A MATTER OF TIME ; PROLOGUE
written by ramblingkitten
gifs by muckfuffins

What if you are forced to live the same day?

Captain Hook sat crouched on his haunches in the belly of his ship, as he looked the cricket man in front of him over. His hand rested on his chin as he thought, his face stuck in a brooding state.

“It’s his weakness. Now tell me, does he have any others?” Hook questioned. The man in front of him didn’t answer but looked away. Hook’s face morphed into a sadistic smile as he approached the cricket man once more. “Very well. I’ve always wanted to dissect a cricket.” He told the man as he placed the tip of his hook against Archie’s forehead and applied slight pressure to pinch but not to break the skin.

“No wait, wait please.” Archie pleaded his eyes wide with fear.

“Ahh, that’s more like it. Now tell me cricket, what is his weakness?” Hook demanded of his captive.

One man must endure a curse…

Hook leaned casually against one of the many tall bookcases in the library, reading through a book he found nearby. He didn’t even glance up when he heard footsteps enter the library.

“Sorry, but the library is not open yet.” Belle called over to him. Hook closed the book, looking over to the young girl as he replaced the book.

“Oh I’m not here for the books, love.” He told her as he turned to face her.

“You. You’re the one who broke into my cell at the Queen’s palace.” Belle shivered in slight fear seeing this man again. She bolted towards the door, which only made Hook smirk as he chased after her. They both skidded to a stop separated by only a bookcase. He was blocking her only way out of the building and she had nothing to defend herself with. “You wanted to kill Rumplestiltskin.” She accused him.

“Oh I still do, but right now I’ll settle for you.” He told her as he gestured towards her and moved to get to her around the bookcase. His face was set in a stony façade. Belle noticed his intentions and shoved the bookcase separating them towards him, toppling it over on him. She quickly spun and ran for the ancient elevator and opened the doors. As she waited for them to open she turned and saw him push away the books and force his way out from under the weight of the bookcase. Hook got up and vaulted himself over the mess as the doors opened and Belle slipped inside. Hook skidded to the doors just as they closed on him. He groaned and banged onto the doors repeatedly.

One he must figure out…

Looking through his spyglass, Hook watched as Rumplestiltskin examined his shop from the safety of a nearby rooftop.

“You have it Mr. Smee?” Hook asked as a man in a red hat came up behind him, carrying an old shawl in his hand. He deftly closed his spyglass with the tip of his hook as he awaited an answer.

“What is it cap’n?” Smee questioned as he offered his Captain the shawl. Hook set the spyglass next to him on a chimney as he grasped the cloth in his hand.

“It’s the end of the crocodile’s hope.” He started as he fiddled with the shawl in his hand. His stare towards his enemies shop grew to look even more hell-bent on his plan. “Now he’s trapped here.”

Before it is too late…

 “Have you not hurt Rumple enough?” Belle questioned the pirate.

“Oh, I’ve hurt him?” Hook countered her question with one of his own, and brought his hook up to eye level.

“You stole his wife.” Belle reminded him.

“Tell me something, love,” Hook whispered to her in a lowered voice as he backed her up, coming to stand in her personal space. “If a woman comes to you and… begs you to take her away,” his nose barely brushed against hers as he stared down at her through his lashes, “Is that theft?”

“Why would she leave him?” Belle asked her voice surprisingly steady.

“Because he was a coward,” Hook answered her, his voice hard as he spoke through loosely gritted teeth. His eyes were hard and full of loathing about the man he spoke of. “And because she loved me.” He finished as he backed away from Belle, the spell he cast over her a moment ago broken. He nudged the shawl with his hook as he looked down at it, “I should have burned this the moment I acquired it.”

“Why didn’t you?” Belle asked.

“Because she made it,” he told her in a soft voice.

“I’m sorry she died,” Belle told him, but at her words Hook got a sadistic grin on his face. “But… vengeance? Vengeance won’t bring her back.”

“Died? Like it was some kind of accident. Is that what he told you?” Hook asked her as he whirled around to face her, his eyes manic.

“He-well yeah, he didn’t say.” Belle stuttered out.

“No of course not. Of course he’d leave out the most important detail of her passing” Hook gritted out as he backed her back against the wall again.

“And uh, what would that be?” Belle questioned.

“He killed her,” Hook whispered as he leaned even closer to Belle the tip of the gun placed against her chest, “He ripped out her heart and he crushed it right in front of me.”

“No.” Belle countered as she shook her head vehemently.

Tick Tock… goes the clock….

“Let’s have it, dark one. What magic are you gonna hide behind today?” Hook questioned Rumple, he spread his arms wide as if to taunt the older man into attacking him. Rumple let out a laugh.

“Oh, no, not magic.” He told him as he raised his cane and slapped Hook hard across the face. Hook fell back with a groan. Rumple raised the cane again and repeatedly attacked him with it.

“Rumple! Hey, let’s go. Let’s go!” Belle pleaded with her true love.

“Not yet Belle.” Rumple answered her as he continued his assault.

“This, this is what you came for. This is gonna get you back to Bae.” She told him, it was enough to stop the beating for a moment.

“You’re wasting your breath, love. He can’t resist. He has to prove he’s not a coward.” Hook taunted from his position, his nose already dripped blood.

“You might want to turn away Belle. This isn’t gonna be pretty.” Rumple resumed his attack on Hook.

“Do it! Do it! Do it!” Hook taunted the other man. “Kill me!! He has to show you how powerful he is…” Hook broke off in a burst of sardonic laughter.

“No Rumple this, this is what he wants. To,” Belle tried to plead as her voice broke, “destroy every bit of good in you.”

“Rip my heart out. Kill me like you did Milah and then I’ll finally be reunited with her.” Hook taunted; he sounded as if all he wanted was to die in that moment. Mr. Gold dropped his cane to the deck of the ship and looked at Belle as he gestured towards Hook at a loss for words.

“He has to die belle.” Rumple said as he jumped on top of Hook in an attempt to pull out his heart.

“No, no he doesn’t! There’s still good in you. I see it. I’ve always seen it. Please, please show me I’m not wrong.” Belle pleaded with Rumple on the verge of tears. Rumple stared over at her then down to the man under his hand.

“You take your little ship and sail until you fall off the edge of the world. I never want to see you again,” He spat out to Hook, as he slapped him once for good measure.

Over… and over…

As Rumple leaned forward to kiss Belle across the town line a gunshot was heard and Belle fell forward into Rumple’s arms. A blue shimmer passed over her body as she stumbled over the town line.

“I wouldn’t count on it,” Hook called out in a hard voice. His eyes hard and his mouth set in a grim line as he aimed the gun towards the couple. Blood trickled down his face and he watched as his crocodile gently lowered his lover to the ground.

“Belle, belle?” Rumple cried, “Belle!”

“Who’s Belle?” The brunette asked as he placed her on the ground.

“No, no,” Rumple muttered, clearly shaken as he looked at the traces of blood on his hands.

“Oh, fear not, she’ll live. She’ll just have no idea who you are.” Hook taunted him.

“What you’ve done cannot be undone,” Gold cried, his voice broken. He gently picked Belle up and placed her on the safe side of the line.

“Well, now you finally know how it feels!” Hook shouted back, “Well go ahead crocodile do your worst!” Hook opened his arms ready for his death at his enemy’s hands.

“Oh I intend to,” Rumple called back, as he quickly conjured a fire ball in his hand. Before he could release it a car barreled down the road way and he quickly moved Belle to safety, the pirate momentarily forgotten. Hook heard the sound coming from the vehicle and moved into the path of the fast moving car. As he hit the windshield and bounced off to the side of the road he let out a groan. As he laid there on the side of the road, broken and bleeding he lost consciousness for a moment.

And over again.

“Wait, no don’t. Wait no please don’t!” Archie pleaded with his captor, who was crouched close to him as he watched his reaction to the threat of his hook near his body.

“Hey. Shhhh…” Hook muttered to his captive, his hand gripped his jaw as he raised his hook to the side of his neck. As the words left his mouth, he blinked. This wasn’t possible; he had done this once already. He quickly moved back and stared at the cricket. His hand rubbed down his face as a sigh left his mouth. He mentally catalogued the last thing he remembered before the cricket’s incessant pleading was getting hit by the moving metal contraption. “Am I dead?” He asked the other man.

“I’m sorry?” Archie questioned the pirate, confused as to the turn of events.

“I, I got hit by one of those moving contraptions. I was on the side of the road and then I was here.” Hook muttered, mostly to himself as he tried to figure out the turn of events.

“Maybe you should cut back on the rum,” Archie commented, his head tilted to the side. The look Hook shot the other man was of disbelief.

“Cut back on rum? Lad I haven’t ever been that drunk to forget an entire day.” Hook told him, with a roll of his eyes. “Never the less, where were we.” He commented as he moved forward, the sharp tip of his hook pressed against the cricket’s forehead. “The dark one was your patient. So you must know all manner of his secrets. Where is his dagger?” Hook asked his eyes hard and his lips parted into a sinister smile.

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