Fly Away, Little Bluebird

Peter sinks to the ship's creaking wooden slats, knees pressed hard into the water-warped surface, his head bowed in defeat. Blood trickles from the wound on his forehead like the salty tears that he refuses to shed from blue-grey eyes. Those eyes, like storm tossed seas, contain a raging whirlwind of a very grown-up sadness that his face does not reveal. Still, he can't hide his feelings entirely – his expression is one of extreme weariness, as though that's all he can even begin to convey.

"Wendy." Those full lips form the word that his voice can't as Hook raises his, well, hook, preparing to end it all at last.

But centimeters from the killing blow, this venomous pirate stops. His blue eyes, bluer than forget-me-nots, gleam with sadistic glee as he slowly and smoothly retreats. "Sorry, Peter," he says, the cultured and refined tone signature to him returning. "But, as you say, 'to die would be an awfully big adventure.'" Hook pulls back his lips in a cruel mockery of a smile as he motions for his men to carry the beaten boy away. "And we can't have that, now, can we?"

Peter can hardly hear Wendy screaming over the sound of his own frantically beating heart. Shut up, he wants to scream at it. Why won't you just shut up?

.o.O.o.

Hook keeps Peter in a tiny cell in the depths of the ship, which leaves him feeling claustrophobic and sick as though he's in the underbelly of some great beast. Salty sea brine seeps through the slats of the floor, which rocks at a frantic pace. When the ship sails through a storm – which it seems to do particularly often, as though Hook knows the effect it has on the boy's cell – the whole room floods, leaving Peter desperately treading water and gasping in pathetic breaths of the meager amount of air left.

There's no room to fly, even if Peter could muster the happiness to try.

.o.O.o.

Hook often taunts the boy, walking through the corridors, stretching and talking about Tink, who died in the spring of loneliness, and of Wendy and the Lost Boys, who all went home to London. They all have mothers now. And they've forgotten about Peter, or at least no longer believe that he's anything more than a fairytale. Or, at least, Hook says all of this on days when there aren't any interesting villages to plunder and pillage. Peter can't be bothered to disagree. There's no point.

.o.O.o.

At some point, Peter stops eating. There's no point in that, either.

.o.O.o.

Time moves very, very slowly in the stomach of the whale. He marks the time in meals uneaten, in storms, in tears that he has yet to shed.

.o.O.o.

Hook gets bored of his prisoner just lying there, dejected, nothing more than a living skeleton with flesh painted on as an afterthought. He unlocks the doors, throws them open, screaming. "Go, go, get out!"

Peter turns agonizingly slowly and gazes for a long time at his captor. He blinks sleepily, once, twice. Then he tucks his shoulders deeper into the ball of himself that he's created (skinny skinny arms wrapped around pathetic, jutting knees, body curling into itself) and falls asleep.

.o.O.o.

Hook stares, amazed, for several long minutes before calling for some men to carry him out. They set him on the deck; the whole crew gathers 'round and waits for Peter to rise and taunt and be once more that glorious, hated figure of youth.

The frosty winter sun gingerly prods at the boy's thin form, and the sea breeze tousles through once-curly and now limp blond hair. Mist rolling in from the sea, slate blue like his eyes, gently caresses his pale skin.

He begins to stir.