I don't do AU's ... so now I'm going to do an AU. Experimenting, and trying not to die of boredom waiting for OUAT to come back (Come back to me, OUAT)
"No one uses the word malfeasance! Damn it, Killian, are you drunk again?"
Killian threw his glass at the wall. It shattered, a few precious drops of amber glittering amongst the splintered glass. "Not nearly drunk enough," he retorted, "and it's my job to tell you who uses the word malfeasance. If you could write, you'd write your own books."
"And you're doing such a wonderful job yourself? You're derivative Killian, at best. At worst, it's downright thievery!"
"You're fired, get out of my apartment," Killian seethed.
"No one tells me what to do. You work for me Killian, and you are fired. I can't count on a one handed pirate with a drinking problem to produce anything worth publishing."
To be honest Killian had almost smiled at the turn of phrase, appreciating the insult in a way that only an author really could. If he could be called an author anymore? He'd not written anything of substance in years now. Not since her.
"Get out," Killian repeated. The door slammed shut behind his ex-editor and Killian went in search of another glass, a task that was getting more and more difficult as more of them ended up in a broken pile in the corner. Finally finding one in a more or less whole state he poured another glass of his chosen poison, swallowing it in several long pulls that burned him up in a pleasant numbing fire.
At first he'd blamed it on the accident. It wasn't really an accident, of course. It was a drunk driver, or so they thought. The driver had fled the scene, leaving his handiwork in a smoldering wreck of smoking metal. Bloody coward.
The damage was done, the least of which being that his left hand had been crushed beyond repair. What the hell good was a writer with a missing hand who could think of nothing but her, nothing but her, all day and all night? He stopped sleeping when he finally grew tired of replaying it in his mind every night. If he drank enough sometimes he would pass out. Does that count as sleep? Regardless, it helped for a little while.
It had been years now since that night, and sometimes he could even sleep now, though he still dreamed of it far too often for his sleep to be considered quite... restful.
Eventually, he'd started to write again but apparently he had nothing to say now. He'd never been a famous author, but had a substantial fan base when the accident happened. He wrote adventure novels, mysteries and tales of love and pain and redemption. Now all he could write was full of anger and hatred and darkness and nothing ever ended happily ever after. Apparently you have to be Shakespeare to get away with 'and then everybody died, the end.'
His hands shook. Well... only the one of course, but even now he could still feel his left hand, long since gone.
"Hatred is blind, rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught." Damn you Dumas, if I'd only been born a couple hundred years earlier I could have written an Edmond Dantes to make yours look like Prince bloody Charming. But alas, you were born first and therefore it is I who am derivative.
Who was he kidding? It was derivative. Pirate captain rescues a damsel in distress from her cruel husband who then hunts down the escaped lovers on the high seas. Bloody hell. Since when did he write romance novels? Still, most romance novels don't involve the female lead being murdered in front of her lover's eyes, the pirate captain challenging the murderer to a duel and then dying in the accomplishment of his vengeance.
Seemed like a good idea at the time...
He threw the sheaf of his editors notes into the fireplace, dumped a splash of his rum on the top and lit it, grinning as the papers burned to a crisp. It was a symbolic gesture of course, he had the thing saved on his computer... but he'd probably delete that too once he was sober again. (He'd learned the hard way not to delete things drunk.)
"MISS. SWAN!" a commanding voice called from behind a closed door. Like it would kill her to send someone out to get her, or use the phone. Emma sighed and put down the manuscript and her favorite red pen. She'd rather burn the current manuscript she was editing but apparently that wasn't allowed. She pushed the door open and made her way into Regina's office.
"Miss Swan," Regina said without looking up, "You have a new assignment."
About time, Emma thought but all she said was "Good, shall I have someone take up my current project?"
"Don't worry about it," Regina said flippantly, "no one will notice if the romance novels don't get edited anyway. I just put you on them because I love being able to see you glaring venomously down at your desk all the time."
Emma smiled half-heartedly, but wasn't entirely convinced that Regina was joking at all. "Anyway, Killian Jones has gone off the deep end again. We need someone to keep him from having a breakdown and get us something new from him. We have a big market for his novels but he's not produced anything in years. If he can't be salvaged we need to know so we can cut ties with him."
"I thought he had an editor?" That was the nicest way she could think of to ask what the hell happened to the obnoxious jerk that was always moaning and complaining about his client in the break room (as if anyone else wanted to hear.)
"They fired each other, I'm thinking a pretty face might help smooth things over."
Emma flushed slightly, "Isn't he married?"
"Nope, and his girl kicked the bucket ages ago, not that I see how that is relevant."
Emma bit her tongue to prevent herself from saying what she thought of this rather heartless evaluation. Regina Mills was good at getting things done... but there's a reason she was not in PR. Still, Emma knew she had a soft side. Her son Henry was a sweet boy who sometimes dropped by the office after school. He usually hung out in Emma's cubicle until Regina got off and Regina was different around the kid.
"Fine," Emma said, "When is he coming in?"
Regina laughed "Killian Jones! Come here? No Miss. Swan, you'll be lucky if you can get him to open the door."
Emma raised her eyebrows and Regina's head finally snapped up, "What are you still doing here?"
"It would help to have an address."
"Oh just google it, that's your job."
It was a little more complicated than 'just google it' and Emma grumbled under her breath that Regina couldn't be bothered to just give it to her... but fortunately Emma was very good at finding people. She also found an uncomfortable number of arrest records for public intoxication and bar fights all dated within the last couple years. Regina was right, the guy was self-destructing.
Regardless, about an hour later Emma found herself outside an apartment door in a fairly nice apartment building. She knocked loudly and waited, listening for noises from inside.
After a moment she knocked again calling, "Killian Jones, I know you're in there, let me in." She heard scuffling then a telltale creak and she raised an eyebrow. On instinct she bolted back down the stairs and around the building just in time to see someone making their way down the fire escape one handed.
"Jones, what the hell are you doing?" she cried as he hopped down to the street level and turned to her. With a shock she realized he was climbing one handed out of necessity. The stump was hidden under the sleeve of a button down dress shirt and she quickly tore her eyes from it. Looking at his face wasn't much better. His eyebrows shot up over deep blue eyes and she cursed internally, Why did he have to be attractive? She'd never bothered looking at the book jackets before...
"Ah," He said suddenly, relaxing as he looked her over. "I thought you were someone else. I don't think I've had the pleasure..."
"Regina sent me."
"Indeed. Care to come inside?"
"Do I have to take the fire escape?"
"No no, course not, lass. We'll take the stairs like civilized people."
"My name is not lass."
"What is your name then, love?"
Emma rolled her eyes "Who did you think I was anyway?"
Killian shrugged, "Sometimes I forget not to give them my real address If I'm too drunk to think clearly... but you... I think I'd remember you."
They reached the landing for his apartment and he opened the door for her.
She rolled her eyes again, "You made me chase you out a back window and now you're going to be a gentleman?"
"I'm always a gentleman, love."
"So ... you had something of an artistic difference with your previous editor?" Her eyes flicked over to the broken glass still on the floor next to the wall. The apartment smelled like smoke and rum, and Emma found herself wondering if that was due to the fight with his editor or if it was a constant state.
"You could say that," Killian commented bitterly, "but you're here to make that all better?"
"I'm here to determine if we need to cut our losses," she said bluntly.
Killian smiled, "Tough lass, you'd make a hell of an editor."
"That's still not my name Jones. And I am a hell of an editor. Do you think you can get me something to look at so Regina doesn't smite both our asses?"
Killian watched her contemplatively for a moment. "If this is going to work I'm going to need something from you."
"What's that?" Emma asked suspiciously.
"Your name love, unless you'd prefer I keep calling you love?"
"Swan... That's interesting. Is there a last name to go along with that?"
"That is my last name. You can call me Miss. Swan."
Killian grinned. "Very well, Swan, give me a couple of days and then I'll meet you for dinner so we can talk?"
"Not likely Jones, Just email something to me."
"Email is so ... cold. How about lunch?"
"Not going to happen."
Emma sighed. Coffee was definitely her weakness. "Fine, Coffee, but you better not be wasting my time."
"I wouldn't dare. You'll have to give me your cell phone number so that we can arrange things, of course."
Emma handed him a card, "That's my work number, you can reach me there."
"Swan, don't you trust me, love? I'll not call you drunk in the middle of the night more than once or twice a week. I swear it."
Emma smiled slightly and shook her head, taking the offered pen and grudgingly writing down her personal cell number. "For emergencies only, Jones, I mean it."
"Of course, love."
I don't read a lot of AU's and this is my first time writing one, so I may be writing a cliche without even knowing it. :P Let me know what you guys think about the premise...