A/N: This is based off a post I made on Tumblr on how I want to see an episode like this in Season 3. Enjoy!
Hook was moments away from heaving the contents of his stomach over the side of the ship. Baelfire (or was it Neal now?) had his grimy hands on Emma again, and she seemed to be enjoying it. Hook and Emma had found him traipsing around the forest a few days ago with the warrior and the princess who they had travelled with in the Enchanted Forest and a man Hook didn't recognize. To say it had been a tearful reunion would be an understatement. Snow was crying and Emma was crying and Baelfire was tearing up and all Hook felt was a twisting pain in his stomach.
Emma's first love and the father of her child (whom they were still searching for) was back. Over the past couple of months, Hook had grown closer to the Swan girl. They had stayed up late most nights sharing their pasts with each other, both had saved each other from close brushes with death, and there were even moments where Hook could have sworn that Emma had wanted him to kiss her. They had been teetering on the edge between friends and more for months and now, with Baelfire back, Hook felt like nothing more than a casual acquaintance. He tried to appear on the outside as if her change in behavior wasn't affecting him, but inside, he was in agony. Hook had twisting pains in his stomach constantly, he couldn't sleep at night, and his heart felt like it had been ripped out and thrown to the sharks out in the bay.
Meanwhile, their little crew still hadn't found Emma's little lad. He was taken to Neverland a little over two months ago, and Hook had heard Emma crying herself to sleep every night since. Hook had comforted her a few times with soothing words and a shoulder to cry on, but she didn't need him anymore. She had her man back. God that hurts. But no matter. Emma's romantic choices had nothing to do with the fact that Henry was still missing. The boy was lost and alone in an unfamiliar place and Hook knew from experience that being lost is the worst thing that can happen to a child. So he formulated a plan.
"Where are you off to?" Charming asked suspiciously as Hook made his way to the rowboat on the side of the ship, a small satchel at his side.
"I'm off for a day or two. I've got to take care of some things on the island. Alone."
"Why?" Emma rolled her eyes and continued in a sharp tone. "We are all capable of navigating the island by now. We can go with you."
"Not where I'm going, Swan." He thought of the sea witch at the bottom of the lagoon waiting for his arrival. Their little appointment was sure to be heart-wrenching. Literally. "Believe me, none of you want to come along."
Emma tried to object again, but Charming shook his head. "Let him go. I get the feeling that this is something Hook needs to take care of himself."
Hook turned to go down the gangplank but he stopped dead when he felt a hand wrap around his wrist. Emma came around his right side and locked eyes with him. Surprisingly, she looked worried.
"Just be careful, okay?" She let go of his hand and started to back away again. "We can't have you getting yourself into trouble just yet. Henry is still out there and we need you." Then, under her breath too low for Hook to hear, she whispered, "I need you."
Hook thought he had heard her whisper something about needing him, but pushed away the notion. Stop projecting you wanker. She doesn't need you anymore. She has her man back. "Don't worry about me, lass. I can handle myself." Hook sent a wink her way as he dropped off the side of the boat, now out of view. "This isn't my first voyage."
Hook had forgotten how eerie her lagoon was. Neverland's lone mountain loomed above and the shadows it cast made it seem like midnight in the lagoon even when it was midday. The jungle surrounding it was thick, the creatures lurking about were sinister, and the cliff faces leading down to the swirling whirlpool below were unforgiving. One wrong step and a man could find himself free falling into the sharp rocks below.
Luckily for Hook, he had been here before. He guided a particularly insistent mermaid to this wretched place quite a few years ago. Hook was a man with a certain moral code, even if he ignored it most days, so he made sure to warn the girl what this sea witch was capable of. She didn't listen, of course. The girl had fallen in love with one of Hook's crew and she longed to be human so that she could be with him, so there was really no reasoning with her. He assumed the witch had chewed her up and spit her out, though, seeing as his shipmate never left him. Silly girl.
Although he supposed he was no different from that mermaid now. He was coming to the sea witch for help now and he was prepared to sacrifice anything she saw fit to get what he wanted. Hook couldn't get the girl and he felt he didn't deserve her anyway, so why not give up everything to save a lost boy. The cause seemed noble enough.
As Hook approached the cliff's edge and readied himself to jump into the churning water below, he thought of Emma, the one woman who saw right through him. She was intelligent and passionate and beautiful and she would make a hell of a pirate. He jumped from the cliff and reminded himself the entire way down why he decided to go through all of this for her son. Because I love her.
"Hello again, Captain." A sultry voice echoed through the sea cave Hook found himself in. It was more of a lair, really, but the real monster was the one right in front of him.
"Ursula." He send a fake smirk her way. "How lovely to see you again."
She let out a shrieking laugh and patted him on the shoulder. "I know you didn't come all the way down here just to enjoy my company, Captain. Or should I say...Hook?" Ursula grabbed his hook and wrenched it from it's slot on Hook's arm. "What is it you want from me? Out with it."
"I need information on a boy that was taken captive by Pan and the Lost Boys." He gulped. "I've been searching for him for months but the trail is cold. I was hoping you could help me find him."
Ursula twirled the hook in her right hand and nodded her head. "Simple. Straightforward. I like that. Yes, yes I think I can do that. Seems easy enough."
Suddenly the witch was inches away from him with his hook digging into his neck. "I'm sure you remember, though, that I require something in return."
"Yes I remember. I'll give you anything. My life doesn't matter anymore."
She cackled again, suddenly very aware of Hook's situation. "Eager, aren't we? Does this has something to do with a certain blonde that you've been infatuated with?"
He sent her a scathing glare. "That is no concern of yours, witch. Can you help me or not?"
She sighed and turned to the cabinet behind her, then pulled out an empty jar. "Yes I can help you, but it comes at a great cost." Hook's gut clenched when he saw what was in the cabinet she had just opened. This was not what he signed up for. "What I want from you is...your heart."