Peter is a young girl; her name (to my unforgiveable lack of originality and overt devotion to the original) is Petra, the female version of 'Peter'.
Petra, though, was a popular girls' name at the turn of the 20th century, so it's not actually all that out of place.
Usually, I'm not one for AUs, but I must explain why I decided on the gender-bend.
The dynamics between pre-Neverland Peter and Jimmy were so interesting –the way they were so close, that they were actually planning a life together as business partners (or so Peter thought), and that Jimmy had loved Peter's mother (and killed his father)- that my curiosity was piqued by what their dynamic would have been if Peter were a girl.
Given the time period and social expectations, as well as the unchanged history between Jimmy and Peter/Petra's parents, the differences would be enormous. Even the way he'd interact or manipulate her would be different.
Unsurprisingly, this fiction is going to have some romantic/sexual subtext/undertones/overtones because of this change.
This is not to say:
- That I find Jimmy/Peter repellent at all. (Which is something I feel strange I should have to say as a disclaimer)
- That this work is going to unrealistically romanticize the characters or blame all the risqué interactions on the time period. (As we know the turn of the 20th century was hardly the time, anymore, for drastic age differences.)
- Or that any of those interactions will happen before realistic pacing allows for it. (Sorry to those looking for that.)
I will be focusing on the psychological nuances between the characters and how they manifest from something like familial love and trust to manipulation, anger, betrayal, obsession, aggression, and the ultimate Freudian sexual frustration.
What I plan on doing is uniting what all the scholars have theorized about Hook being the symbolic figure of adulthood (and all that adulthood entails: i.e. emotional responsibilities, aggression, sexuality, and the kind of hatred only adults seem fully capable of) and the female coming-of-age story that was always meant for Wendy, but for Petra – who's coming-of-age story will, of course, be frustratingly stunted by Neverland.
'Time', as a concept, will also be a major theme: having too much, not enough, or having had too little of it in the past. The titles will reflect the actions of perceptions of Time in accordance to the characters' place in the story.
This project may be slow, and I do have a lot on my plate right now, but I am thoroughly interested in writing it out.
… … … … … … … … … Chapter 1 … … … … … … … ...
She burst into his office with as much energy as any of the lads in her team, all of which were still out earning their keep.
"Hey, Jimmy!" She greeted him boyishly. Her hands were already struggling to pull all the bits of sundry loot from her dingy dress pockets.
She was usually home earlier than the boys; she had always been quicker and cleverer.
Seated at his desk, the darker thoughts which usually crept into his mind during the quiet were now interrupted. He watched motionlessly as she stomped her way over to him. His chin rested on his knuckles thoughtfully; his eyes moved from the pocket watches and coins she was emptying onto the desktop to her dirt-caked hands, the faded material of her dress sleeves, and up to the unkempt, tangled, mess of her hair which seemed to grow a brighter hue of red every day. The color was almost like that of her mother's though it seemed a tone wilder on the girl.
Jimmy's staring went unnoticed as she was excitedly reporting what had happened that day, in a voice that seemed slightly lower than he remembered her having, "… you shoulda seen it, Jimmy! Fox ran and got to the Top's pocket right in front of the bob, and I went 'round with that flower basket you gave me and it really did work!"
Jimmy, paying very little attention to her story, let his eyes travel the girl's animated face. His eyes connected with her bright ones easily –he wondered how it was possible for such lively eyes not to recognize the dangerous, cruel, stagnation which rested behind his own- before he studied her features a little more closely.
"Fox slipped what he got into the basket before they made him pull out the insides of his pockets! You shoulda seen the bob's face when he saw Fox's pockets were empty, it was-!"
"Petra." He interrupted her with her own name.
She was hushed immediately, her gaze attentive behind the slight annoyance it showed for being cut off. He let the quiet settle for a moment as he checked her face again. He took a quick breath before speaking. "Come here." He ordered shortly with a small gesture, turning to his right.
"What it is, Jimmy?" She asked with a touch of nervousness in her words as she started her way around the front corner of the desk. He grew more sure when he heard her speak again. It had once been a part of her charm to speak to him so forwardly with her small voice, but something about that was changing.
"It's all right, Petra, I just want to get a good look at you." He reassured her with one of the softer voices he had, a kind smile lightening his face to hide even the darkest parts of his mind. He could sense her relief as her booted steps fell with more confidence. She returned one of her trademark smiles –they always had a way of looking like smirks to him- when she stepped in front of him.
He took her left arm lightly between his fingers, lifting it up as if to get a better look at her. Petra smiled with trusting confusion, her posture slouching awkwardly due to the attention. "What're doin'?"
He ignored her question.
If she had known what to suspect she would have seen just how closely Jimmy was scrutinizing the curve of her cheeks, the fullness of her lips, the shortness of her dress which had once reached down to her ankles, as well as how differently the dress was falling on her form from when he had first picked it out for her a few years before.
True, he hadn't seen it very often on her given her preference for dressing up like a boy when she went pocket-hunting, but it didn't take much more than a forward glance to see that her figure had begun to swell in a particularly adult manner.
Time had acted much quicker than he thought it would. Plans he thought were further off seemed almost possible now.
"Hmm." He hummed as if he suddenly saw something interesting despite the fact he had already seen everything he needed to. But the noise he made had the effect on Petra that he was looking for.
"What?" She asked with a sudden curiosity when his fingers left her arm and he stood from his chair.
He took a few steps around her. She strained to keep him within her sight, turning on the spot. He paused by the side of the desk, leaning his hip against it, wrapping one arm over his torso and raising the fingers of his other hand to his chin in an effort to seem contemplative.
"What is it?" She asked, her voice demanding an answer with more strength now, her intonation reminded him of Fox. He wondered if she had been spending more time with the boy like he had suspected – he didn't entertain that curiosity for more than a moment, it was an issue he'd address later.
He didn't answer her question just yet, looking at her face a little longer, trying not to see Jenny even though the girl had never looked quite so much like her before – that was another thought he'd deal with later.
Still playing his game he suddenly waved his hand, as if to brush the whole moment aside, and pushed himself away from the desk.
"It's nothing." He told the girl, walking over to the door out of his office.
"Waitta minute, Jimmy!" She called after him, the way he knew she would. That was one thing he could always count on from Petra, that constant need of hers to satisfy her curiosity. "What'd you mean by 'nothing'?" She demanded.
"I thought I saw something, is all." Jimmy subtly coaxed as he opened the door, making his way down the stairs.
"Tell me." She pushed for his answer impatiently, following behind him step by step.
"It's nothing to worry about, Petra." He reassured her, smiling to himself as he reached the bottom of the stairs. "Everyone goes through it." He added, giving her the last hint she needed to figure it out for herself.
He made his way to the boys' room downstairs; he heard her footsteps falter before they sped up to catch up to him.
"I'm growing up, aren't I?" She called after him with an excitement that outshined what she had previously portrayed during her report.
He sighed theatrically and stopped just as soon as he reached the threshold of the room. He turned back to her wearing an expression that he knew told her that she was too clever for her own good.
"And now that I'm older, you'll let me in on the tougher jobs, won't you?" Her own expression lit up sincerely when she thought about the adventures she'd be able to have soon, and about how Jimmy might finally recognize how she could really help him.
Her excitement inspired a good humor in him, a rare but welcome mood. He knew not to get lost in that sentiment, though. He couldn't give her too much too soon.
"You might be getting older, Petra, but you still have a lot to learn." He reminded her.
She didn't care for those tired words, and he could see how they annoyed her. He knew she liked to think of herself as an adult. But that disregard, that ignorance, was exactly what still made her a child… and so he was grateful for it.
Without that blind trust she had in herself and in others, his plans would be lost.
"Now, get your stuff." He ordered casually, gesturing to her bunk amongst the boys'.
"Huh?" She looked up him, both her excitement and annoyance gone, dread taking over her expression. "You're not gonna kick me to the streets are you, Jimmy?" she immediately asked. "I can still do the jobs! I helped get that real gold watch today-" he interrupted her fearful ranting as he leaned forward and down to her, his hands falling on her shoulders.
"No, Petra. I'm not going to put you out on the streets." He used his kindest voice now, his most gentle expression; her shoulders suddenly relaxed and he smiled for it. "This is your home. Our home." He added, lifting his left hand to brush back only a few wild strands of hair from her face; his smiled widened momentarily when he saw her expression enjoy the contact. "But I think it's about time we changed a few things around here."
She gave him a confused look before he chuckled, "We can't have a young lady sleeping in the basement with a band of thieves, can we?"
As he knew she would she swatted away his hands to determinately say, "I'm not a 'young lady', Jimmy. Just 'cause I'm growing up doesn't change a thing. I'm still one of 'em." She pointed sharply at the room, meaning the boys.
"So you want to stay with the boys?" He inquired simply.
She nodded at him with a look of deep principle.
He sighed, as if truly affected by her behavior, "Well, then, I guess I was wrong." He admitted with tone of defeat. "And you aren't ready to handle the Harrow yet."
Her posture changed at that, she straightened up and he could almost see her fighting spirit rouse.
"That's not fair, Jimmy. You know I can do it." She shuffled on the spot the way she always did when she was frustrated, "The boys and I got a whole plan set up for it."
"I know your plan, Petra. It is a good one, and I'm sure it would work out eight times out of ten, but I've been working on a different plan." He introduced calmly. "It might prove a touch more complicated than your distraction and bludgeon tactics, but it's safer."
"I can get us in and out of there safe." She argued at him.
Jimmy took a moment to look at her; her frustration seemed to weaken with the silence of his firm stare, "Petra… if you're going to stay with me when you're older, you're going to have to learn to trust me."
He watched her expressions evolve unabashedly; she almost smiled when he said the words 'stay with me', before he saw the frustration of being told her own plans were inadequate, to the guilt of being accused of not trusting him, and finally to the curiosity he needed from her. It got the best of her again and she allowed herself to ask, after a stubborn pause, "What kinda plan?"
"It doesn't matter what my plan was." he turned her down despite the fact she was now willing to listen. "It won't work if we don't have a young lady who's willing to put aside childish tricks and learn a new thing or two."
His words bruised her ego in just the right spots. He could see her stubbornness wage a battle against her pride. It was a bloodied fight, but he learned which the victor was when she looked him in the eye again, this time with a fair larger amount of annoyance than her usual eagerness to prove herself to him, and said in her unfailingly boyish tone, "Fine… but I'm not a 'young lady'."
"Yes, well… You do have a lot to learn before you become one." Jimmy smiled at the fiery grimace she gave him before ruffling her already messy hair. "It'll be different when you're older." He added quietly, mostly reminding himself.
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
There'll be more sometime soon.