Starcrossed

Preface

THE YEAR IS 1918, WORLD WAR I.

seven years since wendy and peter last saw each other


The light snow was falling gently upon the white-washed turrets of the London chimneys. A picturesque sight, one of silence and peace, but a dark silhouette of a boy sitting underneath a brick chimney disrupted the scene. He sits in the frigid night, back against the brick place, atop one of the finest houses in London. He holds a mirror up to his face, the moon glinting behind him. How he had gotten the mirror, no one knows, for Peter was known to be prideful, but certainly not vain.

He scowls in his image and dread flames lively in his veins. He no longer recognizes the boy -- now of his late teens -- in the reflection. He has stone cold eyes, and an altered face, one weathered from many adventures and dangers from the past. His nose has changed slightly, and his hair grew haphazardly in ruffled ways that stuck out like hay. He stares at the image and realizes that his nightmare was coming true.

Peter was growing up.

Not only did the physical features make him feel years older than he really was, it was the sense that his boyish-ness was slipping away. He didn’t feel energetic to go on an adventure -- in fact, the idea of fighting another battle with another pirate tired him. He was suddenly feeling very moody, and this happened more often. One day, he would wake up in Neverland and feel like he was the king of the world, and the next day he would feel like jumping off Skeleton Cave in rage.

To make matters worse, Peter was losing his ability his fly. He tried to ignore it, he tried to push it away like it was just a figment of his imagination. But Peter Pan was growing weak, and he no longer felt the familiarity of Neverland -- or Wendy -- in his memory.

Frowning, Peter places the mirror on the roof, tired of his reflection. He wasn’t sure what was going on with him. He’s never experienced anything like this before. He was the one exception. He was the one child in the whole universe who didn’t grow up, no matter how many years he lived.

Why was he suddenly changing?

He hears horses in the distance, and his heart pounding, he shrinks back into the shadow of one of the Darlings’ chimneys, peering at a carriage down in the street. A man and a woman were getting out.

“She’ll be leaving tomorrow, she won’t be having those terrible delusions where she’s going,” a man’s voice echoes through the otherwise empty street.

A woman’s soft voice fills Peter’s ears. “Oh, George, do you think she’ll be safe?”

“Boarding school is the safest alternative there is. One of the top schools in the country, in fact,” George says, “Her brothers have gone now. Michael is training to be a soldier and John is fighting in the war soon. She’s the only one left in that absurd nursery!”

“But George, she’s just having nightmares--”

“Mary, this has gone on for far too long. Haven’t you heard the rumors? At the bank, they’ve been saying that we have a deranged daughter. Do you know how that makes me feel?” George’s voice had risen to a harsh tone.

Peter leans forward, the streetlights illuminating his concentrated face.

“I just -- I just don’t want her to think we’re abandoning her. Boarding school is miles away,” Mary says quietly. “After she’s gone, she’ll be the last. Nibs, Curly, and the rest have all gotten their education. I’ll miss them.”

Peter hears the latch of the front door unlocking.

“She’ll send us letters. Trust in me, Mary, love,” George says gently. “Wendy will get better.”

At the sound of her name, Peter’s eyes widen, his fingers grip the brick chimney tightly. Wendy was leaving.

The voices disappear with the soft thud of the front door closing. The horses and the carriage speeds away and Peter is alone again.

“Leaving? Boarding school?” Peter whispers, his brow furrowing with worry. Wendy couldn’t leave him. Not again. She had left him once, and he came back just to find her, she wasn’t slipping away this time. His heart hammering in his chest, he crawls to the edge of the roof and prepares to fly to her balcony like he’s done the first night they met, but suddenly, he couldn’t control himself.

He falters mid-air and tries to pull himself up, but he dwindles downwards uncontrollably, spiraling and sprawling until he crashes on the snow of the Darlings’ backyard with a hard thud. Covered in cold snow, he shivers and realizes sullenly that with the dwindling energy he has, he couldn’t possibly get himself and Wendy back to Neverland by himself.

Sighing, he frowns and stands up, taking temporary flight. He musters all his energy and successfully levitates himself, setting his sights on the second star to the right, preparing for the long journey, straight on ’till morning.

He leaves London, and with a look back, he mutters, I’ll be back for you, Wendy. You’re not leaving me, not again.

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