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The Path That Moonbeams Make

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Emma is awake before she’s even aware she was asleep. Her eyes open, but she remains still, unsure of what disturbed her. It’s an old defense mechanism, built during long years of sleeping in unfamiliar locations near unfamiliar people who she learned quickly not to trust. Even now, in her own bed, in her own room, in her mother’s apartment (and how weird is that), she can still startle awake easily if something triggers her inner alarms. She can tell already that there’s something out of the ordinary, so she lays perfectly still, keeping her breathing even, and listens.

Mary Margaret—Snow or Mom or whatever it is Emma is supposed to call her now—and David/Charming/Dad/whatever are having a “romantic night out” at Granny’s B&B. They’d said something about wanting some alone time, and Emma had promptly stuck her fingers in her ears and sang “la la la, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Twenty-eight years on her own and now she’s living with her parents and being traumatized because they’re having sex; her life is weird. Henry is staying with Neal for the weekend, also at the B&B, trying to make up for lost time. In any case, Emma is the only one home and the apartment is utterly still and silent except for the fluttering of curtains in the breeze drifting in through the open window.

The weather had turned warm earlier in the week. Not Florida warm, which Emma sometimes misses, but warm enough to indulge in opening her bedroom window. She sleeps three stories up, which gives her an excellent view over the rooftops of Storybrooke, with a glimpse of the harbor in the distance and, from where she lays in bed, a wide swath of starry sky with the moon drifting above the ocean. The moon seems extra bright tonight, and a pale beam falls across the foot of her bed.

Other than the curtains, however, nothing moves. She listens harder, wondering if the noise came from downstairs. Slowly she sits up, reaching for the side table where she keeps her revolver. A glint of moonlight on metal catches her eye and she turns toward it.

There is a shadow beneath the window where no shadow should be: a dark, slumped shape that seems to be propped up against the wall. Emma slowly reaches for the gun, and as she does she catches the gleam of metal again on the floor beneath the window. She can just make out the silver curve of what can only be a—


Cautiously she slips from bed, glad that she’d put on pajama bottoms in spite of the warmer weather. Her hand hesitates over the gun, unsure; she still can’t make out his features. The shadow remains still, however, his hook laying quietly on the floorboards, his arm resting against what she assumes is his leg. Finally she reaches for the bedside lamp and switches it on.

The lamp light is dim and partially blocked by the bed, leaving him still draped in shadow, but it is, indeed, Hook. He’s lolling against the wall, his head tilted back so she can just make out the long line of his throat and the dark stubble that covers his jaw. He has his good arm tucked around his waist and one leg stretched out in front of him. The other is bent at the knee.

“Hook, what the hell are you doing here?” She pads around the end of the bed to where he’s laying. He must hear her approach because his head rolls in her direction, then slumps forward on his chest.

“Open window, darling. Might as well have issued me an invitation. I couldn’t resist,” he says. His voice is low and rougher than she’s used to hearing. He gives an odd little laugh and a groan into his own chest hair.

“Are you drunk?” She stands over him, glaring. He’s pulled some really stupid stunts in the short time he’s been in Storybrooke. She feels like she’s always catching him in the middle of some scheme or another, all of them geared toward killing Mr. Gold. However she also knows that Gold, as long as he’s in Storybrooke, is more than capable of protecting himself. Which means that the pirate is more private nuisance than public menace; as long as he doesn’t involve any more innocent civilians in his plots, she’s reluctant to actually lock him up.

Belle (or is it Lacey now?) hasn’t shown any interest in charging him for what happened to her, and Gold’s idea of revenge is a little more scary than legal action. And if Emma were to arrest him she’d have charge him with attempted murder for Gold, then arrest Gold, Hook, Snow and Regina for murdering Cora. Her one little jail cell isn’t nearly large enough to hold all the big bads in Storybrooke, plus her own mother. So, Emma does her best to keep the peace without making anything worse than it already is. It’s a fine line to walk but she’s determined to try. Nothing is so clear-cut since she broke the curse.

All things considered, turning up drunk in her bedroom is hardly the worst offense he’s ever committed. And at least it’s her bedroom. Emma knows how to handle Hook.

She reaches down and grabs his left arm above the prosthetic brace. “I have no idea how you managed to get up here, buddy, but you can just go right back down again. Seriously, you have got to stop pulling these stunts.”

He groans, but lets her hoist him to his feet. Then he slumps towards her unsteadily and she finds herself with both arms full of close to six feet of dangerously attractive, leather-clad pirate. He is, unsurprisingly, heavy as hell. Somehow he manages to keep his hook from accidentally stabbing either of them, even as he wraps that arm around her back to help balance himself.

“Why should I stop when they keep landing me in your arms, darling?” His voice is a dark chuckle against her ear. She ignores the goosebumps that skip up the bare skin left exposed by her tank top. Up close he smells like rum and spices, faintly of sweat and salt, and entirely, unapologetically male. It is absolutely unfair that he should smell like sin, when he’s still wearing the same clothes he was wearing the first time they met. But he smells clean and so damn good that she wants to bury her face in his neck and inhale him like a drug.

Instead, she steels herself, erects every wall she has and pushes him toward the bed. With him being completely uncooperative, she manhandles him as if he is a large piece of furniture, then tips him toward the mattress and lets go. He plops back on her rather feminine quilt with another groan, looking both comically out of place and dangerous as hell. She half-expects him to sprawl across the bed and give her a drunken leer; instead, he sits hunched over, his probably artfully tousled hair falling across his forehead, and addresses her feet.

“I love a woman who isn’t afraid to shove a man into bed.”

Well, that was predictable. Emma huffs a sigh. “Right. I’m going to go get you some coffee or something to sober you up. Just ... stay there, okay? And try not to do anything that’ll piss me off?”

“As you wish.” She can practically hear the smirk in his voice, so she spins on her heel, ready to go make a pot of coffee and force it down his throat, or possibly crack him over the skull with it—she hasn’t quite decided which, yet—only, as she reaches for the doorknob, she realizes that her hand is wet. Sticky, in fact. And when she holds it up in the dim light she sees that it’s smeared with blood. So, too, is her white tank top. She knows it’s not hers, though there’s an odd feeling in the pit of her stomach.


He’s still sitting hunched over, his back to her, and she realizes she hasn’t gotten a good look at his face yet. Emma comes back around the end of the bed. “Hook, do I want to know whose blood this is?”

Hook gives another mirthless laugh, then tenses up. “Damn,” he groans, much as he did the night he’d been hit by the car, and that’s all it takes to tell her that it’s his.

Her heart gives a strange little lurch.

She reaches for his face, and he doesn’t resist as she tips it up toward the light. A fresh bruise blooms across his left cheekbone and blood drips from a cut near his hairline. His teeth are set in a pain-filled grimace that tries valiantly to be a smile and his eyes crinkle around the edges when they finally meet hers. It’s enough to put her back up again. If he’s smiling at her, it can’t be too bad, can it?

Emma scowls. “Where are you hurt? And don’t you dare give me any of your crappy pick up lines.”

He smirks at her. “You wound me, Swan.”

“You’re already wounded, and I know for a fact that, this time, it wasn’t me that kicked your ass.” Although his right arm is clamped tightly around his torso, at her touch he moves it away so she can see. His vest is sliced clean through: a vicious slash that she knows only a very sharp sword would make. The shirt beneath is black, now saturated and shiny with blood, the fabric glued to his skin. “Lay back,” she tells him.

He arches an eyebrow as if he’s got another line ready, but silently complies. His face pales to the color of bone as he stretches out atop the quilt. Vaguely recalling a first-aid class she’d taken several years back, she shoves a couple of pillows beneath his boots to elevate his feet. Then she sets to work on his clothes.

Emma unbuckles the wide leather belt and lets it fall free, then fumbles with the intricate brass frogs holding his vest shut. “Other side,” he murmurs, his blood-smeared hand moves to assist her with the intricate clasps, and that, more than anything else, prompts her to hurry up. Once his vest is open, she gingerly begins to pull the hem of his black linen shirt free from his trousers.

“Knew you couldn’t wait to see me naked, Swan,” he says. She ignores him because she can hear the pain he’s attempting to mask with flirtation.

Carefully, Emma lifts his shirt, peeling it slowly away from the wound. Fresh blood pumps slowly over her hands and Emma feels her own pulse speed up in response. This is not good. His clothes took the brunt of the slash—the thick leather of his vest providing a modicum of protection from the blade—but the result isn’t pretty. He’s been cut diagonally from ribs to navel, the worst of it just beneath his ribcage where the skin is laid open to the muscle beneath. Any lower or deeper and he’d have been holding his own innards in.

“Jesus.” She glances around and grabs a towel that she’d dropped earlier beside the bed, pressing it to the wound. “I need to call—”

“No!” He grabs her wrist. When she looks up at him she realizes that her own vision is dark around the edges, her breathing shallow and far too fast. Their eyes meet, his will clashing against hers as if they were battling with steel. “No one must know I’m here.”

“Hook, you’re—”

“I’ve had worse.” He gestures with his hook and she supposes that having your hand lopped off probably counts as worse. This is ugly, true, but there doesn’t appear to be any major muscle or organ damage. It’s a cut, not a stab wound. The blood flow from his abdomen is heavy, but sluggish. Some stitches to help close it and he’ll probably be all right, provided it doesn’t get infected. Although, his shirt is soaked with blood and she has no idea how much he’s lost already. Any amount seems like too much.

“You could be in shock, or ... suffering from too much blood loss. We should call an ambulance, get you to the hospital.”

He barks another laugh, then his jaw clenches in pain; it’s only with visible struggle that he manages to relax it. “You might as well send for the gravediggers, darling. Do you really think he’s not going to be watching the hospital, waiting for my carcass to be dragged in so he can finish the job?”

Emma doesn’t have to ask who he is; the loathing in Hook’s voice tells her everything she needs to know.


Hook’s hand tightens on her wrist, slippery with his own blood. “Aye. He doesn’t know I’m here and he won’t suspect it as long as you stay put. He’ll be lying in wait to see if you leave the house, then follow you to me.”

“Why would he—?”

Hook gives her a look that somehow manages to be smirky and sultry at the same time, even through the bruises and blood. Emma can’t help but think that this ability is tragically unfair. “Perils of being sheriff, darling. You go where the trouble is.”

“Yeah, well, right now trouble is trying to bleed to death on my bed.” She’d shake him, if she wasn’t so worried she’d just hurt him more.

Hook’s gaze is measuring. Emma looks away, unwilling to let him see how terrified she really is. His grip on her wrist gentles, his thumb stroking lightly over her pulse point. She can’t tell if it’s deliberate or not.

“Can you sew?”

“I failed Home Ec in junior high,” she tells him flatly. “My throw pillow fell apart at the seams.”

“Practice makes perfect, lass.” His smile is probably meant to be encouraging, but it’s more grimace than grin. “Fetch us a needle and thread?”

Just the thought of having to jab a needle into his flesh makes her feel queasy, and Emma’s usually not the queasy sort. “I could ... I could call Dr. Whale, see if he’ll come by.”

“And does the good doctor usually make house calls at this time of night?”

Emma considers what she knows of Dr. Whale’s extracurricular activities. “Not usually of the surgical sort.”

Okay, so maybe calling in Dr. Frankenstein isn’t the best idea, Emma admits to herself. The last time she needed him to operate on someone, they’d had to have Ruby chase him clear across Storybrooke. Besides, it’s Friday night; it would be a miracle to find him sober. The hospital is out, the doctor is out—her hands are shaking. She’s had first some first-aid training; she knows she has to stop the bleeding.

Deep breaths, Emma. You can do this. Stitch him up, then figure out what to do next.

“Fine. I’ll ... I’ll see if I can find a needle. Keep pressure on that.”

Hook clamps his arm over the towel and nods tightly.

Emma hurries downstairs in search of a needle.