A/N: This is a completely AU one-shot where Emma is still a bail bondsperson and she meets Killian in a hospital in Boston.

I came up with the idea during the CS Saturday on Tumblr. Although the week's theme was Hospital!Hook, I had already read thru many versions of Emma confronting Killian in the hospital set along the lines of episode 2x12 and I had already published my last fic, Double Feature, in which I incorporated Hook's time in the hospital while Emma was away. So... I decided to twist the theme a bit. ;) For this fic's purposes, he had to have both hands, so excuse me if I offend you with the idea (read the underlined comment above). Don't worry, I made him justice, you'll get the gist. I still can't get over "Tallahassee", so I incorporated some of my favorite CS scenes from that episode in this fic. This is rated M for sMut, so if you hate it, don't read this. Special thanks to: QueenOfASwan for beta-ing. :)

Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Once Upon a Time: dialog, plots, much less characters.

Now for the goodness! Enjoy! :D


The Checkup Paradox

Emma dragged her feet into the Massachusetts General Hospital with the weariest look she could come up with. Her boss had forced her into going for a checkup, even though she assured him she was fine. Sure, trapping fleeing delinquents was not part of her job description as bail bondsperson, but Emma liked to play dumb with the bastards who had forsaken a wife, or a child, or a mother - a family. She would confirm their true intentions, that were mostly dishonorable, and then she would hunt them down using her alluring role-playing abilities. She liked to think that she was kind of a faceless heroine, an avenger that delivered the cowards to their rightful judgment. She had an impressive record because of her superpower - lie-detector; no one had managed to escape their rendezvous with the law thanks to her excellent tracking skills. And she didn't need to do the chasing, that job could be left to the incompetent police officers, but this part of her job thrilled her, she breathed easily because of it. Her morally gray way of living left her the satisfaction of having done a "favor" to the criminal in question and, of course, to the people that cared about them too.

Yeah, the life of a bail bondsperson wasn't always an easy one; she had resigned to live a normal life long ago. Having abandonment issues and neglecting to grow roots to any place was really the tip of the iceberg, and that's why she felt so uncomfortable when her boss cared enough for her to threaten her with a week's suspension if she didn't comply to the doctor's appointment.

Emma used the stairs in the hopes that she'd be fashionably late and missed the doctor. Once upon arriving on the sixth floor, she glanced at the clock: 8:45a.m. She internally leaped, relishing in the possibility that maybe she wouldn't have to go through with this. She hated doctors; they were nosy and good readers - the great ones could spot all your diseases with one look at you. But what she hated the most was that the she had to trust their judgment, and who could trust someone without knowing anything about them? It wasn't that she had trust issues, no. She ran background checks without exception on her sporadic dates, which consisted of dinner and casual sex, because who wouldn't? Anybody with an ounce of sanity on their veins would do that. Of course, she wasn't crazy. Brushing aside her tortuous thoughts, she strolled to the nurse desk, an island in the middle of several consulting rooms.

"I'm here to see Dr. Hopper...?" Emma informed the secretary slash nurse who was animatedly chatting with her friend about her latest doctor crush and applying a bright red lipstick to her duck face. She was completely oblivious to them, so she slapped her hand on the counter and made a show of coughing. They turned around petulantly, arching their eyebrows, but their eyes were fixated on her neck ready to strangle it.

Just then, the elevator doors opened with a chime and Emma habitually diverted her gaze towards it. She held her breath upon seeing a dark-haired man clad in faded jeans and a black leather jacket, hands hidden in its pockets. The stranger's stubble covered most of his angular jaw, and his seafoam eyes were lined with thick eyelashes, crowned by dense, strong eyebrows. His hooded gaze caught her eyes and stared her down as he casually approached the desk. Emma could only snap out of her trance when the nurse's high pitched greeting interrupted her reverie.

"Good morning, doctor. Early as usual." The brunette nurse called in a perky voice, handing over a cup of black coffee and a handful of files. "Black coffee, one sugar." Just the way you like it, the nurse's eyes seemed to say.

"Thank you, darling." He reluctantly answered, clearly bothered by her crush and apparently constant attentions, and Emma rolled her eyes. So the TV series she'd been watching about the lives of Seattle doctors hit pretty close to home: they had the nurses fawning over them all the time.

"So, I heard you play the bass," the redhead nurse affirmed tentatively, as if expecting the doctor to ask her out or something. How dumb. But he remained there, unfazed, reclining his elbows on the counter, one hand supporting his bored face, the other browsing the patients' records, his body facing Emma.

"Ahem!" Emma rasped in irritation, a deadly smile directed to the entranced harpies. She didn't have all day.

"Oh... right." The nurse mumbled, bothered to be interrupted from her quest to charm the doctor. "Dr. Hopper called in sick this morning. Is it urgent? Like suicidal urgent?" She mocked.

Emma couldn't hide relief from showing on her face. "Uhm... no, not at all. I just came for a checkup on my hand," she explained, lifting her poorly bandaged hand up. "But no worries, I'll manage." She answered almost grinning and turned to leave, but the nurse's confused question halted her.

"Really? That's weird. Dr. Hopper is a psychologist. Or is he a friend of yours?" Now she had Emma's full attention and she twirled back, hitting the desk with the palms of her hands, slightly tilting her head toward the nurse.

Emma let out a nervous laugh, "haha, you're kidding..." Right? She couldn't believe her ears. A shrink?! Her boss had sent her to a shrink. He obviously thought that Emma would need one. He obviously used her unfortunately sliced hand as an excuse to set up an appointment with the psychologist. And he obviously had called the doc-no, shrink, in anticipation, informing him to receive her and help her. She opened her mouth to explain the nurse that no, she wasn't a crazy person, but the otherwise silent doctor beat her.

"I'll do it," he offered with a smirk, eagerly closing his files and tucking them below his armpit. "Dr. Killian Jones," he announced, extending his free hand toward her.

"Oh, n-no, really, it's not deadly. I-I'll survive. Thanks, but no thanks." Emma refused, taking a step back toward the exit when Dr. Jones swiftly grabbed the sleeve of her red jacket.

"No, miss, I insist. Archie is a... good friend of mine. I'll owe him one less favor if I examine you today," he truthfully explained.

Emma's tongue immediately tied up as she heard his British rogue accent. His smolder at her was set evidently to convince her, and she caught the nurses fuming over the doctor's forwardness with a patient. She managed to suppress a smug smile and instead, pursed her lips in reluctance.

"Okay, then," she sighed, crossing her arms over her chest. "But be quick, I don't have all day," she complemented with a bossy motion of her hand.

He grinned at her, his tongue stroking his fang in amusement. "Follow me."

Emma obediently walked behind him, feeling the nurses' volcanic glare setting fire to her back. She almost bumped into him when he halted abruptly at the end of the aisle in front of a door, noticing a little hole in his right ear - most likely from a missing earring. Interesting. He opened his office and let her in first.

If she hadn't been standing on a cold, hospital-smelling aisle before, she would pinch herself in shock for having opened up a door that served as a portal between two entirely different worlds. This room seemed to have been taken from a movie set.

"Take a seat." He gestured toward the comfortable sofa in front of a very large desk, but Emma was enraptured with the surroundings. His office was, well, homey and cozy, different, to say the least. All the furniture had an aristocratic European air to it, and the lavish-looking couches were covered in shiny, dark leather. Running along the entire wall in front of her, there was a large bookshelf filled with dozens of... yeah, books, and encyclopedias, new and old, thin and thick. In each of the four tables that stood in the corners of the room, there were globes and smaller models of the Earth, no doubt from different eras in time, and a golden spyglass.

On the opposite wall from the bookshelf, various frames containing pictures of compass roses, constellations, navigational charts and maps adorned it. One particular picture caught her attention in the far upper corner of the wall - was it a map of Neverland? Emma blinked twice and shook her head, bewildered. It wasn't possible, maybe it was a map of Hawaii. A really sharp looking but light sword, akin to a scabbard, was suspended in the middle of the wall and Emma scoffed, wondering what kind of hospital director would let a doctor have this sort of weapon in his consulting room.

She turned her attention to the large, sturdy, mahogany-tinted desk in front of her that harbored a replica of a century-old ship inside a medium-sized glass bottle, and if Emma hadn't seen a certain Disney movie, she wouldn't notice that it was strikingly similar to the Jolly Roger. A crystal skull with a feathered Indian headdress was suspended in a copper mast, serving as a paperweight that held in place drawings from different cultures and ethnic symbolisms. A copy of a ship's rudder was encased in a glass coffin resting in a narrow shelf behind the desk. The room was so quiet that she quickly identified the ticking, old-fashioned silver clock in the far end of the shelf.

"You're not a shrink too, are you?" She asked with an I'm-concerned-for-my-life voice, eyeing a few books that were disorderly resting in one of the chairs facing the desk: The Siren Song, Shogun, and Peter Pan.

"Oh no, just a general practitioner. Why? Do I look like one?" The doctor said in a muffled voice from the back of the room.

"No, you don't," she murmured to herself. You're more like a pirate, she thought. "Well, it's just that this doesn't look like a normal doctor's office." She clarified as she slumped on the seemingly out-of-place examination bed situated in the middle of the room, letting out a heavy breath, looking like a bored kid in a penance room.

"You have keen abilities of observation and a flair for theatrics, I see." He cheerfully noted, taking his jacket off and donning a long, white coat, rolling up its sleeves a bit.

Emma was about to conjure a witty remark when she heard water running and cocked her head in curiosity. He had dropped the contents of the coffee into a sink and threw the paper cup into the trash can across the room with ease. Emma felt a pang on her stomach with this too familiar gesture of reprobation.

"Afraid your fans laced it with some kind of love potion?" She playfully asked, trying to shake the uneasiness that the surroundings made her feel.

He looked at her with his head cocked to the side, flashing a narrow gaze. What of it? "Just not my type."

"What? The drink... or the girls?" She quipped, trying to sound teasing. She would most likely shoot herself if this man turned out to be gay. What a total waste would he be for her - well, no... for the nurses, yes, the smitten hags would be so pissed; although she would feel a lot more comfortable around him, unlike her present situation.

He chuckled at her question. "The drink. I'm more of a... hot-chocolate-with-cinnamon kind of person."

Shoot me now, Emma internally flayed herself. It didn't escape her notice that he hadn't denied being straight, and Emma began to rattle in the small bed, swinging her dangling legs in nervousness. What the hell was going on with her? She hadn't felt like this in almost ten years.

"Now, let's see," he muttered, bringing a notebook and pen as she approached her. "I have to fill your records, since it's your first time with me," he said with mirth, the corners of his mouth barely rising. Emma shot him a warning glare.

He purposefully played dumb, ignoring the double meaning in his comment. "Name?"

"Swan. Emma Swan," she answered in a tight voice.

"Age?"

"Twenty-seven."

"Hereditary diseases?"

She hesitated briefly, biting her lower lip as she fluttered her eyes to her fidgety hands, "no, not that I know of."

The doctor seemed aware of her reaction, but he mercifully continued, "allergies?"

"No."

"Can you donate blood?"

She thought of the flower tattoo in her left wrist. "Uhm... no."

He bore his eyes into hers, conspicuously, "why the hesitancy?"

"I said no," she replied curtly, "and it's none of your business."

"Fair enough. Next question. Smoker? Drinker?"

"No, and... occasionally," she admitted, wagging her head to the sides.

"Children?"

She flinched, averting her eyes. This was the reason she didn't date. She hated to give away too much of herself, fearing her date would flee, and she wouldn't answer the question if this sassy doctor from hell hadn't been intent on doing his job. "No," she finally replied in a cool whisper, her thoughts drifting away.

"Would you take your jacket off?"

"What?" Emma snapped.

"Well, it looks lovely on you but I have to check you out, lass," he replied in a low voice.

Emma's brows furrowed and her mouth hung open in shock at his guts.

He lifted his hands defensively before the girl had a chance to punch him in the face or kick him in the groin, even though he was a little bit entertained. "Pardon me, that came out wrong. I meant to say that I'm only doing my job. Running a full checkup is routinary," he explained in all seriousness.

She wore an exasperated look on her face and her pose was slouched as she argued, "I just came for you to take a look at my hand and give me an O.K. sheet with your signature on it, I don't need a full examination."

"And I wouldn't be a proper doctor if I wasn't... thorough." He winked at her, using his charms to ease her up, but she only looked more bothered. "Indulge me, darling, we'll both get what we want in the end... doctor's honor," he practically beseeched her, his open hand extended toward her, expecting her to shake it or something.

She squinted at him, locking his eyes in hers in order to prevent him from properly checking her out as she angrily shrugged out of her red jacket, revealing a simple white tank top underneath. She handed it over to him, and his face was impassive, professional, as he set his small, leather suitcase containing his instruments over the bed beside her and mechanically devoted himself to work in silence.

Emma realized he wasn't wearing a wedding band as his warm, calloused fingers deftly examined her green eyes with a tiny lamp. When the cold stethoscope inspected her chest she shivered anxiously, feeling her heart speeding up with his touch. She held her breath in order to calm her involuntary reactions - the loud beating of her heart and her sweaty palms. She couldn't believe that her body was betraying her this badly.

He broke the silence, as he grazed his hands to her back, dragging the cold instrument with them. "Don't worry love, it's just a stethoscope, no reason to be jumpy about it," his voice was low and smug, and Emma figured he was grinning behind her back.

"The name's Killian," he reminded her nonchalantly, no doubt attempting to break the ice curtain she had set up between them.

His name was as out of place with his medical career as was the rest of the room. "I'd rather call you doctor." She glared at him, suspicious of his merry attitude.

"I was merely trying to make you feel more comfortable," he shrugged. "But whichever you prefer, princess," he sarcastically countered, hanging the stethoscope over his neck. He was actually trying to ease her up, but he was also too amused with her obstinate self that he couldn't help himself from hassling her.

"What's with the pet names?" Emma asked obviously annoyed. "I thought it was against the doctor's code of 'honor' to develop emotional bonds with their patients," she accused.

So that's why the girl was being a stubborn mule. She thought he was hitting on her, and she was probably the first person he'd met in this part of the world who apparently revolted the idea. She was a ten in his books, but there was more to her than met his eyes and he loved a challenge. Her accusation only caused him to be more piqued with the idea of overthrowing her ice-queen mask to see what she hid under her cold facade. He grabbed the otoscope to look into her left ear. "Too right, love, but if you can't fight back the chemistry, you join it," he breathed those last words into the crook of her right ear, causing a shiver to run down her spine. He smiled smugly.

"Now let me look at your hand," he demanded, grabbing her bandaged wrist, before she could refuse him. Emma watched his movements as he unwrapped the dirty garment, enraptured by his feather light touch. Her chest now rose and fell calmly and steadily, as if his delicate hands were assuring her she could trust him.

"What exactly happened?" He quietly asked in a concerned voice, his brows furrowed in concentration as he closely examined the gash on her hand.

"I... it was dark and I fell down the fire escape stairs of my building and accidentally took hold of a burr in the railing," she nodded and gestured with her other hand as she conjured the flawed, made-up scene.

He scoffed, cerulean eyes incredulously boring into her poker face. "Try something new, darling. It's called trust."

She flashed him with a guilty look before composing her facade and answering coldly, "you mean, the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement? Ha! I eat them for breakfast."

He shook his head. "Don't avoid the subject. Did you really think you could cheat a doctor like myself with such a flabby excuse?"

She answered after a long moment - only because he wouldn't stop staring her down - letting out a heavy breath, "Fine. I am sort of a... bounty hunter and last night one of my targets put up a fight." She sat a little straighter, bracing herself for a judgmental comment on how wrong it was for the weaker gender to engage in risky and dangerous activities. If it was witty enough, she might add it to her list. But quite on the contrary, he remained deep in thought.

He'd waited for her to carry on with the telling, but she didn't bother to share, so he diverted his gaze down, putting on new latex gloves. "This is a knife's doing," he said matter-of-factedly. "Fortunately, it barely grazed your skin or you'd have to be brought here immediately for surgery. I'm going to have to take a blood sample and run some tests, because it doesn't look as harmless as you said. I'll give you a penicillin shot just to be cautious."

He'd used his doctor voice, but he hadn't reprimanded her. Despite him being a little nosy, Emma couldn't help but notice that he didn't judge her or tried to dissuade her from her way of life. All her 'friends' had eventually done that, and she had moved on.

"It's fine," she argued, starting to move away her arm.

"No, it's not," he replied stubbornly, holding her hand in place over the white bed sheets.

"Argh! What the hell is that!?" She protested as a burning liquid came in contact with her skin.

"Didn't your parents teach you at home? I have to clean it, otherwise it'll get infected with nasty little vicious things," he said, between his teeth, carefully patting a cotton swab around the gash.

Emma had grown impossibly quiet, her other hand was balled up into a fist and her breathing became sharper by the minute. Killian finished cleaning her wound and wrapped a new gauze around it with one hand, fastening the bandage with his mouth, since his other hand hadn't let go of her arm. He looked at her as he did so, contempt clear on her face. He sensed he had said something that bothered her, something that had left an empty look in her eyes when he asked about hereditary diseases and children. Even though her walls were put in place, she was unconsciously beginning to open up to him.

"Rough childhood?" He asked, as he prepared the penicillin shot.

"Excuse me?" She shot back in a scratchy voice. This was the second time the blasted doctor threw her off balance with his impertinent questions.

"I know the look of abandonment when I see it," he presumed.

"What makes you think that?" She challenged with all the bravado she could muster.

"Well, don't kill me, lass, but you're something of an open book."

"Oh, so I was right before. You're a shrink too," she spat out in disdain.

He laughed at her attempt to deviate the conversation. "Hardly. Although, I spent my internship at the children's hospital not far from here. There were a few orphans, poor little chaps, with no one to care for them. They all share the same look in their eyes, the look you get when you've been abandoned, left alone." He gloomily reckoned as he gently injected Emma's arm.

"Impressive," she commented with a clenched jaw.

"Uhm, thank you?" He warily offered in confusion as he prepared the needle to extract a blood sample from her arm.

Emma felt a little excited as she started her prejudiced rant to get back at him for calling her an open book, because according to her so was he. "Oh no! I mean, that's what people usually tell you, right? And who wouldn't believe you? You have a flashy resumé, pretty altruistic career, expensive decorations, British accent, cocky attitude... I bet you're like the son of an old Duke who just happened to study medicine in order to name a hospital with his family name to impress old dad, thus justifying his poor life choices," she said as her eyes summoned the tattoo in his right arm, "in an effort to be taken back into the rich family fold after some time abroad the States that had meant to serve as a lesson."

His stare was unequivocally cold for a moment, and Emma celebrated briefly that he had read him so well. But then, his somber demeanor changed into a predatory one, and she swallowed nervously in anticipation.

He'd been excited with the possibility of a challenge, but this insolent young lady should not be allowed to get away with her prejudiced judgment that easily. Part of what she'd said hit pretty close to the truth, but she had gotten most of her assumptions wrong.

"Well, that's very rich coming from you," he answered at last, pinching not so gently the crook of her arm. Red goblets of blood pooled into the small glass flask.

Emma shot him a haughty look, concealing the pain, not wanting to give him the satisfaction to know she felt a little hurt.

He took her arrogant expression as an invitation to elaborate. "You fancy being a bounty hunter, which holds no honor for a woman anywhere, and a great people reader - although clearly you're not a people person - but you have no idea what I've been through," he chided in a warning tone. "You think you're good at detecting double lives and hidden intentions, yet, truth be told, you're the worst liar I've ever met," he leered at her.

Well, his rebuke had not come out as tough as she'd imagined. She could only guess that it was because she'd partially uncovered his true self and he didn't want her to pry further on the issue, so she did exactly that. "See? It takes a liar to know one," she replied.

"Ooh, tough lass," he called her, a snide glare eyeing her. He'd anticipated her reaction yet again, and was too consumed with this little push-and-shove game they were playing that he couldn't find an excuse to not drop the next question he'd forethought. "Love has been all too rare in your life, hasn't it? Answer me this, have you ever even been in love?"

Emma figured she didn't have to keep lying to him if she wanted to get out of there anytime soon without revealing more of herself. She sure wished she had more than a few ounces of alcohol in her veins to give her the courage she lacked when she quietly replied, "I was in love, once..." She bit her tongue, glancing down, almost shutting her eyes. But he couldn't have the upper hand, and she looked up. "Who's the name on your tattoo?" She demanded.

Her question definitely shook him; she hadn't backed down from the game. He immediately directed his gaze to the flask full of blood, removing it from her vein and placing a cotton soaked in alcohol to her pierced skin. An eye for an eye, he thought - or, in this case, a confession for a confession. It was only fair he answered with the truth. "Someone from long ago," he replied, his sharp tone warning her not to snoop, to call off the match.

However, Emma's curiosity got the best of her. If it had been an unimportant name, he wouldn't have answered as curtly as that. Her observant eyes examined his hands again, looking for any sign of pale skin around his sunburned fingers - the kind of mark a wedding band would leave. "Wher-"

"She's gone," he interrupted, brusquely turning his back on her. He walked to a drawer, procuring a small plastic bag and dropping the flask into it, zipping the bag shut.

"She was violently taken from you, wasn't she?" Emma quietly inquired as she read his defeated stance, fearing to bring unwanted memories to his mind, but also intrigued as to why he'd assumed she had been in love too.

He stilled and turned his head slowly to sneak a glance at her. He had underestimated her infallible powers of observation and her new theories started to land on the more truthful facts of the event he had tried so hard to get over. She was biting her lower lip, empathy written on her face - she felt sorry for him. And you couldn't save her, her eyes seemed to deduce.

"Was that the reason you became friends with Dr. Hopper?"

And she continued to ferret information out of him. She was either using her job's skills to her advantage or she was really concerned for what happened to him. She had to be... How had she been able to infer that much if she hadn't strolled down that wretched path herself? He visibly relaxed a bit. "Yes... he was there for me the instant it happened. At the time, he was my mentor and conscience during my psych ward rotation as an intern. I'll be indebted to him for as long as I live." Maybe he'd have to call him to his house today for an extra official visit after this gloomy turn of events.

"Why don't you escape, take off?" Emma hopped from the examination bed and slowly strolled up to meet him in front of his desk.

He was taken aback from her change in conversation, thankful that she hadn't asked for the gory details that still plagued his nightmares. She was telling him to do exactly the opposite of what Archie always told him. He shot an eyebrow up at her, and she explained, gesturing around them. "All these decorations don't belong here, Killian, they belong on a ship. And a ship belongs in the ocean, not in a hospital. Maybe you belong there too," she whispered, getting closer to him. "I've heard it possesses magical healing properties. I've heard it can set you free," she said, a thin smile forming on her lips. She used her good hand to smoothly push off the white coat from his shoulders, and it fell to the ground with a light thud, revealing his black button up shirt. "Much better," she complimented with a smirk, patting the silver chains dangling on his chest. "You look like a true pirate."

If he had been feeling somber a few moments before, all shadows of loneliness and gloom vanished from him as she felt Emma's electric touch upon his shoulders and chest. She had been smart enough to deduce what his shrink couldn't; she had opened his eyes to the obvious answer he had been seeking - and avoiding at the same time - for so long. She had brought him back from the darkness of his miserable thoughts; somehow she understood what he'd been through and felt sorry for his lashing at himself for not being able to save the woman he had loved. This Swan was waking him up at last. The ultimate symbol of light and hope, of the possibility of redemption - had sneaked into the corners of his mind, and he couldn't help his shattered self from clinging to it like a sailor to a raft in the deadliest storm. He had tried to remember Milah all this time, seeking her long-departed company for consolation, clinging to her for dear life, but she had sunk long ago. Instead, right now, the Swan girl's vanilla and cinnamon scent was engulfing him, his mouth watering wondering what her soft rosy lips would taste like, and he felt more alive than ever.

Emma's green eyes watched the display of emotions on his cerulean ones, swallowing hard upon remembering the same forlorn shadows that haunted her mirror reflections. She soon forgot about their bickering game and all their miserable revelations poured before each other, feeling her walls slowly burning down. How could she have found this lost soul in her sea of loneliness? She was so drunk from their connection and the unusual gravitation of their bodies toward each other that she barely registered the wailing alarm raised by her sane self. She was breaking all her rules with him: she had trusted him against her better judgment, she didn't have to put up a mask of an entirely different person to talk to him, she couldn't shut herself out from his piercing gaze, she hadn't feigned to care about him to get what she wanted... The list was long, but he hadn't turned out to be what she had initially thought he was. And she hadn't exactly been lost on him either; he knew which buttons of hers to press, as if he'd known her all her life, and he did so skillfully. A thief breaking into the most complex of vaults would seem a newbie compared to him.

Emma broke from her train of thought when she felt the doctor's-Killian's gentle hand, brushing away the strands of hair from her face, his fingers trailing along her back. He had come closer, pressing his lithe body to hers, and she took a wary step back, almost colliding with the sturdy desk. She could feel her rational mind shutting off, paving the way for her carnal self. She eyed the wooden frames of the expensive, large desk that had the perfect height - no, she shouldn't trail off, she shouldn't be thinking about that right now. But obviously Killian interpreted her movements for the same hunger he felt, and backed her to it in a swift move, his fingers digging into her hips and his forehead crashing into hers.

Emma allowed herself one look into his eyes, that were ignited with azure lust, and she couldn't help but close the small gap between their mouths. She welcomed his sucking lips, his stubble rasping the corners of her mouth with passion, asking to deepen the kiss. Emma obliged and an overwhelming wave of sensations darted across her body in the form of shivers, goose bumps and jolts as his tongue paid homage to her mouth. He was an excellent kisser and she was certain she would never bet against the power of his skillful tongue. His fingers tangled in her hair, gripping her strands to tilt her head gently to each side, thoroughly memorizing every corner of her mouth.

She jumped when she felt the fingers from his other hand sneak below her shirt and grip her waist, his thumb drawing circles on her fiery skin, suddenly needing him closer to her wet core. She placed her good hand over his, slowly guiding him to her ache as his hand let go of her hair to dart below her top, lifting it up. When she brushed his fingers along the wet seams of her jeans, she instinctively rocked her hips.

He withdrew his hand with a shudder, his face backing away from hers, and stood still, his eyes searching her face. "Are you sure?"

His question wasn't to check whether they should have sex in his consulting room, no. It was genuinely to ask her if she wanted this. He was selfless enough to give her the option to back away, to leave, without complicating her life, to stop this before they both felt the emotional drain typical of the we're-casual-but-I-care sex hangover wash over them. And Emma chose without a shadow of doubt the most difficult option, as usual.

She took a step back, her buttocks perching her on top of the table, her hands grabbing one of his long silver chains, pulling him closer. Her fingers curled in his scalp as her green eyes bore into his, daring him. Her teeth then caught his earlobe, dragging her incisors along it. "Uh-huh," she breathed lecherously into the curve of his ear.

Killian immediately captured her lips again as his hands dug into her ribs to recline her slightly backwards. She constricted her legs around him, flushing his aroused manhood to her hungry core. Their breathing quickly became heavy again as their ravenous kisses raised their temperature to the point where more bare skin was necessary. Emma took the initiative to quickly unbutton his shirt, discarding it and running her bare and bandaged palms over his hairy chest. He broke their kiss until their lungs were purple with suffocation, but he did not tear his gaze away from her as he lowered his mouth to her belly button, a glint of mischief on his eyes, nipping it softly to let his teeth bite the front of her shirt and tug it upwards, undressing her.

"Gods, Emma," he breathed, drinking in her almost naked self. A black, lacy bra was preventing him to please her further, and he pounced to lick the pulse point in her neck as his hands embraced her to unclasp the contraption. Simultaneously, Emma's head tilted to the side and a whimper of pleasure escaped her lips as she began to undo his belt with a little difficulty from her sore hand.

Just then, a loud buzzing sound drowned their panting, sending vibrations over the wood. Both stilled their movements and jerked their heads to the offending object beside them - a red light flickered on the pager and a number appeared on the small screen. As if that wasn't interruption enough, the intercom started beeping incessantly, and Killian rested his head on the crook of Emma's neck in defeat.

"I have to go check a patient. It better be an emergency," he muttered, sounding almost angry.

She shook him off her, standing up and shoving him his black shirt. "Then go!" She scolded.

He donned it and started buttoning it as Emma skillfully worked on the lower buttons, their hands meeting halfway. He clasped her hands in his, pressing them to his chest, his thumping heart wasn't about to slow down any minute yet. He looked deep into her eyes, his mind conjuring up an idea, a revelation. But the damned sounds kept nagging their ears and he couldn't clearly convey what he wanted to tell her, not like this. He let go of her after placing two light kisses over the knuckles of both her hands.

Shit, I'm screwed, Emma thought, sensing the intimacy of the upcoming moment.

He let out an angry breath and circled around the desk, pressing a green button on the insolent apparatus. "What is it?"

"The patient in room 108 is rejecting the medication, Dr. Jones." The nasal nurse sounded ever more screeching over the intercom.

"Allergic convulsions?"

"No, it is a full body rash."

What a way to kill passion, Emma mused to herself as she dressed, grabbing her red jacket, ready to jump out the door as soon as he left. Maybe it was for the best if they hadn't gone through with it, her conscience called.

"I'll be right there," he sounded relieved. He could take a little time to try to convince Emma to go out on a date.

He was suddenly behind her, whispering on her ear. "Go out with me tonight."

She turned around grudgingly with half-shut eyes, her hands on her hips, already knowing her answer.

Nevertheless, he insisted, taking her hand in his. "We'll go to this fancy Italian place a couple blocks away. I hear their pasta bolognese is a hit," he said, purposefully licking his lips. He was a little surprised at himself with his smitten gestures; he had never wanted to spend more time with a girl after having sex. He was sure Emma was the first in a very long time and they hadn't even gotten to the sex part yet.

"Do you actually think we'll survive a date without killing each other?" She questioned him with a baffled expression, walking away from him.

It was his turn to roll his eyes. "I'll let you hunt me down if that excites you, Emma," he called her with a mischievous wink, dropping the pet names.

She shook her head in bewilderment and shut the door.


After a week, Emma received a phone call from the hospital. Apparently, her blood test had been processed and the doctor needed to talk to her about their results. As the elevator doors opened and she entered the familiar sixth floor, she didn't know whether the incessant flipping of her stomach was due to her sudden concern for her health or the fact that she wanted to see him. Evidently the latter, because she had arrived fifteen minutes early to the appointment, 5:45pm, her mind wandering to what had happened the last time in that peculiar room. Would she have enough self control to avoid being willingly cuffed in his arms again?

She eyed the ever chatting nurses and hurried stealthily toward his office, leaning her ear against the door and hearing nothing at all. Perfect, she breathed, pulling a bobby pin from her hair and breaking the door successfully, never alerting the oblivious gossip girls. The volume of their radio was exactly proper to let Emma open the squeaking door without being noticed. She quietly let herself in and gasped in shock. Every object that she had seen in her prior visit was packed up in brown boxes, or covered in newspaper and tape. The walls were bare, the cabinets were empty, even the large mahogany desk appeared much larger and imposing without the colorful drawings littering over it. She could even guess in what precise box the silver clock was packed, still ticking. She felt moisture starting to blur the corners of her vision.

"Quite the pirate you are, eh?"

She jumped around to see Killian inclined in the doorway, not befuddled at all, a yellow envelope stuck below his armpit.

"I only meant to surp-" she started to justify, but her voice faltered, words catching on her throat. Damn it! Why was she feeling like this? But she quickly hid her dismay and cleared her throat, shaking her head. "So... you decided to take a bounty hunter's advice over Jiminy Cricket's?" She playfully asked hoping to sound cheerful, motioning her head to the piled up boxes, offering a small smile.

He closed the door, perceiving her dismal tone despite her support. "Yes, I decided it's worth the try." He said, walking up to meet her, his hand gently tucking a curl behind her ear. "I've been told the sea can set me free, and I've loved the ocean ever since I laid eyes on it," he spoke in his husky voice, wanting her to pick up on the heavy meaning of his words. Words he couldn't get to say the last time they were here.

But he was leaving. She mentally slapped herself for feeling the tingle in her ear when his fingers touched it. She was emotionally bleeding for this man and she had swore that she wouldn't do that again, no one wouldn't do that to her again. Stupid pirate. She had to concentrate on the purpose of her appointment then - a clean break was needed. She didn't want to take away the glint on his eyes now that he seemed to just have it back. "And, who is taking your place?"

Killian's shoulders slouched almost imperceptibly, and he answered releasing a breath he'd been holding. "Dr. Victor Whale. Don't worry about him, I've ascertained that he's the most charming fellow with his patients in the E.R."

So he was leaving for sure; he even found a replacement in the span of a week. Oh, Emma's lips mouthed, and she suddenly felt the need to run, but he was blocking the exit. "Okay, so... let's get to the point, shall we?" Her voice was strained as she tried to keep her emotions under control and her hands were clasped tight. "What about the test results?" She questioned, her eyes staring at the papers Killian had still tucked under his arm.

Killian eyed her in suspicion at the abrupt change of conversation. She had a habit of diverting his attention whenever the conversation got too deep for her to bear. Nevertheless, he opened the manila envelope and produced two sheets of paper with charts and tables, handing them over to her. She saw several streaks of green marker over both sheets, her brows furrowing as she tried to read the medical terms.

He calmly spoke up, "all is well, love, thank the gods nothing bad happened to you. As for the crazy part, I still think you may need a chat with my good friend Hopper." He quipped, attempting to lighten her mood. He observed she hadn't let out a sigh of relief, the worry lines on her forehead had not vanished, as he reached for her hand and removed the bandage. The red, vivid gash that had scarred her pale hand was now neatly closed into a thin line, a pinkish hue coloring it.

"It healed pretty nicely," he smugly noted. "How are you feeling?" He asked in concern, clearly not referring to her hand.

"I'm fine," she smoothly lied, or tried to. "And you?" She tried to distract him, her gaze darting to where his heart was.

"Come closer and feel for yourself," Killian growled, for he wasn't going to wait for her to make the move this time. He took hold of her waist and flushed her against him with a searing kiss.

Emma whimpered as her eager mouth betrayed her voice of reason and crashed into his lips.

Everything was going in a blurry fast-forward, both willing to catch up to the part where they had left off the last time. Killian grabbed her by the hips and whirled her around, pinning her against the door - locking it for good measure - and Emma bit his lower lip and assailed his mouth with her tongue. His hands roamed her body, searching for the sensitive spots that elicited delighted moans into his mouth. His breath tasted like rum and his leather jacket brought to her nose a salty scent and she felt her knees weaken, threatening her balance and forcing her to grip her hands around his neck tightly, while he dragged his mouth scraping his teeth from the pulse point in the base of her neck to her chin and up to her jaw, nipping the soft spot of flesh below her ear.

Killian felt the last remains of her stubborn resolve to close him out leaving her body and he cupped her buttocks with his hands, lifting her off the floor and walking her across the room, propping her gently above the desk.

Emma felt the pools of desire curling already around her core; she wouldn't be able to contain herself this time and her hands inadvertently started to undress him, removing his leather jacket in a whiff and undoing his shirt fast as lightning, two or three buttons bouncing on the wooden floor. He started to lift Emma's forest green blouse off when she jerked it off, flinging it behind her, and she began to nibble at the grown stubble of his chin as she tugged his belt loose, sneaking her good hand into his pants while her other hand dug her fingernails into his back, wanting him closer.

Killian shuddered at her wanton grip, but wanted to rid her from her boots and skinny jeans first. "Emma," he grumbled, yanking her jeans down by their loops and she obliged, releasing her grip from him only to circle her arms below his, her knees stuck firmly on his hips, her hands using his shoulders for full body support as she pressed herself fully toward him and hoisted her ass up, allowing Killian to pull off her jeans. But he only pulled them enough to slide a hand between her thighs with a cocky smirk, feeling her ready, throbbing core through her panties and Emma had to bite his neck to stifle her squeal. Her teeth and fingernails would definitely leave crescent-shaped marks all over his strong shoulders and back.

He slipped his fingers under her lacy panties and opened her folds; his other hand began to slowly rub her bundle of nerves. Emma almost felt her eyes fully rotate backwards to her snapping brain and she gasped for air, releasing his skin from the custody of her teeth. He was teasing her and enjoying the way her body twitched at his touch. But Emma was growing impatient, and she rocked her hips again. "Faster," she whimpered on the crook of his ear, opening her mouth to bite him but instead releasing a large breath when she felt first one, then two fingers sneak into her, pumping. Her toes began to curl and her breaths became ragged and louder. She opened her eyes wide when Killian placed the two fingers of his spare hand over her lips, trying to shut her up as his other hand sped up, and she darted out her tongue to lick them, tasting herself, her eyes smoldering his. At the feel of Emma's tongue curling around his fingers, Killian couldn't take it any longer and he propped her back on the table, plundering her mouth and yanking down both of their jeans and underwear, while Emma unclasped her bra in frustration. He had left her on the edge of oblivion and Emma bit his teeth and gums in vengeance, coiling her legs and arms around him in anticipation as she slithered closer to the edge of the heavy table.

With one hand firmly digging into her hipbone and the other steering his unsheathed masculinity, he thrust into her, their breaths hitching, the guiding hand now cupping her ass as he filled her. Emma swore she saw stars when he began to set a rocking pace, with subtle but pleasurable variations. He leaned her further onto the table until her back was fully against it, and she entwined her fingers into his hair as he licked and sucked on her breasts, matching the tempo. "Killian," she breathed from her tantric state, feeling her walls constrict around him as the rippling waves of her orgasm washed over her and he followed her a few thrusts after, kissing her hard. He let himself fall over her, panting heavily, inhaling the sweet vanilla scent of her hair.

"Thank God you disconnected your damn intercom," Emma chuckled.

Killian propped himself in a lateral position to face her, one hand supporting his head and the other caressing her stomach, lazily circling her belly button. She looked beautiful; her face was covered in a shiny dew, her blond curls fanned around her face, lips swollen from the roughness of their love making. He wondered how she would look in this exact position, relaxing over the deck of his vessel, the sunrise on her face.

"Come with me," he beseeched her, a few minutes later, his blue eyes formed a smolder impossible to resist.

She bit her lip before she answered, "no, Killian, this is about your journey, not mine. We all have to heal in our own way and our own time." She softly said, her fingers caressing the stubble on his jaw from one side to another, memorizing him, not wanting to peek into his mesmerizing eyes. "You should go. I'm sure you'll come back as a changed man," she smiled in encouragement.

He flipped over her kissing her delicately. "Then keep a weather eye on the horizon," he murmured against her lips.

~.~.~

For the next few months, she thought about his two faces and his two scents: something of old books mixed with whiskey and polished wood and the other one, the salty ocean smell laced with burnt rum. She smiled, hoping he'd be okay. She would see him again, that much she was certain of, though nothing prepared her for the sight of a leather-clad pirate with a hook for a hand who knocked on her door a year after, as she blew out a candle on her twenty-eighth birthday.

The End