Title: "I Sail My Ship on Dry Land"
Rating: PG

Disclaimer: These characters are not my creative property.

Summary: Young Regina's pirate adventure. Based on promo for OuAT 2.2.

and on a dark night when you feel lonely
and the world just can't understand you
pirates yeah pirates – Y Kant Tori Read, "Pirates"

Her thighs burned as she raced to the port. Sucking in deep uneven breaths, the sound of her heart pounded in her head. Regina pushed herself harder down the cobbled path, only tripping to a stop at the end of the pier. She studied the dark silhouette of the huge sails as the ship lurched out to sea.

She was too late. She had just missed it. The stern words from her mother echoed in her head: Get me my jewel, or don't bother to return home.

Pausing for only a moment to clutch the thin the gold chain that hung around her neck, she considered her next move with uncertainty. She would have to swim. Diving into the cold brackish waters shocked her body as she resurfaced and paddled forward fighting against the lulling waves and her heavy sodden dress.

The run had exhausted her, but another burst of adrenalin coursed through her and she willed her arms to swim and her legs to kick faster. She caught up to boat as the sails were shifted and the ship slowly turned to the North. She hoisted herself into a dingy as water dripped in rivulets from her ruined garments. Using her last bit of energy she climbed the long twisted rope ladder and fell over the edge hitting the deck with a thud. This side of the boat was quiet and shadowed, but she could hear the sounds of piano and flute music drifting from the bow.

She stood carefully, adjusting the sensation of the softly rocking boat and rung out her dress. She shivered in the cool night sea breeze. She kept her eyes open wide and listened for any sounds of danger. Her hand stayed on the handle of the dagger she kept bound around her waist, pleased to find that it had not been lost to the water. However, her shoes were gone and she padded barefoot across the splintered floorboards.

Regina flattened her body against the wall of the ship and crept carefully along until she found a staircase leading down. She listened to check for any signs of life, finding none, she continued down to the inner level. Her dress dragged along the wooden floor, and she realized if she were to have any hope of fitting in, and going unnoticed amongst the pirates she'd have to change.

She quickly searched the servant quarters and found an outfit. She darted into a corner behind a row of barrels. There she worked her wet dress over her head, straining to pull it off. She trembled in the cold as the moisture evaporated from her naked body. She was hidden from view, but she felt uncomfortably exposed.

The burgundy leather pants proved to be a chore to wrestle up her legs and over her hips. The leather was soft against her skin. The trousers were slightly big on her feminine body, but she pulled the shoestring waistband tight and tied it. She held up the billowy white shirt, hoping it would be warm enough. She flipped it around in the dark and pulled it over her shoulders. The buttons did up easily, and the rough cotton scratched against her bare dark nipples. The bit of friction heightened her senses and increased the tension in her body. She licked her lips as she tucked in the oversized shirt. The leather vest was next and she fastened the hooped belt in place, and then slipped her small dagger into the loop on the inside of the vest. She crept out from her hiding place, and searched for suitable footwear. Amongst the servant's things she found a pair of ankle high deerskin boots, and slipped her feet into the soft lining.

Once more she closed her eyes and clutched her necklace, summoning the strength and confidence she'd need to pull off this caper. With purpose she reemerged from the bowels of the ship, and made her way across the deck right towards the action. She would not be a stowaway. She would hide in plain sight. The treasure ship carried a crew of 200 men and women and she was certain she could pass as one of their own. She'd have to, or be forced to walk the plank.

When she reached the main deck, the festivities were well underway. Mostly haggard and toothless men danced and sang, with a handful of women. The energy on the ship was vibrant and crackling under the bright moonlight; the men were excited by the prospect of a profitable voyage.

A busty woman, wearing a red and white ragged dress, and carrying cups of rum thrust one toward Regina, encouraging her to go dance with a lascivious nod and grin. Regina took the mug so as to not appear out of place, and drank hastily as the woman eyed her with interest. The rum was strong and dark, the liquid burned down her throat and into her stomach, but she hoped it would give her a modicum of courage.

She had only caught a glimpse of the young boy who had snatched her mother's precious ruby while they wandered the street market, but Regina knew he was on board and that she'd recognize him on sight.

She was caught off guard by a hand on her ass as a lecherous and foul-breathed man took her hand and spun her into a lilting awkward waltz. The privateers clapped and stomped in time with the beat as Regina tried to smile and play along. She searched the crowd as she danced around relying on her body's sense of rhythm to keep up as she scanned the deck for clues.

The song seemed to go on forever, and the man drew her closer against him, she winced when he drunkenly stepped on her foot, and finally broke away shifting into the crowd on the outskirts of the dance circle. She looked out over the hull of the ship back into the inky horizon, and felt fear seize her when she realized shore was long out of view.

She politely declined the other dance offers, worrying weighing her mind. If she didn't recover the jewel soon she'd be unable to steal a dingy and paddle back home in time. These men were dangerous; murderers and thieves. She didn't have the skill to fight them if her true intention was discovered. She looked up into the stars, spotting the crow's nest and there she could make out the shape of a boy crouched and peeling an apple. It was the young ruby thief. Regina smoothed her hands over her leather vest and stood up tall, an inkling of hope warming her heart.

After most of the men had passed out, and the piano had quieted the flutist continued to play a thin reedy melody. The boy crawled down the ladder, holding a knife in his hand and Regina followed him around the side of the ship.

He jumped when she called to him, "Hello!"

He turned with a gasp, surprised to hear the soft voice of a woman, "Aye?"

Regina drew her dagger, trying not to dwell on how diminutive it was. She was confident in her skill.

"You took my mother's ruby," Regina advanced cornering the boy.

"That old Kraken was your mother?" The boy pursed his lips and sneered.

Regina felt anger boil inside her and she lunged, cutting the waistband of his drawstring pants, her dagger coming dangerously close to his manhood.

"Give. It. Back." Regina growled taking a warning stab to punctuate each word. Her heart was hammering, but she hoped she was intimidating enough to scare him.

"Easy…I don't have yer jewel no more," He backed flat against the corner, raising his hands in surrender.

"We'll see about that," She swiped again at his pants and they fell to his ankles, a small purse was tied around his thigh. Regina cut it free and emptied it into her hand: the ruby.

"A liar," Regina smiled triumphantly, quirking her eyebrow evilly as she appraised his naked form with amused disgust. She didn't wait for his outraged reply, opting to tuck the jewel into her vest and make way straight for the back deck. She slid down the rope ladder, as she heard the cries of alarm from above.

She slashed the rope that tethered the dingy to the ship, picked up the heavy oar and jumped inside. She took off back in the direction of home, only looking back once to see the angry pirates illuminated faces as they held up torches and yelled.

She hoped mother would be pleased.