It had started out as a good idea. Emma had been working so much lately, leaving for work early and getting back late each evening. Killian and Henry had decided to have a nice dinner waiting on her when she came home that night. Nothing too fancy, but they knew she would appreciate it.
There was a pot of spaghetti simmering on the stove staying warm and a pan of garlic bread on the counter ready to pop into the oven. Killian had taken the task of setting the dining room table, carefully arranging three places with the rarely-used fine china that had been a housewarming gift from Mary Margret and David. Henry was still in the kitchen, chopping and preparing a salad. The sound of a knife repeatedly slicing through the leafy greens could be heard from the room next door.
Killian couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he began placing three sets of silverware onto the nice napkins he had found in a drawer of the kitchen. They were actually going to pull this surprise off without incident! No sooner had he thought the words, he heard a sharp clang coming from the direction of the kitchen, the sound that could only be that of a knife hitting the tile floor. The pirate froze, waiting to hear Henry laughing at his clumsiness, or to hear the sink running as he picked up and washed the knife, but the apartment stayed silent.
Finally a small voice called out. A voice that spoke in the way Killian imagined Henry had sounded as a young boy. “Kill...?”
He wasn’t sure what exactly it was about the way Henry called for him, whether it was the tone of his voice, sounding so much younger than his thirteen years, or the slight tremble that had woven itself into that one syllable, but his pirate instincts kicked in and he knew that something was wrong. He tossed the remaining unfolded napkin onto the table and rushed toward the direction of the voice. All he could think as he crossed the room was that it was his fault, he had jinxed their nice evening by thinking that everything had gone flawlessly.
Killian’s eyes quickly scanned the entire kitchen the second he rounded the corner, assessing everything in one quick look before settling on the young man standing by the kitchen island (and really that was an odd thing to call a piece of furniture, he would have to mention that to Emma later.) Henry seemed fine at first glance, slightly paler than usual, eyes a little glassy and unwaveringly fixed onto a spot on the counter. No, staring at his hand on the counter. The hand that was held over what appeared to be a huge pool of blood.
He cautiously took a few steps closer, not wanting to startle the young man, and breathed a sigh of relief when he got close enough to see that the red substance he had presumed to be blood was actually the chopped tomatoes for the salad. Well, mostly tomatoes. There seemed to be a steady drip of actual blood coming from Henry’s slightly shaking hand.
“Henry?” Killian asked softly, slowly continuing his trek across the kitchen closer toward the injured boy.
“I...I don’t know wha… what happened.” He started in that same unfamiliarly young voice. “I was almost done with the tomatoes and… and I thought how we actually pulled it off. Then, then I looked down and saw blood and my hand started hurting and I got dizzy…”
“Alright,” Killian said, placing a gentle hand on Henry’s shoulder. “Take a breath lad, you’re fine.” He squeezed his shoulder quickly before letting go and digging through the drawer that held dishtowels until he found a red one and returning to Henry’s side. Once he was close enough to get a good look he saw blood leaking from two fingers.
“Here,” He tightly wrapped the towel around the two fingers, ignoring the way Henry’s eyebrows scrunched together in pain, and pressed the wrapped hand up to the boy’s chest, placing Henry’s other hand over the towel to hold it in place. “Keep it there, just like that, for me. Aye?” Henry nodded, eyes becoming a little more focused now that he couldn’t distinguish between his blood and the red towel.
Killian quickly moved about the kitchen, putting a lid on the spaghetti pot and turning the stove burner off. Canceling the oven’s preheat setting and opening the door so that it would cool. He grabbed the dish towel they had used while cooking off the oven handle and used it to rake the tomatoes, and just to be safe, all the other vegetables Henry had chopped into the trash can. He then filled the kitchen sink with warm water and added a splash of bleach before picking the knife up from the floor and letting it sink under the water. Finally he dunked the dishtowel into the water and wrung it out almost dry and wiped it across the surface of the counter before leaving it in the bleach water.
“Alright. Do you know where Emma keeps the medical supply trunk?” Killian asked.
“Under the bathroom sink.” Henry replied automatically. There was also one hidden in the room Henry now called his own on the Jolly. Emma had made sure he took one with him to leave onboard the first night Killian had took him sailing overnight, not trusting her pirate’s ‘rum and rags’ medical practices.
So Killian headed towards the direction of the bathroom, hooked arm pressed gently between Henry’s’ shoulder blades as they walked so that he would have his hand free to catch the boy if he stumbled, grateful that their apartment was only one floor so that they wouldn’t have to attempt going up stairs.
Once they made it to the bathroom he immediately dropped to his knees and began digging through the bottom of the cabinet until he found the rather large white box with a bright red cross on the front.
“X marks the spot.” Henry’s shaky voice joked from behind him, leaning against the door frame still clutching the towel to his hand. Killian couldn’t help but smile.
“Sit down before you pass out. We don’t need your mother walking in and finding you unconscious on my watch, she would never trust us to be alone together again.”
Henry made his way to the sink where Killian was standing and managed to hop up onto the counter there without using his injured hand. “Alright, let’s get this cleaned up.” Killian said as he turned the cold water on and carefully took Henry’s arm and tugged it down to the sink, slowly unwrapping the towel, choosing to ignore the way the red fabric was stained darker in some places than others.
“Judging from the reaction I witnessed the last time you saw blood, it would probably be wise for you to not watch.” Killian prompted gently, pleased with how quickly Henry took his advice, closing his eyes and leaning his head back to rest against the cool white tile wall behind him. He tried to pull his hand out of Killian’s grip when it hit the stream of water, but the pirate held it still and eventually Henry gave in. The water going down the drain started out red, then faded to pink, and finally clear. Killian turned it off and lay Henry’s hand on the side of the sink.
Knowing that the next part would not be pleasant on either of their parts, he grabbed the dark brown bottle of peroxide from the medical supplies with a sigh. Emma had insisted on using the substance on him once, when Baby Neal had hit him with a toy horse and left a gash above his eyebrow. Nasty, painful stuff that peroxide was. He had gasped at the shocking stinging pain, not knowing that any liquid actually intended for medicinal purposes could hurt more than rum. But it had done the job and hadn’t been a waste of the hard to find in this realm, good stuff he kept in his flask, so he had tolerated it.
He looked up from his thoughts to find Henry’s eyes warily flitting between his own and the menacing bottle in his hand. “Just do it.” Henry told him, closing his eyes and leaning back against the wall again. Killian nodded and untwisted the lid before setting the open bottle on the counter. Before he began he took Henry’s good hand in his own, giving it a tight, hopefully comforting and reassuring squeeze, before bringing it up and letting the fingers clasp onto the open leather jacket he was wearing, remembering the way his own fingers had twisted into Emma’s denim clad thigh during his first experience with this stuff.
“Here we go.” He warned before tipping the bottle over Henry’s hand, using his left forearm to hold the boy’s arm in place. Henry handled that particular pain much better than Killian himself had, his fingers gripped the leather jacket tightly and his lips were pressed into a thin line but he stayed still and silent until Killian put the lid back on the now almost empty bottle. They each let out a breath they hadn’t known they were holding once the bottle was put away and they realized that the hardest part was behind them.
Killian dug through the medical kit again until he found two small pieces of gauze and the tape to hold it in place and laid them on the counter. Then he found the tube of healing ointment goo that he remembered Emma applying to his cut and did the same to each of Henry’s fingers and began carefully wrapping them.
“I didn’t know you were squeamish around blood.” Killian tried to break the silence, not being used to Henry being this quiet for so long.
“It’s stupid.” He answered quietly, eyes attentively watching the badges being applied to avoid Killian’s eyes.
“Not at all.” Killian insisted, tearing off a piece of tape with his teeth. “We all have our weaknesses, those things that cripple us with terror but others can face without a second thought. For me it’s cats.”
“Cats.” Henry repeated, making sure that he had heard correctly.
“Aye. Cats. Hate the scoundrels. My mother had a cat when I was a lad, I’m fairly certain it was possessed by the devil himself. It would lurk in the shadows waiting for Liam or I to walk past and then it would leap out and attack us. I’ve been leery of them ever since.” Killian finished taping up the second finger.
“I didn’t used to be.” Henry’s voice was quiet again. “Scared of blood. It never bothered me until we were in Isaac’s version of the Enchanted Forest.” He took a breath, never taking his eyes off his hand where Killian was now cutting a longer bandage to wrap his fingers together to immobilize them.
“But then I watched my Grandpa drive a sword through your chest. And you died, right there in front of me and Mom. And then I almost lost my other Mom too and I know it wasn’t real, it wasn’t really my family, but it felt real, and it looked real and sometimes I still have nightmares about it, about all the blood and losing more people I love, but I can’t tell what’s real and what’s not when I’m dreaming. And I saw that blood on the counter and I didn’t know what to do, it was like my nightmare world had overlapped with reality and I panicked.”
Killian secured the bandage as soon as Henry had finished speaking and immediately wrapped both arms around the young man, pulling him into a tight hug and letting Henry bury his face into his chest, Killian’s chin resting on top of Henry’s head. They stayed that way for a few moments before Killian pulled away and his blue eyes met Henry’s brown.
“You listen to me, alright? Take it from someone who had to learn this lesson the hard way. You can’t keep things like that locked up inside. Sometimes you have to let people know that you need help, because it’s okay to need help. You have a huge family who loves you so much and every single one of them is here today because of you. You saved all of them. You brought me back. And sometimes we forget that you’re still a child because you are so much stronger and braver than any of us, but you are. You’re still a child. You have been through trials that no child should ever have to endure and of course they have left scars. Not all scars are like this though.” He nodded toward his hook. “Some scars can’t be seen and those are the hardest to deal with because if you get good enough at pretending they don’t hurt, people forget they exist at all.” Henry nodded in understanding.
“And the next time you have one of those nightmares, you come and wake me, alright?” Killian asked.
“I will. Thanks. For this,” He motioned toward his bandaged hand. “And for, ya know, everything.”
“Of course.” Killian smiled. “Now what do you say we go and finish that dinner before your Mother comes home?”
“Yeah.” Henry agreed, hopping off of his perch on the sink and leaving the bathroom. “But you’re making the salad this time.”