A/N: Thanks so much for those who've stuck with me thus far - this was initially going to be a one-shot (that was suggested) where Killian is haunted by Belle's spirit (so basically it would've been a continuation of the prior one-shot), but I found myself unable to finish. The beginning of this drabble is actually what I'd started for that story, so at least I was able to use it!
So can you guys believe we had such an awesome scene? It was probably the hottest thing OUAT has ever aired!
Sunlight assaulted Killian's vision like two vicious, stabbing knives. A bottle of rum hung loosely between his fingertips, and as he miserably shifted about on his cot, his tenuous grip failed and sent the bottle hurtling to the floor in a sudden, violent explosion of glass and alcohol.
Feeling as though he were being watched, Killian opened his eyes and grimaced.
His voice was scratchy like sandpaper, and he winced yet again before rubbing the sleep from his eyes. It couldn't be her…Belle had been convinced of his guilt in her precious Rumplestiltskin's plight. But unmistakably, he saw her standing in the entryway to his cabin, her crystalline blue eyes shining with worry.
"I had to see you," she whispered.
"You're not real," Killian muttered, now rolling over onto his side. "You're just a bloody figment of my imagination." He heard her scoff, then he flinched when he felt her hand on his arm.
"I may be a lot of things, Mr. Jones, but a figment of your imagination I most certainly am not." Here she paused, her gaze softening as she added, "I was wrong about you…a man with a true rotten heart is incapable of grief."
Killian snorted, yet he said nothing. What the devil did she expect him to say?
After a moment, he finally spoke, "If you wish me to absolve you of your guilty conscience, I'm afraid I am unequipped for the job – might I suggest a priest?"
Belle felt the biting bitterness of his tone and flinched. "I suppose I deserved that…I'm sorry to have bothered you. I merely wanted to see how you were faring, but if I'm not welcome, I'll go ahead and leave."
As she turned to depart, she heard Hook give a feeble, "Wait." She lingered in the doorway, her hand still on the doorjamb as she waited for his next command. Though the curiosity was burning her up inside, she wasn't about to press an unwilling man for answers. He had to want to speak with her about Milah.
"Sit," Killian urged. "Since you have yet to drive a dagger into my heart, I take it that your concern is genuine. You must forgive my cynicism, for where I come from, not many are truly worried for my well-being."
"I can assure you, our worlds are not so different… There were plenty who cared little for me, as well." With a tired smile, Belle moved to the offered seat – a wobbly, wooden chair that rocked about when she sat down – and she found herself gazing eye-to-eye with the hung-over pirate.
"You have Milah's eyes," Killian whispered. "Hers were blue, too…so blue that I drowned a thousand deaths just by gazing into them."
Belle felt herself trembling beneath his intense scrutiny. "It…it sounds like you're quite the romantic."
"Perhaps I was once, yes, but not anymore. Those days have long since passed." Here he fumbled for a new bottle of rum, but Belle stopped him by placing her hand over his.
"Please don't," she urged. "I can't stand to see anyone in this much pain."
"My pain is none of your affair."
"Perhaps not, but won't you let me be the one to decide that?"
Killian looked at her then, his gaze sharp and penetrating as he studied her face. What was she getting at? Was she trying to worm her way in, planning to one day feed her findings to the Dark One?
"If you mean to woo me into giving you information, I'm afraid you will be sorely disappointed – my heart is not an open book, so I suggest you find someone else to interrogate."
Belle appeared as though she'd been accosted. "How can you assume that you know my intentions? I came here to lend a friendly ear, not to…to…"
"Warn the Dark One of my sorrows?"
She nodded, appearing pained.
Killian gave a dry and unfeeling laugh. "If you're expecting a thank you for saving me earlier, I'm afraid you won't be receiving one."
"I didn't expect you to," she whispered. "I think you wanted to die."
He eyed her critically. "Perhaps…though isn't that my call to make? This hero complex of yours isn't very becoming, darling." Scooting in closer, his gaze grew forlorn again as he murmured, "You really are like her, you know."
Belle squirmed in her seat, leaning back ever-so-slightly as he pressed forward. His breath was now warming her upper lip, and she closed her eyes at the sensation. It was just like before, only this time she felt compelled to touch him.
Placing a hand along his rough, scraggly cheek, she tilted her wounded eyes to his before whispering, "I'd probably hate the world too, if I were you, but could you just not hate me? At least not right now?"
Killian's jaw tensed. "I don't hate you, m'lady… You're the only one who's ever shown me a scrap of kindness in this land. Granted, you did shove a bookcase on me and konk my head with a pipe, but all is forgiven."
Belle gave a musical laugh. "Yes, I suppose that was impulsive of me…necessary, but impulsive."
Killian mirrored her laugh, and she marveled how warm he could be when he smiled without malice, lewdness, or cruel intent. To her surprise, he angled toward her.
"Why have you been so kind to me?" he asked. "All things considered, you shouldn't be here right now."
Belle's cheeks colored with shame. He was right, of course, but somehow she couldn't bring herself to face the truth. Deep-down she had believed him about Rumplestiltskin, and this realization terrified her to no end.
Suddenly feeling Killian's fingers lifting her chin, Belle trembled as he coaxed her into returning his gaze. "Don't," she whispered, though her feeble plea was silenced when he forced his warm, silken lips over hers in a rough, and bruising kiss.
Belle's hands rested against his chest as though to fend him off, but she traitorously opened her mouth and allowed his tongue to caress her own. He tasted of rum and salt water.
Breaking away with a gasp of breath, she turned her head so that Killian's lips landed on her cheek.
"I suppose that was unfair," he whispered. "I wish things would change…hell, I wish I could change."
Belle swallowed back her tears. "I don't want you to change…" Blushing beneath his intense gaze, she quivered and choked out a brisk, "Excuse me…" Lurching forward before Killian could even think to touch her, she tore through the open cabin door and slammed it behind her with a loud, and resounding bang.
"I'm not sorry, you know!" he defiantly called after her.
With a quivering intake of breath, Belle slumped back against the door and whispered a defeated, "Neither am I."
A/N: I have another drabble idea, but then I'll start referring to the suggestions you guys have left. Thanks SO much for those!