you took my face in both your hands and looked me in the eye
and i went down with such a force that in your grave i lie
The bad thing about storms at sea (well, one of the bad things) was that everything and everyone would get drenched, straight to the bone. Emma had gotten it particularly bad this time, having slid nearly off the boat more than once and torn a long gash straight down her side, ripping up her shirt and pants and scraping the hell out of her abdomen and hip, and was now far more exposed than she wanted to be.
And she also had nothing to change into.
All of which had led her here, to Hook's cabin, since he was the only person who had spare clothes and he had — miraculously without some suggestive quip, although she suspected that had more to do with self-preservation than anything else — offered her his wardrobe.
"I doubt most of the clothing inside will fit," he said, in what might have been a vaguely apologetic tone, if his eyes hadn't been raking the parts of her body that remained exposed in spite of all her attempts to hold her clothes together. "But needs must."
"Right," she grumbled, rifling through his wardrobe. "Is there a reason you wear so much leather?" she sighed, and he laughed.
"Leather is tougher than most cloth," he replied, shrugging, "less likely to be torn by swords or… perfectly smooth wood." She glared at him, but he only grinned, amused at her situation. "And, of course, there is the effect is has on the fairer sex, I admit."
She rolled her eyes and pulled out a shirt at random, a black one with long sleeves in the typical 'pirate' style, and the only pair of pants she could find that wouldn't make her feel like an out-of-place biker chick. "Do you have any belts?" she asked.
"No," he replied, with deep sarcasm. "I have absolutely no need for such a thing."
"So help me," she snapped, "if you make fun of me one more time, I will lock you in this damn wardrobe."
"Such gratitude," he said cheerfully. "You'll find several at the far left."
"Thank you," she groused, and glanced back at him pointedly. "You're just gonna… stand there and watch?" He sighed dramatically and turned his back to her; it wasn't exactly what she had meant, but she figured that, well, she probably wouldn't have left him alone in her room either.
Emma changed quickly and found that that the pants fit her slightly better than she'd expected (they didn't fall off her hips immediately) while the shirt swallowed her whole. She sighed; it would have to do. She grabbed the nearest belt, and something hidden in the corner caught her eye — a book of some kind. Curious, she pulled it out and opened it, glancing at the first page.
It was a drawing — and a good one at that — of a woman in profile.
"I didn't know you were an artist," she said without thinking, setting the sketchbook on the floor of the wardrobe and belting the pants, turning the page idly. He was silent for a long moment.
"I'm not," he replied finally in an odd, closed voice.
Emma hastily closed the sketchbook and turned, hands up in supplication. "I'm sorry," she said. "I shouldn't have — "
"No," he mumbled, walking over to her and opening the book to a page at random, a bunch of tropical birds sketched around haphazardly in quick strokes, like she'd been drawing quickly (before they flew away). "I haven't opened this in… gods, years," he whispered, turning to another page, an ocean landscape with a rising sun, the only one she'd seen that had been colored. It was beautiful.
Milah had been talented.
For the first time, Hook's loss was real to Emma, tangible, this memento spelling out strands of the woman he'd loved. She glanced at him to see a small, fond smile on his face.
"I remember this," he said quietly, fingers tracing the shape of seabirds. "We'd been stuck at port for weeks, we'd come in right on the monsoon season, terrible luck. She drew this when the rain passed, first time we'd seen the sun since we'd landed. This was her favorite, she always said it was important. Proof. It can't rain all the time," he explained, eyes distant, lost in the memory. But all of a sudden the smile vanished and he shut the book, movements almost compulsive, and started to walk away.
(She was reminded, suddenly, of the days she'd walked miles to work because she couldn't stand to look at her car.)
Emma picked up the sketchbook gingerly — it was old, and precious — and turned to him, catching him by the arm. "Hook… how long has it been since you looked at these?" she asked softly.
He didn't respond; she hadn't really expected him to. It was dangerous ground, but no one was else would dare to walk it or even care to try, so it fell to her.
She walked around to him and held out the sketchbook, which he seemed determined not to look at. "Take it," she said, and when he didn't, she sighed. "You spent so long trying to get revenge that you forgot her," she went on, and ignored the way his jaw clenched. "All you can think of is the way she died. But you need to remember, or else… she's completely gone."
"She is completely gone," he hissed, voice taut, and she shook her head.
"Not as long as you remember her," she replied firmly, refusing to break eye contact. "It'll never stop hurting until you bring her back, remember why you loved her in the first place. Trust me," she said softly, thinking of Neal, "I know."
Without speaking, in slow, mechanical motions, he took the sketchbook and opened it to that first page, her face; Emma saw him flinch in pain and heard his heart break all over again, but that was the point — it was like a bone, it had set wrong the first time, and now he had to re-break it to fix it.
Quietly, so as not to disturb him and bring him back to the present, she slipped out the door and closed it behind her.