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The air whooshed from Emma's lungs as her back hit the wall, a soft grunt escaping her lips that was soon swallowed up in a haze of scruff and insistent lips. If anyone would have told her even an hour before this that Killian Jones would be pressing her against the wall of her shabby little apartment, kissing her like it was his last, she would have laughed in their face.

 

But here they were, desperately ripping at each other's clothes, jackets and t-shirts flung to the wayside without a care as to where they landed, rum soaked breath being swallowed up in groaning kisses as their hands mapped each other for the first time. Emma felt a need building inside of her like she'd never experienced with another one night stand, a fire that threatened to burn her from the inside out, the only respite being found in Killian's touch.

 

Emma's head hit the wall with a dull thunk as his hot tongue licked a path across her now exposed collarbone to her bra strap before he seized the thin piece of elastic between his teeth and wrenched it down her arm. Her breast nearly freed itself with the motion, the cup of black lace tugging down with the strap, and Killian wasted no time in burying his face in her cleavage, a throaty growl erupting from him as he tasted and nibbled the skin there. She panted uncontrollably, her right hand burying itself in his coffee colored hair and curling itself into a fist.

 

Killian's hips bucked forward at the sensation of Emma's fingernails scraping against his scalp, pinning her own hips to the wall so she could feel just how hard and wanting he was within the confines of his black denim. She didn't know how much more she could take. Her thighs were uncomfortably slick within her jeans. She needed to regain some control here. Just as Killian was nosing into the fabric of her bra, she pulled up on his hair and crashed her lips back against his, their teeth clacking together in their fervor. Their tongues slid into one another's mouths in an instant, a wrestle for control that was almost lost in the sheer passion of it all.

 

She was certain in that moment nothing had ever tasted as good or right as Killian Jones, and that made her stomach seize up and a trickle of ice cold fear to slip down her spine. Killian was a friend. Her best friend. They'd seen each other at their best and worst over the last ten years. She helped him grieve and recover the loss of his brother. He was there to help her get past the cheating ex she called her first love. They celebrated graduating college together. They'd shared holidays together. Suddenly this was a whole lot more intimate than she'd bargained for.

 

Killian sensed the change in her posture and pulled back slightly, his chest hair tickling her beard burned decolletage as he heaved in air. His eyes were darkened to a hue she'd never seen them at before, a thin midnight ring circling each of his glittering black pupils. The coil in her stomach tightened at the sight of him so wrecked for her. Her breath caught in her throat and her hand slackened in his hair, but she didn't pull away. She couldn't.

 

“Love?” he husked, his calloused palm coming up to smooth a few golden strands that had fallen into her face back behind her ear. His eyes, still clouded with lust and want, held a note of concern at her change in demeanor. “Swan, if you want to stop-”

 

“No,” she murmured back, shaking her head to emphasize her point. Her small hands came up to cover his cheeks and pull him into another deep, searching kiss. She was just buzzed enough for her give-a-damn to malfunction and she threw caution to the wind. It seemed Killian was of a similar mind and he dove back in with more passion than before. She nipped hard at his lower lip, pulling it with her teeth as his hands found her bare waist and squeezed, a primal sound rumbling in his chest.

 

“Bedroom,” she said, her rasping voice nearly unrecognizable to even herself.

 

“Aye,” he growled in agreement, reaching down immediately and seizing her by her thighs and hoisting her so her legs wrapped around his waist. She yelped at the movement and he huffed out a laugh, her viridescent eyes narrowing in mock irritation that was betrayed by the smile that had begun to twist her kiss swollen lips. She looped her arms around his neck and pulled him in for another breath stealing kiss as he marched them determinedly down the familiar path to her bedroom.

 

He'd been in her flat countless times before, so he navigated the way with ease, even with Emma drinking hungrily from his lips the entire way. When he dipped her down to the mattress, he stumbled slightly, his intoxication from the liquor and Emma catching up with him, and he landed on top of her with a soft grunt. She laughed it off breathlessly, cupping his face in her palms and bringing his lips back to hers again.

 

He broke away from the kiss altogether too soon, in Emma's opinion, but all thought flew from her mind as he reattached his lips to the side of her neck and kissed his way downwards. She was awash in sensation, her back arching off the bed, trying to get closer to him, her legs winding around his hips and thighs. His large hands slipped underneath her to unclasp her bra, the thin scrap of fabric pulled from her heated flesh and dropped carelessly to the floor.

 

“Gorgeous,” he choked out, his usual eloquence abandoning him along with the fabric he pulled from her heaving chest.

 

She flushed under his scrutinous gaze, his unfocused eyes sharpening at the sight of her flesh bared to him for the first time. She wanted to cover herself, the awe and lust rolling from him in almost palpable waves overwhelming her, but she let him drink his fill. If he was as affected by this as she was, she wanted him to have his fill of her as she planned on taking her fill of him.

 

Just for this one night, they belonged to each other.

 

Emma's thoughts were interrupted by the feeling of scorching lips sealing around the peak of her breast. An involuntary moan left her lips and her hips bucked up against Killian's. His answering groan reverberated through his chest, vibrating into her skin where they were pressed tightly together as he rocked his hips back down into hers. He continued to pull and tug at her nipples with his mouth, his hips rocking in time with the pulsation of his tongue and sending Emma further into madness until she was writhing against him in need.

 

She reached down between them and unhooked the button at his waist, causing his head to pop up and momentarily abandon his task as he watched her through hooded eyes. When she slipped her hands under the slackened waistband of his jeans and boxer briefs to grasp the bare skin of his arse, he rutted into her hard, ramping up her need for him exponentially.

 

It seemed Killian had become just as frustrated as she with the layers of denim still separating them because in the next moment, he was rearing up on his knees and practically ripping the skin hugging fabric from her body. His jeans, along with the last few remaining pieces of clothing that he still wore joined hers on the floor and they were left with miles of uncharted flesh between the two of them.

 

“Bloody hell, Emma,” he grunted as she settled herself back beneath him, his toned arms caging around her. “I wanted… so many things. Wanted to take my time, but I…”

 

“Shh,” she cut him off, leaning up to catch his lips in a brief but fiery kiss. She couldn't hear those things, not from a one night stand, especially when it was Killian. “Need you, too,” was all she could manage without ripping her heart out of her chest and offering it to him on a silver platter. She'd been burned too many times before to take that risk again. She wouldn't lose Killian, too. He was too important to her.

 

“Alright, love, alright,” he agreed and Emma relaxed back into her carnal fog. Within seconds, Killian had plucked a condom from his discarded jeans and sheathed himself, leaning back over her with lascivious intent.

 

The first press of his body into hers came with a delicious stretch, and Emma revelled in the burn that came along with being filled by Killian's generous length. She would feel this in the morning and that was fine by her. If this was a one time thing, at least she'd remember it for awhile.

 

Killian stilled above her, reaching up to brush her tangled hair away from her face, studying her expression to make sure she was alright, even though the twitching muscle in his clenched jaw revealed his own restraint. Emma drew her lower lip between her teeth and nodded, letting him know she was ready for whatever he could give her. He pulled his hips back from her body so agonizingly slowly that she could feel every spot he touched inside her come alight. She gasped and drug her nails down the sweat slicked planes of his back, his own nails digging into the meat of her thighs where he gripped her tightly.

 

Oh, yes. She would remember this in the morning.

 

He snapped his hips forward in the very next instant punching the breath from Emma's lungs, and then he really began to move. Emma arched and rocked beneath him, trying to keep pace, but he held her firm, completely at his mercy. Over and over again, he drove into her with a force that would surely leave bruises on her hips, his head falling to her clavicle when he hiked her leg up his side further, changing the angle.

 

Moans and the sound of flesh meeting flesh echoed off the walls of her crackerbox apartment as he filled her again and again, the symphony of ecstasy driving her higher and higher towards her peak. Killian's rhythm began to falter, but it didn't matter, she was right there with him. His hand worked between them and the pad of his thumb brushed against the little bundle of nerves just above the place they were joined, and it sent Emma hurtling to the edge in an instant. It only took four little words gasped into her ear to drive her over.

 

“Come for me, love.”

 

Raw pleasure exploded through her like she'd never experienced with anyone before. Color and sound blurred together until there was nothing left but sensation and she was drowning in it. A hell of a way to go, if you asked her. Vaguely, she heard a growl of her name from somewhere within the depths of her bliss and Killian stiffened above her, then relaxed, a few reflexive, stuttering thrusts drawing out her orgasm as he found his own completion.

 

He slipped out of her, making them both groan with the loss, but he didn't go far, simply flopping onto his back beside her, trying desperately to catch his breath. They both lay in silence, panting as they stared at the ceiling, both of them afraid to break the fragile stasis in the room because they knew what came next. Emma would make it clear that this was a one time thing, Killian would leave, and both their hearts would be a little heavier.

 

It didn't matter how long they waited; it turned out exactly like that. But not for long.

 

That night was the first of many “one time things” for the two of them, Emma or Killian or both inevitably ending up with a few drinks in their systems and frustration to work out. They fell into bed together again and again like it was the most natural thing in the world. Outside the bedroom, it was as if the other part they shared with one another didn't exist.

 

She never took him back to her apartment again for their liaisons. They always went to his. They both knew it was so she could run away in the middle of the night. Every time Killian woke up to a cold bed that still lingered with Emma's perfume, it made his heart sink just that little bit more. It was just another thing that they didn't talk about.

 

Killian did try to bring it up once, in the post coital afterglow of one particularly enthusiastic round in the sheets. He had asked if she ever thought about what life might be like if there was more between them. Emma laughed, a nervous, high pitched sound that he had never heard from her before, before quickly dismissing the idea altogether.

 

“We both know what this is, Jones.”

 

“Aye, Swan, I seem to have forgotten myself. Apologies.”

 

It was never spoken of again.

 

Months went by, seasons changed, and Killian was becoming more and more displeased with the situation he'd found himself in. Emma was more and more desperate to cling to the threads of intimacy they shared, it seemed, but still vehemently refused to acknowledge there was something between them more intimate than just sex.

 

About six months after they'd begun their strange little arrangement, they found themselves at the bar again. It was typical for them to meet their friends on a Friday night at the Rabbit Hole, nothing new. What was new was the seething rage he felt at Emma's apparent need to flirt with everything on two legs this particular night. It was true, he had no real claim to her, but the most primal part of him bubbled to the surface as she leaned forward over the bar to order another drink, her ample cleavage on display for August, the barkeeper and one of their friends.

 

August didn't hide the fact that he was attracted to Emma in the slightest, his eyes raking over her form easily, lingering on the curve of her breasts for longer than could be considered friendly.  Killian wanted to ram his fist down the man's throat badly enough that it made his fingers physically twitch against his mostly empty glass. He tossed the rest of the dark rum back like a shot, the burn amplifying the fuzziness in his head as he slammed it down into the table next to his half full beer.

 

He watched her retrieve her drink and walk over to the jukebox, her hips swinging along to the music playing overhead as she made her own selection. Her blonde curls swayed over her back as she moved, the neon glow from the machine lighting her up in a rainbow aura. He wanted her so much. Wanted to give her so much. He would love her like she deserved. If he could give her nothing else, he could love her, completely and deeply. He already did.

 

Another man, Walsh something or other, approached the jukebox as Emma began feeding it quarters. He'd run into the man once or twice when at the Rabbit Hole before, but he most certainly wasn't friends with him. Walsh was heavy handed with the ladies and Emma herself had turned him down numerous times before. Killian settled back in his seat with a smug smile, his beer finding his palm almost automatically as he settled in to watch the show. Maybe this would make him feel a little better about the sour turn this night had taken for him.

 

Walsh said something to her and he could see her jaw work as she replied. Killian sat forward, taking a draw from his beer and waited for him to look like the dejected puppy he was. This might even piss Emma off enough to let him take her home tonight. Killian's stomach twisted at the thought of being at the mercy of her temper and inclinations, but he learned long ago to take what he could get. It was better than nothing at all.

 

Was it? his heart whispered.

 

Damn straight, his inebriated brain overruled.

 

A hand found Emma's hip and he sat up straighter when he realized this show was going to be more entertaining than even he thought it would. Any minute now Emma would be pushing this little ponce from her proximity and marching in all her infuriated glory to him. He swallowed thickly at the thought of her skin against his once more.

 

Then the bastard smiled and his other hand came up to join the first on her opposite hip. Emma swayed into him with an overly large grin on her beautiful face and Killian felt his heart crack nearly in half. She laughed and put a hand on Walsh's shoulder. He was dizzy, he couldn't breathe. And then a wave of realization swept over him like a hailstorm.

 

He was nothing to her. She was moving on.

 

White hot anger coiled in his gut and he felt a lump rising in his throat. Killian Jones was not a man who was a stranger to jealousy, but this was something different altogether. And if Emma Swan was done with him, then he could be done with her as well. He drained his beer in a single swallow and stood, the chair he was in scraping noisily against the floor above the music and causing a few people to look at him but it didn't matter.

 

He turned his back on Emma as swiftly as his numb body would allow just as one of Walsh's bony hands slipped to the curve of her backside, his abrupt departure causing him to completely miss the swift knee to the groin Emma delivered to Walsh in the very next second.

 

Emma was fuming. Walsh had obviously not gotten her numerous hints before when she'd run into him and turned him down flat. Sure, she was feeling good, a little flirty, but that was mainly because she could feel Killian's eyes on her the whole night. She was looking forward to a good, hard, possessive fuck later. Then Walsh had to come along, grabbing at her hips as she tried to play a few songs on the jukebox, apparently feeling a little entitled to some flirting himself. He'd breathed his sour milk breath over her skin and tried some brave pickup line that literally had her laughing in his face. When his hand wandered down to cup her ass, she hadn't hesitated to let him know how she'd really felt once and for all, courtesy of her knee driving his balls into the pit of his gut, hopefully never to return.

 

All she wanted was to find Killian and get the fuck out of Dodge before her buzz completely wore off. Making her way back to the table they'd commandeered for themselves in the corner, she noticed it was empty. Emma sat down in her seat with a huff, deciding to simply wait for Killian to return from the bathroom or wherever he'd wandered off to. Her head was still light and floating, so she rested it in her palm as she looked around the room, taking in the other bar patrons. Mary Margaret and David had taken off a couple of hours ago, but Belle, Ruby, and Robin were still floating around somewhere. The only concern she had was for Killian at that moment though.

 

She scanned the bar a couple more times, coming up empty for the third time since she'd sat down. She felt her ire begin to ebb as she waited and Walsh had slunk to whatever hole he had crawled out of to lick his wounds. She thought about getting another drink, but decided she may be fuzzy enough. She just needed to be patient.

 

Warm, musical laughter permeated her ears moments before Ruby and Belle stumbled into the chairs beside her. Emma looked over to them with a small smile. They were flushed and giggling, clearly enjoying themselves. Ruby grinned back at Emma.

 

“Having fun, Emma?” she asked over the thrum of the bar activity.

 

“Yeah, it was okay until Walsh decided to get handsy. You know how it goes,” she said and Ruby gave an exaggerated nod. “Hey, have you guys seen Killian?” Her eyes flickered back over the room as if saying his name aloud might actually make him appear.

 

“I saw him at the bar about a half hour ago,” Belle chipped in. “It looked like he was headed to the bathroom after that.”

 

Emma's brow furrowed. What the hell was taking him so long? It was unlikely there was a line, especially for the men's room. It wasn't like they lived in a big city.

 

“So who you feeling tonight Emma?” Ruby interrupted her musing. “Anybody catch your eye? You were a flirt machine tonight,” she teased. Emma rolled her eyes.

 

“Yeah, I'm not really feeling it anymore after the whole Walsh thing. I'm gonna go try and find Killian, see if he wants to go grab some grub with me.” Emma stood, brushing off her hands on her jeans and getting her bearings, patting down her pockets to make sure everything was in its place.

 

“Have fun, Emma!” Ruby called after her and Emma gave her a wave over her shoulder without a glance backwards.

 

She made her way across the bar room, glancing around to make sure Killian hadn't begun to make his way back to their table. He hadn't, and it started to worry her more. She couldn't explain it but she could feel her stomach getting heavier as she looked for him, like something bad was about to happen.

 

“Emma!” A voice said over the cacophony of drunken chatter, clinking glasses, and old rock and roll. Emma turned her head swiftly to see Robin headed her way, a kind smile on his face.

 

“Hey, I was wondering where you'd gotten off to,” Emma replied with a smile of her own.

 

“Yeah just had to run outside and call the sitter, check on Roland,” he said. “I was going to head out soon and wanted to see if you needed a ride since Killian seemed otherwise occupied.” He lifted his eyebrows and rocked on his heels, his thumbs finding his pockets. Emma blinked at him a few times, processing his words. Surely he couldn't mean…

 

“What? What's Killian doing?” she asked, trying to control the pitch of her voice where the tightness in her throat was trying to strangle it.

 

“I just saw him chatting up a lass near the bathrooms.” Robin’s brow furrowed slightly, his eyes searching her reaction with concern. “Didn't he tell you?”

 

Emma's head was spinning, and not from the alcohol she'd consumed that evening. Killian wouldn't go home with another woman. He wouldn't even flirt with them since he and Emma had started this whole… whatever this was they had going on. No, Robin must have misread the situation, she decided. There was no way Killian Jones was leaving her.

 

Leaving her. The thought hit her like a Mack truck. It's impossible to leave someone you were never with. Suddenly, Emma felt a lot less sure of her standings.

 

“Are you alright? Emma?” Robin asked carefully. Emma pushed past him without another word, ignoring the sounds of her name being called after her.

 

Emma could feel every galloping heartbeat in her chest as she made her way to the bathroom. She should have just left with Robin and went home, left Killian to his mystery girl, moved on like he was trying to. But she couldn't. Her feet kept going of their own accord, morbid curiosity getting the better of her as she rounded the corner.

 

And there he was.

 

Killian was leaning up against the wall in a way that Emma couldn't tell if he was doing it to be flirtatious or if he needed to hold his swaying world still. But that wasn't what concerned her. What did concern her was the giggling blonde little slip of a thing that he was leaning around. His eyes were glossy but that damn charming smirk was plastered to his cheeks, and the girl was eating up every second of his presence.

 

Emma felt like she was going to be sick. Or punch this woman. Or Killian. She didn't know what she wanted to do. Her indecision kept her rooted to the spot, mouth agape as she took in the scene. Killian leaned forward and whispered something in the girl's ear and smiled, his eyebrows doing a strangely attractive dance across his forehead as he reached up to toy with one of the blonde ringlets that floated around her shoulders. The girl blushed and nodded, turning towards the end of the hallway. Her eyes widened in surprise as they found Emma blocking their path.

 

Killian's unfocused eyes followed and a myriad of emotions flickered through them as they settled on her form. Surprise, anger, hurt, even a hint of fear. He quickly recovered, a mask of indifference and slight annoyance settling over his handsome face. His eyebrow slowly climbed his forehead and he pursed his lips together as they all stood in awkward silence.

 

“Can we… help you?” the little blonde asked in confusion when Emma continued to stare unmoving at the two of them.

 

“Are you two together?” she blurted, her brain to mouth filter completely lost in her inebriation and heartbreak.

 

“Uhh…” The girl looked back to Killian.

 

“Perhaps,” he responded simultaneously with a dismissing shrug. His eyes held a coldness in them that she'd not ever seen directed at her before and she felt her own begin to burn with the sting of tears at his admission. She was not about to let him see her cry, though. No matter how drunk they were.

 

Instead, Emma did what she always did.

 

A saccharine, plastic smile slipped into place over her face. She felt something warm splash against her cheek and she barked out a laugh, blinking the rest of her tears away quickly and shaking her head.

 

“Good,” she said in a strangled whisper. “That's… that's so good. I'm just gonna…” she trailed off and jabbed her thumb over her shoulder and began to back away as Killian's face morphed into something more pained and confused.

 

She couldn't look at them anymore, couldn't stay in this hallway that was threatening to swallow her whole. Her breath stuck in her chest, burning at her lungs, the pressure of it the only thing keeping her heart from crumbling into a pile of dust. Emma spun on her heel with one last awkward nod and bolted from the scene.

 

She wasn't entirely sure how she'd made it all the way outside. The path from the hallway to the door was a complete blur but the cool spring air filled her lungs immediately as she crossed the threshold, finally breaking down the dam that was holding back her tears.

 

Her arm wrapped around her stomach and she heaved an audible sob into the sparsely populated street. She knew whatever had been between her and Killian would eventually end someday. They were placeholders in each other's lives, and now something better had come along. What she didn't expect was for it to feel like this, like her whole heart had been wrenched from her chest and stomped on. She could have loved Killian. Should have. Hell, she was most definitely in love with him already. But she couldn't stay out of her own damn way. And now he was gone.

 

“Hey! You bitch!” Emma wiped her face quickly at the sound of rapid footsteps approaching her before turning around to the source of the voice. Walsh was storming up the sidewalk in her direction as well as he could without disturbing his tender groin region. Emma sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of her nose to compose herself, very much not in the mood to entertain this encounter at all.

 

“Walsh, go home and just-”

 

“Shut the fuck up,” he growled and stepped into her space. Emma blinked at him twice, her mouth slackening at his outburst. “Where the fuck do you get off, attacking me like that? Do you know who I am? What I'm capable of?” She tried to take a step back but his long fingers darted out to curl around her bicep in a vice like grip.

 

“What the fuck are you doing? Get off me!” Emma yelled at him and struggled against his hold, but he gripped her tighter and held her in place.

 

“I said shut the fuck up,” he said again and began to drag her away from the doorway she'd just come out of, muttering under his breath. “Such a goddamn tease, always leading me on, you have a lot to answer for, Emma.”

 

Her blood ran cold at his words and suddenly felt much more sober than she had been as her adrenaline kicked in. She balled her fist, ready to take a swing at him as they neared the alleyway on the side of the building. Emma began to panic as she realized his destination for them. She had no idea what he intended, or how he intended to accomplish it, but she wasn't about to take it lying down.

 

“No, Walsh, let me the fuck go!” She swung at him and he jerked back, only getting clipped in the shoulder by her flying fist. He hissed through his teeth at the contact all the same and it only seemed to incense him more. He angled his body so he was facing her, his other hand coming up to grab the arm that was trying to punch, hit, or scratch at any surface she could reach.

 

“Enough!” he screamed in her face, spittle catching on her cheeks and chin with the force of the word. His grip tightened further and she cried out at the pressure.

 

“Walsh, I'm sorry, just let me go and we can talk about this,” she said, trying to distract him until she found an opening to kick him again where the sun would hopefully never shine. Her concentration broke when he shook her like a ragdoll.

 

“We're past the point of talking, you fucking slut. And you're not sorry. Not yet,” he said and shook her again when she struggled against him anew. Her head rocked back so quickly she saw stars and her teeth clacked together audibly.

 

“Hey, asshole!”

 

Emma felt instant relief at the sound of Ruby's voice coming from the doorway. Someone was here, someone could help her get away from him. She turned her spinning head in her friend's direction at the same time Walsh did. Just in time for a fist to land square across Walsh's jaw.

 

A blur of leather and dark hair was suddenly ripping the man away from her, causing her to stumble backwards and nearly fall. Gentle arms reached up to steady her and she looked back to see Belle supporting her weight, eyes wide and looking over her with worry. Ruby was running towards them from the door as quickly as her four inch heels would allow, phone pressed tightly to her ear.

 

“Killian, shit!” Robin's voice sounded out next and she looked back to where Walsh had been dragged away from her.

 

Killian had him pinned to the ground, his fist colliding with the smaller man's face over and over. Robin was trying in vain to pull his friend off of the man, but it only served to give Walsh an opening to hit Killian back. Walsh's fist met the side of Killian's face with a sound smack that sent him sideways towards the concrete, briefly knocking him for a loop.

 

Killian shook his head to try and regain his bearings. Walsh seemed to realize he'd gained the upper hand and twisted his body so he was now hovering over Killian. He punched him again, Killian's eyebrow splitting immediately and causing blood to trickle down his face.

 

Killian reached up and caught Walsh's wrist in his palm as he made to deliver his next blow, stopping him mid swing and answering with another hit of his own. They grappled with each other, both rolling around on the concrete, throwing fists and elbows wherever they could get them in until Robin was finally able to hook his arms beneath Walsh's and haul him backwards away from Killian.

 

“Fuck you, Jones, and fuck your stupid bitch, too!” he screamed at him, spitting a string of red tinted saliva to the ground as Killian was scrambling unsteadily to his feet. Robin slammed him none too gently against the brick exterior of the building.

 

“You little worm, I should turn you inside out for even looking at her!” Killian raged back and rocked forward, dragging himself to his feet and barreling towards the restrained man. Robin's hand shot out, pressing firmly against Killian's chest as his other arm kept Walsh in place against the wall.

 

“Bloody hell, Jones! Let me handle this!” Robin insisted.

 

“It's okay, Emma,” Belle said, still holding her friend close in a strange half hug as Emma stood and took in the whole scene, her body numb and unresponsive. Her eye was drawn to the unsteady sway of a drunken Killian stumbling backwards with the light force of Robin's push. His face was streaked with his blood, his knuckles raw and already bruising, a snarl curling his lips like a wild animal. He was gorgeous, striking in all of his furious righteousness. Her heart cracked again when she remembered that he was not hers to appraise anymore.

 

As if he could hear the sound of her heart breaking, his head snapped in her direction and his eyes connected with hers. Rage melted away into devastated concern and he rushed forward to where she stood as quickly as he could in his unsteady state.

 

“Emma, my love, bloody hell, are you alright, darling?” His rough palms came up to cup her face and he did an uneven sweep with his eyes to make sure she wasn't damaged anywhere. When his eyes fell on her bare arm and the finger shaped bruises already forming there, his eyes nearly blackened in fury again.

 

“I'm fine,” she said stiffly, tugging her head free from his hands with a gentle shake. His eyes met hers again and distraught couldn't begin to describe the emotion she found there.

 

“Emma,” he breathed, moving forward to check her over again.

 

“I said I'm fine,” Emma snapped and wrenched herself from in between Belle and Killian as red and blue lights lit up the street before them. She glanced at him one last time as she stepped next to Ruby, her eyes immediately darting to the sidewalk painted with Killian and Walsh's blood.

 

“Well, what in the hell is going on here?” The familiar Irish brogue of the local sheriff rang out in the night air.

 

Two hours later, everyone had given their statements, Walsh was being loaded into the back of a police car looking quite similar to the elephant man, and Emma still refused to look at Killian. They had become somewhat of a spectacle outside the little pub, the patrons pouring out into the street to watch the show and find out exactly what had happened. Emma was less than thrilled at being the focus of the small town gossip. If it was at all possible for her to go back in time and erase this night completely, she would. But it wasn't. And it was time to face the music.

 

“You sure you're okay, Emma?” Ruby asked and Emma turned around to face her. Killian was visible standing near the alleyway, talking to Graham with Robin. He turned and caught her eye, looking more broken than she'd ever seen him.

 

“No,” Emma replied, her gaze still firmly set on Killian. “I'm really not. But I will be.” She brought her gaze back to Ruby and gave her a soft smile, her friend returning the gesture with a sympathetic smile of her own, and Emma drew her into a brief but firm hug. She walked past her, squeezing Belle's arm lightly in thanks as she did, her sights set firmly on Killian Jones.

 

“Oh, Emma,” Robin said warmly as she approached. “Will you tell this bloody idiot to let a doctor look at him? He won't listen to any of us.”

 

Emma brought her eyes up to look Killian over, mostly to humor Robin. His eyebrow was still split but the bleeding had stopped. He had a bruise forming around it and another across his cheekbone, but other than that, he was his usual boyishly handsome self. When her green eyes connected with his blue, Killian looked down away from them, a blush pinkening his cheeks and the tips of his ears. He kicked at the sidewalk, scuffing his shoe against the concrete and let a sheepish smile creep over his cheeks.

 

“I've had worse, lads,” he mumbled. “I just want to go home.” When the last word left his lips, his eyes flicked back up to Emma's, only briefly, but it was enough for Emma's heart to stutter in her chest.

 

“I'll make sure he gets home safe, guys, thanks. I think we should, um, talk, anyways,” she said softly and Killian looked back up to her once more, startled.

 

Sheriff Humbert and Robin bid them both good night and then left them alone, both of them standing awkwardly in front of each other. They'd had awkward moments before, but this felt different. Heavier. Like they were on the precipice of change.

 

“Are…” Killian broke the silence before trailing off and clearing his throat, his soulful blue eyes shining bright in the moonlight. “Are you alright, love? Truly?”

 

“Physically? I'm fine. Emotionally might be a different story, but-”

 

“I should have ripped his arms off,” Killian interrupted in a growl, his hand burying itself in his soft, dark hair and tugging in frustration.

 

“Killian,” Emma groaned, exasperation lacing every syllable. “Walsh has no bearing on my emotional well being. For someone to have that kind of impact on me, they have to actually matter to me. Which Walsh definitely does not.”

 

“Oh,” Killian whispered in understanding. His brow creased in pained thought. “I'm the one… I hurt…”

 

“Hey,” Emma cutting him off as he swayed in place trying to collect his emotions. “Hey,” she prompted again, stepping forward and touching his jaw with her fingertips, gently guiding his gaze back to hers. “Let's get you home and cleaned up. We can talk about this in the morning.”

 

They walked the seven blocks back to Killian's little house near the docks in near silence. About halfway there, Emma ended up looping her arm around Killian's waist as he began to list towards the left, exhaustion and alcohol taking its toll. He kept stealing glances at Emma as they walked pressed together and she noticed, but she kept her eyes fixed forward, intent on getting them inside as soon as possible.

 

They climbed the four wooden steps of his porch slowly, Killian's state making more work of them than usual and he began digging in his pocket for his keys, brow dipping against his drooping eyelids when he couldn't find them. He looked at Emma helplessly, and it made her heart flutter to think that even intoxicated, he trusted her to make things right when they didn't make sense to him. She smiled softly at him and reached into his other pocket herself and fished his keys free in only a moment.

 

She was thankful she was mostly sober at this point, because Killian was definitely going to be feeling all of this in the morning. A tiny selfish part of herself hoped he wouldn't remember the girl he was trying to pick up or Walsh and everything could go back to the way it was before. She knew it was a fantasy that could never happen, but a girl could dream.

 

“Alright, let's get you inside,” Emma said, slipping her arm around his waist to guide him once more. They shuffled together towards Killian's couch and she set him down heavily. He collapsed against the cushions with a groan. Emma nodded, satisfied with his position, blowing a strand of hair that had fallen in her face before turning towards the kitchen, intent on getting him some water.

 

Her brain registered the tug on her arm before it did the warm hand slipping into hers. She looked back down at Killian who was now sitting forward, gazing at her intently with wide blue searching eyes. Something in Emma's chest clenched almost painfully at the raw emotion on his face.

 

“I'm just getting you some water, Killian,” she said softly. “I'll be right back.”

 

Killian didn't make a move to release her, instead tugging her back a step wordlessly, holding her gaze as he leaned forward to press a kiss to the back of her hand that sent goosebumps up her arm. Only then did he relinquish his hold. Subconsciously, Emma brought her hand up to her chest, gently rubbing the place where his lips had touched before turning and walking into the kitchen.

 

When she returned with the glass of water and two sandwich bags full of ice, Killian was tipped back against the cushions again. His eyes were closed and his breathing was steady, well on his way to deep slumber. Emma watched him for a moment, knowing he needed the water in his system but not wanting to disturb him. He always looked so peaceful when he slept, even now, despite the blood streaking his face. His long dark lashes were fanned over his cheeks, his face relaxed and lips parted and pouted as he snored lightly. His hair flopped boyishly over his forehead and Emma couldn't resist sitting next to him, dropping the bags of ice beside her and brushing the umber strands gently from his face. Sapphire eyes fluttered into focus, brightening when they landed on Emma's face.

 

“Swan,” he said, his voice raw and raspy from exhaustion and the alcohol he'd consumed, but the corner of his mouth ticked up in a smile as he said it. She smiled softly back at him and brought the water towards him.

 

“Hey, drink this,” she urged as his eyes began to drift again. He blinked back into awareness and frowned at the water she held out to him.

 

“Wussat?” he slurred, studying the glass as if it might jump out and bite him.

 

“Water,” she replied, grasping his uninjured hand in hers and pressing the glass into it.

 

“What, for drinking?” Killian's nostrils lifted in disgust. Emma sighed and rolled her eyes.

 

“Yes, Killian. For drinking. Please just drink it,” she said, pushing his hand with the glass towards his face. Thankfully, he didn't argue any further, draining the entire glass in one go and sighing heavily once it had left his lips. His brow furrowed and he leaned forward, setting the glass heavy handedly on the table.

 

“Swan, I-” he began, shaking his head and looking back up to her but Emma held up a hand and cut him off with a tight smile.

 

“We will talk in the morning, Killian,” she said resolutely and Killian's gaze fell as he nodded.

 

“Will you be here in the morning?” he whispered, the soft sound of his words belying the heft of the question.

 

She couldn't lie. The thought of dropping him off and bolting for the door had definitely crossed her mind on their walk to Killian's house. Once or twice. Maybe more. But looking down on his earnest, pleading face now, she knew she would never forgive herself for walking away. It was time to stop running.

 

“Yes. I promise. Let's get you cleaned up and then you can sleep, okay?” she coaxed gently, standing and escaping into the kitchen once more to retrieve something to clean Killian's face with.

 

She was gentle as she cleared away the sticky brownish red tributaries that had dried on his face. He didn't wince or move at all, even when she brushed over the cut itself, his dimmed blue eyes fixed on a point on the far wall of his living room. She didn't speak either as she worked at his swelling eye. She didn't know what to say. This was her fault. She shouldn't have been so flirty at the bar. She should have left Killian to his… interests. She should have gotten that ride with Robin. She should have told Killian she was in love with him before it was too late.

 

A thumb brushed her cheekbone and Emma hadn't even realized she was crying until that point. Killian was no longer looking at the wall, but straight into her darkened green eyes. She had caused so much damage in just a few hours and he was still caring for her and that almost caused her to break. Almost.

 

She gave him a sheepish smile and reached for the makeshift ice pack she'd created, setting it gently against his brow. He did wince this time, a sharp little inhale parting his dry lips, but his eyes stayed on hers, even if she refused to meet them.

 

“I'm sorry,” she murmured, her voice cracking in just the slightest way. Killian's brow furrowed, confusion painting his features, and his hand came up to cover her own, taking over the positioning of the ice pack on his face.

 

“No, Emma, no, love,” he said, scooting closer to her on the couch as she withdrew her hand. “I'm sorry he ever laid a finger on you, that I didn't protect you. I'm sorry for what happened at the bar with… whatever her name was-”

 

“You didn't even get her name? Jesus, Killian,” she interrupted on a laugh and Killian's eyes lit up at the sound.

 

“I'm drunk,” he groused petulantly, his full lips pulling into a pout. “And I was jealous… and upset...” he continued quietly and Emma was taken completely aback by his admission. It was definitely her intention to make him jealous but she didn't think she would have pushed him that far. The memory of him leaning into that other girl made her stomach turn all over again.

 

“I'm sorry, Killian,” she said, nothing else being left to say except for that. Well, maybe one other thing, but they weren't quite there yet. Killian scrubbed a broad palm down the lower half of his face, wincing at the sensation when his injured knuckles curled. Emma noticed immediately and leaned forward, taking his hand and placing the other ice pack over his knuckles.

 

“It's alright, Swan,” he said, trying to pull his hand away but she held him firm and fixed him with a glare that had him snapping his mouth shut with haste.

 

“Just let me,” she insisted. All Killian could do was nod. Her palm was warm against his, a sharp contrast to the frigid pack on the other side of his hand, and he couldn't stop himself from skimming his thumb over her wrist.

 

As they sat in silence, Killian's eyes began to droop once more. The only thing in the room that seemed to be in focus for him was Emma, his eyes tracing over every inch of her and taking in the slightest movement. She sighed heavily, standing and making his head rock back unsteadily to follow her movement.

 

As he sat there, illuminated by the table lamp, looking up at her like he would follow her to the end of the world, or time, she couldn't help herself. With a huff of a laugh and a shake of her head, she bent forward and cupped his cheeks, pressing her lips to his. He was completely pliant under her touch, his lips moving with hers almost automatically. When she pulled back he looked nearly dazed, his lashes fluttering back open to reveal darkened blue eyes searching her face for an answer.

 

As she pulled away, the look in his eyes morphed into panic, then determination, and he surged forward, his unblemished hand coming up to tangle in her hair and pull her forward. A startled noise escaped against his lips and her knee came up automatically to steady herself against the couch cushion so she was half straddling him, half hovering over him as Killian's lips pressed insistently to hers. He tasted like rum and something more familiar and Emma sank into the sensation, her mouth welcoming every dip of his tongue into it and answering with one of her own into his. He growled deep in his throat and looped his wounded arm around her waist, tugging her fully on top of him.

 

Emma inhaled sharply as her weight settled over him, and Killian took advantage, his tongue slipping past her lips with more fervor than before, his arms winding around her torso and crushing her to his chest. Air became a necessity before long and they parted on gasping breaths, Killian's lips travelling across her jaw and down her neck to nibble on the spot he knew drove her crazy, surely leaving his mark.

 

The sensation of the bruise forming on her skin was new to her, one of her rules always being no visible marks, and she couldn't deny that it lit a libidinous wildfire inside of her. Her hips rocked down into the cradle of his lap firmly, punching an animalistic moan from Killian's chest. He was hot and hard beneath her, shuddering under her touch. He'd never been so free with her before. Not since that first time had she felt this kind of need for her in his touch. Her hand came up, tracing the line of his jaw and feeling the scruff there prickle her fingertips as she traced upwards, her palm itching to feel his soft, dark hair beneath it.

 

She didn't make it that far, a groan escaping his lips when she skated over his eyebrow that was definitely not from pleasure. It all came crashing back to her. The bar. The girl. Walsh. The aftermath. And now she was taking advantage of his drunken state and completely disregarding his injuries.

 

“Killian,” she breathed placing her hands gently on his shoulders to stop him as he was poised to dive back in. “Killian, stop.”

 

He complied immediately, looking up at her with concern, a frown pinching his brow. His eyes seemed to blink at different times and she knew he was fighting sleep and inebriation simply because he was too caught up in her.

 

“‘M sorry, love. I shouldn't have,” he murmured softly. Emma couldn't help but smile softly at him and cup his cheek in her palm. He nuzzled into the touch, his eyes fluttering closed.

 

“It's okay, Killian. I'm the one who shouldn't have,” she replied. His forehead wrinkled in disagreement but he said nothing, his eyes staying closed. “We can talk about all this in the morning.”

 

“No we won't,” he groaned and Emma's face fell at his pained expression. “You'll be gone. Just like always.”

 

Emma's already damaged heart cracked just that little bit more. She moved to get off him but his hands tightened at her waist, his eyes peeling back open to find hers. They were bloodshot from alcohol, exhaustion, and the tears gathering against his thick, dark lashes.

 

“Don't leave me,” he whispered gruffly, voice thick with emotion. Emma felt a lump lodge in her throat. She didn't deserve Killian Jones, not in the slightest, although she was sure he would say the same thing about himself. She damaged them in ways she hadn't, no couldn't, have fathomed when she was running away in the dark of the night. All she ever wanted was to stay with him. And he wanted it, too. She knew in that moment that deserving or not, Killian Jones was it for her. No one would ever make her feel as cherished or wanted or needed as he did. And she would stay.

 

Killian's head was still tilted back against his couch, eyes squeezed shut and brow furrowed like he was in anguish. Emma couldn't form words and Killian was past the point of needing his bed, so, she decided to show him. Reaching down, she grasped his hands in each of hers and his eyes popped open as she pulled him upright. He swayed unsteadily on his feet, his hand reaching out to grip at her shirt for balance, like she was his anchor in the storm. She let him lean on her as she led him down the hallway to his room solely based on memory in the absence of light.

 

Emma clicked on the lamp when they passed it on the dresser, causing Killian to groan and stumble with the intrusion of light. She righted him quickly, pulling him against her and wrapping an arm around his waist. He swayed into her, burying his face in her hair as he gripped at her waist to steady his footing and Emma let him stand there for a moment to get his bearings.

 

After she was sure he wouldn't topple over, she took a step back, assessing his balance and making sure he was stable enough to let him go. He watched her, with all the trust and faith of a child but with the intensity of something else only a man could possess for his woman. There was no more doubt. Killian loved her as deeply as she did him. She wasn't afraid to take this leap anymore. She was all in.

 

She held his gaze as she pushed his jacket and soft flannel from his shoulders, letting them fall in a heap on the floor behind them. Next came his t-shirt, pulled up from the hem and revealing soft, smooth skin and the ebony curls that covered him from neck to nethers. He lifted his arms obediently as she pulled it over his head and discarded it with the other articles of clothing, his eyes finding hers immediately again once his head was freed. She smiled at him and patted his bare chest, moving him backwards with a firm arm around his waist until he was standing against his bed.

 

When her fingertips brushed the trail of hair that disappeared into his waistband, his breath caught and the muscles in his stomach tightened visibly, making the blonde chuckle lightly. She latched onto the button of his jeans and worked it and his fly open with practised ease.

 

“At ease, sailor,” she teased. “Nothing doing tonight.”

 

Killian nodded in understanding. His cock, however, didn't get the memo that Emma did not intend to sleep with him in that moment. The sight of her sinking to her knees in front of him and pulling his jeans as she went caused him to swell almost immediately and he clenched his hands into fists trying to to fight it.

 

Emma could see his dilemma as it literally manifested before her eyes beneath the soft fabric of his boxer briefs. She tugged the jeans over his thighs to hang loosely around his knees, trying her best not to look. She fought a smile, knowing this wasn't fun or funny to Killian, but secretly thrilled inside that she had so much of an effect on him. If he wasn't three (or four or five) sheets to the wind, her resolve would have broken long ago.

 

“Sit,” she instructed, her voice coming out a little huskier than usual thanks to the dryness in her throat that had suddenly taken up residence there. Her tone didn't help matters with Killian's state of being in that moment but he complied, nonetheless, seating himself heavily on the edge of the mattress. She undid his shoelaces and removed his heavy boots, socks, and pulled his jeans the rest of the way off in quiet efficiency, leaving everything where it came to lay.

 

Emma stood swiftly and Killian rocked back with the movement, catching himself on one elbow as he toppled backwards to the mattress. Carefully, she rolled him in such a way that she was able to tug the blankets from beneath him and maneuver him onto his pillow. She draped the blankets over him and moved to his dresser, all the while under his watchful eye. He always seemed to be watching her. Waiting for her. Letting her lead. It was one of the things she loved about him. She continued to muse as she turned to begin undressing herself.

 

Emma had undressed before him many times before. Hell, he'd undressed her himself most of those times. This time definitely felt different. The endgame wasn't physical satisfaction this time, but the emotional reward was the goal. Tonight, she would sleep beside him and tomorrow she would wake in his bed for the very first time.

 

Her clothes fell to the floor and she heard a stifled groan from behind her when she stood in only her black lacy panties, one that made her bite her own lip and heat begin to pool between her thighs once more. She pushed those feelings down immediately, that wasn't the point of tonight.

 

Emma opened a drawer and fished out a worn t-shirt that she couldn't even read the logo on anymore and slipped it over her head. By the time she turned back around, Killian's arm was tucked under his head and his eyes were so heavily lidded she could barely tell they were open in the dimly lit room. But he was still watching. Waiting for her.

 

No more overthinking things , she thought to herself as she flipped the light off and made her way to the unoccupied side of the bed. She slid under the covers and Killian slumped heavily onto his back. Without the slightest hesitation, she curled up next to him, entwining her legs with his own and resting her head on his chest. She felt his arm curl tentatively around her and she snuggled further into him to prove she wasn't going anywhere.

 

She was going to stay.

 

--

 

The bed was empty when he woke up.

 

It was the first thing that Killian registered as he came into pain riddled awareness courtesy of the too bright light pouring through the crack in his bedroom curtains. He didn't know why he expected anything less. It was always the same.  Except this time was different. They hadn't slept together. Things were… said… and she had promised this time.

 

Molten tears burned at his lash line, causing his head to throb and embarrassed anger to bubble up inside of him. Anger at himself, for believing he still had a shot. Anger that he was stupid enough to listen to his heart when it had only ever got him in trouble. He picked up a book from the nightstand and hurtled it across the room as hard as he could, the flapping pages and rattle of the closet door on impact not nearly as satisfying as he'd hoped it would be. He crooked a knee up, resting his elbow on it and burying his face in his hand, trying to block out the world around him.

 

The door to the bedroom flew open and Killian's head snapped up to see who had dared intrude on his space. His heart lodged in his throat at the sight of Emma clad in only his t-shirt and apparently nothing else, her blonde hair tangled wildly around her head like a mane. There was a glass of orange juice in her hand and a bottle of ibuprofen in the other. She was here. She hadn't left him after all.

 

“What was that? What happened? Are you okay?” she asked frantically checking over the room and frowning at the book on the floor and the scuff mark on his white closet door. She looked back at Killian for an explanation but his expression only read elated relief.

 

“You stayed,” he whispered, a watery smile working at his lips. Emma looked confused, glancing over her shoulder in the direction she'd just come from.

 

“Well, yeah,” she said, jabbing her thumb towards the hallway behind her and turning her gaze back to his. “I was just in… the kitchen… oh…” Emma's eyes softened immediately in realization. “Killian, no, no, no,” she soothed, hurrying towards the bed and setting the glass and bottle on the bedside table.

 

Her hurried movements slowed as she turned to the bed. A single knee came to rest beside him on the mattress to support her weight as she leaned in to brush the backs of her fingers over his stubbled cheek. His own hand came up automatically to cover hers, turning her hand so her palm was pressing flat to his cheek, and he leaned into the caress.

 

A soft, contented sigh worked its way from his lips as his eyes met hers. A spark of emotion burst in his chest. One that he hadn't allowed himself to let loose before. Self preservation and all that. But he was willing to take the chance now. Because she stayed.

 

“I was just getting you some things you might need,” she murmured, slipping her hand up from underneath his and raking it through his soft, bed mussed hair. Killian closed his eyes and leaned into her touch, his hand dropping down to find her waist.

 

“I don't need anything else, Swan. Just you.” The conviction in his words kindled her own spark inside of her chest and she felt warm all over. He pushed to fully sitting, bringing his leg down straight and reached for her. Emma came willingly with a soft tug into his lap as he seated her between his legs so her back rested against his chest. His arms slipped around her waist and held her to him firmly and he sighed, a sound of relief and contentment, as he buried his face in her tousled hair at the crook of her neck.

 

“I love you,” she said softly after a moment. Killian froze in place, utterly speechless for once in his life. His arms tightened involuntarily around her, as if in case this wasn't real, he could hold on to this delusion physically.

 

“Say again?” he asked, trying to keep the desperation from his voice. Emma tilted her head back and to the side so she could see Killian's face properly. The backs of her fingers came up to stroke at his stubble again and she smiled. Killian was trying very hard to school his face into any other expression than terrified.

 

“I love you, Killian Jones,” she repeated and his heart felt like it was about to rocket from his chest. “I think I have for a very long time. I was just afraid. But after last night, I know I'd never forgive myself if I didn't at least try. So. There it is. I love you.”

 

Emma's heart was beating at what she was sure were audible levels as Killian stared stunned into her widened eyes. She was beginning to wonder if she'd made a big mistake with her admission and then he spoke again.

 

“Well, that's quite fortunate for me, since I'm bloody well in love with you, too,” he declared and seized her lips with his. Emma made a small sound of surprise in the back of her throat but quickly relaxed into the kiss and returned it with all the feelings she could possibly convey through the action. This was it . This was more . This was no more running, no more denial, all in, head first love.

 

“I hope you know this means I never intend to let you go,” Killian informed her, his lips hovering millimeters over hers.

 

“I had hoped so,” she replied with a soft chuckle, relaxing back into him again as he hugged her tightly. “You belong with me.”

 

“Aye. That I do.”

 

They sat in silence, the sound of the ceiling fan circulating the air the only thing permeating the space. She felt soft and safe and warm, her back resting against his front, his arms wrapped around her like he would never let her go. She never wanted him to.

 

The atmosphere changed, a gradual shift in awareness as his hand began drawing lazy circles against her stomach, his fingers dragging the fabric of her t-shirt against the soft skin beneath her belly button. Emma shifted her hips slightly and settled further back into Killian's embrace, sighing softly. Killian's head dipped to press his lips to the curve of her neck where her collar had slipped down, his scruffy chin tickling her in the best way. She was practically purring in his lap by the time he slid his hand underneath the cotton barrier and continued to caress her bare skin in the same manner as he was before.

 

He didn't make a move to proceed, just kept drawing circles over her skin, pressing the occasional kiss into the same spot on her neck, slowly driving her mad. She wiggled against him and he chuckled, a sound she felt as much as heard.

 

“My impatient lass,” he murmured, the words resonating warmly in his chest and vibrating into her where they were pressed together. She huffed, not wanting to acknowledge it but feeling impatient nonetheless. She moved her hand up to cover his and tried to push it upwards or downwards, any way that she might get some sort of relief.

 

He tutted lightly and pressed his palm flat against her skin. His other hand came up and encircled her wrist, pulling it out from beneath her shirt and up to his lips so he could place a soft kiss at her wrist. Her heart was beating so hard, she was sure that he could feel her pulse against his lips.

 

Killian didn't release her arm, rather he pulled it behind her, trapping the limb between his stomach and her back before reaching down and collecting her other hand and repeating the motion. Emma tilted her head up to try and look at him, catching his profile in her periphery, all dark hair and long lashes, the swelling above his eye doing absolutely nothing to mar his beauty. Emma had never thought of a man as beautiful before, but Killian was. In every way.

 

“Stay put, my darling,” he murmured in her ear, low and soothing as his fingers resumed their circular movements against her skin. She didn't miss the possessive pronouns he had continually been adding to his common endearments, making her skin tingle and a joy rise up inside of her like she'd never felt before. “Be a good girl and let me love you.”

 

Her breath hitched, but whether it was due to his instruction or the fact that his hand had now slid down her belly and dipped just beyond the waistband of her panties, she couldn't be sure. In a move so smooth she didn't even see it coming, Killian angled his knees beneath hers and pulled them upwards, her thighs sliding against his own and splaying her to his mercy. She shivered in anticipation and she felt a smile curve the lips that were still pressed against her neck.

 

“Now that I've got you where I want you,” he said, arching his hand up to strain the fabric of her panties taut against her sex, making her breathing stutter, “whatever shall I do with you?”

 

“Something, anything,” she gasped and leaned forward, pressing her backside further into the cradle of his legs where he was swiftly hardening beneath her. A growl rumbled through his chest and thrummed through her skin into her very bones. His hand slipped down further and cupped her, causing her to draw in a sharp breath and attempt to grind down into the touch from her pinned position.

 

“Something like this?” he rasped into the skin below her ear. Emma opened her mouth to snap back a demand for more when he dipped his long middle finger past her lower lips, teasing at her entrance and ghosting over her clit. Her demands were reduced to little more than a strangled whine and her eyes fluttered closed, her head dipping back to rest on his shoulder. Only Killian knew how to get her this worked up this quickly and, Lord, did he ever use that to his advantage.

 

“More,” she breathed as his free hand feathered a path up over her throat and back down again. Her eyes snapped open when his touch suddenly abandoned her but she relaxed again when his hands found the hem of the t-shirt she'd stolen. She eagerly lifted her arms and he didn't waste a moment in stripping it from her body.

 

Killian hummed in appreciation as her skin was revealed to him fully. He'd seen her without clothing so many times before, but this meant more. A single word reverberated through his head as his hands skated up her ribs and over her belly: Mine . And he fully intended to let her know it.

 

The moment his hands came up to grasp at her sensitive breasts, his head dipped down to the spot where her shoulder and neck curved together and latched his lips there, just as tightly as his hands squeezed the flesh beneath them. Emma's back arched and a hiss of pleasure slithered from behind her teeth. Her own hands were just as anxious to touch him as his were her. One gripped tightly at his knee and the other flew up to his hair to hold his head firmly in place.

 

Killian couldn't stop touching her, his mouth leaving mark after mark along the column of her neck, his hands skimming over her stomach to tease the flesh of her thighs. He revelled in the way she was twitching beneath him, soft, breathy sounds escaping her lips as she surrendered herself entirely to his will. He teased and touched over the fabric of her panties, sliding his rough palms over the delicate skin of her inner thighs and back again until she was a shaking, whimpering mess in his arms.

 

“Please, Killian,” she whispered, more desperate than he'd ever heard her and fuck if that didn't make him harder than he'd ever been in his life.

 

“I've got you, love. I'll take care of you,” he reassured her between heavy breaths against her ear. His fingers slipped beneath either side of the fabric covering the very core of her, pulling it to the side so he could explore her further.

 

A single finger found its way between her folds and her breathing kicked up exponentially as he gathered her slick on the pad of his finger, bringing it up to circle her clit. Her hips began to twitch and writhe, seeking more friction, and Killian obliged. He wanted to tease, but not to frustrate her. For her to simply feel and succumb to his worship.

 

Emma felt like she was on fire. Every nerve in her body was lit up like a sparkler, the soft brush of his chest hair against her back, every swipe of his finger over the most sensitive parts of her, every press and suck of his lips against her neck making her heady with her need for him. She could do little more than cling to him as he worked magic over her body with his hands. She could feel the wetness between her thighs growing and the coil in her belly wind tighter and tighter as he worked her in a way only he knew how.

 

She didn't see it coming, ironically, when he plunged two thick fingers into her core, working her clit with the heel of his hand and plucking her nipple with the other. She fell apart nearly instantly and Killian held her tightly, his arm banding around her waist to control her bucking and quaking form as he worked her through her high, withdrawing his hand only when she started becoming oversensitized. Somewhere past the buzzing in her ears and the steady sound of her pounding heartbeat, she heard a soft sucking sound and a low moan near her ear and she shivered all over as she realized he was licking his fingers clean of her essence.

 

“Mm,” he groaned next to her ear, making every hair on her body stand on end. “Gods, but I could spend forever between your luscious thighs. You taste like ambrosia,” he continued, his hands smoothing a path up her stomach to cup her breasts and she heard the whimper rise up in her throat before she even realized it was coming from her. “Feel softer than silk,” he said, flicking his thumbs over both nipples at once, drawing another gasp from her lungs. “I want to worship you as you deserve. Will you let me?” Killian punctuated the statement with a flick of his tongue and a sharp nip to her earlobe.

 

“Yes,” Emma replied without hesitation, cursing herself inwardly for the breathless quality of her voice. No one had ever affected her like Killian Jones. She felt the curve of his smile where his lips were pressed against her shoulder as he rolled her nipples between his thumbs and forefingers.

 

“Fantastic,” he praised, pressing a quick kiss against the skin beneath his lips and then he was suddenly in motion. Before Emma could fully register what was happening , she found herself flat on her back, Killian slipping out from behind her with the sleek movements of a tiger and covering her body with his own.

 

He slotted himself between her thighs as easily as a magnet snapping into place, his pupils blown with lust but with a sincere tenderness he rarely let her see. Now he wouldn't let her look away. Emma swallowed thickly at the sight and she knew he was about to deliver on his promise of devotion to her body and soul. She held her breath as he stared down at her, enraptured. Shaking his head, he chuckled softly and pressed a tender kiss to her parted lips. It was only a brief thing, his mouth moving to skim along the edge of her jaw in the next moment, tracing a path up to her ear.

 

“Tell me this is real, Emma,” he murmured against her flesh as he sucked and nibbled a mark on the other side of her neck and worked his way down to her collarbone. His hands began pushing up over her stomach to her breasts and he looked up at her through dark lashes, waiting for her response.

 

“It's real, Killian. I'm not going anywhere,” she assured him and he let out a groan that was half relieved, half self indulgent, finally letting loose the last bit of his restraint.

 

His eyes couldn't seem to focus on any one part of her, like he couldn't decide where to begin, his hands planted in the mattress on either side of her to support his weight. Emma's hands came up automatically to smooth over his chest, but he rose and captured them with his own, pressing them back next to her head where his had just been.

 

“Keep those there,” he said, a dark hunger coating his voice that sent a thrill up Emma's spine. “I intend to make you mine in every way, and I won't be distracted, love.”

 

“Okay,” she whispered, her voice abandoning her in her buzzing state of arousal. He grinned, a predatory smile, as if he were about to eat her alive. The thought crossed her mind that he just might.

 

Killian’s eyes drifted over her form and she had never felt so exposed, so vulnerable, so cherished as she did in that moment. His work roughened hands began to skim over her torso, feather light touches as if he were learning her body for the first time. He would press down harder when she twitched, cataloguing every sensitive inch he discovered as he went. Killian knew her body better than anyone else at this point, but it seemed he was determined to know it better than even she herself did.

 

He was imprinting himself on her, every touch, every ghost of a caress branding itself on her as he passed up her ribs, over her stomach, along the edges of her breasts. He avoided every area she craved him most until she was trembling with need beneath him. She opened her mouth to tell him to get on with it but all that came out was a low moan as his hot mouth sealed over the pebbled peak of her left breast. Her back arched up involuntarily and her hands flew up to clutch at the pillow beneath her head to keep from touching him. She knew he would stop if she did and she couldn't chance that, not when he was finally giving her what she wanted. He released her with a pop, blowing cool air on her spit slicked skin and making goosebumps explode over her body.

 

“So beautiful, so responsive, completely mine,” he growled and seized her right nipple in his mouth, giving it the same treatment as the first. He kissed his way down and around the edges of each heaving globe before repeating the process again and again. Emma couldn't remain still and she could hear her fingernails digging into the fabric next to her ears as he tortured her in the very best way. She could feel his hands squeezing and releasing her hips in time with the suction and flicks of his tongue and she was panting now. The warmth in her lower abdomen began to ramp up in intensity, and she rolled her hips up to seek friction. Deftly, Killian avoided her attempts to draw him closer.

 

“This is new,” Killian said, rubbing the scruff of his chin over her incredibly sensitive chest. “Do you think you could come just like this? Just from my mouth on these heavenly breasts?”

 

She shook her head from side to side, knowing she needed something more to drive her over the edge. But what he was doing now was bringing her damn close.

 

“I think you might be able to, my love. We'll have to try that another day. Today, I'm feeling a tad impatient,” he told her, giving her nipple another lick that made her moan out loud before glaring down at him.

 

“You don't seem very impatient,” she growled at him. “In fact, I'm beginning to think you're just being a tease.” He grinned at her, then pressed a soft kiss to her sternum.

 

“Impatience and desperation are not the same thing, darling,” he told her and she grunted a frustrated sound as he continued to pepper her ribs and upper stomach with gentle kisses.

 

“I am impatient,” he continued, dipping his tongue into her navel and kissing his way further downwards. “I want nothing more than to tear this flimsy piece of fabric from your body and plunge myself inside of you, feel you squeeze me tight until you come undone and take me with you.”

 

“Get on with it, then,” she very nearly whined. He only smirked and dragged his lips along her pantyline, making her buck up towards him.

 

“See, what you're feeling now is desperation,” he said, his fingers smoothing up over her thighs until his thumbs traced the edge of her panties where they met the base of her hips. “Impatience can be controlled with a bit of self restraint. Desperation, well, it's a need for something. Usually something... specific. To ease the ache you feel inside. Tell me, darling, what do you need?” Killian seized the back of her thigh with one hand, holding her In place as his other hand hooked in the elastic of the last bit of fabric covering her. His mouth came down towards the opposite hip and his tongue curled under the edge of the other side, drawing the fabric into his teeth. Slowly, he began to pull them down her long legs.

 

“Killian,” she gasped as he watched her with darkened eyes, lips searing her skin as he dragged them along with her panties down her leg. “Make me come, please .” She didn't expect to end up begging , but she certainly wasn't above it at this point. Not when he'd accurately identified the desperation racing through her veins. Her panties came free from her body and he pulled them from his mouth, tossing them to the wayside.

 

“Oh, I intend to.” The statement was all the warning she got before he looped his arms under her thighs, parting her further as he flattened himself against the mattress and licked a long stripe over her core. Emma's back bowed off the bed like she'd been struck by lightning, an inhuman sound ripping from her lungs as he sealed his lips over her throbbing clit.

 

His tongue drew every shape imaginable over the sensitive nub until she couldn't take it anymore. Her hands shot down of their own accord, fisting in his dark, messy locks and making him groan against her, his lips parting away from her as he did. He soon regained his bearings and changed tactics, his tongue snaking down to circle her entrance before plunging inside.

 

Yes, Killian, fuck, ” she practically sang, her voice growing louder and higher pitched with every lick and curl of his tongue inside of her. His mouth opened wide and he sucked at as much of her center as he could reach before his lips fastened themselves to her clit again, his tongue working like magic.

 

Emma felt like all the electricity in the city was being absorbed by her body and it detonated outwards until she could feel it in her toes. Her vision blanked, and she could hear a high pitched wail fill the air before she even realized it was coming from her. Her limbs twitched with the aftershocks as he brought her down from her explosive high.

 

She barely registered Killian's swift rise from his place between her thighs, blinking her vision back into focus. She didn't even have time to miss him before he enveloped her again with his own body, the coarse hair on his abdomen setting her over sensitive flesh on fire all over again. His lips crashed into hers with bruising force. She opened to him immediately and he wasted no time in pushing his tongue past her lips and seeking out her own. He tasted of her own essence and desperation and she knew the time for teasing was done. His unobstructed cock lay heavily at the crease of her hip and thigh, hard as marble and hot against her flesh, his boxers having disappeared somewhere in the brief moment he had parted from her.

 

“Mine,” he snarled, shifting so his length nestled itself between her folds, his hands gripping her hips tightly enough to leave bruises. She would wear them with pride.

 

“Yours,” she agreed as he rutted himself against her, coating himself in her wetness before sheathing his length inside of her her in a single thrust. Her jaw dropped in a silent scream and his head dropped heavily to her collarbone, a strangled moan catching in his throat. He didn't move at first, his hips twitching with the effort of staying still long enough not to completely lose control, and she let her palms smooth up his back to calm him.

 

After a long moment, Killian gave an experimental roll of his hips, simply testing the waters. When Emma gasped his name again, he couldn't hold back any longer. He withdrew from her heat slowly, and then snapped his hips forward, all the air from Emma's lungs evaporating in an instant. Her blunt nails dug into the shifting muscles of his back as he set a punishing pace, shifting his hips ever so slightly on every pass until she cried out and threw her head back. His uninjured hand smoothed up over her side until he reached her neck, pulling her back to face him and capturing her lips again with his own again.

 

“I love you, Emma. My Emma, my beautiful, wonderful, amazing girl,” he panted against her mouth, his rhythm beginning to falter slightly.

 

“Killian, I love you, too, oh my God , I love you,” she returned, her third release just within her grasp. Killian smiled against her lips before kissing her again, his hand slipping back down her body between them to the place where they were joined. All it took was a few well timed swipes of his skilled thumb over her clit and she was coming undone again, her walls clamping down on him like a vice and drawing Killian down into the abyss with her. He came with a shout of her name, sheathing himself to the hilt and grinding against her, drawing both of their orgasms out until he collapsed on top of her boneless form.

 

The room was silent once more, the ceiling fan clicking merrily above them as they clung to one another in the blissful afterglow. As Killian drifted down to Earth, he realized he was probably crushing Emma and withdrew from her body, rolling off of her with a groan. His legs felt like they were made of jelly and Emma didn't look like she was in any better shape, her chest still heaving and her eyes fluttering open and closed as she tried to get a hold of herself.

 

The scant inches between them still felt like a canyon and Killian reached out a shaky arm, pulling her close to him and smiling as she nuzzled into his chest. He dropped a kiss on top of her sweaty, tangled hair, feeling a contentment wash over him like he'd never experienced before. This was it for him. This was forever, right here in his arms.

 

“That was… something else,” Emma murmured hoarsely into his chest. Killian couldn't help but laugh at the understatement.

 

“Aye, my love,” he replied easily, letting his fingers drift up and down her spine. Her own fingers sifted idly through his chest hair and she sighed, a pleased and satisfied sound, the tension leaving her body almost completely.

 

“I'm sorry, Killian,” she said softly. He looked down at her, puzzled. “We should have been here so much sooner.” Killian's heart swelled to bursting and he kissed the crown of her head again in reassurance.

 

“We're here now, love. That's all that matters. I'll be here forever, if you let me,” he said earnestly.

 

“Hmm,” she hummed her agreement. “Forever sounds like a good place to start.”