Admittedly, Sunny didn’t have the greatest attention span in the world. She got bored so easily, even when things happening around her were supposedly important, she just couldn’t help but zone out. Which was exactly what she had done for most of the day, which again, was probably not a good thing because at one point Elsa had been talking and Elsa generally didn’t talk to them as a group unless it was important, right? So she’d probably missed something of note.
But still, she hadn’t listened in the slightest.
So she’d have to suck it up and ask someone—of course not so simply because again, if she got bored, she was likely to zone out or wander off and at this point she had no idea why anyone bothered putting up with her because even she thought she was more trouble than she was worth. They’d been inside all day anyway, in that little space they’d rented for meetings and rehearsals and all that other stuff that was oh-so important for whatever future they were supposedly going to have. Therefore outside was decidedly necessary, and so was someone who might have actually been paying attention to what they were saying.
She could ask Graham, but she had a feeling that’d just get her one of those ‘why weren’t you listening in the first place’ looks and a lecture about how she didn’t take things seriously enough. Because those were always pleasant—she got the drift of it, and she cared enough to make the effort to turn up and live in that awful little apartment with the bad heating, what more could anyone ask of her?
Instead, she went to someone less likely to lecture her, mainly because she was unsure if he was listening either. “Jim! C’mon, we’re going somewhere.” She declared, striding up to him before he could leave and hooking her arm through his as if she had every right to do so.
Jim never paid attention to the meetings. Alright, no, that was a lie. Mostly. He rarely paid attention to the band meetings held for the members of Cor Leo; tune in when the subject had something to do with him and tune right back out when it didn’t. To be perfectly fair, he probably wasn’t supposed to be at the meetings anyway, same as he wasn’t technically supposed to be at rehearsals. No reason to invite the guy whose job could just as easily consist of lying on the band’s behalf as it could of telling the truth.
But he’d more or less invited himself in, same as he seemed to take a crowbar made of (mostly) good humor and terrible jokes and broad, bright grins to the locks of people’s hearts and force his way inside. It paid off, in the end, and by the time people remembered to be angry at him for one thing or another, they were usually either too fond of him or too reliant on him to really consider any kind of retribution that would put him out of commission for too long.
This particular session had been spent mostly on his phone, some texts going out to Christine and inquiring about the state of things at home, the rest to Ben in defense of his half of the rest (a solid hundred dollars of which could only be paid back after Nothing More’s show on Sunday). He would have left at the end, quiet as anything, and gone back to work, but a wild Sunny Milton in her natural habitat caught at his arm and the next thing he knew, he’d been somehow roped into her plans for the afternoon. Not that he minded.
“Ooh, going somewhere!” he replied, imitating an excitable child who’d just been told of a field trip down to the flailing of his free arm (which nearly took Elsa’s head off at the neck and was followed by an apologetic grin). “That’s specific. Are we talking a particular Somewhere, milady, or just a general Not Here?” If he could have pronounced the capital letters, he probably would have. As it was, he was happy to follow her lead like a duckling.
The thought that they could be here, in this same spot, having similar discussions come next year certainly sounded promising. You’d think a year wouldn’t seem like much to her, having existed for so long, but maybe it was because she had this now. A form that realized time and age. A year she’d look forward to. The warm breath that swept across her head was bringing her closer and closer to that sleeping point; and by the sound of it, Jim wasn’t far behind either. “That’ll be my goal then, to make you the perfect cup of coffee come Christmas. Perhaps I’ll even throw in one of those personalized mugs.” A yawn of her own came forth, muffled into her pillow.
Jim would have liked that plan. Coffee for Christmas sounded excellent, though he would have been a bit wary of what a personalized mug would have entailed. Half a chance that it would be something both entertaining and embarrassing wrapped in one, and the rest of the same chance that it would actually work out just fine. He wouldn’t have been sure he’d want to risk it, probably would have been too tired to do more than mumble something into the back of Jolly’s head.
But all that would have required that he be more awake than asleep. And he was most certainly not. Generally, Jim was awake- and then asleep. Very little slow transition, even less time to settle down, to get comfortable, to find the perfect position and revel in it; sleep just came with a snap of fingers. Tonight was no exception, except in the fact that it came later. If he’d been awake, he would have liked this plan. As it was, he’d drifted off between sentences and would have forewarning for neither drink nor mug.
Gods there was nothing more she wanted to give in to, than the promise of forever. To submit and lose herself in knowing that this moment would be a lasting one. And Jim was so quick to offer it up to her, to comfort her and make her feel as safe and warm against him, as he usually had. A soothing roar of waves to calm her in the middle of a storm. The rumble against her ear brought her eyes to a close and her arms tightened, breath shuddering and the ship willed for all to be well by the time this all was over. It wasn’t too much to ask, was it? For things to work themselves out in the end? She knew something about it worried him, she could feel the pounding against his chest, hear it, and her own matched it beat for beat. He attempted to make her laugh anyway, and the result was a dry chuckle. Jolly didn’t have need for a kitchen, could care less about the cold when she would most likely try to huddle in and steal the warmth he gave off. But if forever was an option as opposed to the foreboding, she was half considering taking him up on it.
It was slow breathing when she settled back slightly, focusing on his words; a soft spoken tale of their first meeting turned day spent together. A sailor at the docks and a girl standing in awe, taken in by the man and the care he was putting into the very vessel they were out upon now. And that feeling had only grown since then, gaining her an unforgettable companionship. She smiled fondly, letting it touch her eyes, just so. “Aye, you can be vain all you like,” It was true, she’d not deny it. “I believe I called you a dashing sailor at some point, perhaps more than once, as time went by. Still rings true.” It had been that very first short story that had her hooked for more, a tale of treasure. Of pirate and a young boy and friendship. And Jim had a way, she would learn with his words that were enough to draw anyone in, young or old.
But landing in the cold waters of Maine…that was her own doing; not being able to keep her babbling mouth shut. Going on about Neverland and teetering close to the edge, his helping hand had turned to a pushing one and, well—it had been the start of a wondrous thing. Jolly let her smile grow at his quiet tone. “Of course I was interested…you understood.” She shrugged, one sided and with a light smile. “It was more than that though, something…just something more. Your way with tales, that goofy grin –“ She shook her head quickly, feeling her cheeks warm while she just kept on digging herself deeper and deeper. “Think I’ll just hush now, before I get ahead of myself. Anyway, aye, just…hold onto that, please.”
She was being secretive, and she knew it, knew it had to be driving him…somewhere. Probably not madness, but she was sure he couldn’t have been feeling too great in there. She’d seen hurt, seen what it could do to people—
She didn’t want that, but that point was moot now, having been so long. So many chances to let him in on her past, despite him telling her he could wait. There was still an incredible overhang of guilt, festering and building by the day. A storm cloud that darkened, threatening to turn black until it opened up and poured down upon them. He needed more and gods did she want to give it, she wanted to give him everything she could, as foolish as it might sound.
“I didn’t go much –at all really, on shore, because I couldn’t. Not because it was a personal preference. I’ll start with that. Of course I was curious, how can one spend all those years watching from the shoreline and not wonder what its like.” Her voice piqued, turning that of a curious child who did in fact want to wander the ground of all those places she had visited in all her years. It wasn’t much, but it was a step in some kind of direction at least. Hopefully the right one. Out of all the things she ever told him it was perhaps the truest thing she had ever spoke about herself. On a personal level anyway. It felt…a little better, not much, but she let out a short breath of what might have been taken as relief. “Erm, I went by another name, long ago.” A weak smile and a shrug before her once relieving breaths turned to nervous ones. “You –uh, you can ask questions if you’d like, ‘til we get back. No more secrets, Jim, I’m done with that.” It was a risk, giving him that power, to ask pretty much whatever he damn well wished; but one she was willing to take.
By her answers alone, Jim saw - or hoped he did - that Jolly was relaxing, just a bit, just beginning to slide out of the state into which she’d worked herself. He wasn’t certain how at ease he, himself, felt, but at least it was something to have her returned to her usual chatter. Or almost near enough to it. Passably? Not quite. There was still a way she held back that did nothing to calm his drawn-taut nerves, and while he was content to remain where and how he was for now, that couldn’t last forever. Nothing ever did.
It reminded him, in a terrible way, of a storm at sea. Dark clouds spotted on the horizon sent something in his chest thrumming, and soon as that first shout went up, it became a tension that ran like a string through the crew, binding them together in nervous trepidation that never lessened, never went away, not completely, no matter how many years at sea they had under their collective belts. The lightning had yet to crackle over their heads, the waves had yet to loom over the topsails and threaten to break across the deck, and the sea beneath them wasn’t yet pitching, wasn’t yet rough and roiling and disquiet.
Because Jim knew it was coming. Maybe he’d known it for a while and hadn’t wanted to admit it, but he wasn’t certain on that account. Calm before the storm. Wasn’t that what this had all been? Preparation, some great force, some other letting them get comfortable, letting them sit before turning up the heat. Only now it had begun to simmer. It wasn’t boiling yet (there was that word again) and he could hold out a vague hope that it would never come to pass, but…
But Jolly had been so nervous - was still so nervous? - and she had a better grasp on the situation than he ever could, given what they each knew. There was concern in the way he looked at her; if asked, he didn’t know that he’d be able to say which of them it was for, or whether the answer was neither and it was all saved for that which was coming. Because there was something dark on the horizon, despite the bright, clear day in which they were enveloped. As though there were two Storybrookes, one layered atop the other.
She was still talking, and Jim could feel his face twist into an expression of confusion. The warmth was gone, though it wasn’t something he’d meant to happen. It had simply been replaced by a stronger emotion at the moment. To have not gone ashore because she wasn’t able to? Magic. It had to be magic. Right? The perpetual, easy explanation for the inexplicable. He would have asked, but- but no, he could ask. Permission for him to ask questions had been given, allowing him to query deeper into the morass of mystery she’d created, hidden, and now exposed.
“Why could you only watch?” He had no idea how his voice kept steady through the question, short as it was. A quick laugh followed it, and the sailor shook his head, “Sorry, sorry, never- never mind. That cuts a bit to the chase, doesn’t it? I might be allowed questions, but what I said before - it still stands. You’ll tell me when you’re ready, whether I’ve asked about it or not.” It seemed generous enough, but he knew it was for selfish reasons, knew it as because he didn’t know if he wanted to know, not really.
Knowledge was power but power wouldn’t protect him much, if any, from the intangible. “Uhm.” Jim’s eyes slid closed, one hand reaching up to drag briefly down his face. He was lost. Again. No idea what he could ask, where he could step, what wouldn’t upset the careful balance they were teetering precariously in at the moment. “I don’t-“
It had been brought it, brought into conversation, and so the door had opened. Couldn’t close it now, no matter how hard they tried. Couldn’t go back to the old conversation even if they tried to leave it behind and let the Gunn carry them swiftly away once more. It was a trick, a trap, and it had closed on them already.
[text] Elsa would have her work cut out for her, that’s for sure.
[text] Will do.
[text] She could probably use the boost! You don’t think she’d appreciate it? Free publicity.
I just have the sneaking suspicion that “Reflection” is a small, quiet nod to the trans community.
Slimiest rat in the pack? Captain Hook! Captain Hook! Who’s unlaughable? You! Who’s unlovable? You! Whose existence is quite unforgivable? You! Who would stoop to the cheapest and lowest of tricks in the book? Captain Hook! Captain Hook!
→ Blame me! Slay me! Captain Hook!
NEW INDEPENDENT AU KILLIAN JONES FOR ABC’S OUAT
over five years of experience in roleplaying - x - mirrors partners length, but prefers longer threads - x - will primarily roleplay with icons - x - au!killian who is truer to j.m. barrie’s original villain - x - looking for rp partners and plots - x - please like or reblog if you’d be interested