A/N: Glad you guys loved the previous chapter! Rating is back to T for this installment. =) I'm SO excited for you guys to read this one, particularly because I came up with a storyline that I hadn't originally planned on exploring... but, seeing the style of the show, I thought it would be fun to do this...thing. LOL You'll see what I'm talking about below! I really like how it turned out - way better than I thought it would! haha Hope you enjoy it. It leaves so much more to be explored! =) Let me know what you think! xx IFHD

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Chapter 10: Truth

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Inspired by:

"Stay Awhile"

By: Ryan Star

Clocks marching at the double time

Every dollar has become a dime

Hearts breaking at the speed of sound

Falling down, all around

Bombs lighting up the eastern sky

The backroom deals and the bottom lines

The Earth's shaking, but we don't know why

A million fires, oceans rise

I leave it all when I feel you near

What I'm saying is I need you here

Even though love never seems to last

If you think we've got a chance

Stay awhile

Oh you got to stay awhile

These days are wild

So baby, won't you stay awhile

Drop the needle on the belle brigade

We slow dance till the moonlight fades

Tell me now that you'll never leave

Always stay, here with me

Keep me safe from the circus show

The bullshit and the blowing smoke

The knife hidden under every sleeve

Stab your back, watch you bleed

They're gonna tell you what you wanna hear

Like: I can make you a star next year

Well, if New York city's lights are so bright

How come so many people cry tonight

Let your hair fall around your face

I would kill just to keep you safe

Put your body next to mine

Just let go, and close your eyes

I shiver when I feel your skin

Like a sinner who's been forgiven

Go on, baby, shine your light

Cause no one's gonna find us here tonight

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Emma didn't know precisely how long she spent in Hook's embrace. What she was certain of, however, was that many hours had passed since he had walked through the threshold of her apartment door. Though the young woman was spent and slick with their perspiration, the energetic pirate continued, undeterred, to kiss her face, down her long neck, and even further down her chest, while exploring every inch of her body. Emma reveled at the sensations he continued to elicit, lying back upon the bed and closing her eyes at his touch, his lips, and the feeling of his warm body upon her. Her mind could barely describe the pleasures that he continued to give her; mere words didn't seem appropriate. In response to his ministrations, she raked her fingers through his mussed air and freely felt the slick surface of his radiating body. To have him with her, now, in this state was a wonder; frankly, Emma still couldn't explain how Hook affected her like this, let alone how any of this had happened.

And yet, why was there still something within her heart that debilitated her to press onwards?

Not only that - but what about what had just transpired and what was continuing to transpire - between her and the pirate? Emma began to think about the consequences of what they had just done, about the consequences of finally giving in to her desire - her desire for Hook, no less! What would her family say if they ever found out? The entire town? ...But then again, would it really matter now? They couldn't change the past - at least, there wasn't any magic that they were currently aware of that could do that in this world. What was done was done; and, Emma admitted to herself, that she and Hook made love wasn't particularly surprising to her.

"What is the matter, love?"

Now somewhat alert, Emma's head snapped downwards to glance at the pirate; though he continued to kiss her belly and graze his fingers up and down her waist and hips, he observed her with a mixture of concern and curiosity.

"W-what do you mean?" she replied softly.

Without taking his eyes or hand off of her, Hook gave Emma's skin one final kiss before lying down beside her beneath the covers. He entwined his fingers with hers and stated, "You have something on your mind, Emma. I can see it." His light eyes roamed the curves and planes of her face, memorizing every inch. "Darling, I can feel it."

Now a bit guarded as a result of his close scrutiny, Emma attempted to keep her expression neutral as she gave her head a curt shake. She resolved to focus on the warmth that his body was giving her. "No, I...it's nothing."

The look on Hook's face immediately told Emma that she needed to say and do more than that to convince him. Nevertheless, both remained still, entirely silent, for a good minute. When he couldn't control his thought any longer, the pirate queried with a hint of mirth in his voice, "Was my performance inadequate or not to your liking?"

Emma could discern that Hook already knew the answer to that particular question. His cockiness was ever more conspicuous now, and the sly smirk of his wasn't too far behind. She instantly placed a palm to her face and stifled a chuckle at his self-assured expression. "No!" she shook her head as a smile finally graced her comely face. Her words sputtered out: "I mean, no, that's not it! It was... you were..."

"Aye," he teasingly nuzzled her cheek with the tip of his pointy nose, "continue, love..."

The young woman gave the cheeky pirate an exasperated shove. She attempted to say in a scolding manner, "Stop fishing for compliments!"

"Well, you know, as a pirate, we have to do a lot of," Hook cocked his head from side to side, "fishing." He grinned widely, baring teeth. "It's a bad habit I can't seem to break!"

Emma rolled to the side to face him entirely and leaned her head upon her open palm. Her fingers absentmindedly trailed upon the fine hairs on his chest and abdomen, causing the pirate to noticeably shiver. His darkened eyes didn't leave her face when she queried, "What else do you do as a pirate?"

"You mean, other than drink rum and..." Hook raised his eyebrows repeatedly, "...seek the pleasures of women?"

The distaste on Emma's countenance at the mention of other women was more than evident to Hook. However, she expertly concealed her emotions in a heartbeat and continued with, "I want to know more about you - Killian - not about Hook the pirate captain."

Hook studied her for a moment before he replied with, "Well, seeing as my father was a pirate captain himself and I have been a pirate captain for many years, it is rather difficult to describe one without describing the other."

"...Your father?"

"Blackbeard."

Emma's eyes instantly widened. She knew the name of that particular pirate well. "Your father was Blackbeard?"

"Aye." The pirate gave her a noncommittal shrug. "Piracy is a family business, love."

Flashback - Fairytale Land

"Killian! Killian, wake up!"

The young boy was roughly shaken awake, then promptly dragged out of his wooden bed shortly after he regained consciousness. With his vision still blurry and mind wholly disoriented, Killian eyed the dark-haired woman who had roused him; her once sea blue, mirthful eyes were now darkened and filled with panic. He pulled at the sleeve of her shirt, agitated by her urgency. "Mother, what is the matter? W-why are you..."

It didn't take long for the lad to receive his answer. As they stealthily exited their thatched, wooden home, Killian's sapphire blue eyes reflected the red, orange, and yellow hues of the fire that raged through his village in the distance. Even though their home was not yet affected by the blaze, something within Killian was certain that it wouldn't be long before they would become the next victims. Echoes of ear-splitting, panicked shouts and cries invaded his sensitive ears; pandemonium had erupted through the streets. Some families who he had come to know and care for now sprinted in all directions: some attempted to save their livelihood and homes, while others just attempted to save their lives in the frenzy. This village had been their safe haven for so long. What had become of it? While surveying the utter destruction of that which he held dear in front of him, Killian's feet became rooted to the ground; he was keenly aware that one step unaided would turn his knees into water and promptly level him to the earth.

"Pirates." Killian's mother hissed above him, her face marked with rage. "They have pillaged and plundered the outlying villages. Now they have come for us."

Pirates? The boy trembled from head to toe, his grip tightening around his mother's hand. "W-where is father?"

"He is still at the wharf with the other fishermen, most likely," she reasoned, entirely alert of their darkened surroundings. She glanced downwards and met her son's terrified eyes. "We have no time to gather our belongings, my darling. We have to find your father right away and sail."

Killian managed a nod. With quickened movements, the pair turned the corner of their house and sprinted towards the shadowed area of the street.

However, they didn't journey far before they heard a mocking laugh behind them.

"And where do ye think ye two are goin'?"

Killian felt his mother's clasp on his wrist tighten. Before he could even look up to face her, she hissed, "Killian, run!"

"B-but..." he began.

"Go!"

Her trembling shove sent Killian a few meters forward. Still undeterred, he turned upon his heels and ran back to her. "Mother, no! I am not leaving you!"

A crew of rugged, dirtied pirates advanced upon them; their amused snickers sliced through the cool, night air. Through his alarm, Killian discerned that the pirate who led the advance donned a wooden leg and a red, squawking parrot upon his right shoulder. The sneer through the white hairs of his beard revealed jagged teeth lined with silver.

The moment that Killian and his mother attempted to break away from them, two of the crewmen surged forward and easily caught them by their arms.

"Now, now, what do we 'ave 'ere?" the peg-legged captain queried in a deceitfully lightened tone. As he drew closer, the expression on his wrinkled face instantly transformed from amusement to bewilderment. "No...can it be?" His coal-black eyes darkened even more as his sneer returned. "My dear Wendy, it is ye. After all these years..." He gave his head a shake to illustrate a moment of nostalgia. "Now...where is yer darlin' husband - and my dear friend - Edward?"

With raised brows, Killian silently surveyed the exchange between the pirate and his mother.

She knew this bastard?

Wendy stepped forward with confidence, keeping Killian protectively behind her. She snarled in return, "Long John Silver. I thought you had died all those years ago. Pity the Mermaids didn't finish the job."

"That's Captain Long John Silver to even you, poppet." The stocky pirate was now only a few meters from them. The moonlight illuminated the gruesome scars painted across his face. "Now, I ask ye again - where is Edward?"

Wendy's eyes were afire as he kept his sturdy gaze. "You will never find my husband."

With the speed of a cobra, Long John Silver's hand abruptly coiled around Wendy's thin neck. Her pearly white skin instantly bruised; her comely, youthful face turned red. Killian gave a shout of panic at this act, but Wendy managed to keep him back with an arm. "Well," the captain now breathed down her face, lifting her up ever so lightly, "if ye won't show me where he is, then perhaps we should change this lil' game. Perhaps," his grip tightened upon her windpipe, making her choke even more audibly, "he should find me."

"Mother!" Killian surged forward, intent on destroying the burly man with his bare fists. However, the young boy only made it forward a couple of steps before one of the crewmen plucked him from the ground and held him back with a hairy arm.

Sheer interest was plastered upon Long John Silver's face. "'Mother'?" he repeated in a sing-song tone. His mouth shaped into an 'o'. "Now this is quite a predicament indeed."

After a few moments, Wendy's listless body fell roughly upon the ground.

"Take 'er to the ship," Long John Silver snarled.

Killian shook with anger and grief, his entire face ravaged with pain, as he watched Wendy's immobile body being carried off into the distance by one of the crewmen. "Mother!" he yelled at the top of his lungs as he attempted to escape the pirate's grasp. "No! Please!"

"Let 'im go." The captain turned to his first mate, baring his silver teeth once more. "'e'll 'ave nowhere to run to but to 'im. We'll flesh Edward out...sooner or later."

Without warning, Killian received a stern right hook from Long John Silver. His head snapped violently to the side, mouth instantly spurting blood. The young boy groaned in pain, then felt his body awash with dizziness and nausea. Through the muffled noises surrounding him, he heard the distinct clinking of a coin; he then saw the gold piece shining at his feet.

"Give this to yer father, boy," Long John Silver roughly gripped Killian's hair and shoved head back so that he could meet his stare, "'e'll know where to find me...and 'is precious wife."

As Killian gripped the coin in his fist, he lost all consciousness.

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The young boy awoke with a groan. As he regained the feeling sensation in his body, shooting pains greeted him. When he remembered precisely what had transpired, panic flooded him first, then the insatiable need to chase after the band of pirates - particularly, to find Long John Silver. His pain instantly hardened into anger.

"Killian, boy, are you alright?"

"F-father?" Killian's light orbs surveyed their surroundings. "H-how did I...how are we at the wharf?"

"I heard news of the attack and came to find you and your mother as quickly as I could. It wasn't safe to stay in the village, so I brought you here." Edward's statuesque form hovered over Killian's as he squatted and dabbed a damp compress upon the boy's cheek. His strong, angular face crinkled in consternation. "Lad, where is your mother?"

The young boy opened his fist.

Killian eyed the dark blanket of the sky above as his father took the gold coin in his large, calloused fingers; the hundreds, thousands of stars seemed to mock them now.

Edward nearly crushed the coin in his fist. The blockage in his throat made it almost impossible for him to croak out as though a curse: "Long John Silver."

Killian sat upwards, his eyes welling with tears. "They took mother."

A few moments of silence passed. Edward shook with rage as he registered the news and the dire consequences that followed them. Killian eyed his father intently as he promptly stood and stalked towards their small ship. Almost in hysterics, Edward began to prepare. With his voice still wrought with utter contempt, the black-bearded man turned to his son and commanded with a snarl, "Take the sail, boy."

Killian's eyes grew wide; tears continued to stream recklessly down his reddened face. "W-what are we going to do, father?"

Utter hate was purely evident in Edward's eyes as he growled:

"Kill Long John Silver."

End of Flashback

"As you can probably guess, I didn't really have the happiest of childhoods." Hook stopped his speech then, finding that the constricting of his heart was too much to bear. Well, thinking of anything about his past never really gave him anything to rejoice about, he mused.

Emma furrowed her brows and frowned. "You took to being a pirate after..."

"...being attacked and tortured by pirates, yes." A half smile emerged from his lips. The expression didn't spread to his hardened eyes. "I thought that the best way to deal with an enemy was to become them."

As he paused, Emma moved closer to his form and slung her arm around his waist. She felt the pirate do the same in return and begin to trace her spine with his fingertips. A part of Emma was curious about the rest of Killian's past and wanted him to speak further; and yet, another part of her warned that opening up Hook's old wounds wouldn't exactly be the best idea. It wasn't her business anyway, she thought; she then resolved that she would take what the pirate willingly shared with her, but would always be careful not to pry.

When Emma glanced upwards to meet his stare, he queried, "May I stay here with you?"

The question somewhat caught Emma off-guard. She sat back up slightly and traced the side of his stubbled face with her fingertips. "Y-yeah, sure."

Hook threw her a disarming smile, captured her lips once more, then pressed his forehead upon hers. "I am pleased."

"But Hook, we need to prepare. Cora might still be out there and..."

"Whatever happens, Emma," he interjected lightly as he brushed some of her hair from her face, "know that I will do whatever I can to protect you."

Emma could only stare at him for a few moments and revel at the conviction in his voice. She keenly observed that there wasn't a trace of falsity in his expression or voice. Eventually, she gave him a small smile. "Thank you."

"I am curious, though..."

Emma nuzzled the side of his cheek and felt the steady beating of his heart with her open palm. Her eyes remained closed. "About what?"

"What changed your mind about me?"

"Well...mostly Belle, I guess." Emma certainly didn't want to tell him about her other, ulterior motives of finding out the truth about what she felt for him, however. Perhaps she had already received her answer.

Perhaps that was all that mattered now.

She felt him nod. He murmured, "Ah. The Crocodile's lover."

"Yeah. She has an interesting perspective on things."

"Hmm." He kissed her forehead and tightened his grip around her. He realized then that could never become tired of the warmth of her body pressed upon his. "Well, whatever she did or said, I am glad that it worked."

"Me too." Emma placed her hand upon the side of Hook's face and gave him a long, lingering kiss. "I guess sometimes we all just need a little motivation."

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Emma awoke to find that the bed beside her was empty. She frowned as she felt the cold air attack her skin. When she twisted her head to the right, she perceived a bottle of rum on her nightstand, decorated by an elaborate, red bow. If this was Hook's way of being thoughtful, perhaps she'd take it. She did wonder, however, what pressing matter he needed to attend to that warranted him leaving her as she slept.

After a few minutes of staring at the ceiling, Emma was finally able to rouse her languid self awake. She already felt sore from her little tumble with the pirate; the very thought of their activities the previous night caused her temperature to rise already. However, she pushed those thoughts aside for now.

Perhaps they would have an encore that night, she thought with a smile.

Emma grasped the large bottle of rum to study it further. When she leaned forward, she caught sight of a piece of paper upon the nightstand by its side. It read in fine calligraphy:

I'm sorry, Swan.

The cryptic message sent thousands of thoughts careening through her mind, despite knowing that none of them could decipher for certain what Hook actually meant. Something, however, instantly felt off. As much as she attempted not to, she couldn't help but conjure up some suppositions. He regretted sleeping with her? No, that couldn't be it; the entire time that she had known him, sleeping with her seemed like a veritable end goal for him. Then what was it? Did he steal from her? She didn't have anything valuable anyway, so that probably wasn't it either. No matter what the true reason was, she felt her heart constrict, for her instincts were telling her that it was something negative.

The sudden ringing of her phone made Emma's entire body jump. With renewed vigour, she pushed she sheets from her form and stumbled from the bed. She fumbled for the piece of technology within her jeans - which had been strewn haphazardly across the room - and answered it after another couple of rings. "Swan?"

"Emma! Emma, I need your help!"

Her spine stiffened as she instantly recognized the panic-stricken voice. "Ruby, what's wrong?"

"Belle's missing."