Turn Back the Tides

By Shahrezad1

Summary: "Did you really save Liam's life?" Character role reversal from, "Good Form." Just a one-shot, nothing more. Definitely Captain Swan. :D

Disclaimer: Pshaw. I have nothing to sue me for! XD

~/~/~

"Did you really save Liam's life?"

The question came quietly, muttered once the rest of the party was out of earshot. It was passed over along with Swan's flask of rum, Killian the last to return it after his brother's salute to the Pirate Queen.

Her lips thinned for a moment, jaw tense and eyes hollow, before they twisted up into a mockingly flirtatious smile. Eyes half-lidded and lashes fluttering low.

"And what if I did?"

His gut clenched at the look, both hurt and sultry at the same time. The blonde was an enigma, teasing him one second and looking like a kicked stray the next. Until her walls came up, harsh and devil-tipped.

"Then I would have to say that we are both in your debt. You have our regard, thank you."

Her laugh was breathy, "well, you're welcome. But I'm not really in it for your brother's 'regard,' so you can save that one until it matters. After all, you might want not want to promise anything without his 'abject permission,'" she mocked lightly, recalling a previous conversation between them.

Then what are you in it for? The thought went unspoken between them and for once the rogue's expression was clear, eyebrows raised as though she were a child waiting for approval. Just as swiftly it was gone, grimace bleak as she took a swig of her foul drink.

Jones gasped for breath, only just realizing that he'd stopped, air caught in his throat. His heart clenched, searching for something to say, "um, I should probably thank you for your willingness to help us, as well. With retrieving my stepson—he's all I have left. Thank you."

His blue eyes softened at the thought of the lad, kidnapped by the ruthless leader of the island.

Wearing an undershirt and dark grey button-up, Killian desperately wished for his black leather jacket. It would at least give him a place for his hands, the roughened digits popping one another as the anxiety became too much.

The thought sent his eyes over to her own limbs. There was one slim paw, browned by the sea-faring sun, which grasped her decorated flask lightly. The other, naught but a stump, peeked out from her sleeve. A tiny crossbow had been affixed to the capped end, to which she applied darts liberally. Right now the string was empty, lax, a representation for her shields in general.

The same description could be applied to the Captain in general. Her blonde hair, bleached almost to whiteness by the glare off the water, was pulled back in a windswept braid. Her features were that of a starlet and her stance was a fighter's. Emma's long leather coat was as scarlet, if more weather-beaten, while her blouse and corset were blindingly ivory—a downed angel if there ever was one.

And she was watching him back, the single father realized with a start as he finished his accidental perusal. Furrowed dark brows flickered in surprise to the arch, almost challenging smile on her lips.

"Well, it had been," she paused, and as she did he realized her words were in response to his original words, "…a pleasure."

Curtsying grandly in coat and black leggings, the pirate made as though to leave.

"Wait, Swan. Emma!"

The words came out without prompting, the first few making her tense and the last whipping her around in a startled turn. Her green eyes were questioning and Killian knew that his face must be an embarrassing shade of red if his personal history was anything to go by.

She drew carefully closer behind the tall fronds which shielded them from view, till the edges of her long coat brushed his knees.

"Yes…Killian?"

The woman seemed surprised when the word came out, biting he lip as though to fold it back in. But despite all her past banter and flirtation, challenging him and then running away, for once she was playing the moment straight.

Bringing his direct attention to her mouth, his intent look moving from her piercing trademark green to strawberry red, and back again. Almost in response her breath brushed softly against his jaw.

"You…have my thanks and my regard. Emma."

She pulled him down by his shift collar, fisting one hand into the fabric while the other went over his shoulder to drag him closer, careful not to clip him with her weapon. Then her lips were on his as though she was drowning and he, Killian Jones, was air itself.

His hands almost immediately went to her face, one splayed across the wonder which was her cheekbones, while the other went to carefully hold the back of her neck and draw the blonde closer. Burying his fingers into the thick mass as her braid became even more disheveled, wisps softening the usual hard edge of her jaw.

Her lashes brushed his cheeks even as Jones was sure his shadowy beard was rubbing her skin raw. The sea-farer didn't seem to mind, however, drawing him even closer as her crossbow-laden 'hand' slipped down to his waist to draw him flush against her.

Emma's lips brused his, pressing close enough to see his soul as though in search for an answer of some kind. He could feel emotion welling up within him as she finally lifted her real hand to the back of his head in a possessive caress.

Just as suddenly Swan had ripped herself away, staring at the remaining appendage as though it had betrayed her. Then, with a broken attempt at a smile, the blonde turned around and walked off into the brush.

Killian stumbled forward, hand out, "Emma, hold on!"

By then she was already gone.

~/~/~

Emma pressed her right hand—her only hand—to her lips as though trying to rub the feeling out of them. They felt bruised, tingling, filled with the same bittersweet pain weighting down the left side of her ribcage.

It protected the remains of her heart, a blackened husk of sorrow, loss, and rejection.

For a moment there she'd seen Graham in Jones' place, half expecting the 'Savior' to drop dead just as he had. Hers was the kiss of death, Emma had learned. It was why she was the way she was. Flirting with fire, never close enough to feel its warmth—or to get burned.

But Killian…he just kept pressing her buttons. Her mind told her to stay away, yet there was something in him which brought out a semblance of her younger self.

"You and I…we understand one another."

The words came back to her more often than she would ever admit. It was almost addictive, the way his voice crawled into the hollow loneliness of her chest.

It made her want to hope.

"So. The Trollop Queen's found herself a beaut in the good Sheriff Jones, then."

The voice—that particular voice—immediately had her on her feet, miniature crossbow cocked and aimed at her target's heart before thought had any part in it. Not that her effort was worth anything. They'd played this game so many times over the past 300 years, it was almost farcical.

Tinkerbell's sneer said as much, the dark fairy's wings glittering as coal black as the midnight sky. She crossed her arms before her as though completely unafraid of the dreamshade-tipped arrows Emma used. She would catch them before they even reached her chest, after all. They both knew that. Which is why the pirate had taken to applying the poison to the shafts themselves—a dangerous effort that she knew would one day be worth it.

Not today, however. Removing the weapon with careful nonchalance, Emma replaced it back in the small quiver she had hidden on her belt.

"Good form, there," the shorter woman remarked with a smirk—which Swan ignored. Focused on pulling up the grass next to where she crouched rather than the fairy whose head she wanted to shoot off.

"But you know what wasn't? That offer you rejected. I was so sure you and I would get along famously. Again. And then you went and ruined it by saving poor Jones' life."

She shook her head sharply, "save it, Tink. You know I wouldn't let Ki—anyone die."

"Could have fooled me there," was the eternal fiend's snarky response, tapping her chin in pseudo-thoughtfulness, "as I'm fairly certain you let your mother die. Oh, and Graham. Oh, wait, that was Regina's fault, wasn't it? Many pardons."

Emma felt herself stiffening as though watching her body from the outside looking in. The only thing that seemed to have any remaining feeling was the fingers itching to snatch at the dagger in her boot.

"But then again, you've replaced him, haven't you?" her smile was sickening, "with dear, noble Killian Jones."

She was up before forethought could hold her back, weapon at the ready, "haven't you tortured us long enough. Shove off, pixie."

"Ooooh, so protective," Tinkerbell's lip lifted in a vindictive smile, "one wonders how he'll much he'll care knowing his lovely Milah yet survives?"

Swan scowled, "Milah's dead. Cut the crap."

"No. She's not," rising from her lounge, the fairy's arms became expansive, "or my Lost Girls need to be punished for capturing the wrong ghost. In any case, someone who looks like Milah may just be boxed up snug as a bug in my camp. Then again, perhaps not…according to common knowledge."

Swan's eyes were wide, mouth a thin line and jaw clenched. Breathing heavily through her nose, she demanded, "why are you telling me this?"

Tink examined her nails, which had been sharpened into points, "because that's how the game is played. Let's see how much of an honorable woman you really are."

The taller woman scowled, "he trusts me. He kissed me."

"Yeah, I saw that," the fairy pretended to bat her lashes prettily, "mushy stuff. The work of dreams. But how long do you think he'll stay by your side when he learns that you're nothing more than a slattern of a barmaid with one hand and a drinking problem."

The piratess' hand clenched around her dagger.

"I suppose you'll have to be the one to tell him, though. After all, I'm not one to stand in the way of a budding romance—just ask Regina. On that note, it looks like you'll have a lot to talk about with dear ol' Jonesy. Ta ta!"

The lamia disappeared into the shadows, the island enveloping her into its maw.

Captain Emma Swan was left with only conflicted thoughts for company—her own dragons.

~/~/~

AN: So! I had the urge to write a Captain Swan fic, but wasn't sure what to do. Until, while traveling to work on my trusty Razor Scooter (as my bike got stolen a while back), this popped into my head. Talk about unexpected! But I hope that the end result is both familiar and different.

With this role reversal I deliberately stayed away from putting things down exactly as they appeared in the show, because that would be, well, okay, it would be really boring. But there are certain key phrases in there which might seem familiar, as they were strong enough to strike a cord in me aaaaaand therefore I'm going to assume that they struck a cord in most other viewers. –bows dramatically-

I tried to make Emma both a pirate in this situation and yet still herself—just because she dons a different outfit and background doesn't mean that she's inherently a different person. The fact that both Emma and Killian have similar scars and experiences definitely helps with this switch.

Baelfire standing in for Henry and Milah standing in for Neal was a fun turn around—it half makes me wonder what continuity exists in this AU world? Is Regina still Regina, or has she taken Rumpel's place? Questions, questions. Tink exchanged for Peter made sense as well, given that Peter is Hook's opposite, thus Emma's opposite needs to have a similar cast. Lost girls instead of Lost boys, et cetera.

The lamia reference was included due to my first experience with AD&D (Advanced Dungeons and Dragons) in which one of the scariest images in the book involved a monstrous lady who just happens to devour children. Thought the choice was appropriate. ;)

Anyway, enough of my rambling. This was boatloads of fun to write—sorry about any mistakes, there's very little editing. And last but not least, I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the way that my mind works. :)