Title: (yeah just like me) she was a victim of the night
Rating: High T
Characters/Pairings: Captain Swan. Wildly, shamelessly, gleefully AU. Walk-ins from Snow and Charming. And Red Riding Hood, who barged into the story because I can't ever not have her around.
Summary: Prompt from fyesemmaandhook on tumblr: AU, arranged marriage. Maybe princess Emma need to marry prince Killian for some treaty. Prince Killian is from some kingdom near the sea and in his free time he's up to no good on his ship. Crack, smut, anything ;)
Emma's getting married in the morning to someone she's never met — some prince from some rich, powerful kingdom on the other side of the continent — and so she needs to make tonight last. And the foreign pirate who'd shown up to rob her blind at her engagement ball will help her do just that.
A/N: Sometimes, I just wanna write gooey romantic comedy. I regret nothing.
it's just the danger
when you're riding at your own risk
she said you are the perfect stranger
she said baby, let's keep it like this
There was someone in her room.
In most stories, this was the point where she was supposed to scream Guards! Guards!, who would then burst in with swords flashing, but Emma was a bit more practical than most princesses, and knew that: A: if the guards could hear her shouting for them, so could the intruder, B: the guards had been nipping at the ceremonial wine all night, and C: frankly, there wasn't anything they could do to the intruder that Emma couldn't do at least as well, and probably better.
Her glittery formal dress featured a corset, which she had glared the maid into loosening, and her corset featured a total of four small, concealed knives; but it was the other, larger knife strapped to her thigh that she went for at the moment. It looked wicked, all sharp spikes and curves, which was why she liked it so much — it was intimidating as hell and could probably cut the devil in half.
It had been a present for her last birthday.
Carefully hiding the knife in her skirts and holding it loosely on the pretense of holding up her dress, she walked casually into the room and froze at the man standing at her bureau. She wasn't sure what she had expected, but walking sex in black leather had not been it; she also wasn't sure what she'd expected him to do, but look at her and smirk had also not been it.
He certainly looked threatening, but not in any way that her knives would be good for.
"Ah, Princess," he said cheerfully, leaning against the wall like he hadn't been rooting through her possessions. "I had assumed you would be at your engagement party. Didn't it only just begin?"
"I begged out," she replied, matching his casual tone. "Because, you know, I'm getting married tomorrow and that takessuch a toll on a woman." He raised an eyebrow, looking at her oddly, and she brought her knife up to tap her cheek idly (both eyebrows went up, and he stepped into a subtly defensive stance). "By the way, I don't keep jewels in my rooms," she said coolly. "There's nothing you want in here, so if you would please…" She indicated to the doorway with the knife, but he stepped towards her, eyes raking her body, making no attempt to hide the fact that he was mentally tearing her dress off.
"No, milady, there was nothing that I wanted in here," he murmured, almost a purr, almost enough to make her launch herself at him and drag him to her bed because he really just shouldn't be allowed to exist if he wasn't losing clothing rapidly.
She didn't let it show. "Who are you?" she snapped, crossing her arms, and he straightened up suddenly.
"Where are my manners?" he declared dramatically, and swept into a (perfect) bow. "Killian Jones, at y' service, milady."
"And what do you do for a living, Mister Jones?" she asked innocently. "Make toys for little orphans?"
He grinned brilliantly. "In a manner of speaking," he replied, just as innocently. "My exploits fill their imaginations and give them ideas about what they want to do with their lives."
She paused for a moment, taking in the clothes and the stealing and the swashbuckling demeanor. "So you're a pirate," she said flatly, and his grin widened as he bowed again.
"Perhaps I didn't introduce myself properly. It's Captain Killian Jones, I admit."
"Tell me you're just here for the crown jewels, because if your plan is to kidnap me…"
"Please," he said, rolling his eyes. "If I'd wanted to kidnap you, love, you'd be passed out on my ship by now."
She thought about that for a second, and shrugged. "Fair enough. It's a bad night for kidnapping anyway," she added lightly. "There's too many guards, and anyone who's anyone from both kingdoms are here for the wedding. A week ago, maybe."
"You've learned this in your self-defense classes?" he asked, leaning back against the side of her bureau in a way that was both unbearably sexy and which he knew was unbearably sexy — it was calculated seduction and it should not be working.
"Logic and rhetoric," she countered, but she was lost in thought. She was getting married tomorrow — to a man she had never met, some prince of some rich, powerful kingdom on the other side of the continent. When would she ever have a chance like this again? All her independence was going away tomorrow (and no she wasn't bitter about that at all nope not a bit).
She should at least have tonight.
"Let me propose a deal," she said, walking forward and holding the knife up to his throat, the blade of which he stared at warily but didn't retreat from. "I won't tell anyone you've been here, and you can take your ship and leave peacefully — if you get me out of this place tonight."
That eyebrow went back up. "Running out on your wedding?" he asked. "No concern for leaving your True Love at the altar?"
Emma smirked; he said "true love" the same way she always did, sarcasm and derision and eye-rolling disbelief. Sure, her parents were the patron saints of True Love, and obviously they really did love each other, but all that meant was that they, well, really loved each other. "I've never met the man, I doubt he would be too terribly heartbroken. But no, I'm not running out on it," she explained softly. "I'll be back in the morning."
He met her eyes — oh this just wasn't fair, he had beautiful blue eyes, he should not be — and stepped casually over the line with a decidedly wicked smirk. "All intact and everything?" he challenged, mocking, and she leaned forward, just a little.
"Yes," she replied, in his same challenging tone, "at least as far as you'll ever know." She stepped back again, but the amusement in his eyes said that he didn't believe a word of it, which — while frustrating — wasn't really surprising because she wasn't sure she believed it either. "Do we have a deal?"
"Do you mean to suggest that the darling princess has been less-than-virtuous in her youth?" he asked cheerfully, barely concealing outright laughter.
Emma glared, and refused to answer. (Because of course the answer was yes, the outer eastern wall of her room was crisscrossed with thick ivy that made it entirely too easy to sneak out of and yes, she had made use of it but it was none of his business.) "Do we have a deal?" she repeated, firmer, and held out her hand to shake. The way his grin widened said that he had read between the lines, and found the story hilarious.
"Well, I would be quite the fool to refuse, now, wouldn't I?" he replied, taking her hand and kissing the back of it, eyes still locked on hers.
He should not be allowed.
This was a terrible idea.
"Fantastic," she said brightly, and swept to her wardrobe to pull out casual clothes — as well as a small, leather-wrapped bundle of concealable weapons because she wasn't an idiot — and disappeared into the powder room to change into them, ignoring the sensation of his eyes following her every move.
Killian blinked and ran a hand over his face after the door snapped shut — and locked — behind her.
That was not what he had expected. In any way.
Maybe the gods were real.
…and hated him.
Okay, Emma. You can do this. Don't make the Neal mistake again, that was terrible, and yes, he's pretty but so was Neal and that ended in a near-disaster of epic proportion. You are getting married tomorrow, it would be unspeakably worse.
She tugged on the riding pants and tight-fitting leather bodice anyway.
Emma pulled her hair up into an uncaring semi-bun as she walked out of the powder room, using the excuse of keeping it in place to conceal her last two knives, a pair of stilettos disguised as hair sticks. She had designed them herself, and anytime she wore them, she got endless compliments about how pretty they were. Anytime she used them, she was dead on target and whatever animal she and her father were hunting was, likewise, dead.
Emma was really proud of them.
"Hair sticks?" Killian sneered disbelievingly. "Honestly?"
"I almost look like a man," she replied coolly, and he let out a tiny, contradicting laugh that she ignored, "give me my one concession to vanity, all right?"
"As you wish," he shrugged, in carelessness that may or may not have been feigned, and gestured to the window. "Well, love, if you're ready, shall we go? I'm simply dying for a tour of your city."
Captain Killian Jones had never been to her kingdom before. That was interesting.
"Well, you're in luck, then," she said brightly, opening the window — it hadn't been broken or unlocked: he hadn't come through it; also interesting — and throwing one leg over the sill, "because I'm a rebel and I've never been caught. I know where all the really good bars are."
He glanced out the window, sizing up the ivy winding down the wall, and then at her, pausing for a moment. "Quite a long drop."
"Are you trying to say you're afraid of heights?" she asked incredulously, and a little condescendingly.
He gave her the unamused side-eye, one of her personal favorite glares. "I was going to say that I was impressed, but I'm afraid I've suddenly lost the desire to compliment you."
"Except you just did," she replied, and didn't wait for a reply before swinging herself onto the nearest branch. It was a long way down, since her room was on the fourth floor of the castle, and it could be a bit of a harrowing journey in winter, when the ivy was slick with ice and mostly brown. But the alternative was sword-fighting lessons with her father — which, while she enjoyed spending time with her dad, infuriated her because she and swords didn't really get along — or studying with her mother — which also infuriated her because she knew her mother was just as much a warrior as her father, even if she didn't really do that kind of thing anymore.
Every now and then, they'd practice archery together, which was fun and challenging, as Emma's lackluster swordplay was made up for in her archery. But she was best with the weapons that neither of her parents really liked to use, like hunting and throwing knives, so practicing those with them was boring.
And Emma would swallow her hair sticks before she would open an etiquette book without someone glaring at her from close range.
Risking death by attempting to sneak out was a perfectly acceptable alternative, as far as she was concerned.
"How in the bloody hell did you do this?" Killian snapped from several yards above her (and the view was really nice but he'd gloat if he caught her staring so she made a point not to), and she laughed.
"First window escape? I would've thought a pirate had done this a million times, you know, escaping irate husbands and such," she said mockingly, and he glared down at her, but it was weakened by the darkness. "There's a pretty good string of sturdy vines going all the way down, just follow me."
He watched her for a moment as though memorizing the way, which turned out to be exactly what he was doing. It seriously dampened her pride when he did begin following her route exactly and making much better time than she ever had. But then, she thought, he was a pirate. He probably climbed ropes and netting and things all the time, so obviously he'd be good at it.
It might have made her feel better if she hadn't spent the last ten minutes mocking him for being bad at it.
"For your information," he said sharply, as he caught up to her around the first floor, "I don't escape irate husbands."
"You mean you don't get caught?" she asked, and it was almost a question. He smirked.
"Pirate, sweetheart," he replied, shrugging, about half of an apology. "I wouldn't have both my hands if I couldn't get out of trouble."
She laughed again, jumping to the ground. "All right," she started cheerfully, and he looked at her in deep mistrust, so she grinned, "I have got to know: wildest near-miss. You tell me yours, I'll tell you mine."
He was watching her in much more amusement than she thought was really warranted. "You're very forthright, aren't you, darling? Most noblewomen I've known try to pretend they're perfectly chaste and pure, except for that one time that results in pregnancy."
"I said I'm a rebel," she replied, shrugging. "Look, I have to do that in front of the court constantly, and it gets old, hearing endless tirades about that baby was born a month too early to be that big and how awful of her sneaking out of Lord So-and-So's room in the middle of the night what a whore." She sneered and rolled her eyes, muttering darkly, "but no one cares whose rooms the men sneak out of."
"So, you enjoy being able to, for once, talk about your undoubtedly — " he cut himself off as they approached the outer wall's gatehouse. There was a guard, but it was Happy, and all it had taken to get Happy on her side years ago had been a full — and completely honest — explanation of why she needed to get the hell out of the castle sometimes. He'd rarely stopped her, only when he had reason to believe the streets were especially unsafe, on the condition that she be back before dawn; if she wasn't, he would alert the rest of the guard. Emma figured that was fair.
Happy looked at Killian oddly, and Emma rolled her eyes. "I caught him sneaking around," she whispered. "I'm being charitable, and not arresting him."
The dwarf glanced at her in confusion, and then back at Killian, and opened his mouth to say something that he seemed to think was important, but stopped himself abruptly and held up his hands in supplication. "You know, you won't be able to do this after you're married. You'll be in another castle and they won't let you get away with it."
"I know," she replied evenly. "That's why I'm doing it tonight."
Happy watched her carefully for a moment, and then conceded with a nod. "All right, but you know the rule."
"Back by dawn, I haven't forgotten," she whispered, smiling, and kissed him on the cheek. "I'll miss you," she said, suddenly realizing that she really would. More than once, she'd stopped on her way in and had long (not-always-sober) conversations with him; Happy knew more about her than anyone else in the world, and he always had a kind word or a bit of advice for her — and he always kept her secrets, even from the other dwarves. He was… pretty much her only friend.
"I'll miss you too, Emma," he replied, and then glanced back at Killian. "If there's one single scratch on her when she gets back, sir, you will face the full force of dwarven wrath. It won't end well for you."
Killian was grinning like he was having the time of his life. "Of course. She'll come back in more or less the same condition — I can't promise sobriety."
"I get that. I'm a dwarf," Happy said flatly, by way of explanation.
She waved at Happy as they left the grounds and made for one of the back alleys that would lead around to the market district. "He and I go pretty far back," she explained.
"I can tell," Killian said. "And here I was, thinking that you escaped the castle all those times by wit and skill alone."
"I did," she countered honestly. "It takes wit and skill to convince a guard to let the crown princess leave in the dead of the night."
He was quiet for a moment, before nodding thoughtfully. "A fair point. So where to, love?"
She really wanted to get annoyed with his pet names, but couldn't quite find it in her to. "The harbor," she answered quickly. "I want to see your ship."
"Don't trust me that it exists?" he countered, and she glared at him for being right. She couldn't think of a pirate that would actually bring a princess back in "more or less" perfect condition — the opportunity to wring two kingdoms for ransom was just too good to pass up.
"I've never seen a real-life pirate ship. It's a great story to tell my grandchildren," she said off-hand, and then thought about that sentence in full. "Oh, gods, my purpose in life is about to become 'childbearing,'" she muttered distastefully. "Are you sure you don't want to kidnap me?" she asked, and it wasn't entirely in jest.
"Quite," he replied with a smirk. "Although I'm sure both of your to-be kingdoms would pay handsome prices for your return, they also feature a powerful standing army and a monstrous navy, respectively. Also, I've heard that your godmother is a werewolf. I don't need gold badly enough to take that risk."
"Coward," she muttered dramatically, but he didn't take the bait.
"I prefer the term 'in one piece.'"