His mouth was dry, his head pounding, body aching … he couldn't remember exactly what he'd been drinking. Actually, the last memory in his head was leaving Wendy's boat, heading to the office to prepare for his meeting with David. Glancing around, nothing seemed familiar. Some sort of basement with those cleaning machines, big round glass doors to see clothing tumble, and shelves filled with bottles and boxes, tools and jars. One lone light was suspended from the open beams of the ceiling, casting long shadows; the windows no help, the darkest part of the night giving no illumination. He tried to shake off the last vestiges of whatever was slowing his brain; he stretched his arms, or at least made the attempt, only to find his hands looped around a chair and tied behind his back. His feet were similarly bound tight against the chair's legs; must have been some party to end up this way.
"Captain. Are you awake?" the boy's shaggy hair hid most of his face, but a purple bruise bloomed along his chin. What was his name again? Killian couldn't seem to pull that piece of information out of his brain at the moment. Regina's son. Emma's kid. Hank? Harry? Henry. That was it. Henry Mills was tied to another chair, one much too big for him.
" 's okay. 'm fine." Even his mouth wasn't cooperating; he had no idea where he was or even what time it was. And, damn it, why did there have to be a kid? Honestly, now that Wendy was expecting, he knew he was going to have to rethink his … dislike? disgust? aversion … hatred was such a strong word … of kids. A baby at least had the whole cute factor going for it, but the poop and the crying and the constant neediness, well that was going to take some getting used to. And a boy Henry's age? Precociousness wrapped up in broken dishes and sprained ankles. Far too close to that damn pain-in-the-ass Peter for Killian's tastes.
"We need to get out of here before she gets back," Henry insisted. He jostled in his chair, rocking side to side. "She's mean, and I don't like her."
"Who are you talking about, kid?" At least that was a complete sentence.
"I think he means me, love."
Cora came down the wooden staircase, black pumps carefully placed on the treads, red soles flashing with each step. Her pencil thin black skirt fit like a glove, black jacket snug, button pulling in tight at the waist. White cotton peeped from under it, swell of her breasts perfectly on display with a shirt just low enough to be sexy, but not too low to be indecent. Blood red nails, impeccable hair and makeup … the witch certainly wasn't suffering here, wherever here was.
"Well, damn. Here I was hoping for a rum-soaked dream, and I get the world's worst mom instead." Things were going from bad to worse; she had to be angry, and seeking vengeance was like breathing for her. That she'd rounded up Henry meant she was serious about going ahead with a new plan.
"Don't fuck with me, Killian. Not again. I'll cut that smart tongue right out of your mouth, and how would your little knocked up girlfriend like that, I wonder?" Cora could make the worst threats sound easy and calm. She stopped behind Henry and ran her hand through his hair. "Now stop making me curse in front of my grandson. It's not becoming of a lady."
Killian fell into silence, letting Cora take the lead. The one thing he knew was that she was as vain as any pixie and more vicious than a mermaid. She'd want to preen, to be appreciated; he'd learned that she enjoyed flattery, even if it was couched in dark and violent terms.
"Tell me, exactly how do you feel about the bundle of joy on the way? I seem to remember that you already talked one mother into deserting her son, tried to kill any number of young boys, and conspired to end poor little Henry's life." She enjoyed Henry's little jerk, the way his eyes widened and stared at Killian. "Suddenly going to become the perfect father? You?"
"Truth is, I could care less," Killian lied, shrugging his shoulders, hoping the feint would work. "At least I don't have to carry the damn thing for nine months; it's a bigger mystery why you ever had a child. Stretch marks do ruin a figure don't they?"
Henry's eyes just got bigger with each word; hurt cut across his face, and his lip trembled. "But, but … Miss Davies loves you. And you're going to get married. We're planning the wedding. Soon as you man up and ask her."
Cora's laughter peeled through the room. "Such a naïve child who still believes in happy endings. Sorry to say there's no such thing. Good thing you're only adopted; I don't think I could stomach it if you were my flesh and blood." She stroked her nails down the side of the boy's face. "See, I can be nice. I've left the two of you something to talk about while I'm gone. I'll be back shortly. I have a meeting with a potential investor; this world is so lovely! One small plastic card and I can buy anything: gloriously decadent clothes, wonderful food, and very muscular young men who will do whatever I say, even kidnap boys and pirates. So much to explore here beyond Storybrooke." As she headed back up the stairs, she turned for one more parting shot. "Bye boys! I'd tell you to have fun, but I imagine crying is more likely."
He didn't want to look at the kid, just in case there were tears to deal with, but he finally had to when Henry himself broke the silence. "Okay, I know you just had to say that to convince her you don't care. I'm not stupid. And I will never call her grandmother. She's no relation to me."
Had to give it to the kid; he was one tough cookie. And that gave Killian hope that his own kid would be just as strong. "What was that about a wedding? So you're behind the cupcakes, eh?"
"I had help. Granny and Red made them and Belle researched recipes. It's going to be a surprise, If you ever decide to ask." Henry gave him a stern expression that reminded Killian ever so much of Regina. "What are you waiting for? You love her, she loves you, and there's the baby."
"I know you like stories, Henry, but life is never that simple. For one thing, she'll think I'm only doing it because of the baby." Killian pulled uselessly at the ropes.
"Oh, I get that. Then you'll just have to prove it's because you love her," Henry declared, as if it was that easy.
"Look, let's get out of here first and then we can talk about this." The windows didn't look big enough and they were painted shut. They'd have to take the stairs.
"Promise me you'll ask her when we get back." Henry got a stubborn set to his jaw.
"Sure, kid, I promise." There was no give, he was just rubbing his wrists raw. Maybe if he tipped the chair over he could break the wood.
"Swear on something that matters or I won't believe you," he insisted. Shaking his hands, Henry freed them, untied his feet, and stood up.
"How did you…" Killian trailed off. He wasn't sure he wanted to know.
"Flex your muscles while they tie you up. Saw it on a T.V. show. Plus, tears helped. The guys were hired for their looks, not their brains." Henry smiled and wiggled his eyebrows. Now that was an Emma look.
"Good. Now untie me and we'll get out of here."
"Nope. Swear." Henry crossed his arms over his chest and waited.
"Kid, we don't have time for this. We need to be as far away from here as we can when crazy woman gets back."
Damn it, the kid wasn't going to give up on this. "Look, I'll ask, but I can't promise what she'll say."
"That's fine. We'll take care of her answer." Henry seemed so damn confident that Killian didn't have the heart to tell him nobody 'took care' of Wendy Darling; she was perfectly capable of doing that herself.
Soon as the kid untied his hands, he made short work of the second set of ropes and then they were both heading up the stairs and out into the very elegant kitchen. They moved fast, out the door and through the back gate into the alleyway. It didn't take long to realize they weren't in Storybrooke; they passed the Skowhegan Public Library, staying in the shadows as they wove through the trees in the park. He had no idea how far away they were, but the implications were very important – he and Cora could cross the city limits and remember who they were. Henry had been born outside the city, but Killian had thought he'd be unable to leave just like the others. Obviously, that wasn't true. And it opened up a world of possibilities.
"Henry." They had stopped, leaning against the wall of a small store and gas station. Killian already had a plan, he just needed to convince the kid to go along with it. "I'm going to get you a ride, okay? You get back to your mom and tell her what's going on, where Cora is. She'll be able to protect you."
"What about you?" Henry's eyes were scared, the running in the dark haunting the kid.
"I'm going to find out what she's up to and stop her." The kid could handle the truth; he'd shown that tonight. "It's the only way to make sure Wendy and the baby are both safe."
Henry screwed up his nose, obviously thinking about arguing with Killian, but he seemed to come to some sort of conclusion and gave a brief nod. "Okay. But Miss Davies will be pissed if you don't come back."
"Don't I know it, kid." Wendy was not going to like this, not one bit. But Cora on the loose, outside of Storybrooke was too risky; he'd just have to face her wrath later. Hey, at least he was sending word and not lying about the situation. That should count for something, right?
A black Jeep was sitting at the pumps, and a man exited the store, a bottle of water in one hand and a bag in the other, heading for it, keys in hand. He looked to be Killian's age, dark brown curly hair, lithe and wiry, tall and slim. His blue eyes scanned the area before he tucked the bottle and bag inside and went to take the gas nozzle from the tank.
"Okay, here's what you need to do. Slip in the back and ride as far …" Killian began.
"I've got this." Henry waved him off and darted out into the circle of the street lights. Shivering, rubbing his hands up and down his arms, the kid started crying, sniffling loudly. The man looked up as Henry approached.
"You okay?" he asked.
"N … no. I'm lo … lo … lost." Henry's voice shook, and he barely looked at the man, playing the role perfectly. "I got m ... mad at my mom and ran away, but I don't know where I am …"
"Look, let's call your mom, she's got to be worried. She'll come pick you up." He took a phone out of his pocket.
"No, please. She was so angry. I just want, I just want to go home." God, the kid was good, playing all the right beats.
"Where is home?" He dropped into a squat to be at Henry's eye level, concern in his eyes.
"Storybrooke." Henry managed a big sob and wiped his nose on his sleeve.
The surprise was evident on the man's face then he chuckled. "Well, kid, you're in luck. I'm heading that way myself. Want a ride?"
Henry glanced back over his shoulder before he climbed in the car, throwing a grin the pirate's way. Killian waited until the Jeep disappeared before he doubled back and headed back to the house.
"So, what's your name?" He looked over at the boy who'd miraculously stopped crying and was fiddling with some of the knobs in the car.
"Henry Mills." The kid smiled at him. "What's yours?"
"Vladimir. But my friends call me Vlad." Dracula focused on the road ahead; Regina's son falling right into his lap? Now that was a stroke of luck. "And I have a feeling we're going to be very good friends."