She shouldn't be doing this.
A gust blew through the lower deck of the Jolly Roger and Emma fisted her hands in the lapels of her coat as she pulled it tightly against her chest, trying to soothe the chill that seeped into her bones. It was an unappeasable coldness, an all-consuming void of darkness and emptiness that left her bereft of happiness, joy, pleasure. She shivered against the frigid air that swept across her skin.
It all started in Neverland when she'd foolishly kissed Killian, when she'd fallen into his bed, when she'd woken up next to him the following morning.
It wasn't supposed to happen, not like this. It was supposed to be a one-time thing, a carnal act driven from physical need and desperation. It was just sex. But it'd been so much more than that, so much more than Emma would allow herself to admit. It'd been a comfort, a beacon of light in the darkness that shrouded her life. It gave her something tangible to hold onto, a fleeting moment of euphoria and ecstasy that distracted her from the very real and very terrifying prospect of losing Henry to the Lost Boys forever. Killian had been there to give her comfort on those nights when reality became overwhelming, holding her to his chest as he pressed gentle kisses into her hair, offering words of reassurance and encouragement. He'd always been there for her and never once left her side, letting her draw strength from him when her own reservoir had been exhausted and depleted.
It was more than anyone had ever done for her before. He felt something for her, cared for her, was utterly devoted to her, would do whatever he could to help her. He wanted to make her happy.
Emma didn't know what to do with that – she'd never had that before.
And then Neal came back and it all became so very confusing, her heart tugged in two directions. Dormant emotions that she'd furiously bottled up came bubbling to fruition, hitting her with a disorienting and lethal ferocity she hadn't been prepared for. It baffled her, muddied her judgment, and she'd fallen back into her old habits, back into Neal's loving and open arms. It was supposed to feel safe, to feel right, a place where she'd always known she'd belonged.
But it wasn't any of those things.
She figured it'd come back with time, when the shock of his survival and newly revealed lineage wore off. They could be a family – her, Neal, and Henry. A family that she'd never had, a family that she'd always wanted. Then she would feel happy with him, would feel comfortable trusting him with her love, with her heart. There had been a time where she loved Neal recklessly and without abandon, a time where she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.
But that'd been a decade ago, in another life, and Emma just had to warm herself up to the idea of being with Neal. She owed it to herself, owed it to Neal, owed it to Henry, to at least try. It'd take some getting used to, but, Emma told herself, she could find her happiness with him again – it would all come back in a matter of time.
Only, it never came back, not fully.
She gave it time – she gave it days, weeks, months – but it never came back.
She loved Neal once and she loved him still, but it was a tainted love, tarnished with feelings of betrayal and desertion. A broken love, irreparable and unrecognizable. But she tried, dammit, she tried. Tried to move past it, to mend her broken heart and shattered walls, to piece together the fragments of their relationship. She gave it everything she had, she fought like hell to fix that love, but always, always, her mind would drift elsewhere, back to Neverland, back to the person who understood her best.
Emma hated herself for it.
She'd been intimate with Neal, tormented with images of vividly blue eyes flashing in her head, the phantom touch of cool metal against her flushed skin, an echo of an accented voice whispering sweet nothings in her ear. She couldn't tune it out, couldn't tune him out – the low drawl of his voice and his ever-present smirk lingered in the back of her mind. He was her addiction, a bad habit she couldn't kick, and now she found herself loitering outside of his door, impatiently waiting for her fix, like she did every Monday night.
She shouldn't be doing this.
Emma knew she shouldn't do doing this, that is was wrong and deceitful, but god help her, she couldn't stay away. She broke it off with Killian back in Neverland, after they rescued Neal, ending their short liaison before it'd had the time to blossom into something beautiful.
"It's better this way," she had told him, because Killian was a pirate and she was a mother, and she wasn't capable of giving him what he needed, what he wanted and deserved.
She had meant it, honestly, she did. And yet, despite knowing he desired something she couldn't give, wouldn't ever be able to give, she found herself lingering by his door on some idle Monday night. She was scheduled to have a session with Dr. Hopper, and Emma had planned on going to his office, truly, she did. But her legs had moved of their own volition, carrying her instead to the Jolly Roger; her hand had clenched automatically as she knocked on his door; her body had jumped impulsively as she threw her arms around his neck and crushed her mouth against his. She'd lost herself in his touch, his gaze, his smell, his presence. She was drunk off of him, greedily soaking in and taking everything he offered her, finally feeling satisfied and sated.
Emma came that night, again and again, her toes going numb, her fingers tingling, her head buzzing, her center aching. And then it was over and she rolled off of the bed, hastily throwing her clothes on, face flushed, the feel of his release coating her underwear, the sweet burn of having had him inside of her. She ran out the door, muttering something about "mistake", "one-time thing", "this never happened".
Then it happened again the next Monday. And the next. And the next.
So began their affair. Her deception tainted her, becoming the first spot of darkness that embittered her heart, growing larger and more threatening each time she fell into Killian's bed. And now, as she stood wavering in front of his door, she could feel the last vestige of goodness in her heart turn black, succumbing to the darkness that swirled within, swallowing her whole with promises of loneliness.
She shouldn't be here, shouldn't be on this damn ship.
"Therapy sessions with Dr. Hopper," she would tell Neal as she slipped out of the door, stealing her way in the moonlight as she trekked to the Jolly Roger.
"It's just a one-time thing," she would tell Killian as she crept into his cabin, falling into his bed, seeking a comforting warmth she hadn't felt since the last time she'd been with him. "This won't happen again."
Lies and deceit and betrayal and treachery. Killian had been right – she would make a hell of a pirate.
She shouldn't be doing this. Why was she here?
It wasn't too late to turn on her heel and go back home, go back to her apartment with Neal and Henry, and leave this all behind her. Leave him behind. Forever. Finally end their affair, their dalliance.
She'd never wanted anything less.
The door suddenly swung open, a gust of warm air rushing out and blanketing her face.
"Are you just going to stand there all evening or did you plan on actually knocking?" his lilting voice broke her out of her trance.
Emma stared up at him, the wolfish smile lighting up his face, his too-blue eyes alight with pleasure, with happiness, just because she was there, because he knew why she was there, why she would always be there. Every Monday night.
Her heart seized painfully in her chest when he casually leaned against the doorframe, idly fiddling with the curve of his hook as he watched her expectantly. Hopefully. His eyes were always so intense, so full of some sort of brewing emotion. He would look at her with those vividly blue, swarming eyes of his, leveling his passionate gaze with hers, wordlessly communicating a thousand different emotions she stirred within him.
He stared at her like she was fascinating and wonderful, a priceless work of art that the pirate couldn't help but be drawn to and dazzled by. He looked at her like she was someone deserving of love and happiness and all those wonderful other things that he wanted her to have, that he wanted to give her.
But she wasn't deserving of any of those, and mostly certainly not from him. Much like Killian didn't deserve to be some consolation prize, a way to warm her bed when she felt cold.
And then there was Neal… He loved her, he was kind to her, he trusted her. Emma's stomach twisted into painful knots.
She shouldn't be here; she shouldn't be doing this.
Emma couldn't find her voice, trapped beneath the lump in her throat, choking her as it suppressed her air, crushing her lungs with the weight of her culpability.
Upon her prolonged silence, Killian scrutinized her with a closer eye, the brightness in his demeanor fading as he scanned her face for any intimation of her feelings. He motioned with his chin for her to enter his room, standing to the side as he held the door open. Emma gave him a strained half-smile as she stepped inside, clutching her coat tightly around her, as if it were the only thing that was keeping her grounded, keeping her sane.
"Emma, love, what's on your mind?" his soothing voice asked as he slowly clicked the door closed.
He moved to stand behind her, fingers and hook tugging at the collar of her coat as he eased it off her shoulders. Unable to speak, Emma simply shrugged out of her jacket, letting it fall to the floor, too tired to kick it to the side. She felt his warm fingers tickling the back of her neck, thumb rubbing in calming circles, gently massaging out the tension that addled her body. He ran his hooked arm to the front of her body and pulled her back lightly against his chest, hugging her close. The warmth radiating from his body did little to appease the chill that froze her bones and she shivered against him.
"Emma," he breathed her name as he nuzzled his face in the crook of her neck, pressing soft and comforting kisses behind her ear. "You're freezing, darling. Tell me, what's wrong?"
Unbidden tears prickled behind her eyes, threatening to spill over at any moment.
It was just sex.
When did it quit being that? When did it turn from fucking into something far more intimate? He shouldn't be this caring, this gentle, this understanding. He shouldn't be this nice to her, because he was a fucking pirate and he was supposed to be greedy and selfish and despicable.
But he wasn't.
He was kind and selfless and sweet and adorable and smart. But only for her, only for his Emma. He was a different man when he was around Emma, a man that no one else knew, a man so enamored he nearly tripped over himself as he tried to please her, make her happy, see her smile. He would do absolutely anything to ensure her wellbeing and happiness, and she knew he would die for her if he had to.
He wasn't Captain Hook when he was with her – he was Killian Jones.
And that terrified her.
Killian ran his warm hand up and down her arm, trying to add heat to her freezing appendage. He curled himself against her back as he kissed her hair, silently pleading with her to talk to him, to open up to him, to trust him. Trust him, as if he were the devious one, the duplicitous one. He was a fucking pirate – he had no right to be this caring, this gentle, this concerned.
"Talk to me, let me carry some of your burden," he coaxed, pleading with her as he slowly turned her around to face him, searching for her eyes, knowing that he would learn all of her secrets and fears and desires if he could only look into her eyes.
"You're something of an open book," he had told her once.
He knew her fall too well for her liking. He was supposed to be her one-time thing, a physical outlet that she had needed on Neverland. It was just sex. That's all it would ever be, all it ever could be.
And now here he stood, holding her in his arms like a delicate flower, a porcelain doll so fragile he was scared it would smash into a million tiny pieces if he hugged her too tightly. It infuriated her, horrified her.
Killian could feel it, the moment when she began building her walls, shielding herself off from him, barring her heart from feeling any further emotion. He panicked, sweeping his thumb across her cheek, cradling her jaw in his hand as he stared at her with turbulent eyes. "Don't shut me out, love, let me in. Let me help. Tell me what's bothering you."
She silenced his words with a bruising kiss, twining her fingers into his raven hair as she pulled him down to her. Emma poured her angst into the kiss, pulling at his nether lip, biting into it until she tasted the metallic tang of iron. Killian groaned with mingling pleasure and surprise.
She really shouldn't be here.
He put his hand on her chest, slightly pushing her away from him, interrupting the kiss to force her to slow down and talk to him. But Emma didn't feel like talking, didn't want to dwell on what she was doing, what was happening. Tonight, she wanted to forget. Tonight, she wanted to pretend that there was no tomorrow, no consequence. Tonight, she wanted to live in the illusion that Killian was hers and she was his. Tonight, she wanted to be with him, just one last time, before tomorrow came and everything changed.
"Not that I don't appreciate your enthusiasm, love," he began, but Emma was quick to distract him, determined not to let him penetrate her walls, to get her to open up before she'd had her one last time with him. Because tomorrow, he would hate her. Tomorrow, he'd never want to see her again. Her heart ached.
"I just really need you to fuck me. Make me forget, Hook," she breathed against his mouth, her hands working on the fastenings on his trousers. "I need you. Now."
He made a sound low in his throat at her words, his previous concerns forgotten as her palm slid down the front of his pants, fingers brushing the downy hair above his sex.
"Neal's out of town. Went back to Manhattan to get the last of his things to move here," she muttered between biting kisses. "Henry is staying at Regina's. We have all night. Think you're up for it?"
He smiled against her lips, slightly pulling his mouth back as he looked her in the eyes, the twinkling mischief once again lighting up his blue irises. "Do you mean to tell me I'm stuck with you until morning?"
"I'll try not to bore you," she bit out sarcastically as she squinted at him, moving to pull his trousers down. She needed him, needed this. Fast and rough and dirty and violent. Like it always was, every Monday in the hour she had to spare. Like it was supposed to be – filthy, emotionless, quick, satisfying.
"I can think of one or two ways to pass the time," he leered, grabbing her wrists with one hand, preventing her from divesting him of his clothing. Leaning forward, he gently nipped at her lower lip as he ran his nose alongside hers. He dragged his mouth across her cheek, his lips leaving a searing trail of burning sensation that caused her to shiver. His breath tickled her as his lips grazed the shell of her ear. "But I'm going to take my time with you, Swan. I'm going to explore every inch of your body and commit it to memory."
Emma growled with frustration. She didn't want to take it slow, didn't want it to mean more than it did. It was just sex. A means to an end, a quick release, instant gratification.
"Does that displease you? Taking it slow and sensual as I trace your every curve with my hand and tongue, and find all those delicious, sweet spots on you that make you squirm as you ache and beg for more? Would it truly be so terrible if I make you come undone again and again, screaming my name until your throat goes raw?"
Killian smirked at her, pushing her backwards until her back hit the wall with a soft thud. He carefully looped his hook around both of her wrists and used it to pin her arms above her head. He traced down the underside of her arm with his good hand, fingers dancing and playing over her skin in a torturous tempo. Leaning his body against her, Emma felt his chest crush against hers, and she loved the burn of her lungs as she struggled to breathe against his weight.
"I've never liked taking it slow," she finally managed, a lie if she'd ever heard one.
"Oh, but you will, darling. Once I'm done with you, you will," he spoke his words directly in her mouth as his lips hovered over hers, pressing soft, barely-there kisses.
Killian's hand explored her body, smoothing over her shoulder, caressing down her side, sliding over her hip, cupping her ass. His touch was electric, his fingers drumming a tantalizing tune as they skimmed over her body, tickling and burning her skin wherever he touched.
It was driving her mad with desire, with frustration. She didn't want to go slow. She needed release and she needed it now. Emma wiggled her wrists, struggling against his hook as she tried to break free, wanting and needing to put her hands on his body, to touch and feel him.
"Slow down, Emma," his chest rumbled against her as he chuckled, his tone suddenly serious, "I'm no fool – I know there's something you're not telling me. You don't want to talk about it, and that's fine, I respect your wish. But I do ask that you offer me the same courtesy. You're hurting right now, and the only way you allow me to comfort you is through touch and sex. Be that as it may, I want to do it right and I want to do it properly."
He slowly removed his hook, freeing her hands as he took a small step away from her. Emma dropped her hands, rubbing her wrists as her fingers and palms tingled with the sudden return of blood flow. Her jaw was set tight, teeth clenched to the point of pain as she considered his words.
"You don't need to be scared of me, love." One corner of his mouth tugged into a lop-sided smile, feigning confidence.
He was nervous, Emma knew, nervous that she was two seconds away from leaving him and running out the door. Killian reached out to her, offering his hand with a yearning look in his eye. Emma wordlessly nodded as she accepted, letting herself be guided to the bed.
He gently laid her down before he removed his hooked attachment and set it on the bedside table. Softly nudging her knees apart, he planted himself between her legs and bent over her, resting his left forearm to the side of her head. His good hand roamed over her body, slowly lifting her shirt, ghosting his fingertips across her breast, brushing over her peak. His mouth pressed searing kisses into her skin, biting and licking at her neck, her shoulder, her collar.
There was a stirring in her chest when she saw the adulation plainly etched on his features as he removed her clothing, unwrapping her like a precious gift. His mouth and fingers explored the newly exposed skin, tongue flicking over her nipple, finger dipping into her wet folds.
And then he was kneeling between her thighs, resting them on his shoulders as he gave a long, languid, delicious swipe of his tongue from her core to her bud. Her hands fisted in the sheets, head thrown back with silent cries of pleasure as his mouth worked at her, slow and sensuous and perfect, circling her center with his tongue, flicking lightly, licking long, slow lines. He planted a delicate kiss to her bud, wrapping his mouth around it, giving a heady press of his tongue, barely grazing it with his teeth.
Emma was dying in exquisite agony as he spent what felt like hours exploring every inch of her skin, kissing and licking his way from one end to the other. But he never entered her, not with his tongue, his fingers, his sex. It was driving her mad, the warmth pooling low in her belly, the hollow feeling inside as she craved and begged for him to finally take her, to finally give her that feeling of fullness.
She nearly wept with pleasure as his fingers worked at her opening, pumping into her, crooking at just the right angle to brush against that sweet, delicious spot in her core. His husky voice whispered words in her ear, words that she refused to listen to or acknowledge, words that conveyed sentiments and feelings she didn't want to hear.
Emma lost count of the number of times she came, his hand and mouth relentless in their assault.
When he finally did take her – pumping into her at a leisurely pace, thrusting deeper into her than she ever thought possible, mouthing at her collarbone, hot breath washing over her, hand pressed tight against her lower back, angling her up towards him – her heart broke, shattering as she felt something in her stir that she'd been trying so hard to ignore, to swallow down, to snuff out. They'd never been connected like this, never had something so intimate. It was always clawing hands, frenzied thrusts, panting breaths – fast, meaningless, dirty.
She carded her fingers in his hair, bringing his face up to hers, and kissed him with the passion she couldn't allow herself to feel. He parted her lips, dipping his tongue into her mouth to taste her. Emma wrapped her arms around his head, holding him securely against her as she poured everything she had into that kiss, clinging onto it, clinging onto this moment, this perfect moment where there was only her and only him as he snapped his hips into hers, brushing his tip across her most intimate of places. His arm wrapped around her, cradling her like she was something irreplaceable that he never wanted to lose. His lips kissed her like he needed her breath for sustenance, for survival. His fingers worked at her bundle of nerves, coaxing her to her release, begging her to come undone.
Her heart was pounding, her pulse rapid and racing, and she broke from the kiss as her breath faltered, becoming shaky and uneven. Killian raised his head and looked at her, the flush of her cheeks, the bruised redness of her lips, the wild, untamed look in hers eyes. She was close, so very close, and she shivered at his lingering gaze. He looked so utterly wrecked that it was nearly her undoing. She'd barely touched him, greedily taking anything he offered her, devouring his touch, his kisses, his words, but it didn't matter because his pleasure came from her pleasure. She wanted him, all of him, and he gladly gave her everything he could, expecting nothing in return.
Killian sighed against her forehead. "Come with me, Emma."
And just like that, she toppled over the ledge, falling head over feet into white-hot pleasure, his name falling from her lips – always Hook and never Killian. Her heart quit beating for a moment, her lungs squeezed of all her air, her chest heaving with pain as tears stung at the corners of her eyes.
He followed her in close pursuit, his body going still and rigid with a shout of her name. And then he collapsed on top of her, resting his forehead against hers, a dazed smile gracing his lips, a delighted sparkle in his eye. He sluggishly rolled over on his back, resting his head on his left forearm, his right hand drawing lazy circles on his stomach.
"Now that wasn't so horrible, was it?"
She shielded her face from him, refusing to let him see her glassy eyes, filled with unshed tears. Saying nothing, she turned her back to him and tucked her knees closer to her body, wrapping her arms around herself.
"Ah, your silence is very reassuring," he teased, unaware of her inner turmoil, her conflicting emotions.
Emma didn't know where this random influx of emotion came from, why it was enveloping her now, what it meant. But she did know what it meant, somewhere in the crevasse of her mind. But she wouldn't allow herself to think it, wouldn't let herself feel it, wouldn't admit that what had just happened was more than fucking, and that for the first time in over a decade, she was reminded of what it meant to make love.
Because tomorrow it would be different, tomorrow it would all be over, tomorrow he would hate her. That's simply how it had to be, how it was always meant to be.
"Emma?" he questioned, leaning over to grab her shoulder.
"I'm just really sleepy," she lied, her voice a bare murmur as she shrugged herself out of his grasp.
Killian hummed in response, and she knew he didn't believe her, knew that he was far more perceptive than he had any right to be. She didn't know why he kept trying, why he hadn't given up on her yet, why he always tolerated her mood swings and lies, why he seemed content with being second place to Neal.
"Looks like you were the one who wasn't up for it," he groused to himself, retreating back to his spot, putting a large, empty, and cold distance between them. If she wanted her space, he'd give it to her, but it didn't mean he'd have to like it, always the toddler having a tantrum.
And she tried not to be lured in by the pout she knew marred his features, the flicker of hurt and disappointment that flashed in his eyes. She hated that she wanted to make him feel better, to cuddle next to him, to sidle up to his side and tuck herself under his arm, to feel what it was like to sleep with him through the night.
Because tomorrow it would be over and this all would be some vague memory, a distant dream falling through her fingers, like sand through a sieve.
But tonight was hers, tonight was theirs. Tonight, just for tonight, and then never again.
Emma turned around and Killian shot her a startled expression, his eyebrow rising high on his forehead as she moved to him, snaking her arm around his midsection, squeezing him close to her. She draped her leg over his as she nuzzled her face into the crook of his neck and breathed deeply, inhaling his aroma, committing the smell to memory – the smell of the sea, leather, sex, and something spicy, something that was uniquely Killian. It was intoxicating and delicious and she wanted to shout and cry and sob because after tonight, she'd never be able to get drunk off his essence again.
"I'm cold," she muttered into his skin as she laid her head on his chest, the soft drum of his heartbeat resonating in her ears, a lovely, sweet lullaby that slowed the frenetic pounding of her own heart, finally calm and at peace.
Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her close, tracing random shapes into her hip with the blunt end of his fingernails. "If you're nice to me, I might share my blanket with you."
"I'm never nice to you," she half-joked as she splayed her hand on his chest, running her fingers through the dusting of hair.
"True," Killian teased as he moved his hand to grab the blanket and pulled it tightly around them like a cocoon. "However, this pirate is freezing and I'm feeling rather charitable at the moment, so I guess it's your lucky day."
She smiled against him, snuggling close, enjoying the feel of the soft blanket against her back. Killian shifted underneath her, pressing a quick kiss to the top of her head as he threaded his fingers through her hair.
Emma felt the first waves of sleepiness wash over her, and she tried to fight it off, tried to stay in the moment, the last one they would have. She could feel his breathing even out as he drifted in and out of consciousness, falling deeper into sleep. She traced her fingers along his jawline, completely enraptured with his face, the way he looked so much younger, so calm and serene, while he slept. She outlined the perfect angle of his nose, the ridge of his brow, the little scar on his right cheek, marveling at him, memorizing each and every contour of his face.
"Why are you so nice to me?" Emma mused aloud as she burrowed closer, holding on to him like he was about to slip through her fingers. He was kind to her, understanding, and she didn't deserve it, didn't deserve any of it, because tomorrow, it would be different… tomorrow-
"Because I'm completely besotted with you, Emma Swan," he startled her when he responded in a grumbling voice, thick with sleep. "Now go to sleep."
She shouldn't be here, she shouldn't be doing this.
But in that moment, Emma couldn't find it in herself to care. She would deal with it tomorrow, because tonight was for her, tonight was for Killian, tonight was theirs.
Just this one last time, Emma told herself, and then never again.