Killian closed one eye and aimed the other at the small red circle on the dart board before him. He lined up his shot, pulled his arm back, then fired.
The dart hit just outside the bullseye.
“Tough luck there, mate,” Liam laughed from where he sat in the back corner of the bar as he reviewed his ledger book.
Normally, reviewing the pub’s accounts would fall under the assistant manager’s job, but August had called in sick for the day. It was only fair, Killian had thought even when Liam had grumbled. The two of them had called in at the last minute multiple times due to demon activities. At least August had had the good enough timing to call in when nothing supernatural was happening. If he had pulled this last week, when Liam had been obsessed with the Firestarter, their house had been ransacked, and a demon that turned invisible tried to stab Liam in the back, then maybe Killian would’ve been a bit more peeved at the man’s absence. However, this week had been a total one-eighty from the last, so he hardly minded picking up the extra shift.
Rolling his eyes, Killian walked up to the dart board and pulled the dart free. “It still hit the target, didn’t it?”
Liam hummed but his focus was back on his book. Or, at least, that’s what Killian thought. “Don’t you think it’s strange?” Liam asked.
“Not really,” Killian closed one eye again and took aim, “darts never really was my game.” He threw the dart again, hitting the exact same spot as before.
“Not that,” Liam shook his head. “The fact that the only reason we were able to see that demon--Glass--was because someone had opened all the windows and turned on the air conditioning?”
Sighing, Killian placed his hands on his hips and replied, “I like to think of it more as serendipitous.” It’s true, the only reason Liam had seen the demon’s attack coming was because the house had been so cold, which apparently was Glass’s weakness, but who would have set him up like that? It had to be a coincidence.
“And what about the flowers Will got?” Liam acted like he hadn’t heard Killian. He sat back in his chair, running a hand through his hair. “And how does the Firestarter fit into all of this? We have to be missing something.”
“You’re overthinking this, mate.” Killian didn’t know what else to say. “Besides,” he offered, “You yourself said those flowers were just a prank.”
Liam hummed noncommittally. Had Killian thought it was strange that none of Will’s friends had owned up to the prank? Yes, but maybe they just felt they’d gone too far and regretted it. Killian turned back to his game, not wanting to indulge Liam’s obsession any more than he already had.
Although Liam might have been correct about there being a demon after them, and although his crystals had been imperative in trapping Glass and questioning him--as much as they could question him, anyway, before he’d been engulfed in a pillar of hellfire--Liam had crossed a line when it came to his pursuit of evil. Emma had been caught in the crossfire and could’ve died. It had caused the two brothers to come as close to fighting as they ever had. Eventually Killian and Will succeeded in getting through to him and convinced him to apologize to the detective, which helped ease the tensions a bit in the house.
“Have you heard from Will today?”
Killian’s brows shot up, surprised to hear a normal question come out of Liam’s mouth. Looking at the clock on his phone, Killian said, “No, he was gone before I woke up this morning. Maybe he had an early class.”
Liam grunted, “I don’t think he does on Fridays. Don’t you remember him boasting about his three day weekends when he planned his classes for the semester?”
Frowning, Killian nodded, “Aye. Maybe he was meeting up with friends or wanted to get some extra studying in.” Even as he said it, Killian knew it wasn’t true. Liam loved sleeping in whenever he could. Nothing short of a demonic attack could get him out of bed before nine. “Maybe we should give him a call.”
“Aye,” Liam pulled out his phone and was about to call but was distracted by a knock to the front door.
Liam frowned, but got up to open the door. For a second Killian thought it might be Will, but then realized he’d have come through the back like they always did.
“Detective,” Liam greeted, genuine surprise in his tone. “What are you--I mean, how can I help you.”
“Is Killian here?” Emma’s voice carried past Liam all the way to Killian’s ears, making his back straighten.
Liam moved aside, “Right over there.”
Emma walked in, her hands shoved in her coat’s pockets and a small smile on her lips. “Hey,” she greeted.
“Hello Swan,” Killian smirked. “It’s a bit early for a drink, wouldn’t you say?”
Huffing out a laugh, Emma tilted her head down in an attempt to hide the widening of her smile. Killian’s chest burned with pride, knowing he had an effect on her. “No,” she said, looking up at him through her lashes, “actually I wanted to talk to you.” She hesitated, then looked back over her shoulder towards Liam.
Clearing his throat, Liam held up his phone and said, “I’ll just ahh--I’ll be in the back.”
Once his brother disappeared into his office, closing the door behind him, Killian took a step closer to Emma and brushed his hand against hers. “Well, Swan?”
When her own fingers reached out and twined with his, Killian felt his lips pulling into a wide smile. After moistening her bottom lip with her tongue, Emma said, “I’m here to ask you on a date tonight. For dinner.”
Killian’s legs felt like jello. If he were a weaker man he might’ve stumbled from the shock of it all. Killian raised a brow, “Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that?”
Scrunching her nose, Emma rolled her eyes, “I should’ve known you’d be old fashioned.” She looked directly into his eyes and dazzled him with her smile. “You’ll probably want to wear your Navy uniform like some cheesy movie.”
“Not so old fashioned, Swan,” Killian placed a hand on her hip, curling a finger into one of her belt loops. “As for my uniform, I believe I burned it the day I was discharged.”
“Ah yes,” Emma placed her hand on his chest and focused her gaze on one of his buttons, “that dishonorable discharge. I forgot you were a bit of a bad boy.”
Grinning, Killian told her, “You have no idea.”
Stepping even closer, so that their noses were almost touching, Emma whispered, “I’d like to find out.”
“Killian,” Liam’s voice felt like someone had thrown a bucket of water on top of him. Emma quickly took a step back and schooled her face back into its usual frown.
“I’ve got to get going,” Emma said, looking awkwardly between Killian and Liam. “I’ll pick you up tonight around seven?”
“On one exception,” he bit down on his lower lip, going out on a limb as he continued, “allow me to plan the evening.”
Emma’s green eyes honed in on his blue ones. There was a spark of mischief behind them as she said, “I know how to plan a date.”
“You know how to catch bad guys, Swan,” Killian raised a challenging brow. He didn’t know where all this playfulness was coming from, on her end or his, but he was enjoying it all immensely. “I know how to plan an evening out.”
“Fine,” she said, trying to smother a smile. Eyes flashing over to Liam again, she frowned slightly before saying, “I’ll see you then.”
Once Swan left the pub, Killian looked over and found his brother glaring at the door. “You still don’t trust her, do you?”
“I don’t,” Liam said bluntly, then noticed the look on his younger brother’s face and added quickly, “really know her. Do you?”
Killian shrugged, “Not as much as I’d like to.” He looked down at the floor to hide how hot his cheeks had become. After a long, deep breath, he asked, “Any luck?”
“No,” Liam shook his head, “it went to voicemail. I think we should head home, maybe scry for him.” He pursued his lips, “I just have a bad feeling.”
Killian nodded and pulled out his own phone, “I’ll try again on our way.” He pulled up Will’s contact, but before he could hit the call button, a premonition took him.
Will stood in the kitchen, his eyes swollen and unfocused. His chest rose and fell drastically, as if he’d been running.
Someone wearing a dark hoodie appeared behind him, the gun in his hand glinting against the sunlight. The figure pulled the trigger, the blast from it was deafening. Will sucked in a sharp breath, then fell to the ground.
Blinking rapidly as he regained his sight, Killian didn’t wait for Liam to ask what he’d seen, “We need to get home--now!”
As they sped home, Liam driving well above the legal limit, Killian explained what he saw. It definitely wasn’t a demon in his vision. He didn’t understand it though. Why didn’t Will just orb away? Did it have to do with the state of his eyes? Killian had never thought about the physical limits of Will’s powers before. He’d assumed his little brother could perform them blind, but thinking on it now, as his heart raced in his chest and sweat dripped down the back of his neck, he realized he’d never seen Will orb something to or from him without looking at where he was aiming.
Screeching the car to a halt on the curb in front of the house, the two brothers hauled ass into the manor. Just as they turned the corner into the kitchen, they saw the dark figure raise his weapon. “Liam!” Killian yelled as the gun went off, but his older brother already had his hands up, freezing the man and the propelling bullet in its place.
“Bloody hell,” Killian swore, lunging forward and snagging the bullet out of the air. “Will,” he sighed, finding his brother exactly where he saw him in his vision. Will’s eyes were red and angry, and when Killian pulled him into a hug he realized his brother was trembling something fierce.
“It’s August,” Will said, although his words were a bit garbled from the shudders of adrenaline.
“What?” Liam pulled the figure’s hoodie down and there he was, the man they’d called friend. The man they’d trusted with Liam’s bars, who’d offered them rides home, who’d joked and clowned around with them for months.
“Tink!” Killian yelled once Will’s legs gave out and they both began to slide towards the floor. “We need some help!”
Tink soon arrived and with a pale face brought her healing hands to Will’s eyes. A golden light appeared and soon Will could see again. The three of them brought him over to the living room couch. Liam ran to find some blankets for the shock, and Tink whipped up some hot coco. Will held the mug in his hands, basking in the warmth but never once bringing it to his lips. He told them all what had happened. How he’d stayed late at the pub last night and offered to help August clean up. Then the psycho threw cooking oil into his eyes, knocked him out, brought him to the manor and tied him up in the basement.
Killian knew there was more to the story, but he’d heard enough for now. Striding over to the still frozen man, he pulled his arm back and threw all his weight into a punch to August’s jaw. The action caused Liam’s freeze to wear off, but it didn’t matter, as August remained on the floor, unconscious.
Liam called David, who immediately sent over a squad car to pick August up and cart him off to jail. When they were alone again, Killian’s suspicions about Will’s powers were confirmed. He’d never had to orb without seeing where he was going before, and when it came down to it, he discovered that he couldn’t. Liam had patted him on the shoulder, told him that was something they’d work on later and then told him to get some sleep.
Will slept for several hours, not even stirring when Killian, Tink, and Liam began to pick up the mess that had been made while Will had been trying to escape his attacker.
After Killian and Liam lifted a bookcase back to its upright position and began collecting the fallen books and nicknacks, Liam shook his head, “I can’t believe this all happened because of some mortal.”
“Aye, it’s like Nolan said, I suppose. You never can tell.” There was a bit of silence as Liam took time to alphabetize his books and Killian just crammed them all onto shelves.
“It’s almost seven,” Liam said, “have you had a chance to plan your date for tonight?”
Although Killian noticed that Liam steadfastly kept his gaze down at the books he was organizing, he pretended not to mind. Instead of wondering why his older brother was taking a sudden interest in someone he didn’t particularly like, Killian pretended his brother was just being curious. “Of course, I’ve had this date planned since the first moment I met Swan.”
“Well, ah,” Liam cleared his throat and finally began to stack his books, “just don’t be out late.” He jerked his chin over to Will’s form over on the couch, “I’d feel better if we were all together tonight.”
“Right,” Killian gritted out, barely holding back his tongue. He knew his brother was just concerned for him, especially right after Will’s attack, but he was a grown man who could take care of himself. “Well, I’d better get ready.”
Once Killian had showered, changed, and added a touch of cologne, it was ten till seven. Checking that he had his keys, phone, and wallet, he headed down the stairs and found Will standing in the bottom. His blanket was around his shoulders like a shawl and he held a decorative pillow tightly to his chest.
“How’re you feeling, mate?” Killian asked as he took the final step off the stairs and gave his brother a pat on the shoulder. “Want me to bring you up some tea?”
Will grimaced at the offer, and it reminded Killian that his younger brother was steadfastly American, even when it came to his beverage options. “Coco, maybe?” He offered instead.
“Tink’s making me some,” Will gave him a half smile. “I’m just going up to bed to rest there.” Looking his brother up and down, then giving a tentative sniff, he asked, “You got a date?”
Killian laughed, “Aye, Swan asked me out.”
“About time!” Will’s smile was a full one this time. “Where are you going?”
“The Morris.” It was a restaurant Killian had only really heard about and never gone to, but the reviews were amazing and the food wasn’t overly priced like so many other restaurants in the city. It would be special enough for a first date, but not so intimidating or extravagant that either of them would feel uncomfortable by the ambiance or meal’s price tag.
Will whistled, “Bring me back some of their buckwheat donuts, yeah?”
“Of course mate, now go on and get up to bed.” As he watched his younger brother ascend the stairs, he couldn’t help but add, “And don’t forget to eat something more than chocolate tonight!”
There was a knock at the door and Killian’s heart soared. Shouting out a quick, “Got it!” He quickly took the few steps over into the foyer and opened the door to find Emma on the other side. “Hello, Swan.”
Emma wasn’t dressed in anything fancy, and he hadn’t expected her to, but the simple black dress she wore beneath a black leather jacket inspired him to say, “You look beautiful.”
Grinning at him, it was her turn to look him over, “You don’t look too bad yourself, Killian.” Holding her arm out, her grin widened, “Where to, captain?”
Chuckling, Killian linked his arm through her own, “Just you wait.”
Emma drove, but Killian was in charge of navigation. It didn’t take them too long to arrive at the restaurant, less than a half hour, and when they arrived they were lucky enough to be seated right away. Once they were seated, Emma took off her jacket and hung it on the back of her seat. The sight of Emma’s bare arms made Killian’s mouth run dry. Before this, he wouldn’t have considered himself an arm man, but after seeing her toned and well defined muscles, he realized he most definitely was.
“So,” Emma looked up at him over her menu, “tell me about your day.”
Killian huffed out a laugh, “How much time do you have?” Emma raised a brow, challenging him to continue, so he did. Normally he would’ve changed the subject or glossed over what had happened, but with Emma, he felt that not only could she handle today’s craziness, but that she actually wanted to hear about it.
He told her about what happened, sans magic, of course. How Will had been sent those strange flowers the day their house had been broken into, how both he and Liam had been worried after not hearing from Will all morning, and then coming home to find him with August. Besides a pair of raised brows, Emma didn’t seem too perturbed by the story. “You must hear about these kinds of things every day.”
Emma shrugged and released a deep sigh, “It’s one thing to hear about it, another to live through it. Are you sure you don’t want to call off the date? We can reschedule if you’d rather be home with your brothers.”
The sincerity behind her words made him smile, “Will would never let me live it down if I took you up on that offer. Besides, he’s been asleep for most of the day. He won’t even notice I’m gone.” He would notice if Killian forgot to bring him back those sweets though.
“As long as you’re sure.” The waiter came to take their drink orders. When he left, Emma tilted her head and stared at him through narrowed eyes, “Why do I have a feeling that you and your brothers live very exciting lives.”
Snorting into his glass of water, Killian said, “Hardly. It only seems that way at times.”
“Right,” Emma took a small sip of her wine. “How long have you three lived together? I can’t imagine living with so many siblings to be easy.”
“It’s only been a couple of years, and” Killian shrugged, “it’s not so bad when you’re close.” Killian took a sip of his own wine, then confided, “Sure some things can get frustrating, but it’s never too bad.”
The waiter returned for their dinner orders. Emma ordered the king salmon and Killian ordered the oysters with kimchi mignonette.
“You’re lucky,” Emma placed her elbows on the table so she could rest her chin in her palm. “I never got along with any of my foster siblings. We fought constantly.” She chuckled, “That’s probably why I’ve never had a roommate.” She pulled her lips back in a fake grimace, “We did always fight over stupid things, though, like clothes and what to watch on TV. It all seemed so important back then.”
“I know exactly what you mean. Just the other day Liam and Will were arguing over locking the front door. You’d think grown men would know better, but,” he gave an over exaggerated roll of his eyes. “Do you still keep in touch with any of your foster siblings?” He reached for a roll of bread.
“Not really,” Emma leaned back in her chair and pulled her hair back. “Once you age out of the system you’re on your own.” She shrugged, “Keeping in touch is pretty low on the list of priorities.
Killian winced, feeling as though he’d once again put his foot in his mouth. Emma smiled gently and reached across the table, covering his hand with her own. “Don’t look so scared. Really, I don’t mind talking about this stuff.”
Squeezing her hand with his, he returned her small smile with his own. Then, as if overcome with the need to dig deeper, he asked, “Do you mind if I ask a personal question?”
Brows furrowing, Emma said, “Shoot.”
“Do you remember anything about your birth parents?”
The waiter returned with the meals, forcing them to let go of each other. After warning them both that their plates were hot, he once again scurried off to his next table, leaving them alone.
Emma looked down at her fish and toyed with the edge of her plate, seemingly unaffected by its temperature. “No,” she said quietly. “I don’t remember anything about them.”
She looked up at him, and Killian knew she was going to continue so he said, “You don’t have to, Swan, if you don’t want to.”
Smiling her crooked little half smile, she told him, “It’s okay. I’d like to.” Taking a calming breath, she continued, “I don’t remember anything, but one of my foster fathers told me I was found on the side of the road, wrapped in nothing more than a blanket.”
“Do you ever think about looking for them?”
Emma shook her head, “No. I don’t think I’d want to meet them, actually.” She picked up her knife and fork, “Okay, enough of my tale of woe,” she joked, “tell me more about that boat you mentioned before.”
So Killian did, he spoke about how, when he’d first gotten out of the Navy he’d pulled together all his savings to buy a wrecked sailboat. He’d been planning to fix it up and sail around the world. First he’d planned to sail along the Pacific Coast down and around South America. Then wherever the wind took him. Back to England, maybe, to revisit old sites from his childhood.
“I almost had enough saved to fix the thing, too, but then,” Killian trailed off. The reason he hadn’t followed through with his dream was that his powers were activated and all of a sudden he had responsibilities. “Well,” he shook his head, “it worked out in the end. If I hadn’t stayed then Will and I wouldn’t be nearly as close.”
“You’re half brothers, right?”
Killian nodded as he ate one of his oysters. After swallowing he said, “Aye, we’re only five years apart but the first time we met I was thirteen or so. Before that it was just Liam and me.”
Emma smiled, “You really look up to him, don’t you?”
“Liam?” Killian chuffed out a laugh, “Is it that obvious?”
“I think it’s sweet.” She speared a piece of fish with her fork. “Everyone should have someone in their lives like Liam. A protector.” She took a bite.
Killian hummed thoughtfully, “I wish Will had had him growing up, maybe they’d understand each other a bit more.” Instead of chafing at the elder’s protectiveness, Will would understand it--appreciate it, even.
They continued their conversation, talking about everything and anything. They discussed minor things, like their favorite foods and movies, as well as the major, like their home lives and personal goals. It was surprisingly easy to talk to Emma, once Killian got out of his head. Emma was witty and kind, and as the night progressed she showed more and more of her smile. It was absolutely radiant. Killian could sit there for eternity if only she’d continue to smile like that at him.
Eventually, after they’d finished their dinner, shared a dessert, and Killian had gotten Will’s donuts to go, they made their way back to Emma’s car. They drove to Killian’s home in silence, their hands intertwined over the center console. Emma drove easily with one hand on the wheel, a soft smile on her lips as Killian’s thumb caressed her skin.
When they arrived back at the manor, Emma insisted on walking Killian all the way to the door, laughing, “What would your brothers think of me if I did anything less? That’s no way to end a date.”
Wrapping his arm around her shoulders for the few steps it’d take to make it to the front door, Killian pulled her close to press a kiss atop her head, “How chivalrous of you, Swan.”
They reached the door and Emma turned towards him, “I had a good time tonight, Killian.” Her eyes flickered down to his lips.
Raising a brow and moving his arm so his hand rested against the back of her neck, he asked, “Good enough to warrant a second?”
Emma smiled. “Maybe,” Her voice turned soft as she said, “depends on what happens next.”
Killian closed his eyes and leaned in. The moment his lips met hers, a shudder ran down his spine. Emma’s hands came up and grabbed at the fabric at his waist, pulling him closer. The hand that was cradling the back of her head tangled its fingers in her golden locks, pulling slightly and making Emma gasp.
Kissing Emma felt like coming home. Like he’d been at sea for months and months and was finally sent to land for extended leave. It was a sense of relief mixed with excitement.
Emma’s tongue swiped across Killian’s bottom lip, making him drop Will’s box of donuts. Pushing Killian backwards until his back was to the wall, Emma’s hands, surprisingly hot, made their way beneath his shirt and she dragged her fingernails down his skin.
Laughing slightly into their kiss, Killian pulled away just enough to say, “As much as I am enjoying this, Swan, what do you say we move it inside?”
Emma’s eyes, slightly clouded with lust, cleared up in an instant, almost making him regret he’d said anything. “Right, sorry,” Emma looked down and pulled her hands away before shoving them into her coat pockets. “I just, ahh,” she bit down on her bottom lip.
Before she could retreat even further, Killian ducked in to press a quick kiss to her cheek. “You need never apologize to me, Emma. Now,” he pulled her hands out of her coat with his own and tilted his head so he could look her in the eye, “would you like to come in?”
Smiling softly, Emma shook her head, “I should go.” Giving his hand a squeeze, she said, “Goodnight, Killian.”
Watching her walk back towards her car, Killian sighed, “Night, Swan.”