Chapter Twenty-Six – Wanted, dead or alive

Nothing could have prepared Amelia for the sudden rush of mixed emotions that assaulted her mind.

Peter Pan, the very source of her grief, was standing right in front of her. The same boy that had died earlier in the day. She had helplessly watched a poisoned arrow pierce his chest and lodge itself in his heart. Amelia had seen the life slowly leave his eyes and his lifeless body drop to floor. She had seen everything with her own eyes. Yet there he was, standing against the cave wall, his arms crossed over his chest, completely unaffected by what was happening around him.

Neverland was crumbling. The island was still trying to annihilate every living creature on its soil, be it humans, mermaids or fairies. Fire was destroying everything in its path, already having burned a third of the forest. The young girl unconsciously raised her hand to her hair, the tips roasted by the flames. She should be screaming until her lungs gave out. She should be panicking.

Instead, she felt numb.

She felt happy that Peter was there. She was glad to still be alive. She felt sad to have to witness such wanton destruction. She felt sad to know that the ones she once trusted had abandoned her. She was angry at Peter for sacrificing himself to save her life. She was angry at him for making her think that he was dead. She was furious that she let herself care for such a monster.

Amelia was feeling too much.

She wanted everything to stop.

But what she wanted and what she needed were two very different things. She wanted peace and quiet. She wanted to be safe. She wanted to feel normal again.

She needed answers.

"Peter." Amelia spoke, her voice barely above a whisper, "you're alive."

That hadn't been the most intelligible thing to say, but stating facts was the safest place to start. She couldn't just bombard him with questions. She needed to gather her thoughts, first. Sue her, but with everything happening, it was easier said than done.

He was alive. He was standing there. There wasn't any nightshade tainted blood oozing from his wound. She wasn't sure if it was due to the tears blurring her eyes or the smoke she'd inhaled making her head swim, but she couldn't even see the wound anymore. It was gone.

So was her mind, apparently.

"No." Peter said, his smirk widening into signature shit-eating grin.

Amelia frowned. What was that supposed to mean? No, he wasn't alive? That couldn't be it; he wouldn't be talking to her if he were dead. Dead people don't talk and annoy people like he did. But what else could it mean? No, stop thinking? No, stop trying to understand? No, stop–

"I'm dead."

The girl didn't even let her brain process the information before speaking. "Fuck off."

He raised one of his eyebrows, seemingly amused by her behaviour. Amelia, on the other hand, was not amused. Not in the slightest.

"How polite." Commented Peter, taunting her.

She didn't take the bait. "You're not dead. You're right there."

"Am I?" He wondered, looking pensive for a short moment. "Am I, really?"

Amelia started walking towards him, letting her instinct take over her actions for a second. Her steps were driven by pure determination, her expression reflecting what she was feeling. He was bullshitting her, like he always did. She was done with his shenanigans. Yet, she abruptly halted halfway, just a few feet from where he was standing against the wall.

A sudden wave of 'what if's' hit her harder than a freight train.

What if he were telling the truth, for once? What if he were actually dead? She didn't know how that would even be possible, yet she couldn't help but wonder. What if she were imagining him?

What if she were dead?

Amelia hadn't realized she was hyperventilating until she felt his hands grab her arms, slightly shaking her out of her shocked state. "Amelia."

If the sound of his voice didn't reassure her, his forceful touch certainly did. There was no way that an hallucination would be able to do that. He was real. He was there.

He was a liar.

"You lying little shit." Amy whispered, a smile coating her lips against her will.

He smirked. "Can't argue with that."

"How did you do it, though?" She demanded, her eyes focusing on the lack of blood on his clothes. Squinting, she realized that his dark green tunic had a hole where the arrow had pierced through the material; yet no wound was to be seen. What kind of sorcery was that?

"Thanks to you." He explained, stepping back towards the wall, letting the newfound information set in.

Amy raised an unimpressed eyebrow. "Come again."

"You saved me." Peter exclaimed, then added, like an afterthought, "well, our bond did."

She was getting more confused by the second. What in the name of sanity was is he talking about? Was he talking about that godawful link that activated when they were apart? And anyways, she hadn't done anything. She hadn't been able to. With everything happening so fast, what could she have done?

"I don't get it." She said, trying to make sense of it all.

He had the audacity to laugh. "You never do."

"Fuck you, Pan." She growled, feeling calmer and calmer. Him being a prick was a normal thing. She could use some normal right about now.

"You can't anymore, love, I'm a dead man." He told her, laughing at her change of expression. "Unless you're into necro–"

It took her a whole lot of bloody self-control to stop herself from punching him right across the face. She did not have the patience for him and his disturbing sexual innuendoes. Everything was going to shit and it was his fault.

"Cut the crap, Pan, and tell me what's going on with Neverland?" Amy asked, focusing her eyes on the entrance of the cave. "Tell me!"

He shrugged. "Neverland can't exist without me."

"But you're here!" She yelled, completely exasperated. "You're here! How can you be gone if you're here?!"

He rolled his eyes. "I already told you, Amelia, I am dead." He said, punctuating every word with a gesture of his hand.

"You said I saved you." Amelia accused, taking a step back.

"You did. You saved my soul, so to speak, not my body. Neverland kind of absorbed my corpse, for safe keeping. My heart's gone, though."

Her frown deepened. "What?"

He sighed. "A human being needs three things. A body, a soul and a heart."

Bullshit, a human being needed a brain, cells, blood and a whole lot of other things like organs and other things–

"Let go of your rational mind, sweetheart." He commented. "You of all people should know that, Dorothy."

"But you're not making any sense!"

Peter rolled his eyes. "I am making sense, but you'll never understand anything about this if you don't listen."

She sighed, letting her arms fall to her sides in defeat. "Fine. Go ahead."

"You saved my soul, even if you didn't mean to, and Neverland saved my body, just like it does with every owner. The only thing I need now is a heart." He explained, looking pointedly at her.

"What do you mean 'with every owner'?" She asked, wondering what he meant by that.

He cocked his head to the side. "What? You didn't know that?"

"Would I bloody ask if I did?" She exclaimed, crossing her arms on her chest.

"Where do you think my shadow comes from?" He asked, looking genuinely surprised.

She thought about it for a moment. She immediately looked to the ground, where his shadow was mirroring him, like it should. "From light, I don't know."

"Yes, that's my shadow. But I'm talking about the other one, the one that flies."

Not making any sense. Not making any sense. Not making any sense.

"So, you mean that the flying shadow isn't actually yours?" She realized, her eyes widening.

He nodded. "There you go, she understands."

"It works for you." She continued, to which he nodded once more.

"It does. But not for long." He said, looking serious out of a sudden. "I'm running out of time."

"What do you mean?"

"Neverland has one owner. One person that controls the island's magic. One person to rule. If that person is killed, the killer becomes the master."

Amelia thought of the boy that had tried to kill her. "So, Devin is the master of Neverland, now?"

"Yes and no. I knew that something like this would happen someday, so I prepared for the worst. Although, you weren't in my plans, sweetheart, I'll admit to that. My plan was to take Henry's heart to become immortal, which would have made my death impossible."

She stopped him right there. "I'm not giving you Henry's heart. Over my dead body."

"I know, Amelia." He sighed. "That's not a priority at the moment."

She nodded, not quite trusting what he would say next.

"I need you to find a heart for me."

She frowned, completely taken aback. "Yeah, because you find that growing on trees these days."

He laughed. "I don't need just any heart. I need a special one."

"You're not getting mine, either." Amelia interjected, jabbing a finger at his chest.

"I already have that one, don't I?" He said, cheekily. "I need my murderer's."

Devin. Devin's heart.

She raised a challenging eyebrow at him. "What does this have to do with me?"

Peter slowly walked towards her, stopping at only a few breaths away from her face. His eyes darkened dangerously as he spoke, enunciating every word carefully.

"I want you to make him suffer."

Author's note

Hello everyone!

Yes, surprisingly enough, I am still alive. Just as surprisingly, I have not given up on this story, even if I haven't really been active in a while. In a very very very very very long while. But I'm back! And with inspiration, nonetheless! So yeah, I hope you don't hate me too much for making you wait this bloody long. I really do.

Anyways, thank you very much for reading, you guys. I'm actually surprised that you still do.