The Captain's personal chamber was four times the size of the tiny cabin you had been in before. Where as the previous room had been sorely barren this one was decorated to the highest degree. The wooden walls weren't the standard oak color you had seen in the hallways and in the little cabin instead they were all black lacquered and glossy with thick gold lustered trim that curved and sloped into decorative arches here and there. Every surface inch of wood in sight was expertly carved by a master artist's hand in intricate flourishing designs. Outstretched and ornate cimmerian Persian rugs covered most of the floor giving the room the illusion of being carpeted. Delicate gold candelabras sprang forth from perfectly measured places in the walls. Some simply stood atop some furniture pieces here and there, their faint dancing flames illuminating the room with a dim intimate glow. Everything in here was the height of luxury and opulence. It wasn't grim enough to be considered Gothic chic, but it held an air of dark nobility with it's rich hues of deep reds, vivid golds, and intense blacks.
You heard Hook before you saw him. Haunting melancholy strains from a grand pianoforte filled the room from the left of center area of the expansive Captain's quarters. Hook's rich baritone joined the mournful refrain as it rose and fell in a slow sorrowful ballad. You took a few steps more into the room with Mr. Smee right beside you. Hook was seated at the fashionable ebony and gold trimmed instrument. His good hand and his metal hooked one were both busy dexterously tapping the keys, creating and winding the melody as his voice blended with it in a sad siren song of the sea. "Wrote it himself," Smee chirped happily as he beamed down at you. He swayed softly by your side, his eyes closing behind his circle lensed glasses, seemingly happy to get lost in the Captain's tune. You stood there just a few steps short of the doorway watching as the supposed ill-reputed villain of Neverland somberly serenaded the otherwise empty room. You were momentarily dumbfounded by this surreal scene. You had expected a showdown, a fearsome war of words and wills, or at the very least a tension filled first meeting with the all around reviled Captain Hook, but instead you were here witnessing an impromptu private performance. This wasn't like anything you had, had in mind, but then again neither was Hook himself.
The image of him that you had conjured up in your mind was that of a filthy, dirt caked, savage pirate who was dressed in rags with missing blackened teeth, scraggly greasy hair, and an ugly murderous grin. An evil man who's bloodthirstiness would reek off of him like a decaying corpse, but the man in front of you was far from all of those things. You could only see his side profile from where you were standing, but what you saw was enough to take your breath away. The first feature of his to capture your eye was his hair, voluminous, dense blackened ringlets with a polished shine coiled and cascaded over broad shoulders. Most men looked feminine with long hair that curled down past their shoulders, but there was nothing feminine about this man. He was draped in a trailing renaissance styled reddish brown robe. Silver buttons in a filigree pattern dotted the wide brimming collar and rolled up sleeve ends stylishly. The whole thing hung off of his lean frame in casual elegance. Underneath the robe he wore a brilliantly colored maroon poet's shirt that opened in a v pattern just beneath his collarbone revealing a peek of his hardened chest. Matching dark maroon pinstripe pants clung to his long lean legs before tucking into tall knee high leather boots. You stared, half in awe of the beautiful music he was making, and the other half in awe of the way his masculine figure looked as he made it.
The Captain brought the haunting melody to it's inevitable crescendo by dragging his gleaming silver hook across the keys in an arching final scale. When the last note ended he turned and placed his gaze upon you, meeting your eyes with his piercing ones. They were as blue as forget-me-nots. A sort of soft glacial color with muted undertones of pale white streaked throughout them resting underneath a curtain of lace black lashes. They silently conveyed a solemn, but sharp intelligence within them. Now that you had an unimpeded view of the front of his face you noticed he had a perfectly trimmed and styled mustache that fanned out slightly over his full arched upper lip. A small chin patch sat just below his pillowy bottom lip and it trailed down into a short neatly trimmed chin strap beard. A strong brow sloped into a downwards turned nose that hung above a stately squared chin. Age defined his features beautifully, carving them out and giving him a distinguished air that young men never could pull off. To top it all off the dark mane encased his face the way the right border can frame a work of art and turn it into a masterpiece. Peter was devilishly handsome in a wild untamed youthful way, but Hook was his complete opposite. He was the model of dark masculine sophistication. Perfectly cultured, perfectly controlled, and perfectly put together. He turned the full force of his beauty towards you and cooed in a rich dulcet voice, "Welcome, darling."
Given his reputation and the fact that he had technically kidnapped you, you should have been scared of him even despite his masterful singing and piano playing. Your first meeting should have been like the original Phantom Of The Opera, where the girl sees him and falls down and faints in horror, but you were frozen where you stood, and instead of being afraid of him you found yourself entranced. You were silent, too transfixed by his appearance to answer him. Luckily he filled the lull by suddenly coming to a stand and giving you a courtly bow. "Allow me to introduce myself, I am Captain James Hook. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." He gave you a subdued smile before straightening, but again you maintained your previous silence. Undettered by your rudeness he waved his good hand in a sweeping motion towards a long dark wood table that was brimming with foods of all kinds. The heady aroma coming off of them had wafted to your nose making your empty belly rumble in want. "You must be famished, please have a seat. We can talk more over dinner."
Mr. Smee escorted you to the table and pulled out a high backed chair for you. Not really sure what else to do you took it and smiled weakly up at him. You may have been a hostage, but you doubted Mr. Smee was very dangerous. He was more like the bumbling house keeper, or in this case, ship keeper. A short once over showed no apparent gun or sword holster on him. With quick sure strides Hook came to stand behind you. You felt his good hand and his hooked one wrap around the slats of the chair on both sides of you. Your heart hitched as your eyes zeroed in on the dull silver knife and fork on the table in front of you. If he made any other move you'd grab them and try and shove them into his bewitching too blue eyes. In one abrupt motion that was too fast to register he had simply pushed your chair in. When you had felt yourself move you had grasped the dinner fork in your hands and cradled it to your chest, but he had stepped away before you could use it. If he had noticed you arming yourself he pretended like he didn't as he sauntered around the massive table to come to a seat in the throne like chair placed directly across from you. He regarded you levelly and as your gazes met you were about to say something, but a sudden whip of a towel by your side stole your attention as Mr. Smee bent like a trained maitre de and placed an ironed cloth eggshell napkin onto your lap. Then he pulled a heavy stoneware beer stein off the table and queried, "A drink Miss?" He looked so eager to please and so genuinely happy to serve that you just nodded your head in assent. Mr. Smee grabbed a tall glass goblet from the table and began to pour some dark purplish red liquid into it. From the looks of the stuff you guessed it was more than likely wine. When he finished you gave him a hushed thank you. He beamed down at you, seemingly proud to have been of some service.
"That will be all Mr. Smee," Captain Hook dismissed with an elegant flick of his good wrist. Without further ado Mr. Smee fled somewhere to the right side of the room. Completely at ease Hook started to pick out what he wanted from the dishes on the table and compiled them on his plate. You made no motion to move towards the delicious looking food even though the rolling in your stomach began to intensify. You didn't know if their previous manners were all just a pretense to get you comfortable so you would eat and they could poison you. After surviving attacks by mermaids and fairy royalty it just seemed too lame to die of poisoning now. "Is the food not to your liking?" Hook inquired.
"I don't typically like being poisoned," you answered while crossing your arms over your chest.
Hook chuckled as he pointed out, "My dear, if I wanted to kill you I would have done it already. I've had ample opportunity to do it while you were passed out. Waiting for you to wake up and then serving you dinner just so I can poison you seems like an awful lot of unnecessary trouble to go through don't you think?"
You couldn't exactly argue with that and you couldn't recall the last time you had eaten either. It was before the trial with the Faerie Courts and that seemed like so long ago already. Not wanting Hook to see your eagerness you daintily picked out an apple and hesitantly began nibbling on it. A small satisfied smirk played along Hook's lips as he toasted you with his wine. You didn't return the favor and instead decided to go on the offensive. "Why are you here?" you demanded.
"This is my ship," he replied coolly.
"Exactly. Why are you on it and not in the cave fighting Peter and The Lost Boys?"
He took another sip of his wine before answering casually, "I'm here because this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. I never intended to fight Pan."
You threw up your hands in disbelief and yelled, "Then why did you kidnap Tiger Lily?"
"To be my distraction of course." He blinked slowly and peered back at you. Apparently he was unfazed by your yelling.
You rolled your eyes so hard you thought you'd fall over. "A distraction for what? What kind of trap did you set for them? Why are you doing this?"
Hook plucked his napkin from his lap and gingerly dabbed at his mouth. "The princess is being held in the cave inside Skull Rock, perfectly safe mind you, and guarded by the rest of my crew merely as a distraction to get Pan and the Lost Boys away long enough for me and you to have a private chat. Your friends will all be quiet fine when this is all over I assure you."
There was no malice in his smokey smooth voice. He answered your questions as casually as if you were both discussing dinner plans, which in a way he was, but you certainly weren't. You eyed him looking for any signs of obvious deception, but he answered so matter of factly and he never turned his head away from your probing gaze. He openly stared back at you, meeting you head on, and patiently he waited for you to respond. He was obviously throwing the ball in your court. Not sure what else to do you just decided to run with it. Your time in the Pixie Courts had shown you that you were never really good with head games anyway.
"You couldn't have just sent me an invitation?"
"If I was sure you would have gotten it and that Pan and the others wouldn't dissuade you from coming then yes, I would have, but given the history between us I didn't see that as a viable option."
"So all of this is just to get me here so we can chat," you made air quotes with your fingers as you emphasized your palpable skepticism.
"Yes, I'm afraid it is." For the first time Hook broke his unaffected manner as he sighed and looked downwards dejectedly. "The plan was originally just to lure Pan out and then I'd have my men escort you here so we could talk, but then Miss Bell," he paused and inclined his head towards your right where Smee was sitting just a few feet away. On a small table beside him a clear glass lantern was lit up by the slow shooting sparks of Tinkerbell. The tiny buxom pixie was lying on her side, seemingly sleeping peacefully. When you concentrated you could hear tiny jingle sounds coming from her. You couldn't make out her face all that well from where you were, but she didn't seem to be in any immediate trouble. Maybe they had drugged her like they did you, only could they drug something so small? How would that even be possible? And hadn't Titania hinted at her joining Hook a long time ago? You tried to think back, to summon your previous conversation with the mermaid Queen, but you came up with nothing. Oblivious to your inner musings Hook continued, "informed us that you had visited the mermaids, by the time my men got to the Lagoon you were gone again. I asked some of the mermaids where you went and they told me you had gone to Pixie Hollow. No human is allowed entrance there, not even Pan, so you could imagine mine, and Miss Bell's shock at having heard you were on trial before the Faerie Courts. Knowing there kind, I must confess I feared the worst. In case you did make it out alive I placed my men by Pan's house to wait for you and ordered them to bring you here as quickly as possible. I did not however condone their use of force. You have my deepest apologies for the way you were so rudely handled and of course, my sincerest sympathies for your...companion." His velvety voice seemed to hitch and lower on the last word.
The memory of George's colorless lifeless body laying in the palms of your hands came unbidden to your mind. Instant tears prickled at your eyes. You had been a little taken aback by how seemingly non-threatening Hook was at first, but now with the memory of George's sacrifice fresh in your mind you were through with all his pleasantries and posturings. Gritting your teeth you slammed your palms on the top of the table as you put as much venom in your voice as you could muster, "Stuff your sorries! Sorry won't bring George back to life. Sorry won't comfort his family, and sorry won't stop me from hating you anymore than I already do!"
Hook took your words in stride. He made no attempt to defend himself or to calm you down. He just sat and submissively waited for you to decide how the next few seconds would go. You wiped furiously at your eyes, not wanting him to see you cry, but at the same time unable to stop because the wound of George's death was just too fresh and you were just so emotionally tired. Too much had happened in too short a time and each crisis that passed and cropped up left you splintered, dulled, and one step closer to becoming jaded. Swallowing your rising emotions you lifted your gaze back to Hook. His attractive aristocratic features seemed to be mirroring your inner feelings. He suddenly appeared exhausted and world weary. His shoulders sagged and his forget me not eyes filled with a deep understanding as if he too were used to the constant struggles and losses that came with just being in Neverland. But that was impossible because he was the cause of all the troubles in this messed up world.
Ignoring his weighted gaze, you sank in your seat and turned your head to the left as you spat out bitterly, "Well you got what you wanted. Here I am! Aren't you happy?"
His voice was soft and very slow as he replied, "I can never be happy...not while I'm still in this world at least. And sadly my dear, I'm afraid neither can you."
You refused to take the bait. You didn't care what he had to say, you hoped he choked on his words and fell dead to the ground just like George had.
"What do you want from me? Just get to the point already!" you snapped.
A heavy sigh penetrated the otherwise silent room. His melodious voice weakened a treble as he responded gently, "The truth. I just wanted to tell you the truth."
"The truth about what?"
"The truth about Peter and Neverland."
Your attention now piqued you sat up a bit straighter. Your voice was heavy with your mistrust as you asked, "What about Peter ?"
Hook looked as if he didn't want to go on, but he did anyway as he brought his steely gaze even with your own, "About the fact that he has been lying to you and that if you don't go back to your world very soon you will never be able to return to it again."
To be continued…
Authors Note: Oh my goodness it has been so long you guys! I'm really sorry for the long wait it seems every time I get really serious about a posting schedule something in my life throws me a fastball. In my recent case it has been a good fastball though because I'm now a staff writer for an online Catholic website so that has sort of taken a lot of my free writing time. So now I have that, my 2 series on here, and then my personal novel which I'm working on at the moment. (Please pray for me I'm thinking of trying to get it published when it is finished!) Still I'm going to try and power through and write all the things! It just might take me longer now with everything considering, but I hope you all will still stick with me. Seriously I wouldn't be moving ahead so far with my writing if it weren't for all of you guys and your support. I'm very grateful to all of you. Now that I've said that what did you guys think of Hook I'm dying to know? Was he worth the wait? You can be honest with me. I can take it. Anyways thank you again for reading everyone! Stay tuned for the next chapter to find out what will happen next. Much love to you all!