The Memory Keeper was one of my earlier Once Upon A Time fics, and one of my most beloved by my fans. The whole universe that spun off from that tale is one of my favorite places to be and I still have stories to put in it. But for now, let’s go back to the middle of season three, when Emma meets a stranger dressed in pirate garb who seems vaguely familiar.
In this scene, Killian has been invited to a charity masquerade ball to raise money for Emma’s adoption agency. Her date for the evening turns out to be a total dud – which is just fine with a certain pirate with an agenda….
“Oh, c’mon Emma. It was only a couple of drinks. I’m okay to drive. Let’s get outta here.”
Mike was leaning against her, trying very noticeably to look down the vee-front of her dress. His alcohol-soaked breath was right in her face and she was done with being nice. Whoever the asshole was that was buying him shots, she’d like to punch him right now.
“I told you,” she gritted out. “I can’t leave. I’m the host of the damn event. I have to stay all the way to the end and even help clean up after.”
“Then dance with me, honey. C’mon…it’s a slow one.” He pulled her roughly out onto the dance floor, leaning on her heavily as he wrapped his arms around her in a vice grip. Emma pushed against him in an effort to get a little space between them, but she couldn’t do much more without causing a big scene that she’d rather avoid. She let Mike pull her around, when his step faltered and he stomped her foot.
“Sorry, honey.” He began to sing along with the song, very off-key and right in her ear. Emma winced, leaning her head away, just as his big, clammy hand settled on her ass.
“Stop.” She moved it back up, and he promptly slid it down again. “Mike. Stop. Now.” She gave him a warning look, and his hand was starting to move again when someone tapped his shoulder.
“Apologies, mate, but one of the valets asked me to come and find you. It appears that someone has vandalized your vehicle.”
Mike let out a roar, charging for the door and out into the parking lot. Emma turned to Hook, her eyes questioning.
“Really? Did somebody do something to his car?”
“So I’ve been led to believe. And what a fortuitous circumstance for us because -” He reached down, taking her hand. “You owe me a dance.”
His hand clasped hers, and his arm went around her, pulling her into him. He moved them slowly around the floor in time with the music and with a grace and fluidity she would never have suspected he had. Or she had. Dammit, he was right. He was making her look good.
“Thanks,” she said, looking up at him.
“Always happy to rescue a princess in distress.”
“He’s had a little too much to drink.”
Hook managed to stifle his grin, but just barely.
“Well, at least if I try to grab your arse, you’ll know it instantly,” he quipped, holding up his hook.
Emma laughed out loud. She couldn’t help it.
“Just a little prosthetic humor. I’ve found it to be an excellent ice-breaker.”
“Hmmm.” Emma stopped talking for a few minutes, and so did he. She was being danced with such expertise, she almost felt like she was floating, and all while his hand stayed clasped to hers and his arm was warm at her back and his gorgeous chest was rubbing against her.
“Is it warm in here?” she asked. “I might need to go talk to someone from the hotel about the thermostat setting.”
His eyes were bright as they shifted to hers. “Later, love. We’re dancing, remember?”
The music had started dying down, only to move into another slow song. Emma was too busy staring at Hook’s chest to see the slight nod of thanks that he gave the DJ.
“So tell me, Mr. Jones -”
“Please. After all I’ve put you through, you can call me Killian.”
“Killian.” Her eyes met his, just as she said his name, and something in his gaze completely derailed her train of thought.
“You were saying, Miss Swan?”
“You can call me Emma.”
“Emma.” He said her name like a caress, and she had that weird moment of deja vu again.
“You were saying…?” he continued.
“Yeah. I just – I wanted to thank you again for that donation. That was a lot of money.”
“Six thousand dollars isn’t a lot of money to you?” She was astonished. This guy was acting like it was pocket change.
“Yes, well, I’ve recently come into a rather large family inheritance, hence the travel. I’m seeing the world, as it were. Once I saw what you were doing here, it only seemed right to help that along somehow.”
“You cannot be for real.” Emma mumbled under her breath, still acutely conscious of how he was moving with her. And against her…