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Finding Home, Again

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If she opened her eyes, the glare of the morning sun couldn’t be ignored and she’d have to be officially awake.

Instead Emma snuggled into the warmth of her bed and kept her eyes securely closed. Soft bed, comfy bed, so warm. If she concentrated real hard maybe, just maybe she could still be asleep.

Annoyingly loud boots stomped up the stairs and a familiar weight dropped onto the bed.

A hand slid up her back, pulling locks of her hair to one side and out of her face. Emma grunted and hugged his pillow tighter. When he pushed most of her hair to one side she frowned, her eyes squeezed shut and her nose wrinkled.

Killian chuckled and traced a finger along her forehead curling one last piece of hair behind her ear. “Time to get up love.”

She growled and shuffled away from his hand.

“Now come on love, it’s time to get up and get going.”

Without looking she swatted at his hand. “No.” Emma rolled further away from him. “We have hours so I’m going to sleep.” Feeling him stand a small grin of triumph broke out before the sound of his boots hitting the floor registered. She sat up and glared at the undressing pirate. “What do you think you’re doing? I said sleep and I meant sleep. It wasn’t a euphemism.”

“If the mountain won’t come to me.” He dropped his vest over his discarded coat and boots. “I will get in bed with the mountain.”

“That’s not how that goes.”

Killian laid down on the bed next to her. “I don’t care. I was thinking…”

Eyeing him warily, Emma sat back against the headboard. “Next thing you say had better not be we need to talk.”

He rolled his eyes before rolling to the side of the bed and pulling something from beneath it. Rolling back he dropped a book between them. Emma refused to look down at whatever it was and glared at him instead.

He smirked and let his gaze travel down to her bare feet peeking out from the covers then back up to her face. “If you keep glaring at me like that we’ll not have a little chat or get a bit of a lie in. Which is perfectly fine by me as last night…”

“It was nice.” Emma shook her head. “Not euphemism fun but it’s not like Henry snuggles with us much.”

“It was.” Killian reached out to play with her hair. “And maybe when the twins get here, we’ll fall into an exhausted slumber together again.”

“Bed’s big enough.”

His head tipped to the side. “It is.” Killian continued to play with a strand of long blond hair, weaving it between his fingers as he waited for her to look at the book.

“Fine.” She pouted. “But then we nap.”

“Then we nap.” He agreed solemnly, the edges of his mouth turning up slightly.

Rolling her eyes Emma glanced down at the book he threw on the bed. A to Z Baby Names. Picking it up her fingers traced over the cover before opening it and seeing the property of Storybrooke Library stamp inside. “Did you pick this up?”

“No.”

“Henry then.” Catching his nod, she turned back to the book and leafed through some pages. “Do you really think we’re going to pick names for the twins this morning? We don’t even know if they’re boys, or girls, or a boy and a girl…”

He placed his hand over hers, closing the book as he shook his head. “As if we won’t be including Henry in the discussion.” Taking the book from her hands he tossed it over his shoulder to bounce on the floor. “I was thinking, after all these meeting with everyone.” He stopped, looking unsure.

“What?” Reaching out she cupped his cheek.

“I really don’t want to name our children after someone else.” He pulled away from her hand, taking it with his. “It’s not just there being two Robins and two Neals. I was thinking of Liam.”

“Nice name.”

He nodded and shrugged. “But also a lot to live up to and I don’t want that for them.” Killian looked away as his hand squeezed hers tighter. “I don’t want some bar set so high they feel they can never measure up.”

Emma left her hand in his and flopped onto her back to study the ceiling and think and let the silence stretch out.

Killian loomed over her suddenly. “Not that I think your parents or Zelena or anyone really means for that kind of thing to happen or that if we have a boy and name it Liam he’ll suddenly come back to life and make it mildly awkward. Although there is my younger brother Liam as well and his naming just…”

Emma nodded. “I guess I always thought it was nice, like, you know, a connection to”— she shrugged – “family.”

He sat back. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

“But you’re kind of right, too.” She sat up. “I mean Gideon’s the exception but it feels like every time a baby is born, we’ve lost someone.”

“Not immediately.”

“But in enough time to pass on the name.”

“True.” Killian tugged her hand and pulled her with him as he fell back on the bed. “My mom’s name was Alice.”

“Another nice name.” Emma cuddled into his side. “My grandmothers were Eva and Ruth.”

“Solid names both. Feeling like you’re carrying around a couple of girls?”

“No, just thinking.” She looked up at him and then away. “There’s this other thing, to the whole naming game stuff.”

“What is it love?”

“Well.” She sighed. “I lived in a lot of foster homes, which equals knowing a lot of kids and then attending public school as a foster kid. There are a lot of names I’m never going to like.”

“Like a couple hundred years of Lost Boys. Thank the gods most pirates end up with salty monikers.”

They both sighed.

“Maybe we can take a leaf from Belle’s book.” Killian nudged her head with his. “Quite literally. Who’s your favorite character?”

Her nose wrinkles. “Peter Pan was.”

“That’s just sick.”

“Was.” She elbowed his side making him grunt in pain. “I don’t think fictional characters will work for us either.”

“As they aren’t quite fictional enough.” He sighed. “Where does that leave us?”

Emma leaned up on her elbow. “We want a name that’s connected but not actually anyone’s name or associated with anything or one we hate, fictional and non-fictional.”

Killian tugged on a strand of her hair that had fallen forward. “Quite simple really.”

“Alice would have been nice.”

“Of noble kin.” He nodded and kept playing with her hair.

“Of what?”

“It what it means. I looked it up in the book.” Both his brows lifted and he rolled to the side, sending her onto her back.

“Hey!”

Killian got a hold of the discarded book and held it up triumphantly as he jumped back into bed.

Emma glared as she bounced up and down. “I thought you wanted to be careful with the pregnant princess.”

“Love, we had a practice bout yesterday after a considerable and painfully long lecture on how you are not that delicate and all we needed to do was exercise a modicum of common sense.” He raised one brow, darting a amused look at her before he flicked through the pages. “Make up your mind.”

“Dumb ass.”

“No, I’m a bloody genius.” He waved the book in her face and thrusted it in her hands, tapping the page with one finger. “Strong willed warrior.”

She looked down at the list of names and found the phrase. “Liam. Got it, names have meaning. Shocking.”

His smile was broad and happy. “Exactly.”

She pushed the book back at him with a sigh. “Use words.”

“We use the meanings of their names.”

Emma grinned. She got it but where was the fun in that. “I meant in words that make sense.”

He again tossed the book to the side and gently tackled her back onto the bed. “You understood perfectly.” Wagging one finger at her before he rolled them over again and started settling back into the bed. “Now just agree that I’m brilliant and we can have that non-euphemism nap.”

Settling further into his arms, Emma rolled her eyes. “It’ll take forever without the internet.”

“We have months yet.” He took a deep breath. “And a teenager heavily invested in finding the right name.”

“Four.” She mumbled, taking a slow breath to settle her heart and ease back into sleep. “Two girl names, two boy names unless we like ones that cover all the bases.”

He hummed happily. “I was thinking hours till the sand runs out.” When she snorted in response he smiled. “Or the total number of kids we should have.”

Emma was suddenly wide awake and sitting straight up.

Killian yawned and stretched his arms over his head before resting his head back on the pillow and letting his eyes close. “Don’t worry love, I was counting Henry.”

She pulled the pillow from beneath his head and tossed it across the room before turning her back on him and curling into her own.

 


 

Watching viscous liquid dribble through glass pipes then spin through a couple copper twists seemed like a waste of a lovely morning. Rumple had a solid theory on the hate carried by his ex-wife but the devil was in the details. Literally, if his hunch was correct.

Not many souls both hated the savior and had the right mix of skills, cunning and idiocy.

“That’s moving pretty slow.”

Rumple turned to coolly greet his son. “True. Is there something you need Bae?”

“Nah. Just received, well, a message.” Bae slouched against the table and tapped a finger to one of the empty glass beakers. “Not a message, more like a visit.”

“Visitors? Today?”

Bae shrugged again and moved further down the table. “On the run after breaking out.”

“You know.” Rumple adjust a valve and the sparkling thick liquid oozed into a vial. “If I wasn’t the Dark One, everything you just said would be meaningless.”

“But you are you, papa.”

“So I am.” He capped the vial and put it in a pocket. “And the message?”

Bae grimaced and turned to make his way to the door. “Exit stage left.”

“Ahhh.” Dark red smoke swirled, leaving Rumple in his cloak. “Did our young playwright have any specific requests?”

“Just an early appearance for”—Bae shot a brief smirk at his father—“experimental purposes.”

The Dark One chuckled and strolled along behind his son. The door to the Savior’s isle abode was open and Henry stood on the other side with his grandmother. He slowly closed the door while he listened to Bae tease the lad and Milah about their early morning activities. Spinning the knob twice to close the way behind him he shook his head when mother and son dueled with tales of imprisonment.

“Enlightening.” Rumple commented. “It must be exciting to compare dungeons.”

Henry smirked at his grandfather. “Now Grandpa, no need to worry ‘cause you still win.”

Rumple placed a hand over his heart, bowing forward. “Thank goodness.”

“The Queen and Kings dungeon wasn’t that bad.”

“That’s not the same place Grandpa ended up in before the first curse.” Henry went and sat by the hearth. “Mom took me to see it and its worse.”

“Now now, I found it quite charming.” Giggling to himself, Rumple searched the room. “Are Belle and Gideon upstairs?”

“Something about figuring out where to put the bookshelves.” Milah nodded at him and headed over to take a seat next to Henry. “I wasn’t expecting to be here this early myself.” She leveled a look at the lad. Bae messed with his hair.

And suddenly there they sat, pieces of his family, waiting for Rumplestilskin to join them. They could wait as he had not spoken to his wife since before breakfast that morning.

He raised a single finger at the small group and moved to the stairs. “It will only be a moment.” Up he went pass the second floor, chambers lacking any but the most basic furnishings, to the third floor and its barely furnished rooms. Standing in the open doorway he watched Belle tour the room with their son. She pointed out spots and talked of chairs and bookcases and what not.

Rumplestilskin smiled. “Not as nice as your library but it will do.”

Belle turned to him with a smile. “Nothing will ever top the library you gave me.” She gave the room a quick side glance as she walked to him. “But this will do nicely for family gatherings. Did you need me?”

“Always.” He lifted her free hand for a kiss and leaned in to kiss Gideon’s cheek. “At the moment, it has just been too long since I last spoke with you.”

“And they all call David charming.”

“I have a few tricks up my sleeve.” He offered her is arm. “Shall we find out what the rush is?”

Belle threaded her arm through his and adjust her hold on Gideon. “Barely morning at this point. The meeting is less than two hours away.”

“Less than four for time to run out.”

“Have you no faith in the fairies?” Belle pulled them to a stop between floors. “Silly question. I really believe everything will be alright Rumple.”

He patted her hand and urged her downstairs. “I happen to agree about today’s outcome, and it being a silly question.” He heaved a sigh. “There are still issues to deal with afterwards.”

“True,” she responded, her arm tightening around her son. “I thought when I was your maid I had a handle on who you were and how you played with those who came to you but it’s different now.”

“All magic comes with a price.” He looked down at Gideon. “Often that price is something precious but it is true. I no longer align the pieces on the board for my own endgame.”

Belle pulled him to a stop at the bottom of the stairs. “I know that and I see that now more than ever but the consequences…”

“Ripple out and effect people who never asked for it.” His head tilted as he followed her thought. “And sometimes it’s tragedy but…”

“Sometimes it’s not.” She pressed a kiss to Gideon’s head and handed the squirming baby to his father. “This time, it’s not and our price is dealing with someone else ripple which I think we are doing splendidly.”

Rumpled giggled and nuzzled the baby in his arms. “You are the smartest among us you know.”

Belle lowered her lashes and then looked up at her husband with a grin. “I know. Now go do what you do.”

As gracefully as possible with his son in his arms, Rumple turned his ankle out and bowed to his wife with extra flourishes. “As my lady commands.”

“Maybe I can come out to the cabin.” Henry said, loudly to be heard across the room. “I imagine there’s less flirting there.”

“Until Lumiere stops by with lunch.” Bae smirked at his son.

“Idiots.” Milah turned a carefully blank face to the Dark One. “Can we get on with this?”

A knock sounded at the door and they all jumped. Henry crossed the room to open the it.

“Regina, to what do we owe this visit?”

“Didn’t Henry tell you?”

“I’m afraid the lad has us jumping to do his bidding with nary an explanation at this point.” Rumple and Regina looked toward the boy.

“I thought we’d figure out who Grandmother’s hitchhiker is?” Henry’s voice rose an octave at the end of his question and he coughed. “You know, before.”

Rumple handed Gideon to Regina and reached into his pocket. “I have just the thing” The stoppered vial he had carried from his work room glittered in the light. “Shall we?”

“I think it’s time.” Regina bounced the baby in her arms. “Let’s get to the end of this chapter so we can start the next.”