"Oh, I'm going to have fun paying you back, Captain."
One moment he was looking into Cora's menacing eyes and planning how to wipe the smug smile off her face and the next he was staring at a pair of boots.
In his many years Killian Jones had been in more than his fair share of fights, and as a result him and the floor were close friends rather than acquaintances, but the ground beneath him had never felt quite like it did at that moment. He had the feeling that he was on his hands and knees, and barefoot on top of that. No, scratch that, he was wearing socks. Weird socks. On both his hands and his feet. And looking up he could see an enormous Cora laughing at him. Wait, what? Oh, shit.
Killian was absolutely convinced that no one could blame him for the choice he had made. Cora had left him next to the beanstalk, walking away with a nasty giggle and a 'good luck surviving this, Captain'. He had quickly realized that he was a) small, b) in possession of paws c) (as a result of a)) easy prey for everything except ants and d) constantly choking on something that felt like a ball of cloth lodged in his throat. So really his options had been quite limited and seeing as he had no desire to die before getting to the infamous Storybrooke and killing Rumpelstiltskin he could see no fault in his decision to go in search of the Swan girl and her companions. On the plus side, few things were on that side right now, his sense of smell seemed heightened and he found tracking Emma quite effortless.
However, now that he had found her and the other three, he had absolutely no idea what his next move was. He figured that he couldn't stay in the bushes forever, least of all because something was tickling his… well, it felt like it was tickling his backside but not quite, it felt further away from it, yet it was definitely touching him. He had a feeling that he didn't want to examine that particular mystery just yet. Or ever.
Fuck. Get it together, mate. You're Captain bloody Hook. Just go to the damn girl and demand she help you with this. She owes you!
Killian moved out of the bushes , marched over to where Emma was sitting, resting and eyeing a fruit her mother had just offered her, and launched himself at her boot.
"What the hell?!" she jumped up, dropped her fruit and was about to kick him when she froze, eyes wide. "A kitten?"
Emma turned to Snow, surprise all over her face and even the barest hint of a smile.
"You have kittens in the forests here?"
Kittens? What on earth was she going on about? … Oh God. Oh no. No, no, no. Hell no! That bloody witch! He was gonna rip her throat out! A cat?! She had turned him into a cat? Oh God! He had a tail.
"Actually no," Snow's voice drew his attention back to the women. "I've never seen a cat, let alone a kitten, in the forest."
"Yeah?" Emma drew her brows together and crouched down, reaching towards him. "Are you lost?"
Killian jumped back in surprise, eyeing her hands with suspicion. He had learned not to trust anyone with two hands. Or anyone whose hands were as big as his head.
"Hey, it's ok. I'm not going to hurt you," Emma withdrew one hand, scrutinizing the kitten with a mix of worry and confusion. "You don't have to be afraid of us."
Afraid? He was 300-years-old and had faced things she couldn't even imagine and she thought he was afraid of her? Like hell!
The currently-fluffy pirate stepped forward, pushed Emma's hand away with his paw and, lifting his head, glared straight into her eyes, as if daring her to accuse him of fearing anything again.
Emma looked at the kitten in surprise, she could have sworn it was challenging her, though she didn't know what to. And did it just lift its eyebrow?! Wait, kittens didn't have eyebrows. She looked deep into its eyes, interest giving way to confusion then recognition and then absolute shock. The blonde jumped to her feet, taking a step back.
"Holy shit! That's Hook!"
"What?" Mulan stared at her in bewilderment, ready to abandon the whole kitten fiasco and keep going, they had been resting for too long anyway.
"Emma?" Snow looked between the black and white kitten and her daughter, worry and complete lack of understanding written all over her face.
Meanwhile, Killian had started jumping up and down and running in circles around Emma (to hell with it, at least he wasn't chasing his tail!), in an attempt to support her revelation.
"T-that's Hook! It is. I'm sure. Look at his eyes. Oh my God!" Emma bent down again, picking up the kitten and almost touching his nose to hers, staring intently into the blue pools she knew she would recognize anywhere. "See?"
She turned him in her hands so that Snow could take a better look at him.
"He is so annoyed with my manhandling him by the way," added Emma as an afterthought when she had twisted Killian around once more.
How did you guess?! Put me down, Swan!
"Ok, I'm putting you down now. Do not run away!" she set him on the ground, and was 99% sure he huffed in annoyance and shook his whole body, as if she was the one who probably had lice.
Like I have anywhere else to go.
"Emma," Snow moved next to her and carefully put a hand on her shoulder, as if she was afraid that her daughter might not recognize her. "This is a kitten. It's not Hook. We left Hook at the beanstalk, remember? And you don't have to feel bad about it."
"That was 14 hours ago, Anton must have left him and… well, he must have gotten himself turned into a kitten somehow," seeing the look in Snow's eyes, she sighed in annoyance. "This is not me feeling guilty. I don't! I just- Ow! He scratched me! The bastard scratched me."
Doesn't feel guilty now, does she?
"Look, we don't have time for this. We need to go," Mulan waved her hand impatiently.
"Hook, now is the time for you to join in and make it so that I don't look like a crazy person," Emma looked pointedly at the kitten. "Or we are gonna leave you here."
He didn't really believe that she was gonna leave him again. Not when he was 7 inches tall. But it would certainly make things easier if everyone else didn't think she was mental and he a freaking cat. Ok, time to put those new appendages to good use. He swept the ground with his tail and after a few tries managed to get his claws to form some sort of lines in the dust.
"Emma, we have to go," Snow was growing impatient too.
"Wait a second," the sheriff was staring at the kitten at her feet and as he jumped to the side she rolled her eyes even though the corners of her lips kept twitching upwards. They were barely recognizable but there was no denying the fact that a swan and a hook were drawn on the ground.
"Oh God!" Snow's hand flew to her mouth while Mulan groaned in exasperation.
"I told you!" Emma couldn't keep the smug look off her face and she was pretty sure the kitten next to her was wearing an identical one.