Whatever you do, don’t think about Emma listening to Killian’s 12 messages with a smile on her face. Or him asking her what she could possibly have found to smile about in all those messages. Or her saying, “You’re cute when you’re worried.”
Also, don’t think about Killian being very offended that she would refer to him, Captain Hook, the scourge of every sea in the seven realms, as “cute”.
@seethelovelyintheworld wanted a CS fic with Emma on one side of the mirror and Killian on the other…so here’s a little bit of angsty separation. Canon divergence where only Emma gets sucked into the mirror realm by the Evil Queen.
He remembers the cravats he used to wear, folded and tucked neatly inside his stiff and starched collar while he holds up this realm’s versions to Henry’s neck and hides his smile at the lad’s nervous twitch. The expected attire for Storybrooke’s upcoming school ball may differ from the kidskin gloves and the embroidered waistcoats that he once donned in that former life, but his knees had knocked under his breeches and his palms had sweated in the gloves at the prospect of squiring a pretty young flower like the Lady Violet to an evening fete.
(so many lifetimes ago, but his knees go weak when Emma smiles at him and the years slip away as they always do in her company, when Captain Hook is forgotten and Killian Jones smiles back)
Regina enters, ashen faced and jacket torn to ribbons at the elbow, she’s bleeding and limping and all he can hear is a great roaring in his ears because she’s alone. The thin cravat falls to the floor from his suddenly sweaty and shaking hand as Snow White and Henry immediately rush to her side and her dark eyes lift to meet his across the room. The Evil Queen bested them, anticipating the trap so carefully laid to snare her and Emma…
The trouble is, the land behind the mirror gives Emma ideas. It gives her one idea in particular: that if she could just figure out the magic of it, she’d have a way of watching Regina without Regina knowing. Without anyone knowing.
Emma knows she shouldn’t, that it’s an unforgivable intrusion. This can’t be a good idea, not when it was the Evil Queen herself who thought it up. And Emma knows the Queen now, has seen first-hand how selfish and cruel and manipulative she is. That theatrical grace, the silky glide of her movements and the jagged edge of her wit - it should be temping. It’s meant to be. But without the warmth and reluctant kindness and that ability to love both fiercely and softly that make Regina who she is, it leaves Emma cold. The Queen isn’t the woman Emma wants.
And that’s the problem, isn’t it? What she wants and can’t have. It isn’t fair - she’s been so good. She’s made a life with Hook, and it’s pleasant and he’s kind to her, and if the guilt of what she doesn’t quite feel for him sometimes eats at her, she’s grown skilled at hiding it.
It’s only her smiles that give her away. She’s caught them sometimes in the ghost-like reflections of windows and thought how strained and false they look. No one else seems to notice, except perhaps Regina. Sometimes Regina watches at her with that worried frown of hers and her lip between her teeth and Emma has to look away. She doesn’t let herself look at Regina much these days. She’s too afraid of what she’ll reveal.
But in secret, in the mirror… She can’t help herself. She has to see the woman who’s become so vital to her and so she figures out the magic and she uses it, despite the voice of her conscience whispering its disapproval. To silence it she makes rules for herself: nothing private, no bedroom mirrors, no bathroom mirrors, no moments that would shame Regina if she knew she was being watched.
That still leaves car mirrors and the mirror in the mayor’s office where Regina fixes her hair. Mirrors in stores and mirrors in hallways, a thousand images of Regina, her face from every angle and in every light. Emma grows intimately familiar with the tantalizing nick of the scar above her lip and the fine lines around her eyes that only make her face more perfect, because they make it more real.
It takes Snow almost catching Emma to make her come to her senses. She isn’t this person, this stalker. If she doesn’t have the courage to risk everything by telling Regina how she feels, she hasn’t earned the right to watch Regina this way. She resolves to smash her magic mirror and never make another. All she’ll allow herself is one last brief look.
Regina is in her office, motionless in front of the glass with one hand against its frame. Her eyes are amber in that light, deep and dark, and when Emma stares into them they seem to stare back. For one moment she lets herself believe that Regina really is looking back, watching her as she’s watched, with the same helpless longing in her eyes.
But it’s a fantasy, a mirror world that’s only a distorted echo of reality, and Emma smashes the glass to shards and walks away from it.