Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon a Time or Anastasia.
Misthaven in June was always a sight to see. The villages were bustling, the docks were filled with ships arriving, and the streets were filled with people and wagons. But today was the most amazing day of them all, parade day. It was the biggest celebration of the year next to Christmas and everyone gathered to see the procession. There were performers and dancers in all sorts of colorful costumes that drew the people's eyes. But as captivating as it was, that wasn't what thousands of people from all over came for. They came for the end when the royal family rode by in an open carriage.
Queen Snow and her Prince Charming, who was actually King David but the nickname stuck, were benevolent rulers and were well known amongst the people. They often came to the villages to see the needs and do what they could to meet them. And people freely went to the castle to deal with matters and make things known so their rulers could keep the kingdom a peaceful one.
This was something Killian and Liam Jones were able to appreciate coming from a kingdom that was ruled by a tyrant. The loss of their mother was probably the worst thing they'd experienced in their young lives. But it brought them to this new start and Granny Lucas was doing as good a job as any mother raising them since their father left not long after arriving.
It couldn't be denied that the King and Queen loved their people. They also loved their daughter and were very protective of her. The day of the parade was the one time a year Princess Emma left the castle. The rumors of her beauty were known throughout the kingdom and abroad. It was said her golden hair and emerald eyes had no equal. And when she smiled, really smiled and not just the polite one she was supposed to have, it took people's breath away.
Last year was Killian's first parade day since moving to Misthaven. Being only nine in such a huge crowd he couldn't see much unless he was on Liam's shoulders and that could only last so long. He had only gotten a glimpse of the seven year old princess but he was positive she was an angel.
This year he was determined to see the princess for more than a second. So instead of trying to get to the front of the crowd, he climbed the kitchen window of Granny's inn. It was right on the main road and the parade along with the royal carriage would pass straight in front of him. And just as his patience was about to go out the window, no pun intended, the parade travelled by.
The King and Queen were sitting together and the princess sat opposite them. But unfortunately she was sitting with her back to him. He'd have to wait for them to pass to see her face. But he could still see her long, blonde hair flowing down as she sat straight and proper, just like her mother. Granny was always telling him to sit up and not slouch. He'd gotten better as he got older but it still wasn't easy. It couldn't have been easy for her either he imagined since she was two years younger than him, princess or not.
As the carriage drew closer the princess turned in her seat as she gracefully waved to the crowd. The cheers of the crowd grew louder and louder but Killian drowned it all out. His only focus was the young princess. She was the opposite of all the girls he knew and that intrigued him. The girls in school wanted to be princesses to have attention and they'd probably make fools of themselves if they were the one in the parade. But not Emma. She didn't seem the least bit phased by the attention. She just sat there, serene, holding herself high, and proudly doing her duty.
He also knew several boys who said they'd grow up to be rich and they'd marry the princess. Killian would be lying if the thought hadn't crossed his mind. Who wouldn't want to be a prince and live in a castle? Especially, when he was barely more than a street rat and would've been stealing for his bread if Granny hadn't taken him and his brother in. Now they were kitchen boys and Liam always said they'd join the navy one day and become heroes. After his career in the navy Killian was sure he'd settle down with someone and when he did he wanted it to be about love not titles.
Even if she were a common girl, she probably wouldn't pay him the time of day like a lot of the others his age in the village. Not that she'd ever be common or fit in with the rest, she'd still be better than them, but he knew where the bar was to be in the same circle as a girl like her. And he knew he'd never measure up. So he'd admire from afar and ignore his brother's teasing about having a crush. He was much too young for the nonsense Liam was just getting into.
Finally the royal carriage passed by him and he could see the Princess' face. She was even more beautiful than he remembered. He was certain even Helen of Troy could not compare. Time seemed to stand still yet with a blink of his eye the parade continued on and she was almost out of sight. So he jumped down from the window and noticed a pink bud of a Middlemist flower that had fallen from her hair. He picked it up and ran towards the carriage.
"Emma!" He called out as he continued to run.
He honestly had no idea why. It's not like she could ever hear him with all the noise of the crowd and hundreds of others calling out as well. But there was just something in him that refused to stay silent. He reached out his hand as if that could somehow make a difference and get him closer. Like he'd really be able to return the little flower to her.
But then the unthinkable happened. Of all the people in the crowd, she looked straight at him and their eyes met. He was so shocked he stopped running and almost tripped as he suddenly, and clumsily, tried to bow. But he held her gaze and watched as her face shifted from the polite smile to the real one. The Princess was smiling at him! And it did indeed take his breath away as her spell came over him.
By the time he came back to himself, the carriage was going over a hill and he couldn't see her because of the sunlight's glare. Nor could he continue to follow the carriage because Liam had found him so they could head to the docks for the next event and his brother's favorite, the boat races. The crowd was entering the road again and it was difficult to make his way through and not lose track of Liam. But he knew that if given the chance he could find Emma again. And he would next year.
Every year for the next six years Killian watched the parade pass by and stared after the princess. But he was never so lucky to be able to run after her again and at a certain age he decided he was too old to do that anyway. It was one thing for a lad to chase after a carriage in a parade but it was another for a grown man. And that's what he thought he was despite the fact that Granny said he was still a boy and Liam continued to call him 'little brother'.
But every year Princess Emma cast a glance his way even if her face never wavered. The same polite smile was always on her face but he hoped that underneath she remembered the events of that one in particular parade. He knew that year would always stand out above the rest in his mind.
So when he was seventeen and the parade day care around, he felt the loss that he wasn't in Misthaven. He was in Arendale on his first naval voyage after finishing at the academy. He wasn't homesick often since he served as ensign on the same ship that his brother was commander. And he enjoyed life at sea and knowing he was helping the kingdom that helped give them a new start. But today he just wished to be home, waiting for the parade and a glimpse of the princess.
Would she notice he wasn't in the crowd? Could this have been the year he gained a smile from her again?
Thankfully Liam came along and distracted him from his thoughts or he wouldn't have gotten any work done. And he didn't need punishment like scraping the barnacles from the hull on a day like today. It reminded him of his first birthday after his mother passed.
They were sailing to Misthaven and had been on the ship three weeks with another three until they reached land. He and Liam worked from sun up to sun down for the Captain, who didn't tolerate lollygagging or distractions. Their service was how their father paid for their passage, said it would be good for them to work. As if he really cared about what was good for them, he left them less than a week after arriving. But it took effort from both his father and brother to keep him from getting into trouble on his birthday because he missed his mother and wanted nothing more than to lie in his bunk all day, humming to himself and pretending it was her.
But the day and his work carried on then as it did now and soon the day was passed. And the days to follow were like every other. He still thought of the princess now and again but it never consumed him like it did then and he continued on with life.
Another two years passed and Killian was nineteen and now a lieutenant on the Jewel of the Realm. It was June and he had two weeks of leave in Misthaven, meaning he'd get to see the parade for the first time since he was sixteen. In that time he had definitely become a man and even Granny said so now. He still admired Princess Emma, even more so now that she was taking part in her kingdom's affairs and appeared to follow in her parents' footsteps. She would be a great leader one day. As for his 'crush' as Liam had called it, that was in the past now.
But when he heard the news the morning before that the parade was cancelled he was more than disappointed. He'd been a citizen of Misthaven for ten years now and he never knew of one being cancelled in all that time or before. He became even more suspicious when he and the rest of the crew were called back to the ship for a most urgent matter.
"All hands on deck!" He called out then began inspecting the crew while they awaited the Captain's arrival to find out what was going on.
"Rum, sailor?" He questioned the one man and confiscated the bottle.
"Does anyone know what happens to sailors who drink rum?" He addressed the rest of the crew and continued to give a speech on bad form before tossing the offending bottle into the water.
"My ship has never been in finer hands." The captain announced and made his presence known.
"Aye, Captain, we stand ready to receive the king's orders." He stated and shook hands with him as the captain ordered everyone to their stations.
"When the king summoned me I knew there was only one man I could trust to navigate this difficult journey." The captain spoke as he led him to his quarters. "My little brother."
"Perhaps you mean younger brother." Killian sighed and corrected him. At least he only did it when speaking just to him and not with the crew. Even though he was young he held their respect and wanted to keep it.
"I know what I mean, Killian." Liam stated in his captain's voice, but he could see the teasing glint in his eye now that they were in private. "You are the best navigator in the entire navy. And if anyone can find who we're searching for, you will."
"Who are we searching for, brother?" He asked him but he feared he already knew the answer.
"This is to be kept between you and me for now, Killian, not a word of it to the crew. But know that if we succeed, it will bring glory to the Jones Brothers." Liam warned him before answering. "Princess Emma has been kidnapped, that is the reason for the cancelled parade. I am the only one the king has told so far. Everyone else believes it is because the queen is unwell due her to condition. That is what we will tell the crew as well until we know where she is and can make a rescue attempt. We can't have the news spreading amongst the people or it could get to other kingdoms that would take advantage."
"I understand, Liam. Thank you for sharing with me." He nodded and tried not to let his emotions overcome him. He'd never find the princess that way; he needed to stay strong and logical.
"As I said, there is only one man I could trust. You somehow found a way to follow the princess all those years ago despite the crowd and the guards. I have a feeling you'll find a way to somehow do so again now to bring her to safety." His brother spoke and the words meant a lot.
Not only did he admit trusting him. But he spoke of his feelings for the princess without teasing but with respect. Killian himself didn't know exactly what his feelings were; he'd never even spoke to Princess Emma. But he knew there was something and he knew he'd find her. He'd go to the end of the world if he had to.
First off, thank you for reading! This was supposed to be a two-shot but has already turned into a small multi-chapter story. Inspired by the broadway version of Anastasia and the song "In a Crowd of Thousands" if you haven't heard I definitely suggest listening along. Either way I hope you enjoyed and chapter will be up sometime next week. Thanks again!