"I suppose it's like the ticking crocodile, isn't it? Time is chasing after all of us."
We continue inside as Alanna talks animatedly to James as he packs away his things. I look over at Peter and he smiles at me, motioning for us to leave them alone. We float up onto the ground outside and take a walk through the woods. "Your sister.. she likes James, doesn't she?" he asks, obviously trying to start a conversation. I nod, "Yeah, seems that way." We walk in a pleasant silence and Peter runs a hand through his hair, I can't help but feel my heart skip a beat. I smile at him and he smiles back, "I want to show you something." he says softly, even though we're alone.
I nod and he takes my hand, flying us away. Once we reach the river, I see a few boulders in the middle, causing a kind of channel for it. We each sit on a rock and dip our feet in. It's cool, which is weird considering it's a hot day. Oh. "The water, it-" I start and he nods, smiling sweetly. "Wow." I say under my breath. He gives me an impish grin and pushes me in the water. I fall in, pulling him with me.
We splash each other with water, laughing and I back him up against the rock, splashing water at him close-distanced. Suddenly, he gets water and something else in his eye, the sky darkens. Cold rain starts to beat down, thunder booming. A strike of lightning hits a foot away from us. "Peter!" I yell, he covers his eye muttering curses and I know he can't hear me. I wrap an arm around his waist and clamor us onto the shore, pulling us under a rock that hangs over us in a half-c shape.
"Peter, Peter, calm down." I console, "Let me look." He painfully opens his eye, it's red and bloodshot. I lean close to his face, blowing on his eye. He blinks a few times and puts his hands on my arms, pushing me away. I have an arm on each side of him, leaning over him as he's pressed against the back of the rock. "Peter." I say softly, and he looks at me with a scared expression.
Then, a thought occurs to me. How many times has Peter been hurt? How many times has he been hurt and he had to fend for himself? How many times was it his fault? And why does he have a mix of hurt and fear in his eyes when he looks at me? I want to see THAT Peter. Not the one who smiles all the time. I want to know the Peter that no one else sees. The REAL Peter Pan.
I lean back and sit on my haunches, looking at him. He calms down a little and scoots back into the rock, running his palm through the middle of his hair. His hair is completely off his face and I look, really look, at Peter. His eyes are deep-set, green, and has a soft curve to the end of his nose as it hooks down slightly, his bottom lip is full while the top is a perfect bow-shape. His features look serious when he isn't smiling. He is the epitome of his time, a beautiful but serious gent. He, no doubt, had many admirers of both genders.
He licks his lips nervously, and it seems to go in slow motion as I look up from them, into his eyes. His eyes exhibit fear and I realize it's the storm that scares him. "Are you alright?" I ask, sitting beside him. He shakes his head and I wrap an arm around him and he leans into my shoulder, hugging me tightly around my waist. "Don't worry, Peter, I'm here." The storm was stopping at a breakneck pace. "I will always be here, Peter." I whisper and the storm subsides, looking down at the boy. His face is buried into my neck and I can feel his warm, steady breathing on my neck.
I guess fear takes a lot out of you. I smile, laying down beside him. This is the Peter I wanted to see. The vulnerable, scared, emotional Peter. He acts like an adult more than he knows, he stays happy for others but not himself. I want him to the see the other side of me too, the protective, jealous, overbearing side. He proudly parades what I hide, and vice-versa.
Learning to breathe with Peter Pan at my side, becoming an inhabitant here... It'll take some getting used to. Unlike whoever was here before, though, I will make my time with Peter count. Every second will be for him. Every time I wake up, I'll be with him. Peter Pan's weak side needs to be protected, and there I'll be, standing by his side.
The sun begins to set as I wake up, Peter still asleep in my arms. "Hey, Peter." I nudge him and he rubs his eyes, waking up slowly. "Hmm?" he asks, rubbing the heel of his palm against his eye, yawning. "My arm's asleep." he wakes up at this and sits up, blushing slightly. "Sorry." I smile, laughing a bit. "No problem."
We did not talk the entire way back to the tree. We just walked silently, our hands brushing each other occasionally as we walked. After a while, I grabbed his hand and intertwined our fingers. He gave me a questioning glance with a small smile hidden in it. I smiled at him, "I'm tired of you bumping my hand." He laughed, "If you wanted to hold my hand through the big, scary forest because you're scared, all you had to do was ask." I smile, looking at our hands as they swing in time as we walk. "Don't get a big ego, Mr. Hothead." He laughs, "Don't make me hit you." I smile, "Oh, try it. I dare you."