Killian ignored the noise if the people excitedly milling about the town, knowing he was running late. He had left later than he intended, having a late morning. Despite being late, he couldn't help smiling, thinking of the reason.
He wasn't going to complain about Emma's symptoms of carrying a child, even enjoying some, particularly something they denied themselves before Henry was born.
Moving past the crowds, he was able to reach the shop, immediately going towards the back to check his pieces from the day before.
He glanced up as he heard Goban, seeing the older man round the corner.
"Sorry," Killian said. "I left home late."
Goban nodded. "It's alright. How's Emma and Henry?"
"They're both good," Killian replied as he set a sword down to look at the blacksmith. "We think Emma's morning sickness maybe stopping."
"Good," Goban smiled warmly.
Killian nodded in agreement.
Emma had had a hard time even being around certain things, more so than when she carried Henry. In the little over two months since they discovered they were to have a child, she grew more tolerant to what smells she could be around, but some triggers for her remained.
The main thing Killian cared about was that Emma was happy, that she was safe and healthy carrying their child. He didn't want her to face what she did with Henry, scared and not knowing where to go or what to do. They had a home, somewhere they could raise their family.
Knowing they had work to do, Goban pulled away towards the front of the shop, leaving Killian to continue what he had started the day before.
The time passed easily enough for him, refining each piece he had made so it was ready to be sold. He wasn't sure how much time had passed before he heard the voices outside the shop, drawing his curiousity. He decided to remain at his station to continue his work, not wanting to leave it.
He stayed behind when the door opened, catching the sounds of a couple of people coming in. Thinking they were merely looking for some pieces, he decided to let Goban handle them.
"Can I help you?" he heard Goban ask.
"We came looking for the blacksmith," a gruff voice said.
Killian's blood turned to ice, wondering if the Navy who had been hunting for for years had finally found him. He couldn't put his family through him being arrested, especially with Emma carrying a child.
He froze as he heard another voice, the exasperated feminine tone so familiar to him. "What the captain of my guard is saying, is that we are looking for the husband of this town's healer."
"Is he in trouble?" Goban asked cautiously, distrust in his voice.
"No," the woman replied, calmer. "We're more looking for her. She's not in trouble, either. Her family is looking for her. She's the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming."
Stealthily moving around the corner, Killian took in the sight of Regina, standing regally in a deep red dress surrounded by some of her black knights. She had barely aged, the only mark of the passage of time being she had a few more gray streaks in her hair than he remembered.
Drawing the attention of the room, they all looked at Killian, Regina's dark eyes going wide at the sight of them.
"Killian," she gasped before a wide smile stretched across her red lips. "You're- how're you alive? Silver reported you were killed by pirates."
Killian gave her a wry smile. "The cur lied. It's a long story, but he is responsible for this." He held up his left arm, showing his missing hand. "I'm certain you can guess the identity of this Captain Hook that everyone is hunting."
Mutely, she nodded before recovering. "Don't worry. I'll see to it that word spreads to stop the hunt. Snow and Charming will agree and take care of Silver. Robin, Roland, Charming, and Leo are all out leading their own searches for Emma. Snow's staying in the kingdom just in case."
Suddenly grinning, she sighed, shaking her head. "Really though, if we had known you were still alive, we would have guessed that you would be with Emma. Especially hearing that the healer we were looking for is married and the husband's description fits yours."
He grinned in return. "Aye, Emma's with me, and she's alright. She's missed all of you. We both have."
"Good," she said. "Where is she?"
"Our cottage," he replied. "Head to the north side of the town by the sea. You'll see a path through the forest. Take it."
She nodded once. "Thank you, Killian. I'll send word to the others. And I'm really glad you're alive."
She turned, leaving with her guard, leaving Killian with Goban.
"So, Emma is actually a princess?" Goban asked in amazement.
Feeling shame, Killian nodded, turning to look back at the older man. "Aye. I know we should have told you who we were, but there was too much risk."
Goban nodded in understanding. "Aye, there was. Word got out a princess shut out from her own kingdom was hiding out somewhere? I wouldn't put it past our own king to try to find her to try to ransom her. Same with you. From the sounds of it, you're innocent of a crime and you had no way to clear your name."
A rush of relief washed over Killian. "Exactly. We knew we couldn't go home, and we just wanted someplace safe where we could raise our son."
Nodding, Goban looked at him, his eyes soft. "I'm guessing then that now you and Emma will be returning back to your home."
"Aye," Killian confirmed. "She wants to be with her family again."
"Well, just know that if you should ever decide to stay or return, you'll always have work," Goban told him warmly.
Killian nodded gratefully. "Thank you."
"I'll pay you out for now though," Goban told him, moving to his pockets.
"No," Killian protested, making the other man pause. "Think of it as compensation for my sudden leaving. You've done more than enough for me already."
He took Goban's outstretched hand, shaking it.
"Goodbye, and thank you," he said sincerely.
"Goodbye, Killian," Goban replied. "And good luck."
Giving him a small smile, Killian turned, knowing he had to hurry home to tell Emma.
He felt free as he moved back in the direction of his home, knowing that his name was to be cleared and he no longer had to fear arrest. He could wear his hook out in public, not having to worry about being seen.
Just like Emma, he had missed her parents, particularly David. The two had always gotten along, with David going as far as to act like a father figure to him. He greatly enjoyed his and Robin's company, enjoying on occasionally going on outings with them.
Breaking through the trees, he faltered his steps, smiling as he saw Emma out with Henry on the grass, sitting comfortably on a blanket as she played with the boy.
She wore one of her light dresses, a pale yellow that suited her. it had become obvious she was carrying a child, he belly have swollen enough to accommodate them.
Killian thought she never looked more beautiful, smiling and laughing in the sunlight.
A sudden pang of sorrow hit him, realizing that the life he and Emma made together was over. They could return to her parents and live there, no longer needing the home they built themselves for their family.
Stepping out of the trees, he caught their attention, making Henry sprint towards him.
"Papa!" Henry exclaimed, jumping into his father's arms. "You're home!"
Swinging him up to carry him, Killian continued to walk to where his wife was before setting Henry down.
"You're home really early," she remarked as she pinched her brow. "Is everything okay?"
Deciding to get straight to the point, he nodded. "The barrier is down, and Regina is here. Everyone is looking for you."
She stood still, completely stunned. "Wait, what? Regina is here?"
He nodded, his voice pitched low. "Aye, she's coming here now."
"We can go back," she sighed. Her eyes sharpened, her expression determined as she looked at him. "We can clear your name."
Offering her a small smile, he nodded.
Emma wrapped her arms around him, letting him pull her into a tight embrace. "We can see our family again."
Turning so his nose was buried in her hair, he clutched her tighter.
He could tell she was happy to be able to return to her family as well as make it so he no longer had to fear arrest, but he knew Emma. He could hear it in her voice as well as feel it in her actions that her happiness was tinged with a sorrow.
Killian didn't know the exact source, but suspected that it was similar to his own feelings.
"We're gonna need to pack," she muttered before slowly pulling away from him.
Determination suddenly lit her eyes again as she held Killian's gaze.
"Nothing is going to change between us," she said fiercely, reaching up to cradle his face. "I'm not going to stop wanting you just because we can return."
"Believe me, love, when I say I have no intentions of letting you go," he responded.
She smiled, small but genuine. "Good."
They both turned at the sounds of hooves approaching, seeing a glossy black horse emerge from the trees with Regina riding atop it.
Even at a distance, he could see Regina's eyes widen at the sight of him and Emma holding each other, as well as Henry and Emma's noticeably swollen stomach.
Henry stilled near them, ducking to hide behind his parents' legs peering cautiously at the stranger on the black horse.
Stopping a few yards away from them, Regina dismounted, going to move closer.
"Emma," she sighed, staring at her before suddenly rushing forward.
Emma met her embrace, stepping away from her husband to meet the other woman's hug.
"We missed you," Regina said quietly, her voice tight.
"I missed you all, too," Emma replied, just as emotional. "How is everyone? My parents?"
"Fine as they can be," Regina told her as they pulled away. "No one knew what happened to you, why you just disappeared." Her dark eyes shifted to the boy hiding behind Killian's legs, her voice growing gentle. "I guess I know why, now. Who's this?"
Killian watched as Emma smiled warmly as she reached for their son, lifting him to settle him on her hip for the introductions.
"Kid, do you remember when I told you about the rest of our family before?" she asked him, giving him an encouraging smile.
Henry looked at Regina curiously as he nodded. "Aye. I remember, Mama."
Emma's smile widened. "Well, this is Regina. She's family."
A sudden, wide smile split across Henry's face, recognizing the woman he had never met before. "Hi."
Regina smiled warmly at him in return. "Hello, there."
"This is mine and Killian's son," Emma said proudly. "Henry."
Touched, Regina looked back at her. "Really?"
Emma nodded. "He helped me get out. He's the reason I was able to leave and find Killian."
Regina swallowed, nodding. "I- thank you. He passed a few days after you left. Right after the barrier went up."
Killian rested his hand on Emma's waist as he moved closer. "We're sorry. He was a good man."
Regina nodded again.
"We can go inside," he said, knowing it would be more comfortable for them all. "There's room for the horse. We can put them in with ours."
"Thanks," she said.
"Henry, go grab your toys," Emma told Henry as she set him down.
He quickly scurried back to where they were playing, grabbing his lion with one hand and grabbing onto the blanket with the other, proceeding to drag it back to the cottage.
Killian couldn't help chuckling as Emma released a small, embarrassed laugh.
"That's one way to do it," he remarked.
"He's adorable," Regina said. "How old is he? Three?"
"Almost," Emma answered. "He will be in a couple months."
"And you're going to have another?" Regina asked, gesturing to Emma's stomach.
Emma lovingly covered her belly with her hand as she smiled back widely. "We are. We decided we didn't want to wait anymore and grow our family."
Regina smiled. "Well then, I believe congratulations is in order."
"Thank you," Killian said, touching Emma's hand on her stomach gently with his hook.
Regina looked around at the land, taking in the cottage. "You did all of this?"
"Yeah, we did," Emma said as she leaned further into Killian. "We wanted Henry to have a home before he was born, so we found this place and fixed it up. It was hard, but it's ours."
Killian smiled at the pride in his wife's voice, feeling it himself for the home they made together.
He leaned in to brush his lips over her temple, lightly squeezing her waist. "You guys go ahead inside and relax. I'll take care of the horse."
"Are you sure you don't need help?" she asked him.
"I'm fine," he told her. "Besides, you're supposed to be taking it easy."
She playfully rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah. Just hurry up."
"Of course, Swan," he laughed.
Lightly kissing him, she pulled away to lead Regina into their cottage and help Henry, leaving him to grab the reigns of Regina's horse to lead it to where they kept Aife.
Emma glanced at where Henry slept in their bed before moving to join Killian behind their rarely used privacy screen to change into her nightdress.
They had offered to let Regina stay the night in their home, knowing it would be more comfortable than an inn in town. They had put up Henry's room for her, leading them to putting him in their own bed for the night.
Stepping out from behind the screen, she couldn't help staring at the mostly packed trunks, her chest feeling as if a huge weight pressed upon her.
She leaned into Killian as she felt his chest press into her back, his arms going around her waist.
"I know, love," he whispered softly. "Believe me, I know."
"It's just, this has been our home for the past three years," she lamented. "I know we always talked about going back, but this is the only home Henry has ever known."
She turned in his arms so her chest was pressed to his, draping her own arms around his waist. "Do you think we're making a mistake?"
Killian released a heavy breath as he leaned forward to rest his forehead against hers. "I really don't know, Swan. Everything is changing now."
Bringing her hand up, she rested it over his heart, feeling his warm skin beneath her palm. "This isn't. This is going to remain the same."
Tenderly, he brought his own hand up and placed it on her chest over her heart. "Aye, this will."
She closed her eyes, focusing on nothing but being held by him and enjoying a moment of peace. She leaned in closer to him to rest her head in the crook of his neck.
"This will be hard to give up," she whispered. "It was really good here, despite how hard it was at first."
She felt him nod in agreement as he spoke. "Aye, it was. But what else can we do, Swan? We always knew we would be returning some day, and you would be with the rest of your family again. You would be a princess again."
"Do you really think things can return back to the way they were before?" she snorted. "We're married and have a family now. Killian, we have a baby on the way. Things can't exactly just go back to how it was all before. We're different people now than from when we left years ago."
"I know," he said. He brought his hand up to cradle her face. "I don't know what I'm gonna do. I won't go back into the Navy. I'm not leaving my family, even for duty."
"But you love sailing," she replied in a small voice. "I don't want to keep you from that."
"I love you, Henry, and our little one more," he said simply.
Emma closed her eyes as she leaned further into him. "You know, I know you said before you wouldn't take a title or anything, but now... you could. If you don't want to return to the Navy, you could always take a position in the court."
"You mean become some type of noble?" he asked with a small laugh in his voice.
She opened her green eyes to look at him. "Actually, you would at the very least be the prince consort. You could rule, just like my father."
Killian's jaw dropped at her statement, his eyes wide.
"Just think, you could boss around Liam," she teased.
He suddenly grinned widely. "That alone would make it all worth it."
Releasing a small laugh, she lightly kissed him.
"But still, I don't know how we can leave all of this behind," she whispered as she pulled away slightly.
"I really don't know how we will, either," he responded with a shrug. "What I do know is the next few days are gonna be long and trying."
She nodded. "I know. We'll have to come back, though. There's too much to take with us on just this trip."
As she spoke, she glanced at the trunks that rested beside their door, mostly packed for the morning. Upon Regina's promise, her guards were to transport what animals they had back to her parents, relieving both Emma and Killian's worry about caring for them. They didn't want to leave their animals to fend for themselves in their absence, as well as knew Henry would be upset at leaving them behind. They would take Aife with them for the journey, keeping her with them at all times.
"We should go to bed," Killian murmured.
Emma nodded, exhaling a small sigh. "Yeah."
She let him lead them to the bed, breaking off to climb into their respective sides with Henry sleeping between them.
Reaching out, Killian rested his hand on her waist, his thumb stroking the side of her stomach.
"Just think though, our little ones will finally have their whole family around them," he whispered above their son's head.
Emma smiled in return. "Yeah, they will. You know my dad especially will spoil them."
He chuckled. "Don't worry, love. We can do this. Everything will be okay."
Knowing she would do anything to keep her family together just as he would, she knew he was right, that they would make it.
"I know we will," she said, reaching out to rest her hand on his own waist before sleep took over them.