Author Note: By my friend Rita's request ("All hail the Evil Queen of Shipping"), I try my hardest to do a love triangle between Jefferson, Emma, and Hook. However, I've chosen to throw in a convoluted plot, because that's what I do. You're welcome and sorry? Hook will enter in later, but for now, the focus is on Emma and Jefferson. For the record this takes place at Season 1, Episode 18: "The Stable Boy." Everything before that happened as usual. Everything during and after… well, it's in my hands.

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Previously on Once Upon a Time...

Mary Margaret stands accused of the murder of Katheryn Nolan, David's wife. Fearing the worst, she attempted to escape using a skeleton key found in her cell. Emma pursued her, only to run into Jefferson, aka the Mad Hatter. Jefferson abducted both Mary Margaret and Emma, in order to get Emma to make him a magical hat. The two women fought back, ending with Jefferson flying out the window and disappearing, leaving only a top hat on the ground. Emma takes Mary Margaret back to jail, but the case goes badly against her. Desperate to save her friend, Emma looks for new leads on this case...

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Chapter 1

Jefferson woke to dull throb of pain, starting from the back of the skull and permeating throughout the rest of his body. It felt as though he'd been smacked upside the head with a blunt object before being drop kicked out the second story window. Oh, wait. He had. Jefferson opened his eyes and was rewarded with a stab of sunlight. Great. He covered his eyes.

As he slowly sat upright, he noticed something underneath him. It was the top hat he'd coerced Emma into making last night, now flattened and useless. Jefferson grimaced. Well, that had been a completely useless endeavor—even for him. The sad thing was, unlike most of his wasted efforts, this one had kindled a faint spark of hope. The look Emma had given him, he almost thought… But it was just another lie. Jefferson tossed the hat aside and began to climb to his feet.

"Hold it right there."

Jefferson groaned. This day was getting better and better.

He turned around to see Emma standing in front of her cop car, with her pistol pointed at his chest. There was no sympathy in her hazel eyes today, just a steely look of determination.

"Good morning, officer." Jefferson bobbed his head in an attempt at a bow. A surge of pain shot through his head, but he hid it with a quick, ironic grin. "I don't suppose you have any asprin on you?"

"I'm surprised you had the guts to return to the scene of the crime," she said.


"You're under arrest." Emma held up a pair of handcuffs. "Turn around and put your hands on the back of your head."

Jefferson felt a twitch of irritation run through him.

"You're not going to arrest me," he said.

"You're crazy if you think I'm going to let you free after everything you did to me and my friend."

"Your friend." He smiled. "Yes, and where is Miss Mary Margaret Blanchard? I take it you got her back to jail in time for her arraignment."

He took a step toward her.

"Freeze," Emma said. "Don't take another step."

He ignored her. "You can't convict me of anything without admitting Mary Margaret tried to escape and you covered for her. Regina will love that."

He walked right up to her and saw her stiffen, but she didn't pull the trigger. He bent his head so it was close to hers and said, in nearly a whisper.

"And I'm not crazy."

Emma pressed the barrel of the gun against his chest. "Don't make me shoot you," she said in a low voice.

"Try it," he said, pushing against the gun, pushing closer to her. "Because I've been in hell for the last twenty-eight years, and I have nothing left to lose. You want to kill me? Be my guest. Maybe it will work in this world. It didn't in the last one."

He tugged on his collar to show her the scar on his neck where the queen of heart had cut off his head. Not that Emma would know his story or believe it, even if she did. But he knew it made her uncomfortable. Just one of many things that didn't add up.

Emma stared him straight in the eye, her face intentionally blank, her shields up. Not that they protected her. Panic rolled off her in torrents, in waves. Jefferson realized he'd backed her up against the car and that there was barely more than the length of the gun keeping them apart. He was close enough to hear her breathing, and it was slow and shallow and erratic.

She's really thinking about killing me. Jefferson tilted his head. Maybe he should let her. Dying wasn't the worst thing he could think of. He looked at her again and noticed that the sunlight brought out the greens in her eyes, created a halo of light over her blonde hair. He sighed. No, probably best not to turn the savior into a murderer. Nothing good could come of that.

He took a step back. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a headache to tend to."

He turned around and stepped back toward the house.

WHAM! Another burst of pain slammed into his head, this time causing his vision to blacken.

When Jefferson came to, he was once again lying flat on the ground, face first this time. He tried to get up, but his hands were yanked up behind his back. He felt cold metal go around his wrists and heard a click.

"Jefferson, you are under arrest for the murder of Katheryn Nolan," Emma said, from behind him.

"Katheryn?" Jefferson said. "I didn't kill her."

"You seem like a good suspect to me," Emma said. She bent her head close to his ear and whispered, "In fact, if I were to bet between the sweet and innocent school teacher and the psychopath stalker with who lives alone in the woods with a house full of knockout drugs, I know who I'd put my money on." She grabbed his hand-cuffed wrists and yanked him up. "On your feet. Get up."

"This is a mistake," Jefferson said, as he stumbled to his feet. "You have no proof."

"Pretty sure I'll find some when I search that house of yours."

"You're going to frame me?" Jefferson started to laugh. "And here I thought you might actually be honest. Silly me."

Emma opened the car door and pushed him inside.

"I'm not going to frame you," she said. "But someone did kill Katheryn, and I intend to find out who."

"Well, it wasn't me."

"We'll see." She slammed the door.

He sighed. "You're making a mistake," he called out through the crack in the window.

Emma ignored him and started for the driver's seat, when something caught her eye. She walked over to the flattened top hat and picked it up, giving it an odd look.

"Is this the hat I made?" she asked. "You still have it?"

"Well, it was on me when I fell."

"That was two days ago."

Jefferson blinked. "Two days?"

Emma leaned against the window. "How did you get away? We went out to check on you, but there was just a hat."

"Just the hat?" he repeated.

"You weren't hurt, were you? Do you need to stop at the hospital first?"

He'd stopped listening to her. His mind was already whirling. He remembered falling out the window, the hat below him. Then impact, then pain. But before the impact, there had been that faint shiver in the air, like static charges before a lightning storm. It was that same feeling he got from Emma, faint and rare, but it was there. And even after 28 years stuck in the world, he still knew it instantly.


"Two day?" Jefferson whispered. "You know what this means?"

"That you're suffering memory loss." Emma opened the driver's door and got inside. The door shut with a loud slam.

"You did it." Jefferson smiled. "You got it to work."

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End Note: I'll update by next week, and I hope to be pretty consistent with chapters, since I have a lot of ground to cover before Hook even appears. I'm a fantasy writer, so if you like my writing and want to check out more, you can visit my website: .com, or just click on my profile. Thanks for reading and please comment to let me know what you think.