in vitibus veritas
… in which Emma, Hook, and Neal are unwilling participants in one of Pan’s little games while in Neverland.
Idea shamelessly stolen from the latest episode of Shadowhunters. For @ofshipsandswans, thanks for the help and inspiration! ♥
A mix of annoyance and dread mingled in the pit of Emma’s stomach as she trudged along the path behind Hook, his black leather cloak swinging heavily with each swaggering step he took. Cracking leaves and heavy footsteps behind her told her that Neal was following closely, bringing up the rear. Emma wasn’t happy with the arrangement, but the guys had lined up, taking her between them, without any kind of discussion. Unfortunately, it made sense. She didn’t know the jungle like either of them did, and judging by Hook’s confident stride, he knew where he was going.
Still, she wished for different company. They’d had to split up, and it made sense to have a magic user in each group, but Emma would much rather have gone with her parents. Since that would have left Regina with Hook and Neal, though, it had never really been an option.
This arrangement was the one least likely to cause friction, and Emma knew it. Even so, Hook and Neal was a combination that she would normally have avoided at all costs.
But really, Hook with anyone was a bad combination. He had a talent for finding people’s buttons, and little self-control when it came to pushing them.
Although her father had stopped glowering at him. Progress, of a sort.
Ahead, the path opened into a clearing, and Hook’s steps slowed. He looked back over his shoulder. “Careful,” he warned. “Keep your eyes and ears open.”
They were halfway across the clearing when Emma felt something—a shiver at the base of her neck, and a tugging in her chest, prompting her to look left into the trees. She reached out to grab the sleeve of Hook’s coat, pulling him to a stop. “Wait,” she ordered, peering into the dense jungle.
“What’s wrong?” Neal demanded.
Hook said nothing, his hand on the pommel of his sword, eyes following Emma’s.
“I’m not sure,” Emma had to admit. “I just feel… something.”
“You feel something,” Neal echoed, coming to a stop at her other side. “Okay…”
“Oh, very good,” said a voice, and a lithe figure stepped out from the trees, where his green outfit had effectively camouflaged him.