A/N: Everything before this is 3x22 canon but Rumple doesn't send them into his magical vault & only orders them away from his castle.
They stood at the edge of the docks, watching the crew busy themselves by carrying various cargos onboard and preparing the ship to set sail. 'Hook, you still haven't told me what your plan is.' Emma whispered to the pirate on her left. Killian glanced at her thoughtfully before sighing.
'My plan is to use my ship to travel to Moirai Cove, a secluded place where fairies are rumoured to live. If we find the Blue Fairy there, or at least discover her whereabouts, we can discuss the portal with her. Now seeing as you haven't even been born yet, I thought it best that we stay close to my past self. It is safer than us travelling on land as we would most likely end up changing the timeline numerous more times, which we cannot afford to do. So my plan was to knock out my past self so I can essentially commandeer my own ship and take us where we need to go. Once we've reached our destination, I'll wake my past self and he will continue as I always did, thus not ruining my own timeline in the process.' His eyes were focused on his ship, but he saw Emma shrug out the corner of his eye.
'It's just as well that it's a good plan because it's the only one we've got.' She replied, lacking any real enthusiasm as she sighed.
'Okay then, you need to distract me while I sneak into the Captain's quarters. Then you need to get my past self in there and I'll be waiting to knock him out. After that I'll captain the vessel for as long as necessary.' Killian whispered quickly, his eyes darting as he watched all the movement before him.
'Wait, what about me? Am I going to stay hidden the entire journey?' Emma questioned incredulously. '
No need. I'll say that you're my guest for as long as I desire you. That way you'll be free to roam the ship but the crew will keep their hands off you.' He looked at her then, his eyes widening as he readjusted his focus in the shadows.
'As long as you desire me? Seriously? You're passing me off as the Captain's whore?' She sounded affronted but he noticed the small curve of her lips even in the dim light that surrounded the docks. 'Well, lass, pirates often consider a woman's presence onboard to be of bad luck, unless they are there for pleasure. It's the only reasonable excuse for you to be there.' Killian shrugged his shoulders and tried hard to hide his smirk. He failed when he heard her mutter 'pirates' exasperatedly under her breath as she prepared herself for step one of their plan.
She brushed through her hair to make herself look presentable, realizing that perhaps the rags Regina forced her to wear were not particularly attractive. Killian was looking at her like he knew what she was thinking and he sighed.
'No worries, love. When you look like you do it doesn't matter if you're in a ball gown or rags. A woman as beautiful as you deserves his full attention.' That caught her attention as she turned to face him, only then just noticing how close they had been in their hiding place. She was surprised until she remembered that he had been there when the old Hook had said those words. She gave him a shy smile before leaving him, walking along the dock towards the ship. He watched her walk away, smiling at the way her hips moved and how her hair cascaded down her back. He saw himself notice her, and he pushed away the stab of jealousy he felt as he slowly made his way towards the ship, careful not to be seen.
'Well aren't you are sight for sore eyes, love. I was almost convinced you were a figment of my rum-infused mind last night.' Hook sauntered over to her, stopping mere inches away from her and curling a soft ringlet of her hair around his finger. 'All I seem to remember is this beautiful hair beneath my fingers, and your soft lips against mine. How is it that a simple bar-wench like you haunted my dreams all night?' He closed his eyes at the memory, and she could see hints of her Killian even in this much darker version of himself.
'Perhaps I am more than just a simple bar-wench, Captain.' She whispered, leaning towards him to further build the tension between them. Out the corner of her eye she saw Killian quickly board the ship, taking advantage of the lack of crew members around to make a break for the Captain's quarters.
'Aye, lass, you must be some sort of siren. However, I do not remember you luring me into bed last night. I don't remember anything past our lips touching. Were you so cruel as to steal the memory of everything else away from me?'
He lifted his eyes to hers and she saw the way he looked at her, the hooded, dark, lustful gaze and despite herself she felt a shot of desire pulse through her. She ran her hand down his arm and around his hook, letting her fingers twirl around it just as she had the previous night in the tavern. 'Well, perhaps if you don't remember it I should refresh your memory.' She whispered in her best seductive voice, and judging by the groan he made, it worked.
'You are a marvel, lass.' He laughed softly before pulling her gently towards his cabin. She was taken aback by how easy it had been, but then again, he was a pirate.
He gestured for her to enter the cabin first (his voice saying 'I'm always a gentleman' ran through her mind) and she climbed down the ladder, quickly looking around for her Killian. He was hiding in the shadows a few feet away from her, their eyes locking for a second before Hook descended the ladders. 'I don't want to waste any more time, lass. I've wanted you since I first laid eyes on you.' His hand was suddenly in her hair and his hook was at her hip as he kissed her with incredible passion. The kiss was over as quickly as it started when Killian spun his past self around and punched him, and the situation was exactly the same as the previous night. She wasn't surprised this time, but she was confused by Hook's words.
'Okay, Swan, so far so good. I just need to swap vests so the crew aren't suspicious.' He began unbuttoning the red vest his other self was wearing as Emma silently mulled over her thoughts. She turned to look at the desk, partially out of curiously but mostly to give him some privacy to change.
'Killian.' She quietly said his name in a questioning tone, turning back around when he was done. 'Aye, love?' He said as he sorted out his coat.
'Won't this mess things up?' Emma asked hesitantly. He frowned at her question as he pulled down the collar of his shirt beneath the coat.
'In what way? My reason for coming up with this plan was so that it didn't mess with the timeline.' He walked towards her, stepping around the unconscious Hook carefully. Emma felt her cheeks start to burn suddenly.
'Well, what he said about...wanting me since he first saw me. This is the second time he's seen me now. He remembered things about me and now I've kissed him twice. What if this affects us actually meeting for the first time? What if you somehow recognise me when I pull you out from those bodies you were hiding under? What if-' She began to ramble before he gently placed his hand on her shoulder.
'Swan, stop worrying. I managed to steal some of that memory potion the Crocodile made. I was going to save it for an emergency in case something drastic happened, but we can give it to him if you're concerned.' His finger trailed over her chin and he smiled as she relaxed into his touch with a slight nod of her head. 'I need to go boss the crew around for a bit, shout some orders and call out slow workers, that sort of thing. Once we've set sail I'll introduce you to everyone, but after that they'll leave us alone.' She smiled weakly at him, nodding again in agreement. Killian smiled back before climbing back up the ladder. 'Make yourself at home, lass.' He called before surfacing above deck and closing the latch.
She exhaled deeply, her eyes scanning the quarters he had called home for hundreds of years. She had never gotten a good look at the place before, only glimpses of a desk, a bed and a few books. The cabin was smaller than she had thought, but surprisingly cosy, not suffocating. Various maps and books were scattered across the desk and a bottle of rum was balanced precariously on a pile of books in the corner of the room by the window. The bed was at the far side against the wall, and it was smaller than she had imagined. Blankets and cushions were strewn across the single mattress carelessly, and she recalled Hook's comment about her haunting his dreams (she definitely did not smirk at the idea of him restlessly thinking about her).
The bohemian style bedding was rather soft under her fingers as she ran them across the sheets, smiling when his familiar scent filled her nose. She jumped when she heard Killian shouting above deck, but snorted when she heard his various insults ('mangy scavengers', 'lazy sods' & 'incompetent vermin' were her favourite). She felt like she had walked into an 18th century novel, or at least a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. She sat behind the desk, picking up an open book and flicking through the pages. She saw illustrations of various constellations and began reading, leaning back in the chair to get comfortable.
She heard plenty of commotion from above deck as the crew finished loading the ship, but she was strangely at peace in the little cabin, cosy in the warmth and comfort Killian's home provided her. She felt the ship begin to move as they set sail, but the sensation was not unpleasant as she had suspected. She slouched further into the chair, curling her legs up and resting her head against the soft back. An hour on board a ship was hardly the equivalent of spending the majority of your life there, but little by little she was warming up to life at sea.
Emma heard the sound of the latch opening and Killian's footsteps on the ladder as he climbed back down. 'Everything is running smoothly and we're on our way. You can come meet the crew if you'd like.' He was smiling, perhaps brighter than she had ever seen before, and he looked so relaxed and happy to be back on his ship.
'Sure.' She said with a smile, finding his too contagious to ignore as she got up to follow him above deck. He offered his hand once they were standing at the helm, and she took it without hesitation.
'Alright, listen up!' Killian bellowed, getting the attention of the entire crew. 'This is Leia. She is my guest and I'd like for you all to make her feel welcome, but not uncomfortable.' He added with warning in his voice, his eyes resting on a particularly creepy looking man whose gaze was making her blush. There were various calls of 'welcome aboard Leia' and she actually smiled at the sincerity of them all. 'She will be staying with us for as long as I wish, so please treat her with respect and honour our code.' She felt his hand squeeze hers and she caught on to what their 'code' must be. She gave them all another smile before Killian guided her back down into his quarters, smiling at her in his deliriously happy state.
'That went well.' He mused with a chuckle. 'Yeah, I guess it did. You know, I don't think I've ever seen you in this good of a mood before.' She laughed, watching him as he took a drink from the bottle of rum on top of the books. His expression changed at her words; his smile dropped but his eyes still twinkled with happiness.
'Well I have every reason to be happy. I have faith that our plan will work, I get to be reunited with my ship and my crew, and most of all, I'm happy that you're here with me.' He put the bottle down and walked over to her, threading his fingers through her soft curls. 'The year without you was hell, Swan.' He whispered, and she felt her heartbeat increase so quickly she thought he would be able to hear it.
'Well, all my memories of you were taken away, but I'm pretty sure that if I had had them, I would have missed you too.' She laughed breathlessly as her eyes followed the stretch of his lips as he smiled.
'Of course you would have missed me; everyone needs a devilishly handsome pirate in their lives.' He teased, and she let out a real laugh before rolling her eyes.
'One with a big ego at that.' Emma snorted, turning around to sit back in the chair at the desk.
Killian smiled but didn't retort. Instead he looked over the maps on the desk, following their route with his finger. 'Moirai Cove is about 8 days travel, as long as we don't run into any problems along the way.' He thoughtfully scratched his ear as he searched for another map, lining up the two sheets together.
'What kind of problems?' She asked curiously, frowning at the map that was upside down to her.
'Run ins with other pirates, mostly. Most other ships are not stupid enough to cross the Jolly Roger but some like to think they can take us on. Don't worry, lass, we've always won.' He looks up at her, his expression surprisingly soft. Emma wondered how many of these small smiles they had exchanged in the past few days and how the pirate captain that stood before her was slowly finding a place in her life, and maybe even her heart.