A/N: I was recently in the hospital and caught up on Once Upon A Time, falling in love with the Captain Swan pairing…because SERIOUSLY OH MY FRIGGIN GOD COULD THEY BE ANYMORE PERFECT. Errr sorry about that, fan-girling aside…they seriously are OTP in my opinion.
This story is AU while still sticking with main canon elements. Most of it takes place in the past which gives me more creative liberties. However, I will be loosely following canon through the Doctor Episode where the gang of princesses find Hook buried beneath the bodies in the Enchanted Forest. BUT canon really doesn't come into play too much until the last chapter as most of the story deals with a younger Emma. This will be a four part series.
P.S.- I feel like I just said 'canon' way too much.
Anywho, I really liked the idea and enjoyed writing it. Also, personally I don't like the idea of Bae as Peter Pan. I'd prefer him to just be a lost boy if that's the route the writers are going…but I thought it would be interesting to write a story like this…so desires for the series aside…I wrote it.
Hideously long A/N aside, thanks for reading, enjoy, and as always please review!
Part 1: Peter and Emma
New York, Late September, 2001
The screaming wouldn't stop.
It was loud and angry—the harsh and livid argument drifted up the stairs in threatening furious waves. The sound of the high pitched shrieking and the deep bellows echoing throughout the tiny house with each cutting curse and annoyed accusation.
Emma Swan sat on her small creaky bed, staring at the window on the wall opposite of her. It was a cool September night, the light breeze causing the white curtains that draped over the opened screen to billow out softly, invitingly.
Listening to her foster parents continue their heated shouting match, Emma's mouth dipped down into a small frown and she closed her eyes, trying her hardest to ignore all of the noise.
It was her birthday.
Absently she ran a hand over the raw and broken flesh that covered her aching knuckles, attempting to block out the memory of why her hand was so torn up in the first place, realizing with a flash of anger that the simple task was near impossible.
He had tried to touch her.
Her foster father.
The sick bastard had tried to put his big filthy hands on her and she had fought him off desperately—slamming her fist into his face repeatedly and clawing her nails into his eyes until his screams had drawn the attention of his stupid drunken wife. Catching her husband wailing on the ground with a defiant Emma standing over him, the woman had screamed for her to go to her room before turning her attention to the man writhing on the floor and moaning in pain.
Thinking about it now, Emma sighed sadly; today had definitely not been a good day.
And it was her goddamned birthday.
Glancing at the clock that sat on the chipped and battered nightstand next to her bed, she cringed at the bright neon green numbers—they read a little after midnight. It was official…she was eighteen. Finally old enough to age out of the foster system…tomorrow she could leave this all behind.
Holding back angry tears that were threatening to spill over her clenched eyelids, she took a deep breath and shook her head furiously as her lips trembled with the promise of a devastating cry. Willing herself to remain strong, she refused to give into the weakness. She wasn't fragile…she was a survivor—an adult now. No longer a child with foolish dreams and unrealistic expectations. And while sure she was somewhat broken...she wasn't shattered—she knew better than to shed worthless tears over stupid things that couldn't be fixed.
"Are you okay?"
On a gasp, Emma glanced up and sprung to her feet fast, ready to fight off the intruder with clenched fists and an angry scowl. Heart racing, her eyes landed on a boy; he was about her age and was leaning against the open window casually as if he hadn't a care in the world. His brown hair was rumpled, his face dirty and his clothes strange—he stared at her with an expression that was an odd combination of guilt, sadness, and understanding.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?" Emma asked in a guarded tone, her eyes darting to her closed bedroom door.
She could make a run for it…she was fast. But glancing over at the boy, who still hadn't straightened from his spot near the window, she considered the idea. She'd probably get into trouble. Her foster father always called her such horrible and undeserving names—he'd probably only accuse her of inviting the strange and odd-looking boy into their home. And with everything that had already happened that night…she really didn't want to deal with that too.
"I'm here to take you away, if you want me to."
Emma rolled her eyes; although she noted with caution that weirdly enough, she was somehow unafraid by this strange boy's presence—a soothing part of her reassured her he meant no harm. "I'm not going anywhere with you." She stated, shaking off the odd feeling of trust that was threatening to worm its way into her system, whispering for her to let her defenses down.
"You can trust me."
Emma shot him a surprised look, curious by his choice of words and her line of thinking. "Oh yeah? Why would I? Who are you?"
He grinned at her and his eyes twinkled full of mirth. "Pan…some call me Peter."
Emma arched a brow at that and suppressed a nearly hysterical giggle…she really was losing it. Maybe she was slightly certifiable, just like her foster brothers constantly claimed her to be...when they weren't already busy throwing disturbing innuendos her way. There was no other explanation for it—no way to explain what was happening in the confines of her small bedroom. She had just finally broken down and had gone bat-shit crazy, that's all. Why else would she be having a conversation with a dirty boy who had crawled through her bedroom window, claiming to be Peter while offering to take her away?
Rubbing her eyes tiredly, she wished the whole miserable day would end. "Oh really? Like Peter freaking Pan?"
"You've heard of me."
Surprised by his answer, Emma stared at him blankly for a moment, before shaking her head slowly—her tired brain unable to really grasp the ridiculousness of her current situation. "Oh sure I have. You're Peter Pan leader of the lost boys…and—and I'm Wendy right?"
"Is that your name?"
"Oh come on, you're going to claim to be Peter Pan and you don't even know who Wendy is?"
"Well didn't you just say that you're Wendy?"
Emma sighed and rolling her eyes, she sat back down on her bed, worrying her bottom lip between her teeth with a shake of her head. She was losing it. "Isn't Peter Pan supposed to be you know…younger?" She asked, not sure why she was indulging the guy in the first place.
His eyes narrowed slightly at her comment and he gave her a somewhat hurt look, "hey I'm not that old…not any older than you anyway." He paused for a moment, seemingly considering his words, and shrugging his shoulders, he smirked. "I guess, I've been away for awhile though….so I may have aged a bit…but it's time for me to go back. And I want you to come with me." The boy grinned and pushed himself away from the wall; extending his hand out, he motioned her towards him, frowning when she made no move to get up.
"How did you even get in here?"
He didn't answer her, merely shook his head and offered his hand again, "Come with me Wendy."
It didn't even occur to her to correct him, her brain still struggling to catch up with the odd conversation. "I said I'm not going anywhere with you, why would I?"
The boy, Peter, smiled sadly, his eyes, which Emma noticed were a dark twinkling brown, glanced over at the door Emma had considered making a run for, only moments ago. "I can take you to a place where you'll never have to worry about people like them…you'll never have to become one of them."
Emma raised a brow, skeptic, yet curious. "Oh really? And where's that?" she asked, although deep down, in a place she had never known existed, she knew his answer.
Peter's sad smile widened into a mischievous grin, and making his way over to her, he picked up her hand and drew her to her feet. "Neverland."
And with that one softly spoken word, the scent and sounds of the sea enveloped her, invading her senses and beckoning her home.
"Is that Captain Hook's ship?" Emma breathed, her mind still reeling with the knowledge that these fairytale characters actually existed. Peering down at the large ship, from her perch high on the moss-covered cliffs, she took in the sight of the great vessel. It was magnificent—its sails billowing in the wind, its wooden planks gleaming in the sun.
Peter glanced down, his face registering mild surprise. "Hook left Neverland awhile ago…I'm still not exactly sure how he's able to come and go so easily...it's supposed to be harder for grown-ups…" he mused more to himself than to her; his usually sweet and kind face twisting into an unattractive scowl. "Rumor has it the pixies gifted him with knowledge of a constant sea portal…so he could have eternal access to this world—come and go from his land to here as he pleases. I'm not sure why they would give him such a treasure…then again pixies are fickle creatures." He paused and casting her a sideways glance, raised a brow. "How do you know about him anyway Wendy?"
Emma frowned at the name, she had never bothered correcting him before they had left for Neverland—quite certain that the whole silly thing was a dream, and she'd wake up in the morning still plain old Emma Swan…Neverland a distant memory…everything else unchanged, her life unfortunately the same sad hell it had been before.
And now, as the "dream" continued to unfold, she found herself unwilling to give up the game. It was too much fun— frolicking around the mysterious place while pretending to be Wendy as Peter Pan gave her the grand tour of a land so beautiful, she could barely come up with the proper words to describe it. She never had much of a childhood and this was a dream come true, even for an eighteen-year-old girl who really should know better.
And she did know better, a calmly realistic part of her was constantly reminding her that none of this could be real, that all of it was impossible. But with a stubborn little sigh, she pushed the thoughts aside. It was her birthday dammit. Neverland, whether real or a figment of her imagination, was magical and she wouldn't deny herself the fun of it.
"I told you…there are stories about you. Where I'm from, you're Peter Pan the boy who never grew up and Captain Hook is your arch nemesis."
Peter grunted and huffed while listening to her brief explanation, seemingly unimpressed. "Ahhh….well yes to answer your question, that's his ship." He stated with a vague gesture towards the glittering blue water.
Emma glanced back out at the sea, feeling slightly awestruck by his confirmation, "Is he really as terrible and cruel as the stories make him out to be?"
Peter chuckled and the sound came out dark and unfamiliar to her ears. "I don't know about your stories Wendy, but I'm sure that whatever they say pales in comparison. He's worse...much worse. Don't worry though, I won't ever let him near you. He already took someone very special from me…and because of him…she's dead now...her cold corpse at the bottom of the sea he so loves."
At the blunt statement, Emma shivered, her blood running cold and chilling her veins. And taking a moment to consider his words, she shot a look over at him, staring at the lost boy who stood next to her—his fists clenched tight and chest heaving with emotion. "Hey…did you really take his hand?" she asked softly, changing the direction of the conversation just slightly.
Peter glanced down at the ship a sad look passing over his features before they hardened into an almost unrecognizable expression, and turning, he locked his dark gaze on hers while shaking his head slowly. "No…a crocodile did."
Turning the haunting words over in her mind, she gazed back out at the sea, a disquieting feeling settling over her as she noticed how the crashing waves called to her, their siren's song a tempting melody that echoed in her brain.
"How long have we been here?"
Emma sat on the beach, digging her toes into the grainy sand; she stared out at the sea, just barely making out the shape of the grand ship that always seemed to be lurking in the distance.
Peter frowned, his eyes narrowing as he seemingly considered how to answer her question. "Time moves differently here Wendy."
Emma glanced over at him, and gave him a half little smile, noting the way his eyes lingered on her as she did. She felt as if they'd been in Neverland for days, and since then he had begun to look at her differently—no longer as just one of the "lost boys". His gazes weren't merely friendly, but searching, something more meaningful lurked in their dark chocolate stare. She wasn't sure how she felt about it, uncertain whether she welcomed the change or not. Slowly she thought she was warming to the idea of having him see her in a different light...she had never really allowed herself to open up to thinking about boys in that way. Growing up in the foster system she'd been too busy trying to survive—she hadn't the time to worry about kissing cute boys.
But here...things were different—she felt freer to explore her feelings...her femininity.
Bringing her attention back to the topic at hand, she brushed a loose strand of hair out of her eyes, "What do you mean time moves differently?"
Peter shrugged, seemingly unconcerned by her question. "While it may feel like an entire day or two has passed here, back in your world maybe only a couple of hours have actually gone by. I'm not really sure how it works or how long we've been here."
Emma nodded, for some reason it made sense—she had figured as much.
And glancing back out at the sea, she noticed the imposing ship seemed to slowly be drawing closer to the shore.
The roaring fire's flames leapt to the sky as the lost boys danced around the camp, crowing and shouting into the darkness. Emma sat on a rock watching the festivities with a smile lighting her face as the steady glow of the fire danced across her features. Catching her eye, Peter smiled and walked over to her, sitting down besides her, he stretched his legs and settled back comfortably with a deep sigh.
After awhile of contented silence, save for the sounds of merriment around them, he turned to her and gave her a long hard look before staring back into the flames. "It feels right having you here." He said softly, almost uncertainly.
Emma grinned, tickled by how unsure he seemed, he looked so cute and lost and endearing. Leaning into him, she nudged him softly with the tip of her shoulder, "I like being here…it almost makes me forget about…you know…back there. Home."
A dark look passed over Peter's features and he turned to her quickly. "You don't have to go back there…you can stay here with us…forever."
He cut her off quickly, his lips catching hers in a soft hesitant kiss, it was gentle and sweet and she smiled against his mouth before returning it tentatively, the sound of the lost boys cheering them on faded in the background and in the distance she could here the boom and roar of a ship's canons being fired.
"I can't stay here Peter."
Emma, glanced out at the lagoon, watching as a handful of colorful birds gracefully flew from their perch in the water to a higher one in the lush green trees. Closing her eyes, she reveled in the feeling of the bright sun heating her skin. "You could come back with me…you left once, you could leave again."
Peter shook his head, his eyes downcast "But the lost boys…"
"We can visit them."
He glanced over at her, his fingers playing with the long blades of the the soft grass they sat in. "No…this was the last time. If I leave again, I'll be too old to come back…I'll be a grown-up."
"How old are you Peter?"
"I'm eighteen…doesn't that make me a grown-up?" she asked cheekily in a playful tone.
Peter smiled, his grin charmingly mischievous. "That's our secret Wendy."
She grinned back and turning her attention back to the lagoon, sighed as she saw a pretty butterfly flutter its way across their path.
They sat in contented silence for a moment or two before Peter turned his attention to her again, his brow furrowed slightly, his eyes flashing with an unreadable emotion. "Stay here Wendy. We'll never have to grow up, we could live here together and take care of the lost boys and—"
"Fight Captain Hook?" she teased.
Peter frowned, his eyes crinkling with the action; "I said I'd never let you near him."
Something inside Emma protested the statement but instead of commenting on it, she forced a tight smile, and reaching for his hand squeezed it, "I can't stay here forever Peter…everyone has to grow up sometime. Leave with me and we'll do it together."
"I can't leave."
"And I can't stay."
Emma shrugged, she couldn't explain it but she knew that she had to get back. Maybe it was because even after what felt like weeks in Neverland she still thought there was a very real possibility she was dreaming and there was a part of her subconscious that refused to go along with the fantasy any longer. But mostly it was because there was a deeper, stronger, more unsettling part of her that whispered she was needed back in the real world, that she couldn't stay and play in Neverland forever.
"I have to get back Peter…I don't belong here."
Glancing back out at the lagoon, a sudden faraway look passed over Peter's features. "If I go back with you…you won't leave me?"
Emma smiled, her heart warming a bit at the scared boy who was so much like her and shaking her head slowly, she nearly sighed, her heart feeling light at the prospect of having someone in her life to call her own…to trust completely. "Never."
Peter studied her for a moment, reaching up he brushed a thumb over her cheek, grazing it gently and the sleepy butterflies in her stomach fluttered to life at the light touch. Smiling at her softly, he glanced behind him, seemingly considering something for a moment before looking back at her with an odd look glimmering in his brown eyes. "Let me go tell the rest of the lost boys."
Nodding, Emma made a move to stand, "I'll come with you."
But Peter stopped her with a shake of his head, "No don't. I need to do this on my own, I won't be long...stay here…close your eyes. Take a nap. I'll be back in a little bit Wendy."
"My real name is Emma…Wendy—it's the name of the girl in the stories from my world...about you."
Peter stared at her a moment, his expression conveying mild confusion, masked slightly with irritation before he covered it with a surprised laugh. "Emma." Continuing to look down at her, his expression softened even more. "Go to sleep, I'll come back for you soon."
Her eyes already heavy, Emma looked up at him with a tiny smirk, "Promise?"
His returning grin was the only answer he gave her and settling back into the grass she felt their earlier adventures of the day begin to catch up on her. And as she floated off to sleep, the soft breeze picked up slightly, causing her hair to drift up and flutter lightly across her face, vaguely reminding her of billowing sails in the wind, and with that thought dancing in her brain she fell asleep…a tiny smile dusting across her lips.
"Peter!" She screamed, her throat hoarse, her legs aching, and her mind tired.
He hadn't come back.
He had left her.
She was alone.
When he had first left to find the lost boys, she had fallen asleep in the grass like he had told her to and when she had awoken it had been dark—the lagoon eerily silent. Confused and frightened, she had spent the night searching for him, desperate to find him but to no avail. The mysteries of Neverland had become terrifying and threatening in the cloak of darkness. Alone and with no one to lead her to safety; the magical place had lurked with ominous possibilities, the wondrous creatures she had intently watched during the day had suddenly become hungry and dangerous predators desperate for a taste of her blood. Many times she had been forced to muffle her screams—the sounds that she had enjoyed and reveled in when running around in the forest with Peter and the boys in tow had become strange and daunting under the guise of night, closing in on her at a frightening pace.
Afraid and too tired to search any further, she had collapsed on the hard ground of the forest floor in a fit of exhaustion. Unwillingly falling into a restless sleep on the heels of a whispered prayer, she had furiously wished Peter would find her while she slept—waking her up, he would make fun of her for wandering so far, before grabbing her hand and taking her home.
But unfortunately she wasn't a lucky person...her prayers had gone unanswered.
The next day had proved to be just as cruel—Peter still nowhere to be found. Concern had set in…maybe something had happened to him she had worried, while in the back of her mind she had known the cold hard truth. Aside from the sea, Peter Pan knew every inch of Neverland, he was as familiar with it as he was the back of his hand. If she couldn't find him or the lost boys it was because he was choosing for her not to. Still, unwilling to give up, she had roamed the island, continuing to shout for Peter, for the lost boys, for anyone who would listen...
But no one answered.
She was alone
She was alone.
He had left her.
And she wondered if he had abandoned her because she had asked him to stay with her—to leave Neverland and grow up with her by his side. It was a cruel truth that hurt too much to even consider.
As darkness fell upon Neverland once again, Emma had found a tiny cave and had crawled into it. Hungry and alone she had fallen asleep with tears streaking down her face and anger bubbling in her gut. Her heart, which during her short time with Peter had felt so free and light, hardened coldly and she vowed that if she ever got out of the strange land alive she'd never trust a living soul again. Sleep had not come to her easily—fear of being devoured by the creatures that lurked outside her small alcove was much stronger than exhaustion.
The next morning and most of the day proved to be much similar to the last, hungry, tired, scared, and alone, she had wandered Neverland's forests and fields looking for any sign of the lost boys or their brave and fearless leader. Again her attempts had proved futile and eventually she had just given up all together, wandering around silently wondering how death would find her in a place so mysterious and beautiful.
Her wanderings had eventually brought her to the sea.
Sitting on the beach, her tired body ached as frustration and betrayal simmered inside of her, threatening to boil over. Her face was streaked with long ago shed tears, and her heart was heavy as the slow and final realization of Peter's desertion hit her hard.
He wasn't coming back for her.
She really was going to die in Neverland.
And as the thought crossed her mind, a sudden sliver of hope weaseled its way into her brain…maybe she really was dreaming, maybe this had all been a long incredibly drawn out nightmare. On a desperate whim she pinched herself harshly, her nails biting into her skin, nearly drawing blood. Hissing in pain when the action did nothing but mark her pale skin with an angry red welt, she felt what was left of her self-control fade away and slamming her fists into the ground, she yelled out her frustration on a string of angry broken curses.
"Damn you Peter!" She screamed, her voice breaking as her echo rang out into the eerily silent night. "PETER!"
No one answered, her voice fading in the wind.
She hadn't expected any less.
Lying back on the sand, she glanced up at the sky that glittered with thousands of twinkling stars and watching as the moon slowly rose above her, she sobbed silently into the darkness, feeling more afraid and alone than she had ever felt in her entire miserable life.
And it was with a sad little sigh and a final few tears that her mind began to slip, giving into the impending exhaustion even as her eyes struggled to remain open, refusing to accept imminent defeat.
But her efforts were futile and soon her body conceded—the scent of the sea and the silhouette of a looming ship was the last thing she tiredly acknowledged before her body gave up and she slipped away into merciful unconsciousness.
Emma and Hook's story in Neverland is up next...hope you enjoyed the first part.
I hope this story isn't just a big mess of hard to follow nonsense. The story makes sense in my head and I hope as it unfolds you all enjoy it as much as I did writing it!
Please review guys and again as always thanks for reading! :)