The daylight peeking through the curtains made Emma Swan squeeze her eyes closed more tightly, but now that she was semi-awake, her senses began to kick in.
First, she realized that she was finally warm-extremely warm, actually. After being nearly frozen while trapped in an ice cave the day before, she had spent the rest of the night trying to stop shivering, while coaxing feeling back into her extremities. The cause of her current warmth appeared to be the giant pile of blankets she was curled under, plus the strong arms that were wrapped around her.
The second thing she noticed was that her pillow felt different. As her mind cleared, Emma realized that it wasn’t a pillow at all, but a solid, manly chest. The hair that covered the chest didn’t feel coarse or prickly, as she might have expected. Instead, it felt soft against her cheek. She tentatively ran her fingers through the hair until she encountered an assortment of metal charms on a chain. This she knew to be Hook’s ever-present necklace. So, it hadn’t been a dream. Captain Hook really had spent the night in her bed with her.
Emma’s olfactory senses woke up next. She snuggled her nose into Hook’s chest to smell his unique and familiar scent. It was a mixture of ocean salt, fresh air and the lingering hint of leather. She had never been able to understand how he always smelled so good, especially with all the heavy leather clothing he wore while running around chasing after villains. Even in the heat and humidity of Neverland, the man never seemed to break a sweat.
At last, Emma blinked open her eyes, squinting against the light. Her glance ran up Hook’s face, expecting to see his deep blue eyes looking back at her. She was surprised that they were closed, with his long, dark lashes lying against the tops of his cheeks.
Emma began to concentrate on what her ears were hearing. Light snores escaped his slightly parted lips when he drew in a breath, while little puffs of air blew against her hair with every whistling exhale. While Hook still slept, Emma felt at liberty to look him over carefully without worrying about the comments that he would normally make about how attractive she found him to be.
Her eyes ran along the length of his jaw. She had always admired his angular jawline, with its covering of scruff. This morning, his beard was a little heavier than usual since he hadn’t had the chance to trim it yet. With the light filtering in through the window, Emma could see that his facial hair wasn’t as dark as it appeared to be from a distance, but had lighter red tints running through it.
She continued to move her eyes across Hook’s face, focusing on his lips next. They were rather thin but entirely kissable, as Emma well knew. She fought the urge to kiss them at that moment, moving on quickly to study his nose. It was strong and straight and perfectly proportionate to his face. Towards the top of it, almost at the bridge, Emma noticed a little bump. She figured that he’d probably had it broken sometime in his life. She wondered if it had been during a tavern fight, or a battle against another pirate. Emma nearly chuckled out loud when she considered her thoughts. What even was her life that she was trying to figure out when a nearly 300-year-old pirate, one who was currently sharing her bed, had gotten a broken nose?
As her eyes traveled to the right of his nose, they landed on the small scar that lay just below his cheekbone. Although she had noticed it before, Emma realized that she’d never questioned Hook as to why he had the scar. She made a mental note to ask him about it sometime, when the opportunity arose.
The next thing Emma’s eyes were drawn to was his left ear, the only one that was visible to her since he was laying on his right side, with that ear buried in his pillow. When she first met Hook, his hair was a little longer and covered the tops of his ears. She liked that he kept it a bit shorter now because it made it possible to see his ears in their entirety. She found them to be quite attractive, especially when something happened to make the tips turn a light shade of red. She knew that if he ever found out about these particular thoughts of hers, he would be embarrassed enough for that exact thing to happen, even if he covered up his embarrassment with some quip or innuendo.
The hair around his ear was still neatly combed since he’d obviously stayed in almost the same position all night. Emma recalled how soft that hair had felt under her fingers when she had kissed him outside of Granny’s after their adventure back in the Enchanted Forest. She stopped herself as she started to reach up to run her fingers through it again. She didn’t want to wake him just yet, not when she could continue to study his handsome face with no interruptions.
Emma ran her eyes across Hook’s forehead, noticing the barely visible lines that creased it. She knew the lines were probably caused by squinting in the bright light that bounced off the water as the Jolly Roger moved across it, combined with the worries that his life as a pirate was bound to cause. She had seen those lines deepen last night after he and her father had pulled her out of the frozen prison in which she’d been trapped. His concern for her had been apparent throughout the night as he held her in the back of the patrol car, and later as he knelt beside her chair for hours. During that time, Emma had heard bits and pieces of the conversation that David had had with her mother and Henry, telling them about how he and Hook had worked together to save Emma.
She’d sensed Hook’s desperation when he had talked to her over the walkie-talkie, so when she was finally free, she did something that she rarely did around him-she let her walls down. She didn’t try to push him away or make excuses to avoid him. Instead, she let him hold her and comfort her, rubbing her arms and pressing kisses to the crown of her head until she finally drifted off to sleep. She had felt safe and protected with him beside her, and was surprised that those feelings hadn’t scared her.
Slowly, Emma slid her eyes down Hook’s face to focus on his eyebrows. She smirked as she thought about how expressive those two perfectly shaped brows could be. Right now they were relaxed into curved arches over his eyes, but when he was awake, they were constantly moving, working almost independently of each other, as he used them to express his emotions. Often they were tools for his flirting, or his way of letting her know that he wasn’t falling for her feeble excuses of why she couldn’t be with him.
When Emma dropped her line of vision just a little lower, she startled a bit as this time she did connect with those brilliantly blue eyes of his. In her concentrated study of his face, she hadn’t realized that he’d woken up. She’d completely missed the way that his breathing had changed and how his eyes had fluttered open. Now they crinkled in amusement as he recognized that he had caught her admiring him.
“Good morning, Love,” he said in a thickly accented voice. “How are you feeling this morning? Are you warm now?”
Emma gave in to her impulse to run her fingers through Hook’s soft hair, ruffling it slightly. “Yeah, I am. I can finally feel all my fingers and toes.”
Hook released a sigh and pulled her a little closer to him, pressing a light kiss to her forehead. “I’m glad to hear it. You had us all worried last night.”
“I’m sorry,” Emma said. “I didn’t mean for all that to happen. Thank you for helping get me out.”
“No thanks necessary, Swan. It was the right thing to do.”
The echo of the words that he had spoken just a few nights before caused Emma’s heart to stutter. She knew that he wasn’t going to admit just how much he had done to help rescue her, just as he hadn’t told her all that he had sacrificed to bring her back to Storybrooke from New York. Not until she had questioned him about it.
Instead of dwelling on the subject, Emma decided to switch to a different one. “How did you convince my parents to let you stay here last night?”
Hook chuckled before he answered. “Actually, it was your mother’s idea. She told me that she thought I should stay with you since you had fallen asleep on my shoulder. She even gave me some of your father’s sleep pants. She thought I might be uncomfortable sleeping in my leather ones, and since it probably wouldn’t be appropriate for me to sleep as I usually do…” Hook’s voice trailed off as he wiggled those damn eyebrows. Emma could feel her cheeks grow even warmer.
“What did my dad have to say about that?” she questioned, hoping to divert the conversation.
“Well, he had taken Elsa to the widow Lucas’s to secure a room at that time. I heard him return and I believe he peeked into your room when he did. However, he didn’t toss me out on my ear, so either your mother convinced him not to do so, or he had resigned himself to the idea.”
They lapsed into a comfortable silence, Hook’s hand falling into a familiar rhythm of rubbing up and down Emma’s arm as she nuzzled her nose against his chest. Suddenly, the quiet of the house was interrupted as a piece of silverware clattered against the floor downstairs.
Emma sighed. “I guess that means that my parents are up. I’m surprised I haven’t heard my baby brother howling yet.” As if on cue, a shrill cry sounded and they could hear both Charmings shushing the baby. “We might as well get up. They’ll know that we can’t sleep through the human siren,” Emma said.
Instead of letting go, Hook pulled Emma a little tighter into his arms, soaking up as much time with her as he could get. Then he placed one more lingering kiss to her hairline and moved to sit on the edge of the bed. He extended his hand to help pull her into a sitting position as well. Emma looked down at herself. She barely recalled her mother helping her into the pair of warm, flannel pajamas and fluffy socks that she was currently wearing.
Hook pushed himself up off the bed and started gathering his clothing that he’d neatly folded over the back of a chair. Now that he was up and moving around, she noticed that he was making an effort to hide his scarred arm from her. She realized with a jolt that she had never seen him without long sleeves covering it. As he came closer to pick up his brace and hook off the bedside table, Emma reached out to wrap her hand around his damaged wrist. Hook’s eyes shot up to look at her. She could see the trepidation in them, but she gave him a sweet smile and leaned forward to press a kiss to the end of his arm. He gave a small gasp, but didn’t pull away. Emma released his arm and looked up at him, still wearing the smile. After studying her for a few seconds, Hook’s face relaxed and he leaned down to place a soft kiss on her lips.
Emma licked her lips and blinked a few times before finally standing up herself. “You can change in the bathroom while I go on downstairs. Just throw those sleep pants in the basket by the sink. That’s where the dirty laundry goes. I’m sure my dad has the coffee brewing by now. Would you like some, Killian?”
Hook’s smile broadened as he realized that she had called him by his given name. “Aye, thank you,” he answered simply, before leaving the room.
Emma yawned and stretched as she walked across the room and descended the stairs. Both of her parents looked over at her when she entered the room. “Good morning, sweetheart,” her mother smiled. “Are you feeling better?”
“Yep, back to normal,” Emma replied. She glanced around the room. “Where’s Henry?”
Snow answered as she bounced her wiggling baby. “Your father took him over to Regina’s early this morning. He’s determined to help her through this, whether she thinks she wants him to or not.”
David reached into the cupboard to take out another coffee mug. “Could you please make that two mugs, Dad? Killian wants some coffee too,” Emma requested.
Her father quirked his own eyebrow at her before he asked, “Where is the pirate, anyway?”
Without thinking, Emma replied, “Oh, he’s putting his clothes back on.”
Her ears were assaulted with sound when several things happened at once. The mug David already held in his hand shattered on the floor, baby Neal screeched at the top of his lungs, Snow let out a loud squeak, and Emma’s father bellowed, “HE’S DOING WHAT???”
Emma lunged for her father as he made a beeline for the stairs, and jumped in front of him just in time to block his anger-driven progress. “Dad! I meant that he was changing back into his clothes,” she explained, planting a hand firmly in the center of his chest.
“I gave him a pair of your pajama pants to wear last night so he didn’t have to sleep in those tight leather pants,” Snow added. David threw her a look that seemed to ask why she was noticing how tight the pirate’s pants happened to be. His wife just shrugged and handed him the broom and dustpan that she had fetched out of the closet. He grabbed them from her and started cleaning up the pieces of ceramic that were scattered across the floor.
Emma heard heavy boots thumping on the stairs and looked around to see those particular pants coming into view. Hook threw her a smile before turning to Snow. “Good morning, Milady.”
She returned his greeting with a sly smile. “Good morning to you, Hook.” Then she looked over to where her husband was finishing the clean-up job. Hook could just see the top portion of David’s face over the edge of the counter, but it was enough for him to get the idea that the Prince was less than pleased with him.
Hook seemed puzzled as to why David was staring daggers at him. He thought that the two of them had made some progress as they worked together to save Emma the previous night. The fact that her father hadn’t dragged him out of her bed when he got home after dropping Elsa off had led Killian to believe that David was okay with him being there. But now, if looks could kill, Hook would have been laying dead on the kitchen floor.
“Am I missing something?” he muttered.
“No, but you almost were,” David answered darkly.
Emma let out a snort of laughter as she dug another mug out of the cupboard and poured two cups of coffee. She slid one across the counter toward Hook and sat down on the closest stool. He looked at Emma’s father for another beat or two and then sat down next to her. Emma laid her hand over his and, after she gave him a bright smile, he started to relax a bit.
David dumped the broken pieces of mug into the trash, put away the dustpan and broom, and went to the sink to wash his hands. While Snow started to feed Neal his baby food, her husband continued to mix up the pancake batter that he’d been making before Emma came downstairs. Emma licked her lips in anticipation. She loved her dad’s pancakes, and she was beginning to realize how hungry she was. A warm and filling breakfast was just what she needed to shake off the last lingering effects of last night’s incident.
Emma leaned her head on Hook’s shoulder and sighed happily. Once again, she allowed her senses to drink in the feelings of home that were going on around her. She smelled the coffee and pancakes, along with the scent of the man seated beside her. She heard her baby brother gurgling as her mother cooed to him while he ate. She tasted the slightly bitter coffee on her tongue as she took a sip. She ran her hand up and down the silky fabric of Hook’s shirt and felt his muscles flex and contract underneath her fingers.
She looked around her familiar surroundings and took in all the sights that meant so much to her. Her mother and little brother with their foreheads pressed together. Henry’s book bag propped against the wall, waiting for him to come home to gather it up. Her father pouring the pancake batter onto the heated griddle.
Finally, she turned her head to look at Killian, who already had his gaze on her. Their eyes locked, and they shared a smile with each other before she leaned in and brushed a soft kiss against his lips. He arched an eyebrow at her, surprised that she would show her affection so openly in front of her parents. She rested her forehead against his and nuzzled his nose with her own. She knew that in just a little while, they were all going to have to start tackling the new crisis that had come to town. But Emma didn’t care. Right now, she was warm, happy and content, and in that moment, that was all that mattered.