Not my best work, but I just felt like this was something I had to write.
"I probably should have seen this coming," Emma said as she poured herself a fresh glass, the amber liquid reaching nearly to the top before she placed the bottle back on the table. Killian cocked his head, silently questioning her, before she elaborated. "Something always felt...off...with Walsh. But the fact that he was a flying monkey in disguise wouldn't have been my first guess." She brought the glass up to her lips, swallowing nearly half of its contents.
"You loved him," Killian said, no hint of a question at all. His stomach turned at the mere thought of it. Though it wasn't only the idea that Emma had fallen in love with someone who wasn't him that sickened him, but the pain it was causing her now. He would have killed the beast with his bare hands if Emma hadn't beaten him to it. But then again, it wasn't just this stranger who ripped her happiness away from her, even if it was for the right reasons.
She met his gaze then, her green eyes a whirlwind of emotion. Anger. Pain. Relief. Concern. Determination. He could sort through all of them as effortlessly as reading the words on a page. Lass, I know you better than you know yourself. But did he really? Did he know her now, after false memories had turned into a very real life? By bringing back her memories, he had blurred the line between fact and fiction until, much like her parents, Emma was forced to battle with two different sides of herself. Killian emptied his own drink, then, and before he even had the chance to reach for the bottle, Emma had already filled his glass, absentmindedly staring at the liquid as she poured.
"It wasn't real...just another trick. Besides, there was never…" she trailed off, searching for words but apparently finding none. After a moment, she chuckled softly and downed the remainder of her drink before reaching for the bottle to pour another of her own.
"Never what, Love?" he asked, not entirely sure he wanted her to finish her statement but too curious to avoid it.
"I'm starting to sound like Mary Margaret," Emma said, her lips curving into an amused smile before her expression darkened once more. "I thought that if I did have some true love out there somewhere, there'd be…I don't know…magic...between us. And with Walsh, it was…simple…but not magical. Not the stuff of fairy tales. But of course, I'm the savior. So I don't get that luxury." She took another long pull from her freshly filled drink.
"Happy endings aren't always what we think they will be," Killian answered, watching a brighter smile tug at the edges of her lips, the emotion of it just barely reaching her eyes at his use of her mother's words.
It wasn't long ago that he was questioning his own chances at the happy ending that everyone around him seemed in such desperate search of. He was a pirate, after all, as he'd been constantly reminded by every member of the Charming family to this point, among others…but the moment they stood together in the heart of Neverland and she took hold of his collar, shocking him with the press of her lips against his, he was overwhelmed with hope…hope that a happy ending could be a part of his story, whether he felt he deserved it or not. And even if that happy ending meant simply seeing Emma find true love and happiness, with him or without, that would be enough.
"I saw you," she interrupted his thoughts. He looked up, not realizing he'd been staring down into his drink, and found her in a similar position. "In my head. Sometimes I got pictures, sometimes just feelings."
"After I appeared at your door?" She shook her head.
"Before. I saw everyone. One night, I took Henry to this Medieval Times dinner…don't ask," she said as he opened his mouth. "One of the knights came riding in, and for a split second, I saw David. And when Henry joined the archery club at school, I had to take him to pick out a bow, and as I picked one out and held it, I saw Mary Margaret. I tried to play it off as exhaustion or a weird case of déjà vu, but the way I felt when I saw them…" she hesitated, her eyes out of focus as she gazed just over his shoulder before snapping back to reality after several silent seconds. "I guess it was just weak spots in the curse."
"Where exactly do I come into this tale, Love?" he asked, replaying every moment in the last year that he'd convinced himself he saw her blonde curls blowing in the wind only to turn a corner and find nothing. Or those nights he'd jerk himself awake, soaked in sweat, the feeling of her presence so overwhelming, so real, that it took him days to remind himself that it wasn't. She was gone.
"When I saw you….every time I…" she paused and closed her eyes, as if summoning the words from her memory. "My parents and everyone else…they were here and then gone, in flash. But you…you were more like a ghost. Sometimes just out of my reach, but other times it was like you could have been standing right next to me. But you weren't. I knew you weren't. Still, it felt like…like my life was the illusion and you were real. And then you showed up at my door, and you were real, and that scared the hell out of me because I'd only ever seen you in my head. But now, I know…you were more real than any of this." She gestured in a circle to the apartment, her eyes stopping on a framed rendering of her standing next to Henry with a man's-Walsh's-arm around her shoulders. Killian shuddered, his desire to tear the rendering to pieces growing with every second.
"I kept my promise to you, Swan," he said softly, when she had scanned over the entire room and let her eyes fall back on him. "Not a day." She smiled, tipping her head forward in a slight nod. "And I further promise that no matter what this uncertain future may hold, I will be by your side...no longer a ghost to you. I came back for you because you deserve more than a life built on lies. You deserve to choose your own path. And more than anyone, Savior, you deserve your happy ending." Tears gleamed at the edges of her eyes, one escaping and sliding slowly down her cheek though she quickly reached up to wipe it away. She didn't answer…but he didn't need her to. Everything that he needed was right in front of him.