Summary: Post 5x11. Emma fought through Underworld!Storybrooke and now faces the Lord of the Underworld. He is not what anyone expected, however, and it bring her one step closer to her goal. Reunion fic.
A/N: I had to cope with 5x11, so I wanted to write a reunion fic. It become a bit more than that, because it appears that I love writing Hades.
It was easier after they figured out that the whole 'Underworld is Storybrooke' play was just that; a play. A front, a veil pulled over their eyes to cloud them from the truth – to distract them from their true goal. If the Underworld was an in-between world to Hell, then Underworld-Storybrooke was an in-between world to the Underworld.
Once that veil was pulled, it became easier (which, ironic).
No distractions. Just an endless chasm of darkness and shadows.
Emma and Milah were leading the group, which had expanded now to include Milah – Killian's fiery first love and an absolute pleasure to be around – Meg and Hercules (seriously?), and Cora. It was kind of a relief to have more women of her own age that weren't her mother or Regina for a change. Okay, so she'd missed Elsa a lot these past few weeks, so sue her.
Milah, who had grasped her hands the moment they met and thanked her profusely for making Killian happy, was muttering darkly under her breath as they went, and Emma couldn't help but chuckle.
(Chuckle. In the Underworld.)
Milah hadn't taken well to seeing her ex-husband, and coincidentally, her murderer, again. She'd had to be restrained by both Regina, Emma and Snow to keep her from throttling him on the spot, and had only agreed not to kill him (yet) because he was about the only chance they had of finding Killian in this place. Emma liked her immediately.
Their footsteps echoed through the...well, place, and the sound made Emma shiver. "Hey," Milah said softly, bumping her hip to Emma's. "We'll find him. And then we'll figure out some way to re-forge Excalibur and run this coward through with it." She jerked her thumb over her shoulder, and they all heard the Crocodile scoff.
"I have ears, you know, Milah dear."
Milah whirled, seething. "Do I look like I care?!" she shouted, and Snow quickly stepped between them to block the Crocodile from Milah's view. "And don't ever call me 'dear'." The last word was laced with so much disgust it was tangible.
Emma grabbed Milah's arm and gently coaxed her to turn back around. "We'll figure out a way to deal with him." she said softly. "Right now, he's the only chance Killian's got, ironically enough."
Milah huffed. "I know. But, I don't know, can't you just leave him here when it's time to leave? I'll make sure he'll be good and proper taken care of." Malice dripped from her every word, and Emma had to suppress another shudder. She could hardly imagine the hate Milah felt towards the Crocodile, the one who killed her in cold blood.
It kind of made her afraid of what Killian was going to be like when they were finally reunited. Would he hate her too? Would he resent her for giving him no other choice than this? Would he stop loving her?
Down here, it was very easy for the Lost Girl to take the wheel for extended periods of time. The depths of this place was enough to make anyone lose hope, and it was difficult to keep thoughts like that from creeping back in. Sure, she had her family behind her. She had made friends down here (who'd have thunk it?). But it was the men in her life that had always been kind of...inconsistent? Neal took advantage of her when she was 17, lied to her and then left her when he found out the truth about her. Graham died. August was turned into a wooden puppet and the into a kid, and he was more of a brother in the end anyway. Neal died. Walsh...well, let's not even talk about that one. And then Killian. Who had been there always. Who'd promised to never leave her side until she asked him to.
She hadn't asked him.
He did, anyway.
Because of her.
Would he stop loving her?
She shook her head fiercely, groaning against the incessant negativity in her head. "Can anyone please say something happy?" she said, rubbing her temples.
"Sure." Milah said, with awe in her voice, and Emma suddenly realized she had stopped. "Emma, I think we're here." Emma looked up, and gaped, too. "Wherever here may be."
An enormous dome rose up before them, the narrow passage they'd been following for who even remembered how long suddenly expanding into a massive cave. And in the centre of it all, a man in a blue suit, his hands on his back and a smirk on his face.
It wasn't Killian, she realized with a pang as they came closer.
But this man could probably tell them where he was.
"Welcome!" the man boomed, his voice magnified in the dome. "Welcome to my place!"
Emma cocked her head, sharing a side-long glance with Henry and Milah, who looked equally confused and awed. "Who are you?"
"Why, I am Hades. Lord of the Underworld, Ruler of the Dead, King Under the Mountain...!" He blinked for a moment, as if confused with himself, "No, wait, I read that in a book somewhere." he muttered distractedly, before his head snapped up again. "I am the one you've been looking for."
Milah couldn't help but laugh. "Not quite."
Hades looked upon her, his black eyes piercing, and for the first time, her bravery faltered slightly. "You belong down here. They," he pointed to everyone else, "Don't." He did a double take of the group. "Wait, you have been here before." He pointed out the Crocodile, who stepped forward with an annoyingly superior look on his face. "You were never supposed to leave." Hades clicked his heels together and laughed. "You belong down here, too, don't ya?"
"I escaped this place once, and I will again."
Hades giggled, not very unlike Rumplestiltskin would, and wagged his finger at the Crocodile. "We'll see about that, now, won't we?"
He turned to Meg, and bowed. "My dear Meg, how good to see you again."
"Hades." Meg acknowledged, sounding incredibly bored.
"Come to fetch your beloved, eh?"
Hades didn't look remotely fazed by any of the proceedings, but Emma saw the same look of confusion on her family's face that she knew must be on hers. Before she could speak, however, Hades had already turned to her. "Miss Swan, I presume?" Emma nodded, baffled. "Ah yes, exactly how he described. Even more beautiful in real life. Or death. Whatever." He waved his hands and turned away.
Emma's heart had soared. "'He'? Is Killian down here, did you speak to him?"
"Indeed I did, my dear! He's been very forthcoming with all of his past."
Emma jumped forward, grabbing Hades by the lapels of his velvet jacket. "Where is he?!" she yelled. Hades hardly blinked.
"Temper." he tutted, unwinding her fingers from his jacket as if she wasn't gripping it at all. "He said you were easily angered. Especially when something precious was taken from you. And he is precious to you, isn't he, Emma?"
Emma could only gape at the man before her, confusion coursing through her. This man didn't feel like an enemy she should be scared of. But he was acting kind of strange. "I – what do you want?"
"Me?" he said. "Oh, I want nothing. Well, I want justice, of course. For the good to end up where they belong, and vice versa for the evil." His eye fell upon Rumplestiltskin, and his dark eyes flashed with something very dangerous.
"Oh, please." Rumplestiltskin said, suddenly, taking another step forward. "Let's not waste our time here." He waved his hand, and a jet of black fire shot at Hades. Hades turned to face it, his hands on his back and looking straight at his attacker. The fire extinguished against his chest like it was mere smoke. Growling, Rumplestiltskin raised his hand again.
"Enough!" Hades said, raising his hand, and the Crocodile fell to his knees instantly, his teeth gritted as he struggled against some unknown force holding him down. "You may have magic down here, dearie, but do not presume it'll work on me. My world, my rules, and I won't have you disobey them." He sounded more dangerous now than he had before, and for the first time, Emma felt fear. Fear for her life, for her family. This man could keep them here, she realized. And there would be nothing she could do against it.
Hades turned back to the rest of the group, a sudden smile on his face. "Sorry about that, Dark Ones can be so tedious." Milah actually giggled softly at that, and Emma had to fight a tiny smile too.
"You said you wanted justice." Emma said slowly, trying to gauge exactly what she could and could not say.
Hades smiled. "I do."
"Hook – Killian, he's not here because of justice. He's here because of the Darkness. You know the Darkness, don't you?" Hades only nodded, and Emma took it as a sign to continue. "I made him take it. I couldn't lose him. So I – I made him into a Dark One. And then he...sacrificed himself for me. For all of us. To destroy the Darkness once and for all." She glanced sideways at the Crocodile, still cowering on the ground. "A noble, heroic sacrifice that meant nothing because of a man too weak, too cowardly to resist the Darkness. Killian doesn't belong here."
Hades nodded again, sighing. "I know."
Emma blinked. "You know? Then why don't you just set him free?"
Hades laughed again. "Believe me, if I could, I would've days ago. He's been a right pain in the behind, let me tell you. Keeps trying to escape."
Emma laughed, even as she felt a tear slide down her cheek. "Sounds like him." she admitted.
"Why won't you release him?" Henry said, suddenly, stepping forward to stand next to his mother.
"My dear boy, you know the rules. A soul for a soul."
"No." Emma said, catching Hades off guard completely. "Not this time. I will find Killian, and I'm going to take him from this place, and you will let us leave."
"Sweet girl, how could you possibly - ? Oh." Comprehension suddenly dawned in his eyes as they flitted over Snow and Charming. "Oh, that might actually work."
Again, Emma felt completely thrown. This man, Hades for crying out loud, was nothing at all like she would've expected. He was sassy, sarcastic, powerful...not evil. "Wait..." Emma stuttered.
"If you can find him, and I'm rooting for you to do so, and if that trick of yours works...you can take him away from here. Free and clear."
Emma gaped, looking over her shoulder at her parents. They shook their heads, their eyes suspicious. She turned back to Hades, narrowing her eyes at him. "What's the catch?"
Emma rolled her eyes. "Please, people always want something in return. There's always a catch, always a surprise."
"First off, Swan, I am not that pathetic excuse of a man." he said, waving an uncaring arm at the Crocodile whimpering on the floor. "I do not make deals, I do not ask the unreasonable for a reasonable request. Second, the fact that you're here, that you managed to get through the outer chamber, was a catch in and of itself. Finding Captain Jones is the second one. I can't help you with that. The only one who gets to take him from here is the one who finds him. It won't be easy. I can't anticipate what you'll encounter in there." He jerked his head, and suddenly a castle appeared before them, towering and beautiful, gleaming in a non-existent sunlight. "The halls have been enchanted to keep out strangers, to confuse them, to fool them into giving up. Only those who are determined, absolutely set, on reaching their goal, will do so. And they will be tested."
"Bring it on." Emma said fiercely.
Hades grinned brightly. "I was so hoping you'd say that." He stepped aside and gestured towards the castle. "Why don't you join me tonight? You can rest up a bit, and you'll be fresh for the search tomorrow."
Emma looked at him suspiciously, and Hades groaned. "I'm not trying to trick you."
"He really isn't." A woman appeared, out of nowhere, startling them all. "You just have to be careful not to eat the food or drink the drinks that the tables will over you. Once you do, you will never be able to leave."
Hades' entire outlook changed when he set eyes on the woman. "My beautiful wife, Persephone." he introduced, taking her hand and kissing it.
Emma nodded her head in respect. The woman was beautiful. She was wearing a floor-length red dress, which matched perfectly with her dark skin and olive eyes, and had a crown of real, actual Middlemist flowers in her hair.
Persephone smiled. "You are most welcome into our home, Emma Swan." she said with a graceful bow of her head. "We've heard so much about you already."
Surprised, Emma followed them when they began to move to the castle, followed closely by Henry and Milah. "D'you think we can trick Rumple into eating some of that food here?" Milah whispered in her ear.
Emma looked at her, blinked and burst into a fit of giggles.
She didn't know what had come over her, but she felt lighter all of the sudden.
Hang on, Killian. I'm nearly there.
Resting up had been a good idea, because Emma woke up feeling more rested than she had since she walked into the Underworld, who knows how long ago.
Her and Milah were leading the group again, through the looming halls of Hades' castle. They hadn't encountered anything troubling yet, but there was a doom lingering in the air, and Emma didn't like it. She let her magic crackle under her skin, slightly reassured by its presence. Her, Milah and Regina shared a look of unease, and Regina too flexed her magic.
They were ready to face whatever demons they would encounter.
Of course, what they weren't ready for was to encounter themselves.
Emma had found herself face to face with her mirror-image, except Underworld-her had been wearing her Dark One garb, and looking distinctly worse than she'd ever felt being the Dark One. A smirk had played around the blood-red lips of the Dark Swan, and horrible words had been thrown at her. Targeted directly at her insecurities.
Only the thought of saving Killian had kept her from engaging too much, from being lured from her path.
The words, though, were still echoing in her mind.
Encountering herself had been the worst thing that could've been done to her, because there was no one on earth – or elsewhere – who hated Emma Swan more, than Lost Girl Emma Swan. And only the thought of Killian, of her family, her friends, had kept her sane, kept her from falling in that death trap that it surely had been.
After that, it was almost laughably easy, like They weren't even trying. A few flying monkeys she could easily deal with, just a snap of her finger and poof! They were gone.
She hadn't met anything for a while now.
"Killian?" she whispered, hardly daring to speak up, and wincing when her own, raw voice echoed back to her.
"Leave me alone!" she heard someone scream. "For once, just leave me alone!"
She broke into a run, skidding around corners, closer to the source of the voice.
She screeched to a halt after the third corner, her mouth hanging open.
There he was. At the end of the hallway, there he was, just standing there. Looking exactly like she remembered him, with that stupid mussed hair of his and his leather and necklaces... "Killian!"
Killian's head snapped up, his mouth falling open. "Swan?"
Hearing the familiar name fall from his lips tore a sob from her throat, and she took a step forward. "Killian..." she said softly.
"Emma...it's...it's really you?" He still hadn't moved, but didn't make any attempts to move away either, so she took it as a sign to take another step.
"Y-yes!" she said, another sob breaking her voice. "It's me, I'm here, I've come for you."
The statement hung between them for a moment, as Killian seemed to process this. "Gods, Emma." he breathed, and then they were running towards each other, into each other, wrapping themselves around the other and never letting go. "Emma, Emma, Emma, Emma." he whispered as he pressed frantic kisses in her hair, and clinging to her with all his might.
"I'm sorry." she sobbed. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." She clutched at his jacket, the leather feeling amazingly familiar under her fingers.
"Shh, shh, it's alright, sweetheart." He stroked her hair and buried his face in the crook of her neck like he used to, inhaling her. "You smell like smoke."
She giggled through her tears, as she was still sobbing in his shoulder. "Well, I did just walk through Hell to find you."
Killian laughed too, but she felt his tears drip down her neck. "You're so stupid, Swan." He pulled back, holding onto her shoulders as he looked at her with desperation in his eyes. "Coming to the Underworld just for me, you're so stupid, why would you do that?"
Emma smiled at him through her tears, lifting a hand to his neck (where the wound was no longer). "Because you're the one. You're the one I can't lose. I'll always find you. And if you go, I'm coming with you."
He moved in to lean his forehead against hers, sighing deeply as they both inhaled each other's scent and presence. "Gods, I love you." he whispered. "I love you so much, Swan."
"I love you." she echoed his last words to her back to him, and he kissed her hungrily. "Now, let's go."
He stared at her, surprised. "Go where?"
She turned, smiling serenely at him, her hand entwined with his. "Home."
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