LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I APOLOGIZE! I've had this chapter in my notebook for WEEKS and I haven't had any time to type it or make it more "pretty" AKA "longer". Anywhozle, here it is and again...SORRY! I'm already typing the 5th so expect it within this week or next week. :(((( Blahhh
I was resting on my stomach while Aaya took care of my wound. She said it wasn't as bad as it felt, only that Rufio somehow managed to hit one of my deeper, more sensitive scars. It figured that he would make a minor flesh wound feel like I was on the brink of death.
She was finishing up the stitches when her voice broke the silence. "You're quiet, Grace. Are you thinking of Rufio?"
"Yes," I replied, "I mean no."
"Which is it?" she inquired.
"It's neither. Or maybe it's both. I am thinking of him, but he's not the only thing on my mind." I drifted to silence, hoping she would not push the conversation, which did not happen.
"Who else has got you so confused?"
"Why does it have to be a person?"
She hesitated, "Was it that pirate?" Aaya spat the last word with distain. I could not take offence to her ferocity.
"He has a name, Aaya. He is a human."
"Having a name does not make him, or any of them, human."
I shut my eyes in frustration, "Alright, enough."
She continued, "You are blind to the evil in his soul."
"I know he has made wrong choices," I began.
"Ever since you all came here, he has made, as you call it, 'wrong choices'," she started to raise her voice, then remembered that the rest of the tribe was asleep, "How am I supposed to believe that he was ever more than a monster?"
"You're asking how? Here is how; there is me, there was Peter," she flinched at my brother's name, "and all the boys." She lowered her head in defeat, "Look, I am not asking you to stop hating him, or even respect him as a human being. All I am asking is that you respect me and my wishes, and that is to not say anything ill of him in my presence."
She nodded, "why do you still defend him, though? After all that he has done…" She cut the last thread on my stitches and tapped my shoulder to let me know I could move.
I sighed and pulled myself into a sitting position, "Because," my voice raised in the way I was questioning myself, unsure whether or not to continue.
"Yes?" she pressed.
My whole body slumped in defeat, "Because…No matter what he has done, no matter how much he has changed, he still raised me." A single tear managed to escape my eye and slid down my cheek to the floor.
"I have tried to hate him, to feel the way Peter did when Jimmy betrayed us, but I still see the man who rescued us from the factories," I was going to continue, but Aaya cut me off.
"The what?" she looked confused.
"The sweat shops, basically child slavery." I waved her question away in boredom, "Anyway, he took care of us, gave us a home, a family."
Aaya's head fell again, as if she felt guilty even asking.
"You ask why I defend him," she raised her head slowly, "That is why. Because no matter what, he is the only father I have ever known."
Silence loomed over us again, so Aaya changed the subject, "You are alright now. You are welcome to stay here while it heals."
"Thank you, but I can't. Tinkerbell is expecting me to be back at the house, I wasn't even supposed to go see the boys."
"She cannot be mad at you for wanting to see Rufio," she smirked. "Anyway, you really should not fly with the stitched. It might reopen the wound, especially the way you fly."
I gave her a pointed look, "Funny. And don't think that first thing didn't pass my ears. I didn't go for him; I wanted to see the boys."
"Yes, and Rufio was just a nice inconvenience."
"Okay, I'm leaving." I slowly got to my feet and rigidly walked out of the tent, all Aaya did was laugh.
I was about to rise when I heard her voice coming closer, "Grace, wait! You really should not fly."
"I really should get home. Tink," I began.
"I am sure she would understand."
"But she'll go to the house first and there isn't any time for her to come searching for me."
"Why is there no time," her eyes narrowed, "why was Hook on your mind. What is going on?"
I looked at her incredulously, "You really don't know?" She looked at me with a blank expression, "You all really don't pay attention to the issues everyone goes through."
"We do not bother ourselves with the pirates, unless they become a threat to us or the tree spirits…again."
"Hook kidnapped some children," Aaya gasped, "They are my niece and nephew," she looked at me blankly again, "As in they are Peter's children."
Aaya's eyes widened, and her eyebrows nearly left her forehead to join her dark mane. She whispered something in Kaw, then in English, "He's grown up?" her voice was somewhere between miserable and envious, "He has children? Has he forgotten?"
I didn't know how to answer that without causing her more pain; I always knew how she felt about my brother. My heart reached out to her, especially remembering her jealousy towards Wendy. I felt the same when Jane came and Rufio held interest in her, given it was not as intense as Peter and Wendy's relationship.
"I am not sure," I simply replied, "I hope not."
"Did not the tree spirits try to remove his memories? Could they do something to bring it back if he does not remember?" Aaya looked hopeful.
I tilted my head in thought, "I did not think of that, I'm not certain if they would even be willing to help us again." An idea struck me, "I need to go now. Thank you, Aaya." And I headed home immediately with determination and hope.