Ariel craned her neck to watch his silly antics. She hadn’t had a good laugh in awhile. Down where it’s wetter, everything was princess do’s and don’ts. She didn’t get nearly enough time for fun. She would have thanked him for that, but she thought it might sound stupid to a boy like him. Clamping her lips shut, she felt him move closer to sit down on the rock. She was about to return her gaze to the sea when she saw his finger jam up his nose. After having a double-take at his expression, she burst out laughing. She had to cover her mouth to keep from sounding like an over joyous seal. Trying to hold it back caused her face to turn red.
“Ahhhhh!” She hunched over herself, hugging her stomach with both arms. “You- you look ridiculous! Ahahaha!”
When her laughter finally died down, she wiped away tears from her eyes. She hadn’t seen anything like that before. Even merboys were proper- at least most of them were. She hadn’t ever seen one cross their eyes like that. What an ugly display! It was funny!
“Ew, ahahaha! Gosh, how old are you? Like seven!?”
Peter was practically flying. He was elated right to the point where he could have shot up into the clouds. Her hysterical reaction only encouraged him to further wrack his thoughts for anything even more outrageous. When her giggles ceased, and his own too, for he’d been snorting along, very pleased with himself, his sopping wet hair falling in his eyes. Perhaps there was water in his ear too, because one side felt funny and her laughter and the rush of the sea every time it bounded off the rock sounded far away in his left ear.
“You look like a tomato when you laugh,” he retorted back, though he was still laughing a little. Her red hair though, combined with her red face from her hysterical laughter, did end up with an overall scarlet coloured mermaid. “But tomatoes are tasty,” he amended, although it wasn’t particularly related. Did mermaids have tomatoes?
Scrunching up his nose at the question, Peter shrugged, not thinking very hard about it. “I’m as old as a boy. And not any older.” Peter had no idea when he’d stopped growing. And there had been the times here on earth that had made him grow older but then he’d gone back to Neverland and his features round and playful again. “How old are you? Six?” He tried to imitate her tone in the question, smirking.
“I think you and I both know I could never quite throw you overboard,” Hook answered offhandedly, knowing that he would never hit the water if Hook had the chance throw him overboard. He smirked with Peter’s face on the smell of the cheese. “Someone as clever as you would make someone like me look like a fool,” again, Hook avoided adding.
The fact that Peter had skipped his question didn’t help keep Hook in good spirits about the intruder, but the last thing he needed was his pirating crew of misfits running in blazing guns, and risking lives and Hook’s state of being. He heard them below as Cookson clearly resumed his duty below, which was to feed the crew.
He wondered if they would find out what was going on up here through the cook.
It was true, but the captain admitting it was a lot less fun than him trying it. He caught his smirk instead and, not wanting to be outdone, popped the cheese in his mouth. Peter shrugged, “I’ve tasted better.” The putrid strength of the explosion on his taste buds made it more difficult to keep a straight face. He was undecided as to whether he liked it or not, but there was rarely a chance to have cheese in Neverland unless he brought it back from earth himself, stolen from some grocer somewhere, so he took another chunk. “Too right I would!” He agreed heartily as he darted back from the desk, the cheese in his hand. Peter was always light on his feet, always ready to get away.
“I was fishing,” he said abruptly. “I thought I might” - here Peter broke into a grin, as if just remembering - “Borrow something to bait them with? Cheese, your hat, or I could use a new hook too!” He waved his hand at him, curved in the shape of a pretend hook.
“Uhh…not exactly. Sometimes people get here by accident, but I don’t think anyone’s ever taken a plane to get here from outside. I mean…I’ve seen some people with spaceships,” Turbo shrugged, but he really didn’t have anything to say on the matter. As much as he loved engines and building he new next to nothing about planes or flying crafts. He’d thought about stealing a space ship from asteroids years ago, but they were long gone now. “Sometimes you see planes fly by in the background, but I don’t think anyone is actually flying those things,” he added. Some older games he’d known had little things flying around, but in his experience he’d never run into a plane pilot or anything like that.
Turbo looked over at Peter’s feet and hands and shook his head. “Well, it’s not gonna start if you keep doin’ that. Lemme show you,” he said, taking the time to explain the different pedals and the gear shift. It had been a while since he’d had to explain driving to anyone. It came as naturally as breathing to him, so the thought of having to explain it took him a second or two to completely register. “Just try different combos of those things. You’ll get it,” he nodded, starting the car for the boy just for good measure.
Peter’s eyes boggled at that word. Spaceships? “Ships for space?” He reworded himself, sounding like an idiot but too full of incredulity to care. If he only thought about it, Peter had commandeered a flying ship. But his own mind was too full of grand, chugging hunks of metal flying into the sky. He couldn’t believe Turbo didn’t seem all that interested in it. “Someone must be flying them,” he muttered, more to himself than Turbo under his breath. “Otherwise they’d crash, wouldn’t they?”
Listening very vaguely, Peter only really caught the last sentence; it was the only one that felt of any importance to him. His hesitation hadn’t cost him any self confidence. Taking a random chance, Peter went forth to press the pedals ferociously, his arm taking a few twists to get used to the movement of the gears. Suddenly, the car jerked forward and although he whacked his head on the back of the seat, his skull jarring on the helmet, Peter grinned in delight - it was one of the most briefly powerful things he’d ever experience, the lurch of the engine. It wasn’t going to stay brief. After a few more experimental touches, the car gave a satisfyingly loud starting vroom and Peter found himself hurling onto the track.
Rapunzel laughed and nodded but her face fell when his averted her question. “I get it… you have a reputation to uphold and all that. Can’t let people know too much or the mystery goes away.”
The golden princess lifted her bowl and drank her soup instead of using a soup. Behind them the lights were snuffed and the giant wooden light fixture in the middle was pulled so the makeshift stage was the only thing lit.
“Oh I think it’s starting-“
Whatever questions she may have wanted to ask were silenced by the sound of cheering and the exuberant introduction to Fang’s puppet theater. The first thing shown was a wooden raindrop painted gold on a stick which fell down to the bottom of the stage and from there a magic flower was pulled up.
It told the story of the flower, how it helped her mother and how it had been protected by Gothel. How she had snuck into the castle and stolen Rapunzel in the dead of night.
The tower, Flynn’s chase down the forest and how they met. Rapunzel watched her story presented with an impersonal air to her. Like it really wasn’t her story but some kind of fairytale that was better left for books and bedtime stories.
Opening his mouth to protest, the Doctor found that perhaps it was partly true. What was he without his secrets, without pretending he was full of magic and mystery? Just a man who would never grow up. “I could tell you a few stories-” he started, eager not to have upset her.
But he was broke off too by the sound of cheering which he automatically joined without having a clue what he was clapping and whooping for. He squinted onto the stage, his lips tugging up in amusement. What in space-
The Peter Doctor leaned forward in his seat. Everyone else seemed to know what was going to happen, reacting a few seconds before him. He almost forgot about his companion. When they reached the part of her leaving the tower, he glanced over at her. This was her? A lost princess. “I have to admit, that this is better than my stories. You probably don’t need to hear mine if you’ve done this,” he said over an especially loud cheer as this Flynn Rider was bullied by a rather grumpy looking horse puppet. He grimaced, feeling a little jealous in his childish way. He was most probably never going to be a lost princess, he thought to himself wryly.
Jane was still at a bit of a loss for how to receive Peter’s talk of fairy friends and imaginary lands. That is, she could hardly help but assume such things were imaginary until and unless she saw them with her own eyes. She was a scientist, or wanted to be, and that meant reason and observation and experimentation - not accepting every account of unicorns fairies that chanced her way.
Of course, the only mention of fairies that Jane could recall occurring recently was today’s jaunt off to the lake with Peter. ”Er, I suppose you could call this my holiday,” Jane acknowledge frankly, chuckling. ”Daddy and I came to Africa on a sort of holiday - ” of course it had been really to research gorillas but somehow she doubted Peter would be interested in the details ” - and ended up staying.”
“Africa? This is Africa?” Peter picked up on it immediately, swinging around to look at her and then his surroundings, everything seeming in a completely different light. He’d seen Africa on maps and he’d heard of the crazy creatures and impenetrable places there. They clearly didn’t know what they were talking about, because Africa wasn’t a wilderness. It was beautiful. Peter had been here, to places around here before but he hadn’t known it was Africa. It made it sound so much more exotic. This coming from the boy who lived on a tropical island.
Peter smiled. ‘Ended up staying’ sounded pretty familiar. He’d ran away to Neverland without thinking and ended up staying. “Is it nicer here than where you used to stay?” He thought it must be - surely there couldn’t be a much better place on Earth for adventures than in this jungle. He pushed aside the undergrowth as if got thicker. “It’s through this bit here. I think. Everything does look different on the ground.” He squinted pasting moss covered creepers and trees, trying to catch a glimpse of the small clearing. Light, there’d be light. Peter’s thinking wasn’t conscious - it was instinct that drove him on and told him what to look for.
The seaweed ended up tangled in Peter’s hair - he left it, not minding its rubbery tentacles tickling his neck. “I’m not afraid of seaweed at all! I wear it as a crown!” He struck a pose, hands on hips and a lofty smirk on his face. This mermaid was even more fun than the ones back in Neverland. They might have thrown a fit if he’d thrown seaweed at him. They probably would have complained about their hair.
Peter was most definitely drenched now. “You have a big tail, that’s unfair!” He whined, though he wasn’t one to sit and sulk. Tasting the fresh sea salt on his lips, he knew that there was no point in trying to splash her. Shaking his hair like dog, he scraped up a bundle of purplish seaweed and bounded over to her in one jump, dumping it right on her head.
She grinned from ear to ear at his showoff-y display. He was a ridiculous sight to behold. Slimy strands of seaweed hung from his head, shoulders, and bent arms. He looked more like a sea monster. Except, he wasn’t all that intimidating. Clapping her hands, she called up to the boy. “All hail the seaweed king!” Her joyful proclamation was quickly replaced by a string of light giggles.
Her laughter was cut short when she felt something heavy and drooping plopped right on to her head. She could smell the salty plants and didn’t have to guess what was there.
“Ewww, Peter! That’s…okay this is gross!” Ariel laughed and peeled the seaweed off. She flung it back into the ocean and pulled her tail up on the rock. She held it close to her chest as if it were a pair of legs.
Despite Peter’s faults - his love of being the centre of attention and his carelessness and recklessness - he did love to make people smile. Her grin was simultaneously infectious and fueling. He continued on like that for a few seconds, lifting his hands in the air, miming great triumph. If one had similar imagination to him, a person could just about see the seaweed form a crown on his head, he was so convinced in himself.
Her tail didn’t intrigue him, as beautiful as its reflecting scales were. He was used to it. Peter laughed and rolled over in the air to sit next to her, settling beside her a little cautiously (in case of any further splashing or seaweed attacks). Then again, he was half soaked through already, water dripping down his back; the seaweed was still in his hair too. It was starting too feel too cold and clammy against him so he dragged it off. “I am gross,” he emphasised proudly by sticking a finger up each nostril and crossing his eyes. It was a rather spontaneous act of delightful boyishness.
“The top of the tallest church steeple,” Flynn said, then held up a finger and added, “The next town over.” Which would be approximately north of where they were. “Doesn’t matter how you get there. You just have to get there first.”
He uncrossed his arms and stretched, even rolling his head on his neck. “Ready?”
While this Flynn man clearly knew the place better than he did, Peter could fly up and quickly identify where the next town was. He looked so confident, the boy almost found it laughable. Any way at all? Did he think he could run faster than Peter could fly? “The top of the steeple? We have to reach the top of it?” Peter’s smile was triumphant as if he’d already won.
He didn’t need anything to prepare himself. Only pausing to blow his fringe out of his eyes, he tried to stare Flynn down, rocking up onto the balls of his feet. “Ready when you are.”
There was an odd sound outside of his cabin and Hook tensed. He knew that it was not the crew below, but something else.
“Capt … capt,” Coookson was stuttering, and Hook’s hand became poised to snatch his sword if the threat came within.
Upon seeing Peter Pan, Hook’s initial thought was, ‘so much for a peaceful vacation from our earthy burdens’.
“Pan,” Hook answered, smirking inside at Peter’s observation about cheese. It was nice to have the luxury of traveling bck and forth thanks to Cornwell’s discovery of fairy dust’s special properties. Seeing the galley cook staring stupefied between Hook and Pan, Hook gestured with his hook to go back to his duties.
It Peter Pan was here to pester any of the staff on the ship, there was only one person in particular.
“What do you want?” Hook asked, his voice was chiseled with annoyance.
Although the satisfaction of the cook’s surprise kept Peter buoyant for a few moments, it faded just as quickly as it had appeared. In his eternal childhood, he was constantly searching and craving attention, in all the most dramatic ways. So Hook’s annoyance did make him grin, it was hardly enough. Peter edged closer to the table, his arms hanging by his side and his expression completely unafraid. His funny accent that he’d put on dropped and he leant forward, quick as you like, and snatched a rounded chunk of pale cheese.
“Aren’t you going to throw me off the ship?” He pouted slightly and nibbled off a bit of the cheese, making a face at its pungent smell. He ignored the captain’s own question. Gone were the days of quick tempers, it appeared. Then again, Hook had always been a cunning figure; perhaps he was playing a trick. He couldn’t outwit (the amazing) Peter Pan, but he’d certainly tried.
In the same that she knew Peter Pan, and in even the shorter time that she declared him her number one enemy (not rival, she had no rivals), Adella didn’t think that he’d make her laugh as easily as he’d done. At the poor expensive of the man and an unhappy donkey, the two shared in heavy bouts of giggling. Of course, neither one felt the smallest scrap of guilt for what he’d done!
She scuttled after him, in however best a way you could use to describe how she flew after Peter. While they did, she blew out the candles in all of the open windows, rattled the cast iron signs for shops, plucked the hats off of unsuspecting men and women, and asked Peter if he could top all of that.
It was one thing to be mischevious in Neverland when there was only the morose Captain Hook to pester and monkeys sleeping to disturb. Here on Earth in the bustling cities and towns, there were a thousand more targets. Peter had to stand back and admire Adella’s ease of bothering, as it was. Usually people said boring things like ‘Won’t they get upset?’ and ‘Won’t people mind?’ Peter hardly ever looked at anyone with admiration, in fact, it happened just about never. Like her shadow, he danced about her gracefully and while she still lacked that in her movements, she made up for it in the havoc she left behind. Peter made faces in windows, wiggling his fingers in a cheeky wave to the rather gobsmacked and angry people.
“I can top anything, I’ll have you know.” Gathering up the hats that Adella had just tipped off, Peter had to dodge the hands snatching at his collar. He stacked them one on top of each other. With a sharp glance, he picked out all the children in the crowd. Each one gave him a confused, rather toothy grin as he plopped various feathered, velvety and silky hats. He reserved two for himself: one simple black top hat and a curved, fashionable maroon lady’s hat. He grabbed Adella’s hand to pull her along quicker. “Do you want a hat too?”
Turbo blinked, perhaps a bit stupidly, as Peter explained. Fairies…he’d seen some of them in other games, but last time he checked they didn’t grant the power to fly. Maybe the rules were different in this game? That wouldn’t have been all that strange. Rules changed all the time, especially from game to game and apparently universe to universe. “Pixie dust and happy thoughts…” It sounded like a fairytale. Maybe it was. “Huh…I’ve never heard of that before, but I guess I haven’t heard of a lot of stuff,” he shrugged, but he was still quite interested. Flight…high above everyone else.
A grin etched itself on Turbo’s face as Peter agreed with him. He shook his head good-naturedly at his enthusiasm that never seemed to let up and always seemed to bounce from thing to thing with ease. Turbo had to let it sink in that the boy was looking at him for approval, and he nodded his head quickly. “Go for it, kiddo. I wanna see this.”
Peter, like every strange world or place he stumbled into, had no idea about any games. He rambled on like no tomorrow and would have done so until the sheep came home if he was given a topic, regardless of whether they knew what he was talking about. “Most people haven’t heard of it,” he conceded smugly. He didn’t know a lot of stuff either. “Can’t anyone fly here? Isn’t there planes?” He might be able to fly with nothing but buoyant thoughts but the monstrously awe inspiring plane contraptions still fascinated Peter.
Letting out a hoot, Peter finally allowed himself to tumble into the car. He righted himself, wriggling into the seat and placing his hands firmly on the steering wheel. After staring hard ahead of him for a few moments, he realised he lacked something. “It won’t start,” he mumbled. He might have watched Turbo drive but being so caught up in the excitement of a car, he had no idea how to turn the engine on.