It's an…interesting…couple of weeks in Storybrooke once the curse is broken. Emma has a hard time coming to a begrudging truce with Regina, but in the end, it's the love for Henry that makes her reconsider.
If Regina can love a child, she can still be redeemed as a human being.
Convincing the rest of the town of that takes some time, but Emma manages. She does it because it's the right thing to do, but also because of Henry. Regina is the mother he's known his entire life – she can't take that away from him, even if she is learning, slowly, how to be a mother, too.
Getting to know her parents is surreal. Mary Margaret cooks Sunday dinners and invites her and Henry and Killian, though the first dinner is awkward and tense, because their daughter is dating Captain freaking Hook.
Emma reminds them it was their kiss that broke the curse, that he loves her and he makes her happy, and life goes on. Killian and David even start to develop an odd friendship, something the wavers between mutual suspicion and an odd sort of camaraderie that makes Emma roll her eyes.
They've offered her a room in their apartment, but it's cramped, and as much as Emma misses the modern conveniences, there's something about falling asleep in Killian's arms to the gentle rock of the water below them that she's come to enjoy.
She just charges her phone and showers at work.
With Graham gone and the curse broken, Emma's slid easily into the role of Sheriff. Her father helps, and together, they manage to keep a steady grip on the complaints that arise as two very different worlds collide.
In the evenings, those quiet moments on deck with Killian, she practices her magic. They're alone these days, the crew having sought more comfortable lodgings in town and the ship is empty. He doesn't seem to much mind, but she hasn't forgotten the promise about his hand – not that he needs it for nefarious reasons anymore, but because she gave her word.
Except, that's not the entire truth either. It's more to do with the look he gets sometimes, a scowl at the hook on his wrist, or a wince when she runs her fingers down his arm in bed in the morning. She's working on being more open with her words, but she does everything in her power to show him she loves him, just the way he is.
But it still bothers him.
He's given her so much. It's not about tit for tat or keeping track, but she wants to do this for him. She can't give him back his family like he's done for her, she can't give him a purpose like this town and breaking the curse has done for her – but she can stop that look of disgust with himself he gets when he looks at empty space where his hand should be.
It's a quiet night, and her back is to the mast as she sits on deck, her eyes closed in concentration. She thinks she's finally ready, but this isn't something she wants to get wrong, so while he's sleeping below, she's up here, mumbling under her breath as she tries to bend her magic to her will.
"Swan?" His voice is rough with sleep, and when she looks up she finds him barefoot at the top of the stairs to his quarters, the soft fleece pants she bought him hanging low on his hips. He hasn't bothered with a shirt, and he shivers in the cold night air, rubbing his arms briskly. "It's freezing out, Swan. Come back to bed." The words are laced with invitation, and she shivers herself.
The day they broke the curse was the day she stopped trying to fight her desire for him. The chaos of the day eventually calmed as the town fell into a restless sleep, and Killian had dragged her back to the Jolly despite her protests that she had to stay at the Sheriff's station.
The ship had already been emptied of the crew, and the creaking of the wood and the gentle lapping of the waves had been a balm on her frayed nerves. Killian's kisses had started gently, a path over her shoulders as he worked his hand over her back through the thin T-shirt she wore, kneading the tension out of her.
She hadn't meant to let the moan of pleasure slip out, but the warmth of his hand and the way his strong fingers worked at the sore muscle had been too much to fight. He'd stilled at that noise, spun her slowly in his arms until they were facing one another.
The look in his eyes that night won't be one she soon forgets. His eyes had gone deep, dark blue, his lips parted slightly as his hand ran up her spine and into her hair. His eyes slid shut a moment before hers did, and then he was kissing her, kissing her and touching her and pressing the line of his body to hers.
It was gentle that first time, sighs of pleasure and soft, teasing touches that simmered until they both burst into flames, panting in each other's arms. She'd fallen asleep in his arms that night, her back pressed to his bare chest, skin to skin, and she'd never felt more like she'd found a home.
Of course, since then, he's had her on just about every surface in his quarters, including last night's particularly vigorous round against the door.
She smiles to herself, leaning back against the mast and wishing for warmer weather, because she's certain he would appreciate having her right here in the middle of his ship, but it's too cold for it and Emma has a different sort of plan for their evening.
"I'm coming," she tells him now, rising from her place against the mast with a raised eyebrow, waiting for him to smile at her in that devilish manner she so enjoys.
He doesn't disappoint.
"Why, I haven't even touched you, Swan. My talents are rather impressive." He grins as she jabs her elbow into his ribs, but it's lightly done and his arm wraps around her as he pulls her below. It's not much warmer in his quarters, but they're out of the wind, and she's brought over a small, battery powered space heater for them, so it's not too terrible.
As the door closes behind them, he turns to her, his smile turning seductive. "If the lady will oblige me, I do think we could put some truth in those words." His fingers dance under the hem of her heavy sweater, already tugging on it to get it off.
She shrugs out of the sweater, but that's as far as she lets him get, stilling his hand with a gentle touch of her own. He seems disappointed, but he catches the spark in her eye and leans back, curiosity overtaking him. "What is it, love?"
"I think I'm ready." She takes a deep breath, reaching for him and her hand landing on his left shoulder. "If you are."
His eyebrows knit together in confusion, his head tilting to one side as he regards her. "I should think you know by now I'm always ready for you, my love, but I suspect you are talking about something else entirely by your insistence on retaining your top."
She laughs, a hint of nervousness in the sound even she can hear as her fingers trail down his left arm. It's bare tonight, and his expression shifts, his breath catching as her touch lingers on the stump. "We'll get to that. I think you might enjoy yourself more, though, if you let me go first…" She lets her voice trail off, trying to get a read on him as she lightly caresses the scarred skin.
"I have thought about nothing more than having two hands to ravish you with from the start," he tells her, but it's not the innuendo-laced comment she's grown used to. His voice is thick with emotion, and his eyes are filled with hope. It means far more to him than better sex, and she knows it, but she's still not good at heavy, emotionally charged moments like this.
"Okay." She smiles at him, taking a deep breath and letting her eyes slide shut. She can feel his eyes on her, the nervous energy radiating off him, and she tries to block it out, tries to focus, because she wants this to work.
It's his gasp that makes her eyes fly open, terrified she's hurt him or somehow failed, but instead, he's holding a perfectly normal left hand in front of his wide eyes, tentatively wiggling his fingers. "It worked!" she exclaims happily, relief flooding through her.
His eyes shift to her, and with them comes a flood of emotions strong enough to take Emma's breath away. She's still standing by the door, but he reaches for her, reaches for her with the left hand and when his fingers connect with her cheek, his eyes slide shut with a shudder.
She wants to say something, anything, but there's nothing for her to say in a moment like this. He's overcome with emotion, his eyes still closed as he moves closer to her, his fingers threading into her hair as his right hand slips under her shirt, settles on her waist and he sighs.
She can't take it anymore, and she reaches for him, pulls his body to hers and kisses him. The tang of salt is on his lips, and she only pulls him closer, winding her arms around his neck. "Take me to bed," she whispers in his ear, and he shudders against her again, his kiss becoming more insistent as his hands slide down her ribs.
He grips the backs of her thighs, easily lifting her into his arms as her legs come around his waist. "We'll get there," he promises, his hips pinning her against the wall as his hands begin to explore.
Emma has never once had any complaints about her physical relationship with Killian, but tonight, he is a man possessed. He's been able to reduce her to putty in his arms before, but his hands play her body like a finely tuned instrument.
"Gods, Emma, being able to touch you like this…" They've finally made it to the bed, and he's making very good on his promises above deck. "You have no idea how long I've wanted to do this." His voice is pure lust, and Emma is lost in the haze of it. Just being able to touch her like this, one hand between her legs and the other at her breast, is a turn on for him, but her reaction to his touch makes it nearly impossible not to simply have her that moment. She's lost the ability to speak and gasps her agreement instead, pulling his mouth to hers for a kiss.
He's insatiable, and they relearn each other's bodies until the dawn is spilling through the windows. But once they've caught their breath, and theirs hearts have calmed, she's curled in his arms and he's quiet, thoughtful.
"Thank you," he says softly, stroking his fingers over her spine with one hand while the other holds her hip possessively, keeps her anchored to him. "You haven't any idea…I love you, Emma Swan."
"You know I never thought less of you, right? I didn't do this because I thought you needed fixing, Killian. I did it because you wanted it."
"I know, love." He turns his head, kisses her hair and relaxes into the pillows. "But you deserve a whole man, and I intend to give you one."
"You already did." The reply is sleepy, exhaustion finally catching up with her, but it's no less true. She curls into his arms, his skin and the sheets and blankets making her drowsy as she lets her eyes close, deeply content.
He listens to her breathing even out, feels her relax into him as sleep takes her, and smiles to himself. She's the last thing he'd ever expected to find when summoned from Neverland, a second chance at love and happiness as pure as the sunshine. But then she blew into his life, kicking and screaming as she did, irritating him and baiting him, and finally making him turn his ship around.
He'd written it off so long ago it had become impossible, but in the end, all he needed to find a happy ending was a change in the wind.
Thank you all for taking this journey with me. I may have discovered along the way that I really prefer writing modern AU, but I'm still glad I took this project on. It's good to challenge yourself as a writer, and man, this one did just that.
I have another long form (modern) AU in the works that I'll probably start posting in a few weeks, once I can get a bit further into it. With the school schedule this summer being what it is, I want to have a good stock of chapters before I start posting for when I (inevitably) disappear into MBA hell. Until then, feel free to come say hi on Tumblr.
Until next time!