Will Scarlet had once known a man who lost his leg in the Ogre wars. He could remember the old man groaning from the pain in his leg, even though it was no longer there. He could still feel the ache in the limb even though it had been severed off years before. He had heard that it was called phantom pain.
Will could never understand what that pain was like until the moment when the Queen ripped his heart out of his chest. The sharp pain was immediately followed by instant relief. The agony and hurt of losing his precious Ana was a distant memory. He could finally move on without the worthless feeling of hope dragging him further into his misery.
But as he continued his days in Wonderland, the heartache snuck up on him and clung to him like a leach. He gazed upon the stunning portrait of the Red Queen for one instant and the claws of despair ripped at his chest and tried to impale his missing muscle. And even though he knew it was gone, the sharp pain struck him like a knife and made him wince. It felt like his heart was still there, and still singing and crying for his lost love. Clinging to the hope that she still loved him. It was the most terrible feeling he had ever felt. Because even though there was pain, there was still an emptiness. And the two of them together created a horrible combination.
Will knew that it was an echo of a feeling that was long gone, but that didn't stop his phantom pain from ambushing him at every turn. So in order to escape the wretched feelings that weren't supposed to be there, he returned home. Right in the nick of time for an all powerful curse. A curse that was going to tear away everything he loved and make him suffer for all eternity. So it really wasn't a big deal for him. Hell, it even made his situation better. The phantom pain couldn't really bother him if he had no memories to trigger it.
After 28 years of absolutely nothing, there was a great pulse of magic that forced his memories out of the cave that was his mind. The phantom pain returned with full force and he could only sigh in exasperation while the rest of the town cheered at the curse finally being broken.
And after living in Storybrooke, being dragged back to wonderland, and helping Alice retrieve her fiancé, he now found himself here. Sitting in Jafar's cell right beside the reason he left Wonderland in the first place.
They had been talking about the past, about the things they left behind and the he feels a familiar crushing ache where his heart used to be.
Anastasia apologizes and asks if there is a possibility for forgiveness. And that almost makes him wish he could feel more than this echo of pain. Back when he had his heart, he would have done anything to hear those words. He would have done everything if she would say she loved him. This hollow pain makes him wish for his heart back.
And low and behold the wish comes true. Jafar comes strutting into the dungeon with Will's heart box in hand. Will is released from his cage only to be restrained by the Jabberwocky. Before he can really process what's happening, Jafar shoves the heart back into his chest. Somehow he made it more painful than getting the heart ripped out.
Will collapses to the ground in pain and a flood of emotions wash over him like a tidal wave. He can feel himself drowning. He can't breathe, or hear, or see. He is being suffocated by his own feelings and he cannot harness the energy to break free as they devour him whole. It was no longer phantom pain. This was real pain. Real, relentless pain. He can feel himself being pulled further into the sea, but then he hears something.
She is calling to him. Telling her to look at him. And he does. And he sees her.
Ana's smiling at him.
The raging storm of pain subsides and Will has the strength to jump to his feet.
He looks at her. Taking in her loving expression, her radiant smile, and it fills him. Fills him to the brim with the most powerful magic that could ever exist. It crushes him, and stretches him. It chokes him, and frees him. It makes him weak, it makes him strong. It burns like fire, it cools like water.
She flows in his veins and his blood screams. His heart sings.
Love without bounds allows a name to pass through his lips. The most beautiful name he has ever heard. He steps forward. And in one glorious moment, their lips meet. And everything melts away. The pain, the bars that separate them, Jafar, the Jabberwocky. None of it exists. None of it can exist, because there is no room for anything else.
The perfection of the moment this completely shattered when Will is pulled away and shoved back into his cage. The door sliding shut as he stumbles inside. At the same time, Ana's prison opens.
He watches as Jafar pulls her out and holds her. Anastasia's fear is etched across her face as Jafar pulls out a dagger. The same dagger he had threatened to kill her with before.
Panic consumes him and he bolts forward, only to be stopped by the bars. He reaches through the bars, trying desperately to reach her. Screaming and screaming. Because he knows that Jafar no longer has a reason to hold back.
Will can only watch in horror as the dagger rips into Anastasia's side. He screams louder this time. And the pain is back. Worse than he ever imagined it could be. He cries for her and begs her. But she fades away. Her eyes become blank, and her limbs become slack.
She slips through his fingers yet again. Will can only look into her empty eyes, and watch as her skin loses all of its colour. The heart screams with so much emotion that he thinks it may explode. There is rage. There is misery. There is pain.
It's much like the last time he lost her.
But now there is no hope.
No chance of her coming back to him.
Screw the phantom pain
Grief is the most horrible thing that Will has ever felt.