Chapter by sly_hostetter
Peter and Tinkerbell had been hearing tales of war and destruction in Great Britain and Peter was afraid for his friends, the Darling children.
Even though, in the end, Wendy and her brothers had left Neverland and Peter, he still remembered them fondly. Wendy, with her many wonderful stories, John, with his quick wit, little Michael and his sweet innocence. They'd brought something to Neverland that Peter had never experienced before.
But memories never did hold a candle to the real thing and Peter was lonely.
With Captain Hook vanquished, his pirate crew abandoned their quest for glory and riches, returned to their homelands, and left the inhabitants of Neverland in peace.
The Lost Boys, longing for mothers of their own, also left. They gave up Peter's gift of eternal childhood for families in the world of grown ups and death.
And Neverland, now devoid of strangers, was slowly returning to a land of wild magics and unheard-of creatures. It was no longer the place Peter had called home for so long. His friends, the Fairie-folk, Merfolk, and Indians, rejoiced in the changes. Peter, not a true native of Neverland, was slowly aging and was now almost 20 years old by human years.
A sharp crack, like a gunshot, broke the stillness of Peter's thoughts.
"That sounded an aweful lot like a gun, Peter," Tinkerbell said. "Are you sure we're in the right place?"
"Yes, I'm sure," Peter assured the small Fairie. "Let's check it out, het?"
With that, Peter flew as fast as he could towards the sound of gunfire. They heard another shot, and another, and another, then silence as they emerged from the trees and found themselves facing a boy about Peter's age.
He seemed surprised, almost shocked, to see them.
"Hello," Peter began. "My name is Peter. What were you doing?"
John Darling was speechless. He'd been remembering his time in Neverland, missing Peter and the games they played, and suddenly the boy was there in front of him.
"Right," John said to himself. "I've officially lost it, now. Crazy as a bat!"
"Bats aren't crazy, you know," Peter said. His tone of voice implied he thought John was unintelligent. "Hey, what were you doing? Is it a game?" he asked, moving closer to where John stood.
John clutched the rifle in his hands, desperately trying to reason with himself. 'This can't be Peter! I can't be lucky enough to find him twice in my life!'
"Umm, I was practicing."
"Practicing? What for?"
"I'm eighteen now. They'll probably draft me into the army and send me off to fight," John explained. "I want to have at least a small chance of making it through the war so I'm working on my aim."
"But, you're just a kid!" Peter excaimed in horror. "You can't go to war, you'll have to kill people!"
John looked at Peter, his head tilted to the side in curiousity. "You really believe that, don't you, Peter?" he asked.
"Yes!" Peter reached forward and grasped the other boy by his shoulders, "Come with me, I'll take you somewhere you'll never have to kill anyone!"
"John Darling! Come inside, dinner's ready!"
Peter looked first towards the voice then straight into John's face. His voice was small as he spoke, "John?"