The Wicked Witch tortures Killian for information using Emma’s face. It breaks him. Captain Swan angst.
He blinks his eyes open with a groan and stares hard at the rock ceiling above him. His mind is fuzzy and slow and he sits up on his elbows, straw shifting beneath him. His hook is gone and his entire body aches.
He remembers suddenly – the battle in the fields, the witch reaching for Henry, Emma’s anguished screams. He sighs and rubs at the back of his head. It seems being a hero is quite painful, all things considered.
Still, he rather it be him in the cell than Henry. Or Emma.
A familiar groan sounds to his right and his head twists so fast, his neck snaps in protest. Something cold seizes his chest when he sees a tangle of blonde hair.
“Emma?” He whispers and he crawls over. She struggles up on her arms and he steadies her with his. She pushes back her hair and blinks up at him.
“Killian?” Something shifts in his chest and he tucks an errant curl behind her ear. “Where are we?”
He looks around them and then focuses back on her face. Pale moonlight reflects off her cheekbones and her eyes are wide with fear.
He peers at her carefully and schools his features into a neutral expression. “The witch’s tower, I presume.” He slides his fingers along her cheek. “Are you hurt?”
Emma shakes her head, rubbing her hands along her jeans. “Did she get the slippers?”
Killian blinks rapidly and sighs, fingers rubbing hard against his eyes. He thinks quickly as black spots dance along his vision. “Don’t you remember? We moved them, lass.”
Emma chuckles. “Must have hit my head.”
Killian tilts his head and gives her a soft smile. “Aye. Remember, we placed them at Regina’s. In the dungeon.”
He’s rewarded with an oh-so-rare smile and he watches as pale, nearly translucent skin darkens and morphs in front of his eyes. A wide grin cracks and shatters her features until the witch is sitting in front of him, face triumphant.
He screws his face into mock anguish and the witch is too proud of herself to take note of his horrific acting. He never was one for theatrics – large leather jacket and eye kohl excluded, obviously.
He knew as soon as she opened her mouth it wasn’t her. Emma never called him by his true name. It ate at his heart and shadowed his soul – but he had never been Killian to her.
She cackles, shrill and piercing and disappears in a cloud of blood-red smoke. He blinks at the space she occupied previously and exhales heavily, allowing himself a small grin.
He crosses his legs at the ankle and folds his hands behind his head. “Oh, delightful. You’ve returned.”
The door to his iron cell swings open with a sharp clang and a chuckle shakes his torso. He tilts his head as her very angry, very green, face comes into his view.
“You tricked me.” She seethes. “You must be insane – to treat me so callously.”
“And you must be a stupid bint.“ He grins wide, teeth bared in a feral smile. “If you think me unable to recognize the difference between you and her.”
Rage shakes the witch’s body, and he can see the darkness cloud behind her eyes. She clenches her hands, shiny red nails bright against the green of her skin. Her fury morphs her – makes her terrible in her anger.
Wicked Witch indeed, he thinks idly.
Still, he can’t stop laughing when she throws him against the wall.
The witch continues to ask for information, and he continues to refuse it – giving her an extensive biting commentary on the state of her appearance rather than information on the royal family. It would be easy to give in – it would certainly end his suffering – but the thought of Emma coming to harm because of something he divulges closes his throat and tightens his jaw.
He thinks of her eyes – green and piercing and so very sad.
The witch takes out her frustration in lashes. His body is weak, and his head is spinning, and he hopes to the Gods above that Dave has managed to find some way to mount this bloody tower because he’s not sure how much longer he can maintain this calm façade. He’s a patient man, but bloody hell, he has limits.
He’s sprawled on his stomach when she swings into his cell, the pain not so excruciating when the open wounds of his back are allowed to breath. He bites back a groan and raises himself on his elbows.
“Is it time for our tea already, love?”
Green hands claw at his skin and suddenly he’s pressed against the far wall of the cell – one of his favorite corners if he’s being quite honest.
“What are you grinning about, my pretty?” Her head tilts as she regards him, ruby red nails tracing a thin line across his bare chest. He winces slightly at the thin cut she leaves behind, but manages a winning smile.
“Can’t say anyone’s ever called me pretty before.” He chuckles. He closes his eyes and braces himself for the pain.
“But you are.” A different voice supplies and his exhale is shaky and quick. He blinks his eyes open to see blonde hair and green eyes and Gods, he knows it isn’t her, but she’s so beautiful. The witch grins at him with Emma’s careful smile. “So handsome.”
His eyes harden and he clenches his fists. “Don’t.”
Pure, unadulterated glee dances in the witch’s eyes and the last thing he thinks before pain overrides any thought at all is that he’s never seen Emma look so happy.
He thinks that might hurt worse.
From that point on, she wears Emma’s face whenever she comes. The witch utters terrible truths using her mouth and he finds it more and more difficult to differentiate between the world the witch has created and reality.
She sits with his head in her lap, raking gentle fingers through his hair and whispers to him. “You destroy everything you touch, Killian. You’ll destroy me, too.”
He whimpers and curls in on himself, but Emma just smiles at him as her fingers bruise his skin. “Just like Milah and Liam – you’ll destroy me.”
He knows she’s right.
Warm lips touch his forehead and he blinks awake. He smiles at her above him and tries to reach out, but her fingers close over his and keep him down.
“You’re nothing to me.” She whispers. “You never will be.”
“Hook!” He startles awake and she’s above him, eyes wild. Hands grip his shoulders and she shakes. “Come on, we need to go!”
He stays on his back, pain making him sluggish. His mind drifts and he sighs, closing his eyes.
“No more.” He whispers. “Please.”
And then suddenly David’s voice is above him and his eyes blink open. His eyes find Emma, finally Emma, and he grunts out a chuckle.
“About bloody time, lass.”
“You’ve been avoiding me.” She whispers and he stares hard at the half empty bottle of rum on his desk. He can hear the pain in her voice and it’s too much – far too difficult for him to meet her gaze.
“Aye.” He responds.
She takes the seat across from him and he flinches hard when she reaches out and touches his wrist. The movement sends his drink tumbling to the floor, glass shattering.
“No.” He wheezes and his chest is heaving with the effort it takes to breathe. He looks at her with wide eyes and her lips are twisted into a frown. She holds both hands up in surrender.
“I needed to see.” She says and he picks up the bottle, drinking straight. The amber liquid sloshes angrily as his hand shakes, moisture falling down his chin with the furious movement.
She blinks at him. “She was me, wasn’t she?”
He puts the bottle down carefully, hand running against his lips. His eyes dart to hers and then away. He feels like a cad – a spooked animal. He should be able to bloody handle this, sort it out in his mind. But he just can’t. The witch’s words haunt his every waking moment – reciting his insecurities and fears to him in a steady litany – all in the voice of the woman who brought him salvation.
“Aye.” He croaks and Emma visibly sags in her chair.
“You’re afraid of me?” Her voice sounds small and he hates that she decides to be open with him when he’s too frozen to comfort her.
“No.” He supplies and finally, finally, meets her gaze. Her green eyes are turbulent, like the sea he muses (but alas, everything brings him back to the sea), stormy and wild with anguish. “I’m afraid of myself.”
You’ll destroy me – destroy me – destroy me.
It echoes and pounds in his mind. Pain lashes his heart and he sucks in a deep breath.
“I’m afraid of what’s inside of me.” His voice is a hoarse whisper. “I’ll break you, Emma.”
She stares at him in shocked silence for a moment before her hand shoots out and grabs the bottle. He tries not to wince, but his reaction time is slow, and she sees it from the corner of her eye. She stutters and then raises the bottle to her lips. Finally, she stands and walks to his side of the table. He tells his heart to calm, his mind to silence, that it’s Emma, his Emma, and he is fine – he is safe.
She slowly and carefully frames his face with her hands. The pain crescendos in his chest but she holds steady, even as he tries to wrench himself away. Her thumbs smooth over his jaw, under his eye, and he calms.
She smiles that shy smile, just a hint of teeth, and he sees redemption.
“How can you break what you put back together?”
He is calm.