A/N: Hello all! I know it has been almost a month since I updated this story (honestly where the hell did time slip off to?) but at last we are here with a new chapter. It's so crazy to me that we are at the epilogue of this story and I cannot believe that that's even possible, but alas, there it is. This chapter flashes nearly a year ahead and gives a glimpse into the happily ever after I always try to craft for Emma and Killian. As such it's all cuteness all the time and it packs quite a punch of fluff and sweetness. Hope you all enjoy and thanks so much for reading!
About 10 months later…
"So I'm thinking we go with the French lace on the sleeves and the braided bodice woven like I showed you yesterday. The only question is volume. How much height did the bride say she wanted?"
Emma posed the question to Tiana as she examined the pieces of the specialty garment that were coming together in the earliest stages of this dress' creation. It was scraps really at this point, just the bare bones of an idea not yet actualized, but Emma could see it so clearly in her mind, and once she got all of the particulars right, she knew it would be a magical gown. It was just a matter of finding the sweet spot between what a bride wanted and what Emma's imagination was willing to envision to make a dress all that it could be.
"She was more flow oriented when we spoke," Tiana affirmed. "But you don't really need to be focusing on that today, Emma. I know you're in a rush. You were just supposed to be dropping off those sketches and then getting out of here…"
"But I got sucked up into the crazy, I know, I know," Emma stated easily. "Trust me I'm aware that if I am not ready to go in ten – crap, I mean five – minutes I will have one very disgruntled husband on my hands."
And Emma wasn't lying. Killian wasn't often demanding, but today he'd been sincere in his request that Emma be quick with wrapping up things at work. They were pressed for time this morning and it was all in the service of what Emma was sure would be a truly delightful weekend away, but old habits were hard to break and try as she might Emma really didn't like to let go of all control on any of her projects. She wanted to be right on the front lines from start to finish with every dress, but that just wasn't possible given all the success that Bliss Boutique had found this past year and how much demand there was on their time and the time of Tiana and the rest of their designers.
"That's all right, Ems," Elsa's voice said from the doorway as she held in her hand a blue box with their bakery logo on it. "I'm sure you'll find a way to make it up to him."
"You are a freaking god send, Elsa. Seriously you might just be my savior today," Emma professed as she snuck a peek inside the box, finding an exact assortment of Killian's favorite treats for the train ride they were taking this afternoon. These should do very nicely for winning back her man's favor, at least until Emma could get him alone and give him a proper apology. Just the thought of that had a shiver of anticipation racing through her and Emma smiled, imagining of all the ways she could make Killian forgive her for her workaholic ways.
"That's what sisters do, right?" Elsa teased, pulling a laugh from Emma at the mention of their newfound status.
Since Elsa and Liam had married a few months before they'd all gotten used to the idea of Elsa and Emma being actually related, and Emma couldn't think of a better friend to call a sister, especially when Elsa was always saving her ass like this and made Killian's older brother so incredibly happy. It was amazing to see how well Elsa and Liam had blended their lives together, and though they were incredibly different they were perfectly suited somehow. Elsa managed to dull away many of the sharp edges that most people associated with Liam, and Liam had brought out a new side of Elsa that Emma had never seen, one that was totally confident in herself and blissfully happy with her life in the way her kindhearted and loyal friend truly deserved.
"Absolutely. I just wish I had more talents other than making dresses. Your skillset seems to come in handy a lot more often," Emma joked before the phone she had in her pocket began to vibrate. Someone was calling her and it was Emma's initial instinct to ignore it since the only person who could need her now who wasn't at Bliss was Killian and he'd never call when he could come sweep her off her feet in person. But when Emma saw the number of her doctor's office flash on the screen she was concerned. Was something wrong? She accepted the call to find out, her hand trembling slightly as she did.
"Hello?" Emma answered, a little anxious about what kind of news she'd be hearing. She'd only gone in for a check up last week and there hadn't been anything she was waiting to hear back on.
"Emma Jones?" the nurse asked through the receiver and Emma replied that it was in fact her. "I'm calling because the last of your tests results came in from your most recent appointment, and it turns out that you're pregnant. From the blood test we ran it appears you're already a few months along. Probably right around eleven weeks or so."
The fact that Emma didn't drop her phone onto the ground was a miracle because she was totally shocked. Her jaw practically hit the floor and her mind was racing in a million directions. But through all of that there was one feeling in the center of her chest that outshone all of the others and it was hope. Hope that this was really happening and that after months of wondering when the day would finally come, she and Killian were expecting the child they both so badly wanted.
"Wait, I'm sorry, could you say that again?" Emma said into the phone biting back a smile and feeling like the whole world had just gotten even brighter and more beautiful in the blink of an eye.
"You're pregnant, Emma. Congratulations."
It was all Emma could do to pretend to listen to the woman as she give her some more information about setting up an appointment with another doctor and follow up care in the coming weeks. Truth be told all of it went in one ear and out the other and Emma felt like her heart was going to explode as she turned back around to face her friends. She was expecting to find just Tiana and Elsa, but when she looked around she saw that Ruby and Mary Margaret were there as well and waiting on her news.
As soon as Emma hung up she wanted to tell them everything and share in this happy occasion with the friends she loved so dearly but she also knew it wouldn't be right to tell them before Killian knew. He had to be the first person she told no matter what because he was going to be her partner in this, and that realization that they'd be taking this on as a team and that their new dream really had come to fruition brought tears to Emma's eyes. She was practically shaking from the feelings of love and happiness coursing through her, but she had to try and play it cool or risk the words tumbling past her lips too soon.
"What's wrong Emma? What happened?" Mary Margaret asked worriedly and Emma's gut clenched. There was nothing wrong, only something magical knocking at her door, but she couldn't say it and she struggled to sound convincingly unaffected.
"I'm fine, I promise. It's just… complicated," Emma said hoping that would be enough to pacify her friends. But she must not have realized her instinctive motion to put her hand above her tummy where her and Killian's baby would soon be growing. All it took was one look at that gesture and the happy tears in her eyes and all four of them were guessing at once.
"Oh my god, you're pregnant!"
"Shhh!" Emma said, shushing them and looking out the doorway to make sure that Killian wasn't there to overhear. "And even if that were true I can't say… because if I were pregnant there's kind of someone else who would need to know first."
Emma's comments were met with understanding but that didn't stop the almost bursting sense of excitement from all of her friends. It was clear as day that this miracle wasn't just destined to make Emma and Killian happy but their whole family of friends as well. There were tears and some barely restrained jumping and all of her friends stood there fidgeting and trying to contain their good moods when fate came barreling in and compounding the situation all the more.
"Ms. Swan?" one of the new assistants greeted while ducking into the room with a noticeably worried look on her face.
"Technically it's Mrs. Jones, Ariel, but don't worry, you'll get there," Tiana said evenly despite her still radiating excitement for Emma.
"Oh right," the redheaded girl said. "Well your husband is here to pick you up and he said something about not waiting another minute to get to your vacation."
"Oh my God this is going to be the best vacation ever!" Elsa said gleefully. "Between Emma's good news and Killian's-,"
Whatever Elsa was about to say was interrupted by a swift slap on her arm from Ruby and a look that could kill. It told Emma that something was definitely up and that there was a very good chance her husband had something up his sleeve for this long weekend of theirs, but before she could ask questions Mary Margaret and the others were shooing Emma to the main room of the shop and then Emma was face to face with Killian and her suspicions went out the window.
Standing there in the middle of the business she'd built with the sunlight streaming in behind him, Killian was a sight to behold, and he was no less handsome today than he had been more than a year ago on that train where they first met. But it still amazed Emma that this was her real life. She'd long ago given up on pinching herself and she trusted that she was in fact this lucky, but sometimes the amount of happiness she felt surprised her. It was still so sure and constant after all of this time and the honeymoon phase that everyone said would fade was still here and it appeared it was here to stay.
"Swan," Killian said when their eyes met and she'd crossed the room to him and Emma couldn't resist stealing a kiss from him right there in front of everyone, audience be damned. She didn't need an excuse to kiss her husband, after all, but right now she had the best one ever and Emma was just so thrilled at everything happening she couldn't resist celebrating somehow and with the most important person in her world.
"I love you," Emma whispered when they broke apart, and when she did the look on Killian's face that made it seem like this moment with her was the best moment he'd ever known and she was the most important person in the universe prompted her to tell him right here and right now despite the slightly strange delivery of this life-changing news. "I have something I have to tell you."
"You can tell me anything, Emma. You know that."
As he made the promise Killian's hand came up to cup her cheek and his eyes traced her features with all the love in the world. Emma could just imagine that love made into something new, a paternal kind of devotion that Killian would share with their kids as they all grew up into their own people with their own dreams and ambitions and wants to change the world. Emma knew that Killian would attach the same intensity of purpose to being a father that he had to being her soul mate and because of that he'd be the best Dad and the best partner she could ever have in this.
"I'm pregnant," she confessed finally, waiting with bated breath for his response.
Emma wished she could have crafted a prettier way to express this amazing news, but she needed Killian to know about this blessing now and not at some later point where she found words to rival the ones he was always gifting her with. But in the end Killian's reaction, even if Emma hadn't been overly flowery in her language, was everything she'd been wanting and more. At first there was the briefest blip of shock that crossed his handsome face, but it shifted so quickly into this incredible sense of hope and wanting that Emma couldn't think of anything that she'd ever seen that was more beautiful than this moment.
"You mean it, love? You're really – I mean we're really…?"
He couldn't even finish the words but Emma nodded, the happy tears finally slipping down her cheeks as she told him he was going to be a Dad. And whatever she'd thought would happen when she told her husband about their upcoming adventure, Killian exceeded that by pulling her into his arms and spinning her around until she was laughing and holding onto him for dear life. It was a truly fantastic moment where both of them were caught up in the emotion of it all, but it soon hit a bit of a bumbling halt when Killian realized this might not be the safest of activities.
"Bloody hell, love, the baby! I shouldn't have done that, Swan. I'm sorry I -,"
There was no need to let Killian delve into worries about his instincts, and truth be told Emma didn't want for him to have a thing like regret anywhere near his mind. Not on this perfect, amazing day. So instead she pulled him down by the collar of his jacket and kissed him again in front of everyone and with no attempt at all at keeping it tame or appropriate for public consumption. All Emma could think was that she loved this man and wanted to feel that love and all the blessings that they'd found together as well as all of those still to come.
Eventually though, interruption did arrive in the form of Emma's friends all needing to get their congratulations in and Emma officially 'telling' them about the baby. There was a chorus of glee and a happy applause that broke out through all of Bliss Boutique, but as far as real celebrations went, they would have to wait, because Emma and Killian had a date to keep and a train to catch for a trip back down memory lane.
"It couldn't be more perfect timing," Emma said as they arrived at the station and boarded the train that would lead them back to Misthaven.
"Aye love," Killian replied as he brought her hand up to his lips to kiss gently. "A year ago today you made me the happiest of men by agreeing to marry me. You changed my life forever, and now you've done it again."
"You changed mine too," Emma whispered as she took her seat and curled into Killian where he sat beside her. "And now it's all happening, just like we wanted."
"Indeed it is love," Killian said as he pressed a kiss to the crown of her head. "Indeed it is."
At the start of today's journey, Killian truly believed he would have the upper hand when it came to surprises. This trip to Misthaven had an intended purpose beyond a mere weekend of relaxation and restoration, one that Emma wasn't yet aware of, but Killian never imagined that when he walked into her shop today she'd give him a gift he'd been almost scared to really hope for.
A baby. Killian and Emma were going to have a baby and it was amazing to him in every way. Their love had created something bigger than themselves and within the year their family would grow to include a whole new being that was part Emma and part him. It was crazy to think of such a wonderful twist of fate being real, but also it was the best gift anyone had ever given him save for perhaps Emma vowing to be his wife for all the days of their lives when they got married.
It honestly felt like they hadn't a right to be this happy. Things in their world were so good and had remained that way almost since the start. There were hiccups of course, with the occasional crisis at work or short-term obstacles that every couple faced, but the bond between Emma and Killian wasn't rattled or shaken. It had only grown stronger with each day, and in the face of this new adventure Killian was certain that it would grow even more. There was no one on earth Killian would rather raise a family with than Emma, no one he could even conceive sharing such a roll with, and he was getting his wish to have this chance with the best woman alive, a woman who had changed him for the better and continued to bring light and love into his world time and time again.
"We're going to have make so many decisions," Emma murmured from her spot curled up beside him on the train.
They'd been here wrapped up in each other for about an hour and they were nearly at the Misthaven station now. In that time they'd talked of so many things but none more important than their incredible joy at the prospect of this next chapter. Yet Emma, being the planner that she was, was no doubt thinking of concrete changes that would have to come before the arrival of their little boy or girl and formulating a list of things that had to be completed before the day their son or daughter was born.
"Like what, Swan?" Killian asked as his thumb ran across her hand lightly tracing over the tops of her fingers to where the two rings he'd given her always remained. He loved the idea of hashing out particulars because it would only make this feel more real and he welcomed Emma's sharing her thoughts and wishes with him now more than anything.
"Well for starters we should probably start thinking about doctors and parenting classes and where to put a nursery…"
"All things we can handle in due time, love. But that's not what's foremost on your mind right now, is it?" Killian implored, wanting to know what Emma had been thinking before trailing off, because there was clearly more playing out in that brilliant mind of hers and he would always want to know her hopes in any situation.
"Well we'll have to think about staying in the city. I thought we'd have a little more time to figure it all out but ever since the doctor told me the news I can't get this image of us and our family and wide open spaces out of my mind."
This confession was music to Killian's ears even if Emma didn't realize that it would be. She was sitting here thinking that somehow this bit of news would be an inconvenience or a massive hurdle for them to overcome, but it actually wrapped up perfectly into Killian's plans for today. The gift he had for her might not seem as crazy as it did before with this bit of truth between them, and it would hopefully fit seamlessly into Emma's plan and hopes for more.
"I've a feeling we're on the right track, love. You just have to trust me."
Emma grinned at Killian's insistence and promised that she did trust him before the automated voice in the train car sounded telling them they'd arrived at their destination. Once there, however, Killian surprised Emma by insisting that they drop their bags off at the house where they'd be staying (which was the same little cottage they'd rented out a year ago) before pressing on to the real surprise. This proved rather shocking to Emma who imagined they'd get immediately to the part where they locked themselves away from the world and reveled in all the happiness today had already brought them, but as usual she accepted his leading her in a new direction and she trusted it would bring a magical moment her way if she handed over the reins to him.
"You know whatever it is your taking me isn't going anywhere, right? This town doesn't change, that's why it's so charming." Emma joked before running her hand up his chest in an soothing gesture as they walked down the quiet streets of this cozy little hamlet.
"I know, love, but when we get there you'll realize why I've no wish to wait," Killian explained, smiling as he thought of the moment when Emma would finally understand all that he'd done for her and for their future.
"Even if it means getting me all alone to celebrate the good news?" Emma asked with every intention of seducing him to her will and distracting him from the prize that was nearly before them.
"Even then. But you have my word, Swan, I will be getting that privacy with you shortly, and when I do we'll celebrate in a way we'll never forget."
This seemed to appease Emma for the time being and they picked up the pace in the direction of their destination, but even when they arrived at the front gate of the spot where their worlds had changed forever, Emma seemed to miss that this was it. The surprise was the house before them, or rather the big sign in front that bore the word 'SOLD' in giant white lettering, but Emma didn't seem to understand that all of this was more than mere coincidence.
"They sold the house," Emma whispered deflatedly as if sad for the fact that Marie and Charles would no longer be here in this magical place where Emma and Killian had promised to tie their lives forever together. "I wonder who will live here now."
"We will, love," Killian replied and at first Emma didn't seem to process what he said, standing still and calm for a moment until realization dawned on her and her jaw dropped as she swung back around to look at him.
"Wait you bought a house? You bought this house?!"
"Aye, I did. I know I should have asked you and I know the summer season's crazy right now. Your schedule's a wreck and mine is too but we could move in the fall when things cool off again."
With Emma tearing her attention between gaping at him and gaping at the house, Killian pulled her hands into his, bringing them up to kiss gently one by one. He expected a response from her immediately, but in her lingering shock and quiet he filled the air between them with his fantasy for what a life lived here could mean for them, hoping to illustrate for Emma all that he imagined and all he wanted to give her.
"This house is perfect, my love, and I can picture no place better to grow old and raise a family than right here. You want wide-open spaces? This house has all that and more. It's a perfect oasis in the safety of a small town where the sky is the limit and anything can happen. We were meant to be here, Emma, and I know you felt it too when we were here last. The commute's not great but not terrible; an hour by train both ways, but we can ride in every day together. Honestly I can think of many a worse fate to face, especially when you think of all we could make here for us and our family."
Emma continued to stare at him with a hundred emotions flitting across her features but for some reason Killian couldn't get a clear read on what his lovely wife was thinking. Was she angry with him about making such a large decision as this? Or was she as happy as he was? He didn't know for certain until she rushed him and pulled him down for another kiss that rivaled the one they'd had back at Emma's shop. Only this time there was nothing like the interruption of before, and the kiss ran longer and hotter until they were both breaking apart with their breathing ragged and their faces flushed.
"You bought us a house," Emma whispered with a smile on her lips. "No, correction, you bought us our dream house."
"So you like it then?" Killian teased, knowing now that he'd done just as good as he expected when he put this plan in motion months back.
"I don't even have words right now, other than I love you. And the rest of it we'll figure out, but this… this is perfect, Killian."
Killian had to agree with that sentiment, and by his estimations this day might just rival their wedding day as the best one he'd ever had. But it only got better to as he took Emma's hand and led her inside, showing her the interior of this great house that they'd visited before, which was just as charming and magnificent indoors as it was outside.
Right now the home they could officially call theirs was bare inside with no furnishings at all because Marie and Charles had already moved to be near their grandchildren earlier this month. This left what felt like a gargantuan amount of space that Killian had wanted to fill, but he was determined to give Emma the chance to do this home up as she saw fit. He would always trust her tastes more than his own, and he could just imagine the nights they'd fill dreaming up exactly how things would be if they could have everything they wanted. Emma would fill the hours with measurements and design particulars, and he'd spend his time loving her and probably distracting her more than he should. But either way it was going to be fantastic, of that he was sure.
"It's even better than I imagined," Emma said when they'd gone through every room and even begun picking out which one would be for them and which would be a nursery or the rooms their kids would someday claim. "But what about the gardens? I mean there's no way, right? We can't handle all of that. We'd never have time for anything else."
"Much as it pains me to admit, Swan, you're right, that's not an option, but we found a way around it. The acreage with Charles testament of love for Marie has been donated to the town to become a public park. And there was an endowment from a private benefactor to keep it well funded and perfectly attended to for years and years to come."
Killian could see that Emma couldn't even begin to calculate how much money that would take. She was a smart woman, the smartest he'd ever met, so she was likely running through every question about where they would have gotten the hundreds of thousands of dollars at the very least that were needed for such an endeavor. He supposed he could let her continue to surmise about what could have happened, but Killian didn't want to wait to grant Emma every answer, not when at the end of this reveal they could truly enjoy everything they now called theirs.
"I can see those gears of yours shifting, love, and the answer to your internal musing is one I'm guessing will surprise you. The source of the gift is your favorite neighbor."
"Mrs. Hubbard?!" Emma asked, totally shocked, and Killian could understand the feeling. It had amazed him at first too, but then again nothing could truly astound him given all the ways his life had changed in the past year since meeting his Swan.
Yet for Emma, this revelation was of a much larger and impactful kind, and Killian felt it was best to leave any explanations to Mrs. Hubbard herself. So without further ado he pulled out the letter that Emma's old neighbor had provided him with this morning before he'd left the city, and he enjoyed how Emma made no motion to hide it from him, extending it in a way so that he knew she wanted him to read it along with her without any sort of secrecy.
Surprise! It turns out the old lady across the hall who you've humored for all these years had a secret and now it's time for it to come to light. I am – rather unfortunately in my opinion – filthy, stinkin rich. Truth be told the money that made this acquisition possible comes from my late husband's family and we neither of us ever really knew what to do with it while he was alive. So we did the only thing we could think: we basically pretended that it wasn't there and lived out life in relative normalcy. It was the best decision we ever made, and I attribute so much of our happiness to it.
But sometimes there are moments like these where money can make the world a better place, and when Killian told me about his wish to buy you this home and the story you two already have here, I knew I'd found an outlet that would both make me happy and do my dear departed Fitz proud. You know how much we enjoyed spending time in the Botanical Gardens and how I still go whenever I can to honor his memory. Escaping to that place was one of the only things that kept us sane enough to live in this crazy city for as long as we did and so it feels only right that we preserve another sanctuary for more people to enjoy all while I grant you and your great love the chance to grow as it deserves.
There's all kinds of legal jargon that comes with things like this that I don't want to bother you with – that's what lawyers are for after all – but there was one last thing I wanted you and Killian to have: the grove of roses out behind the house in the spot where Killian meant to propose to you is yours. I've taken care of everything, and the same groundkeepers for the new park will keep it all in order so you don't have to worry about a thing. Consider it a late wedding present and a wish bestowed from me to you that you have everything I had with my Fitz and more.
I know you're probably thinking to yourself that this is too much, it's too grand a gift, or some other nonsense, but you're wrong, Emma. You and Killian deserve to be happy, and this will be your way, I know it will. Fill this house with children, make this house a home in a way you never had, and build the life you always wanted, my dear. Convince those friends of yours who you love to do the same so that you may never lose each other, and most of all, don't ever let a day go by where you don't hold the people you love close and tell them just how deeply you care. Because after all my many years upon this earth I've known only one thing to be really true: love is always the answer and it will get you through anything, no matter what.
All the best from your dear friend and favorite neighbor,
It was completely understandable to Killian when he heard sniffling come from his wife and he watched as Emma wiped away fresh tears that had spilled onto her cheeks. This note was truly touching in its heartfelt sincerity and even he felt choked up upon reading it. Killian hadn't known the full depths of what Mrs. Hubbard would write though he had suspected, but the woman who had always proven to be full of wisdom and sound advice came through once more with flying colors. Her ideas on how Emma and Killian should lead their lives together was exactly he wanted, right down to convincing their friends to make the move as well (which was already in the works on every front) and he knew from Emma's reaction it was what she desired too. He just had to cut through the intensity of feeling a bit to get to the heart of that.
"All in favor of making her an honorary grandmother?" Killian said half joking but mostly serious as Emma choked back another sob and nodded, agreeing with that totally.
"Tell me this is really happening," Emma whispered as she wiped away the rest of her tears and looked up at him again, appearing just as beautiful now as she did in every moment, tears or not.
"It is, Emma. I promise you it is," Killian replied, meaning it from the bottom of his heart.
And with that promise and with the knowledge that life was winding down a path towards something beautiful and miraculous and so totally worth fighting for, Emma and Killian shared another kiss, cementing this moment for all eternity as one of the happiest ones they'd ever known. In the span of that kiss the world faded away, time seemed to trickle to a stand still, and all that remained was the two of them caught up together in the same happy space of love and light and every good thing.
But the best part of it all was that when they finally did break apart, and reality descended once more, none of the picture perfect feelings or the hope and joy of all of this dissipated. Instead it grew day-by-day, month-by-month, and year-by-year, until every dream they'd had for their lives and their love was made real, and they found that they had truly achieved a magical, memorable, once in a lifetime kind of wedded bliss.
Post-Note: I cannot begin to put into words what getting to the epilogue of this story means to me! It's been such a pleasure to write it and really such a fun creative outlet for me over the first half of this year. Writing is always about trying to enjoy myself and get out of my own head for a bit, and this story was such an awesome way for me to do that. The fact that so many of you joined me on this journey and enjoyed the story along the way only makes it that much harder to say goodbye, but alas it is time…at least for now. As I've said before with other stories, I reserve the right to add another chapter to the happily ever after (and since this chapter didn't include the baby directly there's a good chance that will happen someday featuring a bigger CS family and all their friends living in Misthaven with them), but I don't have any set plans on when to write it at the moment. Anyway thank you all so much for all your kind words and support and I hope you all have a lovely rest of your day!