Lucky last chapter guys. Thank you for reading and sticking around, I really hope you enjoy it :) Aiming for 100 reviews (because I'm weird and like the evenness of it) so if any of you want to make that happen, I'll throw in a hug and some cookies :)
Until the next time…
She knows if she were here with anyone other than the pirate, she'd feel like she was wasting a once in a lifetime view, but somehow, the fact that they are currently flying through the stars on a ship pales in comparison to sitting in the safety of the Captain's Quarters with Killian Jones. And she's not sure what to do with that revelation.
"Can you do it?" he asks, his breathing still quite laboured, his arm wrapped across his sore body, protecting his still damaged ribs and adding some support to his torso.
She picks up the needle and thread and looks at the place where his shadow and his body are positioned, "I think so." She's never really thought about it, but in the stories she wonders if Wendy Darling felt this level of apprehension when Peter Pan asked her to sew his shadow back on.
She shakes her head, no. The stories were different from their reality and Pan's shadow still roamed free, so it may well never have happened.
It feels oddly domestic, sitting on the floor of his cabin, his leg draped over hers. She threads the needle and brings her hand towards the shadow first, unsure exactly how this is supposed to work.
"Trust yourself, lass," his voice practically rumbles through the space between them and she feels her skin prickle with goose bumps at the smoothness of it.
His confidence spurs her on, as it so often does and she gently pokes the needle into the shadow, meeting little resistance, but also causing a jab of pain to rush through Hook. He hisses, trying to keep his mouth shut, trying not to show Emma how much pain is coursing through him. "I'm sorry," Emma whispers, "Am I doing it wrong?"
He shakes his head and bites back another groan, "If it didn't hurt you'd be doing it wrong."
Her brow pinches together in concentration, holding his bare foot with her hand, "Let me try something new then."
He watches in wonder as a soft golden glow stretches from her fingertips and along the curl of the thread, "What is that?"
"Protection spell," she answers, her breath coming out in a pant, as though a lot of energy has been drawn from her, "I don't know if it'll work, but it's got to help."
She continues to run the needle through his foot and then loop it back around through the shadow again and again, each movement becoming shakier as the toll of the spell begins to wear on her. "Emma," he warns. But she only shakes her head at him.
Her hands pull his other foot onto her lap and begin the process again, all the while, a concerned Killian Jones watches the princess and tries not to squirm or make the whole thing any harder for her than it already is.
He feels guilty for stealing her away from her son as soon as they'd gotten the ship on course. He had been in a wealth of pain, but seeing Emma reunited with her family sent pangs of warmth and comfort through him. He could have made it til morning and allowed her the night with everyone as they'd sailed through the stars, but she caught sight of him hunching over a railing by the helm and knew he needed immediate attention.
He curses his weakness.
Because he knows that there is a very real chance he is just getting his hopes up, that this is all just out of the kindness of her heart and not for the romantic reasons he's hoping for.
Her fingers still on his ankle and he returns to this moment, her eyes looking at him with unspoken questions burning behind her irises. She opens her mouth a few times, trying to find words, but in the end she settles for a simple smile, before releasing him from her spell and gently pushing his feet off her legs.
"Thank you, love."
She nods, standing up, "Least I could do."
He follows her lead, standing, and then reaching out to wrap his hooked arm behind her and pull her into him. His hand cups her face, thumb running along her cheek, causing Emma's eyes to flutter shut at the gentleness of his touch.
He's close, she can feel him, feel his breath warm her lips, feel the intangible safety that knots around them, feel the way her heart races.
And then he kisses her. Finally.
It's sweet and chaste. A promise. But it's enough for now. Their lips duel quietly for just a moment before they both pull back and smile softly.
"You should rest," she says quietly, her forehead resting against his, "You must be exhausted."
And as she mentions it, he feels fatigue hit him, his eyelids feeling heavy, his thought finally quietening to give way to peace, "Stay with me."
She shakes her head, "We won't sleep. And you need to."
He doesn't know whether she wanted to reveal so much, but he takes the win and kisses her forehead before turning from her and making his way to his bed, his shadow trailing right behind him.
She returns to the upper deck to find mostly everyone has retired to their respective beds. However, Neal is at the helm, a sleeping Henry next to him.
She walks on her toes as she approaches, careful not to wake him, but Neal assures her that he is well and truly out for the count, sleeping peacefully for the first time since leaving Storybrooke.
"So this is the path you took home last time?"
He nods, "Yeah. Pretty spectacular, isn't it?"
She looks out over the ocean of stars, her fingers itching to reach out and touch the sky but knowing that such a thing is impossible. The night stretches on for miles in front of them, the bright points of light glowing in an unfamiliar sequence to guide them.
"It is beautiful."
When she tears her eyes away from the sky, she finds him watching her, longing in his gaze, "Emma, I know we…"
"Neal," she warns.
"No Emma, I need to say this. We had a good thing and I lost it, I know that and I would never expect your forgiveness for that, but I'm not that person anymore. I've changed, I've grown."
And she knows he has. She knows that he means it when he's there for her, when he says he'll fight for her. But there's something else nagging in the back of her mind, someone else.
"I believe you, and to some degree I even forgive you. But Neal, you're not the same, just as I'm not the same. We're different to who we were when we were kids. The life we had…we can't have that again. And where does that leave us? Falling apart for completely other reasons."
He nods, though she can see it in his eyes that he's having trouble completely accepting what she's saying, "I meant it when I told you I loved you."
And again, she knows, "I did too. But…" she catches herself before she reveals too much. He's already put it together though.
"But you are also falling for another man."
Her head bows in a nod but she refuses to talk about it any further, instead taking a seat next to Henry, her hand reaching out to hold his. Watching the back of Neal she realises she's finally starting to see a point where she can let go of the man and she's also seeing that she doesn't need his approval. She reaches behind her and pulls up on the strap holding Neal's cutlass in place. She carefully puts it down next to Henry, giving it to him, from father to son. Upon unloading that particular burden, her eyes again focus on the stars ahead of them as Neal steers them home.
She tucks Henry into his bed not too long later, kissing his forehead and heading for the warmth of her own bed, when something in her memory snags her.
Hook's gentle voice asking her to stay with him actually sounds rather tempting.
Before she can overthink it, she opens the door to the cabin and quietly sneaks out, navigating the now familiar ship to the Captain's Quarters. Nerve almost get the better of her, but she steels herself and opens the door with a deep breath.
She almost expects him to have defied her, to be wandering around his room waiting for her. She almost wants him to be awake, but he is definitely asleep, his face appearing younger by years in his slumber, his head rested against luscious pillows and his arms spread out either side of him. She gasps as she realises his vest and shirt have been removed, as has the brace which usually holds his infamous hook, and she feels a new urge coil up inside of her to pull down the sheet covering him to see exactly what she's working with here.
The thought brings a smile to her lips and she steps into his cabin, pulling off her boots. She glances down at her wrist for a moment too, sparing a thought for the man who first got her to open up after so many years of remaining closed off. The shoelace on her skin feels like it's part of her, but she knows if she wants to move on, she also needs to let go. She pulls gently on the knot and unwraps the lace, placing it inside her boot, not ready to let it go completely, but at least for now, willing to give it a rest. For the sake of decency, that's all she removes, but as she climbs into his bed, she wonders whether she is being too decent.
His naked body presses against her as he rolls into her, his arm slinging across her waist, "You came back," he murmurs, his voice gravelly with sleep. She thinks it could be one of the sexiest sounds she's ever heard.
"Just to sleep, Killian."
A smile crosses his face, "If you say so, love."
His eyes are still closed and she decides one little surprise won't hurt, so she presses her lips briefly against his, but before she can pull back he's rolled her onto her back, pinned her arms and is thoroughly delving into her mouth with his tongue.
She instinctively rolls her hips up into him and is surprised to find him already aroused. His lips leave hers as she moans out her pleasure, instead finding her jawline and her neck.
"More," she whispers, suddenly throwing decency out the window and pulling her own top from her skin. She decides in that moment there are more important things to be concerned about.
And as his fingers run across her body, setting it alight with passion, all she wants to do is feel.