If you could only see the way he loves me then maybe you could understand why I feel this way about our love, and what I must do. If you could only see how blue his eyes can be when he says, when he says he loves me.
“You feel you don’t understand her.”
Snow startled to find Merlin standing just over her shoulder. He smiled kindly as he took a seat across from her in the diner booth, and Snow relaxed. She glanced outside where her daughter was saying her goodbyes to Hook. They smiled at one another, and Snow herself grinned as well. The smile on Emma’s face was such a joyous one, her nose wrinkling and her cheeks creasing. Hook’s smile was tender for her daughter yet laced with worry. He pulled Emma in for a passionate kiss, and Snow looked away.
“ He makes her smile in a way no one else can,” Snow commented, unable to keep the slight tinge of jealousy from her voice.
“And you don’t quite understand why.”
Snow glanced at Merlin, wide-eyed.
“Why a pirate, I mean.” Merlin’s face was serene, free of judgement.
She sighed and clasped her hands in her lap. “It isn’t that I don’t approve . . . I do, really. She’s happy . . . “ Snow took a deep breath before finally speaking the truth aloud. “But you’re right, I don’t understand her. I don’t know her. I thought . . . “
“You thought she would be reunited with her first love, get the happy ending that you and Charming got.”
Snow blinked away the tears. “Hook’s changed, I know that, but Emma is the savior, a hero . . . she’s always been on the side of good, like Neal was.”
Merlin simply nodded, and Snow almost felt the way she did talking to Archie back home. She waited for the sorcerer to give her some piece of wisdom, but instead, he reached into the folds of his robes and pulled out a necklace. The pendant looked like a gyrosphere , multiple hoops going in different directions.
“Emma’s life was vastly different from yours or your husband’s.”
He quickly raised a hand as Snow’s head dropped back. She gazed up at the ceiling, her breaths coming quicker. Would the guilt never go away? She finally looked back at Merlin who was waiting patiently.
“I know why you did what you did – so does she. But Emma doesn’t exactly open up easily. There is much she doesn’t share with you.”
Merlin put the necklace in Snow’s hand, then rose from his seat.
“Wait! What is this?”
Merlin smiled. “A talisman. To see the world through your daughter’s eyes. But it can only be used once. When the time comes, spin it.”
Snow’s brow furrowed. “When the time comes? When is that?”
“You’ll just know.”
She scowled at Merlin’s back as he left the diner. Was it a requirement that wizards speak in riddles?
Snow blinked away the tears as her daughter clutched desperately at Hook’s shoulders, begging Merlin for a way to save him. Could her daughter never be happy?
Yet even though her heart broke for Emma, Snow backed up everyone else. She had to let him go. Embracing the darkness wasn’t worth it. Even Hook was gasping for her to re-forge Excalibur so he could see her free before he died.
Then suddenly, Emma cried out, tears streaming down her face, and both she and Hook were gone. Merlin’s gaze fell to the floor in defeat, David sank in despair to his knees, and Regina snapped about mooning over stupid pirates. Snow turned her back on all of it. She reached into the bodice of her dress, pulled out the talisman, and spun it.
Snow’s vision was spotty and she stumbled slightly, disoriented to find herself in a dark alley back in the Land Without Magic. It was evening, cold, with a slight drizzle. A few feet away, a couple huddled together. The man held a flashlight. Could they see her? Snow took a step closer, but neither of them reacted. She could now see that the woman wasn’t a woman at all – she was just a girl. The beam of a flashlight shifted and caught the girl’s features. Snow gasped.
It was obvious now she was an invisible observer, as her daughter didn’t so much as flinch at Snow’s outburst. Snow drank in the sight of her. The innocence of her face, the blonde ponytail, the black framed glasses. She wore less makeup, her freckles more prominent. She was so young .
“You sure you know the code?”
The man she was with turned, and Snow gasped again to see Neal’s face. She swallowed as bile seemed to rise in her throat. Why had she never considered the age difference? But now, seeing her daughter this way . . .
“ Of course I know it . . . the numbers at least. Here, hold this, I can't see a damn thing.”
Emma took the flashlight and shone it on a panel of buttons on what Snow assumed was the back entrance to an apartment. Emma chewed on her lower lip.
“And you’re sure this guy isn’t home?”
“Yeah, I’m sure. Look, you don’t want to sleep in the Bug again, do you?” Neal turned and put his arms around Emma, giving her a flirtatious grin. “And while we’ve had some good times in that back seat, I want this to be special.”
Snow clenched both of her fists at the nervous look on her daughter’s face.
“I should have told you this before . . . “ Emma hesitated, her gaze going down to her shoes.
Neal’s eyes widened in surprised revelation. “Really? You mean, you’re a . . . virgin? “
Even in the poor light, Snow could see Emma’s cheeks turn pink.
“Why is that so crazy? I’m only seventeen.”
Neal shrugged in a manner that was way too cavalier for Snow’s liking. “You’ve lived on the streets, babe. I mean, I know how that usually goes.”
“Well not for me!” Emma snapped, taking a step back and out of Neal ‘s arms.
“Hey, hey,” Neal soothed, rubbing her arms, “calm down. I shouldn’t have assumed.”
Emma went willingly into his arms, resting her head on his shoulder. Neal ran his fingers through her ponytail. He kissed the top of her head.
“Ready to get out of the rain?”
Emma nodded, and the two of them turned back to the access panel. Neal pushed a combination of numbers, and a loud buzz sounded. He turned to Emma with a big grin.
“See! What did I tell you?”
Emma shuffled her feet. “Neal . . . “
Snow stepped forward, wanting to tell her daughter that she didn’t have to do this if she wasn’t ready. Tears pricked her eyes as she reached out, but her hand s went right through her baby’s shoulders.
Neal smiled gently at Emma. He pulled her close, cupped her cheek, then kissed her softly. “It’s gonna be great. You’ll see.”
“No! She isn’t ready!” Snow cried as Neal pulled a reluctant Emma through the gate. She tried to grasp the metal bars, but it was useless. Snow hugged her middle, her stomach roiling. Please, please, was he gentle with her? Patient? She sobbed.
The alley way suddenly spun, and she found herself in a city park this time. Neal was ready to leave Emma, to flee to Canada. Snow watched her daughter, so happy, so in love, telling Neal she could get the watches for him. Snow stared at the wanted poster in Neal’s hand. She tried to tell herself it was no different than the posters with her image back in the Enchanted Forest, but a tiny niggle of doubt teased the back of her mind.
The next two scenes were even harder to watch: her daughter being arrested because of Neal’s tip, her daughter numb in a jail cell as she held a positive pregnancy test in her hand. Why had Emma never shared these things with her? Her mother? Snow knew she was pregnant in jail, but had never wanted to press into painful memories. She should have pressed. The desire to hold her daughter was a physical ache, and Snow sobbed once again.
As the world spun around her, Snow feared what she might see next. The noises that greeted her ears certainly weren’t comforting. The sight that met her eyes both shocked and confused her. Hook was face down in a tub of water, and Emma was frantically trying to pull him out. Everything fell into place when Snow saw Zelena and Rumple nearby. The villains didn’t break whatever spell Hook was under until the man’s body went limp. Emma hauled him out, the terror on her face palpable. Snow shook her head in confusion. When had this happened? Why had neither of them ever said anything about it?
“ Hook ! Hook !” Emma cried, shaking him. It reminded Snow so much of the tragic scene in the diner, her heart ached. “Hook, wake up!”
“Killian, come back to me,” her daughter pleaded. She looked around, as if desperate for someone to help her. Finding none, she muttered, “Son of a bitch,” then leaning over Hook’s face, she said again, “Hook, come back to me.” Then she held his nose and breathed into his mouth. Snow didn’t understand the cloud of magic that covered Emma and blew away on the wind.
Hook choked and coughed up water, and Emma sagged in relief. Hook’s eyes went wide as he touched his lips.
“What did you do?”
Emma sighed. “I saved your life, that’s what.”
Hook sat up, his fingers at his lips again. “And you did that by . . .”
“Mouth to mouth, okay?” Emma snapped. “And don’t get any ideas, I just didn’t want you dying on me.”
Emma rose and dusted off her jeans. Snow was amazed at how she so easily hid the concern and desperation from just moments ago. Hook scrambled to his feet as well.
“You should have just let me die. Now your magic is gone!”
Emma’s eyes flashed. “You wanted a hot kiss instead of first aid? Well too bad.”
Hook rolled his eyes. “You think I’m that shallow? I’ve done everything in my power to ensure that my cursed lips stayed far from yours, and -”
“I’m sure those lips weren’t wanting for attention, so spare me the melodrama.”
Snow tilted her head. She wasn’t sure what had changed, but as her daughter stalked away from Hook, she could read her more easily than she ever could. Her daughter was afraid of her feelings for this man.
Snow found herself next in a barn with a swirling portal. Emma had already fallen in, and she was clinging desperately to Hook’s hand. With a scream, she lost her grip and fell. Snow was surprised to see that Hook was still safe. Hadn’t it pulled them both in?
“One of these days I’m going to stop chasing this woman,” Killian Jones muttered before pulling his hook free from the dirt.
As the portal swallowed him and closed, a smile lifted Snow’s lips.
“He followed her,” she whispered. And she and David never knew. Even Emma probably didn’t know of this particular heroism. There was definitely more to her daughter’s pirate boyfriend than met the eye.
Snow at first didn’t understand why she found herself on Granny’s patio. She had looked outside that night and seen her daughter kissing Captain Hook. But she hadn’t heard their conversation.
“You traded your ship for me?”
So that’s where the Jolly Roger had been. Why had Hook never told them? Why hadn’t Emma?
After that, Snow found herself watching her daughter on another rainy night, this one outside Granny’s. Emma’s words were like a gunshot to Snow’s heart.
“Everyone I’ve ever been with is dead. Neal, Graham, even Walsh. I can’t lose you too.”
Snow didn’t even hear Hook’s assurances. Her ears were ringing with the words I can't lose you too.
It was a beautiful day on the beach. Hook lay on a blanket, her daughter curled up with him, her head on his chest. He ran his fingers lazily through her hair.
“Listen to that sound,” he said quietly.
“Mmm,” Emma mumbled, “the waves, the gulls, the wind.”
“Aye, it’s always soothed me.”
Emma turned and rested her chin on his chest. “Even though you were a slave at sea?”
Snow blinked. Hook had been a slave?
Hook nodded. “The vastness of it, the wildness, made me believe that one day I could have freedom there. Liam and I dreamed of having our own ship someday. But not with the Navy – as merchants. A ship that was ours alone with no one telling us what to do.” Hook chuckled, “I was only nine, Liam only thirteen.
Snow pressed a hand to her lips. He was only a child?
“I used to have crazy dreams too,” Emma said with a fond smile. Snow’s heart ached to hear them both talk about difficult, lonely childhoods with such a casual air. “That my parents would come, and I would find out that I was special all along. Like Harry Potter or something.”
Emma’s words made tears track down Snow’s cheeks. She watched as Hook rolled over, gazing tenderly down at Emma. His smile was one Snow had already noticed was reserved only for her daughter. It crinkled the corners of his eyes, dimpled his cheeks, and made his eyes light up. He caressed Emma’s face.
“I suppose both our dreams came true. I got my ship, and you found your parents.”
Emma reached up and cupped his face. “But it wasn’t what we imagined as children. And you lost your ship.”
“But I found you.”
Snow looked away, feeling a bit guilty for watching them kiss. She glanced back, concerned she would see the pirate pillaging and plundering her daughter. She was surprised to see that he had stopped kissing her and had pulled her back into his embrace instead. Her daughter wasn’t having any of it, however. She sat up and straddled him.
“When are you going to make your move, pirate?”
The smile on his face was surprisingly gentle and serious as he sat up and wrapped his arms around Emma.
“I told your father you were more than a mere conquest, and I meant it.”
Emma tilted her head. “So this is some Enchanted Forest courtship agreement with my dad?”
“No.” Hook ran his fingers through Emma’s hair, then kissed her gently. “I love you, Emma.”
Snow watched her daughter press her forehead against Hook’s. “I know.”
“Yet you haven’t said it back.”
Emma’s eyes looked sad as she climbed off his lap. He remained quiet as she sat cross-legged next to him.
“Be patient with me?”
Snow almost didn’t catch the words, Emma said them so softly. When had she seen her daughter so vulnerable and scared? Snow’s breath caught. In that alley with Neal. She continued to hold her breath as she watched Hook gather Emma close.
“Of course, love,” he told her tenderly, “we have all the time in the world.”
She turned to see David looking nervously into her face. She glanced around to see that she was back at the diner in Camelot. David cupped her face.
“You stared off into space for a moment, then you suddenly blinked and started crying.” David’s thumbs caressed her cheeks. “Are you alright?”
Snow grasped David’s wrists. “Only a moment? They left only a moment ago?”
David’s brow furrowed in confusion. “Yes. . . “
Snow grinned and pulled her husband in for a quick kiss. “True love, honey, true love is the answer!” She turned to Merlin. “If Emma re-forges Excaliber and rids herself of the darkness, could she share her heart with Killian?”
Merlin smiled, glancing down at the talisman around her neck. “Yes, that could definitely work.”
“But Snow,” David protested, “that can only work if Hook is her true love. And if it doesn’t work, it could kill her.”
“Oh David, please. The man’s name is Killian.”
How Merlin had figured out where Emma had taken Killian, Snow didn’t know, nor did she care. All she cared about was stopping Emma from doing something horrific when there was a better option. There she was, standing over Killian with Excaliber.
Her daughter’s face was even more anguished than before as she turned to her. “I can’t lose him, Mom! Please, I can’t .”
“I know, baby,” Snow soothed as she gently lowered Emma’s arm.
On the ground, Killian made a gurgling sound. Even Snow’s heart lurched, and as she gazed down into his suffering face, she no longer saw Captain Hook, the reformed pirate. She saw Killian Jones, former slave boy, man of honor, hero who time and again chose her daughter over everything else. She saw Emma’s true love.
“He’s dying!” Emma sobbed, sagging in her mother’s embrace. The sword fell with a thud into the middlemist roses.
“There’s another way, Emma. Do what you planned, use Excaliber to cut away the darkness in you -”
Snow put a finger to her daughter’s lips. “Then you can do what I did for your father. Share your heart.”
“Emma,” Killian managed to say. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.
“You’ll be okay,” Emma told him as she dropped to the ground next to him, grasping his hook.
“I love you,” he told her, then his eyes rolled shut.
“He’s gone,” David said softly.
Emma pressed Killian’s hook to her breast, then leaned over and kissed his forehead. She stood, her face pale, but free of tears as she looked at Merlin.
“Let’s hurry and do this so I can save the man I love.”
Snow smiled through her tears at Emma’s commanding voice, the tilt of her chin. Perhaps her daughter was more like her than Snow thought.
Emma had fought the darkness so valiantly; it was easy to forget what she bore. But as Excaliber pulled the darkness from her, Snow could see a lightness come back into her daughter’s eyes, and the pink return to her cheeks. Light magic surged from her palms, and Excaliber imploded, blowing away as it turned to dust.
“She did it,” Merlin said in awe, “the Dark One magic is destroyed forever.”
Emma took no time to embrace her parents or celebrate. She dropped to her knees beside Killian’s still form and plunged her hand in to her own chest without hesitation. With it pulsing red in her palm, she leaned over and pressed her lips to Killian’s.
“Come back to me,” she whispered.
Merlin took the heart from Emma, and after a nod of consent from her, split it in two. Emma cried out and fell to the ground next to Killian, her hand still clasping his hook. The sorcerer leaned over them and plunged the two halves into their chests. Emma rolled over and took Killian’s face in her hands.
“Please,” she whispered, tears rolling down her face, “you promised me you were a survivor, Killian Jones.”
David reached out and drew Snow close as they waited. She could feel his half of her heart beating fast.
Then, with a gasp, Killian’s eyes flew open. Emma gave a glad cry and began to pepper his face with kisses.
“What happened?” he asked as he sat up, one arm still around Emma.
She smiled and pressed her palm to Killian’s chest. “We share a heart.”
Killian’s eyes widened in wonder. “We do?”
Emma nodded, happy tears now streaming down her face as she pulled him close for a passionate kiss.
Snow looked at her husband and smiled to see a tear slip down his cheek. She reached up and brushed it away as he turned to her with a broad smile.
“What do you think about calling our son by his middle name?”