What's that you say? Emma's starting a multichap with the knowledge of it always becoming a multichap? No writing a chapter and then being persuaded into the next (although, if you ever have any ideas, send them on over).

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Take Me Back to the Start

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She can't help but smile when he pulls out her seat. Jumping up on the barstool, she swivels around to watch him do the same, "What is your deal?"

He looks at her, truly confused by her question, so she amends, "You think you're a pirate, but you've got an edge of chivalry, however you had no qualms in practically begging me to come out for a drink not even two minutes after my date had walked away."

Her date with Jason tonight had been mediocre at best and he'd bid her farewell in Central Park fairly early in the night with a kiss to the forehead. But she wasn't about to admit that to Killian Jones, the strange pirate man who seemed to have taken quite the liking to her. Something of her thoughts must flicker across her face because he smiles, running his tongue over his teeth. It isn't suggestive, but it sure sends sparks flying through her for no good reason.

"I am a pirate, I'm always a gentleman and you look like you could use a drink," he answers easily. "Two rums," he requests of the bartender who rushes off to pour the drinks looking eager to please the intimidating man in black leather and…is that a sword?

"What if I don't like rum?" Emma interrupts his thoughtless brooding as the drinks come to sit before them, Killian handing over what looks like a gold coin.

The bartender looks at him curiously, then his eyes flick to Emma who merely shakes her head, indicating that they're in a situation she's not sure about either. Unperturbed by any of the floundering going on around him, Killian simply replies, "You like rum."

She wants to chide his boldness, but can't fault him. She does enjoy rum. If only she knew how the hell he knew that. "If this is supposed to be proof that you knew me before-"

He holds up a hand, "Lass, this is just a drink between two…friends, if you will?"

Her eyes narrow, watching him suspiciously, but she can't see a hint of a lie in his features, so she relaxes and takes a sip of her drink, the slightly spiced flavour taking her back to the day at her door with Killian stumbling over her threshold and trying to kiss her into remembrance. Her mind flashes to it sometimes, catching her off guard, she'll see glimpses of it in her dreams, in the thoughts that cling to her mind when she's thinking of nothing else. Sometimes they'll be in the apartment doorway, sometimes in a small clearing, surrounded by green trees, just enough so that they're hidden from any prying eyes.

She shakes her head. No. He has kissed her once, for a fleeting second. That is the only time they have touched.

The silence between them stretches on and she realises that without him trying to convince her of a past she never lived, there's not an awful lot for them to talk about. He seems comfortable with the lack of conversation, sipping on his rum while watching the hockey game playing on TV with an intense curiosity in his eyes. The liquid passes his lips and he holds it there for a second before swallowing, his Adams apple bobbing seductively as the muscles in his neck become known to her.

She tries to hold it in, the breath that escapes her, but he's already turning his head, "For someone who's not interested…" He leaves the sentence hanging in the air as he realises how close she's moved. Whether on purpose or by something unconscious within her, he doesn't know.

"I-" she begins, her eyes fluttering, his breath warm on her lips, "You're dangerous."

He nods so slightly, their noses just bumping, the dizzy spell of alcohol tipping her head, angling just right…

"Aye, lass. But in another life you loved that about me."

It's electric, the way his voice washes over her. She feels calm and safe and at home. But he's speaking of that other life again. The one she can't remember, the one that is crazy to suggest even exists. How could she not know?

"I don't know you," she tries to fight. Tries to remove herself from his allure.

But he's got her. And when his head tilts that millimetre to the left and their lips touch with a bruising intensity she sees flashes of another life, of something impossible. A beanstalk, a giant, a prison cell and him.

"…just as I am done with you."

She pushes back, gasping for air and gulping it down like she's been drowning. She scrambles away from him, eyes wide and frightened, "You-"

He holds up his hands in defence, "There's more, I came back. I came back."

But it doesn't register. She can only see the pain he caused, the way he left her like everyone else. Like him.

"It doesn't matter," she's holding back tears, "It isn't real. You're doing this to me. Stop it."

She doesn't care if she sounds crazy. She feels crazy. This was a stupid, impulsive idea. Henry isn't home tonight and she thought, why not? But this is why. This is why she shouldn't engage in fantasy. Because people leave her and she ends up hurting.

He grabs her arm, but she shakes his hand off. Not thinking clearly and seeing only threat in his movements. Turning on her heel, she runs out of the bar, Killian close behind her.

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The burn and scraping feeling against her knees as she falls doesn't deter her for one moment and she grazes her palms fumbling to pick herself back up. She knows that kicking off the six inch heels she's wearing would probably make it easier to get away, but the thin covering of stockings on her feet does nothing to encourage her when it comes to the streets of New York. It's raining and windy, the weather reflective of her emotions – turbulent and unpredictable. She doesn't care. Her urgency is finding her way from him, from the feelings he stirs in her, from the pain and confusion. He can't know her, he just can't. Because the thought that she's not in control of her life after every damn thing she's been through sends physical aching through her bones.

Her hair is wet and matted to her head, her face surely a look of horror with tears and rain mingling on her previously perfectly done makeup. But there's no time to worry about appearances, not with the wet sound of footsteps on the pavement behind her.

"Emma!" the voice calls out, and she has to admit he sounds more desperate than menacing, but a lifetime of disappointment and betrayal has taught her that running is sometimes the only option. She has a son, someone she needs to protect, and if this guy is going to keep following them, she knows the only option is to just get away.

Her heart is pounding as she climbs the flights of stairs to her apartment. She's only on the third floor, but by the time she reaches her door she is completely and utterly exhausted. Shivering and broken, she fumbles with her keys in the lock, finally letting herself in just as Killian makes it up the stairs behind her. The door closes in his face, her body sliding down the painted wood as sobs of fear and exertion wrack her body.

She's not scared of him. She's scared of the power he seems to have over her – the ability to make her feel so unlike herself.

He crumples against the door from the other side, his hand touching the wooden barrier where he knows her shoulder would be resting. He wants to comfort her, "Emma, please. I only just found you." And he sounds just as broken as her, "I can't lose you again."

She breathes in and out in a rhythm of her own device, something that had calmed her when she was a little girl in the foster system. Ignoring him is hard, but she manages to get herself off edge before turning her head slightly. With the door between them, it feels safer somehow. There's already distance between them.

"Tell me a story," she says softly, hearing the rub of leather as he moves.

And when he speaks it's as though he's whispering into her ear, the rumbling accent sending chills down her spine. "Once upon a time," he begins.