They had developed quite the bizarre group of drinking buddies after returning to the Enchanted Forest.
It had started innocuously enough, with him deciding (not entirely altruistically) that Hook shouldn't be left to drink alone after a long day of endless cleanup, which had absorbed a surprisingly-morose Ruby (who had never wanted to return in the first place and seemed to be constantly looking for someone who, as it was increasingly becoming certain, had gone back to his own world), and then a much-needed breath of fresh air when Robin decided they were all entirely too depressing and should appreciate all the good things they had to drink about, with Leroy as a transient member and Tink showing up every now and then and once he had even caught Robin drinking with Regina (although she'd excused herself and ducked out the moment she'd seen him).
All things considered, he probably shouldn't have been there at all; there had recently been whispers of a threat, something that had Regina on-edge, and — much as they'd been willing to leave her be — all talk had immediately jumped to finding Emma, since Regina wasn't confident that her magic alone could fend off whatever she feared was coming.
(Of course, that had perked Hook right up.)
He should have been at the castle, but it was frustrating to stand there in the ruins of his home after dark and he'd needed the fresh air and he was just tired and needed a break, and so here he was, standing at the bar to drink alone the way he'd always looked down on people for doing.
It was at the bar, ordering his drink, that he met him.
"You're a brave man, you know," the stranger said, startling him, but before he could ask, he went on. "Spending time with him."
"With Hook?" he asked unnecessarily. "You know him?"
The man laughed harshly. "Used to sail with him," he replied coldly, spitting at a memory. "And I can tell you, he's not worth the time anymore."
David blinked; he hadn't thought any of Hook's crewmembers had returned from his centuries-long jaunt to Neverland, let alone been brought over to Storybrooke — and subsequently back to the Enchanted Forest — with the curse. He'd asked Hook a couple of times, but never got a straight answer.
But the way he skirted the topic and refused to say anything, now coupled with the sailor's disdainful words, said enough.
And honestly, he shouldn't have followed; the man clearly wanted nothing to do with Hook, and anyway Hook wouldn't have wanted his past dug into without his knowledge or permission.
But Hook wasn't here tonight.
It was the 'anymore' that had caught his attention, and since no one was there to stop him, he followed the lead.
"Anymore?" he asked, catching the man by the arm. "You knew him before?"
The sailor raised an eyebrow, "I knew him before he was a pirate."
He hesitated. "What… was he like?"
"Imagine the exact opposite of the man you know," he replied darkly, "and you're fair close. He was a good man, once."
"Why don't you tell me?" he said, taking a seat opposite him and one of his friends, who both scoffed and drank their ale, effectively shutting him out. He sighed and, grudgingly, offered, "I'll buy the drinks."
That got their attention.
They glanced at each other and shrugged, before the first one looked back at him. "A'right," he said, "what do you want to know?"
"What's his name?" he asked. "And — and yours, while we're at it."
"Killian," the first one replied, "His name was Killian Jones."
David blinked; he'd always heard how important names were, and he'd heard why — to name something was to give it humanity — but it had never quite sunken in just how accurate it was.
Even now, he hadn't been entirely able to wrap his mind around the fact that Captain Hook had once had a brother, or a love so powerful that he'd crossed worlds and burned every bridge he'd ever built to avenge her, but Killian was the name of a man, a human being that didn't belong in any painfully-inaccurate storybook.
"Killian?" he repeated, raising an eyebrow. "Huh. Somehow, I expected something more… different."
The second one shrugged and indicated to the other, "I'm Carver," he said helpfully, deftly skirting the topic of Hook having a name, "this one 'ere's Jameson."
He held out a hand to shake, which Jameson took and Carver rolled his eyes at. "David," he started, but they both gave him a look.
"We know who you are, your highness," Jameson replied, dripping disdain into the title; right, he thought, pirates. Not exactly the most royal-friendly of folk.
"So… Hook," he suggested, accidentally letting the wrong name out by habit, and Jameson glared into his drink. "Tell me about him."
He sneered. "First and worst murder Captain Hook committed," he started, and he said that name with even more disgust than 'highness', "was that of Killian Jones."
"Was it," he replied slowly, raising an eyebrow, and Jameson glanced away.
"You wouldn't understand, it was a bloody tragedy," he growled, before an awkward silence fell
"Right," David coughed, highly uncomfortable. "So… you, ah, you said you knew him before he was a pirate? When he sailed under his brother?"
"Aye," Jameson said (Carver chimed in with a jokingly-helpful "I didn't" but went ignored), the mood slowly lightening. "Liam. Good man, better prob'ly than you."
He leaned in further over the table, deadly serious. "Really."
"Well, he found Killian, di'n't he?" he replied, as though that meant anything, and took another drink. "Their dad went rogue not a fortnight after their mam took ill, guess he wasn't used to havin' a little one on-board, left him behind in some city half across the sea. Liam was off at academy, didn't even find out about it till near six months later, not till their dad got arrested and he was nowhere to be found."
David leaned forward in morbid fascination. "How old was he?"
"Killian? Seven or eight, I guess. Liam was twenty," he added with a shrug. "Took him damn near seven years, must've sailed all over the world twice, spent near every scrap o' copper he had, but he found his little brother."
Took him damn year seven years; the words rolled around in his head. "So… where was Ho — Killian? In that time?"
Jameson shrugged and answered, "Dunno, he never really talked about it. I know he took twenty lashes at some point not too long 'fore Liam got to him, and had a vendetta with some higher-up who made Liam enroll him in the navy post-haste, to, ah, 'whip him into shape'."
David laughed in spite of himself. "Hook in the navy? I can't imagine that went well."
Jameson scowled again at the name, but didn't comment on it. "Not at first," he replied grudgingly, finishing off his drink. "Took a while for it to sink in, y'know, he thought Liam was full of it when he said he'd been lookin' all those years. Can't blame him either, he was in a right state when he started. But when it did…" He raised an eyebrow. "Liam was his idol after that. Ended up on the fast track to officership, blitzed up the ranks. He was one of those people, what do they call 'em, 'juvenile delinquent'," he said, articulating carefully and sarcastically, "'till he set his mind to somethin'. Once he decided he was gonna be an officer and follow in big brother's footsteps, he straightened right up. I think he memorized the bloody rule book."
David blinked several times in quick succession.
Liam was his idol.
You would have liked my brother.
The bastard had been complimenting him. All the way back then, all the way back in Neverland, he'd been quietly telling him that he held David in high regard, that he — the infamous pirate — respected him.
(Maybe he hadn't saved his life just for Emma, after all.)
"So what happened?" he asked a bit hoarsely, covering his discomfort and an unwilling tightness in his chest with the last of his beer, and raised a hand to get all three drinks refilled. Carver, for his part, looked bored with the whole thing; either he'd heard it before or he'd never cared in the first place. "I know his br — Liam died. Dreamshade, right?"
"Aye," Jameson answered, but didn't say anything else until the mugs were back and he'd taken a draught. "It was a damn tragedy," he said quietly. "Admiral had lied about the plant, said it was medicine, turned out to be poison. Liam died because of it, 'cause he trusted his betters, thought they were as honorable as he was. Killian didn't take it well."
"I can't imagine he did," he murmured, and Jameson laughed harshly.
"Yeah, it was somethin'," he said, the laugh becoming more genuine. "That's when we turned on the crown, since they'd been plannin' to use the plant for some kind o' unpleasantness — genocide was the popular theory," he explained helpfully, and David raised an eyebrow. "Said he wouldn't submit to a corrupt crown, turned traitor right then. Set the crown's precious Pegasus sail on fire and took the Navy's flagship for his own."
"Wait," David cut in urgently, holding out a hand, and Jameson cut him off, laughing again.
"Oh, aye, that's what happened to it," he said, chortling. "Priceless artifact, magical sail made from the feathers of the last Pegasus, attach it to a ship and she could fly to other realms… and he set the bloody thing on fire. That's a direct quote, by the way," he added, leaning back in his chair in snickering satisfaction. "Next morning, he comes out of the captain's quarters and says that, I'm doin' my best not to fall out laughin'. After that, I had standin' permission — any time I thought he was 'emotionally compromised', I was to take any and all flame away from him."
He buried his face in his hands, torn between laughing out loud and going to Hook and slapping him across the face — he had heard of the famous Pegasus sail, one of the kingdom's infamous lost treasures. For as long as anyone could remember, people had been hunting for it; hell, he'd gone on a short (somewhat half-hearted, admittedly) hunt for it once, thinking that the gold he could get from selling it would go a long way toward funding their rebellion against Regina.
And it was all for nothing, because Captain Hook had set it on fire in a moment of passion.
He was going to mock him for this for the rest of his natural life.
But there was something else niggling at the back of his mind… wouldn't submit to a corrupt crown.
You would have liked my brother.
After the humor had passed, he indicated to Carver, who raised an eyebrow at finally being included. "What about you? When did you join up?"
"Couple years later, I s'pose," he replied with a shrug. "'E hadn't met Milah yet."
"Milah," David repeated, waving his mug at him. "Tell me about her. Them. How'd he treat her?"
They glanced at each other, and Carver looked back at him with an ironic smirk before replying with, "What, you worried about his intentions with your daughter?" like it was a joke.
"Yes, actually," he deadpanned, and both of them stopped laughing immediately, faces falling into dawning horror. "She's almost thirty." he said hastily. "It's a long story."
"Oh," both Carver and Jameson exclaimed, heaving breaths of relief. "Oh, gods, all right. Right, then."
"Right," Jameson repeated, taking an awkward drink and looking around, the train of the conversation having been completely derailed by their assumptions. "Milah. Ah… right."
Carver picked up the slack. "Milah was… 'er husband was a right piece o' work," he said darkly. "Bloody coward, deserted from the war, left her to take all the flak for it, never stood up for himself, let people just harass her and give 'er hell without ever sayin' a word. Wouldn't leave, neither," he added. "She said she kept beggin' him to, y'know, pack up, move somewhere else where no one knew 'em, would leave 'em alone. But he wouldn't," he muttered, and, under his breath repeating, "bloody coward."
"But she fell in with you," he prompted, and Carver nodded, raising his glass for another.
"She worked at this tavern we stopped in, got into a bit of a tiff with one of the customers," Jameson explained, finishing his as well and leaving David to glance into his half-full mug and feel inadequate. "Killian stepped in, put a stop to it, made the arse leave. Apparently," he went on after the waitress had taken their mugs, "it was a big thing to her, no one ever stood up for Milah. She fell for him right on the spot."
He waited for the drinks to come back, sipping at his own. "It seems like you liked her too," he said softly. They both nodded.
"She was a right firecracker," Carver replied, smiling fondly. "Took exactly no shite from no one. After she got settled in, that is," he added thoughtfully. "Wasn't so much at first, real reserved and… sad. Spent a lot o' time with Killian, though, he pulled her out of it."
"She came to us with nothing," Jameson said seriously. "Nothin' but the clothes on her back. Begged him to save her, take her away from it all, and, of course, he did — now you listen here, listen to me," he went on, waving his mug and finally showing some indication of having been drinking, "ninety percent of Killian Jones's problems came from the fact that that bloody-minded fool could not say no to a woman in tears. Every time."
"Every time," Carver repeated, snickering. "He could be a bloody bastard sometimes if you was fightin' with him, no quarter and the like, and a right cocky pain in the arse when he'd been drinking, or if he just di'n't like you, but anytime a woman came to him for help, he'd crumble, quick as you like. And if he thought you'd been abusin' a woman, or if you raped a woman, all the gods above help you."
"Mm," Jameson said, taking up the story with a hasty swallow. "Only time I saw him execute someone, only time. We had a near-mutiny once, and even then, he gave the leader a chance to 'splain himself 'fore… well, all right, he got marooned, I guess that counts, but if he'd been half apologetic or willin' to compromise, he might've just been stuck in the brig and gotten dropped at the next port — "
"I doubt that, he wasn't that forgiving," Carver muttered, but the other one shot him a glare.
"Anyway, what I was sayin', only time I saw him execute someone, really execute him — pretty new bastard, Killian overheard him braggin' about it, something about how… what was it, how she'd cried? I forget, point was, he was braggin' about violatin' some poor girl at some port."
"Keelhauled him," Carver cut in, and David raised an eyebrow.
"Keelhauled him," he repeated, nodding. "On the spot, made an example of it. Angriest I'd ever seen him."
Man of honor, he thought.
(Really, though, it didn't surprise him as much as he would have expected.)
"So, he took Milah on-board," he prompted, and Carver nodded, draining his beer and mother of God how much was this story going to cost him?
"Aye," he replied. "Bloody coward of a husband, but he come up lookin' for her the next mornin'. So Killian challenged him to a duel, made up some nasty tale about it, I don't even remember, somethin' like… she'd be the crew's whore or somewhat, but the man never picked up the sword."
"He told him," Jameson said sharply, articulating with either dawning drunkenness or the fire of an old injustice, "he told him his wife had been kidnapped and was about to be used by a whole damn crew of pirates. Man didn't even try. Just stood there and cried."
"You look me in the face and tell me you wouldn't've kicked the bastard off your ship, too," Carver said, with a sort of vicious defiance that belied the fact that they'd sat in this tavern and watched this captain they'd apparently held in incredibly high regard without ever once speaking to him.
They talked about him like he was dead.
"So that's what started it," he murmured. "That's what started their feud."
Carver nodded. "Anyhow, 'e took Milah on, she di'n't have a damn thing to her name. First couple o' days, she wore his clothes, then we stopped at another port and he got her just about a whole wardrobe. She kept sayin' she'd pay him back somehow, she'd find the gold, but 'e wouldn't let her. He was good to her," he added in a low voice. "She never wanted for anything."
They fell quiet, into a slightly awkward, almost-mourning silence.
"So, what… happened?" he asked finally, and they scowled, drinking in unison, both taking overly-long gulps.
"You ask me, it was the pain," Jameson replied in a low voice. "He'd've gone after the Dark One one way or another, but I doubt he'd've gone to Neverland and gotten so caught up in it if he hadn't cut off his hand."
"I think he would have anyway," Carver cut in, but Jameson shook his head, true to his apparent form — David was getting the pattern: Jameson had known him longer, was much more apologetic toward him and respected him more. He wondered if they would have said anything about it at all if he hadn't gotten them drunk off their asses; it was obviously a sore point.
"No, you don't know, you don't — " he cut himself off with another drink, raising it almost convulsively. "You didn't know him like I did. Let me put it this way," he explained to the both of them, voice barely above a whisper. "I held the cauter."
David flinched in spite of himself; cauter. Cauterizing — in retrospect, it was obvious, how else would they have dealt with an amputated limb on a pirate ship, but he hadn't ever — he'd had a wound cauterized before, he knew how much that hurt, and — and if he'd just watched Snow die and then had to —
"First month or so was the worst of it," Jameson said quietly. "Came to me once, last time I saw him — he came to me half-mad, hadn't slept… must've been three or four days after, begged me to give him something, anything, anythin' to make the pain stop." He paused for a long moment, staring into his empty mug before whispering, "All I had to offer him was a bottle of rum."
Even Carver had gone quiet, while they both looked at Jameson to go on, and it struck him what this really was.
He was telling them— probably the first time he'd ever told it — the story of how his best and oldest friend was killed.
"He laughed," he went on finally. "Unhinged, laughed desperate-like. I don't remember the whole conversation," he croaked. "I remember I told him we should go back, get him to a real physic. He should wait till he'd healed to come back to this revenge thing, take the time to mourn properly. I told him goin' after the Dark One was a suicide mission… I shouldn't've said that.
"I'll never forget what…" he trailed off for a moment. "He said we'd like that, wouldn't we, that he'd heard us talking: 'Rumplestiltskin should have killed him outright'. I tried to talk to him, explain that — it wasn't that we wanted him dead, it was… we loved him. We couldn't stand to see him like that, spiralin' out of control, couldn't function for the pain. And he… he laughed. Again, worse, and he looked up at me and said, 'like a lame horse, that's what you'd do, put me down like a lame horse.'"
He paused again, eyes locked on the wood grain of the table, and raised his drink to take another before remembering that it was empty. After almost too long, he went on. "I tried one more time, tried to get through to him, but all I got out was his name before he slammed that hook down on the table — I don't even want to think about how much that must've…" he trailed off before taking a deep breath. "He told me not to call him that. I couldn't help it, I was — I coined it, you know," he said hollowly, with an ironic and entirely insincere smirk, "that's when. I said it, 'so that's it then, Killian Jones is dead, long live Captain Hook.' And he said aye. That was it. Last time I saw him."
He really was dead to them, truly and completely dead to his former crew, former friends. The man in front of him, who had known him longer than anyone else alive and clearly had considered him something like a brother — even he had been pushed away by how far and how absolutely he had fallen.
First and worst murder.
The silence that fell after that was suffocating, until Carver broke it with a cough. "If y'ask me, it's time for somethin' stronger'n ale, yeah?"
Both of them nodded vaguely, and Carver waved the waitress over for a trio of double shots of gin; it wasn't until they'd come back and finished them that David decided to go for it.
"What if he isn't dead?" he asked softly, and they both scoffed without another reply. "I mean it," he snapped. "What, you think I'm asking for my health? You think I'd be drinking buddies with Captain Hook?"
"Just 'cause he can charm you don't mean he's back from the dead," Carver countered, but David held up a hand.
"Look, he gave it up. Rumplestiltskin, the whole revenge quest, he let it go. He took us to Neverland and helped us find my grandson. He saved my life."
That gave them pause, and for a moment, they just sat there and stared at him, before glancing at each other, and something slammed shut in their faces. "I'll believe that when I see it," Jameson sneered.
"Well, you can come have a drink with us…"
"No," Carver snapped.
David looked between the two of them and sighed, leaning forward on the table. "Look, I want to know for myself, too. I don't think he is, but I want to be sure he's not playing me after all. You can help me confirm — "
"I do not drink with Hook," Jameson snarled with startling venom, and it brought him up short for a half-second before — first and worst murder.
I do not drink with the man who killed my best friend.
"Then what do you want me to do?"
Carver took a breath, glancing at Jameson for a moment — if Jameson was more apologetic to Killian, Carver was more apologetic to Hook; they must not have been as close. "Get me a stuffed monkey," he said.
David blinked. "What?"
"A stuffed monkey," he repeated, and Jameson rolled his eyes.
"That's the stupidest — " he started, but Carver cut him off.
"Depends on what he does," he said sharply. "Killian and Hook'll have total different reactions."
"A stuffed monkey."
"Yes," Carver said through clenched teeth, exasperated. "A stuffed monkey."
Two days later, the group had all gotten together, him and Hook and Ruby and Robin and Tink, after an especially back-breaking and thoroughly frustrating day (sometime during the night, half the damn ceiling had collapsed on the room they had just finished cleaning up, and none of them were even remotely amused).
David had caught sight of Carver and Jameson — presumably with the monkey he'd given them earlier in the day, the monkey they still wouldn't explain — off in a corner, glancing back to them every now and then.
After about an hour, Hook got up to go to the privy, and Carver made his move, walking right up to them — everyone went quiet the moment he did — and sat that ridiculous monkey down in front of Hook's place, wrapping its arms around his mug like it was hugging it.
"Um," Ruby said.
"What — " Tink started, but Carver just waved their protests off and went back to his seat without a word.
"Who… was that?" Ruby asked hesitantly, and David took a deep breath, glancing around to make sure he wasn't on his way back yet.
"One of his former crew," he replied quietly. "I talked to the two of them the other day, they told me all about him, you know, before he lost his hand. They said they could prove that he wasn't faking this whole 'redemption' thing if I got them a stuffed monkey. I have no idea."
"A stuffed monkey," Robin said blankly, and he shrugged.
"That's what I said, but they were really sure."
Hook came back then and froze when he caught sight of the monkey, color slowly draining from his face; for a long moment, he didn't do anything and no one spoke, before he finally reached out and picked it up with slow, numb movements, glancing around the table and then up, to examine the room.
"Where did this come from?" he whispered. David looked pointedly at them, silently conveying an I'm not telling him.
"A guy," Ruby replied for him. "He, uh. Just came up and… put it there."
"A guy," he repeated distantly, idly rubbing the monkey's fur with his thumb. "What did he look like?"
"Um," Tink mused. "A little older than you? Forties, maybe."
He blinked, coming back to Earth, and narrowed his eyes. "Blond hair? Gray at the temples?"
"Yeah," she replied, and he sighed, looking up to the ceiling in exasperation.
"I'll kill that bloody son of bitch," he muttered, eyes finally landing on the crew members in the corner and making his way over to them.
As one, all four of them stood and followed hastily; David's heart sank a little in his chest, almost unwillingly. He'd really thought…
But when he got to the table, he merely threw the doll at Carver, who ducked it and kept his head down, snickering. "You really weren't exaggerating when you said you would never let me live that down, were you?"
Carver burst out laughing, but Jameson stayed silent, more reserved.
(Afraid to hope, maybe?)
"We was worried you'd forgot about us," Carver replied cheerfully, and Hook — Killian? — crossed his arms.
"You realize now I have to explain this damn thing, don't you?"
"Well, you could let me…"
"You?" he countered incredulously. "You're the worst bloody liar in the world, I've never heard you tell an accurate tale."
"That isn't true — " he started, but Jameson cut him off, finally smirking.
"Yes, it is," he said, and Killian glanced at him, something odd — remorse, maybe — passing over his face. "If you don't have someone keepin' you in line, you'll make yourself out to be the hero of Treasure Island."
"You wound me," he replied, hand dramatically over his heart.
"So, um," Ruby interrupted, taking a seat at the end of the table and picking up the doll, "about this monkey?"
Killian rolled his eyes and sat across from Jameson while the rest of them followed suit. "I apparently hired a load of disrespectful gits for officers," he started, and both Jameson and Carver cried out in mock offense.
"That's a load o' shite," Jameson said indignantly. "We were only officers when were on-duty, and we were perfectly respectful then."
"Perfectly respectful," Carver parroted, bringing a waitress to the table to order a round.
"That isn't how it works," Killian grumbled under his breath, but went ignored.
"And… the monkey?" Robin prompted, and Killian groaned, burying his face in his palm. Jameson leaned forward, eyes glittering in amusement.
"Our dear captain here has somethin' of a vendetta with monkeys," he started, but was cut off.
"It's no vendetta, I simply hate them," Killian countered, but both of them shook their heads.
"No, no, it's a vendetta," Carver said gleefully. "It started when we got into it with another ship, some nobody pirate thought he could take us on. 'E was wrong," he added like it was obvious, and the other two pirates smirked.
"Anyway," Jameson went on with relish, "their captain had a pet monkey."
"Vicious little bugger," Killian muttered darkly, looking away in overdramatic embarrassment.
"You're not jokin' about that," Jameson said, whistling. "So, as they're all retreatin', this monkey decides to get one last swipe in, takes a flying leap and — " he paused, snickering in memory, and Carver picked it up.
"Lands right on the back of his head, screechin' and everythin'," he said between laughs. "It was priceless, the look on his face still keeps me warm at night."
"I got rid of it in about three seconds," Killian cut in, a belated attempt at saving face against the entire table's laughing, but Jameson waved a hand.
"No, you got it off you in about three seconds, the bastard escaped," he said, still chortling. "Got away with it, completely scot-free." Something in the mood shifted ever-so-slightly and something tiny passed over his face, before he went on. "Anyway, Milah was standin' right there," he said, eyes on Killian, and it hit David that this — this was the real test. But his expression didn't change, and Jameson went on, "Saw the whole thing right up-close. Laughed so hard she cried, had to sit down, couldn't stop for a good ten minutes or so."
"And of course," Killian said drolly, giving no apparent indication that anything had passed under the conversation, "my birthday was about a week later, and…"
"It was great," Carver cut in weakly, still laughing, "I was right there, she hands him the present and then bolts, and — "
"It was a stuffed monkey," Killian deadpanned, "and that's the whole — "
"No, it ain't," both Carver and Jameson said loudly, cutting him off (friends teasing friend, not crew teasing captain, he wondered if it meant anything to Killian). Jameson kept going: "So he throws it at her, misses by a mile, but she picks it up — "
"Throws it back at him and gets him right in the face," Carver finished, wiping tears out of his eyes.
"So it got to be a thing after that," Jameson explained. "Milah started it, but the rest of the officers picked it up and started doin' it, too, we'd get that monkey and hide it around the ship in random places where he'd find it."
"Like I said," Killian grumbled, but with little malice, "a load of disrespectful gits."
Killian stayed behind after the rest of them left several hours later, giving each other meaningful glances; the last thing David heard as he walked away was,
"Could you ever forgive me?"
but didn't hear the answer.
"So," Emma gasped, leaning on the wall for support, "the movie was right."
"About what?" David asked, concerned, but she waved him off before he could help her.
"She's got a whole damn army of flying monkeys," she said, sounding more irritated than afraid; Killian went stiff.
"Monkeys. She has an army of flying monkeys," he repeated dispassionately and, in spite of the gravity of the situation, David and Robin both snorted. Emma looked between the three of them.
Through gritted teeth, he replied, "I hate monkeys.")