No matter how tightly she latched the bedroom window at night, Emma always found it just that bit ajar, the barest breath, in the morning. That, in itself, wasn't too surprising. This was an old house, a stately brownstone on a posh, tree-lined London street, the place they'd bought with the money Wendy Darling had left Killian in her bequest, as the old lady had wanted. Emma still wasn't quite used to driving on the wrong side of the road or the fact that she couldn't even go around the corner to the takeaway without her umbrella, but nonetheless, it was starting to feel like home. David had started private school and was taking full advantage of his role as the new, worldly American kid in the class, and Killian was commuting to Oxford, where he'd gotten back his position as tutor and professor. The two books on the history of pirates and the literary genealogy of fairytales that he'd written in Neverland were in the process of being edited into actual academic monographs, and would eventually be published to further his career. The three of them – soon, the four – were finally learning how to live together, as a family.
Sometimes, Emma wondered if she was justified in believing that this was it. Her happy ending. Not that it had been easy. After the curse broke on Storybrooke and she was reunited with her parents, when there was a confused explanation on where they all came from in the Enchanted Forest and what had happened. . . as glad as they were to find their way back to each other, it didn't change the fact that she had been alone and struggling and heartbroken for almost ten years. She wasn't sure if she could ever forgive Regina for giving her the poisoned turnover, and her parents didn't know if they could either, though Mary Margaret (Snow White, whatever) believed they should. The mayor (Evil Queen, yeah) had been deposed by the townsfolk, and was being held indefinitely. Gold still hadn't been seen since he vanished in Neverland. Cora, Mordred, Greg, and Tamara hadn't been heard from either, and there was no way to know if the intricate apparatus that Home Office had put together would be decapitated now that its leader was gone. Even further, the Storybrooke citizens couldn't venture out of town. There was still something keeping them there, and they needed to find out what, or why.
Hence, that was part of the reason that Emma had moved to London with Killian. She needed a little space from her parents; she was a grown woman, not the broken girl they'd left behind in a Boston hospital, and sometimes the reunion felt almost claustrophobic. But she had promised frequent visits back to Storybrooke, hopefully with the last piece of the puzzle in hand. Killian was continuing to research esoteric curse lore, and Emma herself had hoped that Wendy's cryptic final instruction – after all, if anywhere, that is where he will find you – might mean that there was some kind of clue hidden here. Some way to make it all make sense.
She still dreamed about Henry. She still saw his face in her mind, at unlooked-for moments. Couldn't help wondering if the fact that the window wouldn't latch might mean something. Hadn't Peter Pan, in the story, returned every night to peer in, hoping for it to be open? Was he watching her even now, in this new life with a new family? She and Killian were blissfully engaged, but the wedding hadn't yet been scheduled, what with everything else that was going on. With their second child due in four months, it was liable to wait even further. Maybe it was selfish of her, but she definitely wanted to fit into her wedding dress.
Emma glanced down at her stomach with a rueful smile. The doctor said it was going to be a girl. David was up the wall with excitement about having a sister, and Killian downright terrified about having to be father to a daughter, and while she herself was thrilled, she couldn't help but wonder if she wanted it to be a boy. Not that it could replace Henry, not that she wanted to; she'd love her child whoever and whatever it was, for themselves. That didn't change the fact that she was, and remained, haunted by the memory. By the ghost. Forever what might have been.
At last, she shook her head. Stepped forward to the window in the master bedroom, open over the misty London morning. Fall had clad the trees in gold and nipped the air with chill, and she could feel it on her face. She was going to pick David up from school later this afternoon, and they'd take the Tube up to Oxford to meet Killian for dinner. He had a flat there, so they'd stay for the weekend and enjoy exploring the historic city and bucolic English countryside. He could tell her what his research might have found. If they were any closer to any of the answers.
As she reached for the latch, though, Emma hesitated. Then, before she could ask herself what she was doing, instead of drawing the window shut, she shoved it open with both hands.
Nothing happened. No rush of magic, no wind over the waters, no blazing light, no moment of epiphany and realization. Just that. Just a faint, stupid hope. Nothing that mattered. Nothing really.
Emma let out a long sigh and turned away, stepping out into the hall. She'd go downstairs and have a second breakfast; five months pregnant and she was started eating like a hobbit. Halfway down the stairs, however, she heard a knock at the door.
She stopped, frowning. They weren't expecting anyone, as far as she knew. Or a package. Could be just a door-to-door salesman, although you didn't usually get those either in a neighborhood like this. She frowned, pulled her sweater closer around her shoulders – she could still feel that draft from upstairs, seeping through the house – and went into the foyer. Pulled the door open. "Can I help you?" she started automatically –
– and then looked –
and no it couldn't possibly
Wendy Darling had died in Neverland. Had wanted them to buy a house here, because that is where he will find you. Had known far more than she had ever told about the story she had always been part of. After all, Emma and Killian had wagered their entire hope of getting to Neverland, on Pan knowing where to find the Darlings in London, to always return there. And if so. . . if Emma had created Henry herself, had opened the window now instead of closing it, had no reason why, if Wendy's life had been given to Neverland's transformed magic, she couldn't create him again –
"Hi," said the boy standing on the front step. He grinned. "My name's Henry. I'm your son. I'm here to find you, Emma. You and Neal. And you know. Pan always gets what he wants."