Disclaimer: I own nothing that anyone recognises.
A/N: Yeah. No comment. I watched the movie, and...felt that something was missing off the end. Or something.
Still Remembering Dreaming
"You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That's where I'll always love you, Peter Pan. That's where I'll be waiting." Tinkerbell
Neverland (the land of the dreams of children; everlasting realm of youth)
The sun was setting upon Neverland, the last rays of light winking out and fading away as it vanished below the horizon. Tinkerbell watched it disappear, and sat quietly on a branch, deep in thought. Nearly unaware of her surroundings, she was disturbed – and she did not nearly fall off her perch, no matter what anyone says – by the arrival of the Lost Boys, who had at long last flown back to their hide-out.
She floated lower as they landed, and watched them; a little too drained to be truly curious, the pixie was nevertheless a little intrigued by the boys' tired, almost lacklustre appearance. It wasn't what was normally seen after any victory against the pirates, let alone a victory as thoroughly decisive as this one had been. But Tink could guess why they looked so...so crestfallen, so deflated. It was for much the same reason that she herself felt woeful.
Peter had left Neverland, left her, had left all of them. Again. And she hadn't been able to stop him leaving, hadn't even tried to stop him, but...but she had wanted him to stay, even if she had known from the beginning that he wouldn't be, not this time, and not any time ever again.
Yes, Tinkerbell could understand their sadness.
The tiny pixie surveyed her charges, those boys who were – however unofficially, however little they may acknowledge or even know it – in her care, and to a point, under her protection. Because Peter had once been one of them (and in a sense, he always would be).
'Tinkerbell?' one of the boys questioned the air, having not yet caught sight of her.
'Yes?' she replied, fluttering downwards towards them all so she was clearly visible to every one of them.
Sounding very young, the same boy said in a small voice 'Will Peter ever come back to Neverland?'
With that, it was as if a dam had broken, and the queries rushed out, from all of them, even Thud Butt, proud new leader though he was.
'Will we ever see him again?'
'If we didn't let him say goodbye, does that mean he'll be back?'
'Can he come back?'
'Would it work?'
'He won't forget us, will he?'
And underlying each of the questions was a desperate plea of "Please, Tinkerbell, please say he'll come back, please say he'll remember." And then, just as it had begun, the clamour of voices stopped, and it was quiet, the only sounds the leaves rustling above as the trees settled in for the night.
Tinkerbell could feel the weight of their eyes on her, pleading for answers, and above all, for positive answers. Her gaze swept over the assembled Lost Boys, who looked – as much as they ever did, or could – downcast. Making up her mind (but really, she had already decided), Tink smiled gently, warmly, at the boys.
'He'll come back. It might seem like forever, but one day, he will come back. Peter Pan is Neverland, and Neverland is Peter Pan,' she recited, beginning to grin as the familiar reckless enthusiasm reappeared on the boys' faces. 'And doesn't every hero, in every story, always return just when he's needed most?'
By this point, heartened by her words, the Lost Boys were all but bouncing up and down in their new-found excitement (it hadn't taken much, had it?).
'Really?' one asked.
'Really, really?' another repeated.
Tink grinned back at them all, no longer lost in the bittersweet mood she'd felt earlier.
'Really,' she promised the boys, putting all her untarnished, pure and shining faith in her voice. 'You just have to believe.'
Earth (known to some as the "real world")
The sun set, and it rose, and it set, and it passed through all the stages in-between. And such actions, the brightly flaming sun sinking beneath the horizon only to reappear, were repeated many, many times, as they would continue to be repeated for years beyond counting in the time yet to come. And because time passes in unknown ways, flying and slowing, skipping and looping, but always heading inexorably forwards, and because memories are such tricky things to handle, and because a primary function of the human brain is to rationalise and explain the myths and mysticism of the world (and that of all the other worlds), events...occurred, and faded, and crystallised in memory.
Children grew into adults, and adults grew older, and time moved on, and the world moved with it. And as children aged, certain of their more unbelievable memories never quite left them, but faded in their minds, and grew slowly more unbelievable as they faded. The change from childhood to adolescence to adulthood alters the perspective, and things steadfastly believed as a child are no longer quite so firmly believed as an adolescent, nor as an adult. But the memories left with two specific children in particular, those memories stemming from their kidnap-and-subsequent-rescue, never entirely disappeared.
And the memories left in the mind of one specific adult, confirming those that had been lost as a child and then regained, never did fade. Those memories stayed, fixed solidly in place, far more solidly than they had ever been whilst they were actually being lived. And if the events in the current reality, those that had occurred only recently, if they were forgotten more easily, slipped the mind more readily? What of that? The old, true memories stayed, almost as if to make up for all those years during which they had been missing.
Time passed, and events occurred. Joy, and happiness, and love, and shock and grief and mourning. There was marriage and there were weddings, there was love and enjoyment. There was ageing and slowing reflexes and creaking joints, grey hairs and ailments that took longer to heal. There was childbirth and little grandchildren called Wendy and Aiden and Daniel, and car crashes and death and funerals.
Time moves on, and the world moves on, and people move on also. Adults grow older, and their children grow older and leave their parents behind to live their own lives. And so when the children, who are now adults themselves, move on with all their lives before them, their parents are left with much of their lives behind them. The younger look forwards while the older look backwards. And in the end, memories are nearly all that are left.
Elsewhere (the place between dimensions, belonging to no realm)
In a place outside both time – for a given value of time, anyway – and space – for a given value of space – and all of those other dimensions known to humans, and many more besides that are beyond their knowledge, two beings existed together in what is generally termed peace. Relative peace, at any rate. For the most part. Normally.
The pair, whilst truly known to very few, had been at least heard of by most nearly every being, in any dimension one cared to name. Their names – even those known by mortals – will not be recorded here, as it is always best not to repeat the names of such beings without due cause; they will always know it wherever and whenever their names are used. And it is always believed best not to draw their attention in any circumstances, whether the conditions surrounding be favourable or no.
At this moment, however, the two were occupied with one of their – though saying "favourite" may be a slight falsehood – but it was indeed a pastime that often occupied their days. They were watching. And, though this was not found to be such an enjoyable activity in spite of its taking up at least as much of their time, they were also waiting.