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Safe Harbor

Chapter Text

Emma looked frantically around the harbor, panic beginning to claw at her chest when she couldn't find her father or any of the guards. She knew they were all probably looking for her, having slipped off from them to explore, but being in the unfamiliar area with various ships and people, she found herself disoriented, unable to find anyone or anything familiar to her.

Trying to keep herself calm, she walked along the docks, hoping to find her bearings.

People would easily be able to tell who she was, the fine fabrics of her dress giving her away as someone of status, even if the light green helped her blend in. She hoped that if at least she couldn't find her father immediately, someone would recognize her and take her to him.

Not finding anything, she stopped beside one of the ships to glance around, trying to figure out which way to go.

"You're lost, aren't you, lass?" a voice came from slightly above her.

She whiled around, spying a boy looking down at her from the gunwhale of the ship she had stopped by.

He was around her age, traces of dirt smeared on his pale skin. Wild dark hair fell over his eyes, which were a brilliant blue. His clothes that she could see were in very poor condition and dirty, clearly indicating he worked on the ship.

"Yeah," Emma answered, keeping her gaze locked with the boy, not wanting to seem weak in front of him. "I can't find my father."

He nodded, a flash of pain crossing his expression before he hid it away.

"He wanted to go to the inn after some business, but I have no idea where that is," she admitted. "I can't find anyone now, and I have no idea where I'm at."

Suddenly looking slightly nervous, he glanced around the ship before resolve took over. He looked back down at her, determined. "I can show you the way."

Emma nodded gratefully, prompting him to walk down the gangplank to meet her.

Up closer she could see he was just barely taller than her and his frame was too thin, even for a young boy. She wondered at how he was on that ship and what he did.

Tentatively, he offered his hand to her, letting her decide whether or not to take it.

Without hesitating, she placed her hand over his, surprised at the small spark she felt when her skin touched his. Glancing up, she saw his own surprise before he looked determinedly back at her.

"C'mon," he said, pulling her gently back the way she came.

"What's your name?" she asked curiously, wanting to know who was helping her.

"Killian Jones," he answered, his name just as foreign as his accent.

She nodded daintily. "I'm Emma."

He flashed her a bright smile. "Well, Emma, it's a pleasure to help you."

She smiled back. "Thank you."

Emma was amazed at the ease Killian was able to lead her through the maze that made up the harbor, cutting through various streets and alleys to get to her destination. Despite barely meeting him, she was comfortable with him, trusting him. She didn't know if it was because he was around her age, but she automatically knew he was someone she could connect with.

The inn came into sight as soon as he led them around a corner, making her gasp in relief at seeing her father there with the guards, clearly about to go searching for her.

She smiled gratefully at Killian. "Thank you."

Scratching behind his ear, he smiled back sheepishly. "You're welcome."

Releasing his hand, she raced toward her father, calling out to him, not seeing the strange look crossing Killian's face.

David's head snapped towards her, his eyes wide with worry as he immediately made to move towards her. "Emma!"

She jumped into his waiting arms, finally feeling the safety of being with her father.

"Where were you?" he asked as he kneeled in front of her, cradling her head. "No one could find you."

Shrinking slightly, she pulled back slightly, prepared to be scolded. "I wanted to explore, and I got lost. A boy at the docks helped bring me back here."

He merely nodded before looking around to see his daughter's savior. His brow pinched as he scanned the area.

"Where is he?" David asked.

Turning back, Emma felt her own brow furrow when she saw Killian was absent.

"He was here," she insisted. "I don't know where he went."

Releasing her completely, he stood up, motioning for one of the dwarves to follow. "He might have gone back to his ship. Why don't we go back to the docks so I can thank him myself?"

She nodded enthusiastically, wanting to see the boy again to thank him. Grasping her father's hand, she tugged him toward the way Killian had led her from.

Her father knew the area, easily leading her and Grumpy, who had stepped forward to accompany them, back to where the various ships were docked.

She looked around for the right ship as they neared, finally seeing it down the way.

"Down there," she pointed, pulling on David.

Letting her go slightly ahead, Emma led them down to the ship, seeing that instead of being deserted like earlier, there were a number of men on the deck, including a man who's clothes indicated he was the captain, holding an object that resembled a whip, but with multiple tails.

A smaller form that Emma recognized as Killian kneeled in front of the captain, sporting a fresh, deep cut on his right cheek.

Her chest clenched at the clear fear and anger in his eyes.

"That's him, there," she pointed to her father, scared for what was about to happen to the boy that had helped her.

She glanced up at her father just in time to see him take in the scene before his expression became furious. Beside him, she saw Grumpy with a similar expression.

Forgoing all etiquette, David walked up on the gangplank and onto the deck, drawing the attention of the men as Grumpy held Emma back slightly.

The captain quickly turned to face him, shocked. "Your Majesty."

"I'm here to express my gratitude to the boy who helped my daughter," David said coldly. "I'm curious as to why he's about to face punishment?"

Killian's eyes widened as he looked at David, not having realized exactly that Emma was a princess until he got to see her father.

The captain's face hardened. "The brat defied orders. He was to stay on the ship, and not to speak to anyone. He knew the consequences for any infractions."

Emma wanted to cry, while not understanding the exact circumstances, knew that Killian was going to be hurt because he had decided to help her.

"What power do you have over him to demand that?" David challenged.

Emma could tell from his tone that he already knew, but wanted the other man to admit whatever it was.

"I own him," the captain replied simply. "His father turned him over to me, and now he has to pay off the debts."

Feeling her eyes widen, Emma looked from Killian to the captain, unable to comprehend how one person could own another.

"And that's outlawed here," David said furiously. "He's a child, and you're actually putting him through this abuse?"

"Got to break him somehow," the captain replied carelessly. "He's defiant and a troublemaker. And has a major attitude."

Emma had rarely seen her father angry before, usually only when he saw Regina, but even that was more irritation than anything else. She wanted to shrink back, never having seen him so furious.

"You're to release him, right now," David demanded.

"He hasn't payed off his debts," the other man countered.

"You release him now, or you will face arrest," David told him, setting up the ultimatum. "Either way, the boy will be freed."

The captain paused at the threat of arrest, glaring at the king before finally reaching down and grabbing Killian by the scruff of the neck and roughly tossing him in front of David.

"Take him," he said venomously. "He's nothing but trouble and a waste anyway."

Breaking free of her ward's hold, Emma hurried forward, helping Killian up off of the wood.

David kneeled in front of him, much the same as he did for Emma, his face marginally kinder as he took in the boy.

"Killian, is it?" he asked. He continued after the boy nodded. "You're gonna be okay now."

"I can't leave," Killian said quickly, frantically. "I can't leave Liam. I can't leave my brother."

David's face turned thunderous as he stood up to look back at the captain, his voice barely contained. "There's another child aboard? How many?"

"Just the boy and his brother," the captain responded.

"You're releasing him, too," David said.

When the captain hesitated, David glared at him. "My offer still stands."

Slowly, the other man raised his hand, motioning to a crewman. "Bring the other boy up."

"Do you have any possessions?" David asked Killian gently.

The boy shook his head as he clutched a chain around his neck. "No. All we had was sold or destroyed except for this."

"How long has it been since you've seen your father?" David inquired sadly.

Killian shrugged, unsure. "I'm not sure. A year, maybe?"

David turned his steely blue eyes back to the captain.

"I've had the whelps for a year," he confirmed.

His eyes softening as he turned back to Killian, David kneeled back down so he was eye level. "How old were you when you were put on this ship?"

"Seven," Killian answered, confirming Emma's suspicion that they were the same age.

David nodded sadly, coming to the same conclusion as his daughter. "So you're eight now."

Another boy, slightly older, appeared on the deck with a couple of men. His hair was lighter, curlier, but he had the same brilliant blue eyes Killian had. Emma knew he was Killian's brother.

"It's your lucky day, boys," the captain said mockingly. "His Majesty has taken pity on you and has decided to free you from my charge."

The older boy, Liam, looked at David in shock before his eyes landing on Killian, noting the way Emma stood protectively by him.

"I want you out of the kingdom when the tide comes," David ordered. "You're not to come into the kingdom again, or you will be charged."

He turned, ushering the children off the ship and onto the docks away from the ship before announcing to them that they were to go back to the inn Killian had originally led Emma to to complete his business before they were to head back to their castle where Snow and Emma's younger brother waited, being sure to indicate that the two boys were to come with them.

As they began to walk back to the inn, Emma slipped her hand in Killian's, gripping it firmly.

Nine Years Later

Hurrying along the docks, Emma sighed in relief as the Jewel of the Realm came into view. Her lessons with Blue had run late, leading her to fear that she was too late to see Killian off on his first mission since his promotion.

She turned as she reached the gangplank, lifting her skirts just enough to accommodate the incline, and stepped on the deck just as the crew began to disperse, Killian having finished his address.

"Hey there, Lieutenant," she teased, calling his attention as he had finished speaking with his captain.

She was met with a bright grin as he approached her. "Hello there, Princess."

His grin widened as she released a groan.

"I'm sorry I'm late," she apologized, abandoning all propriety and hugging him tightly. "My lesson went on longer than I thought, and I rode down here as fast as I could."

"You came," he said simply as they pulled away, ignoring the disapproving looks around them. "That's all that matters."

"I couldn't not see you off," she told him, affectionately tugging at the short ponytail he wore. "Killian, you're my best friend. You know I'm gonna miss you."

"I'll miss you, too, Swan," he responded, using his personally nickname for her.

Grinning, she remembered how she had received the moniker. Pinocchio, who was older than them and loved creating mischief, had teased Emma relentlessly when he had found her and Killian at a pond by the castle where a small group of ducklings were swimming. Because of her youth and slight clumsiness at the time, he had began calling Ugly Duckling, tormenting her until she lashed out, punching him in the mouth.

Killian had laughed, firmly saying Pinocchio had deserved it, before pointing out that the ducklings in the water were actually cygnets, their fuzzy gray down turning pure white as they grew to swans. He had taken to calling her after the bird, knowing that she would go through the same change and becoming just as elegant as the birds themselves.

She grew into the woman he predicted she would be, tall and slim, her blonde hair complimenting her fair skin. Her eyes remained the same, a shining jade green that matched her mother's.

He had grown into a very attractive young man, often catching the attention of women where ever he went. He was taller than her, his frame filled out so that he was trim yet strong. He had taken to growing out his facial hair, proudly displaying the slightly red scruff that decorated his jaw, enhancing his fine features.

"Not looking forward to serving under Silver?" she asked in a low voice, not wishing to be heard by the crew.

Killian's expression turned grim. "The man's an ass. I've heard some of the men talking already, exchanging stories of what he's done to the crew before."

Her expression softening, she nodded. "You can handle it. You've worked your way through the ranks faster than anyone. Besides, both my parents trust you."

Giving her a slightly sheepish smile at her flattery, he nodded, knowing what she said was true. While Liam himself had managed to work himself up to rank of Captain before Killian, Killian was the youngest lieutenant they ever had, having obtained the rank at the age of seventeen. Both of the brothers had flourished since David and Snow had taken them in.

"Besides, while you're off going to other kingdoms, I'm stuck here with lessons and my mother trying to introduce me to suitors," she told him.

As soon as she had turned fifteen, Snow White had deemed Emma at the appropriate age to be introduced to potential suitors, hoping she would find one she would want for a husband. Emma had found the whole thing daunting, hating dealing with stuffy princes and men of status. Her mother had always been irked when it came to any balls at her lack of interest in them, especially when it came to dances. If Emma ever did dance, she always sought out Killian to be her partner, not wanting to dance with anyone else.

In the past year, Snow had stopped trying to push the idea of suitors so much, but insisted that she at least meet the eligible men, understanding that Emma didn't want to be pushed into a marriage because of duty or what was expected, but to do it out of love.

Killian snorted in amusement before his face turned serious. She knew what he was about to say.

"I don't like him, Emma," he said lowly. "I don't trust him. He's not good enough for you."

She shook her head, conflicted.

She had met Baelfire a couple months back when she had been out in the town while Killian was stuck in training, and had found the man charming. She knew it wasn't fair to him, that in a way she was using Baelfire as a distraction, but she wanted to move on from her first love she had kept a complete secret from everyone. Deciding to begin a courtship with him, she had kept the relationship secret, only telling Killian about him.

Killian hadn't taken a liking to the man, having met him once when she had brought him along with her to a tavern, but still supported Emma.

While she knew her parents wouldn't have issue with his lack status, their own origins well known throughout their kingdom, Emma was nervous to introduce him, knowing that while their age difference wasn't unheard of, it would be a deterrent to her parents. She was only comfortable enough to confide in Killian, knowing that no matter her decisions, he would be there for her, just as she was for him.

"I know," she said quietly.

"I just don't want to see you get hurt, love," he sighed.

"I know," she repeated. "I know you're worried, Killian, but please, trust me on this."

"I do trust you," he replied honestly. "It's him I don't trust."

Watching as her face fell slightly, he reached under her chin, gently nudging her so she looked up at him.

"I do actually have something I wish to give you before I go," he told her lightly, giving her a slightly nervous smile.

Reaching within his coat, he withdrew a small pale blue silk bag. Reaching in, he pulled a silver chain, a silver swan hanging from it.

Giving a small gasp of surprise, she studied the pennant, admiring the elegant curve of its wings. A small amount of guilt bubbled within her, knowing he must have spent a good amount of his salary on the trinket.

"May I?" he asked.

Turning so her back was to him, she pulled her hair away, letting him draw the necklace around her neck. As the pendant fell comfortingly agains her collar bones, his calloused fingers brushed her skin, leaving a small trail of warmth.

"I just wanted to give you something to remember me by when I'm gone," he told her softly.

She let her hair fall back into place as she turned around to face him again.

"Like I could ever forget," she responded, smiling. Gently, she touched the pendant before reaching up and lightly kissing his cheek. "Thank you, Killian."

A slight blush crept up into his face, making her smile wider.

Silver called out to the crew to prepare to set off, making the men scramble to their positions.

Knowing she had to let him go, Emma threw her arms around Killain, hugging him tightly. He immediately returned her hug.

"Come home safe," she whispered fiercely. "I'll miss you, Killian."

"I'll miss you, too, Swan," he responded, his voice matching hers. "And don't worry, I will."

Pulling back slightly, she forced a smile, hating it whenever he had to leave.

He smiled in return. "I'll see you as soon as I get back."

Her smile turning more genuine, she nodded, pulling away completely to decend the gangplank. She turned back once she was on the docks, watching Killian giving orders and moving to push the ship out onto the open ocean, knowing she would miss him fiercely.

He turned back once, giving her a mournful smile before going back to his duties, leaving Emma to return to the slightly more empty castle.


Chapter Text

Pulling her cloak tigher around her, Emma scanned the cold empty streets, looking for somewhere to take shelter for the night, if not just for a little while.

She had just made it out of the borders of her kingdom, knowing she had to continue on. She knew how foolish she had been, that the reason she had to leave was her own fault. She hadn't known what else to do except leave, to save her family from embarrassment and hope she could make a life somewhere else.

Taking very few possessions with her, she only took time to leave a couple of letters behind, vaguely explaining to her parents that she had to leave. The night she left, she had tightly embraced both Snow and David, as well her younger brother Leo, before sneaking away in the dead of the night.

What was most painful to her was leaving Killian behind and never saying goodbye. His letter, hidden in his room, was more detailed than everyone else's, but still didn't tell everything, lest someone else see it. She knew she wouldn't see him again, hear his laugh or feel him wrap his arms around her in comfort, and it hurt.

Despite having it been more than a month that she left, she still mourned the people she had to leave behind.

Few people were out, having decided against braving the winter night in favor of taking cover. She knew it would have been easier to travel by horse, but she had sold the mare, knowing she would need the money. Most of the valuable possessions she had taken were to serve the same purpose.

Finding a seedy tavern, she quickly decided to go in, knowing she shouldn't be out too much longer with how the weather was going.

Stepping inside, she was met with loud yelling and laughter. Various men, including pirates, were eating, drinking, and gambling at the tables, some with bar wenches on their laps.

Careful not to draw attention to herself, she ordered some food, knowing she had to take care of herself. She decided she would see about a room after, wanting to warm herself with food first.

She settled on one of the benches to wait, her head low, watching the people around her. One of the groups, the men obviously pirates, took up one of the clusters of tables, raucously laughing at a dice game.

As she waited, she hadn't noticed the large drunk behind her stumbling until his ale splashed on her.

"Sorry about that," he slurred. His eyes brightened when he took her in.

"Here, I'll help you clean you up," he said, grabbing a rag and trying to sop up the mess off of her.

"No, it's fine," she protested, the smell of the ale and the man making her stomach turn. "I can get it myself."

"No need to be so stubborn," he insisted. "A pretty wench like yourself shouldn't have to be alone like you are right now. How about I keep you some company?"

Before she could protest further, a hand tapped on his shoulder, making him turn around in confusion.

"I believe the lady doesn't appreciate you forcing yourself on her," the intruder said.

Emma felt her eyes widen, knowing his voice anywhere.

"What are you gonna do about it?" the drunk asked threateningly.

There was a pause before the sound of flesh hitting flesh sounded, followed by the drunk swaying and falling, landing with a loud thud on the soiled floor.

Looking up at the man who had intervened on her behalf, she took in the long leather coat over the blood red waistcoat, black linen shirt, and leather pants. A necklace with pirate's luck hung around his neck, resting over an exposed smattering of dark chest hair. His hair was shorter, his ponytail gone as it fell messily over his forehead. Black kohl lined his brilliant blue eyes, but Emma would have recognized Killian anywhere.

The biggest shock about his appearance was not his changed attire, but the gleaming silver hook in place of his left hand.

"Swan," he exhaled in shock when he saw her.

Jumping up, she wrapped her arms tightly around him, holding him tightly, everything around them fading away. She thought she would never see him again.

"Killian," she breathed out, fighting to keep her emotions under control.

"I've got you, love," he whispered as he held her just as tightly. "I've got you."

She pulled back slightly, just enough to look at him. "What happened?"

He gave her a small smile. "I'd rather not say here. We can go back to the ship?"

Slowly, she nodded, not wanting to give up her dinner. "Okay, but I'm waiting for food."

He nodded, guiding her back to the bench before sitting beside her.

"Why are you here, Swan?" he asked curiously.

She bit her lip nervously, repeating his answer. "I'd rather not say here."

Accepting her response, he nodded before ordering himself some food.

Despite the many changes and the time spent apart, it was if nothing had changed between them.

Finishing, he kept close beside her, taking up her pack and looping her arm through his, as he led them back to the ship.

She saw the ship was mostly the same, the only change being the name the Jolly Rogerreplacing the Jewel of the Realm.

He led her aboard the ship, heading straight toward the captain's cabin. He released her to climb down the narrow stairs, lighting a lantern as she decended to illuminate the room in a soft yellow glow.

She noticed that Killian had moved some of his possessions into the cabin, further confirming that through some way or another, Killian had become captain.

He pointed her to the single armchair in the room, letting her settle into it while he nervously began to pace.

"We were out for three months," he told her, his voice suddenly tired. "As we knew, Silver was a tyrant. He worked the crew until they collapsed on the deck, then threatened to keelhaul the ones that stopped working. What was the final straw was when he began tormenting the cabin boy and giving brutal punishments for the smallest of mistakes.

"The lad had merely tripped as he was bringing Silver his wine," he said grimly. "Only a few drops had spilled, yet he ordered twenty lashes with the cat to the boy, after which he was to be strung up on the rigging by his arms and legs."

Feeling all of the air leave her lungs, her eyes widened. When she had first met Killian when they were eight, she hadn't understood that he was a slave. As she had gotten older and understood, she became horrified, unable to understand how their father could leave his sons to that life like he did, leave them at the hands of a cruel master. She remembered witnessing Killian about to face the same weapon, prompting her father to demand his immediate release.

She understood why Silver's actions would infuriate Killian and cause him to fight, especially in the case of a child.

"I staged a mutiny," he said, stopping his pacing by the large window. "I knew the consequences, that I would be expelled from the Navy, but I didn't care. I couldn't allow for Silver to torture that boy. The rest of the crew followed me, and I led a mutiny and took the ship. We fought with some of the men that were loyal to him. Silver took my hand."

He held up the hook for her inspection. "I used this hook to beat him. I slashed his throat, but he survived. We stranded him at a port and left. We knew we would all be branded as pirates, so we decided to become them, knowing we could never go back now."

"What happened to the boy?" she asked.

"We made sure he would be taken care of at another port," he replied, putting her at ease. "He was an orphan to begin with, and there was a family willing to take him in."

Her throat tight, Emma nodded her head, knowing the situation he was in. "Killian, I get why you did that. But my parents will, too. They know you. They will take you back."

Killian gave her a small smile as he shook his head. "I can't let your parents let a pirate back into their court. I know the laws, Emma. I was going to return once, then leave."

"Why?" Emma asked in a small voice. "Why would you return just to leave again?"

Stepping closer, he stopped until he was in front of her, reaching up to push her hair back. "I needed to see you one last time, to tell you why I could never come back."

Feeling tears stinging her eyes, she lunged forward to hug him tightly.

"I wasn't about to leave you with no explanation," he whispered.

She shook her head as she clutched him tighter, mindful of his wrist.

"How's it healing?" she asked. "Do you want me to take a look at it?"

He shook his head. "No, love. It's fine. Hurts still, but that's to be expected."

"You shouldn't have that on it now," she said disapprovingly, indicating the leather encompassing his wrist.

He shrugged lightly, keeping his hold on her. "It's fine, Swan."

Deciding to let it go for the time being, they were quiet for a few moments.

"It looks like a lot has happened in four months," she whispered.

Sensing she was talking about more than what had happened to him, he pulled back to look at her. "What do you mean?"

Swallowing, she shrugged, trying to lighten the blow. "You were right. About Baelfire, about all off it."

His expression softened as he took her hand to lead her to the small bed, sitting them both down as he wrapped his arm around her.

"What happened, love?" he asked

Taking comfort in his warm, familiar body beside her, she leaned into him. "Right after you left, he stole one of my mother's necklaces, one that was her mother's. He just disappeared without a word and left me. I couldn't break my mother's heart by telling her it was my fault that one of the last things she had of her mother's was stolen."

Soothingly, he rubbed between her shoulders, a gesture he knew relaxed her.

"That's not your fault," he told her, kissing her hair lightly. "That's on him, Swan, not you. He's the one that betrayed your trust."

They were quiet for a couple of minutes before he spoke again. "There's something else, isn't there?"

She knew she should have known that he would know there was something else; she was always an open book to him.

Slowly, she took a deep breath, steeling herself. She knew he wouldn't judge her, but couldn't handle if he was disappointed in her.

She swallowed, her voice weak. "Killian... I'm with child."

He immediately wrapped both arms around her, holding her close to his chest as she broke down, the weight of everything crushing her.

"I- I know my parents wouldn't have done anything, but I can't do that to them," she sobbed. "I unmarried, and I can't set them with a fatherless child. I couldn't put them in that position, so I ran."

Quietly, he continued to hold and rock her slightly as she cried, comforting her in any way he could.

As her sobs quieted, he pushed her hair back from her tear stained face, his eyes determined. "We spent the night together before I left. I promised you that I would ask your parents for your hand when I returned, and left for my mission. What happened with Silver still happened. When you found out you were with child, you sent word to me so that we could meet and elope, along with being worried about the news of my injury."

Her eyes widened as she realized what he was saying, that he was planning on passing the child off as his own. "What? No. Killian, I can't ask you to do that for me."

He shook his head. "Swan, you and your child have a chance this way. I already know that I'll be facing punishment for my crimes. The least I can do is ensure you have a future for yourself and your child."

"I still can't ask you to do this for me," she argued.

"I'm offering," he insisted. "Emma, this is the best option. Don't think about me, think about your child and what's best for them."

She closed her eyes, knowing he was right. While she knew it wasn't fair to him, it was the best chance her child would have. She ran in the first place to try to give them a chance.

"It will be in name only," she countered. "I won't force you to pretend to be my husband, so you're free to do as you wish."

He nodded slowly, a strange glint in his eyes before it disappeared . "I can accept those terms."

She nodded, feeling like for the first time in months, she had security.

"You can stay here for the night," he told her, motioning the bed. "For the night, I'll stay with the crew. For appearances sake, I'll have to stay in here with you after tonight.

She nodded, knowing it wouldn't be a problem. Growing up, they spent many nights in each other's beds sleeping, their new arrangement wouldn't be any different.

"I'll find us a chapel in the morning," he promised, breaking his hold on her as he rose up. "Will you be okay here for the night?"

"Yeah," she responded. "I'll be fine."

He nodded as he walked to move to the door leading to the rest of the ship.

"Thank you, Killian," she said quickly. "For everything."

Killian paused, his hand resting on the doorway. He gave her a small gentle smile. "You're welcome, Swan. I guess I'm finally living up to my old promise from when we were children."

He closed the door behind him, leaving her alone in the lantern light. Exhausted, Emma shook off her cloak, throwing it aside before snuffing out the lantern, moonlight providing the only illumination to the cabin.

Curling up on the small bunk, she instantly fell into a deep sleep.


Chapter Text


Emma hurried beside Killian, her skirts flying behind her as they ran, leaving an irate Liam behind them.

After the boys being in the castle for only a year, Emma and Killian had become inseparable, often playing and going out together. Emma finally had someone else her own age she could be with, and Killian got to just be a child for the first time.

The two had developed a love of pulling pranks, usually with Liam or Grumpy being the victim. Their most recent involved Emma distracting Liam while Killian poured ink in his tea, resulting in Liam's blackened mouth.

Snow and David had found the whole thing amusing, more so than Liam, who had flushed red from annoyance and embarrassment, leading to him chasing after Emma and Killian.

"C'mon," Emma said, tugging on Killian's hand to lead him towards the garden.

He followed easily, letting her pull him to behind some of the tall shrubs beside the pond. They ducked down, listening to Liam's running footsteps pass their hiding spot before breaking into fits of laughter.

"Did you see his face? Killian laughed.

"Forget his face, did you see his teeth?" Emma responded, clutching at her stomach.

He grinned widely in response. "Aye. He's not gonna be happy for quite a while."

Releasing another chuckle, she carefully peeked over the hedge seeing the coast was clear. "He's gone."

They both stood up, checking the area before stepping so they stood beside the pond. She reached out, gripping his hand with hers as they walked along the water.

She loved spending time with just Killian, whether it be making mischief or just being together. He complimented her in every way, always being there for her however she needed him.

"Do you think we'll still do stuff like this when we're older?" she asked him curiously.

"Yeah," he answered honestly. "I think we'll still do stuff like this together."

She smiled brightly at him before her face fell slightly. Despite her age, she knew what was to be expected of her as she got older.

"What's wrong?" he asked, noticing her shift in expression.

"Just what I have to do when I'm older," she told him.

He nodded in understanding.

"I'll have to rule the kingdom," she said sadly. "And everyone will want me to find a husband."

The idea of being with another man who was a prince or someone of status was off putting, especially with the idea that when it happened, she wouldn't be able to get all of the time she wanted with Killian. Despite him being in her life for only a year, she couldn't imagine her life without him. He meant everything to her.

"I'll marry you," he promised. "That way we can always be together."

Looking back at him, she knew what she felt for Killian was more than friendship, that their bond was stronger, even if she didn't know what it was.

Preparing herself, she closed the distance between them, lightly kissing his lips.

Surprised, Killian stiffened before relaxing, squeezing her hand still held in his.

She pulled away, both smiling widely, as they kept their hands clasped together to continue walking.

Blinking awake, Emma saw the images from her sleep flashing in her mind's eye, more memory than a dream.

They had been nine when they both had their first kiss, when Killian had promised her that he would one day marry her.

Slowly, she got up, seeing that breakfast had already been delivered to her. Peeking out the windows, she saw it was late morning, having slept late in her exhaustion and condition.

Feeling her stomach begging for food, she sat at the table, ravenously digging into the food. She noticed a small thing of ginger root beside her plate, making her smile and her chest warm.

A knock sounded on the door, briefly interrupting her.

"Come in," she nervously called.

Killian slipped through the door, stepping into the sunlit cabin. "Morning, love."

"Morning," she greeted. "I'm sorry I slept late."

He waved off her apology. "Don't worry, Swan. You need the rest."

Slowly, she nodded, continuing to eat. "Did you find somewhere?"

"Yeah," he nodded, taking the seat opposite her. "It's further into town, but it will do. Can you be ready in an hour?"

Emma nodded. "Yeah, that's no problem. What do we do after?"

"Come back here, and set off for our kingdom," he replied simply. "I'm sure your family has been missing you, and it would be better if you're back there and settled by the time the baby comes."

"Okay," she replied easily as she finished.

Just as she stood, she felt a little flutter in her stomach. A wide smile spread across her lips, catching his attention.

"Swan?" he asked, his brow raised.

She lovingly covered her stomach with her hand. "I felt them move just now."

He gently grinned at her as he stepped forward, his eyes on her stomach.

She thought she caught an expression that almost looked like longing cross his features, but it disappeared, leaving her unsure.

"They're quiet, now," she said sadly. "Probably just stretching."

Nodding, he brushed his fingers along her hand before pulling away.

He left her alone to get ready, going back up on deck. She quickly went through what clothes she had, settling on a pale blue gray dress she could wear without a corset. It wasn't extravagant, but it would do for the occasion. She put her hair up in a simple style, wanting to at least look a little bit done up. Her only jewelry was the swan necklace Killian had given her, the one piece she refused to part with.

Mindful of her skirts, she stepped up onto the deck, blinking in the winter sunlight as she searched for Killian.

Seeming to sense Emma looking for him, Killian turned from where he was speaking with one of the men to meet her on the quarterdeck.

"Are you ready, Swan?" he asked her.

She nodded, knowing she was giving her baby their best chance, as well as possibly protecting Killian. "I am."

He offered his arm to her, walking with her down to the main deck. He nodded towards one of the crew members, a short, portly man with a red wool cap that Emma recognized as Smee, one of the lower ranking officers, indicating for him to follow.

"We need a witness," Killian murmured to her quietly.

She nodded in understanding.

Their trip was quiet, both nervous as they walked through the town to where Killian found the chapel. She felt a sudden shot of nervousness as the building came into view.

"Ready, love?" Killian asked her quietly as they stood just outside the doors.

Taking a deep breath, she nodded. "Yeah. You?"

He nodded. "Aye."

Stepping inside, he released her so he could pass on whatever money was necessary for the small ceremony. As soon as the priest gave a nod that he was ready for them, Emma took Killian's outstretched hand and walked up the alter.

She didn't hear most of what was said by the priest, instead looking at Killian. She snapped out of her thoughts when he shifted to face her.

"Do you, Killian, take this woman to be your wife, and love her for all eternity?" the priest asked.

"I do," Killian responded, keeping his gazed locked with her before he looked down at their joined hands, releasing her to pull a ring from his coat.

Gently, almost tenderly, he slipped the ring on her finger before taking her hand back in his. The ring was a perfect fit, resting comfortably on her ring finger.

She recognized the ring, an engraved silver band with a single blue sapphire in the center that he had worn on a chain around his neck. Upon closer inspection, she saw the metal was adorned with small swans, their heads and necks together to form the shape of a heart. It was the only thing he had when she met him.

The priest turned to Emma. "Do you, Emma, take this man to be your husband, and love him for all eternity?"

Looking back at Killian, she quickly thought about what the vows meant. She knew she did love him, before she settled on him just being her friend when he moved on from his childhood crush on her and she moved on from him.

"I do," she responded, keeping her eyes locked with the blue eyes of her first love.

"I now pronounce you husband and wife," the priest announced.

Killian closed the distance between them, lightly kissing her.

Her skin burned at the contact.

Keeping his hand in hers, he walked them out of the chapel, soothingly running circles into the back of her hand with his thumb.

"Everything is gonna be okay, Swan," he promised. "We'll get you back home, and everything will be okay."

Emma nodded, keeping quiet on their trip back to the ship.

As they neared, it became clear that the crew was lively, obviously wanting to celebrate their captain's nuptials.

"You don't have to stay above," Killian whispered quietly. "I can tell them you're not feeling well, or some excuse, and you can go down and rest."

"No, it's okay," she responded. "We have to make this look real, don't we?"

Watching her carefully, he nodded. "We do."

Prepared to play her part, Emma followed him up the gangplank, only to be met with excited yelling from the crew. Taking Killian's hand, she gave a demure nod in thanks at the men's congratulations.

"I think we can afford one day," Killian whispered in her ear. "I don't doubt after a couple hours, they'll be too drunk to hit the side of the ship."

Biting back a laugh, she nodded.

Finally deeming it late enough to go back to the captain's cabin, Emma relished in the warm room, the cold night air having permeated her cloak. Removing the heavy garment, she hung it up on a peg before searching for something suitable to sleep in.

Just as she gave up on her task and removed her dress to sleep in her chemise, the hatch above opened, catcalls coming through as Killian decended the steps.

He looked at her apologetically as he closed the hatch, coming to stand in the cabin.

"Sorry about that," he apologized sheepishly. "Just ignore them."

Realizing what he was hinting at, she felt herself redden as she nodded.

"How're you feeling?" he asked her as he moved to hang up his coat.

"Fine," she answered, sitting on the bunk. "Just tired."

He nodded as he moved closer to grab a black garment on the foot of the bed. "I'll be right back."

"Just change, Killian," she snorted. "I'll turn around. Besides, what if one of the crew sees you going out of the cabin to change?"

He sighed, knowing he was right.

She turned her back to him, looking at the books that lined one of the shelves as she heard the rustle of material behind her.

"You can turn around," he told her after a moment.

Looking back, she saw he had kept his shirt on, but had removed his waistcoat and changed his leather trousers for a pair of loose black linen pants.

He reached down to grab one of the extra blankets resting on the trunk beside the bed. "You take the bed, love. I'll take the chair."

"That's not fair," she argued. "This is your cabin. I'll take the chair instead."

"You're carrying a child," he said simply. "You've been traveling for over the last month. Swan, just take the bed."

Sighing, she reached out towards him, her fingers brushing his arm. "We could just share. It's not like we haven't before."

He looked at her, his own nerves apparent. "Would that be proper?"

Giving him a small smile, she shrugged. "When have we ever been ones for propriety?"

He released a chuckle, his features relaxing. "True."

Moving closer, he sat on the edge beside her before glancing down at his wrist.

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

"A bit," he admitted.

Carefully, she reached out, gently pulling his arm closer to her. "Here."

"Emma," he protested. "Don't. You don't have to see that."

She looked up, meeting his gaze. "It's fine. Please just let me do this? To make up for not being here to help you when it happened."

Slowly, he nodded, his eyes never leaving her.

Resting his arm on her lap, she pushed up his shirt sleeve, revealing the straps and buckles keeping his brace on. She quickly figured out how to undo it, loosening it and gingerly pulling it from his arm, revealing a thin layer of linen bandages beneath. Glancing at him once, she began unraveling them until the wound was exposed.

Emma felt the air leave her lungs as she looked at his wrist, seeing it was still healing. The skin where it had healed was an irritated red from the compression on the brace. Shiny scars braceleted where his hand should have been, evidence of the wound being cauterized. Where the skin hadn't yet grown over was completly raw, healing flesh surrounding the exposed bone that had dried and become brittle, flaking away to allow the flesh and skin to heal over it.

Rising from the bed, she went to the basin, soaking a cloth in cool water and bringing it back to him to try to relieve some of the irritation.

Killian winced slightly when she touched the wound, making her wonder how he was able to keep the leather brace on, let alone what he did for the pain.

"You shouldn't have that thing on," she chastised lightly. "This would heal a lot easier if you didn't wear it."

He shook his head. "I'm a captain now, Swan. I can't show any signs of weakness. The most that I'll even let the medic do is give me new bandages."

Careful of her ministrations, she looked back at him, asking a question she had been wondering about. "What do you do for pain?"

His smirk looked more like a grimance. "I've developed quite a taste for rum."

She swallowed, feeling her chest ache.

"Killian, I know it's not much, but do you want me to finish healing this?" she asked, wanting to do something to ease his discomfort.

Smiling sadly, he shook his head. "It's alright. It's nearly healed, anyway. There's no use using your magic."

"But if you're hurting, it will help," she pointed out.

"I'm used to it," he replied. "Don't worry about me, love. I'm a survivor. You know that."

Sighing, she continued to gently go over his wrist before discarding the cloth to gently massage the flesh and remove the flecks of brittle bone that were shedding.

He stiffened when her fingers touched him. "Emma, you don't have to do that. You don't have to touch it."

She shook her head as she continued to gently work over his skin. "I want to, Killian. You know I care about you. That means I want to be able to take care of you."

Finally allowing himself to relax, Killian sighed in relief.

"While you're in her at least, will you leave the hook off and let me take care of it?" she asked in a small voice.

Unable to deny her, he nodded, grinning when she smiled in triumph.

"How long will it take us to get back?" she asked quietly.

"If conditions are in our favor, maybe two weeks at most," he replied. "Plenty of time for you to get settled back in and prepare for your little one."

Emma smiled, knowing her baby would be taken care of.

She rose to retrieve some of the clean linen bandages from beside the basin before sitting back in her spot beside him. Bringing his arm back in front of her, she began to wrap it for him.

Carefully tucking the ends away so it wouldn't unravel, she rested her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes.

"C'mon," he said quietly, pressing a light kiss to her hair before pulling away to crawl into the bunk.

He took the side beside the wall, letting her have the open side. Mindful of his arm, she settled beside him, their sides pressed together. It wasn't uncomfortable with him so close to her, instead familiar from the many times they had fallen asleep together as children.

Many times, particularly when Killian and Liam had first been taken in, Emma had awoken to Killian wandering the halls, unable to sleep. Taking it upon herself to help him, she would either bring him back into her room or follow him to his room where they would fall asleep together. Even after he had finally gotten used to his new home, they continued to seek each other out, whether for nightmares or if the other wasn't feeling well. Both Snow and David, after getting over their initial panic whenever they found one of the children to be missing from their beds, had learned quickly to always check the other's room, always finding them cuddled up together.

"This was a lot easier to do when we were kids," she remarked, releasing a small laugh.

"Yeah, it was," he chuckled.

He lightly nudged her to turn toward him, to which she immediately curled into his side. She draped her arm over his waist to secure herself to him while he extended his blunted arm out behind her.

"Is this okay?" Killian asked cautiously, peering down at her.

"Yeah," she answered from her spot on his shoulder. "Are you comfortable? What about your arm?"

"I'm fine," he told her. "Don't worry about me. Just rest, Swan."

Humming, Emma nodded. "Night, Killian."

"Night, love," he responded.

She barely heard him as she fell asleep.


Chapter Text

Emma trailed her fingers over the gunwhale as she walked along the length of the ship, anticipation building within her. They were mere hours away from crossing her kingdom's borders, the journey having taken only a couple weeks due to the ship's speed.

She felt someone come up beside her right as she reached the bow, a familiar hand slipping through hers.

"You're almost home, love," Killian said quietly, a smile in his voice.

"We're almost home," she corrected as she gently squeezed his hand. "You know my parents will forgive you when you tell them what happened."

She looked up to see him give her a small, hopeful smile.

"I hope so," he replied.

Leaning into him slightly, she relaxed.

"Killian, what are we gonna do when we get back?" she asked him.

He shrugged, careful not to push her away. "I don't really know. If you wish to remain married or divorce, I won't fight you on it. If you choose for us to remain together, you wouldn't have to worry about suitors and I wouldn't take any titles, so you would have full power."

She nodded, thinking over the two options. Remaining married to Killian wouldn't be bad, she would get to keep him with her, and she wouldn't have to face the pressures of choosing a husband. If she were to rule, she wouldn't have to worry about producing an heir, already carrying a child.

In a deep part of her mind, she wondered what a child that was part her and part Killian would look like. She quickly banished the thought, knowing it was useless to wonder.

Emma also knew that if they were to divorce, Killian would be free to find another wife, one who would love him as he deserved to be loved.

Something deep inside of her ached at the idea, that he would belong to someone else.

"We don't have to figure it out now," he told her. "We can decide what to do after we get back, or even after the baby is born."

She nodded in agreement before closing her eyes and resting her head on his shoulder.

Despite their marriage being a sham, her time on the ship had been good. She and Killian put on their act for the crew, only quick, light kisses to convince everyone, before they retired at night, relaxing without the watching eyes of the crew. True to his word, he removed his brace whenever he went down to the cabin whenever she rested throughout the day, before leaving it off completely at night. Emma had repeated her actions from her second night on the ship, taking care of his wrist and gently massaging around the wound. He had nearly healed, skin covering most of the wound.

He in turn had been taking care of her, making sure she ate and rested enough, as well as staying with her whenever she faced any bouts of sickness. He couldn't do a lot to help curb any cravings she got, but did what he could to help her.

They continued to share the single bunk at night, saving either of them from sleeping in the chair. A few times, Emma had awoken before Killian to find them wrapped around each other together, as if one of them had sought out the other in sleep. Part of her wondered what Killian awoke to on the days when he woke first, if he had noticed them in the same positions.

He let her stay cuddled up with him, feeling the breeze on their skin in the early spring sunlight. The air was still cold dispite the sunlight, the northern climate always carrying a cool air even in spring and summer.

After a few minutes, Emma felt Killian stiffen beside her, making her open her eyes to look at him in concern. "Killian? What's wrong?"

He was silent for a moment, looking out at the water before releasing her hand to pull out his spyglass.

She saw his face pinch in confusion as he lowered it. "Killian?"

Offering the spyglass to her, he pointed out to the water. "There. Look at how the waves are coming up. That's not natural."

Glancing at him once, she looked to the water, immediately seeing what he noticed.

The wind blew the water into waves of various sizes toward the north, before they seemed to rise and splash against something, similar to water hitting the side of a tub. Turning slightly, she saw it wasn't in just the one spot, that it seemed like the barrier went on for miles, right on the kingdoms border.

"What is that?" she asked as she lowered the spyglass. "Some kind of barrier?"

"I don't know, love," he said as he shook his head. He turned back to call to the crew. "Turn the ship so it's facing west!"

The men quickly complied, preparing the ship for the sudden shift in direction.

Emma followed Killian along the deck, keeping close.

"Sir?" Smee called as he approached them. "What's going on?"

"There's some kind of wall or barrier up ahead," Killian told him. "I want to test to see what it is."

"A wall?" Smee asked. "Something that won't let us through?"

"It looks like it," Emma responded.

Killian reached out, gently rubbing between her shoulders to sooth her, knowing she was getting anxious.

"We don't know what it is yet, Swan," he whispered. "It could be nothing."

Hesitantly, she nodded.

He turned to face her, pulling her close to him so her hands and head rested on his chest. She felt her self relax more, his warm touch comforting.

As soon as the ship was redirected, he looked back to the crew to give orders, keeping his hold on her.

"Gunner!" he commanded. "Fire off a single shot to the north!"

The gunner, a tall, dark haired man with fair skin, immediately went to work, loading a cannon and igniting the fuse.

The shot's boom sounded throughout the entire ship as it fired off, the heavy metal ball flying through the air until it suddenly stopped, hitting the barrier.

What was nothing but clear sky and sea beyond suddenly turned red, pulsing as if alive to show the barrier before returning to its previous state. The red had been visible for farther than they could see.

"We're shut out," Emma said breathlessly. "Someone used magic to keep us out."

"It's okay," Killian said quietly. "We don't know that for certain, yet. There still may be a way in."

She felt herself wanting to get emotional, knowing it was because of her condition.

"Smee," he called, hugging Emma closer. "Change of course. Head us to the nearest port."

They had made it to the nearest port beside the kingdom just before nightfall, leaving with the crew to get any word on what the wall was.

Emma kept her cloak wrapped around her, her hood up to help hide her identity as she moved with Killian in search for a tavern, intent on continuing to look for themselves. She kept close beside him as they moved through the streets, unfamiliar with the port.

Finding a place suitable, they entered into the tavern to see patrons scattered about, many of which were sailors.

Emma paused to get a hold of her stomach, the stench making her nauseous.

Killian immediately stopped beside her, his hand comfortingly hovering over her lower back. "Are you okay, Swan?"

She inhaled through her mouth, nodding. "Yeah, yeah. It's just the smell."

He nodded in understanding, coming slightly closer. "Can you handle this? Do you want to leave?"

Able to focus on his scent, she felt herself settle. "No, let's go find out what's going on."

Nodding again, he kept her close as they settled beside the bar, listening to the various conversations of the people. He ordered two tankards of ale from a passing barmaid.

"Really?" she asked, her brow raised at the second glass.

"Appearances, love," he told her. He motioned to her cloak. "No one will be able to tell you're carrying a child with that on, and it will look unusual if you don't have anything in front of you."

He slid one of the tankards in front of her before taking a gulp of his own drink.

They had a few people approach them, mostly bar maids who tried flirting with Killian. He blew them all off, leading them to throwing dirty looks at Emma.

They had both agreed that they would be free to do as they wished, to see whoever they wanted, but she didn't understand the feeling she felt when she saw the other women trying to lay their hands on Killian and flirt with him.

A couple of sailors settled in near them, their conversation exactly what they had been looking for.

"Can't believe that damn barrier," the first one said in a gruff voice.

"I know," the other replied. "No one in, no one out. Feel bad for the families of the merchants stuck in that kingdom."

"Yeah," the first responded. "Hell, I know that kingdom is pretty sufficient. Those men will be fine."

"Any word out from them?" the second asked.

The first one shook his head. "Not that anyone's heard. Looks like its completely sealed. Rumor is, even the fairies can't get in our out."

Killian shared a glance with Emma before turning to speak to the men.

"The kingdom of Queen Snow and King James?" Killian asked them.

The two sailors looked back at him before turning to face him and Emma, nodding.

"Aye," the first sailor answered.

"What exactly happened?" Emma spoke up. "Why is there a barrier keeping everyone out?"

The two men eyed her appreciatively before Killian moved closer to her, showing the men she was with him.

"Rumor is the Dark One did it," the second sailor told them. "Supposedly, he got word the son he'd lost years ago was hiding out there, and moved in to find him. Put up the barrier to prevent his son from running off again. Went up a little less than a month ago."

Emma glanced at Killian in shock, both knowing about Rumplestilskin, even if they had never actually seen the imp before.

"What do you mean about no one's heard from anyone in the kingdom?" Killian questioned.

"Just that," the man responded. "No ones been able to communicate in or out of the walls. Even magically, nothing can get through."

Emma felt herself growing cold.

They were shut out, unable to return home, and she had no way of telling her parents she was okay or she was with Killian.

Sensing her distress, Killian nodded at the men before standing and laying a couple coins on the table. "Thank you, gentlemen. I'm afraid my wife isn't feeling well, so we'll be making our leave."

He went to her side, helping her rise and placing his arm around her waist, leading her out of the tavern.

Cool night air greeted them, washing away the stench from inside, easing her slightly, but not enough to push away her anxiety.

"We can't get back," she said in a weak voice. "We can't go back."

He pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her to calm her.

"We'll figure something out," he promised. "I swear to you, Emma, I will not let you have your baby out somewhere where you have nowhere to go. I'm not gonna let you do this alone."

She nodded, burying her head in his neck, trying to relax. Her wild emotions had been something that had made her wonder originally if she might be carrying a child inside of her. She found she didn't have the control she once did, that she wasn't able to hide everything she was feeling as she once had been able to.

She was terrified, knowing they couldn't return home. When she ran, she didn't know if she would actually be able to return, but knowing that she no longer had that option made her hurt. She didn't know what she was going to do.

She trusted Killian with everything she had, knew that he would help her. The thought comforted her, knowing that she wasn't alone.

Picking up her head she caught sight of something hanging up behind him. She pulled away, moving around him to the wall and pulling down the piece of parchment, her eyes wide.

"Swan?" he asked her, concern lacing his tone. "What is it?"

She turned, holding out the wanted poster to him.

Wanted: Captain Hook was printed in bold letters, listed with the charges of piracy, thievery, and murder, and a brief description of a pirate with a hook in place of a hand and a handsome reward.

"Silver," Killian cursed, crumpling the parchment and furiously throwing it away. "I should have never let him walk away."

Reaching forward, Emma stood in front of him, cupping his face and stroking his cheek with her thumb. She rested her other hand over his chest, trying to calm him.

"He must have sent word back to the kingdom," he muttered.

"But they don't know it's you," she told him. "There's still a chance. You can be cleared, Killian."

He shook his head angerly, but she knew it wasn't directed at her. "I can't, not now. The charge originated from within your kingdom, and we can't return."

"We'll figure something out," she told him, repeating his earlier words to him. "We'll do something, one way or another."

Blowing out a hard breath, he nodded. "We need to get back and hear what the crew found out. That, and it would be unwise to linger here."

She nodded, releasing him so they could go back to the ship.

He calmed slightly as they traveled back to the ship, finding a few of the men had returned.

They tensed again when the men reported back similar findings, that the Dark One heard his son was in the kingdom and erected a barrier to contain everything while he searched. Hearing the same story repeated over to them multiple times, it confirmed what they had heard themselves.

Emma, wanting a moment to breathe, pulled away from the crew to decend down the stairs to the captain's quarters. As soon as the hatch closed behind her, she threw her cloak off, pacing the length of the cabin, feeling what control she had slipping.

Sitting on the edge of the bunk, she felt the beginnings of a breakdown coming, air unable to fully fill her lungs. She closed her eyes as the first sob shook her body.

As if knowing her distress, Killian came down the hatch, leaving the crew for the night.

Immidiately noticing her tears, he shed his coat, not bothering to hang it, and moved towards where she sat on the bed. He climbed in above the blankets and layed down on his side before pulling her to him, curling his body around her so her back pressed firmly against his chest.

She relaxed slightly as he drew his arms around her torso, feeling him breathing deeply. She began timing her breaths with his, his presence calming her like nothing could.

He rested his head so his cheek pressed into her hair, letting her feel the air shift as he exhaled, letting her have the cry she needed.

Moving her hands to cover his hand and hook, she let him hold her, both of them staying close throughout the night, even as sleep claimed them.


Chapter Text

Gently running her hand over her swelling stomach, Emma looked out the large window showing the sea and horizon. She knew they were to reach port soon, to give the crew a break as well for her to pick up some supplies.

Though they still fit, most of her clothes had become snug, her growing stomach making them tight. She knew it would be something she would have to face soon enough, thankful for the foresight of bringing with her some small valuable tokens to sell.

She knew that a majority, along with the more valuable pieces, would have to be sold later, when she was able to settle somewhere to have her baby.

Part of her wondered if Killian intended to stay with her for that, his promise of not letting her have the baby alone ringing through her mind.

Deciding to go up onto the deck, she basked in the sunlight, knowing spring would be in full effect on land. She could make out the mass ahead, making her smile at the thought of getting some time on land, no matter how brief.

"Doing okay, love?" Killian asked from behind where she stood, her hands resting on the gunwhale.

Breathing in the briny air, she nodded. "Yeah. Just wanted some air and to see how soon before we made port."

He moved to stand beside her, a small smile gracing his face. "Not long. We should be arriving in a couple hours at most."

Giving him a soft smile, she nodded.

"Do you wish for me to accompany you when you get what you need?" he asked her.

She knew he would go with her if she asked, having often gone with each other into the villages and towns before for supplies. It had been something neither of them minded doing, often just enjoying spending time together without having to worry about a task or duty. As they grew older, they had even been allowed to go without a chaperon or guard, trusting the both of them to keep each other safe.

She nodded, knowing she would appreciate the company. "If you don't mind."

He grinned widely. "Of course not, Swan. I'd be more than happy to be on your arm."

Chuckling, she playfully bumped his shoulder, making him release a small laugh.

"How're you and the little one feeling?" he asked her as their laughter died down.

She covered her stomach with her hand, smiling down where the baby rested. "We're both fine."

He smiled in return.

Killian kept near Emma as they moved through the small town, looking for what she needed for the coming months. She had been able to get a good price for one of the necklaces she had brought with her, resulting in the gold she was carrying on her.

He had been impressed when she had dealt with the merchant she had sold it to, watching as she managed to talk the man into paying a large amount for the jewelry. He wasn't surprised, knowing how stubborn Emma was.

Finding a seamstress, she glanced back at him, her brow slightly pinched. "Do you mind?"

He shook his head, gesturing her forward. "Of course, love. I'll wait out here."

She gave him a small smile as she nodded, turning and entering the shop.

Leaning against a wall, he watched the people moving about, on edge since finding the wanted poster that had put a price on his head.

He had worried about it since finding it, not only for himself, but for what could happen to Emma because of it. He couldn't leave her alone, especially in her condition.

He closed his eyes as he thought of Emma, of how complicated their relationship had become since they found each other. She was just as important to him as Liam, someone he knew he could always trust and go to.

She was his best friend, someone who had saved him from a life of misery when they were children, and he had loved her for it.

Liam had told him he should put his childhood infatuation behind him, that he should move on because as he and Emma got older, she moved on from him, seeing him as nothing more than a friend. He saw how other men, much more worthy of her than he was, looked at her, and knew he had to move on from her.

Killian didn't regret suggesting to Emma that they marry to protect her and her unborn child, but couldn't figure out why he often felt the way he did or what it even was.

He had always felt protective over her, but the urge to keep her from harm had only grown, especially since he had found her in the tavern a month ago. He found he was willing to sacrifice anything and everything to make sure she was safe and happy, to comfort her in any way he could.

She had even invaded more of his dreams, more often than usual. He didn't know what to make of them, especially when he woke early in the morning, to find that he was holding Emma so that she slept in his protective embrace, as if he had pulled her to him as they slept.

He wondered if he was just craving female company, if spending some time in the company of a pretty woman would help chase away whatever it was he was feeling.

He hadn't noticed Emma had finished until she stood nearly in front of him, snapping him out of his thoughts.

"Sorry it took so long," she apologized.

He immediately shook his head. "Don't apologize, Swan. Did you get everything you need?"

She nodded. "Pretty much. Just a couple more things if you don't mind."

Taking the package from her, he carefully hitched it under his hooked arm before offering her his other. "Not at all."

They walked back toward the ship, stopping at the apothecary, finding herbs for her to help with any occasional sickness she felt and soap that didn't irritate her, having confessed what was already in the cabin had a smell that had began to churn her stomach.

"I know, it's stupid," she muttered as they walked out of the shop.

"No, it's not," he told her gently, wanting to put her at ease. "Swan, if you can't handle certain things right now, it's fine. It's nothing to be ashamed of."

Biting her lip, she nodded.

Sighing, he stopped them, releasing her so he could face her. "Swan, if you had told me before that those other smells made you sick, I would have replaced it all immediately. Anything you need, we'll get it for you. I'll do whatever I can to make you comfortable."

"I don't want to be a burden," she said quietly.

"You're not," he responded. "Whatever you need, love, you only have to say it."

Slowly, she gave him a small, soft smile.

Instead of offering her his arm again, he took her hand in his, squeezing gently.

They walked back to the ship in companionable silence, the sun beginning to sink below the horizon as they reached the docks. He glanced over at her, noticing her content, serene expression. She had been looking healthier since they had found each other, with someone to make sure she ate and slept enough, along with just relieving her stress. Her skin had taken on a radiant glow, and her pale gold hair had a healthier shine. Her feminine figure had filled out to accommodate the growing baby in her womb, contrasting from the thinner appearance she had when they first found each other.

Killian had always thought her beautiful, even growing up, but something niggled at his mind, making him only ever noticing her. He had only ever noticed her, never taking much interest in other women.

"What's going to happen tonight?" she asked him as they stepped back on to the ship.

"Well, the crew is free to do whatever they wish for tonight, so they'll most likely be at the tavern," he responded, following her as they made their way back to their quarters. "The ship should be quiet, so you can relax without worrying about being disturbed."

She smiled, obviously delighting in the thought.

"What about you?" she asked, looking back at him.

He shrugged as he set down the various packages. "Probably go with the crew a bit. I'm still their captain."

She nodded as she sat down on the bed.

"Will you be okay here on your own?" he asked her suddenly, not wanting to leave her alone.

"I'll be fine," she reassured him. "I know a couple men are staying behind. I won't be completely alone."

He nodded, the men coming to mind. The cook, a middle-aged man with blond hair and a warm demeanor, and the bosun, calm but who loved to antagonize the cook, would take care of Emma if she needed anything.

He looked back at her, wanting to be absolutely certain. "Are you sure, Swan?"

She nodded encouragingly. "Yeah, go ahead. Go enjoy yourself. If I need to, I'll go find you."

Seeing him hesitate, she playfully shoved him toward the stairs leading out, laughing. "Seriously, Killian, go on. I'll be fine."

Sighing dramatically, he went to leave, but not before returning her smile.

Taking a deep breath as soon as he was back on the quarterdeck, he decided that it would possibly be benificial for him to go out. He thought that if he spent a little time away from Emma, he could possibly clear his thoughts, or at least make sense of them.

He found most of his crew already drinking in the tavern, many well on their way to being drunk. He sat at one of their tables, intending to join their dice game as he ordered himself some rum.

The games flowed easily, himself winning quite a few of them as he drank, feeling himself relax and fall back in with his men. He laughed with them, especially when some of them began stumbling and nearly falling.

Amongst them, he wasn't just a seventeen-year-old, but their captain, and one of them.

Eventually some of the bar wenches slinked over, falling into some of the men's laps. He caught some of the women eyeing him appreciatively, a couple swaying their hips as they moved closer to him.

One of the bar wenches, clearly the boldest of them, sat beside him, pushing her chest forward as she turned toward him. She grinned coquettishly, placing her hand on his arm lightly before squeezing it.

Killian felt an urge to send her away, to turn her down, before reminding himself that he wanted the company. He looked over at her, taking in her fair skin and brown eyes, dark hair messily done up. She was pretty enough, would serve as a good distraction for him. He had been with a woman before, was experianced.

As the games continued, the woman inched closer and closer to him, until she was nearly sitting in his lap. She laughed, congratulating him each time he won, as well as made sure his rum never ran out.

"Good game, Captain," she whispered into his ear huskily after a round that had been an easy win for him. "What'd you say we go celebrate your victories?"

Reminding himself again that he wanted the distraction, he nodded, downing the last of the burning liquid in his glass before placing some coins on the table. He rose and helped her up, noticing his men too drunk to notice him leave, much less that he had someone with him.

He followed her out towards the back, letting her take the lead towards where the rooms were.

She turned on him as soon as they entered the hall, running her hands over his chest and gently tugging on the material that covered him. She bit her lip seductively as her wandering hands moved closer to where his shirt opened, intent on touching his body.

"Nervous, Captain?" she asked him in a flirty tone. "There's no need to be. Not with me. I'll take care of you."

Both he and Emma had agreed on an open marriage where they could see anyone they wished, so he knew that he was free to have any dalliances he desired.

He just didn't know why he felt so wrong, or why his body wasn't even responding to her, despite her intimate touches on his chest, trying to seduce him.

Looking back at her, his mind's eye altered her features, until her eyes shifted to a brilliant jade green and her hair lightened to a fair blonde color, her rounded features becoming more prominent, elegant.

Blinking, he shook Emma's image away from him.

He jumped when he heard Emma's surprised voice beside them. "Killian?"

Whipping his head toward her, he felt all of the effects the of the alcohol he had leave him as if he'd been plunged into the icy ocean. He caught her shocked expression, as well as something that looked like hurt. He noticed her hair was slightly damp and her clothes were changed to one of her new dresses, indicating she had used her time alone to bathe and relax.

The bar wench looked towards her, almost a sneer marring her face. "What, do you want to watch? You might learn something."

Killian felt his chest clench painfully as he saw Emma's panic.

"I'm- I'm sorry," she stammered before quickly turning and reteating back through the tavern.

He watched her go, feeling dirty and like he had just betrayed her.

The bar wench moved to touch him again when he carefully pushed her away, putting a good distance between them.

"Sorry, but I'm no longer interested," he said quickly as he took off, intent on following Emma.

He ignored the woman's snide remark that she threw at him.

He wondered what he could possibly tell Emma to assuage what damage he had caused and put her back at ease. He hated that he had hurt her, even if it was unintentional.

Stepping onto the docks, he suddenly stopped, glaring realization taking over him.

All of his strange feelings suddenly made sense, his joy at seeing her happy, his protectiveness of her, even what he realized was jealously when she was with Baelfire. How he felt warm whenever they touched, no matter how casual, how it instantly relaxed him and made him crave for more. How he found himself longing for her and only her. How he would do anything, give up anything and everything for her.

How his heart felt as if it warmed every time he saw her smile or heard her laugh.

Killian realized how foolish he had been to think he had ever moved on from Emma, that he ever stopped loving her. He knew in that moment that he was still deeply in love with her, his love only having grown since they were children.

Knowing that it would scare her off and he would only do more damage considering what she walked in on, he knew he couldn't tell her. He was content with that, knowing it would be enough to just be around her and be there for her.

He continued his way back to the Jolly Roger, wanting to find her.

Stepping into their cabin, he saw she had stored some of her things in her pack resting on the bed, the rest of her stuff hidden away. She made to grab her pack as she saw him come in.

"Swan, what are you doing?" he asked gently as he stepped off the last stair.

"I was just gathering my things for the night," she said in a low voice. "I know you have company, so I'm letting you have the cabin."

His felt a stabbing in his chest again.

"No, Swan," he replied softly, reaching out to take the pack from her. "I sent her away. No one's with me, I promise you."

"But that woman," she protested weakly, unable to meet his eyes.

Gently, he placed his hand beneath her chin, tilting her head up to look at him.

"That was an extremely poor lapse in judgement," he told her. "It was a mistake."

Slowly, she nodded.

He tossed the pack on the chair away from them before looking back at her.

"I promise you, I'm not gonna do that again," he said sincerely. "No more bar wenches."

Along with his promise, Killian silently vowed to her there would never be anyone else, knowing he belonged to Emma completely. He knew he would remain by her side through everything, always being there for her.

She nodded, relaxing before she backed away, her nose wrinkling in distaste.

"What's wrong?" he asked, concern taking over.

"You still smell like that old soap," she commented. "And rum."

Unable to help himself, he chuckled.

"It's alright, Swan," he said. "If you'll allow me some time, I'll take care of it."

She smiled gratefully. "Thank you."

Waving her hand, the brass tub she had used earlier appeared in the middle of the cabin with a puff of white smoke. He could see the tendrils of steam rising from the water, calling to him.

"Have I ever mentioned how much I love your magic?" Killian teased.

She laughed, making his chest tighten.

"I'll leave you alone," she told him, giving him a small smile before turning to exit their quarters.

As soon as she was gone, he quickly stripped and sunk into the hot water, relaxing as the water covered him. He immediately began scrubbing at his skin, not only for Emma's sake, but to wash away the memory of the bar wench.

Finishing, he reluctantly left the warm water and dressed quickly, leaving his brace and hook off. He looked down at his wrist, examining the completely healed wound.

Though it had finished healing, Emma insisted on taking care of it, making sure his skin healed over as well as massaging the flesh around it. He had been taking care of it himself on his own before they found each other, but he suspected that with her taking care of him, he had healed faster, much more easily.

He still marveled at the ease of which she touched his wrist, how she never shied away from his wound, or the gentle, almost tender way she touched it.

Just as he pulled his shirt over his head, he looked up as he heard a knock on the door.

"Killian?" Emma called through the door.

"Come in, Swan," he answered, going to pull the door open for her.

She quickly entered into the cabin, letting him close the door behind her. He turned just as he saw her set something on the table.

"I brought you some food," she told him. "I wasn't sure if you've eaten or not."

He smiled appreciatively, moving toward the table. "Thanks, love."

She smiled in return, waving her hand and making the tub disappear before sitting in her spot across from him. He pretended not to notice as she snuck little pieces of his bread away.

"How're you feeling?" he asked her.

"I'm fine, Killian," she grinned.

"You can't blame me for wanting to be sure you and the little one are well," he defended.

She released a small chuckle. "I guess not. But we're both fine."

Grinning in return, he pushed his plate slightly toward her.

He smiled innocently as she raised her brow at him, knowing she would be stubborn.

"If you're still hungry," he offered. "Go ahead, Swan."

She eyed the food for a second before picking at a piece of the meat. It was far from the first time they had shared their food.

"How's your wrist?" she asked him as they finished the plate.

"Fine," he replied. "It doesn't hurt or anything. It's completely healed."

Emma nodded, looking at his wrist before gently pushing back his sleeve to examine it further. She brought her hand to it, her fingers kneading into the flesh and making him relax under her touch.

After she finished and he left the room briefly to allow her to change into her nightdress, he helped her put the cabin back in order, storing away her belongings.

Finishing, he turned, worried at her sudden gasp, seeing her with her hand on her belly.

"Killian, come here," she said excitedly.

He quickly closed the distance between them, surprised when she took his hand and placed it where hers had just been on her stomach. He felt his own eyes widen as he felt a shift beneath his hand, a wide grin spreading across his lips.

"This is the first time I've really been able to feel them like this," she told him in an excited voice.

Sharing her excitement, he kept his hand over where the baby rested, feeling them move before settling.

He knew in that moment that just as with Emma, he would love her baby, all because they were hers. He would stay with the both of them, even helping her raise the baby if she desired him to.


Chapter Text

Looking up at the sky, Emma took in the dark clouds, her nerves growing.

She looked back, seeing Killian trade off with the helmsman before turning to approach him, worried about a possible storm.

He grinned when he saw her, stepping forward to meet her. She kissed his cheek, keeping up appearances for the crew.

She saw something shift in his eyes, but it disappeared before she could identify what it was.

"Are you sure we're okay out here?" she asked him, looking again at the low clouds.

Pushing her hair back, he nodded. "Don't worry, love. It should just rain, nothing more. Besides if it gets to look too bad, we'll make towards land and away from the storm."

His words reassuring her, she nodded. Between the two of them, Killian was the one who found it easier to read the weather, having been trained for the Navy. She trusted him completely.

"You can always head down below if you want," he told her. "It will be warmer, as well as drier when the rain falls."

"I think I'll stay up here a bit longer," she told him. She smirked. "After all, don't want you getting lonely up here."

He grinned widely. "Believe me, love. Your company is much more preferable than the crew's."

She smiled brightly in response, moving with her arm looped through his to check over the crew on the deck.

When he took over again at the helm, Emma went with him, sitting on a nearby crate and drawing her cloak closer around her body to ward off the chilled air.

She watched the crew from her spot above them, but often found her eyes drifting to Killian at the helm. She made herself look away, not wanting to be caught watching him, despite their marital status.

She jumped slightly when the first water droplet hit her head, making Killian chuckle. Throwing him a sharp look, he shrugged in defense.

"Come now, love," he teased. "If it was me, you would have laughed."

Unable to help herself, she grinned, knowing he was right.

She remembered the time when they were twelve and practicing sword fighting at their place by the pond at the palace. They had always been somewhat evenly matched, even though Killian was slightly better due to natural ability.

Deciding she was going to win no matter what, Emma fought him until he had finally knocked her on her back, holding his wooden sword at her throat. Grinning victoriously, he pulled his sword away to help her up, when she curled her legs up and kicked out, pushing him square in the chest and into the pond, making the waterfowl scatter as he fell in the water. She had laughed when his head poked out, his wet hair stuck to his forehead as he looked at her before mischievously splashing her with water. Gasping in surprise, she let her guard down enough that he could reach forward, grabbing onto her and pulling her into the water with him.

Both Snow and David had laughed when both Emma and Killian returned back to the castle sopping wet, hearing them explain what had happened.

As if thinking of the same memory, Killian grinned back at her, a hint of mischief in his eyes.

Flicking her wrist, Emma watched as the compass on the desk disappeared and reappeared beside her on the bunk, having decided to take cover from the rain when it picked up. She smirked triumphantly before focusing again, moving the compass back to the desk just as the hatch above opened, Killian's boots softly thudding on the steps.

He raised his brow curiously when he noticed what she was doing as he reached for a towel to dry off his hair. "Bored?"

She shrugged. "Kind of. Just practicing. I don't want to get out of the habit."

He nodded as he hung up his coat.

"Are you in for the night?" she asked him curiously, hoping he was.

"Aye," he responded. "Our dinner should be coming in soon."

She nodded gratefully. She knew she was free to go to the galley whenever she wished, but liked having her meals where it was just her and Killian, making her often decide to wait until he had returned to their cabin.

Feeling the baby shift within her, she placed her hand over her stomach, smiling.

The baby had finally become more active, leading her to feeling them move more even outside of her stomach.

The other thing she had noticed was the baby seemed to like Killian and recognize him, often moving whenever he spoke, as if to respond to him.

"Little one moving again?" he asked, noticing her touching her stomach.

The baby kicked her hand in response.

"Yeah, they've been doing it more and more lately," she told him.

He grinned, walking forward until he was right beside her. He held out his hand tentatively. "May I?"

Nodding, she took his hand in hers, guiding him to where the baby was moving.

Killian smiled widely as he felt a kick.

His smile instantly vanished when one of the men knocked on the door.

"Enter," he called, falling back into the captain persona.

Emma hid her small, amused smile before she noticed that he still kept his hand on her stomach, almost protectively.

The two men that entered quickly deposited their meals on the table and left, leaving them alone.

She watched as Killian relaxed as soon as they were alone again.

He helped her up, gently pulling her, before pulling her chair for her, just as he always had.

They ate in companionable silence, the lantern their only light besides the moon and stars.

"Killian?" she asked tentively as they finished, moving away from the table.

He looked back at her curiously, silently letting her know she could ask him anything. He reached out, rubbing between her shoulders to calm her.

"What are we gonna do when it gets closer for when the baby's gonna come?" she asked in a small voice.

She was nervous, having thought of the subject many times, especially since finding out that returning back home to her kingdom was no longer an option. She didn't want to give birth on the ship, but she had no where else to go. Life on a ship was no place for a baby, something she didn't want for them.

What she would never admit was she was terrified of doing everything alone, even if she knew there was a possibility she would have to be. Killian was the captain of a ship, she couldn't just expect him to give that up for her, no matter their friendship.

Part of her, a small part she didn't understand, nagged at her that it wasn't friendship she felt.

She hated how ever since she began carrying a child, her emotions got the better of her, amplified and bringing out certain fears and anxieties. She missed having control over her own emotions.

"What do you mean?" he asked her soothingly, leading her to the bed and sitting close beside her, draping his arm around her shoulders.

Sighing, she leaned her head on his shoulder. "I don't want to have this baby on the ship."

He hugged her closer. "Then you won't. We can find someplace and settle down somewhere, if that's what you want."

"We?" she asked, afraid to let herself hope that he would choose to stay with her.

He nodded, suddenly nervous. "Swan, if it is your desire, I will stay with you, and I will be there for you and your babe. We can find some small town or village and make a life there. We can take care of them. You left home to give your little one their best chance, so let's give them their best chance."

Closing her eyes, Emma smiled, her chest tightening. She finally felt safe, secure, hearing that Killian would stay with her and she didn't have to face giving birth on the ship.

That Killian was choosing to stay with her.

"I want us to find somewhere," she told him. "I- I want you there with me.

"Then you don't need to fret, love," he told her, lightly kissing her hair. "I'll be by your side, through all of it. I'll always, always be by your side."

Relaxing into him, she felt her chest inexplicably tighten, warming her. His presence soothed her, but his touch made her pulse race.

She released a laugh when she felt the baby move again.

"What?" he asked curiously.

"They're moving again," she responded, touching her belly. "Seems like they do it the most when you're near, especially whenever they hear you. I think they like you."

He chuckled lightly. "I tend to have that effect on people."

Cuddling closer into his side, she released another laugh, her chest warm.

"Have you thought of any names yet for your little one?" he asked lightly, genuinely curious.

"Kind of," she said, shrugging slightly but refusing to leave the warmth and familiarity of his side. "I've thought of Mary, Rose, Sarah. I'm not really sure for if the baby is a girl."

"But what if the baby is a boy?" he questioned.

"Henry," she answered definitively.

He pulled back slightly to look at her. "After Regina's father?"

"Yeah," she nodded.

She knew exactly why she was set on the name if her child was a son, but she didn't want to tell Killian, couldn't tell him. She did know she would have to give him something to satisfy his curiousity.

Taking a breath, she peeked up at him. "He helped me get out."

Giving her a soft, what almost looked tender smile, he nodded. "I'm glad he did."

Returning his smile, she rested her head back in his shoulder, sighing contently as warmth continued to bloom in her chest as he drew her slightly closer.


Chapter Text

Looking through her clothes to dress for going out, Emma quickly picked a simple dark blue dress, something that she felt was fitting for the wife of a ship's captain. They had arrived at port, intending to spend a couple of days there.

Though Killian had said it was to restock provisions, she knew he was doing it for her, that he was doing it to make things easier on her and give her a break from the confines of the ship.

Dressing and quickly combing through her hair, she glanced at her reflection in the mirror, raising her hand to the silver swan pendant, noticing her ring in the reflection, the one other piece of jewelry she had from Killian. She didnt know why, but she felt bare without the ring the few times she had removed it, almost as uncomfortable as she felt without her swan necklace.

Finding herself presentable, she carefully climbed up the stairs to the quarter deck, slightly uncomfortable in the movements. She had began feeling uncomfortable, even with some simple movements, knowing it was because of the child growing inside her.

Stepping onto the deck, she quickly made her way over to Killian, slipping her hand through his.

He looked down at her, squeezing her hand gently. "We'll be there soon, love."

She nodded happily, looking toward to spending some time on stable land.

"Is there anything you desire for when we make port?" he asked her.

Humming, she shook her head. "I don't think so. I've got everything I need now."

He nodded, squeezing her hand again before pulling her gently to walk with him around the deck to make sure everything was in order.

Contently, she leaned into his side as they went back to the helm, releasing his hand so he could grab onto the spokes.

They had blissfully arrived within a few hours, the crew tying the ship to the docks and some of tthem quickly scampering off to procure what was needed.

Holding out his hand, Killian helped Emma down the gangplank, keeping her steady as she adjusted to the solid surface beneath her feet. As soon as she was stable, he offered his arm to her again, leading her away from the ship.

"What do you say we procure a room for us tonight?" he asked as they passed by an inn.

She raised her brow in question.

"So you can spent at least a night on land and not on a rocking ship," he told her, not unkindly. "I thought it may make you a bit more comfortable to actually sleep in a real bed tonight."

Feeling her chest tighten at his worry for her, she nodded. "Will you stay with me?"

He swallowed, hesitating slightly with a strange look before nodding. "Of course. We still have to keep up appearances after all."

She nodded, feeling slightly dejected. She had realized she wanted Killian to stay with her because he wanted to, not because he had to to keep up their facade.

She quickly pushed the thought away.

"So, until then, what did you have in mind for us to do?" she asked him, wanting a distraction from her warring emotions.

Shrugging, he looked down at her. "Anything, really. The port isn't very big. I looked at maps of the area, and there seems to be a lot of open areas around here to the south, possibly some fields. We can always head to one of those if you want some air."

Nodding eagerly, Emma smiled. "Honestly, that sounds perfect."

He grinned in return. "As you wish."

Regretfully leaving the small meadow they had found, Emma pulled up the hood of her cloak, glancing skyward to the darkening clouds as she reached out to take Killian's rough, calloused hand in hers.

"Are you cold?" he asked her.

Hating how sensitive she had become to even the temperature, she shook her head, not wanting him to worry over her. "No, I'm fine."

He smirked, calling her bluff. He released her hand, instead drawing her into his side, wrapping his arm around her shoulders.

"Thanks," she said, defeated. "I just... I hate feeling like this, you know? I feel like suddenly I'm effected by everything and have no control over it."

Rubbing her arm, he bumped her head with his. "It'll pass, love. After the babe is born, it will pass."

Sighing, she nodded. "I just hope so."

Leaning further into him, she snaked her own arm around his waist. It was a comfortable position for them, they had walked like that before.

She just didn't know why it felt so intimate.

The number of people in the town had seemed to grow as the sun set, crowds moving in the streets to head for the taverns and inns for the night.

"Port town," Killian shrugged by way of explanation at Emma's surprised look. "It's the only one for miles, so it would make sense for the night life."

She nodded as she took in the crowds, amazed at the sheer number of people out. "Think we'll still be able to get a room tonight?"

"It's still early," he nodded.

She nodded in return, keeping a tight hold on each other so they wouldn't be separated.

Some of the inns coming in sight, she felt Killian briefly stiffen beside her, suddenly on alert.

She was about to ask him what was wrong before seeing the officers, all from her kingdom.

Emma tightened her hold on him, fear making her cold. While they knew that there was a good chance that Killian would be pardoned, possibly even being admitted back into the Navy by her parents, she knew the likelihood of the soldiers listening to him was low.

They didn't know the Captain Hook was one of their own, that he had done the mutiny to save a life. Noble intentions wouldn't matter, not when there was a price on Killian's head.

Carefully, Killian shifted his hook, hiding it within his leather coat.

"Keep close," she said in a low voice, her eyes scanning the area for more officers.

He gave a light nod, his own eyes darting around for any immediate threats.

They were able to pass the men, getting lost in the crowd. Despite Killian's ostentatious clothes, the dark colors he wore and Emma's dark blue cloak and dress made them blend in, evading notice.

Just as they broke through a large throng, Killian suddenly shifted, pulling Emma toward a small street.

"Someone's tailing us," he said, a sharp edge in his tone. He looked down at her, concern plain in his expression. "Emma, if anyone nears to try to get me, leave me and run back to the ship. I'll fight them to hold them off, and try to follow as soon as I can."

She heard the fear in his voice as his eyes bore into her, knowing he was afraid of something happening to her.

"I can't just leave you alone to fight by yourself," she argued quietly. "I can help you."

"No," he said immediately, looking terrified at the idea. "You're not armed, and I know you have your magic, but I woundn't ever be able to forgive myself if anything happened to you or the baby."

Feeling her throat tighten, she nodded. She wanted to kiss him, to reassure him and put him at ease, just as he was always able to calm her.

She knew that if she was hurt or the baby was put at risk, he would punish himself, no matter what she told him. She knew too that with her condition and how far along she was, she was able to do very little to fight, the risk too great.

Discreetly, he released her arm, resting his hand on the pommel of his cutlass, ready to draw it and fight.

A figure moved closer behind them, the sound of their footsteps growing louder.

Just as they were cloaked in shadow, the figure launched forward, sword brandished.

Hearing the advance Killian quickly spun around, drawing his own sword to block the attack, all while making sure to distance himself and his attacker from Emma. He blocked another strike before going to attack himself, fighting back, both shrouded in shadow. She could only make out Killian between the two because of the shape of his long coat.

Unable to bring herself to leave Killian alone, Emma checked to be sure they were alone, that there weren't any more officers about to come and gang up on Killian. She was terrified that Killian could be hurt and arrested, that depending on who tried to captured him, they would make an example of him.

Even worse, that because he was considered a pirate, they would decide they didn't have to take him alive.

Emma's blood nearly froze at the thought, that he could lose his life, that she could forever lose him. She couldn't image him laying cold and still, never hearing his laugh or seeing the way his blue eyes would shine in the sunlight again, of feeling his warm hand in hers or his arms wrapped around her.

The ringing of metal on metal sounded throughout the street they were on as the men fought. Killian had the advantage of his hook, using it to block some hits and even redirecting his opponents sword. They were equally skilled, neither really able to gain the upper hand over the other.

The man struck forward to try to strike Killian, grunting when Killian ensnared his hook with the sword. The man's voice was faintly familiar, but Emma couldn't place it, anger covering his identity.

Keeping a grip on the sword, Killian directed it away, twisting his opponent's wrist until the sword fell from his grasp. Having won the match, Killian raised his cutlass so it was nearly pressing into the man's throat.

Emma felt as though she could weep in relief that Killian had won, coming out unscathed.

Killian pushed his opponent forward, bringing him into the light.

Hearing a him inhale in surprise, Emma took in that the man had curly brown hair, lighter than Killian's, and wore a navy coat and white trousers.

"Brother," Killian said weakly, dropping his sword.

"Killian?" Liam asked, amazement in his own tone.

His head whipped back toward Emma, trying to see Killian's companion.

Holding her breath in anticipation, she reached up, lowering her hood and letting her blonde hair fall around her shoulders. She saw Liam's eyes narrow when he saw it was her.

"Liam, what are you doing here?" Killian asked, moving to stand closer to her and sheathing his sword.

"Hunting Captain Hook," Liam relied, a hard edge creeping into his voice. His blue eyes turned steely as he looked back at Killian. "Which, little brother, would you mind explaining to me what the hell you did? Silver came into the courts one day months ago, reporting that the ship was taken over by pirates, and that their captain, a one handed pirate, left him to die. I didn't bloody know I'd be sent out to bloody hunt my own brother!"

"Silver lied," Killian spit back, ignoring Liam referring to him as his little brother. "The bastard was going to torture the cabin boy to death. What was I supposed to do? Let the boy be whipped and maimed and subjected to a life like we had?"

"You should have brought him back to face trial and be dealt with," Liam responded angerly. "Not turn to piracy."

"I had no choice in that," Killian replied, anger clearly taking over. "If I had allowed him to stay on the ship, he and the men that were loyal to him would have taken back control of the ship and killed those that opposed him. I knew no matter what I chose, I'd be branded as a pirate."

Gently, Emma reached out, resting her hand on his arm just above his brace.

"Is that how you lost your hand?" Liam asked, gesturing to Killian's hook.

"Silver took it in our fight," Killian told him.

Liam shook his head, similar to an animal angered. "So why not just come home and testify what happened? And why is Emma with you?"

Feeling herself want to shrink, she noticed Killian seeming to slightly shift to stand in front of her, acting as a barrier.

She was never under any illusions when it came to her and Liam's relationship. She knew he tolerated her, not thinking she was a good influence on his brother. He had always viewed her as acting improperly, sometimes even childish, not the perfect lady her status dictated she should be. She had often wondered if it was because Liam had to grow up too fast, becoming the only family Killian had when their father left, be he had always acted rather pompously around her.

Killian had even referred to his older brother as a self righteous ass before, much to her amusement and agreement.

"We found each other," Killian explained. "We met up together."

Liam's eyes narrowed. "So that's why right before we got the orders to go after a murderous pirate captain, everyone was in an uproar over the missing princess?"

"I had to leave," Emma defended, her hand unconsciously going to her stomach, hidden through the cloak.

Scoffing, he turned his hard blue eyes on her. "Of course you did."

Seeing his instant anger, Emma lightly squeezed Killian's arm, trying to calm him.

"Watch it, brother," Killian warned. "Don't speak to her that way."

Liam looked back at Killian. "Both of you messed up majorly. What the hell were you thinking?"

"That we were trying to do the best we could," Killian bit back sharply. "That we were doing what we could to help each other. We haven't returned because of the barrier around the kingdom from the Dark One. No one can get on or out if it."

Breathing out a hard breath, Liam pinched the bridge of his nose.

Emma felt sick, her anxiety growing as they fought and Liam grew more irate.

Seeming to read her, Killian shifted so her could look back at her, his eyes softening as he met her gaze.

"Emma, go back to the ship," he said gently. "I'll be along as soon as I can. Liam and I need to have... a small discussion."

Despite her nerves, she threw him a disbelieving look, making him crack a small smile.

"I promise, love, I'll be there shortly," he told her. "You're probably not gonna want to hear this."

Hesitating, she nodded once before quickly reaching up and pecking his cheek. "Just come back?"

He nodded. "I always will."

Reluctantly letting go of him, she glanced once more at Liam before looking again at Killian, his eyes watching her as she retreated.

Moving to the edge of a building, she stopped despite herself around the corner, not able to just leave Killian to fight with Liam.

After a moment, she heard the brothers start up again, if anything more angry than before.

"Why did Emma leave to meet with you?" Liam demanded. "Why the hell did she leave her family, position, and kingdom, so she could be on a pirate ship?"

Emma held her breath, remembering the story she and Killian had concocted and agreed upon for why they were together. She knew that he could either recite the tale, or tell Liam the truth.

She found that suddenly seeing and hearing him at odds with the only real family he had, Emma didn't want to keep lying about what she did. She wanted Killian to come clean, leaving him absolved of all sin. She would give him an annulment or divorce, anything so he would no longer be dragged through the dirt with her.

"I sent word to Emma after Silver when I was hurt, and she left to find me," Killian lied smoothly. "She was afraid I wouldn't make it, so she left."

Emma almost believed the lie herself.

"Then why is she wearing our mother's ring?" Liam asked angerly.

Nearly gasping, Emma looked down at the ring in question, the blue stone glittering in the faint light of the lanterns, looking black. She had no idea of the origins of the ring, that it had been his mother's, only that it was the one thing they had kept when the boys were sold into slavery.

She had no idea what it meant that he had given it to her to be her own wedding ring, or what the emotion she was feeling at the thought was.

Killian's voice carried over to her, his tone calm yet fierce. "Because before I left on my last mission, I had promised Emma that the second I returned, I would marry her. Things didn't go according to plan thanks to Silver, but after we found each other, we married anyway. Liam, Emma is my wife."

She knew Liam's expression would be furious, his anger barely controlled.

"Why did you do that?" Liam yelled. "Damn it, Killian! She's the princess, and you two just decided to run away and bloody elope and hope for the best? What were you thinking?"

"I was thinking that I intend to spend the rest of my life with her," Killian yelled back. "Isn't that what you wanted? For me to become an officer and settle down with a lass?"

"Not like this!" Liam thundered, clearly furious. "It was supposed to be some other lass, someone who you could have a normal life with! And not serving as the plaything of a royal brat!"

Emma filched at the insult, anger growing that Liam would call her that and she couldn't even refute him. Her eyes widened when Killian spoke again, fury in his voice.

"I won't stand for you speaking of her that way," he responded. "And why do you get to decide what is proper for me?"

"Because I am your brother," Liam replied coldly. "We have to get you an annulment to fix this mess."

"Even if I wanted an annulment, that's not possible," Killian told him. "Emma is with child."

Covering the baby with her hands, Emma closed her eyes, her chest aching. She wanted to return to the men and stop them, but knew it would only make things worse.

"You really screwed up this time," Liam yelled. "We were supposed to do the honorable thing, Killian! Not you getting Emma knocked up!"

Unable to stand hearing anymore, Emma launched forward in as much of a run as she could manage, wanting to go back to the ship while knowing she couldn't go back to Killian for the time being and just be held by him.

Silent tears began streaming down her face, guilt eating at her. She had never meant to make Killian fight with his brother or cause so much trouble to everyone around her, all because she trusted the wrong man.

Realization took over as she reached that point about halfway to the ship, all on her feelings toward Killian falling into place. She suddenly knew why she craved his presence, how he could calm her like no one else could, even by just his scent. She knew why she loved being with him, whether it was just being around him, cuddled up next to him, or was playing around with him. Why she was so hurt and even jealous when she saw him in that tavern with another woman, and why she felt so relieved when he told her he sent the woman away. Why she trusted him more than anyone else, and had even caught herself fantasizing about him. How whenever they kissed, her skin felt warm.

She had been foolish to believe that she had ever stopped loving him.

The love she had felt for him as children had only turned as they grew, resulting on the deep love she had for him and only him. She knew he was the one for her, the one she would spend all of eternity in love with.

Reaching the ship, she passed the crew on deck, going straight to their shared cabin. Quickly moving through the cabin, she grabbed her possessions, packing them away best she could in her rutsack.

Quiet sobs escaped her as tears streamed down her face as she went to the desk, pulling a sheet of parchment and a pen as her chest ached at what she had to do.

More furious at his brother than he had ever been, Killian stared down Liam, refusing to back down.

"You really screwed up this time," Liam shouted. "We were supposed to do the honorable thing, Killian! Not you getting Emma knocked up!"

"According to who?" Killian retorted angerly.

"What?" Liam snapped.

Killian's voice was sharp when he spoke. "What you think is honorable, or what I think is honorable?"

Liam glared at him, but Killian refused to back down.

"You've always gone on about restoring honor to the family name after what our bastard father did," Killian seethed. "Instead of doing it your way, I choose to stay with my wife and help her raise our child. Do you really want another child to grow up like we did? Without a father?"

Visibly flinching back, Liam was silent as he gave Killian an angry stare.

"The night before my mission, Emma and I spent the night together," Killian lied, remembering the tale he and Emma had agreed to use. "We hadn't meant to conceive, but it happened. And I already told you, as soon as I returned, I had intended to make Emma my bride and ask her parents for their blessing."

"So you're stuck in this situation, all because you wanted to lay with Emma?" Liam questioned.

Killian clenched his jaw, restraining himself from lunging forward and striking his brother.

He took a deep breath, trying to calm down some before he spoke again. "Did it ever occur to you, that just maybe, I love Emma and I intend to spend the rest of my life with her?"

Liam clenched his own jaw. "I thought you had gotten past you childish crush."

Snorting, Killian shook his head. "No, that's what you wanted me to do. You've never liked Emma. You've never thought she was good enough."

"That's because you've always followed her around like a pup," Liam responded. "You've always idolized her. I know she was the one that found us and helped to free us of our master, but you put her on a pedestal so high that you're blinded."

Closing his hand into a fist, Killian didn't notice the pain of his nails digging into his palm. Liam had never before hid that he disapproved of Emma, leading to many arguments over the years as they grew up. He knew that Killian had always cared deeply for her, which was why he tolerated their relationship. Killian had listened to him before, allowing himself to be convinced that something between himself and Emma wasn't possible, leading to him telling himself they would only ever be friends.

Part of him wondered how many opportunities he missed, if he and Emma would truly be together had he not told himself he had moved on. If as they exchanged vows, it would have been for love, not convenience. If the babe growing in her belly would really be his.

"You set the bar so high, all I could ever do is fail," Killian exclaimed. "Why are you the one that gets to decide whether or not Emma is good enough for me? Why should you decide who I take to be my wife?"

He watched as Liam's face reddened, knowing he was hitting some nerves.

"Liam, you're the one that took care of me after our father left, and I thank you for that," Killian said, forcing himself to keep his voice even. "But you're a self righteous ass. I'm going to start doing the right and honorable thing for me. I love Emma more than anything, and I choose her. She is my wife, and that is my child, and I am not leaving them for anything."

Silent, Liam glared at him, making Killian stand his ground and stare right back, unwilling to back down.

"Three days," Liam said in a hard voice. "I'm giving you three days head start. I'm still bound by my duty. I won't arrest you this time, but the next time, brother, I will."

Killian nodded before turning his back on Liam to follow Emma's path back to the ship.

"For your sake, I really hope you haven't made a huge mistake," Liam said as Killian began to step away.

Pausing, Killian turned his head slightly to look back at Liam. "Trust me. I know I didn't, and I know where I'm meant to be."

Before his brother could respond, he took off, nervousness growing in the pit of his stomach at being away from Emma and knowing she witnessed part of his and Liam's fight.

Though it was far from the first fight they ever had, it was the worst.

His nerves didn't dissipate as his ship came in sight, of even when he stepped on the deck.

"Smee!" he called, seeing his first mate at the bow with a couple of other men.

Smee rushed over, knowing Killian was in a foul mood. "Yes, Captain?"

"Prepare the men to set sail," Killian ordered. "We're leaving here tonight."

Confused, Smee looked up at him, his brow pinched curiously under his red hat. "Is everything alright, Sir?"

Blowing out a hard breath, Killian shook his head. "No. Just get the men ready."

Smee scrambled off, rushing to get the men on the deck.

Wanting to see Emma and just hold onto her tight, Killian walked up to beside the helm and pulled the hatch leading to their shared quarters.

Unease took over as soon as he stepped down, noticing her things gone. His heart in his throat, he stepped deeper into the cabin, noticing a folded piece of parchment on the bunk, weighed down by a small object. Going to it, his heart sank as he saw the object was his mother's ring, the ring he had given to Emma when they married.

He unfolded the note, finding Emma's script written across it, the ink marred by what looked like tear stains. His breathing was shallow as he read her note, his heart clenching almost painfully.


I could never thank you enough for what you've done for me. You helped me when I knew no one else would, and you have been a constant support for me through everything. Which is why I have to do this.

Liam is right, you deserve so much more. I can't keep doing this to you. You deserve to have a life, and not one where you're tied to me and a child that isn't yours. I care too much about you to keep dragging you down, to keep doing this to you.

Killian, I'm freeing you of your promise. I'm leaving, and I'm going to let you live your life. I'm giving you your best chance. I'm sorry, and thank you for everything.

Forgive me.


The letter hadn't fallen to the floor by the time Killian ran to the steps, knowing he couldn't lose Emma again.


Chapter Text

Emma pulled her cloak more securely around her body as she walked on the edge of the road, keeping close to the trees in case she had to take cover.

Every fiber of her being screamed at her to turn back, to return to Kilian, but she knew she had to hold fast to her resolve. She couldn't hold him back, not when he had a chance. He could still get out and return to his old life, or could even start a new life unburdened by her.

She knew she had to let him go, no matter how much it pained her to do it.

Her tears hadn't stopped, silently falling as she moved to leave him and her old life completely behind.

She just hadn't expected it to hurt so much.

She craved Killian's presence, to be wrapped up in his warm and safe embrace. She wanted to be wrapped in his arms and lay beneath the blankets of their bunk, to feel loved.

She knew without a doubt that she wouldn't stop loving him, that she was forever his, even if she couldn't be with him.

The night was cold, and with how she always got so chilled with carrying her child, she was shivering beneath her cloak. She would have loved to stopped for the night and build a fire, knowing it was a poor substitute for what she was leaving behind, but she had to keep going, to put as much distance between her and the Jolly Roger as possible.

She was amazed how far she had managed to get, even accommodating her stomach. The lights of the town behind her had faded as she traveled north, leaving only the moon and stars as her source of light.

Feeling the baby move inside her, she lovingly placed a hand over them.

"We're gonna be okay, kid," she promised them quietly. "No matter what, we're gonna be okay."

The baby kicked her, seeming to be a response to her.

Her head snapped back when she heard the pounding of horse hooves on the road, making her quickly duck in the trees.

She knew how dangerous it would be to be out by herself, a single woman, but knew her condition would make her an easier target.

Carefully peeking from her hiding spot, the chestnut mare came galloping into view before the rider drew her to a halt. The rider turned her, clearly debating whether if not to turn back.

"Swan!" Killian's voice called, making Emma's eyes widen in surprise that he had tracked her down so quickly. "Emma!"

Swallowing, her body walked out of her spot without her permission, drawn to him.

"Killian?" she called, her eyes trained on the horse. "Killian?"

His shout was filled with relief as his head whipped back to where she was. "Emma!"

Turning the horse back, he directed it closer to where Emma was before pulling the reigns again and quickly jumping off.

Feeling a sob wanting to break free, she met him halfway as he rushed toward her, pulling her into a tight embrace, his hand in her hair. The cold she had been feeling vanished, instead replaced by warmth, knowing she was home.

She clutched him back tightly, her body melting into his as she relaxed, her sob finally escaping her.

"You found me," she whispered, holding him tighter.

He pressed his lips to her hair, inhaling deeply before responding. "I'll always find you."

Instead of responding, she nuzzled her face into his neck, breathing in his scent.

"Why?" he asked her, moving his head so his cheek pressed against hers, his rough stubble pleasantly scratching her skin. "Darling, what happened?"

Swallowing the lump that had grown in her throat, she pulled away, shaking her head.

"Liam's right," she said weakly. "Killian, you still have a chance. You can go back. You can have a good life without me."

His eyes wide is disbelief, he shook his head. "No. Swan, I promised you that I would stay with you, and I have every intention of upholding that vow."

"You shouldn't have to," she protested, her chest aching. "You shouldn't have to pay for what I did. You have a chance to get out of this and be free. I- I can't keep you from that."

He moved his hand so it left her hair, trailing it to her cheek as he gently wiped away her tears with the pad of his thumb. His eyes bore into hers, worry pinching his brow.

"Why?" he asked her gently. "Emma, what happened?"

Seeing his heartbroken expression, she felt the wall she had kept all of her feelings for him behind shatter.

Emma was unable to look away from him as she spoke, knowing she couldn't lie to him. She could never lie to him. "Killian, I love you too much to do this to you. I can't trap you like this."

Killian's blue eyes were wide as he took her in, his voice full of wonder. "You love me?"

Shakily, she nodded. "Yes."

She was unable to read his expression before he suddenly closed the distance between them, his lips capturing hers.

She instantly responded to the kiss, her fingers digging into his shoulders.

This kiss was so different than the one they had shared when they wed, filled with love and passion and tenderness instead of mere amiability, of putting on an act. It was real.

Encouraged by her returning the kiss, he tilted his head slightly to deepen it, his hook gently pressing into her back and drawing out a small moan from her. Bringing one hand up, she cradled his face, stroking his cheek.

Needing air, they slowly pulled away, leaning their foreheads together as they breathed each other in.

"I love you, Emma," he whispered softly. "I always have."

Emma felt like she wanted to cry again, but it was for a completely different reason.

"I always have, too," she confessed.

Gently, Killian pulled away to look at her, tenderly stroking her skin with his thumb.

"Emma, I want this," he told her. "You don't have to run. Never from me. I know we entered into this marriage for convenience, but I want it to be real. I want to be your husband for real."

Releasing a watery laugh, she closed the distance between them to kiss him again, unable to believe the turn the night had taken.

"I want that, too," she agreed. Her hand on his shoulder fell down to her belly, suddenly worried. "But Killian, are you sure? Are you sure you want a life with me like this? For me to be your wife?"

He released her face to cover her hand on her stomach with his. "Aye. This is the life I want. With you and the baby."

Smiling, she tilted her head to lean against his.

"Are you willing to make a life with a pirate?" he asked her.

She nodded against him. "Yeah, I am. I do want a life with you."

He drew his arms back around her, pulling her body to his. "Then we'll do it."

She nodded, finally feeling safe and secure.

Reluctantly, he pulled away from her, taking her pack and slinging it on his back before leading her to the horse. Carefully, he helped her up on its back and got her situated before hoisting himself up behind her and reaching for the reigns. He led the horse in a light canter, mindful of Emma.

They returned the horse to where Killian had procured it before going hand in hand back to the ship. He helped her across the gangplank, ignoring the curious looks of the crew as he walked with her to the quarterdeck.

"I'll be along shortly, love," he said quietly. "Liam told me he was giving us three days head start, and I don't intend to squander any of that time."

Sudden guilt rushed over her, knowing that her attempt to run had cost them time.

Immediately seeing the shift within her, he quickly shook his head. "No, Swan. Don't worry. You didn't cost us. Just go down and relax, yeah?"

Sighing, she nodded. "Just hurry down?"

He nodded, smiling. "As quick as I can."

Smiling back, she lightly kissed his lips.

Taking her pack back, she carefully climbed down, relaxing in the warmth of the cabin.

Emma quickly changed into her nightdress and a robe before undoing her pack and putting away her possessions as she waited for Killian. Finally able to let herself think about it, she found herself wondering what they would do, where they would settle down for her baby to be raised. She imagined how she could live a domestic life with Killian, what their life would be like with a baby.

She already noticed how easy and frequent their kisses came, how neither was afraid anymore of showing genuine affection.

As she felt the ship move beneath her, she steadied herself, feeling more at ease knowing they were leaving the threat they had found at the port behind them.

Food was delivered for them before Killian came in, but she decided to wait until Killian joined her before finally eating, hungry as she was.

She smiled when the hatch opened and her husband decended the steps, happy she could finally think of him with the title.

"Sorry it took me so long," he apologized, shrugging out of his coat. "I wanted to make sure we had reached a good distance from that port before retiring."

Shaking her head, she gave him a small smile. "It's fine, Killian. You're the captain, you need to do whatever you have to."

He smiled in return, kissing her temple as he passed her to pull her chair for her.

Both hungry from the long day, they quickly ate, Emma particularly wanting to crawl into their bed and relax.

Finishing, she turned while Killian changed, a sudden flush creeping into her cheeks, knowing that they could be intimate if they so wanted. She wanted that with him, to feel his body moving in rhythm with hers, but was nervous because of the baby. She wondered if it was something he wanted.

"You okay, Swan?" Killian asked her curiously, noticing her nerves and coming up to lay his hand on her shoulder.

Stiffly, she nodded, turning to look back at him. She felt her cheeks pinken further when she saw him, having changed into his black linen pants, but had not yet put on another shirt, leaving his chest and arms bare save his brace.

"Um, yeah," she swallowed, averting her eyes, not wanting him to know she liked what she saw.

He raised a single black eyebrow skeptically.

"Just, us," she said, biting her lip nervously. "I know you have certain needs and expectations, but-"

Quickly shaking his head, he moved his hand to cradle her jaw, knowing what she was referring to. "Swan, we don't have to do any of that. Not until we're both ready. I promise you, I can wait."

She gave him a weak smile, nodding. She was relieved, knowing that of course Killian was willing to let her move at her own pace.

"It's just, I do want us to," she told him. "But let's face it. I get tired sometimes now from just moving around the ship. I... I want us to wait until after the baby is born. And when I'm not so big."

Stroking her jaw, he smiled. "Honestly love, you're just as beautiful as ever. And you're not big, you're carrying a child. If you're afraid of me being attracted to you, you never have to worry about that. I know how uncomfortable you've been getting, and I don't wish to contribute to that. But honestly, I'm afraid I might hurt you or the little one, and..." he released her to scratch behind his ear nervously, making her smile, "I'm afraid I'd be invading their space."

Smiling, she brushed her lips against his as she raised her own hand to his cheek, finding his nerves endearing. "You wouldn't hurt us."

Giving her a small smile, he relaxed slightly. "But I do agree we should wait until after, just to be safe."

He leaned his forehead to hers, closing his eyes contently. "For our first time, I want to be able to hold you close and love you."

"I want that, too," she responded.

Relaxing, she let her hand fall, trailing down his neck until she reached his toned chest, gently trailing her fingers through the soft dark hair, something she had often imagined doing. She grinned as she heard his breath hitch, along with his body shuddering under her touch.

"Minx," he teased, lightly kissing her.

Grinning, she looked up at him, seeing love and happiness plain in his eyes.

Sighing, he moved to pull away. "I should go put on a shirt."

"You don't have to," she told him.

He raised his brow in question.

"I know that's how you usually sleep anyway," she shrugged. "Besides, we are already married, so it wouldn't be improper."

"Are you sure?" he asked her.

She nodded, sure of herself.

Killian discarded his brace and layed down, drawing Emma in with him after she removed her robe. Unlike all of the other times they shared their bunk, they instantly gravitated toward the other. Emma rested her head over Killian's heart as he drew his arms around her, holding onto her close. He covered her hand resting on his chest with his own, intertwining their fingers.

A content sigh escaped her, causing him to shift her slightly closer into his skin.

"Killian?" she asked, hoping he hadn't fallen asleep yet.

He hummed in response, turning his head to nudge her hair with his chin.

"I never told you exactly why I wanted to name the baby Henry if they're a boy," she pointed out.

"No, you didn't," he agreed.

She cuddled closer into him, knowing she could finally tell him why she had chosen the name.

"I was really sick for a while before I ran," she told him. "I didn't know what was wrong until I realized I hadn't bled, and went to a doctor. They told me what I had already suspected, that I'm carrying a child. I was terrified, and knew I had to leave to give my baby a chance."

Killian gently squeezed her, silently comforting her.

"It was late when I left, most of the castle had already retired for the night, and I had just finished leaving letters for everyone," she continued. "I went to the stable, knowing a horse would be the fasted way to leave. Regina, Robin, and her father were visiting, and I guess he heard me. I didn't know he was down there. I thought he was going to yell, and I just told him I had to leave.

"Somehow he just knew, even though I didn't tell him I'm with child. He actually helped me get out, and told me 'Go find him,' meaning you. I think he assumed you were the baby's father. But he helped me so the baby could have a chance, and actually happy thinking that we were together."

Killian suddenly shifted so they were both on their sides, his hand releasing hers as he kissed her.

She threaded her fingers through his hair, pulling him closer to her, as his hand rested on her cheek and his blunted arm pulled her as close as her stomach would allow.

They were both breathing heavily as they pulled apart, resting their foreheads together.

"I should have told you how I felt a long time ago," he sighed. "I can't believe I fooled myself into thinking I had ever stopped being in love with you for all these years."

She released a weak chuckle as she moved her hand to stroke the scar on his cheek, the one from the cut his old master had given him the day they met and he defied the captain. "I could say the same. I can't believe I actually thought I could get over you after so many years."

"Is that why you started your dalliance with Baelfire?" he questioned curiously without any judgement.

"I was trying to convince myself I didn't care for you anymore," she told him.

Speaking of Baelfire didn't hurt, especially when she had Killian, knowing he loved her as she loved him.

"Is that why that one night in the tavern, you were with that woman?" she asked.

He nodded. "Aye. Definately not one of my finest moments. But that was the night I realized I'm still in love with you."

Smiling weakly, she sighed. "I realized it myself tonight, listening to you and Liam fight."

"I'm sorry about that," he said, pushing her hair off her face. He released a breathy chuckle. "We're a couple of idiots."

Emma laughed in agreement.

Closing the short distance between them, she kissed him. "I love you."

"I love you, too," Killian responded, wrapping his arms around her and drawing her close as sleep washed over them.

Chapter Text

Emma smiled proudly beside Killian, both looking at the cottage they had been able to obtain to make into their home together.

A few weeks after confessing their feelings for each other they left the ship, Killian naming Smee as the new captain of the Jolly Roger, finding a small town near a port for them to settle. It was to the north of Emma's kingdom, letting them be close if the barrier were to fall. The town was relatively small, not drawing large fleets of ships that could possibly be dangerous if the Navy were to hunt Killian.

The cottage was a small distance from the main town on a cliff overlooking the sea, providing them with some privacy. It was on a good size piece of property with a small barn, giving them the opportunity to get some animals to be self sufficient. The cottage itself being rundown, they had to make repairs for it to be suitable for them to live in, much less raise a child in.

They had been lucky not only with being able to get somewhere to create their home but with work. Killian had been able to convince the town's blacksmith to take him as an apprentice, despite his age and missing hand. While it would have been easier for him to work on the ships, he refused to leave Emma alone for any period of time. Despite his promise to remain with her, she was touched that he had completely given up his life at sea and everything he had ever known for her. She was proud of him when he told her the blacksmith had agreed to have him work under him.

Being so close to delivering the baby, Emma knew her options were extremely limited for what she could do. While they still had some valuables of hers they could sell as well as Killian's money from what he had received on the ship, Emma refused to have in that he was the only one to provide an income.

When in town for supplies one day soon after they first decided to settle there, they passed by a horse breeder, seeing him about to put down one of his horses. The horse, a beautiful young chestnut mare called Aife, had broken her leg badly, making her useless for work or selling, leading the owner choose to put her down to sell her meat. Both Emma and Killian knew that a horse with such a large frame would be a blessing, that it would make their work easier as well as providing them a quicker means of transportation. They also knew that because the horse was a mare, they could breed her if they chose to.

Quickly speaking to the man, they offered to buy the mare, leading to mocking from him and some of the crowd that had gathered to watch. The man, taking in Emma and Killian's youth, had mockingly set a price most scoffed at, expecting them to revoke their offer.

They only quickly talked about it, knowing it was a risky gamble. If the horse was permanently crippled or died, they would have lost a good amount of money, but if Emma was able to heal the horse, they would have gotten a young mare for practically a steal.

Deciding to take the risk, with Killian's faith in her, Emma healed the horse as soon as the sale was made, the mare's leg completely mended. The breeder had been furious at his loss, that he had sold the mare for such a small amount. Aife immediately took to both Emma and Killian, happily returning with them to their new home.

Word had spread of what she did for the horse as people had began seeking her out, until she had fallen into the role of a healer. While Killian worried that her magic would put unneeded strain on her, she shook it off, glad she could not only help people, but make it so Killian didn't face the responsibility of providing on his own.

She had often used her magic to speed along the process of rebuilding the cottage all the while helping Killian do it by hand. They worked together on it, Emma often becoming tired and needing breaks more often than her husband, but they had made it livable within a month of being there.

The work was hard, but it had been worth it, knowing they did it themselves and that it was theirs.

"It's done," Emma smiled, looking back at Killian.

Grinning back at her, he drapped his arm around her shoulder, drawing her close and kissing her cheek. "And it's ours."

Her grin widened.

She wrapped her arm around his waist as they began to walk to the cottage's entrance, leaning into him contently.

As soon as he pushed the door opened, his arm slipped lower as he stooped down slightly and carefully lifted her bridal style to carry her through the door. She released a small squeal of surprise before warm laughter escaped her, wrapping both her arms around his neck.

"Killian, what are you doing?" she asked.

"Carrying my wife over the threshold of our new home," he told her, smiling lovingly at her.

Just as he kicked the door shut behind them, she reached up enough to kiss him.

They had become much more affectionate around the other, often kissing or touching each other, not caring in the least who saw. They were in love, and the marriage was no longer just for show. While they had grown closer, they had continued in their agreement to wait to be physically together, but it hadn't stopped them from sharing intimate moments of just being together where they grew even closer.

Pulling away, he smiled as his eyes met hers. "Welcome home."

Humming, she lightly brushed her lips to his. "It's good to be home."

He let her down, his hand lightly brushing against her belly.

Emma never failed to smile whenever he touched her stomach, knowing he cared for the baby as well as her, even if they hadn't been born yet. He had made a habit out of touching where the baby was, of gently resting his hand over it most nights as they slept.

Looking around, she smiled, knowing the place was complete, save a couple of things they needed to get for the baby.

The main room that contained their kitchen was spacious, giving them plenty of room, with a large fireplace set in one of the walls. A few rooms toward the back served as bedrooms. The whole cottage was only slightly larger than her apartment from back in her parents' castle, but they knew it was perfect for them.

They had been able to piece together a couple of things for their furniture, filling up the space. The whole cottage looked cozy, looking like a home for them.

Stepping to the bassinet they had set up, she ran her hand over the smooth wood as the other went to her stomach.

Killian came up behind her, his hand covering hers. "They'll be safe here. We can raise them here."

Turning slightly, she smiled. "I know."

She leaned into his chest contently, relaxing. She smiled when the baby shifted, both her and Killian feeling the movement.

"I'll make dinner," she told him.

"You sure?" he asked.

Nodding, she pulled away.

"I'll go take care of the horse," he called back as he headed to the door.

She smiled contently as she went to the tiny kitchen area and saw him through the window calling Aife, making the horse trot over happily to him.

Lost in her task, she found herself wishing not for the first time that she had sought out instruction from Granny more often when the older woman worked in the kitchen. There had been a few times when they were younger that she and Killian had been roped in on spending time with Granny as she cooked, and much more recently, when she went to the Jolly Roger'scook to try to learn what she could, knowing she and Killian would be off the ship and on their own. Killian had slipped away from the deck a few times to accompany her, insisting that he wouldn't let her be completely responsible for household duties.

They had already had a couple of bad meals they had both prepared, knowing they still had work to do, especially of they wished for their food to be better than edible.

Finishing their meal just as Killian walked back through the door, Emma smiled as he kissed her hair, twisting around to nuzzle his cheek.

"All done out there?" she asked him, pulling away slightly to stare up at him.

He nodded. "Aye. Aife is groomed, fed, and set up in a clean stall in the barn for the evening."

Humming, she nodded. "Good. Hungry?"

"Famished," he answered, pecking her forehead before pulling away to help her set their small table.

Sitting at the table, they began to eat before both wore an expression of distaste, slowly swallowing their food.

"Emma, you know I love you, but this is terrible," Killian said apologetically, giving her a small smile.

"Sorry," she chuckled guiltily, knowing he was right.

He set down his fork to reach across the table, taking her hand in his. "Don't apologize, love. We'll get there. Besides, you've had my cooking before."

Releasing a genuine laugh, she nodded. "I should be able to hunt another deer soon."

"You don't have to," he told her worriedly. "Swan, we have more than enough. You don't have to go out."

Emma sighed, knowing he was right, but still felt she had to do what she could. Despite being so far along, she had gone out to hunt and actually getting them a deer with her bow, dragging it back to the break of trees that surrounded their home. She was exhausted but proud of her hunt, laughing when she saw Killian's shocked expression. He had made her promise if she was to go hunting again she was to either bring him or to retrieve him, not wanting her to risk injury by carrying a deer. Knowing he had a point of her hurting herself, she agreed, but only so long as he went to her when he needed help.

"You're doing more than enough," he told her gently. "You deserve to take it easy."

At her raised brow, he snorted. "Forgive me, Swan. I momentarily forgot with who I was talking to."

"Damn right," she added with a laugh.

They continued their meal, both laughing.

Reclining on the bed she shared with her husband in her nightdress, Emma flipped through her book, looking for the spot she had left off.

Despite it being a few months after they had married, both she and Killian had decided to surprise each other with wedding gifts. They had both gifted each other books, knowing of the other's love of reading. Emma had given her husband a volume of various adventures, most out at sea, knowing his preferences. Happy with his book, he had given her his own gift, a large book of various ballads and verses. Though they never admitted it aloud, much less to anyone else, both knew they each had a romantic side, that they appreciated some finer works.

She had smiled, thinking about how they had been in love for so long.

Feeling the bed dip beside her, she felt Killian's warm body beside her. He gently tugged her to pull her into his side, to which she happily went.

Glancing up at him, she saw he was changed into his sleep clothes, his arm free from his brace and chest bare, his eyes clean of kohl.

Even taking a position under the town's blacksmith, Killian mostly continued to dress as he had in the ship when he was home. His wardrobe consisted of mostly black with the occasional splash of whites and browns. While he still obviously preferred leather, some had been replaced with lighter fabrics, cooler and more durable for when he was working. He still wore his pirate garb often, yet avoided any unwanted attention. Most of his more ostentatious clothing, including his red waistcoat, were only worn in their home. He never wore his hook when he was away from their home, working without it as not to give any hint who he was.

"I'm surprised you haven't fallen asleep yet," he told her.

She hummed, shifting closer into his side and resting her head on his chest. "I was waiting for you."

Wrapping his arm around her, he pressed his cheek to her head, relaxing with her in his arms.

She suddenly felt him stiffen, turning his head away from her. She saw his cheeks and ears had reddened.

"Um, you may want to fix your top," he said, keeping his eyes averted.

Glancing down, she saw the ties to the top of her garment had come undone, revealing the skin of her chest, her modesty barely preserved. She quickly redid the ties, feeling slightly proud despite her embarrassment.

She knew Killian was affected by her, much more so than he was with the bar wench he had been with that one night in the tavern. Despite being heavily pregnant, he still reacted to her. Despite their agreement to wait, she had been tempted many times to forgo their decision and be intimate with him.

"I'm decent," she told him.

He nodded, still keeping his eyes off her.

"How's the baby?" he asked, clearly looking for a change of subject.

As if hearing him and meaning to respond, Emma felt a kick.

"They're fine," she said, shifting uncomfortably.

What had at first been gentle, light movements had began to become uncomfortable, the baby often kicking her ribs or organs. She knew it wasn't their fault, but she couldn't help wincing occasionally at the movements.

Resting his hand on her stomach, he turned back to her and gently rubbed where the baby rested. "Take it easy on your mum, alright? She's doing everything she can to take care of you. And we can't wait for you to be here."

Smiling, she closed her eyes. She felt the baby shift again, but much more gently, seeming to listen to Killian.

"I think you're gonna be the favorite," she teased.

"Nonsense, he replied. "Swan, this baby will love you more than anything else. After everything you've done for them, it's just proven you'll be a wonderful mother."

Picking her head up, she gently kissed him, the kiss slow and loving.

Breaking away, she rested her head back on the skin of his chest as he took the book from her, placing it on the small table beside their bed. Shifting so they were laying down, he kept his arms around his wife as she fell asleep, falling under himself.


Chapter Text

Feeling her frustration growing, Emma set her work down, trying to calm herself. With the baby due in a month, she felt as if she were behind on preparing everything for them, everything they needed to welcome them.

She knew she was over reacting and she was emotional, but she often found herself worrying. She wanted to give her child everything she could. Knowing Killian had every intention of remaining by her side helped to calm her, knowing she wouldn't be alone. After finding a midwife, he had promised her that if she so desired, he would remain by her side as she gave birth, never leaving.

She was nervous about the delivery and honestly a little scared, but she wanted him there, to be an anchor for her.

Picking the soft wool back up, she admired her handiwork.

When she had been first born, she had been given a white blanket with violet ribbon woven along the edges, a gift from Granny. She wanted the same for her baby, setting out determinedly on crafting a new blanket to wrap them in.

The wool was soft and warm, able to provide comfort. Upon further examination, she found her piece wasn't too bad, actually resembling a blanket. For decoration, she had gotten bits of red ribbon to decorate the edges, not knowing if she was carrying a son or a daughter.

She knew she would love her baby, along with Killian, no matter what she had. Between wanting to finally see and hold her child, as well as to be able to move without being uncomfortable, she was ready to have her baby.

Though he had promised to help her raise the baby, Emma wondered what role exactly Killian would fall into with the baby.

She found she was proud of herself as she wove the last of the red ribbon through the edge of the woolen blanket, finishing it. Despite having only watched Granny a few times when she was younger, she didn't think the blanket looked bad, especially considering she'd never done it before. She was happy that even though it was something so small, she was able to make it herself for her baby.

Carefully folding the blanket, she rose from the rocking chair they had managed to procure and placed it on the edge of the bassinet, looking up when the door opened, her husband walking through. She noticed he held a package under his arm, but she couldn't make out what is was.

Smiling brightly, he came up to her to lightly kiss her before procuring his hook from his pocket and clicking it into place.

"Hey," she greeted, lightly brushing her lips against his again before completely drawing away.

"Hey," he responded. His eyes drifted to the blanket, making him reach out to lightly run his hand over it. "You finished?"

Nodding, she smiled. "Yeah. I know it's not the best. But I think they should like it."

Moving instead to rest his hand along her jaw, he lovingly stroked her cheek. "I'm sure they will."

She chuckled before turning her eyes back to the package he held. "What's that?"

His smile turned sheepish as he drew his hand away to scratch behind his ear. "I was passing by the market on my way home and saw this. I just thought the little one might like it after they're here."

Tentatively offering her the package, he watched as she took it, carefully peeling back the paper.

Emma felt her chest tighten at the stuffed lion she pulled from the paper. It's fur was soft while the body was pudgy, making it ideal for a baby or small child to cuddle up with. The floppy limbs, as well as ears, tail, and mane, gave plenty for them to hold onto, much less drag around.

Swallowing, she was surprised to feel a slight sting in her eyes, knowing it was brought on by her husband's gesture.

"It's perfect," she told him, reaching up to kiss him lightly. "Thank you, Killian."

He smiled down at her widely. "It's nothing, Swan. I just wanted them to have something they could play or cuddle up with."

She smiled back at him as she turned to face the bassinet, placing the lion inside it near the head.

She suddenly wondered what it could mean that Killian would get something for the baby, providing essentially their first toy. She wondered what Killian wanted to be to the baby.

Suddenly emboldened, Emma intertwined her fingers with his as she led him to the small couch, sitting close beside him.

He didn't say anything, letting her make the first move.

"I know this isn't something we've really talked about before," she said, leaning slightly into him, keeping their hands together. "But I was wondering, what do you want to be for this baby?"

Lifting their hands, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders so her own arm crossed her chest. "What ever you wish me to be. I will help you with this baby, but only as much as you'll allow me to. I'll be whatever you want me to be for them, whether it be their father, or just your best friend."

She sighed, leaning her head against his, knowing what she wanted, but not wanting him to feel as though he had to take the position.

"But what do you want to be to them?" she asked.

He was silent for a moment before answering. "You know that even if they aren't mine by blood, that means nothing to me. If you'll allow it... they will be my child, and I will happily be their father. "

"Really?" she asked, feeling hope bubble up in her. "You'd do that?"

"Aye," he answered.

She released his hand to cradle his head, closing the distance between them and kissing him deeply.

Drawing his hooked arm around her waist, he cupped her jaw, drawing her even closer to him as he kissed her back.

"I love you," she told him when they broke apart, resting her forehead to his and breathing him in.

"I love you, too," he replied, stroking her jaw with his thumb.

They stayed that way, both happy, before Killian pulled away, making Emma look up at him curiously. She could tell he was nervous again.

"You know how not too long ago, we had received a commission?" he asked her, making her recall the order the blacksmith had gotten that he had Killian help him create.

She nodded. "Yeah?"

He smiled nervously. "When it was completed, I received some pure silver as part of my payment. It was difficult, but I wanted to do this for us, especially with how we didn't have these when we recited our vows."

Reaching into his coat, he pulled a small pouch as his hook directed her to place her hand out. Carefully drawing it open, he turned it over so that two small objects landed in her palm.

She felt her breath catch as she saw she was holding two thin silver bands, knowing he intended for them to be their wedding bands.

"You made these?" she asked in awe.

"Yeah," he nodded. "I know they're not the most ornate, but-"

She cut him off, kissing him.

"They're perfect," she told him when she pulled away. She looked down at the bands, specifically the one meant to be hers, happily.

Grinning, she took his hand in hers, sliding his ring onto his ring finger.

Plucking her ring from her hand, he slid it onto her finger so it rested right below her wedding ring. She smiled as she looked at the rings together, knowing that they would forever remain on her finger.

He took her hand in his when she was done, letting her feel the metal of his own ring against her skin as he leaned his head against his wife's.


Chapter Text

Laying in bed beside Killian, Emma cuddled up closer to him, seeking the comfort of his presence as she shifted uncomfortably.

In her last month, she had grown more uncomfortable as the days passed, especially in the late summer despite the cooler nights. They had had a couple of false alarms, only for the midwife to tell them that it was normal and that Emma would experience some pain that was merely her body preparing itself for labor. Killian had worried, always jumping to attention when she so much as winched in discomfort.

The baby had been still for the past couple of days, leading for them to believe they would be born soon.

Though she was ready to have her baby, she was terrified.

Killian often was able to soothe any fears she had, promising that both she and the child would be okay, and that she would be a wonderful mother. He knew what to say to calm her, even if she could tell that he was afraid of the birth as well. They both knew the risks Emma and the baby would be facing.

As if sensing her discomfort even in sleep, Killian shifted so that he rested on his side, pulling her closer to him.

Nuzzling into his neck, Emma felt herself begin to relax before a wave of discomfort overtook her, making her body stiffen in response. She inhaled sharply before she felt a wetness around her, making her pull away slightly. Lighting a candle, she sighed, knowing she had to wake her husband so she could change the bedding when a sharp, burning pain ran through her abdomen, hips, and back.

She knew without a doubt that she was about to have her baby.

She gasped, making Killian jerk awake. He eyed her drowsily, noticing her pain.

Worry was plain in his voice as he spoke. "Swan? What is it?"

"The baby's coming," she said breathlessly.

All traces of sleep vanished from him as he sat up and threw back the covers. "I'll send word to the midwife and I'll be right back. Okay, love?"

She nodded, making sure he saw it before he hurried of to the message they had waiting for when Emma went into labor. She inhaled deeply and closed her eyes as she gently rubbed her belly, trying to calm down. She heard Killian whistle, summoning a bird to send off the note.

Opening her eyes, she saw him come back, grabbing a shirt and quickly throwing it on. He settled beside her, helping her sit up at the head of the bed.

"She'll be here soon," he promised. "Just hold on, love."

She nodded as another spasm of pain shot through her, making him hold her closer to him.

"Do you want to try walking?" he asked her.

Thinking it may help, she nodded. "Yeah."

Nodding, he pulled away and rounded to her side of the bed to help her up. As she stood, he grabbed one of his shirts, holding it out to her.

Wanting to get out of the wet clothing and knowing it would be easier for herself and the midwife in the shorter garment, she gladly took it, untying the dress she was wearing to change. She rolled her eyes when he turned around, offering her a small bit of privacy. Tossing the old nightdress aside, she touched his arm, prompting him to turn back around.

Letting her grip onto his arm, he led them out of their room and around the cabin, going at the pace she set.

He only let go of her to let the midwife in, quickly returning to her and supporting her.

They followed the midwife's instructions to go back to their room so she could examine Emma, where Killian remained beside her.

"I'm afraid you're going to be in for a long night," the midwife told them. "It's going to be a while before you can start to push."

Releasing a heavy sigh, Emma leaned her head against Killian's.

"Is there anything that can be done to make her more comfortable?" he asked, tangling his hand in her hair to gently massage her scalp.

"Just help her move around while she still can," the midwife replied.

Sighing, he turned, pressing a kiss into Emma's hair.

Emma sat up, wincing slightly in discomfort as she swung her legs over the bed, intending to follow the midwife's instructions and move around while she still could.

Glancing out, Emma could tell that dawn wasn't too far off. She glanced at Killian, knowing he was tired, but he had refused to sleep, instead staying awake to be with her, constantly giving her words of comfort and praise. The midwife had gone to the main room, allowing them some privacy.

Emma sat back on her heels on the bed, her legs slightly spread to make the position more comfortable as Killian sat behind her, kneading into her lower back.

"You're doing just fine, love," he praised, gently resting his wrist at her hip.

She inhaled sharply as another wave of pain washed over her.

"You've never had to help deliver a baby before," she reminded him lightly.

She was grateful that he was with her, that he was able to anchor her. They both knew there wasn't a lot he could do, but she was thankful for everything he was doing despite that. Just his mere presence, that she wasn't alone and had someone who loved her with her, made the pain bearable.

He quickly circled her, settling in front of her and gently pushing her sweaty hair away to lean his forehead to hers.

"Still doesn't mean that I don't know that you're doing an amazing job," he replied, gently rubbing the sides of her stomach with his hand and wrist. "You can do this, Emma. Just a bit more, and we can finally meet our little one."

Catching what he said, she felt warmth spread throughout her chest, making her smile. It wasn't the first time Killian claimed her child as his, but it still meant everything to her as he did it.

"I love you," she exhaled.

"I love you, too," he smiled back.

She kissed him lightly before swallowing a small moan of pain.

"It's okay, love," he reassured her. "You're okay."

She nodded, breathing heavily.

The midwife came in, apologizing for interrupting them so she could look at Emma again. Instead of simply helping her lay down, Killian lifted her, carefully laying her down. He sat beside her, gripping her hand in his.

"Okay, Emma," the midwife said. "I'm sorry, but you have to stay down now."

Emma nodded as another wave of pain washed over her. A small whimper escaped her.

Closing her eyes, she rested her head against Killian's shoulder.

"Killian, I'm scared," she confessed, her voice barely a whisper as she squeezed his hand.

"I know, Swan," he told her gently. "But you're gonna be okay. I'm not going anywhere, aye? I'm gonna be right here with you the whole time."

She nodded, releasing a small cry on pain.

"It hurts," she whispered.

He gently kissed her head. "I know, love. You're almost there. If you need to scream, cry, whatever you need to do, do it."

Pain continued to wrack through her, pressure building within her.

"Okay Emma, time to push," the midwife told her.

Emma nodded as Killian supported her, propping her up slightly. She was sure his hand was probably numb from how tightly she held it.

Letting out a cry of pain, she pushed, arching forward in agony.

"Come on, Emma," the midwife said. "You're almost there."

She pushed again, another scream of pain tearing at her. Her eyes squeezed shut, tears falling from her pain.

A second later, the pressure released as a high cry pierced the air.

Opening her eyes, she looked down as the midwife quickly placed the tiny squirming baby on her chest, making their cries slightly quiet.

The midwife quickly severed the cord before draping a blanket over the baby.

She smiled widely at them. "Meet your new son, and congratulations."

Forgetting about her pain, that she was covered in blood and sweat and completely exhausted, Emma released a watery laugh, thrilled her baby was finally born.

"Hello, Henry," she cooed, gently stroking his tiny cheek with her finger.

"You did it, Swan," Killian laughed, completely entranced by the tiny baby. He kissed her temple lovingly. "He's finally here."

Laughing, she nodded, content in his arms while she held Henry as the midwife took care of the afterbirth.

Killian gently rested his hand on Henry back, gently stroking him through the blanket before lightly touching his head.

His voice was soft when he spoke to the baby. "Welcome home, lad. You have no idea how much your mum loves you. How much we both love you."

Emma reclined against the headboard with Henry cradled in her arms, the both of them and the room having been cleaned up. Killian had moved the bassinet to the foot of their bed so they could keep Henry close while they rested, both tired from the long, sleepless night.

"Hey," Killian said as he walked through the doorway, leaning against the wood. "Do you want anything, love?"

She lightly jerked her head to the side. "Come her and sit with me?"

He quickly crossed the room, settling down beside her and draping his arm around her shoulder.

"You haven't even gotten to hold him yet," she said lightly, relaxation taking over.

He nodded, longing clear in his eyes. "No, I haven't. But I can image he's happy with you."

Smiling, she shook her head, pulling away from him slightly and turning to offer him the newborn.

Despite his words, her husband eagerly reached forward, gratefully accepting the bundle from her. He carefully held Henry to his chest, his arms cradling him.

Emma felt her heart about to burst at the sight.

"Thank you," she said quietly.

He tore his eyes away from the baby to look at her in question. "What for?"

"Being there with me," she told him. "Doing this."

"Emma, I will always be by your side," he reminded her, leaning over slightly to kiss her lightly. "You know I'll always be there for you. You and Henry."

Biting her lip, she nodded. "I know."

They both looked down at Henry, seeing his little face content amid his blanket.

"Henry Jones," she said, smiling.

"Aye," he responded, just as happy that she had chosen to give her son his name.

They watched the baby, both completly relaxed as Emma rested her hand on Killian's arm, leaning her head on his shoulder.

"Um, Swan?" he asked, sounding unsure.

Not realizing she had closed her eyes, she quickly opened them, looking back at him.

"I think the lad is hungry," he told her, a nervous edge in his tone.

Looking down, she saw Henry fussing and seemingly reaching for her, a whine beginning to escape from him.

"Here," she said, easily taking him from Killian and positioning him at her chest.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Killian scratch behind his ear nervously.

"I can, uh, give you some privacy if you wish," he muttered nervously, moving to stand.

Confidently, she placed one hand on his thigh, stilling his movements. She wanted him to stay with her, even through the baby's feedings. She didn't mind if he saw her, but she wanted him to be comfortable with staying with her.

"It's okay," she reassured him. "I don't mind. I won't make you stay though if you don't want to."

Hesitating for only a moment, he kept his blue eyes on her as he settled back beside her.

"You sure?" he asked.

She nodded, leaning into his side when he drapped his hooked arm around her. She quickly untied the top of her dress, bringing Henry closer to latch. She winced slightly the first second at the feeling, but relaxed as he began to feed.

She smiled when she felt Killian press his forehead to her temple, his breath stirring her hair.

"You know you can rest, right?" she asked him.

His hand went to stroke Henry's dark downy hair as he spoke. "I'm fine. You don't need to worry about me. I'd much rather stay here with you and Henry."

Carefully holding Henry with one arm, Emma brought her hand up to gently graze her knuckles over Killian's cheek before resting her hand on his face.

"I love you," she told him.

"I love you, too," he responded, tilting his head slightly to kiss his wife's cheek before they both looked back down at their son.

Slowly blinking awake, Emma checked the area around her, realizing she had fallen asleep. She rose up from the bed to check on Henry, panicking slightly when she saw him missing from his bassinet.

Hurrying out to find where her son was, she stopped in her tracks when she reached the doorway leading to the main room, calm washing over her.

Killian sat in the rocking chair, gently swaying Henry in a smooth, steady rhythm as he softly crooned a lullaby to him, gazing adoringly at the tiny newborn. He had his shirt slightly more undone than usual so Henry was resting against his skin, something the midwife recommended to them.

Feeling her heart swell, she leaned against the doorway, silently watching her husband and son.

Seeming to sense her, Killian glanced up, smiling lovingly at her.

"I thought you could use some sleep," he said softly as not to wake Henry.

Smiling in return, she moved over to him, softly brushing her lips against his before looking down at the sleeping baby.

Henry slept contently in Killian's arms, his tiny face calm.

"Was he crying?" she asked, keeping her eyes on Henry.

"He was starting to," Killian answered quietly. "He just needed to be changed. It wasn't anything I couldn't handle, love."

She nodded in thanks, softly stroking back Henry's hair. She grinned, catching what looked like a smile from him.

"Did you see that?" Emma asked, excitement creeping into her tone.

"Aye," Killian responded, his voice matching hers.

Glancing up briefly, she looked at him, noticing the dark circles beneath his eyes.

"You know, you can rest, too," she told him. "I know you're tired. Come to bed?"

He looked up at her, reluctance in his expression. "But what if he wakes?"

Smiling, she stroked his cheek, making him relax.

"His bassinet is in our room," she reminded him. "We'll both be in there with him. Plus we won't be any good if we're both exhausted."

Sighing, he nodded, his lips curling into a small smile. "Alright, Swan."

Taking Henry from him, Emma led him back to their room, stopping to gently place the baby in his bassinet and kissing his forehead before laying with Killian in their own bed.

She drifted off as soon as she curled into Killian's chest, his arms wrapped tightly around her.


Chapter Text

Emma immediately roused as she heard Henry's soft cries, sitting up and looking toward the bassinet before quickly getting up to check out the baby.

She quickly picked him up, realizing he was hungry.

"Swan?" Killian asked.

Lightly rocking Henry in her arms, Emma saw Killian sitting up, the blankets pooled around him as he watched them. He moved to leave the bed. "Is he okay?"

She nodded, intending to go out to the main room where the rocking chair was so she could feed the newborn. "He's just hungry. You can go back to sleep."

"Or I can keep you company if you desire," he offered.

Smiling sheepishly, she nodded, knowing he was willing to sacrifice sleep to stay with her. "Thanks."

He pulled back the blankets for her, letting her settle back in while she held Henry.

The boys wails had quieted, but he continued to whimper, as if trying to remind his mother of his hunger.

"I know, kid, I know," she cooed, undoing the top of her nightdress to give him access.

Henry eagerly began to feed, satisfied as Emma cradled him close.

Feeling her husband's arm snake around her waist, she leaned into him, relaxing.

"You really can go back to sleep, you know," she murmured to him. "I know you have to go in the morning."

"Swan, I really don't mind it," he responded back just as softly. "I can at the very least stay up with you and help you take care of a newborn. I don't want to leave you to do all of this by yourself."

Sighing, she rested her head against his jaw. "And you call me stubborn."

He chuckled, turning to kiss the crown of her head. "Only because you are."

She released a small, quiet laugh as she shifted Henry to her other side.

As soon as Henry finished and Emma pulled him away enough to cover herself back up, Killian carefully took the baby, resting his tiny head on his shoulder and patting his back, his blunted wrist under Henry's bottom.

Seeing Emma about to say something, Killian shook his head, fighting back a smile. "I've got him."

She shrugged, smirking. "Well, at least if he spits up it will be on you."

Killian turned his head slightly, kissing Henry's head. "And if he does, I don't mind. He's only a baby, after all."

Smiling in return, Emma reached over to gently caress the baby's soft, downy hair.

She had known her husband had been completely enamored with Henry the moment he was born, often offering to take him to meet his every need. Even missing a hand, Killian was completely capable of taking care of Henry, whether it be feeding him from a bottle or changing him, or even just soothing him. Henry in response would be suddenly calmed around him, just as much as he was comforted by her.

Though Henry was only a month old, Emma had lost count of the number of times she watched Killian sitting in the rocking chair or bed, gently swaying the newborn and crooning lullabies and sea shanties, even long after Henry fell asleep.

Quickly, they watched as Henry fell under, his small head lolling on Killian's shoulder.

Seeing he was asleep, Killian carefully got up, going back to the bassinet and gently laying Henry back down and tugging his blanket over him.

"Thanks," Emma murmured as he crawled back into the bed.

He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her down with him as he lied on his back. "It's no trouble at all, Swan."

Before either of them could respond, they both fell back under.

Huffing in frustration as she tugged at the laces of her dress, Emma glared at the green fabric, ready to rip it from her body. She had had the dress before she left her home, it being one of the plainer outfits she had that she would don when she went out with Killian to the town and wished not to draw attention. What had once been a perfect fit was snug to the point of being uncomfortable. She hadn't put on much weight while she carried Henry, seeming to go back to her previous shape and size after she delivered.

She expected the dress to be tight around her chest, but hadn't expected it to be so snug around her waist.

"Swan?" Killian asked, hesitating at the doorway to their room, Henry in his arms. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," she nearly growled. She sighed, softening her tone, knowing it wasn't his fault she couldn't fit into her dress. "I just can't get into this dress. It's too tight."

"Can I come in?" he asked tentatively.

She nodded, before realizing he didn't see her. "Yeah."

He entered the room, lightly bouncing Henry in his arms as he looked at her. "So what's wrong?"

"It won't fit," she told him, tugging again at the laces. "I can barely get it to close at all, and I feel like it's going to make me pass out if I don't take it off soon."

Tilting his head slightly, Killian lightly touched the material of her skirt, keeping his hold on the baby. "This is from before, isn't it? Before you were carrying Henry?"

She nodded. "It is."

Not caring if he saw her in her chemise, she pulled the dress away from her, tossing it onto the bed before sitting down beside it.

"I'm never gonna be able to fit into that again, am I?" she asked, sounding defeated to her own ears.

Emma couldn't help smirking at Killian's suddenly nervous expression.

"It's okay," she told him. "I know I just had a baby. I'm not gonna be the same."

Her smirk grew at his expression relaxed.

"If it's any consolation, you're just as beautiful as ever," he told her, moving closer so he could sit beside her.

She leaned her head on his shoulder. "You need to go soon."

He nodded as he rested his head against hers. "Aye, I do."

Sighing, she pulled away, going to select another dress, one she wore soon after finding out she was carrying. She pulled it on, thankful she was able to move freely in it, even if it was slightly too loose.

Looking back at the dark green dress she had discarded, she examined the seams. She knew how to sew, a skill that Granny and even her mother had made her learn. Looking to where it laced in the back, she saw where she could alter it, letting it out so she could wear it again.

"I think I know what I'm doing today," she said, glancing back at some of the other dresses she had, including the blue one she had gotten married in.

He nodded, standing to go with her out to the main room.

She took Henry from him so he could eat, knowing he had to leave for the shop. She set Henry in his cradle, making sure he was in a deep sleep before joining Killian at the table for her own breakfast.

"Are you gonna be okay here by yourself?" Killian asked her.

She smiled, knowing he was still nervous about leaving her and Henry, even after almost a month since Henry's birth. She understood, becoming nervous anytime she left him alone with the baby. They knew the other was capable of taking care of Henry, but they were always anxious of being away.

"We'll be fine," she told him. "Just some stuff to do around here, harvest some plants from the garden, and see what I can do with those dresses."

He nodded. "You know too to just send word, and I'll be home, no matter what it is."

Her smile softening, she leaned over to kiss his cheek. "I know."

Returning her smile, he got up to leave. Shrugging on his coat, he turned back to her.

"I'm sure," Emma told him before he could say anything. "We'll be fine here."

Giving her one last grin, Killian chastly kissed her and softly stroked Henry's head before leaving.

Finishing her own meal, Emma cleaned up before going over to Henry to check on him.

"Well, kid, looks like it's just me and you now," she murmured quietly to him, smiling at his tiny form. "It's okay. Your Papa will be home soon enough, and you can keep me company in the mean time."

Henry shifted, but didn't wake.

Deciding to wait until he woke so she could feed him before going outside to take care of the animals and plants, she quickly went back to her and Killian's room, retrieving the dresses she wished to alter. She left the few dresses she had from the later stages of carrying Henry, finding herself wondering if she would ever need them again.

A part of her hoped she one day would.

Setting her light blue and green dresses down on the table, she gathered the needle and thread she needed, setting it out so she could work on it after she was done outside.

Hearing Henry beginning to wake, she quickly went to him, lifting him into the cradle of her arms.

She gently shushed him, getting him to relax. "It's okay, Henry, it's okay."

Glad he had woken earlier than she expected, she began taking care of him, knowing she could begin her chores.

After changing and bathing him, she dressed Henry so he would be warm enough in the early autumn air, resting him in a basket large enough to sleep in before carrying him and a smaller basket out.

Carefully tending to the small garden she had planted, Emma kept an eye on Henry as she harvested some plants for her medical kit and some apples from a tree they had, the boy comfortably nestled in his basket in the shade.

He was just barely awake, his little mouth opening into a yawn as his dark blue eyes began to drift shut.

Smiling down at him, she paused from her task to gently rock his basket, mimicking the movements of his bassinet to put him under.

"It's okay, Henry," she crooned at him. "You can go to sleep. You're not missing anything."

Blinking at her once, he turned his head to the side, snuggling into his blanket.

Her smile softening, she gently stroked his head before returning to her task, keeping close to him the entire time.

Going along the line of various plants, she paused as she reached a red, heart-shaped plant, eyeing it critically.

Both she and her husband had agreed to wait until after Henry was born to be intimate, and despite her still healing from giving birth, she knew it would be an option for them soon enough. While she loved her son more than anything, she didn't want to have another baby for a while, wanting to wait to see if it was something Killian even wanted for them at a later time, even if she knew she would want to have another child with him.

Reaching out, she harvested some of the seed pods, intending to use some for herself.

Gathering enough to replenish her stores, she grabbed both the plants and Henry, moving back inside. Carefully, she set the baby back in his cradle to sleep, knowing she could easily keep an eye on him as she continued her chores.

Smiling one more time at him, she began the preparations for her kit.

Emma grinned as she saw Killian's figure approaching in the distance as the sun painted the sky in brilliant oranges and reds, before it disappeared when she noticed him slightly limping.

Quickly wiping her hands off on a rag, she threw one last glance at Henry before going out, meeting Killian to help him the rest of the way back to their cottage.

"What happened?" she asked worriedly, ducking under his arm to help support his weight.

His ears reddened, tipping her off that he was embassased about whatever had caused his injury.

"I was coming home and had just entered the path home," he muttered. "I wasn't paying too much attention to the road itself and had let it slip my mind how uneven the ground was."

They reached their home, Emma pushing the door open with her foot to allow them entrance. Deciding it would be more comfortable for him, she led him past the chairs to the couch, helping him sit down.

She knew where his story was going, beginning to battle an amused grin.

Killian huffed indignantly, his pride wounded. "I tripped on a bloody tree root about halfway here and twisted my ankle. Hurt like the devil."

His expression became dramatically wounded when he noticed her fighting a laugh. "I'm glad my pain amuses you, Swan."

She bit back a laugh, partly because of Killian himself. He was able to gracefully dance and handle weapons, but was completely clumsy when he didn't pay attention to any uneven ground. He had tripped multiple times on the various stairs in her parents' castle.

"You seem to be forgetting that time you laughed at me when I fell off my horse," she reminded him, gently prodding his injured leg as she pulled his boot off and pushed his pant leg out of her way. "That hurt."

"To be fair, the horse merely startled you by sneezing," he countered, grinning even as he winced when she reached the sensitive area.

Examining his red, inflamed skin, Emma gently rested her hand on him, pulling at her magic and making her palm glow as the injury instantly healed.

"Better?" she asked.

He nodded. "Perfect, thank you."

She grinned at him before reaching up to press her lips to his.

"I didn't get to do that before," she said lightly.

Humming, he tenderly pushed her hair back away from her face. "Well then, I suppose we just have to make up for that."

She chuckled, kissing him again.

They broke apart as they heard Henry release a small whine.

"I can take care of him," Killian offered, pulling away from her to retrieve a bottle for the baby.

She nodded in thanks, going back to the food meant to be their supper.

Peering over, Emma watched as Killian set the bottle down and picked Henry up just as his cries began to intensify. Carefully cradling the baby to his chest, Killian sat back on the couch, offering Henry the bottle.

The infant eagerly accepted it, content with the food as his father softly murmured to him.

Emma turned away, smiling as she did.

By the time she deemed their dinner ready, she looked back, seeing Killian had reclined back on the couch, Henry sleeping soundly on his chest with his tiny fist clenched around Killian's necklace.

Feeling her own chest warm at the sight, Emma quietly crept over to them, kneeling so she was beside Killian's head.

"Dinner is ready," she told him quietly, careful not to wake the baby.

Killian nodded, his hand soothingly rubbing Henry's small back. "Okay. Let me just put him down."

"Here," she said, gently lifting Henry and carrying him back to his bassinet.

The boy went down easily, snuggling into the blankets.

Both Emma and Killian went over to the table, constantly shooting glances over to the bassinet as they ate.

"So did anything else happen today besides the horse?" Emma asked teasingly.

Looking back over at his wife, he shrugged. "More of the same. I'm not going to complain, it's stable, so we don't have to worry. Anything around here?"

She nodded. "It is. And no, I just got everything done that I wanted to today."

She swallowed her bite of food before looking back over at him. "Oh, the next day you have off, I want to go out hunting again. We could do with another deer or boar. Would you mind staying with Henry by yourself?"

He quickly shook his head. "Of course not, Swan. You don't even have to ask. You know I'll gladly take care of him."

Releasing a breath she didn't realize she had been holding, she felt herself relax. "I just don't want to leave you all alone with a baby that isn't even a month old. I trust you and know you'll do it, but I don't want it to seem like whenever you get a break, I'm going out and leaving you."

Slipping his hand under hers, he gently squeezed her fingers. "You're not. You're doing what you can to help take care of us. Besides, you know I'll be more than happy to spend some time with the lad."

Shifting her hand so her fingers interlaced with his, she returned the pressure, more grateful than she could ever express that Killian was both her husband and the father of her son.


Chapter Text

Looking up from where she sat storing away various herbs in small bottles, Emma saw Henry happily laying where he was on the floor, a blanket spread out beneath him. She smiled as she watched his flailing limbs, seeming as if he discovered he could move them. He released a couple of happy squeals as he moved, nearly bouncing on his blanket.

Henry had grown significantly in the past two months since his birth. Both Emma and Killian loved watching him, pointing out milestones it seemed he passed, no matter how small. Despite how much they loved him, they were insanely grateful he woke much less often in the night, sleeping for longer periods of time.

Even though he was still so young, they noticed that Henry seemed to be able to sense them, how he always released small, delighted sounds when he heard them. Henry loved it whenever Killian would come home after working all day with the blacksmith, emitting happy sounds as Killian smiled widely as he picked him up, holding him against his chest as he gently bounced him.

Even if they were just talking to each other, both Emma and Killian made sure to look at the baby as they spoke, drawing what almost looked like happy smiles from their son. After listening so much to Killian, Emma was able to sing the lullabies he knew, relaxing Henry enough whenever he became fussy. It was rare that he ever fell asleep without either of them, sleep usually claiming him while held in his parents' arms.

It was hard for both Emma and Killian, but it was all worth it.

Seeing Henry beginning to rock, as if about to roll over, Emma left her task, joining him where he lied.

"Whatcha doing down here?" she asked brightly, earning a coo from him as she settled down. "Are you trying to roll over already?"

He kicked her leg in response, swinging his limbs.

Releasing a small chuckle, she reached down, easily picking the baby up and holding him against her chest. He immediately settled, resting his head against her and gently curling his fingers into the front of her dress.

She kissed his head before standing up to return to her work station, glancing over her inventory again.

"What do you saw we go into town to get a couple things?" she asked him. "I think we need to get some more plants so that we can take care of the people that are hurt. Don't you think so?"

Henry gurgled in response.

She smiled down at him, stroking his dark hair as she moved closer to the table to grab her list.

Knowing it would be easiest and most convenient to grow most of the herbs she needed herself, the week before she had a couple people come to her that required her to clear out her supply of meadowsweet and allspice. She knew it would still take a while to grow enough to replenish her stock, meaning she would have to break down and buy the replacements for the time being.

"How about after we get what I need, we can see about going to visit your Papa?" she asked Henry.

She had taken Henry down a few times before to see Killian while he worked, delighting both the man and baby. Killian was always happy to see her and Henry, proudly showing him off the the other men he worked with or received commissions from.

Emma never failed to smile when he did it.

Knowing she had fed Henry very recently and he would be good for the trip, she quickly checked him to be sure he didn't need to be changed before grabbing a satchel and small purse of coins. Deciding to bring some food for Killian, she quickly packed some away, knowing he would appreciate it. They had both gotten better at cooking, the food they made beginning to taste much better, to both their relief.

She tugged some soft wool booties on Henry and wrapped him in a warm blanket before donning her own cloak, making sure he would be warm enough in the autumn air and smiling as she saw the bow Killian had given to her for her birthday a couple days prior as they stepped out of the cottage.

She didn't bother to saddle Aife, not wanting to even think of trying to ride while holding a two month old. The trip wasn't far enough to warrant riding, the journey to the town short.

Just as she always did whenever she walked them to town, she talked to Henry, telling him nonsense, just to bond with him further. He enjoyed the attention, waving the arm that stuck out from his blanket.

She was able to find what she needed easily enough from the apothecary, quickly finishing what business she had. Her purchases packed away, she readjusted Henry in her arms, wanting to see Killian.

Reaching the shop, she entered, being met with the loud metalic sounds of metal being worked. The owner, Goban, nodded in greeting.

"He's at the forge," he told her, knowing exactly why she was there.

She nodded in thanks as she moved toward where her husband was stationed, stopping in her tracks when she saw him, her mouth gone dry.

Killian had removed his shirt as he worked but left his brace on, the hard muscles of his body rippling as he moved. A sheen of sweat covered him, highlighting his strong figure. The scars that decorated his back from his childhood stood out on his skin, but did nothing to take away from his looks. He turned, exposing his chest, the generous dusting of hair trailing down his torso until it was cut off by the waist of his pants.

Emma had always found Killian highly attractive, but since realizing she had always been in love with him, had felt her own attraction to him grow. Right after giving birth, a physical relationship had been one of the last things on her mind, between Henry, her own lack of desire, and both her and Killian's exhaustion, even if she had decided to start taking precautions.

She knew instantly that that had changed, that the heat she felt had nothing to do with the shop.

Scrambling to hide her sudden desire, she swallowed, schooling her features as she began to approach her husband.

Hearing her, he looked up, his face stretching into a wide grin.

"Swan," he greeted happily, setting down his work and meeting her.

He kissed her lovingly before looking down at Henry, smiling adoringly at the small boy.

"Hey there, lad," he said, reaching out to stroke Henry's head before kissing his dark hair.

The baby cooed happily in response, knowing he was with his father.

"We just wanted to see you," Emma said, shifting Henry slightly.

Killian nodded as he rested his brace at her hip before drawing away to shrug his shirt back on.

Though she instantly missed the sight, she was grateful that the distraction of his bare torso was gone.

"I'm glad you two came," he said, resting his hand over Henry's back.

Emma smiled before producing his food, holding it out to him. "Well, I think you're about to be even happier we came by. We thought you might like some food."

He grinned appreciatively at her. "Aye. Thank you for that."

Nodding as he took it from her, she watched as he quickly deposited it on one of the tables.

"When do you think you'll be home?" she asked him as he easily took Henry from her, cradling the baby to him.

Keeping his eyes on the infant, he shrugged lightly. "Not too late. Goban wants to fill as much of the order as possible by tonight, but I don't think it will be too late."

She nodded in response, watching as Henry gurgled happily.

"We should probably go," she said after a moment. "I need to finish storing ingredients away, and I know you need to finish here."

Killian nodded, handing Henry back over to her.

"Be good for your Mama," he told him with a gentle smile.

Henry just rested his head against Emma's shoulder, making both her and Killian chuckle.

Leaning forward, Emma quickly kissed Killian.

"We'll see you soon," she called as she turned, leaving the shop with Henry in her arms.

Her kit set back up, Emma quickly checked on Henry as she moved to see their meal. The infant slept soundly with his blanket wrapped securely around him and his lion beside him.

She glanced out, knowing that by the sun's position, Killian would be returning home soon. She smiled at the thought.

Busying herself with finishing the preparations for their dinner, she listened for her husband's return home or Henry waking, knowing the baby would be waking up soon.

The front door opened, making her look up to see Killian walking through and entering the cottage, smiling at her in greeting.

"Swan," he said happily, striding over to kiss her.

She hummed in response as she pulled away.

"Welcome home," she said, making him chuckle.

"I take it Henry's asleep?" he asked.

Before she could respond, a small wail came from where Henry had previously been sleeping.

"I got him," Killian said quickly, pulling away from her to comfort Henry.

Henry's cries quieted as Killian picked him up, soothingly patting his back as he held the baby to his chest. The baby remained calm for a moment before his cries began again.

Killian looked up at Emma apologetically. "Sorry love, but I think he needs you a lot more than he needs me right now."

Shaking her head, she easily took Henry from him, who relaxed slightly in his mother's arms. "It's fine."

He nodded before stepping away to finish their dinner, leaving her to settle in a chair to take care of their son.

Carefully putting Henry down in his bassinet for the night, Emma gently brushed a light kiss to his head as she tucked his blanket securely around him.

Quietly pulling away from the sleeping baby, she moved through the cottage back to her and Killian's room, pulling her robe tighter around herself.

Entering the room, she gave the privacy screen where Killian resided bathing a good distance, not wanting to intrude on him. He had given her the space she needed earlier, taking care of the baby as she had a bath to herself.

"Killian?" she announced. At his hum of acknowledgement, she continued on. "I just put Henry down for the night."

She heard the splash of water as he left the tub and began to dry and dress himself. Turning her back to where he was, she went to the small vanity, undoing her braid to brush out the strands.

She smiled when she felt Killian behind her, drawing his arms around her waist as he lightly kissed her temple, his scruff scratching her skin.

Dropping the brush back on the vanity, Emma turned to face him better, lightly kissing him.

"So did the lad go down easy?" he asked with a chuckle.

"Yeah, he did," she responded lightly. "Poor little guy was tired."

He pulled her up to stand against him, letting her see he only wore the black linen pants he slept in. He left his brace off, leaving his arm completely exposed.

Leaning into him, she rested her hands on his bare chest, letting herself be held by him.

She was happy, just being with him and simply being held by him, just being loved by him.

Thinking over how they had married and the reasoning, she chuckled as a wave of realization washed over her.

Raising his brow in question, he pulled back just enough to look down at her. "What is it, Swan?"

"Just thinking," she replied. Her voice softened. "I always thought that when I married, it would be for love."

Pushing her hair back, he rested his hand on her jaw, his eyes soft.

"When you proposed we marry for Henry, I thought that it was merely to help each other, to protect each other and Henry," Emma continued. "Now I know that I did actually marry for love. Even before I knew, I loved you too much to not have you in my life, and for you to be exiled. All I could think of was how I really did get to marry my first love, when he's always been the love of my life."

Pulling her against him, he captured her lips with his, pouring all of his love into the kiss.

"I love you," Killian said huskily as they broke apart just enough to breathe, their foreheads pressed together. "I always have, and I always will."

She pulled him to her, kissing him deeply as she felt heat take over. Dragging her hands up over his chest to his scalp, she buried her fingers in his dark hair, pulling him even closer.

Feeling every bit of love for him pouring from herself, she pressed her body to his, shifting slightly and rocking her hips into his, getting an immediate response from him as he held her tighter.

Tilting her head to deepen the kiss, curling her tongue around his, his hand went to the tie of her robe, undoing the knot and pushing it from her shoulders. She released her hold on him to remove the garment completely, letting it fall.

Her hands going back to his toned shoulders, she slowly ran her hands down his chest, feeling the hair brush her fingers as she finally reached the waist of his pants. Undoing the tie, she pushed them down his hips, leaving him standing bare in front of her.

"Emma," he nearly moaned, shivering as she scraped her nails back up along his chest.

She smiled in both anticipation and pride in being able to draw responses from him.

When Emma saw his eyes, the blue nearly black with desire, she knew hers looked just as dark.

Keeping his eyes on hers, he trailed the tips of his fingers along the low collar of her nightdress, leaving a trail of fire in his wake. Slowly, he undid the tie that held the dress together, tenderly pulling it away until it pooled around her feet on the floor.

A sudden wave of insecurity washed over her as she realized her stomach bore the marks of her carrying a child; that though it was flat, lines stretched across it where her skin had stretched to accommodate the baby. She knew her breasts weren't too much better, that they were cracked and sore from nursing. He had seen her before as she nursed Henry, but it was the first time he was seeing her in that way, that she was offering herself to him.

She quickly covered her torso with her arms, wanting to hide it from him. She closed her eyes, afraid to see him looking at them.

Her eyes snapped open when she felt his hand caress her cheek, seeing him looking at her with a loving expression.

"It's okay, love," he murmured. "You don't have to hide. But if you don't want to do this, then we don't have to."

She bit her lip nervously. "I do want this. I want you. It's just... I don't want you to see the marks and not want me anymore."

Surprising her, he chuckled. "Emma, I lost my hand, yet you don't treat me any differently. Tell me, does it bother you when I touch you?"

As he spoke he rested his stump at her waist, touching her bare skin.

"Of course not," she said quickly, never having even thought about it.

Emma never saw Killian as anything less than what he was before, never less of a man. He could still perform tasks just as easily as when he had two hands, even if he had to learn to adapt.

"Then why should it be any different?" he asked her gently. "You delivered a baby. That's not something to be embarrassed about. Plus you know how proud I am of you for doing it. If you hadn't have done all of that, then we wouldn't have Henry."

Feeling a smile stretch across her lips and her heart about to burst, she slowly uncovered her stomach, baring herself completely to him.

"I love you," Emma whispered before pressing her body against his as she kissed him.

Heat coursed through her at the feeling of his skin against hers.

Carefully, Killian maneuvered them to their bed, falling back and bringing her down with him.

Wraping his arms around her, he rolled them so he hovered over her, breaking the kiss. She gasped as his mouth found her throat, pressing kisses to her skin as he began moving slightly lower, to her collarbone, then past the middle of her breasts to her stomach, where he gently kissed the marks from her carrying her baby.

Emma's heart clenched as she realized that he was proving to her what he had said, that he truly didn't find the lines off putting, instead praising them. Sitting up slightly, she pulled him back up to her to reclaim his lips with hers.

They pulled apart slightly to look at each other as they joined together, knowing what it meant for them. Slowly, Killian lowered his head, resting his forehead to hers as he raised his hand to gently cup her jaw.

"Emma," he whispered.

Tilting her head, she kissed him again, encouraging him as he began to move. She felt the raised scars that decorated his back as she ran her hands over his skin, wanting to memorize the feeling of his body moving together with hers, of the feeling of him inside of her, as they sighed each other's names in the dark room.

She clung to him as he moved her legs to wrap around his waist, unable to get close enough to him.

She had never felt more complete than she had in that moment, right on the brink of pleasure.

Pure ecstasy overwhelmed her as she felt them both reach their release, their lips fusing together to swallow each other's cries and moans in a kiss. His body sagged above her, letting her feel his weight, but she wasn't uncomfortable, instead keeping her arms around him to hold him to her, feeling sated and happier than she had ever been before.

She smiled when she felt him press a kiss to her shoulder, merely a loving, content gesture. She turned her head slightly, nudging his hair as she inhaled his scent all around her.

Rolling slightly so his weight was no longer on her, Emma released a small whine at the loss of contact, only to be met with a light chuckle as he reached out to pull her body back against his, resting her head over his heart and letting her hear the slowing beat.

"That was..." he sighed contently.

"Yeah," she agreed just as quietly.

Moving his hand so it rested on her ribs, Killian looked at her, smiling. "I do believe we finally consummated our marriage."

Unable to help herself, she laughed before quickly quieting, worried about waking Henry.

"I was carrying a baby, and we agreed to wait until after," she reminded him lightly.

"And it was more than worth it," he hummed. "I love you."

"Love you, too," she responded, relaxing further at the feeling of his fingers gently brushing her ribs.

He suddenly tensed, making her look at him in question.

"Bloody hell," he muttered.

"Killian?" she asked, picking her head up to look at him. "What's wrong?"

"We weren't careful," he said worriedly. "Believe me, Swan, I would love to have another child with you, but Henry is so young."

Biting her lip, she was suddenly nervous. "Actually, I've began taking something so I won't have another baby yet. I do agree with you, with both things, but like you said, it's too soon to even think about another baby. I love Henry, but I want to wait."

Relieved, his body relaxed as his fingers began to brush over her ribs again, prompting her to lay again on his chest.

"Love you," she whispered again as she nuzzled into him.

He hummed in response. "And I love you."

Contently closing her eyes, Emma felt herself drift off as Killian's hand slipped over hers, holding each other close as sleep claimed them.


Chapter Text

Emma quietly crept along the forest floor, her eyes trained on the stag as it wandered through the trees. She had been careful tracking it, making sure the wind wouldn't carry her scent toward the animal, alerting it to her presence.

She always felt bad hunting and killing animals, but they were food. She couldn't leave it completely to Killian to provide for them. She was very selective with her kills, only going for males and refusing to go after mothers or their young.

It had gotten easier after Henry was born. Killian would stay with him while Emma went out to hunt, often bringing home a fresh kill. Killian was still able to fish, but hunting was harder, even with his superior aim at knife throwing, leaving her archery as their best option.

As long as it kept them fed, she could easily suffer the guilt.

Accidentally snapping a branch beneath her foot, she held her breath as the deer looked up, it's ears twitching to pick up the source of the sound.

Quickly drawing back her bow, she aimed and released, the arrow flying into the deer's chest, killing it instantly.

She moved in to claim the kill, pulling the arrow from its fleshy sheath and wiping it clean before placing it back in her quiver and slinging her bow around her.

"Sorry," she murmured quietly to the stag, knowing it couldn't hear her. "But my family's gotta eat."

Carefully lifting it, she slung it over her shoulders, dispersing the wait so it was easier to carry. The deer wasn't as large as she would have liked, but she couldn't ask Killian to go with her to help her, refusing to leave Henry alone or leaving the game in the forest as prey to any scavengers.

Making her way back, she found herself wondering how soon it would begin snowing, knowing winter was coming. She knew it would be a new challenge for them, having always spent her winters in the castle previous to the last one.

She had realized how lucky she had been that she had found Killian, that she had somewhere to go for when the temperatures had dropped. She had been extremely reckless, but she had been terrified for Henry at the time, and didn't know what else to do.

The air grew colder as the sun began to set as she made her way back home, reaching twilight by the time she was able to see the cottage. Smiling knowing Killian and Henry were in there waiting for her, she readjusted the deer before continuing.

Her shoulders aching by the time she reached the entrance, she carefully placed the deer on the table beside the door, knowing she would be asking Killian to take care of it.

She was greeted with warmth as she entered the cabin, a fire burning in the hearth lighting the room.

Emma smiled as she saw Killian sitting in front of the fire, his knees propped up with Henry resting on them, reaching for the charms of his father's necklace.

Hearing her, they looked over, Killian grinning widely. "Hey, welcome home."

Henry released a small, excited squeal, making both of the adults laugh.

She smiled in return, quickly depositing her bow and quiver before moving to join them. Lightly pecking her husband on the lips, she settled down beside them.

His attention back on the shiny objects in front of him, Henry began reaching again for Killian's necklace.

"No you don't," Killian said lightly, moving the pendants out of reach.

"Why do you think I've started wearing my hair back?" Emma teased him.

Reaching out, he playfully tugged on her braid. "And here I thought it was merely convenient for hunting."

"No, but it does make it a bit easier," she replied. "By the way, I got a deer. It's out front."

He nodded, already moving to pass Henry to her to take care of the deer and taking off the cork that protected Henry from his hook.

Copying his position, Emma rested Henry on her legs, letting him grasp her fingers with his tiny, chubby hands.

"Hey there, Henry," she said sweetly to him, leaning forward to kiss his forehead. "How was your day with your Papa?"

As if to answer her, he began babbling and waving his arms.

Unable to help smiling down at him, she laughed, making the baby smile back in response.

Readjusting him, he pushed himself up against her stomach, stretching to his full height.

Looking down at him, she stared in amazement, seeing how much he had grown in the three months he had been born. He had grown in size, and grew more focused, always able to find his parents, even if he was around other people. She knew it was just baby talk, but it sounded like he was trying to mimic whatever he heard her and Killian say, as well as copy their expressions. He had began reaching for objects, particularly both her and Killian's necklaces and her hair, as well as the stuffed lion Killian had gotten for him before he was born.

He was a happy baby, always smiling and rarely fussing.

"Oh, really now?" Emma asked with a little laugh, still smiling at the baby.

Henry gurgled, sticking his fist in his mouth.

Leaning forward, she kissed his dark downy head, making him giggle.

"Your Mama loves you, Henry," she told him softly. "So, so much."

He looked up at her, his eyes wide as he stared at her face.

His eyes hadn't taken on their color yet, remaining the dark blue baby's always had when they were born.

Emma often wondered what color he would have, if he would inherit her and her mother's green eyes, or maybe even her father's calm blue, or another color completely.

His little face pinching, Henry released a little whine.

"What's the matter?" she asked him, lifting him up to check him.

Seeing he didn't need changing, she held onto him, calming patting his back.

She looked up when Killian reentered, moving to rinse his hand and hook in a basin.

"Has he eaten?" she asked him, looking over Henry's shoulder as she rose up.

Shaking his head, Killian looked back over at her and the baby. "No, he hasn't. I tried to feed him earlier to see if he was hungry, but he wasn't interested."

Nodding, she moved to the couch, sitting with Henry before he could begin crying.

She had never been shy about feeding Henry in front of Killian, but it had gotten easier since they had first been intimate. She never felt nervous about exposing herself in front of him, knowing he had already seen all of her.

He never made her uncomfortable, often sitting with her or staying up with her when it was time for a feeding.

She took care of Henry while Killian stored the meat from the deer, setting some out to dry it out.

Both would often take care of whatever kills they had brought home, neither squeamish.

They finished at the same time, Killian walking over to sit beside Emma as she gently patted Henry's back to burp him.

Drawing his arm around her waist, Emma fell into Killian's side.

"Dinner should be ready soon," he told her. "I know you're hungry and tired."

She shrugged. "I'm okay."

He rested his head against hers, humming. "Sure."

Breaking out into a grin, she felt Henry relax in her arms, falling asleep.

"He's asleep," she murmured, kissing the baby's head and breathing in the baby scent he still had.

Reaching out, Killian rested his hand just above Emma's, stroking the infant's back.

"You wanna put the lad down for now?" he asked her quietly so as not to disturb the baby.

Nodding, she carefully detangled herself from him so she could stand, moving to the bassinet and placing Henry down. Wrapping him securely in his blanket, she smoothed back his hair before stepping away.

Killian moved with her, looking down at the baby sleeping soundly. Satisfied that Henry was peacefully resting, he stepped back, drawing her back to the couch with him.

Shifting so her leather clad legs tangled with his, she lounged back against him.

Despite how much she loved Henry and being around her baby, she loved the time she spent where it was just her and Killian, where they focused on each other. She craved it, wanting time to just be with her husband.

"You know, love, I'm really beginning to wonder if we should just move him back into our room for now," Killian murmured quietly, gently rubbing circles into her shoulder.

"Maybe," she hummed. "It was easier when he was in there with us."

After he was a month old they had began placing Henry in what was supposed to be his room, but they were always nervous being so far away from him at night, even if it was just feet separating them from him. Most nights they ended up bringing him back to their room, where he would sleep for the rest of the night.

"We can move it after we eat," he told her.

Nodding, Emma allowed herself to relax against him for a moment longer.

Instantly waking to Henry's cries, Emma pulled herself away from Killian's arms to get out of bed.

Picking Henry up to carry him back to her and Killian's bed, she sat back beside her husband, who had sat up to sit with her.

"You can go back to sleep you know," she told him quietly as she set Henry down to quickly untie her dress. "I've got him."

Shaking his head, he picked the baby up while she settled in. "You should know by now I don't mind it, Swan. Unless you wish for me to give you some privacy?"

Emma smiled, hearing the nervousness creep into his voice at his question.

Taking Henry from him, she held the baby to her chest, wincing slightly as he latched.

"You're fine," she told Killian, resting a hand on his thigh.

He relaxed under her touch, turning his torso toward her and gently stroking Henry's head.

Her smile softening, she rested her head on his bare shoulder, letting him hold her and Henry.

Once Henry had his fill, Killian easily took him from Emma, resting him on his shoulder.

Watching them, Emma felt her heart clench at the ease with which Killian always took care of Henry, of the love she could see he had for their son.

When Henry drifted off to sleep with his belly full, Killian peeked down at her, speaking softly not to wake Henry. "Do you want to just have him stay here with us for tonight?"

Barely thinking it over, she nodded.

At her confirmation, Killian layed back, resting Henry on his chest before drawing Emma with him and wrapping his blunted arm around her. They both rested their hands on Henry's back, watching the baby sleeping peacefully.

Contently, they both fell back asleep, their baby resting with them.

Slowly waking, Emma opened her eyes to see Killian holding Henry so the baby was sitting happily on his chest while he still kept his arm around her.

"Looks like Mama's awake, Henry," Killian said happily, quickly smiling at her.

Returning his smile, she reached over to lightly kiss him on the lips before sitting up completely to grasp a giggling Henry in her arms.

"Good morning, kid," she laughed, kissing his forehead. Though she kept her eyes on Henry, her question was directed at Killian. "Have you two been up long?"

Shaking his head, Killian rose to sit beside her. "No. Me and the lad woke a few minutes before you did. I've already changed him."

Nodding, she placed Henry down on the blankets that still covered her legs, lightly tickling his belly.

Henry let out a loud laugh, enjoying the attention as he swung his limbs wildly.

She kept Henry occupied as Killian rose to prepare for the day, keeping with their usual morning ritual that one would get ready while the other took care of Henry.

Dressed, Killian swooped Henry into his arms, making the boy squeal excitedly.

"You got him?" Emma asked as she left her spot in the bed.

He nodded, letting Henry grab onto the curve of his hook. "We're fine, love." His voice suddenly picked up, clearly speaking to the baby in his arms. "What do you think about letting you on your belly after we get you dressed, yeah? I think you'll enjoy that."

Emma chuckled, knowing how much her baby liked being on his stomach.

"I'll be right out in a moment," she said as they left the room, leaving her to dress.

She quickly changed into a simple dress, knowing that it was unlikely she would be going out. Whenever she worked people usually went to her, she rarely had to do house calls or had to go into the town.

They had been lucky with Killian working under the blacksmith. It payed well, and because Goban knew that Killian had an infant, as well as his and Emma's own ages, he allowed Killian more rest days to remain with his family. The man was easy to work with, and was proud of how quickly Killian had developed a skill for the trade.

She knew Killian would have to leave home soon, but knew there wasn't any reason they couldn't still have some time together with Henry before.

Her hair pulled back, she went to the main room, smiling widely when she saw Henry laying on his belly, his shoulders supported by his arms. Killian layed on his own stomach facing the baby, his chin propped up on his arms.

Going to them, she sunk down, drawing her legs under her as she sat. She rested her hand at the base of Killian's head, gently playing with his hair.

He relaxed under her touch, leaning slightly into her leg.

They both watched Henry, ready to catch him if he fell.

Henry wobbled as he moved, trying to reach out to his parents. Just as he almost lost his balance, both Emma and Killian quickly stopped him, letting him settle back on his belly.

"You hungry?" Emma asked Killian, keeping her eyes on Henry.

"A bit," he admitted. "It's fine though, love. I can take care of it."

Just as she was about to tell him she would do it, Henry pushed himself, rolling over onto his back.

"Did you see that?" Killian asked excitedly, pushing himself up so he could sit.

"He just rolled over," she replied, just as excited.

Immediately scooping Henry into her arms, Emma sat him on her lap, peppering his face with kisses and making the boy laugh.

"That's my lad," Killian said proudly, drawing them both into his lap and wrapping his arms around them.

Henry smiled happily when he kissed his head, enjoying the attention.

Sinking further into him, Emma met Killian's gaze, seeing his warm, happy affection.

She closed the distance between them, feeling his grip tighten around her as he kissed her back.

Hearing Henry's indignant sould at the sudden lack of attention, they broke apart laughing.


Chapter Text

Emma looked up as Killan pushed through the door, snow falling into the doorway from the outside storm.

She glanced back at Henry, seeing he was still asleep as she moved to Killian.

Brushing the snow out of his dark hair, we smiled warmly in greeting, removing his leather coat.

"Hey," he greeted, leaning forward to lightly kiss her.

"Hey," she responded, dusting some remaining snow from his shoulder. "How bad is it out there?"

"There's definately a storm moving in," he told her, pulling her with him to the fire. "I already took care of the horse and goat. They're warm in the barn, and have plenty of food. They'll be fine."

He tugged her down with him in front of the fire, relaxing by the warmth of the flames.

She immediately cuddled into him, trying to warm him further as she rubbed his arm.

"How was Henry today?" he asked her curiously.

"Fine," she replied, smiling. "He wants to sit up."

Her smile grew when she saw Killian's answering grin.

"So what's going on in the town?" she asked him, worried he would be going out again the next day.

"Most everyone's boarding up," he told her. "People are taking cover for until this all blows over. Goban is closing up for the next few days at least, plus all of the orders have already been filled, and he already payed everyone out."

He withdrew a purse from his waistcoat, lightly tossing it on the table, metal clanking together as it landed.

Exhaling in relief that he would be staying home, Emma leaned into him, resting her head on his shoulder.

"Good," she said, feeling her worry ebb away. "Then you'll be home and not out in that."

"A little snow won't hurt me, love," he chuckled. "Besides, you know I'm a survivor."

Smirking, she chastely kissed his lips before rising to retrieve a couple bowls of stew for them.

As hungry as she was, she knew Killian had to have been ravenous. She always preferred to wait to eat with him, no matter the hour, but sometimes had to break down because of needing to provide for Henry.

Deciding to forgo the table, she went back to the fire, handing him his dinner before sitting back down beside him with her own.

She was grateful her and Killian's cooking had greatly improved, their meals becoming easier to make as they learned. It had become rare that they were apprehensive when they began eating, only being cautious when they tried making a new dish.

"How long has the lad been out?" he asked, looking back at the baby.

She shrugged. "Maybe an hour. He was kind of fussy before, but he was just tired. Plus I think he missed you, and you weren't there when it was bedtime."

His expression turned sheepish. "Sorry, Swan. I know I came home late."

She quickly shook her head, waving off his apology. "Don't be. You came home safe, and that's all that matters."

Sighing, he rested his head against hers.

They finished their dinner, Killian quickly taking their bowls before she could protest. He looked back at her with a smug smirk, winking.

She fought back a laugh, knowing that he couldn't ever wink despite his many attempts. It was a trait she always found endearing, even when they were children.

She put out the fire as he picked up Henry, cradling him to his chest.

Seeming to sense his father, Henry sunk into him, a light snore escaping him.

She followed him to Henry's room, standing beside him as he layed the baby in his bassinet. They both smiled as Henry grabbed his lion as Killian secured the warm blanket around him.

"C'mon," Emma said quietly, pulling on Killian's hook back to their room.

Entering their chambers, he sunk down on the bed, sprawling out as he pulled her down with him.

She bit back a laugh as she fell into him, landing on his chest.

Leaning down, she kissed him, shifting to better reach him as she felt his arms wrap around her. Her chest pressed to his, she grinned into the kiss as she felt him shift as his hand trailed down her back, reaching the ties of the bodice of her dress to deftly undo them.

Pulling away slightly, she undid the clasps of his waistcoat, sitting up and pulling him with her to remove it. She yanked his shirt up, breaking the kiss only long enough to pull it over his head as he removed her blouse in turn.

They pulled each other close again, feeling their skin pressed together as they made short work of the rest of their clothes.

Their breakfast finished and animals secure against the snow, Emma looked down to where Killian sat with Henry, pillows scattered around them to let Henry sit.

"Is he warm enough?" she asked as she came to sit by them, the fire roaring beside them.

"He's fine," Killian confirmed, moving the stuffed lion behind his back before revealing it again to Henry. "He's all bundled up. Plus his blanket is right behind him."

Nodding, she looked back at the stack of tinder by the fire. "Do we have enough firewood?"

Tearing his eyes away from Henry, Killian rested his hook on her hip. "We have plenty, love. And if we run out in here, there's more stored in the barn. We'll be fine."

She nodded, relaxing as he pulled her into him.

"Should have known you'd pick the lion to play with him with," she teased, noticing a couple of Henry's toys spread around them.

"It's his favorite," he replied proudly.

She smiled, knowing it was true. Despite the other toys he had, including a wooden duck, he always favored his lion.

Watching as Killian once again hid the lion, she chuckled at Henry's confused expression, only to see it shift to joy when the toy was again revealed.

He reached out to grab it, easily pulling it from Killian's hold to bite the lion's ear.

Chuckling, Killian turned to kiss his wife's cheek.

She knew he knew she loved the feeling of his scruff on her skin, smiling as she felt the scratch of it.

Turning her head to face his, she lightly kissed him, humming slightly.

They broke apart laughing when they heard Henry's indignant cry.

"What's the matter, kid?" she cooed as she scooped him up into her arms. "Is your Papa getting more attention than you?"

She began peppering his face in kisses, making him giggle happily.

"Should have known that one day a better man would win your affections," Killian laughed, reaching over to tickle Henry's stomach.

The baby laughed, smiling brightly at the both of them and making them smile widely in return.

Looking down at him, Emma could see his eye color becoming clearer, noticing with a pang that they were dark, but light enough to pass off as hazel.

She didn't know why she was hoping they would turn bright blue, until she looked at how Killian held him, treating the baby as his own.

Swallowing around the sudden lump in her throat, she knew without a doubt that if she had realized her feelings much sooner, if she hadn't convinced herself that he'd moved on from her, that Henry would be Killian's son in every way.

As if sensing her sudden change in emotions, Killian's eyes shifted to her, concern marring his features. "Swan?"

Quickly shaking her head, she forced herself to smile. "It's nothing."

Clearly not believing her, he raised a single brow.

She sighed, knowing he just knew her too well.

"Later," she told him. "After someone goes down for their nap."

He nodding in acceptance, silently promising her he would bring up the subject again.

Laying Henry down to sleep, Killian made sure he was warm enough, smiling as he watched the tiny boy clutch his lion to him.

Contently, he pulled away to let him sleep in peace, finding his wife standing beside one of the windows, staring out into the snow and the ocean beyond.

Coming up to her, he rested his hand on her waist, resting his head near hers.

"Now, what's troubling you, love?" he asked her, wanting to put her at ease.

He waited, not wanting to force her to respond, but desperate to know what had suddenly made her change completely.

"He's getting his eye color," she nearly whispered.

He blinked in confusion.

Turning to him, he saw her crestfallen expression, immediately prompting him to pull her into his chest, his hand rubbing between her shoulders.

"Henry's eyes are dark, his eye color," she explained.

Everything falling into place, he clutched her tighter.

"I just, I forgot," she whispered. "About home, about him, about everything. Seeing you with Henry, I forget that he's not your blood. All I can think about is how if I realized how I felt about you sooner, Henry would be yours in every way."

Killian had never cared that he wasn't really Henry's father. Before the boy was born he had promised Emma he would be there with her, and told her that he would help to raise her baby as his own. He himself had often forgot that Henry wasn't truly his blood, but it never mattered to him. He loved Henry as his own, and that was good enough for him. Something as trivial as eye color didn't matter to him.

He shook his head. "I don't care that he's not of my blood. You know I love the lad as if he were my own."

"But-" Emma began to protest.

Killian shook his head again, moving his hand to cradle her face. "Swan, the night I realized I was still in love with you, I knew that just as I loved you, I would love your child, too. I knew that as long as you wanted me, I would be there for you and them, and to help you raise them. And now we have our lad, and I couldn't possibly love him anymore than I do now.

"Henry is mine. I don't care if he shares my blood or not. Henry is my son."

He watched Emma for a moment, looking as if she had tears in her eyes, before she was suddenly on him, kissing him deeply.

Reluctantly breaking apart, he rested his forehead to hers, soothingly stroking her cheek with his thumb.

"You know, my bastard of a father had dark eyes," he mused quietly before smiling back at her brightly. "It must have skipped a generation."

She laughed, making him smile even wider, knowing her mood had lifted.

She kissed his jaw before pulling away, both turning to see Henry had awakened and was sitting up.

They released a little gasp, nearly running to him in his bassinet.

Looking down, Killian saw Henry was supporting himself, his chubby legs splayed out to keep him upright as his hands supported him.

"Well done, lad," he laughed, reaching in to pick him up.

Henry babbled happily, wrapping his arms around Killian's neck.


Chapter Text

Coming back in from the early morning snow outside, Emma glaced around the main room of the cabin, seeing Killian and Henry were still asleep. Removing her cloak to reveal the nightclothes she still wore, she went back to her and Killian's room, smiling at the scene she walked in on.

Killian rested on his back, having fallen back asleep after Emma had gotten up. Henry, who had slept with them, had shifted so that he rested on Killian's head.

Biting back a laugh, she crawled into bed beside them, content to lay with them as she waited for them to wake up.

She had to contain her laughter as Killian woke up, immediately realizing Henry had fallen asleep on him.

"Swan?" he asked, his voice muffled beneath the baby. "Care to explain why Henry is on my face?"

A small laugh escaping, Emma carefully shifted Henry as not to wake him and set him down between her and Killian.

"He wasn't like that when I got up," she said, smiling. "He must have moved after."

He smiled, shifting so he rested on his side, facing her and Henry. Moving closer, he leaned his head against her, resting his hand on her hip.

Henry sighed contently in his sleep as Emma layed her hand on his stomach.

"I'd like to know how he's able to move around so much, considering he's only just began crawling," Killian remarked, smiling as he looked down at the baby.

She hummed in agreement. "I know what you mean. Imagine when he starts walking."

Feigning exasperation, he groaned. "I suppose we'll have to keep a close watch on him."

Chuckling, she nuzzled into him. "I can't believe he's half a year old."

"I know," he responded. "I can't believe how big he's gotten. He was so small when he was born."

"He was," she agreed. "He's grown so much."

Content, they continued to laze in their bed, their son between them.

Eventually Henry blinked awake, immediately seeing his parents and smiling.

"Morning, kid," Emma smiled at him.

Henry rolled over, moving to begin crawling on her.

She laughed, rolling onto her back to let him rest on her chest.

He flopped down on her, happily resting just below her neck where he could grasp her swan necklace.

"No, Henry," she said, gently prying the chain away from him.

He rested his head down with a little whine, digging his fingers into the strap of her nightdress.

She began gently stroking his hair, making him cuddle into her.

"Are you getting hungry?" she asked, glancing over at Killian, seeing him smiling softly as he watched them.

He shifted closer to them until his front was pressed against her side, draping his arm over her stomach.

"Not yet," he replied, burying his nose into her hair.

Nodding, she closed her eyes, happy to spend a few more moments with her husband and son.

They got up when Henry began fussing, knowing he was getting hungry. They passed the baby off to each other so they could dress before exiting to the main room.

Emma gave him to Killian so she could make them something, watching contently as Killian sat with Henry, grabbing a jar of applesauce they had made for him as he set him on his lap.

Finishing some simple eggs and meat for her and Killian, she set his plate in front of him before sitting down with her own food, watching as he began feeding Henry, keeping one arm securely wrapped around him.

Henry turned away, not wanting to eat what was offered to him.

"Come on, lad," Killian coaxed. "I know you love this stuff."

She watched in amusement as he took a spoonful of the applesauce for himself, showing Henry it was good.

"Killian, quit eating Henry's food," she said, smirking as she watched him take a second bite.

Giving her a teasing smile, he offered Henry the food again, who gladly accepted, seeing his father eat it.

He caught a glimpse at the rest of the food on the table, his attention suddenly shifting to the eggs. He stretched to see them better, reaching for it curiously.

"Think he's ready for it?" Emma asked, curiously raising his brow.

Shrugging, Killian scooped up a portion of his own breakfast for Henry to sample. "I guess we're about to find out."

Offering it to him, Henry sniffed it before allowing him to feed it to him.

He chewed it for a second before swallowing, moving to reach for more of the eggs and making Emma and Killian chuckle.

"Seems he likes it," she remarked.

"Aye," Killian nodded.

She watched as he let Henry eat some more of his breakfast before switching back to his applesauce.

She easily took him when they finished, allowing Killian to eat as she occupied Henry.

"Are you ready for bath time?" she asked Henry, carefully wiping off his face.

"I'll take care of it, Swan," Killian nodded, easily taking Henry from her and resting him on his hip.

She nodded in agreement, allowing Killian the task.

Fatherhood suited him, having fallen so easily into the role. He was always more than willing to take care of Henry, even willing to complete the less than pleasant tasks that came with having a baby. Even if he was tired or busy, he always made sure to have time for both her and Henry. He was the one person she could always rely on.

Quickly flicking her wrist, their tub appeared in the corner, filled with just enough water for Henry.

She sipped on her tea as Killian took care of Henry, only looking up when she heard Killian's wary tone.

"Henry..." he warned. "No, Henry-"

A loud splash filled the air, followed by Henry's delighted laughter.

Moving over to them, Emma saw Killian was soaked, a large puddle formed around him as Henry sat in the tub.

Raising her brows, she crossed her arms, hiding her amusement.

"You taught him that," he accused without any bite in his voice.

"How?" she questioned.

"Whenever you play with him when you bathe him," he clarified.

"Are you sure he didn't learn from example?" she countered, amusement finally breaking through. "I seem to remember one of those times you dumped water on my head."

"I think you're confusing that with the time I was giving him a bath," he jested. "I seem to remember you being the one holding that pitcher instead of meself."

A small laugh escaping, she nodded. "That's right. But I'm not the one who was just bested by a baby."

He smiled in amusement as he carefully rinsed Henry's hair. "Yeah, but in my defense, he does slip around a lot, especially in water. He's almost like a sea otter with how he can move."

Emma laughed, grabbing a towel as Killian lifted Henry from the water and wrapping him securely before holding him in her arms.

"Yeah, you're just like a sea otter, aren't you, lad?" Killian asked him, ruffling his wet hair.

"I think you might want to dry off and change," Emma advised, glancing at Killian's wet clothes.

A devilish glint appearing in his eyes, he suddenly moved forward, pulling Emma to him and getting her own clothes wet. He pressed his head to hers, the water trailing from his hair onto her skin as she gasped in surprise.

"Really?" she asked, laughter in her tone.

"Call it revenge for the pitcher," he said, his wet whiskers scraping her skin as he kissed her cheek.

Henry laughed as she continued to hold him, breaking away from Killian to dress Henry.

She let him down after, freeing him to crawl around and chew on his toys.

It had been something she noticed in the past week, that Henry had began chewing and drooling on things more and more, often whining some as he did it.

Crouching down, she picked him up and gently pried his mouth open, seeing the single white mound breaking through his gums.

"Found out why he's been so fussy and chewing on things lately," she told Killian as he came in having changed. "He's getting his first tooth."

Nodding, Killian looked down at Henry as the baby released a small whine, viciously biting his wooden duck.

They looked up at a tap on the window, seeing a pigeon on the other side of the glass.

Shrugging at Killian's questioning glance, Emma opened the window to allow the bird in, immediately noticing the message tied to its leg. Untying the note, the bird flew back out into the snow.

"Looks like I need to make a house call," she announced as she looked at the message. "Badly broken leg."

"Go on," Killian told her, coming to stand beside her and kiss her lightly. "I've got things here."

Nodding in thanks, she went to Henry to kiss him goodbye before grabbing her cloak.

Emma settled Aife back into the barn, removing her bridle and saddle to allow the horse to warm up in peace.

Resting her pack back on her shoulder, she moved the short distance from the barn to the cabin, eager to be back home.

She didn't mind the occasional house call, most of her work coming to her instead. It was cheaper for people to go to her than the town's doctor, ensuring she always had work. She just hated having to leave Henry.

She trusted Killian completely, but she was always anxious whenever she was away from Henry.

She raised her brow as she entered the cabin, seeing Henry sitting on Killian, happily teething on his hook.

"Welcome home," he greeted, giving her a soft smile as she hung up her cloak.

"Thanks," she replied. She gestured to him and Henry. "So how did this happen?"

"He was getting really fussy and trying to chew everything he could, and nothing was working," he explained. "I was trying to calm him and when he grabbed my hook, he tried to bring it to his mouth to chew. I figured it wouldn't do any harm, and it seems like it's helping him."

Nodding, she sat on the edge of the couch beside them. She rested her head on his shoulder, looking down to watch Henry.

He tilted his head, resting his head against hers.

His voice softened when he spoke again. "So how was it?"

"Easy," she responded, relaxing beside him. "It was just a simple break, nothing I haven't done before."

He hummed in response.

"Tired?" she asked.

"Not really," he told her. "I'm used to long hours on ships, so I'm used to long nights. You know I love Henry, but admittedly, I can't wait until he begins sleeping through the night."

She chuckled, nodding in agreement. "I know what you mean. Soon enough."

Hearing her laugh, Henry let go of Killian's hook, holding out his arms for her and looking at her with his large, dark eyes. "Mama."

Her jaw droppen in amazement, her eyes wide. "He just spoke."

She shared a quick glance at Killian, seeing him just as surprised.

"Lad, what did you say?" he asked Henry, excitement barely contained in his tone.

"Mama," Henry repeated in his tiny voice.

A wide smile curling her lips, Emma quickly grabbed him, holding him tightly in her arms and kissing his cheeks, making him laugh.

She felt Killian's arms wrap around them, holding them both securely.

"Good job, Henry," she praised, kissing their son again. "Your first word."

Smiling at the attention, Henry gave her a wet kiss, making her and Killian laugh.

Emma smiled happily as she sat with Henry on her lap, watching as Killian sat across from them, lifting the baby's stuffed lion and dropping it on Henry's lap, making him belly laugh.

Henry was mostly a happy baby, often smiling and laughing, but Killian was the one between him and Emma who could more often get Henry to really laugh.

Emma loved it whenever he did, hearing Henry's laugh throughout the entire cottage. She always smiled when she heard it, his laughter infectious.

Picking up the toy, Killian dropped it again, the legs splaying out and causing another round of laughter.

Killian was often willing to keep doing whatever was amusing Henry at the time until the boy lost interest, smiling and laughing along with the baby.

"Dada!" Henry squealed in delight, reaching toward Killian.

Completely in awe, Emma passed him off to Killian, who was staring at the baby in surprise that Henry had uttered two words in one day.

Holding Henry to him, Killian pressed a kiss to his hair. "There's my little Sea Otter."

"Really?" Emma asked him with a laugh.

He nodded in return. "Yeah, I think it's fitting for him."

Remembering how Henry moved around, especially in water, she nodded in agreement.

Seeming to like the nickname, Henry laughed.


Chapter Text

Emma hiked Henry up on her hip, opening the door to allow the blackbird into the warmth of the cottage so she could remove the note from the bird's leg.

She sighed as she read the message, seeing it was someone requesting her to make an urgent house call to heal injuries from a bad accident. She knew that while accidents could happen at any time, they seemed to happen especially in winter, the snow and ice providing dangerous conditions.

She glanced outside as the bird flew out the window, seeing night had already fallen, the winter continuing to darken the sky early. While she didn't begrudge Killian taking the horse to get to his job with the blacksmith, she knew she would have liked to have Aife to make the trip easier.

More than anything, she wanted Killian to come home safe.

She knew she had to answer the call, but was afraid to take Henry out, to expose him to the winter night air.

Hearing the crunching of snow outside, she peered out the window, seeing the rider of the horse cloaked in black.

Setting Henry in his bassinet, she rushed outside, catching Killian as he was about to lead Aife to her stable, some packages beside the fence they were at that she paid no mind to as she quickly went to them.

"I got a call," she told him. "I want to take her out, just to make it easier."

Nodding, he tied the horse's reigns to the fence post. "Just be careful out there."

Quickly going back inside, she grabbed her kit and cloak, kissing Henry's head before returning outside.

Killian helped her mount the horse, tying off her kit to the back of the saddle.

Leaning down, she gently kissed him. "I'll try to be home soon."

Squeezing her leg, he looked up at her. "Just come home safe."

"I will," she nodded, taking the reigns in hand and turning Aife away from the cottage and towards the town.

Emma sighed in relief as she broke through the trees beside the cottage, knowing she was home later than she had expected. She was cold and hungry, looking forward to curling up beside Killian in the warmth of their home.

Dismounting, she quickly led Aife to the warm barn, smiling at the horse's obvious comfort. She undid the gear, letting Aife wander into her stable to eat.

She made the short trek to the cottage, wondering if Henry was still awake, if Killian had gotten him fed and to fall asleep easily.

It wasn't that she thought her husband incapable, she just knew how stubborn Henry could be some nights, having trouble herself.

She was met with the warmth of the hearth as she entered, feeling her muscles immediately relax.

Looking at the main room, she noticed with a start the lights were dimmed, only the fireplace and some candles lighting the room. A blanket had been set in front of the fire, plates of food and drink resting atop it.

Killian stood beside it, dressed in his black shirt and trousers and red waistcoat with his hook, smiling lovingly at her. "Happy anniversary, Emma."

Emma found herself feeling both touched and guilty, not having realized what day it was.

"Killian," she breathed out. "I'm... I'm so sorry. I completely forgot what day it was-"

He walked forward as she spoke, shaking his head before softly kissing her lips.

"Don't fret, love," he said, resting his hand and hook at her waist. "It's completely alright. Honestly, I would have forgotten too if I hadn't heard the date mentioned in town this morning."

She laughed, his words putting her completely at ease.

He tossed her cloak aside before leading her to where their dinner was set out, both sinking down onto the blanket.

"And don't worry about Henry," he told her. "I fed him and he went down easy."

Sighing in relief, she nodded, looking around at the spread of meat, bread, cheese, some fruits, and cider.

"So what exactly prompted you to do this?" she asked. "Not that I'm complaining."

He chuckled as he handed her a cup of cider. "I know we didn't get married under the most conventional conditions, but I figured that despite that, we should still celebrate our union. A lot has happened in the past year, including us finally coming together after all this time. If not for all that, I just wish to honor my love for my wife."

Setting her cup down, she cradled his face as she pulled him to her, meeting his lips with hers.

"And I love you," she whispered, pressing her forehead to his. "Thank you, for this."

Killian's smile was nearly blinding. "Of course, love. It's nothing."

Smiling, she shook her head.

Lightly kissing him again, Emma turned to the food, grabbing a couple pieces of bread and cheese. Putting them together, she set it close to the fire, allowing the bread to toast and cheese to melt as she began nibbling on a piece of meat.

Hearing Killian's chuckle, she lightly smacked his leg before leaning against him. "You know you like it, too."

"I'm not denying it," he responded, taking a drink of his cider.

She quickly made another of her concoctions, setting it beside the first.

"So how was it today?" she asked him.

"Much the same," he shrugged. "Worked on getting some orders prepared. Honestly, at one point, we were tempted to forgo the water trough and try cooling the metals in the snow."

"Did you?" she laughed.

"No, just cause we were worried it would damage the work," he told her, grinning widely. "But it was awfully tempting."

Shaking her head, she pulled the bread and cheese, handing one off to him.

"Thanks," he hummed.

She bit into her own bread and cheese, smiling as she ate.

"So what happened with that call you received when I came home?" he asked curiously.

Swallowing, she looked back at him. "Some rigging snapped and a sailor was badly injured. They weren't going out or anything, just doing some maintenance. Anyway, it broke his collarbone and sprained his knee pretty bad.

"After I healed him and was about to come back, a horse slipped on some ice and threw their rider off and split his head on some ice."

Killian winced.

"I'm just glad it happened when I was right there and they didn't bleed out or anything," she muttered, taking a sip of cider. "It was bloody. That, and they were afraid they would have to put the horse down. Poor thing almost shattered its leg."

"I'm gonna be happy when winter is over," he replied. "As much as I like the season, I don't really enjoy it here. There's too many accidents, too much happening in town."

"Well, we couldn't exactly shop around for real estate at the time," Emma reminded him lightly. "Plus you did get an ocean front property."

He laughed, drawing her into his side. "Too right, love."

Finishing, she leaned further into him, resting her hand on his thigh as she watched the flames dancing in the fireplace.

"How about a bath?" he asked after a few moments of comfortable silence. "It should warm you up."

Knowing it would relax her, as well and provide another source of warmth, she nodded.

She moved to clean up their area, stopping when he placed his hand over hers.

"Leave it," he told her. "I'll take care of it in the morning."

Slowly, she nodded as she placed her hand in his, allowing him to help her rise.

Quietly, he led her back to their room, her hand grasping his hook the entire way.

She quickly conjured water in the tub, tendrils of steam dancing on the surface.

Rolling his eyes in amusement, Killian pulled away to grab on of the bottles nearby, adding some fragrant oil to the water.

The water calling to her, Emma quickly shed her dress, stepping eagerly into the water. She immediately felt the warm water relaxing and warming her muscles, sinking deeper in.

"Are you coming?" she asked, folding her arms on the side of the tub as she looked at Killian.

Realizing the invitation, he quickly stripped down to join her.

He gently nudged her forward, prompting her to scoot up so he could settle in behind her. Laying back, he drew his arms around her waist, pulling her back with him so she rested against his chest.

She placed her hands over his own hand and wrist, relaxing.

"I can definately get used to this," he exhaled, his jaw nudging the crown of her head.

Humming in response, she sunk further into him, feeling his warm skin against hers.

"Thank you for all of this," she murmured, tilting her head to glance up at him.

Turning his own head, Killian lightly kissed her. "I told you, Swan, it's nothing."

"No, it's everything," she responded, leaning in to kiss him again.

His arms tightened around her as the kiss deepened, pulling her closer to him.

She easily turned so her front was pressed to his, the silky water letting her move with ease as her hands gripped onto his strong shoulders, helping to keep her in place. He sat up, repositioning her so she was straddling his lap.

Sighing, Emma pulled away from him to look at him, seeing the thin blue rings of his eyes nearly glowing in the dim light.

Tenderly bringing his hand up, he cradled her face, lightly stroking her cheek before leaning forward to kiss her again.


Chapter Text

Emma gratefully sunk down into her and Killian's bed, exhaustion wanting to take over her.

Henry was harder to put down than usual, not wanting to sleep. Both she and Killian did everything they could to put him to sleep, only finding relief when the baby had finally tired himself out.

Sinking down beside her, Killian pulled her back to his chest, curling his body around hers.

"He's asleep," he murmured as he buried his nose in her hair.

She felt his breath against her skin when he exhaled, sinking further into him. "Yeah, and hopefully he stays like that for a while at least."

He hummed in agreement, steadily falling asleep.

Resting her hands over his hand and blunted wrist, she felt sleep quickly claim her.

Emma jerked awake from a deep sleep only a couple hours later, feeling Killian alerted beside her at Henry's cries.

Alarm took over as she registered his wails, making her quickly get out of bed.

She knew Henry's cries, everything from when he was hungry, needed to be changed, was tired, or even when he felt he wasn't he wasn't getting enough attention, but she never heard the cries Henry was emitting before.

Quickly going to his room, she lifted him, immediately noticing how warm he was. Gently pressing her hand to his forehead, she realized he had a fever.

Anxiety crept up within her as she took him back to her and Killian's room, carefully setting him down.

Killian looked at her in question before going to comfort him.

"He's sick," she choked out, wiping at Henry's runny nose.

Eyes wide, Killian nodded as he rose from the bed himself.

She quickly grabbed some herbs and supplies, desperate to bring down Henry's fever. As she returned to the room, she saw Killian had retrieved a basin of water and some strips of cloth, dipping the strips into the water before gently stroking Henry's feverish skin.

"Here," she said, going to Henry to undo his clothes and leave him in his diaper.

She let Killian work on cooling him off as she began digging through her kit, searching for elderberries and meadowsweet to fight whatever he had and break the fever. Quickly using a mortar and pestle, she ground the plants so she could mix it with some water and extract from the berries. Her magic had always been used more for injuries; she could easily take care of broken bones, but illness was something she couldn't combat as easily.

"No!" Henry said, red faced from crying as he tried to fight her before she got him to take it, his cries returning.

"I know, kid," she said softly, stoking his hair back to sooth him. "I know, you don't feel good."

She kept the fear out of her voice, worried about Henry and how bad he may be.

She looked worriedly at Killian, seeing him look just as scared.

"He seemed okay for the most part before bed," she whispered. "It's not like he's never been fussy before bed before. I thought he was just being stubborn."

"We both thought it, love," Killian responded before looking back at Henry.

In an attempt to calm him, he began softly singing Henry his favorite lullaby as he continued to try to cool him off.

Henry began to quiet slightly, but his whimpers continued to escape despite his parents' attempts to sooth him.

Emma didn't know if it was her own fatigue causing the thoughts, but she felt like she was lost, like she didn't know what to do. She couldn't even help her own baby, to prevent him from getting sick or sooth him enough to calm him down.

She felt tears begin to fall at the tought.

"He'll be okay, Swan," Killian murmured, carefully caressing his wife's face to wipe away her tears. "He's your son, he'll be okay, especially if he inherited your stubbornness. All babies get sick sometime. We just have to take care of him. You won't let anything happen to him."

Swollowing heavily, she nodded, her worry continuing to eat at her.

After a couple of hours, Henry fell asleep.

She was unable to take her eyes off his tiny body, even after she saw he wasn't as warm as before, his fever breaking.

"He's cooled down," Killian murmured.

She nodded, continuing to wipe a damp cloth over the baby.

"You should get some sleep," she told him quietly. "I know you're exhausted."

"And so are you," he responded. "Don't worry about me, love. I'm fine."

Sighing, she continued her watch over Henry.

Emma started awake, her eyes opening to see it was morning and she and Killian had fallen asleep. Looking over, she saw Killian sitting up, his knees propped up with his feet planted on the mattress, with a smiling Henry resting against his legs.

"Hey, how is he?" she asked, sitting up quickly to look at their son.

Henry gave her a gummy smile, his few teeth visible.

"He's fine," Killian reassured her with a relieved smile. "The lad actually woke me up by bouncing on me."

Releasing a relieved laugh, she took Henry from him, kissing his cheek before blowing a raspberry on his skin.

"Mama!" the little boy squealed in laughter, all traces of sickness gone.

Killian's arms wrapped around them, pulling them closer to them so he could press his face to her hair.

"He's okay," she exhaled into Henry's dark hair. "He's okay."

Pulling back slightly, Killian rested his hand on Henry's back. "You scared us, Sea Otter."

Seeming to understand him, Henry suddenly looked sheepish.

Chuckling, Killian carefully tossed him up, catching the boy and letting Henry wrap his arms around his neck. Tilting his head, he lightly kissed Henry's dark hair, keeping him close.

Emma leaned her head on Killian's shoulder, unable to tear her eyes away from their little boy.

"What do you two say to breakfast?" Killian asked, smiling at Henry as he spoke to his wife.

Humming, she nodded before taking Henry from him. Standing, she rested Henry on her hip, deciding to change later.

As if following the same train of thought, Killian rose with them, only wearing his black linen pants as he moved with them out to the main room.

She set Henry down so he could crawl around. Energetically, he sat down and began bouncing forward on his bottom, making them both laugh.

She watched in amusement as he began feeding himself when his breakfast was served, smearing the soft potatoes on his face. She knew he would definately need a bath, but she never minded, knowing it was just part of her baby growing up.

Nervous that he could fall ill again, Emma found herself and Killian watching Henry closely, looking for any signs he could again be getting sick. As the day continued on and Henry showed he was back to normal, they both felt their relief grow.

Henry constantly moved around, whining whenever she or Killian left the room for too long, whether to go outside or in their bedroom. She knew he was most likely scared from the previous night, and wanted them close.

"I think he's back to normal," Killian said quietly, sitting beside Emma at the table with a cup of tea in hand.

She nodded, watching as Henry shakily climbed up so he leaned against the couch, creeping along its side with unsteady legs.

"I think we need to think about baby proofing the cottage," Emma murmured, glancing toward Killian. "Any guesses to when he'll start walking?"

He shrugged, smiling softly as he glanced at the boy. "I don't know, love, but I would think soon. He's grown so fast already."

Nodding, she watched as Henry let go of the furniture, falling on his rear. Looking back up, he climbed up again, reaching to grab his stuffed lion set on the sofa. When he fell down again, he clutched it tightly, letting out a triumphed sound as he waved it forward.

"Yeah, we're definately gonna have to put everything up," Emma said, making Killian laugh in agreement.


Chapter Text

Carefully holding Henry up, Emma smiled as she watched him reach forward, shyly touching Aife's velvety nose as Killian held her reigns.

He started slightly when she snorted, before looking up at his mother with a wide smile.

"What do you think, kid?" Emma asked him, shifting him slightly in her arms.

The horse nudged him curiously, earning a small surprised sound.

"I think they may have taken a liking to each other," Killian remarked, watching the pair.

Emma nodded, releasing a laugh as she smiled.

Henry laughed when the horse snorted, the deep belly laughs most often drawn out by Killian.

Watching the baby and the horse, Emma was amazed that Aife was so gentle with Henry. The horse had always had a gentle demeanor, just she was surprised at the patience the horse showed.

"Come on, Henry," she said chuckling, pulling him away from the horse. "Let's let Aife run around, okay?"

He gave a small whine of protest until he saw Killian removing Aife's bridle, watching in fascination as she shook out her mane before trotting away.

Quickly depositing the bridle, Killian came to stand beside them, holding his hand and hook out.

Henry reached out, allowing his father to take him from Emma, settling securely as he rested his hands on Killian's shoulders.

Emma stepped away from them, going to spread a large a blanket on the grass in an area in front of the cottage.

Winter having completely melted away and the weather warming, she and Killian had decided to take Henry outside and let him roam around. When they had come out, their horse had wandered over. Henry had spied her, curiously looking over at the horse, reaching out to show his parents he wanted to see her. After a quick discussion, Killian slipped Aife's bridle on, leading her over to where Emma stood holding Henry.

Seeing him enjoying being outside so much, Emma couldn't help smiling at Henry's enthusiasm.

"Swan," Killian called as soon as she finished laying down the blanket. "Watch this."

Looking over, she saw him begin to lower Henry onto the grass, only for the little boy to bring his legs up, contorting into an almost unnatural position. Henry began to relax as Killian lifted him back up, only to contort himself again as he was lowered back down.

"Killian, stop teasing him," Emma chastised.

"It's just to get him used to the grass," he explained.

Emma settled on the blanket, her skirts pooling around her as she watched him sit on the grass, showing Henry it was okay.

Looking nervous, Henry tentatively reached out, touching a few of the blades before leaning back against Killian's chest.

"Come here, Henry," Emma said, holding out her arms for him.

Hearing his name being called, he looked up at her before looking back at the grass. Determined, he placed a hand on the grass, testing his weight, before placing a second hand, moving to crawl on the grass to his mother.

She had to fight a laugh at his attempt, watching as he tried to avoid touching the grass as much as possible as he moved across it.

Moving only on his hands and feet, he maneuvered over with his rear in the air until he reached her skirts, falling back into his regular crawling position. He crawled into her lap, smiling up at her.

Smiling back at him, she kissed his forehead, gathering him up in her arms.

Playing with Henry, she and Killian watched as he grew more comfortable with the grass, eventually sitting on it and crawling around once he decided he liked the feeling of it. After a while, they decided to try to see if he was ready to practice walking, resulting in Killian standing above him, holding Henry's hands with his hand and hook as Emma encouraged him to come toward her.

Henry took a few wobbly steps before letting go of his father's grasp, only to fall when he tried to take a step on his own.

"He might not be ready yet," Emma sighed.

Letting Henry down to play with his lion, Killian sat beside her, wrapping his arm around her waist.

"Think of it this way, love," he responded. "It gives us some more time to move everything up."

Chuckling, she turned her head to lightly kiss him before settling further into him.

She was content, listening to the sounds of their baby playing as she felt Killian's rhythmic breathing against her, but she still felt something was missing.

She loved the life she had been able to make with Killian, that it was one they made on their own, but she missed her parents. Killian and Henry were the two most important things in her life, but she still felt the absence of the rest of her family.

There had been no word that the barrier surrounding her parents' kingdom had fallen, so she knew she was still cut off from them.

She knew it had hurt them for her to just disappear like she did, but she had been desperate to do everything she could to ensure that there would be a life for Henry. Her leaving led her to finding Killian again, ensuring they would be together. She couldn't bring herself to regret her decision.

Somehow, she knew her parents would absolutely love Henry, and be happy she and Killian finally came together.

Seeming to know what was on her mind, Killian nudged her head with his. "You're thinking about them again, aren't you? Your parents?"

Sighing, she nodded, pulling away enough to look at him. "Yeah. I just miss them. It's been over a year since I had to leave them. I just left them a letter that didn't really even say why I had to leave. I don't even know what they think happened to me, or why I left."

Moving his hand to rest between her shoulders, he drew her closer to him, letting her rest her head into the crook of his neck.

"I know, love," he said softly. "I miss them, too. And Liam. I just hope that once we can finally go back, I can mend what happened between us."

Guilt shot through her, remembering the fight they had over her.

"I'm sorry," she whispered.

"Don't be," he said fiercely, pulling away to look her in the eyes, blue meeting green.

"I love you, and I was a bloody fool for not realizing it earlier," he said, his hook resting at her hip. "That fight was a long time coming, and I don't regret it. Not when I got this life with you and Henry out of it."

Swallowing, she hesitated a second before surging forward to kiss him, her hand resting on his cheek to stroke his scar.

"I love you," she murmured when they broke apart, matching his bright smile with one of her own.

They both heard Henry grunt, turning their heads to see him standing in shaky legs before falling again.

"He wants to try again," Emma said, getting ready to move.

Killian beat her to it, standing up to help Henry up again. He let the boy grasp his hand and hook again, supporting him as he stood and guiding him as he took a couple steps forward. Carefully, Killian released him, letting Henry take a shaky step forward towards Emma. They watched in amazement as he took another then another, walking towards her where she sat.

He collapsed on her lap, grinning proudly.

Laughing, Emma drew Henry up closer to her as Killian kneeled beside them, until the boy was embraced in both his parents' arms.

"Good job, kid," she laughed, kissing his cheek.

Killian affectionately ruffled his hair, earning a giggle.

Sudden realization taking over, Emma looked up at Killian. "We need to move everything up."

His eyes widening, he nodded. "As soon as he's down for his nap, we'll do it."

Resting beside Henry as he curled against her, she watched him fall asleep as Killian read to him, reciting pages from the book Emma had given to him for a wedding gift.

She watched as Henry's eyes continued to droop, fighting to stay awake as Killian's lilting voice lulled him to sleep until eventually his head rolled onto her chest.

Killian glanced up, seeing Henry was asleep before closing the book and setting it aside.

"Is he asleep?" he asked quietly.

Nodding, Emma looked down at Henry, seeing him snoring slightly.

She chuckled slightly, careful not to wake him as she picked him up. "Yeah, he's out."

Holding him to her chest, she gently brushed his hair back as Killian rose to stand beside her, resting his hand on Henry's back before kissing his hair.

"Good night, Sea Otter," he whispered, releasing them so Emma could lay Henry down.

Gently hugging him before kissing his forehead, Emma layed him in his crib, smiling as he clutched his lion.

"Good night, Henry," she whispered, moving with Killian out of Henry's room and into the hall.

Stepping into the main room, she glanced around, seeing some things they hadn't set up away from Henry's grasp. Sharing a quick glance with Killian, they together went to finish their task from earlier, making sure there was nothing Henry would be able to get into.

Finally finishing, Emma smiled as she felt Killian's arms encircle her waist, pulling her back to his chest and resting his chin on her shoulder.

She lifted her hand, tangling it in his dark hair as she tilted her head to lean against his.

"I think we've gotten everything," he said, leaning further into her.

Nodding, she hummed, relaxing into him.

He kissed her shoulder, resting his head into the crook of her neck.

Heat coursed through her at the simple, loving gesture, making her pull away from him just enough to turn in his arms and wrap her own arms around his shoulders.

His hold on her waist tightening, he rested his forehead to hers before kissing her sweetly.

Pulling him closer, she waved one hand to extinguish the candles they had lit, deepening the kiss as she pulled him back toward the direction of their room. He allowed her to lead them, pushing open the door to their room before gripping at her waist again.

She quickly undid his waistcoat as his fingers deftly undid her bodice, removing the pieces of clothing. Quickly breaking the kiss to yank his shirt over his head, she smiled as she turned them so that he fell back on the bed, letting him bring her down with him atop his chest.


Chapter Text

Blinking in the morning sunlight, Emma focused her eyes on Killian, seeing he was already awake.

"Hey," she said, a content sigh escaping her as she stretched even as Killian kept his arms around her.

"Hey," he responded, leaning over to kiss her lightly.

A small smile quirkng her lips, she cuddled closer into him, ignoring the warmth of the morning.

Even with where they had settled, the middle of summer was warm, despite the cooler weather the rest of the year. Being right next to the ocean, they had a little bit of relief from the heat, but it wasn't much. Emma was just thankful she wasn't carrying a child like she was the year before.

"Is Henry awake?" she asked as she nestled into him.

He rested his hand over her ribs, gently pressing his fingers into her side. "Not yet. He should be up soon though."

Humming, she closed her eyes, inhaling his scent.

They stayed like that, enjoying the other being so close as the sun crept higher in the sky before they reluctantly pulled away to prepare for the day. Moving with ease, they dressed for the day, Killian shrugging on a light shirt and waistcoat with his leather trousers while Emma donned a light dress.

She split off from him as they exited their room, going to get their son as he went to begin cooking them breakfast before starting on their chores.

Smiling as she saw the small boy, stroked his hair back away from his face, speaking gently to him to wake him. "Henry. It's time to wake up."

Hearing his slight groan, her smile grew wider as he sleepily blinked awake, grinning as his eyes focused on her.

"Good morning, kid," she said cheerfully, leaning down to lift him up to check if she needed to change him.

"Mama," he replied happily, giggling as she kissed him.

She bounced him as she walked out of his room after changing him, tickling his stomach to draw more laughs from him.

Seeing Killian, he reached out, wanting to see his father. "Papa!"

"Hey, lad," Killian said, smiling brightly as Emma transferred the baby to him. "And how are you this morning?"

Henry began babbling in reply, making both of the adults grin widely.

Killian balanced Henry on his hip as he went back to preparing some eggs for them, keeping a secure hold on the boy.

"Was there anything in particular you had planned for today?" he asked, glancing back over at Emma as he expertly plated the food, all while keeping his hold on Henry.

"No, why?" she asked curiously, taking the plates and setting them on the table.

He smiled down at Henry, who was suddenly focused on the food that waited for him. "I think I have an idea that our Sea Otter will enjoy."

Feeling exposed in one of her husband's black shirts outside of their cottage, Emma held onto Henry as she looked out toward the surf, knowing her son was going to enjoy Killian's idea.

Killian, dressed in only in his black linen trousers, checked the water, nodding in satisfaction as he looked back at her.

They had carefully trekked down the small cliff to the beach below where their home was, intending to introduce Henry to the water. Knowing that even though the beach was private, they were slightly nervous at being so exposed. Emma and Killian weren't shy around each other, but between Henry being with them and the possibility of someone stumbling across them no matter how small, they wanted to preserve some modestly.

"It's not too cold for him," he announced, looking back at them.

Nodding, she tightened her grip on Henry, focusing on the area around them and making sure nothing was in the water and using her magic to place a barrier to block anything from coming into the space.

Exhaling, she grinned, knowing they wouldn't have to worry about anything in the water.

"I think we're ready," she said, smiling down at Henry.

She set him down on the sand, moving away from him to join Killian where the water only hit their ankles.

Henry looked at them curiously before taking shaky, tentative steps towards them, eyeing the water suspiciously. Cautiously, he reached down, realizing the foam washing onto the sand was nothing but water. He stepped into the water so it lapped around his chubby toddler legs, giving his parents a smile revealing his few teeth as he stepped beside them.

"You like that, huh?" Emma asked him happily, picking him up before wading deeper into the water.

She stopped when the water swirled around her waist, keeping her son securely on her hip as she watched him splash the water in amusement.

Looking back toward where she left Killian, she rolled her eyes when she didn't see him, knowing instantly he was under.

His dark head popped out of the water barely two feet from in front of them, making Henry laugh.

"Think someone would fancy learning to swim yet?" he asked as he pushed his wet hair back away from his forehead.

Emma looked down at Henry, seeing him reaching to continue swishing his hands in the water. "I think he would."

She quickly examined the diaper he wore, frowning. "You don't think his diaper will be too heavy, do you?"

"I shouldn't think so," Killian replied. "The cloth is light enough, it shouldn't weigh him down. Besides, if it does, we can just take it off him."

Nodding, Emma took Henry off her hip, holding him to her chest. He looked at her curiously, his eyes wide.

"Think you're ready to learn to swim?" she asked him in a light voice.

His small brow pinched at the unfamiliar word.

She smiled calmly at him to sooth him before tilting her chin to Killian. "Watch Papa, Henry."

Quickly swiveling his head, Henry watched in fascination as Killian grinned at him before diving back under, moving beneath the waves before surfacing a few yards away and proceeding to swim back over to them.

The small boy laughed.

"You wanna try it, lad?" Killian asked him.

He began to reach down into the water, prompting Emma to lower him so he was submerged up to his chest. Loosening her grip some as he began to paddle and kick, she guided him to Killian, letting him do most of the work while making sure his head stayed above the surface.

They both cheered for him as he reached Killian, only leaving his mother's hold for a mere second so his father could hold him. Killian turned Henry, prompting him to return back to Emma in the same fashion.

Henry was constantly grinning as he passed between them.

"He's a natural," Killian remarked as Emma caught the toddler.

She nodded in agreement as she swung him up in her arms.

"Think he could be ready to try it without us holding him?" Killian asked curiously. "He's taken to the water so well already."

Her eyes on Henry, she watched as he began to try to go back in the water, eager to do another pass. She knew without a doubt that if he began to go under and for some reason she didn't grab him, Killian would without a doubt have him.

She nodded, lowering him down and guiding him until she carefully released him.

Henry stayed afloat for a couple seconds before he faultered, sinking down below.

Both Emma and Killian were immediately on him, reaching in to quickly pull him up.

The little boy sputtered before he began to whimper as he broke the surface, reaching out towards Emma to cling to her tightly, suddenly scared.

Picking him up so he was pressed against her chest, she cradled him to her, rubbing his back as she made gentle, soothing sounds to calm him.

"You're okay, Henry," she murmured into his ear before turning to Killian. "I'm gonna take him back to the shore."

Nodding apologetically, he followed her. "I'm sorry, Swan. I thought he was ready."

She shook her head gently, not blaming him in the slightest. "Don't be. I thought he was, too. I just want to get him calmed down."

They moved out of the water and onto the sand, where Emma carefully sat so Henry was on her lap but still curled into her.

"I'm so sorry, Henry," Killian murmured as he sat beside them, rubbing the boy's back.

"It's not your fault," Emma told him, nudging his leg with hers.

He didn't respond, instead focusing on their son.

The toddler soon calmed, pushing away from Emma slightly to look over at Killian. He reached out for him, prompting the man to easily take him.

"You okay, lad?" he asked, keeping his hand against Henry's back.

Henry didn't reply, instead fisting the material of Killian's trousers in his hand.

"You don't need to feel so bad, you know," Emma told him, leaning into his side and resting her chin on his shoulder. "He's fine. It was a simple mistake."

"But it could have been much worse," he muttered.

"It wasn't, because we were both there to keep him from going under," she replied surely. "I know you never would have let anything happen to him, Killian."

He nodded, moving his hand up to let Henry playfully smack it, laughing.

Looking back toward the water, his eyes lit up as he looked back down at the boy in his lap.

"What do you think about if there's a way do get him used to going under?" he asked. "That way he won't get scared again?"

Raising a brow, she looked at him curiously. "What do you have in mind?"

"Teach him to hold his breath, for one," he responded. "And maybe purposely submerge him."

She bit her lip nervously, looking down at their son, knowing they were pushing him, but that the boy had also inherited her stubbornness. "Do you think he's ready for that?"

Killian bounced his knee, surprising Henry and making him laugh. "I think it would be useful to teach him as soon as possible. Plus if he knows it's safe then, if we're with him, he should adjust faster." He sighed. "I just don't want him to be afraid."

Slowly, she nodded. "I know. If you're gonna take him back, just wait a little while at least? Just to make sure he's alright."

He nodded. "Of course, love."

Seeing Henry looking along the shoreline curiously, Killian spoke again, his voice the gentle, loving tone he often reserved for Henry. "You wanna go down there, lad? Do you want to have a little adventure down there?"

Emma smiled, looking at them. Killian always spoke to both her and Henry in loving tones, but he had a certain cadence he always reserved for Henry alone, similar to how she herself spoke to the boy.

"Aye," Henry said happily, moving to get off Killian's lap eagerly.

Emma grinned at the word, knowing he had picked it up from Killian.

Killian quickly got up, letting the boy grasp his hand firmly as he glanced back at Emma, who remained sitting on the sand. "You coming, Swan?"

She brought her knees up, resting her head on them as she wrapped her arms around her legs. "You guys go ahead. I'll stay here."

"You sure?" he asked, standing firm even as Henry began tugging on him.

She nodded. "You two go have fun."

Nodding once, he turned, keeping Henry beside him as they began to move along the shore, but refusing to go faster than the pace Henry set.

She watched as they went, her chest warm as she saw Killian looking down at Henry, his features bright and animated as he spoke to him. Henry's laughter traveled back to her, making her lips curl in a wide grin.

Gazing at them, she examined them both, noticing how Henry's head barely reached above Killian's knees. The scars on the man's back stood out on his tanned skin, contrasting with the smooth, fair skin of the boy. Both their hair was dark, Killian's darker by a few shades, appearing almost black. With how the two constantly interracted, as well as the adoration they had for the other, there was no doubt in her mind the bond between them.

She looked back out toward the water, at the small waves that lapped up onto the shore, completely relaxed and at ease. Even though she still missed her parents and family that she was separated from fiercely, she had her own little family that she loved more than anything. She was happy.

She snuck glances back over to Killian and Henry as the time went on, merely wanting to be sure they were okay. She was only able to barely make out Killian's figure, his frame larger than that of Henry's small body.

Upon hearing their return, Emma looked over to them, Henry's excited cries of her name drawing her attention. She saw Killian release him as they got closer, allowing Henry to run to her as fast as his legs would carry him.

He knocked her back smightly as he tackled her, his arms thrown around her neck. She immediately embraced him back, peppering his face with light kisses to make him laugh as she pulled him into her lap.

"Did you and your Papa have fun down there?" she asked.

"Aye," he answered just as Killian came up.

"Henry, show Mama what you found," Killian prompted, sitting down beside them.

Henry pulled away, detangling his arms from her neck to present a shell to her.

Emma playfully gasped, smiling. "Wow, you found that all by yourself?"

He smiled proudly.

Laughing, she loudly kissed his cheek.

Her son was smart, more than what was expected for his age. Both Emma and Killian knew he had even reached most of his milestones quickly. While they both loved watching their son mature and grow, it was a double edged sword, that he wouldn't always be the baby that sat in his mother's lap showing her a seashell he found.

Setting the shell aside for him to take back later, she turned him around so his back was against her front, letting him look at the water.

"Think we should see if he wants to go back in?" Killian asked, looking over at her.

She peered down at Henry while she spoke to her husband. "You go in and we'll see what he does. I don't want to force him."

He nodded as he rose, walking back into the surf and easily diving down before resurfacing.

His attention focused on his father, Henry watched him, leaning forward.

"Do you want to go back in, kid?" Emma asked him.

He looked back at her, his small brow pinched, clearly torn.

She knew he was nervous about the water, but wanted to be with his father, to be like him.

"It's alright, lad," Killian soothed, moving closer to the shore. "It's okay."

Henry watched him for another moment before lifting himself up, tentatively approaching the water. Emma shadowed him, ready to grab him at a seconds notice.

Slowly, he stepped in, wading slightly deeper before Killian was on him, lifting him up and holding him close as he moved them to deeper water.

Emma followed them, relaxed as she began to swim closer to them.

Her husband looked up at her, his brow pitched slightly.

She had to fight a smile, making her realize Henry picked up his expressions from him.

"Do you trust me, Swan?" he asked.

She nodded. "Of course. You know I do."

He nodded once before looking at Henry, his voice picking up. "We're gonna go underwater, okay, Henry? You're gonna be fine, I've got you."

Henry looked at him curiously, not understanding what he was saying.

Killian braced himself, ready to crouch down below the waves before releasing a puff of air into Henry's face. As soon as the boy held his breath, Killian submerged them, only to break the surface a second later.

Wiping Henry's face, he smiled at the small boy. "Good job, Sea Otter. That wasn't so bad, was it?"

Emma noticed that though he did look a bit shocked, Henry didn't have the same scared look he wore when he fell under before.

"Do you want to try it again?" Killian asked him.

Henry didn't respond, looking at his father curiously before Killian blew a puff of air at him again, submerging them.

He did the action a few more times, always giving Henry a small break in between each dive, before Henry began trying to submerge himself, no longer nervous of the water.

Killian met Emma's eyes, grinning triumphantly.

"Looks like your idea worked," she remarked, smiling back at him.

He raised a single brow. "Of course it did."

She rolled her eyes before splashing him.

He just laughed before looking down at Henry. "Want the go under again?"

"Aye!" Henry exclaimed, looking at Killian happily.

Deciding to go with them, Emma dived with them, seeing Henry completely relaxed under the water.

Carefully, Killian launched Henry to her, sending him gliding through the water into her arms, the boy moving with ease as he kicked toward her.

Henry in her arms, she resurfaced, wiping the water from his face before pushing her own hair back.

"I'm telling you, Swan, he's a natural," Killian said excitedly.

Seeing him reaching out to try swimming again, Emma merely glanced at Killian, getting in to position himself so he was directly in Henry's path.

Letting him jump from her arms, Emma watched as Henry began to move toward Killian, moving with greater ease than he had before.

He faultered for a moment before moving as if on instinct, turning over so he was floating on his back and lazily kicking back toward Killian, resembling the creature his father nicknamed him after.

Her jaw dropping, Emma looked back at Killian as he caught Henry, lifting him up as he began laughing, noting the resemblance for himself.

"You taught him that," she accused.

Killian laughed. "I swear to you, love, I didn't. This is all him."

Henry grinned.


Chapter Text

Slowly gaining consciousness, Emma nuzzled her face into where she lay on Killian's chest.

"I know you're awake," she heard him murmur.

Instead of responding, she clutched his shoulders tighter, feeling the rumble in his chest as he chuckled.

"You know Henry's gonna be up soon," he reminded her, running his hand along her spine.

"Soon, meaning not now," she countered. "He's been sleeping better, so he should still be down. That means we have a little more time before we have to get up. Besides, not all of us like to wake up as soon as the sun rises."

Even with her eyes closed, she knew he was smirking.

"Aren't princesses supposed to rise early?" he asked with a small laugh.

She finally opened her eyes, lifting herself up enough to look down at him.

She knew he had only meant it teasingly, but her words carried a depressed tone. "I'm not a princess anymore. I haven't been for almost two years."

His light mood suddenly disappearing, he tenderly cradled her face, stroking her cheek.

"You're still my princess, Emma," he told her softly. "You always will be."

Leaning forward, she lovingly kissed his lips.

"And you'll always be my lieutenant," she said as she rested her forehead to his.

"Not a dashing rapscallion?" he asked mirthfully. "Devilishly handsome pirate?"

Releasing a laugh, Emma kissed him again, making him smile widely.

She pulled away, moving off of him to get up. She caught Killian's appreciative grin as his eyes followed her, watching as she removed her nightgown.

He got out of the bed a second later, grabbing fresh clothes to change into.

"Should we wrap up what we got for Henry you think?" he asked her.

She shrugged as she grabbed the skirt of her dress. "Probably. But with our luck, he'll probably like the wrappings more than the ship."

"He's a baby," he said with a light laugh. "Of course he'll like the wrappings more. It's easier to rip up than a toy."

Smiling, she looked over at him. "I just can't believe he's a year old. He's grown so much since he was born."

Nodding, he pulled on his shirt. "Yeah, he has. I don't think I can ever forget the day he was born."

Dressed in her pale yellow dress, she quickly braided back her hair, knowing Henry still had a penchant for pulling on it.

Despite no longer wearing the gowns she had grown up in, Emma was comfortable in the clothes she wore. She no longer felt the weight her old dresses carried, instead just being able to focus on being a wife and a mother.

Just like she had, Killian had abandoned his more regal attire, but continued to keep most of the clothing he had obtained when he turned to piracy, with some other pieces mixed in. She didn't complain, thinking the black fabrics suited him, as well as enhanced his features if anything, including the kohl he sometimes continued to wear.

Applying a balm that stained her lips red, she looked back over at her husband in question, seeing him pull their son's birthday present from a chest to try wrapping it.

She moved closer to him to peer down at the toy. "Maybe wrap it kind of loose? So that way it's easy for him to open?"

He nodded. "That's what I was thinking."

Releasing a small laugh, she leaned into him. "I think you'll be happy though. I'm going to make Henry that cake that you like so much."

He quickly turned, grinning widely.

"And you're not to eat all of it," she warned.

When Killian and Liam had first been taken in by Snow and David, Emma's parents immediately insisted on treating them as part of the family, including celebrating their birthdays. On Killian's first birthday with them, Granny had made him a cake similar to one his own mother had made him before she passed. Seeing how much he had enjoyed it, Emma made it her mission to learn the recipe so she could make it for him herself, knowing it by heart by the time she was twelve. She began making it for him every year for his birthday, making it one of the few things she did know how to make when she and Killian first settled in their cottage, letting them keep the tradition.

When it had been his birthday a couple months prior, Henry had gotten to sample it, leading the boy to try sneaking more from his parents' plates. Both Emma and Killian instantly knew Henry liked it.

"Don't worry, love," Killian laughed. "I won't."

"I'm actually gonna go see if Henry's awake," she told him, pecking his cheek before pulling away from him.

Leaving him to check on their son, she entered Henry's room, seeing him standing as he held onto the wall of his crib, patiently waiting for her.

"Mama!" he called happily, reaching out to her when he saw her.

Smiling widely, she scooped him into her arms, kissing his cheek. "Good morning, Henry. And happy birthday."

He looked at her curiously, not understanding the phrase.

"You're a year old today," she whispered, hugging him close, knowing he still had no idea what she was saying.

Carrying him out, she took him to the main room right as Killian set down Henry's present on the table.

"Papa!" he shouted, smiling widely as he reached out to Killian.

Grinning down at him, Killian took him from Emma, holding the baby close to his chest.

"Are you hungry, kid?" Emma asked Henry as she lightly tickled his belly.

He laughed as he squirmed in Killian's arms. "Aye!"

"I'll take care of him, unless you wish for me to cook?" Killian offered.

She quickly shook her head, waving them off. "No, I've got it."

He nodded, leaning forward to kiss her cheek.

Wanting to imitate his father, Henry leaned precariously away from Killian, grabbing onto his mother to plant a wet kiss on her other cheek.

Laughing, she kissed Henry's head. "Aw, aren't you a little gentleman? Just like your Papa, huh?"

Grinning shyly, he suddenly tucked his head in Killian's neck.

"C'mon, lad," Killian said, moving away with Henry. "Let's let your Mama work, okay?"

He sat down to keep Henry occupied, watching as the boy ran around.

"Feel like maybe spending the day outside?" Emma asked, knowing Henry would love it.

Nodding, Killian glanced back over at her before he returned his eyes to Henry. "I think someone would enjoy that."

He let out an exagerated groan when Henry jumped on him, falling onto his back.

"You're letting a one-year-old take you out like that?" Emma teased from her spot at the counter.

Letting out a playful grunt as Henry sat on his chest, Killian picked his head up to look over to his wife.

"He's getting heavy," he laughed. "Plus he's having fun."

Smiling, she shook her head as she listened to Henry playing with Killian.

They ate when she was done preparing their food, both watching as Henry fed himself little bits of his food.

He enjoyed many of the foods they gave him, meaning he relied less on Emma providing him most of his food. She had never at all minded nursing him, only growing wary as he started teething.

As soon as he was cleaned up from his breakfast and bathed, Emma sat beside him on the rug, Killian on his other side, as they handed him his wrapped present.

Henry looked at it curiously before Emma reached down to make a little tear in the paper, showing Henry. Without further prompting, he tore through the paper, happily flinging it around as he revealed the wooden ship. He looked at it with wide eyes as he touched the masts before he held it out to Killian, showing it to him.

Emma smiled, knowing he was doing it because Killian would take him by the docks to see the ships sometimes when they were in the town.

"You have your very own ship now," Killian smiled at him.

"Mine?" Henry asked.

Killian shook his head. "Aye, Sea Otter. All yours."

Smiling, Henry looked back down at his ship.

"You're going to try to get him to become a sailor, aren't you?" Emma asked, looking over at Killian.

He looked at her innocently. "No. I'm merely going to provide him with a little bit of direction."

Rolling her eyes playfully, she got up. "I'm going to go make that cake for Henry."

Killian smiled back shamelessly.

Killian sat close to where Henry was playing, relaxing as he watched his son.

He looked on in amusement as Henry ran on the grass, the boy having decided he liked the feeling of the blades beneath him.

His arms automatically wrapped around his son when he plopped on his lap, ship in hand.

"You like that, don't you?" he asked, looking down at Henry.

Henry continued to look at the wooden ship in response, his fingers wrapping around the masts.

A sudden pang of longing running through him, Killian wished he still had access to the Jolly Roger, just to take Henry out. He missed being out at sea himself, but knew he would gladly give it all up again for his wife and son.

Lost in thought with Henry on his lap, Killian didn't hear Emma approach them until she sat beside him, affectionately ruffling Henry's hair.

Instantly knowing he was contemplating something, she rested her hand on Killian's shoulder soothingly. "You're thinking about something. What's wrong?"

"Nothing, love," he responded. "I promise you, everything is fine."

Studying him for a moment, she nodded before nestling into his side.

"You know I know something's up," she said quietly as Henry got up to grab his lion.

They both had their eyes on Henry when Killian spoke again. "Just wishing I had the Jolly Roger still. I think the lad would love going out on it."

"You miss going out on the water too, don't you?" she asked, resting her hand on his bicep, stroking his arm with her thumb.

"I do," he admitted. "But I wouldn't trade this for anything. I love you and Henry too much to ever go out again. All of this, this life, is enough for me."

She smiled tenderly before kissing him, prompting him to draw his hand up to her cheek.

As they broke apart, she nestled further into him, letting him drape his arm around her to keep her close.

"And we love you, too," she told him, drawing her arm around him and resting her hand on his thigh.

He sighed contently, feeling more relaxed than before with Emma in his arms.

"You know, no matter what we give him, he still always grabs his lion," she mused, amusement in her voice.

Looking back over at Henry, Killian saw him with the stuffed lion in hand, even as he played with the ship.

Nodding, he rested his chin on the crown of her head.

"Do you think you'll ever want to have another one someday?" she asked.

Killian knew exactly what she was talking about.

Feeling hope rising up within him, he pulled back enough to look down at her.

"Swan, are you..." he began.

She shook her head, what looked like regret just touching her features. "No, no, I'm not. But I'm just asking, for someday, if you'll want to have another baby. I know we talked about it briefly once before."

Feeling slightly disappointed, he quickly pushed it back, focusing on her.

"I would love for us to have another child," he told her. "Henry is enough, but if we were to perhaps have more, I would be happy with that."

Laughing, she looked up at him. "You're planning on more than one?"

He released his hold on her to scratch behind his ear. "Not exactly, but I wouldn't be opposed to the possibility."

She nodded, a soft smile stretching her lips. "Good. Just not yet, though."

Nodding, he kissed her forehead. "Aye, not yet." He smirked, looking down at her mischievously. "But that doesn't mean we can't practice for when we decide it's time."

Laughing, she playfully swatted his chest, drawing a laugh from him. Drawing his hook around her wrist, he brought her hand to rest over his heart.

"You're incorrigible," she sighed, fighting a grin.

"Yet you've put up with me for all of these years," he teased.

She rolled her eyes playfully, leaning completely against them.

Henry toddled over to them, collapsing onto their laps.

"Hey, kid," Emma said, releasing Killian to pick Henry up. "Are you getting hungry?"

Looking at him, Killian knew he was, knowing his son completely. He rose up, extending his arms to take the child so Emma could get up.

He walked beside Emma to their cottage, Henry secure in his arms.

"I can get him his food," he offered, resting Henry at his hip.

"You sure?" she asked, hesitantly holding her arms out for the boy.

Killian nodded, passing Henry to her, going to make Henry his lunch as he looked over his shoulder to see Emma sitting with Henry facing her on her lap, smiling down at the boy.


Chapter Text

Pushing open the door to the shop, Killian looked around curiously for Goban, wondering if any new orders had arrived, as well as wanting to question him on what was going on in the town.

He had noticed it briefly the previous night as he had returned home, how the streets were near completely empty, all of the men in particular hiding away. A group of rowdy men who he recognized as sailors stood off in the distance, rowdily yelling at some other men.

Stepping into the back, he spied the older man checking some of the swords that they had made the previous day.

The blacksmith was around Killian's height, heavily muscled despite his age. His dark hair, which was long enough to be pulled back, was generously streaked with gray. Fine lines gathered around his eyes, his skin tanned and weathered.

He looked up, a shocked expression on his face when he saw Killian. "My boy, I'm surprised you came. You should be home with your wife and son laying low."

Killian looked at him curiously as he removed his coat. "And why is that? What's going on around here?"

Goban looked at him in surprise before realization washed over him. "I forgot, you're not from here originally. Those sailors, the men that have been going around, are a press gang."

Quirking his brow at the unfamiliar term, he looked at the other man curiously. "And what exactly is that?"

"I don't know how it was where you're from, if you even had a navy, but here, men avoid joining at all costs," Goban explained. "The pay is minuscule, if they even pay you at all. Most men try to avoid it, but when the Navy's numbers get too low, they send out officers to drag men back with them, force them to enlist. Boys, too. They ain't picky. Hell, they've even dragged men from their own beds at night to throw them on a ship. Most don't see land or their homes again for years, if they ever see it again at all."

Eyes wide, Killian shook his head. "It was nothing like that where I'm from. It was considered a huge honor to serve where I was from."

"The kingdom that has that boundary, right?" Goban asked.

Killian nodded. "Aye. So how do you avoid these press gangs?"

"Merchants and land owners are exempt," the older man responded, his voice contemplate. "That's how I've never had to go. There's a good chance they would pass you over because of your lack of hand, but they might change their minds if they saw you working in here. I don't know if your home counts as you owning property, even though your lovely wife works. Because you're my apprentice and I have no children meself, I could say that you're to take over, but again, if they knew you were capable, they still could possibly try to enlist you."

Slowly, Killian nodded. "So just lay low?"

Goban snorted. "Go underground if you can. These are vicious men, Killian. Take a few days off and stay home. I can handle things here. I'll send word when they've moved on."

Running his hand through his hair, he sighed. "Alright. I guess I'll be seeing you sometime later then."

Nodding, the other man looked at him hard. "Seriously, be careful. Don't give them a chance or reason to grab you. And I would suggest on your way back, remove your false hand. Make it obvious you're missing a hand, just in case."

"Thanks," he said gratefully, twisting his wooden appendage until it clicked out of his brace.

Shrugging his coat back on, he pocketed his prosthetic within it, completely hiding it before turning to leave the shop.

He knew he and Emma would be okay, that he could afford to maintain a low profile for the time.

Just as he was warned, he carefully navigated through the town, taking back alleys whenever he could to avoid being noticed. He found himself ducking into doorways whenever he heard anyone, finding himself nervous.

He had easily made the decision to give up his life at sea, something he never regretted. He was afraid that he could be taken, not able to be with his two greatest loves. He had too much to lose.

He felt himself relax as he put more distance between himself and the town itself, moving along the narrow road that led to the seaside cliffs where the cottage resided. Glancing up, he saw the sky steadily turning gray, knowing that it would rain later in the day.

Deciding to be safe, he stepped into the line of trees beside the road, using the foliage to cover him as he made the trek home.

A sigh of relief escaped him as he broke through the trees, seeing he was back at the cottage, that he was safe. Quickly crossing the small field that made up their lawn, he entered the sanctuary of his and Emma's home.

"Papa!" Henry yelled excitedly, toddling over to him and making his chest warm as his son hugged his leg tightly.

Smiling down at the small boy, Killian scooped him up, hugging him as he lightly kissed his forehead as he moved over to his curious wife, Henry wrapping his arms tightly around his neck.

"Hey," Emma greeted, moving to stand in front of him, lightly pecking his lips. "Not that I'm not happy to see you, but why are you home? Is everything okay?"

Sighing, he led her to the couch, settling Henry on his lap as he pulled Emma down to sit beside him.

"Goban told me to stay home for a while," Killian told her as he lightly bounced Henry on his knee, making the boy laugh. "Apparently men from this kingdom's Navy are out taking other men and forcing them to serve. Called press gangs. Anyway, they'll take any men they can just about. Apparently I may be overlooked for obvious reasons." He held up his blunted wrist, carefully keeping his hold on Henry. "But to be safe, he wants me to lay low."

"If they see you working as a blacksmith, they might decide you're fit to serve," Emma said in a low, nervous voice.

Killian nodded. "Aye. He did say something about land owners are exempt, but we don't know if that would count for me. He did say if he has too, I'm going to take over for him, but we still don't know if that will work."

She nodded as she rested her hand on his arm, resting her head on his shoulder. "So what happened to your hand?"

"It's in my pocket," he told her. "Goban suggested it, that I make it as obvious as possibly I'm missing a hand, should they see me."

Glancing over, he saw she was scared, her grip on his arm tightening.

Pulling Henry so he was sitting securely on his lap, Killian wrapped his arm around Emma, soothingly rubbing her arm as her hand moved to his chest.

"We'll be okay," he promised. "Nothing is going to tear us apart. I won't let it."

Sighing, she nudged his jaw with her forehead. "I know. And believe me, I won't let anything do that either."

Picking her head up, she looked back at him, her green eyes resolved. "If anything needs to be done, I'll be the one to go into town. You're staying home until this all settles down and we know for sure that it's safe again."

Knowing better than to question her, he nodded.

"We'll be okay," he repeated. "We'll get through this."

They sat together, taking comfort in the other, until Henry grew restless, trying to wiggle free from Killian's hold.

Reluctantly letting go of Emma, he lifted Henry to set him on the floor, watching as the little boy rose up on shaky legs to go after his toys.

"Why don't you take a break and play with him?" Killian asked Emma, his eyes on Henry. "I can do whatever needs to be done around here."

"You're home, so now you suddenly are the one to take care of the house?" she asked.

Killian froze, his eyes wide, until he caught her wide, teasing grin. He relaxed as she playfully nudged him.

"Just inside duties, okay?" she told him. "Just in case, I don't want them to see you doing anything on the outside."

Nodding in agreement, he rose up, watching as Emma went to Henry, sinking down beside the toddler with a grin on his face.

Emma stood beside a window looking out towards the cliffs, watching as rain pelted the panes of glass.

She relaxed in knowing that everything was taken care of, the animals completely sheltered, but still felt a knot in her stomach.

She was worried sick about what could possibly happen to her husband, that Killian could be taken away and thrown into another kingdom's Navy. The thought terrified her, making her want to constantly watch for any trespassers.

She felt a pang of guilt, the weight of it hanging on her all day in knowing it was also Liam's birthday, and that he and Killian had fought over her.

She didn't move when she felt Killian come up behind her, snaking his arms around her waist and making her relax into him.

"Henry's down for his nap," he said quietly. "What's on your mind, love?"

"It's Liam's birthday," she replied, her voice barely a whisper.

She felt him breathe out before he rested his chin on her shoulder, leaning his head against hers.

"I know," he responded, his own voice carrying a small tone of regret.

"You haven't seen him in over a year," she said. "Because of me."

"No," he immediately protested, gently turning her in his arms so she faced him, his hand resting between her shoulders. "That fight was because Liam and I don't agree with my choices. He was mad about me becoming a pirate, and how I handled Silver."

"I heard some of the rest of your fight," she reminded him, wincing as she remembered what had been said. "He was less than pleased when he saw I was with you."

"I know," he sighed, kissing her forehead before pulling back to look at her, his brilliant blue eyes intense. "But you know what? A man unwilling to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets. And I want you and Henry more than anything. I've made my choice."

Swallowing, she embraced him tightly, resting her head in the crook of his neck. "I love you."

"I love you, too," Killian replied, holding her to him. "I know that Liam and me will be okay. We will see each other again, and we can talk then. He can see then what this is. Plus, I'm sure once he spends five minutes with Henry, the lad will have him wrapped around his finger."

Unable to help herself, Emma laughed.

"I just miss all of them," she confessed. "My parents, Leo, Liam, Regina, Robin, Roland."

"I do, too," he admitted. "I know the life we've made for ourselves is good, but it does feel like something's missing, isn't it?"

She nodded into his skin. "Yeah, it does."

The cottage illuminated for a brief second before the thunder rumbled, signalling the storm growing.

A second later, they heard Henry's small, scared voice yelling for them. "Mama! Papa!"

Quickly pulling apart, they moved to the boy's room, seeing him standing in his crib, his little face pinched in fear.

He reached out for them when he saw them, a small whimper escaping him.

"What's the matter, kid?" Emma asked as she picked him up and held him to her, soothingly patting his back. "Did the thunder and lightning scare you? You're okay."

Henry buried his face into her neck, releasing another cry as thunder clapped.

Killian gently began stroking the baby's hair, hoping Henry would relax.

"Let's bring him out," Killian murmured to Emma.

She nodded, continuing to rub the baby's back as she walked back out into their main room, her husband close behind her.

Settling down on the couch, she reclined back, letting Henry curl up on her chest. Killian retrieved a blanket, draping it over them to keep Henry warm.

"Come here," Emma said, moving over to make room for him.

Careful not to disturb Henry, Killian sunk down beside them, curling around Emma as he rested his hand on Henry's back just below his wife's.

"You're safe, Sea Otter," he said gently. "It's okay."

As the room flashed again and thunder clapped, Henry burrowed further into them, but didn't cry.

"I think our bed is gonna be a little crowded tonight," Emma sighed before pressing her lips to her son's dark hair.

Killian nodded, resting his head against hers. "Remember the first storm we had when your parents took Liam and me in?"

Smiling softly, she looked back at him. "Yeah. You were scared and starting to roam the halls when I found you."

"In my defense, most of the storms I have previously experienced had been out at sea," he smiled. "I was used to being on a ship, and still hadn't grown used to the castle. But you found me and just led me back to your chambers and let me stay with you the entire night. Then you went to my room with me the next night when it hadn't let up."

She smiled fondly at the memory. "I wasn't about to just leave you alone out there."

His grinned teasing. "Maybe you were the one who was scared."

She snorted, careful not to disturb Henry, who had fallen asleep.

"Still, no matter, I remember that you didn't think twice about helping me," he continued, his voice softening.

Seeing his tender expression, she lightly kissed him. "It's not like you never did it, either. I remember when I got sick a while later, and you snuck into my room and stayed with me."

"I think we really began driving your parents crazy with how often we started doing that," he chuckled. "We should have known. Even back then, we should have known."

"We're here now," she replied. "It may not have been the most ideal circumstances, but we're together now."

"Aye," he hummed as he leaned his head against hers.


Chapter Text

Emma slowly blinked wake, feeling the warmth of her husband and son's bodies pressed against hers.

She smiled at the sight before her as she propped herself up on her elbow to see Killian turned towards her with Henry sleeping between them. Her touch feather light, she brushed Henry's hair back, noticing how long the dark strands were getting.

Deciding to let them sleep, she quietly got up and crept out of the room, seeing the gray light filtering in from the windows.

Having entered into the more rainy season, sunlight had only occasionally peeked through, making the days mostly overcast with heavy clouds. They had a few lightning storms come with the rain, which always made Henry uneasy, but she and Killian had often been able to keep Henry from getting too upset. Having been a newborn in their first year in their home, he hadn't been as bad, sleeping soundly. Emma wondered if it had been easier to get him to sleep then because his bassinet was usually in her and Killian's room.

Glancing around their small kitchen, Emma saw they had began to run low on some supplies, meaning she had to go into the town. She sighed, knowing she would have to leave her husband alone to go do it.

Killian had been home for a week, having received word from Goban that it still wasn't safe for him to return to the shop.

He had began getting restless, leading him to try doing every chore or repair they needed for the cottage. When Emma asked him about it, he had told her it was because he couldn't go out to provide for them, feeling guilty that the duty solely landed on her for the time. She had quickly soothed his anxiety, telling him that him being home with her and Henry was fine, and that he wasn't at fault for not being able to work for the time.

Making a quick list, Emma looked up when she heard Killian enter the main room, carrying Henry as the boy sleepily rubbed his eyes.

"Morning, Henry," she said brightly, going up to the little boy and kissing him loudly on the cheek, making him giggle. She looked back at Killian, quickly kissing him. "Morning, love."

Killian grinned at her use of the nickname used against him. "Morning. Any word?"

She shook her head as she took Henry from him, bouncing him slightly in her arms. "No, there hasn't."

Seeing Killian's frusterated expression as he turned to sit down, his head in his hand, she set Henry down to rest her hand on his shoulder, gently squeezing. "It's okay, Killian."

"No, it's not," he sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "I can't even leave home for fear of being spotted by those gangs. I can't even go out and work right now."

"That's not your fault," she replied, pulling another chair close to sit beside him. "We're fine, Killian. We're gonna be okay. I know you're getting tired of being in here, but it's not forever."

He picked his head up to look at her in disbelief. "Swan, I could never tire being around you and Henry. Being home with you is far from the issue. The problem is that I can't provide for us right now."

Moving even closer to him, she wrapped her arm around his shoulders, trying to do what she could to comfort him. "Don't even worry, Killian. I'd rather you not be able to work right now than even think about risking you being seen by those sailors."

Giving her a small smile, he leaned his head against hers, relaxing as he exhaled and closed his eyes.

Both of them started slightly in surprise at the shuffling heard from under the table before Henry's dark head appeared by their legs. He set his hands on Killian's lap, trying to push himself up.

"Up," he said, reaching out to Killian. "Papa, up."

A wide grin spreading across his lips, Killian reached down, easily picking Henry up and setting him on his lap. Henry happily settled down.

Smiling, Emma reached over to tickle his stomach, happy laughs filling the kitchen as Henry squirmed in Killian's hold.

Pulling away from the baby, she laughed down at Henry. "Are you hungry? Do you want breakfast?"

"Aye," he giggled, making both his parents grin wider.

Henry's vocabulary had been quickly growing since he had spoken his first words. Besides calling both his parents, he was able to say "hi" to people, as well as telling them when he wanted up or was hungry. While he did learn "no" quickly, instead of taking on the typical "yeah" most babies said, he had adopted Killian's usage of the word "aye," which had remained Emma's personal favorite.

She rose up, leaving Henry with Killian to go prepare some food for them. She started slightly when Killian came up beside her to help her.

"Henry's fine," he told her as he smiled, bumping her gently with his hip.

Rolling her eyes playfully, she continued to prepare some apples for Henry as Killian began to make some eggs.

"Hey, make some for Henry," she requested, knowing how much he liked the food.

He nodded as he worked, both periodically glancing back to see Henry playing with his wooden ship. Both he and Emma worked easily together, moving around each other as they needed be. Finishing making their meal, Emma set the food on the table before going to where Henry played, easily picking him up and setting him on her lap at the table.

She pulled his plate in front on him, letting him begin feeding himself as she kept an eye on him while beginning her own meal.

Killian sat close beside them, ready to help her with Henry as he began his own meal.

Henry quickly began to eat, shoving bits of egg into his mouth happily, making a small mess as he went.

"At least he's began getting more food in his mouth than on his face," Killian chuckled as he watched the boy.

Emma shook her head, smiling softly as she ate. She kept her hold on Henry, pausing her own meal to wipe his face off of the apple he smeared on himself.

"I need to go into town," she told Killian as they nearly finished. "We need a couple things, and the apothecary asked if I would sell a couple plants to him."

"I can take care of Henry," Killian nodded. "That is, unless you wish to take him with you. I can just take care of things around here."

She nodded gratefully. "If it begins to storm again, I don't want him out. But I can take him if you want."

Shaking his head, he affectionately ruffled Henry's hair. "It's no trouble at all. I'm sure the lad can help me around here."

She snorted. "Sure. I'm sure you'll be chasing him chasing the chickens or goat."

Henry looked up at her with his large hazel eyes, smiling innocently.

Laughing, she lightly tapped him on the nose, making him giggle.

Keeping her cloak securely around herself for warmth with her hood down, Emma stepped out of the apothecary's shop, going to where Aife was tied beneath a small roof. She stroked the mare's face, earning a nuzzle against her own face before throwing the reigns over the horses head.

Quickly turning as she heard her name called, she saw Goban jogging towards her. "Emma!"

She paused to let the blacksmith catch up to her, curious why he had left his shop.

"I'm glad I caught you," he said, stopping when he was a couple feet in front of her. "I saw you from the shop window and wanted to give you this. I was about to send a message about it, but I saw you instead."

Stunned, she took the purse he offered her, surprised at the heavy weight.

"What is this?" she asked, growing nervous.

The older man smiled. "Your husband's earnings. A lot of his pieces have sold, and those are the profits from it. His work is being highly appraised, which is surprising considering he's still so new to the trade."

Emma smiled at the praise, knowing how easily Killian was able to adapt.

"How have things been going?" she asked, knowing Killian would want news as she stored the money in the pouch on her belt.

Goban sighed. "It's been going, but not as much as usual. Most men are afraid to leave their homes still. All the business I've had has been from land owners in the past week. Upside to them is they pay good money for the goods they're buying at least."

She nodded in response. "Killian is getting anxious being stuck at home. He's worried about not working."

"Well thanks to the work he's already done, he doesn't need to worry about not earning anything," Goban nodded. "Trust me, the amount earned from what of his that has been sold is worth three times what's usually earned in a week. He doesn't have to worry. He still has a job with me whenever he's able to return."

Feeling relief at knowing that Killian would be put at ease, she smiled. "Thank you."

Goban smiled in return. "It's no problem, Emma. Just keep safe. Killian especially."

She nodded. "We will."

Giving her one last friendly nod, he turned to return back to his shop, leaving Emma with Aife to return home. Careful of the supplies she had purchased, she mounted the horse, drawing her out onto the street.

Keeping her eyes out, she saw a group of about half a dozen men towards where she needed to go to get home. Her breath caught in her chest, realizing she was looking at the press gang.

Quickly debating on trying to take another path to get home, she silently cursed as she saw them catch sight of her.

Deciding to try to ignore them, she prompted the horse forward, freeing one hand of the reigns to soothingly stroke her neck.

Emma stiffened at the cat calls, seeing the men, despite being obviously drunk, moving quickly to block her path.

"Here's a pretty wench," one of the men said. "Haven't noticed you around here before."

"Move out of my way," Emma demanded, feeling her temper rising.

"Ah, don't be like that," one of the other men said coaxingly.

Aife stepped back, clearly growing nervous at being crowded.

Emma knew that the horse's large size could easily injure the men but knew it would be unwise; she was afraid it could possibly mean trouble for Killian.

She began stroking the mare's mane to calm her.

"She's married," another of the men, clearly the commanding officer said. "Look, she's wearing a wedding ring."

Silently swearing to herself, she hid her hand away.

"Tell me lass, where's your husband?" the head officer asked, stepping closer until he grabbed the horse's reigns. "You see, we need strong, able-bodied men to serve his Majesty's Navy. I'm sure a young lady such as yourself must have a husband that's the perfect candidate to be a sailor."

Knowing what she had to say to protect Killian, she silently said a prayer that he would forgive her for what she was about him. Hating herself, she made herself look at the officer.

"My husband is crippled," she forced herself to say. "He lost his hand. He would be of no use to you on a ship."

The officer released the reigns, frusterated. "Well then, looks like we have no use for him. We have no use for cripples on a ship. He'd be nothing but a liability."

Swollowing the lump forming in her throat, Emma nodded as she directed Aife away from the men, directing her back in the direction oh the cottage. She wanted to be home, to be back with Killian and Henry.

She didn't bother to pull up her hood as the rain began to fall, already breaking through the trees that opened to reveal the cottage. Quickly leading the horse to the barn, she dismounted, removing the supplies and gear from the horse before taking the supplies in hand and making the quick trip to where she knew her family was waiting for her.

She stopped when she entered, unable to help smiling and feeling her chest warm. Killian lied on his stomach, propped up on his arms beside a charcoal covered Henry. Bits of parchment were scattered in front of them, some with what Emma easily recognized as Killian's work on them, with most of the others covered in black images she couldn't make out from where she stood.

Hearing her coming in, both Killian and Henry looked up.

Henry smiled widely. "Mama!"

"I promise you, Swan, I'll clean all of this and Henry up," Killian said, looking slightly guilty. "The lad was playing and I decided to draw for a bit. He was curious, and I figured there wasn't any harm in letting him have some fun."

Smiling lovingly, Emma shook her head as he quickly got up to help her with what she had brought from town.

She nodded gratefully for the help, pausing when she caught sight of his hook. Guilt instantly crept up withing her again.

Noticing her sudden shift in demeanor, he set everything down on the table before pulling her in front of him, his voice suddenly worried. "Love, what's wrong?"

Biting her lip, she shifted her eyes down. Her own voice was small as she spoke. "I ran into that press gang in town."

He immediately tensed, his body completely ridged. "Did they try-"

"No, no," she quickly shook her head. "They backed off as soon as they saw my wedding rings."

Her voice suddenly shook, her throat tight. "I'm so sorry, Killian. I said what I had to so they wouldn't come after you. When they tried to find anything out about you, I told them you were crippled. You know I've never thought of you like that, but I just couldn't let-"

Killian quickly pulled her into his chest, cutting her off.

"It's okay, Emma," he soothed. "It's okay. I get it. You were just trying to get them not to look for me. Don't worry. I know that you don't see me as a cripple."

Emma snaked her arms around his back before clutching his shoulders. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," he told her, nothing but love in his eyes as he pulled away to look at her. "There's nothing for me to forgive."

Releasing a sigh of relief, she sunk into him, letting him hold her.

Feeling something wrap around her leather-clad leg, she looked down, seeing Henry looking up at her.

Smiling down at him, she pulled away from Killian to crouch in front of their son. "Hey there, Henry."

He quickly took off, going back to the drawings, wanting her to follow.

"I think he wants you to see what he made," Killian grinned. "Go ahead, love. I can take care of this."

Nodding in appreciation, Emma followed to where Henry sat, smiling as he began handing her pieces of parchment.

Emma quickly woke with a start, seeing Killian himself had just woken up in a similar state. Quickly seeing Henry in a deep sleep despite the storm outside, they looked at each other, eyes wide.

Hearing another noise from the front of the cottage that had nothing to do with the storm, they quickly got out of bed, Killian only pausing to pull on a white linen shirt and grab his cutlass.

Grabbing a sword for herself, Emma noticed Killian didn't bother grabbing his hook, leaving his arm completely bare save the shirt sleeve.

Throwing one final glance at Henry, they nearly sprinted from the room to the main room, just in time to watch the front door flying open.

They froze, Emma quickly waving her hand to hide their weapons as some of the men from the press gang burst through the doorway. She was grateful the shirt Killian had chosen was so loose, hiding his strong figure.

"Just doing a few housecalls," the head officer announced. He grinned when his eyes landed on Emma. "Ah, here's the lovely lass from town earlier."

His cold eyes moved over to Killian, grinning maliciously. "And here must be the crippled husband. Would you look at that, boys. He really is missing a hand."

Fighting to keep her temper under control, Emma grasped onto Killian's hand when he slipped his into hers.

She turned in surprise when she heard Henry crying behind them, the toddler having awoken from all of the noise and moving by himself to where his parents were. Her chest heavy with fear that they may decide to take Henry instead, she let go of Killian to snatch him up, clutching him tightly to her chest as he sobbed. Though she knew that Henry was far too young, she couldn't help be afraid.

The men laughed.

"I guess he's able to do something at least," one of the men said. "Though I'm kind of surprised. A lass that looks like that with a man like him? Must be loose."

Knowing Killian was about to lunge at them, Emma placed a comforting but restraining hand on his arm, half tempted to pass Henry to him in an attempt to calm him.

Waiting with bated breath, she felt a small rush of relief as the men turned to leave.

"He's useless," their commanding officer said. "We don't need him. Check this place off."

They noisily left, going out into the rain and leaving Emma, Killian, and a crying Henry alone.

Sneaking a glance at him, Emma saw Killian was furious.

Waiting a moment to be sure they were gone, she released his arm to wave her hand, the door back on its hinges with the locks in place.

"I'm going to make sure they didn't take the horse," Killian muttered darkly, pulling on his boots and stepping out, leaving her alone.

Rocking Henry to try to sooth him, she gently patted his back as she pressed her nose into his hair, feeling her own tears begin to well up.

Though no one knew the truth of Henry's parentage except her and Killian, Emma had wondered if hearing the accusation of being loose had been an unwelcome reminder to Killian that he wasn't Henry's blood father, triggering his mood further. She wondered if there was truth to the accusation, knowing how easily she had fallen for Baelfire's charms.

She looked up when the door opened again, seeing Killian shaking his damp hair from his eyes. As soon as his blue eyes met hers, they both softened and became concerned, making him quickly shut the door and stride towards her.

"Emma, what's wrong?" he immediately asked, wrapping both her and Henry in his arms.

Biting her lip, she looked down at Henry, seeing he was finally beginning to calm before speaking.

"Just what that one guy said," she muttered. "About me being loose. I was wondering if maybe it could be true, and that it reminded you that Henry isn't your blood. That that's why you're so angry."

He released his hold on her back to cradle her face, tenderly stroking her jaw. "You're not. How could you be? You've only bedded two men, one you thought you loved and that he loved you in return, and the other being your husband. That's hardly a loose woman. And Henry is mine, no one can tell me otherwise. I'm angry that they would even say that about you."

Though it was far from the first time he said it, hearing him call Henry his own made her heart flutter. She smiled weakly in response, knowing it was all she could manage.

"I'm sorry for what they said about you," she whispered, leaning her forehead to his.

"Don't be," he replied. "If it keeps us safe, I'll gladly endure that and more. But what they said about you, they would never dream of saying that if they knew who you were."

She pulled away from him just enough to look up at him. "But I'm not a princess. Not anymore. I gave all of that up."

Giving her a loving smile, he stroked her cheek. "You're still my princess."

"And you're still my lieutenant," she replied, leaning into his touch.

"Even if I'm technically a pirate?" he teased.

Chuckling, she nodded. "My pirate then. Or blacksmith. No matter what, you're my husband."

Just as he began to lean forward, Henry sleepily reached out towards him.

"Come here, Sea Otter," Killian said gently, easily taking the little boy into his arms.

"We should all go back to bed," Emma said quietly, smiling down at the tired baby.

Nodding, Killian let her lead them back to their room, holding Henry.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Emma watched as Killian settled in with Henry, laying on his back as the baby snuggled into his chest, light snores immediately escaping him. She moved to lay with them, resting her head over Killian's heart as his blunted arm wrapped around her.

"I don't think we need to worry anymore about them wanting you," she whispered to Killian, quiet as not to disturb Henry. "Maybe lay low for a while longer, but I think we're safe."

"Aye," he nodded, turning his head to lightly kiss her hair.

"I love you," she told him, lightly squeezing his waist.

His arm tightened around her in return. "I love you, too."


Chapter Text

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.


Chapter Text

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.


Chapter Text

Emma woke with a start, feeling Killian jump awake beside her. Alert, she heard loud, happy laughs emitting close to where her husband was, looking to see Henry grinning widely in amusement.

"He jumped on me," Killian said in disbelief, gingerly rubbing his ribs. "The lad actually climbed onto the bed and jumped on me."

Taking in the situation, Emma fought back a laugh. "You okay?"

He nodded "Aye. Henry just landed on my ribs was all."

Holding her arms out, she hugged Henry to her when he launched himself into her arms. Hugging him tightly, she blew a raspberry on his cheek, making the boy squeal in laughter.

Deciding to join in, Killian tickled Henry's belly, delighting the boy even further as Emma held him.

Henry reached out to his father, prompting Killian to immediately take him from Emma and let Henry wrap his arms in a vice grip around his neck.

"Good morning, Sea Otter," Killian laughed, lightly stroking Henry's head. "Did you sleep good?"

Nodding, Henry began to fidget.

Letting him sit down between his and Emma's legs, Killian gently pulled a lock of Henry's hair before releasing it. "Looks like the lad is gonna need his first trim really soon. It's getting really long."

Emma hummed in agreement before running her fingers through her husband's hair, noticing how it had began to curl at the nape of his neck. "You are, too. I can do it again, if you want. Unless you want to let it grow out again."

He snorted. "No way. It's much easier short. But do you mind?"

She shook her head before reaching for their son. "Of course not. Maybe I can even get this one, too."

She saw Killian give them one last smile before standing to shrug on a shirt. She transferred Henry over to him so she could get up, pulling her robe on over her nightdress and go with them out to the main room.

Pulling one of the curtains open, she saw the outside blanketed in white, the fresh snow glistening in the morning sunlight.

She looked over at Kllian as he moved to stand beside her, Henry still in his arms.

"Think someone would like to be introduced to the snow?" she asked, feeling excited at the idea.

Slowly, he grinned before lightly bouncing Henry. "I think someone would like it very much."

Grinning as she pushed the front door open, Emma watched as Henry stared at the snow with wide eyes, waiting for him to step out. Seeing him hesitate, she scooped him up to step outside herself, making sure his coat was fastened securely around him.

Both she and Killian chuckled as she set Henry down, the boy staring with wide eyes at the white that engulfed his feet. He looked back up at them, seeing how they stepped back slightly and leaving a trail of footprints.

Emma kneeled down before him, taking a small handful of snow and holding it out to him.

"It's snow, Henry," she told him gently. "It's okay, see? It's what happens when it gets really cold outside."

At her encouragement, he tentatively touched it with his mitten covered hand. Deciding her liked the feeling of it, he took it from her, squeezing it in his own hands.

"There you go," she smiled. She gathered some more, patting it into a snowball and holding it out for him to inspect.

More gently than the last time, he took the offered snowball, turning it in his hands to examine it.

"Wanna see something you can do with these?" she asked, grinning widely.

He nodded enthusiastically. "Aye."

Gathering a larger snowball, Emma turned to see Killian with his back toward them, finishing on pouring water from the well for the horse. Her grin growing, she threw the snowball, hitting him square in the back, the white snow spreading as it hit the black leather and making him jump.

Henry laughed loudly, watching his parents.

"Really, Swan?" Killian asked as he stalked toward them, a mischievous glint in his blue eyes. "Teaching the lad snow warfare?"

"It's never too early to," she responded cheekily. "Besides, you can't do anything. I have Henry with me."

"Oh, really?" he smiled. He turned his head slightly to look at the toddler. "Henry, get Mama."

As if suddenly remembering he had a snowball, Henry looked down at it before throwing it the short distance that separated him and his mother, hitting her leather clad leg.

She let out a playful gasp. "Hey, you're supposed to be helping me get your Papa, not throwing snow at me."

He giggled in response, grabbing a small handful of snow and throwing it at her.

"You turned my own son against me," she said, playfully glaring at Killian.

Killian lightly tossed a snowball in the air before catching it, smiling innocently at her. "At least we now know where his loyalties lie."

She was barely able to duck as he launched the snowball at her. Quickly gathering another snowball, she hurled it at him, barely missing as he sidestepped it.

Feeling a small amount of snow on her head, she looked over to see Henry laughing. Grabbing more, she very loosely packed it before gently tossing it at him, lightly hitting him with it.

Henry's laughs were near hysterical as the snow fell away from him.

Taking advantage of her distraction, Killian hit her in the shoulder with snow before ducking away.

Running as fast as his little legs would carry him, Henry hid behind Killian, intending to use his father as a shield. He grabbed another fistful of snow, throwing it as hard as he could toward Emma.

Seeing Killian look down to smile at Henry, Emma took her opportunity, landing a snowball on his chest. She laughed as he jumped in alarm, some of the snow falling into his shirt where his chest was exposed.

"That's cold, Swan," he told her without any bite.

She smiled innocently back at him. "That's what happens when you don't button your shirt."

He winked at her, giving her a flirty smirk. "We both know you love it."

Knowing he was right, she didn't respond.

They continued on, watching Henry's eagerness to try to keep up with them, his cheeks turning red from the cold and laughter.

Eventually Killian ran towards Emma, taking her snowball and grabbing onto her, throwing her over his shoulder as he laughed. Before she could respond, he tossed her into one of the large snowbanks.

Moving quickly, Emma pulled him down with her by his black scarf, causing him to land on top of her.

"That wasn't fair," she laughed. "You're stronger than me."

He chuckled in response. "That may be, but knowing you my love, you've got something up your sleeve."

She grinned up devilishly, taking a handful of snow. "You're right."

Taking him by surprise, she pushed the snow into his face, the white spreading over his dark hair and scruff. Using his surprise, she rolled them so she was above him, straddling him.

"Bloody minx," he chuckled, grinning up at her.

Smiling, she leaned down to quickly kiss him.

Just as she pulled away, Henry jumped on her back, poking his head over her shoulder to peer down at Killian.

"Are you turning on me, lad?" Killian asked Henry, his brow raised.

"Aye," the boy responded, clutching onto Emma's cloak.

"Do you think we beat him, Henry?" Emma chuckled, peeking at her son.

He nodded, his few teeth showing as he grinned. "Aye!"

Carefully sitting up and grabbing Henry into her arms, Emma rose up to allow Killian to get up.

"Let's go inside, okay?" she said, keeping her grip on Henry as they moved to go back in the cottage.

She set him down once they were inside, removing his coat, mittens, and hat as Killian went to check on the stew that was to be their dinner.

Noticing Henry's eyes beginning to droop, Emma lifted him back up, carrying him to the couch and laying him down.

"You're all worn out, huh?" she asked gently, draping a blanket over him.

He reached out for his lion, moving to get up to grab it before Emma quickly retrieved it. Handing it off to him, he hugged it tightly, sleep instantly taking over him.

Emma kissed his forehead lightly before rising up to go to where Killian was shrugging off his long leather coat. Chuckling, she ruffled his hair, shaking free bits of snow that had been sticking.

Reaching out, he easily undid the clasp of her cloak, pulling it from her to hang it beside his coat. He turned back to her, resting his hand and hook at her waist and drawing her close to softly and lovingly kiss her.

She responded in kind, resting her hands on his shoulders.

"That was fun out there," he hummed as he broke away.

"It was," she agreed. Chuckling, she turned her head to look back at Henry. "Someone's all tired out."

"Well, now we know how to get him tired for his naps or bed," Killian chuckled in return, looking back at the boy's small form.

Resting her forehead on his jaw, Emma released a content sigh.

"How's dinner coming?" she asked, relaxing further into him.

"Good," he responded, running his hand along her spine. "We are starting to run low on venison, though."

She nodded. "I'll go out tomorrow morning. Or I can even try tonight."

Shaking his head, he leaned further into her. "No, just stay home tonight. We'll worry about it tomorrow."

Humming, she peeked up at him, grinning flirtatiously. "What, don't want to let me go tonight?"

He dropped his head so his lips were brushing her ear. "Oh, I have no intentions of letting you go anywhere tonight. In fact, I have a few pleasurable activities in mind for us to do later."

She bit her lip in anticipation, eager for the day to be over so she could spend some time with her husband.


Chapter Text

Glancing out the window as she began plating her and Henry's dinner, Emma sighed as she saw no movement in the dark to show Killian had come home.

They had received a large and important order in the shop, with the one ordering it wanting the order filled soon, leading to long days for Killian.

He had broke the news to her the night before when he came home, prompting him to wake much earlier than usual. Unable to really relax and go back to sleep without him, Emma got up to begin the day's duties. Henry had been disappointed that his father wasn't there when he got up, so used to seeing him and spending some time with him before Killian had to leave.

Looking over, she saw Henry's mood wasn't what it usually was, knowing Killian was usually home before dinner was ready.

Setting the bowls of stew out on the table, one smaller than the other, she went over to where Henry sat playing with his wooden ship, picking him up to carry him over to the table.

"Papa?" he asked in his small voice, looking towards the door before turning back to her with his wide eyes.

Emma crouched down in front of him so they were eye level as she set him in his chair.

"He has to work really late," she told him gently, soothingly stroking his head. "I know, Henry. But I don't know when he's gonna be home."

Clearly unhappy, he let her finish settling him in so he could eat his dinner. She quickly settled into her spot beside him, watching him as she began eating her own food.

Hunger evidently won out over his dampened mood as Henry began eating, quickly digging into his dinner. Emma watched him, making sure to clean up anything he spilled.

The boy had gotten better at feeding himself, but was still prone to creating messes. They were luckier with some foods than others, but some always resulted in spills, such as the broth that Henry had spilled down the front of him. Emma didn't mind it, knowing it was just a part of her baby growing up.

She had even admitted it a few times to Killian she found it cute when their son ate something particularly messy and managed to smear it all over himself.

Grabbing a small towel, she cleaned up what she could, knowing he would likely be getting another bath before bed.

Like her son, she caught herself often looking towards the door or out the window, listening for any signs of Killian or their horse, something to show he had come home, especially before snow started to fall again.

She swallowed down her disappointment as she saw he hadn't returned as she and Henry finished their dinner.

Knowing how late it was getting and deciding to put off cleaning up until after Henry was down, she set him down so she could prepare his bath, drawing water and warming it for him. Retrieving the toddler, she striped him down before lowering him into the tub, smiling as her son grinned back at her. Not wanting him to get cold, she quickly bathed him before wrapping him in a warm towel to dress him again in some sleeping clothes.

Realizing it was his bedtime, he began to fuss, stubbornly refusing to lay down even as Emma grabbed the book she had gotten Killian as a wedding present, one they often read to Henry from.

"Papa," Henry pouted, looking up at her with creased brows.

Emma sighed, knowing that Henry knew they were breaking their routine just by Killian not being home.

"He's not home yet, kid," she said, picking him back up so that he was cradled against her chest. He immediately wrapped his arms around her neck, nestling his head into the crook of her neck. "Trust me, I wish he was right now."

Glancing at the book for a moment, she set it down, rubbing her son's small back. "How about instead of the book tonight, I tell you a different story?"

Hearing the change in her tone, he looked up at her curiously.

She smiled lovingly down at him as she kissed his forehead. "How about I tell you a story about my parents? About Snow White and Prince Charming?"

Checking on the pot of stew to make sure it was still ready to eat, Emma sat back at the table, holding a warm cup of tea in her hands as she waited.

All of the duties done, she was left to wait, changing from watching the fire that warmed the hearth and peering out into the dark night for her husband to return home.

Lifting her cup, she immediately lowered it as the door opened, a weary Killian entering the cabin. She immediately went to him, lightly pecking his lips in greeting before gently tracing the dark circles under his normally bright blue eyes.

"Welcome home," she said quietly, watching as he removed his coat.

He smiled tiredly, returning back to her and wrapping his arms around her. "I missed you two today. I didn't think I would be getting home so late."

Her arms engulfed him in response. "We missed you, too, and don't worry about it. You're home now."

Nodding, he leaned his forehead to hers, exhaling contently.

"I know you're hungry and tired, but would you mind going in to see Henry for a minute?" she asked nervously, biting her lip. "He's just been asking about you all day, and didn't want to go to bed cause you weren't here."

At the suddenly guilty look on his face, she quickly pulled away, stroking his cheek to calm him.

"It's just that he knew today was different," she rushed out. "He just missed his Papa all day."

Giving her a small, apologetic smile, he nodded. "He's not still awake, is he?"

"I really, really hope not," she replied, dreading the possibility of dealing with a cranky toddler. "I'll get dinner."

Nodding once, he kissed her forehead before turning to go to their son's room.

Setting a bowl on the table, she retreated back to their own room to draw up a bath before quietly creeping into Henry's room. She smiled as she saw Killian perched on the edge of the tiny bed, lightly stroking Henry's hair back as he murmured to him.

Instinctually, the boy leaned into his father's touch, relaxing as he fell into a deeper sleep.

As is knowing he was being watched, Killian looked up, meeting Emma's eyes from where she leaned against the door frame.

He nodded, carefully sitting up to follow her back to the main room.

Wearily, he sat down at the table, voraciously eating his dinner.

More graceful in her movements, Emma sat beside him, wrapping her hands around her cup.

"So how was it?" she asked, willing to listen to him if he wished to talk.

"Long," Killian replied, tearing a hunk of bread with his teeth. "The work itself isn't anymore difficult than what we usually get, but what's so bad about it is that we have so much to do in not a lot of time. Pretty much as soon as the shop opened early this morning, it's been non-stop."

He suddenly looked exhausted. "I'm afraid it's gonna be like this for a couple more days. At least the pay out will be good."

Sighing, Emma rested her hand on his arm just above his brace. "You don't have to worry about that, you know. I know my income isn't quite as steady, but you don't have to worry."

"Yeah, I do," he disagreed, his voice soft. "I want to be sure that if something were to happen, we don't have to worry about not having anything."

"You know I still have a couple things from before that are still valuable," she reminded him. "Do you think something will happen?"

"I dont, but we both know more than anyone how unpredictable life can be," he responded with a small smile. "And you shouldn't have to pawn off everything you have from before. I can't leave everything up to you."

Giving him a gentle smile, she moved her chair so she sat closer to him. Her free hand that wasn't touching him went to her swan pendant. "Killian, there are only three things I have that I truely cherish and refuse to part with, this necklace, and my wedding rings. I don't care about the rest."

Meeting her eyes, he wrapped his arm around her, drawing her to him.

"There's a bath waiting for you," she told him. "It should still be pretty warm. It should help you relax."

He nodded appreciatively as he moved to stand, grabbing his empty bowl to clean it.

Shaking her head, she quickly took it from him. "I've got this. Go relax."

Nodding, he quickly kissed her before turning to retreat to their room.

She quickly drained the last of her tea, taking care of the leftovers from their dinner before following him into their room to prepare for bed. Entering, she saw Killian laying in the tub, looking completely drained.

"Don't fall asleep in there," she told him as she began taking off her dress.

He opened his bleary eyes, focusing on her. "I'm not."

Pulling her nightdress over her head, she walked over until she was just beside the tub, sitting down so she was leaning against the metal.

"Just think, after this is all done, you can just rest," she reminded him, turning so she could fold her arms on the lip of the tub. "You could sleep all day if you wanted."

Sitting up and pushing the wet hair from his eyes, he looked back at her. "And leave you to do everything around here?"

Sighing, she shook her head, standing to let him exit the tub. She sat on her side of the bed, waiting for him as he dried off and pulled on a pair of his linen pants.

"Why do you do that?" she asked him, her green eyes following him as he moved to join her in the bed.

"Do what?" he questioned as he stretched out in his spot, reaching over to pull her to him.

She went willingly, curling around his body as she settled in. "You always worry about working and making as much as possible, even when we don't need it. And even when you get a day off, you try to do everything you can around here. Believe me, I appreciate it and everything you've done. But I just want to know why you feel the need to exhaust yourself working."

"My father," he told her quietly. "When my mother was still alive, she stayed home with me and Liam to take care of us. You know we didn't have a lot, but it didn't seem to matter when I was younger. My mother always tried to make the best of our situation, and did everything to keep us and our home in order. She did everything to make sure me and Liam wouldn't go hungry, even if it meant she didn't have anything for herself."

Emma swallowed the lump she felt in her throat, knowing the reverence and love her husband reserved for his own mother, Alice. Far from the first time, she wished she could have met the woman.

"You actually kind of remind me of her," Killian told her, turning his head to look at her and smiling. "With how you were willing to sacrifice everything for Henry the moment you found out you were carrying him. She would have absolutely loved you.

"Brennan on the other hand treated her as more servent than wife," he continued in a darker tone. "Of course I didn't see it when I was younger, but I realized it as I watched how your parents are together. He didn't help her at all, and had even come home drunk on occasion when he was supposed to be working. Only after she became sick did he really start being around and taking an interest in us. I was inconsolable when she passed, but it seemed like Brennan was finally ready to be a father. Within a week after she died, he packed us up and we began moving around. We did it for a couple years before he left us. You know what happened after."

Emma understood him, knowing that he was afraid of something happening that could leave Henry without a parent, similar to his own childhood.

She picked her head up to look down at him directly. "You're not him, Killian. You're a much better man, husband, and father. You've done more for me and Henry than I could ever ask for. Nothing is gonna happen to us. The only think I ask of you is to take it easy. You do more than enough for us."

Smiling tiredly, he cradled her cheek with her hand. "You can't know that. I'm still wanted, Swan. I know we've hidden ourselves well and have taken precautions, but there's still a chance. That or something else could happen."

Wanting to get rid of the crease between his brows, she leaned down, pressing her lips to his in a slow kiss.

"Nothing is gonna happen," she promised him, lovingly stroking the scar on his cheek. "It's just like you said, we're a team. We won't let anything happen to each other."

Killian gave her a loving smile in return, his eyes soft despite the dark circles. "I love you."

She lightly kissed him again. "I love you, too. Just rest now."

Exhaling, he closed his eyes, immediately falling asleep.

Resting her head over his heart, Emma quickly drifted off as she felt his arms comfortingly tighten around her in his sleep.

Tiredly picking up her head up, Emma opened her eyes, seeing Killian's movements had disturbed her sleep, his back to her as he sat on the edge of the bed.

Hearing her, he turned his head, seeing she was awake.

"Sorry, love," he said apologetically. "I didn't mean to wake you."

Shaking her head, she sat up. "It's fine. You have to go?"

Standing, he nodded. "Aye, I'm afraid I do."

Giving him a weak smile, she got up with him, pulling on her robe.

"Swan, go back to sleep," he told her, moving closer to her. "You don't have to get up. I can send myself off. You can get some more rest."

She shook her head, resting her hands on his shoulders as she bit her lip nervously. "I can't sleep. It's hard without you there."

His brow pinched apologetically. "I'm sorry, love."

"Don't be," she replied. "It's not your fault."

She watched him as he pulled away to get dressed. "I'll pack you something for lunch later."

"You don't have to do that," he called as she exited the room.

"You're gonna be starving later if I don't," she responded, smiling in amusement.

She heard him grumbling as she lit a lantern, illuminating the main room in a soft yellow glow. Going to their tiny kitchen, she gathered some dried meat and bread.

She jumped slightly when she felt his arms wrap around her waist, his scruff pleasantly scratching her cheek.

"You know I can do all of this myself," he told her softly.

"Yeah, but I want to do it," she said, continuing to work even as he clutched her waist.

He quickly kissed her. "Thank you. I do appreciate it, love."

Pulling away, he grabbed a jar of marmalade they had stored and cut a few slices of bread.

"You don't have to wait up tonight," he told her.

Sitting beside him, she rubbed her hand between his shoulder blades. "I'll wait."

Sighing, he looked back at her. "Nothing I say will change your mind, will it?"

"Nope," she smiled back at him.

"Always so stubborn," he commented, trying to hide his smile.

"You love it," she quipped back.

His smile broke through, bright despite his tiredness. "Aye, I do."


Chapter Text

Emma sighed tiredly as she slumped in her chair in the kitchen, wrapping her hands around her cup of tea for warmth. She knew no matter how tired she was, between finding herself unable to sleep without her husband with her and Henry being difficult because he wasn't seeing his father, it was nothing to the exhaustion she was sure Killian felt. He was on his third night working late, going on little sleep between his late nights and early mornings.

She was eager to have him back home, so that normalcy could return to their home and so that they could just rest. She didn't know how many more nights they would have where Killian worked late, but Emma hoped they ended soon, and that he would get a few days where he didn't have to work so that he would be able to rest and sleep.

Staring at the fire in the hearth, she listened for any signs that he was home.

Hearing Aife snort, Emma felt herself smiling, knowing Killian had returned. Standing, she moved to get some dinner for him, knowing how insatiable his appetite had been because of his work.

As soon as she set the food on the table, Killian pushed the door open, entering and closing it before too much snow could come in.

He walked over to her, kissing her soundly in greeting before giving her a weary but happy smile.

"The order is complete," he said, sounding relieved.

Emma felt a smile of her own grow. "Seriously? You're done?"

He nodded. "Yeah, and Goban gave me the next few days off to make up for it. He said he can handle the shop for the next couple days, and that I need to make up being absent the last few days to you for leaving you and Henry alone."

Laughing quietly, she shook her head before kissing him again.

He took off his heavy leather coat and hung it up, returning to the table to sit down and eat.

Having already eaten with Henry, Emma sat beside Killian, feeling completely relaxed that he was home and that he wouldn't have to work for the next few days. She drank what she had left of her tea, Killian was nearly falling asleep at the table once he finished most of his dinner.

"Go on," she told him lightly. "I'll take care of it out here while you go ahead. Just go do what you need to do."

He nodded in appreciation as he stood, disappearing into the hall to the bedrooms.

She smiled as she cleared the table, knowing he was going to see Henry first, just as he had the two previous nights, even if the boy was asleep. Finishing cleaning up, she went back to her and Killian's room, seeing he had just lowered himself into the water of his bath.

Smirking in amusement, she walked further into the room, closing the door most of the way as she went. Killian rarely deviated from his routines, usually bathing sometime before he went to bed, especially after a hard day at the shop. Even exhausted, he didn't break his routine, even if it looked as if he was about to fall asleep in the tub.

She kneeled behind him, draping her arms around his shoulders and folding them around his chest before kissing his temple.

"Finish up in here and come to bed," she coaxed.

He nodded, pulling away to rinse his head and begin to wash.

Emma stood, going to her small vanity to undo her braid and brush out her hair, letting her blonde waves fall around her shoulders.

She found herself often checking on Killian, wanting to make sure he didn't actually fall asleep. Shedding her robe, she pulled back the blankets of their bed, sitting down to wait for him.

Not having to wait long, Killian dressed in his linen pants, joining her in the bed and laying down in his spot, his arm extended to allow her the position they usually slept in.

Laying down, she pulled the blankets up to their chests, curling her body around his as her head rested on his chest. His arms went around her, holding her close to him.

She picked her head up to look at him, seeing his tired blue eyes watching her before she leaned down to lovingly press her lips to his.

His hand on hers tightened for a moment before he stilled, making her pull away to see that he had already fallen asleep.

Wearing a small smile, Emma gently kissed him again before laying back down.

"Night, love," she whispered, feeling sleep dragging her down as she closed her eyes.

Opening a single bleary eye, Emma felt herself gaining consciousness, having heard a noise, Killian in a deep slumber beside her.

Reluctantly picking her head up, she realized she had heard the door opening, followed by light quick footsteps. Realizing she and Killian had slept in much later than usual, she knew Henry was awake and had come to search for his parents.

A dark head popped up at their feet as the toddler began to scale the bed. At his devious smile, Emma knew exactly what he was planning on doing, especially because he hadn't seen Killian for a few days.

Seeing him about to pounce, Emma sat up, holding her arms out to stop Henry, her voice stern. "No, Henry. Let him sleep."

Looking put out, he sat down, glancing between her and Killian. "Papa?"

Emma held out her arms for him to go to her, laying back with him when he went to her. She set him right between her and Killian, who hadn't moved throughout the entire exchange.

"Your Papa is really, really tired," she told Henry quietly. "He's been working very hard, and needs to rest now."

Henry nodded in understanding. "Papa sleep?"

She nodded. "Yeah, kid. He needs a lot of sleep. But if you want, you can stay in here and get some more sleep, too."

He settled down so his head was pillowed on Killian's arm, snuggling comfortably between the two adults as Emma moved closer to them.

Within minutes, Henry had fallen back asleep, light snores escaping him.

Deciding to see if she could rest a while longer herself, Emma layed back down in the warm bed.

When she woke again, Emma felt better, more alert and awake than she had been in the previous days. Looking over, she saw Killian was still asleep.

Henry was in the spot he had been in when she fell asleep, only moving to have nudged her awake.

"Hungry, Mama," he said, whispering loudly.

She smiled, knowing he was trying not to wake his father as she got up.

"Okay," she said as she sat up and climbed out of bed. She turned to him, holding out her arms for him. "Come here, kid."

He pushed the blankets off of him, crawling over to her and allowing her to rest him on her hip.

She walked them out, setting him down in his chair at the table so she could prepare them their breakfast. Checking over what she had available, she grabbed what she needed to make their meal, sure to grab enough to make Killian's portion for when he woke up.

Glancing back at the stores as she cooked, she decided to make some of the turnovers Regina had taught her to bake, knowing Killian and Henry would enjoy them. She smiled at the prospect of getting to bake.

She set Henry's plate in front of him, looking up as she heard Killian enter, dressed despite his sleep mussed hair.

"Papa!" Henry exclaimed happlily, climbing out of his chair and running over to him.

Killian easily swung him up, hugging the boy tightly. "Hey there, lad. I've missed you the last few days."

Henry hugged him back just as tightly, smiling brightly.

Moving over to the table, Killian sat Henry back in his seat so he could eat. The boy settled, he walked over to her until he was behind Emma, resting his hand on her hip.

"Thanks for letting me sleep," he said as he lovingly kissed her cheek. "Though you could have woken me."

Gently smiling back at him, she shook her head. "You needed it." She looked down at Henry, who was happily eating. "Besides, Henry and I actually slept in, too, after he snuck into our room intending to jump on you."

He chuckled. "Then I have to thank you for that, too."

She turned to face him, smiling as she lightly pressed her lips to his. "You hungry?"

He nodded, lightly squeezing her hip. "Aye. Now that I'm actually awake enough to eat."

Pulling away from him, she got two plates ready for them, the both of them sitting down to eat.

"So what needs to be done still for today?" he asked, peering out at the snowfall outside as they ate.

She shook her head. "I don't think so. You've been working non stop for the last few days. You're taking a break."

Before he could respond, she quickly kissed him before taking both of their empty plates. "Don't argue with me. Just take it easy."

"I'm not letting you do all of the work around here," he told her, standing up and picking up Henry as the toddler reached for him.

"Then you can take care of this one," she replied, ruffling Henry's hair before kissing his forehead.

He nodded, holding onto Henry as he went to go bathe and dress him.

Satisfied, she turned to go get dressed, pulling out her pale blue dress and braiding back part of her hair.

She didn't realize how long she had taken until she went back to the main room, seeing Henry playing with Killian conspicuously absent.

"Killian?" she called, craning her head around to look for him.

When she was met without an answer, she looked down at Henry. "Where's your Papa?"

Looking up at her with wide hazel eyes, he pointed towards the outside, making her sigh heavily.

Not wanting to leave Henry alone, she went to their tiny kitchen, pulling what she needed to bake. She constantly looked over at Henry to make sure he was okay as she worked.

Finishing the dough, she began slicing some apples, drawing her son's attention. He walked over, looking curiosity at what she was doing.

Knowing what he wanted, she picked him up and sat him in his chair before slicing up another apple.

"Here you go, Henry," she said, handing him the apple slices.

"Thanks," he said in his small voice, grinning widely as he began munching on the fruit.

"You're very welcome," she chuckled.

Just as she went back to slicing more apples, Killian reentered the cottage, shaking snow from his dark hair before hanging up his long black coat.

Emma gave him a pointed look, raising a single brow.

He grinned back innocently. "I'm trying to make up for not being here the last few days."

Suddenly noticing what she was doing, he looked at the table with interest, his voice hopeful. "Turnovers, Swan?"

She nodded. "It's been a while since I've made them, and Henry's never had them. Plus I know you like them."

Moving closer to her and Henry, he nodded. "I do. And I think the lad will enjoy them."

Henry offered him a piece of apple, holding it out in his small hand.

Killian graciously accepted it, dropping his head to kiss Henry's hair.

He looked back up at her, suddenly going going back to his coat as he stuffed the apple slice in his mouth. "I had almost forgotten about this."

Emma watched him curiously, seeing he was holding a small white flower in her hand. Her breath caught when she identified the flower.

She took the offered flower, feeling her throat tighten as she took in her mother's favorite flower. "Snowbells."

He gave her a small, tender smile. "Aye. There's more outside. It looks like they almost just started growing. But I do remember those to be your mother's favorite."

Suddenly finding herself teary-eyed, she nodded. "Yeah, they are. I... I just miss her and Dad so much."

He nodded, moving forward to hug her tightly. "I know. I miss them, too."

Emma had days where thoughts of her parents and family constantly invaded her mind, making her wonder when she would finally get to see them again. She put on a happy face for Henry, not wanting to worry her son, but knew Killian always saw through her.

She never regretted her decision to leave for Henry, but it didn't mean that she sometimes wondered what would happen if she hadn't before realizing that if she had stayed, she wouldn't have Killian by her side.

"You will see them again," Killian whispered in her ear as she gripped him back just as tightly. "And then Henry will finally get to meet his grandparents. Then your mother will probably give you a hard time about feeding her grandson apples."

She gave him a watery laugh, pulling away from him to look at him.

Reaching up, he gently wiped what tears had escaped her eyes away.

"And they're going to give you a really hard time for not asking for their blessing first for marrying me," she teased. "I'm pretty sure they'll forgive you, though. They've always known that you make me happy."

He smiled in return. "And you make me happy, too, love."

She hummed as she closed her eyes, leaning back into him to nestle into the crook of his neck.

Seeing Henry's eyes beginning to droop shut, Emma moved to lift him up, feeling his small body sag against her.

"I think it's someone's bedtime," she said, peering down at her son.

He protested weakly as Killian lifted him into his arms, securely holding him to carry him to his bed.

Emma followed close behind him to put Henry to bed. She quickly changed him into the sleep clothes Killian passed to her after setting Henry on his small bed, the toddler not putting up any resistance.

She carefully pulled him over so that his head rested on his pillow before sitting beside him and stroking his hair back.

Killian perched himself on Henry's other side, looking between him and Emma curiously.

"What story should we tell the lad tonight?" he asked curiously.

Emma shrugged. "What about Fair, Brown, and Trembling? The one you said your mother used to tell you?"

He nodded in agreement at the choice before looking down at Henry as he began to retell the old bedtime story in his lilting voice.


Chapter Text

Emma slowly blinked awake, peering out the window at the early spring morning. The last vestiges of snow had melted, revealing the brilliant, emerald green of the grass beneath.

Seeing the clear sky outside, she sat up slowly, carefully detangling herself from her husband's embrace as she went, pulling the blanket up to cover herself.

She didn't realize Killian was awake until he sat up, his body pressed against hers, his hand pushing the blanket away slightly to rest on her breast.

"Good morning," he said as he leaned his forehead to her temple, his voice husky from sleep.

She hummed, pressing into his touch. Turning her head, she kissed him, her fingers running through his dark hair. Her body shifting to press against him, she didn't break the kiss, letting him pull her back down with him.

Finishing dressing Henry, Emma let him scurry out of his room to the main room, calmly following him to where she saw the boy had settled on Killian's lap, idly playing with the man's hook. She grabbed a satchel for the trip onto town, having to get some basic things.

She pulled on her cloak just as Killian finished pulling Henry's small boots on, letting him run to his mother to pull his coat on him.

"Are you all ready to go?" she asked him lightly, smiling down at him.

He nodded enthusiastically. "Aye!"

She let him take the leather satchel, watching as he put the strap over his head in an imitation of how he'd seen his parents wear it.

She jumped slightly in surprise as Killian came up behind her, kissing behind her ear as his arms wrapped around her waist. Fighting a smile, she turned her head slightly to peer at him.

"You know Henry's awake and right here with us?" she asked, biting her lip as she fought her blush.

"I can't just kiss my wife?" he teased, lightly pressing his lips to hers.

Turning in his arms, she met his blue eyes with her green. "Yes, you can."

"Mama and Papa kiss," Henry said from by their legs.

Chuckling, Emma kissed Killian one last time before reaching down and lifting Henry to her hip. Sharing a quick mischievous glance with Killian, they quickly ducked down, each kissing one of the boy's cheeks and making him laugh.

Keeping her hold on the boy, she pulled away, letting Killian hold the door for her and let her out, following close behind.

They decided against taking the horse, instead walking themselves the short trip. Emma decided she would set Henry down as soon as they broke the trees, allowing him to walk on his own beside her and Killian.

Henry kept close by them the second he was let down, reaching up to grasp both of his parents' hands. They slowed their own steps, keeping pace with him and preventing him from running or being dragged.

He looked around excitedly as they reached the town, eager to explore.

"Stay beside us, Henry," Killian reminded him firmly, making sure his hold was secure on the boy as they headed towards the market.

Obediently, he stayed close, only leaving one parent to quickly grasp the hand of the other.

They wandered the stalls, getting what they needed, whether it be cloth or flour, setting it all in their bag. Killian insisted he take it after a few items, not wanting Emma to shoulder the weight even as she said she could handle it. At his persistence, she handed the satchel over, letting him shrug it on his shoulder.

Just as was usual for them, they talked to the people they knew, keeping polite conversation. Most of the people they knew had children of their own, serving as playmates for Henry. Neither Emma or Killian really made anyone that they considered a close friend for the reason that they were worried about revealing their identities to people. Aside from the price on Killian's head, Emma knew she herself could be at risk, that a princess unable to return to her kingdom could be a target for abduction and ransom, possibly to be used as leverage against her parents. Deciding not to risk anything happening, they chose to keep mostly to themselves as much as they could while establishing themselves in the town.

Despite the crowds, Emma was relaxed as she moved through the throngs of people with Killian and Henry. Killian didn't get to go too often with them, working in the shop, leading Emma to make the trip often times alone with Henry. She didn't mind it, knowing that Killian was working and making it her own duty the house ran as smoothly as possible.

The occasional time he was able to join them were times she always enjoyed, not just because she had another set of eyes to watch Henry, but because she genuinely enjoyed going out with him. Their trips out to the town and market together were similar to before when she was a princess and he in the Navy, just getting to leave all duties for the day and just wander around and have fun.

Looking over at him as he held Henry's hand, she smiled, realizing exactly how little had actually changed. They were married with a child, having made their home in a foreign land, but still looked forward to the time they got to spend together without worrying of all responsibilities. They were able to still just be together and enjoy each other, only their relationship had grown into something stronger than she ever imagined it could.

She glanced over, seeing Henry reaching up for Killian. The man lifted the boy, keeping a firm, protective grasp on him as Henry looked around, taking in his surroundings with his new vantage point.

They moved closer to where the docks were, finished with their shopping and intending to let Henry see the new ships that had docked. Both Emma and Killian grinned in amusement at his wondrous expression, his eyes wide as he took in the ships.

He pointed out towards one of the ships, smiling excitedly.

"Ship, Papa," he said, looking back at Killian.

The man nodded, his tone light. "Aye, lad. There's ships there."

Henry bounced in his arms, craning his neck to get a better view.

Smiling, Killian walked closer to the water, letting Henry see better. Emma followed them, remaining close.

Her chest warmed at watching them bonding, Killian encouraging him and pointing out various ships while Henry looked on in excitement, hanging on to Killian's every word.

Content to just watch them, she stood near them, listening to them.

After a few moments, Killian glanced at her apologetically, giving her a weak smile.

Smiling back lovingly, she shook her head, silently letting him know she didn't mind.

Hearing Henry call his attention, he turned back to the boy as he pointed out another ship.

"That one's just like yours, isn't it?" he said smiling brightly at Henry.

Henry nodded, grinning.

Emma watched as Killian crouched down in front of Henry as he set him down, helping him pull off his coat and boots. She quickly put their purchases away before turning back to them, seeing Henry walking toward his wooden ship and retrieving it.

She watched him as he plopped down on the floor, playing with the ship.

Killian went over to her, taking some of the things from the bag to help her put everything away.

"You know, sometimes I really wish I still had the Jolly Roger," he said as he looked over at Henry. "I know the lad would love going out on the water."

Humming, Emma nodded. "I think he would, too. He's his father's son."

He grinned, his ears reddening.

Smiling back at him, she lightly pecked his lips.

"Maybe after it get a bit warmer, we can take him swimming again," she suggested, draping her arms around his neck. "He liked it last summer when you taught him to swim. He loves the water."

"That he does," he agreed as his hand and wrist rested at her waist.

They glanced over at Henry to check on him, seeing him continue to play with his toy. A moment later, he looked over at them.

He got up, walking over to them and pull on Killian's leg.

"I think he wants you to play with him," Emma chuckled.

Quickly kissing her again, Killian pulled away, letting Henry drag him over to where the boy was playing.

She watched as they sat down, Killian wearing a light, happy expression as Henry picked up his toy ship. His voice carried the gentle excitement he so often spoke with to Henry, showing the obvious love for the boy. She continued to watch them as she put everything away before lazily sitting near them, contently watching them and smiling.

Killian glanced up at her a few times, constantly wearing a gentle smile.

Emma folded her arms on the arm of the couch, resting her head down as she watched them, completely at ease.


Chapter Text

Tying off the end of her hair in a braid, Emma glanced in the vanity mirror, seeing Henry calmly sitting on her and Killian's bed, his lion in hand. She smiled, seeing her son happlily playing with his favorite toy. Finished getting ready for the day, she scooped him up, nuzzling her face against his cheek to draw a laugh from him.

He clung to her, his lion squished between them as she walked them out of the bedroom and into the main room.

Killian looked over from the counter when they came in, smiling at them. As she approached him, he lightly kissed her before ruffling Henry's hair.

"And how are we doing today?" he asked Henry as he took the boy from his mother. He settled Henry on his hip, going back to his task of making their breakfast. "Did you sleep good?"

"Aye," Henry responded.

Emma smiled as she leaned against the table before she sniffed the air. "Mackerel?"

Looking back at her, Killian nodded. "Aye. A proper sailor's breakfast."

She rolled her eyes in amusement, watching him move with ease with the toddler on his hip, something Emma was so familiar with herself.

Henry watched with interest as his father worked.

"Come on, Henry," Killian said, moving toward the table to set him down in his chair. "Let's sit you down."

He settled Henry at the table before turning back to the food, Emma going with him to help him. She took the food meant for Henry, cutting up the small bit of fish meant for him so it was easier for him to eat as Killian cut up some grapefruit. They set out the meal together, sitting down.

Henry eyed the fish critically.

"Go on, Henry," Emma encouraged.

Continuing to look at it, he poked the food.

Moving so she was closer to him, she speared some of the fish on her fork, holding it out for him to eat. He backed away from it, his mouth shut.

Deciding to try to show him it was good to eat, she ate the bit she offered him, chewing and swallowing the food.

"See, kid?" she said. "It's good. Try it."

Trusting his mother, he took the offered food from her, eating it. Slowly, he took another bite.

"There you go," she said, pulling away to her own meal. She kept an eye on him as they ate, making sure he finished his food.

She set him down once he was done, watching as he went to sit in front of the couch and grabbed his lion.

"What do you say to a bit of sparing today?" Killian suggested, looking over at her curiously. "It's been a long time since we've last done it, and I'm sure we could both use the practice."

She nodded in agreement, smiling . "All right. Let's do it."

He grinned widely in return.

Finishing their own food, she took their dishes while Killian retrieved their swords from their room. Henry looked up with interest as Killian reentered the room, weapons in hand. Setting his lion down, he rose up, walking over to his father curiously.

Killian raised the swords, setting them out of reach on the table before Henry could touch them.

"No, Henry," he said firmly, looking down at the boy. "Don't touch the blade."

"Actually, I wonder if we should start teaching him," Emma mused, looking between their son and the swords. "I was his age when my dad started teaching me. Pretty much as soon as I could walk, he gave me a sword."

He was quiet for a moment, contemplating. "I don't see why we can't start to teach him, at least. Granted, we just have to find him something he can use that fits his size."

Nodding, she grabbed her sword, feeling the familiar weight of it before holding it up so the sunlight from the window reflected off the steel.

Killian held the door for her and Henry to go outside, following them with his own sword in hand.

Emma set Henry's blanket a safe distance away from where she and Killian were to practice, making sure he would stay in his spot. He sat down easily, watching her and Killian with heightened curiousity.

"Ready?" she asked, stepping forward and drawing her sword.

She hadn't bothered to change, used to moving about in her skirts. Though she preferred trousers when she fought, she determinedly got used to fighting while in a corset and skirts, knowing there would always be a possibility that she would have to fight in them.

Killian grinned, light and playful as he drew his own sword. "Whenever you are, love."

Deciding to go for a quick attack, she lunged towards him. His sword blocked hers, the metal clanging loudly in the open air. She pulled back as he advanced but refused to give him ground, instead moving defensively as he began to attack.

Knowing how he moved from years of experience fighting against each other, she parried, able to meet his every move. He met every one of her strikes in return, both on equal grounds.

Deciding to try to gain the advantage, she quickly skirted to the side, his attack missing her. As soon as she made to tap his side, he spun around, his sword blocking hers.

"Nice try, love," he grinned before moving to strike towards her again.

Emma stepped back to avoid his lunge forward, resulting in him spinning in a move she knew he was so fond of to try to land another attack.

Killian had a more flourished style of fighting than she did, sometimes using more elaborate moves to distract his opponent whereas she preferred more direct attacks. There were times that she felt as if she was dancing with him more than sparring, his style just as graceful as when he would dance with her.

Emma decided to go closer to him, playing into his attacks so she could use another strategy to win against him. Letting their swords cross, she twirled, grinning as he caught her and had pinned her, her back pressed to his front, the edge of the blade of his sword positioned at her throat.

"Ready to give up, Swan?" he whispered seductively in her ear.

"Why would I do that when I'm winning?" she responded back, her voice just as husky.

She pressed back into him, the physical contact making him falter, enough for her to spin in his arms, pushing the sword away and pulling a small dagger, the point resting lightly at his Adam's apple.

He gave her a devilish smile. "Minx."

Smiling back triumphantly, she pulled her blade away, leaning into him and pressing her lips to his. He responded eagerly, his hook resting on her waist as he pulled her closer to him.

They pulled away as Henry's laugh registered in their ears, both turning to see him laughing and clapping his hands in excitement.

Emma smiled at him, holding out her hands for him.

He ran to her, launching into her arms and letting her hug him tightly.

"Did you like that?" she asked, burying her nose in his cheek and making him laugh.

Killian ruffled his hair, his hook still resting at his wife's waist. "I think he did, even though his Mama cheated."

She gave him an innocent smile. "It's not my fault it was too easy."

"Ah, yes," he chuckled. "It's hardly your fault you used your feminine wiles against me."

Shrugging lightly, she looked over at him. "Hey, I have to even the grounds somehow. You're just a natural at swordplay."

"But that doesn't mean you can do that to a man," he countered.

She set Henry down, letting him move away from them before resting her lips at Killian's ear, her voice husky. "How about if I make it up to you by us having a different kind of sparing match later tonight?"

He gave her another devilish grin, tightening his grip on her waist. "Bloody minx."

She gave him one last flirtatious grin before looking back at Henry, seeing him eyeing the swords with interest.

Seeing what she saw, Killian glanced around the ground, searching.

"Think if we found some branches long and light enough, we could start teaching him?" he asked, all traces of his desire gone for the moment, focused on their son.

Emma knew Killian believed just as she did, that they were parents above all else, that Henry's needs took priority over their own.

She nodded in agreement, keeping an eye on Henry. "I don't see why not. How often did we use branches when we were younger and away from the palace and wanted to practice?"

Spotting two fallen branches that would serve their purpose, Killian released her to retrieve them, weighing them and nodding to himself before breaking off some of the extra twigs still attached.

"I think we know what we can get him for his birthday at least," she said as she put her and Killian's swords on the table they usually used for any kills they got from hunting.

"Yeah, I think he would like one of his own," he replied, carrying the branches back to Henry and crouching in front of him. His voice lightened as he spoke to him. "Here you go, lad."

Henry took the lighter of the branches, gripping it in both of his hands.

"It might be too heavy for him," Emma said, kneeling down beside the boy to fix his grip.

She helped him, gently showing him how to grip the wood with Killian showing him on the other branch. With a little bit of effort, Henry held the branch, similar to how his parents' grasped their swords.

"Good job, Sea Otter," Killian said, lightly resting his hand on Henry's shoulder in pride.

Henry smiled proudly.

Moving slightly back, she let Killian take over, watching as the man patiently began to teach the boy how to strike. As soon as he moved to crouch in front of Henry, Emma took his spot, directing Henry how to move the branch as Killian blocked the light blows with the other branch.

She smiled at their son's wide grin, at his eagerness to do what his parents did. Henry was an overall fast learner, making her think back to how he had passed all of his milestones at such early ages. With his intelligence, she wondered how soon before he would be ready for more lesssons.

The thought that it would be up to her and Killian to teach Henry didn't upset Emma, that Henry wouldn't have the same tutors they were provided with when they were younger. She knew they could do it, teaching Henry everything they could. While she would have preferred to have been able to raise Henry around her family, she was happy with the life she and Killian had made for their family. Despite missing her family, she was happy.


Chapter Text

Killian stepped out of the blacksmith's shop, reveling in the cooler air. He was thankful he was done for the day, finishing the orders earlier than planned, resulting in him being able to leave the stifling shop.

Stepping out into the street, he watched as people leisurely walked around the cobblestones and harbor as he moved to see about going to the local woodcarver, intending to order some small toy swords to gift Henry on his birthday.

The boy had become insistent about learning ever since he watched his parents spar, showing potential as they began instructing him.

Finding the woodcarver and easily putting in the order, Killian was eager to return home to Emma and Henry.

The throngs of people remained relatively crowded as he moved along the harbor, wanting to catch some of the sea breeze on his way. More ships had began to come into the docks, resulting in more traffic, something not unusual as more travel began with winter being over and ended with the first icy chills of the season.

Killian's steps faltered as he caught a small flash of red out of the corner of his eye, making him look behind, only to see the crowd of people blocking where looked.

Taking caution, his hand went to the blade he always carried out, minutely pulling it from the sheath to ready it. He couldn't explain why he was so nervous, as though someone was watching him.

Instinct told him he was being followed as he continued, resulting in his making a turn to a more secluded, hidden area. He stopped, waiting for a glimpse of who was tailing him, wishing he had his hook with him.

Slowly, a portly man moved in his line on vision, a floppy red cap atop his head. The man stumbled as soon as the blade touched his throat.

Killian withdrew the cutlass as he saw the man, his tone full of wonder. "Smee?"

His hands raised as a sign of submission, Smee looked toward him with wide eyes. "Captain."

Pulling the blade away completely, Killian quickly tucked it away, making the other man relax. "Apologies, mate."

Smee shook his head. "No, I get it. Considering everything, if someone's following you, you're gonna want to take procautions."

Killian nodded. "Aye. It's good to see you again. But I have to ask, why are you here? And is the rest of the crew here?"

He was nervous. Despite the fact that the men had been his comrades, he didn't want an influx of people that would draw attention to him, of potentially leading to the Navy looking for him in the town he and Emma had created a home in.

"It's just me, sir, and it's good to see you, too," Smee shook his head. "They knew the risk, so we actually docked the ship a few towns over, where the crew is staying. If you would believe it, I'm actually here to check in and make sure everything is alright. It's been two years since we parted, and wanted to make sure you and the mistress were doing alright."

Shaking his head, Killian raised a single brow. "You know I'm not a captain anymore. But we've been doing well. Emma and I have a really good life here where we're raising our son."

"So a son then?" Smee asked, smiling. "I do believe congratulations is in order."

Killian shrugged. "That doesn't matter. I would have been equally happy with a daughter. The fact that I have a child with Emma is enough for me."

He wasn't lying. As soon as he claimed Henry as his own before he was born, Killian hadn't given a thought if he would have preferred a son or daughter.

Smee nodded. "Of course, sir. But what about Emma? How is she?"

"She's fine," Killian told him lightly. "We're happy here. It's a lot different than what we're used to, but we've adapted. I was actually on my way home."

Smiling, Smee nodded.

Gesturing for him to follow, Killian began to walk, wanting to return home to his wife and son.

"Excuse me for being so forward, sir, but how have you been supporting yourselves?" Smee asked curiously. "I just know what you had wouldn't last forever, even with the mistress' wealth."

"I obtained a position with the town's blacksmith," Killian answered. "Emma has become the town's healer, so there's always work for us."

Smee's steps faltered as they reached the trees that covered the path back to his former captain's home. "Wait, a healer? As in able to heal with magic?"

Killian fought a smile at the man's confounded tone.

It was far from common knowledge that Emma possessed magic, even in their own kingdom. Only those closest to her and her family knew of her powers. Both Snow and David had agreed that it was better that as few people knew as possible, especially those of the outside kingdoms. Though they were a peaceful kingdom who often sought to make alliances, they knew what it could possibly mean for Emma, that others would seek an alliance through marriage just for her power.

While Snow had tried to push the idea of suitors onto Emma, both her parents wanted Emma to marry for love, not political advantage.

"Aye," Killian said. "Emma possesses magic. Always has, most just don't know it."

Stunned, Smee nodded before telling him of everything that had happened with the crew since Killian departed.

Killian nodded at each piece of new information, happy the men he had once commanded were doing well for themselves. He felt a small flash of guilt knowing it was because of him that they were branded as pirates until Smee reassured him that all of the men had agreed with and supported Killian in his actions agains the previous captain.

Smee stared in amazement as they broke through the trees, taking in the sight of the cottage and land it was on. "I would say you and the mistress have fared pretty well for yourselves, Captain."

Nodding, Killian smiled proudly. "It was hard, but we did it."

He led the way to the home, Smee following close behind.

Opening the door, he was assaulted by a small form barreling into his leg, hugging him tightly.

"Papa's home," Henry announced happily, looking up at him with large eyes.

Chuckling, Killian reached down, lifting his son into his arms. "Hey there, lad."

He looked up as Emma approached him, grinning at her own warm smile as she leaned forward to lightly kiss him.

"Welcome home," she said happily as he wrapped one arm around her waist.

"Thanks," he replied, tilting his head toward Smee, who had just closed the door behind him. "I have someone with me."

"Smee," Emma said in amazement, looking at the other man before smiling in greeting. "It's good to see you again."

"Aye, you too," Smee responded back, nodding cordially her way. "I must say, have to compliment you on the home you have created for yourselves."

"Thank you," Emma said proudly, resting her hand on Killian's chest.

Killian squeezed his wife's waist affectionately as he looked down at Henry, who was watching Smee with interest.

"And this here is Henry," he announced, smiling as he looked down towards his son.

At the attention suddenly drawn on him, Henry buried his head in Killian's neck, hiding his face.

"He's being shy right now," Emma said with a soft laugh, removing her hand from her husband's chest to rub Henry's back.

At his mother's ministrations, he peeked over at the visitor with one weary eye.

Killian lightly nudged Emma, giving her a mischievious grin before looking down at Henry. "Henry, this an old friend, William Smee. I used to sail with him, and he has a ship."

As soon as he mentioned sailing and the ship, Henry's head picked up in interest, making Killian hold back a laugh.

"Hi," Henry said, smiling widely toward Smee.

Smee smiled back toward the boy. "Hi to you, too."

"He loves ships," Killian explained as he let Henry down, watching fondly as he scampered off.

Henry returned again a moment later, presenting his wooden ship to Smee.

Without any prompting, Smee crouched down so he was closer to Henry's eye level. "Is that your ship? She's a good one."

Smiling proudly, Henry returned to his parents, ship in hand.

Emma picked him up, holding him securely in her arms. "Why don't we sit down?"

The men nodded in agreement.

Settling down, with Killian and Emma resting on the couch, Smee in the comfy chair they rarely used, and Henry playing on the floor, Killian looked over at Smee, suddenly nervous. Reading him, Emma brought her hand back, gently running her fingers through the hair on the back of his head to sooth him. He leaned into her touch, letting her presence calm him.

"I have to ask," he finally said after a few moments, looking over at Smee. "What of my brother? Is there any news of him?"

Slowly, Smee shook his head. "Not much, only some rumors. What's being said is he's still hunting, but not like he was. From what I've heard, his hearts not in it. The crew isn't questioning it too much, cause they're lost. All of the soldiers from home are lost. No one has been able to get a word from home or anything. The men are all anxious, and there's been some threats of mutinies. They just want to go back home instead of searching for some pirate they don't know anything about. Plus from what I've gathered, many are wanting to abandon the search for now under the logic that even if they capture 'Hook'," he gestured to the metal appendage twisted into Killian's brace, "there's no way to take him back to the kingdom right now to face trial."

"So they feel like they're just drifting right now without a purpose and are bored," Emma surmised.

He nodded. "Aye. It's rough all around, especially on the Jolly Roger. The men are anxious. They want to clear their names and serve again. Many are growing paranoid, watching for any soldiers who might recognize them."

"But for obvious reasons, that's impossible," Killian added.

"But if they're recognized, especially by any of the soldiers, shouldn't they figure out that Silver lied about everything?" Emma asked.

Killian shook his head, his voice low as he looked at her. "Not necessarily. They'll see a pirate first before a comrade, and use lethal force if needed to arrest them. They could be recognized too late. And with how the men are growing so restless, it wouldn't surprise me if it was shoot first, questions later."

Slowly, she nodded.

"The bright side is the soldiers still believe they're hunting a man on the sea," Smee said hopefully. "They have no idea that who they're looking for has settled down somewhere."

Nodding, Killian glanced back at him. "And let's hope it stays that way. I don't want to have to leave everything and uproot my family."

"Though it would hardly be your fault," Emma told him quietly.

Guilt twisted in his gut at the idea of having to rip Emma and Henry from their home because he was found. "Even so, I'm going to do everything I can to ensure that never happens."

"Nothing will happen," she reassured him, leaning further into him. "I'm not gonna let anything happen to us, either."

He nodded, squeezing her knee affectionately as she continued to run her fingers through his hair.

"I'm guessing you haven't heard from your brother since that night, have you?" Smee asked hesitantly.

Slowly, Killian shook his head. "No, not since then."

Smee nodded, looking back between him and Emma.

Stretching out on the bed a while after they put Henry to bed, Killian held out his arm, letting Emma nestle into his side.

"Wanna talk about it?" she asked him gently as she settled into him, wrapping her arm around his bare waist.

Feeling her warm body pressed against his, Killian tightened his arm around her as he rested his hand on her ribs, feeling the soft material of her nightdress beneath his fingers.

"Just, Liam," he said quietly, looking up at the ceiling of their bedroom. "How there's not really any news of him."

"I'm sorry," Emma whispered solemnly.

He shook his head before rolling onto his side so he faced her, their fronts pressed together as he raised his hand to stroke her cheek with his thumb.

"Don't be, love," he told her, pressing a soft kiss to her lips. "Even if me and Liam hadn't of had our fight, he would still be hunting. And even if I wasn't branded as a pirate, we still wouldn't have much contact, just because we would be on our own."

She bit her lip, nodding.

"Hey," he said gently, knowing she felt guilty. "None of this is your fault, Emma. And even still, I don't regret my decisions. I don't regret any of it. The only thing to blame for all of this is that damned barrier."

"And Silver," she added quietly, her brow pinched in a way so similar to their son's. "If it weren't for him, you wouldn't have to hide. I hate the thought that he's home living without fear while he's trying to ruin your name."

"Which we will clear as soon as that barrier is down and we return," he replied, smiling lovingly at her.

Her own hand went to his face, stroking along the scar that marked his cheek as she playfully smirked. "Since when are you so hopeful?"

"Since I've been around your mother for so long," he responded with a small, quiet laugh. "That, and you and Henry. Perhaps after all these years, I've started to pick it up."

Emma pressed her forehead to his, humming. "Maybe."

"But what I've said before still stands," Killian told her, his voice dropping. "I've never regretted my decisions, and I never will."


Chapter Text

Emma looked over where Henry chased after some of the other small children from the town, waiting near where most of the other mothers watched over their children. Most of the kids were around Henry's age, only a year older at most, making them the ideal playmates for her son.

She smiled at his excited laugh, her eyes on him as he tumbled with another one of the boys before the toddler's rose up again to be chased by another boy.

Some of the children had already been pulled by their mothers, the hour growing later, soon time for most of their dinners.

She and Henry had been out so she could purchase a few things they needed, keeping her son by her side until she was done before turning him loose to play with some of his friends. He had taken off quickly, immediately immersed in whatever gave the others were playing while she say off beside some of the other parents who stayed around to watch over them.

Emma glanced toward where the sun was setting, knowing that Killian would be out of the shop soon unless he were working late. Their spot was close to the blacksmith's shop, meaning she would be able to see her husband's exit immediately and allowing them to return home with him.

She saw him exit after a while longer, smiling widely at the sight of him. Seeing her and Henry, Killian returned her smile, moving toward them to meet them.

Glancing back at Henry, she saw him pull away from his playmates to quickly run to meet his father.

"Papa!" Henry yelled excitedly as he sprinted toward the man.

Emma watched him, knowing the distance between them and Killian was short. "Go on, Henry. Go get him, but be careful."

Half way there, Henry's foot caught on one of the cobblestones, his small body plummeting to the ground.

Feeling her stomach drop at the sound of the hard smack as he hit the ground, Emma began to rush towards him just as Killian did. She was worried he had hurt himself, knowing he fell hard.

To her amazement, Henry picked himself up, whining slightly at the scrapes on his knees, but continued on to Killian at a slower pace.

Killian stooped down, taking Henry in his arms so he could examine the cuts.

"You okay, lad?" he asked, gently pulling up Henry's trouser legs to get a better look at the cuts.

Quickly closing the distance between them, Emma stood beside them to examine the cuts herself. "How bad are they? He didn't cry at all."

"He's a tough little man," Killian replied, keeping his grip on Henry. "He's pretty scratched up, but nothing serious. He was still moving around just fine."

Feeling herself release a breath of relief, she nodded as she began to rub Henry's back. Seeing the wounds herself, she knew Killian was right, that they weren't bad.

She was torn, not knowing whether to heal the scrapes of not. She herself had received plenty of minor injuries as a small child, some giving her scars she still sported. She knew it was a part of growing up, and that Henry would face many more injuries, most of which would likely be worse.

"I think he'll be fine," Killian said, voicing her thoughts. "Maybe just let these heal naturally?"

She nodded in agreement, going to take Henry from him.

He shook his head. "It's fine, love. I've got him. He's not that heavy."

Knowing it was just for the sake of carrying their son and not babying his injury, she nodded.

Shifting so Henry's weight was balanced on one side, he offered his free arm to Emma. She looped her hand through, resting on his bicep as they began to walk back to their cottage, saying a brief farewell to the other parents she sat with.

"How soon do you think before we begin to get the heavy rains again?" she asked curiously, looking up at the cloudy sky before they reached the cover of the trees.

"Hard to say," Killian replied. "But it does appear we'll be getting rain tonight."

Nodding, she carefully maneuvered over a tree root. "You know, I actually can't wait for the rainy season. There's just something about it here." She reached over to affectionately tug at Henry's leg. "Though I know someone doesn't care for the lightning and thunder."

"Lad's just got to get used to it," Killian responded, lightly bouncing Henry.

Henry gave him an unhappy expression, pinching his brow.

Fighting a grin, Emma reach back over to tickle his stomach, making him laugh.

"You'll be okay, kid," Emma promised him. "And just remember, after the rain comes the snow, and you love that."

Smiling widely, Henry nodded. "Aye."

Killian set Henry on the ground as soon as they broke through the trees, their cottage in sight. Henry stayed close beside them, even knowing they were home.

Emma began to unpack what she had gotten in the town once they entered their home, Killian helping her as Henry settled in his spot on the floor to play.

"You know you can take it easy and relax," Emma told Killian, bumping her hip to his as she passed by him.

"I know, love," he told her.

She rolled her eyes, knowing he was going to be stubborn.

As soon as they finished, her task taking only a fraction of the time thanks to Killian, he reached out, grabbing her from behind and pulling her against his chest, his arms snaking around her slim waist. Emma laughed, feeling warm and happy at the open affection.

Placing her hands over his arms, she turned her head to meet his lips in a playful kiss.

"What's this for?" she asked with a laugh.

"No reason," he hummed, pressing his forehead to hers.

Releasing another laugh, she kissed him again.

Henry suddenly streaked past them, jumping up to look out the window.

Both raising their brows in surprise, Emma and Killian looked over at Henry's spot at the window, seeing it had began to rain.

Gently extracting herself from Killian's hold, she picked Henry up to offer him a better view outside the window.

"It's started raining, huh?" she asked him.

Henry wrapped his arms around her neck, his gaze transfixed on this view through the glass.

She glanced back over at Killian suddenly. "Did we make sure the animals were put away?"

Eyes wide, he kept his voice pitched low. "Bloody hell."

Emma reached out to stop him as he made to turn, offering him Henry.

"Here, I can go out," she quickly offered.

He quickly shook his head. "I've got it, Swan. Just stay with Henry for right now and I'll be back in a tick."

Slowly, she nodded, letting him go outside.

Keeping her grip on Henry, she let him continue to watch the downpour, hoping Killian would be back in sooner rather than later.

When he did come back inside, his dark hair was plastered to his head, his shirt soaked though.

"Everyone's secured," he said, pulling off his coat.

"Good, now go change into something dry," Emma told him as she moved to set Henry down.

Raising his hand and hook in surrender, he disappeared into their room.

"Will it rain long?" Henry asked her curiously.

She shrugged lightly. "I don't know, kid. This may be the start of the rainy season, so it could rain a lot for a long time."

He looked back toward the window.

Crouching down, she gently nudged him away. "Why don't you go play while I cook dinner? I'm sure your Papa's gonna be back out in a minute."

Henry went back to his blanket, grabbing his ball and sitting to wait for Killian.

Turning her back so she could begin cooking, she smiled when she head Killian reenter the main room, only to be called by Henry to play with him.

"Go ahead," she told him, turning her head slightly to look back at Killian.

Not needing to be told twice, he settled in with Henry, drawing happy laughs from the small boy.

Emma often found herself looking over at them, always smiling widely to match the grins the man and boy wore.

Emma sat beside Killian on their couch, listening to him read to Henry as she kept her eyes on the large blanket she was knitting. She had improved since her first project, Henry's baby blanket. She found the task to be calming, letting her concentrate on what she was making.

She looked over to see Henry sitting in front of them on the floor with his lion in hand, completely entranced by the story Killian was reciting for him.

Completely content, she shifted her gaze back to her work.

The room suddenly illuminated in a blinding white light, rumbling thunder following a couple seconds later and shattering the peace in the room.

Struck with fear, Henry was suddenly on his feet, rushing toward his mother and scrambling onto her lap.

Pushing her work aside and lifting him the rest of the way, Emma held him to her chest, soothingly running her hand through his hair to calm him.

"You're okay, Henry," she promised him. "There's nothing to be scared of."

Having set aside the book, Killian placed his hand on Henry's back, gently rubbing it as he spoke softly. "Your Mama's right, lad. There's nothing to be afraid of. And you know that we won't ever let anything happen to you. We'll always protect you."

"That's what this family does," Emma added, glancing over at Killian with a loving look before looking back at their son clinging to her. "We always find each other, and we always protect each other."

Henry tensed as lightning struck again, the clap of thunder following a moment later, but didn't cry out or try to hide, knowing he was safe with his parents.

Deciding to keep her hold on Henry to comfort him, Emma nodded at Killian, gesturing to the book he had set aside.

He nodded in understanding before looking back toward Henry. "Should we finish the story, lad?"

Keeping his position cuddled into his mother, Henry looked back over to him. "Aye."

Smiling warmly at him, Killian quickly found his spot, his lilting voice calmly filling the room as he began reading to Henry again.

Emma felt her relief growing as she watched them, seeing Henry relax as his attention was on Killian, only tensing slightly whenever lighting struck. Soon enough, his eyes began to grow heavy, slowly leaning further into her.

She steadily stroked his back, pulling him further under until he leaned into her completely, having fallen asleep.

"You can stop now," she murmured to Killian. "He's completely out."

Sticking a small scrap of parchment between the pages to mark his spot, Killian closed the book, setting it aside. He rose with Emma to put Henry to bed, pulling down the blankets so she could set him down and pull them back up to cover him.

She leaned forward, kissing his head. "Good night, Henry."

Emma pulled away, letting Killian bid their son good night. She took his hand when he was done, leading him back to the main room.

"I hope he sleeps through the night," she sighed as she sat back in her spot on the couch.

"As I, love," Killian agreed, stretching out beside her.

She curled into him as soon as he was settled, tucking herself into his side and rested her head on his shoulder.

He squeezed her shoulders in response, resting his hook at her waist.

"At least the lightning has stopped," she acknowledged.

He hummed in response, his thumb stroking her through her sleeve.

Closing her eyes, she relished in the warmth of his body and the fire, listening to the steady rain outside.

"You know, your birthday is coming up again," he mentioned.

She released a small groan it his neck. "Don't remind me. And you know that you're not supposed to mention a lady's age."

Chuckling, he kissed her hair. "You're only a few months younger than I am. And you're to be twenty. That's hardly old."

"Yet you act like you're three-hundred sometimes," Emma teased, kissing him playfully. "Even if you are only twenty."

"Oh, really?" he asked mischievously. "You've never complained about me acting old before. You know I'm just as youthful as ever."

"Maybe only in appearance," she laughed, pulling away to look at him.

"Just in my handsome good looks?" Killian asked, cocking his brow. He suddenly stood up, taking a laughing Emma in his arms before beginning to walk back to their room. "Maybe I can change your mind after some more pleasurable activities."


Chapter Text

Killian shook his hair out, sending water spraying from him from the downpour outside as he took cover under the roof of the cottage. Pushing the front door open, he was greeted with warmth, a fire blazing in the hearth and chasing away the chill he felt.

He felt a grin stretch his face at the sight of Emma with Henry on her lap, reading to him.

She smiled over at him, hearing him come in. "Hey."

He shrugged off his coat before walking over to her, lightly kissing her. "Hey."

Pulling away, he ruffled Henry's hair. "Hey there, Sea Otter."

Henry smiled brightly at him, reaching out for him. "Hi, Papa."

Leaning down, Killian picked the boy up, hugging him close before rounding the couch to sit beside his wife and draw her into him. She leaned against him, nestling into his side before picking the book back up to resume reading to Henry.

Utterly content, Killian found himself closing his eyes, relaxing that he was home with his family. He pulled Emma closer as she affectionately squeezed his thigh, remaining quiet as she continued to read.

His eyes flew open at the sound of loud tapping on the window, making him turn to see a bird frantically hitting the glass with its beak.

Sharing a quick glance with him, Emma rose up to let the bird in, letting it hop in and offer her the note at its leg.

"Swan?" Killian asked, pinching his brow as he caught the worried expression that shadowed her features.

"It's urgent," she said, immediately turning to grab her kit. "They're asking I come immediately. I'm sorry, I know you just got home-"

"Go," he said, lifting Henry off him to sit him on the couch as he stood. "It's okay, they need you."

She nodded as she gathered what she needed while he grabbed her cloak, helping her put it on.

He quickly kissed her lips, looking at him intently. "Be safe out there. I've got everything here."

Nodding once, she quickly kissed him again before going to kiss Henry, leaving them alone.

Walking back over to where Henry sat, Killian stretched out on the couch beside him, lightly tickling the boy's stomach to make him laugh.

"Well, lad, it looks like it's just you and me for now," he mused, reaching out to pick up the book and take over from where Emma left off.

Sitting at the table, Killian waited, listening for any signs of Emma's return.

Henry had gone to bed a while before, unhappy his mother wasn't there to tuck him in, giving Killian a small taste of what Emma had to go through those days and nights he had to work so late months ago. She had been gone for a few hours; while not unusual, it made Killian nervous because of the late hour.

He looked out toward the window to check for any sign of her before turning away, only seeing his reflection staring back at him in the firelight.

Having forgone dinner to wait for her, he picked at a piece of bread to calm his stomach, wanting to instead take his meal with Emma when she returned home.

His eyes wandering the area, he found himself looking back on the area Henry usually played in, his blanket and toys tucked away. They had stored his old bassinet away, knowing they no longer needed it, but refused to outright get rid of it, hoping they would need it again. He had began thinking of Emma and himself having another child again, of expanding their family. He knew it wasn't only his decision, but knew his wife was open to the idea, having expressed the same desire herself.

He wondered how much longer she would wish to wait before they would try expanding their family.

Lost in thought, he started slightly when he heard a noise outside, knowing instinctively that Emma was home. He quickly rose to greet her, meeting her at the door just as she stepped through and shut it behind her.

He instantaneously knew she was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, prompting him to rest his hand and hook on her shoulders to get her to look at him.

"Emma?" he asked, ducking his head slightly to meet her eyes. "You alright, love?"

She bit her lip before shaking her head. "Don't worry, just tired."

He curious to know what had happened, but decided to let it go for the time being, knowing he had to be patient.

"Let's have dinner then," he said, pulling away to lead her to their tiny kitchen to get them their dinner.

"I'm not really hungry," she said, folding her arms across her chest. "You go ahead, though."

"I would feel better if you ate something," he suggested gently, not wanting to push her. He gave her a small smile. "We both know you'll be famished come the morning."

Giving him a weak smile, she let him take her kit and lead her back to the table and taking the plate he offered her. She waited until he sat with his own dinner before beginning to slowly eat her own meal.

She decided she was done when he was, pushing her plate over to him in offering. "Do you want the rest of mine? I know you're hungry."

Slowly, he nodded, his own hunger getting the better of him. "Thanks."

"I'm gonna go see Henry really quick," she muttered, quickly rising and disappearing into the dark hallway.

He watched her as she went even as he ate.

Quickly finishing and cleaning up, he quietly walked by Henry's room, seeing only the boy asleep with the covers slightly ruffled, a sign his wife had been in there, before going to retire in his and Emma's room. Pushing the door open further to enter, he felt his heart tightening in his chest and a smile at his lips at the sight before him.

Emma sat in the center of their bed, her thin nightdress added to the image of her being so fragile, along with her hair loose from the updo she had it in previously, waiting for him.

Before he was even conscience of moving, Killian was at her side, sitting right beside her and pulling her into his side before reclining them so they were laying down.

"Do you want to tell me about the summons?" he asked softly, knowing how sometimes she needed to talk about what happened before she could really relax.

She curled further into him before her low voice reached his ears. "Some idiots got in a fight at the tavern. I didn't even care to ask what it was over. The doctor got there before I could and was trying to stop one of the guys from bleeding out. I had to heal him and the other guy that was fighting. There were a lot of injuries, as well as some bits of glass in some of the wounds. I'm still surprised they were awake and mostly standing."

Killian couldn't help snickering, ever grateful he had stopped frequenting taverns since he married Emma and settled down. Even if he had only ever gone before with Emma, his brother, or some of the other men he served with, he had mostly kept his head down, keeping to himself and whoever he was with to avoid any fights. The only exceptions were when he saw men, usually drunk, trying to force themselves on women, just like the night he and Emma found each other again.

"Sounds like you had quite the night," he replied softly, his lips brushing her hair as he tightened his arms around her.

Slowly, she nodded, turning slightly so she was further cuddled into him.

"Mama?" Henry's voice asked, full of curiosity.

They both started, looking up to see their son standing on the doorway of their room, his brow pinched in suspicion. They knew they had most likely woken to see for himself if his mother had returned.

"Henry," Emma sighed, sitting up slightly.

Henry took it as all the signal he needed to climb into the bed and join them beneath the blankets.

He wiggled between them, cuddling into the both of them.

"Where do you go, Mama?" he asked in a small voice.

Emma tucked one arm around him, cuddling him close. "Someone got hurt and I had to heal them. I'm sorry I wasn't here tonight."

"It's okay, Mama," Henry said. "You help people. You helped them."

Killian had never been more proud of his son in that moment, knowing Henry understood how much Emma did.

"He's right, love," he said softly.

Swallowing heavily, she nodded, drawing the same conclusion he had at their son.

Knowing Henry would be in with them for the night, Killian lightly kissed Emma's temple.

"It's late," he murmured, noticing Henry falling asleep in his mother's arms. "We should go to bed. It would do us all some good."

She nodded before looking back down at Henry.

"We'll leave him in here with us," Killian said, lightly rubbing her arm, knowing having Henry with them would help relax her further.

He noticed Emma turn her head towards him, her green eyes intent on him as she smiled gently.

"Love you, by the way," she whispered.

He gave her a soft smile, reaching out to grasp her hand in his, their fingers intertwining. "Love you, too."


Chapter Text

Emma stretched lazily as she walked to Henry's room where he layed down for his nap, seeing the little boy fast asleep. She pulled his blanket back around him, securely tucking him in before leaving the room.

Rain fell steadily outside, the rainy season having come full force. The noise relaxed her, even if she was anxious for her husband to return so he would be out of the weather and safe at home. The thunder hadn't yet began, but she knew it was only a matter of time.

All of their animals were securely tucked away in their shelters, warm and dry from the weather save the horse, who Killian had taken.

Their dinner cooking and the cottage clean, she had no more chores left to keep her occupied. Bored, she grabbed what she needed to continue knitting another blanket for them, knowing it would be useful in the coming months as the weather got colder.

She had improved since Henry's baby blanket, her work neater. After the initial frustration of her first attemps, she found the work relaxing.

Henry's baby blanket remained in his room though he rarely used it anymore, having grown too big. She intended to keep it even if it would never be used again, wanting to keep the memento of Henry when he was a newborn.

Part of her wanted to begin making another baby blanket, but wanted to wait just a while longer.

She had nearly finished her project that when Killian walked through the front door, shaking out his hair and removing his coat and muddy boots.

Setting her work aside, she stood up, meeting him half way and wrapping her arms around his shoulders to reach up and kiss him.

"Welcome home," she smiled lovingly.

He nodded, smiling back just as lovingly. "Finished a little later than I had hoped, I'll admit."

"Well, I'm not gonna complain," she replied, kissing him again. "You're home now and not out there."

She lightly pulled on his arm, pulling him with her to sit back down. He tugged at her waist, pulling her into his side.

"Is Henry napping?" he asked lightly.

"Yeah," she responded. "I should maybe go wake him pretty soon. Are you hungry?"

"I'm fine, love," he said. "I can go wake Henry if you wish."

"Actually, could you?" she asked him. "If he sleeps too much now, he won't want to sleep later."

He nodded before getting back up, disappearing in the hall to wake their son up from his nap. He returned a couple moments later, Henry in his arms.

Emma held her arms out for him, taking the boy in her arms. "Hey, kid. Did you sleep good?"

Henry nodded drowsily, curling into her arms.

"Is he feeling alright?" Killian asked, his brow pinched in concern.

Feeling Henry's forehead, Emma shook her head. "No, he seems fine. Just tired I think."

He nodded, peering down at their son. He flashed her a bright grin, winking. "Well then, I guess he won't want to go out and keep me company while I take care of the horse."

To their amusement, Henry perked up, suddenly wide awake.

"Just bundle him up," Emma said as she passed him back to his father so he could pull their son's coat and boots on.

"I know," he said as he began helping Henry before pulling his own coat back on.

She watched them go out, Henry excitedly running out I to the rain with Killian following close behind him. She smiled fondly, the sounds of them quickly getting lost in the rain.

Checking their dinner, she stood by the window, watching the downpour outside.

She saw them coming back as the sky darkened, Henry running through the door as soon as Killian pushed it open.

"Henry, wait-" he said, reaching to stop the boy from running through the house before Henry escaped from him.

Emma caught him as he ran to her, lifting him up with an exaggerated groan. "Come on, you. Let's get you changed so I can cleanup."

Henry's brow suddenly pinched guiltily. "Sorry, Mama."

Sighing, Emma kissed his forehead, knowing she couldn't remain mad at him, that he was still a toddler. "It's okay, Henry."

She carried him off to change him while Killian cleaned up, putting Henry in clean clothes free of mud. She found Killian back in the main room about to clean up the mud Henry had tracked in.

"I've got it," she said quickly. "Just relax."

Knowing she would remain stubborn, he nodded, going over to keep Henry occupied.

Emma looked over from where she stood by the table, fighting a grin as she watched Killian and Henry.

She had noticed it as they sat down to dinner, that Henry had began mimicking what Killian did, down to when he would eat and drink. It had been something he had done before on occasion, yet it never failed to make her smile.

Watching on in amusement, she crosse her arms as Killian sat down on the couch, Henry immediately following him. He folded his arms behind his head, resting his head back and closing his eyes.

Henry copied the action, but constantly opened his eyes to check what his father was doing in case he had to move again, thinking he was sneaky.

Killian opened one bright blue eye, looking down at the boy with an amused smirk, fully knowing what he was doing.

He winked over at his wife, making Emma's grin widen further.

He slid down so he was slouching on the couch, his back resting mostly on the seat.

Wiggling, Henry copied him so his legs were dangling off the couch before covertly going to watch Killian again.

Fighting a smile, Killian raised his brow, covertly watching as Henry attempted to mimic the expression before standing suddenly and dramatically stretching.

Struggling for a moment, Henry jumped down then stood, raising his arms up.

He released a peal of laughter as Killian suddenly grabbed onto him, lifting him easily and tickling his stomach. He clung to Killian's neck, hugging him tightly.

Killian lightly pressed his lips to his hair.

"I told you, he wants to be like you," Emma chuckled, moving closer to them and resting her hand on Henry's leg. "He looks up to you."

"He looks up to you, too," Killian replied. "How many times has he copied you?"

"Not nearly like he does with you," she countered lightly. She never minded it, was even happy that Henry idolized Killian the way he did. She would be proud to have her son grow up to be just like his father. "He just tries to do whatever he sees me doing. With you, he tries to copy it exactly."

"Well, even if that were the case, that means we can get him to do silly stuff, right lad?" he said, looking back at Henry as he bounced him in his arms.

"Aye," Henry laughed.

Rolling her eyes playfully, Emma shook her head.

Emma fell down onto her and Killian's bed, feeling her muscles relaxing as she sunk into the mattress, listening to the rain falling outside.

"Tired, love?" Killian asked her teasingly.

She propped herself up on her elbows, peering over at him. "Actually, yes."

He sat beside her, his thigh pressed against hers. "It's late. We should turn in for the night."

Getting up to grab her nightdress, she looked back at him, her brow raised. "Why does it sound like you have other ideas in mind?"

He cocked his brow, looking up and down her body salaciously. "Perhaps I do."

She threw her chemise at him, quickly pulling on her nightdress and covering herself while he pulled the material from where it covered his head.

"That's cruel, Swan," he lamented. "To deny a man the view of his beautiful wife like that."

She rolled her eyes, going over to the vanity to take the braid out of her hair as Killian changed.

Emma crawled into her side of the bed, immediately settling under the heavy blankets as she waited for her husband to join her. She immediately cuddled into him as he layed down, her front pressed to his as her hands went to his arm and shoulder.

His arms went to her waist, his hand splayed against her spine as he nuzzled his nose it her hair.

Heat began to blossom within her at the feel of his warm body pressed to hers, coupled with the way he so lovingly held her. She turned her head from where it rested in the crook of his neck, easily reaching up to kiss him languidly.

Pulling away, she peeked up at him, seeing him looking in curiousity.

"I may not be that tired," she said with a coquette smile.

Killian raised a single brow. "Well then, who am I to deny a lady what she desires?"

Emma's laugh was quieted when her lips met his again, instead turning to a moan as she felt his hand trail down her body to grip the hem of her nightdress. He had barely pushed the material up to her thigh when a brilliant flash of light filled the room, followed a moment later by a loud clap.

They began pulling away, all traces of desire gone.

"You know he's gonna be in here any second now," Killian said, keeping her in his arms.

Knowing he was right, that Henry would be in their room at any moment, she nodded.

A second later, they heard the light shuffling of small feet hurrying towards their room, pausing only to push open the door.

They felt a weight towards the foot of their bed, Henry appearing with his lion in hand. He dove between them, breaking them apart enough to cuddle in between them.

Emma released Killian enough to let him draw the blankets over their son as she pushed the skirt of her dress back down, letting him burrow between them.

"Did the thunder and lightning wake you?" she asked Henry, soothingly rubbing his back.

He nodded into the blankets. "It's scary."

Looking over, she met Killian's eyes, both in agreement they would let Henry sleep with them.

Despite their reassurance that he didn't have anything to be afraid of, Henry still startled easily during storms. They understood it, that he couldn't just get over his fear, instead offering him the comfort he needed whenever his fear rose up.

"You wanna sleep in here, lad?" Killian asked gently.

Henry turned, snuggling into his mother as he answered. "Aye."

"Alright," Emma murmured, kissing his hair. "You can stay in here. You're okay, Henry. I promise you, you're okay. You don't need to be scared."

Giving her a small smile, Killian leaned his head so his forehead was pressed to hers, his hand returning to her waist.

Emma tilted her head to chastely kiss him before settling back, smiling at the light snores Henry was releasing as she felt sleep begin to take over.


Chapter Text

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.


Chapter Text

Emma looked at her kit she was organizing, finding the empty jars and bottles she needed to replenish. Various herbs, roots, and flowers in larger jars littered the table, creating a clutter, but she knew where everything was, finding everything she needed with ease.

Her eyes passed on the dried red plant she herself regularly took, her fingers lingering over the jar before passing over it. A desire to stop brewing a tea from the plant had been growing within her for the past months, becoming stronger every day. She hadn't taken it in the morning, wanting to wait.

She looked up from her kit with a start as she heard Henry calling her, sounding on the verge of tears as he ran towards her.

"What's wrong, Henry?" she asked in alarm, turning toward him.

He hurried over to her, holding out his favorite toy, his stuffed lion, to her. Examining the toy, she saw a large rip in the seam of the leg, the stuffing leaking out.

"It's okay, kid," she said soothingly, taking the lion from him and setting it on the table. "We'll see what we can do to fix him, okay? He'll be as good as new."

Unhappy, Henry pulled away, his lip quivering.

She quickly decided to put off finishing her kit for the time being, wanting to get her son to smile. She decided to try to sew up the lion when he was down for his nap, knowing it would take a little time. Rising up, she went to his blanket, sitting down beside him, her skirts pooling around her.

"What are you doing?" she asked him lightly, playfully nudging him.

He held out a block to her, the ones she and Killian made for him when he was younger from some wood.

She grinned at him. "Wanna see how tall we can make a tower?"

Finally smiling, he nodded. "Aye."

Grinning back at him, she sat one block on another, letting Henry do most of the work in stacking the wooden cubes. She felt her own smile grow as her son's mood lightened, knowing her distraction worked.

She continued to play with him until his eyes began to droop, knowing it was nearing his nap time.

"You tired, kid?" she asked him.

"Aye," he said, his voice betraying his fatigue.

Reaching out to pick him up, Emma lifted him up, carrying him to his room as he rested his head on her shoulder.

Laying him in his bed, she pulled the blankets over him before sitting down to read to him for a little while, just until he fell asleep.

Carefully pulling at the seams of the stuffed animal, Emma wove the needle and thread through the soft material, tugging it together.

She looked up as she saw Killian open the door, his cheeks, nose, and ears red from the cold.

"You're home early," she said by way of greeting.

"Finished early, so Goban told me to take off early," he said, moving over to the table to lean down and kiss her.

She hummed as her lips met his. "Or are you sure it has nothing to do with what day it is today?"

"Maybe a bit," he confessed, grinning at her. "We have been married three years as of today."

Kissing him again, she raised a hand to cradle his face.

"I'm guessing the inevitable finally happened?" he asked, gesturing to the lion on the table.

She nodded. "Yeah. Poor little guy was almost in tears when he showed it to me."

Killian sat down beside her, his knee pressed to hers. "Can we fix it?"

"That's what I've been trying to do since he went down for his nap," she told him. "It just looks like a seam has come out."

Nodding, he clicked his hook back into his brace, knowing it was safe for him to wear it again. "Is there anything you want me to do?"

Emma shook her head, pulling the stuffed lion back to her. "I've got it. Hopefully it's done by the time he wakes up."

"I can always run interception if needed," he offered, tapping his hook on one of the glass jars that remained on the table.

"Thanks," she said. "I'm just hoping we won't need it."

She continued to work as he got up to check on their dinner cooking in the small oven, repairing the toy.

Tugging the last stitch, she tied it off before biting the excess thread. "What do you think?"

Killian looked back, examining the lion and grinning widely. "I think our lad will be pleased."

She smiled in return.

He held out his hand, pulling her up when she placed hers within his. His arms wrapped around her waist as hers went around his shoulders, his hand splayed along her spine.

Emma rested her head on his chest, content to be held by her husband, his body and the fire in the hearth warming her.

"How long before the lad wakes do you think?" he asked her.

She shrugged, reluctant to leave his arms. "I don't know."

She fought back a laugh as she heard Henry moving around a second later.

"Someone's awake," she commented.

"So it would seem," Killian agreed.

Just as he always did, Henry barreled right into Killian, hugging his father tightly.

Carefully, Killian picked Henry up to rest him at his hip, keeping his hold on Emma the entire time.

Making sure he wouldn't see, Emma grabbed onto the stuffed lion, holding it behind her back.

"Henry, we have something for you," she said, calling his attention.

Henry looked back at her curiously.

She pulled the toy from her back, showing it off to him.

He gasped, grabbing it and hugging it close. "Thanks, Mama."

She kissed his head. "You're welcome."

Killian let him down, the both of them watching Henry go back to his spot he usually played at, his lion in hand.

"Well, looks like you saved the day, love," Killian teased lightly, brushing his lips against her temple.

Emma lightly swatted his shoulder, grinning. "I'm hardly any type of savior."

"I would disagree with that," he argued, squeezing her waist again before pulling away.

Playfully rolling her eyes, she went to finish her kit, sighing when she saw how much she had left to do.

"Need help?" Killian offered.

"No, it's okay," she replied with a shake of her head.

He sat down, resting his arms on the table. "Swan, just tell me what to do to help."

"Nothing," she told him. "It's okay, Killian. Just relax."

He quirked his brow, his gaze intent.

Knowing he would be insistent, she conceded. "Fine. Just fill the empty or mostly empty jars with whatever is labeled on them. If I don't have anything that's needed, just put it off to the side."

Smug, he grabbed onto the small jar for ginger to refill it.

Stretching languidly, Emma moved with Killian back out to the main room, having just put Henry to bed.

She couldn't help glance back at the medicinal plants in the jars she kept, going over and resting her hand on the jar containing the seed pod she normally used.

"Swan?" Killian asked.

Feeling his eyes on her back, she smiled, her stomach suddenly twisting with nerves.

She knew she was ready, what she wanted, but was afraid he wasn't, even if he had expressed his desires before.

She spoke as he neared her, knowing he would see the plant. "I haven't taken any yet, and I know I'm due for more."

Leaning into him as he came up beside her, she looked up at him. "I know we had talked about waiting, but Henry's two and a half, now. He's a little older, and, well, I don't really want to wait anymore."

Killian's smile was nearly blinding. "Are you sure, Emma? You want to have another baby?"

Emma nodded, a smile curling her lips. "Yeah, I am. I'm ready, and I want this. I want us to have another baby."

Reaching out, he drew her hand away from the jar into his own, pulling her in to kiss her.

She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, enthusiastically kissing him back. She released a small, surprised shriek as he suddenly lifted her into his arms, laughing before she cupped his face to kiss him again.

Killian easily carried her to their room, carefully shutting the door and locking it behind them, all while keeping a hold on his wife.

Emma began pulling at his clothes the second she heard the lock click shut, expertly undoing his waistcoat as he walked them over to their bed.

Emma curled into her husband's body, both breathing heavily as Killian drew the blankets over them.

They were both sated and completely content, laying close together.

He rested his hand on her side, drawing his thumb lazily across her ribs.

"You know, I've actually been thinking about this for a while," she admitted quietly as she rested her hand over his chest, feeling his heartbeat slow down back to its usual steady rythem.

"Of doing what we just did that we both enjoyed so much?" he asked cheekily.

She leaned up on her elbow to smack his chest lightly, catching his devilish grin.

"No, not that," she said.

She tried to keep her tone stern but couldn't help smiling at his laughter.

His grin remained as he looked back at her, continuing his ministrations over her ribs. "Of what them?"

"Of trying to have another baby," she told him. "Of giving Henry a little brother or sister."

She layed back down, resting her head on his shoulder.

"Believe me, I'm far from opposed to the idea," he said, his smile softening as he turned his head towards her to look at her.

She couldn't help smiling, suddenly, thinking of the deal they had made when they had decided to get married.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Just thinking," she said. "Remember when you proposed we get married? I thought we wouldn't have to worry about me having any children because of Henry, yet here we are wanting to have another baby."

He leaned down to rest his forehead to hers. "Aye, I remember that. I was ready to give you a divorce when we returned if it was what you desired."

"I don't plan on ever even wanting to get a divorce," she sighed, brushing her fingers through the dark hair on his chest.

His blue eyes were intent when he looked at her, running his hand from her ribs up to her shoulder and neck before finally resting on her jaw, running his thumb across her cheek. "Emma, I plan on always remaining by your side. I want us to spend the rest of our lives together."

"Good, cause you're stuck with me," she said smiling before she closed the short distance between them to kiss him.

Breaking away, she raised her hand to his cheek, tenderly stroking his scar.

"I, Emma Jones, promise to love you for all eternity," she whispered, repeating the vow she gave him when she married him.

Looking at her in awe, his blunted arm tightened at where he held her waist. "And I, Killian Jones, promise to love you for all eternity."

Emma pulled forward to kiss him again, pressing herself closer into him as Killian shifted so he was above her, never breaking their kiss as they gripped each other tighter.


Chapter Text

Emma deposited the deer she had hunted on the table beside the door outside, rolling her shoulders in an attempt to relax her muscles. The deer wasn't exactly heavy, but carrying it back home through the forest had tired her.

She had returned home from her hunt before the sun set, the days growing longer as winter had faded away. The weather had warmed, making cloaks unnecessary, even if Emma still felt occasionally chilled.

Seeing the area was free of any scavengers that might try to pick at her kill, she went back into the cottage, smiling as Henry ran over towards her to greet her.

She picked him up before he could grab onto her legs, swinging him into her arms and loudly kissing his cheek.

"Papa, Mama's home," he called.

Killian chuckled from his spot in the kitchen. "Aye, lad. I know."

He walked over to her, his hand brushing her hip. "How was the hunt?"

"Successful," she told him. "It's outside."

Nodding, he brushed a kiss to her temple before going outside to take care of the deer.

"Now, what have you been doing?" she asked Henry lightly.

"Playing," he said.

"Oh, really?" she laughed. "And what're you playing?"

He squirmed down, tugging her hand to draw her with him to the spot he was previously playing at.

She kneeled down beside him, playing with him until Killian came back in, going over to help him store the meat. She thought about going in her and her husband's room to change, feeling uncomfortable on the leather trousers she wore, which felt more snug than usual. She decided against it, to wait until bed to change.

"How were things around her today?" she asked.

"The usual," he replied. "Not much different from a usual day."

She nodded, smiling teasingly. "So him running around to chase the animals and you trying to catch him?"

"I don't know why he doesn't do that with you," he said, confirming her suspicions. "He always does it whenever he's out with me."

"I couldn't tell you," she replied.

He ducked his head closer to her, dropping his voice. "How're you feeling today?"

"Fine," she shrugged. "I'm thinking it was just something I ate yesterday."

He watched her before slowly nodding.

She had been sick the night before, unable to keep her dinner down. She had easily passed it off as eating the wrong thing, that something merely didn't agree with her. She hadn't shown any other signs of sickness, not worrying her, especially when she had had an appetite before she left for her hunt, craving anything she could get with honey.

Killian had immediately been worried, wondering if she was becoming sick despite her insistence of being fine.

"Seriously, I'm fine," she told him. "I just had a successful hunting trip, didn't I? I'm okay."

He didn't press her further.

Reaching out, she rested her hands on his chest. "I know you worry, but nothing's wrong. I feel completely fine."

Nodding, he rested his hand over one of hers. "Alright, love."

She lightly kissed him, making him relax further.

"Are you hungry?" he asked her.

"Dinner would be great," she nodded.

He bumped his forehead to hers once before pulling away to set their dinner out.

Making sure Henry wasn't watching, Emma quickly pulled Killian back to her before he pulled away, capturing his lips with hers in a searing kiss as she rolled her hips against his.

"It seems to me you are feeling muchbetter," he smirked as he pulled away.

"I told you I was," she purred.

Killian hummed, his eyes raking over her body in appreciation while his voice dripped in seduction. "Perhaps tonight we can see just how much better you really are feeling."

She grinned at the promise of what was to happen later in the night.

Emma found herself feeling miserable after Killian left for the shop, her stomach churning.

Taking a deep breath, she tried to chase away the nausea that had come on so suddenly.

She worried that she was getting sick, that she could possibly pass something on to Killian or Henry.

Resting a hand on her stomach, she leaned against the counter in the kitchen, thinking the twisting in her stomach was finally fading. Deeming herself okay, she turned to make herself some tea, only to be hit with another wave of nausea more severe than before.

She sprinted to a basin back in her and Killian's room, violently emptying the contents of her stomach. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand before reaching for a pitcher of water.

"Mama?" Henry called worriedly.

She turned to look at him where he hung in the doorway, horrified he saw her being ill.

"You sick?" he asked her.

"I'm fine, kid," she told him. "I'm okay now."

He didn't move until she picked him up, keeping his concerned eyes on her.

"Hey, you're not supposed to worry about me," she teased him lightly. "I'm supposed to be the one worrying about you, remember?"

She set him down so she could return to the kitchen to make herself some tea to settle her stomach. As soon as the smell of some of the herbs hit her, she found herself running back to the basin.

It took her longer for her to hear Henry, breathing heavily when he came up beside her.

"Here, Mama," he said, offering her a sprig of a leafy green plant.

She took it, realising he had gotten into the jar containing mint leaves to retrieve some for her, knowing he remembered when she gave him some when she had an upset stomach.

She smiled warmly at him. "Thank you, kid."

Under a diligent watch only a two-year-old could muster, she plucked the leaves from the stem, eating them and praying it would help her.

"Let's go back out, okay?" she said. "I'm gonna make some tea, and then I'll make you your lunch, alright?"

Henry nodded, watching her.

Emma quickly closed the jars of the herbs she was to use before, deciding to go for straight mint to calm her stomach. She began making her son his lunch as her water heated, deciding against using her magic to do it.

Deciding to just try to take it easy, she knew she had to clean out the basin as soon as her tea was finished, reluctant for a repeat performance.

Emma was thankful she made it in time as another round of nausea hit, triggered by the smell of the mutton she had pulled out to prepare for dinner.

To her chargin, she heard the front door open as soon as she reached the bedroom, hearing her husband coming home.

"Hey there, Henry," she heard Killian's voice drift from the main room. "Where's your Mama?"

"Mama's sick," Henry replied in an anxious tone.

"Stay here, lad," Killian suddenly said in a tight voice.

Emma looked towards the doorway as she heard his footsteps approaching.

"Emma," Killian sighed as he looked down at her, falling to his knees beside her and rubbing her back.

Knowing her stomach was completely empty and she didn't run to risk of being sick on him, she leaned into him when he drew his arms around her.

"How long has this been going on today?" he asked her.

"Since you left," she admitted. "It's only been a few times. Henry actually brought me some mint earlier and watched to make sure I took it."

"Our two-year-old has more sense than you do right now," he muttered. "You should have called me. I would have come home."

"To what, watch me being sick?" she asked without any bite, knowing he was just scared. "There's nothing you could have done, Killian."

Exhaling heavily, he hugged her closer.

His voice was gentler when he spoke again. "Tonight, just take it easy. Tomorrow, promise me you'll go to the doctor."

"I will," she promised.

He pressed his lips to her forehead. "I'll make dinner. Just take it easy."

She nodded. "I think the mutton might be bad. The smell made me sick."

"Alright," he said. "I'll throw it out and make something else."

"I'm sorry," she whispered, feeling guilty.

"Don't be," he told her. "It's hardly your fault if you're not feeling well. Just rest."

Wrapping a strong arm around her, he helped her to stand before cupping her face. "Just rest."

She nodded, moving to change as he left the room.

Emma wasn't usually one for wearing her sleep clothes during the day, but she was eager to remove her confining dress, the bodice feeling too smug. She removed the garment, feeling like she could breathe and move without restraint, and pulled on her nightdress and robe.

Bracing herself, she went back out to the main room, cautious of any smells to bring about another round of sickness. She went beside Killian, pulling things to make herself some more tea to settle her stomach.

"You know, I think I feel better now cause nothing is in my stomach," she told him.

He nodded. "Often just getting sick just makes you feel better after. Do you want anything?"

"No, thanks," she said. "I might just get a little bit of bread if I get hungry. I don't care to have a repeat of earlier."

Impatient to wait for her water to heat, she drew on her magic, instantly heating it enough to allow for the tea to steep. She took her cup with her to the couch, drawing the blanket on the back of it over her.

Looking over to see she had sat down, Henry stood, walking over to begin climbing up beside her.

Killian glanced over, seeing what the boy was doing, his brow pinched with worry. "Henry, don't-"

"He's fine, Killian," Emma said, gently cutting him off. "Henry can stay up here with me. He's not going to do anything.

He nodded, letting their son climb up to his mother.

She lifted the blanket, letting Henry crawl under so he was sitting cuddled up beside her.

Reaching over, he grabbed the book they read to him from and held it out to her.

Emma set down her tea, looking down at him. "Do you want me to read to you, kid?"

"Aye," he nodded.

She smiled down at him. "Okay, then. Let's see where we left off."

As Emma read to him, Killian came up beside them while their dinner cooked, wrapping an arm around her. She leaned into him, feeling completely content.


Chapter Text

Emma dressed in a slightly looser dress than the day before, not lacing her bodice as tightly as she usually did.

"Are you sure you don't want me to stay home?" Killian asked from his spot beside her as he shrugged on his waistcoat. "I can stay home and help you take care of things around here."

She shook her head. "No, it's okay. You go. Besides, I promised you I would go see the doctor today."

He nodded. "Aye. That you did."

Giving him a small smile, she kissed him. "Don't worry, I'll go. I feel fine right now, though."

"I'd still feel better if you went," he responded.

"I know," she said, going with him out to the main room.

She began to make breakfast for them in the kitchen, deciding to try eating some eggs for herself. She didn't feel the slightest hint of nausea, but her mind kept reminding her how quickly it had come on the previous days.

Killian retreated into the hall, returning a couple moments later with a groggy Henry in tow.

Turning to look at her son as she was cooking, Emma quickly kissed his forehead.

"Morning, Henry," she smiled at him.

He smiled tiredly back.

Killian carried him over to the table, setting the small boy down in his spot at the table before going back over to help her finish preparing their breakfast.

"Looks like someone's tired," Emma chuckled.

"Yeah, he didn't want to wake up," Killian said in agreement, grinning.

"You know he will as soon as we put his food in front of him," she replied smiling over at their son, who was barely keeping awake in his chair.

"No necessarily," Killian responded with a laugh. "Remember that one night he fell asleep during dinner and fell into his plate? We had to give him another bath just to get the potato and cabbage out of his hair."

Holding back a laugh, she nodded. "I almost forgot about that."

They finished making their breakfast, both chuckling as Henry perked up at the sight of his food.

"Maybe it will be easier on you if you took Aife into town," Killian suggested. "Riding would certainly be faster than walking."

Contemplating, Emma nodded. "I think I will. Plus someone is big enough that it should be easier to take him with me riding."

They both glanced at Henry, seeing him with a mouth full of egg and smiling.

Eating the last of his breakfast, Killian stood, taking his plate with him to clean it.

"I'll take care of that," she told him quickly before he could start it.

He nodded in thanks. "I actually need to head out, unless you've changed your mind about me going."

Rolling her eyes playfully at him, she lightly shoved him. "It's okay. I'll be fine. You don't have to worry."

He caught her hand as she went to pull away, tugging her closer until she was against his chest. Resting his blunted arm on her waist, he kissed her.

She smiled ay him when they broke apart, resting her forehead to his.

Moving over beside Henry, he crouched down so he was eye level with the boy to ruffle his hair. "Take care of your Mama, alright lad?"

Henry nodded, his small face serious.

Giving him one last smile, Killian brushed his lips against Henry's hair.

"I'll see you both later," he told them as he drew on his coat by the front door.

"We'll be waiting," Emma said as she moved beside him to see him out.

He left, leaving her alone with Henry.

Looking back over to her son, Emma saw he was still eating.

"Go ahead and finish up, okay Henry?" she said. "We'll go to town after you're all done."

His eyes brightened when she told him they were going into the town, making her grin. She sat back down to wait for him to finish his breakfast so she could clean up.

Her grin widened as he jumped from his chair, grabbing his plate and handing it to her.

"Thanks, kid," she said, taking the dish from him. "Go ahead and play for a bit."

Not needing to be told twice, he took off.

Knowing Henry would be occupied, Emma took the time to clean up, not wanting to leave the mess for later. She kept an eye on him as she worked before retreating back to her and Killian's room briefly to retrieve her boots.

She clamped her mouth shut as a sudden wave of nausea wracked through her. Inhaling deeply, Emma fought to keep the feeling of her stomach churning at bay, praying she wasn't about to be sick again.

She quickly grabbed onto some of the mint leaves she had placed by her bedside, chewing some and instantly feeling herself settle.

"Mama?" Henry asked, coming in to find her.

"I'm fine, kid," she promised him. "We'll go in just a second, okay?"

He nodded, coming in to wait beside her. "You sick?"

Smiling at her son's concern for her, she shook her head. "No, not now, Henry. I just haven't felt this bad in a long time. Not since-"

She suddenly stopped, staring at him as her hand went to her abdomen, resting on it protectively.

Emma found she couldn't stop smiling, nearly giddy while she waited for Killian to come home.

The entire cottage was clean, having done it all while she waited, too excited to sit still. Their dinner was cooking, leaving her nothing to do but wait.

Henry had kept looking at her curiously before finally going down for his nap, trying to figure out why she was so happy, but she hadn't told him, wanting Killian to be the first to receive the news, as well as have him with her for when they told Henry.

Glancing out the window, she felt her lips curl into a wide smile as she spied a dark figure emerging from the trees. She quickly debated going out to meet him, anxious to tell him. She decided to wait inside, not wanting to make him think something was wrong.

Emma nearly jumped him as he entered the cottage, her arms wrapping tightly around his shoulders.

His strong arms immediately embraced her back, holding her steady as she kissed him.

Breaking their kiss, Killian rested his forehead to hers. "That was a hell of a welcome home."

She smiled, nudging his nose with hers. "I saw the doctor today."

He immediately stiffened, drawing away enough to look at her. His brow was creased in worry.

"What did he say?" he asked, his voice barely hiding his worry.

Reaching up, she cradled his face in her hands to sooth him. "He said that we're gonna have a baby."

Killian stood stunned for a second before moving, smiling so widely Emma felt her chest tighten with her own joy.

"You're- you're carrying a child?" he asked, his tone betraying his excitement.

She nodded, feeling her eyes grow wet. "I am."

He laughed, tightening his arms around her and lifting her up.

Releasing a small squeal of surprise, she laughed, gripping onto him to keep her balance before finally kissing him again.

"I love you," he said, his eyes bright as he smiled. "We're going to have another baby."

"Yeah, we are," she replied, giddy. "They're due to be here in the winter."

He gently set her down, taking her hand in his and leading her to the couch, already becoming protective of her in the same way he was when she carried Henry.

She couldn't help notice the difference in how she felt in knowing she and Killian were to have another child compared to when she discovered she was carrying Henry. With Henry she had been absolutely terrified, being alone and having to leave her home. She had only been able to really grow exited at having a baby as she neared his birth, once Killian was with her and they made a home for themselves and Henry.

She was still scared, knowing there were still dangers that came with carrying a child, but she didn't feel the crippling fear she had before or the urge to run. She had a home to raise her new baby in, as well as a husband who she loved with everything she had. She wasn't alone, a prospect that made all the difference in the world to her. She had a family of her own, and one that was growing with the baby that was growing inside her.

She leaned into him, resting her hand on his chest. "I thought I was going to be sick again right before we were going to leave when I thought about it. I started thinking that the last time I felt anything like this, I was carrying Henry, and realized I hadn't bled for a couple months now. I mean, I did soon after I stopped taking that plant, but I didn't think we would conceive so quickly. So I asked the doctor and well," she shrugged lightly, "he told me what I thought, that we're going to have another baby."

Resting his hand lovingly on her stomach, he drew her closer to him.

She could tell he was ecstatic, that he was excited that they would be adding to their little family.

"You're not alone this time," he reminded her in a whisper. "You don't ever have to worry about doing this alone again."

"I wasn't before," she told him just as softly, resting her forehead to his. "I had you with me."

"Not at the beginning," he said.

"But for most of it, you were," she argued gently. "For all of the parts that counted, you were."

He didn't respond, instead just continued to hold her.

"We need to tell Henry," she told him. "I haven't yet. I wanted you to be the first one I told and to tell him with me."

Nodding, he gently squeezed her. "We will when he wakes."

Relaxing into him, Emma closed her eyes, letting him keep his arms wrapped around her. She smiled as she felt Killian tug at a blanket to drape it over her, knowing he was already beginning to fuss over her.

He let her begin to doze on him as he continued to rest his hand over her belly protectively, occasionally lightly brushing gentle kisses to her hair.

She roused when she heard to faint sounds of Henry waking, opening her eyes to wait for him. She moved out of the way enough for him to climb up with her and Killian, waiting for him to appear. Only a couple of seconds later, their son's small figure came into view, rounding the corner and jumping to begin scaling the couch.

He smiled at them, crawling so he was cuddled up by them.

Emma reached out, grabbing onto him and pulling him so he rested between her and Killian. "How was your nap?"

"Good," he said, snuggling between them and looking up at them.

Looking up, she caught Killian's eye, relaxing as she caught his nod, giving her an encouraging smile.

She nodded in return before looking back at Henry. "Hey, Henry? We have something we want to tell you."

"What is it?" he asked, looking between his mother and father curiously.

She smiled at him, gently brushing his hair back to calm him. "You know how some of your friends have brothers and sisters?"

"Aye," he nodded.

Her smile widened. "Well, you're going to have one now, too. We're going to have a baby."

His eyes lit up as he grinned before a curious look crossed back over his face. "I have a brother or sister?"

"We don't know yet," Killian told him. "Not until they're here."

"Where are they?" Henry asked.

Emma rested her hand on her stomach. "Right here. They need to grow first."

He nodded in understanding. "Okay."

She kissed his head before ruffling his hair. "Why don't you go play until dinner is ready, yeah?"

He suddenly jumped up, scrambling down to the floor to where they kept his toys.

Leaning back against Killian, Emma rested her hand on his chest as he rested his hand on her stomach.

Looking in the mirror in their room, Emma snorted as she rested her hands on her stomach.

"What is it?" Killian asked her as he came up behind her, resting his hand and wrist on her hips.

She moved her hands so the thin material of her nightdress showed her slightly rounded belly, letting them see her small bump.

"I've been having some trouble fitting into my dresses," she told him. "I just should have known. That was a major clue with Henry."

Tenderly, Killian moved his hand so it covered her protruding stomach, caressing it.

"I honestly didn't even really notice before," he admitted. "To be fair, unually when you're in a state of undress I'm thinking of other things."

She laughed, feeling light and happy. "Of course you are."

"What do you think we'll have?" he asked as they pulled away to lay in their bed. "A little lass or another little lad?"

She shrugged as she rested against him, relaxing at the feeling of his skin against her body. "I really don't know. I think there's ways to tell though before they're born. Aside from the way that my parents could find out with me."

"Can't we do something like that?" he inquired.

"No," she shook her head against his shoulder. "It only predicts if your first child will be a boy or girl."

He hummed before turning his head to look at her. "You know, I believe I heard something about whatever the mother craves is an indication. That if the mother wants sweet it's a girl, and more savory is a boy. Plus haven't you been getting sick more frequently this time than with Henry?"

Smirking, she rested her hand over his heart, feeling the steady beat beneath her. "You think that me wanting honey with practically everything and getting sick at the smell of everything is going to tell us?"

"It possibly could," he defended with a small laugh.

Rolling her eyes playfully, she shook her head. "We're gonna have to see about making a space for them in Henry's room. That, or building another room."

He nodded. "I know, but we can do this. We started out with much less."

"I know," she said, giving him a soft smile. "This baby will have a home and a family that loves them."

"Aye, they will," he agreed as he pulled her closer to him, resting his hand on her stomach.


Chapter Text

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.


Chapter Text


Emma found herself fidgeting as she sat beside Killian in Regina's carriage, wanting to go out and stretch, as well as get some fresh air to relieve the tension she felt in her stomach. She felt she was suffocating in the confining space, knowing it was from a combination of carrying a child and seeing her old home again after so many years.

"Do you want us to stop?" Killian whispered in her ear, sensing her discomfort.

She looked over at him guiltily, knowing that the stops she requested had caused them small delays in their journey. Killian encouraged her, wanting her to be comfortable and soothing any fears she had of others growing impatient, saying she was the one carrying a baby. Regina was just as understanding, knowing she was uncomfortable sitting for too long as well as needing breaks. Henry had been the happiest for the extra stops, letting him release some pent up energy. It had been easier for her at night, when they would stop to find lodging for the night and she could completely move around and breathe.

Giving him a small nod, she looked back over to Regina, who was calmly sitting across from them.

"Regina?" Emma asked tentatively. "Do you mind if we stop again?"

Regina warmly nodded, quickly turning to alert their driver.

"I'm sorry," Emma said quietly.

"Don't be," Regina told her before Killian could respond. "If you need to stop, you need to stop. Besides, you're better than your mother was. I remember one of the times when she was carrying Leo she had to stop what seemed like every couple of minutes."

Emma replied with a small smile as the carriage stopped.

Killian jumped out of the carriage first, holding out his hand to help her out before offering the same assistance to Regina, who waved him off.

Henry ignored him completely, leaping to the ground from the step.

Relishing the cool open air, Emma inhaled deeply, closing her eyes as she stretched.

"Feeling alright, Swan?" Killian asked as he came up beside her.

She nodded, opening her eyes to see his own blue ones watching her in concern. "I needed some air and to stretch is all."

He gave her a small smile, resting his hand on her waist. She immediately leaned into his touch, enjoying his proximity.

They glanced back, seeing Henry near Regina, both in a deep conversation. The two had quickly bonded during the journey, with Henry hanging onto her every word.

"Seems they're getting along," Killian remarked as he looked at his son with the queen.

Emma nodded happily. "They are. I'm just hoping he's like that with my parents."

He hummed in response before looking back at her. "Do you want to walk for a bit?"

"Honestly, that would be great," she replied, hearing the relief in her own voice.

Grinning, he offered her his arm, letting her loop her hand through as they began their short walk.

The trees that surrounded them were familiar, telling them they were back in their old kingdom. The air was colder than what they had grown used to, chilling Emma, but she knew most of it had to do with her condition.

Before they reached the trees, Emma slackened her hold on his arm, both shifting so their hands gripped each other's.

They hadn't realized how far they went before they stepped through a small opening of trees, setting them on a cliff.

They both felt their breaths shorten as they looked at the view, seeing the palace that had once been their home. The towers stood as tall as they both remembered, the spires jutting up to the sky reflected in the large lake the castle was elevated from.

"It's the same as I remember it," Emma exhaled softly.

Killian nodded, squeezing her hand. "It's as if nothing's changed."

It felt surreal to Emma, seeing the location completely unchanged from when she had left it. She didn't know how to feel, both longing for her old home and nervous, knowing how different she was from the seventeen-year-old girl she was when she had left.

She didn't have to tell Killian what she was feeling, knowing he already knew.

"What do you think will happen?" she asked him after a moment's silence. "I mean how do you think everyone will react to us being married and having a family?"

"Well, your parents did think that eventually we would be together," he remarked. "I'd like to think they'll be happy."

Tearing her eyes from the castle that was their destination, she rested her free hand on his chest, giving her a tender look.

"Even if they aren't, it doesn't matter," she said. "I'd rather have nothing and be with you than have everything and be without you."

"Aye," he said softly. "I will gladly give everything up for us. This is the most important thing. You, Henry, and our little one."

Smiling, she nodded.

"We should get back," she said quietly. "I know Henry is safe with Regina, but I don't want to leave him alone for too long. Plus we really need to start traveling again."

He slowly nodded, using his hook to lift her hand from his chest to brush his lips over her skin.

Casting one last glance at the palace, she turned her back to it, ready to return to the carriage that would take them back to the home she left so many years ago.

Emma closed her eyes as she heard the noises outside the carriage, knowing the people outside were swarming at the news that their missing princess had returned, as well as the lieutenant who they were told had died tragically.

Seeing both of his parent's nerves, Henry hopped down from his spot sitting beside Regina to climb and sit on both his parents' laps to try to calm them.

Emma opened her eyes, wrapping her arms around the boy to draw him closer into her and Killian.

"We're almost there, lad," Killian told him quietly, lightly ruffling Henry's hair.

Henry nodded once before leaning back into them. "I'm tired."

Chuckling, Emma leaned down to kiss his hair. "You can have a nap when we get there, okay? We'll be there soon."

He nodded again before curling into her arms.

She smiled as she leaned her head against her husband's, contently watching Henry begin to drift off.

"This hasn't been easy for him, has it?" Regina asked curiously as she watched the boy.

"No, it hasn't," Killian replied, his own eyes on Henry. "He's never been this far from home before. The most he's ever been to is the town."

Regina nodded before she looked suddenly curious. "Has... has he met his uncle? Liam?"

Emma tensed, knowing it was a sensitive subject for Killian despite the time that had passed. Knowing they had to be careful to stave off Regina's curiousity for the time being until they could tell everyone from their family at once, she shared a quick glance with Killian.

He sighed, his tone weary. "No, he hasn't. Liam and I had a fight before Henry was born after he found out Emma and I wed, and we haven't heard or seen each other since."

"So he's never met anyone else from the family before?" Regina questioned.

"No, he hasn't," Emma replied. "You're the first."

"Well then, let's just hope your mother doesn't decide to throw a ball to introduce him to the entire kingdom at once," Regina responded in amusement. "As it is you know the poor child will probably be overwhelmed by everyone."

Knowing her son's shyness, Emma smiled lovingly towards Henry.

She had to fight a laugh, sharing an amused glance with Killian as she heard Grumpy on the outside yelling they had arrived to alert her parents.

"Some things never change," Killian muttered to her, making her chuckle.

Looking outside, she saw a congregation of people ready to meet them in the courtyard, including her parents, Leo, Robin, and Roland. She caught sight of Liam, making her worried about Killian.

Feeling suddenly overwhelmed, she swallowed, breathing deeply in an attempt to relax.

Killian lightly tightened his hold on her, squeezing her closer to him as his lips brushed her temple. "It's okay, Emma. We'll be okay."

She turned her green eyes back to him, immediately relaxing at his gentle expression.

As soon as the carriage stopped, Henry jerked awake, looking around and seeing the crowd outside.

"Who are they?" he asked in awe.

"That's your family," Emma said, smiling gently down at him. "I told you you had a big family."

Henry kept his eyes on the group.

She started slightly as the carriage door swung open, hearing Robin as Regina moved to exit, clearly to embrace her husband.

Hesitating with her small family, Emma looked back at Killian. "Are you ready?"

He nodded. "Yeah, I am. You?"

She shrugged. "Yeah, as ready as I will be."

"We'll be okay," he reminded her.

"I know," she replied with a nod, noting the sudden silence outside.

Visibly nervous, Killian pulled away to be the first to step out of the carriage. Not looking at the people despite being in view of them, he turned back to help Emma out, who had shifted Henry off her lap. She stepped down with his assistance before helping him get Henry out, each taking one of their son's hands as they turned to face their awaiting family.

Even at a distance, Emma could see the new streaks in her parents' hair, more prominent in Snow White's raven hair. Their faces were more lined than she remembered, showing signs of their age and stress. Despite the new signs of age, both her mother and father were just as beautiful and handsome as she remembered.

Snow and David's eyes were on them, particularly the small child that walked between him. The entire group's gaze was fixed on him, making Henry duck his head slightly at all the attention.

"It's okay, Sea Otter," Killian murmured to him soothingly. "They all just want to meet you."

Emma offered Henry a reassuring smile, further calming him.

Snow and David suddenly broke from the group, racing forward to meet them. They were nearly assaulted as her parents wrapped their arms around them in a tight hug, with Henry almost being crushed in the middle.

"Oh, Emma," Snow said, holding back tears as she pulled back to look at her. "You're back. You're finally back."

Emma nodded, feeling her own emotions beginning to get the better of her. "I'm so sorry for leaving, but I had to."

"We understand," David said as he hugged her tightly.

Snow hugged Killian again as she spoke. "And we thought you were dead. We had no way of knowing."

"It's okay," he told them.

"But you've been hunted-" she began.

"But now you know," he said. "Which, by the way, I'll be more than happy to recount what happened that led to my excursion into piracy."

Emma couldn't help rolling her eyes playfully. "We're back for only a couple minutes and you're already back to the flouncy language."

He smiled widely at her. "I never stopped."

She rolled her eyes again.

"And, now who's this?" Snow asked, smiling warmly at Henry.

Emma smiled in return, looking down at Henry before looking back at her parents. "This is Henry, your grandson."

Snow's eyes glistened with tears again as she and David crouched down so they were eye level with Henry.

"Hi, Henry," David said. "We're your Grandpa and Grandma."

Henry's eyes lit up with curiousity at the two adults, remembering the stories his mother had told him. He looked up at his parents curiously, prompting them to nod and release his hands.

Tentatively, he stepped closer to them, peering at each of them before finally smiling. "Hi."

Without any prompting, he jumped forward to hug them, making Snow and David laugh.

Emma reached out, gripping Killian's hand in hers, feeling at ease as they shared a smile.

"By the way, me and you need to have a talk," David said, looking sternly at Killian over Henry's dark head.

"Told you," Emma said, barely containing her laugh.

Killian just playfully shook his head, lightly bumping his hip to hers.

"Don't worry," Snow said. "We're just happy it's finally happened with you two. We just wished we could have watched you two marry."

"It was a small ceremony," Killian told them. "We just went to the first chapel we could find."

After their introduction, Henry turned back to his parents, calmly standing beside them.

Snow and David pulled back enough to really look at them before Snow gasped, her eyes on Emma's midsection.

"You're carrying?" she asked.

Resting her free hand on her stomach lovingly, Emma nodded. "I am."

Snow laughed, hugging her daughter again.

David moved to Emma's side, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. "Why don't we go inside then? It will be more comfortable, and give you both a chance to rest. Plus then you can see everyone."

She nodded in agreement, letting her parents walk with them back into the castle.

"We've kept both of your chambers as they were," Snow told them. "We wanted it to stay the same for you when you returned, Emma. And Killian..." her voice suddenly lost its cheery tone, sounding mournful, "we couldn't bring ourselves to touch yours. The only thing we did was have it regularly cleaned, but we couldn't change it."

Killian nodded. "Thank you."

Suddenly nervous, Emma looked at him before looking at her parents. "Actually, we would prefer to stay in the same chambers. Plus Henry needs his own space."

She ignored the pained look on David's face, knowing it was because he knew she and Killian were intimate. Her carrying a child was proof of that even if them being married wasn't.

"We can maybe stay in my old chambers and set Henry in Killian's," she suggested.

Killian nodded. "That's fine with me."

"They're not too far away from each other, either," Snow added. "You'll have your privacy but still have Henry close. I'll send for the bed linens to be changed out and the rooms to be prepared."

Nodding appreciatively, Emma looked around the large entrance they passed through on their way to the throne room. Nothing had changed in the time she had been gone, remaining the same as she had left. Everything was familiar but foreign.

Everyone had dispersed from their welcoming party, with only her brother and Regina's small family following them, giving them time to catch up. Liam took up the rear, neither him nor Killian speaking to each other.

She felt a small shot of guilt, seeing how they didn't acknowledge each other.

"We would go into one of the sitting rooms, but we have to wait for that," David explained. "You know how the Dark One put up that barrier, so he agreed to stay behind to help us find you first before leaving with his wife and sons. We just need to send him off first, then we can go."

Slightly curious and disturbed that the Dark One could actually have a family, Emma nodded, prepared to wait.

She didn't miss the fact that she had just barely gotten back and she was already having to perform royal duties again.

Looking down at Henry, she smiled as she say her son's eyes wide with wonder as he took in his surroundings. The castle was unlike anything he had ever seen outside of a book, with even those images diminished compared to the real thing.

"What do you think?" she asked him in encouragement.

"It's so big," he said in awe. "Grandma and Grandpa really live here?"

"We do," David said warmly. "Your mom and dad used to live here, too."

Henry looked between Emma and Killian in amazement.

"Do you need to sit down?" Snow asked her.

Emma shook her head. "I'm fine for now."

Snow nodded once before the doors opened, four figures walking through them.

The man that led them was smaller in stature, but carried an air of power with him. His silvery hair hung down to his chin, framing his angular face. He was dressed finely in dark colors, further conveying an air of power that made Emma on edge.

"Just be happy he doesn't have the weird reptile look anymore," Regina flippantly remarked in a low voice."

"I heard that, dearie," the man, Rumplestilskin, replied, unamused.

Beside him was a woman around the same age as Snow who Emma knew to be Belle, with kind blue eyes and gray streaks in her chestnut hair. She was dressed in a soft blue not unlike Emma's own dress, a complete contrast to her husband's dark clothes.

Beside her was a young man around her and Killian's age who towered over his parents, carrying the same serene but mischievous look his mother held, but was untainted by the darkness of his father's powers.

The sight of the fourth figure made Emma's blood turn to ice in her veins, making her pull Henry slightly behind her and Killian to hide him from view.

Killian stepped closer to Emma to further conceal Henry, his long coat hiding him.

"Hey, Ems," Baelfire said, giving Emma a bright smile.


Chapter Text

Fury coursed through Emma at his easy stance, acting as if he hadn't hurt and abandoned her. She never expected to see him again, never giving a thought as to what would happen should he make an appearance. She never dreamed she would ever see him again.

Terror fought with her rage for dominance, not knowing what would happen if Baelfire put the pieces together in regards to Henry. He may have been the one to lead to Emma having Henry, but Killian was her son's father, the man who raised and loved him.

She knew something had changed in Baelfire as she locked gazes with him, something about him was darker. She couldn't say what it was, but knew that in the years she had last seen him, something had changed. She knew she had to protect Henry from him at all costs.

Anger won out as she crossed her arms, standing defiantly before him. "You never told me you were the Dark One's son."

Baelfire shrugged nonchalantly, as if it didn't matter. "I didn't think you needed to know. We weren't exactly close, anyway."

Emma felt Killian stiffen beside her, his own fury radiating from him. She discreetly rested her hand on his, to calm him and prevent him from lashing out.

"But really, I only left because I didn't want him to find me," Baelfire continued.

"So you took the coward's way out?" Killian questioned mockingly.

Emma tightened her grip on him, both in comfort and to stop him from saying anything else.

Baelfire's dark gaze swept over to Killian, becoming icy. "So, I see you're finally back."

"Aye, I am," Killian replied coolly.

Suddenly smirking, Bae tilted his head to the side. "So, have you finally claimed her? Anyone could tell the two of you had been pining for each other. Just ask Emma. I know she was always thinking of you, even when she was with me. And now it looks like she's carrying your child."

A fresh wave of anger shot through her as her cheeks flared from embarrassment. She had confessed that to Killian once, that she had though of him when she was with Baelfire, embarrassed until he confessed that he had thought of her the only time he had been with someone else, as well as tried to push her from his mind the night she had caught him with the bar wench.

Panic gripped her a second later, realizing that while her family hadn't heard the story she and Killian would tell them, Liam had. Unable to help herself, she furtively glanced at him, seeing his brow furrowed in in a different confusion compared to the rest of their family.

"Well, looks like you two have finally gotten what you always wanted," Baelfire said, looking back at Emma. "But I have to ask, Ems. Did nothing good really come out of our relationship?"

"No, Bae," she said firmly. "Nothing good came out of it."

She would not admit to Henry, ready to say whatever she had to to protect him.

At the sound of the angry, raised voices, Henry shuffled behind them, nervous from what was going on. He had heard both his parents annoyed before but never truly angry except for the night the press gang came hunting for sailors, not understanding the new situation. The few times Emma and Killian did argue, they never did it in front of Henry, and never remained angry for long or yelled at each other. It hadn't been any different from when they had been only friends, always able to resolve their issues in a short amount of time.

Henry gripped at the back of her dress, seeking the comfort of his mother.

Seeing the small amount of movement behind her, Baelfire stared at the spot.

Both Emma and Killian froze, waiting.

"You have a child?" Bae finally asked.

"Killian and I have a son," she said, her gaze cold towards him. "He's none of your concern."

"Mama," Henry whined quietly.

Her voice instantly softened as she turned her head slightly to look back down at him. "It's okay, Henry. Just stay behind me and Papa. Everything will be okay."

He gave her a small nod but continued to grip tightly onto her skirts.

"How old is he?" Baelfire asked suspiciously, continuing to stare at where Henry was hidden.

She shook her head. "I don't know why you're interested. He doesn't matter to you."

Deciding he wouldn't get an answer from her, he spoke directly to Henry. "Kid, how old are you?"

"Don't answer him," Emma told her son softly.

"How old are you?" Baelfire demanded in a louder voice, ignoring the protests of his father and Belle.

"Almost three," Henry said in a scared voice.

Emma closed her eyes, ready for a fight. She didn't blame Henry, knowing her baby was afraid and confused.

Baelfire's gaze hardened as he looked back at Emma. "Is he my son?"

"No, he's not," Killian said firmly. "He's mine."

Henry released a small whine, making both Emma and Killian look back at him.

Killian released Emma's hand to quickly pick up their son to comfort him, cradling him against his chest while hiding Henry's face from Baelfire.

"It's okay, Sea Otter," Killian murmured, his expression soft as he looked down at him, his paternal instinct to comfort his child taking over.

"He's mine, isn't he?" Baelfire asked darkly, ignoring Killian. "You hadn't been with a man before you were with me, and that was after your lieutenant left."

Emma felt everyone's eyes on her, particularly Liam's accusing glare, knowing he had caught their lie, but didn't care, not when her family was threatened.

"You're not his father," she said definitively. "He's not your son. He's Killian's. You used me and left. Even if he was yours, you have no right to him."

He laughed darkly, sending a chill up her spine.

"So that's how it is then?" he said without any humor. "You lay with me, then pass off my son as his? You actually whored yourself out and then had another man act as the kid's father?"

Killian quickly turned back so he was facing Snow, his quiet voice tight. "Snow, please, take him. Don't let anything happen to him."

Only hesitating in shock for a second, Snow stepped forward, easily accepting Henry securely into her arms. "He's safe with me, Killian. I'll keep him safe."

Turning, Killian stepped forward, enraged, in front of Emma, blocking her and Henry from Baelfire's view.

"Henry is my son," he said in a low, deadly voice unlike anything she'd ever heard from him before. "That is my wife and child. I was the one who married Emma and was with her for everything. I'm the one who has been raising our son with her. Not you. They are not yours. You have no right to either of them."

Baelfire's eyes glinted with a dark possession before he quickly reached toward his own father, drawing a curved dagger from the older man's jacket before anyone could react, including Rumplestilskin.

Emma knew he lived for a while as a thief, but never expected him to be able to move so quickly.

"Bae," Rumple said in what sounded like fear, as if he knew what his son would do with the dagger.

"Baelfire, stop," Belle protested, moving forward to grab onto his arm.

Baelfire shoved her, knocking her to marble floor.

The younger man immediately went to help her, kneeling beside his mother.

Knowing they were in for a fight, Emma drew on her magic as Killian pulled his sword. She heard various other weapons being drawn from around them, as well as feel the heat of the flame Regina conjured.

"Knock them back," Baelfire commanded, brandishing the dagger.

Unable to disobey, Rumplestilskin waved his hand forward, knocking most of the party back.

Drawing her magic further until she nearly felt it crackling beneath her skin, Emma threw a shot of white light at him, only for it to be deflected.

"You have to get the dagger," Rumplestilskin hissed at them. "I can't stop it."

"Get the boy," Baelfire demanded.

Henry shrieked in fear, spurring a fresh rush of rage and adrenaline through Emma and Killian. They moved together to block Henry, ready to fight tooth and nail to keep him safe.

"Dad, go!" Emma yelled towards her father, seeing him nearing Baelfire and giving him the opportunity to rush to try to get the dagger.

Robin and Roland closely tailed him, ready to cover him as Regina and Leo rose up to help go against Rumplestilskin.

Resigned to face the Dark One, Emma drew her magic again with Killian beside her, both ready for him to attack again.

The Dark One threw Regina and Leo back again, as well as separated Emma and Killian while they continued to block Henry.

Seeing that he was being closed in on, Baelfire turned back to his father.

"He's responsible for this," he said angerly, his rage targeted on Killian. "He's the reason that she's kept my son from me. I can't have him when he's still around."

Pure terror gripped Emma's heart, knowing what was about to happen.

Seeing the look on Rumplestilskin's lined face, she knew that Baelfire had gotten hold of the dagger before with disastrous consequences.

"Dark One, I command you to take his heart!" Bae shouted, dodging an arrow shot off by Roland.

Emma sprinted toward where Killian was, determined to save him as Rumplestilskin suddenly closed in on him.

His hand plunged into Killian's chest, making Killian release a heavy breath of pain. As Rumplestilskin withdrew his hand, both Emma and Killian's eyes widened at the beating, glowing red organ.

"No," Emma exhaled, darting forward even though she knew it was too late.

"Crush it!" Baelfire yelled.

Time seemed to stop as Rumplestilskin looked back at her before he looked back at Killian, his dark eyes carrying an ancient sorrow. "I'm sorry."

Killian's blue eyes suddenly found Emma's green, holding her gaze intently.

"I love you," he whispered to her one last time before his eyes closed and he fell, dead.


Chapter Text

Emma felt her knees crack on the marble as she caught Killian before he hit the floor, gently cradling his body in her arms.

"No," she whispered, feeling hot tears beginning to spill over as she cupped his face and stroked his cheek, trying to get a reaction out of him, for him to open his eyes. "No, no, no, no."

She was familiar the concept of a broken heart, but had never imagined the pain of it, how she felt cold, unable to get air into her lungs as she felt her own heart tearing in two.

Desperate, she kissed his lips, trying to wake him, even knowing he wasn't suffering from a curse.

He looked peaceful, his expression no different from when he was asleep, making her ache further, knowing the love of her life was dead in her arms.

She didn't register anything else happening around her, Henry's wails for his father and the noise of David getting the Dark One's dagger from Baelfire all fading into the background. She didn't hear her father's commands for Rumplestiltskin to remain frozen where he was or Baelfire being restrained, only able to focus on her husband lying in her arms.

"Come on, Killian," she begged him as sobs wracked through her. "Please, you said you would always be here with me. Please, don't leave me, love. Don't do this to me. I love you. Don't leave me alone. I can't do this without you. I can't lose you."

Emma didn't know what she would do without Killian, having him by her side for more than half her life. He was the love of her life, the one person she was to spend the rest of her life with. She never thought before what she would do without him, never able to imagine the concept of living without him. A life without him in the world had never been a possibility.

She blamed herself, feeling his blood on her hands, knowing if she had listened to him from the beginning with Baelfire, that if she had realized her feelings for him sooner, he would be alive.

She felt something hit her, registering that Henry had gotten away from Snow to run to where his mother kneeled cradling his father's body.

"Papa!" Henry yelled, crying as he shook Killian. "Papa, wake up! Wake up, Papa!"

Emma felt her heart break all over again at their son's cries for his father.

At the feeling of her chest about to split, her heart shattering, she thought of one way that she could possibly save him, aware of the consequences if she failed. She could lose everything, including her life, as well as her and Killian's unborn child.

She had to gamble everything she had left to get everything she had lost back.

Knowing it was an act of desperation for what she was about to do, she reluctantly tore her eyes off of Killian's serene face to look back at her parents, seeing them both with broken expressions.

A small part of her mind realized that they had mourned him before joyously finding out he was alive and okay, only to have to mourn him again.

"Please, take Henry," she pleaded to them. "And if this doesn't work, please take care of him."

Releasing an arm from around Killian, she grabbed onto Henry, hugging him tightly while she pressed a kiss to his forehead.

"I love you, Henry," she whispered to him. "I'm going to try to bring your Papa back to us. But if I can't and I go with him, just remember we love you. We both love you so much."

"Wait, what are you doing?" Regina asked her as Snow lifted Henry, keeping a secure grip on the crying toddler.

Emma turned her eyes back to Killian's face as she spoke. "I'm giving him half of my heart. It's always been his, anyway."

"How do you know it will work?" Robin asked.

"Faith," she responded. "I have to believe my heart is strong enough for the both of us."

"And what if it doesn't work?" Liam asked her, finally speaking up. "What if you die?"

She stroked Killian's cheek as she kept her eyes on him. "Then at least I'll be with him."

Without hesitation, she reached into her own chest and tugged at her heart, pulling it from its cavity. Careful to keep him in her lap, she stared at her heart for a brief moment before gripping it in both hands, pulling it apart. Easier than she would have thought, her heart split in two, perfectly showing how it had felt within her chest.

She pushed one half back into her own chest before hovering the other right above his, not feeling any difference in only carrying half her heart.

"Come back to me, Killian," she whispered to him before pushing the other half of her heart into his chest.

Her eyes glued on his face, she waited for what felt like an eternity before he suddenly gasped, his bright blue eyes opening and focusing on her.

"Hey, beautiful," Killian whispered, smiling lovingly at her.

A fresh round of tears welled in Emma's eyes as a new sob escaped her for a completely different reason.

He reached up, brushing the tears from her face as he sat up before kissing her, holding him close to him.

"You're alive," she whispered as they broke apart, keeping her arms wrapped tightly around him. "You're alive."

"It's okay," his whispered soothingly to her. "I'm here, Emma. I'm fine."

Instead of replying, she kissed him again, feeling the beating in his chest that matched hers.

Henry barreled into them out of nowhere, making them break their embrace just enough to let him wedge his way in between them. He wrapped his arms around his father's neck, his sobs muffled by Killian's shirt and waistcoat.

Killian quietly shushed him, keeping his arm wrapped around him to comfort him. "It's okay, my boy. It's okay. Everything's alright."

Emma kept her arms securely wrapped around her family, refusing to let them go. "It's all going to be okay."

They started at the sound of a feral yell, seeing Baelfire fighting against his restraints.

"Give me my son!" he yelled, glaring at the small group.

Henry sunk further into his parents' arms, tightening his grip on his father.

"Allow me to move," Rumplestiltskin suddenly requested, his voice quiet as he looked at Emma and Killian with Henry. "I'm not going to let another family be torn apart. Let me end this."

Keeping a firm grip on the dagger, David allowed him to move, ready to take control again in an instant.

Rumplestiltskin determinedly walked over to his eldest son, merely touching his head. Baelfire's head suddenly slumped, showing he was in a deep sleep.

"What are you doing?" Emma asked suspiciously.

He suddenly drew purple smoke into his hand, where it solidified into a light purple stone. "Extracting every memory and thought he's ever had about any of you."

Seeing there was no more to put into the stone, he held it briefly before closing his hand around it, crushing it to dust.

"He'll have no memory of you at all," he said. "I'll have to provide some false memories to make up for the lapses, but it will keep your family safe."

"What's the price?" Killian asked warily, knowing a deal with the Dark One always came with a price.

"Only to keep doing what you are now," Rumplestiltskin said, looking back at them, particularly the boy still clinging to his father. "Love him and care for him. I won't stand by and let another father and son be separated."

Swallowing a lump in her throat, Emma nodded. "Thank you."

He nodded once before touching Baelfire's head again, lifting whatever spell he had put in place on him as he groggily shook his head.

"Papa?" Baelfire asked, eyeing Rumpelstiltskin before his expression shifted into one of disdain. "What? Did you feel the need to put me under so it would be easier to drag me away?"

"You were frightening Belle and nearly struck Gideon," Rumplestiltskin replied smoothly. "It was merely to get you down here so we could then leave."

Baelfire snorted, conveying his displeasure with his father.

"We'll be taking our leave, now," Belle said calmly, nodding towards Snow and David.

She pinched her brows apologetically, silently telling them she was sorry for everything that had happened.

David covertly passed the Dark One's dagger back over, careful to keep the movements hidden.

As calmly as possible, the Dark One's family turned, leaving them alone in the hall.

Emma couldn't help exhale a heavy breath, closing her eyes, knowing that they couldn't rest, that everyone would be demanding an explanation.

She turned to lean further into Killian as she felt him press his forehead to hers.

"It's over, Swan," he whispered softly. "The worst is over."

"No, it's not," she replied just as quietly. "They know now. We still have a fight ahead of us."

He exhaled a sigh, knowing she was right.

"I'm not leaving your side," he promised. "No matter what anyone says, I'm not leaving my family."

A small smile curled her lips. "I love you."

"I love you, too," he replied, a smile in his own voice.

Reluctantly pulling away, Emma let Killian stand with Henry. Before she could rise herself, he offered her his hook, which she accepted, continuing to hold onto even as they both stood.

Henry had quieted, but was much too quiet for her liking. She knew he wouldn't be back to his normal happy self for a while at least, but was worried about what he just went through.

Wanting to take care of him first, she looked back at her parents, holding firm. "I'll answer any questions you have, but I need to take care of Henry first."

Not giving them a chance to respond, she tugged Killian's hook, leading them down towards the kitchens to find something for Henry.

She couldn't help constantly looking back at him, seeing him unmoving from Killian's hold. He didn't look around the castle as they walked through the halls from his parents' childhood, instead keeping his face buried in Killian's neck.

Emma pushed open the heavy door to the kitchen, moving unnoticed by some of the busy servants to where she and Killian used to swipe food when they were younger. She was able to grab some bread and cheeses as well as some dried meat, knowing it would be enough for Henry to just eat something. Glancing over, she saw someone had just finished the process of preparing a large batch of hot cocoa, everyone knowing about her and her mother's fondness of the drink. Just from sniffing it she could tell it was laced with cinnamon, making her grin. Careful not to be seen as not to draw a crowd of people excited over her and Killian's return, she was able to pour some into a large jar, carefully closing it and storing it into a rucksack with the makeshift lunch. She kept her hold on Killian's hook as they went to the castle's library, knowing it would be private as well as had plenty of plush sofas and throws for Henry to nap with.

She exhaled a breath of relief seeing the massive room empty, sunlight streaming in the large windows.

"Here," Killian muttered, heading them over to a grouping of sofas at the end of the massive room, a spot that had been their favorite from the days they spent reading various books in there.

He had to gently pry Henry from him, letting the boy sit close beside him on a sofa. Emma sat on Henry's other side, setting out the food for him.

"Here, kid," she said gently. "You hungry?"

"Not really," he said in a small voice.

She brushed back his hair, her movements tender. "Well, why don't you try eating a little bit? It will make you feel better."

Slowly, he picked up a piece of bread, beginning to nibble on it.

Thinking it would make him feel better as well as giving him a sort of treat, Emma pulled the jar of hot cocoa, opening the lid to offer it to him.

"I should have known," Killian chuckled.

Smirking playfully at him, she held it out to Henry. "How about you have some of this? This stuff would always make me feel better. I think you'll like it."

He sniffed it in interest. "What is it?"

"It's hot cocoa," Killian told him. "Your Mama loves it. You'll probably really like it, too."

Taking the jar, Henry carefully took a sip of the drink before smiling, taking a larger drink.

"Just like his mother," Killian muttered fondly.

Emma smiled, knowing Henry would probably take a liking to the drink that would rival hers. The supplies needed for the drink hadn't been readily available to them, making it a luxury they didn't bother with getting. Though they could have afforded it on occasion, Emma chose to go without, knowing it didn't matter, as well as preferring to save that money they earned for other things.

The small moment of giving their son something to eat was something she needed, a little bit of normalcy to help ground her. She was afraid that at any moment she would be overcome by tears again, the images of Killian dying invading her mind again. She knew Killian was alright, alive and well on Henry's other side as well as sitting with his hook behind Henry so she could grasp onto it, but she knew the images would always haunt her. She couldn't afford to lose control, needing to stay strong for her son as well as her husband, especially if her family was to question them.

She herself had no appetite, even knowing she needed to eat something because of the baby. She was too anxious to even entertain the idea of eating.

Henry soon finished his meal, leaving some left over, save the hot cocoa he completely finished. His eyes drooped, betraying his tiredness.

"Looks like someone's tired," Emma said softly, moving what was left of his lunch and lifting him up.

He sagged against her, his head resting on her shoulder as Killian got up to help her, moving the various pillows from the end of the sofa save one, which he laid at the end. He pulled a soft throw blanket, draping it over Henry's small body as Emma laid him down.

They knew they could easily find him a room to sleep in, but wanted to keep him close to them for the time, both for their own peace of mind and for Henry's.

"I don't wanna sleep," Henry protested in a weak voice.

"It's okay, Sea Otter," Killian soothed him. "Both me and Mama will be right here with you, okay? We'll be right here. We're not going anywhere."

Emma leaned down to brush a gentle kiss to Henry's head. "We'll be right here when you wake up. Just sleep, Henry. Everything's okay."

Slowly, Henry closed his eyes before quickly slipping under, soft snores escaping him.

Killian wrapped his arms around Emma's waist, caressing her stomach as he brushed his lips against the shell of her ear. "You should eat something."

She shook her head. "I'm not hungry."

She turned in his arms until she met his eyes, seeing him watching her intently. "How are you feeling?"

"Fine," he replied. "Thanks to you. I- I can't believe you did that, that it worked."

Offering him a weak smile, she loosely wrapped her arms around his neck. "It was the only thing I could think of, and I had to try. I couldn't lose you."

He leaned his forehead to hers. "Believe me, I would have done the same." His voice suddenly tensed. "But the baby- if we lost them- if Henry lost you, too-"

"I know," she said quickly. "I know. But I just couldn't... I couldn't lose you, Killian. I can't lose you."

His arms tightened around her, holding her even closer to him.

They started slightly when the library doors opened, their family coming through.

"I'm sorry," Snow apologized in a quiet voice, noticing the sleeping toddler on the sofa. "We were looking for you and figured out you might be hiding out in here."

Emma nodded. "It's fine. Henry's down for his nap."

Snow and David moved to a sofa opposite them while remaining close, while Regina and Robin took another. Both Leo and Roland opted for some of the plush armchairs while Liam chose to remain standing, leaning against the mantle of the large fireplace.

Feeling nervous, Emma sat with Killian on the sofa beside Henry, intertwining their fingers together in a sign of solidarity as well as for comfort.

She sighed, looking around the group. "What do you want to know?"

"Maybe at the beginning?" David suggested, looking over at Killian. "What exactly happened with Silver that made him say you were dead?"

"Silver was a bloody tyrant on the ship," Killian began. "He pushed the crew to extremes, but what did it was him trying to abuse the cabin boy. I stepped in, and called for a mutiny. Most of the rest of the crew followed, prompting a fight with the officers loyal to him. A fight ensued, which is what led to this." He held up his hook for their inspection. "We left them at a port, even knowing we would be branded as pirates for taking control of the ship. I was actually on the way back here to see Emma one last time when we found each other again."

David nodded gravely. "Don't worry about Silver and the others. They'll be taken care of, and the entire crew will be pardoned."

Emma looked over at Killian, seeing a heavy weight being lifted off him, making her smile despite the situation.

She stiffened as she felt everyone's eyes turn to her, their gazes ranging from curious to concern to accusatory.

"Emma?" David prompted gently.

Killian lightly squeezed her hand, silently giving her strength.

"I met Baelfire one day when I was in town without Killian," she said in a low voice. "I know it was wrong, but I was charmed by him, and thought that maybe if I was with him, I could move on from Killian. We both thought we had moved on from each other, so I tried to do it, to convince myself that I was over him."

Emma gave a weak chuckle, knowing how it hadn't worked, how if anything, her love for her husband only began to strengthen.

Killian squeezed her hand again, making her reciprocate with a small pressure.

"After Killian left on his last voyage, I just missed him, so I thought I could use a distraction," she confessed, hearing the shame in her own voice. "I- I gave myself to Baelfire. I know I shouldn't have, but I just thought it would make what I was feeling go away."

Trying to comfort her further, Killian lifted their joined hand, maneuvering them so his arm was draped around her shoulders as hers crossed her chest, letting him pull her further into him.

"He just left one day without a word, and I found out he had stolen a few things," she continued. "I found out I was with child a couple of months later. I was scared and didn't want to embarrass you that way, so I ran. I know I shouldn't have, but I didn't know what to do, and I wanted my baby to have their best chance."

Emma couldn't help her lips curling into a small smile. "We weren't really trying to find each other, but I found Killian in a tavern. I had ducked in seeking food and shelter for the night, and he was there. He took me back to the ship, and I told him what happened, why I left. We decided to protect each other, we would get married and I would pass my child off as his to protect me, and we would use my status to protect him from being charged with piracy. So, the next day, we got married and tried to come back, but couldn't because the barrier was put up."

"The whole marriage was my idea," Killian quickly added. "Emma was against it originally, but I convinced her that marrying me would protect our son. The whole thing was my idea. Don't blame Emma, blame me instead."

Eyes wide, Emma turned to look at him, her breath caught in her throat, knowing he was trying to take the fall for her. "Killian..."

He looked back at her, his eyes determined. "No, Emma. They want the truth, so I'm giving it to them. The whole thing was my idea, and I convinced you to go through with it."

"So, you lied, little brother?" Liam snapped. "You sat there with her that night, and lied right to my face?"

Killian didn't bother to correct Liam, his eyes steely. "Yes, I did. I didn't give a damn about myself then, and I don't know. I was willing to do whatever I had to to protect Emma and Henry, and I'll still do it now."

"So you've willingly let Emma pass off her little baby as yours?" Liam countered.

Knowing it was partly her emotions taking over, Emma pushed back tears, having known that Liam would try to find a way to blame her.

"Not when I've claimed Henry as my own," Killian said fiercely. "Even before he was born, I claimed him. I raised him. He's my son."

Liam kept his hard eyes on Killian, but didn't say anything.

"Actually, that was the night the marriage became real," Emma said quietly. "The night Killian and Liam found each other and argued, I realized I couldn't let Killian lie for me anymore, as well as sacrifice everything he had for me. I realized I was still in love with him, that I always loved him, so I freed him of his promise." She suddenly chuckled, a weak smile curling her lips. "I tried to leave, but he found me before I could get far. That night, the marriage became real. I know Killian loves me, and he's been with me through everything. We made a life together and raised Henry."

She suddenly closed her eyes, her voice tight. "I know I messed up and lied. I know this is my fault. But please, the only thing I ask is that you don't separate us, and please, please don't take Henry's father away from him."

Both Snow and David shook their heads.

"We would never do that," Snow said. "Besides, it sounds to me like the marriage is legitimate. Both of you agreed to the vows and understood them. You both knew what you were getting out of it when you agreed to it. I'm assuming the marriage was consummated within a year of when you wed."

Emma nodded. "It was. Me and Killian have been living as a married couple since a couple months before Henry was born."

"Sounds like a marriage to me," Regina said. "They've even decided to add to their little family."

David nodded before looking back at them. "Obviously we would have done it with the wedding, but there's the matter of Emma's dowry that we owe you."

"I don't want it," Killian said firmly as he squeezed Emma gently. "I didn't marry Emma for wealth."

Nodding again, David smiled warmly. "Alright then."

Looking back at Killian, Emma met his eyes, both softly smiling to each other, knowing they were going to be alright.


Chapter Text

Emma remained close by Killian's side as he carried Henry back through the halls to what was his old room, intending to use it for their son.

After a simple dinner where the entire family congregated, they knew they would be putting Henry down for bed soon enough, seeing the boys exhaustion even at the table. Because of the events of the day, her parents had decided to put off a large dinner, instead asking Granny to cook up something simple, but including both of Emma and Killian's old favorite dishes.

Before their dinner they took turns occupying Emma's old suite, making sure one of them was always with Henry so they could wash away the grime of traveling, as well as try to wash away the memory of what had happened in the throne room.

Knowing they would have a long day in the morning, they knew it would be wise to turn early, despite Emma's own feelings of being wound up, as well as knowing she and Killian needed to have a long talk alone.

Reaching the where they needed, Emma pushed open the door to Killian's old chambers, taking in the old room that was just as familiar as her own. Her mother had been right in saying it had remained unchanged, the same blue drapes hanging from the large bed as before. Familiar paintings featuring mostly the ocean and ships, many of which were Killian's own pieces, hung on the walls. Off on one side of the apartment was a plush seating area with a lounge and a desk that they had spent many days at, reading some of the books from his own collection from a massive book case against one of the walls, stacks of books on various subjects resting on the shelves. Emma knew how the wardrobe would look inside, neat and organized, just as he had kept all of his clothes in their cottage. A small area slightly hidden from the rest of the chambers hid a tub, a privacy screen folded up beside it.

Lighting a few of the candles with her magic, she helped Killian change Henry into his night clothes before turning down the dark blue covers of the bed to let them tuck Henry in.

Killian layed Henry down, making sure the boy rested comfortably on the soft pillows as both parents sat on either side of the boy.

"This was my old room," Killian told him lightly, smiling down at his son. "We're gonna have you stay in here for right now, okay?"

Henry nodded. "Okay. But where are you and Mama gonna go?"

"To my old room," Emma replied, pushing his hair back. "We were in there earlier, remember? It's right by this one. Just look for the door with the little swan on it. You know you can always find us if you need us or get scared, right?"

He nodded again. "Aye."

"And how about tomorrow, we show you around the castle?" Killian suggested brightly as he leaned down to press his lips to the boy's forehead. "We can even show you all of the secret passages, including how to sneak into the kitchens."

Henry smiled widely, excited at the prospect before his eyes grew heavy again with his exhaustion.

Smiling down at him, Emma kissed him. "Good night, Henry. We love you."

"Night Mama," he yawned. "Night Papa. I love you."

Giving him one last smile, she made sure his lion was securely in his grasp before smoothing the blankets around him and standing up.

Henry immediately fell under, a sign his parents knew meant he would be in a heavy sleep the entire night.

Instead of moving to leave the room, Killian glanced around the room once, his brow pinched in concentration before taking on a knowing look, moving to one of the paintings hanging on the walls, the lone one he had done of a swan. Careful as not to take it down, he lightly lifted it, retrieving an envelope from behind the canvas.

"I remember you told me you had left me a letter," he told Emma in a soft voice.

Feeling a sudden sting in her eyes at the memory of writing it, she nodded.

His had been the hardest to write, more so than the one to her parents. She had been careful not to say exactly why she had to leave in case it was discovered by anyone else, but gave him more details than the other letter she wrote. She remembered how some of the ink ran as tears spilled on the parchment, her farewell to him the most difficult. The only thing that had been harder was the letter she wrote to him before she tried to leave and free him of his promise after she realized she loved him.

Slowly, he opened it, taking out the pages and reading it in the candle light.

Emma watched him, seeing his expression falter as he took in her written words. She felt her own chest ache for him, knowing he was finally seeing how scared she was before she left and miraculously found him.

Finally offering her some relief, he folded the pages back up, his face drawn in a sad expression. He walked back over to her, pulling her into his arms in a tight embrace that felt like home.

"I would have left and looked for you," he whispered in her ear before pulling away to look right into her eyes. "As soon as I would have found that letter, I would have grabbed what I could and left. I wouldn't have stopped until I found you, even then."

He raised his hand to brush away the silent tears she began to shed, his calloused thumb gently stroking her face.

"Who knows," he said gently, suddenly smiling down at her. "We probably would have still ended up married, raising our son."

Somehow Emma knew he was right, that even if things hadn't worked out the way they had, she and Killian would have found a way to be with each other.

"I know," she said simply, offering him a small smile.

She reached up, capturing his lips with hers in a gentle kiss.

Pulling away after a moment, he reached to where he had dropped the letter on the foot of the bed, walking over to the table with his grooming supplies on it. He held the letter above one of the candles, letting the flames lick up the parchment before dropping it in an empty dish for it to completely burn.

Her heart tight in her chest, Emma moved to stand beside beside him, their hands seeking each other's out until their fingers intertwined as they watched the letter become completely engulfed in flames until nothing but ash remained.

They checked on Henry one last time before silently leaving the room, closing the door behind them and going back to Emma's old chambers.

Closing the door securely behind them, Emma lit some of candles in the room just as she did back in Killian's. Just as his had been, everything had been untouched. Her room was similar to his with how it was set up, only with different colors and a much larger wardrobe to accommodate her gowns. Her bedding and drapes were of a lighter blue than his, giving her room a more feminine look. She kept some of his paintings on her own walls, hers filled with a few of the sea, but the majority were birds, mostly swans, and some flowers. Someone had brought their trunks up already, having them rest at the foot of the bed.

Releasing a breath, Emma clutched Killian's hand tighter in hers for a moment before their eyes met, green meeting blue.

Wordlessly, they pulled each other closer, their lips crashing together as they began to pull at each other's clothes. His heavy leather coat fell to the floor as she nearly ripped his waistcoat open, pushing it from his shoulders as he tore his hook through the laces on the back of her dress. They shed their clothes in a frenzy, not wanting to waste a second.

Emma knew they had to talk, but she needed him more, to feel his body pressed to and moving with hers, alive. Everything else could wait, she just needed him. She knew Killian needed it as well, his fingers nearly bruising her hip as he pulled her flush against him as they tumbled onto the bed, never breaking their kiss.

Refusing to let go of him or break their held gaze, Emma curled into Killian, resting her head above his chest where his half of their shared heart was beating as he pulled the covers over them, hiding their naked bodies. His hand moved to grip her waist, holding her impossibly closer to him.

He didn't say anything, letting her be the first to speak when she was ready to.

"I almost lost you today," she whispered. "I did lose you today."

"I'm still here," he responded, keeping his eyes on her. "I told you, Emma. I'm not leaving you. I'm never going to leave you."

"I know that, but it's just..." she trailed off, becoming angry with herself as she felt new moisture threaten to spill from her eyes.

She didn't know how many times she had cried that day, more than she had before. She didn't even know it was possible for one person to cry so much. She wanted to believe a good amount of it had to do with the baby growing inside her, but knew she would be just as much of a mess even if she wasn't carrying a child. She had gone through her own personal hell in a single day.

"What, love?" he asked, giving her a small, encouraging nod.

"This is all my fault," she confessed as her tears finally spilled over. "If I had listened to you to begin with, if I hadn't of tried to have something with him, none of this would of happened. You wouldn't have died. All of this, everything is my fault."

A small whimper escaped her as Killian pulled slightly away from her, only to let him pull her against him when he turned onto his side, pressing their bodies together. His hand cupped her cheek as his blunted arm wrapped around her, making her feel like he was holding her together, to prevent her from shattering. Her hands rested on his back, feeling his scars beneath her fingers. She could feel his heartbeat, a twin of hers.

"No, it's not," he whispered fiercely as he brushed her tears away. "You had no way possible of knowing anything was going to happen. If anything, it is his fault. He's the one that ordered my heart to be bloody crushed, not you. If it weren't for you, I would be dead."

"But I'm the one that found him in the first place," she argued weakly. "I didn't listen to you about him."

He lovingly stroked her cheek, his eyes gentle. "If you had, we wouldn't have Henry."

Her breath caught, realizing he was right. She didn't regret her son, wound never regret her son, not matter what happened.

"Even if the circumstances weren't ideal, I don't regret anything, because it gave us our son," he continued. "It gave me my family."

She fought back another sob as she wrapped her arms tighter around him before kissing him. "I love you."

She kept her forehead pressed to his when they broke the kiss, breathing each other in.

"I heard you, you know," Killian admitted quietly. "When you were begging for me to stay after... but I heard all of it. I wanted to stay with you so badly."

Emma swallowed. "I couldn't lose you. I... I just couldn't. I felt like I was about to die with you right there, nothing else mattered. It felt like my heart had torn itself apart. It was what gave me the idea."

"You know I would have done the same," he told her as he stroked the apple of her cheek. "Hell, I would have given you my whole heart, but I'm glad you found a way for us both to live."

At his smile, she let out a small laugh.

"Maybe your soul hadn't left yet," she pondered. "Maybe that's why you heard me."

His smile softened. "Maybe. No matter the reason, I'm not going to complain. Not when I'm still here with my love."

Returning his smile, she cuddled closer to him, her hands trailing up his back to grip his shoulders.

"We don't have to worry now," he reassured her. "The worst is all over. Now all we have to worry about is our little one."

At his words, Emma felt a small flutter in her stomach, making her gasp.

"Swan?" he asked, his face suddenly pinched in worry. "What's wrong, love?"

She smiled widely. "I just felt them move."

Killian's smile was blinding, even in the darkened room.


Chapter Text

Emma tugged stubbornly at the laces of her gown, wanting nothing more than to put on some more comfortable clothes and lounge with Killian in their bed.

She knew she couldn't as much as she wanted to, knowing her mother would be furious. For the kingdom to celebrate the return of their lost princess as well as lieutenant, Snow had organized a ball in an impressively quick amount of time, only a month after their return.

Things were different from before, with Killian permanently moved into Emma's old apartment with her. Henry had been moved into Killian's old one, having decided he liked the room. Their son had mostly adapted quickly to life in the castle despite deeply missing their cottage, loving to venture through the secret passages. More than once, he had asked both his parents when they were going to go home, making both Emma and Killian struggle to explain their situation to him.

Emma's parents adored him just as she knew they would, doting on the boy at every chance they got. Despite it being tradition, both Emma and Killian refused to have a nanny for Henry, wanting to continue to take care of their son just as they always had. They made it clear the situation would not change for their second child, determined to care for them themselves. They made it clear that they would always put their son first, as well as the child Emma was carrying and any other children they had in the future. Despite her own father being present for her mother's labor and births, they were met with shock when they announced Emma wanted Killian to remain with her for delivery.

Having used to going without, Emma turned away the ladies in waiting Snow had insisted she had, knowing she was capable of dressing herself. They knew they were breaking many traditions with she and Killian sharing the same room, especially when it came to dressing, but they didn't care, having done it when they were on their own. They had occasionally helped the other when they needed it, particularly the crimson ball gown Emma wore for the night.

"Do you need me to loosen the laces?" Killian asked from beside her, having just pulled on his black and tan coat.

She shook her head with a sigh, knowing it wouldn't do any good. "It's just the dress itself. I know they really let it out, but it's just not comfortable."

"Well, if it's any consolation, you cut quite the figure in that dress," he offered.

Emma rolled her eyes before sneaking an appreciative look at her husband. Killian's white shirt complimented his skin, along with the expertly cut quilted coat he wore with the black waistcoat. He exchanged his black leathers for a black suede, as well as a different pair of black boots. Despite his outfit not matching hers, he complimented her, his neutral colors highlighting her red gown.

Making sure her hair was secured in its bun as well as her swan necklace rested just right, she turned back to him, seeing him watching her with an enamored light in his eyes.

"You know, part of me wondered if I ever would see you like this again," he said as he stepped closer to rest his hand and hook on her waist. "In one of your ball gowns, which you would tell me how uncomfortable it is, ready for various would-be suitors doting on you."

A smile stretched across her red painted lips before her expression faltered. "I don't think my mother said I'm married."

Surprising her, Killian suddenly laughed. "Oh, those poor bastard are in for a surprise then."

She lightly smacked his chest. "You won't be saying that when they start glaring at you all night. On second thought, never mind. You'll probably be enjoying it."

"Too right, love," he smiled. "Especially when they see how beautiful you look."

Feeling a blush rise in her cheeks, she smiled at him. "Thanks. You don't look to bad yourself."

"I know," he replied.

She lightly snorted. "Humble, as always. Should we go see Henry before we start to head down?"

He nodded. "Aye. Do you think Jiminy can handle him?"

She quirked her brow in amusement. "He handled Pinocchio when he was a kid. I'm pretty sure he can handle Henry."

Smirking, he turned, offering his arm to her, which she easily looped her hand through.

They took the short walk together to what became Henry's room, seeing him calmly playing with his wooden ships, making both his parents smile.

Despite Snow and David providing Henry more toys intending to spoil him, he continued to favor his old ones, the ones Emma and Killian had gifted him, including a set of pastels and parchment for his third birthday.

Though the room remained much the same, it had changed enough to be fitting for a small child, with Killian's wardrobe cleaned out to allow for Henry's things to be stored, the man's moved all into Emma's room. Some of the paintings switched rooms, the empty spaces replaced by Henry's own drawings.

Seeing his parents, Henry jumped up excitedly, running towards them.

Killian released Emma to pick him up, balancing him on his hip so they could both look at him.

"You look really pretty, Mama," Henry told her.

"Aw, thanks, Henry," Emma said before kissing his cheek.

He laughed, keeping a hand firmly on his father's shoulder.

She looked up at where the cricket sat on the desk, next to the gramophone to help project his voice. "Are you sure you can handle him? We can come up early and take him off your hands."

"It's alright, your highness," he replied. "You two should enjoy tonight. When was the last time you just had the night together?"

Emma and Killian glanced at each other, both knowing the answer. They never took a night completely to themselves to just enjoy each other since Henry was born. Neither felt comfortable leaving him with someone before, as well as continued to have reservations leaving him with Jiminy despite trusting the cricket.

"Go enjoy yourselves," Jiminy urged. "The two of you could use the break to just dance and relax."

Sharing one last glance with Killian, Emma nodded. "Just come get us if you need us, for whatever reason."

"You be good," Killian told Henry.

The boy nodded in agreement.

Emma and Killian kissed him one last time before they let him down to continue playing before turning away to exit the room, closing the door behind them.

"How long do you think before he sneaks out to join the party?" Killian asked in amusement. "He is our son, after all."

Unable to hide her own amusement, Emma shook her head. "I have no idea. Maybe about three hours at most. He'll probably make it look like he's asleep first and wait til Jiminy falls asleep."

Nodding in agreement, he playfully bumped his hip to hers.

They found her parents at the top of the staircase waiting for them, Snow dressed in a pale green gown with David beside her in a much darker green coat.

Snow smiled brightly at them before moving forward to hug them both tightly, drawing her arms around both of them.

"Let them breathe, Snow," David chuckled from behind her.

"Sorry," she said as she pulled away. "It's just that I wondered if we would ever get to do this again."

She helped right her daughter's skirts before nodding. "There. Now you're perfect. You both are."

Emma smirked at Killian. "See? I told you to wear the hook."

Killian gave her a mock exasperated look, making her laugh, breaking his own facade.

"We have to go," David prompted, offering out his own arm for his wife.

Knowing to follow them, Emma and Killian closely trailed them, Emma feeling her nerves begin to creep up on her.

"You're gonna be fine, Swan," he promised her in a whisper. "We can only have one dance if you desire, and we can sit for the rest of the night. I won't let go of you all night and even fight off any prospective partners, if that's what you desire."

For added effect, he tapped his sword at his hip with his hook, making her laugh, relaxed.

The page announced Snow and David, prompting their descent down the stairs to present themselves to their guests.

"Ready?" she asked Killian, knowing they would be called in just a second.

"Not even close," he told her, flashing her a bright smile. "Let's go."

Plastering a smile on her face, Emma gripped his arm tighter as they began their decent, listening to the page.

"May I present to you, Princess Emma," the page announced. "And escorting her, the prince consort and her husband, Captain Killian Jones."

Emma couldn't help smiling at Killian's presentation, knowing that he would be without a doubt her husband and equal, and that everyone would know it.

"I guess we were correct in guessing that your mother didn't make that information previously known," Killian murmured to her, chuckling gentle.

She fought her own laugh, seeing various men of status glaring at her husband, letting her know they had been hoping to have a chance with her. She caught some women throwing her some dirty looks as well, knowing it was because she married Killian.

"Don't worry," she told him. "I'm only interested in one person, and I don't intent to leave his side tonight. Plus you're not the only one getting death glares. Seems you're pretty desirable, as well."

"We'll then it's a good thing I only have eyes for one woman," he replied as they began walking through the split in the middle of the crowd to stand beside her parents.

Emma stood beside him while her parents greeted the guests, keeping a firm grip on Killian's arm the entire time. They followed Snow and David to share the first dance of the night, unable to deny she was happy to dance with her husband despite her nerves.

She let Killian pull away so they faced one another before both bowing and taking up their familiar stance, beginning to twirl just as her parents did.

"You know, this is the first time we've done this in front of other people in years," Emma commented quietly, intending to keep their conversation quiet.

"It is," he said. "But it's no different than before."

"You mean when we decided to ignore everyone?" she asked teasingly.

"Yeah," he said before smirking. "But at least I don't have to just sit by while grabby princes try to cut in."

She released a small laugh as he spun her. "You mean like that time you let that one official cut one of our dances short and he started to get too handsy, so you sent Roland over to save me"

His smile widened. "Exactly. I couldn't cut back in just like that no matter how much I wanted to."

Other dancers began to move around them, couples moving close beside them.

They stood out from the rest, particularly Emma in her crimson gown amongst the other pale colored dresses that twirled around them. She caught some of the men eyeing her, as if they coveted a dance with her, only to prompt her and Killian move into another direction so they could stay together.

Respite her reservations, she was enjoying herself.

"How're you feeling?" he asked her after a few more dances.

She bit her lip, knowing he had been enjoying dancing with her. "Would you mind it if we sat for a while?"

He turned their direction, he moved them towards the edge of the crowd before breaking free, letting her keep his hand in hers and direct him to some chairs set up beside some tables.

Emma couldn't deny her relief as she sat down, happy to be off her feet.

"Do you want me to get you anything?" he asked her as he looked her over to make sure she was alright.

"Just water?" she requested, prompting him to quickly move to get it for her.

She watched as he weaved through the crowd to the table where food and drink was set out, seeing him move past any women before they could try to get his attention.

She started as someone sat beside her in Killian's spot.

"Time for a break?" Liam asked quietly, checking her over just as Killian had.

She nodded, feeling cautious. Even being home, she hadn't had much interaction with the elder Jones brother, and knew Killian had even less.

He was silent for a moment before he spoke again, his voice dropping. "I never apologized for what happened all those years ago, especially for the things I said."

"I think you owe that to Killian," she responded, watching him warily.

"Aye, but I owe you one as well," he said. "What I had said about you was unfair and out of line. I was worried about my brother, that he would lose himself and throw everything he's ever worked for away. I know you have always been close, but I didn't think he would ever be able to live up to his potential. I wanted him to settle down and have a family, but with someone normal, someone he wouldn't live in the shadow of. Because of your relationship, I was afraid that he would give everything up for you."

"But shouldn't that have always been his decision?" she questioned. "I've never viewed him as anything less than an equal. We're partners, neither of us has more dominance or power than the other. We've both sacrificed, but we knew what it was all for, and it was more than worth it. Look, Liam, I know you have always tried to look out for Killian, he's your brother, but shouldn't he be able to choose his life for himself?"

A shameful expression crossed Liam's face before he sighed. "Aye, it should be, but I just want my brother to be happy."

"What made you think he wasn't?" she asked more quietly.

Liam was quiet.

"We were pretty happy, you know," she told him, resting her hands gently on her swollen stomach. "It was a hard, especially in the beginning, but we made it. We had been talking about having another baby for a while, and he was so happy when I told him. We wanted to grow our family, even if we never knew if we would be able to come back here. He's Henry's father, and no one can tell me otherwise. Just like I know he'll love this baby, too."

"You know, it was the day you came back that I knew I was wrong," he finally said after a moment of silence. "When he- I couldn't think. I didn't know what to do. But I watched as you held on to him, desperate to bring him back. When you were willing to sacrifice yourself, well, then I knew. It wasn't just some passing fancy that you had for each other, that it was all real. And I'll admit, I was angry because he lied."

"It always was," Emma whispered. "I've always cared for Killian, I've always loved him. I just didn't know it for a time."

He nodded, looking up when they heard Killian approach them. He stood to let his brother have his seat back, looking nervous under Killian's sharp gaze before excusing himself.

Killian's eyes softened as he looked back at Emma, settling down next to her and passing her a plate with a glass carefully balanced on it.

"I didn't know if you were hungry," he told her as she took a drink from the crystal goblet.

"Thanks," she said as she began nibbling on a piece of cheese.

He hesitated before speaking, forcing his tone to be casual. "So, should I ask what my brother wanted?"

"To apologize," she replied. "And to say he was wrong."

He raised his brows in amazement. "I'm sure it physically pained him to admit that."

She fought back a laugh. "I'm not going to tell you exactly what he said, because I'm sure he's going to want to speak to you pretty soon about it, too."

"Somehow I'm not looking forward to that conversation," he muttered.

Reaching out, she rested her hand on his knee, lightly squeezing to calm him.

"Do you think you'll be wanting to go back out?" he suddenly asked, nodding toward where the dancers were.

She knew he was changing the subject, but knew he needed to relax. "In a moment."

Once she was ready, Emma let Killian lead them back out, resuming their waltz as if they never stopped. They continued to ignore the other people around them, getting lost in each other.

They registered the surprised noises around them, looking over to see some of the other guests look down in shock before a small figure bounded towards them.

"Well, he lasted longer than we thought," Killian chuckled as he lifted Henry.

Emma held back a smile, remembering doing the same thing her son did when she was young, finding her parents during a ball so see what the excitement was about. Snow and David never got mad at her, allowing her to stay close to them, just as she knew she and Killian would let Henry.

She raised her brow at Henry, keeping her eyes on him. "Did you sneak out as soon as Jiminy fell asleep?"

Henry ducked his head looking slightly guilty despite his grin.

"My mother always told me one day I would have to go through what she dealt with with me," she sighed. "You're certainly our kid, Henry."

His smile turned proud.

Finally breaking down, she grinned at him.

"Well, he's already had his first lessons with a sword, maybe it's time he learned to dance," Killian suggested light heartedly, slightly bouncing the boy.

"I think it may be time," she agreed, taking hold of both her husband and son.

Henry happily copied what he saw his father doing, holding his mother's hand as she spun, her skirts flaring around her as she danced with them. It was obvious to his parents he was enjoying himself, smiling widely the whole time.

Emma caught her parents watching them, seeing them wear warm smiles as they watched her own little family.

Losing track of the songs and dances, she noticed him fighting a yawn, knowing he was tired.

"You want to see about going up to try to put him down?" she asked Killian quietly, not caring if any of the other guests noticed them sneaking off.

Before he could respond, her parents approached them, motioning to pull them away from the dance floor.

Sharing a curious glance with Killian, she shrugged before taking Henry from him to give him a break and following where her parents stood.

"Is everything alright?" Killian asked them, his hand resting on Emma's lower back.

Snow nodded. "Everything is fine. We just wanted to give you something."

Curious, Emma quirked her brow, looking at them above Henry's head. "Okay, but what for?"

"We know it's been hard for you, that it's been difficult to readjust to life here," David told them. "We thought it would maybe help with that."

Her confusion growing, Emma looked back between her parents again.

Smiling widely, Snow nodded, a small laugh escaping her. "The fairies helped us, well, did most of the work. I know it's late, but you might want to go to your old spot."

"Are we finally gonna find out the reason we've been prevented from going back there since we've come back?" Killian questioned.

"Just go on," David said with a laugh. "You can take Henry with you."

"Okay," Emma said slowly.

"And good night," Snow added before she and David turned away to rejoin the dancers.

It wasn't exactly a dismissal, but enough to let Emma and Killian know they were free to retire for the evening.

"Should we go?" he asked in a low voice.

"Might as well," she shrugged.

He kept his hand on her lower back as they went out, keeping the contact to let her know he was beside her and they wandered through the halls before reaching the doors. Holding his arms out in offering, he took Henry, letting the boy rest his head beneath his chin as he and Emma reached for each other, intertwining their fingers together as they entered the grounds.

They were comfortable in silence, the sounds of the party fading behind them as they walked further and further away from the castle and closer to the gardens, specifically the large pond they used to spend their days at.

Finally getting closer, Emma squinted, trying to peer through some of the trees.

"Do you see light up ahead?" she asked.

"Aye," Killian replied after a second, his tone reflecting her confusion.

They kept their pace the same despite their growing curiosity, going off the official path to instead follow the one formed from years of them visiting the pond.

They stopped as they broke through the little copse of trees, amazed at the sight before them.

"Is- is that ours?" Emma breathed out as they took in their cottage stood near the banks of the pond, the lights from within reflected on the water.

Henry, suddenly wide awake, jumped from Killian's arms, sprinting forward to the cottage. "We're home! We're home!"

"Your parents managed to... how did they do this?" Killian whispered in amazement.

"They said the fairies helped them," Emma reminded him. "But I don't know... I can't believe they did this."

They gripped their hands together tighter before walking forward to where Henry was pulling on the front door. Emma pushed it open, finding nothing had changed since they had last been in their home.

Inhaling deeply, she smiled at the scent of smoke, herbs, flowers, and leather, all familiar smells she had missed. A few candles and lanterns illuminated the room, showing that nothing was out of place.

"My room is still here," Henry announced happily before his face fell. "I don't have my lion. He's still at the castle."

Emma released her husband's hand so she could crouch down in front of Henry.

"It's okay, kid," she said as she held out her hand, pulling at her magic until the stuffed lion appeared from Henry's room in the palace. "Cause he's right here."

Henry smiled, taking the lion and hugging it close to his chest before suddenly looking at her again in question. "Can I have my ship, too?"

Chuckling, she summoned the ship just as she did the lion, letting him grab it and run to deposit them into his room.

"Your parents had our home transported here for us," Killian told her, holding up a note she hadn't noticed on their kitchen table. "This is our home, not a replica."

She swallowed, beginning to feel overwhelmed. They had the home they worked for back. They could continue raising their family in their home, as well as have their child there. She and Killian had somewhere they could go when they wanted away from the castle, to just be on their own.

Killian set down the note, walking over to her and wrapping his arms around her. "You alright, love?"

Emma smiled widely. "Yeah, I am. It's just, we're home. We have our home back."

He grinned back at her, leaning forward to peck her lips. "Well, welcome home, Swan."


Chapter Text


Seven years later

Emma knew Killian was awake beside her as she stirred, feeling his arms tighten around her.

He tenderly nuzzled his nose to her ear, making her fight a small laugh.

"I know you're awake, love," he said with a chuckle.

She turned over so her front was pressed to his, letting her rest her palms on his bare chest as his bright blue eyes bore into her own green. She could feel his heartbeat in his chest, perfectly matching the rhythm of her own. It was something that never failed to make her smile, that their shared heart was always was in sync with one another's.

"Morning," she hummed before lazily kissing him.

His hand fisted in the back of the light material of her nightdress as he pulled her even closer to him, relishing in the small, intimate moment.

"Morning to you, too," he replied in a soft voice as they broke their kiss, smiling. "And happy birthday."

To his amusement, she released a small groan.

Chuckling, he began to rub along her spine. "Thinking of the party your mother has planned for you?"

"Don't remind me," she said with another groan, burying her head in his neck as he laughed.

Upon their return to the castle as well as regaining their cottage, they had a deal with Snow and David for birthdays, that they were to spend the night before in the castle so the entire family could celebrate, and they were free to return to their cottage later in the night.

Feeling herself relax in her husband's arms despite his teasing, Emma released a content sigh, feeling his familiar body against hers.

Killian kissed her head, burying his nose in her hair. "Love you."

"Love you, too," she hummed.

Despite the beginning of their marriage, Emma and Killian had been married nearing on eleven years, with their relationship always growing stronger. Emma never thought it was possible to love someone so much, but found that as time went on, she only grew to love Killian more and more, and knew he felt the same. As always, they were stronger together, always a team. They were more than each other's first love, but the love of each other's lives, as well as True Love.

Emma loved her life with him, not regretting what they went through to be together.

"How soon do you think before they sneak in?" Killian asked after a few moments of content silence.

Smiling, she peeked up at him. "Knowing them, any second now."

Deciding not to move, they continued to lay together in their room for another moment before grinning, hearing a rustling outside their door.

"And that will be them," Killian whispered, grinning widely.

The door opened, with different sets of footsteps entering, one pausing to close the door behind them.

A small blond head popped up at the foot of the bed before the rest of his body appeared, their son launching himself on the bed just as his older brother used to do.

A girl jumped on next, her dark hair shining in the morning sun as she settled next to her mother, before Henry finally followed, sitting at the edge.

"Happy birthday, Mama," Paden said.

Emma smiled at her and Killian's children, sitting up and drawing the three of them to her in a tight hug.

"Thank you," she whispered as they hugged her back.

She glanced over at Killian, who had gotten up to retrieve a shirt, pulling it on before he sat back in the bed under the blankets beside her.

Releasing them, she looked at them, unable to help the loving smile that curled her lips.

Henry, their ten-year-old son, sat closest to Killian, his legs crossed beneath him.

One of the things both Emma and Killian were eternally grateful for was that Henry didn't remember the day he almost lost his father, the day that they returned to the castle. They didn't know if it was because of the trauma being blocked, but they weren't about to complain, especially Emma. If she could have, she would erase the memory from her own mind.

A year ago someone had said something in front of Henry without realizing he was there, which made Emma and Killian have to tell Henry the truth of his lineage. They had been terrified of Henry's response, that he would suddenly be furious at them and distance himself from Killian. They told Henry the complete truth, about the reason they married and that Killian claimed Henry as his originally to protect the boy and his mother, before it turned to doing it completely out of love for them.

Henry had been silent for a long moment, scaring them further, before launching himself into Killian's arms and hugging him tightly, saying that Killian was his father despite what anyone said. Emma nearly cried in relief, seeing Killian holding back tears of his own as he hugged their son back tightly. Nothing had changed, if anything Killian and Henry became closer.

Sitting beside his older brother, their youngest child, Paden, grinned widely, looking between both his parents before moving with Henry to pounce of Killian, intending to wrestle with his father.

The five-year-old strongly resembled his father, already looking much like how Killian had when he and Emma first met. Despite having his father's features, he had his mother's hair, his only a slightly darker shade than what she had, as well as inheriting her emerald eyes.

He and his brother laughed as they jumped on Killian, making Emma move slightly away to avoid the fray.

"You gonna help your brothers?" Emma asked Hope as the girl settled in her mother's lap.

Hope resembled her mother as much as her brother looked like their father, looking like a dark haired version of Emma. Bright blue eyes, exactly like her father's, watched the boys brawling with their father in amusement.

Both Hope and Paden inherited Killian's slightly pointed elfin ears, something Emma found completely endearing.

"I can't have them always expecting me to help them win," Hope said in amusement.

Emma chuckled. "You could help your Papa, instead."

"I want to see how they do without me, first," the girl said, cuddling further into her mother.

Smiling, Emma pressed her lips to Hope's dark hair as she wrapped her arms around her small body. Contently, she watched as Killian fought off their boys before letting them pin him, with Paden sitting on his chest.

Letting out a dramatic groan, Killian looked back at Henry and Paden. "Well, lads, you've bested me."

"Aye, we did," Paden said proudly.

"Go on," Emma laughed. "Go back to your rooms for now so me and your Papa can get dressed."

Henry scrambled of the bed, helping Paden off and onto the floor as Hope jumped off on the other side, going with her brothers out of their parents' chambers and closing the door behind them.

"Do you think they would buy it if we just stayed in here for a while in bed still?" Emma asked, reluctant to leave the warmth of the bed.

He hummed in response. "They might, but your parents won't."

With the knowledge he was right, she groaned, sitting up and peeling the blankets off of her. As soon as she reached the wardrobe to select a dress, she felt a pair of strong, familiar arms wrap around her waist. She leaned into Killian's chest, feeling his body against hers.

"Just think, we can go back to our cottage tonight, and come tomorrow morning, we can stay in bed as long as you want," he said, coaxing a wide smile from her. "The kids may even decide they want to stay here tonight, so you don't have to worry about getting up."

Emma's smile widened at the prospect of getting to sleep in and do nothing.

While she loved her little family more than anything, she didn't always love being woken up by being pounced on, even if the children's target was their father.

Killian kissed her cheek once before pulling away to pick out his own clothes, shedding the shirt he had pulled on for when their kids had came in.

Pulling a simple yet elegant ivory dress, she caught Killian sneaking appreciative glances toward her as she undressed, making warmth spread through her as well as grin.

Just as their relationship grew stronger over the years, their physical relationship never diminished. Emma found him more attractive than ever, Killian having completely filled out into a charismatic man who never ceased to show her any love and affection he could. Even ceasing most of his work as a sailor and blacksmith, his body remained toned and strong.

Despite carrying three children, he continued to insist she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, praising the marks she wore from carrying and delivering their children. She never ceased to feel warmth spread through her when she caught his hungry gaze on her, knowing his desire for her never lacked.

Pulling her dress on, she quickly finished getting ready, glancing over to see Killian patiently waiting for her to finish before going with her to exit the room. She finished by fastening her swan pendant around her throat, which she continued to always wear everyday, only taking it off at night. Her wedding rings she never took off, having remained on her finger all the years since her husband placed them on her finger.

Emma reached out, taking Killian's hand in hers as they made to exit their room, feeling his own wedding band that rested on his finger. Just as she hadn't, he never removed his.

"You take Hope, I'll take Paden?" he asked as they neared their children's rooms.

She nodded. "Yeah. I'll let you deal with our squirming five-year-old."

He laughed, raising their joined hands together to kiss the back of hers. "Thanks."

"Hey, you're the one that proposed it," she pointed out.

He dramatically rolled his eyes before releasing her to go it their son's room to help him dress.

Trying not to cringe at the large amount of people in the ballroom set up for her birthday, Emma grasped Killian's hand tightly.

"I thought my mom was going to keep it small," she whispered to him, feeling nervous at the large amount of people with their eyes and smiles on her.

He fought back a laugh. "For your mother, this is small."

"You know what I mean," she replied, not wanting to be the center of attention.

"Just think, we can go to our cottage after this," he reminded her.

The thought of being in their own little place away from watching eyes made her relax.

"Honestly, love, one would assume you'd be used to the pomp and grandeur by now," he teased.

She looked back at him, giving him a small smile. "You know I've never cared for it, though."

Replying with a small smile of his own, he squeezed her hand. "I know."

Even having returned to her family and having spent years back on the castle, she hadn't been able to get used to the large celebrations, instead missing the small quiet ones she shared with Killian and Henry when it had been just them. She understood her parents' wish to have her family with them for special occasions, but she missed some of the simplicity they used to have.

Emma knew Killian was of the same mindset as her, often expressing the same desire to escape back to their cottage the first chance they got. He had even told her a few times that he missed the years when it was just them.

He just enjoyed teasing her on her birthday, just as she did for him on his.

Moving further in to join the people gathered, she smiled as she greeted them, all the while Killian remaining by her side, accepting any greetings from them, particularly any of the people he commanded.

Despite not going back into the Navy, particularly leaving for the sea, David and Snow declared that Killian was deserving of a position worthy of the new status he had gained. Despite his and Emma's original agreement, she convinced her husband to take a position, wanting him to be more than just the prince consort. Having already decided to keep Killian's status as a captain despite how he gained it, they set him as the head of the Navy, a position Snow and David deemed he deserved that was fitting for a king to be.

Emma was beyond proud of him for the work he did, as well as the leadership he showed anytime he was to attend a council meeting, showing he was a perfect fit for the position.

As the night grew on, Snow had asked Granny to bring out a large cake, bringing it out onto one of the tables set out.

Emma felt her cheeks flare as they stuck a single blue star candle in the center, which Regina magically lit.

"It only lasts a moment," Killian reassured her quietly, his hand splayed out on her back.

She nodded. "I know."

Stepping away from him, she saw out of the corner of her eye their children flock to their father, making her smile. Standing at the head of the table before the cake, she thought about the customary wish, the one her parents had always told her since she was younger that was always granted on her birthday.

Looking back up at her family, at Killian holding Paden on his hip while Hope and Henry stood on either side of him, she knew she had everything she could have ever wanted. She had a wonderful husband and family she loved more than anything, more than she could have ever asked for.

Knowing she had everything she ever needed, she blew out the candle.

"What did you wish for, Princess?" Grumpy asked her, a rare smile on his face, one he only showed around few people.

She shook her head, a grin at her own lips. "Nothing."

She went back over to her little family, where she stood again by Killian's side, sinking into his touch as he wrapped one arm around her waist.

"I have everything I could possibly ever want right here," Emma whispered to him, low enough that only he could hear.

He gave her a tender smile in return before leaning towards her to lightly kiss her.

Feeling a rush of relief of being in their own space and the home they made themselves, Emma removed her cloak, handing it beside Killian's heavy leather coat on the wall.

She turned back to watch as their children went off to their rooms to change into their sleep clothes, Paden having to be nearly dragged by Henry in his tired state.

Chuckling, she walked over, scooping the small child into her arms to help him get ready for bed.

"Is someone sleepy?" she asked lightly, knowing Paden wasn't used to being up at such a late hour.

He nodded wearily, rubbing his eyes with his fist. "Aye."

Patiently, she helped him change, able to do it herself in her sleep having had the practice. Having known what to expect because of Henry, Hope had been easier in doing a routine. With Paden, it was easy, knowing all of the tricks possible to make it easy on her and Killian.

He clutched onto his favorite stuffed animal, a small dragon, as Emma carried him back out, so she and Killian could read to him and Hope before they went to bed.

Emma smiled as she saw her daughter emerge from her room, a stuffed seal in hand.

Just as when Henry was born, Emma made Hope and Paden's baby blankets herself, changing out the red she used for Henry's with yellow for her daughter and green for her son. Killian kept his own tradition, getting the seal and dragon for both of their children before they were born, just as he had gifted Henry his lion.

Killian was already sitting on the couch, holding the same book they had read to Henry from. He helped pull Hope up, sitting her on his lap, where she settled comfortably with her head tucked beneath his chin.

Emma sat beside him, her side and leg pressed to his, Paden on her own lap.

Seeing his own siblings settled, Henry sat next to Emma, resting against her and prompting her to wrap one if her arms around him as Killian began to read.

Both Hope and Paden fell asleep quickly as Henry began drowsing, fighting to remain awake, signalling Killian to close the book and set it aside.

Carefully, he and Emma picked up their two youngest, murmuring a good night to the one in the other's arms before carrying them away into their rooms, their cottage expanded with the birth of each of their children.

"C'mon, Starfish," she heard Killian say softly to Hope, making her smile.

Just like Henry, Killian gave each of their children fond nicknames after sea creatures. Hope's Starfish came from her sleeping habit of sprawling as she slept, completely stretching out her limbs in her slumber. There had been many nights Emma and Killian had been awoken from sleeping with Hope in their bed, to find the girl had sprawled, resulting in one parent with a foot in their face while the other got a hand in theirs.

"Good night, Octopus," Emma whispered as she kissed Paden's head, using her husband's nickname for their youngest son.

Ever since he could crawl, Paden had been a handful. They learned very quickly with him they had to put everything as hidden as possible with him, their son somehow always managing to find the most complicated of hiding spots to get what he wanted. Paired with his knack for being able to get in and out of any place, whether it be his room, the kitchens, or even one of the dwarves' or his uncles' rooms, he had earned the nickname of Octopus from his father.

Tucking his blanket securely around him, she quietly left the room, meeting Killian in the hall so they could go into Henry's room.

Henry had just crawled into his bed as they walked in, looking up at them with tired hazel eyes. His room had changed as he grew, but he kept his old baby blanket over a chair beside his bed where his lion and wooden ship rested.

"Good night, Sea Otter," Killian said, a warm smile gracing his face as he sat on the edge of the boy's bed.

Henry smiled back at him. "Night, Papa, Mama."

Emma leaned forward, brushing a gentle kiss to his forehead. "Night, Henry. Sleep well."

Making sure he was tucked in just as when he was a baby, she stood, moving to blow out the single candle that illuminated the room before she left with Killian.

At ten years old, Emma still often saw the newborn baby Henry had been that she was ready to sacrifice everything for. Even having two more children, Emma never ceased to make sure Henry never lacked for anything, giving him every bit of comfort and attention he needed from her and Killian. He was growing up, something that Emma hated, but loved to watch, eager to see the man he would become.

Killian reached out, wrapping his arms around her as they reached their main room and drawing her to his chest. Resting her own hands on his strong shoulders, Emma laid her head into the crook of his neck, feeling content and loved in the warmth and security of her husband's embrace.

Resting his cheek on the crown of her head, he exhaled contently. "So, what did you wish for earlier?"

She smiled. "Nothing. I was serious, Killian. I have everything I could possibly want. I have a husband and children I love with everything I have. There's nothing more that I could ever ask for."

"Well, I'm glad," Killian said in a tender voice as he lifted his head to kiss her hair. "I love you."

"I love you, too," Emma replied, tilting her head to seek his lips out with hers.