Emma Swan was no amateur. She wasn't entirely sure where she inherited these skills from; she had never met her parents and was never told stories of them or how they met. Maybe they did run in the family, and if they did, Emma would never know. Still, she was light-footed, quick, and her fingers worked delicately, allowing her to do the job with ease.
This time, it was a ship. Two days ago it pulled up to the dock, its large sails billowing in the wind. Emma had never seen a ship quite like it before, and when she watched it pull in to shore it only grew larger before her eyes. In that moment, Emma would have given anything to be on that ship, but it was no doubt a fleeting moment. She could never leave, where would she go? The Queen had threatened her numerous times that if she were to ever attempt an escape, bad things would happen. Not to Emma, though, but to Henry. As long as Emma stayed, Henry was safe, and that was all that mattered to her.
The idea came to her the next day as she peered through the trees and watched the ship anchored on the calm waters of the dock. The stories she had heard from singers and storytellers about pirates made them sound adventurous and daring, men who stole treasures and kept them in beautiful chests on their ships. Emma had never seen a pirate quite like this one. She caught a quick glimpse of the captain as he was climbing off the ship with an air of pride (and cockiness, Emma observed) as his black hair blew gracefully. There was something especially peculiar about this certain pirate, though: he was missing his left hand, which was replaced by a hook.
When dusk arrived the second day, Emma knew this was her best shot. She threw on the tattered green cloak she had stolen from the castle over her shoulders, and slid a knife into a sheath hidden underneath the cloak. She knew that the captain and his crew would be at a local bar wooing ladies and intimidating lords as night approached. Emma waited in the shadows before cautiously stepping her way across the docks, her green cloak pulled over her head, the hood hiding her face. As soon as Emma was sure there was no one on board the ship, she climbed aboard, her boots hitting the wood harder than she would have hoped for.
Now, where would a pirate keep his treasure?
Emma's eyes scanned the ship, noting that the Captain kept his crew busy. Everything was clean and organized, not a single speck of dirt could be seen by the naked eye. Even upon closer inspection, the ship was immaculate and it left Emma breathless for an instant. She walked up the stairs towards the ship's wheel and let her gloved fingers brush against it curiously. It was beautifully polished and carved and…The Captain… she thought to herself, eyebrows rising. They'll be in the Captain's quarters.
Taking one last look at the wheel, Emma tip-toed down the steps and found a door in the floor of the ship with a large Jolly Roger symbol engraved on it. The door was beautiful yet almost in a gruesome way, representing what she assumed was the Captain's bunk. None of the other doors had such a carving on them. She heaved it open and was instantly hit with the smell of the sea and rum. With a breath and a tilt of her head, Emma climbed down the wooden ladder and found herself in a dimly lit room.
The room was beautiful. A large feather bed sat in the corner of the room on top of several planks of wood with pillows lined up neatly against the walls on both sides. All the candles were out except for a lantern with a flickering flame inside, providing the only light for the room. Emma took a moment to take in the space and was almost impressed by how tidy this pirate had managed to keep it. She noticed a long black coat hanging on the wall, beautifully embroidered and lined with silver buttons down the front. Her hand made to grab for it before her head brought her back and reminded her of what she was really there for.
A pirate keeps his things in a chest, Emma recalled, according to all stories she knew. Emma grabbed the lantern and the flame danced as she carried it around the room, taking quick glances for what might be a hint of gold. There was a mahogany cabinet at the other end of the room that almost screamed treasure chest to her. She moved to it quickly and opened the doors to find a chest inside, locked with no key. This was no problem for her, though. She had already lived many years as a runaway from the Queen, Regina. Emma Swan was always prepared.
Out of her pocket she pulled a lock pick and began fiddling and jiggling it inside the lock, and breathed a sigh of relief when she heard the well-known click and the lock fell open. Emma didn't hesitate another moment to throw open the chest, and when she did, she found herself face to face with exactly what she came for. There were pearls, jewels of every kind, gold, and coins from distant lands, everything she could have hoped for. She smiled and began stashing items into her satchel, not even bothering to look at what she was grabbing. A pirate did not need all of this, and if they did, they had no reason to keep it. It was only when she felt something cold brush up against the side of her neck that she stopped.
"You know, it's a rather cold night, lass. I doubt that cloak will do you any good," said a man's voice. His tone sounded more amused than angry to have found a cloaked woman sneaking around his ship. "Stand up, will you?"
Emma's heart was pounding in her chest now, her breath quickening as the seconds drew on. She dropped the satchel to her side and slowly rose to her feet, the cold metal pressing harder against her throat as it crawled towards her chin. She turned around, her hand slowly reaching for the knife she hid, but the pirate saw her.
"Ah, ah!" he scolded, and shook his head. He reached for that arm with his free hand and held it against the cabinet.
There was no mistaking his icy blue eyes and the cocky smile: Emma was definitely face to face with the captain.
"What's your name, love?" he asked, bringing his face closer so that he was only a mere few inches away from hers. Emma could feel his breath on her lips, and it made her shudder. The point of his hook was running along her jawline now, and the smile he was wearing moments ago was replaced by a scowl. "What are you doing aboard my ship?"
"Ask me nicely," she whispered. She stiffened against the cold metal before raising her leg and kneeing him hard. Leaving the captain cursing on the floor, she made for the door, her cloak billowing behind her. "Robin Hood."