Return to Neverland
Disclaimer: I don't any of this
All children grow up…except one.
The night was dark and cold one winter's eve in the year of 1907, but the children of the Darling House took little to no notice of it as they sat together in the nursery. While the younger children slept in one room and the eldest in another, there was one room in which all three of them would play together and have fun. There was even a bed in there for nights when all three of the children needed one another.
Wesley was the eldest of the three and the only boy of the family. He looked after his two younger siblings, had a natural talent for storytelling and was handsome and sweet young lad of just fourteen years. Joan was the middle child and just twelve years old. Despite her young age, she was quite clever and witty, and a great joy to be around. Then there was Moira, the youngest of the children. She was seven years old, adorable in every sense of the word, very sweet and loved by all that knew her.
They resided with their father, Mr. George Darling, who worked as a clerk in one of the city's many banks. Being a banker, he was the type of man who knew the cost of everything, even a hug. Though he was a good provider and he cared somewhat for his children, he could be a very strict man and he had become even stricter ever since his wife and the children's mother, Mrs. Mary Darling, had departed from them five years ago. Her loss had been a great sorrow as she'd once been not only the loveliest lady in London, but also the kindest and had been deeply loved by her family.
Mr. Darling often buried himself in his work as a result of this loss and ever since then, Wesley had cared for his sisters, being the father that Mr. Darling was failing to be as he tended to neglect his offspring.
But at that moment, it hardly mattered for Wesley was telling his sisters bedtime stories. "So, when the Prince placed the glass slipper onto Cinderella's foot, he knew at once that she was the woman he'd fallen in love with. Right then and there, he asked to marry him and become his Princess. And do you know what happened then?" said Wesley.
"What happened? What happened?" asked Moira, eagerly.
"Cinderella was so happy, that she kissed him and agreed to marry him. They were wed that very same day and then they lived happily ever after," said Wesley.
"I knew it," said Joan, but she was smiling nevertheless. "Tell us another story, Wesley. I want to hear one about pirates. Tell us about Alf Mason, who was so ugly that his own mother sold him for a bottle of Muscat!"
"No, no, no, tell us about Captain Hook from that storybook!" said Moira. "He's the most exciting one. His eyes turn red and he's the fiercest one of all!"
"I've got a better idea. I'll tell you a story about all of them," said Wesley. If there was one thing Wesley was good at, it was making up and telling stories. He grabbed a toy sword from the toy chest and put on a feathered cap so that he might better entertain his sisters. "Far, far away, in a land of dreams; there was a mighty ship of ferocious and deadly pirates. There was Noodler, with his hands on backwards. Bill Jukes, who had ever inch of himself tattooed, for every tattoo marked a successful raid. Alf Mason was so ugly, his mother sold him and he became one of the scariest pirates of all of history!
"And worst of all, there was Captain James Hook! He had eyes green as emeralds, and his eyes would turn red with rage or pain, and worst of all, instead of ruling his crew with an iron fist, he ruled them with an iron hook, for that was what he had instead of a right hand. Few who ever met him ever lived to tell the tale, for his hook was his greatest weapon and all who served him, lived in constant fear that one wrong move on their part would cause them to be lost to Davy Jones' locker at his dreaded hook! There was only one who was brave enough to stand up to him and defeat him, one who was unlike anything ever known before and who feared nothing."
Joan and Moira looked terribly excited and then they joined in the fun as well as they grabbed their own toys from the chest and together the three of them began to swordfight as they all laughed and had tremendous fun.
But in their fun, only Wesley noticed out of the corner of his eye that a figure was watching them from the window with great interest.
"Who stood against him, Wesley? Who?" asked Moira.
"It was—" but he was interrupted when they noticed a shadow that didn't belong to either of them cast at the window;
Curious, the three children went and peered out the window, but there was nothing there, not a bird or a leaf and certainly not the person Wesley thought he'd seen. So, the children forgot about it. For what troubles a grown-up, will never trouble a child.
"What is all the commotion up here?" said Aunt Millicent, loudly as she entered through the open doorway.
Aunt Millicent was their father's older sister. Ever since Mrs. Darling had passed away, she'd taken the liberty of often visiting and providing a "proper motherly role," as she put it, to her brother's children. The Darling children greatly disliked her because she was quite stern and quite firm on proper decorum, which drove them all mad to no end. It also irritated them when she seemed to act as though she was Queen of the World and knew everything, which was complete and utterly untrue.
"Nothing important, Aunt," said Wesley. They knew better than to speak about pirates and "childish nonsense" around her. "I was just telling the girls some stories before we went to bed, that's all."
"That's all well and good, but it's nine o'clock and time for all of you to go to bed," said Aunt Millicent, firmly.
Joan and Moira groaned in disappointment.
"No buts!" interrupted Aunt Millicent. "You all have school tomorrow and if you want to grow up to be charming ladies and a gentleman, you'll do as you're told."
"But who wants to grow up? It's yucky," said Moira, innocently.
Aunt Millicent narrowed her eyes in disapproval. "Don't ever let me hear you talk of that again, young lady. Like it or not, one day you'll grow up and I'll teach you and your sister all you need to know about being fine society ladies, just as Wesley will learn how to be a fine society gentleman from your father soon enough. Now, off to bed!"
"Yes, Aunt Millicent," they said.
Wesley took his sisters to their room and tucked them into bed before saying good-night. He then went downstairs to his father's study as he'd been told his father wished to speak with him for a few moments with his aunt.
He knocked on the door and went inside when told. He sat down across from his father's desk. Mr. Darling sat at his desk with Aunt Millicent hovering above him.
"You wanted to see me, Father?"
"Yes, I wanted to speak to you regarding your future," said Mr. Darling. "Your aunt's brought it to my attention that next year; you'll be fifteen and ready to choose a career. Have you considered a position in the work industry you might choose?"
"Yes," he admitted. "My unfulfilled ambition is to write a great three-volume novel."
"A novel? I see. And what might this novel be about what, may I ask?" asked Mr. Darling, narrowing his eyes.
"Whatever I can think of. But I would like to write about my adventures," said Wesley. He thought that might be better to say than pirates and quickly proved to be sorely mistaken.
"What adventures?" demanded Aunt Millicent, sharply.
"I've yet to have them, but I'd like to think that if I ever do, that they'll be perfectly thrilling and a good tale," said Wesley. Even if I don't have adventures, I can still write books and tell stories.
"Nephew of mine, I ask you to reconsider. Novelists are not highly thought of in good society and there's nothing so difficult to marry as a novelist," said Aunt Millicent.
"Marry?" repeated Wesley, surprised. "But Aunt, I'm too young to consider marriage right now, surely? Besides, there's no one that I would consider marrying at the moment."
"Your kiss says differently," said Aunt Millicent.
Mr. Darling looked just as shocked as Wesley did as the boy's hand flew up to his mouth.
"What kiss?" he demanded.
"Haven't you noticed, George? There, in the right-hand corner of your boy's is his hidden kiss," said Aunt Millicent, smiling. "My dear brother, your son's in love! And that hidden kiss is for the greatest adventure of all. For they who find it, have slipped in and out of heaven itself."
"Find what?" asked Wesley. This cannot be possible. How can I possibly be in love?
"The one the kiss belongs to," said Mr. Darling. For the first time in years, he actually looked quite interested in his son and even a little happy. "Just like your mother did."
Mother had a special kiss? How did I not know that before now? How can I have one?
"Well, I think that settles matters. You need to spend less time with your sisters and a little more time with me," said Mr. Darling, briskly. "You already have your own room, so that's taken care of. But I think it best if I try to find you a good boarding school next year and make you a fine society gentleman."
Wesley was horrified. He couldn't go to boarding school. His sisters needed him! And in any case, what did he care for the world of high society when it was all just snobby people and the stuff of nonsense? "What? But, Father—!"
"That's final, Wesley!" said Mr. Darling, firmly. "Now, go to bed and I'll hear no more of this novelist nonsense of yours. Are we quite clear on that?"
Wesley felt his heart breaking as he nodded and did as he was told.
He ended up crying himself to sleep. He just hated it all. He missed feeling like he had a family, he missed his mother, he missed the simpler days before she passed away, he missed being able to be a child, and he just wanted things to be happy once more. He wished more than anything he could just take his sisters somewhere special where they could live happily without a care in the world forevermore.
Before going to sleep, Wesley looked out of his window and glanced at the second star to the right, the one that had always stood out to him. "I wish we could leave this place and be happy forever without having to grow up," he whispered. As he fell asleep, he failed to notice that the star blinked at him.
Primrose Pan-Hook quickly flew away before she was seen. She'd almost been caught and now she'd have to wait to hear the end of the story because her shadow had been spotted. She flew until she was safe on a cloud far from the house. Her fairy guide and friend sat on her shoulder and looked quite disapproving.
That was far too close, Primrose! You were almost caught! scolded Terence.
"I was not!" said Primrose, even though she knew her friend was right. "And anyway, it doesn't matter. No one actually knows I was there and no matter what anyone may think, there's no proof I was there at all."
You should still be more careful, said Terence. It might be different next time. I know you care for that boy, you shouldn't be so reckless, no matter how unique you are.
"I know, I know," muttered Primrose. "Believe me, I know."
Primrose Pan-Hook was unlike other girls her age in many ways. Once, she'd been under the care of her father and ran about pickpocketing London with her brothers in bonds who were orphaned street kids until her father saved them from the streets and given them a home and so much more. But then her entire world had changed when she and her family had gone to a world one could only dream of called Neverland and ever since then, Primrose's life had not been the same.
Primrose knew she shouldn't have been hanging around the Darling house so much, but for some reason, she'd felt drawn there ever since she'd spotted the Darling boy listening to her music a few months ago. Since then, during the few times she'd come to London, she'd gone and peeked in through the window. She loved listening to the stories the Darling boy told and she always felt envious when she watched him with his sisters. Primrose had countless joys that other children could never know. But she often found herself looking at the one joy from which she believed that she must be forever barred.
Sighing to herself, she picked up the box of gifts she intended to leave for some special people and flew off into the distance with Terence right beside her as usual.
When the sun would rise the following morning, it would be exactly one year since Primrose had sent her family home in the hopes they'd be happier in London than in Neverland. She had sent them away for their own sakes and she was not able to grow up with them (not that she terribly wished to grow up) as she was forever bound to Neverland as its only living link and she was to remain young for all eternity, lest Neverland and all that lived there ceased to exist. Though she missed her family dreadfully, she believed she'd done what was best for all.
In the past year, Primrose had changed somewhat. She no longer looked like the same tomboyish girl who had once led her brothers in bond through thieving jobs. Rather, she looked like young girl who was more than what she seemed at first glance. She rarely played music anymore, even though she had been whittled a panpipe by her Indian friends as the music brought back too many memories and it sometimes left her feeling sad. She no longer referred to herself as just "Primrose Pan," rather she called herself, "Pan-Hook," as she wanted both of her parents' surnames, and not just one or the other.
Her sword fighting skills had improved as she'd had plenty of practice. For the past year, she'd been fighting Captain Elizabeth Bonny and her gang aboard the Jolly Roger. The two of them were the fiercest of enemies now and despised one another greatly. Primrose protected Neverland from the pirate captain and her crew and sometimes took great pleasure in foiling the pirate woman's dastardly plots. How could she not?
Her last fight had been quite successful to the point where she'd been able to raid Bonny's ship. She'd taken a hefty chest of gold and a fine sword from the Jolly Roger. Knowing her that family would need the money and wanting to give them some presents, she'd decided to give them the prize of her fight. She'd bought some presents for the Lost Boys, Jimmy, and the Darling children with the money and wrapped them all up. She'd paid a public letter-writer to write out the labels and such, claiming she could not write herself. But in truth, she just didn't want her handwriting recognized. The man that she'd paid off had questioned neither her attire nor her lie after seeing his payment.
Carefully, Primrose laid the large package outside on the doorstep of her old home before she dared to look through the basement window, not noticing that one of the petals from one of the two flowers on her clothes got caught on the box. She felt a pang of joy, sadness and envy when she saw the residents of her old home, her boys and her father through the window. They were counting up their loot from their last job and enjoying a hot meal while talking and laughing together, just like always.
Ever since a way to travel between London and Neverland had been found and Primrose had begun using it, it had taken all her restraint not to tell her family she now had a way to journey to and from the two worlds. She would check in on them whenever she could, and leave food for them, and she longed to be properly reunited with them, but knew she did not dare risk it as she could not bear to have them back, only to be parted from them again. And in any case, who was to say they'd actually want to go with her to Neverland when they looked to be so happy as they were, just leading normal lives in London?
Prim, it's getting late. If you don't want to go back home just yet and wish to stay in London for a little while longer, you should find somewhere safe to sleep while you can, said Terence, gently, breaking her out of her thoughts.
"I know, Ter. I'm coming," said Primrose. She was feeling tired and it was getting close to dawn. It was time to depart before she was seen. She blew a kiss at the window and then took off into the night. She found a small place to sleep that was warmish and would be comfortable until she had to return to Neverland. She curled up onto her side and was about to go to sleep when Terence poke to her again.
Prim, I know I said you needed your sleep, but there's something I need to talk to you about.
"What is it, Ter?" As if she couldn't guess.
Why don't you speak to your family? You could take them back with you to Neverland and you'd never have to leave them again.
"How many have I told you? You know I can't do that. They wouldn't be happy in Neverland," said Primrose, wearily. They'd had this conversation more times than she'd care to count and it always ended the same way. "They're happier here and I'm not about to be selfish and ask them to give up their lives for me."
How do you know they wouldn't be happier with you in Neverland?
"Because I know my family and even if they did come with me, eventually they'd want to go back to London. Things are better the way they are."
Then why've you been so unhappy lately?
Primrose was silent. Though she was a good liar and could make people believe she was fine when she wasn't, that wasn't the case in Neverland.
She was often happy in Neverland. There was never a dull day, she had many adventures, and a great many friends in the Tree Spirits and Kaw tribe in Neverland. Her happiness caused her world to prosper greatly as Neverland was connected with her feelings. If she was happy, the land was as well. But if she was sad, rain fell for many a day and if she was gone, the chill of winter would make its mark on the world earlier than expected.
You can't avoid them forever, Prim. Sooner or later, you'll have to tell them and they'll decide what'll make them happy, not you.
"Oh, hush, Terence," said Primrose. She knew he was right, but she didn't want to talk about it, much less think about it at the moment. She just wanted to get some sleep, maybe see the Darling Boy once more and head back to Neverland. "Go to sleep."
Very well, Prim. But you'll at least think about what I said, won't you?
Primrose nodded and fell asleep with Terence curled up on her shoulder.
Wesley was half-asleep in his bed late one evening when he caught a whiff of something flowery. Slowly, he opened his eyes, only to widen them when he saw a girl actually flying above him. He let out a startled gasp, which seemed to frighten the girl. She also seemed to actually fly straight back into the wall.
The girl looked to be about his age. She was quite beautiful with eyes green as emeralds, pale skin, and flowing auburn hair in loose curls with a braid across the top of her head which was adorned with thin green and gold ribbons. She wore a light green tunic and leggings which were adorned with darker green skeleton leaves and two primrose blossoms, a dagger hung at her side as well as a panpipe and a silver pocket watch, and she wore no shoes. What was stranger still was there appeared to be glittering flecks of gold in her hair on her skin.
Before Wesley could speak with her, the girl flew off, only to seem to be pulled back as though caught on something before vanishing into the night sky.
Fearful and excited at the same time, Wesley grabbed a candle and lit it before looking outside the window. There was no sign of the girl whatsoever. It was as if she'd just vanished into thin air. But could that really be possible? Or had he just been dreaming?
He could not return to sleep that night as she seemed to consume his every thought. He wrote about her in his journal and even drew her face in his sketchbook. He'd never seen anyone more beautiful in his life and something about her just entranced him. Had she been the one he'd seen before out of the corner of his eye so many nights as he told his stories to his sisters? Was she the one to whom his hidden kiss belonged to?
At school the following morning, he found himself drawing the scene in his notebook when he was supposed to be writing out his sums, and was suddenly caught by his teacher, a strict man called Mr. Durus, who was as harsh as his name. He found Wesley's drawing severely displeasing and told the boy that they would speak after school. He did not whisper this; he said it loudly in front of the whole class, causing Wesley great embarrassment. When the time came, Wesley stood at his teacher's desk, feeling a little frightened under Mr. Durus's hawk-like gaze.
"Mr. Darling, please explain to me what exactly this drawing is of," ordered Mr. Durus.
"Just a dream I had, sir," said Wesley. It was not entirely a lie, as for all he knew, it was just a mere dream. He hoped this would end the conversation, but no such luck.
Mr. Durus did not drop the subject after hearing this. Instead he asked, "And what, pray tell, was in this dream?"
"I was in my bed and I thought something was flying above me," said Wesley.
"And what was this thing flying above you?"
"A girl," admitted Wesley. He instantly regretted it, and wished he'd have said something differently, but there was something about his teacher that prevented people from lying to him. Some said it was his cold eyes and harsh looks.
Mr. Durus looked furious and dispatched a letter of outrage to Wesley's father that set new standards of prudery, even for him. The letter was sent by an express carrier, so Wesley could not even catch the messenger so he might keep his father from finding out.
Knowing he was in great trouble, Wesley walked home as one condemned after picking up his sisters from their school. He was sad and felt as though he were carrying a great weight in his heart. His sisters didn't know what was wrong with their brother, but they still tried cheer him up on the walk home by playing small guessing games and humming little tunes. It brought a small smile to his face, but didn't quite reach his eyes.
Immediately, upon his arrival, Wesley was told to meet his father in his study and his father looked angrier than ever before and Aunt Millicent also looked
"Wesley, I've just received a letter from your teacher of the most outrageous nature," he growled. "Is any of it true? Were you slacking off in school drawing about a woman you saw in you dream?"
Terrified, Wesley bowed his head and nodded.
"Look at me when I'm talking to you, boy!" barked Mr. Darling.
Wesley looked up. His father was a very big man in size and height, and to have him yelling at him, scared Wesley to no end.
"Do you realize what your foolishness has done?" he yelled. "You've humiliated me! Well, it's perfectly clear to me that I have failed as a father and you must shape up at once! I must become a man that children fear and adults respect or we shall all end up in the street! And you must stop being an idiotic, dreaming foolish boy!"
"George, yell if you must, but not so loudly! The neighbors might hear you and what'll they think of us?" scolded Aunt Millicent.
It didn't surprise Wesley that all Aunt Millicent cared for was what people would think if they heard Mr. Darling yelling, but it hurt somewhat that she didn't seem to care that her only nephew was shaking in fear.
But Mr. Darling wouldn't stop. "Let them hear! Let the whole world know that I have utterly failed to make my son into a proper man!" he yelled. He glared sternly at Wesley, who was shaking after being yelled at. "You will be going to boarding school in Scotland next fall and starting tomorrow, I'm starting your instruction. It's time for you to grow up! Now, go to your room and I don't want to see you again until tomorrow for your lessons right after school!"
"Yes, Father," said Wesley, bitterly. He fought back tears and held back his anger as he went up to his room.
As soon as he had the chance, Wesley slipped away and went into a part of London where no one would think of looking for him.
For the past six months, ever since he'd befriended a gang of boys about his age, Wesley would go down to White Chapel Fencing Academy whenever he could. The Lost Boys, as they were called, were a bunch of former street orphans who made livings for themselves as pickpockets and were under the guardianship of Mr. James "Jimmy" Hook, the fencing master of the academy.
Wesley was no thief, but he loved the Lost Boys and Jimmy. They were his closest friends and there was nothing he wouldn't do for them. He found them to be great fun and even greater company. The little family and fencing school was a solace for Wesley, who often wished he could leave his house and join them. But he didn't think his sisters would like such a life and he had to care for them as he was the only real family they had left. Not to mention, there was a good chance that his father would send the authorities after them.
"Hey, Wes," said Nibs. They were the only ones who called him that. "What've you got there?"
Wesley was carrying a small pouch and a large bundle under his arm before placing it on the table in the room.
"I come bearing gifts. I've brought you this week's pocket-money and since Cook's decided to treat me after the day I've had, she let me have two pies from today's baking. I've got both apple and cherry. Help yourselves, lads."
This emitted a great deal of grateful thanks from the Lost Boys and eager gasps as they added Wesley's money with their loot and tore into the pies.
"You're the best, Wes," said Curly.
Wesley just smiled and took a small slice of cherry pie for himself. Though he knew he didn't have to do anything for them, Wesley didn't mind helping them. He was a kind-hearted and giving soul, and he loved to help others with no thought of receiving anything in return.
"Oi, remember to save some of that apple pie for Jimmy!" said Fox, warningly. "You know apple's his favorite."
He did not speak too soon, for there was just one, albeit a large one, slice of apple pie left, which Tootles placed dutifully into the their pantry.
"So, what's with the upset look, Wes? Have a bad day?" asked Slightly.
"The worst of days," grumbled Wesley. He told them what had happened and they were all sympathetic and offered to arrange a little 'accident,' or two, which made him laugh.
"If things don't improve soon, I might take up your offer," said Wesley, good-naturedly. What I wouldn't give to be free of that house and live somewhere else with my sisters. Then he saw Twins was pulling out a large box out from under his bed. "What've you got there, Twins?"
"I found this out on the doorstep last night, but I forgot to mention until now," said Twins. "It's got all our names on it, including yours, Wes!"
"Well, don't just sit there gawking at it. Open it," ordered Curly.
Twins did as he was told and to their delight, inside the box there was an item addressed to every one of them. There was a fine new coat for Fox, a penknife for Slightly, a mountain compass for Nibs, a copy of Arabian Nights for Tootles, two copies of Foxton's Pocket Encyclopedia for Twins, a harmonica for Curly, a wrapped up bundle for Jimmy, a large sack of money and fine new shoes for all the Lost Boys. There was even a fine feather quill and parchment set included for Wesley, a set of hair ribbons for Joan and a teddy bear for Moira.
"There's no return address or even a note. Who on earth could've sent us all this?" asked Nibs. "And why would someone give us money and presents like this, for that matter?"
"Obviously someone who cares and the same person who's been leaving us food lately," said Tootles, happily. "And it's someone who knows Wesley's been with us lately and about his sisters. Why else would it be here?"
"Maybe it's an angel," said Twins. He was still a child, both in age and in heart.
"Or someone with the heart of an angel. Maybe it was, well…you know," said Fox, looking hopeful, as he shared a certain glance with the Lost Boys, who.
"Maybe what's what?" asked Jimmy, as he came down the stairs. He looked quite tired and sad. But he still gave Wesley a small smile when he saw him and then beckoned to the litter of items before him. "What's all this, boys?"
"Someone left us a package and there's a slice of apple pie for you in the pantry," said Slightly. "Oh, and there's something here for you too, in the package, Jimmy." He handed Jimmy his wrapped bundle.
Jimmy unwrapped it and there was a beautiful sword inside a dark colored sheath. It was the finest blade Wesley had ever seen in his life. It seemed to fit Jimmy's hand perfectly as he performed a series of sword moves with perfect grace and skill.
"It's a fine gift," said Jimmy, softly, as he sheathed the sword. "Who sent it?"
"We don't know. There's no name," said Nibs.
"There's just a petal from a primrose in the box," said Wesley, after peering inside. It was caught in a small hole of the box, as though it'd been caught on something.
Much to Wesley's surprise, the sight of the flower petal made Jimmy's eyes glisten with tears, but they vanished quickly as he fastened his new sword onto his belt. "Well, I must be going. My last class still has half an hour left. It's good to see you, Wesley. Thank you for the pie. Please, excuse me."
And with that, Jimmy returned upstairs where his last fencing class of the day was taking place. No doubt he intended to bury himself in his work.
"What's the matter with Jimmy?" asked Wesley. "I've never seen him like that before." Jimmy was not just Wesley's friend, but he had been the kind of father-figure Wesley craved and naturally, Wesley was concerned for him. He knew Jimmy sometimes had a sad look about him and would spend a great deal of time playing an old black flute, but he never knew why and he'd never seen Jimmy so upset before.
"He's alright, he's just upset. He gets like that sometimes, but it's a little worse today. He hasn't been the same since we lost our mother," said Fox. "He's had many a sleepless night for many a moon over her, pouring over maps, looking at the orb or staying up gazing at the second star to the right, just wishing he could get her back."
"Your mother?" asked Wesley, confused. The Lost Boys aren't related and Jimmy's never been married. Who could Fox be referring to?
"Jimmy's daughter, Primrose," he explained. "She was the first one of us. She looked after us and was more like a mother than an older sister, to be honest."
"I'm sorry," said Wesley, softly. He knew all too well the pain of losing a loved one. "What happened to her, if you don't mind my asking?"
"You'd never believe us if we told you," said Nibs.
Wesley didn't think so, but didn't say so aloud. Instead, he asked, "What was she like?"
"She was feisty, brave, a bit impetuous and reckless, but also caring and a fair beauty. Jimmy's the only one could ever best her in swordplay," said Fox, smiling. He took a small photograph out of his pocket and held it up. "This is her, before we lost her."
Wesley gazed at the photograph and then his eyes widened. "This can't be possible."
"What's not possible?" asked Twins.
"I saw that girl in my room!" said Wesley. "I've seen her before!" The clothes and the hairstyle had been different, but he knew it was definitely that girl in the photograph. Had he seen a ghost of some sort?
A stunned silence fell for a brief moment before Curly broke it.
"You've what?" said Curly, sharply. He rose up from his seat and stood in front of Wesley, looking quite serious. "You've seen her? You're certain of it?"
"Where did you see her? When did you see her?" demanded Curly, as he grasped Wesley's shoulders. "Did you speak to her?"
"No, I haven't spoken to her. I've never been able to. I've only seen her a few times," said Wesley, startled by Curly's actions. "She doesn't appear often. Just five times a month for the last three months, and only at night. I've seen her at the nursery window and my bedroom window listening to my stories, just out of the corner of my eye. The first time it happened, it was late one night and I was alone in my room reading aloud to myself when I thought I heard music. I looked out the window and then I saw her, sitting on a cloud playing panpipes and there was something glittering flying next to her. She disappeared the minute she saw me."
"When did you see her last?" demanded Nibs.
"Last night. She was in my room and I was half asleep when I saw her hovering above me, just watching me. I woke up properly and accidentally startled her. She actually seemed to fly through the window, and her shadow seemed to come off, if you can believe that. She might be back tonight, but I can't say for certain."
The Lost Boys looked both shocked and pleased and all was quiet for a brief moment.
"She's back," said Slightly, breaking the silence. He sounded both happy and shocked. "She's really back!"
"But she can't be. The orb doesn't work anymore. Primrose said so in her letter and Jimmy's tried making it work to no success thousand times," pointed out Twins. "She can't be back. It's completely impossible."
"Apparently, it's not impossible anymore. But why wouldn't she tell us she had a way back to London? You'd think after a year, she'd want to see us again," said Tootles. "What's going on with that girl?"
"You know Prim. She's always been a self-sacrificing idiot," said Curly, shaking his head. "She probably thought it'd be better if she stayed away. Not to mention, she's probably scared that we'll throttle her if we see her again."
"Would someone please explain to me what the devil you're all talking about?" yelled Wesley. He was quite confused and a little annoyed at being left out of the loop. "I thought you said that this girl was dead!"
"We never said 'dead,'" said Nibs. "We said 'lost,' there's a difference."
"The difference being what, exactly?" asked Wesley, testily. "Just, what exactly is going on? What aren't you all telling me? I think I deserve to know and I've more than earned your trust, haven't I?"
The Lost Boys exchanged looks and then Fox spoke, "Alright, we'll tell you, but you must swear to never tell another living soul without our consent."
"I swear," said Wesley, without hesitation. What on earth could this all be about?
"You know that book Jimmy wrote? The one about a world called Neverland?" asked Fox.
Wesley nodded. Jimmy had written a book some time ago under a penname and he'd titled the book, Peter Pan. It was a thrilling tale about a young boy who sought to remain a child forever and had great adventures as he fought his adversary, Captain Hook. It was Wesley's favorite book in the world and he loved reading it to his sisters while adding his own ideas and twists to it. Although why Jimmy had made a villain out of himself in the novel, Wesley had no idea.
The Lost Boys then told him of a great secret concerning a young girl called Primrose Pan-Hook and their adventure the previous year. Wesley was shocked, but he believed it, especially when they showed the orb which briefly showed him things he'd only dreamed of.
"And Jimmy's never given up on getting her back, even after a year?" said Wesley. He was both amazed by Jimmy's devotion to his daughter and envious of Primrose as she had what he'd been craving for some time now.
The Lost Boys just solemnly nodded.
"She means the world to him and he'll do anything to get her back," said Slightly. "The book he wrote was just his way of telling the world her story while keeping her close to him. Will you help us, Wes?"
"Are you mad? Of course I will!" said Wesley. How could he not help them?
"Thanks," said Curly, happily. Then he looked serious. "But how do we get her back? If she sees us, she might fly away first chance she gets!"
"Not if we lay a little trap for her," said Fox, thoughtfully. "We know she's lost her shadow, so she'll probably head back to Wes's house tonight. We'll stake out the place and watch for her and before she has a chance to leave, we'll get her."
"And hopefully, we'll be able to talk her into taking us with her to Neverland. It's been boring here without her and besides, the gang's not complete with its leader missing," said Nibs.
"What do we tell Jimmy? If we tell him Primrose is back and this turns out to be a wild goose chase, he'll be broken for good," said Tootles.
"Easy. Tell him you need him to help watch my house because you think something's going on and you want to protect me. If Primrose shows up, I'll stall her, signal you and then you can come straight into the house," said Wesley. "Father will be out dining with his colleagues tonight, it's the Cook's night off, I'll slip a bit of laudanum into my aunt's tea and the spare key to the back door's hidden under the doormat, so you can get in with no trouble."
"Wes, that's brilliant," said Curly. He looked quite pleased. "This is going to be perfect."
Wesley smiled, feeling happier than he had in a while. He was looking forward to tonight. Finally, he was going to meet the girl of his dreams.