Katie woke up to a light knock on her door. She rubbed her eyes as a yawn escaped from her lips. She took a sharp breath in as she looked at her princess clock on the wall. It was nearly 11 o'clock in the morning. She always tried to get up early, as she knew that adults didn't like lazy kids. She'd fallen asleep so easily last night, and she couldn't remember having any dreams. The bed was just so comfy, and the house was so quiet; she couldn't help it. Katie started to subconsciously chew on her bottom lip, as another slightly louder knock sounded.
"Katie, sweetie?" Emma's voice called softly through the door. "Are you awake?" The little girl could hear the kindness in the woman's voice. She didn't sound angry at all. To be honest she'd never heard her or Killian ever be angry. Katie got out of bed and padded towards the door, clutching her ever-present teddy to her chest. She reached up and slowly turned the doorknob. Emma's heart warmed as the door opened to reveal the seven-year-old, still in her Olaf pyjamas. Her hair was messy from sleep and her eyes still not fully opened. "There you are. Good morning, sleeping beauty." Emma chuckled as Katie's face broke into a yawn. Katie giggled in spite of herself. She met Emma's eyes for a moment, before looking down at her soft toy. "Let's go downstairs, yes?" The blonde waited for Katie to walk past her before she followed.
Katie sat herself down at the kitchen table, in the same spot that she had the day before. She tried not think about how comfy the chair was, not knowing how many more times she'd be able to sit in it. Emma passed her a glass of water before sitting across from her. The little girl looked around in sight of Killian, but didn't find any. She worried that they'd had a fight. Maybe he'd left. That she'd acted up one to many times and he'd had enough. And Emma was about to send her back because of it.
"Killian had to go into work this morning, you remember me saying that we work in the Sherriff's Department?" Emma watched Katie's movements carefully. She always seemed so worried, it broke the saviour's heart. Katie finished her water before nodding in response. "Well he volunteered to go in this morning to check over some things." Honestly he'd jumped up as soon as the call came in, getting ready before she could even offer to go. Emma thought he was hesitant at being left alone with Katie, after all she'd been through he didn't want to cause her more fear. It was sweet of him, but she hoped they would both realise that they could move forward from her past. "So, I was thinking, we could go and surprise him with lunch?" Truth be told they needed to get some fresh air, it wasn't good for any of them to be cooped up. "You can see where we work? It's pretty cool." Katie seemed to ponder this for a moment. Emma waited patiently for her decision. After a few moments. The little girl smiled and nodded. "Great. So why don't you go get ready, and then we'll go for a walk." The blonde watched as she scrambled back up the stairs.
Katie stood in front of her wardrobe, looking over her clothes selection. She didn't have many clothes and all of what she did have were hand-me-downs; from older children in the home, who'd gotten them as donations from well-meaning members of the public. She wanted to make a good impression, but her only semi-nice dress was meant for a 3-4 year old. Katie was small, but she wasn't that small. Her eyes started to fill with tears at how embarrassed Emma and Killian would be to have her at their work. An unloved girl who didn't even have a dress that fit.
"Sweetheart, you alright?" Emma hesitantly approached the girl, who seemed to working herself up into a state. She heard a few stifled sniffled before the little brown waves nodded in affirmation. It was easy to say, Emma was not convinced. "Found anything to wear?" Katie shrugged her shoulders and kept her back to Emma. "Hmm…what about on your bed?" Katie turned at that question, a look of confusion on her face. Emma smiled gently and nodded towards the bed.
The little girl gasped as she followed Emma's gaze. There on top of her covers was a peach pink dress, covered in the outlines of silver hearts. Making her way over to it, Katie tentatively reached out a hand to stroke the soft fabric.
"D'you want to try it on?" Emma prompted as the seven year old stared at the dress. Katie mouth fell open at the idea that she was allowed to wear something so nice. "We left the tag on, so if it doesn't fit or you don't like it, we can take it back." Katie couldn't believe that anyone wouldn't like this dress, well any girl anyway. "I'll wait outside." Emma shot her a reassuring smile before leaving the room.
Once alone, Katie decided to move quickly. She didn't want Emma to change her mind and take it away. She pulled the dress over her head and looked into the mirror. A grin spread widely across her cheeks as she swished this way and that. The bottom of the dress floated around her knees. After a few more moments, Katie went and opened the door to see Emma standing patiently in the hall.
"Wow look at you!" Emma gushed while the young girl's cheeks filled with a red blush. "So do you like it?" Katie nodded as her huge grin came back. "Then it's yours." Emma leant forward and pulled the tag off of the dress.
"Thank you." Katie's eyes widened as she whispered her gratitude. She didn't believe that she deserved something as nice as this, but wasn't going to let Emma know that.
"That's alright, sweetie." Emma bent down to the girl's level, the child's grin infectious. "It was Killian who picked it out though. I'm sure he'll love to see that you like it." Katie giggled slightly at the idea of a Killian shopping for a little girl's dress. Then she went to finish getting ready.
Emma drove Katie to the Sherriff's Station in comfortable silence. A small smile had graced the girl's face since they left the house. She pulled up into her usual parking spot and glanced at Katie, who had started to fiddle nervously with her dress. "You ready?" She let out a shaky breath before nodding and opening her car door. Emma did the same.
The doors to the station opened as they walked towards the entrance, and Leroy walked out of them. Emma was about to greet him when she felt something touch her hand. Looking down she saw that Katie had placed her small hand into hers. The little girl was eyeing the man wearily as he stepped closer to them.
"Have a good one, sister." Leroy tipped his hat in recognition as he walked past them, not seeming to take notice of the child.
"See you around, Leroy." Emma replied as Katie curled herself into her leg. She rubbed her thumb over the little fingers reassuringly. "He's alright, Leroy, if a little grumpy at times." Emma explained as she walked through the door that had been left open in the dwarf's absence. Katie kept her hand tightly in Emma's and it warmed both of their hearts. They entered the main pen of the station and found it empty. "Killian?" Emma called out.
"Swan?" Killian's voice came from the storeroom of to the left. "I didn't expect you today, love. Who has..?" His voice trailed off as he came into view. Standing in front of him was not only the love of his life, but the little girl who would hopefully be theirs. And she was wearing the dress he picked for her. "Hello, little lass. Well this is a pleasant surprise." Katie smiled shyly at the genuine happiness on the man's face. He seemed actually pleased to see her. "You look like a princess." Katie outright beamed at that assessment, wanting nothing more than to be a princess.
"I thought we could show Katie the station and then have some lunch." Emma replied as she went to press a kiss to his cheek. Her husband turned at the last second so that their lips met in a soft peck.
"Excellent idea, love." Killian winked as he knelt down in front of Katie. "If you'd like to follow me then milady, I'll give you the grand tour." Katie giggled as let her hand drop from Emma's and followed Killian in to the office. Emma watched as he let the little girl sit in her wheelie chair. Her legs couldn't touch the floor, so she swung them happily. She snapped a few pictures of the two of them on her phone before knocking on the glass door.
"I'm going to pop to Granny's to get lunch. Katie, d'you want to come with me or stay here with Killian?" Emma asked as Killian took a pair of walkie talkies. Katie considered the options before quickly picking up one of the devices.
"Here, please." She smiled and began to fiddle with the controllers. Meanwhile Killian started at the little girl with awe, this was the first time he'd heard her speak. Her sweet voice was music to his ears.
"Ok, I won't be long." Emma smiled as she left the two alone. This was what she'd been hoping for. She wanted the two of them to spend some time together, just them.
Killian showed Katie how to work the walkie, even going back into the store room so that she could test out the range.
"Hello, Sherriff Katie. This is Killian Jones. I hope you can hear me." He tried to speak quiet enough that she wouldn't be able to hear his actual voice without the device. A few moments later a crackling laugh came through the radio; Katie's laugh was clear as day to his ears anyway. "Good good. I have some urgent news to report." He waited for the girl's laughter to cease before he continued. "I am very hungry." The laughter erupted again at his emission. Killian exited the room to see Katie in a fit of giggles. It warmed his heart to see her having fun, being care-free even just for a few moments. He vowed to make her laugh every day.
"I'm hungry too." Katie admitted as her chuckles died down and she saw Killian standing there. She'd slept through breakfast and could feel her tummy rumbling.
"Well, I'm sure Emma won't be long." Killian smiled as the girl once again swung her legs freely. "For now, let's continue this tour." Katie's eyes twinkled as she jumped up and followed Killian towards the holding cells. She was feeling happier than she had, well ever really. She didn't realise she was skipping until her hand knocked a pile of files on the edge of a desk. Her eyes widened as numerous papers fell haphazardly to the floor. Killian turned at the noise to find the girl staring at the mess.
"I-I-I…" Katie stuttered as her eyes filled with tears, this time to quick to blink away. Killian reached his hand forward in an attempt to placate her. She flinched away from him. The pirate withdrew his hand as the girl seemed to compose herself. Katie stepped closer to him glancing at his hand, before squeezing her eyes shut and clenching her fists at her sides. Her whole body was so tense it was shaking. It was as if she was waiting for something. He'd seen men do it before as they waited for a punishment… His breath caught as he realised that's exactly what she was doing. This little girl was expecting him to beat her. To use physical violence as punishment against her for knocking over some files. It angered him that this was what she had been taught was normal. Killian let out a few calming breaths before resting his hand and prosthetic gently on her shoulders.
Katie was biting her lip to keeping from crying. She knew that only made them madder. Only made them hit harder, for longer. She felt a gentle weight on her shoulders and held her breath, waiting for his grip to tighten. After a few moments she slowly opened her eyes. Killian had knelt in front of her, his eyes locking with hers. The look in them confused her.
"Katie, listen to me. I'm not going to hurt you. I promise." Killian thought to keep his voice steady, the emotions raging inside of him trying to break free. "I would never hurt you. I am so sorry for what has happened to you to make you think this is normal. It isn't. I'm not at all annoyed at you for knocking over those files, it was an accident. But even if I was, I would never hit you. You understand?" Katie wasn't able to stop the tears from falling down her cheeks. She nodded her head slightly. "People should always avoid violence as much as they can, not using it for punishment. And never, never should it be used against a child." He could feel tears build in his eyes as Katie breathed out shaky breath. "Okay, princess?" Killian reached out his hand to gently wipe the tears from her face.
Katie didn't know why, but she felt like she could trust this man. Emma too. She believed everything he said, took in the kindness that was always in their eyes. She threw her arms around him and buried her face in his neck. "Thank you." She mumbled against his skin. Killian was taken aback by this action, a few tears slipping down his cheeks. Her body was still shaking so he lightly placing his hand on her back.
"No thanks necessary." Killian spoke softly as he rested his cheek against her brown waves. They then lapsed into silence; the only sounds Katie's stuttering breaths as she calmed down. This was how Emma found them as she walked into the room with the takeaway bags from Granny's. She had a silent conversation with her husband to check that everything was ok, at least for now. Killian shot her a look that said they'd talk about it later. "I think I smell lunch, what about you?" Killian asked as Katie removed herself from his arms. She looked up at him sheepishly, as if seeing what he thought of their hug. He grinned widely at her before nodding towards Emma. "Should we see what food Emma has for us?" Katie stared at him for another beat, before shuffling towards the desk where the food was being laid out.
They ate in companionable silence, with Emma and Killian stealing worried glances at Katie. The little girl didn't speak for the rest of the day, and went up to bed pretty early. Emma waited until the night to ask about what had happened at the station.
As the couple lay in bed together, Killian recounted the events that took place. Emma held his hand as he spoke, leaning her head against his chest. When he was done she laid a sweet kiss to his lips as she stroked his cheek.
"That must have been hard for you." Emma carded her fingers though her husband's hair.
Killian fell down onto the bed beside Emma, panting hard. He felt a euphoric air settle over him as his heart rate returned to normal. It was still quite new to both of them, as they'd only had sex a handful of times, but it was bloody brilliant. He revelled in learning new things about her, causing his love to grow even more deeply for her. Killian smiled as the woman in question shifted beside him, pressing feather light kisses to his heated skin. She started at his neck and made her way to his shoulders. He was too relaxed to warn her and when he heard her gasp he knew it was too late.
"Killian…" Emma whispered as she stared at his back, the skin marred by numerous scars and burns. The white lines were mostly thin; even though she wasn't alive when they were really used, she knew these were from a whip. He went roll away from her touch, but Emma held him in position.
"Emma, don't…" Killian winced at the thought of her seeing something so ugly as the skin on his back. Emma reached out a finger and began to trace a few of the lines. "You don't have to touch it, Swan. I know they're hideous."
"You could never be hideous." She bent down to press kisses on the large burn mark on his side. Killian flinched but made no other move to get away.
"Normally I would have to agree with you." Killian tried to make light of the situation. The joke tasted sour in his mouth.
"Don't you know, Hook, I'm a fan of every part of you." Emma repeated the words that he had said to her a few months previously. She moved to lay her head beside his once more and cupped his cheek in her hand. She'd rarely seen him show any sign of insecurity, his confident rapscallion mask well practised. She brushed her lips against hers and felt his hesitation at the contact. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"It's long ago now, Swan, I barely pay it any mind." Killian saw the intensity in his love's stare. He knew that she wouldn't force him to talk about anything that he didn't want to. And yet, there was something that was pulling him to open himself up to her. Probably his wish for her to feel comfortable enough to bare herself to him. "The first time it happened I was a young lad..."
"You know you don't have to." Emma lay her head on his chest, resting her ear above his heart.
"Aye, love, I know." Killian closed his eyes and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. He allowed himself a moment to breathe in her scent. "As I said, it was many years ago. My father had not long left me and Liam to a life of servitude." Emma's breath caught at that, as it always did when she thought of Killian being left defenceless so young. "I was probably about 9 years old at the time. I was always a bit useless see, never had the hard work drive or the patience of Liam." She wanted to object at that. She knew how inferior he felt to his brother, who seemed to set the bar so high that Killian would never be able to reach it. She stopped herself though; knowing that he needed to tell these events his way. "I was scrubbing the deck when I knocked over the bucket of water. It sloshed all over the first mate's boots. Well that was a few lashes right there. Anyway I was hauled to my feet and I started to argue my punishment. Honestly I should have just taken the first offer and been done with it." Emma sniffed against him at the self-deprecating tone in his voice. He ran his hand up and down her back soothingly. She was meant to be the one comforting him, and she was, as having her in his arms was more than he could ask for. "The lashes went up to 20 before I shut my damn mouth. Two of the sailors tied me against a post as the first mate reached for his whip. They waited ages before striking me, I guess part of the punishment was seeing me wait trembling." Tears filled Emma's eyes at the crack in her pirate's voice, even now. "I screamed at the first blow. Loud enough that Liam heard me from wherever he was working below deck. He ran up and said that he'd take the lashes for me." Tears fell down both their cheeks. "I kept telling him no, but he was stubborn arse my brother, so he got 10 lashes on top of mine. I think I passed out about half way through."
"Killian… that's awful." Emma pressed kisses to his chest as her tears wet his skin. "I'm so sorry…"
"The way of the world, love." Killian whispered as he clutched her tightly to him, his own tears dampening her hair. "After that, I tried not to scream, so Liam wouldn't be able to hear it happening." They stayed in their embrace for a long time, neither ready to even loosen their grip on the other. "Thanks for listening."
"Hey, I'm always here." Emma lifted her head so that their eyes met. "Whenever you need me."
"Aye, Swan, and I you." Killian placed more kiss to her lips before settling into the covers. Emma's soft breaths puffed against his skin. Though he didn't get much sleep that night, he did feel somewhat lighter.
"Aye, love, it did stir some memories. Memories that you helped me move on from. I've left the violence of my past behind me, as you have also. Now it's up to us to help Katie to do the same." Killian rolled so that her back was pressed against his chest, He laid his stump on her hip and buried his nose into her hair.
"I know it's a long road to go down, but I think you definitely helped her along it today." Emma yawned as nuzzled herself against her husband and let sleep claim her. Killian laid there a little while longer, listening to the soft sounds of his wife's breathing. He smiled as he thought of how far Katie had come already, taking from it the hope that they would mend this little girl's heart. She just needed to let them. And with the sounds of Katie's earlier laughter still ringing in his ears, Killian gave into the gentle tug of sleep.