I dig the toes of my boots into the mossy earth, grateful to no longer be barefooted. As soon as Pan had escorted us into his camp, he had given me the boots when he noticed my bruised feet. Now my clothes are dry and crisp as I sit on the log by the camp fire. Dimitri is beside me at the other end of the log, staring absently into the fire. The flames dance in his eyes alighting them a shining gold, like the setting sun on the sea. His hair has dried and now frizzes out like a net of cobwebs. Winston and Johnson are conversing by the trees, still too afraid to be anywhere near the 'Lost Boys' as Pan called them, even though all they have done since we got here is watch us from afar like curious wildlife.
"Where did Pan go?" I ask Dimitri.
He blinks hard and shakes himself before looking around the camp. His eyes pass over me and he nods. "He's there."
Furrowing my brows, I see that he is right. Pan is leaning against a trunk at the top of the camp, looking deep into the forest as if searching for something.
"He wasn't there before…" I say. It's like he just appeared out of thin air.
"Ah, Captain, you're here! You took your time!" called Pan into the trees. The next moment, Hook emerges looking sullen and defeated. Pan grins and slaps him on the back, making Hook grit his teeth.
Winston and Johnson both jump to attention, running up to Hook
like two puppies. But they halt before they reach him, seeing the
look on his face. Dimitri stands but stays where he is. Something
feels wrong. I can't place it. The grin on Pan's face is the
polar opposite to the devastation on Hook's.
I stand and cross the camp to Hook. "Did you get the water?"
He nods, unable to make eye contact, and pats his chest, which I'm guessing the water in stored in a pocket there. He's got what he wanted…then why does he look so miserable?
"So…we can go back then?" I hedge.
"No," he says in a gruff voice, looking down. "You can't come back. You have to stay."
Confused, I look to Pan who is stood beside him. He's still just grinning like he is enjoying every minute of what is unfolding in front of him.
"Hook…what's going on?"
He gestures to the trees, looking behind me. "Winston, Johnson, Dimitri, go back to the ship."
A mumbled, 'Yes, captain,' comes from behind me and I see Winston and Johnson disappear. But Dimitri doesn't follow. I turn around fully and see him still stood by the log, watching us with wide, crystallising blue eyes.
"Dimitri," says Hook tersely. "I said go back to the ship."
Dimitri steps forwards. "What's going on?"
"Well ain't that a question!" says Pan. I turn back to see that he's got that giddy look again. He pats Hook on the back and backs away, folding his arms across his chest. "I'm just going to stand here and watch."
Hook's hand turns into a fist by his side and he squeezes his eyes shut. "You have to stay here because I…traded you for the water." I gasp and step back, feeling like I've just been smacked in the chest. "All magic comes with a price…" he adds hollowly.
Suddenly, the betrayal turns into white hot rage. I smack both
palms into his chest, making his eyes fly open and him to finally
look at me. "You traded me? Like I'm just some sort of
object in your possession?"
Red rings start to form around his eyes. "I'm sorry, Rose, I didn't have a choice. It was Pan's idea."
I look to Pan who just shrugs, looking indifferent.
Bile rises up in the back of my throat and the ground starts to sway under my feet. I'm just being passed around from man to man. I thought I had put all this behind me.
"I am not some piece of worthless trash that you can just dump when you lose interest. But I guess I should have seen it coming." My voice comes out cracked and strained as my throat starts to close up. "I guess you don't need me anymore now you have your precious Emma to get back to."
"Rose-" He steps towards me, holding out his arm as if to grab my
arm but a lean away and stumble backwards.
"Don't touch me." I look him up and down and blink hard when my vision blurs. Tears roll down my checks. He just watches me with this pained look in his glistening emerald eyes. He's crying too, the hollows under his eyes blotched with pink. "You are just like the rest of them." My eyes flicker to the trees where Winston and Johnson had disappeared. "Just leave."
"I'll come back for you," he said with desperate determination.
I shake my head, holding my palms up as I back away. "You know what? Don't bother."
My legs crumble from under me and I collapse onto the log I had been sitting on. The heat from the campfire licks at my face, drying my tears. I drop my head and run my fingers though my hair.
I'm not worthless. You can't just throw me around. I am a
person. I have feelings. I've been broken and I've been trying to
get fixed. But what's the point when the people around me treat
me like shit?
A silence falls over the camp. I can sense eyes on me but I don't care.
"Dimitri, c'mon, let's go." I hear Hook's voice, strained yet trying to sound collected. "Dimitri? I said let's go."
My heart pounds and I lift my head. Dimitri is stood where he had been before, his jaw locked and a determined look blazing in his eyes.
"No?" echoes Hook.
"No. I'm staying. I'm not leaving her here on her own."
Oh my god. Is this actually happening?
I look from Dimitri to Hook, completely dumbfounded. They're stood facing each other, their bodies squared as if ready for a duel.
"You want to stay here? In Neverland?"
"I'm staying here with Rosalyn. I can't believe you could just banish her here like she's nothing."
"It wasn't a choice I made lightly," replies Hook, enunciating every word delicately and precisely.
"But you still made it." Dimitri shakes his head. "I have been looking up to your for years. You gave me a place to stay, a home, a family, when I had nothing. Yet, looking at you now, it's like looking at a stranger," he almost spat the last word.
My jaw literally drops. Looking at Dimitri right now is like looking at a stranger. Where the hell did this confidence come from?
Hook looks just as shocked as me. His mouth opens and closes like a fish until he finally gathers up some words to say. "I-I don't want to just leave you here. Either of you."
"But you've made your choice." Dimitri steps a little closer to
me, so he's at my back. "And so have I."
A heavy pause falls over us. I can sense Dimitri behind me. His breath is hitching. He's shaking. I look over to Hook. It's as if he has the weight of the world of his shoulders. He's just watching Dimitri with this sunken, tortured look in his eyes. Then Pan pats him on the back, making him jump. He turns and Pan gives him a slanted smile. "I think it's time for you to go."
Hook sucks in a breath and turns back to us. Both Dimitri and I watch him with cold indifference. The muscles in his jaw flex and he turns to the trees, his duster coat brushing up leaves from the floor as he twirls. He pauses and angles his head to us but doesn't look up from the ground. "I will come back for you."
I sneer and Dimitri flinches as if he'd just been pelted by an invisible pebble, then he looks down, probably unable to watch his father figure leave him behind. And he does. Without another word.