a/n: part one of two. tiny little piece. enjoy. xx.

Things will be different, Tinkerbell warns, but Peter has never been a good listener.

Had he heeded the little fairy — so loyal and loving despite the boy's sometimes hurtful ways — he could have avoided this moment in front of the nursery window. His eyes go wide before he forces them shut, rubbing them with his fists and when he opens them again, he sees little sparks wiggling out of sight. But the bars are still there when his vision clears, stretched over the nursery window like claw marks left by Hook himself. He flies nearer despite a strange knot in his belly he's never felt before (fear, Tinkerbell will explain later). His small fingers curl around the metal and his breath lands in a gentle cloud on the window.

Tinkerbell hovers beside him, casting a soft light into the otherwise dark nursery. The entire room is hollow. No more toys or furnishings, the bed with the cut-out hearts — Wendy's — gone. Only piles of rubbish hide in the corners, as though someone had made a hopeless attempt to dignify the rotting space. The wallpaper is torn and droops, the way Neverland's leaves do when Peter is away too long.

"Tink," he whispers, and it sounds like a plea.

This is the moment Tinkerbell has tried to avoid. All the games, the adventures to Skull Island and even the idea to build a new treehouse — they were all meant to distract Peter from visiting Wendy ever again. His flights to the nursery window had become sparse over time, from weeks to months apart, and each time was a startling reminder - in Wendy's height, the softening of her speech, the odd swells in her body — that she was growing up.

"Tinkerbell, how long...?"

She hesitates, and chimes low. Four years.

And though Peter doesn't know what years are, he knows what a long time is and thinks, this is the longest.

"Where is she?"

Tinkerbell knows the questions will only get harder from here. She rubs the back of her fingers against Peter's cheek - to him a soft puff of air — and points to the brightest star in the sky.

"No, I'm not going back until I see her again."

Tinkerbell frets, shakes her head and clasps her hands together in a plea to take him home. She knows the truth will hurt Peter. They're awful, the sights she's seen in her secret visits back to London. But Peter never listens; he's staring at her with burning blue eyes, crossing his arms over his chest as he regains some of his lost bravado. But it's not this childish attempt to establish authority that makes Tinkerbell give in; it's just that she loves him too much.

She leads him away from the condemned building to the other side of town.