For Love, I Will:
"Well look who's escaped again," A familiar voice remarked.
Emma doesn't look up from the burning bright sun she's been staring at for not too long on her spot on the docks as his footsteps come to a stop next to her. "Surprise," she deadpanned.
He sighs, shrugging his shoulders a little at his disapproval as he settles down next to her, but she can tell he's smiling; He's happy to see her. "So what happened, your highness? because I for one, do not think you would have decided to roam the palace gardens all the way out here."
Her hand slowly found its way to his; when he felt her skin brush his finger, he quickly takes her hand, lacing their fingers together with a practice, and being careful to keep the notion covered with the help of her beautiful long golden hair.
She squeezed his hand, silently saying I would have come all the way out here. It's true. He knows it.
But that was still not the case.
He looked at her," What has you vexed, love?"
The way she said it gave away that it was her father this time because it was usually her mother that was the cause of her displeasure over numerous disagreements. Not because Emma was a rebellious princess, but because she refused to believe and give in to a lot of the things royals considered.
He stretched his other hand on the wood which they sat on. "You know I was on my way to discussing the new ship arrivals that will be coming in this afternoon at a meeting with your father."
She raised an eyebrow. He turned around when he saw her sitting at the docks by his particular ship?.
A few minutes passed in which she didn't reply but instead dipped her naked feet into the water, shivering slightly when it came in contact, yet splashed around anyway, throwing the water up and down almost in anger; He let her. Quietly observing until her anger seemed to diminish and her splashes became less violent, never one to make her keep everything in.
Numbly, she nodded. "I know."
His eyebrows knit in worry. "Then tell me, Emma, what upset you?"
She released a sigh, closing her eyes. "I have suitors coming in this afternoon."
He winced at the word 'Suitors' , jaw clenching in obvious jealousy that she immediately tried to soothe with her thumb moving in small gentle circles on his skin; gradually he relaxed under her touch, knowing she was right there with him, but his shoulders were now tense.
When he spoke, it was his voice and not monotone. "Is it for the upcoming ball?"
She nodded again, confirming. "Yes, the birthday ball."
He smiled. "YOUR birthday ball, my princess."
Despite it all, she still smiled at hearing him call her 'my princess'.
"Will you be there?" Even the reserved and confident voice faltered a bit in the thought that he might choose not to come.
But as always, he grinned. "Well I was invited too."
She laughed, cheeks burning bright red when she raised a suggestive brow, leaning into him. "Do you already have an idea for my present?"
Smirked, he leaned in too. "Are you curious for a kiss?"
Biting her lip, her eyes glint with desire, and she said, "Ahuh."
The same desire was reflected in his eyes, and yet a frown came. "You won't be able to be whisked away with all those suitors there."
She tilted her head, knowing he wished and longed to be able to court her properly but was stopped by her status. "Doesn't matter, you still get the first dance."
He smiled a little bit but then rolled his head to look up at the sky. "I think your father even prefers your woodcarver man more than me."
She chuckled lightly, putting a hand on his shoulder to assure him. "August is just my friend. But you, captain," she grabbed him by the collar, very aware they could be spotted at any moment. "you're the one who holds my heart."
That made his cheeks blush an adorable deep crimson red, incredibly visible, and he rose a hand that had found its way to her waist to scratch behind his ear; a little nervous tic she caused most of the time, making her smile lovingly at him.
"It's true," She whispered. "You're the one who's always held it. No prince or coming 30-year old man can change that."
He blanched, surprised. "30?!"
Her smile fell downward, "Yes."
Killian shook his head, hating the idea of a 30-year old man asking her to dance with other intentions.
She got serious. "I just don't agree with my mother. It's so tremendously stupid that she says this is what all princess's must do to keep their kingdom standing, but seriously? have me marry some idiot for his money so that we can keep rejoicing in wealth and riches when she was the one who made a big show of marrying my father for true love. It's fair to not give me the same option, and my father just sided with her, saying they know my best chance, saying they want what's best for me, but so then what's best for me is to not be happy?. Killian, I don't want that. I've admired my parents my whole life, seeing how they love each other even after so many years, and losses and battles, and I thought I would have that too for me one day. To marry for love. To be happy for my decision, and not to make others happy with it. Just me."
He turned to look at her. "To marry for love?"
A tear slid down her cheek before she nodded and put her head on his shoulder; He dropped a kiss to her forehead and then felt her tug at the sleeve of his coat to put his arm around her, so he did. "Yes."
"You will, Emma."
"How can you be sur--"
They both jumped away from each other, and then both turned to see Graham, the leader of the guards, staring at them with a look of confusion, hesitance, and then embarrassment at having caught the princess in something she should most certainly not be doing with the captain of Misthaven's royal navy.
"Graham, hey!," Emma stood up, faking her cheerful way too much as Killian cleared his throat and stood up as well with his hands behind his back. "were you, uh, looking for me? I'm guessing my parents noticed I left after breakfast. Did I miss my fencing lessons with my father?"
The guard nodded stiffly. "Yes, your highness, you did. Both the king and queen went into a bit spiral of worry when they noticed you gone."
As expected ,Killian thought glumly.
"Well you found me," Emma giggled and he had to stop himself from grinning because of how cute it sounded; something she rarely did and that he could guess the guard knew of it too because he looked at her with worry and addressed him with a tight suspicion. "I'm safe, we can go, and I can join my parents for...lunch, is it? I think it's lunch, so let's go. I need to help prepare everything for tomorrow anyway."
She left quickly after that, giving a pointed look to Graham that probably wasn't much help, but before he left, she still glanced back, seeing as he walked away the other direction, opposite of her.
3 years later...
He came up behind her as she stared out the window, wrapping his arms around her waist and planting a soft kiss at her exposed collarbone before resting his chin at her shoulder; She smiled, leaning deeper into his bare chest as one of her hands snaked to the back of his neck where she played with his dark curls. "So tell me, love..."
"What?," She hummed.
"Did you marry for love?"
She turned around to face him and brought his lips down to hers again, seeing their golden rings glisten in the morning sunlight just as she closed eyes. "Yes."