Show: Once Upon A Time
Pairing: Captain Swan
Disclaimer: I don't own Once Upon A Time. This is purely for the enjoyment of its fans, created by a fan.
Spoilers: Series 2
Summary: Sometimes it was how you looked at things. What perspective you had on a situation and those involved in it. Especially when it concerns True Love. What seems so obvious at first might not be all that it seems.
A/N: This is my first Once fic. I was a bit nervous about posting it. I've never struggled to write characters before but Hook and Emma are quite difficult. It's an idea that's been brewing for a while and came to a head when I heard a song on the radio, I can't remember the name of it but one line stuck with me.
But what kind of heart doesn't look back?
Emma wasn't sure how it happened. She wasn't sure how fate had decided to make her the butt of its joke once more.
She remembered the happiness at seeing Neal standing there on the deck of the ship…
He was alive. Henry was embracing his father tightly. Neal looked at her and she realised she didn't feel anything, the thrill that had been there before he'd been shot was missing, perhaps it had only been anxiety all along nothing more.
A thousand thoughts raced through her mind as she tried to make sense of his presence here. She let her mind clear focussing for a moment on the way her hair was being tousled in the soft breeze. In her mind's eye she imagine how tense Hook was near her, she could almost feel it radiating off him.
Henry then produced something from his pocket, a small box no bigger than a small paperback and no thicker, intricately carved with pixies, entwined leaves and stars all over it. The wood looked like mahogany or something similar indigenous to Neverland. "The Pixies gave me this." Emma felt something prickling up her spine, in a fluid motion she spun to face Hook. Fear was written all across his face.
"DON'T!" Hook shouted as loud as he could, fear gripping him but it was too late; Henry had already opened the box. She felt herself being knocked out of the way, her side hitting the railing of the ship, close to her parents as small objects flew from the box, like a grenade showering you with debris.
A final gift from Neverland.
Her vision blurred fractionally, making sure features were unrecognisable.
Gold's hand was raised, a dozen small darts hung helplessly in the air. Snow had gripped Charming her knuckles turning white with fear. Regina had used the rigging to pull Henry back to them although he was struggling with her. Fighting her grip to run back to his father.
When her vision finally cleared she saw Hook and Neal, lying face down on the deck. Her heart clenched in fear but she wasn't sure who for. She knelt on the hard wooden deck, leaning over the pair of them. Gently as she could she turned them over slowly, their bodies were completely limp. Some kind of dart protruded from their necks. It was in deep. As fast as she could she reached for them.
"Careful, Dearie." Gold spoke quickly, halting her actions. Usually she'd be suspicious of him trying to stop her and go ahead and pull out the darts but something told her to stop and listen to him. This was his son after all. "The darts are thorned." With a wave of his hand the darts flew from their necks. It was inevitable that if her hand touched the thorns then she would fall under whatever poison or infliction they were under.
Henry spoke first, his throat thick with unshed tears. "What's wrong with them?"
"A curse. Probably sleeping or paralysing. They all do the same job and it's impossible to tell which without knowing who cast it. They're not poisoned," Gold knew those signs all too well.
Henry's face lit up, "So all you have to do is kiss Dad." This would prove his parents were supposed to be together, it would prove to Emma they belonged together as a family.
Emma looked around at the hopeful faces. "What about Hook?" Emma answered, thankful her emotions were hidden and she didn't say his real name. She knew he wasn't exactly popular with most of them but he mattered to her – although she'd never say it to his face.
"If it doesn't work with Neal, you can kiss him." Snow bartered.
The Saviour didn't take her gaze from Hook. "I'm not his True Love." Emma tried to break to her son lightly. She was sure she wasn't Neal's True Love.
"Try it mom, please." Her son begged her, the tears freely running down his cheeks made her heart break for him.
Snow smiled at her daughter, "He found you Emma." Yeah he'd found her this time, but not before. Not when he'd known where she was all along.
Expectation demanded that she kiss Neal first and she was too tried to fight. She leaned over Neal, her golden hair falling around him and brushing against the deck. Before she went too far she swept it up into a pony tail but held it in her hand. With some hesitation she'd placed her lips on Neal's in what she assumed could be called a kiss.
Her heart was conflicted she didn't want him to remain under the curse but she didn't want to face the implications of what it would mean if he woke up.
Within seconds she had her answer as she felt lips caressing hers.
She could curse True Love's Kiss to hell in that moment.
Pulling back from Neal she felt her heart plummet to the bottom of her stomach. She shouldn't be feeling like this if he was her true love but its kiss had proved it. Neal was her True Love. Kissing Killian wouldn't lift his curse.
She didn't honestly know how she felt about that. Neal smiled widely at her, a smile that would've once made her giddy. He moved to kiss her but she kept her head ducked down, unable to look at him or the emotion she was sure his eyes contained, she pushed herself onto her knees before standing up and backing away towards her father.
Glancing to the side she saw Henry's wide grin at the sight of his parents being so called 'True Loves' but Emma couldn't help but feel the lead weight settling in her stomach, churning her insides before making her almost physically double over as the muscles clenched. It wasn't that she wasn't happy to see Neal woken from the sleeping curse it was the thought of what would come next.
Snow's eyes were brimming with happiness, her mouth moving as she tried to convey her happiness but no sound left her mouth. Emma knew what she was trying to say 'I told you you'd find your happy ending' but Emma wasn't so sure. She didn't feel it.
Emma didn't feel the relief she'd had when she'd woken Henry instead she was crushed by the grief she'd felt back then, even though she didn't fully understand why.
That had been a month ago.
Ten minutes to herself, that's all she wanted. Ten minutes to compose herself before she had to face everyone again.
Things were moving too fast. Everyone wanted more from her, things she couldn't give. She just wanted a few minutes to live in the past. To not face her son and Neal and everyone else's expectations on her.
A month ago she thought she'd finally figured out what she wanted. She finally felt free to leave her past behind her and move forward with her life.
That's what found her standing before the other victim of the curse. The one she'd failed.
She'd never seen him looking so peaceful and rested, in that moment he didn't look his three hundred years. The last time she'd seen him like this he'd been in the hospital, this time his face wasn't marred with bruises and cuts. Lifting a shaking hand the saviour tenderly allowed her fingers to ghost across his skin, she wished he was awake for this if anything just to throw a comment at her. A soft smile crossed her lips before tears began to form in her eyes. She missed his innuendo, she missed his help, basically she just missed him.
He would've been the only person who could tell her what she really wanted even if she wouldn't like the answer. He could read her that well.
"I'm sorry Killian." She whispered, her breath ghosting across his face. His fringe swayed slightly from her action.
A voice startled her, "Emma?"
Feeling like a teenager caught with a boy she darted away from Hook, leaving a few feet in between them. Her heart raced in her chest, unsure what she was going to say to her father. It wasn't like she'd had experience with these kinds of conversation before. "I… er… I…"
David was cautious in her approach, he knew her enough to know that at the moment she was acting like a caged animal trying to figure out an escape plan. He kept his arms out so she could see his hands. "Snow's wondering where you are."
"I couldn't deal with them, any of them. They're so happy at something I'm…" She looked away pointedly, her hazel gaze fixing on a small crack on the panelled floor. Perhaps her emotions would be more secure if she had something neutral to look at – at least that was the lie she told herself.
"Not?" Charming finished for her watching her eyes fly to his in incredulity. Contrary to his daughter's belief he could see right through her.
"I don't know how I feel." For her to admit that it was a big thing, Charming knew that she struggled to admit anything when she lost Neal through the portal. There was so much he still didn't know about his own daughter, strangely enough things that only a certain pirate did.
Seeing his usually strong daughter so uncertain was breaking his heart. She'd stared down dragons, ogres, pirates and even shadows but faced with her own future she just wanted to run away as fast as she could and not look back.
Emma sank to the floor, sitting on the uncomfortable step that led up towards the staging where Hook lay, the emotion was crushing her with the weight of it. Without any hesitation David dove down next to his daughter. He'd missed out on so much of her life he wanted to make up for it and being there for her was the best way he could do that.
"Your mom is kinda old fashioned." David whispered while pulling his daughter into a one armed embrace. She laughed before resting the side of her head on his shoulder. "She believes family should stay together but it doesn't mean she wants you to be unhappy and you're not happy with Neal Emma." He didn't need her lie detecting ability to work that out.
There was no point in arguing this because there was one overwhelming piece of evidence to back it up. "He's my True Love." She answered bitterly; it was a chore, something she was forced into. She had loved Neal completely, with her whole heart eleven almost twelve years ago but now she didn't believe those feelings extended beyond friendship anymore.
"True Love is about being happy Emma, are you happy?"
There was a moment's hesitation before she answered, her father's words hitting home. "Henry's happy." Charming let out a growl, no matter how much he loved his grandson Emma deserved to be happy. Her happiness came above everything else and at the moment her sense of duty was blocking her happiness. Henry always wanted things his way and while he knew his heart was in the right place he didn't have the right to tell his mother who she should be with. He'd pulled the guilt trip on Regina more often than not and while most of it had good intentions he could still be selfish.
"Emma you can't force yourself to be with someone you don't love, its Henry's dream not yours. You'll only grow to resent your son for it."
Her eyes widened in horror, "I won't…"
"Emma, Henry resented Regina's dream for them because he didn't want it." Before Emma had arrived, Regina only wanted to be a family with Henry and she'd tried so hard to change for Henry but he had placed a lot of demands on her expecting her to be able to snap her fingers and do it. "It broke her heart. The same will happen to you if you don't do what your heart tells you to."
Emma wasn't exactly sure what to say, "Isn't this mum's job? The touchy feely talk."
David definitely was uncomfortable now she said it out loud, he tried not to shift so much to show how uncomfortable this was. "Usually." He looked down at first then away as his instincts got the better of him, "I really never wanted this talk with you. This was always supposed to be your mother's department."
Emma quipped before she could stop herself, "Well she's Team Neal at the moment." Her eyes involuntarily swept back towards the motionless pirate taking him in. Charming followed her gaze.
"Sweetheart would you have been happier if your kiss woke Killian?" She'd never heard David ever refer to Hook by his given name before. She blinked twice considering her answer.
"I just don't want him to suffer through the curse."
Charming knew his daughter better than that and he knew that look. "Emma."
The truth was being forced out of her and she let it, her father wouldn't use it against her. "I'll never know." She couldn't hold off her curiosity, "And when did he become Killian?"
David could only think of one time that he'd become Killian and not Hook and it had stuck. "When he kept you going in Neverland." David answered honestly. "I heard the conversation Emma, we all did. Somehow you two understand each other. You know what the other one is going to do all the time, neither of you ever really had the upper hand."
"We were never done with each other."
Her voice was just too low for David to hear what she said. "What?"
"You said that maybe my happy ending was in the Enchanted Forest?" She wasn't exactly looking for an answer but David still nodded, not too sure what his daughter was asking for him. The princess pressed a hand to her mouth trying to hold back a half sob half ironic laugh, "Turns out it was in the Enchanted Forest."
"Emma I don't…"
Her eyes flashed sharply, the message in them was clear. She was still talking. Once she started she couldn't help herself. "And now because of some True Love crap I'm destined to be with someone who left me pregnant for his crime and didn't bother to even come back for me!" She took a sharp breath half amazed she didn't start coughing from the rush of it. "I don't want to go through that again; I want to be with someone who always came back even if it was for the wrong reasons each time." She didn't know if she'd share True Love with Killian and now it was clear she had it with Neal but she had regrets that she'd never got to experience what being with Killian was like.
Should she even feel like this?
"Maybe Killian never told you the real reason. Or maybe he didn't even know it himself. I told myself the real reason I saved your mother when we met was to get the ring back from her and I believed it for a while." Emma shrugged and Charming rubbed her shoulder through the black leather she wore. He was slightly more forceful knowing the thick leather would muffle his touch. She couldn't go outside looking like this. She couldn't bare anyone seeing her look weak, his daughter needed to compose herself and put her demons to rest for once and for all. The gathering be damned. "If you need a few more minutes I'll distract them."
She nodded gratefully, "Thanks… Dad." The resulting smile from her words almost split his face in two. He stood slowly, his jeans creaking with his movements before kissing her forehead lightly.
Emma pressed her forehead to the pirate in front of her, she couldn't even feel his breath on her face and she hated that. They'd been in each other's faces so many times and she'd always felt his breath against her cheeks.
Emma couldn't let her grief consume her like it had done Gold, Killian and Regina; she wouldn't become them because it wouldn't benefit anyone.
"I'm so sorry Killian." She whispered, her lips brushing his lightly. Before she could even think about what she was doing she let herself be guided by her impulses and tenderly pressed her lips against his. It was like brushing silk against silk as she kissed him. This had never been how she'd visualised their first kiss to be, but it was also to be their last.
Her walls were down; it wasn't like he could break through them in his cursed state. Strangely it wasn't that hard to lower them around him.
After a few lingering seconds she pulled her lips back from his, trying to ignore the tingle that started in them and burned her skin as it spread like a fire warming her on the inside.
Tears trickled down her cheeks as she felt the sobs escape her tight control, the droplets of moisture falling onto his cheeks. Her shoulders heaved violently as her face contorted with her grief. Her breathing came in choked sobs.
Then the world slammed back into existence as something gently touched her cheek. "Damn pixies." A groan, then, "Swan?"
Emma had never jerked back so fast in her life as she did at the sound of a familiar accent flooding her ears. She swiped at her eyes furiously trying to decide whether or not she'd finally gone mad.
Laughter bubbled in her chest as the pirate blinked furiously trying to get his eyes settled in the light. He winced as pain shot through his head it was as if nails were being pushed though his skull. He struggled to get a grip on the soft mattress, his fingers sliding against the material. Now that confused him his mattress certainly wasn't soft like this and it certainly wasn't satin, his mattress actually had some body to it. His knew his hook was still attached when he heard a tearing sound coming from his left and he felt some satisfaction. He didn't like beds – if that's what it was – like this.
Looking down he shivered, he wasn't wearing his usual leather. Someone had dared remove it.
"Why am I wearing this bloody thing?!" He asked angrily, picking at the silk sleeves as if they were poisoned and would cause a nasty rash on his skin at the very least. Then he took in his overcoat, it was leather – that was the only thing he like about it. It was his usual style and highly tailored, short sleeved so his arms could be seen in the silk sleeves and complete with metal buckles. He held his arms out in front of them; he was wearing white for a start. It looked almost too suspiciously like his black overcoat; he hoped no one had done a magical dye job on it. Who ever heard of a pirate wearing white? It had a high collar for which he was grateful but that was where the similarity to his clothes ended. He was wearing black in the terms of his pants but that was all, they weren't leather. He wasn't even wearing his own boots. Nothing in any realm would willingly get him to wear this so there was only one explanation. "Is this a new curse or…"
He didn't get chance to finish as he suddenly noticed Emma, her arms were wrapped tightly around herself trying to stop herself from shaking from all the emotion she felt. He reached out his hand towards her but she didn't move towards him, he traced her eyes in the air seeing the redness surrounding them. "Hey." She managed to speak, her mouth was still dry and she couldn't meet his ocean gaze.
Then he looked around realising exactly what he was sitting on. He darted up so fast, stumbling backwards with a look of terror marring his face. He'd been on a raised platform; a bed of sorts had been placed on top of it. He knew there would be only one purpose for that. At least it hadn't been a coffin like her mother's.
His mouth went dry, his tongue sticking to the roof of his mouth. He blinked as he knew he needed to ask for the truth, something he wasn't entirely sure he could hear. "Which curse?"
"Sleeping, we think." She answered with a little reservation. "You and Neal were under it, I woke Neal…"
He cut in trying to spare himself what he was sure was something that would be even more painful to hear than the most basic of facts. "So he's your True Love then." He looked around trying to see who could have possibly woken him but the hall – if that's what it was – was completely empty apart from him and Emma.
She gestured vaguely towards him but Emma didn't dare look into his eye to see what emotions lay there, she wasn't exactly sure which emotions she was feeling herself. Minutes ago she'd been dreading spending time with Neal and desperate to escape the hopes her son had for his family but now she just wanted to escape from the pirate in front of her. "But I also woke you." She finished as soon as he let her, although her voice was as soft as a whisper although the fact was obvious.
He flashed a trademark smile to hide his confusion, it didn't reach his eyes. There was no way True Love's Kiss could wake two people, she had to have woken him another way. "What?"
Out of the corner of his eye he saw her fists beginning to clench as he turned slowly to survey the dais looking for any empty potion bottles or other signs of magic that would hold the key to his being awake. He could smell the residue of magic in the air. Perhaps he'd missed them on first glance. Whatever joke she was playing on him wasn't funny. The thought that she'd woken him when he knew that she'd woken Neal and especially to do this when she knew how he'd felt about Milah. If this was a ploy for him to forget Milah then…
"I kissed you and you awoke, don't make me say it again Hook." She forced through gritted teeth, trying her hardest to make it sound like it was nothing. Her nails were biting into her palm as her fists clenched at her side, her walls coming back and slamming down with a force.
A wide grin crossed his face replacing the anger as quick as a flash, he saw her walls shoot down like a portcullis and knew that she must be speaking the truth and it was much more than a kiss. Open book after all, she wouldn't be reacting this way if it was simple magic. "You kissed me."
This was the direction she didn't want the conversation to go. "Shut up Hook."
"You kissed me – willingly Swan. No one held a sword to your throat or held your heart in their hands. You wanted to kiss me." He moved closer to her, mindful of the punch she could pack so his eyes flickered to her fingers every now and then. "Does that mean what I think it means, Swan?" Her heart tried not to skip as he said his moniker for her. A word which was once said in desperation and anger was now a tender whisper of affection.
Emma rolled her eyes, still trying to down play it as much as possible. When her gaze fixed back on him she realised how close he truly was to her, she needed space to protect herself. "I woke my son with a kiss so I should've known I could wake more than one person…"
Killian cut her off, grabbing her wrist with his hook and pulling her back to him in a move that happened what seemed like centuries ago. Swan would protest – he knew that, so he did the one thing that he was sure would break down those walls that protected her too well. He pressed a tender but lingering kiss to her lips. Emma froze for a moment, tensing completely in surprise. A dozen thoughts rushed through Hook's mind, he quickly began to pullback – she most likely didn't want this, he'd read the signs completely wrong. She'd only been doing him a favour. How was it that the Swan girl could make him feel so unsure? He'd never felt like this before in his three hundred years and he hated it.
Before he managed to part from her completely he felt her fingers tangle in his dark locks, yanking him back towards her and holding him in her embrace.
He was right after all, that small kiss had forced all her walls to crumble.
Emma gasped as she deepened their kiss allowing their tongues to brush hesitantly at first before battling frantically with each other. Killian wrapped his hooked arm around her waist, terrified of hurting her accidentally while cupping the back of her neck with his good hand. He tangled his fingers in her scalp feeling her thick but silky hair tease the tips of his fingers as he guided her head.
The saviour trailed a hand from his neck to his chest resting on the small patch of bare skin there. This kiss was everything she hoped it would be. Tender yet passionate, loving but desperate. She wasn't sure if it was True Love's Kiss but she had time to find out. This kiss was nothing like any of the other's she'd received in her life. Everywhere he touched she felt as if her skin were on fire, she hadn't ever felt like this before. He moved his lips from hers slightly remembering to breathe and she cursed the fact that breathing even existed. His lips found her jaw, kissing a trail as he discovered more of her skin. Killian playfully nipped at her throat drawing a breathless moan from the woman in his arms; with a grin he repeated the action only to receive the same response.
"Stop smirking Hook." She hissed but there was no malice in her words. "Killian…" She drew out as she felt the collar of her dress begin to slip down her neck, exposing more skin for his stubble to brush against as he kissed a path down from her chin; quickly she pulled his head back to hers. Looking him in the eyes before connecting their lips once more.
This was what her kiss with Neal had lacked, she'd only felt lingering feelings with him that had flickered and died within a month. Here with Killian her spark had become a fully-fledged flame burning her inside and out as she welcomed every touch from the pirate in front of her. However she was terrified that the flame would burn itself out before too long.
She needed to be sure about this.
As he pulled back for air he caught sight of his white cuff a growl escaping his lips. He stepped away from her and her eyes shot open in fear. She barely could force herself to look into his eyes to see what she was sure would be regret settling there. Everyone left her. Her eyes began to glisten with the thought.
She was right as he moved away from her but not towards the door. Instead he strode back to the bed ad lifted up the mattress trying to find something. Of all the things that had flashed through her mind she wasn't exactly sure what he was thinking or up to.
"Love, where are my clothes?" He asked exasperatedly, "I'm bloody well not going out there dressed like this." Even his usual rings were missing from his hand although they weren't the main issue for him at the moment.
Emma was glad for the distraction from her thoughts. She had something to focus on and keep her mind busy. "They've all seen it." She answered with a sweet smile, watching his face transform into a mask of pure horror. His reputation would be in tatters. Everyone had seen it, there had been a memorial or sorts because no one believed that he would ever wake.
He glanced around looking for something he could use, material to make a make shift cloak. The curtains behind him would be too thick and too heavy to transform into something wearable even if they were in an enticing shade of blood red. The simple chairs were bare of any coverings.
Although his eyes did settle on something, something he hadn't noticed earlier but did now. Emma was wearing a familiar article of clothing of his. It was too big on her but she seemed to be wearing it well. It made her look every bit the pirate he knew she could be.
"My coat then if you please." He demanded. Emma nodded before shrugging out of the jacket he was referring to and handing him the coat she'd taken to wearing herself. She counted her blessings he didn't comment on her wearing it. To her surprise he didn't slip it on immediately instead he set it down on the bed. He instead set about removing the white vest he wore, his fingers making light work of the buckles. Emma understood this way it at least looked like he would be wearing only a white undershirt. "Next time I'm under a curse do me a favour love and make me look like a pirate not a git." Emma laughed at his words, the act making Killian smile. Her laughter was something that was a gift, one that clearly hadn't been given too often. "Had enough of that centuries ago." Emma froze at his words and Killian knew he'd let too much slip. She looked him up and down and he simply shrugged, "I wasn't born a pirate you know." It was thanks to his father that he'd found his vocation in life, in a weird twisted way. "Seriously lass, whose idea was…" He gestured to what he was wearing, "This."
Killian might have known, he was sure she'd had a smile on her face as well when she'd suggested it. "She always has to get her revenge to the end." Emma wondered what revenge he was referring to in the terms of Regina and him but she decided that it might be better not to ask at the moment.
"Snow agreed." She offered, "Called you a hero and said you deserved it." Although her mother had, had a twinkle in her eye as she'd said 'deserved it'. She'd seen him in white before and while it had been a hospital gown she could safely say if hadn't been his colour but no one had really listened when she'd mentioned it. As her father had said, Snow was traditional.
"Hero's wear white, and I'm insulted at the idea." He swaggered closer to her, his eyes flicking to her lips before meeting her eyes and emphasising his next words with a wink. "Villains have more fun." Emma laughed freely, something she hadn't done for a long time, placing her index and middle finger on his lips she playfully pushed him back ignoring the feeling of his lips turning into a pout. Emma wasn't exactly pure either but she was labelled as a hero. "You're the saviour, would you wear white?"
She didn't get chance to answer as his attention was suddenly diverted slightly. "Why are you dressed like that?" Killian growled his voice low and husky finally taking in the black cotton dress she was wearing. The Swan he knew didn't wear dresses but here she was wearing one. It was a longer dress than Emma was used to, conservative as if she was hiding her body. Long black boots covered her legs, leaving very little skin visible. Clearly she'd tried to build a physical wall for herself. Killian trailed a hand along the high neckline slowly making her shiver as his fingers caressed her skin.
"It's supposed to be my 'You've found your happy ever after or whatever' party." She grumbled. This party had been Snow's idea – wanting her daughter's True Love to be finally recognised as in this town's eyes 'True Love' was practically the same as being married. It was the closest her mother would ever come to holding a ball for her. Emma had practically run out of the room every time it was mentioned.
"You're beautiful." He answered, still admiring the dress. Emma found herself blushing raising a challenging eyebrow as she saw his tongue roll in his mouth to say something that would have her irritated with him. He crossed his arms, laughing at her withering gaze.
It wasn't even a new dress but in his eyes she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. "I didn't try." She answered, it was the truth. She hadn't tried very hard to do herself up for the party. Hook uncrossed his arm and tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear, his fingers lingering on the shell of her ear noting that this time she wasn't uncomfortable. A teasing smile crossed her lips, "I thought you'd like something with more skin."
To his credit he actually looked slightly offended, "I'm still a gentleman, love." He came from a time when the only skin a man saw was the small amount of cleavage exposed from the low cut dresses and tops that were typical for the period.
"So you say." While his words suggested otherwise he'd never forced himself on anyone.
"Really." He answered with a soft smile, he still had a few principles it was from his era. "Although if you want to take it off, I won't object."
Instead of irritating her, his words drew out her inner demons.
He noticed the change in her immediately, a change others wouldn't notice. She was guarding herself in her posture as she wouldn't meet his gaze again. Her whole body had stiffened, her chest rising and her jaw locking as her face lowered. "I don't know if this is True Love." Emma whispered to him. Her kiss woke Henry and Neal when they were placed under the same curse, not to mention it gave Graham his memories back.
His voice cracked as emotions rushed at him including some he'd buried long ago. "Do you want it to be?"
That was a question where the answer terrified him.
"I don't know but I don't want my fate decided for me." He watched as her eyes glanced towards the doors and he understood that she was supposed to be somewhere. He was tempted to let her go but while he had Emma Swan actually opening up to him and he wasn't going to sacrifice that for all the gold in all the realms. Even better was the fact he hadn't badgered her into it.
Hook thought carefully about what she was saying. Maybe Neal was her True Love and he wasn't, immediately jealously blossomed in him. Reading his Swan though he could tell that she wasn't entirely thrilled at the thought of it being Neal. When he spoke he knew it was to be a serious conversation so he lowered his own wall, the one he always hid behind: innuendo. "Maybe it's how you perceive True Love's kiss. There's a difference giving True Love's kiss and True Love giving a kiss."
Her left eyebrow rose in confusion, almost forming a perfect upside down 'v'. "What are you talking about?"
"You are technically True Love and you gave us all a kiss, maybe that's it. True Love can break any curse." With his hand he cupped her jaw, brushing his calloused thumb across her soft lips removing what was left of her lip gloss. "It's up to you to decide which one of us received the famed True Love's kiss. True Love's kiss is freely given without thought. It's all about perspective."
Emma thought carefully, her father had kissed her mother without hesitation. If she followed Killian's logic Henry had received a kiss from True Love. A kiss had broken Graham's curse, although reluctantly given at first he could only truly remember who he was when she willingly kissed him. True Love's Kiss couldn't be repeated twice but a kiss from True Love could.
Killian could see the battle raging inside her, she didn't know what to believe. Too many thoughts were racing around inside her head, the way her eyes flittered from side to side as if she was reading or sorting through mental images told him that.
There was something he could do that might help, something he'd been taught long ago. Actions spoke louder than words with Emma. Talking revealed yourself and God knows Emma was terrified of that.
Killian rolled his eyes; he knew his words would start a minor battle so he was preparing himself for it. "Close your eyes."
She jerked backwards in a move that was purely defensive. "What? Why?"
He folded his arms over his chest in annoyance, biting his tongue and almost succeeding. "You know that thing we finally started using? What was it?" He pretended to thing a moment, his eyes looking upward thoughtfully before a more serious expression crossed his face. "Oh yes, trust. For once, darling, just trust me without fighting it."
"Can't let it go to your head, Captain." She replied with a tight lipped smile. He laughed; he was used to their games now. She always fought him on principle; she trusted him but was still afraid of putting herself into someone else's hands.
He didn't bite the bait to fight some more he just smiled charmingly at her. "Now close your eyes." With a growl she did as she was told she could feel him smirking at her actually listening to him. A retort was on the tip of her tongue but she didn't voice it.
Emma waited something that was agony for someone who found being patient difficult. It had been part of the reason she'd tied him to a tree and wouldn't let him tend to her injured palm. Her ears began to become strained as she tried to listen for him but all she could hear was his steady breathing and the blood pounding in her ears, the more she tried to hear where the sound of his breathing was the louder the blood became. She threw her weight onto her left side, her head tipping and stamping her foot. She was suddenly reminded of the slight heel on her boots by the sudden stabbing pain in the heel of her foot. "What's the point…"
"Trust me." He whispered again this time from behind her, his breath ghosting across her neck and making her hairs stand on end. She jumped as she felt his hook around her wrist while his other hand traced up her arm. He knew she'd feel vulnerable in this position with him behind her so he made sure that he wasn't so close as to make her panic. She had other ideas, she wanted to step back and feel the warmth radiating from him, press her back against his chest so he'd hold her tightly to him.
"Clear your mind; don't think of Baelfire or Henry or anyone else. Can you do that?" He watched as she bit her lip, "Let your emotions guide you as you clear your mind."
"You sound like you're talking about magic." When he didn't respond immediately her eyes snapped open and she whirled around to face him. Her finger poking him sharply in the chest, showing her annoyance with him. Killian growled at the sudden break in concentration. He hated how she could read him and now she could do so without looking at him. How many times had she done that without him realising? "How do you know about controlling magic?"
He chewed his lip in annoyance. Really? It had taken her this long to put two and two together? "How do you think I took the sleeper's heart? You're slipping."
Surprises weren't her thing, he knew that but he couldn't exactly fit in over three hundred years of history into the conversations they'd had – especially not when she'd been in one of her more stubborn moods where conversation had lasted about twenty seconds and one syllable long. To be fair 'Go away' was three syllables, four if she'd included 'Hook' at the end.
"You can use magic?" The hook had been enchanted only to take one heart, to plunge into only one chest, and he was warned not to screw it up. He'd done that, he'd plunged it into Cora's chest to take her heart which hadn't been there, that was his one chance. He'd hated himself for doing it, for doing what Rumpelstiltskin had done to Milah but he consoled himself in the fact he'd return the heart to its owner. Although it hadn't been enough to stop him from almost being physically sick when he saw Cora squeeze it.
He grabbed her wrist and holding it above her as if they were dancing, before spinning her back around away from him. "Conversation for another time, darling." He leaned down to her ear, his breath ghosting over the shell causing her to shiver. "Now close your gorgeous eyes and bloody well trust me." She could've scoffed; of course cursing at someone was the best way to get them to trust you and do as you say. Only Killian could compliment her and insult her in the same sentence. He didn't know the meaning of boundaries with her, something she found infuriating and endearing in equal measures. "Clear your mind." Emma let out an annoyed huff before closing her eyes firmly, blocking out the décor of the town hall. "Let your emotions be in control for once."
Fear blossomed in her at first, she couldn't be vulnerable he was Captain Hook for Christ's sake. All instincts screamed for her to run away, hide from him she wouldn't let that happen though. She wasn't weak, she wasn't the woman Neal had betrayed, she wasn't the woman who gave up Henry in desperation and she wasn't the woman that chained Hook to a wall for fear of how he could see through her.
Slowly the emotion faded before an unfamiliar one settled in her chest. She felt calm and peaceful, she hadn't felt like this before, that was a lie perhaps in fleeting moments she'd felt like this but never like this. It seemed to blossom outwards from her heart, filling her completely and she didn't want it to leave.
"You alright?" He asked as he saw her finally saw her relax. Emma didn't know how she'd sound like this so she settled for a nod.
She jumped as she felt him touch her again, this time he'd moved to standing in front of her. His right hand cupped her cheek, she didn't flinch but she could feel his fingers shaking for the first time. He was afraid of her reaction to his touch, she realised, the trembling ceased as she leaned into his touch, sighing at the way his fingers ghosted across her jaw. Emma instinctively reached for his left hand, he felt worry cloud him as he knew she'd be surprised at what she found. Instead she didn't flinch but curled her fingers around his cold, steel hook; they looked small compared to the metal appendage, before twisting it sharply to one side. All with her eyes closed.
"Emma…" He whispered suddenly afraid himself, watching as she dropped the now free hook to the floor. It clattered to the ground, taking a chunk out of the wooden floor before losing the attention it had drawn from him. Emma pressed her fingers to the device that concealed his stump, tracing the intricately embossed patterns his shirt concealed before moving her fingers up to his forearm and continuing the journey up to his shoulder. To his own amazement he didn't tense at her actions, no one had ever dared to touch his damaged arm willingly and he'd never accepted any touch there from anyone before. She could feel the leather straps there, they amazed her, she could feel the strength in them and the tightness that surrounded his bicep to ensure it didn't fall off or become loose.
Emma caressed his cheek softly, feeling the stubble beneath her fingers. She'd never allowed herself to touch him like this when he'd been awake but she now felt the warmth that seemed to seep from his skin into her very being. Killian leant into her touch enjoying her soft touch before remembering what he was doing. This was supposed to be about her, not him. Swan was very good at making him forget what he was doing, and right now he couldn't forget what he was trying to do. She was his personal Neverland.
He took a chance ducking down to kiss her softly; she didn't freeze like last time. Her mouth opened to allow him entrance almost immediately, their tongues brushed languidly against each other, two, three times before he pulled back from her. Her mouth turned upwards in a smile, "Killian." She breathed before lazily opening her eyes to look at him. Their eyes met and he could see all the emotions she tried to hide displayed on the surface for him to see. It made her more beautiful in her eyes as her features took on a softer look.
She didn't resurrect her walls, she was letting him see the Emma that had always been hidden – even from Neal. This Emma had disappeared in the foster system and steadily been repressed. An Emma he always knew was there, the Emma he'd glimpsed every now and again.
"Hey beautiful." He smiled at her, an honest smile not some of the ones she'd seen him give others or her when they'd been half way up that beanstalk. He knew she deserved to know why he'd done what he'd done. "Milah always said that touch was how you knew who you could trust, who you could truly love." He gave her a wistful smile, Milah had been somewhat of an expert considering her arranged match to a man she didn't love. She knew how a loving touch felt through her barriers. Milah had guarded her heart well through her marriage to Gold, she'd tried to hide the misery she was in. "When you love someone you let them touch you, you don't flinch because you know they won't hurt you physically or emotionally. Your body and heart react even if your mind can't. You can tell the difference between a touch of love, friendship or hate."
Emma smiled softly, she wondered how much of an effect Milah had on the man in front of her, whether it was Milah who had kept him as a gentleman. Milah had been a wise woman she knew that. Anyone who could keep Killian on his toes had to be able to match him. There was irony in the fact that Milah had loved him solidly for just over ten years before being violently taken from him whereas her son, Baelfire, had abandoned her for just over ten years willingly.
She shifted then as the impact of his words sank in; she glanced behind him at the dais he'd been on. He'd stumbled into territory that made her uncomfortable he knew that from the way her gaze left his. Emma cleared her throat, stepping back from him. "We'd better get out there; before they send in a search party."
They'd made some progress and he'd made her think. "Right you are, lass." She didn't move from in front of him, so he pressed a little. "Did it help?" Had she worked out whether one of her kisses had been indeed True Love's kiss? Whether the kiss she'd shared with him was True Love's kiss?
She felt herself blush a warm glow spreading from her chest upwards, turning her face cherry red up to the roots of her hair. She nodded. Her body had reacted to him in a way it no longer reacted to Neal but she couldn't tell him. If she told him first then she knew he'd repeat the words back to her like Neal had and she wouldn't be sure whether he meant them or just said them because he felt he had to.
She now knew what had scared her on the beanstalk. He was right, touch could tell you so much. When he'd bandaged her hand she'd felt it, enough to scare her. She'd let him touch her, even moved with him as he wrapped the bandage around her. Emma hadn't flinched when she felt the cold metal of his hook clasp her left wrist. In the whole of their adventure she hadn't panicked once when he'd touched her, she'd panicked at the feelings he'd provoked even if she wasn't entirely sure what they were at the time.
He turned around a grabbed his jacket slipping it on completely in one fluid movement, it was better to do this without his hook just in case it snagged. Expertly he quickly fastened the buttons, hiding the white silk undershirt completely from view.
Then Killian bent down and in a fluid motion picked up his hook, reattaching it quickly as she moved beyond him towards the doors. He let her go, he could read her well enough to know she had to raise some walls to go outside and face everyone – answer questions as to why he was awake.
However he knew if he didn't say something now while her walls were down then it would hurt her when they unwittingly tumbled back down from the next words he had to utter.
"Emma," Hook began quietly forcing her to stop, she turned towards him curious at his serious tone – rarely had she heard anything so serious coming from his lips. He strode towards her, a slight swagger as he came closer reminding her of the time he'd bandaged her hand so attentively. He lifted his fingers to caress her cheek. She naturally tipped her head towards his touch, fighting the way her eyes wanted to close at the contact. She knew what he was going to say and she wanted to look into his eyes as he said it. "I love you."
He needed to say it first, make it okay for her to say it back to him. He wanted her to know he considered her his True Love. He needed to show her he'd put his heart on the line before anything happened to her. He'd learned from his mistake with Milah, he'd never got to say the words back to her. That had burned him. Emma was the opposite – she'd been burned because she'd said them first.
Immediately her throat constricted. His eyes showed his vulnerability, something that she could count the number of times she'd seen on one hand. Emma took his hook into her right hand and pressed it against her chest, "I love you too Killian Jones."
She had her answer Neal had received a kiss from 'True Love' much like Henry and Graham had, but to wake Killian it had been True Love's kiss.
He was right, although it didn't need to be said out loud for his ego to inflate further.
It had all come down to a matter of perspective.
Killian looked down, his hook was so close to her heart. A smile crossed his face as he understood what she was silently communicating, she trusted him. She trusted him to be that close to her heart without him hurting her in any way.
With her free hand she caught his neck, playing with the dark tendrils of hair there and brought their foreheads together. Their eyes closing as they felt their hearts and breathing fall into sync with each other.
"Emma what…" They turned in sync with each other to see David and Mary Margaret staring at them in shock and confusion, although David had a small smile he struggled to hide. Emma pushed Killian's right shoulder forcing him to spin to face them fully, her hand never once let go of his hook, holding it tightly against her.
He nervously scratched behind his ear, casting a sideways glance at his love.
"I think it's about bloody time we did some explaining, love."
A/N: Please let me know what you think. I was so nervous about posting this; it started as a thousand words and just… grew. I have a multichip fic planned which I hope to post soon.
Thanks for reading.