An: Holy crap-ton of reviews, Batman! I'm so happy that you guys are enjoying it, even if I am killing with the feels. ;) I can't help it. I love angst and fluff equally, sometimes I have to abandon one for the other – then I just go write a humor or fluff oneshot to compensate! Lol
To those of you asking why Mary Margaret didn't just break the good news to him right away, here is my thinking – I mentioned that he's been in and out of consciousness for two days with his fever, so in reality, she's probably told him a few times already and just didn't know that he didn't remember until he straight up said it. Plus, she was exhausted from being up for so long and she was just trying to take care of him, his delirious rambling wasn't important at first, but with him walking around and appearing coherent about her death at the end, she had to say something. Hope it makes sense to you! :)
Btw, pardon the lack of beta this time - I wanted to get the chapter posted tonight, but I will look it over again tomorrow!
"I thought you were supposed to be asleep?"
The accusatory edge in Mary Margaret's concerned voice made David flinch. "You know me, Snow. Do you really think I can sleep right now?" He sighed, rubbing an exhausted hand over his temple, closing his eyes momentarily. "Our daughter is sick, and the only man who could get us to safety is fighting for his life, and the only other people on the ship don't exactly have the greatest track record for being trustworthy. Not to mention our grandson is kidnapped by psychos, and we're almost out of food."
"Hey, shh," she brushed a gentle hand over his cheek and met his anxious gaze for a beat before continuing. "Hook's awake. Well, he was."
David immediately looked more awake himself, and the muscles in his jaw that had relaxed from his wife's tender touch became taut and serious. "Was he lucid?"
"I couldn't tell. He was sitting up when I walked in. He'd thrown the blankets off of him-" A brief look of jealousy flitted across David's features and Mary Margaret rolled her eyes. "Oh please, David. He's sick. He didn't know what he was doing. He was talking, but there were lapses between him making sense and not."
"How much longer do you think he needs?"
"I don't know. I tried to get him to stay still, but he was really agitated. He was trying to stand too quickly and he passed out again. I did get some water into him this time though, and his fever seems to be breaking…" she added hopefully, chewing on the inside of her lip. "How much food is left?"
"Enough fruit to last the day and maybe tomorrow if we ration it carefully," he shrugged, shaking his head. "We need fresh water."
"I know…" Silence filled the small corridor below the deck. Traces of tears glistened in her eyes, her pale pink, lower lip beginning to tremble with held-back emotion. "David, are we even going to find him?" Her calm, strong tone she had used while tending to the captain's wounds and fever was gone, and all that was left was the hesitant, insecure Snow White who wasn't sure if she was doing the right things.
Charming gathered her into his arms and nuzzled his face into her short, brown hair, the singular, wordless gesture bearing hopeful promises of peace and comfort and family – of something away from this dangerous land, where they wouldn't have to worry about death or separation from loved ones. "Emma is alive," he whispered finally. "That's a miracle as it is. If a pirate who doesn't care about anyone but himself can risk his life to save our daughter… what can't we do?"
"You're suddenly romantic," she mumbled. So used to her normal role of 'the hopeless romantic' and his of a slightly more skeptical 'protector', she found herself wondering fleetingly if he were delirious too.
"Why do you think Hook risked his life like that?" He mused, genuinely doubting himself as he pondered the question.
"You've seen the way he looks at her, David."
"I try not to," he replied coolly, with a small frown.
"…Maybe he's not the man we thought he was. There's good in him, David, otherwise he wouldn't have offered to help us in the first place. Emma's still alive."
"And ironically, the two people to thank for that are Regina and Hook," he commented dryly with a cold laugh, resembling more of a scoff than a sound born of happiness.
"Let me through!"
"You stay away from her!" Charming's protective bellow cut through the ferociousness of the storm, stopping the queen in her tracks. He was still holding Hook underneath his arms, propping the unconscious pirate up against his own legs, making it harder for him to keep his balance against the wind.
"I can help if she has any life left in her! Please."
"You've done enough."
"David! We don't have a choice! …Let her help."
Mary Margaret's sorrow-filled, begging eyes cut through him in an instant. He mutely stepped aside, watching her like a hawk as she drew closer to his only daughter.
Regina placed a gentle hand on Emma's still chest, and soon, a faint light glowed through her skin. "Thank God…" she breathed, closing her eyes and pressing down harder over her lungs. Ten seconds passed without any sound but the thunder and pelting rain against the ship and as the three watched in hope and horror, it felt likes decades.
Suddenly, Emma began coughing violently, raising her head slightly as inordinate amounts of water spilled out of her mouth with every gag. Her mother instinctively cradled her head and upper body, holding her up so she could get the rest of the water out of her chest and stroking her hair. Emma's coughs eventually turned from chokes to a few dry, heaving, hacks and her upper body flopped back down against Mary Margaret's lap. Her rib cage moved up and down steadily, her panicked eyes scanning everyone around her for only seconds before they rolled back into her head.
Mr. Gold opened the door to their quarters, the crew's cabin, just as Charming dropped Hook, scooped Emma into his arms and barreled towards him, Regina and Mary Margaret following quickly at his heels. His face filled with puzzlement and shock when he saw Hook's body lying on the deck and Emma draped in her father's arms.
"What did I miss?"
Mary Margaret pulled back to search his clear blue eyes, a curious and doubtful look in her own expression. "Regina may have gotten the water out of her lungs with magic, but she was also responsible for her almost dying in the first place. One right is no match against a lifetime of wrongs against us."
"And I hate her for that as much as you do, but she has magic. You heard Emma. We can't throw that away, not when Henry's life is at stake. And what would Henry think?"
"I know… But David, she does this. She does something terrible and then follows it with something good. How many times can we keep giving her second chances? How can we keep trusting her?"
"We don't have to trust her," he replied coldly.
They were interrupted by the echoes of a hacking cough from the other room.
"Killian, Emma isn't dead."
The words assaulted his mind over and over like a knife twisting in his gut. He had woken to a quiet, empty room again, no Mary Margaret, no clothes, and pulsing pain. He didn't know if he had been dreaming or awake, but the cool, feeling of relief in his throat and the dampness on the rope burn made him feel that at least some of it had been true. Then again, he had also been certain at times that Emma had spoken to him, touched him, and tended his wounds over the past two days but instead, only awoke to see the worried but caring face of Mary Margaret, lined with exhaustion.
She wasn't alive.
She couldn't be.
He had felt the painfully familiar limpness in his arms once before - the feeling of all life and spirit having been drained out of a body that had previously had so much of it. There was no coming back from that. He'd had 300 years to come to terms with the fact, and he wasn't a fool - It wasn't one that he would allow himself to forget so easily.
He reached for the small, tin cup that rest by his bedside and drank it ravenously all to the last few drops. Now get your bloody arse up and get your crew to safety. He commanded himself to move, the tone in his head a similar one that he would use to bark orders to his sailors – a crew that no longer included Emma – he stopped himself mid thought. Stop feeling so damned sorry for yourself and move. You're the captain, they need you. Her boy needs you. You have a little fever? A few broken ribs? Since when has that stopped you, you little wench? What do you think Henry is going through right now? He continued to curse at himself internally, as he painfully pushed himself up into a sitting position, slowly this time, pausing to allow his body to adjust to the shift.
Something had changed in him since he had watched her fall over the railings of his ship. The panic, the pain, the guilt… the feelings, so much stronger than he had ever suspected before and with them, came a new resolve – he would do anything, anything to save Henry.
Even if it killed him.
Once again, the blanket fell from his body as he stood shakily, bracing himself on the bed, then the nightstand as he stepped forward. He searched his drawers for clothes, rewarded on the third drawer, neatly folded vest, coat, pants, and shirt, then beside it – the glinting silver of his hook.
"You can't stop me from seeing him, he saved my life," Emma argued weakly, sitting up as abruptly as she could manage and pleased when the room didn't immediately begin to spin for the first time in two days.
"Honey, you need to lay down. No one's stopping you from seeing anyone. He's sleeping and you need to rest."
"Are you serious? All I've been doing is resting, and it's driving me crazy. I'm tired of being in this bed. I barely have a fever."
"You've also barely eaten since you practically drowned two days ago. What would Henry want?"
Henry. She had to pull the Henry-card. Emma sighed in defeat and slumped against the flattened, lumpy bits of material that passed for a pillow on the Jolly Roger. "I'm sorry. I know you're trying to help … How is he?"
"He's pretty beaten up," Mary Margaret admitted, placing her hand over Emma's. "His fever's not as high, and I think the delirium part is over, but he's still pretty weak. I thought I finally talked to the real Hook today, but then he blacked out again."
Emma's face clouded with concern. "He's that bad?" She hadn't expected this. She hadn't expected to hear that he was so ill when she was the one supposed to be taking it easy. He was Captain Hook, a flirty, irritating, pirate captain to fear – he got the shit beat out of him on a regular basis, but he always bounced back. "But I was in the water longer than he was…"
"Regina's magic woke you up. I'm guessing whatever it was … I don't know, helped somehow? Besides, you're a fighter. After he thought you were dead, he didn't seem to want to-"
"He didn't want to what?" She prompted, alarmed, sitting up straighter.
Mary Margaret swallowed hard, not sure how to continue – not sure what she had even been saying to begin with. "He was sick, Emma. He blamed himself for your death."
Her face contorted with confusion. "What does that have to do with him living?" She snapped, wincing when a small spark of pain shot through her temple at the sharpness of her own tone.
"Emma," she began hesitantly. "Do you remember him kissing you?"
She remembered him kissing her, but it wasn't any time that her mother of all people would be aware of. She remembered going to his cabin for something quick, something to make her forget – instead she had gotten his soft lips caressing her body like she was something precious and fragile, and his jaw straying lower than she had felt comfortable with. She remembered him calming her uneasiness with simultaneously tender and arousing, sensual words, convincing her to let him take his time with her and stirring up all kinds of complicated emotions with every gentle touch that she definitely didn't want to be feeling.
"When you were… we thought you were dead, Emma. You wouldn't come to and … he kissed you."
Emma swallowed hard and pursed her lips together, for once completely and entirely unsure of what she was feeling.
"Emma? Are you ok?"
Killian groaned quietly to himself at the sharp ache in his ribs as he carefully pulled on his pants, tucking in his messy black shirt, and trying to ward off the feelings of dizziness that came from standing up for too long. Unsteady fingers slowly threaded the laces, pulling them tight.
His entire body jerked and his head shot up so quickly, for a moment it looked as if he would topple over backwards onto the short bunk behind him. Painstakingly, he lifted his chin, his eyes flitting from her feet finally to her face. A sharp intake of breath pierced the empty air.
Before he could process what was happening, he felt small arms wrapping around his torso and squeezing him tightly.
He let out a loud cry of anguish, his legs going weak at the pain that flooded through his body. It was too much to process. Seeing her face, the feeling of her blonde hair on his neck, hair that still smelled of the salty sea mixed with a distinctly 'Emma' scent.
"Mind the ribs, love," was all he was able to croak out, collapsing to his knees with a groan when she abruptly released him, horrified at having hurt him further. He felt the hot burn of unshed tears in his eyes, unsure if it was because of the pain or relief.
She cursed under her breath, kneeling next to him. "I'm so sorry," she breathed, placing a firm hand on his shoulder. She felt herself getting vaguely lightheaded, but she took a deep breath, closing her eyes and then little by little opening them again, greeted by another set, as clear and deep blue as the Neverland sea on a calm day, the days that Hook had marveled about the beauty of the dangerous land. "Killian," his true name fell from her lips this time.
"Gods, is it really you, Emma?"
She nodded solemnly, smiling softly. "It's really me."
"...does it really matter?" She replied after a moment, not entirely sure of the answer to his question either.
The softest of smirks played at the corners of his mouth as his amazement turned to relief.
"What're you doing here holding me then, love? Shouldn't we be looking for your boy?"
A/n: Yep, that's the end. I will let the readers imagine how the rest goes, it wasn't meant to answer every question or possible plot line (such as, I purposely chose not to delve further into Regina's intentions because it wasn't about her), so let your imaginations run wild. hehe The original prompt part of the plot was basically over, so I decided that it wasn't necessary to drag it out longer. Adding new elements to the story would just make it another romance in Neverland story rather than what it was originally meant to be - an emotional piece based on a specific sentence prompt. Besides that, I have a hard time writing more than one "work in progress fic" at once, and this was never meant to go on for long. I hope that you all enjoyed it! This was really really fun to write, even if it was heartbreaking at times. I definitely plan on more Neverland-set fics!