Peter Pan: A Novel

the continuation of Peter Pan, in which Peter is haunted by visions of growing up and falling in love

The Nursery November 5, 2007

Filed under: chapter two,peter pan — snarkytea @ 7:16 am
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{ 1,267 words }

            When he arrived in London and crouched upon the tiers of Big Ben, Peter was exhausted and without much of a happy thought except seeing Wendy and Moira and telling the both of them at once that he was to be their son and brother, respectively. He had already rehearsed the scene in his head several times. He would confess his love for the both of them and they would delightedly accept his brilliant proposal to live with them. He would fit in nicely in their beds, he wouldn’t take up much space or eat much food, as he was used to eating imaginary food at any rate, and he would be loved and love in return so politely. Overwhelmed with such a happy thought, it should have been easy to fly to reach the house he knew so well and land upon the windowsill unnoticed.

            And indeed, his plan was to arrive as quietly as possible. He wanted to surprise Moira especially, to see the delight on her face when she woke to find a new brother beside her. And then of course, Wendy would rush in and flush in enthralled enchantment and clasp Peter close, comb his hair properly, offer him clothes and some breakfast. And Joseph would pat his head, tell him he was a strapping lad and that boyish clothes quite suited him. He would eat a quiet breakfast, go off to school as perhaps he had always been meant to do, and would return to play with Moira and the others afterwards. Joseph would ask him at dinner about his schoolwork, Wendy would draw a bath for him, and both of his new parents would tuck him in comfortably.

            Breathing heavy as he hopped off of the large clock while it struck midnight, filled with this new joyous future, Peter didn’t even notice that the season was very much different than the last time he had been to see Moira. Then, it had been a cool spring evening where the windows were easily to forget about and leave open the entire night long. Now, there was a chill in the air that signaled autumn was long gone and winter had firmly settled in, a snow just on the horizon, and nearly every window was closed, including the small nursery where Wendy and Joseph raised their children. Even that didn’t slow Peter down, nor the strange number of beds that seemed to surround the dark room as he nudged the window open and slipped inside.

            A gush of air rustled his hair as he closed the window and peered out from the inside as Wendy had often done. It was odd, looking out at the night sky from a small room, knowing whatever life you were about to live was about to change drastically and you may never know anything of the other kind of life you lived.

            But though Peter was sad to lock the latch on the window, he found an empty bed and grinned into the pillows as he pulled the covers over his face and huddled into the warmth, contentment radiating from his small frame and excitement bubbling within, for tomorrow brought the grandest of adventures Peter had ever known.

            Sleep was almost immediate, and when Peter awoke, it was not as rehearsed.

            The noise and rustling of clothes and bedsheets, of teeth being brushed and water running through nearby pipes startled Peter from his pleasant and much-needed slumber. As he sat up, it was hard to remember what he was doing in the small blue and white room with twelve beds or who the other boys were who dashed around in front of him, chatting and dressing on their way out.

            “You’d better get up,” one of the boys said to Peter, “Or else Madame’ll skin your hide for sure. Are you new?”

            Nodding, for he was sure he wasn’t old, Peter slipped out of bed. “Who’s Madame?”

            The boy snorted with a laugh and grinned to Peter, looking him over. “Good dreams last night, I suppose? I bet they threw you in here late, too, so you’ll need a better rest tonight.” He glanced up at the sound of a tin whistle and cursed softly under his breath. “My name’s Theodore but everybody calls me Theo. We’ll have time to talk later, but for now, you’d better get dressed and meet us downstairs or you’ll be getting off to a rougher start than I did.”

            Thinking it a bit of a game and a test of his skills, Peter dusted himself off and headed for the door. He didn’t expect Theo’s fist to curl in his shirt or for the other boy to haul him backwards and toss him onto the bed.

            “You don’t even have proper clothes on!” Theo crowed with a laugh. “Here, you can borrow some of my old clothes – they’re far too small on me, but you look just the size.” Rummaging through a trunk at the edge of his bed, Theo tossed a pair of dark slacks, a gray vest, and a starched, folded-white shirt to Peter, who caught them all hazily, still too overwhelmed to speak. “There,” Theo said, shaking his auburn bangs from his blue eyes. “That ought to do. Go on, get dressed, I won’t peek.” Throwing Peter a wink, he gestured to the trunk once more on his way out. “There are shoes and socks in there too – help yourself. I’ve got to help the others get ready, but I’ll come back for you and show you down to breakfast.”

            When Theo had gone, leaving Peter alone with two other boys who sat across the room trading papers as they dressed, the room seemed quite silent, despite how the noisiness from moments ago had woken him. Mechanically, and because he wasn’t sure what else to do, Peter dressed himself in the foreign wardrobe and a full length mirror across the bedroom showed Peter his image.

            Startled, he felt something strange strangle in his throat. For a long moment, he simply stared, following the lines of his body down from the shiny buttons at the collar of his new shirt to the faded black of the worn shoes adorning his feet. Somehow, he couldn’t ever remember wearing shoes like this before, nor did he recall a need to do so. It had never been strange to be barefoot before…whatever before really was. Something clanged to mind in the back of his head, a name, a woman, a vision.

            “Wendy…” he whispered, fingers on his slack tie in the mirror.

            “Who’s Wendy?” Theo asked, entering the room and shooing out the other two boys who made their way quickly and together.

            “I…don’t remember just quite,” Peter said, brow furrowed boyishly, “Though I am sure she was someone important and beautiful.”

            Theo quirked a brow. “Won’t find much of that kind here, seeing as how there aren’t any girls here, least of all women. Well, except for Madame and the other sisters, but having any kind of impure thoughts about them will get you into more trouble than a caning for sure. What did you say your name was?”

            “Peter Pan.”

            “Oh, like the elf?” Theo chuckled, shaking his head. “Well, Peter, you are doing a sore job of tying your tie, so I suppose your mother always used to do it for you.” Noting Peter’s flinch as he took the tie and began to knot it, Theo bit his lower lip. “Sorry, mate. I know you’re new and all. I shouldn’t have teased you. Hell, I know how you feel.”

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