Title: Pain vs. Nothing At All – Part 15
Rating: PG or PG-13
Summary: This is the final chapter.
Warning/Category: Just some swearing. Not much but I figured I'd warn you anyway.
Notes: Well, here it is. The last chapter. It's very very long...longer than I intended. Sorry about that, but I guess I had a lot that needed explaining. Reviews are always welcomed and appreciated. Thank you all for reading! Enjoy.
Need less to say, Hook did not sleep in his cabin that night. Wendy wasn't sure exactly where he did sleep, but it was no where near her. Perhaps he felt bad or maybe he just didn't want her bleeding on him. She wasn't sure which was the truth; all she knew was that Smee came into the cabin early in the morning, surprised not to see her Captain there. Wendy tossed in her sleep and Smee saw the damage Captain Hook did. Wendy's wound was already healing but to say the least, it still looked grotesque. She hadn't bathed that night and only tried to clean it up with the towel Hook gave her. It stopped bleeding sometime during the night and that was good because if it kept bleeding, Wendy wasn't sure what to do. Surely Smee would have helped her but the mere fact that Wendy wouldn't know how to take care of herself if seriously injured made her feel very uneasy.
Smee left to go find the Captain. Wendy woke up only an hour later. She was up earlier than usual. It wasn't the pain from her injury. That barely hurt anymore as long as she didn't touch it. No, she was awake because she was cold. Neverland had frozen over again. Hook had told her it would go into the winter season when Peter would leave, back when he was alive of course. But now, it kept going from winter to spring to summer. She figured it should be winter all the time since Peter's death but that only lasted for a week or so. It was all very strange, she thought.
Wendy got out of bed and went to Hook's closet. Surely she shouldn't be going through his things, especially after last night, but she didn't think he would mind. It didn't matter anyway; there were no spare blankets in the closet. She checked the large wooden wardrobe across the room. How could a men, a pirate, need so much room for clothing? Wendy wondered as she searched through the frilly outfits and large feathered hats. Nothing. She walked back to the bed, arms crossed, shivering slightly, and sat down. It didn't take long for the cold to break down her endurance. Wendy threw the blankets off her and began to change from her nightwear to one of her new dresses and a nice toasty jacket.
The cabin door creaked as she pushed it open. Wendy wanted to find Smee but to her surprise, the ship was empty below deck. She made her way on deck to find the crew rushing to all sides of the Jolly Roger. She stared in amazement. She'd never seen all the pirates on deck at the same time before. They usually worked in shifts to prevent crowding. The crew was more efficient when not bumping into each other. They were preparing for something.
Wendy finally spotted Smee standing next to none other than Captain Hook. She breathed in deep before walking up the steps to speak with him. "Smee. I was wondering if there are any extra blankets?"
Smee smiled. "O' course. Ye can use mine. Just this way." He walked down the stairs she had just came up and made his way below deck.
Wendy began to follow before feeling the hard metal of a hook on her shoulder. She stopped and turned around. The hook fell from her shoulder as she saw her Captain's piercing forget-me-not blues staring into her eyes. "I'd like to speak with you in my cabin in half an hour." That was all he said, nothing more. His expression was blank. He had no smile, no frown. Nothing.
"...Yes, Sir." She wasn't sure why she called him 'sir' but she did. Some of the crew heard her and looked up, seeing her newly forming scar. They knew she earned it because of them last night. He was thankful for her choice of words and she could tell. Hook finally smiled, letting her see some emotion. It wasn't a perfect smile but it was most definitely a smile of sorts. It was a smile all others would see and run, a smile that would disturb almost anyone. It was more of a twisted smirk but to Wendy, it meant safety. She'd seen his appearance when he was angry. She'd seen the way his eyes change, the way he grits his teeth, and the way he seems to have everything under control before he explodes. This was not how he appeared now. Now, he was happy. Now, his twisted smirk showed nothing but his natural smile. Only she had realized this was the way he was. What seemed evil to others, Wendy knew was just Hook.
The Captain looked down at the pearl necklace around her neck and smiled again. "Good girl." She turned and went to catch up with Smee standing at the bottom of the stairs.
Half an hour passed quickly as Wendy sat up in bed, wrapped with three thick blankets, and cleaned off her wound to look presentable. She heard heavy boots walking towards the door and quickly threw the towel under the bed. The door opened and Hook entered, silent. He turned and closed the door behind him, pausing before turning back around. He walked to his desk, sat down, and waited. When Wendy said nothing, he knew it was time for him to do the unthinkable. "Wendy..." He paused and turned to face her, thinking it might make this easier. It didn't. "I...I'm sorry."
Hook looked away after saying the words, seeing Wendy staring at him, not speaking. She may not have known how hard it was for him to apologize but her silence surely wasn't making it any easier. Finally, she spoke. "For?"
'She has to be a smart ass, doesn't she?' Hook thought. He looked back at her with a weak smile. "You're not making this easy." She didn't respond; instead, she just looked down. He guessed she was still angry, and she had a right to be, slave or not. Hook had never apologized to anyone since he had been in Neverland. He'd never even thought about it, but he knew if he didn't do something about Wendy quickly, she would stop speaking to him. And that would only make matters worse. He had a temper, he knew that, but he really did hate marking up a perfectly beautiful lady. Yes, he enjoyed it at the time, but once his adrenaline stopped pumping on overload and his anger subsided, all that was left was an ugly mark on an otherwise lovely body.
"Were you at least happy before last night?" It was a bold question, leaving him completely vulnerable to rejection or worse, a lie. Hook refused to look in her eyes until this last question. From the moment the first word left his lips, he didn't break his stare; he didn't blind once.
Wendy looked up, surprised at his question. Perhaps he was kidding, mocking her for being so sensitive. No, the look in his eyes told her he was being serious. It was a strange feeling, sitting in the cabin with the biggest, baddest Pirate Captain to ever set foot in Neverland. It was even stranger to see such an unusual expression on this Pirate Captain's face. He looked so strict and so strong as he sat there yet he was hunched over in his chair, elbows on his knees, waiting for her answer. She couldn't lie to this man. "Yes. I was happy until you stepped into this cabin and attacked me." Hook could hear the sass in her tone, as expected. "I was very happy at dinner. I was very happy looking up at the stars with you. You shattered all that the moment you sliced through me, Hook."
The sound of his name was so harsh coming from her. It was similar to how the word 'fuck' would sound spoken by a four year old, or a princess. It sounded colder than any time he'd heard it before. The Captain closed his eyes for a moment, composing himself. He wasn't sure how he felt, angry or upset, but he knew acting on his emotions like he was used to would do nothing but cause further damage. "That's fair." He took a deep breath and opened his eyes. She was still staring at him. He looked away; he hated the way she looked at that moment. A woman scorn was nothing to smile about. "What would you like me to do? How can I possibly fix this?"
Wendy spoke up sharply, nearly cutting him off. "Fix what? This?" She motioned to her fresh wound. "Nothing but pure magic could fix this, Hook. Nothing can poss—"
"Wendy." He spoke with such a cool tone. It was so calm, so collected, almost like a whisper that made her stopped speaking, as angry as she was. "You know what I meant." His stare returned. This time it was Wendy who had to look away.
After a moment of silence, she answered. "Go back to the way things were." Hook nodded. "I'm not finished. Hurt me again, James, and don't think I'll have any reason not to leave you. I'll live on land with the Indians if I have to."
Hook understood. He nodded once more before they heard an loud bang outside. It was a cannon from the Jolly Roger. Wendy jumped, not expecting it, but Hook jumped from his chair and ran for the door. "Pan!" he yelled. Wendy's breathing paused, her heart skipped a beat, and she froze where she sat.
"What?" As confused and shocked as she was to hear that name come from Hook's lips, she ran after him quickly. "Peter is dead! You told me so yourself!"
Her Captain didn't bother to turn around to answer. He just yelled over his shoulder. "Your Peter is dead as a doornail, my dear. My Pan has returned to Neverland at last." They reached the stairs and bolted on deck. Wendy didn't understand what he meant. "The ice has melted, Wendy. The battle has begun once more!" Hook began barking orders at his crew. "Reload the cannons! Fire once he's in sight, men!"
Wendy looked around. He was right. The ice that surrounded the Jolly Roger this morning had melted. The sun was shining and the flowers were all in bloom. Giving up on trying to get information from the newly crazed Hook, Wendy found Smee. "Smee! What's going on? I thought Peter was dead. How can this all be happening?"
Smee was standing on the upper deck, smiling down at the crew and his Captain. "Aye, he is. Do ye remember how Pan got to Neverland?" He paused and saw Wendy's confused expression. "He was only a baby, the desire to never grow up running through his veins. That desire brought him to Neverland where that Tinkerbell raised him into your Pan."
"But I don't understand!" Before she could say anymore, something flew by her head, causing both her and Smee to duck for cover. When she looked up, she saw the thing flying right towards her Captain, only to swerve in time to avoid his hook. This thing was no object, it was no bird, it was a boy. He must not have been older than nine or ten but he flew through the air just like Peter did. The boy finally came to a halt in midair, laughing at the pirates below him trying to maneuver the cannon in his direction. Wendy stared up at him.
He couldn't have been any taller than four and a half feet. His hair was the color of dark mud with eyes to match. He looked nothing like Peter, she thought. Wendy looked down on deck and saw Hook still entranced by the boy, yelling at his crew to shoot him. He pulled his own pistol from his waist and shot it in the air. The boy flew out of the way just in the nick of time. Wendy saw a flutter of light by the boy's ear. Tinkerbell! She was too far away to see any details but she was sure it was the little faerie she knew once before. "That's not Peter, Smee! He's shooting at the wrong boy!"
The boy must have heard Wendy's cries over all the noise because before she knew it, he was flying towards her. The boy reached out his arms, trying to grab Wendy where she stood but Wendy ducked a second took late. She was lifted into the air, faerie dust thrown in her face before she could realize what was happening. She kicked until the boy let her go, allowing her to float in the air on her own. "How dare you! You could have killed me!"
The boy laughed. "You're funny. My name's Peter, Peter Pan. What's your name?" Wendy stared at him. He really did believe he was Peter. She turned to Tinkerbell.
"Tink, what's going on? He's not Peter!" Tink simply winked at her, followed by an overly dramatic nod. The boy laughed again.
"Of course I'm Peter. She's really funny, Tink." He nudged Tink a little before laughing again. "That was a fun game. What do you want to play now?" His attention was drawn back to Wendy. "We can go play with the Indians! They'll even paint your face if you ask them." He sounded completely carefree. He sounded like all he wanted to do was play games, no matter how dangerous they were. These were real cannons, real guns, and yet he swerved between pirates like they were just big teddy bears. He sounded like...
And then it hit Wendy. He sounds like a child. He sounds exactly like Peter. She didn't know what to think anymore. This was a complete copy of Peter only with a different appearance. He looked a year or two younger than her Peter but his attitude was exactly the same. His mindset was exactly the same. Everything was the same. She looked to Tink. All Tink gave her was another wink. This frustrated Wendy. She wanted answers and Tink just wanted her to play along. "This isn't right, Tink. This isn't Peter." Wendy turned to the boy claiming to be Peter Pan. "I don't want to play with you; I don't want to go be your storyteller and I don't want to be your mother."
Peter stared at her. He hadn't asked her those questions yet, at least not the last two. He looked to Tink, who only shrugged. Tink paused then grinned evilly before shaping her hand like a Hook. Peter gasped. "Oh." He turned to Wendy just in time to see her flying away. "Are you a pirate?"
Wendy stopped and looked back at him. She paused, looked at Tink who was still imitating Hook, and answered. "Yes." Tink grinned again as Wendy turned back around and flew down to the Jolly Roger. She wasn't used to flying anymore but managed to make her way back down to the ship. She wanted to land on the upper deck next to Smee again but a gust a wind caused her to change directions and land roughly on the deck floor only feet away from her Captain. Hook rushed over and helped her up.
"Where did he say he was going? Was Tink with him? Did he mention any Lost Boys?" Hook bombarded her with questions but Wendy put her hand up to stop him.
"I won't tell you anything until you start answering my questions." She looked around and saw the whole crew staring at her. "In private." She added. Hook nodded and grabbed her hand as they rushed to his cabin.
As soon as he shut the door he spun around and asked quickly, "What do you want to know, my dear. Pan will get away if we don't go after him soon."
Wendy stared at the man before him, still shocked at how much of an effect the boy had on her Captain. She paused before blurting out, all in one breath, "What, exactly is going on, James? That boy is not Peter and yet everyone is calling him Peter. He even believes it himself! Tink wouldn't tell me anything no matter how many times I asked and Smee just said what I already knew!" She paused and took a deep breath. "How can that be Peter Pan?"
Hook sat down on the bed next to her and began to explain. "Peter, your Peter I mean, came to Neverland as a baby, just an infa—"
"I know that. Smee's already said the same thing! Please, can someone just tell me what I'm asking?!"
Hook held up his hand this time. "Wendy, just listen my dear." His eyes told her she would get her answer in time. "As I was saying, he was just an infant but he had such a desire to not grow up, that somehow he found his way to Neverland. Tink found him, and although we in Neverland do not age, Tink somehow aged him and raised him. From there, she sent Pan to go find other boys to come to Neverland. He was creative alone but he needed other children to play with. These boys became the Lost Boys. You probably already knew that part, minus a few details, but what you don't know, I'm assuming, is that Peter was not the first boy to come to Neverland." Hook paused.
"Well, let me rephrase that, darling. Your Peter was not the first to come here. There was, at some point, a boy named Peter Pan who found his way to Neverland. Tink raised him, I killed him, and to my surprise, only a month later a new Pan returned. I first realized this when the weather kept changing, even though I knew Pan to be dead. I met the next young lad and eventually got rid of him as well. But they kept coming back. Once my curiosity could no longer be tamed, I sent a couple of my men to follow Tink and see how she kept creating these Pans. She didn't. I suppose you could say she stole them from distracted parents. As infants, they would come to Neverland and live as children for as long as they pleased. Sooner or later, they'd spot the Jolly Roger and annoying as they were, they'd attack my ship. It's all a game to them. Their next big adventure, you can say."
Wendy sat there in shock. She didn't know what to say. "But...my Peter. He's...I mean, for sure, he's..."
"Dead? Yes, most definitely."
"James...are you like them? How long have you lasted in Neverland?" Wendy was almost afraid to ask. She didn't want to stay in Neverland at all if both Peter and Hook would die and be replaced a million times. It would get old. It would get tiring.
"No, no my darling. I am the one and only Captain James Hook. I always will be. While in Neverland, I can not perish." He paused and lifted his sleeves. His arms were full of scars. Wendy noticed them before but never got a chance to really look at them. He pointed to one of the marks close to his elbow. "This was from the very first Peter Pan. His sword struck me right here, nearly severed my arm off." He grasped his hook. "This is also thanks to him. He was the only Pan to leave me without a hand. I suppose that's what Tink brags about the most. She raises every Pan just like the one before them. She tells them all stories of how they, every single one of them, chopped off my hand. She gets it in their head that they did it. That I am their enemy, their target in their next game." He sighed and pulled his sleeves down. "I figured that part out on my own, no spies needed. They always begin a battle by reminding me of my lost hand, never forgetting to mention that they did it. Of course I know the truth but they believe it. They're so reckless. It's amazing some of them lasted so long." He looked back at her, his twisted smile on his face. "So, does that suffice?" Wendy nodded, silent, taking it all in. "Good. Now tell me everything you and Pan talked of. Do you know where he's going next?"
Wendy looked up and tried to remember everything. She told him that Peter might be playing with the Indians. She told him Peter asked her to play and thought she was funny. Finally, she added the last part. "He asked me if I was a pirate."
Her Captain raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"
Wendy lifted her chin proudly and said matter-of-factly, "I said yes."
Captain Hook smiled. "We've never had a female pirate on the Jolly Roger before." He grabbed her hand gently and kissed it. "Welcome aboard, my darling." This made Wendy blush with a smile. Hook stood and placed his hat back on his head. "Time to fight Pan." Wendy giggled as Hook nearly ran from the room, pulling his pistol from his waist in the process.
Approximately Three 'Neverland years' later:
The Jolly Roger was sailing the seas of Neverland. The air was cool; winter would come soon. It was only yesterday that Hook killed the latest Pan. The Lost Boys they captured were bound securely below deck and the crew was scattered around, some doing tasks on the ship while other slept until their shift. "When will we leave, James?" Wendy and Captain Hook were standing together on the upper deck, both wearing big colorful hats with a feather in them.
"Tomorrow would be best. It'll give us time to prepare and give the men time to recover from our victorious battle." James looked away from the setting sun and down at Wendy. "Do you have the list of supplies you need to replenish?"
Wendy pulled a piece of paper from her dress pocket. "Of course." She put it away and hesitated before asking, "James? I'd like to visit somewhere special when we go to London this time. Will you assure me none of the crew will follow?"
Hook nodded. "Of course, my darling. And where is it you'd like to go?"
She shook her head with a smile. "That's for me to know and for you to never find out." She giggled and he chuckled, planting a kiss on her cheek.
It was early the next morning when they finally made their difficult journey to London. They hadn't replenished their supplies in months and they really couldn't wait any longer. They only went when Pan was dead, that way they could relax, get their supplies, and not have to worry about a sneak attack when coming back to Neverland. As Hook said, they had a month between the death of Pan and the appearance of the new Pan and it became like a schedule to only leave Neverland during that month.
The battle to leave Neverland didn't last as long as the first time Wendy left with Hook, but it certainly wasn't easy by any means. They finally made it to London and began going to stores. Smee handled getting the food while some of the crew got new clothing, supplies for the Jolly Roger, and visited the local pub. After Hook and Wendy got new clothing for themselves, Wendy turned to Hook. "I'd like to go now. Will you be at Edward's home?" Edward, as Wendy realized over the years, was what every Lost boy who was given to the shop keeper was called. The shop keepers would get old, and need a replacement. The lost boy they were given would learn how to man the shop, and in return they were given a life where they could get married if they wanted, further their education, everything they couldn't do in Neverland. That was what would happen to the Lost Boys they had on the Jolly Roger. Wendy wasn't sure where they would go exactly, but at least one of them would stay with the new Edward in the clothing shop. She would come back every few months or so with Hook and see the boy grow up before sooner or later, the boy had a family of his own and simply grew up. The current Edward was only 50 or so. The next time they would see him, he would probably be around 70.
Hook nodded. "Yes, my dear." He gave her a peck on the cheek and they parted ways. Wendy walked alone down a street. It was beginning to get dark. It wouldn't take long to do what she wanted. She wasn't sure if she'd remember the location, but once she found the right street, her memory came right back to her.
She walked along the sidewalk, her nerves beginning to erupt inside her. At last, she stopped at a house she recognized. It looked older with a new paint job but she knew she had the right one. Wendy stood there, staring at the front door, looking at the windows and seeing the lights on inside. She knew the residents were home but something was stopping her from knocking on the door. Wendy stood on the sidewalk, admiring the house and trying to catch glimpses of the people inside for at least twenty minutes before she felt like someone was watching her. She turned around quickly just in time to see the flash of metal. She wasn't sure if it was a man with a knife or just her imagination, so she turned back around slowly. Just as her eyes reached the front door again, she was grabbed from behind with something cold on her neck. Her heart skipped a beat before she laughed. "James! Did you really think I wouldn't recognized your scent?"
"It's true, there's nothing like the smell of rum and tobacco, is there?" He allowed his hook to drop down to her waist as he held her from behind. "And why is this so special, my darling?" He kissed her cheek, causing her to giggle again, his facial hair tickling her.
"Because this is the Darling house. Or was." She paused. "It's been so many years. Surely they've moved. They must have..." Her words trailed off.
"Would you like to find out?"
Wendy turned around to face Hook. "No! How do you think they'll react if some woman shows up on their doorstep claiming to be their long lost daughter? Well...Grandmother? Great-grandmother? Either way, it wouldn't be good, James."
Her Captain smiled his twisted smile and pulled a soft pouch from his pocket. He opened it slowly, trying not to spill anything, and pulled out a pinch of faerie dust. "I saved this from the few times I captured Tinkerbell. It doesn't take more than a generous pinch but I believe it will help you...unless you'd prefer to climb up the drainpipe." He raised an eyebrow, knowing she would prefer the faerie dust. He sprinkled it on her and after a few seconds, she began to rise off the ground. Wendy thanked Hook before making her way up to the window on the second story.
It was the most beautiful sight she'd ever seen. There were two beds now, not three like when her and her brothers slept in this room. There was one boy and one girl lying in the beds, fast asleep. She floated in the air, watching them sleep, wondering which Darling generation they belonged to. After a few minutes, Hook flew up next to her, silent. He saw the children and knew they were from her bloodline. The girl, though it was hard to tell from so far away, had the same kiss Wendy had in the corner of her mouth. Wendy whispered, "Beautiful. Just beautiful." Hook nodded.
He whispered back, "I did not take your brothers, Wendy. They were sent back here." Wendy stared at him, then back at the children in the beds. "If you'd like to stay here, get to know them, perhaps find out if your brothers are still alive, I would understand fully." Although his words sounded reassuring, the look on his face said otherwise. He did not want her to go. He wanted her to stay with him in Neverland forever. But ever since that day they had the talk in his cabin after the night he hurt her, he vowed not to lay a hook on her ever again. He had kept his promise and as badly as he wanted to grab her and take her back to the Jolly Roger, it was her decision to make.
Wendy took one last look at the sleeping children before answering. "And leave you to lose your other hand to the next Pan? Never." She smiled as she began to go back down to the sidewalk. Hook chuckled through his twisted smirk and followed. They would return to Neverland the next morning, only to return to London and the Darling home when they needed supplies. The children she visited while they slept grew up quicker than she hoped but she never missed a visit, no matter how many times they returned to London.
A/N: I hope I didn't disappoint anyone. I've never been good at endings but I felt this was the right way to end it. I hope you all enjoyed this fanfic. All your reviews really mean a lot to me and I'd like to thank you all for that. :) Happy reading/writing everyone!