Beta/Edited by PeaceHeather
There is no plan. Not one they talk about, in any case.
Killian takes her left hand in his right, uses his hook to snag his coat and sling it over his shoulder, and they meander down the dock. Cora's invisibility spell died with her, and the masts and furled sails of the Jolly Roger glow in the setting sun. Beyond the harbor, the ocean is a deep blue, and the stars have come out above. It looks like something out of a fairytale, Emma thinks, bemused.
Probably because it is.
There is a moment when they reach the end of the dock and the gangplank, when he pauses to gauge her expression. "What?" she asks, feeling a little self-conscious under his scrutiny.
His lips twitch. "Not sure I should let you aboard my ship, pirate."
"Uh, excuse me. I'm not the one with a hook for a hand, buddy."
"You stole my ship. That's an act of piracy, Swan." He winks at her. "Told you you'd make a good pirate."
Emma shrugs. "I didn't steal it. I just ... borrowed it, without permission. But with every intention of giving it back."
"And that is the difference between the heroes and the villains," Killian says. Before Emma has any clue what he's about, he drapes his coat over his arm, covering his hook, then bends and scoops her up in both arms. "When I steal a thing," he says, making his way up the gangplank, "In general, I have absolutely no intention of giving it back."
"Stitches," Emma reminds him.
"Will be fine so long as you don't try to escape," he says. He pauses and gives her a considering look. "You weren't planning to try to escape, were you, darling?"
Emma gives him a mock glare. "Seriously?"
He only grins. "Well, I am a pirate. And you are a princess—at least by birth if not by preference," he adds quickly when she opens her mouth to object. "Are there no stories in your land where the pirate kidnaps the princess, and carries her off to his cabin to ravish her?"
"Yeah," Emma admits, dryly. "There might be one or two."
"Well then, you might almost say this was the fine hand of fate," he says, unrepentant.
Although she'd never admit it, she kind of does like the feel of being carried in his arms. Still, she has a reputation to uphold. "You're about to feel the fist of fate if you don't put me down."
Killian winks at her, but sets her down on the deck easily. "Tough lass."
"And don't you forget it, buddy," she says, hands on hips.
His gaze rakes over her, and his eyes darken. "Not even in Neverland," he says, and his voice has gone husky and deep.
Emma feels her own body respond. Now that she's admitted that she wants him, that she loves him, and now that she knows what he was willing to give up to be with her, to change—well, she sincerely doubts even Gold could bottle this feeling.
There are issues to sort out, later. And they will. But for right now the most important questions have been answered, and all that's left is the two of them, standing on the deck of his ship beneath the stars. A man and a woman, not a princess or a pirate, a hero or a villain. Just them, Killian Jones and Emma Swan.
She takes a step toward him, then another. Her hand reaches up to comb through the hair at the nape of his neck, and he lifts a lock of her hair from her shoulder and tucks it behind her ear. Then she pulls him down to her and kisses him the way she's wanted to since he bandaged her hand on top of a beanstalk.
With the taste of him in her mouth, and his hand fisting against the small of her back, she wonders if maybe he's right—maybe she would make a good pirate.
This, she thinks, I'm not giving back.
Much, much later, they are stretched out on Killian's narrow bed. The only light in the room is from the moon and the stars, shining in through the large window that makes up the rear wall of his quarters. Emma remembers wandering in here, on their way back from New York. In daylight, the cabin is an old-fashioned mix of dark wood furniture, bolted to the floor, and sumptuous fabrics covering his bed. Maps are nailed to the walls and several chests are stacked in the corner. There's even a cabinet full of books, the glass doors firmly latched shut.
In the dark, it's small, cozy, and full of shadows. Moonlight washes across the table and floor to pool beside the bed. Waves rock the ship gently. Emma lays with her head on his left shoulder, her fingers painting idle patterns in the hair that is sprinkled liberally over his chest. He has his left arm wrapped around her, bare of both hook and brace. His right hand trails lazily over her arm.
Being in love was never quite like this, with Neal, she thinks. She'd been so young then, everything was new and nerve-wracking, like some crazy adventure. Every moment had felt stolen, like any second someone was going to come along and take it away. It had been like riding a roller coaster, and she'd never wanted to get off. Emma knows better now. Roller coasters tend to come to a screeching halt. You can't live on them.
During those painful months when she'd been stuck in jail, carrying a child she was too young to take care of, trying to decide how to give it its best chance, she'd decided that love simply wasn't in the cards for her. Abandoned by her parents, abandoned by the system that was supposed to take care of her, abandoned by the man she thought had loved her, and forced to abandon her own child—people like her didn't get happy endings. Happy endings only existed in fairytales.
And now she's living in a fairytale. She's found her parents, her son. She found the man she thought she'd loved, and discovered that first love doesn't always mean true.
She's not entirely sure what true love does mean, exactly. Except ... she'd read something once, some quote scribbled on a bathroom wall—because that's where most people like to write their wisdom. It said that loving someone because is easy; but loving someone despite—despite knowing all their flaws, all the darkness inside of them—is pure and perfect. Killian is, perhaps, as imperfect as a man can be. But laying here, with her head on his chest, listening to his heart beat beneath her ear, for the first time Emma Swan feels like she's home.
They lay there quietly, listening to the waves lap against the ship's hull. Through the window, the stars shine brightly.
"Killian," she says softly, breaking the silence. There's something that's been bothering her.
"Did you fly through my window last night?"
He laughs outright and catches her hand in his, bringing it to his lips. He presses a kiss to her palm, and she can feel him smiling against it. "My clever, brilliant, beautiful Swan. Whatever gave you that idea?"
It's hard to tell in the dim moonlight, but Emma's pretty sure he winks.
I'm sorry it took me so long to wrap this. The epilogue was a bit longer, originally, but some of the things in it ended up getting absorbed into earlier chapters as I did my rewrite. Then I debated about whether to add anything else, but in the end decided that I wanted to just keep it short and sweet.
Thanks to everyone who followed along with this story, who favorited and commented and rec'd it. I appreciate it so much.
Even though my Killian=Pan theory has been fairly well canonballed, there's still a thread of hope there that I'm not giving up just yet. Can't wait till Season 3! And hopefully I'll have some inspiration for some more CS fics over the summer.
Also, it's appropriate that I posted this today, because it's PeaceHeather's birthday. Send a few birthday wishes her way, would you?