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: 1895

Author's Note: 3/25/13. So we're shifting into the game now :). Also, this story is taking me wayyyyy longer than anticipated lol. Enjoy the update.


vi.

"It isn't easy for me to let it go
Cause
I've swallowed every single word
And
Every whisper, every sigh
Eats away at this heart of mine."

- "Sweet Nothing" -Calvin Harris


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But in the end it'll just be a game... right?

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"So how do you want to start?"

"By all means, go right ahead," Hook says, elbows on the table, hand over hook.

"You're letting me go first?" Emma asks, doubtfully.

One always expressive brow arches, "Gentleman," is all he says in answer.

Emma rolls her eyes.

After a moment, when it is clear that he's being completely serious, Emma sinks back in her seat, tapping her nails on the table and studies him. He matches her gaze, entirely unbothered by her scrutiny.

She can say anything, Emma realizes, anything that she wants and anything that she's ever questioned, find out about some of mysteries she's pondered are hidden behind the dangerously hazy blue of his eyes.

She swallows.

Hook looks like he's holding back a smile as he takes a sip of his drink.

"Anytime now darling."

Emma huffs, opening her mouth.

She hesitates.

"You hate Mr. Gold."

He doesn't.

"And you love the odd little trespasser you have for a son. Let's be serious love."

"Hey," Emma says in warning, a frown forming on her face. She clenches her fist, "Watch it. Don't call Henry—

"Then don't play the game like a coward," Hook interrupts, taking an almost absentminded swig of his drink— she was right after all. he does hate Gold. That much will never change.

Emma huffs again.

Fine, she thinks, feeling chastised and little caught. She doesn't blush but does feel her skin heat a bit— and okay maybe saying he hated Gold was a bit of a cop out, like saying grass was green or the earth spun… but then Emma pauses because— does it? That is, spin. Here in the real world, of course it does, but considering all the other worlds that apparently exist…? How much is different? How much truth and fact become fiction? Is the real world even really the real world?— but then she's stumbled off course and trailed off into thoughts that make her question things, make her lightheaded, thoughts that when she acknowledges them makes her head spin. Because Emma is apparently a savior but she is still so small and insignificant in the scheme of all things, they all are, but that is far too much to be thinking about right now whilst playing a somewhat childish drinking game in a bar in the middle of the night with Captain Hook—Emma shakes her head, almost laughs.

So she'd hesitated. It won't happen again. It's just that she'd been struck with a thought.

What if the things she wants to know are better left unsaid?

What if she finds out that who Hook truly is… is irredeemable, is so much worse than what she'd imagined… but more importantly (more frightening, more confusing) what if what she finds out that he isn't so wicked at all?

What then?

It's so much easier when she can think of him as a villain.

"And don't go taking it personal love," Hook says unprompted, catching her attention, "He did trespass on my ship and he is odd but when it comes down to all those I've encountered in this world so far and who I wouldn't mind in my company, your lad comes in a close second… after you, of course," he smirks with a wink.

She behaves as if unaffected, levels Hook with a dull look but there's tension in Emma's back that ebbs away at his words and her frown lessens too (because for some reason the thought of him thinking negatively of Henry had bothered her even more than it should. )

But that's another thing and his words have brought up more than just that. It's probably only the alcohol making her question it but sometimes Hook and what he does, how he acts, makes absolutely no sense to her.

How does he decide which things to be blunt about and which things to hide? How much is too much when it comes to Hook? His scale is all off in Emma's opinion. He'll hide a kiss, behind the anonymity of the sleeping curse, apparently not bring it up, not even once, as if it didn't even happen, though it's obvious now since he'd mentioned it that Hook believes Henry has told her about his little excursion onto the pirate's ship. Hook must know that Henry has told her about the kiss, that she knows and still… he pretends?

And then he has no problems throwing out beautifuls and looking at her the way he does, or singling her out like she's different to him, and of course no one can ever forget the innuendos.

Suddenly Emma realizes that if she wanted to know she'd never really be able to tell how he feels… like actually, legitimately feels unless he wants her to. Sure, there was everything that happened on the beanstalk— and everything always goes back to that doesn't it? When they were alone and all they had to depend on was each other and how well they'd been at doing it. How strange that was. How when it counted, she'd backed out… — but after that it's sort of felt like just another game, thrown around insinuations, and sometimes what he's so bluntly offering her does not exactly sound like it comes with his heart. Not that she'd want it anyway, she hastily adds in her thoughts.

"You know that's actually kinda funny," Emma says quickly, both hands loosely wrapped around her glass, looking at him— Not that I want it anyway, she repeats— "Since Henry and I are the only two people that you've met here who are actually from here."

Hook's brows furrow and he pauses realizing the truth in it and then he's thinking it all over again, thinking over his plans, and his life, and leaving behind his revenge— moving on. And a second later he replies without thinking, "Well if everyone else here is even halfway like you, then maybe I could bare it after all," and though he's done it again, been bloody genuine, been himself with her— and just how does that keep happening without his say in it?-- Hook's more focused on how he actually may have meant it this time.

He could live with it.

He could live. (he can't remember what that even feels like)

It's quiet and this time, they're both thrown off, just staring.

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And maybe Emma can tell how he legitimately feels but she's just too stubborn to admit it.

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"Your turn love," Hook finally says, making everything click back in place.

Emma leans back in her seat, looking away from him, taking a break and thinking about what she'll say this time. Her eyes find their way to the dark window at their side and she can see their reflections in it. Seeing them together— just sitting in the diner, over drinks, looking frankly like a couple that they are not— doesn't look as abnormal as she thought it would and so she turns her attention to only herself.

She looks like the same old Emma— a petit woman, attractive enough, with a jagged edge. She comes off hardened, that is undeniable, and Emma can no longer remember a time when she hadn't. When was the first time that she looked into a mirror and the face gazing back had finally been missing the warmth and invitation that she'd wanted gone? It'd taken years to get that way and even now, after David and Mary Margaret, even after Henry, the only thing that has really changed is when she sees herself now she can add little descriptors she'd never gotten to back when she was young. Like how she has golden hair like her father's, her mother's chin (and she'll never quite get over that). Now that she thinks of it, she supposes her nose is a little like Mary Margaret's too and her eyes— she looks at them, narrows them.

her eyes?

And then Emma's gaze flickers back to Hook and she remembers how he'd known, and how it had shocked the hell out of her, how she'd wondered.

"When we were climbing the beanstalk, you knew," she virtually accuses.

But she's just jumped into it and so of course he's confused and not following, so she backs up.

"You knew that I'd grown up alone. You knew I was abandoned."

And something about Hook changes as she talks. It's minute, maybe like he's tied up loose ends, he sits a little straighter, his face is a little more blank, there's really no way to explain it but Emma tilts her head, her gaze narrowing again. She looks at him, sees him, recognizes him.

Because Emma does have golden hair like David's, a chin and maybe even a nose like Mary Margaret's, but her eyes… they are only hers, created over time, after living through her particular kind of hardship— except now, at this very moment, looking at Hook, it's like she's still studying herself in the diner window.

"It wasn't just that you'd seen it before was it?" she questions. His stare doesn't drop from her own and his face isn't giving anything away but she can vaguely see him spinning his glass in his hand again in her peripheral vision.

But she still hasn't stated anything yet as per the game's rules so Hook's not budging.

"You were abandoned too. You grew up an orphan. It wasn't just the lost boys," she finishes.

Hook doesn't do anything for a moment, just continues to look at her and Emma thinks maybe she'd been wrong but then he's briefly closed his eyes and his lips have raised in a small bitter smile.

And Emma can recognize that look too.

When his eyes open the look he gives her is half admiring and half resentful and she doesn't know what to think of it.

Hook ponders pointing out something else, something about that lost boys statement but that's not a part of the game. She'll have to be far more specific to get some things out of him. He releases one short breath of laughter.

"So now we're playing," he says, his voice a little tighter and he raises his glass as if in a toast before taking another— rather large—drink from it.

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Emma— entirely unsure about how she feels and a little uncomfortable about having been right-- feels the difference in the air, the tension, Hook's guard going up, and thinks she might understand what it could mean to win at a game like this.

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She also thinks she might know what it could mean to lose.

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