Chapter 11: Shattered
Emma was tempted to follow him on deck, but decided it might be better to let him fulfil his responsibilities, and went to lie down on the bed, staring at the ceiling, passing her tongue on her lips. She knew she had drifted, but she was still too much overwhelmed by her feelings to regret anything. She lost herself in her thoughts, closing her eyes as she relived the moment, until falling asleep.
The next morning, she still had no regret about the past evening. All she wanted was to see him again. She left the quarters, expecting to find him on board. But she heard his voice much earlier than she had thought, coming from the lieutenant’s cabin. Planning on going to greet the two brothers, she came closer to the door. She had been unable to make out his words, but caught Liam’s.
“You truly love her, don’t you?”
Emma instantly stopped and leant against the wall, barely breathing.
“I’d go to the end of the world for her, or time. When she finds a way back to her realm, I can’t stay here. Wherever in space and time her realm is, I’ll follow her if she wants me.”
Feeling like she was not supposed to hear this conversation, Emma went back to the quarters and collapsed against the door, her heart beating fast. She knew he wasn’t willing to let her go, but she had not expected he would be thinking of leaving behind everything he loved, his brother, his ship, his home, just to be with her. She had to talk to him about this. She waited until hearing the door of the cabin; he had now finished talking to Liam. But she didn’t find the courage to go and find him on deck; she would just wait for him to come back to the quarters.
Killian was supervising his crew on deck. Since no sailor seemed to need him at the moment, he walked to the railing and looked at the horizon, thinking. He needed to tell Emma about this conversation he had just had with his brother. But he had to wait; perhaps she was still sleeping. He would give her a few hours and wait for her to come on deck. If she didn’t come, he would go to meet her in the quarters, even if he usually avoided to do this because he knew she sometimes needed her space. He just knew he had to talk to her. There was no doubt about his decision. Years earlier, when he had become a sailor with his brother, he had thought the ocean would be the love of his life. He had never thought someone would be capable of distracting him from sailing. That was until he had met her. Never a woman had made him feel this way, and each day spent with her had only strenghtened his feelings for her. Now that he knew what love was, he couldn’t let her go so easily; if she wanted him, he would leave with her. Though the Evil Queen would be less likely to reach them in this other realm, Liam refused to leave everything behind. A choice had to be made. But Killian was ready. If they found a way to travel from one realm to another, there were chances he would be able to come back and see his brother again. If he let Emma go, he would lose her forever. The past evening had comforted him in his choice; since the day when the pirate he had become had brought her back on board, he had sometimes doubted, wondering what she was thinking about him. There were times when he could see in her eyes she was trying to figure out how much he had changed, making him wonder whether she preferred the lieutenant he was before she had been taken away from him. But the previous night, she had made him understand she had nothing against the pirate he now was. He had even thought she was about to say the words; the words he had yet to use himself. Thinking of the past evening, he looked back at the passage leading below deck, tempted to go and find her in the quarters. But he focused again on the horizon, still lost in his thoughts. He was irrevocably in love. He loved every part of her and had yet to find her any flaw.
A voice pulled him out of his thoughts.
“A wardrobe change, how nice! Leather fits you well, lieutenant.”
Killian turned back instantly and, horror-struck, saw the Evil Queen standing right in front of him.
“It’s captain, now.” He quickly looked around. All of his men were immobilized the way Liam had been the first time she had come on deck. With relief, he realized Emma was still safe in the quarters. He only hoped she would not decide to come on deck now. He glared at the Evil Queen. “What the bloody hell are you doing aboard my ship?”
“Is that any way to address a queen? Your brother was much more polite. How is he?”
“Don’t you dare talking about him!” His jaw clenched, he unsheathed his sword, ready to fight. The Evil Queen smirked.
“Where is the woman you love?”
“Don’t get close to her!”
She laughed. “I must admit I am impressed. Not many people break into my castle and come out of it alive. There were so many opportunities for you to die, and you’re still here. All these risks taken just for her; do you realize how much she’s getting you into trouble?”
“I’d rather die now than live a hundred years without knowing her,” he said through gritted teeth.
A malevolent smile appeared on her lips. “I am certain she would enjoy the show. How about you call her so she can join us?”
“No!” Looking daggers at her, he made a threatening move with his sword. But with a move of the hand, she made it fly away. Suddenly, she was standing behind him and he heard her talking in his ear.
“I won’t do it.”
“You know you can’t fight me, captain.”
Killian hated how close she was, how soft was her voice at this moment, or how her arms wrapped around his waist. The only one allowed to hold her like this was Emma. But he knew it was useless to try and fight; there was nothing he could do against her magic. His jaw hurting because it was clenched so tightly, he didn’t move, reluctantly letting her trail her fingers up his stomach and play with his chest hair.
“I may not be able to rip her heart out, but I can rip out yours,” she said maliciously. Unable to stop himself, his scream resounded as her hand sank into his chest, her fingers closing on his heart. “Can you see how easy it would be for me to crush your heart?”
“Do it. But grant me one dying wish: leave Emma be.”
She sighed. “Love makes people so boring. Finally, you will suffer much more with your heart in place.”
Killian winced in pain as she kept her fingers closed, squeezing his heart. “Why are you doing this?”
“Did you really think you wouldn’t see me again after breaking into my castle and rescuing her? You’ve upset me, pirate. And for this, I shall destroy your happiness, if it is the last thing I do.”
Finally, she removed her hand from his chest and he felt free. But there was no time to be relieved: she was here. She looked worried; probably she had heard him scream.
The next second, he witnessed something similar to what she had seen the first time the Evil Queen had come aboard, something they had never discussed: her magic. He felt the heat against his shoulder as the white light went straight to the woman who let go of him as she was sent away. Though amazed by this strike, he didn’t have time to marvel at her power.
“Emma, you have to run!”
Picking up his sword, he ran towards the Evil Queen, but she disappeared in a puff of purple smoke before he had time to reach her. Instantly, he turned to Emma, who was still here despite what he had told her, looking down at her hands, perhaps trying to make her magic work again. He ran to her, but the woman reached her first, appearing behind her.
It was too late: the Evil Queen tossed an arm around her neck and, with a smirk, disappeared in another puff of purple smoke.
His men came back to life, but she was gone, taken away from him, again. Turning his despair into anger, he drove his sword into the floor, the blade sinking between two planks of wood. Ignoring the sailors who came to him, saying words which didn’t reach him, he went to the wheel and, with all his strength, rotated it as fast as he could, turning around. Still ignoring his sailors, he went to hoist the sails to get a maximal speed.
“We’re heading back to the Enchanted Forest! Make sure the Jolly Roger stays on course!”
He went back to his quarters and slammed the door shut. Sadness imprinted his features as he trailed his hand over the book lying on the desk; it was probably the book she was reading before coming on deck and being taken away. His jaw clenched again at the thought of the Evil Queen. He grabbed his most recent logbook and his quill, and sat down to write.
‘The plan has changed. We give up on this bloody flower, and go back to the Evil Queen’s castle.’ He closed his eyes and thought of her, anger giving way to sadness. ‘Again, she took you away from me. Without your light surrounding me, I can already feel myself being drawn to the darkness. You can’t imagine how much you mean to me, and if you don’t know it already, I only hope I will have a chance to tell you this. But how many times will I need to lose you before the universe allows me to keep you forever?’
Again, his feelings switched to anger. He tore the page from the book, crumpled it and tossed it on the floor, before pushing book, quill and bottle of ink away and leaning his forehead in his hand, his fingers closing on his hair. He got up, planning to go on deck, but was stopped by his brother.
“You should be getting some rest, you still haven’t fully recovered.”
Liam ignored his words and seized his arm. “Killian, I know she took her away again, but losing control won’t lead you anywhere.”
“I am not losing control, I know what I’m doing! I’m going back to her castle, I will save her.”
“This morning, you made me realize how much you love her, and I know she cares about you too. This love you have is strong, no one can fight it. You found her once, you will find her again. But Killian, going to the Queen’s castle is too much dangerous. We should go back to this man, the Dark One, he probably knows how to find her.”
“The crocodile is odious and wants treasures in return. Last time I already gave him all I had. Infiltrating the Evil Queen’s castle doesn’t cost anything, and I could find her to get my revenge for what she did.”
“It could cost your life. Last time, I came out of it barely alive. Emma may not even be there. The Dark One can surely help you more.”
“The Evil Queen has to pay.”
“Killian, revenge is not the solution.”
“Are you saying I should leave her unpunished?”
“I am saying I want you to stay alive. If you go there, you may not live long enough to see Emma again.”
“I’ve survived until now.”
“Brother, trust me. Focus on finding Emma instead. The Queen already has something against you, she will hate that you counter her plans again: when you find Miss Swan, do as you told me this morning; follow Emma into her realm. You can start again, live a life together there, away from the Queen.”
Emma crashed on the stone floor. It didn’t take her long to realize what had happened: the Evil Queen had taken her away; she had lost Killian, again. She looked up; while she had miserably slumped onto the floor, her abductor had smoothly landed on her feet. Emma got up and had a lump in her throat as she swept the room with her eyes: the circular room with stone walls gave her a sense of déjà-vu. But it was not the same tower than the first time: she caught a glimpse of the window; she could not see the ocean, only mountains. The other difference was that there was no heavy chain with handcuffs in the middle of the room, but an altar.
“What have I ever done to you?” she asked the Evil Queen, daring to look her in the eyes.
“Foolish girl,” she said with a smirk. “It is not about something you’ve done, it is about what you are.”
Emma was disconcerted, not understanding. “What am I?”
“You are in love. And love is not tolerated in my kingdom.” Hatred could be heard in her voice. An evil glint appeared in her eyes. “But I can fix it. I will give you a choice.”
A choice. Emma didn’t like this. The first time she had been given a choice by the Evil Queen, Emma had to choose between going with her or watching the ship being consumed by flames; it was not really a choice, since one of the options was simply unconceivable. She was worried about the fact she had said that being in love was the problem, and that she could fix it. Was she about to give her some sort of potion which would wind up her feelings for him? Distracted by her thoughts, she had not been careful enough to see where the Evil Queen had taken what she was now holding in her hand.
“Here is an apple,” she said with a smirk, caressing the fruit as if it was some sort of treasure. “You can eat it, or not. The choice is yours.”
Her fears didn’t fade. “What will it do to me?”
“There is in this apple a poison. You won’t feel anything: one bite and you will fall asleep…” The woman tore her gaze away from the fruit and caught her eye before adding, “to never wake up again. Your body will be your tomb. And you'll be in there with nothing but dreams formed of your own regrets.”
Emma shuddered. It sounded terrible, and she had yet to hear the second option; it might be just as terrible. “What happens if I decide not to eat it?”
“I will send you back to the man you love.” Startled, Emma raised both eyebrows. The woman sneered. “See by yourself.”
With a move of the hand, the Evil Queen made a frame appear out of nowhere. The frame was so large that it was taking most of Emma’s field of vision; wide, higher than her, hiding her abductor. At first it was like a mirror: Emma could see her reflection, with the stone wall behind her. But soon, the background changed. She recognized it instantly: it was as if she was on the stern of the Jolly Roger, she could see the ocean behind her. The angle was then modified so that Emma was seeing in the frame what she would see if she actually was on the Jolly Roger: she was now staring at Killian’s back. He was holding the wheel. It looked so real that it was difficult to remember it was not. He turned back, and a beam lightened his face. She could see nothing but happiness in his eyes as he let go of the wheel to come to her. She pressed her hands against his hand and hook. Drowning in his eyes, she couldn’t remember why she couldn’t be simply happy, just like he was. It was like there was something wrong, she was not allowed to be happy, to be just with him. But she didn’t know what it was and it was scaring her. She tried to let him see her fears through her eyes, but Killian just kept beaming at her. That was until his face contorted with pain and he arched his back. This was when she saw her: drowning in his eyes, she had not seen the Evil Queen standing right behind him, her eyes locked on her, smirking.
Emma wanted to help him, but she couldn’t move her hands, which were still pressed against his hand and his hook. Horrified, she saw the woman pull on something, and Killian arched his back even more. A hand still on his shoulder, the Evil Queen then showed Emma she was holding something red and brightly glowing. She let out a scream as she recognized it as Killian’s heart. The malevolent smile back on her lips, the woman held the heart over his shoulder, making sure the blonde would see it. Slowly, her hold on his heart tightened, and Killian bent, in agony.
“Please, stop it!”
But the Evil Queen didn’t stop. The smirk remained on her lips as she kept squeezing his heart. Tears were now rolling down her cheeks. Horror-struck, unable to move and powerless, Emma was mainly staring at Killian, who was not taking his eyes off of her while he was bending more and more. There were times when the pain seemed to be lower; he was then giving her a faint smile, as if trying to reassure her and make her understand he was alright. But it never lasted long, and his face contorted with pain again until, at some point, his eyes lost of their radiance and his eyelids closed. Killian collapsed and Emma screamed. She glanced at the Evil Queen; between her fingers was not a glowing heart anymore, but ashes. Emma screamed even louder and fell down to her knees, tears flowing down her cheeks, her eyes locked on his lifeless body. As the fact he was dead sank in, she shrilled. A white light blinded her and she heard the sound of shattering glass. Killian and the wooden floor of the Jolly Roger disappeared from view, being replaced by a stone floor scattered with shards of glass.
“Look at this. Your love for him is so strong that it triggers this magic you obviously can’t control.”
Still kneeling down, Emma looked up, her vision blurred by all the tears. The woman looked utterly satisfied. A wave of anger washed over Emma and she tried to use her magic, planning on knocking the Evil Queen out and escaping. But nothing happened.
“You really are unable to control it,” she sneered. “How pathetic, your magic is working only when it comes to saving him, today. It looks like you love your pirate more than you love yourself.”
Ignoring her words, Emma got up and glared at her. “I take that apple and he lives?”
“You can be sure he will live,” she said, smirking. “His grief will only be the greater this way.”
Emma snatched the apple and sat down on the altar, tears still rolling down because of this scene she had witnessed, and because of what she was about to do. Eternal sleep: the Evil Queen had said it would be like falling asleep, but it was more like dying; her life was over, she would never see him again. Even if it had not been true, it had seemed real: she had just watched the man she loved die. And now she was about to fall asleep to never wake up again. The worst part was that she never told him she loved him. Not once. She was too scared. Too scared that, somehow, saying it would make it real, and force her to accept her feelings. Her fears sounded ludicrous to her now, she should have told him when it was time. Now, it was too late, she would never have a chance to tell him because she would be sleeping eternally. But the sacrifice was worth it; she would do anything for him, including this. She only wished she had told him.
“The way you snatched that apple let me think you had made your choice. Will you take a bite or should we go and crush the heart of your pirate?”
“My choice is made. Congratulations, you’ve won.”
Her words brought a malevolent grin on her lips. A last tear rolling down her cheek, Emma took a bite and, fast, very fast, fell asleep.