5/12/05: So, I've been rereading some of my favorite bits of Peter Pan fanfiction and was struck by a sudden desire to write some of my own. I tried about... *sweatdrop* ...8 years ago (My goodness...) and failed miserably. Thing is, I have my own take on Peter Pan and couldn't quite get it across. I think I managed a little bit in this story, but it could just be because it's midnight and I'm fooling myself. -.-;;;
Anyway, in the middle of this desire, I discovered that the 15 minute ficlet Word of the Week for this past week was...
I just couldn't resist. ^_^ And so, in the hopes that this is the opening piece to many more Peter Pan fics to come, I present this story for your perusal. Be aware that though it could apply to any version of Peter Pan, the one I have most consistently in my mind as I write is "Fox's Peter Pan and the Pirates" a wonderful cartoon from the early 90s which I adore and hope to see on DVD sometime in my lifetime. ^_^
And now... the fic.
Hard though it might be for some to believe, Peter, on very rare days, didn't want to be the center of attention. He, himself, would have found it difficult but that he had a fantastic imagination. He had once imagined an entire world into being and then maintained its existence by force of will alone. He had once grown up sheerly by wishing it to happen -- and regressed back to childhood the same way. But perhaps Peter's greatest imaginative feat had been this: lonely for friends and for family, he had created his own. Plucked from here and there in the currents of time and space, fit together higgledy-piggledy from other families, Peter knew he couldn't have done any better if he'd been born into the same house with each of them.
Nibs: His second, his brother, his best friend. Nibs was always ready for an adventure. Always ready to support him when he needed a helping hand. Always ready to worship him when he wanted to be worshiped. Noble, responsible, attentive to details -- Nibs had all the qualities that Peter didn't wish to possess himself. It made him a perfect partner. That was why he had been the first of Peter's chosen family. They'd had such grand adventures at the beginning...
Slightly: What could he say about the boy who never felt he fit in? The boy who tried so hard only to so often fail so miserably. And yet it was these very things that drew Peter to him most. It might be narcissistic of him, but he loved that Slightly's whole focus in life was to earn Peter's praise. It made Peter try constantly harder to be worthy of that intense need to please. It made him better than he could ever be without that incentive.
Curly: The comic relief. Every family needed one. Someone who could make you laugh when you were feeling down. Someone who always knew where there was fun to be had. Someone who could make the dreariest days into grand adventures. Peter saw a lot of himself in Curly, to tell the truth... himself as he'd once been. He'd lost much of that sunnier side of himself when he created Neverland. That was why he'd needed to add Curly -- to regain that part of himself, even if only through another.
Twins: Peter wasn't sure why these two boys, who'd come from vastly different backgrounds, had become so very attached. He couldn't even remember what their names had been before they were "Twins". But he did remember why he'd brought them. With four of them in residence, it had become increasingly harder to find places large enough to sleep, harder to keep everyone fed. He'd found the two boys on two different continents, both deep in the middle of thinking up some device to help them get by when times were getting lean. He'd taken the taller Twin first. The dark-skinned boy had been terrified, hadn't understood a word that Peter had said. Peter had actually been worried -- for the first time -- that he might have made a mistake. Then, on the way back across the world, they'd come across the smaller Twin. The taller twin had been so captivated by the project that the smaller Twin had been working on that he'd dove down to help before Peter could stop it. And it became clear that even with no common language, the two could communicate. Two heads usually being better than one, and not wanting to admit that he'd had a near catastrophe, Peter had taken them both. Though the taller Twin had eventually learned their language, he and the smaller Twin had remained almost unnaturally close for two boys not even raised on the same continent. But it worked. And they brought definite improvements to the Lost Boys' lifestyle.
Tootles: Ah... Tootles. Peter didn't like to think of himself as older than anyone, but Tootles was definitely like a little brother. Kind, caring almost to a fault, always hungry. Tootles was the one they all watched out for. Tootles was the one that provided Peter with the most chances to be the hero. Everyone loved Tootles. Everyone. His real family had loved him, too. Peter had debated for days about whether or not to take this Lost Boy from his home. Of all the boys, Tootles was the only one that Peter could say with certainty had been truly loved. He'd been so sad when Peter first brought him to Neverland. It had taken him years to adjust. Fortunately for them all, he'd forgotten that terrible period shortly after it ended. Peter had no desire to remind him... even if, every now and then, he awoke at night to hear Tootles crying in his sleep and wondered if he'd made the wrong decision after all.
And then there were three: The Darlings. To be honest, Peter still didn't know what had possessed him to bring the three well-brought-up, pampered, loved children to Neverland. After Tootles, he'd sworn never to take another child that came from a loving home. And then he'd gone and taken three. Granted... they'd wanted to go. But their reasons had been so selfish. Wendy didn't want to grow up. John didn't want to be left out. Michael just wasn't old enough to know any better. He'd never taken anyone to Neverland for such reasons. Always before, there had been a need. With these three... maybe it had been something in the way that Wendy had dropped her hand so lightly onto his shoulder as he'd sat on the floor of her room, sobbing over his shadow. Maybe something in the way that she'd offered him comfort, though he was but a stranger. It awoke feelings in him that he'd thought long buried, needs and wants that he'd thought long dead. It made him want to hold on to her, even though he knew somehow, that someday she would be his end.
But back to the reason for his musing. Sometimes, on rare occasions, Peter felt so disconnected from his false little family that he just couldn't be part of it. There was something inside him... a darkness that no amount of playing could lighten. A sadness that no amount of gaiety could lift. A loneliness that no amount of playing house with children -- several of whom he'd dragged from their homes unwilling at first -- could fill. It was on these days that he fled the Underground house, seeking solace from the lies that he had built his life around. None of the Lost Boys understood -- although Nibs had come close, back at the beginning when it had been only they two. Wendy soothed and cajoled and petted, but she didn't understand either. Usually she didn't try. She enjoyed playing house with the Lost Boys, though she'd fled her home to avoid being thrust into the very role that she'd assumed so readily here in Neverland.
None of the Lost Boys understood his loneliness... but someone else in Neverland did. He understood the loneliness of a boy who couldn't grow up and thus could never change. The loneliness of a boy trapped in a nightmare that had once been the most beautiful of dreams. The loneliness of a boy who was so very tired of being himself. The loneliness of a boy that had no one to turn to because he couldn't admit to needing anyone else. He understood because this loneliness was so kin to his own. It drew them to each other, that void inside. They both knew that it couldn't be filled with each other, but it was nice, every now and then, to be with someone else who understood. They'd come to this arrangement so long ago that neither one remembered quite when it had started or how. But Peter did remember why. Because he respected Peter's ability to carry on. He respected Peter's ability to push the loneliness aside and try to enjoy this life he had created. He respected that in spite of these things, even Peter had his moments when he didn't feel up to being Peter Pan, a legend in his own time. And so, once a year, on a day special to them both because of what they'd lost in becoming who they were, a truce was declared between them. A moment's peace in a lifetime of never ending battles -- against each other and themselves.
Peter tapped lightly on the window in front of him, afraid as always that it would remain closed no matter how desperately he wished entry. Moments later, the window opened under his hand and a smooth, rich voice flowed from inside, dark with irony-filled amusement as always, "Pan. You're right on time. Cookson made your favorite."
Peter offered a watered down version of his usually cocky grin, "But will I recognize it when I see it?"
James Hook laughed and waved Peter into his quarters, "Aye, there's the rub, boy. But at least the man tries."
Peter's smile softened into something warmer, something far more real as he contemplated the feast spread out in front of him and the candles gleaming softly around the room, creating an atmosphere surreal enough that they could both relax. He raised his eyes to meet those of his arch-nemesis, "Happy Mother's Day, James."
Hook returned the smile as he ran his hand through Peter's hair before pulling him close in a warm embrace. Because, you see, the funny thing about enemies is that sometimes, in the most special of circumstances... they can become friends. "Happy Mother's Day, Peter."
And now for some chibi silliness:
Peter: *massive sweatdrop* Could I have been more out of character?
Hook: *grimace* Don't ask, Pan. I'm sure she could manage it.
R-chan: *innocent look* What?
Peter: *splutter* Don't "what?" me with those innocent eyes! You think I don't know where this is going??
R-chan: *blinkblink* I have no idea what you're talking about. *wide chibi eyes*
Peter: *howls* You wanna slash me with Hook!!
Hook: What was that about me slashing Pan?
Peter: *sighs* No, no, no. Not slashing me. Slashed with me. Believe me, very different concept.
R-chan: *turns her nose up delicately* Shows what you know. I don't slash children. And if I did, I'd slash you with someone else.
*Away in the Underground House...*
Wendy: *blinks* Bless you, Nibs. Would you like a handkerchief?
Questions, comments, rutabagas?