A/N: So, welcome to the first chapter of my new Niff story - if you've read my first story, Conspiratio, then thank you, and if you haven't, please do :)
I want to point out that, while this is based on Peter Pan, it is not a crossover, the plot will have some very clear similarities and the characters may be based rather heavily on the original Peter Pan characters, but they will not be crossing over. To be honest, the only characters that will be similar will be Nana the dog and the ticking crocodile! This fanfic is based on both the book by J. M. Barrie and the Walt Disney film, but I have had to change some major aspects :) But please, do enjoy it :)
Disclaimer: I do not own Glee and I do not own Peter Pan.
Our story begins in London, although it shall not remain in London for very long. Now, London is a very large place indeed, and to the untrained eye, it would be impossible to find where it is in the city that we will start.
It is not a great landmark, such as the tower of Big Ben, or the domed roof of St Paul's Cathedral, instead, it is a rather insignificant building near Kensington Gardens. But for the purpose of this story, it is not insignificant in the slightest, nor is Kensington Gardens, which, in truth, began all of these strange happenings.
The building is rather tall and thin, made in the fashion of the previous century, having never been updated since. But the occupants don't mind, the appearance of their dwelling is not the most prominent issue in their minds; in fact, for the adults, their most common state of mind was of worrying whether they had enough food to feed all of the hungry persons in their care. For, you see, this building was an orphanage.
There were a great many children in the orphanage, the majority of them under the age of ten; I shall not trouble you with their names, for they do not feature particularly in this story. However, there were three elder children, all above the age of sixteen, who I shall tell you about. The younger pair were named Kurt and Blaine, neither were related in any way, and had been the best of friends since before anyone could remember.
It is the eldest that we are most concerned with, for it is his story that is to be recounted. Nicholas Duval was seventeen, and therefore the protector of the younger children. He'd been left at the orphanage as a tiny baby, with only a blanket and a scrap of paper with his name written on, and he was the first child that the proprietors had brought up; although inexperienced at first, they must have been succeeding in some way, for Nicholas grew up to be a well-mannered and clever young man.
The aforementioned proprietors were a Mr and Mrs Schuester, a young couple who, upon discovering that they could not have children on their own, set up the orphanage, since Emma Schuester was of a motherly nature, and longed for many children to care for. Her husband, Will Schuester, was of a similar opinion, although he had questioned his judgement on one or two occasions when the children got into mischief.
The last notable member of the household was the Schuesters' dog, Nana, who served as the closest the orphans had to a nurse, for she always escorted them to their schooling, and brought them their clothes or belongings when they were needed.
Altogether, the household was a peaceful one, albeit a little hectic, and nothing out of the ordinary ever happened there. But there is always calm before a storm, and there was a storm coming indeed for one Nicholas Duval.
Nicholas, or Nick, as he preferred to be called, had been doing nothing in particular for the majority of the day, and now he'd been practically summoned by one of the younger children, to read them all a bedtime story. It was tradition, you see, and Nick was especially good at making up stories.
Except Nick wasn't entirely making them up, for every night he dreamt of a mysterious island, with its lagoon and rambling forests; its pirate ships and Red Indian camps; and most of all, its inhabitants. He dreamt of the pirates, the Red Indians, mermaids in the lagoon, and a tall blonde boy, who was about his own age. It was the blonde boy that intrigued Nick the most, and although at first he never saw more than a fleeting glance of him, over time, he learned more and more about him. He discovered that his name was Jeff Sterling, and the first time that Nick saw the other boy properly, he was speechless; Jeff Sterling was the most beautiful person that he'd ever seen. Not only that, but the boy had never changed in the whole time Nick had dreamed about him, and if the thought wasn't completely strange, then Nick would have concluded that Jeff Sterling never grew up.
And so Nick took the adventures that he had in his dreams, and he turned them into stories for the children. Yet he'd never been able to speak the blonde boy's name aloud, it seemed too personal and anyway, he was Nick's secret. So, Nick named the character in his stories Peter Pan, and nobody was any wiser to the origins of Nick's ideas and imagination.
Blaine and Kurt, though, being older than the rest of the children, did often ask Nick where he found the inspiration to his stories. But the older boy would just shrug and smile, before telling them that it just came naturally to him.
In fact, many things did come naturally to Nick, such as caring for the younger children as though they were actually his siblings. If one child needed a pair of socks darned, then they went to Nick, not Mrs Schuester, who could not sew at all. If another child wanted someone to teach them a sport, they asked Nick, not Mr Schuester, who never partook in any sort of physical activity. And finally, if any child had a nightmare, it would be to Nick's room that they would run, or it would be Nick's name that they'd call out.
Nick did like the fact that other children looked up to him, and that they all loved him dearly, but it did mean that he was left with very little time for himself. And what Nick needed at that point, was some time to himself, for he needed to consider what sort of path he would follow once he was grown up.
He'd collected notes on every story that he'd ever told, and had thought about having them published as a book. But then he worried about whether the books would sell, and he worried about the amount of money that they might bring in. For money was the one thing he needed, he had barely threepence to his name, and he needed a steady income if he was to support himself in the future.
And that future was approaching dreadfully fast. In less than a week, he would be eighteen, and he'd have to leave the safety of the orphanage forever. It was a terrifying prospect, and if there was anything that Nick didn't want to do, it was grow up.
However, unbeknownst to all in the orphanage, it was not just the orphans who enjoyed listening to Nick's stories.
Every night, under the cover of darkness, Jeff Sterling hid under the windowsill of whichever room Nick was telling his stories in. He was lucky, for against the back of the house stood a large oak tree, and its branches served as a place to sit whenever Jeff visited.
He loved hearing the way that Nick told the stories, and he was even more thrilled when he heard Nick describing him; even if he did curiously alter his name somewhat, Jeff always knew that he was referring to him. Yet his favourite stories would always be those that he'd never heard of; the one with the girl who lived with seven small people, or the girl who fell asleep for a hundred years. They fascinated Jeff, who'd never had much contact with girls, and yet the stories mostly appeared to be about them in particular, and Jeff had come to the conclusion that they were a strange group of people. He decided that as amazing as Nick's storytelling about girls was, he'd stick to boys in real life; they seemed a lot simpler to understand.
Now, our story really begins on the night that Jeff finally gained the courage to enter the Schuester household and find Nick. He'd always wanted to see the other boy, and ask him where he found his stories, but more than anything, he wanted the other boy to know that he, Jeff Sterling, was very impressed with the fact that he'd somehow incorporated his own adventures into the stories.
Unfortunately for Jeff, he'd got caught up talking with the south-west wind, and had therefore forgotten, for a little while, where he was supposed to be. When he did finally remember, however, he rushed and made it to the orphanage in record time.
But it was not fast enough, for Nick, having heard one of the younger children crying out in their sleep, had left his room to comfort the other child. And so, when Jeff arrived at the window, the room was empty.
Now, Jeff was not the sort of person to just give up and return the next night in hope of better luck, so he decided that he'd wait for Nick to return, as he would have to do inevitably.
However, Jeff was also not the most patient of people, and after a few minutes of sitting on the nearest branch of the oak tree, he'd become bored and thought that it would probably be better if he actually went and looked for Nick. Later, he'd probably realise, although never admit it, that this idea went against his better judgement, but nevertheless, he prised the window even further open, and dropped noiselessly onto the floor below.
Now, although educated in the ways of the Red Indians and the practice of being completely silent, Jeff could not stop himself from crowing in delight when it occurred to him that he'd made it into the Schuester household undiscovered.
That crow turned out to be his undoing, for if he'd remained silent for perhaps ten minutes more, Nick would have come back from comforting another child, and he would have seen Jeff. However, instead of bringing Nick running, Jeff's crow brought Nana instead.
Nana was fiercely protective of the occupants of her household, and if she thought that one of them was in danger, then she acted accordingly. Now, Nana did not know that Nick was in another room, and her immediate instinct was that Nick was being attacked while he slept, so she rushed into the bedroom as fast as she could.
She found Nick's bed empty, and a strange blonde boy standing in the middle of the floor looking mightily pleased with himself instead. Nana had not heard the stories of Jeff Sterling, for if she had, then she might have recognised that this was him, but since she didn't, she leapt at him with as much ferocity as she could muster.
Jeff was startled out of his excitement by an angry bark, and before he could register what was happening, a large dog was jumping at him. Jeff was usually comfortable around many animals, having lived around a number of rather exotic and dangerous ones, but the sight of the dog suddenly panicked him, though, again, he would never admit it, and he jumped out the window in fright.
Again, unfortunately for him, he was not entirely quick enough, and Nana snapped at his heels, tearing off his shadow in the process. Jeff, although rather indignant about the loss of his shadow, was too proud to turn around and retrieve it, and so he just continued on his way, vowing to himself that he would return and find it as soon as he could.
Now, although Jeff has gone, we must return to Nick's room and discover the mess that has been made there, for Nana is now sitting on the floor mournfully looking at the crumpled shadow that she had bitten from Jeff.
Nick returned to his room at the sound of Nana's bark, and found her in this position. He knelt down beside her, and petted her behind the ears.
"What's wrong, Nana?" he asked, looking at her curiously.
Nana whined, and pawed at the shadow on the ground. Nick picked the shadow up and held it in front of him in bewilderment.
"Nana?" he said slowly, "Is this a shadow?"
Nana whined again and hid her head in her paws. Nick frowned and stood up, examining the shadow carefully.
"I wonder who it belongs to?" he mused, "It's certainly too tall for any of the children, and too thin for Mr Schuester."
Nana barked a few times, and occasionally waved a paw in the air, but, for once, Nick could not understand her.
"I'm sorry, Nana," he said, "But I think in the excitement, you did not see his face, did you?"
Nana barked sadly and shook her head. Nick patted her gently.
"You did the best you could," he thanked her.
He looked at the shadow one last time, before folding it carefully and placing it in the nearest drawer.
"I shall keep it until whoever own it returns," he said solemnly, and then he looked over at Nana, "And you must tell me if he ever returns, Nana."
Nana barked her faithful agreement; she would do whatever Nick asked of her.
Nick crossed to the window and closed it.
"I fancy that this window is further open than I left it," he said to himself, "I guess whoever entered must have left this way." He looked down. "It is an awfully long way down, but the oak tree is close enough to the window to be used, I suppose."
He locked the window soundly, before readying himself for sleep. Nana barked happily and nuzzled at his hand. Nick looked down at her.
"Well, Nana, I do hope that the owner of the shadow returns soon," he remarked.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the start of this story, and if you did, please leave a review to tell me what you thought :)