Emma blew off magic lessons and took one of the horses out for a run through the woods. Of course, Tinkerbelle tracked her down anyways and pestered the princess until the magic shielding all evidence of Emma's problems fell away. Tink backed off with a reminder she was around when needed. Emma nodded silently and spurred her horse further from the castle.
She slowed down to a walk and stopped at the edge of cliff where she could look out at the kingdom of Misthaven. Hopping off, she walked along the edge as her mind twisted and turned over her current situation. Emma placed a hand over her mostly flat belly.
"Well Peanut, it's a whole new world for us," she spoke aloud to the tiny vulnerable life inside her. It was time to talk to her family, time for some explanations. "Here's the thing. I don't know how they'll react and I don't know what news they really need to know. Neal, not your father but your brother's father, and I haven't had the talk. The what do we want talk. The sorry it's not you, it's me talk. And what if his father isn't thrilled or friendly and that goes to hell." The horse snorted. "See even the horse gets dealing with the Dark One is not a barrel of monkeys."
She came to a pile of rocks and sat. Once again to stare at her kingdom, kind of, the place where she was born and left before she was even an hour old.
"Then there's the fact that our memories have been changed and while I have inklings of what really happened but I don't know if I really want to share it." Emma stroked her baby. "Everyone is so happy and if, yes if, I tell I could destroy that and I don't want to destroy anyone else's happy ending ever again." She felt something shift in her heart and it felt right. "No lies, but not all of the truth then."
She took a deep breath and her magic settled around her again, hiding any visible sign of exhaustion and stress until she could sit down and talk with her family.
"Don't worry Peanut, it's you and me and your brother and your grandparents and, well, technically your step-great-grandmother. And none of us will let anything happen to you."
Emma stood, rubbed her cheek against her horse’s nose and turned toward her parent's castle.
Emma kept her eyes peeled for the strangers she knew her father was bringing to the castle. Sure, it was time for the truth, well some anyways, but she wasn't ready to learn why the mysterious pirate’s name had such an effect on her. There was only so much an exhausted pregnant not quite a princess savior could take in one day.
Once she stabled her horse Emma crept with as much stealth as possible across the castle grounds and inside. As she slid around a column by the welcoming hall, she heard voices and ran to hide behind some curtains.
"Allow me to present my wife, Snow White." Her father was making introductions and with everyone facing away from her hiding spot it was the perfect time to peek. Emma moved to the edge and glanced at the very informal presentation. Her eyes were immediately drawn to the figure in black sweeping into an elegant bow before her mother. Emma’s stomach rolled and her heart began beating like she had run all the way back from the cliffs.
"Grandpa," Henry called out to her father and the group turned and Emma saw his face.
"Killian," she whispered, her hand clenched around the curtain. "My pirate." Memories began to flash through her mind, the beanstalk, Neverland, New York, their first date… and on and on. She could barely breath, joy welling up in her, remembering their wedding, their life and then the woman next to him took his arm. She took his arm as her father introduced her to Henry and Snow as Milah Jones.
Emma's hand flew to her mouth to muffle the sound of her hurt as she ran.
Henry smiled and smiled and smiled. He kept hoping no one saw how nervous he was and if his grandmother did notice she thought it was about meeting one more relative. It was the Jones that was doing the hurting.
He hadn't written that, not at all, not that. Henry had plotted it out so carefully and so many times that he knew when the pirate was in any part of their story, his mom was destined to be together with Hook. He had needed to take the pirate out of the story and once Killian was off in Neverland he hadn’t given him another thought.
"Henry," Snow called to him. "Why don't you see if you can find your mother?"
Snow rolled her eyes at his question. "Emma."
Henry watched Killian flinch, wondering what the pirate knew. "Sure grandma. Um." He turned to Milah. "I guess I'll see you later grandmother? Milah? Mrs Jones?"
"Grandmother is fine." She smiled a bit too much while the pirate was scratching behind his ear flustered. Henry took off, glancing over his shoulder to catch his step-father frowning at the woman who was apparently his wife.
Henry took his time searching the grounds, eliminating place after place till there was just her room left and he felt ready. He knocked on the door but continued in without waiting.
"Mom," he barely got out before his voice cracked. Emma was there, curled up on her bed and he ran to her. "Mom." She looked up at him, her eyes drowning in tears. "It'll be okay, whatever it is, it'll be okay."
"Oh Henry." She lifted a hand to touch his face. "It will be okay, and everyone." She closed her eyes and swallowed back her pain. "Everyone will get their happy ending." She pulled him into her arms and they held onto one another.
"I'm sorry Mom, so sorry." Emma squeezed him one more time before pulling back and wiping away her tears.
"No sorry," she said, wiping tears from her cheeks and then his. "We move forward."
"Henry, I get the feeling you have something you'll have to tell me." She shook her head. "But this is our life right now, and it's pretty damn good. There will be a time when you'll have to tell me." Her head tilted to the side as if listening to a faint tune in the distance. "I don't know what weird Savior spidey sense is telling me this but I know at this moment I'm right."
"But," he tried to interrupt her.
"There will be a time." She smiled. "So much is right, we'll take whatever it is as we go, okay kid?"
She wiped at her face again. "Right now, I need you kid."
He raised an eyebrow at her.
"I cannot meet your new grandmother and her, her..." She choked and stopped to take a deep breath.
"I can help with that." Henry helped her stand and she frowned. He was just so tall and to have to look up at him just a little made her tear up again. "Mom."
"I can't help it, you're so tall kid."
Henry rolled his eyes. "I ran into Grumpy earlier and he ran into Anton before me," he paused to take a breath. "Anton was looking for you, he needs some help from the sheriff."
"You are a lifesaver. Let my mom know I was packing and heading out." She winked at him. "And make it sound urgent enough that my bad manners can be excused."
"You got it." He looked away for a moment. "I might go hang over at Mom's a little earlier than usual."
Emma took a deep breath. "Do what you got to do, kid. We'll get everything back on track after we take a little break." She brushed his hair out of his eyes. "I love you."
"I love you too mom."
Emma disappeared in a cloud of white smoke.
Killian concentrated on studying the castle, anything to avoid talking about the colossal lie Milah told.
To be honest he was surprised, the buildings in the village looked to be in order and in better shape than the castle. Walls had obviously been repaired but no work had gone into restoring the splendor most royals required. He couldn't tell what annoyed him more that these particular royals cared and acted with honor or that they were good and offered to help without being asked. They were just a little too ideal for him to trust.
Milah tugged on his arm and he gave her a baleful glare. She rolled her eyes then nudged him to indicate that they were not alone and to behave. Queen Snow led them into a cozier room of the castle which was already occupied.
"Good Evening," a jolly voice spoke up from behind the chair of an incredibly regal female. "Robin of Locksley at your service." He came around the chair with his hand out, a pleasant smile on his face and dressed for the forest. "This is my soon to be wife, Regina, also known in these parts as the Queen Mother." Snow snorted. "Very true, she is much too young for such a phrase but it is better than calling her by her old moniker."
"And what would that be?" Killian asked cheekily.
Regina rolled smoothly to her feet, a small smile fixed to her face and said in a voice dripping with acid. "The Evil Queen."
"Ah, well than, is the gang all here so you can start explaining a few things?" Killian glanced around the room, impatient and waiting for something he couldn't name. Dread built inside him. He knew something was wrong but whatever it was wasn't in this room, yet.
"Henry's gone to fetch Emma," Charming informed Regina and Robin. Killian retreated again at the sound of the princess's name and began searching the room for a distraction. A compass sat on the mantle and he let it draw him away from his worries and Milah's side.
"I know we look good for three hundred years but the same could be said of you folk." Milah addressed her question to Regina. "This entire kingdom and more has been missing for over 28 years?"
"Emma's, what, thirty-two or something now," Snow spoke up drawing attention back to herself. "So over thirty years really." She gave her guest a smile and turned to her husband. "Did you realize that our baby has parents who are in their sixties really?"
"You've got to be joking," Regina chimed in. "This is what we're going to talk about? Can't we just skip the politeness and get to the point."
"Henry should be a part of this." Robin pointed out to his love. "And speak of the devil."
"Sorry Mom, Grandma, Grandpa and Robin," Henry panted out. "I was trying to track down Mom but I couldn't find her." He leaned over, trying to catch his breath. "But I ran into Leroy, Grumpy, and he said Mom had to go out and see Anton. Sheriff business at the beanstalk. It could take a while and she, you know, felt bad about missing our guests." Snow raised a brow and studied her grandson but said nothing.
Killian dropped the compass and watched it roll across the floor. It wasn't until Milah put a hand on his arm that he remembered where he was.
Noise erupted at once as they all began talking over one another except Regina. She walked up to Henry and put a hand on his cheek, staring into his eyes before nodding.
"Let's get this show on the road," she called for order. "Basically, we want to know what you want. Until we do there will be no contact with Rumplestilskin or Neal or Belle. Also, the Dark One has promised to keep his distance and not kill either of you unless provoked."
Milah blinked, surprised. "That seems very simple and straightforward." She took a seat by the fire. "Are you sure that's what Rumple agreed to?"
"Yes," Snow answered. "Three months ago, we were brought back here to the Enchanted Forest. While we haven’t figured out the why or the how or the who, we were all brought back together." She reached out and held Regina's hand. "After everything, we are family and that now includes you. Both of you."
Killian faced away from the group. Damn his mixed-up head and heart. The Queens words filled him with warmth, happiness even and made him blink away tears. The feelings that continued to be at odds with his memory had been careening about from the moment his highness walked into that tavern. For the first time in three months, being in this room, he felt right.
"Killian." Milah reached out a hand to him and he returned to her side, his feelings back under control. She gripped his hand tightly. "We heard of your return three months ago and began listening, trying to find out if Bae was among you. It took a while but I'm here to see my son, find peace with the past and build a new future."
"Well said," Regina commented lightly. "We ask that you stay here, with David and Snow. Neal, as we know your Baelfire, will start by visiting you here." She glanced at the other people in the room. "We think it would be best for you to keep your distance from the Dark One as much as possible for as long as possible."
"It's not that Grandpa wants to hurt you, Grandmother," Henry added in. "Just probably smart to ease into it and make sure Dad has your back."
"Also, we don't wish to confine you to the castle," Charming spoke up. "If you need to sail off for a few days, so be it. We just ask that if you're visiting, you stay here."
Killian watched Milah absorb this news. Her eyes were shiny with tears.
"What do you say love?" He lifted her hand and kissed it which caused a few of the room’s other occupants to frown. "Shall we make port for a bit?"
"Yes please," Tears began to trail down her cheeks. "I wish to see my son."
"Excellent," Snow took charge of the conversation again. "I'll go prepare a room for you two."
Before Killian could intervene, Milah spoke another yes please and pinched his side. Frustrated, he held back a pained sigh as they followed the Queen from the room.