The only possible indication of her appearance was the barest stirring of a breeze, whispering through the jungle leaves and across Rumple’s face as he continued to cry over the doll clutched to his chest. He didn’t even notice it, so deep in his misery and memories; it was a pitiful sight, really, the Dark One reduced to such a state.
He did notice her, however, when she spoke, tone of voice especially gentle.
"I am sorry for them both, Rumple. They’re boys; casual cruelty runs through their veins." He swept to his feet, turning quickly, magic coming to his fingertips even as a snarl settled across his face; but the look faltered and faded when he saw her, perched on a rock, head tilted and expression soft.
"Vidia." The exclamation of her name was involuntary; but it made her break into a smile regardless, tucking some of her dark hair back behind her ear.
"So you remember me. That does put me at ease." He dropped his free hand, which had instinctively been raised in preparation to cast a spell.
"What are you doing here? Why are you still on the island?" Vidia’s expression turned bemused, and she rocked back on her heels.
"Why would I leave? All my friends are here, Rumple; I’m happy here." His voice was insistent, and he took a step closer.
"Friends? They aren’t your friends. Peter Pan is evil.” Her smile vanished, expression shifting to one lined with disproval, and when she spoke he almost felt fifteen again.
"No he’s not. Honestly, you cling to such ridiculous notions of who Peter is. You should not presume to know him, considering how little time you spent here.” Her voice was cool, scolding even, and Rumple could remember being a child, running away with a boy he thought was his best friend. He could remember finding Neverland, could remember being so very young and excited by the prospect of living forever and having anything he wanted.
He could remember Vidia’s hand on his back, gentle and guiding; and the scolding edge to her voice when he was hunting, and his arrow didn’t strike true.
But he could also remember the hostile look that had driven him back to the Enchanted Forest, and an angry teenage boy swearing revenge.
He could remember bruises on Vidia’s throat and the thoughtful twist to her expression when she touched them.
"I knew him before he came here. I know him better than you think." His eyes were hard on her face, and magic returned to his free hand, tingling on his fingertips.
She watched him for a moment; before sighing, and straightening slowly.
He took in the differences to her as she stood; the dark feathers plaited into tendrils of her long black hair, the tears in her dark stockings, the scuffs on her grey boots and where strips of dark violet silk had been sown into the skirt of her grey dress, mending tears in the leather. She looked like she belonged, now, where the first time he had met her she had looked delicate and clean and very out of place on such a wild island.
She’d grown wild herself.
It made something bitter and angry swell in his chest.
She let out a breath before speaking again.
"I only came to apologise for them both. Felix is so very loyal; he can’t help it, really, and he enjoys the game almost as much as Peter does." Her expression was fond; before slipping into the thoughtful tilt Rumple remembered.
"Peter….is Peter. If you were to give up now he’d let you leave, you know." Rumple scoffed, and Vidia’s expression softened as she stepped off the rock and moved closer.
"This will not end well for you, Rumple, not if you try to fight him; we both know it. We were friends, once. I don’t want to see you hurt." She stepped closer, expression imploring him to leave now; but he lifted his hand, magic surging through the air with the barest glint of purple light.
Her head snapped back and her eyes widened ever so slightly as pressure closed around her throat, and invisible hand slowly choking her.
"I’m not the one who’s going to end up hurt, Vidia." Rumple growled, tightening the grip around her throat; and where she remained mostly indifferent up to that point, with the increase in pressure her lips parted, and she let out a thin, choked gasp, fingers clenching at her sides.
He seemed to realise then what he was doing, and released her with a sweep of his hand, taking a step back while she collapsed, sucking in deep breaths and pressing a hand to her throat, where bruises were already beginning to blossom.
She still managed to look fierce and furious when she looked up, despite her keeled over position on the ground.
She held his eyes for a long moment; before slowly pushing to her feet, and then taking several unsteady steps away from him.
"Leave, Rumple. For your own good, leave Neverland and don’t come back. I won’t give you any more warnings." Her expression darkened further; and she drew herself up to her full height, as little as that was, shoulder back and chin tilted up.
"And if you threaten my Lost Boys again, I won’t forgive it."