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: 2569

Author's Note: 5/5/13 Sorry for the wait! Enjoy :)


vii.

"We're not broken just bent"

- "just give me a reason" by pink


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And if Emma thought she was dizzy before…

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"You still have feelings for the crocodile's son."

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"… excuse me?" Emma asks, sure that she's misunderstood the pirate, positive that she'd heard him wrong, because if there was anyone she'd thought she'd ever have this conversation with— anyone— it would never have been him. "What did you just say?"

Hook's slightly guarded, slightly curious look doesn't change.

"My statement love. You have feelings for—what's his name again— Neal, is it?"

(Emma scowls. So this is it, is the first thing she thinks, giving Hook a narrow eyed glance over. Apparently, now that Hook's guard is up and now that something— uncomfortable and staggering, personal and reeking of vulnerability—has slipped out about him, he's not holding back any punches anymore. Straight for the low blows then, Emma stills. Because the second thing that occurs to her… is how the fuck does he even know?)

"Wait a second," Emma halts, throwing one hand up, "Hold on. How did you find out about me and— and him? The last I checked you were… cozying up with Regina and- and her—"

"—cozying up?" Hook interrupts, with an almost laugh in his voice.

And maybe that had been an interesting word for her to use.

"Aligning yourself, whatever. I don't know what you do," Emma answers back and she frowns because really, truly, she doesn't know what he does. Maybe all that flirting and making her feel like they were a team was the way he was with everyone. Maybe he'd played her."But that's besides the point," she quickly diverts back to the topic at hand because Hook has caught her frown and she has just realized it was there for him to catch in the first place, "How…"—but that's the wrong question isn't it?—"Who told you Hook?"

(And her hazy mind drudges up some completely impossible vision, a flash of Neal and Hook, sitting around and talking about her. An "Oh Emma, yeah a decade ago we—" muttered as if it meant nothing— because how could it have?— followed by a "Really, I wouldn't have taken her for the type of lass—" or an "A thief you say? I could have definitely guessed that."

And the image— the thought of the two of them speaking, even about simplicities or in innocent conversation like her misplaced mind has conjured up— spawns a pit in her stomach, she feels sick. Because it's wrong… somehow, isn't it? The two of them can't go together, like— like Neal represents her past and Hook is— he represents— well, she doesn't know. But she remembers the moment she'd realized it, staring into burning blue eyes and listening to a mouth declare to her "Actually no"— that they are nothing alike)

"You haven't figured that out by now?" the pirate sitting across from her asks, with his black eyeliner and leather and that stupid smile he gives when he thinks he's got the upperhand. And at first Emma thinks that he could hear her thoughts but then she remember her question. Emma is still too dizzy, far too dizzy for this conversation and way too dizzy to still be here with him.

This whole thing had been a mistake.

But since Emma doesn't live like she has limits and she's always been a little more than stubborn, she shoots back a, "Just answer the question," anyway.

With a lick of his lips, Hook leans into Emma's space (like he can, like he belongs in it) and crooks a finger, asking her to do the same. There a glisten in his eyes and an air about him as if he's about to tell her some big secret, as if they need to be close.

She doesn't call him out on it.

Instead, though Emma makes a show of it, rolls her eyes and huffs before she does, she still leans in as much as he beckons; hesitantly, but not as hesitant as it could have been.

(And Emma is sure it couldn't have been Charming or Snow who told because they'd have let her know. And not Rumple, because if those two had been anywhere near each other there would have been some kind of destruction she'd have heard about by now (even if she'd been sleeping for past two days or so) Maybe it was—)

"You," Hook whispers simply, putting her out of her misery. There's a smirk and then, "You know, sometimes you're a little too daft to be so brilliant."

Emma merely glares, focusing on the negative more than the compliment (she still hasn't quite figured out how to reply to those).

"Me," she echoes dryly.

"Aye, you gave it away," Hook acknowledges still leaning in closer than he needs to. "Though honestly," and he shrugs, "it wasn't very hard to tell."

Emma doesn't say anything back at first (and she tells herself that this has nothing to do with their closeness, the heat of his breath, or the way his eyes are roaming over her face… because Emma has yet to sit back either.) The next thing that leaves his mouth is a little quieter, said almost to himself as if he's just come to the conclusion himself (and maybe this was the real secret all along) "Nothing seems to phase you love, unless it has to do with matters of the heart."

This is what makes Emma pull away.

"Yeah, well…" she says defensively, crossing her arms over her chest. But that's all she can think to say because the implications that Hook has figured this out, can see what bothers her, makes Emma's throat run dry.

Has he realized that he— that she might feel— that he gets to her—and wait… is she admitting that to herself now?

When had that happened?

"Then it's true."

And his voice is level. When did he back away as well?

"What's true?"

Hook's gaze drops and she follows where it lands to her reaching hand, fingers in the midst of searching for her drink. He is silent and his expression is closed off. He jumps so quickly back and forth and it confuses her that his guard seems to be up more than ever.

And then— oh, she realizes, the drink, she'd been about to, Hook thought—

And Emma runs his statement through her head again, considers what's true and nearly scoffs, because technically--

"Yeah sure, it's true," she forces out between tight lips, knocking back her chosen poison. She watches him from the corner of her eyes as she wipes her mouth with the back of her hand and sets her glass back down (she'll need another refill).

Hook's jaw clenches at the admission.

It's a reaction, one she's sure Hook never meant to show. And Emma's happy that at least she isn't the only one all the alcohol is effecting (she doesn't think to head on what the reaction means).

"I have loads of feelings about him," Emma continues, disdain clear. She looks down at her empty glass and wonders how the words slipped out.

Maybe its because despite the strangeness of speaking of Neal with Hook, he might actually be the only one that she can really talk to about it. The only one, that is, that she can tell without having to worry about lectures or consequences or maybe a cane to the ribcage. Everyone else is family (even Rumplestiltskin) and most will try to make her feel better about it. Emma just wants to get it off her chest.

(And maybe… perhaps just a little bit, she might feel the need to explain just in case Hook— and she's guessing he had— thought she meant something else by feelings.)

No matter the reason, it's the first time since she's come back to town that she's let the derision and the bitterness that is pent up, all that she's been holding back, seep in to her tone. "If only you knew how much I've felt about him for the last decade or so."

And really— Emma is happy that Henry and Neal get along so well (every child deserves the love of their parents) and true— Emma probably should've told Henry the truth about his dad the first time around. And when it comes down to it, Emma is even willing to admit that back in Manhattan she had messed up royally when she'd attempted to not tell Neal he had a son — but still— the venom in Emma's blood surges— still.

Because even if all of that is true, which it is, and Emma has made mistakes of her own… how should any of that excuse what he'd done? Why is it that Neal's sins were just supposed to be forgiven and forgotten?

Emma's frame—which seems smaller than it ever has before— stiffens in her seat and Hook watches as so many emotions flick across her face that he can't place them. He can see now—finally—why she'd left him on the beanstalk. There is so much that she has buried inside, so much pain and hurt that she's still dealing with, and it strikes him that he really has met someone just as damaged as himself. And it's entirely selfish of him, wrong in so many ways, but it's comforting to know he's not alone.

But—

What'd he do to you?

And Hook doesn't realize that he's actually asked it aloud until Emma lifts her head— wary, tired, spent— and looks at him.

The question catches Emma off guard enough that she almost actually answers it.

"That's not a statement. Why don't you try and figure it out, since I'm apparently such an open book." (And she's being defensive again. Her tone is cold and biting. And maybe Hook is right. It is obvious. She does act differently.)

Hook actually sighs.

"He left you, that much is clear…"—and fucking moronic, Hook thinks. If he had someone like Emma— strong, beautiful, intriguing and bright— he'd never be stupid enough to— "but there's more to it than that. Something worse I'd wager."

Emma just stares.

A second elapses and then Hook is watching Emma reach across the table— slow and purposeful— to grab the glass right out of his hand. She downs his rum, without blinking an eye.

It is the tenseness of her arm and the rigidness of her spine, that has settled in and taken over her form so naturally— as if she's been merely pretending not to feel this way all the time— that leads him to recall something she'd just recently said. A decade of ill will? The man had left her a decade ago.

And when clarity hits, Hook tenses too— the sharpened edge of his replacement hand carving an angry hollow into the table between them— and he still doesn't know all of the story but the part he's just figured out (because her son can't have been more than ten or eleven) is terrible enough.

What kind of a coward would ever— he begins to think angrily, but then again he was Rumplestiltskin's son. (And then Hook's heart constricts and a pit opens wide in his gut because there's a moment of guilt when he thinks that maybe if Milah hadn't left with him, her son wouldn't have turned out as he had)

"It's my turn," Emma cuts in annoyed, not at him but with it all. She'd consented to playing this stupid game for a reason but she hasn't even gotten close to it yet. "You've guessed right and I've drank. So unless we're changing the rules or you're admitting defeat—" She let's this hang in the air.

And Hook knows that she's been cut open a little tonight and so has he but he still can't back out now (even though he considers it, to spare her anymore grief). He'll just have to be more tactful, get to the point. What had happened to the curse? What was she hiding?

"—Sorry love. Not likely… but I'm afraid we've run out of refreshments nonetheless."

And unlike Hook, Emma thinks, who gives a fuck about tact.

"You're leaving," she says suddenly, not caring about the drinks or the rules or any of it anymore, "That's my statement. Is it true? You're just gonna up and leave, even after— after what happened today?"

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And Emma remembers "actually no" again, and how he and Neal are supposed to be different. She remembers waking up in a hospital bed— and it seems like it happened lifetimes ago, not just this evening— to too bright blue eyes with her heart feeling more full than it's ever been.

…But if he was going to leave— after the kiss, after what it meant, after true love; even if she doesn't want it and she doesn't doesn'tdoesn't… at least… not until she's sure— that he's worth it, worth the chance.

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That he's capable of proving her wrong.

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Obviously, Hook realizes, looking into Emma's determined eyes, he's not the only one who's trying to get to some point.

The only problem is, he has totally missed it.

And in the time it takes Hook to answer— because he's not sure that he should considering that yes, he was planning on leaving, but maybe he wouldn't if he had a clue about what exactly Emma was referring to; and because she just seems so expectant of him in this moment, wants something from him (and he doesn't know what but he undeniably aches to give it). He doesn't want to fail her— Emma begins to harden all over again.

And finally—(because in Emma's eyes he's already taken far too long)— Hook replies.

"It depends," he hedges uncertainly… because it's true— he doesn't know and because that is one of the first things he'd ever found out about her, that she won't settle for lies, and since he can't give her what he doesn't know she wants from him, he'll give her what he can.

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It's not good enough.

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And it crushes Emma to know that she's still naive enough to get her hopes up.

Without a word, Emma abruptly gets up from the table, throws a few bills down in her wake to pay for her drinks, and turns to leave the pirate to do whatever it is he plans on doing with the rest of his life.

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When Emma stumbles, because— oh right, she has been out drinking all night and the room did look suspiciously off-balance, but apparently that'd just been her — Hook does not fail to catch and keep her from falling.

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