A/N: This is AU after 'Manhattan.' Also, I own none of the characters in this story.
"Do you really think it's such a good idea to do this?" Snow asked, her voice laced with concern.
Emma looked up from the spot she'd been staring at on the kitchen table and focused on the note in her mother's hand. It had been stuck in the door when they'd come back from a family lunch at Granny's Diner. The note simply read:
My house. Three o'clock. Come alone.
She knew it was actually probably the most terrible idea in the world to go, but she wasn't about to voice that to her family. Even if she was going with someone, the last time she'd been to Regina's house, Regina had sent her flying back with a burst of magic. But this was the first time Regina had reached out since they'd returned from Manhattan, and with Emma beginning to harness her magic, she at least wouldn't be going in completely defenseless.
"Maybe she's realized teaming up with her crazy mom wasn't the best idea to get back into Henry's good graces," Emma replied, remembering how Henry had reacted to the news of Regina reverting back to her evil ways.
"Then why would she ask you to come alone?" David asked, coming from Henry's room. He'd set him up with a video game before the two women had started the conversation.
"Because I'm the only one this concerns. I'm the one keeping her away from Henry. If we're going to have a civilized conversation, she doesn't need tons of voices butting in over hers." Emma stood up, took the card from Snow and looked it over again. "And if she doesn't want to talk, I can defend myself."
"Just… Please be careful, Emma," Snow said, stepping forward and wrapping her arms around her daughter. David sent Emma a reassuring smile from behind Snow, which she returned.
"Don't worry, I will." Emma pulled back from her mother before making her way to the door, grabbing her jacket. She opened the door, but turned back. "But if I'm not back in a couple of hours, come looking for me." Just in case.
The walk to Regina's was longer than she remembered it being. It probably had something to do with the gloomy looking weather and the fact that if felt she could be walking to her possible doom, but she quickly brushed it off. If Regina wanted to attack her, she could do it at any point that she wanted to. She didn't have to invite her to her house in order to off her, so Emma was viewing this as a positive. Whatever Regina was going to say, Emma would fully hear her out.
She found herself in front of the Mayor's house, holding in a breath of anticipation. The air around the house sent an eerie chill down her spine with the gate at the front left hanging open and the curtains drawn on all the windows. Emma took her first wary steps over the threshold of the gate. She knew to be cautious of this place and the person residing there, on the steps of the house.
Regina looked harmless enough, but Emma knew, after experiencing it, her magic was extremely powerful. Of course, Emma had begun to realize her magic was linked to her emotions, so she was prepared, at least in some way, to defend herself. Emma made her way up the walkway slowly, though making each step a sure one. From her place on the porch, Regina stood as she approached.
"It's nice to see you, Miss Swan," Regina said passively, looking at her watch. "Punctual. That's good."
"Can we get to the point, Regina? I came alone, just like you asked." Emma didn't mean to sound crass, but she knew whatever she was called here for wasn't good.
Regina grabbed a small bottle that had been next to her on the porch. "Do you know what this is?" she asked, knowing full well Emma didn't know the answer. "This is an enchanted vial. Now I know you've seen a type of vial before. Some hold pure magic. Some hold spells. Some hold potions. This vial, though… This one is special."
Emma could sense that this wasn't going in a way that she wanted it to go, so she began to prepare herself for the defense, thinking of things that registered with her emotionally. Henry, her parents, a certain… No. "And what makes that one so special?"
"This one…holds souls." Regina looked from the vial to Emma. "You see, Miss Swan, it has become quite clear to me that as long as you're in Henry's life, I won't be."
"So what? Are you going to ask me to hand over my soul? Because that will never happen." Emma planted her feet in the ground, making sure her stance was firm. She knew any moment, she'd have to fend off an attack.
Regina laughed. "Oh no, dear, this isn't a voluntary thing."
Regina reared her arm back, a purple plume of mist forming around her hand. Emma focused on making it through whatever Regina's magic was to get back to Henry and her family. She closed her eyes, flashes of them running through her head, when she was hit simultaneously from the side and the front. She felt her mind go blank in that instant and everything faded away.
Emma could tell something was wrong when she started to come to. Her body felt too long, her left arm ached, and her head felt light in a weird way. What happened? Emma searched her brain and saw flashes of Regina and then nothingness. She let out a groan as she moved, her whole body giving protest.
"Emma?" she heard Snow call out. She willed her eyes to open and that only confirmed something was off. She could clearly see David standing above her and Snow sitting beside her, but she knew her contacts weren't in. She took in the expressions on their face, both of them looking like she'd been on death's doorstep. Emma started to speak before Snow held up her hand.
"Emma… Don't freak out, okay? We haven't figured out what happened yet, but we will so you don't have to worry alright. You're going to be good as new and it'll be like this never happened and we can-"
Emma started to cut her off. "Mary Margaret you're-" She stopped. What the hell? She had been the one speaking, but the voice that had left her mouth wasn't her own. She recognized it all too well, the smooth accent having an effect on her even now. "WHAT THE HELL?" Emma yelled as she sat upright quickly.
Snow winced at the loud tone. "I told you not to freak out…"
"WHY THE HELL DO I SOUND LIKE HOOK?"
"That's because you are Hook, love," her voice came from the doorway.
Emma could've fainted at that moment. She looked up to see her body standing in the doorway. It was then that she looked down at herself. She was dressed like He would be dressed, and she realized why her left arm was aching. She'd heard of phantom pains before, but had never experienced them before. Damn, that hurts. Emma reached up with her right hand and felt the scruff of his face under it. This is a dream. It has to be. Regina has my soul and this is some weird hell I have to live through.
"How did this happen?!" Emma asked, rising from the bed, marching over to Killian. "Why are you in my body?"
He raised his eyebrow at her. "You're lucky it wasn't worse, darling. I knocked you out of the way of whatever spell Regina sent at you. She disappeared before I came to and lo and behold, I was staring at my own face when I did. I called your parents and helped them get you back here." He stood up on his tiptoes to make the height difference a little less than it was. "You're welcome."
Emma whipped around to Snow, her eyes pleading. "Please tell me you can fix this!"
"Well, until we figure this out..." Snow let her thought drop away.
"Don't say that," Emma pleaded. She didn't want to have to get used to this.
"Until we figure this out, you two are stuck this way..."
Emma let out a loud huff before looking over at Killian, and immediately noticed he had the front of his shirt pulled back and was looking down.
"Hook, what the hell are you doing?" she asked as she punched him in the arm, only vaguely realizing she probably just gave herself a bruise.
He rubbed the arm with his left hand—something he wasn't used to—before smirking at her. "Just checking out the goods, love," he said with a wink. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be headed back to my ship."
Emma ran around to block his path. "If you think I'm letting you out of my sight with my body, then you're crazy."
"Lass, I trust you can take care of mine since you've taken care of yours so well," he said, looking back down at her. "And aside from the missing hand, my body is in top shape. I think you can trust me with this."
Killian felt a hand on his shoulder before turning to a steel faced David. "You'll be staying here, mate," he said.
Killian rolled his eyes. "You really have to stop saying that, mate." He looked back to Emma, still finding it odd to be staring at his own face. "Fine. I shall stay here.
Footfalls could be heard from down the hallway before Henry appeared in the doorway. His face lit up at the sight of Emma no longer in bed. "Mom, you're up! This is crazy! Captain Hook is in your body!" He looked up at her. "Don't worry. We'll figure this out, okay? And uh…" He turned back to Killian. "Sorry about earlier."
"It's alright, lad. It's understandable." Killian noted Emma's confused expression. "Confused me for you obviously. There was an embrace," he said, scratching the back of his head awkwardly. "Everything's fine. No need to worry."
Henry gave another smile. "We'll get everything figured out. I promise."
A week went by and still there was no change. Without Regina to specify what she'd done, there was no way to figure out how to undo it. Killian had taken up residence in Emma's room, Emma doing the same. She slept on an air mattress, still adamant not to let her body out of her sight. They would go out searching together every day, hoping to find some way of finding Regina. Unfortunately for Emma, David and Snow would go off searching together, leaving her alone with Killian. She had to listen to his version of "compliments" about herself now that he was occupying her body. She was not keen on the idea of him showering in her body, but with the amount of time that went by, she couldn't stop him, and she'd already started to feel icky after the second day.
"I knew you had a tattoo on your wrist, love, but I didn't realize you had one on your hip, as well."
"Could you stop checking me out while you're naked in my body? Thank you."
"I'm just admiring it for the marvel that it is, darling. You can't say that you didn't do the same the first time you undressed my body," he said, giving her a knowing smirk.
That had been an experience. She'd tried not to look as she prepared to get into the shower, but she found herself mesmerized in the mirror. It was the scars littering the body that caught her eye. Three hundred years of stories behind them, and she found herself wanting to know all of them. The worst scar of all being the jagged skin at the end of the left arm. But once she got past the scars, she put on a brave face and tried not to sneak too many peeks.
A loud gasp woke Killian from his slumber on night after the first week was over. He looked over to see Emma sitting up on the air mattress on the floor, tears falling down her face as she cradled her left arm. Her face was scrunched up in pain, and he knew immediately that she was feeling the pain he felt on occasion. He pulled himself quickly from the bed and got down next to her. "Emma?" he asked as he reached out and took her arm. He instantly started massaging the end of it, knowing it wouldn't take away all of the pain, but it would help.
"How do you deal with this?" she asked, after five minutes of silence.
He chuckled. "Three hundred years, love. It's not so bad now. For me, anyway. You've never experienced it though. I imagine it's how it first felt for me." He continued his ministrations on the end of the arm. "Dreadful feeling. You're handling far better than I did.
"It's one of the worst pains I've ever felt," he suddenly said. "But nothing compared to being powerless to stop Milah's heart from being crushed." He refused to look her in the eye, knowing his eyes betrayed his strangely calm tone. "I'd lose my hand a thousand times over to spare myself that pain again."
"I know how you feel, really I do," she assured once he gave her a disbelieving look. "The sheriff before me, he was convinced that he didn't have a heart. I thought he was crazy, but… But he was right. He'd gotten too close and realized too much. Regina crushed his heart, and… And he died in my arms." More tears fell and she wasn't sure if it was from the pain in her arm or her heart. "I'd give anything to go back and tell him I believed him."
"Our pain makes us who we are," Killian offered. "It shapes us. My pain has led me to vengeance. Yours led you to build up walls." He finally brought his gaze up. "We all have our crosses to bear, love."
Emma didn't know why, but she started to lean in. It was only when she realized she was staring at her own lips that she back away again. She slowly removed her arm from his grasp. "Thank you. All better now."
Killian sighed, bowing his head before retiring to bed, not sleeping any more that night.
Red came running in one morning late the next week, screaming about picking up Regina's scent. Emma, Killian, David and Snow followed her back to the graveyard, to Regina's family mausoleum. Emma had been once before, but had never found anything there. They had searched and searched, looking for any place that could lead anywhere, but for hours, there was no luck. They were all about to give up when Killian leaned against the coffin too hard, moving it quickly. He hadn't been expecting the movement and tumbled down a few of the steps.
Emma hurried down after him, dusting him off and making sure he was fine. "I thought you said you could take care of my body," she said, giving him a smirk.
"Oh I'll take care of it eventually, love," he winked back.
They continued to search the many hallways of the underground sanctuary. Red had said her smell was strong down a certain hallway, but there were no doors. There was only a single mirror on the wall. Once again, Killian unwittingly unearthed the location they were looking for by leaning against it. Emma noticed that when he did, the reflection directly touched his actual head.
"It's a two way mirror," Emma exclaimed, pulling him up off the ground. She looked down at him, not letting go of his hand. "I'm going to need your help. My magic isn't as strong in your body. Don't let go of my hand."
He nodded as Emma lifted her foot, kicking it through the mirror. Immediately spotting Regina getting ready so send something to counter her, Emma held up her hand, making her stay seated, her arms pinned to her sides. Emma was determined to get answers and the magic she felt flowing between she and Killian was going to help.
"Not so fast, Regina!" She stalked up to her, lowering her face menacingly to Regina's. "You're going to tell me how you did this, and then you're going to tell me how to fix it. And if you don't, I'm going to start to squeeze."
Regina tried her best to free herself, but Emma's magic had something different to it this time, something powerful that she couldn't break through. "I did the spell that was supposed to capture your soul, until he interfered."
"What happened then?"
"The spell hit both of you at the same time. It causes the soul to leave the body and enter the nearest empty vessel. It was supposed to be my vial," she said with spite.
"You don't normally deal with vials, Regina. That's not your style," Snow piped in.
"You're right. It's not. I made a deal with Mr. Gold. He wanted you out of the way as much as I did, though he didn't say why and I didn't ask. He was means to an end that I didn't get."
Emma glared at her and used her power to give Regina a slight squeeze. "And you will never get it. And if you come after me or my family again, I will use whatever power necessary to keep them safe."
They left, Emma and Killian still holding onto each other, and thankfully, Regina didn't follow.
"That's why I was there," came Killian's voice from the bedroom.
Emma walked out of the bathroom, throwing the towel she'd just finished using in the hamper. "What was that?"
He sighed before taking a seat on her bed. "I'd been following the Crocodile that day and saw him conversing with Regina. I continued to follow him, and he showed up here and left a note on your door. I knew where you were to be that day and knew that if he and Regina were involved in some plot that you were in danger. I was there to make sure you were safe." He felt the bed dip and closed his eyes, picturing her in his head. "And then you just stood there and I thought you were going to let her attack you. It didn't even occur to me that you might be conjuring a counter defense." He leaned over, eyes still closed, and placed a gentle kiss on her lips, somehow being able to find them, like they were calling out.
A pulse shot through the entire house, shaking everything around them. Emma had been so caught off guard by his actions, that she was nowhere near prepared for what she felt after. Her lips still felt like they were humming and her heart was pounding. It wasn't until she calmed down that she realized she was staring into his eyes. His eyes.
"Hook, what-" She was cut off again when his lips—his lips—pressed to hers a bit harder. The sensation that shook her to her core was amazing and she found herself responding to him, deepening it.
All too soon for both of them, he pulled away. "That, love, was pretty amazing."
"But… What was that? How are we…back to normal?"
"True Love's kiss," Snow's voice came from the doorway. Both Emma and Killian turned around to see Snow's face of disbelief, David sending daggers in Killian's direction, and Henry grinning from ear to ear. "True Love's kiss conquers all…"
David let out a disgruntled noise. "You've got to be kidding me."