Authors Note: No, I haven't stopped working on "What If This Storm Ends?" to any of my readers, if you all have been wondering. I intend to finish and have been working on it in a slow steady pace. So be patient please :)
This idea popped into my head after watching 2x22 Straight On Till Morning, and it could turn into a series of one shots I work on the side. So many scenes have ran through my head already when it comes to these two and there upcoming journey in Neverland. Season 3 is going to be one hell of an EPIC ride for us CS'ers. On a creative note this is named after a verse from Disney's animated Peter Pan "The Second Star To The Right"
This is dedicated to AMiserableLove :] Her stories never fail to inspire my own. I swear I can't keep the smile off my face whenever I read one of her works. I hope you like it! Much love to ya Darling ;)
Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to Ouat. Adam & Eddy do, and I'd have it no other way.
These magic beans were supposed to take her away from the madness. To a real chance at having her own happily ever after, instead the portal it opened was a decent for the hell she was sure that waited for her on the other side.
But she wasn't going in alone this time to face 'the dragon', the calvary was with her-parents and extended family alike-well except for the Captain at the helm. His offer to aid them in their rescue was not what Emma expected but in hearing the words, made her realize it was exactly what she had hoped for since standing on the docks as she watched his ship come back into port.
The swirl of magic within water rose above them as the nose of the ship dived down into the void. A crack echoed in the atmosphere somewhere overhead and the sunlight disappeared, and for the exception of static cracking from the portal all was silent. The hollow whistle of the way between worlds ringing in their ears. It took only an instant for Neal to fall through and for the portal to close behind him, but for Emma falling through the spiraling green before her felt like a lifetime. She clung to the rope and sail, forcing her gaze to Regina who still remained firmly tied to the rope at her side and then out to where Gold and David and Mary Margaret were. All still on board.
The harsh wind suddenly stalled the vacant air and Emma was able to see without strain. She remembered from her last portal jump, they were about to cross over.
And at the precise moment she looked over at Hook, he was looking back at her. With the telltale hints of relief from what it looked like, and then it faded as quick as she caught it. He gave a slight nod in her direction as he turned back to face what would be ahead of them. His yell distorted over the chasm. "Everyone Hold Tight!"
A resounding roar followed. Quicker than the drop of a rollercoaster, the ship broke through the portals wall and out from the sea. Water falling every which way on deck.
So that's what riding a tidal wave feels like.
The sun here wasn't like the sun back home. It was lighter, warmer, golden rays from the sunset reflected sapphire waters. Emma had never seen waters so blue in all her life. Ahead a few miles out was a massive island coming out of the ocean. Hook heaved out a laugh that held little to no humor. "Welcome to Neverland."
Disentangling herself from her post Emma walked out onto the deck to where her parents stood, trying to get a closer view of the island that laid before them. Unaware of a blue eyed stare that followed her as well as the promise that left her lips.
"Don't worry Henry, I'm coming."
Night fell not long after, they still hadn't made it to shore but we're well within reach. Emma as well as Regina had been adamantly vocal that the last few yards needed to be reached, but the Captain wasn't as enthusiastic on that course of action. In fact he was against it.
"The longer we stay on board this ship the longer Henry is with those two." Regina argued.
For once she and Emma were on the same page. "Tamara and Greg could be doing god knows what to Henry, you can't just expect us to sit around and do nothing."
Hook pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation. "I wouldn't call waiting for daylight while getting a full nights rest nothing. Trust me when I say your all are going to need it."
"That's the reason why you don't want to go on land yet? For some beauty sleep?" Emma asked incredulously. Hook rolled his eyes.
"No. But it's the silver lining in the situation we now find ourselves in. Nighttime here is another world entirely, it belongs to the Lost Ones. If they catch us on their territory we risk all our lives." Hook was speaking only to her now. "And that includes your boy Henry."
"The Lost Ones? Do you mean the Lost Boys?" The story she'd read so many times in her youth came rushing back to mind. Much like when Hook revealed his true identity to her.
"Aye, another name they like to go by but they are certainly not children." Emma took his word for it. After all, Hook was nothing like she imagined 'Captain Hook' to be.
"So what do you suggest we do Hook?" Regina's attitude straining on the question.
Hook 's attention snapped to the rest of them. "Like I said, some sleep will do us all some good. Neverland is far more bigger than it seems. Daylight is our safest bet, thats when the majority of them are asleep."
"So the Lost Boys are nocturnal?" Emma raised an eyebrow.
"In a matter of speaking."
"Won't they come onto the boat if they happen to see us." Mary Margaret asked.
"Normally I'd say no. They never bothered me before without reason, but things seem to be changing now." Hook's blue gaze flickered to Emma's briefly before staring out to the island.
Gold broke from their circle of conversation. "As a precautionary measure then." His hand barely sweeping over the wood on the side of the ship. Emma could feel it, a quiet wave of magic passing over them. Cloaking the Jolly Roger.
A look of annoyance crossed Hook's features but he said nothing.
Her father spoke then, "Emma. I want to find Henry just as much as you do, but maybe we should listen to Hook on this. We don't know this land." David huffed a disgruntled sigh. Eyeing the Pirate warily. "Hook does." The Captain smiled smugly at that but it didn't hold the same teasing light in his eyes that Emma had become so accustomed to when it came to him.
"Fine." Emma relented. "We'll stay on the ship for tonight."
Regina looked to her in disbelief. "Emma if we waste anymore time -"
"I know. But we can't just go rushing in blind. We need to figure out a plan."
"Right then." Hook interrupted the two women. "There are food and supplies below deck. Help yourselves, now if you'll excuse me." He left his post at the helm, disappearing to what Emma assumed was his cabin.
"Guess I'll start on dinner then." Her mother offered.
Surprisingly Regina and Mary Margaret prepared supper together while She, David and Gold settled what little they had to their respective bunks. All five of them in close quarters for however long could have one of two outcomes. Either they'd end up tearing at each others throats, or it would bring them closer together.
Emma wasn't sure how she felt about either.
Dinner was a quiet affair besides the talk of what to do when the sun rose. They ate the meal up on deck gathered around a couple of oil lit lanterns, Emma couldn't muster up enough of an appetite to finish, mostly she had just picked at her plate.
It was decided, they would rise just before dawn. Gold's commentary on what lied ahead remained ominous. Greg and Tamara we're 'mearly pawns.' he had said. As many questions as Emma had as to who and what they worked for, nothing mattered more to her than Henry.
He must be so scared.
Hook appeared up on deck not long after but he did not join them. He was at the end of the ship near the helm with his back to them. Gold retired to the cabin soon after but not before throwing a look of distaste towards the Captain.
It was going to take some time before they could tolerate one another. If ever.
Emma wasn't sure how long she watched him looking out towards the water before she made another plate. She was done eating anyway. Emma tried her best to avoid the curious looks both her parents shot her as she took it with her. Regina too lost in her own thoughts to notice.
I'm just being nice. Emma told herself. He also needs to know what time we're getting up.
If he heard her approach Hook didn't let on. His eyes remained fixed on the horizon. It wasn't until she held the plate out for him that he turned to fix her with the same blue eyed focus, brows lifting in slight surprise at the offering. Slowly he reached out to take it. A small smile in the look he gave her, replacing the seriousness of before.
"You could have sat with us you know."
"I don't dine with crocodiles Swan. Surely you can understand that." He gave her a smile that wasn't kind. Yet Emma knew it wasn't directed at her."
Yup. Definitely gonna take some time.
"But I appreciate the sentiment." His tone taking a more teasing turn. He set his meal on the flat railing. Humming appreciably when he took a bite of meat.
Stuffing her hands into the pocket of her coat, Emma said the words she had been meaning to say since he offered his ship as service. Since he offered to help them. All of them. Without there being any real reason when it pertained to himself.
Hook stopped mid chew, and looked back at her. By the way of his expression Emma surmised that he clearly hadn't been expecting it. She inwardly cringed by how awkward she must have seemed to him. She tried not to fidget under his searching scrutiny. He swallowed.
His gaze dragged away from her form and cast down along the floorboards.
"Think nothing of it." He said quietly.
Of all the quips and sayings she thought she'd get from him from admitting her gratitude. Solemn modest acceptance wasn't one of them. Hook continued to prove her wrong. And there was something about that that had Emma feeling a deeper sense of compassion for him.
We really aren't that different.
"What you did. What you're doing. I know it's not easy, and it might be hard to believe but I do understand how difficult it is to give up your revenge. I get it." The look he gave her was one of perplexed interest.
"Do you?" He asked.
"Before all of this, before I knew who I really was and where I actually came from, when I first met my son and came to Storybrooke," She sighed. It had been such a long time since she addressed this subject. Even when it came to it being just herself.
"I met someone who gave me a chance to prove that I belonged in Henry's life."
Leaning against the wood behind her Emma gave a tiny sad smile in rememberance.
"His name was Graham. According to Henry's book he was the Huntsman Regina sent to kill my mother, he let her go instead, losing his free will in the process. He was Sheriff when we met and soon after I came into town he offered me the job as Deputy."
"And you loved him?" Hook asked intently. Food forgotten, his entire attention on her only.
She shook her head. "No, we never got that far, but I cared about him a lot." Emma could feel her throat go dry as she continued. " This was when I thought the curse was just a way Henry tried to cope with reality. I didn't believe then. But Graham was starting to remember who he really was, and during all of this he had been sleeping with Regina." Emma tried to keep her voice steady. "He begged me to believe him, that she had his heart, but I couldn't get past my denial. The very same night he left her, he died in my arms."
She met his azure gaze to find the kindling of empathy in their icy depths. It was too personal for her to hold of course. Emma turned away towards the three who were softly speaking among themselves and continued.
"When I did believe. When I realized that all of what I had been told was true, without a doubt I knew she killed him. And if not for Henry I would have killed her. And though I've learned how to look past it, Graham's life is something I'll never forgive her for taking."
"Emma I - " Hook began but she made sure not to let him finish that sentence.
There was a softness there, said along with her given name that she didn't need to hear from him. She hadn't meant to get so emotionally in-depth about her past. She only needed him to see.
Nothing more than that.
"I just wanted you to understand that I get what it means for you to move on from it, and that I appreciate what you're doing for us. It's the right thing." She wouldn't allow herself another glance in his direction. "We'll be leaving the ship an hour before dawn. So you know." As she walked away Emma could feel the burning severity of his stare trail after her up until she went down to her bunk, and even then she could still feel his steel blues on her, a mutual sorrow reflected in them. She fell into a restless sleep sometime later, and dreamed of blue waters very much like those eyes but the peace of that dream lasted only a moment. And then the nightmares began as the scenery drifted away, the darkness snuck in past her unsuspecting defenses.
Emma was back in Storybrooke. In the cemetery. Standing beside Graham's grave with a handful of lilacs, kneeling to place them at the foot of his tombstone. Moving to stand the world around her quaked violently, the surrounding forest trembling. Emma lost her balance.
Portals opened beneath her feet and as she clung on to the earth just outside of them, Emma felt her arm being dragged under the wailing current. She tried to pull free from it only for it to be deadlocked by weight. Fear crept in, she knew that if she looked down, she wouldn't be able to escape. "No." She told herself.
"Emma please." She knew that voice. A terror seized at her gut. At reliving the real horror that had already taken place all over again. But she wouldn't be a victim now. She refused.
"Neal!" Emma grabbed hold around his wrist. She wouldn't let him go this time. She wouldn't allow him to make that decision for her again. His grip on her was just as tight. "Hang on!" She whispered desperately. "Don't let go this time! You hear me?! Don't!"
"You have to save Henry! Emma you can't leave him in that place! HE won't stop till he gets our son. YOU HAVE TO STOP HIM." He was slipping from her hold no matter how tightly she held onto him. Like sand in her fist.
"It's okay Emma." And then the weight on her arm lifted as Neal fell away. And she wasn't given the chance to grieve, the grass and dirt caved in beneath her. The fall was swift, sucking out the air in her throat. Darkness followed in. Swallowing the crackling light of the portal before her eyes, consuming her falling form quicker than she could blink. And then everything went black as Emma continued to fall through an endless nothing.
But a voice called out to her in the blackness. "MOM!"
Terrified. He sounded absolutely terrified. She tried to answer him but she couldn't, her mouth wouldn't move. Her lips frozen against her gritted teeth, her cries of reply trapped within.
"MOM!" Terror wasn't the only urgency to the pleas, there was also pain to them. Someone or something was hurting her son. Her baby. And she couldn't see him. Couldn't answer him. Her constricting chest hammering with every cry until the fall finally jolted her awake.
At first Emma had no idea where she was, eyes opening to the darkness of the cabin. A gentle rock with the distant chime of waves reminding her. The Jolly Roger. Neverland.
Emma's limbs were tangled in the bed sheets, they clung to her from sweat and the way her body had twisted around in sleep. Her heart was beating so fiercely that it hurt. She tried to reel in her uneven breathing but wasn't able.
God. It's been years since...The nightmares had triggered a panic attack. The last time this had happened she'd only been a child. This was something she had outgrew. But now...
At her realization the sensation of the lack of oxygen to her lungs only grew. The air in the cabin was too thin for her to breathe properly. She needed to go outside. Sparing a glance to her parents, Regina and Gold, all still in deep slumber, Emma crept out of her bunk and out of the cabin, practically rushing up the steps at the sight of the night sky, the stars above her beginning to spin.
Stumbling up on deck Emma reached out to grab hold of the side to steady herself upright, trying to control the gasps that passed through her trembling lips. God It hurt.
It hurt so fucking much.
The pressure against her ribcage - no matter the amount of cool night air she drew in - did not let up. Where she sought to find relief, Emma found tears waiting for her instead. Hot heavy tears that scalded down her cheeks. Having been so wrapped up in what was going on, Emma never took into consideration how close to the breaking point she actually was.
Against the wooden railing, she ran a shaky hand through her hair, trying to calm herself. To stop the tears from falling as she wrestled with the bubbling sobs that tore though her cracking lips. With her head in her hands and inbetween heaving gulps for air Emma cried out.
"Neal..." A quivering breath. "He-Henry." A broken gasp. "I'm so sorry."
And the floodgates crashed opened. All she had kept inside, the fear, and sadness. Everything she hadn't allowed herself to feel, and all she had stood against, broke through the crumbling resolve that she'd tried so hard to maintain.
And for what? To have those she loved most ripped away?
Strange, how the place she always dreamed of as a child to seek refuge from her cruel life was where her misery had finally managed to catch up to her.
She could feel her knees were starting to give out from under her and Emma couldn't find the strength within herself to care. She was tired of being strong. So very tired.
Here. Now. Alone.
She'd allow herself the privilege of breaking, just this once.
But Emma never counted on being caught before she crumpled onto the deck's floor. She stilled in the foreign embrace. Hazel eyes shot open, a couple more tears spilled from her long wet lashes. Rolling off her cheeks and onto the wooden planks at her feet. And in spite of her blurred vision, she's able to make out the hook at her waist.
The long ring adorned fingers of his good hand flattened just above her belly. He says nothing at first, and is as still behind her as she now is against him, but as he held her, little by little the affliction in her chest begins to subside. Her gasps become less shallow and more leveled.
It never occurs to Emma to flee. Not once. It should...but it doesn't. And when she begins to cry even harder than she had been already, she turns toward him rather than away. Clutching at leather and muscle for support, pressing a tear stained cheek against his shoulder.
Hook's arms tighten around her. Giving Emma the comfort she hadn't realized she needed. Until now. Whispering in her ear soft words of kind encouragement - to let it all out. "I've got you darling, it's alright." And in this moment it is, for him to see her like this, because if anyone could understand her pain, it was him. She knew that. Without question.
His good hand moved up and down the length of her arm, caressing the chilled skin there in warm soothing strokes, the pad of his thumb working in small circles.
Though the tears continued to stream down the planes of her face, the trembling began to subside whilst her breathing matched the rise and fall of his own, with her back to his front, they breathed in unison. The calm Emma was unable to find before washed over her now like the slow rise of the tide.
There wasn't any other sound than the gentle lull of the sea and the beating of her heart, it's erratic heavy thumping dying down, leaving behind a dull ache in its place. Time passed, however much time Emma couldn't be sure but slowly she became aware of how closely they were up against one another, there wasn't a part of Hook that she couldn't feel. The arms that cradled her, his chin resting atop her head and hair, the broad expanse of his chest, his legs behind hers. Space was nonexistent between the two of them.
And it was because Emma found no objection to the proximity that she pulled away. Hook released her but there was a hesitancy in the action, but he said nothing and waited. Sniffling, she wiped her hands across her face in an attempt to clear away the mess she was sure it had become.
Very attractive Emma.
The wind picked up and she shuddered. The tank top she wore doing little to shield her from it. A swoosh of warm weighted leather engulfed her lithe frame and Emma turned to look back at Hook. He'd given her his coat.
A halfhearted laugh tumbled from her mouth. "Always the gentleman huh?'
"Always." He countered. The slightest of smiles touching his lips but it wavered as he looked her over with a genuine concern. One she tried avoiding.
"Thanks." Emma breathed in gesture to the coat hanging off her shoulders. He gave a small nod, and brought a hand to the lapel of his duster, pulling it to close and lingering when her eyes fluttered up to meet his.
"Are you alright?" Hook asked.
"Yea. I just had...a moment." Emma muttered softly. An understanding lit the light of his eyes.
"Nightmare?" His tone taking on a much somber note.
There isn't a thing he misses, is there?
"A couple actually." It was easy to admit. Considering she had just broken down to him moments ago and a few hours before that, spoke to him about Graham. A man she hadn't allowed herself to speak with anyone since his untimely death. Emma could feel it.
Things were changing between them.
"I hadn't meant to get so..." A vision of Neal and his farewell of an 'I love you' flashed behind closed lids, Henry's echoing screams accompanied them, and her eyes watered despite the river she had cried already. "Emotional about it. I don't usually cry."
"Sometimes Swan that's exactly what's needed." Emma takes notice that the kohl that usually lines the edges of his eyes are smudged and there are natural dark creases from a lack of sleep, prominent under his baby blues. Bringing his good hand to her face he brushed a thumb along her cheek, it's intimate and gentle, what's more is that she allowed it. The contact however small hold's a significance, of what kind Emma isn't entirely sure of, he's silent in his study of her.
"Hook?" His hand halts momentarily before dropping at his side.
"I've been plagued by plenty of nightmares myself over the course of a few centuries." He confesses with a hapless humor.
"And did you cry?" She asked teasingly. Trying to bring light to the subject.
His brow furrowed and a ghost of a hint stretched the corner of his mouth.
"Only when the pain was inconsolable." The loss of his love reflecting in the piercing look he gave her. A look she knew well. "Which I'm guessing it was."
And it had been up until he came. Somehow in the midst of it all, Hook had reaffirmed her strength. She hadn't needed to hide her sorrow from him with indifference. Or run away from the solace he unselfishly provided. Hook drew out the pain, granting Emma the opportunity she needed in order to breathe.
She could breathe now.
"Well I'll keep your secret if you'll keep mine." They shared a mutual grin, in it was a promise that stretched beyond their admittances. "Here." Emma shrugged out of his coat and handed it back to him. Fingers overlapped the other in the exchange, hovering a second longer than necessary. "I should head back to bed and try to get some sleep. Goodnight Hook."
In her slow steps back down the way Hook called out to her.
"Emma, if Henry is anything like his parents he'll be fine. And if he's anything like you, which I have no doubt that he is, your boy will give them all hell before he lets anyone close enough to touch him." It was the last piece of comfort he could give her, but the words rang true because it's exactly what he believed. "Goodnight lass."
Would you mind sparing a review? A poor writer such as myself needs them.