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Safe Harbor

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Keeping an eye on Henry as the boy played on his blanket, Emma kept close as she collected what plants she needed from the tiny garden to replenish her stores.

Henry toddled over to her, seeing the mallow flowers she was picking and reached out to pick one himself.

Smiling softly, she watched him examine the white flower before turning to her and holding out the flower to her.

"Put it in the basket," she told him lightly, pointing to the wicker basket beside her.

He eyed the basket before holding the flower above it and dropping it in the small pile of plants. He looked back to the bush, picking another and dropping it in the basket.

"You wanna help, kid?" she chuckled.

"Aye," he said in his tiny voice, reaching for another flower.

Smiling, she let him pick a few more before seeing she had enough, holding his hand to stop him. "That's enough of those, Henry."

Seeing his confusion, she smiled lovingly at her son, picking him up before grabbing the basket and moving to where she grew the mint leaves. Crouching down, she set him down beside her before plucking a sprig and showing it to him.

"I know you like these," she smiled at him.

He tentatively sniffed the leaves before grinning widely.

Grinning down at him, she placed the sprig with the other plants. Henry eagerly began helping her, pulling leaves and setting them besides the ones she harvested.

She didn't mind the messily plucked plants, knowing that her son was having fun helping her. She remembered Snow beginning to teach her about various plants at a young age, showing her how to grow them and use them for medicinal purposes. Emma had began helping her mother to teach Leo, Killian, and Liam the different plants as she got older, knowing it was knowledge to be passed on. She was more than happy, even eager, to begin teaching her own son, even if he was too young to understand.

With Henry's help, Emma finished quickly, knowing her kit would be stocked to the brim. Stopping Henry, she led him back to his blanket, going to tidy it up to take him back inside. After a couple trips, carrying Henry on her hip each time, she brought everything inside to bottle and store the plants. She set Henry down on his blanket on the floor to play as she worked before going to start dinner.

Glancing over, she smiled lovingly seeing Henry had fallen asleep, clutching his lion. She moved him up onto the chaise, covering him with the blanket drapped across the back before returning to her task.

Deciding to start dinner after she was finished to ensure it would be done around the time Killian would be home, she began preparing what she needed.

Just as she finished the dough for the crust and set the meat to cook, she heard Henry wake up, his small grunts alerting her. Looking up, she grinned in amusement as he picked up his head to look around for her, his dark hair wild from sleep.

He held out his arms for her as she went over to him to pick him up.

"Hey, kid," she said as he leaned his head against her shoulder. "How was your nap?"

He babbled in response, gripping her neck tighter before pushing away to let her know he wanted down.

She set him down to play while she continued dinner.

After kneading the dough, she felt a tug at her skirt, making her look down and see Henry standing by her leg, looking up at her with wide eyes.

"Help," he said, raising his arms up for her. "Mama, help."

"You wanna help me again?" she asked.

"Help," he said again, wobbling slightly as he tried to reach higher.

Wiping off her hands, she picked him up, sitting him on the table by where she was working, away from the flour. She tore off a small piece of dough for him that she knew would be extra, letting him have it to keep him occupied.

She smiled when she saw him trying to copy her movements, whether it be kneading the dough or rolling it out, finding the whole thing endearing.

Letting Henry continue to help her as she finished their dinner, she set the pies in the oven to cook, looking up when she heard Killian enter through the door.

A week after the press gangs had came, they finally cleared out, allowing Killian to return to work. He was more at ease, able to provide, even if he did enjoy his time at home with Emma and Henry.

Grinning, he immediately went to her, kissing her soundly before briefly pressing his forehead to hers.

"Hey," he said, lightly kissing her again.

She smiled in response. "Hey yourself."

"Happy birthday, Swan," he added, pulling a bundle of wildflowers from behind his back.

She noticed a couple pink Middlemist mixed in, making her grin widen. She'd always been fond of the flowers since she had been young, noticing it grew abundantly where they settled down. It was one of the things she loved about where they made their home.

Taking the bouquet from him, she gently kissed his lips. "Thank you."

"Papa!" Henry called excitedly, reaching out for Killian.

Killian chuckled as he looked over at Henry, seeing the boy had managed to cover himself in flour even though he wasn't near it on the table. Ignoring the transfer onto his black shirt, Killian picked him up, hugging him to his chest.

"You've been helping your Mama, haven't you, lad?" he asked Henry lightly as he tickled his belly.

"He's been helping me all day," Emma told him as Henry laughed.

Killian wiped off Henry's cheek, cleaning it of flour. Catching the smell of their cooking dinner, he sniffed the air, a hopeful expression on his face.

"Meat pies?" he asked.

She nodded, grabbing a damp cloth to clean Henry up.

The boy squirmed slightly in his father's arms, wanting down. Killian kept his hold, letting Emma wipe off the flour.

"Not yet, Henry," he chastised.

Henry pointed to the door before looking back up at him.

"He wants me to take him out," Killian sighed. He looked up at Emma. "Do we have enough time for me to see what he wants?"

"Just don't take too long," she told him as she finished wiping the flour off Henry. "Plus it's getting dark."

Nodding, Killian lightly tossed Henry over his shoulder. "We'll be back in a tick."

Shaking her head playfully, Emma watched as they went out before storing her flowers in a simple vase and cleaning up the last of the mess on the table. She was thankful that she had cleaned as she cooked, leaving the leftover mess minimal.

Just as she deemed the food done and removed it from the oven, she heard her husband and son reenter the cottage, Killian's booted footfalls mixing with the light, quick patter of Henry's feet.

Setting their dinner on the table, she looked down as Henry came up to her, holding out a small handful of a few flowers and weeds.

"Appy bur, Mama," he smiled up at her, his few teeth on display.

Laughing happily, she kneeled down in front of him, hugging him tightly and planting a loud kiss on his cheek. He giggled in return, wrapping his arms tightly around her neck.

Lifting him up, she saw Killian watching the two of them, a warm, loving smile curling his lips.

"Seems our lad wanted to give you some flowers of his own," he mused, stepping closer to them.

Emma took the plants from Henry, setting them in a jar filled with water beside the flowers Killian gave her.

She threw Killian a teasing smile. "Seems he's learning to be quiet the gentleman."

"I'm always a gentleman," Killian replied, sidling up to her and kissing her. "Though I do prefer dashing rapscallion. But it seems the better man won the fair lady's favor."

He affectionately ruffled Henry's hair.

"He has the best teacher possible," she chuckled, kissing Henry's cheek again. "Well, gentlemen, dinner is ready."


Laying Henry down for the night, Emma secured his blanket around him, smiling as he tugged his lion close to his chest.

"He really does love that thing," Killian murmured, resting his hook at her waist.

She turned her head to give him a soft smile. "Of course he does. That's his favorite toy."

Returning her smile, he lightly kissed her forehead before leading them out of the small bedroom.

"I'm just wondering what he'll do if something damages it," he mused as they went back to the main room.

Shrugging, Emma pushed him down so he leaned against the chaise. She immediately settled in with him, her legs draped over his lap as she rested her head on his shoulder.

"We'll just have to fix it if something happens to it," she said simply. She lightly kissed his jaw. "I think you did good when you got that for him."

"I should hope so," he hummed, resting his hand on her ribs. His eyes suddenly turned serious, his voice dropping. "I'm sorry I couldn't do more for you today. I know we've always done something for your birthdays, but these last couple years-"

She quickly kissed him, effectively cutting him off.

"It's okay," she said when she pulled away, stroking the scar on his cheek. "Seriously, Killian. These last could years have been perfect. I wouldn't trade this for anything."

"You mean even for one of those balls to celebrate your birthday?" he teased.

She groaned. "No way. There's no way I miss those gowns. My spleen doesn't miss those gowns."

Chuckling, his fingers lightly began tracing circles on her ribs. "I do remember the looks we got. You always slipped away from all of your perspective partners, even those your mother hoped you would see as potential suitors." His voice softened as he rested his forehead to hers. "We always had the last dance. Even if you managed to evade all of the men wanting a shot with you, you always asked me to share the last dance with you."

"You were the only one I wanted to dance with," she smiled tenderly.

"I wonder, does that desire extend to even now?" he asked her.

She nodded. "Yeah, it does."

He carefully detangled himself from her, sitting up and facing her. He extended his hand up to her. "Well then, Swan, would you do me the honor?"

Smiling, she nodded as she covered his hand with hers.

He stood up, moving until he stood in front of her to assist her up. Her hand continued to rest in his as her other anchored oh his shoulder, his hook resting at her waist. They quickly fell into the familiar steps, waltzing in the small space as Killian quietly hummed to them.

"I feel like I should be wearing some type of ball gown," Emma muttered.

He smirked. "While you did always look striking, I prefer this. None of the pomp and grandeur, just us."

She felt her cheeks warm, blushing as she circled him. "I do, too. Believe me. But you didn't look so bad yourself in your formal attire."

His ears reddened in response as he brought her close to him. Releasing her waist, he lightly wrapped a lock of hair around his finger before pushing it back behind her ear.

At his light touch, she leaned forward to rest her forehead to his, both swaying together more than dancing.

"Love you," she whispered, her lips ghosting over his.

"Love you, too," he murmured back, closing what distance was between them.