Epilogue

Emma looked at herself in the mirror on her mother's vanity, as Snow White set the garland of snowdrops and ivy on her head. Her eyes sparkled, her cheeks were rosy and her hair lay in gentle waves across her shoulders and down her back.

It was finally starting to feel real. She was finally starting to feel like a bride.

Snow White put her hands on Emma's shoulders and leaned down to kiss the top of her head. "I've been dreaming of this day since my own wedding, Emma," she said, her voice not quite steady. "I've been dreaming of helping my daughter prepare for her wedding."

Emma smiled at her mother, catching her eye in the mirror. "I don't know if I ever really thought about my wedding before I met Killian, but I'm glad you're here sharing it with me, mama."

Careful not to muss her daughter's hair, Snow leaned down and hugged her. "By the time I married your father, my mother was long since gone. I had Johanna to help me, of course, and she was wonderful, but it wasn't like sharing those last precious moments with my own mama."

"I'm sure it wasn't," Emma said, turning around on her stool to look up at her mother. "I'm sorry Grandma Ava wasn't there to help you."

Snow waved it away. "It was a long time ago, and today isn't a time to recall bittersweet moments. Today is a day of joy. Speaking of joy, is there anything you'd like to ask me, about, you know, tonight?"

Emma rolled her eyes and groaned. "About tonight? Mother we had the conversation about that ages ago."

"I know," Snow said with a shrug. "I just thought you might have questions or concerns now that it's almost here. I know I did when it came time for the first time your father and I..."

Emma groaned again. "Mama, I definitely, definitely don't want to hear the end of that sentence! And I'm sure Killian and I will get by just fine tonight."

"I'm sure you will," Snow said, "and I'm sure he'll make sure you thoroughly enjoy it."

Emma facepalmed just as her father tapped on her chamber door and then stepped in. "It's almost time. And who'll make sure you thoroughly enjoy what?"

"Dad," Emma said dryly. "Believe me. This is one of those things you really, really don't want to know about."

David looked curiously between his two women, and then shrugged, offering Emma a hand to her feet. She took one last look, loving her long white dress with the lace and the large, belled sleeves, and then took her father's outstretched arm.

It was time to take the first steps into the next phase of her life, and she could hardly wait.

As Emma walked with her parents down the hall toward the stairs, her mind went back over the events of the past two months…

Exactly one week after the defeat of the Black Fairy, Killian had asked her to meet him at the royal stables, where he'd saddled a white horse.

"Come ride with me Swan," he said with a gentle smile. "I've something I'd like to show you."

He'd mounted the horse and offered her a hand-up as well, and she'd enjoyed the breeze rushing through her hair as they galloped across the countryside—not to mention the opportunity to hold this man, her True Love tightly to her.

They rode for several moments until they came to a clearing in the woods. Killian dismounted and then helped her down, letting his hands linger on her waist far longer than was necessary.

"Now, Swan," he said, "what do you see?"

She looked around, gasping at the beauty. "A lot of flowers."

"Aye," he said, "very good. Pink middlemist flowers to be exact. I had a chat with your gardener, and he told me about this field. It seems the flowers were a gift imported from Camelot."

Emma turned in a circle, her eyes wide. It was quite simply breathtaking.

"And what else do you see, love?" Killian asked, bending down to snap one perfect bud from the ground and present it to her.

Her brows furrowed. "I'm not sure what you mean."

He smiled gently, stepping close and putting his hands on her waist. "If you look straight ahead of you, Emma, you'll see a man who is completely, hopelessly, desperately and incandescently in love with you."

Her heart turned over within her and, unable to help herself, she reached up on her tip toes and kissed him. He returned the kiss for a long moment, but eventually he stepped back.

"Pleasant as that was, darling," he said, "there's something we must discuss before we resume kissing each other senseless."

She grinned. "And what's that, Captain?"

The swagger slid from his face to be replaced by something that looked like trepidation. He glanced away and then began rummaging in his pockets, finally pulling out a small, black box.

"Emma, I know you've faced an uncertain future," he began, "and we've no way to know what might happen in the coming years and decades, but there's one thing I want you to be certain of, that I will always, always be by your side. I love you to the depths of my soul and beyond. And so, Emma Swan…"

In one smooth movement, he got to one knee and slid open the box to reveal a single diamond set in a simple silver band. Emma drew in a quick breath, heart thundering, tears beginning to pool in her eyes. Was he going to…?

"Will you marry me?" he finished.

Slowly, deliberately Emma knelt in the grass and placed both hands on his shoulders, looking into his eyes as a single tear tracked down her face. "Yes," she said simply before laughing in her joy. "Of course yes!"

A delighted smile lit up his face, and then he was cupping her face in both hands, kissing her as though both their lives depended on it.

It had been the best moment of Emma's life to date.

Sometime later, they'd returned to the castle and informed her parents, and Snow White had immediately jumped into action. There was so much to plan, and Snow wanted her daughter's wedding to be perfect. More than once during the whirlwind weeks afterwards, Emma had wished she and Killian had just eloped, but her mother was so excited, so joyous at the prospect of her wedding that she never could have gone through with it.

And now, standing at the top of the stairs, looking at the beauty of the great hall, seeing her dashing fiancé waiting for her at the end of the aisle, Emma knew she wouldn't change a single thing. If there was such a thing as perfect happiness, she knew without a doubt that she'd found it.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~

Killian looked up as he heard the music begin to play, and he felt the breath leave his body in a whoosh. There she stood at the top of the stairs, an angel all in white with her parents on each side. He caught her eye as she slowly, gracefully descended toward him. With the radiant smile she gave him, the last piece of his damaged, broken heart finally snapped back into place.

He didn't deserve her; didn't deserve this. After all the villainous things he'd done since his brother's death, he'd never in his wildest dreams believed he'd be given a chance at grace, a chance to grasp happiness.

And yet here she was, Emma, Princess of Misthaven—his True Love, and in a matter of minutes, his wife! He knew their life wouldn't be perfect. There would be moments of sadness. There would be arguments and disagreements. There would likely be villains and dangers. But none of that mattered, because he knew there would also be love and commitment and forever. He knew whatever might come their way, they would face it together, and with the combined strength of their love, there was nothing that could defeat them.

Emma and her parents walked regally down the red runner, strewn with flowers, that lined the great hall floor and served as an aisle. King David turned toward his baby girl, lifted the blusher over her face and kissed her cheek. Then, turning toward Killian, he gave him a firm handshake and a friendly slap on the back. "Welcome to the family," he said with a smile.

And then there she was, Emma, his Swan, his True Love, his everything. She placed her hand in his and together they stepped toward the archbishop who would unite them as one forever. "I love you," she whispered.

"Not nearly as much as I love you."

Their life together was just beginning. They'd say their vows, attend their reception, spend a blissful first night as husband and wife, take a honeymoon trip, begin to build the rest of their lives together, perhaps even have a wee one or two, but through it all, Killian knew one thing. He'd never in his life forget this moment, the moment the princess and the pirate vowed to love each other for all eternity.

The End!

Notes:

-And there we have it! After 3 months, the tale of the Princess and her Pirate is finally all told. I hope you enjoyed this thoroughly fluffy epilogue!

-I'd like to thank all of you that read and reviewed/commented on/reblogged my story throughout these last weeks. I haven't had the time to thank you all individually, as much as I've wanted to. It's been a busy summer where fanfiction is concerned. But just know I appreciate every bit of feedback you've given me. It really has kept me motivated to get here to the finish line!

-If you need more to read, feel free to check out my other 2 MCs from the hiatus: "Under the Apple Tree" (primarily OQ) and "The Honeymoon" (which I hope to finish tomorrow). And of course there's always my longest running one-shot collection, Fluffy Fridays!