| Killian |
The three brothers sat side by side at the bar, each of them nursing a beer of some sort and not having the energy of raising it to their lips. It’d been one hell of a week, and it was only Monday.
Killian could only hope the supernatural world would give them a few weeks before their next attack. Hell, he’d even take a few days at this point. Ever since their run in with the Guardians it’d felt like an almost constant battle against the Underworld. It didn’t used to be like this. Killian remembered when they would go months without running into any troubles, but now it was almost a daily occurrence.
“How’re you feeling, Liam?” Killian asked, looking down into his glass of amber liquid.
Liam grunted, “Fine.”
He’d give his brother a pat on the shoulder if he thought he could raise his arm without feeling it’d fall off. Liam probably didn’t want to be touched right now, anyway. He’d spent the last twenty four hours feeling everything after all. A demon had cursed him with the powers of an empath. Or, Killian corrected himself mentally, the demon was the one who was cursed. He’d just passed it along to Liam when he had the opportunity.
It made Killian wonder why Liam had been in that foreclosed building to begin with, but that was a question he’d ask at a later time. The demon acted as a hermit, refusing to leave a room in an abandoned building for fear of feeling human emotions. Then Liam came, like the white knight he was, and took the curse onto himself. It’d been horrible.
At first it wasn’t so bad. It was almost like having a new power. Liam was able to glean what other people were feeling, and it led to them helping more Innocents than ever before. But then he started to feel their feelings, their pain, their loneliness, it kept coming and coming and coming until Liam sequestered himself into the basement and threatened to blow up anyone who’d try to come down. He wouldn’t even let Tink near him.
Eventually they were able to find the original owner of the powers, a mother superior whose name Killian never did quite catch, and she plus the Charmed Ones were able to track down the demon and vanquish him before he could do more harm to anyone. He hadn’t gone down easily, though, and the three brothers were sure to be sore all week because of it.
“We shouldn’t have come out for drinks,” Will sighed. “Now we’ll never get home.”
Killian agreed, “Think anyone would notice if you orbed us out of here?”
“Maybe not,” Liam huffed out a laugh. “But they would,” he jerked his chin up at the ceiling, referencing the Elders.
Killian barely held back a grimace. They were in for a long night.
| Emma |
Emma stared out the window of her apartment and tried her best not to show any guilt or remorse on her face. Looking down at the dagger in her hands, she twisted it this way and that, noticing how the light caught the metal blade.
This needed to be done, she told herself sternly. The Source expected her to succeed, and she couldn’t let him down. She’d come this far, done this much, so why was she now having a crisis of conscience? Since when did she even have a conscience? It didn’t make sense. Just because some guy made her heart flutter inside her chest didn’t mean she could just throw in the towel.
She had a job to do, dammit. Releasing a steady breath, Emma turned around and faced the Spirit of Rage.
“Well, Zelena?” Emma cocked a brow, “Do we have a deal?”
Zelena’s laugh was like a purr, “How could I say no? Your plan is positively wicked .”
| Killian |
The next morning all three Jones brothers had a bit of a lie in. Although Will might have been known for lazing his mornings away in bed, Liam and Killian, both naval men, were usually up and moving before the crack of dawn. Today though, no one so much as stirred until noon.
“Shit,” Killian eventually heard the muffled curse from Liam’s room. After a series of loud bangs and a few more swears, Liam called, “Killian, Will, we gotta get up!”
There was a brief silence, and then, from Will’s room, came a pathetic cry of, “Why?”
“Now!” Liam barked in his most officer like voice, causing Killian to jump out of his bed with his back straight and his arms pinned at his side.
Forcing his body to relax, he met Liam out in the hallway. Will soon joined, leaning against his door frame and glaring daggers at his eldest brother. “This better be good.”
“We’re hosting the Home Owners Association meeting this afternoon.”
“So?” Will asked.
“So,” Liam snapped, “which one of us is hosting it? I can’t do it. We’re doing inventory at the pub and restocking.”
Will crossed his arms, “I’m meeting with a professor in a couple of hours.”
They both looked at Killian, who quickly raised his hands and shook his head, “Sorry lads, I’m taking Swan out to lunch.” He looked at Will, “Can’t you just reschedule?”
“This will be the second time I’m cancelling on him!” Will clenched his jaw, “I need this class to graduate. Why don’t you just reschedule with Emma.”
Killian raised a brow, “Not likely, mate.”
“Ugh,” Will threw his head back and went back into his room, slamming the door behind him. “You guys are such jackasses!”
“What’d I do?” Liam asked, grinning all the while at Killian. Shaking his head, Killian turned towards his room, intending on getting ready. “Oh wait,” Liam said, causing Killian to turn back. “You’re taking my car today right? Mind dropping me off at the pub first?”
“Great, and don’t forget to refill the gas,” Liam teased, “I’m taking Tink out tonight and I don’t want her to have to orb us home.”
Rolling his eyes, Killian shot back, “That was one time, brother. Let it go.”
“Twice,” Liam corrected with a raised brow, “and never.”
| Emma |
Emma waited outside the police station for Killian to arrive, doing her best to keep her breathing even. She needed to stay calm and remember the plan. She’d asked Killian on this date specifically to get him out of the house and distract him. In order for Zelena to work her special brand of magic, she needed the brothers angry, and according to what Killian had told her on their last date, that wouldn’t be too hard a task to achieve.
“Afternoon, Swan,” Killian greeted as he appeared at her side. Blinking, Emma cursed herself for not paying more attention to her surroundings. Killian leaned in to kiss her on the cheek, and a small smile pulled at her lips.
Due to Emma’s “schedule”, she only had an hour for lunch, so the two of them walked over to where several food trucks were parked, ordered, and found a bench in a nearby park.
“So what are your brother’s up to today?” Emma asked before taking a bite other walking taco.
“Not much,” Killian answered around a bite of food, then took a moment to swallow before continuing, “Liam’s at the pub doing some inventory and Will’s stuck at home hosting some HOA meeting.” Huffing out a laugh, Killian said, “I actually feel a little bad about that.” At Emma’s raised brow, he added, “He was supposed to meet a professor today but I made him cancel so I could meet with you.”
Emma’s fork froze mid air, the food that was atop it wobbled and then fell back into the Fritos bag. It was happening again, she noted, strangely without a hint of annoyance. A warm feeling bubbled up within her chest. It was nice, but new and unfamiliar. It distracted her so much that she didn’t even think as she asked, “You really like me that much?”
Killian laughed, “Isn’t it obvious?”
Fire consumed her face, but not the fire she was used to. The one that made her feel powerful and like a force of nature. This fire focused over her cheeks and made her feel like something precious and coveted.
Then the guilt set in, which was also a new sensation in the Firestarter’s life. She never used to feel guilt or bad about the things she’d done or the people she’d hurt. Then again, she’d never had to hurt a human before. It was the only explanation Emma could think of.
Still, she thought as she watched Killian talk, a part of her wondered if it had to do with her feeling for him that made the guilt so much worse. He’d been so kind to her, and Emma would never forget the way he’d pulled her into his lap when he thought she was hurt.
“--and I can’t believe he still holds that against me,” Killian’s voice penetrated her thoughts. “It was almost five years ago,” he shook his head. “I know he’s joking but sometimes it feels like he doesn’t trust me.”
Emma tried to figure out what he was saying. For the second time that day she’d let herself get distracted, worrying about inane things like feelings . She was growing soft and it was becoming more and more apparent. She knew there were some whispers growing in the Underworld about her already. If she didn’t finish off the Charmed Ones soon, she’d quickly find a target of her own on her back. Hell, the Source would probably put it there himself.
“I mean,” Killian continued, not noticing Emma’s silence, “it’s only gas, and Tink can always--” he quickly stopped himself. “Tink has her own car, too.”
Reaching out to play with the hair at the nape of his neck, Emma smiled and reassured him, “Of course Liam trusts you.” She had to stifle her smile from growing even wider as she noticed the effect her ministrations had on him. His shoulders relaxed and his eyes drooped as she continued to massage the muscles in his neck and twist at his hair. “You all just sound a bit wound up is all. It’s like when I work too hard and need to let off some steam.”
“Thanks Swan,” Killian leaned in and pecked Emma on the lips. “You always make me feel better.” Emma opened her mouth but nothing came out as she was once again paralyzed with an onslaught of feelings. “I should get going,” Killian said, looking at his watch.
“I’ll walk you to your car,” Emma said after clearing her throat.
The two of them threw away their empty bags of food and made their way back to where Killian had parked on the street. “So,” Killian smiled as he placed a hand on Emma’s hip and pulled her close, “when can I see you again?”
Emma reached up and pulled on the lapels of his shirt, “I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again very soon.”
“Is that a fact?” Killian raised an encouraging brow.
Humming, Emma pulled him down for a kiss, then said, “I can guarantee it.”
The two pulled away and Emma stepped back on the sidewalk to watch Killian pull out of his spot. As she waved goodbye to him, Emma found Zelena staring at her from across the street. Her green eyes shone with her distrust and suspicion. Swallowing thickly, Emma reminded herself that she had a job to do.
With a flick of her hand, Emma’s magic reached out and snapped the car’s fuel line hose.
| Killian |
After his date with Emma, Killian returned home to change and then walked over to the gym. Emma had been right. He needed to let loose and find a way to relax. It’d been a while since he’d been able to box, anyway, given the obscene amounts of supernatural grief they’d been through the past few weeks.
By the time he finished his work out routine and sparred with a few guys, the sun was setting. And after he showered and started back home, it was completely dark out.
Walking up to the front door, Killian felt good. His muscles were tired and sore, sure, but he felt lighter, like he sweated out all his grief and worries. Now he just had to eat some carbs and find some electrolytes and he’d be off to an easy night of sleep.
As soon as he entered the house, though, Killian knew something was wrong. “I’m getting real tired of your spoiled brat routine, Will.” Liam’s voice was scathing and loud. Killian’s brows furrowed, wondering what his younger brother had done to anger the elder so.
“What’s going on?” Killian asked, finding his brothers in the living room.
“Shut up!” They both yelled at him, causing Killian to step back from the ferocity of it.
“I’m sorry you had to pull your weight around here for once, but I can’t be everywhere at once,” Liam scolded. “And considering the pub is the only reason we’re able to keep this house and keep you in school I think you should really be more grateful towards me.”
“Grateful? Hah!” Will ran his hands through his hair, “Right, because where would we all be without the great and powerful Liam? Always there to mention shortcomings and disregard opinions because yours is the only one that matters. Hell, I almost got killed because you couldn’t get your head out of your ass long enough to even consider a non-demonic threat.”
“I am the only one here working to find out who’s trying to get us!” Liam roared, “The only one who has any idea about the Firestarter or who she works for. Get your head out of your ass and maybe, just maybe you’d notice that.”
“Get over yourself, Liam.”
“Brothers,” Killian raised his hands and took a step closer. “What has gotten into you?” It wasn’t like either of them to go at each other’s throats like this. Where was any of this even coming from?
“By the way,” Liam rounded on him, “you owe me for a car tow and a tank of gas you little leech.”
“Excuse me?” Killian raised his brows. Whatever had happened to Liam’s car it most certainly wasn’t his fault. He’d made sure to bring it back with a full tank of gas.
Will crossed his arms, “And I’m the one that never pulls his weight? What’s your excuse?” He took a step forward and shoved Killian’s shoulder, “All you do is sweet talk your cop girlfriend.”
“What the--” Killian shuddered, feeling as if he’d just been body slammed and then set on fire. Barring his teeth, he shoved his brother right back, tired of his whining and complaints, “What’s wrong, Will? Jealous?” He shoved him again and turned on Liam, “And what’s your problem? Afraid you can’t control us, brother?”
“Right,” Liam got into Killian’s face, his breath fanning across his skin. “Like I don’t have better things to do than clean up your messes. God, Killian, you’re such a fuck up! If it weren’t for me, you’d be dead in some gutter right now.”
Will scoffed, “No wonder dad abandoned you two.”
Killian didn’t even think, he grabbed the first thing he could find--photo frame, and chucked it at Will. “Frame!” Will cried, waving the item back at Killian in a ball of white light. Leaping up, Killian levitatived towards the ceiling, leaving Liam in the object’s path. Raising his hands, Liam blew the frame up before it could reach him.
Falling to the ground, Killian sneered at his brothers, “I’m out of here.”
Slamming the door on his way out, he began to walk down the street without a destination in mind. As he continued down his path, gritting his teeth and cursing his brothers over what they said to him, he slowly settled down. It wasn’t much longer that the anger started to fade away, and then it vanished, leaving him bereft and bewildered. He didn’t understand what had happened, but as he walked, he tried to figure it out.
Why had he been so angry? Liam and Will’s words had hurt, of course, but that was no reason for him to rise to their taunts. He had said the words though, had even put hands on his brother. It was unforgivable, he realized with a sinking feeling in his stomach. How could they ever forgive him for what he said? He’d never forgive himself.
Eventually he looked up and realized where his feet had taken him. “Emma,” he whispered, looking up at her apartment building. He’d only been there once, but the visit had stuck, and he was glad for it.
After making his way up to the building’s third floor, Killian knocked on the door of apartment 333.
“Killian?” Emma asked as she opened the door a crack. Opening it wider, she asked, “What are you doing here?”
She invited him in and Killian felt his eyes begin to burn as he told her about what happened. He sat himself down on the couch while Emma walked around the room, listening to his story. Soon his voice turned hoarse, and Emma went to the kitchen to grab them both something to drink.
“I just don’t understand what happened,” Killian leaned his head onto the back of Emma’s couch and released a deep sigh. He wished he could release everything into that one movement, all his anguish and frustration and hurt, and then deflate into the couch’s cushions. “We’ve never fought like this before.”
“Never?” Emma asked as she handed him a bottle of beer.
Taking it gratefully, Killian closed his eyes and shook his head. “We’ve been frustrated with one another, sure. But this was--we weren’t even fighting about anything. Not really.” He grimaced as his earlier words rang throughout his head. Killian knew he could be cruel, that his tongue could be as sharp as a knife, but he’d never lost control before. Not like this.
Emma reached out a hand and squeezed his knee. “It can’t be that bad.”
Killian let out a broken, half hearted laugh, “Oh Swan, you have no idea.” He placed a hand over his face and closed his eyes, “I wouldn’t be surprised if neither of them ever spoke to me again.”
There was a pause. Killian thought about looking at Emma to see if he could tell what she was thinking--what she thought of him. He must’ve looked so pathetic to her in that moment.
“Killian, you need to go home.”
Blue eyes snapped open and brows furrowed into one, “Swan, I can’t--I told you, they--”
“They’re your brothers, Killian,” Emma said sternly, her set jaw leaving no room to argue, “they love you and you love them. Look,” she sighed and bit her lower lip. “I may not know much about families or--or whatever, but I know that you three would do anything for each other and that includes forgiving each other over stupid fights.”
Standing abruptly, Emma pulled him up with her in a feat of impressive strength. Pushing him towards the door, she continued, “But you won’t be able to do that by hiding out here.” She opened the door, “Now go.”
Looking back and forth between the hallway and Emma, Killian smiled and leaned in to press a gentle kiss to her lips, “Thank you, Swan.”
| Emma |
As soon as Emma closed the door, she sensed Zelena’s presence. “So the rumors are true!” The red headed demon screeched. “You’ve gone soft!”
“It’s over, Zelena.” Emma shook her head and leaned back against the door. Looking down at the dagger in her hand, she said, “Get over it.”
“I put too much work into this plan to see you throw it all away.” The green amulet around her neck began to glow. “The Charmed Ones will die, whether you like it or not.”
Baring her teeth, Emma stood tall and took a step forward, “Shut up you damned Spirit.”
“You think this will protect him?” Zelena taunted, her words practically spitting out of her mouth, “You’re only delaying the inevitable. Once the Source hears about this you’ll be--”
Emma lunged forward and grabbed Zelena by her neck, “Enough! I’m done listening to you!” Her skin was hot to the touch, and she could see small beads of sweat appearing along Zelena’s skin.
“Angry, are you?” Zelena gasped, her red lips pulled back into a terrifying smile. “Good, because there’s something I haven’t told you.” Emma’s brows furrowed, but before she could so much as blink, Zelena’s body disappeared with a flash of green light from her amulet and her spirit stepped into Emma’s body.
Speaking through Emma’s lips, Zelena continued, “I can possess my victims, too.”
I Killian I
Taking a deep breath, Killian walked through the front door of his home and found his brothers and Tink in the living room. “Have the judges made their decision?” He tried to joke, feeling uneasy as he took in everyone’s dour faces. “Have I been banished from the island?”
“Killian, thank God,” Liam quickly pulled his younger brother in for a tight hug.
Surprised, Killian brought his arms up and patted Liam on the back, “Well I wasn’t expecting this.”
“Where have you been?” Will asked, patting Killian on the shoulder once Liam took a step back.
“At Swan’s,” Killian frowned at everyone as he explained, “after some talking she convinced me to come back and face you two. What’s happened?”
“The Firestarter,” Liam practically spat.
Tink raised her hands and took a step closer to her partner, “We don’t know that for sure.” When Liam glared at her, she added, “Well, we don’t!”
“We’ve lost out powers,” Will interjected, scrunching up his nose as if the words made him nauseous.
“What?” Killian’s brows shot up and fled up to his hairline. “How?”
Tink grimaced and explained, “Your fight earlier. When you three used your powers on each other in anger, it broke your bond.” She pointed up to the ceiling, “It was so bad I could feel it up there.”
“It’s not our fault we were angry,” Will threw his hands up indignantly. “Not that mad, anyway.”
“If we don’t have our powers,” Killian said slowly, looking at one brother and then the other, “then that means . . .”
Liam nodded, “Yeah. Someone’s going to come after us.”
“We’re sitting ducks,” Will said, ever so tactfully. “What do we do?” He asked Tink. “How can we get our powers back?”
Tink shrugged a little helplessly, “You need to restore your bond as brothers.” With wide eyes she looked between the three of them. “But I’m not exactly sure how-- ”
A crash came from the sunroom. The three brothers made eye contact with one another and then went to investigate, knowing full well no good could come of it.
“Swan?” Killian didn’t understand what he was seeing. Emma’s hair was a tangled mess around her shoulders and in her face. Her eyes were wide and crazed. She turned her head towards them in a slow, shaky way, almost like a puppet on a string.
“Killian,” Liam warned, “I don’t think--” Whatever he thought, Liam couldn’t say because the next moment Emma threw a dagger straight at his face.
Liam threw his hands up, forgetting his powers no longer worked, but Killian was quick and pushed him out of the way just in time. Emma raised a hand and the wall behind the brothers caught fire, trapping them in the sunroom.
“What the hell?” Will cried, throwing one of their picnic chairs at Emma and backing away. “Is she possessed?”
“What?” Killian whispered as sweat ran down his back from the heat of the flames. “That’s not . . .” he watched Emma take a step closer in that strange and jerky way. Something wasn’t right. Her eyes, he realized. Something was wrong with her eyes. “That’s not Swan.”
“Killian, mate,” Liam shook his head. “I’ll distract her while you two make a run for it.”
“No,” Both Killian and Will said at the same time. The two younger brothers looked at each other then nodded. Grabbing Liam’s hand and then Will’s, Killian said, “We’re in this together.”
The light above them flashed and the house beneath them shook, and immediately, they knew. Their powers returned.
Will orbed away, appearing behind Emma and shouting, “Hey!”
Grunting, Emma snapped around and lashed at him with a ball of fire. Quicker than she, Will orbed away again before her flames made contact. Liam didn’t hesitate, taking advantage of her distraction, bringing up his hands and blasting Emma in the back.
Emma’s body shuddered and a dark shadow was forced from her body. The shadow solidified into the form of a young woman with fiery red hair. She clutched her chest, holding onto a cracked green pendant. Straining to breathe, she looked around the room in a disarray.
Liam and Killian watched as Emma rounded on the demon, “You dare betray me?” A ball of fire formed in her raised hand. The red headed demon flinched away, but couldn’t escape Emma’s aim.
For a moment, everything quiet, and then, “Back up guys!” Will’s voice shouted at them from the other side of the burning wall. There was a hiss, and then a layer of white foam tackled the roaring flames until they were nothing more than smothered char.
When the mist of the fire extinguisher dissipated, Will stuck his head through and asked, “Everyone alright?”
“Almost,” Liam answered, her voice even and calm. Then he spun around and with a flick of his fingers blasted Emma through a window.
“Swan!” Running out into the garden, he found Emma lying on the flat of her back, a large piece of glass sticking out from her side. “Bloody hell,” he reached for the glass, but then thought better of it. “Tink!” He looked behind him for the white-lighter and called again, “Tink!”
The familiar blur of white light descended beside him, but before Tink could fully manifest, Emma disappeared in her own blur of white light. “What the--” following the light, Killian watched Will summon Emma’s form back inside the sunroom and spotted the crystals in Liam’s hands. “Liam, no!”
Tink looked up at him where she knelt, her brows furrowed deeply, “What’s going on.”
“It has to be done, brother,” Liam said solemnly, he grip on the crystals tightening. “We need answers.”
“She can explain, I’m sure--”
“Killian,” Will shook his head, a small crystal cradled in his own hands. “She’s the Firestarter.” And without another word, the two brothers put down the crystals and locked Emma inside the deadly trap.