Peter struggled with the ropes that bound him as he looked around frantically. He had been flying over the pirate ship before he had blacked out and now couldn't remember anything else that had happened. Somehow, he had wound up here, in this smelly pirate cabin with only one window and a door with bars near the top. Peter flexed his muscles as he tried to loosen the ropes but the knots were tied too tightly. He silently cursed whoever had done this. He was the great Peter Pan; no one captured him. The door was flung open and a blinding stream of sunlight made Peter throw his hands up in front of his face and wince.
"So sorry to keep you waiting, Pan. I had matters to deal with."
"Whoever you are, you have no idea who you're dealing with," the boy growled. There was a loud chuckle and the shadowy figure's shoulders shook with glee.
"Oh Pan, you never fail to disappoint. You were always good for a laugh. More often, it was you laughing at me so you'll forgive me for taking advantage of this wonderfully rare opportunity." Peter's eyes narrowed. He knew that voice. He even knew that silhouette. But it wasn't possible. He had beaten him. He had beaten his enemy and had watched him fall to the hungry crocodile below. But the figure knelt before him and Peter's eyes widened in horror.
"How," was all he could say. Hook laughed.
"You'll never be rid of me, Pan. What is Neverland without James Hook? What is Peter Pan without James Hook to taunt him?"
"You lost, old man. I beat you!"
"Once again your smugness and selfishness still astound me. You didn't beat me alone. You had help, you remember?" Peter frowned.
"The Lost Boys always help me but in the end, it was I—"
"It was not the Lost Boys to whom I was referring, boy. You had help. From a girl." Peter's frown deepened. A girl? In Neverland? What was Hook playing at?
"I have no idea what or who you're talking about. Release me, Hook, so we may fight again. I'll show you I need no help to defeat you." Hook threw his head back and laughed loudly, causing Peter to shrink back slightly. The malice in his laughter was downright terrifying.
"Oh this is just too priceless. You have forgotten already? I know you forget so easily but I did think you would remember the girl who gave you her hidden kiss."
"Oh…I can't even…Starkey! Gentleman Starkey, bring in the girl! Now!" The door was opened and Peter saw a young woman, more girl than woman but still a girl on the brink of adulthood, being dragged inside the cabin. She had long blonde curls and bright blue eyes that were currently clouded with tears. Her hands were bound behind her back and several pieces of cord gagged her so she could let out a muffled sounds. Her eyes went to Peter and they widened. Peter stared at the girl in bemusement. She felt somewhat familiar but Peter wondered how he could have known her. It was like a distant dream that he was trying to grasp as it slipped away from his mind with the morning sunlight. He frowned at her and turned to Hook.
"I've never seen this girl before in my life. Why have you brought her here?" Hook let out a delighted chuckle and turned to the girl.
"Do you see my dear? What did I tell you? Your hero forgets you so easily. He is nothing but a selfish little boy and will always be just that. Now do you believe me?" She shook her head sadly, fresh tears streaming down her face. Hook jerked his chin and Starkey threw the girl to the floor, right in front of Peter. She was in danger of falling into his lap and he shrank back. The pirate removed the ropes from Peter's hands and Peter flexed his fingers, regaining the feeling in them again. Hook grabbed Peter's hand and brought it to the girl's cheek, which Peter noted, was incredibly soft.
"You have forgotten your Wendy, boy," Hook said in the boy's ear. Peter stared and the girl's eyes found his; they looked sad and pleading. Peter searched her eyes for anything to help him remember her but found nothing. He shook his head and yanked his hand back.
"I don't know what kind of game you're playing Hook but release me now. I'll kill you before the end."
"Oh Pan. Forgive me for contradicting you but I believe it will be me that kills you."
"Forget the bloodshed for a moment, boy. I have brought your little friend here to see your last moments. You really do not remember her?"
"I don't know her," Peter said solemnly. Hook's brow raised and for a moment, he looked baffled. But he suddenly leaned forward and whispered something in the girl's ear, at the same time, removing her gag.
"Remind him of who you are, Wendy Darling. And what you mean to him." Wendy blinked back tears as she moved closer to the boy; Peter's eyes darted from Hook to Wendy and back to Hook and they narrowed; he knew the pirate was up to something but he couldn't for the life of him figure out what it was.
"Peter." Peter started at the way her gentle voice said his name; it was so familiar, so inviting. She leaned closer to him and gently nuzzled his cheek. He swallowed, feeling his heart race.
"This belongs to you. And always will," she whispered in his ear. His heart pounded at her words, knowing them from somewhere. Why couldn't he remember?! While he was trying to puzzle it out, he saw her coming closer and her lips were inches from his. He leaned back as far as he could, until his head hit the wall. Wendy's lips touched his and they were soft and sweet. She kissed him for a moment before pulling away, and she tasted her own salty tears. Peter's eyes remained closed for a moment and he whispered something.
"What was that boy?" Hook barked.
"Wendy," he whispered again. "Wendy!" His eyes snapped open to see the girl sitting in front of him, her lips pink and velvety. "I remember you," he whispered. Wendy tried to smile but she couldn't; Hook's plan had worked. She had hoped he would not remember her and so he would be safe from Hook's guile but her kiss had awoken the boy's memories. He was staring at her with wide eyes and her sad gaze met his.
"Wendy! I'm so sorry, I know I said I would visit but I just—" he stopped as Hook yanked on Wendy's curls and pulled her away from him. Wendy gasped as the steel hook flew to her throat and she swallowed miserably.
"Doesn't take much for you to remember, does it Pan? All it takes is a kiss."
"Let her go, Hook," Peter growled, struggling to his feet. Starkey's whip made a whooshing sound through the air and Peter cried out as it met his bare flesh. He fell to his knees, panting in pain. He glanced up to see Hook tying Wendy's hands again and his hook remained positioned to kill.
"Hook," Peter said weakly, "she's done nothing wrong!"
"But you have, Pan. And quite the contrary… she saved your life. That's about the worst thing she could have done." Hook sliced a clean line across Wendy's neck and she cried out as ruby droplets dripped down her skin. Hook had dragged Wendy across the room, toward the window and glanced out and smiled.
"What's that I hear my dear? The tick-tock sound of your doom." Both Wendy and Peter froze as they heard the steady ticking of a clock, meaning the hungry beast was waiting below for its next meal. And Peter understood Hook's plan too late; Hook had lifted Wendy into the air and had easily tossed her out the cabin window.
"NO!" Wendy's screams pierced Peter's heart and the silence that followed when she met the water was even worse. Tears streamed down his face as he shook his head in disbelief.
"No," he said quietly. Her screams continued as did loud roars and Hook even shook his head and winced.
"Tragic, so tragic." Peter opened his mouth to speak but he heard Wendy's bloodcurdling scream be cut off and he felt like he was going to retch.
"Wendy," he whispered in a defeated voice.
"Lock him up. He needs time to think about his lost love and what his life will mean now." Peter didn't notice Hook striding out of the cabin nor did he notice chains binding him to the cabin wall. All he could whisper was her name as he was left in darkness and despair.
"WENDY!" Peter sat straight up in bed, his blankets soaked from a cold sweat. He put a shaking hand to his head and closed his eyes. He groaned as he remembered his vivid dream and he threw the blankets back and hurried into the next room.
He was quiet as he opened the door and peered in, almost falling to his knees with relief when he saw the beautiful girl, sound asleep in her bed. Her blonde curls were strewn over the pillow, her eyelashes rested against her fair cheek as she dreamed peacefully, one hand curled by her head, the other resting on her chest. Peter moved closer and gently sat on the edge of the bed, his hand reaching out to stroke her cheek. It had been a dream. A horrible dream. He had been having those dreams for weeks now, three weeks, to be exact, since he had defeated Hook and with the help of Wendy and the Lost Boys, had saved the day. But he remembered what happened after they had defeated the pirates; how he had flown the ship back to London and was prepared to say goodbye to the Darlings forever. And then his Lost Boys had begged for Peter to allow them to go as well, and he was faced with having to say goodbye to everyone he knew. And loved. Wendy had turned to him and had thrown herself into his arms.
"Come with us, Peter."
"You know I can't. Neverland is my home. It's where I belong. I don't belong in your world. I can't," he added sadly. She sniffed and pulled away and he instantly missed the feeling of having her in his arms. Whatever these feelings were that flowed through him, he didn't necessarily hate but he didn't understand them either.
"You won't forget me…will you?" Her voice sounded so vulnerable, so pleading that Peter's heart went out to her.
"Me? Forget? Never," he said softly, stroking her cheek. "I could never ever forget you."
"You know what I gave you on the Jolly Roger, Peter? That's my hidden kiss and only one person ever holds that. It belongs to you and no one else and shall always belong to you."
"Then I shall hold onto it proudly," he said, clutching his fist as if he was grasping her kiss in his hand. She moved closer and her fingertips traced his lips. He kissed her fingers and took her hand into his own. His eyes, bright and clear, bore into hers.
"You could stay with me, you know. I'll take care of you and you'll never fear anything. I'll treat you as a gentleman should treat a lady." She was about to protest and surely refuse but Peter pressed his lips against hers and all of her thoughts instantly left her. They remained locked at the lips, feeling passion and heat and something else neither of them quite understood, rising between them. When Wendy pulled away, she saw Peter watching her with something blazing in his eyes and she instantly knew what it was; even if he could never say the word, she knew what he felt. He held onto her hands tightly and bit his lip as he waited for her answer.
"Please, Wendy. Please don't leave me," he said in the quietest of voices.
"Peter. What about my family?"
"I'll bring you to visit as often as you like. I'd never keep you away from them forever. But I can't imagine Neverland without you, Wendy. I can't imagine my life without you." Those were the words she needed and had been waiting for. As the ship hovered over the Darlings' house, Wendy slowly made her way to her brothers and gently kissed their cheeks. Peter watched her warily, still waiting for an answer.
"I finally know where I belong," she said quietly to John and Michael and they both gasped.
"Wendy, you can't! What will Mother and Father say?"
"Tell them I need to find adventures of my own. I'll be back someday." Finally understanding, Peter ran to her and whirled her around in his arms. She held onto his neck and stared up into his eyes.
"You truly mean it," he whispered, his lips inches from hers. "You're not leaving me?" She responded by leaning up and kissing him. The boys around them watched, awe-struck and Slightly shook his head.
"Peter Pan has…feelings."
"How could he not, now that Wendy has given him her hidden kiss," Michael said matter-of-factly. And so, Peter and Wendy, hand in hand, said goodbye to the boys and sailed back to Neverland. Peter showed Wendy to one of the larger rooms that once belonged to the boys and made sure she was well attended to. He spent the following days showing her around Neverland and taking her to swim in the Neversea and they would lay on the beach and hold each other and kiss but it never progressed to anything else. Peter knew he had never had these feelings before and he didn't want to admit to Wendy how much she was changing him. At the same time, Wendy was a smart girl. She knew they were both changing because of what they felt but if she couldn't get Peter to admit it, there really was no point in taking it any further.
And then the nightmares started. Peter had awoken, drenched and panic-stricken, and had called for Wendy until she had come running to his side, and held him until he fell back asleep. At first, he refused to tell her what he had seen in his dreams; he told her he forgot as soon as he woke up and knew she didn't believe him but she didn't press the matter. However, as the weeks went on, the dreams became more and more unbearable and finally, Peter admitted to Wendy that Hook was terrorizing them both and had killed Wendy while Peter was helpless to stop it. Wendy was stunned, to say the least. First of all, Peter Pan feared nothing. But the fear and horror in his eyes as he told her this story were too great to imagine; and she knew he feared for her safety. To hear his voice tremble when he spoke of her dying only assured Wendy that Peter felt strongly for her. Wendy stroked his forehead and kissed him gently, promising him that the nightmares would stop soon. Hook was dead, they had nothing more to fear.
But they did not stop; if anything, they were getting worse. Tonight's even showed Peter forgetting all about Wendy, only to be reminded of what they shared by her kiss, only moments before her death. Her screams still echoed in Peter's ears and he winced. He shook his head and moaned, praying that the nightmares would stop. Wendy's eyes opened sleepily and she saw her beloved Peter sitting on the edge of her bed, his eyes squeezed shut as if he were in pain. She sat up and reached out to caress his cheek.
"Boy, why are you crying," she whispered gently. Peter's eyes snapped open and he turned to see Wendy watching him with bright eyes. He moved closer and relaxed in her lap, while her hands automatically went around him and held him close. He heard her heart beating rapidly against her chest and his arms wrapped around her tightly, as he nuzzled in closer.
"Another one?" she asked gently. Peter buried his face in her gown, determined that she would never see his tears. She sighed and ran her fingers through his curls, as he closed his eyes and felt himself relax.
"They'll stop, you know. Give it time. You just defeated your greatest enemy only three weeks ago. Just give it time, Peter."
"They're getting worse, Wendy. The one I had tonight…it was terrible." His voice was muffled by her nightgown but she heard him very clearly and rested her chin on his head, continuing to finger his tangled hair. He didn't think she'd be able to make out his words so he continued. "I forgot who you were…and I…I don't even see how that's possible, I don't think I could ever forget you…but I did and Hook, he had a plan…he made you…kiss me and made me remember you…and then he k-killed you…I heard your screams, you were crying for me to save you and I c-couldn't…I couldn't do anything…" he broke off as tears overpowered him and he sobbed into her dress. Wendy's arms closed around him, like a protective blanket and held his shaking body closely to hers. He instantly felt better, surrounded by her warmth and love. He pulled away and furiously wiped at his eyes. Wendy pretended to be straightening her blankets; it was only a mark of how well she knew him and much he meant to her. She pretended to see nothing, to keep his dignity intact. And for that, Peter was grateful. He sniffed and played with the fraying blanket underneath his fingers.
"Wendy…could I stay with you…just for tonight?" Wendy bit her lip; she knew it was highly improper for a young man and woman to be sharing a bed but she also knew they were in Neverland and propriety could really be thrown out the window. She moved aside and pulled her blankets back for him to settle under and with a smile, he settled behind her and pulled the blanket back over her. She draped herself over his arm and he hesitated, not wanting to cross any lines with her, only wanting to sleep next to her and forget these horrible dreams. Wendy could feel his hesitation and she reached up and brought his other arm around her, closing her in his strong embrace. Peter smiled and gently kissed her cheek before he lay his head on the pillow next to hers and closed his eyes. The feeling of Wendy's warm body pressed against him was paradise and the sound of her steady breathing as she quickly fell back asleep was his lullaby; he soon found sleep himself and he dozed off to peaceful dreams of the girl wrapped in his arms.