A/N: bahahaha (you mean the prndl) as a disclaimer, some of the dialogue isn’t mine <3
Two weeks ago, when he’d insisted on fully acclimating himself to her world—and that included being able to captain one of those terrible vessels so often used for transport, love—it was funny. (Seeing Captain Hook glaring extravagantly at her little car like it was some fearsome opponent to be dueled was enough to make her pee her pants. Almost.) It was sweet, too, that he wanted to learn how to drive, despite his fractured trust—considering his first encounter had led to a visit in the hospital.
One week ago, when he’d hunched himself into the driver’s seat of her Bug, swathed in all his bulky leather, it was surreal. Captain Hook—the villainous, deceitful pirate from the story she’d read and revered as a kid—was in her car. (It didn’t help that she’d come to know he wasn’t anything like the old man with the perm and waxed moustache from the story —the fact that he was a smoldering, brooding, sexy-as-all-hell pirate made everything much, much worse.)
But now, when an hour has passed and they haven’t even moved out of the parking spot, it was frustrating. She can’t even sympathize with him anymore—she gets that he’s not from here, but surely sailing a ship was more of a challenge than remembering to turn the ignition before slamming on the gas. (There’s so many bloody intricacies, Swan, what in the blazes is blue-tooth?)
She sighs, looking over at him—he’s emanating nerves, there’s tension in the stiff way he’s sitting with hand and hook on the wheel, apprehension and – was that embarrassment – in his frown.
“Alright,” she says. “Have you checked your mirrors?”
Within moments he’s regained his pirate-captain bravado, offering her a cheeky grin. “Yes, and I still look as devilishly handsome as I always have. But you already knew that, didn’t you, darling?”
She snorts, arching an eyebrow. He wasn’t fooling her by masking his confusion with thinly-veiled arrogance. “Your mirrors are not for vanity, tough guy, they’re for seeing the view to your rear.”
At this he lights up—his smirk obscene and eyebrows waggling—making her wonder how he can be three-hundred-years-old and still manage to also be a teenage boy who spends his time making that’s-what-she-said jokes.
“Not your behind, behind you,” she emphasizes, but it doesn’t come out the peremptory way she’d wanted to say it as she fights off a laugh. (Those dancing ayebrows of his were her weakness, but she will not let him know that.)
“Now, buckle your seat belt,” she instructs, gesturing to the strap across her chest.
At this, he gives her a pained look. “I had every intention of doing so, Swan, but the last time I did I was—rather uncomfortably restricted and as the captain of this vessel, I should be free of such confines at all costs.”
She gives him a blank look, willing herself patience. “Just do it, Killian,”
“It’s the law!” she snaps, loudly and vehemently. That vein in her forehead—reserved for her days in bailbonds when the perp tried to run—starts to protrude. He gapes at her, slack-jawed—as a captain, he’s not used to being given orders, but he’s come to know that commands from Emma Swan are not to be disregarded—before he nods, turning to buckle himself in.
(He’s fairly capable for having one hand, in more ways than one.)
(She shudders, not allowing memories of last night—and the night before that—distract her.)
“Now,” she continues, as calm and patient as she can manage. “Do you remember the gear shift?”
He tilts his head, offering her a patronizing smirk. “Don’t you mean the prindle, love?”
And just like that, her patience wanes. She glares at him incredulously. “The what?”
“The prindle,” he reiterates, emphatically waving at the gear shift.
“Are you referring to the lever that says p-r-n-d-l?”
“I’m not daft, Swan. Port, reeve, nipper, drag, and lay—quite like sailing a ship, really.”
“Who in the hell told you that?”
He considers her for a moment, affronted. “Your father and your lad. They were rather informative.”
(Seriously? At any other time, she would’ve laughed. But all she can think about is how she’s going to kill David, and then Henry, and then David again.)
“This isn’t a boat, Killian,” she grits out, “The letters stand for park, reverse, neutral, drive, and low.”
“Bloody hell,” he curses, “How am I supposed to remember the lot of that?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be one hell of a captain?”
“Aye, but sailing a ship is an entirely different endeavor, Swan. One is not permitted to be held prisoner by constraints meant to suffocate and eviscerate, nor does one have to recall the foresight to fill the vessel with such putrid – what did you call it – gasoline before departing,” he snaps, gaze withering, “And all rudiments aside, I’m bloody nervous and your maddening nagging is not helping!”
“Oh, I’m sorry if my nagging is getting in the way of your learning process,” she snarks, “Let’s just relax, sing a sea shanty or two! While we’re at it, let’s have a drink. Why not? It’s not like we shouldn’t impair our faculties while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle—c’mon, Hook, don’t be stingy with the rum!”
“I do not need to be patronized, love,” he bites out, eyes dark and flashing.
“Alright, alright,” she says, trying to recall her former equilibrium. There’s a pregnant pause, the silence full of tension and challenge. “Just – just start the engine and put the car in drive.”
He stalls for a moment, then sends her an inquisitive glance, face pained.
“THAT’S THE ‘D’ ON THE GEAR SHIFT!”