Author: Kat Lee
Dedicated To: Happy Birthday, guineamania!
Fandom: Once Upon A Time
Warning(s): Future AU
Word Count: 953
Date Written: 5 July, 2016
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
"What are you doing?" Emma questions, clearly puzzled, as her boyfriend approaches the table he's set up for the two of them in the middle of his ship. She could fall asleep to the Jolly Roger's gentle sway if she allowed herself. "We've been feasting and dancing all day! I can't possibly eat another bite!"
Killian has the nerve to wink at her. "Oh, I think you might change your mind." The ends of his mustache seem to curl in the moonlight, standing up and challenging her to disagree with him. She has to admit the food he's hiding underneath the dome lid smells delicious as he brings the silver tray closer to her. "I had to tolerate the Dark One to get assistance from one of his subjects to make these."
"What?" Emma glances at the candles Hook had waiting to light their pathway aboard his ship. "A candle stick?"
"Aye, as a matter of fact."
Emma shakes her head. "This world never ceases to amaze me," she mutters darkly.
"I think, milady, you're being too hard on your parents -- and yourself."
"What would you know?" she tosses at him irritably. "It wasn't your birthday the whole kingdom was just forced to celebrate."
"Nobody forced any one to celebrate a thing, luv." It isn't her imagination; his mustache does quirk this time. "We celebrated the joy of you turning another year because we wanted to. Believe it or not, we all care for you deeply, Swan."
She falls silent. She can fuss and rage against the injustice of having to choose between her world and following her parents back to theirs for hours, but none of what's happened is Killian's fault. He's stood beside her, coming back to her again and again every time she's shoved him away. He's proven himself to her countless times. She can at least indulge him in whatever surprise he thinks he's got cooked up to delight her.
But the moment Killian lifts the lid, Emma realizes how wrong she was. The delicious aromas of cinnamon and glazed frosting demand more room in her stomach, and it actually growls at the memories that the scents evoke in her mind. She frowns, still doubtful. The lid's still blocking her view, but when Hook yanks it up into the air and lowers the silver platter before her, she gasps like a delighted child.
He grins wide and sits the plate down in front of her and the lid on the side of the table. He sits across from her, still grinning as wide as any crocodile. "I told ya, luv," he says with a wink. "Let an old Pirate surprise you sometimes."
Emma's still gaping at the hot pastries arranged carefully on the plate before her. She shakes her head in amazement. "How did you -- ?!"
"Told you," he reminds her, smiling slyly. "I had to fetch help from the greatest chef the Enchanted Kingdom has ever known, but he had no trouble creating them once I explained their likes to him. Henry says it tastes even better than the ones in your world." He peers doubtfully at the pastries. "Although why on Earth any one would call them bear claws when they look nothing like the claw of a bear -- "
"The first ones did, I think," Emma says, grabbing the nearest pastry and immediately smearing her fingers with both white icing and hot cinnamon, "but names don't matter. They taste -- " She pauses to rip into the pastry that's still steaming to the point she would have warned Henry against biting into it so soon, then sighs, her eyes drifting closed, with elation. " -- just like I remember," she finishes, moaning her delight after the first bite.
Killian beams and lets her eat in peace, enjoying each little moan and sigh of satisfaction that leaves her pink lips. When she's finished and looks at him in a gaze that seems filled with almost new admiration, Killian winks again. "See, luv," he tells her, taking a sip of his own rum, "we don't have to do without all of the modern conveniences of your world."
Emma beams back across the table from him. "I guess," she says, "there are a few things to say for this world."
Hook smirks. "Like what?" he questions, arching a brow, but his Princess doesn't fall into his flirtation.
"Like these!" she exclaims instead, grabbing another pastry. "Henry's right." She takes another bite and sighs once more, the happiest Killian's seen her in a long time. "These do taste even better than the ones we had!"
"How about this, luv?" Killian offers seriously when she's finished her second bear claw. "You give this world a fair shake, and I'll do what I can to provide you with the things you miss from your world."
"It's a deal," she agrees, thinking back over the day and realizing that he's right. The whole day has been about her not because her parents were trying overly hard to make up for the time they should have been with her but missed out on but because they and their friends -- her friends -- truly wanted to celebrate her turning another year with them. "I guess a few years in the Enchanted Forest can't hurt."
And many more, Killian thinks but doesn't say. He'll prove the worth of this land to her yet, just as he continues to prove his love. He leans across the table and cups her cheek gently and lovingly in his ringed hand. His thumb brushes off a trail of glaze left just above her upper lip. Emma leans into his embrace and then into his passionate kiss as he murmurs, "Happy Birthday, Swan."