AN: Well, here it is, my newest project for your (hopeful) enjoyment. Pirates and magic ahead!
A fine day to meet an evil queen, he thinks, glowering from beneath the mop of unruly hair dripping into his eyes. Overhead, rain pours down as though the clouds themselves are angry he's taken the meeting with this woman. The oiled leather duster nearly reaching the ground had seen stronger maelstroms at sea and remained drier, but a bit of wet wasn't going to keep Killian Jones from a lucrative job.
Stepping off the ship onto the floating dock, he takes a minute to get his land legs. Years at sea make a man a bit wobbly once he sets foot on something solid once more. It didn't matter if that man is solid muscle and in firm control of every last sinew between them; the land does things to a sailor.
Especially to a pirate.
Resisting the urge to grumble about the weather a bit more, Killian sets off down the muddied dock. The summons had come by way of an arrow thunked into the deck of his ship, note attached. The Evil Queen (or Regina, as she seems to be calling herself these days) has plenty of power, but it does seem a mite bit overdone to be putting holes in the deck.
It wasn't a descriptive note, and it hadn't revealed much of a purpose. The pirate was wanted and he was wanted immediately. Killian was of half a mind to ignore the damn thing and stay out to sea, prowling this curious new land he found himself (and his crew) pulled into. Regina was unlikely to come for him there, surrounded by the waves and miles out from her precious, cursed town – Storybrooke, if the signs can be believed.
By the time Killian finds himself walking up to an admittedly impressive white manor, his mood has gone from foul to black. The rain isn't letting up, lightning forking across the sky as he trudges through the streets. He has excellent boots, but he's soaked through as though his very bones will never dry out.
He wants to know what in the bloody hell Regina wants, and then he means to be on the next tide out of this odd little town.
At least she has the courtesy to be prompt. The wide double doors open at his approach, and Killian smirks as he enters, dripping his way across the stone floors.
She's waiting for him, her attire quite unlike anything he's seen before. He squints, uncertain whether he finds this becoming. The queen cuts a fine figure in any realm, but this one features peculiar clothing, indeed.
"Your Majesty," he drawls out, sketching the mockery of a bow. "I've been summoned, yes?"
"Your impertinence will get you killed one day," Regina replies, her eyes narrowing on his. Killian isn't fooled. The queen must need something, something quite badly to have used up enough magic to not only send a message to Neverland, but to provide him passage out.
"Aye, your Majesty, I expect it might. But not this day." Killian smirks as Regina's glare deepens, leaving a trail of rainwater and mud behind him as he saunters past her into the house. He finds a comfortable looking chair, and not minding its white upholstery, falls into it with his usual grace. "So you'll be having need of me, then. Get on with it."
"I have a deal for you, pirate."
"Last time I brokered a deal with you, darling, instead of passage to this magic free land of yours, I found myself back in Neverland."
"You failed to hold up your end of the bargain. I allowed you to retain your life. I had a feeling you may prove…useful…one day. And here you are, doing just that."
"Aye, I expect that's why I have a bloody hole in my ship." Killian produces the mangled note from his pocket, the ink barely legible after the soaking rain. "You summoned me here, and here I am. Kindly explain why. I have a tide to catch. I haven't any desire to remain in your cursed town having enjoyed the hospitality of Neverland these many years."
"Yes, I expect you do." Regina's steely eyes regard the pirate for another long moment before she begins to pace. "You are in possession of a unique vessel."
"You refer to the Jolly Roger traveling through realms."
"Precisely." Regina stops before a window, an apple tree visible in the yard as lightning forks across the sky once more.
"So you've retrieved me from Neverland to travel across realms. What'll be in it for me this time besides a one way passage back?"
"You lack patience."
"And you lack the ability to do whatever you need done yourself, so name it already. The tide and all."
"Anxious to be off, pirate?"
"Anxious to be far from you. The crew as well."
Regina fails to immediately respond, and Killian feels his patience wearing thin. His natural talents serve him well in any realm, though perhaps not in the most honest of circles. No matter. This realm or any other, what was it that Regina called him?
"While you've been off in Neverland, I have been building a life here, pirate. I have a son. My son is important to me, and this town…this town respects me. They fear me, as well they should."
"Aye, you've cursed them well. What of it?"
"Yes, this curse is lovely. Quite the accomplishment. But Snow White, even wrapped up in that dowdy schoolteacher, still works to ruin my happiness. My son…he's my damn son. But Snow's daughter gave birth to him, in a prison cell no less, and I get the impression Henry is now looking for her. She's still in this realm, beyond my grasp. You must find her and remove her before my son brings that woman back here. Some ridiculous prophecy names her a savior, the one to break this curse. I can't have that."
Killian raises an eyebrow, tapping his hook against the heel of his boot. "You want me to murder the lass? Another bloody assassination?"
Regina laughs, a sinister laugh that makes his skin crawl. "Wouldn't be the first woman you've sent to her death, pirate."
"You haven't any idea what you're talking about." His gaze darkens, black memories filling his blood with the call for revenge.
"Be that as it may…" She pauses, pursing her lips. "No, she may serve a purpose yet. Don't kill her. But do take her to another realm, beyond the reach of this one."
"Have you a preference?"
Regina shrugs, turning back to him with her eyes practically aglow with scheming. "You're a creative man. I'll leave that bit to you. I'm sure you'll find a way to make it entertaining."
"And my payment?"
"I've released you from Neverland, haven't I?"
"So you have. But you'll recall it wasn't my first sojourn. Send me back, if you like. I'll find another way out. Doubt you'll find another ship to carry off the lass." He's bluffing – the thought of returning to Neverland sends sharp stabs of fear down his spine, but his eyes are clear as he returns the queen's glare. He's got decades upon decades worth of poker faces. Let her try to out bluff him.
"Fine then. In payment for Emma Swan's removal, I'll give you back your hand. Much more satisfying to take out an old foe with two hands, isn't it?"
It's a struggle to keep his composure as he lifts the hook into the air, the metal glinting dangerously. He lets her wait, twisting the hook to and fro as though considering the merit of her offer. "Aye," he finally agrees, getting to his feet and offering his right hand. "We've got ourselves a deal."
"It will serve my purposes best to have this business conducted in a timely fashion."
"I shall be on the next tide out. Where should the lass be found?"
"Never heard of it."
Regina smiles that sinister smile again. "What would you like to know?"
Nothing she says prepares him for the oddity of this realm. He's been to many a city spanning the globe, yet none have packed in the number of people this Boston kingdom possesses. They're everywhere, all done up in the same odd clothes the evil queen was sporting.
They talk into thin pieces of metal and glass, and captain strange vessels of steel painted in the most garish of colors. It's far worse than being land-bound with a horse, this Boston place. He'll be grateful to retrieve the Swan girl and be on his way.
Regina provided him directions to her dwelling, and it's not a matter of great difficulty to gain admittance to her quarters. He's in luck – she's not arrived home yet. It'll be an easy matter to wait for her in the darkness, the potion Regina provided ready to be poured over a cloth and held to Swan's mouth to make her a bit more manageable.
So wait he does.
It's perhaps an hour later she enters. Killian's eyes widen from his hiding place, astounded at the sight of her. Regina hadn't mentioned anything other than the girl was a blonde – she's bloody beautiful.
Especially clad in her strange garment, bright red fabric that leaves next to nothing to the imagination. Killian grins to himself, letting his gaze drag over her lean legs, the swell of her breasts above the low neckline. Perhaps this won't be so bad after all. Aye, she won't take kindly to the kidnapping bit, but he's got time to win her over.
Regina said she wanted her gone from the realm, but all other instructions were vague. Killian can afford to dally, some. It's been plenty long without the hand – what's a few extra days to enjoy the delectable Emma Swan?
His wandering thoughts are interrupted by a click and the flare of fire in her hands in the darkness, and Killian cautiously sinks deeper into the shadows. Regina failed to mention the lass having magic. He'll have to be a bit more careful in his apprehension of her.
He knows he should act, pour the potion out, grab the girl and have done with it. But she's lit a candle in the middle of a strangely shaped piece of cake, and she's simply staring at it, the golden glow of the tiny flame illuminating her features.
There's a deep sadness in her eyes, and it shouldn't, but it tugs at his heart, pushes at a place long dead.
"Happy birthday, Emma," she whispers, folding her arms under her chin and watching the candle burn down. "Welcome to twenty-eight."
He watches her for another long moment, watches as the wax melts into her cake and she does nothing to stop it. The melancholy tugs at him again, a strange protectiveness clouding his judgment as he fishes in his pocket for the small glass vial.
He's a bloody pirate, not a sentimental fool.
To her credit, she doesn't shriek when he slides out of the shadows. Her shoulders straighten, her body tensed to spring as she evaluates him with the coldness of a warrior. "How the hell did you get in here?" she demands, eyes narrowed in a dangerous glare.
He shrugs, inching closer to her. "Wasn't difficult."
To his utter surprise, she laughs. "Listen, I don't know what sort of Halloween bullshit you're up to, but it's next weekend, not this weekend. Go sleep it off in your own apartment, or wherever you live." She gestures to the door, muttering something under her breath about drunks and finding a new building.
"You can't be serious." She rolls her eyes at him, still wary, but far less so. "Just go. I don't really want to deal with the cops tonight, so let's just pretend you didn't break into my apartment too drunk to find your own. You leave. I drink a bottle of wine. Everyone is happy. Or something like that."
"You're a trifle bossy, lass."
"And you're in my apartment."
"Not for long." He grins, a smile that has earned him many a lady in his bed. "I'll be leaving shortly, Miss Swan. Once I've got what I've come for."
She freezes at the use of her name, her eyes darting to the small bag on the stone surface beside her bit of cake. He's closer, and before she can lunge for it, he's knocked it to the ground.
"What do you want?" Her voice is steady, but he sees the way her eyes flicker around the room, taking stock of her surroundings.
Regina did not tell him the lass was likely to be trouble.
He grins at her. "You, love."
She darts away from him, but he's faster, and he's been watching her, anticipating her move with years of experience. But he doesn't count on her fighting back quite so viciously, her elbow sinking into his belly with surprising force.
It's only when he holds the hook to her throat that she stills suddenly, her breathing heavy and her eyes wide. He tries not to enjoy it, the way she's pressed against him, the view the dress affords him standing behind her, but he does.
"Sorry, love. Truly is a shame we couldn't meet under happier circumstances."
Her protest is swallowed in a wad of fabric, Regina's potion doing the trick nicely. She collapses into his arms, limp as a ragdoll.
"Yes, a shame indeed," he repeats to himself, carefully lowering her to the ground and cradling her head as he looks around for some less conspicuous clothing to put over the dress, attract less attention.
In the end, he locates some dark garments and a heavy coat. She'll need it, at sea, though the wool has been poorly fashioned and is unlikely to offer much protection from the water.
It's only as he's lifting her into his arms that he wonders why he even cares.
Don't mind me just hiding behind my hands over here... Thoughts?