the First

Swashbuckling

We climb aboard, my feet hitting the wooden deck. Henry mumbles something about going to help Turk with dinner, smiles at me, and disappears through a door. I glance around, no one is on deck. I'm all alone. My eyes flicker to Hook's cabin doors, but I look away. Suddenly, a gust of warm air blows out of the jungle, across the village, and into the ship. It sways in the water, and the sun almost immediately shines through the rapidly dissipating clouds. Summer has seemed to return in two seconds flat. Peter got the cure. I did it! I barely get any time to revel in my victory. Hook bangs onto the deck, his wild eyes locking on me. He strides over to me and grabs me by my throat, squeezing tight. My feet are barely touching the ground.

"What did you do? What did you do, huh? That bastard is all healthy again, and you have something to do with it. What did you do?"

I'm desperately grasping at his hand, trying to get him to loosen his grip, but he only squeezes harder. I can't get a breath of air. I start to feel lightheaded. His eyes are on fire with anger, he seems to be enjoying this.

"James!"

His eyes waver in their frustration, and I can feel his grip temporarily loosen on my neck before he tightens his fingers again.

"James, drop her. Now."

Henry has emerged from the kitchen and is standing behind him.

"James. Now."

Hook sighs heavily, I can smell the whiskey on his breath, before he drops me to the floor. I inhale gulp after gulp of fresh air, fighting away the feeling of nausea rising in my throat.

"You've no right to meddle in my personal affairs, Henry." Hook growls, stepping towards the old man.

"Don't you even try to pull that on me, James. Leave her alone."

"But she-"

"Not another word. You're ridiculous, harming a lady like that."

Bones walks over to me, kneeling on the ship's deck. He places a hand on my shoulder, "Are you alright?"

All I can do is nod. I can't seem to form words yet. Hook makes an exasperated noise, before striding back to his cabin and slamming the doors.

"He discovered that the cure was missing while we were away. Turk told me he nearly overturned his wardrobe trying to look for it. He blamed you right away. I'm sorry."

"It's my fault, anyway." I manage to say.

Henry helps me sit up, "And mine, too."

He tilts my head up and examines my neck, "It's bruising already."

"Just another thing to add to my list of Hook-inflicted injuries."

He chuckles, "I suppose so. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I think he has feelings for you."

I blink, "Henry, I think that's the exact opposite of what he's thinking."

"I know, I know. But you're the only person who's ever gotten this much of a reaction out of him ever, good or bad."

"I don't think you're right."

"You'll see."

He helps me to my feet, my knee is hurting from the fall. The sun is high in the sky, marking mid afternoon, and the day is hot.

"Are you hungry?"

"Yeah, I could use some food."

"Wait right here." he smiles at me and walks through a door, seemingly leading to the kitchen. I limp my way to a barrel, and sit down on it. The ship's deck is clean, and the barrels of gunpowder and cannon balls are neatly stored by each cannon.

"Psst."

I glance around, but there is no one else on the deck with me. I'm hearing things.

"Psst."

I sit up straighter. There is still no one on the deck. A tap on my lower back causes me to twist around. Kai is grimly smiling up at me, finger to his lips. He's holding himself up by his strong arms, biceps bulging as he grips the side of the ship.

"Kai," I gasp, "what are you doing here?"

"What does it look like? I'm saving you! Come on."

"I-" the dull pain in my knee reminds me why I can't go with him. If he finds out what Hook did, I don't know what he would do. Will I even be able to change with a bullet wound? I don't want to find out.

His brow furrows, "You don't want to go. Why don't you want to go?"

"Kai, I-"

"No. Don't worry about it. I understand."

"You do?"

"Not really. I'm just pretending to make you feel better."

He manages a sweet half smile. He's being surprisingly forgiving. I'll explain to him eventually. I feel awful. He forgave me for not wanting to kiss him, and I knocked him right back down again by refusing to go with him.

"Who are you talking to?"

I snap my head back up as Kai disappears into the waves.

"No one." I smile as convincingly as I can at Henry, who is holding a tray of food in his hands.

He looks very skeptical, but he's not going to pry. For that, I'm thankful. He hands me the food, which is just a dinner roll, broccoli, and some chicken.

"Thank you." I say.

He smiles and disappears through the door again. I glance back over the side of the ship, but Kai is gone. I want to go with him. I want to get back to Peter and get away from Hook! But if Kai or Peter found out what Hook did…

I heave a sigh of distress. On the bright side, my new outfit makes me feel as if I belong on the crew. I feel a bit stronger. I just need a weapon to go with it. I glance around the deck, until my eyes land on a sword resting on top of some barrels. It's nothing special: basic silver blade, and a simple hilt. Perfect. I approach the sword, glancing around to make sure no one notices. The setting sun makes the sword shimmer, it seems to be calling my name. I pick it up. It fits well in my hand, I can feel the steady weight of it on my palm. Playfully, I step forward and slash the sword through my imaginary foe. Letting out a small laugh, I continue to dance about my enemy, stabbing as I go. I almost trip over myself a few times, making me laugh even harder. It's easy to forget my painful knee like this.

"What do you think you're doing?"

I turn, startled, to find Hook standing behind me. He's dressed in his usual outfit, complete with his diamond-hilted sword and typical smirk. His eyes briefly glance up and down my body, taking in my new outfit. He doesn't seem nearly as mad as he was just a few minutes ago. An idea hits me then, and brings a teasing smile to my face. I'm not afraid of him. If Henry isn't, why should I be? I may be injured, but he won't hurt me again. He got all of his anger out by choking me in the first place. I hope. I'll take my chances.

"Sword fighting, Captain. What does it look like?"

He cocks his head, trying to decide my motive.

"You know, I figured," I continue, running the blade across my fingers, "that maybe the great Captain Hook could teach me a thing or two?"

I don't look away from him, his hand slowly travels to the hilt of his sword. A charming smile spreads across his face.

"Well, from the looks of you, love, you've got quite a lot to learn."

In the blink of an eye he whips out his sword and touches the point of it to my chest. My shocked expression betrays my confident facade.

"Rule number one," he says, his voice dropping to a whisper, "always be on your guard."

I swing my sword up and into his, knocking it from my chest with a clang. He steps back as I point my sword at him.

"Rule number two," he says, "never back down."

He lunges and aims for my stomach, I block his thrust.

"Not bad." he chuckles, a wicked glint in his eye.

We continue in that way, thrusting and blocking, neither of us clearly winning. I'm actually quite impressed with myself for keeping up with him. He's a skilled fighter, I'll give him that much. I know he's going easy on me because of my leg, but if we were actually fighting I would definitely lose. He has a flesh-slicing hook, after all.

We're both covered in a light sheen of sweat and breathing hard, but we're happy. This is really helping me take my mind off of things.

Thrust.

Miss.

Parry.

Jab.

Block.

Stab.

Miss.

Hook stabs forward with a vengeance, I lose my balance and stumble forward. He drops his sword before it can impale me, thankfully. His strong arms pull me back on to my feet, but he doesn't let me go. Both of us are trying to catch our breath, I can feel his chest heaving beneath me. I tilt my head to look up at him, he's already staring down at me. Those stormy blue eyes send tingles up my spine.

"Um, thanks."

"Mmhmm."

We just stare at each other, drinking in the other's features. Could he really be so bad? Could the great Captain Hook be nothing but a misunderstood pirate? God, I must be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. This guy stabbed and choked me, and here I am still searching for the good in him? Henry can see the good inside of him, so I know it's there. I can feel the tension growing in the air, so thick I could slice it with my sword. Electricity is buzzing between our bodies, begging me to close the little distance there is between us. He can feel it too, I can tell. His cold metal hook is pressing into my lower back, his other hand resting on my waist. My arms are around his neck, and it's taking all the self-restraint I have not to run my fingers through his hair. Inch by inch, our bodies move closer. Slowly, slowly, slowly. The tension rises higher and higher, the setting sun fueling our excitement.

The thought flies into my head so fast I almost gasp.

Bunny.

Peter.

I have to get back.

I shouldn't be doing this.

He's the enemy.

I pull away so quickly I almost fall backwards. The tension snaps like a rubber band, my sword clatters to the ground. I can't. I just can't.

I look back up at him. That new, kind expression has been replaced by cold eyes.

"This lesson is over." he growls.

Before I can speak he strides past me to his cabin, slamming the doors behind him.

A sick feeling rises up through my stomach. What just happened? I walk to the side of the ship, leaning over the water. The sun is almost completely gone, the sunset is turning the water orange. The sea breeze softly blows across my cheeks, bringing my body temperature back to normal. The ocean flows far beneath me, making me think of Kai and Marina. What if Queen Selene really is my mom? How did she get here? Does she know I'm here, too? Does she care? And Kai… I wonder what he's doing. Is he thinking about me? Is he even going to try save me again? Do I even need saving? Too many questions.

The sun sinks below the ocean, allowing the stars to twinkle overhead. It hits me then, the night is warm. Summer is back. Peter's alive. The thought sends a happy tremor through my body, he's okay! I can go back and help him heal, I can help the Lost Boys care for him. Maybe Peter can answer my questions. The waves are mesmerizing, lapping against the side of the ship. The sun is continuing to sink below the horizon, and the water is becoming darker and darker. Suddenly, a flick of something beneath the surface catches my eye. A tail? Kai? I lean forward even farther, allowing my clumsy self to lose my balance and fall over the side. Shit.

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