Bilge Rats and Puppets, Chapter Four

Bilge Rats and Puppets

Chapter 4 of my continuation of the fanfic set in an AU of the Author’s AU in Once Upon A Time.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

The original Fic.


Snow did not summon Charming, and he didn’t think it wise to seek her out after he’d pushed things as far as he had earlier.  

He did what he’d thought of as his rounds, although nobody had assigned them to him: he walked down to the dungeons and examined them, telling the guards he was there to see if the pirate had left anything telling in his cell — and examining the cell. 

He used that as a pretext to remind the guards of basics like maintaining their steel — the shackles were a mess, rusting away, and so were some of the bars! — keeping the place clean, and feeding their prisoners rather than eating the food themselves.  

Jones had left nothing but a series of hash marks in his cell, but the pattern of them was interesting, so Charming copied it down into a book.  It was possible the pirate really was hiding some secret.  Charming certainly had a few of his own.  And if he found something — maybe Snow would let them go back to how it had been.  Maybe he wouldn’t have to take the pirate to her room anymore, to share her with the pirate. 

He’d gotten himself agitated and angry again by the time  he left the dungeon empty-handed, so he spent some time working on his swordwork against a dummy, one of the basic magically-animated ones.  He wouldn’t take out this temper on a guard. 

When he’d defeated several dummies, he took a ride.  It was already getting dark, but the stable boy wouldn’t tell him no, not for something as simple as a ride.  He took a couple lanterns and rode until his thighs ached and he no longer felt anything but tired. 

When he limped back to his chambers, he’d almost forgotten the pirate was there.  He let himself in, threw the bolt, and stripped off his sweaty doublet, tunic, and trousers.  He washed himself up in the basin, poured water over his head on the patio, and lit a lantern only as he was pulling on a clean pair of breeches. 

The pirate was asleep on his bed.  Jones was curled on the very edge of Charming’s blankets, one corner of the fur pulled over his hips. His eyes were closed, his breathing was even, and he hadn’t woken up when Charming came in, or even with all the moving around Charming had done.  Or if he had, he was very good at faking it. 

Charming didn’t think either sleeping solidly through interruptions or faking being asleep were all that useful of skills for a deckhand, or any sort of pirate.  He chalked it up to exhaustion and the needs of a body being forced through potions and poultices to heal itself quickly. 

He considered moving the man.  The rug on his floor was thick and fur — three layers, because Charming didn’t like cold feet — and it wouldn’t be that uncomfortable to sleep on.  Besides, he hadn’t told Jones he could sleep in his bed, jokes about his purpose here aside.

He considered the bed.  It was more than big enough for two.  He considered the rise and fall of the pirate’s chest. 

He slid into bed on his side and shoved a pillow between them, careful not to jostle the wounded pirate.

 **

For 2 weeks, Snow did not call for the pirate.  She called for Charming  — four times, and three of them were beautiful.  The fourth time he tried not to think about. 

 During those weeks, the pirate grew healthier, cleaner. His wounds healed and his cheeks started to fill out. Charming had another bolt installed — just inside the patio door — giving the pirate time outside in the sun, and his color started to come back. He had regular shavings, regular baths, and Dr. Talisman declared him “as healthy as could be expected.”

Charming continued to leave in the evenings and find Jones in his bed when he returned; he continued to pretend it wasn’t happening. 

One day, maybe 5 days after Jones had been moved to his rooms, Charming came back after lunch to find Jones reading the  book he’d left on his table.  

Seeing the pirate there, sitting in Charming’s chair in Charming’s chamber, reading Charming’s book, filled him with a sharp spike of rage.  It could’ve been because the diplomat from Arendelle had been particularly dismissive earlier.  It could’ve been the trouble he and Snow were having getting the mermaids to hold to the treaty and guard the coast. 

Maybe it was just the damn pirate there when he just wanted to sit alone in his room and not deal with anything

Whatever it was, he snatched the book  out of the pirate’s hands.  “That’s mine.”

“I beg your pardon.”  Jones’s bow from a seated position looked far too sarcastic. “I find there’s not that much to do here, and while I do appreciate the sunlight, I didn’t want to risk damaging your garden.”  At the end of the sentence, the humor fell into nervousness.  He eyed Charming cautiously.  “I’d have considered writing a letter, but I know precious few people who can read and I’ve no way to post it anyway.”

“You can write?”  Charming shook his head.  “Then you were actually reading.”

“I can write, yes.”  The pirate managed to look offended and nervous at the same time. “I had something of an education, back when — well, it was another time and place, but I was educated.  That did require being able to read and write.”

“Then write your memoirs.”  Charming pulled out the box of paper he used for notes and the pen and ink he used for most things that weren’t formal letters.  “I’ll get you some more paper tomorrow.”

“My memoirs.  The memoirs of a deck hand.  Who would want to read those?”

“Look at it this way.  It’s better than doing nothing.  Although-“

Charming didn’t know what his expression was, but it appeared to terrify Jones. 

“Oh, no, I can be just fine doing nothing.  I assure you, doing nothing in the sun is far better than doing nothing in the dungeon.”

“Oh, no, no, I can’t have you doing nothing while I’m busy all day.  Come on, stand up.”  The anger had bled out and he was left with something strange, something like affectionate rivalry.  “So I’m not going to unchain you, but there’s a number of things you can do like you are—”

“I’ve swabbed enough decks, thank you.”

“Oh, that’s a good one.  I’m sure the maids would prefer that to mopping around you.  I’ll make sure they know that.  But let’s see.”  Charming stripped off his doublet and set it on the bed, then kicked off his boots.  “We’re going to start with basics.  Push-ups.  Pull-ups.  Some lunges. Maybe some jogging in place.  That ought to get your blood flowing.”

Snow might like a little tone on him, a little muscle on him.  She might not, but it wouldn’t be that hard to go back to starving the boy again if he had to. 

Meanwhile, Jones was staring at Charming as if he’d grown another head.  “You want me to — to — Have I offended you? Well, of course I have, but it won’t happen again, I won’t touch your books.”

“Relax, pirate.  Here.  Start by bending over, touching your toes.  I know that you’re all healed up . Yesterday was your bath.”

He stepped out of reach of the pirate and demonstrated, bending over lithely till his fingers brushed the floor.  “Like that, see?”

The pirate grumbled, watched Charming, and then, when it seemed like Charming wasn’t going to relent, bent over. 

“Oh come on, I can tell that you’re not really trying.  You can stretch further than that.”

“If you wanted to torture me, Lord Charming, I know you have better methods.”  The pirate grunted, but this time he managed to reach nearly to his calves. 

“Good, good.  Stay there.”  Charming straightened and closed the distance so he could push down  gently on Jones’s back.  “You can get a little further… there.”

The pirate grunted quietly.  “That feels — ah, like something all right.”

“You’ll be something by the time we’re done.”  He released the pirate.  “Now reach up as far as you can.”

The pirate obeyed, and then, with a little prodding, stretched further. 

Charming walked him through push-ups — modified to allow for the missing hand — and sit-ups, jogging in place and squat-thrusts.  He had him do every stretch he could think of and then walked him through them again. 

They reached the point where they were both panting, sweating, and flopped on the floor.  Charming reached over and patted Jones on the calf.  “There.  I’ll write it down for you and you can do those every day, twice a day.  And write your memoirs.”

“Homework.  I rather feel like I’m back at school.  Yes, sir,” he added dryly. 

“Good.”  Charming broke the conversation there, calling for a tub to clean off the sweat and the grime from himself. But he left remembering the book — and the way Jones’d looked at him him when he snatched the book from him. 

That book, he kept as his. He wasn’t going to go back on what he said. 

But he stopped by the palace library on the way back to his room and took the time to pick out a few books on naval battles and the oceans around Misthaven — as well as requisitioning some better paper and ink and a spare pen. 

He also made it clear that those books, Hook could read. 

He left Jones homework, as mentioned, and Jones, in turn, seemed to have done what he was told.  He definitely did work on his memoirs, and his body showed signs of working on the exercises Charming gave him. 

Their arrangement was still not ideal — Charming still had no privacy in his own rooms — but he could send the pirate onto the patio and he had done so more than once while he bathed, even if Jones came in shivering. 

And every night when he came back to his chambers, there was a pirate in his bed.

Beauty-Beast 47: ♪ Thnks fr th Mmrs ♫

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Here’s the third of three chapters of Beauty-Beast thanks to Anke’s commission!  

🔒

Ctirad found that he was smiling at Signy the way he probably hadn’t smiled at a woman in years.  Lifetimes. Generations.  Like a peer.  Like a friend.  It couldn’t last, but he liked the feeling.

Of course, they had more important things than him making friends right now.

“But, uh,” he cleared his throat.  “Maybe when this is done we could set up a time to talk about all that stuff? Keeping, being Kept, being young and ignorant fae? Right now, I think we’re supposed to be talking about – well, important things.”

“This is important!” Signy protested.  Then she looked at Sara Florentia and Timaios. “But I, I see what you mean.  Let’s talk about Ermenrich and this – Nedetaka priest.  Ctirad, you said you saw him, yes?  What can you remember?” Continue reading

Small Fry & Broken Wings I

Small Fry & Broken Wings

So.  This began from Bilge Rats & Puppets. That is: in Bilge Rats and Puppets, you have Evil?Charming and DeckHand!Hook(*) in a situation where they are completely in the control of an Evil Snow White. 

And then I was thinking “so what if this was in Fae Apoc?”

Which meant deciding how I was getting them into a situation where they were from separate “groups” (in this case sects of Ellehemaei) and then getting some evil queen’s hands on Charming’s heart — 

Wait, not actually in Once Upon a Time, getting some Evil Queen to Own Charming and Hook, or rather, David and Killian.

This is set, thus, in Fae Apoc in the middle of the apocalypse.  It should be readable without knowing that setting, however. 

Charming looks like Charming from Once Upon a Time and his characterization is based on that character – and on the character in Puppets and Bilge Rats, the fic which inspired my Bilge Rats and Puppets. 

Hook – Small Fry – is based on DeckHand!Hook more than normal canon Hook – here’s the gifset I referenced in Bilge Rats.  

(*) See https://fanlore.org/wiki/! to explain the trait!Name style of naming.  I put a ? in Evil?Charming’s name on purpose because it’s not clear either in canon or in the fanwork whether Charming is actually evil, and in my fic he is not particularly evil. And here is another link on the same topic. 

Okay, once again I have written an entire fic’s worth of introduction.  Have at!

Charming

The rubble hit  Charming in the head while he was still trying to stop the blasted wyvern from eating a police officer.  He had managed to get the thing pinned down, a piece of rebar through its neck, but it was still moving. 

He missed fights that weren’t in the middle of downtown and didn’t involve massive swarms of wyverns. 

He missed not seeing more than one wyvern in a month and he definitely missed not having to protect civilians who were trying to protect him at the same time. 

“Watch out!” someone shouted. He aimed his Force shield over and around as many civilians as he could while the wall came falling right into him. 

The rubble hit him in the face; he went down still trying to shield as many people as possible.  Continue reading

Saving the Cult (if not the World), Chapter Thirty-Eight

Saving the Cult (If not the World) "It's time." Manfield Lee knew he was good at sounding authoritative even when he didn't know what he was talking about - he'd turned a fortune into a megafortune doing just that, after all, not to mention running the Organization - but right now, he DID know what he was talking about. After all, it was just a date, wasn't it? And if the date turned out to be wrong, well, then he knew exactly what to blame it on, and that blame would fall on the scholars and the psychics, not on him. The other thing Manfield Lee knew how to do was to place the blame in very specific ways that were not him.

Lina couldn’t quite focus her eyes, so she put up a hand in the direction of the voice.  She blinked a few times, until she could see the woman in front of her.

“Oh, it’s you.”  She barely managed not to sneer at the power-company woman.  She did turn her back on her, seeking out her people.

Jackson was on her left, Ethan on her right.  “Dylan…?” Continue reading

Lucky Dice

“Watch.”

The tavern was old; it had been old for longer than the country around it had existed.  It was made of stone and wood so old and so saturated with smoke that it might as well be stone; it had never stopped being heated with wood, although the design of the hearth had changed from time to time.

Behind the bar, the old bartender and the new bartender watched – as per the old one’s command – as in the corner the best lit by lanterns (these were battery-powered and left out in the sun all day to charge, rather than fueled by whale oil, but the look was otherwise the same as it had been since the inn & tavern were first built) – three people older than the bartender, possibly (although it was unlikely) as old as the tavern itself, began another round of dice. Continue reading

Eralon Discovers

The Restrictions of Foros

This is written as part of my NanoWrimo 2020 Compendium of Completion. 

It is part one of three or four (depending on how I divide it up) and comes after The Second Restriction and Eralon Explains.

Some oracles of the temple were suspected to be not that well connected to the deities, if at all. Some of them used a voice that, among the cloisters of their dormitory, they called The God Voice – that was, those who were remotely in control of themselves during their time on the Oracle’s chair.

Some, however, were truly taken by the god. Continue reading

Bilge Rats and Puppets, Chapter Three

Bilge Rats and Puppets

Chapter 3 of my continuation of the fanfic set in an AU of the Author’s AU in Once Upon A Time.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2.

The original Fic.


Charming had his hands in Jones’s hair, getting the last of the soap worked through the mess of it, when someone knocked on his outer door. 

The pirate had been bathed, in a manner of speaking, a few times since he’d been jailed, but at no point since that first time when he’d first been taken to Snow, had, as far as Charming could tell, soap been involved. 

It was amazing Snow had been willing to bear the stench of him in her chambers.  Although, Charming had to admit, he didn’t stink nearly as badly as he ought.  

He dunked his hands in the bathwater to wash them, grabbed a towel, and strode to the door.  He would not call “come in” just to have someone find him massaging the pirate’s hair. 

He was unsurprised but pleased to find Dr. Talisman standing on the other side of the door, her medical bag in her hand.  She was wearing a crisp, clean, white apron, so she had taken the time to change from her last patient. 

“The staff tell me you have a patient for me.” Continue reading

Beauty-Beast 46: Clarity Arrives

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Here’s two of three chapters of Beauty-Beast thanks to Anke’s commission!  

🔒

There was a moment of silence.  Not the whole lounge, thank whoever might be listening, just their little corner.  Signy was staring at Ctirad in obvious horror.  Timaios squeezed him tighter to his side, a quick gesture and still clearly affectionate.  Sara Florentia was looking at him as if he’d just gotten interesting.

“Ermenrich liked to make sure I wasn’t going to slip and say anything,” he explained to Signy’s horrified look. “Because I – because he didn’t think I was that bright.” It took effort to phrase it that way, to put it in Ermenrich’s court and not on his own shoulders, but he knew it would make Timaios happy that he hadn’t put himself down, and he thought it might explain things better to Signy. Continue reading