AN: Last chapter guys. It was a fun story to write. Thanks for sticking around. Until next time...


Epilogue

Emma found it easy to become accustomed to the bustle of New York. The subway had taken some getting used to, but she made quick work of it. Her first few weeks had been filled with waiting tables and playing her guitar for the morning commuters. She didn't get the reception she was used to back home, but depending on the day, she would make enough extra money for some light shopping. It was exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.

Perhaps the most difficult thing for Emma was having to spend Christmas alone. She had grown accustomed to Mary Margaret's annual Christmas Eve dinner over the years, erasing the memories of the winters spent on the streets. She had all but forgotten what it had felt like to be without family or friends. She was even deprived of seeing her son, with nothing but a brief phone call that morning to wish him well.

Neal had Henry for the holidays, a fact that she was not all too thrilled about, but she bit her tongue, not wanting to stir the pot with Mr. Gold who was watching her closely, ready to pounce on any mistake she made or inconvenience she caused. To make matters worse, a freak snow storm had shut down all of the airports in the area, cancelling all incoming flights from Maine and leaving her friends stranded back home. She had spent her Christmas eating a cup of ramen noodles on the floor of her far-too-small-for-the-price-she-was-paying apartment and hoping for a better New Year.

After a particularly long shift at the bar, Emma came home to find Mary Margaret and David at her door.

"Surprise!" they shouted in unison, brandishing two bottles of champagne each, ready to ring in the New Year.

Emma nearly tackled them on sight, feeling as if she hadn't seen her friends in forever. She quickly let them into her apartment, happy that the moving company had finally finished delivering all her belongings from Granny's.

"I can't believe you guys made it. How'd you afford it? I thought you couldn't get a refund on the tickets."

Mary Margaret smirked. "Let's just say I know a guy."

Emma laughed and poured everyone a drink. She turned on the TV to the first countdown channel she could find, taking in just how late she had come home. There were only 10 minutes left until the New Year and Emma couldn't wait.

As she stood around the coffee table, laughing with her best friends, she willed the timer to move faster, ready to be free of the last year of her life and all the struggles that came with it. Although she had to admit, it wasn't all bad.

With a few minutes left, Emma was already beginning to pour fresh glasses of champagne for her and her friends. They had a lot of ground to cover if they didn't want all the bottles to go to waste.

"Make sure you get an extra glass, Emma," Mary Margaret called from the couch where she had made herself cozy with David. She nuzzled her head into his chest.

Emma was about to ask what she meant when there was a knock at the door. She opened it and her heart nearly leapt from her chest at the sight of Killian. She was taken slightly aback by his choice in wardrobe, ditching his suit and tie in favour of a blue shirt and black leather jacket. She hadn't even known he owned leather, but she wouldn't deny that it was a good look. Yup, she had definitely rubbed off on him.

"How did you—"she asked in amazement as she pulled him into the apartment. Her hands flew to his face, her thumbs gliding gently along his jaw. She couldn't stop touching him, afraid that he would disappear if she did.

Killian kissed the palm of her hand. "Mary Margaret knows a guy?"

They both looked at the woman behind them who was smiling knowingly. "You better be quick. Fifteen seconds left."

Emma led the way as Killian closed the door behind them. She was about to offer him something to drink when he swirled her around to face him. A giggle escaped Emma as he did. It was a sweet sound, filled with a happiness Emma had never thought she would be capable of feeling again.

Ten. Nine. Eight.

Killian allowed himself to take a step back from Emma, desperately taking in all of her as if he had been starving for far too long. "Emma you are so—"

Six. Five.

Emma blushed and simply said, "I know."

Three. Two. One.

Without a millisecond to spare, Killian pulled Emma into him, kissing her more passionately than he had ever before, needing to be as close to her as possible. Everywhere their bodies met sent sparks across their skin. Emma began to push off his jacket when she heard Mary Margaret and David cheer from the couch, the abrupt noise causing the couple to separate with a start. Killian cursed under his breath, nostrils flaring slightly as he willed the other couple away so he could finally have some time alone with Emma.

His expression caused Emma to laugh. The sound was more beautiful than any song Killian had ever heard. He looked down at Emma, her face still cupped in his hands, and smiled widely, eyes lit in amazement at the picture before him. Words couldn't express how happy he felt in that moment and he knew that Emma felt it too.

"Unbelievable," he whispered, his thumb brushing lightly against her cheek. "I don't know if I can last until spring break to see you again."

In a surprising turn of events, Regina hadn't fired Killian on the spot. She decided to put his career in his own hands. He would take a pay cut to compensate for the money lost, that much was given, but the real choice he was faced with was whether or not he was willing to issue a public apology to Neal—and on his talk show no less. If he did, then he would be welcomed back with open arms after the holidays. If not, then his contract would be terminated. He only had a few more days to make his decision.

"Maybe you don't have to wait that long," Emma hinted. Killian raised an eyebrow. "Didn't you say you could teach anywhere?"

Killian's lips curled into a cheeky smile. He had predicted the conversation would take this turn at some point in the night and had already given some thought to the idea that Emma was forming in her mind. "I did say that, didn't I?"

"You did."

"I did."

Emma did her best to glare at Killian but it was in vain. "So maybe you should."

"Maybe."

"Killian, you make it so hard to love you."

"For that I won't apologize."

She rested her head on his chest and listened to his steady heartbeat, still not believing that he was there and that he was hers.

"So what do you think? Do you want to make the last leap into betraying England and become a New Yorker?"

Killian placed a kiss on Emma's head, breathing in her sweet scent as he did. "For you, Emma? I would do anything."