Matching Rhythms

Word Count: 2,071

Rating: T

A/N: Short drabble based off the end of Hilary's fic "Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Rum." Takes place well into the future, therefore Emma and Hook's relationship has grown significantly since the events of OUAT Season 2.

This scar is a fleck on my porcelain skin
Tried to reach deep but you couldn't get in
Now you're outside me
You see all the beauty
Repent all your sin.

- "Your Ex-Lover is Dead," Stars.

Whatever purifies the heart also fortifies it.

- Hugh Blair.

It was in these short moments that Killian was truly complete. After hundreds of years of constant warring with himself and his enemies, Killian finally felt at peace. No more revenge to be taken, or far off lands to be ventured – to just live and revel in these special hours with her was enough. Enough for the rest of his days - days which he planned to live out quickly and passionately, for he was finally ready to let go and stop running. So much of his long life was scarred with wretched loneliness and heartache that he knew now what it felt like to be fulfilled.

What cemented him to this cursed town could only be heard in the silence of nighttime and only by the seldom few it chose as worthy – the deep sound of its heavy spells bringing light to the darkness around him. Killian often wondered about it, whether it had the power to bewitch his own soul, latching it to hers. However he was reminded in the clarity of daytime that it wasn't her magic that ensnared him, but her beauty, strength, humour and love. The power she held in her core did not create these enchantments, but was a manifestation of them, for her inner soul magnified and reflected her true self.

These were some of the many musings Killian was met with during his last moments before slumber. Himself and Emma had fallen into a slight routine over the past several months, escaping to his ship in the late hours of the evening and spending their nights together. Their relationship wasn't exactly a secret, but the two of them enjoyed their privacy – neither of them the sort to broadcast themselves or their feelings to others. After light conversation the pair would often end the night in each other's arms, consummating their love by freeing themselves from years of fear and distrust while coming together, both screaming in release. Emma was usually quick to fall asleep, her body utterly spent from their romantic exertions, and Killian always took advantage of this time alone.

With the side of his face pressed against her bare chest, the swell of her soft breast under his chin, Killian would close his eyes and bask in the feel of her beating heart. The gentle thump, thump as it steadied from their previous engagements and relaxed him, often lulling him to sleep. This night however, Killian thought about the importance of each solitary beat, pumping the vital blood through his new love, and reminding of the one he lost. How easy it is to stop a heart, he thought. Long ago Milah had been carrying him back to this very ship, barking orders with a fire behind her bright blue eyes, and in the next instance her body lay on the decks below him with her life source in the hands of another.

Killian gripped Emma's body closer to him at the memory, concentrating on the soft vibrations of her chest, his head rising and falling with her deep sleeping breaths. Killian's mind then drifted the voices of her parents, their hushed tones conversing about the events at Lake Nostos. So much had happened since their escape from the Enchanted Forest that Killian's ears had perked up at the discussion. Snow White had divulged in secret to her husband Emma's supposed heroics and spoke of the witch's inability to rip her heart out, despite the tight grasp she placed inside her chest. Killian's presence in the room went unnoticed and the information he gained had plagued the back of his mind for many nights.

The hope that Emma's heart might never be removed from between her two lungs overwhelmed Killian. The notion that he may never have to relive his greatest misery brought him so much happiness that it scared him and made him question everything. Was he with Emma because he loved her, or did he stay because she offered a future that was different than his past? Killian rubbed his face back and forth against her freckled skin, breathing in her scent as his scruff danced over her left breast.

"That tickles, you know," Emma laughed from her comfortable position below him.

Killian's eyes snapped up to hers, startled by the sudden sound. "You're awake?"

"Have been for a while," Emma admitted as she played with the black hair at the base of his neck, his chin still resting on her chest. "What are you doing?" she asked, her voice light but questioning.

He struggled for an answer that wasn't as embarrassing as 'listening to your heartbeat.'

"Loving you," Killian confessed with a smile, clearly giving up at thinking of anything nonchalant, and placed a chaste kiss to the shallow valley between her breasts while squeezing her closer to him.

She giggled. "I'm flattered, Captain," Emma responded, clearly oblivious to the weight that Killian's thoughts truly carried.

The pair had already exchanged intimate 'I love yous' but hadn't yet waded into the pools of deeper vulnerability. They had achieved a comfortable level of familiarity with each other which had yet to be tested.

Not knowing how to continue, Killian just laid his head back down on her and let out a deep sigh, his eyes staring blankly into the corner of his cabin. Emma continued to play with the mop of unruly hair that sat upon his head. It was still totally disheveled from their previous activities, and she liked it that way. She began to massage his scalp, trying to coax out his thoughts.

"Something's bothering you. Tell me," she whispered.

Killian closed his eyes at the feel of her fingers working his worried head, relishing her hands on him.

"Mmmm, that feels nice," he hummed, evading her pries. "I know of another place where your hands would be appreciated." Killian grinned into her flesh, running his hand over her tight stomach.

"As much fun as that would be, I think I'd rather talk," Emma countered, fighting off her own stupid grin.

"Oh bloody hell," he groaned under his breath, his mind wondering again about the magical powers she must have over him.

"Your parents said something the other night that got me thinking," Killian gave in with an aggravated sigh, his hand coming up to rub his face and shield him from her focused gaze. "Is it true, Emma? Is it true your heart can't be taken?" He tried to look up at her with a neutral expression, not expecting anything, but all Emma saw was a man pleading with blatant hopefulness.

"That's what's wrong?" she asked incredulously. "It happened one time, Killian. I stepped in front of my mother to save her life. Anyone would have done the same." Emma tried to brush it off.

"No they wouldn't have. You would. You did."

"It was in the heat of the moment. I didn't even really know what I was doing," Emma spoke to the empty space of the cabin, no longer able to look into his accusing eyes.

Killian shifted up her body, placing himself in her line of sight with his chest now on top of hers, their heartbeats becoming in sync as they rested atop each other.

"Emma, you know how Milah was killed. Do you know what it would mean to me if you could never be hurt like that?" Killian eyes darted to each spot on her face, waiting for her reaction.

Emma didn't know what to say. She didn't want to give him a promise she couldn't keep.

Killian bent down and kissed her forehead, then each of her eyelids and finished with her nose before looking back to her face. Emma felt her heart swell as she noticed her own beats matching the rhythm of his, and feeling the love he felt for her.

"Killian, I – I can't promise you anything. My magic, I don't know how to control it yet," she choked out, trying not to upset him. His reaction surprised her.

Killian smiled down at her with one of the biggest grins she'd ever seen on his face, his eyes alight with happiness. "What? What is it?" Emma asked, confused.

"Do you feel this, Emma?" Killian gestured with his chin to their touching chests. Emma could sense a connection between them felt by more than just skin. It felt as though her heart was bursting with life, tingling like she had just relived the happiest of memories. "You can control it."

Tears pricked at the corner of her eyes as she beamed up at him with the realization. "You feel that too?"

He couldn't put his fingers on the exact moment when he knew, but staring down at her, Emma's blue eyes wide with surprise and her golden hair spread out beneath her head - it clicked something together in his mind. After months of listening to the steady beats of her heart with the quiet lulls of the waves crashing outside against his ship and wondering about her powers, Killian finally understood.

Killian pressed himself more firmly to her. "Emma, you're making my chest burst," he said, his own eyes glossing over at the pressure building inside his heart. "You make me want to be better. To be good. I don't think – I don't think I've ever felt that way. I've always been out only for myself, and for the first time I can't imagine a life alone. I can't image I life without you. You've changed me." Killian shook his head softly in an attempt to gather his fleeting thoughts. He looked back into her clear blue eyes, his mind finally sure and clear. "The magic isn't in you, Emma. You are the magic."

She almost couldn't take the honesty that was present it his voice. The tears that threatened to fall at the corner of her eyes finally did, slowly splashing down into the hair that fanned out around her head like a halo. His words made her choke with happiness as she brought her hand up to wipe away the wet tracks now on the side of her face.

"I love you," she laughed, her arms wrapping around his torso and securing him to her. Emma shut her eyelids as she buried her face into his neck, the two of them mimicking each other's movements, hearts still joined in rhythm. Both of them breathed deeply to settle the overwhelming pressure inside their chests until it dimmed to a dull ache. Tears still leaked from Emma's eyes as Killian rose up to meet her face again, a content smile on his lips.

After placing a chaste kiss on her lips, Killian disconnected them as he fell to the side of her. Emma noticed an immediate coldness come over her. It was quickly quelled as he placed his head back on her chest and closed his eyes, concentrating again on her steady beats. His head was jostled at the motions of Emma's laughter.

"Can't get enough, can you?" She asked lightheartedly.

Killian wrapped his arms around her and sighed deeply, "This, my dear, is how I plan to fall asleep for the rest of my days." His voice sounded sleepy now, halfway between dreaming and reality.

Despite his previous declarations Killian's words still shocked her, admitting that he wanted to spend his life with her. They hadn't yet discussed the future, the two of them still figuring out how to live in the present. Emma wondered whether or not he would have said such things if they weren't still affected by their bond. Her question was soon answered.

"And that I can promise you," he finished, almost reading Emma's thoughts as he drifted off to sleep, concentrating on the strong rhythms of her chest, his own beats still matching hers as a renewed strength swelled within him, his mind at rest and his heart complete.

Please let me know what you think! XD