Author's note: Well, this is it. Short, but hopefully intriguing. Remember, there WILL be a third part, so please don't kill me. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Still not mine.
"Killian, he can't," Emma cried. "He's only eleven, for Christ's sake!"
"Lass, I'll be right behind him. It will be fine, I promise." Killian leaned in and stole a kiss from her lips.
"Damn pirate," Emma muttered, following Killian up to the helm. Their little family vacation was over and for some reason, Killian thought this was a good time to teach Henry how to dock the Jolly Roger into her berth at the pier. Nevermind that their son was eleven and could barely see over the wheel. No, to Captain Killian Jones, this was the best idea ever.
"You worry too much, Mom," Henry said, smiling brightly at her. Henry – as they all were – was tanner and thinner than when they left. He'd gotten a bit taller too. Or maybe that was Emma's imagination. She'd missed so much of his growing up, she couldn't be sure.
"See, love?" Killian said, standing directly behind Henry, ready to step in if necessary. "Right as rain."
Emma tried to find something wrong with the picture in front of her and came up empty. At length, she relented. "Fine, I'll finish packing," she said. "But if we crash, I'm totally blaming you two." Her two boys gave her identical mischievous grins and Emma rolled her eyes, a smile tugging at her lips nonetheless.
Leaving the boys to it, Emma headed back to the captain's quarters. She was pretty sure everything was packed, but it never hurt to double check. She had a feeling they wouldn't be back on the Roger for a while once they returned. Three weeks solid of life at sea was about all she could stand. Other than their – thankfully – uneventful trip to Kansas, they'd remained close to the coast, stopping to spend some time on the beach, do a bit of sight seeing. It was Killian's first long trip to anywhere in her world and she wanted him to enjoy it.
Emma spent the next few minutes checking their bags, including the huge bag of souvenirs and trinkets they were bringing back. Henry had wanted to buy something almost everywhere they went – New Orleans, Mobile, Miami, Savannah, even Kansas – for everyone they knew back in Storybrooke. Unless they found some way to break the border spell without ending the world or wiping everyone's memories, it was the most of the outside world their friends and family would ever know. Emma held up the snow globe she'd gotten for Mary Margaret in Miami. It was cheesy with "snow" falling over some palm trees and a beach chair. Having been on this vacation, it made her sad that her parents couldn't join them. Mary Margaret and David would never get to see a palm tree in real life; all they had was some cheap plastic.
Frowning, Emma put the rest of the trinkets away. This wasn't the time for wallowing. She'd just had an amazing trip with her fiance and her son; now they were on their way home.
"Mom, have you seen my phone?" Henry asked. They had just docked – not crashed – at the pier.
"Nope," Emma replied, still unsure about Henry even having a phone. But Regina had insisted. "Why?"
"No reason," he said vaguely. "Maybe I left it my cabin. I'll go look."
Emma raised slightly bemused brow at her son as he walked away. What was that about? "Something the matter, love?" Killian said, replacing Henry at the threshold.
"Has Henry been acting odd the last day or so to you?"
"I can't say that he has," Killian said, looking at her curiously. "What do you think the lad's up to, Emma?"
"I don't know, but I'm sure it's something." Her lie detector was definitely getting a weird vibe.
"How about you save the interrogation for after we get home? Fewer places for him to hide."
Emma laughed. "Okay, pirate. We'll do this your way." Together, they collected their bags and headed out to the main deck. "Henry!" Emma called. "Hurry up!"
Her son came pounding up the crew stairs, lugging his own bulging bag. "Here!" he said, thrusting his now found phone into his pocket. "Okay, I'm ready."
In no time, the three of them were piling bags and trinkets into Emma's Bug. "Really, love," Killian complained. "This car is nowhere near big enough for the three of us and our things. Why didn't we call David again?"
"Because he's still on duty," Emma admonished. "And it was more than nice of him to give me all this time off, so button it, buddy."
But Killian was right; the Bug was too small. Emma couldn't even see out the back window as she pulled out of the parking lot by the docks to head back to their apartment. Fortunately, she knew the road by heart, so she was pretty confident they wouldn't get into some kind of accident.
"What are all these cars doing here?" Emma asked, as she pulled into her normal space. The road in front of her building was loaded with cars. Was there an open house for the apartment across the hall that she didn't now about? Henry, however, was sitting in the back of the car, grinning. "What do you know, kid?" Emma asked, suspiciously.
"Nothing," Henry said in that time honored way that meant "everything."
Emma rolled her eyes. "Fine." She got out of the car, Killian following suit as he pulled the seat back to allow Henry to exit the Bug. She stalked over to the door and put her key in the lock. Killian was at her side in seconds, grabbing her free hand. Emma unlocked the door and pushed it open.
Unlike the last time, Emma really did jump, no acting required. Beside her, Killian peered over her shoulder with wide eyes. "I'll be damned," he said in a low awed voice.
Behind them, Henry was pushing them into the apartment. "See?" he was saying. "I told you it would work."
Emma shook her head, looking around at all the people crammed into her relatively tiny apartment. "What is going on?"
"It's a surprise engagement party, silly," Ruby said from across the room. "You didn't really think we were gonna let this pass, did you?"
Henry was hugging his grandparents and beaming at them. "They didn't suspect a thing," he said proudly.
"So this is what all those phone calls were about?" Emma asked. Henry had been calling home a lot over the last couple of days of their trip; Emma hadn't thought anything of it until Henry had asked about his supposedly missing phone.
"It was all Henry's idea," Mary Margaret said. "And we..."
"Couldn't resist a party," Emma finished for her. But she found herself grinning. All of their friends were there: Ruby and Granny, her parents, Gawain looking slightly awkward in modern clothes, the dwarves, Mother Superior, even Regina. There was a sign the hung in the kitchen, 'CONGRATULATIONS KILLIAN AND EMMA,' that was way too big, but she appreciated the thought.
Killian, much to Emma's amusement, bowed formally at David and Mary Margaret. "A lovely thought, your Majesties. Thank you."
David laughed and came over to clap Killian on the back. "Come on, pirate. There's a bottle of rum with your name on it."
From that moment on, Emma hardly got a free minute. She was pulled hither and thither, accepting people's congratulations and well wishes. Thankfully, Mary Margaret had decided against gifts, joking instead that she'd saved that for the wedding. Emma was already cringing at the thought. But she'd promised Killian. A wedding on the deck of the Jolly Roger. And she'd give it to him.
Killian reappeared at her side just as Gawain made his way over to her. "So you're finally making a honest man of him, Emma?" the knight joked.
"Watch it, mate," Killian said, in mock indignation. "We still have unfinished business, you and I."
Emma rolled her eyes. "How's Storybrooke treating you, Gawain? Sorry we didn't get to see you much before we left."
"Your parents have been most welcoming," the knight assured her. "It's definitely an...adjustment, but fascinating all the same."
"You should have see Killian's adjustment," Emma said. "But he caught on pretty fast."
"And how would you know?" Killian shot back. "You spent my first weeks in this realm studiously ignoring me!"
Emma blushed. She'd almost forgotten about that. Killian had become such an essential part of her life that sometimes she forgot about their rocky start. "But I was the one who taught you to use things like the phone and coffee maker," she said, recovering. "Don't I get points for that?"
Killian grinned and kissed her cheek. "Aye, love."
"And you have already discovered the way to a successful marriage, my friend," Gawain said, chuckling. "The lady is always right."
Killian barked a laugh. "No, Emma's just especially brilliant," he said. "Always has been."
Emma could feel the flush climb her neck. She decided to change the subject. "So, I've been thinking," she said hurriedly, "about the wedding." It was only a tiny lie. Seeing Gawain there, she latched on to something Guinevere had told her weeks ago. "You're a knight of the Round Table, right?" Gawain nodded. "And you can perform weddings?"
"What are you getting at, love?" Killian asked.
"Well, you're the groom, Killian. I know that a captain can perform weddings, but you can't marry yourself, right? So I thought Gawain could do it. Lancelot married my parents; Guinevere told me."
"That sounds like Lancelot," Gawain said, smiling sadly. "Such a romantic. If that is something you truly wish Emma, I would be honored to perform the ceremony."
"Killian?" Emma asked, looking at him hopefully.
"As you wish, my love," he said, grinning at her.
"One thing down," Emma joked. "Mary Margaret will be thrilled." She was about to say something else, when she felt a tug on her sleeve.
"Emma?" said a voice she didn't recognize. "Could I have a word?"
Emma looked in the direction of the voice. It was a gorgeous brunette that she had never seen before. But the woman seemed to know her, Emma could see that in her eyes. "Um, okay," she said warily.
"What, love?" Killian asked, concerned.
Emma looked from the brunette to Killian. "You don't see her?"
"See who? Emma, are you feeling alright?"
"Emma," the brunette said again. "I'm not going to hurt you. I just need a minute of your time. I will bring you back to your handsome pirate in one piece." Emma stared at her, eyes wide. There was an aura of power about the woman, something unlike anything she'd felt before. Given her experience with magic, she didn't think it wise to ignore the summons. And if things got hairy, Emma could just blast her.
Emma turned back to Killian. "I'm fine," she said. "Back in a minute, okay?" She hoped that he could get her unspoken message in her eyes. I'll tell you later.
Emma followed the brunette into the bedroom, closing the door behind her. Whatever this was, Emma got the feeling they didn't want to be overheard. "Okay, why don't you tell me what this is about, because I'm pretty sure I've never seen you in my life."
The brunette smiled. It was a devastatingly beautiful smile designed to make men weak in the knees and trip all over themselves. Why on earth did this woman think it would work on Emma? "Ah, one of the many reasons I like you, Emma Swan. Not one to beat around the bush, as they say."
Emma raised one unamused brow. "Who are you? And be quick about it; I have a party to get back to."
"I've been called by many names over many centuries and in many realms," the brunette said serenely. "But for the purposes of this discussion, you may call me Aphrodite."
Emma snorted. "Aphrodite? The goddess of love? You have got to be kidding."
Aphrodite – if that really was her name – laughed merrily. "I do not expect you to believe me, Emma. Despite all you've been through, there is still a part of you that thinks all of this is quite ridiculous. I mean, honestly. The daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming engaged to Captain Hook?" She paused, considering. "No, it is better that you do not believe. At least not yet. But there will come a time when your belief will be essential. I do think, however, that your pirate will help with that. He's quite handsome, if I do say so myself."
Emma bristled. She so did not need this – whatever she was – eying up her fiance. "I believe just fine," she said heatedly. "Kinda hard not to when you've seen what I've seen."
"That is not the kind of belief I'm talking about, Emma," Aphrodite said sadly. "But you will understand in time. I merely come to offer my assistance."
"Assistance for what? Throw rose petals at my wedding?"
Aphrodite pulled out a large silver swan shaped pendant on a matching silver chain. "Take this," she said, holding it out. "But only use it in your darkest hour. And I will come."
"I already have a swan necklace, thanks," Emma said, fingering the one her parents had gotten her for her birthday.
"The swan is one of my sacred birds," Aphrodite said patiently. "Do you think it is a coincidence that the child born of True Love carries such a name?"
Emma blinked. This woman, she couldn't be serious, could she? Emma had never really asked where her last name had come from; it was simply hers, one of the few things she could claim as hers while in the system. Now some lunatic lady claiming to be the goddess of love was telling her it was purposeful? How crazy could you get?
"There is a darkness coming," Aphrodite said. "You know this. The Queen of the Fairies warned you when you took the dust of the Neverland star. And it will come for you, Emma Swan. You are the child of True Love and more powerful than you know. Take it. I will guide you where I can. And when you feel that all hope is lost, you may call on me. Those who underestimate the power of love usually do so to their cost. You will make me proud, Emma."
Emma blinked and Aphrodite was gone. The swan pendant laid neatly on her dresser. Emma grabbed it and shoved it into a drawer. That woman – whoever she was – was clearly off her rocker. Looking back at it, Emma wasn't even sure she was real. She'd seen a lot of crazy things since moving to Storybrooke, but that might have just taken the cake.
There was a soft knock on the door, and Killian stepped through it. "Emma, love? Everything all right? People were starting to wonder where you'd gotten to."
Emma turned to face him. "Yeah, I'm fine."
Killian raised a skeptical brow. "Love, you're white as a sheet. What happened?"
Slowly, she explained what she'd seen and heard since leaving him at the party, knowing that he wouldn't judge her or think she was crazy. "I believe you, Emma," he said when she finished.
"Aye. There were tales long ago about the gods. Coming down to talk to us mere mortals, get us to do their bidding and the like."
"Well, here those are considered myths, as in not real. So you'll have to forgive me if I'm a little skeptical that the goddess of love just visited me in our bedroom."
"Ah, but wasn't I just considered a story, love? And your parents?"
Emma smiled grimly. "Stop being logical, Killian. You're killing my buzz."
Killian took her hand. "Tell you what. We'll keep this to ourselves for now. No sense in worrying everyone until there's something to be worried about, yeah? We have an entire room full of guests here to celebrate with us. I say we enjoy it."
Emma's smile widened. "Okay. Let's forget the crazy goddess and focus on right now. I think I spied a cake in there, Captain. We should probably cut it before our son takes matters into his own hands."
Killian grinned. "Aye, let's." He stood and held out his arm. "Shall we, my love?"
Emma stood and linked her arm with his. "Lead on, Captain."