Disclaimer: Don't own Peter Pan. Lyrics are 20 Years of Snow, Regina Spektor.
Note: This story is based off the end of Peter Pan in Scarlet. As such there are some references that might miss you if you haven't read it but overall I think it should be okay. Thanks for reading.
When Winter Comes
he's a wounded animal
he's been coming around here
he's a dying breed
The man she sees is not, she is certain, James Hook.
Wendy is well aware that her recent return to Neverland has had a number of effects on her. She giggles more, she sees her daughter's point of view a lot more clearly than any good mother ought to allow herself, and she sometimes feels her mind rebelling against her day-to-day tasks with a petulant "don't want to". She thinks differently, now she's older – different patterns in the way she connects things, different ideas from different suggestions. She can recognise it a lot more clearly, now she's gone so suddenly from bud to flower. Growing up is not a process that should be done so quickly.
She is sure it's had a greater effect on her than she's noticing. She is sure, at least half the time, that it's done something to her mind. It will fade, she is sure, it will fade as dreams fade, for in the smog of London that is all the Neverland can ever be – a dream. So when she sees a flick of leaves fly past her window and imagines it's Peter, she knows it's in her head. When a hooded gentleman with one hand tucked into his breast pocket stops at the corner of her street and watches her house, the resemblance he bears to Hook is merely imaginary.
But he is there – day in, day out – watching. Perhaps, Wendy feels, in her more suspicious moments, he is waiting.
She checks on her daughter three more times a night, and worries desperately when her husband leaves for work. She can feel her edges unraveling a little, but she puts it out of her mind. What mother would not be worried about her family, in days like these, where the world grows more complex every day?
She sees Michael once, twenty and lean and standing on the corner with the hooded man, and she bursts into tears. The house is empty (school and work and Wendy is alone, all alone), and she goes from room to room in desperation, inconsolable. She shakes and trembles and cries and makes her face quite red and unseemly. She fumbles for her handkerchief. Tidy up now, Wendy, she chides herself. This is no way for an English lady to behave.
But England be damned, screams a voice in her head (and it screams in the voice of a little girl), because for England died her beloved brother, and for England she grew up, and for England she went back to the lands beyond the edges of time, and saw such terrors, such horrors, such rage, such sadness –
England be damned.
Outside, it is raining. Michael and the man who is certainly not James Hook, because grown ups can't travel between Neverland and here, are not standing on the corner anymore. The two of them – who certainly had been ordinary strangers she mistook for people she knew – must have gone home. Sensibly, they have got out of the rain. It wouldn't have been James Hook anyway, because she is sure he is dead. He died, she knows, with her kiss on his cheek.
But if he had lived, nags a small, winding voice in the back of her mind, he would have the good manners to return it.
There is a knock on the door. It is half past one and school isn't over for another two hours, and work doesn't end until five. The knock comes again, more insistent. It's raining. Whoever it is, it would be unkind to leave them out there, wouldn't it?
It is impossible for it to be Hook. It is impossible for it to be Michael. Michael and Hook are dead. She kissed them both goodbye and that was that.
The knock again. It might be someone from her daughter's school. Perhaps they have all been sent home early because of some scare or other. If that is the case, it would be horrifically unmotherly to leave them out in the rain.
Knock, knock, knock. Stop being silly, she tells herself, it's childish. And she opens the door.
There's no one there.
Foolish, foolish, foolish, she thinks. I'm losing my mind. Dear oh dear, I have to get a hold of myself before my family comes home.
She closes the door and heads back upstairs. Before her histrionics began, she had been sewing by the upstairs window, and she has to get that finished before half past three when her daughter comes home. She heads to the stairs, and pretends she does not see the two pairs of wet bootprints trailing towards the kitchen.
She is only imagining it. It does funny things to your head, growing up.