The Pirate's Lost Girl
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Pairing: Emma Swan/Killian Jones
A/N: No, I don't get paid to do this. One-shot for now?
“Swan, wait.” He calls after the blond savior, his hand resting idly on his sheathed sword. She turns her head, resting her jade gaze on him and approaches him, her brows drawing together.
“What’s wrong? We’re wasting time," Emma mutters, casting a glance after Snow and Regina as they leave the cave.
“I—I know what it’s like,” Killian remarks quietly, his one hand reaching out and snagging hers before she can follow the rest of the group. “To lose hope.” He leans in close, his icy gaze meeting hers. His brows twitch slightly as he speaks, his eyes flickering over hers. She subtly leans back, shaking her blonde head.
“I see what this is," the words leave her lips on a whisper, and his bright blue eyes fall. “You…trying to bond with me. Save your breath; I’m not in the mood.” The man only nods his head somberly, taking the rejection with good grace, allowing her to pass by and rejoin the group ahead. He move to go after her, but Charming’s grip on his wrist stops him.
“Hook, listen, something you should know about my daughter," the prince nods, releasing his hand and gesturing for him to follow. “She’ll never love you.” Softly but blankly spoken, the words bruise Killian’s heart. The muscle itself skips a few beats, and he quickly hides the discomfort behind a smirk.
“Is that so?”
“You’re just a pirate. She is a princess, and you, a liar. That’s why.”
‘What does it matter to you, prince? I am here only to save her son," Killian snaps, turning on a heel as he briskly walks away.
“You’re not here for Henry, you’re here for Emma! And you’ll /never/ have her.”
“The Echo Cave, of course," Killian huffs, leaning back against a rock near the cave’s entrance. “Of course he would lock Bae in here.”
“What’s so special about this cave?” Emma queries, stepping forward. She reaches a slender hand up and brushes a lock of golden blond hair out of her face. Killian watches her for a moment, wondering what it would be like to run his hands through those tresses. He lets his breath out slowly, crossing his arms and shaking his head as he begins to explain.
“They say the deeper the lie, the more truth in its echo. The only way to reach your beloved is to reveal your darkest secrets; all of us are to do so.”
“Ugh, that’s ridiculous," she snaps. He raises his arms in surrender.
“Don’t kill the messenger, love; I only know from what I’ve been told.” He spreads his arms out before him, arching a dark brow. She shot him a glare before resting her gaze on her mother as she asked, “So what does Pan think he can achieve by this?” Again, Killian is the one to answer.
“Like I said before, love, we’re required to admit our darkest secrets, those we’d never tell another soul. Pan believes those secrets will tear us apart," he sighs, reaching up to rub the back of his neck, finding sudden fascination in his bootstraps. “I lost half my men in these caves. Ripped each others’ throats out.”
“Does /everything/ on this island have murderous consequences?” Regina growls.
“Ladies first," the pirate suggest, gesturing for them to enter. Regina ignores him and follows the path into the cave, her gait tense and wary as she passes. Snow follows suit, tentatively glancing over her shoulder at Emma questioningly. The blond dips her head in a nod, briefly flicking her gaze at Killian, her lips set in a firm line. He brings his shoulders up into a shrug; feeling no less confident than before, she moves on and quickens her pace to catch up with her mother.
Killian slips in behind Emma, followed by Charming. The pirate wordlessly makes his way to the head of the group, leading them through a maze of tunnels before stepping out onto a ledge overlooking a cavernous room, if one could call it that. He approaches the edge of the ledge, daring a glance downward. His stomach lurches as he notes the steep drop into pitch darkness. Gods know what’s down there, he thinks to himself. Slowly, he lifts his eyes to the cage in the center of the chasm, atop a pillar of rock, and his heart twists in his chest as he makes out Baelfire’s form huddled in the cage.
Neal slowly awakens, blinking his eyes open and leaning forward as he catches sight of the small group of people on the ledge opposite him. His eyes widen as he makes out Emma lingering behind her parents, and…Hook? What the hell is he doing here? the man grumbles thoughtfully. “Emma!” he shouts, pressing his face against the bamboo bars. She recoils noticeably at the sound of his voice, vulnerability flashing in her eyes.
“Neal," she murmurs. Unwilling regret blossoms in her chest; she feels a dark cloud spreading over her mind as she discovers her own dark secret, the realization brought on by the sight of the man she once loved.
“How do we get across? Even if we had enough rope, there’d be nothing to catch on," Charming remarks.
“I told you already," Killian mumbles, reaching up and pinching the bridge of his nose. He is as reluctant as the rest of them. “So, who wants to go first?” he asks them, turning on a heel to face the group.
“What happens if we do? Do we sprout wings or something?” Emma comments flatly.
Killian lets his head drop with a sigh, and she can read the tension in his shoulders. “There’s only one way to find out, I suppose.” It takes him a few moments before he looks up again, directing his gaze to Charming and Snow. “I kissed Emma.”
“You what?!” Charming rushes forward, ready to strangle him, but Snow feebly holds him back and tries to soothe him. Emma turns to Killian and admits,
“I already told Snow we kissed, so it’s not really a secret. And…," here is when the uncertainty flickers in her eyes, “It was just a kiss; how is a kiss your darkest secret?”
“It’s what the kiss revealed,” he says. He swallows, willing his heart to stop its frantic beating against his ribs. “I never thought I’d be capable of letting my first love, my Milah, go. Never thought I could find someone else. That is, until I met you.” Even as the shaking words fall past his lips, he wishes they never had—not because he doesn’t love her, but because he, like she, cannot stand the vulnerability his words reveal. The exposed part of him, the heart her offers her, whether she chooses to break it or not. And he hates every minute of it. He rests his icy gaze on the flawless creature before him, a queen among women, and what is left of his heart aches as he comes to the realization that again, he will never have her.
A shiver runs through Emma as she listens to his profession. She lowers her head, her jade eyes flicking across the ground, restlessly searching for some nonexistent point. Her heart has decided to become a bird, fluttering, thumping, pounding against her ribs, a captive trying to break free. Hook’s—Killian’s, she corrects herself—profession clicks within her like a key in a lock. Emma is helpless as she feels the walls around her heart trembling, shaken at their foundation by the words from the pirate’s lips.
So he was in love with her. /That/ was his darkest secret. She averts her gaze, wishing she could answer him, but having no words with which to do so. His profession had hits her with a surprising intensity, and the rush of emotions that washes through her is too much too handle. Thus, she turns away from him, looking instead to her parents. The ground shakes beneath them as a pathway forms from Neal’s isolated pillar to about half-way across. Her mother and father make their admissions, and the pathway stretches from end to end, forming a connection between the rock structures. Emma crosses the pathway and hacks at the cage with the sword, in an attempt to free Neal.
“Emma, EM-ma. EM-MA! We both know that’s not how it works," he comments. “You can tell me anything.” Defeated, she drops to her knees before him and laces her fingers with his through the bars. Anything, she reminds herself. She takes in a deep breath, raising up around her heart the walls she had built so very high, recoiling, drawing back into herself for a precious few moments before she revealed her own secret.
“When Hook told my parents you were alive, I should have been happy, ecstatic, and I wish I wish. I should have been glad because I thought you died, and I should have been happily surprised you were alive," she continues, meeting his gaze with her eyes filling with tears. “But I wasn’t. I found myself hoping you had died, because knowing you had died was easier to deal with than the resurgence of all…the…pain the sight of you brings back to me.” She collapses into tears, recoiling as Neal reaches his fingers through the bars.
Killian watches the exchange, and at the sight of Emma in tears, he takes a step forward, his hand on his sword, noting her slight shift in movement.
Neal listens to her, her words stinging his heart. He nods slowly, bowing his head. “I get it. I wouldn’t in 300 years deserve everything you’ve given me, Emma. I condemned you to a life that you didn’t deserve, and I’m sorry for that.” The cage dissolves into thin air, and they pull each other into an embrace. Killian tears his gaze away and turning on a heel, starts walking out of the cave, unseen by everyone else. Emma buries her face in Neal’s shoulder, tears running down her cheeks. “I’m sorry, Neal, but I can’t. I don’t….anymore.” She never said the word, but he heard it loud and clear. “I’ll never stop fighting for you, know that at least. Now let’s get out of here.” He gets to his feet, pulling her up beside him and following the others out of the cave. So, that was it. My first Captain Swan fic. Thoughts?