A Fairytale Beginning (6/9)

OMG, you guys, I cannot tell you how sorry I am that I took this long to get this chapter out.  This 8k monster gave me serious grief with the writing and re-writing and overthinking and gnashing of teeth it took to get it to this point.  Fair warning, I’m going on my 4th day of sleeping less than 5 hours a night, so there may be a little clean-up of typos and wording going on later.  A million thanks to @katie-dub for being my sounding board for the diner scene, to @i-know-how-you-kiss for letting me whine to her repeatedly about how badly this chapter was kicking my butt, and to the rest of you for waiting so very patiently with nothing but supportive words.  XOXO

Find it on AO3 and FFN.  Missed a chapter?  Get caught up here.

Summary:  Killian Jones, the notorious Captain Hook, has been on a quest to kill the Dark One and avenge the death of his first love for over one hundred fifty years. But when he crosses the Evil Queen, he’s magically transported to New York City, a strange land full of fascinating wonders, the foremost of which is Emma Swan, a cynical single mother with no time for fairy tales, real or imagined. A Captain Swan Enchanted AU.   (Captain Swan modern AU, Captain Swan Enchanted Forest AU.  Romance & Adventure.  Rated G.)

Tags as requested: @timetravelingpotatoast, @piratesails, @storybrookeswans, @optomisticgirl

Emma waits until Granny returns with matching plates brimming with grilled cheese cut into triangles and piles of golden onion rings.  She flashes a muted smile of thanks at the older woman, and Granny gives them a subtle smirk as she sets a glass ketchup bottle directly between their plates and disappears.

Emma snatches the bottle up by the neck and twists off the cap while she gathers her thoughts, unsure how much she wants to reveal.  Killian watches her shake out a dollop onto her plate and then accepts the bottle when she hands it to him, studying it before proceeding to mimic her with an adorable amount of caution.

A tiny smile tugs at Emma’s mouth, but she briskly turns back to the matter at hand and clears her throat.  As always, the first onion ring she touches is just shy of too hot to touch and just greasy enough to be tempting, and she dips it with a little sigh.  “Walsh proposed,” she says quietly, taking a bite to give herself an excuse not to say anything else immediately.

The ketchup bottle pauses in midair, and she doesn’t need to see Killian’s face to know that he’s frowning when he sets it down with a soft thunk.  “I see,” he says, sounding politely interested.

Emma keeps her eyes fixed on her plate as she eats.  “Yesterday.  Just before I met you and Henry at the library.”

Killian hesitates, as though trying to read her.  “And you didn’t say yes?” he risks casually.

She glances up for a second at the tempting cakes and pies on display in a Plexiglas case sitting across from them before her gaze falls back to her food, her lashes brushing her cheeks.  “I didn’t say no.”

Keep reading

First Date

Day Four of the 30 Day OTP OT3 Challenge

It’s Steve’s idea to go on a date; a proposition he makes just two short weeks after he finds himself somehow dating Nancy Wheeler and Jonathan Byers.

They’re uneasy with the plan at first, especially Jonathan. Sure, they’ve gone out all together—but it’s never been a date. Does putting a label on something add certain pressures, expectations? It’s unclear because they have no map to navigate the sometimes tumultuous waters of a new relationship—and this is unlike any relationship they’ve ever encountered before. 

Still, Steve’s always been convincing—it’s the smile and the hair, Nancy says—and on Friday night they find themselves dressed up and sitting around a table in a fancy French restaurant. 

Jonathan feels two things on the back of his neck as they read over their menus in terse silence; a trickle of nervous sweat and the eyes of staring patrons. He’s out of his element—not only is this place far too fancy for him, but he clearly doesn’t belong with the people he’s sharing a table with. His feelings are so palpable that Steve begins to feel agitated as well and all the encouraging smiles in the world, shot in his direction by a still perfectly poised Nancy, can’t make conversation as easy as it is when they’re sprawled out in the Wheeler’s living room. 

“I don’t like this place,” Steve finally declares, closing his menu and setting it aside. He doesn’t admit it, but he feels more than little guilty, responsible for the discomfort of the others. This had been his idea, after all. “Lets just go get burgers.”

Nancy and Jonathan look up at him as though he’s joking, but he can see the quiet gratitude behind their eyes. Jonathan’s shoulders no longer look like they’re carrying a too-heavy burden. 

And so, they end up with take out from Nancy’s favourite greasy burger joint in the next town over. Golden onion rings, vanilla milkshakes, and gooey cheeseburgers fill the tight space of Steve’s car with an aroma that makes their stomachs growl. 

“Where to?” Steve asks, a hand on Nancy’s knee as she slides a mix tape into the dashboard. 

“You know that old overpass by the airport?” Jonathan asks, leaning forward between the driver and passenger. Steve nods. He knows the place; it’s where he takes Max to watch the planes take off when Hawkins feels too small. 

It’s still cold out, winter lingering in the air, but crowded together in the back seat with the heat running they barely notice. Their first date, though not quite what Steve had planned, is perfect. It’s laughter and familiarity and greasy fingertips as they crane their necks to watch the blinking lights pass overhead through the windows. 

“You better mark this day in your calendars,” Steve grins, popping an onion ring into his mouth, “I think this is a good day for an anniversary.”


** The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, The American Table, is now available for pre-order from Amazon @, and is considered to be the most complete cookbook ever published on the topic of classic American dishes**

Who doesn’t love onion rings? What is there not to love about the flavors of onions incased in a crusty shell. Unfortunately most people have only tasted the prepared onion rings sold in the frozen food section of the supermarket. These are not really onions rings. They are onion-flavored glop. Real onion rings are actual rings of onion. There is nothing fake. Onion rings have been a staple of American diners, cafes and roadside eateries for decades. It was a way to get rid of older onions and make a profit by doing so. If you were really lucky, you got onion rings with a beer infused batter and there is nothing quite like chomping in Beer Battered Onion Rings!

When it comes to what type of beer to use in the batter, it is totally up to you. I prefer to use whatever I have on hand. If you are going to use a “dark” variety of beer, the batter will be a little darker and the flavor slightly more “hoppy.”  As far as the onions are concerned, any large sweet variety of onion will work perfectly. Just make sure to slice the onion rather thickly.

Since onion rings are deep-fried, oil is rather important. For any food item which is deep-fried, you want an oil with a high smoking point. The best oil for deep-frying is peanut oil. It is also rather expensive. The next choice is a canola oil, much more affordable. Often times in the South, they will use a combination of canola oil and lard and if you opt for this, you will have to watch the oil a little more closely as you don’t want it to start smoking thus burning the food.

If you want to know the secret of how the diner Beer Battered Onion Rings were always so golden, it is because of one simple and inexpensive ingredients. Just a touch of ground turmeric will give your batter a beautiful color and create the golden look to the onion rings.


Ingredients needed to make Beer Battered Onion Rings:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. salt

1 12-ounce bottle of beer

2 large sweet onions, peeled and sliced thickly

Oil for deep-frying

1) In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, turmeric, salt and beer until smooth.

2) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour.

3) Re-whisk the batter.

4) In a large cast iron pan (or large saute pan), add a few inches of oil and bring to 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.

5) Place the onion rings into the batter to completely coat them.

6) Carefully place them into the hot oil (in batches) and deep-fry until crisp and golden.

7) Remove the onion rings from the oil and place on a wire rack so any excess oil drips off of them.

8) Let cool slightly before serving.


Made Sonic The Hedghog Chili Dogs & homemade Golden Onion Rings!

(I just have to get this out of my head.)

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She wakes up, eyes scrunching against the sunlight streaming in though the gauzy curtains behind her bed. She debates turning her face back into the pillow and letting sleep claim her for just a little longer, but the sound of movement downstairs draws her curiosity.

Standing, she winces as a flash of pain stabs through her side, and she looks down to check the large bandage gracing her abdomen. No more helping Dad with the horses. Those giant stomping machines are just not meant to be a part of her world. All hooves and snorts and unpredictability. Nope.

(Though having Killian play nurse was almost worth it, even if he was a little more handsy than a proper medical professional.)

The decent downstairs is slow, her sore muscles fighting movement every step of the way. Music plays quietly from the radio tucked in the corner of the living room, and a gentle breeze blows warms spring air though the open windows. Her family is scattered about the loft in various states of Saturday morning laziness, heads turning to smile at her as she enters the room.

Henry tosses a quick grin over his shoulder as he stands next to Killian at the stove, before turning back to the task at hand. Two dark heads huddle close together, and she would be suspicious if the delicious smell of fried cheese wasn’t filling the air.

She stops by the table to kiss her father’s cheek and nuzzle her sleeping brother, tucked warmly in her mother’s arms. Mary Margaret brushes a hand over her hair as she does, and that familiar warm feeling of love and home and family washes through her.

“We’re making grilled cheese, Mom! We even got avocados and bacon to add. Want one?” Henry asks, proudly placing a plate with a in front of David.

“Keep mine classic, kid. Extra cheese,” she grins.

“Henry, I smell burning,” Regina absently notes from her spot next to them at the table, and with a flick of her manicured hand the sandwich safely levitates out of the burning pan.

“Oh crap,” he dashes back to the stove. “Thanks, Mom.”

Her eyes shift to Killian, who reaches out to ruffle the boy’s messy hair as he takes his spot back up. He dips his hook into the bubbling pot in front of him, expertly fishing out a perfectly golden onion ring. Wicked eyes lock onto hers as he turns and saunters towards her, all innocence and suggestion at once. He stops close, raising the dangling onion ring to his mouth and blowing on it gently to cool it. She can’t stop her smile as need curls in her gut.

“Hungry, Swan?” he murmurs as his face swims out of focus. 

She awakens with a start, alone in the dark save for the quiet patter of rain on the cabin’s roof. The remnants of the dream slice at her heart, and a fierce homesickness rolls over her so strongly it robs her of her breath. She aches for them, she aches for her home.

She just wants to go home.

It’s then a quiet voice echoes in her head, slyly whispering to her from the deepest recesses of her mind, pulling at her magic and making it burn for release.

You could have that. You could have everything you want. Peace. Freedom. Love. Happiness.

You just have to take it.

No, she pushes back, body beginning to shake. She can’t. She won’t. Not while this darkness is inside her. Not while she is the Darkness.

She walks alone.

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