romantic, too. That very night, after she'd slipped through her window – after swearing her brothers to secrecy – and had met him at he regular street corner, he'd led her through the streets, the speed he was running seeming close to flying. And they'd ended up back in the field they'd first met, though her was whispering excitedly in her ears about the fireflies darting about the bushes, and they looked like the fairies she loved so much, didn't they?

Now, mesmerized by the sight of it all, she didn't notice him as he swept back until he bowed low and asked her to dance. Snapping her attention over to him, she blinked, astonished, and then nodded hesitantly. He took her hands and led her over the snow, his laughter echoing in the air, and as they began dancing she felt almost weightless, leaning in a little too closely as he blinked at her and tilted his head.

She felt her heart weigh down a little at his still-oblivious manner, and as she looked away he asked so innocently what was wrong, because she knew he honestly didn't know. And, turning back, she regarded him sadly and asked if he felt love, startling him so badly that he dropped his hands from her grip, stepping back.

"Guess not," she replied, bowing her head and then turning on her heel, running all the way back to her house. She opened the door, rushed past the bodies of her angry father, scandalized (big surprise there) Aunt Millicent, and sympathetic mother, and ran into her room, slamming the door and collapsing into tears on her bed.

Her mother was the one to give her a talking to, but instead of the scolding the other two adults probably expected, she sat on the edge of Wendy's bed and smoothed her hair as she smothered her head in the pillows, whimpering about how it wasn't fair and he should just grow up. It wasn't that bad of a thing to care about her, Wendy had snapped.

And then, sheepishly, she asked if it was.

But her mother's soothing, gentle voice told her that of course it wasn't, and she just had to give him time. He was young and thought he was beyond love. She'd just have to be patient and wait.

Wendy protested, dragging the covers further over her head, and complained that she'd probably have to wait an eternity for him.

"Good things take time, my sweet," were her mother's final words to the matter, and then she stood and walked across the room, flicking off the lights and closing the door behind her.

-- - --

He seemed genuinely surprised to see her as she sat beside him on the bench, and even had the decency to shift in discomfort. Folding her hands in her lap, she looked forward for a long time, eyeing the kids rolling about in the snow and laughing with joy, and when she finally looked over to Peter she caught the conflicting emotions there in his eyes and her breath hitched.

Lowering her head, she apologized for acting so brashly, and he fidgeted somewhat before he shrugged, turning away. For such a confident boy he didn't handle pressing emotions too well.

The thought made her smile.

"You think our fairytale Peter Pan was ever vulnerable?" she asked softly, falling back into an area her real Peter was most comfortable in: make-believe.

He smoothed his hands along his pant legs, still seeming ill at ease in her presence. "Well, after his Wendy-lady ran away from him, he was rather angry and at a loss for what to do."

She blushed and looked off to the side. "Well, she felt betrayed. Hardly something to be chastised for."

"She sold him out to the pirates because she confused him with her feelings!"

"Well if he hadn't looked at her like she was so revolting, and like the very thought of feeling for her was disgusting, maybe she wouldn't have been so hurt!"

Both looked away, stiff, tempers raging as Peter clenched his fists on his pant legs and Wendy clasped her hands so tightly her knuckles turned white. The silence was painful between them, and as time stretched on and neither talked Wendy cleared her throat, looking into her lap.

"I guess…if she hadn't left him, Peter Pan wouldn't have been so weakened."

"And…if he hadn't been so weakened, Wendy wouldn't have landed herself in such a troubling situation."

Their eyes met for a moment, and then both looked away, blushing furiously as they stared off into the distance. The breeze rushed past, whispering through her honey locks of hair, so that they were blowing into her face impairing her sight.

"Sorry, Wendy," he murmured at last, and she sighed, leaning into her friend, unable to ever stay mad at him.

"No, Peter. It's my fault. I…I'm too stubborn, I think."

His hand reached for hers, and she willingly laced her fingers between his, smiling a little into the fabric of his coat. He smelled of autumn leaves somehow, as well as the winter wind, a sharp, interesting combination that she found soothing. He was a person kissed by freedom, one who wasn't weighed down by frivolous matters and was never caught dead at balls and the like. He'd much rather run through the snow, maybe dragging her along with him as he collapsed with her in his arms and shoved snow down her neck.

She giggled softly into the fabric as she closed her eyes, feeling his breath on her ear as he turned his head to look at her. In many ways she could picture him as the fairytale Peter Pan, just kicking off the ground with his infectious laugh, flying higher, higher, higher, and away from her.

Her eyes shot open and she squeezed his hand to reassure herself that he was still there. No, she didn't want to think of her Peter Pan flying away from her and leaving her to grow up alone.

"Wendy?"

She let out a quiet breath, the frozen air whispering past her lips and clouding around her face. "Do you think…Peter Pan ever needed anyone? He was so strong, after all, able to face on even the strongest of pirates, Captain Hook."

With his free hand he touched her head, bringing it to rest back on his chest, under his chin. She shivered slightly, his touch making her heart flutter, and she closed her eyes as the rising and falling of his chest hypnotized her.

"He was scared, Wendy."

She laughed softly, bitterly, not at all believing it. "What could the great Peter Pan possibly be afraid of?"

"Losing the one he most cared about."

She sighed, shaking her head. "But he was a kid at heart. Peter Pan cared for no one. He loved no one."

"He cared for his Wendy-lady," he murmured into her hair, and she jumped slightly, the sound of her racing heart pounding in her ears. "But surely she knew that."

She squeezed his hand still clasping his, shaking her head. "She really didn't."

"Of course she did," he said with a laugh. "She kissed him."

"No, she---" but she stopped, blushing, remembering that it was still the story they were talking about, not real life. Cringing, she scolded herself in her mind, not believing she'd spoken so carelessly.

Peter pulled away, grinning at her devilishly, and she knew he hadn't missed her little slip-up. But before she could explain herself, or even snap at him and tell him not to look at her like that, her lips were stilled by his. Heart skipping a beat, she slowly leaned into him, eyes fluttering to a close as her foolish little daydreams of Neverland and her valiant Peter Pan who fought with pirates slipped away.

Instead, as snow collected in her hair, and the wind tossed her hair around her, her Peter, far more perfect than any fantasy, was kissing her without hesitation.

And it seemed like the perfect ending.

-- - --

It's rather, er, long. So, sorry about that. And I like the idea, but, again, I feel as if it's not that, well, good. Yeah...

Review, please.