Run and Confirmation

The man awoke in the hospital. He barely remembered the previous night, but he knew enough to know that some stranger had most likely given him a concussion. He didn't want to wonder at the other injuries.

"What're you in for?" a woman beside him asked. Somewhat startled, he turned to look, and he found himself almost entranced by a green-eyed, blonde beauty in the bed next to him.

"I'm not sure, but I figure I'll find out," he replied.

"Doubt it. I don't even know why I'm locked up, 'cept the Mayor, our darling queen, would have a use for me, or maybe the doctor."

"I shudder to think."

"But he has to let us go sometime. Protocol and all that."

"You mean we're going to be stuck here?"

"You talk like it's forever, and forever is an awfully long time."

He propped himself up on his elbow. "Miss Bell?"

"They call me Joslyn here. What do they call you?"

"Captain. Sometimes Captain Hook."

Tinker Bell smiled. "Good to see you, Captain."

"The same to you."

"Well, since I know who you are now and I know for a fact that you're antsy about staying here interminably, I say we escape."


"The lights go out at ten, and by then the only people around are the night guard and the janitor, and they don't come by here until one in the morning, if at all. We've got hours. We can find some decent clothes, maybe get our hands on some keys, our files, important stuff. I know all the steps, all the routines. I can do it. I can get us out of here."

"Any guarantees for after we leave?"

"No, but I don't handle that. There's a puppet here named August, or Pinocchio if you like. He talked to me sometimes, before he turned into a puppet. He said there's this man named Ben, and once the curse is broken, he'd be available, too, to help us. They'll shelter us. They're, like, the resistance for this world."

"There's still the chance that we'll be found."

"The queen's in jail. Haven't you heard?"

"I have not."

"So you must be new here."

"Just sailed in."

Tink nodded. "I'll tell you everything you need to know a lot about this place. They thought I wasn't listening, but I was."

Dr. Whale entered the room. Tink immediately turned her gaze to the ceiling and assumed a glazed-over countenance. Hook reacted more slowly, but he turned his gaze to the doctor, studying his face. "Awake, I see," Whale said.

"As awake as I'll ever be," the captain replied. Whale smirked and produced a syringe. Hook snatched it out of his hand and drove the needle deep into the doctor's leg before injecting the syringe's contents. The doctor sank to the floor, and Tink sat up.

"Are you nuts?" she asked.

"No, but I fear he is."

"Well now we're in a strange position, so what the hell do you think we should do?"

"Unhook ourselves and flee the scene."

She tore the needles and electrodes from her skin and stumbled out into the hall. He was soon to follow, and she led him down to an exit. She threw a glance over her shoulder and entered a code. "I said I listen," she offered by way of explanation as they entered the stair well. "Best place to hide in the whole building. I don't know this as well, but some of the nurses come up for coffee sometimes."

They walked down a hall and she pulled him into a closet. A large, stocky man lumbered past. They shrank back to the wall and waited for the man's footsteps to fade into the distance. "Okay," she whispered, "we can stay here for a while."

"Then what?" he replied.

"Then we get out."


"I think I heard something about a tunnel leading to the rest of the underground network."

"Do you think it exists?"

"One way to find out." She walked out of the closet, followed closely but reluctantly by Hook.


Rumpelstiltsin took a deep breath and entered the room. "Bae?" he asked.

His guest stood and turned toward him. "I haven't been Bae in a long time," he replied.

"Is it you?"

"Depends on who you ask."

"I'm asking you. Are you Baelfire?"

Ben walked up to his father and looked him in the eye. Softly he asked, "What do you think...Papa?" Recognition immediately flashed into Rumpelstiltskin's eyes, but he quashed it. "August lied to you, I know."

"How do I know you're not?"

"There are a few things your son would know that August doesn't. You can ask me about those, if you want."

I can't back out now, Rumpelstiltskin thought. "Let me assume that you are Bae and see how you answer."


"Did you once say, 'If the law says I'm to fight, then I'll fight'?"


"What did the duke tell you about your mother?"

"She left us."

"Who gave you the magic bean that sent you to this world?"

"The Blue Fairy, Reul Ghorm."

"Who told you about her?"

"Morraine." Ben's voice caught, and then a question came to his mouth, unbidden. "What happened to her? Did she live happily?"

"She...she made me promise to help her find you."

"What price did she have to pay?"

"I gave her a bargain because I know she matters to you."

Ben released a breath. "Where is she?"

"I won't ask you to forgive me for this..." Rumpelstiltskin forced himself to keep his voice steady. "Come with me." He walked downstairs with Ben at his heels. They continued thus until they reached the pawn shop.

"Please tell me you didn't turn her into something," Ben said.

"The exact terms were that she could see you again, but I had to send her somewhere where that could be possible."

"Is she dead?"

"No." Rumpelstiltskin plucked a hand-sized crystal ball off a shelf. "Here, I need you to keep this. Make sure it doesn't break, because if it does, so does the connection you now have with her." Ben took the ball and then inhaled sharply. "What is it?"

"I...I don't know. I feel...something."

"Can you describe what you feel?"

"Like...magic...but...a little different."

"Are you alright?"

"I think so." Ben put the ball into his pocket. "I, um, I think I'll walk around for a bit, clear my head, get the lay of the land, stuff like that."

Rumpelstitlskin nodded. "Alright, that's fair." He recieved a nod in response and watched Ben walk out of the shop.