From this prompt from bbjorgman...

So I saw this prompt "I know we were never really officially together or anything but seeing that picture you posted on instagram with her literally felt like you carved my heart out my chest and stomped on it and I'm not really sure why I'm leaving this voicemail but my pillow still smells like you and I miss your stupid face" and I need you to write it pleeeeeease. But obviously a happy ending would be ideal ;)

The Message

"Swan?" The hurt on his face was almost painful, his hand running anxiously through his bed-mussed hair as he looked at her in unmasked surprise.

"It's for the best, Killian," Emma said quickly, turning towards the window, unable to look at his sad, blue eyes or the dark curls of hair that dusted his bare chest without a physical reaction in her gut. Neither reaction would help steel her resolve, both needed to be pushed down, shackled until her head could come to the fore once again.

It had all seemed so clear when she had woken in his arms, panic rising as he nuzzled his nose into her hair. She didn't do relationships - couldn't do relationships - and the thought of losing a friend like Killian Jones when she inevitably fucked this up was more than she could handle. And the thought of Henry losing a friend like Killian Jones was completely untenable.

No matter how good spending the night with him had been.

"I fail to see how it could be, Emma." His words were clipped, the disbelief clear in his tone as he stepped up behind her and placed his hand on her shoulder. Her skin sparked at his touch, even through the thin cotton of her worn robe, as he turned her to face him, eyes searching her face for some kind of explanation.

"Last night was…" he began, reaching out to brush her hair back from her face, his fingers playing with the golden strands before she shook it away from him.

"A one time thing," Emma finished. "We got it out of our systems. We're better as friends. It's better for Henry." The lie burned on her tongue as his shoulders slumped before her. She turned away again, unable to bear the look in his eyes, knowing the slightest trembling of his lip would be the end of her willpower.

He sighed deeply and stepped away. Over her shoulder, Emma watched as he gathered his clothes in his arms and made his way to the door, shoulders slumped and head bowed. He was broken, she knew, his heart shattered into pieces - just as hers was as he paused by the door.

He turned to her one last time. "As you wish, Swan."

He was gone before the tear slipped down her cheek.

Of course there had been a party - a gathering, Mary Margaret called it - to see him off as he returned home to England for the holidays. There had been plenty of parties thrown for far more tenuous reasons over the years though this was the first where Emma had felt an outsider among her own circle of friends.

Henry bombarded him with questions about England, his flights, the potential haul of gifts he might expect on Killian's return; Ruby and Belle joked about the girls missing their chance under the mistletoe; Mary Margaret thrust dish after dish under his nose as if food was in scarce supply in the United Kingdom.

No one seemed to notice he didn't speak to Emma, oblivious to the space and the awkwardness that seemed to her like a great flashing beacon above their heads. He hugged her quickly when it was time to go, his smile strained and never reaching his eyes. "Hope Santa's good to you, Swan," he said, his eyes lingering on her face just a moment longer than necessary.

She could only nod and say, "You too," and watch as he walked away.

And if she held the t-shirt he had left in her bedroom to her chest, his distinctive scent still embedded in the fabric, then so be it. She closed her eyes, allowing herself just a moment to remember the sensation of peeling it off him, his hands...

"What's that, Mom?" Henry asked as he threw himself on the bed beside her, listless from too much food and the over excitement of hours of unfettered adult attention. Emma's eyes sprung open, praying the heat she could feel under her skin was not evident on her face.

"Oh...nothing.." she stumbled, tossing the shirt aside. "Just sorting some laundry," she finished, praying that her son's inquisitive mind would just accept her excuse, just this once.

"I can put it in the hamper for you," he said, reaching for the shirt.

"No!" Her voice had an anxious edge that had Henry turning to her in surprise. "No," she said again, evening her tone. "It's bedtime, kiddo. No more stalling."

Grumbling, he headed out of her room as she slid the shirt under her pillow.

Killian Jones posted a photo

The notification dinged on her phone as she settled into bed. He'd been gone a little over two weeks and it had been an easy decision to agree when Henry asked if they could follow his Instagram. Killian's absence, however temporary, left a significant hole in Henry's world and it was natural that the boy would want to share in his friend's adventures.

No matter how much the daily reminders of him hurt.

Usually she waited for Henry, the pain of knowing she had turned away a man she cared about somehow muffled by the knowledge she was protecting her son from a greater loss. But tonight, alone in the quiet of the room where she had let her guard down just once and seen what they could have been, the need to connect with him in some way was all encompassing.

She inhaled sharply as the picture appeared on her screen. Killian's blue eyes stared out at her, sparkling with reflected sunlight, his scruff a little longer than when he left and his mouth curled up in a warm and genuine smile.

He looked happy.

And so did the gorgeous blonde he had his arm wrapped around, his dark head resting on hers as they grinned in unison for the unseen person behind the camera.

Cold fingers of regret held Emma's heart, squeezing slowly and painfully as she ran a finger across his face on the screen, the memory of his hands on her body, of hers in his hair, overwhelming as he smiled, unmoving, back at her. Moisture pooled in the corners of her eyes as the reality of her decision those weeks ago settled heavily around her.

She had been too scared to see what he offered her, too afraid of history repeating to realise that he had already proven everything he needed to in the way he had been her friend. And in the way he had been Henry's.

She had told him to go and he had done as she had asked. Just like he always did.

She had made a terrible, terrible mistake.

Emma turned off her phone, tossing it aside and curling up on her pillow, her back to the offending device as she fought off the tears she knew she wasn't entitled to. Reaching under the cool fabric of her pillow, her fingers found the soft cotton of his shirt, hastily stashed away to avoid Henry's questions and now a stark reminder of what could have been.

A sob racked her body as she gave up the fight, letting the tears flow freely as she held her last remaining piece of him to her cheek. She would give herself tonight - one night to grieve before she set her walls back in place and got on with life. A life where Killian Jones was friend and father figure and no more.

A life that would, for her at least, always be a little bit less.

The message tone on his mom's phone had woken him from a weird dream about Peter Pan and Neverland where he was almost certain Captain Hook was actually Killian. Shaking himself awake, Henry listened to the night time noises of their apartment, tuning in to his mom as he sometimes did when he was supposed to be sleeping.

He just liked knowing she was there.

There was no mistaking the single sob that echoed through the apartment. Henry had heard her cry before - never in front of him, only ever like this when she didn't know he was listening - but it didn't make it any easier to hear. He lay in the dark listening to her, wondering if he should go and curl up next to her in her bed and remind her he was here. It was quiet now, but he pushed back his covers and padded softly down the hall to her room regardless.

He peered around the door and found her curled in a ball, a white shirt tangled in her hands. Her breathing was even and steady - she had obviously cried herself to sleep, he thought. She didn't stir as he pulled the covers up over her shoulder and he brushed a piece of hair away from her forehead before kissing her lightly on the cheek.

"Love you, Mom," he whispered.

Beside her, the message light on her phone flashed blue. He picked up the device, swiping it to life in the process.

Killian Jones posted a photo

Henry knew he probably shouldn't open it without her, but knowing she was so upset and having no idea what to do about it made him miss having Killian around all the more. He clicked on the note and a picture of his friend filled the screen, arm in arm with a really pretty blonde lady.

He looked at the photo for a minute and then down at his mom, chewing hard on his bottom lip as he considered what was going on.

He would never understand grown ups, of that he was certain.

Christmas passed quietly for Emma and Henry. Dinner with the Nolans, a boy well and truly spoiled by all concerned and a Killian-sized hole in the whole celebration. Emma tried to laugh along as Ruby and Mary Margaret speculated about the mysterious blonde, eternally grateful that Henry had chosen that moment to need her help setting up his new iPad.

He was still playing with the settings the next day, excitedly announcing his new discoveries at random intervals when there was a loud knock at the door.

"I'll get it," Emma said sarcastically, leaving the kitchen where she had been making cocoa and walking past her son, eyes glued to the screen, to the front door. "Thanks for the assist, kid," she called as she swung the door open.


Emma took a small step back in surprise. Killian stood in her doorway, cheeks pink with cold and arms laden down with travel bags.

"What are you doing here? You're supposed to be with your brother…"

"All your questions will be answered, love," he interrupted, "but these bags are ludicrously heavy and I am freezing my arse off. Can I come in before we play Twenty Questions?"

She ushered him in quickly and he dropped his bags unceremoniously in the hallway.

"Who's at the door, Mom?" came a disembodied voice from the living room.

As she opened her mouth to answer, Killian put a finger to her lips, eyebrows raised as he gestured towards himself.

"Come and see for yourself, lad," he called back.

Henry, curiosity obviously enough to separate him from his device for at least a moment, appeared in the doorway. When he saw who the visitor was, he launched himself down the hall and into Killian's waiting arms. Emma felt a traitorous tear forming in her eyes as she watched them - her son and the man that had never, ever let him down, no matter how hard she had made that for him.

"You could have just called me," Henry said to him, "You didn't need to come all the way home because I sent you a message."

"What message?" Emma looked questioningly from Henry to Killian, but they were both too intent on each other to notice.

"Seemed important, mate, so here I am," Killian said to the boy.

"I have a lot of questions." It reminded Emma of the one and only time she had watched a tennis match - lots of side to side head movements and feeling slightly like she was out of her depth.

"And you shall have answers to them." He looked at Emma, the unreadable expression on his face doing nothing to stop her stomach from giving a little flip. She had no idea what had brought him home, had dragged him away from whoever she was in the photo, but clearly it had everything to do with her son.

"I'll answer every last one, mate. But I think I might need to have a chat with your mum first. Is that OK?"

Henry grinned at him, waving the iPad in Killian's direction. "I'm good." The boy turned to Emma. "Can I take it to my room?" She nodded and he was gone.

Emma turned her attention back to the dark haired man in her hallway. His normal bravado was gone, replaced with something less certain, less sure of himself.

"He sent you a message?"

Killian didn't reply, just tapped the screen of his phone several times. Henry's voice filled the air around them, the worry evident in his tone.

"Hi Killian. It's Henry. My mom's gonna kill me but I really need to ask you this. I guess I kinda thought you liked my mom - you know, like liked her - and now you have this pic on your instagram and I'm sort of confused. Mom's being know that fake happy thing she does when she is really upset and I don't really know who else to ask about it. Anyway, I better go but maybe you can call me and explain? It's good to have a guy to talk to about this stuff, you know? Bye."

Emma said nothing. Her hands went to her face, covering her eyes as she let the words of her son seep in. She sighed heavily, preparing to face him again when she felt his fingers encircle her wrists. He drew her hands away from her face, his eyes intent on hers as his tongue ran nervously across his lips. His fingers ran the length of hers until he locked them into place, interweaving their hands as he smiled softly at her.

"Liam has a new girlfriend," he said quietly. "Her name is Tink. She's blonde, lots of fun and completely in love with my brother."

Until that moment, Emma hadn't realised she had been holding her breath. The air came out in a rush as she realised what she had seen. Hope filled her being, tiny tendrils of light that crept in and out of every empty space.

"And even if she wasn't and tried something with me, I would have had to let her down." He released one of her hands, reaching up to brush a stray lock of hair from Emma's eyes. "Because I am afraid I am completely in love with someone else." His hand moved slowly, caressing her cheek as she stood, not daring to move or speak in case she would wake up and he would be gone like some wonderful dream.

"Funny story, Swan," he continued, as Emma swayed into him and he steadied her with a hand at her waist. "That someone else was pretty adamant that she wasn't into me, and I had almost given up hope when out of the blue I hear she might not be quite as sure of that as I thought. And you know me, I'm a man who fights for what he wants."

He pulled her closer, their bodies connecting at hips, shoulders and foreheads. His lips moved against hers as they stood together and Emma whispered apologies against his skin. He cradled her face with his hands, his eyes soft as he shushed her. "Hush now, Swan, there'll be time enough for I'm sorrys later. Now is time for I love yous - you and that clever lad of yours - and for this."

He pressed his lips to hers, the softest of touches, as Emma wrapped her arms around his waist. His hand tangled in her hair, drawing her closer and deepening the kiss as she felt her body melt into his the way she knew it was supposed to.

A throat was hastily cleared behind them and they moved apart to find Henry peering at them through half closed fingers. "Forget the questions," he said to no one in particular. "I am so not ready to know about this stuff." Killian chuckled loudly, hugging Emma to him as the boy backed away. A few steps from the living room, Henry stopped. "Actually, I do have just one question."

"Anything, lad."

"Is it going to be like this -" he waved his hand towards the two of them, arms still entwined and heads together, "-all the time now?"

"Of course not."

"I certainly hope so," they replied simultaneously. Emma swatted at Killian, catching his ear and momentarily wiping the cheeky smile from his face.

Henry screwed up his nose in disgust. "Well, that is pretty gross," he said, looking from Emma to Killian and back again. Emma couldn't help but smile at her son, this boy who seemed such an old soul but was definitely a ten year old boy at times like these. Henry caught her eye and grinned back, pausing for just a moment before running towards them both and wrapping his arms around them tightly.

Emma's hand cradled the back of Henry's head as she kissed his dark hair, just as she had done for so many years. Killian's arms came round them both, completing the tight knit circle that was now their family - had been, if only she'd had the courage to realise it earlier.

She wouldn't make that mistake again.