Author's Notes: Written for sillyputtie as part of the usxuk Secret Santa on livejournal. She asked for a nice romance set in a fantasy/fairytale land and I was immediately struck with the idea for a Peter Pan!AU. So here it is! I do hope all my other readers enjoy!
Human Names Used:
And Tony is just humanized/fairy-ized Tony the alien.
"It was then that Pan noticed that the gleam in Hook's eyes was not that of a school-yard bully, but instead held a decidedly deadly glint. Immediately, urgently, his heart began to race. And, as one might expect in such a situation, Pan knew then his life was on the line, and being in such dire circumstances, he closed his eyes and struck out towards Hook's knife-wielding hand with his dagger. The hand fell - plop! - into the water, where, much to Hook's current chagrin, a crocodile gobbled it up. It is said that now, to this very current day in Never Land, that the crocodile still hunts after Hook for he liked the taste he'd gotten so much, he wants to eat the rest of him. In turn, Hook hunts after Pan, his frustration turning to hatred for the boy who robbed him of his hand and left him as the one known simply as Captain Hook."
The boys applauded lightly as Arthur finished his tale, and Arthur in turn, kindly replaced the hanger he'd borrowed to use for Hook's hand to the closet. There was an unspoken tension in the room, broken as a gruff voice called out.
"Arthur, it's your bedtime boy! You'll be shipping out tomorrow and need to be in top shape!"
"I was just finishing the story, Sir. I'm going right now."
Arthur looked around at his fellow orphans and gave them a rare smile. While Arthur was a lone boy, mostly due to the fact he was so much older than the rest of the boys at the home, they'd found a fond spot for him once they'd first heard his tales. He was a bit of a storyteller, not as in that he told tales or white lies to excuse himself from trouble, but more that he read a lot and told stories (or variations of) to the boys at the home. Tales of King Arthur and princesses and dragons, and their favorite of all: the stories of the boy who never grew up and his adventures in Never Land as he thwarted the dastardly Captain Hook.
"We'll miss ya, Arthur," one boy ventured, followed by a chorus of agreement from the others.
"Take care of yourselves," he replied. "And promise me this."
They boys all looked up eagerly.
"Don't ever stop believing," Arthur said softly. "Especially in the fairies. They can't keep living if we stop believing."
And, knowing that so much of Never Land wouldn't be what it was without the fairy folk, the boys all wholeheartedly promised to never stop believing.
Arthur gave them all a nod and quietly left the room where the younger boys stayed. They'd moved him to his own room when he turned fifteen, probably in hopes he'd stop encouraging the youngsters to reenact pirate battles, but now that he was on the cusp of adulthood…
He sighed. Tomorrow was his eighteenth birthday, and while birthdays were usually such joyful events, Arthur was the farthest from joyful. He would be eighteen and he would have to grow up, get a job and forget all his stories.
Fairytales, after all, were just for children. Or so he'd been told. Arthur was of the firm belief that you could stay a child in your heart so long as you desired, even if you were working in a stuffy office all day and wore pressed suits and the like. None of those things meant you had to stop believing, did they?
So with a heavy heart and a worried mind, Arthur made his way to his solitary bedroom and sat down on the edge of his bed. His things were already packed, since he was set to leave first thing in the morning for an internship at a factory for metalworking, and he honestly felt as if he might cry.
"Metalworking," he groused under his breath. "Who in their right mind wants to do that for the rest of their life?"
"It's not all bad, you know," a small voice retorted.
Arthur glanced up and saw, much to his relief, that there were four little dots of light floating in through his cracked bedroom window. It was the red hued speck that had spoken and it continued to do so.
"Look, I know you might not be fit for metalworking, but it's an awesome part of my job!"
"Gilbert, not everyone is dense enough to enjoy tinkeringfor their entire life," the blue speck remarked.
"Or they're not awesome enough, ha!"
The yellow speck cleared her throat at that, as she landed on Arthur's bed stand. It was then that the blurs of light around her subsided and it became clear to anyone who might have been watching, for Arthur was already very aware, that these little lights were fairy folk.
"Arthur, of course, would be a storyteller talent," Bianka said firmly, her golden yellow wings fluttering to a halt as she turned to Gilbert. She smoothed down the folds of her petal and leaf dress and gave him a look.
Gilbert, the red hued fairy, came to land beside her and crossed his arms. He shot Arthur a smug glance. "Hey, I'm not saying Arthur would be a good tinker. Just saying that some of us are awesome at it." As he said this, the silver-haired fairy patted the tinker's hammer tucked in his belt made of vines, his rust-colored leaf ensemble showing singe marks here and there from the work he'd done that day.
The blue speck landed beside him and gave him a stormy glare, "Or think they are, at least."
The blue and gray attired fairy didn't just seem to be forming a small thundercloud over his head, but in fact, he wasdoing just that. As he tugged his acorn-cap up on his head, he gave the cloud a glance and started to mumble something under his breath. Thankfully, mostly for Gilbert, Bianka stepped in.
"Vash, no lightning inside Arthur's room, please," she said, giving the weather-fairy a hard look.
He reluctantly whisked the cloud away, but kept his glare firmly set on Gilbert.
Arthur looked around, and was just about to ask where their fourth friend had flown off to, when he finally spotted the small pinkish light tugging at the edges of a well-read book.
"Oh Leonie, let me get that," Arthur said softly, getting up and helping the small fairy pull out the book.
The tiny fairy, for she was much smaller than her kin, beamed up at him. Arthur smiled, opening the book of fairytales to where a worn ribbon-bookmark held place amongst the pages.
"You're excited to hear the rest of this story, I take it?"
Leonie nodded. "It's getting very exciting!"
And as Arthur took the book over to his bedside and began to read, he tried to cherish each and every word. If he was honest with himself, these fairy friends were what he feared most that he would lose when he grew up the next day.
It had been years since he'd become a friend to these fairies, although he was more friend to two, amusement to one, and reluctantly put up with by the last. He'd met them during a special outing the orphanage had taken to Kensington Gardens, and in fact, it was the very book he was currently reading from that had first drawn them to him.
While the younger boys were off running and playing, Arthur had sat to the side and read from his book. As he quietly muttered out the words under his breath, he slowly gathered an audience of birds. One by one, various types and sizes of birds landed and sat listening to his tale, but when a squirrel scampered by and startled them off in a flock, one little winged creature remained.
Having the appearance of a young teenage girl, and wearing a dress made of what looked like flower petals in shades of pastel, the blonde fairy stood and bravely made eye contact with Arthur.
This was Leonie. She had apparently called forth all the birds (for she was a fairy with an animal talent) to help protect her as she listened eagerly to Arthur's story. But being such a young fairy, she froze in fright as Arthur looked up and locked eyes with her.
He'd reassured her that he meant her no harm, and politely asked her name. Of course, by this point, her overprotective brother Vash had flown in, followed by Bianka (who was trying to get Vash to calm down, because clearly Arthur was no threat) and Gilbert (who was eager to see someone beside himself smitten by a bolt of Vash's lightning). A small fairy squabble and a retelling of Cinderella later, and the five of them found each other an unlikely group of acquaintances.
So as Arthur finished his story that night, worries of pending adulthood looming in his mind, he sadly told the fairies that he might never see them again.
"Why not?" Leonie asked.
"Well, tomorrow I have to grow up."
All four fairies gasped, so loudly that despite their small stature it was audible to a shadowy figure that was outside the windowsill.
"Grow up? I'd rather be speared on the Captain's hook!" Gilbert grumbled.
Bianka gave Arthur a sympathetic look and even Vash seemed to hold some semblance of pity for him. But Leonie had gone past feeling distraught to that place where you think anything is possible.
"Then we'll stop it!" She shouted. "Arthur shouldn't have to grow up if he doesn't want to!"
The figure creaked open the window, but the others were too engaged with their current dilemma to notice.
"You don't want to grow up, do you Arthur?" Bianka asked quietly. "I know it's different with you humans and all, some rather enjoy being grown up."
Arthur gently held his hand down to let Leonie walk onto it. "If I could choose my destiny, I would stay your friends forever and do nothing but think up and write down stories to share. And from what I know, to do such a thing I can't grow up. They..." He said the word as if it was tainted. "The grown ups, they can't see you."
The thought clearly broke his heart to even think it.
Leonie, still set on fixing Arthur's problem, fluttered over to her brother. "Vash, we could ask him to come get Arthur, right?"
Before Vash could answer, Bianka joined in. "That's right! If Arthur came with us, he'd never have to grow up!"
Gilbert, giving Arthur a feeble fairy-sized punch in the arm, just grinned. "Oh, you're in for it now. Ha!"
Arthur glanced amongst them. "What are you talking about? I can't run away and live in the gardens with you. Someone would surely notice and set me right. There's just…well, no way to truly avoid growing up, you see. It's impossible."
"Improbable, yes. Impossible, no," a voice interjected.
It was a warm voice, seeming to come from the ceiling, but clearly from someone more Arthur's size than that of a fairy's bell-like speech.
Leonie smiled. "We don't live in the gardens, Arthur. We were only visiting that day, like you."
Arthur raised an eyebrow, still looking around for this other voice. "Then where are you…"
It seemed silly to him to realize that he'd never asked them where exactly they were from, but they'd always appeared at random and generally listened to a part of a story before Vash or Bianka insisted they must be getting back home. Now he wondered, how long a distance "back home" was from his window sill.
"From Never Land, of course!"
It was the voice again, but this time, a boy came with it. He dropped down next to Arthur on the bed, all smiles and dimples and childish mirth. Arthur found himself transfixed by the sight before him. It was a boy, perhaps the same age if not a smidgen younger than Arthur himself. He was taller by a little, but the air about him conveyed that he was anything but a grown up. Then, with a stifled gasp, Arthur noticed the outfit made out of leaves and green cloth, stitched together with leather cords at every seam and old-fashioned in design, resembling a tunic and very short breeches.
"You're him. You're…Alfred Pan."
The boy scratched his brilliant blonde hair and shrugged. "Well, you've got it part of the way right." He tapped Arthur on the nose. "I'm Alfred Jones, not Pan. Though your stories about me are all totally true and at least you didn't think my name was Peter."
He stuck his tongue out at the name as if it gave him a bad taste in his mouth. "Why do people always think my name is Peter?"
At this Arthur realized that there was a small silver fairy perched on Alfred's shoulder. He was similar in size to the fairies Arthur knew, but his outfit was different. It was in birch leaves that were silver and what looked like spiderwebs in lieu of one sleeve. The fairy crossed his arms and spoke, but unlike the others, it was so quick and obviously in fairy-speak, that he couldn't understand it.
"That's funny, Tony! Who would want to hear stories about some guy named Peter Pan?"
"Alfred, Alfred!" Leonie said excitedly as she flew up to him.
He giggled as her wings tickled his face. "Hey Leonie! What's up?"
"Can we take Arthur with us? He's being made to grow up tomorrow."
Alfred gasped, "No! Not that. That's horrible." He turned to Arthur so quickly he almost ended up seated in his lap. "Is it true, you're growing up tomorrow?"
Arthur nodded slowly.
"Then..." Alfred seemed to think about this, his eyes growing wide. "Then that means no more stories about Pan!"
Arthur nodded again. "Afraid so."
At this, Alfred stood up and put his hands on Arthur's shoulders, leaning in close to inspect him. The orphan had hair the color of sand, eyes the color of the greenest of plants and... Alfred frowned, reaching up curiously to poke at one of the boy's eyebrows. Arthur jumped.
"Wow, they're actually real. I thought perhaps you were watching after baby caterpillars."
Arthur huffed at that and stood up, almost knocking Alfred backwards as he did so. "Look, while I'll miss the stories and fun, I can't go flying off with you. One, even as a boy you need to have some sense of manners about you. And two, and more importantly, I, unlike you, cannot fly."
Alfred blinked, then bit his lip. He rather liked Arthur and, unknown to the other boy, had often sat listening on the windowsill when he told the stories to the fairies. If Arthur was growing up, he needed to put a stop to it.
With a flourish he bowed. "My apologizes. I should have introduced myself more properly."
He was pleased to see this show, while met with a bit of skepticism in Arthur's eyes, seemed to appease the other boy. Inwardly, Alfred grinned, very glad that he'd asked the bats about their uptight manners enough that he could mimic them; for, in Never Land, the bats are the politest and properest of all the creatures there.
"My name is Alfred Jones and you are?"
He held out a hand and Arthur slowly, with the edge of a smile creeping onto his lips, grasped it.
Now Alfred Jones was not the type to just let anyone come to Never Land with him, for even someone of his caliber and hatred of growing up still had to set standards. So, in hopes to test Arthur out, he asked him the one nagging question he'd held with him from the tales he'd overheard.
"All right, Arthur. I can teach you to fly-" Arthur's eyes lit up "- under one condition."
Arthur nodded and took a seat; hope now starting to sparkle in the corners of his eyes.
"Right then, what's this condition?"
He yanked Arthur upright again at that, excitement brimming in his blue eyes. For you see, if there was one thing Alfred was strongly inclined towards, it was curiosity. And, being as the only adults he could consult were either pirates or gypsies, Alfred often had his curiosity left hanging. Some of the gypsies would answer his questions when he asked them, but it always bothered him to have to seek adult advice on things that clearly someone as clever as him should already know. So, he was glad to think that Arthur might be someone to consult on the matters of one particular element that kept coming up in the stories he told.
"In your stories, there's this thing and I want you to explain it to me. What's a…" He paused, giving Arthur's hands a reassuring squeeze. He really wanted Arthur to have the answer, after all. "A kiss. Like the girl that got woken up by a true love's kiss."
Arthur, knowing full well what a kiss was, turned a shade of red. Alfred, not having a single clue that what he'd asked was so romantic in nature, wondered if Arthur had suddenly gotten hot given the way his face flushed.
"Oh, well…that is…erm. It's something for someone you like, it's…" Arthur turned away and looked to his bed stand. Nervously, he snatched up his thimble and began absently toying with in his hands. "It'd be much easier to show rather than say, but…"
Alfred just beamed. "Okay then, show me!"
And Arthur, so embarrassed by the mere idea of kissing Alfred (who granted did look quite nice, but honestly- they'd just met!) and a bit flabbergasted as to why Alfred held out his hand expectantly, awkwardly handed over the thimble.
Alfred at least had the dignity to look touched, Arthur thought to himself as he met his eyes again.
"Wow. No one's ever given me a kiss before." He tucked it in a small pocket that seemed to be the perfect size and shape to hold the 'kiss.'
Arthur cleared his throat and looked at his feet, which were suddenly very interesting in their worn slippers. Alfred, who was now completely ignoring the way Tony was raging over his head, reached out a hand and tilted up Arthur's face until he was looking at him.
"I should give you a kiss too, huh?"
Arthur, who had turned that shade of red again, managed a slight inclination of his head which Alfred took for a nod. He started to lean in close, Tony's futile tugs on his hair going unnoticed, as he spoke.
"Well, um…in Never Land, we don't have kisses quite like that. We have…"
Arthur's eyes fluttered closed and he seemed expectant. Alfred bit his lip, really wanting to please Arthur after he'd been given such a great gift.
It's something for someone you like.
Alfred took Arthur's hand in his own and gently settled a small acorn into his palm before closing his fingers around it. He waited a moment for Arthur to open his eyes then smiled.
"There. That's a hero's kiss, so take good care of it, okay?"
Arthur, who had to quash the disappointment that had suddenly welled up, managed a brief smile before he tucked the acorn into his front pyjama pocket and patted it. "I'll keep it right here, over my heart."
Alfred's smile, if possible, got even brighter.
Vash, relieved to see they were both idiots, uncovered his sister's eyes, Gilbert just laughed, and Bianka was pleased to see that they were getting along so well. Tony, on the other hand, was livid with rage, which he expressed, in what sounded like a loud clattering of bells, to Arthur.
"Now Tony, we're just taking Arthur to be our storyteller! No one's getting replaced," Alfred reassured him.
The fairy huffed and crossed his arms and Alfred reluctantly pulled away from Arthur to go talk to him.
"Come on now, we can't get all of us back to Never Land without your talent, Tony."
Arthur, hoping it would ease the tensions, stepped over and gave Tony an awkward half-smile. Tony just glared back, his ruby eyes seeming to glow with rage, practically daring the human to speak to him.
"Please, Tony. I really don't have any skill for metalworking and that's what they're making me grow up to do."
Tony cursed and swore and when Arthur asked Alfred to translate, the poor boy was at a loss as to how to convey the fairy's anger.
"He basically said, well…I guess one way of putting it would be, 'You can go suck on a dead fish, asshole!'" Alfred said, wrinkling up his nose.
Arthur huffed, "Well bollocks it all, I can't fly and if he's my one ticket out of here then I'm downright doomed."
Bianka fluttered over to Tony at that. "Tony, I know your star-talent is needed to get us home, but it's my dust-talent Arthur would be using, and it's my dust to give. If you won't lead him home then…"
"Then I'll just try and lead him there myself," Alfred stated firmly.
Somehow, even though he'd just formally met him, Alfred found that he really wanted Arthur to come with him. Clearly, he told himself, it's because Arthur told stories of such great heroes like King Arthur and Alfred Pan!
This rebuttal seemed to quite do Tony's anger in, leaving the poor fairy to slump half-heartedly into the brim of Alfred's small pointed hat, his glow as bright red as the feather he nestled against. Alfred reached up a hand and gently patted against the bump that was the fairy.
"Thanks Tony, you're the best friend a boy could have!"
Arthur, who thought friends should really be less malicious, held his tongue. He did note, however, that the other fairies seemed unfazed by Tony's outburst, which meant this was either par for the course with Tony or par for the course with fairies. Arthur silently hoped it was the first, for he was certain he wouldn't like the little magical creatures as enemies.
Alfred also seemed unfazed and he buoyantly turned back to Arthur, literally bouncing off the floor with excitement. His mind reeled with questions and he found himself babbling them out as quick as could be.
"How old are you anyway? Do you like mermaids? Did you know your eyes are the same color as my favorite tree's leaves? Have you got a lot of happy thoughts to use?"
It was a wonder that Arthur didn't stumble back in shock at the lieu of queries, but he managed it with an air of dignity.
"Seventeen, turning eighteen tomorrow. I shan't know until I meet one. No I did not, but I suppose now I do. And yes, I'm sure I can come up with something, but what am I to use them for?"
"For flying, of course! That's what you need to fly, happy thoughts and..." Alfred reached over to Bianka and gently lifted her up, "fairy dust."
As Alfred lightly shook the fairy over Arthur, he tried his hardest to conjure up the happiest thoughts he could, but no matter the presents and surprises and wondrous things like befriending fairies, the thought that stuck true and held his heart alight was in fact one of the newest thoughts he'd thought.
Alfred is real. Alfred is real and he's taking me away so I can tell stories for the rest of my days.
But, as with most happy thoughts of Arthur's, the reality of the world quashed it out.
He fell down with a thump to the ground and was left rubbing at his side. Had he not been so smarted by the pain of reality, it might have occurred to him that he'd just flew a whole twenty one inches off the ground, but as it was, the pain was all he could bear.
"What's wrong?" Alfred asked, for he'd never had a problem coming up with happy thoughts.
"This is all a dream, isn't it? I'll wake up tomorrow and ship out to the factory and be grown up without so much as a say in the matter."
But Alfred, who was smarter than most ever gave him credit for, pointed out the flaw reality had left behind.
"If it's a dream then why does your side hurt so badly right now? You can't feel pain in dreams, you know."
The realization that yes, his side did indeed ache quite painfully and yes, that did very much prove it wasn't a dream, lit Arthur's heart with such a hopeful fire that he lifted off the ground right then and there. Alfred, seeing the shocked look cross the boy's face, reached out to gather him into his arms and set him upright. It would be very difficult to fly if he remained all bunched up like that, after all.
And so, holding each other at arm's length and infected with a dire case of the smiles, Alfred Jones taught one Arthur Kirkland the joys of flight. They floated around a few times, as if in some childish wobble of a waltz, before Alfred egged Arthur onward and upward; the two easily crossing the distance up to the ceiling and back down again.
Alfred let Arthur float down to his bed while he flew over to the windowsill and threw the cracked windows wide. He turned then and held his hand out, expectant.
"Will you come with me, Arthur? To Never Land? I really need a storyteller."
Arthur stood and walked, for some of those nasty tidbits of reality were weighing him down again, over to where Alfred waited. He looked at the other boy, his smile open and welcoming and his eyes beckoning anyone who met them to come join him on a great adventure.
He looked back at his room. It was possible if he stayed, he might find that metalworking wasn't so bad and that there was someone out there meant truly for him, someone who he'd spend the rest of his days with; but the allures of adulthood weren't as strong as the pull of Never Land, for Never Land always calls strongest to those who know just what they will lose in growing up.
And Arthur was quite aware of what he had to lose.
He absently placed a hand over his pocket, the press of the acorn over his heart seeming to calm him. Alfred wanted him to come; and for an orphan who was never wanted, this was perhaps the most powerful feeling, to know that someone out there wanted you, nay needed you.
Arthur took Alfred's hand and clasped it tight.
"Lead the way, Alfred."
to be continued...