Restlessness seemed to fill Lilly's entire being. It had been at least four days since the accident and her ankle was doing much better, but the entire fairy population seemed unwilling to let her out of their sight for even a moment. Lilly knew they were just trying to help, but she wanted to be able to see the outside of the four bushy walls again. There was so much that she wanted to ask about, so much she wanted to learn about this island; this Neverland!
Afreeda might have been able to tell her some of what she wanted to know, but she didn't want to cause a big scene when there were at least forty fairies by her side day and night. There wasn't any time to be alone and talk now, but hopefully soo they would have a chance to go walking again. Luckily, Queen Marion had seemed to sense Lilly's slight resentment of being cooped up. In fact, the fairy queen was approaching Lilly at that moment, with Afreeda flanking her on the right. Lilly nodded respectfully as they drew near.
"How is your ankle today, dear?" the queen asked.
"Much better, thank you ma'am," Lilly answered, keeping her eyes near her feet. It was an old habit that she used to try to show respect.
"Do you think that you would be able to accompany me for a while?"
"Oh, of course!" Lilly said enthusiastically, brightened by the idea of stretching her legs again.
Lilly was lifted over the wall, and led off slowly, since Queen Marion didn't want Lilly to wear her legs out. After all, she had hardly moved for the past few days. When they were nearing the beach—the very same one that Afreeda and Lilly had talked at a few days ago, before going to the mermaid lagoon—the fairy insisted that they stop and rest awhile. Lilly's ankle was a little bit sore, but she was so happy to be out here again she didn't really mind it, and told her so. However, the queen would not be denied, so they sat and stared out over the ocean. The sparkling of sunlight on the ocean waves made Lilly think back to that one sunset view she had shared with the Captain. It had only been days ago, but it seemed like an eternity had passed. She blushed slightly and smiled to herself.
"Would you like to talk about what's on your mind?" Queen Marion asked, causing Lilly to be brought back to the present more quickly than she would have liked.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, your Majesty. I was just dreaming," Lilly said sheepishly.
"There are some things I would like to ask you about, and I also will try to give you some answers to your own questions in return."
Lilly nodded, surprised by the sudden turn of events, but pleased nonetheless.
"The first thing that comes to my mind is the ineffectiveness of our dust on you. When it is used on humans, it is meant to make them fly temporarily, with a shrug of the shoulders and a true smile on their face; yet on you it seems to do nothing."
"I'm not exactly sure what I would be able to tell you about that. I have been quite happy here these past few days, so it is not a lack of that. I do feel the fairy dust when it falls on me, but that is all."
Queen Marion nodded thoughtfully. "You have told me before about how you arrived in Neverland, correct?"
"Yes, that's right. I've told you everything about that."
"Tell me about your life before you arrived here."
The request surprised Lilly, and she sat there in silence, not knowing what to say. She hadn't expected any questions like this one, and was completely unprepared. Rubbing the back of her neck awkwardly, she asked, "Well, um, what do you want to know?"
"To start: the three girls who came to Neverland before you had some interaction with the boy Peter before arriving, most often him visiting them at their home, teaching them to fly, and going off on some adventure; yet you say that before that clashing of the swords—which was quite well-matched I might add—you had never seen him before in your life."
Lilly nodded, appreciative of the compliment. "That's right. I had only heard about the boy after I had arrived in Neverland, when I overheard a group of boys talking about him one night as they camped. At the time I had no idea who he was."
"The Lost Boys, as they call themselves, and the pirates often have battles in that clearing and anywhere else on the island that they meet. What exactly was it that spurred you into dashing and challenging the leader of them all?"
Lilly looked out over the sea, feeling her face turning red as she was unsure how to answer. "Well... when I came upon the clearing, I saw Peter—whom I still did not know at the time—about to spear an older gentleman-"
"Smee." Queen Marion nodded. "And dear, I'm sorry, but I hardly think that a pirate would be deserving of the term 'gentleman'."
"He's not bloodthirsty or cruel like the rest of them are though!" Lilly blurted out, rising to her friend's defense. "He's kind, and he wouldn't hurt anything or anyone, especially not some cocky redhead that couldn't match swords with a. . . " Lilly clasped her hand to her mouth, realizing just how much she had said.
"With a girl. Yes, that was quite a blow to his pride, but he will get over it soon enough. All boys do."
Lilly wore a puzzled expression. She wasn't going to be asked anything else about the pirates? She had thought for sure that something would come of her mistake.
"I have an errand to run for a little while; feel free to continue looking around the island. Just be very careful to watch where you step." Lilly blushed and looked away, but for a moment she thought she saw a twinkle of laughter in the fairy queen's eyes. In less than a moment she was gone, but Lilly did not move from her spot. She looked out over the sea again, trying to make sense of it all; but with a shake of her head, she supposed there were some things about this place that she just wasn't going to ever be able to understand.
After a while, soft footsteps began to approach her, and she turned slightly looking over her shoulder. Her face lit up as she saw her friend, walking slowly out of the woods, with his red stocking cap twisted in every direction imaginable. "Smee!" Lilly squealed with delight as she jumped up and ran over to him, falling to her knees as she embraced the short little man. He gladly returned the show of affection and patted her head good-naturedly. Lilly looked up at him with sparkling eyes, feeling completely wonderful now that there was a friendly face. They stood there for the longest time, not saying anything, then both started to speak at once, paused, then did it again. Finally Smee chuckled and motioned towards the log. "How about we sit a while and figure out what it is we're trying to say, lassie?"
Lilly grinned and sat down in the sand beside the log so she could look up at him. "It seems like I haven't seen you in the longest time."
The man nodded and leaned a little towards her to get her attention. "Listen, lass. There are things I knows you been wonderin' about, and I 'ave been meaning to tell ya, but I jist couldn't find the words to put 'em in." Smee scratched the top of his head. He had begun to look upon her as his own daughter, and had come to be very protective of her. So how was he to explain to her the reality of the situation she found herself in? "Well, first things first. How is your ankle?"
That was just like Smee, always caring about her before anything else. "How did you know about that?" Lilly asked. The second the words were out, she knew. More likely than not, the Captain had probably told him; and why shouldn't he? A twisted ankle wasn't a secret, much less something to be kept from a man who had been her friend since the very beginning of this adventure and even before then! Then why did she feel her face beginning to blush? It was starting to become a slightly annoying habit that occured every time she thought of the mysterious man.
"The good Cap'n told me 'bout it when I asked after ya the other day," Smee replied. "He's been worryin' quite a bit about you too, lass."
Lilly looked down at her lap as she smiled slightly. "Well, I didn't mean to cause worry for either of you," she said quietly.
The man patted her shoulder with a weathered, gentle hand.
"How is the Captain?" Lilly asked suddenly, looking up.
"Oh! Er, well," stuttered Smee, caught off-guard by the sudden question. He didn't suppose "heartsick" would sit well with the lass, and that was only strong suspicion anyway. "He's…ah…fair. Fair as a sunny day." He forced a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes, but Lilly didn't seem to notice.
She smiled, thankful that he was alright.
"Fact is, that's sort o' the reason for me being here," he continued. "Not that I didn't wanna see ya in the first place, o'course! But this is about business too."
"And what business is that, Mr. Smee?" Lilly asked, curiousity lighting up her eyes.
"The Cap'n was a'wonderin' if you might be interested in dining with 'im tonight."
Now it was Lilly's turn to be caught off-guard. She started to say something several times, but the words kept getting caught in her mouth right as she was about to say them. The Captain wanted to have dinner with her? What could it mean? She couldn't help but smile as she felt that flutter coming in her chest again, but it was a happy feeling tonight. Then she thought of an idea that might tell her a little bit more about the Captain himself. "Well... what do you think I should do, Smee?" she asked quietly, searching his eyes.
"The Captain's not as bad as some make 'im out to be, lassie. In fact, he can be a real gentleman when he's got a mind to. An' I know it would do his heart good to have a pretty girl like you sittin' at his table."
They both smiled at each other and Lilly blushed bright red. "Well, tell the Captain that I graciously accept his invitation."