WHO: Killian Jones, Emma Swan WHEN: The day he got there WHERE: Medical center WHAT: Reunion!
“You lot have a bit of sense.” A pause. “Just a bit, mind you.”
Dry, acerbic and self-possessed -- these first words spoken by Killian Jones addressed the very first words which were relayed to him -- Emma Swan is on her way. And he meant them to imply the consequences for lying in such a situation. To wake in one’s very dusty clothes only to find a doctor’s beak examining a machine humming gently (it’s beeps suggesting yes, there was a heart and yes, that heart was a thing that beat with temperate measure) when death had been not only imminent but immediately assured was off-putting, to say the least.
Killian’s legs churned beneath the blankets, itching to leave them behind. It was only the promise of Emma that stayed him. Had she found a way to save him? They’d been sure, before, that there was no solve and no salvation. He’d been prepared to go down with his own ship. It was his way. And so this was either a version of heaven or hell. Emma would be his bellwether.
Her legs didn't work as fast as she wanted them to. Having been outdoors, working in the Memorial Garden, it took Emma some time to get back to the compound. And then some more time to make it to medical. By the time she was outside the area, Emma wished for a wave of her hand to freshen up, but she wasn't willing to take the time to head back to her place and clean up.
Once inside, there were two reactions when they saw her: unease and annoyance. Her askance of him by name was so full of hope and the slightest hint of desperation. There a moment where she thought this whole thing might have been a prank — build them up to tear her down, the way so many people thought she'd been doing with that spell. She couldn't have blamed them, but the hope in her heart refused to be squashed. They pointed, and now she had a direction.
Each curtained area was glanced in before she moved onto the next, and the next, until she spotted him. Recognition dawned on her slowly, as if she couldn't believe her eyes. It had been almost six months since she'd seen him, and she wanted to drink in his face for the instant before she rushed to the bed, never minding that he could be from any point in time (including that time period that he briefly wanted to kill her), and threw herself against him.
The familiar weight presented by one Miss Emma Swan pushing him back against the pillows and warming him through in an instant immediately suggested this was not some hellish place. Instead, perhaps, he’d moved on? She’d just left him to travel through the portal … but her heart beat rapidly beside his and each consecutive second pressing onward continued to suggest that indeed, this was not death.
Not in any form or fashion. With his palm pressed firmly against the nape of her neck and arm supporting the small of her back he, of course, kissed her. Then, a smirk.
“A fine welcome, Swan.”
The smirk went unnoticed as Emma continued to hold onto him, her chin over his shoulder, which was when the waterworks started. She found herself tearing up more and more when she was around him, whenever thinking about terrible things happening to him or just not being with him. "It's been five months. I haven't seen you in five months. I tried to bring you back, but it backfired. I don't know how. People are mad at me, but I don't care anymore because you're here."
“Hold up, now.” When last he saw Emma there were tears on both their parts, but here? Five bloody months? It hadn’t been five minutes. He sat up straighter, making room for her next to him. She’d been bringing him back in their own time - from the Darkness, from the Underworld. Now, something new?
“I’m not following. Tell me more about five months, love. “ He paused. “Where were you trying to bring me back from?”
"Back home. Wherever people go when they disappear from here." Had he gotten the same explanation everyone else got? The Intake Staff should have been around, unless he'd been difficult, and maybe she'd have to fill him in. "I've been here over a year. You were here most of that time with me. So was Gold and some others." Talking about the Darkness could wait.
She took his hand and his wrist and held onto them. "I tried to do a spell to bring you back. I didn't want to be without you. And it backfired."
“You’re not hurt, are you?” Whatever Intake had told him, he’d been more or less glazed with fury and he’d have likely refused to believe them anyway. The key truth however, was that this was not the Underworld. He vined his fingertips with hers and pulled their hands to his chest.
“Swan,” he murmured, his own gaze now all too misty. I should have been with you. It’s where I belong.
"Not physically, no." And anything else, she felt she deserved. Sleeping Curse nightmares, no magic, and having to face the people she hurt was more than enough. If it weren't for Henry, Baelfire, and Belle, she may have tried to rough it up outside. "My spell somehow backfired and cast the Dark Curse and took a bunch of people from here to a memory version of Storybrooke. All with new memories."
He wouldn't remember how everyone had reacted back home when the Curse was cast, but he would remember the other times when they didn't have their memories. This was a whole other step beyond. She held up her wrist, the one with the enchanted cuff on. "Don't make a big deal about this."
His brow arched and when he spoke, his tone was appeasing. She would know she didn’t have to wear it with him present. But any choice in that matter was hers and he would not push her in this specific matter.
“ … but you’re back, so clearly the curse lifted. “ A pause. “Then, out come the pitchforks and the torches.”
"No pitchforks. No torches. I turned myself in."
Because of course she would. She'd spent so much of her life running that it had become her first instinct for everything. Not so since Storybrooke. She'd learned that staying rooted in one place with the people you loved was worth whatever potential pain there was. "Like I said, don't make a big deal about it."
He swallowed. You know, Swan. Don’t you? Either that they were to be separated and here, his protective streak would merely balloon into something unmanageable, or that he’d happily sidestep the rules of this place that wasn’t yet home.
But, for her, he dipped his head in brief agreement before gesturing to the rest of the room, the medbay, the entire mountain with a briefly cocked chin. “So, I heard the tale about this place. I thought we had the market cornered on woe. No such thing here.”
Emma could already feel some of the stress of the last few weeks — not exactly melt away, but ebb somewhat. For lack of a better word, she flumped like a lump against his side and shoulder. She should have been the one to ease his mind about being here, and yet here he was as always, her rock. "It's beyond weird here, and people come from different points in their timeline. "
"Baelfire is here. And I do mean Baelfire, and not Neal."
His eyes widened imperceptibly. Baelfire present? This was about to get very interesting indeed. He re-arranged his arm to ease around her shoulder and pull her in close to his side. “That timeline of when for him will be very important, I think. At least as far as I’m concerned.” Some brief note of relief guiltily curled through him -- Not Neal. “ I heard Belle and Henry are here, too.”
He paused. “So timelines, love.”
August hadn't spoken to her since everyone had come back from Storybrooke. She didn't blame him, of course, but it still stung. Baelfire had come to see her in jail. Henry barely left her side, despite her insistence. It was strange to have a potential friend (and definite ally?) in Loki, and most of the people who responded to Emma's post about the magical group were amenable. Most of them seemed to have done similar things and felt compelled to tell her all about them. It made her feel simultaneously relieved and a little frustrated. The introductions weren't a way for her to get any sort of absolution, just to tell them a little about herself.
"Timelines are strange. Henry's from when he broke the Author's pen. Baelfire is from a few years into Neverland, but he had time with you when you were here and seemed to be coming to grips with things. August it from not long after he was turned back into a real boy. And me… I've had what we call memory updates a few times while I've been here. The last thing I remember is that I was — " She'd made him a Dark One, against his wishes. He'd warned her, and then she'd taken all of their memories to try and fix what she'd done alone. That had been foolish. Then she'd been choking, and he'd told Nimue to stop. She knew what was coming next, and yet she wasn't able to bring herself to say it. "— we were Dark Ones. They were going to take over the people in Storybrooke to come back from the dead."
Whatever magic operating in this world and pulling them from opposing timelines had to have some element of purpose. Some reason. Unfinished business was the order of the day in the Underworld but he didn't know it here; perhaps they accepted this random assemblage of worlds and times as normal and right. And perhaps he was reaching, expecting ultimate death as he was.
He paused, making a split-second decision. There were months of narrative he knew, months of news in the over and underworld. He would save her from it, preferring to never again see that promise of never again on her face. "A trying day indeed, love. But we've come out of it into the here and now."
Emma was quiet for a series of instants, each more despairing than the next. The last few months of their lives back home and even here were beyond difficult. She'd been so isolated from her family, and knowing that she'd lost their trust… Honestly, it made the Darkness easier to creepy inside and take root. She'd thought she'd been doing right by her family, but it made things so much worse.
"Let's get you out of here so you can see Henry and Baelfire. They're going to want to see you first thing."
He waited a moment before smiling, straightening his legs to begin to rise from the hospital gurney.