The Captain looked surprised at Wendy’s words, then pleased, and finally suspicious.
"I beg your pardon?"
"I'm going with you. I know you don't want to stay here, and when you leave I will go with you."
He smiled, but not kindly. "You want to come with me? Are you so foolish? What will stop me from taking advantage of it? How can you be sure that I won't creep up at you when you sleep and silence you?"
He looked at the wolf who stared intensely back at him.
"Your wolf is very protective, granted, but can you really delude yourself into thinking that I couldn't kill it and take you before you had had time to scream, let alone speak?"
Wendy felt cold. He was right, but she had already thought about it at some length. She was putting herself at risk, but she couldn't see any other way around it. She didn't want to fall back and reduce Hook's being with one of her stories. Then she would win, but it would be a hollow victory - as would his be, if he cut out her tongue and made her a mute serf, bound to his will for the rest of her life. She took a deep breath before she answered.
"I know that, James." Wendy hesitated a little before she continued. "I trust you won't hurt me now. I trust I will have nothing to fear from you."
The Captain bared his teeth in a grimace. "I'm not a man to be trusted."
"But I will anyway. You spoke of free will. Then prove it to me. Make it possible for me to trust you. Prove that I will have nothing to fear. You have treated me well, after all, in the past."
James shifted a bit, looking uncomfortable. "If I treated you courteously, it was because it was the most useful way to do it. I did it for my benefit, Wendy, not yours."
"I know, but you still did it, you chose it. You could have disregarded kindness, because you know you could have got me where you wanted anyway, and still you didn't. I don't think that counts for nothing."
Wendy fell silent, chasing the rehearsed phrases in her head, but they eluded her.
"It seems I can't live without you." She looked out over the sea, avoiding his gaze. "I've not forgiven you. You stole me for your greed and for your pleasure and the only reason that you told me of what I can do was to save your life. Now, I have to stay here and then it seems that I must be with you."
She looked at him directly.
"Without you, I waste away. Is it the same for you?"
Whatever Hook had expected Wendy to say, it certainly wasn't this. He had not wanted to admit, even to himself, the enormous hunger he felt for her when she was gone and not just after her body. He had longed for her voice, her looks, her silent breathing when she slept. For her whole being. He could not tell her all that - it would expose himself too much. Instead he reduced all his feelings into a single word.
Wendy nodded, not betraying how glad this one word made her.
"I tried to tell a story to send you away. I could not. Even if we are, as you said, two different people, and we both have our own free will, we cannot part. Perhaps my soul isn't my own anymore, but ours."
He nodded, his face thoughtful. "Yes, I have wondered if that isn’t truly the case."
Wendy suddenly felt shy. She had thought this conversation would be much harder than it was.
"I was thinking," she said after a moment. "I thought about this island you asked me to tell you about. I wouldn't mind going there. Would you?"
Hook looked pleased. "I wouldn't mind that. I wouldn't mind that at all." Then he paused and added. "How?"
"By ship," Wendy answered with some force. "I'm not going to tell stories just to make things easy."
She went with Hook back to the ship at once. There was nothing left for Wendy on the island and when she asked the Captain if he was ready to leave soon, he quickly answered; “At once.”
Smee greeted Wendy in a perfectly natural way when he saw her, then he patted his thigh and called to the wolf;
Instead of being affronted by this degrading name calling, the wolf happily let Smee pet it and wagged its tail, much to the annoyance of the Captain. The wolf seemed undisturbed by the sudden allocation to a ship and sniffed carefully in all corners of Hook’s cabin before it jumped up on the bed.
"Oh no," Hook said. "Under no circumstances will I share my bed with this animal."
He gave Wendy a glare.
"You may be set to bring it along, but I draw the line here." With that he turned back to the wolf. "Down!"
For a second or two yellow eyes met blue and then the wolf jumped down to the floor again. It yawned to show it didn't really care for beds anyway and curled up under the harpsichord instead. For the first time in weeks Wendy felt a smile form on her lips and for a brief second, a corner of the Captain's mouth curled up as well. This moment of ease quickly dissolved however, when Wendy made it clear that even if she had returned to Hook, she was not prepared to resume their marital status. The Captain could not understand this reluctance and did not bother to conceal his wrath.
"This is ridiculous. Where would you sleep if not in my bed?"
"I will sleep perfectly well in the daybed."
Hook slammed the claw into the thick wood of the table, burying the tip deeply. "You are my wife. You will sleep in my bed. It's not like you didn't enjoy it."
Wendy wavered. Upbringing and conditioning nearly made her submit to him again, and the small shiver of pleasure she felt when she thought of him touching her again didn't help either. However, she didn't want to put herself in the vulnerable position of being naked in his arms.
"Whether I have enjoyed sleeping with you or not is not the question here. I don't want to sleep with you because you have hurt me and lied to me. I think- I think I wouldn't want that even if I had loved you."
"And you don't."
"No. You don't love me either, so don't try to imply that you do."
"I never said I did."
Wendy frowned. She had not expected him to say that he did, but still... "Why then did you want me? Why didn't you just keep me for the stories and seek your pleasure elsewhere? I don't believe you waited for me while I grew up and never sought the company of other women."
"You are right, I did not, but there is a vast step between love and the next convenient body. Would you like to know what the women I had looked like?"
Wendy shook her head, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable. Hook smiled in satisfaction.
"You didn't want to sleep with that pretty boy you ran away with. Why not? You felt no love for me, so why not sleep with a handsome lad such as he? I know why. For the same reason every girl I slept with could have been your sister. We may not love each other, but we don't really want anyone else. Can you deny that this is how it is?"
Wendy blushed, but then she shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. For now it will have to be enough that I’m here.”
Looking away, Hook concentrated on wrenching his claw out of the woodwork. Wendy's hands were tightly clenched and she looked determined enough to tell him that she was not going to relent. He could rave as much as he liked and the most likely result would be to make her even more stubborn in her refusal. He quickly retreated, choosing to keep his voice soft when he spoke again.
"I'm not the man you once envisioned would come to take you away, am I, Wendy? What did you dream about, all those years in Fortuna? About a hero who would rescue you from me? He didn't exist. He never did."
Wendy looked pained. His words touched the rawness Nicholas's betrayal had brought. Hook ventured a little closer to her, keeping his voice low, persuading.
"You could change me, you know."
Wendy flinched, and Hook knew she had thought about it, even if her words said otherwise. "What? What do you mean?"
"Tell a story. Make me into a man who is worthy of you. I know I have hurt you, and believe me Wendy, I regret those actions. I wish I had treated you differently. You could change me to be someone you would want."
Wendy didn’t answer at once and when she did she spoke very slowly. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. If I changed you, we would both know it was I who did it. If you are to change, James, then you will have to do it yourself."