Me again. This was the second prompt I received to write in honour of becoming a big kid and reaching 10,000 posts on Tumblr. It became longer and then I chopped half of it out and it became shorter, then I added more back in and it became this. A little snapshot of Emma and Hook's time in Neverland. Hope you like it!
Thank you to PeaceHeather for the prompt!
Emma & Hook face lost boys. Emma escapes to the ship believing Hook was killed in the fight. Hook is captured & led to believe somehow that Emma was killed. After couple days of torment/interrogation, he's dumped on the beach where Snow & Co finds him.
Keep Holding On
Her chest is aching and her feet feel like she's run across a thousand swords by the time she gets back to the Jolly Roger and collapses on the deck. She raises a hand shakily to her face and swipes at the gritty mixture of sweat and dried blood until her skin feels raw and her fingers numb.
This cannot be happening. It just can't.
Her memory is a blur of images cut one after another, playing out in a silent film behind her eyelids each time she closes them. A clash of swords, a dagger thrown, hand to hand combat in the arena of the Neverland forest.
The ringing in her ears begins to subside as her breathing slows from panting gasps to quiet sobs. When her hand reaches up to her face again she wipes at tears in amongst the dirty mixture on her skin.
Hook had saved her. He had given his life to save her. And now she has lost him.
And she still hasn't found Henry.
Her heart pounds with the anguish, the adrenaline finally starting to leech from her system giving way to a burning nausea in the pit of her stomach.
She closes her eyes, forcing herself to watch the film in her mind, forcing herself to see what she doesn't want to. Forcing herself to remember Hook, remember the way he stood in front of her as the Lost Boys had lunged, remember the way his hand pushed her back, his hook raised in a threat, "Do not fear this, lass. You have a son to find, I am alone." But he wasn't alone. He had her. Couldn't he damn well see that?
A low cry comes from her as she tries to roll over, to get up. A strong pair of hands grab her then and she allows herself a moment of hope before she looks up and through teary eyes, sees her father helping her to her feet.
He doesn't ask, he just pulls her against his side wrapping his arms around her middle and guiding her below deck.
Hook feels a blazing pain in his middle as he's roused from his unconscious state and knows that he must have passed out after the boy's sword had pierced his skin. He moves to reach his hand around and inspect his wound but finds his arms bound.
"Not again," he growls. But even as he says it he is hopeful that this means Emma has something to do with this detainment, it being her thing after all, tying him up.
He pulls against his binds, trying to move his hook enough that he can cut through the rope, but before he can make any real progress he's interrupted by a door opening, the light from behind the group of boys eerily not casting shadows across the floor.
Before anyone can say or do anything, he asks, "Where's Emma?"
And a response comes to him almost immediately, a response that he wishes he never had to hear, "She's dead."
He feels his breath leave him in a whoosh at the bluntness of the news. He had protected her, he has an open wound to prove it. If she had gone after the Lost Boys because of what they'd done to him, he'd…well to be perfectly honest he'd thank her and induct her as a pirate. But if what this boy says is true, he'll never get the chance.
It suddenly becomes every bit more important to find Henry.
Though he has tears brimming in his eyes already, he raises them to meet the first boy's, one he has not met before, "You must be a new recruit, lad."
The boy cocks his head, stepping forward, "Why assume that, pirate?"
"Your mates there, they don't look particularly trusting of you," he growls with a bitter smile just as he feels his hook meet the resistance of the edge of the rope behind him.
"Ha," he mirthlessly releases, "Perhaps it is the pirate in the room they do not trust." The boy raises his hand in the air, clicking his fingers sharply and Hook feels the ropes around his wrists tighten painfully, "And with good reason too, it seems."
Hook's smile drops from his face, "What do you want with me?" They'd taken Emma from him today, what more could they do?
"Pan wants the boy."
"I do not possess a boy. Peter took the last one I cared for from me as it is."
The rest of the group enters the room, the door shutting behind them and Hook knows he is in trouble here. "Henry. The boy's name is Henry," they all whisper as they circle him in the darkness, their footsteps swishing and thudding on the soft ground beneath them.
Hook feels his eyes slip shut at their hushed voices, the spell of their words carrying him into sleep, but not rest. He dreams of running, of being chased and while he knows it is only a product of the spell he's under, he feels his energy being sapped from him. He feels completely exhausted. And when he awakens Peter Pan himself is before him, his shadowy hands clinging to Killian's own shadow, gently tugging the nameless substance from his body.
"I don't know where Henry is," he shouts, as soon as he becomes aware of what is happening through the haze in his head. He's not ready to lose his shadow. He's not willing to become one of these soulless beings that roam the islands of Neverland without remorse or thought of consequence when they do Peter Pan's bidding. He doesn't want it.
Pan pauses, his airy form swooping to float beside Killian's shoulder. The light of his eyes narrows and he leans towards the Lost Boys who are standing behind him. Some wordless communication passes between them and next thing Hook knows is that he is being carried back to the room he had just been transported from. His arms are still bound tight, but his shadow is still attached to his body and for that he is grateful.
Emma's head is killing her when she wakes up and she finds herself craving modern comforts like Advil. But as she lifts her head from the pillow and recognises her surroundings as Hook's personal quarters, the pain in her head gives way to an ache in her heart.
She wants off this land now. It's taking everything from her and she just wants out.
She comes above deck to Regina sitting by herself at the helm of the ship and joins her, handing the queen a piece of fruit she had collected on the way up, "Breakfast?"
Regina turns around at the sound of another person and graciously accepts the red fruit from Emma's hands, "Thank you. The others have gone searching for Henry."
Emma watches her curiously, "And you stayed behind…?"
"Because I'm scared Miss Swan," she answers with just an edge of defensiveness slipping into her tone, looking back out over the ocean, "It's been weeks and I know we're supposed to remain optimistic in the face of everything, but I'm having trouble. I don't know if this is a search and rescue anymore, I don't know what they're doing to Henry. I just…I'm scared." She turns her teary eyes upwards, her hands clasped around her fruit. If Emma didn't know any better she'd guess Regina was praying.
"And now Hook is gone…"
She sighs, "Exactly. And if he couldn't survive this forsaken island, what hope does a little boy have?"
Emma feels tears of her own threatening to spill from her eyes and turns her eyes down to her suddenly unappetising piece of fruit, "I'm scared too, Regina."
Hook doesn't know how long passes between each of the Lost Boys' visits, but he knows they are definitely becoming more frequent. They always do the same thing, circle him until he sleeps, let Pan question him about Henry and upon learning nothing, return him to what he has come to realise is his prison cell.
But this time when they come, it's different. Pan enters the room first and they leave the door wide open, letting the light from outside shine in. Hook knows what this means, he knows they want his shadow visible.
He flinches when he feels the cool hands of Pan grab hold of the visible part of his soul, ready to tear. Before him stands a small crowd of Lost Boys, their eyes holding no sympathy, no indication that they feel anything at all about what is going on. It's frighteningly surreal for Hook. They collectively ask once more about Henry and when the pirate doesn't have an answer he feels the tug of his shadow being stolen from him. He screams into nothingness because no one will listen to him, the sheer agony making him want to hunch over, but being unable to due to the ropes tied around him.
He can hear that taunting rip as his shadow begins to come free of his body, he can feel his spirit weakening and when Pan's voice speaks to him for the first time and asks about Henry, Hook's whispered "I don't know", is actually believed. The ropes are cut from his body within moments and he has little energy to hold himself up, instead falling forwards and onto the ground, his eyes closing as the last of his consciousness slips from him.
The soft lick of the salty ocean wakes him up, his head pounding, the wound in his torso feeling like fire is pouring from it. He groans as he manages to roll over, escaping the water's tendrils for the moment. The tales may say things of the mermaid's beauty, but he knows them for their malicious ways more than anything and he wishes not to fall prey to them before the moment of his choosing.
He knows his breathing is shallow and can feel the laboured wheeze each time he exhales, the bruises on his ribs having barely healed from his accident in Storybrooke coupled with his new injuries.
He knows he doesn't have long. Perhaps he'll get to see Emma.
With an exhaustive effort he rolls once more, coughing painfully as he does so, but knowing that he has just given himself at least 20 minutes of breathing time before the tide reaches him. If he's lucky he'll be dead before the mermaids can claim his soul.
At the thought he holds his hand up, watching as his limb casts a long shadow in the setting sun. A sigh of relief escapes him. If he's going to die, at least it is his whole self and not some half form with his shadowed soul left to roam this realm without him.
It comforts him as he closes his eyes, allowing the ocean to catch up to him, ready for it to carry him away.
Snow's hands slip away from the pirate when she's sure Charming and Rumple have got a hold of him. Hook's in bad shape and she's good at finding smoother pathways through the forest so that the men can carry him without jostling him too much.
He murmurs through his unconsciousness, his face contorting in pain every now and then and she's unsure they'll be able to get him back in time. Gold had tried to heal him on the beach, but his magic is too weak here, Neverland being the home of pixie magic, a far different form than what the Dark One holds.
By the time they reach the Jolly Roger, night has fallen and the air is cool, their breath puffing out in front of them in streams of white. Hook's breath is barely there.
Upon hearing the commotion on deck, Regina and Emma make their way up from their cabins below, the Evil Queen's body shielding Emma from who is lying on the ground for just a moment. But as she moves and Hook's near lifeless body comes into view Emma feels her legs give out from underneath her, stumbling forward and down towards the pirate, "Hook?"
Her eyes scan the group, looking for a hint that this is a trick or a hallucination. He had been stabbed, she had seen it with her own eyes. He shouldn't be alive. At the thought, she inspects his body for wounds, seeing immediately the sand covered blood on his sliced shirt. Her hands reach out involuntarily, trying to find where to start cleaning him up, where to start prepping him for what she knows is going to be a very crude surgery.
But Snow's small hand finds hers in the air and Emma looks back up at her parents who are both shaking their heads very solemnly.
"No," she whispers, "No, no, no."
"I'm so sorry, Emma. It's too late. All we can do is help to make him comfortable."
But she just got him back and she's not ready to give him up again. Because if Hook can't make it off Neverland alive, what hope does her son have?
"Actually, that's not entirely true." Rumple's voice cuts through the mild instance of panic inside her mind and she knows exactly what he's talking about, because it has crossed her mind too.
So she does this for herself, her own sanity and she does it for Henry.
If she's the damn saviour, she figures she better get to saving.
She swoops forwards and down, grasping his jaw and drawing his face up to hers to place a kiss against his lips. They're worryingly cold and still, but the change that happens is almost immediate. A golden glow emanates from the places where her body touches his, warming him instantly.
She gasps when he tilts his head and the world around them simply disappears as the people around them scatter to allow them a moment of privacy. Snow has to physically pull a scoffing Charming away while Regina makes a noise of disapproval, but it all fades to nothing in the back of their minds and this moment of touch washes over them. His hand grabs hers and moves it to his stab wound, feeling the immediate effects of her magic healing his skin. And when the pain all but disappears, he surprises her and deepens the kiss, the gesture all at once becoming no longer about saving him and about just having one second of peace in this dizzying madness that has become her life. The guilt hits her like a sack of potatoes as she draws back from Hook, but when her eyes roam his torso again and find it injury free, she knows she made the right choice. She may not quite understand this magic inside of her, but she does know that it is good.
"I know where Henry is," he grinds out, sitting up slowly, the only indication that he'd been in any pain at all a slight wince when he moves too fast. It hadn't been the sentence she'd expected from him after a moment like that, but she's impressed by his ability to see what she needs most.
Emma holds out a hand, helping him to his feet. "Where?" she asks urgently.
He smiles briefly at her eagerness, her ability to disregard the very important interaction which had just transpired between them, in favour of her child. Oh if only more parents were like Emma Swan, "Pan hasn't seen him yet, so he's in the first place anyone goes when they get to this island…"
She smiles, "Pixie Hollow? But we asked Tinkerbell and she said…"
"She said exactly what she has been trained to say in the face of dark magic."
"Rumple?" Emma asks, tears stinging her eyes, "We could have had my son here with us all this time if it weren't for Rumpelstiltskin?"
Hook lowers his gaze, "Aye lass." He pauses, "I am most sorry."
She chews her bottom lip, looking at him quizzically. "Come morning, we leave," she says firmly, wanting to waste no time in finding her son. She turns away from Hook then, beginning to walk away.
"Swan, wait!" he calls, walking to catch up to her.
She pauses, but won't face him, so he comes to the front of her and isn't surprised to see that she has tears in her eyes, "Oh Emma."
She shrugs, "I thought you were dead and now you're not and I miss Henry and I just," she swallows, not wanting to reveal anything more than that just yet, "I don't know, I'm just exhausted."
His arms come around her before she has the chance to protest, his blood soaked clothing pushing into her, reminding her how close she came to losing another person she cares for. She snakes her arms around his neck, responding to his touch warmly as he whispers to her that it's all going to be okay, "Tink will have kept him safe."
She nods her head against his chest, just soaking up the strength of him and relishing in the fact he's still alive. It gives her hope for Henry's fate and then finding a way out of this place. Her fingertips from one hand dance their way down from his neck to his chest, and finally his abdomen, where they reach through the layer of clothing to rest on his warm skin. The skin that she had healed. "I know."
And although she knows they need to rest, she can't pull herself away from him. She's not stupid, she knows what happened between them when she kissed him, she understands what kind of magic was strong enough to heal him. But it's not the right time just yet. Not when Henry isn't with her, not while they're in Neverland.
Before she goes to her bed that night though, she reaches up, still unable to believe that he is alive and kisses his lips softly. Letting the tingle of sparks flow through them both for just a fraction of a moment, giving them something to hold onto, because she knows what it feels like to have lost him now and that seems reason enough.