Pairings: For the most part canon. Eventual Jelsa, but beforehand there will possibly be others.

Rating: R/M because people are dying so censorship is a much lesser issue of debate

Disclaimer: Send your appreciation and respect to the minds of Disney, DreamWorks, Bluth, and pretty much any animation company that is not me. The original concept of this story is not mine: Fables belongs to DC/Vertigo Comics. I'm simply reinterpreting a pre-existing story, like pretty much everyone else on this website. Song and lyrics, "Pirate Song," is by Flogging Molly.

Thanks: To SashaWren and IGdude117 because my writing is by no means perfect and there's always something to improve. Seriously, give them major props and thank you's. And I would also like to extends thanks to Fyrearth, PrinceOchibi, cartoonlover44, and SharKohen for your reviews. Your support means a lot.

Cheers

Chapter 2 – "Silver Chases The Wild Goose"

Or

"Pirate Song"

On a good night, the sheriff of Fabletown would find himself at The Pub. There he found a good drink and good company could be acquired with the beckoning of a finger. The music would be loud, a mixture of music from other worlds and guilty pleasures of this one, only to be drowned out by loud, conversing drunks. Ideally, Silver included. The rougher types used would share war stories and battle scars that everyone had heard before by this point, the lonely would drown their sorrows in a drink and perhaps temporary company, and Silver would take it upon himself to animate the crowd with a good tale, veiled optimistic news from his investigative team, and as much theatrics that could be tolerated from a large man.

Best to give Fables a reason for hope, and no reason that he couldn't enjoy the attention. Two birds, one stone, as they say.

Tonight, however, Silver would have to make a rain check from the drunken merriment: he had business to attend. A well-known Fable was missing, caught up in something, possibly dead, and the suspect list was frustratingly large. Prince Naveen, hardly a prince anymore, had no shortage of enemies - so tracking down who would make for a plausible prime suspect would make for more than a challenging task. Silver found it best to start in the beginning, which was why he found himself at the outskirts of Fabletown, where the magically hidden town merged into the heart of Boston, and Tiana's was bustling with business.

The princess, or ex-princess, was one of the few who had arrived in this world phenomenally wealthier than she had ever been. Tiana worked as hard as Elsa and she didn't work in government – and that work had paid off to her owning and running several of the most established restaurants in Fabletown. She even had a branch in the greater Boston area and made quite a bundle off of the Natives. Last Silver heard she was interested in opening up another restaurant, but that would be a couple decades.

Silver took a moment to adjust his coat, well aware that he stood in stark contrast to the rest of the patrons entering the establishment. Tiana's, the original, was a dress and tie sort of place.

The sheriff began to tuck in his shirt, saw Lumiere was that night's greeter, and thought better, and meant to march right into the establishment. He paused when he noticed the couple checking in for their reservation.

The Frenchman peered down at the list, then did a double take if Silver had ever seen one. Not that the alien was particularly surprised. The immediate individual to capture anyone's attention was the man dressed in a rich black suit, a long, gray beard and equally long hair pulled back into a low pony-tail. Few stood as tall and exuded a spiritual pressure that all seemed to shrink in his presence. The reclusive leader of the Seventh Floor, Yen Sid, had made a public appearance for the first time in almost a year.

Silver was surprised to see Yen Sid. Normally the sorcerer only left his living quarters to attend the Remembrance Day Ball – the social event of the year where any Fable who was anyone would appear to celebrate the day in which they arrived on Earth and founded their home. At first it was a means to encourage camaraderie between the foreign Fables who came from differing lands and to incite hope that this was a temporary position they held and one day they would return to their respective homes. These days it served more as a ritual for everyone to come dressed to the nine's and come together from their separate lives to recall that once their realities were so different. Three centuries in a world such as this can wear on an individual's spirit: people become complacent.

That year marked the 300th year of Fabletown's founding, and perhaps for the special occasion Yen Sid decided to make an unusual appearance. After all, the ball was days away. That, or it was due to the woman hanging on his arm.

Dressed in a clinging, deep red dress stood the voluptuous Chel. Her long black hair was wrapped in a luxurious bun, emphasizing the plunging back of the dress that fell to her mid-back.

She leaned into Yen Sid who was almost unresponsive, and answered for him, "I believe there should be a reservation for two." She half purred.

Lumiere smoothed back his dark pony tail as if to calm himself. "W-why of course." He swallowed to regain some semblance of composure. Silver took some amusement seeing the normally smooth and flirtatious Frenchman caught off guard by Yen Sid's unexpected presence. "Yes, there you are. Shall I seat you on the floor or –?"

"Some place cozy would be nice," Chel said in a low voice. Lumiere turned to Yen Sid for confirmation, but the sorcerer did not respond so Lumiere took that as confirmation.

"For you, we have just the place. Please, follow me." He grabbed a couple of menus and beckoned for the couple to follow him.

Silver stepped up to the podium and unabashedly leaned against it as he waited for the Frenchman to return. The wait wasn't long and Lumiere perked at the sight of Silver. "Ah, Sheriff, to what do I owe the pleasure?" he trilled before faltering before the list and gave him a onceover.

"I'm afraid you're not on the list, and even so, I could not let you in like this."

"Well 'scuse me for not bein' dressed fer the occasion," Silver mocked, "but I happen ter be here on official business." He pulled his badge from the inside of his jacket and held it up to Lumiere's nose. The Fable went mildly cross-eyed looking at the item.

"Oh! Pardon, Sheriff, I didn't realize…" He paused. "If I'm to accommodate you, I'll need to know with whom you wish to speak."

"I need ter speak with Tiana."

At that Lumiere started. "The mademoiselle? Non, non, non she has been involved in nothing, Monsieur Sheriff. I can speak on her behalf. She is an upstanding citizen, a guiding star who has employed so many unfortunate Fables over the years." The Frenchman's gaze hardened. "Whatever you're accusing her –"

"Ye daft, hotty-totty, nincompoop!" Silver grabbed the flirt by his bowtie before he could scramble out of reach. The sheriff pulled him close, well aware that he was spraying spit and hot breath on the man before him. "I haven' even accused her of anythin', yet! Yer the one scared o' the water before ye've even looked at it. Now bring 'er here or I'll have yer arse arrested on account o' obstructin' justice." Silver paused before adding, "And gettin' on me last nerve."

He released the cloth and Lumiere fell back with a stutter.

"O-o-of course, Sheriff!" And with as much dignity as he could muster, he scrambled into the establishment.

A minute or two passed and Silver found himself impatient and a little bored, and he entered despite his attire not meeting the dress code.

Heat and sound were the first two sensations the ex-pirate became aware of upon entry. The restaurant was a sort of combination between fine dining and jazz club, and everyone was moving or talking. Wait staff were running around to fetch orders, dressed in tuxedos, while patrons were seated at round, white-clothed tables, sipping fine wine. Three levels were open to patrons: bottom floor, main floor, and upper floor. The bottom floor featured those who wished to focus on the entertainment provided by Tiana's, usually music, as Tiana had a great love and taste for it. Sometimes there were comedy acts, and on occasion one of the lower ranked from the Seventh Floor would be a feature to earn extra cash. The main floor was the primary restaurant, with larger tables, and seated farther away from the stage so that they may hear one another better. Those on the upper floor had booths that were both more private, expensive, and provided an optimal view of the stage beyond the lower floor.

Silver could not help but compare the differences in setting and company that he and Tiana tended to hold. She enjoyed the finer things in life, whereas he didn't mind a grimier setting. Still, The Pub and Tiana's both established settings with community and laughter.

Tonight's entertainment featured the redheaded Ariel, dressed in a fitted, white-sequin dress. Silver was not surprised. She was both a crowd favorite for her other-worldly voice, and she and Eric needed the money. He imagined less so now, considering she held the gig for about 50 years, but he didn't really keep tabs on their income.

His mechanical eye searched for the owner amidst the sea of wealthy Fables. Like a beacon a beep in his head sang to indicate its recognition and he located her by a table on the main floor near the stage. Her elegant silver dress hung around her beautifully, and he thought to himself that she and Elsa must shop at the same place for they both almost always wore white. The main difference was that Elsa leaned toward blue, and Tiana green. The black beauty was in discussion with Edna Mode, a short yet incredibly intense fashion designer. Silver could easily imagine how the conversation was going, especially with the quick hand gestures and forced smile Tiana held. He observed the relief ooze out of her when Lumiere tapped her on the shoulder, beckoned her close, and whispered in her ear. Tiana straightened and he could feel her seek him out with her eyes.

He offered a mild wave when she found him.

Silver watched Tiana excuse herself before weaving her way toward the sheriff. Lumiere began to follow her, but she gently shooed him.

"Silver," she greeted as strode over to him. "What a pleasant surprise to see you in these parts." He offered his arm and she took it and gestured to the side where a door subtly resided. "To my more private quarters for more discreet discussions," she explained.

"Righ'," he grunted and slipped his arm out from hers to hold open the door.

She smiled, said, "Thank you," and he followed her inside.

Down the corridor they went, passed the lounge and lockers designated for staff into the door with the plaque Main Office hung above pearl-colored glass. With practice she easily opened the lock with her key and turned the lights on. Silver entered the office, a nicely decorated study with bookcases filled with recipes were lined, a large desk where her desktop, pens, and picture frames were aligned, and a little lounge with more than enough seating for the two of them.

Tiana seated herself in one of the cushier chairs, and waved her arm. "Do have a seat, Silver." With a grin she added, "Word has it you've been runnin' around about as much as I do, and that definitely warrants a moment to sit." She paused, "And caffeine. Shall I make you coffee?"

"Ah, the next bes' drink next ter a good rum. I'd thank ye kindly fer that." Silver eased himself into one of the larger chairs. He knew it was going to be a long night, and he best take advantage of her hospitality now before he brought up the news.

Tiana busied herself with the mini kitchen just beyond the seating area. Leave it to Tiana to have another kitchen for her to work in within her own restaurant. As he watched her start the coffee maker, he idly thought to himself that for someone who just commented about needing to rest, she sure made herself unnecessarily busy.

"So tell me, Silver." She did not turn back to him as she spoke. "How has your day been?"

"Eh, it's been busy, as ye said." Silver wiped his brow. "Have a bit o' a case that has me attention. Been runnin' around like some loon I have."

"Mm, and I heard." Tiana brought back two cups of coffee and offered the one in her right hand. Silver took it gladly.

Silver was nervous for a moment that the actions he took to make the operation more covert were for naught. Maybe the White Rabbit blabbed. Then again, there was no way Tiana would be this calm if she knew. "What have ye heard?"

Tiana blew gently on the drink, thought better of the heat, and put it to the side. "Not much. Just that you were draggin' poor Milo around again." Ah. "Everyone knows when you bring Milo into the case that means you need an extra pair of hands."

"I've gotten that predictable, eh?"

She grinned. "Just a bit. That poor man – I hope you're at least compensating him for his efforts. I know working with that blue critter can be hair-graying for just about anyone."

"Jack's there, too."

"Oh lordie me, Silver, you're setting Milo up for heart failure."

"Bah, the lad has thicker skin than most." Silver sipped his coffee. Black as he liked it. Good old Tiana, keeping track of everyone's taste preferences. One of the ways she showed she cared. It warmed him in more ways than one. "Has Jim been volunteerin' in the kitchen again?"

Tiana raised a brow at that. "Jim? No I haven't needed the extra hands for at least a decade, what with the hard times so many Fables have had." She tried for her coffee, found it too hot, and set it down again. "Is that why you came all this way?" She looked as if she were about to make a joke before deep concern etched across her face. "Is that why you're here? Has something happened to Jim?" She held her gloved hand over her chest.

"No, I'm afraid this ain't about the lad, but a certain Fable we ain't too fond of."

The concern dropped to agitation. "Naveen."

"Ye don' seem surprised."

Tiana finally sipped her coffee, finding it had cooled enough. "That man causes trouble wherever he goes."

"I mean yer not surprised he's here in Fabletown," Silver said, and he mentally confirmed that Tiana had to be considered a suspect, even if he knew she wouldn't harm anyone. Even her ex-husband.

"No," she admitted. "I'm not surprised. He came to me …" Tiana visibly counted back. "About six months ago. He had the gall to try and ask for money." Silver whistled at that. "As if I were dumb enough to… I turned him away. He tried to come back to my restaurant a few times, but he should know better by now he's not allowed entry, especially with some poor filly."

Silver's expression grew serious as he addressed the woman in front of him. "He may have gotten more than he could chew this time."

"Oh yeah?" Tiana scoffed. "Did he embezzle a woman who is equipped with a good lawyer? Certainly explains how desperate he was."

"Tiana, I'm afraid Naveen be … missin'."

Silver could see from her raised brow that she didn't quite grasp the situation yet. "Are you sure he hasn't just run off again? If there's trouble anywhere, you know he'll hightail it fast as he can."

"Tiana," the sheriff pressed. "His apartment be … a crime scene."

Her brown eyes widened. "Oh no..." She pressed her lips tightly together, careful to choose her next words. "Can I, can I ask what happened?"

Silver shook his head. "I can't say."

"Silver."

"Friends we may be, but I be here as sheriff and this be an official case. Can't go blabbin' all the details to civilians."

"Then why –?"

"I'm afraid I'm goin' ter have to ask ye ter come with me ter the station."

(There's nothing more a man can do)

"On a scale of one to ten, would you please tell me how much pain are you in?"

"Six."

"Okay. Please hold still while I apply Bactrim to the wounded areas."

"Thanks, Baymax."

Elsa stood by the door to Baymax's medical facilities, listening to the large, marshmallow-like robot administer care to Jim's injuries. After Jim nearly passed out on top of her, she created an ice cot to carry the injured Fable to the elevator down to the second floor to Baymax where the medical robot could provide Jim the help she couldn't. She turned it on as Hiro had before instructed her. Elsa was always amazed by the technology within the android: it was able to discern an issue with Jim before she said anything. Baymax was able to diagnose that Jim suffered from malnourishment, dehydration, fever, various deep abrasions across his body that are infected, and potentially sexual assault.

After waking Jim with smelling salts, Baymax hooked the Fable up to an IV to bring water back into his system. While waiting for his hydration to go back up, he was munching on various snacks Baymax had in his office. So far the options were an array of crackers, peanut butter, a couple apples, and a lollipop. Jim was making his way through the candy, having eaten about everything else.

"You need to eat more before I can give you the oral antibiotic."

"No problem."

"I am told Flagyl tastes rather metallic."

"Oh, great."

Elsa had excused herself, feeling that Jim could use some privacy, and because she felt rather overwhelmed. She had tried calling Silver but he hadn't picked up so she left a message briefly explaining he could find her and Jim on the medical floor. Her phone felt heavy in her hand but she didn't dare put it back in her purse, in case she received an important call. She already had a false alarm earlier when Belle called. Elsa let the call go to voicemail, and now she had a new message.

She would listen to it later.

Jim loudly sucked in air through his teeth and she gripped her mobile harder in sympathy.

First Naveen is missing, and now Jim turns up having experienced something clearly erring toward traumatic: honestly she felt she could use a hug and a nice cup of hot chocolate. Where were Anna and Olaf when she needed them? Well, one of them was up at the Farm, and the other was celebrating her anniversary and had yet to return.

Anna and her husband, Kristoff, were visiting New Zealand to see where Lord of the Rings had been filmed. She expected she would be treated to a slideshow of many reenactment photos upon their return.

"Anna, I wish you were here."

"Elsa?"

The snow queen straightened and turned her head at the sound of her name. "Yes, Jim?" His voice was still a little breathless.

"It's all right, you can come in."

Elsa gripped the metal, not quite entering. Jim was lying in a cot, several blankets pulled up to his chest, and his right arm held out for open access to the IV. His legs were elevated from earlier when he was receiving treatment for shock, but that seemed to have passed. The Snow Queen averted her gaze, focusing on his face, not as frighteningly pale as before. The lollipop poking out of his mouth endeared him to her. The tired, sadness behind his eyes even more. He offered a slight smile before dropping his gaze.

"My scan shows higher levels of dopamine in Jim when Elsa is present …"

Jim stiffened considerably and his voice cracked for probably the first time in centuries, "Hey you stupid robot –!"

"… An increase in dopamine leads to higher pain tolerance. Therefore, I conclude that Elsa's presence would be beneficial for Jim's recovery." Elsa turned a bit pink behind her hand and smiled. At least the fact that Jim was able to stutter and become worked up meant he was feeling better than before. Baymax waddled as he picked up a chair and placed it next to the head of Jim's bed. The robot patted the back of the chair and directed its cameras toward Elsa. "My scans indicate sitting down would be beneficial to your health as well. This would be," the robot almost seemed proud as it recited a saying it had recorded from humans. "Hitting two birds with one stone. Though to do so would be frowned upon."

Jim covered his eyes with the crook of his free arm. "Right. Thanks, Baymax."

"My function is to help."

"Yup. You're doing a good job, buddy."

"I believe a fist bump is in order."

Elsa quietly laughed behind her hands as Jim begrudgingly appeased the robot's implied request. It was terribly amusing how clueless the robot seemed to Jim's strain. Yet the male Fable was purposely responding in a way that Baymax would assume its functions were met with positivity to avoid strain or confusion. She lowered her hands, almost in bemused guilt, as Jim looked her way. It was rather sweet, actually.

"Baymax." Elsa turned to the robot with a smile. "Perhaps if Jim needs to eat more, you could go and ask Kronk to whip up something for him? He's down in the kitchens."

The large android turned to Jim. "Is there something you would prefer to eat?"

Jim was fishing. "Uh, I'm not sure. Something heavy."

"Something heavy. I will ask Kronk his opinion." Baymax took a few steps toward the door, then stopped. "Are you sure you have no preference?"

Jim waved him off. "Anything is fine, big guy."

Baymax shifted back on its android hips and nodded. "Then I shall make use of Kronk's expertise on cooking. His food is described as excellent."

"That's right." Elsa bit her lip to refrain from laughing. Jim playfully rolled his eyes and she bit down harder.

"I shall depart for the time being." Baymax waddled out the door.

Jim visibly relaxed further into his pillow.

"Oh." Elsa and Jim jumped as the robot popped its head through the doorway. "It is healthy when one has experienced trauma to talk about the event to begin healing. Elsa is a friend, and therefore would make for a potential option. Professionals, such as psychotherapists or psychologists are also good options. Perhaps I should contact Jiminy Cricket?"

Jim's playfulness ebbed as a weary guard manifested itself. "You cooking would make me happiest right now."

"Very well." And finally the robot left.

The two Fables waited to see if Baymax would reappear, but it seemed after a minute or two he had indeed departed.

"Ugh." Jim slumped.

Elsa smiled gently. "Baymax has been a great help. Its programming is simply … on the smothering side at times."

The injured Fable took the lollipop out of his mouth. "If Hiro would just let me look into its specs…"

Elsa stepped over to the seat Baymax had set up for her next to Jim and sat down. She clutched her hands in her lap. "His brother created that robot, so it's understandable he doesn't want anyone else touching it." She knew that if anything were to happen to Anna, she would feel very protective of any memorabilia.

Jim shrugged but didn't show any disagreement. His fatigue was showing once more. Now that Baymax was gone, it seemed his guard was dropping. "Jim." He looked up at her, his blue eyes seemed all the bigger. She rested her hand flat on the bed a few inches from his torso. Purposely caring, but not too intimate. "If you do wish to talk, you may. I'm not Silver, but I am happy to listen."

"Thanks, but I'd better wait for him."

"Of course." She was surprised that she was a bit hurt by his rejection. Elsa mentally berated herself. Jim was in pain, in the hospital, and here she was making it about her. How selfish and egotistical. It wasn't as if she was an open book. Rather hypocritical, too.

Jim seemed to pick up on her feelings, for he reached his hand out to hers and clasped it in his. She gasped a little despite herself. People didn't touch her too much. His wrist was wrapped in gauze to protect the infected abrasions and keep the ointment secured, but his hand was large and warm. "Elsa, it's not … I just, I don't want to explain more than once, all right? Silver will want a report and whenever I go through … everything, well the fewer times, the better." She wondered if her hand felt cold. "But thank you, really." He smiled up at her.

Tender affection seemed to glow from within her, or maybe it radiated from both of them. It was hard for her to say.

"I –"

"Jimbo!" Elsa jumped and pulled her hand back despite herself. She didn't miss Jim's look of disappointment quickly covered by relief at the sight of his old friend. "What have ye gotten yerself into this time?" Despite Silver's accusing words and tone, Elsa knew he had deep concern for Jim.

"About time, ya old scallywag." Jim grinned. He then looked back to the doorway, confused. "Tiana?"

Elsa looked back, too, and indeed there the Fable was – dressed impeccably in a glittering white strapless dress matched with a rabbit fur coat. She hoped the White Rabbit didn't catch sight of her. She and Tiana resonated with one another in so many ways, but sometimes Tiana was a bit stubborn in her views of how she wanted to care for herself. This included dressing in expensive furs that would offend a great deal of the Farm inhabitants.

"Jim, how are you?" Tiana made her way to the bed, then changed her direction when she noticed the snow queen. "Elsa! You're here, too." She stood next to the blonde and rested her hands on her hips. "It seems we have something of a party." Elsa offered a weak smile.

Silver shook his head in good humor then shifted into 'sheriff mode.' "Elsa, I'm gonna need ya ter take Tiana up to me office fer the time bein'. Jim and me have to have a bit o' a chat."

Tiana raised her brow as Elsa stood to acquiesce Silver's order. "Excuse me? Silver, you said this was all a formality and shouldn't take long. I don't have time for false accusations – I have a business to run!"

"Tiana." Silver's tone was firm but gentle. "I'm sorry, but yer goin' ter need ter wait." Tiana deflated. It was clear in his tone he was also saying 'If this was anyone else, you'd be top priority.' The two had a bond from beyond their arrival on Earth. "An as soon as I get ter ye, I'll have ye out as quickly as I can. And I'll escort ye home safely meself."

"All right …" By the time Tiana turned to Elsa to be escorted, the deputy mayor was already standing. The ex-princess addressed the healing Fable. "Jim, I do hope you feel better." Jim nodded but said nothing.

"Yes," Elsa spoke up for her own farewell. "I'll need to take my leave after. Please take care of yourself." She smiled and added, "And please have patience with Baymax."

Jim grinned guiltily and shook his head. "Thanks, Elsa. You too, Tiana."

Elsa offered a little wave before exiting the room behind Tiana. The two walked in almost awkward silence, a bit of a surprise considering how they normally got along. Elsa figured Tiana may still be upset so she opted not to say anything. Elsa knew she would be frustrated if Silver were to pull her away from her mountain of work, only to be a sitting duck until he finished with other tasks. There was something inefficient about the whole thing. And no appreciation for another's time, either.

Tiana spoke up. "Was it just me, or was there a bit of a moment goin' on before we got there?"

The Snow Queen raised a brow, deciding to play oblivious. "Moment?"

Tiana smiled knowingly. "I may not be Anna, but honey, I've known you long enough to have picked up a thing or two."

"What you sensed was relief from Baymax." Elsa corrected. "Jim doesn't like to be fussed over."

"He'd like you fussin' over him."

"Tiana!"

"Well most men would, I suppose."

"You hang out with Lottie way too much."

Tiana laughed and stepped to the side as they entered the elevator. "Deflect all you want, don't mean I'm wrong."

"Well," Elsa almost sputtered before lamely finishing with, "you are." She pressed the button marked '11'.

"Just as well." Tiana shrugged. "I always thought it'd be you and Jack gettin' together."

The doors closed.

(Settle down, don't take a fit)

Jack wiped his forehead with his forearm, careful not to get any residual blood on his face. His back was killing him from being hunched over so much, but his Fable healing capacities would correct that in a few minutes. Already the soreness had lessened compared to just moments earlier.

"Is that everything now?"

"Ih."

"Finally!" Jack almost sat down on a couch in relief, but thought better of it when he remembered it was covered in blood. He opted to slump down to one of the few areas on the floor not covered in red.

Finally, after hours of work, they were finished.

"Amazing." Jack didn't bother to look over in Milo's direction as he spoke. He wanted a good solid sleep. "Stitch, your estimate was correct – 3.6 liters exactly!"

The blue alien seemed far less enthused about the matter than the bespectacled Fable, but his evident smugness more than made up for it. "Naga estimate. Stitch calculate exactly. Stitch smarter than all you silly humans."

Jack chuckled and rolled his eyes. He didn't care enough to argue with Stitch. Plus, he knew that the little fur ball was technically correct. No one garnered money like Stitch did. While the alien worked in the Law Department, his network far exceeded anyone else's due to his occasional interest in the stock market. Occasional being the operative word because the alien didn't so much care about having a great many riches, but being able to get whatever he wants. So if Stitch had a whim, he would be seen on the computer and making phone calls, and whoever else were to keep tabs on his bank account would quite possibly fall over in the change in amount. The only reason Stitch wasn't seen rolling in it all the time was because it did not interest him and he grew bored easily.

"I think Hiro might take offense to that," Milo said in clear amusement. "Merlin, too, for that matter."

"Not Jumba, eh?" Jack playfully challenged. Now he was looking at his two companions. Stitch was hanging off the ceiling once again, one set of arms folded across his belly, while his remaining two arms were busied with keeping him hanging and stroking his face in contemplation. Stitch was looking at the recreated scene from above, getting a fuller perspective. Milo was leaning against a part of the counter in the kitchen not covered in blood. He was scribbling away on his notepad.

"I think Jumba figures whatever Stitch does is reflective of his own intelligence. If anything, he actually takes pride in the matter," Milo explained without looking up.

"That's dumb."

"Depends on how you look at it. For example, the capacity to rework the makeup of another being and create an entirely new species is incredible. But then to go even further than that and go into the DNA coding and pick and choose precisely the traits that you want? That's nothing short of incredible. His understanding of genetics is, is, is far beyond anyone I have ever met – save for Stitch who was given that capability because of Jumba." Milo was half gushing, half rambling again. Jack chuckled. It was endearing to see the nerd get excited about others' work. The bookworm of a Fable had a strong sense of curiosity and wonder in him that reminded Jack of North. "People underestimate him because he's rather … eccentric," – "Sociopathic" Jack corrected – "But I believe –"

The window slammed shut and the two jumped, realizing Stitch had just climbed out the window. Jack awkwardly made his way to the window sill, avoiding blood, and opened it again and stuck his head out. Stitch was scurrying up the wall.

"W-what's he doing?" Milo asked from inside.

"Stitch!" Jack hollered. "Everything all right?"

The alien didn't respond but slipped into the apartment above: the original crime scene.

Jack frowned. If he had his staff he could call upon the wind to fly him up there no problem. He could hear Elsa's voice, telling him that she knew he could fly without it, but she didn't understand. Or maybe it was him that didn't.

He pulled his head back inside. "Man, I have no idea what he's doing."

Milo looked around the room doubtfully, "There could be something missing he needs to check on…"

Jack stretched his arms out in front of him. "If he ends up giving us more work, I may need to do something drastic."

Milo cringed. "Please don't."

"Hey." Jack gestured to himself, his orange jumpsuit. "I'm not being paid for any of this."

"Well," Milo said, adjusting his glasses, "to be fair …"

Stitch scurried back into the room. "Make no sense." He grumbled to himself as he scurried down the wall onto the counter. With ease he jumped to bare areas so as not to disturb anything. The alien opened the cabinets, inspecting the few dishes that were still present, some nice China. The alien sniffed, licked at them, and then held his fore-claw to his mouth, thinking. He hmm'd long and hard.

"Something up, little guy?" Jack tried.

Stitch's response was "Choota," but it seemed he was speaking more to himself than any other Fable. He climbed up the cabinet, not bothering to shut the small doors, and moved along the wall into the bedroom. Milo, seemingly intrigued, made his way to the cabinets Stitch had just inspected. Jack made his way over, too. He folded his arms, looking over Milo's shoulder. A typical China set as far as he could tell. They were really nice, though. Were they stolen or something?

"Huh." Something seemed to click for Milo as well. His attention shifted to the emptied shelving around the China.

"Yeah." Jack gestured to the ground and counter where broken dishes resided. "It's lucky this stuff survived." Milo sharply turned to Jack, enough to make the Fable take a step back. "What?"

A funny look passed over Milo's face, an incredulous smile of sorts. "You said lucky."

"Uh-huh." Jack dragged his vowels out. "Have you seen this apartment? He probably didn't own too many nice things. So it's lucky they weren't ruined…" Jack trailed off. A fuzzy thought began to become clear.

From the other room, Stitch exclaimed, "Ikata!"

"Stitch!" Milo raised his voice. "We need to contact Silver."

"No kidding." Jack folded his arms and leaned against the counter. "I just remembered, we never got dinner." He held his hands over his stomach to further emphasize his point.

"Naga problemo." This time Stitch peeked his head through the door and held up a credit card Jack was pretty sure did not belong to the alien. "Stitch order pizza. Silver's treat."

His cackles were drowned out by Milo thumping his head against the cabinet.

(Ya drank with demons straight from Hell)

The headache finally died away. Whether it was due to having more food and water in his system or the antibiotics kicking in, Jim couldn't say. Whatever the case, he was relieved. He had one less thing bothering him. He almost wished he could call back Elsa and use her ice magic to numb his wounds, but that wouldn't solve anything. At least Silver was serving as a distraction of sorts.

The sheriff was seated in the chair Elsa once resided in, though scooted back a pace or two to make room for the larger Fable. In his mechanical hand he held his large cup of coffee. He probably was using that arm because it didn't really get tired holding an object up for long periods of time. Jim had no intention of ever losing any of his limbs, but there were some benefits to robotic enhancements.

"Ye think yer ready to talk, yet?" Silver asked as gently as he could. "Not ter pressure or anythin', but I need ter get yer story, an' I have a bit of a night ahead o' me. O' course, I could do so in the morn', but I'd much rather know whose head I need ter be tearin' off." He grinned despite the fact the threat he played off as a joke didn't translate.

Jim exhaled long and slow. That certainly was the question of the evening. Honestly he wasn't inclined to answer, but that wasn't going to help anyone. "Yeah … I'll talk. Just, give me a moment."

Silver leaned back in his chair as he switched his mug to his organic hand. Jim was curious for less than a second when the gears of the robotic arm turned and it pulled out a recording device from within itself. It occurred to Jim that after all these years, he still didn't know how many gadgets the thing had.

"Naveen needed my help."

"Naveen?" Silver leaned forward and interrupted despite himself. "Ye've seen Naveen?"

Jim shook his head. "Not since Tuesday." He made a move to squeeze the bridge of his nose, but the pain in his wrist was too present so he breathed through the impulse. "I don't know what happened to him, but … Mim mentioned a thing or two about it." It hurt to say her name.

The Sheriff nearly dropped his coffee. "Wait, Mim? Ye don' mean Mad Madam Mim!" Jim felt heat crawl up from his neck to his cheeks. The shame was more potent than he had anticipated. "Aw, Jimbo! What the blazes were ye doin' with her for? Ye know she was kicked out of the Seventh Floor fer a reason. She's more addled than the Cheshire Cat."

"Silver, really don't want to hear it." Jim groaned. He took another moment to try a different tactic to explain what happened. He still wasn't entirely sure what did. Or maybe it was more that he didn't want to believe what had happened did. It felt too much like a dream, and he really did not care to talk about himself in general, let alone about a subject this difficult. "I didn't … I didn't know it was her, okay? She was, she was disguised."

"Disguised?"

This time Jim knew he had turned red from embarrassment and he hated it. The idea that he had had any attraction toward the woman made him disgusted with himself. "She was …" he searched for the right word. "Younger."

He could tell if the situation were less serious Silver would be laughing.

"But, I knew something was off after the first date! And, and I only went on it after talking with Naveen, and he introduced us and –"

"Jimbo," Silver interrupted again, and Jim sighed, both irritated and relieved the sheriff had done so. "I'm sorry, but ye need to explain more about yer interactions with Naveen. I didn' even know ye were in contact. Ya know he's not exactly the most reliable of Fables ter be getting' involved with."

"I'm aware. Especially after all this. I just …" Jim took another deep breath. It was story time. "We ran into each other at The Pub back in October and it was, it was a rough night. He was moaning about Tiana, how he messed up that relationship. I had a few extra drinks in me …" Jim shook his head at the memory. "Anyways, I mentioned a thing or two about …" The sentence wouldn't finish itself. "I could just relate, I guess. About struggling with the women you want, you know? Only Naveen, man, next time I see him I'm going to kick his ass."

If Silver's silence triggered anything for Jim, he pretended not to notice for he continued.

"Fast forward to about a month ago and Naveen pops up at my place and says he has a girl. Took me a moment to remember we had ever spoken about the matter. I tell him I'm not interested. But he did the thing where he talks around you and says he's going to do one thing but really he's just trying to get you to do something for his benefit. Don't get me wrong, I saw into it. But I just assumed he owed a random girl a date and was pawning her off to me. I didn't realize how much he was trying to screw me over. At least at first."

Jim shut his eyes tight, wishing he didn't have to say what he was going to, but he knew where the story was leading and Silver needed to know. He could feel a wave of anger from the Sheriff who was in tune to the younger Fable's struggle. Jim opened his eyes and sipped down a large gulp of water before continuing.

"I went on a blind date. Blown away. Could give Ariel a run for her money with that voice of hers. And her looks …" Jim shook his head. "Of course it was magic-induced. I know that now. Anyways, I enjoyed our dinner so I took her out again a few days later. Our second date didn't feel right. Looking back I realize she didn't actually say all that much. Talked a lot. Didn't say much. And what can I say, I'm attracted to powerful women with a bit more logic in their head. So I didn't ask her out again. Then a … week later? Naveen appears at my place again and wants to know why I haven't gone out with her again. Freaked out. I got pissed and told him off. Then I was traveling, as you know." Silver nodded. "And when I came back … a day or two later I was abducted."

"By Mad Madam Mim."

"I didn't know who she was yet. I was coming back from Elsa's office – just checked in – when I was attacked. It reminded me of my artifact-testing days. When I helped you and Merlin, and the rest were analyzing the Class A magical items in the Basement."

"She cast a spell on ye."

"And like a novice I left my protective gear at home." Jim shook his and paused. He didn't care for the next part of the story. "I woke up with my hands and feet tied to a bed."

The Sheriff hissed, "Merciful Heavens." His mechanical eye shifted from gold to red. For once, Jim felt less alarmed and more validated.

"I checked the ropes she used. Some sort of metal-based material, but they were coated in purple and poison to trigger burns if I tried to escape. It was then I got to see … more of her. She went on about not liking that I stopped our game. She recently lost her other one and she was a 'sore loser.' She didn't want to lose two games, so she abducted me."

"Do ye know if she meant Naveen?"

Jim shrugged helplessly. "I don't know. As far as I could observe, they definitely had some tensions – he avoided being in the same room. Something was up. Another reason I tried to end things. Didn't help… The days were … long." Recent memories of purple hair brushing across his face, unwanted touch of skin, and that awful shrill laugh danced through his mind. He winced. "Last night when she released my shackles to let me use the bathroom, I was able to … distract her. Then incapacitated her. Got ahold of some tweezers she had in her cupboard. Turned out it was magic. I was rusty, but able to use some techniques I picked up from my testing days, and managed to undo my chains. Tore down the curtain and managed to make my way here."

Silver rested his hand on Jim's shoulder, his natural eye enraged. "Ye mark me words. I'll see ter her payin'. She won' get away with this."

Jim attempted a smile. "Yeah, well I'd feel better if she didn't live in this building. I thought she was kicked out of the Seventh Floor. Why does she still live there?"

Silver scratched the back of his neck. "The core members felt it would be too cruel ter kick her out o' her own home. And they felt it'd be safer to keep her close. Keep an eye on her."

The irony was not lost on either of them.

"Believe me, I'll be havin' a word with the lot o' them."

Jim bobbed his head, otherwise feeling he had nothing more he wished to say. He had little energy left in him and dwelling on his past week would stress him further. He opted for a quiet, "Thanks," in response.

Silver smiled sadly, then reached his hand up to Jim's head and ruffled his hair as if he were 15 again. Nostalgia washed over the adventurer, and he could tell the same occurred for the ex-pirate. Somehow times seemed simpler when they were enemies on a ship trying to outwit one another. Those were the days.

The sheriff stood and called out, "Baymax!" And the large robot wobbled in on cue.

"You requested my presence?"

"I'll need ye ter watch over Jim. Ye have yer fightin' chip installed, or do I need ter get Hiro?"

"There is no need. Hiro forgot to retrieve the device after his last installation, so I am ready to defend for the sake of Jim's health." Jim tensed, sensing that Silver was going to leave. He really did feel young again. Vulnerable. Even though he knew Baymax had defensive programs installed, including an intricate stronghold against magical beings, he wasn't sure how safe he felt.

"Alrigh' then." Silver at least appeared to feel some regret, having to leave. "I'm afraid I'm goin' ter have ter leave ye here, Jimbo."

The injured Fable's smile was weak in effort and enthusiasm. "I know."

"I'm…" Jim watched Silver struggle with his words. It wasn't too often he saw this side of the ex-pirate. The words he uttered here were the most difficult, yet most honest for the old Fable to utter. "I'm glad yer all right."

That time Jim did smile fully. "Heh, me too."

His hair was mussed once more before Silver left. Jim mildly wondered who the sheriff was off to see first: Tiana, or Mad Madam Mim.

"I believe it is time to change your dressing and re-apply the ointment."

Somehow that seemed to answer his slight pondering. Silver was a man who liked to follow a very intentional plan, but if something more pressing is at hand, he's all for making the necessary changes to adapt accordingly.

He wondered if Silver would manage to follow laws set in place 300 years ago, or if he would be so inclined to take matters into his own hands.

(They almost nearly won as well)

The ex-pirate stood outside apartment 708 and bellowed, "Mim, ye better open up righ' now!" Warrant be damned, he had more than enough cause to have her arrest. Oh he hoped she would resist. Give him reason to knock her into next week.

Silence.

"Mim! There's no use hidin'. I know what ye did, despicable it is, and if ye know what's good fer ya, you'll come out wit' yer hands up!"

Nothing still.

He held up his mechanical arm, switched to gun mode, and held his hand on the trigger. Carefully Silver pressed his ear to the door.

Nothing.

"She went out to play." A familiar voice purred. Despite Silver's recognition, he still jumped when the dark pink, striped cat appeared out of nowhere, floating above the doorway.

"Cheshire, ye best not be talkin' about Mim."

"Hmm," the cat rolled over onto his back, scratching his stomach. "Is there someone else you'd rather talk about?"

Silver regretted his words already. He took a couple steps back from the door. "No. Get back ter her; what do ye know about her?"

The Cheshire Cat tilted his head about 180 degrees past any capacity a normal feline would have. "Who?"

Silver opted not to take the bait and took out his frustration on the door to Mad Madam Mim's by blasting it open. Smoke filled the entirety of the hallway; debris shot through the dust. The cat tumbled through the air, more propelled by the pressure than anything else. He Woohoo'd as he passed the alien's head. Silver shouted he was entering the apartment, despite knowing by this point Mad Madam Mim was mostly likely not anywhere near. He steeled himself as he entered.

Night vision-mode kicked into his mechanical eye upon entry. The area was dark save for light from the hallway and candles further inside. He coughed into his hand despite himself. He could hear the floating cat coughing as well, though much more theatrical.

Exploring was alarmingly fruitful. He found a forest, dozens of dead animals – even more embalmed, boards in place to block the windows, and a blood trail that when followed led to the bedroom. There Silver discovered a hidden trapdoor which revealed another floor beneath. Given the barren room save for the bed with chains, it was safe to assume this was where Jim had been held captive. The sheriff had to hold a hand over his nose to block the smell.

He was sure to take pictures using his phone. Evidence. He bagged one of the chains and the used sheets as well.

Silver climbed back up the steps, marveling at what he saw. The extra space Mim had accumulated also caught his attention. Expansion spells were in place to fit a large living area in a smaller space. Many of the Seventh Floor had spells for such magic, but they were supposed to be registered with the Basement. Clearly holding young Fable males hostage was not her only flavor of crime.

Silver noticed the Cheshire Cat was slithering his way around the furniture, so he asked, "Ye have any idea where Mim is? She has some charges agains' her an' I may have to just hold the Seventh Floor accountable fer harborin' her."

The cat cocked his head to the side. His smile seemed to grow larger. "Hickory dickory doc, the little cat was shell-shocked. Her toy was gone and so was the fun, hickory dickory doc."

He wanted to throttle the thing. A new take on an old nursery rhyme? Not helpful. Important member of the Seventh Floor or not, the magical feline got on his nerves. Silver turned his back to the Fable, curious about the jacket that was draped across the back of one of the chairs in her kitchenette. He knew Jim well enough that this would not be the style of clothing he would wear. Maybe this was Mim's, but something in his gut said this belonged to someone else. For good measure he bagged the jacket as well. Stitch could have a look at the item.

"Hickory dickory doc, the cat took an angry walk. She wanted someone to pay, they took her play thing away, hickory dickory doc."

Silver slowed in his rummaging. Wait…

"Hickory dickory doc, she marched up to a frog for small talk. Little does the frog know the danger that grows, hickory dickory doc."

The sheriff whirled around to face the chanting Cheshire cat. That smile seemed only to widen.

"Hickory dickory doc, the frog is dragged to the chopping block. She could have been saved, but the sheriff was dazed..."

Silver bolted out the door.

"Tiana!"

Even as Silver bolted up the stairs to the eleventh floor, the chanting of the Cheshire cat rung in his ears.

"Hickory dickory doc."

(They threw a rope around your neck)

a/n: Here comes chapter 2! I promise in future chapters, not all of them are going to end on cliffhangers. I suppose it's necessary for this first arc (which hopefully will be completed in the next chapter).

The update schedule, as you may be able to discern, will be about once a month, due to going through a vigorous editing process with my two Betas, and the amount of time it takes the write each chapter. However, it wouldn't be as good.

Do share your feedback as I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Cheers!