Gently running her hand over her swelling stomach, Emma looked out the large window showing the sea and horizon. She knew they were to reach port soon, to give the crew a break as well for her to pick up some supplies.
Though they still fit, most of her clothes had become snug, her growing stomach making them tight. She knew it would be something she would have to face soon enough, thankful for the foresight of bringing with her some small valuable tokens to sell.
She knew that a majority, along with the more valuable pieces, would have to be sold later, when she was able to settle somewhere to have her baby.
Part of her wondered if Killian intended to stay with her for that, his promise of not letting her have the baby alone ringing through her mind.
Deciding to go up onto the deck, she basked in the sunlight, knowing spring would be in full effect on land. She could make out the mass ahead, making her smile at the thought of getting some time on land, no matter how brief.
"Doing okay, love?" Killian asked from behind where she stood, her hands resting on the gunwhale.
Breathing in the briny air, she nodded. "Yeah. Just wanted some air and to see how soon before we made port."
He moved to stand beside her, a small smile gracing his face. "Not long. We should be arriving in a couple hours at most."
Giving him a soft smile, she nodded.
"Do you wish for me to accompany you when you get what you need?" he asked her.
She knew he would go with her if she asked, having often gone with each other into the villages and towns before for supplies. It had been something neither of them minded doing, often just enjoying spending time together without having to worry about a task or duty. As they grew older, they had even been allowed to go without a chaperon or guard, trusting the both of them to keep each other safe.
She nodded, knowing she would appreciate the company. "If you don't mind."
He grinned widely. "Of course not, Swan. I'd be more than happy to be on your arm."
Chuckling, she playfully bumped his shoulder, making him release a small laugh.
"How're you and the little one feeling?" he asked her as their laughter died down.
She covered her stomach with her hand, smiling down where the baby rested. "We're both fine."
He smiled in return.
Killian kept near Emma as they moved through the small town, looking for what she needed for the coming months. She had been able to get a good price for one of the necklaces she had brought with her, resulting in the gold she was carrying on her.
He had been impressed when she had dealt with the merchant she had sold it to, watching as she managed to talk the man into paying a large amount for the jewelry. He wasn't surprised, knowing how stubborn Emma was.
Finding a seamstress, she glanced back at him, her brow slightly pinched. "Do you mind?"
He shook his head, gesturing her forward. "Of course, love. I'll wait out here."
She gave him a small smile as she nodded, turning and entering the shop.
Leaning against a wall, he watched the people moving about, on edge since finding the wanted poster that had put a price on his head.
He had worried about it since finding it, not only for himself, but for what could happen to Emma because of it. He couldn't leave her alone, especially in her condition.
He closed his eyes as he thought of Emma, of how complicated their relationship had become since they found each other. She was just as important to him as Liam, someone he knew he could always trust and go to.
She was his best friend, someone who had saved him from a life of misery when they were children, and he had loved her for it.
Liam had told him he should put his childhood infatuation behind him, that he should move on because as he and Emma got older, she moved on from him, seeing him as nothing more than a friend. He saw how other men, much more worthy of her than he was, looked at her, and knew he had to move on from her.
Killian didn't regret suggesting to Emma that they marry to protect her and her unborn child, but couldn't figure out why he often felt the way he did or what it even was.
He had always felt protective over her, but the urge to keep her from harm had only grown, especially since he had found her in the tavern a month ago. He found he was willing to sacrifice anything and everything to make sure she was safe and happy, to comfort her in any way he could.
She had even invaded more of his dreams, more often than usual. He didn't know what to make of them, especially when he woke early in the morning, to find that he was holding Emma so that she slept in his protective embrace, as if he had pulled her to him as they slept.
He wondered if he was just craving female company, if spending some time in the company of a pretty woman would help chase away whatever it was he was feeling.
He hadn't noticed Emma had finished until she stood nearly in front of him, snapping him out of his thoughts.
"Sorry it took so long," she apologized.
He immediately shook his head. "Don't apologize, Swan. Did you get everything you need?"
She nodded. "Pretty much. Just a couple more things if you don't mind."
Taking the package from her, he carefully hitched it under his hooked arm before offering her his other. "Not at all."
They walked back toward the ship, stopping at the apothecary, finding herbs for her to help with any occasional sickness she felt and soap that didn't irritate her, having confessed what was already in the cabin had a smell that had began to churn her stomach.
"I know, it's stupid," she muttered as they walked out of the shop.
"No, it's not," he told her gently, wanting to put her at ease. "Swan, if you can't handle certain things right now, it's fine. It's nothing to be ashamed of."
Biting her lip, she nodded.
Sighing, he stopped them, releasing her so he could face her. "Swan, if you had told me before that those other smells made you sick, I would have replaced it all immediately. Anything you need, we'll get it for you. I'll do whatever I can to make you comfortable."
"I don't want to be a burden," she said quietly.
"You're not," he responded. "Whatever you need, love, you only have to say it."
Slowly, she gave him a small, soft smile.
Instead of offering her his arm again, he took her hand in his, squeezing gently.
They walked back to the ship in companionable silence, the sun beginning to sink below the horizon as they reached the docks. He glanced over at her, noticing her content, serene expression. She had been looking healthier since they had found each other, with someone to make sure she ate and slept enough, along with just relieving her stress. Her skin had taken on a radiant glow, and her pale gold hair had a healthier shine. Her feminine figure had filled out to accommodate the growing baby in her womb, contrasting from the thinner appearance she had when they first found each other.
Killian had always thought her beautiful, even growing up, but something niggled at his mind, making him only ever noticing her. He had only ever noticed her, never taking much interest in other women.
"What's going to happen tonight?" she asked him as they stepped back on to the ship.
"Well, the crew is free to do whatever they wish for tonight, so they'll most likely be at the tavern," he responded, following her as they made their way back to their quarters. "The ship should be quiet, so you can relax without worrying about being disturbed."
She smiled, obviously delighting in the thought.
"What about you?" she asked, looking back at him.
He shrugged as he set down the various packages. "Probably go with the crew a bit. I'm still their captain."
She nodded as she sat down on the bed.
"Will you be okay here on your own?" he asked her suddenly, not wanting to leave her alone.
"I'll be fine," she reassured him. "I know a couple men are staying behind. I won't be completely alone."
He nodded, the men coming to mind. The cook, a middle-aged man with blond hair and a warm demeanor, and the bosun, calm but who loved to antagonize the cook, would take care of Emma if she needed anything.
He looked back at her, wanting to be absolutely certain. "Are you sure, Swan?"
She nodded encouragingly. "Yeah, go ahead. Go enjoy yourself. If I need to, I'll go find you."
Seeing him hesitate, she playfully shoved him toward the stairs leading out, laughing. "Seriously, Killian, go on. I'll be fine."
Sighing dramatically, he went to leave, but not before returning her smile.
Taking a deep breath as soon as he was back on the quarterdeck, he decided that it would possibly be benificial for him to go out. He thought that if he spent a little time away from Emma, he could possibly clear his thoughts, or at least make sense of them.
He found most of his crew already drinking in the tavern, many well on their way to being drunk. He sat at one of their tables, intending to join their dice game as he ordered himself some rum.
The games flowed easily, himself winning quite a few of them as he drank, feeling himself relax and fall back in with his men. He laughed with them, especially when some of them began stumbling and nearly falling.
Amongst them, he wasn't just a seventeen-year-old, but their captain, and one of them.
Eventually some of the bar wenches slinked over, falling into some of the men's laps. He caught some of the women eyeing him appreciatively, a couple swaying their hips as they moved closer to him.
One of the bar wenches, clearly the boldest of them, sat beside him, pushing her chest forward as she turned toward him. She grinned coquettishly, placing her hand on his arm lightly before squeezing it.
Killian felt an urge to send her away, to turn her down, before reminding himself that he wanted the company. He looked over at her, taking in her fair skin and brown eyes, dark hair messily done up. She was pretty enough, would serve as a good distraction for him. He had been with a woman before, was experianced.
As the games continued, the woman inched closer and closer to him, until she was nearly sitting in his lap. She laughed, congratulating him each time he won, as well as made sure his rum never ran out.
"Good game, Captain," she whispered into his ear huskily after a round that had been an easy win for him. "What'd you say we go celebrate your victories?"
Reminding himself again that he wanted the distraction, he nodded, downing the last of the burning liquid in his glass before placing some coins on the table. He rose and helped her up, noticing his men too drunk to notice him leave, much less that he had someone with him.
He followed her out towards the back, letting her take the lead towards where the rooms were.
She turned on him as soon as they entered the hall, running her hands over his chest and gently tugging on the material that covered him. She bit her lip seductively as her wandering hands moved closer to where his shirt opened, intent on touching his body.
"Nervous, Captain?" she asked him in a flirty tone. "There's no need to be. Not with me. I'll take care of you."
Both he and Emma had agreed on an open marriage where they could see anyone they wished, so he knew that he was free to have any dalliances he desired.
He just didn't know why he felt so wrong, or why his body wasn't even responding to her, despite her intimate touches on his chest, trying to seduce him.
Looking back at her, his mind's eye altered her features, until her eyes shifted to a brilliant jade green and her hair lightened to a fair blonde color, her rounded features becoming more prominent, elegant.
Blinking, he shook Emma's image away from him.
He jumped when he heard Emma's surprised voice beside them. "Killian?"
Whipping his head toward her, he felt all of the effects the of the alcohol he had leave him as if he'd been plunged into the icy ocean. He caught her shocked expression, as well as something that looked like hurt. He noticed her hair was slightly damp and her clothes were changed to one of her new dresses, indicating she had used her time alone to bathe and relax.
The bar wench looked towards her, almost a sneer marring her face. "What, do you want to watch? You might learn something."
Killian felt his chest clench painfully as he saw Emma's panic.
"I'm- I'm sorry," she stammered before quickly turning and reteating back through the tavern.
He watched her go, feeling dirty and like he had just betrayed her.
The bar wench moved to touch him again when he carefully pushed her away, putting a good distance between them.
"Sorry, but I'm no longer interested," he said quickly as he took off, intent on following Emma.
He ignored the woman's snide remark that she threw at him.
He wondered what he could possibly tell Emma to assuage what damage he had caused and put her back at ease. He hated that he had hurt her, even if it was unintentional.
Stepping onto the docks, he suddenly stopped, glaring realization taking over him.
All of his strange feelings suddenly made sense, his joy at seeing her happy, his protectiveness of her, even what he realized was jealously when she was with Baelfire. How he felt warm whenever they touched, no matter how casual, how it instantly relaxed him and made him crave for more. How he found himself longing for her and only her. How he would do anything, give up anything and everything for her.
How his heart felt as if it warmed every time he saw her smile or heard her laugh.
Killian realized how foolish he had been to think he had ever moved on from Emma, that he ever stopped loving her. He knew in that moment that he was still deeply in love with her, his love only having grown since they were children.
Knowing that it would scare her off and he would only do more damage considering what she walked in on, he knew he couldn't tell her. He was content with that, knowing it would be enough to just be around her and be there for her.
He continued his way back to the Jolly Roger, wanting to find her.
Stepping into their cabin, he saw she had stored some of her things in her pack resting on the bed, the rest of her stuff hidden away. She made to grab her pack as she saw him come in.
"Swan, what are you doing?" he asked gently as he stepped off the last stair.
"I was just gathering my things for the night," she said in a low voice. "I know you have company, so I'm letting you have the cabin."
His felt a stabbing in his chest again.
"No, Swan," he replied softly, reaching out to take the pack from her. "I sent her away. No one's with me, I promise you."
"But that woman," she protested weakly, unable to meet his eyes.
Gently, he placed his hand beneath her chin, tilting her head up to look at him.
"That was an extremely poor lapse in judgement," he told her. "It was a mistake."
Slowly, she nodded.
He tossed the pack on the chair away from them before looking back at her.
"I promise you, I'm not gonna do that again," he said sincerely. "No more bar wenches."
Along with his promise, Killian silently vowed to her there would never be anyone else, knowing he belonged to Emma completely. He knew he would remain by her side through everything, always being there for her.
She nodded, relaxing before she backed away, her nose wrinkling in distaste.
"What's wrong?" he asked, concern taking over.
"You still smell like that old soap," she commented. "And rum."
Unable to help himself, he chuckled.
"It's alright, Swan," he said. "If you'll allow me some time, I'll take care of it."
She smiled gratefully. "Thank you."
Waving her hand, the brass tub she had used earlier appeared in the middle of the cabin with a puff of white smoke. He could see the tendrils of steam rising from the water, calling to him.
"Have I ever mentioned how much I love your magic?" Killian teased.
She laughed, making his chest tighten.
"I'll leave you alone," she told him, giving him a small smile before turning to exit their quarters.
As soon as she was gone, he quickly stripped and sunk into the hot water, relaxing as the water covered him. He immediately began scrubbing at his skin, not only for Emma's sake, but to wash away the memory of the bar wench.
Finishing, he reluctantly left the warm water and dressed quickly, leaving his brace and hook off. He looked down at his wrist, examining the completely healed wound.
Though it had finished healing, Emma insisted on taking care of it, making sure his skin healed over as well as massaging the flesh around it. He had been taking care of it himself on his own before they found each other, but he suspected that with her taking care of him, he had healed faster, much more easily.
He still marveled at the ease of which she touched his wrist, how she never shied away from his wound, or the gentle, almost tender way she touched it.
Just as he pulled his shirt over his head, he looked up as he heard a knock on the door.
"Killian?" Emma called through the door.
"Come in, Swan," he answered, going to pull the door open for her.
She quickly entered into the cabin, letting him close the door behind her. He turned just as he saw her set something on the table.
"I brought you some food," she told him. "I wasn't sure if you've eaten or not."
He smiled appreciatively, moving toward the table. "Thanks, love."
She smiled in return, waving her hand and making the tub disappear before sitting in her spot across from him. He pretended not to notice as she snuck little pieces of his bread away.
"How're you feeling?" he asked her.
"I'm fine, Killian," she grinned.
"You can't blame me for wanting to be sure you and the little one are well," he defended.
She released a small chuckle. "I guess not. But we're both fine."
Grinning in return, he pushed his plate slightly toward her.
He smiled innocently as she raised her brow at him, knowing she would be stubborn.
"If you're still hungry," he offered. "Go ahead, Swan."
She eyed the food for a second before picking at a piece of the meat. It was far from the first time they had shared their food.
"How's your wrist?" she asked him as they finished the plate.
"Fine," he replied. "It doesn't hurt or anything. It's completely healed."
Emma nodded, looking at his wrist before gently pushing back his sleeve to examine it further. She brought her hand to it, her fingers kneading into the flesh and making him relax under her touch.
After she finished and he left the room briefly to allow her to change into her nightdress, he helped her put the cabin back in order, storing away her belongings.
Finishing, he turned, worried at her sudden gasp, seeing her with her hand on her belly.
"Killian, come here," she said excitedly.
He quickly closed the distance between them, surprised when she took his hand and placed it where hers had just been on her stomach. He felt his own eyes widen as he felt a shift beneath his hand, a wide grin spreading across his lips.
"This is the first time I've really been able to feel them like this," she told him in an excited voice.
Sharing her excitement, he kept his hand over where the baby rested, feeling them move before settling.
He knew in that moment that just as with Emma, he would love her baby, all because they were hers. He would stay with the both of them, even helping her raise the baby if she desired him to.