A/N: This fic is for msgenevieve447, for my Captain Swan Secret Shipmates gift. It's maybe not quite what you had in mind, dear, nor I, but I hope you it enjoy it just the same. I've enjoyed writing it so far.
This was supposed to be a oneshot Lieutenant Duckling fic, but it took a somewhat darker turn at the beginning, and I knew I could never do this fic, or the themes associated, justice with a oneshot, so I turned it into a multichapter.
I consider this to be a Lieutenant Duckling fic with a spritz of Captain Swan, meaning that while this story will firmly remain LD, it has a definite flavor of Captain Swan mixed into it-in part because of its darker themes, and also because it's my headcanon that even as Lieutenant Jones, Killian had a flirtatious and snarky sort of personality...it was just less pronounced.
Anyhoo...the first few chapters shouldn't be too bad. I'm mostly hinting at what's going on, but I will post warnings in later chapters if I think something might be a potential problem for readers, so they can skip over it or abandon ship. ;) Hope you enjoy this fic!
It took all of the discipline learned in Lieutenant Killian Jones's naval training not to pace back and forth. Such a display would be gauche, extremely bad form. But his nerves had to have some outlet, so he reached up to tug at the starched collar of his best naval uniform. Sometime in the last several minutes, it had become hot in the cathedral. Extremely hot. Never mind that it was the middle of December...
"Stop that," his older brother hissed over Killian's shoulder. "Everything's fine. It's just a small delay."
Killian suppressed a snort. Small delay? He wasn't a fool. Under the circumstances, that "small delay" could mean anything-and none of it good. Had Emma decided to back out? Her parents...well, everyone, really...would understand if she did. Killian knew the monarchs underestimated how beloved Princess Emma was by her people. If she chose not to marry Killian, a mere naval officer with no wealth or title, everyone would understand. Even he would understand (though it would make things awkward for himself and his career for some time to come). She was a princess. It wasn't as if she owed him anything after all. Certainly not her hand in marriage, if she'd changed her mind.
Liam poked him in the side. "Smile," he insisted. "You look like you're attending a state funeral, for gods' sakes!"
Funeral? Killian snorted softly, which earned him a disapproving frown from his curly-haired brother (though Killian noted that his disapproval didn't quite meet his eyes). Well, perhaps that analogy wasn't so far from the truth in some respects. Certainly the event would better resemble one when word came for Killian that the princess had called the whole thing off.
Liam poked him again.
"Stop that!" Killian hissed testily. "I thought groomsmen were supposed to be supportive, not irritating."
"Oh? So you'd rather not know the doors have opened, and your bride is ready?" Liam said archly. "Guess you'll have to find yourself a new best man, if I irritate you with such news."
Killian's head jerked up, and he risked a glance toward the back of the cathedral-protocol and good form be damned. Sure enough, the doors to the vestibule of the cathedral had been propped wide open. Emma was nowhere in sight, of course; no doubt she was tucked off to the side somewhere, hidden from his view until she walked down the aisle. Two small girls with wavy dark hair, wearing dresses that could perhaps be called pink if he squinted, but more resembled the hue of champagne, stood at the ready, baskets clutched in their hands. Killian tried to remember their names (they were about to be related, after all), but they escaped him. All he really knew was that they were cousins of some sort.
Behind the girls, he saw the red hair and infectious smile of the first in a string of bridesmaids. From what little he recalled of the meetings in which they had planned his and Emma's wedding, there were six of them. Seven, if you counted Emma's maiden of honor. Most of them were princesses from allied kingdoms, he remembered, chosen out of courtesy as much as the necessity of witness. But Emma's maiden of honor, at least, was truly her friend, and for that he was glad.
The music began, and Killian drew himself up to his full height, resuming the bearing proper to a military officer. Emma's smallest attendants walked down the aisle, strewing wildflowers in their wake. Their guests smiled and murmured, completely captivated by this display, and even Killian had to admit to himself that they were adorable.
The bridesmaids followed next, one by one, until only Alice remained, her wide smile aimed right at Killian. She winked at him once as she passed by, turning to take her place on the altar steps. Killian blinked, glancing around nervously. What was she on about?
The music changed before he had time to examine the oddity further, and Killian turned toward the back of the cathedral, his mouth dry. Emma stood for a moment, framed by the arched doorway, to allow their guests to look their fill upon her. Killian didn't mind. It allowed him the same opportunity.
Her gown's skirt was full, the very whiteness of it emphasized by the glittering array of rubies and emeralds that adorned it. Gold embroidery criss-crossed the fitted bodice that allowed Killian a peek, no more than that, of his bride's bosom. He felt his ears begin to burn, and he shifted his gaze to admire the long, flowing sleeves of the gown instead; he felt embarrassed and a bit ashamed to stare at the princess in such a common fashion.
Emma started her journey up the long cathedral aisle, and Killian reached up to tug his collar again, quite forgetting himself for a moment. Her steps were measured, her movements graceful, and Killian felt as if he were in a dream as she swept up the aisle toward him. Her golden hair was piled atop her head, loose ringlets falling onto her neck and shoulders underneath the filmy, jewel-covered veil. Long, graceful fingers cradled a bouquet of pink and white roses, a combination he was certain had been chosen by her mother. Emma's taste had never run to dainty colors, much less pink. Red was more her style, or black. But they weren't exactly common wedding colors. Certainly not ones of which Queen Snow ever would have approved.
The princess paused at the end of the aisle, turning toward Killian. He inhaled deeply. With trembling fingers, he folded back her veil and looked at his bride. Her expression was demure, but there was a familiar fire in her green eyes. He smiled at that. Same old Emma. Killian offered the princess his arm. She accepted it without expression, and they approached the altar together.
He stole a glance at her as they knelt before the priest on the altar steps. Though her eyes were focused on the priest, her attention supposedly captivated by his words, Killian knew better. Years of attending state meetings with her had taught him what it felt like when her attention wandered. What was she thinking of? Killian turned his gaze back to priest, giving Emma's hand a light squeeze. He promised himself that he would do everything in his power to make her happy, to give her a happy ending.
She deserved no less.