The burn of the rum as it slid down Emma's throat momentarily distracted her from the humidity of Neverland's climate and from the man behind her whom the flask in her hand belonged to. She'd been surprised when her father - David - told them that Hook saved him from Lost Boys on their journey to find a sextant, something she sensed wasn't completely true but she chose to ignore it, for now. Right now, she focused on trying not to get utterly lost in Captain Hook's too-blue eyes.
Everything about him always threatened to overwhelm her. The delicious scruff lining his sharp jaw and pink lips, those damn lips she felt graze her skin when he tied off the make-shift bandage at the top of the beanstalk, his warm breath fanning over her skin that had subtle shivers racing up her spine. The ocean blue eyes that changed with every emotion, his deep, smooth and suave accent. The chest hair that he always had on display, her fingers itching to touch to see if the dark hair was soft or coarse. His Devil-may-care attitude that hid a good heart beneath all the leather and as Regina put it, guyliner. His swagger, confidence, intelligence, and obvious passion. Just... Everything, got to her, especially how he easily understood her. That was what scared her the most. How he saw past her walls with little to no effort and how he affected her.
Up on that beanstalk, she left him because of that. She was terrified at how he was able to tell she was an orphan right off the bat, how she caught herself wanting to trust him so quickly. Things were both easy and complicated when it came to her... Feelings for the one-handed pirate. Yes, her feelings. She'd only just admitted she felt something for him, something romantic. Something more than lust and desire, which she had felt for him in the beginning.
Honesty, could you blame her?
And now, on the island, it was becoming increasingly harder to conceal her feelings, for multiple reasons. One, how he gave up his revenge and offered to help her find her son, after leaving but coming back, for her. Anyone who ever left her never came back, so when she saw The Jolly Roger on the horizon, it shook her to her very core and caused another crack in her walls. Two, her acceptance of feeling, or being, an orphan. That he wanted to know just who she was and yet he'd known from the moment they met. Three, when he said he wouldn't have abandoned her on the beanstalk like she did when she, Mary Margaret, Aurora, and Mulan were stuck in Rumplestiltskin's cell in the Enchanted Forest. Four, how he understood what it felt like to lose hope and how he genuinely wanted to bond with her. How he showed that he genuinely cared for her and that she could trust him. He was attempting to be better, for her.
Despite Neal dying so recently, she knew she couldn't let him hold her back anymore. She had lost him the moment he let her take the fall for him and abandoned her, and when she told him she loved him, she didn't mean the way he probably thought. There was a line between "I love you" and "I'm in love with you." And she certainly wasn't in love with Neal anymore. She was when she was she was 17, barely an adult, still too young to fully grasp the true meaning of love. He burned her so badly she didn't trust anyone for a decade and she still had issues with trust. Even with her own parents.
But with Hook, Killian, everything was so much more. More intense, more passionate, more real, than what she had with Neal. Her feelings for him weren't questionable, she knew she felt things for him, feelings that wouldn't be so easily squashed. He showed her he was worthy of her trust, unlike many before him. She knew she couldn't hide her feelings for much longer and she knew that once she had a taste of him, she'd be hooked (pun intended) instantly.
Her desire was growing with every moment she was with him, more than she'd liked to admit.
Emma turned to him, using the back of her hand to wipe the excess rum off her lips. "You really save his life?" She questioned, not in accusation or suspicion, but in genuine curiosity.
He gave her a side-glance. "That surprise you?"
She handed him his flask as he moved closer. "Well, you and David aren't exactly... How do you say it? Mates," she said, doing a poor imitation of his accent.
Killian looked away briefly as he responded. "Doesn't mean I'd leave your father to perish on this island."
"Thank you," Emma said, tone and face serious to hide how truly thankful she was. Sure, she admitted she felt like an orphan still, but she didn't want to lose her father when she just found him and her mother after being separated for 28 years, almost her entire life, save for the few fleeting moments she had with them when she was born.
And she owed it all to him.
"Um..." He scratched behind his ear. "Well, perhaps gratitude is in order now." His index finger tapped his lips, a salacious look on his face and a smirk curved at his mouth.
Emma smiled, a genuine smile. "Yeah. That's what the 'thank you' was for."
He bit his lower lip and closed most of the distance between them and for once, she didn't mind the invasion of her personal space. "Mm. That all your father's life is worth to you?" He taunted her.
"Please," she scoffed gently, rolling her eyes. Truthfully, his close proximity was greatly affecting her, his natural scent of rum, sea salt, and spices invading her senses and making her blood hum. "You couldn't handle it."
His voice dropped to a rough whisper, his darkened ocean blue eyes boring into hers. The khol lining them made them more piercing, like he was looking right into her soul. But really, he could see past her sarcasm and walls. And for once, she didn't give a damn. Not anymore. "Perhaps you're the one who couldn't handle it." He was goading her, that smirk on his lips, that look in his eyes.
Once again everything was getting to her; the heat of Neverland and his gaze, his close proximity, her pride and stubbornness telling her to prove him wrong. The tension was so thick between them not even David's sword could cut through it, but could only be broken by one of them. So after a second that seemed like an eternity, she grabbed hold of the lapels of his black duster and yanked him forward, her lips slamming against his. Their eyes fluttered closed at the same time, their lips still as his hand reached up to tangle gently in her blonde tresses and his hook curved around her hip to hold her body against his firmly.
When their lips started moving, her heart kicked into overdrive. The kiss was hard and passionate and everything Emma thought it would be (yes, she'd imagined it before, not that she would admit to to anyone). His lips were warm and soft, scruff scraping and tickling her skin. What she didn't imagine was how right and good it felt to finally kiss him. A while ago it would've scared the shit out of her, but now it didn't seem so scary anymore now that it was actually happening.
Their heads tilted in opposite directions, deepening the kiss, lips opening and locking. His tongue swept over the seam of her lips and she instantly granted him access, barely containing a moan as his tongue plundered her mouth. She was hyper-aware of everything around her; the worn leather she was clutching, the taste of rum on his tongue, his firm and sturdy frame pressing against hers so there was no room between them, if that was possible as there was already little room between them to begin with.
The heat surrounding her threatened to consume her. It was almost too much and yet, it was only their first kiss.
All too soon the kiss ended, her grip on the lapels tightening as she stumbled back a bit, their foreheads touching, the sides of their noses pressed together, eyes remaining closed. Despite how short it was, he still managed to make her feel lightheaded, her blood warm with fire, heart hammering against her ribs.
He was right; she couldn't handle it.
But neither could he.
"That was... Um," Killian trailed off, breathless and at loss for words.
"A one-time thing," she finished, just as quietly, swallowing hard as she took a leap of faith. "At least until we get off this island."
Her eyes slowly opened to connect with his half-lidded ones, glimmering with an indecipherable emotion but mostly confusion. His cheeks were also stained red, and she felt some sort of pride at getting the flirty pirate to blush.
"Listen... Killian," she said his true name for the first time. It sounded foreign on her tongue but oddly right. His thick eyebrows shot up in surprise at that, eyes opening fully to stare right into her jade irises, pulling his face away slightly to look at her properly. "I don't want to be distracted from the mission, but I want this. So, I'm willing to wait until we get back home to pursue this."
He cocked his head adorably, hand sliding around to cup the side of her neck, thumb brushing the hinge of her jaw. The cold metal of his rings soothed her scorching skin for only a moment but she was grateful for it. "And what exactly is this?"
For once she felt shy, but she didn't back down from his gaze. She only rolled her lips together and inward nervously, pondering on that. "I don't know," she admitted honestly, nose scrunching up for a moment. "But I'm willing to find out. To explore this... If you're willing, too." Her heart sped up in apprehension, but slowed in relief at his response.
"Aye, lass, I'm willing to do the same." His forehead leaner against hers again, lips curling into a smile, a real smile and not a smirk. That kind of smile that lit up his face and caused crinkles to form at the corners of his eyes. She couldn't help but admit that he looked beautiful in that moment.
She licked her suddenly dry lips, tempted to kiss him again but she wanted to stick to what she said. So, she let go of him, reluctantly, and started to back away. "Don't follow me," she instructed him, turning around. "Wait five minutes. Go get some firewood or something."
"As you wish."
Emma smiled softly at his unintentional reference to The Princess Bride, one thought resonating in her mind as she walked away.
God I hope this works out.