The Hunter is the Hunted

A OUAT fanfiction featuring Peter Pan and an OC some of you may recognise as Artemis, Greek Goddess of the Hunt. Click to read below.

The Hunter is the HuntedImage

Chapter One – The Virgin Goddess

Artemis looked up as the tent opened and began struggling to her feet, but Hook put a gentle hand on her arm to stop her and sat on the floor with her instead. A moment of relief passed over her features as she went back to absent-mindedly stroking her rather large baby bump.

“What did she want? Has something happened?” she asked as he got comfortable.

“Indeed,” he said with a smile, “It seems we have a way out of this place.”

Her eyes widened, “Out? To where? How?”

“A few days ago, a portal was opened and two ladies fell through from a town called Storybrooke – coincidentally, just where I need to go, and a place exceptionally safer for you than here,” he explained, “Yesterday, they went to find a magic wardrobe and Cora managed to gather a vial of sparkly dirt with the power to open a new portal for us.”

“Storybrooke,” Artemis tested the flavour of the word in her mouth. It tasted problematic. “When can we go?”

“There are still a few things we need yet. Cora is enacting the next part of the plan as we speak, but I’m afraid we shall need your help for this.”

Immediately, Artemis became wary. Whenever Cora needed her for something, it was either to manipulate her greatly reduced abilities for her own use, or to manipulate some poor passing man into doing something for her that she knew would cost him dearly. She truly had fallen from divinity. But if it got her and her baby somewhere safe then it needed to be done.

Wincing, she asked, “What must I do?”

“Your name is Fawn,” he began, and they shared a smile at the irony of her new alias, “You’re my daughter, and I am a humble blacksmith having lost my hand in an ogre attack. The father of your child is among those taken by the Curse, which is why we need a way to this ‘Storybrooke’.”

“I’m supposed to be your daughter?” she laughed, “But I don’t look anything like you.”

It couldn’t have been truer. He was tall, dark and handsome with sparkling blue eyes; she was of average height, blonde as the sun and not particularly beautiful, with eyes the colour of damp leaves. The only thing that made them slightly similar was that they both had athletic builds, but obviously her pregnancy had changed that.

Hook shrugged, “It’s what she wants us to do.”

“And what are we supposed to do once they believe us?”

“Get them to trust us. We need to understand their motives and get the necessary objects for opening a portal.”

“What objects?”

He took her hand and pressed a fond kiss to her knuckles, “Let me worry about that, my sweet. All you need to do is look innocent and desperate.”

She gave the sort of smile that shouted ‘innocent’ so loudly that it was suspicious, “Isn’t that exactly what I am?”

He laughed, climbing to his feet before holding out a hand to help her up to, “Come, we have work to do.”

*-_-*-_-*

When Artemis had seen all of the bodies piled up in the Safe Haven, she had stopped and stared open-mouthed. It was only when Cora gave them a dangerous ‘do it now’ look that she carefully wove between the corpses to take her place (with a large amount of effort) under some rubble. Hook hid himself too. With a satisfied nod, Cora disappeared in a burst of magic. Artemis had to bite her lip to stop from crying out at the stench that was emanating from the dead people she lay amongst.

Before long, they could hear voices. She didn’t move as they appeared. Four women, two dressed in strange clothing, emerged from the forest, horrified. They walked through the bodies, determining that the attack could have been performed by ogres, or more likely by Cora. Artemis’s heart thudded against her chest. She wanted to get out. She hated feeling trapped and cramped. She hated the dust and the dirt that was gathering in a thick layer on her skin. She hated the way that when she breathed out, her breath blew back in her face.

She couldn’t take it anymore.

“Help!” she shouted, and coughed as dust fell into her mouth, “Help me!”

The women rushed over, lifting the rubble and helping her to her unsteady feet. They gasped at her stomach – how could Cora have done something like this to a pregnant girl? The strangely dressed woman with raven hair put an arm around her shoulder to hold her up.

“My father,” Artemis coughed, “I’ve lost my father.”

“Sit down,” the strangely dressed blonde woman urged, clearing some rubble from the steps so that they could help her down.

“I must find my father.”

“I’m sorry,” the raven-haired woman said, softly, “Everyone’s dead. You’re the only survivor.”

“No, I -”

“Hey!” the blonde woman interrupted, pointing at the pile of rubble from which Hook’s hand was sticking out, “Hey! Look!”

“There’s someone else under there! He’s alive!” the girl Artemis recognised as Princess Aurora cried, rushing forward to help the other woman lift away the rubble.

“Please,” Hook begged, “Please, help me.”

“Father!” Artemis cried, clambering to her feet to rush to his side and help him up although she knew that he needed no help.

“Fawn,” Hook breathed in relief, kissing the top of her head, “Oh, thank goodness. Thank goodness!”

“You’re safe now, we won’t hurt you,” the raven-haired woman promised as the two actors clung to each other.

“Thank you,” Hook recited, “Thank you.”

*-_-*-_-*

Artemis rested her head against her ‘father’s’ shoulder as they sat together on a bench. They had spent the last hour or so convincing the women who they were – or were not. Still, they were not completely convinced. She just hoped that she looked scared enough. It had been a while since she had last needed to pretend to be someone she was not.

As they judged the two survivors on whether they were trustworthy or not, Artemis did the same to them. She had seen Mulan around the camp and knew who Aurora was by the rumours that went around, but the other two were complete strangers. The way they dressed, the way they spoke, the way they behaved. It was all too different. How could they be trusted when they lived such completely separate lives to hers? Who knew what they were really doing in the Enchanted Forest?

“Here you go,” the blonde – Emma – gave them both cups of water.

Hook replied, “I can’t thank you enough for your kindness. Fortune, it seems, has seen fit to show me favour.”

“An island full of corpses. You’re the only ones to escape,” Emma looked between them for any sign that they were lying. Artemis took a drink of the water to stop her act from faltering. “How exactly did that happen?”

“She attacked at night,” Hook answered after a hesitation, “Slaughtered everyone in one fair swoop. When she started ripping out people’s hearts, I tried to find my daughter but she was nowhere to be seen. I hid under the bodies of those that had already been killed, pretended to be dead myself. Mercifully, the rouse worked.”

“So much for fortune favouring the brave,” Emma looked disgusted at him, and that was what made Artemis decide she didn’t like her. Even if it was a lie, how could she be so judgemental of someone who had just been through a traumatic experience? Not everyone had the heart of a hero.

“It was all I could do to survive,” Hook explained. Emma turned to Artemis, expectantly.

“I was amongst the last to be approached by her,” Artemis told her lie, hoping that the dislike in her eyes would come across as fear or anger towards Cora, “She reached for my heart, but then realised that I was pregnant. She told me,” her voice cracked convincingly, “She told me that she would let me go, but when the baby is born, I – I have to give him to her.”

“What?” the raven-haired stranger – Mary Margaret, or Snow White as she apparently used to be known – was shocked, “Why would she do that? How could she make you promise something like that?”

Artemis’s voice was stronger now, “I didn’t promise it. But she told me that whether I wanted to or not, she would get my baby in the end. I can’t stay here! She’ll find me; I need to get away!” She was pleased with herself as tears sprang to her eyes. The last part was true at least; she needed to get away from this place. It was too dangerous to raise a child there.

Emma leaned across the table to look her dead in the eyes, “I’m gonna let you in on a little secret,” she turned to look at Hook, “I’m pretty good at knowing when someone is lying to me.”

Hook looked her back in the eyes. Artemis couldn’t. “I’m telling you the truth.”

Emma smiled and backed off but it was clear that she didn’t believe them. Artemis had to fight with herself not to glance at him. The slightest wrong word or wrong movement could give them away.

The women started talking about finding a way back to their land.

Hook smiled, “I know this land well. I can guide you.”

Suddenly, there was the sound of metal slicing against metal and Emma had Hook by the hair, yanking his head back to expose his throat where she pressed the blade of her dagger. Artemis screamed but was grabbed from behind by Mulan.

“You’re not gonna guide us anywhere until you tell us who you really are,” Emma hissed.

In the blink of an eye, everything had changed. The women became aggressive, dragging them both from the bench despite Artemis’s pregnant stomach. Mulan pushed her and she staggered, almost falling. Hook tried to help her but was pulled away by Emma.

“Oh please, you expect us to believe that you’re related?” Emma said dryly, “You look nothing alike! How do we know you’re really even pregnant?”

Artemis’s back was slammed into the trunk of a tree just before Hook was too. Aurora and Mary Margaret wrapped rope around them, tying them so securely to the tree that Artemis could feel the rope digging uncomfortably into the flesh above her bump.

“I already told you, I’m a blacksmith!” Hook pleaded.

“Sure you are,” Emma rolled her eyes before putting her fingers to her lips and blowing a whistle so loud that the ogres stirred from within the forest. Their roars echoed from the trees. “You won’t talk to us? Maybe you’ll talk to the ogres when they rip you limb from limb.”

“Please,” Artemis begged as her heart began to race, “Please – my baby.”

“Tell us who you are and we’ll let you go.”

“We already told you!” Hook shouted.

The ogres were moving closer, their roars and footsteps shaking the ground.

“Come on,” the women began to walk away, leaving them to their fates.

“You can’t just leave us here like this!”

“Please, you can’t do this! You’ll kill my baby!”

Aurora paused, looking at them. Her eyes met Artemis’s distressed ones, “What if they’re telling the truth?”

Emma continued walking, “They’re not.”

Hook looked at Artemis and the tears in her eyes, the rope pressed against her stomach, and made up his mind. He took a deep breath. He wasn’t going to let her die like this after he had promised to protect her.

“Good for you!” They stopped. “You bested me. I can count the amount of people who’ve done that on one hand.”

Artemis looked at him, relief and gratitude making the tears she had been holding back pour down her cheeks. She let out a loud sob which she tried to cover by coughing.

“That supposed to be funny?” Emma asked, marching up, “Who are you?”

“Killian Jones. But most people have taken to calling me by my more colourful moniker: Hook.”

“Hook,” Mary Margaret gasped.

“Check my satchel.”

Emma looked at him sceptically, “Hook as in Captain Hook?”

“Ah, so you’ve heard of me.”

Mary Margaret pulled a glistening silver hook from his bag just as a particularly loud ogre roared from somewhere nearby.

Emma turned to Artemis, “What about you? You better hurry up, they’re getting closer”

“I’m Artemis. Formerly known as the Goddess of the Hunt and,” she gave an ironic chuckle, “Virginity.”

“You’re a goddess?”

“Not anymore. Obviously.”

Emma shook her head disbelievingly, but clearly this truth was more believable than the lie. She looked between them both, “Unless you wanna be dinner, you better start talking.”

Hook gave her a lethal stare, “Let her go first.”

“Talk.”

“Let her go.”

Reluctantly, Emma cut the rope that bound Artemis to the tree but left the one that kept Hook trapped. Artemis sighed in relief as she stepped away, rubbing the spot on her belly where the rope had been. She mouthed her thanks to Hook and he nodded back.

“Talk,” Emma repeated.

“Cora wanted us to gain your trust so we could learn everything there is to know about your ‘Storybrooke’. She didn’t want any surprises when she finally got over there.”

Mary Margaret looked cynical, “She can’t get there; we destroyed the wardrobe.”

“Ah, but the enchantment remains. Cora gathered the ashes, she’s going to use them to open up a portal.” The ogres were too close. They needed to get moving. “Now if you’ll kindly cut me loose.”

“No,” Mulan spoke up, “We should leave him here to die to pay for all the lives that he took.”

“It wasn’t him, it was Cora,” Artemis argued, “We had nothing to do with that.”

“Let’s go.”

“No!”

“Wait!” Hook shouted, “You need me alive.”

“Why?”

“Because we both want the same thing,” Hook said in a tantalising way that made Emma interested, “To get back to your land.”

“You would say anything to save yourself; why are we supposed to believe you now?”

“I arranged for transport with Cora to get Artemis and myself to a safer place, but seeing how resourceful you are, I’ll offer you the same deal. I’ll help you, if you promise to take us along.”

“How are you going to help us get home?” Mary Margaret demanded. The ogres were even closer. Artemis looked to the trees and wrapped her arms around her stomach. They really needed to go.

Hook glanced anxiously at her as he explained, “The ashes will open a portal. To find your land, she needs more. There’s an enchanted compass. Cora seeks it. I’ll help you obtain it before she does.”

“So Cora won’t make it to Storybrooke and we’ll be one step closer to getting home.” Emma was latching on. About time, Artemis thought.

“Sounds too good to be true,” Mary Margaret shook her head.

“There’s only one way to find out.”

The loudest roar of them all echoed around them, so loud that the trees swayed and the leaves rustled around them. Artemis could smell the ogres’ breath in the air, like rotting flesh and dried blood.

“You tell me one thing. And whatever you say, I better believe it,” Emma said, unsheathing her dagger, “Why does Captain Hook wanna go to Storybrooke?”

“To exact revenge on the man who took my hand: Rumplestiltskin.”

Artemis sobbed with relief as they finally cut Hook free, and she immediately ran to him, holding him tightly. But they couldn’t stay like that for too long; the ogres were coming. The six of them ran away into the opposite side of the forest, and with his hands bound and Artemis beside him, Hook led them to where the compass would be.

Mulan was close behind them, sword drawn so that she would be right there if either of them tried to escape. Beside her was Aurora, who kept glancing at Artemis so much that it was distracting. Finally, she turned to her with a raised eyebrow.

“Is there something you want?”

She shook her head, “Sorry, it’s just – how old are you?”

Artemis gave a small laugh, “In human years, so old that I’ve forgotten. Centuries. But then, in Olympus years, I think I’m about seventeen. Now that I’m mortal, I’ll be aging at the same rate as everyone else though. I can’t even remember the date of my birth anymore. I could be turning eighteen any day and I wouldn’t know.”

“Why are you mortal now?”

She took a deep breath. The only person she had told the story to was Hook, and even then she hadn’t told him everything. It hadn’t been necessary; he had been there for most of it.

“When I was young, I made a vow of divinity. I gave my word that I would abide by my promises. I swore that I would never fall in love with a human, and that I would remain a virgin,” she put a hand to her belly, “Clearly, things went a different way for me.”

There was a moment of silence as they continued walking. Artemis paused for a second to stretch her aching back, but was forced to keep moving.

“Who was he? The human you fell in love with?”

Her eyes misted over as she remembered. She remembered his playful features and the smirks he gave her when he knew that she was lying. She remembered his golden-brown hair and the way it blazed in the sunlight, and his bright blue eyes that held wisdom beyond his years – wisdom that he chose to ignore. She remembered the way he held her, gently as thought she was the most precious thing in the world, and the taste of his kisses. She remembered the pain of his parting words when he thrust the golden arrows into her hands and threw her out with no reason. She remembered the hatred in his face as he said those last words.

Finally, the travelling party stopped. Emma and Mary Margaret, who had been at the back of the group, caught up. Their mouths fell open.

“Let me guess,” Emma said, “The compass is up there.”

For in front of them stretched a beanstalk. A beanstalk that wound its way from the ground right up into the swirling heavens.

“Yes,” Hook affirmed.

“So how do we… get to it?”

“It’s not the climb you need to worry about,” he smiled, “It’s the giant at the top.”

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