I wrote a thing for Tumblr for a prompt and thought I better pop it up here too. Thanks to naiariddle for the prompt :)
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters or the places they roam in.
What Haunts Our Dreams
The silence has stretched on for a long time when he starts murmuring in his sleep. The mermaids had been helpful to them, using their knowledge of the island to assure Emma that they knew where Pan was going to set up his camp next. With their help they could be one step ahead for the first time since stepping foot on this island.
However, as they have learnt time and time again. Everything comes with a price. And today, that price was Hook.
He's almost convulsing, his whole body slack and then tense in a matter of seconds, unintelligible words tumbling from his mouth. Emma rushes to his side, a hand pressed against his forehead, "He's burning up, you guys."
Because it wasn't enough that they had been here for weeks now and were still no closer to finding Henry, the pirate had to go and get himself stung by the end of a mermaid's tail. He had tried to explain what would happen to him as he faded into sleep at first, but the most they got was that it was a temporary defence mechanism for the mermaids to lure their prey more easily.
Emma hadn't listened past temporary.
Because at the very least that meant he would be okay eventually. And any victory was a good victory in her books right now.
"We need to get him out of this coat," her fingers push at the leather, but the dead weight of the pirate is too much for her.
Recognising her struggle, David leans down to help his daughter, "Here sweetheart. You pull and I'll lift."
She meets her father's eye for a fraction of a second and sees something there. Something like approval. Something she can't fathom dealing with right now, "Thanks."
With a few grunts, the pirate is lying on the cool ground with his coat balled up under his head. The two slip down next to him, catching their breath as his mumbling quietens and he seems to fall back into a restful slumber.
Emma stays by his side the whole evening, pressing a wet cloth against his clammy skin, opening his vest to allow cool air to get to more of him and vehemently telling herself that she is doing this only because Hook is their best bet at getting off this island.
It's not because of the earth shaking kiss they'd shared earlier that week. It's not because he'd opened up and been honest with her about Neal. And it certainly isn't because she's imagining this whole situation in different circumstances. The water trailing across his skin was not making her feel things.
Not at all.
Once everyone else is settled in for sleep, David comes to relieve her of her duties. But after she goes to the bathroom and comes back, she finds herself not wanting to sleep, but to stay by Killian's side for the rest of the night.
"Emma, you need to rest."
She fights the urge to sarcastically throw a "yes dad" at him and instead reaches for the cloth in the prince's hand, "I'd really rather be here."
The soothing motion of the wet material must have been lulling Killian through his dreams, because as soon as it's taken away, he begins to rock in his sleep again, his face contorting in pain.
"Liam!" he calls in a burst, "Liam, no!"
Emma quickly presses the cloth back to his forehead, brushing softly. And sure enough, within a minute the pirate is back to sleeping peacefully.
"He's called out for Liam a lot today. I wonder who that is?" she ponders, looking upon Killian's face curiously.
Without missing a beat, David answers, "He was his brother."
She frowns, looking up at her father, shocked that he knows that, "I didn't realise you two were that close."
David smiles tightly, "I may not know much of parenting, but I think I'm supposed to make an effort with the men in my daughter's life."
And she can see what it's costing him to even put the notion out there. A princess and a pirate must be unheard of in their land. Let alone his daughter and a pirate. Her father has an old fashioned heart and she's beginning to see that she is just going to have to get used to that.
He's being honest with her, and so she thinks she owes him some of her own honesty. "Thanks, dad," she whispers quietly, still unsure how she feels about using that title. "Now go get some sleep. I'm not tired."
Even as the prince stands and walks over to his wife, he sees Emma rest her head down on the pirate's chest and he sighs. He's seen the connection from the start and knows what is building there now. He wraps a protective arm around Snow and kisses her temple softly.
Oh yes, for Emma, saving Henry is just going to be the start of her adventure.