Disclaimer: I am not ABC or Disney, so I own nothing, not Once Upon a Time or its characters. But if I did... ;)

Title: Backlash

Summary: In which Hook goes to see Emma in the hospital against other's warnings/wishes.

Pairing: Captain Swan, Emma x Killian Jones| Hook

Word Count: 3064

Author's Note: 3/17/13. Finished this yesterday but ended up going out and then stayed out even longer to celebrate St. Patty's day. (hangover was not needed this morning). So I just got around to editing and posting today.

(Enjoy the new epi. tonight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Hook will make his reappearance :D )


v.

"I've got nothing left to prove

Cause I've got nothing left to lose

See me there waiting for you

Who, who are you?"

- "Who are you?" -Mikky Ekko


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And sometimes, Hooks knows all too well, you've got to give a little to get what you want.

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"I don't get it," Emma says, bringing her glass to her lips and tipping her head back. The last of Ruby's mixture splashes down her throat and is swallowed as quickly as it makes contact. The auburn liquid burns on the way down, smells and tastes potent like rubbing alcohol, but hey, Ruby had obviously lived up to her part of the bargain.

The drink is perfect for what Emma needs from it. Her mind is already growing foggy.

Hook continues to watch her all the while, a small (and suspicious if one asked Emma) smile on his face.

"Oh, are you talking to me love?" he asks, his unfaltering stare unbroken.

Emma sits her empty glass down— none-too-gently— raising an agitated brow at him. He knows what she's talking about.

Except for one large grin and a look bright with mirth— a look that had been met with a scowl because it'd been annoyingly given after Emma's reaction to her first sip of Ruby's drink: a ragged cough and near gag that made her eyes water— Hook has been deceptively still from the moment they'd sat down. He hasn't said a word.

It'd been making Emma edgy, his sharp eyes observing her for so long, silently and accessing. She'd recently started taking to wondering what he was thinking— what's so interesting— what he sees when he looks at her— until she'd reminded herself that she shouldn't care. But still, him just… watching, has been giving her an strange and uneasy feeling, a rush she can't shake off, like she's some young insecure little girl.

It's aggravating.

But even worse than that it's also probably intentional.

"Yes I'm talking to you,"she says slowly, getting more frustrated by the moment, "Is there someone else here?"

And he inches forward— to which Emma thanks the stars that there's a table between them because he seems so much closer than he already is and the heat in her chest (from drinking, of course) seems to double— "Would you rather there be?"

A pause— because she is barely able to choke back her almost unfiltered answer of 'no'.

Thankfully for her— and maybe for them both— he misinterprets her inability to inarticulate as quiet annoyance rather than the confused silence at her own thoughts that it actually is.

"All right lass," he declares, "I'll bite. What is it exactly that you don't you get?"

Emma decides to forget whatever lapse in judgement she'd almost had.

"I don't get you bothering me into letting you sit here just to stare," she proclaims before scowling, "Do you know how hard it is to drink in peace with you… bemusedly observing or whatever-the-hell-it-is-you're-doing the whole time?"

His eyes are laughing again when he looks away— the first time they haven't been on her in many minutes—Emma can finally breathe— and he gazes down into his rum.

What's funny to Hook is that despite what Emma thinks, which seems to be that he's been doing this just to ignore her, in truth Hook just hasn't figured out how to approach her yet. And that is the most humorous thing of all because when— and how long has it been really? a century ago? longer? never?—has he ever not known how to approach a woman?

He's been genuine with her before— something that had been more of a shock to himself than her because it had not been planned in the least— and that had gotten him no where. He's been his usually charmingself with her too and that had gotten him even less except for maybe invited to her table and he hadn't actually expected that much.

—And why had she anyway, let him stay with her, when for all intensive purposes she seemed to have a knack for keeping him away, keeping many people away (that had been clear as day in her eyes the very first time he'd looked into them)? What. was. so. different. now? What had changed recently enough for her to do it, give him an opening? And how was he not supposed to fuck this up?—- why did he care so much— He knew he was missing something and he was going to find out. He still hasn't forgotten about how off she'd been acting when talking to Ruby either. But how to get a woman as headstrong as her and as good at keeping herself hidden (as good as he is, he'd even admit) to tell him?—

Emma watches the motion as Hook absentmindedly— a habit perhaps?— twirls his glass in his hand as he's thinking— and it really wasn't that hard a question for him to be taking so long was it?

Her focus is lagging, the edges of her vision have grown blurry and she sees the glass spinning on the oak counter table, hears the sound of the glass and his rings clinking when they meet echoing in her ears.

And suddenly Emma remembers what it feels like: the roughness of the hand holding that glass. It was the feel of hard labor, of the toil of nameless years, maybe the feel of time spent gripping the wooden splittering steer of a ship…. and yet there was always a gentleness that he'd held her with. It had fascinated her then. Her maybe-enemy— one could never be sure with him— this villain from a storybook reaching out to her, or folding her up in his arms as he had— that one time, that one misunderstanding. Why is she thinking of it again?

It had made her pause, realizing that though she knew who he was, that she'd heard of him as he'd said:Captain Hook, a fictional character in a fictional tale that was once one of her favorites, she really hadn't known who he was at all: the real man. The one with a woman's named tattooed on his wrist.

And she'd wanted to know so badly, so much that she'd spilled one of her secrets first.

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"Maybe I have been in love… once"

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Emma hasn't been this close to him for this amount of time since they were on that beanstalk… well as far as she knows. How long had he been in that hospital room with her anyway—and she literally should have no idea what he'd actually been doing while in there with her but her brain fills in the blank without hesitance— just how long had he been sitting at her side?

And why did he kissed her?—On a whim?- as a game?- because maybe he had some inkling that he might be the one to wake her up?— she doesn't know. And sure, Emma can breathe now with his eyes not on her but at least one part of her— some part buried way down deep—is beginning to miss the heat his stare causes to bubble up and simmer just beneath her skin.

Emma shuts her eyes, releases a shallow breath, a little bit dizzy, before opening and raising her gaze back to his face. The tingle in her spine is left to be blamed on her apparent inebriation. Because that has to be what's causing it.

His voice almost makes her jump.

"Sorry love," he says, gazing at her again— and he sounds distant and muffled in her ears— "I thought I was wasting my time. That is how you put it isn't it?"

She blinks. She'd forgotten she'd asked him anything and she takes a moment to let the words sink in until she can finally make some sense of them.

"That doesn't mean that you can waste mine," she answers, not thinking. Because wait— that could be taken in the wrong way, like she wants to talk to him, wants to spend time with him and that's not true…not really… except she had invited him to stay and how exactly was she supposed to explain that away again?

Because it didn't matter?

…or because it…?

…because…?

Before Hook can call her out on it, and she knows that he is capable of just that, Emma is turning her attention away, hopefully looking as if she's checking the status of her impending second drink.

The whole time she can feel his eyes on her, hear her heartbeat pounding in her ears.

It takes a moment or two— gives her the time to regain her composure— but eventually she catches Ruby's gaze behind the bar and the message is sent.

When Emma turns back to the table, expecting a smug look or something else to show that he'd caught her slip of the tongue, completely ready for it, his clear eyes catch her off guard.

The corners of Hook's lips turn up in something that is not a grin or smirk, but an actual smile. He's figured it out, he thinks. He knows how to get to her. The answer was staring him right in the face— too easy, too simple— they are too much alike but there is a catch. It would also mean that he'd be leaving himself out to dry as well. And that's a risk.

But if she will… then--

"Let's play a game."

Emma starts, "What?"

"Play a game with me Emma."

And he says it as if it's nothing, as if the way the words have rolled off his lips is nothing, but the genuineness of his tone—missing the arrogance, the seduction, the everything else he typically masks his voice in— like that time before: 'what are you doing? Emma have I told you a lie?' and it all makes Emma's head spin. He shouldn't be talking to her like that, shouldn't have been back then and shouldn't be now.

Her instincts flare and her walls go up immediately.

She scoffs.

"Right," she answers sarcastically, "And just how much did you have to drink before I got here? I'm not playing anything with you Hook."

He grins now, falling back into his seat, simultaneously falling back into line with the Hook that Emma is okay with, the one she can deal with as if he had been able to sense how quickly she'd shut herself off—because he had.

He'd seen her do it before.

"Come now love, don't make me beg…" he drawls, looking at her with dangerous eyes,"…though considering you're liking of tying me up, maybe you'd prefer that." He smirks, insinuation clear. He bites his lip ever so slightly, "Perhaps I'd prefer—

"You know what," Emma interrupts before he can finish whatever it is he's about to say. She doesn't think she can appropriately react to it right now. Not with her brain all hazy, or her chest so tight, or the temperature rising the way it is. "Sure, I'll play but only if it'll stop you from doing that and stop you from staring at me."

There's a beat, a pause, a sharp look that crosses his face before he says it.

"It's a deal," he nearly grinds out.

And they both catch how ironic it sounds coming from him.

There's another pause, a tense one.

"What kind of game is it?" Emma asks, mostly to cut through the suddenly stifling atmosphere, because he had clenched his jaw and was starting to look as if he'd been getting caught up in something else,something dark, his demeanor changing— and because even though sober he might have thought it a good idea to give up his revenge, alcohol has a way of bringing out the worst sides of people— but at the same time Emma realizes it's a damn good question and that strangely she had committed to playing before knowing what she was getting herself into.

The distant look in his eyes begins to fade away like he's seeing her again.

"The drinking kind," he says, shaking it off, managing a smirk, "Is there anything else?"

And to Emma, this is beginning to sound like a very very bad, very very good idea— she was planning on getting to that point, getting far gone enough that she couldn't be bothered with thinking anymore but she honestly hadn't planned on still being in his company when that happened. However something else catches her attention and she can't help but to tilt her head at him, grinning faintly.

"A pirate wanting to play a drinking game… really?" Emma dryly jokes, "Way to be original."

Hook laughs and the sound nearly makes her shudder— she is losing it. "What can I say, pirates inventeddrinking games love," he replies with a wink, "But more importantly, pirate captains win them," he provokes.

And she's not sure if he knows this but Emma has always had a dangerously competitive streak.

"I think you're underestimating me Hook," she answers seriously because despite her competitiveness, and despite that he's a pirate who typically carries rum like a runner carries water, putting away liquor was once a bit of a pastime for her too.

—Of course that had been mostly during that inbetween stage… after jail but before she'd garnered a seemingly small bit of purpose when she'd become a bails bondsman. Because as it turns out, being angry and sad and alone leaves little room for other activities and Emma had been all of those things for a much longer time than most… maybe sometimes still is in some ways— like when she sees Snow and Charming together or even Gold and Belle. She has a lot more now: a family, their love, a community that's she starting to feel more and more a part of every day. She's the product of true love but she still doesn't have—

"I've never underestimated you," Hook replies just as seriously, looking her dead in the eyes, no smirk in sight, and Emma's heart skips a beat— partially because of the words but mostly because she knows that they're true. "And you should know by now that I wouldn't ask if I thought there wasn't a chance I'd lose darling," he pauses, seeming to hesitate before bringing it up "…I love a challenge remember?"

And she's back to thinking about the beanstalk again, only this time there's something in his eyes telling her he is too— and she has a lightening bolt thought, suddenly wonders what would happen if she told him she regrets leaving him up there, suddenly realizes that she does— "I do," she says, her voice missing the nonchalance she'd been aiming for.

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"So what are the rules?" Emma asks. It had been silent for a moment too long. She shifts in her seat, feeling a little off, watching his lips for his answer.

Hook takes a moment and eyes her carefully.

"You have to play fairly love," he narrows his gaze, "That means no lying."

And Emma straightens up, slightly insulted.

"I said I would play didn't I?" Emma answers, voice a little harder because who does he think he is? She's the human lie detector… or at least she was. Things haven't been so clear in a while.

He looks far too satisfied for it not to mean something.

"Then the rules are simple," and he smirks, "If I guess something right about you, you have to drink," and he leans back in his seat, playing the rest off, saying it flippantly with a dismissing wave of his hand— but this is the risk of his plan—, "And if you can guess something right about me, I suppose I will."

She hesitates like Hook knew she would. Because he would. But also like him her slip of the tongue earlier on had told him something: she's just as curious about him as he is her.

Now it's just a matter of who can figure out what they need to figure out first.

And Emma knows he's made this up on the spot and that there is a motive behind it—because there always is with Hook— that the fact is that she should be entirely wary of this whole situation.

But then again… Emma also knows that there are so many things about him— the real man, his past, what had happened in that hospital room, what he thinks about it all— that she wants to know and her throat runs dry. This might be the only chance she has at finding out, at knowing him, without having it fall back on her like she cares, like she wants to. He's leaving tomorrow— actually today… not too many hours from now—and he'll never have to know just how much he affects her. She can walk away from this unscathed.

He'd thought of this game.

It won't be her fault— won't mean anything—if she gets what she wants out of it.

"All right," Emma tentatively says, throwing herself to the lions— or maybe she means walking out on the plank— "I'll play."

But there's something small, seemingly insignificant that hits her, "There's just one thing I don't get," she says.

Hook gives her a questioning look.

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"How do you win?" she asks.

And in the moment that the warning crosses over his face, making her feel inexplicably anxious and undeniably afraid she's made the wrong choice, she barely notices Ruby replacing their drinks.

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"Believe me," Hook says, looking a little wary himself, "You'll know if you've won."

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