I am not dead. I know it's been almost a year...SORRY GUYS!
Sunday rolled around, and Emma had come to take the reins in the morning at the market. They opened a bit later on Sundays, around 11, but the market was still open, if just for few hours.
Emma had really starting putting her own touches on the store. The pen jar on the front counter had a small yellow bow tied on it, her apron was swapped out for something with a bit more feminine print, and she took great pride in arranging the fillets neatly on the shelves… sometimes accenting them with little flowers or a shell or two she picked up. Jones Fish House was looking spiffier than ever.
"Good Morning my love," Killian said as he entered the shop shortly before opening. He gave her a quick kiss as she finished laying out the display case, and headed back to the office. She found him with his bookkeeping software open, and a worried look on his face when she came in to check on him a few minutes later.
"Hey, I am about to flip the sign to open. Everything ok?" she asked, as Killian ran a hand through his hair.
"Aye, I am just nervous about buying this boat. It's… it's a big step to get back out there, and I've been thinking about what you said. Maybe I should wait for something more me," he said with nervousness, and leaned back in his chair. Emma came over and placed a kiss on his forehead.
"Please don't let what I said deter you. Those were just words, ok?" she said, stroking his cheek. "Do you love the boat?"
Killian looked up at her, "It's a really nice boat."
Emma smiled at him, "Then get it baby." Emma's smile was reassuring and Killian let out a little sigh. "Sorry love, I am just all over the place right now. I want to make sure it is a good fit… for both of us."
"I don't know much about boats dear, but I trust you," Emma said to him with a squeeze of his hand, "And on that note, you need to get going, and I need to open. I will be out there in a few hours after I shut everything down, ok?"
Killian nodded, "Let me just finish up in here, and then I will hit the road."
Emma headed out front to flip the sign to "open" and the first after church customers started trickling in as Killian made a beeline for the door, giving her another quick kiss on his way out, and saying a few brief "hellos" to his regulars.
The day passed quickly for Emma, and as 2 o'clock settled in, she flipped the sign to closed and started the cleaning process. Since she didn't have a car, she was going to borrow David's to drive out to meet Killian at the rental place, that was too far to walk or bike.
As she was filing things away in the walk in refrigerator, in the back, she heard the bell on the door chime. Shit, I forgot to lock the door. She moaned internally, before calling out, "Sorry, we're closed!" out towards the lobby, and really hoping the person would bugger off and not insist she dig something out of the cooler. Shoveling ice onto the packed fish, she didn't her the lock click into place, or the scuffle of feet quietly across the store and into the back room.
"I missed you," came a voice from right behind her and Emma spun on her heel, slipping on a wet spot, and crashing to the metal floor. The back of her head smacked down hard, and the sound of the impact was sharp, echoing through the fridge.
"Fuck," Emma moaned slowly, grimacing in pain. Everything seemed to slow, and the white stars behind her eyes were blinding.
"Well, that's not exactly how I wanted for this to go, but it made my job a lot easier," the male voice bit out, as he walked over to Emma and looked down at her.
"Neal?" Emma asked, trying to focus on a face she'd never though she'd see again, but she was too sleepy just now to focus properly. Emma felt a warm stickiness run down the side of her face, and her eyes rolled back in her head. It went dark.
"Where the hell is Emma?" Killian growled to himself, calling her once more and having it go to voicemail. She was now an hour late.
Killian dialed David, and after a few rings he picked up. "David, when did Emma leave your house?" Killian asked as soon as he heard him pick up.
"Hello, nice to hear your voice too friend. I had a lovely Sunday! And yourself?" David answered with full-sarcasm.
Killian huffed into the phone, "I'm serious David. When did she leave?"
"She never got the car Killian," David said, matter-of-factly, "I just assumed you guys went down together or the plan changed."
"No, it didn't. And she's not here," Killian said with worry in his voice. He could tell that David had perked up on the other end of the phone, because he could hear him up and about in the house.
"I'll head down to the shop and call you back," he said to Killian, and hung up. Killian let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. Tamara poked her head out of the sales office, raising her eyebrows a bit at him. "So, I have other clients coming in in 30, Mr. Jones. You seem to be having some problems. Maybe we can just sign these and get you on out of here?" she asked sweetly.
Killian hesitated, before shaking his head, "I'm sorry, I know you put a lot of work into getting these papers done by today, but…"
Tamara smiled at him, "That's fine Mr. Jones, but I will need you to sign off your hold before you go, and that will be additional time. We have other buyers that are also interested. It should take me about 15 minutes to draw up that paperwork."
"What?" Killian asked, frustrated as he looked at his phone as it flashed a message from David that said, "Store closed. Lights off."
"Listen, just do whatever you need to do. I don't care," Killian huffed and headed to his truck.
Tamara cursed silently, and strode back to her office, dialing a number on her phone and waiting for the familiar voice on the other line. "Why are you calling so early?"
"He's knows something's off, he's headed your way," she said on the other end of the phone. "I couldn't stall him any longer."
"You're completely worthless Tamara. Do you know that? You had one job… I thought I hired you because you are some wonderful manipulator and now I have to do it all. Worthless," snapped the voice on the other end of the phone.
Tamara held the phone back from her ear a bit, shocked. "I'm… I'm sorry Neal."
The phone clicked and the line went dead.
As soon as Killian Jumped into the truck, he dialed David. "David, something isn't right. Can you head over to the houseboat and look for her?"
He could hear the hum of David's truck motor in the background. "I'm already on my way Killian. Don't speed home."
Killian looked at the speedometer and chuckled. "It's fine Dave, I know a cop. Now, go find my girl." He hung up the phone and pushed his foot down on the old trucks accelerator as the truck hit 100 heading down the road.
Storybrooke's town sign came into view faster than he thought it would, and squealing tires sounded out as he rounded the block to his houseboat, and found Dave there coming out of the house.
"She's not here," he said as Killian pulled up, frantically rolling the window down.
Killian's face was now plastered with worry and frustration.
"Take a breath Killian. I know you are freaking out right now, but we're going to figure out where she is. Has anything happened odd lately?"
Killian ran a hand through his hair and shook his head, "Not that I can think of."
"Anything that might have spooked Emma or…"
Killian's eyes shot up with anger. "Spook? Are you saying she left me?" David raised his hands in a show of backing off. "I'm just throwing out ideas. I know she loves you, but I also know she has a past. And with the whole Walsh thing that happened…
"Oh my God. Neal…" Killian whispered as the color drained from his face.
David looked at him concerned, "Mate, I know that's where your mind goes, but rest assured…"
"No, David, I saw him the other day. I LET HIM INTO THE SHOP!" Killian started to rage, slamming his hands into the steering wheel.
David's face grew serious. "What are you talking about?"
"The other day, when you called me away from work, Neal was there. Fixing the freezer," Killian said with frustration, and David laid a hand on his arm. "He had a beard on, and a hat. I didn't realize it was him. He looked familiar but I couldn't place it."
"The freezer?" David questions and Killian's stomach plummeted.
"GO!" David yelled, as he turned and sprinted for his truck, "I'm right behind you!"
Killian's truck tore down the road and slid into a spot, slamming it into park. As he leapt from the car, he just caught the view of a man dipping around the side of the store as he pulled out. He leapt from the driver's side, and leaving the door wide open, barreled down the street after the man. The man had broken into a run, but Killian's adrenaline kicked in, and he caught him before he reached the back alley, tacking him to the pavement. As soon as he saw Neal's face, Killian saw red, and his fist made contact with the bearded man's nose.
"You son of a bitch!" Killian yelled, pummeling Neal into the pavement, "WHERE is Emma?"
The man below him laughed, and spit blood.
"Where is she?" Killian repeated, slamming his fist into his face again.
The man laughed harder, weakly choking on the blood that covered his face. "It's too late," he laughed, and Killian wrenched him off the ground and slammed his back into the brick wall of the alley.
"I swear to God, if you harmed one hair on her head," he growled, and the man cackled again.
"That's the best part," he said through twisted giggles, "I didn't even have to… this time."
David caught Killian's arm as he wound it back and aimed it at his face again.
"Killian, stop. We can't find Emma if you literally kill this guy," he said, forcefully putting his arm down and snatching Neal from him.
Neal smiled at Killian," If she's not already dead." David turned at that and nailed him right in the face, causing him to go limp.
Killian looked at David, eyebrows raised. "I love Emma too," David said simply, and Killian nodded once at him. "Let's get this guy inside."
The two men carried the now unconscious Neal into the back entrance of the seafood store, and then Killian sprinted to the walk-in fridge/freezer combo. There was blood on the floor in the fridge but no Emma.
"Shit," he cursed fiercely, and headed to the freezer, dread in his stomach. His hand reached for the freezer door, and it didn't budge.
"DAVID!" Killian yelled for his friend, who came hurrying into the small space.
"She's in here," Killian told him, "And he's changed the locks or disabled them or something."
David didn't want to shoot the lock. They were in a metal box more or less, and the bullet could easily ricochet and that wouldn't help anyone.
David quickly went back to Neal, and after shaking him a few times, kneeling next to him, the bearded man opened his eyes.
"Where are the keys?" David asked firmly. Neal chuckled a few times, before rasping out the words "Ocean."
"Shit," David cursed, and grabbed his phone from his belt. "Mary Margaret, yeah, we've got a situation down here. Call Leroy, get him to bring his welding kit over to Jones Fish ASAP. No, you stay there it's dangerous, but tell him it's a matter of life and death."
David them felt the cool, round barrel of a gun pointed at his temple. "More really a matter of just death, don't you think?"
David dropped the phone, and raised his hands up in the air.
"Alright Neal, you have my attention," he said as they both stood slowly. David glanced down at his belt and noticed the gun was gone, and cursed internally.
Neal smiled at him. "I've been a thief for years. You think I can't pickpocket a cop. Ha." He pushed David in the direction of the fridge, and Killian was furiously banging at the handle with a crowbar.
"Killian," David said as he re-entered the cold area. Killian didn't look up. David tried again.
"Killian," he said a bit louder, but Killian was going to town on a door handle that just wouldn't move.
"For Christ's sake you dumb fuck, that isn't going to work," Neal spat out, and Killian slowly turned around. Rage was set deep in his eyes, and his hands tightened on the crowbar. His knuckles were white.
"I'm going to kill you," spat Killian through clenched teeth, and Neal laughed, pushing David over to stand beside Killian.
"Line up boys," Neal said with a laugh, "This is only going to take a second." He said as he cocked the trigger.
"Why?" Killian growled out. "Why can't you just leave us alone."
"She knew my secrets," Neal said plainly.
"But she was here now, with me. You must have known that she just wanted to be free of you," Killian countered, frustration and rage bubbling up in his voice.
Neal tilted his head to the side, "You poor thing. You did care for her. Here's the thing though: she was mine. Not yours. Mine. And I will dispose of my playthings as I see fit. It was pointless for her to run… I was going to find her. Whether or not she wanted me anymore, she still had my secrets and that's unacceptable."
Killian scowled at him, "How did you know we had freezer problems?"
Neal laughed, "Because I caused them. I cut some lines outback, caused the issues, and then just waited for the repair guy to show up. Thank goodness we were almost the same size. Oh, and David, if you are looking for him, he's with the keys. Where you two are also about to find yourselves."
Neal closed one eye for aim, and his finger slowly went to squeeze on the trigger, when a loud metallic thunk rang through the fridge, and Neal slumped to the floor.
Mary Margaret stood behind the limp body of Neal, cast iron skillet in her hand. "Not my family, not today… you son of a bitch," she whispered, before looking up with determination in her eyes.
"Leroy is on the way."