Hello Everyone, I'm so sorry that it has taken me WAY too long to post an update. Things in my life have been crazy not only with my own health but also with my family. I hope that you all have been having better luck in the personal health department then we have :/
This story is now going to come to a soft end. I really like how things wrapped up so I would love to know what you would want to see. If I didn't show a particular scenes that you were hoping for I will do one off chapters for you that can be anywhere in the timeline of the story so feel free to start shooting those my way!
Without further ado, here is the final chapter. ENJOY!
Mary and David worked with Zoe as Emma and Killian watched on. David was being much gentler with her after what had transpired the last time they had gone through her story. Zoe handled everything like a champ and was holding her own as David and Mary asked her question after question.
Emma and Killian sat back in awe. They had known that Zoe was strong but they hadn't realized just how strong. She wasn't showing even a shred of hesitation or fear. Granted, she now had a level of trust with the four adults, but this was still a lot of hard and detailed information that they were asking her to relive. They couldn't have been more proud.
After about an hour and a half Mary and David both agreed that Zoe was well prepared and could handle whatever Stult's lawyer would throw at her and decided that they had all earned some time out of the house to get some ice cream. They all headed to the garage and piled in Emma and Killian's SUV before they pulled out and headed toward main street.
"Zoe, I'm so proud of you. I mean, I knew you were strong and that you could hold your own but I seriously was blown away by how confident you are. You are going to do fantastic when the time comes" Emma gushed as she put her arm around Zoe's shoulder.
"Thanks mom, I feel ready to get this all behind me. If this is what I have to do to make that happen, then so be it. But I honestly couldn't do it without the both of you" She said looking between Emma and Killian.
"What are we?" David jumped in jokingly
"And of course you two" She said with a chuckle. She appreciated her grandfather's attempt to lighten the mood after a very tense afternoon and evening.
"Zoe, I always felt a strong connection to you after we met you that night but now I know why, you were meant to be apart of this family" Mary said laying a hand on her knee.
"Thanks Grandma, I feel the same way"
They shared some other small talk and banter as they all enjoyed the much deserved ice cream break. They finally felt like a normal family, grandparents, parents, and child, all together just enjoying each other's company.
Mary and David left that next day with a few tears shed by all three. They had really enjoyed the family bonding that they had gotten to do during their time in Florida. As they all shared hugs Emma and Killian promised to bring Zoe to visit Storybrooke soon so that they could spend more time with her. Of course they would have to wait till after the trail to make sure that it was safe for Zoe to be in Storybrooke.
A few weeks later it was time for the trail. The Storybrooke police had worked with Killian's station to get all the required camera equipment set up at the station with a place for Zoe to sit against a neutral background to make sure that they didn't give any inkling to where she really was.
Zoe walked in, escorted by Emma who had a protective hand on her shoulder. They had told everyone at the station that they had recently adopted a daughter named Zoe but hadn't brought her around to meet everyone just yet. To make things even stranger, today Zoe was going to have to go by Elizabeth because that was the name she was known by when she agreed to testify. They also didn't want anyone to know what her new name was in the chance that they came looking for her.
Emma guided her over to the chair that was set up with a few extra lights pointing at it along with the cameras. It was all a bit overwhelming and Emma could feel Zoe's heart beating out of her chest.
"Hey," Emma said taking Zoe by the shoulders and turning her to look at her. "You okay?"
"Yea, of course" Zoe said plastering a brave face on
"It's okay if you're not. I know that this is not easy. You did a lot of prep with David and Mary but that doesn't substitute for the real thing" Emma said moving a piece of hair out of her face
"I know…I'm…" Zoe took a moment to take a deep breath and keep herself from crying. "I know that I can do this. I just…I'm ready to put it all behind me"
"I know" Emma said taking her face into her hands and wiping away a stray tear that had escaped "But you know that your dad and I will love you no matter what and you are safe. Stult's doesn't have a clue where you are and after today, you will never have to face him again"
"Thanks mom" Zoe got out still trying to hold back tears. She squeezed Emma's hand before the deputy came over to direct her over to the chair where she would conduct the interview. She looked around and saw the camera that was facing her that was surrounding by large white lights. She then looked to the right of the camera and saw a TV that was showing the courtroom where the trail was taking place.
She watched as people began to filter in. She could see what looked like a news crew through the backdoor that was being told they couldn't come in. It honestly all felt so surreal. She had seen plenty of crime procedurals on TV over the years and had always wondered what it would be like to be in one. Now she was getting a first-hand look at what it is like in real life.
She heard someone clear their throat and she looked up to see her parents smiling at her from behind the screen.
"We'll be right here the whole time love" Killian said trying to stay upbeat.
"Thanks Dad" Emma said with a sad smile. She just wished that she could get up and be with them behind the screen and feel safe. With the light on her and the camera in her face, she felt exposed. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She remembered all the tips and scenarios that David and Mary had gone over with her. She could do this. She was going to put this man away and she was finally going to get to have the family she deserved. She opened her eyes and looked up at her parents, "I'm ready"
Zoe did exactly as David and Mary had trained her to do. It also helped that, not only were her parents on the other side of the screen, but she could see her grandparents over the shoulder of the lawyers sitting in the courtroom in Storybrooke. She didn't miss a single detail. Eventually they panned the camera out to see the defendant and they asked her if she saw the man she had seen that night sitting in the room. She immediately pointed out Stult's as she sat behind the table at the front. A chill ran down her spine as she looked at his face. He had the same expression that he had had that night when she had yelled at him. It took everything in her not to burst into tears.
After the lawyers were done interviewing her the lights went out and the deputy behind the camera gave her the okay to get up. She immediately ran to Killian and Emma who wrapped their arms around her as she finally let the emotions of everything flow over her. The tears came in waves but it felt cleansing for the little family to be able to finally release the tension that had been building to this moment. They were finally able to put this behind them.
They eventually decided to go get some food once they were able to pull themselves together. Zoe wasn't interested in watching the rest of the trial and Mary and David would call them once the verdict came in. They drove to their favorite dinner and got three grilled cheese sandwiches and an order of onion rings to share. No one really said much. They were all emotionally exhausted at this point. Emma put her arm around Zoe who leaned into the embrace and put her head on her shoulder.
After they finished their meal they decided to head home. Once they arrived they put on a movie but it wasn't long before they were all asleep on the couch. Emma was laying up against Killian with her head on his shoulder while Zoe was laid out with her head on Emma's lap.
Killians phone began to ring which quickly woke him up and he grabbed it before it awkoke the rest of his family.
"This is Killian"
"Killian, it's David. I'm sorry, did I wake you guys?"
"Just me mate but it's quite all right. I'm assuming they have a verdict?"
"Zoe did it, Stults is going away for a very long time"
Killian felt a wave of relief fall over him. "Thank goodness. I'm glad to hear it. We can finally put this behind us"
"I know, I'm glad that it's over. Now Killian, I don't need to tell you that Stult's men are going to try and come after her now that she put their leader in jail"
"Aye mate, I understand. We won't be taking any chances here."
"Glad to hear it. Is Emma up?"
"Sorry mate, she's sound asleep on me with Zoe passed out on her lap"
"Well then I will let you enjoy some time with your girls. We will be in touch as soon as we get word of the sentencing"
"Thanks Mate. Talk to you then" and with that Killian hung up. HE reached up and put his hand on Emma's head before laying a small kiss on top of it. He then stroked Zoe's cheek. He was never happier than seeing both of his girls safe and sound in their home and knowing that the man who caused his daughter so much terror was finally behind bars.
They may not have become a family the conventional way but they were a family none the less. He wouldn't trade Zoe for the world. From now on out, they were going to enjoying being a normal family and being together each and everyday, because tomorrow is never promised.
David called back a few days later when everyone was together to share that Stult's had been sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder along with a few other charges that they were able to pin on him. This meant that Stult's was never going to be able to come near Zoe ever again which gave everyone a huge sense of relief and calm.
They agreed that, with everything being relatively new, they would wait about a year for things to die down before Emma and Killian brought Zoe to visit Storybooke. They didn't want to take the chance of one of Stult's men recognizing her from the trial and coming after her as they were bound to start looking for her sooner or later. However, Mary and David agreed that they would come back to Florida in a few months for a visit that was strictly family and fun, nothing about work was allowed to be discussed.
Zoe continued her online classes and the little family was able to find a rhythm with one another that felt comfortable. Emma had started being very selective to what bail bond jobs she would take as she didn't want to leave Zoe and Killian on their own for long stints of time. She also wanted to be more of a stay at home mom, even if her daughter was already grown. She even began taking on some of the administrative duties at the station that had been left vacant after one of the desk workers had resigned a few months before.
Everything wasn't perfect, they were still human after all, but Zoe couldn't have asked for better. She finally had a family. She had Found Home.