Fiction, Lust and Pixie Dust

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”

That was a quote from Peter Pan. It hadn't had an opportunity to come true for Briar, really. But if it was in a book, it must be true.

... mustn't it?

Well. It was at least a nice thought to have. And nice thoughts were infinitely important before bed. They paved the way for nice dreams. Or at least opened the door invitingly for them. And when you have nice dreams, or no dreams at all, you sleep very soundly, undisturbed by the small, natural noises of night. The swoop of a bat's wing, the rustle of trees in a faint breeze, the soft sound of the window being slid open, the gentle, delicate suggestion of feet padding across the floor.

Ah yes, the natural noises of night.

Someone stubbed their toe in the dark, and cursed in a way that was distinctly not part of the natural nocturnal fabric.

It was enough to rouse someone out of a sound sleep, rubbing their eyes in sleepy confusion. But it was a little late, because a half-second view of Briar's room would be eclipsed by a sack.

Definitely not the natural activites of the night.

    • Mother Goose
      Mother Goose

      "Wha-?" the witch muttered, and before she could even utter a curse, was enveloped in rough burlap-y darkness. "Hey! Let me out-" her shouting was no help and she was pretty sure she only managed to kick herself in the face as she struggled. "Ooooh, you're in a world of hurt once I get out of this sack-!"

      • Gladstone Gander
        Gladstone Gander

        "Now never you be mindin' all that Missus!" Said the cheerful albeit gruff voice of her abductor.  "I'll be inna world a' hurt if I dun' be gettin' ya back t' the Cappin' and that's the truth! Now howse about ya be a nice little bit a booty an' bite yer lip, there's  a good lass!"

        The jostling did not let up as she was spirited away in a very uncomfortable fashion.  Stories always told you that traveling by sack was part and parcel of being a damsel in distress but they never said how awkward the positioning tended to be... there just was nowhere for your legs to go.  It was a shame.  Next thing you know you'd find out that pumpkin carriages weren't cleaned out of all their seeds and you'd be picking them out of your hair for days. Reality was so unfair sometimes.

        Even when reality was following a plot line that is so clearly communicated to it's captive.  

        "Ahoy there Peg Nose Pete! It's a be-yoou-tiful noight fer a press gangin' wouldn'cha say? How'd ya do matey?" The bag was shifted on the strange man's shoulder causing Briar to bound off his back a few times. 

        "Hrrmemumbmle wimmen hrrrraghackaramble." Answered another voice.

        "Too right! Too right! Ah yers ain't movin',  now th' Cappin' said no killin' em Pete." The tone was chastising but only slightly.  Oh Peg Nose Pete you murderous imp!

        "Raberhabin' hollerin' argharaglin' one' two' skip t' me loo."

        "Ah well if she wuz screamin' I suppose th' Cappin will understand. As long as she ain't otherwise deceased I have no doubt he'll be right pleased that ya bagged 'er up noice and neat like." The salty gentleman then addressed his captive. " I'd like t' thank ya fer not makin' a fuss Missus.  Makes me job much easier I'll tell ya that!" 

        The sound of a ship bell and water lapping against stone permeated the air.  They were at the bay already?  This guy must really dash right along. 

        "Ergahmerurat fernaninin disembarkin' craghrabning?"

        "Soon, Pete, soon... just gotta wait fer  Boatswain Wayne t' get here an then the dingie will swing on by and get us.  Fancy a pint? Bet we could plunder up some pretzels t' go wif it.  'hoo knows t' next time we'll be at port?" 

        • Mother Goose
          Mother Goose

          The Captain? Killing? Nice bit of booty?!

          Actually that last bit was actually kind of flattering... no, no, stay focused, being kidnapped from your warm and cozy bed in the middle of the night is a bad thing. A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Thing. Who would even-

          Gladstone.

          "Gladstone Gander! Is that you?! Are you behind this! I SAID I'd replace that hair gel I 'borrowed'!" she yelled, momentarily forgetting the danger of making too much noise in front of dear ole violent Peg-Nose. This was so undignified and she was sure she was going to have bruises from being heaved around like a sack of spuds and really Gladdy, are you that petty that you'd order a hit over some hair care products? Briar fumed.

          • Lilly Teal
            Lilly Teal

            Yes, 'TIS I. And now you will suffer, suffer for the heinous crime of- of- what? It's not Gladstone?

            ... huh. Well, it was entirely possible this wasn't personal, but why would you go through the trouble of breaking into someone's house and kidnapping them if you didn't have anything personally against them? If you just needed to go and kidnap someone, there's always someone out on the streets, even in the middle of the night.

            But who could it be?

            Look, we're not saying it couldn't have been Gladstone, just that it wasn't him in this particular instance.

            Unfortunately for all plans of pints and pretezels, Boatswain Wayne didn't like to waste time. He arrived on the scene with such speed that he had to skid to a stop, grabbing hold of his compatriots to aid in his braking before he ended up in the water. A small lantern swung from his hand, and once he had taken a moment to get steady on his feet, he raised it up in the air and lifted the little cover that was preventing the light from escaping to send out a beam for a brief moment before covering it up again.

            Once.

            Twice.

            Thrice.

            In the silence, the oars of the dinghy splashed slowly closer. And not a moment too soon, they could practically feel the dawn coming.

            "Hurry up," Wayne hissed. Why was everyone so slow? Once he got in that boat he'd get them away as fast as you please, but get that boat over here faster will you? He gingerly touched a bruise that was forming over his eye. Maybe trying two kidnappings in one night had been a bit ambitious. But who was to know she'd be so handy with a rolling pin?

            "Did you get yours?"

            The sack LOOKED like it contained an angry, confused woman, but you can never be sure.

            • Gladstone Gander
              Gladstone Gander

              "Did I get mine!? Ya hear this scallywag! A' course I gots mine! It was singing me a little ditty abouts pomade not too long ago wassn' she Pete?" There was a grumbling that was probably agreement from the other pirate.  "'hoo d' ya fink I am? Me name ain't Kidnappin' Cuddy cuz i likes t' watch snoozin' ankle biters!" 

              Thankfully anymore exposition was nipped in the bud as the dinghy closed in. 

              "Alllirght lads, let's get these here ladies back to th' Jolly Roger before that blasted sun starts winkin' at us." 

              Mother Goose's sack was unceremoniously thrown into the small boat which rocked wildly in the water, this was not helped by the fact that the other pirates deposited their captives in a dog pile on top of her. 

              "Okay now all we need is a bit a' this pixie soot..." he shook out a small bag in his hand and dumped it on the deck. " That oughta do it.  Last of it though. Lets hope th' Cappin finds another one soon or we'll be grounded for a bit.  Remember how irritable he was th' last time boys?  I fink he shot three cabin boys that month."

              With that delightful little anecdote, the dinghy, under new Wayne powered efficiency, quickly moved through the waves and then suddenly... out of them? What may have at first been startling soon became boring, and the pirates sang the same three shanties over and over. It was a long trip and despite the predicament sleep would creep back into Briar's body, what else was there to do anyway? 

              Consciousness would also return suddenly when she was abruptly thrown out of the boat forced to her feet and had the bag cut away from her with long sharp cutlasses.  The fact that she would be entirely surrounded by sneering pirates, should probably come as no surprise to her at this point.  Although the lush greenery that lined the distant shore line and the gloriously rich rainbow that hovered over head an spanned the whole of the deep blue sky and even reflected in the turquoise waters the ship was bobbing, not to mention the tropical breeze or the singing of strange birds... may have been concerning.  After all, St. Canard didn't normally look this scenic. 

              The other captives were currently being man handled into a row beside her. The first to come into view was a ...nun? Mmmkay.  The next a... woah.  Well dear. That was a long whip. And... not a lot of clothing. More like strategically placed strips of leather.  

              "Alright you Mothers!" Snapped a toothless old pirate with halitosis. "This here's yer new home."

              "My child, I already have a home-" Started he sweet natured Mother Superior.

              "Darling-" purred the dominatrix. "...you better put down some cash before you address your Mother." 

              The pirates looked uncertainly between the two other captives.  This.... was not how the stories usually went.  They all stared at Mother Goose.  She seemed the most like what they were expecting.  What would she have to say for herself?

              • Mother Goose
                Mother Goose

                A pretty blonde woman in a sensible pink nightgown who looked just as horrified at Kidnappin' Cuddy and Peg Nose Pete's choices in female parental guidance was probably the right pick, even if she denied it.

                "But I'm not even a real- well, I mean technically I'm a mother," Mother Goose corrected, waving her hands around. After all, on top of her title, there was that cute little redhead girl and her all various fairy godmothering to consider... which probably would hurt her case didn't belong here, so she better shut up about that. "But it's not like that! And you're all grown-men, what do you need a mother for!" Ugh, they were all so old and ugly. She might not have her glasses on, but that didn't mean she couldn't smell them. Captain Jack Sparrow they ain't.

                "I don't know what kind of sick plan you have here, but I am OUT, Jackos!" Mother Goose shouted, shoving the nun at them as a distraction. The goose nearly lept off the side of the boat, but luckily looked down first. "Wait, this isn't.. the... harbor...?" the witch said slowly, clutching the ropes for dear life, just noticing the typical paradise far below.

                There went her plan to swim home.

                • Lilly Teal
                  Lilly Teal

                  "'Course it's not." Wayne was, of course, the first to lean over the side, though he didn't show enough gentlemanly concern to actually help her back up over the side she was hanging from. "We couldn't just hang around the harbour after we grabbed you."

                  What are we, amateurs? We'd get CAUGHT.

                  Wayne wasn't particularly old. But that didn't preclude his being ugly. The man had a nose that had visibly been broken at least three times, was definitely missing a couple tooth that was never going to come back, and had a horrible red mark along one cheek that was probably, make that definitely, a permanent burn.

                  He grinned at her, absolutely delighted by this turn of events.

                  "It's okay, I don't look before I leap either."

                  But I'm sure Briar doesn't want to end up like you, Wayne. Someone gave him a shove from behind, and looked confused for a moment.

                  "What?"

                  "Pull her up."

                  "Pull-?"

                  Wayne, did you really think she was hanging there because she wanted to?

                  "Do it QUICK before the Captain gets here."

                  As Wayne 'quicked', morning had long dawned on St. Canard. Breakfasts had been had, coffee had been drunk, and Lilly and Gladstone were out for a walk, enjoying the weather.

                  And yet. All was not well. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but there was a sense that something was off.

                  The rampaging gingerbread man on the horizon?

                  Possibly.

                  What was odder than that was the fact that something was missing, she just couldn't quite figure out what it was.

                   

                  • Gladstone Gander
                    Gladstone Gander

                    As the goose would find her feet planted back on solid deck a shrill call of a bosun's whistle would cause a frenzy of activity from the pirates. Briar would be shoved back into the line up with a few helpful hands fixing her hair and righting that one sleeve of her nightdress that had hiked up a little bit.  The nun beside her gave her a patient glare and dominatrix well she just radiated something that made all the pirates a little uncomfortable there was a lot of looking at shoes, or in most cases bare feet or pegs, and cloud gazing.  A portly little dodo in a too tight too short striped shirt staggered around importantly tooting his whistle.

                    "Cappin' on deck, Cappin' on deck look alive, look alive!" Toot toot.  Scamper scamper.  The ridiculous bird slid into a gap in the ranks (and boy were they rank) and saluted. 

                    From the large ornate cabin door came a tall avian in a blood red coat, smartly trimmed with gold frogging and embellishments that caught the light like glittering little stars. A wide-brimmed crimson hat with a long feather dripping down the back sat upon a mass of black curls that framed the inca tern's handsome face dramatically.  He moved in slow, measured strides through the path the pirates had made for him. He strode directly over to the women and stopped in front of Briar. His bright blue eyes inspected her with interest and a faint smile curled the corners of his mouth making his long mustache twitch. But he moved on quickly, he barely glanced at the nun and spent a long moment staring at the final member of the lineup.  Finally, he lifted his hand and snapped his fingers.

                    "Mister Smee, tell me,  which one of these bilge rats brought me... this." He pointed harshly.... at the nun without taking his eyes off the woman before him.

                    "Ah yes Cappin' sir that was uh... that'd 've been old Peg Nose sir got a bit of a knack for turnin a phrase Cappin'."

                    "Does he now? Mr. Peg Nose? A word if I may?"  

                    The salty old dog shuffled up to the Captain who waved him toward the side of the boat where they could converse with more privacy.  Peg Nose shambled over to the designated spot and turned to no doubt say something bitingly witty but instead had a pistol fired at his face at point blank range causing his body to fling itself backward, tip over the edge of the boat, and tumble into those picturesque turquoise depths below. The Captain cupped his ear with the gun still in hand until he heard the splash... and some ticking but more on that later.  He nodded and whipped around to glare at the ashen-faced pirates who all suddenly pretended they hadn't just seen what he'd done.

                    "Let it be known-" He said angrily as he waved something shiny in his other han-oh no wait. There was no hand. Just a... "-that Peg Nose Pete has turned his last ruddy phrase."

                    "Noted Cappin' Hook sir!"

                    "Now get this creature off me boat." He waved a hand at the nun. "I think a bit of a dip in Cannibal Cove will do your faith a bit of bolstering." The nun was seized and pulled away toward the plank. Hook raised his namesake just as a whip lashed at him and tangled itself along the iron.  The other "mother" frowned at him.

                    "You can't just do that! You can't just kill that man and make that old broad tap dance off a bit of wood!"  She said a lot less seductively than anything she'd muttered previously.

                    "Ah my apologies dear lady..." Hook crooned as he swept over to her and grabbed her by the arm. "-but you're wrong as I'm Captain and this is my ship and only I decide what I can do ON ME OWN BLASTED SHIP!" 

                    Oh.. oh dear and there goes the dominatrix overboard.  On the plus side she wasn't wearing much to get wet.  Best not to think too much about the rest.  All that was settled now... Hook straightened out his coat and calmly walked over to Briar and gave her little bow. 

                    "Terribly sorry you had to see that m'dear.  What is your name?"

                     


                    "-and I said 'what do you MEAN you were shocked the anchovies were alive? After they aSALTed you, you should have ROE'd that.'" Gladstone waited for the riotous laughter.  None came. He glanced at Lilly out of the corner of his eye.

                    "Uh, you missed your cue Lillypad. That was where you were supposed to collapse in hysterical laughter. Hey," he nudged her arm lightly. "-what's up?  You've got that look on your face.  It's the one that's halfway 'I could really go for a decadent building sized bowl of ice cream' and 'the world is falling apart I guess I should go eat ice cream'.  So..." he motioned to the convenient Ice Cream Parlor beside them. "-bingo? Unless I'm reading your expression wrong..." he tapped his bill in thought and examined her face closely. "Ah no, got it! It's 'something's wrong but I don't know what, so I should probably kiss my boyfriend until I figure it out.'"

                     

                    • Mother Goose
                      Mother Goose

                      YES, now that is what she was talking about! This is what roving bands of pirates should look like. Smokey, swarthy, sultry- too bad about Peg-Nose and the others, but mama, what a captain. Was it too early to swoon? It was probably too early to swoon.

                      "M-mother Goose," she said, with a deep curtsy. "But please, call me Briar, Captain Hook, sir~" Ooh, the illustrations didn't do him justice, he was even handsomer up close. With any luck, he'd ravish her in his no doubt resplendent cabin... Yo ho ho, a pirate's life for me.

                       



                      Indeed, there was something off about St. Canard this morning. Bluebirds utterly failed to land on pretty girl's beckoning fingers, sheep stayed firmly locked inside their padlock, and even the pastry shop failed to have any little cakes baked with a B on display.

                      What there was, however, was a strange assortment of colorful bandanas, empty bottles of rum, and even an old-fashioned eyepatch littering the streets.

                      • Lilly Teal
                        Lilly Teal

                        As everyone knows, prolonged kissing is the solution to any and all confusion or lost thoughts. She tsked a little and gave him a small push, her thoughtful expression progressing to a slightly furrowed forehead as they kept walking. Turning her head to watch the distant figure of the giant gingerbread man, she slowly raised her finger to point at it.

                        "... that's Briar's, isn't he? Shouldn't she be on his shoulder?" That was her usual position. Unless he got out. In which case she should be flying after him.

                        "I don't see her, that's all. It's probably nothing, I just- WOAH!"

                        Mayday, mayday, rum bottle underfoot! Wheeling her arms, she just caught herself before she could plant face-first into a... bandana?

                        "Did someone have a pirate themed party and forget to clean up after themselves?" she asked in some confusion.

                        • Gladstone Gander
                          Gladstone Gander

                          "Briar-" Hook repeated thoughtfully as the assembled pirates all held their breath to see if there was one more woman to go overboard.  After a long moment the inca tern smiled, a rather dashing smile with more teeth then the rest of his crew put together. "-tell me m' dear have you had much experience Mothering? Because blast me eyes, but you look far too young an' lovely to be anyone's mother." He offered his arm to her and once she took it he started parading her through the assembled crew to the rudder of the boat. " I must apologize for the eagerness of me men to bring you aboard the Jolly Roger,  I have-" he twisted the hook on his hand a few times, tightening it up. "-a way with inspiring people. Briar..." his voice was about as genteel as a sailor's on shore leave. "-I know you're likely t' be a woman of class and high stature that'd find minglin' with the likes of us lowly pirates offensive." There was a grumble of disapproval from the crew but when the Captain held up his hand they fell silent.  "However, if you could be seeing to indulge me impulses for a short while, you'd not be found wanting." The hook slid under her fingers and brought her hand to his mouth where he kissed her knuckles all the while maintaining unblinking eye contact.



                          "Dat bein' on account of the treasure Cappin?" Asked Smee curiously.  Rage flashed across Hook's face as he glared at his second in command but he lapsed back into an easy smile.

                          "Don't listen to him, Mister Smee drank too much sea water during a siege once, never got the taste of salt outta his-"

                          "Oh no Cappin' I remember you sayin' 'Smee, if we gets this Mother away from the Lost Boys we can get that treasure off the Mermaid Lagoon in two shakes' is what you said and mark my words Cappin' I never forget-"

                          Hook stared blankly ahead, his eye twitching as the dodo spoke until he was done.  Calmly Hook smiled at Briar and held up a finger to indicate he'd just be a moment and the collected pirates scattered like billiard balls that had just been introduced to the cue.  All for Smee who stared at his commander in open bafflement.  Hook grabbed him by the shirt and slammed him against the mast to hiss angrily at him.

                          "Barnacle brains! She's one of those soft-hearted maternal types! The moment she finds out that we're going for treasure with the intent of blowing up those confounded Lost Boys she's going to rather be keelhauled." The Captain growled... not exactly quietly.  

                          As if any woman would be more interested in treasure than children! What a novel idea!

                           


                          As Lilly stumbled Gladstone rushed forward to catch her but she righted herself all on her own.  He frowned at the piratey goods as she pointed them out.

                          "Forget cleaning up after themselves." He said with a frown as he pinched the end of a bandana and lifted it off the ground. "...why wasn't I invited?  I make a fantastic pirate... you should have seen  me in the Duckburg player's production of 'The Pirates of Pencilstache' to quote the local newspaper I 'gave it my all'." Wasn't exactly a compliment but... no one could tell him otherwise.  He flicked the bit of sweaty fabric over his shoulder and a scrap of paper revealed itself on the pavement beneath it.  He tilted his head to read the messy handwriting.

                          "...'Mothers all shapes and sizes are to be brought back to the' ...skirp? Scrip? Strap? What is this stain? '... blah blah blah by order of Captain... Grooc? Wook?'" Gladstone scowled at it until he finally snatched it from the ground and handed to Lilly.  "What in the world does this mean?  And... ooogh." There was a loud crunch. " Gingie has taken out the old Marshie Marshmellow Factory."

                           

                           

                          • Mother Goose
                            Mother Goose

                            You would think watching Captain Hook slam someone against the wall would be a red flag. Though considering he had her kidnapped for their meeting and then disposed of the other woman, what was one more red flag for the pile? Hook was still breath-takingly handsome and clearly his Eton manners (to her) were completely intact, even after all these years at sea... he was simply passionate, she thought, still flustered from all the fancy hand kissing.

                            "Lost boys?" Mother Goose gasped, covering her mouth, unable to help from overhearing their 'chat'. Oh no, Peter Pan would definitely try to save her from the pirates. She could almost hear that rooster-crow already... And that would have been fine if she was still a twelve-year old girl with a mad crush on the boy who never grew up, but she was an adult now, damnit, with adult needs. She did not want to be stuck raising a band of filthy, snot-nosed punks! "Treasure?" she asked, far more eagerly. "Captain Hook, are you up to something devious?" How delightfully off-script this whole adventure was.

                            • Lilly Teal
                              Lilly Teal

                              That's nice sweetie, but-

                              She stared at the paper with frown. It was crumpled and stained and the penmanship wasn't much to begin with.

                              A residual childhood memort rose up and tried to fill in the blanks for her. But that was... silly, right?

                              "Hook? Does that look like it could be an H?"

                              All mothers...

                              She winced as the factory was made short work of. Did they have gingerbread man insurance? Had they been closer she would have made the effort to call up to him, but they were far too far.

                              But if she wasn't too far wrong, Briar's house wasn't.

                              "Gladstone," she said levelly. "I think Briar's in trouble. Can we go check on her please?"

                              • Gladstone Gander
                                Gladstone Gander

                                Hook sent a quizzical look at the goose.  As a pirate captain he was good at gauging interest when it came to treasure, specifically which one of the crew might suggest mutiny to up their part of the pot.  So color him surprised at the genuine interest in the lubber's eyes.  More maritime than maternal perhaps? With yet another dashing smile he released his hold on Smee without even looking at him as he fell to the deck. 

                                "Devious? That depends on what your definition of the word is, m'dear.  If you mean plotting to plunder some priceless baubles out from some sniveling brat's hands," he waved expansively with a little rumble of a chuckle. "-with a bit of bloodshed always on me horizon, then perhaps aye, I might be 'up to' something devious. " He swept back over to her, he was rather tall, his face hovered over her's by nearly a foot. " Would a fine lady such as yourself be interested in partaking in such devilish depravity?" His eyes twinkled at the words. "I find nothing gets the old-"

                                "Oh yes Cappin' nothing gets th' old ticker going like th' scent of gold-" Smee interrupted merrily and the smile froze on the Captain's face.  "Beggin' yer pardon Miss, but we have some nice bits a clothin' ya might be able to poke inta somethin' fashionable like below decks.  Should I show her to the brig Cappin'?"

                                "The BRIG?!" Hook rounded on the dodo furiously. "This fine lady is our guest Mr. Smee! Show yerself to the blasted brig you bloated buffoon!" He sniffed lightly to compose himself and smoothed down the ends of his mustache idly before he held his arm out for Briar to take. "You may stay in my cabin, after all you are a guest of honor here on me ship. Can't have you rolling around with the rum now can we?" He shot a nasty look at Smee who saluted.

                                "Understood sir showin' meself to the brig sir!"

                                He scampered on the spot before trundling off below deck. 

                                "As I was saying... do you fancy trying a hand at  piracy? I'm sure you'd find it quite rewarding."

                                wink. wink.


                                 

                                Gladstone was halfway towards picking up a discarded glass eye when the question stopped him. He stared blankly ahead for a moment before straightening up.

                                "Yes. Yes of course," But... wait.  Hook? Like... Peter Pa- he pointed at her heatedly. "But I swear if I end up as a-a-ticking crocodile with a particular taste in pirates.  I am going to be VERY upset." He dusted off his hands on his jacket. 

                                "But she's a witch, shouldn't she, I dunno be able to zap her way out of trouble?" He held up his hands as if anticipating a 'WE'RE GOING TO CHECK ON HER ANYWAY' "Just thinking out loud. As long as we're back by our dinner reservations I don't mind popping in to see she's okay.  Well... as okay as she tends to be."

                                • Mother Goose
                                  Mother Goose

                                  Briar was doing more than ok at the moment. Her household might have been running riot in her absence, but sky's were looking very dreamy in Neverland.

                                  "My dear Captain Hook, I really think I would," Mother Goose almost purred, happily taking the bloodthristy pirate's arm. There were nearly stars in her eyes when she looked up at him. "A little bit of depravity is good for the soul~" Especially the good of depravity the two of them could get up behind a locked cabin door, ho ho, feel those muscles. Just imagine him holding her against the wall, or, or even the bed... Briar's head filled with countless pirate romance stories. Maybe Smee would find her an appropriately inappropriately thin and bosom-heaving dress in that brig.

                                  "But then, I'm a little devilish myself back home," she winked.


                                  Things were definitively wrong at Mother Goose's cottage. The gate was wide open when the worried couple approached and, even more troubling, there were footprints (and pegprints) all through the garden. One of the intruders must have wandered off-course during the home invasion, however, because the shed had several large bites taken out of the side... probably how Gingy escaped, come to think of it. Someone else had shattered the plane of sugar-glass in the front door, taking the creative approach lock-picking.

                                  Inside, things were even messier. True, about half of that mess was Briar's normal level of chaos, but the witch would never leave the cauldron to bubble itself dry on the stove, filling the air with the awful scent of brunt caramel, or leave candied eyeballs to rot on the countertop...  she certainly would never leave books half-riffled through and left face down on the table in unknown sticky substances... rum, possibly?!... The only book out that looked like it hadn't been messed with was a copy of Peter Pan that seemed, somehow, more vibrant than anything else in the room. Briar's glasses were set beside it, as if she'd been up late reading and forgotten to close the book before heading to bed.

                                  • Lilly Teal
                                    Lilly Teal

                                    Yep. Peter Pan it was.

                                    Gladstone had been given a grateful little squeeze for going along with her. She knew he didn't enjoy the idea, and even less the idea that something might actually be wrong that they would inevitably get pulled into. So it did mean a lot that he was here.

                                    Even if it did increasingly look like, yes, indeed, something was very wrong. The outside was bad enough, and her worries only rose as she pushed open the front door and just... stopped. Stopped to really wrap her head around the chaos in front of her, and the utter absence of the goose in the middle of it.

                                    "Oh this definitely isn't Briar's usual mess," she muttered, reaching out to wrap her fingers around Gladstone's hand as she lifted up a book slightly, as if expecting to find the goose hiding underneath somehow.

                                    Apparently not.

                                    "Briar?" she called out gently, stepping further into the room with him in tow. "Where are you, love?"

                                    Maybe she was... hiding somewhere? It clearly looked like someone had broken in, so perhaps she had holed herself away so she would be safe. In... oh I don't know, the spice cabinet or something.

                                    She tugged at the drawer on a nice little mirrored side table, as if expecting to find a key with a label as to where she was and what door to unlock.

                                    What she didn't expect, exactly, was for the drawer to slide open to reveal a... keypad? And she definitely didn't expect the mirror to flicker as the goose's cheerful voice came through it.

                                    "Good morning~ You've reached Mother Goose's house of fairy godmotherhood!"

                                    Uh...

                                    "It looks like I'm not home right now! If you have a burning happily ever after you want granted, press one, and leave your name and contact number after the tone. If you want to collaborate on a crime, press two, same instructions apply! If I've been spirited away by a storybook character, not that that would ever happen, put the appropriate book on the table, open my potion cabinet, and toss up a pinch of the powder in the pouch marked 'do not touch unless you want terrible things to happen'. Thank you!"

                                    • Gladstone Gander
                                      Gladstone Gander

                                      "Ah yes... London." Hook said idly. "I suppose you were a right little imp in your social circles." Clearly not believing a word of it. I mean... she was far too clean.  And she had all her teeth.  And they were so... white. Not signs of a serious dastardly type at all. But she was extremely pliable so far and seemed rather taken with him... but who wouldn't be?  He hooked a passing pirate and pulled him close. "Mr. Sturges have the cook bring some food to me cabin, we want our guest to be comfortable don't we?"

                                      Mr. Sturges looked as if he had missed this flashcard during reviews.  Did we? Hook slowly started nodding and he joined in bobbing his head more vigorously once he got in the swing of things.

                                      "Right you are Cappin' Hook sir! Food sir! Comfort sir! You leave it to me sir!" He ran off.

                                      Hook pushed open his cabin door and like the true gentleman he was (hm) let her enter first. His cabin was resplendent.  Clearly outfitted with the best bits of everything they'd plundered over the years.  He used his hook to pull out a chair for her to sit in at an ornate gilded table. Once she was seated he moved around to the other end and lounged in his own chair eyeing her openly.

                                      "Tell me about your life in London. " he snapped his fingers and another pirate came dashing in and put two glasses on the table in front of them along with a large decanter filled with brandy. the pirate splashed some in both glasses then sprinted out of the room again. 


                                       

                                       

                                      At the end of the message Gladstone heaved a sigh that was meant for bigger, more expansive lungs.  He walked back through the ruined house, glancing suspiciously at a photo of himself tacked up on the wall that he had no memory of being taken for a moment, before he peeled the sticky book out of the soup of rum and half melted gumdrops... with another equally heavy sigh.

                                      Sighing once more as he trudged across the room, he tapped the cauldron to tip it over, the burned gunk extinguishing the flames below, and rejoined Lilly at the magic mirror vanity set. He let the book plop into the open drawer unceremoniously with a final heaving sigh.

                                      He went to grab the powder but stopped, threw his head back with another sigh and walked back to where the book had been, snatched up the goose's glasses, and once again... yes sighing, came back and handed them to Lilly.

                                      "You keep these.  Because I won't be able to hold them in my jaws without breaking them." He rolled his eyes with a little shake of his head.  "Tick tock tick tock... Would it be too much to hope that we just... pour this powder on it..." He plucked up the pouch with a very large label and opened it to peer inside. "...and she just pops back home?... this literally looks like glitter." He pinched some of the fine grains and spread them out on his palm and... well yes they did. "...like... craft store glitter." He closed his eyes and let the powder drift back into the bag before handing it to Lilly. "You do the honors." He caught his reflection in the mirror and saw a hair out of place.  Must have been all that full body sighing.  He used his glittering finger to force the curl back in place , then smoothed out the rest of his hair, as a result causing a light sprinkle of the sparkling stuff to coat his feathers. Well the ratio of magic powder wasn't SUPER important... right? What could possibly go wrong from having too much faith, trust and... craft store glitter?

                                       

                                      • Mother Goose
                                        Mother Goose

                                        "Oh my..." Briar breathed in awe. "You have such beautiful taste," she said, taking in the scenery with wide eyes. Sure, she'd seen her fair share of treasure, but this was truly refined. The goose took her seat, trying her best to look graceful in her pajamas.

                                        "Ah, St. Canard, actually. You know, in America?" Briar supplied helpfully. She supposed that if you spent a long enough time in a magical fairytale land out of time you might mistake her slight twang for a classy London accent. "It's a great city, tons of fun! Great place to set up a career in villainy~" Briar sipped at her brandy delicately and coughed. Oh my. That really burned... she put the glass back down and smiled at Hook. "That's what I do, villainy. Ha, if my old teachers could see me turning pumpkins into getaway carriages, they'd flip their cauldrons! Stuffy old bats never understood magic should be fun." The goose continued to babble on about the inconsequential details about her life, but 'oh-i'm-a-witch-by-the-way' was really the only meaningful fact mixed in with her stories.  

                                         


                                        Gladstone was right about craft-store glitter being mixed into powder. Partly it was because otherwise the powder was too easy to mix up with other potions, even with such a detailed label, but mostly it was because it was too ugly and boring on its own. The glitter added that certain pop of dazzle all true magic needed.

                                        As the magical powder settled over the duck couple, like a happy thought they rose in the air, the book seemed to grow in size. Or were they shrinking? It was hard to tell, what with the sparkly magic getting in their eyes. But it was off to Neverland, to recuse Briar!

                                        They flying into Neverland!

                                        Falling into Neverland.

                                        Falling very, very fast.

                                        Same difference, right?

                                         

                                        • Lilly Teal
                                          Lilly Teal

                                          Lilly sighed a little as the book seemed to grow. Or... you know.

                                          "I'll make it up to you, I promIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-" the rest of the promise was lost in a shriek of surprise as gravity grabbed hold of her and enthusiastically tried to direct her on a high-speed tour of all the layers of sky between where they currently were and the ground.

                                          Neverland was a truly beautiful place. Pristine beaches, spectacular forests, glittering lagoons.

                                          But not, and this is key, when you're falling towards it at terminal velocity. The speed was such that even if they were lucky enough to fall into the lagoon, the water wouldn't be able to slow them enough to prevent them crashing into the rock underneath. So what possible hope could they-

                                          A freak gust of wind shoved at them.

                                          And another.

                                          And a few more. It made no sense, and it came out of nowhere, but presumably Gladstone's luck had to make do with what it had. The wind held onto them like a couple of leaves and drifted them gently towards the treeline.

                                          It landed them a little less than gently and Lilly winced at the scratch on her arm. But it was better than breaking a few bones. Even if-

                                          Oh no. She was in a tree.

                                          "Gladstone-"

                                          Wait. Wait, where was he?! She couldn't see the gander anywhere! But before she could work herself up into a panic, a face intruded on her vision, and she reared back. It was the dirtiest, snottiest face she had ever had the misfortune of seeing, and it was noisily munching an apple with it's mouth open.

                                          "Whatchoo doin up here, Wendy? I thought you wasn't a bird," the face said with an apple-y grin, clearly finding this the height of comedy. There wasn't a ladder in sight. Presumably the little monkey had climbed up.

                                          "I'm stuck, actually," she said automatically. "Could you please find a way to help me down?"

                                          And close your mouth when you eat, and it's weren't not wasn't, and no don't wipe your nose on your sleeve-

                                          Wait.

                                          Wend-

                                          "Didyoo forget how to fly again? Did Tink stop givinyoo dust?" he looked up at something shimmery on the edge of her vision. "Bad Tink. Share."

                                          • Gladstone Gander
                                            Gladstone Gander

                                            As she spoke Hook started to straighten up his posture, his laissez-faire attitude shifting with the course of the tide of conversation. Or rather the rapids of rambling. He squinted at her using his hook to slide the candelabra out of his way so that he would have an unobstructed view of her.  When her tirade showed no signs of slowing he slammed the hook down into the table wedging it in the grain right by her hand. Slowly he stood to lean over the table his eyes staring into hers intensely.

                                            "Magic, did you say?"

                                            "Oh here we are Cappin'~ found the lady some lovely clothes in the old stores I di-" Smee had paraded in cheerily, but paused when he peeked over the pile of black and red fabric in his arms at the tense scene before him.  He blinked. "Now Cappin'-" he started bracingly. "-don't start gettin' all riled up again.  S'not good for yer blood pressure. You just let this Motherly lady-"

                                            "Mister Smee-this enchanting creature... is a sorceress." he grinned widely not taking his eyes off his newest treasure. 

                                            "Well blimey Cappin' perhaps I ought to go boil some nice water for a bath then shall I? Nothin' gets rid 'a bit a' soreness like a nice hot bath is what I always say." He patted Briar's hand kindly and plopped the clothes in her lap. "Never you fear Miss we'll have you all fixed up in no time."

                                            This interesting turn of events was so enthralling to Hook that he didn't even react to the stupidity of his crew. He yanked the hook out of the table leaving a new hole in it.  On closer inspection, there were quite a lot of holes in this table.  He let out a dark little laugh.

                                            "If you'd like to go dress yourself I'll be here m'dear. You simply must tell me all about this magic of ours-uh.. yours."

                                             


                                             

                                             

                                            Gladstone had a transformative fall from the relative normalcy of Mother Goose's cabin.  The plus side was he was not a crocodile. As far as he could tell that was the only plus at the moment. He had bounced off a few big leathery things to break his fall which hurt. But more concerning than just the typical pain it also hurt about a foot or so past his shoulder blades, where nothing ought to be, but very clearly there were several somethings there.  He shook his head trying to regain his wits and a shimmering rain of most certainly not craft store glitter wafted from his hair.  He stared at it numbly before his eyes slowly sank to his feet, where two cheery little pom poms adorned bright green spats. With a jolt, he inspected himself, oh no. No no no... wings. Dress.. again Mother Goose? REALLY? But most concerning was this large green tarp he was sitting on actually turned out to be just a leaf. Just a boring old, gigantic leaf. Then the thunder started. He clapped his hands over his ears as the canopy rustled and a giant swung down to talk to... he blinked. Was that-? Lilly in ringlets?  The disgusting hairy giant primate face with waterfalls of mucus and spraying apple chunks turned to him and spoke. 

                                            "Jingle?!" He fumed as he peered over the edge of the leaf. "JINGLE?! Tingle jing-a-lingle!" Tinkerstone shook his fist at the monkey boy before he ripped a patch of the leaf off and fashioned himself a pair of pants as quickly as possible. 

                                            A few shadows zipped past the sun but one stayed eclipsing the leaf in it's entirety and once properly outfitted he glared up at a bright eyed canary boy who tilted his head to the side curiously his one arm filled with oranges.

                                            "Gee Tink, you sure look ugly today."

                                            Gladstone narrowed his eyes at him and started to walk to the edge of the leaf toward where Lilly had landed. 

                                            "Wendy?" The other lost boy blinked at the woman and scratched his head.  "Did you come back to join us sticking a thorn in that old codfish's scales?" He jabbed a little wooden sword at the air with a boyish grin. "I thought you wanted to grow up? And... hold on... Tink." he said darkly.Gladstone froze halfway between two leaves, things were slow going when you were this small. That is unless you're plucked up by the scruff of the neck by a giant boy. "Have you been trying to hurt Wendy again? What did Peter tell you?"

                                            "Jing."

                                            "No? Well then you won't mind if we just-" He zipped over to Lilly and frantically shook the diminutive goose sending a fine coating of pixie dust on the Lillybird.  "-there! Now hurry up! Peter will go on an adventure without us if we're late!" he tossed the pixie carelessly and Gladstone frantically beat his wings to try to do anything... anything at all. All he wound up doing was landing harshly on Lilly's bill and had to cling to the tip of it to keep from careening into the foliage far below.  This awarded her a very close view of the clearly unamused, flat lidded gaze he was wearing.  He let out the world's tiniest heaving sigh. 

                                            "Ringle... jingle."

                                             

                                            • Mother Goose
                                              Mother Goose

                                              Briar jumped at the deadly hook slamming inches from her fingers.

                                              "Eep! I- yes, that's not... if you don't mind?" The Pirate Captain was so intense, it was a little hard to judge his mood. Those piercing blue eyes felt like they were pinning her down, like a butterfly in a collection. She shivered. It was frightening. No. Electrifying.

                                              "You like... magic?" she asked. Most Normals didn't. Clearly Hook was cut from a different cloth, because his answering grin was crocodile wide. Briar squee'd, jumping up from her chair. She twirled the kindly, confused Mr. Smee around in girlish delight, before dropping him to lean up and press a kiss on Hook's cheek. "I'll be right back, hun, and we can talk all about it!" she promised, skipping off with her new dress to change behind a convenient silkscreen. Who needed pixie dust when you were walking on air?

                                               

                                              • Lilly Teal
                                                Lilly Teal

                                                "I know, I know," Lilly whispered, reaching up to very gently lift him off of her bill and cup him in her hands.

                                                Pixie... dust?

                                                "Come on, Wendy!"

                                                "Yeah, jump out."

                                                Oh no. No, absolutely not, a part of her said immediately. But another, much smaller, part held onto the word pixie-dust and turned it over experimentally. So potentially she would just have to-

                                                The problem was that if this didn't work, she wasn't sure any of the boys would realise, or make the effort to try and catch her if they did realise. They had already plummeted towards the ground, why repeat the experience so soon?

                                                "Come ON," the monkey said in impatient excitement, catching her arm and dangling off of it in the hope that it would pull her out of the tree, and it did indeed unbalance her, and over she went with a a startled voice, quickly holding her cupped hands to her chest as she shut her eyes.

                                                The ground failed to approach. She cracked open an eye, and found the Lost Boys grinning at her as she hung there in space, her skirt fluttering around her ankles. Except that her skirt had definitely not been that colour this morning. Uncurling herself a little, her mouth opened in surprise at the blue nightgown with the ribbon wrapped around her waist. And while she didn't have a free hand to feel her hair, she could be quite sure they were in ringlets tied together with another blue ribbon.

                                                Oh no.

                                                Still, a lot better than what had happened to Gladstone, right?

                                                Several incredibly dirty faces grinned their horrible, unbrushed teeth at her.

                                                ... r- right?

                                                She didn't even have time to wonder. The monkey gave her a little push as the one with the wooden sword waved it in the air, and she found herself being carried along in the stream of dirty, smelly little boys.

                                                "TO ADVENTURE!"

                                                • Gladstone Gander
                                                  Gladstone Gander

                                                  Hook gave her a little wave as she disappeared and as soon as she was out of sight snatched Smee's hat and used it to wipe the kiss from his cheek. He tossed it back at the blushing dumpy little pirate.

                                                  "She's quite a lady ain't she Cappin'?"

                                                  "Oh, quite a lady indeed Mr. Smee."

                                                  "Ain't danced with a lady like that in quite a while, an' if ya don't mind me sayin' we could do with a bit of a woman's touch around these planks-"

                                                  "Mr. Smee, this changes everything." The Captain powered on not listening to the pleased pirate's musings.

                                                  "She'd be a smart match for ya Cappin' if I might be so bold as to say-"

                                                  "With a witch on me crew we could blow those meddling little miscreants to smithereens!" He seized Smee's shirt and gave him a little shake. "Needle those natives new nostrils! Mire the mermaids in misery!  To blazes with this pixie dust shortage! We'll have our own brand of magic for a change." His eyes glistened with heartfelt glee. "And all we have to do is make the brainless fool fall in love with me."

                                                  "Ah well that won't be hard to do Cappin' what with you bein' the dashin' Cappin' Hook an all dat." He produced a little brush and swept down the Captain's coat.

                                                  "You're right about that Mr. Smee... " He smirked catching a glimpse of his own reflection in a dirty mirror on the wall, and adjusted his hat feeling rather pleased with himself. "Alert the crew, nothing but smiles and warm friendly feelings are to be aimed at our petticoated powder keg. We want to keep her agreeable."

                                                   

                                                  "Agreeable yes Cappin' yes, of course, sir agreeable."

                                                   

                                                  "Good. How much longer until we're at the Lagoon Mr. Smee?" He inquired, straightening up and regaining his regular volume.

                                                  "Oh not long Cappin', I think we'd be there in an 'agreeable'-" he tapped the side of his beak with a wink and Hook's smile fell impatiently. "-amount of time.  Just enough for you and Ms. Briar to have a bit of a nosh I'll go see that the food is... 'agreeable' sir." Wink wink.

                                                  Hook reached for his pistol and Smee ran away before he could draw it. He composed himself with another quick glance at the mirror and addressed the air in a honeyed tone.

                                                  "Are you almost dressed my little pearl? Or do you need my assistance with those tricky bodice laces?"

                                                  Not that a hook was very adept at doing more than ripping them. But... well if he was going to have something as unlucky as woman onboard he may as well enjoy what he could.

                                                   


                                                   

                                                   

                                                  "Aaaaadventure!" Intoned the canary as he jetted away trying to race the monkey through the thick foliage while keeping hold of the oranges. 

                                                   

                                                  Neverland spread out below them like... well sort of like a... oh no it literally was a map. The names of the landmarks were neatly written in ink over each of them and a compass was just barely visible near the horizon line.  The boys were flying like drunken swallows diving and rising and rolling merrily if they noticed the calligraphy and cartography they showed no indication.  Their horseplay carried on all the while but they were keeping on a very clear course to an ominous looking tree in a clearing far below with nooses hanging off it to billow in the tropical breeze like vines.  The words “Hangman’s Tree” hung over it, and far in the distance a giant dome protruding from the glistening waters announced it was “Skull Rock” and to the left was the “Indian Village.”  Pretty handy for giving and following directions.

                                                   

                                                  Within Lilly's hands, Tinkerstone hugged onto her thumb as the (to him) gale force winds whipped around him. He'd have to learn how to use these wings eventually but he preferred to try when the ground wasn't so far away.  He squinted up at Lilly, gosh everything was so big... his eyes hung at the particularly interesting way her conjured nightdress fluttered around her now very vast... ahem. He craned his head back even farther to try to see her face and nearly toppled over still clutching her thumb for support. He cupped a hand to his mouth hoping to be heard. After all, if she could understand his dragon grumble there was a pretty good chance she’d be able to decipher his tinker sass.

                                                   

                                                  "JINGLE RIIING RINGLE?" He belled hopefully...or was it concern? Hm. Approximated translation: "Do you think the pirates made her walk the plank yet?"

                                                  • Mother Goose
                                                    Mother Goose

                                                    Technically speaking, Briar was nearly dressed.

                                                    She wasn't exactly a stranger to wearing corsets and even wandless could manage most of the strings herself... but if he was offering, well...  the goose ripped her top open, trying to show off the maximum amount of feathers while still being 'modest'. Fluffing her hair, she stepped away from the curtain, trying to look helplessly adorable at the object of her desire.

                                                    She heaved her meager bosom as much as possible at the tern. "Oh, I don't want to impose on your good manners, you've been a perfect gentleman, Captain," she said, batting her eyelashes heavily, pressing his cold hook against her chest. "But these laces are so... tricky..." If somehow the hook ripped them apart, she would just be heartbroken. "So delicate..." Completely heartbroken. He have to console her for hours. Eagerly, she continued to press her suit.

                                                     "Now, would that be the mermaid lagoon?" Briar asked, looking up at Hook while he 'fixed' her dress. Sure, there was treasure to be found, but also real-live mermaids. Maybe she could pick up one of pretty seashell bras they were always wearing. Sexy. "I've read they sing beautifully..." Wouldn't that be romantic, getting cozy with the pirate captain while a mermaid chorus serenaded the young couple?

                                                    • Lilly Teal
                                                      Lilly Teal

                                                      The map was definitely handy. And oddly entrancing, seeing everything spread out underneath her feet as if she really was just flying over the pages of a massive book.

                                                      "Gladstone." Just because you're jingling doesn't mean I can't pick up the hope in your tone. How can you? "Oh but I do hope they haven't. She can use her magic to get out of anything too serious, can't she?"

                                                      Let's hope so, because... she floated higher and craned her neck slightly. The water, and hence any ship they might be looking for, was over there. But they were headed quite inland. Maybe if she subtly tried to drift away. Slowly, and stealthily. Just slowing down a little so that she could fall behind the group without them really noticing.

                                                      Holding Gladstone more securely, she brought her lips close to her hands and whispered her intentions as she began her slow drift towards the shoreline. And once she was out of the middle of this group, she could jet off to the water to look for the ship and they could find Briar and this would all be over in a flash, absolutely.

                                                      "I think we should be able to get there quite-"

                                                      ... except that really didn't happen. She managed to hang back a little, but two of the lost boys were still behind her, no matter how much she tried to delay.

                                                      "Whassa matter Wendy? You getting tired?" It wasn't exactly concern so much as a need to know why she was holding up the potential fun.

                                                      "Why're you tiltin' that way? You forget where home is?" asked the other with a little laugh, swooping under her feet to come up in front as she tried to drift away and hanging upside-down as he looked at her. "You've been gone a long time then, Wendy! Does wantin to grow up make you all forgetful?"

                                                      It probably does! Adults are useless, am I right? Nevermind that Wendy looked much more grown up than they remembered because honestly, they never remembered much, or not very well. He didn't even seem to notice the slightly despairing look she was giving his filthy hair, or the fact that one of the straps of his dungarees was flapping in the breeze by a couple of weak threads.

                                                      "Right. Yes," she said weakly. "Completely forgot. I've not been... feeling myself lately. Thank you... aahhh?"

                                                      "Slightly. Did you forget me too?!"

                                                      "No, of course not! My mind just turned off for a minute," she said hastily, and Slightly laughed again at what a silly notion that was.

                                                      "Well okay. You can turn your brain off if you want, we'll make sure you won't get lost."

                                                      No you won't. It'll be a miracle if you remember she's with you within the next ten seconds unless you find Pan before that.

                                                      Ten.

                                                      Nine.

                                                      Eight.

                                                      Sev-

                                                      As Hangman's Tree stretched up it's branches to welcome them, a loud crowing shattered the air with no manners whatsoever, and she nearly fell out of the sky with shock, only just catching herself.

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