A thousand thank you's once again to all of you :) And I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm currently suffering from Hook withdrawal and it's terrible. Hopefully this will help a little bit.
Emma pulled on the clean shirt with a sigh, finally feeling somewhat back to her normal self. Hook had taken her to his cabin, shown her the supplies he'd gotten after they'd pulled into port, and promptly offered to help her undress to look at her wounds. She'd kicked him out.
She had been slightly surprised when he'd left without a fight, leaving her to her own devices. He'd been easy to read the last time she'd been around him, when she'd first come to the Enchanted Forest. She hadn't trusted him, but a part of her understood him. Ever since coming back though, she didn't know what to think.
She ran her fingers over her lips absently, cursing herself for allowing him to kiss her. The memory was seared into her brain, and she shook her head as she looked at herself in the wavy mirror attached to the wall over the washbasin. "Get a hold of yourself, Emma," she muttered, adjusting the oversized black shirt again. Of course the only clothes he would have to offer her would be his own.
She let her hand trail down to the bruise over her heart. She still didn't know what to make of the entire scene at the witch's cottage. Almira had gotten into her heart and somehow found the name Hook there. It didn't make sense to her. Was she attracted to him? She could say with certainty, yes. Did she care for him? Maybe. She didn't want to see him dead, she knew that, but it still led to the question of why the witch had seen him at all.
She let out a sigh and turned away from her reflection, quickly heading out of the cabin and up to the deck, deciding she'd deal with her messed up emotions later. She stopped, looking around for Henry or Hook and not seeing either one. A sliver of anxiety flared up, as she took another step.
"Cap'n's o'er there, if yer lookin' for 'im," one of the sailors said, pausing next to her and pointing towards the aft of the ship.
"Thanks," she muttered, moving away from the unsavory character who just shrugged at her and continued on with his work. She trailed along the ship towards where he had pointed, taking a moment to take in the organized chaos happening around her, and finding that she could almost enjoy it. They were still in port, but she could tell from the continued hustle that they would be pulling out soon.
She found Hook sitting on the deck unceremoniously with Henry across from him, a pile of rope between them. "What are you two up to?" she asked warily, coming closer.
They both glanced back at her. "I see you're finished, darling." His eyes roved over her, lingering. "The shirt suits you."
Emma rolled her eyes. "Right."
"Killian's showing me how to tie knots. Who knew there were so many?" Henry chimed in, holding up his end of the rope, thick with different knots.
"Yeah, who knew," Emma replied with a small smile at how happy Henry seemed. She was glad someone was having fun on this impromptu detour from their normal lives, although what she constituted as normal was rapidly changing. She looked back at Hook who had turned his attention back to the rope in his lap, intrigued by his uncanny dexterity with only one hand. "You know you're bleeding, right?" she asked, her smile falling to a frown as she pointed at Hook's arm.
He glanced down at it with a shrug. "I've had worse, darling, not to worry."
"You have stuff for that downstairs, and it looks pretty bad."
"Are you offering to tend to my wounds, Emma?"
"Seems like you might need help with only one hand."
He was abruptly on his feet in front of her, a mischievous look on his face. "I believe you are offering. Who would I be to turn you down?" He smirked, a playful light sparking in his eyes. "Are you good to practice on your own for a bit, lad?" he asked over his shoulder, his eyes staying on Emma who swallowed hard, not really knowing what she got herself into.
"Yep," Henry said, already bent over his rope, lost in concentration. Hook turned back to her with a quick quirk of his brows, grabbing her hand and spinning her around back the way she had come.
"You do realize that I'm only offering to patch up that bite on your arm, right?" Emma asked, pulling her hand out of his grasp.
"Of course, love," he replied, like she was crazy for suggesting he might have an ulterior motive.
She sat him down at the table in his cabin, turning up some of the gas lanterns so she could see better, and pulling a chair up next to him. He held his arm out, his gaze fixed upon her as she took it, grabbing a clean cloth from the table and wiping at the dried blood on his skin.
"How do you feel, Emma?" he asked, ducking his head slightly to catch her eye. "I know our little trip took a lot out of you."
"I feel better, thanks," she said shortly, keeping her gaze fixed on his arm. "Whatever's in this ointment you picked up, it did the trick."
"But not completely." His hook came up, lightly touching her chest. She pulled back, letting go of him and fixing him with an angry stare.
"Just… just don't push your luck, okay? I'm trying—"
Hook's eyes flashed in the lamplight. "Trying what, darling? Trust? Don't lie to me. Bad enough you're lying to yourself."
Emma was on her feet. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"Exactly what I said," he replied calmly, looking up at her. "After all we've just been through, you still can't trust me. What more do you need, Emma?"
She threw her hands up in frustration. "Oh, I don't know! For you to not be a pirate or—"
He stood and was in her space again. "No. That's not the reason, love."
Her breath left her in an audible sigh. "It's me, okay?! I can't trust anyone. Not anymore. And it doesn't matter if I think that maybe you've been telling me the truth this whole time, because a part of me knows that eventually you're going to do something to hurt me, and I don't want to go through that again. I can't. Especially when other people are relying on me." She ran her hands through her hair, so full of frustration that she didn't know what to do with it. "So can you just, I don't know, give me some space or something? Because I can't do whatever it is you think I can do. Not yet. Not right now."
Hook stared at her for a long moment, an intent look on his face before he slowly sat back down, setting his arm back on the table. "Point taken, lass."
She stared back down at him, feeling like she'd just sprinted a mile, not believing he was giving up that easily. "Okay?" she said breathlessly, sitting down opposite him again. "You're being shockingly understanding about all this."
"I could always tie you to my bed again, love, until you come around," he replied, glancing over at said bed.
She just shook her head, continuing to clean the wound.
"Would you rather talk about that kiss then?" he asked, one of his fingers running lightly along her arm.
Emma felt a tremble run through her at the mention of that kiss. "No, I'd rather not," she said pointedly, pulling her arm away from his touch.
"Too bad, love. Your boy wants us to be friends," Hook said, watching her work.
Emma glanced up at him with a frown. "Does he?"
A scream sounded from up on deck and they both froze, their gazes locking, before jumping to their feet and making for the stairs. Emma was about to bust through the door when Hook pulled her to a stop, holding a finger to her lips as he held her back. "Just wait here for a moment, lass."
"Like hell I will! Henry's out there!"
"Oh, Captain!" a sickeningly familiar voice called from the other side of the wood.
"It can't be," Emma breathed. "I thought that water killed her."
Hook cursed, her hand clenched on his sword. "Apparently not." He pulled the satchel from his belt and thrust it into her hands. "Let me handle this, and for once, do as you're told, and stay out of sight."
He didn't give her time to respond, just turned and pushed open the door, stepping out onto the deck, a scowl on his face and his back straight, every inch the pirate captain. Emma saw two sailors fall in behind him, for what she thought was support, but they unexpectedly grabbed him roughly from both sides. He swung around out of their grasp, managing to knock one of them down and draw his sword in one fluid movement. Two more pirates charged forward, and before Emma could call out a warning, pummeled him to the deck, disarming him and forcing him to his knees. He almost managed to get back on his feet, but one of the thugs hit him hard, sending him back down before dragging him across the deck out of Emma's line of sight.
Emma cursed, falling further back into the shadow of the passageway, adrenaline coursing through her veins. If his crew had turned on them, what little hope they had of defeating Almira was practically gone.
"What have you done, witch?" she heard Hook demand.
"Your crew is mine, Hook," she cackled from just out of Emma's sight.
It was then that she got a good look at some of the crewmembers, their eyes glazed over with an almost milky sheen to them, apparently spellbound. Emma felt her heart pick up even more. Where was Henry?
"Where is that pretty thing of yours, Killian? I'd love to see her again."
"I hate to disappoint, but I left her back at the inn. Slowing me down and all, you understand—" He was abruptly cut off and she heard a grunt of pain.
"Emma, darling! Do come out and play!" the witch called. "I would hate for things to get any uglier for your dear captain."
Emma closed her eyes for a brief moment, trying to collect herself before she stepped out onto the open deck. Almira stood across from her, her single eye fixed on Emma set in the melted mess that was her face, ravaged by the water Emma had thrown on her at the cottage. The rest of the crew stood where they had been presumably when Almira had appeared, unmoving as if awaiting orders, staring blankly ahead with milky eyes. Emma covertly searched the deck for Henry, not finding him, before her eyes landed on Hook. He was on his knees before the witch, two other mindless pirates leveraging him down by his arms, and his hook in Almira's hands. Emma adjusted the satchel with the slippers farther behind her and took a tentative step forward.
"What are you doing here?" she asked as firmly as she could.
"I've come for my property, dear," the old woman said with a toothless smile, made all the more grotesque by her melted lips.
"We had a deal; the eye for the slippers. They aren't your property anymore."
"Another arrangement then. I would like to keep it civil between us, dear. No need for more useless violence."
Hook laughed. "Don't lie, witch. You've come to kill me, just like you've wanted to do for years."
She ignored him. "You will return my slippers to me, replace the dogs that you murdered, and I will give you your pirate captain back."
"Emma—" Hook started, but one of the men punched him hard in the face, almost knocking him to the ground if it hadn't been for the other man holding him up.
She took a step forward, anger blooming in her chest, before she managed to restrain herself. "I don't have any 'dogs' to replace the wolves that you sent after us," she snapped through gritted teeth.
Almira motioned around the deck. "I will take what I need from these."
Emma bit her lip, glancing at Hook. Blood dripped from the corner of his mouth, but what struck her most was the look of resignation in his eyes, like he knew exactly what decision she would make. She knew what he was thinking. Almira was asking to take away their only means to return to Storybrooke in exchange for his life, and he knew what her answer would be.
Emma frowned, feeling worry, guilt, and anger stab through her, and looked away. Whatever choice she might once have had was gone now.
She turned back to the witch, her resolve set. "You can't have the crew. We killed your wolves in self-defense. That was the risk you took when you sent them after us." Her gaze shifted from the witch back to Hook. "I'll give you the slippers for Killian." She saw his brow crinkle slightly in confusion, disbelief flashing through his eyes.
The witch held out her knobby hand. "The slippers then."
Emma shook her head, looking back up. "Not until they let him go."
Almira laughed again, her single eye looking around the deck. "Now, now, Miss Swan. I will only tolerate so many demands from you right now. The slippers, if you please."
Emma swore under her breath, but pulled the satchel off her shoulder, throwing it across the deck to land at the witch's feet. "Let. Him. Go."
Almira's face twisted in triumph as she continued to laugh. One of the pirates released Hook, only to pull out his cutlass. Emma felt her blood run cold at the realization of what was about to happen. As the pirate maneuvered the blade around towards his captain's head, Emma jumped forward, the horrible knowledge that she wasn't going to make it in time filling her as a cry was ripped from her lips.
As she yelled, she felt something else burst out of her, light blinding her momentarily before she found herself on her knees, gasping for air. She looked up to find the pirate with the sword sprawled out on the deck, along with every other member of the crew. Almira was nowhere to be found; neither was the satchel.
"Emma!" Hook called, struggling to sit up from where he had been laid out on the deck.
She pressed a hand to her aching chest as she crawled over to him, falling down beside him. "Hook…" She met his gaze, her eyes wide with confusion and worry at both his condition and the fact that she'd used magic again without her knowledge. "Killian, I'm sorry, I should have realized she wouldn't uphold her end of the deal," she said breathlessly, almost rambling as her hand unconsciously sought his arm.
"It's all right, lass. I'm all right." he replied softly.
She started to nod and then froze before looking around frantically. "Oh, no! Henry!" she called.
Hook motioned towards the stern of the ship, falling back onto the deck with a groan. "I saw him earlier, darling. He looked to be fine."
She nodded, starting to stand before she stopped, hesitating a moment before running off to look for her son. "Are you really okay?" she asked, looking down at him.
He reached up, briefly touching her cheek before letting his hand fall back on his stomach. "Go find your boy, Swan."
She nodded and stood, running towards the stern of the ship. Across the deck, the other pirates were starting to come to, groaning and rubbing their heads, but with clear eyes.
Emma rounded a stack of crates and was suddenly hit by a small body wrapping his arms around her. "Mom! You used magic! Are you okay? Henry asked, looking up at her.
She pulled him close to her, burying her face in his hair and just taking the moment to appreciate that he was fine. "Yeah, kid. I'm okay. How bout you?" she asked after a long minute.
"Yeah." He pulled back, looking around at the groaning pirates. "That was the witch you met earlier?" he asked. She nodded. "She took our way back home, didn't she?"
Emma knelt in front of him. "Yeah, but don't worry. We'll find another way to get home. Me and Mary Margret did before, and we'll do it again."
Henry nodded. "I know."
She squeezed his hand and stood. "Good."
"Oh, no! Killian!" he yelled suddenly, running back across the deck. Emma followed him, coming back to where Hook still lay on the deck.
"I'm fine, lad, just give me a moment," he muttered, letting out a long breath before struggling into a sitting position.
"Cap'n! I swear I din't mean it!" the pirate that had almost beheaded him said, stumbling over, his face an almost comic mask of deference and panic. "I was—"
"Spellbound, aye. I know it," Hook replied, waving him off. "Not to worry, Clyde."
The pirate muttered a quick acknowledgement and with a nervous salute, hurried off to help some of his other mates.
"Clyde?" Emma asked with a small smirk. "Not a very pirate-like name."
Hook only shrugged, grabbing his hook from where it lay on the deck close by and reattaching it. "Get me down to my cabin, lass. These poor blokes don't need to see their captain this way."
Emma nodded and helped him up, Henry on his other side as they made their way back down below. They set him on his bed, stepping back and waiting.
"Lad, run back up and see Thomas about getting some water."
Henry nodded, running back the way he had come.
Emma frowned slightly, turning back to find Hook on his feet in front of her. She stumbled back several steps, bumping into the mast running through the center of the room, and abruptly found herself trapped between it and Hook. "I thought you were hurt!"
"I've taken plenty of beatings before, love. That wasn't enough to put me down for long." His hand slid over her side, gripping her hip as he made a low appreciative sound in his throat.
Emma swallowed hard. "What the hell are you doing?"
"Showing how one expresses their sincere gratitude. Something you have yet to do, darling." His fingers tightened on her, roughly pulling her into him. "You chose me, love."
"Yeah, well…" she muttered, finding it harder to think straight with him pressing closer.
"You were willing to do whatever it took to get back to your family last time. You could have let the witch have me, taken your boy and the slippers, and run… all your problems solved in an instant."
Emma grit her teeth as his other arm slide around her back. "I couldn't let you die."
His hand came up, cupping her face. "Why, love?"
She let out a gasping breath. "Let me go."
He shook his head. "Henry will be back soon, darling. Tell me why. Tick tock."
"You are a damn insufferable piece of work, you know that?" she breathed, her eyes involuntarily dipping to his lips, the memory of their kiss seared into her.
She wasn't conscious of moving, but suddenly the space between them was gone. He pressed her back against the post, his lips demanding access to her mouth that she willing gave him, her arms slipping around him, her hands clenching in his hair. He groaned into her mouth and her body melted into him, loving the taste of him, the feel. He hauled her closer, a hint of desperation in the movement as he slipped a leg between hers, pressing into her in just a way that made her gasp, clutching at him to maintain her balance. She felt his lips curve in a smile against hers for a moment before he deepened their kiss and she felt even more heat flare between them, threatening to consume her as they both teetered on the edge of something that both were just beginning to understand.
A small noise escaped her and her hands tightened in his feather soft hair as he pulled back slowly, holding him close enough that his forehead still brushed hers, their hair mingling together, and their gasping breaths mingled together. She became aware that somehow his hand had made its way under her borrowed shirt, his fingers burning the skin of her side and lower back with smooth, lazy caresses, sending tremors to places farther south. He leaned in again and kissed her lightly on her lips, a smile on his own as he lingered just long enough to make her ache. "That's good enough for now," he said softly and pulled away completely, leaving her swaying, completely at a loss to form coherent thought.
He stopped a few feet away, his blue gaze dark with an intensity that made her want to run and hide. "I'll get you home, Emma," he said, and she heard the promise in his voice, which scared her almost more than the kiss had.
"I know," she breathed, her hand slipping to the slowly fading bruise over her heart. She was in so much trouble.
Thanks for reading! Love hearing what you think!