fic title: pardon my enthusiasm

prompt: first kiss, initiated by Emma, at the hospital, post-neverland (prompted by dark-siren).

If you want to prompt something, give me a shout! My tumblr url is yunuen.

She feels more than sees his surprise; the quiet gasp against her lips and the nervous flutter of his eyelashes next to her skin; the hand that freezes halfway to her nape, just barely touching the curls that escape her messy bun, and the brief moment of hesitation before he returns the kiss. It's over in a second and, when Emma pulls back, her lips red and swollen, the first thing that comes out of her mouth is "Oh, shit", which is, in retrospect, kind of a bad thing to say after a first kiss.

Smooth, Emma. Very smooth.

Hook blinks from the hospital bed he's been confined to since their return from Neverland and, after gaping once, twice, blurts out a startled


which is a consolation to Emma because, yeah. Real smooth too.

Emma, still sitting on the bed next to him, shrugs. Feeling shy all of a sudden, she looks around the room feigning indifference and pretending she doesn't feel his eyes staring at her with frightening intensity. A lot of things are different from the first time Hook had to be put back together, after his run-in with Greg's car. He is not handcuffed to anything for once (Emma had threatened him with more non-consensual bondage to get him to stay in the damn hospital while his wounds healed, and Hook had chosen his battles wisely this time). He's not acting like a vengeful bastard and he's not wearing his hook because it freaks out the nurses, but this time it's resting on the nightstand next to his head. It's a huge show of trust on Emma's part.

(Well deserved, considering he came back from Neverland a bloody mess, his innards spilling all over the deck of his ship because he was helping rescue her son. Whale had to pull out all the stops to prevent Hook from bleeding out on the operating table.

Yeah, Neverland was… kind of a big deal for them. Hook is (at the moment) not a potential threat to her town anymore, but an ally. A trusted one at that.)

Wait. There was a question in there somewhere.

"I don't know," she says, glancing at him, even though she does know. "I just felt like it," she adds, trying to sound nonchalant and not really getting there, ending up between 'please don't ask again'and 'seriously, don't' instead.

Hook gapes again. That, coupled with the fact that all of his black leather has been replaced by a white hospital gown, makes him look way younger than usual, almost boyish in his honest surprise. It's cute. It's not. Emma, shut up.

"You just felt like kissing me?"

And she'd think he's mocking her, but he sounds genuinely astonished. He's probably still feeling the postoperative exhaustion and the side effects of the morphine (oh, the first night had been fun, by which she means not at all - morphine had made Hook moody, then dopey, then euphoric, then so freaking irritating it had taken of all Emma's willpower not to leave him alone in the hospital room), so his mind is probably still addled by drugs and pain and the sheer terror he pretends not to feel for the beeping of the machines and the smell of disinfectant. He's more careful, slower on the uptake.

Yes, Emma has spent a lot of time with Hook at the hospital, keeping him company, helping him deal with the slow recovery and basically preventing him from going half insane from the culture clash. Snow had side-eyed her (she had side-eyed her so hard) when she spoke of her intention to be by Hook's bedside as much as her other obligations permitted, but the fact is, believe it or not, when a man gets his stomach sliced open to save your child, it kind of changes your perception of him.

The fact that he's been (mostly) nice and charming while she stayed with him (even if it's probably because he is bored out of his mind and scared of chasing her off) just proves that their relationship has progressed past 'i hit you on the head and then i chain you to increasingly ridiculous places' to 'wow we're in the same room together and there hasn't been any stabbing yet well done'.

She guesses swapping saliva is another milestone in their relationship but hey, what does she know. The last guy she kissed ended up dying in her arms barely two minutes later, so she's probably not an authority on the matter.

Shit. Shit. She really is nervous. There's a lump in her throat, and her heart is beating painfully against her chest and

"I better go," she says, and she moves as if to stand.

Hook sits up so fast she startles, and then doubles over in pain because, yeah, slashed stomach. Vicious mermaid. Innards spilling. Ouch.

"No! Emma, no," he says when he gets his breath back, with urgency and just a hint of irritation and a bit of 'i was not asking' in his voice "Don't you dare leave after that, lass."

Emma thinks about playing dumb, and then berates herself because really, emma, you had your tongue in his mouth barely two minutes ago.

"Look, your reaction hasn't exactly been encouraging-"

"Says the woman who cursed right after kissing me! And not even in a good way!" he protests, offended. "You took me by surprise!"

Now it's Emma's turn to gape.

"Oh, come on. I wasn't exactly stealthy. I gave plenty of signals!"

"You said Your innuendos are so gross and then you attacked me with your face! Where was my cue?"

Emma rolls her eyes, frustrated, and keeps her gaze firmly on her hands, still sitting on the bed, where she's spent more than a week bantering, swapping stories, getting to know him. She wants to say well I thought 300+ years of experience would give you an advantage here but I guess not, but decides against it.

"Was it that bad for you?" he asks, a trace of humor in his voice. However, and despite the cockiness, she can hear the weariness and insecurity creeping up in his tone. "You can't blame me for being unprepared, love. I thought you were going to headbutt me. Which, considering our history-"

He grimaces. It's funny. Should she laugh? Yeah, better not. She shakes her head and gestures to the door

"I really-"

and when she moves, his hand shoots out and touches her arm. He doesn't grab her. He just lets it lie there, barely touching. Emma stops dead in her tracks.

"Practice makes perfect," he grins. It's a unusual smile. It looks strange on his face. Not wrong, just weird. Like it hasn't been practiced much. Like it's a delicate, secret thing. "Shall we try again?"

Emma is about to say no, to go get coffee and then a bottle of rum and then set herself on fire and hope that he forgets about this embarrassing little faux-pas. Why had she kissed him, anyway? What good can come of this; another broken heart, another trust betrayed? Stupid, stupid little-

"Please, Emma."

-but then Emma looks at him, really looks at him. The parts of his face that are still bruised a dark blue, the bandages that cover most of his torso and stomach, the harrowing claw marks that she can't see but that she knows are there. The crinkling of his eyes, as if he is debating between amusement and gravity, unsure of whether a smile will be well-received or rejected.

Emma sits back down on the bed.

"Here's your cue," she says, and before she can overthink it she's leaning in, slowly, ever so slowly. Killian smiles wider, and his good hand tangles in her hair, pulling her to him.

This time, he meets her halfway.