Time seemed to pass slowly. Minutes felt like hours as they lay tangled and naked together under the blanket in the dark back room of the bar, only lit by the flames of the glowing fire, but neither were complaining. They were too content, too giddy, too happy to protest. Emma swore that she felt like a teenager: smiling and giggling and completely lovestruck to think about how ridiculous they probably looked at the moment.

Emma shivered as she felt his hand tracing her spine, up and down until he dipped low towards dangerous territory, heat shooting straight to core again as his fingers expertly worked over her flesh. She sighed in satisfaction – never in a million years would she have thought she would be this happy with Killian. But she was – is – and her fingers wove through his dark chest hair before wrapping around him to show that she wasn't planning on going anywhere either.

Running his other hand through her golden curls, which had been matted to her sweaty forehead from their previous enjoyable activities, he pressed his lips to hers without restraint – fully relishing in the fact that he could now do this whenever he pleased without backlash. The lights in the bar flickered back on but the pair seemed too wrapped up in each other to notice. She slanted her lips against his, opening up to him as his tongue tangled with hers, moaning against him as she felt his hands move to her waist, dragging her on top of him. Emma's legs fell along his sides, straddling him; she felt him stir beneath her as she ground her hips down into his.

"You know what sounds really good right now?" she whispered seductively in his ear, her teeth playfully tugging on his earlobe, a groan escaping from his mouth.

"Round two?" Killian suggested as his warm hand reached her breast, kneading and tugging at the flesh. She chuckled against his skin, connecting their lips once again.

She finally pulled back with a flirtatious grin, bumping her nose to his. "No. Hot chocolate."

"Bloody minx," Killian growled as he swiftly flipped her over before she could even blink, his heavy form now hovering over hers, strong arms holding him up to not crush her. He dipped his head to pepper sweet kisses along her neck and jaw line.

Panting against him, Emma placed her hands to his chest, nails scraping against skin. The pleasurable sensations flooding her body were electric and she almost had to force herself to stop him. "Cocoa first, sex later. I have some of the cheap kind stashed in my desk drawer."

Groaning, Killian rolled off of her, hands blindly reaching for his boxers before grabbing the fabric and lifting himself up. Emma blushed as she studied his form, boldly standing naked, his well-toned body flexing as he pulled the boxers on. When his eyes made contact with Emma's, he smirked, bending down to place one last kiss to her lips.

"I'll be back," Killian whispered, his breath hot along her skin, before pulling away and walking across the room. "Don't miss me too much," he cockily called back over his shoulder with a wink.

Emma gave an unladylike snort, her eyes never leaving him as he disappeared around the corner. Grabbing the blankets, Emma wrapped them around her naked body, trailing across the room to pick up her clothes, confusion etched across her face as she searched for her garments (she found a piece on the other side of the pool table; how the heck did her bra get all the way over here?).

She smiled, clutching the item to her chest, as she remembered the way his fingers had trailed her shoulder, pulling the straps down slowly, his touch leaving a fiery trail in their wake. Her head began to spin, dizzying from her want – no, her pure need – for him again. To have him inside her, moving within, arms lovingly cradling her while he whispered sweet nothings into her skin (as if each word was a secret meant only for her).

Butterflies danced in her stomach and she felt heat coil low in her belly, clearly aroused just thinking of how amazing he had been with her. The tenderness and passion astounded her and she began to question why she had waited so long to finally give in.

"Love, what's this?"

The smile from her face faded as she turned to face him; Emma could feel the color drain from her face, her eyes immediately locking on the picture he was desperately clutching, crumpling slightly in his firm grasp. And that's when it hit her.

The picture of Neal was in the same drawer as her hot chocolate stash.

Avoiding his gaze, she absentmindedly tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, the other hand holding the blankets firmly around her chest, a chill running through her exposed skin. "It's nothing, Killian," she lied hastily, walking across the room in a few short strides to snatch the picture from his hands.

"Bloody hell, Swan. It's definitely more than nothing. You were hiding it in your desk drawer."

"I just…" she trailed off, her eyes finally finding his – the intensity and sorrow in them surprised her. He was clearly hurt, not by her being with another man, but from her pain, her secrets, her past. It was something he identified with. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she spoke softly, "It was a long time ago."

The ends of Killian's lips tipped up in a sympathetic smile. His hands reached up to cup her face – the tears already stinging on the surface – and she instantly leaned into his touch. "Tell me about it. I want to know about every part of you, Emma. Even the painful ones."

She smiled when he sat down at the table, pulling her into his lap, intertwining their fingers as she spoke in a hushed tone. "He's the reason I have such a hard time giving in to you, the reason that I don't trust anymore."

Smoothing his fingers over her cheeks, Killian nodded for her to continue.

"His name was Neal. We dated in college. It was…" she paused, biting on her bottom lip as she pondered, his hand stroking her blonde curls. "It was pretty serious actually. We were young and…I thought we were in love."

His arms tightened around her waist, nuzzling his nose against hers, his breath a whisper against her creamy skin. "What happened?"

"He cheated on me. I walked in on him with another woman," Emma admitted, choking back the tears that threatened to spill. "I didn't want to believe it even though it was right there in front of me. I felt so stupid. I was so naïve that I didn't even realize he had been using me. All the signs were there. I just choose to ignore them because I thought he really loved me." She shrugged her shoulders against him, the frown consuming her beautiful face as the pair sat in comfortable silence, the crackling of the fireplace the only echo in the room.

"Her name was Milah."

Emma's emerald eyes flew open, turning her body to face his in complete shock. She had never known about another woman in Killian's life, or at least one that he had been serious with. Running her finger along his scruffy jaw line, Emma silently urged him to keep going.

"She, um…" He paused, letting out a short huff and scratching nervously behind one ear. "We were together for awhile as well. I actually thought we would end up getting married eventually. That is until I found out she had been married the whole time. And in the end, no matter how much or often she said that she loved me, Milah wouldn't give up her husband for me."

A sobering feeling came over Emma. She had never known this side of Killian and a part of her ached that she had never given him a chance before – always choosing instead to write him off as some womanizing player. He was more real that she had anticipated. And it had never clicked with her until now that Killian was that sweet pirate she fell for online. Two halves of one whole being just scared to come together, to show themselves. They were more alike than she had cared to realize – kindred spirits.

"Sounds like we've both had our fair share of rotten relationships," Emma joked with a sarcastic snort, using her elbow to playfully nudge him in the ribs.

"Not anymore," Killian spoke in a stern tone, his hand in her hair again, letting her know that he was serious. "Emma, I want this to work. So don't run from me – from us. Don't be afraid to fall, because when you do, I promise that I'll be there to catch you."

Her forehead slipping to his, she reached up to thumb the tiny dimple in his cheek. Killian could feel her body shaking against his, almost fighting internally to fully let go, to open up to him completely. Emma shifted her weight in his lap until her legs were straddling him in the chair, her breath hot against his mouth as she let out a whisper.


Almost like a slow and sensual dance, mouths consumed each other once more, tongues tangoing, tasting the sweetness of each other. Hands carded through hair, her nails sending chills down his spine as they scratched for any part of him, his chest bare against hers as she abandoned the blanket she had been so desperately holding around herself. He quickly took the opportunity to throw the blanket away, leaving them both naked and needy and desperate as they rocked against each other.

Hands roamed, teeth nipped, low moans, backs arched as they continued their movements. This was slower and sweeter than their previous sexual encounter – which had been rushed and brutal, love now being poured into every action. It wasn't long before they finally came together again, intermixed groans as Emma slid down onto him, him deliciously stretching her within, filling her up.

Chasing their release, their actions became sloppy and erratic as they pushed and pulled against each other, the heat between them almost unbearable as he gave one final thrust up into her, sending them both flying into oblivion – the pleasure consuming and yet not enough, his movements unceasing to help them both ride it out.

Panting, Killian sweetly kissed Emma's lips once more, the sex-haze still hanging overhead as she slid off of him. She smiled at him (a plain smile from her was now enough to do him in) and he smiled back, picking her up bridal style and carrying her back to the floor in front of the fireplace, hot chocolate long forgotten.

Killian pulled the blanket over them as they lay together on the floor, him spooning her from behind as he nudged his leg between hers. Just being together like this – the simple act of laying together – filled their hearts to the brim, overflowing and bubbling with pure happiness, both of them now knowing that they never wanted to spend another night apart.

Who knew one night could change so much.

(Ruby was ecstatic when she heard the news, and David…well, let's just say he was somewhat pleased – and gave Killian a silent look that said if you hurt her I'll kill you.

The couple was too wrapped up in each other, the gazes and touches never seemed to stop now, to see David pass Ruby some money – a secret bet as to how long it took before the two ended up together. Ruby won.)

They only lasted two weeks before their first real fight.

And honestly, neither remembered how it had started. It had been over something so simple and stupid that neither of them could even remember how it exactly began. One minute they were teasing and the next there were angry shouts, loud enough to alert the neighbors of their clash.

The door slammed shut behind Killian as he exited Emma's apartment. Her red-rimmed eyes never moved from the door as her face became flush, the tears still a faint stain on her porcelain skin, at the realization that he had actually left. It had been stupid and now he was gone.

She was angry at him for leaving, angry at them for fighting, angry at herself for making him leave. It had only been two weeks. They couldn't even last a few weeks of bliss before they clashed. Running a shaky hand through her hair, her throat raw and sore from their screaming match, she contemplated why she ever thought this would work out between them. There was too much previous hate for them to make a serious relationship work. The only thing that they both agreed on that constantly worked was the sex – but even that wasn't enough.

He was constantly pushing her for more – and the abandoned and frightened teenage girl inside of her was still scared. Scared to open her heart, afraid of commitment, of hearing those three little words. Neither had said it, but Emma knew that Killian was definitely closer to uttering the phrase than she was. No, she wasn't ready for this. Emma didn't even know why she had bothered in the first place.

The bed was cold without him next to her, the way his warm arms enveloped her safely, the satin sheets like a thin layer of ice on her. She desperately clutched them as she willed herself to stop crying, to forget it, to forget him.

After a few hours, the sobs subsided. Emma felt the bed dip next to her and she didn't even have to turn to know that it was him, the weight of him heavy against her, his arms wrapping around her waist, pulling her back into his chest. She took the opportunity to let go of her heart and run a cold foot up his leg.

Raking the sweaty curls off her ears, he leaned over and whispered, soft and low – his voice gravely and husky in the middle of the night. "I'm sorry, Swan."

When she didn't immediately respond, he questioned himself, wondering if she had fallen asleep angry with him. But when he heard her whimper, his heart squeezed at the pain he could hear in her voice – the pain he had caused her. "You left me."

"I know. I shouldn't have. I was just angry, but even that is no excuse. Emma, we are going to fight. It's only natural. But let's promise that when we do, no one leaves until it is resolved. I won't put you through that. You don't deserve that pain again."

Wordlessly, she turned in his arms to face him, a half smiled managed on her face. Emma reached up to trace his jaw with a sigh, the stubble prickling her skin. "I'm sorry too. For being stubborn and not trusting you. I just have trouble letting people in."

She buried her face into the crook of his neck, placing kisses against his salty skin, his chin resting delicately on top her head, his hand continuously smoothing out her blonde locks as the moon shining through the window illuminated them like a halo around her.

"Emma, you have reason to be so guarded. Your heart is a precious thing. But if you give it to me, I promise that no harm will be done to it. I will handle it with the greatest of care; give it the love and proper attention that it deserves – that you deserve."

Untangling his hand from her hair, she grabbed it, guiding it to lay his palm flat against his chest (rising and falling in sync with his) her heart beating steadily beneath. "It's already yours."

It was three months before he saw her cry.

(Really cry, that is. Not just a few stray tears or an angry sob after an argument. A cry of sadness and pain – of hurt.)

"Swan?" Killian's voice called out into his seemingly empty apartment, it echoing against the vacant walls, but with the front door still unlocked, he knew she wasn't far. He found her curled in his bed, the satin sheets clutched tightly in her fist – knuckles almost turning white and face red - (inhaling the scent of him, longing to be closer to the only one she knew could heal her breaking heart)

Bending to her level, he softly brushed her hair back, his own heart breaking to see her in such pain. And although he knew what was wrong – she was always an open book to him, even before they dated, but especially now that they were always together – he felt the need to ask her anyway.

"What's wrong, love?"

Emma sniffled, wiping the tears away as best possible, his arms coming around her to help her sit up, her legs dangling off the side of the bed. He came to crouch between her thighs, his hands lovingly cradling her face. Trying her best to avoid his gaze, she spoke softly, shrugging her shoulders. "It's nothing, Killian. It's silly."

He frowned at her stubbornness, something he should have been used to by now. "Lass, if it's hurting you this much, obviously something isn't right."

Swallowing the lump in her throat, she nervously bit her bottom lip, knowing it was probably absurd to be this troubled over such a minute thing. "Victor proposed to Ruby."

Killian sighed, lifting her chin so emerald and blue eyes locked. He knew it was going to come to this. Better yet, he knew what was truly bothering her about the situation. Emma wasn't one to obsess over weddings or marriages. And she was really happy for her best friend. But Killian could see through it all to the root of the problem– open book and all.

"She's going to kick me out," Emma murmured, kicking her bare feet lightly against the cold wooden floor as she twisted her fingers together. She was worried about being left alone. After all this time, she was being forgotten once again.

"No she's not, Swan. She would never do that to you," he spoke with an exasperated sigh before continuing, "Besides, Ruby already discussed it with me."

That got her attention – heading shooting up, blonde curls flying, emerald eyes wide as her brow scrunched in confusion, finally making eye contact with Killian. "What?"

"She was worried about you. She wanted to make sure you were alright." Killian took one of her shaky hands in his, pressing a gentle kiss to her palm before removing himself from between her legs to open the nightstand, muttering under his breath and fiddling around to find what he was looking for. "I was going to give this to you next week on your birthday, but I feel like you could use it now."

Killian placed the tiny black box in Emma's hands, her mouth dropping in confusion.

"Don't worry. It's not an engagement ring," Killian smirked, knowing his Swan so well as she mirrored his grin.

Thumbing at the velvet box, she gently lifted the lid with nervous hands, the shiny metal object illuminating inside. "A key? I already have a key to your place."

"I know. But you don't have what's under it."

Emma fingered the piece of paper, it folded up neatly to fit under the key. She squinted at him in suspicion before slowly unfolding it, her heart stopped as the words began to appear. Emma couldn't help the way her jaw had dropped lifelessly, the color almost draining from her already pale face. "Your lease? Killian…"

"Move in with me," he quickly declared, taking both of her hands in his, silence encompassing the room as eye contact never broke between them. "I was going to ask you anyways. But with you now looking for a new place, I figured this would make things easier."

Emma felt something shift in her, something she had not felt in quite awhile – the need to run. Whenever things started to get serious in a relationship, Emma always took it as her cue to run like hell. There was uncertainty in her voice as she searched deep within. This was Killian though, and she lov- (no, she mentally corrected herself) she had deep feelings for him (she wouldn't dare herself to say it was love yet)."Killian, I-"

"Emma, don't run from me – from this," he interrupted, drawing her up into his arms and off her place on his bed, his hands firmly gripped around her waist, foreheads bumping as his voice dropped. "Don't come up with excuses. Because, darling, you have none."

Connecting their lips on instinct, relief flooded Emma's body, her lips slowly sliding against his. She did love this man. And although she couldn't tell him those words yet, Emma knew that had been given an opportunity to show him every day. Move in with him, make love with him, share their lives together until she was ready to let all of her heart go. Little by little, he was breaking down her walls, and with each brick that had fallen, she handed him another piece.

Finally pulling back, Emma smiled, placing one last kiss to the corner of his mouth. "Okay. I'll move in with you."

In pure delight, Killian picked up Emma up by her waist, spinning her around in a joyous state. Giggling like a teenager, Emma had never had her heart fill this full. This man – Killian – was someone she had once loathed so much. Pure hate and disgust ruled her life until she met him. But surprisingly, he had broken her free, helped her to open up, and earned her trust (something that was not an easy feat).

As he sat her back down, bare feet hitting the floor, Killian noticed her laughter and obvious mood change from the sobs only moments ago. "What is it, love?"

Her lips tilted up in a smile (a true and rare Emma Swan smile). Her hands slid comfortably around the back of his neck, her fingers playing with the dark locks of his hair. "Who would have ever thought that we would have ended up together?"

Killian chuckled, his own arms staying content around her waist, only pulling her closer so that their hips collided (always a perfect fit). "It is quite the story – the pirate and the princess falling for each other."

"Yes," Emma replied, before inching her lips closer to his. "But it's our story."

It may have been an odd tale – a pirate and a princess, a bartender and a boss – ultimately falling in love. Both Emma and Killian would admit that it wasn't love at first sight – they weren't instantly in love. But it was their tale. And they wouldn't have it any other way.

A/N: Thank you so much to everyone who has followed this story and reviewed. Your kind words have meant the world to me. I hope that you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it! If you're interested in more of my work or have a prompt for me, be sure to check out my Tumblr (link in my profile). I'm always looking for new ideas (especially AUs). Thanks again! :)