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Fluffy Fridays

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Happy Friday Guy

It began quite by accident.  After one too many rums down in The Village on Thursday night, Killian Jones struck up a (far too drunken) conversation with his best mate, David Nolan on the way back to the off-campus apartment they shared.

“No way, mate!” Killian slurred.  “No way you’ll get off your sorry arse and pursue the lovely Mary Margaret.  I’ll be forced to endure your pining for the rest of eternity.”

“I’ll have you know,” David said, staggering slightly, “that my arse is anything but sorry!  And as far as Mary Margaret goes, I’ll ask her out the next time I see her, or my name’s not Navid Dolan!”

“Uh-huh,” Killian hummed in amusement.  His mate couldn’t hold his liquor worth a damn.  He really was a danger to himself.  “Sure you will.  I’ll believe it when I see it.”

“Damn straight you will,” David said, nodding vigorously.  “I’ll show you!”

“Um-hm,” Killian hummed again.

“Wanna make a bet?” David asked.

“Why not, mate?” Killian answered.  “What did you have in mind?”

David shot him look.  “If I haven’t secured a date with Mary Margaret by noon tomorrow, I’ll pay your rent for six months.”

“And if you do succeed, what debt must I pay?”

David grinned.  “If I succeed, you dress up like a pirate—complete with coat and hook—and run through campus wishing everyone a happy Friday.  You gotta do this at least six weeks in a row!”

Figuring David was drunk enough he wouldn’t remember the conversation come the morning, Killian agreed to the terms.

And so, the next day, when his mate smugly approached him with a glowing Mary Margaret on his arm, Happy Friday Guy was born.

As superhero origin stories go, he supposed it could have been worse.

+++++++++++++++

It was during his second Friday as his alter ego that he first saw her.  She sat by the fountain in the center of campus, her luscious blonde hair blowing in the slight breeze as she read from a ponderous text book.

She was the most beautiful creature on earth, and Killian was more than a little smitten from the first time he laid eyes on her.

He’d skidded to a stop before her, spread his arms wide and belted out “Happy Friday, lass!”

The blonde angel looked up and shot him a glare that could have curdled milk.  “Yeah,” she said, “not really in the mood for psychos today.  Go annoy someone else.”

“You wound me, love,” he said, dramatically clutching at his chest.

There was that glare again.  “Not nearly as much as I’m going to wound you if you don’t go the hell away.”

He tumbled the rest of the way in love.

+++++++++++++++

He found her in the same place on the third Friday.

“Be still my heart,” he said dramatically, stopping before her, both hands coming to cover his chest.  “How could a man have anything but a happy Friday with such ethereal beauty covering the earth?”

She rolled her eyes, but Killian saw the corners of her mouth tick up.

“Not really into pirates ‘Happy Friday Guy’,” she said, heroically attempting to look stern.  “You might try that giggly group of airheads heading toward the student center.”

“Are you always this pleasant, love, or is your ire reserved for Fridays?” he asked.

“Are you always this annoying or is it just because your leather pants are too tight?” she smirked.

He gave her a look as suggestive as hell.  “You’re welcome to ascertain just how tight my pants are, love.”

He made a hasty exit, her sputters of outrage a pleasant accompaniment to his laughter.

+++++++++++++++

If he didn’t know better, he’d swear she was waiting for him on the fourth Friday.  She sat at her accustomed spot, ever present book in hand, but her eyes seemed to scan her surroundings far more than the words on the page.

Killian slid onto the park bench beside her.  “Good book, love?”

“Shakespeare,” she said.

“Ah, the bard himself,” he said, slyly draping his arm across her shoulders. 

She reached up and pushed it away.  “Don’t you have a group of freshmen to scare or something?”

“I’ve finished my philanthropic work for the day.  For the foreseeable future, I’m all yours.”

“Do you ever run out of lines, Happy Friday Guy?” she asked, smiling in spite of herself.

He shrugged.  “Never have yet.  Of course, if you’d agree to have dinner with me tonight, I wouldn’t have to try nearly so hard.”

She laughed.  “Keep dreaming, pirate.  You got a name besides Happy Friday Guy?”

“Killian Jones,” he said, extending his hand, “and who might I have the pleasure of addressing?”

She gave him a long, assessing look then finally shook his hand.  “Emma Swan.”

“Swan,” he breathed.  “Suits you.  Well, Swan, how about that date?”

She laughed again.  “Yeah…I think not.”

+++++++++++++++

He decided to really make a splash on the fifth Friday, arriving bright and early, a single, long-stemmed red rose in hand.

“But soft!” he said, dropping to a knee.  “What light on yonder park bench sits?  It is the east, and Emma Swan is the sun.”

She laughed.  “Get up, you idiot!”

“As you wish,” he said, presenting the rose and taking his seat beside her.  She brought the flower to her nose, and Killian would swear he saw a blush on her cheeks.

“Why me?” Emma said after a moment, turning serious eyes toward him.  “Why do you single me out every week?”

Killian reached out and tangled his fingers in her hair.  “You’re the most captivating woman I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet,” he said gently.  “At first I merely sought to brighten your day, but now….well, now I’m fairly certain a Friday without you would lose every bit of its allure.”

She leaned in and softly kissed him.

+++++++++++++++

On the sixth Friday she asked him out.  They lived happily ever afterwards.

+++++++++++++++

.

Notes:  Happy fluff Friday!  This is my first contribution to Captain Swan Fluff Fridays on Tumblr!  Basically, the point is to drown out the season 4 finale angst with lots and lots of ridiculously fluffy fluff!

--So what’s my plan for fluff Friday?  I plan to update this story each Friday with a little one shot.  There’s no rhyme or reason to what I’ll write here.  Some chapters will be au, some will be canon, some will be more or less “deleted scenes” from various episodes.  The only CS “genre” I’ve yet to try is Lieutenant Duckling…so, who knows?  That could yield some serious fluff; maybe I’ll try that!  Each one shot will feature our favorite pirate and princess, but OQ and Snowing may make an appearance from time to time.

--My rules for myself: 1. These must be little more than drabbles.  So…they must be under 1000 words (This week, the actual story came out to 992).  2. They must be pure, unadulterated fluff.  No ridiculously heroic pirates sacrificing their lives for the woman they love.  No equally ridiculously heroic saviors taking on Dark One status to save the town.  Just fluff.

--Okay, I LOVE prompts, so if you have something you really want to see for fluff Friday, be sure to let me know!

--As to this first chapter in particular….the university where I work has this student who goes around pretty much every Friday wishing everyone he meets a happy Friday.  He dresses as a superhero (full, colorful costume complete with mask, tights and cape!), and heads through campus on his little scooter, alternately frightening people off and brightening their day (depending on one’s tolerance for the unusual).  I’ve been told there have actually been several Happy Friday Guys.  When one graduates, another takes his place.  It’s all very strange, but I figured it might make an interesting story!  Of course rather than a superhero, Killian had to be a pirate.

Chapter Text

The Curious Case of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Heist

Warning:  This fic contains pure, unadulterated, undiluted fluffy silliness.  And cookies.  Lots of cookies.  The devouring of this story may result in weight gain and tooth decay.  Reader discretion is advised.

Genre: CS future fic

Emma had to admit that when her father first made the complaint she thought he was full of crap.

“They were stolen!” David sputtered, pointing to an empty spot on his desk in the sheriff’s station.  “Taken right from under my nose, and I’m not going to stand for it!”

Emma smirked up at him, crossing her arms and swiveling her chair slowly back and forth.  “So what do you want to do about it?  Open an investigation?  I can just see the headlines: ‘Local law enforcement seeking information in the theft of a dozen chocolate chip cookies’.  Think we’d be laughed out of office.”

David glared.  “No, I think we both know just who the culprit is.  Your pirate has tangled with the wrong man.”

Emma rolled her eyes.  “I already asked Killian about the cookies and he denies taking them.”

“You’re going to believe that?  Just take the pirate’s word for it?”

“I know my husband,” Emma said, “and more importantly I know when he’s lying.  This time he wasn’t.”

David paced for another moment.  “Well, someone took them!  They didn’t just get up off the desk and walk away of their own volition.”

“In this town, you never know,” Emma muttered under her breath.

That was two weeks ago.  In the ensuing time, David had come to Emma no less than ten times complaining about a fresh count of cookie larceny to add to the thief’s rap sheet.  Emma had to admit she was beginning to get suspicious.  She couldn’t deny it was…strange…that every time one of David’s sweet treats was purloined, it happened just after he’d been hanging out with his son-in-law.  Not to mention how frequently lately she’d noticed Killian’s kiss tasted distinctly like chocolate.

But still he resolutely denied any baked-good piracy, and she knew he wasn’t pulling the wool over her eyes.

Killian wasn’t lying to her…but he wasn’t quite telling the truth either.  Something was up, and she was going to get to the bottom of it.

And so it was that she launched her sting operation.

Emma woke abruptly to a clock reading 3:13 am and a bed conspicuously lacking a certain one-handed pirate.  She heard a faint thud from the general vicinity of the kitchen, and she knew a moment of triumph.  Tonight was the night she got the truth!

She slipped quietly from her bed, donned soft slippers and crept toward the scene of the crime.  She’d made a batch of chocolate chip cookies that afternoon, stating they were a gift for her parents; a way to calm her father’s ire.  She’d carefully packaged the entire batch, put it in a cute little cookie jar in the shape of a bluebird and labelled it “For David and Mary Margaret”.  And now, it seemed the cookie-burglar was about to strike again.

“Shh!” Killian whispered urgently, “stealth, lad!  Remember what we discussed about silence during missions?”

“Sorry, Killy,” said a little voice.

Emma melted into the shadows and peered forward in time to see her four-year-old brother gently set the top of the cookie jar upon the counter top.

“Exercise caution, my boy,” Killian said, looking guiltily around the darkened kitchen.  “You’ve taken to piracy like a duck to water, but your sister’s already begun to become suspicious.  We must be absolutely sure to leave no evidence of our pilfering endeavors.”

“Don’t worry,” Neal said in a loud stage whisper, “I’ll be careful.  I’m gonna be as good a pirate as you one day!”

“Don’t let your mother…or your father…or your sister hear you say such things, or it’s a fair bet your sister will soon be left a widow.”

Emma decided it was time to let her men know that the jig was up.  With a flick of her finger, she bathed the room in the harsh, fluorescent kitchen light.

And she caught her brother with his hand literally in the cookie jar.  The identical looks of horrified terror on the boys’ faces almost set her to laughing, but by some heroic show of self-control, she managed to retain her furious scowl.

“Just what the f…” she shot a sideways glance at her little brother, “um, what the fried rice is going on here?” 

Having little ears hanging around did certainly put a cramp in her lecturing style.

“Now, Swan,” Killian said, sauntering toward her with his single hand raised toward her in supplication, “this isn’t what it appears.”

She crossed her arms.  “Really?  Because it looks like my husband has been teaching my baby brother how to be a criminal.”

“Not a criminal, Emma” Neal said earnestly, “a pirate!  Killy told me stories about being a pirate and taking stuff people didn’t need and ‘ventures and stuff!  He told me about the pirate code!”

Emma narrowed her eyes.  “What pirate code?”

“You know,” Neal said, resolutely ignoring the shushing gestures Killian was sending his way.  “The captain gets the booty, but he shares it with the men who helped him?  He taught me how to take Daddy’s cookies, and he always gives me my share of the loot.”

It took a superhuman effort to avoid the laugh bubbling up.  The fearsome Captain Hook had a sweet tooth!  “Yeah?  Well, I don’t think mom and dad will be happy to hear about this.  They’ll probably never let us keep you overnight again.  You better get back to bed, kid.  I’ve got some pirate booty of my own to kick.”

Killian’s face was as sad as a sunken treasure ship as he watched his brother-in-law leave the kitchen, then he turned toward her, clearly ready to face the music.

“Well, love,” he said resignedly, “what shall my punishment be?”

Emma put a hand to her still-flat stomach, and smiled.  “Well, I guess we can let it slide this one time, but Jones, if I ever catch you pulling a stunt like this with our baby, I’ll kill you myself.”

“Now, Emma, you know I wouldn’t…what did you say?”

Emma placed his hand next to hers.  “You heard me.  Turns out I have a little pirate in me.”

Killian crushed her to him and twirled her around.  “A baby!  I’m to be a father!  I swear to you Emma, I’ll renounce all my perfidious ways.  I’m going to be the best father Storybrooke has ever seen!”

Impulsively, Emma reached up and pulled him in for a kiss.  “I’m sure you will be.  Now would you please stop stealing my dad’s cookies?  If he finds out about your sweet tooth, he’s gonna kill you (again), and then I’ll hunt you down from beyond the grave and kill you a third time, because I have no intention of raising this kid without his father.”

Killian hugged her to him, burying his nose in her fragrant hair. “Never fear, my love.  My cookie pilfering, youth corrupting days are over.  And there’s nothing in all the realms that could drag me from my wife’s and baby’s side.”

Notes:  *sighOnly the second week of this “fluffy Friday’s venture”, and I’ve already broken my own rules.  I should have known I couldn’t stick to my “under 1000 words” rule! 

--Anyway, I’ve been participating in the “cs writing challenge” on Tumblr, and “Sweet” was the prompt for day 2, and this just sort of happened.  I figured this story’s appropriate for “Fluffy Fridays” as well, so it’s serving double duty.  (Besides, I’m not nearly prolific enough to churn out TWO stories in one day!)

--I was going for sweet two ways here: 1. Cookies.  2. Daddy-to-be Killian being over-the-moon at finding out about his up-coming bundle of joy.

--Once again, I apologize for the weight gain and cavities.  :-)

Chapter Text

For the Love of Her Lieutenant

CS Genre: Lieutenant Duckling

 

Emma stared out of her palace window, letting her long, blonde hair blow in the springtime breeze and trying desperately to tune out her lady’s maid’s droning. 

“My lady it will be so exciting,” the maid gushed.  “Just think of it!  Your coming of age ball!  It will be exquisite.  Perhaps you’ll even meet your own Prince Charming.”

Emma sighed.  On the night of her twenty-first birthday her parents planned to hold a ball to let all and sundry know she was officially on the marriage market.  That’s right.  Come next month it was the start of princess hunting season.

Emma knew she would one day have to marry and take the throne and be the prim, proper ruler of the Enchanted Forest, but all she truly wanted was her freedom.  She envied the surfs in the village.  Her childhood friends Ruby and Elsa and Belle.  They could marry who they wanted, when they wanted.  And if they chose to remain single and free, they could do that as well.  She didn’t have that luxury.

It wasn’t as though a political match was a necessity.  The kingdom was at peace.  Why her parents, Queen Snow and King David insisted she begin searching for a proper suiter NOW was beyond her.  Their epic tale of true love in the midst of difficulty was legendary.  Didn’t they want the same for their only daughter?

Emma had always thought True Love would happen instantly.  From the moment she first set eyes on her true love, she’d just KNOW.  Maybe there’d be some sort of deep, ingrained understanding, a bond forged from the moment they met. 

That wasn’t how it was at all.  For her, she’d known her true love for years, thinking nothing of it, and suddenly, in one blinding flash of light, she’d known.  There would never be another man in the world for her.

Emma glanced out at the single ship moored in the harbor.  The Jewel of the Realm, her father’s fastest ship.  Emma smiled gently looking out at the vessel, wondering if the newly-installed Lieutenant Killian Jones was onboard tonight.

She and Killian had been friends forever…playing together, talking together, getting in mischief together.  (Well, to be fair, she’d gotten into mischief.  Killian had done everything in his power to keep her from it.)  Even as a child he’d been the most honorable, decent, disciplined person she’d ever met.  Far be it from him to step a toe out of line.  The thought of disappointing his older brother, Liam was not even worth contemplating.  Good form was paramount.

Emma had always found it kind of endearing.  It had never been a problem….at least until that day last week. 

Killian had come to the palace, so excited he could hardly contain himself.  He’d sought her out, pulled her to a secluded corner of the gardens and told her his news.  With Liam’s promotion to captain, he’d been appointed the new lieutenant of the Jewel.

She didn’t really know how it happened.  Perhaps it was his sparkling blue eyes, brimming with excitement.  Perhaps it was the dusting of scruff upon his face.  Perhaps it was her longing for adventure and freedom.  Whatever the reason, she suddenly found herself in his arms, her hands carding through his midnight hair, her mouth fused to his.

She’d had the occasional kiss before, but it had been NOTHING like that.  It was as though fire coursed through her veins, as though everyone and everything else in the world had fallen away.  Everyone but her and Killian.

And suddenly she knew.  Killian wasn’t merely her friend.  He wasn’t merely her father’s lieutenant.  He was the man she loved; the only man she’d ever love.

Killian had avoided her since that night, apologizing for his forwardness, excoriating himself for his bad form.  Emma hated it, hated that he thought so little of himself and his place in her life.

How was she to discuss what happened with Killian if he wouldn’t come within ten feet of her?

And suddenly it came to her.  If he wouldn’t come to her, she’d have to go to him.  It was time to see just how deep her lieutenant’s discipline went.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

And so it was three hours later that Princess Emma found herself dressed in her favorite red dress—the one that was not QUITE indecent, sitting on Lieutenant Killian Jones’s bed on the Jewel of the Realm, awaiting her true love’s return to his quarters.

He ambled in, whistling a jaunty tune under his breath.  And then he saw her.  “Princess!” he yelped.  “What are you doing here, lass?”

Emma got to her feet in one fluid motion and went to him.  “Killian, I’ve missed you these last several days.”

He scratched behind his ear, looking anywhere but at her, mumbling something about duty and chores and business. 

Emma took his face into her hands, stilling his movements.  Killian swallowed hard, closed his eyes, and unconsciously leaned into her touch.  “Killian, we have to talk about what happened, about what it means.”

“Love,” he croaked, panic evident in his tone, “it was but a kiss.  Only a kiss.  You needn’t concern yourself with it farther.”

Emma took a step back and slowly shook her head.  “It was much more than that.  It was the moment that changed my life forever.  I’d never thought I was capable of true love, not like what my parents had.  That is, until I met you.”

His eyes snapped to hers shock and wild hope filling their cerulean depths.  “Emma,” he breathed, “are you saying…?”

She went to him then, rose on her toes and kissed him with everything within her.   He hesitated for a mere breath, and then his arms came around her and he crushed her to him, returning her kiss with wild abandon.  When they finally pulled apart, desperate for air, Emma touched her forehead to his.  “Yes, Killian.  I’m saying that I love you.”

“Truly, Emma?”

“Yes, and I want no one but you by my side for the rest of my life.”

His grin was like the sun coming out after a storm.  Impulsively he surged forward, giving her one more hard kiss, leaving them both breathless once again.  “Emma, I’ve loved you for as long as I can remember.  I will be beside you to the ends of the earth or time.”

Joy leapt inside of her, joy like she’d never known.  No doubt they’d have their struggles, the path of true love never did run smooth, but there was one thing she knew.  There was nothing she wouldn’t do for the love of her lieutenant

 

Notes:

--Hi everyone!  It’s Friday again, so you know what that means!  It’s time for your weekly dose of fluff from me!

--This is my first foray into the world of Lieutenant Duckling.  There’s something I really like about this CS genre—Both Emma and Killian are still themselves, but they’re also so different.  It’s interesting to think about what might have been if Emma had been raised by Snowing in the Enchanted Forest.  And, well, we already got a glimpse of what Killian was like before Liam’s death.  Mainly I just love that no matter what situation you put these two in, no matter what their circumstances in life, no matter where they are, they will always find each other and fall in love.  They truly are timeless.

--Anyway, this was my entry for day 8 (yesterday) of the CS Writing Challenge on Tumblr.

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Deleted Scenes

Season 2a; at the top of the beanstalk

“So any ideas on where to find the compass?”  Emma asked, desperately trying to keep her voice calm and aloof.

No, she wasn’t thinking about Captain Freaking Hook bandaging her hand with his teeth.  And no, in case anyone wondered, it didn’t have any effect on her.  At all.  Not one bit.  He was an idiot; a frat boy who had a way too exalted opinion of himself and his effect on women.  Her mind was on the compass and Henry.  Getting back to Henry; that’s what mattered; that’s all that was on her mind.

Hook looked at her with a smirk.  “Are you sure it’s the compass you’re desiring love?”

She glared daggers in his direction.  It was anger and nothing more that made her heart rate spike at the silky, seductive way he’d delivered that question.  “Uh, yeah.  Seeing as how the compass is the reason we came up here in the first place; I’d say I’d say it’s pretty high on my list of priorities.”

He shrugged, smug grin still in place.  He sauntered closer, moving with the grace of a cat.  Once he’d thoroughly invaded her space, he leaned down until he was close enough that she could feel his breath on her face.

(She didn’t move away because she refused to give him the satisfaction.  That was all.  It had nothing to do with her sudden desire to determine just how those sinful lips tasted.)

“How shall we find the compass?” he whispered, moving so his lips nearly connected with her ear.  “We search, love.”

Emma stepped back, face flaming.  The smile he sent her was pure mischief.  He knew what he was doing to her, damn him!  Well, he wasn’t going to get away with it.  She’d stick around with him long enough to find the stupid compass and then she planned to get the hell away. 

“Alright,” she said in a hard voice, arms crossed, “so let’s get to it.”

They searched for hours.  The giants clearly had no concept of tidiness—or organization.  Treasure was haphazardly piled everywhere.  It would take a miracle to find the damn compass.

She sifted through yet another mound of golden coins, her mind so focused on her task—and so determinedly not focused on the ridiculous pirate who was helping her—that she forgot about her injured hand.  She struck something hard and sharp with said hand, and quickly pulled it back with a muffled curse, shaking the maligned appendage up and down in an effort to relieve the sting.

Hook was at her side in a second.  “Something the matter Swan?”

He took her hand in his, concern painting his features when he realized the problem.

“It’s fine,” she said, yanking her hand back and striding quickly away.  They were not about to have an encore performance of the bandaging fiasco.

“Suit yourself,” he called after her, trying to shrug nonchalantly.  But she noticed the concern still lingering on his face.

The pain slowly receded from the injury, to be replaced by a certain unfamiliar warmth.  A warmth that spread from her palm up her arm straight to her heart.  (Was it just her, or was it really hot up here?)

Oh, this wasn’t good.  This wasn’t good at all.  Hook, the playboy extraordinaire she could deal with, but Hook genuinely concerned about her?  Hook trying to ease her pain?  Nope.  She wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.

Maybe it was time she started devising a contingency plan.  She needed to get away from Captain Hook as soon as physically possible.

2 days later, back in the Charmings’ loft

Emma woke with a gasp, hand going to her heart.  That had been some nightmare!  Okay, maybe it wasn’t technically a nightmare, but it had been as terrifying as being captured by an ogre.  She’d been back on the beanstalk, Hook wrapping his scarf around her hand.  He’d leaned down, his breath warm on her fingers as he whispered his (ridiculous) plan to simply wait for the giant to fall asleep.  He’d grabbed the end of the make-shift bandage with his teeth, and tugged gently.  The resulting tug deep within her belly was irresistible.

And here’s where things got dangerous.  In her subconscious’ version of events, what happened next involved that damn scarf being the only scrap of clothing either of them ended up wearing.

Emma groaned, sitting up and running her (now properly bandaged) hand over her face.  What was wrong with her?  The son of a bitch was the worst kind of player out there.  He’d feel you up one minute and then stab you in the back with his (literal) sword the next.  He was dangerous in so many ways it wasn’t even funny.

Okay, maybe he was attractive…if you were into the hot as hell scruffy look…which she absolutely refused to admit that she was.  Not at all.  He did nothing for her.  But that was it.  Nothing more to it.  Nothing beyond the physical pull to a handsome man—not that she felt the pull, but maybe she could see how other women might.

Besides, he was gone; stuck back in the Enchanted Forest with the bitch he preferred to work with, and Emma didn’t ever have to see, hear or think about him again.

Emma laid back down, hoping to get a few more winks before it was time to head to the sheriff’s station and see what kind of trouble the town had gotten itself into while she was away, but her eyes snagged on the scarf-turned-bandage.

It sat smugly on her nightstand, a constant reminder of her adventure, of her injury, of him.  Whale had offered to dispose of it after he’d seen to her injury—the thing was filthy and ragged and pretty much useless—but she’d shook her head, deciding to keep it instead.  She didn’t know why; she just needed it around.

Emma reached over and grabbed the dark cloth, bringing it to her nose.  It smelled of leather and rum, and some other indefinable scent that screamed Hook.  She closed her eyes and allowed herself one, single moment to remember.

So what if she found Captain Hook attractive?  So what if she’d had a tiny, insignificant moment of connection with him on the beanstalk?  He was in a different realm with no way to get to her.  No harm in indulging in a single moment of whimsy. 

So what if she dreamed of him and the…ahem…other things that talented mouth could do?  So what if her heart had beat faster when he’d arrived at Rumple’s cell and vowed to her that he wouldn’t have abandoned her on the beanstalk?  So what if in honest moments when the dawn fought valiantly with the night she could admit to herself that she knew, instinctively, from the very start that he could be someone who mattered to her in a way no one had ever mattered before?

Suddenly, Emma thrust the scarf from her.  No, nope, not a chance in hell.  She wasn’t going down that road.  She’d get rid of the damn bandage today.  She’d…she didn’t know…burn it or something.  What did it matter?  It was nothing but a dirty, bloody scrap of fabric.

In the end, she couldn’t do it…and yet she couldn’t keep it with her on her nightstand either.  That was just…just…all too much.

So she’d compromised.  She’d taken it to the station, put it on top of her memory box (not in it; on top of it.  It was not something she wanted to remember for the rest of her days) in the drawer of the sheriff’s desk.

It was safe there; out of sight.  And as they say, out of sight is out of mind.  The annoying pirate may still decide to visit her from time to time in her dreams, but while she was awake?  Yeah, the danger he posed to her heart was completely, totally neutralized.

She need never concern herself with her revenge-crazed, leather clad buccaneer ever again.  Crisis averted.

Notes:

--*Shakes head*  Oh season 2 Emma, you have no idea!

--Yeah, I’ve pretty much given up on my self-imposed “under 1000 words” rule.  Clearly it is something I’m incapable of.

--This chapter can be blamed entirely on Colin O’Donoghue and his ridiculous presence at the Fairy Tales III con in Paris last weekend.  The man destroyed us all by telling us that the teeth portion of the hand-bandaging scene was improvised.  Why?  Just why?  Well, naturally, after that, I had to write a fluffy beanstalk “deleted scene” from Emma’s perspective.  Honestly, I’m not sure how she managed to avoid melting into a gooey puddle of savior at his feet after that little performance and the look in his eyes while he was doing it!  She’s clearly a stronger woman than I am. (If you’re interested in my further ramblings about Colin’s revelation about the scarf scene, watch my Tumblr page (whimsicallyenchantedrose).  I will shortly be posting a text post entitled “Discussing the Scarf Scene of Fangirl Death”.  Colin is a menace to society, and I figured it was high time someone called him on it. :-p)

--Inspiration number 2 was the scene in the second half of season 2 (I’m too lazy right now to look up the actual episode, lol) when Hook broke out of the hospital, knocked David out and stole his Hook back.  Those of us in the CS fandom collectively melted down over the fact that he had to rummage past his scarf in order to get his signature appendage.  Emma kept the scarf!  I thought it was about time I explained exactly how that came about.

Chapter Text

The Fireworks

CS Genre: Feuding Neighbors AU

            “Come on David, you can’t be serious!” Emma growled as her brother, the sheriff, eased her back with a gentle hand to the arm.

            “Yeah, Emma,” he said grimly, “I can.”

            As if to emphasize the point, he slammed the jail cell door closed behind her.

            Behind her and her jackass next door neighbor.

            “Now, mate,” said jackass drawled, stepping forward.  “Are you sure this is the best idea.  You know your sister and I don’t particularly see eye to eye.”

            David smiled humorlessly.  “Understatement of the year after what you two have done over the last few days.  But you’ve been disturbing the peace and driving everyone around you crazy, so yeah.  I think a night in jail is definitely in order.  You two’ll either find a way to work things out or you’ll kill each other.  Either way the rest of us might get a little peace and quiet.”

~~36 Hours Before…~~

            Killian settled into his bed with a contented sigh, reveling in the soft pillow.  The hum of the ceiling fan lulled him until his eyes gently closed.  It had been a long day, and he was in for another one tomorrow.

            Storybrooke had big plans for its 4th of July celebration on Saturday.  There were plans to shoot fireworks from a boat out on the harbor and set the whole thing to patriotic music.  As the town’s harbormaster, Killian had a big role to play in getting everything set up.  It was exhausting, and he wanted nothing more than to get a good night’s sleep before he waded into the madness all over again—ridiculously early tomorrow morning.

            Boom!  Crackle!

            Killian jumped at the sudden noise, and then heard a frightened yelp and the click of paws against his wooden floor, as his 75 pound Rottweiler mix sprinted into his room, jumped on his bed and plopped square on his chest.

            As Killian removed the panting, shaking, terrified canine baby from his person, his eyes narrowed.  He’d bet his last paycheck he knew precisely the cause of the disturbance.

            “Sh, Smee,” he said, stroking his dog’s black and caramel colored coat.  “There’s nothing to worry about.  It’s just…”

            Another boom, this one loud enough to shake his house.  Smee scrambled down and tried to wedge himself under Killian’s bed.

            Killian pushed himself to his feet and strode purposely toward his door, not even bothering to put on a shirt.  There was only one person who could be responsible.

            Swan.

            She’d moved into the house next to him about eight months ago, all long blonde hair and prickly exterior.  Never had he met someone so exquisitely beautiful—or so maddeningly frustrating.  The day after she’d moved in, he’d knocked on her door, friendly smile and “welcome to the neighborhood” bottle of rum at the ready.

            He’d prepared a genial, friendly speech about how he was pleased to meet her and glad the house was finally occupied again and how she shouldn’t hesitate to ask if he could be of any assistance, but then she’d opened the door, and all rational thought had fled.  Nothing could have prepared him for the utter perfection that was Emma Swan.

            So, rather than his careful, well thought out neighborly speech, what came out of his mouth was something along the lines of “Hey beautiful.  I think you and I need to get to know each other much, much better.”

            Needless to say, she’d slammed the door in his face.  Then she’d opened it again, swiped the rum from his hand, gave him a glare that could curdle milk, and slammed the door for the second time that morning.

            Things had only gone downhill from there. 

            From that moment on, it would seem they were sworn enemies.  Oh he’d tried to apologize, explain, but approaching her had been like trying to approach a rabid porcupine.

            So he’d stopped trying to apologize and started in to do his best to completely piss her off, flirting outrageously with her whenever they came in contact.  She was utterly glorious when she was angry.

            She’d returned the favor with various acts of bad neighborliness—raking her leaves straight into his yard (he’d retaliated by raking the whole lot up and putting it in a messy pile at her front door) or parking her yellow bug smack dab in front of his mailbox—earning him the ire of Leroy, their bad-tempered postman (he’d retaliated by parking his own car at the end of her driveway), and all manner of other, deliberate acts of aggression.

            And tonight, it would appear she’d decided to shoot off fireworks at 10:30 pm.  Well, he wasn’t going to stand for it anymore.  Enough was enough.

            Righteous indignation intact, he stormed from his front door and marched right up to the exasperating woman who was preparing to apply a lighter to another bottle rocket, a preteen boy looking on with excitement.

            “What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing?” he’d shouted.

            Emma jumped and then glared.  “What does it look like I’m doing?  I’m setting off fireworks.  There’s a little thing called Independence Day coming up, and Henry and I wanted to celebrate.”

            “Yeah?” he’d growled, “well can’t you celebrate at a reasonable hour?  Some of us are trying to get some bloody sleep, so how about you cease and desist immediately.”

            She rolled her eyes.  “Not happening, buddy,” she said in a hard voice.  “So how about you take your un-patriotic ass off my lawn and go get that sleep you’re so desperate for.”

            He’d opened his mouth, preparing for a stinging reply, but then thought better of it as a brilliant, devious plan came to mind.  She wanted to disturb his sleep and scare his dog half to death?  Fine.  Two could play at that game.  Miss patriotic over there was about to find out that payback was a bitch.

~~6 ½ hours later…~~

            Emma was happily fast asleep when it happened.  A canon boomed and suddenly classical music, at roughly the decibel level of a jet, filled her peaceful bedroom.  She shot up in bed, hand going immediately to her heart, and then her eyes narrowed.

            Killian.

            No one else would even think of pulling something like this. 

            She got to her feet, threw on some sweats and stormed from the house, prepared to give the son of a bitch a piece of her mind he would never forget.

            Killian Jones was the bane of her existence; had been ever since that first morning he’d knocked on her door and immediately set in to hitting on her.  Obviously thought he was God’s gift to women; that she should just swoon at his feet in ecstasy that he’d deigned to talk to her.

            Yeah, not happening. 

She didn’t care how ridiculously hot he was.  And yes, with his piercing blue eyes, messy black hair, and perpetual scruff…well, hot didn’t even begin to cover it.  And when he’d stormed over to her house last night, naked to the waist and she’d gotten her first glimpse of that ripped, hair smattered chest….well, maybe it did things to her.

            Ugh!  What was she doing?  She wasn’t some teenager who couldn’t keep her hormones in check.  She was a full grown woman who was going to give a world-class jerk the verbal beating he so richly deserved!

            Killian Jones sat on his porch swing, cup of coffee in hand, smug grin in place.

            “Morning, Swan,” he said genially.  “Looks like it’s going to be a lovely day, aye?”

            She took his porch steps two at a time, walked over to the stereo system he’d moved to sit beside him—the stereo system who’s speakers were turned conspicuously toward her house—and punched the “stop” button with a viciousness that would have made a fairy tale villain proud.  “Cut the crap, Jones.  What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

            His grin spread maddeningly further.  “Just enjoying the morning,” he drawled.  “After all, as patriotic as you are, I’d assumed you’d enjoy ‘The 1812 Overture’.  Quite a good rendition this.  Did you know they used real canons in the finale?”

            Emma’s hand ached with the need to punch the smug bastard in the face.  “It’s freaking five o’clock in the morning!  I was asleep.”

            Suddenly a glint of temper entered his eyes.  “Aye?  Well darling, now you know how it feels.”

            And that was all it took.  Emma took a deep breath and started in on the long list of all the things she hated about Killian Jones.

~~Present Day~~

            Emma plopped down on one of the prison cell cots and turned resolutely from the man standing on the far side of the cell.  After the cataclysmic shouting match this morning, one of their other neighbors had evidently called the cops.  David had shown up, taken one, assessing look at the situation, and thrown both of their asses in jail.

            And now she was going to be stuck with Killian freaking Jones until tomorrow morning!

            Talk about cruel and unusual punishment!  This was going to be the longest night of her life.

            For long minutes they both sat there, each on their respective bunks, seething and glaring daggers in each other’s general direction.  Finally he let out a deep breath, ran a hand through his hair, and turned suddenly repentant eyes in her direction.

            “Look love,” he began.

            “Not your love, Jones,” she said automatically.

            He charged on, ignoring the interruption.  “Perhaps your brother is right.  Things might be…tumultuous between us, but we are neighbors.  We need to find a way to live together in peace.  I apologize for blaring music at you at an ungodly hour this morning.  Bad form, that.”

            He was apologizing?  Actually apologizing?  Taking responsibility for something he’d done and wishing to make amends?  Of all the things she’d expected to come from his mouth that was not it.

            “Um,” she said in confusion, “thanks for that.”

            He reclined his head in acknowledgement.  “I let my temper get the better of me.  I’ve been under a bit of stress at work lately, and when you set off your fireworks late last night—disturbing my sleep and scaring my dog witless—well, I suppose I snapped.”

            Sudden guilt clawed at Emma.  She supposed if she was being completely honest…she hadn’t handled last night’s altercation as well as she might have.  And, okay, maybe if she was further being honest, he wasn’t a complete pain in the ass all the time.  There was that time last winter when he’d come over and shoveled her driveway after a particularly nasty blizzard….and there was that time she’d been sick and he’d run down to the local diner and bought her some chicken soup.

            And, well, okay, maybe he had some justification for being angry after all the crap she’d done to him.  Maybe he wasn’t the only one who needed to make an apology.

            “Yeah,” she said, picking at a loose string on her cot and refusing to look over at him.  “I guess I should apologize too.  For the fireworks.  I didn’t think about them bothering anyone, but, well, I didn’t exactly handle our conversation last night well.”

            She felt the cot sag beside her, and looked up into the bluest eyes she’d ever seen in her life.  Killian extended one hand, friendly smile firmly in place.  “Apology accepted.  Truce?”

            She hesitated for another moment, and then gripped his offered hand.  A jolt of electricity passed between them at the touch, and Emma gasped, dropped his hand like it was a live wire, and turned startled green eyes his direction.  What she saw in the depths of his eyes was something she’d never expected.  Kindness, understanding, friendship.

            Emma’d had a rough life; always abandoned, always forgotten, always passed over.  It wasn’t until David’s mom, Ruth, adopted her at the age of seventeen that she finally found someone she could really trust.  Still, trust came hard.  Her default position was still to expect the worst.

            So it shocked her to her very core when she suddenly had the urge to confide in the man sitting beside her—the man she’d hated from the very beginning.

            “Look,” she said, once again glancing away from him.  “That boy that was with me last night...”

            He nodded, urging her to go on.  “That’s my…that’s my son.  Got knocked up really young; still a kid really, sixteen-and-a-half.  And when I told the father…well, he freaked out.  Walked out on us, and I’ve never seen him since.”

            Killian took her hand, and to her shock, she had no desire to pull away.

            “I gave Henry up when he was born, trying to give him his best chance, you know? What did I know about being a mother?  I’d never even had one to speak of.”

            “I can’t begin to imagine how difficult that must have been for you,” Killian whispered.  She looked up at him, nodded, and gave his hand a quick squeeze.

            “Yeah,” she admitted.  “Tore me apart.  I’ve been looking for him for years, and finally found him; here in this town.  The adoptive mom didn’t want me to have anything to do with him; almost took out a restraining order on me, and well, last night was the first time she agreed to let me have contact with him.  Real contact.  Henry loves fireworks, so…”  Emma shrugged.

            Killian was silent for a long time, and finally she looked up at him.  The compassion in his eyes was almost her undoing.  “I’m sorry for overreacting, love.”

            She shrugged again.  “Not your fault; not really.  You couldn’t have known.  And...well, I guess my default is to be defensive.  My experience…people don’t stay.  They don’t do nice things for you, at least without expecting things in return.  Their all out to screw you over.”

            “Emma, you deserve far, far better than that.”

            Something about the sincerity of his voice, the emotion behind his simple statement, finally made her snap.  Surging forward, she weaved her hand through the soft hair at the nape of his neck and slammed her lips against his.

            He responded instantly, giving as good as he got, deepening the kiss, making small noises in the back of his throat that drove her wild.  In the history of kisses, she was sure there had never been one quite so potent, so all consuming.

            When they finally pulled apart, she rested her forehead against his and felt his deep chuckle against her hand, resting on his chest.  “Love, that was…”

            “Mind-blowing, explosive,” she finished.  She leaned back and grinned at him.  “Jones, I thought you were against fireworks, but that..”

            He laughed again.  “Well, there are fireworks and then there are fireworks.”

            She laughed with him, and couldn’t resist going in for round two—the kiss far softer and more gentle this time.

            “Killian,” she finally said, breathlessly.  “I think we kind of started out on the wrong foot.  How about we start over and this time try to not, you know, attempt to kill each other every other day?”

            Killian grinned.  “Sounds good to me, love.”  He extended his hand once more.  “Hi, I’m Killian Jones.  Pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

 

Notes:

--I think I broke both my rules with that one.  Not even CLOSE to under 1000 words…and there was a bit of angst in this one as well.  Oh well.  At least it was mostly fluff!

--This chapter was inspired mainly by the up-coming 4th of July holiday.  Some of my neighbors have been shooting off fireworks far too late at night, and driving me crazy!  Also, Killian’s dog, Smee, was inspired by my own Rottweiler mix, Reggie, who is deathly afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms.

--Also, there was that little tidbit from the Ever After con in Rio where Colin said he thought Hook would make Emma a classical music mixtape.  (Really Colin?  Classical music?  Sea shanties or pirate drinking songs, maybe, but CLASSICAL music?)  Anyway, that was the inspiration for Killian pulling out the 1812 overture in this one.  (Also, yes, my inner music cataloger/former music teacher nerdiness is coming out, :p) It’s technically not patriotic, and it technically has nothing to do with America, but it’s often used in patriotic concerts and the like, so I figured it fit here.  If you’re interested in hearing just what it was that Killian woke Emma with, youtube the piece, and start at around minute 12.

--Anyway, happy almost-Independence Day to my American readers…and happy….random (almost) fourth day of July to my non-American ones! :)

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Post-Darkness Fic

“So, Killian, I was thinking,” Emma said, snuggling deeper into her boyfriend’s side.  They lay together on the deck of the Jolly Roger, looking up at the stars, basking in their new-found peace and tranquility, becoming more intoxicated with each other by the second.

“Aye?” he asked, idly running his hand through her hair.  “And precisely what direction did your musings take you, love?”

“Things have been crazy lately…well, crazier than usual.”

He laughed, the gentle rumblings vibrating through her head resting on his chest.  “Aye, love.  Our latest venture was a bit of a challenge.”

That was an understatement if she’d ever heard one.  It had taken Killian, Henry and her parents a month to find a way to Camelot to find her, another month for them to convince Merlin to take the darkness out of her, and a third month for the five of them to deal with the ridiculous consequences of that little bit of magic.

But it hadn’t been all bad.  It had resulted in a (literally) earth-shaking true love’s kiss between her and her pirate.

“You know what we need?” she asked, rising up to look him in the eye.  “After all we’ve been through, we need a vacation.”

“A vacation?”

Emma rolled her eyes.  “I know you’re not from around here, but don’t tell me you’ve never heard of a vacation!”

He smirked.  “Of course I have, darling.  I merely wondered what manner of vacation you had in mind.”

She thought for a moment.  “A tropical one.  Something relaxing and romantic.  Just the two of us.  There’s always something getting in the way of our time together.  And, well, this is Storybrooke; any day now another terrible crisis will break out and I’ll have to go be all savior-y and everything, and…I just want to enjoy a few happy moments with you while we have them. Think about it Killian!  Nothing but sun and sand and us.  It’ll give you a chance to explore a little more of my world.  And it’ll give me a chance to try out my new bikini.”

Killian grinned, then pulled her forward and kissed her.  Thoroughly.  “It sounds sublime, Swan.  The Jolly is ready to sail at a moment’s notice.  Say the word, provide me with a heading, and our tropical excursion begins.  But just out of curiosity, what the bloody hell is a ‘bikini’?”

Emma laughed softly, pulling her pirate down for another toe-curling kiss.  “Trust me, Killian; it’s something you’ll like.  A lot.”

c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s

In hindsight, they should have set off immediately.  Instead, they had the abysmally stupid idea to tell people their plans.

“You’re…you’re planning to go away?” Henry asked, his eyes huge and troubled.  “But, Mom, we just got back!”

“Well, yeah, Kid,” she said with a shrug, “but that wasn’t exactly a vacation.  I haven’t really been on vacation since I first came to Storybrooke, and I figured it’s as good a time as any to get away from it all for a while.”

“But,” Henry said quietly, “you want to get away from me?”

“No!” she said, rushing to him.  “Nothing like that!  Killian and I just wanted some downtime.  You know, a chance to unwind after all the crap that’s gone down the last year or two.”

“How long will you be gone?”

“Two weeks,” she said slowly, watching him closely.

“Well,” he said, putting on a tight smile that didn’t fool her for a minute.  “I hope you have a good trip.”

“Of course…” she said slowly, “it wouldn’t have to be just the two of us.  You could come along; make it a family vacation.”

“Really?” he asked, jumping up in excitement.  “That would be awesome!”

c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s

Killian was the one who told her parents.

“You’re planning what?” her father thundered.  “Listen pirate!  I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but if you plan to take my daughter on a romantic vacation and seduce her…”

Emma rolled her eyes and then raised her hand to stop David’s tirade.  “Save it, Dad,” she growled.  “I’m a thirty year old woman, and I’m damn well capable of making my own decisions without any interference from my parents.  If I want to go on a romantic vacation with my boyfriend, that’s no one’s business but ours.  And for your information, it was me that came up with the idea.  If anyone’s planning on doing any seducing, it’s me.”

The heated look Killian gave her more than made up for her father’s spluttering looks of horror.

“She’s right, David,” Mary Margaret said, laying a gentle hand on her husband’s chest.  “Her love life is none of our concern.”

Emma smiled, thanking her lucky stars that at least one of her parents got it.

And then Mary Margaret spoke again.

“On the other hand,” she said slowly, “Henry did tell me that you guys were making it a family vacation.  You know, family vacations were one of the things we missed out on during all those years of the curse.  David, maybe we should go along too, us and Neal, and make it a true family vacation.”

And just like that, their two-some had expanded to six.

c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s

Regina was next.

Nearly bursting at the seams with excitement, Henry told his other mother about his planned tropical vacation with the Charming/Swan/Jones clan.

“Not without me, young man,” Regina said in her no-nonsense, mayor voice.  “Given the dangers that are always around wherever Miss Swan and her Charming family go, I’m not taking a chance at loosing you. Not again.”

“Well,” Henry said, slowly, “it is supposed to be a family vacation…”

“And as your mother, I am family,” she finished for him.  “Just tell me the time and place, and Robin, Roland and I will be there, ready for some serious relaxation.”

c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s

But it wasn’t until the following morning that Emma realized she’d lost all control.

She and Killian sat in their favorite booth at Granny’s, holding hands and sipping at hot beverages as they waited for their breakfast to arrive.

“Pancakes coming up!” Ruby chirped, placing fragrant, steaming plates before each of them.

“Thanks Ruby,” Emma said, flashing their waitress a smile.

But Ruby didn’t leave; she stood there, waiting, watching.

“Something else you need?”

“So,” Ruby said, plopping down next to Emma on the bench.  “I hear you guys are planning a big vacation to the tropics for family and friends.  Granny and I are in.  Never been anywhere besides Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest.  This is so exciting!  And I might be able to convince Whale to come too.  Just depends on whether or not he can find someone to cover for him at the hospital.”

c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s

And then it got worse.

“So, sister,” Leroy said, collapsing into the seat in front of Emma’s desk at the station.  “I hear you’ve got a town-wide vacation in the works.  Always wanted to go to the beach.  Give me a chance to try out my new Speedo.”

Now that was an image Emma fervently wished had never entered her mind.  She hastily dropped the pastrami sandwich she was about to dig into, suddenly feeling nauseated.

“Anyway, Doc was wondering.  Would it be alright if he brought his Miata?”

“Um…” Emma said, feeling the headache start behind her eyes, “to a tropical island?”

“Yeah, you’re right,” he said with a nod, getting to his feet.  “Stupid idea.  I’ll tell him to take a plane like the rest of us.”

c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s

Naturally, once Leroy was in on it, the entire town knew…and was making plans…by nightfall.

“Killian,” Emma said, once again sitting with her pirate on the deck of the Jolly.  “Sometimes I think the whole universe is against us.  If it’s not villains or curses or memory charms or darkness that’s standing in the way, it’s our family and friends.”

Killian chuckled.  “Not exactly the romantic vacation we had in mind, is it, love?”

She merely groaned.

Killian toyed with the ends of her hair, his gaze on the horizon.  “You know Swan, there is a solution.  Perhaps we can have the beautiful, romantic vacation alone after all.”

“Yeah?” she asked, turning to look at him.  “How you plan to accomplish that?”

“Well,” he said with a sly grin.  “If the entirety of Storybrooke is departing on a well-deserved tropical vacation, our fair town will be empty.  If we were to decide not to go after all…”

“…we’d end up having the whole town to ourselves,” she finished with a laugh.  “Would you really be okay with that, Killian?  I mean, I know you love your travels and I know you want to explore this world, and…”

He stopped her with a long, deep kiss that she felt to her very core.  “All I want is to be with you, my love,” he said with a gentle smile.  “Whether that occurs here, in the tropics or on the moon is immaterial; all I want is you.”

And so it was that Emma and Killian’s first big romantic vacation together didn’t take place on some distant, exotic shore.  It took place in none other than the very-empty Charming loft in the heart of Storybrooke.

 

Notes:

--So, summer is upon us (well, supposedly.  I don’t know if the weather is ever going to catch up to the calendar, but that’s another story altogether), which naturally turns my thoughts to vacation!  I figured if anyone deserved a vacation after all the craziness and villains and darkness and everything else, it was CS.  Unfortunately, the town seems to be more interested in getting in their own time on an island paradise than shipping a certain savior and pirate!

--This was originally posted for the cs writing challenge on Tumblr (this one was for the prompt “vacation”).

--Once again, if you have any fluffy prompts you would like to send my way, don’t be shy!  I still have 11 Fridays left to fill.

 

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Canon Divergence—Emma didn’t leave Hook chained to the beanstalk

She made it back to the beanstalk before the guilt finally got the better of her.  She still heard him calling her name in the distance, the anger changing to something far worse—disbelief, pain, betrayal.  Emma winced, unable to shake the feeling that she was making a mistake of gigantic proportions.

She took another step, jumped up on the ledge surrounding the gigantic vine and took hold of a substantial, leafy branch.  She had to get out of here.  Now!  The man was a pirate.  She couldn’t trust him any farther than she could throw him.  Hell, he’d already shown he was a lying, manipulative son of a bitch.  Cowardly blacksmith, ha!

So what if he’d kept his end of the bargain?  So what if he’d read her better than anyone had in years, decades maybe?  So what if he’d looked at her like she made the sun shine?  He didn’t care about her!  She was a means to an end for him; that was all.  She’d heard this song before; she knew how it ended.  She’d decide to trust him and then he’d screw her over and leave her to drown in her own tears

No way.  Not a chance in hell.  She wasn’t going down that path again.

She took her first step down, the movement causing her injured palm to swear fluently in outrage. 

Damn!

Her mind went back to the moment a few hours ago when he’d bandaged it for her.  His eyes, so full of mischief.  His breath warm on her hand.  His straight, white teeth pulling the fabric taut.  She felt her breath quicken, her heart swoop into her stomach and back at the memory.  Ugh!  He didn’t even remotely play fair.

Damn!

But what terrified her more than anything other wasn’t the blatant flirting, the white hot passion.  It was the fact that he noticed her injury at all; that he took the time to tend her wound.  The implications of that kind of perception and kindness were too scary to even think of.

Damn him!

Emma sighed and then leaped back onto the stone floor of the giant’s lair.  Much as she wanted to, she couldn’t just leave him here.  He had, after all, fulfilled his part of the bargain.  Fair was fair. 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

“I must say, love.  It’s a hell of a view from where I stand.”

Emma twisted awkwardly to look down at the man who clung to the beanstalk a few feet below her.  Her eyes narrowed.

“Hook, are you checking out my ass?”

He shot her a surprised look—that quickly transformed into his customary mocking leer.  He made an exaggerated point of training his eyes on that particular part of her physiognomy.  “That hadn’t been the point of my observation, darling” he drawled, “but now that you mention it, I do quite like what those snug breeches women of your realm wear do to your…assets.”

“You do realize that if I wasn’t hanging on for my life a good two-hundred feet above the ground I’d be slapping you silly right now?”

He grinned.  “And mar my devilishly handsome visage?  ‘Twould be a tragedy love.”

Emma rolled her eyes and took another careful step.  The climb down somehow seemed more precarious than the way up had been.  She wasn’t normally afraid of heights, but they were still above the cloud line, and she was all too aware that one wrong move might result in her becoming a broken mass of dead savior on the ground.

“You needn’t worry, love,” Hook said gently.  “Should you fall, I’m more than capable of catching you.”

She glanced down at him once again, shocked at his ability to read her.  “You’ve got one hand. How you gonna manage that?”

A small shadow, so fleeting Emma wondered if she’d even seen it at all, came and went over his face.  “Be that as it may,” he said, “I’m endlessly resourceful.  And as it would seem we’re destined to remain companions, I’d far prefer you alive.”

“Such a gentleman,” she mocked.

“As I said, love, always.  Good form and all of that.”

They climbed steadily and silently for a quarter of an hour, and with each passing moment Emma’s hand throbbed more insistently.  Much more of this and she’d be down a hand just as much as Hook was.

“Shall we stop and rest for a moment, Swan?” Hook asked, giving her a concerned look.

“Um, how exactly are we supposed to do that?”

Hook gestured to a narrow ledge about ten feet below.  “It’s not the most comfortable perch, to be sure, but it will be sufficient for our needs.”

Emma eyed the precarious looking mass of entwined branches.  “You sure we’ll fit on that?”

He gave her a wicked grin.  “We’ll need to huddle up quite a bit, but aye.  It’ll hold us.”

Emma rolled her eyes, but finally nodded.  She needed the rest, and if it meant she had to practically sit in the pirate’s lap to get it…well, she’d had to do worse things she supposed.

After a bit of careful maneuvering, the two of them settled on the ledge.  Hook grabbed the canteen and extended it in her direction.  With a muttered thanks, Emma drank deeply, enjoying the cool crisp liquid against her parched throat.  She’d had no idea how thirsty she’d become throughout the trek. 

Replacing the cap, she handed the container back and then froze.  His eyes were on her, hot and wanting.  Emma felt the heat rush to her cheeks as she struggled to hold his gaze.  What was he doing to her?  She wasn’t some young innocent!  She could handle the blatant attention of a hopeless ladies’ man without turning into a puddle of goo!

After a moment, Hook shook his head and broke eye contact, and Emma could finally breathe again.  “So, Hook,” she said, desperately trying to get her run away racing heart back under control.  “We’ve got the compass.  What’s the plan now?”

He shrugged.  “Same as before.  We pilfer the wardrobe ashes from Cora.”

“Sounds pretty dangerous to me,” Emma muttered.  “Stealing from a powerful sorceress sounds like a recipe for death and destruction.”

“Perhaps for most, love,” he said with a cocky grin, “but I am more than adept at thievery, and I’m even more adept at surviving.”

“So, master thief,” she said, “you going to let me in on your dastardly plan?”

Hook was silent for a moment, clearly in thought.  “I believe our best course of action is to give Cora precisely what she wants.  I’d wager the only way to get close to her—at least close enough for our purposes—is to bring her the compass.”

Emma’s eyes narrowed.  “You want to give Cora the compass?”

He shrugged.  “Not give it to her, darling.  Merely make her believe that’s what we’re doing.  Perhaps you and I can venture to her camp and practice a little sleight of hand.”

Emma eyed him closely.  He seemed to be sincere.  Her inner lie detector remained resolutely silent, but still…this plan sounded ridiculous.

“How can I be sure you’re not going to double cross us?  How do I know you’re not just planning to screw me over?”

Hook was silent for a moment, and Emma looked over at him.  He wore the most sinful look she’d ever seen across his ridiculous face.  “Oh, darling, you’ve no idea how much I’d like to screw you over.”

The heat pooled deep in her belly.  Seriously?  How did he manage to do this to her with seemingly no effort at all?

“Be that as it may,” he continued, sobering, “you’ve nothing to fear from me.  Cora is a right nasty piece of work, and what I said before stands.  I’ve no love for her or her schemes.  I’ll swear allegiance to any who help me achieve my vengeance.  As you’ve done just that, I’d far rather remain in your lovely presence.”

She looked closely at him, surprised at what she found.  “You’re really serious aren’t you?  You really do intend to help my mom and me get home?”

He smiled at her, the tenderness in his expression surprising her even further.  “I swear to you on my vengeance, Swan, I’ll return you to your lad or perish in the attempt.”

There was no disguising the honesty and the conviction in that statement.  Emma was more grateful than she could say.  “Thanks.”

He nodded firmly.  “So what do you say darling?  Shall we plan our visit to the nastiest witch this realm has ever seen?”

“Sounds good to me.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  I hope you enjoyed your weekly dose of fluff.

--The title of this update was inspired by the last thing Emma said to Hook before leaving him on the beanstalk: “I can’t take a chance that I’m wrong about you.”  In this story, she came back and decided to take that chance on him after all.

--So, Emma’s hand hurting DID have a point in this story—beyond being an excuse to trap them together as they rested on the beanstalk.  During the hand bandaging scene, I suspect we were all focusing on…ahem…other things, but I did notice that that cut looked pretty deep and nasty.  The injury was never discussed again on screen (probably mainly because it existed for the sole purpose of Hook bandaging it and Colin killing us all with his improvisatorial skills), but I figure it had to hurt like crazy—particularly when she was climbing down the beanstalk by herself!

--I’ve done lots of different CS “genres”, but I don’t think I’ve ever done something that was canon divergent yet.  I wanted to branch out a little!  In this particular update, I (obviously) wanted to explore what might have happened if Emma had had a change of heart and freed Hook from the beanstalk.  Basically, in my mind, most everything goes on to happen in a reasonably similar manner plot wise—only Emma and company have a certain one-handed pirate on their side this time.  So, at the end of this story, Hook and the ladies attempt to steal the ashes from Cora, but are ultimately unsuccessful.  Cora goes on to send her army of zombies after them and captures Aurora.  Cora (rather than Hook) takes Aurora’s heart, and then Cora (via Aurora) traps all five of them in Rumple’s cell.  Rumple’s ink still frees them and they head to Lake Nostos—where an epic battle ensues.  This time CS is fighting side by side rather than against each other, but hey, I’m sure Hook can still find a place to throw in his sword-related innuendoes.

--I was rather productive this week; I wrote several additional updates to this story!  All they need is a little editing.  So, for the first time ever in this story, I can actually leave you with an “up next”.

--Up next: Deleted scene:  The Captain Cobra Swan road trip from New York back to Storybrooke (3x12).  This one got long, so it’ll come to you in two parts.  Part one comes to you next Friday!

Chapter Text

CS genre: Deleted scene (3x12)

All in all, it was one of the strangest road trips Henry had ever been on.  Don’t get him wrong he loved it!  He and his mom hadn’t truly been on a road trip in a whole year.  Ever since they moved to New York from….where was it they’d lived last?  That was strange.  You’d think he’d remember where he lived just one year ago.

Well, wherever it was, spending more than seven hours on the open road with his mom, getting to skip school, stopping for fast food, starting a new adventure.  It was all awesome!  And the weird guy that was coming with them wasn’t too bad either.  He was definitely…different…but there was something Henry liked about him from the beginning, and the guy seemed to like him too.  The guy almost seemed to know him, which didn’t make any sense at all, but whatever.  Grown-ups were weird like that sometimes.

Henry loved puzzles, loved trying to figure things out, especially things grown-ups thought he was too young to understand.  And this road trip was definitely a puzzle.  Everything about it was just a little bit…off.  For one thing, his mom never took him with her on cases.  She insisted her line of work was way too dangerous for him to be involved with.  Normally, if she had a case where she had to be away overnight or longer, she left him with Mrs. Morris down the hall.  He hated staying with Mrs. Morris.  She had the meanest cat he’d ever seen, her apartment smelled funny, and she insisted on telling him…in great detail…about all the medical complaints she had.

For another thing, Henry just couldn’t figure out what was up with mom and the weird guy.  What was his name again?  Something Irish sounding. Killian?  Something like that.  Henry had never seen the guy before in his life—he would definitely remember a guy walking around New York in full on pirate gear.  But Killian and his mom acted like they knew each other.  Like they knew each other well.  His mom didn’t give the pirate the same polite but distant and tough treatment she normally gave her clients.  It was like….it was like she really liked him but didn’t want to, if that made any sense.  And Killian…well, every once in a while when mom wasn’t looking, he gave her this smoldering look like he wanted to kiss her or something.

Killian, himself was another mystery.  There were all kinds of things he didn’t understand.  Normal, everyday things.  It was like he’d been living under a rock for the last three hundred years or something.  When they’d first started out, Mom had flipped on the radio, and he’d shouted in surprise, swiveling his head from side to side.

“It’s a radio, Killian.  It’s not attacking you,” his mom had said with a roll of the eyes.

Killian had taken a deep breath, and then grinned over at her.  “Perhaps not, love,” he’d drawled, “but who in his right mind would like to listen to such a cacophony as this?  Is this what passes for music in this realm?”

In this realm?

“Yeah,” Mom said, “It’s called rap.  Some people actually like it.  This is Henry’s favorite station, although I don’t let him listen to much.  Some of the lyrics are just plain nasty…not for a twelve year old at all.”

Killian huffed and crossed his arms.  “Well, I can assure you, Swan.  I am not ‘some people’.  If we are to be stuck in this vessel for long hours I’d like to request a change of musical selections.”

Mom had shrugged and then pressed the button that turned it to her eighties station.  “Love song” from The Cure started playing.

“This better?” Mom asked.

Killian listened for a moment and then nodded.  “Aye.  This song speaks to me.”

By the end, he was singing along.  When he got to the last chorus, he turned his body so he was fully facing Mom, his eyes intense on her.

However far away; I will always love you.  Whatever words I say; I will always love you.  However long I stay; I will always love you.  I will always love you.

Mom had taken a quick, indrawn breath and turned to look at him.  She stared into his eyes for long moments until….

“Mom!  Watch out!” Henry shrieked as they drifted across two lanes and almost into oncoming traffic.

Mom, yanked hard on the wheel, overcorrected, and finally got them back in their appropriate lane, breathing hard and moving one hand to cover her heart.

“Damn it, Killian!” she’d growled.  “We could have been killed.”

“I wasn’t the one who had a duty to keep my eyes on the road, love.”

Mom growled in frustration and then turned stony eyes back to the road.

Henry sat through three or four eighties tunes (all of which Killian seemed to really enjoy) before he’d had all he could take.

“Oh my gosh, you guys!” he’d whined.  “Do we have to listen to the oldies station all the way to Maine?”

“Well we bloody well aren’t returning to that drivel we first listened to,” Killian said, turning around to flash indignant eyes at Henry.

“Alright guys, enough,” Mom said in the tone Henry knew from experience meant business.  “Since you two are obviously going to argue like five year olds unless I intervene, I’m going to pick the music we listen to.  Killian grab my case of CDs there at your feet.”

“CDs?” Killian asked, a frown of confusion on his face.

Who didn’t know what CDs were?

“Yeah, those little round discs.  They play music when you put them in that little slot above the radio.”

“Which would you like me to play, love?” Killian asked solicitously.

Mom shrugged.  “Doesn’t matter to me.  Just pick whatever looks interesting to you.”

Killian flipped through her CD case in silence for a moment, and then chuckled low in his throat.

“What?” Mom asked, shooting him an irritated glance.

“Nothing at all, Swan,” he said, laughter evident in his voice.  “I merely find your taste in music…enlightening.  This CD in particular is most interesting.”

Killian pulled the item from its sleeve and held it up for their perusal: “Pirate songs and Sea Shanties.”

Henry laughed.  “Figures she put that in her ‘road trip music’ CD case!  Mom’s kind of obsessed with pirates and the sea and pirate music and that sort of thing.  Ever since she started having those dreams about a pirate in black leather.”

“Henry!” Mom shouted, her face turning as red as her leather jacket.

“Well, you have,” Henry said defensively.  He turned toward Killian, who seemed avidly interested in the conversation at hand.  “I always knew when she’d had one of her ‘Captain Hook’ dreams, ‘cause she always woke up sad.  She said they almost seemed real and she didn’t want to wake up from them.”

“Oh my God,” Mom said, slapping a palm against her forehead.  “Can the earth just open up and swallow me right now?”

Killian’s reaction had been…strange.  The teasing, slightly mocking smile had slid from his face, to be replaced with that same look of intensity.  That same ‘I want to kiss you’ look.

“Truly, love?” he asked gently.  “You dreamt of Captain Hook?”

Henry laughed, not understanding the strange tension that seemed to creep into the car.  “She always wants to watch Peter Pan on our mother/son movie nights, although we rarely make it too far in.  She laughs too hard every time Hook shows up.  Says he looks ridiculous.  Not like himself at all.  Whatever that means.”

Killian had laughed, the sound breaking the tension once again.  “Well, lad, this is most interesting.  You’ll have to inform me of the other dreams your mother has,” Killian’s voice dropped in timbre until it was more of a growl, “unless of course, love, they are of the sort that you’ve kept to yourself, as they’re inappropriate for innocent twelve year old ears?”

Emma groaned loudly.  “Don’t you dare tell him another word, Henry,” she warned, “or you’re grounded for a month.”

Killian continued chuckling until they stopped for gas ten miles later.

(to be continued…)

 

Notes:

--It’s Friday again, so it’s time for your weekly dose of fluff!

--There is one certain CS situation that we have a glaring lack of canon info for—the trip back to Storybrooke in 3x12!  There have been plenty of people who have written stories to fix the oversite—from angsty to romantic to fluffy.  Some dealing with CS emotions, others dealing with Killian in the modern world, still others providing us with Captain Cobra Swan family feels.  I wanted to try to find an original take on the situation—thus this was told from Henry’s (rather clueless because of the removed/changed memories) POV.

--Emma wore a confused look on her face when she opened her door to Killian at the end of 3x11.  It was more of a “why do you seem familiar?” confused look than a “why is there a stranger at my door?” confused look, imo.  My head canon is that he seemed familiar because there was some part of her that remembered him, at least in that vague, déjà vu sense.  Thus, in this story, I decided she’d had dreams about him throughout the “lost year”.

--One thing has to be said:  Henry Daniel Mills how dare you make me feel old by calling the 80s station the “oldies” station! ;p

--This was partly inspired by one of the recent cons the cast attended (I don’t remember which one).  Colin was asked what song Killian would sing for Emma.  He said something about Killian choosing classical music, but he would go with “Love Song” from The Cure.

--Like I said last week, this one-shot got long, so I broke it into 2 parts.  Up next week: Henry gives Killian a very protective son “you like my mom, don’t you” talk while Emma is otherwise occupied during a stop at a rest area.  Killian, of course has a typically beautiful answer.

Chapter Text

The Roadtrip—part 2

CS genre:  Deleted scene (3x12 trip from New York to Storybrooke)

Henry really couldn’t figure it all out and it was driving him crazy.  Maybe his mom would explain more when the three of them actually made it to this “Storybrooke.”  (Pretty strange name for a town, if you asked him.  Sounded like something he’d find on his favorite video game where he got to be a knight and fight dragons.)

This wasn’t just any case; he was sure of it.  His mom was never this….emotional about the bad guys she went after.  It was almost like this was more than just a job to her this time.  Why?

“Anyone need the rest stop?” Mom asked as they passed a sign.  “It says there won’t be another one for fifty miles.”

“Yeah,” Henry said.  “Let’s stop.”

Maybe, if he was lucky, he could talk his mom into buying him something from one of the vending machines.  She usually didn’t let him have snacks filled to the brim with sugar, salt and fat, but hey!  They were on a road trip; maybe she’d make an exception.

Mom put on her blinker, eased off the ramp, pulled up before a newly-constructed brick building, and the three of them went off to their respective restrooms.

This particular restroom provided even more proof that Killian was just…strange.  It was one of one of those new, up-to-date places where everything was automated.  No hands needed.  When Killian stepped up before the sink and the water started up without him having to turn it on, he’d jumped back and said a word Henry was pretty sure his mom would have grounded him for saying. 

“What manner of magic is this, lad?”  Killian had asked, turning amazed eyes toward Henry.

Henry laughed.  “It’s not magic, Killian; there’s no such thing!  It’s just…you know, automatic.”

Killian washed his hand slowly, muttering the whole time about the wonders of this realm and magic and how bloody convenient it all was for a man with only one hand and how he must ask Swan how it all worked if it wasn’t magic.

Like Henry said, he was strange.

They finished long before Mom…probably because there’d been a line out the door of the women’s restroom when they got there.  Girls were weird.  Why did it always take them so long to do everything?

“So….” Henry said, turning to the man travelling with him and Mom—the man who was currently getting lots of suspicious looks from guys and old ladies and lots of…rather inviting looks from ladies mom’s age.  “What’s really going on?  Why are we really going to this ‘Storybrooke’ place?”

Henry figured maybe if Mom wouldn’t tell him anything this guy would.  But Henry knew almost immediately it was a no go.  Killian glanced aside and then scratched behind his ear.  “It’s as your mum said, lad.  I’ve a case I need her help with.  I’m afraid that’s all I’m at liberty to say at the moment.”

Henry sighed and slumped down on the bench in front of the vending area and crossed his arms  with a huff.  “Nobody will ever tell me anything.  No one thinks I can understand…or help…or anything.”

Killian dropped to the bench beside Henry and placed a warm hand on his shoulder.  “Course we do, lad.  We’ve always believed in you, just like you’ve always believed in…well in things that others find difficult.  It’s just…there are…circumstances…it will all come clear one day, but for now, I’m sorry; I must be cryptic.”

He’d always believed in me? Henry thought to himself.  That was beyond weird.  That was venturing into creepy territory.

“What do you mean, you’ve always believed in me?” Henry asked, turning an assessing glare at the man beside him.  “I never met you in my life before this morning.”

Killian looked away again and laughed uneasily.  “Right you are, lad, but your mum’s spoken so much of you I feel as though I’ve known you all your life.”

Henry looked at him for long moments, silent, considering.  Finally, he decided Killian was being honest…or at least as honest as he was capable of being given the circumstance of…whatever was going on.  He sighed again, but then nodded.  Killian looked distinctly relieved.

“You like my mom, don’t you?”  Henry asked after a few moments of silence, deciding to investigate the other big mystery on his mind.

“Of course I do,” Killian said, eyes widening in obvious surprise.  “I should have thought that would be rather obvious.  What’s not to like?”

“No,” Henry said, shaking his head, “I mean you like her.  You know, have feelings for her and stuff.”

Killian scratched at the back of his ear again, glanced concernedly at the door to the women’s restroom behind which Mom was still occupied, and then met his eyes resolutely.  “Aye, lad; that I do.  You’re quite perceptive.”

Henry took a deep breath.  “Mom’s not had the best luck with men, except with Walsh, maybe, but I guess that must have fallen through too.  I just…I just don’t want anyone else to hurt her, okay?”

Killian’s eyes softened, and the hand on Henry’s shoulder squeezed reassuringly.  “I promise you, lad, your mother is safe with me.  I want nothing but the utmost happiness for her and will diligently work every day of my life to make sure she finds it.”

Now that, if Henry wasn’t mistaken, was the absolute truth.  He nodded.  That was good enough for him.  And even if Killian was weird, he was cool.  If Mom decided she liked him too, Henry would be okay with that.

c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s

Emma stepped out of the restroom and scanned the surrounding area for her guys…er… that is her son and her…Hook.  No!  Not her Hook!  Just Hook.  There wasn’t a “her and Hook”, and there damn well never would be.  It didn’t make a difference that her heart had leapt as soon as she’d drunk the potion and remembered him.  It didn’t matter how many butterflies she’d had when he sang that stupid ‘80s ballad to her in the car.  It didn’t matter how right it felt when they were together; like something vital had just clicked back into place.

None of that mattered!  Had she learned nothing from the whole debacle with Walsh?  Everybody lies; everybody’s got their own agenda; nobody’s who he says he is; everybody leaves eventually.

Not Killian, her traitorous heart pointed out.  He came back for you.  Crossed realms, did who knows what to make it happen, told you the truth, and plans to reunite you with your family.

Emma shoved the voice aside with a ruthlessness beyond what she used on her nastiest perps.  She wasn’t going to fall under his spell.  She damn well wasn’t going to get her heart broken again!  She wasn’t some hormonal teenager who abandoned all common sense because of a hot guy.  Enough was enough!

After a moment of being far more flustered than she really should be, she found the two guys by the vending machines.

She should have known.  Henry would make any excuse he could to get his hands on junk food.  Emma wandered over, gave her wheedling son a dollar for the machines and then took his place sitting beside Killian.

“Sorry,” she said, sliding a look at him.  “Seems like half the women in the state were in line before me.”

He chuckled.  “Not to worry love.  Your lad and I were well able to pass the time.”

Her eyes narrowed, remembering the embarrassment of earlier in the car when Henry had blurted out all kinds of crap about her pirate dreams.  She didn’t even want to think about what else Henry might have said.  “What exactly were you talking about, Hook?”

He shrugged, grinning.  “Nothing that warrants such a ferocious scowl on your lovely face, darling.”

“You sure about that?”

“Perfectly,” Hook said with a decisive nod.  “Your son cares a great deal for you, Swan and he merely wished to ascertain that I meant you no harm.”

Henry was trying to protect her from Hook?

“And,” she said, looking up at him, “what exactly did you tell him?”

Killian’s face gentled, and he cupped her cheek in his good hand, allowing his thumb to caress her cheek.  Emma’s heart skipped a beat at the gesture, unable to lie to herself about how good, how comforting, it felt.

“Love,” he said in a low voice, “I told him nothing but the absolute truth.  I wish nothing but the best for you, and there is not a thing in any realm I won’t do to secure it.”

Emma closed her eyes for a moment, leaning into his touch, feeling the tears threaten.  When she opened them, he leaned toward her, his lips drawing ever nearer, his intent clear.

The fact that every fiber of her being screamed at her to lean forward and meet him halfway scared the hell out of her.  She jumped to her feet, called to Henry to hurry up and marched back toward her bug, not sparing Killian another glance.

She was on dangerous ground where Hook was concerned.  No doubt about it.  As soon as they made it to Storybrooke, she needed to put as much distance as possible between her and the handsome pirate.

Yeah, it really was best for everyone concerned if she dealt with whatever crap was going down in Storybrooke as fast as possible so she and Henry could get back to New York; back to a life that was good, safe, and uncomplicated.

Notes:

--*Sigh*  Back to Emma and her 3b denial.  You do realize, Emma, that things would be a lot better for you all around if you’d just trust Killian and take the happiness he offers?  Of course you don’t yet, because A&E (and thus us fanfic writers who are writing fics that stay true to canon) like to torture their viewers with the slow burn!  (Although, okay, to be fair, all the 3b denial and angst made the Captain Swan movie in 3x21-3x22 that much more beautiful and amazing.  Note to self…remember this throughout the Dark Swan angst that’s sure to come.)

--I couldn’t resist tossing in a little more “Hook vs. the modern world”.  We haven’t gotten nearly enough of that for my taste, although I’ll admit there probably wasn’t room for much of it with all the things going on in and around Storybrooke in s3 and s4!

--Although memory-less Henry was more…clueless…than regular Henry (and although memory-less Henry had his face buried in his video game more often than not), he’s still, as Killian said, a perceptive lad.  Though we don’t explicitly see it in canon, I really think he’s observant enough to notice Killian’s obvious feelings for Emma (as Regina says, everyone sees the yearning looks and doe-y eyes), and he loves his mom enough to try to protect her.

--Up next:  Another venture into AU land.  I’m going to try my own take on the coffee shop au trope.  This one will involve a secret admirer as well.

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Coffee Shop/Secret Admirer AU

Killian Jones would never in his life forget the moment he first laid eyes on his soulmate. 

He’d heard it said that when you met your soulmate, the other half of your very self, you knew it in an instant; you felt it deep within the core of your being.  He’d always scoffed at the notion, never so much of a romantic that he could believe in something as fanciful as love at first sight.

That is, until he met her.

Her hair was as golden as the summer sun, her eyes green as the sea he loved so dearly.  Green as a storm at sea on this particular morning, as luck would have it.  The blonde angel stormed into his coffee shop, the Jolly Roger, the scowl on her face fierce enough to scare off a mob boss.

“Difficult morning, love?” he asked from his perch behind the counter.

The angel sat at the bar before him and turned furious eyes in his direction.  “Yeah, you could say that.”

“Anything I can get you?”

She studied the menu board for a moment and then threw up her hands in exasperation.  “I can never understand coffee shop menus.  What even are all those drinks?  Just give me the strongest thing you have.  How about an espresso?”

“Are you certain you want an overdose of caffeine?  As tense as you are, it’ll only make matters worse.”

She shot him a glare that could curdle milk.  “What are you, my mother?  Are you going to sell me the damn drink or not?”

He raised both hands in surrender, trying and failing to keep the delighted smirk from his face.  She was bloody glorious.  “Just looking out for you, darling.”

She took a deep breath, obviously preparing to give him a tongue lashing the likes of which he’d never had, and then abruptly she let the breath out on a long sigh.  “Fine.  What do you suggest?”

Rather than answer, he went to work, knowing deep within him what would sooth his troubled lass.  Two minutes later, he slid a large mug of his famous hot chocolate, complete with whipped cream, and…his special ingredient…cinnamon as garnish.

The woman of his dreams took a sip, and then her eyes darted toward his, surprise and pleasure evident on her face.  “This is really good, but…how did you know?”

“How did I know what?”

“The cinnamon,” she said, her eyes wide.  “It’s how I always drink my cocoa, but I’ve yet to find anyone else who likes it like that.”

Killian shrugged.  “Perhaps I’ve just good taste, love.”

The woman growled deep in her throat and set her mug on the bar. Hard.  “Look, buddy; I’m not your ‘love’.”

He grinned.  “I wouldn’t be reduced to using the endearment if I had a name with which to call you, love.”

For a moment he thought she would haul off and punch him for his blatant and deliberate use of the word, then she finally sighed again.  “Emma Swan,” she said simply.

Killian extended a hand.  “Killian Jones at your service.  Owner, proprietor and barista of the most extraordinary little coffee shop you will ever have the pleasure to patronize.”

Emma rolled her eyes, but Killian could see the smile she was desperately trying to hide.

Killian allowed her to drink her chocolate in silence for several moments, but eventually the sadness in her eyes, the hopelessness got the better of him.

“What seems to be troubling you this morning, Swan?” he asked gently, resting his forearms against the bar, leaning toward her.  “I realize we’ve only just met, but my ears are at your disposal if you’d like to unburden yourself.”

She looked up at him suspiciously for long moments and then nodded decisively.  “Pretty much your standard sob story.  I just realized my boyfriend is the scum of the earth and I kicked him to the curb.”

“I’m sorry, Swan.”  Was he really?  He was sorry for her pain, of course, but selfish git that he was, his heart leapt at the knowledge that she was now single and unattached.

“Yeah, well,” she said with a shrug.  “I realized that he, like everyone else, wasn’t who he said he was and I got my heart broken.  Eight months of my life down the toilet.”

They talked for hours, one hot chocolate turning into two and then three.  He learned she was a bail bonds person, a loner, an orphan with no known family, and, what she wasn’t saying but what was written all over her face, a lonely woman who was aching for someone, anyone to choose her, to love her, to treat her the way she so desperately deserved.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Emma was back the next day.  Killian’s heart leapt as he saw her yellow bug pull up to the curb, saw her step out, watched as she pulled the door open and shot him a smile that spoke of affection and friendship.  She ordered a black coffee this time; told him stories of some of her more remarkable exploits hunting down malefactors.  He told her of his brother, still living in England, of his own struggles to make it in a new land, of his odd obsession with all things “pirate”.

The next day it was a latte she ordered, followed on the following day by a mocha.

After a week, he’d come to realize she chose her drinks based on her mood.  Hot chocolate was her comfort drink, turned to only in times of sadness and distress.  She drank her coffee black on ordinary, unremarkable days.  Mochas were for days where she was happy, content with herself and her life.  An order of espresso told him she’d spent a long, sleepless night on a stakeout and needed the caffeine to make it through the day.  She chose the peppermint mocha when she was particularly jubilant—after she’d finally tracked down and captured a particularly elusive perp.  Caramel mochas were for days when she felt carefree and flirtatious.

Caramel mocha days were his favorite.

Within two weeks he found that he could read her moods well enough to know what she’d order before she even made it to the counter.  She gave him a shocked look the first day he placed a hot chocolate (with extra cinnamon) before her just as she was opening her mouth to request just that.

“How did you know what I wanted?” she asked, eyes wide.

He’d shrugged.  “You’re an open book, darling.”

She came in every day, always around 10:00 a.m., after his morning rush but before the lunch crowd began arriving.  He’d come to anticipate her visits as the highlight of every day.

And every day he fell a little bit more in love with her.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Eventually Killian realized their daily meetings were not enough for him.  He wanted more; he wanted everything with her—relationship, marriage, babies, large house with a turret, picket fence, everything

He’d tried to ask her out once, but the moment his teasing, carefree flirting had turned into something more, something serious, she’d completely and utterly shut down.

Though he’d tried to brush it off, return to their easy banter, it had wounded him to the core.  How was he to handle the fact that the woman he loved had no desire for a romantic relationship with him? 

As time went on, he realized it was far more complicated than that.  All her life she’d been tossed aside, abandoned, treated as though she didn’t matter, at best.  Treated as an object to be used, at worst.  Her heart had been bruised and broken so many times she’d built a wall a mile high around it to protect herself.

But she wasn’t unaffected by him.  He caught the stolen glances she shot his way when she thought he wasn’t looking.  Saw the way her eyes lingered on his lips, his pulse racing in reaction, his hands aching to pull her into the shelter of his arms. 

But she wasn’t ready for that.  Not yet, so he continued the friendship, biding his time.

How was he to show her his feelings, show her he was in this for the long haul, without frightening her away?

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Somewhere within the third week since meeting her, inspiration struck.  Perhaps she wasn’t ready to hear words of admiration, affection and love from his lips, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t tell her in another way.

Fishing a piece of paper from his desk, he began writing.  Just a simple little note to tell her what a bloody marvel she was.  He signed it with nothing but a small sketch of a swan.  When Henry, the neighborhood lad who he’d hired a week past, came in to work that morning, Killian set him a new task, a new task that the cheerful boy readily agreed to.

Henry waited until Emma was in place, drink (black coffee this time) in hand, talking animatedly to Killian about the day ahead, and then he quietly slipped out the back door, placed the note under her windshield wiper, and crept back into the coffee shop.

The next morning, Emma surged into the shop, near to bursting with curiosity.

“Something on your mind, Swan?” Killian asked as he slid her caramel mocha her way.

“Killian,” she said, after taking a quick sip, “the weirdest thing happened yesterday.”

“Aye?  Care to elaborate, love?”

“So, I came in here yesterday, like always, but when I got back to my car, I found this on my windshield.”  She placed his note on the bar.

Killian perused the missive, carefully schooling his features to show nothing but curiosity.  After rereading the words he himself had penned, he folded the note and handed it back to her.  “It would seem you’ve got an admirer, Swan.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Emma said, sitting back in her chair.  “I don’t get it though.  Who is he?  And…why would he say such nice things about me?”

Killian’s heart clenched.  Unable to stop himself, he reached over, cupped her cheek for a moment, and then gently tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.  “Don’t you understand, Emma?  You deserve every one of those words and much, much more.  You’re bloody brilliant, amazing.  It’s long beyond time someone tell you so.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Each and every day Killian left a new note on Emma’s car.  Some days his notes were short, simple statements of his admiration for her.  Some days they were long, sprawling missives attempting to help her through difficulties she was experiencing.  Some days, when he couldn’t stop himself, he spoke of his love.

Emma, for her part, seemed in equal parts suspicious, curious, mystified and touched by her secret admirer.

“Why won’t he just tell me who he is?” she asked one day, over her hot cocoa.  “Why not reveal who he is?  How does he expect to ever, I don’t know, move beyond the whole ‘leaving anonymous notes on my window’ stage of things?”

“Perhaps, love,” Killian said, fingering a stray curl that had fallen over her shoulder, “he wishes to give you time to…consider the idea, first.  Perhaps he sees the wounds you carry and he wishes to move slowly so as to avoid scaring you off.  Perhaps he wishes to show you his dedication before he moves forward.”

She’d looked at him suspiciously then, and Killian feared he’d said too much.  One day he’d have to confess the truth to her, of course.  With every passing day it was getting more and more difficult to hold his feelings for her inside; more and more difficult to pretend to be naught but the caring friend, when he wished to give her the world. 

Aye, one day he’d tell her the truth; one day he’d give her his heart.  But that day was not today.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

As it happened, the day of truth came quite by accident. 

Killian finished his daily note of admiration for his lady love, signed it with his characteristic swan and sent Henry away on his daily task just as Emma stepped through the door.

She looked exhausted.  An espresso day, then.

“You better make it to go this time, Killian,” she said, wearily dragging a hand through her hair.  “I wish I could stay and talk like normal, but the son of a bitch I’m tailing is really giving me the run-around.  I’ve gotta stay on his trail before it goes cold.”

Killian nodded and went to work on her beverage, ruthlessly tamping down the disappointment bubbling up within.  He poured the strong, black liquid into a paper cup, topped it with a lid, and wrote her name along the edge.

“Understood, Swan,” he said, extending his hand to her.  “I’ve no doubt you’ll catch him in the end, but take care of yourself in the meantime.”

She nodded, thanked him, and turned to leave.  Abruptly she stopped dead in her tracks and slowly turned back toward him.  “Killian?” she asked softly, “what is that?”

“What is wh--?” his words died in his throat as he saw what precisely she was pointing at.

He hadn’t merely written her name.  In his inattention he’d added the secret admirer’s swan as well.  Feeling the heat creep up his neck, he ducked his head and began to scratch behind his right ear.  “Well Swan,” he stuttered  “It’s…a small doodle.”

“This is the same swan my admirer uses to sign his notes,” she said, returning to the bar, returning to him.

“Aye,” he said slowly, “I’d wager it is.”

“Why would you draw…” abruptly understanding dawned in her lovely eyes.  “You’re him, aren’t you?  You’re the man who’s been leaving me notes?”

There was nothing for it now.  The jig, as they say, was up.  Taking a deep breath, he met her eyes head on and then nodded.  “Aye, Swan.  That I am.”

She cupped his cheek in one of her soft hands, thumb gently caressing.  “Why, Killian?” she asked.  “Why didn’t you tell me?  Why did you hide behind notes?”

Killian placed his hand over hers, holding it in place.  “I’ve known, Emma,” he said, his voice cracking, “almost from the moment you first stepped into my establishment, I’ve known that I’d never met a woman like you, and I’d never meet another again.  I felt an instant connection; an instant spark, and I knew I was destined to tumble deeply, passionately and irrevocably in love with you.  But love, you were so afraid, so hesitant to trust again.  I…I merely wished to reassure you that you deserve the world…and that you are very rapidly becoming everything to me.  But I thought…if you didn’t feel as I do, I didn’t want to lose your friendship.  Perhaps pouring my heart into anonymous slips of paper was foolish, but once I’d begun, I scarcely knew how to stop.”

He had looked down at the bar during his speech, fearing to look at her, fearing to see the pity, the rejection in her eyes.

“Killian, look at me.”

He obeyed, slowly raising his eyes until his met hers, taking in the tears pooling in her eyes, the awe, the wonder.  Slowly, she moved forward until her lips met his.  It was a slow, gentle kiss, one of acceptance, love, overwhelming emotion.  For Killian, it was nothing short of coming home after a lifetime of wandering in the cold.

When they finally pulled apart, Emma rested her forehead against his, gentle smile on her face.  “Idiot,” she whispered, chuckling softly to herself.  “Did you know that I don’t even like coffee?”

He pulled away far enough to look into her eyes.  “You don’t?”

She shook her head gently from side to side, her golden curls dancing with the movement.  “No.  Can’t stand the stuff.”

“If that’s the case, why patronize my shop day after day?”

She caressed his face once again.  “Don’t you know, Killian?  It’s you.  You had me from the first.  If there even is such a thing as a happy ending in this screwed up world we live in, you’re mine.”

He kissed her again, heart soaring, mind racing.  Aye, they were right, those romantics.  When you met your soulmate nothing would ever be the same again.

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  It’s felt like a particularly long week this week, so I’m particularly happy to see the weekend come around.

--This week I went with a coffee shop au (obviously).  I wanted to kind of showcase the fact that Emma is an open book to Killian; he can read her better than anyone else ever could.  Also, who doesn’t like a secret admirer?

--Up next: Another canon divergence.  A look at what might have happened after the Neverland kiss if Neal had never ended up in Neverland (and thus never needed to be saved).  I also plan to give Mary Margaret a do-over on that whole “I kissed him; I kissed Hook!” conversation on the way to the Echo Cave.

Chapter Text

Starts with Hope

CS Genre: Canon divergence (3x6)

Emma took the long way back to the camp. She needed a moment or two—or a thousand. What in every realm she’d only recently learned about had just happened? Had she really just made out passionately with Captain Freaking Hook?!!!

Clearly this damn place was starting to get to her.

She swatted a mosquito and tucked a stray, sweaty strand of hair behind her ear. There was going to be no living with him after this. If he was Captain Innuendo before…that…had happened, she shuddered to think about what he’d be like now.

She shuddered to think what her reaction to his flirting might be.

Because if there was one thing this damn island made a person do, it was be brutally honest; self-delusion simply wasn’t even an option. And forced to confront her thoughts truthfully…she couldn’t deny that a certain one handed pirate had been occupying a good portion of her thoughts and lurid dreams ever since their trip up that stupid beanstalk.

And why not? As long as she was being honest, she might as well be honest. The man might be a shameless flirt, he might have been a self-serving ass for most of their acquaintance…but he was hot. She was a normal, healthy woman, and it had been a while. She could handle a little…ahem…fun with a pretty boy pirate. Didn’t mean anything. Just a physical reaction; nothing more.

Emma groaned as she finally made her way back to camp. The problem with honesty is that she had to be…well…honest. And the truth was…when it came to Hook, it wasn’t just a physical thing. From the very first there’d been something more.

Maybe there’d been more to the kiss than she was willing to admit. Maybe she felt a connection, a heightened awareness when she was with him. Maybe she’d noticed the way he looked at her—like he wanted to know her, really know her. Not because she was the savior or because she had something he wanted. Just because she was Emma, and that was good enough for him. Maybe being in Hook’s arms…maybe that had felt like the closest thing to home she’d felt since she’d come to this godforsaken island.

She was so screwed.

“Miss Swan, where have you been?” Regina asked irritably, hands fisted on hips. “In case you forgot, our son is out there with a psychopath. Not exactly the time for passionate trysts with your one-handed boy toy.”

Emma felt her face flame. “I wasn’t…it’s not like…” she growled, pulling a hand through her hair. “Just cut the crap. I’m here now. What’s up?”

She was going to kill Hook!

c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

An hour later, Emma found herself once again trudging through the woods with the rest of the Henry rescue party.

Hook had returned to the camp a good ten minutes after her, arms full of firewood and face clouded with concern. The concern had been enough to quell the initial shot of embarrassed excitement and desire that flooded her system at the sight of him.

Something was up.

“I just had a visit from Pan,” he said without preamble, dumping the logs by the fire pit—a fire pit that currently sported a roaring fire provided by Emma’s new-found magic.

Emma surged to her feet and went to him, vaguely aware that her parents and Regina did the same. “What? What did he say? What did he want?”

Hook shot her a quick look. “He told me where he’s keeping Henry.”

“WHAT?” Regina asked, invading the pirate’s space. “Where?”

Hook hesitated, and Charming growled deep in his throat. “This isn’t the time to play games pirate!” Her father spat the word as though it were the vilest of curse words. Apparently Hook saving his life wasn’t enough to totally eradicated Charming’s suspicions.

A flash of temper entered Hook’s eyes as he turned to Charming. “I’m not the one on this island who plays games!” he barked. “I spent more years than I care to count on this bloody island, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that Pan never does anything without an agenda.”

“You think Pan might be leading us into a trap,” Emma stated.

Hook shook his head. “No. I don’t think it’s as simple as that. I think he was being sincere—to a point. He has no desire to simply capture us. We are his prey, and the fun of stalking prey is the stalking.”

“So what do you think his aim is?” Snow asked.

“I think he wants to turn us against each other—and simultaneously gather vital information about us. He pointed me in the direction of the Echo Cave.”

Hook had gone on to explain just what the Echo Cave was and what it made a person do. Great! Nothing like baring your soul and telling your deepest, darkest secret before your parents and your…well, another random guy that you just happened to have kissed senseless earlier that evening.

Regina had scoffed, called the whole thing ridiculous, and insisted that Emma had been right; it had to be a trap. She flat out refused to accompanying them, insisting instead on scouring the island for Rumple, who, she stated, at least had the balls to do what needed to be done and the brains to keep from walking into traps.

And so it happened that Emma, her parents and Hook were trudging through the woods, heading for humiliation (at best) or a trap (at worst).

Emma tried to prep herself for what was about to happen, tried to think about Henry and getting him back, tried to rack her brains for a way home once they’d rescued her son.

Unfortunately her traitorous brain simply wouldn’t cooperate. She kept going over and over and over that one, single moment of insanity with Hook. That kiss had been….how did she even explain it? It had started as a chance to prove a point. She’d wanted to wipe that smug grin off his face; prove to him that he was playing with fire; take him up on his blatant challenge.

It was supposed to be simple. She’d show him just how skilled she was in the art of kissing. She’d take his breath away and then leave unaffected—proving that she absolutely could take it.

But it hadn’t worked out that way. He was intoxicating. The moment her lips had crashed into his, everything in the world fell away. There was only her and him and this wildfire between them, carefully tended and stoked with lips and teeth and tongues, hands in hair, hearts pounding nearly out of chests. How she’d managed to break the kiss she’s still not sure. How she found the will-power to keep from going in for round two was even more of a mystery. She’d remained close to him, foreheads pressed together, hands gripping his lapels for dear life, because she was physically unable to move away.

She was so screwed, and she had no idea how to deal with it. She had to talk to someone about this or it would drive her nuts!

Emma glanced surreptitiously behind her and saw the men lagging several steps behind, seemingly in deep conversation. Heart pounding, she took hold of her mother’s arm, and leaned toward her conspiratorially.

“I kissed him.”

Snow shot her a startled look. “Who?”

Who do you think? There are only two men in our group…and one of them is my father!

“Hook,” Emma said in an insistent whisper. “I kissed Hook.”

Snow looked at her carefully. “Oh…why?”

Emma looked aside and shrugged, feeling the blush creep up her neck. “I was feeling good. It’s been a while. I don’t know!”

“Did it…mean anything?” Snow asked, trying (and failing) to look nonchalant.

“It was just a kiss! It was nothing!” Emma hissed. That was all it could be! That’s all she’d let it be. To suggest it was anything more was…no! Not a chance.

For long moments Snow remained silent, and finally she shook her head deliberately from side to side. “No Emma. ‘Nothing’ is always ‘something’ with you. If it was really nothing you wouldn’t have brought it up.”

The panic was swift and merciless, like thousands of bees in her stomach jockeying for a chance to sting her. “Come on, Mary Margaret!” she insisted. “He’s Captain Freaking Hook. You know who he is! You know what he’s capable of. Having any kind of…feelings for him…you know how ridiculous that would be!”

Snow looked behind them speculatively and then turned back toward Emma. “Maybe,” she conceded. “But the heart doesn’t take into account what’s logical and what’s not. When it finds another heart that calls out to it, it answers, whether the brain is convinced or not.”

This conversation was not going the way she’d planned. Not at all. Her mom was supposed to talk some sense into her, help her find her equilibrium again, not…encourage the insanity!

“His heart does not call out to mine!” Emma whisper-shouted. “That’s…that’s ridiculous! And crap, and…ridiculous!”

“Is it?” Snow asked, flashing an amused, tolerant smile. “Emma, I saw the way you acted when you got back to camp. I saw the look you gave him the moment he came back as well. You, honey, are dangerously close to falling in love.”

Emma moaned. “I can’t fall in love! Definitely not with Hook!”

Snow stopped, and impulsively took Emma into her arms. “It’s okay, Emma,” she murmured. “Maybe this isn’t the moment to figure all of this out. We have to find Henry and then get home. Maybe that’s what you need to focus on for now. But when we do get home with Henry, just promise me you’ll think about it. Love is so worth it, and when you’ve found the person whose heart knits perfectly to yours…well, the results are nothing short of heaven. You need to hold on to hope.”

“Why?”

“Because you deserve your happy ending, and happy endings always begin with hope.”

Impulsively Emma hugged her mother back. She was nowhere near ready to concede the point, nowhere near ready to even put the “l” word and Hook in the same library, let alone in the same sentence, but maybe, just maybe, there was hope for….something….in the future. Right now she needed to find and save her son, but when they were all home and safe…well, maybe she’d give the matter a little more thought.

Notes:

--Not sure if this is technically fluffy….but it’s not angst, so it counts, right?

--That conversation between Emma and Mary Margaret in the actual show really frustrated me. The way Emma was acting…the fact she brought up the kiss at all…well, it was abundantly clear that, whatever she might have said, that kiss with Hook wasn’t Nothing. I felt like Emma’s friend and roommate Mary Margaret would have picked up on what Emma was really trying (not) to say, but her mother, Snow White, just didn’t see it. Upon further reflection…I guess I can understand to an extent. I mean, MM didn’t know Emma’s whole history with Neal and how badly he hurt her. As far as she knew, Emma was deeply in love with Neal and still mourning his death terribly. Given her experience with true love, I could see MM thinking guilt over kissing another guy when her true love had just died was the source of Emma’s agitation.

--Even if I can understand where MM was coming from….the conversation still makes me want to bang my head against a brick wall. Repeatedly. Given the fact that that course of action would be more or less guaranteed to result in nothing but a headache, I decided to take matters into my own hands and re-write the scene. :)

--I didn’t think this whole canon divergence thing through in much detail beyond the scene I wrote, but in my version of events, I figure they all really did go to the Echo Cave, everyone confessed what they really confessed (although I haven’t worked out what Emma would confess given the fact that Neal’s not there, and as far as she knows he is dead, so there’s no point in saying she wished he was dead.) Instead of Neal in a cage, Pan left them….something that led them to the same knowledge they gleaned from Neal—namely that the shadow is their ride home, that they can capture it with the coconut, and it can be found in Dark Hollow. Everything else pretty much continues as in canon—minus the whole Hook-and-Neal-fighting-over-Emma-like-idiots thing.

--Up next: Deleted scene. We saw a portion of Emma and Killian’s first date, but not all of it! I plan on filling in the blanks a bit about the romantic moments Killian planned for after the restaurant (as well as explaining how Emma came to be wearing Killian’s jacket when they returned to the Charming’s flat).

 

Chapter Text

Hope Among the Roses

CS Genre: Season 5 Speculation

A/N:  This is not the extended first date scene I teased in my last “up next” section.  The filming/spoiler pictures that came out a few days ago necessitated I let the muse go in a different direction.  That scene was fairly begging to be written into a Fluffy Friday installment.  This chapter doesn’t technically contain spoilers, per se, because I, like everyone else, have no idea what’s really going on, but it is based on the  filming pictures from earlier this week, so if you’re trying to avoid anything related to spoilers…be advised.

Also…while this is still mostly fluffy, a little bit of angst is inevitable while Emma is still fighting the darkness.  (So, basically, I’m already anticipating breaking my Fluffy Friday rules.  I’m such a rebel!)

Killian took Emma’s hand and led her from the lively great hall into the secluded, shadowed stairwell.  As soon as they’d disappeared from the curious eyes of the Camelot court…not to mention Emma’s family and friends…he took her into his arms and kissed her as though his very life depended on it.  She responded immediately, her arms coming around him, her lips, against his, turning up in a smile, a small sound of contentment in the back of her throat.

Killian kept the kiss gentle, tender, needing to show her just how much he loved her; reveling in the fact that they were together; that she was here in his arms.

Never in his life had he experienced such panic as the moment he’d summoned her with the dagger and it hadn’t worked.  The thought that the woman who’d become his very life had been taken to a distant land where she’d need to do battle with the darkness on her own had been agonizing.

He thanked any god who would still listen to a reformed pirate, that they had discovered her whereabouts—and a way to create a portal to get there—in a matter of hours.

He’d never forget the moment he caught sight of her, a solitary woman in a rough, gray dress, walking the dirt road toward the magnificent castle of Camelot.  They, none of them, had known what state she’d be in when they found her.  Regina and the Charmings had counselled caution, advising him to approach her with care.

But he’d always been an impulsive man, and the moment he’d seen her, it simply didn’t matter what state she might be in.  He needed her like his lungs needed air.  He’d sprinted to her, taken her into his arms and buried his face into the crook of her neck, manfully attempting to hold back the relieved tears at finding her comparatively well.

“I love you too,” he said, again and again in between quick kisses to her lips, face, jaw, neck, anywhere he could reach, his voice cracking with emotion.

They’d proceeded to Arthur’s court, seeking the one being who might have the power to save Emma.  But in the ensuing week, their attempts had proven fruitless.  It seems the sorcerer, Merlin, had not been seen in Camelot for years—maybe centuries.  There were tales of his imprisonment by a powerful sorceress, but none knew if the legends held any truth.

It was a blow, to be sure, but he and the rest had not come this far to simply give up.  They would locate Merlin, and they would persuade him to help them.

In the meantime, Arthur had welcomed them cordially into his castle, offering every diplomatic advantage to the Enchanted Forest royalty that graced his court. 

Killian was not entirely sure he trusted the king.  There was something in his eyes…calculation, cunning, something…that spoke of ulterior motives.  In particular, the way Arthur looked at Killian himself, was troubling...as was the man’s uncommon resemblance to him.  Killian’s mind went to a tale Liam had told him long, long ago about a long lost brother, or some such relation.  Killian had believed it to be merely a fanciful story his older brother told him to help him through the first bitter days after their father’s abandonment, but seeing Arthur…maybe there’d been more truth to that old tale than he’d given his brother credit for.

Time would come to sort all of that out, but tonight was a night for revelry.  Arthur and his fair Guinevere had thrown a ball in honor of their distinguished guests.  After a sumptuous feast, and entertainment by the best minstrels and jongleurs Camelot had to offer, the great hall had been cleared, and the dancing had begun.

Killian had danced with Emma until his feet ached, until the need to hold her, to kiss her had overwhelmed him.

Thus their current passionate embrace in the secluded, darkened stairwell.

After long moments, Emma finally broke the kiss.  “Not that I’m complaining, but what was that for?”

Killian brought his hand up to tuck a strand of wavy blonde hair behind her ear.  “Does a man need a reason to kiss the woman he loves?”

 “The woman he loves; I like the sound of that.”  She smiled. “I’ve loved you for so long, Killian.  I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing you say the same to me.”

He smiled tenderly.  “You’d best prepare for the possibility, darling.  I fully intend to speak the words at every opportunity until we’re both old and gray.”

Her face fell at that, and she turned slightly away from him, but he was having none of it.  He gently turned her back to face him, his breath catching at the agony in her eyes.

“What is it, my love?  What’s troubling you?”

“You know what’s troubling me, Killian,” she said in a voice liberally laced with despair.  “This darkness…It’s still inside me.  I’ve done everything I can think of to fight it, but it’s still there, always.  I feel it, I don’t know, bubbling up inside of me.  Every once in a while I get these weird flashes of anger, hatred even.  And not even about things I’d normally get mad about, just about stupid random things.  My mind keeps going over and over and over all the bad things that happened to me, you know, back in the foster system.  It’s like…it’s like this voice inside me keeps telling me that I’m alone and that I’ll never really have anyone.  And I try to push it aside, I try not to give in to it, but it’s just so hard.  Every day I feel like I’m losing a little more of myself.”

“And,” he said gently, “you feel that one day you’ll lose yourself, your true self, entirely and only the darkness will remain?”

“Yeah,” she said, “exactly.”

“It won’t happen, Emma,” he said firmly, holding eye contact, desperate to let her see the truth.  “It won’t happen, because the voice inside you is a dreadful liar.  You are not alone, nor will you ever be.  We’ll find a way to get this darkness out of you, but until we do, you need never fear.  I’ll be at your side forever, come what may.”

“How can you say that?” she cried, taking a small step back.  “You know what the Dark One’s like, Killian.  You more than anyone!  You know what kind of terrible things it might do to you through me.  I…I know you love me now, but…but what if the darkness takes over?  What if I’m not me anymore?”

Killian stepped firmly forward and took her face in his hand and hook.  “Listen to me carefully Swan.  When I told you I loved you, I didn’t mean merely today.  I didn’t mean merely while things are peaceful or while you’re behaving in a heroic manner, or while you’re fully yourself.  I meant forever.  For all eternity.  Nothing, nothing, can ever change that.  I’m far more familiar with the darkness than I’d like to admit, and I can assure you without the slightest hint of doubt that nothing the darkness might do will destroy my love for you.  Even should you get the perverse notion to lock me in your brig and force-feed me that vile ‘bologna’ for all of eternity, my love will not waver.”

She smiled in spite of herself, and then sobered once more.  “But I…I might be capable of much worse than that.  What if…?”

“Even should you rip my heart out and crush it before me…”

“Don’t even suggest that, Killian!” she gasped.

“…even then would my love remain,”

How was he to tell her?  How was he to show her?  How could he reassure her of the truth of his statements?  His hand wandered to the pocket of his red vest, and he tapped what was inside.  He’d been vaguely planning something for a while now, perhaps it was time to put the plan into motion.

Taking her hand, he led her toward the great hall door.  “Come, Swan, I’ve something I’ve been meaning to show you.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Emma burrowed into Killian, her arms tightening around his waist, her head resting against his back, as the moonlit landscape rushed past them.  She’d never ridden a horse before, and she…wasn’t sure whether or not she liked it.  On the one hand, there was something utterly freeing about it, the wind blowing through her loose hair, her pure white cloak waving behind her.

On the other…she wasn’t entirely sure this particular beast liked her.  He’d whickered and side-stepped nervously as she stepped into the stables with Killian.  The darkness within had sneered, telling Emma that animals sensed a person’s true nature; she was so damaged even animals wished to shy away now.

Whatever the case, Killian had expertly calmed the horse, helped her onto its back behind him, and then galloped toward the forest in the distance.

After a few minutes, Emma felt the horse slow, and she sat up, looking around with interest.  In the light of the full moon, Emma watched as Killian led them through a gate and into the most beautiful garden she’d ever seen.

Flowers of various kinds and colors sat in artful patches while trees stood guard, and flowering vines climbed the encircling stone wall.  Everything about the garden—from the heavenly scents, to the leaves gently waving in the breeze—spoke of peace and serenity.

Killian dismounted, and then helped her to do the same, holding her in his arms for perhaps a few heartbeats longer than necessary.

“What is this place?” Emma asked in wonder, turning in a slow circle.

“Queen Guinevere’s private garden,” Killian answered, coming to join her after securing the horse’s reins just outside the garden wall.  “There was, apparently, some manner of…difficulty…between Arthur and Lancelot, and the queen took it hard.  Arthur told me he had the garden built so his love would have a place of beauty and refuge for the moments when the demands of court became too overwhelming.”

“Well, it’s beautiful,” Emma said gently.

Killian kissed her softly, resting his forehead against hers for a moment afterwards.  “Aye, my love, but its beauty is a pale comparison to yours.  You, Emma, are like a star, whose loveliness and luminsecnce puts all other heavenly orbs to shame.”

Emma felt a blush heat her cheeks, and she chuckled.  “I still have no idea how you manage to pull off these lines that would sound cheesy as hell coming out of anyone else’s mouth.”

He grinned.  “It’s a gift darling.”

She chuckled, and then sighed.  “I might be bright and, I don’t know, good, now, but how long will that last?”

“Forever,” he said, his thumb caressing the soft dimple in her chin.  “The Dark One can’t change that.  Whatever happens, whatever you become, you will still be Emma; you will still be the woman I’m desperately in love with.  I will never stop fighting for that woman, fighting to protect her heart, no matter how far the demon may bury her within herself.”

“You’re good for me; you know that?”

“Aye, I know,” he said with a cheeky grin.  Turning away, he reached down and cut a single flower with his hook, then extended his hand, presenting it to her.  “A pink rose, Emma.  A symbol of love, gratitude, appreciation.  There could be no more appropriate offering for you.”

Emma brought the flower to her nose and inhaled gently, closing her eyes at the sweet, delicate scent, reveling in the romance, the beauty of the moment.  “Thank you,” she whispered  “You have no idea how much it means to me, you loving me; believing in me.”

“Oh, darling,” he said, stepping momentarily away, “I’ve only just begun.  As it happens there is another reason I brought you to Guinevere’s garden.”

Emma watched curiously for a moment as Killian pushed his black, quilted coat aside and rummaged around in his red leather vest.  After a moment, he smiled in satisfaction, producing a small, reddish-gold ring and holding it up for her perusal.

“It was my mother’s,” Killian said.  “She passed it on to Liam, and then upon his death, it came into my possession.”

“It’s beautiful,” Emma breathed, running a gentle finger over the metal band.

“Aye,” Killian said, dragging his eyes from the ring to look at her face, “And now I want nothing more than to place it on your finger.”

Emma gasped, turning startled eyes in his direction.  Place it on my finger?  Was he about to…?

“Emma, my dearest love, you are the blood that runs through my veins.  There will never be a single day of my life I wish to be parted from you; not for an instant.  You are the missing piece of my heart that I thought to never find again.  Will you do me the greatest gift, the greatest honor of becoming my wife?”

Emma felt the tears flow freely now.  Never had she wanted something more in her life.

And never had something been so out of reach.

Calling on every ounce of her strength, she took a step back from him and slowly shook her head.  “Killian…”

He stopped her with a hand to her arm.  “What’s the matter love?”

“I…I want to marry you so much it’s killing me, but…” she dragged in a deep, painful breath.  “I love you too much to do that to you.  Killian, while I’m still the Dark One…while I’m still dealing with this curse…while I’m not really myself…I just can’t.”

“And that, my love is why I’m proposing an engagement,” he said, his eyes tender, his hand moving to take her own, “not an immediate marriage.  While the darkness remains, we’ll merely remain betrothed.  And once this newest evil is defeated, and make no mistake, Merlin or no Merlin, we will defeat it, we can begin planning our nuptials in earnest.”

Something new stirred in Emma’s chest, something she’d almost forgotten existed.  Hope.  Overwhelmed with love, with a joy even the darkness couldn’t dampen, Emma surged forward, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him with an ardor pure enough to banish any evil.

“Yes,” she breathed, when she finally pulled away.  “Absolutely, one hundred percent, yes!”

Notes:

--The inspiration (and most of the plot) of this story came from Lifeinthewoods.  When the filming pictures came out, she told me her theory that it wasn’t actually a wedding (or a dream/vision of a wedding), but a proposal.  She suggested maybe the wedding comes in the 100th episode, which comes just after 5a, when they have (presumably) succeeded in taking the darkness out of Emma.  I loved the theory, and she went on to ask me to write it.  So here you go. :-)

--The filming pictures show this scene happening during the day, but, as I wanted it to come immediately following the Camelot ball, which would have certainly taken place at night, I took a little poetic license.

--Quick note about the ring:  It didn’t really seem to fit into the flow of things to actually include this in the chapter, but after Liam’s death, Killian kept his mother’s ring in his safe aboard the Jolly Roger.  As soon as he returned to Storybrooke after Neverland, he took it out, and he’s kept it on his person ever since, because he already knew he would one day use it to propose to Emma.

--Up next:  Assuming we don’t get any more amazing filming/spoiler news, next week really will be the first date deleted scene.

Chapter Text

Let the Stars Lead Me Home

CS genre: Deleted scene (4x4)

“Well, love, shall we?” Killian asked, gallantly extending his right arm to his lady love who also happened to be his date for the night (for the rest of his life if he had any say in the matter).

Emma threaded her arm through his, grasping his arm with her other hand, laying her head against his shoulder.  Killian had to resist the urge to pinch himself.  Was this truly happening?  Had he truly succeeded in winning his Swan’s heart?  Had she truly come to Granny’s this morning to ask him on a date?  Had they truly just dined together, talking and laughing and gazing into each other’s eyes as though there was no one else in the world?

Killian began walking, steering Emma in the direction of the docks, wondering how so much happiness could possibly be contained within a single person.  Not even his unnerving exchange with the Crocodile earlier today—and his even more unnerving outbreak of temper at the thief—could dampen his joy.

It took Emma a few minutes to realize they weren’t, in fact, headed back in the direction of the Charmings’ loft.

“So I take it the date’s not over yet?” she asked, looking up at him curiously.

Killian shook his head.  “Not unless you wish it to be so, Swan.  I’ve yet one more item planned.”

Emma smiled, and impulsively leaned up to kiss his cheek.  “As amazing as this night’s been, I’m not sure I ever want it to end.  So where are you taking me next?”

“Fancy a walk along the beach under the stars, love?” he asked.

She laughed, a joyous sound he knew he’d never tire of hearing.  “A walk on the beach under the stars?  Killian could you possibly get more cliché?”

He grinned down at her.  “And what, pray tell is wrong with clichés?  Tell me, Swan, what causes something to become a cliché?”

“I don’t know.  The fact that everyone does it?”

“And why does everyone do it?” he asked. “Perhaps because it is the best, or, in this case, the most romantic course of action?  The fact that others also choose to engage in it doesn’t make it any less romantic or pleasurable.  In any case, as I am far older than any of the other worthy denizens of this town.  Perhaps I set the trends that everyone else later followed, in which case, I’m not following a cliché, but engaging in an original activity?”

Emma laughed again.  “Wow!  Both romantic and philosophical.  Sorry ladies, I’ve snagged the perfect man.”

“Perhaps,” Killian said, stopping and turning to look into her eyes, “but I know one thing for certain, Swan.  I’ve ‘snagged’ the most amazing, fascinating, awe-inspiring woman ever to grace the planet.  I hope to spend the next fifty years or more attempting to discover what I ever did to deserve you.”

Emma stared up at him for a moment, eyes becoming suspiciously moist, and then she put her hand to the back of his neck and pulled him down for a quick, fervent kiss that he gladly returned.

After a moment, they resumed walking, and within minutes they reached the sea.  Killian closed his eyes, listening to the soothing sounds of the waves crashing upon the shore, smelling the salt of the sea, feeling the cool, humid breeze caress his face.

“You really like it here, don’t you?” Emma asked gently.

He smiled down at her.  “Aye love,” he said with a nod.  “Nothing is quite so peaceful, quite so alive as the sea.  For years, centuries really, it was the only place I felt at home.”

“Was?” she asked, as she slipped off her shoes and they began their moonlit walk.  “Has something changed.”

Killian looked deeply into her eyes.  “Aye, love.  Everything has changed.”

They were silent for a moment, and then Killian threaded his fingers through hers, tugging gently.  “Come, Swan.  While the journey is certainly enjoyable, I do have a destination in mind.  There’s something I wish to show you.”

“Well, now I’m intrigued.”

They walked on for a quarter of a mile before Killian’s ‘destination’ came into view.  Emma smiled as she saw the blanket set along the beach, the bottle of champagne chilling in an ice bucket, the wine glasses, the bouquet of exotic island flowers.

“Wow, Killian! You really went all out,” she breathed, as she settled on the blanket and watched as he popped the cork on the champagne.

“I wished to make an impression,” Killian admitted, handing her a glass of the bubbly liquid and clinking his own glass against hers. 

“Well, you’ve done that,” Emma said after taking a delicate sip.  “The question is, how?  How did you manage to do all of this while we were having dinner?”

“I may have had some assistance,” Killian admitted.  “Your lad was instrumental in helping me plan this evening, as was the wolf-girl, Ruby.”

The two of them settled in, lying against the blanket, Emma’s head nestled on Killian’s shoulder, as he looked up, pointing out stars and constellations, telling her stories of his days with Liam, answering her questions, relishing her genuine interest in him.

“There, Swan,” Killian finally said, finding the constellation he’d particularly been searching for.  “See that grouping?  It goes by the name of Cygnus, the Swan.”

“The swan?” she asked, turning to look at him.  “There’s really a constellation about a swan?”

Killian nodded, patiently pointing out the stars depicting a swan with its wings outstretched, flying through the summer night’s sky.  “Legend says Neptune’s son was dragged to the beach and smothered.  In order to save his son’s life and immortalize him, if you will, the god of the sea transformed him into a swan and transferred him to the heavens.”

“You think that’s true?” Emma asked as Killian began tracing patterns into the bare skin of her shoulder.  “I can’t believe I’m even asking that, but given all the other myths and legends that have turned out to be real…”

Killian laughed and then shrugged.  “Who’s to say?  I do believe King Triton would object to the idea of there being another king of the sea, however.  In any case, Cygnus has always captivated me, been my favorite of all the constellations.”

“Really?” Emma asked.  “Why?”

Killian raised himself until he was braced on his forearms, until he was able to gaze into the green depths of her eyes.  “It always seemed to be my guiding light, my consolation and my hope.  Even in my darkest days…the days following Liam’s death and Milah’s, she was there, the swan, guiding me on, showing me I was not alone.  Never could I have guessed that Cygnus was nothing but a pale comparison to the Swan who would one day become the very light of my life; the woman who would guide me back to myself and the man I wish to be.  I can never thank you enough, my Emma.”

The tears were definitely in her eyes this time, welling up, ready to spill over their banks.  Emma reached for him, pulled him down and let her soft, gentle lips tell him in exquisite detail just what his words meant to her.  The kiss went on and on for long minutes, gentle, tender, loving.  Killian kept the ever-present passion firmly in check, knowing an open beach was not the appropriate location to explore it.

When Killian finally pulled away, Emma groaned in protest, following his lips with her own, until he succumbed, kissing her again, following her lead for the barest of moments as she opened her mouth and deepened the kiss. 

When he pulled away the second time, they were both breathing heavily.  Killian took Emma’s face in both his hands and kissed her lightly, one last time, before pasting on a cocky grin.  “I think we’d best slow down, love.  I suspect if I were to ravish you on this beach where anyone could interrupt us your father would castrate me himself.”

Emma laughed, pushing herself to a seated position.  “Well, we can’t have that!”

“No indeed!


Emma sighed, and then got to her feet, extending her hands to help him up as well.  “As amazing as this date has been, I guess I really should be getting back.  I’m supposed to be at the station at 8:00 tomorrow morning.”

Killian nodded, wrapping an arm around the woman he loved and beginning the trek back to the loft.  He saw goose bumps dotting her arms as the north wind began to pick up in earnest.  “Are you cold, Swan?”

She shrugged.  “A little.  Elsa really did a number on the town with that ice wall.  Whoever heard of ice in summer?”

“Well, we can’t let you catch a chill, darling,” he said firmly, stepping away for a moment so that he could shrug out of his new leather coat.  “It doesn’t provide as much warmth as my old pirate duster, but it will do.”

Emma allowed him to help her on with the jacket, and then sighed in what Killian could only believe was rapture.  “Won’t you be cold now?” she asked.

“When I’m able to bask in your glow, love?” he asked, wrapping her once more in his arms.  “Not a chance.”

And indeed, as Killian walked his true love back to her home, no chill, no doubt, no pain could have touched him.  After three-hundred years, Cygnus had finally led him to his true home.

Notes:

--Yes, I fully admit this was about as cheesy as it comes, but hey!  This story is called Fluffy Fridays.  You had to know what you were getting yourself into.

--A quick note on the “timing”.  I don’t know what time of year the events of 4x4 were supposed to take place during, but for the purposes of my story, I needed it to be summer, because that’s when Cygnus is visible in Storybrooke’s corner of the world.

--I’m sure the whole “cursed” hand situation was heavy on Killian’s mind throughout the evening, particularly after the incident with Will, but in the interest of absolute fluff, I’m invoking poetic license to say that Killian didn’t think of his hand again until they reached the door to the Charmings’ loft and he apologized once more for losing his temper at the restaurant.

--The first date was one of those cs moments that was fairly begging to be turned into an extended, deleted scene!  What we saw of it was beautiful and wonderful and everything I could have hoped, but we got so little!  In particular, I wanted to show how it came about that Emma returned home from her date wearing Killian’s jacket.  (Also, I couldn’t resist at least one moment of Killian taking her face into both of his hands.  I think that was a moment the entire fandom was waiting for…and now we’ve missed our moment!  Just remember, in fanfiction land, this absolutely canonically did happen.)

--As to the Cygnus…I know many people have written about Killian pointing it out to her, but I wanted to get a little bit into the mythology.  It seems there are LOTS of myths to explain that particular constellation, but when I happened upon one that involved Neptune…the god of the sea…I knew I had found the perfect explanation for Killian!

--Up next: a CS future fic.  Emma and Killian’s twins have a favorite book that they insist their parents read them every night before they’ll go to bed.  Unfortunately…it doesn’t paint their papa in the most flattering light.

 

Chapter Text

CS genre: Future fic

Emma smiled as she wandered back into the living room.  Killian sat before their TV, his eyes glued to the screen as a documentary about pirates in the 18th century played before him.  So engrossed was he in the details of the lives of his Land Without Magic counterparts, that he barely acknowledged her as she snuggled up beside him and brushed a kiss against his jaw.

When the program finally went to commercial, she snagged the remote out of his hand and hit the mute button.

“So I got the kids down for the night,” she said when he’d finally focused his attention on her.

His eyes widened.  “Truly, love?  It took you less than half an hour.  What manner of magic is this?”

She laughed and rested her head against his shoulder.  “I don’t know, but when I figure it out we need to bottle it.  They’ve never gone this quietly before.”

Their two-and-a-half year old twins, Liam and Leia were two balls of energy.  Two balls of energy who hated nap and bed times like the plague.  From the fuss those two made every night when it came time to don pajamas, you’d think she and Killian were torturing them.

“You, my love, are a marvel,” he said, smiling down at her.

“So,” she said, “I was thinking.  Just how invested are you in this pirate documentary?”

He gave her a quizzical look and then shrugged.  “It’s fascinating, Swan.  I’m quite enjoying it.  Why?”

“Well,” she said, letting her hand wander to the springy hair that peeked out of his partially-buttoned shirt, “I was thinking.  Henry’s away at college and the twins are already in bed, so we have a little free time on our hands.  Maybe we should make the most of it.”

He grinned….the grin that even now, after five years of marriage, still made the heat pool in her belly.  “And just what have you to suggest, love.”

Emma had never been one for words.  Actions had always been more her style, so she tugged at his lapels and plundered his mouth like the good pirate’s wife she was.  He accepted her tender assault, giving as good as he got, but then finally pulled away.  Grabbing the remote, he pushed the off button and then took her back into his arms.

“I quite like the paths of debauchery your mind travels, darling,” he purred, “and who am I to deny the suggestions of my wife?”

“That’s my pirate captain.”

And then they were kissing again, the fire burning so hot that if they didn’t make their way to their bedroom soon she was going to self-combust.  She was on the point of pulling away to make the suggestion when…

“Mama?  Papa?” came the little voice from the hallway leading to the bedrooms.

Killian wrenched his mouth free with a grown.  “Aye cygnets?”

“Can’t sleep,” said Liam.

“Need a story,” pouted Leia.

Emma sighed and then turned toward their children.  “Guys it’s late; it’s time to sleep.”

Identical looks of stubborn determination stared back at her.  “No sleep,” Leia said decidedly.  “Story.”

“We want Papa’s story!” Liam demanded producing a worn copy of a picture book entitled “Disney’s Peter Pan”.

Beside her Killian groaned, and she couldn’t hold back the grin.  Henry had given the twins the book for their second birthday, claiming affection for his brother and sister as his motive, but Killian had been convinced the lad “procured the item in a fit of teenage angst and rebellion, set on humiliating his step-father.”

The problem was, Liam and Leia loved it.  More days than not when it came to story time, they asked for the story where “Papa looks silly and everybody calls him a cod fish.”

(One day, in a fit of terrible-two anger, Liam had called his father a cod fish, and Emma had found it so difficult to hold back the laughter that she was almost unable to scold her son for talking back to Daddy.)

Killian had tried with all his might to change the course of events.  He’d told them a (severely edited) version of the truth about him, the “bloody demon” and the Crocodile, he’d bought enough other kid’s books that they could probably make their own library, he’d even hidden the offending book, but it was all to no avail. 

Captain Hook’s children would not be denied their chosen bed time story.  If he protested much more, the little pirates would probably make him walk the plank.

“Swan, I thought you said they were asleep!” Killian growled under his breath.

She shrugged, trying and failing to wipe the amused grin from her face.  “Thought they were.”

“How am I to maintain a proper fatherly demeanor when my children are continually fed a diet of that simpering buffoon your land believes me to be?”

Emma leaned forward and kissed him.  “They know the truth, and so do I.  Liam and Leia and Henry have the best, most courageous, most honorable father in the world.”

He smiled tenderly at that, and pecked her gently.

“No kiss!” Liam demanded.

“Story!” Leia finished.

Emma smirked.  “You better give the people what they want.”

Killian rolled his eyes and huffed a dramatic sigh.  “Very well; with all three of you aligned against me, I’ve no chance at all.  Papa’s story it is, little loves.”

He got to his feet, but Emma snagged his hand before he could follow his excited children back to their nursery.  “And Killian, I’ll be waiting in our room when you’re done.  I might just have a couple of ideas about how to show you just how grateful I am for my husband who is most certainly not a cod fish or a simpering buffoon.”

 

Notes:  Just a little slice of fluffy CS domesticity for your Friday reading pleasure. I even managed to stick to my original rules this time; this one’s under 1000 words!  :-) This story was originally posted on Tumblr as part of the CS Writing Challenge.

--It is one of my favorite head canons that one day Emma and Killian have twins that they name Charles and Leia (for obvious reasons), but that would, of course, necessitate that they have an older son as well.  There is no way in any realm known to man, woman or mermaid that they don’t name their oldest son Liam.  As I just wanted to focus on the twins in this story, however, I had to relinquish my head canon and just go with Liam and Leia.

--As someone who’s been around young children all my life (I have 7 younger siblings, 15 younger cousins (many of whom are starting to have little ones of their own), 3 nieces and 3 nephews), I can absolutely attest that when kids find a book or movie they like they are as tenacious as a dog with a bone.  There is no side-tracking them!  (My nieces and nephews discovered Frozen just after it came out on DVD, and I didn’t think they’d ever…ahem…let it go.  (Sorry; couldn’t resist, ;-p))  That being the case, I couldn’t resist the thought of Killian’s kids becoming obsessed with the Disney version of his story.  Of course, Killian’s got to be a natural story teller, so he probably uses all the voices when he reads to his kids, and they LOVE it.  (Although he does everything in his power to fix the book’s obviously atrocious version of Captain Hook.  Whenever someone calls him a codfish, he revises it to “brave, daring, dashing rapscallion”, at which the twins, of course, whine “Papaaaaaa!  Read it right!”)

--Up next: Canon divergence (4x22).  Emma actually does manage to say the words on her bed in the loft.

Chapter Text

The Words

CS genre: Canon divergence (4x22)

A/N:  A good portion of the dialog in this one comes directly from the episode, so sadly I can’t take credit.  Now, of course, I do take credit for the dialog from the point of divergence on :-)

Killian woke with a gasp, disoriented.  After a moment he realized he was back in the Charming’s loft, just where he’d been when he’d been sucked into the author’s twisted alternate universe.  He sat up slowly, hand going to his back, sucking in a tentative breath, expecting the blinding pain to reassert itself.  To his relief, he found himself to be as whole and sound as he’d been before the whole ordeal had begun.  Apparently his stab wound didn’t survive the return to reality.

It was strange, this dichotomy within himself.  His true memories and life were restored, but he still had this other Killian, the tentative, cowardly version, within himself as well.  Was this what the residents of Storybrooke had gone through when the Dark Curse was broken?  Was this what his sweet love had experienced after drinking the memory potion in New York?

Emma!  Henry!

Memories of his last glimpses of them rushed through his mind as he leapt to his feet.  What had become of them after his sacrifice?  Surely the fact that he’d been returned to this reality proved that they’d succeeded, that they’d weathered the storm.

Killian looked around, concerned to find the ground floor completely devoid of a certain precocious thirteen-year-old who he was beginning to love as a son.  Perhaps the lad had awoken before him?  Perhaps he’d made his way to the bedroom he shared with his mother?

“Henry?  Are you here lad?” Killian called as he took the stairs two at a time.  He swiveled his head around, taking in the empty room just as he heard Emma’s parents stir below—followed quickly by the opening and closing of the door.

“Hook!  Where is he?”

Killian’s heart turned over at the panic in Emma’s voice, the utter desperation.  He closed his eyes for a mere breath, love overwhelming him.  No matter what the Crocodile or the bloody author might have changed, there was one thing that remained, pure and steady through it all.  He would always love her.  No matter the time, no matter the place, no matter the situation, no matter the curse he was placed under.  He would always love her with a devotion that could transcend everything.

He’d felt that love stirring within him the first moment his cursed self saw her.  She was a vision, an angel with hair of spun gold, as she collided with him in that tower.  She’d looked up at him with such devotion, such joy, that for the first time in his miserable, cowardly life, he’d felt as though he mattered; as though there was a purpose for his life; as though someone cared whether he lived or died.  He’d known then, in that first moment, that there was utterly nothing he wouldn’t do for this woman. 

That first, initial surge of love had grown and spread like a wild fire, raging out of control.  It had been so strong, so all-consuming that he’d overcome his natural cowardice and fought for her, died for her.

Suddenly it came home to him.  They were here; they were alive.  Evil had been defeated yet again and he was united with the woman who was his everything.  Joy leapt from his chest as he leaned against the balcony railing, peering down at his Swan.

“Yeah, sorry about the mess,” he said, heart leaping once again at the look of relief and aching, desperate joy that transformed her features at the sound of his voice.  “I really needed to find that book, and I’m usually a bit tidier.”

She bounded up the stairs, running for all she was worth, tackling him to the bed with the force of her hug, breathing his name like a prayer, giggling in her relief.

“How many times do I have to tell you, love?  I’m a survivor.” he said, grinning as she pushed herself up far enough that she could see his face, captured his hand above his head.  “Look, I didn’t mean to cause any panic.  I woke moments before your parents and came up here looking for your boy.”

“He’s fine, Henry’s fine.  I’m just glad you are too.” she said, her voice soft and breathy, her eyes shining with happiness.

But there was something else there…something fearful, something intense.  “What is it?”

Emma pulled at him until they were seated, faces separated by a mere whisper.  “When I…watched you die, I was afraid I was never going to get a chance to tell you something…”

“Tell me what?”

“That I…”  She stopped, smile sliding from her face, brows furrowing.

He knew what she wished to say, felt it with the certainty of his own love for her.  But he also saw her fear, her disappointment with herself.  He wished to hear the words more than anything he’d wished for decades, but not like this.  Not in fear and desperation.  More than anything, he wished to comfort her, to bring back her angelic smile.

“It’s alright love,” he said, bringing his hand to her face, caressing the dimple in her chin with his thumb.  “You needn’t go on.  Whatever you wish to say can wait until you’re ready.  And when you are, I’ll be right here beside you, continuing to love you with every fiber of my being.”

She sucked in a quick breath, her eyes widening.  “You’ve never said it before,” she breathed, moving her own hand to tangle in his hair.  “I…I know how you feel, but you’ve never told me you love me.”

He smiled tenderly and closed the distance between them, kissing her softly, gently, letting the embrace linger.  When he pulled away he continued to hold her, letting his hand caress her satiny cheek.  “Of course I have, Swan,” he said in a soft voice.  “A million times, in a million different ways.  But, in the interest of making it a million and one, Emma Swan, you are the very heart that beats in my chest.  I love you to the depths of my soul.”

A single tear slid down her cheek, and she leaned forward, returned his kiss.  This one was longer, tinged with far more passion.  Killian didn’t need the words, not if she didn’t wish to say them.  Her kiss was more eloquent in its love declaration than any words she could have spoken.

After long moments, Emma broke the kiss, sat back and took a deep breath.  Killian saw the love and the resolution in her eyes.  “Killian, I..” she began, cleared her throat and then began again.  “I love you, too.”

He hugged her too him, burying his face in the mass of her hair, ashamed to feel the tears pricking at the back of his eyes.  “I know, my love, my sweetest love.  I know,” his voice was hoarse with emotion, “but hearing the words…Swan, I could die this moment knowing I achieved perfect happiness.”

She laughed, a light, tinkling sound, then pecked him gently on the lips and pushed him so he was once again prone on her bed.  “I don’t think so.  I think you’ve done enough dying for one day.  I’m thinking maybe it’s time we take advantage of the moment of peace we have before the next crisis hits.  The way this town works we probably only have fifteen minutes or so before Leroy runs through town yelling ‘Terrible news!’ again.”

Killian grinned.  There were many, many, many things he loved about Emma Swan, but at this moment what he loved the most was the way she thought.

 

Notes:

--Only 2 more Fridays left in the hiatus after today!

--I get why they had Emma’s love declaration happen when it happened in canon.  I mean, it was a big moment, and they wanted to give it maximum dramatic impact, hence why she finally said the words just before she sacrificed herself.  Jen also had a very eloquent answer (as per her usual) at SDCC about how she really understood and connected with Emma not being able to say the ILY on the bed in her loft; that sometimes when something is so good, so perfect, you’re afraid to speak it out loud in fear that you might ruin it.

--Even so…I think the fact that she was unable to say the words on the bed was a source of great frustration for many fans, for Killian, and even for Emma herself…..which makes it a perfect opportunity for a canon divergence!  I wanted to have Emma say ILY there, but I wanted to keep the scene as authentic as possible—keeping Emma’s fears and giving her a believable reason/way to overcome them.  What better way than to have Killian help her and reassure her by saying it first?

--Up next: Deleted scene.  During the six weeks of peace Emma and Killian decide to enjoy a quiet moment.  Killian planned their first date; Emma decides to return the favor and simultaneously give him a lesson in 21st century dating practices.

Chapter Text

The Art of 21st Century Dating

 

CS Genre: Deleted scene (from the 6 weeks of peace following 4a)

 

Emma settled onto the couch, leaning against Killian, savoring the warmth of his arm around her, feeling the familiar butterflies as he brushed a kiss against her hair.  The plan was for a nice, cozy family night with Netflix.  Henry would be home any minute, and they’d decided to let him pick the movie tonight.

Two weeks had passed since they’d defeated Ingrid and Gold.  They’d been two weeks of peace; two weeks of heaven. 

Oh, it had been difficult at first.  It had nearly destroyed her, thinking about Killian almost dying; thinking about all the signs she’d missed, all the times she’d ignored her instincts that were screaming at her that there was something off about the man she lov…well, the man she cared a great deal for. 

For the first couple of days after returning his heart, she could barely stand to let Killian out of her sight, and more often than not, her hand rested against his chest, needing to feel his heart beating, safe in its proper place.

But as the days passed with no new threat, as Storybrooke slowly began to go back to normal (well as normal as it ever was in this town), as it finally began to look like things were really and truly going to be okay, Emma decided to take the advice her father gave her just after Neverland. 

It was time she started enjoying the good moments.  And right now, she had a particular good moment she wanted to make with her boyfriend.

“Killian?” she asked, looking up at him.

“Aye, love?” he replied, his fingers tracing lazy circles on her shoulder.

“Remember after our first date when you asked me to go out with you again?”

The fingers on her shoulder stilled.  “Of course, darling.  How could I forget that…or your very enjoyable (and thorough) answer?”

He leaned closer, his eyes dropping to her lips.  “Perhaps you’d like to answer me yet again?”

She laughed, pushing lightly at his chest.  “Maybe later, Romeo.  My son’ll be here any moment; you really want him…um…overhearing my answer?”

He grinned, then impulsively surged forward kissing her quick and hard.  “Perhaps not, Swan, but I shall expect a long and passionate reminder of your answer once the lad is packed off to bed.”

“I could get behind that,” she said, pecking him once more on the lips.  “But that wasn’t why I brought it up.”

“Aye?  Why then?”

“Just wondering if the offer still stands,” she said, looking carefully into his eyes.  “You still want to go out with me again?”

Killian smiled gently, bringing his hand up to cup her face.  “Of course, love.  I’d like nothing better than to go out with you again.  Shall I begin planning our next amorous adventure?”

Emma shook her head, her hair dancing across her bare shoulders with the motion.  “Nope.  You planned the first date.  This one’s mine.”

“Now, Swan,” he said, frowning adorably at her.  “I should think my proficiency at planning an evening out was proven during our first date.  Do you mean to tell me you found the outing less than satisfactory?”

He looked so offended, she couldn’t help the giggle that escaped her…or the hungry kiss she placed on his lips.  “Of course not, idiot.  You know how much I loved our first date.”

“Then why the insistence on planning our second?”

“Killian, it’s way past time you start learning what dating in the 21st century looks like.”

He grinned down at her, dragging his fingers through her hair.  “Very well, Swan.  I look forward to my education.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Killian looked around with curiosity at the darkened space, the myriad seats of the room Swan called a movie theater.  It wasn’t entirely different from the theaters he was used to in his world—with the exception, of course, of the utter lack of a stage in the front.  Instead, they sat facing a large, floor-to-ceiling screen, a screen that was currently sporting moving pictures, much like the pictures Emma’s television displayed when they watched Netflix.

“And is this, then, the movie?” he asked, looking down at her.

Emma chuckled.  “No, these are just the trailers.  We’ve probably got another ten minutes or so of these to sit through before we get to the main event.”

“Odd name, that.  Trailer.  They seem to be little more than advertisements.”

“Yeah,” she said, “that’s what they are.  Just trying to entice us back to the movies.”

Killian looked down to her once more, his smile blooming at the look on her face.  She’d raised the arm rest between them and taken advantage of the lack of a barrier.  Holding on to his arm with both of hers, she’d leaned her head against his shoulder, and now looked up at him with unvarnished happiness and affection.

Impulsively, he leaned down and kissed her.  It was, she’d assured him, one of the pluses of having a date at a movie theater.  A darkened room provided a couple ample opportunity to enjoy far more than the film being displayed before them.

Emma kissed him back, one hand leaving his arm and caressing his cheek.  Killian could feel her smile against his lips, and his heart swelled with love, with contentment…with relief.

He didn’t think he’d ever get over that fateful night when the Crocodile almost succeeded in his evil plan for the hat.  He’d been prepared to die, heart aching at leaving his Swan now, when their feelings for each other had finally begun to blossom, but prepared for the end all the same.

Then she’d showed up and the bloody Crocodile had frozen her in place, forced her to watch what was about to happen.  Killian knew all too well what it was like to be forced to watch as Rumplestiltskin killed the one you loved.  There is no possible torture the Crocodile could have inflicted upon him that was worse than the agony he felt at the thought of Emma watching his demise.

But then the Crocodile had been defeated, Killian’s heart restored.  Things had gradually gone back to normal after several long, deep conversations in which Killian told Emma everything, and she reassured him that Rumple was the one at fault.

Things went back to normal….but not quite.  For several days Killian saw the fear in his love’s eyes, the dread.  She held him close, rarely let him out of her sight, clearly dealing with the ramifications of what had almost happened.

And so, seeing her peaceful, easy smile now as they sat through the trailers, waiting for some film entitled “Pirates of the Caribbean”, Killian finally felt like they’d put the whole nightmare behind them.  Killian little cared what “going to the movies” entailed.  If it could put such a smile back on his love’s face, it was an activity he’d gladly do every day for the rest of his life.

Swan had picked him up at Granny’s some two hours ago, insisting that it only made sense for her to be the one coming for him, as Granny’s was on the way to the theatre.  They’d had vague plans to grab some dinner before the show began…but certain circumstances had prevented it.

Namely, the fact that Emma had no more than driven out of the heart of town before she pulled her car to the side of the road and kissed him as though she was a drowning woman and he was air.   Between passionate kisses, Killian had idly asked her if this type of behavior (an epic makeout session as Emma had termed it) was typical of dates in her realm.  She’d told him to shut up and kiss her again, a command he was more than willing to obey.

Due to the more enjoyable activities in Swan’s vessel, they’d arrived at the theater with only minutes to spare before their movie was to begin.

They’d had a bit of a disagreement when it came to the ticket counter, Killian insisting on purchasing the tickets for the both of them. 

“Come on Killian, you paid for our last date.  I planned this one; it’s my turn to pay.”

“Not a bit of it, Swan,” he said, brows furrowing in stubbornness.  “As a gentleman I simply cannot hear of it.”

She’d rolled her eyes.  “I know you’re ancient, but we don’t live in the 17th century.  Women are just as capable of paying as men.  It’s not a ‘gentleman’ thing anymore.”

He’d smiled tenderly at her, brushing a stray curl from her face and securing it behind her ear.  “Oh I’ve no doubt you’re capable of anything you wish, Swan,” he’d said, “but…you’ve given me everything.  You’ve given me back the man I wish to be, helped to remind me who I really am, pulled me from the dregs of villainy I’d steeped myself in, provided me with the kind of affection and acceptance I’d never thought to have again.  You’ve even restored my heart to my chest.  What are a few measly doubloons in payment for all of that?”

Her eyes had softened as they always did when he bared his heart to her, and she’d finally nodded.  “Fine, but I’m buying the popcorn.  No arguments!”

The screen went black, and the dim room darkened yet further.  “Looks like it’s getting ready to start,” Emma whispered in his ear.

It was quite the experience, watching a film in a movie theater.  His eyes had gone wide in wonder as the music began and he heard it from every possible direction.  (“Surround sound” Emma had explained.)  The big screen made him feel almost as though he were there, experiencing the actions along with the characters on screen.  It was rather extraordinary, this technology of the Land Without Magic.

The film itself was quite entertaining.  A tale of piracy and mutiny and true abiding love.  He’d rather liked the Will Turner chap, as well as the pirate Captain Sparrow.  (And the man, Pintel…well, he bore an uncanny resemblance to Leroy.)  He’d muttered angrily at the audacity of the pirate crew who would commit mutiny and maroon their own captain, offering many suggestions as to just what punishments he’d meet out were these men part of his crew.

Emma laughed at his grumblings, telling him to shut up before everyone around them decided to toss them out of the theater for being disruptive.  When he’d failed to obey, she’d taken matters into her own hands, effectively silencing him with a kiss that ensured his mouth was far too busy for conversation.

When the credits began to roll and the lights of the theater once again came on, Killian and Emma walked hand in hand back to her vessel, talking, laughing, becoming effectively drunk on each other.

“Well, Swan,” he said reluctantly as she pulled out of their parking spot and began to drive away, “What now?  Has our second date come to an end?”

She glanced over at him.  “Do you want it to be over?”

He laughed, placing his hand on her thigh, “Not for the world, love.”

She nodded once.  “Good, cause I thought we could go up to the bluffs that overlook Storybrooke.  It’s got a fantastic view.  We could look at the stars,” she glanced significantly down at his lips, “or we could come up with some more enjoyable activities to occupy the rest of our evening.”

He grinned wickedly.  “You know I’ve always been partial to the more enjoyable activities, Swan.”

Aye, all told, Killian believed he could truly come to appreciate the art of 21st century dating.

 

Notes:

 

--Up next:  The last official installment of Fluffy Fridays (although I could be persuaded to continue on after next week.  Chances are, with the Dark Swan arc, we’re all going to need a little fluff in our lives.  I just won’t promise updates EVERY week after next week.)  Side note: Yay!  The fact that next week is the last official week of Fluffy Friday means we’re only 9 days away from season 5!  Anyway, next week’s installment is a CS roommates AU.  I’m rather excited about this one.  This was my absolute favorite to write!

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Roommates AU

“Keep your grimy paws to yourself, you bloody git!” Killian slurred as he stumbled his way toward the car.

Emma bit her lip to keep from laughing out loud as she took hold of her idiot roommate’s arm and steered him in the right direction.  This was going to be a long evening, but at least it was sure to be entertaining.

“Are you yelling at a squirrel, Killian?”

He turned indignant eyes her way as she opened the passenger side door and gently shoved him inside.  “Swan, that beast was attempting to make a pass at you.  Your honor must be protected.”

At that she couldn’t hold back her laughter for another moment.  “I hunt down creeps of the human variety for a living.  I think I could take one little squirrel, although your chivalry is duly noted.”

Killian fumbled with the seat belt, growling in annoyance as it flat out refused to go into its slot.  “And your bloody car hates me!”

Emma continued to chuckle as she leaned over him and buckled the belt.  “I really doubt either that the squirrel was hitting on me or that my car hates you.”

He crossed his arms and gave her a long look as she slid into her seat behind the steering wheel.  “What other explanation could there possibly be for the malfeasance of both, Swan?”

He shot her a triumphant grin as though pleased with his irrefutable logic.

Emma rolled her eyes.  “I don’t know.  You’ve got me there.”

He nodded sagely, squinted in the bright light of the setting sun, and lowered the passenger-side visor.  After a moment, he peered into the mirror on said visor and then began to chuckle.

“Something funny?”

“Look, Swan!” he said, opening his mouth as wide as he was able (which incidentally wasn’t all that wide) and then grinning like a loon.  “Blood.  I have blood in my mouth.”

“Yeah, that’s what happens when you get your wisdom teeth removed,” she said, turning her eyes back to the road.

“Does this mean I’m a bloody git, too?”

Emma laughed again, she simply couldn’t help it.  “Do you really want me to answer that question?”

He turned suddenly wounded eyes in her direction.  “Do you really think that about me, love, that I’m a git?”

Her heart stuttered.  No, Killian.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  If only you knew how much I love you…

“You know I don’t” she finally said, determinedly keeping her tone light.

The answer seemed to please him.  He nodded once, and then turned quietly back to his side of the car.  Silence reined for long moments, until curiosity got the better of Emma.  She turned toward her passenger in time to see him fish out his phone, open his (literally) bloody mouth and snap a selfie.

“Killian, what are you doing?”

He swiped his finger along the screen, nodding in satisfaction as he tapped for a few moments and then looked up at her.  “I sent Dave a picture, love.  Figured he’d be amused at my mouth’s current state of bloodiness.  He knew the doctor robbed me of my wisdom teeth…my teeth?…my wisdom?  That doesn’t sound right.”

Emma rolled her eyes, grinning.  “I better keep a close eye on you.  The way you’re going, your mate is going to be abel to mock you until you’re eighty.”

Emma had met Killian seven years ago when she and her best friend Mary Margaret Blanchard moved into the off-campus apartment Killian shared with David Nolan.  Emma and Mary Margaret had lived in the dorms for two years before they decided it was time for a change.  After perusing roommate notices and talking to those posting them, they’d decided that Killian and David sounded the most normal, the least like serial killers, and the most responsible. 

Not to mention the hottest.  Emma’s mind was quick to remind her.  That British accent of Killian’s probably has the power to make a girl pregnant just by listening to it.  And…well, the man’s looks were even more smoking hot.

Within five minutes of moving in, Emma was in love.  She remembered the moment like it was yesterday.  One moment she was struggling to wrestle her mattress onto the bedframe, and the next, Killian was there in her doorway.

“Need a hand, love?”

She’d eyed his left arm, in a cast after a nasty fall during a skiing trip, and shot him an amused grin.  “Is that supposed to be a joke?”

He’d chuckled then, stepped into her room, grabbed the mattress with his right hand and dragged it into place.  “No, I was being quite serious.”

When he’d looked up at her, flirtatious smirk in place, his eyes as blue as the summer’s sky, she’d suddenly realized that she was utterly lost. 

She had no chance at all after that.

Emma and Mary Margaret had spent junior and senior years with the guys, and it was the best time of her life.  Well, at least until David and Mary Margaret started dating seriously.  Very seriously.  After that, she and Killian started spending more and more time together outside of the apartment because…um...awkward!

David and Mary Margaret got engaged and married and subsequently moved out on their own just after graduation, but Emma and Killian opted to remain in the apartment, as they’d both landed jobs in the general vicinity.  (And, Emma’s inner voice reminded, because I no longer even want to contemplate living somewhere without Killian.)

She supposed one day she would have to tell him the truth about her feelings for him, but…well, things were good just as they were.  What if she bared her heart to him and he didn’t feel the same way?  She couldn’t lose him; she just couldn’t.  If that meant living with him in a very platonic situation for the rest of their lives, never confessing her love, that’s what she would do.

“Squirrel, squirrel, squirrel,” Killian muttered, bringing Emma’s mind back to the present.  “That’s a funny word, Swan.  Squirrel.

She laughed again.  “You do realize I’m going to mock you mercilessly as soon as you’re back to your old self again, don’t you?”

“Now Swan,” he said as she pulled into the car park of their apartment and helped him from his side of the car.  “This is serious business, this battle with the squirrels.  Take a look at that one, there.  I believe he’s hatching a plot to murder us in our sleep tonight.”

“Don’t worry Killian,” Emma said absently as she fumbled for her keys, “until you’re healed I’ll be on squirrel-watch.  I won’t let them murder you; although I can’t guarantee I can stop them from throwing acorns.”

“Thank you, Swan,” he said seriously.  “Is it any wonder that I love you?”

Emma suddenly dropped her keys, turning shocked eyes in his direction.  “Wh…what did you say?”

“That I love you?” he asked, as though it was an established fact that she should have known. 

“Do…do you really?”

Killian rolled his eyes.  “Of course!  You’ve been the sun, the moon and the stars to me since the day you moved in.  I love you to the very depth of my heart.  I’ve longed to kiss you properly for years.  I don’t suppose I ought to kiss you now with my bloody mouth, though.  Bad form, aye?”

The tears sprung to Emma’s eyes.  He doesn’t know what he’s saying.  He’s still high out of his mind with those anesthesia drugs.  Don’t read anything into it! 

But oh she wanted to.  With everything in her she wanted to believe it.  Wanted to say those three little words back to him.

Instead she took a deep breath, retrieved her keys, unlocked their apartment, ushered him inside and forced a chuckle.  “Yeah, I’d appreciate it if you kept your bloody mouth to yourself for the time being.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Killian groaned as he woke the following morning, the pain throbbing dully in the back of his mouth.  Why the bloody hell had he ever agreed to the wisdom teeth extraction?  This was torture.

“Ready for your pain meds?” Emma asked, stepping into his room, glass of water in one hand and bottle of pills in the other.

“Aye,” he said, sitting up and running a hand through his disheveled hair.  “You, love, are an angel of mercy.”

She laughed, handing him the items in her hands.  “I had my wisdom teeth out the year before Mary Margaret and I moved in here, and believe me.  I know what you’re going through.”

He grunted as he took the painkiller and then pressed the cold, empty glass against his aching jaw.  “You wouldn’t know where the ice pack is, would you, Swan?”

“Ahead of you there, Jones,” she said, turning back toward the door.  “It’s waiting in the living room.  Thought you might want to hang out in there for a while.  Keep me company while I make breakfast.”

He nodded, getting to his feet and padding after her.

As the meds took affect and the pain slowly receded, Killian’s mind began to wander, jumbled memories from the day before coming to mind.

“Just how bloody ridiculous was I yesterday, Swan?” he asked.  “Did I say anything I’ll regret?”

Emma looked away, twin spots of red coloring her cheeks.  Then, after taking a deep breath she looked up again, a forced smile on her face.  “Well, you had some pretty choice words for Storybrooke’s squirrel population.”

He looked at her closely, and more memories came to mind.  I love you to the very depth of my heart.  I’ve longed to kiss you properly for years.  Bloody hell, had he actually said that to her?  He’d kept his feelings severely under lock and key for years, convinced she didn’t, couldn’t possibly, feel the same way.  Had he destroyed all his careful control in one, high-as-a-kite, moment?

“Emma,” he said, ducking his chin and reaching to scratch behind his ear.  “Did I…did I say something about…about you?”

She froze and looked away.  “Yeah, you might have said something.”

Killian took a deep breath.  Well, this wasn’t how he would have chosen to go about this conversation, this revelation, but it seemed his drug-addled brain had had other ideas.  “Would you come here?  Sit with me.  I think we need to talk.”

He waited until she was perched beside him on the couch.  She sat on the edge, looking as though prepared for flight.  His heart sank.  “What exactly did I say, love?”

“You…you told me you love me,” she said in a small voice, so quiet he almost missed it. 

“I’m sorry,” he said, his heart plummeting.  Her body language was unmistakable.  It would seem he was about to get his heart broken, and given the depth of his love for this woman before him, he doubted it would ever mend again.  “I didn’t mean to burden you.”

She shrugged, obviously trying to look nonchalant.  “No biggie.  You weren’t exactly yourself.  We all say things we don’t mean sometimes.”

Things we don’t mean?  Is that what she thought?

He looked up quickly, hearing the sadness in her voice.  Had he misread the situation?  Was she disappointed in her belief that his drug-induced statement was insincere?  Slowly, a small flame of hope lit within him.

Killian brought both hands to her face and gently raised her chin until he could look into her eyes.  It was unmistakable, now, the longing there.  The hope began to flare yet brighter.

“Is that what you think, Swan?” he asked softly.  “That I didn’t mean it?”

He saw shock and surprise enter her eyes.  “Well, did you?”

The moment of truth had arrived.  “Aye, Swan,” he said with conviction.  “I didn’t want to burden you with feelings I believed were unrequited, but, yes, I love you.  I love you with everything within me; have nearly since the moment we met.”

The tears rushed to her eyes and spilled over, and he moved his hands until he could catch them with his thumbs.  Without warning, she hurtled forward, arms surrounding him, tackling him, hand going to the back of his head, holding him close.  “You idiot,” she said, laughing through her tears.  “Of course your feelings weren’t unrequited.  I’ve loved you forever!”

Joy bubbled up within him and spilled out into a delighted chuckle as he held her to himself, hands rubbing over her back.  “I’d like nothing more than to kiss you right now, love, but my mouth is still a bloody mess.”

She pulled away, brilliant smile on her lips.  “Yeah, that’s a bit of a problem, but we have our whole lives to make up for it.  Just, get well, soon, okay?  I think we’ve waited long enough.”

 

Notes:

--As I said at the end of the last update, this week’s story was my favorite to write.  I had lots of fun with this one!

--I’ve seen people write roommate au’s before.  I’ve also read some where Emma and Killian have feelings for each other but are afraid to bring it up—until one or the other of them is drunk, or otherwise not quite in their right mind.  It’s an interesting idea, but I wanted to take a slightly different direction—thus the wisdom teeth extraction thing.

--I actually didn’t get put under anesthesia when I had my wisdom teeth removed, but rather just had local anesthesia (this is something, incidentally, that I don’t recommend.  It was not a fun day!), but I’ve had way too much fun watching my siblings and others being totally crazy after they HAVE been knocked out for the procedure.  Some of Killian’s craziness comes directly from them.  My brother, for example, thought his bloody mouth was hilarious and decided he just HAD to take selfies of it.  My sister was the one who had the anesthesia-induced squirrel phobia—only she was afraid of being mistaken for a squirrel with her puffy cheeks.  (My uncle is constantly railing at the squirrels who like to come steal produce from his garden.  My sister was afraid he’d mistake her for a squirrel and shoot her with his bb gun!)

--Well, we’ve nearly survived another hiatus!  This, being the last Friday of the hiatus, brings me to the last of my officially planned Fluffy Friday one shots.  I’ve had many people suggest I continue this beyond the hiatus, and I’ve sstarted coming up with several new ideas for future installments.  As always, any prompts you might have would be greatly appreciated—I’m particularly interested in what people would like to see with deleted scenes, canon divergence scenes and Lieutenant Duckling.

--Since I’ve reached the end of the stories I’ve already written, I can’t really give you an “up next”, because I’m not entirely sure where I’ll go with this  (although I do have one pre-written story that might fit the bill; we’ll see)  So, I guess next week will be a surprise!

Chapter Text

Kitchen Wars

CS Genre: CS Future Fic

They say hindsight is 20/20.  (Whoever they are.)  Looking back at the situation, Emma figures she should have handled it differently.  If she’d known that was going to happen, she’d have never introduced Killian to modern kitchen appliances.

It all started innocently enough.  Killian had made an appearance at her brand new apartment at the crack of dawn and kissed her awake.  (She’d take that method of waking up over alarm clocks any day of the week.) She’d (eventually) gotten up, wandered to her kitchen and rummaged through her cabinets looking for something to eat.

Killian was curious as a cat.  Examining each and every piece of equipment on her counter (which, admittedly wasn’t that much.  She wasn’t big on cooking).  Touching everything, pushing every button, asking more questions than a classroom full of toddlers.  He was about to drive her nuts. 

It was a matter of self-preservation, really.

At her wits end she’d done the only thing a 300 year old pirate’s girlfriend could do to shut him up.  After kissing him senseless…because he was annoying as hell, but he was still an adorable puppy, she rummaged around her junk drawer, still relatively neat and orderly given her recent move, found the owner’s manual for each and every appliance she owned, plopped them in front of him, set him the task of learning just how each “infernal contraption” worked, and then left for the sheriff’s station.

She hadn’t expected to come home to a war zone that evening.

“Killian?” she called as she stepped into the apartment, draping her leather jacket over the back of the sofa.  “You still here?”

She heard some extremely colorful (and rather eloquent) cursing coming from the general vicinity of the kitchen, and then it abruptly stopped.  A moment later, Killian poked his head into the living room, his face bright red, his single hand scratching at that infamous spot behind his ear.

“Swan,” he said with a nervous laugh.  “Hadn’t expected you home for another hour at least.”

Something was up.  She knew her pirate like the back of her hand, and something was definitely up.

“Slow day,” she said, narrowing her eyes.  “Why?  Is there a reason I should have stayed out later?”

“Now Swan,” he said with a placating motion of his hand, “don’t lose your temper, love.  It was all a bit of a misunderstanding, but the toaster and I ironed it out.  The blender, on the other hand….well, he showed such insubordination I fear he’s a lost cause, but the coffee maker managed to make peace amongst all of us…”

What the hell was he babbling about?  She moved with firm purpose in the direction of her kitchen, but he stepped in front of her.

“Emma, what are you doing love?” he asked, his voice uncertain.  “Perhaps you’d best rest after your long day at work.  I’ll draw you a bath…”

“Killian?”

“Aye?”

“Is there a reason you don’t want me to go talk to your new appliance friends in there?”

He laughed uneasily.

Oh this was going to be bad.  She could already tell.

Emma stepped into her kitchen and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.   It looked like a full on war had gone on here.  The toaster, sporting a distinctly hook shaped dent had been completely disassembled.  The blender sat near the edge of the counter, apparently awaiting a similar fate, its contents—some sort of berry smoothie if she didn’t miss her guess—were splattered up the walls and onto the ceiling.  One of her kitchen cabinets hung askew, held onto its base by a mere whisper.

“Care to explain?” she asked, crossing her arms and giving him the look that never failed to make him squirm.

“See, love, it was like this,” he began.  “I wished to prepare a slice of toast for myself, so I decided to use the toaster.”

“Makes sense so far.”

“After diligently reading the instructions, adjusting the settings exactly as prescribed and inserting the bread in the allotted slots, I depressed the levers and waited,” he said, beginning to pace.  “When the hoped for toast emerged, I was sorely disappointed; it had barely begun to brown.”

“So,” she said, “you stabbed the toaster?”

“No, Swan, that would be ridiculous,” he gave her a disgusted look.  “I deduced that the amount of time needed to properly toast bread must vary according to the type of bread.  White bread, as I was using, must require multiple insertions into that demon device.  Accordingly, I depressed the levers once more, and do you know what happened?”

“I’m waiting on baited breath to find out.”

“The bloody thing burnt my toast!  Utterly ruined it!”

“And that’s when you stabbed it.”

He glared at her.  “Naturally.”

He was so freaking indignant, she couldn’t hide her smile.  “So…then you decided being ‘hooked’ wasn’t bad enough, you decided to disembowel the thing?”

“No,” he sighed.  “I decided I had perhaps been a bit hasty.  I took it apart in order to ascertain if there was something faulty within its workings.  As I am no mechanic, the task has proven futile.  Tiring of my battle with the toaster, I decided to make myself one of those fruity concoctions you procured for me the other day.”

“Looks like that didn’t work so well for you either.”

“No,” he said.  “Nothing in the bloody manual told me of the importance of holding the lid on the blender when in use.  You can see the results.”

Emma took pity on him.  With a wave of her hand she let her magic put her abused kitchen to rights.  “You know, Killian, it sounds like you’ve had a worse day than I have.  How about I draw that bath for you?”

“Perhaps,” he said, quirking a cocky eyebrow her way, “but only if you join me.”

She stepped up to her not-so-handy man, and kissed him soundly.  “Yeah, I think I’d better.  Who knows what kind of trouble you’d get yourself into trying to make the bathtub work on your own.”

 

Notes:

--Yay!  We survived the first week of the Dark!Swan arc!  I liked the premiere and I’m pretty excited for the season ahead, but then I’ve already written thousands and thousands of words of analysis (sadly, not even an exaggeration), so I’ll just leave it at that for now.

--I don’t even know what this story is…other than ridiculous.  This was originally written for the cs writing challenge.  The prompt of the day was: “If I knew this was going to happen…”  Somehow I couldn’t help but turn that into a Killian-vs-modern-technology story.

--Sounds like there might be some serious angst heading our way in this Sunday’s episode (at least if people are correct with their predictions based on the episode press release), so I’ll have to come up with something particularly fluffy for next week’s installment.

Chapter Text

In Their Honor

CS Genre:  Lieutenant Duckling

“A lovely night, a lovely night!  A finer night you know you’ll never see.  You meet your prince, a charming prince, as charming as a prince will ever be.  The stars in a hazy heaven tremble above you while he is whispering: “Darling I love you”.  You say goodbye, away you fly, but on your lips you keep a kiss.  All your life you dream of this lovely, lovely night.”

                                                                                    --Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

The first time Lieutenant Killian Jones, Crown Prince of Camelot, danced with Emma Swan, Princess of Misthaven, it was at a ball in his honor.  The usual trepidation, uneasiness and sorrow descended on Killian as he thought of his new title and the reason he now held it.  His brother, Liam, the former Crown Prince, had been gone for six months now, and Killian still missed him with an ache that was nearly physical.  Liam left him big shoes to fill, and he had no idea if he was up to the task.

Killian looked carefully from side to side as he silently pushed open the door that led from the kitchens to the herb garden.  Seeing no one around to stop him, he stepped firmly outside and marched resolutely toward the curtain wall.  When his heart was so conflicted and his anxiety so pressing, it was only the sea that that could calm and soothe him.  It called to him, tugged at him like the tide pulled the waters to the shore.

Another pang punched at Killian as he thought of the sea, thought of the plans he and Liam had to sail the realms.  Now, as Arthur Pendgragon’s heir, Killian was forced to put his dreams of sailing aside to take up the mantle of future king of Camelot.

Twilight was descending as Killian took firm steps toward his destination.  Pinks and purples, oranges and yellows melded to paint the canvas of the late afternoon sky.  He had little more than an hour before he must return to the castle to prepare for the ball celebrating his birthday.

Killian took a deep breath and slowly released it.  Yes, it was a ball for his birthday, but he was well aware it was so much more.  As the crown prince, it was vital he marry and produce heirs, and tonight he was to meet the woman his parents had hand-picked for him, the woman they hoped he would fall in love with and choose for his bride.  Princess Emma of Misthaven.  Quite simply, he had no idea what to expect.  It was said that Princess Emma was beautiful but headstrong, a woman who knew her mind and had no trepidation about sharing it.

Killian had no quibble with strong, independent women.  His mother, Queen Guinevere, was, after all, one herself.  But what if this Princess Emma disliked him?  What if she decided to vent her choler on him?  He’d had limited experience with the fairer sex; Liam had been the one all the ladies of court flocked to, and he seemed to know instinctively how to act, what to say.  Killian wished with everything in him that Liam was around to lead him through these treacherous waters.

A sudden blur of white sped past Killian’s gaze, and when he turned a curious gaze in the direction, all his breath left his body in a whoosh.  There, standing before him was a veritable angel, chest heaving as she caught her breath, head swiveling from side to side frantically.  She looked like an animal caught in a trap.

“Can I be of assistance, my lady?”  Killian asked, solicitously, reaching out a tentative hand to her arm.  When the angel turned to face him and he saw her fully for the first time, his heart stuttered and then pounded out a rhythm he’d scarce imagined possible.

She was, quite simply, the most stunningly beautiful woman Killian had ever seen in all his years.  Dressed in a long, flowing white gown with sleeves that belled and flowed gracefully with her every movement, with a garland of white flowers crowning a glorious mane of long, wavy blonde hair that hung loose along her shoulders and down her back, she quite literally took his breath away.

Her green eyes shown bright with surprise.  Surprise that, to Killian’s dismay quickly turned to decided annoyance.  She wrenched her arm free from his light touch.

“Really?”  she asked, her arms crossing against her chest.  “Does my mother have spies everywhere?  I’m not gone two minutes before she sends the Camelot Navy after me?!”

She stepped forward, poking a lovely, perfectly manicured finger into his chest.  “I’ll let you know, Lieutenant, I have no intention of attending that ball.  I will not be sold off in marriage like some kind of prized steed.  I don’t care how ‘eligible’ Prince Killian might be.”

A slow grin spread across Killian’s face as the woman’s words sunk in, and it became altogether apparent just who this glorious, wrathful angel was. 

All his life he’d heard tales of love at first sight but he’d always scoffed at the notion, believing it was nothing but the fanciful stuff of fairy tales.  But seeing Princess Emma of Misthaven standing before him in all her irate glory, he began to rethink his opinion.

If he wasn’t already in love with her he was dangerously close.  And if he didn’t think fast, this lovely creature may quite literally walk right out of his life.

“You seem quite decided, love,” he said, moving forward, a lock of dark hair falling rakishly across his forehead.  He absently swatted it away.  “But my question remains.  Can I be of assistance?”

She stood still for a moment, seeming to consider his question.  Finally she nodded decisively.  “Show me the way out of this castle.  I need to find an exit where I can slip out unnoticed.”

“Aye,” Killian said slowly, dragging out the single syllable, “I could do that.”

“But?”

“But, as you deduced, it’s not in my best interest to simply return to the castle without you in tow.  What would the lady Queen of Misthaven say to that?  Bad form, aye?”

The fire flashed from her eyes as she moved to step past him.  “Fine; if you won’t help me, then step aside.  I’ll find an unguarded door on my own.”

“My lady, wait,” he said, reaching out to once more grasp her arm.

She spun on him.  “Unhand me Lieutenant.  You’ll not dissuade me, and I warn you, you will not like what happens if you try.”

“Very well, Princess,” Killian said, hastily pulling his arm back, “I’ll not detain you, but I have a request, a proposition of sorts, for you.”

She glared at him, one eyebrow raised in annoyed question.  “And what, pray tell might that be?”“

“Come,” he said, “sit with me.  Allow me to attempt to dissuade you from your course.  If, afterwards, your plans remain unchanged, I will personally escort you to a hidden door where you can make your escape.”

She fixed a skeptical look on him for long moments and finally nodded.  “Very well.  You have ten minutes, but I warn you.  I have no intention of changing my mind.”

“As you wish,” Killian said, extending his arm.  She took it tentatively, her hand a light weight against his uniformed arm.  His heart pounded at the touch, a jolt seeming to travel from the spot straight to his heart.

Killian led Princess Emma toward his mother’s rose garden, the most beautiful—and most romantic—location in all of Camelot.  Spying the stone bench where it was said his father had proposed to his mother, he led her to it and seated her as the last rays of the sun disappeared from the horizon.

“Why, Princess?” he began. “Why have you only now decided to run?  Why agree to come to my land at all?  Why dress for the ball if you had no intention of attending?”

She blew out an exasperated breath, and looked out across the rose bushes.  “Because I had no idea what was truly going on.  My parents, Queen Snow and King David, told me only that we traveled to Camelot for diplomatic business.  I had no idea they meant to marry me off.”

“And how did you discover their true nefarious purpose?”

She smiled, and it lit her face like the sun breaking forth from the clouds.  “My mother cannot keep a secret to save her life.  As we sat in my dressing chamber and she helped style my hair, she let the deep, dark secret slip.”

He smiled back.  “I see.  And I take it you have no intention of going along with their plans?”

She barked out a laugh.  “Hardly.  I have no doubt that this ‘Prince Killian’, whoever he may be is nothing but another in a long line of empty-headed, pompous jackasses that my parents have paraded before me.”

Killian coughed to cover his sudden chuckle.  “And there’s no possibility Prince Killian will exceed your expectations?”

“Not likely.  I’ve seen them all over the past few months and they’re all the same.  Desperately interested in the power marrying me would bring them.  Not even remotely interested in me.  The real me.  I’d be little more than a decorative ornament on their arms.”  She fell silent for a moment, eyes staring sightlessly over the flowers before her.  Suddenly she turned toward him.  “I understand my parents’ reasoning, of course.  The Evil Queen is amassing her forces and it’s important my kingdom make alliances with others who can come to our aid.   It’s just…of all people, I had hoped my parents could understand the importance of love in making a decision like this.  After all, my mother was a bandit on the run from the Evil Queen and my father was a shepherd.  They met and fell in love, shared True Love’s Kiss and everything, and I just wanted the same for myself.”

Killian took her hand and drew in a sharp breath, amazed at his boldness.  When she didn’t pull away, a warmth blossomed in his chest, a warmth that entirely melted away the early evening coolness.  “Perhaps they do understand, love.  Perhaps they believe you can find with Prince Killian the same love they found with each other.”

She shrugged.  “Maybe, but even if I can, I want to choose him and be chosen by him, not just be thrown into a relationship that more or less amounts to a business transaction.  You have no idea what it’s like to have to give up your dreams for the life that’s been chosen for you.”

“You might be surprised, Princess.”

She turned toward him then, her eyes searching his, unspoken questions in their emerald depths.

“Aye,” he answered, no longer able to meet her gaze..  “I’d hopes to sail the realms with my brother, see new lands, chase adventure, but he’s gone now, and my life has changed entirely.”

She squeezed his hand, and he looked back at her.  “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

My loss?  Killian puzzled to himself.  What is she talking about?  And then sudden understanding flared, and he chuckled.  “Liam hasn’t passed on, lass.  He merely married and moved from the kingdom.”

Killian’s mind wandered back to the day, nearly a year past, when Queen Elsa of Arendelle first made her way to the Camelot court.  Liam was smitten from the moment he set eyes on her.  After an ardent, hasty courtship, the pair had married and returned to her kingdom.  Her land was in turmoil, someone named Hans trying to usurp the throne along with his twelve brothers.  It was necessary that the newly married pair reside in and rule over Arendelle.  Thus the reason Killian was now the crown prince of Camelot.

“But you still miss him,” Princess Emma observed, “I can see it in your eyes.”

“More than you could ever know.”

Princess Emma’s hand dropped from his and then moved up to cup his cheek, her thumb caressing the stubbled skin.  “I’m sorry, Lieutenant.”

Killian didn’t know how it happened, but one moment he was looking into her lovely eyes, and the next he was leaning forward, caressing her lips with his own.  It was a short kiss, over in the blink of an eye, but at the touch of her soft lips to his, fire shot through his entire system and he knew he would never be the same.

When he pulled back, he saw a delicate pink shading her cheeks.  He reached up to scratch behind his ear, looking away in embarrassment.  “I apologize for my forwardness, Princess.”

She turned his head to face her.  “You’ve no need to be; I wanted you to kiss me.”

His heart raced, the urge to kiss her again—this time far more thoroughly—nearly overwhelming him.  Probably best he put a bit of distance between them. 

“Well,” he said, getting to his feet and offering her a hand to do the same, “I’d wager my ten minutes are up.  Still determined to flee your fate, my lady?”

She smiled up at him.  “Maybe attending the ball wouldn’t be the worst thing in the realm.  You’ll be there?  You’ll dance with me?”

He smiled.  “That, I believe, I can guarantee.”

__________________________________________________________________________

Emma took a deep breath as she returned to her chamber—to her highly disappointed mother.  Perhaps she should feel more ashamed of her actions, more dread of her mother’s reaction, more defiant in the face of her parents’ plans, but the fact was, all she could feel was a quickening of her heart, a smile draping her lips at the memory of her stolen moments with the lieutenant.

The lieutenant.  She didn’t even know his name; hadn’t bothered to ask, but the butterflies fluttered in her stomach at the thought of the handsome man—the very handsome man—and how he had skillfully talked her into staying for the ball.  She’d felt an immediate, almost magnetic pull to him from the moment he first stopped her headlong flight.  And then when he’d kissed her…clichéd though it may sound, it felt like magic surging through her veins.  There had been young men she’d fancied in years past; occasionally she’d even stolen quick, heated kisses, but never had she felt anything like she’d felt in the brief moment her lieutenant’s lips were pressed to hers.

“Emma, I thought we were beyond this, beyond your tendency to run from your problems,” Queen Snow said with a disapproving frown, pulling Emma’s mind away from her much-too-brief dalliance.

“I know mother,” Emma said, dropping her eyes, and running her hand along the satiny skirt of her dress.  “I apologize.  It’s just…I’m just tired of the constant parade of eligible princes.  If I am to marry, I want it to be to a man I love, a man I choose.”

Queen Snow raised Emma’s chin with a gentle finger.  Love and compassion shown from her eyes.  “Oh, Emma,” she said gently, “it will be your choice.  Your father and I love you beyond anything on earth and we only wish to see you happy.  Prince Killian is a good man.  Your father met him on a previous diplomatic mission, and he can’t speak highly enough of him.  We genuinely believe Killian will win your heart.  That being said, if you truly find you have no interest in exploring a relationship with him, your father and I will abide by your decision.”

“Even with the Evil Queen on the move?”

Snow looked into the distance; her eyes staring sightlessly.  “You know, darling, I believe my stepmother is beginning to soften.  There are rumors she met an outlaw, a widower with a young son.  If the rumors are to believed, they’ve fallen in love, and that love has changed her.  Perhaps building alliances is not so necessary after all.  Perhaps I might yet reconcile with Regina.”

Snow turned to look back at her daughter, her eyes filled with the earnest intensity Emma had seen from her so many times.  “But even if that were not the case, it wouldn’t matter.  You are our daughter and we love you.  We would never insist you enter into a loveless marriage. When you marry, if you marry, we want it to be because you’ve found the true love of your life, not because we’re pressuring you.”

Impulsively, Emma leaned forward and hugged the queen, love for her parents overwhelming her.  “Thank you mother.”

Snow returned the embrace, and then leaned back, keeping her hands on her daughter’s shoulders.  “I only ask that you give Prince Killian a chance.  Don’t dismiss him out of hand.  Give him a chance to prove himself worthy of you.”

Emma nodded.  “I’ll give him a chance.”

She would give the prince a chance, for her parents’ sake if for nothing else, but she knew in her heart there was only one man, one lieutenant, who had the possibility of winning her heart tonight.

____________________________________________________________________________

 

Night descended quickly, the stars twinkling merrily just outside the chamber window.  The clock chimed the hour, and Emma felt a flutter of excitement as she realized the ball was due to begin at any moment.

“Shall we?”  Snow asked, getting to her feet and offering Emma her hand.

Emma took a deep breath and then nodded.    The two women stepped from the dressing chamber, stopping at the top of the magnificent staircase leading to the ball room as the majordomo prepared to announce their arrival.

“There they are, Emma,” Snow said, leaning over to whisper in Emma’s ear.  “Your father and Prince Killian.  Looks like they’re anxiously waiting for us.”

Emma scanned the glittering assembly until her eyes landed on her father and the man standing to his right.

She stopped in her tracks, her heart stuttering and then beginning to race. 

It was him.   

He’d changed, his lieutenant’s uniform for a red vest and a long, quilted black duster; his hair was rakishly tousled.  He looked more like a pirate than a prince, but there was no doubt.  This man with his piercing blue eyes, midnight black hair, and soft, reddish stubble was the man she’d met in the garden.  This was her lieutenant.

“I present to you Queen Snow and Princess Emma of Misthaven” the majordomo called out in a firm voice as the mother and daughter slowly descended toward their waiting men.

Emma caught the prince’s eye as she slowly walked, and the look she saw there took her breath away.  Tenderness, admiration, affection, a hint of mischief.  She couldn’t have looked away if her life depended on it.

“My lady,” he said in a low, intimate voice as he took her hand and gently brought it to his lips, “it’s a pleasure to see you again.”

“You…” she stuttered.  “You’re Prince Killian.”

He sketched a deep bow, his hands spread before him, his lips stretched in a teasing grin.  “The empty-headed, pompous jackass himself.” 

Emma, covered her flaming face with one hand.  “Oh my gods, I can’t believe I said that to you!  What were you thinking, letting me go on and on like that, making an utter fool of myself?”

“You did nothing of the sort, love,” Killian said, the teasing grin making way for a genuine smile.  “You merely gave me the opportunity to make the acquaintance of one of the loveliest and most fascinating women I’ve ever seen.  You allowed me to present myself as simply Killian; not the crown prince; not the man your parents wished for you to marry; just Killian.”

The orchestra struck up a slow tune and couples began to take their places on the dance floor.  “What do you say, princess?” Killian asked, smiling down at her and extending a hand.  “Shall we have that dance I promised you?  I assure you the choice is yours.  This dance and all the rest.  Whatever becomes of us, it will be up to you as much as it is to me.”

Emma reached forward and took his waiting hand.  “My choice is you.  I’d love to have this dance.  As for what comes next…I have a feeling our story is far from over.”

 

The second time Lieutenant Killian Jones, Crown Prince of Camelot danced with Emma Swan, Princess of Misthaven and new Crown Princess of Camelot, it was at a ball in their honor.  After six months of fervent courtship, she’d consented to take his hand in marriage.  And so now, with their family and friends surrounding them, they came together for the first of many dances as husband and wife.  As his wife took his hand and twirled through their first dance, full skirt and belled sleeves billowing out behind her, as Liam stood nearby, a very pregnant Queen Elsa on his arm, as Emma’s parents and his own stood to the side beaming at their blissfully united children, Killian came to the firm conclusion that even heaven couldn’t hold more happiness.

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  If the sneak peeks (and various other spoilers) are any indication, it looks like we’ll be sailing into angsty waters with the upcoming episode, so I thought I’d make sure you all had your fortifying dose of fluff going in. (And yeah, I blew past my normal Fluffy Friday 1000 word limit before I was halfway through the first scene.  *shrug* C’est la vie.)

--Yeah, I was going for full-on “fairy tale princess” romantic with this one, lol.  I just couldn’t help myself!  That Camelot ball last Sunday was the stuff that dreams are made of (well at least until Sir Percival got all vengeful and nearly killed Robin).  As such, I couldn’t resist quoting my favorite non-Disney fairy tale musical at the top.

--This story was inspired by a lovely post and gif by melissa-majoria on Tumblr.  If you want to check it out to get a visual aid (or just to see it because it’s fantastic), check out my Tumblr page (whimsicallyenchantedrose) and type “fluffy fridays” into my search bar.  I’ll have a link to the gifset at the end of my Tumblr version of this chapter.

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Fake Dating AU

Emma took a deep, fortifying breath as she pulled open the heavy station doors.  She felt more like a death-row inmate than the sheriff of the small, coastal town of Storybrooke, Maine.

How did she get herself into these kinds of situations?

Mary Margaret, that’s how.

She loved her sister-in-law, don’t get her wrong, but when Mary Margaret Nolan got an idea into her head, there was no reasoning with her, no stopping her, and the idea that had been in Mary Martaret’s head ever since she’d married Emma’s foster brother, David, was that Emma needed to find a true love of her own.

Love was great…for other people like Mary Margaret and David, but Emma had tried the whole “falling in love” thing about a decade ago, and that one, terrible experience had taught her that she never wanted to go through the kind of pain Neal Cassidy put her through ever again.

But trying to convince Mary Margaret of that fact was like trying to reason with an excited toddler.  “No” simply wasn’t in her vocabulary.  It seemed like every time Emma went to visit the Nolans in their cute, homey little cottage in the little town of Misthaven, Mary Margaret had a new man, a new “friend of a friend” that she wanted to set Emma up with.

The last one, Walsh, was an utter nightmare.  He had this weird obsession with monkeys, even going so far as to insist he had simian DNA running through his veins.  Suffice it to say, he was more than a little bananas.

Anyway, Emma had vowed then and there that she’d never subject herself to Mary Margaret’s matchmaking schemes again, and that’s how she found herself in her current predicament.

Mary Margaret’s sister, Regina Mills had finally found the love of her life in the widower Robin Loxley, and the couple planned to marry in a little more than a week.  Robin and his adorable little son had softened Regina’s prickly heart to such an extent that she was barely recognizable.  That, combined with the fact that Regina’s love life took Mary Margaret’s focus off of Emma, made Robin Emma’s new favorite person for several months running.

But with this morning’s phone call from Mary Margaret, Emma’s reprieve from the matchmaking had come to an abrupt end.

“Oh Emma!” Mary Margaret enthused, “your bridesmaid’s dress finally came in, and it’s gorgeous!”

Emma pictured the formal, red ball gown in her mind and smiled to herself.  Gorgeous indeed!  She’d spend the whole night feeling like a princess suddenly attending her first ball—a princess who could barely breathe in her tight, corseted bodice, but a princess nonetheless.  “Great!  Looking forward to seeing everyone next weekend.  The wedding’s bound to be a blast, if there’s one thing I know about Regina—and particularly her wedding planner, Ruby Lucas, it’s that she knows how to throw a good party.”

“That she does,” Mary Margaret said with a laugh.  “Knowing Regina, if this wedding is the social event of the year, heads will roll.”

“Probably.”  Emma was still amazed Regina had chosen her as one of her bridesmaids.  The two of them had clashed since the moment they met at David and Mary Margaret’s wedding four years ago.  Though the ice had thawed a bit, Emma didn’t think she and Regina would ever be friends—certainly not “ask each other to be in our respective weddings” friends.  Still, it was an honor to be chosen.

“There was one other teensy, tiny reason I called, Emma,” Mary Margaret said slowly, cautiously.  Emma scowled, immediately on guard.  She knew that tone of voice, and it never boded well.

“Okay,” she said slowly.  “What’s that?”

“Well, the thing is,” Mary Margaret said, “it took me forever to get Regina to agree to do all the traditional wedding reception stuff—you know, kiss when people clink their glasses, have a first dance, all of that.  Despite it being their wedding, Regina was insistent that her and Robin’s private romantic moments were not to be on display to the whole town.  I finally came up with a solution that she found acceptable…but it might be really…awkward unless you have a date.”

Emma groaned inwardly.  She should have known this was coming!’

“You know,” Mary Margaret continued, “Robin has this friend…well not really a friend, more of a frenemy.  Name’s….something…Nottingham.  Maybe he could be your…”

“NO!”  Emma said quickly, emphatically.  Why hadn’t she anticipated this?  A wedding was about as couple-y of an event as there was.  Of course Mary Margaret would use the wedding to kick off the latest “find Emma a man” campaign.

“Now Emma,” Mary Margaret said in her best school-teacher tone, “there’s no need to be so adamant.  I admit, Walsh wasn’t…my best idea ever, but you could at least give Nottingham a chance.”

Emma blew out a frustrated breath.  How was she going to get out of this without hurting her sister-in-law’s feelings?  Well there was one way, but it was absolutely crazy…

“It’s just…it’s just that I don’t need your help finding a man.  I…kind of have a boyfriend.”

Mary Margaret squealed and dropped the phone as she clapped in delight.  “WHAT?!  You have a boyfriend?  Why didn’t you tell me?  Who is he?  What’s his name?”

Emma panicked.  She hadn’t thought this out nearly carefully enough.  She said the first name that popped into her head.  “Killian.  His name is Killian Jones.”

And that was precisely how she found herself in her current predicament. 

She groaned as she shed her coat and took a sip of the strong, black coffee she’d picked up on the way to the station.  What had she been thinking?  Of all the men she could have named, why had she named Killian as her fake boyfriend?  The man had been a constant pain in the ass ever since she’d taken office.  More times than not, when she got called out to an incident, he was at the center of it.  It was never anything major with him, just the ever-present nuisance offences—drunk and disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, the occasional break-in—where the idiot didn’t even take anything.  If she didn’t know better, she’d swear Killian Jones was constantly just messing with her.

And if all of that wasn’t bad enough, Killian was hot as hell with his longish, messy coal black hair and his startlingly blue eyes.  He was hot—and well he knew it, barely able to string two sentences together without an innuendo, constantly invading her space each time she let him out of his cell after a stint of his normal mischief, calling her “love” in that sexy, sultry British accent of his.  He was a menace to society.  The female half at the very least.

And she had to find a way to ask him to be her fake boyfriend.  How did she get herself into these kinds of situations?!

At least she wouldn’t have to go looking for him.  He currently sat in one of her jail cells, and from the sound of it, he wasn’t enjoying the amenities…or the company.

“Shut it, Scarlet,” Killian groused, throwing a glare at the man in the other cell.  “A man can’t bloody hear himself think above your constant yammering.”

“I’ll talk if I bloody wanna talk Jones,” Will Scarlet shot back.  “It’s a free country, innit?  I can do what I please.  Say, whatcha in for anyway?”

“I got drunk and broke into a library,” Killian muttered.

“What’s that?” Will asked, stepping up to the bars that separated their cells.  “I musta heard wrong, mate.  Did you say you broke into a bloody library?”

“That’s right.”

“You’re mental, you are,” Will said with a shake of the head.  “Breaking into a library!  Why’d ya wanna do that?  ‘S just full of a bunch of books.”

“That’s my business,” Killian snapped, “and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll shut your mouth.”

“And if I don’t?”

“Then I’ll bloody well come over and make you!”

Emma decided it was definitely time to intervene.  “Alright, alright guys.  Nobody’s going to make anyone do anything.  Just calm down.”

Killian’s whole demeanor changed when he saw her.  His eyes lit up, his mouth settled into its usual flirtatious smirk, and he sauntered in her general direction.  “Well Swan, I see you’ve decided to grace us with your company.  I knew you couldn’t stay away from my devilishly handsome self for long.”

Emma rolled her eyes.  “It’s ‘Sheriff Swan’ to you, and of course I’m here.  It is, after all, where I work.”

“Come now, love,” he said, leaning a hip casually against the prison bars, “admit it.  Admit you felt your heart leap at the thought of spending the day with me.”

She grinned in spite of herself.  “I’ll admit I felt something, but I don’t think it was my heart leaping.  Maybe something more along the lines of nausea…”

Killian put a hand to his chest.  “You wound me, Swan.”

“Not nearly as much as I could if I wanted to, Jones.”

“Oh, love, you have no idea how much I’d enjoy that.”

“Oh bloody hell!” Will groused, collapsing onto his cot and dropping his head into his hands, “bad enough I have to put up with this bloke all night long.  I have to watch you two flirt as well?  Just make out already and clear the air!”

Emma felt her face flame.  This day was going from bad to worse.  The last thing she needed was an audience for the little conversation she was about to have.  Fumbling with her keys, she unlocked Killian’s door and gestured him out.

“Yeah, a make-out session is so not going to happen.  I do, however, have a few questions for Mr. Jones that might be best asked in the interrogation room.  As for you, Scarlet…shut up and keep your crazy ideas to yourself.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Killian followed Emma from the room, his curiosity piqued.  If he didn’t miss his guess, and he rarely did with Emma, she had a lot more on her mind than questions about last night’s drunken escapade.

The fact was, Sheriff Emma Swan was an open book to him, and one he knew he’d never tire of reading.  She hadn’t been in town a day before he realized he was utterly smitten with her.  She’d built her walls high and rarely let anyone scale them, but he could see the strong, amazing woman that resided beneath the prickly but beautiful exterior.

He wanted to know her, really know her, to lose himself in the emerald depths of her eyes, to spend his days with her and hold her through the ensuing nights.  He wanted it all.

But she wasn’t ready for any of it.  He’d attempted a sincere conversation with her once, but she’d swiftly and completely shut him down.  Since then, he’d contented himself with harmless flirtation and ever present innuendo.  She may roll her eyes at him, but his nonsense never failed to elicit a blush or a begrudging grin.

She wasn’t immune to him by any stretch.  There was something brewing between them, something strong and powerful.  One day she’d lower her walls and allow him past.  Until that day, he must bide his time.  He loved a challenge. He was a patient man, and he was in this for the long haul.

Emma ushered him into the interrogation room and shut the door behind them.  “Go ahead and have a seat.”

Killian did as she asked, and watched as she began to pace.  She was nervous; that was plain to see.  Whatever it was that was on her mind, it clearly went beyond his picked lock and literary malfeasance.  He’d best find a way to put her at ease before she gave herself an ulcer.

Getting to his feet, he sauntered over to her, not stopping until he was close enough to feel her breath on his face.  “You know, Swan, you don’t need to use my arrest as an excuse to get close to me; you need only ask.”

She stuck her hands in her back pockets and swayed into him for the barest of moments before rolling her eyes and pushing him gently away.

“Yeah, because your criminal behavior had nothing to do with it,” she said, a smile in her voice.  Suddenly her eyes shifted and she shied away like a nervous filly.  “Would you just go sit down like I told you to?  I have something I need to ask you, and I didn’t want to have an audience.”

Killian’s curiosity spiked even more.  He took his seat and peered up at her as she paced in evident agitation.  “Very well, Swan.  Ask away.”

She shot him a quick glance, and then looked away.  “Now, don’t get the wrong idea about this.  It doesn’t mean anything.  I was just…put on the spot, and yours was the first name that came to me.  It means nothing.”

Killian grinned and leaned back in his far-from-comfortable chair.  “I shall endeavor to keep that in mind.”

“It’s just…” she began, once again beginning to pace, “my sister-in-law’s sister is getting married next weekend, and she wanted to use that as an opportunity to matchmake…and…I kind of told her I had a boyfriend.  I kind of told her you were my boyfriend.”

Killian’s heart stilled and then raced.  He grinned up at her—not his normal teasing leer, but a sincere smile.

“Don’t look at me like that!” she snapped.  “I told you not to read anything into it!”

Killian raised his hands in a gesture of surrender.  “I wouldn’t dream of it, love.”

“You better not.”

“So, am I to understand you wish me to be your date to this wedding?  That’s what you’re asking me?”

“Fake date,” she said vehemently.  “I want you to pretend to be my boyfriend.  Just for one weekend.  Then we go back to you committing misdemeanors every other day and me arresting you.”

“And when your sister-in-law learns of the sham?”

“No reason she ever needs to know,” Emma said with a shrug.  “Couples break up all the time.  We’ll just say things didn’t work out; we decided to go our separate ways.  That’s life, you know?”

Killian saw decades of heartbreak and abandonment in the shrug of her shoulders, the pain in her eyes that she tried desperately to mask behind a nonchalant exterior.  Killian ached for her, longed to tell her that life didn’t have to be that way, that he’d never let her down, even if everyone else in the world did.

But he held his tongue.  She wasn’t ready for that yet, not nearly.

“Very well, Swan,” he said instead.  “It looks like you’ve got yourself a fake boyfriend for the weekend.  How would you like to seal the deal?  A kiss for your pretend boyfriend, aye?”

She rolled her eyes and grinned.  “Sorry buddy.  I only have pretend kisses for my pretend boyfriends.”

“I shall pretend to savor them and relive them in fondest memory until we meet again.”

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  Unfortunately this Friday marks the end of my vacation, and the return to the hectic buys-ness that is my life.  Oh well!  Only 2 days until the next OUAT episode!  I’m sure there’ll be angst, but we also have that beautiful horseback riding/romantic Camelot rose garden scene to look forward to this week!

--Anyway, this week I thought I’d try my hand at the ever-popular fake-dating AU trope.  I threw in Will Scarlet as a bonus because…why not?  Unfortunately, this got really long, so I was basically only able to give you the set-up before I reached a ridiculous word count.  Hopefully I’ll be able to finish this story next Friday, because I have a Halloween-themed one-shot planned for two weeks from now.

Chapter Text

The Wedding Date—pt. 2

CS Genre: Fake Dating AU

“We need to get our story straight, Swan,” Killian observed, looking over at the woman in the driver’s seat who was resolutely not looking at him.

“Hm?” she asked idly, keeping her eyes trained on the highway as it sped past.  “What was that?”

“Our story,” Killian said, “you know, how we met; when we started dating; what we like to do on an evening out…or in.”

She looked over at him, irritated scowl firmly in place.  “Killian, we have no story.  This is just a fake relationship, remember?”

Killian looked aside.  Aye; he remembered.  He remembered all too well.  He’d best be careful to keep that fact firmly planted in his mind throughout the coming weekend.  It would be all too easy to pretend it was real, that Emma Swan really and truly was his girlfriend, that they had a story, that they were in love

But as she said, it was all a ruse.  He’d do best to remember it before he got his heart broken.

“Aye Swan, so you’ve said,” he answered, his tone determinedly light, flirtatious, “but if you don’t wish your family, and particularly your sister-in-law to learn the truth, we best plan.  Suppose we’re asked about our relationship and we each respond differently.  The jig would be up in one fell swoop.”

She nodded, and returned her eyes to the road.  “Yeah, I suppose that makes sense.  So any big ideas?”

“The secret to a successful con, love, is sticking as closely to the truth as possible,” Killian said.  “The less fabrication involved the less likely we are to slip up.”

She rolled her eyes.  “Figures you’d be an expert in con-man tactics.”

He shrugged, one eyebrow raising in amusement.  “It’s a gift.”

She grinned.  “Okay, so we stick close to the truth.  Let me see….we met when I arrested you for one of your bouts of criminal stupidity.”

“Come now, Swan, don’t exaggerate,” he said.  “To the present, my bouts of stupidity have only risen to the level of misdemeanor.”

She chuckled, shaking her head at him.  “Fine.  We met when I was arresting you for a bout of misdemeaner stupidity.  Better?”

He laughed.  He enjoyed this banter with her far more than was good for him.  “Aye, and I subsequently admitted that my criminal tendencies were merely an attempt to get your attention.”

She laughed at that, clearly having no clue how close to the truth his statement was.

“And after you asked me out about fifty times, I finally said yes just to shut you up.”

Killian clutched his chest dramatically.  “You really know how to wound a man, Swan.”

“And don’t you forget it.”

“Very well,” he said.  “My persistence finally paid off and you agreed to a date.  I swept you off your feet with my dashing rapscallion romancing, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

She looked over at him and grinned.  “It’s as good a cover story as any, I suppose.  So are we ready for our big debut into the world of pulling cons?”

“Nearly.”

“Only nearly?”

“Aye, love,” Killian said with a decisive nod.  “There is still the matter of our level of intimacy.”

She shot him a startled look that turned decidedly suspicious in the blink of an eye.  “What exactly are you trying to say?”

“Merely that you currently look at me as though I have the word ‘idiot’ tattooed across my forehead,” Killian said.  “Hardly girlfriendly behavior.  If we are to be believed as a couple in love, we must attempt to portray tender feelings for each other.”

“I guess you do have a point.”

“To wit, we must smile at each other, invade each other’s space, hold hands.  For that matter, the occasional stolen kiss or two wouldn’t be amiss.”

“I’m not going to make out with you in public!” she said in a voice as scandalized as though he’d suggested she attend the wedding in the nude.

He shrugged, giving her the grin he knew riled her up the most.  “Very well, Swan.  We can confine our make out sessions to our moments of privacy.”

She growled and hit her turn signal with a fair amount more force than was strictly necessary.  “Keep dreaming, buddy.”

He sighed.  “Look, Swan, I may tease, but I truly have no nefarious intentions.  The fact is, couples in love give each other little signs of affection.  A quick peck on the lips is hardly remarkable between a boyfriend and girlfriend.  It might, in fact, be remarkable if we didn’t behave in such a fashion.”

She shot him a quick glance before turning away and heaving a quick sigh.  “I guess that makes sense.”

He wondered just how far he could push his luck.  “Perhaps we’d best practice, love.  After all, it might be best if our first attempt wasn’t with an audience.  We need to look like we know what we’re doing.”

She didn’t answer, which Killian took to be all the answer he needed.  Long moments passed in silence before Swan put on her blinker and eased off the highway and into the parking area of a rest stop.  She came to a stop in a remote parking space far from any other vehicles and then turned to him.

“Fine,” she said, steely determination in her voice.  “Let’s practice.”

Killian coughed, and only narrowly avoided spewing the sip of soda he’d taken all over her dashboard.  His heart hammered as he turned startled eyes in her direction.  Was this truly happening?  Was she truly about to let him kiss her?

“So what are you waiting for?” she gritted out.  “Let’s get this over with.”

He nodded, inching closer.  He brought a hand up to cup her cheek, and then slide into her silky hair as he moved his mouth ever closer to hers.  Her breath hitched, her eyes fluttered softly closed, and she began moving toward him.

“Emma,” he breathed on a sigh as his lips ghosted across hers.

Abruptly she stiffened, and then jerked away before the kiss could truly get under way.

“Okay,” she said, her voice suspiciously breathless, as she turned the key once more in the ignition and pulled back onto the freeway.  “Looks like we can pull that off if need be.”

Killian gave his head a quick shake.  For a moment, for one quick moment he’d forgotten it was all a con, he’d let himself drown in her and that quick, almost-kiss.  For that one moment there had been only him and her and the need that churned always just below the surface.

Killian had always prided himself on his cat-like ability to adapt to any situation in which he found himself, but this time he was beginning to realize he might be in way over his head.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Emma had to remind herself to breathe as she finished the drive to David and Mary Margaret’s place.  What the hell had just happened?  That…wasn’t in the plan.  Kisses hadn’t figured into her plans for the weekend.  At all.  And even if they had…kisses shouldn’t be like that.  Good grief, it hadn’t even been a kiss, not really.  He’d merely brushed his lips against hers, but it had been enough to make her feel as though fireworks were exploding, bright lights shooting beneath her closed eyelids, the explosion nearly deafening.

What would have happened if she’d let him actually kiss her?  You’d never have been able to stop, her subconscious helpfully supplied.

She was starting to realize she hadn’t remotely thought this plan out.  How was she going to make it through a whole weekend with Killian when he made her feel like that?

It should have been simple.  They’d just share a stage kiss when called on to do so; nothing more.  He was, after all, the bane of her existence.  She didn’t even like him; not at all.  True, he did seem to be on his best behavior today, but anyone could have a good day, right?  No doubt he’d wake up tomorrow and be his normal cocky, insufferable self.

This was all a sham; she had to remember that.  No matter how electrifying their “practice kiss” might have been, he was her fake boyfriend.  She couldn’t forget that.  As much as he flirted and threw around the innuendos, he was probably the worst of players.  True, she’d never seen him with a woman; not in any serious romantic capacity anyway, but that didn’t matter.  If she were stupid enough to develop feelings for him…well that could only end in heartbreak.

She’d had enough heartbreak to last her lifetime, thank you very much.  No, it didn’t matter how physically attracted to him she might be, and there was no use denying it to herself after that kiss, it simply couldn’t go beyond him flirting and her rolling her eyes at him.

They arrived at the Nolans’ as the sun was beginning to set.  Their cute little single-story home shown to its greatest advantage set against the sunset

“Your brother and sister-in-law have a lovely home, Swan,” Killian commented after stepping from the car and taking a good look.  “Must be quite peaceful this far into the country.”

“Yeah,” Emma said, closing her own door.  “David’s always thought if he wasn’t a deputy he’d like to be a shepherd.  This home kind of gives him the best of both worlds.”

Killian reached out and took her hand, deftly lacing their fingers together, and Emma shot him a startled look as the butterflies started dancing in her stomach at his touch.

“Come now love,” Killian said with a teasing grin.  “We’re dating.  Holding hands is rather a requirement.”

She wanted to remind him once again of the fake nature of their relationship, but somehow she doubted she could form coherent sentences.  She had to get it together and fast. 

She took a deep breath, letting it out slowly, and then nodded, pasting on a serene smile.  “Yeah, you’re right.  Ready to meet the family?”

“Absolutely,” he said, returning her smile and gesturing toward the door with his free hand.  “Shall we?”

She nodded and began walking down the flower-lined path, but they hadn’t made it ten steps before Mary Margaret burst from the door and enveloped Emma in a hug, David not far behind.

“Oh Emma!  You made it!  Perfect timing, I’ve got a pot of soup on the stove and the bread’s about to come out of the oven,” Mary Margaret said without taking a breath.  “And you must be Killian!  You have no idea how happy I am to meet you!”

“Likewise,” Killian said nodding and offering her a hand, which she enveloped in both of hers.

David had been slightly less effusive in his greeting, giving Killian an assessing big-brotherly look.  Emma sincerely hoped her brother wasn’t about to launch into one of his patented “if you hurt my sister I will make your life a living hell” speeches.

As it turned out, she needn’t have worried.  David shot Killian one, quick suspicious look, and then gave him the nod of approval and a hearty handshake.  “Here, let me give you a hand with your bags.”

“Much appreciated mate.”

Mary Margaret pulled Emma into her kitchen while the men saw to the luggage.  As soon as they were alone she pounced.  “Oh, Emma, he’s so handsome.  Why didn’t you tell me how hot he is?  And such a gentleman too.”

Emma grinned.  “Careful, don’t let my brother hear you drooling over another man like that.”

Mary Margaret chuckled.  “I’m not drooling.  Just stating a fact.  And you are going to have to tell me absolutely everything about you guys!  You know, after you told me about him, I could have sworn the name ‘Killian’ rang a bell, and then it came to me!  Isn’t Killian the man you used to always complain about?  The one you said you were always arresting?”

Oh…She’d forgotten about how much she used to vent to Mary Margaret about her “boyfriend”.  Well this could get really awkward really fast.

“Yeah; that’s Killian alright,” Emma said, forcing a laugh.

How on earth did you ever get together?” Mary Margaret asked, taking a seat on a barstool and evidently settling in for a serious round of girl talk.

“She was finally able to see my merits beneath my rough exterior,” Killian supplied, stopping to place a quick kiss against Emma’s cheek as he settled into the chair beside her.  Instinctively, Emma reached up to touch the place his lips had landed.  “Some men might have taken her silence and disapproval as off-putting, but I love a challenge.”

“Must be why you insisted on being such a big pain in the ass when we first met,” Emma said with a smirk.  “You just wanted to give me a challenge too?”

Killian laughed.  “I admit, I was a bit of a prat; acting out in such outrageous ways to begin, but it did work out quite well for me in the end.”

“Sounds like quite the story,” David said settling into a chair beside Killian.  “How exactly did you win her over?”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

The evening went surprisingly well.  Within an hour of their arrival Killian and David seemed to adopt each other as best mates and honorary brothers, and the four of them talked and laughed long into the night.

Things didn’t get…sticky…until it came time to retire for the evening.

“I’ve put the two of you in the guest room,” Mary Margaret said turning on the hall light and gesturing forward.  “I hope that’s not a problem.  I’d planned to offer Killian the study if you two weren’t, well, at that point in your relationship yet, butl we’re in the process of painting it, and trust me; no one would want to spend the night in there.”

Emma’s mouth went dry.  Why hadn’t she thought of the sleeping arrangements?

Killian cleared his throat, looking only marginally less uncomfortable than she felt.  “That will suffice quite nicely, Mrs. Nolan.  Thank you for your hospitality.”

After a round of muttered good nights, David and Mary Margaret disappeared into their own bedroom leaving Emma alone in the room she always used with the man she definitely was not in a relationship with.

“Well, Swan,” he said, scratching behind his ear.  “This is awkward, aye?”

“Yeah,” she said with a decisive nod.  “You could say that again.  Sorry to put you in this position; I totally had no idea they’d do this.  I mean David is textbook protective big brother.  Him having no problem with his little sister sharing a bedroom with her ‘boyfriend’ just down the hall from where he sleeps with his wife?  Never would have seen that coming.”

Killian chuckled, grabbing the decorative pillow shams and tossing them to the floor.  “Your brother did take the opportunity while we were gathering our luggage to inquire as to my intentions where you are concerned.”

“And you told him.”

“They were honorable, of course.”

“He must have bought it,” Emma said, gathering up her t-shirt and pajama pants and looking anywhere but at the bed.  “He’s more or less welcomed you with open arms.”

Killian was silent for long moments, and Emma looked up to find his eyes on her, serious expression in place.  “Swan, ruse or not, I spoke the truth.  My intentions are honorable.  You’ve no need to feel awkward about this or any other situation; I’ll not attempt to take advantage of you.”

“Well…that’s good to hear,” Emma said, feeling rather off-balance by the aching sincerity in his tone.

“Aye, well,” he said, once again scratching his ear, “perhaps you’d best head to the bathroom and ready yourself for bed.  If you’ll do me the liberty to point me in the direction of a linen closet where I might find an extra blanket, I’ll prepare as well.”

“An extra blanket?” Emma asked, frown of confusion wrinkling her brow.  “Why would you need that?”

“Well, love,” he said with a quick grin. “If I’m to take the floor, I’d at least prefer a blanket and a pillow.”

“Take the floor?  You intend to sleep on the floor?”

“Of course,” he said with a small bow in her direction.  “I’m not bloody well going to force a lady to sleep on the floor while I indulge in the luxury of a bed.”

“So now you’re going to be a gentleman?”

He leaned toward her, teasing smirk firmly in place.  “I believe in good form, my lady, and I’m always a gentleman.”

She smiled at him and then eyed the cold, hard-wood floors in the Nolan’s guest bedroom.  “While I appreciate the gesture, Killian, there’s…well, there’s no reason for either of us to take the floor.  I mean, that’s a king-sized bed.  There’s plenty of room for both of us…and a nice big neutral area in the middle besides.  I…don’t mind if you don’t.”

His grin turned decidedly wicked.  “Do I mind sharing a bed with you?  That I most certainly do not, darling.”

She swatted at him as she headed to the bathroom to change.  “Don’t get any big ideas buddy.  All we’re doing in that bed is sleeping.  You stick to your side and I stick to mine.”

Eight-and-a-half hours later Emma woke to bright sunlight filtering through the curtains, the smell of coffee and frying bacon coming from the kitchen…and Killian’s warmth surrounding her like a blanket.

She stilled, trying to orient herself.  Her head lay cushioned on Killian’s chest, the steady thump of his heart beneath her ear.  Springy chest hair peeked from his v-necked sleep t-shirt and tickled her cheek, their arms and legs hopelessly entwined.

They lay squarely in the middle of the big bed, the covers settled snuggly over both of them.  It would seem that neither of them had followed her “you stick to your side of the bed and I stick to mine” rule.  Sometime through the night they’d obviously sought each other out, finding comfort and rest in each-other’s arms.

Emma didn’t even want to begin to think about the implications of that.  The fact that it felt so completely right to spend the night in his arms, that she’d just had the best night’s sleep she’d had in ages, scared the hell out of her.

Slowly, gently, Emma began to extricate herself, praying he didn’t wake up to find them like this.  He’d never let her live it down.  The innuendos would be never-ending.

Or maybe not.

It had been a touching gesture, him offering to sleep on the floor if it would make her more comfortable.  Maybe there really was a good and honorable heart beating in that ridiculously hairy chest of his. 

A sudden swell of tenderness coming over her, she looked down at his face, so peaceful and almost boyish in sleep.  Reaching up, she let herself cup his cheek, her thumb caressing the tiny scar under his eye.  Maybe she’d misjudged him.  Maybe there was more to Killian Jones than met the eye.

 

Notes:

--We’ve made it to another Friday!

--I couldn’t quite finish this story in 2 parts like I’d hoped!  I’ll need one more part to get to the actual wedding and reception, but as next week is Halloween, I think I’ll take a tiny detour.  Next week I’ll insert a Halloween-themed one-shot taking place sometime after this whole Dark Swan arc is wrapped up, and then the following week I’ll finish up “The Wedding Date.”

--With regard to this portion of the story…I totally feel you, Emma!  There’s no way in any realm I’d be remotely able to function after that “practice kiss”—or the hand holding or cheek kiss for that matter.  Having Killian Jones even pretend to be head or heels for me would be distinctly hazardous to my health, lol.

Chapter Text

Trick-or-Treat

CS genre: CS (Halloween) Future Fic

A/N: This story takes place maybe a month or two after season 5b ends.  I’ve utilized several recent spoilers/popular fan theories in this story, at least in a roundabout way; I refer to things that many are now convinced will happen in 5x11 and in 5b. So, if you are trying to avoid all spoilers, keep that in mind. :-)

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

“Courage, my lad!” Killian called as he reached for his next weapon of choice.  “The battle is nearly won!  Just a bit more now and we’ll emerge victorious!”

Henry groaned and covered his face with his hand.  His mom was going to kill him.  Both of his moms were going to kill him.   Why had he ever let Killian talk him into this?

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

4 hours before

“Alright guys, I gotta get going; have fun tonight,” Emma said absently, pecking Killian on the lips and ruffling Henry’s hair.  “There should be plenty of Halloween candy in the kitchen for any trick-or-treaters you might get.  And Henry, lay off the gory Halloween movies; they’ll give you nightmares.”

Henry rolled his eyes.  Geez!  He wasn’t a baby!  He was thirteen years old; and he wasn’t going to get nightmares from a stupid horror movie—especially after all the real life horrors Storybrooke had just been through. 

Still…he couldn’t deny how wonderful it was to have his mom back.  Really back.  And Killian, too.  He’d never take either of them for granted again, even if he did wish his mom wasn’t quite so protective.

“Not to worry, Swan,” Killian called after her.  “Go protect our fair city from the brigands and delinquents.  The lad and I will protect the home front.”

Mom laughed.  “You do that.  Can’t have our home attacked by things that go bump in the night.”

“No indeed,” Killian said, swaggering into her space and wrapping his arms around her waist.  “Might be we want to put the house to good use after the boy’s gone to bed, and malicious spirits would certainly be unwelcome in such an endeavor.”

He leaned down to thoroughly kiss mom and Henry groaned. Loudly.  “Guys!  Teenager in the room!  I soooo don’t want to see or hear about this.”

Killian leaned back, still holding mom in the circle of his arms.  He chuckled, tossing Henry a wicked grin.  “Apologies, lad.  I shall attempt to restrain myself in your presence, but your mother is near to impossible to resist.”

Emma laughed and slapped him lightly on the chest.  “You are such an idiot.”

“Aye, that I may be, Swan, but you love me anyway.”

Her face softened into lines of tenderness, and she reached up to kiss him softly once more.  “Yeah, I do.  Even more than you love me.”

“Impossible, my darling.  None ever loved another as much as I love you.”

Henry made an exaggerated gagging noise and turned toward the kitchen.   His mom and Killian were impossible.  They’d been bad enough before, but after they’d both almost lost each other and then they’d shared True Love’s Kiss, there was just no living with them.  He didn’t know it was even possible to be that sappy.

Henry opened kitchen cabinets, perusing their contents. His mom joked that he was eating her out of house and home, but hey, what could he say?  He was a teenager, and he was always hungry.  Wasn’t his fault he was growing like a weed.  Finally, settling on a bag of popcorn, he tossed it into the microwave and set the timer.

Mom had to work tonight, it being Halloween and Gramps being busy taking Uncle Neal trick-or-treating with Grandma, so it was gonna be a guys’ night with Killian.  Henry was really looking forward to it.  Maybe, with mom gone, he could persuade Killian to tell him some exciting stories about his days as a pirate.  Mom never let Killian tell him any of the good ones.

The microwave dinged, and Henry opened the bag, dumping its contents into a large bowl and then cautiously headed back toward the entryway and living room.  He thought he’d given mom and Killian enough time to finish saying goodbye to each other, but there was no way to know with those two.  Peeking his head tentatively around the corner, he sighed in relief.  The entryway was blessedly empty and free from any passionately kissing parents.

Henry made his way to the living room, where Killian had settled onto the couch, bowl of Halloween candy at the ready.  His soon-to-be step-dad grinned and patted the couch beside him.  “Apologies, again mate for the embarrassing public display of affection.”

Henry plopped down beside the pirate—in full pirate gear tonight, complete with long leather duster and red vest.  Mom had insisted he dress up for Halloween, and he’d flatly refused to parade around in any costume other than that of his former life.  When Mom had suggested he dress like his Disney counterpart, he’d protested so loudly, they could probably hear him in the underworld—and shrugged his shoulders.  “’S okay I guess.  I mean, I’m glad you and mom are back together and happy and stuff.”

A shadow of pain passed over Killian’s face, and Henry knew he was thinking of what they’d all been through.  “Me too, lad.  Me too.”

“So what do you wanna do tonight?” Henry asked around a mouthful of popcorn.

“I thought it might be best we have a little chat,” Killian said.  “As it appears we will be residing in Storybrooke for the long haul, I’d like to know as much about the customs and rituals of my new home as possible.  What, precisely is the purpose of Halloween?  Why is one required to dress in costume?  Am I to believe people enjoy watching moving pictures whose purpose is to frighten them witless?  Why is one required to dispense candy to children who dress in costume and demand it?”

Henry set in to answer to the best of his ability.  “I don’t know; maybe you should ask Grandma Belle. Because dressing in costume is fun. Yeah, people like horror movies.  Trick-or-treating’s just fun; what can I say?”

And that’s when the trouble really got started.

“And precisely why do the little ones demand ‘trick or treat’ if it’s only treats that are expected?”

Henry shrugged.  “I think the original point was that kids gave people a choice: either you give them a treat or they give you a trick, but now it’s basically just about the treats…although some people do get into playing tricks on people on Halloween.”

Turns out, that was exactly the wrong answer to give a (mostly) reformed pirate.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Present time

Henry groaned again as Killian wrote his name on Grandpa Rumple’s window with a bar of soap.  The signature was big, bold and sprawling, and just in case there was any question who it was that’d defaced the former Dark One’s house, Killian drew an excellent replica of his hook.

“Killian!” he hissed under his breath, “don’t put your name!!  You want everyone to know what we did?”

Killian shot him a disgusted look.  “I’ll not hide behind anonymity, my lad, like some craven bilge rat.  No.  The Crocodile shall know precisely who it was that tricked him this Hallow’s Eve.”

Yep, it was definite.  Henry was screwed.   When his moms found out he’d let the pirate loose on the town—and there was no question they would—he’d be grounded until he was 50.  Although if there was any justice in the world, they’d realize that he’d been spending the entire night trying to stop his wayward step-dad-to-be.

Killian had clamped onto the idea of people playing tricks on each other like a dog with a bone.  He’d peppered Henry with so many questions it made his head spin.  And then, when Henry’d figured out he was asking all the questions not out of genuine curiosity, but because he was building a battle plan, he’d shut up and completely refused to tell Killian any more.  Killian had taken it in stride, merely heading over to the “magic box” (aka the Internet.  Geez, would the guy ever learn modern terminology?) and searching until he’d found the information he wanted.

That had led to an epic mischief spree the likes of which Storybrooke had never seen.  Henry had been trying to talk Killian out of all of it since they’d begun, but in the two hours since Killian learned about the tradition of pranking people, he’d already broken into Mr. Clark’s drugstore and stolen about fifty rolls of toilet paper, broken into Granny’s back room and stolen two dozen eggs, three bars of soap, five cans of whipped cream and a package of little kids’ sidewalk chalk, smashed a couple of sad, shriveled pumpkins in Peter Pumpkin Eater’s field (and carved another with a picture of a hook), written “boo!” across the windshield of Doc’s miata with the whipping cream, broken into Henry’s other mom’s house and short-sheeted her bed, fogged up the mayor’s office bathroom mirror and written “Hook was here” in the resulting condensed steam, drawn horns and a tail on an ad of Dr. Hopper that was plastered on a park bench, and drawn a rather unflattering picture on the sidewalk of Leroy with a “kick me” sign on his back.

Then came the big grand finale.  Killian, unsurprisingly, decided to unload both barrels on Rumplestiltskin’s house.  Now here they were, soaping his downstairs windows after t.p.-ing every tree on the premises, egging the upstairs windows and writing some rather unflattering statements in sidewalk-chalk along the Golds’ front stoop.  (Henry was kind of impressed, in spite of himself.  For having only been here for twenty minutes, Killian had wrought a lot of destruction.)

Suddenly a siren broke the late evening silence and flashing red and blue lights pierced the darkness.  Henry froze in horror as his mom stepped from the cruise car, sheriff badge out and prominently displayed.

“Hey!  What’s going on he….HENRY?  KILLIAN?!!!”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Present time

Emma slammed the door of the police cruiser, her blood beginning to boil.  It had been a pretty quiet night, considering.  Then, suddenly, a couple of hours ago the phone had been ringing off the hook with citizens all over town complaining about little acts of vandalism.  She hadn’t even had a chance to look into any of it until she finally got a call from Belle stating she thought the vandals were at her house as they spoke.  (Gold, she’d said, was cowering under the bed.)  She’d assured Belle she’d come look into it.

Little could she guess what she’d find when she got there.

It was a disaster area.  Toilet paper hanging from every tree.  Windows defaced.  Sidewalk chalk (sidewalk chalk!!) spelling out creative curse words that went beyond anything even she’d ever heard.

And her idiot pirate fiance was at the center of all of it.  Her idiot pirate fiance who’d evidently brought along her son for the ride.

Emma marched over to the culprit who grinned up at her without the slightest hint of shame.

“Evening love,” he said cheerfully as he dropped his bar of soap back in his bag of contraband.  “Lovely night, isn’t it?  Clear as a bell; not a hint of clouds.”

“What the hell are you doing?” she asked through gritted teeth, crossing her arms and glaring at him with enough venom a lesser man would be quaking in his boots.

But in no way was Killian Jones a lesser man.  And in no way would he, apparently, ever bow to authority.

“Getting into the spirit of the holiday,” he said cheerfully.  “Henry here told me about trick-or-treating, and I took it upon myself to resurrect the ancient custom of tricking.”

Emma turned her glare on her son, who did seem to appropriately grasp the gravity of the situation.  “I’m sorry mom,” he said in a small voice.  “I had no idea he wanted to actually, you know, do this!”

She opened her mouth to say a few things she’d likely later regret about Henry’s lack of judgement, but before she had a chance, Killian stepped in between her and her son.

“Your lad is not to blame for my malfeasance, Swan,” he said, face suddenly completely earnest.  “He’s not contributed to any of the mischief and has, in fact, tried everything in his power to dissuade me from my course.”

Emma looked past the pirate to her son, and her face softened.  He looked utterly miserable.  “Yeah, I’m starting to see that.  Alright kid.  Let’s get you home to your other mom.  You’ll have to stay with her tonight; I’m apparently going to have all I can handle trying to deal with the pirate here.”

She managed to hold her temper until she’d delivered Henry to Regina’s and then deposited Killian in one of the jail cells of the sheriff’s station.  But when he smirked up at her, lifting his wrists, clearly about to make a comment about her affinity for handcuffs she lost it.

“What the hell, Killian?” she began, pacing in front of the cell.  “How old are you anyway?  I expected this type of thing from the teenagers of this town but I’d hoped my 300 year old fiance had a little more maturity….”

She lectured for a good ten minutes before she had to stop for breath, finally looking up to catch his eye.  The cocky grin was still firmly planted on his face, but she could swear she saw a touch of chagrin in his eyes.

And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it all slammed into her again, how close she’d come to losing him.  How he’d once again died for her.  How she’d had to go to the underworld to bring him back.  How she’d never felt such utter devastation as the moment the underworld boatman pulled him into the portal.  It was like someone had pulled a knife and cut her in half; like she couldn’t even breathe with him gone.  She’d never experienced that magnitude of pain, and it was something she wouldn’t wish on her worst enemy.

The tears filled her eyes as she looked up at him, peering at her curiously through the jail cell bars, and suddenly every drop of anger and exasperation drained from her.  He was here.  He was with her.  He was alive and well.  He could pull whatever stunts he wanted as long as it meant he was okay and by her side.

Killian noticed the shift in her demeanor immediately, his eyes becoming troubled.  “Swan?” he asked, reaching out to her through the bars.

A tear slid from Emma’s eye, and she rushed to unlock the cell door and throw herself into his waiting arms.  “Swan,” his voice was agonized this time, his hand rubbing her back soothingly.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to cause you distress.  I’d no idea my delinquency would pain you, love.”

Emma chuckled weakly, pushing back enough that she could look up into his eyes.  “It’s not your pranks, Killian.  It’s just…it all came back to me again, you know?  How I almost lost you.  I…I don’t think I could have gone on without you.”

Killian leaned down and kissed her gently.  “Of course you could, love.  With your boy and your family by your side, of course you could.”

She shook her head, the tears threatening again.  “Maybe I’d survive, but those few agonizing hours before we figured out how to get to you showed me I’d never be able to truly live again.”

He stroked her hair, the sensation as comforting as a cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s day.  “Aye,” he said.  “It was the same for me when you took on the darkness.  But no more of this, Swan.  If there’s one thing our last adventure should have taught you, it’s that I’m a man of my word.  Even death can’t keep me from coming back to you.”

She laughed again, thrilling to the conviction in his voice.  Loving him for never leaving her, not really, not even when there should be no possible way for him to stay at her side.  She held him for long moments, her arms so tight he likely couldn’t breathe, but he made no complaint, burying his nose in her hair, holding her just as tight.

After long moments, Emma stepped back, realizing that as sheriff, she probably shouldn’t let tonight’s activities go without rebuke.  “Okay,” she said, doing everything in her power to infuse her tone with a little sternness. “So here’s the deal.  First thing tomorrow morning you go back to every single location you vandalized and you make it right.  We’re talking pulling every sheet of toilet paper off the trees, cleaning the graffiti, paying for the items you plundered and making whatever restitution your victims demand.  Then you make a formal apology to all of them.  I can probably get everyone to drop the charges, but I’m not lifting a finger until you work to make this right.”

Killian sighed.  “It’s only fair, love.”

She nodded.  “And in the time being, come on; let’s go home.”

His brow furrowed in obvious confusion.  “Home?  Not that I’m complaining, but weren’t you supposed to work for the duration of the night?”

“Yeah, but I’ll transfer the phones.  People can call me at home just as well as here.”  She grinned, taking his hand, threading their fingers.  “Besides, you obviously have too much time on your hands.  Can’t take my eyes off you for a minute.  I need to come up with something to keep you occupied.”

He gave her that long, slow wink that never failed to turn her insides into mush.  “Never fear Swan.  I have faith in your resourcefulness.  I’m sure you can think of something that will insure I’m far too busy to commit further criminal acts.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday and Halloween-eve!  I don’t have any big plans for Halloween, but I still have my pirate wench costume from my Caribbean Shores gala last spring, so maybe I’ll wear that to pass out candy.

--As alluded to in the note at the beginning of the chapter, this story takes place sometime not long after 5b ends.  I’ve written this story assuming the spoilers we’ve gotten lately really do show that Killian has to sacrifice himself as a price for uniting Excalibur/saving Emma from the darkness, and he’s taken down to the Underworld.  Emma and the rest of the Storybrooke rescue squad, of course, find a way to follow him, and she subsequently literally turns hell upside-down until she gets her true love back.  Also, in the canon of this little story, season 5 ends with a CS engagement.

--Up next: the conclusion of The Wedding Date (parts 1 and 2 can be found in chapters 20 and 21 of this story, respectively).

Chapter Text

The Wedding Date (pt. 3)

CS genre: CS fake!dating AU

A/N: Parts 1 and 2 of this fic can be found in chapters 20 and 21 respectively

Emma peered into the brightly-lit oval vanity mirror, turning her head this way and that.  She nodded in satisfaction.  Earlier that morning, she’d gone with Regina and all the rest of the bridesmaids to Rapunzel’s Tower, the premiere hair salon in Misthaven. 

Regina had very strict requirements for her wedding party when it came to their appearance for the ceremony, insisting that her wedding photos would not be ruined by a sloppy updo or clownish makeup.  To ensure her bridesmaids lived up to expectation, she’d insisted they all have their hair styled by Rapunzel herself.  (Seriously, who named their kid Rapunzel?)

Emma had to say, the hair dresser had done a wonderful job.  Her loose bun with artfully curled flowing tendrils was both romantic and sophisticated.  The small tiara woven atop it all was the perfect finishing touch.  Combine that with her red, long-sleeved ball gown with the sweetheart neckline and Emma nearly felt like a princess about to attend her first ball.

After the hair appointments, the ladies had headed to the chapel, where a room in the basement had been set up for their particular use.  They’d quickly changed into their own dresses and then helped Regina into her wedding gown.  (Emma secretly thought it was a bit ridiculous that it took four women to get a bride into her dress, but what are you going to do?)

Now they all sat behind their own personal vanities applying make-up.  Taking up a brush, Emma swirled it across the delicate pink blush (the color entitled “middlemist rose”), and then absently swiped it across her cheeks.

She wondered idly what Killian was doing.  Would he feel awkward off by himself all morning while Emma and the others primped for Regina’s big day?

Not likely.  He and David were keeping each other company, and they seemed to have become best friends over night.  Emma felt a small twinge of regret as she thought about it.  When this was all over and she and Killian “broke up”….it was going to be more complicated than she thought.  Her brother was going to take the news hard.

So am I, her traitorous heart unhelpfully whispered.  Emma sighed as she snapped her blush closed and started rifling through her eyeshadow and eyeliner options.  The fact was…she was starting to genuinely like Killian.  The man she was spending the weekend with was warm, kind, witty, romantic.  Nothing like the pain in the ass that was constantly landing himself in her jail cell.

Maybe he was just a really good actor, but Emma didn’t think so.  She’d always read people well, and she got the distinct impression that this weekend she was seeing the real Killian Jones for the first time since she took office as Storybrooke’s sheriff a year and a half ago.

Maybe….maybe things didn’t have to just end when the weekend was over.  Maybe they could…

No! She was not going there.  She didn’t care how much her stomach had swooped when he’d sauntered into the kitchen that morning, brushed a kiss against her cheek and promptly laced their fingers as he sat beside her.  She didn’t care how much she’d genuinely enjoyed talking and laughing with him and David and Mary Margaret over breakfast.  She didn’t care how fast her heart started beating every time she looked over at him and caught that tiny wistful smile on his face as he looked right back at her.

She’d built the wall around her heart for a reason and she couldn’t let him scale it.  The inevitable heartbreak would destroy her. 

The bench dipped beside her, and she looked over to see Ruby Lucas, wide smile in place.  Emma grinned back; it was hard not to.  The wedding planner’s grin and sunny disposition was infectious.

“You look amazing, Emma!” she said, reaching up to arranged a stray curl. 

“Thanks,” Emma answered with a laugh.  “I ought to, as much time and effort as Regina made us all put in.  How’d you manage to get away from the ‘Evil Queen’, anyway?  She been running you ragged all day.”

Ruby shrugged and rolled her eyes dramatically.  “Who knows?  Somehow I managed to slip away while her back was turned.  She wants this wedding to be perfect, but the thing is, Robin’s so crazy in love with her, he’d probably be happy if she wore dirty sweats and they got married in a barn, just as long as they were husband and wife at the end of the day.  And that little Roland of his!  That kid’s so excited his daddy’s marrying ‘Mama ‘Gina’ he can hardly contain himself.”

Emma smiled wistfully.  What would it be like to have someone love her that much?  Was there even anyone who was capable of showering her with that much love?  Unbidden, an image of Killian flitted into her mind, but she ruthlessly shoved it aside.

“So…” Ruby said, sliding closer and giving Emma a sly smile, “What’s this I hear about you and a new boyfriend who’s hot as hell?”

Emma felt her face redden.  She shrugged.  “Not much to tell.  His name’s Killian Jones, we haven’t been dating all that long, and he’s my date to the wedding.”

Ruby gave her a knowing look, her head shaking from side to side.  “No way.  Not a chance!  You’re not getting off that easy.  I need details.  So spill!”

Emma shrugged again.  “I mean, he was a total pain in the ass when we first met, but then he started to grow on me.  We just, I don’t know, suddenly clicked, and right now things are good.”

“I’m glad for you. Really.  You deserve to be happy.”  Ruby sighed in what Emma assumed was supposed to be ecstasy.  “You have no idea how good it is to see you so happy and in love and glowing.”

“Ruby, I’m not…”

“Oh, don’t even try to deny it!” Ruby cut in.  “I’m a wedding planner, remember?  People in love are my specialty.  And you, Emma, are most definitely in love.  Wouldn’t surprise me if you two love-birds needed my services yourselves in a few months!”

“Don’t get your hopes up,” Emma said, trying her hardest to quell the panic that flared up at the fact that the thought didn’t panic her.  She really needed to get it together before she saw Killian again, or she’d end up making a world class fool of herself.  He was her fake date.  She had to remember that.  Fake.

Ruby shrugged.  “Well whether wedding bells are chiming in the distance or not, it’s a good thing you really do have a date that you’re into tonight.”

“Yeah?  Why’s that?”

“Well…” Ruby began, looking around furtively and then leaning in.  “Mary Margaret would probably murder me if she knew I was telling you this; she was afraid you’d run for the hills if you found out before the reception, but she’s got this plan for making Regina and Robin comfortable…”

Emma listened in growing horror as Ruby laid out Mary Margaret’s plan.  What had she gotten herself into?  If this evening didn’t end in total disaster it would be a miracle.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Killian took his seat on the “bride’s side” of the aisle and watched as the photographer set up her camera and prepared for pictures of the wedding party.  The wedding chapel was apparently in high demand, so it had been decided that all the wedding photographs that did not involve the bride and the groom together (Mary Margaret would have probably fainted at the thought of the groom seeing the bride before the wedding) would be taken before the actual ceremony so that they could vacate the premises in time for the next wedding of the day—apparently something mermaid themed for a couple named Ariel and Eric.

As the photographer artfully arranged Robin Locksley and his groomsmen, Killian let his mind wander back to this morning. 

He’d always been an early riser, and this morning was no exception.  He’d woken with the sun to find Emma Swan in his arms, her soft, vanilla and cinnamon scented hair tickling his nose, her soft head pillowed on his chest, her arms surrounding him.

It had been heaven; there was no denying it.

It had taken him all of three seconds to decide to savor the sensation, the way his heart just warmed at her touch, for as long as it lasted.  He had no doubt that once she woke there would be hell to pay.  No doubt she’d lecture him up one side and down the other when she learned he’d held her through the night rather than sticking to her demands that they remain strictly separated on their own sides of the bed.

But really, he was no more to blame than she.  He hadn’t consciously sought her out.  They’d both fallen asleep on their sides of the bed, but when he woke, they were smack dab in the middle; both of them must have moved to come together in such a way.

Emma lay with a slight smile on her lips as she slept; she stirred, and then burrowed deeper into him.  Killian smiled, feeling an almost irresistible desire to kiss the top of her head, to smooth her wild, riotous hair, to whisper his feelings to her.

But he knew that wouldn’t do, so he contented himself with merely laying still, closing his eyes and savoring the moment, as warm and comforting as a shot of rum.

She stirred again, this time jerking as she fully came awake and became aware of their current position.  Killian feigned sleep, wanting to put off the inevitable explosion as long as possible.  He’d no doubt it was coming at any moment.

But it didn’t.

Killian felt her push herself up slowly, and then remain still. For long moments she seemed frozen like that, and then Killian felt her gently, tentatively cup his cheek, her thumb caressing his scar.

His heart turned over at the tender, intimate gesture.  He wanted to open his eyes, to smile at her, to tangle his hand in her hair and bring her lips down to his for a slow, deep good-morning kiss, but he knew that was a recipe for disaster.  Emma may let her walls down when she believed he slept, but if she knew he was aware…she’d throw those walls up, taller and stronger than ever. 

So he continued to feign sleep until she carefully climbed from the bed, gathered clothes for the day and headed for the shower.  When the door had closed behind her, he reached up and reverently cupped the cheek she’d so recently caressed.

With every passing moment he was falling harder and harder for this woman.  She was going to be the death of him.

“So, how ya holding up?” David Nolan asked as he slid into the pew beside Killian.

Killian looked over at Emma’s brother and grinned.  “It’s not my wedding, mate.”

“True,” David answered, “but it’s gotta be awkward coming to a wedding with your girlfriend, not knowing anyone but her, and then being left on your own while she goes off and does her bridesmaid duties.”

Killian shrugged.  “I know you, and I’ll see my lass again after the ceremony.  My current state is a small price to pay to have Emma Swan on my arm tonight, although it did seem the ladies left extraordinarily early to prepare for the big event.”

David laughed and clapped him on the shoulder.  “Why women need three hours to get themselves ready for a formal affair is beyond me.”

“Particularly ladies as naturally lovely as ours.”

“You’ve got that right.”

The groomsmen scattered and Robin was summarily whisked away, and then the bride and her bridesmaids arrived.  Killian sucked in a deep breath as Emma came into view.  Emma dressed in her informal jeans and red leather jacket was beautiful, but Emma dressed formally in a ball gown was a vision from heaven itself.  To say she cut quite the figure in that dress was an understatement of mammoth proportions.

She made him want to spout poetry.  She was poetry come to life.

David’s chuckle brought him back to earth.  “Like what you see, Jones?”

Killian grinned.  “Dave, your sister puts even the stars to shame.”

Emma’s brother was quiet for so long that Killian finally tore his eyes from his “girlfriend” to find David giving him a shrewd, assessing look.

“What?”

“It’s not real, is it?” David asked with a knowing grin.  “You and Emma.  You two aren’t really together, are you?”

“How did you know?” Killian blurted out, too shocked to even try to deny it.

David laughed.  “Killian, I’ve known my sister for a long time, and she might have a nearly supernatural ability to spot a lie, but that definitely does not extend to an ability to convincingly lie herself.  Quite frankly, she’s trying way too hard.  And then there’s the little issue of her being surprised and startled every time you even casually show her affection.  Emma may not be the most demonstrable person in the world, but she’s never before had that deer-in-the-headlights look when one of her boyfriends simply held her hand.”

Killian felt the pink staining his cheeks and the tips of his ears.  Absently he reached up and scratched at the back of his ear.  “Aye, well,” he said, “it was all rather sudden.  We hadn’t the time to properly plan and…acclimate ourselves to our ‘relationship’ before we arrived yesterday.”

David shook his head, chuckling under his breath.  “Well, she certainly went to elaborate lengths to make us think you guys were dating, but the question is why?”

How to answer that question without offending David or Mary Margaret?  “Well,” Killian said slowly, picking his words carefully, “Emma has become rather…weary of your wife’s attempts to find her a man.  She loves Mary Margaret, but…well…she just believed her visit this weekend would be more…enjoyable for all…if your wife didn’t feel she needed to play matchmaker.”

“That was a diplomatic way to put it,” David said.  Killian could hear the amusement in the other man’s voice.  “I love my wife with every beat of my heart, but I know exactly how she can be sometimes.  She means well; she just wants Emma to be as happy as we are, but she does have a tendency to come on a little too strong sometimes.”

Killian looked over at him and grinned.  “Just so.  Emma does realize your wife’s motives are pure; she merely wished to have a free weekend, so to speak.”

“I kind of suspected it was something like that,” David said.

 Silence fell for a moment, and Killian turned back toward the ladies.  The photographer flitted back and forth trying to arrange them just so.  Emma caught Killian’s eye and gave him a quick grin before the photographer scolded her for her lack of attention.  She shrugged slightly, rolled her eyes dramatically at him, and then turned back toward the far-from-amused woman.

“You know, Killian,” David said, bringing Killian’s attention back to him.  “Emma’s not the only one in the family who can read people.”

“Aye?” Killian said absently.

“Aye,” David answered with a decisive nod.  “I noticed that you and my sister aren’t in a romantic relationship, but do you know what else I noticed?”

He went on without waiting for an answer.  “I also noticed that you desperately wish the two of you were in one.”

Killian shot startled eyes in David’s direction.  “I was that obvious was I?”

David laughed.  “Only to someone who was looking.  It’s in the way you look at her; the way you reverently touch her.  You, my friend, are a man in love.”

Killian let out a long slow breath, and turned to look at the object of his affections once more.  “Aye.  She’s captivated me since the moment I first saw her.  Mate, your sister is bloody brilliant, amazing, but it doesn’t matter.”

“Why’d you say that?”

“Because,” Killian said, once more looking at David, “I’d hoped she’d one day feel as I do, but she’s made it quite clear that that will not be the case.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure,” David said slowly.  “Just as I’ve seen your feelings for her, I’d swear she’s got some for you too.  No way she reacts that strongly to your touch if she felt nothing.”

Killian’s heart began to race.  Was it possible? 

“My advice for what it’s worth?” David said.  “Fight for her.  She’s had some stunningly bad relationships, and it’s made her gun shy about letting anyone else in.  Be patient with her; show her you mean to stick around.  Eventually she’ll let her guard down and explore the feelings brewing between you two.”

Killian smiled tenderly, once more looking up at Emma.  “Aye.  I’m in it for the long haul.  I’ll wait for her as long as it takes.”

“Good,” David said.  “Anyway, I had another reason for coming to talk to you.  Given your current…lack of relationship, I thought I’d best warn you what my wife has planned for the reception.”

“This doesn’t sound good, mate.”

David laughed.  “Oh, I don’t know.  You might find it extremely good, but it’s best you be prepared.  You see, Regina was being difficult about all the reception customs, you know, kissing when people clink their classes, having a first dance, feeding each other cake, the whole nine yards.  The only way Mary Margaret got her to agree to it all was to forge a compromise.”

“And that compromise might be?”

“Regina only agreed to the traditions as long as she and Robin weren’t singled out.  The long and short of it is, everything the newlyweds do, the bridal party and their respective dates have to do as well.  Given how fond Ruby is of bringing about public displays of affection…I think you and I had best be ready to engage in multiple make-out sessions with our respective bridesmaids.”

Killian closed his eyes, remembering his one and only almost-kiss with Emma.  A slow smile curved his lips.  “I do believe this is a task I’m well up to mate.”

David slapped him on the back good-naturedly.  “Thought you might be.  Anyway, looks like the photo shoot is coming to an end.  I’m going to go see if I can intercept my wife before the ceremony starts.  Be back in a minute.”

Killian gave his head a quick shake as Emma’s brother walked away.  That was a loaded conversation if he’d ever had one.  He hardly knew how to take it all in.  Was David right?  Did Emma harbor feelings for him?  Would it truly be wise to pursue her?  Would it lead to bliss…or to heartbreak?

A nearly forgotten memory came to mind; a conversation he’d had with his older brother long long ago.  “A man unwilling to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets, little brother.”

Quite so.

Killian nodded once in determination.  She may shoot him down mercilessly; she may break his heart into tiny pieces, but it didn’t matter.  He would fight for her, fight to win her heart, until she definitively let him know his feelings were unrequited. 

Emma Swan was worth the risk.

Notes:

--It’s Friday again!  I’m not sure how necessary fluff is going into Sunday’s episode; based on the sneak peek that come out yesterday, it looks like it’s going to be really, really good (although I’m equally convinced those good and beautiful moments are early in the episode, and they’ll be balanced out with some world-class angst before the episode is over).  Nevertheless, I’m still giving you your weekly dose of fluff. :-)

--I thought I could finish “The Wedding Date” in this installment, but it looks like I’m going to need one more week.  Given how totally resistant to Killian Emma seemed at the beginning, I thought it was important to add another scene to show how much her feelings have begun to change—thereby making their eventual getting together (sorry for the spoiler, but you had to know that was coming, right? lol.) more believable.  And as long as I was giving Emma a scene with Ruby, I couldn’t resist a Captain Charming scene as well.  (That also gave me a chance to let you all knew exactly what it is that Mary Margaret’s up to.)

--Up next: The reception.  Will Killian succeed in winning Emma’s heart because she wants him?  How can Emma possibly resist when she’s already more than half fallen for him already…particularly when he’s set out to seriously woo her?

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Fake Dating Au

 

The wedding was beautiful, idyllic, like a fairy tale.  Regina may have been a bundle of nerves until the very moment before it all began, but as soon as the strains of Pachelbel’s Canon began, signaling the procession of the bridesmaids, a preternatural calm seemed to descend on her. 

 

Most people watch the bride as she walks down the aisle during a wedding, but Emma liked to watch the groom.  She liked to catch his expression as his bride came toward him.  The aching love, awe and incredible joy that transformed Robin’s face the moment Regina came into view in her elegant, lacy ball gown and filmy veil was everything a bride could wish for. 

 

Emma didn’t cry at these kinds of things, but she felt the tears gather as her sister-in-law’s sister and her true love vowed to love, honor and cherish each other forever.  As Robin spoke of second chances at love, finding his soul mate and feeling complete at long last after years of being broken, Emma glanced out at the audience, her gaze landing on her “date”.  Her cheeks heated as she found he was looking right back at her, a look on his face that was eerily similar to the look the groom was giving to the bride.  Maybe it was the romantic, almost sappy atmosphere of the wedding, but for just one split second, Emma let herself dream that it was real; that Killian was really looking at her like that—not because she was his “date”, but because he truly wanted her.

 

When Regina and Robin were pronounced man and wife, the groom kissed his bride with so much spirit and gusto that he elicited a wolf whistle from Ruby.  And then suddenly the wedding was over and the bridal party was spirited off to the reception venue where they formed a receiving line and greeted all the well-wishers.

 

With the ceremony over, Emma’s nerves came back to the fore as Ruby’s heads-up about Mary Margaret’s reception plans flitted through her mind.  How the hell was she going to make it through this evening?  It would have been bad enough at the beginning of the weekend, but now…when her feelings had started to change toward Killian?  When she’d begun to wish for something more despite how convinced she was it would end in heartbreak?  Kissing him, dancing with him, acting in love with him was going to break her.

 

“You’re stunning, Swan.”

 

Emma gasped as she looked up into Killian’s startling blue eyes.  She’d more or less gone on auto pilot as wedding attendees made their way through the receiving line; so much so that she hadn’t even realized he was heading her way until he was right before her.

 

“Th…thanks,” she said, hating herself for the startled, breathlessness of her voice.  “You look…”

 

He chuckled, raising one eyebrow playfully.  “I know.”

 

Emma smiled in spite of herself, enjoying the gentle flirting.  

 

“Your beauty puts the bride to shame, Swan; bad form, that.”  Killian took her hand in his, brought it to his lips and brushed a feather-light kiss against her knuckles.  The touch sent liquid fire coursing through her veins, and she suddenly felt as breathless as if she’d just run a marathon.  How was a woman to keep her head under such a romantic onslaught?

This was bad.  This was really bad.  She was in over her head and she didn’t know what to do. 

 

So she did what she did best.  She ran, metaphorically speaking, at least.  Snatching her hand back, she averted her eyes, looking anywhere but at the man before her.  She prayed fervently that he’d take the hint and head off to his place at the head table.

 

“Swan?  Is something the matter?”

 

No such luck.  Of course he wasn’t going to let it go that easily.

 

Emma pasted on a smile and looked back into his concerned blue eyes.  “Not at all.  Everything’s just fine.”

 

Her voice sounded brittle and overly bright even to her own ears.  Killian’s brow furrowed as he peered at her for long moments.  Finally, he took her elbow and nodded his head to the doors that led to the hallway.  “Come Swan.  I think we need to talk.”

 

“Don’t be ridiculous, Killian,” she said even as she moved in the direction he indicated.  “I can’t just leave the receiving line.”

 

“Come on Emma,” he coaxed.  “They’ll do quite well without you for a few minutes; it’s the bride and groom they truly wish to greet.”

 

That was true enough, and Emma was beginning to feel like she needed air; the walls of that stupid ballroom were starting to close in.

 

When he’d steered them to a deserted hallway and seated her on a sofa that was leaning against the wall, Killian took her hand once more.  “Would you care to tell me what’s truly bothering you, love, because you were anything but fine in there.”

 

She looked away, embarrassment, annoyance, frustration, hopelessness overtaking her.  Finally she looked back at him.  “I’m just….I’m just sorry I roped you into this, okay?  I mean you’ve been great, playing along and everything, but…well, you ought to know, Mary Margaret has plans, and things are probably going to get really uncomfortable.  I’m just…sorry.”

 

She couldn’t meet his eyes; couldn’t look at him as she told him what her sister-in-law had planned, couldn’t even find the words to tell him.  Instead, she looked down, studied the swirling pattern of the carpeting.

 

A moment later, she felt the gentle pressure of his finger under her chin, urging her head up, forcing her to look at him.  What she saw in his eyes was compassion, understanding, and…something more, something tender.

 

“Emma, you’ve no need to fret.  Your brother told me all about your sister-in-law’s plots for the evening.”

 

“So…so you know she’s going to expect us to kiss and dance and…whatever else she’ll come up with?  And you don’t have a problem with it?”

 

He chuckled.  “Do I have a problem with kissing the most beautiful woman in the ballroom?  Hardly, darling.”  He sobered.  “But I was quite serious last night, Swan.  I have no wish to make you uncomfortable.  Just because your sister-in-law makes demands doesn’t mean we must follow them.  If you’d prefer, I’ve a plan of my own to get around her plans.”

 

“Really?  What’s that?”

 

“Just follow my lead.  I’ll be sure to steer us away from dangerous waters.”

 

Emma, squeezed his hand, grateful beyond measure that he seemed to get her; to just understand what she needed without her even having to mention it.  “Thank you.  It’s…I mean, it’s nothing against you, it’s just, being paraded up in front of the whole world it feels like, being on display.  I just…well, thank you.”

 

“Not a problem, Swan,” he said, getting to his feet and offering her a hand up.  “And for the record you didn’t rope me into this.  I agreed quite willingly and I’m thoroughly enjoying my weekend with you.”

 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

 

Dinner actually went pretty well.  She, Killian and the rest of the wedding party sat at a long banquet table facing outward toward the rest of the wedding guests.  Killian proved to be an engaging dinner partner, talking, laughing, putting her at ease.

 

Well, putting her at ease for the most part.  There was that moment at the very beginning when he steered her toward her assigned chair.  Pulling it out, he seated her, his hand brushing her shoulder as he pushed her in.  The feelings that evoked in her could hardly be described as ease.  Electricity, maybe.  Butterflies, definitely.  Terrifyingly dangerous territory, without any doubt.

 

The first time Ruby started tapping her water glass was just before the entrée was served.  While couples all around them grinned good-naturedly and leaned in for a kiss, Emma shot Killian a furtive, alarmed look.

 

“Calm down, Swan.  Just follow my lead,” he murmured, and then raised his hand before her.  She snorted a quick laugh as she caught his meaning.  Raising her own hand, she gave him a resounding high-five.

 

“Mary Margaret’s going to kill us,” she said, the laughter evident in her voice.  “And if she doesn’t, Regina will.”

 

And so it went.  Every time the wedding guests began tapping their water glasses, Killian gave her a mischievous glance and improvised another way to get around the kissing requirement.  Fist bumps, hand-shakes, kisses blown in her direction, he seemed endlessly resourceful.

 

But, of course, it couldn’t last.  Eventually Ruby caught on to their ruse and rushed over to their side of the table. 

 

“Uh, uh guys!” she said, her finger wagging before her.  “No way.  That’s not how this works; we need kisses.  Hot, steamy kisses.”

 

“Ruby, I’m not making out with my boyfriend in front of an entire ballroom full of people,” Emma hissed.

 

“Sorry, those are the rules.  I didn’t make ‘em.  I just enforce ‘em,” Ruby said in a sing-song voice.  “This is a wedding after all.”

 

“It’s not my wedding,” Emma grumbled under her breath as the perky wedding planner headed back to her own table.

 

“Doesn’t matter,” Ruby called over her shoulder.  “Rules were made to be followed.  As a sheriff, I would have thought you’d know that better than anyone.”

 

It came as no surprise to Emma when Ruby started vociferously tapping her glass the moment she’d seated herself once more.  “No worries, Swan,” Killian said.  “A sheriff may be averse to breaking the rules, but an inveterate committer of misdemeanors has no such compunction.”

 

But as Killian prepared to defy the “rules of weddings” in whatever creative new way he’d come up with now, Emma made the mistake of looking into his eyes, so blue, so tender, so loving. 

 

Suddenly, it didn’t matter that it was all a ruse.  It didn’t matter that they were in a room full of people.  It didn’t matter that they were basically being forced into this.  Suddenly, all that mattered was that he was here with her and she was grateful beyond measure for all his efforts to make her comfortable.   All that mattered was that she wanted this; wanted him.

 

Ignoring her better judgement, she grabbed the lapels of his suit coat and hauled him into her.  If their one, almost kiss in the car had set every cell in her body to tingling this one, the real thing, positively set her on fire.  Everything fell away, everything but them, the desperate way their mouths meshed, the way she ran her hand through the hair at the nape of his neck, urging him yet closer, the way he stiffened for half a second before diving in with both feet, meeting her kiss for kiss, holding her close.

 

Emma was beyond reason, beyond caring.  This might be the one and only time she was able to kiss Killian Jones, and she was going to make it count.

 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

 

“Alright folks!  Time for the bride and groom’s first dance,” came the enthusiastic voice of the Master of Ceremonies, a man named Leroy.  “Well…the bridal party’s first dance that is.”

 

Killian got to his feet and offered his hand to Emma.  “Shall we Swan?”

 

She gave him a quick, shy smile as she took his hand and let him lead her to the makeshift dance floor.   This wedding had been nothing like he’d expected when Emma picked him up in her little yellow bug the day before, but he had no complaints.  Truth be told, this weekend had been earth-shaking.

 

When Emma had actually followed the “wedding rules” and kissed him…well, at the risk of sounding melodramatic, it had changed his life.  It was indescribable, bliss like he’d never experienced.  It was as though a piece of himself he’d never realized was missing suddenly clicked into place, and he knew he’d never be the same again.

 

After long moments, she’d finally pulled back, but only far enough to rest her forehead against his.  He’d wanted to say something profound, elegant, worthy of expressing the revolution going on in his heart, but all that came out was a breathless “That was…”

 

She’d chuckled.  “Yeah.”

 

It was only after they’d pulled apart and gone back to their dinner that they realized they’d created a spectacle that had every eye in the room on them.  Emma’d blushed as red as her lovely gown when Ruby whistled suggestively and the diminutive MC suggested they get a room.  While Killian sympathized with her embarrassment, he couldn’t find it in him to regret the moment.  Surely if a woman kissed a man like that there must be some feelings involved.  Dare he hope the evening would end with happiness rather than heartbreak?

 

The first official reception “event” was the cutting of the wedding cake.  The new Mr. And Mrs. Locksley had a large, lavishly decorated cake, but each of the other members of the wedding party had a small cake of their own, each with their own distinctive flavor.  He and Emma were assigned to the devil’s food cake.

 

“Quite appropriate, love,” he quipped, teasing sparkle in his eye, “given my devilishly handsome appearance.”

 

She’d laughed, and slapped his shoulder playfully, the vague unease of the moment sliding from her face, as he’d hoped it would.  “Somebody’s got a high opinion of himself.”

 

He shrugged.  “When somebody’s a dashing rapscallion, it comes with the territory.”

 

Each of the couples grabbed their knives and cut their cakes.  Killian took up a small piece and popped it in Emma’s waiting mouth, smearing a bit of red frosting on the corner of her mouth in the process.  Staying focused on her green eyes, he swiped it off with one finger, which he then brought quite deliberately to his own mouth.  There was no mistaking Emma’s quick, indrawn breath.

 

When it was her turn to feed him, she returned the favor going a step further.  Rather than using her finger, she brought her lips to his face and kissed the smeared icing off.  Killian doubted he’d ever experienced something so sensual—or anything that stirred him more.  She was a marvel, his Swan, and he’d never wanted anything as much as he wanted to make their fake relationship real.  He didn’t just want her for a weekend; he wanted her forever.

 

Killian had been to enough weddings to know the bride ordinarily tossed her bouquet, that the groom ordinarily removed her garter and tossed that as well, but Regina had roundly put her foot down to both traditions.  She’d gone to a lot of trouble to find the perfect bridal bouquet and she was going to keep it, thank you very much.  As to the garter situation, she didn’t care how many other couples might go along with it, she was not being undressed by her husband in a room full of people (including her new stepson)—even if that undressing only went as far as a small garter.  Any undressing going on would take place in the privacy of the bridal suite later that night.

 

And so, now with the first dance, they’d reached the final formal element of the reception.  As the band (a local group known as “The Merry Men”) struck up the opening bars of Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I do) I do it for you”, Killian pulled Emma into the circle of his arms, relishing the feel of her arms around his neck.

 

They swayed to the music in silence for some time, Killian smiling gently down at her.  “Are you happy, Emma?” he asked softly.  “Are you enjoying the wedding?”

 

“Yeah,” she answered, unconsciously pulling him closer.  “It’s been a surprisingly good weekend.  Thanks for everything you’ve done.  I couldn’t have asked for a better fake boyfriend.”

 

Killian couldn’t help the slight wince that crossed his face at her reminder, once again of the nature of their “relationship”, but he masked it quickly, determined to enjoy the moment, enjoy holding her close, regardless of what might come in the future.

 

As the song built into a crescendo, Killian heard the tinkling sound of glasses once again being clinked, his heart racing at the thought of sharing another kiss with the woman in his arms.  He quirked an eyebrow in question and she nodded slightly as an attractive flush covered her lovely cheeks.  Slowly, Killian lowered his head, closed his eyes and captured her lips.  This kiss was different, slower, gentler than their first during dinner.  Killian poured his heart into the kiss, telling her without words what she meant to him, how much he cared for her.

 

The song was coming to a close when Killian finally broke the kiss and pulled back.  It took Emma several heartbeats to open her eyes, and Killian’s heart turned over at the blissful smile on her thoroughly kissed lips. 

 

“What are we doing, Killian?” she finally asked, her voice so quiet he had to lean in to hear it. 

 

“Dancing,” he said trying for levity, even as his heart pounded at her question.

 

She gave him a quick, exasperated look.  “That’s not what I meant and you know it.”

 

He blew out a long breath and then nodded.  “Aye.  Perhaps we’d best talk about this?”

 

“Yeah,” she said, stepping out of the circle of his arms, taking his hand and leading him to a balcony off the ballroom.   “I think we should.”

 

She started pacing as soon as they were away from prying eyes.  “I can’t do this, Killian.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this!  I wasn’t supposed to have feelings….or whatever this is.  This wasn’t supposed to be complicated.  I don’t know what to do with this.   I can’t get my heart broken again!”

 

He rushed to her and enveloped her in a hug, needing to comfort, needing to protect even more than he needed their relationship to become real.  “Easy, Swan.”

 

David had warned him that she’d been hurt in past relationships, but he had no idea the wounds ran so deep.  Killian had a sudden desire to find the miserable wretch who had broken her heart so definitively and plant his fist in the poor-excuse-for-a-man’s face.

 

After a moment, Emma pulled away, turning her head, refusing to meet his eyes.  “Sorry.  I…know this all isn’t real, and I know you’re just playing a part, and I’m probably making this whole thing about ten times more awkward than it has to be.”

 

He stopped her with a finger to her lips.  “Emma, how many times must I tell you I’m here because I want to be?  You’ve nothing to apologize for, and in fact….I’ve a bit of a confession to make, myself.”

 

She tilted her head, giving him a questioning look.

 

“You see, Swan,” he began, glancing aside and scratching at his ear, “I’m not nearly as much of a criminal as I might seem to be.  From the moment you came to town I wanted to know you, wanted to get your attention.  Thus my bouts of law breaking which were guaranteed to catch the sheriff’s attention.”

 

Her eyebrows shot up.  “You…what?  Killian’s that’s crazy.”

 

He chuckled shaking his head in self-deprecation.  “Aye, love.  Being smitten with a fascinating woman can turn the sanest of men to craziness.”

 

She laughed.  “So, you’re telling me everything you did…it was all because you were interested in me?”

 

“Guilty as charged.”

 

“Well that’s…something I didn’t see coming,” she said.  “So you agreed to be my ‘boyfriend’ this weekend even though you had feelings for me, even with all my insistence that it was fake?”

 

He looked deep into her eyes as he answered.  “Aye.  I had hopes that you might come to know the real me, that you might develop feelings as well.  Might I hope my wishes weren’t entirely in vain?”

 

She held his eyes for long moments, and then she turned away, staring out at the carefully manicured garden below.  “After those kisses…I think you know the answer, but…I can’t.  I just can’t get my heart broken again.  I don’t think it would ever mend again.”

 

Killian joined her at the railing and turned her gently toward him.  “Emma, I can’t see the future.  I don’t know what will be tomorrow or a year from now or ten years from now.  What I do know, what I’m absolutely certain of, is that I’m in this for the long haul.  If there’s one thing this weekend has shown me, it’s that you’re infinitely worth fighting for.  I wish to win your heart, but one thing I can assure you: whether I succeed or not, my heart is in your hand, and I never plan to take it back again.”

 

He saw the tears pool in her eyes, and  he caught the first to fall with his thumb.  Then, taking both her hands, he laced their fingers.  “Come on Swan.  Take a leap of faith.  You’ve no need to fear; I’ll catch you.”

 

She searched his face for another moment, and then she reached up on her tiptoes and kissed him gently once more.  “Okay.”

 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

 

Emma never told her sister-in-law the truth about the “boyfriend” she brought to Regina’s wedding.  There was never a need.  By the time the wedding reception was at an end, there was no ruse left.  Her relationship with Killian was every bit as real as they’d been telling David and Mary Margaret from the start.

 

They decided to take it slow, both Emma and Killian realizing they had something real, and deep and true, something they wanted to get right.  Long talks turned to even longer kisses.  “I’m captivated by you” turned into “I love you”, and in due course, Killian succeeded in winning Emma’s heart every bit as much as she’d won his.

 

Eighteen months later there was another wedding in Misthaven, and as Emma walked down the aisle on her brother’s arm, she’d swear no bride had ever seen such a look of love and utter adoration on her groom’s face as she saw on Killian’s.

 

Some might say making up a fake boyfriend to take to a wedding back home is crazy, but Emma thought it might very well be the best (and sanest) idea of her life.

 

Notes:

--Alright, so there it is; the conclusion of The Wedding Date!  This chapter was kind of long (and it fought with me every step of the way), but from everything that’s come out about this Sunday’s episode, it looks like it’s going to be really good—but really angsty.  I figured you might need a bit longer installment of fluff to prepare yourself.

--So, Killian’s creative ways to not kiss Emma when people tapped on their glasses at the reception….yeah, that kind of came from real life.  I went to a wedding a few months back where that’s exactly what the newlyweds did.  It was pretty amusing.

--I chose “(Everything I do) I Do it For You” as Robin and Regina’s first dance song for a couple of reasons.  1.  The song was on the soundtrack to the movie “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”, which I thought made it particularly appropriate for the OQ wedding.  2. It is such a perfect song for CS!

Chapter Text

The Wedding Date—Deleted scene

CS genre: Fake!dating AU

A/N: That last episode was brutal, so I thought we could all use a special, mid-week edition of Fluffy Fridays in addition to the normal Friday update. This is a kind of “deleted scene” to The Wedding Date.  It takes place just after the wedding reception (but before the little epilogue where I basically told you what happened with Emma and Killian post-OQ wedding).

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

It was nearing midnight by the time they all arrived back at the Nolan’s cottage. It had been a long and busy day, and Emma’s feet were swearing fluently at her after having spent a good fifteen hours trapped within the most uncomfortable heels in the known universe, but Emma wouldn’t have traded this day for the world.

As they walked in the door and headed toward the kitchen for a late night cocoa (with cinnamon, of course), Emma rested her head against Killian’s shoulder. She smiled as she felt him squeeze their entwined hands, as he turned his head to the side and brushed a kiss against the top of her head.  It might sound ridiculously cheesy to say, but this might just have been the best day of her life.

Things were always fun and exciting at the start of a new relationship, but this…with Killian…things were different.  She could feel it.  This new relationship had the feel of forever about it, and Emma was amazed at how far from afraid she was at the thought.

Killian held the kitchen chair for her as they reached the table, and then promptly seated himself, throwing an arm around her shoulders and pulling her toward himself. She leaned against him, placing one hand against his chest, just above his steadily beating heart.

“Are you hungry?” Mary Margaret asked, rummaging through cabinets. “Wouldn’t take a moment to heat something up to go with the cocoa.”

“None for me, Mrs. Nolan,” Killian said. “I’d wager I couldn’t eat another morsel.”

Mary Margaret turned around and shook her head at Killian with an indulgent smile. “That’s way too much formality, Killian!  You’re Emma’s boyfriend; you’re practically family.  Call me Mary Margaret.”

Emma noted the pleased flush that crept over Killian’s face at her sister-in-law’s words, and it suddenly occurred to her that she knew next to nothing about Killian’s family. She remembered him mentioning a brother who still lived back in England, but she didn’t think he’d mentioned anyone else.  There was a certain loneliness she saw within him that spoke to her and her own past.  She couldn’t wait to spend the next fifty years or so helping him to heal his brokenness just as he did for her.

David chuckled. “Might as well put something together, honey,” he said.  “I’m good too, but I know how hungry you always get this time of night.”

Mary Margaret smiled indulgently at her husband. “You know me way too well.  The problem, though, is that I can’t decide what I want.  Am I more in an ice cream mood or more in a pickle mood?”

“Might as well go with both. You know you’ll want it all before the night’s over.”

The Nolan’s shared a quick, secret smile before Mary Margaret turned toward the freezer, and David sat at the table and shot a knowing look at Emma and Killian.

“Looks like you two had a good evening,” he said, “I thought I was going to have to challenge Killian to a duel to get him to let me dance with my little sis.”

“Can you blame me for wanting to hold on to her, mate?” Killian asked. “A man gets a woman as bloody perfect as your sister, he never wants to part with her.”

A pleasant thrill ran through Emma at his words. How had she never heard the wonder and sincerity beneath Killian’s ridiculously romantic declarations before?  She’d always assumed it was just for show—or just to get under her skin—but after his revelation on the balcony, she knew he’d been doing no less than baring his heart to her.

“At the risk of sounding sappy,” David answered, “I’m glad things are working out so well between the two of you. You’re a good man, Killian, and you have no idea how grateful I am that Emma found someone who makes her as happy as you obviously do.”

“As it turns out,” Killian said with a slight smile, “I got a good piece of advice not long ago from someone I consider a true mate. I decided to follow his advice…and my heart...and now, having Emma with me, I’ve never been happier in my life.”

Emma shot a suspicious glance between her brother and her boyfriend. There was something else going on here, something gliding just below the surface.  As the two most important men in her life continued to grin at each other, she settled back on Killian’s shoulder.  Maybe she’d try to figure it all out later.  For right now she was too tired and too happy to care.

“Here we go!” Mary Margaret said, taking her seat beside David, and plopping an entire half-gallon of Rocky Road and a jar of pickles down before her. “You sure you don’t want anything?”

Emma laughed. “I think we’re good.”

Mary Margaret shrugged, and dug in with gusto. “I hope the guest room’s working out for you and Killian, Emma,” she said around a bite.  “It’ll probably be a few weeks more before the study’s really inhabitable again.  We’ve got a carpenter coming in on Friday, and then our interior decorator will be here the following week.  Remodeling’s a big job.  Good thing we started now, before...”

It took Emma a few moments to catch up to her sister-in-law. The moment Mary Margaret started talking about Emma and Killian and the guest bedroom, her heartrate had picked up, and her mind had gone off on a haze of crimson dreams.  She and Killian had already decided to take things slow, so she knew neither of them were ready for the kind of activities sharing a bedroom implied, but…well, maybe tonight they could start out in each other’s arms.  If it had felt so right last night, before they’d even confessed their feelings, there was no doubt it would be utter bliss tonight.

Emma chanced a look at Killian, and nearly melted on the spot at the look in his eyes. He understood.  He knew exactly what she was thinking, and he couldn’t agree more.  It was amazing this connection between them; the way they could just read each other like open books.  This knowledge, this awareness, this comfort and happiness…maybe that’s what was meant by true love.

Gradually, Emma became aware that Mary Margaret had fallen silent, and suddenly it occurred to her that there was something very odd about what she’d just said. “Wait…why are you remodeling the study?  You guys just redid it like a year ago.  And, it’s a good thing you started it before what?”

David and Mary Margaret shared a quick glance, linked hands, and then turned back toward Emma and Killian. “Well,” Mary Margaret said.  “We needed to remodel it before the newest member of the Nolan family arrives.”

Mary Margaret placed a protective hand on her abdomen, and David piped up. “Turns out, we’re expecting a baby in about six months.”

Emma squealed and jumped up from her chair. She wrapped first her brother and then her sister-in-law in an excited hug.  “A baby!  Congratulations!  I know how much you both were hoping for one!  Is it a boy or a girl?  How are you feeling?  Is there anything I can do to help?”

Mary Margaret laughed, hugging Emma tighter and then letting go. “It’s too early to know the gender.  I’m feeling pretty good right now; just finished the first trimester and the morning sickness seems to be much better.  And there’s not much to help with right now, but once the baby’s born, I’m sure I’ll appreciate all the help I can get from ‘Aunt Emma’.”

Aunt Emma! Emma’s smile widened as she took her seat once more.  She was going to be the best aunt a kid could hope for!

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

An hour later Emma lay within the circle of Killian’s arms, her face buried in the crook of his neck. He absently rubbed his hand across her back in a tender caress.  “Are you happy Emma?” he asked gently.  “Truly happy?”

She captured his lips in a long slow kiss. “Yeah.  As happy as I’ve ever been.  Thanks for scaling my walls and, you know, never giving up on me.”

He cupped her head in one gentle hand, and brought her back for another kiss. “For you, Swan, I’d have gone to the end of the world or time.  You’re more than worth it.”

 

Notes:

--I hope you enjoyed your “emergency extra dose of fluff”. In case you were wondering, I knew Mary Margaret was pregnant from the beginning of this story, and I did want to bring it up in the story, but it just never quite seemed to fit.  I thought about  having her and David reveal it during chapter two when she was explaining about putting Emma and Killian in the same room.  She was going to explain exactly why the study wasn’t available to be used for a second guest room. That, however, would have taken away from the flow of that scene—where the focus was on the awkwardness Emma and Killian were feeling about sharing a room under the circumstances.  Likewise, I was going to have something in chapter 4 about Emma noticing MM not drinking wine/champagne/mixed drinks at the reception and have that be the moment MM shared her news, but that didn’t quite work out either.  It all worked out, though, I guess.  Not revealing it in the main story gave me a chance to write some post-5x8 recovery fluff!

--Up next: I won’t have time to write 2 chapters this week, so I’m planning to recycle a prompt someone requested on Tumblr. The prompt was: “I’m sorry I got too into playing house and kissed you passionately.”  I had fun with that one. ;-)

 

Chapter Text

Playing House

CS Genre: AU

A/N: This little story was originally written to fill a Tumblr prompt.  The prompt was “I’m sorry that I got way too into playing house and accidentally kissed you passionately.”  Enjoy!

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

            Emma Swan looked through the peep-hole on her apartment door and groaned.  Then her traitorous heart began pounding.  Then she groaned again.  What the hell was he doing here?  After what happened yesterday she was hoping she’d never have to see him again as long as she lived.

            “I know you’re there, Swan,” came his muffled, cocky voice through the door. “I can feel your glare from here.”

            “Shut up, Jones,” she gritted out.  “Just….just go away.”

            She heard his chuckle.  “Come now love, is that any way to treat your ‘husband’?”

            Emma felt the heat creep up to her cheeks.  She should have known he’d take it like this. Killian “I’m-the-biggest-womanizer-on-the-eastern-seaboard” Jones was a menace to society.  No way he’d just let her little…moment of indiscretion go without a whole boatload of innuendo.

            He knocked again.  Smugly.  How it was possible to knock smugly, she didn’t know, but he found a way.  “Come, love.  Let me in.  Though I enjoyed our…ahem…moment, I think we need more practice to perfect our…shall we say…technique.”

            Her face flamed even brighter if that was possible, as her mind rushed back to that moment about ten hours ago when she’d totally lost her head.  (Nine hours, fifty-two minutes and sixteen seconds ago, to be exact, her traitorous brain supplied.)  Fevered images of lips locking. Hot breath mingling.  Mouths melding.  Hands carding through hair.  Heart racing.  It had been the stupidest moment of her life, and the last person she wanted to see this morning was the idiot who was still cheerfully banging on her door.

            Still…if she didn’t let him in the whole building would probably figure out what happened.  If she knew her neighbor across the hall…and she knew Leroy Little…he had his ear pressed up against his door right now hanging on every word Romeo out there was saying.  And knowing Leroy it would take him approximately three and a half seconds to spread the juicy gossip to every corner of the city.

            Gritting her teeth, she unlocked the door and gestured for the son of a bitch to come in.  He swaggered in with the cockiest grin she’d ever seen.  Him with his stupid skin-tight black jeans and ridiculous blue button-down—that was currently unbuttoned practically to his navel---and his windswept hair, and stupid sexy British accent.  He was…he was a pain in the ass of mammoth proportions.  (So why did her heart do a little swoop of ecstasy just at the sight of him?)

            It was all his stupid fault!  All of this!  She was going to kill him…then she was going to kill Mary Margaret…then she was going to kill him again. (And somewhere along the way she was going to convince her traitorous heart that she was NOT attracted to him.  That she flat out disliked him.)

            Mary Margaret and David had gone out of town for the past weekend and asked her to house-sit while they were gone.  What her oh-so-sneaky best friend had failed to tell her is that they’d also invited David’s best friend, Killian Jones, to housesit as well.  Mary Margaret could say all she wanted about how it was all a mix-up, a miscommunication, all of that, but Emma knew the truth.  This whole stunt had Mary Margaret’s matchmaking fingerprints all over it.

            Things had worked out alright until that vacuum cleaner salesman stopped by.  What was his name?  Something Walsh?  They’d tried to turn him away, but he just wouldn’t go!  He muscled his way in, vowing to impress their socks off with his demonstration of just how much his product sucked.  (Yeah, he actually used that phrase.)

            He’d just assumed they were Mr. and Mrs. Nolan, given the name on the mailbox, and they didn’t correct him, because to correct him would be to talk to him and that might encourage him.

            “Lovely place you’ve got here, folks!” he said, cheerfully ignoring their less-than-welcoming scowls.  “Wanna keep it that way.  Young couple like you, probably hasn’t been married long, eh?”

            “Not long at all,” Killian said, one corner of his mouth quirking up in amusement.  “First time anyone’s addressed us as Mr. and Mrs. Nolan, as a matter of fact.”

            Walsh gave him a knowing grin and elbowed him in the ribs.  “Got better things to do with your brand new wife than waste time vacuuming the floor with an inferior product, am I right?”

            Emma rolled her eyes.   It wasn’t bad enough she was stuck with David’s player of a best friend for the weekend, now she couldn’t even get a stupid door-to-door salesman to leave the house?  She hated her life.  Despised it.

            And then, as Walsh droned on and on about the suction power of his cleaning apparatus, Emma finally had enough.  Maybe if asking nicely didn’t work, making the stupid salesman uncomfortable as hell would.  Rolling her eyes, she pulled on Killian’s lapels and hauled him in for what was supposed to be nothing more than a stage kiss.

            Only…the moment her lips touched his, she lost all reason, all semblance of control, all sense whatsoever.  For all she knew, everyone and everything else in the world disappeared.  It was just her and Killian and the not-even-close to fake kiss they were sharing.  It had taken him all of half a second to catch up to her, mouth opening instantly, pillaging and plundering like he was a pirate and she was his treasure.

            Who knows how long it would have lasted if a slightly uncomfortable chuckle hadn’t sounded from the salesman that they’d both completely forgotten.  The sound brought Emma back to her senses, and she realized with horror her hands had slipped beneath Killian’s largely unbuttoned shirt and begun carding through his ridiculous chest hair.

            Face flaming she’d jumped to her feet, muttered something about having to go and fled the house like the hounds of hell were after her.  She’d hoped to be able to hide under a rock for about a week, but no such luck.  Less than twelve hours later Mr. “I’m God’s Gift to Women” himself had to show up at her door.

            She hated her life.

            “Lovely home you’ve got here, Swan,” Killian drawled, taking a seat on her sofa.

            Emma came back to the present with a snap.  Oh lord, had she just been daydreaming about last night’s make out session?  Had it shown on her face?  She had to take control of this situation.  Now!

            “Look, Killian,” she said, plopping onto a plush armchair across from him and resolutely not looking him in the eyes.  “I’m sorry that I got way too into playing house and accidentally kissed you passionately.”

            He grinned wickedly.  “No matter, Swan.  I’m certainly not going to complain about an enthusiastic kiss from a stunning woman.”

            She felt her face flame yet again.  Only this time her anger came to her defense.   She jumped to her feet and began pacing.  “Look, buddy.  I know guys like you!  You think every woman around you ought to just fall at your feet, kiss you senseless and then take you to bed.  Well you know what?  I’m not every woman.  I’m not some notch on your bedpost.  Believe it or not, there are some women out there who have a little self-respect.”

            “Swan,” his voice was serious; totally devoid of teasing.  It was that that convinced her to stop her pacing and actually look at him.  There was aching earnestness in his eyes.  “I’m well aware my reputation precedes me, and though it’s exaggerated, I can’t pretend it’s entirely inaccurate.”

            She plopped back down in her chair.

            “But,” he continued, leaning slightly toward her.  “That all changed the moment I met you.”

            She gaped at him.  What was he saying?

            “Think back, love.  I haven’t so much as looked at another woman since the night Dave introduced us.”

            “Are you…” she said, her voice squeaking.  She cleared her throat and started again.  “Are you saying you have feelings for me?”

            He looked her square in the eyes.  “Aye.  That I do.  I’d thought they were unrequited, but after last night…well, I had hoped that you felt as I did.  At least in part.”

            She let her breath out in a long whoosh.  Well, this was unexpected.  She looked in his eyes, and there was no lie there, no manipulation, nothing but absolute sincerity.  Could it be that she’d misjudged him?

            “Killian,” she began, hardly knowing what she planned to say.  Hardly even knowing what she wanted to say.  “It…it was just a kiss.”

            “Aye,” he nodded, “but perhaps one day it could be more.  There was a fire between us last night, love, and I’d like nothing more than to discover whether it was a one-time thing or whether it could be the beginning of something magical.  So what do you say, Swan.  Will you take a leap of faith?  Will you let this reformed ladies’ man prove himself to you?”

            Her heart raced.  Was it possible?  Could there be something real and beautiful between them?  If she let him into her life, it could end in heartbreak and utter disaster.  But it could also lead to a true love the likes of which she’d never experienced. 

            Was she willing to take the chance?

            Praying fervently that she wouldn’t come to regret this, she looked him firmly in the eyes and smiled.  “Okay.  How about we go talk about it over coffee?”

Notes:

--Friday again!  No episode this weekend, but that might be a good thing.  I think we ALL need more time to recover from 5x8 and prepare our souls for 5x10.  The angst-fairies have been hard at work with this story arc!  I am, however an irrepressible optimist, when it comes to this show and I’m absolutely positive everything is not only going to end up okay, but amazing.  In the event you find yourself nervous or losing hope, feel free to stop by my Tumblr page (whimsicallyenchantedrose).  I’ve already written thousands of words of reassurance and optimism, and I’m sure I’ll write more!

--Up next:  Next Friday is the day after Thanksgiving here in the U.S., so I was thinking about going with a Thanksgiving theme.  This one’s going to be a canon fic that takes place not long after 5b—aka not long after all the angst gets resolved once and for all and CS get a chance to just be happy together for a while.

Chapter Text

CS genre: future fic

 

Killian shivered as he walked along the sidewalk that led to the house he shared with his wife, Emma Swan-Jones.  A pleasant thrill shot through him at the thought.  Emma was his wife!  Against all odds, against death itself, they’d prevailed, and they’d finally been given the chance to embark on their future together.

 

The past few months had been difficult, to say the least, but the happiness he now enjoyed with his true love and her son in their house by the sea made every last moment of the agony worth it.

 

The cold, late autumn breeze picked up, scattering fallen leaves and chilling Killian to the bone.  He took the stairs to his home two at a time, wondering idly if they were in for a snowstorm.  He hoped so.  Perhaps he could engage in a snowball fight with the lad.  Perhaps he and Swan and Henry could build a snowman.  Killian let himself daydream about a day spent with his family in the snow—not to mention the ways he and Swan could find to warm each other up after the lad went off to bed.

 

In fact…speaking of more enjoyable activities…the lad was staying with his other mother tonight,  perhaps he and Swan should take advantage of the alone time.  Smile draping his lips, Killian opened the door, prepared to call out an enthusiastic “Hello, love!”

 

But the greeting died on his lips.

 

No sooner had he pulled the front door open than his ears were assaulted with a piercing, pulsating shriek, and thick, black smoke slapped him in the face.  Faintly, underneath the shrill noise, he detected the sound of crying.  Emma crying.

 

Sprinting forward, his heart in his throat, he made for the kitchen.  “Swan!” he shouted fearing the scene he might find.

 

He found her sitting at the kitchen table, her head in her hands, crying as though her heart were breaking.  A sauce pan sat on the stove, smoking merrily away, apparently causing the device Swan had called a “smoke detector” to protest vigorously.  As Swan didn’t appear to be in any immediate danger, Killian jogged to the stove, turned off the burner, and threw the offending pan into the sink, dousing it’s charred, lumpy contents with water.

 

Immediate crisis over (and alarm finally blessedly silent) Killian returned to his disconsolate wife.  Kneeling before her, he put a gentle hand on her shoulder.  “Emma, love, what’s the matter?”

 

She raised a red, tear-stained face toward him, and then fell into his arms, the tears continuing.  He held her for long moments, rubbing her back, whispering comforting nothings into her ear, brushing kisses against her hair, the top of her head.  Finally, the worst of her emotion seemed to pass, and she pulled back, scrubbed at her face and then resumed her seat.

 

“Killian, I can’t do this!  It’s an utter disaster!” she said, vaguely gesturing toward their kitchen.

 

“What is it you can’t do love,” he asked, taking a seat beside her and putting his arm around her shoulders.

 

Emma sighed deeply and then leaned her head against his shoulder.  “This.  Cook.”

 

Killian chuckled softly.  “Not to put too fine a point on it, love, but you never could cook.  Beyond the realm of breakfast provisions, you are hopeless, darling.  Your lad and I have taken to learning the culinary arts out of sheer self-preservation.”

 

Emma sat up and glared at him, crossing her arms with a huff.  After a moment, she wilted, dropping her eyes to the table before them.  “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

 

She looked so sad, so dejected that Killian leaned over and kissed her tenderly, slowly.  Her arms wound around him as she returned the embrace, seeming to take strength from their intimacy.

 

Finally, he pulled back, looking into her red-rimmed eyes.  “What is this truly about, my love?  Your proficiency in this particular domestic art has never before been an issue that affected your happiness.”

 

“It’s just…” she said, getting up to pace, “I invited everyone over for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  The whole crazy family.  I told them I would make the Turkey and stuffing, the whole nine yards.”

 

Killian vaguely recalled people throughout the town referring to an autumn holiday called Thanksgiving.  From what he’d gleaned from various conversations, the holiday consisted of eating gluttonous amounts of food and then viewing a sporting event called “football”.

 

Emma gestured toward the blackened pot in the sink.  “I have to make the whole dinner, and I can’t even figure out how to make mashed potatoes!”

 

“Potatoes?” Killian asked as he poked at the congealed mess with his hook.  “Is that what these once were?  It would seem you didn’t add enough water when you set about to boil them.”

 

“I needed to add water?”

 

Killian shot her an incredulous look.  “Aye…boiling requires liquid, love.”

 

The tears started flowing again.  “I don’t even know how to boil potatoes.  I’m so screwed.”

 

Killian took her into his arms once more, rocking her gently.  “Again, what is this really about, love?  If it were merely a matter of preparing a meal, I’ve no doubt your mother would be thrilled to assist you.”

 

Emma pulled back enough to look at him.  “It’s just…it’s Thanksgiving, you know?  I wanted to make this holiday perfect.  I wanted to…I don’t know…try to make it up to everyone for the damage I caused when I was the Dark One.  Say thank you for standing by me.  That kind of thing.”

 

Killian smiled tenderly and reached up to catch a tear with his thumb.  “None blame you, Emma.  None hold it against you.  I more than any know what you’re going through; the guilt and shame.  I did far worse than you under the curse.  But you’ve put all to rights; you’ve nothing left to atone for.”

 

She tossed him a watery smile.  “It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it?”

 

He barked out a laugh.  “Truer words were never spoken.”

 

Emma dropped back into her chair at the table and sighed again.  “Regardless, we still have a whole freaking Thanksgiving dinner to host.  What are we going to do?”

 

“We deal with it as we deal with everything, my love,” Killian said, sitting beside her, “together.  You’re no longer alone; you’ll never be alone again.  Henry and I would be honored to help you prepare this special repast.”

 

Emma leaned forward and kissed him slow and deep.  “Thank you.  What would I do without you?”

 

“Certainly not any edible cooking,” he said with a quirk of his brow.

 

Emma hit him playfully.  He captured her hand and brought it to his lips, pleased to see the smile blooming once again on her lovely face.

 

“Killian, there was one more reason I was hoping this holiday would be perfect,” she said, looking at him shyly from beneath her long lashes.

 

“Aye, love?  What’s that?”

 

“This is your first Thanksgiving, and I wanted to make it special because…”

 

“Because why?”

 

Emma abruptly got to her feet and darted toward the powder room off the kitchen.  A moment later she returned holding a small, white wand of sorts.  “Because, well, I have news, and I was planning to share it after everyone went home on Thanksgiving, but I guess now’s as good a time as any.”

 

Killian took the device she held out to him, peering in confusion at the tiny display showing two pink lines.  Was this supposed to be meaningful to him?  “My apologies love.  I’m afraid I don’t understand…”

 

Emma took his hand and looked into his eyes.  “This is a special test, Killian.  One that can tell me…what’s going on in my body.  Those two lines there?  They mean I’m pregnant.”

 

It took him a moment to catch up to what she’d said, but when he did his heart stuttered and then began racing.  “You’re with child?  I’m to be a father?”

 

She nodded, her lower lip between her teeth.  “Yeah.  I just found out today.  We’re going to have a baby!”

 

Killian whooped then took her into his arms, swinging her around as she laughed and the tears flowed once more.  Finally he put her down and kissed her as he felt the tears prick his own eyes.  A father!  He was going to be a father!  It was something for which he’d never allowed himself to hope.

 

“I hope this means you’re happy,” Emma said.

 

“Happy!  Emma, nothing on this earth could bring me more joy.”

 

She smiled beatifically.  “I hoped you’d react like that.  But, I mean, we hadn’t really talked about kids yet, and I didn’t know how you felt, and…I don’t know.”

 

He chuckled.  “Why do you think I selected such a large house, love?  Of course I want to have a family with you.  What better way to overcome our painful pasts than to share our love with a family of our own?”

 

As Killian and Emma celebrated their happy news and began planning for their upcoming Thanksgiving dinner, Killian couldn’t keep the smile off his lips.  Though he’d never before heard of the custom, he very much looked forward to this holiday called Thanksgiving.  With a wife he loved beyond all reason, a teenage son he adored, an entire family to care for and now a tiny son or daughter on the way, he had more blessings than he could count in three lifetimes.

 

There was much for which to be thankful.

 

Notes:

--Happy Thanksgiving (or rather the day after) to my readers from the U.S.!  I’m currently in a house overflowing with parents and brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews (and a couple of dogs, a turtle and a handful of fish) and I love it.

--I don’t know why, but I’ve always had the headcanon that Emma can’t cook—except for breakfast.  Why she thought it would be a good idea to tackle the super bowl of cooking—Thanksgiving dinner—I don’t know, but hopefully with Killian’s and Henry’s help she’ll provide a meal fit for her royal family.

--Also…in preparation for the episode that I’m sure will be PAIN this weekend, I thought I should give you as much CS fluffy happiness as possible—thus the baby on the way.  In general, just about everything I’ve written lately involves a CS baby on the way.  (For those who might be concerned that Emma being so upset about burnt potatoes was OOC, I did take that into account.  I figure early pregnancy hormones are strong enough to take down even the strongest of women!)

--Up next:  ??? I’m not really sure.  We’ll see where the muse leads me.  I’m contemplating writing a “deleted scene” about Killian and Henry conspiring to start “Operation Light Swan”, but I’m not sure…I’ve read other people’s take on that “missing” scene and I don’t want to accidentally plagiarize.  I guess what comes next will just be a surprise!

Chapter Text

CS genre: Deleted scene (5x4)

A smile on his lips, Killian bent down to kiss Emma once again, loving the feel of her lips against his, her soft hand in his hair, the joy and relief shining out of her eyes.  For the first time during this whole bloody ordeal he felt like things were truly going to be okay.

She made a small mewling noise as she wrapped both arms around him and pulled him yet closer.  His love for her, hers for him, it was enough to banish the bloody demon.  And love her he did.  Oh how he loved her!  She was everything in all the realms to him.  He deepened the kiss, letting just the smallest hint of passion shine through.  The bloody stables of Camelot castle were hardly the place to indulge that passion to its fullest extent, but this woman was intoxicating

The horse they’d ridden to the meadow whinnied, prompting Emma to break the embrace.  She rested her forehead against his for a moment, keeping her eyes closed, her hands framing his face.  Finally she stepped back and out of his embrace.

“I guess I should head back up to the castle,” she said, regret evident in her voice.  “I was supposed to meet Regina in Merlin’s room to continue looking for ways to get him out of the tree.  Doubt she’d be overly impressed if I showed up late with ‘Killian and I were just having a little roll in the hay’ as my excuse.”

He grinned, fluffing her hair with his hook.  “Perhaps not, darling, but it might just be blissful enough to make up for the ramifications.”

She closed her eyes for a moment and groaned.  “Don’t tempt me.”

His smile widened, and he gave her one more peck on the lips before gently shoving her in the direction of the stables doors.  “Go on love.  Find a way to free the sorcerer.  The sooner we release you from the darkness’s clutches, the sooner we can go home and indulge in whatever activities we wish.”

Killian whistled to himself as he set about the task of stabling the horse he’d…borrowed…for the trip to the Middlemist fields.  It was a bloody beautiful day, and despite Emma’s current predicament, Killian could scarcely be happier.

What precisely had she meant by “a white picket fence life”?  Perhaps he’d best search out the prince and enquire upon the significance of that particular phrase.  Whatever it meant, Killian intended to give it to his love.

Killian heard the clip-clop of an approaching horse and looked up in time to see Henry leading his own borrowed steed back to his stall.  The lad smiled to himself, a hint of pink tinting his cheeks.

“And how was your ride with the lovely young lass?” Killian asked, grin firmly in place.

The pink on Henry’s cheeks deepened, and he reached up to scratch his ear.  Killian’s heart swelled to see the lad mimicking one of his own nervous gestures.

“Great,” Henry said shortly.  “She’s…I don’t know.  I like her, okay?”

Killian smirked as he sauntered over to the lad and clapped him on the shoulder.  “Quite alright.  And she fancies you as well, aye?”

Henry glanced aside and shuffled his feet.  “I don’t know.  How do you even tell about girls?”

Killian chuckled.  “Aye, they are quite a mystery are the not?  Why not invite her on a date and find out.”

Henry looked at him, eyes rounded with shock.  “I couldn’t do that!” he insisted.  “What if she says no?  What if she doesn’t like me?”

“That my lad is the risk we all must take.  One must step out in courage if love is to truly have a chance to take root.”

Henry was silent for a moment and then nodded slightly.  “Okay, I guess you’re right, but, I mean…I don’t even know anything about planning a date.  Why does this all have to be so hard?”

Killian smiled sympathetically.  “Just treat her like a lady, Henry” he said simply.  “Show her attention.  Perhaps a meal served by candlelight at Granny’s dining establishment?  The lady in question appeared to enjoy the music you played for her on your small auditory device during the ball, perhaps you might resort to that again.  And, of course, in my experience, no lady is opposed to being presented with flowers.”

Henry stared into the distance, deep in thought, and then nodded again, the smile returning to his face.  “Thanks Killian!  I’ll try it.”

“Well done, lad.”

Killian turned back to his task at hand.  Several moments later Henry broke the silence.  “So how did it go with my mom?  Is she feeling any better?”

“Aye, that she is,” Killian said, feeling the intense relief flood his system once again.  “You were right; giving her a bit of hope, showing my love seemed to make all the difference in the world.”

“I thought so!” Henry said.  “If anyone could make her better it was you.”

“I do have one question, though,” Killian said, turning back to the boy.  “What precisely is the function of a white picket fence?”

Henry looked at him in confusion.  “What?  Why?”

“It’s what your mother wants, apparently.  She asked if I truly believed we could get back to Storybrooke and a white picket fence life.”

Henry’s confusion vanished and was replaced with evident excitement.  “She said that to you?  She said those words?”

“Aye,” Killian furrowed his brows.  “The very same.”

“That’s awesome, Killian!” Henry said.  “It means she wants a life with you; a future.  You know like the American dream—marriage, family, nice house with a white picket fence.  All of it.  She wants to be with you.”

Killian’s heart raced.  It was more than he’d ever hoped.  He knew his Swan loved him…but this?  He’d never yet let himself dream she might wish for a real, true life with him.

“I do hope you’re right, lad,” he said finally.

“Of course, I’m right!”

Killian laughed and ruffled the boy’s hair before sobering once more.  “Would that meet with your approval, Henry?” he asked carefully.  “When we return home with your mother safe and sound, would you be opposed to our relationship becoming more permanent?”

Henry shook his head.  “As long as you guys let me have a room at your house, I think it’s great!”

“Of course you’ll have a room,” Killian assured.  “You’re family.  Our home will be your home as well.  Whenever you’re not residing with your other mother we’d be honored to have you with us.”

“Cool!”  Henry said.  “So that’ll be our job.  We’ve gotta get everything ready.  Something Mom can look forward to, and, you know, give her hope and stuff.  Come on!”

Henry headed toward the stable doors beckoning Killian forward. 

“Where might we be going, Henry?”

“Back to the diner,” Henry said.  “Bet Granny has some old newspapers from before we got here.  They’re bound to have real-estate listings.  Maybe we can find ourselves a house!”

Killian felt the hope swell within him once again.  They would succeed!  They would save Swan and then the three of them could begin their life together.  It would be utterly perfect.  “Aye lad, that we can.  We’ve but one thing left to decide.”

Henry stopped and turned toward him, a confused look on his face.  “What’s that?”

“I believe this mission needs a name, aye?”

Henry smiled.  “How about ‘Operation Light Swan’?  You know, for when Mom gets better!”

Killian clasped Henry’s shoulder and squeezed affectionately.  “I can’t think of anything more fitting.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  Did everyone survive the pain of 5x10? Are you ready for another heaping helping in 2 days?  (I’m feeling good about this week!  We’ll inevitably have some heart wrenching moments and we’ll cry and all of that, but things are going to work out!  All will be well, and there will not be nearly the doom and gloom after this episode as there was after last week’s.)

--So, obviously this week’s Fluffy Friday installment takes place just after the meadow scene in 5x4.  Not a whole lot of Captain Swan direct interaction, but their love story was a thread that ran throughout.  Plus you got a lot of Captain Cobra, which I personally love.

--Here’s hoping canon gets back to these happy, fluffy CS interactions (and kisses not tinged by darkness and betrayal) in the very near future!

Chapter Text

A/N: This story was originally written as one of my “follower appreciation” gifts on Tumblr.  I gave followers a list of prompts to choose from, and those who sent me one got a cameo in their story.  This one was requested by snowbellewells, who is the Marta in the story.  Her prompt was “You’re a terrible spy, you know.”

CS genre: Future fic

“What do you think is going on with Henry?”  Emma asked as she and Killian walked hand in hand through the halls of Storybrooke High School.

Killian smiled.  “Emma, we’ve been over this.  Henry’s a good lad.  You’ve no need to fret.”

She sighed, her hand absently rubbing her distended belly as the child within kicked merrily.  Liam David was due to greet the world in two and a half weeks’ time and Emma couldn’t wait.

“I know,” she said.  “I’ve never had a moment of trouble from him, but, I mean, he is a teenager now, and with everything that’s happened…”

“You fear the trauma of the last few years—between being dragged to Neverland, and then being cursed, and then watching both you and then me become the Dark One and then accompanying you down to the Underworld to save me—will eventually manifest in truant behavior in the lad?”

“Exactly,” Emma said.  Honestly, it was more than any fourteen-year-old should have had to deal with.   He’d been so strong, her rock, through all of it, but…who knows what might happen?

She’d been so incandescently happy for the past year.  She and Killian had married almost the moment they’d returned from the Underworld.  The two of them and Henry had set up a life for themselves in her house by the sea—the house her boys had hand-picked for her.  Storybrooke had been blessedly-villain free for a full year.  Then, eight months ago, they’d found out they’d be adding a new little pirate or princess to their family.  It was the cherry on top of her perfect future with her true love.

But Emma didn’t quite trust perfect.  Seems like perfect never lasted.  For a while now she’d been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

So when Henry suddenly became evasive, when he was suddenly late coming home from school on a regular basis—with no explanation, when Emma knew, just knew he was lying to her, she naturally jumped to the worst conclusion.

“Swan,” Killian said, stopping her near a bank of lockers and placing his hand and hook on her shoulders, “relax love.  I’ve all the faith in the world in our lad.  He has the heart of the truest believer, after all.  Whatever he’s been up to in the past month, I’m sure there’s an innocent explanation.”

“I hope you’re right.”

He grinned—the mischievous grin that never failed to make her stomach swoop in the pleasantest way possible.  “Of course, love.  I’m always right.”

She rolled her eyes, chuckling as she playfully swatted at his shoulder.  “You’re so full of it.”

He laughed, stole a quick kiss, and then began walking once again.

Killian was probably right—there was probably a perfectly reasonable explanation, something—but Emma wasn’t taking any chances.  Today was the day she got some answers, whatever she had to do to get them.  She and Killian were nearing the end of the parent-teacher conferences for the year.  They had just one more conference to go—with Henry’s favorite teacher, his English teacher, Marta.  

It was kind of weird how Marta ended up in Storybrooke.  Just before Emma had led her family to the Underworld to save Killian, Marta had simply shown up.  Even she didn’t know how she got there.  She insisted she’d gone to sleep one night and then just inexplicably woken up in Storybrooke.  Well, this being Storybrooke, they’d yet to find a reliable way out, so Marta had taken up the position as the English teacher at Storybrooke High.

Killian rapped on the doorframe of the English teacher’s door, and then ushered Emma inside.  Marta got to her feet and came forward to meet then.  “So nice to see you, Mr. and Mrs. Jones.”

“Come, love,” Killian said, shaking the teacher’s hand, “I’d thought we’d gotten beyond that formality.  You dine with our family nearly every weekend.  Killian and Emma is perfectly acceptable.”

“Alright then, so nice to see you Killian and Emma,” Marta said with a smile.  “I’ve really been looking forward to this conference.  I probably shouldn’t say this, but Henry’s one of my favorites.”

Emma laughed.  “The feeling’s mutual.  Other than my mom, you’re probably his favorite teacher ever.”

“Aye,” Killian agreed with a nod.  “I’m amazed at the interest you’ve engendered in our lad.  Who’d expect a teen to show so much willingness to engage in study and homework?  You’re bloody brilliant, love.”

Marta blushed, shooting Killian a furtive, admiring glance.  Emma grinned to herself.  Her husband tended to have that effect on women, and she fully understood.  When Killian turned up the full charm on a person, how could she possibly keep from melting?

The meeting went well.  Marta talked about Henry’s exemplary grades, class participation, developed writing style, and intelligence.  Fifteen minutes later things were wrapping up.  It was now or never if Emma was to get any answers.

“So, Marta,” she said, as they all got to their feet, “do you happen to know what Henry’s up to?”

“Swan,” Killian said under his breath, “are you sure this is a good idea?”

“Yes,” Emma insisted.

“I’m not quite sure what you mean,” Marta said slowly.  “What makes you think he’s up to something?”

“It’s just,” Emma said, “Henry has been really evasive.  He’s been late getting home more days than not.  He insists he’s got a project going on at school, but he won’t tell us about it.  I’m just…worried, I guess that he’s getting himself mixed up in something bad.”

Marta chuckled.  “Trust me, you have nothing to worry about.”

“You know something, don’t you?” Emma pressed, one step away from interrogating sheriff mode.

“Yeah,” Marta said, still smiling.  “I might, but I can’t say anything.  I’ve been sworn to secrecy.  Just…you can trust Henry.  He’s not up to anything troubling.  You’ll know everything soon; you just need to be patient.”

Emma looked closely at the other woman for long moments.  She wasn’t lying—evading a bit, just like Henry, but not lying.  Emma should drop it; she knew she should, but something about her just couldn’t.  Still…it was clear if she was going to get answers, she needed to take a different tack.

She let out a deep breath and then offered her hand for Marta to shake.  “Thanks.  I’ll do that.”

Five minutes later Emma and Killian found themselves back in the hallway.  Killian turned toward the double doors that led to the parking lot, but Emma grabbed his arm and pulled him into a nearby, empty classroom.

“Emma?  What the—“

“Sh!” she said, covering his mouth with a hand.  “Do you want us to be discovered?”

Killian quirked a brow at her.  “Well, darling, I’d be more likely to have an answer to that question if I knew what we’re doing that we wish to not be discovered.”

“We’re going undercover,” Emma said, stepping close (well, as close as she could get with her nearly 9-month pregnant belly) and dropped her voice further.  “Killian, we need to find out what Henry’s up to.  Now, from what Marta told us, he’s somewhere in the building; whatever’s going on it does have to do with school, so all we have to do is case the joint and find him.”

Killian chuckled under his breath, shaking his head.  “Love, Marta just told you, you have nothing to fear in what Henry’s doing.  Give him a little credit, Swan.”

She glared at him.  “Are you seriously trying to argue with your extremely pregnant wife?”

“I wouldn’t dare,” he laughed again.  “So darling, what’s the plan?”

“Stick with me, Jones,” she said, looking furtively down both sides of the hallway before beckoning him forward.  “We’ve been down all the main academic halls.  Now it’s time to check the fine arts wing.  Just…don’t get caught!”

“Aye, aye, love,” Killian said, giving a precise salute which she greeted with an eye roll.

During the first ten minutes, they managed to entirely avoid detection.  Unfortunately they also managed to entirely avoid answers.  Henry wasn’t in the music hall way, nor was he in the art all.  They were running out of options.  If they didn’t find him in the drama and audiovisual rooms Emma was officially out of options.

“Swan, there!” Killian said, pointing with one ringed finger toward a room labeled ‘filming studio.’  “If I’m not mistaken, that’s the lad’s voice I hear.”

Emma listened carefully for a moment, and a smile draped her face as she heard her son’s rapidly deepening voice.  “Got him!  Let’s go!”

They crept quietly into the room through the partially opened door, careful not to make a sound. Emma peered around a curtain to see Henry sitting before a video camera, his storybook and a photo album sitting on a small table behind him.  A hand-made sign reading ‘Operation Stork’ hung proudly against the plain black background.

“I know this family can be confusing,” Henry said to the camera, “but I’m your big brother Henry, and I’m going help you every step of the way.”

There was a muted crash, and Emma whirled (awkwardly) to find her husband standing over an overturned stool, face red and hand already going to scratch behind his ear.  “Sorry love.  Must have bumped the stool.”

Emma took a deep breath, preparing to give her clumsy husband a piece of her mind when…

“Mom?  Killian?  What are you doing here?”  Henry stepped behind the curtain and glared at his parents.

Emma felt her face flush, and turned back toward Killian.  "You’re a terrible spy, you know?  Keeping absolutely silent is stake-out 101.“

Killian glanced aside, grinning in evident embarrassment.  “I seem to have missed that particular course, love.”

“Seriously,” Henry said.  “Why are you here?”

“Aye Swan,” Killian said, righting the stool, taking a seat, leaning back and grinning in amusement.  “Why is it that we’re here?”

Emma sighed in defeat.  They were caught fair and square.  “We wanted to know…”

Killian cleared his throat.

“Fine!  I wanted to know what you’ve been doing after school every day,” Emma said.  “You were being suspicious as hell, kid.  Can you blame me for wondering?”

“You’re supposed to trust me, Mom!” Henry said, crossing his arms and scowling.  “I’m not gonna do bad stuff.  Last thing I want to do is let you and Killian down after all you’ve been through.  You’re finally happy again, and I don’t want to mess that up.”

Emma felt about an inch tall.  Of course her son, who’d never done anything to cause her problems wasn’t starting now.  She should have known better.

“I’m sorry, kid,” she said in a small voice.  “I guess I messed up.  You’re right; I should have given you the benefit of the doubt.”

Henry continued to scowl for another minute or so, and then deflated.  He pulled the curtain back and gestured toward the make-shift stage he’d created.  “I guess the cat’s out of the bag now, so I might as well tell you.  I was making a video.  For the baby.  I just…I don’t know, wanted to let my little brother know that he has a big brother who’s got his back.  I was trying to, you know, introduce him to our family.  I’ve got the storybook and pictures of everyone and videos I’ve been making on my phone.  I know how overwhelming it can all be and I just…” he shrugged self-consciously, “I wanted to be a good big brother.”

Emma felt her eyes fill.  She had the best son in the world.  “Henry…” she said in a watery voice, “kid, that’s perfect.  Your little brother is going to love it!”

Killian got to his feet and a moment later, Emma felt his arm around her waist.  “Aye, lad, as a man who knows the value of a good older brother I can assure you, our family’s newest member is blessed indeed.”

“It was supposed to be a surprise,” Henry said with a small pout.  “I was going to give it to you guys in the hospital just after the baby was born.”

Emma surged forward and wrapped her son in her arms.  “I’m so sorry for ruining your surprise.  Surprise or not, though, there’s no question.  This’ll be one of my absolute favorite gifts ever.”

“You mean that?”

“Yeah, I do,” she said.  “It might have taken us a long time to get here, but I think we have the best family in the world.  I can’t wait for this little guy to discover it for himself.”

 

Notes:

--Well, we survived the midseason finale, even if Killian didn’t. (Too soon? Lol.  But I totally wouldn’t even joke about that if I thought there was any chance my favorite pirate was truly dead for good.)  I actually really liked the episode, despite the pain, and thought it was far less traumatizing than 5x8 or 5x10.  And now that Emma’s planning to literally go to hell (okay, more like purgatory) to rescue Killian and give him half her heart so he can live, I think “Prince Charles” will finally know that, yes, “Princess Leia” is as willing to go to the ends of the earth or time for him as he is for her.

--And my apparent inability to write anything but Emma and Killian expecting a baby continues!  I really think these two deserve a chance to just be happy and in love and all domestic and everything for a while.  Seriously, Killian’s had to temporarily die three times in the space of a few weeks (Storybrooke time).  Surely that’s enough angst for any couple for a good long time!

--Up next:  I’m not entirely sure.  I have a nice long list of fluffy ideas, so I might pull from there.  Then again, I might throw in a holiday-themed fic or two over the next few weeks.  As always, if you have any “deleted scene”, “canon divergence” moment or au idea you really want to see turned into a Fluffy Friday chapter, send them my way!  Given the way the arc ended—and the direction it looks like they’re going for 5b, it looks like the need for Fluffy Friday fics will continue for the foreseeable future.

 

Chapter Text

CS genre: Future Fic (3 months post 5b)

 

Emma woke, as she woke every morning any more—with a smile on her lips and a song in her heart.  The sun shone brightly into her bedroom window, letting her know it would be time to get up soon, but her bed was warm and cozy and she had no intention of leaving it until she had to.  She stretched and turned over, hoping to spend a few more minutes snuggling with her husband before it was time to start the day.

 

Only her hand landed on empty sheets rather than a furry pirate chest.  Emma sat up abruptly, her heart stilling before beginning to race, the panic hitting with no warning.

 

It had been three months since she, Killian and the rest of her family had returned from the Underworld, and though time had eased the pain of their two-month-long ordeal with the darkness and Killian’s subsequent death, it was still difficult for Emma to let her true love out of her sight; it was still difficult to keep the fear at bay whenever they were apart.

 

Emma tossed the covers aside, stepped into her furry slippers, and wrapped herself in her warm bath robe.  She tossed open the bedroom door, and hurried into the hall.  No sooner had she stepped out of her room then the smell of frying bacon teased her nose, and the sound of her boys talking and laughing met her ears.

 

She let out the breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding.  They were fine.  They were both fine; safe, happy, and here with her.

 

“Come on, Killian!” Henry cajoled.  “It’s Christmas morning!  Can’t we just wake her up?  She’ll sleep all day if we let her, and I can’t wait for you guys to open my present!”

 

Emma grinned as she stepped into the kitchen and leaned against the doorframe waiting for her two true loves to notice her.

 

“You know as well as I that’s a dangerous prospect lad,” Killian said, turning toward the stove and flipping the pancakes with the handy spatula attachment he’d replaced his hook with for the task at hand.  “You know full well that waking your mother is akin to bearding the lion in its den.”

 

Emma cleared her throat, masking her amusement with a fierce scowl.  “Excuse me?”

 

Two pairs of startled eyes met hers, and then Killian reached up to scratch at that much abused spot behind his ear.  “Merry Christmas, love!  I just…I wanted to let you sleep.  I didn’t mean…you see, we understand.  But when you don’t get your sleep you are sometimes…not that you aren’t bloody brilliant at all times, but…”

 

Emma chuckled, sauntered up to him, and placed a quick kiss against his lips.  “Merry Christmas, Killian, and I think you’d better stop while you’re ahead.”

 

She noticed the tips of his ears reddening as she pulled back.  “Aye, love.  Perhaps you’re right.”

 

Henry launched himself at her, wrapping her in an exuberant hug.  “Merry Christmas, mom!”

 

“You too, kid.  From what I heard, it sounds like someone’s excited to open presents.”

 

He grinned.  “Yeah, maybe a little.  But Killian convinced me it would be better to have breakfast first.”

 

Emma’s stomach growled.  “Smart man.  So what can I help you guys with?”

 

Killian stepped to her side, kissed her cheek and handed her a mug of hot cocoa, topped, of course with whipped cream and cinnamon. “Not a thing at all, my love.  You do so much for us, for all of the townsfolk.  It’s time you allowed your men to spoil you.”

 

“Yeah, mom!” Henry said, turning her toward the living room.  “Why don’t you go relax; maybe turn on some Christmas music.”

 

Her smile widened.  “How could I say no to that?”

 

After turning on the stereo, Emma settled into their plush, comfortable couch, looking up at their magnificent Christmas tree as she sipped at her cocoa. 

 

This was Killian’s first Christmas in the land without magic, and Emma and Henry had been determined to make this a holiday to remember.  Her inquisitive husband had jumped into the holiday traditions with both feet, spending long hours searching out books and movies about the season, peppering everyone with questions, setting out to fulfill each and every time-honored ritual.

 

He and Henry had taken an axe and trekked into the woods on the morning after Thanksgiving, and they’d subsequently returned with the biggest, most magnificent Christmas tree Emma had ever seen.  The three of them had spent hours stringing it with lights, hanging ornaments, positioning it just so, ensuring it was an outward expression of their inner joy.

 

Killian had gone on to hang three stockings on the mantle, meticulously neat and tidy, of course—and sprigs of mistletoe everywhere he could think of.  Emma had to admit, she was rather glad she’d told Killian about that particular tradition. 

 

(Henry, not so much.  The way he complained about the two of them making out all the time you’d think the kid was traumatized for life.  Henry couldn’t fool her, though.  She saw the pleased grins he tried to hide behind his eye rolls and groans of adolescent angst.  Truth was, all of them were utterly, stupidly happy just to be together and alive and in the land of the living.  Not much would really annoy any of them for some time to come.)

 

The result was that their home looked like something out of one of those cheesy Christmas movies, and Emma couldn’t be happier. 

 

Other than the year with Henry in New York, Emma had never been much for Christmas.  Watching all those happy families smiling and laughing, enjoying each other’s company, the love and joy clearly showing on each of their faces—well, it was nothing short of agonizing for a lonely, lost girl. 

 

But she wasn’t a lonely lost girl anymore.  She was part of a family—a family she deeply loved, and one that she knew loved her just as much.

 

She couldn’t ask for anything more perfect or more magical.  Christmas was a time for love, a time for family.  Emma smiled to herself as she thought about the plans she and her parents had made for today.  She had one last plan for making this a Christmas her husband would never forget, one last surprise for the man who’d proven there was nothing he wouldn’t do for her; the man who had given her her happy ending.  When her parents had come to her with the idea, she’d cried, overwhelmed at the beauty of the plan, at the joy it would bring Killian.

 

Yes, Christmas was a time for family, and she was bound and determined to show her pirate that he never needed to spend a lonely holiday—or any other day—again.

 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

 

Emma laughed at something Henry said, and Killian smiled to himself, picking up her hand and lacing their fingers as they walked.  It was a bitter cold afternoon, but yesterday’s snowstorm had given way to a brilliantly sunny Christmas day, and he and Emma and the lad had decided to walk the few blocks to her parents’ abode for Christmas dinner.

 

It did his heart good to see his wife so happy.  The darkness and its consequences had weighed heavily on both of them, and for weeks after their return, Emma had woken nearly every night with the nightmares.  The haunted look had finally begun to leave her face; the fear to leave her eyes.  Killian knew her excitement over this Christmas holiday was a large factor, and for that alone, he would adore this holiday to the end of his days.

 

Killian sighed softly to himself, careful not to let his small family hear the wistful sound.  He was happy; truly he was.  Having Emma as his wife, Henry as his son…it was more than he could have ever dreamed.  Not for anything in all the realms would he give up this life he was privileged to lead.

 

This holiday, this Christmas, it put such emphasis on love, on family joining together.  He loved Emma and Henry with all his heart; he was profoundly humbled and grateful for the way Emma’s parents had welcomed him with open arms into their family.  (Even now, some three months later, his eyes still welled remembering the moment he realized not only Emma and her lad, but her parents, Regina and Locksley had all travelled to the Underworld for him, because they cared about him, because they couldn’t stand the thought of him being gone from their lives.)

 

Even so, there was a bit of bitterness mixed in with the sweet.  The truth was, Killian missed his family—his beloved brother and the father he’d been privileged to reconcile with in the Underworld.  It had been a beautiful time among the horror and ashes, and Killian would never be able to express his gratitude to Emma for agreeing to wed him there, in the underworld with Liam as officiant and his papa as witness.

 

But all things must come to an end.  When he and Emma succeeded in breaking Hades’ stranglehold over the Underworld, his father and brother had finally been ushered to their eternal reward in the land of paradise.  Killian had willingly returned to the land of the living with his new wife at his side, secure in the knowledge that the two men he loved more than anyone in any realm (save for the woman beside him) were finally happy and at peace.

 

Henry ran ahead up the steps and knocked on the Charmings’ door, his gift for Grandma and Gramps held proudly in his free hand.  A moment later, the lady Snow opened the door and soon enveloped each of them, in turn, in a warm, motherly hug.

 

“So glad you guys got her!” she said, ushering them inside.  “Dinner’s almost ready.”

 

Killian looked around at the assembled group, the Charmings, the young prince Neal, Regina and Robin with their children--all smiled happily, talking and laughing, welcoming him with joy.  It was enough.  It was far more than enough; far more than he’d ever thought to have.  Far more than enough to push the tiny ache of loss to the far corner of his mind.

 

“Smells good in here!” Henry said, peering into the oven.  “Did you make your famous lasagna, mom?”

 

Regina ruffled Henry’s hair.  “That I did.  And my apple turnovers—and don’t worry, Miss Swan…er…Mrs. Jones, this batch is completely free of sleeping curse—for dessert.”

 

“Awesome!” Henry said.  “Can we eat?”

 

“In just a minute kid,” Emma said.  “We just have to wait until a couple more people get here.”

 

Killian looked around in surprise.  It appeared the family was all assembled.  “Who else are we missing, love?”

 

Emma shared a look with her parents, and Killian noticed the tears in her eyes, the secret smile on her face.

Charming stepped forward, holding out a small, non-descript canteen, which Killian automatically took.  “Hook…Killian,” he began, “before Merida took the portal back to her land, she gave us a gift as a token of her appreciation.  That canteen you’re holding.”

 

“That was…thoughtful,” Killian said, staring in bemusement at the object in question.

 

“Yes, it was.  It really was,” Snow said, stepping forward in her turn, “but it’s not the canteen, but the ale that’s in it that’s the real gift.”

 

“Killian,” Emma said, smiling up at him.  “It’s not just any ale.  It’s a special ale Merida got from a witch in her land.  The person who pours it on the ground can bring back loved ones who have passed on—temporarily at least.”

 

Killian’s eyes widened, and he shot startled looks at all of them.  “You mean…you mean, I could bring…?”

 

“Yeah,” Charming said.  “We discussed it, and we all agreed.  That last cup of ale should go to you.  Emma wanted to make your first Christmas special; she thought you might like to invite your own family to our feast.”

 

Killian’s vision blurred as he looked down at his wife.  “You’d do this for me, love?”

 

She reached up and cupped his face, bringing him down for a quick kiss.  “I’d do anything for you, Killian.  I thought you’d know that by now.  I know how much you miss them, and, well, I just wanted to make you happy.”

 

Killian smiled shakily, returning her kiss, brushing away a tear from her cheek.  “You do make me happy, love.  Every day you make me happy.  I wouldn’t trade our life together for anything.”

 

“I know,” she said with a smile, “but it doesn’t mean you don’t miss those you’ve lost.  I get that.  I really do.  So, when I found out there was a way to bring them back for the afternoon, I hopped right on that.  Besides, I think it would be amazing to have the whole family together for Christmas.”

 

“I love you,” he said, swooping in for another kiss.

 

“And I love you.”

 

“All of this love is great,” Regina drawled, “but you think we could get on with it?  My lasagna just came out of the oven, and if it gets cold because of your yearning looks and doe eyes, I might start throwing fireballs.”

 

Killian grinned.  “I wouldn’t dare risk such a thing, your majesty.”

 

Taking a deep breath, he pulled the stopper from the canteen and poured its contents on the floor of the Charming’s loft.  Before it hit the ground, it transformed into a fine, golden mist, and when it cleared Liam and Brennan Jones stood before him, brilliant grins draping their handsome faces.

 

“It looks like you’ve done quite well for yourself, little brother,” Liam said, stepping forward.

 

“I think you mean ‘younger’ brother,” Killian said, voice suspiciously gravelly, before launching himself into his brother’s arms.

 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

 

Several hours later, Emma lay in bed with her head cushioned on her true love’s chest.  She reached up and absently fiddled with the charms on his necklace as she listened to the winter wind howl outside. 

 

Killian leaned down and captured her lips in a tender kiss that went on and on.  When it finally came to an end, she rested her forehead against his.

 

“Not that I’m complaining, but what was that about?” She asked, smiling at him.

 

“I love you so bloody much, Emma, sometimes I cannot contain myself.”

 

She chuckled, settling back in against his chest and planting a quick kiss against the space above his heart.  “I love you too.  So how was your first Christmas?  Did it live up to all the hype?”

 

Killian was silent for a moment, absently running his fingers through her hair.  “It was everything I could have imagined and far more, love.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You will never know what those two hours with my brother and my father meant to me.”

 

“I think I can guess,” she said.  “We’re kindred spirits, remember?  The lost boy and the lost girl who finally found each other.”

 

“Not lost anymore, love,” he said, and she felt the deep rumble of his voice as much as she heard it.  “Though we each possess but half a heart now, mine has never felt so whole or complete.  Liam may have spoken of all the wonders he’s found in paradise, but I’d wager no wonder could compare to having you here in my arms on this Christmas night.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  Exactly one week until Christmas, so of course Fluffy Fridays had to reflect that!  I’ve been having all kinds of Captain Cobra Swan and Jones family feels lately, so it’s only natural that it all spill out into my writing. 

--I think it would be quite the missed opportunity if they never revisited the “resurrecting the dead” ale stuff that Merida got in 5x9—and as long as they’re using it to resurrect people, Liam is the person I’d like to bring back more than any other (after, of course, Emma manages to bring Killian back to the land of the living).

--I couldn’t really fit it into the story, but in case you were wondering, I do know what Henry was so excited to give CS for Christmas:  As the new author, he took one of the blank books from the sorcerer’s house and wrote Emma and Killian their own storybook.  He wrote (and illustrated) all of their adventures, from Emma finding the “blacksmith” amid a pile of bodies, all the way to Killian and Emma marrying and returning from the underworld.  He has plans to update their storybook each Christmas with the year’s new adventures.

 --Up next:  the next two weeks will bring more holiday fics.  Next week’s will probably be…totally ridiculous.  I’m envisioning Santa Claus coming to Storybrooke (because, I mean, if fairy tale characters and characters from legend and Greek mythology are real, why not Santa?)…dishing out a whole new curse with the intention of spreading Christmas cheer…

Chapter Text

Santa Claus is Coming To Town

CS genre: future fic (post 5b)

The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

                                                                                    ~Buddy the Elf~

Emma woke abruptly, hand going immediately to her racing heart.  It had been six months since their return from the Underworld, but she still had the dream with frightening regularity:  She had to watch Killian die again, sacrificing himself for all of them.  They made it to the Underworld, but just as they were about to reach Killian, he slipped from her grasp, falling farther and farther away from her until he was lost to her for good.

She swiveled her head to the side and then sighed in relief. He lay there beside her, sleeping peacefully, the ghost of a smile on his lips.  She still felt the tears gather at the thought that the reality had been far from her nightmare.  She had found Killian; she’d brought him home.  They’d married as soon as it could be arranged; neither wanting to wait another second to make the vows that would join them together as one forever.

Emma smoothed the unruly hair away from her husband’s face, and then bent down to kiss him, needing to reassure herself that he was alive and well and here with her.  She’d meant it to be just a quick kiss, a peck, but the moment her lips met his, the familiar fire that was ever-present between them fanned into flame.

He groaned deep in his chest and breathed her name, hand coming to tangle in her hair, mouth slanting to meet hers, to deepen the kiss, before he was even fully awake.  The kiss went on for long moments, becoming more all-consuming with each passing moment, but finally Killian pulled away, breathing heavily.

“That was quite the pleasant way to wake, my love,” he said, his voice still gravely from sleep.  “To what do I owe this show of affection?”

She stroked his face, smiling down at him, not wanting to mar the moment with talk of her dream.  She shrugged.  “Merry Christmas, Killian.”

He gave her a searching look, his brow furrowing in obvious concern.  “It was the dream again, wasn’t it, Swan?”

She flopped back onto her side of the bed with a sigh.  The man was too perceptive for his own good.  “Yeah.  Six months back home and safe and everything, and I still have the dream.  I just, I don’t know, I needed to reassure myself that you’re here and safe and all of that.”

He raised up on one elbow, looking down at her, running his fingers through her messy curls.  After a moment he turned from concerned husband to dashing rapscallion.  “I assure you I am, Emma.  If you, however need to be convinced, I’ve more than a few thoughts on how to put your mind at ease.”

Emma felt the desire coil deep within at the heated look in his eyes and she smiled up at him before bringing his mouth back to hers.  “Yeah, I think I could use a little convincing, pirate.”

This kiss was all heat and white hot passion from the start.  Emma felt Killian’s hand move to the buttons on her pajama top, and things were about to get really interesting, when suddenly their bedroom door slammed open.

“We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year,” came Leroy’s loud voice.  A moment later, the man himself—along with his usual grumpy scowl—came into view.

“What the hell?” Killian growled as he rolled off of Emma and shot the dwarf a look that could kill.

Emma hastily re-buttoned her pajama top and then sat up, looking at the people pouring into her bedroom—the dwarfs, Regina and Robin, Granny and Ruby, her parents, Henry—the latter three looking extremely uncomfortable at the scene they’d burst in upon.  “You guys ever think about, I don’t know, knocking before you barge into a person’s house? And their bedroom?”

“No time, sister,” Grumpy said with a scowl.  “Seems like we’ve been cursed again and we’re gonna need the savior.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

“Wait,” Emma said, holding up a hand and looking at her family and friends now surrounding her booth at Granny’s.  “You’re telling me that Santa, Santa Claus is real too?  And that he cursed us?  How does this even happen?”

Ruby walked past singing “Santa baby”, while in the far corner Archie and Marco began a rousing chorus of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the year.”  Henry joined Emma and Killian in their booth.

“Yeah…” he said, glancing aside.  “I, um…I think this is my fault.  I kind of wrote a letter to Santa and, well, this happened.”

“You…you wrote a letter to Santa asking him to curse us so that we all break out into Christmas songs every few moments?” Emma asked, rolling her eyes as the rest of the dwarfs surrounded Leroy and started singing “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.”

“Kid, this’s got to be the most annoying curse ever.”

“You’re telling me,” Granny groused, stopping by their booth on the way to serve a couple in the back who’d just begun serenading each other with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and looking very displeased about it.  “If I have to hear Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer one more time, the blue-plate special might start coming with a side of poison.”

“Oh please,” Regina said with an eye roll worthy of a queen, “you think that’s bad?  Roland’s been singing The Twelve Days of Christmas more or less non-stop for the past twenty-four hours.  I’m about to go all Evil Queen on everyone.”

“Well, lad,” Killian said, fixing Henry with a stern, fatherly look, “your mother asked you a question.  What have you to say for yourself?  Why did you go to this ‘Santa’ fellow and request a curse?”

Henry sighed deeply.  “I didn’t request a curse,” he said.  “I just.  I don’t know, wanted everyone to get a little Christmas spirit, you know, after you all decided to skip Christmas and everything.  I didn’t want Santa to curse you!  I just thought we needed all the peace and love and joy and family and all that holiday stuff we could get after what we’ve been through.  I asked Santa to help me think of a way to make everyone see that we need Christmas more than ever this year.”

The holly and the ivy, when they are both full grown, of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown,” Ashley and Thomas sang—in perfect harmony—as they stopped by the table.  “Emma!  You’ve got to help us stop this!”

“Alright everybody,” Emma said, bringing her hands to her temples.  “Just…let me think for a minute.”

It was true what Henry said; they had made a town-wide decision to skip Christmas this year.  It had been decided that after everything everyone had been through lately—between Zelena and the Queens of Darkness and then both Killian and her becoming Dark Ones and then Rumple’s renewed betrayal, and then going through hell to bring Killian back—that they deserved a break, a chance to just catch their breath and renew their strength before the next villain showed up (or Rumple found a way back from the Underworld where they’d left him).  There was no doubt the new year would bring a new curse or villain or crisis of some type.  Last thing they all needed was the hustle and bustle and stress of the Christmas season.

Henry had been disappointed, of course, but she’d promised to make it up to him.  He’d seemed to accept it graciously enough after that, and Emma had hoped he accepted the towns decision.

Guess not, if he was writing letters to Santa requesting Yuletide backup.

“Not to state the obvious,” Killian said, settling his arm around Emma’s waist, “but there is a tried and true method for breaking curses.  Has anyone thought to try True Love’s Kiss?”

“Couldn’t hurt,” David said turning toward Mary Margaret. 

Emma watched as her father bent toward her mother, as Robin took Regina in his arms, and then felt her own true love nudge her with his hook.  “Shall we do our part as well, love?”

“Yeah, I think we’d better,” Emma said, smiling up at him.  She took his face into her hands and pulled him down to her.  This kiss was warm and sweet as ever, sending a rush of her true love magic rushing through her system—but no pulse of electricity; no waves of rainbow-tinted light.

As the strains of Mulan singing Do You Hear What I Hear filled the otherwise quiet diner, Emma came to realize they were dealing with a foe more formidable than any of them had expected.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

It was a rather demoralized group that trudged back into Granny’s a couple hours later.  Sleepy sang “Deck the Halls” in between yawns, but otherwise silence reined.  They’d yet to find a cure for their musical malady.

This “Christmas” was an odd custom, Killian thought to himself as he slid into a booth and then promptly laced his fingers with his wife’s.  It was purported to be a happy time, full of magic and merriment, but the residents of Storybrooke regarded it nearly as drudgery.

Then there was this “Santa Claus” fellow.  Per Swan, he was said to be the very embodiment of the Christmas spirit—both jolly and benevolent.

Having just met the man, he could vouch for the jolly part, but benevolent…that was far more up for debate.

They’d no more than determined True Love’s Kiss was not a solution to this particular curse than Belle had burst into the diner, book in hand (singing “Jingle Bell Rock” under her breath—an odd song, that).

“I think I know who Santa is in Storybrooke!” she’d announced.  “You know that guy, Kris who runs the North Pole Ice Rink?  It’s got to be him!  Think about it, he’s got a long white beard, his laugh sounds like ‘ho, ho, ho’ and he’s always warning trouble-makers that he’s keeping a list and checking it twice.”

“That does sound like Santa,” Henry agreed.

“Now that we’ve presumably found our villain, what do we propose to do about the situation?” Killian asked, idly caressing Emma’s hand with his thumb.

“I don’t think he’s a villain, exactly,” Belle said, brow furrowed.  “Maybe…if we just, I don’t know, asked him nicely he’ll lift the curse for us.”

Regina tutted and rolled her eyes.  “Yeah, I’m sure jolly old St. Nick’s just going to do what we want because we asked nicely.”

Emma sighed deeply.  “Well it’s worth a shot.  Don’t hear anyone else coming up with a better solution.”

And so they’d walked to the ice rink and discovered that Kris Kringle was indeed the Santa fellow they were in search of.  They’d walked in the door of the establishment to be greeted by a large number of very small men—elves, Swan had called them—all singing “Here Comes Santa Claus” as a man with a long white beard, rosy cheeks, a rotund belly and a permanent look of good humor came forward to greet them.

Most unfortunately, the Evil Queen had been quite correct.  While Santa had laughed merrily, he’d flat out refused to accede to their request, insisting the terms of the curse were quite absolute.  The compulsive singing would only come to an end when the town had achieved sufficient Christmas spirit and come to accept and embrace the holiday at hand.

And so, thwarted again, they’d returned to the diner to plot a new strategy.

“Hark the herald angels sing,” the fairies began from the other side of Granny’s.

“Not to state the obvious,” Leroy began, “but True Love’s Kiss didn’t work; confronting Santa didn’t work; we’re about to strike out.”

“How about you keep your unhelpful comments to yourself, dwarf?” Regina snarled.

“Watch it sister,” Leroy returned, “you can take your attitude and shove it up your…”

Emma slashed the air with her hand; just in time, it would seem.  The queen seemed on the point of forming a fireball.  “Not helping guys.”

Killian wrapped an arm around Emma’s shoulders, and she slumped against him with a sigh.  “Perhaps we didn’t get the result we hoped from our confrontation with Santa Claus, but it is possible that we obtained a solution to our problem none the less.”

Emma turned toward him.  “What do you mean?”

“Well,” he answered, smiling down at her.  “Santa did offer us a way to break the curse.  We simply need to embrace the spirit of this Christmas.  Perhaps it wasn’t what we planned, but it would seem the choice is simple: either we follow the demands of the curse, or we learn to live with the constant barrage of musical offerings from this town’s citizens.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s

“Just a little to the left, David” Mary Margaret said, stepping back and tilting her head to the side.  “No, back to the right, but just a tiny bit…there!  Perfect.”

“Okay folks,” Leroy said, grin on his face, “ready to light it up?”

A chorus of cheers greeted him as he put the plug into the socket.

Emma grinned as she heard the delighted gasp of her pirate husband who was holding her close to him on their couch.  “Swan!” he breathed.  “You’ve the daftest customs in your land; who would think to bring a tree inside and decorate it?  I must admit, however, that draped with the baubles and festive lights it’s a wonder to behold.”

She leaned over and kissed his cheek before settling back with her head on his shoulder.  “Yeah, it certainly is.”

It had been decided that Killian’s idea was the only real solution to the town’s problem.  Regina and Leroy had objected at first, insisting that it set a bad precedent, bowing to Yuletide terrorists, but in the end, they’d been overruled.

Henry had been so excited, he’d immediately started planning, calling the new mission “Operation Reindeer”.  How could Emma deny her son when he was so enthusiastic?  And really, what was so bad about Christmas anyway?  Why had they all been so insistent not to so much as put up a string of Christmas lights?

In the end, getting into the Christmas spirit herself, Emma had offered the Swan-Jones house as a meeting place and begun planning a Christmas party, the likes of which Storybrooke had never seen.

Emma smiled, burrowing deeper into her husband’s side as her mom and Regina put the last touches on the tree.  She had to admit, this was kind of…nice.  There’d been a spirit of joy and anticipation that had settled over the whole town as everyone pitched in to show Christmas that when they invited someone in and held a party in its honor, they did a proper job of it.

As the talking, laughing and merry-making continued long into the night, Emma suddenly realized something.  “Killian, I haven’t heard a single person sing a carol in about three hours!”

He kissed her softly. “It would appear you’ve broken yet another curse, love, though I’d never doubt you.  There’s not a curse in any realm that’s a match for you.”

“Not me,” Emma said, looking around at her family and friends, “us.  All of us.”

“Be that as it may,” Killian said, affixing a sprig of mistletoe onto his hook and holding it above them.  “You’re still bloody brilliant.  Now, if I’m to understand correctly, there is a tradition in this realm related to the weed on my hook.  In the spirit of Christmas, I believe we really must comply.”

“Oh, you think so, do you?”

“Most assuredly.”

She laughed, reaching up with both arms and pulling him down to her.  He came more than willingly, his lips curved into a delighted smile as she thoroughly and enthusiastically fulfilled the requirements of standing beneath the mistletoe.

“So, pirate,” she whispered, lips still against his.  “If I remember right, we were in the middle of something when the town burst in on us this morning.  What do you say we wrap this party up and get back to that?”

His smile turned decidedly wicked.  “I’d say of all the brilliant ideas you’ve had today, that is most definitely your best.”

Notes:

--Merry Christmas and Happy Friday!  I’m posting much earlier than usual this week, but I thought I’d better before all the family gets to my parents’ house for Christmas.  Once the nieces and nephews arrive, I doubt I’ll have a free moment to post all day!

--I fully admit that this particular story was totally ridiculous.  I’m not really sure where it came from—other than lack of sleep and all the Christmas festivities that have been going on in my life lately.  I know there are those who find Christmas and all the hustle and bustle to be stressful, but it really is my favorite time of year—I love every bit of it, especially all the Christmas carols!

--Up next: One more holiday themed (or at least winter themed) story—this one a Lieutenant Duckling AU, and then it’s back to deleted scenes and canon divergences.

Chapter Text

The First Snowfall of Winter

 

CS Genre: Lieutenant Duckling

 

This is another “recycled” story.  It was originally written for the CS Secret Santa event and posted on my Tumblr blog on Christmas Eve.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

There was an ancient saying in the kingdom of Misthaven that the first snowfall of the winter was a magical thing, that those who first met beneath its soft flakes would share a lifelong bond…

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Nine-year-old Killian Jones slumped down on a large rock outside the stables, biting his lip to keep it from quivering, blinking rapidly to keep the tears at bay.  He wasn’t a baby!  He wasn’t going to cry!

 

Liam said this was a good thing; that he would be well cared for; that they’d be able to make a life for themselves now, and Killian believed him.  Of course he was grateful to be away from Capt’n—he still had bruises from the last beating the tyrant had given him, the beating that convinced Liam that they needed to make a run for it.  And King David and Queen Snow seemed quite kind and gentle. 

 

Aye, he was grateful for the turn their lives had taken, but he couldn’t help the lump in his throat when he thought of what happened yesterday.  Was it not bad enough that Papa had left him?  Did Liam really have to leave too?

 

“I’m not leaving you, little brother,” Liam had said patiently when Killian had objected to the arrangement.  “I’m merely going to sea.  You know what an opportunity it is that King David gave us.  A cabin boy in the Royal Navy!  Me!  I’ll soon earn enough money to get us our own home and an education and everything we could want.”

 

“But we’ll be apart for three whole months, Liam!” Killian had wailed.  “We’re all the family we have left!”

 

Liam slung an arm awkwardly over his brother’s shoulder.  “I’ll miss you too, but the three months will fly by like the wind.  You’ll see!  King David has promised to care for you; employ you as his stable boy.  You’ll be so busy learning and working with his magnificent steeds you won’t even have time to miss me!  And then I’ll be back.  Besides, in a few short years you’ll be old enough to be a cabin boy too, and then we’ll be together always.”

 

But a few short years felt like an eternity to a little boy who felt all alone in the world.  A stubborn tear he couldn’t quite hold back tracked its way down his cheek, and Killian wiped it away hastily.

 

“Are you crying?”

 

Killian startled at the voice, and looked up to see a little girl with blonde ringlets and compassionate green eyes.

 

“No,” he said in a thick voice.  “I’m not a baby; I don’t cry!”

 

The little girl sat on the rock beside him.  “It’s not just babies that cry; even my papa cries sometimes.  Are you sad?”

 

“Aye,” he said with a sigh, realizing it would be useless to lie.  “I miss my brother Liam.  I wish he was here with me.”

 

The girl was quiet for a moment, just looking at him.  Killian shivered and pulled his coat closer around him as the winter wind began to blow.

 

“You’re the new stable boy, aren’t you?” the little girl said suddenly.  “Mama said we have a new one and that I should be nice to you ‘cause you’re lonely.  I’m Emma, by the way.”

 

The little girl stuck out one tiny hand, and after a moment Killian shook it.  Then her name and what she said struck him.  Hastily he got to his feet and sketched a bow.  “Emma…you’re Princess Emma aren’t you?  The daughter of King David and Queen Snow?”

 

Emma grimaced.  “Yes, I’m the princess.  But I want to be just Emma; not princess Emma.  Everybody calls me ‘Your Highness’ and bows and treats me like I’m some kind of breakable doll.  I don’t want people to be my subjects; I just want someone to be my friend!  I’m lonely too.”

 

A few stray flakes of snow began lazily drifting down, coating their hair and shoulders.  Killian sat back beside the little girl and offered his hand in turn.  “A pleasure to meet you ‘just Emma’.  My name is Killian.  Perhaps we can be friends; then neither of us need be lonely.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

…that a vow made during the first snowfall would never be broken…

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Emma pulled back her arm and then threw with all her nine-year-old might.  Her aim was true, and a moment later Killian dropped to the ground, felled by the snowball that hit him squarely in the back.

 

“Just you wait, Swan!” he growled, getting to his feet and scraping the snow together to form his own ammunition.  “I will get my vengeance!”

 

“Not if you can’t catch me!” Emma said, giggling and running as fast as her legs would carry her in the opposite direction.

 

A year had passed since Killian came to work in the stables, and the two of them had formed a fast friendship.  They were nearly inseparable, spending every free moment they had together, talking, playing, getting into so much mischief her nursemaid Johanna often threatened to ban Killian from the royal nursery altogether.

 

To be fair, it was normally Emma that got into mischief.  Killian usually attempted to talk her out of it.  “It’s rather bad form to give the king and queen so much grief, Swan.”

 

He’d taken to calling her “Swan” last spring, when they’d caught sight of one such bird on the lake.  He’d commented that she was just like it; soft and graceful at some times, but a fierce and deadly fighter when she was angered.

 

Emma hurried behind the snow fort she’d constructed earlier that afternoon, knowing a moment of triumph.

 

The next thing she knew she was sprawled out on her back looking up into impossibly blue eyes and floppy black hair, the remnants of Killian’s snowball seeping beneath the collar of her warm winter coat.  “No fair, Killian!” she said with a frown.  “I’d reached my fort.  You can’t tackle me behind my own fort!  You know that’s not ‘good form’ as you like to say!”

 

“Apologies, my lady.” The laughter in his voice belayed his apology.  Killian got hastily to his feet and then offered her a hand.  “I suppose there’s nothing for it; I must concede defeat.  You have bested me.”

 

“And just you remember it,” Emma said, grinning once again and attempting to brush the snow from her skirt—a hopeless task as it was still falling fast and hard from the heavy clouds above.  “What should we do now?”

 

Killian thought for a moment.  “How about we go inside?  We’ve already made a snowman and snow angels and snow forts and had a snowball fight.  I’m starting to get cold.”

 

“Okay,” Emma said with a nod.  “Besides, Mama promised to make us hot cocoa when we returned to the castle.  I hope she remembers the cinnamon this time.”

 

Killian chuckled.  “How could she forget?  You remind her every time you see her after that one afternoon she left it off.  C’mon; let’s go!”

 

Emma stood still for a moment, and Killian looked back, his dark brow raised in confusion. 

 

“Killian, you’re my very best friend,” Emma said abruptly.

 

“Aye,” he answered “And you’re mine.”

 

“Let’s make a promise that we’ll always be friends.  Forever.”

 

He smiled.  “I promise.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

…that no distance can truly separate two hearts bound together by first snowfall magic…

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Fifteen-year-old Killian stood at the rail of The Jewel of the Realm and watched as Misthaven slowly disappeared on the horizon.  Liam clapped him on the back.  “It’s good to have you with us, little brother.”

 

“Younger, brother, Liam,” Killian said, brushing off his brother’s hand.  “I’m nearly as tall as you now!”

 

Liam laughed.  “That’s ‘Lieutenant Jones’ to you, cabin boy.  Show your officers a little respect.”

 

Killian grinned and then snapped to attention and presented his brother with a perfectly executed salute.  “Aye, aye, Lieutenant!”

 

“It’s finally here, brother,” Liam said, putting a hand back on Killian’s shoulder, “the day we’ve been waiting for.  We’re finally able to sail together once more.”

 

Killian grinned, then turned back toward the rapidly disappearing shore as snowflakes began flying through the air.  He felt a pang in his chest.  This was the first time in six years he’d miss spending the first snowfall with Emma.  He was grateful beyond words to be reunited with his beloved brother for more than just a few weeks at a time, but he couldn’t lie.  He missed his best friend already.

 

“Something the matter, Killian?” Liam asked, leaning against the railing next to him.

 

“No…” Killian said quickly.  “Well, perhaps a bit.  I’m accustomed to spending the day of the first snow with Emma; that’s all.”

 

Liam chuckled and ruffled Killian’s hair.  “Emma.  Ah, so that’s what it is.  Has cupid’s arrow pierced my little brother’s heart?”

 

Killian felt his face flame.  “Leave off, Liam, you’re being ridiculous!  You know she’s just my best friend!”

 

“Um-hm,” Liam hummed, maddening grin firmly affixed.  “I have eyes, you know.  Don’t think I didn’t see the princess kiss your cheek as you bid her farewell.  Don’t think I missed the adoration in your eyes.”

 

Killian sucked in a quick breath, his mind returning to that moment an hour ago.  Emma had looked like an angel in her long, pink gown that brushed the ground, her hair pulled back into a gentle braid.  There’d been so much affection in her eyes as she wished him a good trip and promised to write him every day.

 

Then she’d ghosted her lips against his cheek.

 

It had sparked something in him; something he couldn’t explain.  His heart beat faster, and he felt as though thousands of tiny butterflies were fluttering through his stomach.  He could scarcely understand what was happening to him.  Emma had kissed his cheek before, many times, in fact, and it had never affected him like that; it had never been anything more than a gesture of affection between friends.

 

But today…today everything had been different, and he hardly knew how to process it.

 

“Perhaps,” Killian said slowly, “perhaps my feelings have begun to change for Princess Emma, but Liam, I know my place.  She’s the princess and I’m naught but a cabin boy.  Best I not even allow myself to dream.”

 

Liam turned Killian to him with a gentle hand.  “Brother, you know as well as I that the princess is no respecter of persons.  Should she come to fancy you, your station will be of no consequence to her.  Should your fancy turn to love one day, never fear to fight for her heart.  A man unwilling to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

…that love awakened among the first snowfall will never fade…

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Emma twirled before her floor-length mirror, admiring the way her deep-red ball gown flared out with the movement.  She couldn’t wait to wear the dress tonight at Misthaven’s annual ball celebrating the start of the Yuletide festivities.  At twenty-years-of-age, Emma had been attending the ball for a few years, but this year felt different.

 

This year Killian would be there. 

 

For the past two years, he’d sat out the ball, still an enlisted man in the navy.  But with this year’s promotion to Lieutenant, he was expected to not only attend the ball, but dance with the ladies of the aristocracy and nobility.

 

Emma felt her cheeks heat at the thought, and it was ridiculous!  Killian was her oldest and dearest friend, these…new feelings, newly awakened desires…well, they were just stupid.  He’d likely laugh until he was blue in the face if he knew what she was currently thinking.

 

It was all Captain Liam’s fault, really.  Didn’t the man know it was his job to teach his brother how to dance?  What was he thinking giving that task to her? 

 

Emma had the sneaking suspicion the oldest Jones man knew exactly what he was doing.  The smirk he’d worn when he asked her to teach his hopeless little brother to dance had made little sense at the time, but now….now that things had changed, she couldn’t help but wonder if Killian’s brother had been attempting to play the matchmaker.

 

Emma let her mind wander back to the events of the afternoon that had changed everything.

 

She’d been sitting at her bay window, reading—a thrilling tale of adventure on the high seas—when she was interrupted by a quick rap at her open door.  She looked up, and her heart stilled before racing faster than her father’s thoroughbreds.  Killian stood dressed in his brand new lieutenant’s uniform—looking more than a bit bashful, she might add.

 

There was no other word for it; he had grown into a beautiful man.  With his impossibly blue eyes, his dark hair, pulled back neatly into a ponytail at the back of his head, his skin tanned from weeks at sea, and his smile that could make the angels weep for joy, he was easily the handsomest man she’d ever laid eyes on.

 

“My princess,” he said, in a soft, deep voice as he executed a perfect bow.

 

She’d felt her heart flutter, her stomach swoop, her jaw drop.  She doubted she could say a word if her life depended on it.

 

After a moment, he grinned, his old familiar grin—two parts joy and one part pure mischief, and suddenly the spell was broken.  She leapt to her feet, ran to him and enveloped him in a hug.  “You’re home!  You’re finally home.  And look at you!  I’d heard about the promotion, but I had no idea you’d have your uniform yet.”

 

Killian looked down at his attire and then scratched behind his ear.  “Aye, well…it was something of a requirement.  I must be properly clad for the ball tonight.”

 

“Oh that’s right!  You’ll be at the ball.”

 

“Aye,” he said with a deep sigh.  “I gather Liam told you of my current predicament?  My utter inability to dance?”

 

“Oh, that’s no problem,” Emma said, pulling at his arm and heading for the stairs.  “Dancing’s easy.  All you need is a partner who knows what she’s doing.  I’d be more than happy to teach you.”

 

They reached the great hall doors, and Emma continued on, not stopping until they’d reached their favorite forest clearing.  It was then that Emma realized the snow had begun to fall.

 

“First snowfall of winter!” she exclaimed in delight, spinning in a circle like a child, sticking her tongue out to catch the delicate flakes.  “Killian how long has it been since we shared first snowfall together?”

 

“Far, far too long, my Swan,” he said in a soft voice, laden with an emotion Emma couldn’t place.

 

She looked up quickly, and he was looking at her strangely, as though she was a precious jewel.  Emma felt her cheeks flame, wondering what on earth had come over her childhood best friend.

 

In a moment he was back, her Killian. The friend she’d known for years.

 

“It’s quite simple, really,” she said, stepping up to him.  “Take my hand, and place your other at my waist, like so.  Now follow my lead.”

 

For several moments Emma was occupied with the intricacies of teaching Killian to dance, but he was a quick study, and soon he was moving as competently and gracefully as she was.

 

That’s when she noticed how very close they were.  She felt the weight of his hand on her waist, the way his breath tickled her face, the warmth of his body pressed close to hers, and for a moment she couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything but stare into those eyes, deep and blue as the sea.

 

She’d never felt anything like this.

 

He seemed to be afflicted with the same madness.  He held his breath for a moment and then, oh-so-slowly bent his head toward hers.  She had the strangest sensation he meant to kiss her.  Even stranger was how much she wished he would.

 

A moment later a raucous cardinal trilled out his song and the spell was broken.  Killian stepped hastily back, his cheeks flaming as red as the bird who had disturbed their tete-a-tete.  Emma felt a moment of loss, but the warmth in her heart; the warmth that suffused her entire being remained.

 

And now, two hours later, it had yet to cool.  What was happening to her?

 

And even more…how was she going to manage to dance with Killian tonight without making an utter fool of herself?

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

that a kiss shared between sweethearts during the first snowfall can’t fail to be True Love’s Kiss…

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

Killian stood nervously beside his brother as the music began to play, as they waited for the arrival of the guests of honor.  He tugged at his collar, remembering the afternoon when he’d almost lost his head and kissed the princess, when all his careful work to keep his feelings hidden had nearly crumbled.

 

But he’d missed her.  He’d missed her with all his being, and when he saw her gracefully sitting in her window seat, he thought his heart would burst with emotion.  He loved her; there was no other word for it. 

 

He loved her, but she was the princess, and he was naught but a sailor.  His love was doomed from the beginning, and he’d best remember that.

 

Killian felt Liam’s hand on his shoulder.  “Relax, brother,” he said.  “We’re attending a ball, not an execution.”

 

“Easy for you to say,” Killian groused.  “You’ve been attending these balls for years; you know just what to say and how to act around the ladies.  I fear I’ll make a damned fool of myself.”

 

Liam grinned.  “From the looks Princess Emma is sending your way, I’d wager you could fall on your face, and she’d think you were brilliant.”

 

“What?”

 

“Look, little brother.  The royals have arrived.”

 

Killian whipped his head around and then promptly felt the breath leave his lungs in a whoosh.  She was a vision in her red ball gown, her blonde hair delicately twisted up upon her head.  Her eyes sparkled, and…Liam was right…she was looking at him like he was the only man in the room.

 

“Go on, lad,” Liam said with a gentle shove to the shoulder.  “It’s time you show her majesty that the Jones family charm didn’t skip the younger son.”

 

Killian’s feet took him forward until he was within two feet of the princess.  Then he took her hand and brought it to his lips.  “You look stunning, Swan.”

 

She blushed, the color only adding to her radiant beauty.  “You look…”

 

“He knows,” Liam offered helpfully, leaning in and grinning wide enough Killian thought his face would split in two.

 

“Leave off, Liam!” Killian shot over his shoulder.  “I’m perfectly capable of talking to the lady on my own.”

 

“As you wish,” Liam said with a shrug, grin still in place.  “I just thought I’d lend my aid should you wish it in asking her majesty for a dance.”

 

Killian felt his face flame for probably the millionth time that night as he guided Emma a few steps away where they wouldn’t be disturbed by his embarrassing brother.  Why was this so difficult?  This was Emma; just Emma.  They’d known each other for more than a decade now, and never had their interactions been so…awkward.

 

“Would you care to dance, my princess?  If your first dance hasn’t already been claimed, that is.”

 

Emma dipped into a graceful curtsy and then shot him a shy smile.  “I thought you’d never ask.  There’s no one else I’d wish to share my first dance with.”

 

And as Killian took Emma into his arms and moved to the music, everything around them fell away, the people, the overheated room, the nerves.  This feeling, dancing with the woman he loved, this was the closest to heaven he’d ever been.

 

As the night continued, the princess danced so often with the lieutenant that people began to talk—and more than once Killian caught the king shooting him looks that no doubt could kill.

 

Emma caught the direction of his gaze and the way he swallowed hard, and her eyes narrowed.  Taking his hand, she led him to a balcony off the ball room, where the first snow of the season was still resolutely falling.

 

“I’m not sure this is proper, Swan,” Killian muttered, nevertheless letting himself be led.

 

“Don’t be ridiculous Killian,” Emma said shutting the glass doors behind them and then turning toward him.  “We’re still in plain sight…this just gives us a chance to have a moment alone.”

 

Killian shuffled nervously for a moment—and then he looked down at her.  The snow landed on her hair, on her dress, on the gentle curve of her cheek.  He reached up, cupping her face, wiping away the offending flake with a swipe of his thumb.  Emma reached up and held his hand in place, her fingers tangling with his.

 

And then he lost his head altogether.  Leaning down, he captured her lips with his own.  She sighed his name and then wrapped her arms around his neck and enthusiastically returned his kiss.  Killian pulled her to him, holding her even tighter, just as a pulse of rainbow-tinted electricity shot from between them, spreading out to cover the whole kingdom.

 

“Was that….?” Killian asked, pulling away slightly, eyes wide.

 

Emma smiled radiantly, cupping the back of his head, bringing him down for a second—and then third—kiss.  “Yeah.  I don’t think there can be any doubt; that was True Love’s Kiss.”

 

“But there was no curse to be broken…”

 

Emma cupped his cheek, reaching to rest her forehead against his. “Perhaps we have a love so strong a curse isn’t necessary to prove it.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

and that the couple who pledges their troth beneath the gentle fall of the first snow will live happily ever afterwards.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

The first ball of the Yuletide was a turning point for Princess Emma and Lieutenant Killian.  If they’d been close before, they were positively inseparable after sharing True Love’s Kiss.   It was generally considered to be a romance worthy of fairy tales, and there wasn’t a soul in Misthaven who was surprised when the couple announced their engagement some six months later.  (It was, however said, that King David threatened the young lieutenant within an inch of his life should he ever cause the princess a moment of pain.  It was further said the lieutenant laughed long and heartily at the very notion, after which he and the king became fast and forever friends.)

 

And so it was that the first snowfall of the following year found Princess Emma of Misthaven and Lietenant Killian Jones of the Royal Navy exchanging their wedding vows in the large, palace chapel, the curtains of the floor-to-ceiling windows thrown wide to show Mother Nature’s blessing on the happy couple.

 

It was said that there wasn’t a dry eye in the entire kingdom as Captain Liam Jones proclaimed the couple husband and wife, and Killian kissed his bride.

 

They, of course, did  live happily ever afterwards.

 

The end!

 

Notes:

--Happy New Year!  I hope 2016 treats all of you well!  (I, of course, also hope it ends with our favorite pirate and savior alive, in love, and possibly even engaged or married!)

--This actually almost didn’t get posted.  I’ve been on holiday for a little over a week and I barely even remembered that it’s Friday; it’s felt like Sunday all day for some reason.  I don’t know what jogged my memory, but it suddenly just struck me while I was eating dinner that I probably ought to post my Friday fluff.

--I’ve never written much Lieutenant Duckling, but I’m finding that I really like this genre!

--Up next:  I’m not sure, but I will transition back to something vaguely canon—either canon divergence or deleted scene, probably.

Chapter Text

CS genre: Deleted Scene (4x19-4x20)

“Ready?” Emma asked as she slid behind the wheel of the bug.

“Yeah, can’t wait,” Lily said with a scowl as she slumped down in the passenger seat and crossed her arms.

Emma sighed and pulled out of the gas station parking lot and back onto the highway.  This was turning into one of the longest road trips of her life.  This woman who had once been her friend… well it was clear she hated Emma now and all the rest of her family.  Emma understood; she really did, but the surliness was getting old.

“Look, I know this sucks.  All of it,” Emma began.  “You have every right to be pissed, but things can change.  You have a mom now; you can make a fresh start and…”

Lily slashed the air with one hand and rolled her eyes.  “Save it, alright?  No hope speeches.  You might have your perfect little life with your perfect little family, but I’m cursed.  Nothing’ll ever go my way.  Because of your parents, in case you forgot.”

Emma sighed once again.  She’d tried.  Hopefully one day she’d have another chance to rekindle the friendship; make up for the wrong her family had done to her first friend.  But it was clear that right now was not that time.

Making a point to ignore the muttered complaints beside her, Emma fished her cell phone out of her jacket pocket.  While the conversation inside the car might be lacking, there was another conversation she could have that she knew would be anything but.

Keeping one eye on the road, she scrolled through her contacts until she found the one she was looking for.  She smiled, caressing the photo of her boyfriend.  She pressed the “call” button and put the phone to her ear.

Swan!  Are you alright, love? Have you found your friend?

Emma’s smile grew and she felt her heart swell at the sound of his soft accent.  Had it really only been a day since she last saw him?  Felt more like a year.  She should probably be concerned about how important he was becoming to her, but she couldn’t find it in herself to rebuild her walls.  Truth was, life was better with him in it.

“Hey,” she answered.  “Yeah, everything’s fine.  We found Lily and we’re heading home now.  Be back in about two, two and a half hours.”

I’ll be waiting for you when you return.  Did everything go…as planned?”

She heard the question he wasn’t asking.  Had she succeeded at resisting the darkness?  “Yeah,” she said, hastening to reassure.  “I…I almost gave in, Killian.  I almost did something it would have been really hard to come back from, but…Regina helped me remember what I was really fighting for.  I remembered what you said to me; thought about the people I care about, the ones keeping me in the light.  Henry and you, mostly.”

Emma heard the sigh of relief he breathed on the other end of the line.  “Brilliant, love.  I knew you were stronger than the darkness.  I knew you could overcome it.  Never doubted you for an instant, my darling.”

Emma felt the tears rush to her eyes.  What had she ever done to deserve a boyfriend like Killian?  A man who believed in her with all his heart and soul; a man who would stand by her side no matter what might happen to or around them.  She felt the love swell in her heart.  Yeah, she loved him; had for quite some time.  Telling him, saying it aloud, risking the amazing perfect thing they had…well she wasn’t ready for that.  But whether she said it to him or not she felt it—a love stronger than she’d thought possible.  What would she ever do without him?

Emma sniffed, trying valiantly to disguise the tell-tale sign with a quick cough.

Are you alright there, swan?

She laughed.  Should have known she couldn’t fool him.  You’re something of an open book.  “Yeah, I’m fine,” she finally said in a thick voice.  “Just…thanks for believing in me.  You have no idea how much that means.”

On the contrary, love,” he replied, “I understand perfectly.  Your faith in me…your belief that this vengeance-fueled villain could become something more…nothing in my long life could compare to that.

“You’re not that man any more, Killian,” she said vehemently.  “Haven’t been for a long time, and you know what?  There’s no other man I’d rather have in my life.”

He seemed to be speechless for a moment; all Emma heard over the line was ragged breathing.  Finally he cleared his throat and changed the subject.  “So you’ve found Maleficent’s daughter.  Was the queen’s quest equally successful?  Did she succeed in saving Robin from the clutches of Zelena?

Emma snorted.  “That’s way too complicated for a phone conversation.  Let’s just say Regina’s bringing Robin, Roland and Zelena back.  Zelena’s been hard at work trying to screw Regina over yet again.”

Rough luck for Robin, that, I’d wager.”

“Yeah,” Emma laughed.  “You could definitely say that.”

They were silent or a moment, and then Killian finally spoke again.  “I must let you go for now, love.  I’ll alert your lad to your coming return.  Safe travels, and I eagerly await your return.”

“I can’t wait to see you again either,” Emma admitted, a bit amazed at how easy it was to admit; how much she didn’t want to run from her feelings.  “Only a few more hours now.  Maybe if we’re lucky things’ll calm down a little now that I’ve successfully not gone dark.  Maybe we’ll have time for another date night; seems like we haven’t had any alone time in forever.”

Most assuredly,” he said, and Emma heard the smile, the hint of mischief in his voice.  “Come home to me, my love, and I shall be sure to plan us a bit of that ‘alone time’ that will make you forget we were ever apart.

She laughed.  “I’ll hold you to that.  Goodbye Killian.”

She was still smiling as she disconnected the call and tossed her phone back in her pocket.

“So, who’s this Killian, guy?” Lily asked.  Emma looked at her, saw genuine curiosity in her face.  Maybe her old friend was starting to thaw after all.

“Uh,” she answered.  “He’s my boyfriend.”

“Yeah, I got that,” Lily said dryly.  “That whole bit about ‘date night’ and wanting ‘alone time’ was a dead giveaway.”

Emma chuckled.  “Yeah, guess so.”

What I meant,” Lily continued, “is who is he really?  He’s in Storybrooke, right?  Means he has some weird fairy tale alias, doesn’t it?”

Emma grinned and shot her friend an amused look.  “Yeah, still weird to think about, but yeah.    He’s Captain Hook.”

Lily snorted.  “So waxed moustaches and perms are your thing now?”

“Hardly,” Emma replied.  “You’ll find a lot of the old fairy tales….well aren’t exactly accurate.  Killian is nothing like the Captain Hook you’re used to.”

“So what is he like?”

Emma thought for a moment, fond smile draping her face.  “Well, for one thing, no waxed moustache or perm.  Knowing him, he wouldn’t be caught dead looking like that.  He’s…well, there’s no other way to say it; he’s hot.  Like ‘take your breath away’ hot.  But beyond that…he’s one of the most loving, supportive people I’ve ever met.  He makes me feel like I matter.  Really matter, you know?  Like I’m the most important person in the world.  Like he’d do anything for me.”

For several moments the only sound within the bug was the soft music coming from the radio.  “So you have that too,” Lilly said bitterly.

“I have what?” Emma asked, looking over at the woman beside her who’s scowl had decidedly returned.

“A guy who loves you.  One you’re head over heels for too.”

Emma startled and then chuckled nervously.  “Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Not sure about using the ‘l’ word.”

Lily rolled her eyes dramatically.  “Come on.  That conversation you just had was so sickly sweet I probably got tooth decay.  I may not know all that much about love, but yeah, you’re in it.”

Emma felt the heat creep up her neck and cover her cheeks.  “I mean he’s a great guy and, yeah, I care about him a lot and everything, but I mean…love’s a big word.”

Lily laughed humorlessly.  “Okay, whatever.  Keep telling yourself that.  Whatever works for you.  Love, happiness, all of that—it’s not in the cards for me anyway, so what do I care how delusional you choose to be?”

The bitterness fairly came off of Lily in waves.  Emma chose to focus on that rather than…well the other part, the love part.  “Look, I get it, okay?” she said.  “I felt the same way you do for a long time, but you know what?  I got all of it.  My son, my family, a boyfriend I’m crazy about.  Life in Storybrooke…well it’s kind of psycho and crazy most of the time, but it’s good.  If I can get that, then so can you.  You just have to open yourself up to it.”

Lily snorted.  “Yeah, of course you got it.  Perfect Emma.  The little girl whose parents gave me all her darkness.  Easy for you to say.  Life’s never gone my way; never will.”

“Here’s the thing,” Emma said.  “Fate’s…a bitch, but it isn’t everything.  You can either let it control you, or you can take control of your own life.  You can take what it deals out or you can stand your ground and say ‘No; this  is who I am.’  Your choice.  What my parents did, yeah, I know it sucks; big time, but I promise you I’ll do what I can to change things back to how they should have been.  It’s my job to bring back the happy endings, and I’m gonna do that for you too.  Just…you need to do your part too.  You need to fight.”

For a moment, one short moment in time, Lily looked…hopeful.  Then the surly mask fell back into place.  She grumbled under her breath, and Emma could have sworn she said something along the lines of “Damn straight I’m gonna fight; just not gonna be fate I get my revenge on.”

But before she could confront her on it—and remind her yet again that if she still had any ideas of killing Snow and Charming out of revenge, she’d have to go through Emma first—they crossed into Storybrooke, and they were there waiting, all of them—Maleficent, Snow and Charming, Henry and Killian.  Her family; her reasons to fight; her reasons to resist the darkness.

She was out of her bug the second she put it into park and killed the engine.  Next thing she knew she was hugging her guys, holding on for all she was worth.  Lily was still a lost soul, wandering around in the darkness, but there would be time to change that.  There would be time to make all of it right later.  For now, she’d take the happiness presented to her.

Killian kissed her softly, running his hand through her hair.  “I missed you, love.  ‘Twould seem your father and the queen have the situation here well in hand.  What say we head to the Jolly?  Take advantage of the quiet moment presented to us?”

“Sounds perfect,” she said.  “Lead on.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  1 month of the hiatus down, 2 to go!

--So todays story was written based on a prompt by mnewlife: Based on Killan' s conversation with Gold in the diner, I assume he was talking to Emma on the phone during her road trip with Regina. I have this head canon that one of those phone calls happened on the way back to Storybrook in the car with Lily. I would really like to see Lily's reaction to the news that her old friend is dating Captain Hook (I doubt she would be picturing someone like Killian Jones!) I also think it would be cute to hear Emma describe Killian to someone who doesn't know him. 

--Up next:  I’ve been re-watching season 3 during the hiatus because it was a good season (and the rewatch helps with the withdrawl).  I have a canon divergence idea for early on in the Neverland arc.

 

Chapter Text

Home of the Lost Ones

 

CS Genre: Canon Divergence (between 3x1 and 3x2)

 

The rescue party had barely settled in for the (long, interminable) night before the distant crying began.  Hook took a long swig from his flask, savoring the spicy burn of the rum.  How he hated Neverland!  This land with its humid, tepid air, its stifling heat, its aura of menace and evil, its cruel, sadistic overlord was the last place in the known realms he wanted to be.  Everything about this realm felt wrong.

 

What the bloody hell had he been thinking, offering the Jolly and his services to come back here?  It was madness!

 

As the sounds of the lost ones crying intensified, Hook gritted his teeth and took another swig.  Had it only been a matter of hours since he’d had a compunction of conscience and returned to Storybrooke with the magic bean in hand?  There was something about Neverland that was utterly timeless.  Whether one had been on the accursed island one hour or one hundred years, he felt as though he’d been here forever—forced to dwell upon his worst moments, his greatest failures, his most disgraceful insecurities.  Hardened pirate he might be, but on Neverland, he felt like naught but that frightened lad who’d woken one morning to find that his father had abandoned him—and not merely abandoned him but sold him into servitude.

 

Bloody hell!  He’d best turn his thoughts before the painful memories drove him mad.

 

He scanned the clearing the Charmings and the Queen had chosen as their campsite on this first night on Neverland.  He was still amazed the heroes had trusted him to take the first watch, amazed that they’d put so much faith in a villainous pirate.

 

A nearly forgotten sea of emotions burned in his chest—gratitude, a desire to live up to expectations, a stirring of that old heroic sense of good form he used to hold so dear.  He hardly knew what name to put to the emotions churning within, but he knew one thing.  He didn’t want to disappoint the heroes; he didn’t want them to believe their faith in him was misplaced.

 

He scanned the motley group, peaceful in slumber, and in due course, his gaze landed on her.  Swan.  Easily the most fascinating woman he’d met in the last few centuries.  The most fascinating woman he’d met since Milah.  The pain settled once more over him like a familiar cloak at the thought of his beautiful pirate lass, the woman who had been brutally murdered and taken from him far too soon.

 

But the pain was lessened somehow.  More and more his dreams and imaginings featured a determined lass with hair the color of spun gold, flashing green eyes more courage and determination than the toughest pirates he’d come across in his days on the high seas.

 

A slight frown marred her lovely face in sleep, her dreams obviously troubled, and Hook’s mind suddenly went back to that moment mere hours ago when she’d nearly been lost.  Nothing could have prepared him for the panic that set in as she’d jumped overboard…and then failed to resurface.  Nothing could have prepared him for the relief when she’d finally coughed and breathed after her father had pulled her back on board.

 

It made him vaguely uncomfortable, the implications of those thoughts. 

 

Oh, aye, she’d fascinated him since the moment she’d appeared before him in the safe haven, since the moment she’d pulled him from the pile of bodies he’d been hiding beneath.  Every subsequent moment he’d spent in her presence he’d become more and more captivated by her beauty and fire. 

 

But being captivated by a lovely and spirited lass was one thing; becoming as utterly smitten as he was becoming was something else entirely.  If the truth be told, he’d spoken the truth in that moment they’d first washed up on the sandy beaches of Neverland.  He did fancy her.  (Perhaps it would be more accurate to say he spoke a partial truth.  He fancied her whether or not she was yelling at him.)

 

Guilt rose up and punched him in the gut.  It felt like a betrayal of his sweet Milah to even think such thoughts.  Oh, he’d taken his fair share of lasses back to his ship over the long years since his love’s death.  They’d been more than happy to care for his…needs.  But never did it go beyond the physical; never did any of the wenches approach his heart.  (Except perhaps that one, half-remembered lass.  The one who’d been very deliberate about getting him drunk before accompanying him back to the Jolly.  There’d been something about her…something fascinating, something that had called to him in a way far stronger than his baser desires.  Come to think of it, he may only have the barest recollection of the woman, but he’d swear that dream wench also had hair of spun gold, hair that smelled of vanilla and cinnamon and all things exotic and delectable.)

 

But Emma…Emma was different.  He wanted to know her, really know her.  Dangerous waters he trod here, to be sure.

 

As though summoned by his thoughts, the lass herself stirred, and then sat up abruptly, her head twisting this way and that, panic evident on her features.

 

“Who’s there?” she asked.  “What’s that noise?  Who’s crying?”

 

“It’s merely the lost ones, love,” Killian said softly, remaining resolutely seated against his tree.  She turned startled eyes in his directions.

 

“What?” she asked.  “Why are they crying?  Why doesn’t anyone else seem to hear them?”

 

Hook looked down at her with compassionate eyes.  “They cry for the reason all abandoned children do.  They wish for the families they’ve lost, the families they never truly had.  As for why no one else seems to hear them…only those who have been abandoned and left on their own can hear the cries of the lost ones.”

 

She looked startled for a moment, and then a look of angry determination settled over her lovely features.  Getting to her feet she made her way to him, finally settling beside him on the ground.  “Got any more of that rum you’d be willing to share.  I feel like I need a little liquid fortification.”

 

Wordlessly, he extended his flask to her, swallowing hard as he watched her tip her head to take her drink, her tongue darting out to lap at the stray drop that had escaped the bottle.  She drank deeply, recorked the bottle, and then handed it back to him.  Hook read the fear and anguish in her eyes as her gaze briefly met his.

 

“This is unbearable, Hook,” she said softly, “this…waiting, not knowing, worrying, my son prisoner of who knows what kind of psychopaths.  I feel like I’m going to go crazy just…sitting here.  I need to be up, looking, walking, something.  What if Pan did something terrible to him?  What if he’s being tortured?  What if he’s already dead?”

 

Without thinking, Hook reached out and took her hand, needing to comfort.  She looked up at him, clearly startled, but she didn’t pull away.  “Swan, I may not know your lad well, but I’ve seen enough to know of his courage, of his determination, of his unflagging optimism.  He seemed a lad capable of keeping his wits about him even in the worst of circumstances.”

 

“You really think so?”

 

“Aye,” he smiled slightly.  “He’s got you for a mother.  How could he fail to inherit your admirable qualities?”

 

If he wasn’t mistaken, that was a faint blush that came over her cheeks.  “Th…thanks.  I just…I just can’t stand the thought of him out there alone and scared, thinking…who knows what he’s thinking.  I just feel like I’ll crawl out of my own skin if I don’t start searching again soon.”

 

Hook extended the flask again, and she wordlessly took it.  “I know the feelings of helplessness can be well-nigh overwhelming, but you must get your rest.  You’ll be of no use to your boy if you drop from fatigue and exhaustion.”

 

She looked at the ground, sighing.  “I know you’re right, it’s just…falling asleep, getting that rest is easier said than done.”

 

He’d been able to read the lass like an open book since the moment he’d met her, and he knew full well what she needed now—something else to focus on.  Perhaps a bit of his rapscallion charm was in order; better she roll her eyes at him in irritation than worry as she currently did.  Hook pasted on his most suggestive grin.  “Oh darling, if it’s trouble sleeping that’s bothering you, I’d be delighted to offer my services.  I’ve a nearly endless supply of ideas to…ahem…tire you…ways that I assure you would be most pleasurable for us both.”

 

She huffed and rolled her eyes, the tiny hint of a grin on her lips.  “Do you ever stop with the innuendoes?”

 

“Not if I can help it, love.  So what do you say about those more enjoyable activities?”  He quirked a teasing eyebrow in her direction.

 

She barked out a laugh.  “Keep dreaming, buddy.  Think I’ll stick to the rum.”

 

He grinned, extending the flask once again.  “I’ll manfully attempt to contain my disappointment.”

 

He was surprised how easy, how pleasant, how perfect it was to flirt with this woman.  She was bloody brilliant.

 

She was also a desperately worried mother who needed her sleep.

 

“Well, if you won’t accept my offer of activities that would make you forget your own name with the pleasure of them, perhaps I might interest you in a story.”

 

“A story?” she eyed him suspiciously.  “What kind of a story?”

 

“There’s not much I recall about my father…particularly not much that is pleasant,” he began, looking away, “but there is one thing.  I remember him coming to me when I couldn’t sleep.  I remember him spinning the most fascinating tales.  Whether true or not I neither know nor care.  All I know for certain is that without fail, as his soft voice spoke of travels and wonders and adventures, I invariably drifted off.  Perhaps you’d permit me to do the same for you?”

 

She was quiet for a long moment, and then she nodded her head.  “Sure, why not.  Does Captain Hook have any daring, swashbuckling stories for me?”

 

“Indeed I do,” he said with a grin.  “If you would, return to your sleeping pallet and settle in comfortably.  Aye, that’s the ticket.”

 

She did as instructed, and then turned curious eyes in his direction.  Hook spun a tale of adventure, intrigue, humor and bravery.  Slowly her eyes became heavy and began to close.  He finished his tale as her breathing began to even out into sleep.  Quietly he began to move away—back to his seat under the tree—when her eyes opened once more, arresting him with their beauty.  She reached out, taking his good hand and squeezing gently.  “Thanks Hook.  That…helped.”

 

“It was no trouble, Swan,” he said, squeezing her hand in turn before she pulled away.  “And fear not; we will find your lad and we will save him.”

 

She nodded, and then closed her eyes, finally relaxing into peaceful slumber.  Hook had the strongest urge to brush her hair back from her lovely face, to lean in and kiss those beautiful lips.

 

But that would be bloody madness.  Best he guard his heart and avoid such fanciful nonsense.  Regardless of what connection he might feel to the fascinating woman before him, Milah was his love, the only love he’d ever have in his life.

 

And besides, he was fairly certain Swan would never deign to accept a kiss from him.  Best he guard his heart before it was broken for the second time in his life.

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday once again!  It’s been really cold and snowing in my corner of the world over the past week, so what better way to warm up than to return to the humid jungles (and sizzling CS sexual tension) of Neverland?

--If you couldn’t tell, this story takes place on the gang’s first night on Neverland.  In this canon divergence, when Emma wakes that first night it’s Hook rather than Pan that she comes across (far preferable company if you ask me, lol).  I like my canon divergences to stay reasonably close to canon.  I basically take the CS movie as my model:  In the divergence things happen differently, but they basically all work out similarly in the end.  In this particular version of the Neverland story, after Emma went back to sleep, Pan appeared to Hook and gave him the map he gave Emma in canon.  Still the same deal.  The map will appear when Emma acknowledges who she really is.  Everything else in 3x2 and onward transpires the same as canon.

--Up next:  I’m not entirely sure.  I’ve got plenty of prompts/ideas waiting to be written, but there’s nothing specific I’m planning for this week.  What genre would you like to seen next?  Deleted scene? Another canon divergence?  An AU?  Something from the near future when CS is alive and back in Storybrooke after the Underworld ordeal?  Lieutenant Duckling?

--Btw, I’m getting ready to get started on a new 5b speculation multi-chapter.  I’ve been wanting to write another long story along the lines of “A Wish Your Heart Makes” or “Mysterious Fathoms Below” (33 and 30 chapters respectively) for a while now, but the storyline going into the last couple of hiatuses just didn’t inspire the muse.  This Underworld storyline does!  I’ve got a few plot points to try to figure out yet, but if you’re interested, the first chapter will probably be up sometime next week.

Chapter Text

Parking Services

 

CS Genre: College AU

 

Killian tossed his backpack to the ground and rolled his shoulders, twisting his head from side to side.  To say he had a heavy course-load this semester was an understatement of bloody ridiculous proportions.  So much for senior year being a time to slough off with easy courses.

 

“Oi, mate!” Will Scarlet said, shuffling into the student employee corner.  “Heads up.  The boss is lookin’ for ya.  Looks like he’s in a right temper.”

 

Lovely.  Just the way he wanted to start his work day, with a confrontation with Robert bloody Gold, head of parking services.  If there was a more unpleasant and downright nasty man on the entire campus, Killian had yet to meet him.

 

“What’s got ‘the Dark One’s’ knickers in a bind today?” he asked with a sigh, dropping into his usual seat.

 

“Seems tickets are down again,” Will answered.  “You know how testy he gets when we’re not bleeding our fellow students dry.”

 

Aye, Killian knew that all too well.  He’d had more than one run-in with his boss over his failure to hand out the vast quantity of traffic citations Gold insisted on.

 

“Best just face the music, mate,” Will suggested, face a mask of sympathy.  “The bloody git’s not going to give it up.”

 

“Suppose not,” Killian said, reluctantly getting to his feet once more.  He walked the length of the large room, and then rapped on Mr. Gold’s office door.  After waiting for a muffled “come in”, he entered and shut the door behind him.

 

“So kind of you to grace us with your presence today, Mr. Jones,” Gold said in a voice heavily laced with sarcasm.  “Tell me, would it be too much to ask for you to get to work on time?”

 

Killian took a deep breath, trying desperately to tamp down his temper.  He’d arrived exactly one minute past the start of his shift.  To hear Gold, you’d think he’d waltzed in a good two hours late.

 

“My apologies,” Killian muttered through clenched teeth.  “The shuttle bus was late this morning.”

 

“Always an excuse with you, isn’t there, dearie?”

 

Killian merely nodded, not trusting what might come out of his mouth if he were to speak.  He needed this job; he had to keep that in mind.  His brother Liam did the best he could to put Killian through school, but Liam was hardly made of money.  Killian was determined to pay as much of his own way as he possibly could, and right now that meant making a valiant attempt to not completely piss off his boss.

 

Gold shuffled through a stack of papers on his desk, and then typed for a moment at his computer.  After a moment, he looked up, scowl firmly on his face.  “Mr. Jones, our stats for the month are way down.  We’ve issued thirty percent fewer citations over the summer than last summer and that is utterly unacceptable.”

 

“Perhaps the student body has merely become more adept at following parking procedures?”

 

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Gold scoffed.  “One can always find a reason to cite a vehicle if he looks hard enough.  Something you evidently are completely incapable of doing.”

 

“I beg your pardon, sir?”

 

Gold’s eyes hardened into a glare.  “Your personal statistics are abysmal.  Tell me, Jones, how are we to make money for our department if you insist on leniency?  My sources inform me you turned a blind eye to two vehicles parked in an improper lot.  That is utterly unacceptable.  If you wish to keep your job, you will adjust your attitude accordingly.”

 

Killian counted to ten, decided that wasn’t nearly enough, and upped it to one-hundred before he replied.  “Aye, sir.”

 

“Now,” Gold said, turning his gaze back to the papers on his desk.  “We have a new initiative that’s bound to increase our revenue exponentially.  This year’s parking permit enrollment period begins next week.  Bound to result in a few citable offenses.  Listen closely:  if I hear one more report of you showing leniency when a ticket should be written, you’re out.  Do you understand?”

 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

 

Emma shrugged into her coat, snagged her handbag and headed out the door of the college bookstore.  It had been a long day at work.  Her fellow students had been more demanding and bad-tempered than normal for some reason.  Wasn’t like she had any say in the prices of textbooks.  She just rung up sales, she didn’t set the prices.  Personally, she thought they were all a little steep, but what are you going to do?  Having the appropriate textbook was kind of a necessity if you wanted a halfway decent grade.

 

The night was warm and balmy, and Emma wanted nothing more than to get back to her off-campus apartment and pass out for the night.  It had been a rough day, but at least the drama was over.

 

Or so she thought. 

 

As soon as her old, yellow bug came into view, she saw the dreaded slip of paper held in place by her windshield wiper.  She’d been ticketed?  What the hell for? 

 

Yanking the offending slip of paper free, she perused it.  “Parking in a restricted lot without a valid permit; citing officer #305404421422.”

 

Emma crumpled the paper up in her fist, her blood beginning to boil.  What were they talking about, parking without a valid permit?  She’d just received her permit for the new school year in the mail this morning.  Seeing that the old year’s permit expired that day, she’d gone ahead and dutifully affixed the new one.

 

She wasn’t going to stand for this.  Come first thing in the morning, she was going down to the parking services office and give this “citing officer #305404421422” a piece of her mind!

 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

 

Killian startled as the parking services door was opened and then viciously slammed.  Getting to his feet, he peered in the direction of the noise…and found himself gazing upon the most beautiful lass he’d ever seen.  Luxurious blonde locks pulled up into a pony tail, sparkling green eyes hidden behind glasses with wide black rims, a trim, lithe figure.  She was bloody gorgeous.

 

And apparently bloody furious.

 

Killian sighed.  It was not an unusual reaction from those who found themselves in the parking services office.  This wasn’t the most hated office on campus for nothing.

 

Killian sauntered to the counter the woman was rapidly approaching.  “May I be of assistance?” he asked politely.

 

Reaching in her over-the-shoulder bag, she snagged a parking citation and slammed it on the counter between them.  “Yeah, you can tell me what the hell this is all about.”

 

Killian looked at the item and winced.  Ah yes; looked like Gold’s newest initiative  to bleed the students dry like a starving vampire was bearing fruit.  “It would appear, love, that you parked in a restricted lot without proper permits.”

 

“Yeah, here’s the thing,” the woman spat, digging once more into her bag and pulling out another stack of papers.  “I do have proper permits.”

 

Killian grimaced as he glanced toward her proof of purchase of this year’s permit.  He hated his job he really, really, really hated his job.  Well, there was nothing for it.  He’d best tell her the worst and get it over with.

 

“If you’ll notice the date on that paperwork, love,” he said, glancing aside and scratching at a spot behind his ear, “you’ll see that next year’s permit is not valid until next week, the start of the fall term.”

 

She stared at him unblinking.  “But last year’s permit expired last Friday?”

 

“Aye, that would be correct.”

 

The woman growled.  “What the hell are we supposed to do during this week then?”

 

Killian shrugged.  “Pay to park in one of the garages?  I’m sorry love, truly I am, but there’s nothing I can do.”

 

She growled deep in her throat, angrily tossing her paperwork back in her bag, and he winced once again.

 

“Love…” he said once more.  “I truly am sorry.”

 

From the venomous look she shot him as she turned and stomped out of the office, it would seem she didn’t care.

 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

 

One week later Emma Swan found herself once again in the parking services office, parking citation in her indignant hand.

 

“Parking in a faculty/staff only lot before 7:00 pm.  Citing officer #305404421422.”

 

She was really beginning to hate this officer #305404421422, and she’d never even met the S.O.B.

 

When she opened the door to the office she found the same student working the desk she’d talked to the previous week.  The name tag he wore on a lanyard around his neck identified him as “Killian Jones”.

 

Angry she might be, but even so, she couldn’t help but notice how ridiculously handsome this Killian Jones was.  With his longish, dark hair that he couldn’t seem to tame if he wanted to and his clear blue eyes…well, he certainly made an impression.

 

As did the amount of embarrassment he was clearly exuding as she marched up to the counter.

 

“Seems we meet again, love,” he said, ducking his head and scratching at his ear.

 

“Yeah…not your love,” she said irritably, “and if it’s all the same to you, I’d really prefer we not meet again, given the circumstances.”

 

He sighed.  “I’d wager not.  How may I be of assistance today?”

 

“Yeah, what’s the deal with this?” she said, pointing toward the offending piece of paper.  “I parked in that lot at six fifty-eight!  Two minutes before seven!  This…officer 305404421422, gave me a ticket for being two freaking minutes too early?!!!  Who does that?”

 

He glanced aside.  “I’m afraid I’m the one who does that, love.  I’m the officer you seek.  Once again, I must apologize.  Truly, if I had any other choice I would have dispensed with the ticket, but I’m afraid you were parked too early.  I was just doing my job.”

 

She shot him a venomous glare, hardening her heart against the obvious sincerity in his voice.  “Yeah, well that makes me feel so much better.  I may have to pay out half my bank account in parking tickets, but at least I know it was because you were doing your job.”

 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

 

It was another two months before Killian had the pleasure of seeing Emma Swan again.  It would seem the very indignant Miss Swan had decided to scrupulously follow all university parking laws in the interim.

 

Quite a shame that.  There was something about this woman….something he couldn’t put his finger on, something that called to him in a way he didn’t remember experiencing before.  She was beautiful, aye, but there was more to it than that.  Even in the few short encounters he’d had with her—encounter where she was uniformly furious with him—he’d seen a mingled strength and vulnerability about her.  He’d been drawn to her as a moth to a flame. 

 

Was it possible to fall in love at first sight with someone who was yelling at you?

 

Killian sighed as he made his rounds through the university parking lots in search of parking malefactors.  It didn’t matter.  The chances that she’d give him a chance—him the bloke who’d done nothing but make her life more difficult—were slim to none.

 

He really hated his job.

 

Killian finished his round of the south end of campus and was about to move on when suddenly he spotted it.  A little yellow bug.  A very distinctive little yellow bug.

 

A little yellow bug that, according to the timestamp on the meter, had been in its 2-hour parking spot for two hours, three minutes and forty-seven seconds.

 

Killian headed toward the meter—not sure whether he planned to write a citation….or feed the meter enough coins to keep it happy for another two hours.

 

But before he arrived, a blur of blonde hair and red-leather jacket ran past, reaching the car before him.  Swan.  Hastily she jabbed a couple of quarters in the slot and then turned beseeching green eyes in his direction.

 

“Look,” she said, one slim hand raised toward him in supplication.  “I know I was late.  I know I’m this big terrible parking criminal that deserves to be drawn and quartered…or whatever it is you parking Nazis are doing these days, but could you please, please, please let it slide just this once?  I’ve had a hell of a day, and one more thing goes wrong…I might just go ballistic.”

 

Killian looked at her closely and his heart clenched.  She truly looked at the end of her tether.  Gold would probably kill him if he let it slide…but suddenly he didn’t bloody well care.  He wasn’t such a cold-blooded cad he’d turn from a lady very clearly in distress.

 

Killian took a deliberate step toward the parking meter, peered at it intently, and then looked back at her.  She eyed him with wariness and trepidation—a situation he would soon remedy if he had any say in the matter.

 

“I’ve no idea what you mean, love,” he said with a wink.  “From my vantage point you’ve still got half an hour left on your meter.   It appears there’s nothing for me or any of the other traffic Nazi’s to cite.”

 

She let out a long, deep breath she’d obviously been holding.  “Thank you!” she sighed.

 

“You’re quite welcome,” he answered with a smile.  “If you don’t mind me asking…are you quite alright lass?  You seem quite troubled.”

 

She chuckled, shaking her head slightly.  “It’s…it’s just been one of those days, you know?  The alarm didn’t go off…and then I couldn’t get this stupid piece of junk to start..and then I was late getting to campus…and then there wasn’t a single parking spot free in any of the student lots on the whole campus…and then I was late for my literature midterm…and…and then I’m pretty sure I failed it spectacularly…and Professor Mills took one look at it and then gave me her ‘evil queen’ glare…and I just want to go home and go back to bed and forget this whole day even started, but I have to go to work in ten minutes…and then I realized I took so long failing that stupid test that my parking meter was going to run out…and then I got here and saw you and I just got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.”

 

“Well darling,” he drawled, “that’s not normally the effect I have on women.  I’m not sure whether to be sympathetic or insulted.”

 

She laughed, a genuine, joyous sound this time, and, if possible, he smiled yet wider.

 

“Well, given the fact that you didn’t ticket me, I’d say my day is starting to look up,” she said finally.  “Well…I guess I should get going.  Maybe we’ll see each other around again sometime?  Preferably not in the Parking Services office.”

 

“Of that, you can be quite sure, love,” he said in a low voice.  She turned toward her car and reached for the handle.  Suddenly he didn’t want to wait another several months…or several traffic citations…to see her again.  If angry Emma Swan had intrigued him, smiling Emma Swan bloody fascinated him.  “Perhaps you would like to accompany me to dinner this evening when you’ve finished your shift?”

 

She turned startled eyes in his direction for a moment.  “Are you…are you asking me out?”

 

He sauntered toward her.  “Perhaps,” he said smoothly.

 

“Why?”

 

Did she really need to ask?  “Aside from the fact that you’re beautiful and alluring and captivating and I’d like nothing in the world more than to come to know you better?  Perhaps I feel a bit guilty.  What do you say, Swan?  Will you allow me to make up for those truly ridiculous traffic tickets I presented you with in the past?”

 

She gave him a long, assessing look and then finally nodded, smiling mischievously.  “Sure, why not?  But then do you really think one measly dinner is going to make up for all the emotional distress of those tickets?”

He grabbed her hand and placed a lingering kiss against her knuckles.  “Not nearly, love.  I fear it may take me a couple hundred dinners to truly make up for my boorish behavior.  Never fear.  I shall be perfectly willing to pay my debt.”

“I look forward to it.” 

 

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

 

He was right; Gold was not happy at all about his negligence…so not happy in fact, that he fired him on the spot.

 

Killian wagered he should have been upset to lose his employment, but having Emma Swan on his arm more than assuaged any distress he might feel.

 

And when his lovely girlfriend managed to land him a job in her own place of employment, life couldn’t be better. 

 

All told, perhaps he’d do well to thank Gold.  Who would believe such ridiculous parking policies would have resulted in the happiest semester he’d ever had?

  

Notes:  

--Happy Friday everyone!  It’s been a rough week for me, but Fridays are always nice!  

--This is a story once again borne out of personal experience.  The university where I work has the most bureaucratic parking services office in the known world!  They are uniformly hated and reviled on campus (which they know full well.  They had a representative come talk to us at our new-employee orientation, basically saying “don’t believe the hype guys, we’re not really evil!  (Well…at least not all the time!)”).  While they may seem exaggerated, the things that Emma got ticketed for in this story actually happened.  This past year, our old parking permits expired a week before the new ones took effect.  (Luckily…they weren’t overly ticket-happy that week!)  I also know of someone who parked in an “open to the public after 7 pm” lot at 6:56…and came back to a ticket on her car.

--Up next:  I will probably go for some light, happy canon compliant future fluff to take place after everyone returns from the Underworld.

Chapter Text

The Surprise Party

CS genre: Future fic

Emma got the idea while she and Killian were cleaning up after Henry’s 14th birthday party.

Killian reached up and pulled at a streamer they’d hung above their front door.  He tugged gently and then peered down at the thin paper in his hand.  Emma saw the wistful look in his eyes as his ringed fingers traced the cursive letters spelling out “Happy Birthday Henry!”.

“It would seem your party was a smashing success, love,” he said, smiling down at her as she threw a couple of paper plates into the large trash bag she was lugging around their living room.

“Yeah,” she said.  “Henry certainly seemed to like it, although at this point he’d probably be happy with anything we did.  He’s been so happy since we all got back from the Underworld, I doubt anything could bring him down.”

Killian, stepped up behind her, wrapped his arm around her waist, and nuzzled her neck, placing a small, chaste kiss on her shoulder.  “I know precisely how he feels.”

She turned her head to meet his blue eyes.  “So…you’re happy, now?”

He smiled tenderly.  “I’m once again in the land of the living, I’ve married my true love, we live together in a magnificent house with a view of the sea, Storybrooke has been peaceful for well-nigh six months and our lad has opted to spend the night with his other mother, leaving us free to indulge uninterrupted in whatever enjoyable activities we wish.  What’s not to be happy about?”

His smile turned to a mischievous grin as he raised one eyebrow suggestively. 

Emma laughed and then thrust the trash bag at him.  “I might be able to be persuaded about those enjoyable activities, but first we need to clean this place up.  I am not waking up tomorrow to a trashed house.”

“As my lady wishes,” he said with a bow and another grin.

Emma watched her husband out of the corner of her eye as he slowly walked around the room, disposing of the accumulated mess produced by a big, boisterous family birthday party.  He muttered under his breath, his tone awed, full of wonder, and suddenly it hit Emma.

She’d known him for several years now, but she didn’t remember him ever celebrating a birthday.  She’d never even asked him when the big day was.  The pain hit her then.  This wonderful man who’d always been there for her still didn’t believe he mattered enough to celebrate.

“Killian,” she said, clearing her throat when she heard how wobbly her voice sounded.

“Aye, Swan?” he asked, looking up with concern at the obvious tears in her voice.

“When’s your birthday?”

His brow furrowed as he thought for a moment, and then he shrugged.  “Sometime near the end of January.  It’s been years—centuries even—since I thought of such things.  I lived in such darkness for so many years that something as joyful as a birthday fell by the wayside.”

Emma felt the tears rush to her eyes, and felt one slip down her cheek.  He looked up quickly, always so attuned to her and her emotions—even more so now that they shared a heart.  He came to her then, catching the tear with his thumb, and smiling tenderly at her.  Leaning down, he kissed her gently.  “It’s no matter Swan,” he said softly.  “My joy now is so great that those dark days feel like nothing but a nightmare, banished by the morning light.”

She smiled at him as she cupped his face in one hand, love filling her, overflowing once more.  “Good,” she said.  She took his hand and tugged.  “How about we go get started on those enjoyable activities.”

His grin turned teasing.  “What about not wanting to wake up to the mess in the morning?”

She shrugged.  “A clean house is overrated.  Besides, I can magic it all away later.  Much, much later, if I have any say about it.”

Emma got no more complaints from her pirate husband—teasing or not—as she led him up to their luxurious king-sized bed.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

The next morning Emma woke with a renewed purpose.  She was going to throw Killian a birthday party spectacular enough to make up for all those missed years.  She pushed aside the heavy comforter and sat up, running a hand through her messy hair.

Killian reached an arm around her waist, eyes remaining resolutely closed.  “Come back to bed, love.  Nice and warm here.  Too early to rise,” he muttered.

She giggled, kissing him softly.  “Sorry Killian.  I’ve got way too much to do today.  No time to laze around in bed.”

He cracked one eyelid and peered up at her.  “Everything alright, Swan?”

She caressed his cheek.  “Yeah,  everything’s fine.  I’ve just got to…do some investigating.  You know, the work of a sheriff around here is never done.”

He hummed sleepily.  She kissed him once more.  “I love you.”

He mumbled a sleepy “love you too” in return, and then sailed back into dreamland.

Emma had a long and busy day of planning.  First order of business was picking up Henry from Regina’s and recruiting him as she walked him to school.  Unsurprisingly, her son was on board—and incredibly excited—from the moment he realized what she was planning.

“Yeah!” he’d said.  “I can’t believe we didn’t think of this sooner!  We should have a big surprise party for him.  You know, get the whole town in on it.  We should call it something he’d never suspect.  Like ‘Operation Giraffe’.”

She laughed.  “Why giraffe, kid?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged.  “It doesn’t sound anything like ‘surprise birthday party’.  He’ll never know what hit him.  Besides, he really liked the giraffes that one time we took Roland and Neal to the zoo.”

“Sounds good to me,” she said.  “I’ll start setting things up.  When you’re done with school we can start in on some serious Operation Giraffe planning!”

From there, she’d headed to the docks, found Smee and determined Killian’s actual birthday—January 26.  (She’d freaked out for a minute or two, realizing they only had a few days to pull this off, but then she’d pulled it together.  This town had gone to the freaking Underworld to save his life; planning a birthday party in two days was going to be child’s play.)

As the day went on, Emma met with nearly everyone in the town, and everyone eagerly offered their assistance as soon as they knew what she was planning.  Her parents had set out to pick a location; Granny offered to cater the event; Belle headed to the books, researching typical birthday practices in the Enchanted Forest three centuries ago; Smee and the rest of Killian’s remaining crew offered whatever help she needed; and Leroy offered to spread the word stealthily.  (She’d been a bit hesitant about that last one.  Stealth wasn’t exactly Leroy’s strong suit when it came to telling the news, his preferred method being yelling at the top of his lungs.  If they pulled this off without Killian figuring it out, it would be a minor miracle.)

By the time she and Henry got home later that night, decorations had been decided upon, food had been ordered, a venue had been chosen, gifts had been purchased, and the whole town had been invited.

Emma had to say; it had been quite the productive day.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Something was going on.  Something was definitely going on.

Killian walked down the sidewalk of Storybrooke’s main street, only half aware of what Henry excitedly prattled on about at his side.  He and the lad had taken advantage of the unusually temperate January weather for a sail on the Jolly, and now they planned to dine at Granny’s.

It had been a lovely day—the sun shining brightly, the salt breeze rifling through their hair, Henry’s excitement and enthusiasm contagious as he asked question after question about the ship.  The lad was going to make quite the sailor one day.

Still…Killian frowned in concern as they continued their walk.  Over the course of the past few days, Emma, Henry, the Charmings, the entire town, really had been acting quite peculiarly.  Emma and the lad spent long hours secluded together, and when he asked what they’d been about, both had become resolutely mute.  To make matters worse, more than once, Killian had come upon a gathering of townsfolk who had been talking animatedly—only to fall suddenly silent at his approach.

He’d heard murmurs about “the big event”, and “make sure not to tell him”, and what sounded like an odd dispute about “the color of the streamers”.

It was as though the entirety of Storybrooke was involved in something big and important that they resolutely wished to keep secret from him.  Killian found the feeling of being excluded quite unpleasant indeed.

“Pardon lad?” he asked when he realized Henry was awaiting his response to a question he’d asked.

“I asked what you think of giraffes,” Henry said.

“Giraffes?” Killian asked, brow furrowing in confusion.  “When did the conversation take that turn?  I thought we were discussing our planned night sail to learn the winter constellations.”

Henry rolled his eyes.  “Killian, have you been paying attention at all?  We got done talking about that like ten minutes ago.”

“My apologies,” Killian muttered.  “Must have been woolgathering.”

Henry looked at him closely.  “What’s up with you lately?” he asked.  “You’ve been, I don’t know, moody or something the last few days.”

Killian scratched behind his ear.  “Nothing at all is the matter with me, mate.  I might however, ask you the same question.  It has seemed that something is a foot in this town, and no one has seen fit to make me privy to it.  Have I…have I done something to offend?  I’m well aware that I was a villain for many, many years, and it’s likely difficult for some to trust me, but…”

“What?!” Henry interrupted, stopping stalk still on the sidewalk.  Killian came to an abrupt halt, only narrowly avoiding running into the lad.  “It’s…it’s.  Okay, I can’t tell you what it is, but you’ll find out really, really soon.  But it’s nothing like that!  Of course we trust you, Killian!  The whole town trusts you!  You may have done bad stuff before, but we all know you’re not a villain anymore.  You died to save us all; what more could someone do to show they’re a real hero?”

Killian felt the relief flood him at Henry’s words—and particularly at his passion in speaking them.  He’d tried so very, very hard to reform his life—to become a hero worthy of Swan, worthy of his brother, worthy of the man he, himself wished to be—and he believed he’d been successful.  But there was always, always that niggling doubt that perhaps he’d been too far gone with his villainy, that he’d reached the point of no return.  To hear the lad he thought of as a son reassure him so heartily—he had no words to describe how much it pleased him.

“That’s a relief to hear,” he finally murmured.

Henry smiled.  “You’re going to like it; I promise.”

“I…I’m sure I shall,” Killian mumbled, having no idea how to respond.

“Come on!” Henry said after a moment.  “Let’s get to Granny’s before the lunch crowd takes all the good booths.”

Killian hesitated for a moment.  He trusted Henry, truly he did, but suddenly he was weary well-nigh to death of the whispers and the glances and the secrecy.  “I don’t know lad,” he said after a moment.  “I know we discussed dining together, but I’m suddenly quite fatigued.  Perhaps…perhaps you might pick up an order to go and we could dine with your mother at home?”

Henry looked startled at the idea.  “But…but Killian!  That won’t work.  We’ve planned this forever.  Come on, you have to come to Granny’s with me.”

Startled by the lad’s insistence, Killian started walking again.  “Very well,” he said, bemused, “if it’s of that much importance to you…”

“It is, Killian,” Henry insisted.  “It really, really is.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

“He’s coming!” Leroy whisper shouted.  “Everyone, HIDE!!”

Emma rolled her eyes as she crouched next to her parents behind the counter at Granny’s.  “Is everything an emergency to that man?”

“Give him a break, Emma,” Mary Margaret said with a chuckle.  “He’s excited.  I don’t know if this town has ever come together to throw a surprise party before.”

Emma peered around the edge of the counter and watched the door.  The doorknob turned, the bell above the door rang, and Killian and Henry stepped inside.  She grinned as she saw the perplexed look on her husband’s face as he stepped into an apparently completely empty restaurant.

Suddenly Leroy popped up like a grumpy, bearded jack-in-the-box and shouted “Surprise!”

The rest of the town followed suit, and Emma grinned again as Killian jumped and instinctively pushed Henry behind him, his hook raised and ready to attack.

Slowly, Emma saw the truth dawn on her husband’s face, as he looked around at the streamers, the cake (with 35 rather than 335 candles) on the counter, the brightly wrapped gifts on a table in the corner, the banner proclaiming “Happy Birthday Killian!”, and the wide smiles of everyone around him.

The concern, fear, desire to protect faded to wonder and awe.  As Emma made her way over to Killian, slipped her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss, she saw the tears in his eyes.

“Happy birthday, Killian,” she whispered, just before her lips touched his.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Later that night, Emma lay in bed, happy and content within the shelter of Killian’s arms.  She smiled into his chest as she felt him draw soft patterns against her back.  Giving him a quick kiss, she raised up on one elbow and grinned down at him.

“Did you like your surprise party?”

He grinned.  “Aye, although I fear you frightened a good ten years off of my life.”

She laughed.  “You should have seen your face!  Someone should have taken a picture.  You looked like you were ready to jump out of your skin.”

He laughed with her, and then sobered.  “Thank you, Emma,” he said seriously, “it was the greatest birthday party of my long life.  To think everyone was there to celebrate me…it boggles the mind.”

Emma reached down and caressed his face.  “Don’t you understand Killian?” she asked softly.  “You’re an important part of this town.  We all care about you.  We all want to show you how much you mean to us.”

He looked unconvinced.  “Truly?”

“Yes,” she said decisively.  “You have no idea how quickly everyone jumped to help as soon as I told them I wanted to throw you a party.  You have so many friends here, Killian.  Henry adores you, and I love you so much I wouldn’t even be able to go on without you.  It’s about time we did something to show you how much you mean to us.”

“What did I ever do to deserve a wife like you?”  Killian smiled softly, his eyes suspiciously moist.  He brought his hand to the back of her head and brought her down for a long, slow kiss.

When they finally broke apart, Emma rested her forehead against his.  “How about you show me just how grateful you are, pirate?”

He grinned.  “It will be my great pleasure.”

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  I received a prompt a couple of weeks ago to write a story about Killian’s birthday in honor of Colin’s birthday this week.  It seemed like the perfect fluffy idea!  I decided to combine a birthday party with everyone taking a moment to show Killian just how important he is in their lives.

 

Chapter Text

The Common Cold

CS genre: Deleted scene (6 weeks of peace between 4a and 4b)

“Hey, Killian!” Henry said as he slid into the booth across from his mom’s boyfriend, “where were you this morning?  I thought you were going to come pick me up at the loft so we could go sailing.”

Killian set down his coffee mug with a grimace.  “My apologies lad, it seems to have slipped my mind.”

Henry looked at him intently, his brows furrowed in the way Swan’s often were when she was intent on ferreting out information.

“You look…upset or something,” Henry said after a moment.  “Is something wrong.”

Killian glanced aside and scratched behind his ear.  “It’s merely that…your mother seems rather vexed with me today and I’ve no idea what I’ve done to incur her wrath.  I spoke to her on the telephone, and she seemed quite annoyed.”

To Killian’s surprise (and disquiet), the lad smiled.  “Is that all?”

“Aye, that’s all,” Killian said with a scowl, “but I fail to see why it should elicit a smile.  I’d quite prefer to be in my girlfriend’s good graces if it’s all the same to you.”

“No, that’s not it!” Henry said earnestly.  “I wasn’t making fun of you.  It’s just…mom’s not upset with you.   She woke up with a cold this morning and that always makes her cranky.  And then Grandma and Grandpa took one look at her and ordered her back to bed, and that made her even more annoyed.”

Killian frowned.  The lad was making no sense.  “Aye…” he said carefully, “it was quite chilly this morning, as the effects of Ingrid’s magic have not entirely worn off, but I fail to see why that should incur Swan’s ire.  And why the bloody hell should that induce her parents to send her to bed.”

“Not cold,” Henry said patiently. “A cold.  You know, a sickness?”

“Swan’s ill?” he asked quickly, his concern swiftly mounting.  “What’s being done for her?  Who’s caring for her?  Why wasn’t I informed?”

Henry looked taken aback by his panic.  “Hey, it’s okay!” he said quickly, “a cold’s no big deal.  Just, you know, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, coughing, that sort of thing.  She’s fine.  Cranky, but fine.

Killian breathed a quick sigh of relief, suddenly feeling foolish.   “I’m quite glad to hear it.   Is anyone seeing to her needs as she battles this cold?”

Henry snorted.  “Mom’s not much on being fussed over.  Grandma tried this morning but…well, none of us have a death wish.”

“Lucky for me,” Killian said after draining the last of his now luke-warm coffee, “I’m good at surviving.  I’m afraid our sailing venture will have to wait, lad.  I’ve work to do to show your mother she no longer needs to suffer alone.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Emma sat up, shoved her tangle of hair irritably out of her face, swiped a tissue from the box on her nightstand, and blew viciously, scowling fiercely at the pain the motion caused her nose, tender from being blown far too many times already.  She lay back against her pillows, wincing at the pain every time she tried to swallow.

She’d fought all kinds of villains over the last couple of years since she found out the truth about her life and heritage.  She’d defeated the Evil Queen’s curse, fought Cora, tried her best not to go blind from all the eye-rolling at Greg and Tamara, fought Pan, defeated the Wicked Witch, and neutralized the Snow Queen.

And now a stupid common cold had ambitions to take her out.  Was she going to stand for it?  Hell no.  These germs better watch themselves because they were going down.

She coughed, a deep wracking motion that seemed to reach down to her very toes.  Apparently they were going to put up a hell of a fight before they actually went down.

At least her family had finally gotten the message and decided to leave her alone.  Last thing she wanted was people hovering while she dealt with this latest scourge.

Emma heard the door to the Charmings’ loft open below.  She listened, heard footsteps head in the direction of the kitchen, a sack being placed on the counter, the faucet being turned on and then off, more footsteps.

“Swan?” Killian called before evidently beginning his climb up the stairs.  “Your lad told me you’re ill, love.  What can I do to help you?”

Emma groaned, pulling her comforter up over her head.  Wonderful.  She should have known her ridiculous pirate boyfriend wouldn’t let her be miserable in peace.

She felt the bed dip beside her, and felt his hand caress her arm through the blankets.  Scowling, she pulled the coverlet off of her face, and felt her fly-away hair poof all around her.

He looked down at her, tender concern evident in his sympathetic eyes. 

She sighed.  He looked perfect.  Gorgeous as always, hair artfully disheveled, guyliner carefully applied, scruff perfectly groomed.  He looked like that, while she lay here looking like death warmed over.  There was no justice in the world.  None at all.

“What are you doing here, Killian?” she asked in a hard voice (well, she tried to ask in a hard voice.  There’s something about nasal congestion that ruins the bad-ass effect).

He reached up and smoothed her hair.  “Isn’t it obvious love?  I’m here to care for my girlfriend in her time of need.”

Killian turned from her for a moment and grabbed something off her nightstand.  “I’ve procured a number of items I trust will help you in the healing process.  Are you up to taking a bit of Jello?  I’ve been led to believe it has marvelous curative properties.”

Emma looked at the gelatinous concoction in the bowl he held out to her and chuckled as she got to a seated position.  “You know, Killian, just because they serve this stuff at the hospital doesn’t mean it’s medicine.”

He nodded, pushing the bowl toward her until she took it.  “Oh aye, I’m well aware love, but as soon as your lad apprised me of your current ailment I betook myself to the library and did a bit of research.  It would seem Jello is, in fact, a recommended item for the common cold.  It’s easy to digest, and the smooth, coolness will sooth your throat.”

Emma took a bite of the red concoction, pleasantly surprised at how soothing it truly was on her raw throat.  She was touched, in spite of herself.  “You…you actually did research about how to take care of me?”

He nodded again.  “Aye,” he said, laying his hand against her forehead and smiling when he evidently deemed her fever-free.  “I’d wager the state of medicine has changed quite substantially since I last endeavored to care for an ill person.”

She gave him a close, assessing look.  “Why?”

His brow furrowed.  “Why, what, love?”

She turned aside, picking at a loose thread on her comforter.  “Why…are you doing all of this, you know, for me?  Why do you care?”

With a gentle finger, he turned her head until she could see his eyes.  “Why do I care?  Because, Emma, you’re my girlfriend.  I care for you, more than I have words to say.  Because you deserve to have someone see to your needs for a change.”

She felt the tears burn the back of her throat.  “Th…thank you.”

He smiled warmly, and then gently caressed her cheek.  “You’ve no need to thank me.  There’s no place I’d rather be than by your side.  Now, if you’ll pardon me for a moment, I left water on the stove for tea.  Hot beverages are said to be particularly soothing, and when you feel up to another meal, I procured a quart of chicken soup from Granny’s.”

Without another word, he made his way down the loft stairs, and she listened as he made her tea, and then returned with the steaming mug in hand.

“I’d no idea what kind of tea you might favor, but I always enjoy a good stout Irish Breakfast, myself,” he said, setting the mug on her bedside table.  “I took the liberty to sweeten it with a bit of honey; I hope that’s to your liking.”

Killian sat back beside her on the bed, and she took his hand, bringing it slowly to her lips.  “It’s…it’s perfect.”

He smiled at her, and then turned away once more, reaching for something in his bag.  She stopped him with a hand to his arm.  “I’m sorry for, you know, ignoring your calls, this morning and then nearly biting your head off when you did get ahold of me.  I’m just…you know…not used to people putting me first.  Not used to people taking care of me.  I guess when I started getting sick, I got scared or something.”

He looked down at her with concern.  “Of what were you frightened?  Did you fear your illness to be severe and dangerous?”

She shook her head and then sneezed.  She blew her nose once again, and then turned back toward him.  “It’s just..something about being sick makes me feel like when I was a little kid back in the foster system.  After…after the Swans sent me back, I was always scared my new families would get rid of me if I wasn’t, you know, perfect.  Being sick…well, I was always convinced the families would see me as a burden and send me back.  Then once I got older and I was in the group home…they might give you medicine and stuff, but nobody cared.  Nobody wanted to spend time with the sick kid.  I was just…a burden.”

She saw the pain in his eyes, felt the extra tenderness in the way he caressed her face, hair, arm, anything he could reach.  “You listen to me, Emma Swan, and you listen carefully.  You are not now, and you will never be a burden.  I’m here because I want to be.  I’m here because it gives me pleasure to care for you, it brings me joy to be of service to you.  And I’m quite certain your parents and your lad feel quite the same way.  Whatever pain you had to endure in the past, it’s over now.  You have many, many people who will stand by your side no matter what may befall you.”

Emma felt the tears begin to flow then, touched beyond belief at his words, his vehemence.  He reached over, and wiped the moisture away, allowing her a moment of emotion, before he sat back and reached for the mug.

“Now, if you please,” he said, “you’d best drink this while it’s hot.”

Killian stayed with her for the rest of the day, waiting on her every need, telling her stories to pass the time and soothe her to sleep, (“It’s what my mother used to do for me when I was ill as a child, Swan.”), doing all in his power to make her as comfortable as possible.

When her parents and her son returned home, they were equally attentive, and yet another of Emma’s walls crumbled. 

As night fell, and she heard her parents put her brother down for the night, as she heard them, themselves settle in for the night, Killian softly closed the book he’d been reading to her, leaning down to softly kiss her forehead.

“I’d best leave you to your rest, love,” he said gently.  “I’ll return on the morrow.”

He turned to leave, but she reached out and grabbed his hand.  “Stay,” she said simply.

“Pardon?” he asked.

“I mean…” she said, glancing aside, “I don’t want to give you my germs or anything, but you…you make me feel better.  Would you, maybe stay with me tonight?”

His eyes lit up with the joy of his smile.  Without a word, he removed his hook and brace, his jacket, his boots, and climbed in beside her, wrapping her in his arms.  “I don’t fear your germs, Swan.  Should they attack, perhaps you’ll return the favor and care for me, aye?”

She smiled, threading her fingers with his, and then kissing his cheek.  “You can count on it.  Goodnight, Killian.”

“Goodnight, Love.  Feel better soon.”

She snuggled closer into him.  “I already do.”

Notes:

--I hope you’re having a wonderful Friday.  We’re only about a month away from 5b, now!

--I’ve gotten several very promising prompts from readers, which I definitely plan to fill eventually, but I decided to push them off to another week.  I’ve been struggling with a sinus infection all week, and I decided if I have to suffer than so does a part of my otp.  I’ve already written a 3 or 4 shot about Killian being sick and Emma caring for him, so now it’s the savior’s turn.

--I’m not sure if this is TOTALLY fluffy, but my germs are starting to make me as grumpy as they were making Emma in this story, and, well, this was about as fluffy as I could get this week!

--Up next: I think I’m going to attempt a canon divergence from season 2:  What would have happened if Emma hadn’t left Hook in New York after he stabbed Gold at Neal’s apartment?  (This will be a challenge…especially because my answer to the above question right at the moment is….I have no idea!  All I know is that there was entirely too little Hook/Killian in 2b (Colin really needs to be banned from skiing and all other activities that might result in injuries that leave him unable to work for several weeks at a time), and that very much needs to be remedied, even if it’s just through canon divergent fics.)

Chapter Text

After the Vengeance

CS genre: Canon Divergence (2x15)

What even is my life?  Emma thought for probably the millionth time since Henry showed up at her door last year spouting all kinds of craziness about fairy tale characters come to life.  You’d think she’d be used to the sideshow that was her life by this point, but today proved that life was still capable of tossing her a doozy of a curve-ball.

It was supposed to be a simple “find Gold’s son” mission.  They’d take a quick trip to Manhattan, find Baelfire, head back to Storybrooke, and her “debt” to Gold would be fulfilled.  No such luck.  Not only did Neal Cassidy show back up after twelve years of absolute silence, but he was the son of Rumple-freaking-stiltskin.  Then everyone’s favorite stab-happy pirate had shown up and made everything even more interesting.

How did she get into these kinds of situations?

Emma plopped onto Neal’s slightly dusty couch with a long, drawn out sigh.  To say the situation as it currently stood was less than ideal was an understatement.

She’d knocked Hook out, but not before he’d succeeded in doing some serious quality damage with his poisoned hook.  Gold had insisted his only chance to survive was to get him back to Storybrooke as soon as possible, and Neal had suggested he take him back on the Jolly Roger.  (And again…what was her life?  Her ex-boyfriend had learned how to sail a ship from Captain Hook?!!)

“So what do we do?” Neal had asked as he got his father settled on his couch and then came back to consult with Emma. “Tie Hook up and leave him in the storage closet or something?”

The thought had made her distinctly uncomfortable.  “We can’t just leave him here, Neal.  He’s a three-hundred year old pirate who knows nothing about modern life.”

He’d given her a distinctly disgruntled look.  “You have a problem leaving Hook behind?”

“Yeah, actually I do,” she’d said glaring at him.  She should have known leaving someone behind and locked up would be Neal’s solution.  Seemed to be his m.o.  “I did it once before.  It was a mistake then; it would be a mistake again now.  Besides, you really want to let Captain Hook loose on New York?  Who knows what kind of havoc he’d cause.”

Neal let out a long breath.  “So, what?  We bring him with us so he can wake up and try to do dad in again?”

“No,” she said.  “You guys go ahead.  I’ll hang out with him until he wakes up, and then we’ll find another way home.  Ought to give you enough of a head start to get Gold back to Storybrooke and whatever magical solution he has in mind.”

And so it was arranged.  Neal would take Gold back to Storybrooke on the Jolly Roger, and Emma would make her way back with Hook later.  Henry insisted on accompanying his father back, an arrangement that made Emma far from happy, but there was no time to argue.

So here she was, twiddling her thumbs in her ex-boyfriend’s Manhattan apartment while she waited for a murderous, revenge-crazed pirate to wake up. 

As if on cue, she heard a groan and a muttered “Bloody hell!” from the vicinity of the bedroom.

Getting to her feet, Emma made her way to the room, where she’d handcuffed Hook to Neal’s bed.  He opened his eyes, looked around, and then smirked up at her.

“Really, love,” he drawled.  “I would say your penchant for restraining me was beginning to get old, but can I really complain about a beautiful woman tying me to a bed?”

Emma rolled her eyes, and then stepped forward, unlocking the restraint and then stepping back.  “Yeah, well don’t get any ideas buddy.”

Hook rolled to a sitting position, put his hand to his (no doubt) aching head, groaned, and then straightened, shooting her a salacious look.  “I’m afraid your warning is too late, Swan.  The ideas have been there well-nigh since we met.”

“I’m starting to wish I took Neal’s advice and left you chained to a radiator.”

Her mention of one of the other players in their little drama seemed to sober Hook immensely.  He got to his feet, stumbled his way through the small apartment, and then returned to her, a hard look in his eyes.  “Where is he?  Where is the Crocodile?  I wish to see his filthy, rotting body.”

“He’s not here,” Emma said calmly.  “Neal took him back to Storybrooke in search of a cure of some kind.”

Hook looked furious for the span of two heartbeats, and then he smiled.  “Neal can take the Crocodile wherever he wishes; it won’t do him a bit of good.  There is no cure anywhere in this realm for the poison currently racing through his veins.”

Emma shrugged.  “Maybe there is and maybe there isn’t.  All they know is that their only hope is in Storybrooke.”

Hook looked at her closely.  “And yet you’re here.  And without your lad, no less.  Why didn’t you go with them, love?”

She turned away, looking sightlessly out the window.  “It…it didn’t seem right to strand you in a strange city.”

He was silent for several moments, and finally Emma turned back toward him.  He looked stunned.  “You…you chose to remain behind rather than leave me?”

She looked aside again.  “Don’t look at me like that!” she said irritably. “I just didn’t want to subject New York to you and your stupid poisoned hook.”

He shook his head softly.  “No, that’s not it,” he said with a tiny smile.  “Don’t forget, you’re an open book, darling.  There’s more to it than concern for this bizarre, noisy city.”

She huffed.  “Fine!” she said.  “It seemed cruel to leave you behind again, okay?  I made a mistake on the beanstalk and I didn’t want to make the same mistake again.  Satisfied?”

His resulting smile seemed entirely devoid of his normal sardonic flirting.  “Quite.”

He swayed forward as though he planned to embrace her, but she quickly sidestepped.  Her traitorous heart pounded at the thought of those arms surrounding her again, and that reaction freaked her out more anything else that had happened during this freaking day.

“Yeah, well,” she said brusquely, “now that you’re awake, how about we see about finding a way to Storybrooke?  I’d rather be back with my son a.s.a.p.”

“Aye,” Hook said with a nod (which culminated in a grimace, as he reached up to rub at his still-aching head).  “Shall we make our way to the Jolly then?”

Well, this part of the conversation was probably not going to go well.  “Yeah…about that…”

His eyes narrowed.  “Is there a reason we cannot take my ship back to Storybrooke, love?”

“Um…yeah,” she said.  “Neal kind of took Gold back home in it.”

What?!!!

“Well, I mean time was of the essence,” Emma said with a shrug, “and the Jolly Roger did seem the fastest way to get back.”

“So you let the Crocodile steal my bloody ship?  Bad form, Swan!”

“They didn’t steal it, Hook,” she said with an eyeroll, “they just borrowed it.”

He shot her a dirty look.  “Borrowing implies the obtaining of the owner’s permission.”

“Well, you were kind of tied up at the time.”

He glared.  “And whose bloody fault is that?!  I was under the impression that a ‘sheriff’ would avoid such activities as aiding and abetting the pilfering of a man’s personal property.”

She got in his face.  “You wanna stand here and argue who’s the biggest law breaker, or do you want to travel back to Storybrooke where you can take back possession of your ‘personal property’?”

He glared for another moment, and then his expression evened out.  “By all means, Swan, let’s set sail.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Hook’s eyes widened as the monstrosity on which Swan had procured them seats began picking up speed as it navigated its way onto something called a “freeway”.  Swan called the large, crowded conveyance a “bus”, and deemed it the best vessel to get them back to Storybrooke, save for something called an “airplane”.  And after Swan had informed him just what an airplane was, he’d put his foot down.

“Do you mean to tell me that people in this realm trust their safety to a metal conveyance that flies?” he’d asked incredulously.  “How is that even possible?  Have they Pegasus sails in your realm?”

She’d given him a blank look and then burst out laughing.  “Don’t think so, whatever those are.  I don’t know how the whole flying thing works.  I just know you get on the plane, it takes off, flies through the air really fast and then lands at your destination.”

“Love, I’ve not survived for several centuries by trusting my person to such precarious conveyances,” he’d insisted.  “I’d sooner swim back to Storybrooke.”

“That, I’d like to see,” Emma said, her voice full of amusement.

He’d grinned  “Fancy a gander at my person stripped down for a swim, do you love?”

“You wish,” she said with an eyeroll.

“At any rate,” he’d said, “as I would like to return to your Storybrooke as quickly as possible, perhaps you could suggest another means of transport in which I don’t need to put my life in peril?”

“We’ll take a bus,” Emma had said decisively.

And so it was decided.  They’d procured tickets with relative ease, though the gentleman at the ticket counter had eyed his pirate attire with more than a little unease.  Hook smirked, wondering just how much fear he would have elicited in the man had he still possession of his hook.  Swan had insisted on confiscating the eponymous item before they’d reached the bus station.

“Hook, you can’t travel on a bus wearing a hook,” she’d insisted.

“And just why not, pray tell.”

“Because it’s a weapon!” she’d said in exasperation.  “They aren’t gonna let you on if you’re toting a dangerous weapon at the end of your arm.”

“But the passengers on the bus need not fear, provided they give me no reason to threaten them,” Hook had argued.  “The hook was meant for the Crocodile and the Crocodile alone.  I’ve no quarrel with any of the denizens of this city.”

Emma stopped, put her hands on her shapely hips and gave him her patented “you are an idiot” look.  After a moment she held out her hand.  “Just give me the damn hook.  Trust me, it’ll be better that way.  I swear you’re harder to reason with than a toddler.”

He’d given her an aggrieved look, and then snapped the hook from its brace, handing it to her.  She’d taken it, slid it into her bag and continued her walk.

He’d more or less meekly followed her into the huge vessel, navigating his way through the throng of passengers already in seats and standing in the aisles.  When they’d reached a pair of unoccupied seats, he’d gestured forward, inviting Swan to take her choice.

“Yeah, I think I’ll let you have the window seat,” she’d said, eyeing him carefully.  “Not sure how you’d handle being jostled by this crowd.  Last thing I need is for you to start a fight and get us kicked off the bus.”

“I’m wounded, Swan,” he said with a frown.  “I do have some modicum of self-control.”

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” she said under her breath as she took her seat.

They’d settled in and passed the first quarter of an hour in companionable silence.  As the bus picked up speed, Hook became steadily more and more nervous until he’d worked himself up into a right state.  When he felt Swan place her hand over his on the armrest separating their seats, he nearly jumped out of his skin.

“Sorry,” she said, picking up her hand quickly, “didn’t mean to startle you.”

Hook took a deep breath, willing himself to calm, and then he shot her a quick smile.  “It’s no matter Swan.  It’s merely that this speed…it makes me a mite uneasy.”

Her face softened.  “It’s nothing to worry about, really,” she said.  “It might be fast, but I promise we’re safe.”

“I certainly hope so, as I’ve put my life in the hands of the man driving the bus,” he muttered. 

“Yeah, well, like I said, it’s safe.”

“Was there something you needed, love?” he asked, sensing there was a reason Swan had taken his hand and started the conversation in the first place.

“I just…” she began, and then blew out a long breath.  “It’s been a hell of a day.  For both of us, I guess.”

He looked at her curiously.  “I apologize for pushing you aside earlier,” he said carefully.  “Rather bad form that, but I couldn’t take a chance you’d prevent my vengeance.”

She laughed humorlessly.  “Trust me, Hook.  That little shove you gave me was the least of my problems today.  Let’s just say my son’s family tree got much, much more complicated.”

“Do you wish to talk about it?” he asked carefully.

She shook her head.  “Yeah, right now?  I don’t even want to think about it, let alone talk about it.  I think, for the moment any distraction I could get would be appreciated.”

Hook looked at her and wiggled his eyebrows in an exaggerated fashion.  “If it’s distraction you’re looking for, love, I’m sure I can come up with something so pleasurable you’ll forget your own name let alone your lad’s family tree.”

She chuckled and shook her head.  “Do you ever stop with the ridiculous innuendo?”

“As rarely as I can get away with it.”

She laughed again, and then sobered, glancing at him with something akin to apprehension. 

“Is there something else the matter?” he asked carefully.

“Well…” she began, looking up at him.  “Can I ask you something?”

He nodded an assent.

“I get why you wanted vengeance against Gold,” she said carefully, “I really do.  After what you said he did…I get you being angry.”

“It’s not just anger, love,” Hook said decisively.  “I need vengeance for my Milah.  Justice demands it!  A world in which my sweet love is brutally murdered and the beast who crushed her heart to powder before my eyes goes free and continues to pursue his own agenda is a world I simply cannot accept.”

“But,” she said slowly, “if it turns out Gold can’t find a cure and you do get your vengeance, what then?   I get wanting revenge, but in my experience?  It never really makes the pain go away.  It just makes you…empty.  I know no one has done anything to me even close to what Gold did to you, but what happens when your life’s work, your vengeance is complete?”

Swan’s questions made him uncomfortable.  He’d always had a vague sense that his vengeance would end his life as well; that taking the Crocodile’s life would be his last act.  Now that he’d survived the encounter…

“I don’t know, love,” he said simply, turning to look out the window and watch the road flash by.  “Revel in my victory, I suppose.”

“And” she said, “if they do find a cure?  If Rumple does survive your attack?”

He turned back toward you.  “Well then, I suppose my purpose is renewed.”

“You sure you want to be telling the town sheriff you have plans to go back to plotting murder?”

He smirked.  “Why not love?  I’ve rather enjoyed the times we’ve sparred—both verbally and physically—even if you do have a frustrating habit of besting me.”

“And I always will,” she smirked right back, and then her face got serious once more.  “Just think about something, okay?  Storybrooke’s a place for second chances.  You ever decide you want to change, there’re plenty of people who’d be willing to let you be a part of something—you know, something that doesn’t involve hundreds of years of hatred and murder and plotting and stuff.”

“Would you be one of those people ‘willing to let me be a part of something’?” he asked.

She laughed.  “It’d be a hell of a lot easier than constantly trying to clean up after your messes.”

He laughed right along with her.  There was something about this woman…something that called to something deep inside him.  It was beyond her beauty, beyond her courage, beyond her strength.  It was something he hadn’t had, hadn’t even realized he was missing for far, far too long. 

It was hope.

Maybe…maybe when all was said and done, when he could be sure his Milah was properly avenged, maybe there was something for him after all.  Maybe the strange land of Storybrooke could be for him what he’d lacked for centuries.

“I’ll think on it, Swan,” he said softly.  She squeezed his hand softly, and then they fell back into a peaceful silence as the miles rolled by bringing them closer and closer to Storybrooke.  Closer and closer to home.

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  Only 3 more Fridays left before Once is back!

--So obviously, the premise of this canon divergence was “what would happen if Emma hadn’t left Killian chained to a radiator in New York?”  I had fun going back to season 2—although it was a bit of a challenge to get back into Emma’s and Killian’s season 2 mindsets.  There’s definite attraction and sexual tension between them for sure, but neither is anywhere near love yet.  More like—suspicious tolerance on Emma’s part and amusement on Killian’s.  Anyway, aside from their interaction, I decided to throw in a little bit of “Hook vs the Modern World” as well, because, come on.  You can never have enough of that!

--Up next: I think I’ll go with a deleted scene from somewhere around 4x2 or 4x3.  Because I’ve had all kinds of CS movie feels lately:  Killian and David discuss the conversation Charming and “Prince Charles” had that night by the fire

Chapter Text

Winning Dave Over

CS Genre: Deleted scene (post 4x2)

Emma shivered, and Killian pulled her yet closer, dropping a quick kiss to the top of her head.

“Are you still chilled, love?” he asked gently, running his hand along her arm.

She shrugged.  “A little, I guess, but this helps.  You help.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” he murmured gently, shifting slightly, trying to find a comfortable position kneeling on the hard loft floor.

She quirked her brow.  “What?  No innuendo about all the ways you’d like to warm me up?  Captain you’re losing your touch.”

He grinned.  “Perhaps I’ve yet to recover from your ordeal as well.  You’ve no idea the agony of knowing the one you lo…care for is on the verge of death and you’ve no way to help them.”

“I’m sorry,” she said rather helplessly.  “I didn’t mean to worry you guys….”

He waved her off.  “Not to worry Swan, the danger has passed.  To your earlier observation, however,” he said, exaggeratedly wiggling his eyebrows.  “If that was your roundabout way of asking me to warm you up in a more pleasurable manner, I am, of course, at your service.”

She laughed.  “Pleasant as that sounds, think I’m gonna have to take a rain check.  With my parents downstairs and my son in the bed across the room, we’re a little lacking in the privacy department around here.  I need to get my own place.”

He chuckled.  “Don’t forget, darling that I have a perfectly serviceable room at Granny’s inn.”

“Yeah…” Emma said dryly.  “You really want to deal with Ruby’s smirking and innuendo?  Pretty sure with her wolf hearing there wouldn’t be much of anything left to her overly fertile imagination.”

“Perhaps so,” Killian agreed.  “At any rate, you’ve had quite the shock to your system tonight, Swan.  Probably best you get some sleep rather than anything more…strenuous anyway.”

She yawned largely.  “Yeah, you’re probably right.”

She slowly, awkwardly got to her feet, and it was only then she noticed Killian’s position.  “Don’t tell me you’ve been kneeling on that cold hard floor this whole time!”

Killian grimaced, really noticing the protestations of his aching knees for the first time.  He got gingerly to his feet and took a few steps to work out the kinks.  “I truly didn’t notice, Swan,” he said.  “I was so focused on getting you warmed up, I didn’t even feel it.”

She reached up and caressed his cheek.  “Thank you.  Really.  Thank you for everything.”

He turned his head, placing a quick kiss to her palm.  “You’re most welcome, love.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Perhaps, though, we’ll skip the ice and freezing weather for our fourth date, aye?”

She laughed.  “Yeah, I could definitely get behind that idea.

She sobered.  “Would you mind…”

“What Swan?”

“I was just wondering…” she said, glancing aside, “you’ve made me feel so much better…so much warmer tonight.  Would you mind staying with me for a little while as I fall asleep?  I mean, I know it’s a lot to ask and you’re probably tired; it’s been a long night for you, and if you don’t want to, you don’t…”

He stopped her with a finger to her lips.  “I’d like nothing better, Emma.”

Swan bid her parents and the ice maiden goodnight, and then led Killian up the loft stairs.  He remained with her, sitting on her bed, holding her hand, until her eyes closed and her breathing evened out to the regular patterns of sleep.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~

Killian felt the prince’s eyes on him from his perch behind the steering wheel of this vessel he called “the truck”.  He sighed, convinced a stern lecture was forthcoming.

“Alright, out with it, Dave,” Killian drawled, rolling his eyes.  “I saw disapproving look in your eye as I emerged from your daughter’s bedchamber a few minutes ago.  Which response would you prefer?  That nothing untoward happened, or that your daughter is a grown woman who’s fully capable of making her own decisions without the need for her father to protect her virtue?”

After Emma had fallen asleep, Killian had reemerged in the main living area to encounter expressions ranging from suspicious (Charming) to embarrassed (the lady Snow) to amused (the Elsa woman).  He’d rolled his eyes dramatically.  Swan slept in a room devoid of actual walls separating it from the downstairs.  What precisely did they think had happened up there?

After a moment Charming shook his head slightly and then shot Killian a far friendlier look.  “Come on Hook,” he said, reaching for his jacket.  “You must be tired after the night we’ve had.  I’ll give you a lift back to Granny’s.”

“Much obliged, Mate,” he’d replied, knowing instinctively that the prince wished for conversation more than a mere means of transport.  If Killian didn’t miss his guess, Swan’s father wished to renew the conversation he’d started back at the ice wall.

Now here they were, speeding ever nearer Granny’s inn and dining establishment, and Dave had yet to break the silence.

“I, um..” David said uncomfortably,  “I assumed nothing had happened.  With the layout of the loft, it’d be pretty hard to miss.  I had no plans to lecture you.  At least not tonight.  You ever do subject me to your ‘more enjoyable activities’ as you put it, with my daughter, though, we’re going to have some serious words.”

Killian rolled his eyes and huffed out a chuckle.  “You’ve no need to fear, Mate.  Ravishing a woman in front of her father hardly appeals.”

“Just remember there are details I most certainly don’t want to hear about.”

Killian grinned.  “I’ll keep that in mind.  Quite a shame though.  Should your daughter and I ever have a proper date, I had plans to recount ever intimate, salacious detail to you.”

Charming glared, and then pulled into a parking space in front of Granny’s.  Killian reached for the handle of the door and stepped out to the street, noting the cold wind ruffling his hair.  He glanced up in surprise as he heard the driver’s side door slam and Charming coming to stand beside him on the sidewalk.

“My thanks for the ride,” Killian said, “but walking me to my door is hardly necessary.”

David rolled his eyes.  “Thought I’d stop for a drink before I head home.  I was hoping you’d join me for a pint.  On me.  After the night we had, I figure we could both use it.”

Killian shot him a surprised look.  “Aye, that we have.  And who am I to refuse a free drink?”

They took seats at the bar and ordered their libations of choice, Charming adding a burger and fries to his order.  They sat in companionable silence until their orders arrived, and then Charming finally spoke.

“Look, Hook,” he said slowly, “about what I asked earlier tonight…”

“Come now, mate,” Killian said irritably.  “I’m far too exhausted tonight for another lecture about my intentions toward your daughter.”

“No!” Charming said quickly, “that wasn’t what I was getting ready to…I was trying to apologize, okay?  I think I’ve known ever since you brought Emma and Henry back from New York—maybe even before, if I’m being honest—that you have no…nefarious…intentions toward my daughter.  But even if I hadn’t, tonight pretty much put all my suspicions to rest.  The way you fought for her, willing to break down that whole damn wall with nothing but your hook if need be, the panic when we didn’t know if we’d get to her in time…well, it showed me you do truly care about my daughter.”

Killian took a sip of his beer and then nodded decisively.  “Aye, that I do.  You can be sure no harm or pain will come to her at my hand.  Not of my free will and volition at any rate.”

“It had better not, or you’ll have to answer to me,” Charming said, but Killian noted the threat distinctly lacked heat.

“I assure you, Charming,” Killian said, “were I ever to hurt her, you have my full blessing to rain down whatever protective fatherly terror upon my person you could wish.  In fact, I’d offer my entire collection of weapons for your use in the endeavor.”

David gave him a long look before speaking again.  “You love her, don’t you?”

“Aye,” Killian said with a quick nod.  “With every fiber of my being.  I’d do anything for her.”

They fell into silence for several moments as David dug into his meal with gusto.  Finally Swan’s father spoke again.  “You know, Hook,” he said, “that reminds me, I was reading Henry’s story book to Neal again the other night.”

“Aye?” Killian asked, reaching for his mug again.  “I’d guess the little royal enjoyed it.”

“Yeah,” Dave said, “but that wasn’t my point.  My point was, as I read it hit home to me.  So…Charles and Leia, huh?”

Killian reached up and scratched at the spot behind his ears.  “Aye.  Swan’s lad laughed at our pseudonyms, insisting I need to watch something called ‘Star Wars’, whatever that is.  He seemed to believe after doing so I would see the significance of your daughter’s assumed name.”

David laughed.  “Yeah, I bet you would.  We’ll have to put the Star War’s saga on the docket for family movie night one of these days.”

He took another bite of his burger, swallowed, and then turned toward Killian.  “You know, I never forgot that conversation with ‘Prince Charles’.  Always been rather grateful to the guy; wondered what happened to him.  In a way you were the one who motivated me to fight for my happy ending in the first place.”

“Well,” Killian said, feeling the tips of his ears redden, “it wasn’t all altruistic; it was rather self-serving on my part.  Had we failed in our attempt to reunite you with the Lady Snow, the woman I love would have faded from existence.”

“There is that,” David said, “but that wasn’t all, was it?  You may have been playing a part, but you were sincere in what you were saying, weren’t you?”

“Of course,” Killian said.  “There’s nothing in this world or any other I wouldn’t do for your daughter.”

David nodded.  “I could tell that then, and you proved it again today.  True love really doesn’t count the cost, does it?”

“No cost is too great,” Killian agreed.  “Our ladies most assuredly are worth it.”

“That they are.”

“So Dave,” Killian asked, mischievous grin draping his mouth.  “Did you perchance happen to remember anything else of that conversation by the fire that night?”

“Such as?” David asked, quirking his brow.

“Such as,” Killian went on, “a certain Prince Charming insisting ‘Princess Leia’s’ parents would be daft  to disapprove of me given the lengths I was clearly willing to go to save her?”

David laughed.  “Pretty sure I didn’t use the world ‘daft’.”

“Likely not,” Killian said, nodding gravely.  “But then we both know I have the more impressive vocabulary of the two of us.”

“Watch it pirate!” David said, grinning, “I’d hold off on insulting me, if I were you.  I can still revoke my approval of your relationship with my daughter, you know.”

Killian laughed.  “And just how well do you think the conversation would go when you tell Emma you’re revoking your permission for her to date the man of her choice?”

“Not well, I’m sure,” David said.  “But who said anything about revoking permission—which we both know it’s not my place to grant at this stage of the game anyway?  I can still make your life miserable even without forbidding anything.”

“I’m quaking in my boots, Dave.”

They both laughed, before taking swigs from their respective mugs.  The smile slid from David’s face as he looked at Killian once more.

“You know, Hook,” he said contemplatively, “my past self was right.  I would be stupid to stand in your way.  It might have taken me a while to realize it, but you’re a good man underneath all the pirate swagger.  It’s clear how much you love Emma and what lengths you would go to protect her.  For what it’s worth, if anything, you have my approval.”

Killian felt the emotion clog the back of his throat, and he swallowed hard before speaking.  “Mate, you’ve no idea what that means to me.  Aye, Emma and I don’t strictly need your approval, but having it means more than you’ll ever know.”

David looked away, clearly uncomfortable.  “Yeah, well, just as long as you remember I retain the right to beat you within an inch of your life if you ever hurt her.”

“And as we’ve already established,” Killian said, pausing to take the last sip of his beer and get to his feet, “I’d stand still and offer no protest.    Thanks for the drink, mate.”

“Welcome,” David said, getting to his feet and heading for the door.  “And, Killian?” he asked, turning back toward the pirate once more.

“Aye?”

“Just for the record,” David said, “I’ve seen the way my daughter looks at you.  The answer to your question way back then?  You know, wondering whether or not she’d go to as desperate lengths for you as you do for her?  Trust me on this.  The answer’s yes.”

Killian smiled as warmth blanketed him at the assertion.  “Well here’s hoping I’ve never the occasion to find out.”

 

Note:

--And now, here we are a season and a half later, and Killian’s about to find out his mate was absolutely correct.  Emma’s so invested she’d got to hell and back to save him.  (Which is all romantic and everything, but if it’s all the same to Killian, I’d rather prefer he stop dying!)

--Happy Friday!  Only 2 Fridays left before our show returns!  My unofficial plan was to continue Fluffy Fridays until we get some real, substantial CS fluff on the show.  Given the fact we’re heading to the Underworld…I have a feeling this set of one-shots will be continuing indefinitely!

--While there was a very definite undercurrent of Captain Swan running through this story, I also thought it would be fun to venture into Captain Charming territory.  One of my absolute favorite brotps on the show!

--Up next: I’ve no definite plans at the moment.  I’ve got prompts to work with in pretty much every CS genre I’ve used, so I can go all kinds of directions.  What CS genre would you like to see next?

Chapter Text

Dancing With Swords

 

CS Genre: Future Fic (Captain Cobra)

 

Emma woke slowly, taking her time before opening her eyes.  It was so comfortable, so peaceful here in bed she didn’t want to move.  She felt the warm, gentle breeze from their open bedroom window, heard the birds peacefully chirping, enjoyed the warm sun against her back.

All that would make this feeling more perfect is if her pirate husband were with her, holding her against him, his even breath ruffling her hair.  But it was the middle of the day, and Emma had yet to find a way to convince him to nap with her; he was far too active, had far too much energy.  (Seriously, he could rival a puppy!)  Given his new lease on life following the Underworld ordeal, he seemed determined to make the most of every moment he was given.

(Well, of course there was one way she could have gotten him to join her in bed in the middle of the day, and while she certainly wouldn’t be opposed, it wouldn’t involve much sleeping—a commodity she desperately needed lately.)

Emma rolled to her back and placed a protective hand on her stomach, only now beginning to display the tiniest of bumps.  She was still wearing her normal clothing—well, the looser items, at least—but it wouldn’t be long now before she had to start investing in maternity wear.  Her mom had mentioned it the other day, eagerly offering to go shopping with her for all the necessary baby attire and accessories.

It gave Emma a feeling as warm and comfortable as the springtime weather currently caressing her.   What a change from her first pregnancy!  She had a doting husband (who was almost annoying in his insistence on caring for her, making sure she didn’t over tax herself), a son who was thrilled at the prospect of being a big brother, parents and friends who could barely restrain their exuberance when it came to talking about the little bundle of joy that would be making an appearance in just over four months.

(She had to laugh at her father, who’d found a website detailing the baby’s growth and development from week to week.  After returning for the Underworld, the Charmings had decided it was important the family bond, and had instituted a weekly “Sunday dinner” for the whole family.  Each Sunday since she and Killian had told them their big news, David had opened the dinner conversation with a recitation of facts about Baby Swan-Jones.  Yesterday, he’d informed them that, at 19 weeks of development, the little guy or gal was the size of an heirloom tomato.)

This baby would be so very loved.

Gradually, Emma became aware of how quiet it was in their big house by the sea.  She knew Killian and Henry would keep it down to let her rest, but shouldn’t she at least hear some sounds out of her boys?

After the whole ordeal of the last year, Emma always felt a moment of panic when she didn’t know where her husband was.  For the first few months it was the worst.  She rarely could let him out of her sight, subconsciously afraid that if she did she’d lose him again.  The feeling had faded as the months passed and nothing more dangerous than a little run in with the tooth fairy (who, yeah, was real too—and more on the villain side of the ledger than the hero) had happened, but Emma still couldn’t stop the little twinge.

Getting to her feet, she put on her boots and headed downstairs.  She sighed in relief as she saw the note on the kitchen table, Killian’s delicate 18th century scrawl letting her know that he and Henry were out back honing their swordsmanship skills.  Her son had been inordinately interested in improving with a blade over the last few weeks, something she’d found rather odd, but as it gave he and Killian more father-son bonding time, she certainly wasn’t going to complain.  Henry, of course, still enjoyed a good sparring match with his gramps, but lately Killian seemed to be his preferred teacher.

Taking a bite of the apple Killian had left her with the note (insisting he knew she’d wake hungry and suggesting she go with something healthy to help their little pirate develop strong and healthy), Emma headed to the back door and stepped outside curious to see how her guys were doing today.

“No, lad,” Killian said, circling Henry, “you mustn’t let your stance relax.  Good form is paramount.  By slumping like that you expose your left side to my attack.”

Henry straightened and then parried the blow Killian sent his way.  “How am I supposed to keep up with you if you keep dancing like that?”

Killian grinned.  “Being light on your feet and graceful is an important skill for a swordsman.  Both agility and strength are of value.”

Henry raised his sword and went on the offensive, moving forward with a flourish that was pure Killian.  Killian warded off each of his blows, but it was clear to Emma that Henry was improving.

“You make it sound like dancing,” Henry said, slightly out of breath.  “All that spinning and footwork and agility and stuff.”

“Aye,” Killian said, twirling before meeting Henry blade for blade.  “There are similarities for sure.  Good form is a must, respect for your partner.  You must study them, react to their moves, adjust your own accordingly.”

The two continued their “dance” for another few minutes in silence, both wholly focused on each other and the task at hand.  At last, Henry managed to catch Killian unaware, and with a flick of his wrist, sent his step-father’s sword flying through the air until it planted itself in the rocky sand a couple yards away.

Killian smiled broadly as he jogged to retrieve his weapon.  “Good show lad!  I believe that’s the first time you’ve so thoroughly bested me.”

Emma smiled fondly as she saw the look of pride on her son’s face.  Just as she’d assured Regina way back when they were battling Zelena—for the first time—Killian was good for Henry.  It warmed her heart how close her two favorite guys were. 

Killian grabbed his sword, sheathed it and returned to the “battlefield”.  “I think that’s enough swordplay for one afternoon, aye lad?”

“Yeah,” Henry grinned.  “Especially since it means I get to stop while I’m ahead.”

Killian ruffled Henry’s hair and then nudged him playfully.  “I’d suggest you not rest too comfortably upon your laurels mate,” he growled in mock indignation.  “I fully intend to take them back from you upon our next encounter.”

Henry’s grin broadened.  “Well, you can try…”

“I can indeed,” Killian agreed.

They lapsed into silence for a minute, and Emma watched the expressions pass across her son’s face.  Slowly, the triumph of a battle won morphed into something resembling embarrassment.

“Killian?” he asked, glancing aside.

“Aye, lad?” Killian asked, taking a seat in one of the piece of patio furniture they’d bought just after moving in.  Henry took the chair across from him.

“Do you think…do you think you could teach me how to dance?  Real dance, I mean, not sword fighting dance.”

Killian tilted his head, looking more closely at the boy.  After a moment ne nodded.  “Aye, if you’d like.  Any particular reason for the sudden interest?”

Henry reddened.  “Well there’s this dance at school in a couple weeks…”

Killian grinned.  “Is there indeed?”

“Yeah, and, well, I kind of wanted to ask Violet—you know she and her dad decided to stay in Storybrooke when everyone else went back to Camelot?”

“I may have heard something of the kind,” Killian said drily.  Emma laughed to herself.  Yeah, they may have heard something of the kind every hour on the hour for the first week after Violet and Percival had made the decision.  Henry had made an attempt to be subtle, but it was clear his case of puppy love was nowhere near cured.

Killian cleared his throat, obviously trying to keep his amusement at bay regarding the conversation the adolescent found deadly serious.  “So you’d like to invite the lass to accompany you to said function.”

“Yeah,” Henry said.  “The thing is…I don’t know how to dance.  At all.”

“Shouldn’t be an issue from what I’ve observed of this realm’s customs where dancing is concerned,” Killian said.  “It would seem all one must do is hold his chosen partner and sway back and forth upon the spot.  Rather uninspired, I’d say.  Granted, it’s not an activity I mind when your mother is the one in my arms.  Particularly when she buries her face in my neck and whispers tiny endearments into my skin.”

“Ew!” Henry groused.  “Did you really need to go there?”

“Why not?” Killian asked with a grin.  “I was under the impression you quite approved of the relationship your mother and I share.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean I want to hear about…holding and endearments and skin.  You know you can be totally disgusting sometimes.”

Killian laughed.  “I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m tempted to talk to you about your mum.  At any rate, I’m not sure I could be much help when it came to that kind of dancing.”

“That’s the thing,” Henry said, looking earnestly at Killian now.  “I don’t want to just dance like that.  Violet’s used to other dancing.  You know real dancing.  Like the kind you do in a ball room.  She finds all our customs and stuff really weird, and, you know, I just kind of wanted to make her comfortable.”

“Quite gentlemanly of you, lad,” Killian said with a nod.  “Very well.  I’ll teach you a few dances.”

Deciding she’d skulked in the shadows long enough, Emma stepped forward.  “You’re in luck, Henry,” she said with an indulgent smile.  “Killian’s the best teacher out there.  You’ll be able to sweep Violet off her feet by the time he’s done.”

Emma’s heart turned over at the look of utter joy and adoration that crossed her husband’s face when he caught sight of her.  “Swan,” he said.  “I trust you and the wee one had a nice nap?”

“Yeah,” she said.  “Feel much more rested now.  It would have been better if you’d joined me, though.”

Mom!” Henry groaned.

Emma laughed, taking a seat on Killian’s lap and putting an arm around his neck.  “Don’t worry kid, I was talking about just sleep.  He’s just so nice and warm.  Like my own personal space heater.”

Killian shot Henry an exaggerated aggrieved look.  “Do you see what I have to put up with, mate?  Here I am, loving your mother with everything within me, and she sees me as nothing but a space heater.”

Emma laughed and swatted his shoulder.  “You are such an idiot.  You’re lucky I love you as much as I do.”

He suddenly sobered.  “Aye, Swan.  I remind myself of that fact every single day.  It’s a blessing that will never cease to fill me with wonder and awe.”

Emma felt the love and affection well up within her again, and was on the point of leaning down and fitting her lips to her husband’s, when her son spoke up again.

“Ugh,” he said.  “You two are going to start making out again, aren’t you?”

Emma grinned, and turned back toward her teenager.  “I’ll try to restrain myself for a few minutes until you go off to do something else.”

“Good.”

“So,” Emma said.  “School dance, huh?”

Henry fidgeted.  “Yeah.  I mean, it’s no big deal, just the spring dance at the middle school.  I just thought, you know, Violet might like to go.”

Emma got to her feet, went over to her son, and kissed the top of his head.  “She’ll be lucky to have you as her date.  You guys gonna be a while?  I thought I’d go into the station for a while and catch up on paper work.  It’s amazing how much added up while I was busy being the Dark One—and then going through hell.”

“Perhaps the lad and I could continue our training—in both forms of dancing,” Killian said, “and then pick you up at the station in time for dinner?”

“Sounds good to me,” Emma said, stepping back into the house.  “See ya in a bit.”

She shot her boys one last look through the sliding glass doors, smiling as she saw Killian get to his feet and take a dancing stance, motioning to Henry to join him.

It might have taken a while—and a lot of heartache to get here, but she wouldn’t trade her life now for anything.

 

Notes:

            --Today’s story came from a prompt by bethacaciakay on Tumblr.  I’m not sure it was exactly what was in your prompt, but I hope it was close to what you were looking for!

            --This was primarily supposed to be about Captain Cobra bonding, and Emma standing back and watching her boys fondly, but I couldn’t help but add in a little CS pregnancy fluff as well—mainly because I started typing, and this just happened.

            --Up next:  You have all given me such interesting suggestions!  There doesn’t seem to be a consensus about what genre you want next, but it looks like it’s been a while since I’ve done an au.  I think I’ll go with that.  Exactly what that will entail…I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

 

Chapter Text

Taking Back Neverland

CS Genre: AU (actors who “hate” each other)

Emma crossed her arms and took a step back.  “No.  No, not a chance.  Not gonna happen.  Absolutely not. Just NO.”

Why had she ever agreed to take this project?  Why had she let Mary Margaret and Ruby talk her into it?  Even just reading the script gave her a bad feeling about all of it—it was an interesting story concept but it hit way too close to home.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, now they’d finished the casting and the producer, Regina Mills had just broken the news to her.

Well, they were just going to have to work on recasting a few roles because there was no way in hell she was going to act opposite Killian Jones.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Two weeks before

Emma Swan pushed open the door of the trendy coffee shop across from her apartment complex and scanned the room until she caught sight of her agent enthusiastically flagging her down.

Emma grinned.  There was absolutely nothing subtle about Ruby Lucas, but she was also one of the kindest, most supportive people Emma had ever met, and Emma considered her one of her very best friends.

Emma grinned as she started toward the booth in the back where Ruby and their other best friend (and Emma’s brand new sister-in-law) Mary Margaret Nolan sat sipping at large mugs of fragrant, steaming liquid.

“Hey guys; how’s it going?” she asked as she slid into the booth next to Mary Margaret. 

Ruby slid a mug across the table toward her.  “We went ahead and ordered you a hot cocoa.”

“With cinnamon,” Mary Margaret added.

“Thanks,” Emma said warily.  These two only had her order ready for her when they were trying to butter her up for something.  “So what’s going on?”

Ruby gave her an exaggerated innocent look.  “Going on?  Why do you think something’s going on?  Can’t a couple of friends make a nice gesture toward their other friend?”

Emma shot her a skeptical look, and Ruby sighed.

“Fine,” she said dramatically.  “We did want to ask you something, but it’s not a bad thing.  It’s actually business, and an amazing opportunity.”

Emma looked back and forth from one eager face to the other.  “Why do I get the impression I’m really not going to like this amazing opportunity?”

“Oh you are, Emma!” Mary Margaret said.  “It’s just…well, with your past and background, it might be a little…difficult.”

“Well that sounds ominous.”

Ruby slid a booklet across the table to her, and Emma looked at it curiously, reading the bold title written across the top: Taking Back Neverland.

“What’s this?” she asked, absently flipping through it.

“This, Emma,” Ruby said, “is your big break.  This is the newest Regina Mills picture, and I got you an audition for the female lead!”

Emma looked up in surprise.  Ruby got her an audition for a Regina Mills film?  And a lead role at that?  That was…amazing.  Emma had gotten into theater back in high school when she’d been placed with Ruth Nolan, the best foster mother any kid could want. 

In a lot of ways she owed her life to her foster family.  She’d been seventeen, angry with the world, and well on her way to completely throwing away her life.  Ruth had seen something in Emma, something no one else had ever taken the time to see.  She’d been unfailingly patient with Emma, and when Emma was finally at a place where she trusted the older woman enough to listen to her, Ruth had made the suggestion that Emma try her hand at acting.

“Just think about it, Emma,” she’d said.  “On the stage…well, you’ll have the opportunity to work through your anger in a productive way.  You can channel those emotions you don’t know what to do with into compelling performances.  Performances that will bring joy and entertainment and meaning to who knows how many people out there.”

And the little community theater had opened up a whole new world for Emma.  She found her niche, her place to shine.  Through her acting she could become anything or anyone she wanted.  And when people started coming up to her and telling her how much her performance had touched them, how it had helped them work through issues similar to the character she was playing, it felt like her life had meaning and purpose once again.

Emma had met Ruby and Mary Margaret in college when they all roomed together during freshman year.  It had been a bit of an adjustment at first; they were all so wildly different—Ruby over-the-top and a bit of a party animal, Mary Margaret wholesome, motherly, so full of hope it was disgusting sometimes, and Emma still a bit stand-offish with sky-high walls.  Somehow they’d worked through those difficult weeks of adjustment, and they’d been inseparable ever since.

Just out of college, Ruby had become Emma’s agent, and promptly landed her commercials and tiny “extra” parts in low budget movies and TV shows. 

But it was a couple of years later that Emma landed the role that made her a household name.  She’d been cast as the lead in a prime time television show called “Welcome to Storybrooke”.  She played a tough, no-nonsense bail bondswoman who teamed up with a small-town sheriff to solve crimes no one else could solve.

The show had had a good run, lasting five seasons, and Emma had loved every minute of it.  She got along great with her co-star, Graham Humbert, and they had so much fun working together, Emma almost couldn’t call it work at all.  There had, of course, been all kinds of rumors and tabloid stories that the two of them, who had eventually (and inevitably) become on-screen lovers, had been an item in real life as well.

She couldn’t deny she found Graham handsome, and she liked him a good deal, but that was all there was to it.  They’d gone on a date or two, more out of curiosity to see if there was anything to all the hype than anything else, but neither of them had felt any great stirring of passion, and so they remained just good friends.

But amazing though her run on “Welcome to Storybrooke” had been, all good things come to an end, and for the last year…short of little bit pieces here and there…Emma had been out of work.  Ruby had been burning the midnight oil for months trying to find Emma that big, break-out roll that would solidify her place in Hollywood forever.

A leading role in a Regina Mills film would most definitely do that.

“Wow,” Emma said, looking around at both the women currently beaming at her.  “I don’t know what to say.  This is incredible!”

“Yeah,” Mary Margaret said, “and that’s not even the best part!  David and I just got cast in the film!  If you get the part we’ll play…get this…your brother and sister-in-law.  Talk about art imitating life, right?”

“I gotta say,” Emma said with a quick shake of her head.  “It all sounds like a dream come true, so why the whole buttering me up thing?  What’s the other shoe that’s going to drop?”

Ruby and Mary Margaret shared a significant look.  “It’s just…” Mary Margaret said, putting a comforting hand on Emma’s arm.  “Well, the main character…Anna Swan (yeah she even has the same last name as you!   Is that a sign or what?)  Anyway, her story has some…similarities to your own, and I can see where it might dredge up a few rough memories.”

“Okay….”  Emma said.  “What exactly does that mean?”

“You see,” Ruby said, “the whole premise of the film is that Anna Swan was a busy professional who…who suddenly meets the little boy she’d given up for adoption years ago.”

Emma sucked in a long, shocked breath as the memories slammed into her.  No!  No, no, no, no,  no.  That was not a moment from her past she wanted to dredge up.  What were they thinking.

“It all works out well,” Mary Margaret hastened to reassure.  “The boy gets kidnapped and taken to Neverland, but Anna goes after him, and well, she not only saves him—with the help of her brother and sister-in-law and her love interest, Captain Hook—but she finds healing in her relationship with her son.”

Emma got quickly to her feet, her head spinning.  “Guys…” she said faintly.  “Look, thanks for the opportunity and everything, but I can’t do this.”

She prepared to do what she did best—run—when Ruby got to her feet, the script in her hand.  “Emma, I know how rough…that…time in your life was, but please.  Just think about it.  Read the script.  Just don’t make a snap decision.  Please?

Emma stood still for long moments, fighting within herself, but finally nodded, taking the script from Ruby.  “Fine.  I’ll read the script, but that’s all.”

“That’s all I ask,” Ruby said.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Present day

Emma had read the script—and it spoke to her in a way nothing had in years, maybe ever.  Despite the pain (visions of giving birth chained to a hospital bed, not even allowing herself a glimpse of her baby boy as the nurse took him away, danced through her mind), she knew she had to give this film a shot.

And so she’d gone to the audition…and had been hired on the spot.

She’d come in to the studio this morning for a chemistry test with the actor they wanted to cast as her love interest.  It was only when she got here and was five minutes away from said chemistry test that Regina had given her the name of said actor.

“Not going to happen,” Emma reiterated.  “You’re just going to have to look for a new actor, because this—me acting opposite Killian Jones—is not going to happen.”

Regina sighed in exasperation and rolled her eyes dramatically.  “Miss Swan stop with the theatrics.  It’s acting for heaven’s sake!  You don’t have to fall in love with the guy, just act like you have.  You are aware of the difference between acting and real life aren’t you?”

Emma groaned.  “Obviously.  But even if I don’t ‘have to fall in love with him’, I’ll have to spend long hours with him.  Not exactly wanting to spend several weeks of my life constantly sick to my stomach.”

Killian Jones had a reputation a mile long that preceded him.  He was your quintessential ladies’ man; a different woman on his arm every night.  He drank too much, flirted too much, and had such a bloated opinion of himself it was a miracle he and his ego could even fit through the studio door.  She knew the smooth talking  “I’m God’s gift to women” type, and she didn’t want anything to do with him.

“Well invest in Pepto, then,” Regina said in her firm, no-nonsense voice, “because here’s the deal.  Killian Jones is big.  Really big.  You have no idea what a coup it was for us to get him.  So if any actor’s role is going to be recast, it’s going to be yours.  Understood?”

Emma closed her eyes, mentally praying for patience.   After a couple of deep, cleansing breaths, she opened her eyes once again.  “Fine.  You’ve made your point.  Let’s get this stupid chemistry test over with.”

“That’s more like it,” Regina said with a nod.  “Oh, and you may want to wipe that sour scowl from your face before the test.  You’re supposed to be acting like you’re falling in love, remember?”

“How could I forget?”

Regina opened the door to the set where the test was to take place and motioned Emma forward.  Emma set her shoulders and walked in.

“Hello, love; my name’s Killian Jones.”

Emma looked up into open, friendly cerulean blue eyes situated in the most handsome face she’d ever seen.  As she took his warm, firm hand, and shook it once, as she breathlessly answered “I’m Emma Swan”, as he smiled gently, almost shyly, Emma realized she might just be in serious, serious trouble.

Notes:

--When I decided to try my hand at an “actors who ‘hate’ each other but end up cast as love interests” AU, I had a feeling it was going to be more than a one shot—and so it will be.  Kind of like with “The Wedding Date”, I’ll need far more than 2000 words to set things up and get these two from “We can’t stand each other” to...wherever they’ll end up.  :-)  (This will probably have three or four installments.)

--Full disclosure:  I don’t know all that much about the whole casting/acting/movie making process, so if you do and you want to give me suggestions I would certainly be open to them!

--Up next: Part 2!

Chapter Text

CS Genre: AU (actors who “hate” each other)

“You really should check out this script, mate,” Robin said, “it’s bloody perfect for you.”

Killian took a swig of his rum, grinning to himself. “Let me guess…it’s a Regina Mills production?”

Robin grinned back, taking a healthy swig of his beer before continuing. “It may be my fiancée’s current project but that makes it no less perfect for you.  I know you don’t have any pressing projects at the moment.  What would it hurt to just check it out?”

“Alright, I’ll bite,” Killian said, “what exactly is so perfect about this particular script?”

“It’s got action, adventure, a bit of whimsy, and romance,” Robin answered. “You’d be taking the role of Captain Hook.”

“A villain?”

“Well, perhaps more of a reformed scoundrel,” Robin allowed. “He is the male romantic lead, after all.”

Killian was silent for several moments, warring with himself. The sounds of the bar, The Rabbit Hole, washed over him.  Finally, he reached up, scratched at the spot behind his ear and spoke again, refusing to look at his mate.

“You know full well I haven’t taken an action role since…it happened,” he said, taking a fortifying swig of rum. He held up his slightly-atrophied left hand and stared at it in derision.  “Not much place in action movies for a bloke who only has one working hand.”

Robin clapped him on the shoulder. “We’ve been over this.  You could act circles around half the leading men in Hollywood right now even with their two hands.”

“I’m not so sure of that,” Killian said under his breath.

He flexed his left hand, the motion weak and taking painfully long, and his mind went back to the accident. The moment his life changed forever.  Not only had he lost his love, his Milah in that automobile crash, but his hand had been crushed.  After extensive surgeries, the doctors had managed to save the hand (it had been touch and go for a while, the doctors all preparing him for the possibility that amputation may be necessary), but they told him he’d never get more than minimal functionality from it again.

“Well I am,” Robin said bracingly.  “And besides.  Your disability will be no factor in anything that’s required of in this particular film.  If you’ll recall, Captain Hook came by the name after a crocodile ate his left hand.”

Well, that did provide some interesting possibilities. He couldn’t deny he missed starring in action-heavy roles.  They had been his staple before the accident.  He’d made quite a name for himself.  Since it had happened…well, he’d spent most of his acting time playing the protagonist in rom-coms.  He’d been blessed with good looks, and he’d acquired more than his fair share of female fans thanks to those roles, but he hungered for another role of real substance.

“Very well,” Killian said, pushing aside his tumbler of rum and preparing to settle his tab, “I’ll give it a read.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Read it he had, and he’d promptly fallen in love. This was the role of a lifetime.  Quite a fresh and imaginative take on the tale of Peter Pan, with Hook the romantic hero and Pan the bloody demon.  It hit everything that made a story great—action, adventure, romance, witty dialogue, and the happiest of happy ending (particularly for Captain Hook and the protagonist Anna Swan).

Robin was right; this was a role he simply couldn’t turn down. Truth be told, it was as though the part had been written for him.  He saw himself in the resilient fighter Captain Hook was, the melancholy hero who had endured far too much loss in his life. 

The theme of a rather lonely little boy reconnecting with his birth mother likewise touched something deep inside. There was something healing in reading about that little boy’s healing—and the way he healed his mother—that soothed (at least in part) the wound Killian carried from his own father’s abandonment so many years ago.  True, Anna Swan had given up her infant to give him his best chance while his father had abandoned him and Liam out of nothing but sheer selfishness, but an orphan’s an orphan.

The very next morning, he’d called Regina Mills directly (there were certainly perks to being best mates with the fiancé of one of Hollywood’s biggest directors) and expressed interest in the role. She’d immediately called him in for an audition—a process she’d assured him was nothing but a formality.  Killian had made quite a name for himself over the years, and Regina had assured him the part was his for the taking.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

And so it was that two weeks later he found himself striding into the studio for a chemistry test with the female lead, Emma Swan.

He knew very little about his on-screen love interest. He’d caught a few episodes of her television show, but a man can’t very well get a read on a person based solely on her performance as an actress.  He could tell that she was bloody gorgeous and had more than her share of talent, but as to the rest?  Who was to know?

He fervently hoped they hit it off. As the two of them were scene partners in nearly every scene they were involved with, they would be spending long, grueling hours together over the next few months.  Far better to spend that time with someone he genuinely liked than someone who got on his last nerve.

His agent, who insisted he call her Tinker Bell for some unaccountable reason, had playfully suggested maybe the two of them would not only get along, but get along.  She’d nudged him, winking playfully, asking if he knew what she meant.

Aye, he knew exactly what she meant, but it wasn’t going to happen. No matter what this Emma Swan may be like, his heart had been broken so definitively it would never be mended again.  For the first few years after Milah’s death, he’d buried the pain in rum and passionate nights with as many anonymous women as he could find. 

But eventually he realized how utterly empty his life had become. He’d loved Milah with a burning passion, and their life had been good.  Losing himself in meaningless encounters with women did nothing to mask the pain, only made him realize how pointless his life had become.  Truth be told, he was no longer interested in meaningless sex.  If anything, he wished for a real, true, meaningful relationship.

But that ship had sailed when his love had died. No use wishing for something he would never again allow to be his.

The studio door opened, cutting short Killian’s melancholy musings, and then she walked through, and every thought in his head suddenly fled.  He knew Emma Swan was beautiful; he’d seen that clear enough when he’d viewed her TV show, but nothing could have prepared him for the punch to the gut seeing her live and in person gave him.

She wore her long, luscious blonde hair in an artfully messy ponytail high on hear head. Her green eyes sparkled.  And there was just a certain, indefinable something about being in the same room with her that made him tingle with awareness.

Love at first sight, Tink would have supplied in a sing-song voice.  He definitively shoved that thought aside.  Where he and Emma Swan were concerned, the only “falling in love” that would happen would be of the on-screen kind.

He took a deep breath and let it out, trying desperately to get ahold of himself. He was going to keep this professional if it killed him.  When he finally felt like he could talk to the goddess without making an utter fool of himself, he walked over to her, keeping his expression pleasantly friendly.

“Hello love; my name’s Killian Jones.”

He offered his hand, and she looked at him suspiciously for a moment before taking it and shaking it tentatively. “I’m Emma Swan.”

He smiled at her like an idiot. This whole “remaining professional” business was going to be a fair bit more difficult than he’d expected.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Emma glanced away, desperately needing to put some distance between them. A woman could drown in those blue eyes of his.

No wonder he’s had nearly every woman in a 100-mile vicinity falling all over themselves over him, she thought to herself.  And that was enough to bring back reality.  She wasn’t, absolutely wasn’t going to be just another conquest.

So, she straightened, and looked down at the script again while they waited for the casting director (a rather bad-tempered man named Leroy) to signal that they were ready for the chemistry test.

She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the scene Leroy had pulled out for them to read. She’d been afraid he’d pick the scene—the big, passionate kiss that changed everything for both Emma and Hook (although it took Emma a considerably longer time than Hook to admit it).  Stage kiss or not, no way was she ready to lock lips with Killian Jones.  She was going to have to psych herself up for that.

Luckily, that wasn’t the scene picked, but one a couple of acts later. This one was all dialogue.  Romantic and emotional dialogue, yes, but strictly dialogue none the less.  Not even a stray brush of hands in the script for this one.

She’d be fine; just fine.

“Alright, let’s get this show on the road,” Leroy said from his seat just beyond the stage. “Haven’t had breakfast yet, and if Granny’s runs out of bacon before I get there, there’s gonna be hell to pay.”

“I’m quaking in my boots,” Killian said under his breath, only loud enough for Emma to hear.

She smiled in spite of herself. “You should be,” she whispered back.  “He looks like he means business.”

“Hey, break it up!” Leroy growled. “Save the flirting for the stage!”

Emma felt her face flame. Leroy thought she was flirting with Killian?  Ugh!  Making this film was going to be the longest couple of months of her life.

“Right,” Leroy said again with a nod. “So in case you’re not that familiar with the context yet, your scene comes a couple hours after the Echo Caves confession.  Hook and Baelfire are both sniffing after Anna and she just wants to get to Henry.  Bae just took the cutlass and went off looking for Dark Hollow.  And that’s where you two love birds pick it up.”

Emma closed her eyes, pictured the scene to come, imagined the emotions running through Anna at the moment—fear for her son’s safety, a strange mixture of relief and panic at Bae’s return, desire—and maybe the starting of something more—for Hook. She still felt a bit overwhelmed about how much her life had changed over the past few months.

So, sky-high walls. She could do sky-high walls.

Emma opened her eyes and became Anna.

Anna shot Hook a suspicious look, putting her hand out to stop him from stepping past her and following Bae.

“What was that about.”

Hook looked aside, clearly uncomfortable. “I assumed he’d heard my secret.  I also assumed you’d told him of our shared moment.”

Of course he’d go there, Anna thought to herself.  She rolled her eyes.  “Why would you assume that?”

He stepped forward, his deep, deep blue eyes boring into hers and not giving up. Emma felt her heart pound at his nearness.  “Because I was hoping it meant something.”

Anna wasn’t going there. She wasn’t going anywhere near there.  Best to change the subject.  “What meant something was that you told us that Bae was still alive.  Thank you.  I realize you could have kept Pan’s information to yourself.”

“Why would I have done that?” He sounded as though he genuinely didn’t know the answer.

She shrugged. “I don’t know.  Maybe Pan offered you a deal.  Why else would he tell you?”

“It was a test,” Hook said, his voice softening—even as it shone with sincerity. “He wanted to see if I’d leave an old friend to die, even if the old friend happens to be vying for the same woman I am.”

“And you chose your friend?” Emma let a hint of breathlessness enter her voice.

“Does that surprise you?”

Uh, yeah, it did. “You are a pirate.”

“Yeah, that I am.” Killian looked down, and Emma’s heart twisted at the hint of self-deprecation she saw in the gesture. This guy really was good.

And then he turned on the intensity, and Emma found it difficult to think at all. “But I also believe in good form.  So when I win you heart, Anna, and I will win it, it will not be because of any trickery; it will be because you want me.”

He stepped even closer; so close that she could feel his breath against her face. His eyes held hers, shining with sincerity.  She felt like a moth in the presence of the flame.  She wanted nothing more than to sway into him. 

Well why not? Anna’s supposed to be falling in love, isn’t she? 

She let her face show how much ‘Hook’s’ words affected her. She saw his eyes darken in response, and it took way, way more effort than it should to pull back and let Anna try to put some emotional distance between them once again.

“This is not a contest, Hook.”

He gave her no quarter, no lessening of his particular earnestness. “Isn’t it?  You’re going to have to choose, Anna; you realize that, don’t you, because neither one of us is going to give up.”

That was way, way too much for her. “The only thing I have to choose is the best way to get my son back.”

He smiled proudly. “And you will.”

Emma knew enough about Anna to know she was not used to anyone putting her first; she wasn’t used to anyone having faith in her.  She let a touch of wonder enter her voice.  “You think so?”

“I’ve yet to see you fail,” he let his smile turn playful, flirtatious. “And when you do succeed, well, that’s when the fun begins.”

For several moments after the scene wrapped up, Emma and Killian continued staring at each other. That was…that was…intense.

She didn’t realize she was effectively staring longingly into Killian Jones’ eyes until Leroy chuckled. “Oh yeah.  I don’t think chemistry is going to be any problem between the two of you.”

Emma blinked, and then felt the heat creep up into her cheeks. How was she ever going to survive making this damn movie?

She did what she did best. She stormed away. 

“Yeah, well,” she said over her shoulder as she walked away, “what can I say? We’re really, really good actors.”

And she told herself it was the truth. She’d just managed to really get into character; that was all that had happened out there on that stage.  It was Anna’s emotions she was feeling, not her own.  Not anywhere close to her own.

Notes:

--Yay! No more hiatus!  I can’t wait for 5x13 this weekend.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Emma and Killian will actually be reunited by the end!

--Mostly from Killian’s perspective here. He obviously doesn’t have as much against Emma personally as she has against him, but he was burned by the pain of what happened with Milah, so a relationship is the farthest thing from what he plans.  We’ll see how long those plans last, lol.

--I chose the scene from Dark Hollow because I think it’s really incredibly romantic—and it really makes Emma and Killian’s chemistry shine. Obviously the dialogue from that part is not mine.

--Up next: They start rehearsals and filming.   Sparks fly—but will either of these wounded, stubborn people let themselves acknowledge them—let alone act on them?

Chapter Text

CS Genre: AU (actors who “hate” each other)

Emma shivered as she stuck her key in the lock and turned. It had been quite the day; she was fairly certain she was never going to be dry or warm again. 

She pushed the door open with a weary sigh, surprised to find the lights on and a very chipper Ruby sitting at her table.

“Hi Emma!” Ruby said, saluting her with a glass of red wine, “how was your first day of filming?”

Emma side-eyed her “friend”. Hard.  “Ruby, it’s 3:45 in the morning.  Why are you here?  And why are you so dressed up?”

Ruby grinned wider. “Well…I’m dressed up because I had a date tonight.”

Emma glanced at her, curious about the slight hesitation in her friend’s voice. She’d never been shy about giving details (usually far more than Emma wanted) about her romantic life.  “Really?  You didn’t mention it to me.  Who with?”

Ruby blushed. Actually blushed.  “Well, I wasn’t sure how you’d take it.”

“Now I’m intrigued. Who is this mystery man?”

“Graham.”

“Graham Humbert? My former costar?”

Ruby nodded, her face betraying an odd mixture of chagrin and something that, for lack of a better word, might be called dreaminess. “You see, I happened to run into him in the coffee shop the other day, and we started talking about you, and one thing led to another, and the next thing you know he was admitting that he’d always had a thing for me, and…I don’t know.  He’s cute and he’s sweet and he’s a gentleman, and…don’t be mad Emma!  I know you dated a time or two.”

Emma grinned, crossing her legs and taking another sip of her wine. “Mad?  Why would I be mad?  You know Graham and I are just friends.  And, yeah, I saw the way he used to look at you when you’d visit me on set.  I say it’s about time the two of you gave it a shot.”

“Really?” Ruby asked, with a ghost of a smile.

“Absolutely! Now, how about my first question.  Why the hell are you here in my apartment at 3 freaking 45 in the morning?”

Ruby grinned. “Because I know you.  I know you’d just ignore my texts, and then I’d have to wait until tomorrow at least to hear how things went on set!”

Emma sighed, slipped off her boots and took a seat across from Ruby at the kitchen table. She gestured toward the wine bottle Ruby had sitting on the table, and her friend obligingly filled a glass and slid it her way.  “How was my first day of filming?” she asked after taking a healthy swig.  “I just spent a good eight hours, at least filming the most uncomfortable, physically demanding scene of my career—and that’s saying something considering I used to play a bail-bonds woman.”

Ruby clucked her tongue in sympathy. “Lots of running and fighting?”

Emma shook her head. “More like swimming and drowning.  It was the scene in the opening act where Anna jumps into the sea to try to get everyone to stop fighting.  For some reason, Regina decided she had a thing about realism.  Made us film the scene in the actual ocean.”

“At this time of year?” Ruby asked, eyes widening.  “It must be freezing!”

“You’re telling me,” Emma groused, shivering once more. “After the first fifteen or so takes I think I stopped feeling my feet.  Well, at least if Regina was going for wet and cold and miserable, that scene is going to be a rousing success.”

“Well at least tell me the payoff was equally worth it!” Ruby said with a smirk. “How did Killian do with the whole concerned/relieved looks thing?  And…how did you manage to avoid swooning working with him in that ultra-sexy pirate get up all day long?  Does that shirt they have him wear even have buttons?  And those tight leather pants.  Yum!”

Emma rolled her eyes. “He’s a fantastic actor; true professional.  I’ll give him that.  He totally sold the whole ‘The thought of her dying totally freaks me out, but it shouldn’t because I’m a pirate who’s out for himself and I absolutely don’t have real feelings for her’ thing to a T.”

Ruby rolled her eyes. “Emma!  I didn’t ask about his acting!  I asked what he’s like!”

Emma thought back to the day just passed. Truth be told, he was…nothing like she’d expected.  He was ridiculously good looking, that she only needed eyes to see, but somehow those looks didn’t translate into an overly elevated opinion of himself.

Oh, yeah, he teased; he flirted; he made exaggerated comments about how ‘devilishly handsome’ he was, but it only took Emma an hour or two of working with him to realize most of it was nothing but a mask. There was a…depth and humility in Killian Jones that Emma never would have expected.

It surprised the hell out of her, but she actually enjoyed the time they spent together on set.  He was a generous scene partner, checking to make sure she was comfortable, making stupid jokes to break the tension, even singing from time to time.  (And…she’d never admit it, but she loved that voice of his.)

He’d been incredibly gallant today, really. While she dived off the ship set into the cold ocean over and over and over again, he was always there as soon as the director shouted “cut”—sometimes with an oversized blanket in hand, other times with a steaming cup of coffee.  Always with a sympathetic grin.

The gestures…well, they actually warmed her more than the hot beverages, to be honest.

“Hello! Earth to Emma!” Ruby said, waving a perfectly manicured hand in front of her face.  “I think I lost you there!”

Emma blinked. “Sorry, what was the question again.”

Ruby grinned. “Killian.  What’s he like?  How is it to work with him?  How have you managed not to swoon working with him?”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Ruby he’s not that good looking!”

Ruby merely gave her a look.

“Okay, maybe he is, but I can handle myself around handsome men,” Emma said. “Working with him is…nice.  He seems like a great guy.  But we both know how much ‘seems like’ can be deceiving.”

Ruby reached over and squeezed Emma’s hand. “Emma…sometimes things are exactly as they seem.”

“Maybe,” Emma said, glancing aside, “but I’d much rather not test it. It’s good enough for me to know we’ll get along on set.  That’s all it’s going to be.”

Ruby got to her feet. “Look, I know it’s late and you’re tired and you probably want nothing more than to curl up in bed and finally get warm, so I’ll get out of your hair.”  She took a step toward Emma’s door, and then turned back toward her.  “Just…don’t let what Walsh and Neal and everyone else did to you keep you from something that could be a really good thing.  There really is such a thing as a great guy.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday! Sorry about no update last week; my computer stopped working on my and I was also sick, so it was kind of the perfect storm.

--This story is taking much longer to tell than I had anticipated! There will probably be several more updates to come.

--HIATUS ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m planning to be out of town for the next couple of weeks, so likely there won’t be another update for three weeks.

Chapter Text

Taking Back Neverland—pt. 4

CS Genre: AU (Actors who “hate” each other)

“Alright everyone! Break’s over!”  Leroy growled, stopping into the break room with a scowl.  “Let’s get this show on the road.”

Killian groaned. It had been a long day; these hours were killer.  Taking a last gulp of his water, he got to his feet and offered his costar his hand.  “Guess we’d best go, Swan.”

She closed her eyes tightly, burrowing farther into the couch she’d claimed as her own when they’d started in on their break. It amused (and kind of impressed) him, her ability to fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

“Don’t want to. Comfortable,” She groused.

He laughed and tapped her on the shoulder. “Are you really willing to risk Leroy and Regina’s wrath, love?”

She cracked an eye and then sighed. “Guess not.”

Emma took his hand and let him pull her to her feet. He smiled as they walked the few steps back to the set.  To tell the truth, he found this woman fascinating.  Certainly they hadn’t started on the best footing.  She’d fairly run from him that day of the chemistry test.  But despite the rocky start, he believed things were going well now.

Well, as well as he could expect.

The lass had walls as thick as he’d ever seen. It was clear that someone had hurt her; badly.  Killian felt the anger burn at the thought, wishing he could confront the cad who’d wounded this wonderful woman so deeply.  What manner of man could treat another person in such a way that she no longer believed in the possibility of love?

Killian sighed. He supposed it was truly none of his business who had hurt her.  What he hoped would one day be his business was how to help her heal.  If only the lovely Miss Swan would let him.

One of the make-up artists snagged him on his way back to set, insisting she desperately needed to reapply guyliner. As the woman worked over him—and a second appeared to artfully muss his hair, Killian focused on the scene ahead.

Anna had woken to the sound of crying during her their first night on Neverland. Going to investigate, she’d come across none other than Peter Pan himself who’d given her a blank map.  He’d assured her that the map would appear as soon as she acknowledged who she really was.  After several fruitless attempts, she finally succeeded, and the rescue mission finally had something to work with.  Such was the backdrop to Hook and Anna’s first big one-on-one scene of the day.

As the women worked over him, Killian reread the script, closed his eyes and went through his standard “get into character” routine. It was shockingly easy with this role.  There was something about Captain Hook that reminded him deeply of himself—and despite what he’d said to his mate before the chemistry test, in moments of true honesty he couldn’t deny it.

Acting as though he were falling in love with Emma Swan was…barely acting at all.

“Looks like you’re devilishly handsome again, Captain,” the make-up artist said, with a playful tap to his cheek.

Killian smiled winningly up at her as he got to his feet and prepared to head to set. “Thanks, love.”

Emma was waiting when he reached the set, which replicated a dark, sweltering jungle. She paced back and forth, bounced on the balls of her feet, muttered to herself, stopping every once in a while to consult her script.

Killian leaned up against an artificial palm tree, his arms crossed, an amused smile on his face, and unabashedly watched her. After a moment, she noticed his perusal, and a lovely pink shaded her cheeks.

“What?” she asked defensively. “Never seen an actress get into character before?”

His grin widened. “Never one so lovely as you,” he said smoothly.

Emma rolled her eyes. “Do those lines ever really work on anyone?”

“I assure you, Swan,” he said, pushing off of the tree and ambling over to her, “I’m not in the business of using lines.  I assure you, my comment was quite genuine.”

 “Yeah, well…” she said, uncomfortably.  “I guess we better get to it then.”

“As you wish,” Killian said, taking his place at Emma’s side, both of them looking down at the map as they each held a corner.

“Quiet on the set!” Regina shouted regally. She waited for her command to be obeyed, and then turned back toward Killian and Emma.  “Alright, annnd…action!”

Hook handed the map back to Anna, and she folded it up. “Excellent show of patience love.  And that’s what defeats a nasty little boy.”

She looked startled for a moment, surprised eyes meeting his. Was this woman truly so unused to receiving praise?  Bloody hell!  There was something almost criminally tragic about that.  Hook reached beneath his leather coat and grabbed his flask from his back pocket.

“I certainly hope so,” Anna responded. Her eyes narrowed as she saw the flask in his hand.  “Is rum your solution to everything?”

He smirked. “It certainly doesn’t hurt.”

Hook took a drink, and then handed the flask over to Anna. Despite her half-hearted complaint about his libations, Hook noted that she took the container readily enough, and immediately brought it to her lips.  He watched her intently, something about his flask in her lovely hand, her lips against the opening affecting him in a way he didn’t even want to think about.

“So, just how did you unlock the map?” he asked, desperately trying to regain his emotional equilibrium.

She shrugged, and then looked up at him, her eyes filled with the barest traces of pain and insecurity. “I did what Pan asked.”

“Just who are you, Swan?”

She grinned at him, more than a hint of flirtation in her eyes. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

Aye, he would. He’d like to know everything about her.  Every bloody thing.  He paused for a moment before answering, his eyes radiating his sincerity.  “Perhaps I would.”

He’d shocked her; he could see it in her eyes. She held eye contact for barely a second before dropping her eyes, returning his flask, and walking determinedly away.

Hook sighed. He must go slowly, gently.  Those walls of her would take some time and patience to breech.

“Aannnd cut!” Regina called, broad smile on her face. “You two have some of the best chemistry I’ve ever seen.  First take and you nailed it!  Let’s try one more take to experiment with different camera angles, but honestly?  I think that’s just about a wrap!”

Killian took a long, deep breath and slowly let it out. It was no wonder their performance—his at least—had come off as sincere.  Somewhere between “action” and “cut” he’d ceased acting at all.  He may have been repeating lines written for the dashing Captain Hook, but he meant every word.  He did want to get to know the lovely Emma Swan.

He could only hope she’d one day give him the opportunity.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Emma stepped through the studio doors and made a b-line for the refreshments table in the lounge. She was running late today, and she desperately needed to get into hair and makeup, but if she was going to survive filming she needed coffee first.

Lots and lots of coffee.

Emma poured herself the tallest cup she could find and breathed in the steam, closing her eyes in pleasure, the strong scent comforting and relaxing her. She took her first sip and nearly groaned.  If she was going to deal with Killian and his ridiculous….everything…she needed a cup or five of good coffee first—and this was really, really good coffee.

Come on Emma, her inner voice (which sounded waaayyyy too much like Mary Margaret) chided, don’t you think you’re being a little unfair? Killian’s really…not that bad.

She sighed and took another sip. She had to admit it was true.  He’d actually been a total gentleman ever since this whole project started two weeks ago.  Not only that, but she actually liked him.  He was funny and charming and witty, and near the end of long filming days—when she was too exhausted to keep her guard up—she’d talk and laugh with him in between takes.

And that was kind of the problem. She had no intention of ever dating an actor again—particularly one that was as handsome and charismatic as Killian freaking Jones.  Especially not one who had a string of woman five miles long that would do anything to be with him.

She’d learned her lesson with Walsh that actors were the worst, because they could act. He’d pulled off an Emmy worthy performance, making her think he cared about her, loved her, but in the end his true colors had shown through, and she’d gotten her heart broken.

Never, never again!

But Killian’s not Walsh, her annoying inner voice reasoned, Your ‘super power’ hasn’t so much as reared its head with him. He is who he makes himself out to be.

Maybe, but Emma wasn’t ready to chance it.

Although, if she were being brutally honest, it was becoming increasingly hard to stay indifferent to him. The other day when they’d filmed the scene where Hook told Anna he would like to know who she is, the way he’d looked at her…the way everything about his body language had been attuned to her…it was overwhelming.  It had taken every bit of her acting skills not to turn tail and run—before the script called for Anna to, at least.

But it wasn’t just when they were acting. Throughout the day from time to time, she’d feel his gaze upon her, and she’d look up and catch a look of similar longing and intensity in his ridiculously blue eyes.  Killian Jones’s eyes not Captain Hook’s eyes.  Emma tried to convince herself he was just trying to stay in character, but…well, deep down she knew the truth.  Killian was starting to have feelings for her.

Would that really be the end of the world? Emma growled, snatching a donut hole and shoving it in her mouth.  Was it not bad enough Ruby was constantly asking her what it was like to work with “Captain Hottie” as she called him, did even her subconscious have to push her toward him?

Trying to distract herself, she grabbed her script out of her jeans pocket and went over the scene for the day. (Yeah, great distraction from Killian, Emma, considering today you’ll be exclusively working on scenes with him!)

Today, they’d be filming the scene in Baelfire’s cave—the one where Hook tries to comfort Anna, and she doesn’t want any part of it. Emma looked down at the words once more.

Anna: Look, I know what this is, you trying to…bond…with me. Well save your breath because I’m not interested.

Man had Regina type cast her! It was like the script writers had gotten into her own head when they wrote that line. 

You do know, right, that Anna was only so standoffish because she does have feelings for Hook? She’s afraid to explore them, but she knows full well that he’s someone she could fall deep and hard for.

But she was Emma, not Anna.

You sure you don’t protest too much?

She really needed to do something about that inner voice; it was annoying as hell!

“Hi! You’re Emma Swan, right?”

Emma startled at the sound of the young voice, and turned to look into a pair of sparkling brown eyes.

“Yeah,” she answered. “And who are you?”

He grinned. “I’m Henry.  Your son.”

For a moment, panic hit her, memories of the pain as she gave birth, the far greater pain as she watched the nurse carry away her newborn son forever.

Then reason returned. This was Henry, her on-screen kid.  This had nothing to do with…well…the worst day of her life.

Emma stuck out her hand, and he put his much smaller one in hers. “Nice to meet you, kid.”

“Nice to meet you too!” he said enthusiastically.

A pang went straight to Emma’s heart at the sound of his voice, the feel of his little hand in hers. There was something so achingly familiar about this little boy.  She had to swallow a substantial lump in her throat before she could speak again.

“So, Henry, we’ve been filming for almost two weeks. How is it I’m only now meeting you?” she asked.

He shrugged. “My mom only lets me film in the mornings, then I have to work on school work.  That was our deal when she hired me.  I could be in her movie, but I had to do my school work when my scenes were over.”

“Your mom hired you?  Who’s your mom, kid?”

“Regina Mills!” Henry said.

Emma’s eyes widened. “Didn’t know Regina had any kids.”

“It’s just me,” Henry said, eyeing the plate of donuts. “She really wanted a baby, so she adopted me, and now I’m ten years old. Well, gotta go.  I’m doing a scene with Peter Pan today!”

And with that, he was off.

Ten years old.  That’s pretty close to the age her own kid would be now.  She wondered where he was, how he was doing.  The familiar pain and guilt hit her.  She knew what it was like to be in the system.  What if…what if he’d never gotten adopted?  What if he’d been taken in by one of those awful foster families that was only in it for the money?

She tried to deal with it by reminding herself that she was giving her kid his best chance, and that normally worked (although a small, niggling part of her always reminded her that she was adopted by the Nolan’s just after jail. She would bet all her savings Ruth Nolan would have given her baby a place to live as well.)

Mostly it worked; mostly she was able to shove the painful thoughts aside, but there was something about seeing Henry…something that tore at her, made her raw.

“There you are,” came the British accent. “Your make-up artist is looking for you; we start filming in half-an—are you alright there, Swan?”

Emma quickly swiped at her eyes, pasted on what she hoped was a carefree smile, and turned toward Killian (who looked better than any man had a right to in his pirate leathers, guyliner and shirt unbuttoned nearly to his navel, damn him). “I’m fine.  Thanks for reminding me; running late today.”

His brows furrowed as he looked at her, the concern evident in his eyes. She made a move to step past him, but he stopped her with a gentle hand to her arm.  “No, love, you’re not.  You look like you’re near to falling apart.  What’s wrong?”

She dropped her head, unable to stem the single tear that slid down her face. He swiped at it with the pad of his thumb.  Finally she sighed.  Killian was far, far too perceptive.  No way she’d be able to bs her way out of this one.

“Alright, I’m not fine,” she said, a touch of irritability in her voice, “happy?”

“Not remotely,” he said gently, the warm rumble of his voice nearly making her shiver. “Anything I can do to help?”

She shook her head. “I appreciate your concern, but…I’ll be fine.  It’s just, some rough memories from my past kind of reared their ugly heads today.”

He was silent for a long moment, and Emma looked down, her hands going to her back pockets, her stance defensive. Finally he spoke again, and his voice was so gentle, tender, hesitant it nearly undid her.  “Emma…I too know what it’s like to have a painful past.”

Suddenly it was too much. All of it. Way too much.  She looked up into his concerned face and hardened her heart.  “Look,” she said, “I know we have to work with each other and everything, and it’s a good thing if we get along, but you don’t have to, you know, bond with me.  I’ve been dealing with my crap on my own nearly all my life, and I’m…I’m just better alone.”

And without another word she pushed past him and nearly ran to the make-up artist. It was only when she’d left the lounge that she realized how ridiculously close to the script they were using today her conversation with Killian had been.  Talk about art imitating life!

Well, sort of. She had no intention of ever letting her walls down for Killian Jones.

Yeah, me thinks you doth protest waaaaaay too much, helpfully supplied her inner voice.

 

Notes:

--I’m baaaaack! My two week trip to France was great.  It was a very, very, very much needed break from the stress and hum-drum of everyday life, but now I’m back, renewed and rejuvenated and ready to write more fluff!

--So, basically Killian is falling hard for Emma—and vice versa, but Emma is still in full-on denial mode. (So…basically exactly where they were in the Neverland arc.)  Next week we’ll get to much more actual interaction between the two of them!

--Up next: David and Mary Margaret ask Killian and Emma to have dinner with them after filming one day, and that gets quite interesting—particularly after MM starts feeling ill, and David has to take her home, leaving the other two to finish dinner alone.  The next day, on set, Emma and Killian film a rather pivotal scene. :-)

Chapter Text

Taking Back Neverland, Chapter 5

CS Genre: Actors who “hate” each other au

“Alright everyone!” Leroy shouted. “That’s a wrap for the day.”

Emma took a deep breath and let it out, slowly transforming from Anna Swan back into herself. She glanced at her watch as Leroy droned on with his reminders about the schedule for tomorrow. 5:00.   That was the earliest they’d ever wrapped for the day.

Regina was giving them a night off. This was a day to mark on the calendar. (Leroy said it was because they were ahead of schedule and the day’s shoot had gone unusually well, but…well, Emma suspected the reason for the early wrap had more to do with Robin visiting the set and asking Regina for a date. Whatever the reason, Emma wasn’t complaining.)

“Hey Emma,” Mary Margaret said, coming up to join her, “David and I were thinking about getting some dinner at The Big Bad Wolf. Wanna join us?”

The Big Bad Wolf was a favorite of the cast and crew. A little diner run by a no-nonsense lady known only as “Granny”, it had good food and an even better atmosphere.

“Sure,” Emma said, “I don’t think we’ve hung out since filming began. Sounds good.”

“Great!” Mary Margaret said. “How about we meet you guys there at 6?”

Emma narrowed her eyes. “You guys? Mary Margaret who exactly is coming to dinner?”

Mary Margaret looked aside, took a deep breath and then pasted on the fakest smile Emma’d ever seen. “Well, you…and Killian.”

“Mary Margaret!”

“Now, Emma,” She said with a placating gesture of the hand, “just…calm down. You know Killian doesn’t really have anyone and it’s sad to think of him going home and eating alone.”

“You sure this is really about concern for Killian?” Emma asked, arms crossed. “You sure it’s not, I don’t know, an attempt to matchmake?”

Mary Margaret held up her hands. “In this, I’m innocent. It was actually David who asked him.”

“David, really? Why would David ask him?”

Mary Margaret shrugged. “Ever since the two of them filmed that scene this morning where Hook saves Charming, the two of them have been inseparable. I’m telling you; the bromance is strong between the two of them. You’ll break your brother’s heart if you insist on excluding his new best mate.”

Emma laughed. “Fine; wouldn’t want to break David’s heart. I guess I can endure one dinner; especially since you and David will be there.”

“Emma,” Mary Margaret said, shooting her a thoughtful look, “don’t you think maybe you’re being a little too hard on Killian? I mean, he’s been nothing but a gentleman, far as I can see, and the two of you seem to get along really well.”

Emma felt vaguely uncomfortable, the words hitting home. She dropped her eyes and let out a long breath. “Yeah; he seems like a great guy, but I’ve had experience with people who seem like great guys and…well, you know how that ended up.”

Mary Margaret was silent for so long, Emma finally looked up. The compassionate look in her sister-in-law’s eyes was nearly her undoing. “Not every guy is Neal or Walsh,” she said finally. “Trust me; I know. Your brother is proof of that. Emma, that wall of yours may keep out pain, but it may also keep out love, and let me tell you, love is so worth it. Just a little food for thought.”

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

Killian took another bite of his burger, chewing thoughtfully. The silence in the little booth at the back of the diner was nearly deafening. He’d been flattered when Dave had asked him to dine with his family—and he was not above admitting he was more than a little bit pleased to hear David’s lovely sister would be joining them.

This tense silence was not what he’d been expecting.

Oh things had started out splendidly, the four of them talking and laughing about happenings on set, but no sooner had they placed their orders than Mary Margaret made a mad dash for the restroom, coming back a few minutes later citing a sudden case of extreme nausea. David had promptly offered to take her home insisting Killian and Emma go ahead and enjoy their dinner.

Killian would have suspected shenanigans on the lovely Mrs. Nolan’s part but for the fact she did appear rather green. Not that he minded having a cozy one-on-one dinner with Emma Swan.

But the lady herself certainly seemed to. She hadn’t spoken so much as a word since her brother and sister-in-law had departed some quarter of an hour ago. Perhaps a bit of levity would shake her out of her mood.

“You know,” he said, allowing a hint of ‘Hook’ to enter his voice, “some men would take your silence as off-putting, but I love a challenge.”

The corners of her lips curved up in spite of herself “Really?”

“Aye,” he nodded sagely. “Fortunately, I don’t need you to share. You’re something of an open book, darling.”

“That so?”

He nodded again, the smile suddenly sliding from his face. Aye; he could read her, and right now what he saw written plainly across her face was pain, wariness. The need to comfort, to protect rose up in him once again.

But if he was to comfort, he needed to know what it was that caused her such distress. “Love has been all too rare in your life, hasn’t it? Tell me love, have you ever even been in love?”

She shot him an alarmed look, dropped her grilled cheese, and took a quick sip of her iced tea. Finally, she squared her shoulders. “No. I have never been in love.”

He’d crossed one of her indefinable lines and well he knew it. He sighed. “Look Emma, I’m sorry; it was none of my business. I shouldn’t have pried…”

“No, no,” she said, glancing away again, “it’s fine. I guess I’m just kind of in a mood tonight. I’m sorry I’m so…well, you know, grumpy.”

He smiled reassuringly. “It’s no problem Swan. Your sister-in-law’s illness thrust us into a rather awkward situation. We seem to get on well enough between takes on set. Perhaps we could imagine we’re merely in the breakroom enjoying a much needed rest.”

She smiled. “Sounds good to me.”

His grin turned decidedly wicked. “So, love, since we are on set, I must ask you; how’s the hand?”

Her cheeks took on a delightful rosy hue. “What even was that, Killian? I think I missed the line in the script where you were directed to tie the stupid scarf with your freaking teeth!”

He laughed. They’d filmed a scene that afternoon involving a bit of first aid…and an entire jungle worth of flirtation. Anna had tripped over a tree branch in Neverland’s jungle and cut her palm. Hook, ever the gentleman, had bound up the wound with his own scarf.

He shrugged. “I felt a bit of improvisation was in order.”

“Yeah, well…warn a woman before you pull out that level of smolder.”

“And where would be the fun in that?” he asked with a wink. “I was hoping to elicit a genuine reaction, and you, darling didn’t disappoint.”

She huffed. “Could you just…stop smirking at me like that and pass the salt?”

He couldn’t quite manage the first, but he did pick up the salt shaker and slide it across the table, the action pushing up the sleeve of his black shirt. Emma glanced down, and Killian recognized the exact moment she noticed the tattoo.

She shook a bit of salt on her fries, and then turned speculative eyes in his direction. “Who’s Milah, on the tattoo?”

The pain slammed into him, along with memories of shattering glass, twisting metal and agonizing grief. Self-consciously, he pushed the sleeve back into place. “Someone from long ago,” he finally ground out, hoping his short reply would end the conversation.

No such luck.

“Where is she?”

“She’s gone.”

For a moment, Emma merely looked at him, and Killian got the sudden impression he wasn’t the only one who could read the other like a book. Suddenly understanding came into her eyes. “That accident…the one that was in all the papers a few years back…it took more from you than the use of your hand, didn’t it?”

“For someone who’s never been in love,” he said, desperately wanting to turn the conversation away from him and the most painful moment of his life, “you’re quite perceptive.”

It was her turn to glance away. “Maybe I was once…or twice.”

And they were not pleasant experiences; he could see that plain enough. “What happened love? Who hurt you?”

He didn’t expect her to answer, fully expected a cutting look that ordered him to keep out. But she surprised him.

“First time I fell in love, I was a kid,” she said, picking up her fork and idly pushing her uneaten fries around her plate. “I was, I don’t know, sixteen? A runaway from the system.   Neal was a few years older, experienced, exciting.”

“What happened.”

“Long story short, he was nothing but a petty thief. Maybe he loved me, maybe he didn’t; I’ll never know. But a few months after we started dating, he ran off, planting a couple of his stolen watches in my hotel room. Next thing I knew I was in the slammer and…pregnant.”

He sucked in a ragged breath.

“I was hardly mom material, so I had to give my son away.”

She spoke in an off-hand manner, but Killian could feel the waves of pain radiating from her. He slid his hand across the table and took hers. She didn’t pull away, a fact that spoke of her distress more than anything else could. “I’m so sorry, love.”

She shrugged. “It was a long time ago. I was adopted by David’s mom not long after I got out of jail and things really turned around so…I guess it all worked out?”

He hated to push her, but there was more; he could feel it. Best he take advantage of her temporary openness. “You said that was the first time you were in love. Were there others?”

“Just one more,” she answered. “It was, I don’t know, five years ago or so. I was trying out for a part in that new remake they did of The Wizard of Oz. I met one of the guys who played a flying monkey that first day of try outs. Walsh was his name. The whole him being a flying monkey thing? Yeah, should have been my first clue.”

“What happened with him?”

“We started dating. Things got serious pretty fast, and he even proposed. I thought everything was going well…at least until I got a call back for the roll of the Wicked Witch. He kind of…went ballistic, yelling at me and then storming off. Turns out he wasn’t actually into me at all. He was working for Zelena Mills, who wanted the job for herself. He was supposed to keep me occupied so I couldn’t actually try for the part.”

She fell silent for a moment. “Do you know what the icing on the cake was? It wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Me trying out or me not trying out, Zelena still got the part.”

“I’m sorry, Swan,” Killian said, “but if it’s any consolation, I heard Zelena was a nightmare to work with on set. Absolutely bat-shit crazy, that one. I’m not exactly seeing a long and illustrious career for her.”

Emma laughed in spite of herself and squeezed his hand before pulling away. “Actually…that does help. Thanks.”

Killian laughed, and then sobered. “Swan...you deserve better. Better than both Neal and the flying monkey. I sincerely hope you find it.”

“Thank you,” she said, and he could see in her eyes that his words had truly touched her.

He shrugged, scratching at a place behind his ear. “You’re welcome, love. That is, after all, what friends are for.”

“Is that what we are?” Emma asked. “Friends?”

“I’d like to think so,” he said. “I’ve no wish to hurt you or make you uncomfortable. So what do you say, Swan? Shall we be friends?”

She looked closely at him and then nodded, a small smile on her face. “Yeah, I could go for that. Friends it is.”

Notes:

--Okay, I lied, I didn’t make it to that “pivotal scene” this week. The dinner and revelations and all of that just took WAAAAAAYYY too much space! But the pivotal scene is definitely coming in the next chapter, and considering the movie is shooting in basically chronological order and in this chapter they talked about Hook saving Charming’s life….I’m betting you can guess just what that pivotal scene is!

--This story is, of course, about Neverland and follows the events in that arc, but how on earth do you have a proper CS au where the two of them fall in love without at least referring to the beanstalk episode? I mean that was a classic! Thus, I moved the hottest moment of first aid ever to Neverland for use in their movie. I also wanted to bring in the Captain Charming bromance, and a bit of supportive, season 1 roommate Mary Margaret and her useful advice.

--Up next: Emma’s feeling better about Killian and working with him after their conversation and decision to be friends. That is, at least, until work the next day where the two of them spend a significant amount of time filming a certain scene that Emma’s been dreading (and maybe secretly looking forward to) ever since she found out Killian would be her costar.

Chapter Text

Taking Back Neverland—pt. 6

CS Genre: AU (Actors who “hate” each other)

Emma woke up feeling warm and fuzzy and altogether wonderful.

The feeling lasted only until she was fully awake and remembered the events of the night before. She sat up quickly, dropped her head in her hands and groaned.  Had she really had dinner with Killian Jones and told him all about Neal and Walsh?

Her stomach dropped as she remembered the emotions as she revealed her deepest secrets—secrets she hadn’t even told her best friends until several years into their relationship.  Emma didn’t open up, didn’t reveal herself, didn’t give people the opportunity to hurt her.

What was it about Killian that made her suddenly turn away from all her finely-honed self-preservation tactics and turned her into a blithering idiot?

She wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer.

Gradually, Emma became aware that the scent of freshly brewed coffee had wafted its way into her bedroom. Interesting.  She got to her feet, put on a pair of fuzzy slippers, and walked down the hall to investigate.

“Morning, Emma!” came the perky voice of Ruby Lucas as soon as she stepped into the kitchen. Her best friend and agent held out a large, steaming mug of very strong black coffee, and that alone, in Emma’s estimation, would have covered a multitude of sins.

Emma mumbled something that may have vaguely sounded like “Good morning” before falling heavily into her favorite chair at the kitchen table.

Not a bit deterred by Emma’s less-than-warm welcome, Ruby plopped into a chair next to her, her smile so wide and sunny, Emma half expected rainbows to shoot from her ears.

“Not to be, you know, rude,” Emma said, after taking a couple of fortifying sips of the hot brew, “but what are you doing here so early, Ruby?”

The woman in question rolled her eyes. “So early?  Emma it’s already 10:00!  You’ve just about slept the day away!”

Emma glanced to the swan-shaped clock on her kitchen wall, and noted that her agent had indeed spoken the truth. She was normally a much earlier riser, but, knowing she wasn’t due on set until 4:00 that afternoon, she’d turned off her alarm and indulged in a day of sleeping in.

“Guess you’re right about that,” she conceded. “But the question remains.  What’s up?”

To Emma’s surprise, Ruby blushed, dropped her eyes, and started absently toying with one of Emma’s placemats.

“It’s just,” Ruby said hesitantly, “well, Graham and I went out again last night.”

Emma’s eyebrows rose. Well that was interesting.  Ruby was more or less the poster-girl for the casual hook up.

“That’s, what? The fourth date you’ve been on with him in the last two weeks?” Emma asked, bringing the mug back to her lips.

“The fifth,” Ruby said, sending Emma a shy smile, “but who’s counting.”

“Wow, for you, that’s really getting serious.”

“I know!” Ruby said. “I’m not, you know, the long-term relationship type.  I like to just have fun, but with Graham…I don’t know, Emma; I just like him.  Like, really truly like him!”

Emma smiled and then reached over to cover her friend’s hand with her own. “Ruby, I think that’s great!  I really do.  Graham’s a great guy, and I think the two of you could be really good together.”

“You think so?” Ruby asked, the delight evident in her sparkling eyes.

“Yeah.”

“Good,” Ruby said, “because…well we’re supposed to go out again this Friday, and I think he wants to ask me to put a name to this…thing…going on between us. You know, like we’re boyfriend and girlfriend.”

“Go for it,” Emma said.

“I think I will,” Ruby said, taking a sip of her coffee. “I was gonna go talk all of this over with Mary Margaret, because she’s like the true love expert (no offense to you, of course), but she’s sick this morning.  Apparently a stomach bug or something.”

“So she was telling the truth last night,” Emma said, feeling more than a little surprise. “I’d more than half expected her ‘sudden nausea’ was an elaborate matchmaking ploy.”

Suddenly Ruby perked up, like a wolf picking up a scent. “Matchmaking?  Last night?” she asked, leaning forward.  “Emma, what’s going on that neither of my best friends decided to fill me in about?”

Emma called herself about three kinds of fool. She’d walked herself right into that one.  She did not want to have this conversation with Ruby—at least matchmaking, innuendo laden Ruby.  The compassionate, good-listener Ruby might be a different story.

“It’s nothing,” Emma said shortly. “It’s just…I went to dinner with David and Mary Margaret, and they invited Killian along.”

“Let me guess,” Ruby said, “when Mary Margaret got sick, she and David left you alone with tall, dark and sexy?”

“Yeah,” Emma said dryly, “something like that.”

Ruby was silent for several moments, and Emma saw something that looked like compassion in her eyes. “Emma,” her friend said, “something’s bothering you.  What is it?”

“I…talked to him,” Emma admitted, suddenly desperate to unburden herself, desperate for someone to tell her that what happened last night wasn’t as momentous as it felt.

“Okay,” Ruby said, drawing out the two syllables. “What…about?”

“I…I might have told him all about Neal and Walsh.”

Ruby abruptly sat tall in her chair, her brows nearly reaching to her hair line. “Really?  Emma, it wasn’t even until we’d been roommates for three years that you told me about Neal.”

“I know!” Emma said in exasperation. “I don’t know what came over me!  We were just having a conversation, and he suddenly seemed so sympathetic, and, I don’t know!  It just came tumbling out.”

Ruby smiled—not her self-satisfied, “I knew it!” smile, but her compassionate “best friend” smile. “Emma, you like him, don’t you?”

“What?!” Emma shot to her feet and started pacing.  “No!  I mean, we are getting along better now than at first, but no!  I don’t, I can’t like him the way you’re implying!”

Ruby calmly took a sip of her coffee. “Why not?  And don’t give me that ‘his reputation as a playboy’ bull.  I think the last few weeks of working with him have shown you the tabloids at least greatly exaggerated.”

“He is…different from what I expected,” Emma admitted, “and last night he told me he wanted to be friends, but I think he might want more, deep down, and I…I just can’t take a chance that I’m wrong about him!”

“There’s more, isn’t there?” Ruby asked.

Emma blew out a long breath and dropped her eyes. “Sometimes…sometimes I wonder,” she admitted.  “I mean, I know what Neal and Walsh did to me…well, they were world-class jerks, but I can’t help but wonder…”

“Wonder what?”

“If…if it’s not really them at all,” Emma admitted, “if maybe it’s me that’s the issue.  If I’m, I don’t know, cursed or something.  If a happy ending just isn’t in the cards for me.”

Ruby came over to her and wrapped her in a hug. “Emma, I can guarantee that’s not the case.  There’s someone out there for you.  Maybe Killian, maybe not, but I know someone’s out there.  At the risk of sounding like Mary Margaret, you just have to hold on to hope.  And anyway, like you said, Killian told you he wants to be friends.  You obviously enjoy each other’s company; just focus on the friend part.  There’s plenty of time for the falling in love part if it’s meant to be.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

By the time Emma got to set that afternoon she was an absolute ball of nerves. Focusing on the friendship part would be a whole hell of a lot easier if her job didn’t require her to, you know, make out with her “friend”.

Because, yeah. Today was the day they shot that scene.

And Emma instinctively knew there was no way out of the “making out”. Regina had been playing up their chemistry and the rapidly developing relationship between Anna and Hook like crazy lately.  She’d been explicit when discussing the scene.  She expected fireworks.

The butterflies started doing the tango in her stomach at the thought, visions of Killian’s handsome face lowering toward hers…of his warm, firm lips, soft, minty breath, tongues, heat, passion…she groaned. How was she going to do this?

And why was it such a big deal?  It wasn’t like it was real.  It was just a stage kiss.  She’d go through the motions as “Anna”, while a whole team of techs swarmed around her and Killian with sound equipment and cameras and lighting and everything else.  Not exactly romantic.

So if her heart could, you know, stop pounding as fast as if she’d just run a marathon, that’d be great.

“Afternoon, Swan.”

Emma closed her eyes, trying desperately to get a hold of herself before she came face to face with him. She took a couple of deep breaths and then turned, convinced she’d gotten over her stupidity.

And then she was confronted with him and his artfully tossled hair and heavy guyliner and leather…everything…and chest hair on full display, and heaven help her, there should be a law against a man looking like that.

“Hey,” she squeaked, cleared her throat and then tried again. “Kinda nice to get the morning off, right?”

“Aye,” he said with a slight inclination of the head. He was silent for a moment, just looking at her.  “Look Swan, I thought perhaps we’d best discuss our plans for our scene today before we shoot.”

And somehow, Emma didn’t even know how it was physically possible, her heart started beating even faster. “Um…yeah, I guess.”

Killian scratched at the spot behind his ear, blushing slightly and turning his eyes away from her. Finally he looked back.  “I’ve had my fair share of scenes of this nature, being, after all, the leading man on many a chick flick, and I can assure you they’re always a bit awkward…particularly the characters’ first kiss.”

“So,” she said, “what do you do to make things…less awkward?”

“It’s best when there’s trust and understanding between the actors involved,” he said, looking into her eyes. “I assure you, Emma, I want you to be as comfortable as possible as we film today.  To that end, I’d like to propose that it be you that takes the lead in Anna and Hook’s kiss.”

Emma’s eyes widened. “Really?”

“Aye,” he said firmly. “It would seem to work well with Anna’s character, and it will ensure this is as pleasant an experience as possible for you.  You, love, decide the direction this kiss will take, and I’ll merely follow you.”

“But…I mean, you’re involved too. Don’t you want to …I don’t know…do something to make yourself more comfortable?”

His eyes widened melodramatically. “Why Swan, do you have intentions to take advantage of me?”

She rolled her eyes, barking out a laugh. “You are such an idiot.”

He grinned. “Aye, but tell the truth love, you quite enjoy my nonsense.”

She shot him a look. “Maybe.  From time to time.”

“Alright! Places everyone!” Regina shouted.  “We’ve got a lot to cover today, and I for one don’t want to be here until 4:00 in the morning.”

Emma took a deep breath as the nerves took over once more. This was…this was a lot to deal with, stage kiss or not.  She offered up a quick prayer that she didn’t make a total fool of herself.

Emma took her place in the “jungle”, having just passed the flask back to Killian. She closed her eyes, took a couple deep breaths and got into character.

“Did you really save him?” Anna asked, surprised in spite of herself.

“Does that surprise you?” Hook asked, looking aside.

She smirked. “Well you aren’t exactly, how do you say it, ‘mates’.”

“Doesn’t mean I’d leave your brother here to die,” he insisted.

Anna looked carefully at him, looking for the lie, looking for the caveat. It wasn’t there.  Unless her ‘superpower’ was wildly off, Captain Hook was telling the absolute truth. She felt a sudden, intense wave of gratitude, of grudging affection.

“Thank you,” she said firmly.

He was uncomfortable with praise; she could see that well enough in the way he ducked his head, scratched behind his ear, blushed to the roots of his hair. After an uncomfortable moment, he straightened, a look of pure mischief on his face as he swaggered toward her.

“Aye, perhaps gratitude is in order,” he said, tapping his lips, and looking at her through heavily lidded eyes.

Emma’s breath caught. Had it suddenly gotten about twenty degrees warmer in this stupid studio?

“Yeah,” Anna said, tiny smile on her lips. “That’s what the ‘thank you’ was for.”

His smirk became even more pronounced as he invaded her personal space. “That all your brother’s life is worth to you?”

He was ridiculous! His flirting was absolutely ridiculous, but…it was fun and it was exciting, and it wasn’t like anything was going to come of this anyway.  So why not flirt  back?

She swayed toward him and rolled her eyes with a little smirk. “Please!  You couldn’t handle it.”

He didn’t miss a beat, leaning in so close Anna could feel his breath hot against her face. “Perhaps you’re the one who couldn’t handle it.”

The way he popped that ‘t’ shouldn’t be allowed; it really shouldn’t.

Anna stood irresolute for a moment, looking closely at him. This was a mistake; a huge mistake! But…she was feeling good, and they’d just had a victory of sorts, and well, there was this weird tension between them. Maybe if they just…got it out of their systems…

And this was the moment of truth. The moment “Anna Swan” was supposed to haul off and kiss the stuffing out of Captain Hook.  Emma looked up at Killian, his eyes reflecting the mischief of Captain Hook…but also the reassurance of Killian Jones.

She choked. It was too much, too intense.  She couldn’t do this.  She pulled at his lapels, letting her lips brush against his and then quickly pulling back, making it barely a peck.

(But God help her! Even that casual contact was enough to send an electric current shooting through her body.)

“Cut!” came Regina’s distinctly displeased voice. “What was that, Miss Swan?  I’ve seen more passionate kisses between siblings!”

Well, that was a whole different kind of disturbing, but Emma got Regina’s point.

“It just..” Emma tried. “It didn’t feel right.  I mean, Anna’s closed off, right?  Is her first kiss with Captain Hook really going to be all passionate and hot and all of that?”

Regina rolled her eyes so hard Emma was afraid she’d hurt herself. “Yes, Miss Swan, it is.  We talked about this!  Anna’s had these simmering feelings for Hook ever since they met—feelings she’s kept strictly under wraps.  But suddenly caught up in the moment, she just wants to let it all go, just reassure herself that kissing him wouldn’t be that big of a thing.  And then there’s the matter of his challenge to her.”

Emma knew that; had known her ploy for the demure peck was doomed before it began, still, her heart sank when she heard Regina call for take two of the scene.

Stop it Emma! She chastised herself. You aren’t some brand new actress about to have your first on-screen kissThis is no big deal! Pull yourself together!

After a long, cleansing breath, she placed herself once more on her mark. She’d follow the script this time; she’d get this stupid scene over with.  The sooner the better.

The first part of the scene went well, Emma and Killian both delivering their lines with ease, everything about their body language screaming chemistry.

And then it was time for the kiss. Emma tensed up, grabbed his lapels, and pulled him almost violently to herself.  The kiss was longer this time; Emma let herself relax into it for the barest fraction of a moment.  But when it occurred to her that it felt good, more than good to have Killian’s lips moving beneath hers, she panicked, pulling away quickly.

“Well, that was a little better, I guess,” Regina groused, “but the two of you are flesh and blood people who have chemistry, who are supposed to be falling in love with each other, not two blocks of wood slamming up against each other!  Again!”

After two more failed attempts, it was clear Regina’s patience was completely at an end. “Let’s take five.  Emma; I’d suggest you take the time to get your head screwed on straight.  And Killian…just…talk some sense into her!”

Emma stalked off toward the bottle of water she’d left just off-stage. She took a long swig and then hung her head, wishing this day was just over.  She had to get this kiss right, she just had to!  With every take they did the feelings crashed into her more and more.  How the hell was she supposed to stay immune to Killian Jones and his ridiculously hot everything, when she was forced to spend all afternoon kissing him?

“Alright there, Swan?”

The unexpected question made her jump, and he hastily apologized, a hand to her side to steady her. Emma refused to pull away.  There was no way she was going to let him see that even that casual touch nearly set her aflame.

“I’m…I’m just having a rough time of it today, Killian,” she said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I just can’t get this scene the way Regina wants it.”

“Hey,” he said, turning her toward himself, looking at her with clear concern. “Relax love.  I meant what I said before.  I want you to be comfortable.  If this scene is too much for you today, I’ll speak to Regina.  I’m sure I can smooth things over, sweet talk her into using one of the takes we’ve already shot.”

Emma felt a warm glow spread through her at his concern. He spoke the truth.  He’d really, truly do whatever he needed to to make her comfortable.  Strangely enough, it was exactly what she needed to hear.

Emma smiled gently. “That’s really sweet, but Regina’s right.  That scene needs a passionate kiss.  It’s perfect the way it’s written.  I’ve just got to find some way to…make it look natural.”

Killian reached up and hitched a stray lock of hair around her ear. “Just relax, Swan,” he said in a low voice.  “You’re over-thinking it.  Just let Anna’s feelings shine through and go with those feelings.”

They were called back to set far sooner than Emma would have liked. It had been a short break, the five minutes feeling more like a few seconds, but Emma felt more refreshed than she had all day.  It was going to be okay.  She could do this.

As she took her place, she closed her eyes, consciously became Anna.

“Please,” Anna said softly, eyes rolling, head gently shaking. “You couldn’t handle it.”

Hook leaned closer, so close she could feel his breath, could smell the rum, the leather, the salt from the ocean. She felt herself slowly slipping under his spell.  “Perhaps you’re the one who couldn’t handle it.”

She waited a heartbeat. Two.  She shouldn’t do this; she knew she shouldn’t. This had big fat mistake written all over it.

But God help her, she was tired of the pain and the struggle. She just wanted to feel good for a tiny moment in time.

She grabbed his lapels and pulled him to her. Her lips met his, and she groaned, the feelings overwhelming her.  her hand found its way into his hair as she tilted her head, deepening the kiss.

She knew she’d surprised Hook. It was written all over the slight stiffening of his body as her lips made contact with his.

But it took him less than a heartbeat to catch up with her, his mouth slanting over hers, his lips parting for her, his ringed fingers tangling in her hair.

It went on and on, and Emma lost all sense of time, of space, of reality. Waves of pleasure, of heat, of want crashed over her as she dived in, letting her tongue duel with his.  This was…there were no words in English or any other language to describe it, but Emma knew with every fiber of her being that she’d never be the same again.

“Cut! Cut! CUT!  You two keep this up and we’re gonna have to up this film’s rating.”

It was only when Regina was nearly in their faces that Emma came back to herself, realizing the director had been calling for the scene to cut for the past few minutes. She pulled her mouth free with a pop, heard Killian softly whisper her name—her name; not Anna’s name—and suddenly the mortification hit her.

What had she just done!?

She mumbled something to Regina about how she was done for the day before nearly sprinting from the stage. Chances were…not good…Regina would agree to her terms, but she didn’t care.  She had to get out of here, had to get some space, some air, some freaking perspective.

She was in her coat, starting to wrap her scarf around her neck when Killian showed up backstage, looking concerned.

“I’ve smoothed it over with Regina, love,” he said. “She agrees we have enough footage to splice together a good scene.”

“Good,” Emma said, looking anywhere but at him.

He stopped her frantic movements with a hand to her arm. “Emma, love can we talk about this?”

She shot him a nonchalant look that was so fake a blind person could have seen it. “Nothing to talk about, Killian.  It was just a kiss.  Just a stage kiss.  Our job, you know.”

He was quiet for a moment. “It was more than that, and you’re well aware of it.” 

Emma felt the fear claw at her, and she used that fear to fuel her anger. “Fine!  Whatever it was…it was a one-time thing!  Just…go, gather some firewood for your scene with Pan or something!”

He sighed deeply, but took a step back. “As you wish.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday! (I really wanted to post this yesterday, because all day I felt like it was Friday, and then I got sad when I realized it wasn’t, lol.)  Everyone ready for this week’s episode? (5x20 Firebird)?  I have a feeling it’s going to have some AMAZING moments for us and our favorite pirate and savior…but I also have a feeling we’re in for a serious ride on the angst train.  It’s just too early in the arc for CS to get a TL moment, AND for Killian to be brought back to life, and the main quest of the arc to be wrapped up!

--So…with today’s episode of the story…I was thinking the other day about how the actors do multiple takes for each scene they film, which, of course, means there were multiple takes of the famous Neverland kiss. (JMo has such a terrible job; I don’t know how she stands it, lol.)  Now, it seems clear that JMo and Colin are just good friends, and true professionals and it’s all part of the job and all of that, but it made me think.  What if you had a pair of actors who had feelings for each other—even if one of them would deny it up one side and down the other—and they had to do multiple takes of a scene like that.  BOUND to be fireworks!  And voila!  The chapter was born.

--Up next: Emma, totally freaked out about the kiss incident, goes to work on rebuilding her walls as fast as she can. *sigh*  Meanwhile the kiss made Killian realize the strength of his own feelings…but how is he to proceed when Emma will barely even look at him?

Chapter Text

CS Genre: AU (Actors who "hate" each other)

Somehow, she wasn’t entirely sure how, Emma made it through the rest of filming that week. Things were…awkward at best between her and Killian.  She saw him shooting her looks.  He wanted to talk to her about “the incident”, as she’d termed it in her mind, she knew that well enough.  He’d even tried to bring it up a time or two.

After the third time she’d bluntly walked away the moment things started getting anywhere close to serious, he’d finally taken the hint and stopped bringing it up.

It didn’t stop the way he looked at her, though. Even Regina commented on it, rolling her eyes and muttering something about “yearning looks and doe-y eyes”.

Emma got in her yellow bug on Friday night and let out the breath she hadn’t remembered she was holding. TGIF.  She needed the weekend like air.  She needed a chance to…process all the crap from this week.  She needed a breather from Mr. Lovesick Pirate.  She just needed to be away from it all.

Not that the rest of the week had been bad, per se.  They’d filmed a couple of romantic scenes: the scene in the echo caves where Hook admitted to Anna that he was falling in love with her and the scene where he vowed to win her heart, and those had been a bit…awkward, but other than that, she’d enjoyed the scenes she filmed this week.

Well, that wasn’t exactly true. There was also that scene in Dark Hollow where Pan’s shadow almost killed Hook and Baelfire.  That one had left Emma utterly drained.  It had taken her a while to get into the proper mindset for the scene.  It was just hard to dredge up the appropriate amount of panic when your scene partners are standing on platforms against a green screen, just thrashing around and yelling at nothing.

She’d closed her eyes, tried to imagine someone she cared for in mortal danger, the feelings that would be coursing through her in that situation, but it was easier said and done. The truth was, the only way she was able to dredge up the appropriate amount of panic was thinking about Killian being killed.  She imagined him being stabbed in the back by David.  She imagined him with a huge, gaping wound in his neck, bleeding out.  She imagined being forced to run him through with a sword herself.

It was after that last one that she was able to summon enough panic as she called Hook’s name to satisfy Regina.

Emma didn’t want to think about what that said about her.

Well, she didn’t need to. She was headed for the weekend; a weekend where she could totally forget a certain piercing-eyed, smoldering pirate even existed.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Sunday night David and Mary Margaret had Emma over to their house for dinner. Emma had, at first, flat out refused to come, remembering the last time Mary Margaret had asked her to dinner, which had resulted in a one-on-one meal with Killian.

But Mary Margaret had absolutely assured her she would be their only guest. She’d further said there was something she and David wanted to tell her, and had sounded so dejected at Emma’s rejection, that Emma had finally relented.

When she’d arrived at the Nolans’ around four o’clock Sunday afternoon, both her brother and sister-in-law were busy in the kitchen, the smell of roasting chicken filled the air. Emma’s mouth watered at the scent.

Emma let herself into the house with her spare key, and from the look of things, David and Mary Margaret hadn’t heard her come in. They stood impossibly close together at the kitchen counter, punctuating their chopping of vegetables with tenderly murmured words and smiles.   It made Emma unaccountably sad to see their closeness, their obvious love.  Don’t get her wrong, she was happy for her brother and sister-in-law and their happiness, but…well, she’d never have that, never let herself have that, and sometimes…sometimes she just felt lonely.

When David leaned in for what was obviously going to be the kind of kiss that would scar Emma for life, she decided it was definitely time to let her presence be known.  She cleared her throat, and David and Mary Margaret jumped apart, clearly startled.

“Oh, Emma!” Mary Margaret said, “we didn’t hear you come in!”

“Yeah,” Emma said dryly. “I could see that.”

Mary Margaret smiled. “Can I get you something to drink?  We’re just finishing up the veggies.  I’ll get these guys in the oven to roast, and then dinner will be in about an hour.”

Emma shook her head. “No thanks; I’m good for now.  Smells great in here.  I always love it when you invite me to dinner; whatever you cook is always amazing.”

Mary Margaret blushed slightly, shrugging. “I like doing it.  I like taking care of my husband and family.  Besides, when I’m the one to do the cooking, I can almost always guilt David into offering to do the dishes.”

“Hey!” David said with a mock scowl. “I’m standing right here!”

Emma laughed, noting how incredibly happy the two of them seemed today.  They were always happy together, but there seemed to be something…extra…today.  She wondered why.

“You two seem to be in good moods today,” Emma said, filching a carrot stick from Mary Margaret’s veggie tray. “Any special reason?”

The two of them looked at each other, their smiles growing impossibly wider. Finally, Mary Margaret reached for her husband’s hand and then turned back to Emma.  “As a matter of fact there is.  That’s why we wanted to invite you over tonight; we wanted to tell you the news.”

“We’re expecting!” David cut in. “In just under eight months, there’ll be a bouncing new baby Nolan in the world!”

“Really?” Emma asked with a smile. “It finally happened?  That’s great!  I know how long you guys have wanted a kid!”

Mary Margaret stepped forward and hugged Emma. “I know!  We’re over the moon!  Just found out a couple of weeks ago.  We’ve decided to wait until I cross the twelve-week mark to make it public to the rest of the world, but I just couldn’t wait any longer to tell you!”

Emma hugged her sister-in-law back. “I’m really happy for you both.  This is one lucky kid to have the two of you as parents.  And, of course, it goes without saying that Aunt Emma is going to spoil the little guy or girl like crazy.”

“I know!” Mary Margaret said. “I am so excited!  I can’t wait to get started on the nursery, and find all the cute little baby clothes and everything else.  I’m hoping Granny at the diner will offer to knit the baby a blanket!  Her blankets are the best.  Oh, and you know that other night?  I know you thought David and I were just trying to matchmake when we left you with Killian, but I really was sick!  Let me tell you, ‘morning sickness’ is the most misleading name ever!  It should be called ‘every part of the day I’m breathing sickness’. Definitely not my favorite part of being pregnant.  I’m hoping…Emma?  Is everything okay?”

Emma realized she’d looked away, her lips turning down in a slight frown. Mention of Killian and that dinner…well, it brought back all the stress and awkwardness of the past week’s filming, and she just…she just wanted the confusing feelings to stop.

“Yeah,” she said, forcing a falsely-bright smile on her face. “Just great!”

It was obvious she hadn’t remotely convinced her perceptive sister-in-law. Mary Margaret shot her husband a significant look, and David muttered something about wanting to see what was going on in the game, making a hasty exit.

“Now,” Mary Margaret said, as soon as it was just the two of them, “I think we both know that’s not true. Your face fell as soon as I mentioned Killian.  This is me, remember?  Your old roommate.  I know when something’s bothering you. Anything you want to talk about?”

Emma was silent for a moment, but finally sighed, dropping into a chair at the kitchen table. Maybe it would be best to get this off her chest.  Maybe if she just…talked about it, she could make this confusing mix of feelings within her go away—attraction, the kind of excitement that accompanies a new crush, fear, dread.

“I kissed him,” Emma said finally.

Mary Margaret took a deliberate sip of her tea, clearly trying to appear casual. “Um…who?” she asked.

“Killian,” Emma said. “I kissed Killian.”

“Well, yes,” Mary Margaret said slowly. “That was, after all, what the script called for.”

“No,” Emma said, fighting the panic threatening to well up. “I mean..yes, that’s when it happened, but…but it wasn’t just the script.  I…I was really kissing him, and he was really kissing me back!”

“Oh,” Mary Margaret said, “well…why?”

“I don’t know!” Emma said, getting to her feet and starting to pace. “At first, I just wanted to get it over with, and then I just…wanted to see what kissing him would be like and, I don’t know!  It’s been a while?”

“Did it…mean anything?”

The question made Emma’s heart race, the fear coming fast and hard. “No!” she insisted a bit too vehemently.  “It was just a kiss!  It couldn’t mean anything!”

Mary Margaret was silent for a moment. Finally she patted the chair beside hers.  “Emma, have a seat.” 

After a moment, Emma did as she was told. “If this is going to be another one of your patented ‘love is worth it and you have to hold on to hope’ speeches, you know you’ve already used them all on me, right?”

Mary Margaret smiled. “Well, it’s a good thing, then, that that’s not what this is.”

“Okay…so what is this?”

“Emma,” she said gently, “that kiss wasn’t nothing, and you know it.”

“What?” Emma squeaked, “of course it was! It was…”

“No Emma,” Mary Margaret said with a gentle shake of her head. “I know you!  You never would have brought it up if it was nothing.  You’re running scared; I see it in your eyes.  You’re terrified if you let down those walls, Killian will hurt you, and you know what?  I can’t promise he won’t; no one can.”

“Is this supposed to be a pep talk?” Emma asked dryly.

“Absolutely! But that’s not the pep talk part.  It’s coming up.  I know what Neal and Walsh did to you.  I know what absolute scum-of-the-earth losers they were!  I know those experiences make it hard to move on, but just think about something, alright?”

“Okay, what do you want me to think about?”

“Don’t let them keep hurting you,” Mary Margaret said gently. “Don’t let the terrible things they did to you keep festering forever.  Don’t let them rob you of the amazing happiness you could have—whether it’s with Killian or with someone else.  I can promise you from personal experience with your brother that knights in shining armor still exist.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Killian sighed as he slid into the usual booth at the Big Bad Wolf. He was the first one there; Dave and Robin must be held up in traffic.  Signaling the waiter, he ordered a shot of rum, and then turned to stare out the window.  It was a beautiful night.  Warm for autumn, the leaves just beginning to turn.

Too bad he couldn’t enjoy it as he’d like. Much as he enjoyed evenings with the lads, this weather was tailor made for a romantic stroll with one’s sweetheart.

If only his own sweetheart weren’t so blasted insistent on avoiding him like the plague.

The only time the lovely Miss Emma Swan would so much as speak to him was when they were performing and she had no choice.

Was he truly such loathsome company? Had that kiss truly been so terrible for her that she could no longer even stand to look at him?

Because for him, it had been the farthest thing from terrible. It had been all he’d imagined and so much more.  It had been life-changing—in a very literal way.  The kiss exposed something he would have never expected.  Finally, finally after years of pain and regret he could put Milah in the past.  Though there’d likely always be a place in his heart for his first love, that kiss had shown him that a new love had entered his heart.

A love that delighted and frustrated him in equal measure. How was a man to react when the object of his love wanted nothing to do with him? 

Robin and David walked in, talking and laughing, distracting Killian briefly from his brooding. “You lot appear to be enjoying yourselves,” he said glumly.

“Yeah, it’s been a good day,” David said, “you, on the other hand, my friend, look like hell.”

Killian quirked his brow. “I’ll have you know my fans waiting outside the studio this afternoon assured me I’m as devilishly handsome as ever.”

Robin snorted a laugh. “Did the masses catch you this time, mate?”

Killian grinned, shaking his head. “I’ll say one thing for your fiancée.  She’s found a hell of a security firm.  Bloody convenient when you’re in no mood to smile and give autographs.”

David shot him a suspicious look. “Seems there are a lot of bad moods going around lately.  Emma was certainly feeling none too pleased at dinner yesterday.  Anything you need to tell me ‘mate’?”

Killian rolled his eyes. David was a good man, a good friend, but from time to time he was more protective than a Rottweiler.  “If you’re not so subtly asking if I caused your sister pain, the answer is no—at least not purposely.”

“From her reaction to your scenes today,” Robin said, taking a swig of his beer that the waitress had just brought him, “I’d say you caused her anger rather than pain.”

“Picked up on that too did you?” Killian asked dryly. “What gave it away?  Was it the fact that she won’t willingly say two words to me outside of shooting or the very clear gusto with which she performed today’s scene where Anna lays into Hook and Baelfire for fighting over her and almost getting us all killed?”

“Both. Assuredly both.”

Killian sighed again. “We were getting along quite nicely until we filmed that bloody kiss!”

“What happened with the kiss?” David growled.

“It was real,” Killian said.  “That was no stage kiss, Dave.  For either one of us.  Clearly she regrets what happened between us, and I haven’t a clue how to restore our relationship.”

David’s face turned even more forbidding. “I think it’s time you and I have a little talk about your intentions toward my sister, Killian.”

Killian shot him an amused look. “That’s a bit old-fashioned even for me, mate, and I play a man who still pays with doubloons.”

“Maybe so,” David said stubbornly, “but I know your reputation. I know about all the women you’ve cavorted with in the past few years.”

“Aye,” Killian said, turning serious. “Perhaps I did like to keep company with the ladies in the past, but I assure you, I wouldn’t spend so much time pursuing a relationship with a woman I see merely as loot.”

David continued to stare daggers at him for another moment, and then he nodded. Picking up his own mug of beer, he took a long sip before speaking again.  “So you’re interested in a relationship, are you?”

Killian nodded. “That kiss…I never believed I could get over my first love, my Milah.  That is until I met Emma.”

David clapped him on the shoulder. “That’s great!  You’ll be good for her!”

“I wouldn’t be so sure, Dave,” Killian said, with a dubious shake of his head. “It takes more than one person’s interest to make a relationship.  Your sister seems to want nothing to do with me.”

To Killian’s surprise, both his mates began laughing. Uproariously.

“You think she doesn’t like you?” Robin asked, wiping at the tears in his eyes.  “Killian, even that dog the on-set shrink brings to set can see the way she looks at you.  Definitely not unaffected by your charm, that one!”

“I’ll second that,” David said. “Did you ever watch her TV show, Killian?”

Killian furrowed his brows. “Aye; what does that have to do with anything?”

“Did you happen to catch her more romantic scenes with the sheriff?” David went on. “The director on set insisted those love scenes be so passionate they got right up to the line of what they were allowed to show on network television.”

“Aye. What of it mate?”

“Just this,” David said. “I was on set with her from time to time; watched her film.  Although, let me tell you, watching your sister film scenes like that…not fun.  Not fun at all.  Do you know what happened when the director yelled ‘cut’?”

“I haven’t a clue.”

“She and Graham Humbert stepped away from each other and immediately went back to their normal talking, laughing, friendly colleague relationship. No awkwardness, no blushing.  Making out with the sheriff was just her job, and it meant nothing because all she felt for Graham was friendship.  If she’s reacting that strongly to your one on-screen kiss, that speaks volumes about the fact that she’s anything but indifferent to you.”

“Is that truly what you believe?” Killian asked, hardly daring to hope.

“How much do you know about Emma’s past?” David asked.

“She told me a bit about Neal and Walsh.”

David nodded. “Then you understand a little bit.  She’s been hurt badly, but it wasn’t only what those sons of bitches did to her.  You know, she was in the system for years before my mom adopted her.  She’s told me a few stories about her experiences in foster homes, and let me tell you.  They’re far from pretty.  Some of the things her foster parents did to her…well, I’ll just say you do not want the details.  Anyway, the point is, from birth, Emma’s learned that you can’t trust people; you can’t let yourself care for them.  They’ll only hurt you.”

“And so she doesn’t trust in the sincerity of my affection for her?” Killian asked.

“I doubt it,” David said, shaking his head. “And even if she senses you do mean it…I know Emma.  She’s wondering just how long you’ll stick around.  She’s wondering how soon it’ll be before you break her heart too.”

Killian’s own heart broke at the picture Swan’s brother painted for him. This poor lost girl, starving for love, being abandoned, betrayed, sent away again and again.  No wonder Emma was afraid to trust him.

“So what do you suggest I do, mate?”

“Stick around,” David said simply. “Show her you’re in this for the long haul.  Maybe give her a little space; show you do care about her boundaries, but make it clear as well that you’ll always be there for her when she needs you.”

For the first time all day, Killian really truly smiled. “I can do that.  It would, indeed, be my very great pleasure.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday again! Can you believe we’re already only one week from the finale?  This arc has flown by!  It’s been a busy week, but given the beautiful pain of the last episode (I spent the first half of the week in denial, insisting the episode ended right after CS passed the TL test, lol), I figured this was definitely not the week to skip the fluff!

--Not much CS interaction in this chapter, but the two of them had some good conversations with Snowing—the ultimate TL couple! I think, even if she’s scared, Emma’s starting to come around, at least a bit.

--Up next: Killian tells Emma he’s going to back off as she clearly wants.  He keeps his word…and she finds she misses him.  What will she decide to do about it…?

--Scheduling note: This week my church’s music director resigned, and my priest asked me to step into her position in the interim until they’re able to hire someone else. The result?  I’m about to get really, really busy.  I may have no choice but to cut back on non-essential things.  I’ll finish the Taking Back Neverland plot (2 more chapters of that) on the regular schedule, but after that, I may have to update Fluffy Fridays a little less frequently (maybe more like once or twice a month, rather than once a week.)

Chapter Text

Taking Back Neverland—pt. 8

CS Genre: AU (Actors who “hate” each other)

Emma took a long sip from her bottle of water, pausing to push a damp, sweaty lock of hair behind her ear before sipping again. It had been a demanding day on set.  They’d spent long hours filming action scenes—the heroes finally discovering Pan’s ultimate goal and then rushing to Skull Rock to stop him from taking Henry’s heart.

It wasn’t merely the physical demands that left her exhausted and thoroughly drained; there were the emotions as well. She figured only an actor could truly appreciate how exhausting it was to work yourself into a state of high emotion—and stay there for hours on end.

But if Emma was being thoroughly honest with herself, it wasn’t merely the exhaustion of portraying strong emotions that was tiring her, it was…how very close to home those emotions hit. In the movie, she was reacting to losing her son, to watching as he gave his heart to Pan, naively believing he was saving magic, to watching him crumple to the ground unconscious. 

Emma knew what it was like to lose her son. Granted, her boy hadn’t died—that she knew of, at least—but she’d lost him all the same.  She’d lost him before she’d ever been able to see him.  She doubted she’d ever forget the sound of those strong little cries as the nurses cleaned him up after his birth.  She’d turned her head aside, determined not to even look at him, because if she did, she knew she’d break.  Her arms that ached to hold him would take him and she’d never, never be able to let him go.

She blinked the tears back, sniffing lightly. She’d been emotional enough today—even if it was just acting—she wasn’t going to break down again.  She wasn’t!  That time, no matter how painful, was over.  She’d moved on with her life, and if she occasionally thought about her son, her little boy, wondered where he was and what he was doing, if he was happy….well, she tried to keep those times to a minimum.  She’d done what she had to to give him his best chance, and she just had to trust it had worked out for him.

“Alright there, Swan?”

Her heart stuttered and then began to race at the warm, concerned sound in Killian’s accented voice. It was a good voice; a soothing voice.  Something like…smooth hot chocolate with a hint of spice…cinnamon, maybe.

She took a deep breath, surprised (and maybe a little dismayed) at her reaction. They hadn’t filmed together today and it was the first time she’d so much as seen him since their last scene together two days ago. 

“Yeah,” she said, pasting on a smile. “Just one of those days where it’s all emotional scenes all the time.”

He nodded sympathetically. “Ah yes,” he said.  “Hard to turn off the emotion after hours of ginning it up, aye?”

“Something like that,” she answered, having the sudden desire to talk to him, to let him know how very close to home the scene had truly come, to bare to him all her heartache over that worst day of her life.

But things were weird between them now, had been ever since the kiss scene a week and a half ago. The friendship, easy camaraderie they’d had when they first started filming together was just…gone.

It was her fault; she knew it was. The first day on set after her conversation with Mary Margaret, Killian had come up to her after they wrapped for the day.

“Swan,” he said, fidgeting slightly, his thumb and fingers tapping against each other. “If you’ve a moment, I have something I’d like to speak to you about.”

He was nervous; that much was plain, and his nerves naturally put her a little on edge. Whatever he wanted to say to her was big, important, and…she just wasn’t sure she was ready for it yet; didn’t know if she’d ever be.

“I’ve got dinner plans with Ruby,” she said shortly, “so make it quick.”

He sighed, glanced at the ground for a moment, and reached up to scratch behind his ear. After a moment, he seemed to get ahold of himself, straightening, looking her firmly in the eye, and swaying toward her slightly.

“Swan,” he began again, in a voice firm with resolve, “it’s perhaps time we discuss the elephant in the room.”

Oh this wasn’t starting well. This wasn’t starting well at all.  Emma didn’t talk about elephants in the room.  She ignored them, avoided them at all costs, going so far as to run away from the room if necessary, and let the gigantic creatures trumpet their unnaturally long trunks to their hearts’ content.

But something about the way Killian was looking at her, with gentleness as well as resolve, with care for her as well as nervousness for himself, left her rooted to place.

“Emma…” he began again, “you cannot be unaware that that kiss we shot…it was not merely acting for me. You know I’ve developed feelings for you.”

Her heart started racing. “Killian…it was just a kiss!  It wasn’t…”

He stopped her with a raised hand. “I know love; please let me finish.”

She sighed, but nodded.

“I know you’re not ready, you’re still tentative because you had your heart broken, but you know what? I’m glad for it.”

She crossed her arms, narrowing her eyes at him. “You’re glad I got my heart broken?”

“Aye,” he said, stepping closer to her, “because if it’s broken, it means it still works.”

“Killian…”

He stopped her again. “I need you to know, Emma, that I’m in this for the long haul, I’d follow you to the end of the world or time, but I have no desire, none at all, to pressure you or make you uneasy.  To that end, I’m going to back off.  Just know if you ever need anything, anything at all, you’ve but to let me know.”

And then he was gone, leaving so abruptly she didn’t even have time to respond. Not that she could have formed coherent sentences after a speech like that delivered with Killian’s particular brand of intensity.

And over the last week and a little more, he’d carefully kept his promise. They barely spoke, save for what their characters said to each other on screen.  Whereas before, they’d often head to the break room together during on-set breaks, content to sit in companionable silence, now…well, she went to the break room, but he nodded politely to her and headed in the opposite direction.

She wouldn’t admit it, least of all to him, but she missed him.

“Yeah,” she said, bringing her mind back to the conversation at present. “There’s nothing about watching your onscreen son give his heart to a psychopath and then collapse over and over and over again that isn’t rough emotionally speaking.”

His eyes became even more concerned, and he reached his hand out as though to grasp her arm but pulled it back at the last moment. “Well at least that should be one of the last scenes of such negative emotion.  Tomorrow we film you and your sister retrieving the lad’s heart and then restoring him to life.”

“Yeah,” she said smiling. “Can you believe we only have a few more scenes to shoot?  Seems like these few months have flown by.”

“Indeed they have.”

“So,” she said casually, “you got plans for tonight? I thought I’d see if David and Mary Margaret and some of the rest wanted to go out for drinks later.  Well, I suppose Mary Margaret wouldn’t be up for drinks—at least not the fun kind—in her current condition, but it’s always good to have a designated driver, right?”

She was starting to babble, and her face reddened more with every ridiculous word she said. What was the big deal?  She was just asking a co-worker to hang out with her—and several others—after work.  Not like she was asking for a date or anything. 

She knew what he was going to say before he opened his mouth. The slightly pained look in his eyes gave it away.  “I’d love to join you, Swan, but I’m afraid I already have plans.”

At that moment, his lively, blonde agent walked in and walked their way. “You have plans with Tink?  Wait…are you two…?”

“No!” the lady in question said quickly.

“Perhaps,” Killian said, hand going to his belt buckle, leaning back with a ridiculous amount of swagger, tongue doing positively indecent things to the corner of his mouth. “Jealous, Swan?”

She scoffed. “You wish!”

She turned, ready to stalk off, when he stopped her with a hand to her arm. “Wait, love.  The lady is right.  There’s nothing of a personal nature going on here.  We’ve merely scheduled a business dinner to suggest potential projects once this film wraps.”

Emma felt a swift and immediate rush of relief…which, of course, annoyed the crap out of her. What the hell did she care if he was dating Tink or not?  He could date all the women within a twenty mile radius for all she cared!

“Well, have fun,” she said, turning away. “See you…whenever we film again.”

He looked like he wished to speak again, but contented himself with a mere nod before heading off with his bubbly agent.

“You know, he really likes you,” Emma heard from behind her. She turned around to find herself face to face with her “son” Henry.

“I don’t know, Henry,” she said, skeptically.

“Well I do,” Henry said earnestly.

“Sometimes things are…more complicated…than they look,” Emma hedged. “I know it’s probably hard to understand, but things can be kind of…messy…with adults.”

Henry rolled his eyes and sighed. “You know, Emma, grown-ups never think kids know things.  They always say we can’t understand!  I understand things.”

Emma smiled, in spite of herself. There was something so earnest and open about this kid.  She couldn’t help but be drawn to him.  “Guess you’re right.  Maybe we aren’t fair all the time.”

He grinned up at her, and for a moment her breath caught. That grin was so familiar.  Reminded her a bit of Neal…back before he’d revealed himself to be a total crap person.  He had that same kind of…joyful carefree spirit.

Emma had gotten to know Henry quite a bit over the last week or two. With things being so…weird between her and Killian, Emma spent more time in between takes hanging out around set, watching other scenes being filmed.  The kid was really a pretty good little actor.  She bought what he was selling.

Then they’d filmed a few scenes that Anna and Henry had together, and Emma got to know the kid even more. He was smart and idealistic.  Always saw the best in everyone.  Had more faith in…everything…than Emma had ever seen.

Regina couldn’t have possibly cast a better person for the “truest believer”.

Emma felt a quick pang as she thought about how very close they were coming to the end of filming. The thought of wrapping for good…and maybe never seeing Henry again, never getting to work this closely with him, well it didn’t set well.  They’d really become close, and she’d miss the little guy.

“I know you’ve been kind of sad lately,” Henry said, looking up at her with serious brown eyes. “And I know you and Killian haven’t been such good friends.  I just…I think he misses you as much as you miss him.”

“I don’t…” she began.

He stopped her with another groan. “Yes you do, Emma!” he said.  “I can see the way you look at him…and the way he looks at you.  All gross and mushy and stuff.  Maybe you should talk to him.  Tell him you like him…”

Emma felt the nerves kick in. She didn’t want to like him.  She didn’t want these feelings she could no longer deny to herself she felt.  Falling for someone—it was making yourself vulnerable, and she didn’t do vulnerable.

But what good was protecting your heart if you ended up miserable anyway? Yeah, maybe he’d break her heart, but, well, maybe not.  Maybe this fire between them would settle into something really, really good.  Something that had forever written all over it.  And if things went south later, at least she’d have the good memories they made together.

Maybe…and Emma couldn’t believe she was even thinking this…maybe it was time to take a leap of faith.

“Maybe you’re right, kid,” she said, ruffling his hair.

“Of course I am,” he said with that same sunny grin. “And, Emma…I think you’re really cool.  I think you should be happy, and I think Killian would make you happy.”

“Alright, Henry, you convinced me,” she finally said, the butterflies going crazy in her stomach at the decision she was making. “I’ll ask him out next time I see him.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday! (And happy two days before the finale!) Last Sunday’s episode was an emotional roller coaster, wasn’t it?  I loved the joyful CS reunion, but…Robin!  (I still refuse to believe he’s gone for good.  I might just be in denial, but it makes me happy, so yeah.  Robin’s totally coming back! *shh* Let me live in my land of ridiculous optimism!)

--So, Emma clearly misses Killian in this chapter after he backed off. But…she finally made up her mind to take the plunge and give him a chance.  Yay!

--Up next: The last chapter!  Emma follows through and asks Killian out.  Will he say yes?  (lol, duh!)  The filming wraps up with a very happy Anna/Hook scene that’s inspired by the end of the Neverland arc, and there are all kinds of interesting revelations at the subsequent cast party…

Chapter Text

Taking Back Neverland—pt. 9

CS Genre: AU (Actors who “hate” each other)

Killian settled into his favorite chair in the lounge with a long, satisfied sigh. Hard to believe they were only a few short days away from the end of filming.  He felt a distinct—and very unpleasant—pang at the thought.  He had but a few days to win Swan’s heart—or at least make significant strides towards doing so—or he might miss his chance entirely.

When they parted at the end of filming, if he hadn’t at least secured her friendship once again who was to say if he’d ever have a chance to see her again?

Killian had taken Dave’s advice. He’d bared his heart to Emma, letting her know of his interest, of his intention to be whatever she needed him to be, and then he’d backed off, given her space.  Unfortunately for him, she’d taken that space and run with it.

Now, a good several days later, they still barely spoke to one another.

Killian growled, hating the helpless feeling in his chest. He was not about to push the lass beyond what she wished to give him, but the thought of losing her forever made him almost physically ache.

Suddenly feeling restless, he got to his feet, headed toward the recreation area in the far corner of the room. Grabbing a handful of darts, he stepped back, eyed the target and took aim.

There had been something bothering Emma today. It had been clear enough as they were filming.  She seemed…tense or nervous or something of the kind.  He wished he still had the freedom to ask her what troubled her.

Perhaps it was naught but the emotional scene they’d shot this morning. Regina had insisted they begin filming at the crack of dawn, insisting they needed the brilliance of the sunrise to add the perfect backdrop to the scene where Anna and Henry bid goodbye to their family and friends for what they think is forever. 

(When Leroy had pointed out that there was no way Regina could know if the sunrise this particular morning would be anything spectacular, she’d glared at him in what Killian privately termed her “Evil Queen” look. “If I say there’ll be a brilliant sunrise, there’ll be a brilliant sunrise.  End of story.”  Perhaps even Mother Nature was hesitant to cross Regina Mills when she got into nearing-the-end-of-filming stress mode.  They’d experienced one of the most beautiful, colorful sunrises Killian had ever seen.  Privately he gloried in the way the sun’s rays highlighted the gold of Swan’s hair, but that was neither here nor there.)

The entire band of heroes (“Nevengers”, as Regina’s lad had termed them, to the amusement of all on set) had succeeded in their rescue mission and returned home to Storybrooke. All seemed well…until the demon Peter Pan was revealed to be in town as well.

The little bugger had managed to cast a terrible curse; a curse that would wipe all of their memories and effectively make them his slaves. Having found the scroll Pan used to cast the curse, they had realized it could be stopped…but it would require no little amount of sacrifice.

All but Henry would be pulled back to their homeland deep within the Enchanted Forest. Not wishing to leave her son alone in the world, Anna offered to remain with him.

Focused as he was on the ever looming separation they would soon experience in real life when filming came to an end, Killian found it depressingly easy to get into character for this one.

She’d hugged her parents, and then, dropping her head, she walked slowly toward her vehicle. This wasn’t how it would end.  This couldn’t be how it ended. If Hook was to lose Anna forever, he must have at least another moment with her.

He wished he could be frank with her, wished he could tell her how truly, how passionately, how desperately he loved her. Wished he could break down and beg her not to leave him. Wished he could take her in his arms and kiss her until neither of them could breathe.

But to leave things in such a way would be agonizing. As always in this frustrating town he’d found himself in when he’d followed her back to Storybrooke, there was no time to explore such sentiment.

Instead he merely stepped up to her and smiled fondly, his heart turning over at the sad smile she returned.

“That’s quite the vessel you captain there, Swan.”

Her lips ticked up the slightest bit more at his silly quip, but he could see the tears she barely held at bay.

This was it, the last moment he’d ever have with her. What did one say to the woman he loved at such a time?

“Not a day will go by that I don’t think of you,” he finally settled on, holding her gaze, letting every bit of his love shine through as he intently held her gaze.

She looked at him for one heartbeat. Two.  “Good,” she finally answered.

He smiled as they continued to look into each other’s eyes, memorizing each other, drinking each other in. It was somehow both the best and the worst thing she could have said to him.  It gave him hope. Hope that she returned his feelings, hope that if they were to ever meet again she would welcome his advances.

But hope when there’s no way to realize it is naught but sweet agony.

After one last hug to her parents, Anna got into her automobile and slowly drove away as a billowing cloud of magic billowed all around him.

There were tears in Emma’s eyes as Regina finally yelled “Cut!”

She laughed, swiping at her damp cheeks. “That had to be one of the saddest scenes I’ve ever filmed.”

Killian grinned. “Agreed.  Lucky for us, we know there’s quite the reunion scene coming up.”  He’d let the innuendo creep into his voice, his eyebrow quirking flirtatiously.  He’d expected her to roll her eyes, make a biting comment.

But instead, she’d blushed, the look on her face becoming both determined and nervous.

“Killian…” she started.

“Aye?”

“There’s something I wanted to talk to you about…” she went on slowly.

“Aye Swan? What would that be.”

She was silent for several beats, and then suddenly she turned away, her shoulders dropping. “Never mind.  Wasn’t important.  I’ll see you back on set at the end of break.”

And without another word, she nearly ran from him.

It was unaccountable, Killian thought as he let the dart fly, watching in satisfaction as it hit the bull’s eye.   What could be bothering the woman today?  What made her nerves nearly swallow her whole?

“Killian?”

His breath hitched at the unexpected sound of her voice. He turned slowly around, pasting a welcoming smile on his face.  “Have I lost track of time, love?  Are we to return to set already?  Have I missed my call?”

“No, no,” she said, shifting slightly from one foot to the other. “That’s not why I’m here.”

“Very well,” he answered, curiosity blossoming within. Nonchalantly, he turned back to the dartboard as she spoke her next words.

“I’m…I’m here to ask you out.”

His dart buried itself in the wall of the breakroom, a good foot away from the target. Turning slowly, he quirked his brow in question.

“To dinner…or something,” she clarified, her hands clasping and unclasping, the nerves evident on her face. Did the daft woman actually believe he would turn her down.

“I had rather believed I’d be the one asking you out.”

“Yeah, well I beat you to it,” she said, “but just so you know, Captain Hook, I don’t, um, pillage and plunder on the first date.”

A bit of swagger was most definitely in order now. He stepped closer to her, a teasing grin on his face.  “That’s because you haven’t been out with me yet.”

She rolled her eyes with a smile.

“Very well, Swan,” he said, having a fair bit of difficulty keeping the overwhelming elation from showing in his voice. Wouldn’t do to scare the lady away.  “I happily accept on one condition.  Allow me to plan the date.”

“I know how to plan a date!” she said indignantly.

“Perhaps,” he conceded, “but after all the time I’ve dreamed of this moment, I’d like to make tonight perfect.”

She looked closely at him for a moment, and he wondered if he’d come on to strong. Eventually she nodded.  “Fine.  Pick me up at 7:00.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

“Shall I order us some drinks, love?”

Emma looked across the red and white checkered table cloth at Killian and found herself strongly considering it, but finally she shook her head. “Not tonight.”

He settled back in his chair, elbow settled on the chair’s arm rest, tongue darting out to wet the corner of his lips, looking up at her through hooded eyelids. Talk about turning up the smolder to dangerous levels.  “Afraid you’ll find me even more irresistible after a few libations?”

She found herself in a strange quandary, not sure whether she wanted to laugh at his antics…or jump him then and there and be done with it. Is it suddenly getting really hot in here?

“No,” she finally said, smoothing the tablecloth before her. “I just want to stay clear headed.  We have an early call tomorrow, some important scenes to film.”

Killian smiled, and this time it was his genuine, caring smile, rather than the teasing flirtation. He reached across the table with both hands, and Emma placed her own within his.  He held her hands gently, letting his thumbs brush across the back of her fingers.

(If the sensation that produced shot from her hands straight up to her heart, no one needed to know that but her.)

“Swan, forget work for one night. I didn’t bring you here to fret about upcoming scenes; I brought you here to show you a good time.”

And a good time she was having—a far better, far more pleasant, far more comfortable time than she’d ever thought she would on a date with Killian Jones.

When she’d gotten home from work this evening, she’d headed directly to her closet, feeling a fluttering of butterflies in a way she hadn’t before a date in years.  This wasn’t a big deal; it was just a first date.  That’s it.

But it wasn’t. Somehow, whether she was ready to admit it or not, she know this wasn’t just a first date.  Her making the choice to ask him out…well, it was admitting what had been building between them for weeks.  This wasn’t just a date.  This was the start of something.

Emma had torn through her closet, trying and discarding nearly every item of clothing she owned. Finally she’d settled on a soft pink knee-length dress.  It was pretty and feminine, the off-the-shoulders straps and v-neckline enticing while remaining tasteful.

She’d completed the look with a loose, high ponytail, and then had spent far more time than she’d ever admit experimenting with make-up until she’d found just the right look.

When she’d opened her apartment door to Killian an hour later, his reaction had made all her effort worth it. He’d been speechless for a moment, merely looking at her with appreciation.  “You look stunning, Swan,” he’d said finally.

He wasn’t looking too bad himself with his tight dark jeans, deep blue button up that accented his gorgeous eyes, and black leather jacket. She’d taken a quick, deep breath when she’d seen him.  “You look…” she’d begun, not even sure what adjective she intended to use.

“I know,” he said with a cocky grin, putting her immediately at ease.

He’d swept his left hand from behind his back and presented her a single, long-stemmed red rose with a flourish. She’d taken the offering, bringing it immediately to her nose, touched and pleased at the romantic gesture.

He’d taken her to a tiny little Italian restaurant on the other side of town. He’d seated her, pulling out her chair and making sure she was settled before he’d taken his own seat.

It was all so romantic and beautiful, and Emma felt her heart turn over at the thought of how much effort and thought he’d put into this evening. He’d done this for her.  She couldn’t think of the last time someone had put her first to such a large extent, and it warmed her to her very toes.

“A good time,” she said, coming back to the present and enjoying his warm hands surrounding hers. “Yeah, I could go for that.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Killian followed Emma up the staircase to her apartment door two hours later, amazed time had flown so quickly. It had been one of the best evenings of his life, and he desperately hoped it was just the beginning of several such dates to come.

They’d shared companionable conversation as they ate their dinner. Talking and laughing about happenings on set, sharing amusing stories from their past, just generally enjoying each other’s company.

It was during desert—a sinfully rich helping of tiramisu they shared between them—that things turned serious.

“Can I ask you something?” he asked her carefully.

“You just did,” she said with a smirk, popping another bite in her mouth.

Killian smiled and then sobered, reaching over to take her hand, lacing their fingers. “Something else, then?”

He saw the wariness enter her eyes at his serious tone. He squeezed her hand in reassurance.  After a moment she nodded.

“Why?” he asked simply. “I’m nowhere near complaining, darling, but why did you decide to ask me out?”

She’d shrugged, glancing aside before turning to meet his gaze once more. “I just…I kind of missed you.  I mean, we were still working together and everything, but, you know, we never spent any time together beyond that, and I’d gotten used to our friendship and…okay, truthfully, we both know there was a…spark during that scene where Anna and Hook had their first kiss, and you’ve been nothing but a gentlemen, and, I don’t know.  I guess I might have misjudged you at first.  Thought we owed it to ourselves to see if there’s really anything here.”

His smile grew as she muddled through her explanation. There was no doubt, no doubt whatsoever in his mind that there was definitely something there between them.  For him, it was something along the lines of white picket fences and a family and forever, but for her…well, he knew he had to be patient.

But then something she said registered, and he frowned. “But love, why did you judge me so harshly?  What had I done to offend you before we’d even met?”

Emma blushed and glanced aside, picking at a napkin with her free hand. “You just…you know…had a reputation.  You were supposed to be this big playboy who took a different woman home with you every night.  I just kind of assumed you were the douchy type.  You know, the kind of guy that likes to just use women and toss them away.  Now I know you’re not like that, but…well, I kind of wish I hadn’t automatically jumped to conclusions.”

Killian’s heart dropped at her words, his mind going to the many meaningless encounters he’d had with women as he tried to numb his pain. He took a deep breath and pulled his hand back.  She looked up at him, eyes wounded, fearing no doubt that she’d offended him.

“It’s quite alright Emma,” he hastened to reassure. “Truthfully…the reputation you speak of…it’s exaggerated, but it was built on some degree of truth.”

And then he’d proceeded to bare his heart to her once more, telling her about Milah and the terrible emptiness and pain that had descended on his life after her death, about the way he’d attempted to assuage it through meaningless nights with women, through far too much rum than could ever be considered good for him. How none of it, not one bit had ever truly made a difference.

He’d seen the light of understanding, of compassion come into her eyes then, and she’d reached over and taken his hand once more. This time it was her thumb caressing his hand.  His Swan was not one for words, but that tiny gesture spoke more eloquently than an entire soliloquy could have done.  It warmed his heart and made him topple even farther into love with her.

Heavy conversation over, Killian had picked up the check, and they’d headed for the beach outside of the restaurant. Neither ready to say goodbye to the other, they’d walked hand in hand as the waves washed over their feet, talking about nothing and everything all at once.

She’d grown cold as they walked; he saw the goosebumps on her arms by the light of the full moon. Determined to give her nothing but pleasant memories of their first date, he’d shrugged out of his coat and draped it around her shoulders, and there it still sat as they reached the top of the flight of stairs and stood facing each other in front of her apartment door.

Emma smiled up at him. “Not bad,” she said, taking his hands with both of hers, linking their fingers.  “Looks like ‘Captain Hook’ really does know how to plan a date.”

“I’m offended you ever doubted me, Swan,” he said, mock pain covering his face.

She laughed, looking into his eyes…and then letting her gaze settle onto his lips. Would it be too forward to lean in and kiss her goodnight?  Would she welcome his advances, or would they frighten her away?

She settled the matter for him, standing on her tiptoes, swaying forward and letting her lips meet his.  It was a slow kiss, tender, gentle, but oh so thorough.  When he felt his need for her begin to build to nearly fever pitch, he reluctantly pulled back, feeling an intense satisfaction when she chased his mouth with her own, finally pulling back herself with a tender smile.

“Well that was…” she began.

“If you say ‘a onetime thing’, I believe I will die of disappointment, Swan.”

She laughed again, swatting playfully at his chest. “Idiot,” she answered.  “I think I can safely say that was something I’d be willing to repeat.”

His eyes lit up at her words.

Emma turned around, shrugged out of his jacket and handed it back to him. “I’d invite you in for…coffee,” she said, her cheeks going a delightful shade of pink, “but, you know, early call tomorrow and all of that.”

Killian reached up and cupped her cheek, caressing it with his thumb. “No matter Swan,” he said softly.  “I’m not interested in a torrid affair.  I should like for us to build something real together.  Something that will last.  No need to rush.  We’ve all our lives ahead of us to tend this fire blazing between us.”

Her smile widened, and she leaned forward, placing one more quick kiss against his lips before opening her apartment door. “Goodnight Killian.  See you in the morning.”

“Aye,” he answered. “Goodnight love.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Emma felt like she was floating on air as she made her way to set the next morning. Last night had been one of the best dates of her life.  It kind of surprised her how much she genuinely liked Killian.

It surprised her even more how that realization didn’t scare her at all.

The fact was, she trusted Killian.  She could afford to let herself fall; she knew he’d catch her.

“Morning, love,” he said with a broad smile the moment she stepped onto set. “Ready to film our last scene together?”

She smiled back. “Yeah,” she answered.  “Turns out I’ve been looking forward to this scene all night.”

He swaggered toward her. “Whatever for, darling?  Could it be because you eagerly anticipate sharing another kiss with a dashing pirate.”

She grinned, reaching up to pat his cheek. “Could be.”

His eyes widened at that. She laughed, rather enjoying being able to surprise him for once.

“Alright, break it up!” Leroy shouted. “Let’s get this show on the road.  Places everyone.”

Emma gave Killian one last smile, and then stepped through the door onto the set that was to function as Anna and Henry’s apartment.

Anna placed a steaming plate of food before her son, enjoying the easy simplicity of a Saturday morning spent with her kid. Life was good. Granted, for months she’d been having this feeling that something just didn’t compute. Something…she didn’t even know what…but something was missing.

“Mom, you forgot something,” Henry said, peering into his mug of hot cocoa.

Anna looked over at him and then snapped her fingers. “That’s right!  Cinnamon.”

She had just gotten to her feet, turning toward the kitchen to grab the missing spice when someone began banging on their door. She looked up, surprised.

“Someone coming over?” Henry asked.

“No,” she said. “Henry wait here.”

She approached the door cautiously, wondering who could be banging on her door at freaking 9:00 on a Saturday morning.

Nothing could have prepared her for the drop dead gorgeous man standing in her doorway. The drop dead gorgeous man who was dressed like a…pirate?

At the sight of her, the man’s entire face lit up. “Swan,” he breathed, “at last.”

He took a step forward, preparing to enter. She put up a hand, pushing him back.  “Do I know you?”

“I need your help,” he said urgently, “something’s happened, something terrible. Your family is in trouble.”

Yeah…so, drop dead gorgeous this guy might be but he was also certifiable.

“My family’s right here. Who are you?”

“An old friend,” he answered.

There was something about this man…something about the voice…that she remembered, something that was eluding her, just out of reach. A moment ago, she’d have sworn she’d never seen this guy before in her life, but now?  Now…crazy as it was, she was starting to wonder, wonder if…

“I know you can’t remember me,” he continued, glancing down at her lips, “but I can make you.”

With no more ado, the man surged forward, locking his lips with hers.

Anna’s first instinct was to shove him back, knee him in a place that would raise his voice a full octave, but something stopped her.   Something urged her on, urged her to lean into him, curling her hand around the nape of his neck.

And the moment she did there was a pulse, like a shockwave, that crashed over her. Sudden images flashed through her mind.  Henry being kidnapped.  Going to Neverland to search for him.  Her brother and sister-in-law at her side.  The battle with Peter Pan.  Saying goodbye at the town line and driving away.  And…and…

“Hook!” she breathed, stepping back to look at him.

“You remember?” he asked, smiling.

“Yeah, everything…what…what just happened.”

“Duh!” Henry said, coming up beside them and grinning. “Had to be True Love’s Kiss!”

Her heart pounded. “You…you think so kid?”

“Of course!” he said. “And you know I’m right.  I’m the truest believer after all.”

She…didn’t know how to respond to that other than to turn back to Hook, drag him to her bodily and kiss the daylights out of him until her son loudly protested their “grossness”.

“Ew!” Henry said. “Hook, don’t tell me you came all the way to New York just to kiss my mom!  That’s disgusting.”

Hook smiled. “I’d go to the ends of the earth for a chance to kiss your mum, but as it happens, that’s not the only reason I’m here.”

“Yeah?” Emma asked. “What else brought you?  Wait…did you say something about my family being in trouble?!  What happened?!!”

“Nothing the Savior can’t fix,” he said confidently. “Swan, are you and your son up for another adventure?”

“And…cut!” Regina yelled.

Emma turned toward the director and was shocked to see the broad smile on her face.

“What?” she asked, noting a similar smile on Henry’s face…and the camera man’s face…and the sound guy’s face…and on Mary Margaret and David’s faces as they watched filming from off stage. “

“You’ve been holding out on me, Miss Swan,” Regina said. “Both of you, actually.  I knew you two had chemistry, but…that…well, that had enough bang behind it to blow up an entire chemistry lab.”

“Yeah,” Mary Margaret said, “that really was amazing Emma. Not that you’re not always a good actress, but something’s changed.  What is it?”

Emma took a deep breath and looked up at Killian. He watched her cautiously, clearly waiting for her to take the lead on this conversation; unsure how much she was ready to reveal. 

And suddenly, just like that, the last vestiges of fear evaporated to be replaced with incredible joy. Reaching down, she grabbed Killian’s hand, deftly lacing their fingers.

“Well, can’t take as much credit for today as you guys are giving me,” she grinned. “It’s not exactly hard to act when the feelings behind it are one hundred percent real.”

Mary Margaret gasped. “Wait…are you saying…?  Do you mean…?”

“Yeah,” Emma nodded. “Killian and I had a date last night, and…well…I hope that was just the first of many.”

Killian swooped down and kissed her cheek. “For my part, if I get my way, we’ll have a myriad of such evenings spanning the rest of our lives.”

Henry cheered while Mary Margaret swooped in to hug her. “Just wait until Ruby finds out.  She’s going to totally flip out!”

Emma groaned, leaning her head on Killian’s shoulder. “Can’t say I’m looking forward to that ‘I told you so’, but if it means I get to be this happy, I think it’s a price I’m willing to pay.”

Notes:

--Okay, so I lied. I couldn’t get the whole thing finished in this one chapter.  There’s still an epilogue to go.  It works out well, though, right?  This story can end up with an even ten chapters.

--Obviously both scenes they shot were heavily inspired by actual canon scenes, but I wanted to change the ending of 3x11 a bit. This was, after all, the last scene of their movie, so they needed a little more closure and happy ending.  That being said, though, Regina made sure to leave the ending a bit open…and that was for a very definite reason that she’ll be letting the cast know in the epilogue.

--Up next: the real last chapter! The cast attends the premiere of their new movie—with a red carpet and everything—and then they head to The Big Bad Wolf for an after party—where a few interesting revelations will be made.

Chapter Text

Taking Back Neverland: pt. 10

CS Genre (au—actors who “hate” each other)

Six Months Later…

Killian stepped back from his closet, tossing a skeptical look at the suit hung before him. Tight fitting breeches, long, brown coat with black trim, riding boots that rose to his knees.  He’d look like a right proper eighteenth-century English gentleman.

He sighed, shaking his head. Regina Mills was nothing if not thorough.  Eccentric as hell at times, but thorough.

Worked for her, though. Her attention to detail, her outlandish methods of promotion had done quite a bit to gin up excitement for this evening’s premiere of Taking Back Neverland.  This was shaping up to be the biggest hit Killian had ever starred in.

As further promotion, Regina had decreed that the fairytale feel must continue through the night. The cast was required (required, not requested) to attend the red-carpet premiere dressed in fairytale attire.  Following the showing of the film, they would travel to a replica of a medieval castle in a neighboring town for a premiere party ball.

There had been no little grumbling among the cast and crew when they learned the plan, having nearly unanimously decided a casual night with good food, good booze and good company at The Big Bad Wolf would be more their style, but Regina had been implacable.  Robin…now her husband…had smoothed ruffled feathers by suggesting a more relaxed after party for after the premiere party be hosted by Granny.  Definitely the negotiator in the Mills-Hood family, that one!

Killian set about dressing for the evening, tossing on the blousy white shirt (leaving a fair number of buttons open), waistcoat and breaches. It was something of a minor miracle the film was already hitting the big screens.  Only six months from the last day of shooting to the premiere?  It was unheard of.  It seems, though, that Regina had pulled every string she could find to make it happen, insisting the ideal date of release was today, Valentine’s Day.

While not strictly a romance, Hook’s romance with Emma did feature prominently in the film.  And he had been assured that their on screen chemistry sparked hotter than a wildfire.

After tossing on the long coat, Killian reached into his nightstand, and pulled out the small, velvet box he’d been carrying around every day for the past month and a half. Truth be told, his real life romance with the lovely Emma Swan sparked every bit as hot and he was ready, more than ready, to take that next step.

Tonight would be the night; he was determined. Tonight he would ask the woman he loved to be his wife.  Depending on her answer, tonight would either be the best or worst night of his life.

If only he were sure Swan would say yes. Oh she loved him, he had no doubt of that, but was it true love?  True love was special; it was magical.  It was something that didn’t come around every day.  Was Emma’s love for him strong enough to overpower her remaining fears, her remaining wounds from her past painful experiences?

He most certainly hoped so. If not…

Killian’s cell phone rang, pulling him back from his nervous reflections. Peering at the screen, Killian smiled, seeing Liam’s picture grin up at him.

“Brother!” Killian said by way of greeting, “what the bloody hell are you doing ringing me at, what is it? Nearly midnight where you are?”

Liam’s deep laugh came from the other end of the line. “Cheers to you too little brother.”

Killian grinned, resisting the urge to correct his brother’s “little brother” appellation. “Brilliant to hear from you Liam, but I’m afraid I can’t chat for long; I must leave to pick up Emma for the premiere in a scant quarter of an hour.”

“Aye, so I figured,” Liam said. “I merely rang to congratulate you on your film.  I’d tell you to break a leg, but as much as a klutz as you are, I fear you’d take me literally.”

“Haha,” Killian said dryly. “Quite the comedian you are, brother.  Will you ever let me live down that unfortunate skiing incident a few years ago?”

“Of course not,” Liam quipped.   “It is a brother’s prerogative to never let his brother live anything down.”

Killian chuckled. “Thanks for calling, Liam!  I’m quite looking forward to this film, to seeing my dashing self woo and win the heart of the lovely Miss Swan.”

“Speaking of,” Liam said, and Killian could hear the teasing grin on his face, “any interesting news to share with me on that front? After Christmas, I rather expected wedding bells to be ringing by this point.”

Killian had taken Emma home with him to England over Christmas to meet Liam and his wife, Elsa. The two women had seemed to hit it off immediately, becoming the best of friends by the time their two week-long holiday had come to an end.  It was during one afternoon that the ladies were off on a shopping expedition that Killian had approached Liam and asked for their mother’s wedding ring, stating his intention to pop the question to Emma at his earliest convenience.

“Not yet, brother,” Killian said, fingering the box in his pocket. “I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to ask her to be mine.”

“Well don’t wait too long, Killian,” Liam said. “If you let this one get away, I do believe Elsa will murder you herself.”

Killian laughed. “Wouldn’t want that.”  He hesitated for a moment, then took a deep breath.  “If you must know, I have plans to pop the question tonight during the premiere party.”

“Splendid!” Liam said. “And Killian…you’ve no need to fret.  I saw the two of you together at Christmas, if you’ll recall.  Emma is head over arse in love with you.  She’ll jump at the chance to become your wife.”

“I do hope you’re right, brother,” Killian said with a shaky laugh.

“Of course I am,” Liam said smugly. “I’m always right.  Ring me later, aye?  No matter the time.  I’ve a wish to tell you I told you so the moment you’ve secured your lady’s hand…or at least the moment you’ve finished snogging each other’s faces off after the engagement.”

Killian laughed. “Should such a happy outcome occur, you will be the first to know.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Emma took Killian’s offered hand as he helped her out of the limo Regina had hired to take them to the cast party. She tripped slightly on her floor-length, red ball gown, unused to such attire, and Killian steadied her with a hand to her back.

“Alright there, love?” he asked absently.

She smiled up at him, her heart swelling at the care and tenderness he always showed toward her, no matter the circumstance.

Six months. She’d been dating him for six months.  Normally this was about the time the men in her life started getting cagey.  This was about the time they left her.  And so, Emma had come to dread the six month anniversary like the plague.  Inevitably it was the beginning of the end.

But with Killian she had no such fear. She loved him.  Truly loved him, and he took every opportunity he could to show her her feelings were more than reciprocated.  It was joy and warmth and home.  Never had she made a better decision in her life than when she decided to take a chance on him.

They walked arm in arm across a red carpet set up for the occasion, past a swarm of screaming fans with flashing cameras, right up to the magnificent great hall doors, opened by two men dressed elaborately as eighteenth century valets.

Emma felt like a princess attending her first ball, her fairytale prince at her side.

When the doors opened to reveal a room filled with her friends and cast mates dressed as knights and ladies, princesses and princesses (or in Leroy’s case, as a court jester), Emma gasped in delight.

Or…at least she tried to. She definitely wasn’t going to miss the torture device known as a corset when she had a chance to shed it later tonight!

“Ugh,” she said as they stepped forward into the ballroom. “This may be a fairytale ball, but these clothes…yeah, more the stuff of nightmares.”

He looked down at her warmly, his eyes taking in the gentle sweetheart neckline, the long, tapered sleeves, the full skirt. His eyes held no little amount of awe and wonder.  “You may not be able to move Swan, but you cut quite the figure in that dress.”

She ducked her head, smiling gently. Six months of dating and a gallant compliment like that still had the power to make her blush with pleasure.

“You’re not looking so bad yourself, your majesty,” she said.

A small string ensemble kicked off a musical selection, and Killian stopped before Emma, bowed deeply and then held out his hand. “My love, would you do me the honor of granting me your first dance?”

She grinned, taking his hand and letting him lead her out to the dance floor where several couples were already taking their places. He took her hand with one of his, and wrapped the other around her waist, expertly setting them in motion.

“You know how to do…whatever this is?” she asked.

“You don’t star in a myriad of chick flicks without having the occasional dancing scene, Swan,” he said with a grin. “And for your information, it’s called a waltz.  There’s only one rule.  Pick a partner who knows what he’s doing.”

And he did. He definitely did.  Emma reveled in the feel of his strong arms around her as they moved to the music.  It was certainly nothing new to her, after six months of his attentions, but dancing with him…it brought it home in a whole new way:  There was nowhere on earth she’d rather be than in Killian’s arms.

Eventually the music came to an end, and Emma wrapped her arms around Killian’s neck, bringing him down for a quick kiss.

He rubbed his nose against hers when it ended, smiling down at her. “What was that for, Swan? Not that I’m complaining, of course.”

She shrugged. “I’m just happy.  Do I need any more reason than that to kiss man I love?”

His face lit up like a Christmas tree at her declaration. It was only in the last month or so that she’d first felt comfortable enough to say those three little words, and he seemed to cherish them every time she said them.

“None that I can think of,” he said. “Allow me to escort you to the chairs set up along the walls.  I believe I see your brother and sister in law.  Then I’ll secure us some refreshments.”

“Sounds good to me.”

Mary Margaret sat in one of the comfortable chairs set up for their use, her hand resting on the swell of her belly. Emma’s little nephew was due to join them on the outside any day now—maybe even any minute from the looks of Mary Margaret.

“You and Killian looked like you were enjoying yourselves,” Mary Margaret said happily. “Things are really going well with you, aren’t they?”

Emma’s smile turned a bit dreamy. “Yeah.  Better than I ever could have imagined.”

“I’m glad, Emma,” David said, taking her hand and squeezing warmly. “Killian’s a good guy, a true friend.”

“That he is,” Emma agreed. “So, what’s up with you guys?  How’s the little one doing?”

“Kicking up a storm,” Mary Margaret said, caressing her belly slightly. “I think little Leo wants to join in the dancing.”

“Leo?” Emma asked.

“Yeah,” David said. “We finally settled on a name.  I was…hesitant to name our son Leopold; can you imagine how much he’d get picked on for a name like that?  But Mary Margaret insisted on honoring her father.  So we compromised and went with Leo.”

“Leo,” Emma said, reaching out and resting her hand on her sister-in-law’s bump, chuckling when the little guy inside met her hand with a good, swift kick. “I like it!  Well, I can’t wait to meet you, Leo!”

They fell silent for a moment, and then David turned toward her. “So, Emma, have you heard the news?”

“Don’t think so,” she answered. “What news is that?”

“Seems Taking Back Neverland has been getting rave reviews,” David answered.  “The studio’s asked Regina to make a sequel, and she’s already gone to work to find a screenwriter.  Word is, this could even become a franchise like Star Wars or something.  So you up for another Regina Mills film?”

“Wow!” Emma said, “of course I’m up for another Regina Mills film.  This one has been great!  Best few months of my life.”

Killian returned with a couple of glasses of punch, and the two couples chatted idly for a few moments before Killian led Emma once more to the dance floor.

After an hour of dancing with her one true love, Emma felt like she’d reached the heights of perfect happiness, but there were still a couple more surprises in store for her that night. Surprises that turned her happiness into pure ecstasy.

Finishing another rousing set of dances, Killian led Emma off the floor, both of them breathing heavily from the exertion of the dance.

“Hey, Emma!” Henry called from the refreshment table. Emma smiled, and headed toward the kid who was growing like a weed (and who Regina joked was eating her and Robin out of house and home).

“Hey kid! Hows it going?” she asked, ruffling his hair.

“Okay, I guess,” he said, taking a bite of cookie. “Food’s good.”

“Well, lad,” Killian said, stepping up beside Emma and wrapping an arm around her waist, “how are you faring during your first royal ball? Find any lovely princesses to dance with?”

Henry shot Killian a disgusted look. “Ugh, no!  Girls are gross.”

Killian turned, brushing a kiss against Emma’s temple. “I can assure you, you won’t always feel so, lad.  There’s truly no lass that intrigues you here tonight?  What about that one over there?  Violet I believe?  Morgan, the lighting guy’s daughter?  She seems pretty.”

Henry rolled his eyes elaborately. “She is kind of pretty I guess, but I don’t want to dance and look all lovesick like you and Emma do!”

Emma laughed. “So other than avoiding gross girls, what have you been up to lately?  Seems like we haven’t had much chance to talk at all since filming came to an end.”

“Well, the most interesting thing was this project we did at school a few weeks ago,” Henry said, just as Regina and Robin walked up. “We were all supposed to make our family trees, but, you know, I was adopted, so it was pretty hard.”

Emma dropped her eyes, feeling a quick pain at the thought of the little one she gave up. “Did..” she finally said “did you ever figure it out?”

“Yeah!” Henry said, nodding enthusiastically. “Mom helped me do some digging, and do you know what I found out?”

“Nope. What did you find, kid?”

“I was born in jail!” he said as though it was the coolest thing ever.

Emma gasped. “Um…where were you born?  I mean what city?”

“Phoenix,” Henry said, utterly unaware of the emotions beginning to churn through Emma.  Killian, sensing her distress, pulled her a bit closer, lending his strength.  “Couldn’t find out much about what my birth mom did to get her into jail, though.  She was still just a teenager, so they kind of hid her records or something.”

Emma shot Regina a quick look, noting an odd look in the director’s eyes. Henry’s birth mom was a teenager in jail when she gave birth?  In Phoenix?  And…then there were those times on set when he seemed so utterly familiar.  It could just be a coincidence, of course, but…?  She had to know for sure.”

“Um,” she said, her throat tight, “so just what’s your birthday, kid?”

“I was born on May 30, 2005,” Henry said.

Emma staggered back, probably would have fallen over if Killian wasn’t there to hold her up. Henry was born in jail in the same city and on the same day she herself gave birth to a little boy?  That…that was too much to be a coincidence.

“Swan?” Killian whispered to her. “What’s wrong love?  Are you ill?”

She shook her head, smiling tightly as Henry bid her goodbye and then ran off to talk to some friends. “No, I’m fine, it’s just…”

Emma turned toward Regina, who’s eyes were knowing, sympathetic. “Regina…is Henry my…?”

Regina stepped forward, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. She nodded slightly.  “I can’t know for sure, of course, without a DNA test; as Henry alluded to, his birth mother’s records are sealed as she was a minor, but yes.  The more I digging I did into Henry’s background to help him with his project, the more convinced I was that you, indeed, are his birth mother.”

Emma felt the tears well in her eyes, and abruptly she turned around, burying her face in Killian’s neck, letting them flow. His arms immediately came around her, as he held her close, rocking her slightly, whispering soundless words of comfort.  Henry was her son?  Memories from that day, that day he was born flooded back into her.  All those days and years she thought about her little boy, wondered what had become of him, wondered if he was happy.  Actually finding him, meeting him, befriending him—it was a dream she’d never let herself hope could come true.  It was beautiful and terrifying and utterly and completely overwhelming.

After some amount of time—Emma had no idea if it was mere moments, or hours—she finally pulled herself together, accepted the handkerchief Killian offered, blotted at her streaming eyes (trying desperately not to smudge her carefully applied make up) and turned toward Regina.

“I…” she began, “Regina, I know you’re his mom.  You’re the one who raised him but…but  is there any way…?  I mean, um, would you be okay if I had a part in his life too?  I…I’ve missed him every day of his life, wished things could have been different, wished I could be part of his life, wished I hadn’t been so screwed up when he was born, wished…”

Regina stopped her with a gentle, raised hand. “I know, Miss Swan…Emma,” she said, compassion evident in her voice, “and for the record, I’m incredibly grateful for the choice you made; without you I wouldn’t have my son.  And as for him being in your life, of course, you’ll be a part of his life.  I haven’t told him yet; wanted a chance to discuss it with you first.  But I will tell him the truth.  And when he finds out you’re his birth mom…do you really think that determined little boy would ever let you out of his life again?”

Emma laughed. “I hope not.”

“For the record,” Regina continued. “He’s going to be over-the-moon thrilled when he finds out.”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

An hour later, Killian led Emma toward a balcony off the main ballroom. The room had gotten warm with the press of people, and Emma had expressed a wish for some cool air.  Killian closed the large, floor-length balcony doors behind them, feeling his nerves begin to kick up.

It was now or never.

After the revelation that Henry was her son, Killian had toyed with the idea of putting off the proposal, fearing Emma had had enough moments of high emotion for one day, but stepping out on the balcony, the beauty of the garden below showing by the light of the full moon, the light breeze carrying the sweet scent of honeysuckle from the vines climbing the wall, Killian knew his perfect moment had come.

Emma stepped to the edge of the balcony, leaning against the chest-high wall, looking out at the beauty of the night. Gods she was beautiful.  He’d never before met a woman to match her.  And with each passing day, his love for her grew.

She turned to him, smiling sweetly, and he hurried to join her at the ledge. “Emma,” he said, taking her into his arms.  Slowly he lowered his head until he was able to capture her lips in a long, slow, achingly thorough kiss.

When they finally pulled apart, she reached up and cupped his cheek, letting her thumb caress the little scar below his eye. “Certainly not complaining, but what brought that on?”

“Swan, have you any idea how bloody gorgeous you are tonight?” he asked in a voice still unsteady from their kiss. “You’re always beautiful, of course, but with the blush of happiness on your cheeks tonight…love you take a man’s breath away.”

“I am happy,” she said with a tender smile.  “Probably happier than I’ve ever been.  And now I’m finally reunited with my son?  It’s a dream come true.”

“I’m delighted for you,” he said, “and the lad is truly blessed to have you for a mother.”

She looked up at him for a moment, her eyes furrowing. “Thank you, but…is there something wrong?  You seem, I don’t know, nervous or something.”

He took a deep breath and stepped out of the circle of her arms. “Truth be told, Emma, there’s something I’ve been wishing to discuss with you.”

A wary look came into her eyes. “Okay…”

“We’ve been dating for six months now, and, Swan, they’ve been the best six months of my life…”

She abruptly took a step back, stopping him with a raised hand and aching pain in her eyes. “Don’t!  Don’t go on!  I get it okay?  It’s been a good run, but now things have come to an end.  I get it.”

For a moment, Killian’s brow furrowed, realizing Emma was upset but having no idea where things had gone wrong. And then suddenly he understood, and he rushed forward to reassure her.

“Swan?” he asked. “Did you think I was breaking up with you?”

She crossed her arms as though hugging herself. “Well, aren’t you?”

He laughed, couldn’t help it. Of all the ridiculous notions!  “No!  That’s perhaps the farthest thing from my mind, Emma!  I love you to the very depth of my soul.  Every beat of my heart belongs to you.  Not a thing in the universe could induce me to leave you, my dearest love.”

He watched her eyes soften, the relief wash over her as she realized what he was telling her. Slowly, almost shyly, she smiled.  “I love you too.  A lot.”

He leaned forward and kissed her once again, couldn’t seem to help himself.

“I’m quite glad to hear that, because…” he said, his hands fidgeting. The moment of truth had arrived.  There was nothing left but to ask the question that would change both of their lives forever.

Killian reached into his pocket, withdrew the small box, knelt on one knee, and opened the box to reveal the delicate ring within.

“Emma Swan, will you do me the greatest honor of becoming my wife?”

She brought her hands to cover her mouth as tears filled her eyes. Then, suddenly, she knelt beside him without care for her lovely ball gown, threw her arms around him and kissed him like there was no tomorrow.

When she pulled back, she rested her forehead against his.   “What do you think?” she asked breathlessly.

“I think perhaps, we’ve just discovered our happy ending,” he answered.

She leaned forward and kissed him once more. “I think you’re right.”

Throughout the rest of the evening Killian doubted his feet even touched the ground. He’d no idea it was possible to be this happy, this fulfilled, this complete.  He may have had doubts about this film when Robin first proposed it, but taking the role of Captain Hook had proven to be the best decision of his life.

 

Notes:

--Well there you go! The exciting conclusion of “Taking Back Neverland”!  I’m sure this chapter’s “big reveal”—that Henry was actually the son Emma gave up ten years before—wasn’t a huge surprise to most of you.  (Btw, the birthday Henry told Emma was Jared Gilmore’s actual birthday—minus the year.  Jared was actually born in 2000, but in the interest of keeping my story’s Henry nearly 11, here in the “six months later” section, I moved that date up to almost 11 years before today.)

--And then I couldn’t resist throwing in a CS engagement—and any opportunity I can find to keep Liam alive, I eagerly take!

--Chapter 50! Can you believe this is chapter 50 of this collection?  Crazy!

--Probably no Fluffy Fridays next week. I need a little bit of a break now that this mc is at an end.   So two weeks from today…I’m not sure where I’ll go next.  Probably something relatively canon, since the last 10 weeks were au.

Chapter Text

The Good Moments

CS Genre: Canon Divergence (3x23)

A/N: This story first appeared on Tumblr as the fulfillment of a prompt by @looby130: “Could you write something with that final kiss of captain swan turning into her telling him she’s pregnant or  proposal and then possibly a bit of smut!  I’m dying for Mrs and baby swan jones fic!  Thank you!”  As I’m sure you know by now, I don’t write smut, (although you’re free to interpret their plans at the end however you want, lol), but I tried to do justice to the rest.

~cs~cs~cs~cs~cs~

The thing about Emma Swan’s life ever since she’d learned the truth about who she was and where she was from is that she rarely had a spare moment to process…anything, everything—all the villains and monsters and curses and portals to other lands, and death and loss, and separation, and pain. Or even the good stuff—the family and joy.  And love, true, aching, overwhelming, life-changing love.

Her life was one big blur, moving from one crisis right into another without a moment in between.

So it was odd during the drive back from Storybrooke to New York, to find herself with seven hours of quiet—and effective solitude.

Oh, she wasn’t alone in the yellow bug, of course. Regina, Henry and Violet were there with her.  (She’d hoped to make the trip back with Killian at her side, but her dad had insisted his best mate ride with him, coming up with some ridiculous excuse about everyone traveling back in the groups in which they’d come)

But for all the company those three were—Henry and Violet seemed completely absorbed in each other in the backseat, and Regina stared forlornly out the window, her recent loss evidently rushing back over her now that the latest crisis was averted—Emma might as well have been alone.

And alone with her thoughts, Emma had gone over everything that had happened to her, to her family, to Killian during the past few weeks.  The alternate universe storybook where she was forced to watch as her father stabbed the man she loved to death.  Taking on the darkness to save the town.  Watching Killian bleed out from Excalibur’s wound.  Turning him into a Dark One. Watching him give in to the darkness and crush Merlin’s heart.  The former Dark Ones being resurrected and almost destroying her family.  Being forced to drive Excalibur through Killian’s chest and hold him in her arms as his life bled from him.  Finding him in the Underworld only to be forced to leave him behind once again.

Feeling as low and guilty and miserable as she’d ever felt, standing in that graveyard, looking on the casket of her friend’s true love—only to hear her own name breathed by the last voice she’d ever thought she’d hear again. Running to Killian, wrapping her arms around him, kissing every inch of his face she could reach, letting the tears flow freely.  She couldn’t even begin to describe the feelings rushing through her as she held her true love in her arms once again.  It was like a dream, a beautiful, perfect dream from which she never had to wake.

But of course, given the life she led, she couldn’t even bask in the joy of Killian’s return for more than five minutes before Gold decided to start in on his next “take over the world” scheme and then Henry ran away to destroy magic.

It was a lot to process, and as the endless miles of unexciting highway passed, Emma let herself process it, feel all the emotions, experience what she’d gone through.

And when she’d come to the end of her reflection, one thing stood out above all others: Killian, the man she loved, her god-approved True Love was back and she was never, never taking a single moment with him for granted again.

Emma let the bug coast to a stop a block away from Granny’s, set the parking brake and hopped out, waiting for Gold’s Cadillac, driven by her father, to similarly come to a halt.

Emma grabbed the chain around her neck, letting her fingers run over the ring she’d worn since the moment Killian had given it to her back in Camelot. Her heart pounded, the nerves—and even fear—rising up as she thought about what she was about to do.

But she was done letting the fear rule her life. Done hiding behind walls.  The days and weeks while Killian was dead had been pure hell—far worse than anything Hades had ever thrown at any of his lost souls.  She wasn’t going to let another moment go by without making it one hundred percent clear to Killian just what he meant to her.

Killian stepped from the car and tossed her a tender smile, making her stomach swoop. He was so beautiful, so loving, so beloved.  And so, though they’d only been apart a few short hours—even less, as the two groups had met up for lunch at a small diner along the way—she stepped up to him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and hugged him as though he’d been gone for a month.

He, for his part, didn’t question it, merely held her tightly to himself, burying his nose in her hair in a gesture of love and care that secretly thrilled her.

The others wandered off toward Granny’s after having decided to grab a quick dinner together before dispersing to their respective homes. Killian reached down, lacing his fingers with Emma’s and made a move to join them, but Emma held back.

Killian shot her a quizzical look. “Swan?  What is it, love?”

She shrugged. “There’s something I wanted to say.”

His brow furrowed. “You’re not still feeling guilty about Regina, are you?”

“No.” She shook her head quickly. “That’s not it.  It’s just…I wanted to say something now when we’re not dealing with a crisis and neither of us is in danger.  When everything is just normal.

A small grin turned up the corners of his lips, and he nodded slightly, the gesture telling her she could tell him anything.

Emma took a deep breath. “I love you.”

His face lit up like a Christmas tree. Emma found that since the moment she’d fully given her heart to Killian, she could read him as plainly as he always read her.  She knew exactly what he was thinking as he took in her declaration.  He could tell how difficult it was for her to say the words, to take that leap of faith, and he was proud of her.

Bending down, he kissed her softly, gently, little more than a brush of his lips against hers. “And I love you, Swan,” he breathed, mouth still against hers.

When he pulled away, she reached up, cupped his cheek, caressed him, enjoying the pleasing feel of his stubble against her thumb. She felt the ring heavy against her heart and knew this was by far the perfect moment for what she planned to do.

“There’s one other thing I wanted to…discuss with you, Killian,” she said, hating the slight quaver in her voice as the nerves took over once more.

“Aye, love?” he asked, his hand reaching up to tangle in her hair. “And what is that?  You know full well you can tell me anything.”

“Yeah,” she answered with a smile, taking a small step back, drawing the chain with the ring up over her head. His eyes followed her movements, and she saw the confusion in his features as he peered at his own ring.

“Killian,” she began, “I love you…but then I guess I’ve already said that.”

He grinned. “Not to worry, Swan.  It’s unlikely I’ll ever tire of hearing those words fall from your delicious lips.”

She smiled again, and then swatted his shoulder. “Would you just be quiet for a minute?  I’m trying to…do something, and your interruptions are about to make me lose my nerve.”

“Wouldn’t want that, love,” he said. “Very well, I shall keep my lips sealed.’

“Thanks,” she said with another grin. She was silent for a moment as she tried to figure out the perfect words.  Killian was the one with the silver tongue, after all.  Finally she nodded and began again.  “These last few weeks—months really, have made me think, made me realize that life is short; none of us know when something terrible is going to happen to rip us all apart—especially in this crazy town.  They’ve also made me realize that losing you—well, it’s like losing half of my very self.  I may be able to survive and exist, but I doubt I could ever again live without you.”

“Swan,” he said, his hand idly caressing her arm, “of course you could. You’re the strongest, most resilient person I know.”

She smiled. “Maybe, but the fact remains that losing you showed me just how much you mean to me, and it made everything crystal clear in a way it’s never been before.  Kilian, I just want you to know…I want it, all of it.  I want the white picket fence life.  I want the house you and Henry chose for us.  I want the three of us to be a family living and loving and finding joy together.  I want us to make good memories in that big house by the sea rather than the painful ones from the time we were both Dark Ones.”

Emma grasped the ring, holding it up for his inspection. “Back in Camelot, when you gave me this, I kind of freaked out.  You were quick to assure me it wasn’t what it looked like; you weren’t proposing.  I was relieved, because I wasn’t ready for that step yet; the fear was still too strong.”

“Aye, love,” he said with a nod. “I was well aware.  I loved you then as I love you now, but I wished only to help you, give you a talisman to help you hold the darkness at bay as you went to confront Nimue.”

“And it did that, Killian,” Emma reassured. “When I felt the darkness rise up within, I held onto that ring, remembered you, your love, your kisses, and I was able to hold the darkness at bay long enough to get the spark from Merlin’s crazy girlfriend.”

“I’ve never been prouder of you than I was then, love, when you returned with that spark,” Killian said, running his hand down her arm and linking his fingers with hers. “I’d never doubted you; not for a moment, but seeing the proof of your triumph—it was glorious.”

“Yeah, well,” Emma said, her heart suddenly pounding so loudly she wondered if they could hear it all the way in Camelot, “my point in bringing the whole thing up is this: I wasn’t ready then, Killian, but I am now.  I want to become your wife.  I want us to live the rest of our lives together.  I want to fill that ridiculously big house with kids.  I want to have it all—but only with you.  Always with you.  So, I guess what I’m saying is…Killian, will you marry me?”

He was still for a beat in time, and then he swooped down, capturing her lips in a kiss for the ages, bringing his arms around her and lifting her in the air. She wrapped her own arms around his neck, letting the tears fall freely as she kissed him back with equal fervor.  The embrace went on and on, both using their kiss to speak words, emotions they could never put into words.

At long last, Killian set her gently back onto the ground and pulled away, but only far enough to rest his forehead against hers. “That’s not even at question, my love,” he said, his voice gravelly with emotion.  “Of bloody course I’ll marry you!”

“Good,” she said, leaning in for another slow, tender kiss. “So what do you say we head back to our place and see about starting in on some good memories to replace the painful ones?”

He leaned toward her again, grinning. “I say lead on, Swan.  As always, I’ll follow you anywhere.”

 

Notes:

--Okay, so I know last week I said I was taking a break from Fluffy Fridays this week, but it would appear I lied again (I’m getting into a bad habit of that, lol). I received a prompt on Tumblr and the resulting story was nice and fluffy, so voila!  New Fluffy Fridays chapter!

--Up next: I have no definite plans for next week other than the fact that I think it’s time to write a “deleted scene”.  Is there any particular missing scene from seasons 2-5 you’d like to see?  (Remember, deleted scenes are canon compliant.)

Chapter Text

A Bit of Magical First Aid

CS Genre: Deleted Scene (between 3x7 and 3x8.  I used the prompt:  after the attack in Dark Hallow, Emma checks Hook’s injuries)

Emma turned over, punched the bunched up coat she was using as a pillow and tried to get comfortable.  She stared up at the ever-present stars of Neverland, tried to count them, tried to focus on them, hoping something inane like that would soothe her to sleep.

No such luck.

The jungle was quiet; eerily so.  As it was technically the middle of the day in Neverland (although, given the fact it seemed the sun never rose on this damn island, who would have even known?), even the sounds of lost boys crying didn’t break the silence.

There was nothing, nothing to distract Emma from the thoughts that were spinning out of control within her frantic brain.  She was worried about Henry, of course, but now that they had a plan, a course of action, and a reasonable hope of success, that fear was gradually beginning to fade. 

Tinkerbell (yeah, she was never going to get used to that) had finally agreed to help them after they’d trapped Pan’s shadow, and Emma had hoped that they’d immediately head for the little demon’s camp, but Tink had had other plans.  She’d insisted that the best way, the only way to succeed was to take Pan and his minions off guard.  They had to wait for nightfall before they attacked.

“What difference does nightfall make?” Emma had asked, her arms crossed.  “Not like it’s any darker in the night than in the day.”

“Maybe not,” Tink had answered, “but there’s a difference nonetheless. Pan and the lost ones sleep during the night.  While they’re sleeping, when their guard is down, that’s the time we have the best chance of success.”

Emma hated to admit it, but it did make sense.  The group as a whole had agreed to Tink’s terms, and then David had suggested they make camp, try to get a few hours of sleep before their mission was to begin.  There was a pretty good chance they were going to need to be as well-rested and alert as possible when they struck Pan’s camp.

It was a good plan; Emma knew it was, but the thing was no matter how hard she tried, Emma couldn’t relax, couldn’t sleep.

And, okay, if she was being honest, it wasn’t just worry for Henry that was keeping her up.  So much, so very, very much had happened in the few days they’d been on Neverland, and Emma felt like her head was spinning. 

Turning her head to one side, she peered on Neal who slept peacefully some ten feet away.  Emma’s heart clenched looking at him, and she felt the guilt well up.  She still felt love for Neal despite everything, of course she did, but…well, she wasn’t a lonely, scared teenager anymore.  She wasn’t even close to the same person she’d been when she and Neal had had their couple months-long fling.  She still loved him, but she was no longer in love with him.

And even if she now knew the full story of why he’d done what he’d done so long ago, even if she could kind of understand it…the pain and betrayal had still consumed her for ten years.  That was not something a woman could just get over.  Even if she could forgive Neal, she knew instinctively that any hope of a romantic relationship between the two of them had died that day long ago when he’d let Pinocchio send her to jail.

Thoughts of one suitor naturally brought to mind thoughts of the other.  She turned her head, glancing to the edge of camp where Hook sat tense and alert, keeping watch until it was her father’s turn to take his place as lookout.  Emma took a deep breath, putting a hand to her stomach as the butterflies swooped there.

To say Hook had turned out to be…not what she was expecting…was a massive understatement.  Who would have known the villainous Captain Hook would voluntarily return to the last place he ever wanted to be just to help her find her son?  Who knew he’d end up doing everything in his power to help her?  Who knew he’d perpetuate a giant ruse simply to save her father’s life?

Who knew he’d look at her like she hung the moon and the stars in the sky?  Who knew he’d kiss her like there was no tomorrow.  (And for the record, no, she couldn’t handle it, but then from his reaction afterwards she’d swear to her dying day, neither could he.)  Emma put a hand to her lips reliving the moment.  It had been…the most intoxicating kiss she’d ever been a part of.  Much as she’d like to deny it, it wasn’t just the physical attraction.  It was the fact that she knew he’d saved her father’s life for her.  It was the knowledge that he would do anything in his power to save her son.  It was his belief in her, his trust in her, his feelings for her.  It was everything.

It had completely freaked her out.

And then his confession in the Echo Cave.  The man had basically told her he loved her.  It was just…way too much, and not enough, and perfect, and terrible, and…she didn’t even know what to think about it all.  She didn’t know what she thought about it, any of it.  All she knew was that once this whole Neverland nightmare was over, she planned to take some serious time to think about all of it, decide what she wanted.

Part of her wanted to say the same thing back to him; part of her wanted to run screaming in the opposite direction.  Fact was, Hook made her feel way, way too much, and it was terrifying.

If the kiss and Echo Cave weren’t enough, then this morning had to happen.

When I win your heart, Emma, and I will win it, it won’t be because of any trickery; it will be because you want me.”

Emma closed her eyes for a moment, savoring the words, the intensity in his eyes, the utter conviction that she was worth fighting for.  No one had ever thought she was worth fighting for.  She’d always been expendable.  Her happiness, her well-being could be sacrificed for the greater good.  But not with Hook; never with Hook.

Visions of Dark Hollow filled her mind.  The darkness, the oppressive feeling of evil, (the two idiots who were fighting over a lighter to show her who was the most macho).

The shadow taking Hook and pinning him to a tree, ripping at his shadow.  The panicked scream that had torn from her lips as terrible fear overcame her.  She didn’t know what she thought of him, what she wanted from him, but in that one blinding moment of truth she knew one thing.  She couldn’t bear to lose him.

It was that thought, that emotion, that utter conviction that had given her magic the push it needed to light the candle and save them all.

Emma didn’t even want to think about the implications of that.

She turned over again and then groaned, frustrated that she couldn’t find a single comfortable position.  Finally giving up, she got up and headed toward the edge of camp, telling herself it was just because she thought they ought to be even more careful on their lookout since it was the middle of the day.  Her destination had nothing to do with the pirate who sat on his coat on a downed log, keeping watch.

He looked up as she approached, and she noted the way his eyes lit up, his expression became tender, as he recognized her.  Without a word he scooted to the side and, with a wave of his expressive hand, invited her to sit next to him on the log.

“Anything the matter Swan?” he asked softly.

“No, nothing like that,” she answered, smiling slightly.  “Just couldn’t sleep.”

“Worried about the lad?”

She shook her head.  “No.  I mean, yeah of course, but not so much anymore.  It feels good to have a plan, to have the end of this whole nightmare in sight.”

He nodded decisively, turned to scan their surroundings, and then looked back at her.  “If it’s not the lad that troubles you, what is the problem, love?  You really should be resting and preparing for the mission.”

Emma shrugged.  “It’s not so much that something is bothering me.  It’s just…a lot on my mind, you know?  So much has happened so quickly, and I can’t take it in.  I mean…just a few hours ago we almost died in Dark Hollow.”

Hook turned aside, reaching up to scratch behind his ear.  “Aye, Swan, about that, I must apologize for my conduct as well.  It was asinine and childish to choose that moment to…quarrel with Baelfire.”

“Yeah, it was,” she agreed, but this time the anger from earlier in the day was gone, “but, I don’t know; we all got out alright, and we got the shadow and all of that.  So, I guess it all worked out.”

“Nevertheless, due to my behavior it almost didn’t.”

She turned to assure him again that all was forgiven and forgotten, but then she caught a glimpse of the back of his hand by the light of the moon.  He’d wrapped it with a rag or something, but it was clear he was starting to bleed through the makeshift bandage.

“Hook!  Your hand!” She said pointing.

Hook peered at it, then shrugged.  “Not to worry, Swan.  It’s just a scratch.  The shadow was none-too-gentle when it slammed me into the tree.  I’ve taken care of it.”

Emma reached out and took his hand, ignoring the spark that seemed to travel through her entire system at the touch.  “Yeah, this is not just a scratch.  You need medical attention, Hook.”

He leaned down, invaded her space, one eyebrow raised in mischief. Suddenly he winked, slow and deliberately.   “And are you going to…tend to me, love?”

If the low, gravelly tone of his voice went straight through her and made the heat settle deep in her belly, that was no one’s concern but hers.

“Well…um…” she began, flustered (and angry at herself for being so), “someone needs to.  Thing is, I didn’t exactly have time to pack Band-Aids and antiseptic when we headed out to Neverland.”

“Perhaps,” he said, his tone becoming even more suggestive, “I’m merely in need of your…healing touch?”

“In your dreams, buddy.”

There went the eyebrow again before he slowly, deliberately swiped his tongue across his bottom lip.  “Oh Swan, you have no idea how much you factor into my dreams.”

Emma rolled her eyes but couldn’t suppress her grin.  He was ridiculous.  “Just let me look at your damn hand, pirate.”

He nodded in a way that looked for all the world like a deep bow.  “As the lady wishes.”

Hook unwrapped the bandage to reveal a nasty gash long enough it would probably take a good ten stitches if they were anywhere near modern medical facilities.  It still bled freely, which bothered Emma more than she’d like to admit.

“I could…” she said hesitantly, “I could, you know, try my magic?  I mean, I’m only just starting to learn how to use it and everything, so it might not work and I totally understand if you don’t want me to try and everything but…”

He stopped her with a finger to her lips.  “I trust you Swan and I have utter confidence in your abilities.  Heal away, love.”

That simple, sincere statement shot straight to her heart.  He not only said he believed in her, that he had faith in her, he meant it to such a large extent that he was willing to let her use magic on him.   It honestly meant everything to her.

She couldn’t have spoken over the lump in her throat to save her life, so she merely nodded, taking his hand with one of hers, and waving the other over his wound.  She closed her eyes, let all the complicated emotions this man brought out course through her.  She felt the magic well up and overflow.  She knew she’d succeeded before she even opened her eyes.

“Bloody Hell, love!” he muttered in an awed voice, turning his now fully-healed hand this way and that, examining it, “you truly are a marvel!”

She smiled, the warmth flowing through her.  “Yeah, well, least I could do.”

After a moment of silence, Emma got to her feet.  “I guess I better head back to my bedroll and turn in.  I’ll need all the rest I can get before tonight’s fight.”

“Aye,” he said, once more giving her the “she hangs the moon and causes the sun to shine” look he’d nearly perfected by now.  “So you should.  Pleasant dreams, love.”

“Thanks.”

She started to walk away, but then abruptly turned back, put a hand on his shoulder.  “Just so you know, Hook…what you said back just before Dark Hollow?  You know, about hoping the kiss meant something?  Well, um, it did.  I just don’t know what, and…and I can’t deal with it right now.”

“Finding your lad must be your priority,” he said softly.  She could hear in the tone of his voice how much her admission had pleased him.

“Yeah.  I have to focus on Henry right now,” she agreed, “but maybe when we get home safely….I don’t know.  I don’t even know what I want, or what I’m trying to say here, but…maybe I wouldn’t be completely opposed to you trying to win my heart.”

She fled then, before he could respond, but once she’d regained her bed, she turned on her side facing him.  She saw him holding his hand out before him, looking at it, a soft smile on his face.  Just before she closed her eyes, she saw him bring the hand to his lips and tenderly kiss the place his injury had been.

Yeah, things were definitely going to get interesting once they made it back to Storybrooke.

 

Notes:

--I’m not sure why a new Neverland renaissance has been sweeping the land, but I approve; I definitely approve.  That was such a good arc for CS!  So much growing attraction!  So many developing feelings!  I am happy to add to all the Neverland goodness going around out there!

--Up next:  Once again, I’m not entirely sure where I’m going next week, but I think a canon divergence of some sort is in order.  Any requests for canon moments you would like to have seen go in a different direction?

Chapter Text

CS genre: Canon divergence (3x20)

 

They say there are moments of truth that come to every person’s life, bright flashes of light that illumine reality so brilliantly it’s impossible for even the most willfully self-deceived to lie to herself anymore.

For Emma, that moment of truth came on a lovely (if chilly) early spring day at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Storybrooke.

For weeks, she’d lied to herself, tried to tell herself that all she wanted—all she’d ever wanted—was to go back to New York with Henry where it was safe, where the freaking Wicked Witch of the West didn’t go around trying to change the past and erase people from history.  Where there was no Dark One as said Wicked Witch’s puppet.  Where evil flying monkeys didn’t try to kill people.

Okay, maybe that last one wasn’t the best example, given the whole Walsh fiasco, but the general principle applied.  She wanted to be safe and secure and happy—the way she was in her swanky New York apartment with Henry.

Granted, there’d been an element of loneliness to her life there, despite having her son and an attentive boyfriend.  There was always something…someone…several someones, really…missing.  And, yeah, maybe she had the feeling that she’d found those missing pieces the moment she drank the memory potion and saw Hook standing there, registered what he was saying about going back to help her family.

But that didn’t matter.  Hook was hot and totally into her and all of that, but she’d gotten over plenty of hot guys who’d shown interest before; she could do it again.  This was about self-preservation, preservation of her son.

Or so she told herself.

She and the stupid pirate were in the middle of yet another tired rehashing of the same argument—him urging her to stay in Storybrooke for herself, for her family, for him; her insisting she didn’t need her family or magic or him or any of it—when Zelena, herself showed up with her henchman.

“See Emma, you’ve got a decision to make,” Zelena said.  “You can keep your magic, which makes you oh so sad, or you can save the man you can’t wait to run away from.”

Emma realized what was about to happen a split second too late.  There was no time to react, no time to counter Zelena’s magic, no time to do anything but give in to the blind, clawing panic, as the Wicked Witch gave Rumple a command, and then Killian was flying through the air toward a pool of water.

She watched in horror as Hook’s head was submerged, his arms and legs flailing, trying desperately to get out, to get to the air his lungs were clearly screaming for.

“Hook!” she screamed, reaching him, pulling at him, but he might have been a two-ton stone statue for all the good her tugging did.

“Choose wisely,” Zelena said.  “Try all you like; you can’t free him.”

And with that, the witch and her minion disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

The moment Killian stopped thrashing around, stopped fighting was one of the most terrifying of Emma’s life—second only to the moment Henry had coded at the Storybrooke hospital after eating Regina’s poisoned apple turnover.

It was then, in that moment, that Emma knew she couldn’t lie to herself anymore.  Killian was not just some random hot guy.  He wasn’t just someone she could leave behind.  He wasn’t someone she could move on from.

He was the man she loved.

And he was currently drowning to death.

Emma tugged once more, and this time, thank God, his inert body didn’t resist her.  It took her only a moment to get him onto his back on the ground, to swipe his dripping bangs off of his face.

But he didn’t move, didn’t breathe.

“Hook!  Hook!  HOOK!!” she begged, taking hold of his collar and shaking him.  “Wake up!  Killian!  Killian come back to me!”

But it was useless.  He didn’t wake, didn’t return to her; for the first time in all their acquaintance it looked like he was truly leaving her.  Emma felt the fear rise up and nearly choke her.

How had she been so blind, so stupid?  Why the hell had she pushed him away all these months?  Why didn’t she pay attention to that bubbling up of hope she’d felt as soon as she’d recognized him in New York?  Why didn’t she realize it meant something that he was the one she ran to and confided all her deepest concerns to throughout this whole Wicked Witch ordeal?  Why didn’t she realize that he was the one person in all the world—in any world—who always and only put her first?  Who was more concerned about her welfare than his own survival?

Why hadn’t she realized how much she’d come to care for him, to depend on him, to love him.

It couldn’t end this way!  It just couldn’t!  She wasn’t letting yet another person she loved be ripped from her, no matter what.

It hit her suddenly as she was looking down on his still but beloved face.  How many times had she heard it said—or read it in Henry’s storybook—that True Love was the strongest force on earth; it could transcend any curse, even death itself?

But if she kissed him, she’d be playing right into Zelena’s plan.  She’d run right smack dab into Killian’s curse, and she could say goodbye to her magic—the one thing in the entire realm that had the slightest chance of defeating the wicked bitch.

Emma continued sitting there for another moment, caressing Hook’s face as it got paler and paler, as his lips began to turn blue.  She knew what she had to do.  They’d find another way to do Greeny in.  They were heroes; it’s what they did.  But if she lost the man she loved she would never recover.

“Son of a bitch,” she muttered to herself as she began to lean toward him.  Just before her lips touched his, she murmured “I love you, Killian Jones.”

And then she took the plunge.

She felt the battle as soon as her lips touched his—his curse pulling at her magic, her magic—and her love—fighting back. 

Suddenly a pulse, like electricity emanated from their joined lips and proceeded to fan out in every direction.  Emma rocked back on her heels, hoping praying, begging anyone who would listen that her Killian, her true love, her soulmate would be restored to her.

For another moment he remained still and silent.

And then suddenly he began coughing and sputtering, water spewing from his mouth as his lungs cleared.  “Swan?” he choked out.

“Yeah, it’s me,” she said, brushing at the hair in his face, caressing his cheek, leaning down to press her forehead against his.

At first he smiled back up at her, raising his ringed hand as though to caress her face as she was caressing his, and then abruptly he pulled back, horror replacing the joy on his face.  “Swan!  What did you do?  What did you do?!”

Her brows furrowed.  “I saved your ass, that’s what I did!”

“But at what expense?” he said, his voice cracking slightly. “Love, tell me you didn’t kiss me!  Tell me you didn’t sacrifice your magic!  I’m not worth it; I’m not nearly worth losing your chance to defeat the witch!”

Emma rolled her eyes, caressing him still.  “Yes to the first, no to the other two.  I did kiss you, but my magic…”

She waved her hand over him and his hair and clothes were suddenly as dry as if he’d never come close to the water.

“As you can see,” she continued, smiling broadly, “my magic is as strong as ever.  And let’s get one thing straight right now—you are worth it.  You’re no less essential to this mission than I am—and…and you’re essential to me, too you stupid, self-loathing pirate!”

It took him a minute to process everything; Emma could nearly see the wheels turning in his head, but suddenly he began patting his hair, his dry shirt and waistcoat. “Your….your magic is still intact, my love?  But how?”

Emma leaned forward and lightly kissed him.  “Isn’t it obvious?  True Love’s Kiss can break any spell.  The wicked bitch’s stupid kiss curse didn’t stand a chance.”

“Emma…love,” he said, eyes wide, “are you telling me you love me?”

Emma reached up and cupped his cheek once more.  “More than anything,” she breathed.

He put his hand to the back of her head and drew her to him.  This kiss was stronger, more passionate, more desperate than any they’d yet shared, but as it went on and on, it suddenly slowed, became tender and more achingly loving than Emma could have imagined.  By the time they pulled apart, the tears were streaming down her face.

“Killian,” she said in a shaky voice.  “I have no idea how I ever thought I could leave Storybrooke…my family…my home.  But I know one thing for sure; no matter how much I might have tried to tell myself that I’d be just fine without you, I wouldn’t have lasted a day back in New York before the pain of missing you would have driven me right back here, into your arms.”

He nuzzled her nose, rested his forehead against hers, than began nibbling a path across her jaw and down the column of her neck.  If there was such a thing as heaven, surely it would consist of nothing but an eternity of this.  “Swan,” he murmured into her skin, “you’ve no idea how very, very much I wished to hear you say that.  I love you more than life itself.’

With a gentle hand, Emma brought his lips back to hers.  She’d never been particularly eloquent, but she poured every ounce of emotion into this kiss, letting her lips tell him what her words could not.

They were both breathing heavily by the time the kiss came to an end.  Killian suddenly groaned and got to his feet, offering Emma his hand to help her do the same.

“Well, my love,” Killian said lightly, “now that the curse is vanquished, what say we go and do the same to Zelena?”

Emma smiled, taking his hand and lacing her fingers with his.  “Lead on.  As long as we’re together, fighting side by side, there isn’t a big, bad villain alive who stands a chance against us!”

 

Notes:

--I got a number of “canon divergence” suggestions from many of you, and I’ve put them on my list of future Fluffy Fridays chapters, but when I looked over my current list, this deleted scene from 3x20 really jumped out at me.

--Up next:  I think it’s time for a fluffy future fic.

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Future Fic

Killian looked over the room he and Swan had deemed most fit to serve as their nursery and shook his head, bemused.  How had it come to this?  It had been such a spacious chamber when they began preparing for the newest addition to the Swan-Jones family, but now…well now there was hardly space enough to turn around.  At this rate, tiny Eva Ruth Swan-Jones wouldn’t even fit in her own quarters when she chose to greet the world in little more than a fortnight’s time.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Emma sat heavily on the comfortable rocking chair in the bedroom she shared with Killian.  She looked out the huge bay window and let the sight of the waves crashing upon the beach soothe her as she as she absentmindedly caressed her huge, distended belly.

She was exhausted, tired to the bone, completely done in, beat, bushed, hardly able to move a muscle.  She’d been a bit annoyed when her father had flat out insisted she slow down and take maternity leave from the sheriff’s station…and when her mother-hen of a husband had very firmly backed him up…but she had to admit the guys had a point.  As much energy as little Eva Ruth was zapping from her, she’d be total crap trying to chase down a perp.

Not that there were that many of those around lately, a fact that made Emma absolutely overjoyed.  She kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but ever since they’d defeated Mr. Hyde, and put the Evil Queen back together with Regina, things had been quiet around Storybrooke.

They’d had a good eleven months of quiet moments, and she and Killian had certainly made the most of them.

Emma smiled, love blooming up inside as she thought of her husband and True Love.  Things had proceeded in a typical manner—at least for them.  She’d been on the point of suggesting Killian share her huge house with her when Leroy had come running around the corner, yelling his fool head off about “an absolute monster” and “the Evil Queen”.

And just like that, after barely five minutes of peace back in Storybrooke, with barely enough time for Emma to declare her love—without the threat of death looming over either of them—with barely enough time for them to share a kiss for the ages, their peace and tranquility had evaporated.

Again.  (Why had she expected something else?)

Emma ended up being the one to pop the question a couple of weeks later.  It was totally spur of the moment.  They were in the middle of a huge showdown with Hyde and the Evil Queen, her parents and Regina at their side, when it suddenly occurred to her that she was tired of waiting.  What was the point?  He’d died for her—multiple times—and she’d literally gone to hell for him.  They’d been officially declared True Love by the gods.  It wasn’t like there was any doubt about their feelings for each other—or about the fact that they’d be together forever.

She’d shot a bolt of magical force at the queen, and then turned to Killian, who was engaged in a fierce sword fight with Hyde.  “Hey Killian,” she’d said, “let’s get married.”

He thrust his sword once more, barely missing his opponent, and then let Charming take over for him.  “What?!”  he’d thundered.  “Swan, bloody hell, love!  You’re depriving me of a dashing proposal!  Bad form!  I’d been carefully planning the moment for weeks!”

Regina swooped in and sent a fireball at her evil half, and Emma took the moment to turn toward Killian.  “So…does that mean you accept?”

Killian shot out an exasperated breath before a radiant smile draped his lips.  “Could there ever be any doubt about that, Emma?  Of bloody course I accept your proposal! I’m merely a mite vexed you beat me to the asking.”

Emma had shrugged, grinning lazily.  “I got tired of waiting on you, babe.”

He’d swooped in then and kissed the daylights out of her while the battle raged on around them.

The battle was successful, despite Emma and Killian having little attention to spend on anyone but each other, and in due course the villains of the day were defeated.

She and Killian had decided the best way to celebrate their latest victory was to tie the knot.  And so, barely taking the time to clean up after the battle, they’d headed to city hall together with her parents and Henry, where they exchanged their vows before Regina. Killian whooped in triumph as they were pronounced man and wife.

While their family and friends had, of course, been overjoyed for them, their impromptu wedding was not without its critics.  Snow, in particular, had been disappointed she’d be deprived of the whole “big royal wedding” with all that implied—even while being thrilled her daughter was united to her True Love. 

“Don’t worry Mom,” Emma had assured, holding tightly to her brand-new husband’s arm.  “We can do the whole huge wedding thing—and I’ll definitely want all the help you can give me for that—it’s just…with all the crap that goes down in this town, if Killian and I waited until we had time for all the big formal plans, could be we’d never get married.”

Though “big fairytale wedding” was hardly Emma’s idea of a good time, she’d had every intention of letting her parents run wild with all the preparations—and parents-of-the-bride stuff—they wanted, but then came the exciting (and terrifying) news that little Eva Ruth was on the way.  As a wedding of the grand scale Snow was pushing for would, of necessity, take months to pull off, and as Emma had no intention of being as large as a beached whale in her wedding photos, the wedding had been postponed until some indeterminate time after the baby was born.

Emma smiled to herself as she remember the day she learned she was pregnant—the day she told Killian he was going to be a father.

She stood at the vanity in the bathroom of the master bedroom, looking in wide-eyed shock at the two little lines on the home pregnancy test.  She and Killian hadn’t even talked about kids yet.  Yeah, she wanted another baby or two…especially now that the dad would be in the picture and they could keep the baby and raise it together…but…but…shouldn’t that be something they planned, deliberately chose?

Vaguely she heard Killian come in the front door and call her name, and suddenly a fresh wave of panic hit her.  She wanted a baby with him, but how did he feel?  What if…what if he wasn’t happy about it?  What if he’d decided he didn’t want kids beyond Henry? 

When Emma didn’t answer her husband, he came bounding into their bedroom, babbling on about his “guys’ afternoon” with her father.  Emma didn’t hear a word, eyes still transfixed on the test in her hand.

“And then your blasted father challenged me to a game of darts.  I knew I’d emerge victorious when he…” Killian stopped abruptly when he stepped into the open bathroom and saw her face.  “Swan, love?  What’s amiss?”

She looked over at him, trying desperately to mask her shock.  He rushed to her, taking her in his arms.  (She really should have known she couldn’t keep anything from him.  Open book and all of that.)

“Please Emma,” he tried again.  “What is that small wand in your hand, and why do you look at it as though it’s a snake preparing to attack?”

Emma smiled for a moment in spite of herself, and then held up the “small wand” for his perusal.  “Look, Killian,” she said.  “Two lines.”

She looked up to see his brow furrowing, the wheels obviously turning in his head as he tried to decipher the meaning behind her odd behavior.  “Aye,” he said slowly, “I can see there are two lines on the device.  What am I supposed to glean from that?”

Emma took a deep breath, stepped out of the shelter of his arms, and looked up at him.  “It means…” she started, cleared her throat and tried again.  “It means I’m…pregnant.”

For a split second he merely looked at her, and then the widest smile she’d ever seen him sport graced his lips.  “You’re…with child?” He asked quietly, almost reverently.

She nodded.

Killian whooped,  lifted her up, and spun her around right there in the bathroom.  His obvious joy was infections, and Emma laughed, then leaned down to kiss him.  “This mean you’re happy about the news?”

He set her gently, very gently down and then cupped her cheek in his hand, leaned down and kissed her slowly, tenderly.  “Happy doesn’t even begin to touch upon it, my love.  I am overjoyed, ecstatic, giddy with delight.  I’m to be a father!  It’s…it’s something I’d long since lost hope of.  Emma, love, this is the most utterly delightful gift you could possibly give me!”

Emma laughed, caught up in his enthusiasm, then she cupped the back of his head and brought him down for another kiss.  “I’m glad you’re so happy, but it’s not just a gift I’m giving you, you know.  You had a part in bringing it about as well.”

He lifted one eyebrow and gave her the slow, seductive grin that never failed to make her toes curl.  “Oh darling, I am well aware.”

She’d laughed and lightly slapped at his chest.  “We don’t have time for the thoughts I know are running through your head right now, pirate,” she said.  “We have to be at my parents’ in fifteen minutes for family dinner.  What do you say we take the opportunity to let Mom and Dad and Henry know that in about eight months there’ll be another family member coming to these weekly meals?”

As soon as the news of the pregnancy really settled in, Emma’s shock softened into excitement and anticipation.  She’d heard of women “nesting” when they got close to the time to deliver their babies, but her period of nesting started about two days after she found out her daughter was on the way.

She and Killian had decided the room across from their master bedroom would be the perfect nursery.  No sooner was the decision made then Emma had her husband, her father, her son and Robin (who they’d managed to rescue from limbo, where he’d been banished when Hades zapped him with the Olympian crystal.  Turns out the lord of the dead had lied about the effect the crystal had on humans) carried out every piece of furniture in the room, and the whole clan got together to paint the room a pale mint green.  They’d gotten August to paint a lovely oceanscape in one corner, as Killian insisted the sight would soothe their little one.

With the painting completed, then came the necessity of furnishing the room.  Emma and Killian had commissioned Marco to custom make them a full baby bedroom suite—complete with crib, chest of drawers and changing table.  To show his affection and gratitude, Marco had made the effort to carve swans, hooks, and nautical imagery into each item. 

But Emma quickly found that furnishing the baby’s room wasn’t nearly enough.  She wanted her tiny daughter to have everything—everything she was deprived of, everything she’d been unable to give Henry.  And so three months into the pregnancy, she had begun shopping.

Killian had been amazing through it all, accompanying her to baby boutiques and maternity/newborn shops, holding bags, offering opinions when asked.  Within the first week alone, they’d acquired a car seat, an infant stroller, three sets of bedding for the crib, about fifty receiving blankets, a bassinet for their bedroom and cradle for the living room, five different varieties of baby shampoo, a dozen bottles, piles of tiny little baby clothes and enough diapers to take care of Eva for a good six months.

And as the months went on, they steadily added to their pile of baby loot.  (It was amazing really, how much value Killian’s doubloons seemed to have around here).

Now here she was, two weeks away from her due date, rocking gently, wondering what she could possibly be forgetting.  And then her eyes landed on it…the baby blanket Granny had knitted her when she was a newborn.

Suddenly her eyes flooded, and despite her attempts to stop them, the tears began to fall.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

That’s how Killian found here a couple of minutes later, sitting in the rocking chair, holding her baby blanket to her face and crying as though her heart were breaking.  Killian rushed to her, knelt before her, took her into his arms and peppered soft kisses against her hair, her cheeks, all the while murmuring soft sounds of comfort.

“What bothers you, love?” he asked gently.  “Are you in pain?  Shall I fetch Dr. Whale.”

Emma smiled weakly, shaking her head.  “No Killian, I’m fine,” she said in a wobbly voice.  “It’s nothing like that.

“Then what is it, love?” he asked, smoothing back her hair.  “What troubles you so deeply?”

Emma held up her baby blanket.  “It’s this, Killian.”

“I…I’m afraid I do not follow, love.”

She shrugged.  “When I was a child I had nothing, absolutely nothing from my parents except for this blanket.  During those nights when I thought the loneliness would kill me, I would hold this blanket, put it to my face, and it comforted me somehow.  It…it proved to me that once upon a time someone cared that I existed.  Someone took the time to knit this for me.  In those dark moments, it meant more than all the fancy toys I could have gotten.”

Killian waited, stayed silent, let his love unspool as he continued to caress her face, her shoulder.

“And you know what I thought looking at this thing today?” she continued.  “All that stuff we got for the baby, it’s just…stuff.  Just…pointless stuff!  I spent all these months trying to get our little girl everything, because I wanted her to have a perfect childhood, you know the kind we didn’t have, the kind I was too screwed up at the time to give to Henry.  But…none of this matters!  I just…I don’t know how to do this mom thing!”

Killian wrapped his arms around her once more, and held her close, rocking her gently.  “Don’t say that, my love,” he murmured.  “Don’t ever say that.  You are an exemplary mother to Henry.  Eva is lucky, truly blessed to have you.”

Emma pulled away far enough to look into Killian’s eyes.  “But…being a parent to a teenager...it’s a far different thing than being a parent to a tiny, helpless newborn.  I…I love Eva, but I’m scared Killian.  I’m scared I’ll, I don’t know, completely screw her up.”

Killian shook his head.  “I must admit, I’m afraid too,” he said.  “We’re sailing into new and untested waters, love, but I’ve no doubt that together—and with the help and advice of your parents and others who have navigated this season of life—we can do this.  I love this little one as though she’s a part of my very self, and I know you feel the same.”

“But…” she began.

He cut her off with a gentle finger to her lips.  “Now darling, it’s bad form to interrupt another when he’s speaking.  I’ve many more words of wisdom to impart.”

She harrumphed and rolled her eyes, even as a grin teased her lips.  “Wouldn’t want to interrupt an old man when he’s building up a head of steam.  Go on.”

He grinned and then sobered, fingering his love’s baby blanket.  “What is it that makes this blanket so special to you, Emma?  What made it a source of comfort?  It was that this blanket was proof that somewhere someone loved you.  You felt that love, even if those who felt it were effectively worlds away.  Correct?”

“Yeah,” Emma said with a small nod.

Killian smiled, hooking a tendril of hair behind her ear as he looked tenderly into her eyes.  “Our little Eva Ruth will not need such a trinket.  She already has so very, very many people who love her—us, her brother Henry, her grandparents, and many more.  She’ll have all the love and care she could ever wish for lavished up her.  You’re quite right; all of this…all we’ve purchased…it matters very little in the scheme of things.  Whether she has our purchased gifts or a hand-knitted blanket or nothing at all, she will be the richest baby in all the land.  She has something more precious than the rarest gem.  She has a family who’d go to the ends of the earth or time for her.”

A single tear coursed its way down Emma’s cheek, and she leaned forward and kissed him tenderly.  “Thanks,” she said when she’d finally pulled away and rested her forehead against his.  “You know.  You’re really good at this whole husband thing.  And for the record, Eva Ruth is the luckiest little girl in the world to have you for her papa.”

“She’s lucky to have both of us, Swan,” he countered.  “Now can we put those tears behind us?  We’ve a nursery filled from bow to stern with baby items.  Perhaps we’d best put our considerable intelligence to work finding places to store our tiny pirate’s loot.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  It’s been a busy week and I’m more than ready for the weekend to roll around!  Here’s some CS baby-on-the-way fluff for you.

--Up next: It’s been quite some time since I tried my hand at the Lieutenant Duckling genre.  I think I’ll go with something inspired by something from real life.  I was at a wedding last summer where a little girl (probably no more than 4 years old) was out on the dance floor all by herself, and then a little boy about her age took her hand and started dancing with her.  It was ridiculously adorable!  Of course, my first thought was “how can I use this in a CS fic?”  My conclusion was that it was perfect Lieutenant Duckling material.  (I have an idea that could be a one-shot, but also has the potential to be a much longer mc.)

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Lieutenant Duckling

The first time Princess Emma Swan met Killian Jones, she punched him in the face. 

When Queen Snow White reached her twenty-eighth year, a magnificent ball was held in her honor.  Four-year-old Emma was overjoyed when Mama and Papa had informed her she would be allowed to attend the ball—at least until bedtime.  She’d been deemed too young to attend any of the previous balls the king and queen of the Enchanted Forest had thrown, but she’d always wanted to.  Sometimes, after her nursemaid, Johanna thought she was asleep, she’d creep to the balcony and looked down at all the beautiful ladies and dashing gentlemen as they twirled to the music of the string orchestra her papa always hired for their balls.

Now that she was four, Mama and Papa had finally realized that Emma wasn’t a baby anymore, and she was old enough to go to the ball.  She couldn’t wait.

The night before the ball, Emma was so excited she couldn’t sleep.  After checking carefully to make sure Johanna was nowhere around, she crept out of her bed and decided to go exploring the castle, but as she was passing by Mama and Papa’s bedroom, she heard them talking—and her name was mentioned.  Curious now, Emma drew back into the shadows and unabashedly listened.

“Can you believe it, Charming?” Mama said excitedly.  “Bridget is finally coming back for a visit!”

“It’s been what?  Six years since we last saw her?”  Papa answered.

“Exactly,” Mama said.  “She and her husband Brennan—and little Liam came to our wedding.  Have you heard that she has another little boy?  Killian, apparently.  He’s a year older than Emma.”

Emma had never met Bridget, but she knew the story.  Bridget had been one of Mama’s favorite ladies’ maids back when she was a little girl, but not long after Grandma Eva had died, Bridget had met a sailor—Brennan Jones—and they’d fallen in love.  After they got married, they decided to sail the seas together.

“Is that right?” Papa asked somewhat absently.

Emma heard her mama’s skirt rustling, and she knew she was moving closer toward Papa.  “Wouldn’t it be lovely if Emma and Killian were to…hit it off?” she asked in a soft voice.  “Maybe one day they’ll agree to a betrothal!”

“Now Snow,” Papa said, “you know we agreed to allow Emma her own choices in the matter.  We endured a fair amount of difficulty to ensure our True Love would win out in the end.  Can we truly even think about doing any differently for our little girl?”

“I didn’t mean to force them into a betrothal, Charming,” Mama said.  “I merely thought…well, if we were to, say, provide the conditions for them to meet every so often…maybe they’d eventually come to the conclusion that a betrothal is exactly what they want.  It would give us a chance to finally do something for Bridget and Brennan without bruising his pride.  I know finances are tight and it’s difficult for them, but if their son was to become the crown prince, they would have all they could possibly need or want.”

Suddenly Papa moved toward the door, and Emma turned quickly, hoping to get away before she was discovered, but in her haste, her leg bumped the table in the passageway, and Emma watched in horror as the vase Grandma Regina gave Mama went crashing to the floor and broke into a million pieces.

Emma stood rooted to the floor, her mouth open in shock, and so she appeared when Papa rushed out of his bedroom to see what the commotion was.  When he took in the site of his tiny girl next to the broken vase, he let out a long, relieved breath that it had been nothing more sinister causing the ruckus.

“What are you doing out of bed, my Swan Princess?” He asked, crouching down so he was on Emma’s eye level.  (Papa had been calling her his swan princess for as long as Emma could remember, insisting she was as lovely and precious as a swan.)

“I’m sorry Papa!”  Emma said, throwing herself into her father’s arms.  “I didn’t mean to break Gramma ‘Gina’s vase!  I was just excited about the ball tomorrow.  I couldn’t sleep.”

“It’s alright sweetheart,” Mama said, crouching beside Papa and patting Emma’s back.  “The truth is, I never really liked that vase anyway.  I know it’s hard to sleep when you’re excited, but you’re a growing girl and you need your rest.  How about your father and I tell you the story of how we met and fell in love until you fall asleep?”

It was Emma’s favorite story, and she never tired of hearing it.  Pulling back, she nodded enthusiastically.  “Okay, Mama.”

~c~c~c~c~c~c~c~c~c~c~c~

Emma’s eyes widened as she and her parents made their grand entrance at the ball, announced, of course, by their majordomo, Grumpy.  As beautiful and glittering and magical as balls looked from the perspective of the balcony, they were infinitely better from the ball room itself.

Everyone seemed exceedingly happy on this night to honor her mother…and everyone who came to greet the king and queen stopped to oo and aww over what a perfect little lady the princess was in her pink dress and sparkly tiara.

But Emma’s patience with sitting still and quietly only lasted so long.  She loved to run and play, to ride her pony, Buttercup and feel the breeze in her face, to follow the servants around and pester them with questions, to be young and free.

“Alright Swan Princess,” Papa said when he saw her start to fidget, “you may go join in the dancing.”

“Just don’t get into any mischief,” her mother added.  “And don’t get in the way of the other lords and ladies here to dance.”

“Yes, Mama,” Emma said with a huff, already heading for the dancefloor as the string orchestra struck up a lively tune.

Emma danced three quick dances, before the musicians slowed things down and the dancers around her began to seek out partners.  Emma didn’t have a partner of her own, of course, but it was no matter.  Boys were gross anyway.  Who wanted to dance with them?

Emma put one arm in the air, as though placing it on a partner’s shoulder, and she hooked the other as though holding her partner around the waist.  And as the music swelled, she and her imaginary partner danced in perfect contentment.

She noticed as various couples swirled around her, chuckling down at her or making comments about how cute she was, but it was no matter to her.  Let the grown up ladies dance with boys.  She just wanted to dance by herself.

“Excuse me,” a young voice said as Emma felt a tap on her shoulder, “could I cut in?”

Emma turned around to find herself face to face with a little boy near her age.  He had black hair and bright blue eyes, and he seemed polite enough.

It would be rude to turn him away, Emma supposed, so she reluctantly allowed the real boy to take the place of her imaginary one.  They danced silently for a moment or two (and the “Aww!”s and “Isn’t that just adorable”s, if anything picked up in intensity around them, although Emma couldn’t for the life of her understand why.)

Maybe if they’d remained silent, disaster wouldn’t have struck.

“You’re the princess, Princess Emma, right?’ the boy asked.

“Yes, but my papa calls me Swan Princess,” Emma said with a nod.  “Who are you?”

“My name’s Killian,” the boy answered.  “My mama and your mama were great friends before she met my papa.”

“Oh, you’re Killian!” Emma said, as they continued to dance.  “I heard my mama and papa talking about you last night!  They said they hope you and me get ‘trothed, whatever that is.”

Killian rolled his eyes.  “Don’t you know anything?  It’s not ‘trothed’!  It’s ‘betrothed’.  It means you promise to get married.”

Emma tossed him a skeptical look.  “Are you sure?  Why would mama and papa talk about that?”

“Course I’m sure!” Killian said, “And of course your mama and papa were talking about it!  That’s what mamas and papas talk about when they’re royalty. But don’t feel bad you didn’t know; when you get as old as me, you’ll know things too.”

“You’re not much older than me!” Emma said in outrage.

“I turned five last year, that makes a whole hand,” Killian said holding up one small hand with its five digits to make his point.

“Well I’m four!” Emma said.  “That’s almost a hand!  And I don’t want to be ‘trothed to you!  You’re just a…just a smelly boy!”

“Am not!” Killian said in outrage.  “I’m not smelly!  I just took a bath!  But you’re a…you’re a girl and you have cooties.  And guess what?  Four isn’t almost five!  Four-year-olds are just babies!”

In the world of young children there is no greater insult.  It was the five-year-old version of declaring open warfare.

And Emma was never one to back away from a fight.  She stepped out of his arms, pulled her fist back, and walloped him as hard as she could.

“There!” she said, “that’ll teach you to call big girls babies!”

Out of the corner of her eye, Emma could already see her mother heading in her direction—stern look in place—and she knew she was about to get into trouble, but thinking back to the shock on Killian’s face as she decked him, she decided that all in all, it was worth it.

 

Notes:

--So it seems I’m incapable of writing AUs (either modern AUs or LD ones) without them turning into MCs.  This one won’t be terribly long.  Right now, I’m planning on about five chapters, but Emma and Killan as babies (excuse me, BIG boys and girls) just took up way too much space.  In the coming chapters they will grow up—and dare I say, their opinions of each other will—eventually—improve.

--While the story is called “The Swan Princess”, it’s not really based on the animated movie (or ballet).  I suppose you could say it has some major parallels to the first part of the animated movie, but that’s about it.

--The dance was based on 2 real-life events.  The first I mentioned in the last chapter—the little girl I saw dancing by herself at a wedding last year and the little boy who came to dance with her.  The second happened long ago.  When I was 5 years old, I was the flower girl for my aunt and uncle’s wedding, and I remember dancing by myself at their reception.  Like Emma I was perfectly content to dance with my imaginary Prince Charming, but one of the adults—I think it was my new uncle’s brother, took pity on me and asked me to dance.  All in all, I would have preferred continuing my dance with my imaginary partner, but I didn’t want to be rude, so I danced with him.  (Luckily he didn’t call me a baby, so I didn’t feel compelled to punch him in the face, lol.)

--Up next:  The story continues.  Emma and Killian continue to not get along, but when a series of tragedies strike in Killian’s life, Emma’s compassionate side starts to come out.

Chapter Text

The Swan Princess, pt. 2

CS Genre: Lieutenant Duckling

Emma was in trouble for a good week and a half after the incident at the ball.  Mama had marched directly up to her, pulled her aside, and told her she needed to go directly to bed.  They would talk in the morning.  Emma’s stomach dropped at the prospect.  She knew when her mother got that look in her eye, she was in for it.

Stupid Killian!  This was all his fault!  She vowed then and there that she wasn’t ever going to get ‘trothed to him; she didn’t care what Mama and Papa said!  Emma went to bed fuming over the disaster her first ball had been.  Not only had she been called a baby, now she was about to get in trouble too!

Stupid Killian!

The next morning, Mama and Papa called her into their sitting room, and Mama demanded she explain herself.  Mama had remained stern as Emma explained exactly why punching Killian Jones in the face was the proper response to the insult he’d leveled at her.  Papa, however…well, she suspected all those sudden coughing spells he had during the conversation were really disguised laughter.

How she loved Papa!  He always understood.  He told her they were two of a kind; papa and his little Swan Princess.

She loved Mama too, of course, but…well, she certainly didn’t enjoy it as Mama went on and on about how violence wasn’t the answer, how that wasn’t the way a young lady was to act, how that wasn’t princess-ly conduct.

“But Mama!” Emma had protested. “You hit Papa with a rock the first time you met him!  You told me the story a million times!”

Papa’s coughing fit after that lasted for a good two minutes…until Mama glared at him and he quickly got ahold of himself.

“Never mind that, young lady,” Mama had said.  “No more punching guests to our castle.  Understood?”

“Yes, Mama.”

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

Emma had hoped her thoughts about Killian Jones were quite clear to Mama and Papa after the punching incident, but unfortunately her mother wasn’t deterred.

It was a beautiful summer afternoon the next year, and Emma and her parents had decided to spend the day in the woods.  (Mama had spent a good amount of time there before…back when Grandma ‘Gina was so mad at her and Mama had to hide.  Mama liked being the queen, but sometimes she liked to spend time in the woods where she could be free.)

Not long after their picnic lunch, Aunt Ruby had come to join them.  Ruby wasn’t really her aunt, but she was Mama’s dearest friend and they saw her all the time.  Emma liked Aunt Ruby.  She was always lots of fun…and she could even turn into a wolf when it was the full moon!  Sometimes Aunt Ruby would give Emma rides on her back under the moonlight.  Emma loved the feel of the wind in her hair and the soft gray fur on Aunt Ruby’s back, as she ran under the pale moon’s glow.

Sometimes Aunt Ruby would tell her stories about what it was like to be a wolf.  Emma loved those!

But on this particular afternoon, Aunt Ruby and Mama definitely were not talking about the wolf.

“Killian should arrive sometime late tomorrow night,” Mama said.  “He will be with us for a week.  It’ll give him and Emma a chance to start getting to know each other.”

Emma had been galloping her toy unicorn over the road that was her Papa’s back, but she suddenly froze.  “Mama, no!  Not Killian.”

Mama wore that stern look she sometimes got when Emma knew she would get nowhere by arguing with her.  “Now Emma, none of that!  Killian will be our guest, and I expect you to treat his as such.  Promise me, Emma that there will be no punching this time.”

Emma pouted, her little lip going out, but finally she dropped her eyes.  “Okay, Mama,” she said.  “I promise.”

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

Emma kept her promise; she didn’t punch Killian, but from time to time it was a close thing.

Killian Jones was just so annoying!

Mama insisted Emma spend the afternoons with Killian after her lessons with her tutor, Belle, were finished for the morning.  Normally Emma loved the afternoons.  She had lessons all morning long, and by the time lunch arrived, Emma always felt like she was ready to jump out of her skin.  She wanted to run and play…not sit inside learning her letters.  (Belle had assured her that once she learned how to read, a whole world of adventure would open up to her, but Emma was more than a little skeptical.)

But with Killian at the castle for a whole week, she couldn’t even look forward to her afternoon free time, because she had to spend it with him.

All Killian ever wanted to do was read his books about ships and the sea.  If he wasn’t reading, he wanted to be at the docks, looking out at her father’s ships.  He talked on and on and on about his Papa and what a great sailor he was.  He talked about how his father promised that one day he’d take him and his brother Liam with him on a sail.  They might even bring their Mama too.

Emma just didn’t see what the big deal was about the water.  She liked to wade into it in the summer when it was hot outside, but why would anyone want to spend months on a stupid ship?

When Emma had voiced her thoughts to Killian, though, he’d gotten angry at first—and then adopted that smug, superior look he sometimes wore, the one that drove Emma crazy.

“It’s okay Emma,” he’d said, nodding sagely with all his 6-year-old wisdom.  “Not everyone can have good taste.  It’s not your fault that you don’t know what’s fun and what’s not.  Maybe when you’re older you’ll figure it out.”

(She’d had to put her hand behind her back to keep from slugging him that time, her fist literally itching to connect with his face.)

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

Four Years Later

Emma knew something bad had happened almost right away.

Mama had spent the last few weeks talking up Killian’s yearly summer visit, trying to convince Emma that one day things would change; one day they’d have more in common; once day they’d become friends…and maybe even more.

Emma seriously doubted it.  If she’d managed to make it to the ripe old age of nine-years-old, and she still hated him, she was sure there was no hope that her feelings would ever change.

But then, suddenly, something changed.  Emma didn’t really understand it, but one morning, about a week before Killian was due to come for his yearly visit, Emma had been passing by her parents’ bedroom and heard them speaking in hushed tones.

Her curiosity had immediately been piqued, and she pressed closer to the door, struggling to hear.

“After Bridget…after she…after everything that happened,” Mama began, sounding as though she were crying.  “He just left them?  There on the ship with no one but the crew of sailors?”

“Worse than that!” Papa had said through gritted teeth.  “He sold them to the captain; made them into slaves, essentially!”

And then Papa had let loose a string of expletives the likes of which Emma had only heard among his more boisterous knights when they didn’t know she’d crept down to the lists to watch them train.  Emma had never, ever heard her father this angry.

It was unsettling to say the least.

That night her father had set out on a journey.  Neither Mama nor Papa would say anything about it, and Papa was (uncharacteristically) very distracted as he bid her farewell.  Normally Emma might try to ferret answers out of her parents—or at least their closest man and maid servants—but the strange feeling of…dread…that had descended on their castle left Emma deciding it would probably be in her best interest to stay out of this one.

Things were tense at the castle for the following week.  Finally, on the eighth day after her Papa left on his journey, a dove came to the sitting room, where Mama attempted to read, and Emma was (unhappily) doing her lessons with Belle.  Mama read the letter the dove brought her, and finally, finally smiled again.

Emma hadn’t realized how much she’d missed her mother’s smile until it returned that morning.  It was like the sun finally burst forth after days and days of gray, cloudy skies.

That evening after suppertime, Mama had pulled her aside, taking her out to the stables to visit the horses.

“Emma,” Mama said hesitantly.  “There’s something I need to talk to you about.”

“I didn’t do it!” Emma said quickly, holding her hands up in surrender. 

Mama chuckled.  “Didn’t do what, honey?”

Emma shrugged.  “I don’t know, Mama,” she said, “but usually when you get serious it means I’m in trouble, and I haven’t done anything bad in days.  Honest!”

Mama wrapped her arms around Emma, chuckled again, and then kissed the top of her head.  “I know baby.  You’ve been a very good girl.  That’s not what I needed to talk to you about.”

“What, then?”

Mama sat on the stable bench and patted the seat beside her.  “Something happened a couple of weeks ago, Emma,” Mama said, and her voice sounded sad, as though she were about to cry.  “Something really sad.”

“What happened, Mama?”

“Killian’s mama…” Mama began.  She cleared her throat and then started again.  “Killian’s mama got sick.  Very, very sick.  The healers tried to make her better, but…well, in the end she passed away.”

Emma gasped, feeling instantly sorry for Killian.  She didn’t know what she would do if she ever lost her mama.

“Killian’s papa was very, very sad,” Mama continued, “and he did some bad things…some things that made the soldiers want to take him to prison.  He decided to run away, and he took Liam and Killian with him on his ship.”

“So…” Emma began hesitantly, “does that mean Killian’s going to be on a ship this summer and not come for his visit?”

Emma thought she’d be happy at the prospect of a summer without the annoying boy coming for a visit, but somehow all she felt was sadness for him.

“Not…exactly,” Mama said.  She frowned fiercely for a moment, and then deliberately smoothed out her features.  “The soldiers who wanted Killian’s papa found him, and he…he ran away again.  He left Liam and Killian behind and he promised the ship’s captain the boys would work for him; that they would belong to him.”

“That’s not fair!” Emma said, suddenly angry on behalf of the boy she normally couldn’t stand.

“No, honey it’s not,” Mama said.  “When your father found out about it he was very, very angry, and so was I.  Your papa decided to find the ship and save Liam and Killian from the bad captain.”

“And did he find them?”

Mama nodded, smiling once again like she had in the morning.  “He did.  He found them, and he’s made sure nothing bad can happen to them again.”

“Good,” Emma said with a decisive nod.

Mama was silent for a moment, looking intensely at Emma.  “There’s one more thing, Emma.”

“What?”

“I know you and Killian don’t always get along, but…well, Liam and Killian have nowhere to go now.  They’ve lost both their mama and their papa.  Your father and I have decided that they will be our wards until they become grownups.”

“Wards?” Emma asked, her brow furrowing.  “What does that mean, Mama?”

“It means, Emma that we will be taking care of them,” Mama said firmly.  “Liam is fifteen now, and your father and I have decided to allow him to become a cabin boy in our royal navy, but Killian is only ten.  He’s too young to work on a ship.”

Mama took a deep breath as though steeling herself.  “Emma, Killian will be living with us here at the castle until he’s old enough to join his brother in the navy.”

Emma groaned.  “Killian will be here all the time?  Mama, that will be terrible!”

“Now Emma,” Mama said firmly, “let’s have none of that.  Killian is probably very sad right now and he needs people to make him feel better.  I need you to be nice to Killian.  I need you to help him get over his sadness.  Can you do that for me?”

Emma frowned for another moment, hardly ready to resign herself to the fact that she’d be with her nemesis day in and day out, not just for a week in the summer.  But Emma ultimately knew her mama was right.  Killian would need a friend now—much more than he needed someone to bicker and fight with him.

“Okay Mama,” she said.  “I can do that.”

“That’s my kind little Swan Princess,” Mama crooned, giving her a quick hug and a kiss on the forehead.  “Now that that’s settled, how about we take Buttercup out for a quick ride before the sun goes down?”

 

Notes:

--So that got kind of sad there at the end!  Sorry about that!  (Will you forgive me if I promise that’s the worst angst we’ll get in this story?)

--Up next:  Killian comes to live at the castle, and he and Emma find that they actually can be friends if they make up their minds to.  Everything goes well until they are 14 and 13 respectively and Killian’s about to join the navy as a cabin boy.  His feelings are clearly starting to become more tender toward Emma, and she doesn’t know how to deal with it, still perfectly content to have Killian as nothing more than her friend.  How will Killian navigate the waters of the first stirrings of puppy love?  Luckily Emma has her best friend Princess Elsa to confide in.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

Ten-year-old Killian sat on the edge of the bed in his brand new bedchamber, his head bowed and his hands clasped loosely between his knees. This room at King David and Queen Snow’s castle was familiar to him; he’d stayed here during each of his previous visits to the castle.

But he wasn’t a visitor anymore; this was now his home.

This bedchamber was grand—with a soft, comfortable bed, a wardrobe full of clothing, a magnificent mahogany bookcase filled with all the books he could desire—books on ships and sailing, books on knighthood, biographies of the greatest heroes of the Enchanted Forest, thrilling tales of heroics and adventure. Killian had every creature comfort he could possibly wish.

And yet, Killian wished with all his might that he could go back to his old, simple life. It wasn’t that he wasn’t grateful for the King and Queen and all they had done for him; he was.  He very definitely was.  He’d never in his life felt such relief and gratitude as when he saw King David arrive on Captain Silver’s ship and demand the cruel man release the Jones boys from slavery.

It was just…over the past month, it felt like Killian’s whole life had crumbled down upon him. First Mama died…and then Papa left…and then he and Liam were trapped on that horrid ship…and then just yesterday he’d lost Liam too.  Liam wasn’t gone for good, of course.  He’d just become a sailor in King David’s navy, but he’d be gone for long months at a time, so he was as good as gone from Killian’s life—at least until Killian was old enough to join him.

In one month, Killian had left his entire family. He felt the tears prick behind his eyes again, but he took a deep breath and then let it out, determined not to cry again.  He’d cried enough in the last month to fill up a lifetime.

Suddenly there was a tentative tap at his bedroom door.

“Come in,” Killian called in a dull voice, and then he felt his ire rise when he saw who was on the other side of the heavy wooden door.

“Killian?” Emma asked in an uncharacteristically tentative voice. “Can…can I come in?”

Killian frowned. “Princess,” he said, “I…I’m not in the mood to argue with you today.”

“Good,” Emma said, breezing into his room and plopping down beside him on his bed, “because I didn’t come to argue.”

“Emma, that’s all we ever do,” Killian pointed out.

“Uh-uh!” Emma protested. “There was that one time I punched you in the face!”

Killian rolled his eyes. “See?  We’re already arguing.”

Emma frowned for a moment, then took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “Okay, maybe we are, but I really didn’t come here to argue with you, Killian.”

“Why did you come, then.”

“It’s just,” she began, picking at a loose thread on the duvet on his bed, “I know you’re sad and a lot of bad things have happened, and…well, I thought, maybe you could use a friend.”

Well that was unexpected!  Killian shot the little girl beside him an incredulous look.  “You want to be friends with me?  Why?  You hate me.”

“I don’t hate you, Killian,” Emma insisted, “and before you even say it, I’m not trying to argue again!  But I don’t hate you.  You’re just…annoying sometimes, but I guess maybe sometimes I am too.”

“You’ve got that right, lass.”

She glared at him, and Killian found himself wanting to smile for the first time in this whole disastrous month.

“I’m going to pretend like you didn’t say that.”

“Why?” he taunted playfully. “I was just agreeing with you, Emma. Isn’t that what people are supposed to do when they’re not arguing with each other?”

She gave him one more quick glare that had his lips twitching to smile again, and then she gave it up and smiled back at him. “I guess so, but you don’t have to be so enthusiastic about it.”

Killian laughed.

“Very well,” Killian said with a nod after he’d calmed once again, “so you would like to be friends. Why, princess?  Are you just…pitying me?”

Emma shook her head. “No, that’s not it.  It’s just, well, now that you are living here all the time and not just for a week in the summer, I thought maybe we should try to get along.  Better to be friends if we have to be around each other every day, than to be enemies.”

“Good idea,” he said. “So what is it that friends do?

“Well, I know how much you like the water and sailing and everything,” Emma said. “How about we go down to the docks and look at Papa’s ships?  It’s terribly hot today; maybe we could even go to the beach and wade in the surf.”

Killian gave her a skeptical look. “Are you quite sure your papa would allow his precious Swan Princess to go all the way to the docks without adult supervision?  I remember a couple of times last summer you got in trouble for wandering off on your own.”

Emma let out a huff of air that ruffled the hair on her forehead. “Papa worries way too much!  I’m a big girl now; nine-years-old, and he and Mama have been teaching me how to defend myself.  Still…you’re probably right.  Mama said I could invite Princess Elsa to come for a visit if I’m good, so it would probably be better if I don’t get in trouble right now.”

Killian smiled. “Well…it was nice of you to suggest it anyway,” Killian said tentatively.  “I think it would have been fun to go down to the docks and the beach.”

“Well then let’s do it!” Emma insisted.  “I don’t really understand why you love the water so much, but maybe you can show me?  Besides, we won’t go alone.  I’m sure I can get Graham to agree to go with us.”

“Who’s Graham?”

“He’s one of my mother’s most loyal guards,” Emma answered. “A long time ago, when Grandma Regina was trying to get revenge on Mama, she ordered Graham to kill Mama, but he wouldn’t do it.  When Grandma Regina found out about it, she got really mad and took away his heart so she could control him.  But then, when Mama offered Grandma Regina another chance and she took it, she gave Graham back his heart.  Graham’s been one of Mama’s personal body guards ever since.”

“Okay!” Killian said, after a moment.  “If you don’t think we’ll get in trouble, let’s go down to the ocean!  And just you wait, Princess Emma!  One of these days I’ll have you liking the water so much you’ll even ask me to teach you to swim!”

“Maybe,” Emma said skeptically, getting to her feet and turning toward the bedroom door, “but don’t forget, Killian! If we’re friends we have to do things I like sometimes too!”

Killian groaned. “Don’t tell me we’re going to have to have another tea party with all your stuffed animals!”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Don’t be silly,” she said.  “I don’t like having dumb tea parties any more than you do.  I just made you play tea party with me last summer because I thought it would annoy you.  I like my sword training and my archery training much better than playing with dolls or stuffed animals.  Maybe I could talk Papa into letting you train with me too!”

Killian’s smile widened. “That would be splendid! You know, Swan Princess, I think I’m going to enjoy being friends with you!”

Notes:

--It’s been a crazy week! I actually almost forgot about Fluffy Fridays!

--In case you couldn’t figure it out from the first few parts of this story, a tiny bit of background about what’s the same and what’s different from canon: In my version of events, Killian and his family obviously lived a couple hundred years later than he did in canon, thus he and Liam never even met the unscrupulous king that sent them after dream shade (and Killian never met Milah—thus there’s no feud between him and Rumple).  With regard to everyone else, everything pretty much happened as it did in canon up until Snow and Charming defeat Regina just before their official marriage.  Where the change comes in is in the events of 2x10 (The Cricket Game).  In the past portion of that episode, Snow and Charming capture Regina and at first plan to execute her.  At the last moment, Snow insists they can’t do that; they need to give her one last chance to turn away from her vengeance.  In canon, Regina refuses that chance and continues full speed ahead with her plans for revenge, but in this story, she makes a different choice. Snow lets Regina out of her cell, and Regina realizes that her hatred and revenge don’t—and won’t ever—make her happy, and she turns her life around.  Because of that, the curse is never cast. 

--In the next few chapters, you’ll see a little bit more about how that change affected the main characters—particularly Regina and Rumple.

--So, I decided to stop before I got to young teenage Emma and Killian. This chapter was already at 1000 words, and I figure the young teen part will take a full chapter to tell anyway.  So now the plan for this story is for it to be 5 chapters and an epilogue.

--Up next: Killian and Emma continue their friendship, but by the time they’re 16 and 15 respectively, Killian’s feelings for Emma have started to change.  Emma’s still content with their friendship as it is, and doesn’t know what to think about this change in Killian.  Luckily she has her best friend, Princess Elsa to confide in.

Chapter Text

The day at the beach seemed to thaw the ice considerably, and before the summer was out Emma and Killian were fast friends.  Killian didn’t know how he would have made it through that first difficult year after losing his family without Emma.  The king and queen were kind and, well, wonderful, and he dearly loved the times Liam was home on leave, but nothing compared to having a true friend who would listen when he needed to talk.

Or who could always be counted on to devise a bout of mischief which required his assistance.  On the days when it all became too much and his red-rimmed eyes proved that he’d been unable to hold back the tears during the night, these escapades were a particularly welcome diversion.

(Killian half suspected the king and the queen let him and Emma get by with far more mischief than would any other authority figure, simply because they could see how much he needed something that would give him joy.) 

The fact was, Killian and Emma were kindred spirits.  He could read her like one of his books, and she always, without fail, knew exactly what to say or do to soothe him.

They were great friends; the best of friends, but friendship was all they shared, neither of them yet ready for anything more tender—with anyone.

Until the day that all suddenly changed six years later…

The castle was in a flurry of activity on that particular afternoon.  Not only was Liam’s ship returning for an entire month’s leave the following day, but Princess Elsa—no Queen Elsa, she’d just been coronated the year before—was coming for her first visit of state.

(Well…that was her official reason for her travels.  Unofficially, Killian knew full well Elsa was coming to visit her dear friend Emma.)

The king and queen wanted all to be in order for the historic visit, and thus the maids were scouring the castle from top to bottom.

“Wanna go down to the beach for a picnic?” fifteen-year-old Emma asked, coming up behind Killian in the stables as he finished brushing down his horse, Westley.  (Well, technically he wasn’t Killian’s horse, but the king and queen had been so kind as to allow him to ride the creature anytime he liked.)

Killian grinned.  “Getting tired of all the activity, Swan?”  (He’d begun calling her Swan Princess mockingly during the first week he’d visited over the summer, having heard her father use the endearment.  Over the years, the appellation had gradually changed from mocking to fond and been shortened to simply “Swan”.)

Emma sighed and threw herself dramatically onto the bench next to Killian.  “It’s crazy!” she groused.  “You’d think Elsa’s never visited before!  It’s just Elsa!”

“Your parents want to show your childhood friend that they respect her as the sovereign of Arendelle, love,” Killian said.  “It’s all a part of diplomacy.”

Emma closed her eyes and shook her head.  “But does the entire castle have to be turned upside-down because of it?  I think I’m about to go as mad as Jefferson the hatter!”

Killian laughed, the sound carefree and joyous.  “Can’t have that, Swan.  Very well.  A picnic at the beach it is.  Just give me a moment to saddle Buttercup and Westley.”

Emma shook her head.  “Can’t take Buttercup today.  She’s lost a shoe and can’t be ridden until the blacksmith’s able to replace it.  Can we double up on Westley?”

Killian shrugged.  “As you wish.”

Within a quarter of an hour Killian had his horse saddled and ready to go, and Emma had successfully wheedled their cook, Granny, into providing them a picnic lunch.

With everything prepared, Killian tossed the meal and the picnic blanket into the saddle bag, mounted his stallion, and then extended his hand to help Emma mount behind him.  As Swan settled her arms around his middle and he clicked his tongue to set Westley into motion, Killian felt the most peculiar swoop in his stomach.

It wasn’t unpleasant, per se, but…it wasn’t the sort of thing Killian had ever felt before.  Nor had he ever noticed Emma’s gentle scent of lavender and vanilla…or the very pleasant feeling of her slim arms around him…or the press of her body, soft against his back.  It was…almost mesmerizing.

And then Emma started in on a tale of the trick she’d played on Grumpy earlier that morning, and suddenly the spell was broken.  This was Swan, his Swan, his best friend.  There was no need to feel strange around her.

They made it to their favorite stretch of beach and spread their blanket on the sand just beyond the reach of the tide.  The pair ate the bread, cheese and fruit Emma had procured in relative silence.

“You must be looking forward to Queen Elsa’s arrival, Swan,” Killian said once lunch was consumed.

Emma smiled.  “Yeah, I am, but what about you?  Liam gets back tomorrow doesn’t he?  Bet you can’t wait!”

“A whole month with my brother, love!” Killian said, smiling broadly.  “I can scarcely remember when he’s had such a long leave!”

Emma reached over and stroked his arm affectionately, and there it was again, that strange swoop of his stomach, the quick racing of his heart.  Her touch felt like a bolt of lightning, jolting something inside him he didn’t even know existed.

“I’m happy for you,” Emma said somberly.

Killian looked over at her and noticed her staring pensively out to the ocean.  She didn’t look happy.  She looked downright melancholy.  Killian knew Swan well enough to realize prodding her would do little to get her to open up.  Emma would tell him what was bothering her in her own good time.

And so, for long minutes the only sounds to be heard along the beach were the crying of the gulls, the soothing rush of the sea ebbing and flowing on the beach. 

Finally Emma turned her green eyes his way.  “Is it true, the rumor I heard?”

Killian grinned.  “Well, that would depend love.  Exactly what rumor was it you heard?”

“I heard that when Liam returns to his ship in a month you’ll be joining him.”

Killian grimaced, scratching at the back of his ear.  “I’ve meant to tell you, Swan, a million times, but…the time just never seemed right.”

“So it is true,” Emma said dully.  “You are planning to leave me?”

Killian’s heart twisted—this time in a decidedly unpleasant way—at the way her voice broke on the last word.  “It isn’t like that at all, love!” he protested.  “But…you know the plan was always for me to join my brother one day.  Now that he’s been promoted to Lieutenant, his ship will be needing a sailor to take his place.  I must admit the sea calls to me, and the opportunity to be with Liam always…”

She turned toward him again, a gentle smile gracing rather lovely features.  “I understand, Killian.  I really do.  This will be an extraordinary opportunity for you, and I’m happy for you.  It’s just…well, I’ll miss my best friend, that’s all.”

“And I’ll miss you, Emma,” he insisted, “but we’ve got a full month before I first sail.  What say we enjoy the time we have left together, aye?”

“Yeah, I think we should,” Emma said, reaching over and squeezing his hand affectionately.  (This time it was like a million tiny butterflies dancing in his stomach.)

But Killian didn’t realize just how much trouble he was in until Emma decided to unbind her long, blonde hair.  Killian knew Emma found the braids and buns and other hairstyles expected of ladies of her station to be constricting, and she let her hair flow free whenever she could get by with it.  This had never affected him before, but today…well, there was something about the way the sea breeze whipped the golden strands, the way the locks whipped around to land on his forearm, the way the sun glinted off her lovely hair and illuminated her like an angel.

For a moment he could only stare, open mouthed, his breath caught in his lungs.  Somehow, without him realizing it, his childhood friend had grown into a young woman. 

An extraordinarily beautiful young woman.

Killian had no idea how long he sat their frozen in admiration as his heart threatened to beat out of his chest—and he felt a strange mix of elation and fear—but after some moments, Emma shot him a strange look.

“Um…are you feeling okay, Killian?”

He shook his head, and then forced an easy smile onto his face.  He hadn’t a clue how to deal with these brand new feelings—whatever they were, and perhaps they were better examined later as he lay alone in his bed.  “Aye, Swan.  Fit as a fiddle.”

She gave him a long, assessing looking, and Killian had to fight the urge to squirm under her scrutiny.  Eventually, however she merely shrugged and broke eye contact.  “Well, if you say so.  Anyway, remember how we used to come out here when we were kids and stare up at the sky?  Remember how we used to look at the clouds and talk about the shapes we saw?  Maybe we could do that again and just, you know, forget about you leaving, at least for an afternoon?”

He smiled, a smile mixed with fondness and joy.  “Whatever you wish Swan.”  Killian laid back against the blanket and peered up into the sky.  “That one, for example, is a ship of the line, plain as day!”

Emma looked in the direction his finger was pointing, and then very audibly scoffed.  “A ship of the line?  Killian, I’m beginning to think you need spectacles just like Granny!  That doesn’t look anything like a ship.  It’s very clearly a giant stooping down to pick something up!”

And with that, the afternoon passed in playful debate.  While they argued over cloud shapes and reminisced about past escapades, Killian could almost forget the strange waves of awareness his dearest friend had begun to inspire within him.

But when the sunset began to paint the western sky in brilliant pinks and purples and oranges, and Emma climbed onto Westley behind Killian, it all rushed in upon him once more.  As Killian let his horse have his head and he felt Swan’s hair caress his arms, felt her lay her head against his back, felt her soft curves against him, felt her slim arms wrapped firmly around him, he realized that something had changed between them…and Killian knew he would never be the same again.

 

Notes:

--Okay, so as usual, I wasn’t able to get to as much as I planned to in this chapter.  What else is new?  On the brink of taking his place next to his brother in the navy, Killian suddenly starts to see his childhood friend in a new light.

--Up next: We’ll see what Emma thinks about what happened on the picnic as she has a nice girl-talk session with Queen Elsa.  Meanwhile, when Liam gets Killian to open up about what’s on his mind, big brother helps him realize just what all those weird feelings were about.  And while the first stirrings of puppy love might be a confusing minefield for Emma and Killian to wade through, another couple doesn’t have nearly as much difficulty…

Chapter Text

The Swan Princess, pt. 5

CS genre: Lieutenant Duckling

Killian had very little time to ponder the strange new feelings he was having for his best friend in the coming days. The very day after the picnic on the beach, Liam’s ship came in, and Killian’s world zeroed in on his brother and hero.

Having received word that The Jewel of the Realm was spotted only a few miles out, Killian raced to the docks with the enthusiasm of a young child faced with the prospect of a pile of gifts.  It had been too long, too bloody long since he’d seen Liam, and he couldn’t wait.  Killian had briefly considered asking Emma if she wanted to accompany him to the docks, but she was in a flurry of activity preparing for Elsa’s imminent arrival a few days later.

And then there was the matter of the strange shyness that had suddenly descended on him at the thought of Emma. He’d never given it a second thought before when he’d spoken to her or asked for her company, but now…well now, it would matter if she declined his invitation. 

At the thought of Swan, Killian felt his heartrate pick up and a silly grin draped his face. He stared sightlessly out at the horizon, remembering the delicate feel of her hair brushing against his arm, her soft lavender scent, the music of her laughter, the way her eyes sparkled as she spoke in animation…

“Are you going to stand there admiring the sunrise all day, little brother, or are you going to welcome me home?” Liam’s voice boomed from the dinghy that had just pulled up to the docks.

Killian jolted back to reality, and then let his grin blossom into a full-blown smile. Rushing forward, he pulled Liam into his arms, slapping his back a time or two, laughing in delight, thrilled to be reunited with his last remaining family.

“Welcome back Liam! And that’s ‘younger brother’ to you!”

Liam ruffled Killian’s hair playfully, laughing with him. “It’s good to see you younger brother!  Now, if you’ll excuse me, the longboat will be arriving on shore momentarily and I’ve got a distinguished guest to deliver to the king and queen.

Killian craned his neck around his brother to peer at the boat approaching at a rapid rate. In addition to the sailors bringing the vessel in, Killian clearly spotted a woman who appeared to be some manner of lady’s maid and…and was that…

“Queen Elsa?” Killian asked his brother, his eyebrows raised to his forehead. “Your distinguished passenger was Queen Elsa of Arendelle?”

Liam’s smile gentled as he looked out to sea and watched the lady herself arrive. “The very same, brother.  King David wanted to surprise Princess Emma and arranged for the Jewel to make an unexpected stop in Arendelle to collect the queen.  The remainder of her retinue will arrive at the expected time two days hence, but Elsa simply could not wait to see her childhood friend once again.”

Killian shot his brother a suspicious look. It was quite familiar to refer to a queen of the realm by her given name alone.  He shrugged it off after a moment.  It hardly mattered.

“Swan will be overjoyed,” he assured. “She’s been looking forward to the queen’s visit for weeks.”

This time it was Liam’s turn to look closely at his brother. After a moment a teasing grin lit up his face.  “Swan, is it?  It seems the pot is calling the kettle black when it comes to addressing the royalty with informality.  Could my little brother, the one who would grouse and complain for days leading up to his visits to King David and Queen Snow’s castle, truly be referring to Princess Emma with such fondness?”

Killian felt his face flame. He ducked his head, scratching behind his ear.  “Leave off, Liam!  You know Emma and I have become friends.”

“Friends, is it?” Liam asked, tone still playfully teasing. “Is it your feelings of friendship that stain your cheeks and the tips of your ears that delightful shade of red?  If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’ve come to fancy the lovely ‘Swan Princess’!”

“Of course not!” Killian blustered, but then withered under his brother’s knowing stare. “Well, perhaps I have.  I hardly know.  It’s all so sudden and confusing and I dare say I haven’t a clue what these new feelings are.  I merely know that I cannot stop thinking of her soft hair, her beguiling eyes, her wit and vivacity, and it leaves me breathless in a way I haven’t ever been before.”

Liam clapped Killian comfortingly on the back. “It sounds as though you, little brother, are perilously close to tumbling head first into love.”

Killian was (mercifully) saved from having to reply to this observation by the arrival of the long boat. Killian peered toward the now-docked vessel to note Queen Elsa, robed splendidly in a sky-blue dress, a small, silver tiara topping her braided hair.  Her blue eyes shown as she looked up into Liam’s face…and a small blush painted her cheeks.

Perhaps Killian wasn’t the only one recently pierced by one of cupid’s arrows. It would seem the queen was rather afflicted as well…and judging by the tender look in Liam’s eyes, the gentle sweep of his thumb against the back of Elsa’s hand as he helped her from the boat, it would seem the queen’s feelings were reciprocated.

Interesting that!

Perhaps before the month was out, Liam could give him pointers on how a gentleman comported himself around a lady who’d caught his fancy. Heaven knew Killain currently felt like nothing quite so much as a bumbling fool when it came to his Swan.

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

Emma sat in her bedchamber, gazing out upon the early morning sunrise, enjoying the summer breeze against her face, and letting her mind wander. She wasn’t one to sit idle and daydream, but…well, she hardly even know what to make of her afternoon with Killian the day before.

It had begun normal enough. They’d talked and laughed as they set out for their picnic just as they always did, but as the afternoon had dragged on, she’d noticed him giving her strange looks. His eyes seemed very…intense.  He’d never looked at her like that before, and it made her want to squirm where she’d sat, there on the blanket.

It wasn’t an unpleasant sensation just…well she didn’t know how to describe it.  With his bright blue eyes trained on her with such…tenderness, she was suddenly hyper-aware of his handsome features, the stubble on his cheeks, the way the wind whipped at his dark hair, the way his graceful hands fidgeted against the picnic blanket.

Why had she never noticed how incredibly handsome he’d become?

Emma shook her head, willing away the confusing thoughts. Killian was her friend.  Her friend.  She wasn’t about to throw that away because of strange and confusing feelings beginning to swirl deep within.

A knock on her bedroom door brought merciful relief from Emma’s swirling thoughts. Getting to her feet, she tossed a dressing gown over her nightgown, stepped into soft slippers and made her way toward the door.

Emma squealed in delight when she opened the door to reveal a smiling Elsa on the other side. Rushing forward, she wrapped her best female friend in a hug and then pulled her into the bedroom.

“Elsa! What are you doing here? You weren’t due to arrive for another two days!” Emma said.  “Not that I’m complaining; it’s been way too long since we’ve gotten to see each other, and you have to tell me all about the coronation and becoming queen and…”

Elsa laughed, holding up a finger to Emma’s lips. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so excited, Emma,” she said.  “I should surprise you more often!”

Emma led her friend to one of the chairs in the “sitting room” portion of her room and then plopped down into the other. Elsa was a couple of years older than she, but ever since they’d met at Emma’s fourth birthday party, the two had been fast friends.

Confusing new feelings aside for the moment, Emma dearly loved Killian’s friendship, but there was something different, something special in the bond between girlfriends. She’d been looking forward to Elsa’s arrival ever since it had been planned, and she couldn’t believe the day had finally arrived—and two days earlier than expected, no less!

“So how are you here?” Emma asked again.  “I thought you told me with the schedule of Arendelle’s ships, you wouldn’t be able to make it until later.  Did one of your ships return sooner than expected?”

To Emma’s surprise, Elsa dropped her eyes, a secret smile playing across her lips as her cheeks tinted pink. “No,” she said finally.  “It was your father, actually.  He wished to surprise you, and sent the Jewel of the Realm to Arendelle to provide me passage.  The captain and…and…Liam were so kind as to see to my every need while we travelled.”

Emma grinned, starting to get an idea of the cause of her friend’s strange behavior. “Liam?” she asked gently, “As in Liam Jones? Lieutenant Liam Jones?”

“Well of course, Emma!” Elsa said, “what other Liam sails on the Jewel?”

“None that I know!” Emma said with a laugh. “I just find it very interesting that my best friend, sovereign queen in her own right, spurns decorum and calls a sailor in the royal navy by his given name.  It sounds like something I would do, but never the prim and proper Queen Elsa!”

Elsa’s blush only deepened. “I don’t mean to be improper,” she said.  “It’s just…Liam and I spent quite a bit of time together.  On the second day of our journey we found ourselves becalmed at sea and there was little for the lieutenant to do until the wind picked up again.  He…he found me sitting on deck, staring across the water, and…we struck up a conversation.”

“It must have been quite a conversation….”

“Yes,” Elsa said with a smile. “Liam’s…he’s fascinating.  He has so many stories of his voyages and the lands he’s traveled.  He has a kindness and gentility that I’ve rarely met before, and he listened as I spoke.  Listened and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say—not because I was the queen or because he wanted something from me, simply because he enjoyed my company.”

Emma smiled, easily reading between the lines. “And it doesn’t hurt that he’s quite handsome either, right?”

“No,” Elsa said, her smile blooming farther. “I must admit that it doesn’t.”

“You like him, Elsa!” Emma said, clapping her hands.  “That’s great! You two would be perfect together!  You’re both so serious and so insistent on following the rules and so formal!”

Elsa playfully swatted her. “We can be carefree and informal too!”

Emma shot her a sly look. “So…does Liam know how you feel?  Are you a couple now?  Has he kissed you yet?”

“Emma!” Elsa gasped. “A lady doesn’t kiss and tell!”

“So he has kissed you?!”

“No!” Elsa said, looking as distinctly flustered as Emma had ever seen her. “Well, not really, anyway.  He did kiss my hand once and it was…”  Elsa sighed happily.  “It was quite possibly the most romantic moment of my life.  I…I think he may have feelings for me too, but we haven’t discussed anything.”

Impulsively Emma leaned over and hugged her friend. “Well the two of you are both here at the castle for the next month.  Who knows what might happen in that time!”

“Who indeed?” Elsa agreed, hugging Emma back. “Speaking of the Joneses, how’s that brother of his—other than what I already saw: so happy to have his brother back he can hardly contain himself?”

This time, Emma felt the heat in her cheeks and turned away quickly, not entirely sure she was ready to tell Elsa about what was going on with Killian—not even sure she knew what was going on with Killian.

“Oh, Emma!” Elsa said with a frown. “Don’t tell me you and Killian are fighting again!  You’d become such good friends!”

Emma shook her head quickly and then cleared her throat. “No!  It’s nothing like that!  It’s just…well, things are…weird right now.”

“Weird how?”

Emma sighed. Whether she was ready for this conversation or not, it looked like she was about to have it.  “Yesterday we had a picnic and suddenly things were just…different.  He kept giving me this…I don’t know…almost longing look (either that or he was starting to get nauseated…)”

Elsa laughed. “I think we can safely rule out nausea.  I think that man must have an iron stomach given the sheer volume and variety of the food he consumes!  No, I think you were probably closer with the ‘longing’.”

Emma felt her embarrassment bubble up, and she dropped her eyes, focusing her energies on picking at a loose thread in her bathrobe. “You think he…you know…has feelings for me?”

Elsa caressed Emma’s arm. “I’m almost sure of it, Emma.  I’ve seen the fond way he’s looked at you for some time.  I don’t think he was aware of it at the time, but I’ve been convinced for a while that your parents’ hope for a love match between you two is much less far-fetched than it seemed when you were younger.”

Emma felt her heartrate spike and the fear flood her at her friend’s use of the “l” word. That was far, far too much!  Whatever these feelings were…she wasn’t ready for that yet!

“Elsa!”

“What?” her friend asked calmly. “Are you telling me you don’t have feelings for Killian?”

“Yes!” Emma said vehemently before looking aside. “I mean…no….I mean…I don’t know.  Elsa, I don’t even know how I feel! All I know is that things suddenly got complicated and confusing and I don’t know what to do with it.  I…I don’t even know how to act around him now, and I kind of hate it!”

“Why?” Elsa asked gently.

“Because….” Emma started, digging deeply within herself to find the truth. “Because Killian’s my dearest friend…other than you, of course…things with him were good.  Our friendship was easy/  Now…well, now things are just weird.  I can’t lose his friendship; I just can’t.”

Elsa leaned over and hugged Emma again. “I hardly think that’s going to happen.  You and Killian have a bond of friendship stronger than any I’ve seen.   Whether or not anything happens with these new feelings you’re having, that’s something I’m absolutely sure of.”

“I hope you’re right,” Emma said, the worry still present in her voice.

Elsa laughed. “Of course I am.  I’m older and wiser than you!”

Emma rolled her eyes good-naturedly.

“Between you and Killian and Liam and me, I think there’s one thing we can say for sure,” Elsa continued. “This coming month is going to be anything but boring!”

 

Notes:

--I don’t know why I make plans about how much I want to accomplish in any given chapter; I think I always bite off more than I can chew, lol! I had hoped to get to a scene where Emma and Killian discuss their growing awareness of each other, but the conversations with Elsa and Liam, respectively took far too much space.

--Up next: On the night before Elsa (and Liam and Killian) set sail, the Charmings hold a royal ball. This time Emma doesn’t punch Killian in the face…but the two of them do have a rather interesting conversation that may or may not end with some facial contact of a different sort… (No, really!  It may or may not; I haven’t decided exactly whether or not I want to go there yet!)  I’d like to also bring in a scene introducing the complication (and/or “villain”) of the story, but let’s be real; the chances of me actually getting there in the next chapter are rather slim.

--Also: I have fallen ridiculously behind in responding to reviews and comments, and I’m terribly sorry!  I will get to them as soon as life slows down a little more, but in the meantime, know that I am so very, very grateful every single time someone takes the time to send me feedback (on this or any of my stories)!

 

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Lieutenant Duckling

Emma’s last month with Killian passed with a swiftness she wouldn’t have believed possible.  It had been an idyllic summer, full of picnics, carriage rides and outings of all sorts.  The pair generally started out their daily excursions in a pleasant foursome with Liam and Elsa, but as Killian’s brother and Emma’s dearest friend became ever closer, it became increasingly more uncomfortable to spend any significant amount of time with them.

Before Emma knew it, it was suddenly here, the day before the Jones brothers were to set sail on their new deployment.  They’d accompany Elsa home to Arendelle first, and then they’d join two other ships of the line at the border of Camelot.  It was said the new king, Arthur Pendragon was behaving in a suspicious manner—something having to do with Sands of Avalon or some such thing, apparently—and Emma’s father wanted to make it clear to the “once and future king” that he intended to brook no attack on the Enchanted Forest.  The result was that the Jones brothers would be away for a minimum of six months and most likely a full year.

How Emma was to survive without the man whose friendship meant more to her than all the gold in her family’s treasury was beyond her.

Emma sighed gently as the early autumn breeze caressed her face and the increasingly more colorful leaves of the tree above her.

“Something troubling you, love?”  Killian asked, idly reaching over to toy with her fingers.  He’d always been physically affectionate with her, but he seemed to seek her touch even more ever since the day she’d noticed him giving her those strange yearning looks.  Emma hadn’t a clue what to think of it.  Part of her thrilled to the feel of his large, calloused hand in hers, felt a spark like lightning travel from whatever point of impact he was making straight through to her heart.  But part of her wanted to run as far from his touch as possible.  Life was so much easier when they were both carefree children for whom the thought of romance hadn’t even crossed their minds.

“No, not really,” Emma said, her voice sounding unconvinced even to her own ears.

“Come now, Swan,” Killian said, turning to her with a teasing grin.  “I’ve been your closest confidante for nigh on a decade now.  Surely you realize you’re an open book to me.  I know when you’re prevaricating, and you, love, are most definitely prevaricating.”

Emma reached over with her free hand and playfully swatted his shoulder.  “What is it with you and your big words?  You sound like some sort of university professor rather than a sailor.”

“One does not become an officer in your father’s prestigious navy without a certain degree of learning, Swan,” Killian said, “and as I plan to one day follow in my esteemed brother’s footsteps and become an officer like him, I’ve done all in my power to prepare myself.”

Emma looked closely at Killian, noting the hint of self-doubt that so often seemed to plague him.  “You listen to me, Killian Jones,” she said fiercely. “You are as smart and as capable and as courageous as any man in my father’s military!  You have no need to look up to anyone, save maybe Liam.  You’ll be captain one day, mark my words!”

Spontaneously, Killian leaned over and kissed her cheek, then, he abruptly froze, eyes widened comically, evidently suddenly aware of what he’d just done.  Killian sat back quickly, dropped his eyes to the blanket on which they sat, and promptly blushed to the very tips of his ears.  Reaching up, he scratched at the back of his ear, mumbling.  “I apologize for my forwardness, Swan.”

Emma felt her own cheeks heat at the gentle kiss, really no more than a brush of his lips against her cheek.  Her heart beat so hard, she feared it would leap right out of her chest, and she was suddenly hyper-aware of the bright blue of Killian’s eyes, the scruff along his jaw, the fresh, clean scent of his hair.  This was…confusing and awkward and…she didn’t know if she liked it. 

Part of her wanted to grab his lapels and haul him in for a proper kiss just to see if his lips would feel as soft and velvety against her own as they did against her cheek.  Part of her lamented the fact that the easy, uncomplicated friendship the two of them shared for so long was at a definitive end.

Killian cleared his throat.  “You never answered my original question; not really, at least.  What trouble’s you, lass?”

Emma shrugged, the pain of the impending separation washing over her again.  “I just…Killian, you’ll be gone an entire year, most likely.  I know this is what you want; it’s your dream to sail the realm with your brother, and I’d never try to stop you or talk you out of it, but…I will miss you terribly.”

His face became soft, tender.  Raising one large hand, he cupped her cheek, letting a few silky strands of her hair glide through his fingers.  “And I you, Swan.  A year will feel like an eternity apart from you, my love.”

My love?!  Had Killian just called her his love?  That was enough to have her scramble abruptly back to her side of the blanket.  (Did she thrill to the sound of the endearment…or want to get as far away from it as humanly possible?  She didn’t know!)

Killian seemed to realize what he’d said a moment after it left his lips, and, if possible, his blush grew even deeper.  He cleared his throat, scratched at that offending place behind his ear once more, and then turned a deliberately carefree grin in her direction.  “But fear not, Emma, the year will rush by, and I’ll write to you every week—twice a week when I’m able.  Just think about all the adventures I’ll have to share with you when I return!”

Emma smiled, grateful he’d pulled back to a place of easy friendship, letting the potentially romantic moment go for the time being.  “And I’ll write you to.  It’ll be…”

Abruptly, Emma cut off, as Elsa and Liam, on their own blanket some twenty feet away from them, caught her eye.  Liam leaned down, capturing Elsa’s lips with his own, his hand going for her hair as she reached up to pull him closer to her.

Noticing the direction of Emma’s gaze, Killian grinned and then averted his eyes.  He got gracefully to his feet, and then offered Emma his hand to help her do the same.  “It would appear our company is no longer needed nor desired, love.  What say we go make sure our carriage is ready to take us back to the palace?  I’ve no doubt you ladies will wish to get back soon in order to don whatever frills and baubles you wish to wear to this evening’s ball.

And with that, the two returned to the horses, talking and laughing as only old friends can, the strange tension and intimacy of the afternoon nearly forgotten.

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d

The farewell ball for the sailors of the Jewell of the Realm was one of the most splendid Killian had ever seen.  Killian was humbled at all the trouble King David and Queen Snow had gone to to make the event so grand. 

He felt a heavy hand clap onto his shoulder, and he looked up into the smiling face of his older brother.  “You wear the uniform well, brother,” Liam said.  “The lovely Princess Emma will be swept off her feet when she sees how devilishly handsome you are.”

“Leave off, Liam!” Killian said, shrugging his brother’s hand from his shoulder.

Liam laughed, but then sobered when he noticed the depth of Killian’s discomfort.  “Killian, I mean no harm.  You know that, right?  You’re all the family I have left on this world and I’d never wish to put a rift between us.”

Killian nodded vigorously.  “Of course not, brother!  I know you mean nothing with your teasing, it’s only…”

“Only what?”

“I’ve no idea how to conduct myself around Emma anymore,” Killian lamented, letting the remainder of his explanation fall from his lips in a rush.  “I…I care for her.  As more than merely my best friend.  She’s lovely in every respect.  Beautiful, of course, but also kind, spirited and strong as anyone I’ve ever met.  I’m utterly captivated by her.”

“Aye,” Liam said with a gentle smile.  “I’ve seen that quite well for myself.  So what’s the problem, little brother?”

“Younger brother,” Killian said absently.  He paused for a moment, trying to gather his thoughts.  “I can’t be at all sure of the lady’s feelings toward me.  At times, she seems open to my advances, seems to crave them, even, but at other times, it seems as though she wishes to run screaming from me.  What is a man to make of such behavior?”

Liam rested an almost fatherly hand on his shoulder once more.  “I’d wager the answer is quite simple.  Your fair lady is conflicted herself.  She feels something of a tender nature herself, to be sure, but she’s afraid of what that might mean—for her and for your relationship in general.”

Killian groaned in frustration.  “And what am I to do?  We’ll be gone for a year!  I cannot leave matters with Emma as they currently stand—in flux, uncomfortable, stilted!  She’s my dearest friend, Liam!  I wish to be on good terms with her; wish to smooth over this awkwardness before we’re separated for such a long time!”

“Ask her to dance,” Liam said gently.  “Find a quiet moment to speak with her and share your heart, Killian.  Let her know how you feel about her.”

“And if she rejects me?  If she doesn’t feel as I do?”

“That, unfortunately, is the risk one needs to take if he wishes his relationship to advance,” Liam said.  “Falling in love is a frightening business, brother.  There’s never a guarantee your feelings will be requited, but it’s a surety that you’ll never find happiness with a true love if you don’t have the courage to lay your heart before her.”

“And…” Killian asked tentatively, “have you done as much with your own love?”

Liam’s eyes turned gentle.  “Aye.  Just last night I told Queen Elsa that I love her with everything within me.  To my delight, she confessed her feelings are equally as strong.  We aren’t betrothed yet.  We have, after all, only known each other a mere month, but I know in my heart that she’s the only woman I’ll ever wish to take as my wife.  We plan to revisit the subject when our tour of duty is over and we’ve seen if our love can stand the test of time and distance.”

Killian grinned.  “I’m delighted for you, Liam.  I hope everything works out…”

But whatever Killian wished to say was suddenly wiped from his mind as Grumpy the majordomo suddenly announced the arrival of Queen Elsa and Princess Emma.  His lovely Swan was, simply put, breathtaking.  She wore a long, white gown, fitted through the bodice, with long sleeves belling out.  She wore her hair down and curly, a circlet of flowers and ribbons sitting on top.

An angel from heaven couldn’t have been more lovely.

Beside him, Liam gasped, no doubt at the loveliness of his own lady, and the Jones brothers waited in rapt attention as the women descended toward them.

Killian felt his heart pause and then race as his Emma finally reached him, smiled radiantly and then curtsied before him.

“You put the stars to shame love,” he murmured, taking her hand in his and pressing his lips fervently to its back.

Emma smiled, shaking her head teasingly.  “I bet you say that to all the ladies, sailor.”

“Hardly,” he said, barking out a laugh.  “I’ve only eyes for one woman in this ball room.”

Emma’s cheeks pinked gently, and it only added to her stunning beauty. “Well, I have to say, you’re not looking too bad yourself in your new uniform.  Quite striking, Killian.”

Killian grinned.  “Aye,” he said with a teasing grin, “Liam’s assured me I’m dashingly handsome.  How would the lovely Princess Emma like to give this dashing rapscallion her first dance.”

To his joy, Emma took his outstretched hand, giving him a second curtsy.  “There’s no one else I’d want to give it to.”

Killian felt a rush of affection, even love, as he took Emma into his arms and twirled with her around the dance floor.  She felt so good in his arms, her smile radiant, her hair a fragrant cloud down her back, her laughter and happy comments music to his ears.  Killian had never taken a drink of stronger spirits, but he’d wager he knew what it felt to be drunk.  He was intoxicated on his lady fair, and he wished he could freeze this moment in time and never let her go.

But all too soon the dance came to an end, and her father was there, asking to cut in for the next dance.  If Killian wasn’t mistaken, Emma turned from him reluctantly, a look of longing replacing the bliss on her face.

Aye, perhaps Liam was right.  Perhaps tonight was the night he should lay his heart on the line before her.

And so he did as the lovely, magical night was beginning to draw to an end.

Emma smiled and dabbed at a line of perspiration on her brow.  “Killian, I think I need a break!  We’ve danced so much tonight, I’m likely going to be sore tomorrow!”

“Well we can’t have that love,” Killian said, smiling slightly.  He felt his nerves begin to kick up.  Now was the time to speak to his Emma, or he’d lose his nerve.

Emma must have seen something of his nerves in his face because her brows creased and she looked at him with concern.  “Is something the matter Killian?”

“No, not at all,” he answered, taking a deep breath.  “But it has become quite warm in the ball room.   Perhaps we might take a stroll in your father’s middlemist garden?”

She reached for his hand, lacing their fingers as she smiled gently at him.  “That sounds lovely.”

They walked silently through the French doors off the ball room into the royal middlemist garden.  It was a slow, easy stroll, one that would have been comfortable, friendly, if it wasn’t for Killian’s nerves about the conversation to come.  Finally, feeling he would go mad with the anxiety if he waited any longer, Killian reached down, plucked one delicate pink flower and offered it to Emma.

She took it with a murmured thanks, brought it to her nose, and then placed it in her hair, next to her white circlet of flowers. 

Gesturing with his free hand, Killian led Emma to a delicately carved bench beneath a magnificent old tree.

“Emma,” he started, his voice wobbling slightly with his nerves.  “There’s something I wished to discuss with you before I take my leave tomorrow.”

He watched the wariness replace the contentment in her eyes, and he swallowed hard, trying not to take her expression as a bad sign of things to come.

“Swan,” he said, “you must know, you must have seen how deeply I’ve come to care for you.”

Her sharp intake of breath was her only reaction.

“I don’t tell you to pressure you or make you uncomfortable.  I expect nothing from you love, unless you wish to give it, but I cannot go another day without letting you know that…that I’m in love with you Emma Swan.  So terribly, so desperately in love.  You are the very sun and stars to me, and my life was infinitely enriched when you entered it.”

“Killian…” she began hesitantly after a long silence, “Killian, I…”

He read rejection in her pauses, in her conflicted eyes, and it felt as though a dagger pierced his heart.

“It’s no matter, Swan,” He said, getting hastily to his feet and affecting unconcern.  “As I said, I expect nothing from you in return.  I just wished to tell you before we’re parted.  And now I have, so, perhaps we’d best return to the ballroom?”

He turned, preparing to rush away from his disappointment and embarrassment, but he got no more than two steps before he felt her gentle hand on his arm, stopping him.  He didn’t resist as she turned him toward her.

“I think you misunderstand, Killian,” she said, looking intently into his eyes.  “I…I’m not rejecting you.  It’s just…I feel so confused; I hardly know which end is up.  I value your friendship more than anything in this world and I’m terrified to do or say anything that might risk that…”

“You’ve no need to fear, Love,” he said, cupping her cheek, unable to help himself.  “You’ll have my friendship to the end of your days regardless of what transpires between us.”

She reached up to hold his hand against her cheek.  “And you’ll have mine.  I…I don’t know what to say.  I…I definitely have feelings for you, but I don’t even know what they are, how to process them.  I don’t know what I want or…or what I need from you, and…well…  Please, Killian, don’t give up on me!  I’ll figure it all out in time.  Just…please be patient.”

And then she moved forward, stepping on her tiptoes, leaning ever closer to him until her lips brushed his in a slow, gentle kiss.  Killian savored it, memorizing every sensation, every feeling, every beat of his heart.  He wanted to pull her closer, to bury his hands in her hair, to tilt her head and deepen the kiss, but she wasn’t ready for that yet, not nearly.  Killian merely followed his lady’s lead, let her set the pace, confirming with his lips what his words had declared a moment before.

All too soon the kiss came to an end, Emma slowly pulling away.  “I’ll wait for you until the end of time, if I must, my Emma,” he whispered as he gazed down on her dazed, smiling face.

And when Killian went off on his first tour of duty the next morning, he held the memory of Swan’s sweet kiss with him, savoring it like the most precious treasure he owned.  He would win her heart one day.  Of that he was determined, but he would do so honorably, on her terms.

A year without her would feel like a lifetime, but she’d given him hope, and as her mother was so quick to remind, happy endings always begin with hope.

 

Notes:  Well there you have it, the next part of this multi-chapter!  This particular chapter was longer than normal, but I really wanted to get through the ball without it having to bleed into the next chapter!  This portion of the story was particularly fluffy and romantic, but beware a complication is coming!

--Up next: While Killian is away at sea, Emma meets a new suitor, but when she gently turns down his advances, her heart already rather significantly belonging to a certain handsome sailor, he’s more than a little disappointed.  When his powerful father learns his son’s been spurned…well, he makes his displeasure known...and delivers quite the ultimatum.  Emma takes refuge with a powerful relative of her own, but can she find a way out of her predicament without anyone getting hurt—including herself?

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Lieutenant Duckling

My Dearest Swan Princess,

I hope this missive finds you well and content.  I miss you terribly, my love.  Has it only been seven months since last we were together?  The time has seemed interminable, but I content myself with the knowledge that my current tour of duty has passed the halfway point.  I shall be back by your side—and dare I hope it?  Back in your arms—in five months’ time.  Whilst I wait for that day, the small portrait you sent must suffice.  The likeness is uncanny, Swan, but the artist didn’t do justice to your hair, as lovely and precious as spun gold, or your eyes, twin emeralds, sparkling with fire and joy and a zest for life.

I’d imagine, my Swan, if I were to speak such sentiments in your presence, you’d swat my arm and call me utterly ridiculous.  And so I am—utterly and ridiculously captivated by you.  How I long to hold you in my arms, to bury my nose in the crook of your neck, to let the golden strands of your hair slip gently through my fingers, to taste those rosy lips once more…

But such things cannot be, at least not yet.

Aside from my longing for you, I’ve no complaints about my time at sea.  There’s something exhilarating about being on the open water—letting out the sails and letting the wind rush through your hair as the ship speeds on.  The Jewel truly is a marvel, love.  The fastest ship in all the realms, I’d wager.

Being back with my beloved brother is a dream in and of itself.  I’d follow him to the ends of the earth.  Have you heard the news, Swan?  Our captain plans to retire his post when this tour is at an end.  Liam only yesterday received word from your father that he will be named the Jewel’s new captain!  It’s an honor he so richly deserves.  But it’s not only Liam who looks forward to a promotion.  Your father has assured me that when Liam has become captain, I’m to take his title as Lieutenant!  It boggles the mind, love.  A lieutenant at a mere nineteen years of age!  I’m deeply humbled by your father’s trust in me.  I can only hope to make myself deserving of it.

You expressed concern for my safety in your latest letter.  You’ve no need to fear, darling.  Arthur has yet to breech the rules of diplomacy.  I’ve not been engaged in a battle yet—although as you know, we spotted pirates on our journey to Camelot.  I believe it was the dread pirate Roberts.  Liam tells me his reputation is far more terrible than his actual person.

Camelot, itself is a lovely place, beautiful as a dream.  I hope one day to bring you here—perhaps dance with you at one of the much-celebrated Camelot balls.

I must go, my love; the Captain is calling us to duty.  I shall write again as soon as I’m able.  Until such time, just remember that I love you to the depths of my heart, my Swan Princess.

Your most devoted servant,

Killian

Emma smiled, lazily tracing his signature with one finger.  Folding the letter, she brought it to her lips, kissed it tenderly, and then added it to the growing pile of his love letters she kept under her pillow at night. 

Killian said he missed her, but his longing couldn’t be nearly as strong as hers.  She hadn’t realized just how much his constant presence in her life had meant to her.  For eight years he’d been a staple in her life.  He’d gone from being the enemy to being her dearest friend.  He was the one she wished to confide in.  He was the one she wanted to spend lazy afternoons with.  He was the first one she thought of when she awoke in the morning, the last one she thought about at night.

To be separated from him for such a very, very long time was torture.

Emma absently tossed on her nightgown and headed for her bed.  Once situated, she touched her lips softly, recalling the moment she’d kissed him.  She could still feel his warm, firm lips against hers, recall the clean, minty-ness of his breath, the gentle way he murmured her name on a sigh as he fully gave himself over to the kiss.  Confusing feelings—pleasure, anticipation, nervousness—welled up within her every time she thought of Killian and the kiss.

She didn’t know what to make of these feelings—or what she should do about them.

Emma’s musings were interrupted by a knock on the door. 

“Come in,” Emma called, and smiled gently when she saw her mother walk through the opening. 

“I’ve come to say goodnight Emma,” Snow said, sitting on the edge of the bed beside her daughter and smoothing Emma’s hair back from her forehead.

Emma relaxed into the touch, believing no one had such comforting hands as her mother.  “Mama, we said goodnight before I came up to bed.  I think I’m a little old to need to be tucked in.”

“Now listen to me, young lady,” Snow said with mock sternness, “you’re never too old to be tucked in by your mother.

Impulsively Emma sat up and threw her arms around her mother.  In many ways she found it easier to relate to her father; they were a lot alike, after all.  But Emma loved her mother dearly.  She shuddered to think of what might have happened if Grandma Regina hadn’t given up her plans to enact the dark curse.  What would she do if she was alone in the world with no one to care for?  It would be such a lonely, heartbroken existence.

“So, did you enjoy your letter from Killian?” Snow asked casually—too casually—after a moment.

Emma felt herself blush straight to the roots of her hair.  “Yes,” she said, attempting to sound just as casual as her mother.  “He writes very well, and he had some good news about his and his brother’s promotions.”

Snow reached over to Emma’s nightstand and grabbed her favorite hairbrush.  Emma sighed happily as her mother began pulling the brush through her hair, smoothing out the flyaways as she went.  It was a soothing gesture; one Snow had always employed on the nights when Emma was particularly agitated.

“He looked handsome in his navy uniform, don’t you think?” Snow observed.

Oh yes!  He looked positively divine, and it took all my willpower not to jump into his arms and kiss him senseless as we said goodbye.

“I suppose so,” Emma said aloud.  “He’s not a difficult man to look at.”

Snow was silent for a moment, the only sound in the room the pleasing crackle of the hairbrush gliding through Emma’s hair.  Finally, she spoke again.  “You know, Emma,” she said hesitantly, “You can tell me anything.  You need never hide anything from me.  Your father’s not the only one who will listen.”

“I know,” Emma said.  She wanted to tell her mother of her feelings, of the feelings Killian confessed to her on a regular basis, of the hopes and dreams she was beginning to have with regard to a certain handsome soon-to-be-lieutenant, but it was different with Mama.  Somehow they’d never really talked like this before.  They loved each other, but it was always Papa who soothed her hurts and talked her through her angst.

“Mama,” Emma began, after another pause in the conversation, “how did you know?”

“How did I know what, honey?”

“How did you know you were in love with Papa?” she asked.  “How did you know it was True Love?”

Mama smiled the distant, secret smile she always used when she thought about Papa and their love story.  “It’s not something that can be explained, honey.  I just knew.  Why?”

“It’s just…. well, I kissed him.”

“Who?

“Killian,” Emma said quickly.  “I kissed Killian.  It was the day before he left.  I kissed him.”

Snow was silent for a moment.  “Oh, well did it mean anything?”

“No!” Emma began, “well…yes…well…I don’t know!  Mama why is love so complicated?”

Snow laughed and then leaned over to hug Emma.  “It’s one of the great mysteries of life, I guess.  Sometimes it takes a while to figure out you love someone.  It certainly took your father and I long enough to admit our feelings for each other!”

“But…what if it goes wrong?  What if you start courting someone—your friend—and then it all falls apart.  What if…what if you lose him…not just as your sweetheart, but as your friend too?”

Snow wrapped her arms even more tightly around Emma and leaned down to rest her chin on top of her daughter’s head.  “There’s no way to be 100% sure, honey, you have to take a leap of faith.  You can build walls around your heart, and they might keep out pain, but they also keep out love, and you know what?  Love is so worth it.”

Emma felt her heart leap.  Suddenly she knew; she just knew.  She loved Killian.  She loved Killian!  She didn’t want to build walls around her heart.  She wanted to take that leap of faith.

To that end, Emma sat tall and squared her shoulders.  “Mama, I’m in love with Killian Jones.”

Mama smiled.  “I know it, Emma.  I’ve known it for some time, even if you hadn’t realized it yet.  The real question is: what are you going to do about it?”

Emma thought for a moment.  Perhaps she should tell him when she wrote him back?  After a moment, she tossed that possibility away.  Something so incredibly important, so incredibly life-changing needed to be spoken in person.

“I’ll tell him as soon as he returns from his tour of duty in five months.”

“I’m proud of you Emma,” Mama said, “and just so you know, I’ve been watching Killian as well, and I don’t think you have anything to worry about.  That man loves you to distraction.  No matter what happens, he’ll stand by your side.”

Emma smiled, thinking of the words of love and devotion in the letters under her pillow.  “I know he will.”

Mama ran the brush once more through Emma’s hair, and then put it aside, getting to her feet.  “Goodnight, honey,” she said gently, moving steadily toward the bedroom door. 

Suddenly Snow stopped and turned back toward Emma.  “Oh!  All this talk about Killian almost made me forget!  We will be entertaining guests at the end of the week.  The Dark One plans to visit.”

“The Dark One!” Emma exclaimed in surprise.  “What can he want with us, Mama?!”

“Nothing to worry about Emma,” Snow reassured.  “It seems his son has finally returned home—from a different realm, no less—and he wants to introduce Baelfire (or Neal, as he now wants to be called) to the other royals and dignitaries of this realm.  It’s nothing more than a visit of state, but this Baelfire is not too many years older than you.  If you could keep him company while they’re here, I’m sure the Dark One would be very grateful.”

Emma shrugged.  “Sure.  If you think it would be helpful, I’d be glad to hang out with him.”

Notes:

--Quick note about ages: A few chapters back, when Killian first realized he had feelings for Emma, I had Emma 15 and Killian 16t, but I’ve decided to move up the timeline to make things flow better (I’ll probably go back and edit the previous chapters when I get a chance).  At the time he went off on his tour of duty, Killian was 18 and Emma was 17.

--As usual, I didn’t get through everything I put in last week’s “Up next” section.  Honestly, I kind of doubted I would.  There’s a lot to cover!  I wasn’t necessarily planning this mother-daughter moment, but I thought it worked well here.

--Up next: Rumple and Bae visit the castle…and Bae ends up feeling far more for Emma than she does for him.  When she gently turns him down….yeah, his dad is none too pleased by that and makes his displeasure well known…

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Lieutenant Duckling

Dear Killian,

You have no idea how excited I am every time one of your letters arrives for me.  Graham laughed at me after handing me your last one, telling me he thought I squealed loud enough for you to hear me all the way in Camelot.  I can’t help myself though, because I MISS you!  Even now, more than seven months later, I still find myself looking for you to make a comment or share a laugh or feel your arms around me at least ten times a day.

Who would have known a year could last such an interminably long time?  When you get home, I’m not letting you out of my sight for a good three weeks.  At least.

Camelot does sound like a lovely place, and I would love to visit it with you one day!  Perhaps I can talk Mama and Papa into sending me on a diplomatic mission to Queen Guinevere…and of course I would need the escort of Papa’s bravest and strongest navy men.   You know, despite being a princess, I’ve never been outside of the Enchanted Forest—save for my visits to Elsa in Arendelle.  I know Mama and Papa are afraid for my safety, but what’s the use of being royalty if I’m never able to go out and see the world?

Life has continued as normal here at home.  Mama wants to have a grand ball for my eighteenth birthday in a few months, and so I’ve been forced into more dancing lessons.  I’d far prefer you as my tutor to my parents’ choice.  Would you believe Mama recruited Grumpy (GRUMPY!) to teach me the various dances of the royal court?  It’s torture!

Mama gave me some interesting news yesterday, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  It seems the Dark One himself is coming for a visit—along with his newly-returned son.  Mama says the Dark One only wishes to make a visit of state, but I’m not sure.  I can’t help but remember all the tales about the terrible things he used to do back before Grandma Regina decided to turn from her vengeance.

But their visit will only last a fortnight, and it’s bound to be entertaining if nothing else.  From all accounts, the Dark One’s antics are never dull.

I must go; preparations are being made for the important visit, and Mama wants to train me so that I’m prepared to receive important visitors when it’s my turn to take the crown.

I miss you, I look forward to your return and I…well, I care for you an extraordinary amount.  Take care of yourself and return to me soon!

 

Your own,

Swan Princess

 

Killian smiled as he read his Swan’s words, loving the way her joy and zest for life came through so clearly even just through the written word.  Perhaps he was merely seeing what he wished to see, but if he wasn’t mistaken his princess was saying more with her farewell than met the eye.  If he was not mistaken, he was dangerously close to winning Emma’s heart.

As he stood at the ship’s railing and the salty sea air rifled through his hair, Killian reread his letter by the light of the large full moon on the horizon.  As he continued with his reading this time through, a feeling of foreboding…almost of dread…came over him.  There was something about Swan casually relating the Dark One’s visit that didn’t sit well with him.  Like everyone in this land, he’d heard many, many stories of the terrors the Dark One inflicted during his long, long life.  They were the sort of tales soldiers told around the campfire when they wanted to cause a fright among their companions.

Though he’d never had the misfortune of meeting this Rumplestiltskin in the flesh, the thought of the woman he loved being face to face with such a dangerous man didn’t set at all well.  Why was he really planning to visit the Charmings’ court?  Was he planning to make one of his infamous deals with them?  Killian knew King David and Queen Snow were far too wise to be taken in by the Dark One’s manipulations again, but the whole situation still gave him pause…

And what of this son the Dark One was bringing with him?  Would he be like his father?  Were his motives pure in accompanying his father, or did he have something nefarious in mind?

As the moon crept behind a cloud, Killian sighed and folded his letter, placing it within his naval coat, close to his heart, he sighed.  There was nothing he could do about the situation from here in Camelot.  He must simply trust that Emma knew how to take care of herself—and that her parents would move heaven and earth to keep her from harm.

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

“I don’t want to pry if you don’t want to talk about it, but I can’t help but wonder…What exactly is your story?”  Emma asked as she sat on the picnic blanket Baelfire—Neal—had spread for the two of them in the castle’s courtyard.

It was the last full day of the Stiltskin’s visit to the Enchanted Forest palace, and Emma found that she’d enjoyed their stay far more than she’d expected to.  While Rumplestiltskin looked frightening with his golden, scaly skin and his lizard-like eyes, he’d been nothing but cordial while in their household.

Everyone knew the stories.  Rumple had lost his son through a portal more than a century ago, and he dedicated every moment of his life afterwards trying to do two things: maintain his power, and find his son.  Emma had read the storybook; she knew that Rumplestiltskin had been responsible for the terrible curse Grandma Regina had almost cast.  He was certainly not someone to let your guard down around.  He could be utterly ruthless when crossed.

Still, he’d shown no malevolence toward the Charmings and their household while present.

And Emma found that she genuinely like Baelfire—or Neal Cassidy, or whatever he wanted to be called.  He was several years older than her, but he seemed to enjoy spending time with her, asking about her life, accompanying her as she took food to the poor residents of the village, telling her bits and pieces of his life while away from his Papa.

He was an amusing companion, but Emma still found herself missing Killian.  Neal could potentially become a dear friend, but Killian…well Killian was like a piece of her very self, as necessary to her as air.

“No worries, Em,” Neal said, leaning back on his elbows and looking up at the tree leaves above them.  “It’s not something I can’t bring myself to talk about or anything.  I’ll tell you my story if you want.”

As the afternoon faded into twilight, Neal told Emma about the tragic—but adventurous life he’d lived.  When his father became the Dark One, he changed.  In an attempt to get his Papa back, Neal had obtained a magic bean that would take them to a land without magic, but at the last moment, Rumple had refused to come through the portal with him.  After a short stint with a family in the Land Without Magic, he’d found himself in the nightmare-ish realm of Neverland.

Emma listened with baited breath as Neal explained how he’d finally, finally found a way off of Neverland—and actually managed to escape.

“And you went back to the Land Without Magic?” Emma asked.

“Yeah.”

“What’s that like?  How do they get by without any magic?”

“Well,” Neal said, staring into the horizon, “it’s a far different place than here, that’s for sure.  They don’t have magic, but they’ve discovered something called ‘electricity’ that lets them turn on lights without fire.  They also get around in these things called ‘cars’ that are these, I don’t know how to describe them, they’re like horseless carriages.  They also have indoor plumbing—so you can get all the hot or cold water you want just by turning a knob.”

“Wow!” Emma said, “it sounds like a wondrous land, why did you ever leave?”

Neal’s brow furrowed and a frown turned down his mouth.  “I…I got in some trouble, Em.  I’d swiped a number of watches from a jeweler, and the authorities had a warrant out on me.  I was about to be sent to jail; I had to do something.”

Emma frowned.  “You were a thief?”

“Yeah,” he said, raising a hand as though to ward off her objectives, “but Em, hear me out.  I’d…I’d been stealing all my life in the Land Without Magic.  Had too; it was the only way I could get by, unless I wanted to end up in the system.  Then I got the job at the jewelry store, and…I don’t know.  The idiot who ran the store left the counter of watches unlocked at the end of the night.  He was just begging to be robbed.”

Emma’s frown deepened.

“I messed up, okay?” Neal said, shooting her a pleading look.  “Wish I could go back and undo it, but I can’t.”

Emma was silent for a moment, but then nodded, deliberately smoothing out her features.  She supposed everyone did things they weren’t proud of.  It wasn’t really her place to judge a man she barely knew.  “But there’s one thing I don’t understand, Neal.”

“Yeah, what’s that?”

“How did you even get back here?”  Emma asked.  “If the land didn’t have magic, how in any realm did you find a way to open a portal?”

Neal grinned fondly.  “I didn’t come over to the Land Without Magic alone.  I brought Tinkerbelle with me, and she had a little bit of pixie dust left.  Hadn’t been able to use it for years, after she lost her wings, but when she saw me so frantic to get away, she managed to make it work to create a portal.  I wanted her to come through with me, but she’d built up a life for herself there and she didn’t want to leave.”

“And…you weren’t upset about coming back and coming face to face with your father again?”

Neal shrugged.  “Yeah, I was, but it was better than ending up in the slammer.  And Em, he’s different now.  He seems to really be trying; wants to see me happy.”

“And are you?” Emma asked.

Neal turned slowly toward her, until he was lying on his side, his head pillowed on his hand.  Emma felt an unpleasant thrill go through her when she saw the look in his eyes.  That was the same look Killian had given her that day they’d had their fateful picnic.  That was the look of a man thoroughly smitten.

While the look had confused her when it had adorned Killian’s face…her heart had beaten a bit faster, her joy had spiked at the thought he might feel more for her than merely the friendship they’d enjoyed for years. 

When it came to Neal, however, the look only filled her with dread.  She would like to be Neal’s friend, but that’s all she ever wanted from him.

Finally Neal spoke, and Emma winced at the gravely sound of his voice.  “Yeah, Em, I am, but you know what would make me even happier?”

Don’t say it!  Please don’t say it!

“I…I don’t know,” Emma said, getting to her feet, and reaching for the picnic basket, “but we’d best get going back.  Don’t want to miss dinner.”

Neal quickly got to his own feet and stilled her with a hand to her shoulder.  “We’ve got time.  There’s something I have to say, and since Dad and I are leaving tomorrow, I’m running out of time to say it.”

Please don’t!

“Neal…” she said drawing out the name, hoping he got the message.

“Just hear me out Em,” he continued.  “I’m crazy about you. You’ve made me happier than I’ve been in ages.  I was…I was hoping maybe you’d let me court you.”

Emma felt her stomach plummet.  Apparently there was no way to avoid this conversation. 

“Neal,” she said, taking a little step back.  “I’m…I’m flattered by your interest, but I’m sorry.  I can’t accept.  I can’t court you.”

His jaw dropped.  “But why not?  You think the son of the Dark One isn’t good enough for you?  Can’t forgive my mistakes in the Land Without Magic?  Knew I shouldn’t have told you about that!”

“No!” Emma said quickly, “it’s nothing like that.  It’s just…Neal, I’ve enjoyed spending time with you throughout the past fortnight, but I simply don’t have those kinds of feelings for you.”

“Maybe not yet,” Neal pleaded.  “But maybe you just need to give it a chance!  Maybe you just don’t know what those kinds of feelings feel like.  Maybe I could persuade you to fall for me?”

“I’m sorry Neal,”  Emma said again, “but I know my feelings.  I…I know what it feels like to love someone.  You’re a great guy, but I’m sure I won’t ever feel that way for you.”

Neal looked at her sadly for another moment, but then finally dropped his eyes, slowly nodding.

“I really am sorry, Neal,” Emma said.

“Hey,” he said, “no need to apologize.  I get it.  If you don’t have feelings for me, you don’t have feelings for me.  How ‘bout we head back to the castle for that dinner your mom’s been planning all week?”

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

Things were a bit awkward between Emma and Neal that evening, and all in all, she was glad when he and his papa left the next morning.  To his credit, Neal bid her a cordial farewell in the morning, acting almost as though nothing of the afternoon before had happened.  Emma was incredibly grateful.  She’d never been in a situation where she had to turn down a suitor’s advances before, and she found that she didn’t enjoy it at all.

With the Stiltskins heading back toward the Dark Castle, Emma breathed a sigh of relief.  No matter how…awkward things might have ended up, it looked like they were over—and had gone as well as could be expected.

That’s what Emma believed, that is, until the night a week later when the Dark One himself appeared in all his dark glory in the Charmings’ dining room.

Emma and her parents had been enjoying a lovely family dinner, all seated together at one end of the long, magnificent dining room table, talking and laughing, and basking in the family time they had together, when suddenly black smoke filled the dining room.

When it cleared, Rumplestiltskin stood at the head of the table.  Surprised, Charming quickly got to his feet, drawing his sword as he did so, but Rumplestiltskin sent the sword flying with a lazy flick of his fingers.

“I demand to know the meaning of this,” Snow White said, coming to stand beside her husband.  “Please do us the courtesy of giving word before you come to our home!”

Rumple giggled.  “Why would I do that?  I’m the Dark One.  It’s not like you can stop me.”

Charming stepped forward, arms crossed. “Maybe not, but we can and will fight you.  Now, please answer my wife’s question.  What is the meaning of this?”

“The meaning, dearies,” Rumple said, moving until he was standing directly in front of Emma, “is that my son is not happy.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Charming said, “but it doesn’t explain why you’d barge into my castle.”

Rumple clicked his tongue.  “Barge?  I did not barge.  I made quite an elegant entrance.”

“Just answer the question!” Snow insisted with a roll of her eyes.

“Very well,” Rumple said, and then pointed one, scaly finger in Emma’s direction.  “I’d wager your little princess knows a fair bit about what’s bothering my lad.  She’s to blame after all.  She turned down my Bae’s plea that she allow him to court her.”

Snow looked quickly at her daughter.  “You didn’t tell us he asked to court you, honey.”

Emma felt her face flame and something akin to shame fill her.  “I’m sorry Mama.  It was awkward; I…I just didn’t want to keep thinking about it.  I’m sorry, but I can’t court Balefire.  I don’t love him.  Please don’t force me.”

Snow stepped up and gave her daughter a hug.  “Nonsense Emma, I wasn’t scolding you.  I was just surprised.  Of course you’re free to court whoever you like.”

David stepped up to her other side.  “And no one will be forcing you to court or marry any man you don’t wish to.”

“About that,” Rumple said with a nasty grin, “I beg to differ.  You see, my son is sad, and we can’t have that.  Last time my son was less than content he left me, and that is not going to happen again.  There is, fortunately, a simple solution.  We must simply ensure my son rises from the doldrums and becomes my happy, loving Baelfire once more.”

“What are you saying?” Charming asked angrily.

“What I’m saying, dearie,” Rumple said deliberately, “is that your daughter will accept my son’s courtship and his hand in marriage.  Prepare yourself for a wedding!  In two months’ time, I’ll return to collect Emma and take her back to my castle where she’ll be wed to my son.”

There was a shocked silence in the dining room for another beat in time before Rumple spoke again.  “And don’t even think about trying to stop me.  Trust me, you don’t want to know what will happen to you and your entire kingdom if the blushing bride isn’t ready to go upon my return.”

 

Notes:

--Happy Friday!  It’s been a long week for me and I am soooooo ready for the weekend!

--We’re coming to the climax of this little story very, very soon.  As you saw, Rumple didn’t take Emma rejecting his son very well at all, and has decided to strong-arm her into doing his bidding.  Don’t worry, though!  Emma’s hardly going to meekly stand for a bully to dictate her life for her—nor will she be alone.  She’ll have her parents, Killian, and her grandma Regina backing her.

--Up next: the penultimate chapter of The Swan Princess.  Emma takes refuge with her powerful grandmother, Regina, who’s magic may be able to stave off the Dark One long enough for them to come up with a plan.  Charming calls his navy home to prepare for a potential war with the Dark One, and a certain soon-to-be lieutenant shows he’s willing to move heaven and earth to save his Swan Princess from a fate she didn’t choose.  But will any of their efforts be enough to stop an immortal and all powerful Dark One?

Chapter Text

CS Genre: Lieutenant Duckling

The day dawned dark and dreary.  It had been storming for a solid three days, but it looked like the worst of it was finally past.  Killian sat up in his bunk, put his head in his hands and sighed in relief.

The storms, while not serious, had made the Jewel of the Realm sway and pitch so violently that even the most stalwart of the sailors were turning a bit green.  Killian gingerly took a sip of water, waited a beat to see how his stomach would take it and then nodded in satisfaction.  He hadn’t been so seasick since his first journey with Papa when he was a wee lad.

There was a quick, tentative knock on the door, and then Liam stepped in, his brows furrowed in obvious worry.  “Safe to enter, little brother?”

Killian groaned.  “Younger brother!” he croaked out.

Liam gave him a tight smile and stepped into the captain’s quarters, shutting the door firmly behind him.  It was quite something, being here in the captain’s quarters!  It was rather unheard of, a naval captain giving his bed to a common enlisted man, but as soon as it was clear Killian was quite sick, their captain had surrendered his room quite readily.

“I’m needed at the helm, my lads,” he’d said in his deep, gravelly voice, “and besides, in a matter of a few months this chamber will belong to Captain Liam Jones anyway.”

It was an unexpected boon, and one the Jones brothers were certainly not going to turn down.

Killian made a quick quip about the ship pitching around as though it was being guided by the hand of a rather rambunctious tot, but then chanced a look at his brother’s eyes.  He looked…troubled was far too mild a word for it.

“Liam…what’s the matter?” Killian asked in a small voice.

“We’re being called back to the Enchanted Forest,” Liam said without preamble, sitting heavily beside Killian on the bed.

Killian’s heart leapt.  “We’re being sent back? But…that’s a good thing, isn’t it?  We’ve both been longing for home for weeks now.”

“I’m afraid…” Liam said, cleared his throat and then tried again.  “I’m afraid the circumstances around our return are rather unfortunate.  The king is amassing his full force to prepare for war.”

“War!” Killian said, getting quickly to his feet, then closing his eyes and willing the nausea away as his head began to spin.  “What the bloody hell happened while we were away?  King David and Queen Snow have no enemies!”

“It would seem they’ve acquired one,” Liam said grimly.  “I’m not privy to all the details, but it seem the Dark One’s visit to the castle ended rather badly…and now he’s threatening violence.”

“Emma,” Killian said, beginning to pace.  “Is Emma well?”

“As I said,” Liam said with a shrug, “I’m not privy to the details.  But it seems a letter arrived for you along with the order to return.”

Killian fairly snatched the missive from his brother’s hand, desperately praying the paper would contain words of comfort.

When he saw it had been written in the hand of the queen rather than that of his Swan Princess, his heart sank.  Something dreadful had occurred.  Something truly, truly dreadful.

For a moment, Killian merely stared at the unopened letter, irrationally hoping that if he didn’t read it its contents couldn’t be true, but at long last he turned it over, slid one finger under the flap until he’d broken the wax seal, and then pulled out the paper from within.

Killian,

I’m afraid I have some rather shocking news to relate.  The Dark One’s visit was not the uneventful visit of state I had hoped.  It seems his son, Baelfire—Neal—has developed a certain…fondness for our Emma.  When she gently told him his feelings are unrequited, he appeared to take the news well—disappointed but gracious.

Just a week later, the Dark One returned and insisted his son’s heartbreak was not to be borne.  In short, he’s demanded Emma wed his son in two weeks’ time.

Naturally her father and I will not force her to wed a man she does not love, but I fear our refusal will set off a war with the Dark One.  We’ve sent Emma to stay with my step-mother, Regina while we attempt to craft a plan, we’re hoping, of course, Regina’s magic will be sufficient to deter Rumplestiltskin.

Killian, I write to you because I am frightened, frightened for my daughter.  I know how much you love her, and if I might say as much, I think your feelings are far from unrequited.  Because of your love, I know you’ll do all you can to protect my little girl.  If the situation is agreeable to you, the navy will let you disembark at the dock nearest Regina’s castle, and there you’ll go to protect my Emma.

Please be careful Killian!  The Dark One is not someone to trifle with.  I couldn’t bear it if something were to happen to you as well as Emma.

Yours,

Queen Snow White.

Killian crushed the letter in his fist, swearing fluently and beginning to pace the cabin.

“Bad news, brother?” Liam asked.

“The worst,” Killian said grimly.  “Come, we must persuade to captain to get this journey underway.  It’s been a full week since this letter was written, and we don’t have a moment to lose!  If that bloody Crocodile thinks he’s going to take my love away against her will, he’ll have to go through me first!”

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

“Teach me magic!” Emma demanded, bursting into her grandmother’s sitting room.

“I beg your pardon!” the queen mother said haughtily, placing her tiny baby girl in a bassinet.

“Teach me magic,” Emma repeated.  “It’s been thirteen days since Rumplestiltskin made his threat, and I can’t just sit here like some stupid damsel in distress.  I want to fight!  I want to save myself!”

“Emma, magic isn’t something that can be simply taught,” Regina said, crossing her arms.  “You need to be born or cursed with it.”

“I was born with it!” Emma continued.  “I’m the product of True Love, and that gave me pure white magic!  You saw yourself what happened at my twelfth birthday party!  I didn’t like the color of the dress my mother wanted me to wear—it was pink—and I managed to magic it blue.  You, yourself told me I have the potential to be great.  Please, please teach me!  I can’t simply let the Dark One force me into marriage, and I can’t sit by while those I love fight—and probably die—for me!”

Regina looked at her impassively for a moment, and then took her seat once more, gesturing for Emma to do the same.  “Emma, the Dark One has the strongest, darkest magic of any being in any realm.  Do you really believe a young woman who’s been learning for only a day has any hope of defeating him?”

Emma crossed her arms and put on her most stubborn look. “Maybe, maybe not, but I’m not going down without a fight!”

Regina sighed, reached over to rock little Henrie’s bassinet until the baby went back to sleep, and then shot Emma a resigned look.  “Alright, Princess.  I’ll teach you, but just…don’t get your hopes up.”

The afternoon passed pleasantly enough, with Emma soaking up her grandmothers magic lessons like a sponge, and Grandpa Robin looking on proudly.

After Grandma Regina had accepted Mama’s offer of grace, she’d remembered how Tinkerbelle’s pixie dust had led her to a man with a lion tattoo in a tavern.  Curious, she’d returned to the village in which the tavern was situated, and she found her soulmate once again.  Robin of Locksley was a widower with a very young son.  It seems his wife, Marian had passed away suddenly after a brief but rather fast moving illness.

Things hadn’t been all rainbow stickers and unicorn kisses at first for the pair.  They’d bickered as though it were their profession, swearing up, down and center that they utterly despised each other, but in the end, they’d discovered that the passionate hatred they felt for each other was actually something else entirely.  Love.  True, abiding love.

They’d been wed the next year in a lovely ceremony in the heart of the forest with Friar Tuck presiding.

Emma didn’t remember any of this, of course, as she wasn’t born until two years after the forest wedding, but she’d grown up hearing the tale, reading it in her storybook.  As it happened, the queen mother’s love story was almost as well-known as that of the king and queen.

But Regina’s and Robin’s happily-ever-after wasn’t finished when they said I do.  In a very rash moment several years before her wedding, Regina had taken a potion of infertility in an attempt to foil her mother, Cora’s plans for her life.

As could be expected, once Regina was wed to her soulmate, she came to greatly regret her impulsive action and began actively looking for a way to reverse the potion she’d taken. 

It was a year and a half ago that Regina had succeeded at her task, finally finding the ingredients she needed to make an antidote.  Nine months later, nearly to the day, she’d given birth to a lovely baby girl who she and Robin had agreed to name Henrietta after her father.  Roland, now a twenty-two year old man who’d just wed Princess Ella and Prince Thomas’s daughter, Alexandra, had promptly shortened his sister’s name to simply ‘Henrie’, and the nickname had stuck.

Emma trained with Regina until sunset broke over the castle.  By the time their training came to an end, Emma could produce a fireball and had become reasonably adept at blasting things out of her way.  Would it be enough to keep the Dark One at bay?

Combined with Regina’s magic, she could only hope the answer was yes.

The family had just settled down to dinner, when there was a disturbance in the entrance hall.  Concerned, both Emma and Regina got to their feet, fireballs at the ready.

But when the dining room door opened, it wasn’t an enemy, but a very concerned soon-to-be-Lieutenant Killian Jones who burst through the door.

Emma stood slack-jawed for a heartbeat, hardly able to believe her eyes, and then she ran—almost flew—across the rush-covered stone floor and launched herself into Killian’s arms, pushing him out the door—and away from prying eyes—in the process.

He braced himself for impact, and then held her close, smiling as he buried his face in the crook of her neck.  She pulled back, peppering his cheeks with kisses, smiling as he chuckled at her enthusiasm.

“Killian, how are you here?” she asked, between kisses.

“Well, Swan, I got a letter from your…”

“Never mind,  I don’t care how.  I’m just glad you’re here,” Emma said breathlessly, pushing herself to her tiptoes and fusing her mouth to his.  Killian responded almost immediately, wrapping her more firmly in his arms, tilting his head to deepen the kiss, taking all she had to give and giving her the same in return.

Emma had no idea how long the kiss lasted—it could have been minutes; it could have been hours.  Kissing Killian was so overwhelming, so all-consuming that mundane things like time simply ceased to matter.  But at long last, she broke away, breathing deeply as she smiled almost shyly into his eyes.

“Killian,” she said, reaching up to wipe a tear from his cheek, feeling him do the same for her.  “I love you.  I just…I needed you to know.”

His smile bloomed over his entire face, and Emma returned the smile, loving the little crinkles in the corners of his eyes.  “Swan, you have no idea how very much I’ve longed to hear that, and I love you too.  To the very depths of my heart.”

And with that he leaned down and took her lips once more.  This kiss was slower, deeper, infinitely more tender, and when it came to an end, Killian merely rested his forehead against hers.

“I know about the Dark One,” he said hoarsely.  “Your parents sent me here to help protect you.  I swear to you, Swan, on my very life, he won’t touch you.  You’ll be forced to marry a man you don’t wish to only over my dead body.”

“Don’t even suggest that,” Emma said quickly, cupping his cheek, feeling the scrape of his scruff against her palm.  “I can’t lose you, do you hear me Killian Jones?  I cannot lose you.”

He smiled.  “I’m sure it won’t come to that, love,” Killian said.  “Between my sword, your Grandfather Robin’s bow, your Grandmother Regina’s magic, and the entire force of your parents’ army and navy, the Dark One won’t stand a chance.”

“Well, I’m not just going to stand around and say ‘woe is me’, you know,” Emma said.  “Grandma’s been teaching me magic, and you better believe I’m going to fight to save myself!”

Killian chuckled and then leaned down to peck her lips once more.  “That’s my Swan Princess!” he said.  “I’ve yet to see you fail at anything you’ve put your mind to.  Between all of us, I’ve no doubt we’ll succeed at skinning our Crocodile.”

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

All through the next day, the entire castle was on edge.  Even little Henrie fussed far more than normal, no doubt sensing the tension among the adults around her.

Today was the day Rumplestiltskin was slated to come for Emma.  What was worse, storms at sea had delayed the Charmings and their soldiers, meaning they would almost definitely arrive too late to lend their aid in the showdown. 

But when night fell with no sign of the sparkly golden imp, Emma and Killian breathed a sigh of relief and started to hope the Dark One’s threats had been nothing more than bluster.

Their relief was short lived.

When night had fallen fully and the servants began their end-of-the-evening tasks, Killian sat with Emma beside one of the magnificent great hall fires.  Turning toward her, he cupped her cheeks in his hands and leaned forward to give her a quick kiss.

“It looks as though the Dark One has seen fit to show you mercy, love.”

Suddenly there was a swirl of purple smoke, and when it cleared there was the Dark One in all his sparkly glory.

“I wouldn’t count on it, dearie!” He said, with a little giggle that set Killian’s teeth on edge.  “Mercy’s not really my thing.”

Killian was on his feet in an instant shouting loudly in his shock and dismay.  Before he even had a chance to draw his sword, Regina was there, alerted by his shout, standing protectively in front of both Emma and Killian.

“Funny,” she said with barely controlled rage, “I don’t remember inviting you to my castle, Rumple.”

Rumple giggled again, plucked a grape out of the fruit bowl on the end table, popped it in his mouth, and then seated himself with a flourish—in the most luxuriant seat in the house.  “Today’s the day I collect my son’s bride.  She’s here.  The invitation was kind of implied.”

“I am no one’s bride,” Emma said firmly, “at least not until I choose to be.  Your son knows full well how things stand between us.  I was quite clear when I told him I’d value his friendship, but that’s all that could ever exist between us.”

Rumple steepled his hands and smirked at her over the top of them.  “Oh, but there’s where you’re wrong, dearie.  My son wants you, and you he shall have.”

“Think carefully, Dark One,” Regina said, forming a fireball in her hand.  “If you come into my home and threaten to kidnap my granddaughter, I’m going to be rather offended, and you don’t want to see where that will lead you.”

When Rumple merely continued to smirk, Regina sent her fireball through the air, but Rumple was too fast for her.  In an instant, he was out of his chair, smile wiped from his face.  With one lazy flick of his wrist the fireball disappeared.  With a second, he sent Regina flying until she crashed into the stonework around the fireplace.  She slunk to the ground unconscious.

“Now,” Rumple said nastily, “I grow tired of the delay.  You, Princess Emma, belong to me—or rather to my son Bae—It’s time I take what belongs to me.”

Killian felt his blood boil, and he surged forward until his sword was pointed at the Dark One’s throat.  “Emma is not a possession to be passed from one person to another!  She stays right here until she damn well chooses to leave!”

Rumple looked on Killian with a sneer.  “And just who might you be, pirate?”

“I am no pirate!”

Rumple giggled yet again.  “Oh but I think you are.  What else should I call a man who steals what belongs to another man?”

Killian felt a surge of protectiveness run through his veins.  “You take her against her will only over my dead body!”

“That can be arranged,” Rumple said, smiling nastily. “Maybe I’ll start by relieving you of that hand waving a sword at me?”

“No!”  Emma shouted, pushing Killian out of the way, raising her hands protectively.  “Don’t touch him!  It’s me you want.”

The next few moments were pure chaos.  Emma shot a surge of magic at Rumple, which did nothing more than push him back a step.  Killian got to his feet, preparing to charge, but with a wave of magic, Rumple froze him in place.  Killian watched in horror as Rumple then extended his hand, choking Emma and lifting her off her feet with nothing but the force of his magic. 

“Now, dearie,” Rumple said, “you have one more chance.  Think very, very carefully.  Either you agree to come with me willingly, be a good girl, and marry my son, or I rip out your heart and force you.”

“Never!” Emma choked out with what little breath she could muster around Rumple’s hold.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Rumple said with a shrug. 

He shot his hand out, clearly prepared to carry out his threat when there was a disturbance at the great hall door.

“Let her go!” a man shouted as he sprinted into the room. “Let them both go or I swear, Papa, you’ll never see me again!”

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d

Emma took deep shuddering breaths as Rumple finally released her and she fell to the ground.  She massaged her bruised windpipe, and then felt Killian’s strong arms around her, lifting her to her feet, looking concernedly into her eyes.

“Swan!  Are you alright love?” he asked.

“Yes,” she croaked, cupping his cheek in one hand, “I’m fine Killian.”

Together they turned back to the other two men.

“Bae!” Rumple said.  “What are you doing here son?”

“Apparently keeping you from your same old crap,” Neal said, eyes narrowed.  “You’re unbelievable, you know that?  I keep thinking you’ve changed, but you never will.  When will you get it through your thick skull that I don’t want a single, damn thing you get for me by murdering or strong arming people?”

“Please!” Rumple begged.  “I just wanted to make you happy, Bae!  She refused you!”

“And that was her right!” Neal thundered, getting in his father’s face.  “I have half a mind to just leave, wash my hands of you and this whole damn land.”

“No, Bae!” Rumple said, taking hold of his son’s shoulder.  “I can change!  I can change!”

Neal took a step back and then pulled a small pouch out of his pocket.  “You can change, Papa?” he asked.  “Prove it.”

“Anything!”

“You know what this is?” Neal asked, shaking the pouch.  “Pixie dust.  Enough to make just one more portal.  I’m heading back to the Land Without Magic.  This is your chance to make up for the last time.  Come with me.  We’ll make a life for ourselves.  Maybe look up Tink.  Find some quiet place where we can just be a family.”

“But Bae,” Neal said, eyes wild, “I…I can’t.  I’ll be powerless!  I know nothing about that world!”

“I’ll teach you all you need to know,” Neal said, “but I swear to you Papa.  This is your last chance.  You either come with me where you can’t ever hurt anyone again, or I go alone.  And you know what happens if you make the same choice as last time?  You never see me again, you understand me?  Never.”

For several moments there was silence.  Emma could see the conflict on Rumplestiltskin’s face, the warring inside between his love of power and his love of his son.  She held her breath, inwardly praying he’d choose Bae, praying they’d soon be free of  the ever-present threat of the Dark One.

Finally, Rumple’s shoulders dropped and he nodded slowly.  “Very well, Bae.  We’ll go to your Land Without Magic.”

A smile broke out across Neal’s face, and he clapped his father on the shoulder.  “Papa!”

Evidently feeling it best to act before the Dark One had a chance to change his mind, Neal tossed the last handful of pixie dust onto the great room floor, and a swirling, green portal opened up before them.

“Neal,” Emma said, just before the Stiltskin’s took their leap.

He turned toward her.  “Yeah, Em?”

“Thank you.”

He smiled gently once more.  “Hey, no problem.  Look, I hope you find your happy ending, even if it isn’t with me.”

Without another word, Neal took hold of his father’s hand, and together they jumped through the portal and into their own fresh start.  Whether or not that fresh start would lead to a happy ending was anyone’s guess, but they’d taken that first step.

As the portal closed around the Dark One and his son, Emma turned back toward the man she loved.  “Killian,” she said, “we’re free!”

He picked her up, twirled her around, and then leaned up to capture her lips in a searing kiss.

“I suppose this means you survived the showdown with the Dark One,” came a dry voice from behind him.

Emma looked back to see Grandma Regina getting gingerly to her feet, rubbing at her head with a grimace.

“More than survived,” Emma said with a laugh, “we won!”

Regina nodded firmly, and then clutched at her head once more.  “I wouldn’t have expected any less from a granddaughter of mine.”

 

Notes:

--Well there you have it!   All that’s left is a fluffy epilogue.  Are you surprised I found a way to give EVERYONE their happy endings?  This is, after all, Fluffy Fridays; happy endings are the name of the game!

--This was an extremely long chapter for Fluffy Fridays, but I really, really wanted to get through the whole climactic scene this week.

--Up next:  The conclusion of  The Swan Princess.  The Charmings hold a ball jointly in honor of Emma’s 18th birthday and the Jones brothers’ promotions….Let’s just say Emma and Killian will find this ball far more enjoyable—and life-changing—than their first one!

 

 

Chapter Text

The Swan Princess Epilogue

CS Genre: Lieutenant Duckling

A/N: Warning: Absolutely ridiculous levels of happy, sugary fluff ahead.  Proceed at your own risk…

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

Killian took a deep breath, feeling the sweat bead on his forehead, his heart hammering in his chest.  He doubted he’d ever been so nervous in his entire nineteen years of existence.  Slowly letting out his breath, Killian squared his shoulders and rapped firmly on the door before him.

It had been a beautiful, absolutely blissful two months here at the castle ever since the Dark One had gone to the Land Without Magic.  He and Emma had spent an idyllic summer together, talking, laughing, holding each other—and whenever they could steal away (which was no easy feat with all seven of the dwarves styling themselves the princess’s own personal chaperones), long, slow kisses.

Killian didn’t even know it was possible to be so deeply, so passionately, so stupidly in love.  But after a summer of paradise, Killian found he wanted more, much, much more.  He wanted everything.

And so it was that he stood outside the King and Queen’s private sitting room literally shaking in his boots as he waited for his Swan Princess’s parents to grant him entrance.

“Enter,” came the voice of the king.

This was it.  Sending up a quick prayer to heaven, Killian grasped the door handle, twisted, and then pushed.  Queen Snow and King David sat in comfortable chairs in their sitting area, the sun shining merrily on the happy, True Love couple.

“Killian,” Snow said with a smile and a raised eyebrow, “I’m surprised to see you up and about so early.  You and my daughter were out quite late for your moonlight stroll last night.  I understand the stirrings of young love, but I’m afraid we’ll all suffer today with Grumpy’s complaints about lack of sleep.”

Killian grinned in spite of himself, remembering the night before, seated with Emma in the royal gardens.  He thought of the becoming blush on her cheek as he’d cut and given her a middlemist flower and then tucked it into her loose bun.  The romantic moment had been broken by the quiet grumbling of Emma’s chaperone of the night, and the couple had dissolved into laughter.

“I apologize for the unpleasantness your highness, but I can’t bring myself to regret my evening with Swan.”

“Nor would I expect you to,” David said, getting to his feet and clapping Killian on the shoulder.  “My wife and I were just about to sit down to an informal breakfast.  Would you like to join us?”

“Thank you, but I couldn’t impose,” Killian said, feeling all of his nerves rush back in upon him now that the moment of truth was upon him.  “I…I merely wanted to have a quick word with you both, and then I’ll leave you to your repast.”

Snow and David shot each other an amused look, and Killian couldn’t help but wonder if the king and queen had a suspicion about what Killian wished to discuss with them.

“Have a seat,” David said, leading Killian to an ornate sofa across from their chairs.  Then, taking his own seat, David took his wife’s hand and threaded his fingers with hers.  “Now, Killian, what’s on your mind?”

Killian swallowed audibly, trying desperately to calm his pounding heart.  “Your majesties,” he said formally.  “I wanted to inform you that I love your daughter with all my heart.”

Snow shot an amused look at her husband, and then turned back toward Killian.  “Yes, Killian, we’re well aware of your feelings for Emma.  Was there maybe a question you wanted to ask the king and me?”

Killian nodded.  “Aye.  I…I know I’m merely a lieutenant in your navy and I can’t provide your daughter with the kind of life a true prince could, but I vow to you I will offer her a lifetime of everlasting love, devotion and respect.  Your Majesties, I…I’ve come to ask your blessing to propose marriage to Emma.”

The king and queen were silent for a moment, and then King David turned toward Killian with a smile on his lips and tears in his eyes.  “Killian, I can’t speak for my wife, but for my part…I think I’ve hoped this day would come ever since you and my little Swan Princess were inseparable childhood friends.  You have my blessing gladly, and I can’t wait to welcome you into the family.”

Killian felt his heart leap.   He turned toward the queen, awaiting her response.

“I’ll grant my blessing on one condition.”  The queen twisted the silver wedding ring with the small green stone from her finger.  “It’s said that True Love follows this ring wherever it goes.  I would be pleased if you’d present this to my daughter as a token of your love and commitment.”

Killian took the ring reverently with trembling fingers.  This conversation had gone far, far better than he’d ever hoped.

“Thank you,” he said in a voice gruff with emotion, “and I would be absolutely honored to use this ring to propose to Emma.”

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

Dear Em,

I hope you get this letter.  Ariel the mermaid promised she could take a letter across realms, but who knows?  I know full well how difficult realm travel can be.

 Anyway, I hope you’re doing alright, and I just wanted to let you know that things are working out well here in the Land Without Magic.  Papa and I settled in this city called “Boston”.  Em, I bet you’d have liked it.  Right now, I’m just working odd jobs—stores, restaurants, that sort of thing, but I have ideas for the future.

Papa started his spinning again.  Turns out he’s really good at it.  I found him this old fashioned loom, and he’s even started weaving blankets, simple clothing items, that sort of thing.  I’m hoping one day we’ll be able to open our own little shop—papa makes the clothes and I run the business side of things.

But that’s not even the biggest news.

Remember how I said Tink stayed behind because she’d made a life for herself? Turns out she wasn’t being totally honest with me.  See, she figured I’d come back some day, and she wanted to give me a fresh start.  Offered herself up to the police; confessed to my crime of stealing the watches.  They gave her 11 months, which kills me!  It should have been me doing the time, but Tink insisted it was what she really wanted.

I’m just blown away.  And, Em?  Turns out you made the right call turning me down.  Don’t get me wrong, you’re a great person and Killian’s a lucky guy, but when I got back to the Land Without Magic and sawTink again and found out what she did for me last year after I came back here…well, I suddenly realized it’s her I have feelings for.  We’ve been dating for about a month, and I think things are going good.

So hey!  Happy endings for everyone, right?

Anyway, I know your big birthday ball is coming up soon and I hope you have a good one.

Take care!

Neal Cassidy

Emma folded up the letter, smiling happily.  She was glad everything seemed to have worked out the way it was supposed to.  And who knows?  Maybe in the Land Without Magic Rumplestiltskin could even find a way to be a decent person.  Stranger things had happened.

Looking at a clock on her chamber wall, Emma got to her feet.  The ball for her birthday and for Killian’s and his brother’s promotions would start in two and a half hours.  It was time she call for her maid to start her bath if she hoped to have time for her hair to fully dry in time for it to be styled.  (Aunt Ruby had promised to come help her style her hair, and then she and Elsa would help each other with make-up.)

She was on the point of opening her door and calling for a maid when there came a tentative knock at said door.  Emma opened it to reveal the man she loved.

Killian looked…nervous, ill-at-ease.  Emma’s stomach dropped.  What could be the matter?

“Killian?” she asked tentatively, opening the door wider and ushering him in (leaving the door conspicuously open so none of her diminutive chaperones need have the vapors over her being in her bedroom with a man.)  “Are…are you okay?”

He gave her a surprised glance and then pasted a very obviously forced smile on his face.  “Of course, love.  I’m perfectly shipshape.  I’ve come to wish you the happiest of birthdays.”

“Thank you…” Emma said slowly, still more than a little ill at ease at the strange way he was behaving.

“Might,” he said in a voice that cracked.  He cleared his throat and started again.  “Might we adjourn to your balcony, Swan?  I’ve something I wish to discuss with you, and the balcony seems an appropriate place.”

Emma gave him a probing look and then shrugged knowing he would eventually get around to telling her what was on his mind and her questioning would do nothing to help speed things up.  Emma turned toward the large French doors leading to the balcony that looked out on the castle’s gardens.  She had to admit it was a beautiful, romantic view.  On this morning with the sun shining down on the dew covering everything, it was positively gorgeous.

Once outside, Emma took a seat and watched in concern as Killian paced for a moment before turning toward her, squaring his shoulders.

“Emma…my Swan princess,” he began, eyes fervent and overflowing with feeling,  “You must know by now how deeply, how completely, how eternally I love you.”

Emma felt her heart melt and she smiled up at him, taking his hand and squeezing it.  “Of course I know, Killian, and I love you too.  So, so much.”

He smiled, squeezing her hand in return.  “Aye, love.  I know it full well.  It’s just…ever since we received word that Liam and Elsa are engaged to be married, I’ve given a good deal of thought to my own happy ending.  Do you know what I realized, Emma?”

She shook her head,

“I realized, my love,” he said, dropping down to one knee before her chair, “that I have no need to search for my happy ending, because I’ve found it already.”

Emma’s eyes widened.  “If…if you’ve already found your happy ending…what is it?”

His eyes bored into hers.  “Don’t you know, Emma?  It’s you.”

She couldn’t have said a word if her life depended on it.  She drew in a deep breath, overwhelmed and so overcome with love she thought her heart would burst with it.  Slowly she leaned forward, pressed her lips to his, and told him in the only way she was capable just what his words meant to her.

The kiss went on and on, and Emma felt a single tear make its way down her cheek.  This was everything.  If the angel of death came for her right now, she could depart this life knowing she’d achieve perfect happiness.

After long moments, Killian pulled back, his hand still in her hair, and Emma could see the tears swimming in his eyes as well.

“Emma,” he said, voice hoarse with emotion, “I have something important I must ask you.”

She had more than a little idea of just what that something might be, and she wanted to yell her “yes” to the entire kingdom.  Instead, she calmly responded.  “Go ahead, Killian.  I’m listening.”

Killian pulled back, pulled a ring—her mother’s ring—from his waistcoat pocket, and held it before her.  “Emma, Princess of Misthaven, will you do me the greatest honor of my life and consent to become my wife?”

Emma slipped from her chair until she was on her knees with him.  Wrapping her arms around his neck, she smiled and whispered “yes” before pulling in for one more kiss.

~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~l~d~

Snow White sat in her throne beside her husband as the two looked out over the ball room.  The entire kingdom seemed to be in high spirits on this night, but she had eyes only for her daughter.   Snow’s heart turned over as she watched Emma, dressed in a lovely, princess cut red dress with her hair pulled up into a loose bun, dance with her newly minted lieutenant.  The love and utter joy on Emma’s face could have lit up the entire castle.

It was all Snow could have ever asked for her daughter.

“I think we did pretty well with our Swan Princess, don’t you think, my love?”

Snow pulled her eyes away from her daughter and turned to smile up at her husband.  “She looks so happy, Charming!  Did you see my ring on her finger?  Killian must have asked her and she must have said yes!”

“I’ve no doubt he did,” David said in return.  “I recognize that look on his face.  That’s the happy, almost reverent look of a man whose True Love has accepted his hand.”

“I knew they’d make the perfect couple,” Snow beamed.  “Didn’t I say it, even years ago when they were children?”

David laughed.  “That you did, my love; that you did.”  She watched as a look of wistfulness came over her husband’s face.  “I’m thrilled my daughter found such a good man and such a deep love, but I must admit.  I’m going to miss my little girl.”

Snow reached over and laced her fingers with her husbands.  “Don’t worry, Charming.  She’s not going anywhere.  She and Killian will no doubt take up residence in the castle—or at least upon the palace grounds.  We’ll see our Swan Princess nearly as much then as we do now.”

Snow put a protective hand over her flat stomach.  “Besides…David I have a feeling that in about eight months we’ll both be too busy to even notice the times when Emma’s absent.”

“What makes you think…” David began, and then abruptly ground to a halt as his eyes dropped to her hand.  “Snow…are you trying to tell me…”

Snow’s smile grew and she nodded.  “Late next spring a new little prince or princess is going to be taking up residence in the castle.  I’m pregnant.”

David’s face lit up, and then he leaned over and kissed her soundly.  The two of them had been hoping for a big family—both of them having grown up as only children—but after Emma, they’d never been blessed with another baby, no matter how much they tried for one.  That Snow finally, finally found herself with child once again was nothing short of a miracle.

“Are you happy?” She asked softly.

“No,” he answered seriously…and then smiled as widely as she’d ever seen him smile.  “I’m thrilled.  My country is at peace.  Our one remaining enemy is in a place where he can never again hurt us.  My daughter has found true love with a man I both care for and admire, and my wonderful wife just let me know that I’m about to be a father again.  There’s not a person in any realm I’d want to trade lives with.”

 

The End!

 

Notes:  Well, there you have it.  The ridiculously fluffy ending of The Swan Princess.  Not only did it end happily for everyone, but I think pretty much everyone ended up getting even more than they’d thought possible—Snow and Charming are pregnant with a little boy they’ll name Leo; Emma and Killian will marry and live happily ever after; Liam and Elsa will likewise marry and be ridiculously happy—making Emma and Elsa not only best friends but also sisters; Neal and Tink end up together; and Rumple succeeds at making a name for himself with his one-of-a-kind clothing line—and Grumpy’s chaperone services will no longer be necessary, thus eliminating the extra-grumpy mornings after Emma and Killian are out late on a date :-)  (I apologize for any tooth decay or weight gain you might have experienced as a result of this level of sugary sweetness, lol.)

--Up next:  I haven’t completely decided yet.  There are three Fridays left of the hiatus (only three!  Yay!), and I’m planning on filling them with canon compliant one-shots.  There’ll be a canon divergence, a deleted scene and a future fic.  As for what order those stories will come—or what seasons/arcs they’ll cover, I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned and find out!

Chapter Text

Sharing Beginnings

CS Genre: CS future fic

Emma took a deep breath, feeling the old familiar panic well up.  The fear that if she did this…if she let herself have this…she’d somehow lose it, lose him.

But she was done with fear.  She was done with walls.  She’d already experienced the worst pain possible—losing her true love.  This step should be easy.

“I…” she said, looking deeply into his eyes, “I love you.”

He didn’t respond in words, merely smiled and then surged forward, taking her lips in a kiss she felt from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.  As the kiss continued, she wrapped her arms tightly around his neck (She’d never let go again.  Never.), and then felt her feet leave the ground as he picked her up in his exuberance.

This was real!  This was perfect!  This was what a happy ending felt like.

At long last the kiss came to an end, and Killian reached up to caress her face with a shaking hand.  “I love you too, Swan,” he whispered hoarsely, “so bloody much.”

Emma smiled up at him, and then because she couldn’t help herself, brought his mouth down for another slow, deep kiss.  This, this right here was heaven.  Emma was vaguely aware that she and her pirate were putting on quite the show in broad daylight…right on the main street of town, but she didn’t have it in her to care.  After the literal hell they’d just gone through they deserved this little taste of heaven.

After long moments, Killian pulled back with a groan and attempted to put some distance between the two of them.  He ran his hand through his hair, making it stand up in adorable, longish tufts, and then he blew out a long breath.

“Perhaps we’d best remove to Granny’s establishment and join your family before your father sees us engaged in a passionate embrace and puts his blade through my back again.”

Emma laughed and took hold of his arm, laying her head on his shoulder.  “Don’t worry, Killian, I’ll protect you from my dad.  I’ve already lost you three times in the last couple of months, and that is far more than anyone should be forced to lose her True Love.”

He beamed at her use of the words “true love”, and the smile on his face brought out a pair of dimples she wanted to kiss.

Waving his hook in the direction of the diner, he said “shall we, love?”

She thought for a moment and then shook her head.  “No.  I don’t think so.  Not tonight.”

One of his eyebrows rose.  “No?  But Swan, I believe there were plans to celebrate our latest success?”

“Yeah,” Emma said dryly, “and Killian, that’s a recipe for disaster.  Seems like every time the town meets in Granny’s for a celebration all hell breaks loose.  And you know what?  I’m tired.  Surely the town can handle one night without the savior.”

“Quite right,” he said with a decisive nod.  “And I do, after all, remember a promise you made to me back in the Underworld.  You vowed to me that you would sleep for weeks once we returned home.”

Emma yawned hugely and then nodded.  “Sounds like a promise I can definitely keep.”

Killian took her hand, lacing their fingers.  “Come then, love.  Let me walk you home.”

They walked the three blocks to her home—their home—in comfortable silence.  Emma reveled in the bright sunshine, the soft warm breeze.  She’d never take it for granted again; not after the weeks they’d spent in the red-tinted, sulfur-scented Underworld.

It was finally starting to sink in.  They’d made it.  They’d survivedThey’d won!  It had been several months of both literal and figurative hell—between the two of them being co Dark Ones, being forced to kill the man she loved, and then having to ultimately leave him in the Underworld, she’d believed her whole world had crumbled upon her, felt like she’d never dig her way out of the rubble of her shattered life. 

But the gods had seen fit to show them favor.

Emma felt the tears begin to well up, but she willed them back.  There would be time, plenty of time, to deal with everything that had happened to her, to Killian, to her family and friends, to everyone, later.  For now, she just needed rest.

Killian stopped at the threshold of her home, waited for her to open the door, and then leaned in for a kiss.  He kept it gentle and feather light, and a moment later he was stepping back, turning toward the steps back toward the sidewalk with a gentle “Good night, my love.”

He was walking away from her?  She reacted instinctively, clutching at his arm.  “Killian, wait!”

He looked back at her, his eyebrows raised in surprised.

“I….” she said, “I was hoping you’d stay with me.  After all that’s happened…I need you with me.”

Killian’s face gentled.  “Of course, love,” he murmured, wrapping an arm around her and kissing the crown of her head.  “I didn’t wish to be presumptuous, but there’s nowhere I’d rather be than at your side.”

And with that, arm and arm, they made their way into their home and upstairs to their bedroom.

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Killian woke slowly, feeling a peace and contentment that had been absent from his life for months.  Before he even opened his eyes, he made note of his Emma lying in the protective circle of his arms, his nose buried in the fragrant cloud of her hair.  He heard the sea slowly washing on the beach and then receding from outside their partially open windo.

His heart felt so full he thought it might burst.

Moving slowly so as not to disturb his sleeping Swan, he rose to an elbow and looked down at her.  She was so bloody beautiful.  With her features relaxed in sleep and the sun shining down on her golden locks she looked like an angel.

They’d merely held each other through the night; nothing more.  They were both exhausted after their latest ordeals and the need for sleep won out over other more enjoyable urges.  But there would be plenty of time for that in the coming weeks and months and years.

Emma smiled slightly in her sleep, and she softly whispered his name.  And with that he couldn’t help himself.  He leaned forward and kissed her…the embrace beginning light and gentle but gradually picking up in fervor and intensity as Swan swam up from the depths of sleep, wrapped her arms around his neck, and moaned into the kiss.

After several long moments of bliss, Killian finally pulled back, looked down at her sleepy eyes and thoroughly kissed lips, and went in for round two.

When he pulled back the second time, Emma reached up to cup his cheek.  “I could get used to waking up like that on a daily basis.”

His laugh rumbled deep in his chest.  “Aye, as could I, love.”

“So…why don’t we make it official?” she asked.  Killian could tell she was attempting to sound casual and off-hand, but he could see the trepidation in her eyes.

“Official?”

“Yeah,” she said, glancing away and picking at the comforter.  “You know, move in with me.  I mean, that was the plan, right?  You and Henry picked out this place for the three of us.”

Killian was silent for a moment, overwhelmed, filled with joy beyond compare.

“I mean…if you’ve changed your mind, I get it….” Emma continued.  “I know you’ve got the Jolly Roger, and you may not want to be land locked, and maybe things are different now after everything that’s happened.  I don’t want to  make you think you have to if…”

But Killian didn’t let her continue, bringing his mouth down in a passionate, all-consuming kiss.  When he pulled back this time, his voice was more than a little gravelly.  “I’d hoped for an invitation; more than you know.  You Emma are my home.  I’ll be content wherever I am as long as you’re beside me.”

She beamed up at him, pecked him gently on the lips, and then got to a seated position.  “I mean, I know we have some work to do on the place.  I want to totally redo the decorating; want to get rid of all the reminders of our days as the Dark Ones.  And, of course, we’ve got to figure out what to do with our creepy Dark One dungeon.”

“All in good time, darling,” he said with a chuckle, “but I can think of a few things to keep us occupied right here for a few more hours before we start on any renovation…”

~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~c~s~

Later, much later, Emma and Killian walked hand in hand down to the docks where Killian’s ship was docked.  Emma admired the fine sails and rigging.  The Jolly Roger truly was a magnificent vessel.

“You know, Killian,” Emma said, as they made their way below deck, “we can spend some time on the Jolly as well.  Anytime you start to miss the sea too bad, we can just sail away, take a little vacation.”

He smiled tenderly at her, leaning over to kiss her cheek.  “Splendid idea, Swan.  Perhaps if our fair town is at peace for any length of time, we can take a journey.  Together we could explore the various sights of your land.”

Killian turned toward his wardrobe along one wall of the spacious captain’s quarters and began pulling out and meticulously folding shirts and pairs of jeans.  After the two of them had decided to move in together, they’d decided there was no reason to wait.  They’d had a late breakfast at Granny’s, and then gone to the docks, intent on gathering up Killian’s belongings—at least those he would need in the next few days—and moving them to his new home.

As Killian continued piling up his wardrobe, Emma wandered the cabin, glancing at the bookcase—filled to the brim with old, well-worn books, at the desk, on which sat several maps in a neat stack, at the small bed in the corner—something they’d most certainly have to change before they decided to sail away on their adventures.

There were centuries of history here—Killian’s history.

“I’ll peruse my books and other effects at a later time,” Killian said, “but for now, there are but a handful of items I’ve yet to gather.”

Emma watched in interest as Killian moved toward the small safe in the far corner.  Unclicking his hook, he placed the wrist end in the keyhole and turned.  When the door opened, Emma peered in with interest, but then noticed Killian standing still, his hand scratching behind his ear and his eyes looking uneasy.

Suddenly Emma understood.  These were his greatest treasures; his most prized possessions; his box of memories so precious he could never stand to lose them.

Turning toward him, Emma put a hand on his arm.  “Killian, I’d be honored if you’d let me see your beginnings.”

Killian’s face gentled, and he reached down to link his fingers with hers.  “Emma, you’re welcome to all of my life—past, present and future.”

Emma smiled, standing on tiptoe to give him a soft, reassuring kiss, and then turned back toward the safe.  Reaching in, her hand first landed on a folded piece of paper.  Holding it gently, almost reverently, she unfolded it and then looked down on a drawing.”

“Milah,” she br