Slight change from canon, because I didn't quite like how Henry could suddenly hear the damn pipes at the end. I mean, in Henry's mind nothing should have changed, he'd already believed Neal was dead; and therefore unable to rescue him—but surely he knows Emma and his grandparents will always come for him. A 'dream' as Pan attempted to play it off shouldn't really have changed anything. So yeah, in this Henry still remains un-pipe-able. Huzzah!
Also the ending ran away from me a bit, this was supposed to be—well, I'm not really sure what it was supposed to be, but whatever it was, it wasn't this. Still, hopefully it's slightly enjoyable.
Henry hadn't heard the music. The boy had been utterly deaf to the pipes hauntingly hypnotic tune, both soothing and enticing as it strolled through the night, ensnaring the minds of the other little lost children. Pan frowned. The truest believer's loyalties were proving more difficult to sway than Pan anticipated. Of course, he'd always known it wouldn't be easy; the truest believer wasn't a title easily bestowed and it was only fitting for the boy's mind to be resilient to Pan's games.
Peter shrugged, resilient or not Henry would eventually see things his way. Peter always got his way in the end. Still—he needed to learn more about Henry's so called family… especially Emma. For some reason even though Emma had already abandoned Henry once, the boy remained steadfast in his belief in her. It didn't make sense. Abandonment wasn't something that went away, no excuses or apologies could ever be enough—because when it came down to it, even if it was only for a moment, abandonment meant that that someone had decided not to fight for you. A best chance…? He snorted to himself, what utter nonsense. Unless you can see the future that excuse falls by the wayside, there is no possible way of knowing if the so called 'best chance' is any better.
No, Peter knew from experience that the only chance anyone ever had was to fight; with blades and fists and teeth if that's what it took. That's why he knew with complete conviction he was going to win—he always won—because Peter wasn't afraid. Not of monsters, or nightmares, or Emma and her cluster of fools, he wasn't afraid to do whatever it tool; he'd ever rip worlds apart if he had too. Emma could never hope to be as free, so bound by the fear of being alone and unwanted as she was.
Still she was posing more of a hindrance than he had predicted.
He mouthed the top of the pipes, humming quietly into them. His boys were all fast asleep and Pan used the quiet to gather his thoughts and plot. The stakes had risen, he thought with a thrum of excitement, with both of the boys' parents running around the island he'd have to be more careful when staging confrontations. He needed to draw Henry away from his family. He needed Henry to be his, to trust him—like all the lost boys did: and a small dose of fear wouldn't hurt either.
Pan got to his feet, still humming a steady tune into his pipes. The shadows welcomed him, masking not only his form but his scent, breath and footsteps as he slipped through the forest— and nothing not even the wind dared hinder his casual strides. It whistled through him as if he were a mere spectre rather than blood and bone. He was untouchable; to everything.
A soft glow from dying embers pulsed into his vision causing him to slow. Initially he thought to take to the treetops, but dismissed the thought almost as quickly. He wanted to feel the warmth of his newest guests. Therefore with the same stout confidence that laced his very veins he strode into the centre of the little camp.
A certain stillness settled over the camp, the shadows that had flickered and danced in the dying light froze in their movements, collectively acknowledging Pan's power and ownership and, unthinkingly, awaited instruction. A tilt of his head sent them spiralling through the forest, chasing the heels of the forests natural quiet; clawing and scratching, leaving trembling trees and a chilling path of vehement silence in their wake.
Content in the knowledge Henry was adequately guarded Pan surveyed the sleeping figures.
Snow White and her Prince lay entwined, their bodies pressed impossibly close to one another, as if they were attempting to become one—no doubt seeking comfort against the insecurities and fears Neverland oh so helpfully revives. Even now Pan took pleasure in the uneasy set of their features, not even 'true love' was safe in Neverland.
He sneered, true love—what a disgustingly adult concept.
Next he turned to the pirate and couldn't help but smirk. Instead of sprawled out on the floor like his companions the pirate was leant against a tree; guarding his back, with his sword across his lap, his only hand resting lightly on the hilt. Pleased Pan stalked forwards, past the evil queen—he had no interest in her, though her temper could be fun to play with—and came to a stop before the pirate; at least someone was taking his Island seriously. Still, had the pirate honestly thought the tree would offer any sort of protection? This island was his, the trees were his, he would have thought the thief would have learnt that buy now.
Steady fingers gently eased the blade from the pirates possession, pausing only momentarily in the slight twitch of the pirates brow. Too easy, Peter wrinkled his nose, strangely he expected better-how unusual?
No matter, the pirate was like an old toy, there was a certain nostalgia; once the man had been so fun to play with, but no more. Pan knew all the pirates tricks, knew how he thought—how he reacted… why linger on old relics when Pan had such newer, shinier toys?
Sword loosely gripped in his hand he ghosted over to the final figure—his favourite. She was laid out on a mat not far from the fire, but a considerable distance from each of her companions—so alone even when surrounded by allies, surely even she could see it? She wasn't one of them—the grown up's, the rescue committee—she was a lost girl, one of Neverlands very own: his. Why was it taking her so long to realise?
One of her hands rested, fingertips slightly curled, palm upwards, inviting, next to her head. Cocking his head to the side Pan gently pressed the tip of the sheathed sword the pale skin of her palm, her fingers flexed slightly in a grabbing motion. Pan let out an amused puff of breath. Daringly he trailed the tip over her wrist, drawing a smooth line all the way down to the crook of her elbow. Perhaps it was his turn to mark her? As payment for the scratch she'd given him.
She shifted, drawing her arm in closer to her body and turning her head away from him; strands of hair fell over her features, as if subconsciously she was hiding from him. Pan felt an unnecessary spark of anger. She couldn't hide from him. Not here. Pan stepped over her body, so that she was once again facing him. The sword arched up slowly, barely a hair's breath from her cheek as Pan used it to lift the strands from her face and sweep them over her shoulder. Better.
Her features, initially relaxed—or as relaxed as was possible in Neverland—slowly shifted into a frown. Small wrinkles creased her brow. Intrigued Pan crouched, sword otherwise forgotten on the floor as his fingers hovered over the slight downturn of her lips. "Emma," he crooned softly, "Can you feel it Emma? An enemy in your camp? A presence by your side?"
He traced the air above her lips, his mind focused on nothing but the warm puffs of air tickling his fingertips. He wondered, briefly, whether, if he allowed himself to feel Neverlands stark chill, would the warmth spread throughout his body, as if he was stood by a fire, or remain focused in his fingers? "Where's your feisty spirit now Emma? I could kill you—all of you, right here and right now and none of you could do a thing to stop me. I won't of course—that wouldn't be any fun, but I could. Perhaps I should, maybe Henry would give in easier if he knew you were dead—knew a rescue wouldn't be coming? What do you think Emma? Shall I do away with his old family in order to make room for his new one?"
He trailed his fingers down over her jaw, always hovering just above her skin so as not to wake her, yet still able to savour her warmth, and then down across her neck.
He took a moment to steady himself, the thrill of danger—knowing she could wake at any moment—was clouding his judgement. But he couldn't move; he had to try and understand what it was about her that warranted such attention. Ever since he'd met her she'd been there, flitting across the back of his mind, enticing his thoughts away from Henry and magic. While awake she was a flaming beacon, intense and dangerous and utterly captivating. He had to go to her, had to taunt and challenge and witness her defiance—
But asleep… it was almost like she was missing something. She looked vulnerable—weak. He tilted his head, eyes following the path his fingers took as they danced across her cheek, mapping her features. Weak things didn't hold his attention, weak things weren't worth his time, yet he couldn't pull his gaze from the smooth curve of her jaw, or the slight crease between her brows.
"Why won't Henry give up on you?" He continued, words hushed and whispered, "You left him once, and I can sense the pain and anger twisting its way through his very core, but it doesn't affect him as it does the lost boys. He remains separate from us, isolated, as if he's waiting for something—but you aren't coming to save him, are you Emma? Can't you feel it, Neverlands already ripping through those walls of yours; it's clawing at the foundations and raising your defences to the ground. Soon you'll be so wrapped up in your own pain, you won't even remember Henry's name."
His words, like poison, stretch unhindered through the small space between them, twisting and coiling into daggers aimed to pierce her heart. "I'll take your parents." Pan promised viciously.
"Your lover," He added spitefully as he sent a glare at the unworthy thief snoring quietly off to the side, "I'll make sure you're as alone as you feel, and then, then I'll take your dreams—I'll send my shadows slinking into the deepest parts of your mind and rip them clean out of you."
The anger had arisen unexpectedly, but Pan welcomed it, used the fire it lit in his blood to wrench his hand away from Emma's sleeping form. His words however, continued to fall from his lips, "You'll have nothing Emma, nothing. No family, no hopes. Nothing." He leant closer, his breath ghosting her ear, "…only me."
Spent, he pushed back onto his feet, taking the sword with him. After a quick rummage he finally procured the map from within one of the various bags littered around the camp site. He scoffed; careless. They would have to do much better than this, and quickly, before he decided they weren't worth the game he'd created for them.
A few of the shadows, perhaps sensing he was almost done began to retake their intrusive positions around the camp, relying on the moon now that the dying embers were spent.
Pan pinned the map to a random tree with the pirates' blade. He wanted them to know he'd been here, he wanted them to know they weren't safe; Neverland wasn't safe. With a last glance at Emma's still form, he reached into his shirt and retrieved the pipes from where he'd stashed them. He set off, lazy in his steps, a chilling tune in his wake.
The notes, low and haunting, lingered in the cool air.
Still gripped by sleep, Emma shivered.