Title: Two Witches and a Cup of Tea, Part One
Series: The Four Thieves
Characters: Swan Queen, Regina, Hook, Aurora, Mulan
Spoilers: Destiny is the Rabbit Hole. You may be confused if you skip it.
Disclaimer: Of course I don’t own them. All the lady loving would be hella canon if I did.
Summary: After the events of Destiny is the Rabbit Hole Regina is stuck on a boat with three strangers. The four have to not kill each other, or Sinbad, if they ever want to make it home. Sirens, witches, gods, a giant’s boils and some delicious apple turnovers all stand in their way.
Two Witches and a Cup of Tea, Part One
Aeaea was a lovely little tropical island with black beaches, sparkling blue waters and lush green forest. On a hill at the center of the island, guarded by thick foliage, lay a glistening white temple. Or home.
It looked Grecian in design and it’s tall marble columns could be seen all the way from the shore.
It was the home of Circe, a bewitching former queen in exile—a scenario Regina could empathize with. Though she’d been stuck on the foot of a mountain, not given a palace on a tropical island where the temperature probably never rose above eighty five degrees.
They’d come to Circe’s quaint little island to learn the whereabouts of the god Hermes. Sinbad claimed he knew the deposed queen and could get the information. He’d also claimed that Circe only hated women more than she hated her former husband.
So he and Killian went wandering past the sleepy village hidden in the trees and up the path to Circe’s adobe.
And while the "men" were off to work the "women" were enjoying their break from adventuring. Aurora had found Killian's journal in his room and was reading it to herself. She'd periodically snicker and when Mulan or Regina would ask why she'd wave them off and return to reading, her eyes wide with amusement.
Mulan was honing knives and throwing them at a circle she'd painted on the mast of the ship. They made a pleasant "thunk" each time they sank into the wood. Then she'd pick up the next blade and that sound of a metal's edge dragged across a stone would ring in the sea air.
Then another "thunk."
Regina was laid out in a very comfortable thick towel near the wheel house. It was the only place, that afternoon, that was in the sun and not in the path of Mulan's blades.
She'd traded her dark queen garb for a two piece. It had started its existence as a photo in an issue of Vogue. She'd called the designer…repeatedly while still a mayor of a sleepy town in Maine, and the idiot had refused to ship her one in her size.
So technically the two piece she'd conjured with her mind was infringing on the bastard's copyright, but Regina was also fairly certain that his copyright didn't extend to a warm little island in a land inhabited by cyclops, Greek gods, and the witch Sinbad was "just friends" with.
And if, by chance, a cease and desist did some how make it away from the one realm Regina couldn't get to, then she'd be less annoyed and more intrigued.
She snapped her fingers and a nubile man and woman in flimsy silk sarongs popped into existence. The woman carried a drink and the man a fan that he got to work cooling off Regina's sun-warmed body with.
Aurora looked up from her reading and screamed in surprise, her hand flying to her chest. "Would you stop stealing villagers to use as your slaves!"
She accepted the drink. "It's not like they remember or anyone even notices. They just think it's a dream."
Regina rolled her eyes.
"I'm more worried she's going to steal someone I don't want to see in a sarong," Mulan muttered. "What if you accidentally abduct Sinbad? I don't need to see all of…that." Her whole face contorted in disgust, and behind her Aurora's face mirrored it perfectly.
"I won't abduct Sinbad. I don't think I even can. As long as he's in Circe's home he's out of reach."
"Well, that's one saving grace," Aurora said. She snapped Hook’s journal closed and peered at Regina's conjured minions. "Where does their clothing come from?"
Regina reached out to finger the soft cloth the man wore around his waist. "They're sarongs. A tidy form of garb worn by people in another land."
"And they choose to wear it here?"
"No. I just like how a muscular man in a sarong looks."
"I thought you preferred busty blonds." Mulan slipped on her next knife throw and glared at her "just friend" who was grinning impishly at Regina. "They're hardly Emma shaped," Aurora said.
"I can make you Emma shaped if you like."
"Please don't," Mulan pleaded.
"And have you staring at me all day morosely? I think not!"
Regina raised her hand to give Aurora at least the shape of an Emma, but a screeching piglet, rushing across the beach and being chased by six enormous pigs, distracted her.
"What on earth…"
She went to the edge of the boat to watch the flock, or squad or herd or whatever a group of pigs was called, race towards them. Mulan joined her, squinting and using her hand to shade her eyes. "Does that piglet…?"
Aurora produced a spy glass emblazoned with Hook’s crest from her person and peered through it. "That piglet has a hook for a hoof."
The piglet was also a tiny little black haired thing, while the pigs chasing it were all red or brown.
"But you don't think," Mulan started.
"That that idiot got himself turned into a piglet and is being chased by transformed villagers as we speak?"
"Never mind. That is exactly what happened."
Mulan heaved herself over the side of the boat, landing in the surf and drawing her sword. Aurora climbed up to the wheelhouse to stand next to Regina and offered her spy glass and the two women took turns sharing it and watching Mulan rescued a piglet named Killian.
It really was impressive. As Mulan was a good person she refused to just skewer the enormous pigs because they were likely innocent villagers transformed by Circe's magic. Instead she scooped Hook up and held him in one hand while deflecting the blunt and nasty little pig teeth that kept lunging for the meat of her legs.
"Are you two going to help?"
"You've got this," Aurora cheered.
Regina kept quiet, because if she spoke up Mulan would demand that she use her magic and she didn't feel like fighting a herd of pigs while in a bikini. It seemed dangerous to her tan.
Mulan kicked one pig, and flipped over two more. They spun on their little hooves and charged again. She clearly needed two hands to fight them and handling a screeching pirate piglet wasn't helping.
"I need two hands," she called. "Catch."
Then she lobbed Hook like the pigskin he might one day be if he wasn't careful and Aurora, showing a knack for sports Regina didn't expect, stepped back, watched his trajectory, and caught him as smoothly as any football.
“Good job Drew Bledsoe.”
“Who—“ Hook twisted and squealed in Aurora’s hands and she dropped him on his tiny hooves and hook.
Huffing noisily through his little snout he ran up to the edge of the boat and peered over the top of the gangplank to watch Mulan finish off the other pigs.
Aurora cooed. “He’s kind of cute isn’t he?”
“More attractive now than before,” Regina agreed.
Aurora knelt down next to him and tapped the silver appendage where a fourth hoof should have been. “I like how she gave him a tiny hook.”
The once feared pirate banged his little hook on the gang plank in irritation and even Regina had to admit he was…cute.
He’d be positively mortified when the spell was undone.
There was a higher pitched squeal from the beach below and when both women peered over the side they saw a number of muddy bottomed pigs disappearing into the forest and Mulan tapping a dead one with her toe.
“You killed it," Aurora cried in horror.
Regina leaned against the side of the boat, resting her chin in her palm. “Does this mean we have ham for dinner?”
Aurora frowned. “Is it cannibalism if they're shapeshifted into something inhuman?”
“Probably, but when they die they always shift back.” She waved haphazardly at the corpse Mulan was now tossing over her shoulders. “So that’s just a peculiarly smart pig.”
Killian snuffled in agreement.
A very smart pig that Regina ended up having to butcher. They’d drawn straws to decide who’d do the gory business and while Aurora insisted she didn’t cheat she’d also been the one that managed to avoid cleaning Gauvin and Hwin’s hold and fixing the clog in the ship’s head the last time they drew straws.
As Regina laid her cleaver to the hulking mass of pork flesh she eyed the princess, who was acting oblivious and playing with piglet Killian.
Mulan sidled up to observe Regina’s work. “Most people would have changed out of their swimwear before butchering meat.”
“I’m an Evil Queen. I live for the feeling of warm blood on my skin.”
“I live for you not ruining the cuts. What are you doing to that ham?”
She slashed the cleaver in Mulan’s direction, “You don’t like how I butcher the pig then you can pull the short straw next time.” She pointed the cleaver back at herself, “I was a princess, a sorceress and a queen. Dismembering livestock wasn’t part of the job.”
“Just think of it as the next step in your journey towards genocidal despot,” Aurora suggested. She was sitting cross legged and Killian was curled up in her lap and enjoying a scratch behind his ears.
Regina briefly considered flinging the cleaver at the two of them, but Mulan stepped into her line of sight and stared. So Regina rolled her eyes and returned to her dirty business.
Maybe she could put the entrails in Aurora’s cabin. Or put them in a bucket and put Aurora’s dress in the bottom of the bucket.
She grinned. Yes. Definitely. Little miss “My mother is a fairy princess aren’t I magical” could walk around in her swimwear for a few days. Maybe get a sunburn and ruin that flawless porcelain skin.
Regina became so busy plotting and butchering that she completely failed to notice Mulan talk about a plan to recover Sinbad, turn both men back into men, and learn the whereabouts of Hermes, god of making their job harder than it needed to be.
That was until two sets of human eyes and one set of beady piglet eyes focused on her. “I’m sorry what?”
“You have to go talk to Circe.”
“But I just butchered a pig,” she whined.
“And now you can go save one,” Mulan said.
“But you already did that.”
Mulan sighed, “We need Sinbad.”
Regina would not moan “why,” though she very much wanted to. They did need the reprobate. Instead she sighed. “Aurora can do it. She’s excellent with people.”
“Aurora isn’t a witch.”
“And I’d probably get turned into a pig too.”
“What’s to stop Circe from turning me into a pig?”
All three members of her audience blinked in confusion. “You’re immense magic power,” Mulan suggested.
“True." She preened, "Fine. I’ll go get the oinker back, but if anyone touches that pork belly you’re all spending the rest of the trip looking like the pirate.” Julia Child has a wonderful recipe for pork belly and Regina had never been able to acquire the stuff in Storybrooke's less than adequate supermarket.
Mulan and Aurora both looked about ready to call Regina’s bluff.
“I mean it. I have great plans for it and I don’t need it sullied by what you two call cooking.”
Speaking of the pirate, he tried to approach the butchered meat to figure out what piece he could steal and eat. Regina snapped and he suddenly had a little harness with a long leash. The pirate piglet squealed in horror.
“You’re coming with me Babe.”
The other end of the leash flew into her hand and her bathing suit disappeared behind a whirl of smoke, transforming into a very fetching regal number with a plunging neckline.
“Problem with my attire dear?”
“Isn’t it too ornate?”
“You ran around the enchanted forest in a silk nightgown and a scarf.”
“But there’s underbrush. You could get caught or—“
“Here’s a little advice from a queen to a princess my dear: the forest obeys our whims, not the other way around.”
An hour later Regina was deeply grateful that she’d left Aurora on the boat. Every damned tree and vine in that forest snagged on her dress and multitude of silk petticoats and she kept jerking to an abrupt stop and accidentally pulling on Hook's leash.
He snorted, in what was probably a laugh.
“No one says you have to survive the trip,” she muttered.
After being waylaid for what felt like the thousandth time (but was likely closer to the twentieth) Regina finally stopped, made sure they were alone, and had a wardrobe change.
She selected something more “practical.” Still busty and extravagant, but close fitting pants instead of a voluminous skirt, and sturdy boots instead of high heels. “And if you tell anyone,” she warned Hook, “I’ll turn you into bacon.”
He snuffled and raced ahead to root through the dirt, straining her lead and half dragging her.
“You know in the Enchanted Forest and Storybrooke I was so feared people scattered before me?”
“And now I’m butchering pigs and wandering through brush to meet with,” she wrinkled her nose, “peasants.”
The piglet found something he probably shouldn’t have and began chewing on it.
“A lesson Hook: never ever trust a happy ending curse from Rumpelstiltskin.”
He turned around and stared at her like she was the idiot.
“Oh whatever, you're a pig.”
She had yet to even meet Circe, but Regina was positive she hated the woman. She turned people Regina needed into pigs, set her house on an enormous hill at the center of a dense forest, and she put up wards to keep a talented witch from simply teleporting to where she needed to be.
The woman was going to need a lesson in fairytales and Regina was quite eager to teach it, perhaps with fireballs. And flaying.
She had to pick Hook up and carry him under her arm the last mile up the hill. There was a great deal of huffing on her part, which she refused to be embarrassed by. Queens did not need cardio. Especially when they had magic.
“Tell anyone,” she panted, “and bacon.”
The piglet actually rolled his little eyes.
Maybe she’d used that threat already?
Oh whatever. He could deal with it, he didn’t have to climb up the hill.
As she crested it she noticed the lone figure standing before the estate on a long gorgeous set of marble stairs. The woman wore a delicate red dress fastened at the shoulders with shiny gold pins. A girdle of gold and black silk highlighted her narrow waist and Regina noted that her hair was only a few shades lighter than the silk. Her eyes were an unnaturally liquid browned that seemed almost amber because of the dark kohl smudged around the lids.
She smiled. "A visitor."
Regina squared her shoulders and summoned all her regal poise. "My pet here lost his friend. I've come for him." She jerked on Hook's leash and he looked up with irritation.
"Is that all you've come for?"
"The whereabouts of the god Hermes would be nice, but I'm beginning to suspect you wouldn't be any help."
The woman—Circe—raised a perfectly sculpted ebony eyebrow. "Oh? You don't think I'm useful?"
"There's a whole world beyond this shore ripe for the taking, but your a witch who lives on a hill with a herd of pigs. You're about as useful as this idiot." She jerked the leash for emphasis.
Circe laughed and took careful steps down to meet Regina. As she had eyes Regina had to notice the way she walked. Bells woven into her hair rung with each step and her hips swayed from side to side so provactively that even Regina, who never was one for women, felt her mouth watering like some common animal.
And she noticed. "You should come in for a cup of tea," she said.
"I'd rather you just send the pig out."
"I can. Would you prefer him roasted or smoked?"
"Smoked—I mean alive."
Circe dragged her eyes up and down Regina's form. "The only way you get him alive," she said with her silken tone, "is if you come in."
She put a lot of emphasis on "come" and Regina was greatful she had very sturdy pants between the woman and her nether region.
She followed Circe up the stairs and tried to focus on any part of the woman that wasn't the sculpted bottom in front of her face.
Hook snuffled worriedly and kept looking at her.
She wanted to hiss that he should stop worrying, but Circe was too close for Regina to go talking to a piglet.
When Circe reached the top step she walked briskly towards the door, a mammoth brass thing with intricate carvings of—Regina squinted—bestiality.
She shuddered and tried to follow, but Hook pulled on his lead. "Come on," she whispered urgently.
The pirate pig actually shook his little head.
"You'll be fine. I'm with you."
He did what she supposed was a piglet's version of a scowl.
"Besides, worst comes to worst Mulan and Aurora are still on the ship."
Circe waved her hand and the door opened with a loud groan. Menacing shadows were just beyond her. There were no lamps or braziers. No glisten of sunlight on tiles. Just inky darkness.
Circe's hand grazed the solid wood frame and she turned her head, peeking over her shoulder and smiling lavisciously.
Oh dear. Regina was fucked wasn't she?