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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.

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

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

Bilge Rats and Puppets, Chapter Two

Bilge Rats and Puppets

Chapter 2 of my continuation of the fanfic set in an AU of the Author’s AU in Once Upon A Time.

Chapter 1

The original Fic.


The pirate was already there, of course, in his chamber.  

He didn’t have the largest chambers — big for a guard, yes, but nothing like Snow’s rooms, of course.

The pirate had been given just enough length of chain to reach the garderobe, to reach Charming’s bed, but not the door — not either door. One of the few luxuries Charming’s chambers did have was a small rooftop garden — just enough space for him to enjoy the sun and wind on the rare occasion he felt like he’d enjoy such sensations. 

The pirate had pulled himself to his feet as Charming entered; he was standing unsteadily, his eyes following Charming. 

 He looked like shit. He had dark circles under his eyes that hadn’t been there the last time Charming had seen him.  His face was irregularly shaven and he had several new nicks; in addition, he had cuts visible on his neck and chest and his shirt was torn and bloody in several places.  Continue reading

Bilge Rats and Puppets… Chapter One (a Fanfiction)

Okay, so hang on with me for a moment. 

Once Upon a Time is a Disney TV show which places many of the Disney fairy tale characters in a town in our world called Storybrook.

Within that TV show, there is a canonical alternate universe (AU) written by a bad Author in which the good guys are evil and the evil guys are good and Captain Hook is a (Cowardly) deckhand.  Continue reading

Perdition

This is a soulmark AU Supernatural fanfiction set in an unknown time period in Supernatural except that it happens after the beginning of Season 4. 

Spoilers for that – the beginning of season 4/end of season three – and nothing else, and sort of handwave on Supernatural theological logistics, which is fine, because this is a soulmark AU. 

Definition soulmark AU: (see here for a longer take) – an alternative universe version of an extant setting (often otherwise very similar to the canonical universe) where soulmates exist and some or all people have them; all soulmates have a mark of some sort on their bodies that indicate who their soulmate will be. 

This one was prompted by Anke long enough ago that she may have forgotten – sometime in August, I think.  Might be July. 

The soulmarks in this were inspired by the way the story here – although more by my memory of the way they worked (symbolism and language important to the other) than the actual mechanism in that fic.

😇

Dean had heard of people who had soulmarks of the first words their soulmate had said to them.  Continue reading

In the Depths

In the Depths

This story follows Unplumbed Depths, which was written to my Fishy prompt call here

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Bryn should not still be breathing. 

That was not the first thought to percolate up, not even the second – how do I get out how do I get out how do I get out came first and second was what is this thing?

The third thought, though, was that breathing was surprisingly not unpleasant.  Bryn had fallen in the water before, had dove in, had swum.  There always reached a point where air was needed, then where air was painfully needed.  

The thing holding Bryn, pulling Bryn towards the light deep underwater, had been pulling for long enough that Bryn should really be far past the painfully needed stage. And yet – And yet Bryn was just breathing.  

There was definitely water; Bryn swallowed a bit and it was salty and unpleasant; Bryn’s clothes were waterlogged and the boots were probably a lost cause.  

But air? Air did not seem to be a problem. 

The thing – the thing was, it seemed, a very long arm or tail of some sort, a tentacle like the squids that liked to frolic near shore, but gigantic – the thing was pulling inexorably closer to the light underwater.  And as Bryn struggled and pushed and completely failed to get out of the thing’s grip, the light became more and more clearly a building, and the building became more and more clearly a complete structure. 

Bryn and Johnie had gone diving in the ruins near the coast plenty of times.  With enough patience, they could often unearth something missed by previous divers, left behind by whoever had lived there once upon a time. 

This was bigger than all those ruins put together. 

It was more complete than any of the ruins they’d ever seen on land. 

There were doors, wide, giant, double doors, the doors were open, and the tentacle was coming out of them – or returning to that doorway, yanking Bryn inside. 

When the doors slammed shut behind them, the tentacle uncoiled, leaving Bryn standing uncertainly on blue stone floors like nothing ever seen on land.  

The doors wouldn’t open to Bryn’s touch.  There were no buttons or levers or pressure plates or even a knocker. 

Bryn took in a breath, trying not to panic.  The water was still breathable.  The water was clear, far clearer than it should be. 

If the doors in front were not available for an exit, if Bryn didn’t need to leave this moment before the air ran out, then the reasonable answer was to explore. 

For a moment, a stab of guilt attacked: Johnie was waiting. Johnie was probably worrying. 

Then the curiosity overtook Bryn, and the lights along the hallway, and the doors dotting the hall, and the tentacle that had vanished completely, they all seemed to sing you want to know, you need to know., and Bryn started looking. 

If nothing else – it was a sort of logic, even if it was a bit self-serving – at some point Bryn would need to find an exit. At some point this spell would wear off, and Bryn would need to breathe again.  

The thought was a bit chilling, and it meant Bryn moved more methodically than might otherwise have been the case.  Left first door, look inside.  Nothing.  Right first door, repeat. 

On the fourth door on the left, however, Bryn found a motherlode. 

Books. 

More books. 

More books. 

And a hole going deep, deep down, a hole that, when Bryn looked in, seemed to be nothing but blackness. 

Bryn skirted well away from the hole, tempting as it was, and considered the books instead.  How were they still here? How were they still intact

What language were they written in?

Bryn’s language skills were limited to basics – enough numbers and words to buy things at the market, enough to not get cheated, enough to know the prayers – but these, Bryn was pretty sure they were written in something complete different than the market boards or the prayer books.  Even the library in town didn’t have books like this. 

Byrn’s bag was shoved full of the books – picked at random, grabbed from every shelf in the room – by the time the tentacle began snaking back out of the hole. 

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Unplumbed Depths

From now through mid day Thursday, August 6th, I have a Prompt Call running here – anyone can prompt and please do!

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“Have you ever wondered where all this stuff comes from?” Bryn spent a moment untangling a fishhook from a book.  The book, dripping and draped in seaweed, still glowed faintly with letters in a language neither Bryn nor Johnie could read.

“Not really.”  Johnie, of little imagination but a great deal of persistence, cast again.  In the hour they had been fishing, they had both caught enough boots to shoe a particularly left-leaning army, but actual fish, the sort of things one could eat for dinner, were still in short supply.  “Figure they come from some sort of shipwreck, back before the upheaval, you know?  Same way sometimes you go to dig up your garden and instead you find old bones and pieces of pottery.”

“Pottery doesn’t glow.”  Bryn dropped the book, already nearly dry, in a box dedicated to such things and cast again.  “Okay, most pottery doesn’t glow.  That pot your parents found – that was pretty impressive.”

“‘Till my uncle started going mad, yeah.  Then it was a little less fun.”  Johnie reeled in a bowl, carved from, for all appearances, a single large chunk of wood. “Oh, good, we can make leather-hide-and-no-fish soup.  Except we don’t even have any no-fish yet.”

“I’ve got a bit.”  Bryn braced against the pier’s biggest piling.  “Oh, this one is nuts.  What did I catch, one of the shipfish?  Oh, blasted barrens-”  Bryn leaned back hard and reeled in.  “I think I’ve got it, I think I’ve got it-”

“Maybe -”  Johnie had taken a step backwards and then another.  “Maybe you should let it go.  I know it’s a really good pole – but maybe it’s, uh.  Maybe it’s a little too good?  I’m just saying…”

Bryn followed Johnie’s shaking finger to the water, where something was frothing the surface badly.  A tentacle waved out of the splashing, looking nothing at all like the peaceful squidlings that inhabited the nearby rivers.  This thing was nearly as thick around as Bryn’s waist, twice as long as Bryn was tall, and it was clearly connected to something underwater.  And now it was being joined by another, and another…

“Maybe I ought to let go.”  It was a really good pole, one that had come from a stash of the before things.  Bryn tried to make reluctant fingers release from the handle, but the hours of work spent getting this pole, cleaning it up, fixing its two small breaks…

“Bryn!  It’s now or never!”

Bryn’s fingers almost released, but the jerking of the poll made both hands tighten in reflex.  Bryn screamed as the pole flew into the water, taking Bryn with it, landing in the middle of the splashing mess of angry tentacles.

Through the inky blackness, Bryn could see lights deep underwater.  Something about the lights said temple, but something brighter seemed to say library. 

Then a tentacle wrapped around Bryn’s waist, and the only thing Bryn was thinking about was get me out of here.

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Been to Middle Earth; Do you speak my language?

Okay, this is entirely because DaHob sent me the link to Talk Nerdy to Me

Woman Elf: Medium Skin Tone on Twitter Twemoji 12.0

When Nat first saw the ads shouting  “win a trip to Middle Earth,” she assumed it was just another studio amusement park, like “spend a weekend in the Wizarding World” or “Cruise on the Black Pearl.”

It wasn’t until she was lured by a clickbait article that she caught a clue as to what was really going on.

“Portal trips to other universes: are they as safe as they seem?”

It turned out that the answer was a firm no, something hammered home as Nat’s native guide physically moved her out of the way of a swinging mace and dropped her onto the back of a sturdy pony.  “Tourist gold, they said,” he muttered.  “Bringing fresh eyes and fresh treasure to Middle Earth!  Nobody said they’d be idiots without the sense to come in out of the rain!”

“Hey!”  She shifted on the pony and let it carry her away from the orcs.  “Let’s see you come to my world and see how you do in a strange place with strange dangers, hunh, Gladrin son of Gladuil?”

“Maybe I will, maybe I will,” he retorted.

“Good!  I look forward to it!”

Then, because she didn’t want to be the reason that the Ugly American trope was carried to another universe, she added, much more politely, “thank you for saving me.  Do you think, for the rest of this trip, you could perhaps show me the things that you like the best about your land?”

She thought from the expression – the beard made it hard to tell – that she’d surprised Gladrin.

“That I will, little human,” he consented.  “That I will.  And perhaps we can return you to your land intact, mmm?”

Prince of Hell?

I’ve been watching Lucifer on Netflix, and it occurred to me that he fits pretty well into Fae Apoc, powers and all, and ah, here’s an AU of his early days “on Earth,” that is, free of his previous employment…

The blonde women is Mike VanderLinden.

😈

“Hello, Luci. I heard you got out.”

Lucifer didn’t know the gorgeous blond woman approaching him, but that she was gorgeous, called him Luci, and heard you got out told him that he didn’t want to know her, either.

“I did.” He was going to have to work on sounding more certain when he said that. Continue reading