Chapter 1: Welcome Aboard the Jolly Roger
The four women had been walking for only minutes when they were forced to stop, yet again.
"Wait; explain to me again why we're helping them? They're the reason Philip is dead!" Aurora said abruptly, gesturing angrily to Emma and Mary Margaret.
Mulan sighed, exasperated that their journey had been halted for what felt like the tenth time that day. The three ladies turned to face the brunette, whose pretty face was now contorted in a mix of confusion and anger.
After having been found and tied up by Aurora and Mulan, Emma and Mary Margaret had been quick to explain. Mulan had remembered hearing Lancelot talk about Snow. After verifying Mary Margaret's fairy tale past, although Aurora had protested fervently, the duo was deemed credible. Whilst Mary Margaret had originally denied the assistance offered by Mulan, it was eventually explained that it was her way of ensuring they weren't actually evil because gut feelings weren't always right – and Emma could not agree more with that.
And now they were trying to get back to the sanctuary so they could sort out their next move.
"Aurora, if I did not believe what they were saying I would not be helping them – I cared about Philip just as much as you and I want to bring his killer to justice but the wraith was his killer, not Snow and not her daughter." Emma silently resented being called Snow's daughter rather than by her own name but complied to remain silent for fear it might cause their journey further delay.
Mulan had been patiently explaining this to Aurora all day and, by now, Emma and Mary Margaret knew to remain quiet while she mulled this over.
Aurora piped up again, "The wraith was here because of them."
The trio sighed in unison and Emma, having not yet mastered the control of her temper, decided enough was enough.
"You know what? If you think we killed him, if you really think it was our intention to bring that thing here and kill someone innocent than why haven't we killed you? Why didn't we kill you in the same cold blood that he was killed?"
Aurora was silent, but continued to stare daggers at her and Mary Margaret who was now, along with Mulan, shooting warning glances Emma's way.
"More importantly, can you just get everything out now because I have a son to get home to and I'm sick to death of your inability to trust us." That's rich coming from you Emma thought to herself.
Silence enveloped the group, save for the sound of the trees and ocean nearby. Aurora looked down and shoved past Mulan and the others, silently complying to continue.
"Thank you!" Emma said sarcastically, earning her another angry glance from Mulan. So far, the only reason they were being given assistance was because of Mary Margaret's connection to the man they called Lancelot. As the sky began to turn pink, the women broke the tree line and stepped out into the fresh breeze rolling in as a result of the ocean. They were standing on a long strip of beach that led to an island.
"That's the sanctuary, once we get there I can talk with Lancelot and we can probably help you sort out a way to get back to your world and your loved ones," Mulan said, motioning towards the little island in the distance. At the mention of loved ones, Aurora's expression deepened and she turned away.
While Emma was angry at her mistrust, she could understand the feeling of losing a loved one and granted Aurora a short break to gather her bearings.
Emma, Mulan and Mary Margaret quietly discussed the issue of time – Emma hadn't been the only one to notice Aurora's sudden change in demeanour. As Mulan turned to summon Aurora to their discussion, multiple things happened at once.
Mulan noticed Aurora absent and drew her sword, backing away from Emma and Mary Margaret. Mary Margaret, having faced the tree line, caught sight of approximately fifteen men moving swiftly towards them with their swords drawn. Emma, taking note of Mary Margaret's facial expression, turned to her left to see the multitude of armed men rushing them.
As the men reached them, the three women back into a circle, each facing a different direction with their swords (or bow and arrow) drawn. Light was fading and, with no other light source except for that of the faded sanctuary in the distance, the women were running thin on luck.
The running group stopped about three metres from them and began to circle them. A particularly greasy man closest to Emma spoke up.
"Ladies, we hate to tear you from whatever it is that you were doin' but we have orders to take you back to our ship – a robbery of sorts, only you're the property." As he looked at each of the women, his eyes blatantly scanned Emma, making her feel suddenly vulnerable. He smiled, noting the way she now shivered under his revolting stare.
Mary Margaret took note of this and spun the women so that she was facing the man. If looks could kill, the greasy spokesperson would be dead with bells on.
"You're outnumbered and we swear not to hurt you… we're only carryin' out orders." His words were laced with mockery as the man took a step forward, lowering his weapon an inch.
"Your weapons down first," Emma said, in a voice that commanded attention. The men looked to the greasy one and he nodded. As the encircled men slowly lowered their swords, so too did Emma and the other two. They weren't dumb enough to try to fight out of this situation.
"Where is Aurora?" Mulan suddenly asked, reminding Emma and Mary Margaret of how their attention had been brought to this situation.
"The pretty one?" The greasy man licked his lips and smiled again, evoking a snarl from Mulan, "she's fine, I had two of the men take her back to the ship while you three hens were clucking. She'll be alright as long as she doesn't try to run – speaking of, you may want to come with us or she'll be alone…" the way in which he uttered the last word made the hair on the back of Emma's neck stand.
In silent compliance, the women followed the group of assailants – the darkness chasing their detour.
As they boarded the massive ship, Emma noticed a dark silhouette standing by the helm.
Once aboard what Emma had seen was named the Jolly Roger, the women were forced to stand in line against the railing. Aurora was already standing there and relief washed away some of the fear as she recognised the women. With a crewmember on either side of their line, the greasy man spoke again.
"Cap'n, we got 'em like you asked!" He looked towards the helm where the dark silhouette began to move down the steps to the main deck.
"Thank you Grimes, now be a good lad and step aside so I can view the rewards of our scrimmage." The voice was rough and accented, and Emma couldn't help the interest it sparked in her. Maintaining a neutral face she tried to see into the dark where the figure was emerging.
Grimes stepped aside to stand with the other men who had now given the Captain a clear path to their prisoners. As he entered the light, Emma and her companion's couldn't help but note how attractive he was. With shaggy straight black hair that messily across his forehead and intensely pale blue eyes, Emma immediately filed him under the category of womaniser. She had met her fair few and, judging by the look of cocky satisfaction on his face, Emma figured he was used to women gasping at the sight of him.
Aurora's sudden intake of breath was easily heard, only fuelling the infuriating smirk plastered on his face as he sauntered forward. Emma remained resolute, determined not to give him further satisfaction.
"Miladies, sorry to deter you from your obvious course but I was just curious as to who these two are?" The captain pointed to Emma and Mary Margaret, his gaze lingering on Emma a moment longer than necessary. The women were silent and the captain's smirk faltered as he moved towards Emma.
"Who are you?" He asked, holding her stare evenly and dropping the charming act like a dumbbell in the sea. Silence greeted his question and he moved on to Mary Margaret, again asking their identity. Emma and Mary Margaret exchanged a worried glance as the captain's demeanour became less swagger and more intense.
The captain looked back at Emma, having noticed the exchange.
"Tell me who you are… or…" the Captain raised his right hand, ready to backhand Emma at a drop of his weight.
"We're from another realm." Mary Margaret said quickly, unprepared to see her daughter suffer violence. Emma let out a breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding.
"Well… that doesn't actually answer my question." The captain looked to Mary Margaret expectantly. Mary Margaret opened her mouth to speak again but Emma quickly cut her off.
"Captain, if I could have a word with you?"
The captain looked stunned but regained his composure, smiling winningly at the blonde.
"Why would I want to do that? I have the power here." Emma returned his unrelenting stare, never flinching even when he jolted his hand forward as if about to slap her. Mary Margaret, however, moved and was quickly restrained by a crew member.
The captain seemed to be impressed by Emma's ability to repel him and dropped his raised hand to his side. He chuckled, studying her features silently.
"The name's Killian Jones but I prefer Captain Hook, come this way," he turned around, signalling with his other arm which – to Emma's surprise and horror – actually held a hook in place of a hand. The crew appeared visibly floored by the Captain's actions as Emma followed Hook, looking back to give Mary Margaret a nod of assurance before entering his den.