AN: It's amazing how easily I was convinced to write an epilogue. Enjoy :)
Three years later.
No. No. No, no, no, no.
Swallowing the gigantic lump in her throat that had appeared around about the same time as the heavy pit in her gut, Emma stared in horror at the plastic stick that was clenched in her hand. She'd bought the thing on a hunch that she'd scoffed at herself for, telling herself that she might as well just take the damn test, that if she didn't do it today then she'd have no way of knowing for sure for too long to suit her. She'd gone to the store last week, threatening Clark - or Sneezy, whatever - on pain of death if he breathed a word to anybody. It had hidden at the bottom of her draw since then, but she knew that if she was going to use it then it had to be today. She hadn't actually believed that she'd get this result.
This couldn't be happening. It wasn't happening. Nope.
Moving for the first time in at least ten minutes, she threw the stick in the trash, hiding it beneath a few empty toilet rolls for good measure. Standing at the sink, she washed her shaking hands, then pressed them to her face, rubbing her wet fingers across her cheeks and across the back of her neck. Her reflection stared back at her, her worried face mocking her.
God damn it, why today?
It had been three years since they'd returned from Neverland, and they had been without question the best years of Emma's life. Not that her life had been that great before coming to Storybrooke, so it wasn't really that hard an accomplishment, but she'd had almost nothing to complain about since then. Regina, Neal and herself had come to a fairly stable agreement regarding dividing Henry's time between them, and although they all wished for more, it was as fair as could be. Her relationships with both Regina and Neal had settled into a respectful association bordering on friendship, and although some old hurts could never be forgotten, her wounds had healed enough that things were pretty easy all around now. Mulan had settled into modern life like she'd been born to it, coming to work with her at the sheriff's office. Mary Margaret and David had found their own place, not too far from the loft where Emma still lived.
And her pirate. Hook. Killian. When they'd returned to Storybrooke he'd moved straight into the loft with her, much to the excitement of Henry and the chagrin of her parents. She was pretty sure that was why they'd moved out so quickly; David and Killian were practically inseparable now, but she still saw plenty of the protective daddy that she'd missed out on during her childhood.
It had taken Neal quite a while for him to be at ease with Killian, but they were on good enough terms now. She was sure it was mostly due to how ridiculously well Killian and Henry had taken to each other, and even Neal had been able to see that Killian's intentions were pure. The three of them had even gone out on the Jolly Roger for the day the other week, and she could see Killian's happiness that their time together had been so companionable.
And a few months ago, Emma had started working with Regina and Gold to find a way to send them home.
They had no way to make a portal, but they did have magic. Emma was still hesitant to practice hers, but they'd discovered that between them, they had enough power to create another curse, a reflection of the curse that had sent them to the land without magic in the first place. Gold and Regina had done most of the work, tweaking it so that it would send them to the Enchanted Forest, but they'd keep all of their memories and true personas. Regina had told her in confidence that she wasn't entirely sure, but she had a feeling that the curse would restore the Enchanted Forest to the way it was before the curse had hit it originally. If not, they'd have a hell of a lot of work to do.
Today was the day. Everyone else was desperate to go home, and Emma had finally come to terms with the idea. She'd started to really look forward to it, in fact. She had her family, she had close friends for the first time in her life, and she'd realized that it didn't really matter where she lived, as long as those things came with her. She had been ready.
She should have taken a test sooner. Damn it, she was two weeks late as it was, and she was never late, but she'd been too busy feeling good about life and planning to notice, and then too skeptical since last week to take the damn thing. She knew they'd become lax in their protection, but she hadn't actually thought...
Knocking at the door broke her out of her thoughts, and she gave her reflection one last hard look before turning away from it. 'Yeah?'
'Emma, are you okay?' Mary Margaret called out, her voice slightly muffled from the door between them. 'You've been in there a little while now...'
Taking one more moment to try and compose herself, she pulled open the door and grabbed Mary Margaret's arm, quickly pulling her into the bathroom and shutting the door firmly behind them.
Mary Margaret stared at her, wide eyed. 'Emma! What's going on?'
'Um.' She tried to smile, but she was sure that it came out more as a grimace. 'I need to tell you something, and I need you not to tell anyone.'
'Okay,' she said, frowning and drawing the word out slowly.
Emma paused, taking a moment to study her mother. Although they didn't have anything like a traditional mother-daughter relationship, they had become comfortable with what they did have over the past few years. She was her best friend, more like her sister than anything, but in this moment she really just needed her mother. 'I'm pregnant,' she said carefully, wincing in preparation for her response.
She reacted exactly as Emma had expected - with a loud squeal, then quickly covering her mouth with both hands as Emma gestured wildly at her to shush. 'Oh my god, Emma! That's incredible! Does Killian know?'
'No, I only just found out, like thirty seconds ago.'
'Oh, Emma. He'll be a fantastic father. Just look at how he is with Henry. Oh!' Her eyes started watering up as her expression became one of utter joy. 'I'm going to be a grandmother! Again, I mean, but this time... Oh, Emma!'
Emma accepted her hug gratefully, drawing comfort from her. 'Mom, I'm scared,' she said quietly.
Mary Margaret pulled back enough to see her, but kept her hands on her upper arms. She looked at her quizzically for a few seconds before realization dawned on her face. 'You're worried about having a baby in the Enchanted Forest.'
And there it was. 'I thought I'd be able to cope without it. Without technology, without everything I know. I knew it would be hard, but you've done it before, and I figured that we'd be able to manage well enough. But now...' Everything that was running through her mind suddenly gushed forth. 'What if it needs medicine? What if something goes wrong and because we're there, there's nothing we can do about it? We'll have no way of knowing whether it's healthy until it's born -'
She cut off, blinking quickly. She'd stunned herself with her own words. Until it's born. When she gave birth to a real live baby. She pressed her hands against her stomach, wondering at the life growing in there.
Mary Margaret gave her a moment, then took both of her hands in hers, squeezing them gently. 'Honey, everyone that lives in Storybrooke was born in the Enchanted Forest, except for Henry. And we all turned out fine. I won't pretend that it might be a bit harder, but we will still have medicines. Doc delivered you for me, he can do the same for your babe.'
Emma still felt panicked at the prospect, but tried her best to push it away. 'What if I'm not ready? What if Killian's not ready?'
Mary Margaret smiled at her warmly. 'You've done a fantastic job raising Henry these last few years. And trust me, Killian will be ecstatic.'
'We've never really talked about it,' she said hesitantly, worrying her lip between her teeth. What if he didn't want children of his own?
'That doesn't mean he doesn't want it,' her mother reminded her, apparently reading her mind, giving her one last squeeze before letting go. 'Go talk to him, Emma. We have time.'
It took Emma a few minutes to find Killian. The last time she'd seen him he'd been in the kitchen with Henry and David, giving her a quick one-armed hug, a kiss on the top of her head, and a tired "good morning". He'd set to making coffee and she'd gone to enjoy her last shower ever.
She finally found him in their spare room. He was leaning over the computer desk with his back to her, cursing quietly but violently as something banged and clanked. Not wanting to interrupt him just yet, Emma leaned against the door frame, watching him fuss over whatever he was doing.
It still surprised her every day, the intensity of the love that she felt for him. When everything had worked out so well in the end, it was easy to curse herself and call herself all kinds of stupid for pushing him away. He'd forgiven her a long time ago for the appalling way that she'd treated him, but she didn't think she'd ever be able to forgive herself. Somehow, he was still here, and she thought that he loved her maybe almost as much as she loved him. She wished she'd let herself accept happiness from the start, because this time it had been nothing but good to her.
She'd never expected how well he'd take to Henry, or how much they'd come to care about each other. She'd never admit it, but she sometimes felt jealous of the bewilderedly happy look on Killian's face when he looked at her son when he thought no one was looking, until he looked to her with that same expression.
Neither of them had been prepared to be so ridiculously happy.
She felt her chest tighten, and her throat, as she watched him fumble with what looked like the printer but he was blocking her view, getting more frustrated by the second. She'd never get over how well he looked in normal clothes, still wearing his hook. He'd tried to go without it for a little while, but had hated the idea of a prosthetic, and eventually had decided that his hook was more practical than nothing. Besides, he'd spent so long wearing it that he didn't really feel the same without it, although he didn't keep it sharp anymore.
The room started to become cloudy, but she didn't realize that her eyes were welling up until she blinked and twin tears dropped onto her cheeks. She quickly tried to wipe them away, not wanting him to think she was upset. She must have made some sound, for he stiffened then spun around quickly, jumping in front of the computer screen. He'd grabbed something and was holding it behind his back, a sheepish look on his face. After half a second his expression turned to horror and he dropped whatever he was holding, rushing to her side.
'Emma,' he murmured, wrapping one arm around his waist lightly while his hand cupped her cheek. His eyes bore into hers as his fingers wiped her remaining tears away. 'Darling, what's wrong?'
She opened her mouth, and had no clue what to say. What if he was disappointed? She kicked herself immediately. When are you going to finally stop doubting him? 'I just found out that I'm pregnant,' she said slowly, still not quite believing her own words.
Confusion, wonder, and then his arms tightened around her as he kissed her, his hand still caressing her cheek. He kissed her with so much passion that it made her knees weak, and she had to hold onto his arms to keep herself steady. 'Emma, Emma,' he whispered against her lips. 'I love you so much. This is...' He trailed off, pulling back enough that she could see the sudden hesitance in his eyes. 'Why are you crying, love? Is this not what you wanted?' He looked so nervous.
Putting her hand over his, she held it against her cheek. 'I don't think I realized how much I wanted this, to be honest,' she admitted, and his face split into a big grin that she wanted to share. 'It's just...' She tried to take a deep breath but her chest was too tight. 'I wasn't afraid to leave this world, not before. But now... '
His grin was gone, his gaze searching, and he didn't need to ask her what she feared. She could tell the moment when he made his decision. 'We'll leave,' he said quickly, quietly. 'We'll take Henry and go. We're not stuck in Storybrooke like the others. We can find a life somewhere. '
'It'll be all right, love. I'll find a better job and buy us a house. I can provide for us, I can look after our family. I'll keep you safe, you and Henry and -' He cut off, taking a step back to stare down at her stomach, not quite letting go of her.
And suddenly it was okay. She knew without a doubt that he would keep her safe, her and their baby, no matter what happened. And she wasn't so afraid anymore.
Putting both hand on either side of his face, Emma lifted his head back to look at her. 'We're going to the Enchanted Forest, Killian,' she said firmly. 'I've already taken too long to get used to the idea, and now I don't want to wait any longer. I can't keep you from your home any longer.'
'The Enchanted Forest isn't home anymore,' Killian said softly, stepping back up to her and rubbing his thumb across her cheek. 'You are.'
There was that lump again in her throat, but this time it wasn't from worry. 'I love you,' she breathed, pulling him closer to kiss him gently.
They kissed slowly, the way that always made her chest ache, that made her heart feel full. His fingers moved from her cheek, brushing their way down her arm and her side until they reached the hem of her shirt. Slipping beneath the fabric, he pressed the palm of hand flat against her stomach, splaying his fingers across her skin. He broke the kiss but didn't move away, his forehead resting against hers, and she realized that he was trembling. 'Emma,' he whispered, tightening his arm around her waist.
Moving her hand to rest over his, she slid her fingers in between the gaps that his made, leaning back a little and smiling at him. 'We're going to have a baby,' she told him, unable to keep the smile from turning into a grin.
'We're going to have a baby,' he repeated, like he couldn't quite believe the words. She knew that she couldn't. He lowered himself to his knees and pulled up her shirt to properly reveal her stomach, and she removed her hand so that he could run his fingers across her skin. After a moment he pressed his face lightly against her stomach, and she could feel his breath against her.
She threaded her fingers in his hair, holding him to her for a minute, before she tugged on him lightly. 'Come on, Dad. We still have lots to do today.'
'And you're lot lifting a finger,' she thought she heard him mutter before he rose to his feet. 'Dad,' he mused louder, looking her with so much love that all she wanted to do was reach out and kiss him again. 'Emma, this is the greatest gift...'
He trailed off again, glancing over his shoulder quickly, and she followed his gaze. There was a carved wooden box lying on its side on the floor beside the computer desk, and small pieces of paper were strewn across the carpet. 'Just what were you doing in here?' she asked, frowning.
That sheepish look had returned, but was now partnered with what looked like guilt. 'It was going to be a surprise for when we got there,' he told her, leaving her to pick up the box, kneeling to gather the papers.
She followed him and knelt beside him, picking up a handful of paper and turning it over. They were pictures, printed onto glossy paper.
Emma, Killian, Henry, at Granny's.
Henry, David, Mary Margaret, at the park.
Henry and Killian aboard the Jolly Roger.
Henry standing at the helm, with Killian on one side and Neal on the other.
Emma, Mary Margaret, Ruby, drinks in hand.
Henry, Emma, Killian, Neal, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, Gold, Belle. The strangest and most amazing Thanksgiving of her life.
She looked at picture after picture, grimacing when they started to go blurry, and after a few minutes she felt arms settle around her waist from behind, Killian's cheek pressing against her neck. 'I know that leaving this life behind won't be easy for you, that you'll miss it,' he told her quietly. 'I thought this might help.'
The tears were flowing freely now, and she bother trying to wipe them away. 'What were you so angry at?'
She felt him groan lightly. 'I think it ran out of ink. How long were you watching me for?'
'A little while. I had to get in my last fix of watching you struggle with technology.'
'Just wait until we're in my world and we'll find out who's easy to laugh at,' he grumbled, gathering the last pictures and closing the box, standing and helping her to her feet.
She smirked at him. 'Hey, I'm not the one trying to convince people that I'm a fierce pirate.'
Her eyes dropped to the computer desk and she noticed which image was on the screen, the one that he'd been trying to print. Herself, Killian and Neal were sitting around a beaming Henry. She took a step toward the computer, reaching out to touch the screen, the other hand pressing against her stomach. 'We're not going to have pictures,' she said, her heart sinking. 'No new ones. No video. We won't be able to record the baby growing up.'
Killian's arms gathered around her again. 'It's a good thing we know somebody who can draw with an incredible likeness,' he pointed out.
'Things won't be the same in the Enchanted Forest,' he told her, catching both of her hands with his and using his hook to push the hair back from her face. The coolness of the metal felt good against her flushed skin. 'Some things may be more difficult, and others will be easier. But there is always a way. There is always another option, and we will make it work,' he promised her.
How did he always know what to say? Wiping her eyes, she smiled up at him. We can make it work, as long as we have each other. 'Will you get Henry?' she asked, and was rewarded as his eyes lit up in excitement at the idea of telling him.
Several hours later, she was in the living room, surrounded by her family. Her ridiculous, wonderful, family. Gold and Regina were elsewhere around the town, doing a last minute check of the spell they'd set in place, but Emma had pleaded her absence, telling them that her help now wouldn't make any difference. She sat on the couch between Killian and Henry, with Neal on her sons other side, as Henry went through a last minute recital of all the things he still couldn't believe he'd get to do as a prince in the Enchanted Forest. They weren't sure how much the curse would bring with them, but Emma clutched the carved wooden box filled with pictures to her chest, determined that if anything would make it across, it would be these memories.
Killian pressed against her side gently. 'Are you all right?' he asked quietly, resting his hand over hers where it held the box and twining their fingers together.
'Yeah,' she said, smiling, and meant it. 'I'm ready.'
Wrapping her arm around Henry's neck, she looked past him to Neal. He put his hand over hers where it rested on Henry's shoulder and squeezed it gently. Congratulations, he mouthed at her, smiling at her warmly.
Thank you, she mouthed back.
Neal let go of her hand and leaned forward slightly, nodding his head to Killian. Emma turned to see Killian dipping his head in return, a half smile on his face, his hand holding hers a little tighter.
Only a few minutes later Mary Margaret came running from the window. David wrapped one arm around her waist and clapped the other hand onto Killian's shoulder, and Neal took Henry's arm. No one was quite sure where the curse would land them, but none of them wanted to take the chance of being separated.
A dark purple cloud filled the room, blocking out her view of everything, and Emma closed her eyes. She held onto Killian and Henry tightly, using them as her anchor against the panic that threatened to spike now that the moment was upon them.
She felt the world shift.
Opening her eyes, Emma looked around her desperately.
They were all there, her family clutching tightly to each other, standing in her parents castle, which no longer looked like the ruin that they'd visited last time that they were here.
Her new home.
In her old nursery.
Looking around the room, finally seeing it the way her parents had intended, she felt all of the love that they'd wanted her to grow up with. Everything that she'd missed out on, that she now had.
She felt warm arms come around her from behind, one hand resting on her stomach, and leaned back into Killian. She wondered if he was thinking the same thing as she was, that in less than a year there'd be their own little baby sleeping in the cot that had been meant for her.
'Welcome home, love.'
AN: Okay, that's the end this time. For real. Sorry.
I had a few requests for an epilogue and I was trying to figure out what to write it about, and then this kind of spilled out. I wanted to write about Emma's decision to move to the Enchanted Forest, and daddy!Killian is one of my favourite things ever, so this is what happened. It was weird writing these characters kinda happy, because it's pretty much a complete 180 from most of the rest of this story, but keep in mind that this is a few years later and everyone's had time to heal.
Thanks again to everybody who's read and supported this, I've appreciated every follow, favourite and review. You guys are amazing.