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Catch Me If You Can

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“What are you wearing today?” Ruby asks her over the speaker on her phone.

 

Emma hums in response as she thumbs through the clothes in her closet, passing by sweater after sweater that Killian has organized by color despite her consistently messing up his organizational system for their closet. Miraculously, it always gets fixed, heels going on the shelf and white sweater moving to its section instead of chilling with the red jackets on the other side of the room. She didn’t need a closet this big, not really, but if this is what came attached to the master bedroom in their brownstone, Emma is certainly going to fill it up with clothes and boots and far too many hats.

 

She’s simply not going to organize them the way that her husband wants her to.

 

“I’m not sure yet,” Emma tells Ruby while running her hand runs over a black turtleneck sweater that might look good with her plaid skirt and the thigh-high boots that she owns three pairs of now since she wears them so often. It’s not a problem no matter how much Killian says it is as he places them on the shelf. “It’s cold outside, but it’s going to be sunny. Maybe my plaid skirt with the black sweater. What are you wearing?”

 

“Jeans and a sweater, but it’s not my big day.”

 

“It’s not my big day either.”

 

Ruby sighs, and Emma can imagine the exasperated look on her face and the way that Graham is likely sitting on the bed behind her reminding her to be gentle or something similar. He should know better after so many years with Ruby – she’s not gentle when she’s in a teasing mood, and she’s definitely in a teasing mood.

 

“It is your big day,” Ruby corrects. “Your husband could be retiring from baseball today. That’s a huge fucking deal.”

 

Emotion lodges itself in Emma’s throat, and if she could swallow it down and get rid of it for the day, she would. Quickly, she turns around to look and make sure Killian isn’t standing in the closet or the bedroom. He’s not, at least that she knows. He could be hiding in that blind spot near the bathroom. He’s got weirdly quiet footsteps, and she can very rarely hear when he’s moving in this house.

 

“Killian wants to think about it as any other game. He’s told me approximately five hundred times that this isn’t a big deal.”

 

“And you believe him?”

 

“Hell no,” Emma scoffs as she unties her robe and hangs it on a hook before pulling the plaid skirt off of its hanger and slipping into it as most as she can without having someone tug the last little bit. It’s got this stupid hook that never does quite right. “He hasn’t slept in days. Like, actual days. I wake up in the middle of the night to find him reading or running his fingers over me or something. Killian doesn’t want to admit it, but baseball is in his bones. He’s never going to be able to fully leave it behind. He just…they’re down three games to none in the ALCS and even if they win tonight, they could lose tomorrow. I don’t – I want him to win tonight, but I think if that happens, he’ll just keep holding onto the hope that it’s not over yet.”

 

“It’s never over until it’s over.”

 

“You sound like Killian.”

 

“I’ve spent a hell of a lot of time with him in the past six years. It was bound to happen at some point.”

 

“I’m pretty sure I’m the one who was supposed to start picking up his mannerisms, not you.”

 

“We’re sister wives, baby.”

 

“Um, no,” Emma laughs as she clasps her bra together behind her back, “we are not sister wives. I love you, but that’s not true.”

 

“Ah whatever.” Ruby scoffs. “Is the jersey going to go over that sweater well?”

 

“Yep.”

“The plaid may not mix with the stripes.”

 

Emma clicks her tongue, a protest on her lips, but then there’s a high-pitched squeal followed by small legs lacking pants running into the closet. It’s not like she can judge. She doesn’t have a shirt on.

 

“Mommy,” Jace squeals, still giggling and running toward her until he’s slamming right into her calves and wrapping his fingers around her legs while his dark mop of hair brushes up against her thigh. “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.”



“What, Jace?” she questions with a small laugh before scooping him up and resting him on her hip. She swears that he gets bigger every single day, and it kind of freaks her out. Then again, most things about being a mom to a two-year-old kid are terrifying. But also weirdly rewarding. She’s been reassured by Mary Margaret, Elsa, Ariel, and Anna that it’s normal, but she’s not sure she believes that quite yet. “What’s got you running in here out of breath?”

 

“Daddy funny,” Jace giggles, and like he was summoned by the laugh (he probably was), Killian walks into the closet with a small smile on his face and the slightest shake of his head.

 

Handsome as ever.

 

“Daddy is funny,” Emma agrees, leaning down to press her lips against Jace’s forehead, “but we can’t tell him because his ego might get bigger and then you and I won’t have any room in the house.”

 

“Ems,” Ruby interjects, “I’m going to let you go so that you can continue to tell lies about Killian being funny.”

 

“Okay, I’ll see you soon. I’m wearing the plaid skirt.”

 

“It’s not going to go with the stripes,” Ruby says before the line goes dead.

 

“You’re hysterical, love,” Killian grumbles, walking toward her and placing his hands on her waist. They’re warm and rough, callouses that she’s grown used to scratching up against her skin, and he tugs her zipper up without her asking. He’s going to have to undo it when she puts her sweater on, but it’s sweet that he realized she needed a bit of help. “Where’s your shirt?”

 

“Where are our son’s pants?”

 

He arches a brow before waggling them both across his forehead, a smirk stretching across his lips. “Touché, darling. Touché. Jace seemed fit to not stop squirming around so that I could tug his jeans up.”

 

Jace smiles at her, a toothy grin, and it’s almost not fair how much he looks like Killian. Genetics are not supposed to work this way. There is supposed to be some of her in him. She didn’t carry him in her body for nine plus months for him to not at all be like her.

 

There’s supposed to be some kind of payback or reward or something.

 

(Unconditional love or whatever, probably.)

 

“Baby, did you not let Daddy put on your pants?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“Would you let me put on your pants?”

 

“Nope.”

 

Emma rolls her eyes and looks up at Killian who simply shrugs his shoulders. “Well, I guess you won’t wear any pants, and I won’t wear a shirt. Daddy will have to go without shoes.”

 

Killian shrugs. “All in all, I think I’ve gotten the good deal here.”

 

“You have,” she promises, pressing up on her toes to quickly brush her lips over Killian’s. He needs to leave soon to go to what may be his final practice (she swears that she’s not thinking about it too much), but they were all going to ride over to the stadium together. “I’ll get him dressed, okay? You don’t have to worry about it.”

 

“Swan, no. You’ve still got to get ready. I’m perfectly capable of dressing him.”

 

“His lack of pants suggests otherwise.”

 

Killian opens his mouth to say something, but then his lips are pressing together and he’s reaching forward to run his fingers over Jace’s stomach while his other hand comes to rest on her ass, squeezing enough that she jumps.

 

“I’ll dress him,” he continues. “We’ve got to have a go at the jeans again. He might want the light wash instead of the dark. The kid is particular.”

 

“Just like you,” Emma sighs before handing Jace off to Killian. “I’ve only got to curl my hair and then finish getting dressed, okay? It shouldn’t take me more than thirty minutes, and then we can go.”

 

“There’s no rush, my love. Take your time.”

 

Killian walks out of the closet talking to Jace, murmuring little nothings that Emma can’t make out but that she’s sure are sweet and funny and probably ridiculous. It makes her heart swell, which isn’t good for how emotional she is today. She told herself that she wouldn’t be sad, that she would believe Killian’s lies about today not being a big deal, but Killian is a liar. Anyone that says today isn’t a big deal is a liar.

 

She’s a liar.

 

And she’s standing in the middle of her closet holding her hand against the chain around her neck staring at shelf after shelf of Yankees t-shirts and sweatpants and uniforms. This sport and this team are so intertwined with their lives and nearly everything that they do, and Emma’s not sure how she’s going to function commentating on games where Killian isn’t playing. When she got the promotion, she knew this would happen eventually. It was at the back of her mind, and it was supposed to stay there.

 

This wasn’t supposed to come so soon.

 

Killian is only thirty-three, and Emma always thought that they’d have more time.

 

Dammit. Why is she letting herself spiral like this when she’s supposed to be curling her hair and putting this sweater on and not freaking out?

 

Taking a deep breath, Emma grabs the black sweater, a pair of socks, and her boots before tugging them all on, taking each task one at a time while she gets ready. It’s fine. It’s simply another day and another baseball game. There’s nothing happening today that’s any different. They’re going to go to the stadium, drop Jace off with Ariel, Killian will go to practice, and Emma will go up to the booth to review her notes and do the pre-game show. Then the game will begin.

 

It’s all normal and just what they’ve been doing for almost every home game since Jace’s birth.

 

(Except it’s not normal.)

 

(She’s going to act like it is.)

 

When they get to the stadium an hour later, Emma and Jace both fully dressed despite the complications, the hallways are full of people – publicists, players, family members, coaches, vendors. Anyone Emma can think of is flooding the walkways, most of them waving hello and giving Jace high fives that Emma knows Killian will sanitize later simply because he’s a germ freak now, and there’s a particular look in each of their eyes, a tightness in all of the smiles, that make it especially hard for Emma to pretend that today is a normal day.

 

“Jace Jones,” Ariel yells out when she comes into view. “What’s up, my man?”

 

“Ariel,” he screeches out, squirming in Killian’s arms until Killian puts him on the ground and he runs toward Ariel. He’s a blur of pinstripes and the number twenty-nine running in a miniature version of Killian’s jersey. Emma’s got her version hidden away in her purse.

 

“I was always jealous of other guys who got this.”

 

Emma twists from where she’s standing to look over at Killian as he softly smiles at Ariel and Jace, the crinkles around his eyes much more prominent than they’ve ever been. “What?”

 

He nods his head before turning to face her as well. Killian puts his hands on her hips, tugging her a little bit closer to him, and she lazily slings her arms around his neck so that she can smile up at him and his stupid blue eyes. Emma talks for a living. She should be able to find a better way to describe how much she loves Killian’s eyes, but that’s not really in the job card for baseball commentators.

 

Killian’s lips tick up to the right, the crinkles showing up some more, and he can’t seem to decide between looking at her or Jace. “That,” Killian repeats, nodding at Jace. “I used to be damn jealous of all of the guys who got to have their kids watch them play and got to wear their numbers on their backs. He’s not…fuck, Emma. He’s not going to remember that I did this, that I got to be this really cool guy who lived out my dreams and brought joy to a lot of people, and it’s so idiotic – ”

 

“Hey, hey, no,” she whispers as her hand keeps running through the hair at the nape of his neck and her own eyes fill with water, “don’t go there, twenty-nine. You’ll drive yourself crazy. Jace may not remember seeing you play professional baseball, but he’s going to know that you did. And he’s going to have a million other memories that are going to be so much cooler than this, yeah? Today isn’t an ending, babe. It’s a new beginning.”

 

Killian sniffles, his jaw still tense, but it softens a little bit when he dips his head down to hers and starts running his lips across Emma’s jaw and down her neck, pressing hot, open-mouthed kisses that light her entire body on fire and make her cant her hips up into his until Killian has her pressed into a concrete wall. It’s not unusual for them to find a spot to make out in this stadium, not at all, but it’s unusual for them to be this open about it. Their relationship has been a public one without their permission, and they try to keep it as quiet as possible.

 

Right now, Emma doesn’t care.

 

Not at all.

 

Until there’s a whistle and Ariel speaking. “I know you guys are probably going to try for another one of these munchkins during the infamous baseball mating season, but here is really not the place to do it.”

 

Killian chuckles against Emma’s jaw, his scruff brushing into her skin while his smile is tattooed there, and of all of the things Emma is going to miss, she thinks this might be at the top of the list. She guesses that they’ll simply have to do it at home…or Killian can come visit her at work. They have their options.

 

“Daddy kisses Mommy a lot,” Jace explains to Ariel in his broken speech, which only makes Killian snicker into her skin even more before he pulls back.

 

“I bet I can kiss you more than I kiss Mommy,” Killian challenges as he swipes Jace out of Ariel’s arms and peppers kisses across his face and down his arms.

 

Emma’s heart is never going to function normally again, and their insurance is not going to cover this.

 

“You guys are ridiculously cute,” Ariel sighs before walking up to Emma and wrapping her up in a hug so that she can whisper in her ear. “It’s all clear for you to come down after the game. Will and Eric are under strict instructions to keep him in the dugout instead of letting him go back to get his PT and hide out away from the field.”

 

“Thank you, A. You’re the best.”

 

“Yo, Professor Jones,” Will calls out from down the corridor, and everyone’s eyes glance over toward him. “I know you’ve got that fancy college degree now and could actually be a professor, but you’ve still got to show up to practice.”

 

“I’m right outside the door to the clubhouse, Scarlet,” Killian yells back.

 

“Outside isn’t inside, man. I bet Jace knows that, and he’s only two.”

 

“Give me three minutes, and I’ll be there.”

 

“Al is going to have your head.”

 

“He can have it.”

 

“My boy,” Killian sighs as he brushes Jace’s hair off of his forehead, “will you be good for Ariel so that Mommy and Daddy can go to work?”

 

“Nope.”

 

That is undeniably the word of the day.

 

Sending Killian off to practice and the game is a little bit more difficult than usual. The words are lengthier, the hugs longer and tighter, and the final “good luck” and “I love you” weigh heavier on Emma’s mind as she walks away from the clubhouse and to the elevators so that she can go and do her job.

 

It’s a hard day, but it is simply a day.

 

And a ballgame.

 


 

Before Killian’s first pitch, he looks up to her in the commentator’s booth and taps his fist right over his heart.

 

She does the same thing back before holding her hand to the ring that still rests against her sternum.

 

“You’ve got this, twenty-nine,” she whispers, not caring that the microphones are going to pick it up.

 


 

The Yankees lose, 3-2, and the loss definitely stings. The season is over, but Killian’s career is also finished, the bookend closing on the mound and his time there.

 

A beginning, she told him. It’s an ending but also a beginning of him not spending half of the year with a crazy schedule. Her schedule is crazy too, but at least she won’t be traveling with the team anymore.

 

It’s a new beginning for her too.

 

Chants of Killian’s name ring out around the stadium, a melody that sends chills down Emma’s spine, and Killian walks around the bases waving. He looks like he both loves and hates it, and Emma chuckles as she waits in the dugout, hidden away from him until he steps back on the mound one final time.

 

The man she loves is so intertwined with this game and this field, but she knows he’s also so much more than any of this.

 

He’s everything.

 

“You ready to go support Daddy, kid?” Emma asks Jace as his little blue eyes look around at all of the noise. He’s not used to this.

 

“Yes,” he says, and Emma sighs in relief at finally getting that word out of him.

 

It’s not a long walk, not at all, but it feels that way as she passes by all of Killian’s teammates, past and present, to get to him. When he sees the two of them, he immediately moves toward them. His strides are long, almost quick enough to be a run, and Killian wraps his arms around them so tightly that Jace protests and tries to move. He can’t, though, especially when Killian slams his lips into hers and kisses her deeply enough that every thought that Emma had disappears into the continuing chant of the crowds.

 

Killian. Killian. Killian.

 

It’s overwhelming but in the best way, and every thought that Killian has about it is felt in the kiss that leaves her breathless and with barely working limbs.

 

Falling in love with Killian was like this, overwhelming, unexpected, terrifying, and thrilling all at once, and she’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

 

“Easy tiger,” Emma laughs when Killian finally pulls back, “we’ve got company.”

 

“Are we talking the kid we just squashed or all of these people?”

 

“I’m talking Jeff and the camera that’s on our face. I’m supposed to interview you right now.”

 

The smile that breaks out on his face is beatific, and he kisses her again. “I love you, I love you, I love you.” Killian grabs onto Jace and pulls him into his arms. “You too, kid. You ready to watch Mommy work? She’s really good at this even if it isn’t her job anymore.”

 

“She play baseball?”

 

“Something like that, lad.”

 

Emma barely remembers the questions that she asks Killian. It’s a blur of laughter and funny questions and maybe one or two actual questions about baseball. It all gets interrupted by Jace’s talking, most of it tired babbling, and then Liam, Elsa, and the rest of Killian’s family coming out onto the field. The stands don’t empty out, the constant buzz of the stadium staying around, but Emma doesn’t bother looking around up there when she’s got so much going on down here.

 

It’s absolutely everything.

 

Even more so when Killian takes Jace’s hand and walks him around the bases, the two of them laughing together in the way that they always do whenever they’re together, and Emma is most definitely scouring the internet for those pictures tonight.

 

But far too soon, the moment is over, reality coming back to everyone, and Killian has to go inside to do his press conference just like so many of his teammates. There are still articles to be written and deadlines to be met, and the world doesn’t resolve around them.

 

Emma’s world revolves around the two guys wearing the number twenty-nine.

 

She gets Jace back from Killian when they go inside, and the two of them hide out in the corner of the back of the press room as Killian settles down behind the table and all of the journalists and photographers sit in their seats. It starts mostly with the game, Killian’s stats as well as his team’s. It’s standard, just like any other post-game press.

 

Until it isn’t.

 

“You threw a one-hundred-and-one mile per hour pitch out there eighty pitches in. And it was accurate. Why are you hanging up your glove when you have some good years left?”

 

Emma flinches at the question, but it’s one she knew he would get. It was pretty much inevitable.

 

Killian’s hand reaches up to rub over his eyes, the blue sparkling against the red rims from where he’s cried and tried to hide out. “Look,” Killian starts while staring down at the baseball cap in front of him, signatures from every single teammate marking it up, “I get that I’m only thirty-three. That’s not old in life, but on occasion, it’s old in sports. The fact that I’ve played this game professionally for twelve years for the same team is a wonderful honor, especially when you consider the issues I’ve had with my shoulder. I think…it feels damn good to be able to throw an accurate strike like that one you mentioned, but it feels better to be able to hold my son without pain. It feels better for me to be able to embrace my wife or keep my arm around her shoulder while we watch a movie. Those are things I might not be able to do if I keep playing and screw my arm up a little bit more.”

 

Emma adjusts Jace in her arms, careful not to rouse him since he’s probably about five minutes from sleep. The kid has no idea the declaration of love his dad just made for the two of them, all of the declarations he’s been making, and he has no idea just how lucky they are that the sweet man having to talk to strangers about a huge part of his life ending is also the dumbass who thought it would be a good idea to ask her out on television.

 

It’s a good thing that Killian has learned from his mistakes and that she knows how to forgive.

 

“So you’re retiring because of your family? Lots of guys play with families.”

 

Killian rolls his eyes. Emma does too.

 

“I’m retiring because it’s my time,” Killian corrects with a forced smile on his face. “I love this game and everything that it has given me. I’m never truly going to leave it. I think I’ll likely take a few years off, maybe spend a hell of a lot of time making another kid with my wife, and then I’ll come back somehow. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll get into the commentator’s booth with Emma. I think we’d make a hell of a team, and there’s nothing I’d love more than working with her again. Maybe I’ll be a coach for an MLB team or for a college or for my kid’s little league team. I don’t know yet. I haven’t exactly gotten it figured out.”

 

“One more question,” Ariel calls out, and Emma swears that she’s not crying. Nope. It’s not a thing that’s happening.

 

Except that she’s definitely crying and far too emotional, and she doesn’t want Killian to be up there by himself for his last press conference question. So as there’s a loud chorus of questions with every reporter’s hand raised, Killian still trying to pick someone to ask a question, Emma moves around the side of the room until she’s stepping up on the stage, her heels clacking against the platform, until she’s gently sitting down on Killian’s lap.

 

He rolled back in his chair in anticipation of her walking this way.

 

And his hand is warm on her arm and around Jace’s back, and just the slight touch is enough to make her emotional all over again.

 

Killian deserved to go out winning the World Series again. He deserved for his Hall of Fame career to have a big bang for an ending instead of a quiet fizzle, but life doesn’t work out that way. If this is what he wants, this is what he wants, and it’ll be perfect for him.

 

“Lawrence,” Killian calls out, nodding to the reporter who took over Emma’s job at ESPN.

 

“In all of your career, what’s been your favorite moment? Do you have one?”

 

Killian snickers at the question before turning to the side and pressing a kiss against her forehead. “World Series 2019, game seven. That was the year that changed every aspect of my life, and that game was incredible. I don’t think I’d ever experienced such an adrenaline high before. I don’t know if I have since in terms of baseball. I just…that was a special win for me because I got to do it with my mates, a lot of whom have retired since then or been traded to other teams, but I also got to do it with Emma. I know that I…God, I know that I sound like a sap right now, and I – ”

 

Killian tilts his head to the side and buries his face in her hair while his arm tightens around she and Jace. She can feel his body shaking the slightest bit.

 

“It’s okay, Killian,” Emma promises, whispering in his ear while Jace twitches in her arms, waking up the slightest bit. “You’re doing great, twenty-nine.”

 

“I was a fucking liar when I said that today wasn’t a big deal.”

 

“I know.”

 

He chuckles, that same chuckle she’s heard almost every day for six years, and when Killian pulls back from the two of them, he’s got a smile on his face.

 

“That year was the first time I had a partner in my life outside of my brother that I knew was always going to be by my side, no matter what happened, and I think baseball wise, that moment is always going to be my favorite. I’ve loved almost every minute of this journey, even having to deal with all of you guys hounding me about every move that I make, but if you don’t mind, I think I’ve got a toddler who is fast asleep and needs to go home.”

 

Emma twists her head to look at Killian, and he throws her a wink before leaning forward and pressing his lips to hers in a kiss while applause fills the room, an echo of the standing ovation Killian received while out on the field. He doesn’t stay to listen to this one, though. Instead, he encourages her to stand from the chair, and the two of them walk out of the room with his arm looped around her waist to the sound of people cheering for Killian.

 

He deserves every single clap.

 

They don’t stick around the stadium much longer. Killian runs into a few people who want to say goodbye, mostly those who won’t see him in their personal lives, but they’re able to leave pretty quickly. Their families have already gone home per Killian’s request of not making a big deal out of today. They’ll have some kind of celebration next week, one full of food and laughter and joy that isn’t so bittersweet like today.

 

When they get home, Jace is completely out, the car ride having knocked any remaining wakefulness out of him, and instead of waking him, Emma tells Killian to go take a shower while she changes Jace into his pajamas. He protests, like he always does, but eventually he relents and walks out of the room and down the hall to their bathroom so that he can shower. Emma figures that he likely needs a little time alone anyway.

 

It’s a weird day.

 

Once Jace is asleep, his arms wrapped around Will, the stuffed lobster toy that Jace named after Will Scarlet, Emma quietly turns on the baby monitor and closes the door behind her before making her way to the bedroom. The water in the shower is running, a constant hum of a stream, and Emma really does intend to let Killian be and let him have his moment alone where no one will bother him while the warm water beats against his skin. But Killian left the door to the bathroom open, pretty much inviting her inside, and she doesn’t think that he’ll mind even if her plan is simply to stand underneath the water with him and have her makeup fall down her face until she’s left looking like a terrifying clown.

 

Slowly, she steps into the room, the tile cool against her feet, and strips out of her clothes, picking them up off the floor and throwing them into the hamper. Killian hasn’t noticed her yet, the water pressure too high for him to hear her, and he’s got his back turned to her so that she has a view of strong legs and a firm ass that looks a million times better like this than in baseball pants.

 

She’s lucky for a lot of reasons. The muscles that stretch up Killian’s back and his arms tick off some of the more superficial ones.

 

Steam escapes the shower door when she opens it, a little bit of water too, but then she’s quickly pulling the clear glass door closed and stepping onto white tile so that she can wrap her arms around Killian’s waist, her finger threading into the patch of hair over his stomach, and her cheek nuzzling between his shoulder blades. Heat curls between her thighs at the feel of him, at knowing just how much she loves him, but instead of acting on any of it, she presses her lips to his back, laying soft kisses wherever she can while Killian’s hand comes to rest over hers.

 

“I thought you had banished me in here so that I could be alone,” he finally says as the water continues to pound down on them.

 

“Do you want to be alone?”

 

“I want to be with you.”

 

Emma hums and moves her arms from his stomach, sliding them up his body until her hands come to rest on his arms. Killian grunts something unintelligible, a mixture of pleasure and relief, and she’s barely even begun to work out the knots in his shoulder. He didn’t get his post-match massage, none of his usual recovery happening, so his shoulders are particularly tense. She knows exactly what to do, which muscles to apply pressure to and which to knead. It’s a rhythm and a practice that they’re been doing for years now to make sure Killian’s shoulder doesn’t get too stiff in the middle of the night.

 

Running her hands from his shoulders to his neck, she kneads the straining cords there while Killian reaches forward to press both of his hands against the tiled wall. His head drops, chin practically touching his chest, and his groan is almost more than Emma can handle.


“Fuck, love. I don’t...this feels so damn good, but if I don’t get to touch you soon, I’m going to lose my bloody mind.”

 

The heat she feels at his words, spoken in a deep and gravely tone, is almost dizzying, and Emma is ready to let him touch her, to let him bring her to life in the way that he always does. But today is Killian’s day, whether he wants to accept that or not, and instead of letting Killian turn around and kiss her, Emma wraps her arms around his waist again, dipping lower and lower until she can feel him straining warmly against his stomach.

 

She wants to tease him, to draw this out and make him go crazy with want now that they have actual alone time together, but Emma’s never been very good at being patient, especially not when it comes to this man wanting her. Killian’s the patient one, the one who is willing to wait until things are right, but his shallowed breathing and stuttered words make her think that he’s not very interested in being patient right now.

 

“Emma,” he breathes out, a mixture between a plea and a promise.

 

“You do this thing,” Emma begins as her finger traces underneath him, tracing a line in the vein in his length that Killian loves for her to do, “with your arms that make your veins more prominent. It’s just, like, all of the time, and your forearms are ridiculous. I get distracted staring at them. You’re a very distracting man.”

 

She wraps her fingers around his cock now, slow and steady as Killian’s knuckles practically go as white as the tile, and moves it in long strokes. Killian is very obviously trying to keep from thrusting his hips, the tenseness in his body back in full force, and all Emma can do is continue to stroke him and let him find more pleasure than pain as the water falls down around them and causes the hair on Killian to mat together and for the hair on her head to tangle.

 

“Sometimes I worry that I don’t let you know how much I love you,” she continues while Killian’s feet move and his hips begin to pump, aiding her hand in its work. “You’re so good with words and affection, with letting me know how much I mean to you, and I wish I could do the same with you. You deserve that.”

 

Killian’s step falters once more, and Emma thinks that he’s on the precipice of coming until he turns around, her hand falling from him as Killian’s hands come up to grip her face, kissing her with something approaching desperation. His tongue is sinful, hot and wet mixing in with hers, and Emma can feel his all the way down to her toes. There have been times over the years when they’ve gone through rough patches, when things weren’t always great between the two of them simply because of busy schedules or disagreements, but they’ve always worked back from those and come back to this.

 

Come back to this and everything else that makes up the two of them: baseball games, late-night baking sessions that never go right, attending far too many weddings and baby showers, having their own wedding at a courthouse on a random Wednesday, racing each other through Central Park as they run, laughing at the other as they trip over a pair of socks, sharing the depths of their hearts while under the covers, the lights of the city surrounding them.

 

Sobbing at a false positive on a pregnancy test. Sobbing at the accurate positive.

 

It’s a whirlwind, their life, and none of that can encapsulate it all.

 

Emma’s eyes are shut tightly as Killian continues to kiss her, his mouth insistent, and there’s no stopping the curl of heat now. Absolutely none. Especially when Killian moves his left hand and turns the water off, the stream immediately stopping so that chilled air hits the heat of her skin, gooseflesh rising. It’s cold, that’s undeniable, but Emma doesn’t care as her desire roars and Killian slowly backs them out of the shower with water dripping down both of their bodies.

 

“I swear if you let me trip, Jones,” Emma mumbles out as her feet hit against the cloth of the mat in the bathroom.

 

“You’ll what, Jones?” He enunciates the last word with a flick of his tongue against hers before he’s pulling back so that her nipples are no longer brushing against the thick patch of hair on his chest. Emma whines, her thighs too slick with wanting him to even care how desperate she sounds, and all Killian does is grab a towel from the shelf to wrap around her body, the soft cotton nothing compared to Killian’s touch. Even if he’s being an asshole right now. “I know you’re capable of a myriad of things darling, but I think you’re too desperate for me to do any of them.”

 

“You’re pretty confident in yourself, aren’t you?”

 

The towel tugs tighter around her waist, pulling her back into Killian so that his straining length brushes the inside of her thigh, and his lips are so close to her ear, breath heavy, that she’s not sure if she can handle any more of this. “Extremely. You usually like that about me.”

 

“You’ve had a lot of people complimenting you today. I wouldn’t want it to get into your head.”

 

“Of course. You’re here to keep me humble.”

 

“Exactly. I’m very good at my job.”

 

“Mhm,” Killian hums as the towel drops around them and Killian’s hands find the globes of her ass, kneading both of them while he continues to back them up into the bedroom. His lips are on her neck, her shoulder, back to her lips. “I love you, you know? It’s ridiculous how much.”

 

“Funny thing, I feel the same way.”

 

“Good.”

 

Once Emma falls against the mattress, they come together quickly, easily, like they have thousands of times before. Killian knows each inch of her skin intimately, knows just where to kiss and to touch and how to thrust, and it takes absolutely no time for her to begin to feel that desperation of needing him seep into her bones and settle there like it’s going to make a permanent stay. He’s fully seated in her, a heavy and thick drag that is like nothing else, and she can feel all of him hovering over her, heat and strength surrounding her he takes his time with his thrusts.

 

They’re slow, languid, and so damn breathtaking that Emma can’t even speak. She’s not sure that she wants to. Sometimes sex is just sex, a simple release of desire and passion to physically feel good. Other times it’s words of affection written with each kiss and feelings of love enunciated with each thrust and swirl of a thumb over a bundle of nerves.

 

Right now is the second one, and every word that Killian spoke to her earlier – in the hallways, on the field, in the press room – is echoed back to her as he moves within her and over her, his lips writing his love while Emma holds on and attempts to write the same words back.

 

Her heartbeat is thundering, a sound so loud that it blocks out nearly every other noise, and then she’s there, falling apart with a plea and a whisper, pleasure shaking over her body faster than she thought it would.

 

Holy fuck.

 

“Fuck,” Killian repeats back, almost as if he heard her thoughts. “Fuck, love. You’re exquisite.”

 

“So are you. You planning on finishing anytime soon?”

 

“I’m an old man. I’ve got to catch my breath.”

 

Emma barks out a laugh that Killian captures with a resounding kiss while his hips snap into hers, a perfect fit that is like nothing else in the world, and as his fingers intertwine with hers and he pulls them up above both of their heads, Killian joins her in her bliss, his body tensing up as his words become breathless, a mess that gets carried away with the thrum of the ceiling fan.

 

They collapse against the mattress, a tangle of sweaty limbs and wet hair, and when Killian pulls the comforter up over them, Emma turns on her side until she’s snuggled against Killian’s chest with her cheek resting against his heart and his hands in her tangled hair.

 

“We’re going to have to take another shower.”

 

Emma laughs with unbridled joy before pressing a kiss to his collarbone. “Tell me the truth. Did I have mascara running down my cheeks this entire time?”

 

“Oh, most definitely.”

 

“Totally worth it.”

 

“Tell that to sheets that have little black marks.”

 

“I think we can wash them.”

 

“Possibly,” Killian sighs. His hand moves down her back until it’s resting on her ass once more. “But your mascara is damn stubborn. Ruined one of my favorite shirts that way.”

 

“It did not.”

 

“No, no, it did. I swear.”

 

Emma huffs and reaches around to pinch Killian’s side. He doesn’t even flinch. “Would it be so terrible for the two of us to go downstairs and make some brownies and then eat all of them so that we don’t have to share with Jace?”

 

“I think that’s the best idea you’ve ever had.” Killian winks, trademark smirk curling on his lips. “Besides asking me out. That was a pretty bold move on your part, Swan. You had no idea that I had feelings for you. It’s not as if I’d given you any inclination.”

 

Emma laughs again, uncurling herself from her husband and sitting up in bed with a sated, goofy grin. “I had a pretty good idea, my love.”