Emma's grip on Killian's hand tightened with each passing minute. He didn't complain though, just continued to rub his thumb over the back of her hand in what he hoped was a soothing motion. The only sound in the room was a ticking clock and the occasional chair squeak as one of them tried, in vain, to get comfortable. It had been a long day, a long month in fact, and they both felt thoroughly exhausted. Emma's body had been put through the ringer and Killian was physically in pain with how much he worried for her. Glancing over at his wife he could see the effects this was all having on her. All he wanted to do was pick her in his arms and take her somewhere where nothing could hurt her; where they could just be. They hadn't had that in a long time.
It was the night after their honeymoon that they had the discussion. Well it wasn't much of a discussion. They sat at the kitchen table, just the two of them as Henry was staying at Regina's for one more night. Sitting at one end of the table Killian noticed just how much empty space there was around it; how many places that could be filled. From there he thought about the rooms in the house. How, discounting the guest room, there were still two empty rooms on their floor; Henry had quickly claimed the attic bedroom as his when they moved in. He felt Emma grasp his hook in her hand, pulling gently to get his attention. When he looked up he saw that her eyes were glassy, contrasting to the small smile on her lips.
"Ok." She whispered, keeping her eyes locked with his. "Let's do it." Killian stared at her slightly confused before the pieces started to fall into place. He opened his mouth in wonder as he put down his fork to grasp her other hand in his own.
"You're sure, love?" He breathed out as she nodded, a single tear sliding down her cheek.
"Yeah. This house is too big for just us two, even on the weeks when we have Henry." Emma seemed as breathless as he was, talking quietly as if not wanting to scare away the idea. Killian brought his hand up to caress her cheek before surging forward to capture her lips in a searing kiss. It was loving and passionate as their embraces always were, the couple only pulling away when they needed to breathe.
"Swan, just to be clear we are on the same page here. We're not talking about downgrading to a smaller place." He pressed his forehead against hers as he tried to get his head around how his life had brought him here.
"As long as you're planning on taking me upstairs to get started on having a baby," Emma giggled as she slid over to sit in his lap, carding her fingers through his hair. "Then yeah, we're on the same page."
"I love you, Emma Swan." Killian stared intently into her eyes and her giggles immediately fell away.
"And I love you, Killian Jones." Emma pressed their lips together once more, wrapping her arms around her true love's neck as he deepened the kiss.
"Come on love, let's sail away." Killian whispered in her ear before lifting her up and carrying his wife up the stairs, her giggles sounding through the house as he kicked open the door to their bedroom.
The door to the consultation room swung open behind them, causing Emma's hand to jolt slightly in her husband's. Killian raised her knuckles to his lips, placing a quick kiss there in an attempt to relax her. She turned to him and gave what was probably meant to be a smile, but was actually more of a grimace. The doctor sat down on her side of the desk, giving the couple a nod of acknowledge before turning to her computer. Emma stared at the woman in front of them, glad that she was (1) not Whale and (2) a woman. She felt that news, especially to do with female things, was much easier to receive from a woman.
"So Mrs Jones-" The doctor started, pushing her glasses up her nose as she turned to face them.
"Um… it's actually Ms Swan." Emma didn't know how many times she'd said this already, and doubted that this would be anywhere near the last, but she was happy that she'd kept her last name. "But Emma's fine." She added as an afterthought, not really wanting to get off on the wrong foot with the woman who could hold the answer they'd been looking for.
"Oh my apologies." The doctor seemed friendly as she scribbled down a note to correct her files. "I'm Dr Marcs. Am I right in assuming you're Killian Jones, Ms Swan's husband?" Killian nodded in response, leaning forward to speak but his non-verbal answer seemed to suffice. "So, Emma, you first came to us three months ago after trying for children for a year with no pregnancy?" Emma let out a shaky breath as she nodded. In this instance, however, it seemed Marcs required actual words to be spoken. "Could you tell me a little about that? How often you were trying exactly?"
"Well we made the decision last August. To have children that is." Emma's mouth was suddenly extremely dry and she leaned forward to take a hefty gulp of her water. "We weren't like trying exactly, not really trying, not at first anyway. It was more when we had sex we wouldn't use any protection. We'd stopped using condoms when we got engaged, but I was still on the pill up until then." Her voice grew smaller the more she spoke about it. She'd always been a private person and having to repeatedly tell intimate details of her life to perfect strangers. Well, she hated it.
"And how often would you say you had sex at this time, when you weren't 'really trying' as you put it?" Dr Marcs wasn't annoyed at having to repeat her question, she couldn't imagine how difficult a situation this is for women with questions surrounding their fertility.
"Probably about twice a week on average." Emma glanced over at Killian, ignoring the fierce set of his jaw; he hated talking about this even more than she did. "It varies because I have shared custody of my son, Killian's step-son, who stays with us every other week. So finding the time can be hard."
"Yes, I see that you already have a teenage son. And you had him when you were 17, correct?" Emma nodded as the doctor leant forward in her chair. "Ok, could you tell me what happen after your initial thought to let nature take its course?"
"Umm…well we kept that going for 5 months. But obviously nothing was happening. My periods were coming like clockwork every month, same as they have since I was 14." Emma slipped that in, knowing that the doctor would probably ask about her menstrual cycle, they always did. She didn't talk about the time that her period was late by a day on the 5th month, how she ran out and bought a pregnancy test. How her heart broke when they both came up negative and she crumbled to the bathroom floor in tears. How that was the reason for her deciding on a change of tactic. She hadn't talked about that time with any of the doctors she'd seen. How could she? When she hadn't even told Killian? Her gaze fell to floor as she continued. "After that we decided that this was going to need more attention." That was a lie, the decision was all on her. He never called her up on it though, no matter how many times she said it. He just squeezed her hand a little harder to show that he was there, with her, like always. God she didn't deserve this man. "That having more sex would clearly increase the probability of successful conception." That was a phrase a doctor had used a couple of months ago and it had stuck with her. She liked medical terminology, it allowed her to detract slightly from the reality. Make it seem less connected to emotions and children. Well that was the idea anyway. "So it became 4 times a week. Then every day." Her breath hitched as she got to this part, the hardest part. The part that nearly destroyed them all together. Sex became regimented. They no longer made love. The only purpose was to conceive a child. She became obsessed. She and Killian barely talked, every moment that they did seemed to her like a moment to create a child wasted. In the last few months, whenever she got her period, it felt like a part of her died along with their potential child. The doctor cleared her throat and Emma looked up to see both sets of eyes on her, Killian's gaze threaded with worry. How long had she been silent for? She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and steadied her breathing.
"Then it was as often as we could." Killian took over and Emma felt a surge of gratitude. "But still nothing happened. So we decided to seek professional tests, just to be safe."
Killian was sat at the bar in The Rabbit Hole, swirling a tumbler of rum in his hand. He had been nursing the same drink for an hour and hadn't taken a single sip. He was just intently watching the amber liquid slosh around the glass. He felt someone clap him on the shoulder and he didn't have to turn to know who it was.
"So d'you want to tell me what my son-in-law is doing sitting all alone in a bar on a Tuesday night?" David swung into the stool beside him, shaking his head as the barman began to approach him for a drink.
"Not particularly." Killian spoke through gritted teeth, not lifting his gaze from the drink in front of him.
"You know I'll get it out of you eventually." David sighed staring at the pirate's profile. "Or would you rather that I ring Emma, maybe she'll tell me." He went to get his phone out of his jacket as Killian rolled his eyes.
"Mate, you really don't want to know." He massaged the bridge of his nose between two fingers, having pushed the rum away. He chuckled humourless as David placed the tumbler well out of his way.
"Perhaps you're right. I might regret this once I hear what it is. However I know I'll regret it more if I don't find out." The prince smiled encouragingly as his friend turned his head to face him.
"It's no mystery where Emma gets it from. You really can be a stubborn arse, you know that?" Killian glared at David, but they both knew that there was real anger behind it. At least not aimed at him.
"It's been mentioned." David jested, managing to put a slight smile on Killian's face before it quickly fell away. "I also know that you can be just as stubborn as us Charming's when you put your mind to it."
"Aye, it's been mentioned." Killian smirked, surprising himself with the amount of joviality that he was able to conjure. The two men fell into silence then, David's eyes staying on Killian the whole time. Finally he decided to give in. It surely couldn't make the situation worse. He reached to scratch behind his ear nervously before turning to fully face his friend. "Dave, can I ask you something?"
"If you're asking for permission to marry my daughter, you're over a year late." David's tone was warm as he attempted to keep the atmosphere light.
"Not quite, mate." Killian shifted his gaze down to where his hook was balanced on the bar.
"When you and Snow… conceived Emma, did you… was it…" He started shifting uncomfortably and, if David's cough was anything to go by, he felt just as awkward. "Oh bloody hell, Dave, can't you see where I'm going with this?"
"I think so." The prince ran a hand over his face. He had definitely not expected this conversation. But he had asked for it, pressed for it really. And Hook had said that he'd probably regret it. "Snow and I… we… conceived Emma on our honeymoon." By the look on the pirate's face, that was not the answer that he had been looking for. "We'd always known we'd wanted kids, so we didn't want to wait. But every couple is different. Also the Enchanted Forest is much different to here. Here, this world, seems to be more open to let couples decide for themselves. To wait till the time is right. If it ever is." He hoped that his words were helping ease Killian's discomfort, but his jaw had been clenched since he gave his answer. "Hook. Are you and Emma…" David clenched his fist to prevent from thinking about the particular act which his daughter would be involved in. "Are you thinking about having a child?"
"More than that, mate." Killian's voice was bitter. On in the inside he was devastated. A child was a happy ending for so many people. And it seemed like everyone who deserved one, got one when they wanted it. Well he wanted one more anything. He knew that Emma would be a great mum, she was already a great mum. And she definitely deserved to raise one from birth. So he could only see one reason why this wasn't happening for them. It was because of him. After all the terrible deeds he'd committed, of course he didn't deserve a happy ending. He felt like a fool for thinking he'd be able to have one.
"So you're trying?" David raised his hand and Killian was half convinced that he was going to punch him for bringing up his daughter's private activities. However the hand clapped him on the back as his father-in-law flashed him a wide smile. "I'm happy for you. Both of you." He slid the forgotten tumbler of rum back in front of Killian. "I know becoming a father is a daunting prospect to face, trust me. But I also know that there's no better feeling in the world than holding your child for the first time. Being able to watch them grow into their very own person, knowing that you created that." Killian couldn't take it anymore. He knew that David meant well, he thought that he helping a man who was about to become a father. Not a man who would probably never be one. Killian stood with such force that his stool clattered to the floor. Throwing down a dollar for the rum he stormed out into the night, ignoring David's calls for him to wait. He heard the exit to the bar open a second after he'd closed it.
"Just leave it. Alright, mate?" Killian turned on David, who was now eyeing him with a mixture of worry and confusion.
"Hook. Talk me. I can't help you, or Emma, until I know what's going on."
"What's going on is that you, along with it seems everyone else, had children as soon as you wanted to. Emma had Henry without even planning it." David's eyes widened as he realised what the situation was, what his daughter and her husband were going through. However instead of interrupting, he let Hook continue as he knew how cathartic it could be to just let everything out. "But us. We decided to have a child straight after our honeymoon. That was nearly a year ago. And nothing. It's tearing Emma apart and I just…" His breath started to hitch as he ran out of steam. "I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm lost."
"I had no idea." His heart was breaking for the man in front of him. The man who was always ready a joke or a witty quip looked so broken. "Have you told Emma all of this? Does she know how much it's affecting you?"
"I don't want to burden her." Killian sighed and David did with him. He understood what that was like, had kept things from his family on more than occasion in order to protect them. To remain strong. But he also knew that families were strongest when they could be there for each other.
"Well then that's where you start. You need to go home now and talk to her about it." David opened the door to his truck, motioning for Killian to get in. The pirate followed him numbly, mind reeling after bearing his soul like that. He knew that David was right, as he annoyingly often was. He just didn't know how to even start telling this to Emma. "You know there are tests right? You can get checked over just to make sure everything's… um… functioning correctly." Killian hummed in acknowledgement, although he hadn't known that this was an option. It put him somewhat at ease to know that they didn't have to be completely in the dark about this. The wonders of this world's medicine never ceased to amaze him.
That night Killian had talked to Emma and, although it took some time, she had agreed to go to the doctor.
"So you both went for your first round of tests at your local hospital…um…" The doctor looked back at the files on her computer. "Storybrooke General in Storybrooke, Maine." The couple both nodded, although the doctor wasn't looking at them and it seemed more like a statement than a question. "And Mr Jones your batch of tests came back clear of any abnormalities, which in men usually means that there's no more tests necessary. As for you Ms Swan, the hospital staff advised that you look further into fertility tests at our centre, here in Boston. It says here that you've had two additional rounds of observations with us in the last 3 months?" At this Dr Marcs turned to face Emma, her glasses tilting down as she studied her. It took a moment for her to realise that the doctor wanted an answer and she nodded dumbly. "Right, I have the results from your ultrasound this morning plus the test results from both previous visits, both here and in Storybrooke." She took off her glasses, folding them on the table as she gave the couple a sad smile. Emma froze. This was an obvious tactic that she had learned when giving bad news; without the glasses her face looked much softer, kinder. "I do have some answers for you. Only one of your fallopian tubes has ever been able to produce eggs, this in its self isn't that uncommon. Your periods every other month may have lasted for longer or caused you more discomfort because of this." Emma tried to think back, but her mind was foggy and she honestly couldn't remember anything like that. Maybe if she'd paid more attention. "This already halves the chance of a woman getting pregnant, but in most cases it means that it can just take them longer to conceive. However", Emma had to hold back a sob at that word, "your functional tube has a significant tear, which we know must have happened since your son was born. There are various reasons why this happens, and I will happily go through them if you wish, although we will probably never know what exactly caused this to happen to you."
"What does all of this mean?" Killian's voice sounded muffled through the thudding in Emma's head. Her vision was blurry with tears and it was all she could do to not crumble into sobs.
"It means that very few, if any, of the eggs that are released are making it into the womb. Now there is surgery to stitch up the tube, but the likelihood of conception from an egg released from that tube after that procedure drops significantly low. We normally carry it out on women who have ruptured tubes, to prevent further issues arising and to protect the second tube. In your case Emma, as it's a relatively small tear which isn't causing you any discomfort, I personally would advise that you hold off on surgery. Not to mention all surgeries come with risks, and the womb could be damaged during the procedure."
"So what you're saying is this is it. There's no way for us to have a child. I mean you obviously don't think surgery is the way to go." Killian was trying not to let his frustration morph into the anger against the woman. After all she's the first one to give them any sort of reason for why this wasn't happening for them. By this point tears were cascading down Emma's face as she tried to comprehend the situation.
"Not at all. There are still options. IVF has proven quite successful in cases such as this. Especially when the husband's sperm are as healthy as yours are." Killian was sure that that was the weirdest compliment he had ever received, but all he could focus on now was his wife. His wife who was biting her lip and shaking under the force of attempting to stay under control. "I know this is a lot to take in. I can give you a minute to talk it over here, or you can go home now and set up an appointment in the next week. To give yourselves some time."
"Emma." Killian crouched down in front of her chair, taking her hands in his. "What do you want to do sweetheart?"
"Take me home." Emma's broken whisper could only be heard by her husband. "Please." Killian nodded up at her with a loving smile.
"We're going to go home. Should we make the appointment at the desk on our way out?" Killian stood to address the doctor, keeping Emma's hands in his grasp.
"There's no need." Dr Marcs shook her head as she fumbled on her desk for a card. "Just email me when you get in and we'll set up a time that suits all of us. I'll also attach a link to a page that lists all the options and goes through them in detail for you. Therefore when we talk next week you may have some idea of which route you would like to take. Take care until then." She held out her hand to shake his, seemingly unfazed by the feel of his prosthetic on her skin.
"Thank you." Killian smiled before helping Emma stand from her chair. "Come on love, let's sail away." And together they walked out of the room and the hospital, Emma's head buried in his shoulder as her body shook with silent sobs.
Killian ran up and unlocked the house before going back down the steps for Emma. He'd held her outside of the hospital until her body had stopped shaking with sobs. She hadn't said a word since the doctor's office, hardly making a sound, and Killian knew that nothing that he said right now could make it better. He wasn't even sure if she could hear him. Looking at Emma it was clear that she wasn't going to move on her strength alone. Pressing a kiss to her forehead, he reached across his wife to undo her seatbelt. Killian put one arm under her knees and one arm behind her back, hoisting her out of the car to cradle her against his chest. Breathing a sigh of relief as she put her arms around his neck, he made his way back up to their house. Their home. A home he had bought with the future in mind. A future that contained children. Hence all of the empty rooms waiting to be filled. He willed the tears away from his eyes, hoping that Emma could still take strength for him even when he didn't feel any himself. He made to set her down on the couch, only to have her shake her head against his shoulder and her arms tighten around his neck.
"Emma?" He whispered as he pulled back slightly to look down at her. As soon as she lifted her eyes to meet his, and he saw the sheer tiredness that resided there, he changed course. He carried her up the stairs with a fair amount of practised ease. As he carried her through the doorway into their bedroom, he couldn't help thinking of their wedding night; as he always did. Of how hopeful and unburdened they were as he carried her over this particular threshold for the first time. Killian was for once thankful that Emma had made the bed her way this morning; leaving the duvet folded up at the bottom of the bed. This allowed him to lay his wife down on the sheets and then proceed to pull the duvet over her with little effort. She looked so peaceful that he almost forgotten her earlier torment. The torment that she must still be feeling. That they were both feeling. Her eyelids were already closed and her breathing was less ragged than before, so Killian decided to let her sleep. He leant over and brushed his lips gently on her cheek. Giving her one last loving glance, he turned towards the door. However he halted as he felt Emma's hand entwine itself with his own.
"Love?" Killian questioned as he looked down at her, seeing that her eyes were now open.
"Stay." Emma's voice was hoarse from all the sobbing. Not to mention all of the emotions swirling around inside her right now, fighting for dominance. "Please."
"Whatever your heart desires, Swan. You know that." Killian smiled gently as he sat up against the headboard. Emma crawled into his waiting arms, resting her head on his chest.
"Apart from a baby." Emma only meant to think those words, but her husband's sharp intake of breath let her know that he had heard them. Lifting her gaze to his face she saw his eyes shining with unshed tears. She squeezed her eyes shut, berating herself for slipping up. "I'm sorry."
"Don't." Killian spoke harsher than he intended, but he was determined that she knew that he wasn't blaming her for any of this. That none of it was her fault, so she needed not to blame herself. Like he knew that she'd been ever since the doctor's office. Before then, even. "Emma, you have absolutely nothing to apologise for. Not one thing. Ok, love?" He kept his hand in hers as he started to run his hook through her hair. He felt Emma nod against his chest and knew that she didn't believe him. But right now was not the time to labour the point. They talk about it properly tomorrow. "Now get some rest, I'll be right here with you." Emma knew that that was more than just him saying that he would be here when she awoke. No he was telling her that he be with her through this, and through everything else life threw at them. She knew this already though. She'd known that he'd be by her side for as long as she wanted him for years now. Marrying her had only further proven his commitment to her. Still he found the means to remind her that he was with her every day. And still she loved to hear it.
"I love you." Emma mumbled as she kissed his chest, just where his heart is. She loved how she could still feel it stutter at hearing those words for the hundredth time. She was finally giving in to the insistent pull of sleep as she felt Killian's warm lips press against into her hair.
"Aye, Swan. And I you." Emma felt warmth flood through at those words. And as sleep overtook her, she couldn't help think that maybe they could get through this. And that together, maybe, they could overcome anything. If she could just hold on to hope.