"It's a fine morning, wouldn't you agree, Leftenant?"

Killian turned from his writing to smile at his older brother. "I'm not a Leftenant yet."

"You've gotten the promotion," Liam pointed out. "You've only the ceremony to get through." He consulted his pocket watch. "In less than half an hour, you'll be a Leftenant, and...rumor has it you'll be receiving your orders."

"I'm leaving The Vanguard?" Killian stood up, laying down the quill.

"Aye. You're to be assigned to a new captain. He'll be pinning on your insignia." Liam moved over to the table, closing the ledger book that Killian had been working in. He put a hand on Killian's shoulder at the stricken look on his face.

"Chin up, Killian," he said. "You knew this day would come. You'll make a fine first officer, and the mission has been personally commissioned by the king himself."

Killian forced a smile. "Of course. Do you have any idea when I'm to leave?"

Liam walked over to the cabin door, opening it. "Tomorrow. You leave tomorrow. But for now...let's get up on deck and make you a Leftenant." He clapped his younger brother on the back as they ascended the stairs topside, where the crew was assembled and holding at attention. The townspeople lined the dock, waving ribbons and handkerchiefs in bright colors. Liam moved through the ranks, stopping at the foot of the platform, set below the wheel deck. He gave his brother a smile, brushing a piece of imaginary lint off his shirt collar.

Killian gave him a nervous grin, then ascended the steps to the platform, where he was greeted by the admiral.

"Sir," Killian said deferentially. "Thank you for coming."

"A pleasure," the admiral reassured him. "Always happy to see a man bettering his station. From what I hear, you're a born leader, Mr. Jones."

"Thank you, sir. I hope to earn that praise."

"Shall we begin?" The admiral said. Killian took his place in the center of the platform, and the admiral moved to his side.

"It's time to meet your new captain, Mr. Jones," he said. Killian's eyes moved to the platform stairs, only to see Liam ascending. He walked over and stood in front of Killian, holding the insignia in his hand.

"Welcome aboard, little brother."

"Liam...you've been given a ship?" Killian's eyes were wide.

"Indeed. A very special ship - commissioned by the King himself and made of enchanted wood, to undertake a journey of the utmost secrecy. He wanted me to bring along only the best officers and crew. I told him I needed a first officer that I could trust to the ends of the earth."

Liam reached out, pinning the insignia on Killian's epaulette. "Congratulations...Leftenant Jones." He turned to the assembled crew and crowd on the docks, raising Killian's hand and shouting, "Leftenant Jones!"

"Huzzah! Huzzah!"

The crew and the townsfolk dissolved into cheers as Killian jumped down off the platform, receiving their handshakes and arms about his shoulders. He lost his hat somewhere along the way, and the crew good-naturedly filled it with rum, trying to tip it back onto his head. The merriment went on for a good, long while, until finally, the crowd thinned out, and Killian made his way to the gangplank to wave the last of them off as Liam went below with the admiral to discuss more of the King's business.

He was just about to order the pulling in of the gangplank when he saw her. There was something familiar about the girl, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. She was beautiful enough to turn any man's head. Surely, he would remember if he'd made her acquaintance. She was standing alone now that most of the crowd had left the dock, save for a few young boys playing with a stray dog down at the other end. She stood simply watching him from the dock, so he moved down the gangplank toward her.

"Hello," he said.

"Hello." She gave him a smile that said she had a secret, and he found himself intrigued.

"Have we met?" he asked her.

She thought about that a moment before answering. "No. I have never had the pleasure of meeting Leftenant Jones," she said demurely.

He gave a short bow. "At your service, my lady. And you are...?"

"Emma," she said, extending her hand. He grasped it warmly between his own, and she glanced down, as if momentarily startled. She managed to cover it when she looked back up at him, and he was even more curious.

"Are you sure we haven't met?" He eyed her curiously, feeling an odd sense of deja' vu.

"Maybe we've got some mutual acquaintances," Emma offered helpfully. "I was just about to get some lunch. Would you like to join me?"

Killian looked back at the ship, then back to her. "I'll let my captain know I'll be away," he said. "I've been released from my duties for the remainder of the day, as is customary."

She smiled. "Guess they expect you to enjoy the rest of the day," she remarked.

"Or they expect me to succumb to my frivolity," he said, raising a brow. She laughed, and he was growing more enchanted by the moment. "I'll be right back," he said. He turned to go up the ramp, stopping half-way up. "Don't go anywhere," he warned.

She looked up at him, and something in her eyes made him feel like he could stare at her forever. "I wouldn't miss this for the world," she said.


"Please, my lady - " Killian insisted.


"Emma - you cannot expect me to let you pay for our meal." He pulled out a few coins, handing them to the serving wench. "It wouldn't be good form."

"But I invited you," she pointed out.

"All the more reason why you should let me pay. Consider it a 'thank you.'"

She looked up at him from beneath lowered lashes. "I don't think I've ever had lunch with anyone who was as much of a gentleman, Mr. Jones."

He leaned back in his chair, dabbing at his mouth with a handkerchief. "I'm sorry to hear that. A lady as fine as you deserves nothing less."

She fumbled with her fork for a moment, twirling it in her fingers as though she were thinking something over. Killian watched her carefully, not even mindful of the silence. It was entirely comfortable for some reason. He'd never met a girl who didn't fill up any silence with some kind of mindless chatter. Besides, he just liked looking at her.

At last, she sighed, putting the fork down and pushing her plate away.

"I almost hate to do this," she said, as if to herself.

"Hate to do what?" he asked.

"Remind you," she said. At his quizzical look, she went on. "Of our mutual acquaintance. I think you may have visited my town."

"And where is it that you live?" he surprised himself by realizing that he hadn't asked her that already. He was fast becoming besotted and now she was even more of a mystery.

"I'm from a place called Storybrooke," she said carefully. "Perhaps you've heard of it?"

He shook his head. "No. No, I haven't."

"They have a tall ship of their own there," she said. "It's pretty impressive. The Jolly Roger. Do you know it?"

"The Jolly Roger?" Killian said, looking at her strangely. "The name is a bit...piratical."

"Maybe that's because it's a pirate ship," she said.

Killian looked at her a moment, completely nonplussed. "Are you telling me," he said, looking around before he lowered his voice, "That you're a pirate?"

"No, but I once had a picnic with one," she replied. "On board the Jolly Roger."

He looked at her with something akin to alarm, which faded into confusion, and then he said slowly, "You had a picnic...with me."

"That's right. It rained."

"And then you...disappeared." He clenched his left hand, then unclenched it. "Swan? I'm dreaming?"

"Yeah," she answered softly. "Sorry."

He nodded his head, blinking a few times, as if to clear his thoughts. He sat back in his chair, taking in a deep breath and looking around.

"When did you show up?" he asked her.

"Right before your ceremony."

"Why did you wait so long to remind me?" he asked.

She looked down. "I wanted you to have some time with your brother." She looked back up at him. "And with me. Just as Leftenant Jones."

He swallowed hard. "I haven't been Leftenant Jones in a very, very long time, love."

She gave him a calculated look. "No," she said, shaking her head. "I think you've got a lot more of him in you than you want to admit." She gave him a cheeky grin. "And besides, I'm liking the uniform."

He gave her a cheeky grin of his own. "Women never could resist it. 'Course, I wasn't much for debauchery in those days."

"These days," she corrected.

"You're perfectly welcome to debauch me, if that appeals to you. Sully me all you like."

He raised a brow and she gave him an answering smirk. "Come on," she said. "Wouldn't you like to hang with your brother?"

Killian stepped around to the other side of the table, pulling her chair out and then taking her hand to help her to her feet. Emma gave him a wide-eyed look.

"What?" he asked.

"You. Check out the manners."

"Now you know why I fit in so well with British society," he said, taking her hand and threading her arm through his. He pushed open the door to the tavern, leading her out onto the dock. "It just so happens," he continued as they walked, "That my brother is closeted with the admiral, discussing matters of the king's business, and will be for some time. I'm dining with him later at a fine establishment known as The Harp. And you'll be joining us."

Emma glanced down at the simple peasant blouse, brown skirt and corset she was wearing. "I'm not really dressed for dinner," she said.

"Ah, but I just got promoted, and with that came a healthy increase to my salary," he informed her. "I shall be happy to buy you something suitable."

"Any chance it won't have a corset?"

He answered her with a maddening grin, and she let herself be pulled along, toward the dress shop.


"Killian tells me you're related to the royal family of the Enchanted Kingdom," Liam remarked, as he cut into his roast beef.

"Distant relations," Emma clarified, taking a sip of her wine. Hell, right now, her mother's grandmother probably wasn't even born yet.

"She's even got a title," Killian pointed out, "She just won't use it."

Emma gave him a warning look over the rim of her wineglass.

"Sounds like she wants to be free to enjoy her adventures without the burden of the title," Liam observed.

"Something like that," Emma agreed.

"My brother needs a girl with a bit of spirit," Liam observed. "He's entirely too straight-laced by half. It would do him good to find his roguish side."

"You're supposed to keep me out of trouble, Liam," Killian observed. "Not encourage me toward it."

Liam looked over at Emma. "Are you trouble, Emma?"

Emma gave him a conspiratorial smile. "Probably."

"Then you have my wholehearted approval," Liam said, clinking his wineglass to hers. "Loosen him up a bit. Teach him to have some fun."


Liam gallantly kissed Emma's hand and said his goodnights before going back aboard, and they walked back down the dock. Killian paused at the door to the Inn, looking back toward the ship, bobbing gently in the water.

"Killian." Emma's voice broke through his thoughts and he turned to look at her.

"You don't have to stay with me." She reached up, brushing his hair out of his eyes. "Go and spend some time with your brother."

He looked back down the dock.

"I mean it," she said. "We don't know how long this dream will last."

He looked back at her. "We leave tomorrow. For Neverland."

Emma's eyes widened. "Really?"

"Aye. He'll die there, and I'll take the ship."

"What if he doesn't?" Emma said. "He doesn't have to die. You can stop it now."

He stared at her. "I can. I can stop it." His eyes widened with wonder. "Here, at least, he can live - for however long we've got."

"That's right." She gave him a smile. "And I'll be waiting when you land. Right on the dock."

"Right on the dock?"


He reached out, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her in until his forehead rested against hers. "I'll hold you to that, love." He kissed her softly once, then again.

"Go on," Emma said, pulling back a little reluctantly. "Go enjoy some family time."

Killian looked at her, and the brightness in his eyes made her feel like something was shifting inside her.

"He likes you, you know."

"I like him," Emma answered. "I'm glad I got to meet him, even if it had to be here."

He reached out, twirling a lock of hair around his finger. "Here hasn't been all bad."

She slid her hand up, twining her fingers with his. "No. It hasn't."

They stood looking at each other a moment longer, until Emma dropped his hand and stepped back. "Go," she said, smiling.

"I'll be back," he promised.

They sailed for Neverland with the morning tide, but a storm took them out of the sky, and all souls aboard were lost to the depths of the sea.