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A Story

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When Wendy woke up the next day, her first thought was that she didn’t feel ill anymore. Her back was sore and she felt stiff, but the fever and the strange fatigue she had suffered from since she left Fortuna was gone. But when she opened her eyes she stared straight up into Hook’s face and she remembered she was back with him and that her flight had come to an end without her gaining anything from it.

Hook got up from the bed, wrapping a dressing gown around him and Wendy crawled up so she was sitting, so she could watch him better. He paced the cabin in silence, the terrible anger from the day before was gone, but he still looked grim. After an eternity he came to sit at the side of the bed, once again searching her face as if he could get the answers he wanted just by this intense scrutiny. She didn’t say anything and eventually he spoke in a low, deceptively soft voice.

"Tell me, Wendy, what did you and your lover do? What did he do in the bed to please you? I want to know, and you are going to tell me everything."

"We weren't lovers; we never slept with each other."

"Liar!"

"It's not a lie. I never let him. We were fighting about it when you came. You have seen the bruises; he attacked me. Please believe me. I can't tell you what he did because we never did anything."

"Even so..." Hook began, sounding a bit uncertain. "Even so, you still ran away. Don't think this will make it easier for you."

His voice hardened while he spoke and Wendy, being scared that he would once again become angry, blurted out what she hadn’t plan to tell him.

"I just wanted to go to Neverland. I wanted to see my brothers again. I thought it would be easy, but it wasn't. No one seemed to know where it is and then we had no money to leave London anyway. I only wanted to see if my brothers were still alive"

Hook looked at her with some surprise. He had almost forgotten about the boys since they had left Neverland, but he realised it must be much more important to Wendy. He thought a little before he decided to tell her a half-truth.

“They aren't there anymore. I went there on my last trip and they are gone. I was told they found their way back years ago."

Wendy burst into tears and the startled Hook watched her with some puzzlement. He let her cry for a while, totally nonplussed as how to continue.

"I thought that would make you happy," he said after a while.

Wendy looked up and smiled.

"It does, it really really does. They are safe, they are home. It's the best gift I could ever have!"

She cried some more, gratefully accepting a handkerchief when the Captain gave it to her.

"Why didn't you sleep with him?" he asked her when she had stopped sobbing. He didn't sound angry, and Wendy felt comfortable enough to give him an honest answer.

"Because when I kissed him I only saw your face."

Hook looked surprised again, but this time he didn’t ask her anything more, but left her alone in the cabin. During the day Wendy felt better and better, but her mind was still clouded by the recent events. Over and over she went through what had happened between her and Nicholas, of what had been said and what, in the end, had happened. She blamed herself that she had not seen those less appealing aspects of his personality before she left Fortuna. Now Nicholas was gone and though she was glad that she didn't had to have his death on her conscience, she wished she had never seen him at all.

Then there was the Captain. He seems to have accepted her explanation, but that didn’t change the fact that she was back with him and that she was still married to him, with all that entailed. She had been truthful when she told him she had only thought about him when she had kissed Nicholas, but she was also aware that she had no choice than to do what the Captain wanted, and he would want to sleep with her again. It was not that she hadn’t enjoyed the night they had spent together, but that she, however pleasant it could be, was without any power to decide for herself.

And then there was the chain around her ankle which bothered her a great deal. It was so long she could move around without problems and it was smooth enough not to chafe, but it was still something that made her immobile. They were at sea and the cabin door was locked. She could not go anywhere and still she was kept chained to a wall like an animal. But she didn't dare ask Hook to remove it, still feeling things were too much fragile between them still.

Hook himself may have spoken little to her, but he watched very carefully. He went to bed beside her without touching her and she didn’t move nor talked. He couldn’t sleep, but lay there listening to her breathing. He was confused, he had not admitted to himself that he had missed her and now that she was back he wasn't sure what to do with her. Most of his anger had abated, but he knew it could easily flare up again, which was one of the reasons he stayed away from her. If he got angry at her again, he might not be able to control himself. He'd never had to try to curb his vicious temper before, because those who angered him had been disposable. Wendy wasn't, and even if he had not forgiven her, he felt very uneasy of the notion of harming her further.

“Can’t you sleep?”

For a moment he forgot to breathe, this was the first time Wendy had spoken to him on her own accord since he had found her. And though it gladdened him, he wasn’t prepared to actually talk with her yet.

“No. Could you tell me a story? Please.”

Wendy felt a small flash of pure joy. It had been a long time since she had told anyone a story and only now did she realise how much she had missed it. She had tried to tell Nicholas stories but he hadn't liked them and had asked her to stop.

"A story about a pirate named Hook?"

"Of course. That is my favourite kind of story."

"A story about adventures?"

"No, not this time. Tell me a story of what happens when the pirate grows weary of fights. Tell me how he finds a place where he can live."

Wendy thought about it for a while. "It has to be an island. A pirate can never be happy if the sea is not near."

She started to tell a story about a wonderful island. As she spoke, she thought about a place where she herself would like to live and it took longer for her to finish than she had thought. From time to time James came up with a suggestion and she added that into her story. Thus, it grew more complex. It was very satisfying, and made her feel a bit drowsy as well.

"This pirate," James said when she was done. "He had always been alone. Will he be alone on this wondrous island?"

Wendy moved a little so she could see his face in the moonlight. It looked serene and young in the pale light.

"Perhaps. Perhaps he wasn't alone anymore."

Wendy heard his sharp intake of breath, but he made no comment. Instead she could feel him take her hand in his, and she let him. No one spoke anymore that night and eventually they both slept.