Author's note: Here it is? The long awaited sequel to Out of Sight. Sorry it took so long, but hopefully I'll be forgiven. The muse may even be persuaded to do a third part, but you never know. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: If they belonged to me, Personfire would be long gone.

I Can't Change the World

Emma dropped her bag on the bed and flopped down next to it. She was tired and hungry. She'd driven all night again, never a good thing. She really should take a nap, especially since she had a job tonight. An honest to goodness job for the first time in weeks.

Admittedly, it was hard to find gainful employment when you were in your fifteenth city – or was it sixteenth? She'd honestly lost count – in the last eight months. People tended to frown on that kind of unreliability. But what choice did she have when being chased by Killian Jones?

Eight months (okay, eight months, three days and 4 hours, but who was counting) since she'd seen him. Well, that wasn't strictly true. She'd caught a glimpse of him in Chicago, as annoyingly handsome as ever. She was fairly sure he hadn't spotted her though. After that she'd begun moving more frequently, using every trick she knew to evade him. But, as Emma reluctantly sat up and removed her shoes, she knew she was just fooling herself. Not even she, a veteran of the foster system, former felon and all around survivor, could run from such determined pursuit forever. Honestly, there were days when she wondered why she bothered.

Because you want something he can't give you, a voice rang inside her head.

Emma shook her head and sighed. She pulled out some leftover snacks from her drive, scarfing them down quickly. She could eat a more satisfying meal at the party tonight, at the very least it would be free. Emma's meager savings had long since run out and her credit cards were nearly maxed out. She needed the job she'd landed. It was pure luck that she'd gotten a call from one of her old contacts in New York – who had since relocated to Dallas – asking her if she wanted a little freelance work. Emma jumped at the opportunity with alacrity, using the last of her funds to buy a stunning dress for the party David had told her about. If she played her cards right, Emma could return it tomorrow. Never let it be said that Emma Swan didn't know her way around a customer service desk; she could play the outraged consumer with the best of them.

Emma set the alarm on her phone. It was nearly eleven o'clock; if she got up at five, she would have plenty of time to get ready. Ignoring the growling in her stomach, Emma punched the stiff motel pillow into a more comfortable shape and laid down. She was beginning to curse the day she'd ever heard of Killian Jones.

Emma looked at her reflection, frowning. Which only extenuated the natural frown lines on her face. She'd given up explaining to people that this was merely her face; nature had cursed her with a perpetually sour expression. Except when she smiled. Her real, true smile lit up her whole face. But Emma in her nearly twenty nine years of life had rarely had reasons for using that smile. That last time had, she wasn't going to think about that. The night in Killian's swanky hotel room haunted her dreams; she couldn't let her affect her when she was awake as well. Focus on the job, Swan. You may not get another.

Gathering herself, Emma went to work on her makeup, expertly covering the dark circles under her eyes, the worry lines around her mouth. Usually, Emma appeared a bit older than she actually was, but not tonight. She was determined to look stunning; it would be the only way to truly fit in with the Dallas oil baron crowd. Big money, big jewels, bold colors, David had said. Well, Emma didn't have any jewels, but she could fake being uber rich for one night. As for the bold colors...Emma glanced at her dress. Yeah, she had that covered too.

An hour later, the mirror showed her an entirely different person. Gone was the bedraggled, sleep deprived bailbonds person. In her place was a beautiful heiress to someone's oil fortune. A princess without a crown. Those would be aristocrats wouldn't know what hit them.

Emma was putting her phone and other assorted sundries in her clutch when she heard a knock at the door. She got up and opened it; David stood on the other side, eyes popping as soon as he saw her.

"Damn, Emma," he said in his thick Brooklyn accent. "You sure do clean up nice."

Emma rolled her eyes. "Save it, David," she groused. "I only agreed to this because I'm passing through. You're just lucky I was in the neighborhood." It was a flat out lie, but David didn't need to know that.

"Sure, sure," the slightly older man agreed amiably. "What's up with that anyway? I thought you were happy in Boston?"

Emma viciously tamped down the sudden flash of panic; David didn't know about Killian. About why she was running. He couldn't. She hadn't even spoken to him in a couple of years. It had been quite the shock for her to get his call, especially considering she'd changed her number. But then again, he was in a similar line of work; tracking people down was what they did. And David was one of the best. After Emma, of course.

"Too cold," she lied. "Could only stand those nor'easters for so long. Decided to head somewhere warm."

David shrugged; Emma felt the slightest twinge of disappointment. Killian would have spotted that lie a mile away. Stop it, Emma. "Well, I'm glad you decided to drop by my neck of the woods, as they say around here. This job is a bit above my usual pay grade."

"Who's the mark?" she asked. "What'd they do?"

Briefly, David explained. Dark hair, blue eyes. Athletic. Currently went by the name Edward Bracken, but it was probably an alias. Running some kind of Ponzi scam. Had run out on the Feds a couple of weeks back. And no, David didn't have a photo.

"How can you not have a photo?" Emma asked, instantly suspicious. There was definitely something David wasn't telling her. "I thought you said the Feds had him?"

"They did," David said defensively, avoiding her eyes. "An old buddy of mine – August Booth – had him in custody and the bastard jumped ship while he and his partner were taking a leak. Very embarrassing for the Bureau. I'm surprised you didn't see it on the news."

"Not really much for the news these days," Emma said, almost regretting taking this job. Something was off, Emma could feel it. However, her finances were in such a state that if she didn't take this job, she'd be in serious trouble sooner rather than later. "But what do you need me for? Surely, you and Mary Margaret can handle this one on your own." David and Mary Margaret were a team as well as married; back in New York, Emma used to joke that she was the brains and David was the brawn. It had been funny once.

David smiled. "And she now owes me twenty bucks. You do remember her!"

"Well, she's kinda hard to forget," Emma grumbled. The slightly older woman had tried – unsuccessfully – to be a mother figure during Emma's brief stint in the Big Apple. But it was an emotional attachment Emma didn't need. "And you still haven't answered my question."

"Mary Margaret's pregnant, Emma," David said proudly. "About four months along now. She's starting to show a bit, gets tired easily. You know the drill."

Emma didn't know. There'd been a scare, right after Neal had ditched her, but thankfully it had been a false alarm. She wasn't cut out for the mothering gig; she was much better on her own. Still, she forced herself to smile. No need to allow her own issues to cloud the moment. "That's…that's great. Really great," she said with false brightness. "Congratulations."

"Thanks. Anyway, I heard through the grapevine you had left Boston, decided to take a chance. And here you are. I can't tell you how grateful I am for this, Emma."

Emma shifted uncomfortably in her heels. "No problem," she replied. "Should be a piece of cake. You're sure this Bracken guy's gonna be at this thing?"

"Positive. Got a tip from one of my golfing buddies, Mr. Gold. That's how I scored you an invite too."

Emma laughed, for the first time since Boston. "You golf?"

David rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "Not much else to do around here," he explained. "Unless you like cattle. Or oil. Or farming. Dallas isn't New York, that's for sure."

Emma wanted to ask how he'd even wound up here, but stopped herself. They weren't friends in the strictest sense. Work colleagues, maybe. As much as someone like Emma could have a work colleague. Mostly, she just wanted to get this job over with so she could figure out where she'd go next. Killian couldn't chase her forever. Like everyone else, he'd tire of it – of her – and move on. She could outlast him. She could.

Forty five minutes later, the limo David had rented for the night dropped her off at the hotel. "You have my number if anything goes wrong?" David asked, as she stepped out.

"Yes," Emma said in exasperation. "I'm a big girl, you know. I got this."

"Be careful, Emma."

"See you in a few hours, okay?" She didn't need David Nolan of all people worrying about her. Emma may have been a bit out of practice, but this was her job. She was damn good at it. Emma was not Mary Margaret.

Emma handed her invitation to the doorman, smiling her most winning smile. It didn't quite reach her eyes, but the bored doorman hardly noticed. "Ballroom's through the back of the lobby," he said, handing her invite back to her. "Have a nice evening."

As Emma stepped inside, she tried to not gawk at her surroundings, but it was difficult. That saying about everything being bigger in Texas? Not really an exaggeration as far as Emma could see. Everything was big, from the check in desk, to the columns, to the doors that led to the ballroom nearly a hundred yards away from her. Holy shit, she thought.

"Bit overwhelming, isn't it?" said a drawling voice from behind her. Emma spun around to see a man around her age smiling indulgently at her. His eyes raked over her, the crystal blue eyes sparkling with interest.

"Yeah," Emma said, trying to keep the instinctive recoil out of her voice. No one had looked at her like that since Killian and it felt distinctly uncomfortable. This guy was a player, she could already tell. But still, she could use that to her advantage.

"First time?" her admirer asked.

"Yeah," Emma replied. "Been out of the country for a little while. Has it always been this…grand?"

The man laughed. "So I've been told. But this is the first year my family's hosted."

Emma's eyes went wide. "You own this place?"

"My father owns it," her admirer corrected. "I just use the penthouse."

Use it for what, Emma wondered. "And you are?"

The man shook his head, looking embarrassed. "Where are my manners? Victor Whale, and I'm much obliged to you, Miss…"

"Swan," Emma said quickly. "Emma Swan." It was easier to just go with her real name; she was never going to see any of these people again.

"Well, Miss Swan, please allow me to show you the ropes," Victor said, offering his arm. "Just follow my lead."

Emma internally rolled her eyes, but took Victor's proffered arm. If it looked like she was here with someone, it might be easier for her to take a good look around, avoid unwanted attention. Trying to find her prey would be a hell of a lot easier if she didn't have smarmy old men breathing down her neck. Together, she and Victor crossed the cavernous lobby into the equally cavernous ballroom. There were a dozen crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. It looked like someone had poured gold leaf on everything; it was big and gaudy and so very Texas. Or how Emma imagined Texas to be from Dallas reruns she'd caught in one of her many foster homes.

"Understated isn't one of your family's virtues, is it?" Emma asked, taking in her surroundings. She noted the emergency exit doors and a set of double doors that led off to who knew where. The orchestra played up on the dais, but the room was so large it managed to sound faint from where they were standing.

Victor chuckled. "No, it really isn't," he agreed. "But that's how most of us are, right? If you've got it, flaunt it. That's what my mother says." Emma didn't miss the way Victor's eyes roamed over her exposed skin. Her dress left little to the imagination, at least up top. The fabric draped artfully over her chest covering just enough of her; a sharp contrast to the full skirt. It was bright red, along with her shoes and lipstick. Judging by some of the other gowns she saw, hers was a tad bit more risque than those, but she didn't look out of place. She held her head high, determined to look like she belonged there, like gaudy jewels and daring gowns were normal for her.

She ignored Victor's pointed look and glanced around the room. She didn't see anyone matching the description David had given her, but the ballroom was huge. If he was there, it could take her all night to find him. Great. Her feet were already beginning to kill her; unfortunately, Emma didn't go around every day in six inch stilettos. "Care to show me around?" Emma asked Victor, who was still drooling. Ugh, she thought.

That seemed to snap him out of it. "Yeah, sure," he said hastily. "Follow me. But I'll warn you. Nearly everyone here is boring as hell."

"I'll take my chances."

For the next two hours, Emma and Victor wandered the room meeting and greeting various scions of Dallas society. Emma thought it had gone pretty well so far, despite not finding any sign of her prey yet. She'd had a couple glasses of champagne; for a girl used to knocking back shots of whiskey and scotch it was nothing. She wasn't even buzzed, which was good since she needed to keep her wits about her. Victor had even gotten her a plate of the vaunted Texas barbeque they were serving. She managed to eat it calmly and cleanly; it was the best she'd eaten in weeks. After she finished, Emma excused herself to the washroom. She rinsed out her mouth as best she could and double checked that her dress was unstained. Satisfied, Emma emerged and looked around. Now that she'd managed to duck Victor for a bit, she planned on using the opportunity to take a spin around the ballroom unattended.

There were a couple dozen dancing couples in the center, spinning effortlessly to the strains of the orchestra. A cursory look told her that the man she was looking for wasn't among them and besides David hadn't said anything about Mr. Bracken arriving with a date. She continued her circuit, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible. Emma spotted the governor, Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban making the rounds, but no Bracken. She peeked at her phone in her clutch; it was nearly eleven o'clock. Four hours of searching and she'd come up empty. Her feet were really getting painful now. Emma considered taking one final course around the room and calling David saying the job was a bust. But she couldn't do that.

"He's gotta be here somewhere," Emma muttered to herself.

"Excuse me, miss," said a voice from behind her. "But are you looking for someone?" An ice cold shiver ran down her spine. The vowels were flattened, the accent only passable, but she knew that voice. It was the one that haunted her dreams.

Slowly, Emma turned around. Standing front of her with a cat that got the canary grin was Killian Jones.

Emma's first instinct was to run. Her brain was furiously screaming at her feet to move, but they refused to obey her. Her second instinct was to slap the grin off Killian's too handsome face. Her third instinct was to kiss him senseless. He stood there calm as could be, hands shoved in his pockets, dark tux cut perfectly. Using his real accent he could have been James Bond. Get a grip, Emma, she scolded herself.

"No hello?" Killian purred quietly, his real accent feeling like molten gold. "I'm a bit disappointed, love. It has been a while since we've seen each other, you know."

"What do you want, Jones?" Emma hissed. She had to keep her voice down, not wanting to draw attention to them.

He stepped closer to her. "You know what I want, Emma."

"I told you in Boston. I can't. Now you've had your fun, chasing me all over the country. Let's just call it even, okay?" She had no idea why he was here of all places and she didn't care. All Emma knew was that she had to get away from him, before she did something she regretted.

"We're nowhere close to even, darling," Killian said. He was about to say something else when an older man came up to them. Emma immediately stiffened. "And who is this enchanting creature you've ensnared, Bracken?" the man asked.

Emma sucked in a shallow breath. Bracken? Killian was Bracken? Was the world playing some sick joke on her? This can't be happening. Again the urge to bolt raced down her spine, but Emma remained still. She couldn't cause a scene. Not here.

Emma refocused her attention on the conversation in front of her. Killian was speaking in the barely passable American accent again. "Dear friend of my family," he was saying. "I was merely saying hello. Emma, this is Mr. Gold. Gold, this is Emma Swan." Emma smiled as pleasantly as she could, shaking Gold's hand. So this was David's golfing buddy, who'd given him the tip about Bracken...Killian. Something was fishy and Emma had a feeling she knew what.

"It's nice to meet you, Mr. Gold. Now if you'll excuse me..."

"You promised me a dance, Emma," Killian said, gently taking a hold of her elbow. Heat rushed through her veins at his touch.

Emma put on her best smile and nodded. "Of course," she said. "One dance." Then she was getting the hell out of there and never thinking of Killian Jones ever again.

Killian nodded at Gold, then led Emma out onto the dance floor. The orchestra was changing songs, this one slow with just a hint of seduction in its chords. Like almost everything else this night, Emma didn't think it was a coincidence. And she'd fallen for it, hook, line and sinker.

"I don't dance," Emma said quietly.

"That's alright," Killian said, taking one hand while curling his other arm around her waist. "Just follow my lead, love. I'll make sure you don't fall." He smiled at her hopefully.

"Fine," Emma said, easing herself into his hold. His warm fingers rested at the small of her exposed back, searing into her skin. "Mr. Bracken."

"Ah, that," Killian said, looking a bit sheepish and proud at the same time. "Cottoned on to my little ruse there, have you? I knew you would. You're a smart lass."

He started moving them around the dance floor, Emma doing as he'd instructed, following his lead. The bastard was an excellent dancer. Somehow she wasn't surprised. "Did you really set all this up just to see me?" Emma asked.

Killian nodded. "You weren't easy to pin down, love. Once you left Chicago, I lost you for a couple of weeks. Didn't really like how that felt. I realized I needed to find a way to get you to hear me out, stay in one place long enough for you to give me a chance."

"A chance at what, Killian?" she asked. "There is no us. There can't be."

"And why not? You feel something for me, Emma. I can see it in your eyes. You can't hide from me, love."

"It doesn't matter what I feel, Killian. You're a thief. I can't go back to that life. I worked too damn hard to get out."

Killian shook his head. "That's not it. At least not all of it. You're afraid to let me in, to reveal yourself. To trust me."

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Don't you? Someone hurt you. Badly. You wanted to run when you saw me, I could tell. I'm not him, Emma. Whatever he did it to you, I would never do."

Emma shifted uncomfortably. Killian read her far too easily. It was one of many reasons she had to get away from him. Because she could see the truth in his eyes. Killian wasn't Neal. He wouldn't do what Neal did. But there were other ways Killian could hurt her. She couldn't let that happen. She couldn't.

"Thanks for the dance, Mr. Bracken," Emma said loudly. "I have to go." Emma tore herself out of his arms and made a beeline for the nearest door. Part of her was relieved, but the rest of her felt shredded, like she was leaving a piece of herself behind.

Emma burst through the double doors she'd seen earlier, entering a long corridor. She had no idea where it went, so she just started walking, heels clacking on the floor. Sooner or later, she'd find an exit. Then she could call the stupid limo, go give David a piece of her mind and leave Dallas and Killian Jones behind.

"Emma! Emma! Love, just wait!" Killian's voice echoed from behind her.

She spun around, angry now. "Why cant you just leave me alone?" she asked, feeling tears pricking her eyes.

Killian came to a screeching halt three feet away from her. His face looked so sad. It was the first time Emma really let herself believe that he felt something for her too. "Because," he said quietly, carefully, clearly afraid she'd bolt again, "I think I'm in love with you, Emma."

The world spun. Froze. "It was one night, Killian." She had to maintain her distance. She had to.

Killian sighed heavily. "There was someone else...before. Milah. She...died. I didn't think I could move on. I didn't want to. She was everything to me. My whole world. But then I met you. This devastatingly gorgeous woman who was fierce and determined and strong. I wanted you the moment I first saw you, Emma. It wasn't until you chained me to the bed that I realized what I felt went far beyond mere attraction."

"People don't fall in love that fast," Emma argued.

"Ah, but you and I, love, are not most people. Wouldn't you agree?"

"You're not in love with me," Emma said stubbornly. No one ever chose her. Everyone in her life inevitably left her; she'd learned a long time ago to leave before she got left. "You just want me because you can't have me."

Killian closed the distance between them, taking her hand and placing it over his heart. It was hammering in his chest, she could feel it. "Look at me, Emma. Have I told you a lie? If you can honestly look me in the eye and tell me that I'm not being truthful, then you can leave. Leave here and I'll never bother you again. I swear it."

Emma stared at him for a long time, scared out of her mind. Because she could see he was telling the truth. Love poured out of his eyes, love for her. His fingers remained curled around her wrist, their warmth spreading through her. She wanted so badly to trust him. To sink into his arms and let him take care of her. But she'd been burned so badly, she didn't know if she could.

Killian brought his free hand to her face, stroking her cheek. "You see it, don't you?" he asked quietly. "I know you're scared, love. So am I. But we can be something, Emma. Something extraordinary. But we won't know if we don't take that chance."

Emma swallowed, feeling her lip trembling. "I don't know how," she said quietly.

"Stay with me," Killian said. "That's all you have to do."

"But you..."

"Am a thief. Actually, a reformed thief thanks to a certain stubborn lass."


"Turned myself in, love. Agreed to turn state's bloody evidence to stay on the outside and chase you. I wasn't letting you go again."

Emma blinked, confused. "You turned yourself in for me? Why would you do that?"

"Because I knew you wouldn't have me otherwise. You thought I wasn't listening, love. But I heard you. Like you said, you worked hard to get where you are. I couldn't drag you back into the dark with me. You belong in the light, Emma."

A tear slipped unbidden down her cheek. It was the most extraordinary thing anyone had ever done for her. She believed him. He had done all of this for her. Had changed for her. It was overwhelming.

Killian wiped her tear away with his thumb. "You made me realize I didn't especially like who I'd become, always running, all the uncertainty. I want to start over, Emma. I want a life. And I want it with you, if you'll have me."

It was too much. Too much for her to process. So rather than answer him, Emma curled her hand behind Killian's neck and pulled him to her, crashing her lips against his. It took him a second or two to respond – possibly the longest second or two of Emma's life – but he did, kissing her back with barely concealed passion. It felt exactly as she remembered; her body cried out for him. Killian wrapped his arms around her, pulling her flush against him, kissing her breathless.

When they finally had to come up for air, he leaned his forehead against hers. "Not that I mind, love, but are you sure? I don't want to push."

"We'll talk tomorrow," Emma said, afraid he'd push her away. "I promise. I just need you."

His groan surprised her. "You make it awfully difficult for a man to be a gentleman, love," he said in a low voice. "Especially dressed like that."

Emma smirked. "Like what, Killian?"

"Like a bloody siren. You have no idea what nearly every man in there was thinking, do you? It was so hard to stay away from you as long as I did."

Emma stepped back just a fraction, looking down at her dress then back up at his eyes. She could see the lust burning there. It gave her confidence. "You were watching me, huh?" she said in low seductive voice. Emotions were a bit too much for her to handle right now, but this? This she could do. And she wanted to. She wanted him. She'd ached for him from the moment she left his hotel room all those months ago. It was what kept her up at night, haunted her dreams. Did she love him? Maybe. But for the first time in far too many years, she wanted to hope. She wanted to give him a chance. And for right now, she wanted to feel his skin against hers, wanted to feel him inside her. She was so thoroughly sick of being scared.

"From the moment you walked in with...who was that?"

Emma laughed at the slightly jealous tone. "Some guy I met in the lobby. Owns this place apparently. Victor...something. He offered to show me around."

"Oh did he now? Show you where exactly? Because he and I might have to have a little chat."

"Well, he does stay in the penthouse," Emma teased. "Maybe I'm supposed to meet him there later."

Killian growled and pushed her against the wall, effectively trapping her there. "You're not going anywhere, love. Not without me."

Emma ran her hands up under his suit jacket. "And just what are you planning on doing about that?"

"Take you back to my room and fuck you until we both can't walk."

Emma shivered and bit her lip. "I don't have my cuffs," she said.

"Good. You can't chain me up and leave me this time. But we can put those cuffs to much better use some other time, love."

"So sure there's going to be another time," Emma said, hands continuing their path up his back.

"Oh yes, my love," Killian said, lips brushing over her jaw back toward her ear. "We'll have all the time in world. You'll see."

"Then why are we still here?"

Killian pulled her hands out from under his jacket and laced his fingers with hers. It fit perfectly, like their hands were made to fit together like that. With a gentle tug, he led her up the hall, through a series of twists and turns until they emerged by the elevators. Impatiently, Killian pressed the up button. Emma had a powerful sense of deja vu; they were headed up to Killian's hotel room, just like before. And this time Emma knew there would be consequences. Deep down, she knew there was no going back from this. If she took this leap with him, her life would be irrevocably changed.

"You alright, love?" Killian asked. "We don't have to."

Emma smiled at him, a calm coming over her. She squeezed his hand. "You're not backing out on me, are you? I was promised quite the night." She wasn't quite ready to put what she felt into words, but the more time she spent with him, the harder it was to deny she felt something powerful and profound for this man. Something she never thought she'd feel again.

Killian grinned. "You'll get it. And many more besides. I won't have my fill of you for a very long time."

The elevator doors dinged open and Killian tugged her inside. Unlike last time, they weren't alone. Party goers who had no desire or were too drunk to drive home were headed up as well. Killian and Emma huddled in the back corner of the elevator, where Killian wrapped his arm securely around her waist, fingers slipping underneath the fabric of her dress moving in slow circles. Her eyes fluttered closed and her breathing hitched at his exploratory touch, a low burning flame igniting in her belly. Hurry up, she willed the elevator. Hurry up.

Finally, the elevator stopped on Killian's floor. He ushered her out and around the corner to his room. One swiped keycard later, they were inside, the lights coming on instantly. "It's bigger than the last one," Emma said, before yelping in surprise as Killian scooped her up and deposited her on the bed.

"You can admire the décor later," he said, running his hand down the valley of her breasts and stomach. "God, love, you're enough to kill a man."

"I was just trying to fit in," she said, her skin burning under his touch. "Seemed like the thing to wear."

Killian's fingers brushed the curve of her breast. "Doesn't leave much to the imagination, does it?"

"Nothing you haven't seen before."

"Nearly every man in there was undressing you with their eyes. It was maddening."

"And you weren't?"

Killian shook his head, bending down so that his lips brushed her ear. "I was fighting the urge to bend you over the nearest surface and have my way with you."

Emma groaned, his words going straight to her core. She turned her head, capturing his lips with hers. She swept her tongue over his bottom lip, demanding entrance, which Killian gave eagerly. Emma dragged him down to the bed with her, fingers tangled in his thick dark hair. Killian's hand slipped under the loose fabric of her dress, thumb brushing her taut nipple. Emma moaned into his mouth, arching into his touch.

"Patience, love," Killian mumbled against her lips. "We have all night."

"You're wearing too many clothes," Emma shot back, pushing impatiently at his suit jacket. "You promised to fuck me until neither of us could walk. Or was that just a bluff to get me up here?"

Killian narrowed his eyes. "Just remember that you asked for it, love," he said darkly. He sat up, stripping off his jacket, tie and shirt in quick succession. Then his shoes, socks and pants found their way to the floor. Emma didn't even bother to hide her staring; he was just as amazing as she remembered. She licked her lips unconsciously.

Killian laughed, a rich dark sinful laugh. "Stand up, love."

One brow raised questioningly, Emma did as she was bid, her dress falling back into place. Killian reached up and unpinned her hair, making it fall down in waves. Then he slipped his hands behind her neck and untied the top of her dress. The fabric slid over her skin until it hung at her waist, leaving her bare from the waist up. "You're gorgeous," Killian murmured, hands roaming over her skin, paying special attention to her breasts. He bent down and sucked a nipple into his mouth, teasing it mercilessly with his tongue and teeth.

Emma swayed on the spot, the pleasure from his relatively simple touch making her knees weak. She hadn't been with anyone since that night in Boston, couldn't bear the idea of someone else touching her the way Killian did. He caught her around the waist so she wouldn't fall before turning his attention to her other breast. "Killian," Emma moaned.

He just chuckled against her skin as his free hand slid up underneath her skirt. His fingertips brushed over her soaked panties, making him groan. "Christ, Emma," he growled. "So wet for me." A single finger pushed the soaked fabric aside and slid over her sodden flesh. Emma shivered. "You're practically dripping, love. Did you miss me?"

Emma ignored him, trying to grind her hips against his hand. Immediately, he was gone and Emma mewled in complaint. The tearing of fabric filled her ears, her dress and panties left in a torn wet heap on the floor. "I was going to return that," Emma said, trying to muster the anger she knew she should be feeling. The rest of her was too turned on to care.

"I'll buy you a new one," Killian said, throwing her back down on the bed. This time he crawled over her, capturing her lips in a searing kiss. His arousal pressed against her stomach; Emma tried to slip her hand between them, but Killian wrenched it away. "Not just yet, my love," he said. Instead his own hand traveled down her stomach to the apex of her thighs. "I thought about you every night." His fingers brushed over her clit, making her moan. "How it felt to hold you in my arms. How gorgeous you looked above me. How it felt to be inside you. Nearly drove me mad, Emma." Killian's fingers moved lower, teasing her folds. "Did you think about me? Did that night haunt you the same way it did me? Tell me, love."

Emma swallowed, looking up at him with wide eyes. "Yes," she whispered.

"Did you get like this? Soaked and aching? Touch yourself and imagine it was me instead?"

Emma moaned softly as his fingers teased her entrance, not quite giving her what she wanted. "Yes," she said, louder this time.

"Bloody hell," Killian whispered. His head fell against Emma's shoulder, she could feel what it was costing him to hold back. He wanted her just as bad as she did him. "Tell me what you want, Emma. Please."

Emma pulled his head up, forcing him to look at her. She didn't know why, but it felt important for her to say it while she could see his eyes. Those too knowing, haunted, loving, gorgeous blue eyes. "I want you, Killian. Right now."

A slew of emotions contorted his features, the most profound being love. Emma bit her lip, worried she'd done something wrong, but Killian merely stroked her cheek reverently. "As you wish," he said. Emma felt his hips shift above her and then he was there, pushing inside her, slowly, so slowly, stretching and filling her. His head fell forward, eyes closed as he sucked in a steadying breath. "Christ, Emma," he bit out, his voice strained. "You're so fucking tight. Trying to kill me, love."

Emma mewled, squirming under him. It felt perfect, having him inside her like this. Perfect wasn't something Emma had ever really experienced in her life, not until him. "Move," she begged, rocking her hips upwards. "Please, Killian."

"I don't think I can be gentle, love," he said, his hips rocking just a little, making them both groan. "Need you too much."

"Do it," she commanded. Emma didn't want him to be slow or gentle or anything like that. She wanted him as he was, all fire and passion and things she once believed dead. Killian didn't need telling twice; he pulled almost completely out of her before thrusting back in, his strokes sharp and slightly erratic. How long had it been for him? Boston? Had he waited for her? It was a dizzying thought, but one Emma didn't get to contemplate. He felt too good. Emma rocked her hips back against his, trying to feel everything. She dragged him down for a needy kiss, falling into a rhythm with him, hard and fast but so very good.

"Killian," Emma moaned, head pressing deeper into the mattress. "God." It had been far too long, too long since she'd had anything other than her fingers. Nothing felt as good as Killian did. She arched into him, any sense of propriety or shyness completely gone. Not that they'd ever been like that in their too brief time together, but Killian made her feel free and safe in a way no one else ever had. And after eight months of dreaming and fantasizing about being with him again, the reality was far better than her apparently feeble imagination.

Killian ran his hand down over her side and hip until he was pulling her leg up, forcing him deeper. "Fuck, Emma," he gasped. "You feel..."

"I know," Emma groaned. "I know, Killian." She cried out as he changed the angle of his thrusts, hitting that spot within her. "Oh my god. Like that." She shivered under him, hips meeting his insistently, chasing her release. She wove her fingers into his thick hair, tugging on it, needing something to hang on to. Tension coiled tighter and tighter in her belly, she was right there, and then like a tidal wave it crashed into her, knocking her breathless.

"Emma," Killian grunted. "Fuck." He thrust through her orgasm, drawing it out, making her shudder. She felt him pulse deep inside her as his own hit, a hoarse cry escaping his throat. Almost instantly, Killian collapsed on top of her, his breath hot on her neck, heart racing in his chest, just like hers. Emma couldn't have moved him if she wanted to; she was too exhausted. Absently, she curled her arms around his back loosely.

"Trying to keep me, Emma?" Killian said lazily. "Don't let me stop you, love."

"Shut up," she countered, but there was no force behind it.

Killian nuzzled her neck, pressing a kiss there. Emma tried and failed to suppress a shiver. "This is just the beginning, my love," he said quietly.

Emma knew he wasn't just talking about sex.

Sunshine filtered through the heavy curtains when Emma woke up. She was a bit disoriented at first, but feeling the warm body against her back, arm wrapped securely around he all came back to her. The party. Killian. His confession in the hallway. Coming back to his room. Having sex until they were completely exhausted. Emma peeked over at the clock; it was nearly noon. They dropped finally around five or so; Emma wasn't sure, not that it mattered. She ached in all the right places and felt more contented and peaceful than she had in a long time.

Which is why she didn't trust it.

She tried desperately to shake the feeling. Everything seemed too good to be true. Things like this didn't happen to her. They just didn't. Gorgeous, amazing men didn't just change their entire lives for her. Not that she ever stayed around long enough for that to happen. One and done was her policy. Until Killian. That single night had shaken her to the core, made her question everything she'd once believed. In the harsh light of day, though, she'd fallen back into what she knew, not wanting to wait for the other shoe to drop. Because it always did.

Hating herself, Emma extricated herself from Killian's arms. She was still for a long second to see if he'd wake. When he remained still, she plucked her clutch up off the floor and headed for the bathroom. Emma sat on the toilet and pulled out her phone. There was only one inquiring text from David, confirming her suspicions that he was in on Killian's little plan. How did they know each other? Could he confirm Killian's story? Did she even want to know? The scared part of her wanted to bolt...then she remembered that Killian had torn her dress. Decision made, Emma dialed David's number, silently hoping that Killian wouldn't hate her for not just trusting him. But if she was going to take this leap for real, then she needed to know. Needed someone to help her confirm that her gut was right about him. That maybe this once, she could just be happy.


"David, it's Emma."

"Emma!" David said. "How'd it go last night? I – we were worried about you."

"I know about Killian, David."

"Oh." Emma could hear his sheepish smile over the phone. "How'd it go? Is he there with you?"

"He's sleeping," Emma said quietly, not wanting to wake him, even though the door was closed. "David, I need you to answer some questions for me. Honestly."

"Of course, Emma."

"How in the hell do you know Killian Jones?"

When Emma hung up nearly forty five minutes later, she was too stunned to move. It was true. All of it. Everything Killian had told her the night before about turning himself in, testifying for the state, everything. Somewhere over the course of the call, David had put on the speaker so that Mary Margaret could talk. Both of them vouched over and over again for Killian's sincerity, even offering to call David's friend August to confirm it. As much as Emma trusted anyone in her line of work, she trusted them. And the odds that an FBI agent would lie about a Federal investigation was slim to none. What the hell was she supposed to do now?

"Get the answers you were looking for, love?"

Emma's head snapped up. Killian stood in the doorway to the bathroom, still naked, looking at her with a mixture of sadness and acceptance. She looked between him and her phone, feeling terrible. She took a deep breath and looked him in the eye. If he was going to – what, break up with her? – then she wanted to look him in the eye. "Yeah, I did."


Emma's brow furrowed. Why wasn't he angry? "And...what?"

"Emma, I knew that my word wouldn't be enough. I mean, I hoped...but I know you. You've always been an open book to me. It's alright that you called – David, I'm assuming?" Emma nodded. "Aye, it's not the deal breaker you seem to think it is, love. I bet a part of you was hoping I was lying so that you could just go. Now you're hoping I'll get angry...again, so you have a convenient excuse to go. But I'm not going to make this easy for you, Emma. Aye, you could leave. Walk right out of here and I'd let you. But I don't think you will. I think you want to see what we can be together. You desperately want to stop running."

It wasn't until she'd heard him say those words out loud that Emma realized just how true they were. She was looking for an excuse to go. Because Killian and what he offered scared the daylights out of her. For a decade, she'd stayed away from emotional entanglements, hiding behind carefully constructed walls. Killian just blew right past them like they weren't even there. He saw her, Emma, the broken abandoned girl and wasn't afraid. He thought she was amazing; Emma could see it every time he looked at her.

What was it Mary Margaret had said? Happy endings start with hope. She thought back to the night before when he told her about how much he'd changed, how he felt about her. She felt hope, truly hopeful for the first time in god knew how many years. It was a feeling she desperately wanted to hang on to.

Emma looked up, the beginnings of a smile curving her lips. Killian was gone. Oh god, don't leave, she thought frantically. In the seconds it took her to get out of the bathroom and back into bedroom, a million different scenarios had run through her head. "Killian," she said, praying she wasn't too late. "You were right." To her immense relief, Killian was sitting on the bed, waiting for her, always waiting.

"Right about what, love?" he said, patting the space next to him.

She ignored that. She wanted to say what she needed to say first. "Everything. About me, about running, all of it. I'm not...I don't do well with emotions. And quite frankly, you scare the shit out of me. But I also know if I don't take this chance I'll regret it. Probably for the rest of my life. So what I'm trying to say is...I'm here. If you still want me."

"I'm always going to want you, Emma. Don't ever doubt that."

Emma smiled, truly smiled, and finally moved to join him on the bed. Killian pulled her into his arms and covered her mouth with his, kissing her like she was the air he needed to breathe. Emma sank into his arms, pulling him down with her against the pillows.

Maybe Killian couldn't change the world. But he'd already changed hers.