|Heartbeat Slowing Down
Author: amycc7 PM
AU; Hook delays the curse. 20 years later, the Enchanted Forest is falling into turmoil, but all Emma wants is chance to end the death threats and figure out why magic is suddenly manifesting inside of her. Opportunity arrives when she strikes a deal with Hook, but inevitable changes are coming and Emma begins to see that while the curse may be escapable, the final battle isn't.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Emma S. & Killian Jones/Captain Hook - Chapters: 15 - Words: 88,885 - Reviews: 233 - Favs: 144 - Follows: 273 - Updated: 03-18-13 - Published: 12-09-12 - id: 8781504
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hey everyone! This is a story idea I had when I was thinking about whether or not Emma and Hook would have met or become Captain Swan if something had happened with the curse, and it all came together after watching the Queen of Hearts episode. I have to say I was a little surprised Hook acted so nonchalant about Regina's curse, at least until Cora told him it would take away their memories, but even then he didn't seem to think it was a big deal that all the land would be destroyed. I know he really wants his revenge but Regina's curse destroyed entire worlds. But I don't know, maybe that is not that surprising for him. So in my story, he takes the idea of sending Rumplestiltskin to a land without magic, thinking he can just do it himself, and tries delays the curse until he accomplishes his revenge, for various reasons. I hope that makes sense! I have alot planned for this story and there's going to be alot more too it than just the revenge plot so I hope you like it and please tell me what you think! If it sucks, please tell me and I'll change it/get rid of it/whatever.
"Emma, I'm still not sure about this." The blonde standing beside Emma hesitated as they finally broke through the wooded clearing that led to a local village pub. The sun had been down for a couple of hours and noisy chatter, laughter, and cries from drunken men could already be heard from inside the building as they approached.
"Relax." Emma sighed as she glanced over and noticed how uncomfortable Alexandra looked in pants. Maybe bringing Alexandra here hadn't been the best idea, but she had been begging Emma to take her do something that had nothing to do with palace life for weeks. "You'll be fine."
Alexandra gritted her teeth, her dark blue eyes flickering over to Emma in annoyance. "It is not just myself that I am concerned about."
Emma had to stop herself from rolling her eyes. "You know I've done this hundreds of times," It was true. Her parents weren't the traditional type of royalty. Her father taught her sword-fighting and horseback riding; her mother taught her tracking and bowing. They encouraged her independence and let her explore the kingdom as she chose. Emma knew there was a deeper meaning with Alexandra's words though. While she loved her parents, there were many people still seeking to destroy their happiness and being the only child of Snow White and Prince Charming made her a very popular target. It was something she was used to, however, and it was something she didn't want to have to think about tonight. Besides, she knew how to defend herself. "I don't exactly spend my down time lounging around the castle."
"I'm going to ignore the fact that you looked right at me when you said that," Alexandra stated with a defiant finger in the air, "I'm just saying that with as many powerful people as you have wanting to… harm you, it's not wise to go strutting about the entire kingdom like you're untouchable." She started thrashing her hands in the air for dramatic effect. "Regina's already gotten close before, too close…"
Emma blanched. She did not just say that. "And I'm never making that mistake again." Snapping, Emma crossed her arm and fought to push back the memories that threatened to surface and ruin her night. Not tonight. Not tonight. Not again.
Eyes going wide, Alexandra immediately softened and tried to reach out a comforting hand. "Don't say that…"
"Besides," Emma moved away from her. As she uncrossed her arms, she tried her best to embody a calm, uncaring demeanor, "that whole," She paused, looking for the right word. Betrayal? Surprise? Near death experience? "Event… proved that they can't really-"
Alexandra cut her off. "There are other ways to kill someone." Her voice was surprisingly calm.
"I know what I'm doing." The statement had came out harsher than Emma had intended it to and she could see the hurt bubbling up in Alexandra's face. But she couldn't help it. She was just so annoyed at everyone always being concerned about her. Yes, it was nice knowing people cared. What annoyed her was the fact that she didn't know why they cared; whether it be because she was Snow and Charming's daughter and they were loyal to them, or because they believed that Regina would still cast her curse someday and they still saw her as the savior. With the exception of her parents, it sometimes felt like nobody really knew or really cared about her. For as much as she was always surrounded by people, Emma still felt alone. Alexandra's groan of frustration broke Emma out of her thoughts.
"God forbid it, but Emma," Alexandra's voice was slowing rising, "one of these days you're bound to slip up."
Emma's green eyes narrowed; her nose was flaring in anger. "I won't." No, she wouldn't. And if she ever saw Regina, or him, again, there would be hell to pay.
There was a tense silence as both girls stared off in opposite directions, neither one wanting to be the one that caved. Finally, Alexandra sighed deeply and put her hands down in defeat. She looked over at Emma apologetically. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought up-"
"It's fine." Emma told her, voice terse. She awkwardly fumbled with the end of her sleeve, never having been good with the whole sharing thing. "Look, you're the one who always begs me to take her with me next time I come here."
"I know. It's just now that I'm here," with an amused grin settling on her face, Alexandra pointed over at the pub, "it looks a lot more intimidating than I thought it would be."
Emma felt herself smirk. "Well, it's a good thing you've got an expert pub crawler with you."
Alexandra linked arms with Emma and started to move forward with an exaggerated brave face, deadpanning. "I'm somehow not comforted."
"Follow my lead." Emma stopped and gave her a look of warning, "And don't tell anyone who you are." Stopping again suddenly, Emma added. "And if they do recognize you, just deny it."
"C'mon! Give me a little credit." Alexandra rolled her dark blue eyes and pushed Emma through the door.
Hook smiled to himself as he saw the two blondes finally walk into the pub.
He had been watching the shorter, more fragile looking one for days now. Princess Alexandra. He had been studying her patterns, hoping an opportunity would present itself where he could corner her without having any palace guards within ten feet of him. But the girl never left the walls of her castle, until tonight. Sporting beaten up clothes vastly different than her normal attire, he followed her as she traveled across the kingdom, meeting up with a striking blonde along the way in the forest, before heading to a dirty old pub. Odd, that a princess would choose to find company here; this only led him to assume that the young woman she accompanied was not any form of royalty. His eyes unconsciously shifted to her but looking the girl over only puzzled him more. Sure, while her clothing was worn down and she certainly looked comfortable in this type of environment, there was still an air of dignity radiating from her movements and her features were regal. Hook had already noticed that she was beautiful, but in the light he could see that with her golden blonde hair messily pulled back into a knot and a little dirt smudged on her face, she was almost trying too hard to appear less than she seemed. So maybe she was –
He mentally stopped himself. He shouldn't be wasting his time or energy trying to figure out the random blonde when he should be focusing on the princess who could finally be the key to his revenge. But he wasn't about to get his hopes up. Not just yet anyway. Hook thought he was finally getting his wish some time ago when he had heard about a woman who had spent more time with Rumplestilskin than anyone had before. While she had been useless, it had led him to Regina. She told him of the curse she was planning on casting, one that would destroy the land and take them to a land without magic, a land that would strip Rumplestiltskin of his powers. It was the best news he'd had in years. The queen only had one task for him: to go to Wonderland and kill her mother. While taking a heart reminded him far too much of Milah and the cowardice of Rumplestiltskin, he told himself that it had to be done. That if this was the only way to get his revenge, he would have to get over it. So with a dead guard in tow, he made his way to Wonderland. Things went south, however, when he learned not only could Cora's heart not be taken, the curse would erase their memories entirely. Cora spared his life, demanding that he take her back and pretend he had killed her so she could rip out her own daughter's heart like she had wanted Hook to do to her. He agreed, but then Cora didn't kill her daughter. The curse was still going to happen. To say that he was extremely annoyed at the antics of the women would be an understatement; they were treating him like some errand boy and dragging him into their warped familial issues. Cora insisted that her preparations would allow them to be protected from the curse, but the all the lands would still be destroyed and even after he got to kill Rumplestiltskin, everyone, including himself, would still be stuck in a land without magic. A land he was still having trouble imagining. And if there was anything he had learned throughout the years, it was never trust pixies and never trust witches. Fuming, Hook started to conduct his own plans. He would stop or delay the curse until he found a way to get Rumplestiltskin to a land without magic on his own to kill him. He remembered Regina didn't want to cast her curse if her mother was alive. When he and Cora traveled back to Wonderland to finalize the preparations, with the help of a companion, they managed to escape Wonderland without Cora and find out what could stop Regina's curse: the heart of thing she loved most. So that's what he did. With his enchanted hook, he took the heart of Regina's father; Hook grabbed the hat too and escaped back to Neverland wanting to get as far away as Regina as possible. His companion from Wonderland had already told him that the hat only carried portals to magical lands, but within these magical lands, he could look for other portals. Since then, Hook hadn't had any luck so far and had been biding his time in Neverland when he heard a rumor that Rumplestiltskin had been caught and successfully imprisoned when a deal with Cinderella over a baby had gone awry, but then later escaped. He could see his plan coming together. He would find out how they managed to trap Rumplestiltskin, at least for a short while, and once he the right portal, he would trap Rumplestiltskin himself and send him to the land without magic to kill him.
While coming back to the Enchanted Forest was not ideal, he would just have to lay low and if Smee's assessments about Regina were true, avoid mirrors. After watching King Thomas and his wife Cinderella, Hook decided that the daughter was the easier target and best chance of getting the information he needed. So here he was, observing them from a far corner in the pub waiting for the right moment to strike, which would have to be soon. Hook could already see how most of the men starting staring and following them with their eyes as soon as they walked in. Two blondes. A dangerous combination. And as the more enigmatic blonde left to make her way to the bar, he haughtily smirked and moved to approach the princess now sitting all alone.
"Wait here." Emma had to shout over the noise to make sure Alexandra could here. They had finally found an open table in the corner of the pub. "I'll go get us some drinks."
She was hesitant about leaving Alexandra there alone, but Emma knew the rowdy men that tended to float around the bar in order to have easier access to the beer would probably eat her alive. Emma froze momentarily, however, when she saw the back of a very familiar figure. She should have known. "Grumpy?"
The dwarf turned to her with an impish grin on his face. "It's not exactly a surprise, is it?"
"No." Emma admitted before getting the barmaid's attention and ordering two pints. "But I was hoping that since Alexandra was with me my parents would lay off the 'secret' security detail for tonight."
"You really think that having Princess Alexandra tag along with ya makes ya any more inconspicuous?" Grumpy rebutted incredulously as he took a sip of his drink.
Emma thought of Alexandra's tendency to want to be recognized publicly and her eager involvement in all aspects of being royalty. Unlike Alexandra, Emma tended to shy away from court life and doubted an ordinary villager could pick her out of a lineup. "Point taken."
"I'll just be sitting here, doing my own thing," His familiar glower washed over his face, "like always."
"Thanks," Emma sighed. She grabbed the two pints of beer in front of her and headed back to where Alexandra. Halfway there, she noticed there was someone else at their table. It was a very attractive man with black hair already talking animatedly with Alexandra. That was her first clue. No decent man of social standing came here of his own free will. Emma narrowed her eyes in suspicion as she approached the table.
Alexandra looked up at her brightly when she returned. "You're back!"
"Two blondes," The man gave her a devilish grin as he looked her up and down, "It must be my lucky day."
Up close, Emma could see that he was indeed very good-looking. His clear blue eyes sharply contrasted with his black hair and clothes and the stubble on his face definitely gave him an extra appeal. There was just something about him though, in the way he was presenting himself, the way his voice struggled to sound sincere, and the way his eyes showed that he was so clearly…
"Jones." Lying. Emma bit back the realization and continued to play along with whatever charade he was trying to pull. 'Jones' held out his hand to her, still grinning. "Pleasure to meet your acquaintance."
Emma looked down at his open hand briefly before looking back at him blankly, deadpanning, "Charmed, I'm sure." She noticed his left arm that was held at his side, unmoved. Raising an eyebrow, she brashly asked, "What happened to your hand?"
"Emma!" Alexandra sounded positively scandalized. Emma wanted to groan. Whoever this man was, he already had Alexandra fooled.
"Don't fret on my account, my dear," Jones told her reassuringly before giving her a flirty glance. He turned back to Emma and there seemed to be something different in his eyes this time when he looked at her, "it's nothing I don't care to explain." But it quickly faded. After a dramatic pause, Jones gave a devastated sigh, looking between them heartbreakingly. "It was crushed when I tried to save a child on a runaway horse. I was given two options," He suddenly raised two fingers and Emma could hear Alexandra give out a small, audible gasp from the surprise of it, "chop it… or live in agony for the rest of my life."
Alexandra eyes were wide and she put a comforting hand on his arm; Emma almost couldn't contain her eye-roll. "I'm so sorry."
"I'm not." Jones turned to Alexandra, a small smile playing on his lips, his bright blue eyes turning distant, seemingly looking at something neither of them could see, "It was worth it to see the look on that mother's face when I put her child back in her arms."
This was too much. Who did this guy think he was? The distant stare, the forced dramatics in his voice, the feigned bravado… No one actually talked like that and coming from him, Emma was finding it increasingly amusing. So much so, she couldn't stop the smirk from forming on her face.
And apparently Jones noticed. His eyes finally showed some real emotion: annoyance. And it crept into his voice, no matter how hard he was trying to hide it. "Is there something amusing about my tale?"
Emma coughed, hoping to get control of her inner laughter. She tried to feign innocence. "Nope."
Alexandra glared at her, trying to get Emma to look at her, but Emma stubbornly refused and started to down her drink. She had to think of an excuse to get out of here and away from the con that was Jones, who, at the moment, started to speak to her. He nodded his head over at the bar. "Why is that dwarf I saw you talking to at the bar keep looking over here? Jealous boyfriend, perhaps?"
From the smugness in his face she could tell he was hoping that this would somehow push her buttons. Ow. What a burn.
Emma took another sip of her drink before simply replying "Client."
At her response, Jones unattractively snorted into the drink he had been taking, causing him to start choking and coughing.
Alexandra's nervous eyes widened in horror that Emma would present herself as a harlot. "She's joking."
At that, Emma stood up with a commanding posture. 'We've got to go.'
"What?" Alexandra immediately protested. "Why?"
Emma cleared her throat, trying to buy time to think of a plausible excuse. She pointed toward the door and gave out an awkward chuckle. "I have that thing."
Narrowing suspicious her eyes at her, Alexandra crossed her arms. "What thing?"
"Yes, please do share." Jones added in, his voice still somewhat hoarse from his coughing fit.
She could feel Jones's stare burning a hole in her face. He knew that she knew that he was lying. But some spark in his eyes made it seem like he was almost challenging her to play along. Don't look at him. Don't look at him. Emma turned to give Alexandra a very pointed look, her voice coming out low and through her gritted teeth. "That thing I was talking to you about earlier."
Comprehension started to dawn on Alexandra's face but as she glanced again at Jones, Emma could see she was still a little torn. "We just got here." Her disappointed voice offered again.
"You can stay here with me, lass." Jones enthusiastically offered, moving his arm around to rest on the back of Alexandra's chair. He then turned to Emma, a smirk forming on his lips and his eyes casting a wicked gleam. "I'll see to it she gets home safe."
Emma felt her insides start to burn with anger. She was done trying to play along. "She's not going anywhere with you." She reached across and forcibly grabbed Alexandra's arm, dragging her toward the door, not looking back. "Let's go."
"I'm sorry." Alexandra shouted apologetically at him before they got too far away. Trying to make their way through the crowd, she moved closer to Emma, harshly whispering in her ear. "Emma, what's wrong? He wasn't like any of the other cretins in here. He was charming and – "
"Exactly." Emma muttered. She glanced over at the bar and saw Grumpy still sitting up there, not noticing they had made their way to the door to leave. "I've got to tell Grumpy we're leaving, I'll meet you outside."
Seeing Alexandra nod in agreement, Emma quickly pushed her way up to where he was sitting. "We're leaving."
"Not having fun with Mr. Fancy Face over there?" Grumpy begrudgingly mumbled before he took a sip of his beer.
Emma shrugged and then sighed defeatingly. So much for a fun night out. "He was lying through his teeth."
"Typical." The dwarf spit before holding up his still half-full pint to Emma. "I'm still working on my beer. You think you can make it back on your own?" Scoffing, Emma widened her green eyes and stared at him incredulously. "Snow and Charming would have my head if I didn't at least offer." Grumpy barked as he knowingly pointed a finger at her.
Rolling her eyes, Emma just mumbled "I'll see you later" as she headed toward the exit. As she walked out into the cold night air, Emma had a gut feeling that something was wrong. There was not a soul in site, creating an eerie silence. After a moment, though, scuffling noises reached her left ear. Emma tensed her stance and crept around to peak into the alleyway next to the pub. Her eyes widened in horror at the event unfolding before her. The man from inside, Jones, or whoever the hell he really was, had a whimpering Alexandra pinned up against the back wall. His back turned to her, Emma reached down to grab the customary knife that resided inside her boot and silently moved toward them determinately.
"I don't know anything about him!" Alexandra pleaded, her dark blue eyes swimming with fear and unshed tears.
Jones pushed down on her neck with his forearm even harder. "I know your parents were involved with locking him up, Princess. Now tell me how they did it."
"I don't know!"
"This is your last chance before I kill you," Jones whispered harshly, "How did your parents manage to capture Rumplestiltskin?"
Rumplestiltskin? Emma paused for a millisecond as she registered the name and realized that Rumplestilskin had been in the dungeon of her castle but she had more important matters to deal with. "Wrong princess." She spat at him as she came up behind him, holding the knife to his throat. "Now let her go."
"Bested by a princess," Jones humorlessly chuckled as he carefully lowered him arms from Alexandra. "Definitely a first." His blue eyes glanced at her, giving her a warning that he was slowly turning around. "Now how about you put that knife down before you poke your eye out?"
Jones moved slightly forward, thinking she didn't have the guts or to try to intimidate her but Emma held her stance as she stared him down with disdain. Her knife only moving slightly closer to his throat and for the first time, she saw a wariness enter his eyes as he glanced down at the knife. Good. The smugness was practically radiating off of her. "Please."
"Now tell me," Jones casually asked as he rolled his lips together. His rimmed blue eyes narrowed at Emma. "Exactly which princess are you?"
Emma ignored him and looked back at Alexandra. "Go inside and get Grumpy." Jones made no move to stop her, continuing to send Emma a withering glare, but his arm moved slightly. Distracted by the movement, Emma glanced down and saw a gleaming silver hook attached that had down been there before. "Hook." She whispered as a memory tried to surface. Hook, yes. She knew there was something important that happened that had to with him…
"Ah, so you've heard of me." Hook smirked boastingly. His sudden movement toward her broke Emma out of her mental shuffling and she swiftly blocked the hook that was coming down at her with her knife. Laughing slightly at both of their weapons, Hook raised his eyebrows at her. He gleamed down at her wickedly. "Well, this should be interesting."
Moving with experience, Emma blocked two more blows before they started circling each other. "Not bad for a princess." Hook told her, but Emma could still hear some amusement in his voice, which started to piss her off even more than she already was. Acting on impulse, she charged at him, hoping maybe that it would catch him off guard. Hook dodged her at the last second and managed to throw her to the ground, causing her knife to fall out of her hand. Emma tried to grab it but Hook grabbed her by her ankle, dragging her toward him. And before he had her turned around, Emma saw a new weapon. An unopened glass bottle lying on the ground; she managed to snatch it and hide it behind her back as Hook deftly picked her up and pinned her to the wall.
"Ready to surrender?" Hook breathed as he smirked triumphantly at her. Then adding on scathingly knowing it would piss her off "Princess."
Emma leaned toward him and matched the smirk he wore. "You wish." She replied with a determined air before bringing the bottle around and smashing it on the top of his head as hard she could. Hook looked at Emma, stunned, but within seconds, his eyes glazed over and he tumbled to the ground. She stared down at him and let out a calming, deep breath before she turned and could see Grumpy and Alexandra rushing toward her.
Grumpy ran up to her anxiously and she could see relief wash over his face when he saw Hook passed out on the ground. It was soon replaced, however, with an angry glower. "What happened?"
Holding up her hand, Emma showed him part of the glass bottle she used before throwing it to the ground. "I knocked him out. Probably not for long, though. Let's get out of here."
Please review! Thanks for reading!