A.N. - This story ended up being much more dark than I was expecting it to be, so WARNING! Mentions of suicide and other dark thoughts. If you don't like, then don't read! Trust me, I did not expect the story to take this turn, but I always listen to my characters and let them lead the story, not the other way around. Otherwise, enjoy!
(P.S. - The Hook that I imagine is the one portrayed by Jason Isaacs in the 2003 Peter Pan! So please keep that in mind while reading this story!)
He was bitter and alone…but he hadn't always been that way. In fact, he had once been a child, though he'd never had a proper childhood to speak of.
He stood on the deck of his ship, leaning against the rail, and tried to ignore the fact that he was once more reminiscing on memories that were best left forgotten. However, they would not desist, and he found himself trying to hold back a barrage of emotion as they continued to assail him.
His mother, leaving him at the age of four…his father beating him into submission while in a drunken stupor.
During the day his father was a tyrannical ruler, forcing young James Hook to grow up much faster than a child should.
He started working at age seven as a pickpocket, something that his father knew nothing about, but at least it gave him something to do. Every time he managed to take something without being caught he felt a thrill, and with each and every successful heist he became better and more adept, and was proud of it.
He had found his calling in life at a very young age…and then when he was twelve, he had stowed away on a merchant ship that was eventually attacked by pirates.
He could remember with vivid clarity what had happened when the pirates had found him…
They hauled him up by the scruff of his neck and threw him onto the hard wooden planks of their own ship. He tried not to cry out as his knees hit the deck, knowing that showing tears would not be a good thing to do in front of pirates.
The man who had grabbed him was the first one to speak. "What you want us to do with 'im, captain?"
That was when James saw who the man was talking to. He was somewhat tall and it looked like he hadn't bathed in quite a long time. He wore a tri-cornered hat, had a sword in a scabbard at his side, and a pistol rested in his right hand. The man in the tri-cornered hat with the pistol, the man he now knew to be the captain, glared down at the young boy, who was trying not to show his fear, but failing miserably.
He gave the boy a look…and then knelt down to the young man's level.
"What's your name, lad?"
The twelve-year old's chin quivered slightly and he took a deep breath before speaking. "J-James, sir. James..." He paused, and gave a name he'd always wanted to go by. "James Hook."
A slow grin appeared on the older man's face, and James tried to hold in the urge to throw up at the horrid stench that the man exuded. He reeked of cheap ale, cheap cigars, and sweat. In his mind, James silently vowed that if he ever became a pirate captain, he would be everything this man was not.
The captain suddenly stood, and then turned to the man that James assumed was his first mate.
"Put him in my quarters for now, Bootstrap. I want to talk to him alone…man to man."
With those words, the man nodded, and James suddenly found himself being dragged up to his feet and being pulled toward the front of the ship. He was thrown through a set of double doors and then heard them being locked behind him from the outside.
Then he heard another door open, and he watched in slight trepidation as the captain walked into the room, a monkey perched on his shoulder eating an apple.
He smiled at James and then reached for another apple that sat in a bowl on a desk on the far wall.
"So," the captain said as he strode towards him with long strides, green apple resting In his hand. "Why'd you stow away on such a ship, lad? Feel like runnin' away from home for the fun of it, did ya?"
James quickly hauled himself to his feet, ignoring the sudden rushing pain that swam in his head. He would not lie on the ground like a cowering animal waiting to be punished. There was at least one good thing his father taught him…if you were going into a fight, you stood like a man and took it, even if you didn't think you could win.
Feeling much bolder than he really was, he finally got up the nerve to address the captain directly.
"Sir…I have told you my name, which means that I require yours."
The captain suddenly stopped in his forward steps, and then a short, harsh laugh escaped him. He leveled his eyes at James, and the young boy tried not to squirm under the older man's surprisingly piercing gaze.
"It's my name you want, boy? Fine. Name's Barbosa, and don't you forget it."
With that, he moved over to a desk that sat just near a bed and sat down, placing his pistol onto its highly polished wooden surface.
James tried not to look at it, but he found himself suddenly fascinated by the weapon that lay there. It was made from fine wood and metal. And even though the metal was visibly tarnished with old stains of blood, it captured his attention.
Barbosa noticed, and he slowly lifted the pistol back up, obviously proud of it.
"You like this, lad?" James nodded. "Well, then…you work on my crew and prove you're worth it, it's all yours."
At this, his eyes snapped up to the captain's, shocked at what he had just heard. Had he just been offered to become a pirate?
At the serious look that lay in Captain Barbosa's eyes, James suddenly realized that he had. He turned the idea around in his mind for a few moments, studying it out, wondering if that was what he really wanted. Well…why not? He was already a thief…and a damn good one, at that. This would merely be the next step up.
With a ridiculous grin plastered on his face, he nodded.
"Alright, sir. I'll do it."
At his response, Barbosa seemed inordinately pleased.
"Good choice, lad. The Black Pearl's the finest ship you could ever hope for…and her crew has the best sailors that you could ever ask for."
With a grin on his face, he walked out of the captain's quarters with the captain's hand at his back and he grinned at the sight of the men working in full to pull away from the merchant ship that he'd just been taken from.
'No,' he thought to himself. 'Rescued from.'
He started to walk forward just a bit further, but then the captain's hand gripped his shoulder, stopping him.
He watched as Barbosa lifted a hand to catch his crew's attention.
"Gentlemen…I am proud to announce, that we have a new crew member aboard the Black Pearl. Everyone welcome James Hook!"
There was a raucous applause, and that was when he felt it. For some reason, he had a feeling that he would be sailing the sea long after every man on that ship had passed away to Davy Jones' locker. That he would one day be a captain that was feared and respected by all…and he liked it.
Immediately, a man called to him from the side, and the captain pushed him in the man's direction.
"That's my second mate. Best get to it, Hook."
With that, James walked over to the man, who was probably the youngest person on the ship besides himself.
The man was of medium height and had several tattoos on him, including one of a bird against a sun on water on his right wrist. His eyes were lined with something black, and his hair was a tangled mess, although it seemed to suit him in some sort of odd way.
"Hello, James Hook. Name's Jack. You know how to climb?"
He nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
The second mate, Jack, just shook his head and motioned towards the center mast. "Good. Then up to the crow's nest with you."
With that, James scrambled over to the center mast and quickly began to climb, knowing it was probably best to simply do as one was told. As he climbed, he became more aware of the sway of the boat…and he liked it. He soon was in the crow's nest and he silently gasped at the sight.
Nothing but water in every direction, and there was a shimmer of light on the horizon that showed that the sun was setting. He quickly made himself comfortable in the small, confined space, and slid a hand through his dark curls. This was definitely something that he could get used to. Nothing but the ocean and the sky, with the occasional stop for supplies. He could live a life like this…but he wouldn't stay a glorified errand boy, that was for sure.
As the sun sank into the water, only one thought was in his mind. That one day he would grow up to captain a ship that every man, woman, and child would know…and he would live on forever.
The memory faded, and Hook then remembered the following days on that ship.
The practice swordfights, the training. Everything from swords to pistols to throwing knives. He had made friends for the first time in his life…until the fateful day of his seventeenth year that he was taken while they were docked at Tortuga. He'd had a strange feeling, though, that it had been planned.
He had easily subdued the captain, and had gone on to raid and pillage several coastal towns, where the name Captain Hook had become well known. Infamous.
Hook grinned at those particular memories, and he moved from the railing and headed back towards his cabin.
As he pulled off his hat and coat, he vaguely remembered when he had first found Neverland. It had been an interesting day, indeed.
He remembered the weather had been horrendous, and he'd been forced to change course through the unfamiliar waters. He had originally been in the North Sea, but had been forced to go down in a southerly route due to the storm's trajectory. He remembered seeing a single shooting star and wishing for a brief moment that he would never have to leave the ocean.
The storms always brought out the maudlin side of him, and that night had been particularly rough.
He then remembered falling asleep at the wheel…and waking up to a gloriously beautiful sky, where the sun never dimmed in the slightest. And then he'd seen the island.
It was stunning, and he'd had the strange feeling that he had found something special.
As he stripped down to his shirt, he glanced at the harness that wrapped around him and held his hook onto his hand. Damn Pan for doing that to him…even now he could feel the phantom pains of his missing hand, and the sudden vivid memory of when his hand had been sliced off came to him.
The boy's mocking words as he'd fed his appendage to crocodile echoed in his ears.
"Now you can match your name, Captain!"
Shoving the memory to the back of his mind, he deftly undid the clasp and slid it off, placing it in its' container.
He stood still for a moment, trying to hear the ocean. Through the walls of his cabin, he could hear the steady beat of waves against the side of the ship, and he found it reassuring. It was a sound that for him had become a sound of comfort over the past years of being a sea captain. They were still sailing.
That was always a strong reassurance, and one that he needed in order to sleep at night.
He slid off his pants, shedding his boots along with them, and then sat on the edge of his huge, silk covered bed.
If anyone had looked in on him at that particular moment, they would not have seen the fearsome, notorious pirate that they had been told frightening tales about. The man who was the scourge of Neverland and the feared enemy of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Instead, they would have seen a sad and vulnerable man, one who was obviously in some very deep emotional turmoil.
He ran his left hand, his only hand, through his black locks, and a sigh of pure exhaustion escaped his lips. He needed to sleep, and the only way that would happen was if he actually went to bed.
He gazed down at the red, silk sheets, but he felt as though he were slipping into the bed of another person…a bed that was not his own.
He ignored the maudlin thought and let himself sink into the mattress, but the thought still ran around the edges of his mind.
What would Barbosa have said to his ridiculous notions? Well, that was actually fairly obvious. He would have told him to ignore it and continue on with who he was supposed to be…which meant that he should probably figure out what was really bothering him.
Every time he thought of his first captain, he made sure to do the opposite of what that man had done.
Barbosa had been friends with his crew, whereas Hook ruled by fear. Barbosa hadn't cared one whit for cleanliness; Hook prided himself on it. Barbosa had had to shout orders to his men, whereas every man on Hook's crew knew exactly what they were supposed to do and when it needed to be done. Barbosa had ignored every single kind of emotion to pass his way and had internally suffered because of it. Captain James Hook met his problems head on and solved them.
He pulled himself out of bed and walked over to the desk that dominated the other half of his very spacious and lavish cabin. He leaned back in his chair and propped his feet up on the edge of his desk, ignoring the papers of some importance that were scattered there.
His mind continued to speed through his thoughts, making him feel as though he were actually running a race, even though he was decidedly not.
He wanted nothing more than to escape Neverland and the stupid childish games that kept him forever fighting and losing against an eternal and ageless young warrior…but at the same time, he feared to leave Neverland.
He had lost track of how many years had passed, but he knew that it was longer than he cared to admit.
He was old, too old…and he was afraid of what it would mean to return to the world beyond.
Would he suddenly look his age? As soon as he crossed the barrier would he feel his body twist and bend in on itself, his limbs contort and his flesh shrivel, until he became a husk of a man?
It was that fear that kept him there in Neverland. It was that fear that clung to him like a thick film, and could never be fully sloughed away. He wanted to rid himself of that fear, and had tried to many times, trying to tell himself that nothing would change, that he would simply age from where he was at that time…but it never worked.
He dropped his feet from his desk and reached for his old journal, absently turning the pages.
He had stopped writing in it years ago, realizing that all it did was remind him of the eternal and never-ending progression of time in Neverland.
It had forced him into a spiraling depression in the very beginning, and that had been when he'd first tried to kill himself…
And had discovered the horrible truth of Neverland.
It wasn't just that you stayed forever young…you were unable to die. Oh, there was the sudden stop of your heart and then nothingness…until you found yourself waking up in your cabin the very next morning with Smee scrubbing the blood from the floorboards from where you'd shot yourself in the head and fallen to the floor.
The first time he'd seen it, he'd not quite believed it, but the look on his first mate's face had told him the truth of what had happened.
Yes, he had tried to kill himself. And, yes, he had died…but it could never be permanent, for Pan always had to have his Hook, his enemy to be defeated, until he rose again and the fight resumed once more.
This was the thought that tortured him and because of it, he had finally come to conclusion that he was in hell.
His own personal hell where he was forced to die over and over again, only to come back and have to relive the humiliation all over again of being defeated by a young boy of merely twelve.
Yes…he was in hell.
At that thought, Hook stood and walked over to the sideboard and poured himself a drink. The bottle was old and faded, with the label almost turned to dust. An old faint outline of a skull could still be seen on the side of the bottle. He toasted the empty air in front of him before he took a long gulp.
As he felt his body hit the floor and his limbs began to contort, he could only think of one thing before the blackness came…
This is all I have to look forward to…
For suicide could be doled out in many ways, and he looked forward to discovering the pain of every single one of them, as he knew that in a couple of hours he would once more see the sun of another day spread out into eternity before him.