"I heard you and he had some… unpleasant business in the past." Red hinted suggestively, noticing the steely glint that entered his eye when she had mentioned Queen Snow's imp.

"I suppose you could say that." Killian's voice was low and tight, a tickle of barely restrained fury leaching into his words, and Red couldn't help but feel intrigued, her eyes following him as he paced around the desk, observing the rough map she had drawn for him carefully. "You're sure this plan will work?" He asked skeptically, stopping behind her chair and leaning down to look over her shoulder, gently pulling her hair behind her ear, and twisting one of her many tiny braids between his fingers absently.

"I'm willing to bet your life on it," her playful tone earned her a reproachful tug on her hair, and she glanced towards him out of the corner of her eye. "And mine, since you're having this… fine fellow stand watch over me until your return." She gestured towards the large, broody man in the corner, currently employed in holding up the cabin wall with his arms folded over his bare chest, not even glancing up as he was mentioned but instead muttering something under his breath about not being amused. "Just make sure that you follow my instructions precisely…" She turned her head towards him, bringing their faces just a few inches apart, and he couldn't help the way his eyes were drawn to her lips. He closed his fist around her dark locks, about to lean in closer when a less than discrete cough from the corner drew his attention, and he glanced up at the half-naked guard with more than a little irritation.

"What is it, Will?" He growled, before he nodded towards the now open door, and Killian straightened up as he saw Mr Smee lead in a man with close-cropped blonde hair, his wrists bound tightly. "Ah, yes, I trust this is… Mr Davey?"

"It's David." The man answered in a growl, taking a step towards him before he noticed Red seated at the captain's desk. "Cap'n?" His tone was far less hostile with her, as he awaited some kind of orders.

"Are the bindings really necessary, Killian? You will be working alongside one another soon enough, you ought to trust him a little." Red looked up at him, and he rolled his eyes, then nodded to Mr Smee, who untied his wrists. He rubbed them, still looking to his captain for orders. "David… I've struck up an accord with Captain Jones, we're going to be working together henceforth. But since he doesn't trust me yet, you'll have to prove our good intentions. Make a good impression, as it were." Killian watched the man as he received the news, his finger still toying with one of Red's curls absently.

"We're joining up with his crew then?" He sounded less than enthused at the prospect.

"Not... exactly. He'll keep our men, and myself, as… guests aboard this ship until the two of you return, at which point, the men will be given a choice to stay, as a part of the Jolly Roger's crew, or to go." Red wouldn't make any deal that didn't include the safety and freedom of her men, which Killian had kind of admired.

"And… what about you?" David eyed the way the pirate's hand moved to Red's shoulder, his thumb brushing against her neck possessively.

"That's none of your concern. Now… are you willing to work with Captain Jones, or should I fetch someone else? Jim's already turned me down." She brushed aside his concerns, lifting an inquisitive eyebrow in his direction. David considered for a long moment, before he nodded.

"Aye… I'll do it. What do you need, Cap'n?" He was still clearly addressing Red, a fact which caused Killian a small measure of annoyance. It could get to be problematic, if too many of her men decided to stick around. A ship could only have one captain.

"I knew I could count on you… now, you know Belle, don't you?"

"The whore what works at your Gran's tavern?" David lifted an eyebrow.

"That's right. You're going to need her help to get in."

"So… you bat your eyelashes at the guards and they'll just open the gates for you?" Killian was skeptical, looking down at the woman with his eyebrows raised. She sighed, sensing his lack of enthusiasm.

"King James has whores in and out of the castle all the time, we won't be noticed that way." It was David's skepticism now that made her roll her eyes.

"Wait, what do you mean 'we'? Don't tell me King James has a taste for men." David lifted an eyebrow, a worried look in his eye. Belle laughed.

"Not quite… which is why you two are going to have to work on your image a little bit." She looked them up and down pointedly, before she gestured to her open closet, colorful skirts practically falling over themselves to get out. Killian's eyebrows shot up as she continued. "Don't worry, I have everything we need to get you two… presentable." Her eyes flickered between the two men, as though waiting for a response.

"So… you expect us to dress up as whores?" Killian did not sound amused, lifting his eyebrow at her and giving her a look like he was insane.

"If you'd rather just give up, and try to come up with another plan, that's up to you... or you could send Red to do it. I'd have an easier time making a convincing whore out of her." She laughed, and Killian's eyebrow dropped, looking annoyed. That was probably exactly what she wanted, the bloody wench. Well he wasn't about to play into her hands.

"If you're not up to the challenge, lass, we'll find another whore who is, but otherwise, get out the damn corsets." David did a double take his jaw agape as he stared at the determined pirate before him. After a moment he blinked, swearing under his breath.

"No wonder she teamed up with you… you're as mad as she is." He muttered under his breath as Belle hopped to her feet, giggling with amusement as she started draping them with silk and muslin.

"They're new." The guard gestured to the two unusually tall whores that were accompanying Belle and the others inside, and Belle fluttered her eyelashes, smiling disarmingly.

"They are… aren't they exotic? I thought they might… spice things up a bit." She lifted her eyebrows with a tantalizing smile, and the guard glanced past her at the new whores with silk draped over the bottom half of their faces, then shook his head.

"Ain't got no desire to know what the king is into, just go." He waved them through the side gate without further question, and Belle led the way inside and up a side passage. Once they were up the staircase, Belle sent the other women on to the king's chambers, and she and the men took another servant's passage.

"You might as well lose the disguises now… if anyone catches us now, we'd be taken before the queen anyway." She glanced towards David with an amused look. "And we might just be better off with your mug uncovered."

"What are you talking about?" He growled, although he was clearly glad to be rid of the silks he was now ripping up and shoving into a random oversized vase poking out of an alcove.

"Oh… nothing, nothing… you just happen to resemble someone." Belle joked but refused to say anymore as they proceeded up another staircase to the wizard's tower. Once they reached the door, covered by a shimmering magical shield, Belle paused. "Any idea how to get past the barrier?"

Killian looked skeptical, even as he reached into the pocket of his overcoat and withdrew the chubby little mouse Red had referred to as 'Gus'. "Time to earn your keep, squeakers." He held the mouse up to his eye level by the tail, earning himself an indignant squeak, before he set him down on the floor in front of the magically sealed door.

"A mouse? Your grand scheme for getting past a magical barrier is a mouse?" Belle folded her arms over her chest and looked at the pirate skeptically, as Gus sniffed around the bottom of the barrier.

"Don't underestimate the little guy. He knows how to get in and out of tight spots, and he's never let the cap'n down before." David spoke up in defense of the rodent, but Belle looked unconvinced and even Killian was skeptical, even as Gus found a crack in the wall that he was able to squeeze through.

"So… the rat's in. What do we do?" Killian looked to David, who shrugged.

"We wait." And they did just that, until the sound of heavy metal boots clomping up the stairs drew their attention. They glanced at one another and around the bare stone landing for a moment before they all came to the conclusion that they had nowhere to go. Killian reached for the door handle, but the spell repelled his touch, and he looked at David, who was leaning around the corner of the landing to peer down the stairs, and drawing his sword.

"I'll draw them off, you two get that chest," he whispered, and Killian nodded, before David threw himself down the stairs, bowling over the two unsuspecting guards as he vaulted down the stairs. They fell with a clatter of steel on stone, before the scrambled awkwardly to their feet, looked at one another, and chased after the nimble pirate.

Killian kept his hand on the hilt of his sword, just in case, glancing down the stairs, until there came a click from behind him, and he turned to see the door to the tower swinging open, and the magical barrier melting away as though it had never been there. He glanced at Belle, stepping forward. "Not to be ungentlemanly, but I think I'll take the lead from here."

A/N: Hey guys! Hope you enjoyed this latest chapter, but if you didn't, please let me know! This chapter is a bit different from the others, I've opened it up with some other characters and I plan to do more in the upcoming chapters, so please let me know what you thought of how I handled them this round. Let me know what you like about the story, what you don't like and what you'd like to see more of, I'd really appreciate it! Please review!