Chapter 6 – Fraud's Berth

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Chapter 6 – Fraud's Berth

Hook likes things neat and tidy. Space constraints for ship equipment, crew supplies and personal belongings on the Jolly required organization so everything had a home and was put in place securely. In his own cabin Hook endured no clutter, no books lying around, no clothes on the floor, no bed unmade. Maps were allowed to remain available on the large drafting table that was the main focus of the room. A map might be needed at a moment's notice.

As he dresses for work he contemplates the neatness of his new life. He has a schedule and a routine. He walks to the bus and thinks about what the day will bring. Probably working on the ships for their owners, cleaning and ordering supplies for their pleasure trips. Making sure everything is neat and tidy on the dock. Hook can appreciate this even as he wonders what happened to his spirit of adventure. Where is the desire to see new shores, travel new paths and not repeat one day after another in this mindless numbing routine? It is these thoughts that make Hook think he is a fraud. He has chosen to stay in Storybrooke and chosen not to seek the Jolly but he is not really this man. He hopes to be busy and not let these thoughts impede the moments of satisfaction he does derive from ship work.

The staff welcomes him and generally ask, "How was your weekend?"

"Good" is his response.

When they ask, "What did you do?" they are friendly and simply trying to get to know him.

He answers honestly, "Bit of a homebody these days. Watched the sun set over the sea."

Julia just smiles and hands him a cup of fresh brewed coffee. Linda comes out from the kitchen and practically pushes him into a chair. "Mondays need pancakes. Here." He sits with his coffee and Linda's plate of pancakes. "Excellent, thank you," he tells her.

Very few people have done this for Hook out of friendship or human kindness. His pirate demeanor and reputation demanded a different interaction. There is genuine graciousness to these people and he feels once again like a fraud. If they only met the real Captain Hook they would definitely not provide pancakes.

Mike comes in to the little café, pours himself a coffee and calls, "Killian, come to my office when you're ready, we'll look at the week and see what we need you to do."

"On my way."

"Morning Killian, this is what I 'm thinking we can have you do. Some of the boat owners who dock here have a maintenance agreement for the hull and basically everything below the waterline. We inspect and repair. We also contract for deck level cleaning, routine maintenance, damage repair and construction overhaul. We don't do engine work, we call a service for that. Also some of the owners may request a ship's pilot if they are taking the boat out for the day so they are free to entertain their guests and enjoy the cruise. I can get you some of those jobs, we pay you but usually the owner tips you too if he's happy how the day goes. Some of them are asses but you'll see, it's still good work. I have one of those trips scheduled for Thursday with Adams. He'll probably have a woman with him. I'm going to send you with him, you'll be okay with him. Anyway, for the next few days we are stripping and refinishing an interior cabin and deck. Sam is already out there, get some gloves from the shop and meet him."

Hook gets to work. It's physically engaging and he's grateful for that. Sam is older, scrawny and barely verbal. That's fine with Hook too. They break for lunch, and for Sam, cigarettes, and return to the task. The café seems to have a steady crowd and there are numerous visitors to the dock. It's a pretty day with a bright blue sky and an occasional cloud.

At the end of the next day Mike tells Killian not to come in on Wednesday, apparently because Hook is working the weekend he can't work every day. Hook decides he will look for Emma. Perhaps she has been looking for him, though he hopes not due to crisis, but for companionship. They haven't seen each other in three days. He reminds himself she is the Savior, she is quite busy and hope is a fraud. He's tired Tuesday night but walks to town for a beer.

Robin and one of his men are sitting at a table looking quite miserable. Hook grabs his beer and goes to sit with them. He doesn't know them well, they are land and he is sea but they're decent men.

"Hook, how have you been?"

"Robin, Percy. What is new?"

Percy replies, "You mean other than Robin's woman problems?"

"Aye, I am not one to be able to offer anything on that."

"Wait Hook, what about your fondness for our Savior? How is that?"

"Gentlemen, I sat to be sociable, to converse as men, not prattle like lads about lasses."

Robin and Percy are amused. Robin replies, "We saw no demons or monsters in Storybrooke today if that is your interest. How are you managing without your ship?"

Hook appreciates Robin for asking. This new land has forced the unbearable on them and yet there is no choice but to bear it. "I miss the Jolly. I would like to get a glimpse of it to affirm that it is well without me as Captain."

The men do not laugh at this. They know what Hook is feeling. They too have memories of places, forests, people that exist in a different realm or universe. It is entirely possible that there are groves of trees with limbs bent, reaching towards the ground and towards stones in a ring where a fire used to warm their branches. So they raise their glasses and finish their beer.

Hook stands, "Good to see you."

Percy, ever the mediator between Robin and his troubles and sympathetic to Hook, has an idea, "I would think, with the wealth of magical ability in this town and certainly among the women of your heart, gentlemen, you could acquire a glass or a trinket that would allow for a look at your ship Hook, or your decision Robin."

Hook sits as Robin's head jerks up, "What are you saying?"

"Surely there is a means to look at other realms or other outcomes of paths we face. That's probably how our rulers rule, after all."

Robin and Hook look at each other. Hook speaks first, "Regina would not assist me for all the gold or all the promises I could offer. Perhaps either of you could ask if there is such a glass for the benefit of both of us. She might be amenable to talking with you."

Robin snorts. It's Percy who responds with, "Let's go, what else are we doing?"

In the spontaneity of the moment the three rise and begin walking towards the Mayor's mansion. None of them questions the other for the plan.

They arrive at the mansion and look at each other. Robin is now unusually nervous for a man who has fought flying monkeys and evil witches. In the light of the street lamps there is noticeable pallor in his face. He tells Hook and Percy, "Well men, enjoy the evening. This is where I leave you."

Percy turns on him, "You can't ditch this. You want to see Regina and ask her yourself."

"Not me, I was walking home. You and Hook can ask her Majesty what you please."

Percy and Hook stop and stare at the Mansion. They step back into the shadows. There are no lights on in the house. Percy proposes, "Let's go round the back, get off the street."

Hook suggests, "I'll ring the front door while you go round back."

"What the hell man? Why would you do that?"

"The Queen lives in the dark. For all we know she is at home. I can summon a reasonable request to support my presence as you enter through a dark door or window."

Hook decides he is a fool. He is ringing the doorbell of the Evil Queen stone cold sober and planning to ask her for a favor. The appeal is that he is not skulking around in the dark; he is going to graciously ask for the good will of Regina. The direct approach slightly offsets the feeling that he is a fool and a fraud.

Percy is long gone to the back by the time Hook rings the bell. There is no answer, no purple smoke, no pot of potion poured down from above in a protection around the Mansion. Hook is genuinely amazed and relieved. He turns to follow the path Percy just took when a car screeches to a stop at the end of the drive.

"Bloody hell, it's the Sheriff's vehicle." Hook has no time to tell Percy to run. He can only hope Percy can hear what is about to transpire at the front door.

Emma and David exit the car and walk up the drive to Hook. Hook decides to jump right into the sea of trouble waiting for him. "Emma, Prince Sheriff, good evening. Visiting our Mayor also? I regret to tell you she does not appear to be at home at this time. I have been ringing the front door bell and she has not opened the door to me."

David is visibly torn between disgust that he is dealing with Hook and joy that he has an opportunity to disparage him in front of Emma. He acts on his happiness and is ridiculously obvious, "So, Hook, you think breaking into the Mayor's house is the best way to win my daughter? What are you doing here?"

Emma doesn't even look at Hook.

"Sheriffs, I was merely hoping to ask a question of the Mayor. I am standing on her steps and you will find the door locked. Where is the breaking into the house occurring? What brings you here?"

Now Emma looks at Hook. "We are looking for Regina. We want to talk to her about….some….things."

"So this is a pleasant coincidence. We are all looking for Regina. Are we waiting? I would enjoy the wait spent in the company of the town's most lovely Sheriffs."

"What do you want with Regina, Hook?"

"I was hoping to ask her for her assistance with ….some….things." Hook is deliberately evasive. He knows that Emma has not told him why she and David are looking for Regina so he has no need to tell them his truth.

He is surprised when Emma turns to David and says, "Dad, give me a minute to talk to Hook, okay? I'll meet you in the car. We'll call Regina again from there."

By the time David finishes glaring at Hook and Emma turns back Hook has moved two steps closer to Emma. He cannot concede the distance between them, physical and otherwise. He needs to be near her. He needs to hear her voice. Poised at a precipice again, "Emma, love, you do know I was not attempting to break in to the Mayor's mansion?"

"I believe you; it's just that it looks bad. And you haven't said why you are here."

"Must I? For you, I will tell you I was here to ask a personal benefaction from the Queen. What are you seeking? Is all well in Storybrooke?"

"Well, no, there is stuff going on but we're okay. Regina could just help us out. A personal matter? Will you tell me? I can't guess what you would ask her about."

"I could divulge, love, but now is not the time. I could meet you without the presence of your hovering prince of a father. We could talk and do what people do in this realm when they are not hunting evil spirits." He smiles his warmest, most open smile. He would dearly love to spend time with Emma as Emma and Killian, a lass and her man.

She smiles openly back at him and his heart almost fails. If he could live as this fraud perhaps she would love him and forget the pirate that he truly is. "Let's have lunch tomorrow at Granny's and we can catch up and you can tell me more about tonight."

"I will see you then love." He looks to the car. David appears to be speaking into the device held up to one's ear. His confidence returns so he uses his hook in her belt loop to bring her a little closer. He whispers in her ear, "Goodnight love" and leaves a warm, quick kiss to the side of her mouth. They look at each other and smile. She is the first to move.

He stands on the sidewalk for a long time after the car pulls away. He doesn't look for Percy. He thinks of the night spent in fraud's berth and maybe tomorrow in hope.