Emma Swan; the name was unusual, the way it caught at him. Made him pick it up and turn it over and over, like a smooth pebble on the beach, something that simply felt so right in the hand that you couldn't merely drop it and keep walking. Emma Swan… it kept running through Killian's head and he let it, tasting the syllables, listening to them roll, over and over.

Emma Swan… Emm-ma Swannn…

'Course, it was anyone's guess whether it was the girl herself that was making the name tumble around in his head, or just the tonics they'd given him to try and numb the pain. Or maybe it was the pain itself. Certainly in the centuries following Milah's death, Killian had never known quite so much of it, in such a short span of time, as he had after meeting her. The glorious, brilliant, treacherous, wary-as-a-wild-beast Em-ma Swan.

Not the sort of name one heard, in his world.

Killian opened his eyes. Saw the same blank ceiling as he had last time. Sighed, regretted it, and closed them again.

That was why she was on his mind, he decided. She was intriguing, to be sure, but mostly it was just that there was sod-all else to hold his attention. The room he was in certainly didn't. Quiet, dimly lit, it was painted in varying shades of bland, with a cup and pitcher nearby in a slightly different color of dull, and absolutely plain blankets and robe that were probably meant to be soothing to the desperately ill, or whoever they normally kept in places like this. To be sure, there was one of those strange machines that seemed to be everywhere in this realm, but even that just stood there showing nothing but a pair of wriggling, glowing green lines. He'd tried to puzzle out their purpose earlier, before deciding that staring at them was about as interesting as watching the hands move on a pocket watch.

The only other thing Killian could possibly focus on was the pain he was in, though that was a policy he normally avoided. His ribs were screaming bloody murder at him, his head was pounding, and it hurt every time he swallowed thanks to the Crocodile's little attempt to crush his throat. Every muscle ached in ways that almost defied belief; he felt as if he'd been standing under a stack of cannonballs that had suddenly decided to tumble off their monkey and down a hatch to land on him. No… on second thought, he felt like he'd been the cannonball, stuffed into the barrel and launched in a deafening explosion, and now he was so stiff he could barely move. It seemed to him that even blinking hurt, at this point.

All he'd seen were a pair of lamps shining in his face; hadn't recognized the noise of the car or whatever she'd called it until it was too late to get out of the way. Certainly hadn't realized the damn thing was bearing down on him so bloody quickly, the few such that he'd seen during the daytime had seemed to just trundle along the streets of the town.

A miserable end to a miserable day. Bested by a stupid cow who thought Rumpelstiltskin deserved her love; clubbed half to death by the miserable bastard himself, and the less said about that humiliating little slap the better; then the car, then the throttling… things got hazy after that; the last thing he remembered being the sounds of voices and pounding feet, and the painfully bright flash of colored lights. And after all that, for the crowning disgrace, he'd woken up in unfamiliar surroundings, in pain the likes of which he hadn't felt in decades, and shackled to the bed with his hook missing.

Again.

He was thirsty, his neck itched, and he couldn't do a damned thing about either one.

Because of Swan.

Em-ma Swan.

Gritting his teeth, Killian yanked again at the cuff, which of course did absolutely nothing except remind him that moving anything even the least little bit was a colossally stupid idea, just now. The cuff bit into his wrist. The muscles in his arm threatened mutiny. His ribs… he fought a gasp, managed somehow to keep from whimpering out loud, but it was a near thing, and his vision blurred for a second until he could blink away the tears that sprang up.

Right, Jones. Don't do that again. It'd be just his luck that someone would hear him next time, come to check and assume he was blubbering like a frightened child. Focus on something else.

Yes, anything else. Even her.

Emma bloody Swan.


Hello all. As I'm writing this, there is a three week hiatus between episodes 2x12 and 2x13, and I have only JUST discovered Once Upon A Time. I blame wolffan, but she never seems sorry. I kinda want to see if I can write a complete story in only three weeks (not likely); also, since I'm going through some difficult personal things right now, I wanted to write something a little different from my usual. I can't stand "Mary Sue" characters so my blatant self-insertion ended up having backstory... but she still has superpowers and is there to Fix Everything (tm). Deal with it, I'm trying to cheer myself up. Enjoy!