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“Who is Wendy?” Lola asked.

             The frost began to thaw. Pan’s chin rose. His eyes hadn’t regained colour, but the air was warmer. Lola half expected Pan to say Wendy was nobody, or that Lola should forget she’d ever heard the name because it wasn’t fun.
              “She was the Lost Boys’ mother,” Pan said. His voice was quiet. She had to step closer to hear him better. “She told us stories. Then she wanted to grow up.”
             “What happened to her?” A lump swelled in Lola’s throat. She’d heard this story, but not from him.
             “I didn’t want her to forget me,” he said.
             A minute went by without Pan saying anything. Lola didn’t care if he did say more. She had heard what she needed to know. Lola thought of Pan’s note—I will come back for your stories. Wendy had played house, told stories, acted as the lost boys’ mother. Maybe it had reminded her too much of what she was giving up and that’s why she decided to grow up. Pan had wanted her to stay, and it was exactly like Hiccup and Green had said. Wendy never left Neverland.
               “Wendy…Moira Angela Darling,” he said. He closed his eyes a moment, trapping a portrait behind his eyelids. He sniffled, rubbed his eyes, and blinked until his eyes were clear.
             “Darling?” Lola almost choked. There were Darlings on her Nana’s side. Was Wendy a long-lost relative? Lola tried to think of all the stories Nana had told her about their family. She’d never mentioned someone named Wendy going missing—or kidnapped by a mysterious flying boy. Was Wendy and her brothers the reason Nana had said never to follow the guiding star to Neverland?
             Colour returned to Pan’s eyes. He flew directly up.
             “Pan, wait, where…?” Lola watched him turn and fly away. “Are you leaving me?” She waved and ran after him. She ran into the field of frostbitten grass. Her chase lasted less than a few feet. He was headed back to the tree-town and his flying was fast. There was no way she’d catch him. She’d have to find her own way.
             From ground level it was difficult to find her bearings. She knew which way the Mermaid Lagoon was—behind her, but more left. Pan had flown them from the Glittering East Towers to the lagoon. The towers were on the opposite side of the island if she wanted to find the Lost Boys’ tree-town—which she did. No way was she trusting that Jenson and Mason wouldn’t be turned into goblins. Lola scanned around. She could see the shining tips of the Glittering East Towers. She stood with her back to them and adjusted until the lagoon was at her absolute left. If she continued straight she would either hit the Lost Boys’ home or Pirate Cove. She knew she could make it back to the tree-town from Pirate Cove. Either way her trajectory depended on her following a straight line.
             Lola had never been on a long walking trip. She’d walked long distances by city standards, but she’d never hiked through woods or through glens for more than an hour. The island was huge. If time passed normally—which she wasn’t sure it would—she probably wouldn’t make it back before nightfall. She’d seen goblins and mermaids, but what other creatures were waiting between her and the Lost Boys? Not to mention she was wearing slipper-socks. The bottoms were grey-black from walking already. They weren’t made for outdoors. How long before they wore through and she was barefoot? She wasn’t dressed for cross-island trekking. She had on light sweatpants and a t-shirt. She was in lounging clothes and not adventure clothes. She took a breath. At least she had on pants; Mason only had pajama shorts.
             Lola rolled her sweatpants up from her ankles and used the spare hair-tie from her wrist. The air was summery again and the exercise was going to make her sweat enough without having her hair curtain steaming her neck. She started out with an even but up-tempo pace. She crossed the field with no problems. She found a stream with a lot of shrubbery around. The stream followed beside her for an hour and it was pleasant company. Her pace slowed and she watched her watery companion. It was clear with silver and pink fish jumping up and diving over the dips and turns. The softly tinkling stream curved away from her eventually and she was sad to see it go. The stream went left into a glen with small clumps of flowers. Lola had to continue straight.
             The field in front of her had small mounds crowned with flowers and mushrooms grew in connecting pathways. Some of the mushrooms were one colour—blues and reds and browns—while others looked like tie-dye or a canvas that was paint-splattered. Lola followed these tie-dye patterns of mushrooms. They would form into a circle around small hills. There were doll-sized doors in the hills. Some were round, some were Victorian double-doors, and some were a mosaic of stones. Lola wondered if she knocked, would one of Tinker Bell’s relatives answer the door?
             Lola was curious. She hopped inside the ring of tie-dye mushrooms and knocked on the mosaic door. No one answered. Lola knocked again. There were no windows; no one had peeked through curtains and decided not to answer. Maybe no one was home. Lola turned and walked to the ring of mushrooms. She stepped but she didn’t move. Lola reached but her hand was blocked. She traced the invisible force with her fingers. She followed it around the hill. It was springy, like a net, but strong. She couldn’t step out of the mushroom ring.
             Lola paced around the hill twice, trying to punch or kick her way out. She couldn’t find a weak spot. She scowled and faced the hill. The door was bigger than before. Lola leaned back into the invisible wall. The hill was bigger too. Lola walked around the hill again. It was a longer trip. She looked at the moss and grass that had been crushed under her feet. She saw some remnants of her footprints and measured her feet next to them. Her feet were smaller. It wasn’t the hill growing; she was shrinking.
             Lola climbed up the hill to the door. She was a perfect fit. She was doll-sized—Tinker Bell sized. She knocked on the door again. The mosaic rumbled. The door rolled aside.
             There was a village inside the hill. The dome of the hill had layers of shimmering flowers and floating spores lit like bulbs. Small houses made of twigs, mud, and leaves made rows and rows. At the centre of the hill was a tower made of the same mosaic of stones as the door. There were pixies everywhere. Winged men, women, and children gleamed every colour of the rainbow. How big their eyes were compared to their pointed faces! They each glowed one colour at a time, but the colour of their eyes was constant and individual. Some of them were dressed casually with shorts or skirts; some of the men didn’t bother to wear shirts. Some of them were dressed like they were ready to attend a ball. The dresses were waterfalls of laced fabric and the men wore suits with long trains with embroidery. Lola was mesmerized. She walked into the pixie village.
             The mosaic door rolled closed. Lola whipped around. She tried to push it open. She mumbled a curse at herself. She knocked and knocked. “Open up! I don’t want to live here! I just wanted to see…!”
             “Excuse me, human girl.”
             Lola stopped knocking. She glanced over her shoulder. A crowd had gathered. Lola put her back against the mosaic door. As far as she could see, even beyond the crowd, every pixie had stopped to stare at her.
             The pixie that had spoken to her stood a few paces—no, flew a few paces in front of the crowd. The pixie’s skin was faintly blue with short scraggly hair and baggy clothes. Lola noted there was a crest woven into the shirt and the hem of the shorts had elaborate goldthread embroidery. Lola stared wide-eyed at the pixies with her mouth hanging open.
             “Girl,” the pixie said. “Are you stupid or are you deaf?”
             “Neither,” Lola said. "I heard you. I was, just, stunned." She stepped away from the door. “How come I can understand you—Tinker Bell only made, sort of, bell sounds.”
             The fairies gasped at the mention of the name. The blue one in front waved them back. The farthest started to go about their day, but that didn’t stop them from stealing glances at her. The blue one flew closer and landed an arm’s length from Lola.
             “You met Tinker Bell,” the pixie said.
             “Is something wrong with that…?” Lola’s brows pinched.
             “You’re a living girl,” the pixie observed. “You’re the new lost girl.”
             Lola crossed her arms and hunched her shoulders nervously. “I guess I was. Now I’m not sure.”
             “Blinker.” The blue pixie fluttered her wings.
             Lola smiled weakly. “That’s your name?”
             The pixie nodded.
             Blinker fluttered into the air and grabbed Lola’s wrist. “Lola, you must meet with the queen.” He jerked Lola forward. “Come with me.”
             Once again Lola found that fairies were much stronger than they looked. Blinker was able to tug Lola behind him without resistance. Lola had tried to pull back, but her heels only dragged in the dirt. She decided cooperating would extend the life of her slippers. Lola was going to meet the fairy queen.

Never: Chapter 17-Strolling Through the Fairy Ring
I had a reviewer ask (on the other site I'm posting this story) how there can be a Gwendolyn Darling who is Lola's ancestor and yet Wendy Darling has been trapped in Neverland. Answer: Gwen and Wendy are not the same person. Lola isn't directly descended from Wendy but she is related--because of Gwen. That's all I'm going to say; I hope that helps!

Previously Never:…

Pan flew over from the rocks and Green slipped into the water. Pan laughed and the creatures on the shore were silenced. Pan unsheathed his sword. “Have you come to fight me for the fair lady, you cowardly goblins?”
             Lola flushed. Her? Fair lady?
             Pan flew into the trees. One of the monsters had a sword too and he raised his sword against Pan. Lola found footing on a loose board on the out-facing side of the ship. Some of the roots and branches of the red mangrove around the shipwreck were strong enough to hold her weight. She could climb it like a rock wall—but a loose board wall—and get to shore. No way was she being left in a half-sunken ship. Green grabbed her ankle when she was halfway across. Green held up a small pouch.
             “Take this,” Green ordered. “My tear is inside. If you ever need us, we will come. Put the tear in water.”
             Lola hesitated, but she was curious to talk to the mermaids again. She wasn’t on board with killing Pan. But the forever child wasn’t as simple as he pretended to be. It would be good to have a friend other than Pan if something happened. Lola took the pouch and thanked Green. The mermaids disappeared into the lagoon. Lola saw a tail ripple in the inlet and knew they’d gone out to the sea.
             Lola reached the shore with only one splinter. She picked it out of her finger, stuck the finger her mouth for a second and swore under her breath. Pan had fought the monsters away from the lagoon. Lola ran through the trees following the sounds of swords slashing, hyena-like laughter, and Pan shouting cheeky insults.
             Lola stopped when she could see them. The monsters were short, not much bigger than toddlers. They had dark green skin, long pointed ears, and upturned pink snouts. Goblins. They all had under-bites with two short tusks. Lola recognized the same mix-mash of clothing that the Lost Boys had—some decades old clothes and some pieces replaced with animal skin or plants. One of the goblins—the littlest—had dirty teddy bear tied across his back. One of the goblins was wearing old-fashioned coke-bottle-thick glasses. Half of them had shoes, and half of those only had a shoe on one foot. Their green toenails were dirty and overgrown. Their weapons were made from wood. It was only the one crossing swords with Pan that had a sword. Lola was sure it had been stolen from a pirate.
             The goblins stood around Pan in a circle as they cheered on the goblin with a sword. He was the tallest of the group and he had a strange tuft of dark brown hair that was slicked back. Pan was calling the goblin slow and fat—and he was. Most of the goblins were unnaturally round compared to their impossibly thin limbs. When the goblin with the sword tripped another goblin ran in—this one carrying a spear—to take his place. Lola looked around for something to use. She knew Pan would never run away from a fight.
             She noticed there were planks connecting the trees. Above her was a network of bridges high in the trees. She followed one row of planks until it reached a platform. The platform was built around three thick trees that had grown too close together. There were rope ladders hanging from the three thick trees to the ground. Lola glanced back to check on Pan. He was more than holding his own. He had cut gashes in a few of the goblins. Lola decided to climb.
             It took her less than a minute to reach the platform. It wasn’t sturdy. It creaked and one board flipped up when she stepped. She had to dodge it as it almost slammed up into her face. There were woven nets of leaves set up like tents. There were empty jars piled next to a small wood cupboard. It wasn’t white, but it was obvious what it was. Lola opened on of the doors. Miniature doll furniture was placed on the shelves. Crooked as it was, the resemblance was impossible to miss. The goblins had tried to build a home exactly like the Lost Boys’ tree-town.
             Lola’s legs were jelly. She carefully lowered herself down. This was what Green had said. Anyone who tried to tell Pan he was wrong suffered for it. The goblin with the teddy bear on his back—he hadn’t stolen it from a Lost Boy. He was a Lost Boy. This was the home of the friends Pan decided were traitors.
             And he was laughing at them. Lola heard him from platform. She also heard him say a name. John. Lola climbed down in a rush. She jumped when there were still five steps down. She ran out of the forest. The goblin with the stolen sword Pan had called John. Pan knew their names. He knew who there were—who they used to be. Not one of the goblins looked like they were having fun.
             “Pan!” she shouted. “Stop it!”
             Pan kicked a spear out of a goblin’s hands and then faced her. He was smiling, but it was uneven and weak. “Lola, I’m fighting goblins.”
             “Do they look like they’re having fun?” Lola accused. She marched into the centre of the circle. She saw one goblin holding a hand on a bleeding shoulder. “Look at the poor boy.” Lola moved to the goblin and reached out—but the injured goblin slapped her hand away. His eyes were wide as plates. His fingers were shaking. “I’m not going to hurt you. I promise.”
             The injured goblin lowered his hand. Lola examined the cut. It wasn’t deep and the bleeding was slowing. She wasn’t sure what she should do. She wasn’t medically trained for humans, never mind goblins. Before she could find something to wrap it with—the only thing she thought she could do—Pan grabbed her shoulder and turned her to face him.
             “He’s a monster,” he said. “Monsters aren’t supposed to have fun.” His eyes narrowed. “Heroes fight them.”
             Lola shook his hand off. “You’re not a hero, Pan. You’re a bully.”
             The goblins behind Pan grunted. They made syllabic sounds but it wasn’t a language that made sense to Lola. Pan spun and faced the muttering goblins. He glared and they were quiet. They were made breathing statues.
             “They don’t want to be monsters,” Lola said. “They want to go home. I saw their tree house. They built Tinker Bell’s cupboard, Pan.” Lola exhaled sharply. There were thirteen goblins. That meant there were thirteen exiled children forced to fight someone they thought was their friend. “They were your Lost Boys.”
             Pan sheathed his sword. “So?”
             Lola stood and jabbed a pointed finger into Pan’s chest. “You did this to them. You promised them an adventure and then you turned them into goblins.”
             “They lied to me,” Pan said. “Only grown ups and monsters lie.” He pressed closer and whispered, “They wanted to leave. They’re not Lost Boys anymore.”
             “You’re not their father, Pan,” Lola said hotly. She crossed her arms and glowered at the boy. “You can’t decide where they go. You’re not even their friend. You have no say. They are allowed to decide where they go.”
             Pan stepped back. His eyes fell to the ground. “Father?”
             Lola shrugged sharply. “Yeah, I was going to say ‘you’re not their mother’ but since you’re a boy that sassy saying doesn’t really apply and ‘guardian’ isn’t sassy at all—”
             “Mother,” a goblin said.
             “Father,” said another.
             “Mother,” said a third.
             The little one with the teddy bear said, “Wendy.”
             Pan’s face paled. His eyes were colourless. His wildfire hair flattened. The grass at his feet yellowed and the nearest trees shuddered and their leaves reddened. Lola’s heart fluttered.
             “Wendy,” one of the goblins repeated.
             Frost came. It spread out from Pan’s feet and reached into the forest, freezing the trunk of the nearest trees. A passing butterfly dropped to the ground. A wing twitched and then it stopped. The trees dropped their leaves. The goblins squeaked and screeched and they ran back to their tree house to hide. Lola rubbed her naked arms. She curled her toes. The edge of the forest was transformed from summer to winter in an instant.

Never: Chapter 16- We Must Not Look at Goblin Boys
Fun Fact: The chapter title comes from the poem "Goblin Market" by Christina Rossetti. First heard a stanza of it from Doctor Who (Midnight). It's wonderfully creepy.

"We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry, thirsty roots?"

Previously Never:…

“We caged the crocodile,” the green mermaid said. “Captain Hook is more useful without that foolish distraction.”

     Lola opened her mouth and her brow wrinkled. Pan had said mermaids hated pirates. Blue had said they drowned them. Lola looked at the mermaids surrounding Pan. They were focusing his attention so that Green could talk to Lola alone. They were working with his arch nemesis behind his back.

             “I thought you were his friends,” Lola said. “He might be overzealous but he’s not a bad kid.”
             Green’s eyes widened sorrowfully. “We know. He guides the souls of dead children. He has always been a protector. He is Neverland. We have lived here happily since time began.” She squeezed Lola’s hand. “But that happiness has ended. He is lost. It happened because Wendy wanted to leave.”
             Lola shuffled closer. “One of the Lost Boys told me that name. He”—she nodded toward Pan—“brought her here. Wendy. Like he did me.”
             “She was the first,” Green agreed. “The boy who never grows up fell in love. That is forbidden.”
             Lola sat back on her legs. The sinking ship creaked. She looked across the lagoon to see Pan rising up with his arms behind his head. He had the appearance of a vacationer on a beach chair. “Why is it forbidden?”
             Green loosened her hold on Lola. “He has loved many things. It is a fun love. Easy. Children can love many things. Children cannot be in love.”
             “When Wendy tried to leave…it broke his heart,” Lola guessed. She knew the feeling of being rejected by a crush. Her tongue would tumble out phrases that sounded corny and out of order. She’d been friend-zoned enough to get how heartbreak makes a child grow up. “How long has it been?”
             “Centuries by a mortal’s count.” Green released Lola’s hand and then hoisted up to sit beside her on the boards. The wood sunk an inch into the water. Green combed her ponytail until it dried magically within a minute. “The boy has tried to bring other storytellers to ease the pain in his heart. But they all want to grow up eventually. Living children always do.”
             Lola ran her hands through her hair. “He really does kidnap girls and their brothers.”
             “He wants to replace Wendy,” Green said sadly, “but that can never happen.”
             “So, he’s heartbroken,” she said. She crossed her arms. “So you help his arch nemesis?”
             “We have to kill the boy.”
             Lola raised her arms and jerked back. “I am not—”
             Green clapped a hand over Lola’s mouth again. “He wouldn’t remain killed. He would begin again.” She dropped her hand to Lola’s shoulder. “He would forget his heartbreak. He would be the hopeful child Neverland loves.”
             “Have you tried talking to him?” Lola suggested. “Maybe he hasn’t realized he’s hurting anyone.”
             “Anyone who disobeys him becomes a monster or is caged.” The mermaid’s voice was deep and choked. Her eyes watered. A perfect pale tear rolled onto her cheek. She wiped it with her finger and it hardened, transforming into a pearl. It was imperfect, more tear-shaped than round, but it was pretty. She cupped it in her hand. “We had many sisters. They promised to bring him stories from your world—as mermaids can travel to any body of water. They wanted him to promise to never bring another living girl to Neverland. He sewed their mouths shut.”
             Lola placed a hand over her lips. “He—he wouldn’t.”
             “They are too ashamed to show themselves,” Green said weakly. “A mermaid is her voice. Without our voices we have only two choices, to give up our legs or give up our human halves.”
             Lola fisted her hands and pressed her lips together. “A mermaid without a voice has the choice to become a mute human or a fish? What kind of stupid rule is that!”
             Green shrugged. “The rules of Neverland are absolute.” She gently touched Lola’s cheek. “But if you break one rule, the others can be broken as well. One broken rule would let us kill the immortal boy.”
             Before Lola could ask why the mermaids had singled her out to talk about breaking rules, the ship jerked. The creaking was followed by laughter—like a pack of hyenas.
             “What the hell?” Lola stood. She moved to the edge of the open hull and peeked around the side. Behind the trees on the shore were moving shapes. They were bipeds but with low-hung heads. They crouched, laughing and snorting. There were monsters on the shore.

Never: Chapter 15 - Even Neverland Has Rules
Fun Fact: I had trouble deciding what kind of mermaids would exist in my imagining of Neverland. I knew I didn't want them all good, but I hadn't decided how dreadful I wanted them to be. Originally I was going to have all their mouths sewn shut. The end result is playful mermaids with a bit of a dark side.

Previously Never:…

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Lola had imagined mermaids a dozen different ways. Were they the simple half-human half-fish with a curiosity for human knick-knacks? Were they more monster than animal? Were they human-sized or smaller or bigger? She had drawn them with sharp teeth and she’d drawn them with sweet smiles. She’d used tropical fish patterns and she’d used shark fins. Strangely the number one question she was curious to answer was whether or not they wore clothing. Was it seashells optional?
             Mermaid Lagoon was on the absolute opposite side of the island, the farthest from the tree-town and Pirate Cove. The waters were shallow and the brilliant turquoise water was smooth enough to be painted on. The narrow inlet was rocky and there were the decaying remains of half a ship, the side torn wide open. The lagoon was circled with trees and their hanging branches hung low, weeping into the water. Red mangrove trees grew behind, around, and in some parts through the half-sunk ship.
             Pan landed inside the ship. Parts of the floor were strong enough to hold them up without water rising through. Pan left Lola inside the hull of the cracked ship and he flew around the edges where long reeds grew. He collected a handful. He landed in the middle of the lagoon where smoothed rock jutted out. He crossed his legs and sat. He blew into a few of the reeds, testing the sound. He took a knife from his vine belt and carved a few of the reeds, re-testing the sound after every cut.
             “Sorry about your…flute,” Lola said.
             Pan shrugged. “I like making them.”
             “Still,” Lola said. She didn’t feel bad about stopping the Lost Boys from fighting the pirates, but she wished there was a nicer way to do it. “You make it out of reeds?”
             Pan took some of the long grass and started weaving it around his gathered reeds. “Sometimes,” he said. “I use whatever I want.”
             “Will it sound the same?”
             “Of course.” Pan grinned. “The clever me can make something from nothing! A simple flute is no match for me.”
             Lola rolled her eyes and laughed. “Of course.”
             “The mermaids won’t know we’re hear if I don’t call them,” Pan explained. He made some adjustments to sizing, tested the sound and adjusted more, and then smiled sweetly at the instrument. Pan was rarely the type for patience, but Lola knew if it took him all day he wouldn’t give up. The little instrument was precious to him.
             “Why the pan flute?” Lola asked. “Is it because it’s easy to make?”
             Pan threw his head back and laughed. “Lola, do you know why it’s called the pan flute?”
             Lola blinked. She thought of Raza and the other gem golems. She wasn’t an instrument history buff, but she knew wind instruments, especially the simpler ones, were quite old. If her Nana’s stories were true, then Pan was ancient—maybe older than every instrument she could name. “You invented it?”
             Pan beamed. “I went to your world,” he said. “I heard your music. I wanted my own.” He held up his reed-made pan flute like a trophy.
             “Do you have a gem golem?” she asked.
             “Of course I do,” Pan said. “Raza.”
             Lola thought of the way Raza had spoken. If Pan was the reason she was alive, why did she look at him hopelessly? Maybe she could tell that his precious instrument had been broken. But Pan hadn’t given up on it. He’d made a new one easily and he seemed to love it like it were made of pure gold. Why did Raza seem disappointed in her creator?
             Pan played his remade flute. The sound was the same as the one Lola had broken. It was either because Pan was really as good as he thought he was or he was magical enough to make anything sound right. Lola stepped carefully, watching the water rise between the boards. She got on her knees and managed to shuffle to where the end of the boards met the water. She leaned out and put her hand in the water. It was cool and refreshing next to the warm air surrounding the lagoon.
             Lola couldn’t see her hand. She couldn’t see even half an inch into the water. She didn’t know how deep the lagoon was. By definition she knew lagoons were supposed to be shallow, like an outdoor pool, but she couldn’t see the bottom. Was it deeper than her height or would her head pop out if she fell in? Pan had been playing the flute for a few minutes. With water as thick as paint she wondered if the mermaids were already in the lagoon, swimming in circles around them.
             Pan attached his flute to his belt. “Come up,” he ordered sweetly. “Lola wants to meet you.”
             The top of a head rose out from the water. Water rippled as her head rose up. She looked like the traditional half-woman half-fish that so many cartoons depicted. She had long red hair and pale skin with the slightest tinge of rose tone. She had gills on her neck and when she hoisted herself onto a rock beside Pan, she was wearing not two giant seashells but a shirt woven from seaweed and hundreds of tiny shells. Her scales were the same blood red as her hair. Most of the scales started around her hips, but her spine was covered in a thin line of scales that stretched along the back of her shoulders and formed a thin line down her arms. The backs of her hands were scaled but her fingernails and the backs of her hands were human flesh. She had pale blue eyes and her lips were the same red as her scales—but definitely human lips. She had a narrow face and she was beautiful.
             “Pan,” she said in an equally beautiful voice. “We heard you battled Captain Hook today, but you ran away in the middle of the fight.”
             Pan scowled. “I didn’t run away! It was boring.” He slouched and put his head in his hand. “Lola wanted to see the island.”
             “My!” said a second mermaid.
             Lola jerked back when she realized the second mermaid was less than a foot away. This mermaid was similar, with the same youthful appearance, but she was green. Her eyes were pale green, as was her hair, but her scales were darker. The tone of her skin was grey-green. She had a high ponytail and the hair-tie was made of fish bones, clamshells, and something stringy. She rested her elbows on the boards and watched Lola with her head tilted. Her tail flipped up. It was long with wide fins that glistened, not from the wetness, but because they had a natural shine. It reminded Lola of Raza’s gem skin.
             “This one is so old,” the green mermaid said.
             Lola scowled and crossed her arms. “I’m not old. I’m seventeen.”
             “We are seven hundred,” said a third mermaid. This one was soft pink with red eyes. She was the most beautiful of the three, but she couldn’t be older than twenty. The mermaids, like most creatures in Neverland, were young in appearance but old in age.
             “Well,” the red one said, flourishing a hand. “What do you think?”
             Lola raised a brow. “What?”
             “You’ve seen not one but three mermaids now,” the pink one said. She hoisted herself on a second rock beside Pan. “Are we not the most beautiful creatures you’ve ever seen?”
             Lola blushed. “You are beautiful.”
             “We are,” Green agreed. She laid down her head on her arms. She wasn’t looking away from Lola. “You aren’t ugly.”
             Lola squinted. She had a feeling this was the closest to a compliment they’d ever given a human girl. She didn’t thank them.
             “Now that your girl has seen mermaids,” Pink said, “what should we do with her?” She took the end of her hair and brushed through. Within a minute her hair had dried. Her hair had gentle waves and was as lush and shiny as any shampoo commercial model. There were bracelets dangling from her wrists. One was a circlet of human teeth.
             “Should we drown her?” asked a fourth mermaid.
             Lola stood and stepped deeper into the hull of the ship. A mermaid with royal blue scales and soft dark blue curls had sneakily placed herself on the other side. This one had a grey-blue tone to her skin and her eyes were silver. Now the green mermaid had blocked off her escape to the right and the royal blue was covering the left.
             “Do you usually drown people?” Lola asked nervously.
             “Pirates,” Blue answered. She looked at her sister mermaids and they giggled. “But we rarely meet human girls. We can’t help our curiosity.”
             “How does a girl look when she drowns?” Pink mused. She was lying on her stomach, chin on her hands, tail flipped up in the air. Drowning was as casual a topic as talking about the weather. “How well can a human girl swim? We’ve never drowned a human girl before.”
             “Mermaids hate pirates,” Pan said. “They don’t like men either.”
             “But we have always loved Pan,” Red said. She fluttered her eyelashes at and smiled adoringly. She twisted a necklace of black pearls around her fingers like she was playing cat’s cradle.
             “I’m a boy,” Pan said. There was agitation in his tone. He didn’t like the way the mermaid had put him in the same category as men. “The mermaids have tried to drown a few Lost Boys.”
             Lola’s hand rose to her throat as she thought of Mason and Jenson. They were running wild with the Lost Boys. Were they still dazed like they’d been in Pirate Cove? It had taken one distraction and she’d left them behind with war crazy children.
             “It bores us,” Red said. “Pirates are much better.” She grinned and touched a finger to her lips. “We wish we could get Captain Hook in the water.” She winked at her sisters and they giggled again.
             “We could trade our voices for legs,” Green said, biting her lower lip. “The Jolly Rodger is well worth a tour with her captain, if only for a short while.”
             “An hour or two would do,” Blue agreed. “Any longer and our legs won’t let us walk away.”
             Pan scowled. “Hook is a coward.” He pulled out his knife again and scratched lines across the rock. “He knows the crocodile is after him.”
             “Not lately,” Blue said with pursed lips and wide eyes. “The crocodile has been caged.”
             Pan jumped to his feet. “Hook caged the croc?”
             Pink shook her head. “It wasn’t him.”
             Pan placed his fists on his hips. “Who is helping that codfish?”
             The mermaids giggled. Blue moved back from the ship and swam to the jutting rocks. Lola relaxed. The mermaids weren’t interested in drowning her. She eyed the green one sourly. Green continued to watch with her tilted head. Her pale green lips were pressed into a cheeky smile.
             “Were you with Pan during the pirate battle?” Green asked.
             “Yes.” Lola looked at Pan. He was talking to the pink mermaid. He had his sword out and he was re-enacting something—storytelling. The red mermaid and the blue joined. They wowed and cheered. Lola had seen this act with the Lost Boys. Their responses were rehearsed.
             “What did you think of Captain Hook?”
             Lola got on her knees but kept two feet between her and the edge of the water. “He was…kind of elegant for a pirate. I expected a peg leg—a parrot.”
             “He’s handsome,” Green said with a long sigh. “He’s the only man who can match that boy in a fight.”
             “They fight a lot,” Lola said quietly.
             Green nodded and sighed again. “Shameful. How can a pirate expect to win against a god?”
             “A god?” Lola leaned forward and lowered her voice. “You’re saying Pa—”
             Green clapped a hand over Lola’s mouth. “Don’t say his name,” she warned. There was no sweetness in her tone. Her eyes were hard. “He knows if you say it.” Green dropped her hand when Lola nodded. “Did you speak with Captain Hook?”
             Lola shook her head.
             “Don’t tell that boy, but it was us.” Green took Lola’s hand. “We caged the crocodile.” 

Never: Chapter 14 - Scales Before Skin
Mature Content: Not really. I'm just playing on the safe side. If it were a movie I'd give it a PG. Although, later, I expect a PG-14 rating to come up. This is about growing up, you know.

Previously Never:…
Lola and Pan were flying above the Glittering East Towers hand in hand (because being carried around all the time was starting to embarrass Lola) when someone walked onto the bridge. There were no doors that led out from the towers to the bridges. The gemstone of the tower concaved with the sound of crystal chandeliers being shaken. Out from the concave shape walked a person made of the same gem material. Pan made a face at Lola—like his parents had walked in on him doing something stupid.
             “Is that a gem golem?” Lola asked.
             The gem golem dipped its head in response. “Hail Pan,” she said. Her voice echoed from within her but the words were clear despite not having a mouth. “It has been some time since you brought a girl to our humble home.”
             Lola winced at the comment. Pan’s chin tilted up and he looked at the gem golem like she’d spilled tomato sauce on a white shirt. Lola didn’t want Pan making more enemies—one pirate arch nemesis was enough—and she was beginning to understand how to lighten Pan’s mood.
             “I’ve never seen someone made of gemstone,” Lola mused excitedly, squeezing Pan’s hand. “I’m having a lot of fun.”
             That one word snapped Pan out of his glare. He grinned at her, showing all his teeth. “Lola, this is Raza.”
             The gem golem Raza crossed her arms over her flat chest and dipped her head. “A true pleasure to meet you, Lola.”
             Pan and Lola drifted closer to the bridge. They stopped on the other side, free-floating in the air, while Raza moved to the handrail. Up close Lola could see that although most of Raza’s body was a simple construction of slim crystallized shapes, she had human eyes. They were dark blue. Somehow Raza having the same irises surrounded in white with black pupils was eerie. It was like someone had cut out a perfect pair of eyes and stuck them on a craft—like googly eyes on a pet rock. She wore a thin iridescent shift over her body. It was see-through, but there was nothing to hide. Lola wondered if everyone in Neverland was a sterile as a Barbie doll.
             “Are there a lot of gem golems?” Lola asked.
             Raza’s small laugh trickled like a waterfall. She raised her sharply pointed fingers to her chin. “A gem golem is born every time an inventor says, ‘I won’t give up’.”
             Lola looked at Pan. He was beaming. Lola looked around at the towers. “Have there always been three towers?”
             “There was one in the beginning,” Raza answered. “I was one of the first born. I watched this tower grow from a small stump to what you see here.”
             Lola wanted to ask if Raza knew what invention had inspired her existence. She thought it might be something like the wheel or the first pulley system. Lola thought of all the inventions of her modern world. “Are we talking huge inventions, or little improvements?”
             Raza reached out her hand and touched Lola’s arm. Emotions rushed in from the touch. She felt something shove against her chest. Defeat. She felt despair. Her eyes pricked. She couldn’t breathe. She was going to cry—all because Raza had touched her. Before she could ask why Raza would do something that awful she felt something else. It was small. It was smaller than the end of a pin. But it was strong. It stabbed against the pressure in her chest. She could breath again. With one breath the feelings were gone. Lola was dizzy from the rush. She fanned herself with her hand and steadied her breathing.
             “It is not the invention itself,” Raza explained. “It is that feeling. Deciding not to give up when everyone and everything says that you should. That was how I was born.”
             Lola nodded like a bobble-head. She eyed the three towers with admiration and…maybe a little envy. If those three towers were full, she couldn’t imagine all the people who had fought for someone to take their imaginations seriously. It wasn’t something like the wheel. It was a feeling Lola knew. She’d never invented anything, but she knew what it was like to not be believed.
             “Is your brother with you?” Raza asked.
             “I have two,” Lola said cheekily, “but neither of them is pocket-sized, so nope, not with me.”
             “Jenson,” Raza said. “There is someone who would have liked to meet him.”
             Lola frowned and raised a brow.
             “He is not fully born,” Raza admitted, “but I am certain if Jenson met him that Jenson would also say, ‘I will not give up’.”
             Lola knew that Jenson spent a lot of time hunched over his computer and their dad often asked how ‘it’ turned out. Had Lola ever asked? She had assumed he was doing homework—or extra credit. She had forgotten he had a creative side. She placed him in a box in her mind and didn’t see he had grown out of it. There was a gem golem waiting to be born because of him. Lola couldn’t let Jenson stay in Neverland.
             “I don’t know if Jenson will get a chance to visit before he goes home,” Lola said, “but I promise, I’ll tell him.”
             Pan’s hand loosened around hers. Lola felt herself slip. His hand was all that was keeping her in the air. Most of the pixie dust had worn off her. She yelped from the sudden plunge, but Pan put an arm around her waist and laughed. Raza stared at Lola with hope. Lola knew she had to keep that promise. Raza’s new baby brother depended on it.
             “I’m bored of this place,” Pan said.
             Lola wasn’t. “Would it be okay if I saw…Jenson’s gem golem?”
Raza's warm expression clouded as she turned eyes away from Pan. She dipped her head. “It will take one moment to retrieve him. He is in the far tower.” She raised an arm to gesture across the bridge. “My new brother is only a small gem now, but you can see Jenson’s dream reflected inside. It is quite beautiful.”
             Lola smiled. She thought about all the books in Jenson’s room. Those books were more than words on a page. They were Jenson’s inspiration. Lola thought of the books in her own room. She had based a lot of her drawings on a sentence that tickled her or a word that got stuck in her head and wouldn’t leave until she gave it a face.
             “Lola,” Pan whispered, “do you want to see a mermaid?”
             Lola turned her head. Pan was an inch away, grinning darkly. Lola got the hint. Pan was bored. He wanted to move onto the next adventure. Lola’s mouth opened to insist in staying, but her voice was stuck. She frowned.
Raza crossed her arms and dipped her head. She looked at Pan with sadness and something like repulsion. Her eyes turned down and she faced her back to them.
             “Thank you, Raza,” Lola said.
             “You are welcome here,” Raza promised, “Come when you need us.”
             Lola nodded and then turned to Pan. “I’ve never seen a mermaid.”
Never: Chapter 13 - Raza
Story Summary: A re-imagining of Peter Pan and Neverland. A modern girl and her brothers are brought to Neverland. Neverland is not what it should be and unbeknownst to Lola, there are a lot of Never-people depending on her to fix it.

Previously Never:…
Saw this. Got curious. Tried it. Here we go:

[ ] You are rather wild, and let your instincts run you.
[ ] You get drunk a lot.
[ ] Bravery and boldness is second nature to you.
[x] You have a deep love for astronomy and the universe.
[x] You like to read your daily horoscope.
[ ] You have a high level of pride in yourself.
[ ] In the woods is the best place for you to be.
[ ] You are spiritual.
[ ] The horse is your favorite animal.
[ ] You are possessive and territorial.
Total: 2

[ ] Your ears are slightly pointed at the tips (be honest!).
[x] You are very intelligent.
[ ] Your five senses are extremely keen.
[ ] Your weight is quite a bit lighter than the average person at your particular height.
[ ] You always wear elegant clothes and speak as politely as possible.
[ ] You are most at peace when you are gazing at something beautiful, like nature.
[x] You look very young for your age.
[x] You rarely get sick.
[ ] You are a very hard worker.
[ ] Above all other superpowers, you would love to read minds or see the future.
Total: 3

[ ] You are happy a lot of the time.
[x] The best superpower to you would be to fly.
[x] You are very shy.
[ ] You love the forest and plant life in general.
[x] You are always willing to help others, even if you might not be the best to offer aid.
[ ] You are young and short.
[ ] Dancing is one of your favorite pastimes.
[ ] If someone ticks you off, you are very clever with getting them back.
[ ] Your clothing isn't always presentable, but you are comfortable with what you wear.
[ ] Circles are a wonderful symbol of unity to you.
Total: 3

[ ] You are excellent with crafts and handiwork.
[ ] In social situations, you tend to be a little awkward.
[ ] You are short for your age.
[ ] You are an isolationist.
[ ] You love to play practical jokes on people.
[ ] You are extremely fascinated with jewelry.
[ ] You look older than your age.
[ ] You love the woods and the mountains.
[ ] You are well off, or come from a family that is well off.
[ ] You have a short temper.
Total: 0

[ ] You are best at talking bad about people behind their backs and not to their face.
[ ] When you are annoyed, you will go to a great extent to torment whoever did so to you.
[ ] You often take things that aren't yours.
[] You are easily angered.
[ ] Death fascinates you.
[x] You are female, or a feminine-looking man.
[ ] You associate yourself with the wind element.
[ ] You can switch quickly between your light and dark side.
[ ] You love to trick others.
[ ] You have a ravenous appetite.
Total: 1

[ ] You love the beach moreso because of the water than the shore itself.
[ ] Fish are some of the most beautiful creatures to you.
[ ] The ultimate superpower to you would be to breathe underwater.
[ ] You enjoy looking at ships, but not riding them, as well as you like ships for traveling, not hunting in the sea.
[ ] You are good at swimming.
[ ] You like to collect shells.
[ ] You use sea items as jewelry or decoration.
[ ] You enjoy learning about the ocean and the life inside it.
[ ] You are extremely against ocean pollution, and someday, perhaps (if you haven't already), you will work to stop that.
[ ] Legs on land are not as important as a fin in the sea.
Total: 0

[x] You're a night person.
[ ] You have a fascination with blood.
[x] You are extremely pale.
[ ] You wish you had a bat as a pet.
[ ] You are not religious at all.
[ ] Tight spaces are not scary or uncomfortable for you.
[x] The sun's glare annoys you all too often.
[ ] You hate food with lots of garlic in it.
[ ] To you, a kiss on the neck is more romantic than a kiss on the cheek or lips.
[x] You don't like sharp objects near you.
Total: 4

[x] The full moon is the most beautiful scene to you.
[ ] You have a lot of body hair.
[ ] The ability to shapeshift is the best superpower to you.
[ ] You prefer gold over silver items.
[ ] You lack self control.
[ ] You find it easier to have sympathy for animals than for humans.
[ ] You have a deep respect for wolves and wild dogs.
[x] You like to be alone.
[ ] You have a terrible secret and you only tell people you trust 100% about it.
[ ] You'd rather be outdoors than indoors.
Total: 2

[ ] You love chemistry.
[ ] You are intuitive and good at analyzing people, to the point that people seriously or jokingly say you're psychic.
[x] The most amazing supernatural power to you is controlling the elements.
[ ] You are a nature lover.
[x] You have a strong sense of responsibility (you use your talents positively)
[x] You spent a lot of time alone.
[ ] You usually hang around with a certain animal all the time when you feel lonely.
[ ] You are spiritual, but not necessarily religious.
[ ] Cooking is one of your favorite things to do.
[x] You enjoy learning about Wicca and the occult.
Total: 4

[x] You are pale
[ ] You are hungry a lot.
[ ] Many activities you do every day make you feel mindless, or like a drone.
[x] Most of the time you or a part of you is cold.
[ ] You love to eat meat.
[ ] You would resort to cannibalism if that was the only source of food.
[ ] You make grunts and moans a lot (such as when you're tired, are annoyed, etc.).
[ ] You enjoy learning about psychology because you study the brain.
[] You usually walk slow.
[ ] You are not afraid of seeing a lot of blood or getting a lot of blood on yourself.
Total: 2

I guess that means...I'm a witch...and a vampire. Vampire witch. Cool. Two of the things I like most. Buffy and Harry Potter, combined.
  • Listening to: Tell It To My Heart - Taylor Dayne
  • Reading: Passion, BY Lauren Kate


VampricFaeryGirl's Profile Picture
Artist | Hobbyist | Traditional Art
<3 Glee.

Favourite genre of music: A lot; just not straight rap. Or Indie. Or Country. I'd listen to Indie/rap over country
Favourite style of art: Comic/Disney style, whatever that is called.
MP3 player of choice: iPod?
Shell of choice: Turtle shell?
Favourite cartoon character: Ariel/Rapunzel/Aladdin/Flynn Rider
Personal Quote: "Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars." L.B.

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moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2016
Happy Birthday! Fun cake
moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2015
:iconpyrodanceplz: Happy Birthday~!!!!! :iconpyrodanceplz:
djeffers Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the fave! 

I won't be using anything remotely similar to that design, but it still really enjoyed creating it. 
Jazz-Blaze Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
thx for the fav.! :D
itsufer Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thankies muchly for the fav!! :iconmerpplz:
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Hey thanks for the Fav! :iconyourockplz:
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Thanks for the fav :3
ei9 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014
 Hi Stephanie,

       I Just want to say that I admire your fine artwork of yours and its awesome with a capital A! keep up the great work and God bless!
VampricFaeryGirl Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you.
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