There are no lovely wonderful thoughts as she was captured and brought again to Neverland. Second to the right, straight on till morning, towards her doom.
Terrible as he was, he had boasted about what had happened in her departure. The crocodile had enjoyed the one hand, but like licorice or other bitter things, found the rest of him too bitter to swallow. A wretch like him found only one more refuge to go to: England, to assemble another crew to take revenge on Peter Pan for taking his boat, his crew, and even his life.
But ironic as it was, his escape route to England would be with Peter Pan as his guide. Peter Pan would need to find new Lost Boys, as he had also lost them to Wendy.
“Jasparin,” she said with clear distaste, “boys are capable of making their own decisions. Give them some credit, will you?”
“Don’t interrupt,” he had issued tersely.
On he went, about how Peter had brought a letter home to Neverland one day. Her heart had sunk. When she had left it on the desk, the boys must not have seen it, but Peter did.
Captain Hook made Peter Pan a deal: In reading Peter the letter, the boy would lend him pixie dust. Peter had agreed, thinking that Hook was too vile to have any happiness to allow him to fly. Upon finishing, Peter was crestfallen. He vowed to search for her, all of England if he must. And Hook vowed to search for Peter. The boy had a head start, flying away with his fairy and forgetting the Jolly Roger, but it didn’t mean that Hook would never catch up.
Besides, it would be poor form for him to search for Wendy at a female boarding school. Not so to Peter. If he must, he said, he would recruit Lost Boys and Lost Girls to help find her.
“And yet, he couldn’t, could he, Wendy?” Hook taunted. “You switched schools year after year. Just when my classmates and their wives had thought they’d found you, you would head to another school, and we would start once again. And then you had changed your name, throwing all of us. But Peter was the problem. I wanted to capture him before you. And yet I couldn’t.” The scowl on his face can only fit one cigar this time, instead of two. “Seven years, it’s been. And I can’t wait to have Peter come for you this time.”
“He won’t,” she said sadly. “Not him, nor my parents or my brothers. Hook, you’re the only one who has.”
He raised an eyebrow.
Wedad felt her hands shaking beneath the table. Not just in stories, but in realities, she’d read that women would marry men—kings, even—to create peacekeeping deals. Hook was a man of contract. There would be no dowry for her except one exclusion: that Peter not be harmed.
And of course, he loved the idea. Someone so vile as to want to make children into pirates, or even kill them, would be quite all right with marrying one who had grown up.
“A-hem! Wendy, Darling! We’re waiting on you.”
Her eyes force themselves open. All of these memories flashed before her in seconds. My Lord, save me. Could she still avoid this? Was there any cleverness that could come to her now?
“…Wendy says yes,” she says quietly. Wendy was who she was, at heart. Wedad was just a change in name, and how she preferred to be referred. But legally… she had changed it long ago.
“Well.” Mr. Smee says with a huff. “I must say, there is someone who disagrees.”
“Who?” Hook growls. Wedad hears his coat toss about as he looks behind him. The crew immediately follows suit, eyes darting back and forth like sickly flies looking for a place to land.
“Oh, a fellow in that direction,” Smee adds. “Look harder. His hand was over there, somewhere.”
Captain Hook draws out his sword. The other crewmen do the same. “Who is it?!” he yells.
Wedad finally has the will to lift her chin, to seek out the kindness of this stranger, and her mouth drops. The figure in front of her, with his beard and outfit, puts a finger to his mouth. She only hadn’t recognized him because she hadn’t bothered to look.
“Who dares to speak against Hook?!” the captain bellows.
The only one who can imitate voices, Wedad thinks. She smiles, and it is one of the few lights that dreadful night. Other than him.
“The avenger, Peter Pan!” they both say.
On cue, the young man pulls off his disguise, letting the mimicry go like a pigeon from a cage. The cloak falls to the ground and reveals him to be the same age as Wedad, now. Just like before.
Of course, she thought. He’s the boy who wouldn’t grow up, not the boy who couldn’t. There are still old signs of him: the pearls in his smile still shine bright, and his hair is unruly but not unkept. He’s grown into a fine gentleman. It was funny, how some adults became more childlike the more they aged, and how those who were children at heart made the best grown-ups.
All around Peter Pan, the crew is in complete chaos. Accusing each other of mutiny, swinging their swords recklessly, and behaving much more like children than children were wont to.
“Blasted boy!” Hook cries.
“Not quite, malevolent man,” Peter replies. He taunts him further, giving a bow with Smee’s outfit, and drawing out the hand with a sword. “No cannon-ball-holes here, Hook!”
“Oh, there’ll certainly be a hole in you, soon.” The captain brandishes his cutlass, bending both knees. He does not intend to repeat the precedent sent before.
And neither does Peter, whose eyes began twinkling with the mischievousness of youth. As if he were to dive into the ocean itself, he inhales a large breath, and blows out pixie dust all around them. Hook, now full of delight in killing Pan, flies to meet them both. Wedad thinks of the mermaids combing their hair in the lagoon, the Wendy house with roses grown all around, telling stories to her brothers, adopted and born, flying past the stars on the way to Neverland, and the joy of returning home.
And she flies.
Hook dares a swipe at her, and it meets Peter’s sword. The ring of it joins the cascade of clashes throughout the deck.
“Peter!” she calls out. “Peter, have mercy! He’s your—”
“Enemy?” he asks. “Villain? Codfish? Most horrid captain—”
Hook counters every strike, but misses every move. “And most distant cousin!”
Peter’s eyes widen, but he doesn’t let that distract him from the fight.
“Yes, boy,” Hook snarls. “Jasparin Pan is my name. I am your mother’s brother—one of the few who knows your careless damage done to her!”
“And what about to me, Hook?” Peter is yelling now, too, with tears in his eyes. “She never left the window open!”
“And would she, with an infant in her arms?!” A dodge, a blade so close it nearly takes Peter’s nose. “It would have been too cold!”
Peter looks distraught. Truly, the power of words can cut deeper than any sword. So that means I can fight, too! Wendy thinks. Bismillah!
“Hook!” she cries out, circling over to his side. “Tell us more of what Pan has done!”
At first, Peter can only look at Wendy with aghast. She mimics his same movement, pressing a finger to her lips.
“Why, he’s completely broken a family!” The captain is quick to take the bait. Just like a true codfish. “Many nights, I watched his mother weep at his pram. His father pacing the nursery with grief. Even after the new baby was born, they were never the same—”
Peter continues to fight, but with more defense than offense. The sword becomes more like a shield with every word Hook speaks. By contrast, he fights more recklessly, the passing of years unkind to his reflexes, where Peter has only advanced in his skill.
“How selfish you were, to choose Neverland over England, a found family over your born one—a child grown up without a brother, parents mourning over a child who was well and alive! To cut off your own uncle’s hand!”
“I didn’t know! How would I have known?!” Peter yelled. “If you hadn’t tried to capture me—”
His moves flail now, like a little white bird starting to learn how to fly again. He needed more help. Wedad chances for another interjection. “And what if he were to return home, Hook? What then?”
“Peter Pan, returned to his parents?!” The statement sends him in a shock. Peter, too, is taken aback, awaiting Hook’s answer more than another attack. Hook sneers at him. “I cannot stand the thought! For him, an ungrateful little worm, to return to England with the treasures of Neverland, to even attend school, then college—my alma mater, even—that would be a dreadful thought indeed, and—”
His breath is taken from him as he loses the joy that allows him to stay in flight. He stabs at the air, flailing until he and his weapon finally collapse into the sea.
“I thought I’d lost you,” Peter says as they soar among the stars. The journey home, like most worthwhile things, is not tedious. Only time-consuming.
Wedad smiles. “And I, you.”
“Oh, I shall never be lost.” He leans back as they float across the stars. “But you, certainly. You have lost all over your face!” He laughs, and it’s much like when Tinker Bell used to speak. Lilting. “Would you like an explanation now? Or shall we have teatime before that?”
She laughed. It’s a rehearsal of the old times. “Tea.”
“I deny it,” he says. She rolls her eyes, and he flies to her other side. There’s a cross expression on his face. “You broke your promise, Wendy!”
“I would never!” she objects.
“You did ever.” Suddenly, it occurs to her that she had made him an awful lot of promises, and that there was a chance one of them had been, indeed, broken. Her expression cues him to go on. “I told you to leave Hook to me.”
“You told the boys to, Peter,” she clarifies.
He throws his hands up in the air. “Of course. Girls are so clever that they always find some loophole.”
“I wish I could’ve found one just now,” Wedad admits.
Peter looks to her earnestly. “What do you mean?”
“Oh, it was wrong, you know,” she burst. “For me to marry him, whilst… you know.”
Peter’s arms sink to his chest, and he crosses them. He says nothing for some time, letting the silence speak on his behalf. But his curiosity wins over. “Because you didn’t love him?”
Wedad shakes her head, ashamed.
“Because he didn’t love you?”
“No. Because he didn’t love… God.”
“And who might that be?” asks Peter.
“Why, the one who created all of us,” says Wedad. “The one who loves us more than our mothers do.”
A pang of pain washes itself over Peter’s face. He looks down. “And why ‘Wedad’?”
“Well, God has a similar name. Al-Wadud. It means, ‘The Most Loving.’ I wanted a name that was also rooted in His love.”
“That makes perfect sense,” he says. “I flew by churches, sometimes. Never quite understood what was going on in there.” He contemplates further. “Wedad is a lovely name for a lovely lady. I’ve no idea what Peter means.”
“That shouldn’t matter, Peter,” she argues. “Why, I think you can have your own definition.”
He grins. “Oh, that’s easy. Youth, joy, little bird…”
“Scoundrel,” she offers.
Peter grins again, realizing that she’s teasing him, and his arms now fold behind his head. “And speaking of definitions, what is an alma mater, anyway?”
“It’s his university. Eton College.” He nods, seeming to understand, but Wedad continues. “All sorts of… interesting people go to Eton.”
“Oh, you’re defining ‘interesting—’” he mimics her voice here, and the impression is exactly as she would speak, “in a curious way.”
The both of them erupt in giggles. It seems that all the stars are watching them, and all the birds have gone to bed. Big Ben reels into sight. Their time would be coming to a close.
“Were you so afraid of growing up, Peter, or just death itself?” she asks.
“No. Both would be adventures.” he says with a sigh. “And to live,” he says, looking at her.
She feels her cheeks turning the color of the Neverland roses. “Oh, Peter. I thought you didn’t see me that way.”
“No, I didn’t,” he interrupted. “Well, I did. But… when you had asked me, it was hard for me to admit.” He scratched his head. “I didn’t really understand it. I spent the last seven years trying to.”
Wedad’s heart skips a beat. “Yes, Hook told me.”
“Let me tell you instead!”
She scoffs good-naturedly.
“For you, it… didn’t seem like much time at all to wait. And… I am sorry.”
“For what, Peter?”
“Sometimes I would look for you, and forget. But I had a piece of your letter, and Hook had taunted it so with me, saying, ‘Look, Wendy’s signed it here.’” “But remember: I told you that if I forgot you, to say your name. So I would hold onto that letter and say, ‘It’s Wendy, It’s Wendy.’ And I would remember, and search for you again.”
“I could never forget you,” she admits. “Neverland is the place where children never grow up, but… I think it’s the kind of place you can never truly forget, as well.”
“Always so clever with words.” Peter gives a floating bow and she returns with a curtsy. Then he grins. “I’m so glad I found you again, Wedad.”
“I am too, Peter.” She can hardly believe she’s as smiling as she is. “What do you think about us trying to find your real mother, too?”
“Yes,” he says softly. “I’d like that very much.”
They’ve spent so long in the sky that Wedad can tell when it begins to lighten. It’s as if an artist has changed his mind, deciding to mix the black with more of a navy, and then throwing it all away again. It was time for morning now, instead of light.
The stars start to disappear, and Wedad gasps. Fajr. It was time for her to pray! Thankfully, she had caught ‘isha and witr on the Jolly Roger, Hook wanting to have had a late wedding to attract less attention from the mainland. She’d prayed for so much help, then. In fact, it was with the surah that she had finally remembered from her first roommate’s recitation: Surah al-Naṣr. And the answer to that had been Peter…
When Allah’s help comes and the victory is achieved, she thinks.
“Hellooo, Wendy? Erm—Wedad? Why’ve you stopped flying?”
And you see the people embracing Allah’s Way in crowds…
“Peter, there’s something I’d like to teach you! We can do it in Kensington Gardens, quickly, before anyone sees…”
then glorify the praises of your Lord and seek His forgiveness, for certainly He is ever Accepting of Repentance.
It’s such a pleasure to write you. I can say all that I want, and there’s no one who can tell me what to do! I hope that there shall never come a time where we are being told how to write, or even how to spell. Well, perhaps how to spell. English is an awfully
confuzing confusing language. But I shall manage.
My mother is simply delighted, as are my father and brother. It wasn’t hard to look them up in the “phonebook,” as you said. They had to move to another house, because there’s even another baby on the way. Which is fortunate, because I like having the option of pixie dust if I should need it. A baby’s laugh births a fairy, as you know. And I do miss flying. Much easier than the train.
They’ve taught me how to read and write. I’ve given them of what treasure I brought from Neverland, and it’s helped them quite a bit. It’s the least I could do. They say that they’ll even put it towards an education. I’m not so sure about that. As long as it isn’t Eton…
I told them that my uncle, Jasparin, ended up in an accident. My mother said that she had expected it, since he had run away, long ago. I wonder if that’s how he came by, using my brother’s laugh to ride the skies. One day, I may return to Neverland and make peace with him. I’m sure if he survived the crocodile’s mouth, then a little water would be nothing for him.
But I’ve forgiven him, you know. I even asked my mother to name my new brother after him. It’s what a good grown-up would do. Or a good Muslim, I think. This is all still very new! But it’s quite exciting.
I think often of you, Wedad. It’s like no time has passed at all. I never want you to end up in Hook’s hands again, or anyone else’s.
To marry would be an awfully big adventure. Don’t you think?
With salamz (I hope I spelled that right),