I'd thought we were finally becoming part of the group. The boys were actually starting to warm up to the idea of having a couple of girls in their little family. Even Peter was beginning to get the hang of us being around, despite our ages.
But then the unthinkable happened.
It had started like any normal day, well, normal for Neverland. The boys all scattered to do whatever it was they did all day, leaving me and Dani to our own devices. What did we do all day? Absolutely nothing productive, and we loved it. We'd almost forgotten what it was like to have so much fun doing nothing all day, because it had been the first chance we'd ever gotten in years to do so. Eventually the boys all came back tired and worn out, and our little job as mothers, or as I'd rather say, babysitters, returned as it usually did. Keep them distracted long enough to get them to sleep. Then Peter walked in proud as ever.
"Hey, Kiki, guess what I just did?" he shouted with a sly grin across his entire face, thus defeating our every effort to calm the boys down as they all suddenly regained their energy to gather around Peter.
"I don't know, Peter. What did you do?" I had learned by then that usually, it was best to take what Peter said with a grain of salt, because he almost never remembered his adventures accurately.
"I just got a group of pirates REAL mad," he bragged as he strutted about, with his usual gait of half-floating, staying on the ground just long enough for a heel to touch at a time. "I saw a couple leave to go tell their Cap'n what I did. Should be coming by any minute now..." He turned around as if they were waiting right outside the door.
"And what did you do to make the pirates so angry, Peter?" Dani asked, helping stroke his ego (even though it practically stroked itself).
"Oh, that? Nothin' much, really. Just chased after 'em while making angry bear noises, and they bought it, too!" at this point he was telling his story between his fits of laughter. "They ran for miles! They didn't know it was me until we almost reached Mermaid Lagoon, and then I had to actually SHOW them who'd been chasin' them this whole time!" The other boys whooped and hooted and hollered, Dani and I rolled our eyes in unison.
Then all at once the shouting ceased. We all thought we heard something, but we couldn't be sure. But then it happened again, confirming our suspicions. Gunshots, shouts and snarls, and half-drunken singing, getting closer. Pirates.
The boys all ducked for cover and scattered throughout the area, though their hiding spots were mediocre at best since they hadn't had time to repair them since our last encounter, and Peter took the easy way out by flying (lazy kids). Dani and I already had no place to hide, and we stood out like sore thumbs, being in the same, brightly colored clothes we came with, and no camouflage to speak of. We took our chances hiding behind a pair of shrubs, crouched on our knees.
The pirates arrived, ready to fight to the death, it seemed. Under normal circumstances, we'd expected the boys to fight them off to the last man standing, but with Peter gone, and their already exhausted states, they had to trust that their animal skins would keep them hidden. But the pirates were smarter this time. It was like they had planned this attack, waiting for the perfect reason to come after the boys.
They talked quietly amongst themselves, picking out which one to nab first. We saw the hook point to Nibs. Hook was obviously being very methodical about the order in which he got them. In one fell swoop, the bravest boy was netted and caged, instantly lowering the bravery of the five remaining. It seemed like the only reason the pirates were even whispering was because most of them didn't know which boy wore what animal skin, and possibly just to make the boys even more nervous. The other boys were quickly captured, in meticulous order: Curly, Slightly, the Twins, and Tootles. This battle had taken the shortest amount of time and the least amount of bloodshed, but it lowered our hopes more than ever before.
"That can't be all of them, Smee," Hook said in feigned disbelief. "I know we don't have Peter yet, but this isn't near enough to bait him with. And I can clearly remember there being at least two more." He sat for a moment, thinking to himself. "They must be here somewhere."
At that point I couldn't help myself. The shrub was too close to me, and it was in bloom. My allergies couldn't take it. I tried to hold it back, but failed. I sneezed, and Hook heard me.
Even from our low angle, we could see his eyes light up. He twirled the right half of his mustache in his hook victoriously. "Whoever ye may be, reveal yourselves." He snickered for a short moment and continued, "I'm in a good mood, and may consider being generous if you save me the time of catching you." Neither of us moved. We could hear seconds tick by through our heartbeats, which we were sure was enough to reveal our location. Within ten seconds, though it felt like hours, Hook became impatient.
"I'm a very busy man," he said through half-gritted teeth. "If you don't reveal yourselves within the next minute, I'll have to start shooting these boys." Then, to prove his honesty, he pulled a shining pistol out of his coat, and pointed it at the cage with the boys in it, and cocked it.
I couldn't just lay there in the dirt and let something I should have never get involved in go that far awry. My upbringing wouldn't allow me to stand and watch innocent (well, partly innocent anyway) boys be murdered if I had the means to stop it. I slowly stood up, hands high in the air in surrender, my head hanging low, but just enough so I could barely see Hook's grin and his boatswain's surprise.
A few seconds passed and Dani was still on the ground. "Get the other one up," he snarled, while motioning his hooked hand to my left, where Dani was. I kicked her hard enough so that she got up, punched me in the side, and also put her hands up and hung her head in defeat.
Hook laughed in victory. "Splendid! Splendid!" He ordered a couple of his men to bind our hands behind our backs, and walked over to us himself as soon as the brutes finished their work, shooing them away from us (apparently they hadn't seen a girl in quite a while, much less so girls that weren't children) so he could inspect us.
Very roughly, he lifted our chins one at a time with his hook, and turned our faces so as to get a better look at us (but I assure you, it was purely to intimidate us). He analyzed Dani first, taking time to fully instill a greater fear of him into her already terrified mind (she only acts strong and brave until a REAL danger comes). He took a bit of her sleek, black hair into his hook and began to curl it around while he looked her over, until it got caught and she yelped out quietly, but still audibly. Just to toy with her fear he tugged at the barely tangled lock still trapped in his hook. It infuriated me. Threatening us out of hiding was one thing, but if you know someone's already afraid of you (Dani was quite easy to read) it shows total lack of boundaries when you use that against them like that, especially to Dani, that easily frightened little thing.
"Please stop it, she's had enough," I said. I hadn't even realized I said it when I felt his hook swipe across my left cheek (that lock of hair obviously wasn't as tangled as he pretended it to be), knocking me to my knees, my legs too weak from hiding to support the weight of the blow. Not knowing when to let things be, I opened my big mouth again, not missing an opportunity to bruise his ego.
"Bad form, attacking defenseless opponents." Next I was no longer sitting up, but instead facing the ground, the blood from my face dripping into the dirt, quickly turning into mud. His boot was on my back, pressing down hard enough to drive my knees into my ribs, knocking the wind out of me.
"Care for any more comments, KID?" he taunted. As much as I wanted to retort, I was too busy coughing, trying to get air back into my lungs, to say anything. I could hear him say "I thought as much" over my coughing and gasping as he pushed his weight into his foot and into my back, driving my knees almost into my lungs. He stood there, over me, for as long as he had to in order to get me to submit. After what felt like hours he finally took his foot off of me, and I retracted only enough so I could gasp and cough to properly get oxygen into my system.
Hook gave some sort of order, but I couldn't tell what it was over my coughing, but within a second I was being pushed, shoved, and partly dragged halfway around the island to the beach where the Jolly Roger lay waiting.
The boys were all tied up and thrown roughly onto the deck, face first, where they then attempted to scramble to where they could at least sit upright. Dani and I had no such luxury, as we were pushed by our shoulders the entire way, and then pushed down on our knees in a half bow the second we were on the wretched ship, and we had men over us, making sure we didn't try to sit up as the rest of the crew jogged aboard, some shouting, some singing, but each with a triumphant gait.
Then the master of the vessel stepped aboard. The cheering stopped, and the crowd dispersed to their respective duties, some of which just happened to be "harass the prisoners." Hook didn't even glance at the boys, as he already knew what he was going to do with them, he could easily deal with it later, and walked straight over to me and Dani. He gave a slight grin, and whispered something to the men who held her. They affirmed him, roughly stood her up, and dragged her to wherever it was their captain told them to. Then he glared at me, and yanked my brown mess of a ponytail to where he could easily stare me down. I put on a front, tried to make him think I wasn't afraid, but he could see the glimmer of fear in my eyes, that one small wish that this was all a dream.
"What to do with you?" he said with a disgusted voice, and released my hair. I kept my head up, though, still trying to convince him that I wasn't afraid, fighting back the tears I wanted to cry in honest fear. He turned around for a brief moment, possibly for inspiration, and looked at the boys, then back at me. By this point I was also fighting the fierce quivering in my lips. "We could throw you overboard with the boys," he said, as if he were just adding an unnecessary item to a shopping list. I started shaking; my struggle to hide my emotions was now a losing battle.
As he turned to the side, from the corner of his eye he saw what he wanted. Proof of my loss of control over my inner emotions. A single tear fell from my eye, followed by a whimper, and then fully fledged sobs as I hung my head in defeat and shame. He had overpowered me, and proven himself to be stronger, and though I couldn't see it, I knew he was smiling.
He wanted me to break down, not just in front of him, but in front of the boys, so even they knew the situation was hopeless. Even the almost adult girls who had gained Peter's admiration couldn't defeat Captain Hook. He wanted me, the one who acted tough, to lose, to prove he had won.
"Yes, go ahead, cry," he insulted. He had broken me. He could say whatever he wanted and I would only cry more. "After all, you are only a child, and a girl at that." My will had been broken. I could no longer badmouth him to his face, and badmouthing behind his back would be cowardice.
He pulled my head up to his line of sight, so he could see my tears in full glory. "Of course you would ACT tough, and it is only right that you be put in your place." and with that he dropped me once more, and ordered the men that were holding me down to leave. They weren't necessary anymore. I wouldn't fight anymore. He was right, too. I couldn't fight anymore. Not without Dani there for me to protect.
"Perhaps I'll consider letting you live," he said as I tried to quiet my tears. "But under certain conditions of course." At that point I was desperate. I was willing to grab onto any chance of survival I had, no matter how grim.
"I'll do whatever it takes!" I shouted through my now intensifying weeping. I could hear the change in Hook's tone from uncaring to demanding.
"You'll do whatever I say, without question, and without hesitation-"
"Yes!" I begged.
"You will put up no resistance at all to any order I give-"
"Yes!" I pleaded.
"And most importantly," he paused so he could raise my head up for a third time, to look him in the eye, a surefire way to ensure that even the best liar told the truth, "Shun all ties with Peter Pan." He said this with the most stern voice.
"I will, sir!" I said as the last of my tears fell from my face. Hook laughed in victory, apparently not realizing that after a week with that kid almost any teenager would get sick of his cocky, bratty attitude. Hook ordered Smee to cut my ropes, and as I wiped the tears off my face he handed me a pistol.
"Prove your loyalty. There are a few bullets, but you only need to fire one." He wanted me to kill a lost boy.
Now, I had been raised to never break a promise, but I had also been raised to never take a life without good reason, and though the boys were a spoiled bunch of immature brats, that wasn't a good enough reason to kill any of them. I had to do something, though, or it would be my neck on the line.
"I've never fired a gun before, sir," I said, honestly, but with a quiver in my voice. "I'm afraid I don't know how." Hook raised an eyebrow.
"Smee, show her the proper way to shoot," he said with a certain distaste. He knew I was buying time, and didn't like it.
I watched the boatswain carefully as he cocked the gun and aimed at the cage. He had obviously fired his fair share of pistols. He fired, and I swallowed a bitter taste in my mouth as I watched Curly fall down dead. Smee handed the pistol to me, and all at once I saw my reflection in it, staring back at me, wishing I were somewhere else, anywhere but there. I cocked the hammer, and pointed the dastardly thing in the direction of the cage, and looked away with my eyes shut tight.
"Look where you're aiming, girl!" I jumped slightly, and reluctantly looked as I aimed the gun. I was only going to aim in the general direction of the boys, that way when I shot, I wouldn't feel as if I picked that one out. "The first kill is always the hardest," Hook stated. It was then that awful boy arrived.
"DON'T DO IT!" Peter shouted from the skies. I honestly didn't want to, but his voice shocked me so much that my finger pulled the trigger, and I saw little Tootles fall down dead. My head began to swirl with emotions, but the one that stood out the most was hate. Hatred of what I'd just done, hatred of Hook, hatred of Neverland, but most of all-
"I HATE YOU, PETER PAN!" I shouted. "YOU MADE ME DO THIS! YOU PUT ME INTO THIS SITUATION! IT'S ALL YOUR DAMN FAULT! I HATE YOU!" I aimed the gun in a half-blind fury, and began firing at the flying menace, missing each time. I fired until the pistol had no more bullets, and several times after it had run out. Smee had to rip the gun from my hands before I realized that I was trying to kill my childhood idol, and that I was proud of it. Peter had flown away and I was still trying to shoot after him. I didn't awaken from my rampage until I felt a large hand on my shoulder.
"Very good," Hook said. "You have proven your loyalty to me. There may be use for you yet." All within minutes I had killed a person, and attempted to kill another. Just moments before, I would have been disgusted at the thought, but now, I was damned proud of it.