Take Me in to Your Darkest Hour
AN: hello wonderful readers! I honestly have no idea where this came from aside from the fact that it hurt A LOT to write out. Leave a review if you'd like, it would be much appreciated :) hugs and cookies!
Also none of this is mine, I am merely playing around with Adam and Eddy's characters
Emma loved her parents, she did, but sometimes they suffocated her. Trudging through Neverland's dark forest had already taken its toll on all of them- her father in particular- and it made her feel like she was stuck in a box. A box that kept getting smaller and smaller and smaller. And yet…somehow Hook never did, no matter how close he got it never felt too close (sometimes it felt like not close enough but she shoved those thoughts away).
She could admit it now, he got to her. Or, more accurately, he got her. Where she faltered he was there to pick her up or offer his hand and when she felt more lost than she had 11 years ago he pulled her own of the darkness. No matter how hard she pushed he couldn't be turned away, his steadfast presence soon became the hold on her sanity.
When he'd dropped the 'fancying' line she had thought it had only been a ploy- his usual flirtation. And the 'perhaps I would' nonsense seemed too sincere. How long had it been since anyone had wanted to know who she was? Little orphan Emma was nothing special, and yet he made it seem like she was. He made her feel as strong as her savior title would lead you to believe.
And that terrified her.
Emma Swan wasn't supposed need anyone to feel strong or believe. She had survived 28 years on her own- created her own belief and made herself strong. And when she felt like she was losing that he somehow brought it back and- and that shouldn't be happening.
Killian felt like he was walking uphill in a mudslide. Every time it appeared he was gaining ground or making progress, he'd slide back to where he was not a few steps before. She was the single most infuriating woman he'd ever met and she was driving him insane (in more than one way- damn the Neverland sun and her sweaty skin and light tunic). Sometimes it felt like she had walls within walls surrounded by mermaid-infested moats. And yet he could still read every emotion rolling off of her. He could still see past her fear and insecurity and see her. His Swan.
He had done everything in his power to show her he was sincere, that she meant something to him. For the first time in over three centuries someone else meant something to him- their happiness and goals and heart meant more than his own. And that stubborn bint refused to see past her own fears. He swiped at a low hanging brush angrily before glancing over at her tired form.
It had been over two weeks of marching through this death trap of an island and after almost losing her father…Emma wasn't quite the same. She was still his Swan; strong and fierce and steadfast but she lacked her usual gumption. It was wearing her down, he knew she heard the cries as well as he did and it was enough to ruin anyone's sleep let alone a mother.
He just wanted to make it better.
Because, somehow, that blasted woman had become someone he needed. He needed her quips and her eye rolls and her scoffs at his attempts at flirtation. He needed her smiles- rare as they were- and the little crinkle in her brow when she knew he was being sincere but couldn't quite believe it. He needed the small shows of support and trust when the others doubted. He needed her and right now she was nearly as lost as her boy.
For reasons Emma didn't fully understand, their misfit group needed to go to Mermaid Lagoon. Hook had said they could offer some insight into Pan's hideout. When Emma had questioned why that was even necessary (he had lived here for 300 years hadn't he?) he had raised an impatient eyebrow at her.
"Swan. I'm taking no risks when it comes to our venturing into Pan's lair- not with so much on the line."
She bit back the retort she'd had ready on her tongue when she saw his expression. It wasn't just Henry he was worried about keeping alive. Without acknowledging the sincerity in his expression she had merely nodded and allowed him to continue planning the route.
According to his previous workings with the mermaids, it was vital that whoever go not go alone. Their beauty was the least of anyone's worries, and from land their bloodthirsty nature was less of a problem to try and manage.
"Is it the same temptation as sirens?" David was leaning over the map, scrutinizing the route Hook was laying out. "Because I know how to handle that," he glanced over at his wife. "I'd be able to resist it."
Both Emma and Snow yelled "No!"
"Charming," Snow's brow wrinkled. "Can we keep it to one highly dangerous, life-threatening, self-inflicted situation per week? Please?"
He looked ready to argue when Emma's soft voice broke through. "Please. Please don't." Though her face betrayed nothing, her eyes held nothing but pain and fear. "Please," she whispered.
David was saved having to answer by Killian's interruption. "He'll not be the one going. Mermaids, though related to sirens, are not the same. Their tricks are a bit…different. I'll be going, without the prince." The tension in Emma's shoulder's lessened but didn't disappear. Her eyes still held worry as they fell on him.
"Whose go with you then?"
Killian was about to ask if the queen would, magic would be handy with the wretched creatures, when the voice he least wanted to volunteer did so.
Hook and David eyed each other quickly before continuing their protests.
"You're my daughter. I can't let you do something so dangerous- "
"You've never faced them before. It's far to big a chance- "
"-and what if you fall into trap? What if Hook does?"
"-there's too much to gamble with that plan…"
"-haven't faced anything like this before!"
"-it'll be too big a risk! It should be- "
They continued speaking over one another until Emma finally yelled at them to shut up. "It's a way to get my son back. And I'm the only one Hook trusts enough to actually have his back and keep it." Killian conceded with a slow nod. "I'll be fine."
Neither Snow nor David (nor Killian for that matter) looked overjoyed at this plan but once Emma Swan makes up her mind there's no going back.
And so they planned.
And, like all well-laid plans, it went to hell.
"What" Emma gasped for air, "the hell- was that?"
Hook merely grunted and nudged her forward back towards camp. He was in no mood to discuss what had just occurred. They had gotten the information they needed, the new entrance not even the Lost Ones knew about.
"Hook." She walked after him, her clothes dripping. "Hook!" Still he ignored her, slashing through undergrowth violently. "Dammit Hook!"
"What?" He growled.
"What the hell was that? I thought we had a plan! You said you knew how to resist their style of temptation." Her anger flared hotly for a moment. "What happened?"
The images they had planted inside of him flashed before his eyes and she could practically see his walls collapse around him. "I don't want to talk about it."
"What do they do?" Emma felt a knot growing in her stomach. She wasn't going to like his answer, she knew she wasn't. He didn't want to tell her for a reason, he had kept her out of their line of sight for a reason. But she had to know.
"What did they do?" She whispered.
Killian sighed, rubbing his hand over his face. "Swan," he saw the stubborn set of her jaw and felt part of the ice that had frozen in the past hour thaw over his heart. There she is. "Not now." She looked ready to protest so he headed the argument off. "I'll tell you, I promise. Just not now. I can't…"
Emma nodded slowly. "Okay," she said quietly. "Okay."
That night around the fire, while a rabbit roasted and crackled in the darkness, neither brought up what happened at the Lagoon. A silent agreement to leave the others out had taken place on the walk back.
(Emma wondered when they had reached the point of silent agreements).
(Killian wondered why she didn't know they always knew what the other was thinking).
(She didn't understand why it felt more right for him to know than her parents).
(He was certain her parents did the same thing).
Emma offered to take first watch, not an unusual occurrence considering she hadn't been sleeping. However, Hook's presence at the fire with her was out of the norm. Usually he allowed her that time to be alone, to muddle through what Neverland was doing to her. But not tonight. He had promised to explain to her and he meant it- even if he tried to avoid it she would be able to needle it out of him.
Hook sat beside her, warmth emanating from his dark figure as the fire crackled in front of them.
"So are you going to tell me?"
Her quiet voice broke through his thoughts and she felt him tense slightly. His nerves set her on edge, he was never nervous around her. He never held back or hid things. It had become one her constants on this godforsaken island and she was feeling even more lost without his usual quips. She never let him see, never showed how dependent she had become for his role in her life. But she still was. She still needed him. It had felt like days, not hours, since he'd made a ridiculous innuendo or attempted to flirt with her.
"I know, love."
"Bloody hell, Swan, give me a moment, yeah?"
Emma absorbed the renewed use of her surname, again, and held her tongue.
They sat in silence again; Emma on edge, waiting for her explanation and Killian wrestling with the best way to tell her without actually telling her.
"I'm sure you know the legends of the sirens." She nodded. "They show you what you want most, your greatest desire, and tempt you into their dwelling where they then kill you. And you take it, happily, because the face of the person you want most is staring you in the eyes."
"David," she interrupted. "He faced one. It was- it took the shape of my mom. But- but he beat it."
"He's one of few," Hook said lowly. "I've never had to face a siren but I doubt I'd have the strength the resist."
"Milah," she whispered.
Killian didn't answer, just continued to stare at the fire. Not six hours ago he would have agreed with her assumption but now…
"Is that what you saw? With the mermaids?"
"No." When his eyes met her own she felt something slip inside her, he looked haunted. Like he had been to hell and back in only his memories. "The mermaids…they're not as kind as sirens."
"Sirens kill you."
"Aye. But at least you'd enjoy the go. Mermaids are far more vindictive, which you saw first hand. They have a sense about people. They're able to find what makes them tick- the easiest point to manipulate."
"Like with the storm thing."
"So," she hedged. "They can see into you. Sort of."
Killian looked away from her, eyes trained on the fire. He wouldn't look at her, couldn't, when he told her. She read him nearly as easily as he read her.
"Mermaids find your greatest fear and exploit it. They trick you into believing what you want is possible, is real, and then they destroy it in the worst way you could imagine."
Emma stared at him, horrorstruck. It was…it sounded terrible. For a moment she imagined what she would have seen: Henry, safe in her arms. He was happy and smiling and safe. And then he wasn't. A moment later he was being ripped away by Pan, and then he was-
She ripped herself out of her thoughts, her chest nearly heaving.
Hook caught the panic in her eyes. "Now you know why I didn't want you near them. No one should have to see what you surely would have."
Emma stared at him, still lost in the flashes her imagination was creating. "But then," she swallowed thickly. "What did you see?"
He stiffened. "Something unexpected."
"The reason I volunteered myself is because for 300 years I never saw anything. My greatest fear had already come to pass. I had already had what I wanted most and then had it ripped away from me. There was nothing for them to manipulate."
Something akin to pity settled in Emma's stomach and without thinking her hand reached out for his. She didn't look at him, couldn't look at him, but maintained the contact. His calloused hand was warm and strong against hers and when his fingers tangled tentatively with her own it felt right and she almost pulled away.
"Thank you, Emma."
"Keep going," she deflected.
He sighed. Stubborn lass. "This time was different. I didn't even realize," his voice faltered. Hook refused to say the words aloud, to make it real. Because making it real for her meant running away and he wouldn't be able to handle that. Not after everything that happened today.
The itch that settled between her shoulders meant something bad had happened earlier, something that he hadn't felt in over 300 years and that scared her more than Pan and his games. Hook had been unshakable in their journey so far and his reaction was telling of pain she wasn't sure she could ever understand.
Suddenly knowing, actually knowing, felt like getting too close. Her fight or flight response kicked in and flight was screaming at her- blaring with red lights telling her to run run run run.
But then his thumb rubbed over her hand and a small voice whispered stay.
"I forgot that they could see past my front, I thought they'd still see the Hook they had known for so long. They found my weak spot and it's weaker than I'd care to admit."
Emma couldn't ask. She knew, the look in his eyes when she'd screamed his name and pulled him out of the water was telling enough in hindsight.
"You asked, love."
She hadn't removed her hand but he could feel her pulling away, feel her mind reeling and putting the pieces together. It was written across her face, the panic and fear and sympathy and…what was that?
"How could you not know? Everyone has fears."
"Emma," he met her eyes, shining bright green in the firelight. "I spent three-hundred years afraid of nothing- not even death. It's quite the adjustment to make."
If she let herself, she could've gotten lost in his eyes right there. They were so blue and they were clearer than the dangerous waters of this island. But they were also hurting, they looked better than he had on their trek back to camp but they still hadn't cleared.
She didn't want to know. It was literally the last thing she wanted to hear, but he needed to say it. And for once she was going to be there for him.
"What did you see?"
He looked away from her, for the first time since the beanstalk he was avoiding her gaze, her understanding of him. "You don't- "
"Tell me. It's okay."
The minute the sun rose in the morning she would go back to being closed-off Emma Swan, skirting away from his advances with a smirk and flirting only when she forgot herself. But tonight, right now, she was simply Emma Swan, the woman who understood him and was there for him, his first friend in centuries. She was his, if only for this moment.
"Just remember, darling." He held her gaze steadily, "You asked."
Trepidation settled in her belly but she didn't pull away.
Killian turned back to the fire before closing his eyes, losing himself in the brief memories implanted by the wretched creatures. "They showed me a future. One void of the bleak darkness I've held on to for so long. I- I had…" He swallowed thickly, grasping her hand tighter. "I had a family: a wife whom I loved with my whole heart, a woman who accepted Hook and Killian." The image of bright green eyes and smiling red lips flashed before his mind, with gold streaking around her face. "Children," his voice nearly broke. "Two sons and a daughter. They boys were as much pirates as they were knights and the girl was more fiery than her mother but had captured my heart even faster."
Emma felt something warm bloom in her chest. The picture he was painting…it felt familiar and happy and- and it was everything neither of them had ever had. Her heart ached as he pushed forward, dreading what she knew would come.
"Happiness doesn't become me," he said sadly. "Y- she was taken. They were all taken. Each of their hearts ripped from their chest, as I stood unable to move. And the little girl she- she cried out for 'Daddy' to save her and- " His voice broke and Emma's heart felt like it shattered along with it. "I couldn't do a damn thing. I just stood there. The boys stood tall but terrified and she cried and I just stood there and had to watch them all crumple. Until only you were left." Too gone in his sorrow, Killian hadn't realized his slip. But Emma had and she felt her throat constrict. "The only words you said were 'It's okay'. And then you collapsed, lay lifeless on the ground. I failed again. I lost everything again and I never got to say goodbye."
He opened his eyes and Emma was unsurprised to see they were red. "I never got to say 'goodbye' or 'I'm sorry' or…"
"Or 'I love you'." He nodded brokenly. "I'm so sorry."
Killian shook his head, ready to pull away but wanting desperately to duck his head against her neck and never let go.
"Hey," Emma pulled at his hand. "Look at me."
His tired eyes met the space above her eyes and she resisted the urge to hit him. "None of it was real. Just…just hold on to that. Nobody died. You haven't failed anyone." Least of all me. "I'm not," she swallowed thickly. "I'm not going anywhere."
Emma watched as his shoulder's relaxed with a shaky exhalation and yet his grip on her hand hadn't lessened.
"I'm fine. Nothing is going to happen to me."
"You don't know that."
"I do know that that can't happen." His eyes met hers for the first time since he'd started telling her about the memory. "Try something new," she echoed.
The briefest hint of a smile ghosted across his lips. "Is it called trust?"
Emma smirked. "Faith, trust, and pixie dust." Killian rolled his eyes, making her laugh.
"Just promise me something." She nodded for him to continue. "That you'll do everything to keep yourself safe."
She stilled, absorbing his request. "Only if you do the same."
"Only if you do the same." Her jaw set stubbornly as she stared at him. He may be working with the good guys but she refused to have anyone else try and play the hero for her.
"I promise," he said with a sigh.
"Then I promise too."
A comfortable silence settled over them. The fire licking dimly at the leftover wood, it's warmth waning as it had been left unattended. His hand still burned against hers but she no longer felt like pulling away. It almost felt like she was right where she was supposed to be. Don't be stupid, Emma.
She started when he said her name softly. "I'm sorry that- if it made you," he struggled to find the words. "I didn't want to push."
Emma's eyes met his for a brief moment before focusing away again. "It's okay." His silence hung between them and she could practically taste his doubt. "You didn't push me too far or away or whatever you're worrying about."
Killian frowned. Is this how she feels every time I read through her? "I'm not- "
"Yes you are. And you don't need to, so stop."
"I'm not sure if I'll ever stop worrying, love." Even in the dim light he could see her flushed cheeks. "Comes about when you care about someone."
Her green eyes searched his for a moment as she considered her response. He wasn't lying, he never did anymore, at least not to her.
Hook's eyebrow rose. "Do you?"
"Yeah," she squeezed his hand. "I do."
She cared about him. She cared whether he was alive or safe. She wanted him to stay with them and help them and be a part of something. She was his second chance and his new beginning. And she cared about him.
She dropped her head onto his shoulder before closing her eyes. Her whole body began to relax and the cries she often heard began to quiet and fall away. She felt herself melt further into his side and couldn't find it within herself to care. He was so warm and she trusted him and it felt okay, felt right. She caught his words right before she drifted off.
"Don't mention it."