A new chapter is finally here! This was supposed to be a transition chapter, but it has become a monster ... and I'm quite happy with the result. We have Killian POV but there is also a bit of Emma and Liam POV. The three weeks are about to come to an end...


Killian - Saturday

Killian was nervous. Even though he wouldn't admit it. All morning, as his date with Emma approached, the nervousness was taking hold of his stomach in an irremediable way. He had tried to keep himself occupied all day without success, as every time he had a moment of calm, the image of Emma came to torment him. Torment was not the exact word, to took control of his mind and all his senses would be more appropriate.

As the time drew near, he was getting more and more nervous. Honestly, he hadn't intended to plan a new date. Well, that was not quite true. The thought of planning a second date to celebrate their second week anniversary had crossed his mind. In fact, he had originally thought of organizing something similar to the first one. But he immediately dismissed it. Their virtual date had been so perfect that he was afraid the expectations would be raised too high for the second one.

The idea of spending a movie afternoon accompanied by his nephew seemed the best option. It was a way to play it safe but at the same time to enjoy Emma's company in a different situation than usual.

It was not a big deal after all. They were just going to hang out together watching a movie and eating popcorn, accompanied by his nephew. Maybe it was the fact that she had accepted the date, or that this activity was a way to include her in his family. Or perhaps what made him nervous were the memories of the previous week. All the photos received, messages shared and long conversations had allowed him to know even more about the woman who now occupied all his thoughts.

Although he was not yet ready to admit it aloud — in fact, he doubted he would be any time soon — he could not deny to himself that he was falling fast and hard for her. And that scared the hell out of him. It frightened him that in just two weeks he could have developed feelings for a woman whom he had not even met in person. It frightened him that she had at least the same number of wounds and scars from the past if not more. He was also afraid that this idyllic long distance relationship would change abruptly when he returned. But what really frightened him most was making a wrong move that pushed her away. Now that he had decided to move on, he had the feeling that he would need her, even if that could only be as friends.

What he had learned in these two weeks was that he could not force their relationship. Even though she had opened herself up to him, the thread that connected them was still so thin that any false move could cause it to snap. He couldn't risk that.

These fears had accosted him throughout the day, mixed with the different pictures of Emma that she had sent him. To calm himself as he showered before their date, he tried to ignore the fears and focus only on the images of her and the actual words she had said to him.

The photo with the handcuffs was glorious in every way, he thought unable to suppress the grin forming on his face. Emma was stunning in that image with her rosy cheeks, her smile of triumph and the spark of determination in her gaze. He had barely noticed the poor bastard handcuffed in the background.

He moved on in his mind to her next photo. He tried to divert those thoughts to a safer place, though. Taking a shower while thinking about Emma naked in a bathtub was not the most appropriate combination if he wanted to keep the shower on just that.

His attempts were in vain. So he surrendered and let the image of Emma invade his mind. Soon, all he could think about was her bare shoulders and creamy skin with a slight flush from the warmth of the water. Her hair tucked into a sloppy bun with some stray tendrils framing her face, her green eyes sparkled with a mischievous glow. Her bottom lip was caught between her teeth in that photo, in what was meant to be an innocent gesture but that drove him crazy. She was a bloody siren…

He remembered the moment the text had arrived. It had been memorable but frustrating and embarrassing at the same time. Although her features were schooled in total innocence, her purpose had been clear. She had wanted to torment him in front of his family. And she had. He'd had to stifle the need to lock himself in the bathroom and relieve himself like a bloody teenager.

He kept wondering what was wrong with him when a simple photo had the ability to arouse him in such a way. Perhaps it was his several months of abstinence. Yes, that would be it. Or maybe it was that all the photos that Emma had sent him were the closest thing to perfection he has seen, with that mixture of innocence and sensuality that made his dirty thoughts run rampant.

Enough ... Killian shook his head before his thoughts headed back down that path. He had a date to get ready for. He closed the tap and shook his head again, sprinkling small drops of water around him. After drying himself and spending a considerable amount of time in front of the mirror, he finally left the bathroom and went in search of his nephew.

Soon he was sitting on the couch, his nephew Connor at his side and a bowl of popcorn between them. He had placed his laptop on the coffee table at an angle that allowed him to observe both the television and the device's screen almost at the same time.

While he waited for Emma to call, Kilian chatted with his nephew. As a huge fan of the Star Wars films, he was enthusiastic and also a little impatient to start watching the movie. They didn't have to wait long, luckily. The distinctive sound of incoming call echoed in the living room. Killian hurried to answer and the image of a smiling Emma appeared on the screen. Here we go…

"Hi."

"Hi love." Killian shook his head slightly to clear his mind, still unable to believe his luck that this impressive woman was the one who found his phone. Get a grip! He cleared his throat and pointed at his nephew. "Let me introduce you to this lad, Connor, the biggest fan of Star Wars, even more than me."

His nephew's cheeks flushed slightly as he waved Emma through a shy smile. "Hi Emma."

"Hi, Connor. It's a pleasure to meet such a great Star Wars fan. I'm sure you could teach me a lot about the Saga." Emma's cheeks were also stained with a slight pink hue, matching his nephew's. "Your uncle has told me about your passion. Let me guess... Han Solo is your favorite character, am I right?"

"Yeah, he's the best! He's like a space pirate." Connor's initial shyness was replaced by the enthusiasm that characterized him whenever he talked about the films.

"Uhm, I guess that's why he's your uncle's favorite, too."

Connor chuckled. "Yes! He always says that he must have been a pirate in another life. Do you know he has a boat named The Jolly Roger, after Captain Hook's ship?"

They were talking as if he wasn't even in the room, but Killian was thrilled to see how well Emma and her nephew were getting along. He was a silent witness to the conversation for a while longer, until finally, he cleared his throat, catching their attention. "I'm still here, in case you hadn't noticed."

They both looked at him then, Emma trying to suppress a laugh and Connor with a slightly embarrassed expression. "I'm sorry, uncle. Shall we start watching the movie?"

Killian nodded, addressing Emma. "All set, love?" In answer, she showed him the remote control and her popcorn bowl. "Better if we turn down the volume of our laptops, so we don't get feedback from the TVs." She nodded as she settled into the sofa. Their gazes locked for a moment, and, at a slight gesture from Killian's head, they both hit the play button and began to watch the movie.

He tried to pay attention to what appeared on the television screen, he really did. After the first few minutes though, it was obvious that his eyes were drawn to the smaller laptop screen than the larger one opposite.

There was something unintentionally suggestive about the way Emma brought the popcorn to her mouth while remaining completely oblivious to his scrutiny. His eyes followed the path of her hand from the popcorn bowl to her mouth, a glimpse of tongue appearing between her lips from time to time. The repetitive motion was somewhat hypnotic, and he couldn't look away.

At one point, her eyes strayed from the television and their gazes met through the screen. Her cheeks tinged slightly pink as she grabbed her phone, her lips drawing a mischievous smile.

His phone buzzed instantly.

Shouldn't you look at the screen?

That's what I'm doing, love.

After reading his message, Emma rolled her eyes and raised an eyebrow, teasing him.

Reluctantly, he turned his attention back to the TV screen, trying to concentrate on a plot he already knew by heart. He didn't last long, though. A few seconds later, his gaze drifted back to the laptop, catching Emma staring at him instead of the film.

See something you like, Swan?

Indeed, your nephew is quite adorable.

Well, they say he looks like me, so I'll take it as a compliment.

You're incorrigible, Jones.

"Eh ... guys." His nephew's voice was the only thing that got him to look away from both his phone and his laptop. Killian found a reprobatory look on Connor's face, eyes switching between him and Emma alternately. "Stop flirting and focus on the movie."

"I ... I don't ..." His voice trailed off. As he scratched behind his ear, he felt his cheeks begin to burn.

Connor rolled his eyes as he shook his head. It was then that Killian noticed that he had paused the movie. "Can we continue now?"

"Um, of course, lad, I apologize, Emma and I are going to focus on the movie. Just hold on a second." Killian looked back at the laptop screen, she was looking at them quizzically, oblivious to what they were saying with the volume muted.

My nephew has just scolded us. Apparently, we are not paying attention, so you should behave yourself, there are children around, Swan.

Seriously? Shut up and look forward, buddy. You're the one that is distracting me.

From then on, the two behaved, keeping their attention on their respective TVs. When the movie ended, they both turned up the volume on their laptops to be able to chat. The three of them engaged in an entertaining conversation, the topic was, of course, the Jones' favorite films.

Some time later, Liam stuck his head around the door of the living room. "Connor, it's bath time, lad."

Connor grimaced, let out an exaggerated sigh of resignation and said goodbye to Emma before heading upstairs to the bathroom.

Liam walked over to the couch and, after giving Killian a nod as a greeting, turned his attention to the laptop and Emma. When Liam and Emma began a conversation, Killian felt ignored once more because of one of the Jones, but he didn't mind, on the contrary. Seeing how Emma interacted with different members of his family had an effect on him. It made him glad that in just two weeks, she had managed to not only earn a place in his heart but also in the rest of his family. .

It was a pleasure to see Emma like this, her features relaxed, her smile permanent and her eyes so bright they shone through the screen. She was a vision. And he was in serious trouble with this woman.


Later that evening, Killian went out for a drink with his friends. This would be his last Saturday in Ireland, and he wanted to make the most of it. He felt more relaxed than ever, enjoying time with the guys over beers. Emma's presence was constant in the form of messages and photos shared with both him and his friends. They were more than willing to reciprocate, involving him in crazy situations that resulted in absurd photos at his expense. He would have given anything to see her reaction and the sound of her laughter when she saw his pictures.

Before he knew it, it was nearly time for his nightly call with Emma. When Killian tried to said goodbye to his friends, both Robin and Will teased him playfully. They argued that he was leaving so early because he preferred to talk to the Swan girl — their new nickname for her — instead of spending more time with his best friends. Although they grumbled, they could not hide the joy they felt for him. After so many years of darkness, it seemed that the light at the end of the tunnel was closer than ever and they were willing to accompany him along the way.

His good mood was sadly short lived. While he changed his clothes before starting his video call with Emma, his gaze drifted to the calendar on his desk. That was when reality hit him hard. The next day was marked with a red circle accompanied by a note. — Sunday, visit the graveyard.

He felt all the energy drain from his body, his heart dropping to his stomach. He had been so involved with his family and Emma that he had completely forgotten the visit he had set himself. The joy was immediately replaced by his old friend, guilt. Still, he forced himself to push away those negative thoughts and focus on what was truly important. His decision to move on was firm, no visit to the cemetery would change his mind. But he felt that trip was more necessary than ever. It was the moment to draw a line under the memories that kept him anchored in the past. It was going to be hard, but he could do it.

Even though he tried to convince himself that everything would be all right, the rest of the evening had been ruined in a way. He was not in the mood for a long chat with Emma. Even so, he forced himself to plaster a smile on his face and mask his true feelings, since the last thing he wanted was to worry her.

Their talk was brief, but pleasant, as always. Before ending the call, Killian told her that he had a busy day tomorrow and that he didn't know when they could talk. He tried to give a nonchalant tone to his words. If Emma noticed anything, she did not mention it, although her inquisitive look remained until the screen went blank.

A few seconds later, his phone buzzed, another habit they had formed. Just after hanging up, one of them sent a text message to the other.

Are you okay, Killian?

Aye, love. There's nothing to worry about. I just have a business to take care of. Tomorrow, as soon as I'm done, I'll call you.

The reality was that he did not trust himself. The visits to the graveyard always left him a little more broken. This time would probably affect him even more. He didn't want to add any more concern to Emma or his family. So if he had to spend the next afternoon locked up in his room going through his grief in solitude, he was more than willing to do so as long as the people he cared about were not affected. It would not be the first time, and it would not be the last either, he thought with resignation.


Liam - Sunday

Liam ran his hand over his face and squeezed his eyes in frustration. His gaze moved upward,knowing what Killian would be doing now. His brother would probably be lying down in bed, one arm over his face as his demons roamed freely inside his head. He let out a deep sigh. For a moment he had thought that this time everything would be different, that this time he had something more to hold on to, not lose himself in his painful memories. Liam wondered, not for the first time, whether these visits really benefited his brother or left him even more devastated.

He clenched his jaw, feeling helplessness washed over him. If only Killian could see everything he was missing while he remained locked in his room... This would be his last Sunday with his family for many months and instead of enjoying these moments with his loved ones, he had to visit the bloody cemetery, knowing in advance how it would affect him.

"Dad!" Connor's voice brought him back to reality. His gaze followed the direction of the sound to find his son sitting on the sofa in the living room, a laptop in front of him on the coffee table. "Dad, Emma's calling." Connor got up and scurried over to his father, carrying the laptop with him.

Liam narrowed his eyes puzzle. What was Connor talking about? And what was he doing with Killian's laptop? His son turned the laptop around so Liam could see the screen. The smiley image of Emma had popped up, indicating an incoming video call. His eyebrows went together in confusion. Hadn't his brother told her anything? No, probably not , he thought in frustration.

"Uncle Killian told me that I could use his laptop." Connor justified himself, still holding the device in his hands.

"It's okay, lad, go watch TV or something while I talk to her." Liam took the laptop from his son's hands and directed him back toward the living room, as he headed for the kitchen in search of some privacy. He set the device on the counter and hurriedly pressed the answer button.

"Hi, lass."

Emma's eyes widened in surprise, clearly not expecting him to respond. "Eh ... I'm sorry." She hesitated, looking somewhat uneasy at the unexpected situation. "I know Killian told me he'd be busy most of the day, but I saw he was online and I thought he was done."

"It's fine, Emma, there's nothing to apologize for." Liam cleared his throat, giving himself time to gather his thoughts before continuing. "In fact, your call is very welcome, because I need to ask you a big, big favor."

Emma gave him a shy smile as she cocked her head. He could tell she was intrigued. "Sure, if I can."

Liam took a deep breath as he scratched behind his ear. "Killian didn't tell you where he was going today, did he?"

"Eh no." Her forehead creased a little, showing some concern. He felt bad momentarily, as he was betraying his brother's confidence by involving Emma, something he wouldn't normally do. But he would have time to regret it later. Now was the time to act.

"Well, I guess you know a lot of Killian's story so I won't beat around the bush. Every time he comes to visit us, he forces himself to visit the graveyard where Milah is buried." As he spoke, Liam could see her face gradually changing, first with understanding and then her brow growing more pronounced as her concern grew. "I thought that this time he'd have avoided the visit, because of his decision to move on." He swallowed hard, trying to ease the lump that was forming in his throat. "I was hoping that this time would be different, but it hasn't been so. He has acted in the same way, shutting himself in his room, refusing to speak to anybody." Liam sighed in defeat, but also feeling some relief, as if he had somehow freed himself from the burden on his shoulders.

"I see ..." Emma looked thoughtful for a moment, her gaze wandering without focusing on the screen. Then, after an almost imperceptible nod of her head, she turned her gaze back to the camera. "You want me to talk to him and try to convince him to be with his family." Her words did not come with an inquisitive tone, but in affirmation.

"Aye." Liam admitted. "He leaves on Friday. It's the last Sunday his nephews and niece are going to spend with him. My daughter asks me all the time why she can't be with her uncle and I don't know what to tell her. I'm so sorry to put you in this situation but you really are my last hope, Emma." Liam gave her an imploring glance.

"Of course I will, but I'm not sure I can convince him. He didn't tell me much about Milah, the wound still seems to be open, and believe me, I know what it's like to go through something like that. But I'll try." She responded with determination."I know he does not see it right now, but your brother is lucky to have so much love around. He should never lose the opportunity to spend more time with his family."

Liam clenched his jaw, hating himself for asking Emma to do this. He didn't know much about her but from what he had gleaned from Killian and her conversation with Elsa; and the sad expression lingering on her face, he sensed that her life had been at least as hard as his brother's. "I really appreciate it, Emma, I hope we have the opportunity to talk again at some point, I know that my wife has already said it, but whatever you need, you can count on us."

After a final thank-you on both sides, and with Liam wishing her luck, they finished the call. He then turned his gaze to the ceiling, a silent prayer repeating in his mind that the conversation with Emma would have the desired effect. He could do nothing but wait, so he decided to go look for Elsa, his shelter and lifesaver in these situations.


Killian - Sunday

Killian was angry with himself. Before going to the graveyard, he had promised himself that this time it would be different, that his decision to move on was firm and that his visit would not affect him as on other occasions. It was clear that he was fooling himself. Because the reality was that he had come home even more stricken than before.

Lying on the bed, he swallowed hard, his arm over his eyes as if trying to hide from his frustration somehow. It seemed unbelievable that only twenty-four hours before he had been enjoying a great evening with his nephew and Emma, and now he was drowning in misery. His brother's look of disappointment on his return didn't help. Once again, he felt that he did not measure up, that he did not reach the level of the expectations placed on him. It seemed that all his efforts were not enough even though he had been honest with his family and his friends in his decision to move on.

Killian ran his hand over his face, squeezing his eyes shut. It had been too much. He had stood there, in front of the grave, as on so many other occasions, except that this time it did feel like an actual farewell. This time he was finally cutting the thread that still connected him with Milah, that kept him anchored in the past. But part of him clung with all his strength to that last tie. Still, despite the fact that his whole body trembled when he left the cemetery, his decision was unshakable. Farewell was definitive and, although he did not feel it like that at the time, the wound would begin to heal soon. But before that, he had to go through this final phase of grief. And then he would come out the other side able to move on. Yes, it should be that way.

His phone started ringing. He let out a growl, ready to ignore the sound, not wanting to talk to anyone at all. Still, his gaze drifted to the screen. When she saw Emma's name appearing, his determination to remain isolated weakened. She had gotten under his skin in such a way that he only needed to see her name in front of him and his mood would improve ostensibly. There would be no harm in talking to her. Quite the contrary.

"Hello, love." His attempt to give a neutral tone to his words did not have the desired effect, his voice sounding muffled and hoarse.

"Hello, Killian."

His eyes narrowed, wondering why her voice wasn't cheerful, her usual joking tone gone. Maybe she suspected something? He didn't have to wait long to settle any doubts.

After a deep sigh, she continued speaking. "Look, I'm not going to beat about the bush, I called you earlier via Skype, but your brother answered ... He... He's told me where you've been this morning."

Killian swallowed the lump that was forming in his throat, as he clenched his jaw. Despite her soft, encouraging voice, he felt somehow betrayed by his brother. He did not want Emma to be involved in this, she already had enough with her own demons she didn't need to deal with his too. Before he could explain himself, though, Emma continued.

"I know what you're thinking, Killian. I've learned to recognize your silences a little in these two weeks. Don't blame your brother, he cares about you. And so do I. I know you find it hard to let off steam with your family and friends, But you can do it with me. Maybe I can't give you any advice to help you through this, but I can listen."

"It's okay, love. I'm not mad at Liam, let alone at you." Killian paused trying to collect his thoughts. "I actually wanted to apologize to you for not telling you anything yesterday, but I did not want to spoil the evening, and I thought it would be different this time... it seems I was wrong." He confessed, exhaling in defeat.

"Hey, don't be so hard on yourself. You told me the other day you have decided to move on. It's a brave but difficult decision at the same time. Step by step, Killian. And now, how about you tell me how you felt?" Again her words of encouragement and support had an effect on him. He felt as if the knot in his stomach slowly loosened.

He pinched the bridge of his nose while assessing whether it was beneficial to release his thoughts and fears once again. After a deep sigh, Killian decided to trust Emma and bared his soul, telling her everything he had not dared to confess so far about Milah.

He told her how he had met her shortly after his brother's accident when he was in rehab. She had been his escape valve while he atoned to his mistakes by putting his life on hold to help his brother. She, in turn, had found in him the refuge and adventure that her ex-husband had always denied her.

They had spent three years together and had been living together for a year when she died and his whole world collapsed. This time, he did tell her how he had felt after her death. His craving for vengeance left unsatisfied since the evidence was so clear cut against her ex-husband that he was locked up in prison perhaps sooner than Killian would have liked. He also told her that during the first months he was consumed by alcohol and sex. His brother and Elsa came to his rescue once more, offering him a means of escape since he was unable to face his demons at that time.

Emma listened all the time without judging. Only asking him questions to clarify any doubts or to utter a word of encouragement in the hardest moments.

"I was determined today, Swan. I wanted to go to the cemetery and say goodbye forever, to cut the thread that kept me attached to her. I did it, my decision is firm, but it does not stop being hard. I just need a little time to assimilate everything, but I'm fine, or at least I will be, really."

"You're doing well, Killian. Maybe I'll regret this later, when you're feeling better and your ego is the same again, but I'm proud of you. That's it. Now forget what I said, okay?" Fortunately, her relaxed tone had returned, lightening the tension a little. He also felt much better after being able to vent to her.

"Uhm, I know how difficult it is for you to compliment me, so I'm honored to have received one at last." He also joked. He was thankful for Emma's ability to change his mood in the blink of an eye. Only her voice, her laughter and now her images were enough to soothe his mind as well as his heart.

"Hey, I do compliment you, from time to time." She complained. He could imagine the expression on her face now, her lips pursed and her brow wrinkled, but also a spark of amusement in her eyes.

Killian smirked. "I was just joking, love. I know deep down you find me irresistible."

"Oh, please keep dreaming, Jones, and since you're well enough to continue your failed attempts to flirt, you better do me a favor. Move your ass out of your bedroom and go spend time with your family, Killian. There are only a few days left to be with them, make them worthwhile."

She was right, of course she was. His family deserved to have the best version of himself and he was willing to do anything for them. "Aye..." The lyrics of a song forever associated with Emma came to mind suddenly. " The show must go on ."

"Always." His heart skipped a beat, amazed at how their conversation could change in just a few minutes, from deep pain to the usual banter between them and just a second later sharing words of complicity. There was something unique between them, no doubt.

It was incredible, just minutes before he had felt miserable and now he could not wait to see the kids. And it was all Emma's doing. "Thank you, Emma, really. If you ask me later, I'll deny it, but I can never be more grateful that it was you who found my phone."

"Are we sentimental now?" Killian repressed a chuckle at her words. "That makes two of us then, now go."

"I like it when you use that bossy tone, Swan." Emma snorted at the other end of the phone. "We'll talk later?"

"Sure, call me."

After finishing the call, Killian leaned back against the head of the bed as he closed his eyes for a moment, trying to retain the courage provided by Emma. Two deep breaths came out of his lungs, while his demons from the past slowly returned to their slumber in the farthest corner of his brain. He could do it. His family deserved it and he had suffered enough. It was time to start enjoying everything that life could offer.

He got up then and went to the bathroom to freshen up his face. He nodded at his image in the mirror in a sign of encouragement, his lips curved into a half smile that this time did reach his eyes. His gaze then turned to the window of his bedroom. There were still a few hours before the sun disappeared over the horizon and the weather was warm enough to spend some time outdoors. A family football match sounded like a good plan. His smile widened at the thought of his nephew and niece. Yes, definitely a good way to spend their last Sunday afternoon.

His whole family was in the heart of the house, the kitchen, when Killian went downstairs. Before announcing his presence, he allowed himself to be a silent witness for a few seconds to the familiar picture before his eyes. His heart sank a little at the thought that in less than a week he would have to settle for seeing them through a screen... but there were still some days before that. Killian shook his head and walked toward them, hoping his features did not betray his previous inner turmoil.

Eileen was the first one to see him. As soon as her gaze fixed on him she jumped from the stool where she sat and ran straight for him, clinging to his legs.

"Uncle Killy!"

Killian stroked her hair, touched by the affection his niece had for him. Eager to see Liam's reaction, his gaze wandered the room until he found his brother. Killian stifled a sigh of relief when he saw his face light up, while his gaze drifted subtly to Elsa. Both shared a gesture of complicity that did not go unnoticed. Then Liam approached him and gave him an affectionate squeeze on the shoulder. The smile on his face matched the brightness of his eyes, full of contained emotion. Killian nodded subtly. The words not necessary on this occasion.

After clearing his throat, Killian began to speak. "I was thinking... maybe we could go out into the yard for a while and play football. Who's in?"

Connor raised his arm excitedly. "Count me in!"

"But Uncle Killy, I don't know how to play football." His niece tugged at the hem of his shirt, her small mouth furrowed in a lovely pout.

"Well, lassie, that's not quite true. You know how to kick a ball, right?"

Eileen nodded vigorously.

"So ... you know how to play football, little love." Killian then lunged for her, holding her in his arms and tickling her as he walked toward the back door of the kitchen. Her contagious laughter, a sound he would never tire of hearing, accompanied them all the way.


Emma - Wednesday

The wait was getting tedious. Emma tapped eagerly on the desk of the police station, earning a reproachful glance from the officer in charge of locating her files.

That was one of the reasons she was never in charge of carrying out this type of task, she thought with annoyance. Graham was usually the one who collected the files of the new cases while Leroy and she preferred the work of surveillance and investigation. But her boss was out of town today, and Leroy had cracked up with a bad excuse. Damn them .

Still, it was supposed to be a simple task. Deliver the files of the resolved cases and get the new ones. But from the beginning, the officer had given her suspicious looks, questioning her about Graham's absence. Okay, she had not been particularly nice when replying, offering short answers, unable to suppress an expression of annoyance. Maybe that's why the woman was taking her time. A sigh of defeat escaped her lips as she dropped her arms and sank into one of the seats near the reception. While waiting, she decided to entertain herself with something much more enjoyable. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and started scrolling through her photo gallery, remembering once again the moments shared with Killian.

After his little breakdown last Sunday, everything was back to normal. They continued to share their lives through photos and messages ending the day with a video call. Once she had overcome that first awkward moment, she felt increasingly comfortable with those conversations. However, that little hint of panic, that feeling of too much did not disappear completely. She tried to ignore the fact that in just a few days they would finally meet in person. I'll have time to worry later . That was her mantra to block those thoughts. The problem? That later was getting closer and closer.

"Here you go." The woman's voice, along with the sound of the files dropped on the counter, brought her back to reality.

Emma put her phone back in her pocket and walked to the counter. "Thank you." Her tone this time was more friendly, accompanied by a small smile. The woman, Officer M. Brave, according to the plate on the counter, seemed to appreciate it as she let aside her sullenness and gave her a half smile in return.

"So, is Graham coming back soon?" Although the woman tried to keep her voice steady, Emma could see a hint of nervousness in both her expression and her gaze. Interesting ...

"Yeah, he'll be back tomorrow. Do you want me to give him a message from you?"

Her reaction was immediate. The poor woman's cheeks flushed furiously, almost matching her red hair, her mouth twisting into a grimace. "Eh, no, it's not necessary." She stammered. Emma almost regretted making her feel bad, but she couldn't help it having detected the woman's interest in her boss. She made a mental note to ask Graham about her. With a last smile, she said goodbye and headed for the exit.

As she walked through the station, something caught her attention. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a blond man sitting at one of the desks. His name plate read ' David Nolan '. Both his name and face rang a bell, but she couldn't place them. Suddenly it came to her. David Nolan — that was the name of one of Killian's friends wasn't it?

Unfortunately, she didn't have Killian's phone with her to check, but curiosity had taken over her, so without hesitation, she pulled out her phone and sent him a quick message.

Hey, is your friend David a cop?

Killian was fast to respond.

Detective, in fact. Why?

I'll tell you later.

Without thinking twice, she put her phone back and went to the desk. The need to know more about Killian's life pulling her towards his friend.

"Hello, David Nolan?"

The man looked up from the files he was holding. Emma was met with two blue eyes that gave her a curious look. "Yeah, what can I do for you?" He asked politely.

The determination she had felt an instant before, disappeared the moment she was face to face with David. She felt a little ridiculous as she approached a stranger like that. "Uh ... I'm Emma, Emma Swan."

To his credit and her pleasant surprise, it took David only a few seconds to identify her name. His features changed in recognition, his lips drawing a friendly smile.

"Emma... Are you Killian's Emma?"

Her heart fluttered a little at the way David had addressed her. Her cheeks flushed instantly as she dropped her mouth, shocked by his words. It was a throw-away comment, with little importance to other people. But those simple words meant a world to her, they implied a sense of belonging. Something new, something she wanted to hold on to.

"Well, it's more that I'm the person who is taking care of his phone until he returns, but yeah, that would be me."

David's smile widened as he shook his head in amazement. "I can not believe it, what a coincidence... What brings you here?" His expression changed a little, showing some concern. "You've not been the victim of a crime, have you?"

"No, I'm here for work." She lifted her hand, showing the files she was holding. "Usually my boss is in charge of carrying out this task, but Graham is out of town today."

David's eyes widened. "Graham? Graham Humbert?"

"Uhm, yeah?"

"Ha! Then you are also Graham's Emma!"

Her eyebrows went together in confusion. "What?"

"We're talking about Graham, the bail bond person, right?" Emma nodded, so David continued the explanation. "I guess you'll know that he comes here quite a bit, and we ended up getting along. He sometimes comments on some aspect of his cases and your name comes up on most occasions. He's proud of your work, really."

"Oh ..." Emma felt her cheeks begin to burn again at the unexpectedness of the compliment. A wave of gratitude toward Graham washed over her. "I just do my job, but I guess it's something I'm good at."

David looked at his watch. "It's almost lunch time, I'm going out to get something. If you're not in a hurry, you could come with me and catch up on Killian, what do you think?"

Once again, Emma found herself in an unexpected situation, to which she was not sure how to react. On the one hand, she longed to know more about Killian. On the other, she was uncomfortable with the closeness David seemed to show her, because, after all, she was just a stranger to him. In the end, her curiosity won.

"Sure."

After nodding in appreciation, David grabbed his wallet, got up, and escorted her toward the exit. Along the way, they talked about the different coincidences linking their lives together. It seemed incredible that, in the end, everyone was connected in some way in such a big city.

As they approached the cafe David had selected, her heart skipped a beat as she recognized the place. No way , she thought.

"Wait, this is where we're going to have lunch? It's the place where Killian lost his phone!" Her voice sounded perhaps too loud, but she could not help showing her surprise.

"Really? It doesn't surprise me, though. This cafe is in a good place for all us. It's close to the station, the school where my wife works, and the docks are a little further down the road." David pointed to his left toward the bay. "And also our apartments are over there." His finger pointed to some buildings that were somewhat further away, overlooking the bay.

Emma swallowed. Being in Killian's neighborhood had an effect on her, but she still could not decide whether it was good or bad. She didn't have time to decide, though, as David gently pushed her into the premises.

Her gaze shifted immediately to the bar where she'd been sitting a few weeks ago. A shadow of shame passed through her mind, remembering how it had all started. She also felt some relief, seeing where this fortuitous incident had brought them.

Luckily, they did not sit at the bar, that would have been too much. Instead, David led her to one of the booths, inviting her to sit in front of him. Soon, one of the waitresses approached them. It was obvious that this was a place that David regularly attended. He only had to state ' the usual', receiving a warm smile from the woman while she took note. When the waitress left, David turned his attention back to her.

"It's funny because just yesterday I was talking to Killian. He told me you were still in touch."

"Yes, quite a bit." Every day at different times, in fact , she thought.

"I'm glad to hear him more happy than usual. It seems that the birth of his new nephew and the extra time with his family is doing him the world of good." Although she would not admit it out loud, the idea that maybe she had also contributed somehow to improving Killian's mood did go through her mind.

He looked genuinely pleased for his friend. Emma then thought that David and his wife had probably witnessed Killian's lowest moments when he arrived at Boston. His relief showed that they were also on the Move On team.

"Well, although we haven't met I do know some of his history, it seems that this time he does seem determined to move on."

"It's about time, really." David exhaled.

An awkward silence fell over them. It was odd for her to be having an in depth conversation with a complete stranger about someone they both cared about. Of course, she thought bitterly, there hadn't been that many people in her life that she cared about and who cared about her, to present these opportunities. To break the tension, she turned the conversation to lighter topics.

"So how did you and Killian meet?"

His lips rose slightly before answering as his expression remained thoughtful for a few seconds. "He lives in an apartment just above ours. When he arrived in Boston we had recently moved to the city." David paused for a moment, nostalgia was evident in his voice. "I suppose you know the reasons why he came here." He trailed off, tilting his head and giving her an inquiring look. Suddenly, he seemed quite interested in her answer.

"Uhm, yes, we've actually talked a lot about our past." She tried to use a reassuring, confident tone.

David nodded. "Well, then I guess you know Killian was not at his best when he first came to Boston. But my wife has always been quite motherly so she set out on a mission to help Killian and make sure he not only existed but also lived, you know what I mean."

A wave of gratitude to these two unknown people seized her. Emma nodded, the lump in her throat preventing her from speaking. She gave him a sympathetic look, encouraging him to continue.

"He had a hard time opening up to us. Even now, after five years, I don't think he has told us his whole story. But little by little we got to know him, and now he's one of my best friends, my best mate as he would say." David chuckled. "If he's available, he always volunteers to take care of Leo, my two-year-old son, while my wife Mary Margaret and I go out on a date. In return, we take care of his plants during his absence."

Of course, he would take care of a toddler, why didn't it surprise her? She thought as her heart melted. And he also liked gardening. Her mind drifted a little, imagining Killian's hands buried in the ground, on a hot day... Focus, Emma . "I didn't know Killian liked plants." She made a mental note to ask him later.

"Yeah, he has a little garden on the roof of the building, I'm sure he'll show it to you when he comes back in a couple of days. But enough to talk about Killian, what about you? I'd love to learn about you, especially since I'm sure my wife will question me later about Killian's new friend." His smile seemed genuine, his words didn't seem to hold a double meaning. Even so, Emma felt uncomfortable, reluctant to reveal anything about her life.

"There's nothing to tell really, my life is not that interesting. I came to Boston two years ago and I work as a bail bond person. You know what that means, many hours doing research and more hours doing surveillance work. I don't have time for much more." She shrugged.

Before David could reply, her phone buzzed, announcing a popup message. Emma hurriedly looked at the screen, using it as an excuse to divert attention.

I'm waiting, love. Why did you ask me about David?

Emma smiled, showing the message to David. "How about we send him a selfie in response?" she suggested.

"Good idea!" David pulled out his phone and they leaned across the table, coming up to appear on the screen. He shot a photo and then sent it to Killian whose response came almost instantly. Surprisingly, Emma was the one who received the message instead of David.

Ha! You two have met! How? I need to know more about that meeting. I hope David isn't sharing all my bad habits.

Uhm, some other unspeakable secret, but nothing to worry about. So gardening, huh?

"Hang on, is he responding to you? I was the one who sent him the photo!" David grumbled, though his expression was far from angry. She couldn't help but giggle at the situation. A moment later, David's phone rang. After looking at the screen, he turned the phone around so she could see it too. Killian was calling. "Should I take the call or do we make him wait a little?" They both smiled as David finally slid his finger across the screen and took the phone to his ear.

It was at that moment, as she watched as David talked to Killian, that reality hit her. Until then, she had coped rather well with him. But even though she could not see Killian, David's way of interacting with him had an effect on her. She suddenly longed to share that sense of camaraderie, friendship, and understanding with someone. She felt like an intruder, witnessing the life of another person in his neighborhood, chatting with his friend, in a place that he frequented. Despite his demons from the past, Killian had a complete life here, a job, friends, people who cared about him. She couldn't see any room for her in this scenario. Killian wouldn't really need her.

When she and David said goodbye after finishing their meals, they did so with the sincere promise, at least on his part, of seeing each other soon and Emma meeting his wife. Hers, however, concealed a bit of uncertainty. Maybe Emma was looking for an excuse because the moment was approaching, but the truth was that the encounter with David had generated a feeling of unease in her. In only two days Killian would be back and she was becoming less sure about how to deal with it.


Killian - Thursday

Thursday. In just over twenty-four hours he would be leaving his homeland and returning to Boston. Killian stirred uneasily in his bed. It was still a couple of hours before dawn, but he was already wide awake. In fact, he hadn't slept all night.

The cause of his insomnia, once again, was Emma. Something had changed, he could tell. Maybe it was just his imagination, but he was quite perceptive and this time his intuition was screaming that something was wrong.

A deep sigh came from his mouth as he ran a hand over his face. He should not feel this way, not today, when there was so little time left before meeting her in person. Maybe it was just the nervousness and the anticipation that were playing tricks on him. Even so, his mind returned to the previous day, reliving all the moments shared with her, to try to work out what had failed.

The first few hours had passed normally. They shared messages and photos in what they had already established as their routine. Then she and David met and Killian talked to his friend on the phone for a while. That evening, they kept their usual video call. It was from that moment on that he began to notice the change.

Although the banter and innuendos did not diminish, her grin did not reach her gaze this time. The glint in her eyes seemed fainter, her smile barely a slightly curved line, her voice less lively. Maybe it was just his imagination and she was just tired, he told himself to try to calm down.

Killian squeezed his eyes shut for a moment and then decided to shelve those thoughts for a while. He had only one day left to enjoy his family and he was more than willing to do so. So he was going to take advantage of waking up early to prepare a succulent family breakfast. But before that, a shower was in order. Maybe the hot water would wash away the bad thoughts and help him relax.

His brother Liam got up shortly after him. While they were cooking together and holding what could be their last sibling talk for a while, his worries subsided. Before the rest of his family woke up and demolished the food, he took a couple of pictures and sent them to Emma, although it was still a few hours before she would see it.

Hey, love. As you see, this is my way of saying goodbye to my family, through a succulent breakfast.

The rest of the morning passed in a flash. Killian was engulfed in a whirlwind of activity that kept him occupied most of the time. His nephew and niece transmitted their overflowing energy to him and he absorbed every last drop of what the children could offer. He would need these memories to keep him going while he was away from them.

That day the kids skipped school to spend more time with their uncle. He truly appreciated it, but after lunch, he needed a little break, just a few minutes to himself. So when everyone else was otherwise occupied, he took a moment to escape to his bedroom. The fact that a text message from Emma had appeared on his phone's screen had nothing to do with it. Nothing at all.

Sitting on his bed, his lips curled into a wide grin as he read the message.

Oh, God. Your damn breakfast made my mouth water.

That was the intention, Swan.

This is torture! You know my fridge is still empty and now because of you, I'll have to drag myself to Granny's to sate my appetite. It's not even nine o'clock in the morning.

Do you know that sometimes you get a bit melodramatic? It's quite funny.

I'm not in the mood, Jones.

One last food was luscious, I can still savor it on my lips.

You bastard. That is obscene.

A smirk appeared on his lips, his worries seemed to have been in vain. Everything was fine between them. Before he could respond, his phone buzzed again. When he saw the content of the message, he almost fell off the bed, in surprise at the photo accompanying the text.

Uhm. I've been lucky and found some chocolate in the cupboard. Mmmm. Delicious.

It was her photo that should be considered obscene, at least for a dirty mind like his own. In the picture, he could only see her pinky perfect lips puckered around her index finger as if she was licking it. Bloody hell.

You're a bloody siren, love. Two can play the same game, remember.

I'll be waiting.

But it will be later, I'm afraid that my friends are coming now to say goodbye. We'll talk later?

Sure. Send greetings to your friends from me. Have fun!

Killian let out a deep breath as the screen went blank. The knot in his stomach was gradually thinning, as he realised that his worries had probably been unfounded. Even so, he could not wait to have a video call with her later in the evening and rid all doubt. But until then, he had a goodbye party to attend.

This was not usual, that all his friends organized a goodbye party, especially when he had been with them just a couple of months before. But it seemed that everyone had agreed to give him a little push in his decision to move on without saying the words, and using the excuse of a goodbye. It was a celebration of a new beginning, really. He could not be more grateful for the affection he was receiving. Sometimes he wondered if he really deserved it. But today was not a day of questioning anything, today was a day to enjoy. And he was more than willing to do it.

They were all there, his good friend Robin with his wife Regina and his son Roland, Anna and Kristoff along with their two boys, Will, who would travel back a day after him. And of course his family. Everyone was eager to have a good time, wide smiles, bright eyes, even some tears of emotion shed. All sprinkled with photos and messages here and there shared with Emma from time to time. Somehow she had also managed to be present at this special moment for him.

Later, when the children began to show signs of exhaustion, the real goodbyes finally arrived. Kisses, tight hugs, handshakes, promises to keep in touch, all wrapped up in an atmosphere of special emotion.

You're a lucky guy, Jones. Never forget it. Hold on to your family and friends, it's the most precious thing you have.

Emma was right, of course. All them had proved it today more than ever. He was well aware that whatever happened, he could always count on them. The lump that had formed in his throat became tight when it came time to say goodbye to his two favorite people. He would travel early in the morning, too early for the kids.

It was hard to escort her little angel Eileen to bed, knowing that the next day he would not be there to say good morning . After reading her favorite tale, Killian gently folded the covers around her and sat down on the side of her bed, giving her a tender smile. Even though he had his emotions running high, he tried to muffle his feelings so as not to make the moment even harder for his niece.

"I'm leaving tomorrow, little love, too early for you, so better if we say goodbye now, aye?"

Eileen gave him a tiny smile along with a watery look. Her chin trembled a little, but she managed to keep her emotions at bay, her brave little lass.

"I'm going to miss you so much, Uncle Killy."

"Me too, little love, but we can see each other on the phone or laptop whenever we want."

She nodded. "You'll be back soon, right?"

"In just a few months." He assured her. "But you're going to be so busy taking care of your new little brother and enjoying the incoming summer that before you know it, I will be back with you again."

Eileen nodded again, her smile widening, making his heart melt a little more. When she reached out her arm and caressed his face, he almost broke right there. "I love you so much, uncle, to the moon and back."

"I love you more, my lassie." His words came in a broken whisper. Both melted into a hug full of emotion. Finally, after one last kiss on her cheek, he got up, waved and approached the door. "Sleep now, little one, we'll talk soon." He mumbled. His niece settled into her bed and after giving him a last smile, she finally closed her eyes.

After leaving Eileen's bedroom, Killian took a minute to pull himself together. He leaned his back against the wall of the corridor as he pinched the bridge of his nose. Once again, he kept wondering why he was finding it harder to say goodbye this time. It was contradictory to feel that way when for the first time he was truly anxious to return to Boston. Perhaps these conflicting feelings clashed with each other making everything more intense, he told himself. After a deep exhalation, he softened his features and headed for Connor's bedroom.

Saying goodbye to his nephew was easier, but no less overwhelming. Connor's gaze was filled with disappointment, something that broke Killian's heart. But he was now almost nine years old and capable of assimilating his absence better than his sister. He was growing up too fast, his lad.

Despite his initial protests — Uncle Killian, I'm too old for this — Killian caught him in a bear hug. They promised each other that they would talk every day and would soon organize a new movie session via skype. The mention of that day instantly brought him the memory of Emma and the pleasant evening that the three of them spent together. A week earlier he had been convinced they would repeat it, this time with Killian and Emma sharing the popcorn together and Connor on the other side of the world. Now he was not sure anymore, it could just be him alone, he thought with some uneasiness.

"Maybe Emma will be able to join us again someday in one of those movie sessions." His nephew offered, with a voice more timid than usual. His cheeks turned a faint pink tint as his gaze drifted to his feet.

Killian narrowed his eyes as he cocked his head. So his nephew seemed to have developed a crush on Emma... He suppressed a laugh at the thought of Emma's effect on the Jones. "Maybe, if you ask her she would be delighted."

Connor widened his eyes, his face a grimace of embarrassment. "Uhm, no, it's better if you ask her. She's your friend after all."

Killian nodded. "We'll see what we can do about that."

"So, you will return as usual in the autumn?"

"Of course, lad, I would not miss out on Christmas at the Jones' house and the premiere of the new Star Wars film."

"Cool. Have a nice trip."

"Thank you, my boy, I love you." Killian said affectionately, stroking his hair.

"Me too." His lips lifted in a half smile, his gaze, the same as his sister had offered him a few minutes before, a mixture of sadness and affection towards him. Those blue eyes, a Jones trademark, had the ability to make his heart tight. He was going to miss his family a lot.

After leaving Connor's bedroom, Killian felt the weariness begin to take hold of him. It had been a day of many emotions and, even though it was late, he still had a few more to deal with. He went to the living room and found his brother and Elsa. The three of them chatted briefly and finally, waving at them, he went back upstairs. He would have more time tomorrow to say goodbye properly.

Packing did not take much time, as he always left clothes here for his return visits. He only had to pack some personal belongings and last minute purchases in his suitcase, including gifts for his Boston friends.

Just as he was rummaging through his closet, something caught his attention. Fringe 's T-shirt was folded on a shelf. It was the one Emma had demanded as payment for rescuing his phone. He smiled as he thought of that conversation, which seemed longer than a mere couple of weeks ago. Whatever happened, he would always have these memories to treasure. Without thinking twice, he packed the t-shirt into his suitcase hoping he would get to deliver it in person very soon.

Once the packing was finished, there was little to do. His gaze shifted to the laptop on his chest of drawers. For the first time since meeting Emma, he felt hesitant to talk to her. Not because he did not feel like doing it, in fact, he was dying to see her once more, but out of fear of what she might say.

Killian looked at his watch. It was still early. Maybe it was a good idea to take a shower now so he would not have to do it in the early morning. Yes, that was the reason, he tried to convince himself as he avoided looking at his phone. He knew their conversation was inevitable, unless she refused to talk to him. He just needed to regain some more confidence. A shower would not do him any harm.

The hot shower helped him gather his thoughts and relax his muscles. Despite the fatigue, he felt more willing and more positive. Emma had been acting normal all day, there was no reason to think it would be any different now. After putting on his sweatpants and a T-shirt, he sat on the bed, his back resting on the headboard and his laptop on his lap. The time had come.

To his relief, she answered the video call immediately, her face appearing on the screen in an instant.

"Hello, love."

"Hey, what's up. Have you finished packing? You look tired."

She was gorgeous, as always, her hair tucked into a messy bun, leaving some loose strands framing her face. Even though she was smiling at him, he could not help scrutinizing her features. He looked for something that would help him detect her thoughts, but she kept a blank expression, perhaps intentionally.

"Earth to Killian..."

Her voice took him out of his reverie. Bloody hell ... this was going to be harder than he thought, he was becoming paranoid. He shook his head in an attempt to dismiss those thoughts and forced himself to smile. "Sorry, love, I was distracted for a moment. Yes, I'm a bit tired, a lot of emotions in a single day, I guess."

Emma did not seem so convinced by his response, her eyebrows furrowed slightly as she cocked her head, studying him just as he had done seconds before. "Have you said goodbye to the kids then?"

He nodded. Despite her scrutinizing gaze, her gentle voice reflected understanding, as if she knew what he was going through. "Yes, I'm leaving early tomorrow." His voice trailed off as he tried to collect his thoughts. A change of conversation was necessary to lighten the mood, at least for the moment. "How are you? How's your Thursday going?"

Emma shrugged as her finger tangled distractedly in one of her loose strands of hair. His gaze shifted there for a few seconds, entranced by the mesmerizing movement. "Like any other day, some research work on the new case. Next week I'll be in action with the stakeout." She paused for a few seconds, her head tilted slightly to one side, her eyebrows drawing together inquiringly. "Are you sure you're okay, Killian? You look a little off today. Is it because of your family?"

Killian plastered on a reassuring smile. "I'm fine, Swan. It's not the first time I've said goodbye to my family and it won't be the last. It's hard, but I'm used to it." He tried to downplay it, although the reality was quite different.

"Okay, if you say so..." Emma shrugged again, though she seemed far from convinced.

An awkward silence fell over them. They should be talking about the true meaning of his imminent journey, what it would entail for this kind of friendship they had begun. But it was clear that the two of them were avoiding talking about it. Even though her expression remained composed and her voice steady, he could tell she was nervous, or scared, or both. Since when had it been so weird to talk to each other?

Despite how hard it's to leave my family behind, I'm looking forward to getting to Boston and meet you in person . The words burned on the tip of his tongue, his feelings wanting to escape from its confines and to be expressed in some way.

He restrained that urge, though. "So ... when can we meet up to get my phone back?" He regretted his words the very moment they slipped through his lips. Her expression changed suddenly, the gleam of her gaze faded, her lips pressed together into a thin line. He could almost see her walls rise like a protective shield. He cursed himself for his cowardice and for acting like a complete fool. What was he seriously thinking?

"Uhm... call me when you're back, and we'll see." There it was, her evasive attitude again. But honestly, what did he expect after he'd only shown interest in his phone?

Killian exhaled deeply and searched her gaze, trying to convey as much with his eyes as with his words what he had not dared before. "I... I'm really looking forward to meeting you in person. I still can not believe this is going to happen."

The corners of her lips lifted slightly, but her smile didn't reach her eyes. Dammit ..."it's like it's been a lot longer, don't you think? But only three weeks ago we were both on the same side of the ocean without having the slightest idea of the existence of the other. It's a funny thing, really."

"Aye, but it's finally here, the last day. Do you realize this is our last conversation on different sides of the ocean?"

"Uhm, maybe not the last one. I might remind you tomorrow to pick up your phone before flying." Her jovial tone had returned, to his relief, although her gaze still seemed a bit muffled.

"It will be much appreciated, Swan, we never know who could get it, do we? And I don't think next time I'd be so lucky."

"Keep saying that when you have to pay the ransom, buddy." She raised one of her perfect eyebrows teasing him, while licking her lips in a completely sinfully way.

A chuckle almost came bubbling up from his chest, despite everything. For a moment, the bubble created around them, the one that had served as a shelter for three weeks, seemed impenetrable again. But the sensation lasted only a few seconds. His mind recalled her reaction from a few minutes earlier, her degree of reserve and her evasive behavior and his smile faded on his lips.

The roller coaster of emotions they were experiencing with this conversation was leaving him completely beaten. One moment she was amused and insinuating, the next one she was locked in her shell. It was exhausting, truly.

"So, shall we see each other soon?" He was fully aware that his voice sounded almost in a pleading tone, but at this point, he no longer cared. He had reached his limit with this uncertainty.

"Call me when you arrive, Killian. Now you should go to sleep, your flight leaves in a few hours, you need to rest."

"I'll sleep on the plane. Do you have any plans for this weekend?" He insisted softly, the connection between them so fragile that any misstep would have the ability to push her away.

Emma sighed, avoiding his gaze. "You call me and we'll see, Killian. It's late, go to sleep, we'll talk tomorrow, okay?"

Killian also sighed, giving up. "Okay, I'll call you when I get there."

"Safe travels, say hello to your family for me." The last thing he saw before the screen went blank was a tiny smile and a watery look that did nothing to reassure him.

Killian swallowed the lump growing in his dry throat. He had not even had time to say goodbye. He felt his heart drop into his stomach because of the impotence and frustration he was feeling. He pushed the laptop away from his bed as he ran his hand over his face, already anticipating one more night of insomnia. Bloody hell... This woman is going to be the death of me and not in a good way. At least not right now .

He grabbed his phone, hesitating to send her his routine message after keeping their daily call. After thinking for a few seconds he decided that he knew exactly what the content of that message would be. With more determination than he felt, his fingers slid over the keyboard until he pressed the send key.

The ransom payment for my phone is already stored in my suitcase.

Her reply was soon to arrive. Despite his uneasiness, he couldn't help but feel as if a ray of hope was breaking through the clouds. He marveled at the power that a single word could confer. The addition of a emoji was a plus, there was no doubt. It seemed that not all was lost yet, after all.

Good ;)


Killian - Friday

In the end, he was able to claim a few hours sleep, although they were far from restful. His dreams tormented him, leaving him even more tired than before he fell asleep.

Liam and Elsa were already waiting downstairs, sitting at the kitchen table. His brother cupped a steaming mug and Elsa held the baby in her arms, their features marked by sleep and a hint of melancholy in their glances. At that moment, he was aware that this was not only difficult for him but also for his family.

He cleared his throat to make his presence known. "Good Morning."

His sister-in-law's gaze brightened as she noticed him, but the moment she looked at his face, her expression was tinged with concern. "Whoa Killian, you look like shit, have you even slept?"

"Watch your mouth, sis. There are children around." He joked, feigning being scandalized. The last thing he wanted was to add one more concern to his loved ones. Both Liam and Elsa rolled their eyes in unison. The fact that they were so synchronized even with their facial expressions was a bit disturbing, in a way. "I'm fine, just a bit tired." He added offering a reassuring smile as he headed for the counter. He needed coffee. Lots of coffee.

Elsa was faster, though. Killian suddenly found himself with a baby in his arms while Elsa moved to the coffee pot.

"I'm perfectly capable of pouring some liquid into a mug, lass." Killian complained, but the moment his gaze fell on Brian's sweet face, every other thought was forgotten. He marveled at the miracle of life represented by the tiny creature that slept soundly in his arms.

"I know, it was just so you could hold Brian again whilst he's still this little and peaceful. When you see him next it will not be such an easy task." And it was true, in six months, his nephew would be a restless baby beginning to discover the world. And he would be here to see it.

Elsa handed him the steaming mug as she took the baby back and placed him gently in his bassinet. They held a light conversation for the next few minutes, getting him to forget Emma at least for a while. Until Elsa mentioned her.

"So have you and Emma already agreed when you will meet in person?" For some reason, Elsa had gotten along very well with Emma, hence her hopeful tone and expression. This time, however, he could not join in with his enthusiasm.

"Uhm ... No, not yet."

It was almost comical to see how her hopeful expression gave way to one of concern in only a few seconds. "She's backing up, isn't she?"

He had tried to maintain a neutral expression, but it was evident that his sister-in-law could read him without problems. Years of practice testified that. "Not exactly, she's rather evasive. She hasn't refused to meet me, but she hasn't shown any sign of wanting to either." He admitted. His gaze shifted to Liam, who was silent with a pensive expression.

Elsa's hand reached out to his forearm, squeezing it affectionately. "Maybe she's scared. Give her time, Killian."

He nodded in silence. Liam got up at that moment addressing him. "We better get going, Killian, there may be some traffic on the road at this hour."

Liam grabbed his suitcase and left the house to put it in the trunk, giving him time to say goodbye to Elsa. Despite her fragile appearance, her sister-in-law caught him in such a tight embrace that it almost stopped him from breathing. When they finally parted, she cupped his face with both her hands. "No matter what happens with Emma, now that you've made the decision to move on, don't back down, Killian."

"It's a firm decision, I can assure you," he said, perhaps with more conviction than he felt.

Elsa nodded in approval. Her eyes filled with tears suddenly, making his heart flutter in his chest. "Whoa..." she whispered. "You might think that after doing this on countless occasions we should be used to it. This time I can blame the hormones, right?" Her voice came in a mixture of sobs and giggles.

Killian chuckled in spite of everything. "I'm going to miss you, sis." He said as he gave her an affectionate kiss on the cheek.

"I already miss you. And now go, you know that your brother always gets nervous in these situations. Call us when you get there, okay?"

"Yes, mum." Killian joked, earning a roll of Elsa's eyes. After giving her one last smile, he turned and walked to the car, his brother was already waiting for him.

The ride to the airport was too quiet for his liking. It was obvious that Liam was deep in thought, because his expression remained pensive. It was just before he went through security control, in time for the final goodbye, when Liam finally confessed the subject of his thoughts.

"You have feelings for her, for Emma, right?" Liam finally asked, looking for his gaze.

A deep exhalation escaped his lips. "It may seem crazy because I've only known her for three weeks, but yes, I do." Killian admitted as he quoted the word known in the air.

His brother nodded thoughtfully as he assimilated his words. Then he gave him a look that Killian knew well, a look full of determination. "Then fight for her. You already know the Jones motto..."

"... A man unwilling to fight for what he wants deserves what he gets." Killian finished for him as the two merged into a tight embrace charged with emotion.

"Just do me a favor." Liam's voice came in a pleading tone against his ear. "Try not to end up getting hurt on the way, please."

A few minutes later, he was trying to settle into his seat inside the plane. It was funny, the last time he traveled, he did it in a habitual state of anxiety, increased by the loss of his phone. And now that he was traveling back, his feelings were similar, although this time for quite different reasons. Still, despite his distress, he would follow the advice of both Elsa and Liam about Emma.

Just then, his cell phone vibrated in his hand. Killian hurriedly looked at the screen, checking that he had just received a message from Emma, with a photo included. Even though there were still a few hours to dawn on the other side of the ocean, she had managed to send him a message. That had to mean something, he thought hopefully.

Before reading the text, he opened the photo. His lips drew a grin as he checked the contents. She had sent him a photo of his own phone. Next to the device, a small little sign with letters written on a red marker. Waiting for my ransom .

Then he read the accompanying text.

I hope you haven't forgotten your new phone. As you can see, your old phone is waiting anxiously for your return. Have a good trip!

There is no forgetting this time, I'm also looking forward to recovering my phone and paying for the corresponding rescue, I'll call you when I arrive.

Killian then put the phone in ' airplane mode ' as they were about to take off. Although the text and the photo were somewhat hopeful, the message remained ambiguous. Because she had made mention only to his phone, nothing personal, nothing that meant she wanted to see him too. After a deep breath, he forced himself to push those thoughts out of his mind, at least for now, before they consumed him completely. To distract himself, he pulled out his headphones and opened the playlist, relying on his favorite songs to help him forget for awhile. He put it in shuffle mode, leaned back in the seat and closed his eyes.

His reprieve from his thoughts was short lived. As the intro bars to the first song played he felt an almost uncontrollable desire to scream. He wanted to either hit his head off the seat in front of him or rip out the headphones and throw them away. Memories of moments shared with Emma over the last three weeks flashed through his mind as the music continued to play. Of course, the first random song was ' The Show Must Go On .' Bloody hell ... it was going to be a very very long flight home.


Don't kill me... I'm sorry?... And to make up for this here's the title of the next chapter: The Meeting. Yes, it's happening, I promise. I'll do my best to try to update soon, but I can't promise anything because... RL

The first part of this fic ends with this chapter, but there is still plenty of the story to tell. I can't wait to start with the second part (there will also be a third part)

I'd like to know what do you think :)