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Once Upon a Christmas Eve

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“It started with a kiss.

 

Well, to be most accurate, it started a bit before that, as many fairytales do.

 

Let's just start from the beginning, shall we?

 

Once upon a time, there was a boy. A man, really. And the man, while devilishly handsome, was very lonely.

 

Now, the man was very fortunate and he had many friends. He had a job he loved working on a great ship, an older brother who he was very close with, but something was missing. Let's call the man Killian.

 

It was the start of the Christmas season, not so very long ago, and Killian was feeling especially low. He had just broken off his engagement with a woman who he thought he was very much in love with and, in complete honesty, he was feeling quite sorry for himself. So he decided to meet his friend at the local… tavern. Killian had been waiting for his friend to show up for almost an hour that cold winter’s night and he was beginning to get impatient. He had already drank far too much, er, eggnog that night and he was in a mood of sorts. Killian was sure his friend, the idiot Will Scarlett, had blown him off completely. So he sat alone and drank his eggnog in relative peace.

 

Killian was sure he was broadcasting his ill aura to all around him, souring the Christmas spirit in the air with his grinchiness, but, as it turned out, he was mistaken. He heard a voice from behind him.

 

‘Buy you another?’ it said and when Killian turned around, there was a beautiful blonde woman standing behind him. Now, Killian was no shy lad, but remember, he was intent on wallowing in his sorrows this particular evening and he was very much not interested in company. Unless, of course, Will bloody Scarlett had deigned to grace the tavern with his presence so Killian could give him a piece of his mind.

 

So he told the woman, ‘No, thank you, lass. I'm waiting on someone.’ But the woman was persistent, intent on getting Killian's attention.

 

‘You have an accent! English?’ she asked in her own accent, Australian, perhaps, but that's inconsequential. Killian was trying to be polite, but he had little patience for anyone that evening. Nevertheless, he was a gentleman, and a gentleman mustn't be rude to a fair lady if he can avoid it.

 

‘Aye,’ he told her, because he had come from England with his brother, Liam, Scarlett, and his former fiancée about ten years before because the ship of his dreams had gone up for sale in a city called Boston, but he didn't have the money to buy the ship and have it brought to England. So he came to it instead.

 

‘You're cute,’ the woman told him shamelessly, placing her hand on his arm. ‘Are you sure you don't want another drink?’

 

Killian looked at the woman again. He could feel how fake his smile was but he just couldn't bring himself to be any friendlier to the poor girl in his sorry state.

 

‘I'm quite sure, love, thank you,’ he said. ‘I'm still working on this one and, as I said, I'm waiting for someone.’

 

The woman looked undeterred, perhaps having had too much eggnog herself that evening, and she moved closer to him. ‘You've been alone all night, I don't think she's coming,’ she told him and Killian was beginning to get very uncomfortable. He began looking around the tavern for exits he could possibly make his escape through when a hand landed on his opposite arm.

 

‘There you are,’ a new melodic voice said and when Killian turned, he found himself stunned into speechlessness, for surely he was now in the presence of an angel.

 

There before him stood the most beautiful creature he had ever encountered. Her long blonde hair fell in golden curls over her shoulders, hiding the buttons of the form fitting red sweater she wore. She had green eyes, the kind that sparkled with mischief, but were also deep and soulful, like she'd lived a much harder life than most but came out a stronger person on the other side. She was cool and confident, exuding a radiant inner beauty that was only matched by her breathtaking external features. Killian had never in his life seen a more lovely lass than she.

 

‘I've been looking all over for you,’ she said, her hand wandering up Killian's shoulder as she tucked herself into his side. He was absolutely gobsmacked, be it from her presence or the ru- er, eggnog he'd been drinking, he'd never know, but that didn't stop him from racking his fuzzy brain trying to remember why she might have sought him out. ‘Who's this?’ she asked, nodding her dimpled chin to his other side and suddenly Killian remembered the other woman.

 

She was a pretty, spritely thing, but she couldn't hold a candle to the angel. The first woman, Killian had noticed, was now upset, but refusing to relinquish her hold on his arm, despite the angel's clear claim being staked.

 

‘I'm the one who kept him company while he was sitting up here all by himself,’ the woman said, quite nastily. The angel was unperturbed, her hand finding the back of his neck, and he was unashamed to say the simple touch gave him goosebumps.

 

‘Well, thanks for keeping my boyfriend company, I appreciate it. Can we buy you a drink?’ the angel asked and put her arms around Killian's shoulder, clearly staking her claim. He shrugged and played along with his savior. He allowed himself to touch her for the first time and slipped his own arm around her waist. It felt right, having her in his arms. Like she just fit there.

 

‘He never mentioned a girlfriend,’ the other woman said.

 

‘Well, here I am,’ the angel replied. ‘And we are going to go find a table, if you didn't need anything else.’ She grasped the hand Killian had on her waist in her own and began to pull him away. The other woman tugged on his other arm and held him in place. The look that came over his savior’s face, one of challenge and dark amusement, was one he would never forget.

 

Before Killian even knew what was happening, the blonde avenger had seized Killian by the collar of his jacket and her lips met his. He felt like he'd come alive again, months of heartache melting away as she kissed him. He couldn't help but to kiss her back, completely giving in to the spark that had ignited between them. Beneath the kiss itself, which was earth shaking enough as it was, a glimmer of hope rekindled in his soul.

 

Killian didn't notice, being too enraptured by his savior angel and their kiss, but the other woman had left without another word. The angel pulled away from him and gave him a beautiful smile, then patted him on the shoulder.

 

‘You looked really uncomfortable,’ she told him. ‘Sorry if I overstepped.’

 

Killian was surprised by her apology, having thought his gratefulness had been written all over his face. He needed to let the angel know he appreciated her.

 

So he told her, ‘Not at all. I wasn't amenable to company this evening and she wasn't getting the hint, clearly. I'm just fortunate that you came along to save me.’

 

She smiled at Killian again, a dazzling smile that lit up her gorgeous green eyes from within. He couldn't believe how beautiful she was and he thought for a moment the eggnog might have had him hallucinating.

 

‘You're welcome, then,’ the angel replied. ‘I better get back to my friends, but it was nice to meet you…’

 

‘Killian,’ he filled in for her. ‘Killian Jones.’

 

She nodded, that lustrous curtain of golden curls moving with her.

 

‘Well, Killian Jones, I hope you have a good rest of your night.’ And with that, she turned to walk away. Killian wasn't quite ready for her to go yet. In complete honesty, he wouldn't have minded if she never left his side, which was a silly thought to have about someone you've just met, but he couldn't help himself. So he called out to her.

 

‘Am I worthy to know the name of my savior?’ he asked. The angel looked over her shoulder as she walked away and said but two simple words that would change his life forever.

 

‘Emma Swan.’

 

Killian was sure he was grinning like a fool at just the sound of her lovely name as he cashed out his tab with the bar keep, but he couldn't bring himself to care.

 

That night, he was absently thumbing through his Facebook app when a friend request came through from a name he didn't recognize. Someone called Ruby Lucas. As one should always be wary of these kinds of things, he didn't accept right away. Instead, he went to do some investigating to try and figure out who this strange woman was that sent him a request.

 

He went to her page and looked at her profile picture to see if he recognized the lass, but he didn't. She was very pretty, long brown hair, a little too much makeup, but Killian couldn't place her. So he swiped through a few more of her pictures. When he got to about the third or fourth picture, he was shocked to see a face he did recognize staring back at him.

 

There, in the middle of a group picture that seemed to have taken place at some sort of hen party, was Emma, the angel. He could hardly believe his luck. He scrolled back up and selected the accept button on the friend request, and he absolutely did not drop his phone in his haste. Killian Jones is a calm, collected, rational man.

 

No sooner had he accepted the request did a message come through, an eloquent ‘hey there’’ blinking at him from the screen. He replied with a ‘hello’ of his own. Ruby asked him if he'd been in the tavern that evening and Killian confirmed he had been. Ruby then replied with just one more thing and promptly logged off. The message said: ‘Rabbit Hole, 12/24, 7:00 PM. Emma will be there. You should come.’

 

Killian was completely taken aback by this turn of events, but he could only jump at the chance to see the angel again, so he made sure his schedule was clear. He wasn't due at his brothers until Christmas Day, fortunately and that left him wide open for whatever it was that Ruby had requested him for.

 

The night of the Christmas Eve came and Killian was very nervous. He had changed clothes at least a dozen times and checked the clock at least a dozen more. After he was finally satisfied that he had stalled enough, he made it to the tavern in record time. As not to seem too eager, he decided to sit in the car until 7:00 rolled around.

 

Now, Killian could definitely say he knew his way around a woman, but Emma had thrown him off so completely that he started having doubts about himself, not that he would let her or anyone know that. When Emma kissed him, it had thrown his world off kilter, but what if she didn't feel the same? What if it was just a kiss to her? What if she was upset that he was there again? As he sat contemplating the situation in his car, a soft tap sounded at the window. Killian looked up and was rendered immediately speechless, a novelty for him, to be certain. There staring at him through the thin separation of the window glass, a gorgeous, albeit laughing, smile on her lips, was Emma.

 

Killian smiled back, opening the car door and getting out of it immediately. He didn't know what to do or say, but that didn't stop an outlandishly flirtatious ‘hello, love’ falling from his lips. From across the car park, a woman that Killian recognized from her Facebook picture as none other than Ruby Lucas called out some slightly inappropriate encouragement to her friend.

 

‘So, you're the surprise,’ Emma told him and it took Killian a minute longer than he would have liked to admit to catch her meaning. It wasn't his fault that the second he turned back to look at Emma he was lost in her sparkling, jade colored eyes. It was an eventuality that he’d lose his head around her at some point during the evening.

 

‘I suppose I am,’ he replied when he had gotten his train of thought back on track. ‘It is lovely to see you again, Emma.’

 

‘It's nice to see you, too, Killian Jones.’

 

Killian had a very vivid memory of the night he met her, and he may or may not have looked at the pictures on Ruby's page a time or two in the days since her friend request, but Killian was still struck by Emma's beauty. Snow had begun to fall around them, and with the backdrop of the street lights behind her, she truly looked every inch the angel he initially had thought her to be.

 

‘You look stunning, love,’ he told her.

 

‘Thanks,’ she replied in her simplistic way. ‘You look…’

 

‘I know,’ he said cheekily when she fumbled for a compliment of her own. Her eyes narrowed at him but the corner of her mouth was lifted in amusement. Killian took that as a good sign. ‘Did you want to go inside?’ he asked, not wanting her to stand out in the cold longer than necessary. She agreed and they walked in together.

 

Once they made it through the door, Emma was greeted by a large group of people. The tavern was decorated in reds and greens, twinkling lights strung all around in the festive spirit of the upcoming holiday. Emma quickly introduced Killian to her friends and her brother, who was only just a tad overprotective of her. Killian has grown on him quite a bit since then, but that's another story for another time.

 

Killian didn't feel out of place once during the whole evening thanks to Emma. She was guarded, to be certain, but there was an underlying level of comfort amongst her friends that extended to Killian as well. He could tell right away that this was not a courtesy that was extended to many, and it made his heart swell with gratitude and he was just that much more enamored of her.

 

The activity in the tavern had dwindled down close to midnight and Emma's very merry brother, David, should have been cut off several… eggnogs before he was. But that didn't stop him from threatening Killian as his lovely wife tried to wrestle him out the door.

 

‘She likes you, Jones,’ he said. ‘And I'll admit you've grown on me, too. But if you hurt her I'm gonna have to declare a duel for her honor, sir. Don't you forget it.’ Killian would have been infinitely amused by the man's threats if he wasn't so elated at his revelation. Emma liked him. And it was all he could have wished for. He spotted Emma from across the floor as she stood bidding farewell to the infamous Ruby Lucas. Their eyes locked from across the room and Killian knew he was done for.

 

She smiled. He smiled back. Ruby laughed out loud and said something to Emma that made her turn several different shades of red. Killian's feet began to carry him across the room of their own volition. He had tunnel vision on Emma, his angel savior, and he vaguely heard something along the lines of ‘go get ‘er, tiger,’ as Ruby walked past. Before he knew it, he was standing in front of her again.

 

‘Hi,’ she said.

 

‘Hello, love,’ he said back.

 

Emma looked up towards the ceiling and Killian followed her gaze. There hanging from an exposed beam was a sprig of mistletoe. Now, if grown men got butterflies, Killian may have had a swarm of them in his stomach, but he would like what he felt in that moment closer to a school of particularly violent fish swimming in his belly.

 

‘Merry Christmas, Killian,’ she whispered, her green eyes bright and so full of hope.

 

‘Merry Christmas, Emma,’ he replied, and took full advantage of the mistletoe tradition. This kiss was much gentler than the first, but no less life changing. The world began and ended with Emma in that moment and he knew that he needed to know her better, wanted her to stay in his life as long as he could keep her. When they broke away from one another, Emma's beautiful eyes fluttered open and Killian couldn't help the smile that was surely plastered all over his face.

 

‘Do you want to go get some coffee sometime?’ Emma asked. Killian couldn't agree fast enough. Little did either of them know when they walked into the Rabbit Hole that evening that they would be taking the first step towards their happy ever after.”

 

A soft gurgle and a coo sounded from the small bundle wrapped in Killian's arms. He smiled, his heart full to bursting, and he ran a knuckle over his newborn daughter's ruddy cheek. The babe yawned and squirmed before settling once more.

 

“A fairytale, huh?” a voice said from behind him. Killian turned to look at his wife with a grin. Emma was propped up on a mountain of pillows in the hospital bed where she lay, tired but happier than he'd ever seen her. Her hair was knotted in a messy bun on top of her head, her body clad in the standard green hospital gown, tubes sticking out of both arms, and she had never looked more radiant. His love for her had seemed to grow unendingly throughout the entire day, and this moment was no exception.

 

“Aye, love. My favorite fairytale and my second favorite Christmas Eve. I think this one tops it easily, but that day is a very close second,” Killian agreed. Emma hummed a sigh, her eyes fluttering closed once more and a soft smile on her lips.

 

“‘Snot the 24th anymore, though,” she said on a yawn. Killian glanced at the clock and saw it was after 1:00 in the morning. He chuckled and walked gingerly to her bedside so as not to jostle the infant in his arms and leaned down to press a kiss to her forehead.

 

“Happy Christmas, my darling. I love you both so very much.”