Title: pour salt into the open wound
Summary: The evolution and regression of Peter and Hook's relationship. They say the ones you hate the most are those you've loved the most.
Rating/Warning(s): T; none
Notes: Late Christmas gift for Kittyfox77.
Mood Music: "Breath" by Breaking Benjamin
Guilt. Blood stains the hands of James Hook - ambitious, jealous blood - and that's the reason he takes the child in, makes Peter his own blood.
Hope. Anyone could tell you that there's none for an orphan such as Peter - at least, not before the man comes, and maybe that's why he takes to Jimmy so quickly.
Peter is an impulsive one, eager to prove himself, oftentimes rash and foolish. But cleverness and ambition are at once evident in the child's demeanor, and his is a bright young mind in a dreary grown-up world. His sense of loyalty is unparalleled, and Jimmy discerns real potential in that small body.
Jimmy is the aloof sort. He doesn't talk much, but it's easy to see the determination in him. He is a man of mastery and strength, of intelligence and cunning, and the way in which he fights and plots and carries himself is something to be looked up to. Peter knows that's how one survives.
Jimmy learns that taking care of children is a task that only the bravest should attempt, but somehow, he manages and finds that one child is the thaw in him, a child he can't help but grow affectionate of. Peter is certainly frustrating at times, and Jimmy tries patience, tries to curb that headstrong streak into something a little less worrisome. He succeeds more than he intends to, and the loyalty the child gives him is enough to make Jimmy pause and wonder just who he's doing this for.
Peter learns that Jimmy is a hard man to please, not the most inclined to humor, and often, petulant frustration moves him to the point of giving up on the man. But there's a sense of loyalty that Peter never thought he'd give to anyone, that he owes Jimmy, and he soon has eyes and ears for no other. He'll show this man what he's capable of, that he is in every way an equal, something for Jimmy to be proud of.
All he wants is to rise up once more, reclaim what he once had, and take the child with him as he does, to make amends for a terrible deed.
All he wants is to prove his own worth, to move past what life has dealt him and be as great or greater than the man who's given him the means.
And when the opportunity comes, Jimmy takes it, unaware of just how much it will cost him.
And when the opportunity comes, Peter takes it, unaware of just how much it will shake him.
The child does not understand, could not understand the possibility before them.
The man is losing himself to the ambition, the allure of the possibility before them.
Peter is so young, so naive. His vision of right and wrong is painted in black and white, and Jimmy can see that swaying him won't be easy. Protecting him won't be easy. The child is so tenacious, so frustratingly stubborn, and the rejection stings. It hurts what's left of Jimmy's heart to see Peter so desperate and torn, to see a trembling in Peter's faith in him, and the man resolves to get him back. One way or another, he'll get his boy back.
Jimmy is swaying, falling under the influence of that horrible woman. He doesn't see the danger, the corruption, and Peter can hardly believe it even when it's before his eyes. This isn't Jimmy. The man knows better than this, is better than this. And that means that Peter can get him back. He knows that there's still good in the man, and he's determined to make Jimmy remember that. Peter still has faith in the man who raised him and brought him to this point, and even though it breaks his heart to see Jimmy losing himself, he knows that the real Jimmy will return. He must.
It is easier said than done. Jimmy can't stand to see how Peter grows to doubt him, and it's as if the years he spent raising and teaching the boy mean nothing. It sparks an anger in him, a fury, as more and more slips out of his hands. Peter, in his naivety, doesn't see, doesn't listen, displays that legendary tenacity and fights Jimmy at every turn. And even though Jimmy's come too far to lose him, circumstances take the boy from him. Despite all that he does, he cannot win and protect this one thing. Despite it all, he loses Peter.
It grows less and less likely. Peter can't stand to see what's happening to Jimmy. It's as if the man he knew is nothing but a shadow, retreating in the face of a growing darkness, and it threatens to bring Peter nothing but despair. And yet, he still clings to a hope that the Jimmy he knows can come back. But no matter what he says, how much he yells or pleads, Jimmy doesn't listen. The man doesn't see him as an equal to be acknowledged - only a child trying to play in a grown-up world where he can't grow up, a child who doesn't know a thing. But Peter does know. He knows that Jimmy's fallen in with a dangerous crowd, fallen far into ideas that Peter knows are wrong. And despite what Peter does to try to pull him out of it, despite what he says, Peter only falls.
Jimmy feels himself fall with Peter, but by that point, he's too far gone to catch himself. Failure is a bitter thing, a poisonous thing, and his anger grows. If everything is to be taken from him, then he'll take what he can back, with whatever force he must. He'll take vengeance against those who led Peter to such foolish decisions, and in whatever world he chooses, he'll regain the power, the status he once had - the loss of which drove him to care for such a boy in the first place. He'll take it all - the woman, the power, whatever he can. Whatever will ease the loss that eats away at him. The boy, the boy's mother... old memories are resurfaced, and jealousy and guilt rear ugly twin heads, and Jimmy buries the latter as deeply as he can. And then, against all odds, Peter returns... and not to him.
The ache of loss and betrayal stings when Peter looks at Jimmy. Both of them have changed, but Peter refuses to believe that Jimmy can't come back. He can't turn his back on the man. He can hardly even wrap his mind around the fact that Jimmy could do such things, could stoop to such levels. Again and again, he is beaten with betrayal. Delirious fever lures him into trusting the man once more, just once more, and Peter is rewarded with cold-blooded murder. It's confusing, and it hurts, and anger begins to take root. He can't stand what he sees in Jimmy now. Peter is determined to stop the man at any costs, to protect those he has to, and the boy's attitude grows harsher and harsher in retaliation to Jimmy's.
Jimmy is far too adept at burying what he does not want, and so he ignores the guilt that accompanies deceiving the boy. False promises drip from a snake's tongue, and he finds himself hardly able to feel anymore, even with the sheer pain in the child's eyes. That is, until things take a horrible turn, and he feels himself slipping further into madness. The woman is dead, and it is Peter's fault. Peter. That damned child. That stupid boy. The root of all his problems, the living representation of his sins, and Jimmy latches on to that like a drowning man clinging to rotten wood. He finds himself hating the boy, hating the pain that the boy brings him, and darker thoughts begin to consume him. A twisted sense of loss pervades his waking thoughts, and still he seeks to ease it. Through power, through dominance, through whatever he can lay his hands on. The boy is lost to him, all but dead to him, but Jimmy is not finished.
Peter finally begins to understand the difference between innocence and its antithesis when he sees the madness in Jimmy's eyes. He's never seen a look like that cross the man's face before, and it jolts Peter from whatever naive hope he'd clung to before. It hurts so much, feels like a part of him is dying, but he doesn't resist the break. He's too angry and hurt to resist the feelings being fed by the betrayal, and even though insurmountable challenges face him, even though he's beginning to feel like a child, he uses that betrayal and that pain to spur him on. He will not let Jimmy win this. Jimmy has never treated him as anything more than a child, even now treats him the same way, and Peter resolves to defeat him, to make him see that Peter is now every bit his equal. Peter understands now. He knows how and why Jimmy is different, and it disgusts him. Not for the last time, even as he heads to stop the man, he wonders at how far Jimmy has fallen.
Jimmy is close, so close, and once again Peter comes to snatch it away. Once again, the boy is the single source of greatest fury in Jimmy's life, and Jimmy begins to hate him for it. The cocky voice, the single-minded obstinacy, he hates it. The fact that Peter will never listen to him again, that he's the spawn of that man and the child of that woman, Jimmy hates it all. Most of all, he hates the guilt, which plagues him even from where he buried it, and Peter is the fixation of that guilt. He always has been, but now, Jimmy can do nothing but hate that guilt and hate its object.
Peter can see the vestiges of the Jimmy he knew, and they are all but gone. He wonders if he ever really knew Jimmy to begin with, and the possibility of it all being a lie makes him seethe. Had it? Had it really been a lie? He can't tell, and that makes it worse, makes him clench his fists and fight Jimmy all the harder. It all begins to weigh on him - the lies, the deaths, everything that Peter wants to protect - and the threat that Jimmy presents grows clearer with every passing moment. But the lies are what motivate him, the hated lies, the way that Jimmy looks down on him, and Peter's anger grows. It strengthens. It manifests into hatred. Hatred for falsehoods and patronization and betrayal, and even when Peter finally succeeds, the heady feeling of victory is still sickening.
The child ruins it all. James Hook tastes humiliation and defeat at the hands of someone he once loved, and he's beginning to think that he never loved the boy at all. His mind twists memories for him, making it so easy to delve into hatred, and he casts aside any shadow of his former self. That self was a lie, he convinces himself. That self never existed. And because of Peter, because of what one mere boy did to him, what that boy represents, what he hates... he embraces this world and revenge and the raging, piratical sea. He becomes the Hook.
The man disgusts him. Peter triumphs over the man he once looked up to, the man he once thought of as a father, and he's beginning to think that he never had a father. It's so much easier to forget the old Jimmy, to take on this new one and reject it, and he casts Jimmy aside. The man had lied. The man had never been what Peter had thought him to be, and that Jimmy had never existed. And because of Jimmy, because of what one man did to him, what that man stole away, what Peter can no longer stand... he embraces this world and retribution and the endless, untamed sky. He becomes the Pan.