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Still on cloud nine after finally having the moment with his daughter he had been desperately wishing for, Charming could not stop looking at Emma, who had been sitting no more than a few inches from him for the past hour; she was so beautiful, almost the exact copy of his wife if it wasn't for his blonde hair and blue eyes. It still amazed him how he and Snow had created a child so perfect in every way. His train of thought was broken when he remembered something and without thinking twice reached for Emma's arm, rolling her sleeve up and checking her forearm like his life depended on it.
"Whoa there, what are you doing?" Emma was startled to say the least. After such an emotionally draining hour, the last thing she was expecting was for her father to tackle her arm with that much energy. Charming did not answer her question, still examining his daughter's arm with a focus Emma had never seen before. His eyes finally stopped at a spot and Emma could see them glistening. "Uh… okay… What's going on?"
Charming glanced up to face his daughter with an affectionate smile on his face. Emma could tell there were a hundred emotions going through his mind, though in her very confused state she was not sure what emotions they were exactly. The prince looked back down at her arm and gently drew lines on it before he finally began, "The day you were born and I had to take you to the wardrobe, I had this intuition telling me it would be a long time before I saw you again." Emma was still puzzled. Okay… What does my arm have to do with anything, though? She decided not to say anything and to just let David go on. "When I was fighting Regina's knights, I had two things going through my mind; first, to keep you safe, and second… I was trying to come up with reasons not to send you away, to convince myself you would be better off with us. But in the end, I couldn't come up with any better reasons than "I love her too much to let her go." Emma now tried to fight back the tears that formed in her eyes. While she was growing used to having people in her life who cared about her, hearing someone tell her they love her still sent a wave of emotions right through her heart. "I just knew it had to be done and though it was the sharpest pain I have ever been in, I just couldn't let the curse hurt you too."
Charming took a deep breath and looked up to see an attentive Emma looking right into his eyes. He was half expecting her to walk away claiming she had a headache or just giving him any other lame excuse not to listen to what he had to say, but surprisingly, she just nodded with a shy smile and patiently waited for him to continue. "But I just couldn't let you go like that, I needed something to hold on to, anything to give me hope that you would come back to us and that you would still be our little girl… and then I saw this right here," he said pointing at a tiny yet noticeable heart-shaped freckle Emma had never noticed on her left arm. Then, he began to roll up his own sleeve and showed his daughter a heart-shaped freckle on his own arm. "You might have your mother's chin and nose and beauty and kindness, but this here is our thing, and I knew it would keep us connected no matter how far apart we were." Unexpectedly, Charming let out a quiet laugh, confusing Emma a little. "I guess when they told you Prince Charming was your dad you weren't expecting this cheesy dork, were you?" Emma now let out a small laugh herself. "But as cheesy as it may sound to anyone else, to me that little freckle was a little bit of hope I could always hold on to. And my hope was fulfilled now that I see you still have it… because it tells me you still are my baby girl."
When Snow and Henry walked back into the family's apartment, they gasped in surprise at what they saw. After many failed attempts to get Emma to bond with Charming, Snow had finally decided to give her daughter her space and let her decide when she was ready to open up to her father. While Emma had promised she would give him a chance, Snow could never in her wildest dreams imagine that chance would come so soon.
Emma slept peacefully on the couch, her head resting on Charming's chest, and his arms wrapped protectively around the blonde's small frame. Snow closed her eyes for a few seconds and was brought back to the moment she handed her precious newborn to her husband all those years ago. Only this time, her mind played the moment differently. Instead of running out the door with Emma and leaving behind a heartbroken Snow, Charming gently moved his exhausted wife to the opposite side of the bed so he could sit next to her and hold the baby close to Snow; time seemed to stop as she and her husband looked at the most beautiful thing they had ever created –and would ever create.
Snow had been lost in her thoughts, eyes closed and a smile on her face, for a little while before she was brought back to reality by Henry, who was tapping on her arm with a big grin on his face. "I told you grandma, I knew she would come around!" If there was one person in this world –and in other worlds as well– that would be as happy as she was about Emma and Charming spending time together, that person was Henry. The little boy had longed for a family for so long, and after many lonely years he finally had that. All that had still been missing was for Emma to accept David as her father, and it seemed that it was finally happening.
Snow wanted to join her husband and daughter and share the moment with them, after all she had also been separated from Emma for twenty eight years and longed to be close to her. She knew it was risky to wake them up, as she knew her daughter well enough to know Emma might bring her walls back up just as fast and she had surprisingly brought them down. Still, she could not fight her overwhelming urge to have her husband and daughter in her arms and finally feel like the family they should have been from the beginning.
"Hey Henry, why don't you go take a shower while I fix us all some dinner?" Snow simply could not steal her husband's thunder in the presence of Henry. She was embarrassed that she was giving in to her temptations and refused to ruin Charming's moment in front of her grandson.
"But grandma! When they wake up I want to be here to hear about it too!"
"Well, if you take your shower now I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to hear all about it over dinner."
With that, Henry took off and ran upstairs straight into the bathroom. The boy's shoes and clothes were thrown all over the place, and Snow couldn't help but be amused by how Henry could still be a little boy even after all the craziness he had been through. Her thoughts were soon interrupted by Emma, whose breathing became heavy as she adjusted herself in her father's arms. Snow did not notice her own head tilting slightly to the side as the smile she had on her face while thinking about her grandson became a wide grin as she looked at her daughter.
Emma looked like an angel. Her perfect curls covered the entire right side of her face, and her hand tightly grasped David's shirt. That was a moment Snow wanted to keep in her memory for the rest of her life. Twenty nine years later, her husband was finally able to hold their daughter in his arms; these were the two people Snow loved more than anything she had ever known, and if she could freeze the picture at this moment, she knew she would.
The absolute peace she felt at that moment was interrupted by a still sleeping Emma, who began to breathe heavily and to move in agitation. The blonde started whispering words her mother tried to grasp but couldn't, and Snow's heart shrank in anguish as she realized her daughter was having a nightmare. It wasn't too long until Emma's whispers became loud words, "Don't do it! No! No! Don't leave me!" Snow wanted to run to her daughter and hold her, and tell her that everything would be okay. How could anyone ever leave her? She wasn't sure waking Emma up was the best approach to the problem, so she stood where she was and prayed that her daughter's nightmares would go away on their own. She soon realized her prayers were unsuccessful, as Emma continued, "Please don't leave me! I promise I'll be good! Please, daddy, please!" Charming woke up in a start at the word, and saw a crying Snow standing a few feet from them, eyes tightly shut and her hands covering her ears in an attempt not to see or hear her daughter so upset.
Charming was still a little dizzy from the way he had just woken up, but hearing the word daddy was like turning a switch on in him and it immediately brought out his protective side. He pulled Emma even tighter into his arms and rubbed circles on her back in an attempt to comfort his daughter. He noticed she was sweating and trembling, and felt his own heart tighten in his chest. He wasn't sure what he was doing or even if he knew how to do it, but he suddenly found himself humming a lullaby while holding his daughter tight on his lap. Emma seemed to be comforted by her father's tight grip as she began to calm down after a few minutes. When David noticed that Emma was back into deep sleep, he brought her closer to him and whispered to her, "I'm never leaving you again, baby girl."