The first time he feels it, it’s like the bitter tone of the words tears his chest from side to side.
Their first stop after escape Neverland is a remote, little kingdom far away from the great royalty cores of the Enchanted Forest. However, Killian couldn’t risk bringing attention over his crew if he wanted to perform the plan hi had in mind. So his safest option was the black market along the coast.
Salt and smoke could be smelt in the air. Some people moved through the black-clad stalls with guard distrust. Others, with too much trust. The black market was something that ended up being a port routine in the pirate life. It was nothing new. But Killian felt alert throb through his whole body.
He kept his eyes in Baelfire, following him anywhere he went, peering at anything he found.
A smile pulled at his lips as he saw him stop in his tracks in front of one of the stalls, several meters ahead of him, and grin at whatever he was looking at. Until the man — covered in tattoos and marks, with a huge scar closing his left eye — leaned over the wooden board between the two and into Baelfire and Killian’s hand flew to his sword.
But then Bae looked at him through the crowd, with those dark eyes of his — the man following his eyes — only to turn away again and shake his head to the man, running away to look for more treasures.
Killian almost didn’t notice someone calling for him, all his attention following the boy.
The same man who had catched Bae’s curiosity was looking at him with an emerald green eye.
“Your lad has been looking around,” he nodded towards the direction Bae kept running through the people. “it seems he has a bloody good smell and even better taste.”
The opened his arms over his product. Irregular pieces of smooth looking and small bags filled with some kind of brown powder were all over the tables.
“Chocolate.” the man answered with a few-teeth smile. “From the cacao plantations in the South of the territory, reserved only for the highest royalty.” Killian looked at him arching a brow and the man grinned mischievously. “We have some deals with pirates.”
Killian stared at the sweet.
“It’s one of the most expensive treasures you’ll find ‘cause it’s one of the sweetest delicacy.” The man insisted. “And the lads love it.”
The look Bae had thrown him before found its way in Killian’s mind. The tattoo on his forearm burned.
“How much for a piece?”
Later, with the Jolly Roger heading towards the next port, he found Bae sitting facing one of the windows of his quarters, the small bag of chocolate pieces laying in his lap between his hands, lips brown and look lost in the immensity of the ocean.
“What’s wrong, lad?”
Bae turned to look at him and Killian frowned. The expression of his eyes was far from the shining they had had, the smile from ear to ear and the thrilled “Thank you!” he had seen when he had showed him the sweet gift.
The boy shook his head and turned away to the sea.
“Nothing, just thinking about my father.”
The second time it’s so fast he barely has time to brace himself for the impact. But it’s his fault, because he should know better.
Emma found them asleep on the couch. Killian laying on his back — in a position, she thought, that couldn’t be very comfortable — and little boy curled over his chest, on top of him. Both with their hair messed.
Roland had his head resting on Killian’s chest, rising and lowering with every breath, his little arms around his shoulders. Killian’s hand on his back, holding him tight.
Emma felt her lips draw a smile as she made her way to the couch.
She stroked Killian’s cheek with her hand before running her fingers through his hair, leaning to whisper in his ear.
“He has to go, Killian”
Roland opened his eyes — with a yawn too big for his little mouth — seconds after Killian. While he tried to focus on looking at Emma, the little boy sit on his chest and rubbed his eyes, ice-cream all over his lips because “Regina let me!” and Captain Hook couldn’t be any less than the Evil Queen.
Steps were approaching the room and Killian barely could see who it was before Roland jumped from his chest and run to them, forgetting everything behind.
The third time it’s so predictable he didn’t even see it coming. It’s so painful, so similar to the first time — irony has a good sense of humor, you see — he almost end up throwing those walls of him even higher
Rain were hitting the windows, filling the house with a monotonous sound that seemed distant to Henry.
Sitting on the couch, with the rain as background, a controller forgotten at his side, look lost on the pause menu of Diablo III.
Killian came in with two hot chocolates with cinnamon — he may have persuaded Granny to tell him what it took to make that bloody beverage Swan and the boy seemed to like so much.
“That knight of yours has gotten tired of fighting?”
Henry lifted his eyes to his blue ones and then to the screen in front of him.
Killian handed him the drink and took a sit beside him.
The day had turned away his bright face almost cruelly.
That morning he had taken Henry sailing, with the calm sea and the sun shining but the sky had closed under a blanket of grey and dark the moment they reached port and the mood of the boy had seemed to shatter into pieces.
Killian felt what was happing in the air, it had been happening over the last months. The atmosphere that reminded him that even if Emma had accepted him, that didn’t speak for the rest of her family.
“What’s wrong, lad?”
Henry looked at him with a distant expression, almost unreadable, and Killian swallowed hard.
I never liked you and I like you even less now that my mum and you are together.
“Just thinking… what does it matter having a huge family if none of them can spend time with you?
Swan says their little girl only moves when he’s around. Only recognizes his voices and already knows who her dad is. Only when he touches her belly is when she feels her get excited. But no matter how much Killian wants to believe all of that,
The first time he had her in his arms he thought he could give anything again to have his hand back, he thought he had never been more afraid in all his centuries of life. He could feel the panic rising within him.
But then that little girl opened her eyes — as blue as the sea, as deep as the ocean — and the first thing they look at was at his eyes.
It did not matter how many people came into the room, or how many people leaned in to look at her, or how much light filtered through the windows, or how many voices or sounds could be heard.
She didn’t look away from him.
And in that moment, Killian thought that maybe Swan had been right, after all.
The first word Elizabeth pronounced was in the presence of both Killian and Emma.
Of course it was for her dad.
Emma felt Killian’s arm wrapped around her waist, eyes bright and watery, looking at her with so much hope she could even be jealous.
It wasn’t their first Christmas, but Killian thought it’d be the first Elizabeth would remember.
He never thought the house could be so full of life with just three persons, but the running steps upstairs, the drawings and crayons and toys scattered over the floor were just that: pure life.
All thanks to his daughter. His little girl, who had never look away from him since the moment she’d opened those blue eyes.
The laughter upstairs melted with the lights and decoration on the walls, creating the feeling ofhome that sometimes choked him.
His look was lost beyond the window, staring at the snowflakes falling in the dark, so deep in thought he didn’t feel the little girl approaching, jumping and pulling her mother’s hand with her.
She run the moment she left behind the stairs, throwing herself at her arms.
“Mommy, daddy, I want to put the first one! In the tree!”
He felt Emma’s arms around his waist as she leaned into him.
“Merry Christmas, love.”