Killian looked up from his book; Elizabeth was standing in the doorway, her ink-black curls mussed from sleep, clutching her stuffed frog tight. "Sweetheart, you're supposed to be in bed," he told her, closing his book and opening his arms to her.
The five-year old hurried over to him, climbing into his lap. Killian grunted as her knee hit tender places; she was all angles and knees, his little girl, and wild with them she was. "Had a bad dream," she mumbled into his chest, her arms around his neck tight.
(She had bad dreams often, ever since Leroy had let them out of his sight during the last villain fight, and Elizabeth and David had seen Emma and Killian almost killed) (He didn't think he'd ever forgive the dwarf for the incident, but it did help that the dwarf would likely never forgive himself for it either)
He shifted Mr. Frog away to breathe better. "Dreams are just that, my own sweet lass. They're the movies in your mind."
"It was about Mama."
Killian shifted her against him. She grabbed her frog, and pressed herself against him hard enough that he thought she might be trying to disappear into him. He brushed the hair from her face, her eyes—Emma's eyes—tired and fearful. "Do you want to tell me about it?" He asked.
Elizabeth was quiet for several long moments. Then, she shook her head fiercely. "Where's Mama?" She asked instead.
(She never wanted to talk about it. Neither did David. Emma wanted to take them to Hopper if that didn't change soon)
"When is she gonna be home?"
"I don't know. Soon, I hope."
Elizabeth drooped against him. Killian smoothed her hair, the motions threatening to lull her back to sleep. Each time he thought sleep would take hold, she would wake herself up again. He smiled. "Go to sleep, princess. Papa's got you."
(He'd always have her. He'd made that promise the moment Emma had told him, wide-eyed and fearful, that she was pregnant. And he'd vowed it again the moment he'd held his squalling little girl-child in his arms, coming out kicking and screaming first into the world, a fighter after his own heart)
She shook her head. "No. Want to see Mama."
He sighed inwardly. Elizabeth, (and her brother, come to think of it), had inherited Emma's stubborn streak and his perseverance. The combination could one day be deadly, but for now it was merely a chore to keep up with. "It could be a long time until Mama comes home. She's working more because your Grandpa has to take care of your Uncle Neal."
Killian opened his mouth to continue, but a yell from down the hall made him leap to his feet, holding Elizabeth tight against him as he strode down to the twins' room. "PAPA!"
(His son, reserved where his sister wanted to climb every tree in the forest, already reading ahead of his age level. So different, and yet if you'd cut her hair, you'd swear they were identical. Not to mention they operated on their own level of twin-brewed mischief, completing the other's thoughts and sentences and actions)
"If it's not one it's the other," he muttered, kneeling down next to David's bed. He moved the covers back from his son's face just enough to see him. "You had a bad dream too?"
David nodded. Killian held out his hand, and hauled up his boy into his arms as well. David clutched a stuffed dog tight.
Carefully, he went back to the master bedroom, balancing his children in both arms. "How about you two lay with me in the big bed, and we'll watch a movie until you fall asleep, aye?"
(This was more or less why Emma wanted them to talk to Hopper. She knew kids were supposed to want to climb into bed with their parents when they had bad dreams, but four nights in seven was getting excessive. And things were worse when she had to work nights)
(It wasn't as if he didn't agree. It just hurt a little to think his children might open up to someone other than him)
David nodded against him. Elizabeth mumbled an affirmative. Killian set them on the bed, where they promptly destroyed the nicely-made bedding in favor of pillows on the floor and blankets down so they could crawl under them. As they did this, Killian went into the bathroom to put on his sleeping clothes—it wasn't all that late, a little past eleven, but he might as well be comfortable. Coming back into the bedroom, he saw that they'd left a space for him between them. "The usual?" He asked.
David nodded. (He was the quieter of the two; Emma often said Elizabeth talked for both of their children. "I have no idea where she gets that from," she'd tell him. He would scoff and deny knowledge of what she was talking about)
(If looking at her didn't tell everyone that Elizabeth was his, her mannerisms definitely did, and he was quite proud of that)
Killian's relief was palpable the day the twins had decided that Snow White was their favorite movie. They'd giggled when "Papa's movie" had been shown to them, but he was damned if they'd learn to love it. Captain Hook, a cowardly peacock, terrified of a clock-filled crocodile… No, they could watch the story of their grandparents again and again, and they were welcome to it.
(Even if he was getting a little tired of having "Hi-Ho" stuck in his head)
He popped the disk in, and climbed into bed between his children, who promptly turned him into a pillow as the movie started. Half an hour passed, and Elizabeth and David were fast asleep against him. Fifteen minutes later, Killian joined them in a dreamless sleep.
He woke suddenly when the noise of the movie was gone. It was after midnight; Emma was home and shutting everything down for bed. "Hey," she whispered, voice barely audible. "Bad night?"
"Usual, love," he told her, voice at the same level. "Her, then him."
"Killian, this is getting out of hand," she said, slipping out of her clothes and into her pajamas.
"I know. Just… another week. I think Elizabeth's getting close," he said.
Emma looked at him in that way she did when she wanted to believe him but was afraid to. "One more week," she told him. "Then off to Archie."
"Aye," he agreed.
She kissed David's forehead, and then Elizabeth's, and then kissed him. "I love you," she said, settling on the other side of Elizabeth.
He extracted his arm from around his daughter, and it went around Emma, bringing her close to the fold. "I love you too."
(Maybe he'd mean it when he agreed this time. He did miss getting to hold his wife at night)