Chapter 28: I'm Stuck in the Dark
But you're my flashlight
He was not dead. He was not dead. He was not dead.
These were the words that Emma kept repeating in her head as she sat in the hospital waiting room with Henry and her parents. Regina had offered to help Dr. Whale in any way she could, since it was magic that did this to him. Hook would be okay, but he was still unconscious from the spell, whatever it was. Emma knew the biggest reason Regina was helping was because Hook had saved Henry, but Emma thought also it was because Regina wasn't the Evil Queen anymore. Her one redeeming quality had changed her, for the better. Gold and Neal had left together, and the others, Mary Margaret had sent home. So now, it was just Henry who sat next to her, holding her hand, and David and Mary Margaret who had brought coffee for her and hot chocolate for Henry.
He was not dead. But Cora was.
Emma had killed her. Now that she knew Hook was alive, that he would be okay, the weight of what she had done finally fell onto her. She knew she had had to do it, but it didn't change the fact that she had killed someone.
"He'll be okay," Henry told her, thinking that's what was going through her mind.
"What? Oh yeah, I know," she said, relief evident in her voice. She was beyond relieved and ecstatic that Killian was going to be okay. She loved him. But that wasn't what she had been thinking about.
Her parents exchanged knowing looks. "Hey, Henry," Mary Margaret said. "Why don't we go see if the cafeteria is open still? I'm sure you're hungry, and I know I am."
Henry looked at Emma to see if it was okay, if she still needed him to stay with her. She smiled at him reassuringly. The threat had passed, he was safe. "Go on, kid, I could eat, and I'm sure you could too. You can't survive on hot chocolate alone, no matter how much cinnamon is in it."
He grinned at her and got up, following Mary Margaret away. David took his spot, putting his arm around his daughter. She allowed herself to put her head on his shoulder, needing the comfort more than she wanted to admit. She hadn't had anyone there for her her entire life. It felt good that there was someone here to take care of her, someone that loved her, even if she was 28 years old.
He was quiet for a moment. "When you're a king, and a soldier, you have to do things sometimes that you don't like, things that weigh down on your soul," he said quietly. She sat up and looked at him, knowing what that felt like. She waited quietly for him to continue. "The first time I killed anyone, it was one of Regina's soldiers. He had snuck in, in the night, and was about to kill Snow, and I fought him off, killing him in the process. I remember taking off his helmet and seeing him, as he lay there dead. He couldn't have been older than 20."
"How do you deal with it?" her voice was barely above a whisper. She needed to know, desperately. She needed to not be consumed by this.
"I remembered why I had to do it," he told her. "He was going to kill someone I cared about. I had to protect her. As much as it plagues my dreams still, I would do it just the same again. Would you? If we were facing Cora again, if she was threatening us all, threatening Henry? Would you do it again?"
She thought about her answer before she spoke. Would she do it again? Could she? She thought about Henry, and how Cora had tried to kill him. She thought about Hook, and how he had dove in front of Cora's curse, letting it hit him instead of Henry. She thought of his too still body on the ground. She thought of her parents, who had finally found each other again. She even thought of Regina, falling back on the ground at her own mother's curse. Could she kill Cora again to protect them all? "Yes," she said with absolute resolve. "I would."
"Being a leader isn't easy," he said sadly. "Being a protector is even harder. I know what you are going through right now, but it gets better, I promise. Just remember why you had to do it."
She nodded. She did feel better after talking to David. She had protected them. She had wanted to save them from Cora. She had wanted to end her for what she had done to Killian, what she had tried to do to Henry.
"I can't believe he did that," she said quietly.
"Hook?" David asked.
"Yeah. I mean, he must have known what the spell would do to him, that it could kill him. But he saved Henry. He said he'd protect Henry with his life, and I believed he would. But still, I can't believe it."
"I can," David said after a moment. She looked at him. "I'm serious, I can. He loves you, Emma, and he loves Henry. He would do anything for you. Anyone can see that. I'm glad he's going to be okay. And... I'm glad you have him."
"Are you?" she smirked slightly. "I didn't think you liked him, him being a ruthless pirate and all."
David rolled his eyes. "I'm your father. I'm allowed to not think he's good enough for my little girl. Still, all he's done for you since you guys came back, what he did for Henry today, I can see the man behind the pirate."
She smiled and hugged him tightly. "Thank you," she said.
"I'm still going to cut him with my sword if he hurts you," he promised her.
She laughed as they broke apart. "I wouldn't doubt it... Dad."
She wasn't what compelled her to call him that now, but it felt right to her. It felt natural. She could see the shock in his face followed by the immense happiness that overtook him. Yes, it felt right. She had accepted who they were to her, Charming and Snow. They were her family. And she was ready to move forward.
Her mom and Henry came back with sandwiches for all of them, and she dug in, not having realized how hungry she actually was.
They stood up when they saw Dr. Whale and Regina approach them. "What's wrong?" she asked immediately, noticing the look on Regina's face.
"Nothing, per say," Dr. Whale said. "We've ran every test, and there's nothing wrong with him."
"But?" Emma prompted, hearing it in his voice. She couldn't handle this. She needed to know he was going to be okay.
"He won't wake up," Regina said finally. "Whatever she hit him with, it's put him in an enchanted sleep."
"You mean like a sleeping curse?" David asked.
"Yes, but sleeping curses are cast with a potion typically," Regina said.
Snow was looking at Emma, a peculiar look on her face. "But it can be broken the same way?"
Regina too looked at Emma. "We believe so."
She nodded, knowing what they were saying. They wouldn't be able to do anything more for him. Only she could. Because she loved him, and he loved her. Because what they had wasn't going away. Because he wasn't allowed to leave her. Because he was her true love. "Where is he?"
"Room 201," Dr. Whale said.
"Do you want us to come with you?" Her mother asked.
"No," she said. "I'm okay."
And then she ran. All her life, Emma Swan had been running. She had been running away, as fast she could, from everything and everyone. Neal had believed that home was somewhere, when you left it, you just missed. And Emma knew it was true. She had been running away her whole life, looking for something to miss. And now, she was running to something, to someone. She was running to him.
She didn't stop till she got to his room, panting a bit as she stopped at the door, looking at him as she walked to his side. He was dressed in a hospital gown, with a cut on his face. He could have been sleeping, the way he looked so peaceful. But he wasn't just sleeping. He was stuck like this, waiting, waiting for her.
She touched his face lightly, her fingers tracing his jaw. She felt the love she had for him filling her, consuming her, completing her. She wasn't sure how she had gone on without him before. And she knew now, that she would never get enough of him, of loving him and being loved by him.
"You're not allowed to leave me, remember?" she whispered quietly, tracing his lips with her finger. She leaned down and kissed him, letting her love flow through her into him, letting her very being combine with his.
She felt it when it worked, because he had begun to return the kiss. She pulled away quickly, looking at him eagerly. She saw he was now smirking slightly, his eyes still closed. "Killian?"
Slowly, he opened his eyes, the smirk still present on his lips. "Hello, Swan," he said. "A pirate could get used to being awoken so pleasantly, lass."
She laughed and launched herself at her, feeling his arms encircle her as she lay next to him in the small bed. "Don't get used to it, buddy," she said. "I'm not going to wake you up every time you want to get cast into an enchanted sleep."
He smirked at her. "Aye, lass, I think you will," he said confidently. "Just as I will for you."
She rolled her eyes. "I'd rather neither of us have to get hit with a sleeping curse, personally. I'd rather work on making sure that doesn't happen."
"Fair point," he grinned and pulled her to him again, kissing her deeply. It was hungrier this time, as if he couldn't get enough of her. As he if he wanted to consume her. As if this moment was all they had.
She was reluctant to pull away. "I love you," she whispered.
"And I you, love," he kissed her again lightly. Then he looked down at himself. "Bloody hell, what the bugger am I wearing?"
She laughed. "Sorry, they don't make hospital gowns in black."
"I should have a word with the establishment then," he said sincerely.
She grinned and leaned into him, her head resting on his chest. "Thank you," she said quietly.
"For what?" he sounded genuinely curious.
"For what you did for Henry."
"I told you, love," he reached down and pulled her chin up to make her look at him. "I will protect him with my life."
"And for not leaving me," she added.
"Well, that one's easy, Swan. I don't think I could leave you if I tried. I'm a survivor, me. And I've recently come to find that you are my only means to survival."
She smiled and reached up to kiss him again. She was eager to start spending forever loving him. "I'll hold you to that."
She sighed and leaned against him again, just wanting to stay like this. "I killed her," she said quietly. She had felt better after talking to David, but he had always been a hero. He had always known he was a hero. Hook, he wasn't always a hero, even though she knew deep down, he'd always been a good man. He would understand what she was going through, because once upon a time, Emma didn't believe herself to be a hero either. "I wanted to do it. I wanted to kill her for threatening Henry, for hurting you."
"Aye," he said softly, his good hand running over her hair. He seemed to know what she was thinking. "You had to do it, love."
"I know, but I didn't think of what it would be like after I did it," she admitted. It was true. Before, it had only been about saving Henry and stopping Cora.
He was quiet for a moment. "You did it to protect your boy, and your family. That's no small thing. You did what you had to do. It wasn't something you did for enjoyment. It doesn't make you a bad person, Emma. It makes you human."
"Killing for a just cause does not make the killing easier," she said quietly.
"Nothing makes killing easier," he told her. "Not in war, or in peace, or in the throes of passion, or even doing it a hundred times, love. Nothing makes killing easy."
She sat up and looked at him, really looked at him. She could see in his eyes that he had had to do it before. David had been resolved in his reasoning. He had done it so save Snow. But Killian, he understood her. He understood how difficult this knowledge was, that she had taken a life, even if it was because of someone she cared about. She knew he would have killed Rumplestiltskin. And she knew it would have haunted him, just as it did her, despite the horrors Gold and Cora had committed in the past.
"How do you deal with it?" she asked desperately.
"You just do, love," he said sadly. "Because there's nothing else you can do."
"Do you - do you still see their faces?"
"All the time. I see all of their faces," he said. "I'm sorry, I wish I had a better answer for you, but I don't. Her face will haunt you for many nights. But you have to just push on, because there's nothing else you can do." He touched her face. "But I'll be here for you, love. We'll face her together. Always."
She smiled and leaned in to kiss him again. "I'll hold you to that," she said again. She knew this would be something that she wouldn't just get over, but she knew she could deal with it, and they would do it together.
"If I can have everyone's attention please?" David stood up, his arm still around Mary Margaret. They were all at Granny's, celebrating their victory. They had waited until Hook was out of the hospital, and he sat now across from them next to Emma and Henry.
The diner grew quiet as they waited for their King to speak. They might not be in the Enchanted Forest anymore, but they were still their leaders.
"Firstly, we just want to say how happy we are that the town and the townspeople are back to normal," he grinned.
"Hear, hear," one of the dwarves said.
David laughed at that. "It's been a long couple weeks, and an even longer 28 years," he continued. "But the important thing is that we are all still alive, and together. We may not be back in the Enchanted Forest, but we can call this place home too, which is why we wanted to take this opportunity to do something we should have done a long time ago."
Mary Margaret grinned, and stood up too. "As you all know, it is customary for us to have a coronation ceremony when a new prince or princess is born. With the looming curse, we didn't get a chance to before."
"Oh no," Emma said, knowing where this was going. She was going to kill her parents.
Her father winked at her. "So, Storybrooke, please welcome Princess Emma."
"Oh God," she hid her face in Killian's arm. "I'm going to kill them."
The people in the diner cheered, which just added to her embarrassment. She saw her parents were looking at her mischievously. Her mom beckoned her up. Yup, she was definitely going to kill them. She sighed, and stood, looking at them. "Thank you," she said simply. "Please don't call me princess. It's still just Emma and I'm still the sheriff. I will lock you up."
Her parents laughed, and it took a minute for the others to follow, not knowing if she was kidding or not. Hook grinned at her when she sat back down. "Well love, I told you before you'd make a helluva princess."
"Shut up," she rolled her eyes. Henry grinned.
When the commotion finally died down, she noticed Regina sitting alone at the bar. She got out of the booth and went over to her. "Hey," she said.
Regina looked at her. "Swan."
"I just wanted to say thank you," she said. "For finding the heart, even when you knew what we'd have to do. For helping us. For helping Killian. I know it couldn't have been easy."
Regina stared at her. No one had realized so far that it must have been hard for her, actively working to kill her mother. Oh, she had hated Cora, ever since she killed Daniel, no even before that. And she was not sad to see her go. But she was still her mother. While she knew it was necessary, it wasn't easy. "Thank you for saying that."
Emma nodded. "Why don't you come sit with us?"
"I think I'll pass," Regina said.
"Come on," Emma prodded. "I know it would make Henry happy."
She sighed and conceded finally. She would do anything for Henry of course. She stood and followed Emma back to their table. "Hey mom," Henry grinned when they sat down again.
Hook's arm was back around her immediately, and Emma saw David's eyes narrow slightly at that before he let it go. She wanted to laugh but contained it.
Killian was her true love, and her father was just going to have to live with that.
New chapter! I promised it would be this weekend :) what do you guys think? I haven't decided if it's going to be one more chapter and then the epilogue or just the epilogue. It depends how the writing of the next chapter goes. I want to thank you guys for reading this again. I don't deserve you! Okay so let me know what you thought of this :)