A/N: Happy birthday Vicki! I can't express how much I love you and how much I cherish your friendship! I hope you have a great birthday and enjoy yourself so much! I really hope you like this fic! Also, to my readers, this fic is dark and has strong themes, like abuse and kidnapping and violence, please take into consideration before you read this. If this is a trigger for you, don't read this! It's not my intention to cause any of you harm or discomfort.
Haunting me, watching me
Blindness really enhanced the world around her. She was shocked to discover how many details the darkness made her sense. Her legs were still terribly sensible, and the bag they carried her in was very scratchy and dry, it was a never-ending madness of prickles and aches. The grip of dirty hands on her waist and feet was strong and tightening as she felt them climb. Where were they now? Where was Eric? She had stopped hearing his breaths a while ago, and terror had settled in her heart like an anchor on the ocean. They could do anything to her, kill her, maim her, rip her to pieces and feed her back to the sea. But she couldn't bear to think of Eric, blue-eyed, affectionate Eric, silent forever. She had to see him, she craved the features of his face with a passion that kept her from slipping into unconsciousness.
Ariel could feel the slight swaying of a ship. Combined with the fear of Eric's silence, the grip of the men's hand on her and the bag sticking to her face, rendering her breathless, she felt nauseous. Why had they taken them? She had been resting her head on Eric's shoulder, his smile had been so sweet, the air was filled with the rightness of the moment and she knew. He finally loved her, he would love her, she would be safe. She could stay with him. The curse would be broken.
And then the men came. Greasy, bearded men with swords and eye patches. Dark clothes and darker intentions. Eric's soft voice rose as they grabbed her, ripping her from his side. She had stumbled and fell and the closest to her kneeled in front of her and smiled. Humans weren't meant to smile like that, so hungrily, like wolves, like sirens. Eric's pale face had broken when they beat him, sending him to the ground, pummeling into him, like waves over a rock. He had been left bloodied and ragged. But he had still breathed. He had breathed when they had sauntered them over the island, across the forest and wildcats purred into the night. He had still breathed when they climbed over a mountain, the coldness of the altitude causing her to shiver endlessly. But he had stopped breathing as the salt of the ocean's breeze refreshed her. The men who carried her had been unsteady as they walked on the soft sand. But she had been more unsteady. Because Eric had stopped breathing.
The impact of the wooden floor knocked the breath out of her, but she started wiggling, trying to be free. Wherever they were taking them, they had finally reached their destination and she was ready to face the demon who wanted them.
Except she wasn't. Because the devil was like flames, striking, enthralling, addictive. And she had been so cold coming here.
The man stood in front of her, shadows in his eyes and his clothes, black hiding him. Like the night had forged him. His eyes were blue though, blue like a morning sky, blue like the sea water appeared from inside, blue like a dream, like oblivion. He was not just beautiful, he was sinfully attractive, there was something hypnotic in his appeal. He had her bound by his stare only.
"My, aren't you a pretty lass?" he said in a raspy voice and exotic accent, and she trembled from the impact of the caressing tone of his voice. "What's your name, sweets?"
Her ivory hand, now filthy, went to her throat and she opened her mouth, but no sounds came out.
"Buggering hell. You brought me a mute girl, you fools!" he yelled at his crew.
An older woman dressed in a gown of black satin appeared from the shadows. Her face was calculating and her lips were red. Her smile was worse than the wolfish smile the men had given her. Because it was empty.
"Nothing a little magic can't fix. Step forward, Ariel, daughter of Triton." she beckoned.
But Ariel looked at Eric's immobile bag on the floor, refusing her, a stubborn tilt to her chin. Cora nodded in his direction and the men lifted him and uncovered him. His cheeks were yellow with bruises and his left eye was swollen still. He was an unmoving statue of marble. She tried reaching him but a man grabbed her and held her back.
"I freed him, so now you must not fret. This will not hurt." Cora replied. Ariel stood still, biting her lips to prevent a soundless yelp of panic to escape her, to show them how terrified and small she felt against them.
Even with the sight of Eric's bruised face, she was scared for herself. This woman was mad and dangerous and unfeeling, and she planned on doing something to her. Ariel trembled but held herself up. For a brief second, her father and her sister's faces flashed through her mind. She begged them for strength.
And sobbed out loud once a cold tendril touched her throat.
"Oh…" she whispered, trying her voice, her human voice, for the very first time. It was soft and quivering, and she sobbed again. She never thought she would hear herself again.
"Now now, let's not get restless." the dark man soothed as he stepped closer to her.
His finger trailed a tear that moved down her cheek. His hand cupped the side of her face and the warmth of his skin grounded her. She looked up to him and lost herself in the blue depths. She was so scared, so scared of him, his heat, his touch. No matter how kind he acted now, he was the reason Eric and her were here.
He let go of her and turned to Eric. A shiny hook rose in the air and she stared in shock, her mind processing what it meant a second too late. The man stabbed Eric in the chest and the hook came out pouring red, tearing the life out of her prince.
That's when Ariel started screaming, shrieking until she tasted the raw blood in the back of her throat. She screamed herself unconscious and the darkness took her.
The pain awakened her. Her arms were chained over her head and they must have been for a while now, because the sparks of burning, aching muscles had finally woken her from her nightmares. She was in a cell, and the smell of blood surrounded her. Her blood? Eric's blood? Someone dead long ago? She started screaming immediately, without thought. She knew it was a coward, useless thing to do, but her body kicked into action and her vocal chords ached with her new screams.
A slap cut her off.
"Stop that now, or I'll regret giving you your voice back." the hook man growled.
She bit her lip, stifling a whimper. Her eyes searched his blue ones, needing the reassurance that this was real and she could beg him still, but she couldn't see him in the shadows of the cell.
"Much better," he said now, calmly.
A wall of freezing water crashed against her, her breath stopped and her limbs burned with the iciness of the shock. She screamed again. This was followed by another slap.
"I can keep doing this, or you can learn, little mermaid."
The splash of water came again and she closed her mouth hard this time, breaking the delicate skin of her lips, muffling the sound of her pain. When she didn't scream, he patted her head and moved the copper tendrils off her face. He grabbed her chin almost gently and forced her to look at him. His fingers ghosted over her mouth, removing some blood off her lips. He opened her mouth just a fraction of millimeter and her breath escaped her, sounding like a wheeze or a cry. She stopped herself as he let go of her.
"Let's talk." he said, with a smirk meant for charm, but with a hint of detachment.
She couldn't help herself. She scoffed. Like she would ever tell him anything at all. When she realized what she had done, she started quivering, flattening herself against the cell's bars. If he had doused her with cold water without provocation, what would he do now? Images of his hook burying itself into Eric's heart passed through her mind. She really shouldn't have scoffed.
Instead of hitting her again, he chuckled.
"You're an odd lass. But I'm afraid you have something I need," he said, his eyes roaming over her body like the pirate he was, searching for treasure and secrets, willing to steal them at the first chance he got.
Her skin went icy, colder than the water had been, as his eyes uncovered inch by inch of her skin and his mouth grew fuller with depravity. She started choking back the vomit that threatened to come up her throat and he took a step closer again. Her wrists bleed and the skin chaffed against the rusty shackles as she gripped and shook and tried to free herself, protect herself, anything against his feverous stare. His hand went to the front of her light blue dress and he moved softly, measuring the seconds, the sleeve off her right shoulder. The light skin broke into goose bumps and his hand laid on her shoulder, trying her, watching her, waiting. Waiting for the minute when she would recoil from him. She didn't, she was petrified with horror and dread and something else. She didn't know what he would do to her, had no idea how humans touched each other, but she feared the pain of his strike again or the consequences of his lust. Yet his hand was warm, the only warmth on her right now. And so were his eyes. Midnight blue and gloom and ablaze with something she didn't posses a name for. She closed her eyes, begging the ocean to make this all go away.
When she reopened them and looked up at him, his eyes were mocking, his lips were sneering, a crooked grin of contempt. He didn't want her at all, not like that, not really. She recoiled then.
She could still hear his disdainful laughter for hours after he had gone, she heard him laughing at her, inside her mind, until she couldn't take it anymore. She passed out again.
Her long fiery tresses were mated and tangled. She felt things crawling on her head, besides the voices of Eric, the old witch and the hook man. The dried blood on her wrists itched and the brownish color fascinated her to the point of delirium.
Her tulle dress, once the color of Eric's eyes, was now grayish and faded. Just like her. It had lost its delicate, ethereal lavender scent. Now, she reeked. The worst part was not her own smell. It was the smell of the ocean outside, rotting the wood of the ship, beckoning, calling her. Promising an escape out of the torture of her mind crumbling away inside her. She wanted ocean water filling her lungs, she needed ocean water washing away everything inside her that had leaked out with Eric's blood. Her dreams, her cursed future, her voice.
Her legs, those liars, damn things, tools of her doom, were grimy and skinny and weak. She couldn't bear the sight of them. It was all their fault, her fault, and his fault, that horrible hooked man. That blue-eyed devil that stripped her sanity away with one look and crushed her the next when he laughed at her. She had seen a panther once, in Eric's court. The sleek, gorgeous animal was pure muscle and cunning. The inky blackness of its pelt was like the most perfect night. And like nighttime, when evil came out, that animal was pure malevolence. She had seen it rip apart the carcass of many animals in seconds. She had then felt the fear nature had installed in every human, she had recognize the future of those who stood in front of that panther. Blood and fatality. And the hook man was her panther.
But he wasn't done toying with her yet. The final strike was nowhere near coming.
As she pondered on that, the steps creaked and she quivered. He was coming down. For more prodding, more tormenting, more minutes that allowed him to engrain his scornful smirk into her eyelids, so he would be there even as she tried to flee from him in her sleep.
"Morning, beautiful," he stated cheerfully. She trembled, hurting her wrists, reopening the healed skin. Nothing good could come from his good humor.
"Well, not so beautiful really. Frankly lass, you're disgusting now." he mocked and she pressed her face against the cell's bar. His comment felt like a slap.
She had refused to talk, whimper, scream, sob or make the slightest sound in his presence. He needed her talking? Fine. She wouldn't talk. The witch's dark magic would have been for nothing, because she would rather die than talk to him.
"I think it's time for a little bath," he declared, but the sharp glint in her eyes got her shivering. He would toss buckets of ice water on her again. She mustn't scream.
But she did when he grabbed her hands.
His finger immediately pressed on her broken wrists and she shouted harder.
"No, please, please, stop, please, I beg you, please, no!," she cried over and over as his fingers buried harshly on her injured wrists.
His face was completely blank, there was no pleasure to match his punishing hands, but he kept pressing on her. Her screams increased in volume and desperation, the rawness of her voice breaking and breaking until she collapsed back, silent tears flowing down her face. She was numb.
"Now that you're done, you'll be taking that bath." he snarled at her.
When her hands were free from her shackles, he stepped back, expecting her to jump at him, frantic to scratch his eyes out. She didn't. She couldn't. Her legs wouldn't hold her up.
"Oh bollocks. You must be joking. Stand up, mermaid." he demanded. She turned to see him, pleading for respire, for time, for mercy. His mouth hardened and the smirk disappeared inside him, the wicked man angering and becoming more ruthless.
"I. Said. Stand. Up. NOW!" he yelled at her and came towards her in fury, his hand raised, ready to snap her head to the side. She closed her eyes expecting the sting.
It never came though.
She opened her eyes to the sight of him frowning, like a captain deciding on which route to take that would take him faster to his destination. It's felt like heaven, his pause. She sighed softly, to herself, but he must have heard her, because he lost his patience then. He had never given her permission to breathe.
He yanked her up and held her upright.
"You either walk or I carry you. I'm sure you'll like my hook on your body, lass." he threatened with lasciviousness.
The walk felt like needles embedding in her skin, her feet, her legs, her thighs. The exposure of the sun on her face blinded her and she guessed she would never see the world again. But she kept walking. Every step brought her insurmountable waves of hot and cold shivers of pain, and yet she moved. She hoped the hook man would push her overboard.
"Enough," he said from behind her. Some men gathered in front of her, waiting for the show.
"Take off your dress." he ordered. The amused grin was back, his sky eyes dancing with the mirth of her humiliation.
Her limbs froze with the mortification of his command. She wanted to stomp her useless legs, she wanted to sob until the salt of ocean dried, she wanted to scream until her voice went away with the breeze. But she didn't.
"The asking was me being a gentleman." he reminded her as she wasted the minutes, staring into the horizon.
Her shaky hand went to her sleeve. She had loved this dress, the royal seamstress had let her chose the fabric and she immediately went with tulle. It felt like clouds. Eric's eyes would forever been sewn into her heart as long as she wore that dress. And now she was shedding it, peeling him away from her heart, letting herself bare and vulnerable in front of dangerous animals. She really didn't want her hands to shake. But they did.
Now the dress pooled around her legs, gray instead of blue. Broken dreams and stormy clouds.
Hook passed her a bucket and a rag, and smirked cruelly.
"Don't miss an inch, or I'll have to help you."
A/N: Do you hate Hook already? Just wait and see what happens next ;) I really hope you don't hate me, I know it's very different from what I usually write, but I always wanted to show a darker side of Hook as a villain. Oh guys and don't forget to wish my friend Vicki a happy birthday. Her tumblr is marcuscrassus and she's done amazing Hookriel graphics and gifsets. Go go go!