Chapter 1 – Weight of Living
Melanie's eyes widened as she helplessly watched Henry being taken away by two strangers. Her lungs were burning, making it impossible for her to keep her breathing under control. She winced when she felt the slight pain in her sprained ankle. She cursed under her breath as the kidnapers put more and more distance between them and the teenager.
She ordered them to stop when she realized where they were taking him. They were running towards water – fucking ice cold water. They were going to drown him. Naturally, they ignored her. Her screams grew desperate as the man threw something into the sea. She gasped when she realized what it was. Those two sickos were taking him to another world.
She snapped her head to the side when she heard a voice scream after them. His mother's voice. Both of them. She could hear others, but the adrenaline bumping in her veins made it hard for her to think clearly.
Melanie felt extremely relieved, but didn't stop running. Well, limping, really. Her green eyes then met the woman's dark ones. Tamara or something. Melanie almost missed the fear in them. The blonde waited for the kid to resist, to fight, or at least insult them, but Henry didn't do anything. He wasn't like that. Even with the Evil Queen as a mother. With one final, lingering look, all three of them jumped into the green portal, leaving Melanie and Henry's family on the dock.
"Henry!" Both mothers shouted, simultaneously. It was too late, though. He was gone. Melanie spun around swiftly, on one foot. She shot an interrogative look at Emma Swan, who was currently being held back by David. She was screaming, cursing and obviously trashing against her father. The young blonde turned her gaze to Regina, hoping to find some instructions. Or a plan, at least.
No such luck. She, too, seemed sad, angry and ready to go on a killing spree. Melanie made a mental note to stay out of the Evil Queen's way when the moment came. She didn't even consider that as precautions, but as common sense. Mels heart was perfectly fine in her chest, thank you very much.
"We have to follow them!" Emma shouted at her family, still trying to get out of David's grasp. "There has to be a way!" Thankfully, he didn't let her go immediately. She needed cool her head down enough to think rationally, first.
"We can't, they've jumped into a portal." Melanie stated calmly. There was no use in screaming at them. That would just make the situation worse.
"I don't care!" Emma hissed, talking to Regina this time. The black-haired-woman shot her an are-you-fucking-kidding-me look.
"We need a magic bean for that, Swan." She exclaimed, clearly as upset everyone was. "Hook stole the last one."
"There has to be a way!" Emma whined desperately. "We can't just let them take Henry!"
Rumple and Belle suddenly appeared next to them, both out of breath. He immediately went to the point. "What happened?"
"Greg and Tamara have taken Henry to another world." Mary-Margaret explained in a sad tone. The Dark One's features darkened on the spot. Before he could speak, Belle continued. "What do we do?"
Melanie shut them out, trying to think. She had to find a way to get to Henry, without a magic bean, which was basically impossible. There was no way to travel to different worlds without them. She stamped her food on the ground, cursing. She drove her eyes to the horizon, hoping to find the answer to everything.
Surprisingly, she did.
"Guys! There, look!" Melanie shouted, gesturing to the big object not too far from where they were standing.
"Hook!" Emma exclaimed, incredulously.
There might actually be a way to save the kid.
Let Operation 'Save Henry' begin.
Melanie could not believe her eyes. Everything around her seemed so wrong. In fact, scratch that. It was fucking wrong. Rumplestilskin was performing some weird magic, like always. Of course, that wasn't unusual. Emma and Regina were standing next to each other, both calm and with the same determined expressions plastered on their faces. Hook was on the Dark One's right, an intense look in his eyes. The Charmings were holding on to each other – not very out-of-the-picture like, either. It looked like they all became frenemies. Belle had left at some point, but Melanie hadn't really noticed.
She had been too busy avoiding Killian Jones for that.
Long story short. Because of her, Hook got into trouble. Huge fucking trouble.
"So? Where's Henry?!" Emma asked, not understanding what Mr. Gold was getting at. Regina shot her a disapproving glare. The blonde rolled her eyes, but eventually shut up.
Rumple placed one of his fingers on the pointy end of the completely blank globe, immediately drawing blood from it. With a very Rumplestilskin-like gesture, he let one drop of the thick liquid fall onto the object. Melanie gasped when the blood mixed with the white, uh, thing of the globe. Frankly, she had no fucking idea what it was, but it didn't matter. It was supposedly going to show them where the kid was, creepy or not.
An image of green leaves suddenly replaced the sea of red and white. Every single person on the ship leaned their head in, carefully observing the images the ball was showing them. Mels tried to recognize something, in vain.
All she could see was trees, rocks, Henry and the two kidnappers on a beach and more trees. Nothing else. It didn't look anything like the Enchanted Forest, or at least where she had been. The image suddenly changed to a huge rock. But not any random rock. It looked like a skull.
"Bloody hell." Melanie whispered, outraged.
Emma turned to her, frowning. "What? Where is it? Where's Henry?!" She asked, hope flashing through her eyes. The seventeen-year-old blonde ignored her.
With one final breath, she drove her eyes to the person she sincerely didn't want to look at. Their last encounter hadn't exactly been a pleasant one. The look on Killian's face matched hers perfectly. His expression clearly said, 'We are sooooo fucked.'
She did second that.
"Where is that?" A confused Regina asked, her scowl deepening.
As expected from him, Rumple replied. That dude knew everything. "Neverland."
That single word made shivers go down her spine. Melanie shifted uncomfortably, still looking at the captain of the ship. He, too, seemed troubled. Of course he was.
"Let's go then!" Emma ordered, Snow nodding in agreement. The young blonde gulped slightly, still having a hard time understanding the whole thing. Her brain had still difficulties processing all her thoughts after the adrenaline.
Did she want to go with them? No, actually, that wasn't the right question. The good one was, was she ready to go back? Hell, no. But frankly, as much as she hated to admit it, the kid had no chances of surviving, whatsoever. She had barely made it through, and he hadn't wanted her dead. Whatever the guy needed Henry for; he wasn't going to make it. At least not without help.
Naturally, she had to be the only available help nearby.
Hook eventually broke eye contact with Melanie to look at the sheriff, probably wondering if she was serious. Her expression clearly stated that yes, she was dead serious. With a grimace, he plunged his hand into the leather bag, carefully taking the magic bean out of it. He slowly walked to the left side of the ship and just when he was about the throw the item in the water, Regina's voice echoed in her hears.
"Wait!" She shouted, making the man flinch.
She turned to Emma with another disapproving look. "She's coming with us?"
Melanie first thought the Evil Queen was talking about Miss Blanchard, but as her hand pointed to the teenager, realization dawned on her.
"Of course I am!" Mels stated, a little less convincing as attended.
Emma frowned slightly, a thoughtful expression plastered on her already worried face. Nobody was talking – they were all waiting for the Savior to make the decision. The silence was killing her. After some time, the sheriff sighed.
"Sorry, kid. You're staying here." She ordered, faking a sad smile. "You're going to be needed he–"
Melanie scoffed. "I'm not a child, don't you dare lie to me." The young teen snarled, beyond annoyed. Henry might not have been her closest friend, but she wasn't going to let anyone – or anything – stop her now that she had made up her mind. Not the location, not the people on the island and most certainly not his mothers would change that.
"That's not what she means, Melanie, you know it." Snow said, gently. "You're strong, there's no denying that, but still it's going to be dangerous." She tried to explain, again as if she was talking to a ten-year-old kid.
"How the hell would you know?" Melanie hissed, angry then.
"We just do." Regina snarled, obviously sick of waiting. She had her son to save, and no time to waste.
Melanie desperately waited for some support, which never came. None of them wanted her to come to Neverland with them. Frankly, in any other circumstances, she'd be on her knees thanking them. She absolutely didn't want to go back to that world.
But in this case, there was no place for choices. She was going. Period.
"You can't stop me." Melanie stated, somewhat matter-of-factly. Rumple raised both his eyebrows. "Wanna bet, dearie?" He offered in his oh-so-annoying sing-song voice.
She rolled her eyes at that, but didn't answer. She had learned the hard way not to get into bets. She turned to Killian, hoping he'd stick up for her.
It was a lost cause. The odds were against her, but she could at least try.
"I can help, Emma." She exclaimed, hoping the woman would give in. Emma shook her head, just as determined as Mels was. "We don't need another kid to save." The blonde explained. "Who says I'll need saving?!" Melanie snorted, rolling her eyes.
They had no idea what they were talking about. Absolutely no fucking idea. They were making a huge mistake by leaving the teen there. She had been there, she had lived there, and she knew every single thing about the bloody island. They – the adults – would probably need some saving, not her. She even knew the place better than…Hook.
"I know how we can–" Mels tried to say, but Emma interrupted her. "We don't have time for this!" She shouted turning around to go talk to Gold.
"You know you need me, Jones." Melanie said lowly, ignoring the confused glares she was getting. Killian frowned, and surprisingly nodded. "I know that, love."
It was her time to scowl. She shot him a what-are-you-fucking-waiting-for-to-tell-them? look. He glanced at Emma, and then smiled at the young blonde.
"She gives the orders." He explained, probably internally ashamed of what he just said.
With that final sentence, thick purple smoke circled Melanie, making her disappear somewhere before she could even respond to the pirate.
Regina smiled satisfyingly, proud of the little magic trick she pulled. Then, her determined look returned.
"Let's save Henry."
"You won't survive witou– Fuck!" Melanie shrieked as she realized she had been teleported. She screamed in anger, stamping her foot hard on the ground. Sadly, she used the injured one. Her scream got muffled by her own hand as she bit back a cry of pain.
After some time, and some cursing, she eventually decided to find out where she was. That wasn't a very hard task, really. She could see the clock tower very clearly. She was still in Storybrook, while the 'Rescue team' was on its way to hell.
Or more commonly called Neverland.
Even though the odds weren't in her favor, no, scratch that. The whole fucking universe didn't want her to go back there. Somehow, it kind of made sense. First, she wanted to go there so bad she did anything in order to make that dream come true. Once there, she did anything to stay. After some time – a hundred years or so – she sacrificed everything she had to leave the island. And now that she had left, she wanted to go back. The universe was sick of her wishes.
Melanie was definitely insane.
Without wasting any more time, she ran – limped – to Rumple's shop. That took slightly more time than she expected. She felt like a bloody turtle. Thankfully, Regina hadn't teleported her to far from the town's center.
One good thing about the sucky situation.
"Come on, come on, come on, come on…" She whispered as she searched through every drawer, every shelf, and every single fucking corner of the shop.
As a matter-of-fact, there were lots of things, but she couldn't even name half of them, let alone explain what there were used for. She didn't abandon, though. She had to find a way to go to Neverland, no matter what.
She had to save Henry, she had to save Killian's sorry ass and more importantly, she had to save the Savior. They had no idea what was patiently waiting for them. It was all a game, and as the careless adults they were, they were obviously going to cheat. One way or another.
Plus, only kids were allowed on Neverland, and only kids – or teens – could use its magic. So logically, the best thing to do was to take one with them. But no, adults knew best. Kids were too young, too stupid and too defenseless to survive alone or to be helpful.
Bitch, please. That was the whole point of Neverland.
A Paradise for kids, a Nightmare for grownups.
"Fucking, shitty hell!" She shrieked, plain sick of her non-efficacy.
She had to keep calm, and wait for a fucking miracle.
Mels ended up on a couch, looking at the ceiling as if it would give her all the answers. Sadly, all it told her was that it needed a serious cleaning. She was trying to ask herself the right questions. That wasn't necessarily the easiest part. All she could think about was how the hell the 'Rescue Team' was going to survive. The island was a threat by itself, let alone the boys living on it.
She knew that every single second counted, that time was slower or faster in Neverland. Hopefully slower. She somehow hated herself for knowing all these things. She'd rather be sitting at Gramm's, drinking a hot latte, celebrating the fact that the town didn't blow up. But no, she knew what was going to happen, and there was no denying it. She wouldn't be able to live with herself if she acted like everything was going to be okay when she pertinently knew it wasn't.
"How the hell did I get there anyway?!" She exclaimed, exasperated by her inner monologue.
Then, a miracle happened.
Well, in fact, her brain kicked in.
She mentally slapped herself, but didn't waste time face-palming herself. Her aching ankle largely sufficed, she did not need a headache. She ran up the stairs – Do you really need telling she was limping? – to some random bedroom. She hoped it wasn't Rumple's room. She had enough nightmares already. She scurried to the largest widow and positioned herself in front of it. She took a deep breath before opening her mouth to speak.
"I bel–" She started to shout, but stopped herself quickly. Since the 'Rescue Team' left about fifteen minutes after Henry, they hadn't thought about food and all that stuff. Sure, Mels could use Neverland's magic to provide them, but last time she had been there, magic had been fading slowly. Her plan might not work once there, so she had to be carefull and prepared.
She went back down into the shop. She randomly took threatening looking things, and a leather bag. She stuffed them into the bag and went to leave, but something made her stop. Lying with the swords was a dagger.
"How the hell did it get there?" She wondered out loud as she took it into her hands. Indeed, it was hers. She made a move to put it into the bag, but ended up hiding it into her boot. Simple, but usually effective.
She made a b-line to the kitchen, stuffed some bread, some fruits and some water in the bag, and she felt thankful that the bag was enchanted. Bigger on the inside – or smaller on the outside, you choose. She suddenly felt like Hermione Granger. The only difference was that Hogwarts didn't exist, and Neverland did.
With that done, she went back to her spot near the window. Melanie sighed heavily, remembering the most important thing of all. Of course, that had to be the one thing she couldn't have. An escape plan. "Never break in somewhere, unless you know the way out." She whispered, painfully aware that there was no way out for her. He wouldn't let her leave twice; well, at least not safe and sound.
She took another deep breath, and finally spoke the words she hoped she'd never have to say again.
At first, nothing happened. She wondered if she had said it wrong. She shook her head. It was right. Although, he could have changed it over the years to stop her from coming back. As if she'd go back there willingly – and without a strong motive.
Then the window opened violently, making the glass shatter into a million pieces. She didn't flinch when one sharp piece scratched her left cheek. Not even when she felt the thick blood flow down to her neck.
The shadow looked down at her, his glowing eyes studying her. He didn't grab her, neither did he attack her. He extended his hand – if she could call it that – waiting for her to take it. Melanie didn't immediately react. Now that he was there, she wasn't sure if she really wanted to go with him.
She placed her left hand into his, shivering when she felt his skin. "Take me to Neverland."
With one final, lingering and creepy look, he flew her to hell.
Or Neverland, you can choose.
NA: Hey you guys! I know, I should be working on my other Panfic, but frankly, I couldn't get this idea outta my head. Sadly, this plot line wasn't compatible with my other plot in 'Never Believe', so I decided to write a new one. Don't worry, I am Not abandoning my other story!
Either way, thank you for reading, and I hope you'll like my new story! (And my Oc!)
- Aileen's feather