A Place to Hide – Chapter Three: Captain
Word Count: 3, 063
A/N: This has been sitting in my fic file for a couple weeks because I got serious writer's block. I'm so sorry :S Hope y'all like it. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, as well as suggestions. Happy reading!
Emma was quickly grateful for Killian and his offer, despite her earlier reluctance. Even if she didn't completely trust him and his blatant charm, she truly did need a place to sleep. The breeze that came off the coast was sharp in the dark of nighttime and her initial plan of keeping awake until morning was less than appealing. A couple years on the street and Emma had never slept rough – too much risk. She often found herself wandering until the sun rose before finding somewhere to squat while families were away.
That had been her plan until Killian found her. Killian.
Emma kept saying it over and over in her head, desperately wanting to feel it on her lips, but stole herself to simply watching him as she followed in the dark.
"It's just up ahead," he whispered to her, only turning his head slightly in her direction before continuing forward. They had come along a wide street full of what looked like to be mostly small shops and local businesses. Killian hurried with a swiftness that reminded Emma of home. Wait, not home, just the bustle of street life she'd always been used to. But yet, with him it was full of a lustful excitement, not the dreaded anxiety she was accustomed to feeling.
"Why are you in such a hurry? And why are we whispering?" She tugged on the hand that had unknowingly fallen into hers, but Killian just kept moving.
"Shhh. It's just right -"All of a sudden he spun around and was on top of her again, this time pressing her close against the brick wall of the nearest shop, their breaths mingling, Emma's eyes wide in confusion and surprise.
"What - " Killian's right index finger was quickly on her lips, the feel of his flesh stopping her question short and making her forget the pain of the rough rocks behind her. He kept it there while motioning slightly to his right. Emma's searching gaze followed as she peaked over his shoulder. It was a sentry guard, from the King's army, making his way across the closest intersecting streets. A fellow solider, indeed, and Emma wondered why they were hiding. Killian's finger was still on her, his left hand gripping her tightly at the hip. He waited until the man passed out of sight before speaking, but without letting her go.
"Being out past curfew with an underage woman could have me flogged and demoted," he breathed. Emma felt his fingers squeeze her hip slightly, his eyes never left hers. Struggling to find the right words, her brain wanted to run, to save him from the price she now hung over his head, but her heart took over. Swelling so big in her chest, pushing out all anxiety, she let it decide her next words in just a matter of seconds.
"Then we better get inside, Captain," Emma whispered, smiling up at him. She was a risk, and he was taking it. She'd never felt more worthy in her life.
Killian took her hand once more and they took off again down the cobblestone street. Just a few yards down, he came to an abrupt stop, jostling Emma, before letting her hand go and coming to his knees in front of a large wooden door frame.
Emma laughed quietly, keeping watch around them. "If we're out of options, Captain, I hardly think prayer will help us."
Killian ignored her jest, digging a small pocket knife out of his coats inside pocket and started work on the door's large silver lock. "Just give me a minute," he said quietly. Emma watched as he worried his bottom lip with his teeth, working with his able hands. If Emma wasn't attracted to this beautiful man before, seeing him pick a lock with the kind of quick handed skill she looked up to definitely did the trick. With a final deft click, he pushed the door open with a long squeak and he rose as he motioned for her to enter.
Emma crossed her arms and stared up at him with an accusatory grin. "You, are a criminal, Killian Jones."
He scoffed at her, ushering her inside with his hands on her shoulders before closing the door behind them. "Hardly, my dear. I work here."
They walked into a dark, undistinguishable room, and Emma squinted in order to try and make out her surroundings.
Emma kept talking in order to fill the shadowy silence as Killian went about the room by memory. "I've learned from much experience that if you're entering a building armed with pointy metal objects, it's frowned upon in a court of law."
"Well, as a blacksmith's apprentice, I'm quite used to using 'pointy metal objects… to their utmost extent."
Turning on a gas lamp in the corner, Killian illuminated the large workshop, and then crossed to the window to pull the shutters closed. Emma took in the rows upon rows of swords, daggers and metal work that lined the shop's walls and work stations.
"Woah," Emma half-breathed the word, uncrossing her arms as she was drawn to edges of the room, hands itching to touch the hung steel that glinted in the firelight. "These are amazing. Did you make all these?"
Killian remained close to the shop's window, watching Emma admire the metalwork. "Unfortunately, no," he said, moving across the creaking floorboards towards her. His voice held a twinge of disappointment and Emma turned to him.
"No, I'm still learning," Killian stopped behind a smaller work bench in the farthest corner and sat. Emma walked over to stand in front of him and the wide desk. "I'm afraid I'll never be quite as good as my Master Williams. This is his shop. Most officers find other professions while on leave. We're not always needed by the King, as for the peacetime, and I quite like to get my hands dirty."
Killian's eyebrows rose suggestively with that last comment and Emma couldn't help but giggle slightly. Although her giggles seemed to come out more like short huffs of breath, and Emma mentally chastised herself. It seemed that, since she hadn't often had reason enough to laugh, that her throat was hesitant to the idea. She hated feeling so awkward, sensing the warm, telling blush on her cheeks, but Killian saved the moment.
"Mostly I just like the idea of being good at something," he continued, not looking at her. "When we're out on deployment, I'm always just Lieutenant. Second in command to my brother, Liam – the actual Captain – and I want something that's just mine. Liam doesn't get it, always pushing me to take on more responsibility with the fleet, but if I do, I'll never be free of his shadow."
Emma didn't know how to reply to this blatant show of emotion. She couldn't navigate it.
"I'm sure you're an excellent Lieutenant," was what she went with.
"Oh, I am," he countered, throwing her a cheeky grin that made his eyes crinkle. Her faded blush reignited instantly.
"I just like doing my own thing," Killian continued, "you know?"
As he stood, Killian reached to one of the highest shelves what Emma assumed to be his own corner of the shop. His question rang in her head as he rifled through things loudly, for Emma had had a lot of practice doing her own thing, and it seemed as though Killian knew exactly how she felt. She almost didn't notice the tight muscles in his back, even through the thick cotton of his uniform jacket that tried to hide them – almost.
"Ahah," Killian said, clasping a tightly wrapped item as he removed it from the shelf and turned back to Emma. "This is one that I've made." The cloth that surrounded the short blade was dirty and worn, making Emma think that Killian spent quite some time handling the treasured fruits of his labor. He placed it on the counter and Emma walked around to get a better look as he began unwrapping it.
The blade couldn't have been longer or wider than her forearm, but it was beautiful. The hilt was adorned with a tough black leather grip, the cross of it sturdy as Killian handed it to her. It was surprisingly heavy. As Emma lifted it she saw her own dim reflection in its shiny metal, Killian's too as he looked over her shoulder with a modest smile. Maybe it was the lamplight or made it was the exquisiteness of the sword itself, but Emma couldn't help but think that she looked beautiful, with her wisps of golden hair, having fallen from its band, framing her face. Their eyes met in the blade's reflection and Emma thought suddenly that maybe it was Killian.
She was speechless, and Killian took this to mean she didn't like it. He took back the blade to show her something else.
"My favourite part is these," he pointed to the part of the blade closest to the hilt and Emma couldn't quite make out the intricate detail there, her eyes squinting. Killian went to fetch the lamp by the door and brought it close up to the sword. Emma stared in a wondrous confusion as her heart beat picked up. Several detailed vines had been smoothly carved into the hard steel, laid out at the beginning of the short blade, joining in the middle behind a small blooming flower which adorned the hilt like a jeweled crown. She was speechless again so Killian filled the silence.
"I was thinking of using it as my signature, you know, like how every blacksmith marks his work so people know it's his. Liam thinks it's too feminine for a blacksmith, and I don't know, maybe it is, but I thought it just fit. Maybe it's bullocks, I'm not even sure if Master Williams will…" he was rambling and had started pacing the shop. Emma stopped hearing anything.
Slowly placing the blade back on Killian's table, Emma just as slowly lifted the sleeve on her left arm. Running her fingers over the wrist tattoo she got years ago, as soon as she was old enough to fool an artist into giving her one, her heart beat like crazy. It was the exact same. Down to each lined crease and curved petal, it was the same. It felt like she had been hit with the force of an anvil, her whole body tingling with the same urges she had back in Portland. This time however, it wasn't pushing her toward any gaping green vortexes, but to the rambling man, sailor, blacksmith that was pacing the room behind her. It wasn't telling her to jump this time. This time it was telling her to stay exactly where she was.
With only the sound of her own blood rushing through her ears, Emma quickly swivelled on her feet, her awe-infused stare causing him to stop in his tracks.
There was a blush on his neck and his words were playfully pleading, though Emma still couldn't process them. "Now love, don't be gentle. You can tell me you hate it." His outstretched hands were an invitation for her criticism, but Emma's urges took them as an invitation for something else entirely.
With just three steps between them, Emma reached him in an instant, their chests roughly pressed together as Emma griped the lapels of his blue waist coat. A short grunt left Killian's throat, but before he could question her, Emma covered his mouth with her own.
Killian only hesitated for an instant, for the feel of her soft lips against his almost brought him to his knees. Securing an arm around her waist to keep them both upright and weaving his fingers into the tightly bound hair at the back her head, Killian leaned into the kiss with a deep groan.
He worried Emma's top lip between his own, her little cupid's bow becoming his favourite spot as he paid respect to each part of her petite mouth. He kissed each corner, as well as the defined pout of her slightly fuller bottom lip. Slipping beneath the rough leather of her dark jacket, his left hand splayed across the bare back of her dress and kneaded her soft skin with his fingertips. She whimpered in response and held him tighter.
Emma's chest nearly burst with an unknown, aching warmth. The only way to get closer to it was to get closer to him. Him. She couldn't control herself, and Emma let her tongue sneak out and graze his bottom lip before she pulled back to look at his face.
"I'm guessing you liked it," Killian asked through heaving breaths, referring to his sword.
Emma didn't quite care what he was talking about, and simply answered with a whispered, "Yeah."
Killian stared down at her with heavy lidded eyes, and all he could see was the hopeful lust that clouded Emma's sea green eyes. Their gazes were questioning, for they'd only just met. Shouldn't this be wrong? Just a few heartbeats passed between before Killian could no longer hold back. Her cheeks were flush with heat, but it was the dark swollenness of her pink lips that brought his mouth crashing back down on hers.
He caught her mid-breath, leaving her mouth vulnerable and Killian plunged inside. They both moaned at the intrusion and Emma responded by rubbing herself closer and trying to push the heavy material of his coat from his shoulders. Their kiss broke as Killian ungracefully tried to shrug out of his uniform, but Emma was impatient. Her hands came up to the hair at the back of his neck and she laced them through the ink black strands, her mouth brushing light kisses over his stubbled jaw line. Her tattooed wrist came in direct contact with his hammering pulse point and Emma shivered all over. Her fingertips tingled at the sensation and she tried to release the energy by tugging his short hair.
Their mouths connected again as Killian pushed Emma's own jacket from her narrow shoulders. It fell to the ground with ease. Their hands roamed everywhere. The warm energy within Emma could hardly be contained.
"What is this?" Killian breathed, between urgent kisses. So he felt it too, thought Emma.
"I – I don't know." They didn't stop to discuss.
Hands kept searching, mouths kept kissing, licking biting, but as soon has Killian's fingers threaded underneath the thin, flimsy straps of Emma dark red sundress, noise from outside stopped them. They tore their lips apart and looked toward the windows.
Sharp whistles could be heard in the distance and Killian knew immediately he had to go. Reluctantly, he let go of Emma's bare shoulders and opened the shutters to confirm. His fellow officers seemed to be flowing out of surrounding buildings and heading towards the docks. Liam came marching out of the corner of his eye. He seemed to be rallying the officers together.
"Killian! Killian?" Liam called, though Killian could just make it out through the muffled window. His brother started heading in the direction of the shop.
He couldn't stand to leave, especially after what has just transpired, but it seemed like an emergency.
Killian sighed, turning back to Emma. "I have to -"
The vision on her interrupted his thoughts. Blonde hair mused and falling out of her now quite loose pony-tail, with her creamy bare shoulders glowing with candle light, Emma had picked his coat from the floor and now offered it to him with a smile.
"I know," was all she said. He walked back over to her.
"I don't want to," Killian offered, pushing back the soft angel hairs that had fallen into her face. The feel of his fingertips on her face was heaven.
"I know," she said again with a slight laugh. She didn't want him to go either. But she could already tell, he was a man of honor, and other people needed him. She was just scared of how much it seemed she needed him too.
"Killian!" Liam's voice from outside was getting closer.
"I'll be back before sunrise, I promise."
Emma never put much faith in promises, especially those from people who were leaving, but something in Killian's eyes assured her of his truth. She nodded, backing away from him to scan the roomy loft.
"Is there somewhere I can sleep?" She asked, trying to lighten the mood. "You know, one that might not be completely surrounded by sharp, deadly weapons."
Killian laughed, shaking his head to clear it of her influence. "Yes, sorry, I forgot to mention it. My room is just up those stairs and to the right. You should get some rest."
Emma continued backing away toward the stairs, and Killian was conflicted between leaving as quickly as possible and going back for one more kiss.
He stole himself against it at the sound of his brother. "Lieutenant, lieutenant!?" Killian didn't know what to say, how to end such an amazing day.
Emma still watched him as her body twisted to begin climbing the wooden staircase.
"I'll be back," he said lamely, before turning to reach for the door.
"Hey Jones," she called, and Killian turned just in time to catch a set of silver keys she'd flung his way. He laughed thinking of their earlier break in.
"Thanks," he replied, a little speechless at how much she both challenged and enchanted him.
Disappearing up the staircase, he could barely hear her over the growing noise outside, but he caught just the whisper of her voice before leaving.
He couldn't help the grin that spread across his entire face and Killian stood there for a second, memorizing the feel of her lips on his, the feel of her voice in his head – his heart – before extinguishing the bright lamplight and exiting the workshop.
(I'm not even sure what Liam wants yet, but somebody had to break up that steamy love fest. Too soon for a kiss? Let me know)