"No, no…" Emma murmured. Her legs twisted under the blanket and a small furrow deepened between her eyebrows. Killian, having been asleep on the carpet before the fireplace until now, opened his eyes and blinked a few times, before sliding his blanket aside and going to kneel beside the sofa where Emma lay, whispering under her breath.
"No no no, not his heart, not him, not him too…" she was pleading, her voice cracking. At the mention of hearts, Killian froze, and he felt something in his gut tighten. He remembered how that felt. Poor Swan.
There were a few tears rolling down her cheeks now, and a few drops had already fallen, staining the old leather. He slid his hand-less arm under her neck and with his good hand he brushed the tears away. "Swan?" he said softly. Her eyes flew open, filled with tears and wide with panic. Her breath still came quickly and shallowly.
"Hey, I've got you. I've got you." She closed her eyes again and relaxed into his arm, and then slowly opened her eyes again as her breathing slowed. She sighed.
"Hey." He gently lifted her so that she was sitting up, and slid onto the couch next to her. Underneath them, the ship bobbed gently, but the two of them were perfectly still. Emma stared straight ahead at the crackling fire.
"Emma." He took her hand and she didn't stop him. She just stared straight ahead. "Emma." He repeated. He loved saying her name, although he would have preferred other circumstances… He shook his head. Not now. He didn't need to be imagining other scenarios now.
"Emma, it was just a dream. Are you okay?" She looked at him, her eyes still wide and tearful, and she didn't say a word.
"Em…" he breathed as he slowly moved his arms around her. She came to him slowly and almost reluctantly, but once her head was resting in the crook of his neck and his handless arm was wrapped around her waist, she relaxed against him again. She was shaking. A shuddering sob wracked her and she leaned into him further, slowly sliding her pale arms around Killian's neck. He hadn't been expecting that.
She just needs someone, he told himself. It's not about me. She could care less. She just needs to be held by someone, and I'm the nearest warm body. This doesn't mean anything. This doesn't mean anything. This doesn't mean anything. He wasn't succeeding at convincing himself. Was she finally starting to trust him? Was she finally going to let him in? He had no bloody clue.
As she cried against him, Killian turned, and nuzzled against her hair. She'd bathed in seawater, and she smelled delicious. Her arms tightened around him and his thumb traced symbols onto the skin of her shoulder blades. She was a quiet crier. Was she like this every night? The weeks away from her son were certainly taking their toll. She'd lost weight, and there were bags under her eyes... They'd been camping until tonight, and he'd always fallen asleep quickly after a long day of walking. Had he been missing what was right in front of him? The Swan woman filled his head with questions that he was too tired to untangle, so he just buried his head in her hair, held her a little closer, and let her cry.
After a little while, her tears began to slow, and she slowly pulled back to look at him with her still-leaking red eyes. For a while, she just stared at him. One forearm was still wrapped around her waist, pressing against her skin where her shirt had ridden up. His good arm was still around her shoulders. This was the closest they'd ever been; she was in his lap, and they were tangled in each other. He waited for the telltale blush he'd grown so fond of to start creeping up her neck, but instead she just leaned back against his neck and whimpered.
Killian couldn't remember when he'd just held a woman like this. He'd missed this. But they couldn't stay here, in the sitting room of his ship's cabin where they'd fallen asleep right after dinner. It was pitch black outside, and god only knew what time it was. Emma needed her sleep, and he needed his, and the couch was nice but just not as comfortable as a real bed.
"Emma," he said again, his hand sliding from her shoulder to her neck and gently moving her to look at him. "You need to go to bed. Come." With his arm still around her waist, he made to help her to her feet, but paused when he saw her eyebrow tweak upwards slightly. He smirked. "Come, Swan. The Captain's quarters are terribly nice, and I do promise I'll behave." She smiled faintly, but then just stayed there, staring at him seriously. He couldn't find the right words, and so when he leaned forward slightly to whisper to her, he trusted her perceptive nature to know what he was really trying to say.
"Swan, I'm bloody exhausted, and you are too. It's been weeks, and I want a real bed. But everyone else is already in bunks and I just want to make sure that you're… okay, because nightmares are terrible. Please. Just come." He offered her his hand, and tried not to remember what had happened on top of the beanstalk when he'd done the same thing. He looked back into her eyes, and saw that she remembered too. Without breaking eye contact, she slipped her hand into his, as if trying to tell him that she was sorry. But that was all forgiven now.
She leaned into him a little as they walked past the bunks and to the Captain's rooms. Her hand never left his, and as they walked he snuck looks at her out of the corner of his eyes. She was looking down, and occasionally glancing at their hands. He wished he knew what she was thinking. They reached the door to his chambers and he opened it silently. Moonlight, reflecting off the waves, made blue patterns on the ceiling through the window, and illuminated the bed with its curtains drawn back. The bed was enormous, a full, feather-stuffed mattress, and just looking at it Killian felt sleepy again. But he walked Emma to her side first, not letting go of her hand until she was sitting on the mattress, staring at him. Her gaze was piercing, now, and even with tears drying on her cheeks she was stunning. He smiled a bit to himself.
"I'll just…" He walked around to the other side of the bed and eased down onto it. Oh. The mattress felt like bliss. His eyes were just drifting shut when…
"Hook?" she asked softly. Not Killian yet, he noticed. He'd hoped for a proper first name from her, but it looked like he'd have to wait. He opened his eyes again and rolled over to face her. He loved his big mattress, but now she felt very far away from him. "Thank you." She smiled at him, a real smile that glowed at him across the sheets. He smiled back. "I told you I could be a gentleman, Emma." He used her first name deliberately. She smiled again and she chuckled.
They were silent for a while, and Killian thought that she had fallen back asleep. His eyes were closed, but he couldn't quite sleep; something was bothering him still. So he opened his eyes and rolled to face her. She was staring back at him, her face smiling but inscrutable and that blush he loved to see was creeping towards her cheeks at having been caught staring.
"Feeling any better?" He didn't know how to ask her. A cloud seemed to pass over her face at this question, and she whispered, "Yeah, I suppose so." There was a pause, and then Killian asked, "What was happening in your nightmare? Your son, Henry…" The blush spread, and she looked down at the sheets. "No. It wasn't him… this time."
"Then…?" This time? The poor woman. Killian knew how it felt to see that, again and again.
"It was… you." Third time in the space of a few hours that she'd surprised him.
"You were that frightened… for me?" He whispered; he couldn't quite believe what he'd heard.
She smiled her lopsided smile and blinked back at him. "Of course I was. How could I not be?" She trailed off, and was just staring at him again.
Killian swallowed, and blinked back at her. Then, slowly, he slid towards her across the mattress. Was he nervous? Killian Jones, nervous? About a woman? He shushed the voice in his head violently- Emma Swan was different. He couldn't really articulate it yet, but she was different. She… mattered.
And somehow, she was sliding towards him too. His beautiful blond siren met him in the middle, and once again he wrapped his arms around her. She pressed up against him, one hand on his jaw and the other on his chest, and, nose-to-nose, she smiled at him again. When he kissed her, she tasted like saltwater and fire. She kissed like fire too. Their lips collided perfectly, soft and gentle with just enough pressure, and their tongues slid and danced together effortlessly.
Finally, many minutes later, they broke apart and just stared at each other, breathing a little more heavily and legs comfortably tangled together. His arm was around her waist and he loved how natural it felt there.
"Killian." She breathed with a smile. She burrowed her head into his neck again, smiling against his collarbone.
"Emma." He whispered, lips brushing her forehead.