Valentine

X [Private] The Pan

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OOC: Private RP between myself and Raine Bell, rated 'X' for treasure and '?' for Hook.

 


 

 

 

 

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“All children, except one, grow up...†

 

 

 

 

I will begin by saying that this story is true. Every last word. When you're a child, grown-ups will say to you that such tales cannot be true, for they have never seen it happen. But, as I have said, this story is true. And it is only as children that we know the truth, because as grown-ups... we forget. We forget that it ever happened at all.

 

A good story might begin 'On a dark and stormy night', or 'Once upon a time'. But a true story will begin where all true stories begin - with the facts. 

 

London, England. It is the year 1894. Queen Victoria rules and Tower Bridge is finally completed and open for traffic. But none of this matters, not to the boy whose face is pressed firmly against Red's butchers shop. His bright and longing blue eyes stared through the dusty windows, watching as the butcher - a large and dangerously pink-skinned man - cut through a large flank of beef.
"Stop it, Peter." Came a familiar voice. The boy at the window, whose name was called, sighed and pulled himself from the glass. "You're not going to feel any better just staring at it."

Peter was a young man, some might say, though any grown-up would call him a child. He had slim, boyish good looks with angular, elfish features. His skin was tanned, as most the boys living on the streets and his hair was a thick, dirty-blonde scruffy mess. He turned to his friend, a younger boy of sixteen, Jacob. 

"I suppose." Peter muttered, kicking a pebble down the cobbled street. Jacob was a little more grounded than Peter. He often tried to look out for him, as Peter's head always seemed in the clouds. He was a plain child, a little taller and wider than Peter, with short brown hair.

 

Both boys were covered in dirt and soot, and their clothes were just shy of rags. Their clothes were similar but Jacob always wore a flat cap tilted on one side, whereas Peter sported a pair of old, fingerless gloves. 
"What d'you suppose Fletch is wantin' today?" Jacob asked.

Peter shook his head in response, "I don't know Jacob." He shrugged, "I think--" But as Peter was mid-thought, something caught his eye. For a moment, his face had a strangeness about it. 

Jacob had seen that face before, he followed Peter's gaze to a middle-aged man in a well-tailored suit. An incredibly tall top-hat sat upon his head and he carried a cane. Peter and Jacob exchanged a single glance and they knew what was to come next. Jacob was always the distraction, Peter was the pickpocket. Jacob was a good thief, but Peter was better at taking things without their ever having realised it was gone, at least, until it was too late.

"Excuse me, Mister!" Jacob called over, walking up to the man. Peter started circling around the crowded street. He weaved through the moving waves of people until he was almost behind their target. Jacob was already mid-speech, telling the man about how he was starving, and needed money to eat, as did his friends. They made it a rule not to steal when they could help it.

But, as Jacob was mid-sentence, the man shook his head, shaking his white-gloved hand. "No, no no, get out of my way, little wretch. Beg somewhere else!" He sharply pushed Jacob back and that was when Peter struck. He ran forwards and collided with the top-hat wearing man, quickly apologised and ran off. The man brushed himself off as though Peter was catching and then quickly walked on. 

"What'd you get?" Jacob asked, excited.
Peter shushed his friend until they were just around the next corner, using a back alley for a little privacy. For a moment Peter looked dejected and Jacob studied him closely until at last Peter's face cracked and he held up a gold watch in one hand and a wallet in the other. 
"Oh Peter, for a moment I thought--" Jacob started.

"-- you didn't think i'd come away with nothing, now, did you?" Peter beamed back. But something was wrong. Jacob stared in horror at him. Or rather, through him. Peter frowned but upon turning around, he understood his friend entirely.

 

Stood directly in front of Peter, was a policeman, truncheon in hand. "He might not have seen it, boy. But I did." He paused, looking the two of the street thieves over, they were frozen in fright. "Hand it over, then--" As the words escaped the policeman's mouth, Peter got an overwhelming wish that he could just fly away, and so he did. He turned and ran as fast as he could, Jacob had already started and was several paces ahead of him. They ran furiously but before they could get to the other end of the alley, a second policeman blocked their path.

 

The first leisurely strolled down the alley until they were trapped between them, there was nowhere else to go now but up. And they were hardly able to do that now, were they? Peter looked at Jacob, just before a truncheon came down on his head and everything faded to darkness.

 

 


 

 

When Peter first opened his eyes, it was still dark. He was confused for a moment until he realised that he must have lost several hours. "Jacob!!" He croaked, calling out in the near-darkness. The alley only slightly lit by the stars above. Peter licked his lips, he was thirsty, his head was throbbing. He reached behind and flinched with pain as his fingertips gently grazed a lump hidden beneath his hair.

 

His body ached all over. Peter undid a few buttons of his raggedy brown shirt beneath his jacket and found several vicious-looking bruises. They'd beaten him while he was unconscious. He stumbled forwards and out of the alley.

A few people were milling around but most of the markets had closed and only a few vendors remained, closing their stalls. Peter walked through them as quietly as he could. Scanning the merchants for someone busy with their packing up.

At last, he saw a fruit stall. The merchant was talking to another store owner. He had no time or interest in subtlety after his last attempt. Peter broke into a run, wincing at first as he realised just how much pain he was in, but he persisted and his run turned to a sprint. He snatched three apples off the merchant's stall and fled into the night even as the owner cried out, "Thief!!" 

 

 


 

 

"So here he is at last." The voice that welcomed him was as familiar - though not quite as welcoming - as Jacob's. It belonged to a man who called himself 'Fletch'. Peter and the other children would spend the day thieving. Then Fletch would collect up what they'd earnt, sell it on and give them food and a place to sleep. It wasn't much, but at least it was something. But Peter knew that to cross Fletch was just as dangerous, if not more so, than the coppers.

"Sorry i'm late, Fletch." Peter said quietly, slumping down in a wooden chair. 
"Jacob tells me you had a little run in with the blue..." Fletch replied, matter-of-factly, in a calm and patient manner. He was a man in his thirties, muscular with a shaved head and a thick, curled mustache. Peter hated that mustache, he didn't know why. But he hated it.

 

"So, what you got for me then, Peter?" At last Fletch looked up from counting a stack of coins, and though he smiled, there was no warmth in the expression. Peter cleared his throat.

"Well, y'see Fletch, me and Jacob, we got nicked, didn't we?" When Fletch didn't reply, and just stared on in silence with that same smile, Peter felt compelled to continue, "And y'know, he hit me right hard like, I saw stars."
"He did hit him something fierce, Fletch." Jacob added passionately.
"Quiet." Fletch muttered, and Jacob didn't dare say another word.

Fletch appeared to be studying Peter, he took one hand and thoughtfully tweaked the end of his mustache, after a long, strained silence, he sniffed, "You'll not get food, Peter." He said at last, "You pay your way in this house - if you're not griftin' you ain't gettin' food." Fletch ran two hands over his bald head, leaning back in the chair, "Be thankful you already got yer beatin', right? To bed with yeh." 

"Thank you, Fletch." Jacob said, speaking for Peter who was already walking upstairs. "He didn't mean it like, it won't happen again." Jacob started to follow Peter up the stairs.
"Best not." Muttered Fletch.

 

Peter crossed the upper room that had become their bedroom, he walked past rows of old, ratty mattresses until he came to his own and crawled onto it. He tried to lie on his left side but that was too painful. Some of the other street children rose from their mattresses upon hearing Peter cross the room. Jacob was just coming up the steps when one of them spoke. A boy no older than eight, who had no name when he first came to them, but because of his bright yellow hair the boys had taken to calling him Dan, after the dandelion weed.

 

"Peter...?" Dan started, with a tone of curiosity, "Why'd you get caught?"
Peter turned onto his back and rested his head on top of his hands, "I don't know, Dan."
Another boy spoke up, Jack, he was nearly fifteen, "Come on Peter, you never get caught."
"Don't be silly, Jack." Peter sighed, "Sometimes I do..." He just wanted the conversation to end. This had not been one of the best days. It had not been one of Peter's worse either, but he was sore and ill-tempered and he just wanted to rest.

As another of the street children went to speak, a little girl called Beth, no older than ten, Peter reacted almost immediately. As the sound came from her mouth he thumped his mattress and barked, "To bed! All of you!!" His breathing was shallow, as he held the side of his ribs. Jacob and the other children were taken aback by Peter's raised voice and harsh tone. They'd never seen him get angry before. 
Jacob slowly pulled himself from the daze of seeing his friend as he did now, "Come on then, children..." Jacob muttered, turning from Peter, "It is time for bed." Jacob turned for one final look at Peter, but he was already turned away from them, his body facing the wall with a thin sheet pulled over him.

 

For a long time Peter lay there in the darkness, the light of the stars coming in through the one window in the upper floor. Casting it's white glow on the wall in front of Peter. He stared at the brick for what felt like an eternity until all the other children in the room, at least fifteen of them, had fallen asleep. Of that, he was quite sure. At last, he wept, pulling his sheet up and over his head.

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Crystalline blue eyes rolled in frustration as a silent huff passed through parted lips. A delicate figure sat on the ramparts of an old memory. The stars above winked down at her. The night was still save for the few sounds of voices and the constant ticking that echoed all around the petite being and the faint wind tugging at tendrils that fell in her face. Running tiny fingers over the small cracks in the brick the faerie gazed out into the night scene that lay before her. Memories of the past flooded her mind, the clock tower she sat upon now being the most prevalent of them all. He had to be here, how he had loved visiting it in the past years. Hesitantly her fingers reached into a pouch crafted of leaves that was slung round full hips, retrieving from within a fine golden dust. With a hopeful heart she brought her palm in front of her face and blew gently. Please, lead me to him. The dust shifted in her hands swirling upwards in an intricate spiral, dancing with the gentle breeze. But as the winds stopped the dust fluttered to the ground far below leaving her to stare at her empty palm, a glistening tear rolling down the side of her cheek. Peter where are you?

 

Passing her hand over her cheek the tear was wiped away as the faerie mentally regrouped herself. Her kind was counting on her, they placed their faith in her and she would not them down. Their words drummed in the back of her mind. Worry had darkened the eyes of the Fae. Too many of them had gone missing of late and it was becoming the norm. Tinkerbell, we need Pan. You need to find him. Bring him home. They had sacrificed their magic to keep her safe. Tears began to flow freely from those blue eyes. They needed her to protect them and here she was weeping simply because she could not find him in the few hours she had been in London. Realizing how ridiculous she was being the faerie rose from the edge, her skin now a faint pink in embarrassment of her behavior. This would simply not do. She had to be strong and search diligently. She would not rest until he was found. They needed him, she needed him, and she would go to any length to find him.

 

Gossamer wings fluttered furiously, descending her body to the ground below. Taking another handful of faerie dust Tink spun around herself scattering the fine sprinklings in a large circle. At least this way she could get a general direction of where Peter was located. Suspended in the air, those crystal blue eyes watched as the dust fell. Her hands were closed into tight fists, nails digging into her palms; her heart waiting for a sign. Something had to happen, he had to be somewhere at the very least. A quick movement caught her attention forcing her to face the east. The wind caught hold of the dust and carried it away, twisting and spiraling like mad. Taking the chance spirited away in the same direction her wings propelling as fast as they could. A trail of faerie dust followed behind marking the darkness around her with a dim glow; dim to the point that no ordinary human would notice. To be quite honest no one would be able to see her, save those who are still children at heart and Peter of course. The wind curved around building corners and Tink zipped along eager to see where she was led and what she would find at the end. The dust then dropped to the ground abruptly and Tink searched around. She was led to a dark and cold alleyway as most were. There was only a figure that lay curled up on the ground. Dejected TInk lowered herself to the ground and landed lightly on the thing’s shoulder. Upon closer inspection Tink found that it was a male. A young male to be exact but it was hard to distinguish his age beneath the amount of grime that covered his face. A low pitched groan escaped his lips and TInk reactively jumped back. The sound he gave was low, past the age of puberty. This couldn’t be her Peter; he was too old. Angered Tink kicked off the man and continued her search elsewhere.

 

When she didn’t locate another boy for almost an hour the faeire’s wings grew tired, her eyes were beginning to droop in exhaustion. Maybe she would just take a quick rest. Landing lightly on the roof of a wooden stall her blue eyes scanned the area again. The faerie dust must have not located Peter. Perhaps the wind just picked up in speed disrupting the magic of the dust. There was no other explanation for why she was led to a dead end. Falling backwards she gazed up at the stars again. The lull of the quiet night was a gentle lullaby to her pointed ears. Too tired to resist, her eyelids flickered close but a peaceful rest didn’t come as a loud bark sounded from below. Snapping up to attention the golden glow of her skin sparked and blue orbs caught sight of a boy running. Squinting to see more clearly Tink noticed it was the male from earlier. She never got to see his face but she could tell it was him from the tattered clothing that he wore. Her heart went out to the male, saddened at the fact that he had to steal to be able to eat. She grabbed some faerie dust to blow on him to help him out some but he had fled the scene as quickly as possible and it seemed pointless. Looking back down at her palm Tink remembered her reason for being here. She didn’t have time to sit around, she had to find Peter.

 

Watching closer at the dust Tink noticed that it had shifted in her hands, excitement bubbling inside her body that she may be able to find him now. Sprinkling the glittering powder all around her the faerie’s faced scrunched up intently waiting for a reaction. Finally it pulled in a particular direction and Tink was off fluttering everywhere in search again. She continued to take small pinches and spread it into the air allowing it to direct her which way to go. The dust only brought her to another dead end though. She had managed to follow successfully till she reached a group of houses and other buildings. Gently descending onto one of the roofs Tinkerbell could hear children underneath chattering away, before an adult yelled at them to go to bed. Rolling her eyes she mocked the adult she heard silently laughing at the idea that he was a stuffy business type man. The image popped into her head and immediately she rolled back, her arms cross her midriff holding tight as her slender legs kicked above her in a fit of laughter. Adults were so ridiculous, forgetting that they too were children once. It was a shame really that they forgot how to enjoy life honestly. Wiping at her eyes after a few moments Tink sat up rubbing at her sides which began to hurt from all the giggling. Taking another pinch of dust she sprinkled it into the air but the dust just drifted into a pool at her knees. Disappointed the faerie curled up into a fetal position, tear drops running down her face. A soft whisper, sounding of bells escaped her lips in midst of the sobs that were beginning to force her delicate body to tremble.

 

“Peter, where are you? I need you. I miss you.†Staring up at the stars Tink finally drifted off to sleep, determined to continue her search tomorrow.

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A chill ran down Peter's spine. He shivered, pulling what little bedding he had up over his shoulders, but as he did so, it slid over his feet, exposing them to the frigid morning air that permeated the old house. Again, Peter shivered, but his face was taught. He was shivering from his dreams more than the cold. He turned in his bed and pulled his bedding down over his feet, sighing. A few moments passed and his face tensed again. His breathing was shallow and fast.

 

Wind rushing through his hair, Peter turned to face someone beside him, he couldn't see her face but he grinned widely at her for some reason, his eyes twinkling like starlight. He opened his mouth and said something, but all that came out was muffled noise.

Peter opened his eyes and sat bolt upright in bed, he was shaken and confused but before he could remember what he had been dreaming about, it sank to the back of his mind and he lay in his bedsheets with a layer of cold sweat beaded on his face and body. Peter relaxed his shoulders, resting his face in his hands for a few moments. He remembered how he had acted with the other children last night, with Beth. Was she alright? He wondered.

After getting up, washing as best he could with a bowl of cold water, and have gotten dressed, Peter walked downstairs. Most of the other children were out of the house, doing odd jobs for Fletch or else they were likely stealing in one form or another. He walked into the kitchen and looked in the cupboards out of want, but found them lacking. He knew this, but had to look in them before he was convinced. His stomach growled and he sat at the kitchen table where Fletch most often counted his money.

For a while he sat there, face staring into the notches and lines in the wood of the old table, trying to remember his dreams, when he heard a tiny noise and looked up. There in the doorway was the ten-year-old Beth - the orphan he had shouted at the previous night. Peter's face relaxed almost immediately and he held out his hands to usher her over. She paused as her body leant forwards instinctively but after a couple of seconds she padded across the kitchen in her bare feet and held out her hands for him to pick her up.

Peter lifted her onto his knee and bounced her a couple of times, "I'm sorry I shouted, Beth." Peter said quietly, smiling at her. He reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out his last apple. He had dropped one on the way back to the house last night, and Fletch had seen he had something in his hands and had taken another apple from him, but he'd kept one pocketed. He held it in his hand and took a small bite from it and then handed the apple to Beth who ravenously began eating it. He lifted up her shirt and saw her ribs and he became very angry, but suppressed it as best he could, smiling at her as she ate happily. 

There was no kinder soul in the orphanage than Beth. She would give up what little she had to make others happy, and if she wasn't watched, he was sure she would fall prey this world, this life. His sharp blue eyes began to well up with tears but he held them back as she looked up at him.
"It's okay... Peter." She replied, between mouthfuls of apple. She took another bite and her face glazed over, she wiped her nose with the back of her wrist as Peter brushed her long, filthy dark brown hair out of her face, "I don't... like it here..." She added, quietly. Nibbling at the core of the apple.

"I know..." Peter replied, smiling weakly, "I don't either, Beth..." He paused, thinking, "But, one day, i'll take you away from here, okay?" He looked at her sincerely.
"And the others?" She asked, smiling.
"Everyone. All the orphans."
"Promise?" She asked, then held her tiny hand out, with her little finger outstretched.
"Promise." He replied, holding his own hand out, his own little finger, and wrapping it around hers so that their fingers locked, "I promise." He repeated. She grinned and kissed him on the cheek and hopped off his lap, then started to leave the kitchen.

Peter let out a deep breath, it was early morning but already he was exhausted. How much sleep had he gotten last night? It couldn't have been very restful. He only wished that last night's dreams had been the first time he'd had them. But they seemed to be becoming more and more frequent, and yet, still he had no answer for what they might be. He patted his palm against his forehead as though that might shake loose a few thoughts, but of course, nothing came to light.

"Peter?" Beth called. He looked up to see she had stopped at the bottom of the stairs.
"What is it, Beth?" He asked, frowning.

She paused, unsure of what to say, "I heard something on the roof last night..." She smiled, her little secret pleased her but if she was going to share it with someone, she wanted to tell Peter.

"Well, go on." Peter laughed at her suddenly coy act.
"I heard..." She lowered her voice, gripping the bannister on the stairs, "... a faerie." Her smile erupted into a wide, beaming grin and although Peter found her smile infectious he stared back at her blankly.

"Ah... Beth..." He began.
"I know!" She replied quickly, anticipating what he would say, "You said... stuff like t-that isn't real... but I did! I did hear a faerie!!" She pushed, excitedly.

"It's probably just birds, Beth." Peter replied, shaking his head, "Or rats. This house is crawling with them, they're everywhere, okay?" He raised an eyebrow.
"No, I... did... I-I really did..." She replied, confused and a little upset.
"Beth," Peter stood up, and started to walk towards her, "There's no such thing as faeries."
As the words left his mouth Beth's face contorted into anger and betrayal and she started marching up the stairs at a double pace, "I don't believe you!!" She yelled back at him.

Well done, Peter. He thought to himself. Now look what you've done. He sighed and lowered his head. He wasn't going to leave the house today. There was too much work to be done around the house that he knew Fletch wanted done, and that he wouldn't do himself. If Peter didn't do it then one of the other children would be forced to in his absence. So he took it upon himself to start the housework, trying to push the debate he'd had with Beth to the back of his mind. 

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A bright light shone down on the faerie, warming her skin and gossamer wings. The dew fall from the early morning was beginning to evaporate and TinK was feeling rejuvenated after a good night’s rest. Her delicate eyelids fluttered similar to her wings, adjusting to the light to look around. She saw rooftops, chimneys, could hear people chattering down below. Her eyebrows furrowed together as she tried to remember what happened. A loud booming sound brought her attention to a large clock tower in the far off distance. Memories of last night flooded her mind and hit her like a ton of bricks. She was back in London. She was searching for Peter.

 

Standing up slowly, Tink stretched and contorted her body relieving the kinks in her limbs and back. Pulling her long hair out of the twisted bun from last night Tink shook her head and began to pace. The faerie dust had brought her here the previous night but there was clearly no sight of Peter. Patting the pouch at her waist the Faerie realized how little she had left. She hadn’t thought she used a great amount the day before but by the feel of it she only had several handfuls left. If used sparingly it could last for another day or so but how was she to find Peter after it had been used up. The Fae depended on her. She had to figure a way.

 

Taking a small pinch the small thing sprinkled the dust, whispering Peter’s name. The fine powder just fell to the roof beneath her. Disappointed Tink lifted her wings and tested the wind. At the height she was at the breeze would have carried away the faerie dust, yet it fell straight down. Cocking her head to the side Tink questioned the oddity. Why didn’t the wind carry the faerie dust unless...

 

Bright blue eyes opened widely in surprise. Why had she not thought of it earlier? Perhaps Peter was in the house beneath her. With a quick twitch of her wings Tinkerbell zipped off the rooftop to study the building below. Most if not all of the windows appeared closed. Settling on a window sill of the top leftmost corner window Tink thought about how to get inside. In a fit of frustration Tink kicked at the window only to recoil, falling backwards on her rear end, grasping her foot in pain. Nursing her foot Tinkerbell studied the window again, this time noticing a small hole in the glass. It wasn’t big enough to notice it was there but Tink had to take the chance. Stepping her right foot though the faerie managed to weasel her way inside although it required a few uncomfortable moments of trying to twist her body without coming in contact with the jagged edges of broken glass.

 

Once inside curious blue eyes glanced around noticing that she had entered into what appeared to be a bedroom. Beds were lined up side by side in a couple of rows. There were blankets and pillows but nothing more except for a few small things on a few of the beds. Flying overhead Tink noticed the items were toys. Lonely in the beds sat a few teddy bears with arms and legs missing, ears ripped off, and stuffing falling from out of the seams. There were also two dollies lying on beds on the sides. The arms had been ripped off as well, and the heads were bare for the hair of them had either fallen out or been removed. Tinkerbell was saddened to learn that this was a bedroom for children and her heart went out to the poor little ones. How cruel life could be to a child was a thought the faerie did not wish to dwell upon.

 

Taking just a moment Tinkerbell settled down on one of the beds with a doll. Her mind started to brainstorm and imagine ways that she could tinker with the doll, make it whole again, make it new again for the child who would hold it while they slept. She had been so engrossed with her thoughts she did not overhear the dispute occurring down stairs. The only thing that caught her attention was one deadly sentence.

 

“…There’s no such thing as faeries.â€

 

The color drained from Tinkerbell's face as her chest was clutched tight. It was as though a dagger had sliced through her heart, twisting and severing it ruthlessly. Her wings grew cold and stiff, her breathing labored. But this pain only lasted for a second as it released her just as quickly as it seized her. Falling onto her hands and knees Tink gripped at the thin piece of material beneath her, her vision blurry as painful tears streamed down her face. Her chest heaved up and down; her wings limp at her sides. She was still alive thankfully but fear gripped at her heart. If she was still alive who had taken her place in death. Her moment of contemplation and worry was cut short however as a glass jar fell on top of her and she was suddenly flipped over onto the bottom.

 

Beth held her hands on the bottom of the up-ended jar, while she stared into it's newly acquired contents, "Hello..." she said, in almost a whisper. Then tapped the glass with her forefinger, "Are you a faerie?"

Tinkerbell stared wide-eyed at her captor who happened to be a young girl. Ashamed to have been caught Tink’s golden color faded slightly as she nodded in response to the question, hesitant on what to tell the girl. “Yes I am. Now could you please release me?â€

Beth's face lit up as she heard the faerie speak, "I knew you were real. I knew you were!" She vibrated on the spot, excitement taking her entirely. The little faerie's question lost amongst her glee, "What are you doing?" She asked the little faerie.

Closing her eyes for a moment Tink remembered she had to be patient with young children as they get distracted quite easily. “I was actually looking at the dolly, thinking how to fix it.†An idea then popped into Tinkerbell’s mind on how to get out from the glass encasement. “I could fix her if you let me go.â€

Looking from the little faerie to her tatty, old (but well-loved) doll and back to the faerie, Beth thought for a few seconds. Then warily shook her head, "I don't want to..." She muttered, looking sullen. "You'll just fly away... when I... w-when I let you out." She sniffed.

Tinkerbell kept her calm outward composure but inside her head she was furiously thinking of how to get out. Things might be more difficult than she previously thought. “I won’t dear. I promise you child. What can I do to assure you that I’m telling the truth?â€

 

Frantically, Beth looked between the jar and her doll. However, she also stared for a few seconds longer at the stairs leading down to the ground floor - and to Peter. "I..." She grabbed the jar and slid it until she was able to clasp her hand over the jar's opening, replacing the solid ground with her hand as the faerie struggled to keep her footing, "I have to show you to someone..." She added, turning for the stairs.

 

The faerie was jostled around as the jar was moved, pushing her against one of the walls. She wanted to show her to someone? This might not be the best idea. Beating on the sides with her fists Tink tried to get the girl’s attention. “Oh little one I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I’m trying to find a friend. You have to let me out.â€

The girl kept walking, seeming to have ignored the little faerie's words at first. However, something made her stop and she looked down into the jar, poised at the top of the stairs. "A-Are you looking... f-for another faerie?" She stuttered slightly, as she had done from a very young age.

 

Unsure of what to say Tinkerbell shifted from one foot to the other her wings twitching. “Not exactly. He’s much bigger than I am.†Letting out a sigh she looked down at her hands, speaking softly. “I’m looking for a boy named Peter.â€

Beth's eyes immediately lit up, "You're looking for Peter?!" She asked, her eyebrows raised as high as they would go. She glanced down the stairs, hearing him moving around, working. "P-Peter...?" She asked again.

 

The faerie nodded confused for a moment. Then remembered how children thought. A family member was probably named Peter and she believed they were one and the same. Settling down in a seated position Tinkerbell shrugged her shoulders. Perhaps the girl would release her after showing her off. Chances are they wouldn’t see Tink and the little girl would just let her go. She could only hope. Gesturing with a single hand Tinkerbell suggested that the girl show her off.

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The patter of little feet down the stairs did not rouse Peter from his chores. He continued working as Beth walked into the kitchen. There was so much to do, and he had no idea what time Fletch was going to be back. But he guessed, and guessed right, that if the work wasn't done by the time their 'carer' was back, there would be beatings, with Peter first in line.

"P-Peter!" Beth called, as she walked into the kitchen.

"Not now, Beth. Okay?" Peter felt bad for having upset her twice in two days, but for everyone's sake, he couldn't be distracted right now. There was far too much to do. He started cleaning the old stove.
"B-but Peter, look it!!" Beth held up her jar and Peter turned and glanced at it for a moment.
"Oh, Beth--" Peter frowned, going back to cleaning the stove, "You shouldn't trap fireflies."

"She's not a firefly!!" Beth replied, half-screaming. "S-She's a faerie..." She added, under her breath. Either Peter hadn't heard her or he choose to ignore the comment, as he continued to work. 
The faerie blew an angered huff. This was utterly ridiculous. As her anger grew, the glow from her body deepened in shade as well. It was not long before she was glowing a bright red, her hands balled into fists at her sides.

Having finished cleaning the exterior of the stove, Peter was about to move onto the next job when he caught something glowing out of the corner of his eye, confused he turned to ask Beth what it was, but the moment he saw the jar in her hands, he panicked.
"Beth, that's hot!!" Peter yelled, mistaking the glowing light as heat. He lunged at the glass jar and tore it from Beth's hands and almost immediately dropped it when he realised there was no heat coming from it whatsoever. The light was too bright at first and he quickly placed the jar on the table, still up-turned. Then took a step back.

"What were you thinking, Beth?!" Peter chided her and looked at the glowing jar, "You don't know what that is, what if that was some kind of warning before it stung you or something..." He stepped forwards, frowning. His eyes were adjusting to the light. At last, Peter leant down, placing a hand on the kitchen table and staring into the jar. He couldn't quite make out the shape inside, "It's a weird little bug..." He muttered, staring.

Crossing her arm firmly Tinkerbell stomped her foot, disbelief clear on her face. "I most certainly am not a bug. I'm a faerie for goodness sakes." Hearing the little bug speak, Peter recoiled in surprise, yelping and stumbling backwards as he tried to re-gain his balance. Failing to entirely, he fell roughly onto his backside and smacked the back of his head against the kitchen wall.
"It spoke!!" He barked, looking over at the ten-year-old Beth for advice.

After seeing those eyes Tink shook her head. "Of course I spoke, Faeries can talk. Don't you remember Peter? We used to talk all the time. Surely you didn't forget that much."

Peter's mouth moved but no sound came out, he looked over at Beth and then back to whatever was in the jar, "You're a talking bug..." he muttered, "Or... or i-i'm hallucinating, i've eaten rotten food once too often..." He stood up uneasily, wobbling slightly. Then took a cautious step away from the jar. "Yes... i'm back in my bed, having another weird dream..."

She was beginning to grow frustrated again. Surely Peter would have remembered her. "Peter, you're not dreaming. I'm a faerie, not a bug. Please you have to remember. How can you not remember Neverland? The Lost Ones? Or even me, Peter it's me Tinkerbell. We spent hours flying around and having fun. Why won't you accept it?"

 

"You're not real..." He replied, shaking his head, "You... you can't know my name..." He continued shaking his head, unsure what else to do with himself, "I'm talking to a little lady bug..." He groaned and dropped his head into his hands.
Lowering herself to her knees Tink crawled towards the side pressing her hand on the glass. "Peter, don't say I'm not real. I'm right here in front of you. Why don't you believe? What has happened to you?"

Raising his head out of his hands, Peter walked across to the jar and knelt down in front of the table. He rested his chin on the edge of the table and stared into the jar, "I've gone mad..." he replied.

 

She shook her head. "No Peter you haven't gone mad. I don't believe you have. Please just let me out. I can prove to you I'm real."
"Ooooh no..." He closed his eyes and shook his head, then scrunched his face up and in one swift movement he lifted the jar up and walked away from the table, facing away from it, afraid to turn back. "I'm going to... to count to five... when I turn around, you won't exist. You can't..." He counted, walking on the spot, and then turned back to look at the table.

Saddened by his request her coloring faded slightly, her voice a slight whisper, "But, Peter I do exist." Fluttering up she crossed to him and sat on his shoulder precariously, "Peter please."

 

His entire body tensed as though he'd been paralysed, "Noooo no no no..." He muttered, then opened his eyes just long enough to see her sat upon his shoulder. "You're not a faerie."
"I am a faerie, Peter."
"No." Peter shook his head, "You're a figment of my imagination."
"Can a figment of your imagination do this?" She tugged his ear playfully.
Peter quickly and instinctively slapped her tiny hand away from his ear, "Stop that!" He barked, then started chewing on his bottom lip, trying to think.

Being swatted at was not what she expected. Kicking off the shoulder Tink flew behind him tugging on his other ear a bit more forcefully. "I'll stop when I feel like it. And that most likely wont be until you stop doubting and actually listen. You're still as stubborn as I remember."

"It's not every day that i'm confronted by talking tiny bug ladies, so excuse me, if I dont immediately drop my confusion and--" Peter hesitated, "-- why am I even having this conversation? I don't believe in faeries, this is insane." He put his hands on his hips and continued to chew his lip.

"I already told you I'm not a bu..." Her wing grew rigid again and her breathing sporatic. She hit the ground with a light thud, grasping at her chest. Again the pain came and went but Tinkerbell struggled to get up. "Do not say that again. That's the second time today."

"Say what?!" Peter snapped, but though his tone was stern he had felt a pang of sympathy for whatever was wrong with her. He almost moved to help her, but remained where he was, reminding himself that he was likely having some kind of mental episode.
Regaining her strength Tink flew up in front of Peter's face her glow growing to red again. "Don't you snap at me Peter. You're the one attempting to kill the Fae with you inconsideration and ignorance." Thoroughly angered now Tink's hand flew across his cheek, the sound of a slap almost inaudible "You are supposed to protect us, and here you are threatening me twice. Two have gone in my place already. I will have it no more."
 
Peter clutched his cheek, surprised at the strength that the little creature had struck him with. That certainly didn't feel like my imagination, he thought to himself, worriedly. "Two what?" He asked, "I don't understand what's going on. I don't know who you are. If you exist, which I don't think you do, but if you do - you need to tell me what in the... bloody hell is going on!!" He rubbed his cheek irritably and looked over to Beth who watched on with amusement, he frowned and turned back to the little woman.

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Tink was getting tired of arguing with Peter. He was being more difficult than normal. Settling down on the table the faerie paced back and forth slowly, not truly wanting to relive the details of her past few months but it had to be done. Her eyes closed gently and the vivid images engulfed her mind. One particular moment replayed again and again. The sky had grown dark and the forest had grown quiet. Tink was making her rounds unaware of what awaited her. Cold and lifeless they lay; their wings still, no sparkle to them. She didn’t believe her eyes but when her fingers touched their skin and felt nothing but ice….The tears she shed that night.  Shaking her head Tink reopened her eyes and focused on Peter, her voice cracking just the slightest. "You may want to sit down, for what I’m about to tell you is not a fairy tale with a happy ending. After you left Neverland things were not the same Peter.†She glanced up at him sensing he had something to say.

 

"I don't understand - why?" Peter asked, frowning. "What does it have to do with me?"

 

Frowning Tinkerbell realized she would have to go back further. “There is a land called Neverland. It is inhabited by mermaids, natives, pirates, lost ones, and the Fae; my kind. And there was a small boy who lived there. His hair glowed golden in the sun and he had the brightest blue eyes that shamed even the Neverland sky. The Fae treated him like one of their own, teaching him how to fly among other things. He was called the Pan. He lived happily with us and the lost ones, playing games and living his life as a boy.†Tink paused staring into Peter’s eyes, remembering how his blue eyes shone with happiness before continuing the tale. “But this did not last long, soon the Pan wanted to explore more than just Neverland and we did; Pan and I. Oh the adventures we went on. Sadly though the more mainland adventures we went on the more Pan grew to love it until one day he decided to leave Neverland and live on the mainland."

 

“That day after the Pan left, it was almost as though Neverland was dying. It grew cold and the sky turned grey. A darkness began to settle over Neverland. Things began to change for the worst. The Fae tried to protect the land but whatever was changing Neverland knew more than we thought. Faeries began dying left and right. We could not lose any more of our kind; given my history with the Pan I was chosen to retrieve the Pan and bring him back to Neverland before things got any worse. I’ve been searching for days looking for you and finally I have found you. We have to go back. Tonight.†Tinkerbell stood up quickly, fluttering her wings to hover in front of Peter’s face.

 

"Go back?!" Peter exclaimed, shaking his head fervently, "I don't even remember being there in the first place!" He scowled. "Besides, how do you really know I'm this... this... what did you call it?â€

Tink’s eyes narrowed. “How do you think I know? I found you with Faerie dust. Faerie dust is part of your history. It brought me to this house, where I was caught by the little one. I have spent so many years with you. I remember you by your eyes. Have you ever seen someone with eyes as bright as yours? I’m willing to bet not. That’s because you’re the Pan.â€

Though Peter still felt like this was a lot of nonsense, that hadn't been the first time this little 'faerie' had mentioned that word. "Pan?" He repeated, frowning and shaking his head, "What's that exactly? A Pan?"

“Not a Pan, the Pan. You!†How could he not remember? Tink was completely confused and blew out an impatient huff. “The Pan is the Fae’s protector, guardian if you wish to call it that. We named you Pan because you were gifted to us through Faerie dust.â€

"Sounds like a lot of childish nonsense to me." Peter muttered.

 

Growing more frustrated Tink pulled at some of her curls. “Peter, it IS childish nonsense. The Fae live on the belief of children. That’s why when a child says they don’t believe in Faeries a faerie dies.â€

Peter shook his head, "This is ridiculous." He looked over at Beth who, clearly though not understanding what half the words meant, looked enthralled by the conversation and the revelation of what Peter apparently was.

"Don't look at me like that, Beth." Peter muttered. The young girl pulled her dolly closer to her and looked down at the floor for a moment but the second Peter's attention was back on the faerie, she looked back up. "So what exactly do you think I'm going to do?"

Rolling her eyes at the question, Tink placed her hands on full hips. “Come with me to Neverland of course. Was that not clear?â€

"Neverland?" Peter laughed but his curiosity peaked regardless, "And how exactly do you think I'm going to get to this mystical place? Besides, what am I going to do once I'm there? I'm just Peter... just... Peter." He shrugged, laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. He was having a mental breakdown.

Her face drained then. “You’re going to protect Neverland! You’re the Pan! As for getting there, there’s only way to get there Peter. Fly! You do remember how to fly don’t you?â€

"Am I supposed to answer that?" Peter replied, raising an eyebrow, "I don't have wings, y'know!!"

Her face dropped into her palm, groaning. “Really Peter? Faith, trust, and Faerie dust. And of course thinking happy thoughts.â€

Peter just crossed his arms and frowned at the little faerie.

 

Letting out a shaky breath Tinkerbell frowned back. They were getting nowhere like this. She was going to have to take drastic measures. Looking back at Beth, her heart went out to the little one. She would have to stay unfortunately. “Peter say your goodbyes. We have to go.†Saddened Tinkerbell gave the little girl a gentle kiss on her cheek before fluttering up the stairs to prepare for the flight.

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