Their Story isn't Over, But This One Is

In that instant, a tranquil numbness soothed the pain and pleasure had begun to seep through the cracks. When he'd last closed his eyes he hadn't planned to wake up. While he had been fighting for consciousness, his thoughts had run their own course, grasping for anything that might keep him awake. In all the years he'd spent gathering memories, the ones burning brightest were of his blonde savior. Emma was the light that had guided him, a lighthouse in a chaotic storm. The light he'd been walking towards since their first meeting. And for a time, he had no way to measure; thoughts of her had been a comfort. But it was his fortune returned, for none of it lasted. The agony of the curse that was killing him had crossed the line from bearable suffering, a distant dream. He was falling where there was no return. And in the end, the true end, the last thoughts he could account for were not fond memories but the loss of a future. It was the first time in so many years he did not look up his own path with decided morbidity. There was nothing of the scheme that had shaped the last three centuries of his life. In the end, he thought of his beginning. The one that had started, but that he would never finish. And if he had any tears, any control or function over the body that was failing him, he'd have cried at the loss. Because he finally wanted to live and here he was dying.

Another pulse of feeling flickered and died. Warmth, wet, pressing bliss igniting him slowly at first, then all at once—tangible weight in the mouth pushing the last of her strength into a kiss that had tears running down her cheeks. Then he was conscious. And he should have kept his bloody mouth shut.

When Emma heard him speak, she pulled away and with her went the comatose detachment that had shielded him. The smirk he'd been wearing twisted into a grimace as true pain flooded every nerve and blanketed his senses in one quick surge before becoming a dull ache. Every limb throbbed and breathing became an effort, but he was alive and that was a step forward.

"Killian?" Emma sat forward, smiling so fully it brought the sun to shame. She smiled through the tears pouring down her face. Then she wiped them away with the back of her hand, kneeling over him. "You—" She sniffed, "you scared me for a second there." A broken laugh fell from her throat that pushed more tears from her eyes.

"Just keeping you on your toes, love." He wasn't sure if he smirked or grimaced, but either way it hurt. Emma's fingers ghosted over his hair, stroking lightly as she bent her head and closed her eyes. He was still tired, still sore and drained, but he let his eyes fall closed without a fight this time. Her hands, her warmth, her scent…all he wanted was to appreciate the feel of her, the reality of it. He'd have been content with this, just as it was. She rubbed her forehead along his, dripping silent tears over his face. Their noses brushed with each slow turn of her head. Eventually, the force of exhaustion pulled him to sleep. This time he was confident he'd wake up.

When he opened his eyes, he was in another of those white rooms with the cotton clothes and obnoxious lights. He found he could move his arms, which proved two things, that he wasn't chained to the bed and that movement didn't cause him considerable effort or nauseating pain. In fact, he felt fine, actually rested and comfortable. He sat straight without issue, the blankets falling into his lap, while he scanned the room for his clothes. They were folded neatly on a chair with his boots thrown underneath, right next to his bed.

Whatever curse he'd been under, it was over now. Besides a bit of stiffness in his legs, he felt ready to be out of that drab hospital. He began his second fight with a hospital gown and this round he had his hook as an advantage. The pieces lay where they fell when he began sorting his own clothes. The shirt was the first thing he found and he had just begun to pull it over his head when the door opened.

"Good mornin—Oh." Mary Margret's mouth fell open, her eyes growing round. "Oh. Oh. My God. I am…" She lifted a hand to her eyes, backing into David as she tried to retreat. "I'm so sorry. I should…knock. I'm sorry. I'll just—we'll just be out here until you're, hm, more decent. Okay? Okay." Nervous words tumbled from her mouth until her hand finally found the door handle and she slammed it shut.

Killian had never considered himself modest, but his shirt had been in place seconds after she'd opened the door. The lower half was completely hidden by the bed. Still, it brought a cheeky grin to his face as he finished with the rest of his clothes before opening the door.

Mary Margret couldn't meet his eyes, her fair skin burning red. David didn't seem too pleased with the situation, his mouth a straight firm line of disapproval. But honestly, it wasn't Killian's fault.

"While I've nothing to hide, you might serve us both better by knocking." He felt it a personal accomplishment that he did not take full advantage of the ammunition present in the situation they'd presented. Her pursed lipped nod was her only reply. He stepped aside and motioned for them to enter. "I assume you have something to tell me?"

"Yes. Actually, we did." Mary Margret looked at her husband, her fingers twisting around each other. "What we, both of us, wanted to say was that…" She let out a breath, the flush fading from her cheeks. "Is that you have proved to be so much more than we had given you credit for. Emma…she's a special girl. She deserves the kind of man that will fight to keep her. That will put her first and treat her like she's special, because she is and I'm not sure she'll ever realize that. I would never have guessed that person to be you, not at first…" She smiled, the effect of which was akin to comfort. "But I was wrong. You've given Emma something real; you've done for her what no one else has. Even Henry or me…we've shown her what a family can be, but you've shown her what love can be and that is so very important." She looked down where her fingers were laced with David's. "Hook—I mean, Killian. You two bring out the best in each other, and that's what true loves are meant to do."

At first, Killian was silent. Appreciating exactly what Mary Margret was saying. It was not something he'd ever imagined himself hearing, let alone that he'd be grateful and a little touched. Acceptance was not the game here. His only goal, his only concern, had been for Emma and her affections. It was apparent now that Emma would come with more than just Henry. It came with her parents, her friends and all the other characters of Storybrooke. As unnatural as it sounded to him, to his innate sense of drifting with the wind, it didn't scare him.

"You have my word," He looked to each of them, "That for as long as I breathe Emma's happiness will be my life's ambition. You said to me once that there was no room for revenge if I was to truly love your daughter." He paused, letting out a small sigh. "I may not have understood you then, but I do now. You'll have to forgive me, I lack much experience when it comes to a parent's concern for their child. But what I mean to say is that I am grateful…for your approval of me. When I might not have been before."

Mary Margret took his right hand, squeezing it and beaming with that sunshine and rainbow smile. "If it makes any difference, we're not really used to dealing with the pirate boyfriend issue either. We'll have to figure it out together."

He smiled, staring at his hand where she held it. This motherly thing she had a habit of inflicting…it was going to take some getting used to.

David stepped forward now that his wife had finished. "A few days ago, I would have started this conversation with, 'you break her heart, I break your neck.'" The Prince sighed, holding out his hand. "But that doesn't really feel necessary now."

Feeling their heart to heart had run its course, Killian asked where he could find Emma. If he was being honest, he'd been disappointed that Emma hadn't been the first to greet him.

"Well, you've been asleep for a few days now. Emma's been busy taking care of things…mostly Cora related."

"Ah yes. Cora. What did happen after I…well, died?"

She shrugged, her smile falling. "After we got you out of there, there was a bit of a stand-off. Emma still had Cora's heart and some of the people were calling for her to crush it…others to use it to control Cora…But Emma doesn't take orders very well. In the end, she felt a show of faith was the best course of action."

"Faith? In whom?"

"In Regina." Mary Margret didn't sound as if she supported this plan. He face looked worried and David's hand went to her shoulder.

"So she gave the heart to Regina." From what Killian had observed of that family, crushing that heart would have been a kindness to both Storybrooke and Regina.

"Yes. She put the power in Regina's hands hoping that she'd make the right decision. For herself and for Henry."

"And what did the Queen do with this show of faith?"

"Regina returned the heat to its rightful home." Mary Margret toyed with her necklace, looking thoughtful as she recalled the memories. "Cora protested at first, but then the heart went in and she looked at Regina…and smiled. It was—it was actually very touching. I don't think she has ever seen her daughter, not really. There had never ever been love in her eyes, never. Not until two days ago."

Killian was skeptical of showing any faith in either Regina or her mother. Regina's heart had been intact when she'd ordered him to kill Cora, he didn't hold much stock in Cora's intent or means changing because of hers had returned. Maybe nothing would come of it and both of them could find a way to get along that didn't involve destroying Storybrooke. But only time would test that theory. He did fully intend on relaying his concerns to Emma, however, just not in the immediate future.

"Mom, Dad." Emma halted in the doorway, masking her surprise with a shrug as she put her hands in her back pockets. "What, uh, what're you doing here?"

"We were just leaving." Mary Margret took David's hand and halted only to squeeze Emma's before leaving. And then they were alone. Seemed that serious talks in hospital rooms were becoming a bit of a pattern for them.

"Well then." He started, walking around the bed, arms crossed. "Here we are. Back where it all started." He smirked, then cleared his throat. "Not technically where it all began, but where you first proved the knight to my damsel in distress."

"Come on, it's not like that." She smirked, though. "And, for the record, you should stop getting yourself nearly killed." She chuckled. He could see that something weighed on her mind, that there something she wanted to say. The better part of him hoped it was a confession. Much the same as he had made just before things had gone all to hell. Emma had meant to reply, but her answer was cut short. Whatever had inspired him to announce his feelings for her, there was neither remorse nor denying it. But the situation was unresolved. The unspoken rejection or reciprocation was standing between them, a force that kept them from engaging physically thus far into the conversation.

His fear remained, however. Evidence that Emma cared was undeniable. Whether that implied deeper affections was uncertain. She'd adamantly protested the magic of true love's kiss. As surely as he wanted to believe in their happily-ever-after, or however the stories put it, there was no certainty in her intentions. Caring was not the same as love and true love could take other forms than that of romantic love. And though he wouldn't argue or protest whatever decision she made, the nervous pounding in his chest was proof enough that a choice not in his, or their, favor would be a devastating blow.

Her feet carried her to him, but not close enough to touch. "Look. I think I owe you some...explaining…so here it is. Back there, I thought you were gone. You…looked, felt…dead. Gone. I don't know what…" She took a breath and rubbed her fingers over her face. "I've never felt like that before. Not—here's the thing. I lose people all the time…or, they'd lose me. So I know what it feels like when people leave. When they're taken away from you. You know, it's always been…that moment of denial. For a second. Then it sinks in and it's just…not surprising. It's just what happens to me. Just one more person gone. One more reason why I should only worry about myself. One more reason to stay alone. And it made me harder. Each time, it just, it makes you want to be less vulnerable." She sniffed, but her eyes were still dry. Then she smiled. "So when I say I know what it feels like to lose someone, I do. I've been there…" She stopped and sucked in a sob, holding herself together.

While she spoke he had stayed where he sat. There was nothing so terrible as the tears of Emma Swan. But now he moved so that they were toe to toe. His eyes were on her as he lifted her chin with the side of his finger. The smile she wore coaxed a tear down her cheek.

"I know what I've been saying. About this…the whole 'true love' thing. I wouldn't accept it then, but now…but I can now. Not because of any kiss or because destiny says so. Because when you had me locked in that jail cell," She let out a chocked laugh, "When you locked me in there, you came back. When I asked you why you'd given up on revenge, even when you swore up and down how hard it was, you said it was for me but I know it was for you, for us too. When I wanted to leave, call this whole 'us' thing nonsense and move on, you wouldn't stop. You just kept pushing and you've done that since the beginning. And I'm just—no one's ever really tried that hard with me. No one's bothered. And I don't always make it easy."

He laughed, wiping another stray tear with his thumb. "You certainly don't, lass. I've never met a woman more headstrong and I've been around a good while." He brushed her hair from her face where it stuck to her wet cheeks. "Nor a more brilliant, strong, admirable one. I'd lived a long time believing that I could never be happy again. There was no peace or hope left for me. Until I'd found a path worth following."

They stood a moment, hearts beating soundly in time, their chests pressed together. He dipped his head, meeting her mouth with parted lips. Emma breathed into him, her hands holding the back of his neck while her tongue ignited with passion. Lusty moans rattled against tonsils while hands groped and squeezed.

Emma pulled him back by his hair, looking up at him with darkened eyes. "I'm in love you." She panted, her fingers churning the hair at his neck. "I wanted to say it…"

Breathing labored, his reply was low and raspy. "I am…devoutly," her mouth trailed down his neck, pulling him backward with lips and teeth, "Gods, maddeningly…in love with you."

They fell backward, the bed breaking their fall. It had been Emma who'd objected to a hospital room the first time, more largely based on the fear of them being discovered together intimately. This time there was no stopping in sight.

Over the next hour they did very little talking. There would be time for talking later, and for however long they wanted. Their story doesn't end with them falling in love or having lots of really good sex. Their future had never been brighter. And it was all thanks to a kiss that neither wanted. A destiny that neither one could understand. A fate that had transcended realms and time whether they liked it or not. Something greater had forced their journeys to become one, but they had chosen the courage to walk that path together.

The EndFor real this time...

A/N: So it's finally done. I hope everyone enjoyed this final chapter. And I hope you don't hate me too much for the long hiatus in uploading. I was fail. A huge- colossal- ginormous- hug to everyone who follows/favorites/reviews. You all made this thing happen. Seriously. Love to everyone.

And I would like to thank itscalledtrustdarling for inspiring me to get working on this last chapter. I might not have gotten around to it until Season Three otherwise.

Also, a huge thank you to my beta for this chapter, musingsfrommymessymind. She was a big help with the final touches this chapter needed.

And now I am leaving. It has been a pleasure writing this story and sharing it with all of you. Even the times when it was a grueling pulling hair out pain. I still loved it. My plan is to find some inspiration in Season Three for another multichapter. If not, definitely be on the look out for one-shots. Until next time my lovely readers. ^_^