Hello all! I'm back with just a quick Captain Swan one-shot! It's just a piece of fluff set sometime in the future...two weeks from now, two months from now, two years from now, you decide. I believe I left it ambiguous enough.

Enjoy and please review! Thanks for reading! :)

Disclaimer: I don't own Once Upon A Time

The sun was just peeking through big puffy white clouds and the air held a lingering chill, the promise of the cool day to come, whispering in the light wind. It was his favorite time of day, just after dawn, when the quaint town was still quiet, sleepily waking up—the hustle and bustle of the morning yet to start.

Walking down the nearly empty street, Killian let his eyes roam over the simple shops that lined Main Street—the store windows darkened still, every once in awhile a flash of light or a slight movement could be seen. Listening to the dull clank of his boots, he let his eyes linger for a moment on the door to the Sheriff's station. His mouth quirking up into a knowing smirk as he thought about the feisty blonde who spent many of her days and evenings behind that door, attempting to keep the always unstable peace of the town from collapsing around them. Considering it a moment, he made a move to walk towards the building, wondering if she was there now, the thought of riling her up so early in the morning with a few cleverly placed innuendos and suggestive smiles, widening the already light smirk on his lips.

It was a sound, just off to his right, a muttered curse followed by the abrupt slamming of a door that had him stopping short.

Turning on his heel, Killian watched as Neal—Baelfire—the son of the crocodile, threw some sort of luggage into a funny carriage, which after a few shared drinks, the stunningly attractive barmaid at the town's local pub had informed him was most intriguingly called a car. Neal's movements were quick and fumbled, the air around him tense with clear and obvious anxiety. Continuing to study the odd man, who looked so very little like his Milah, he noted with a dim sense of realization, how his gaze swept the street in front of him, his posture tensing when his eyes settled upon him.

And that was when Killian knew.

He was running.

"Bloody hell." he muttered under his breath, his thoughts about riling up the pretty sheriff all but forgotten as anger started to simmer in his blood even while disbelief at what he was seeing clouded his brain.

Stalking over to him, he scowled, watching as Neal slowly began to back away, raising his hands up, palms facing outwards—the sign of a man unwilling to fight.

"Baelfire." He said curtly, stopping just short of invading his personal space. "You seem awfully busy for such an early hour. I wonder, where, pray tell, you are off to on this lovely morning?" Killian spoke softly, his voice low, barely carrying over the brisk gust of wind that blew up between them.

"Hook…I don't want any trouble." Neal's voice was just as low, a slight pleading laced in his deceptively even tone.

Killian smirked at the statement, the light grin not quite reaching his eyes. "Aye…I'm sure you don't. I'm quite certain you wanted to skip out of here without so much as a lingering glance behind you." His smile widened dangerously, a misleading look he often shot at his unworthy opponents gleaming in his eyes. "And well…my being here, I suppose I've spoiled your plans."

With his dark eyes holding Killian's blue in a seemingly defiant glare, Neal shrugged, the action appearing almost helpless. "Look this doesn't concern you." He said flatly, his tone betraying little emotion.

And Killian sneered at the statement, the words settling ill upon him.

Because for some reason it concerned him very much.

And he halfheartedly tried to push thoughts of Emma from his mind.

"If you leave this town…if you leave your lad…then you'll be no better than him."

At his words Neal's eyes widened and his mouth dipped down into a deep frown. "You don't know what you're talking about."

"Don't I now? Seems to me I recall the story quite well actually, your father abandoned you—weren't you around the age Henry is now. Didn't he make you promises, assuring you of a new and better life before leaving you to rot in a portal alone."

Looking away with a curse, Neal shook his head sadly, "that was different and you know it Hook. He—Henry doesn't need me…he's got people…good people who care about him."

Bringing his hook to his good hand, Killian played with the tip of it in an unconscious gesture, his mouth tightening into a grim line. "Every boy needs a father Baelfire."

"He'll be fine without me."

"And her?"

Neal's gaze quickly shot up to his, the surprise and confusion evident in his dark stare, "Emma? Come on, she—she doesn't give a damn about me…she can barely stand that I'm here."

Pleased by his thoughts, Killian rolled his eyes lazily. "I know that you sodding fool but if you hurt the boy, you hurt her."

Shaking his head, Neal laughed bitterly. "I think you're a bit unclear about her feelings for me."

"No my dear boy, I'm perfectly aware of how the princess feels about you." The venom in his tone couldn't be missed, and he saw with some satisfaction how Neal flinched slightly as the words hung in the air. "I believe you are unclear about her feelings for her son."

It wasn't lost on either of them the way Killian had stated that Henry was her son—Emma's only.

"Emma loves him I know that…but if I leave, then trust me she'll get over it...she'll probably even be happy about the whole thing."

"Do you not know her at all?"

"I know her well enough to realize when I'm not wanted. The sooner I leave the happier she'll be."

With a scoff, Killian shook his head, the utter stupidity of the man in front of him shocking him into a nearly violent rage. Taking a step closer to him, he narrowed his brows, shooting him a long withering glare. "No you spineless fool, you're wrong. If you would just take a moment to think of something, anything other than your own personal well-being and perhaps direct your attention for the briefest of moments to the woman you once loved and the family you made with her, you would realize how sorely mistaken you are. Because if you leave, if you hurt the boy, you hurt her heart…Henry is just where she keeps it."

The words hung meaningfully in the air between them, the tension near tangible as the former lost boy stared at the infamous pirate captain.

"Why do you care so much?" Neal asked quietly with a slight raise of his eyebrows.

His question took Killian by surprise, and for a moment he didn't answer him. His mind turning the words over in his head, he thought about the strong-willed woman who had bested him more times than any living, breathing soul ever had the skills or guts to do. He imagined her soft feminine features that were too often pulled tight—worry and strain masking the simple beauty more often than not. And picturing the fallen princess, he thought about how she tried so hard to protect those around her, putting on the front of being strong and tough while frantically trying to keep her emotional walls firmly in place, desperate to protect the vulnerable and lost girl that hid behind them.

And he knew at that moment that the Swan girl, Emma, had somehow managed to sneak her way past his own barriers and walls, had somehow managed to catch him with his guard down.

She had somehow managed to matter to him.

She had bested him again.

And with the shockingly simple revelation, he didn't know if he wanted to throw back his head in a shout of disbelieving laughter or shake his fist to the heavens, cursing the gods above.

Realizing he had been silent for long enough, he brought his attention back to the man in front of him, lifting his shoulders in a seemingly careless shrug. "Because she deserves more than what you're giving her. Your boy deserves more. And we both know how I detest a coward." He said vaguely, with a simple wave of his good hand.

Looking unconvinced, Neal stared at him hard for a moment, and letting out a shaky sigh, he brought his hands up to his head and clutched it tightly, his knuckles going white with the action. "I wasn't ready for any of this."

Feeling unmoved, Killian arched a sharp brow, "Yes well...that's besides the point…one never is prepared for the things life so recklessly throws at them. Now take your things and move them back into the inn. Your boy needs a father and that woman needs some peace…and unfortunately for many of us in this town…your presence will bring both."

Looking broken and worn, Neal opened his mouth as if to argue, and then, his eyes catching something just behind Killian, he dropped his shoulders in defeat, shaking his head again with an incredulous laugh.

"I'm sorry."

Neal's words were softly said—broken and genuinely remorseful.

And Killian knew, by the wide look in his eyes that they weren't directed at him, but at whoever had caught his attention just over his shoulder. And realizing this, he also knew, without a doubt in his mind, that a certain golden haired sheriff had made a rather poorly timed appearance.

Keeping his eyes forward on the crocodile's son, he watched as he opened the car door and grabbed his bag, his head swinging in Killian's direction, once again looking over his shoulder, just behind him. With a defeated sigh and an ashamed grimace, he swung the car door shut and quickly made his way towards the inn, never once looking back.

Staring at the empty space in front of him, Killian wondered how she had been able to sneak up on him so flawlessly and pondering the thought, the tension in the morning air grew even thicker. Realizing there was no hiding from her, he slowly turned around, letting his eyes fall on Emma. She stood a mere few feet away, her arms crossed tightly over her chest, hugging her body close. And almost reluctantly he made eye contact with her, his steely gaze meeting her unwavering sea-blue.

Neither said anything.

There was nothing to say.

He wasn't sure what, if anything, she had heard—after all the wind was rather brisk and the light howl of the breeze was perfectly capable of drowning out a simple and quiet conversation. But based off the way her features softened just slightly as he stepped towards her, intent on making his way back to the docks, he was willing to bet she had heard enough. And unsure how he felt about that, he inclined his head towards her in a idle nod and offered her a lazy smile—the same grin he had used numerous times before to get him out of difficult and messy situations.

"Good morning to you sheriff, you're looking rather well." His voice was warm and smooth as silk, and walking towards her, focused on passing her, he flashed another winning smile. "But then again you always look quite fetching…it's the leather and curls...an enticing combination of pirate and princess. One might think you were purposely tempting me Emma."

It was with the slip of her name that he noticed her sharp intake of breath, and for a moment his smile faltered, briefly he wondered why that would affect her so—enough for her to momentarily drop her unyielding facade. Not allowing himself the necessary time to dwell on it, he recovered quickly and continued walking—his shoulder just barely touching hers as he brushed by. He had just passed her, a sense of relief settling over him, when abruptly a gentle hand reached out, lightly gripping his arm and nearly burning him through his heavy coat, stopping him in his tracks. Turning towards her questioningly, he glanced down and followed the length of her arm, up her slender neck, across her smooth jaw, lingering on her reddened lips, before meeting her stormy eyes.

And again they didn't say anything—she wasn't big on talking and he usually said too much.

With the cool morning breeze lifting the ends of her sun kissed hair, they fell into a tense and telling silence, her unblinking stare, thankful and appreciative, conveying everything she wanted to say…and perhaps so much more. He knew that if he looked deeper, if he dared to search that heartbreakingly wounded gaze, he'd find secrets she wasn't yet ready to reveal.

Secrets he wasn't yet ready to learn.

And looking away from her, he backed up slowly, offering her a small genuine smile—no smugness or ulterior motives laced within the quick tilt of his lips.

He was just a simple man smiling at a pretty girl.

Noticing the way the corners of her mouth lifted upwards in answer, the barest hint of a grin pulling at her lips, he studied her hard— needing to remember the way her features gentled with the action and her eyes became somewhat lighter. With the pleasant image firmly implanted in his brain, he turned from her, continuing on his way towards the docks, the loss of her warm fingers as her hand dropped away from his arm immediately registering in his brain.

And as he walked away, knowing full well her eyes were on him, burning and branding, marring him with her knowing gaze, he felt his heart clench painfully in his chest. The protective walls he had built up around himself, the barriers he had worked so hard at keeping in place for centuries on end, threatening to shatter completely—breaking his resolve and leaving him defenseless.

Defenseless to a stubbornly broken lass with golden hair, eyes as stormy as the sea, and a soul nearly as wounded as his own.


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