3. role reversal!au
Killian comes around to a throbbing pain in the back of his head and the sound of someone clucking their tongue at him. “Gods, if you could only see how pitiful you look right now.”
He groans, feeling around the wooden deck of the ship for his sword but coming up with nothing because, of course, whichever of these scourges bested him made sure he was rendered weapon-less too. He supposes they’d be remiss and not-very-competent pirates if they didn’t, even if it’s deeply inconvenient for him.
The question in his mind about where it went is answered when he drags his eyes open: pointed straight in his face. The sunlight reflects off it and its glare momentarily blinds him until he can focus his eyes around it. The woman on the other end of it is almost as dazzling, blonde hair blowing across her shoulders and under her chin. Once he recognises who she is he feels slightly better about his current predicament— any sailor in any tavern across the land would understand being bested by Captain Swan. Those in the know scarcely classed it as a dishonour because of the sheer inevitability of it.
Killian sighs. It was, believe it or not, supposed to be a the event-free return from a routine diplomacy visit to David and Snow White’s principality to congratulate them on their upcoming nuptials. That is, until one of his sailors spotted the flag of the Jolly Roger in the distance like the bad omen it was. If he survived this run in with Captain Swan, Liam would no doubt finish the job for her for being so careless as to let Swan’s crew get close enough to overrun them. He’s effectively a dead man walking (or… lying, given his current position) whatever happened.
“What do you want, Swan?” His voice comes out like a rasp and he tries to clear his throat discreetly—he’s powerless enough as it is without having to sound it too.
She smiles falsely, leaning forward so the sword is that bit closer to his throat. “I’m always glad to hear my reputation precedes me, but that’s ‘Captain’ to you. And the same thing that we pirates always want: gold, jewels, money, your finest wares— but don’t let that fool you that you have a choice in giving them to me. My crew are emptying your cabin as we speak.”
“If you’ve harmed a hair on my crew’s heads, Swan,” He uses the name because he now knows it bothers her. It’s about the only advantage he has over her right now. “It’ll be your neck on the block, I swear it.”
“Cool it, buddy. And lose the tone. They’re tied up below deck for now, not a hair out of place-” she snaps her fingers in sudden remembrance. “Oh wait! tell a lie! I did have to kill one of them. But really… I did you a favour.”
“How?” he spits.
“You may have heard that pirates have codes, and I apply my own quite stringently,” she says. “A man who attempts to force himself on a woman to gain an advantage is better off at the bottom of the sea.”
His anger dissipates at that. He wonders briefly who the bastard was, but quickly decides he doesn’t care.
“Captain?” a voice says behind him says. He inclines his head back to see who it is but swiftly regrets it after a stabbing pain shoots through his neck and head. “What are we to do with the crew?”
Captain Swan looks down at him, cocking her head and smirking softly at him. Despite himself, he feels a sort of heady rush go through him as she studies him with an almost predatory air. He’d heard stories of Captain Swan on his travels, but none of them quite prepared him for just how… entrancing she is. “Good question, Belle. Haven’t decided myself yet. Set adrift maybe? Toss Mister Nobility here overboard and make him swim for land… if he can that is.”
“You need me alive!” he tells her, sitting up slowly. His own sword follows him, pointed right at his face. The shadow of the other woman, Belle, engulfs him and another sword touches the side of his neck from behind. No escape.
“Why?” Captain Swan barks out.
He grins, feeling the first glimmers of gaining the upper hand since this whole sorry debacle began. “Normally, I’m loathe to use this line on a woman, gives off the wrong impression, but… don’t you know who I am?”
“A particularly sorry example of an ignominious ruling elite who squeeze taxes out of the masses in return for a few blessed hand waves at royal events?” Killian resists the urge to roll his eyes; of course Captain Swan would be an anti-monarchist.
“Captain, before you decide what to do, you might want to know, he’s not just any noble,” Belle says, and he mentally thanks her for the stay of execution. Killian winks at Captain Swan, acting braver than he feels. “He’s the brother of… King Liam himself.”
His brother happens to be the Commander of the finest naval fleet in all the realms, one that could easily locate and overwhelm even the fearsome Captain Swan at the drop of a hat if Liam caught wind that his brother had been killed aboard her ship. Various royal authorities were in constant pursuit of the Captain on piracy charges, but murder and treason would put her far out of her depth. And judging by the look on her face, Captain Swan knows this all too well. She studies him, her jaw clenching and unclenching in thought. He holds her gaze unflinchingly. “Prince Killian, I presume,” Captain Swan says, deeply unamused.
“An pleasure to meet you, my lady,” he says, feeling secure enough to stand up and mockingly give her a low bow. “Now you know my name, might I have the honour of knowing yours?”
“Over my dead body,” Captain Swan says, glaring.