Author's Notes: This was completely inspired by the beautiful sketch by eatencrow, linked below. I've been meaning to write something for this picture for a looooong while now. Thank you to scheherezade06 for the beta and to eatencrow for allowing me to use your work as my inspiration. (I know that there is another fic out there based on this work, but I haven't read it and hopefully, our stories are different enough but still serve the artwork well.)
She hasn't seen Killian Jones in years.
Once upon a time, they were friends in the Naval academy. He was the only person that knew she was from royalty, which was her carefully hidden secret in order to attend Naval training in the first place. She had to attend in a different kingdom, Princess Emma was too recognizable for her to attend in her own kingdom.
Swan, he called her affectionately in public, instead of anything remotely that had to do with her true title.
Jones, she always responded with an eye-roll at his attention, secretly enjoying it, but never knowing how to proceed. The inexperience of youth and a new life making her hesitant to return his affections.
They steadfastly remained together until they were separated when he received his commission to Liam's ship, the Jewel of the Realm. "Oh, come on now, Swan," he told her before he boarded the ship, stopping short on the gangplank. "Just a few missions and then I'll be able to convince Liam to bring you aboard. You'll impress him on your own, I am positive." He held a hand over his heart dramatically. "There's not a day that will pass that I won't think of you... Emma."
She smiled grimly, tears threatening to well up in her eyes, heart beating rapidly in her chest as she smiled. "Good."
She never saw him after that.
It took her years of requests, tediously moving up the Naval chain of command and attempting with little success to learn his fate. Years of lies and bullshit before she finally gave up and used her father and mother to make the formal inquiries instead, to discover what the hell happened on that fateful mission.
The one that made Killian Jones lead a mutiny.
The one that turned Killian Jones into a pirate.
Her Killian Jones, the one who shined his boots at night religiously, the one who gave her a disapproving glare the first time she tried rum, the one who prided himself on good form and a strong moral code, to declare mutiny and steal the Jewel of the Realm.
Mutiny and piracy and Killian Jones simply didn't mix in her mind.
However, as the years passed, stories began to circulate. The stories she heard about how Killian Jones completely ceased to be and a fearsome, ruthless man, one only known by his moniker, Captain Hook took his place… those were the stories she truly had trouble comprehending.
Finally, a decade after completing the Naval academy, after being passed over time and time again, she was commissioned with her own ship.
The Golden Scarab.
A ship to finally call home.
She had amassed a loyal crew over her years of work, one that happily left their various posts to work under the first female Naval Captain in the entire realm. One that did not pry into her past, one that accepted her as their Captain Swan, one that loyally followed her into hell and back, mission after mission.
And how did she repay them?
First, she commanded them to run, opening the sails and praying to the gods the wind could keep them safe from harm. However, the pirate vessel had easily overtaken them regardless of the high speed her crew could manage.
She couldn't bear to lose her beloved, loyal crew to pirates, imagining the lives lost and the bloodshed. So, she ordered them to stand down as the pirates shuttled over to the Golden Scarab with alarming speed. Lieutenant Graham Humbert had wanted to fight off the intruders, but she finally had to command him as his Captain to stand down.
It was all over in a matter of moments, her crew on their knees on the bridge while she remained, standing in the center of the deck, sword drawn… waiting. The plank was thrown over from the ship, landing on her deck with a crack of wood.
Finally, one of the pirates pushed her down to her knees. "On yer knees for the Captain," he growled, his gnarled fingers digging into her shoulder painfully. Her knees hit the deck with a thud as she heard boots forcefully walk the plank and onto her ship. She trained her eyes at a point on the horizon, refusing to look at her captors before her ultimate death.
She prayed that it would be swift and her crew spared.
A sword slid from it's sheath, the very sound of her death sentence as the blade gently made contact with her neck. "Eyes on me, Sailor," the owner commanded, his voice smooth and lilting. "Never seen a Naval Captain as lovely as you, lass." He murmured, eyes raking over the curves displayed under her white Captain's jacket, appreciating the golden hair that had tumbled down her shoulders in the skirmish.
Slowly, she raised her eyes and found herself looking at the ghost of Killian Jones. Gone were his white pristine Naval jacket, hat and pants. They were replaced with traditional pirate attire, including a long black jacket that fell to his knees. He had dark circles under his eyes, despite his efforts to conceal them with black eyeliner. True to his name, the silver hook on his left arm gleamed in the late afternoon sunlight.
His blue eyes widened fractionally in realization as the pieces fell into place. "Captain… Swan," he stated, his voice a little hoarse from shock.
"Captain Jones," she replied back evenly, watching how his eyes narrowed at the usage of his real name and not his feared moniker. His jaw twitched slightly.
"Ah," he smiled, a wooden smile that did not reach his eyes, "I usually go by Hook now, love," he wriggled his hook slightly at her.
Her eyes flicked to the shell of the man she knew, to the hook he brandished. She was overcome by years of uncertainty, years of frustration and the overwhelming loss of the man she greatly cared for. The urge to know the hows and whys of his fate washed over her like the tide. "Parlay," she replied quietly, eyes trained on his.
His eyebrows nearly rose off his forehead as he grimaced slightly, sword steady at her throat.
"Parlay, Captain Jones." She repeated, more forcefully.
Another grimace as he replaced his sword and pinched the bridge of his nose with good hand. "Of course," he stated mockingly as he gestured a hand towards his ship and started to walk off. "I shall lead the way to my quarters, so we can discuss terms, Captain!" He replied to her, mockingly. "Maybe much more than that!" He roared suddenly to his crew that cheered their approval.
Emma clambered to her feet, back stiff, eyes flashing with disdain. Deep down, she wanted that last comment to be chalked up to showmanship. "My crew is not to be harmed while I am on your ship."
Killian froze and spun around, eyes locking to hers. "When have you known me to not follow good form, Swan?" He spit, eyes glittering like sapphires. "Your crew will not be harmed during our little parlay."
She did not respond, yet her eyes flicked down to the hook and back to his, words unspoken.
You are not the Killian Jones I once knew and loved.
It was with grim satisfaction when his eyes widened a fraction at her silent implications, and she quickly strode off to his ship.
"What in the bloody hell are you doing?" He roared as soon as they both crossed the threshold into his Captain's quarters. "I was moments from blowing your vessel to kingdom come, Swan!" His hand shook slightly as he reached for the silver flask on his desk, moving away from her, deeper into the Captain's chamber.
"How the hell am I supposed to know that! I am not a pirate!" She yelled right back at her oldest friend, all pretenses of Captaincy thrown out the window as she followed him. He glared at her, a glare that would have a lesser Captain quaking in their boots, but she stepped closer, hands planted on her hips to properly stare him down. "...and I haven't heard from Killian Jones in ten fucking years!"
His mouth opened to speak, but words could not come. He was ensnared by the beauty of her wrath. "Swan," he whispered, hand reaching up to tentatively touch a golden curl.
Her hand shot up to slap his hand away, but ended up fisting into the lapel of his thick jacket. "Damn you, Killian Jones," she muttered furiously as she shook him slightly. "I searched for years for what happened on the Jewel! For what happened to Liam. What happened to you and your crew! No one had any answers… they wouldn't even release the full documentation to my parents." Her rant ended off in an abrupt hiss.
He gave a low hollow chuckle as his eyes slid closed, his face looking worn and weary in the harsh light. "I good as killed him Emma."
"Bullshit." She replied, shaking him again, his eyes flying open. Her blood boiled as she wanted to rage at him, slap him, make him feel the pain and worry that she had felt. Then, she gazed into his eyes and saw the magnitude of the loss reflected there. "Jones," she whispered, her hand almost reaching out to caress his cheek.
It was his turn to whirl away. "Don't!" He whispered in a harsh pant. "Don't touch me. I'm a villain, a pirate… poison to anything good and pure." His dark laugh echoed through his chambers. "I pushed him into it! He poisoned himself to prove a point to me and it killed him!"
She stepped towards, hands up in the air as she moved slowly, delicately. "I don't understand, Killian."
His mouth opened to respond, but the pounding on his door interrupted his thoughts. "Cap'n! Are you done 'parlayin' that Naval wench yet? Is she scream'n yer name yet?"
Another voice joined the first, "Or maybe her mouth is too full."
"Aye! She's as good as she looks, mates!" He yelled back, the loud guffaws of his crew burning as she glared daggers at him. "Swan. I cannot let them believe that nothing happened and I just let you go. My crew will take what is in your armory and we will be on our merry way," he snapped as he collapsed heavily into his ornate chair.
"Who said that I'm leaving just yet?" She replied coolly, crossing her arms over her chest. She stalked forward, standing so close to him, their knees brushed against each other.
"I am," he replied wearily, turning his back on her, hand gripping his flask. "Go Swan and forget you crossed paths with the fearsome Captain Hook."
Anger raced through her veins as her hand shot out, slapping the flask from his hand and spinning him around. Rum slowly leaked from the flask, a steady drip to the pristine floor. His eyes burned her in his anger, but she was too furious to care. "How dare you!" He yelled, pushing himself from his chair to his full, commanding height.
Again, she refused to back away from him and instead stepped closer, her breasts brushing against his coat. "You will not turn your back on me and drink away your damned demons! I mourned for you, I searched for you, Killian Jones! Now that the fates have chosen to cross our paths again, I will not abandon you," she said, her voice low and fearsome in it's own right.
A million emotions flickered through his deadened eyes, but Emma could swear she finally saw the light of hope in them as she continued.
"Tonight at dusk. Your story. My offer to help. Meet me in Windriville, at the Cantankerous Hedgehog Inn." She took a deep breath, pushed up on tiptoe to gently brush her lips over his stubbled cheek. "If you do not show, then I suppose we will go our separate ways at last, Captain."
He stood frozen as she turned on her heel and walked from his chambers, only his hand gingerly moving to touch the spot where her lips touched his cheek.