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That boy

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Mrs. Darling looked at her husband, thoughtfully tapping her long delicate pink fingers against her chin in thought. Her sister-in-law sat in a chair between them, her coarse brown and grey hair combed back into a severe topknot, her receding hairline greatly defined. The sun shone outside of the window in a deft sense of joy, lightening the parlor of the traditional english home.

“Well,” her gentle voice said after a moment, “it couldn’t hurt, I suppose.” Mr. Darling nodded at once.

“The girl needs it, she is anything but the lady that she needs to be.” He looked at his sister approvingly, his eyes shining with satisfaction at the decision that had been made. “The neighbor’s daughter is already promised to a nice young man in the town to the south, we will not lag behind, not us.”

“Then the matter is settled,” The woman’s voice rang out, cutting through the air harshly, like a knife next to the gentle brush of Mrs. Darling’s own hum. “Wendy will return with me on the morrow, to be taught the proper behavior of a young woman.” She then looked at her brother, “She will be ready to be married to the man of your choice in five years time.” Mrs. Darling opened her pale lips, but shut them in the same moment, unable to voice her opinion.

“Faster John!” A cheerful voice laughed from outside, sounding more glorious than even that of Mrs. Darling. The door banged open and a happy, lively girl ran in, two boys on her tail. Her honey brown hair hung loosely curled over her shoulders and her pale blue hairbow hung limply to the side, the hair it was meant to hold up gone from its grasp and hanging with the rest. Her eyes, a shining blue that rivaled the finest of sapphires, sparkled with youth and amusement. Her fine ruffled victorian dress was covered with grass stains and smudges of mud, the fabric practically falling apart at the seams. The boy who she had addressed, John, had the same inky hair as his father, and the eyes of his mother. His own face was alight with youthful joy, his mouth stretching into a wide grin. A much younger boy, a boy whose name was Michael, toddled after them, his pudgy face alight as well. His hair, the same color as the girls, was surrounding his head feathery curls.

“Wendy!” Mr. Darling exclaimed, his face turning an alarming red color, “where on earth have you been?” Wendy stopped in her tracks,

“The boys and I stopped to play in the yard after classes, papa.” Wendy was confused as to why this was a problem to her father.

“You are a young lady!” He abruptly stood, “Girls of 13 years do not play in the yard!” John, two years younger than his sister, stood by her. He breathed heavily from his activities, but still brought on a face of shame at his father’s scolding. He believed that it was his duty to keep his siblings civilized, but he had let himself forget his task. Foolish, he was foolish.

“But Wendy is fun!” A small voice announced from the other side of the girl. Michael stood, his hand gripping the fabric of the girls dress in distress. The boy, no more than 6 years of age, did not yet understand the requirements of young ladies, all that he understood of this conversation was that Wendy was being told not to play, and he disagreed with that.

“Playing?!” The voice of their aunt cut into them, mostly into Wendy. It was then that the trio suddenly became aware of her presence and immediately began to try and shrink into themselves. None of them liked the dreadful woman. “Why you m-”

“Go clean up, children, then your father, aunt and I would like to have a word with you.” Mrs. Darling’s voice interrupted that of her sister in law’s, causing all eyes in the room to turn to her. Her husband was hushed and ran his hand through his thin slicked hair, silenced as to any thought that he may have had. His sister, however, was gaining the same color that he had donned earlier. She had never been interrupted before, ever, and she was certainly not expecting to be interrupted by this golden brown haired housewife that never seemed to say a word.

“Yes, mama.” Wendy agreed for all of the siblings and they all quickly barreled up the stairs, pushing past each other to try and reach the washroom first.

“What dreadful children indeed.” Their aunt proclaimed, finding it within herself to be proud of what she was about to do to poor Wendy.

“But Wendy will be ready for the William’s boy, correct?” The stupor that Mr. Darling had previously been in had worn off and he had quickly snapped back to his plan.

“Of course,” she sniffed. Mrs. Darling ran her hands down her dress, still anxious.

“What do you suppose they want to talk to us about?” John asked Wendy as he finished running the comb through his hair. Wendy had changed into a clean frock and had taken the bow from her hair. She was now scrubbing at a particular dirt stain upon her nose that did not want to be removed.

“Nothing good I suppose, with that awful woman being here.” Wendy looked at him and frowned, a most saddening sight indeed. Wendy was they kind of girl that was made to smile, her beauty a radiant glow in the depressing world that surrounded the children. To see that beauty marred by a frown was something that no one wished to see.

“I guess you are correct,” John then frowned, this action much more appropriate on his features seeing as he took mostly after his father.

“Shall we go and see?” Wendy secured a brand new hairbow in place, this one a slightly darker blue than the one before it. John nodded and took his brother’s hand, for Michael had been simply standing by the two as they tidied themselves.

“Mama? Papa?” Wendy stood before her parents, refusing to meet the eye of her aunt. The children believed that if you held eye-contact with her for more than 3 moments, you would lose the ability to be happy.

“Wendy,” Much to her dismay, it was the aunt who first addressed her, “your parents and I have come to a conclusion.” The aunt paused, setting the children into an uncomfortable squirm. “This conclusion was decided for your own good, as well as the good of your brothers,” Michael held Wendy’s hand tighter than ever, his pale grey eyes as wide as the saucers that they ate their afternoon soup in. “We have concluded that the best course of action for Wendy’s future,” again, an awful pause, “would be for her to return home with me to learn the actions of a young lady.” All three children froze in shock, unable to do so much as blink. Wendy? Gone?

“Papa?” Wendy broke the silence, her voice strangled and wilting. Her father’s face flashed with a brief moment of guilt, before hardening once more.

“We have already told the Williams boy of your status and elegance, and you have been promised to him,” he paused and fixed the small round glasses that sat upon his nose, “when you return in three years time, you shall be wed.”

“Papa?” If Wendy’s voice had been wilting before, it’s flower was now surely dead. John grabbed her arm to be supportive, but inside his heart was battling against two instincts. The first that he was a gentleman, and that Wendy must grow to be a lady so that she may make it in the world. But, the second being the will of his youth, wanting to keep his sister near.

“We shall depart in the morning,” The sun outside was already lowering in the sky. Oh, dear sun, stop progressing time! Did you know that if you make in morn Wendy will be gone? “Until then, I believe I shall discuss some arrangements with your parents, children, go and prepare yourselves for bed.” In a daze, the three stumbled up the stairs in a line, Wendy in the front and Michael lagging behind, clutching firmly to John’s hand.

“Thank you, sister.” Mr. Darling’s face was impassive, but Mrs. Darling could hear the doubt in her husband’s voice.

“Of course, one must not ignore those in need.” What a most dreadful lady indeed.

“Are you really going?” John whispered to his sister as Michael splashed about in the bath behind them. Wendy’s rosy cheeks had gone a startling shade of white, her eyes drooping in tiredness. She removed her hair bow, setting the ribbon upon the white countertop with shaking hands.

“Oh, you heard the adults John,” her voice sounded utterly defeated, “I must.”

“You mustn't!” It was the little voice of Michael, the bubbles in his hot bath holding no more enjoyment. His small face was no longer bent in a smile, but instead creased with worry. “Wendy, don’t go with that awful woman! She will turn you into a witch, just like herself!” John and Wendy were surprised, for this was the longest set of words that they had ever heard Michael string together coherently.

“Then propose how I avoid this fate!” Wendy cried, a single tear leaking from her right eye. All three children sat in a deafening silence, before Wendy took to the mother role, as she always naturally did. “John, finish washing your face and then assist Michael in the bath. I expect this done by the time I am back from changing.” The two boys nodded and Wendy went and changed into her night gown, a lovely white lacy thing that, despite herself, she found quite comfortable. By the time that she was back, to their words, John and Michael stood ready and dressed in their own night clothes, making Wendy give them a sad smile. Then the three traversed back into the nursery, the hot night air a most stifling thing.

“Wendy,” John asked from his bed, “open the window, would you?”

“I’m awfully comfortable,” Wendy turned to John.

“Please Wendy?” Michael then pouted, his own hair stuck to his forehead in perspiration. After a moment’s thought, Wendy pushed back her own covers and made her way to the nursery window, pushing open the large ornate thing and setting the stick so that it would stay propped open. A cool breeze then pushed it’s way in, brushing against the children’s fevered foreheads almost as if to say, it will all be okay. What the children didn’t know, was that if Wendy had said no, as she was so close to doing, the adventure in their future would not have taken place. Just as Wendy climbed back into her bed, Mrs. Darling knocked politely on the door and entered to room to the faces of three saddened children.

“How are my darlings doing?” Mrs. Darling asked, sitting upon the chair that was in front of John’s bed.

“Dreadfully, mother, we are not doing well.” John sat up, taking his glasses from his nightstand and putting them back on.

“Oh? And why might that be?” Mrs. Darling clutched the book in her lap, knowing quite well what was troubling her children, yet unable to do anything about it.

“Wendy will be gone,” Michael sat up as well, his eyes becoming misty.

“I see,” Mrs. Darling opened up the book, “is this the wrong time to read a bedtime story?”

“No!” All three of the children’s voices chimed in, each of them craving the distraction. Every night Mrs. Darling would read a fairytale to her children to coax them to sleep, but tonight the tale was intended to cheer their spirits.

“How does Cinderella sound?” She gently began to read the tale, her words spinning out into a fantasy world full of castles and stepsisters, and of princesses and princes coming to whisk them away.

I… Wendy began to drift off to sleep, her head lolling off to the side, facing the open window. Her eyes slowly fluttered shut.

I wish that a prince would come and take me away.

Mrs. Darling trailed off and admired the sleeping faces of her children, before sighing and getting up, placing the story book onto her chair. She walked one last time by Wendy, trailing her fingers lightly across her face and tucking one of her curls behind her ear. She loved her dear girl, and couldn’t believe that she had to hand her over to the Williams boy. Of all the men in England, that pompous son of a government official was worse than anyone else that she could think of. Of course he was rich, that seemed to be all that mattered nowadays, but he was no good for her girl. No good for her darling.

“Goodnight, my Wendy.” She then said her goodnights to the other two boys, and realized that the window was open. She came over to it and quickly closed it, before she walked out of the nursery, leaving the door cracked behind her. Just as she turned from the door, something else was trapped in the room with her sleeping children, unknown to her as she made her way to her room.

The thing that entered the room was a dark shape, nothing more than a shadow. It bounced around the room, closing the cracked door and knocking over the children’s toys. A small light quickly pushed it’s way through a small gap in the window, chasing after the dark shadow, trickling after it was the tinkling of bells. The small light got quite close to it too, almost catching it. Just as it was almost upon the shadow, the small light bounced off of a wall and into a partially closed drawer, before accidentally pushing the drawer closed in trying to get out. The next thing to join the children in the nursery was not a thing at all, but in fact, a boy.

Chapter Text

The boy was quite nice looking, with dark champagne-blonde hair and forest green eyes that swirled with golden hues. He was dressed in nothing more than leaves and cobwebs, his feet bare and brushed with mud. He quietly pushed open the window just enough to slip into the room, before letting his eyes scan the room for what he was seeking.

“Gotcha,” His mouth quirked into a half smile as his eyes locked onto the shadow flitting about. He managed to almost catch it’s foot before it whisked to the other side of the room. He hovered above the floor, doing the most astonishing thing, flying! For this was the means of how it managed to get to the nursery window, a window on the third floor of the victorian styled home. He was about to dash off after the shadow again, before his eyes caught sight of something else that peaked his interest. He quickly went over to where Mrs. Darling had set the storybook, for she had never actually quite finished Cinderella. The boy liked to hover outside of the nursery window each night to listen to the bedtime stories told by Mrs. Darling, but on this night his shadow had gotten caught in the room through the window when Mrs. Darling had shut it so suddenly. He picked up the book with the lovely illustration of a shoe on the cover and opened it to quite a random page, before his face contorted quite suddenly and he threw the book down, dropping beside it. The boy did not notice that he had awoken one of the children, and at this moment she sat up, delighted at the stranger at the foot of her bed. He looked to be about her age, and she heard a sad sound coming from him.

“Boy, why are you crying?” Wendy asked, startling him and causing him to jump up. The boy, being right in the department of manners, bowed to the girl in the traditional fairy way. Wendy, quite delighted at this, bowed back to him from her bed.

“What is your name?” He asked her, his voice very pleasant to her ears.

“Wendy Moira Angela Darling. What is yours?” She gave him a gentle smile, the rosy look back in her cheeks at his coming.

“Peter Pan,” He replied, finding his name sadly brief. He looked more carefully at the girl and felt a light brush of heat flutter across his face when she smiled at him.

“Where do you live?”

“Second on the right and then straight on till morning.”

“What a funny address, is that what your mother puts on the letters?” Wendy crawled slightly over, now sitting nearer to where the boy was standing.

“Don’t have a mother.”

“Oh Peter!” Wendy lept up and tightly wrapped her arms around the boy, making his face form into an even deeper blush as he withdrew from her. “No wonder you were crying.”

“I wasn’t crying about my mother, I was crying because...” Peter stopped here, his gaze falling upon the story book that lay by his feet, “I wasn’t crying.” Wendy blinked, looking between the boy and Cinderella.

“Couldn’t you read it?” Wendy picked up the book, holding it in her hands. Peter looked away, his face heated and his eyes low. “Peter, how old are you?”

“I don’t know,” Peter replied blithely, “but I am quite young, Wendy. I ran away the day I was born.” The boy took a step towards the girl.

“Ran away, why would you do that?”

“Because I heard my parents talking of what I was to be when I grew up. It sounded awfully boring, Wendy.” Peter slightly circled the girl. “I want to never be bored and to always have fun; so I decided to always stay a little boy. I ran away to Kensington Gardens and lived there for a long time amongst the fairies.” Wendy looked into the boy’s eyes with wonder, her face nearly glowing.

“You know fairies, Peter!”

“Yes, though I can’t think as to where she has gone. Tinker Bell, Tink, where are you?” The boy turned from the girl and began lightly stepping around the toys that littered the floor of the children’s nursery, bending and looking under the dresser and her bed. Wendy’s eyes widened.

“Peter, you don’t mean to tell me that there is a fairy in this room!” Wendy followed the boy’s movements as he flitted about, looking under things and over them as well.

“She came in with me.” Peter paused, turning to the girl lightly, “You don’t hear anything, do you?”

“I hear-” Wendy stopped, turning her ear up in amazement, “-the only sound I hear is... a tinkle of bells.”

“That’s the fairy language. I hear it too.” They both stood still for moment, their hearing attuned to the fine sound.

“It seems to come from over there.” Wendy pointed towards her cream girls dresser, the top littered with baubles and bows. Peter hurried over, putting his ear to the top drawer. His face was focused for a moment, before breaking out into a boyish grin.

“Wendy, I believe she is shut up in the drawer!” He reached out and slowly opened the drawer, the dot of light bursting out at quite an alarming speed, flitting about and tinkling with what could only be called a type of fury. “You needn’t say that; I’m very sorry.” Wendy took a small step forwards, her eyes enchanted. As she focused, the light took the form of a small girl wearing a dress made from leaves and flower petals. Her hair was in dainty curls that took the form of an updo that mirrored that of her mother when they went to Sunday Supper, and her eyes, though small, were very clearly a shining green that illuminated the room. Her skin was a delicious olive color, offsetting her lovely pale necklace made from a tiny field flower stem that had been bleached in the sun. Her wings were a translucent gossamer, small and fragile looking.

“Oh Peter, if only I could have a fairy like she!” The girl was in a state of deft awe. The fairy abruptly turned in her spot in the air, her eyes focusing on the girl. The tinkling sound resumed, her hands making fast shapes and her legs kicking. “What did she say?”

“She says you’re a big ugly girl,” Peter glanced at Wendy uncertainty, “and that she is my fairy.” As the two were talking, a dark shape seemed to slither over the floor and return itself around Peter’s feet. Wendy did not notice, but Peter gladly greeted his shadow at it’s return.

“She’s not very polite.” Wendy commented, turning away slightly as she felt a bit hurt.

“I’m sorry, Tink can sometimes be a bit confrontal,” Peter came back in front of her, and her eyes met his.

“Peter, where do you live now?”

“With the lost boys.”

“Who are they?” Wendy moved closer to the boy.

“They are the children who fall out of their prams when the nurse is looking the other way.” Peter replied, nimbly stepping around toys to be closer to the girl. “If they are not claimed in seven days they are sent away to Never Land.” He paused, a bit proudly, “I’m captain.”

“Peter, why did you come to our nursery window?”

“To try and hear your mother’s stories.” Peter fiddled with a leaf that made up his shirt, “I do enjoy her stories.”

“Which is your favorite?” Wendy tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, picking up the book with the shoe on the cover once again. Peter pointed towards it, nodding.

“The one she read tonight, with Cinderella,” a frown appeared upon the boy’s face, “though she never did finish it.”

“Oh, well she goes off with the prince and they live happily ever after.” Wendy said joyfully, hugging the book to her chest. This tale was her favorite as well. Peter’s ears perked up, a giddy look appearing on his face.

“How delightful,” He laughed, “I must go tell the other lost boys the ending at once.” Peter clambered over to the window, beginning to lift it.

“Wait, Peter!” Wendy cried, afraid of losing her new friend. The boy waited, much to her utter elation. “I know many other stories,” Wendy said, thinking of many other tales her mother had told her that she now knew by heart, “I can tell them all to you.” Peter curiously approached the girl, his eyes a bit narrowed.

“Give me the stories,” He said a bit frighteningly, surprising Wendy with his ferocity.

“I-I cannot give them to you,” She explained, “I must tell them.” Peter grabbed her hand.

“Then come with me,” The boy began pulling Wendy to the window.

“Wait!” Wendy called out, dragging her heels. Peter again stopped, looking at her. Wendy found herself breathing heavily, as her mind worked itself over, as many young girl’s minds do. This strange boy was taking her with him? But, to where? To Neverland? Would she like it there? Wendy’s heart began beating faster as she began feeling herself coming to a turning point in her life, though she did not know it quite yet. If she stayed, she would have to go off with her awful aunt for a terribly long while, but if she went… “We must bring John and Michael,” The girl found herself saying. The boy gave her a delicate look of confusion.

“Who?”

“My brothers,” Wendy smiled, a weird, tingly feeling filling her as she made her decision. She would go. She would go off to Neverland with this strange boy, and she wouldn’t have to go with her aunt the following morning. She could be just like Peter and stay a child forever, always having fun and never bored.

She did dislike being bored.

Chapter Text

“I do say, Wendy,” John groaned, fumbling his hand around until he managed to find his glasses, “what are you doing getting us up at this hour?” As the young boy placed the spectacles on his nose and blinked to adjust his sight to the room, his annoyance was soon replaced with a feeling of fright and confusion. “Who on earth are you?”

“I am Peter,” Peter gave his bow, “Peter Pan.”

“Peter?” Michael yawned, rubbing his small eye with his chubby palm. “Who is Peter?”

“Peter is a kind boy who is here to take us on an adventure,” Wendy was hurriedly helping her brother wrap into a thicker gown, for the London air was quite biting at this time of year. Michael quickly began bouncing about with his sister, for his moods were very much affected by hers.

“An adventure?” John scoffed, staying sat in his bed as he watched his siblings scurry about with a fervor of excitement. “Where?”

“To Neverland, John,” Wendy paused, looking at her brother in worry, “why aren’t you preparing to leave?” It took John a moment to realize that his sister was quite serious about this.

“Leave? Why Wendy, how on earth do you plan for us to leave?” John now arose from his bed, an air of incredulousness surrounding him, “Should we not be startled that a strange boy has come into our room in the midst of the night? This may be a case of kidnapping, Wendy, for you are a well off young girl.” Wendy gasped.

“Peter would never harm us!” She turned to the boy in question, bobbing her head in affirmation. Peter’s face, which had taken some time to return to a normal color, was now returning to the pink that it seemed to flush to around the young Wendy. He coughed, nodding.

“I do not recognize the name Pan, are you even from around here?” John narrowed his eyes at the boy, feeling his duty as a gentleman swell within him. Peter prepared himself to respond, but found himself cut short by a most pleasant peal of laughter.

“Why of course not, John.” Wendy’s face was alight with amusement, “as we have stated, he is from Neverland.” John found himself at a loss for words, which was quite the rarity seeing as he took after his dictionary of a father. He had thought Wendy to be devoid of joy once the announcement rang of her shipment to their aunt’s house in the morning, but here she was.

Happy.

After no more than a moment’s hesitation, John shook his head and sighed, fetching himself a robe. Wendy clapped with delight.

“Right then, Peter, how do you intend to take us to this Neverland?” John sniffed, digging through his closet to pull out his father’s old top hat that he only wore to dinner parties. If he did intend to go with this boy, he would at least remain well dressed. John eyed the leaves and cobwebs that coated the boy with disdain. Oh yes, the top hat was coming with him.

“We’re to fly,” Peter cocked his hands upon his hips, staying completely oblivious to the look of absolute concern given to him by the boy now wearing a top hat.

“Fly?” John looked to his sister incredulously, but her look of firm affirmation remained. What on earth had gotten into her?

“You must only think of happy thoughts, and they will lift you into the air.” As to show his point, Peter at that time then proceeded to raise himself off of the ground, standing suspended midair in the children’s nursery. The small amount of maturity that John clung to in his parent’s stead was abruptly forgotten as the boy’s adolescent excitement surged within him, all talk of duties and gentlemen forgotten.

“I’ve got it!” John confidently began to think of caramel sweets, ticking golden pocket watches and his sister’s smile, but found himself no closer to flying then Michael was to reading a sonnet. Wendy’s mouth curled into a smile more luminous than the moon outside of their window as a small light suddenly flitted before her, a small girl hidden within it.

“Sometimes you need a bit of fairydust to help you along,” Peter plucked his fairy from the air before him, blowing on her gently, much to her chagrin, and making some of the light from around her flake away and drift onto the Darling children. Wendy, being the closest, was the first to receive the sprinkling of magic. As soon as the glow touched her skin, Wendy found herself rising upwards, her feet becoming even with Peter’s.

Michael was next. He let out a squeal as he rose with his sibling and the stranger, soon giggling as a child should.

John found himself to be last, his feet gently lifting and filling him with the sensation one might get if they were to jump off of a high place and stay sustained in the air for only a moment before touching the ground once more. The only difference was, his feet were not returning to the ground at the present time.

“Oh Peter,” Wendy laughed, gently leaning and finding herself drifting towards the boy, “this is wonderful!” Peter had to grasp her shoulders to stop her collision into him, and Wendy found herself feeling quite pleasantly bubbly and warm at his touch, almost much like the time she had sneaked a sip of her mother’s champagne at a previous party the family had attended. Peter gave her a boyish grin, his love of her laugh increasing ever more.

“Now, try to use your movements to direct you,” Peter showed the children how to maneuver themselves in the air, subtly using this as an excuse to hold the hand of the Darling girl.

“I feel most proficient at this, Peter,” John illustrated his point with flip, eliciting a shriek of delight to come from Michael, “now, when shall we depart?” As John asked this, Peter propped the window open using a toy cane, making the opening quite wider than what the children were used to.

“Now,” Peter answered simply, using his free hand to grasp the small pudgy extremity of the youngest Darling, “John, take the hands of your siblings.” John did as he was told, gripping the warm, soft hand of his elder sister and the damp, tender hand of his younger brother. “Hold on tight!” Tinkerbell sat herself snugly into the crook of Peter’s shoulder and neck, her golden light seemingly illuminating all four of the children. Peter shot forwards, flinging them out of the gap in the window and into the London night air.

The Darlings looked on in amazement at the lights of the city below, Wendy especially entranced at their seemingly sparkling similarity to the glimmer of Tinkerbell. John had to momentarily let go of his sister’s hand to re-secure his hat upon his head, but wasted no time in gripping it once more, giving it a squeeze. He had now come to the realization that this trip of sorts would not take a mere night to finish, and this realization came with the fact that Wendy was not to be there in the morning to depart with their aunt.

He got to keep his sister.

“We’re flying!” Michael exclaimed, another peal of laughter escaping him and nearly scaring the life out of an older English gentleman who happened to be sitting on the top floor of his home with his own window propped a crack, enjoying the fresh night air. If he had had the energy to stand from his sitting position, walk to his window and peer out, he would have seen the receding outline of four children drift farther upwards into the sky and out of his sight all together. If he had done this, perhaps the next day when the entire town learned of the disappearance of the Darling children due to the startling panic of their parents, he could of told of the bizarre event the previous night. If he did this, it would most likely have earned him the title of senile and convinced the poor Darling parents that their children had been taken by angels.

The old man, however, had a bad knee, and instead only shook off the laugher he heard as the sound of the wind outside whistling in the tree branches.

Maybe it was for the best that the children departed with no witnesses.

The youths in question were now quite far out of anyone’s line of sight, rising above the city of London until it was a mere speck, smaller than a grain of fairy dust, beneath them. Europe then proceeded to fade away, not that they had really studied that yet in school anyway, and after that the round blue sphere of the earth proceeded to shrink in view until they were surrounded by nothing but stars.

“Why, Peter,” John very suddenly only now thought of this question, “where is this Neverland?”

“Second on the right and straight on till morning!” Peter’s gleeful reply rang out around them, echoing into the sky. A bright pinprick shone before them, registering as the second star on the right to the children, who at this point trusted Peter at least enough to get them to the place that he had promised. Soon enough, the pinprick of light was growing, and engulfed the young adventurers.

Wendy was encompassed by a searing white, the gleam making her shut her eyes in pain. What was this place?

“Wendy?” Peter’s voice drifted gently up from beside her, his hand pulling her to him. She felt his other hand tap her shoulder, bringing her to slowly blink her eyes open once more. Michael and John were slightly below and in front of them, doing pirouettes and elaborate spins. Wendy found her focus redrawn by Peter, who once again whispered her name. He motioned his hand outwards, gesturing to the world around them.

The young Darling girl found herself breathless, speechless, and needless to say quite in awe.


“Welcome to Neverland.”

Chapter Text

Tap Tap Tap


Wendy awoke with a start.


A dream.


She sunk down into her covers with a wilted sigh, pulling them up over her head in an attempt to return to the world that she had just left.


Tap Tap Tap

A small fist rapped at her door.

“Wendy! Wendy!” A voice cried, ruining any chances of her return to sleep. She rolled over, flipping her padded blanket off with a small smile.

“You’re up quite early, you silly boy!” She laughed, watching her brother as he ran into her room with his arms spread wide like he was… flying… how foolish of him. Wendy shook her head, leaving her bed to catch Michael under the arms and twirl him around. Though he was 11, he was still quite small, and she was pleased that she had the strength to play with him and swing him around the way she did when they were children. “What made you rise so early?”

“I wanted to eat breakfast with you today!” He giggled, a flash of emotion clouding his eyes before they filled with glee as Wendy began bouncing him up and down, making him squeal and cry out in playful joy.

“Alright, run down to the kitchen and get out some bread and jam. We will have a most splendid breakfast!”

“Bread and jam! Bread and Jam!” Michael began chanting excitedly, dashing from her room the instant she set him back down. She gazed after him with a smile, taking a moment to listen to his tiny footfalls before she turned back to her dresser, slipped on a gown, secured a hairbow in place, and pulled a small pad of paper from the second drawer. With a shaking hand, she placed a large X through the small box marked with today’s date, before she hastily shoved the pad back into the drawer, refusing to acknowledge the large red circle around tomorrow. She glanced at her reflection in the mirror, running a thin finger over the ever darker shadows beneath her eyes. After a final fluff of her hair, she nodded and began to make her way down to the kitchen to join her brother.

“Good morning, Wendy.” John greeted her over the morning paper, his wiry arms stretched wide to accommodate the large pages before him. He set the article he was reading down in order to better greet his sister, taking a sip of black coffee while doing so and grimacing as he swallowed the bitter liquid.
He had awoken several hours before, but he had wanted to spend the morning with his sister so he planted himself at the breakfast table until she appeared.

“I don’t know why you force yourself to drink that stuff,” Wendy replied, grabbing a piece of the loaf that Michael had pulled down from the cupboard and spooning a heaping dollop of bright red jam upon it.

“If father drinks it, then so do I.” The young boy narrowed his eyes, taking another sip to emphasize his point. Wendy took a large bite of her breakfast while watching him, the sticky sweet jam dripping from her hand and onto the kitchen floor in a mockery of his insistence to avoid all sweet things as they were “childish.” He flicked the morning paper back up in a huff, shooting Michael a dirty look as the young boy stirred yet another spoonful of sugar into his cup of morning tea.

“How did you sleep?” Wendy changed the subject, taking the seat opposite her brother at the small breakfast table. This space was for the servants to eat, but the children enjoyed spending time here all the same.

“Terrible,” John scowled, “the nursery beds are much too old and lumpy to provide comfortable sleeping accommodations.” He frowned, “I guess you don’t understand in your new room.”

“You know our parents wished for the spare room to be given to the eldest child,” Wendy teased, her voice dropping suddenly, “it shall be yours in a few days, John. I cannot very well-”

“I do not want your room.” John said suddenly, surprising both Wendy and Michael with an panic-filled voice crack. “I, uh,” He caught himself, clearing his throat and smoothing out a wrinkle in the paper, “I would much rather simply move into the guest bedroom, is all that I am saying. You… keep your room.”
Silence fell after this exchange, the three children eating and drinking their breakfasts in quiet reflection of the days to come. Soon, mornings like this wouldn’t be possible.

“Well, look at this gathering! How charming!”

“Mummy!” Michael cried, a smile breaking out over his previously solemn face. He set down his crusts and ran to his mother.

Mrs. Darling smiled as she embraced the boy. Her face, while tired and worn from a constant worry based around the events taking place tomorrow, was still as lovely as ever, the years doing nothing to diminish her grace.

“Good morning, mother.” John pushed his glasses up his nose, taking a drink of his coffee to show his mother how mature he was.

“Good morning, mum.” Wendy pushed herself up from her seat, giving her mother a delicate kiss on the cheek.

“Why, hello children,” She watched Michael and Wendy return to their places at the breakfast table, “what made you all rise so early in the morning?”

“We wanted to spend time with Wendy,” Michael chirped, munching on another piece of bread. John refused to affirm this, but he didn’t deny it either. Wendy gave her brothers a small smile, her eyes clouding as she mindlessly picked at her barely eaten toast.

“How lovely,” Mrs. Darling reached out and stroked her daughter’s hair, her fingers trembling.

“Why good morning, dear family.” Mr. Darling’s voice cut through the semi-sweet moment, his dress shoes tapping on the floor like gunshots. “Are we all discussing the dance tomorrow?” His inquiry was met with a torn silence. “Come now, this is a tremendous occasion! Wendy is to be wed- we must celebrate.”

“Yes, dear.” Mrs. Darling gave her husband a brief smile.

“The dance is meant to show the higher ups that our family is rising,” Mr. Darling sniffed, eyeing Wendy’s breakfast with a look of displeasement, “we must place ourselves into the society on the right foot.” Wendy pushed the toast away, ignoring the disappointed look her mother gave her. She had hardly been eating the past few weeks, and her cheeks were looking startlingly gaunt. “Wendy will arrive on the arm of her betrothed and the town will forget about our…. past.” The children flinched at this, memories of what had occurred 5 years ago resurfacing.

Cold walls, cold stares, liar liar liar

Are you excited to go and pick up your finished dress from the shop?” Mrs. Darling placed a comforting hand on her daughter’s shoulder, gracefully changing the direction of the conversation.

“Yes,” Wendy exhales, her mind conjuring up images of gowns made of leaves and twine before ultimately settling upon reality.

It was a dream, Wendy, just a dream

“A gown fit for a woman.” Her father nodded. “You will be 18 tomorrow Wendy, and it is time you look the part.” He ignored the look of melancholy that overtook his daughter’s face and instead chose to skim a newspaper article over John’s shoulder.

“Come, Wendy,” Mrs. Darling took her daughter’s hand, “we can make a day of it.” Wendy gave Michael and John one last small wave before departing with her mother.

Womanhood loomed ever closer.

Chapter Text

“Let’s get some tea, shall we?” Mrs. Darling was nothing if not a proper english mother, and as she knew that her daughter held anxiety over the following day she wanted to be there for her as a figure of comfort. She had been through the same circus of events when she was of age, and she knew how stressful a debutante ball could be.

“Sounds nice.” Wendy had a distant look on her face, her carefully pinned hair beginning to become undone in the wind flowing around the two women. Her ballgown was carefully arranged inside of a large brown paper sheath that she currently held in her grasp, but her focus was anywhere but the dress. Mrs. Darling gently guided her daughter across the cobbled street, leading her into a large shop that read “Emerson’s tea and sweets.” A delightfully small bell rang to announce their entrance, and Wendy started at the sound, staring at the bell for a moment before following her mother to a small table by the window.

“I believe a proper cup of earl grey is in order,” Mrs. Darling told the smartly dressed man that came to take their order, “and perhaps a scone or two.” He bustled away, leaving the two women to look at each other in a tired silence. “Your father just wants what’s best for you, Wendy dear.” Wendy nodded, gazing out of the window with a somewhat melancholy look upon her face. “Darling, please won’t you tell me what’s wrong.”

“Nothing is, mother.” Wendy replied, her voice sounding hollow.

“I know you are nervous, but there is nothing to be afraid of! The Williams are… aware, of your past-”

Your children are mentally unstable, Mrs. Darling. They will require therapy, doctors visits-

“- and…” Mrs. Darling tippered off as their pot of tea arrived, smiling politely as their desserts were placed next to it. “Wendy,” She started again, stirring a small teaspoon of sugar into her drink, “I promise you things will get better. It may seem daunting now, but being a wife can be quite an adventure.” Wendy turned at this, finally meeting her mother’s eyes with an absent smile.

“I know my duties, Mother.” She mindlessly wrapped her hand around the hot cup, allowing the temperature to bite her skin.

“We are worried about you, Wendy dear. Your father and I-”

“I know your fears,” Wendy spoke up, startling her mother with the solidarity of her voice, “I am not a child, and I do not hold the illusions my immature mind created. I will not run away.” Wendy finally took a sip of her drink, sighing.

Her mother knew not what an adventure was.

“Wendy,” her mother reached across the table and placed her hand on her arm, “I want you to be happy.”

Wendy truly did love her mother with all of her heart, but her mother didn’t know what would make her happy.