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Unbreakable

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Enchanted Forest - Seven Years Ago

Hook picks at his shackle until he finally hears the click of the lock. Chuckling in triumph, he moves his wrist around before running toward the exit. He doesn’t know when that giant will be back and he doesn’t want to be anywhere in his firing line when he does.

Anyway, he has a score to settle.

He cracks his neck at the frustration that washes over him. He actually trusted the Swan girl, let his guard down because he saw something in her, she reminded him much of himself…

And she was bloody gorgeous.

“Lost your bleeding mind over a pretty face,” he grumbles to himself.

It matters not, he’ll get down and try to get himself back in the good graces of Cora. He’s quite useful, she’ll be upset, but he has no doubt he can sway her to forgive his minor mishap. He was going to leave Swan on the beanstalk, he’ll tell her, that the plan was to steal the compass from Emma and bring it back to her.

She needn’t know the truth.

He’s just at the top of the stalk when the ground starts to shake under his feet. Turning to look back, he doesn’t see the giant yet, but he knows he’s coming. Hook starts to run and just before he gets to the opening, a golden vortex appears.

“Bloody hell.”

The vortex becomes larger and he moves to find another way out when the winds pick up and he’s thrown to the ground. Reaching out, he digs his fingers and his hook into the ground, frantically he looks around for something to get a better grip on, but there is nothing. The winds pick up more and his hook slips through the dirt.

He cries out and tries to keep his grip on ground, but the vortex behind him is too strong and it finally pulls him free. His body falls freely, flashes of white all around him, until he’s thrown down onto the ground.

A grunt escapes his lips as his head smacks onto a hard surface. Pushing himself up, he lifts his head and stops when he notices his surroundings. He’s no longer on top of the beanstalk, he seems to be in a barn of some kind.

With his brow furrowed, he stands and looks around. He’s by the sea, that he’s certain, he’d know that smell in the air anywhere, but it still doesn’t explain where he is. He walks over to a door and is just about to open it when he hears a voice outside.

“Yeah, I saw it… I’m right outside… I’ll let you know.”

Looking around, he spots a wooden fence and ducks behind it. He may be able to handle himself, but he also knows never to get in a situation without knowing what you're up against. The door opens and he peers over the top of the fence, his jaw clenching when he sees Emma Swan walk in with a weapon drawn.

She must have fallen through the same vortex as he. His lips twitch as he watches and tries to think of some sort of revenge for her leaving him. With her arms still up, she walks to the middle of the barn and looks around before finally putting it down to her side.

Bloody hell, she’s still gorgeous.

Shaking his head to rid himself of those thoughts, he continues to watch her, ignoring how easy it would be to get the upper hand in the situation and staying put.

When she kneels to inspect the ground where he landed, he leans forward to get a better look, but his hook slips, scraping loudly against the wood.

Emma quickly stands and whips to turn toward him, her weapon once again in the air.

“Show yourself!”

With a smirk, he steps out from behind the fence with his hand and hook outstretched. “Going to shoot me, lass?”

Her shoulders slump in relief and she drops her pistol, which confuses him. She doesn’t seem too shocked to see him and he’s not sure why.

“What the hell are you doing?” She tilts her head and a lets out a little chuckle while motioning to his body. “And why are you dressed like that?”

“Why are you dressed like that?” he snaps, motioning to her knit hat and long coat.

Her lips part and her brow goes together. “Are you still upset about this morning?”

Crossing his arms over his chest, “Did you believe I would just forget about what you did to me?”

“You said that you were okay with it.”

“When did I ever say that?” She opens her mouth but he cuts her off, “No, I believe the words were ‘I risked my own safety to help you’ and then you still left me chained and alone.”

Amusement shows on her face as her lips tug up into a smile, “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t act daft, darling, you’re better than that.”

She stares at him for a few seconds before her eyes go wide and her mouth drops open.

“What happened in here?”

“Your guess is as good as mine.” He motions around the barn. “I was just about to make my way down the beanstalk when a portal opened and I was sucked into it. Landed just over there.”

Her gaze moves to where he points. “A portal?” Her face scrunches in confusion. “What did it look lik— wait, did you just say beanstalk?”

“Hit your head on your way down, did you?” She continues to stare at him and his frustration hits its peak. “What is it?”

“Hook?”

“Aye?”

Her eyes go wide and a puff of air passes her lips before she takes a step back. “This isn’t possible.”

“Did you miss me?” He smirks and takes a step forward. “Now I think it’s time you and I have a little ch—”

Before he can finish his sentence, she raises her hand and everything goes black.


He awakes to voices and his head pounding.

“How did this happen?” Comes an angry female voice.

“Don’t you think if I knew that I would have fixed it by now?”

“Well, why the hell did you bring him here?”

“It was the first place I thought of! It’s not like I could let him roam around town!”

Bringing his hand up, he pinches the bridge of his nose, trying to sooth the ache in his head while they continue to talk.

“You know what’s going to happen if Ki—”

“I’m aware! Luckily, he’s out with my dad and Robin. We just have to make sure it stays that way.”

He looks over to see Emma and… the Evil Queen?... standing a few feet from him. Emma notices him first and motions with her head.

Sitting up on the cot, he leans his elbows on his knees and lets out a huff when he notices his hook is gone.

“Again?” he murmurs while motioning to his missing attachment. “Do you have some sort of fascination with my hook that I don’t know about, because if that’s the case,” he stands and walks up to the bars with a smirk on his lips. “I’ll be all too happy accommodate.”

Regina rolls her eyes while Emma turns to give him a blank stare. He almost chuckles because her look of complete annoyance is the only thing that seems right.

“It’s somewhere safe,” Regina huffs.

“Well, forgive me if I’m not inclined to trust you, Your Majesty.

Her eyes blaze with anger and she takes a step forward, but stops when Emma reaches over the desk to grab the Queen’s arm.

“Okay,” Emma sighs. “What’s the last thing you remember, Hook?”

“Well,” he leans his shoulder against the cell. “The last thing I remember is being chained on top of beanstalk with a giant. Now, you have me locked in a cell. Trust really doesn’t come easy to you, does it?”

Her eyes sadden for a quick second before they flicker over to the Queen who turns to her with an eyebrow up.

“The beanstalk?” Regina whispers, too low for someone to hear, but he’s spent years perfecting his hearing and heightening his senses. His ears have long since been trained to hear things a normal person wouldn’t. “How did—”

Emma holds up her hand and shakes her head. When Regina questions her, she motions to him.

“He can hear you.”

He hides his surprise at her knowledge of his talent with a grin when Regina looks back at him. Emma motions to the hall and he grinds his teeth as they walk out. There’s something they aren’t telling him, he just knows it… they are acting strange.

The Swan girl, to start. There is something different about the way she looks at him, but he can’t seem to put his finger on it. Those walls she had on the stalk are still there, but it almost seems she’s struggling to keep them up, they’re not as strong as they were the last time they spoke.

She’s still breathtakingly beautiful, that much is obvious. But there are things; her hair is longer, her eyes aren’t as dark and guarded... but that still isn’t it.

He shakes his head, he doesn’t have time to figure out what’s different with her when he doesn’t even know where he is. He’s in some sort of cell, that he’s sure of, but there are things he’s never seen before and it’s a bit confusing.

His head whips over to the window. There are vessels moving around outside along with people walking by in clothing that closely matches what Emma and Regina are wearing. A slow smile forms on his face and he lifts his hand to grab the bars.

Could it be that this is the realm without magic, the realm he and Cora were finding their way to? The realm the Crocodile calls home?

Eyeing the bars, he looks for a weakness. It shouldn’t be too hard to break out, this isn’t his first cage. Pulling up, the bars stay intact and a growl rumbles in the back of his throat. He reaches out and brushes his fingers over the lock. A low chuckle passes his lips when he realizes how easy it will be to pick with just…

“Ah,” he says to himself.

Walking back over to the cot, he lifts the mattress hoping to find some sort of old nail that he may pry out to pick the lock with, but he’s met with an even more pleasant surprise. The cot seems to be held up with curved metal pieces and all he’d have to do is break off a piece to make the perfect device.

A door closes and he drops the mattress back down before he walks to the bars. Emma walks in with her brow together and her hands clenched at her sides.

“What’s a man got to do to get something to drink?”

“Excuse me?”

He shrugs and loops his thumb through his belt. “Not offering your prisoner simple pleasantries, that’s very bad form, Swan.”

“You’re not my prisoner,” she mumbles.

“Aren’t I?” he asks darkly. “You knock me out, cage me, take away the one thing I may use to protect myself.”

With her lips pressed together, she walks over to a desk and opens a drawer. He has difficulty restraining the surprise that drifts across his features as she pulls out his hook, and his lips part as she steps up to the cell and hands it to him.

He glances down at it and raises his eyebrow to her. “You’re not worried I might use it against you?”

She shakes her head with a snort. “I think I can handle myself.”

An unwarranted tingle runs up his arm when his fingers brush her palm, taking his hook and clicking it into place with his eyes on hers the entire time. “Thank you,” he murmurs, a little more wonder than he intended slipping into his voice.

“Don’t mention it,” she answers quietly, crossing her arms over her chest.

It’s looking then that he realizes how much her stomach is sticking out. There’s a distinct curve that he’s certain wasn’t there hours before and he frowns down at it.

“What’s this?”

When she raises her eyebrow in question, he gestures loosely at her stomach.

With a roll of her eyes, she turns and walks back to her desk. “It’s called a baby.”

He tries not to think about how the bump of new life only makes her even more beautiful, a glow he’s sure he’s not imagin— he pushes the thought away. They had a deal, he trusted her and she abandoned him, a small gesture of returning his hook doesn’t make that less unreasonable.

“That much is clear, but would you care to explain how it’s possible? As far as I know, you weren’t with child the last I saw you.”

She sits down at her desk with a sigh. “The last thing you remember is me leaving you on the beanstalk?”

“Aye...” he confirms tentatively. “What of it?”

Brushing her hair from her face, taking a deep breath and meeting his eyes, she answers, “That was nearly seven years ago.”

He tenses, his lips parting. “What?”

“Somehow,” she begins slowly, putting her elbows down on the desk. “A time portal was opened and it looks like you fell into it.”

Hook shakes his head. Seven years? He’s somehow been transported seven bloody years? This isn’t possible. In all the magic he’s studied, time travel is a myth. It’s never been done before.

“How can that be?”

“I don’t know. It’s never been done before. Attempted? Yes, but never succeeded.”

He rolls his eyes and motions to himself, “Someone apparently succeeded, I’m bloody well here, aren’t I?”

“The only person who ever came close died,” she explains. “Besides, there are specific ingredients you need to attempt it and I would know if they were taken.”

“Who would have magic so dark that…” he trails off and his face turns hard. “The Crocodile.”

“No, not him.”

“But he helped.”

Softly, she mumbles, “It was a long time ago.”

“Don’t tell me you’re defending him!” he spits out.

Her face scrunches in disgust, “Of course not. I’m just sayi—”

“Where is he?”

Emma meets his gaze, “Gold isn’t here.”

“Gold?” he asks, he shakes his head, face creasing into a frown.

“Rumpelstiltskin. He hasn’t been for a long while.”

His entire body goes stiff and he tilts his head. There’s something she’s holding back, he can tell.

“He’s gone? Indefinitely?”

She presses her lips together, “Just gone.”

His fingers wrap around the bar in front of him and he looks to the ground. For years he searched out a way to kill the Dark One and when he was told of this new realm, he was promised he would finally have his chance. There was no magic and he would be able to kill him without needing the dagger.

But it seems the Crocodile has once against slipped from his grasp.

“Where is he?” When she doesn’t answer him, his eyes snap up to hers. “You at least owe me that!”

“Owe you?”

“Aye,” he hisses. “After everything I did for you, taking you up that stalk, switching my alliances… you rewarded me by treating me as if I was nothing! Abandoning me without a second thought for what may happen.”

Her eyes shine before she moves them down to her lap.

“That wasn’t the reason I left you,” she whispers.

“I didn’t tell you one lie… I worked beside you…”

“I know.”

When she looks back up at him, he’s surprised to see what appear to be tears in her eyes. It’s true, the last time he saw her she could barely look at him, but she wasn’t crying about it.

Some sort of ringing echoes in the room and he sees her jump before she reaches across the desk to grab a device and bring it to her ear.

“Hey, kid… Everything is fine, what’s up?... No—” her eyes flicker over to him before she looks at the ground. “—he’s out with David and Robin… Look, I need you to take your sister and go back to the house… I know what I said earlier, but you two can’t… Henry…” she sighs and moves to walk out of the room again.

He no longer cares for her secrets, all he cares about is finding the Crocodile. He isn’t dead, she’s made that clear, which means he can still find him and get his revenge. Luckily, he’s a patient man.

“You can’t just leave me locked in here,” he growls when she walks back into the room.

With another sigh, she places the device back on the desk, “I can’t let you run around town, so, yes, I’m going to keep you locked in there until I can figure out how to get you back to your own time.”

Locking his jaw, he turns his head and tries to reign in his anger. “And why is that?” She ignores his question and sits down behind the desk again. “Don’t trust me?” She looks up at him with a blank stare and he snorts. “Oh that’s right, you don’t. What’s the matter, Swan? Afraid of what I’ll do?”

She reaches over and lays something down as she shakes her head, “No. I already told you, Gold isn’t here.”

“Then I’ll find him,” he hisses, his hand clenching the bar in front of him. “You will not stand in the way of my vengeance! Not again.”

“What were you going to do even if he was around,” she snaps. “There’s magic here, you’re not that stupid.”

“Cora claimed this land to be free of it.”

She looks up at him with raised eyebrows before she stands and walks over to the cell. Lifting her hand, she holds it out and with a puff of smoke, a glass of water appears. Pushing it through the bars, she shoves it into his chest, forcing him to grab it so it doesn’t fall to the ground.

“Bloody hell,” he whispers, looking down at it.

“Gold brought magic here years ago,” she crosses her arms over her stomach. “Right before I came to the Enchanted Forest, actually.”

He shakes his head and steps back to sit down on the cot. He’s usually prepared for plans to change, he’s lived long enough to know that things rarely go how they are supposed to, but time travel… he was not prepared for that.

Lifting the glass to his mouth, he mumbles, “This situation really calls for rum.”

Emma snaps her fingers and the glass in his hands changes to a flask. He blinks down at it before he holds it up and motions to her in thanks.

“Want some?” he holds it out to her and she tilts her to give him a blank stare.

“I’m pregnant, remember?”

His face drops, “Oh, yeah.”

They are both quiet for a long while, Hook sipping on his rum while Emma twirls the ring on her finger. It’s a beautiful ring, sparkles every time it hits the light, and he pushes down his feelings of jealousy. Despite what they’ve been through, she is still a remarkable woman, he’s known almost since the moment they’ve met.

It makes him wonder about the man who was lucky enough to win her heart.

“So what of the husband?” She looks up at him with her brow together and he motions to her hand. “Your ring, it’s beautiful. The man who gave it to you has fine taste.”

Her lips twitch and she looks down at it. He knows that look, it’s the look of someone in love and he’s hit with the memory of one of their first conversations.

“No, I’ve never been in love.”

“He does,” she says with a smile. “I’ve loved it since the moment he gave it to me.”

Wiping his lips, he nods, “Seems you’ve come a long way since our little encounter.” Another smile graces her lips and she rubs her stomach. “Good for you.”

He takes another pull from his flask in an attempt to ease the ache in his chest. He’s known for a long time that such happiness wasn’t in his future, the Dark One made sure of that when he took Milah from him.

When he first met Emma, he thought she felt the same, that love wasn’t in her future, to him it was mere hours before, but for her it’s been seven years. It’s good to see that the fates decided to spare at least one of them.

“And what of me?”

Her face scrunches together in confusion. “What about you?”

“What’s become of myself? We’re seven years in the future… unless the last time we saw each other was on top of that stalk.”

She masks her face again and says, “It wasn’t the last time.”

He eyes her for a few moments before he tilts his head, “What are you keeping from me?”

“Nothing. I don’t know what’s become of you.”

“You’re a terrible liar,” he states. “Do you forget what I told you? Open book, love, easy for me to read.” He stands and walks back to the bars. “Now, what has become of me?” She’s still silent and his eyebrow ticks. “Oh, am I dead?”

Rolling her eyes, she shakes her head, “No, you’re not dead.”

“Ah, so you do know what’s become of me.” He smirks. “Tell me, am I still devilishly handsome?”

When she chuckles and he can’t help the smile that graces his lips.

She truly is beautiful…

The sound of the door opening down the hall makes her jump up and rush out of the room. He hears a few mumbled voices and strains himself to hear the conversation.

“What are you doing here?!” There’s a response, but it’s too low for him to hear. “No, absolutely not… I don’t care if you explained it, she’s too… baby, yes you are… Let Henry take you back to… No!”

The sound of quick footsteps echo and he looks up just in time to see a little girl run into the room with Emma and a young lad behind her. The little lass stops when she sees him, her green eyes going wide and a small smile appearing on her face.

Everyone in the room falls silent and the air goes thick. It’s almost funny to him, he can tell Emma doesn’t want him to meet her children. The lad is no doubt the same one she was so worried about getting back to and though the little lass has dark hair, she’s the spitting image of her mum. But he would never hurt a child… no matter what she may think of him.

“You’re Captain Hook!”

A smile forms on his face as he leans against the bars, “Ah, so you’ve heard of me, have you?” She nods, her dark curls bobbing as she does and he chuckles. “All good things, I hope?”

The little lass giggles, “Your ship is the Jolly Roger!”

“Well,” he says with a smile and a shrug. “It seems you do know much. What’s your name, lass?”

“My name is Lilli—”

“Lily,” Emma says, cutting her off. “Her name is Lily.”

Hook tilts his head in wonder. Another thing she doesn’t want him to know. The little girl looks back at her mother and nods, “Right.” She looks back at him. “My name is Lily.”

He kneels so he’s the same height as the girl and sticks his hand out through the bars, “Lily, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Emma’s hand goes to her mouth and the young lad smirks while the little girl steps up and takes his hand. Hook brings it to his lips and places a light kiss on her knuckles, making her giggle again.

“My daddy does that, too!”

“Does he now?” he asks, his voice soft and light. “Your father must be a real gentleman because it’s what you are to do when meeting a lovely lady.”

“He is!” she says in excitement as she bounces on her feet. “And a hero!”

He ignores the sting that word gives him and forces a smile.

“Aye, I bet he is.”

Lily smiles at him and he can’t help but give her a genuine one in return.

“Why are you in grandpa’s cell?” She turns back to her mother. “Mommy, why is he in jail?”

He looks up at Emma with a smirk who presses her lips together. “It’s complicated, baby. Why don’t you let Henry take you over to Regina and Robin’s house? Roland and Uncle Leo are there, I’m sure you can—”

“But Mommy, I want to hear some stories from Captain Hook! Daddy never tells me about him.”

He’s starting to like this little girl more and more, she’s feisty and curious, just like her mother.

“Your husband knows me, does he?”

Emma and her son exchange a look before she mumbles, “Something like that.”

“By your tone, I can see my reputation precedes me.”

“Mr. Smee says that Captain Hook is the freest pirate in all the seas!”

His brow goes together while the lad chuckles, “Fiercest, Lil.”

The little girl presses her lips together and nods, “Right, that’s what I said!”

Hook chuckles in the back of his throat and shakes his head. “So you know my first mate, then?”

Lily opens her mouth, but her mother stops her, “You already know Smee was brought over with the original curse.”

His tongue pokes out to lick his bottom lip as he tries to hide his amusement. Her daughter has been a short amount of time and already has given him more information than Emma has wanted to share.

Oh, he likes the little lass indeed.

“Mom,” the lad turns to her. “I think we’ll be okay. I told you she wanted to see you and you know how she gets.”

Emma sighs and runs her hands through her hair again. “Yes, I know.” She looks over her daughter, who is giving her the most adorable pout Hook has ever seen and relents. “Alright, fine. You two can stay. But Henry, I need you to call your father. It’s better if he doesn’t know what’s going on…”

Henry puts his hands up and steps back, “I’m not going to lie to him.”

“You don’t have to lie! Just… don’t mention anything. I need to know when he’s going to be back.”

The lad eyes her before she ushers him away. With a huff, he pulls his own device out of his pocket and puts it to his ear. His eyes move over to him and he gives a slight nod before he speaks into the device.

“Hey…” he turns and walks down to the hall.

“Will you tell me about the Jolly Roger?” Lily asks with excitement. “Oh! Will you tell me about being a pirate?!”

He chuckles while Emma rolls eyes. “Lily…”

“You like pirate’s, do you?”’

Lily nods and sits down on the ground in front of his cell. “Have you ever found buried treasure?”

“Aye,” he leans closer to the bars and gives her a small smirk. “I’ll tell you, but only if you take a pirate’s oath to never speak of such things again.”

“I promise!” she insists with wide eyes. “I’m a really good secret keeper! Daddy says I’m the best there is!”

“It sounds like your father is very proud of you.”

“Yeah,” Lily moves and crosses her legs in front of her. “My daddy is the best daddy in the whole world.”

She waves her arms around and Hook can’t help but chuckle.

“One time,” she starts. “Henry was taken by these bad people and Daddy took everyone to the bad place to save him even though he didn’t ever want to go back there because it was a really bad place, and scary,” her face turns serious and he has to hold back his chuckle. “Oh! And he saved grandpa, he pushed through these big bushes and made grandpa all better again!”

It doesn’t surprise him to hear that man Emma has chosen is a great hero, it’s what she deserves and to see what a beautiful child they have raised… he doesn’t have much experience with children. The last child he had the pleasure of running into was a lost boy and though he might have looked youthful, he was anything but.

But Lily, she is the complete opposite and lovely in every way. He finds himself smiling and laughing at her questions and every time she giggles, he feels lighter than he has in a long while.

He imagines this is what his life would have been if Bae hadn’t turned him away, if he hadn’t given him to Pan in anger… minus the cage, and it saddens him. But he’s happy to see that the little girl is happy, that she has a family that loves her.

He’s just in the middle of telling her about how he fought his way out of a group of mermaids after he fell into the ocean when Henry comes rushing back into the room.

“Mom… he’s on his way.”

Emma shoots up from her desk with a look of panic on her face. “What? Why?”

“Leroy saw you down by the docks…”

She curses under her breath and runs her hand through her hair.

“I so don’t need this today,” she mumbles to herself.

Hook raises his eyebrow, “What’s wrong?”

“Looks like you’re going to be meeting my husband after all.”

A smirk forms on his face and his voice drips with curiosity, “Is that right?”

Before she can answer, the door down the hall slams open and he hears her name being shouted. The man comes around the corner and Hook looks up only to have his heart just about stop. He blinks twice, and a third time for good measure, but the sight before him continues to defy any logic. He meets his own piercing blue gaze, a hundred thoughts all running through his mind but none of them resolving the fact that on the other side of the room is… him.

“What in the hell…”

It’s as if time itself slows and his heart starts to pound in his chest. He barely registers Emma moving to stand between him and… well… him, with her hands up. His brow goes together as he tries to figure out what she would be so worried abou—

“Daddy!” Lily cries out in excitement as she pushes herself up off the ground and runs to him.

His counterpart steps forward at lightning speed, sweeping the little lass into his arms and holding her close.

Hook takes a shaking gasp as the pieces fall into place, his brows furrowed and eyes welling up as he looks to Emma, hoping something in her expression might explain the unfathomable situation before him.

She steps toward the cell, but his future self reaches out to stop her, “Emma, love, stay away from him.” He turns to the boy, “Lad, I want you to take your sister far away from here.”

Clinging to a bar of his cell, Hook stands, looking at Lily’s dark hair, remarkably similar to his own, and taking another heavy breath. “Emma…?” he asks weakly, gazing at her. “Is it true? You’re… we…” He shakes his head as he trails off, squinting his eyes closed. “This is some trick, it has to be… there’s no way…”

He hears her breathe out his moniker, but she’s stopped again. “Emma, don’t speak to him!”

Lily is handed off to the lad and he physically has to hold himself back from reaching out for her.

No, please, let me just look at her…

“Dad,” Henry sighs and his head snaps up. Dad? No, he couldn’t possibly… “I don’t think it’s going to be—”

“Henry, please do as I say!”

His head is still swimming as Emma turns back to her… family… and holds her hands up again, “Killian—” Hook sucks in another breath. She said his name… his actual name. “—calm down. Everything is fine.”

“Daddy, I don’t want to leave!” Lily whines.

The other… Killian… steps in front of them, blocking his view, before he leans over and presses his lips to Lily’s forehead.

“Go with Henry, sweetling.”

Hook watches the scene through his eyelashes, head lowered as he tries to process. The moment disjointed, like he’s having a vision of himself living a life he can’t have, a life he hasn’t earned the right to have. He takes a few steps back from the bars and crumples down onto the cot, raising his hand to rub his eyes. Perhaps he will wake up from this insane dream soon, or perhaps the giant poisoned him and this hallucination of a life with the beautiful woman across the room was to be his dying thoughts.

Looking up when the voices start to rise, he sees Emma step forward and speak loudly, “Okay. Henry, take your sister back to the house. We’ll be there later.”

“The house?!” Killian chokes out. “Take her out of town, I don’t want them anywhere near hi—”

“I would never hurt them,” Hook protests just loud enough to interrupt, his voice shaking as he looks up at his future self. “You know that.”

He sees Killian’s back go stiff, before he growls at him, just barely turning his head, “You don’t deserve them.”

Clenching his fist, his eyes stay trained on the ground because he’s right. He doesn’t deserve them… he doesn’t deserve any of this.

He’s not worthy…

Henry turns to take her away and he finds himself standing again, moving closer to get one last glimpse before they disappear.

“Bye, Captain Hook!”

He stares past Emma at the children leaving the room, his heart clenching in his chest as Lily calls out to him. After a long moment, he looks back to Emma, fingers tightening into a fist and a tear rolling down his cheek when he blinks.

“She… she’s ours?” he asks, voice barely above a whisper.

“Mine!” Killian growls at him before his head whips over to Emma. “You let her speak to him?!”

“He’s not going to hurt a child, Killian! And he’s locked in a cell, what harm could he do by talking to her? You know how much she loves being told stories…”

“Those stories are not ones that she should be hearing!”

Hook shakes his head slowly as they argue and looks down at the curve of Emma’s stomach, his fingers twitching as he reaches toward her. As his hand passes the bars he catches himself and pulls back, glancing up to her face again before he turns away to sit back down on the cot.

“You shouldn’t even be here, God knows what kind of trouble you two being in the same town can cause let alone the same room!”

“Me?!” Killian balks. “You’re the one that shouldn’t be here! That man in that cell—” he points to Hook. “—you don’t know him.”

A sneer curls up on his lips before he throws a glare toward his future self. Obviously he’s well aware of what kind of man he is, he doesn’t need a reminder. Pulling the flask from the back of his pocket, he pulls the quark out with his teeth and spits it to the ground before taking a large drink. This has to be some sort of dream… or he’s gone mad.

This life… this family… it just wasn’t in the cards for him, he doesn’t deserve it.

“Okay, enough!” Emma growls and he looks up just in time to see her turn to him. “Excuse us for a second.”

He watches as she tries to pull Killian away but he refuses to move.

“I’m not letting him out of my sight!”

Clenching his jaw, Hook sighs and shakes his head. Where his counterpart thinks he’ll go while being locked behind these bars, he has no idea.

Emma growls something at him before taking his hand in hers and tugging him toward the room in the corner. Hook watches them through the glass of the room, almost wanting to turn and not watch her hands on him, but unable to tear himself away. She wasn’t lying. She married that man. She married him. Emma Swan, the beautiful fiery goddess that only chose to touch him to shackle his wrist or save his life, was now standing between his future self’s legs, pregnant with their child.

He must be dying, it’s the only explanation for this madness. When he sees Killian wrap his arms around her and bury his face in her neck, he finally turns away, ignoring the itch he feels in his own arms. The only time he was able to hold her, if one would even call it that, was when she saved him from the trip wire.

He takes another pull from the flask and tries to clear his head. No matter what is happening, he’s still locked in this cell and he has to find a way to get out. He sits on the cot, and slips his fingers under the mattress. The springs aren’t that tight, a couple pulls with his hook should do the trick, then all he’ll have to do is twist it to his favor.

The door to the office opens and he puts his hand back in his lap. Killian still looks at him with a furrowed brow, but Emma seems a little more calm.

“I’m assuming you’ll be okay by yourself for a half an hour or so…” she starts as she walks over to retrieve her coat. “We’re going for a drive.”

Hook shoots up from the cot and takes the few short steps to the bars, “You can’t just leave me here!”

“Aye,” Killian growls. “We can and we will. Sit tight.”

He clenches his jaw and glares at his future self while Emma gives him a soft smile. They walk out and he waits until he hears the door close in the hall before turning back to the cot and ripping the mattress off.

There are many things that are running through his head, disbelief, confusion, anger… This future is a lie, it has to be. The Dark One must be playing some sort of trick on him, or he hit his head falling through that portal and he’s dreaming of a life he could never have.

“Dad…”

Such a strapping young lad, easy to tell how protective he is over his family and how much he loves them. No doubt a son that he would be proud to call his own.

“You’re Captain Hook!”

He falters in his tug against the spring. That beautiful child, that angel was his… his and Emma’s.

“My daddy is the best daddy in the whole world.”

Slamming his hook down on the metal, he tries to drown on her voice out of his head. A few fleeting moments with that perfect little lass and he’s ready to forget everything. But he’ll probably never see her again, his future self with make sure of that.

The spring breaks with ease and it doesn’t take him long to untangle it and pick the lock on the cell. Rushing out, he pauses at the desk Emma sat at, something stopping him. He leans over and picks up the turned down frame.

His breath catches when he sees the portrait it holds. Henry is on his older self’s back, whose arms are wrapped around Emma’s middle and they are all staring at the little babe in her arms. His hand starts to shake and the frame drops to the ground.

Shaking his head, he concentrates on the one thing he knows is true… and that’s his revenge. So he forgets about the fallen portrait and rushes out of the station.

Looking up and down the street, he takes notice that it’s mostly deserted, but he still keeps to the shadows. He doesn’t need someone spotting him. He’s just about to take a corner when a woman walks out of a store and almost runs into him.

“Oh! Killian, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there.”

Hook almost balks at the use of his name, but quickly shakes his head when he remembers.

“Apologies…” he trails off as he looks her over, the dark hair is familiar, but it’s not until he sees her pale blue eyes that he realizes just who she is.

She’s the Crocodile’s love.

“You,” he breathes out.

“I thought you would be still on your outing?” She chuckles and adjusts the books she carries to her chest. “Is David still insisting he knows what he’s doing?”

He continues to stare at the woman with his mouth parted. The last he saw of her, he was trying to take her from the Evil Queen’s castle, but now she is standing before him, chatting him as if they were old friends.

“Are you alright?” she asks when he doesn’t answer.

Shaking his head slightly, he nods, “Aye. Forgive me, it seems I may have fallen ill.”

“Oh, Killian,” she adjusts the books again and reaches out to place her hand on his arm. It feels foreign, and he’s just about to pull back when her fingers give him a tight squeeze. “Perhaps you should head back to the house… I can stop by Granny’s and bring you a bowl of her soup. Will Jr. was asking for Lily just yesterday—” his eyes snap up at the mention of the little angel’s name. “—we could come by, is there anything else that you may need?”

Again, he’s hit with a tidal wave of emotions and takes a step back. The last person that took care of him when he was ill had been Milah…

“Killian?” He shakes his head and blinks down at her. “Should I call Emma?”

Pressing his lips together, he forces a smile, “No, lass. I’ll be alright. Just out for a stroll to clear my head. Perhaps I’ll take my old girl out for a sail.”

Her brow goes together and she tilts her head, “What?”

He opens his mouth to answer her but stops when a sign across the way catches his eye.

‘Mr. Gold Pawnbroker & Antiquities Dealer’

Gold… that’s what Emma called the Dark One.

With his jaw clenching and his eyes locked on the sign, he says, “I best get going.”

She says something but he doesn’t hear her, his anger and need for vengeance blocking everything out. He looks through the windows, but the inside appears to be empty. There is a sign hanging on the front door that reads closed, but that’s never stopped him before. Looking around, he pulls the coil he used on the cell out of his pocket and places his hook on the knob. With his eyes still checking his surroundings, he smirks when he feels the lock click into place.

Opening the door to the shop, he steps in with his body on high alert. It’s quiet, but he knows the Crocodile loves his tricks. For all Hook knows, he’s watching him as he moves.

There is a cutlass on one of the counters and he picks it up, but as soon as he fingers wrap around the handle, he freezes. The voice in the back of his head starts up again and an image of dark hair and green eyes flashes in his mind. His vengeance is so close, he can feel it, but he can’t seem to make himself move.

Growling in frustration he knocks over a box on the counter and slams his fist down.

If he’s being honest with himself, he doesn’t know why he’s in the shop. Emma told him that Gold was no longer in Storybrooke… but she also told him she didn’t know where he was and she was lying.

Letting go of the cutlass, he walks to a room in the back and starts to look around. There has to be something there that will give him some sort of hint as to where the Dark One is located. He’s not sure how long he’s there searching when he hears the door in the front of the shop open.

His eyes move frantically as he searches for something to defend himself. Spying a large object on a table, he yanks it up before sliding up against the wall. He holds the object up as he turns, ready to strike when he sees Emma standing there, an annoyed look on her face.

Really?!” she growls. “You broke out?”

Rolling his eyes, he replies, “Pirate!” He tosses the object onto a nearby table and turns back to her. “How did you find me?”

“Please,” she huffs. “I know you better than you know yourself.”

“So you say, love.” He takes a step forward, raising his hand to point at her face. “But how am I supposed to believe a bloody word you say when you keep lying to me?!”

He watches as a flash of what looks like hurt crosses her face before she masks it and squares her shoulders.

“What the hell was I supposed to say to you?”

He throws his hand up with a cold laugh. “Oh, I don’t know, perhaps the truth?! It’s clear you come up with some way to deal with my recollections otherwise my future self wouldn’t have been…” he pauses, waving in her direction with a hint of a sneer, “coddled up to you in that office.”

His jaw clenches as he remembers watching them… the way she touched him… how his future self held her…

“If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were jealous,” she says with a slight smirk.

His eyes go wide.

“I’m not bloody…” he mutters, trailing off and flashing her a look before he turns on his heel, glancing back to speak over his shoulder. “And what of the bloody Crocodile, anyway? ‘He’s not here’,” he imitates her voice, “I know. So where the hell is he?”

She sighs and gives a little shrug, “He did something that was unforgivable and was banished from Storybrooke years ago… sent out into the world without magic. No one has seen or heard from him since.”

He turns properly to watch her lips as she speaks, his ears picking up at the mention of the land without magic. Lips creeping up into a smirk, he meets her eyes. “I don’t suppose I’d be lucky enough for you to just tell me how I would get there?”

“Right,” she says with a chuckle. “I’ll just give you a map.” His eyebrow ticks up and her lips form into a thin line. “The only thing you should be worried about right now is getting back to your time. Which is why I came back to get you at the station. Much to my husband’s displeasure,” she mumbles the last part under her breath and brushes her hair away from her face.

“Aye, back to your bloody cage?” he spits while pointing at the door. “What’s stopping me leaving now? I’ve found the Dark One before, I’d find a way.”

She takes a step forward with a sigh, “Hook, we just have to find a way to get you back. If you could just give me a little bit of time—”

“You don’t think I’ve waited long enough?!” he snaps. “Ten bloody hours on that beanstalk waiting to die!”

“You weren’t going to die!” she cries. “I made a deal with Anton, he wasn’t going to touch you.”

I didn’t know that,” he says, stepping toward her and pumping his finger to the ground. “I was chained there thinking that damn giant was toying with me.” His voice falters, fist clenching. “You abandoned me.”

She sucks in a breath and takes a step back. The look on her face making him wince when he sees her eyes shine with unshed tears.

“I know,” she whispers. “I should have trusted you… I know that now.” She looks down for a quick second before moving her gaze back up to him. “But if I could go back, knowing what I know now… I’d do it again, because it’s brought us here—” she touches her round stomach. “—and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.”

He glances down at her middle before his gaze moves to the ground again.

“It still hurt,” he mutters. “I’ve been alone for so long, when you… I thought…” He trails off, shaking his head, a deep sigh ending his confession. “Take me back to the cell.”

Every muscle in his body fights against him when she reaches up to wipe away her stray tear, but he doesn’t move. They both just stand there in silence before she sniffles softly.

“Look,” she starts low. “You don’t have to go back to the cell, there’s really no point in it anymore. You could come back to the house…” she shrugs with a small smile. “Get to know your kids.”

He meets her eyes, looking between them with a frown. “He won’t like it.”

She tilts her head, “Are you going to hurt them?”

“Never,” he says quietly, holding her gaze. “I would never.”

He has to hold back his surprise when she smiles and mumbles, “I know. So why don’t you let me worry about my husband, okay?”

One of his cheeks creases in a half smirk, lips parting as he gazes at her. “Me,” he says softly, shaking his head in disbelief. “You married me.”

She rolls her eyes but he can see the happiness on her face, something, if he’s honest, he’d never thought he’d see from her.

Taking another step forward, he tilts his head to look into her eyes. “Forgive me for raising my voice to you, Emma.”

“It’s okay,” she tells him, her eyes sparkling amusement as she pokes her tongue out to moisten her lips. “I can handle it.”

His brow goes together and he frowns despite her smile. “It’s not… okay. I don’t want that for you.”

“Hey,” she takes a step forward and puts her hand on his arm, making him stand up a little straighter under her touch. “It was a joke… something that happened between us, but hasn’t happened for you yet. You are a good husband,” she gives him a slight nod with a smile. “You make me very happy.”

Pressing his lips together, he gives her a slight nod and tries to ignore the fluttering in his stomach. He follows her out of the shop and his eyebrow arches as she walks to a yellow contraption on the street.

“This is quite the vessel you captain, Swan.” She stops and stares at him, blinking twice before tilting her head. “What?”

She snaps out of her stupor and shakes her head, “Nothing. Um, let’s go.”

She giggles as he looks around the metal carriage in confusion, and normally, it would infuriate him, but the way her cheeks crease and her eyes sparkle when she laughs makes him forget everything. They don’t speak as they move toward their destination and he’s a little grateful for it.

A lot has been thrown at him the last couple hours and it’s nice to have the quiet moment for a change. He takes in the scenery as they move along. There are people walking along the streets, they seem perfectly normal… happy even. From what Cora told him of this land, the Evil Queen made sure everyone was going to be miserable, but they seem far from it. There’s a couple sitting on a bench together, their arms wrapped around each other and there is a group of children running around laughing.

The sound of Lily’s giggle echoes in his brain and he feels the corners of his lips tug up. She’s bright and brilliant… everything he could wish for in a dau--

He shakes his head. He’s still unable to even think the word, the shock still making it unbelievable.

Emma lets out a slight gasp just as the carriage pulls to a stop. When he looks over, his brow goes together when he sees her right hand move to her stomach.

Fear starts to creep up in him and he sits up, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she breathes out with a smile. “It’s just the baby gave a little kick to my ribs.”

His eyes widen as he feels his fingers twitch on his lap. He tries not to turn his body toward her, tries to look at anything but her stomach… but he fails.

With a deep breath, he looks up at her through his lashes, his eyes welling up, and stretches his hand out to her stomach. “May I…?”

He expects to hear her laugh, scolding him for even entertaining the idea before her flat out denial. What he doesn’t expect is to feel her fingers wrap around his wrist to bring his hand to her rounding stomach.

His entire body goes stiff and he doesn’t realize he’s holding his breath until she speaks.

“You can say something.” His brow furrows and she giggles. “The baby always kicks to your voice, it’s been a dance party in here all day.”

“Apologies, I never intended—” He chokes on his words as he feels it, swallowing roughly and moving his body closer. “Bloody hell.”

He feels movement again and whispers, “Hello, little one.”

There’s another push to his hand and his eyes go impossibly wide. He’s never felt anything so extraordinary, and knowing that the child in there is his…

“I’ll never get over that,” Emma whispers, breaking him out of his thoughts.

“What’s that, love?”

There’s another jolt to his hand as she whispers, “The way your face lights up when you feel the baby move.”

His eyes move up to hers and he has to swallow at the beautiful smile on her lips. He can’t help but stare at them and wonder what they taste like, but he doesn’t. The word undeserving flashing through his mind like a raging storm.

Her lips press together in a sly smile before she says, “We should get inside.”

Clearing his throat, he nods and sits back, only moving his hand when he has to. They step out of the vessel and his mouth parts at the dwelling before them.

“Here? We… you live here?” His lips tug into a smile when the smell of the ocean fills his senses.  “Are we by the water?”

“Of course,” she answers, almost as if it’s unfathomable question. “Did you honestly think you could be that far away from it?”

Shaking his head as they walk up the steps, “Lass, up until a couple hours ago, I thought the only future I had was death.”

Her eyes soften before lips press together and she motions to the door.

“Are you ready for this?”

“No,” he breathes out honestly, making her giggle. “But I’m not one to back down from a challenge.”

“Oh, believe me, I know,” she mutters before opening the door.

When they walk inside, he’s once again hit with emotion. The house is… warm and inviting… the type of house you know just know a loving family lives in… a home.

“I’m home!” Emma calls out.

Hook looks up just in time to see Killian walk in from another room with a device held to his head.

“Next round at the hole is on you, mate… aye.” He pulls the device away from his ear and sticks in his back pocket.

Hook’s brow goes together as Emma rolls her eyes. “Nice, Killian. Was it necessary to call my parents?”

“Was it necessary to bring him here?”

“I’m standing right here,” Hook huffs.

Emma walks over to Killian and leans up to give him a kiss on the cheek.

“Where are the kids?”

Killian sighs and runs his hand through his hair, “Upstairs. I needed a bit of a break from all the questions about pirating,” he turns to Hook, “Thanks for that, by the way.”

“Trust me, mate, if I had known who she was, I wouldn’t have told her.”

“And if I had known you were here, I’d have gotten her before she had the chance to go there.”

They both turn to look at Emma to see her bending over to take off her boots.

“What?” she asks, her face masked with confusion. Hook arches his eyebrow at her and she chuckles before she stands up straight and motions between he and Killian. “You know you two are both looking at me the same way right now, it’s actually pretty funny.” When neither one of them find the humor in the situation, her smile fades and her hand goes to her stomach. “Guess you guys don’t think so. Lily! Captain Hook is here!”

Before he or his future self can comment, there’s a squeal and the sound of little thumps before she appears at the top of the steps and he feels his lips tug up into a smile.

“You’re here!” she cries out, rushing down with Henry following shortly after her. Hook’s eyes widen when she runs up and starts to bounce on her feet. “I told daddy you didn’t need to be in jail! Didn’t I, daddy?”

“Aye, bean,” Killian sighs. “That you did.”

“Let’s go see my room!” she says, her face filled with such excitement, he can’t help but smile more.

“Lily, don’t be so bossy,” Henry chuckles.

Her little cheeks tint pink as she squirms on her feet, “Sorry. Would you please come see my room?”

His gaze moves up to Emma. She invited him there to get to know his children, but he’s sure that Killian won’t allow it. Her eyes flicker over to his future self, who huffs before walking out of the room.

“It’s up to you,” when he gives her a tentative look, she shrugs, “You can stay down here with Killian and I where we will be doing research on how to get you back, or you could go upstairs with them.”

It’s on the tip of his tongue, how well he is at research, but if he helps them, it could possibly mean that they will find a way to send him back sooner… send him back to a time where he’s alone, where no one cares for him, and where he doesn’t have a son and a daughter.

Looking back at Henry before he looks down at Lily, he smiles, “I think I’d like to see your room.”

“Come on,” Lily cries out, grabbing his and her brother’s hand to pull them up the steps with her. “Henry and I can show you the storybook and we can read about how my grandpa and grandma met, it’s my second most favorite story ever!”

“Second favorite?” He asks with his brow together. “What’s your first?”

Letting go of their hands when they reach the top of the stairs, Lily turns to look back at them with a smile, “Mommy and Daddy’s.”


Hook turns over in the bed and stares at the ceiling. The only light in the room coming from the moon outside of the window. He’s completely drained, exhaustion washing over him like a sleeping curse, and though he’s been laying there for some time, sleep is still eluding him.  

He spent a good amount of time with his children, Henry telling him of his schoolings, while Lily jumped around to show him her different dolls and the small wooden model of the Jolly Roger Smee carved for her.

When they brought out the storybook, Lily ran up to him and climbed up onto his lap. Hook sat there for long moments, his body completely stiff, with his hook held away for fear that he might hurt her. It wasn’t until Henry chuckled and shook his head, that he finally let himself relax.

Tears welled in his eyes when the little lass took his hook and wrapped her tiny fingers around it, holding on as if it was just another hand. About half way through the story, she laid her head against his chest and fell asleep and he put his nose to her hair and breathed in the most beautiful smell he’s ever had to pleasure of smelling.

Henry picked her up from his lap to lay her in bed and he had to hold back his request to hold her longer. He was hesitant to leave, but with her asleep, he knew it would be slight easier to get to know his son. They moved to his room where Henry explained to him what it meant to be the author by drawing a portrait of Hook falling through the portal that brought him to Storybrooke.

They spoke of many things and he was even able to help him with a few Latin phrases for his school work before Emma came up to tell the lad that it was time for bed.

She offered him their spare room, saying they hadn’t found anything. He caught a flash of Killian walking into a room, before she showed him to his own and ignored the tinge of jealousy when he saw her go into the same room after she left him alone.

Sighing, he throws the blanket off and moves to sit on the side of the bed. He’s learned to adapt to almost any situation, being alive for more than a hundred years will do that to a person, but nothing could have prepared him for this.

Because he doesn’t deserve any of it… Emma… their children… he’s unworthy, a villain, a monster. How is possible that he’s earned the right to have such a lovely family?

With a frustrated huff, he pushes himself up and walks out of the room. His eyes move to Lily and Henry’s bedroom doors to see both are closed. Part of him wants to open them, check to make sure they are safe and sound in their beds, but he doesn’t.

It isn’t his place.

He walks down the hall, but stops outside of Emma and Killian’s bedroom. Their door isn’t closed all the way and he can hear soft breathing coming from the inside. Without thinking too much about it, he tilts his head and looks through the small opening. His lips part at the sight before him.

Emma is laying on her back, her blonde hair spread out on the pillow while Killian is lying on his side, his head tucked into her neck and his right hand resting on her stomach. His entire body itches to know what it feels like to be that close to her, to hold her against him in such a loving manner, with his own hand on her bump.

An overwhelming feeling of joy washes over him as he remembers the feel of the little babe against his hand, how it moved to the sound of his voice and he wished he could just sit there and feel it always.

Emma lets out a soft noise and snuggles closer to Killian, making Hook snap out of his thoughts.

With a shake of his head, he backs away in embarrassment and walks down the stairs, stopping every few seconds to look at the portraits that hang on the walls, pictures Henry called them. It makes his heart ache to see the ones that show Lily and Henry over the years, to see them so small… it makes him yearn to know those years.

He walks into the living and over to the fireplace, his lips going up slightly when he sees the sextant Liam gave him so long ago sitting upon the mantel, along with more pictures. There are more of the children and some with people he doesn’t recognize, and some that he does. He snorts when he sees a picture of the Evil Queen and Snow White, still unable to grasp the concept of their friendship.

Turning to move, he stops when one particular picture catches his eye. He doesn’t even realize that he’s reaching for it until it’s in his hand. It’s a picture of himself and Emma, he’s wearing some sort of formal attire while she has a white gown on. He swallows the lump in his throat when he puts the pieces together.

It’s from their wedding.

Emma is looking straight ahead, her mouth open in laughter while her eyes shine bright, she looks absolutely stunning, but no, that still isn’t what made him stop. It’s himself… he isn’t looking forward, but down at Emma in complete awe. There is a slight smile on his lips and his face is filled with such love, such devotion he didn’t even know he was capable of.

Is this how he looked at Milah? How could he love someone again after she was taken away from him?

Rubbing his thumb over her face, his jaw clenches. What if something happens to her… or their children? He barely knows them and the thought of anyone harming one hair on their heads almost cripples him.

They must be protected.

Placing the frame back in its place he walks to the front door. The house is quiet, almost too quiet, it makes the hair on the back of his neck stand up. How do they sleep so soundly in such an open space? Anyone could enter, could attack at any moment.

His body is on high alert as he steps out of the house and walks around the porch, checking the dark areas and shadows for any dangers. When he gets back to the front, he pulls the dagger out of his boot and sits down on the top of the stairs.

The Dark One may be gone, but if he’s learned anything in all his years, it’s to never underestimate him. He could show up at any moment, and though Hook may not be able to do much with magic being here, but he could at least hold him off until Killian awakes to get them to safety.

After a while, the door opens behind him. Whipping around, his brow furrows when he sees Killian walking out.

With a slight huff, he turns back to the night and cracks his neck, “Checking to see if I’d gone?”

“No,” Killian replies.

Hook snorts. “Oh, come to berate me then, did you?”

“Well deserved as it may be, I’m not out here to chastise you.” From the corner of his eye, he sees Killian approach and hold a flask out to him. “Rum?”

He takes the flask and Killian leans back against a pillar, crossing his arms over his chest. Hook looks him up and down and his face scrunches up.

“What the bloody hell are you wearing?”

“It’s the sleepwear of this realm, it’s actually quite comfortable.”

His eyebrow raises as looks at the cotton pants and the thin undershirt, it doesn’t look to be very warm, but then again, he’s use to the cold weather.

“I did this as well,” Killian starts softly while Hook takes his first pull from the flask. “Every night for months after the Dark One was banished from this town.”

“Aye,” Hook answers, eyeing the flask in his hand. “Well… they are worth protecting.”

Killian looks down at his feet and smiles. “That they are.”

They are both silent for a long while, just staring into the night.

“What did he do?” Hook asks and Killian gives him a side look in question. “The Crocodile… which of his many sins was he banished for?”

He sighs and looks back down at his feet before he reaches out for the flask. Handing it to him, Hook presses more, “Was it Emma? Was she the one finally able to overpower him?”

“No,” Killian answers after he swallows down the rum. “It was Belle.”

“Belle?”

“Remember the lass in the castle… the Dark One’s love?”

Hook’s lips part, “You mean the one that is in town?” When Killian lifts his eyebrow, he nods. “Aye, ran into her earlier, she thought I was you.”

Killian’s jaw clenches before he growls, “You didn’t hurt her, did you?”

“Bit tetchy, aren’t we?” Hook asks with his eyebrow up.

They eye each other for a few seconds before Killian shakes his head and takes another pull from his flask.

“She eventually saw through his lies then,” Hook says with a nod. “Good for her. So what was it?”

He watches as Killian pushes himself off the pillar and moves to sit next to him.

“Emma was…” he trails off and shakes his head. “Something happened and to save the town she took on the darkness, became the next Dark One.” Hook’s mouth falls open and Killian scratches his scruff. “Things happened… we found a way to put the darkness into someone without killing them. The Crocodile offered to take it back, said it was his burden to bear,” he spits.

“What was the real reason?” Hook asks in disgust.

Killian sneers. “Found a way to release himself from the damned dagger, and one of the ingredients of his wretched spell was the heart of someone who knew him before he became the Dark One,” he gives a bitter laugh, putting on a voice to quote him. “’You're my oldest friend, dearie!’

They both put on the exact same expression, like they're trying not to vomit, and look at each other with quiet understanding.

“Belle worked it out before he managed to perform the spell. Saved my life and sent the bloody Crocodile packing,” he nods off to one side. "Forced him out of the town with his own shiny tether."

Hook nods solemnly. “Hell of a woman.”

“Aye, she's a marvel.”

“And she did all of that… because of what he did to you… to us?” Hook asks, uncertainty in his voice.

Killian smiles as he reaches over for the flask, “As I said, she’s a marvel… and a great friend.”

Shaking his head, he hands Killian the rum when he sees something familiar.

“You still wear them?” When he looks at him in question, Hook nods toward his hand. “The rings.”

Killian’s gaze moves down toward his hand as his thumb fumbles with the rings. “Aye, they are reminders.”

“Of what you’ve done?”

“That all sins can be forgiven...” he whispers, a small smile on lips. “when someone loves you.”

“And she does? Emma?”

“Aye,” Killian whispers. “She does, for reasons I’m still not quite sure of… and she’s everything to me.”

A lump forms in his throat at the sound of Killian’s voice. It’s so soft, but strong, and filled with such devotion, not with hate and anger like his own voice has when speaking of love.

He loved Liam, he loved Milah and the reward for his love was having them taken from him. He spent years avenging Liam’s death by pirating and centuries attempting to avenge Milah’s by destroying the Dark One.

Now, years later, he’s a changed man, married to a gorgeous woman, with two beautiful children and another on the way. Even his wildest dreams he couldn’t picture it being this… not after Milah...

“Do you still miss her?” Hook asks in a whisper, staring out into the night.

“No,” his head whips over to Killian and his eyes widen. It’s like he doesn’t even recognize the man sitting next to him. His breathing starts to pick up and an overwhelming feeling of hurt washes over him. This future is everything he could have ever dreamed of, but to forget about his love for Milah… he shakes his head as Killian continues, “But I still think of her… every day. Perhaps I always will.”

Hook looks forward again, but doesn’t say anything. They both sit there for a little while long, sharing the flask, but not speaking, before Killian finally stands.

“You know there is no reason to keep watch,” he motions out to the darkness. “Regina put a barrier spell around the house and Emma placed a protection spell on the front door ages ago. No one that wishes harm upon anyone in this house can even pass the gate.”

“Aye, but you and I both know one can never rely solely on magic.”

He hears Killian sigh before he says, “If you’re going to sit up all night, at least do it out of the cold.” Hook turns to look back at him and he shrugs, “You don’t want to leave here ill.”

Raising his eyebrow, he stands with a smirk, “You more concerned for my health or your own?”

“My own,” Killian snorts as he opens the door. “My wife will kill me if anything happens to you.”


“It’s time to wake up!”

Hook’s eyes snap open and his head whips over to see Lily standing before him, dark hair slightly frizzy, dressed in sleepwear that has little anchors etched into it. Her eyes are wide and bright and there is a large smile on her face.

She giggles when he shakes his head and looks to the window to check the time of day. He stayed by the large window in the living room until the first rays of sun shone through the sky. Only then did he finally retreat to the room they opened to him to try and steal a little time for sleep, trusting that his future self to take watch soon.   

“It’s already way past sunrise,” she says. “Everyone will be here soon!”

Rubbing his eyes slightly, he leans forward on his elbow and tilts his head, “Who, lass?”

“Grandma, grandpa—” she holds up her hand and starts to count with it as she speaks. “—Uncle Leo… they are all coming over for daddy’s birthday breakfast, and that means it’s your birthday, too! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

He blinks, her shrill voice piercing his sleep-fogged mind, and opens his mouth to speak. It’s been longer than he can remember since he's heard well-wishing for the day of his birth. He'd barely cared to remember the day himself. His mouth shuts again without any words escaping, and he diverts his thought to scratching below his ear, smiling up at the girl a little weakly. "Thank you, love," he answers softly.

Lily giggles again and reaches forward to grab his hand and pulls, “Let’s goooo!”

She barely gives him time to put on his boots before she’s pulling him up and out of the room.

“Oh!” she gasps, stopping them in the middle of the hall. “I have to wake Henry, I’ll meet you downstairs!”  

He holds his hand up to stop her, but she’s gone before he can speak. Shaking his head, he walks down the hall and tries to wake himself up. He’s use to not getting much sleep, being the Captain of a ship will do that to you, but he hadn’t realized exactly how tired he was. But it also just accrues to him how well he’s slept, even if it wasn’t for too long.

From long ago, back when he and Liam were slaves, he trained himself to wake at the slightest sound, but Lily was able to get in the room without so much as making him stir. He tries to figure how that is possible but just comes up blank. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he decides to not dwell, of all the things that are happening to him, his sleeping habits are the least of his worries.

Hook walks toward the kitchen to find Emma and Killian wrapped in each other’s arms, kissing passionately.

“Oh,” he lets out his surprise before he can stop himself, staring down at his feet in embarrassment and turning away with a thought to leave and hope they didn’t notice him walk in on a private moment. As he takes the first step, he can’t help but glance up at the pair entwined, for morbid curiosity if nothing else.

They continue to kiss before they break apart and place their foreheads together. Turning again to leave, his eyes close when he hears Emma call out, “Hook!”

A puff of air passes his lips and he shakes his head slightly before he turns back to them.

“We didn’t think you would be up so early,” her voice is breathless and her lips are slightly swollen.

“I...” he watches as Killian stares at Emma for a second longer, a small smile on his face before giving him a side look. Hook reaches up to scratch the back of his ear and looks away. “Don’t let me interrupt.”

Killian pulls away from her slowly and turns to him fully, “Join us.”

His eyebrow ticks up and Killian chuckles before he moves to the other side of the room.

“Did Lily wake you? She was rather insistent you should be awake.” Emma asks with a smile as she walks up, a mug in her hand. When she holds it out to him, he tilts his head in question. “It’s coffee. Happy birthday, Hook.”

“Thank you, Emma,” he mumbles while taking the mug from her.

Her lips tug up, “I hear you had a late night.”

Rolling his eyes, he speaks to his future self, “Really, mate?”

“Don’t blame me, she was awake when I returned to bed.”

Emma smirks, “That’s what happens when you have a child that likes to sit on your bladder.”

She turns to walk back toward the table and he raises his mug to his mouth as he eyes her. She has wool socks on her feet, but her legs are bare, the trousers only stopping mid-thigh, and the black shirt she’s wearing hangs loosely off her body, her round stomach popping under the strain of the undergarment she wears.

Beautiful…

A throat being cleared makes him look up and his ears warm when he sees Killian staring at him with his eyebrow raised. But instead of showing his embarrassment, he simply shrugs and raises his brows as if to say can you blame me.

Killian just chuckles and shakes his head.

“Okay,” Emma says as she places another plate on the table. “Mom and dad should be here any minute. They already know what’s going on, thank you, Killian, and have explained it to Leo.” She turns to him. “Leo is my little brother. He’s a bit older than Lily, so he understands somewhat. Now, he’s called Killian ‘Hook’ since he’s been a baby because it was easier, so it might get a little confusing there, but I think we can get through it, yeah?” She looks back and forth between them with a large smile. When neither of them say anything, her face drops. “You two are doing that thing again where you’re both giving me the same look.”

Hook snorts while Killian moves and presses his lips to her temple, “We’ll be alright, love.”

She smiles and opens her mouth to speak when Lily and Henry come into the kitchen.

“He’s here!”

“Lily,” Emma sighs. “Did you wake your brother up, too?”

Henry groans and stumbles into the kitchen, his eyes still half closed and hair a mess. She pouts her lips at her son and pats his back as he walks over to Killian.

“Happy birthday, dad.”

Killian wraps his arm around him and pulls him close. Hook watches has Henry rests his head on his father’s shoulder and he can’t help but smile.

“Thank you, lad. Sorry about your sister, we tried to hold her off as long as possible.”

Henry shrugs before he lifts his head, “Happy birthday, Hook.”

Sitting down at the table, he nods at the boy, still trying to wrap his head around the fact that the day of his birth warrants such acknowledgment.

“When are grandpa and grandma going to get here?” Lily asks bouncing on her feet.

“Soon, bean,” Killian tells her. “Did you wash up?”

Hook sits there quietly as the little family moves around the kitchen. He watches how they interact with each other and how they are all so in sync. His future self and Emma work well together, and it also doesn’t go unnoticed to him how whenever they pass each other, Killian will brush his fingers over her stomach. The same stomach he had his own hand upon just the day before… he smiles at the memory of the little one moving, a blessing to feel such a thing, to the sound of his voice.

It doesn’t surprise him, because given the chance, he would do the same.

“Hello?” A voice calls out from the front door and Lily jumps down from her seat with a big smile.

“They’re here!” she runs out of the room and he hears her yell, “Grandpa!”

There are voices as Emma walks out and he looks over at Killian with his eyebrow raised.

“Ready to meet your in-laws?” he asks with a smirk and Hook’s mouth drops.

“Hook!”

His head whips around to see a young lad running into the kitchen toward Killian.

“Ah, there he is!” he bends over to pick the boy up into his arms. “How’s the little Prince today?”

The boy giggles and pulls him in for a hug, “Happy birthday!”

“Thank you, my boy,” Killian says with a smile as he pats him on the back.

“Oh!” Hook looks back toward the entrance to see Emma walk in with Snow and who he assumes is Prince Charming, with Lily in his arms. “Wow, talk about a blast from the past. Hello, Hook.”

He remembers seeing her just the day before, hatred and anger clear in her eyes, but now there is anything but.

Pressing his lips together in a small grin, he gives her a slight nod and stands, “Milady.”

She turns to Killian and the smile on her face widens as she walks over to him, “Killian,” she places a soft kiss to his cheek. “How are you?”

He doesn’t hear his response because Lily calls out to him, “This is my grandpa. Grandpa, this is Captain Hook.”

Charming steps forward, a look of uncertainty on his face.

“Uh huh,” he mumbles as he eyes him.

Hook’s shoulders square and he feels his body become defensive.

“Dad,” Emma sighs.

But it’s not until Charming looks over at Killian, who gives him a nod, that he finally steps forward and holds out his hand, “David.”

Accepting his hand, Hook nods, “Good to meet you.”

Lily giggles and he lets out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding.

“Okay, who’s hungry?” Emma asks with a big smile.


The entire breakfast, boiled mackerel for his, well Killian’s birthday, much like his entire time in Storybrooke, is life altering. Killian and David seem to be mates, jesting with each other over things he knows nothing about, while Emma and Snow talk about her pregnancy. Henry chimes in every so often, but mostly occupies the little ones, who seem keen on asking him more questions about being a pirate.

Keeping it simple, he tells them stories about mermaids and things like grog. When he’s finished, they always turn to Killian who nods with a smile.

“Aye, he’s speaking the truth.”

“Daddy,” she turns to look at her father from her place in his lap. “You didn’t tell me you knew mermaids.”

“Well, bean, you ask for stories every night, I have plenty to tell.”

“Because you’re so old?” Leo asks, his mouth stuffed with food.

“Oi!” Killian calls out, making everyone laugh.

Hook shakes his head and leans toward the two little ones.

“How about I tell you the time I sailed the Jolly Roger through a lightning storm with only a crew of five men?”

The clattering sound of Emma’s fork hitting her plate makes everyone stop and look up at her.

“Love?” Killian asks, his voice filled with worry. “What is it?”

Her mouth opens and closes a few times before she looks over to Hook.

“I know how you got here,” she whispers.

“What?” David asks in shock before Snow says, “How?”

Emma quickly stands and throws her napkin down on the table while Killian hands Lily off to Henry.

“Swan, what’s going on?” When she doesn’t answer, he catches her by the arm. “Emma, how do you know how he got here?”

Her hands ring together and she bites her lip, “I did it.” She turns to Hook with a grimace. “I brought you here.”

Hook sits back in his chair, his eyebrow up, but Killian is the one that speaks, “What? How?”

The grimace on her face deepens and she opens and closes her mouth a few times before she finally mumbles, “Magic.”

Killian’s back goes stiff and he stands up straight. His jaw clenches and he crack his neck before he calls over his shoulder, “Henry, why don’t you go show Lily and Leo your new video game.”

“Can Captain Hook come, too?” Lily asks.

“Not right now, bean,” Killian says with a forced smile.

She lets out a huff and Hook gives her a small smile in reassurance before she walks out with her brother and the little lad.

When they are gone, Killian turns back to Emma with a deep frown. "You know your magic is wildly unpredictable this time around," he says, upturning his palm toward her stomach, his voice low with concern. "You could have been hurt, Emma. What could be worth that risk?"

“I know,” she sighs, putting her head in her hands for a few moments. “But it was just a small thing…”

“Small?” he chokes out and motions to Hook. “You opened a portal to the past.”

“That was by accident!”

“Emma,” her mother breathes. “I thought you said you knew what you were doing.”

“You knew?” David asks his wife, making Emma roll her eyes. “And you didn’t tell me?”

Snow snorts and sits back in her chair, “I did… sort of.”

“You asked me to take him out so Emma could get his birthday present!”

“Really, Dave?” Killian growls. “That was what that little outing was about yesterday?”

“The bow shooting was Robin’s idea,” he answers with a roll of his eyes.

“How did you do it?” Snow asks.

Emma shakes her head, “It doesn’t matter how. I just know I did it, which means I know how to send you back!”

“Wait,” Killian stops her. “I want to know what was so important that you risked harming yourself?”

She bites her lip, her eyes moving over to Hook before she looks back at her husband.

“Your birthday present.” Killian opens his mouth but she holds up her hands and cuts him off. “I did the first part by myself, but nothing happened, or… I thought nothing happened. Then I went to Jefferson and he helped me. Little did I know, it worked, just not the way I wanted it.”

David sits up and asks, “What did you do?”

Running her hands through her hair, she takes a deep breath and turns to them, “I borrowed the Dark Fairies wand from Blue—” Killian makes a noise. “—to get the present. But with the wand you have to be concentrating and I wasn’t, well, I was but I was also thinking about us and everything we’ve been through and I was thinking about how the night before Lily asked for me to read to her from the storybook again and we started at the beginning and well—” she motions to Hook. “—here he is.”

"Love," he sighs. "You could have been hurt. Whatever it might be... I can't..." He closes his eyes and shakes his head. "If you were harmed for my sake, I'd never forgive myself."

Her lips twitch, “You haven’t seen it yet.”

They stay silent for a few moments, just staring at each other before Hook clears his throat.

“Does that mean you can send me back?” Emma turns to him with a smile and nods. “Well, that’s… something.”

He rubs his lips and cracks his neck. He could really use some—

Hook looks up to see a flask being handed to him by Killian. Nodding in thanks he grabs it and quickly takes a pull. Of course he knew he would have to go back eventually, it’s not as if he could live in this time with an older version of himself walking around, but after seeing what his life will be like… the happiness, the love… he doesn’t think he can go back to a place where he was angry and so alone.

“Where is it then?” David asks, bringing Hook out of his thoughts and back to the conversation.

Emma motions to the back door, “It’s out back.”

They all look while Killian walks to the window.

“There’s nothing out there, Swan.”

“There’s a cloaking spell over it and before you freak out, Regina did it, not me. She just made it easy for me to take down.”

Her parents stand and move to the door when she stops them.

“Hey,” she says, stopping them. “Where are you guys going?”

David looks back at her with his eyebrow raised, “We get to see what it is don’t we?”

Her mouth opens and closes a few times before she shrugs in defeat. “I guess.”

The Charming’s are out the door before she finishes and when she tries to go after them, Killian stops her.

“Mind buttoning up, love. It’s a bit chilly out.”

She presses her lips together with a nod and rushes out of the room. Hook takes another pull from his flask before he stands and hands it to Killian.

“You alright?”

He chuckles and shakes his head, “She is the most stubborn woman I have ever met.” He drinks from the flask and wipes his chin. “Remember how demanding she was on the stalk? Wouldn’t wait for the easy way, determined to rush in? That doesn’t change, no matter how many years have passed.”

Hook leans his elbow on the counter and gives a slight shrug, “From what I recall, it’s what intrigued us most about her.”

“You’re not wrong,” Killian mumbles before putting the flask to his lips again.

Moments later, Emma walks back into the kitchen with boots, long trousers, and a coat.

“Okay, let’s go.”

Hook moves to leave when he sees Killian stop her.

“This cloaking spell… does it require much?”

“No,” she insists. “Just a little flick of the wrist.”

He sighs and cups her face, “Love, you know I don’t doubt your magic. You can do anything, but with all these distractions…”

“It’s not that bad,” she huffs to him before turning back to the table. “Watch.”

She waves her hand and there’s a puff of grey smoke that surrounds the table. Hook watches as the pottery transforms into roses and his brow goes together. When he turns, he sees Killian close his eyes and Emma’s face scrunch together as she fists her hand in front of her.

“Oops,” she mumbles.

Killian sighs and hangs his head before he turns and walks out the back door.

“I’m assuming the flower show wasn’t intended?” he asks her in a whisper while they walk out.

She shakes her head and mumbles, “I was trying to put the dishes away.”

His brow goes up and he looks back at the table. Walking outside, he reaches out with his hook and brushes it against her arm.

“Swan,” Her eyebrow raises in question and he hesitates. It’s not his place to say something, but the overwhelming feeling of concern is making it hard to hold his tongue. “The babe… your magic…”

Instead of the annoyed look he expects, she steps forward and puts her hand on his arm. “It’s really okay. The way Regina explained it to us when I was pregnant with Lily is that my magic projects itself out, and because it’s linked to my emotions, it could be slightly unpredictable. This time it’s a little different.” When he tilts his head in question, she continues as they walk down the steps. “When I was pregnant with Lily, my powers would overdo it, I’d try to move a dish to the sink and it would end up in the front yard. This time, I try to move them and…”

“You flood the table with roses,” he smirks.

She chuckles with a nod, “Yeah. Last week, I tried to close the blinds at my parent’s loft and ended up turning them into snowflakes. Mom wasn’t too happy about that.”

He snorts and follows until he’s standing with the rest of the group of the tiny shore. They are all looking around in confusion and Hook raises his eyebrow. The only thing he sees is a clear sight of open water that makes him itch for the Jolly. It’s been some time since he’s been able to take her out, he makes a promise then to stretch her legs as soon as sees her.

“Where is it?” Snow asks, her hand shielding her eyes from the sun.

Emma motions out to the open water, “Right there.”

Hook turns back to the water and scratches the back of his ear. He’s just about to ask her what it is she actually sees when he notices something odd. There are birds flying in the sky, but there are also ones that seem floating in the air. Their wings are not out, they look as they do when they are perched… but there is nothing there.

“The water, love?” Killian asks making Emma giggle.

“No.”

Killian tilts his head in question and Emma bites her lip before she lifts her hand toward the shore line and waves it. Hook looks on to see a shimmering veil disappear and the masts of the Jolly Roger appear. His lips tug up into a smile at the sight of her, with everything that’s been going on, seeing her makes him feel normal.

There’s a gasp and he turns to see Killian staring at the old girl with his mouth open and his eyes wide.

“Happy birthday,” Emma whispers, tears sparkling in her eyes.

From the corner of his eye, he sees Charming smile and put his arm around his wife when she reaches up to brush a tear away from her cheek. He opens his mouth to ask what’s going on, when Killian pulls Emma to him and presses his lips firmly to hers.

Hook looks away, his cheeks slightly tinting and shuffles his feet.

“I love you,” Killian mumbles when they part, wrapping his arms around her.

She smiles and presses a kiss to his nose, “I love you, too.”

After a few moments, Hook clears his throat.

“Pardon the interruption, but do you mind telling me what is going on here?”

Before anyone can answer, there’s a shriek from behind them. They turn to see Lily running toward them with Henry and Leo behind her.

“Is that the Jolly Roger?!” she cries out, her eyes wide in awe.

Killian turns to pick up his daughter and smiles wide, “Aye, there she is, bean.”

“Daddy,” she breathes out, her gaze flickering back and forth over the ship. “She’s so pretty!”

Hook continues to stare at them in question when Henry walks up and crosses his arms over his chest.

“She looks just like I remember her,” he mumbles.

“What’s all this?” he asks, motioning to others as they all walk aboard the ship. “Why the grand gesture?”

Henry smiles with his eyes still forward and says, “We haven’t seen the Jolly Roger since before Lily was born.”

“What?” He gasps. “Where the bloody hell has she been?”

“Dad gave her up… traded her so mom could come back here to save everyone.”

“I did what?” he says, looking at Henry’s face for any hint he’s lying. “But she…” he trails off and glances over at Emma with realization, his lips parting. “She’s… my home.”

The lad gives him a smirk and shrugs, “We’re you’re home.”

He’s suddenly hit with the memory of Killian’s words from the night before, “She’s everything to me.”

Henry walks forward while Hook continues to stare in awe. He watches as the two little ones run around the ship while Killian inspects her. He tries to comprehend what Henry has just told him, but it seems so…

Shaking his head, he stares at the ship before him. He’s been in love with her since the first moment he laid eyes on her on that beach so long ago. The way she floated on the waves, and how she looked in the moonlight… he knew in that moment she was something special.

Just like you knew Emma was special.

His jaw clenches at the voice in his head and he looks down at the ground. When Liam passed, he found his solace on the Jolly, and when Milah was taken from him, the Jolly was the only thing in his life that he could count on. She was there for him after life failed him yet again…

And in this future, he’s given her up for Emma Swan.

“You okay?” He looks up to see Emma standing before him, the wind whips her hair around and she has to tuck it behind her ear to keep it from flying in her face.

“I’m…” he lets out a breath and shakes his head. “I don’t know what I am, Swan. This is a lot to take in.” Her brow goes together and he takes a deep breath. “Your lad…” he motions to Henry. “He told me what he did… what I did for you.”

She rubs her arms to ward of the chill and looks to the ground.

“I didn’t ask for that… If I had known—”

“I know,” he cuts her off. “But it wouldn’t have made a difference.”

She nods and brushes her hair away from her face again, “That’s what you’ve told me.”

His cheek creases from his smirk and his gaze moves back to the ship.

“I supposed it’s about time you send be back,” he mumbles and she holds out her hand to reveal a wand. “And my memories?”

Reaching into her pocket she pulls out a small vial and he nods.

“Don’t suppose I could change your mind about that?” He looks toward the Jolly, his eyes sparkling as he watches Henry lift Lily up onto a crate at the wheel, her giggles so loud he can hear them as if he were standing right beside her. “It’s just…” he says quietly, trailing off and shaking his head as he looks down to hide the tears in his eyes. “I’ve… I’ve been alone for so long… I don’t want to forget… there are people who care for me… people I still care for…”

“You know that’s not a good idea,” she whispers.

He lets out a watery chuckle, “Time lines and all that.”

She gives him a sad smile and hands him the vial.

“When you drink this, you’ll forget everything about coming here. But you can’t drink it too soon… I’m going to reopen the portal and it will take you back. You have to drink as soon as you step through the portal, by the time you’re back, the memory potion will be in affect and it’ll be as if no time has passed at all.”

He meets her eyes, fisting the vial and asks quietly, “May I take it later? Let me have a few peaceful nights.”

Her smile is sympathetic but she shakes her head. “It’ll be simpler if you just wake up in the same place. No suspicious memory gaps… we don’t need you wondering why your memory is gone.”

He snorts and gives a nod. She’s right, if he realizes there is a gap in his memories, he won’t stop until he finds what he’s missing, and that could change the path that leads him to Emma.

“Worth a try,” he answers, looking down at his feet. “I just don’t want to feel like that again.”

She reaches out and puts her hand on his arm, “I don’t want you to feel like that again either, but if you don’t… you can change everything and this… what we have now? Could never happen.”

His gaze moves from the ground to her round stomach. Her coat mostly covers it, but he knows it’s there.

“You look stunning, Swan. Pregnancy suits you.” Her cheeks go pink and she smiles as she places her hand on her stomach. Motioning toward the ship, he asks softly, “May I say goodbye to them?”

“Of course,” she answers without hesitating.

Turning toward the ship, she calls out to her family and he watches as the three of them walk over while the Charming’s and their son stay back. Snow gives him a little wave while her husband nods. He presses his lips together and raises his hand in goodbye.

“You’re leaving?” Lily asks, her voice filled with sorrow.

His throat almost closes and he sniffs as he nods, “Aye. It’s time for me to go back.”

She looks down with a frown and he wants to pull her into his arms to make the frown go away, but when Killian puts his hand on her shoulder, he knows he doesn’t have to. Henry steps forward and he smiles at the lad.

“Be careful, alright? I don’t want us missing out on all the things we’ve done in the past.”

Hook chuckles and pats him on the shoulder. “I promise.”

Killian walks up next and he raises his eyebrow when he offers his hand.

“Seems a little self-serving, but good luck… mate.”

Hook shakes his hand and gives a slight nod. “Aye, you too.”

With another nod, Killian steps back and puts his arm around Henry. Lily steps forward and she holds up what looks like one of the roses from the kitchen.

He kneels in front of her and reaches for the flower, “Is this for me?”

She nods and rubs her hands over the front of her coat. “Mommy says I couldn’t draw you a picture because you wouldn’t be able to take it with you, but I wanted to give you this.”

“What shall I do with it? Put it on my ship?”

Her face lights up and she nods, “Yes! It will look really pretty on the Jolly Roger.”

Pressing it over his heart, he gives her small smile and whispers, “I shall treasure it.”

Before he knows what’s happening, Lily moves forward and wraps her little arms around his shoulders. His eyes close and he pulls her close, breathing in the scent of her hair one last time.

“Bye, daddy,” Lily whispers in his ear and a puff of air passes his lips.

When she pulls away to run back to Killian and Henry, he has to force himself to let go and says barely above a whisper, “Bye, little love.”

He blinks to rid his eyes of the unshed tears and stands as Emma lifts the wand in the air. It glows for a half of second before a portal opens behind him. His brow goes together as he stares at it, because he knows what’s waiting for him is nothing but more pain and loneliness.

“How long?” he asks, his eyes moving back to her.

He knows it’s futile to ask, he won’t remember any of this, but he needs to know, if only for a moment.

She gives him a small smile, “Be patient.” Closing the gap between them, she leans forward and presses a kiss to the corner of his mouth. “I love you.”

His eyes shift back and forth between her own, searching the warmth in her gaze. He takes a step back toward the portal, but his eyes stay locked on hers. When she gives him a slight nod, he pulls the cork out of the vial with his teeth and spits it to the ground.

“I’ll see you soon,” she says with a smile.

The last thing he sees before his memory goes blank is himself, standing there with his family and his response to her just leaving his lips.

“Good.”