Chapter 1: Murder in the Dark (That time she didn't trust him to keep his promise)
Emma ran. Emma ran over concrete streets, past closed shops on Main Street and under swiftly passing streetlights. She ran until she felt her heart pounding in her chest, her blood flushed in her cheeks, sweat rolled in globs down her back. But she didn't feel the pain in her calves or the sharp pain in her lungs. She felt nothing but sheer panic. The faces of her family flashed in her mind with every lunge, with every gasp of cold Northeastern breath. Henry, Mary-Margret, David— they had no idea. They had no idea of the danger waiting behind their front door.
There's not enough time, her whirling mind grasped from a string of racing thoughts. Please don't take them away from me— not yet—
She turned up Mary Margret's street, the same street she remembered with thoughts of home and safety, the street and people she would die to protect. She could feel that safety ebb away underneath her boots as the town's clock ticked like the giant hand of God sealing her fate to be alone forever. The streets were too quiet, as if the fates watched from above, reveling in her misery. Emma could only hear the sound of her heart, the whistle of the wind, the clang of her gun against her rib cage and the horrible whispers of despair in her ears:
You won't make it in time.
They're probably dead already.
You never had any chance to be happy.
He's killed them and it was your fault.
You should have left him to die.
This is your fault.
Everything is your fault.
Emma burst in through the lower levels of the apartment building. She had three floors to go up. Her feet were stinging in agony but she took the steps two at a time. She turned the corner of the hallway to Mary Margret's door and nearly slid past it. She recovered her feet just as she saw him, fiddling with the lock.
"No!" She gasped and lunged forward. Just as the lock slid back, she threw herself into his back and they both flew through the door, breaking completely through the lock. The wood splintered away with a loud crack, metal scraps knocking free. Their bodies collided on the floor with a tremendous thud that no doubt shook the entire apartment.
With instinct, Emma grabbed her gun from the holster without taking her eyes off the back of the hood. She pressed it roughly to his head and held it there. Her body was shaking from exhaustion, her knees quivering at his sides. However, the hand that held the gun was completely still.
"Give me one good reason not to end you right now," Emma murmured in the darkness of the apartment. The moonlight shown on the silver hook, making it glitter menacingly. "Give me one," she breathed.
There was a pause, a pause that passed too quickly and yet, far too agonizingly slowly, and she rose and fell with his sigh.
"I've come for a truce."
The lights of the room switched on as three pairs of feet came tumbling down the stairs. Emma didn't look away.
"Emma?" Mary-Margret gasped. She held Henry close, shoving her grandson gently behind her as she surveyed the scene. David watched with an open mouth, his eyes sliding from his daughter straddling a hooded stranger to the door, leaning off its hinges.
"Emma, what is going on?" He muttered in awe.
Emma blinked. She realized she was staring far too intently at the hood, trapped in her own thoughts, her own murderous thoughts. They came out in pieces.
"He made it back . . ." She gasped, still panting. "I don't know how . . . but somehow . . . Cora maybe . . . but he made it back . . . and he's a threat . . . I found out and— and I had to come . . . to keep you safe . . ."
Mary-Margret threw a worried look to her husband who returned with a look of fear. David stepped forward, his hand outstretched, and gently touched Emma on the shoulder.
"Who made it back, Emma? Who? Who's dangerous?"
At that moment, the invader turned his head, facing the family, the hood sliding against the gun held there. He smiled.
"Charmed, I'm sure."
Mary-Margret gasped, grabbing David by the arm and pulling him back towards the stairs.
"What? Who is he?" He asked, alarmed.
"Emma's right, that man is incredible dangerous. David, take Henry and leave. He'll kill all of us given the chance."
"Snow!" David took her by the shoulders. She yanked her gaze from the man on the floor and into the worried face of her husband. "Who is he?"
Henry slid out from behind his grandmother, his mouth in a line and his eyes curious. He approached the man on the floor, the man his mother was moments away from blowing to bits.
Snow reached for him. "Henry! Don't go near him, he's—,"
"Hook." The child said astutely. "He's Captain Hook. Isn't that right?"
Emma suddenly found home by the sound of her son's voice. She had finally caught her breath as she looked up into his eyes.
"Yes, this man is Captain Hook. And he came here to kill you. All of you." She added with a look to her parents.
"Actually," Hook began, a bit disgruntled. "I had no intention of—,"
"Save it." Emma snapped and pressed down harder with the barrel of her gun. He grimaced. "I know what happens to people who double-cross you and after we left you in the Enchanted Wood with a pissed-off Cora, there's no telling what you were going to do to Mary-Margret or I. It was your lucky night that they were taking care of my son as well. Take away everything I love in one swoop. Bet you were just itching with anticipation."
"If you would please remove the firearm from my head, I would be happy to tell you exactly what I'm doing here in Storybrooke, which has absolutely nothing to do with your family, I can assure you."
"Still not a reason to mount your ass in my office." Emma growled.
She felt his body tense with annoyance. "Cora didn't come here with me. I double-crossed her and sent her to a different world instead. However, I doubt she will stay there for long, now that she has revenge on her mind. I'd like to be gone and done with my revenge when she gets here. If I'm not here when she does, she'll leave Storybrooke. No harm, no foul on your part."
"Then why did you come here tonight?"
"As I said, I've come to make a truce. You give up the bounty on my head and I leave your merry lot alone. Deal?"
"And why should we trust you?"
"Because I make a damn good assassin."
A chill ran down Emma's spine but she held steady. Her family was quiet. She was calling the shots.
"So you get rid of Gold and then you leave Storybrooke? Simple as that?"
"Simple as that, love. Just keep your day-saving family out of my way, alright?"
Emma swallowed. She didn't remove the gun from his head.
"Emma, honey, I think he's telling the truth." Mary-Margret muttered, stepping forward. "He'll keep Cora away from this town and take care of Rumple. We can trust him."
"Mom, the last time we trusted him, he left us in a cave to rot."
"Technically, that was your fault. I was fully prepared to—,"
Emma knocked the barrel against his skull pointedly. "Shut it."
He growled in agitation. "Look, use your sodding power to see if I'm lying. You got me once before, why don't you just do it again? Test me or just shoot me now. I'd rather not lie on the floor like this for the rest of eternity."
She knew he wasn't lying. She could feel it in her bones, just like she always could with anyone. She knew he was right. But for some reason she couldn't remove the gun.
Until Henry touched her arm. "Come on, Mom," he said quietly. "This is a house full of princes and princesses trained in the art of deadly combat. I'm pretty sure we could take one little pirate."
She looked up at her son, a son that believed in his family wholeheartedly. He knew they would never leave him, no matter the obstacle. Emma swallowed, and slowly, hesitantly re-holstered the gun. She climbed off of Hook and stood up. The pirate followed, rubbing the back of his head gently as he went.
"There, isn't that more civil?" He asked with a wide grin. Then he frowned and glanced over his shoulder to Mary-Margret. " 'He'll kill us all given the chance'? Really, darling, doesn't that seem a bit drastic? I dread messy killings, ones so unnecessary as well. Hate to ruin a good rug."
Emma watched him with great contempt. He had done away with the usual pirate garb, replacing it with rough jeans, a dark shirt and a washed-out red hoodie. It fell back as he turned to face Emma once again. He probably stole all of that out of the laundry mat without even considering who they belonged too, Emma thought angrily. He could have been some hoodlum off the street, except for the glinting hook hanging by his left side. Mary-Margret leaned forward, pulling both her and Henry behind David, who was obviously eying the baseball bat under the staircase.
"For someone who wants to leave Storybrooke as soon as possible, it looks like you've made yourself quite at home." Emma said dryly motioning to the clothes.
"Once you live for over a hundred years, you learn to adapt, blend in. Not raise suspicions to your enemy," Hook said, picking lint off the arm of the hoodie. "Which makes it so very irritating that you even found out I was here. I was hoping for a much more pleasant surprise."
"You're over one hundred years old?" Henry gaped at him. "Are you also a vampire or something?"
Something glowed in Hook's eyes that took Emma slightly aback. "No, lad, I'm not immortal. Just spent some time in a place unlike any other. I could tell you stories about it if you'd like."
"No." Emma crossed over the room, standing in front of her family. "You'll be going nowhere near my son."
Hook's eyebrow jumped as a sardonic expression crossed his face. "Fine, Sheriff, have it however you like." He looked back down at his clothes, shrugging. "I couldn't have her following me. Rumplestiltskin was on the look-out for her and would have sensed me coming a mile away. I need time to get used to this new land and figure out a way to exact my revenge. I need the element of surprise and for right now, I need to stay out of his range."
"So Rumplestiltskin is your angle here? Not me, not Mary-Margret, just revenge?" Emma asked for what she felt like the hundredth time. But she had to make sure. She was giving him a promise that if he broke, she wouldn't even hesitate about blowing her entire round into his chest.
"Darling, as much fun as it is to play this lovely game of cat-and-mouse with you, there are things out there that need my attention first." He took a step toward Emma. She crossed her arms and held her ground. "But once I'm done here, I'd love to play more games with you, maybe ones that your family wouldn't care to see—,"
David lunged forward without warning and pinned Hook to the wall. "Don't you dare talk to my daughter that way, you sewer rat!"
"Like father, like daughter," Hook chuckled through the hand at his throat. "Honor runs through this family, indeed."
"I could run you through with my sword," David muttered darkly. "How would you like that?"
"I want you out of here, Hook." Emma said sternly, glaring at him over David's broad shoulder. "I want you to stay out of my sight and away from my family when you deal with Gold. Don't come here for protection, for food, for anything. You are not welcome."
David threw him to the side and Hook stumbled, regaining his balance. He straightened up, and cast a wide glance at the Charming family. He scowled.
"Very well, I'll leave you to it. I'll just dump the body on the doorstep and ring the bell, aye?" He swallowed, fixing his collar. "You know, as heads of state, you've all got horrible manners when greeting visitors."
"Get out, or you're spending the night in a cell for public disturbance." Emma snapped.
Hook scowled and nodded curtly. He threw a glare to the rest of her family before readjusting the hoodie with a roll of his shoulders and heading towards the door.
"Wait!" Henry rushed out away from his mother. Hook paused in the doorway. "Can you really tell me about being a pirate, Mr. Captain Hook?"
"Henry!" Emma hissed. "He's evil! You don't associate with evil people!"
"For you, young lad, call me Killian." A faint smile played at his smooth lips. He was fully aware of Emma's rapidly growing agitation, which only made him smile wider. "I can tell you all sorts of stories. But I think that'll be for another time, aye?"
Henry nodded and allowed Emma to pull him away. Killian—Hook— straightened and grinned through his dark eyes at the sheriff.
"Good night, Lady Swan. Prince and Princess Charming. Sir Henry." He bowed softly and turned out the door. Catching the splintered frame, he added, "Now that was entirely the sheriff's fault. I had nothing to do with it."
And with that, the dull hood covered his face and the captain was gone. Mary-Margaret rushed to shut what she could of the door.
"I've heard stories about him, about Captain Hook." David said quietly, watching the door with trepidation. "I can't believe that's who you met in the Enchanted Forest. I didn't know he ever left Neverland. I wish I had known sooner that he had."
"How did you know he was back, Emma?" Mary-Margaret asked, coming over to place a hand on her daughter.
"I was at Granny's and someone said they say a stranger walking around town with a silver hook for a hand. I couldn't believe it was him, but I couldn't take the chance that it was. So I ran here to warn you all."
"You ran here?" Mary-Margaret asked in surprise. "Emma, that's so far! Why did you just take your car?"
The sheriff shrugged and pulled her son tighter. She rested her chin on the top of his head. "I panicked."
"We were about to start watching a movie," Henry said happily, glancing up. "I was going to show David and Mary-Margaret the Disney version of their story. We were just settled down when you . . ."
"Broke the door?" Emma grimaced sheepishly. "Sorry, I'll pay for that."
"No worries. I can fix it in the morning." David said firmly. He tried to shove the door back into its frame. It groaned in pain. "Maybe."
"Can we make some hot cocoa and get back to the movie?" Henry asked of his grandmother. "Emma, can you just stay the night?"
"I would feel a lot safer with that lunatic out there, if you just stayed here with us." Mary-Margret added, shrugging. David nodded and put an arm around his wife. She curled up under his shoulder.
"I'm sure there's room in the guest bed with Henry." He said, smiling.
Emma swallowed, trying hard to hide the swell of unfamiliar happiness she felt when she realize they were all begging her to stay. She nodded. "I already locked up the office. I'm sure one night won't hurt anyone."
"Yes! Your sushi pajamas are upstairs!" Henry yelped and took off up the staircase to get his mother's clothes. He was gone in a second.
"I'll get the hot cocoa started," David said with a grin. He went to the kitchen and took the milk from the fridge.
Mary-Margaret smiled to her husband before gently pulling Emma away from his view. Her face grew serious. It was times like these that Emma found it hard to really place her as the dainty Snow White.
"Can we trust him?" Mary-Margaret asked in a low voice. "Do you really believe he means us no harm?"
Emma sighed and shrugged. She had been wondering the same thing ever since those blue eyes had slipped out the door. What if she made the wrong call?
"We can't ever trust him," Emma said slowly. "Not with anything. But we can stand by his word. He always has."
"Then why did you chain him up back in the giant's cave?" Mary-Margaret asked imploringly, using the same fast, low tone, clearly missing the point.
Emma swallowed. Her mother didn't see why she couldn't trust him. She didn't understand that it had a lot more to do than a frustrating, murderous pirate.
"If he had other intentions up on that beanstalk, I couldn't risk it. I couldn't risk him double-crossing us for Cora. He plays for his own team, Mary-Margaret, and that's why he's dangerous. He'll do or say whatever for his own interest. He'll turn on anyone as soon as he gets the better offer. But that's why I think we're safe." When Mary-Margaret looked confused, Emma continued. "There's no one here to make him a better offer. We all want Gold dealt with and nothing Gold can say will stop him. My only worry is Cora, but like Hook said, I think she'll be dealt with for a long time."
Mary-Margret watched her daughter with worried eyes for a long time. Then she stepped forward into a tight hug. "I know you'll do whatever it takes to keep this town safe, to keep us safe," she whispered. "And that makes me so unbelievably proud of you, Emma. I couldn't wish for anything more."
Emma was secretly glad when she heard Henry's thunderous footsteps racing down the stairs. As her mother looked away, it gave her time to wipe her eyes.
"Here you go, Mom!" Henry cried happily as he handed Emma a pair of embarrassingly old pajamas.
"Oh, the blackmail these could provide." Emma muttered as she looked at the "retro-chic" clothes.
"Come on, I want to watch the whole thing before bed!" Henry said happily as David came around the corner, four mugs balanced on a tray.
"M'ladies," he said with a smile as the women gathered their drinks.
"Come on! It's a school night!" Henry moaned, pulling at his mother's hand.
They all settled in front of the television. Mary-Margaret took her daughter by the hand as Henry pressed play. "It's good to have you home," she said softly.
Emma smiled and honestly, she tried to throw herself into the movie. She tried to listen to David's indignant rant about what a faceless shmuck the prince in the movie was. She tried to laugh at Mary-Margaret's horror at Snow White's hair. She held her son tight and drank the cocoa.
But every minute, she would watch the door. Every minute she'd look out the window, expecting to see those dark blue eyes staring back at her, that knowing smirk pulling at his lips. Around eleven, rain began to fall and the movie ended. She said good night to her parents, to Henry, and convinced them all that she would sleep on the couch. "Henry needs a good night's sleep in his room," she lied to them all.
The lights went off and Emma watched the street below, her eyes tracking every shadow, every movement.
Captain Hook— Killian Jones— was a dangerous man and Emma simply couldn't keep him out of her head.
*A/N: Hey, this is my first OUAT fic. Obviously, there's more to come, only about five more chapters. So its short and sweet and to the (Captain Swan) point. Hope you like it!