Finishing taking care of the horse, Killian walked out of the small barn, wanting to get back to Emma and Henry. He could hear the small boy's laugh as he exited the barn, drawing a smile from him. As they came into view, he saw Henry running around, crunching some of the leaves that had fallen beneath his feet.
They had just gotten out of their rainier season, having a small period of dry, cool weather, as well as giving them on opportunity to take their son out to play in the leaves.
Killian walked over to meet them, still wearing a smile on his face.
Emma grinned back at him in greeting, lightly kissing him as she rested her hand on his chest.
"I take it someone's enjoying themselves?" he asked as they broke apart.
She chuckled. "See for yourself. He's loving it out here."
Looking over, they saw Henry near some of the trees that had shed their leaves, pushing them together into a pile before pouncing, submerging himself and popping his head back out.
Emma waved her free hand, moving all of the fallen leaves from the entire area to his pile. Most of the trees were evergreens around the property, but there were enough orange, red, and brown leaves from the other trees to create a tall mound, exciting the boy.
Seeing he wasn't big enough to easily jump into the tall pile on his own, Killian pulled away from his wife, scooping Henry into his arms.
The boy laughed loudly as his father carefully swung him before gently tossing him into the pile.
Completely buried in the leaves, the only sign Henry was in there were the peals of laughter he released before his head appeared.
Leaning down, Killian let him grasp onto him, pulling him out and hugging him tightly as Henry embraced him back.
"You like this, don't you?" he asked him, readjusting him so he was held with only his left arm.
"Aye," Henry smiled, his hands fisting Killian's leather coat.
Keeping his hold on him, Killian tickled his stomach, drawing more laughter from the boy.
Looking over, Henry reached out, laughing as he called for Emma. "Mama."
Emma moved over to them, easily taking Henry from Killian and balancing him on her hip, loudly kissing his cheek.
Henry cuddled into her, making her hug him tighter, keeping him close to her.
"What are you doing, huh?" she asked. "Are you having fun?"
He nodded enthusiastically. "Aye!"
She grinned down at him, getting ready to toss him back into the leaves. He laughed as he went, the leaves cushioning his fall.
Killian leaned into Emma as he felt her arm wind around his waist, her hand resting on his hip.
"Are you going to get him?" he asked, his eyes on the spot where Henry was working his way out of.
She leaned her head on his shoulder. "I'm thinking I'll let him do it on his own."
He hummed, moving his own arm to wrap around her waist.
Relaxing into her, he contently closed his eyes until he felt a tug on his leg, prompting him to immediately look down, seeing Henry reaching up to him.
"Papa, up," Henry requested, reaching up to him.
Releasing his hold on Emma, Killian stooped down to pick Henry up, lifting him up so the boy sat on his shoulders. He reached back to keep his hand on Henry's back, keeping him secure.
Henry smiled at the new vantage point, looking around to see everything from a taller point of view.
Killian caught Emma smiling, watching the two of them.
"What?" he asked, suddenly feeling slightly self conscious, but continued to keep Henry on his shoulders where the boy's hands rested in his head.
She shook her head. "It's nothing. I just always have to laugh at how much he idolizes you."
Feeling his ears begin to redden, Killian shook his head. "It's probably just because I'm the only man he's constantly around. Besides, he looks up to you, too."
She chuckled. "But I was right. Remember from before he was born and I said you would be the favorite?"
"I doubt that," he said. "You've seen how much he likes following you around and being with you."
"Which he forgets about as soon as you come home," she added.
She carried no bitterness in her voice, instead giving him a gentle smile. Killian knew she loved how much Henry looked up to him, that he had a man in his life that he could learn from.
He smiled, remembering the few days before on Emma's birthday when he had given her flowers, which prompted Henry to immediately want to get some of his own to give his mother.
"I think we can agree that he goes to the both of us and loves us both," he said, resting his hook in her hip.
She nodded before looking up as Henry began to fidget.
"I think someone's getting hungry," she remarked.
Carefully glancing up, Killian gently brought Henry down, resting him against his arm before setting him on the ground.
Reaching up, Henry grasped both of his parents hands, holding them tightly.
Killian shared a quick glance with Emma before nodding, both lifting the toddler and swinging him forward, making him release peals of laughter and causing them to join him.
"C'mon," Emma said, still laughing. "Let's get someone their lunch."
Killian let her lead him and Henry into the cottage, immediately going to their tiny kitchen to prepare something for Henry.
Helping set Henry in his chair, Killian went over to help Emma.
"I've got it," she told him calmly.
He shrugged, grabbing and apple for himself and cutting it in half as he leaned against the counter and letting her give Henry his food. She joined him a second later, accepting the half of the apple he offered her.
"If only your mother could see you now," he teased, gesturing to the apple.
Shrugging, she took a bite. "I happen to like them. I get why she hates them though and won't let them in the palace."
"And then it doesn't help that Regina taught you how to make turnovers with them at a young age," Killian grinned.
Releasing a small snort, Emma shook her head in amusement. "I'll never forget the year Regina convinced me to make my mom some for her birthday."
His grin widened. "I remember that. That was my first winter in the castle."
"You ate them, at least," she reminisced, smiling fondly at the memory.
"I wasn't about to let them go to waste," he defended lightly. "Besides, they were good."
She playfully bumped his hip with hers. "I think you were sucking up more than anything."
Setting his apple core aside, he turned and pulled her to his chest, teasingly nudging her nose with his. "No, I really did. I've always liked your baking."
She rested her hands on his cheeks, making him relax into her as his hand splayed across her lower back.
Her hands weren't as smooth as they'd been before when she was a princess. Though she was trained in weaponry, her skin had remained mostly smooth, a sign of her status. Her skin had grown rougher from the work she had to do to ensure they could have a life together, work they had to do themselves. Killian had barely ever noticed it, knowing it was just a testament to how strong she was, that she could do hard work, and yet gentle enough to still love and comfort him and their son.
He leaned into her touch, inhaling her scent as he further relaxed with her.
She gently kissed him, stroking the stubble on his jaw with her thumbs before leaning her forehead against his.
"Well, is that a hint, then?" she asked, her tone teasing.
"Not necessarily," he said just as lightly.
Chuckling, she sweetly kissed him again.
Feeling a tug at his and Emma's legs, Killian looked down, seeing Henry's pinched face looking up at them.
"Mama," he said, reaching up toward his mother.
Emma laughed, releasing Killian to lift up the toddler. "What's the matter, kid?"
He didn't respond until she leaned back into Killian's hold. He reached for her face, wettly kissing her.
"Is your Papa getting more attention than you?" she asked, kissing his nose. "Is that it?"
He tightly wrapped his arms around her neck, smiling as she continued to plant light kisses on him.
Killian grinned, bumping Emma's head with his affectionately. She moved to lean her head against his, stopping when Henry pulled her back to him.
"He knows how to keep the attention of a beautiful woman," Killian snickered in amusement.
She rolled her eyes, bouncing Henry in her arms. "It's actually time for a nap for him. Neither of us want a cranky toddler."
He nodded in agreement. "Would you like me to put him down?"
Shaking her head, she pulled away, gently rocking Henry as she went to lull him to sleep. "I've got it."
Seeing the boy quickly falling asleep in his mother's arms, he followed them back to the small bedroom for their son and watched as Emma set Henry in his bed, covering him with a blanket. He was always amazed at how quickly Henry could fall asleep at times, even for his naps.
Emma walked back over to Killian, leaning into him as they moved back to the main room. Pulling him over to the couch, she pushed him down before joining him, resting her legs over his.
His arms immediately wrapped around her so she was nearly sitting on him, letting her cuddle her head into the crook of his neck, warming him from the simple contact.
Killian lazily stroked his hand along her spine, drawing content sighs from her.
"Tired?" he asked, noticing her closed eyes.
"Not really," she replied, resting her hand on his chest just over his heart. "Just happy."
He hummed contently in agreement before a small laugh escaped him. "And this time I don't have to worry about another man stealing your affections."
She laughed, opening her eyes and pressing her lips to his in a loving kiss that both put him at peace and made his heart flutter.