The cold winds stung his cheeks as he opened the doors to the upper deck, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath of cool air. It smelled of salt and the sea and something vaguely unique to Neverland that he could never quite place, even with all of his years that he had spent there.
It had been 44 days since they had arrived in the faraway land's waters.
44 luckless days of new dangers and endless disappointment as they searched relentlessly for the Swan boy, that thus far, was nowhere to be found. Not even a bloody clue. As the days continued to pass by in a slow blur, with no further information on finding him, he felt the hope of his small 'crew' wavering. Arguments amongst each other erupted more easily the more discouraged they got – the majority of which coming from Emma Swan herself. Gods, Emma. That stubborn, beautiful, infuriating Emma. His growing feelings for her had weighed on him for some time now, constantly shoved away to the darker recesses of his mind by guilt. It had become easier since they hit their month mark of their search because by then, the weight of being the captain, of keeping them safe in a dangerous world while struggling to keep their hopes up enough for them to trust him to do so had begun to grow heavy on his shoulders. To his relief, he found himself able to think less about her and more about their sanity, but sometimes on a quiet evening when he was alone with his thoughts, she flitted back in.
It was just his luck that on a cold, windy night like this – quite uncharacteristic of Neverland's normally torrid climate - that he would both be thinking of her and he wouldn't be able to sleep.
Longer than he could honestly remember, Hook had always been in the habit of coming up on deck on restless nights. Since days past, long before he'd ever heard of a place called Neverland, the sea air, the lap of the waves, and the rock of the ship had calmed him when dark thoughts clouded his mind.
Tonight it was thoughts of failure.
He knew that when they set out on this journey it wouldn't be an easy one. They were searching a whole world for people that didn't want to be found, after all, but this wasn't like any other venture he had set out on. This was one of the few that truly meant something to him, and unlike his quest for revenge, they didn't have time to brood and plot. Though he was by nature a patient man, he wasn't stupid. He knew very well that time could be running out. Whoever ultimately wanted Emma's child was up to no good and it was only so long before whatever had been planned for him was implemented.
And if or when it was, it would be his fault.
Hook let out a long sigh, opening his eyes and walking out onto the deck, as he had done hundreds of times before. The stars glistened in the sky, a thousand times brighter than he had seen in any other world. Yet another trick of Neverland's, soothing people into a lull of presumed safety with its indescribable beauty, day or night.
After a couple of paces, he stopped in his tracks, torn from his own thoughts when he heard a sound that he wasn't accustomed to hearing on his nightly strolls - muffled sobs from the opposite side of the ship. He furrowed his brow in concern, taking another tentative step forward and straining to make out the identity of the human form sitting on the deck in the darkness, curled up, arms wrapped around knees, back against one of the ship's walls. Exactly who it was became clear as he moved closer, his steps becoming surer the nearer he got.
She lifted her head only slightly, too far gone into her sorrow to bother shuffling up into a less vulnerable position and just looked away. "Stop calling me that," she mumbled with a quiet sigh and a sniff.
"Just go away, Hook."
Instead, he leaned against the railing a few feet away, glancing downward. "If you're Emma, then I think it's only fair that I be 'Killian', love."
She only shrugged in response, still refusing to look at him, and he couldn't tell if it was in agreement or just because she didn't know what to say.
"Are you alright?"
It was a stupid question. Of course she wasn't alright. She hadn't been alright since the day her son had been stripped away from her, and she wouldn't be alright until he was back in her arms… but she had always been so strong and defiant about it. He had never seen her cry.
"No, I'm not," she admitted with a humorless laugh that came out sounding more like a choked back sob. "Every day I don't find him is another day that he's with them. Whoever they are."
"It takes time, love," he said, pushing away his own prior thoughts of them running out of it. "He's a strong lad. He'll be fine."
"You don't even know him."
"I know his mother." There was a long, companionable silence between them, only interrupted by soft sniffs and shaky breaths. After a few moments, Hook stood straight. "Come on, Emma. You'll catch your death out here tonight."
"…he could be out here too…" Her voice was small and broken, lacking all of her previous sarcasm.
Hook didn't deny it, knowing that it was both entirely possible, and that his denial would fall on deaf ears regardless. Another small gust of wind blew past them, and he suddenly regretted leaving his long coat inside now, wishing to offer it to her, at least as a small comfort if she wouldn't listen to reason. "We both have to keep our strength up if we want to find him," he reminded her gently, and on a sudden impulse, added after a short pause, "…you don't have to be alone, you know."
For once, there was no hint of joke or innuendo in his words. He was tired of seeing her go through the motions of each day, letting herself slip into depression when she clearly wasn't alone in this. It was a feeling he knew all too well in his years of mourning.
He waited for an answer or an indication that she wanted him to stay, but after a few seconds of watching her remain motionless, he nodded his goodnight and strode back across the deck.
When he got into his cabin, he went straight to the top drawer of his nightstand, retrieving the flask that had been his sole friend on many a long night. He took a long swig of it, hoping for the haze of the rum to calm the thoughts spinning around in his head that the sea air hadn't been able to, but instead, it just let new ponderings trickle in with the old.
He thought of Emma.
He thought of the trust they had built the past month, and what a quick learner she was to the ways of Neverland, even despite her rashness and hurry to find her son. He thought of her smiles, the rare but genuine ones she gave him now, rather than purely sarcastic ones she gave him when he teased her. Thoughts of him going back out there, of kissing her and telling her that it would be alright, of reminding her that they were a good team, of scooping her into his arms and into his bed, just holding her if that's all she wished.
Gods, what was it about this woman that made him forget who he was and who he had been for the last three centuries? How had she unwittingly woven her way into his very being like this? There was something about being on a quest for a similar cause that brought two people together, but this feeling was too strong for his liking.
He let another long swig slide down his throat, savoring the familiar burn and shaking his head at his own foolishness as he set the flask down. It would take a lot more than that to get him drunk enough to forget how she'd gotten into his head lately.
Hook began peeling himself out of his boots, his vest, and lastly his shirt, tossing them to the ground carelessly. Maybe sleep would come if he tried. His good hand fell to the laces of his trousers as he used his hook to pull back the covers on his bed, when a quiet knock sounded on his door. He laced himself back up and peered back behind him, curiosity playing in his eyes.
The door creaked openly slowly, and he saw her clearly for the first time that night. She had done her best to wipe away the tears, but her eyes were still pink and puffy, her face pale and drawn with stress. She looked at him with a small shrug of her shoulders, silently responding to his confusion, as if she weren't doing anything out of the ordinary by waltzing into his quarters in the middle of the night.
"I didn't want to be alone."
She echoed his words from only minutes before and stepped inside, noiselessly shutting the door behind her. She seemed unfazed by his partial state of undress, something that surprised Hook, almost to the point of wanting to cover himself, at least to hide the bulky contraption on his arm, but instead he moved closer.
"You got anymore of that?" She nodded to the bottle of rum, and without saying a word, he passed it to her with a small smile. Surprising him once again, she took the flask and sat down onto his bed, taking a drink. "Thanks."
"Did you want to talk about it?"
Emma shook her head, but didn't seem to be disagreeing. "This is the first time I've cried about it. The first time I let myself think…"
She trailed off, but Hook didn't need her to continue to know what she had been going to say.
She was worried about failing too.
"Aye. But we can't think like that, Lass." He held out his hand and she gave him the flask. He took a small sip then set it back on the nightstand, this time not so worried about his thoughts.
"I wanted more of that," she grumbled softly.
He shook his head with a chuckle. "I don't need you to be drunk in my cabin in this state, Emma."
"Why not?" She teased lightly, though her expression still held a certain sadness.
A spark of electricity pulsed through his body and he had to scold himself for considering that she meant something by her jesting. "Love, if I have to explain that to you, then you really shouldn't be drinking in my cabin."
She raised an eyebrow, looking like she wanted to say something in response, something more Emma-like, but then sighed. The fact was, she wasn't feeling Emma-like. "I didn't want to be alone," she repeated, her eyes looking faraway and gloomy. "Plus, the door to the crew quarters is closed and my mother's a light sleeper. I don't really want to deal with questions of where I was or why my eyes are red right now," she laughed to herself, turning her head away and wiping her eye again when a lone tear slipped down her cheek.
He was touched that she would rather him see her cry than her own mother, but bewildered at the same time. "We have an understanding," her words played in his head. She knew that he knew how she felt. They were kindred spirits.
"So you're just going to sleep in the galley?" He let the question hang in the air for a minute when he noticed her shivering. Mentally reprimanding himself for not noticing sooner, he quickly grabbed the large blanket he slept with from behind them and draped it around her shoulders. "I told you you'd catch your death, love." He adjusted his seated position on the bed so he could fully face her, to make sure that there was nothing else that he had missed.
"I'm fine," she assured him, but smiled her thanks, letting it fill the pause. "…Why are you helping us?"
Killian shrugged then met her eyes with the tiniest grin tugging at his lips. "Maybe I just wanted to be a part of something." He sobered and his tone grew soft. "It just... felt more worth it to come back."
Instead of returning his smile as he had hoped, her expression dropped. Her lip trembled and she bit down on it hard as her face scrunched up and reddened, as if she were trying to hold back tears. She turned away from him once again, subconsciously pulling the blankets closer around her shoulders.
God dammit, now he'd upset her. "My apologies, Lass," he mumbled, ashamed that he hadn't read her well enough to know when to bloody shutup. "What did I say?"
She looked back into his worried face, with a gaze that was both filled with sadness, admiration, and intrigue. Her steady stare fell from his eyes and moved gradually down to his lips, his neck, his chest, and then back up to his shoulder where the leather straps held on his hook. A tingle went down his spine at the feelings her wordless, deliberate survey was giving him and after what felt like forever, she reached up to trace the leather with her fingertips. He unintentionally pulled back ever so slightly, almost embarrassed that she was seeing him like this, but there was no judgment in her eyes, only understanding.
"Emma…" he began, but he was unsure of what he had wanted to say or how to say it, so he didn't continue.
Emma sniffed again softly, her cheeks still red with emotion as she swallowed hard and without warning, dipped her head down, kissing the center of his bare chest softly. His breath left him in a gasp and he stilled, as if moving would cause the dream to end. Her lips moved over him like a whisper, barely touching, but leaving a burning sensation with each brush of her skin against his. Her hands rested at either side of his waist, slowly moving upwards and pushing him back onto the bed, crawling over him as she did so, never once stopping her feather-light kisses. Her tongue flicked out as she made her way to his stomach, and he moaned, his head swimming from the unexpected sensations. He felt his pants become tighter with every touch, knowing that his near instant arousal must be obvious to her, and it felt wrong – he was supposed to be comforting her, she had come to him, and there he was, letting her touch him so tenderly like he was the one that needed care. Oh gods, but it felt so good.
"Emma… what are you doing, love?" He opened his blue eyes to search hers, her delicate body suspended over his – needing that one, last, ditch effort to snap her out of it, to give her the chance to stop.
"I'm tired of feeling alone," she whispered, her voice wrought with emotion. "Help me feel something else."
Her begging words were all he needed to disregard his earlier misgivings and he snaked his hooked-arm around her waist, carefully rolling them over so he was on top. His arousal pressed hard into her leg and she instinctively lifted her hips to rub him, making him groan at the friction.
Unable to resist her any longer, he kissed her, his mouth moving against hers in a slow, sensual dance, his hand twisting in her golden hair, tangled from the lack of proper care. It reminded him of how she had looked the day that he had playfully commented on it, trying to get her mind off of her troubles. She had rolled her eyes in response, saying they had more important things to worry about than her hair, but he knew that his innocent comment had made her self-conscious. It amused him that she cared about how he saw her, especially when he hadn't meant any offense. In fact, he had thought the Neverland sun and the warm winds had made it look unkempt in quite the attractive way.
Straying from his thoughts and renewing his focus on the kiss, Hook nipped at her bottom lip, running his tongue over it and coaxing it open as he slipped his hand underneath her shirt. She pushed against him and began to sit up, opening her mouth and plunging her own tongue into his with an equal fervor, kissing him slowly, deeply. She didn't break the kiss until she was forced to by him ushering the shirt carefully up and over her head.
She was beautiful, but he had already known that. What amazed him was her newfound fragility. She had become so soft, so gentle, so vulnerable in every movement, in every look - qualities she seemed to try to hide from others, as if seeing her in that light would allow them to take advantage. He felt with a start that this was the true Emma Swan that she rarely let anyone see.
As soon as the piece of attire was gone, he lowered himself on top of her, gently pinning her against his pillows so she was half sitting up and half lying down. She let out a small gasp at the pleasantness of his weight against her body, wrapping her arms around his back, one hand entangling into his hair and a thrill ran through Hook at their closeness as he descended on her again.
They continued to kiss for some time, fluctuating between deep and passionate and gentle caresses of the others' lips, thoroughly, painstakingly exploring the other, and he was so engrossed in what they were doing, he almost forgot to breathe. Finally breaking away, knowing that they didn't have the time that he wished to truly take her, he moved forward. Hook trailed his way down her jaw as his good hand snuck up her chest, cupping her breast. He nuzzled her neck, brushing her hair out of the way and breathing in her scent, marveling at how soft her skin was against his stubbly, rough cheek. Emma let out a pleased sigh and arched her back slightly when she felt his hand slip beneath her bra and brush her nipple his thumb. She pressed her neck harder against his hot mouth, gasping again when he took the opportunity to work his way up further and nibble her earlobe, sucking on it lightly.
"This… is just… just for tonight," she gasped in between kisses as he moved back to her mouth, and for the first time, a hint of the broken, defensive Emma came back, as if reminding him that she couldn't be tamed so easily, that she wasn't entirely broken.
"Shh, I know, love," he murmured, not wanting either of them to worry about what this meant or where this was going. "… Tonight we're both tired of being alone," he whispered, remembering his own self-deprecating contemplations from earlier.
She made a tiny, whimpering sound in her throat, and she bit her lip hard again, just like she had minutes before when she had turned away from him. She pressed her hips into his firmly, indicating that she wanted him to continue, and wrapped a hand around his neck tracing kisses from his ear to his collarbone. Sensing her insistence, he tugged at her bra, pulling away from her touch reluctantly to look at it in mild confusion. When he lifted his hook to rid her of the annoying article of clothing, she caught his wrist.
"I've got it," she said quickly, reaching behind her to un-do the clasps and letting it fall away from her body, not even giving him a moment to look before pulling him back down on her.
"Gods, Emma," He groaned at the feeling of her hardened nipples against his chest and the way she was writhing beneath him, unbuttoning her jeans. For a second time, he was tempted to simply tear them away from her body, but instead he helped her strip them off, then moving his hand to his own, deftly untying the laces.
When they were completely bare to each other, Hook finally took a moment to look at her, losing his breath at how stunning she was. His eyes hungrily searched her body until he reached her eyes. Her face was no longer puffy from crying, but the empty, mournful look in her eyes caught him off guard.
Noticing his hesitancy, Emma reached up, brushing his cheek with her fingers, imploring him not to leave her alone as she had before. Without waiting for him to answer, she kissed him softly, pressing her lips into his, one hand still on his cheek and the other drifting down to his cock.
His body twitched under her touch and gods, he wanted her so badly. But even moreso, he wanted to stop the hurt, his hurt and hers. He wanted to give her what she needed and selfishly, he wanted her to give the same to him, as if their two broken souls could come together as one and forget the pain that they had tried to get rid of for so long now.
The pain that was there long before they came to Neverland.
She guided him to her entrance, and he pushed his hips forward just barely, overcompensating to avoid thrusting into her roughly like his body was begging him to do. He inhaled sharply when the tip slipped inside of her and he let himself sink in a couple of inches before pulling back, slowly working his way into her. Her half seated, half lying position made her feel intoxicatingly taut beneath him and he didn't want to hurt her. He felt her hips rise, urging him on yet again, and with that final permission, he began to move.
And then he was lost.
Hook groaned at how wet she was, how easily he slid back and forth inside of her, how she whimpered with pleasure the deeper he got, and bloody hell, in that moment he had mad thoughts of loving her. He knew the idea was naïve and ridiculous, like a virgin pledging forever allegiance to their first just because they were the first. But he couldn't help the overwhelming sense of euphoria that came with every mewl and moan from the woman beneath him. He felt her body relax into him completely with each thrust, as her hips pumped up and down in a stable rhythm in time with his own.
Suddenly, he pulled her body further down the bed so she was lying fully on her back. On the next thrust, he almost withdrew from her completely before entering her again, taking her deeply and fully with every slow drive. He watched her eyes roll back and her head loll to the side as a cry escaped her lips. His movements were a delicious torture for them both, filling her so completely and then retreating only to return again, his ministrations just slow enough to build them up, but not enough to let them fall until they were ready. They met each other's every movement with the fluidness of practiced lovers who had done this dance for years – and in a way, they had, though not physically. They had somehow always been a team. They had always known how to move together, whether it be in the form of a sword fight or playful banter.
Emma's chest began to heave as her eventual orgasm started to form deep in her abdomen. Her hands clutched the blankets at her sides and her legs wrapped around his waist allowing him even deeper. "Don't stop," she sighed, writhing with want for him. Her hands trailed up his body to grip his shoulders, pressing them impossibly nearer together.
This woman was going to be his undoing.
"I never want to stop, Emma," he moaned the intimate words without meaning to, scaring himself with the feelings this closeness was invoking deep within him.
But he didn't want to stop.
He wanted to stay inside of her forever, to make her feel this good as long as possible, even if he never found his own release.
And she was so close. He could feel it
Hook rest his forehead into the crook of her neck, altering his rhythm once again. He stayed deep inside of her, thrusting shallowly now, not allowing himself to leave her warmth. This new movement caused his pelvis to rub against the sensitive bud of nerves between her legs with every jump of his hips.
"Oh, god… yes, please," the string of words tumbled out of her mouth as he continued to stroke against her most sensitive area, his hand alternating between tweaking her nipple and fondling the breast it belonged to, his lips ravishing her throat with kisses with a new eagerness. Her breathing got heavier as the seconds passed, but he refused the temptation to rut into her harder. He wanted her like this, slow and gentle like the rocking of the ship against the waves, their bodies arching together, with barely any space being allowed between them.
"Look at me, love," he murmured, brushing her chin with his lips as he continued. His voice shook ever so slightly and sweat started to bead on his forehead. Her eyes fluttered open, her expression so full of trust and need and then in an instant, she tightened around him, her face contorted into a look of pure bliss, her orgasm washing over her unexpectedly. Her eyes closed and her entire body tensed as she let the feeling take her over.
He allowed himself to pull out of her a bit more now, to pump a little faster as he felt her body tauten and release, but he still took her gently.
"Killian, Killian, Killian," the name she had hesitated to use for fear of growing attached from the first day they met, now spilled from her over and over, getting quieter and quieter as the pleasure of her release gradually dissipated. Still, she clung to him with a vice grip, as if he too would be taken from her in this moment, as if he would leave her. Her parents, countless foster families, Henry's father, Graham, even her son – some not of their own choosing – had left her at some point and in this vulnerable instant, she clung to him like he was all she had left in the world that had thought enough of her to come back.
Hook groaned sharply, a string of curses flooding out with it, unable to care any longer if anyone else could hear, trembling and thrusting in an erratic rhythm as his own release approached.
She continued to breathe his name and he's had many a woman cry it out in the throes of passion, but rarely with this amount of desperation, and never, since Milah, had it made him feel like this when they did.
"Emma," with her name on his lips and a final thrust, Killian shattered. He moaned into her shoulder repeatedly as the waves passed over him. He was still moving lightly inside of her, his voice taking on a needy, lilting tone, so different from the deep, controlled groans from before.
When the pulses of pleasure finally subsided, he lifted his head and captured her lips passionately, finding it difficult to contain the feelings still overtaking him even as his exhaustion spread. Emma responded in kind, fingers still pressed into his shoulders, not clawing as he had expected, but simply cleaving to him all the more until they were breathless.
They seemed to break the final kiss as one, as if they had simultaneously been struck by the same, uneasy sense as reality cruelly crept back into their psyches. They were both breathing hard, staring into each other's eyes, bodies still entangled, when suddenly, something awoke and they slowly began to pull themselves from each other, the feelings they had created hitting them hard now that they weren't distracted.
Emma immediately stood up to retrieve her clothes, pressing her legs together as she began to dress in a shaky but hurried fashion, refusing to meet his gaze that could burn a hole into the back of her head. Hook absentmindedly picked up his own trousers, not sure why he was dressing if he had been planning on going to bed anyway, but it felt less awkward than letting this silent motionlessness continue.
This was wrong.
This was so wrong.
He wanted to wrap her in his arms and fall asleep, to tell her that she never had to leave, that she never had to be alone - but now that he was no longer touching her, now that they were no longer interlocked, harsh criticisms and fear pounded into his head for allowing himself to feel what he had.
Feelings he hadn't felt for 300 years.
"You don't have to say anything, Killian," she interrupted him quietly, fastening her bra around her chest. "This…this was-"
"Just for tonight," he finished the sentence almost gruffly, with a solemn nod.
She glanced back, a little surprised that he was agreeing with her after what she had felt emanating from him while he had been inside of her. "Yeah…" she replied, copying his nod as she continued to dress.
"Do you want me to walk you back, love?"
Emma's face softened, "I'm fine… thank you, Killian."
And he knew she was thanking him for everything that night, and not solely the gentlemanly offer to walk her back to her quarters. He also knew it was probably the only thanks or mention of the night that he'd ever get.
She moved towards the door slowly, almost lingering, as if looking for a reason to stay. Hook could tell from the look on her face that she had felt everything that he had, and it had scared her just as much.
"…We shouldn't do this again." She said the words that he couldn't, further cementing the sentiment that this was an act of need, of desperation, and nothing more.
"Aye," he agreed, searching her eyes for a brief instant before lowering them again, not sure of what else needed to be said. "Sleep well, Swan."
She hesitated, her fingers poised on the doorknob, casting him a final smile. "You too, Hook."
A/n: So that is part 1 of 4 of "Just Because It Burns" (inspired by the Pink song "Try"). I know I wrote a similar situation (desperate, emotional sex in Neverland) in "Make Me Feel, If Only For A Moment" but I did try to make this quite different. it's just that "first time, desperate, sad, emotional sex" is one of my headcanons for them, so when it's set in Neverland, it just happens. lol! I hope you enjoyed it! The next feeling will be "Anger", and will be written especially for "AngelBaby214", who prompted me to write something similar on tumblr (I'm lovingcaptainswan there and often accept fic prompts there if you'd like to ask for them!)