The Invitation...a CSSS fic
Ho ho ho! I have a belated Christmas delivery for the gorgeous @auguststolemyheart - my CSSS and wonderfully patient woman. Em, It has been a blast getting to know you, not anonymously for quite as long as was ideal LOL, and I am delighted to have another Southern Hemisphere friend to add to my small collection. Aussie Oncers seem to be a rare breed so I love meeting a new one!
You told me you were a sucker for an AU so that is the route I went - my take on the good old fake dating trope with a Christmassy background. As happens to me from time to time, it has grown somewhat from a one shot so the second part will be along shortly.
Thanks to @tnlph for the beta read too x
Rated - T 2400 words
The invitation had been sitting on Emma Swan’s kitchen counter for weeks, taunting her as the RSVP date got closer and closer. Understated, as was everything her sister-in-law did, no over the top candy canes or grinning Santas but clearly a summoning to Christmas celebrations that was not to be ignored. For the fifth time that day, Emma picked up the piece of card, hoping that this time the line that had been tormenting her since she first opened the envelope would have been magically rewritten. She held her breath while she read, but it was not to be. Right there, in Mary Margaret’s flourished hand at the bottom of the invitation.
Can’t wait to see you and Killian. About time we met him!
Nope. It was still there. The very definite expectation that she would not be attending this particular family gathering alone, the way she had every other one in recent memory. She would be bringing her boyfriend and no discussion would be entered into.
Which would be fine. Perfect even.
If said boyfriend was real.
Oh Killian was real. He was attractive and charming and funny and all round delightful. He cooked, loved small children and animals, was kind to the elderly and used Princess Bride quotes in day to day life.
In other words - he was perfect.
He was just not Emma Swan’s boyfriend.
It had seemed the perfect solution when the questions started rolling in.
“Anyone special in your life, Ems?”
“You are getting out there? Not scaring men away?”
“When was the last time you got laid?” This last one was from her best friend Ruby, never one to mince her words in all the time Emma had known her.
To all these questions she had tried the vague and noncommittal approach but to no avail. Her brother and his wife started to discuss potential blind dates and Ruby had threatened to ‘employ’ someone to do the deed if she didn’t start to change her attitude.
What better way to stave off their unwanted attention than with a boyfriend, Emma had thought? A work colleague, or an acquaintance turned into more, with the added bonus of living many many miles away from her friends and family in Storybrooke.
Killian Jones had walked into the elevator in their building and into her possibly ill-conceived plans at the same time.
Neighbours for four years, Killian and Emma had built a friendship of sorts, founded on his well developed organisational skills and Emma’s lack thereof. When she left her laundry in the machine for days, he dried and folded it for her. When she came home late at night with a burning need for breakfast for dinner, he was the willing provider of milk not curdled in the base of the carton.
Over the years, their friendship had developed to the point of semi regular Friday night movie marathons and Sunday brunches. He baked her a cake on her birthday and she spent weeks before his searching for a card with just the right punchline to remind him of his advancing years.
Emma was the first to admit she was not an easy person to be friends with. Life had not been generous in the ‘smooth sailing’ department and she eyed people warily, protecting herself with a sharp tongue and high walls. But somehow Killian had managed to infiltrate her barricades, just as her adopted brother David had done in her teenage years, and she valued his friendship more than she would ever admit.
Sure there had been moments when the thought of something more crossed her mind - the man was ridiculously handsome on top of being a capable and independent human being - but that kind of something more had never worked out in the past. And she was not about to risk a solid friendship for a few nights of hot sex and a lifetime of awkwardness.
They were friends and it was as it should be.
She knew his story…and he knew hers, to an extent.
Which is why, as she swiped away the Messenger icon with Mary Margaret’s smiling face after reading yet another missive about how worried they were about her, how they wanted her to find someone, just to be happy like they were, his walking into the elevator had made him appear the answer to all her problems.
The plan formed in her mind as he made small talk about something he had watched on TV. She was only half listening, peppering the one sided conversation with ‘Mmms’ and ‘Oh, yeahs?’ as she applauded herself for her genius.
She would tell them Killian was her boyfriend. She had pictures, stories that were true or in need of little embellishment, she knew things about him, his history, his life. With minor white lies she could get them off her back and no one would ever know a thing. By the time they went through their “amicable breakup” in a few months time - avoiding the need to cut actual Killian out of her life when it happened - they would have moved on to new projects.
It was perfect in its simplicity.
Or so she had thought.