Hey everyone! Long time no see! Sorry it took so long for me to post this, I got tied up with work and was so busy that I was literally only using my house as a place to take a shower and sleep. I'm back now though and here's my Valentine's Day present to all of you! Hope you enjoy it!
"Pick up the pace, Swan! We don't have all day!"
It was in these moments that Emma Swan deeply regretted her decision to join the crew of the Jewel of the Realm. It had been exactly two weeks since the ship had left the port that she had called home for years. It had been one very long week since Lieutenant Jones had decided that Emma deserved to be the victim of his unrelenting adherence to protocol. For seven days, it had been "Swan this" and "Swan that" and "SWAN! You missed a spot!" With each new command, Emma could feel the thin thread of her patience threatening to snap. The lieutenant really had no idea how many times he came close to dying by her hands since she'd made her way above deck.
It hadn't been so awful in the beginning. The first two days, she had been a victim of an awful case of seasickness. Even though she had spent a lifetime living in a port town, it had been many years since she'd actually set foot on a boat and longer since she had been in a boat on the open sea. She had refused any food that had been brought to her cabin and spent the time either staring absently at the ceiling of her small and sparse cabin (she had thankfully been allowed to have a room all to herself) or puking up her heels. The captain and lieutenant had checked on her few times but she had either been on the edges of sleep or too nauseous to do much more than stare at them and nod or shake her head at their questions. At the start of the third day, Lieutenant Jones had finally decided that he'd had enough of her moaning and vomiting and forced her to ingest a small pill made from some kind of root that had helped her finally keep the contents of her stomach down and, as Killian so eloquently put it, "actually make herself useful."
She had spent the rest of that first week down in the galley or learning the ins and outs of the ship. She hadn't done much cooking while she had worked at the tavern but she knew enough to make her way around a kitchen without much complaining from the head cook, Griggs. He was much older than most of the others, edging closer to fifty than the average twenties and thirties of the other sailors. He was rough around the edges, nowhere near prim and proper as he probably should be, but he was funny and honest to a fault and Emma found that she enjoyed his company. He was full of crazy stories about the lands he visited, whether on the Jewel or one of the numerous other ships he had spent his many years servicing, and more than once had she found herself laughing until her stomach hurt from one of his more interesting tales. It was nice and the small kitchen quickly became a place of comfort for her.
Though she only really saw them at mealtimes, the other sailors had proved to be just as nice as welcoming once they had gotten to know her. There had, of course, been a few who had stayed away, muttering about bad luck and curses under their breath whenever she tried to have any sort of conversation with them but she supposed she couldn't win everyone over.
However, what semblance of peace and comfort Emma had managed to find down in the galley had quickly been shattered upon the start of the second week when Lieutenant Jones had stomped his way into the small mess hall and declared with a sinister grin that it was time for her to really earn her keep. It was time to head onto the deck.
In accordance with her position on the crew (she supposed she was unofficially a part of the crew, since she wasn't lounging around like a passenger ought to be), she could do nothing but nod and follow him up the stairs, a grimace staining her lips the entire time.
That had been on Monday. Five days later and Emma was doing everything she could to keep herself from killing the lieutenant.
"Finding a few knots too difficult to manage, milady?"
Emma closed her eyes and let out a sigh of frustration. "No, sir."
She heard the soft rustle of cloth and the creak of leather as he bent down to lean over her shoulder and admire her work. His breath against her neck sent a shiver down her spine. "Really? Because it seems to me you've managed to only make half of the ones I asked you to. Having problems?"
Emma grit her teeth. "No, sir."
"Oh good, then you wouldn't mind if I doubled the number, would you?" He sneered as he straightened back up to a standing position.
And the fragile bit of control Emma had been holding onto snapped. "Oh, that is it!" Emma yelled as she shot up from the crate she had been sitting on and spun around to face him. "I have had it! I don't know what crawled up your breeches and died but lay off! Since you brought me up here, it has been nothing but 'Swan, this' and 'Swan, that' and I am sick of it!"
Utter surprise had settled across his face. Clearly he hadn't expected her to snap so soon or so easily and Emma did her best to squelch the wave of satisfaction that spread across her chest at the sight of his fear. He backed up a bit when she stood up, as though each word bore the weight of a physical blow. Emma followed him, denying his escape.
Like hell he was going to get away from this.
"You've made it abundantly clear since the very beginning that you didn't want me here. I get it! I've been, what was it?" She paused for effect and looked up to the sky as if in thought and then brightened and snapped her finger before training her angry gaze back at him, "Oh yes! 'A bloody nuisance' and bad luck ever since I walked onto the ship!" She continued, the fabric of her skirt whipping around her legs as she marched forward, as if the very wind was reflecting the rage that had taken control over her body.
Killian, following his purest survival instinct, continued to backpedal across the deck but froze when he felt the rough wood of the ship's railing against his lower back. Oh gods, he was in for it now. He quickly threw his hands up into a position of surrender. Unfortunately, it seemed that even that wouldn't manage to thwart her ire as he watched her continue to move forward and invade his personal space. It wasn't until they were chest to chest and practically breathing the same air that she finally came to a stop. He looked over his shoulder and down at the water; mentally weighing his options and trying to decide whether or not it would be better to die from the fall overboard or by the brute force of her wrath.
"I have news for you, buddy. Until we reach another port or your brother decides to throw me off the ship, we are stuck together. So I suggest you either stay out of my way or get over it because I am done!" Emma punctuated the last word with a jab to his chest.
Killian struggled to maintain eye contact with her, too scared to actually look away in case she decided to go for his jugular the second he glanced away from her.
He gulped. "Liam! A little help, please?"
Emma's eyes narrowed a fraction.
Liam, who had been watching the entire spectacle from the safety of the helm, let out a laugh, "I do believe you're going to have to dig yourself out of this one on your own, dear brother!"
Emma almost preened in delight as she watched the shock and outrage that spread across the Lieutenant's face as soon as he realized that he would receive no back up.
Killian closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "I may have been a tad overzealous in teaching you the ways of the ship." He murmured.
"A tad?!" Emma's hands rose to land on her hips.
"Okay a lot!" Killian relented.
He sighed "And I'm sorry."
He jolted at that and in his surprise managed to work up enough courage to meet her glare with one of his own. "What more do you want from me, woman?!"
"You've been badgering me non-stop for a week! What do you think?" She growled back.
Killian rolled his eyes, a frustrated groan making its way past his clenched teeth. "Fine! I was a total prick this past week and I'm sorry! Is that what you wanted to hear? Gods above, you're infuriating!"
Immediately, her expression brightened into that of a mischievous smile and if he hadn't been so supremely angry and terrified of her, he would've admired the way it softened her features and made her eyes sparkle (to be honest, he still was).
"Why thank you, sir" she bit off drolly and dropped into a sarcastic curtsy before rearing back up and continuing, "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to finish my knots." She reached up and patted him on the cheek before turning around and moving back to the crate and bands of rope that she had vacated earlier.
All Killian could do was watch, eyes wide and face frozen in confusion at what in the seven realms had just happened to him. Admittedly, he had been quite harsh to her (though he couldn't quite figure out why he had decided to make her the target of his teasing) but surely it hadn't been that awful. It wasn't until he felt his brother's arm wrap around his shoulders that he managed to snap out of his stupor. Liam chuckled and brought his hand up to clap Killian on the chest, "Come brother, I do believe that you deserve a drink after that." Killian merely nodded before looking back over the deck of the ship, taking in all the shell-shocked faces of the crew. He scowled. Great, was it too much to ask that there hadn't been an audience to Emma besting him? He was never going to hear the end of it.
He shrugged Liam's arm off of his shoulders and straightened his coat before yelling at them in an attempt to save even a bit of his shredded dignity, "OI! Show's over! Get back to work!"
Liam merely laughed again and steered him back towards the hatch that lead back down to the lower level of the ship.
Emma smirked and tied a perfect fist knot.