Rotten Deals: Deals With Wizards.

By James Carmody.

Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series is the property of Joss Whedon, Star Wars is the creation of George Lucas, and Once Upon A Time belongs to Kitsis and Horrowitz. I own none of these wonderful series… this story, however, is of my own creation.

Summary: Thrawn reflects on some previous deals with yet another "wizard" named Palpatine when he's approached by Mr. Gold for a deal. This leads to some conflict between the two men, including over Mr. Gold's debtor, Faith Lehane, who's fallen in with another sorcerer in her life. Please read, review/comment, and enjoy.

Rating: Pretty much "G" or "K" or "K+".

Genre(s): Friendship, Supernatural, Action /Adventure, and Crime.

Author's Story Notes: I got the general concept for this by watching some episodes of Season 1 of OUAT, and from there I kind of boiled down a concept of Mr. Gold trying to tempt Thrawn into a contract- a contract that Mitth'raw'nuruodo (Thrawn) really isn't so keen on, seeing as he's got some personal history in dealing with wizards (sorcerers) that never worked out all that well for him. His history is indeed a sad one, and makes him not a villain but a tragic hero of a sort- somehow, he escaped his demise, and was 'sucked' into Storybrooke- this incorporates a concept in the summary of OUAT, wherein every storybook character you ever knew was trapped in a modern town named Storybrooke (I paraphrased the series concept), and that would include *quite* a vast collection of characters!

Descriptions will come up and characters' backstories will come out as the story progresses, but hopefully this'll be a novella of a sort. It *ought* to be acceptable to children to read without threat to their souls, but I have to insist on parental guidance and involvement in reading this- as children are and ought to be in the custody of their parents to guide and protect them from the evils in the world today! This I insist upon: that parents evaluate what their kids read! Parents: Get Involved In Your Kids Lives; if you are already- that's downright perfect, if not, Get Your Heads In The Game!

Characters: Mr. Gold, Faith Lehane, Mitth'raw'nuruodo (Thrawn), and yes, there will be others too.

Pairing(s): There will be none romantic or sexual, as this is a clean story, but platonic relationships that may or may not be respectful are: Mr. Gold/Faith, Mr. Gold/Thrawn, and Palpatine/Thrawn (Past, contractual service: employment).

Distribution: You want it, feel free to post it, but make certain you give me credit, and check back regularly to make certain you get every chapter- yes, there will be more than one. Feel free to add any and all of my stories to communities/collections on sites like AO3 and - I love to hear that my stories are in those functions!

Email/Contact: Feel free to write to me at jamcarmody .

Chapter One: Befriending an Ex-Gangster…

Beginning Chapter 1 Author's Notes: Always a good idea is to begin a story with a catchy scene: some action/adventure, friendship, relationships, and a tad of literary embellishment- this is my attempt to do just that.

Oh, and this [text]refers to telepathy. Please take this part as a general story note, it may include elements of temptation by the Serpent in the Garden as well- the spirit that guides the Dark Ones, and is known in BtVS/AtS as the "First Evil"- that entity may show up.

Thrawn walked into Granny's Diner, self-conscious of his physically different appearance. As a Chiss, he was radically different in appearance to base-line humans: namely in the colors of his skin and eyes, which were pale powdery blue and fiery red-orange respectively. His jet-black hair added to his aesthetically handsome appearance, but actually was the most human part of his biology. As a Chiss who'd lived among humans in his Imperial Military Academy days and practically ever since his exile from the Chiss Ascendancy for outward aggression on his part, he had become accustomed to a degree of distrust and outward xenophobia- in fact, the lack thereof of this frankly alarmed him and put him badly off-guard. He proceeded to walk up to the counter and ordered a hot chocolate, a drink he'd become accustomed to ever since being kidnapped from the Imperial Fleet by some weird portal; an event he recently learned was the antics of a certain Regina Mills- someone he firmly resolved to have words with for her behavior.

Thrawn was, to anyone who knew him, a bit of a secretive man, with a tad of extremist in his personality, and a fanatic for his own nationalism, but to which nation did he owe his loyalty was anyone in the town's guess! He kept all that secret from them, and rarely talked about his past; however, his militaristic bearing lead many to speculate that he had been a soldier in the Enchanted Forest, perhaps a veteran of the Ogre Wars, for anyone's guess- he was physically fit, clearly robust in his build, and took great personal pride in maintaining his body, as well as his militaristic mannerisms- this caused a good degree of rumor around town that he was indeed military in some of his past- and besides, those few times he'd been seen going up against dangerous predators in this brave new world they found themselves in: he was clearly trained in combat, and knew his way around any number of weapons. He didn't trust the Sheriff's Office, that much was obvious; and had some degree of distain for the police, but knew he'd often have to work with them.

Several times in the past few months at least the members of the local police department had tried to establish a certain rapport with him, but he'd kept them at arm's length every time- he knew his weapons, though, and every which way around them… in fact, as he drank his cocoa, he considered his latent bias against the police: it was due, largely, to the differences in training: he was proficient in border patrol, something they also knew a lot about, but his specialty was in combat, and theirs' appeared to be in apprehending subjects; a good part of this bias was due to his research of the Korean War, in which mere national police forces were forced to try to stop elite shock troops and got, quite literally, eradicated. A UN policing operation to respond to this invasion didn't fare any better- they got themselves enveloped and virtually wound up entirely captured, and some of the best troops on the planet wound up in gulags because they were used improperly. As he continued to down his chocolate drink, he re-examined his attitude, and discerned that he was being totally improper, there's a reason why the police are a totally different branch from the military- we're called to completely different branches of service- and the two do not mix, he knew, all too well!

In the end of the Korean War, Thrawn knew, NATO was able to fend off the Communists and stop their takeover of South Korea, and now it was almost totally impossible for North Korea to produce enough to annex South Korea "Let's hope South Korea annexes North Korea, though- and it looks like that's how things will go: North Korea may indeed have nuclear technology, but they're so economically dependent on Communist China that it's not even funny- their economy's virtually collapsed, and Communist China has quite literally *nothing* on Taiwan in terms of production- the Taiwanese are so far ahead of the Communist Chinese that in any fight they'd have good odds of fending them off." He thought as he reflected on current events- then his mind drifted to events like that band of murderers who call themselves ISIS, and what he'd recommend be don e about them: warfare- that was his way of life.

He was currently sitting down in a chair near the window, but facing away from it and consuming a bagel and his cocoa when a pretty long-haired brunette entered, ordered some eggs and hash-browns, and sat down near him. He noticed she was wearing a black leather biker's jacket and biker's pants. She was slender, and under the jacket he could see a red t-shirt. Her long dark brown hair masked a face with dimples when she smiled, he noticed, for she proceeded to smile to him in a friendly way, before taking out a package of cigarettes. When she noticed his frown, however, she put them away; she was relieved when he mouthed to her "Not here".

Inbetween mouthfuls of eggs over easy and hash-browns, she said to him casually "My… employer wants to meet with you, Mitth'raw'nuruodo." She said, quietly.

"How do you know my real name?" he asked, alarmed.

She smiled, sweetly, confident she was the one in control here "He told me… my boss." She replied, still cheekily confident in herself and her skills.

Thrawn knew he'd need to get the specifics, as well as any information he could on who this woman worked for "If he wants to meet with me, he may well want to offer me a job… is that not the case?" he asked, knowing it's better to enter slowly and gently than to simply smash his way into a city and grab whatever he wanted- 'get them to trade with you and you'll acquire their military and economy as well as the service of all of them- simply invade and you'll have to watch them at all times.' A concept he had drilled into his Imperial Colleagues in the Imperial Starfleet as well as devising for his own Chiss Ascendancy warriors who worked with him in defending the Chiss Ascendancy from invasion- this was before he had been expelled for outright and overt aggression against potential enemies, an absolute no-no in Chiss society!

"Yes." was her answer simply.

"And your boss is?" he asked her, baffled by her vagueness.

"Why, the owner of the town, of course… don't tell me you've never heard of Mr. Gold." She said, sounding surprised.

"That pawn-broker… actually owns the town?!" now he was more baffled than he could have imagined.

"Come with me to meet him and you'll see." This brunette woman replied. It was then that he took a closer look at her and found out that her hair was both wavy and straight, and almost black too.

"Might as well 'meet the dragon' and find out what sort of fellow owns this town." Thrawn said, downing his drink, he motioned to Ruby for his bill, paid it, and took his bagel to go, all the while reflecting on concepts found in RPG sourcebooks he had read in his spare time.

Reading had always been a taste for this guy, if he wasn't reading one thing he was reading another- mostly to keep his mind busy, it demanded so much information as food for its internal functions that he was always hunting for more to study- he'd read the Mercedes Benz Chrysler model '88 repair manual until he had memorized it, then delved right into Alice and Wonderland- never once suspecting that that place could be reached from this one by someone with the proper gifts; for him it was always technology, science, but he was well aware of those with "mystical abilities", and this inherent curiosity had lead him to study, quite ironically, religion. He was fascinated by this 'contacting of spirits' that was so much a part of it, but also alarmed by what could be done by that, and how often it goes awry- and wondered if this ever should be done. Here his internal tactician came into play: for even if they're all as dangerous as the Ssi-Ruuk were at the height of their power, which is indeed likely, then it only makes sense to study them, as one would study a dangerous alien.

He wondered who this woman was, but as soon as they entered the shop he found out. He'd just finished his bagel by the time they arrived, and he heard Mr. Gold say "Well Done! Well Done, Faith, Dearie! Now, about your lessons: look about, take whatever catches your fancy, and head into the back room and I'll aid you in learning how to levitate the item of your choice." Mr. Gold then turned to Thrawn and said to him "That twenty-something year old woman is Faith Lehane, she's one of my apprentices- my other is my grandson… not that you'll be able to do anything to harm him or her, anyways." with a joyful tone.

Thrawn was immediately in combat mode, and contemplating a resistance- for that he needed data and equipment- he did not like wizards, having had an encounter with one before, by the unassuming name of "Palpatine"- that encounter had lead to him doing Palpatine's dirty-work as his minion, and had been pretty unpleasant- not to mention that wizards tend to be petty, not very wise at all!

As his mind quickly analyzed the situation he knew he had to throw this fellow off his gambit, and if possible, to wrongfoot him by turning his apprentice, Faith, to his side.

Rumplestiltskin told Thrawn his intents, and the Chiss listened politely, it appeared that this fellow who's best described as a mafia-don wanted to put together a coalition to serve his ends, then Thrawn politely declined for now, claiming he needed time to think it over- and explaining to him that he'd had quite a lot to do with wizards in the past, and deals with them never turn out well for the one who signs a deal with a wizard. "As a gesture of good-will" Thrawn finished his rebuttal "consider this: check your own soul- the deal you made to get this power may not work in your favor as well as you think it would- I'd hate to work with someone who's corrupt and a totalitarian ruler; I've done that, and let me tell you, they get it in their heads they want a particular 'toy', a lot like Stalin and the airborne tank incident, and they tend to get it, but it never works out well for anyone *but* their enemy." And then he was done with his answer.

Mr. Gold was enraged that he had been turned down, but he knew he needed to keep his mouth shut and put up with it for now, and when Mr. Gold was enraged, violence tended to happen- and quickly at that… he couldn't take it out on his potential mark, though, so he resolved to let it pass; for now. Right about then, Faith, who'd taken off into the back-room of the shop with a dragon's talon, let out a whoop of joy- Mr. Gold walked in to see what his magic-student had done, and Thrawn saw the talon spinning in mid-air above the woman's head- he was very pleased indeed "Well Done, Faith, Well Done Again… soon, my friend, that gang you're so worried about coming after you won't be able to harass you anymore, and you'll have a good fighting chance against them all!" He was impressed.

"So I can play with my friend soon?" she asked hopefully.

"Yeah, by all means, you may get him to join us." He told her. Thrawn had already left for a hike around town for a bit, he didn't like this life, sure, it was a sanctuary, but any sanctuary can be isolated and attacked from all sides with overwhelming forces, that much he knew, so why bother to remain sequestered here, besides, he got the constant nagging feeling that he was in some sort of gulag, like Kessel- which he knew well enough: The Empire's political prison system was well-known to him, and he'd had to round up laborers for those from various worlds in his time in the Imperial Starfleet; an unenviable task for a soldier, but it was either that or his own people get overwhelmed and wiped out by their enemies,,, so as a result he shut his mouth and did as he was told!

Faith finished her magic lesson from Mr. Gold, then she headed off to find Thrawn and ask him to spar with her; she liked him, and this competitive liking lead her to wanting to test her strength and skills against him- besides, here there weren't all that many HSTs to slay, so the vampire slayer tended to get a bit bored- and boredom, her first watcher, Diana Dormer had told her, could be something of a demon all its own- one that never dies, can be fended off, but will return, and always causes the corruption of weakness "Beware Pride" Diana had told her "it is the deadliest enemy you will have, but it can come from victory over evil forces." That was one of her first lessons and one of her most important ones as of yet. "From pride comes laziness, laxity, and in the end, the brutality of desperation., it is born of success, but can quickly become most undeserved, and if so, becomes the enemy of the righteous ones- ending not only their lives but also their souls in the end." She had told her.

"Hey" Faith said as she elbowed him right about the ribs. "Want to come to the gym and spar with me a bit?" she asked, aiming at being a real friend.

The alien looked at her, and it was then that she realized that despite his outwardly human shape, he was really quite alien to her- especially in the eyes, and responded after thinking "Why not? It'll be a chance of skill-testing." He was eager to bond with her, if only to lead her away from serving a sorcerer, as well as keeping his combat skills sharp and testing her skills.

"Three o'clock pm, this address, they have the safety gear there, so don't worry." She said, and headed off to listen to her rock music collection.

Ending Chapter 1 Author's Notes: Well, what do you think of this rescue story? Yes, I guess it really *is* a kind of love-story, as any rescue story really is a love story.

Please, tell me what you think.

Oh, yeah, the timeline is right about the Galactic Civil War in Star Wars, and right around Season 4 to Season 5 of OUAT, and right about Season 7 of Angel, aka Season 9 or 10 of Buffy, and yes, Faith's fallen in with gangsters, again.

Faith for her part is kind of afraid of the Scoobies bullying her- which can happen and sometimes does, and if Buffy teams up with one of her witch friends then they could cause Faith a whole lot of real trouble, exactly what the brunette is afraid of!