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Safe Harbor

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Emma cuddled Henry closer to her as Killian fed another piece of kindling into the fire, looking up briefly from the book she was reading to their son to smile softly at him.

Killian smiled back just as lovingly as he stood back up, moving closer and settling beside them, wrapping his arms around her waist to pull her and Henry closer to him until Emma's body was pressed to his.

She didn't miss a beat as she continued to read, smiling as Henry looked at the pages of the book with rapt attention. She had suspicions that when he got older, he would try to read anything in sight.

The story ended just as his eyes began to grow heavy, showing the boy was tired. She closed the book, setting it aside so she could lift him into her arms and get him ready for bed.

He didn't stir as she carried him back to his room, having to have Killian hold Henry up as she changed him into his sleep clothes.

She pulled down the blankets to his bed, letting Killian lay him down as she pulled the blankets back up to the boy's chin. He suddenly stirred, looking widely between the two of them, particularly Killian.

He smiled softly at the boy. "Is it time for the monster check?"

Henry nodded quietly.

Emma smiled as she watched Killian rise up, animated as he pulled open Henry's small wardrobe and followed it with dropping down to the floor to look under the bed.

They had known it was only going to be a matter of time before Henry began to want his parents, Killian especially, to begin searching his room for any monsters hiding in his room. Emma had heard some of the older kids in the town talking about it, trying to scare the younger kids. They were able to tell Henry that most of them couldn't get in, knowing the threat of many creatures did exist, but went as far as indulging him to checking for them anyway. If it put Henry at ease, they would do it.

"Nothing here," he told Henry brightly. "There's no monsters in here."

He went over to the window, looking down at the red line they had drawn on the ledge, telling their son that it would keep everything out.

He turned back, grinning widely at Henry. "No monsters are getting past this line. There's no way they can come in."

Satisfied with his father's search, Henry relaxed, smiling back at his parents as he sunk futher into his bed.

"Good night, Henry," Emma murmured softly as she lightly kissed his head, brushing his hair back away from his face.

"Night, Mama," he responded softly, sleep already beginning to pull him under.

She pulled away to let Killian say goodnight to their son, moving with him back out to the main room to clean up the area.

"You look tired," Emma commented as she folded up the blanket she had been using, glancing over at Killian as he set the book they had been reading away. The bright facade he wore with Henry had slipped away, revealing how weary he was.

He shrugged, moving back over to her and folding his arms around her waist. "Aye. I'm looking forward to going to bed."

"I'm guessing it didn't help that someone decided to jump on you before the sun had even began to rise?" she questioned with a sympathetic laugh.

Killian released a small groan. "No, it didn't, especially with the long day yesterday."

Turning in his arms so she was facing him, she rested her hands on his shoulders. "You know you can take a nap when you're home, right?"

"Yeah, but you deserve to have some help around here when I'm home," he responded.

Sighing, she shook her head. "And I do. But that doesn't mean you aren't allowed to take a break."

Releasing a heavy exhale, he leaned his forehead to hers before he winced, drawing his left arm slightly away from her.

"It's hurting again, isn't it?" she asked him softly.

Killian would occasionally get pain in his left wrist, telling her it was as though he could still feel his hand. The sensation had began to lessen over time, but hadn't disappeared.

"Not much," he replied, resting his arm back around her.

"I can take care of it, if you want," she offered.

She had done what she could before to help him, from trying a mixture of salves to lessen the pain to simply massaging his arm and wrist. They found her touch worked the best, relaxing him and driving away the ache.

Shaking his head gently, he leaned back further into her. "It's fine, love. It's going away now on its own."

"C'mon," she said with a small nod, lightly kissing him. "Let's go to bed."

He nodded as she quickly doused the fire, letting her lead them back to their room.

They quickly changed, climbing into their bed and pulling the heavy blankets over them.

Emma moved so she was pressed against him as he turned to deposit his hook on the small table by his side of the bed. She curled her body around him as he layed down, smiling as he sunk into her embrace, his back pressed to her chest.

He wouldn't admit it, but Emma knew sometimes Killian liked to be held and cuddled just like he always did with her.

Feeling her own fatigue weighing down on her, she whispered a quiet good night to him as she pressed her lips to his hair.


Emma glanced out towards the window, taking in the pure white snow that covered the land. She debated on letting Henry outside to play, knowing he had already gotten to play in the snow when she had taken him into town with her earlier in the day. She had remained near as she let him play with some of the other young children, keeping an eye on him as they chased each other in the snow.

She looked back to where he sat, seeing he was still eating his lunch.

She and Killian had discovered Henry enjoyed some of the different jams and marmalades they made, eating the spreads on bread. She smiled fondly at the memory of when they had made the discovery from when he was so young, of her and her husband going to eat their own lunches only to see Henry had managed to crawl onto the table and eat their food, making a mess of himself and the entire area.

They learned very early on the best way to get Henry to even try something was to get Killian to eat it first, knowing how Henry often tried to copy everything he saw his father do.

Lost in thought, Emma started slightly when she heard Henry call her.

"What's the matter, kid?" she asked him lightly, going to stand beside him at the table.

Henry's brow pinched as he looked at her like he had the most important question she would ever have to answer. "I have a grandma and grandpa?"

She sat stunned for a moment, trying to think of how to answer his question. She knew she should have known he would ask her soon enough, especially as he watched the other children in town being called by and leaving with their grandparents as well as parents.

"Mama?" he asked worriedly, as if he were scared she wouldn't answer his question.

Lifting him up, she carried him over to the chair she would rock him in as an infant, where she would still rock him to sleep on occasion. She sat him on her lap, holding him close to her as he looked at her with large hazel eyes as she began to push the chair in a steady rythem.

"Yes, you do," she said lightly, trying to say it in a way he would understand. "You know that kingdom with the big wall around it that no one can get through?"

He nodded surely.

"Well, my mama and papa live in that kingdom," she told him. "I haven't seen them in a long time because of the wall, so that's why you've never seen them. You will meet them one day though, Henry, I promise you that. And they'll love you so much when you do. Almost as much as me and Papa love you."

She spoke with surety at the end, knowing without a doubt that her parents would absolutely adore Henry. She could only image her own father insisting on teaching Henry to use a sword, trying to claim he was the best in the realms.

Henry smiled in satisfaction before another worried look took over his features again. "Papa's mama and papa?"

Emma swallowed nervously, knowing she should have suspected her son's question. She didn't know how to answer, how to explain death and abandonment to a young child.

She hugged him tighter, her voice lower than before. "Some people don't have mamas and papas. Your Papa doesn't have any."

"Why?" He asked, his tone a mixture of confusion and sadness.

Swallowing heavily, she quickly thought of something to tell him. "Henry, sometimes people have to go away, even if they don't want to, and they can't come back. Your Papa's mother had to go away, but she really, really didn't want to. She tried to stay with him as long as she could, but she had to go."

"Papa's papa?" he probed, carrying an expression that Emma wanted to do everything possible to chase away.

"Some people aren't meant to be parents," she said, pushing her dislike of Killian's father aside so Henry wouldn't pick up on it. "Sometimes people have kids, and they can't be a parent. But you know what, Henry? Your Papa grew up to be the best man I know. He's someone you can look up to and will always be there for you and to protect you. And I will, too."

Henry finally smiled, making her smile in return as she continued to rock him.

"We're always gonna be there for you," she promised him as she kissed his hair. "We'll always protect you."

She remained in the chair, her son cuddled up on her lap as she propelled the chair back and forth, eventually lulling him to sleep. She continued to hold him as he slept, reluctant to have him away from her, even for just his nap.

For the first time, Emma wondered if she and Killian weren't enough for Henry.

His questions made her long for her parents to meet him, knowing how much they would instantly love her little boy.

She had always missed them, but had never fully grasped how much they were all missing out on because of the barrier between the kingdoms.

She wondered at Leo's reaction to him, in discovering he had a nephew. She couldn't deny at being nervous about Liam's reaction to actually meeting Henry, having found out about him while she still carried him in her belly. He hadn't been thrilled at finding about her and Killian's marriage, leading her to wonder about what would happen when he actually met the little boy.

She just hoped it wouldn't end up in another argument between the brothers, knowing Killian would be protective of his son.

Lost in thought, she didn't realize the time until the front door opened to Killian coming it.

He closed if before too much snow came in, smiling as he turned to face her and walked over to where she sat with Henry.

"Hey," he said quietly, lightly pecking her lips in greeting.

"Hey, yourself," she replied with a grin. "Sorry, I didn't realize what time it was."

He quickly waved her off. "Don't apologize, love. It's alright."

Getting a good grip on Henry, Emma stood up, careful not to wake him.

Killian held out his arms, offering to take him from her.

She handed the toddler over, struck at the image of Henry immediately curling into his father's arms as Killian buried his nose in his hair, making her gently smile.

"Shall I go put him down?" Killian whispered.

Swallowing, she nodded. "Yeah, if you could?"

He nodded once, turning to go set Henry down in his own bed.

Emma went over to their small kitchen, pulling various ingredients to make them a quick dinner. She paused as she felt Killian come up behind her, his hand and wrist resting on her waist.

"What's wrong, Swan?" he asked.

She couldn't help smile, knowing of course Killian would know something was wrong.

"Henry asked if he had any grandparents," she said quietly.

He hesitated before responding, sounding nervous. "Oh. What did you tell him?"

"That he does, that my parents live in the kingdom with the wall around it," she told him.

"Okay, that's simple enough," he said, sounding relieved. His tone suddenly turned nervous again. "Anything of mine?"

Slowly, she nodded. "I told him that sometimes people have to go away, even if they don't want to, and that they can't come back. That, and that sometimes people have kids, but they're not meant to be parents."

She felt him nod before he rested his head on her shoulder, sighing. "That's good. Better than I could have thought of on the spot."

"It was the only thing I could think of," she admitted. "Do you think... do you think that just me and you, that that's not enough for him?"

She couldn't keep her nerves from her voice.

"I'm thinking it could be that he's curious," he replied. "He sees these larger families all the time in town, so maybe he's just wondering if he has that, too."

Seeing her doubt, he wrapped his arms around her, squeezing her waist gently. "Hey, you're enough. We've done everything can so far to make sure our lad has a family. He's health and happy, and in a stable home, and has parents who love him. That's what matters."

Setting down her work, she wiped off her hands to touch his cheek, leaning her own face against his.

"I'd like to know how you somehow always know what to say," she sighed before turning her head to kiss his cheek.

"I know you, Swan," he told her. "I know how much you worry, even if it's plain to see you're a wonderful mother."

She smiled, turning in his arms so she could embrace him back. "You know you're not too bad yourself. I was right in thinking you'd make a hell of a father."

"Oh, really?" he smirked. "And when was this?"

"A while ago," she said. "When we were about... fifteen, maybe sixteen? It was when Kathryn and Fredrick were visiting with their sons and you were playing with them even though Liam and Pinocchio were giving you looks cause you were playing with some little kids."

His ears reddened slightly. "Well, they wanted me to go with them to vanquish a dragon, and I wasn't going to refuse them."

"Still," she said, leaning forward to kiss him soundly.

She pulled away when he tugged her closer, a laugh creeping into her voice. "I need to make dinner."

"We can have a late dinner," he muttered as he kissed her again.

They broke apart as they heard the patter of footsteps in the hall, entering the main room.

"Papa!" Henry exclaimed happily as he began running over to where his parents were still embraced. He wrapped his small arms around his father's leg with a surprising strength, smiling up at him. "Hi."

Chuckling, Killian released Emma to reach down and pick Henry up. "Hey there, Sea Otter."

"Someone will be wanting his dinner soon," Emma chastised, looking pointedly at her husband.

He grinned, bouncing Henry slightly. "Do you want any help?"

Emma snorted. "Now you ask, when we have our son as an audience so you can't do anything."

His grin widened.

"No, just go play with him?" she asked.

Killian nodded once, kissing her much more chastly before carrying their son away.

Before he got too far away, she playfully smacked his rear, smiling innocently when he turned to look back at her, his eyes promising he would get her back later in the night as he flashed her a devilish smile.