Arriving back in Storybrooke would have been a breath of fresh air if it wasn't for the fact that Gold was slowly but surely dying. Neal and Emma had rushed him off the ship, resting him on a bench next to the dock, Emma calling an ambulance as the two walked back on board, him to grab the luggage and her to collect a pirate. She told Henry to stay right where he was by the railing of the ship, not wanting him by Gold or following her down to get Hook from where she'd tied him up.
She couldn't leave him stranded in Manhattan, lost in a world he'd only just entered so she had dragged him with them, ignoring his sexual comments and keeping him as far away from Gold and Henry as possible.
Just as she had brought Hook up to where Neal and Henry were talking, Cora appeared, her tight smirk hinting at worse things to come. Without even bothering to speak, she flicked something into the water, a portal appearing right before their eyes, sucking in the Jolly Roger, Hook, Henry, Neal, and Emma all still on board.
They ended up in Neverland of all places, making Emma want to both laugh and punch someone due to the irony. It took them some time to gather their bearings but they eventually took course, heading towards the shore, Captain Hook finally sailing his ship once again. She noted how right he looked, standing in charge, gazing out at sea but she decided that was a thought for another time. Preferable when she wasn't stuck in another realm with her son, ex lover, and a pirate that she was never quite sure where she stood with.
Immediately they saw a consistent billow of purple smoke coming up from the jungle, a sign of magic and also a deal. They could come and find Cora anytime they'd like, if willing to make an exchange. Feeling as if that would just be walking into trouble, literally, they decided to try and figure a way home first, although a lot of it turned into setting up camp and Henry endlessly asking Hook about his adventures. The pirate would answer with flourish, using the actual settings of the original tales as his backdrop. She'd hate to admit it, but Emma had to hide a smile more than once during his storytelling, seeing how Henry attached to him from the get-go.
Weeks passed and in the long run, it turned out to be Neal who had taken it upon himself to save them, meeting with Cora in private just off the beaten trail, hidden in the tropical greenery. She had offered him one of the beans she had stolen from the fields in Storybrooke. But the price was Emma. Cora's plan was quite simple, all things considering. She couldn't take the saviour's heart but she could still curse her for the rest of time, taking her from Henry's life, leaving more than enough room for Regina to step in.
The man had thought he was being clever, thinking that his and Emma's love was stronger than ever. He would trick Emma into taking the poison, knowing she'd only put up a fuss if asked, and then kiss her immediately afterwards, no one ever knowing any wiser. He would have his family and the bean, it was only a matter of time. He had agreed, taking the bean from Cora's hand, her grin hinting that she knew much more than he did.
When Emma had dropped like a ton of bricks, Hook and Henry appeared from close by where they were gathering fruit. They rushed to them, seeing the blonde's still body and the poisoned cup still in her hand, Neal frozen nearby.
"Mom!" Henry yelled, running up to her, shaking her body to try and wake her up. She remained motionless in the young boy's arms. Killian's blood boiled at the sight, catching on quickly. He turned on Neal, pushing him against a tree, hook poised for the kill over the man's throat.
"What have you done," he ordered, deadly quiet.
"No, no! I can save her!" Neal insisted, fear in his eyes, knowing the threat in his eyes wasn't an empty one. It didn't matter who his mother was, Hook would murder him for his actions if he didn't fix this.
"How," the pirate asked, sharp point starting to draw blood from the pressure being put on it.
"It's a sleeping curse. I just have to kiss her," he explained. Hook growled at his presumption.
"And if you can't?" he asked, the warning still there.
"I can. I promise." Neal assured both of them, meeting Henry's eyes who had Emma's head in his lap. Killian assessed him for a moment but let go against his better judgement. If it was the only way to bring her back then he would take it.
Neal let out a breath that he had been holding, relieved from escaping death.
For now, Killian thought dangerously, watching closely as the coward sat next to Emma's still body, sighing before leaning down.
A part of Hook roared, wanting nothing more than to rip the coward and his lips away from Emma and cut open his chest with his hook, letting him die slowly. But he also realized that if this is what it took to bring back his Emma, Neal's Emma if it worked, then he would take it. He would do anything to see her bright eyes again, even if it meant her sending him away at the end of it.
Neal pressed a kiss to her lips, mouth tight and stiff before pulling back quickly.
No wonder she doesn't have faith it a man's ability, Hook's snarky jealousy noted in the back of his head.
There was a moment of complete stillness, all three of them holding their breath, waiting for the moment she'd gasp for air and open her eyes. But it never came.
"No no no no," Neal muttered, holding her face in his hands as he looked on in idiotic shock. "Dammit!" he yelled, standing up as he paced a few feet away, his hands wiping over his face repeatedly, not able to believe that it didn't work.
Henry had tried to kiss Emma's forehead then, reenacting the moment she brought him back to life only a year ago but nothing happened. This magic was stronger, darker than Regina's silly apple. This couldn't be fixed by a child's hopeful kiss.
Henry then lost all hope, realizing his mom was gone forever as he pushed his face into Hook's chest, seeking comfort as cries came from his delicate body. The pirate could only raise his good hand to the back of Henry's head, clutching him as he knelt down on the ground, Henry falling into his lap. All he could do was stare helplessly at the second woman he loved be taken away from him forever.
"Oh, love," he whispered sullenly, barely even considered a sound, especially next to the child's sobs. But as Henry seemed to grip him tighter he wondered if he was heard, tears producing in his own eyes. He let a few fall as he pressed his head to the top of the closest thing he had ever considered a son.
"Henry, why don't you.." Neal began, trailing off as he reached for the small boy. Hook glared darkly up at him, the eyes of a man who didn't have much to lose anymore but before he could act Henry spoke up.
"No!" he yelled, holding onto Killian with new strength. "This is your fault! You tricked her!" His eyes weren't as cruel as the man's holding him but they were wet and sad and lost and it was worse than any wrath he could have exhibited.
"Henry," Neal said, pleadingly as he crouched next to them, making sure to keep some distance. "I thought I could save her." In a moment of stupidity he reached his hand out to wipe away his son's tears but Henry twisted his face into Killian's shirt before he could make contact. Neal looked heartbroken as he pulled his arm back but Hook couldn't find it in him to care.
Aye, it hurts to be unwanted.
They all sat there for an immeasurable amount of time, staring at the blonde's sleeping face. Eventually Henry stopped sobbing, silent tears streaking down his face as his temple rested against the front of Killian's shoulder. He could feel the cold wetness on his hair, the only indicator that Hook was crying himself. He glanced up the centuries old man but Hook's eyes stayed focused on Emma, making Henry look away, like he was invading a private moment. His gaze focused on Killian's chest, slightly bare from his shirt, his mom once describing it as ridiculous. He could still picture her playful smirk as Killian had winked back at her, puffing out his pecs cockily.
But there, lying right over his heart, was the swan necklace that his mom used to wear. It had disappeared from around her neck after finding his dad but now Captain Hook had it.
"That," Henry started, raising his head as the back of his hand wiped at the tears on his face. "That's my mom's." Hook glanced down the pendent, unsure of what to say in his momentary surprise.
"Henry-" he began, trying to think of an excuse.
"Why do you have it?" Henry asked, only sounding curious. Killian sighed painfully at the memory.
Emma had given it to him when they were setting up camp all those weeks ago. Neal and Henry had gone looking for wood, leaving the two alone for the first time since she had locked him in that damned closet.
"Think of it as a show of trust." Emma had said smiling coyly up at him after handing him the necklace. She hinted that her change of heart came while they were being transported to Neverland when Killian had ensured her and Henry's safety, trapping them against the rail with his body. Neal had found a rope to hang on to, never even considering protecting his own son, demonstrating a harsh contrast between the two men that Emma apparently couldn't ignore.
He had felt so brilliant after her words, moving to finally claim her with his mouth, showing her how much he cherished her trust but she had only laughed, playfully pushing his face way. He had taken it with a smile, knowing that he'd achieved something unattainable, if not everything he wanted.
"It was gift," he finally explained forlornly. It was all he had left of her. That and Henry but he couldn't call the boy his, not with his father less than ten feet away.
"She gave that to you?" Henry asked, sounding a bit surprised. Hook only nodded. There was a beat of silence before Henry suddenly perked up. "You can save her!" he exclaimed, childish hope leaking into all his features.
"Lad.." Hook didn't know how to break it to him. He wasn't Emma's true love. He was more like Emma's kind-of-enemy/partner-in-crime/who-the-bloody-hell-actually-knows.
"Please, Killian," Henry whispered, voice much softer now, learning long ago how to get his way. "You have to try." The kid was literally begging him and Killian thought it over for a moment. Which was worse? Give him the harsh reality or supply him with false hope only to kill it in a moment?
"Maybe that's not such a good idea," Neal piped in, taking Hook's silence as a lack of commitment. The other man growled under his breath, irked at the insinuation and letting his pride make the decision.
"Henry, there is a great chance that this won't work but I'll try. For you." Killian told him, locking his eyes with the smaller boy. "And for her." he added, glancing at Emma's body for the millionth time, sadness once again seeping into his face. Henry nodded, but it felt like he was appeasing him more so than agreeing. Killian sighed, placing a paternal kiss to the boy's forehead before moving him off his lap. He knelt down slowly next to Emma.
He kept expecting to see some sort of movement, a flutter of eyelashes, a twitch of the nose, anything but she was perfectly still.
Here's to you, love Hook thought ruefully, taking his first and last opportunity to kiss her.
Gently cupping around the curve of her jaw, long finger getting tangled in her soft hair, Killian dipped his head down, nose brushing hers as his eyes watched one last time for her own to open but he soon gave up, leaning down to gently brush his lips for a light kiss.
For the smallest moment, there was nothing, just a man kissing a lost girl. But then a gentle breeze came from them, spanning everything, dousing all of Neverland, and maybe all the realms, in that moment of magic as the world around them seemed to take a long needed breath. Emma gasped, eyes darting open softly as Killian's head hovered over hers, his smile luminescent with happiness.
"Killian," she whispered, more gentle than he had ever heard her as her hand came up to rest against his cheek, almost as if she were checking him to be real.
"Hello, love," he murmured happily, a surprised laugh leaving him as he enveloped her hand with his, pulling it down to his mouth so he could kiss her palm. "It seems you'd have some explaining to do," he teased lovingly, raising an eyebrow. She gave an airy laugh, looking at him dreamily for a moment, making his heart stutter as his smile widened, before moving to sit up. Killian helped her ease up, positioning her so she was almost leaning against his chest. For once she didn't force him to move.
"Henry," she breathed out, sounding so relieved when her eyes landed on her son. He ran up to her, waiting long enough for the two adult's moment to be through, practically throwing himself on top of her. Emma caught him gladly, gripping him to her as he refused to let go.
"I love you, mom," he mumbled into her neck.
"I love you too, kid," she responded, kissing his forehead as her fingers stroked through his hair.
"Emma." They all looked up, scowling at Neal. He at least had the decency to look guilty. "I-I'm sorry," he told her. "I thought that I had a plan, that I could have saved you." He glanced hazardously at Hook. "I was wrong," he admitted quietly.
"Let's just say you got lucky," Emma told him, sounding as if she were holding back. Neal nodded, looking down at his feet. "And Neal," she added, making him perk up slightly in hope but that was dashed at her cold glare. "That will be the last decision you ever make for me," she ordered, voice full of steel and surppressed rage, the only thing keeping her from blowing up at him was her son in her arms and Killian's hand rubbing circles into her back. Neal nodded once more.
"I'll go wait at the ship until you guys are done with your..thing," Neal muttered lamely with a vague hand gesture, looking slightly disgusted as he started to walk back down the trail, towards the sea. Hook smirked triumphantly at the man's discomfort, attempting to hide it in Emma's neck. He drew in her scent, letting it fill him. He had her back. He had her back and she was his true love. Killian felt blissfully happy for the first time in three hundred years.
"I love you," he murmured into her hair, lips ghosting over her skins with his words.
"I hate to break it to you," Emma whispered cryptically, twisting her head slightly to face him as Henry continued to snuggle into her side. "But I kinda already know that," she told him, a charming smile lighting up her face as her son giggled, her grin widening when Killian seemed unable to hide his amusement. His eyes held a new twinkle as he looked at her.
"You always must make everything so bloody difficult, don't you Swan?" he muttered, depriving her the chance to reply as his mouth covered hers.
It wasn't the kind of kiss Emma had ever pictured to have with Captain Hook, despite what she had vainly hoped in the moments her imagination would run wild. It was gentle and slow, the passion a slow simmer, making her heart go a bit faster and a blush to rise on her cheeks. In it's very essence, it was loving and adoring and it almost brought tears to her eyes. He had found her and he had saved her and a part of her would like to believe that she saved him too.
Emma could feel the pace of the kiss about to go a bit faster when a small voice spoke up.
"Um, can you guys do this later or something?" Henry interrupted, causing Killian to smile into her lips before pulling back and looking down at her son with admiration.
"You really do know how to destroy a moment, lad," he told him affectionately, Henry only smiling in response. Emma laughed at the exchange, her heart feeling lighter than it has since she brought Henry back to life.
She brought Killian's attention back to herself, hand on his cheek as she guided his gaze back to her.
"I love you, too," she told him, wanting him to hear it as much as she wanted to say it. He beamed in response as he leaned into her again.
"I know," was all he said before kissing her once more. And that was that.