the First

The Lost Boys

A light plume of smoke begins to waft into the air, the rope is burning surprisingly fast. Soon it'll reach my net, and I'll become barbecue. This is not good. I need to get out of the net and into the water. I can change and get back to Kai. I try to pull the net apart, or rip it. I even use my teeth. All the while, the smell of smoke is filling the air and my lungs. I cough a little bit, the net isn't budging. I look up to the top of the net that is secured to the mast, it's as knotted as the rest of the net is. The smoke is making me a little lightheaded, I'm fighting for consciousness. I have to get out. I kick against the net, desperately trying to break free. It's so difficult with my bindings. My throat is burning. I can feel myself losing my grip on reality.

All of a sudden, I'm falling. The smoke wisps lightly through the blue sky as I drop towards the deck. Suddenly, a pair of strong arms wrap around me, and I soar back up into the sky.

"Dammit, Pan!" Hook's distant shout reaches my ears from the deck below.

I hear a chuckle in my ear as we speed back towards the island over the waves. Peter? I slip into unconsciousness, my world fading to black.


I awake to a dim commotion of voices.

"Hey guys, back up. Give her air."

I crack my eyes open to find seven pairs of eyes staring at me.

"She's awake!" one shouts.

Suddenly the room is thrown into chaos, it seems no one knows what to do. Finally, Peter clears the young boys out of the room and turns to me, heaving an exasperated sigh.

"Sorry," he flashes an apologetic smile, "they don't know how to behave themselves around ladies."

I let out a small giggle that turns into a wheezing cough. A look of worry crosses Peter's face as he rushes to me, patting me lightly on the back until it goes away. I lean into him, thankful for his support. My throat is so incredibly dry, it hurts to breathe.

"What happened?" I ask.

"Hook was attempting to get revenge on me. As usual, it didn't work, but if I hadn't come he would have put out the fire anyways. He was bluffing."

"You weren't the one in the net." I reply bitterly.

I can still feel the heat of the flames crawling up my arms, and the ache of my cheek.

He chuckles, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah. I'd just like-" I break into another coughing fit, the kind that makes you feel as if you're coughing up a lung.

He waits patiently until I'm done, soothingly rubbing my back.

"A glass of water." I finish.

"Of course!" he responds, shooting up from the bed so quickly I almost fall over.

"Be right back."

He flies through the curtain that separates the room, leaving me alone. I glance around, taking in the smooth wooden walls with shelves carved straight into them. They hold different knick-knacks and a few books. I'm sitting on a reasonably comfy bed, cloaked in cotton sheets and skins that look like they're from a bear. The pillows are very fluffy, and there is a bear pelt on the floor, serving as a rug. Overall, the room is pretty bare. The door is covered by yet another bear skin pelt that blocks my view of the room beyond. I'm wearing a soft cotton shirt over my bikini that's rather large on me. Is it Peter's?

At the moment, the curtain moves, and a little boy steps through. He freezes as he notices my eyes on him, his little face looking as terrified as it could get. He has wavy blond hair, light green eyes, and a cherub-like face with rosy cheeks. He's dressed similarly to Peter: a white shirt, brown pants, little black boots, and a small dagger that hangs on his belt. He couldn't be older than eight.

I smile at him, "Hello."

He gives a nervous smile back, but that terrified look does leave his eyes a little, "Hi."

"What's your name?" I ask.

"Bunny." he responds.

"Bunny?" I repeat, "That's a nice name."

Now he beams at me, and takes a step forward, "What's your name?"

"Relia." I reply.

"What's wrong with your face?"

That takes me aback, my indignation must come across as anger to him. He bolts out of the room without a backwards glance. That was odd. What's wrong with my face? I glance around the room for a mirror, and find none. The pelt moves again, this time it's Peter. He's holding a small wooden cup, which he extends to me.

"Here."

"Thanks." I take a sip, the cool water rushes down my throat and clears away the remains of the smoke. Before I know it, I drain the small cup without a drop to spare.

"Thirsty, are we?" Peter grins.

I laugh, "Maybe a little. Almost being burned alive can do that to you."

He laughs too, "Come on. You have some fans that are very eager to meet you."

Fans? He holds out his hand for me, and I take it. I gingerly get up from the bed, and he leads me to the door. We exit the room, and we emerge into a larger area that I could best describe as a studio loft. It is also smooth wood, with a few built in shelves along the walls. Directly in front of us is a couch-looking thing that actually looks pretty comfortable. Beyond that is mountain of worn brown beanbags, above it is chute. In the right corner of the room is a table, behind it is a door. There are two other doors along the right wall, with a wooden spiral staircase leading to a trap door in the ceiling. After taking in my surroundings, my eyes land on the boys seated on the couch. There are six of them, all wearing the same expression of curious excitement.

"Boys," Peter says, a commanding, but kind, tone in his voice, "roll!"

The boys scamper up from their seats and make a neat line in front of us, standing at attention in order from tallest to shortest, staring straight ahead. They're all wearing clothes that resemble a commoner, loose and dully colored.

"Slightly!" the tallest boy shouts. He's skinny, with long blonde hair that falls into his hazel eyes.

"Nibs!" says the second boy. He's shorter than the first, with light brown hair and pale green eyes.

"Cubby!" the third calls. He's definitely chubbier than the rest of the boys, he reminds me of a teddy bear. He has dark brown eyes and ginger hair.

"Twins!" two identical boys shout in unison. They both have jet black hair and emerald green eyes.

"Bunny!" the last boy shouts, the one who came into my room. His voice shows that he is trying to sound tough, despite being the smallest of the group. At the last second, his eyes flash over to mine. They're filled with curiosity. I give him a small smile, and I see the ghost of one on his face.

I turn my gaze back to Peter, who is grinning at me.

"Your turn."

A light blush creeps up my cheeks, I turn to the boys, who are all staring at me.

"Uh, Relia?"

I turn my quizzical look to Peter, who looks like he can't hold his explosive laughter in much longer.

"Perfect," he says, "absolutely perfect."

He swallows his laughter, his face growing serious, "This is your home now. You'll be safe here."

Right now, that's sounding pretty good.

"At ease, gentlemen." Peter says, a teasing tone in his voice.

Almost immediately, Nibs says, "Can we go now?"

Peter chuckles at his whiny tone, "Almost. Suit up and we'll head out."

The boys scatter, shouts of joy fill the air.

Peter turns to me, a familiar spark in his eyes. He's always happy.

"You," he taps me on the nose, "are going to stay here."

"Where are you going?" I ask. I don't want to be left alone.

"On an adventure." he responds.

A pout forms on my face, "Well, what do I do?"

He glances around the room, "Clean?"

I place my hands on my hips, "Really?"

He matches my stance, a smile tugging at his lips, "Really. We'll be back soon."

"Okay, but you have to answer one question for me first."

"What's that?" he asks, childish curiosity leaking into his voice.

"Where's your leaf costume?"

He laughs, and jumps into the air, "That's a story for later."

He flies towards the chute in the ceiling, "Move out!"

The boys, now each brandishing a weapon, bolt up the wooden staircase and out the trapdoor. I turn around to look back at Peter, but he's already right behind me. I give a small gasp, and he laughs.

"Sorry. Be safe, please stay here. It's really important that you do." he ruffles my hair and turns, flying up the chute.

The room is silent. I glance around, I suppose it is kind of messy. There are dirty plates littering the table, the couch's pillows are scattered around the room, and there are various items that seem like they shouldn't be on the floor. Case in point? The samurai sword. Heaving a sigh, I step forward to the couch. It's just large pieces of fabric sewed together. I sit down, becoming absorbed in the softness of the fabric, and sinking into the plush cushions. I stand before I can get too comfortable, knowing that I might never get up. I walk around the room, picking up the pillows. With my arms so full I can barely see over them, I make my way back to the couch. I set them down, making them look as orderly as possible, and set about looking behind the doors for where to put the other things I find.

The door behind the table at the opposite end of the room leads into a kitchen. I walk back outside and grab the dirty plates, putting them into the tin bucket that is serving as a sink on the other side of the kitchen. There are rags, plates, cups, bowls, and silverware stacked on shelves along the wall, and various foods stacked around them. There is some serious ordering needed here. I put the food on the floor and fix up the plates and bowls, organizing the silverware and cups. After I keep them contained on half of the shelves, I reorganize the food. There are breads, apples, dried meats, and nuts. There isn't a refrigerator in sight. Well, when you live in a tree, I suppose there isn't electricity. I fix up the food, and go to wash the dishes. There is a small trapdoor on the wall above the sink, with a string attached. I lightly pull the string, and as expected, clean water comes pouring out. I quickly rinse the dishes, and place them onto their stacks. I go back into the main room, humming a song that doesn't have any particular origin.

A sounds stops me in my tracks and makes my blood run cold. A howl. Those molten gold eyes flash through my mind, I shake my head to get rid of the image. Several more howls pierce the air, sounding closer than the one before. But the weird thing is, they're above my head. Am I underground?

I take a deep breath, rubbing away the goosebumps that have formed along my arms. Peter said I'm safe here, and I trust him. I enter the next room, six beds. All of them are unmade, with clothes strewn about the sheets. I set to work making the beds and folding the clothes, placing them at the foot of each one. I exit the room and go into the room next to the spiral staircase, where the boys went earlier. It's a weapons room, the walls are lined with swords, daggers, slingshots, and arrows. There are dummies and targets pushed against the far wall, and the center of the room is bare. I walk back into the main room and pick up the samurai sword, entering the weapons room and placing it on the wall. I enter the main room and survey the area, there is only one more thing on the floor. I walk over to it, and pick it up. It's a unicorn figurine made of black marble. I feel a pang in my heart as I think of Knight, this statue looks just like him. The horn is white like the star on his forehead, and the statue's features replicate him down to the last hair. The only difference is that this horse looks cruel. With its big stature, it's terrifying. I don't put it back on a shelf, but I carry it with me to the couch where I sit. I gently trace the statue's mane and tail, feeling a wave of homesickness. The howling has died out, there are no more wolves in the area. As soon as I let myself relax, however, children's shouts fill the air.

"Relia! Relia!"

A rumbling noise from the chute draws my attention to it, the Lost Boys tumble through and land on the pillows beneath.

"It's Peter." Cubby says, the first to slide through.

"He's hurt." the twins add, matching looks of fear on their faces.

"Where is he?" I ask, worry creeping into my voice.

The chute continues to shake as more lost boys tumble through. The last is Peter, supported by Slightly. Slightly, to his credit, allows Peter to land on top of him as they come through the chute. His torn shirt is stained with blood, and his face is pale. He's barely conscious.

I glance around to see their eyes trained on me, waiting for instruction. I straighten my spine and meet their gazes.

"Bring him to the couch."

They swing into action, but I'm about to pass out.

I rush into the kitchen and snatch the rag I saw earlier, soaking it in water from the trapdoor. I come back into the main room to see Peter laying on the couch, it seems the blood has spread farther than it was a minute ago. I gently take off what is left of his shirt, hit with a sense of deja vu as I remember the last time I did this. That time he had been shot, this time, he's been bitten. The bite is already infected, it takes up most of his left side. It's deep and bloody. I can clearly see where each sharp tooth penetrated his skin and was dragged out. Almost as if the attacker meant to inflict as much damage as possible. Again, those golden eyes flash in my head. No. I gently lean forward and press the cool water against the wound. Peter awakens with a sharp gasp of pain, his eyes darting around the room before landing on me.

"Relia." he slurs, as if his brain can't function properly.

He winces as I continue to lightly clean up the blood. I gently run my hand up and down his arm.

"It'll be okay. You're safe."

He loosely takes my hand in his, his eyes fluttering closed.

"Safe." he whispers, before drifting back into unconsciousness.

Almost without thinking, I lean forward and kiss his forehead. He's hot and sweating, a fever has taken over.

"It was a werewolf," Slightly says next to me, "their bite is poisonous. If we don't get the cure, he'll die."

I hand my wet cloth to Nibs, and show him how to dab at his wound. Not that it's doing any good. I take Slightly's arm and pull him towards the table, away from the boys. Their expressions are heartbreaking as they stand around him, they really do love Peter.

"What do you know about werewolf bites?" I ask him, trying to keep my voice low.

"All I know is that they're deadly if they go untreated. But there's a cure."

"Well, where is it?"

He shifts uncomfortably, "The last I heard, Hook's men stole it for themselves. It's on his ship."

My heart sinks. How will we get it then? I glance back over at Peter and the boys, noticing little Bunny on the verge of tears.

I take a deep breath, "I'll get it."

"Relia, that's a suicide mission. If Hook already did that to you," he says, pointing at my cheek, "there's no telling what would happen if he caught you on his ship."

My hand goes up to my cheek, which is still throbbing painfully. I had been able to ignore it until now.

"What's wrong with it?" I ask.

"You don't know?"

My expression must be one of no, duh, because he continues hastily.

"It's really badly bruised. Like, green, purple, and black bruised. Did Hook do that to you?"

I think back to when he kidnapped me, and slapped me.

I lightly touch it, my voice comes out as a quiet whisper, "Yes."

"That village is full of men who will do who knows what to a girl like you, and Hook is dangerous. Especially when you make him mad. Peter won't be there to help you this time, and we don't have Terence, either."

"Who's Terence?"

He awkwardly looks away, "Nobody. I don't want you to go. Peter wouldn't want you to go."

I place my hands on my hips, "Well, Peter doesn't have much of a say in this, does he? Do you have a better idea?"

He's quiet for a moment, then he looks back up at me, "No."

"Then it's settled. I'll leave at dawn."

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