fools rush in where angels fear to tread || aurora, hook, & maleficent

Slipping out passed Mulan, Snow White, and Emma had been too easy, but Aurora had always been going at going unnoticed when she wanted to–years of escaping the watchful gaze of her aunts making her lithe and dexterous. Besides, Aurora was more often left to her own devices now that they were back in Storybrooke. She didn’t blame them. Emma and Snow White–Mary Margaret–had a family here, and they had been separated, unsure if they would ever see them again. And they still tried to keep an eye on her, but Aurora was more often than not left to while away her time, picking at food that never made her feel full, fighting sleep and the nightmares.

But there had been a jump in her belly when Emma had casually mentioned the dragon she had slain. Aurora knew of only one dragon shapeshifter, and send sent a coil of rage and fear in her belly. After everything she had down, Maleficent had the audacity to be alive? She’d always been so terrified of the witch, a hulking, nightmarish thing that prowled the corners of her dreams. Buts he didn’t dream anymore, and the world was too terrible to be afraid of a witch. And she needed answers.

The night was dark, and the sweater and jeans Snow–Mary Margaret–had let her borrow foreign. She wished she’d grabbed a jacket, but she hadn’t thought of it when she’d been slipping out the window.

She followed the odd, dark streets of Storybrooke down to the place where Emma said she’d been made to fight a dragon to save her son. She’d said it casually, and to Mulan, but Aurora had been hanging on every word, memorizing each detail, stored away for future use.

The inside of the building was abandoned and perversely quiet. Her flat shoes made odd clicking noises against the ground when she entered, and the noise made her wince. Aurora didn’t want Maleficent to know she was coming.

She rattled at the–what was it called; elevator!–unsure how to get it to work. Emma hadn’t talked about that, having grown up with these things, and Aurora rocked back on her heels, frowning as she tried to discover how to descend down into the lair of the beast.

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“Sparrow?” Killian called, wrinkling his nose at the strange sensation of the strange prosthetic on his hand. “This doesn’t unnerve you, does it?”

Aurora hadn’t even realized he’d laid the makeshift hand on the table. She blinked at it, shrugging. “No. Should it?” She glanced blankly up into his face.

i will carry you home in my teeth || killian & aurora

The kid slippers only lasted her a mile, the silky fabric poorly suited for travel across damp terrain and uneven gravel roads. After the fifth blister, she managed to flag down a traveling merchant, trading the silver broach pinned to her wrap for a pair of ragged leather boots that were nearly three sizes too big. The winding Sun Road would have been a safer, smoother walk but she remembered the warning–he won’t stop once he realizes you’re gone, my lady, travel the lesser known roads, don’t stop for anything.

It was a week’s journey spent baking underneath an indifferent sun, beating down on her head. The closer she got to the seaway the more cropping of foliage there was, and she was thankful it, even for the damp earth that sloshed in her boots. Ishtar was a desert kingdom, save at its edges, one side the Enchanted Forest and the other the great Sheering Sea. She might have thought fleeing eastward, but if the rumors were to be true she could not trust in the aid of Queen Snow White and King James–they had their own problems. Her only hope was the expanse of the sea, and crossing it. Agrabah had always been an ally of her father’s. They would offer her asylum, if she could reach it.

The walk to Portstown was exhausting, but she was thankful for it, in the end. It drove away thoughts (beautiful Phillip with blood staining his teeth, that gurgled whisper against her ear as he’d slumped on top of her. Run.). She became a machine, moving only by a knowledge that she had to, that she could not stop. If she stopped, she would suffer something much worse than an eternal sleep, worse than death.

No one spared the grimy, ragged girl a glance as she stumbled down Portstown’s uneven, cobbled roads. Ship sails fluttered in the breeze farther down by the docks, the bitter scent of salt wafting against her noise. Her stomach ached with hunger. Her mother could have charmed animals to help find her food, but she had had to make do with whatever berries she could scavenge on her trek.

The problem was, now that she was here, she didn’t know what to do. Her mind had been so consumed on the reaching, keeping from being recaptured, forced back into the tower that smelt like stale sadness and dried blood, she hadn’t thought of anything else.

Her feet took her to the tavern. She couldn’t present herself to the mayor, who might be inclined to return her for a possible reward, or even to simply protect his town, or anyone of means. Her survival relied wholly on moving undetected. No one could know who she was.

Squaring her shoulders, Princess L'Aurore de la Forêt, Lady of the White Dunes and heir to Ishtar, stepped into the low din of the tavern.

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Have a thing for the older chaps, hm sparrow?

She made a humming sound. “Perhaps.” Her smile was cheeky as she sent him a leveled look through her lashes. “Sometimes I think–if I hadn’t been Princess Aurora hiding in the woods, and had just been the peasant girl living with her aunts, I might have married the woodsman.”

Killian let out a long deep breath through his nose. The *kitchen*. But their cook was charmed by *him*. “Whatever he says, whatever he promises, Aurora, don’t let him take the children. Don’t let him near them. *Especially* Wendy.” He knew how mistrustful their daughter was but he also saw the face of his sister every time he looked at her and that soft heart that she tried to keep hidden. Oh yes, on the right day, the perfect storm. “She’ll feel sorry for him, no matter how she tries to help it.”

“I’m not so foolish as to let me be alone with the children. I wouldn’t care to have them off for an extended visit to Neverland, Killian.” She shrugged. Killian, of course, had experiences with the Pan that she hadn’t–ones that he was wont to talk about with her, ones that give him a great deal of pain. “That’s why I never mind when he hangs around me. Better me than the children. But John was with me the last time he visited–he was hardly interested in the boy at all.” Oh, course, John wasn’t interested in anything unless it came from a book.

it's go go not cry cry || open || zombie au

The Enchanted Forest smelt like stale cigarettes, watered-down alcohol, and dry sweat. The dimmed, red-rimmed lights hid the smudges on the silver poles as the bodies wrapped snakelike and supple around them. The music was some bluesy number harkening to idealized days of Vegas’s golden years, where the glitter and glitz had not burned so sharply, so brutally, and Sinatra had reigned king. That, of course, was an illusion as well—Vegas had always been sin and vice in a dusty, dead desert polished over with a gaudy sheen that radiated outward like a corona.

Aurora gripped her pole in a sturdy hand, making a swanlike pass on the see-through floor of her stage. She arched mid-swing, bowing her back far enough for her hair to sweep along the lit floor, kicking up a cloud of glitter in her wake. She landed hard on towering stilettos, moving in time to the music. The heavy kohl of her makeup would have made her look overdone in normal lighting, but in a way she was a stage actress—the thick makeup suited the strobe lights and jazz.

Beyond her stage the world was cast in shadowy silhouette, which was for the best. Aurora didn’t care much for the hungry eyes she knew were on her. She had been lured in by the glow of Vegas like many people, but the playground had quickly turned into a prison—one she was helpless to escape; her ends never seemed to meet. A year ago, she wouldn’t have known how to shimmy her hips in time to the tandem beat of music. A year ago she’d had a wide eyed innocence that had since dulled from her eyes. The plastic beading of her skirt slapped noisily against her sweaty thighs, the sound drowned under a woman’s mournful ballad about how her man don’t come around no more.

The Enchanted Forest claimed to cater to a specific crowd. Strip clubs were many on Vegas’s busy streets, but this was more than an exotic night club, or so it claimed, which was just another lie, another layer to glaze over a vice. Aurora may never have gotten down to her bare skin, but she was still there for the crowd’s overt perusal, their greedy eyes like hooks just beneath the surface of her skin. After nearly a year of go-go dancing for a populace more interested in what went on under her skirt, though, she had gotten used to it. She had learned to it ignore it. She was someone else when she was dancing—she was Briar Rose on the stage, and she had buried the girl she had been somewhere along the climb up those stairs.

By the time she finished her number, Aurora’s skin was glistening with sweat. The stage was always hot under the burn of the lights, and she pushed her sweat-mattered hair from her eyes as she stepped backstage, plucking up a towel hanging from the edge of the shoddy vanity that doubled as her dressing room, dabbing at the beads of sweat, uncaring if her makeup was smudged or not. It was nearly three in the morning, and her shift was done. Aurora looked forward to a hot bath a tub that had seen better days and a blissful twelve hour sleep in an apartment that was falling down around her ears.

If her mother could see her now, she thought with a small, sardonic twist of lips. Vegas was supposed have been a road-stop, a quick trip with the love of her life, that had somehow mutated to a hole she couldn’t climb out of. But she had never been on to cry over split milk, and this had curdled a long time ago anyway. All she could was pinch her pennies and wait for the day when she had just enough to get out of the downward spiral—ever the optimist, Aurora was. She refused to believe that day wouldn’t arrive.

Shouldering into a second-hand coat, her heels traded in for economic flats, she left the harshly lit backstage for the dark center room, waving to a waitress in a risqué mockery of a harem girl’s uniform with a jaunty salute on way her to the exit. She was too distracted to avoid the person who had shuffled in her path, and she plowed into their backside with a small oaf.

“I’m sorry,” Aurora said, eyes narrowed to shift through the haze and the poor lighting of the club to see who she had slammed into. “I didn’t see you.”