Since you wanting to write au prompts is too good an opportunity to pass up (been reading your fics lately and they're phenomenal!)... CS + ‘someone starts a rumor that we’re dating so let’s turn the tables’ or ‘we’re both teachers and all our students ship us’ please? Whichever inspire you most :)
(semi sort of a followup to the professors au)
Professor Emma Swan had been aware for quite a while, on a vague and unimportant level, of an apparent conspiracy in the history department to get her to work with Killian Jones entirely too often. Maybe it was just another of St. Andrews’ weird traditions; aside from their unique terminology, distinctive academic dress, Raisin Weekend, and custom of running sleep-deprived into the North Sea on May Day while the university choir sang madrigals, they decided to find every single faculty member a perfect match, who knew? It had taken her long enough to cotton onto the fact that she seemed to be paired with him every time something or anything of the sort required it. Not that she had come to Scotland from Boston University looking for anything like this, no matter how often her roommate, Mary Margaret, had advised her to marry a UK man and get dual citizenship. In Emma’s experience to date, UK men were severely overhyped. All of them seemed to be named Nigel or William, have an overbite and a soccer – excuse her, football – team to which they were devoted to beyond all reason, and a bad smoking habit. The accent was not enough to compensate. As for Mary Margaret’s absurd conviction that since this was the place where Prince William met Kate, true love was sure to follow for her as well – Emma hadn’t even wasted time contemplating it.
Except for Killian. He was… well, different was one word for it, Emma thought sourly. Admittedly gorgeous enough that his continuing state of bachelorhood was apparently one of St. Andrews’ favorite campus mysteries, and had only a moderate smoking habit that she had observed. Tended to disappear like a ghost whenever he wasn’t teaching class, though she’d caught him late in the library more than once. Everybody seemed to want to know more about him, but actual facts were in short supply. As for the fact that the entire university appeared to have decided that they would make a cute couple… she’d deal with it.
That at least was the plan until now, early in January of the second semester, and hence the occasion of Robert Burns Night. This rather mystifying cultural tradition involved a formal dinner, a haggis which was marched into the Great Hall to the sound of bagpipes and then addressed with a specific poem, and a lot of whisky, not to mention just as many kilts and “Will Ye No Come Home Again”-style patriotic reminiscing. Emma had found an invitation in her box that morning, signed with an elegant calligraphic K. Jones, and debated refusing, but she couldn’t spend a year in Scotland and not go. She took out her phone, texted a brief affirmation, and then fled forthwith to the High Street shops in search of something in suitable plaid.
She finally settled on a skirt and shawl, went home and got dressed, and paced back and forth, much more nervous than the occasion seemed to require, until there was a smart knock on her door at seven PM sharp and upon opening it, she was treated to the sight which really should have come with a warning label: Killian Jones in full Highland regalia, kilt, sark, sporran, sgian dhu, stockings, and plaid fastened over his shoulder with a running-stag brooch – not to mention the apparently authentic broadsword belted around his waist, the entire ensemble topped off with a feathered bonnet. As she was still staring, he made her a courtly leg and a crooked grin. “My lady. May I have the honor?”
“Ah… of course,” Emma managed, blinking. “Do you just have that in storage for the fun of it?”
He shrugged. “You don’t think I’m wearing jeans and grubby trainers to a Rabbie Burns Supper, do you?”
“I guess not,” Emma said idiotically, although she of course had only the barest notion of what said suppers entailed. She took his arm and let him lead her out to his car, where he gallantly fetched the door for her – poise not at all dampened by the wind that briefly threatened to reveal whether he was, in fact, wearing the kilt in the traditional manner (not that she cared what was under it). He went around and swung behind the wheel, and they pulled out, covering the short distance from her flat to the University in a few minutes. As they turned into the car park, which was producing a steady stream of likewise kilted Burns aficinados making for the glowing, gothic Great Hall, Emma found herself saying, “They’ll probably be delighted that we’re going together.”
Killian shot her a confused look. “Who?”
“Ah, the – students.” Emma waved a hand, feeling instantly stupid. “I have a feeling they’ve been trying to set us up for a while.”
“Have they? I haven’t noticed.” Killian took rather more attention than necessary setting the handbrake, and climbed out. “Not that I would object, but – no. That’s not why I asked you.”
“Why did you?” Emma shut the car door behind her, and they started across the lawn. Scotland in January was as cold as hell frozen over, and she began to rub at her fingers, already going numb from the short time outside, until he unexpectedly caught them with his. She tensed, but didn’t pull away.
“Maybe I wanted to go with you,” he said mildly. “What would you think of that?”
She did her best attempt at a dismissive shrug. “Fine. It doesn’t mean anything, right?”
He glanced at her, seemed about to answer, then paused. In fact, was completely silent as they continued up the walk, swept up in the rush of people. Until at last he spoke, and she wondered if she’d even been meant to hear his reply, almost under his breath, as if it was too much for him to utter aloud.
“Of course not.”