We all remember the tortured look in their eyes, the pain on their faces as they said their goodbyes. The end of season four was emotionally eviscerating, and set the scene perfectly for a whole new Storybrooke in Season five. This week’s fanfic excerpt is from my selection of one-off’s, “You Had Me At Malfeasance“, and the title of this chapter is “Dark Heart.” Here’s my take on what happened after the dagger dropped.
She was gone.
He stared as the spot where the dagger had clattered to the ground, his face a study in stunned disbelief mingled with a sense of overwhelming dread. He stepped forward cautiously, hoping beyond hope that he wouldn’t see what he knew he was going to see.
Her name was on the dagger.
He bent forward at the waist, bracing his hand against his knee as the nausea overtook him in a wave. The darkness was gone, the dagger bore her name, and Emma’s fate was sealed.
He raised his head and straightened slowly as he heard Snow make a horrible, strangled sound, her hand clapped over her mouth as though she could keep it in. Tears flowed freely down her face, and as he turned to look at Regina, he saw her tears as well.
David put a hand to his wife’s shoulder, pulling her in to hold her as Robin moved to Regina’s side, and in that moment, Killian felt more alone than he had in decades. More alone than when he’d stood on the shores of accursed island, desperate for a way off. More alone than when he’d watched Milah’s body slide into the sea. Or Liam’s.
“Someone should pick it up,” Regina said quietly. She looked over at Snow who shook her head silently.
“No,” she said. “I can’t. David?”
He nodded awkwardly. “Yeah,” he said, gathering himself. “I’ll do it.” He looked around at everyone again. “Should I call her?”
“No!” The word tore from Killian’s throat. “Sorry,” he apologized. “I just…I need a moment.”
“We all do,” Snow agreed. “Before we call her, we need to decide the best course of action.”
“And we need to be prepared for…whoever answers,” Regina said, taking in a shaky breath.
“She’s still Emma,” David said firmly. “Whoever she is now.”
“You don’t know that,” Killian said darkly. “Emma is powerful – much more powerful that Rumplestiltskin was when he acquired the dagger. We can have no idea how this will affect her.”
“Killian,” Robin said quietly. “We’ll figure it out. We’ll-”
“What?” He snarled. “We’ll give her a bouquet of flowers and hope that melts her dark heart? Lock her away for her own protection – and ours?”
“Hook -” Snow interceded.
“Don’t you understand? She’ll never be the same again!” He raged. “She’ll never be Emma as we knew her, ever again. That Emma is gone!”
“So what?” David asked belligerently. “You’re just giving up? I can’t give up on my daughter. And if you’re giving up, you can just leave – you’re no good to us.”
“I didn’t say that,” Killian ground out. He raised tortured eyes to all of them. “I just…I can’t lose her. Not again. Not this way.”
“And we won’t lose her again, either,” Snow said. She stepped closer to Killian, putting a gentle hand on his arm. “Like Robin said…we’ll find away.”
“Our family never gives up on each other,” David said. “Whoever Emma is now, we still love her. And I’m willing to bet that you do, too.”
Killian met his eyes wordlessly, a muscle ticking furiously in his jaw. He couldn’t seem to get the words out.
Regina pulled free of Robin’s embrace and walked closer to the group. “I heard her tell you that she loves you,” she said softly. “Those aren’t words that come easily for Emma. Take that as a message.”
“Of what? All that I’ve lost?” Killian snapped.
“No. She gave you the key,” Regina said steadily. “I happen to know for a fact that True Love’s Kiss can break any curse – including the curse of the Dark One.”
Killian stared at her, motionless, and the first spark of hope lit in his eyes. “You know that?”
“True love can break any curse,” Snow said, smiling. “And we’ve got enough love for Emma to go around.”
“I’m not saying it’ll be easy,” Regina cautioned. “You may have to remind her that she has the capability to love. She may have lost her connection to it. But it’s still there.”
“You just have to believe it, Hook,” Snow said, squeezing his arm. “We all do.”
“Even Rumplestiltskin was capable of love,” David pointed out. “And he’d been the dark one for centuries.”
“Yes,” Killian said, nodding slowly as he warmed to the idea, letting it unfurl inside him. “She just needs to be reminded.”
“And we can all do that,” David said. “Together.”
Killian took a deep breath in, letting it out, letting his mind sort through it all. He would find a way to reach her. If he could find her across realms, he could surely, surely find her inside of herself. She loved him, dammit.
She loved him.
The wonder of it flooded through him. He hadn’t had a second to really think about it, with all that happened. She loved him. She’d looked him right in the eyes and she’d said the words. And he knew – oh, he knew – just how much it cost to say the words. He’d all but said them himself on a few occasions. But she’d been the brave one. She’d been the one to say it.
And now he owed her a response. He owed it to himself, and to her, to save the savior.
“I’ll get her back,” he promised Snow.
“We’ll get her back,” David said. “All of us. You’re not alone in this, Killian.”
Killian’s eyes flared slightly at the use of his given name, and Snow took up where David left off.
“Emma loves you,” Snow said. “That makes you family. David and I may never have planned on our daughter loving a pirate, but she does. And that means something to us.”
“I know you had a brother once,” David said. “You remember what it is to have family. We’re here for you. And for each other.”
Killian blinked hard, actually afraid for a moment that he was going to lose his composure. He cleared his throat once, and again before he could speak.
David clapped him on the shoulder. “Don’t go getting all choked up on me,” David said. “Once we save Emma I’m still going to enforce a curfew.”
Killian rolled his eyes. “I was only clearing my throat because I need some rum,” he grumbled, reaching for his flask. He took a healthy swallow before handing it to David, who took a grateful drink of his own before handing it back.
“Well, I guess we should get this over with,” David said, looking from Regina to Snow, then back to Killian again.
“Do it,” Killian said.
David squatted down, reaching for the dagger, and Killian closed his eyes for a moment, holding within him the memory of how she looked as she’d said the words.
I love you Emma, he thought. Come back to me. I love you.
David’s fingers wrapped around the dagger as he said aloud:
“Dark One, I summon thee.”
There was a clap of thunder, and Killian opened his eyes.
And he loved her so much, he knew he had enough for both of them.