So, here we are - time to let go of this story.

Thank you so much to all of you who read, favorited, followed and reviewed. I promised you an epilogue, and here is it. Completely unnecessary, and not really adding anything to the story or the development of the relationship - or does it?


Perhaps I Would

Only a few days later, it was Saturday and Emma had her free day, she trotted downstairs in her pajama pants and tank top, her eyes still half closed, hoping she wouldn't meet anybody just yet; she'd just never be a morning person. Of course, that hope was crushed immediately; her mother was sitting at the kitchen table with Neal on her arm, and Henry was just carrying a steaming mug over to the table, putting it with a determined gesture at the place where she normally sat.

"About time!" he commented and flapped the newspaper right beside the mug. Mary Margaret grinned to herself.

"Good morning to you too, kid," Emma grumbled and slumped on her chair. "What's up with that?" She grabbed the mug and motioned her head to the newspaper before taking a sip of the aromatic beverage.

"I found the perfect apartment for us," he announced and sat down right opposite her.

Emma's eyes widened in surprise. "You've been looking for an apartment?"

"Ever since you said we'd stay in Storybrooke." He tapped his finger on an ad he had encircled with a bright red line. "I thought it would be nice to find one down by the harbor," he told her and added in an almost casual tone: "Killian would like that."

She felt a slight blush creep over her neck and face. "What?" she played innocent.

Henry rolled his eyes. "Mom. Really?"

Mary Margaret suppressed a chuckle while observing the conversation between mother and son. Sometimes it was amazing how alike they were. Emma ignored the sound her mother made and raised her hands, trying to cover up her embarrassment. "Kid... this is about us," she clarified. "Not about... Killian." Her blush deepened a little; she wasn't used yet to saying his name in such a casual way to her son, although Hook had told her about the little talk he'd had with Henry a few days ago, before the memorable lasagna family dinner.

The boy grinned. "Okay. I would like it. Better?"

Emma frowned but had to suppress a grin herself; of course it made her happy that obviously Henry had thought about Killian and wasn't afraid to say it out loud. She took the newspaper. "So, this one's perfect, you say?" she inquired, not pursuing the subject any further.

"Totally!" Henry replied eagerly and pointed to the framed ad. "It has two storeys, two bedrooms, a huge bathroom and a small one, a spare room, a huge kitchen and a living room..." he seemed so excited that he almost stumbled over his own words, and his enthusiasm was truly infectious. "And," he finally added almost triumphantly, "as an extra bonus – the landlord is not my grandfather... grandfather Gold, I mean."

Emma tilted her head and scrutinized her son closely. The kid had taken a liking of some kind to his paternal grandfather, but he also knew that the family's relationship with him wasn't uncomplicated and that his mother would appreciate not being dependent on him. "You thought about everything, didn't you?" Henry didn't reply, but he looked pretty satisfied with himself.

"It does sound wonderful," Mary Margaret threw in. "And... sea air is of course good for a child's health," she added with a mischievous glint shining on her face. Emma rolled her eyes. Somehow, her mother had obviously turned into the vice president of the Killian-Jones-fanclub, a close second after its undisputed president David Nolan. Secretly, of course, she was more than happy about that.

"I'll tell you something, kid," she said to Henry, ignoring her mother's last remark. "Right after I finish this" – she waved her coca mug at him – "I'll give the owner a call and..."

"Done," he replied and folded his arms on the table. "It's an old lady. She's there all morning, and we could go to have a look at it right now." He raised his chin very Mary-Margaret-like and grinned like a Ceshire cat.

Emma's jaw dropped. "Whoa, you're really not wasting any time, are you?"

Henry shrugged. "Mom, with a perfect place like this you have to be really quick. Or someone else will get it." He glanced furtively at his watch.

"Okay, okay," Emma yielded and downed the rest of her cocoa. "Let me just take a shower and..."

She was interrupted by a determined knock at the door; a knock she'd have recognized one in a million, solid steel on wood. "That man's timing is impeccable," Mary Margaret commented in an amused voice, adding a little sing-song to the last word.

Emma's eyes flew to her. "I don't..."

"Oh no!" Henry exclaimed a little too theatrically and jumped up from his chair, heading for the door. "I totally forgot..."

"Forgot what?" Emma demanded to know and raised a wary eyebrow; she had no clue what was going on here, and that was something she absolutely didn't like, because something was definitely going on. The door swung open and gave her free sight on Hook standing in the doorway in all his black leather glory. Her stomach did a little annoying backflip. "What are you doing here?" she asked a little harshly.

Before he could reply, Henry stepped aside to wave him in and explained a little hastily: "Mom, I was going with Killian to the electronic store, he needs to look for a phone..."

A little less cockily than usual Hook entered the apartment, scanning the faces of the three generations united in the room, trying to understand the vibes here. "Morning, Swan," he greeted tentatively and tilted his head in his just-so bow towards Mary Margaret. "Milady." The dark-haired woman returned his gesture with an amused expression on her face while Emma was eyeing her son suspiciously. Hook scratched behind his ear. "Look, if it's a bad time..."

"No, no," Henry interrupted hastily, "we still can go. If you don't mind that we stop by the harbor first."

The pirate frowned, and it was obvious that he had no clue what was going on. "The harbor?" he echoed.

"Yes," the boy confirmed and threw a furtive sideways glance at his mother who had her arms folded and was still scrutinizing him. "Mom and I are going to look at an apartment we might rent." He grinned at his mother's boyfriend. "You could come with us, and afterward we can go and buy your phone."

Hook pursed his lips and tilted his head. "Sure," he replied after a moment, "if that's okay with your mother?" His eyes darted to his lover whose impression left him a bit confused; she seemed partly amused, partly pleased and partly grumpy. Now she threw her hands in the air in an exaggerated so-what?-gesture.

"Of course, it's fine!" she gave in and pushed back her chair. And why not, she thought and found that in some way she was actually looking forward to examining her potential new apartment with Hook by her side. "If you guys give me twenty minutes to get ready, I'm right with you," she added. When she walked past her son, she leaned a little forward and growled into his ear: "I see what you did there, Mr. Smartypants." Then she slapped the back of his head playfully, threw Hook a little smile and headed for the stairs.

"I'll get my stuff," Henry announced and was about to turn around when he felt the sharp tip of the steel hook at his shoulder, stopping him.

"Whither so apace, m'boy?" Hook asked pointedly and tilted his head, giving him the eyebrow. "So, confess. You didn't really fail to remember our appointment, did you?"

Henry shrugged and grinned. "I thought it would be nice to have a third opinion," he explained a little lamely and quickly made his way upstairs too when Hook let him go, his grin and appreciative glance following. Really, that lad was to his liking.

"Come on, Hook, have a seat," Mary Margaret's voice woke him from his thoughts, and he turned around. She motioned with her head to the closet over the kitchen sink and added: "If you want some tea, fetch a mug. I made a fresh pot."

He just shook his head with a smile and sat down on a chair opposite her. She was rocking a half-asleep Neal in her arms and Hook waved his hand in the infant's direction. "How's the prince faring?" he asked.

Mary Margaret shrugged. "He slept five hours last night," she told him. "I'd be really thrilled about it if I wasn't too exhausted."

His hand reached out for Emma's empty cocoa mug she'd left on the table and started to play with it absentmindedly. "You're doing great," he told Mary Margaret and focused on her cat-like green eyes that were so much like her daughter's. "Which is of course nothing less than I expected from you."

She raised an eyebrow in surprise. "I'm flattered," she replied a little dryly, "but what makes you say that? Do you think I'm supernatural or what?"

Hook pursed his lips and shook his head. "Not at all, love. But you're surely the toughest lass ever to roam the Enchanted Forest."

She grinned briefly at the compliment which she knew was sincere, but then sighed. "You really think that? Because I don't feel very badass right now,"

Hook was thrown off track for a moment that the princess bandit admitted a weakness to him of all people, and secretly, he was happy about it. He cocked his head and pointed his index finger at her. "I can assure you, Milady, your sass is still as sharp as ever."

Mary Margaret rolled her eyes and waved him off. "Save your smooth talk for my daughter, pirate," she rebuffed him, yet her voice was anything but hostile. "She's looking for a nest," she added after a few moments and bore her green eyes into his. "Make sure she chooses a good one."

Before he could reply, Henry came back and enveloped him an a conversation about smartphones, deliberately avoiding the subject of the apartment they were going to see. Mary Margaret left them to their technical details and went upstairs to put Neal in his crib after he'd had finally fallen asleep. Soon after that, Emma came downstairs and smiled secretly at the sight of her son and her lover sticking their heads together, while Henry was explaining the pirate some feature of his phone.

"Can we go, guys?" she interrupted them.

Henry immediately jumped up from his chair. "Finally!" he exclaimed and hurried to the door to open it and storm outside.

Emma's fond gaze followed him, and when she reached Hook who had gotten up from his seat as well, she stopped and just looked at him with an unreadable expression in her eyes. He raised his left arm and smoothed out her hair with his hook, pushing a lock behind her shoulder, the tender gesture his long-familiar safe-for-public caress.

"Are you sure you don't mind me accompanying you, Swan?" he asked softly, but also a little anxiously, as she noticed.

"Would it keep you if I did?" she asked back with benevolent irony in her voice.

He tilted his head almost apologetically and crinkled his nose. "Fair point well made," he replied in the same tone.

She knew he wasn't offended, but when he made a move to step back and let her lead the way, she captured his hook and held him back. "Hey." He turned around to her again with a question in his eyes. She smiled that special, slightly shy smile reserved only for him, combined with a quickly stolen glance at his lips, and added: "I don't mind at all." It was the truth.

His face lit up, and a devilish glint sparked up in his eyes. Emma's fingers were still tightly wrapped around his hook, its cold steel making her palm tingle, and with a quick yank of it he pulled her close. She followed eagerly and, in one fluent move, leaned into him, rolled onto the balls of her feet and kissed him lightly on the mouth, the tip of her tongue quickly brushing over his lips. Almost automatically, his head pushed a little forward, capturing her lips to return the kiss.

"Ewww, guys, gross!" scolded Henry's voice from behind; he'd come back to the door to see what took them so long. Emma let go of Hook's hook and rolled her eyes while her son added: "You need a room. Which is why we should go get this apartment before someone else snatches it from under our noses."

"Kid...!" Emma warned, but Henry had already left the room again, and Hook grinned.

"Always the spitfire," he commented, "but with all his ancestry I'd be surprised if sass wasn't his middle name."

"I can hear you, pirate!" Mary Margaret barged in; she was just descending the stairs again.

"Nothing but a compliment, Milady," Hook retorted smoothly and swayed out his right arm along with his head tilt.

"Let's go," Emma sighed and added: "He's right. I really need my own place."

Who am I to object? Hook thought and followed her eagerly, as usual.

The apartment Henry had picked was situated at the harbor, directly down by the mole; Emma hadn't expected it was that close to the sea. The landlord was in fact a landlady, an elderly woman and friend of Granny's she knew by sight. She left them the keys and told them to take their time and just drop by later; she herself lived on the ground floor of the three-storey-house.

Almost a little nervously, Emma unlocked the door and let Henry in; she followed with careful steps, and Hook, with a little distance, was the last one. At first sight, it was a beautiful apartment, even a little similar to Mary Margaret's: downstairs there was a big open kitchen area with a large wooden table and six solid chairs, a spacious living room, a small bathroom and a small bedroom which was obviously supposed to be the guest room. In the living room, there was even a fireplace, she noticed with glee. A spiral staircase was leading upstairs. The windows looked down on the harbor with the mole and fishing boats and sailing ships; Emma smiled at the sight and threw a quick sideways glance at Hook to check his reaction. But she was surprised to see that he was barely examining the room or the view that was really beautiful; his eyes were resting on her, a slight smile creasing the skin around them. But then, of course he'd be concerned about her more than about anything else. A cozy warmth spread in her chest.

All by themselves, her lips curled into returning the smile, while she asked almost casually: "What do you think?"

He tilted his head in a shrug and scratched behind his ear, then waved his hand in an all-encompassing move. "It looks like a nice place to settle down for you and the lad," he commented.

Her eyes grew a nuance darker when she murmured with an unusually coy smile: "I guess maybe you'll come and visit some time?"

For a moment, he looked to the side and snorted his little hoarse laugh. "Perhaps more than just some time?" he then replied and smiled back, tilting his head. "If you'll have me..."

Emma blushed and averted her eyes for a moment, but before she could reply, Henry called from upstairs in a definitely elated voice: "Mom! Come here! You have to see this!"

Hook smiled and motioned his head towards the staircase. "That lad seems thrilled about it."

"Mom!" Henry's voice grew impatient.

"I'm coming!" Emma hurried upstairs and found her son in the spacious master bedroom; she saw immediately what he meant, and she was absolutely mesmerized. The bedroom had huge windows from the floor almost to the ceiling which gave the room the impression of openness, and the view was nothing less than breathtaking; from here, from the middle of the room, the mole and ships were not visible, because the upper floor was too high to see them. The only thing they could see from the windows was the water, and the sea was of a deep blue today and seemed endless... it was like being on the open sea, and the only limit was the horizon where the sky and the waterline met.

Emma looked at Henry with her mouth a little open, and she was completely enchanted. The little brigand that was her son smiled at her. "Nice view, huh?"

She ruffled his hair, and she had to swallow a lump in her throat; it took her a few moments before she was able to speak. "You can say that, kid..." Her voice was hoarse, and one look at his face was enough to know what he was thinking. She was thinking the same. Killian will love it, and the thought warmed her heart, and it warmed her heart that her son cared about that, too. Instinctively, Emma knew that this was the place where she wanted to start building her future, the happy one she wasn't afraid of any longer... let me guess, with you? She felt a happy smile curve her lips. Yes, Killian Jones would be part of that future, and an important one.

Meanwhile, downstairs Hook was examining the room; he liked it open and spacious which was why he'd always found the princess bandit's place appealing and homely. He appreciated especially the fireplace, the epitome of coziness to him. He didn't even remember the last time he'd lodged in a home with a fireplace. Images of him and his Swan flashed through his mind, snuggling on a couch in front of a cackling fire... or on a fluffy rug on the floor, the heat of the fire caressing their bare bodies, painting patterns on their skin, glistening with sweat, as they were making love...

The sound of footsteps woke him from his daydreams when Emma and her son descended the stairs, and he chuckled and shook his head at himself and his fluffy thoughts. Some pirate he'd become... His Swan and the lad were smiling almost identical smiles. He raised his eyebrows at them in a questioning way. "So, how's the verdict?" he asked casually.

Emma and Henry exchanged a conspiratorial glance. It was obvious that he loved the place; but he was so busy hiding it that he didn't even notice how much that warmed both Emma's and Henry's hearts. She put her arm around the boy's shoulders. "I think we found our berth."

Hook couldn't help but grin happily at her choice of words, and Henry rolled his eyes; it was striking how much he resembled his mother in that moment. "Come on, Killian," he said, "let's go and buy a phone for you while mom seals the deal with the landlady."

A mere fortnight later, Emma and Hook were entering her new apartment, both carrying heavy cardboxes with clothes and kitchen stuff. She had him seen take care of both random and particularly tricky tasks and therefore wasn't surprised of the dexterity he handled the boxes with, despite of having only one hand. She couldn't suppress a smile when she thought that she was the first one who should know that his hook was as good as a hand – if not even better sometimes.

With a huff he put the cardbox he was carrying on the kitchen counter; as she'd packed the boxes a bit carelessly and not very neatly, the pots and pans inside made a clattering sound. "When are you moving here for good?" he wanted to know.

Emma shrugged. "Soon," she replied a little vaguely, "I just need to buy a few more things, and we're good."

Hook tilted his head and scrutinized her closely. "Then what's keeping you?" he asked matter-of-factly and, as always, hitting the nail right on the head.

She sighed, knowing there was no use in being evasive. "It's a big step," she admitted a little hesitantly, not wanting to look like she was getting cold feet about this all, because she really wasn't. "It probably sounds stupid, but it feels like I'm moving out, away from the... bosom of the family," – with her fingers she made air quotes – "for the very first time." She shrugged again and added ironically: "It's not like I haven't been alone for the most part of my life..."

"That doesn't sound stupid at all, love," he contradicted quietly, as always understanding what was moving her. He'd made a similar experience: although he'd always been surrounded by his crew on the Jolly Roger, at the end of the day he'd been alone all his life after his brother had passed; this had only been interrupted by a short period of time a few years later when Milah had been by his side, but after the Dark One had taken her life along with his hand he'd been alone again. And yet, after he'd given up his ship to get to his Swan and bring her back to Storybrooke, after he'd taken quarters at Granny's, he'd felt as if for the first time in his life he was really and truly alone, on his own. It had taken him time to get used to. Given how lonely his lost girl had been all her life it had to be difficult, even scary to move back into quietude after finally having experienced the – sometimes annoying – bliss of living something like a family life. He couldn't blame her for dreading it a little.

She nodded slowly. "Well, since Henry brought me to Storybrooke, it will be the first time I'll be staying in my own place. The first time it'll be just me and Henry." She threw him a quick sideways glance, before she added a little hastily: "New York doesn't count. That place wasn't real until..." She hesitated only for the fraction of a second and then went on: "...until you walked in like you owned the place."

He looked away for a moment and snorted a little laugh when he remembered that occasion; slowly, the pain over that experience subsided into a faint memory and was replaced by a quiet joy about her words. It was the first time she'd admitted openly that her life in New York, the year she'd spent away from Storybrooke, from her parents, from him, hadn't been real. It struck him suddenly that not only the lad had to deal with the loss of a year of his life. "You will do great, Swan," he told her firmly, "as usual." I have yet to see you fail, echoed his voice reassuringly in the back of her mind. "This is Storybrooke, you will still be home." He waved his hand in an all-encompassing gesture. "Your parents and all your friends are just around the corner."

Emma smiled that vulnerable, almost shy little smile that was reserved only for him, as he'd started to notice, but she didn't reply. She didn't avert her eyes, but was looking at him with that quiet, almost a little insecure expression on her beautiful face, as if she was waiting for something, quietly urging him to go one step farther, to give her more. A warm gleam wrapped itself around his heart.

He cocked his head again. "And, so am I," he added in a deliberately nonchalant tone. Emma's face lit up. She reached for his hand; still a very unusual gesture for her, yet all the more endearing it was to him.

"Come on, Hook," she said, "I want to show you something. Upstairs." She pulled him towards the stairs.

"Upstairs?" he echoed in an amused tone, following eagerly, of course, basically like he'd done ever since they'd met. "What could be upstairs that requires my prompt attention, Swan? Your bedroom, I take it?" His teasing voice dropped a few nuances and assumed that velvety tone that made her toes curl and her spine tingle.

Emma laughed and let go of his hand. "Not what you think, pirate," she threw mockingly over her shoulder and sprinted up the stairs in a fast pace. "You're not that irresistible, you know."

"Ah, but I have yet to see you resist me, darling," he teased back and followed closely on her heels, curious what she was up to. She disappeared into the largest of the rooms with him in pursuit. At first he didn't notice what she meant to show him, because he was simply so mesmerized by the sight of her. Yes, this was actually Emma tough-lass Swan, standing in the middle of her new, half-furnished bedroom, her arms spread like wings, a bright, almost blinding smile on her face, so happy and joyful and carefree that it made his heart leap.

"So?" she inquired impatiently and also a little breathlessly when he wouldn't comment. "Do you like the view?"

Hook nodded almost solemnly, not taking his eyes off of her. "Indeed, I do like the view, my love," he declared, his voice feeling a little rough with emotion, "very much so, I might add."

"Not me!" she huffed and rolled her eyes, blushing a little along the way, although she had to admit that she didn't mind his habit, maybe rooted in his old-fashioned ways, of never missing out on paying a compliment whenever the occasion arose. She stepped aside and swayed out her arm in an all-encompassing way, giving him a little push towards the glass front of the spacious room. Only then he noticed what she was showing him, and his jaw literally dropped when he saw it.

He took a step closer to the window front and swallowed hard; a telltale muscle in his jaw clenched. The blue of the sea and the sky was reflected in his eyes while he was drinking in the sight; it was absolutely breathtaking. From here above, the street and the mole weren't visible, and all the eye could reach was the water, touching the sky at the distant horizon, creating an illusion of infinity he hadn't seen in a long time. He threw her a sideways glance from under his long eyelashes and noticed that she was watching him intently and with a such tender expression on her face that it simply took his breath away. The thought alone that she had brought him here to point out the view to him because she knew how much he'd love it, meant the world to him.

"Quite spectacular indeed," he finally confirmed after a few moments of silence, his voice slightly more hoarse than usually. He almost couldn't handle the happiness on her face and scratched behind his ear before motioning his hand to the window. "This is East," he told her matter-of-factly and waved his hand to her bed in his typical move, "so you shall have the privilege to watch the sunrise from your bed."

Emma smiled and shrugged. "I'm not a morning person." She took a step nearer, invading his personal space, and went on almost casually: "But I was thinking, maybe... we could watch it together?" There was the shy smile again, and he could tell by the way her breathing quickened that it still meant a little leap of faith for her to ask him that, even if she had truly let down all her walls for him by now. That didn't mean she was invulnerable, after all; somewhere inside her, there was still the little lost girl that had encountered nothing but rejection in her life. Only that she had learned now to trust him, finally believing her heart and soul were safe with him.

He raised his left arm and smoothed out her hair with his hook, tilting his head in a nod, and answered softly: "Aye, perhaps we could."

She saw that he was struggling with his feelings, and so was she; but those feelings were all positive and heart-warming and gut-clenching and not frightening at all, and so she added: "Often."

Hook scratched behind his ear and averted his eyes for a moment before flashing her his heart-stopping grin and cocking his head, paired with a quirking of his eyebrow, and replied: "I told you, Swan, all you have to do is ask."

She shoved her hands in the back pockets of her skin tight jeans and grinned back. "Good."

He looked over his shoulder, as if his gaze was magically drawn to the window, the sea, the horizon. He felt only a very faint trace of nostalgia at the thought of all those years when this view had been the first thing and the last he'd see every day. Partly, it had been an exciting life, but mostly, he'd learned to admit to himself a long time ago, it had been restless and empty. He'd been lost for such a long time that he'd forgotten how it felt to have a home, just like his Swan.

"Hey, Captain," her voice woke him from his thoughts, and he spun his head around to her again, just to be hypnotized by her slight, flirtatious smile and the gleam in her green eyes. She swayed a little back and forth on the balls of her feet and batted her eyelashes playfully, stealing a quick glance at his mouth. "You in for some pillaging and plundering?" she purred.

Hook thought he'd heard wrong at first, but the wicked expression on her face matched her words. The skin around his eyes crinkled a little. He leaned a bit forward and tilted his head, more than intrigued by her choice of words. Yes, there was indeed a little pirate in her, he'd always known it. "You really don't hold a pirate's life in very high esteem, do you?" he asked with a slight growl in his voice and narrowed his eyes while his nose crinkled and his eyebrows shot up; his teasing was obvious, though.

Emma took a step nearer, closing the distance between them, invading his personal space like a looter herself again, and glanced up at him from under her long eyelashes. "I do have very high expectations," she answered in a smokey voice that was definitely laced with sex and put both hands on the lapels of his leather vest, her fingers spread like wings. He turned his eyes down at them without moving his head, and she let the fingers of her right hand crawl over the edge of the vest and the widely open button border of his black linen shirt until they touched his bare chest, her short fingernails gently grazing through his chest hair. His breathing quickened a little, she noticed with pleasure. "Think you can... rise to the occasion?" she asked in a more than suggestive tone and threw him an almost challenging glance when he hiked his eyes up to meet hers again.

His wicked tongue darted out and ran slowly over his lower lip; he'd always loved a challenge, after all. He flashed her his best predatory smirk and cocked his head again, dropping his voice a few nuances. "I'm always good for a... rise, love." His left arm encircled her waist, and he brought his hook to the small of her back, pulling her close with a sudden move and that little raw and primal thrust of his hips; so close that she could feel how accurate his words were. Yep, there was definitely a rise in the making.

She grinned back and wrapped her arms around his neck, like always unable to resist messing up his unruly hair. "And don't I know it," she replied and pulled his face down for a kiss.

It was two months later on a lazy Sunday morning.

Emma woke up far too late to watch the sunrise from her bed, but she still enjoyed the view, especially because she wasn't alone. In fact, since she had moved into the new apartment, there had barely been a morning she had woken from her sleep alone; that bed had seen quite an amount of pillaging and plundering already. The moment she opened her eyes, her lips curved into a smile when she felt Hook's muscular right arm draped over her, pulling her close into him in his sleep. She was lying on her left side with her back snuggled to his front, her head resting on his left arm. Her gaze traveled along the horizon, reveling in the peaceful happiness within her, and her smile widened when she closed her eyes again and thought back to the previous evening... they had been setting the table for dinner for them and Henry whom they expected back any minute from the Christmas gift shopping spree David had taken him. Suddenly, she'd reached into her pocket and said...

"I have something for you." She held up a key in front of his face.

"What is that?" Hook asked with a frown.

"The key to this apartment," she replied with a smile.

His eyes widened for a second and fixed on the metal in Emma's hand, then he turned his eyes to hers and swallowed. "Are you asking me to share your home, Swan?" His voice was hoarse and slightly nervous, although he tried to sound casual.

Slowly, she shook her head. "No, stupid," she answered quietly, "you do that already. I'm offering you to share my life."

His incredible, incredulous eyes wandered to the key again, like drawn by an invisible magnet, and she could clearly read on his face how touched and happy he was and how desperately he wanted to take it. Emma's heart leapt. Hook raised his hand, but instead of taking the key from her, he scratched behind his ear and tilted his head. "What about the lad?" he asked and swallowed again, and she melted a little more inside.

"Henry's been pestering me about this for weeks," she told him and stretched out her hand a little more in a wordless invitation. "Don't you know why he made sure to choose an apartment by the sea, you stupid old pirate?"

Hook's gaze traveled from her hand up to her face again and fixed on her eyes, and she saw the same expression in them like when she'd told him that she loved him: full of wonder, filled with awe. They were shining like sapphires, and the fine skin around them crinkled into those adorable laugh lines she'd come to love so much. A muscle along his jaw twitched, and she saw that he was obviously at a loss for words, which was a remarkable thing by itself. A thought came to her out of the blue, and before she could think twice about it, the words tumbled from her mouth:

"Let me get this straight – I'm not asking for your hand." Her heart clenched in the most delicious way when she saw his face fall a little and his gaze drop for one moment.

"Why, of course not," he murmured a little flatly.

She had no idea why she'd brought up that topic, but she added with a soft smile: "I'm a little old-fashioned myself when it comes to that." Immediately, his eyes came back to life, widened and darted to hers again. Emma knew she didn't have to say more, because he still read her like an open book, every day. And also now, he understood what she was really telling him: You should be the one to do the asking, but just not yet.

Finally, his smile bloomed all over his handsome face; that full smile that should be illegal because it blew her off of her feet every time. "I'll keep that in mind," he answered hoarsely and then, slowly, finally took the key from her and held it up between them. "I swear you shall not regret this," he said earnestly.

She nodded. "I know."

For a moment, time seemed to stand still when they just looked at each other, drowning in each other's eyes; then, the spell was broken by the rattling sound of keys in the entrance door and Henry barging in, loaded with boxes and bags.

"Hey guys, what's for dinner?" he greeted them and then stopped himself when he saw them standing close together by the half-set table, grinning at each other like idiots. "Guys?" His face lit up. "Mom? Did you...?"

Finally, both turned their faces to him, and Emma didn't reply, but nodded with a beaming smile.

Henry grinned. "Cool."

Hook looked away for a moment, slightly flustered, scratched behind his ear and asked: "So, you up for some good, old-fashioned stew, m'boy?"

"I'm starving!" Henry replied enthusiastically like the kid that he was and headed for the spiral staircase to take his purchases upstairs. Halfway up on his way, he stopped. "Oh, and Killian..."

Hook and Emma both turned their eyes on the boy, and she thought how much she loved the naturalness her son displayed when he called her lover by his first name, he always had. She'd come to use his first name more often, too, the more time passed; but she also knew that to part of her he would always and for ever be Hook, the stupid old pirate she'd fallen in love with a long time ago.

Henry grinned again and pointed to the key Hook was still carefully holding between his ringed fingers. "You might not want to buy a keychain for this thing yet... before Christmas." Then he raced up the stairs without waiting for an answer.

Emma came back to the present and reveled in the cocooning warmth of the blankets and her fuzzy memories while she started to stroke Hook's forearm lightly, almost absentmindedly with her fingertips. She didn't want to wake him up, but just couldn't resist touching him, caressing the warm skin and the soft sprinkle of dark hair on his forearm. In response, he sighed into the back of her neck where his face was buried and stirred a little in his sleep. She shivered pleasantly at the feeling of his breath on her skin and noticed that at least a part of him was already more than awake, and his hoarse voice floated through her mind: you're such a bloody siren, Swan... she loved it when he said things like that, addressing and appreciating the wicked, sensual side in her he'd been the one to unleash.

She smiled to herself and snuggled even closer into his body, pressing her derrière into his delicious hardness. Slowly and gradually, he seemed to wake up because he softly started to caress her; at first it were just his fingers that fluttered and moved, lazily crawling underneath her tank top and painting circles and wavy patterns on the skin of her chest, right between her breasts, above her heart. The more his body came to life, though, the more and deftly his hand moved, and he caressed her breasts; at first, he only ran his knuckles along their undersides a few times, very carefully and lightly, before he cupped them one after the other, weighing them in his hand like he loved to, squeezing them ever-so-tenderly. Almost casually, he stroked the pad of his thumb over her left, taut peak, once, twice... and she held her breath and only let it out in a long exhale when he pulled his hand away and brought it to her shoulder for a moment to push aside her hair.

Emma felt his hot lips on her bare shoulder, his scruff grazing her skin, and from there he moved to the back and then the side of her neck, showering her with kisses, gently using his tongue and his teeth on her, his hot breath on her throat making her shiver with desire. His hand slowly traveled around her ribcage and back again to her front, slowly gliding down over her stomach. It was her turn to shift and sigh now, partly because all her senses were already tingling, partly due to her eager anticipation, even before his hand had come anywhere near her pubic mound. While he never stopped the sensual assault of her neck with his mouth, he paid special attention to the small streak of bare skin between the hem of her tank top and the lace-trimmed edge of her panties, stroking along it, caressing it with a touch of his thumb and thenar as light as a butterfly's wing. Then, achingly slowly, his warm palm glided lower, over her pubic bone and pubic mound, causing her to automatically arch her spine, throw her head back against his shoulder and press her backside even more into him, feeling the hotness of his rigid flesh through the sheer material of her panties.

When Hook's skilled fingers started to play over the already damp silk covering her most sensitive spot, her thighs parted in a silent invitation, a begging for more, and her hips started to rock softly, almost desperately against his. She felt his lips tremble against her feverish skin and knew that he was tonelessly chuckling. That smug bastard. Usually never holding back, today she had to suppress her moans because Henry was home this weekend. Instead, she closed her eyes, exhaled sharply and and bit her lip when he started to tease her relentlessly and work his very own magic on her. He knew her body like he knew her heart and soul, and he knew exactly what he had to do to her to make her come undone and fall to pieces in his arms – repeatedly, as he loved to point out – , and without her ever having told him what to do; he had simply known from the beginning. There's only one rule...

The words she had bitten back from her lips fluttered like caged birds through her head, the fingers of her right hand clawed at the sheets, and she hoped desperately he could sense the words somehow, would understand... but then he always did. Open book. Even if her voice remained silent, her body clearly cried out to him: Oh God, oh, please...

Her breathing was heavy now, her heartbeat frantic, and she squirmed against him in a silent plea until he finally took pity on her and slowly, very slowly pulled down her panties – or knickers, as he insisted on calling them. She almost sobbed with relief when he put his hand to her hip and pulled her close, claiming her, and she felt his flesh so smooth, yet so hard at her entrance, its throbbing hotness mirroring the burning of her own desire. She was more than ready for him and held her breath when he entered her slowly and, like always, reveled in the feeling how neatly and thoroughly he filled her; and now she couldn't help a tiny whimper escape her throat.

Then he started to move inside her, holding her body firmly close to his, and Emma followed his lead and moved along with him. It wasn't thrusting, it was more of a soft rolling of their hips, accompanied by the sounds of their quickening breaths. While they moved in perfect sync, his hand had found its place between her legs again; it was firm and warm and knowing and caressed her most sensitive spot with slow, almost lazy circular motions... tender, but with just the right amount of pressure and firm enough to make her completely lose her mind, and God, if he had two hands to deliciously torment her like that, she swore she wouldn't be able to handle it. She put her right hand on his and laced her fingers through his while her other hand grabbed his left forearm right above his mutilated wrist and held on to him.

They were making love slowly, calmly, lazily even, accompanied by lots of little sighs, although at moments she badly wanted to sob and cry out his name. He continued to kiss her neck, nipping at it and even using his teeth, and she tilted her head to give him better access and press a kiss on the scarred skin of his left arm.

Hook increased the pace only towards the end, when he felt that she was almost there, like him, and after a few well-placed harder thrusts, like most times, they reached their climax together; he pressed his face into her shoulder when they did, while Emma threw her head back in ecstasy and bit her lip once more. They let it wash over them and stayed like this for another minute or two, listening to their slowly decelerating heartbeats, while he was still inside her, holding her close.

Then she couldn't take it anymore, she had to look at him. She moved so that he slipped out of her and turned around in his arms, finally facing him. There's my sunrise, she thought and mentally rolled her eyes at herself for having such cheesy thoughts. They looked at each other and smiled, and his eyes had that special, cocky glint that always preceded his teasing. His wicked tongue darted out and moistened his sinful lips before he said: "Well, good morning to you, too, beautiful."

She ran the back of her right hand slowly over his well-toned chest, enjoying the feeling of his slightly damp body hair against her skin, and brushed her knuckles against his scruffy throat. "I could get used to that," she murmured and moved a little closer to capture his lips for a tender, lingering kiss.

Hook's hand rested on her waist, and after their mouths had parted again, his lips curved into that slightly self-satisfied smirk; sometimes, he just couldn't help it. He was a pirate, after all. "Be a good lass, Swan, and perhaps I'll take it into due consideration."

Emma rolled her eyes at his smugness, but before she could give him an adequate reply, a knock at the door interrupted her, and Henry's voice came from outside: "Guys... time to get up," he called. "We were going sailing today, remember? Better rise and shine, you bilge rats."

Hook chuckled, and she hissed: "Really?! Haven't I told you to watch your mouth around Henry?"

"Why would I do that, love?" He batted his eyelashes in feigned innocence. "I was under the impression that you are already watching my mouth all the time," he teased and grinned.

"Not funny," Emma growled, propped herself up on her right elbow and and called over his shoulder: "Put the cocoa and the tea on, kid. We'll be with you in a minute."

"Too much information, mom," came the dry reply, and she rolled her eyes when she heard Henry's steps shuffle away from the bedroom door.

"Well, at least he lets us sleep at night," she commented and sat up.

"Sleep, darling?" Hook echoed with a smirk, running his hand playfully up her bare arm. "Why, isn't that a bit preposterous?"

She shook her head and rolled her eyes even harder. "Whatever," she replied and added: "We're lucky, compared to my parents. Little Neal isn't there yet."

"True," he nodded in barely veiled amusement and sat up, too. "Your father does look a little beside himself at times. He's starting to show his age." His voice had assumed an almost gleeful touch.

"Come on!" Emma chastised and elbowed him. "You should be about the last person to mock other people's age, old man."

He cocked his head and raised his eyebrows. "And you should be about the first person to acknowledge that, regardless of my age, I'm perfectly well endowed for any aspiration you might entertain."

She pressed her lips together for a moment to force back her grin; how he could coat his sometimes blatant lewdness in his old-fashioned, bookish words so effortlessly, never failed to impress her. And, she had to admit, there was something absurdly sexy about it. "Stop making fun of David!" she finally snapped when she had her hormones under control again. "What do you think you would look like after a sleepless night with a colicky infant?!"

Hook didn't even bother to reign his mocking eyebrow in. "Need you really ask, love? Still devilishly handsome, of course."

"Yeah, right," she snorted. "Wouldn't affect you at all, would it?"

What would I give to find out, flitted through his mind all of a sudden, and also the prince's words from not so long ago reverberated in his mind when Emma's father had teased him about "the joys of parenthood": Some day soon, I'll be laughing at you... Hook remembered how the prince's allusion had thrown him completely off track and hit him in a moment when he'd still been asking himself if this was all really happening, and when he hadn't even dared think that far. But since then, the thought of having a family, a child with the love of his life had crossed his mind more than once. And how on earth had they ended up talking about a baby keeping them from sleeping?

Damn, only the previous evening his Swan had very casually mentioned wedlock, and now she'd brought up his possible reactions to the joys of parenthood? Could that really be a mere coincidence? He'd never been the one to believe in coincidence; now, if that wasn't fate smiling at him, he didn't know what it was. He'd never been a man to let an occasion slip through his fingers.

"And wouldn't you like to know," he blurted out.

Emma's eyes widened, and the same moment they were out, he wished he could bite back his words, and subconsciously, he pressed his lips together. What the bloody hell had he been thinking? How long had he known Emma Swan? She who always needed her time before making a pass... she who'd already taken so many leaps of faith with him over these last two months that she almost deserved a medal for it? She who only the previous evening had asked him to share her life and hinted at not being averse from giving him her hand in wedlock one day... hadn't that been enough? Did he have to go and ruin it by pressuring her with what had to look like the demand for something she perhaps wasn't ready for yet? Bugger it, Jones, you're such a twit sometimes.

In his long, long life Killian Jones had always been devoid of three things: a family, a home and love. He'd found the love of his life in Emma Swan, and a home with her – at the end of the day even a family. But all those years he'd never believed it would ever be possible for him to become a father. That possibility now, the hope that this could really become true, that maybe he really had the chance to have his very own family with the woman he loved had forced his tongue. He'd actually forgotten that since that memorable day he'd been bested and tied to a tree by a blonde, green-eyed warrior princess in a red leather jacket, she'd always come first, and always would; always. He swallowed thickly. Gods, please don't let her be scared off and back away.

For a moment, Emma just looked at him with an unreadable expression, her lips slightly parted in surprise. Had she heard right? Had he really been hinting at having a baby with her? Automatically, her mind went back to the talk she'd had with her mother a few weeks back when Mary Margaret had bluntly asked her if she was thinking of having a baby. She'd brushed her off quickly, but she'd also been intrigued by the thought and never really forgotten about it. Was she really ready for a bond that tight? Oh, don't be ridiculous, she chastised herself mentally, the bond between you and him couldn't be any tighter anyway, and you know it.

Did she really want another child? She had Henry now, and she loved him as dearly as a mother could love her son. But she also had never really gotten over the fact that she'd missed out on seeing him grow up during his first ten years; she'd been deprived of all the wonders and joys coming with a child's first smile, the first step, the first word... and suddenly, maybe for the first time, Emma started to understand her own mother's wish, guiltily uttered in the Echo Cave back in Neverland – that she wanted to have another baby. It had hurt her a little back then, but now she understood, because she was feeling the same. She also knew that Henry would be the last one to resent that.

A look in Hook's blue eyes revealed to her exactly what he was thinking; his front was slightly furrowed, and he pressed his lips together in that way that made his jaw clench. He was scrutinizing her anxiously, almost in a pleading way, and a string pulled heavily on her heart. Obviously, the thought of having a baby with her had elated him so much that he had blurted out that line without thinking, and now he regretted it – because he was afraid she'd reject the idea and would maybe retreat a step back into that shell of hers again. That stupid idiot – didn't he know that all the last remnants of her shell had quietly crumbled away in his arms already a long time ago? Didn't he know she'd never be able to untie herself from him, even if she wanted to? And, by God, didn't he know that she wanted nothing more than to tie herself to him for ever? Well, it was her job to make him understand exactly that.

Killian Jones, her best friend and closest ally, her lover, her supporter and companion, her savior and soulmate, her biggest weakness and her greatest strength, her One True Love – would she like to know how it would be, watching him cradle a baby in his arm in the middle of the night and soothe the crying with his voice, their baby? Really, how was that even a question? She licked her lips in that slightly embarrassed way of hers and averted her eyes for a second before fixing them on his again.

Then, slowly and tentatively, the tiniest smile blossomed on her face, and she replied almost shyly:

"Perhaps I would."



This is it. I've said my piece and all my thank yous already with the last chapter, so I will keep it short.

I'm not planning to continue this special story, although I think I will keep the apartment for future stories - it's just too perfect. Thank you again to everybody who was on this journes with me, and I hope you liked it enough to read also others that might follow.

Silvia, you know already what you contributed to all of this, and I'm glad you keep doing it. It's always your fault! ;)