prompt: Killian’s cursed self is a musician who plays on the streets of Storybrooke and Emma runs into him on one of her first days in Storybrooke.
Emma strolls down the main street, her hands in her pockets, fielding off stares from curious townsfolk with glares of her own. Based off her reception, she supposes Henry really was right when he said that people don’t come to Storybrooke.
A couple rushes past her, just close enough for her to catch the words “clock tower,” and “8:15.” Emma rolls her eyes. This whole damn town is crazy; that’s the 4th time she’s heard that murmured past her.
She’d only meant to go exploring the main drag, planning on traversing from her room at the B&B and then find her breakfast at the owner’s diner, but by now she’d been walking for so long, lost in thought, that she’d found herself by the local park.
She’s about to swing around and loop back when she hears the breezy notes of a harmonica whistling through the wind, accompanied by steady beats of a small drum and the crooning of a man. She turns over her shoulder, craning her neck to get a better ear on it. Kinda Bob-Dylan-y, she thinks, but not in a bad way.
She follows the source of the sound, and when she turns a corner, she is surprised to see a (very handsome) man about her age, dark scruff lining his jaw, sitting on a park bench with a harmonica at his lips and an upturned hat at his feet. He’s dressed casually, in a simple black pullover, dark jeans, and slip on sneakers.
His eyes fall on her instantly, and she’s struck by the blueness of them even from a distance. His lips curl around the harmonica before lowering it, beckoning her over. “Got any requests, darling?”
Oh, great, he has an accent. So much for staying focused on breakfast.
She swings over lazily, her hands on her hips and her eyebrow raised. “Storybrooke has street musicians, too?”
The sun in his eyes, he grins up at her, wild and wicked. “Aye, suppose it does. And now it has a new fair-haired muse to go along with said musician.”
He wiggles his dark eyebrows just dangerously enough for her to realize his intent; he’s going to be hitting on her with everything he’s got. Not that she wholly minds—because hell, he’s good-looking, and probably her type—but she’s here for Henry, not to flirt.
She flicks her eyes off, resisting the urge to roll them at the compliment. Boy, the guy is slick. “The harmonica, really? Couldn’t spring for a guitar?”
His smile slips, but only for a moment, so quick she almost misses it. He holds up his left hand—and she realizes its not a hand at all, but a gloved prosthetic. “Bit hard to find a one-handed guitar this north of Deliverance, don’t you think, love?”
Well, now she feels bad. “What happened?” She asks before she can help herself. Ugh, Emma, get a grip, she thinks, how rude are you?
His tongue bats against his cheek, considering his words. “Can’t say I recall. Had the injury long as I can remember, s’pose. Think it had something to do with a wood-chipper,” he says finally, shrugging his shoulders.
Emma’s eyebrows fly up, not sure if he’s teasing her or if he genuinely doesn’t remember. That’s the kind of thing that would be hard to forget—or maybe he’s been drinking the Mayor’s Kool-Aid too. Why is it always the hot ones?
She scans his face searchingly, looking for the lie, but it’s not there. He seriously doesn’t remember how he lost a whole hand? What is it with this town?
"Speaking of things I can’t recall, yours is a face I daresay has never crossed my path before. And I assure you, I wouldn’t forget you, lass,” he goes on to add, eying her shamelessly.
"Yeah, well, thanks for the spoiler, Shakespeare, but today’s only my second day in town," Emma replies, folding her arms.
She can already tell this guy is gonna be one hell of a distraction, which means she’d better duck out now and get herself back to the diner. She’s here for Henry, she reminds herself again, not flirtatious street musicians, no matter how handsome they are. “I’m keeping an eye on someone, you could say.”
"I know the feeling," he replies lowly, his implication clear as his gaze burns into hers, intense and hot on her skin. He’s still hitting on her, but there’s a vein of something else underneath his words, a darker thought, a suppressed rage. She shudders, the feeling striking a bit too close to home. "You’re Henry’s mother, aren’t you? Emma Swan?" At her look, he adds, "Word travels fast."
"I’m his birth mother, yeah," Emma answers after a beat. "Just making sure he’s okay."
His smile turns wistful, maybe even pitying. “Good news for me, then,” he says, finally, in an unreadable voice.
Emma arches a brow. “How’s that?”
"The poor lad is miserable," he replies softly, squinting up at her. "Son of a witch, you might say. But—the bright spot is that you’ll be sticking around for me to find you again."
She frowns; another person confirming her suspicions of Regina. This isn’t good. She’s getting in way too deep. Emma flicks her gaze back to him. “And what makes you think that?”
"You’re an open book, Swan."
"You don’t want to abandon him the way you were abandoned," he replies simply, as if such revelations were common knowledge.
Her stomach drops at that, suddenly wondering who the hell this man is. To Emma’s credit, she keeps her face impassive despite the storm raging in her gut. “Was I?”
"I know an orphan when I see one," comes his eventual reply, his eyes unfocused.
His tone implies he doesn’t wish to elaborate, which Emma appreciates, since that would be opening a whole other can of worms. Besides, she doesn’t know how she feels about supposedly being an open-book. Especially since every man she’s known has told her the exact opposite.
"On that note," Emma murmurs awkwardly, stepping back, "I should get going."
He stands, a pout hovering over his lips. “Will I see you again?”
Emma walks backwards, still facing him. She smirks. “I don’t even know your name, buddy,” she calls.
"Peter! Peter James!" He bellows back playfully, his grin gleaming, even from a distance. "Don’t worry, love! I’ll find you!"