Originally my idea for this fic had been something along the lines of—how exactly does Emma convince Hook to take her to Neverland to find Henry. Cue slightly angsty but mostly sexy times. But then I saw that interview from Paleyfest where JMO mentions something about wondering when Emma's just going to kinda break and say "it's just too much". And I kinda thought to myself she's right. Honestly that girl needs to be on the verge of a major breakdown because SERIOUSLY! And as for Hook, while I sincerely believe he holds a soft spot for Emma I also think he's most likely one to hold a grudge ;) Basically I feel as if there's a whole heck of a lot of resentment and tension and SOMETHING ELSE ahem *something deeper* ahem. And it's all just sitting there unresolved.

And well that's kinda where this comes from...

Please review! Please.

Disclaimer: I don't own Once Upon A Time.


Pull it together.

Listening to the dull clank of her heeled boots against the cement dock, the sound echoing in the near silent night, Emma took in a deep breath, squared her shoulders and attempted to steel her frazzled nerves.

Pull it together.

Her eyes stung with angry and despairing tears as the nearly frantic plea rang in her head, reminding her of what was at stake while pushing her forward and compelling her to move on. Angrily she whipped off her leather gloves, her movements quick, harsh, and frenzied. And bringing a shaky hand to her damp and burning eyes, she wiped at them furiously, disgusted with herself for the pathetic show of weakness.

Pull it together.

She needed to collect her damn thoughts. She needed to calm herself. If she was going to ask him for help, she couldn't let him see how worried and upset she was. She couldn't let him see that she was nearly broken. The moment he found out that he had the upper hand, he'd use her desperation to his advantage. He could make her beg—he could force her to agree to do any number of horrible and unthinkable things.

And she'd do it if that meant he'd help her.

She'd do anything.

Pull it together now!

Approaching his ship, Emma stared up at the grand vessel, its looming presence appearing dark and ominous against the midnight backdrop of the starless sky. Hesitantly she drew nearer, brushing her hair out of her eyes as the chilled breeze picked up—the wind whipping the trench coat she hadn't bothered in buttoning behind her like a billowing black cape. Swallowing over the large lump that had formed in her throat, she sucked in a shaky breath and tentatively boarded the ship, wincing as she slipped on the damp and slick surface beneath her. Hurriedly trying to regain her balance, her footing faltered again—stumbling forward she shot her hands out in front of her, attempting to break her impending fall.

Screwing her eyes shut tight she waited for the impact.

But it never came.

Instead a firm almost painful grip tightened itself around her upper arms, steadying and straightening her, preventing her from crashing to the ground. Relieved, she just barely had a moment to collect her bearings when abruptly she was pulled forward hard—the air whooshing out of her fast as she collided with a solid unyielding body. Biting back a distressed whimper, she cursed violently under her breath, and gathering her wits, raised her chin—staring defiantly into the taunting blue eyes that glared down at her. His stormy gaze mixed with equal amounts of anger and curiosity.

"Hello Swan."

Bringing her even closer to him with the casual greeting, Hook wrapped his arms around her waist—his good hand and namesake resting on her lower back with the action. Uncomfortable with the intimate position, the corners of her mouth lifted into slight sneer and narrowing her eyes, Emma attempted to push her way out of his hold, annoyed when he merely raised an eyebrow at her futile struggles.

"Let go." She hissed at him through clenched teeth, irritated with the dark gleam that shone in eyes.

At her angry request he merely smiled down at her, the grin cool and humorless—the lack of emotion causing her blood to run cold while her mind reeled—waves of panic and something else she couldn't quite place washed over her quickly, startling her and leaving a sinking feeling to settle low in her gut. Frantically she began to reconsider the idea of asking him for help, struggling against him, she mentally berated herself for not thinking things through more clearly.

"I think I rather like you right here."

"Hook." She warned, pleased with the steadiness of her voice—the unwavering tone did little to betray the raging emotions that were suddenly coursing through her fast.

Raising a sharp brow, briefly amusement flashed across his chiseled features. "Oh irritable are we darling? Quite the bewildering creature you are…you come waltzing onto my ship in the middle of the night as if you bloody own the place and yet you have the audacity to sound cross with me."

Emma scowled.

He had a point.

Damn him.

Sighing, she straightened herself as best as she could, attempting to ignore the way their bodies were pressed tightly together, or how the heavy metal of his hook at her back could be felt even through her thick coat. Instead of letting her body absorb the sensations—the sight, smell, and feel of him—she willed her focus back, demanding that she remember why she was on his ship in the first place.

She was desperate.

Meeting his blue gaze again, she sighed softly, "I need your help." she said quietly, the words coming out a hushed and reluctant whisper.

With the statement, surprise momentarily registered on Hook's face before it was quickly replaced by wariness mixed with just the slightest hint of anger. "And why should I help you eh? I recall a betrayal on a beanstalk followed by several attempts at keeping me held against my will. Asking for my help is quite laughable at this point don't you think sweetheart?"

"Cut the dramatics Hook."

"Oh I'm being quite serious princess."

Glaring up at him she tried to suppress the urge to roll her eyes even as guilt gnawed at her belly, the memory of leaving him trapped on the beanstalk settling uncomfortably around her. "Listen, do you think I'd be here if it wasn't important?"

The flash of bright white teeth unnerved her, and dimly she noticed that his grip on her had loosened—his hold feeling much more like an intimate embrace rather than a means in keeping her trapped.

"Darling, you seem to misunderstand me. Have I ever given you any reason to believe that what you care about matters to me at all?"

That hurt.

She was momentarily shocked by how much his poorly concealed implications stung—for some unknown reason his words cut her, his open and brutal honestly slicing deep.

"It's my son," she said, refusing to linger on his statement, choosing to ignore it instead.

At her words, his grip lessened even more, something odd flashed across his features and taking the moment to her advantage, she straightened and pushed away from him fast, noticing with some surprise how easily he let her go, his arms falling away from her without protest.

"Henry." She whispered looking down at the ground while backing up. And continuing to put distance between them, she shivered as the cold night wind picked up, her body silently protesting the loss his warmth had provided.

"Your boy is in danger?"

Glancing up she studied his face, his jaw was tense, his good hand clenched tightly into a fist. Briefly she wondered at his sudden change in posture and shaking her head, she met his cool gaze with an unwavering one of her own. "Yes."

"And you need my help why?"

"He's in Neverland." The words felt tight in her throat; hot tears threatened her eyes once again as she carefully watched him for a reaction.

But other than the slight raise of an eyebrow, he showed no signs of surprise, his features remained impassive…unreadable. "And how, pray tell, did he get there?"

"Tamara she's crazy. And Greg, he—he and Regina have a past and—and…there was a portal…and dammit does it matter?" Her words faltered, her tone dead and defeated as thoughts of how she had let her son down, how she had failed to protect him, sneakily edged their way into her brain.

He was silent for a moment, his good hand coming up to play with the tip of his hook—he appeared to be pondering over her revelation, though his expression still remained irritatingly blank. Save for the sound of the gusting wind, silence fell heavily between them—tension grew, the air near sparked with the suddenly charged and hostile atmosphere.

Finally his eyes met hers, and she felt her chest constrict tightly, the blistering intensity of his gaze was almost too much to take. "You've got many people in this town who will help you, a number of them who are more than willing to lay their lives down for you and your boy…I am not one of those people Emma."

The words were quietly spoken, his lilting and hypnotizing voice doing nothing to soften the blow. The breeze picked up around them, whipping her hair around her face and a damp mist settled over her skin as a light drizzle began to fall from the sky. Taking a moment to process what he had said, she winced as the hurt and betrayal of his simple refusal resonated mockingly in her brain.

He was turning her away.

She didn't know why she felt so betrayed by his words. On the long walk to his ship she had told herself over and over again that enlisting his help wasn't going to be easy. She had reminded herself he was a damned pirate and that she wasn't going to gain his assistance by merely smiling and saying please. But still, knowing that he was her only hope in successfully finding her son, and hearing him so carelessly cut her pleas down…something inside of her snapped. She couldn't think about properly begging him. She forgot about her previous thoughts of doing whatever it took to get him to help her.

Suddenly she felt overwhelmed.

Anger, despair, hurt, and betrayal—it all bubbled up inside of her, simmering to the surface and crashing down around her in harsh and taunting waves. Staring at him as he coolly observed her, his long dark coat flapping slightly in the wind, his pale eyes appearing black in the night, and his attractive features still schooled into an expression of bored calmness, Emma shook with a sudden and violent rage.

Henry.

Her son. The person who mattered to her more than anything, anyone—was stuck in a dark and dangerous land. It's magic terrifying and powerful. And the only man who was capable of reuniting her with him had just refused her request.

It was too much.

A dull buzzing began to sound in her ears and she rapidly blinked away the burning tears that stung at the corners of her eyes. Shakily she brought a hand to her head trying to clear it, though the efforts appeared pointless as her body began to tremble and her breathing became erratic and labored.

"Emma?"

His voice broke through the noise in her head and snapping her eyes to his, she narrowed her gaze. "You bastard." The words barely carried over the gusty wind and his head inclined in her direction as if he was struggling to hear her. Focusing on her anger and frustration, allowing it to fester and grow, she felt something dark begin to simmer inside of her, threateningly pushing forward from her very core. "You bastard!" she said again, louder this time, the venom in her tone spiteful and poisonous.

Staring at her silently, his eyes never leaving hers, he said nothing, only absorbed her rage, watching her, waiting.

She snapped.

Reaching behind her and under her coat, her hands wrapped around the heavy weight of the gun she had hidden there. Whipping it out, she pointed it at him without thought, without preamble. Her grip firm and steady even while the rest of her body raged with emotions too strong and intense for her to fully comprehend.

"You selfish, vengeful bastard." She stepped closer to him, her fingers itching, her vision blurred.

"Darling put that away before you hurt someone."

At his flat tone Emma saw red and her fingers twitched as thoughts of Henry scared and helpless flashed in her head. "I will kill you. I swear to God I will kill you if you don't help me get my son back."

Her words hung between them menacingly the ring of sincerity, of desperate truthfulness dripping from the threat meaningfully.

She would do it.

"So is this what you've become?" He asked her quietly, his eyes drifting to the weapon in her hand.

Nearly laughing at the calmly asked question that was tinged with just the slightest bit of accusation, she narrowed her eyes. "You don't get to judge me."

"I'm not judging you pet, I'm merely wondering if this is what you've reduced yourself to…have you allowed the darkness to embrace you so easily?"

"No. No you don't get to talk to me about darkness and lecture me about my actions! My son is trapped in Neverland! Fucking Neverland! And you of all people are acting surprised that I would do anything in my power to get him back."

"I'm no good to you dead Emma."

"And you're no good to me alive either."

She kept her aim steady, the gun pointing straight at his heart. Squaring her shoulders, she attempted to block out the panicked voice in her head that was screaming for her to lower the weapon, begging for her to calm down, pleading for her to once again think rationally. And for a brief moment she wavered and glancing down, cocked her head to the side, scrutinizing her hand. Slowly following the line of the gun, her eyes landed back on him. Taking in the sight of him—his long leather coat, his black hair wet and gleaming from the softly falling rain and his dark and fearsome features—suddenly and without warning rage consumed her once more. And it was in that instant that she saw surprise fleetingly flash across his face before acceptance slowly sunk in, his expression relaxing, his eyes lowering.

"Do it."

She faltered, the weapon dropping slightly. "What?"

"Kill me." His request was calmly said, his voice betraying little emotion. "You think I fear death? You think I don't welcome it…encourage it even? And what a better way to die than at the hands of a fallen angel. The savior turned murderer. Quite poetic."

His voice had risen with each word said and she blinked once then twice—the self-disgust, loathing, and accusation so clearly woven into his sorrowful words taking her by surprise. And hearing them, turning them over in her head, she felt a tiny part of herself begin to break. Her anger slowly began to ebb; the frantic pleading in her brain grew louder, the vengeful and furious fire dimmed.

"Shut-up." She whispered, shaking her head, trying to collect herself—her heart pounding, her pulse suddenly racing.

With a cruel laugh, he took a step forward and then another and she raised her gun at him again, trying to ward him off while backing away slowly, wincing when her back pressed up against the ship's railing, stopping her and offering no place to go. He kept coming at her fast, his movements quick and furious, the small gap between them closed rapidly, until he was hovering over her with the barrel of her gun pressed into his chest. She fought not to tremble as he glared down at her, his stare as knowing as it was unforgiving.

"I just denied you help. Your son is in a land that even the most skillful of trackers, the cleverest and bravest of warriors would be unable to travel to and come back alive. You need me Emma, you need my knowledge, my expertise of Neverland. And I've refused you the help." Leaning towards her, the gun continuing to press into him, he smiled darkly down at her. "You want to kill me. Do it."

"Shut up." She whispered again, her fingers moving slightly on the trigger.

"You're lost. Your boy is lost. And there's nothing I will do to help you. Do you understand me? You denied me my vengeance and I will deny you, your son."

"Stop." A single tear slipped from her eye and she bit her lip to keep the disparaging sobs at bay.

Lowering his head, the gun pressing even further into him with the action, he brought his lips to her ear—his scruffy jaw brushed against the tender skin of her cheek. "Did you think there was some good left in me? That I would switch sides for you? A woman who betrayed my trust. Did you think I would so easily help you? Did you believe I would forget everything…three hundred years of waiting and planning my revenge…for you?"

Yes. A small part of her whispered, even while a larger more practical part of her screamed NO!

"Help me. I'll do anything." She murmured resigned, her grip on the gun loosening.

She felt his lips move against her ear in what she could only imagine was a debauched smile, his hot breath filtering across her neck, the scent of leather overwhelming her.

"Leave my ship Swan" he spoke quietly, his breath tickling her neck. "Never seek me out again."

And with the demand, she felt as if someone had laid a pile of bricks on her chest, the words adding more cracks to her already damaged heart.

"Why?" she asked softly, despair and anger still warring silently within her.

Pulling back he smirked down at her, the small grin devastating and cruel. "Because I'm a no good bloody pirate."

She opened her mouth to say something, intent on convincing him otherwise, but then he was moving—his actions too quick for her to clearly comprehend. Wrapping his fingers around the gun barrel, he pulled on it hard, yanking the weapon from her grip harshly. At the loss, a small sound of distress escaped her lips, her eyes growing wide as he pulled his hand back, the gun's metal gleaming in the dull shadowed moonlight.

"What—what are you doing, give it back." The request came out unsteady and trembling, her voice nearly shrill.

And his answering laugh was low, deep…dangerously seductive.

Brushing her uncertainty aside, ignoring her tumultuous feelings, Emma reached for the gun, her body pushing into his as he lifted his hand high and tossed it carelessly away—the sound of it skidding across the wooden panels of the ship echoing in the silent night. Livid, her earlier despair and confusion gone, she pushed at him hard as anger once again consumed her. Both palms lying flat against his chest she glared at him, irritated when he barely stumbled backwards, his feet remaining firmly in place.

"Get off my ship, princess."

"Help me find my son!"

"Don't test me darling."

"Hook! Help me dammit!"

Suddenly he was in her face; pushing her back against the railing, his good hand quickly snaked up the column of her throat and clasped her neck firmly. Applying light pressure he slowly cut off the steady flow of air into her lungs while the weight of his body trapped her against him.

"You are nothing to me Swan! Do you understand that? Nothing. You've not done a thing to gain my loyalties or trust. If anything you've cost me my vengeance time and time again...the one thing I've sought for centuries on end. The one thing that matters to me." His words shook on the last statement, something odd flashed across his features, and almost abruptly his grip on her let up ever so slightly as a haunted gleam suddenly shone in his eyes. And as the pressure lightened, she struggled not to gasp even as her throat welcomed the relief.

Seemingly shaking himself from his momentary distraction, his eyes snapped back into focus and he drew his attention to her once again. "Do you think after three hundred years the images of Milah having her heart ripped out of her chest and crushed at my feet by that filthy spineless coward have faded?" Inching closer, their faces nearly touching, his breath mingled with hers. "Do you think you could ever forget that image? Picture it my dear." He taunted, his blue eyes bright and scorching, his body heavy against hers. "Maybe if you knew my pain… even just a hint of it you would—"

"Would what!" she shouted at him abruptly, straining against his hold suddenly—his fingers dug into her neck again as her face came even closer to his. "Would what Hook? You want me to apologize? You want me to say I was wrong for leaving you on that goddamned beanstalk? For doing everything in my power to get back to my son!"

"I would have helped you!" He shouted back, their noses just barely touching as he drew even closer into her personal space. "I chose you! I chose you and you betrayed me. I chose you and you left me...never looking back…and when I sought my vengeance when I came to your world of my own accord you prevented me from having it." He paused, his eyes seeking hers, fiery and flashing. "I chose you." He said again softly, his tone low and trembling with barely concealed fury.

I chose you.

I chose you.

I chose you.

She cast her eyes down for a moment; her cheeks were damp and cold, a mixture of the light rain and silent tears that had steadily begun to stream down her face. "What do you want from me?" she asked him in a small foreign voice. Looking up at him once again, she nearly winced at the swirling rage of emotions she saw in his gaze.

Hook sneered at her question, his eyes roaming over her face, his hold on her tightening threateningly again. "I don't want a sodding thing from you. I told you once before I'm done with you and I bloody well meant it. Now, I merely want you to get the hell off my ship. Leave."

I'm done with you.

Shaking her head, she tried to clear it, his mocking voice refusing to fade away as it rang in her ears. He was so cold, his eyes so cruel and unforgiving. Briefly she thought of the man who had climbed up the beanstalk with her. The man, who had smiled easily, offered his help, tended to her injuries, and had protected her without thought. That man had been different. He hadn't been the same dark pirate who stood before her now, ruthless and vindictive.

The man on the beanstalk had been Killian Jones.

And she had pushed that glimpse of him away, refusing to trust him and drawing out the villain who lived inside of him once again.

She had done this—to him, to herself.

I chose you.

I'm done with you.

Swallowing, she leveled her gaze to his, gritting her teeth as his voice continued to echo softly in her head. "I'm sorry." She croaked out, the words feeling heavy and uncertain as they left her mouth. "I'm sorry."

She saw surprise flit across his features, followed quickly by anger, trailed instantly by disbelief and then finally, slowly…defeat. Releasing her from his hold, he backed up, pushing her roughly away from him and ignoring her as she took in a deep gasping breath. The light rain that had only moments before been a soft drizzle, began to fall harder, steadier, drenching them both.

Straightening herself to her full height, she watched as he continued to move away from her, her heart heavy, her eyes burning. "Hook! Help me…please."

The plea was pathetic, desperate…honest.

Turning his head, his stormy sea colored gaze locked with hers, even with the rain between them she could make out the vivid blue. "Don't go near the mermaid lagoon, their hate for any living creature who'll rival their beauty is cruel and merciless…their song is as beautiful as it is deadly."

Shaking her head Emma opened her mouth, unsure what he was saying, confused by his words. But before she had the chance to question him, he cut her off.

"There is a large succulent violet berry with a red stripe that runs through the middle, it grows in abundance throughout the forests and meadows. Don't eat it, don't even touch it. It will kill you the instant its juices touches your tongue. By the banks of the streams that cut through the forest you'll find a tiny orange flower with purple spots… crush its leaves with water to make a paste…it can be used to soothe nearly any wound. Don't travel by night, once you make camp stay where you are. Fire keeps the beasts at bay…they shy away from it…keep one burning constantly until the sun rises."

Her head began to spin with the sudden onslaught of information and realizing what he was doing her stomach dropped and her throat tightened. "Hook—"

"I hope you find him Emma."

His tone was genuine and sincere and feeling her eyes widen as he made a move to turn from her, she reached out a hand towards him, the words to bring him back to her becoming lodged in her throat as the weight of his refusal settled upon her.

He was abandoning her.

It hurt. And she had to wonder if this was what he had felt like on the beanstalk when she had left him.

When she had betrayed him.

"Don't do this to me." She finally pleaded, the words tumbling from her lips fast, "I can't lose him, I can't let him down again. God please…please. I—I'm begging you…take me to Neverland Hook…Killian…please." Her voice broke as she said his name, and her vision wavered, his form in front of her becoming nothing more than a blurry watery figure.

He paused.

Tilting his head to the side, Hook glanced back at her, his face darkened by the rain and the shadows of the night. And holding her pleading stare for a moment longer, the corners of his mouth turned down into a slight grimace, before, without another word, he turned from her, not sparring her another backwards glance. And with his quiet footsteps echoing loudly in her head, she watched as he walked away, disappearing into the night and leaving her to the rain.

Alone.

Helpless.

Broken.

Staring blankly at the empty space in front of her she shook her head slowly and numbly lowered herself to the ground, her legs too shaky and weak to hold her weight. Resting heavily on the wet planks of the Jolly Roger, she released a whimpering and shuddering breath as thoughts of Henry painfully bombarded her brain—her soaked body trembled from both the torturing images and the chill of the early spring storm.

She wasn't much for praying; all of her life she had relied on only herself, believing divine intervention was something tauntingly out of reach. But now, with her son's life on the line, she begged to whoever was listening that he was protected—that someone, something, was looking after him. And thinking about her trusting and innocent kid, who she had just recently accepted and began to love as hers, she was unable to hold her distress back any longer.

Finally she let herself cry.

Her tears weren't muffled and quiet but loud and pitiful. Wrapping her arms around her middle she rocked back and forth and sobbed—everything too overwhelming and painful for her to remain poised and stoic any longer. Keeping her composure and being strong had gotten her nowhere.

She was lost.

Darkness loomed before her—her will to push it away, to reject it gone.

She wasn't sure how long she stayed like that—crying on the deck of the grand ship with the wind whipping around her and the rain falling down in heavy punishing sheets. Slowly her brain became hazy and fogged, her hearing muffled and distant. It was only with dim realization that she sensed someone approaching her, but too deep in her own despair she barely acknowledged the impending presence; instead she hugged herself tighter and continued to cry—the sound now tuned down to small whimpers and feeble moans.

As a shadow fell over her, she looked up dazedly, her stinging eyes just making out Hook's figure through the pouring rain. Quickly looking away from him, unable to bring herself to care that he was seeing her broken and vulnerable, she continued her quiet crying, her throat burning with each soft sob that bubbled up out of her. And as the rain continued to trail down her face, something inside of her attempted to come to life—rejecting the fact that he was standing before her, watching her unusual display of weakness. Angry, she wished that he would just leave her again—there was nothing left for him to say. A small part of her wanted him to go, to never come back.

A larger part of her silently begged him to stay, to never leave.

When she felt the weight of warm and heavy leather wrap around her shoulders, the smell of rum and sea invading her nose, the small fight in her dimmed, fleeing as quickly as it came. Collapsing further into herself, her cries growing louder and more hysterical, she focused on her pain, on her grief.

Henry.

And as his strong sturdy arms scooped her up, cradling her tired body against his solid chest, she didn't even attempt to protest. Too weak to fight him, she nestled into the leather sanctuary and allowed him to carry her out of the rain, his hoarsely whispered apologies and tentative endearments just barely registering in her head.

She was so very, very tired.

As he walked her to his cabin, his movements with her extra weight near effortless, her eyes struggled to remain open, the strain and stress of the day—of the past twenty-eight years catching up to her. Finally, tired of fighting it, she let herself begin to doze off. And it was as she allowed sleep to consume her that she hesitantly acknowledged that despite what had been said earlier— the harsh words that had been exchanged, the hissing revelations—for some reason, wrapped in his embrace, she felt safe.

Cherished.

Protected.


Emma wasn't sure how long she had slept but when she opened her eyes again there was a soft mattress beneath her, a heavy blanket covering her, and he was standing over her, a look of concerned remorse dominating his features. Seeing she was awake, he squatted down next to her—his movements smooth save for the tiny sliver of hesitation she saw as he reached out to brush a wet strand of hair away from her face. And as he touched her, his fingers lingered near her cheek for a moment, tracing the skin there softly, almost comfortingly—his touch warm, his eyes clear.

Killian had come back to her.

Slowly, deliberately, he pulled the warm blanket away from her rain-soaked body. And feeling as if she were in a drugged induced haze; she barely acknowledged the action, only shivering as the cool rush of air hit her skin, vaguely noting how he watched her reaction with a furrowed brow—his gaze expressing intense and heavy concentration.

"You're soaked to the bone Emma." He whispered carefully in his lilting voice, finally breaking the silence that hung between them. Bringing his gaze to hers, he held her stare, and then, without another word, without warning, he slowly began to remove her boots. Tugging on them hard they slipped off her easily, falling to the floor with a heavy thud. Unwilling to fight him, uncertain if she could, she lay still in the bed waiting for his next move, her pulse gradually beginning to pick up in pace.

"Your clothes are ruined…you need to get yourself out of them."

When she didn't respond, too cold, too depressed, too confused to acknowledge his statement—she heard him sigh; the sound reluctant and beaten.

"It's either you or me but I will not leave you in these drenched rags to catch your death."

With his slightly cross words she felt the warmth of his fingers at the waistband of her pants and closing her eyes she blocked out the sight of him, even while a tiny voice in her head screamed for her to get up, to push him away, to not allow him to touch her. Knowing that if he continued there was a very real possibility that with her clothes, he would strip away the rest of her shaky and already crumbling defenses.

This drained, limp, and lifeless woman wasn't her.

"Emma you need to change your clothes…get up or so help me I will strip you myself."

She knew he meant it, she knew he intended to follow through. There was a steely resolve in his voice— if she refused to undress herself, to take care of herself… he'd do it for her. But regardless of the terrifying fact, she couldn't bring herself to react; she couldn't bring herself to care. The voice in her head that pleaded otherwise was too muffled, the loss of Henry, the thoughts of him alone and frightened, too fresh and raw.

She was broken, unable to move.

At her refusal, he whispered a curse, the oath softly ringing in her ears in a pained tone.

"Very well."

When he slowly dragged her pants down, she bit her lip. When his good hand easily, masterfully undid the buttons of her shirt, she turned her head to the side. When he pulled gently, she conceded without objection allowing him to lift her slightly, tugging the wet fabric away from her slick and chilled body. And even though the cabin was warm, she shivered almost violently, whether it was from the cold sheen of rain that still covered her body or his intimate presence, she was unsure.

Lying nearly exposed before him, her still soaked bra and underwear all that was left of her clothing; she glanced up and watched as he studied her hard, his fingers twitching slightly, his jaw clenched tightly. And suddenly something inside of her sparked to life. She knew if he stripped her of that last bit of clothing, she would unravel completely—what was left of her would shatter.

"Please." She whispered, meeting his eyes in the dim light, the intense fire in their blue depths nearly stealing her breath. "Don't…please…just—just leave them." Her voice was harsh and dejected, bordering on begging.

She watched as he swallowed once—his eyes still burning hotly into hers narrowed with the request. And giving her a quick nod he turned from her. Walking over to a small wardrobe on the opposite side of the room, he opened it and took out a few items. It was as he closed the door again that she saw him pause—his good hand palming the dark wood of the tall cabinet and his shoulders drooping slightly. He stayed like that for a moment or two, unmoving, with his posture slumped and his head down. The silence in the cabin was deafening, the tension in the air stifling. Finally, seemingly collecting himself, he turned back around and walked over to the bed. Stopping in front of her, he set the items down next to her, and grabbing a fresh blanket that rested at the foot of the mattress, he gently laid it over her—his fingers hovering near her chin as he pulled the blanket up, completely covering her cool damp body with the warm and heavy fabric.

"There are some dry clothes next to you if you've the energy to put them on. You're free to stay on the ship for as long as you like…the wind has grown stronger and the rain hasn't let up. You're in no condition to walk home…I suggest you stay." His voice was soothing, soft and hypnotizing, not a trace of the anger or venom that had seeped into his tone earlier could be heard, only reassurance and just the slightest bit of an apology.

And it was with that hint of remorse that the flimsy barrier that had been keeping her tears at bay broke—her eyes still stinging from her last crying jig overflowing as her breath hitched in her throat.

At the sound his eyes flashed to hers, the soft blue pained and glassy. "Emma," he said gently, tenderly, and lowering himself onto the bed next to her, he reached out and cupped the side of her face, tightening his grip ever so slightly when she tried to turn her head away. "You're stronger than this."

She nearly laughed at the statement; strength was something she severely lacked at the moment.

"I'm tired of being strong." She whispered closing her eyes; part of her hating the words while another, less selfless part embraced them.

Accepted them.

"Giving up so easily then?"

She did laugh then, the sound dry and bitter. "Yes."

He didn't say anything right away, the simple declaration, the easy confession, lingering between them meaningfully. And as the silence hung heavy and telling, another tear slipped past her eyes fast. It had barely traveled halfway down her cheek before she felt the rough pad of his thumb brush it away, smearing the dampness over her skin as he rubbed his finger back and forth gently.

"I don't believe that for a second darling." He said in a hoarse voice, drawing her attention back to him once again. "Your son needs you. So you'll do what you always do. You'll push aside your own wants and needs, compose yourself, pick yourself up again and find him. You'll fight."

Feeling her lips tremble at his surely spoken words, she shook her head, the action pressing his hand further into her hot cheek. "What's with the sudden faith? Why do you care? Why not leave me to my misery in the rain?" Meeting his eyes, she paused, nearly cringing as another tear rolled down her cheek, biting her lip when he brushed that one away as well. "I thought you were done with me." she hated how small her voice sounded, how it wavered, almost as if she feared his response.

His desertion.

Hook merely smiled down at her sadly, his eyes so wounded and conflicted that part of her itched to pull him to her, the sudden urge both shocking and scaring her.

"It's funny how sometimes the heart rejects what the lips speak." And not elaborating any further, he made a move to stand, brushing his thumb across her cheek once more. "Sleep, you'll need your energy if we'll be braving Neverland in the morning."

Neverland.

"You're taking me?"

"Yes."

Her heart stopped for a moment, and holding his stare, she felt her breathing become slightly labored as the simple word rang in her ears. "Wh—why?"

"Isn't it obvious Emma?"

At the slight shake of her head, he smiled gently, looking somewhat exasperated. "I choose you. "

At his words, she stared blankly up at him, her muddled brain trying to grasp what he was saying.

"It's not something I wanted, not something I was prepared for. My words and actions from before were deplorable. I suppose my only excuse is that I've been harboring some resentment towards you since the beanstalk and that bloody giant. And seeing you broken and needing me…what that did to me…what that made me feel..." he paused and closing his eyes briefly, he took in a deep breath, before opening them again—his blue gaze shining with the threat of unshed tears. "I wasn't willing to accept it. I lashed out Emma, I let the villain that lurks within hurt you and for that I am deeply sorry." The hint of the soft smile that had graced his lips faded slowly, a serious and almost sorrowful frown replacing the grin. "And while I never asked for this…never wanted it…I'm quite certain I'm fated to always choose you."

At his soft confession fresh tears sprang to her eyes, something warm spread throughout her, and she was fairly certain she felt the tiny cracks that ran through her heart begin to slowly mend. Watching as he rose to leave her, she reached out to him. "Stay. Please."

Shock and confusion flickered across his features as he looked down at her, his gaze moving past her eyes and landing on his hand. Hesitantly, she followed the line of his stare, and saw with some surprise that her own hand had moved to his of its own accord—holding it in place, her fingers were wrapped around his gently.

For a moment they said nothing, both studying their joined hands, her soft pale skin against his rough bronzed.

"What do you want from me?" He finally asked her, his voice harsh, his tone searching.

"Stay." She said again simply, unable to give him anything else.

At her words, he stared at her for a long while, his eyes heavy and burdened, his face expressionless and impassive. Under the weight of his stare she fought not to fidget, attempting to regain a fraction of her composure. She could feel her body and mind splitting in two—half of her was raging, screaming for her to run away from him, to take back her words, while the other half waited tensely, needing him to accept her invitation, to agree to her request. Unsurprisingly the latter won out and she pushed her objections and protests aside. Tilting her chin up towards him, she held his stare, waiting for him to make his decision.

To chose.

And instead of backing away, instead of leaving her…

He stayed.

He chose her.

The mattress shifted and creaked as Hook climbed on top of it slowly—and Emma watched him as he stiffly settled in next to her. Curiously he seemed to be taking extra care not to touch her, his body lay as far away as possible—his figure taut, his features tense. Turning onto her side, she stared at his profile, taking in the sight of him as he laid on his back, noting how even as she blatantly studied him, his eyes remained on the ceiling above them.

He was beautiful.

It was something she had reluctantly admitted to after the first day they had met—his features dark and dangerous, his eyes blue and stormy. He moved with a grace and confidence that many men either lacked or poorly tried to imitate. And staring at him, allowing her eyes to roam over him, her fingers twitched, itching with need.

Suddenly she ached to touch him.

As the sound of the rain battering the ship from the outside filled the otherwise silent room, she watched as his chest lifted up and down in a steady and even rhythm. Hesitantly, tentatively, she reached out a hand, her arm feeling as if it were moving through a thick fog as her mind tried to process her intentions. Unsure what she was doing or why, but feeling compelled to continue, she gently traced the faded scar on his scruffy cheek, her touch feather light, her fingers trembling with the effort.

"What are you—" he started his eyes still focused above him, his body going rigid at her touch.

"Hold me."

The words tumbled from Emma's mouth before she could stop them, but once they were out, she couldn't bring herself to regret them. She was exhausted, both mentally and physically and she hadn't allowed anyone to intimately hold her…to tenderly comfort her in over ten years. Sure she had had her fill of heated embraces and one-night stands. But since Neal, she had never allowed herself to be vulnerable in front of a man.

Until now.

"Hold me." She said again, her voice cracking as her fingers faltered in their path across his skin.

Slowly he turned towards her, his eyes wide and slightly bewildered sought hers out fast. And searching her gaze he stared at her, seemingly looking for hidden answers to his unspoken questions. After only a moment or two, he apparently found what is was he was looking for and his expression softened considerably. In the next instant he was reaching out and pulling her towards him with his good arm, enveloping her in a warm and protective embrace.

It felt right.

Allowing him to wrap both arms around her middle, she laid her head against his chest, letting her mind drift for a while as she listened to the steady soothing beat of his heart—the gentle rise and fall of his chest under her ear coaxing her into a relaxed and almost peaceful state. And as she let her body melt into his, she closed her eyes for a moment, briefly acknowledging that tomorrow would bring with it new hurdles.

Neverland and Henry awaited her.

Tonight however…

Tonight she would find her sanctuary.

Lifting her head from his chest, she stared down at him, her eyes drinking in the angles and contours of his dark bearded face. Feeling somewhat anxious, her teeth found her lower lip and lightly drew it into her mouth in a nervous and unsure gesture. Silently he gazed back up at her, his arms relaxing his hold around her, his eyes curiously questioning her.

Tonight she would chose him.

Straightening into a sitting position, barely paying any attention when the blanket fell away from her to reveal her practically nude form, she twisted her body so that she was fully turned towards him. Noticing the frown that tugged at the corners of his mouth, she watched while his eyes dipped down over her figure and up again to meet hers, their blue depths flashing with something that closely resembled reluctance and regret. Carefully he let his arms fall from her, slowly pushing himself up, he straightened so that he was sitting as well.

"Right I'll just leave you to—"

She didn't give him a chance to finish. Leaning forward and closing the small space between them, she cut him off with a breathy whisper, "Stay."

And before he could respond, before he could question her, she pressed her lips against his, effectively silencing him and preventing him from saying anything else, from misunderstanding her further.

The kiss was gentle at first, almost innocent—a simple touching of lips and nothing more. Initially he didn't react, his eyes still open and locked with hers, his body rigid, his lips unmoving. Seeing his hesitation, a small part of her worried, afraid that he was rejecting her, nervous that he didn't want her. And lifting her head ever so slightly she met his gaze, allowing him to search her stare—to see her fully and completely unguarded.

She wanted him.

Realization slowly dawned on his features as his gaze roamed slowly over her—from her eyes to her trembling lips and then back up again. "Emma." Awe and reverence laced in his tone, he cupped her face with his good hand and leaned forward, kissing her again.

At first it was still tentative. Slow and curious, their lips moved tenderly in synch—unhurriedly tasting the other, leisurely setting a familiar and gentle pace. Tilting her head, she sighed softly into his mouth and it was with the breathy whimper that followed that something inside of him seemingly snapped. Pulling her roughly to him, he dragged her body onto his lap so that she was forced to straddle him. And with the more intimate position he deepened the kiss. Greedily she accepted the change of pace, hungrily she opened her mouth to his, allowing his tongue to sweep inside and tangle hotly with hers.

Running her hands up and down his chest, she fisted them into the dark fabric of his shirt, pulling back only slightly to nip at his lips. And enjoying the way he groaned softly at the action, she swept her tongue back into his mouth again, kissing him thoroughly once more. When his hands settled at her hips, the shocking feel of his steel hook resting on her cool skin, a shiver rushed through her body fast—both need and the tiniest hint of fear coursing through her veins.

She needed more.

Desperate for it, her fingers began to work the buttons of his shirt—her hands trembling so violently with the task that she cursed angrily under her breath, fiercely annoyed with herself for fumbling and shaking. It was embarrassing. She was no inexperienced woman—but based off the way she couldn't figure out the damn buttons, one would think she had never undressed a man before. Close to giving up, considering just ripping the stupid thing off of him, she paused when she heard a low chuckle filter to her ears. Her spine going rigid, she snapped her eyes to his and raised a brow before narrowing her gaze.

But her glare merely brought a smirk ghosting to his lips, a teasing light of humor shone in his eyes and for a moment the earlier events from the night were forgotten. For a moment she allowed herself to fall back into a familiar and old routine—she wary and sarcastic, he witty and unnerving.

"Is there a problem?" she asked, her teeth clenched together, her eyes still narrowed somewhat angrily.

His smile widening, he placed a hand over hers, squeezing ever so gently, "Let me," he said softly.

And it was with his touch and gentle words, that the reality of what they were about to do came crashing back around her.

Not sure if she could speak—not with his mouth tilted up into a small grin and his blue eyes suddenly light with some unknown emotion—she nodded her head mutely. Allowing him to gently push her off his lap, she watched as he stood in one fluid motion from the bed. Lifting his hand to his shirt, he undid it with skilled and practiced ease. Shrugging out of it quickly; he swiftly made quick work of his pants, ridding himself of them fast. When he stood before her without a stitch of clothing she felt her cheeks burn with a blush as her mind raced—questions and doubt swirled in her brain, a voice in her head screamed at her to not go any further.

Stubbornly, defiantly, she refused to listen.

"Tell me you're sure about this Emma." His voice broke her from her thoughts and glancing up at him, she watched as he stood before her, his eyes imploring her, his body taut and unmoving. "You've had a long and trying night. If you're uncertain, if you want to back out now…then merely say the word and I shall leave. But gods help me, I'm not a strong enough man to walk away from you on my own."

Holding his intense gaze for a moment, she watched as various emotions swirled within his blue eyes—fear, sadness, anticipation…hope. And knowing her own eyes surely reflected his, without saying a word she opened her arms to him, silently beckoning him to her.

And he came to her without hesitation.

Any remaining fear and lingering reservations quickly subsided as he lowered himself onto the bed. His body pushing hers into the mattress, he lifted his head and stared down at her, their noses touching, their lips a mere breadth away. Unable to wait any longer, she stretched her neck up, wrapped her arms around him, and closed the fractional distance between them, catching his lips in a soft tentative kiss. Over the rushing thoughts in her head, she could just barely hear the groan that hummed in his throat as their tongues danced together—lazily tasting and slowly seeking. Vaguely she was aware of his hook traveling down her side leaving in its path a trail of tiny goose bumps. Dimly she felt the cool metal catch in her underwear and when he pressed it further into her skin, she gasped, lifting her hips with a sigh. Immediately he took the tiny movement to his advantage, dragging the flimsy fabric down with fast expertise. When he brought his hand back up, hooking his namesake into her bra this time, he met her gaze, his eyes holding a mischievous glint. With a tiny smirk and a small nod she allowed him to rid her of the last barrier of clothing between them, jumping in surprise when he pulled hard, snapping the damp bra away from her body fast, and tossing the ruined lingerie carelessly to the ground.

Lying beneath him, completely defenseless, entirely at his mercy, she felt her body begin to tremble as her breathing became slightly labored. The part of her that loathed giving up any kind of control protested vehemently, reminding her of how vulnerable and exposed she was to him at the moment. And swallowing over the sudden tight lump in her throat, she bit her lip—the fear and doubt that had faded away only moments ago slowly edging their way back into her mind.

She knew what the anxious and frightened part of her was trying to tell her, quite aware of what it was desperately attempting to convey…

It wasn't just the sex…the intimate act that was about to occur.

Oh no, that wasn't what had her pausing, questioning her actions, pondering her intentions.

It was something else.

Something shocking.

Something terrifying.

Something inevitable.

He would be her undoing.

"Emma—" Hook's lilting voice broke through her panicked reverie, and bringing her eyes to his, she watched as understanding and realization slowly crept into his stormy gaze—the sight causing her worries to slowly ebb away again while her breathing became somewhat normal.

Still, with the realization echoing in her head that for her this wasn't some one-night stand, some burst of pent-up sexual frustration, she became desperately frantic to regain some sense of control. Wrapping a leg around his waist, she bit back a gasp as the action pressed them more intimately together. Trying to ignore the sensations that danced down her body at the feel of nearly every inch of him against her—only vaguely acknowledging the way his breath hissed out, how both his hook and hand dug into her—she used all of her strength and momentum to flip them, turning them over so that she was on top and he lay beneath her. Slightly out of breath from the swirling emotions and the sudden spark of energy that lit within her, she stared down at him curiously. There was a small part of her that was fully aware that he had allowed her to take control. Had he wanted to keep her pinned beneath him, he most certainly could have. And thankful he hadn't tried to use his size and strength to his advantage, she blew out a slow and steady breath, her body becoming increasingly aware of the way his warm skin felt beneath hers, how his already hard length was pressed against her thigh.

And with that awareness, her femininity roared to life.

Suddenly she was aching for him—her body nearly begged to just get it over with.

The time for second-guessing had passed.

Placing her hands on his chest, she pushed herself up so that she was straddling his thighs, reveling in the fact that he had remained quiet for so long, curious about how he hadn't quipped at or goaded her—his irritatingly confident behavior gone, replaced by a quiet and understanding persona. And as she considered him, he placed both metal and fingers on her hips, causing all thoughts about his unlikely reaction to their intimate encounter to flee her already muddled brain. Sucking in a deep breath, and closing her eyes, she reached down between them and took him into her hands—his heavy and hard length hot against her fingers. Beneath her, she felt him tense, his good hand dug into her skin and his hook twitched every so slightly, grazing her outer thigh. In the back of her mind she knew he was fighting to let her keep control, to give her this. And with that simple realization, she tilted her chin towards the ceiling and lifted herself up, guiding him into her slowly—the sound of their shaky and shuddering breathing, mingling with the soft pitter-patter of rain falling heavily against the ship.

With each inch of him that disappeared inside of her, her body tensed tightly, her skin tingled hotly, and her pulse raced quickly. Biting her lip as she continued to take him into her, she choked back a moan, the sensations flooding her were nearly too much. Finally, finally, when he was fully sheathed inside of her, she remained still, allowing her body a moment to adjust to his size, giving herself some time to calm the rapid beating of her heart and steady the turbulent thoughts and emotions bombarding her brain.

"Gods."

Emma heard him mutter the word under his breath, and looking down at him, she took in the sight of his features which were contorted into an expression somewhere between that fine line of pleasure and pain. Feeling a surge of power rush through her, quickly she lifted herself off of him, ignoring the protest that fell from his lips, before in one swift movement she lowered herself onto him again, his following groan ringing throughout the small cabin.

Unwilling to hold back any longer, she braced her hands on his chest and rode him fast, the sounds of his grunts and groans driving her on, the feel of his hook still pressed against her hip and his good hand running up to her breasts to rest in the valley between them lighting her body on fire. As she continued to take him into her, bouncing on top of him with her head thrown back and her hips moving fast, she reveled in the sound of her name on his lips—repeatedly whispered with the perfect combination of lust and awe. And she relished in the feeling of being in control even as a voice in her head whispered that she was on the imminent brink of losing it entirely, the crash and burn looming threateningly.

But even with the thought circling tauntingly in her brain, she couldn't bring herself to care. Instead she rode him harder, her thighs quivering with enervation, her breathing labored as tiny moans and whimpers escaped her lips. Raising her eyes to the ceiling, she concentrated on the feelings rippling throughout her, assaulting her body and setting her senses on fire.

It was all too much.

His length buried deep within her, hitting her in just the right spot as she continued to rock herself on him, his hand resting hotly on her chest applying a steady pressure just above her heart, and his hook the sharp tip pressed almost painfully into her, nearly piercing her flesh.

She could feel herself tense as she absorbed the sensations…the sounds of their bodies intimately fusing together, only pushing her closer to the looming edge.

"Emma."

His voice drifted to her ears, the sound pained, broken, and beautiful.

Opening her eyes, she let her gaze fall down on him, the sight of him laying beneath her, buried within her, causing her thighs to tighten and her heart to clench. Stilled above him, her walls began to pulse around him, warning she was close—her trembling body signaling that she had almost reached that blissful peak.

And meeting his sea blue gaze, she didn't fight when he shifted upwards and wrapped an arm around her waist, didn't protest when gently he turned them over so that he was hovering over her and she lay pinned beneath him. Without a moment's hesitation he began to move, taking her slowly, his thrusts unhurried and patient—she knew she wouldn't last long, she was already too close, her body on sensory overload. And wrapping her legs around him she urged him on, silently imploring him to move faster, to take her harder. But he was unrelenting and continued to take his sweet time, seemingly paying no attention when she dug her fingers into his muscled back, letting out a groan of frustration when he kept up his slow pace.

The passion and intensity that had lingered between them since their first encounter was still there, simmering just beneath the surface. She knew that easily he could have lost control, easily he could have taken her hard and fast and mercilessly and she would have welcomed the heat, accepting it gratefully. But he didn't let up on his sensual assault and vaguely she knew what he was doing. Dimly she grasped his intentions.

He was making it mean something.

Lowering his head, he captured her lips in a searing kiss, moving his tongue slowly, his mouth mimicked the actions of his hips—his tongue moving in and out of her at the same pace he thrust into her. And with his achingly tender movements, quickly pleasure emerged from her core spreading throughout her veins until soon it consumed her, taking over her body entirely.

"Oh God," she whispered, her lips breaking from his as her body unconsciously rose up towards him, seeking release.

"Tell me." he demanded in a gravely and rough voice—his hand snaking between them, his fingers found her sensitive bundle of nerves.

"Please just—I can't—just stop." She pleaded with him on a breathy sigh, her words asking him to do one thing even as her hips thrust up towards him, pushing him deeper inside of her, begging him to do something else entirely.

"Stop? Is that what you really want Emma?" His deep almost mocking voice just barely reached her ears, the white noise, the low buzz, that sounded in her head as she drew closer to her pleasure was nearly too loud for her to make sense of his words.

So instead of answering him, she lifted her head and kissed him hard, canting her hips off the bed and drawing him further into her with the action. Immediately he began to move again, pumping in and out of her slowly, fingering her gently and drawing a long low rippling moan from her lips. As they moved together, their panting breaths mingling, their foreheads touching, she gripped him tighter, holding him to her, knowing she was so close to tumbling over that edge, afraid if she didn't hang on tight she may never find her way back.

And as her walls tightened and she clenched around him, he lifted his head breaking the kiss once again—at her confused and distress whimper he thrust into her hard, her back lifting off the bed in surprise. Reaching for him, needing his lips against hers, wanting to taste him, a curse escaped her when he pulled back, refusing her advances.

"I need to watch you Emma, I need to see you come undone for me."

The gruffly spoken words were her unraveling and crying out she finally let herself go, allowing the orgasm that had been so ruthlessly taunting her to completely consume her body. Bright, blinding light, hot golden sparks, flashed behind her closed eyelids and clenching him hard, she whispered incoherent words—feeling as if she was being shot to another place entirely. Her vision blurred, her body tingled and she nearly sobbed as wave after wave of intense pleasure wracked her body mercilessly. And he didn't let up—if anything his control apparently snapped the moment she came, and driving into her hard, he drew out her own pleasure as he recklessly sought his.

"Oh god, oh god, oh god," she chanted the words over and over again, not caring how frantic she sounded, ignoring the unhinged desperation that was so clearly laced in her tone. "Oh god...Killian."

Killian.

She heard a broken groan fall from his lips at the sound of his name, followed by a whispered oath and then, almost abruptly, he was pulsing inside of her, finding his own pent-up release. With one last shuddering breath he heavily collapsed on top of her, the air whooshing out of her lungs, as the heavy weight of his body fell onto hers. Tired, limp, and satisfied, she released him from her tight hold, her quivering thighs fell open, cradling him loosely as he lay between them unmoving, his face buried in her neck, his arms collapsed on either side of her head.

They stayed like that for a moment—the silence in the cabin broken only by the howling of the wind, the fall of the rain, and the sounds of their labored breathing.

After what seemed like an eternity, he lifted himself off of her and then, much to her surprise, rolled onto his back, bringing her with him, wrapping his arms around her and tucking her tightly against him. And she tensed for a moment, unsure if she was comfortable with the position—realizing how familiar and intimate it was.

Almost as if reading her thoughts, he cleared his throat before speaking softly, "you need your sleep. Neverland awaits you in the morning. If you desire…I can leave. If it's what you want…what you need."

She swallowed at the reminder of what the morning would bring. Tears pricked her eyes as she thought of Henry…and guilt slowly edged its way into her mind as she heavily weighed and considered her actions with the man next to her. She wanted to hate herself for what she had just done. With her family's future so uncertain, she had been reckless and selfish. But the events of the day were beginning to take their toll on her and quite suddenly her eyes became heavy even as her heart raced, and her pulse skipped.

She wanted to tell him to go.

She so badly wanted to push him away.

But a louder part of her, a part that had existed inside of her since the first time she had laid eyes on him, fiercely objected, refusing to allow her to drive him away...again.

So, closing her eyes she listened to the steady beat of his heart, while simultaneously following her own.

"Stay," she whispered.

She heard him sigh softly, almost gratefully, and when she felt his grip around her tighten she couldn't help the tear that escaped her eye as he began to stroke her still damp hair softly, murmuring gentle endearments to her in a language that was beautiful, haunting, and foreign. Drifting slowly, she struggled to listen to his lilting voice, concentrating on his soft and musical tone instead of the hardships that the following days would bring. Wishing she knew what he was saying, struggling to place the exotic words, she frowned when he stopped speaking. Part of her wanted to question him, to ask him what he had been saying to her...but she was so tired, and the inquiry faded on her lips, as slowly darkness crept its way into her mind, soothing her into a peaceful and restful state.

And it was as sleep finally edged closer and began to fully consume her that she heard him speak quietly once again.

"Emma mo Emma…mo chroí."

Hovering on the brink of unconsciousness, her brain tried to place the unfamiliar words, even while exhaustion blanketed itself around her, enticing her to give in. It wasn't until she was somewhere in that place between wakefulness and dreaming that she heard him speak again, in a soft nearly wistful tone.

"Emma, my Emma…my heart."

It was with those whispered words, that she let sleep finally claim her—the walls around her heart crumbling, the pain and hurt that lurked within fleeing. And in its place something new— the beginnings of hope and the promise of something that she had been denying herself for well over a decade.

Something that she knew in the light of day she'd be both hesitant and fearful to embrace.

Something that had the power to heal them both.

Something pure and simple.

Love.

END.


I'm not even sorry for that up there.

Hope I fulfilled the angst, smut, and fluff requests.

Please review.

P.S.- The language Killian was speaking is Gaelic...I know that you can argue that maybe that language only exists in our world and not in Fairytale Land so how would he know it. But really we don't know where Killian is originally from and it's fan fiction so yeah.