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Awake and Alive

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Storybrooke

The people of Storybrooke watched the portal closing in the middle of the sea. Their Savior, their Prince and Princess, together with three of the worst villains Storybrooke had ever seen were disappearing as the portal became smaller and smaller. On the docks, Ruby, Granny, Belle, Archie, and the dwarves were waiting. For what? Even they didn’t know.

“Now what?” Ruby asked, still staring at the water.

“Rumple gave me this,” Belle said, turning to face them and showing the scroll of paper she was holding with both of her hands.

“What is that?” Ruby asked her new friend.

“It’s a spell. Rumple said others will try to come to the city now that Greg and Tamara are gone, and this spell won’t let them,” Belle explained.

“Should we trust any spell that comes from the Dark One?” Grumpy asked them with a frown; his eyebrows were down and close together and his lips were set in a straight line.

“We shouldn’t, but right now this spell is our only protection against anyone who might come into the city with bad intentions,” Archie tried to explain not just to Grumpy, but to all of them.

“But who could enact it?” Belle asked him. “The only people who use magic are gone now.”

“There are the fairies. They can help!” Happy said out of nowhere.

Everyone agreed that right now the fairies, especially Blue, would be their best chance to enact the spell. Together, they started to walk towards the convent without another look at the sea that was calm again. Almost as if a portal hadn’t opened there just a few minutes ago.


While the protection spell was covering Storybrooke bit by bit, no one knew that exactly at that same moment, on the other side of the town, a black Mustang was crossing the town line and was entering Storybrooke.

The car didn’t stop when it passed by the 'Welcome to Storybrooke’  sign, nor when the magic touched the town line, making the town invisible for anyone who wasn’t from Storybrooke. The car continued on its way to the center of town, passed by the library and stopped in front of Granny’s.  If someone saw the new car in town, they all decided to ignore it.

When the car’s door opened, a woman stepped out. She was tall and her step was gentle when she started to walk toward the entrance of Granny’s Bed and Breakfast. She stepped inside and the first person she saw was Ruby, who was at the front office.

“Hello,” the woman started to talk to her.

Ruby raised her head from the book she was reading and looked at the person who spoke to her. She was stunned to see a new face in Storybrooke and, at the same time, she was frightened. They enacted the protection spell less than thirty minutes ago; there was no way someone already found a way back into town.

“Hello?” Ruby said with an eyebrow raised. “May I help you?”

“Yes,” the woman took off her sunglasses and looked straight at Ruby with big, bright, and brown eyes. “I am looking for a room.”

“We have a few here. Are you new in town?”

“Oh yes, I just arrived,” the woman said, smiling at her.

“Okay,” Ruby said suspiciously. “I can help you with a room. I just need to know how long you will be here.” Ruby took out the notebook they were using to keep track of the occupants of the rooms.

“I-I don’t really know that. I am looking for a person, so I guess I’ll stay til I find him. Is that a problem? The fact that I can’t tell you for how long I’ll be here?” the woman asked with an eyebrow raised.

“Oh no, I just need to know how long I need to save the room for.”

“I guess a few weeks should be enough.”

“Okay,” Ruby wrote down the information. “Oh, and I will also need your name.”

“It’s Milah Spinner,” the woman, Milah, said smiling at Ruby.

“Here is your room key,” Ruby said, giving Milah a key. “Enjoy your stay!” Ruby said with a fake smile. She watched Milah leave when she realised that she had to find out one more important thing.

“Hey!” Ruby yelled after Milah. When she turned to face her, Ruby started to talk. “Do you, by any chance, know Greg Mendell or his girlfriend, Tamara?”

“Uh, no. Never heard of them.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, I have a really good memory. I think I would remember one of them.”

Ruby wasn’t as good as Emma when it come to spotting a lie. She didn’t have any superpower, but she could tell when a person was lying and Milah was not lying. She told Ruby the truth. She didn’t know Greg or Tamara and for the moment, that was a relief.

“Okay, thanks.”

Milah left with a smile on her face while Ruby was still wondering about her. She was curious about how this woman came into the city. Who was she, what did she want, and most importantly, who was she looking for? Ruby had questions and she needed answers to those questions. Emma, Snow, and Charming were counting on her, on them, the ones who were left in Storybrooke, to keep the town safe, with or without the protection spell. And if no one was going to help her, then she would do everything by herself.


The next day, Ruby was at the diner behind the counter when Milah entered. No one noticed her, even though it was obvious to everyone with two eyes that she hadn’t been in the town from the beginning.

“These people were smarter in the Enchanted Forest before they discovered technology” Ruby thought to herself, rolling her eyes.

“Back to work Ruby!” Granny said behind her.

“Granny! Just the person I needed!” Ruby said turning to her grandma.

“Oh?”

“Come here.” Ruby signaled to her to come closer. “That woman is new in town,” she said, pointing her head towards Milah.

“How?”

“I don’t know, but we need to find out.”

“You have her name?”

“Yes, she’s staying at the inn. Her name is Milah Spinner and she said that she’s looking for a man. She doesn’t know Greg or Tamara though. I asked her.”

“Let me,” Granny said, putting her apron on the counter.

Ruby watched as her granny walked towards Milah.

“Hello, honey.” Granny started with a sweet smile.

“Hello?”

“I’m Granny Lucas, the owner of both this diner and the inn. You might also call me the welcoming committee of the town,” Ruby heard Granny saying.

“Oh, hi! My name is Milah.”

“Welcome to town Milah. I heard from my grand-daughter, Ruby, that you are looking for a man. I was wondering if I can help you since I know everyone from this town.”

“Oh, that would be amazing.” Ruby watched as a smile spread on Milah’s face. “I am looking for Killian Jones. He is tall, dark hair, blue eyes. It’s been… a while since I’ve seen him, but I know for sure that he is here. Or he should be here.”

“Oh, I’m sorry darling, but I don’t know anyone with that name… Maybe you are in the wrong town.”

“No, I’m sure I’m in the right town. He should be here. Maybe you just missed him. He’s good at… hiding.”

“For 28 years? Sure, darling,” Ruby said to herself, rolling her eyes again.

Even she didn’t know anyone by that name, and she knew every man in Storybrooke.

“Well, maybe you just have to search harder.” Granny said without any trace of a smile. “Enjoy your meal, Milah.”

Granny came back behind the counter and made a sign to Ruby to follow her to the kitchen.

“So?” Ruby asked when she entered the kitchen.

“You heard what she said. Do you know that person?”

“I don’t. There are many people that are tall with black hair and blue eyes in Storybrooke, but I don’t know anyone with that name.”

“Then we have to find him before she does. God knows who he is and who he was in the Enchanted Forest.”

“I wish Emma, Snow, and Charming were here.”

“I wish that too, but there is nothing we can do about that. They have to find Henry. Hopefully they won’t kill each other in the meantime.”

“Why would they?”

“Don’t forget, Regina is there with them. And from what I understand, Gold and Hook aren’t on good terms, either.”

“Hook shot Belle after all.” Ruby agreed with Granny.

“Before that. They hated each other in the Enchanted Forest. They hated each other here, and I am sure they hate each other where they are right now.”

“Where do you think they are?”

“I don’t know, but we have other problems here to take care of,” Granny said, looking at Milah again.


 

Neverland

Somewhere in Neverland, in the middle of the sea there was a ship. In the sky, the clouds of a storm were starting to disappear while on the ship everyone was worried for the life of Emma Swan, who almost drowned that night.

Below deck in his room, Killian Jones was in shock after Emma Swan almost gave up her life on his ship. He didn’t know what shocked him the most; the fact that Emma was so insane that she actually jumped off of the ship in the middle of a storm just to make them stop fighting, or that she almost died in front of him. After a few more minutes of thinking and more rum, he realized what shocked him the most: the idea of Emma dying, right there and then in the middle of the deck, on the same spot another woman that was important to him gave her life, so many years ago.

Hook’s mind flew to another time, a time where he was another person. There was a woman he loved, a woman who loved him back and he was known to the world as Captain Killian Jones, not Captain Hook. The idea of Emma almost dying there reminded him of the moment Milah died on his ship. Another thing that scared him even more were the feelings he had in that moment. Because the feelings Killian Jones had when Emma Swan almost died were the same feelings he had when Milah died and he didn’t know what that could mean. And if he was completely honest with himself, he was afraid to know.

Chapter Text

Neverland

Emma could swear to anyone that she was officially done with Neverland. After almost dying on Hook’s ship, she had to fight with the Lost Boys, met Peter Pan and now had to admit in front of everyone that she was nothing more than a Lost Girl herself; an orphan. She just wanted her boy back and to get the hell away from that island and everything that was linked to it.

For the moment, though, she was in the forest thinking about everything that had happened in the last forty-eight hours. She told her parents that she wanted to be alone, so when she heard steps behind her, she prayed to every God that was out there listening, that it wasn’t Mary Margaret or David. She turned her head to see who the intruder was and almost rolled her eyes when she saw Hook coming from 1behind the trees.

“What are you doing here?” she asked him as soon as he saw her.

“Sorry, love. Didn’t know you were here,” he said softly.

“Really?” she said, not believing him.

“Yes, Emma,” he snapped. Then he saw the rejection on her face and he immediately regretted it. “Sorry, I’m not really myself tonight.”

“Something happened?” she said, signaling for him to sit beside her.

“Neverland happened,”  Hook said, taking out his flask.

“Must be hard for you to be here again.” Emma took a sip from the flask and then gave it back to him.

“Not as much as it is for you, I imagine. After all, your child is here somewhere.”

“Thanks for the reminder,” Emma said, taking the flask from his hand again.

“That’s not what I wanted to say, love. You’ll get your son back.”

“How do you know that?”

“You are a mother. Mothers can be very determined when it comes to their children. Regina is also his mother and let’s not forget that she was, not so long ago, THE Evil Queen. Both of you have the ability to turn this place upside down in search of Henry.”

“Thank you. For this and for bringing us here.”

“It was the right thing to do,” he said without another word.

The silence started to fall between them when Emma remembered something.

“When you came back to Storybrooke with the bean, you said something like ‘maybe I needed a reminder that I could’. What did that mean?” she asked him, looking into his eyes.

“You told me back at Granny’s that I could be a part of something. Maybe I just want that. To be a part of something.”

“You know, that would mean giving up your revenge on Rumplestiltskin.”

“I know. I sort of did that when he came to my ship and I agreed to let him stay there until we made it to Neverland.”

“Will you ever tell me why you hate him so much? Because I know it’s not just about your hand.”

“I am going to tell you, Emma. One day. I will, I promise. But this story needs more rum than this flask has in it and a lot more free time,” he said with a soft smile on his lips.  

This time, another silence fell between them, but it was a comfortable one. Emma was lost in her thoughts when she yawned out of nowhere.

“You should go to sleep,” Hook said when he saw her.

“I can’t. I hear them,” she said without telling him who she could hear. She hoped he understood anyway.

“I know, I hear them too,” he said gently.

“Another long story?” Emma asked with an eyebrow raised.

“Yeah, something like that.”

“Go to sleep, Emma.” Hook said when he saw Emma’s eyes almost closing, followed by another yawn.

“I told you, I can’t sleep.”

“You just have to imagine something that makes you happy. Think about your boy, your home.”

“Think of happy thoughts,” she said, even if she knew Hook wouldn’t understand the reference.

“Exactly.”

“Okay. I should go take your advice and try to go to sleep.”

“Good choice.”

“Are you coming?” she asked when she stood up and saw that Hook made no move.

“I am going to stay here for a few more minutes.”

With one more look at him, Emma left the clearing and went back to their camp. She saw Mary Margaret and David on a cot talking quietly, while Regina was on the other side of the camp leaning against a tree.

Without another word to anyone, Emma sat on her cot and closed her eyes thinking about her discussion with Hook from earlier. She wondered about his quarrel with Gold, wondered why he heard the cries of the Lost Boys. Pan said that only those left behind as children could hear the cries. Was Hook an orphan too? Were they so alike? Would Henry hear the cries? After all, she left him behind when he was a child. But he was raised by Regina, he was loved by Regina, even if he thought she hated him. But he was alone now. He didn’t know they were there looking for him. He might think they left him all alone on Neverland.

She fell asleep that night thinking about Henry and what would happen to him if he stayed in Neverland much longer and, at the same time, she fell asleep thinking about Hook and the many questions she had about him.


The following days in Neverland were a nightmare for everyone. Pan taunted them by playing games while the Lost Boys were waiting to attack behind every tree. On top of that, Neverland’s heat was making them all crazy.

They found Neal’s old cave thanks to Hook, but they couldn’t understand the map Neal made to get out of Neverland. For that, they needed Tinkerbell’s help.

Emma still believed that everything was crazy. She still waited to wake up one morning and realize that she was back in Storybrooke and everything was a dream because things certainly looked like a dream. Neverland, Peter Pan, Lost Boys, Tinkerbell, these were all things she dreamed about when she was little. Now she was there and the place was nothing like the movie version or even the cartoons. The place was, as Hook had said so many times, a hellish place.

She still didn’t know what to think about the fairy. First, she attacked Regina because apparently they already had history together. Then she refused to help them because they didn’t had a plan for leaving Neverland after they got Henry back. Finally, the thing that annoyed Emma the most was that she flirted with Hook. Tinkerbell flirted with Hook a lot. She didn’t know where these feeling came from, she shouldn’t feel like that. But she did, and seeing Hook with Tinkerbell made her question their relationship.

“What was that?” she asked Hook as soon as Tink left them back at Neal’s cave.

“What was what?” Hook asked with an eyebrow raised.

“You two.” Emma said, pointing towards the direction Tink left.

“We know each other very well,” he answered simply.

“How well?” she asked with even more curiosity.

“You have no reason to be jealous, love.”

“Oh no, I’m not. I just want to be sure that there aren’t certain things to distract you from our true mission here.”

“There aren’t. Tink is not a distraction for me. Even if there would be something to distract me, trust me Emma. I would still care about getting Henry back.”

From that moment, Emma understood that Hook had no wish for his relationship with Tink to be in their conversations again. In fact, he made it very clear that there wasn’t any relationship to talk about.

Still, Tink wouldn’t help them as long as they didn’t have a way off of the island. Between finding Tink, finding a way off of the island, and looking for Henry, there were also the Lost Boys who were a royal pain in the ass and who attacked them every time they got close to their camp.

For instance, they were so close to their camp at the moment, she could actually see the Lost Boys and Pan. She was looking for Henry when some of the Lost Boys attacked out of nowhere, forcing her to move her eyes away from the camp. She still tried to look towards the camp while she was fighting with the boys but it was hard; one punch in the face, one look at the camp, a sword hitting an arrow, another try towards the camp, a right hook and a raised leg with a hit in the stomach, but the camp was now empty.

She stopped her attacks to take a better look, to make sure that she was seeing right. The camp was empty, the Lost Boys gone. Same with Pan. Henry was most likely gone too.

She couldn’t believe it. She swore in that moment that she’d kill Pan next time she saw him. In that moment, she didn’t care about the Lost Boys who were still attacking them; all she cared about was Henry. She was so caught in the moment that she didn't see the boy coming at her, or launching an arrow towards her. All she heard was her name being screamed and when she turned she saw a body on the ground.

Storybrooke

Ruby tried over and over again to find out who the man Milah was looking for was, but with no luck.She knew for sure that Milah hadn’t had much luck either. She was now on her way to the library to talk to Belle because if there was someone who could help her doing research about someone from the Enchanted Forest, that would be Belle.

“Belle, are you here?” Ruby asked when she entered the library.

“Yeah! Be there in a second!” Ruby heard Belle yelling back.

“Hi!” Belle said a few minutes later while coming towards her from behind a door with a few books in her hands.

“Hey,” Ruby smiled at her.

“How are you, Ruby?” Belle asked, putting down the books.

“I’m fine. I’m here with a little problem,” Ruby said, walking towards the table Belle occupied with her books.

“Oh? What happened?”

“Someone came into town, Belle.”

“What? When? How did that happened?”

“I don’t know. Yesterday. She’s looking for a man. I tried to find him, but I couldn’t. That man is not in Storybrooke, Belle. I need your help,” Ruby said very seriously.

“Okay. What should I do?”

“Help me find out who this man is?”

“Okay, but first I need to know who she is.” Belle said, taking out a few books.

“She said her name was Milah Spinner.”

“What?!” Belle yelled, dropping the books on the table.

“What? Is there a problem?”

“That woman’s name is…?”

“Milah? Why?”

“Milah? Ruby are you sure her name is Milah?”

“Yeah. I asked her myself. And then Granny asked her. Her name is Milah. Why Belle?”

“Milah is the name of Rumple’s first wife.”

“Mister Gold?”

“Who is she looking for?”

“She said he is tall, has dark hair and blue eyes. Oh! And his name is Killian Jones.”

“Ruby?”

“Yeah?”

“That’s Hook.”

“No. She said she’s looking for Killian Jones. Hook is… Hook? Why would anyone look for him?”

“Ruby, it makes sense. Milah is looking for Hook; tall, dark hair, blue eyes. That’s him!”

“I think she would mention a missing hand if she was looking for him.”

“Ruby, think about it! Hook is not in Storybrooke at the moment. He’s in Neverland with the others. That’s why you couldn’t find him.”

“But, why would she want to talk to him if you said she’s Gold’s wife?”

“I don’t know exactly. Rumple never told me too much about her, just that she was his wife and Bae’s mother. I mean Neal’s, and that she left them.”

“Well then, we just have to ask her.”

Chapter Text

Storybrooke

Milah entered Granny’s after another tiring day in Storybrooke, searching for Killian. It was just her second day in town looking for him, but no matter how many people she asked, no one seemed to know Killian.

She sat down at a table, asking one of the waitresses to bring her a hamburger and a coffee when she saw the door of the diner open and Ruby came running inside with another girl. Milah watched Ruby as she scanned the customers quickly and then her eyes stopped on her. Ruby told something to the girl beside her and then both of them come towards Milah.

“Hi Milah,” Ruby said when she came in front of her.

“Hello Ruby. Can I help you?”

“Actually, yes. We have a few questions for you if you don’t mind.” Ruby motioned to the chairs in front of her and Milah nodded. Both girls sat down, face to face with Milah.

“About me?” Milah asked curious.

“Well, about you and the man you are looking for,” the other girl said.

“You know Killian?” Milah asked hopefully.

“Does he have a hook?” Ruby asked, making Milah confused about her question.

“Ruby!” the other girl screamed at her.

“Sorry.”

“Sorry. Ruby is a little too… direct. My name is Belle,” Belle told Milah with a soft smile.

“It’s nothing. I was like her once upon a time. I’m Milah.”

“I know. I mean, Ruby told me.”

“What can I help you girls with?” Milah asked again.

“Okay, so this may seem too forward, and if it is, please don’t hate us but... umm…,” Belle said quickly.

“Are you Rumplestiltskin’s wife?” Ruby said out of nowhere.

“Very subtle Ruby,” Belle said, putting a hand on her forehead.

“What?”

“Well? Are you?” Ruby asked again, this time with less patience.

“I… I was... I was his wife, yes,” Milah admitted.

“Then why are you not looking for him?” Belle asked her.

“Is he here?!” Milah asked panicked.

“No. I mean not right now.”

“Rumple is alive?” Milah asked, this time more terrified than panicked.

“Yes. Why are you afraid of him? I can see it in your eyes,” Belle asked softly.

“He is the one who killed me,” Milah said, shocking both Ruby and Belle.

“What?” both Ruby and Belle cried at the same time.

“What do you mean?” Belle asked her with a calmer voice this time.

“I was, as you already know, Rumplestiltskin’s wife,” Milah started her story. “A long time ago, before he was the monster he is now. I was in an unhappy marriage; Rumple was a coward, and he was always looking for the easy way out of a problem and I started to feel trapped in that marriage. But we had a son, my Baelfire. He was my light, I wanted to be there for him, but one day I had too much of Rumple’s shit. Bae was sick because a snake bit him, and Rumple made a pact with someone that Bae would be saved but if Rumple was to have another child, that man would take it. I couldn’t even look him in the eyes, I was so angry with him. That night, I went to a tavern in our village and there I met Killian. He was a pirate. He punched someone in the face who wouldn’t take no for an answer, and then he offered me a drink.”

“What happened after?” Ruby asked.

“We talked for a few hours and Killian offered me a chance to go with him since I wasn’t happy at home. But I couldn’t leave Bae, so I turned him down. A few weeks passed, my marriage with Rumple was getting worse and worse and then Killian appeared again in the town. I spent the night with him and his crew at the tavern until Rumple came after me. The only problem was that Bae was with him too. I couldn’t take it anymore after that night. The following morning, I went to Killian’s ship and I begged him to take me with him. So he did. Killian told me a few hours later that Rumple came to take me home, Killian challenged him to a duel and he refused. I left with Killian and for almost ten years we were together.” Milah finished with a smile on her face.

“You said Rumple killed you? How?” Belle asked curiously.

“After ten years, we went back to the town to take Bae with us. He was old enough to be on a ship. I missed him and Killian wanted me to be with him again. Besides that, we didn’t want to leave him with Rumple. But then came a surprise. When we arrived in town, we found out that Rumple was the Dark One. He saw Killian and he was furious. He wanted to kill him because he took me with him and challenged Killian to a duel. On the second day, I went to the place where the duel was supposed to happen and I arrived just in time to stop Rumple from taking Killian’s heart. Rumple was prepared to kill him but I couldn't let him do that. I made a deal with him, to give him a magic bean in exchange for leaving us alone, to live our lives in peace. He broke the deal hours later when he put his hand in my chest and took out my heart. I don’t remember anything after that, just that I woke up, years later, in Hong Kong.”

“Why there?” Belle asked again.

“There was a man called The Dragon. He never told me his real name, though. He told me about this city and that everyone here was cursed and was from the Enchanted Forest.”

“So you knew who we were the moment you came here?”

“I just knew that you were from the Enchanted Forest. I didn’t know who you were back there.”

“What have you done all these years?” Ruby asked Milah.

“The Dragon told me that I couldn’t come here; that no one knew their identity and my presence would have a bad effect if I came. That was twenty eight years ago.”

“Twenty eight years ago?!” Ruby yelled, making some people turn their heads.

“Then what have you done all this time if you couldn’t come here?”

“The Dragon tried to find an explanation of why I was alive but he couldn’t. So I decided to travel around the world until he told me that I could finally come here.”

“So you came to find Hook?” Belle asked.

“Yes.”

“But he wasn’t here from the beginning,” Ruby pointed out to Milah.

“I know. The Dragon told me when Killian came here for the first time. He knew everything that happened here. When he told me that Killian was here, I decided to come here too. For him.” Milah explained to them and then realised something. “I have a question for you too. You said you didn’t know him when I asked you yesterday, but now suddenly you do. How?” she asked Ruby.

“You said you were looking for Killian Jones. We only know him as Captain Hook,” Ruby explained to Milah.

“Why are you calling him that?”

“Because that’s what he calls himself. He has a hook in place of his left hand.”

“How?” Milah asked shocked.

“We don’t know that.”

“So where is he now if he’s not here? Is he back in the Enchanted Forest?”

“He’s in Neverland,” Belle said.

“Neverland?”

“Yeah.”

“No, that can’t be. Killian hates that place.”

“He is there with our friends and Rumplestiltskin.”

“Why?”

“Before you came into town, we all almost died because two idiots, a woman and a man, tried to kill us. Remember when I asked you if you knew Tamara and Greg? Yeah, that’s them. They tried to kill us not long ago. But Regina, known as The Evil Queen back in our land but the mayor of the town in this land, and Emma Swan, who is the sheriff and the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, saved us. Emma's child, unfortunately, was kidnapped by Greg and Tamara and fell through a portal. Hook, I mean Killian, offered his ship to go search for the boy. The next thing we  knew, the ship went into a portal."

“Who is there with him? Beside the parents of the kid I mean.”

“Um, just Emma, she’s Henry’s mother. Also there are Mary Margaret and David, Emma’s parents, and Regina and Gold, erm Rumplestiltskin.”

"Killian and Rumple are on the same ship?" Ruby could see that the look on Milah's face was one of total fear. “But why?”

“Erm...,” Belle started but didn’t know how to continue so Ruby talked.

"Because Emma's child is Mr. Gold's grandson."

“But that means that…?” Milah started but couldn’t end the question. It couldn’t be. It’s been hundreds of years.

“Bae is Henry’s father.”

“My Bae is alive?”

“We… we don’t know that. He was hurt, badly from what I heard from Emma and then he fell into a portal.”

“So that means that...?”

“Henry is also your grandson.”

“Oh God…,” Milah said even more shocked.

Neverland

Emma turned to see what happened behind her when she saw Hook on the ground.

“Hook?” She said dropping on her knees beside him while Regina hit the boy who shot the arrow towards them with her magic.

Hook was on the ground with his eyes closed. Emma tried to wake him as the others came around them.

“Hook, come on. Wake up, you idiot!” Emma screamed at him. Yet, nothing happened.

Emma started to get angry at the fact that he jumped in front of her. She wasn’t careful, she had her back turned to them and to the Lost Boys and yet, somehow, she knew that he jumped between her and the arrow that was now on the ground beside him. Emma hit him in the chest one more time and right then Hook opened his eyes with a deep breath.

“Bloody hell!” he said, putting his hand on the new wound.

Emma could breathe again. He was alive.

“You idiot!” she yelled at him.

“Emma!” Mary Margaret snapped at her.

“No,” she said looking at Mary Margaret and then again at him. “You, what were you thinking?!” Emma yelled at him.

“I was thinking about the fact that you have a son who most likely doesn’t want his mother dead,” Hook said while still on the ground, trying to take a better look at the wound that was forming on his side.

“And that means you can die?” Emma snapped back at him.

“Why don’t you just say thank you and leave me alone, Swan?” he snapped at her.

Emma was surprised by his tone because right there, in front of her, her parents, and Regina, stood Captain Hook, the terrifying pirate. Not Killian Jones, the person Emma started to see every time she looked into his eyes.

“Sorry. Thank you, Hook,” she said rising from the ground.

She took one more look at him while her father was helping him stand up, but his eyes were still on the wound, not at her.

“We should go back to the camp. We don’t know if the Lost Boys would attack again or not.”

The rest of the group nodded and started to move back to the place they had used as their camp in the last few days. Hook stayed behind, not talking to anyone. Even when they made it back to camp, Hook decided to stay in the back, not talking to anyone; even when Mary Margaret asked him if he was okay after the hit he took earlier or when Regina offered to heal the wound.

When everyone decided to go to sleep, Hook offered to stay awake all night while everyone else got a full night of sleep. But as usual, Emma’s sleep refused to come. She turned again and again on her cot but she couldn’t fall asleep, her mind too full from the events of that day. When she opened her eyes and looked towards the fire, she expected to see Hook, but instead, the place was empty.

Emma rose from the ground and looked around her in search of the pirate. He wasn’t in the camp, she was sure of that. Emma looked around, in the forest, and saw a shadow there. Emma started to walk towards that place, Hook being even more visible. He was sitting on a tree trunk looking at something in his hand.

“It’s not nice to spy,” she heard Hook’s voice say softly.

Emma decided to go closer to him and when she was in front of him, she could see that the object he was holding was the arrow that hit him earlier.

“Take a seat?” Hook asked her, showing her the place behind him and then took out his flask and gave it to her.

She sat beside him and took the flask in her hands, but refused to drink from it.

“I’m sorry,” she said not looking at him.

“For what?”

“For earlier. You saved my life and all I did was yell at you.”

“What’s done is done,” he said with a hollow voice, still not looking at her but at the arrow in his hand.

“Okay, what is going on?” Emma watched closely as Killian’s eyes stayed on the arrow without a word. She wasn’t even sure if he heard her question.

“Hook?” Emma asked again putting a hand on his shoulder.

Hook blinked twice and looked at her as if she woke him up from a deep sleep.

“Sorry love, what were you saying?”

“What is going on with you?”

“Nothing.”

“Don’t lie to me. You know I can tell when you are lying.”

“That you do.”

“I’m serious Hook. What is going on? You’ve been staying away from us since you were hit, even if physically you were here. Is it the wound? I can try to heal it if you don’t want Regina to do it. I don’t know how, but I can try.”

“Yes, Emma, it’s about the wound,” Hook said defeated.

“What is it? Honestly, Hook, you’re starting to scare me.”

“The arrow had dreamshade on it,” he said looking at her with sadness in his eyes.

“What?”

“It’s a plant, remember? I told you about it when we first came to Neverland.”

“Yeah, I remember, but I don’t understand.”

“It’s a deadly plant Swan.”

“And…?”

“I’ve been hit with it, Emma. I’m a dying man.”

Chapter Text

 Neverland

Hook dropped his head down again as soon as he said the words. Emma was at a loss for words hearing his statement. It couldn't be true. He must be playing with her, trying to make her smile. Something, anything, because that was what he did ever since the first time they met. Hook must be trying to make her not think about what happened earlier in the day; about their latest failure or he could be trying to distract her from talking about the fact that he jumped between an arrow and her. It couldn't be true. She refused to believe him. He was not dying.

"You're kidding, right?" Emma asked, still half stunned by Hook's admission and half shocked.

"Why would I be?" Hook asked, looking at her.

This time, she took a better look at him. He was pale, drops of sweat were on his forehead and he was still keeping a hand to his wound. Seeing him like this, Emma realized that he wasn't kidding one bit. He was actually being very honest with her.

"There must be a way to stop it!" Emma yelled, standing up from the tree trunk.

"Emma," he tried to stop her, but she didn't let him.

"No, Hook. You are not dying here," Emma said with determination in her eyes.

"Emma, please."

"I won't let you!" She yelled at him.

"Emma!" Killian said again, rising from his place and coming to stand in front of her.

"Killian you can't," she said, putting her hands on his shoulders. "There must be a way to stop this."

"There isn't, love," Hook told her, trying to remove her hands from his shoulders.

"How do you know that?" she asked, finally letting her hands fall to her sides.

"I spent years here, Emma!" Hook snapped at her.

"Maybe you missed something!" She snapped back.

"This is the poison I used back in your world to kill Rumplestiltskin."

She remembered that, remembered how bad Gold was after Hook stabbed him and how hard it was to save him. What Mary Margaret had to do to save him. But Gold has been stabbed with the poison, Hook's wound was just a scratch. This poison couldn't have been so… fatal. Right?

"But he's alive now," Emma told Hook.

"At what cost?"

"Then we find another way!"

"This is the poison that killed my brother," he said in a defeated tone, taking a step back and sitting down on the tree trunk.

Emma looked at him and he was paler than before, if that was even possible. He definitely looked weaker too. She took two paces and then sat down on the ground in front of him.

"Your brother?" Emma asked, surprised by his remark.

"Yes. His name was Liam Jones and he was the most honorable man in the world. He was my captain, my brother, my anchor, my everything. It was just me and him after our father left us to be slaves on a ship and he took care of me. We went into the navy because we wanted to get away from the life we had and he became a Captain. I was his Lieutenant for a few years. Our king, I don't even remember his name, sent us here to find a plant. He told Liam that it was a healing plant that could have helped our navy, but it was actually dreamshade the king wanted to use in war."

Hook looked at her and she nodded so he could continue his story.

"Liam was much like your father; brave, determined, and always wishing to do the right thing. We met Pan the first time we stepped on the island and Liam asked him about the plant. Pan told us that it was actually a weapon, not a healing plant, but Liam didn't want to listen to him. Pan showed us the way to the plant and when we got there, I wanted to stop Liam. When we got there and saw the plant I knew that something wasn't good about it. I knew something was wrong and I thought about what Pan had said on the beach. I told Liam that maybe Pan was right, that maybe it wasn't actually a healing plant but he didn't want to listen. He said that our king would never do that, that he was an honorable king, so he wanted to prove to me that Pan wasn't right. He cut off a branch and scratched himself with it. The poison was in his blood instantly and the next thing I saw was my brother on the ground."

"He died," Emma said, softly.

"He did. But that's not the whole story," Hook said with regret in his eyes.

"What do you mean?"

"I was scared and desperate. I wanted my brother back so I started to scream after Pan, hoping that he could hear me. Pan was there after a few minutes and told me that he was right and we should have listened to him. I didn't care about that part, all I cared about was my brother who was in my arms, dead. Then Pan told me about a water that could counteract the poison from Liam's blood but that there was a price. I didn't care about the price at that moment, all I cared about was Liam. So I took the water, gave it to Liam and he was back alive in a few moments."

"That's great, isn't it?" Emma stopped his story. "We have to find the water, give it to you and you will be fine, right?"

"It's not that simple."

"It sounds pretty simple to me, actually. In fact, it sounds more like you don't want to do it, not that you can't do it."

"That's because I don't want to do it!" he yelled at her.

"So you want to die? After all this time, you suddenly want to die? After you said that you want to be a part of something? That's it? Are you finally giving up, Hook?" Emma said getting angry at him.

"You didn't let me finish my story."

"I think I got it anyway. Liam has been poisoned, you gave him the water, and Liam came back to life. If you drink the water now, you won't even die! You will be fine!"

"Do you see Liam running around? Do you see him here right now? Do you think he's alive, Emma? Let me finish my damn story. Let me tell you that Liam died shortly after we left this damned island. The price of the water was for him to spend the rest of his life on this damned island, but of course we didn't know that because Pan never told us. Liam died when we got back to the Enchanted Forest, Emma."

Emma was at a loss for words. She didn't see that coming and she didn't know what to say so when Hook saw that she wasn't going to say anything, he continued.

"You are right, I don't want to drink that water. You know why? Because I don't want to spend the rest of my life here. I was here for 300 years. I don't want to spend any more time than necessary here. I want to help you find your son and then get you all the hell out of here. I will either die here or I will drink the water and leave this place and die when we get back to Storybrooke. There is no other option for me. I don't even want to think about drinking that water and staying here for the rest of my life, hunted by Pan and his demons like an animal."

Emma was stunned by Hook's confession. She didn't expect that, the whole story to come out about his brother and a bit of his beginnings. She knew that under the whole Hook charade there was a sad story, because everyone has a story they mask in the eyes of others. But he actually let her find out that story. She looked in his eyes and right in that moment Emma Swan saw Killian Jones, the real Killian Jones, not Captain Hook. His eyes were darker and she could see the storm that was there. Looking into his eyes, Emma could finally understand why people say that eyes are the mirror to the soul because she could feel that inside his heart, there was a very powerful storm raging.

"I'm sorry," Emma murmured.

"Why? Because I'm dying?" She could see what he was trying to do, put back his mask, make Captain Hook appear again and she didn't want that. She preferred Killian Jones right now.

"Because I made you relive all that, because I kind of forced you to do it. I am sorry because I yelled at you." She cast her eyes down and then said with a whisper "I am sorry you are dying because of me."

"Emma" he started to speak, while putting his hand on her cheek and his hook under her chin, lifting her eyes to his level. "Swan, it's not your fault."

"But it is. I wasn't paying attention to the Lost Boys and their attack, but you were. You decided to jump in front of me, for me," she explained to him.

"It sounds like it's more my fault than yours."

"It's mine. I should have been more careful."

"You were looking for your boy. You were doing what you came here for," he explained.

His words made her think about something; something she hadn't realized she needed to know until now.

"You knew, didn't you?" Emma asked him.

"What?"

"You knew that the arrow had poison on it," she explained

Hearing her statement instead of answering, Hook just let his head drop and closed his eyes. It was enough for Emma to understand, to know that indeed, he knew the arrow was poisoned and he knew what was going to happen.

"I owe you my life. I owe you more than this," Emma said with a trembling voice.

"You owe me nothing, Emma. I would do it again," Hook said without any trace of regret in his eyes or in his voice.

"Killian-" she started but she was stopped by him.

"I'm serious Emma."

She was looking at him again, really looking at him. She then looked again at the wound that was still visible.

"This is really happening," Emma said moving her eyes from the wound and then again at his face.

"It is."

"What are we going to do?"

"We are going to find your son, Emma. We are going to find Henry and then we are going to get you both out of Neverland."

"But what about you?"

"I'm a survivor," Hook said with a grin.

"I think you just admitted that you are dying," Emma said with a small smile at the corner of her mouth.

"I'm going to survive until the day we are going to find your son, Emma. I swear that to you. I said I was going to help you find him and I will. I will make sure that I won't die before that day."

"What about the others? They will start seeing that there is something wrong with you," Emma asked, worried that they wouldn't be able to keep something like this from the others. Especially from Regina or David.

"We will figure out something to tell them."

"You don't want to tell them the truth?"

"I don't. I don't want them to think about what they are going to do with me when they have to find your son," he said seriously. "That is, if you want to keep it a secret."

"I will. I will keep it a secret," Emma answered truthfully, looking into his eyes. This time she saw sadness there instead of the storm.

It hit her then, really hit her that he was dying and if she was honest with herself, she didn't want him to. She didn't want him to die and she would do anything to help him.

The thought of him dying scared her, yes. But what scared her even more were the feelings that were already there, hidden in a secret place in her heart. And those feelings started to appear their very first day here.

She felt her face falling in the moment she realized what was going on and he probably saw it too.

"What is it, Emma?" he asked her.

"It just hit me…" but she stopped. A part of her didn't want to tell him the truth because that would mean that she cared more than she was willing to admit out loud. And she was already too scared to admit anything more to him.

"What?"

"Nothing. It doesn't matter. Not right now." She felt the exact moment her walls were back and the moment he hid behind his mask.

"Maybe you should go get some rest."

"I'm really not that tired," she objected.

"You are, actually. After everything that happened today and tonight, I can see that." He stopped and took a look in the direction of the camp then talked again. "Besides, I should wake your father soon for his next watch."

"Yeah, you might be right. David wouldn't like seeing me awake right now," she answered and rose from the ground.

"Promise me one thing?" she said before she left.

"Aye?"

"If you are not feeling well, tell me."

"Emma, I don't-" He didn't finish his sentence because she stopped him.

"Don't even say it," she started. "Right now, I am the only one who knows about this and I am not going to pretend like it isn't happening right under my nose."

"I am fine."

"You are in pain."

"It's really not that hard."

"Oh, it isn't?" she said coming closer to him. "And if, right now, I happen to touch your wound, that won't hurt?" she asked, trying to touch him where he was hurt.

"Don't," he stopped her.

"See. It hurts."

"Okay, fine. I will tell you if there is something wrong with me."

"Good." And without even thinking, she kissed him on the cheek. "Try to get some sleep when David wakes up."

"Okay," he said softly.

She left him there as she walked back to the camp to try and get some sleep before everyone woke up for the day.

 

Chapter Text

 

 


The next day, when Emma woke up, the first thing she did was to look for Hook. He was laying on his coat on the ground, staring at what had been their fire for the night. But the thing that Emma absolutely hated was the fact that he looked just as pale as he did last night. She didn’t know how they were going to keep the fact that he was dying a secret, especially in front of her parents, but she hoped Hook had a good explanation in his mind.

When she rose from the ground, she looked at him with a questioning look that was meant to say ‘are you okay?’ Hook nodded slowly just for her to see and tried to put on a smile. But his smile disappeared the moment he raised on his elbow and a look of pain appeared on his face. She wanted to go and help him but Mary Margaret was quicker and saw him.

“Are you okay, Hook?” she asked him, getting closer.

“Yes, of course. It’s just from the wound from yesterday. It will pass,” he explained to her mother.

“Are you sure?” Hook nodded at her this time with a small smile. “Okay.”

“Are we going to move, today? Or are we going to stay here all day and make sure the pirate is fine?” Regina snapped at all of them.

“He’s hurt Regina!” Emma snapped back at her.

“So? He’ll live. Now let’s go.”

“If only you knew!” Emma screamed at Regina in her mind.

But instead of really yelling at her, Emma took her things from the ground and started to walk with the others.

They walked in the forest of Neverland for what seemed like hours to Emma. Snow and David were in front of the group with the map, Regina behind them and Hook bringing up the rear with Emma a few steps behind him. She saw him struggling to move all day and she could see that it was harder and harder for him to move around the forest, so she hastened her pace to be by his side.

“How are you?”

“I’m fine, Swan.”

“No, don’t lie to me. You might be able to lie to Mary Margaret by smiling at her and telling her that you are fine, but she doesn’t know your condition.”

“I’ve had better days,” he said with a sigh.

“We can tell them to take a break,” Emma proposed.

“Regina would burn me if I even suggested that. I will be fine.”

“Fine then, I’m staying here, with you,” she said determined.

“Okay.”

They continued to walk in the forest, towards what was now marked as Pan’s new camp, until even Regina got bored. They stopped in a little clearing to take a break and think about a better plan than walking toward nowhere all day.

“We have to find a way to get to Henry faster!” Regina yelled at them when they stopped.

“In case you didn’t notice, that’s what we are trying to do”, Emma told her.

“Are you sure that’s what you are doing, Emma? Because it seems to me that you are spending more time with Hook than actually looking for my son.”

“Should I remind you, Regina that he is my son, too?”

“Should I remind you Miss Swan that we are here for Henry, not for you to flirt with the pirate?”

Emma was prepared to answer to her when Mary Margaret came between them.

“Enough!” Mary Margaret started. “You are right, Regina. We have to get to Henry faster, but do I have to remind you that he doesn’t know that we are here? If he knew, maybe he would be able to stop Pan from moving his camp until we get closer.”

“How?” Regina asked her.

“Henry is a smart boy; he can find a way.”

“And what do you propose to do?” Emma asked her mother.

“I have a plan, to send Henry a message. Do you have a mirror?” Mary Margaret asked Regina.

“I do, why?” Regina asked her confused.

“We can use it to send him a message!”

“Neverland’s own Skype?” Emma asked with an eyebrow raised.

“Exactly!”

“But how are we going to get it to Henry? This forest is full of Lost Boys.” David asked his wife.

“We catch one!”

“You want to catch one of those boys?”

“Yes.”

“And how exactly are we supposed to do that?”

“Hook?” Mary Margaret said turning to face him. “Do the Lost Boys hunt in these woods?”

“Yes. They are either hunting or looking for fruits around these woods, usually.”

“That’s good. We can make a trap using those vines,” Mary Margaret explained, showing them the trees behind them.

“How exactly are we going to do that, your highness?” Hook asked her.

“I wasn’t always a princess. I know how to do such things.”

“And she’s quite good at it,” David added, smiling at her. Mary Margaret smiled back at him.

Looking at them, Emma remembered reading in Henry’s storybook about Bandit Snow as she was called back then. She was good in situations like this one, and her plan might be the best plan they had so far.

“Okay, what do we have to do?” Emma asked her mother.

“We need vines. A lot of them.”

“I can do the trap using my magic,” Regina suggested.

“You should take care of your magic, Regina. You never know when you’ll need it,” Emma told her.

“Well, we wouldn’t have to worry about that if you were willing to learn how to use your magic.”

“It’s not the best time to play with magic, Regina.”

“But it is to flirt with the pirate?”

“Regina,” Emma said behind her teeth.

“What? Isn’t that true?”

Emma wanted to answer her, tell her to fuck off, but she felt Hook behind her.

“Leave her alone. We have better things to do,” he told Regina.

“Hook is right, we don’t have time for that. Hook, David, do you mind getting some vines?” They started to walk in the direction of the vines Mary Margaret pointed at earlier. “Regina, maybe you could help them?”

“To get vines?”

“To protect them.”

“Why? They are grown up men.”

“There can be Lost Boys,” Emma snapped at her.

“Fine. I’m going to protect your boyfriend,” Regina said, rolling her eyes and then starting walking in the direction David and Hook went.

“I guess you wanted me alone?” Emma asked Mary Margaret as soon as Regina was far away.

“Yeah. What Regina said about-“

“I don’t care what Regina said about my magic,” Emma interrupted her.

“I know. I wanted to know what Regina said about you and Hook.”

“There is no me and Hook.”

“Are you certain?”

“Mary Margaret!” Emma said half exasperated.

“I know, I know, it’s not my business.”

“It really isn’t,” Emma agreed.

“But I’m still wondering if there is something between you two. Because you seemed pretty worried about him this morning.”

“I’m worried for everyone.”

“Yes, but you are not looking at Regina with the same worry in your eyes as you look at him.”

“Look, Mary Margaret, he’s here because of us, for us. He’s helping us and he just got hit by an arrow yesterday while trying to protect me. Regina has magic, he has a hook and a sword. Of course I am worried about him, but there is nothing else.”

“Okay, okay. I will stop asking you questions.”

“Thank you,” Emma said as the others came back with the vines they needed.

They all worked in silence while making the trap. From time to time, two of them would go back into the forest for more vines.

“We need more,” Mary Margaret said when she realized there were just a few left.

“I’m going,” Hook offered.

“I’m coming with you,” Emma said, starting to walk after him.

Hook didn’t comment when Emma started to follow him into the woods. He wasn’t in the mood for talking, especially with the hellish pain that was spreading through his body. He was wondering why he wasn’t dead already, because Liam died on the spot when he scratched himself with the poison. Maybe that was the problem? If his memory served him right, Liam scratched himself on an important vein so maybe that’s why he died immediately. He hated to think about that time, especially now that he was in the same situation.

He also hated the idea of dying. It was strange for him because he had 300 years to get used to the idea that one day, if he was going to find and kill the crocodile, he would die. But now? Now it seemed useless and somewhat ironic. Back then, he had nothing to live for and he was fine, more than fine; for 300 years he was a survivor. Now that he finally found something worth fighting for, he was dying.

Fucking irony, he thought to himself.

“You’re very quiet,” Emma’s voice stopped his thoughts.

“Aye.”

“We can stop. We have time to get the vines,” Emma suggested.

“No, let’s continue,” he said leaning to take a vine that looked good for what they needed. But when he moved back up, the pain in his body hit him hard and he let out a groan.

“Hook,” she said coming closer and putting a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not. Please take a break,” she said, looking into his eyes.

Maybe it was the pain, or maybe it was the worry he saw in her eyes, but he listened to her and sat down on the ground, resting against a tree. He took out his flask to take a sip of rum but once the smell of the rum hit him, it made him feel worse.

“Here,” Emma said giving him a bottle of water.

“Thank you,” he replied taking the bottle from her hand.

“Hook?”

“Aye?”

“Um… how… how serious it is?”

He wanted to ask her what she meant but he knew what she meant just with a single look at her. She was asking him how much time he had left and he didn’t know how to answer. He knew deep down in his heart that he didn’t have much time left, not if he was judging by his condition, but he couldn’t tell her that he had a week, at most, left. She had her son to worry about and now him too.

“I don’t know,” he said with a sigh, throwing his head back onto the tree.

“You are lying to me again,” Emma pointed out.

Smart lass, he said to himself.

“You know I would never try to lie to you willingly.”

“I’m worried about you.”

“You shouldn’t, Emma.”

“But I do!” Emma contradicted him.

“Oh don’t worry, Savior. You won’t have to worry about him for much longer,” a voice said behind them.

They both turned to see Pan watching them with a grin on his face.

“What do you want?” Emma asked jumping to her feet.

“I just wanted to see how our dear Captain was feeling.”

“Fuck off,” Hook said, not bothering to rise from the ground.

“Is something bothering you, Captain? Are you sick of me?” Pan asked mockingly.

“Go to hell!” Emma yelled at Pan.

“Oh, I will. I will do it once your captain does it. In a few days, actually, since he doesn’t have too much time left.”

In that moment, Killian wanted to jump towards him and cut off his head. Fortunately for Killian, Emma was quicker. With an impressive move, she took out the cutlass and run towards Pan. When she was close to him she prepared to hit him with the cutlass. Just as she got close, the bastard moved and disappeared from in front of her. Emma almost ended up hitting a tree.

Pan appeared again seconds later in front of Hook.

“It looks like something finally got the best out of you, Captain. After all these years. It’s quite sad that it’s finally happening, you know?” Pan asked him with sarcasm in his voice.

“I’ll take you down with me,” Hook threatened him.

“I doubt that. I don’t plan on dying so soon. You on the other hand,” Pan said studying him. “You don’t look very well. But don’t worry, Captain, I don’t think you’ll suffer for more than five days.”

Before Killian could say something else, Pan stood up and looked at Emma again.

“Your son is very good, by the way. He’s a nice boy.”

“If you touch him, I am going to kill you.”

“You both are very good at threatening me today, aren't you?” Pan said looking at both of them, laughing.

“Stay away from my child!”

“We are his friends here, Savior. He doesn’t even know you are here. We just have to keep him away from you a few more days and then he will be one of us. He won’t even care about you anymore. In fact, right now, to me it looks like you are more worried about your dear captain here than your son.”

“I care about both of them. I will save both of them and then I will make sure that you won’t see another day on this fucking island,” Emma told Pan.

“I doubt that,” Pan mocked her.

Killian watched Emma as she raised her hands while holding the cutlass and with a quick move she rotated it above her head and then threw it in Pan’s direction. As the cutlass got closer to Pan’s head, the little demon was watching with a smile on his face. When it almost hit him, Pan disappeared, leaving nothing in his place.

“That was impressive,” Hook tried to tell Emma.

“Don't,” Emma started to speak. “I will kill that son of a bitch.”

“And I will help you”

“Will you? Will you be here to do that?” Emma snapped at him.

“Don't do this Emma. I already regret all of this. Do I seem like I like this situation?”

“You don't. I'm sorry. Killian I really am.”

Hook was tired of sitting on the ground and doing nothing. He had enough rest. He tried to rise from the ground alone but Emma saw him and helped him, putting a hand around his neck and another around his waist. When he was finally back on his feet he felt nauseous but preferred to keep his mouth closed.

“Can you walk?” Emma asked him.

“Aye. Lead the way Swan.” He made a gesture making it clear for her to walk in front of him.

Emma took the few vines they collected before their break and started to walk in front of him.

Hook was behind when he felt his head starting to spin. He wanted to tell Emma that he wasn't feeling good, but his eyes were misty as well.

“Emma,” was everything he could say before the world around him faded and turned to black. The last thing he heard was Emma’s angelic voice screaming his name.

Chapter Text

Her name was the only thing Emma heard before she turned to face Hook and found him on the ground.

“Hook?” Emma said panicked, being on the ground by his side in a second.

“Hook!” she yelled at him, shaking him by the shoulders.

“Wake up!”

Nothing happened, no matter how many times she screamed at him or shook him. She checked to see if he had a pulse and was relieved when she found one.

“Come on, Hook, wake up!” she yelled one more time at him.

“Emma?” she heard voices in the woods.  She heard David’s voice, then Mary Margaret’s, but she didn’t care.

All she cared about was waking him up. She pressed a few times on his chest but nothing happened, shaking him again, harder this time, and still nothing happened. In a desperate move, she leaned down and pressed her lips to his. She kept her lips there praying to every god that was listening that he would wake up. When he didn’t move one bit, she let his lips free and put a hand on his cheek.

“Wake up,” she murmured, still close to his lips.

“Emma, what happened?” she heard from behind her.

Emma turned her head and saw her parents and Regina there, staring at her and Hook on the ground, her hand still caressing his cheek.

“I… I don’t know,” she said, cursing Hook at the same time for making her keep his condition a secret.

“Is he okay?” David asked with worry in his voice.

Emma opened her mouth to answer when she felt something move beside her. She looked back at Hook and saw him moving, taking a deep breath as he did.

"Thank God!" she thought when she saw him opening his eyes.

“Emma?” he asked confused.

“You’re awake,” she said relieved.

“We have to take him back to the camp. You can tell us there what happened,” Mary Margaret said with a small smile on her face.

Emma nodded at her and David came to help her lift Hook from off of the ground and then help him walk back to the camp. They weren’t too far from it, fortunately, which probably was why the others were able to hear Emma when she yelled after finding Hook passed out on the ground.

“I’m sorry,” Hook whispered just so she could hear him.

“Don’t think about it now. We’ll talk later,” she said just as quietly.

They got Hook back to the camp and put him on a cot to rest.

“You want to tell us what’s going on here?” Regina asked her.

“I can’t.”

“Emma, we are here together; we are here for Henry. You need to tell us if we have to worry about something, or someone, else,” Regina said taking a quick look at Hook and then back to Emma.

“It’s nothing.”

“For a person who can spot a lie, you are the worst liar I’ve ever seen.”

“Emma, you can tell us.”

“I can’t, okay? He,” Emma said, pointing to Hook with a finger “won’t let me tell you. As you said Regina, Henry is our main concern.”

“What about Hook?”

“He will be fine,” Emma said looking at Hook and feeling bad for lying when she clearly knew that he was not going to be fine for a very long time.

“Tell them about Pan,” Hook said from behind her.

“Yes, yes,” Emma remembered about Pan’s threats and thanked Hook in her mind for the opportunity he gave her to change the subject.

“Pan visited us when we were getting these,” Emma said showing them the vines. “He taunted me again.”

“With what?” David asked with both of his hands on his hips.

“He said that if we don’t find Henry faster, he will become one of his Lost Boys. He didn’t sound like he minded that idea either,” Emma said with a grimace.

“We have to do something.”

“Yes. We are following Mary Margaret’s plan for now. We have to send him that message today, to let him know that we are looking for him. We have to give him hope.”

“We finished the trap while you were gone,“ Mary Margaret started to explain to Emma. “Apparently the vines we already had were enough.”

“Are you fucking kidding me?!” Emma yelled in her mind.

“That’s good. Now we just have to set it,” Emma told her mother.

“You should take a look at Hook. He looks pale,” Mary Margaret whispered to her. “I will make sure Regina is occupied with the trap.”

“Thank you.”

“Emma, you should talk to someone,” Mary Margaret said before leaving her alone with Hook.

“Later,” Emma replied, trying to make her understand that she didn’t want to talk about it right now.

“Okay,” Mary Margaret said and then left her.

Emma walked back to Hook and sat beside him on the cot.

“You scared the hell out of me back there,” she started. “When I saw you on the ground...”

“I know. I’m sorry,” Hook said, regret being present in his voice.

“What happened?”

“I don’t know. I just… passed out.”

“Yeah, I saw that. You weren’t waking up,” she said, not looking at him.

“I couldn’t. I heard you saying my name, I heard you telling me to wake up, but I couldn’t do it,” he explained to her.

If he could’ve heard her, did it mean that he also felt when she kissed him? Was that a kiss? She didn’t want to kiss him. She did it to try and wake him up, to save his life.

“Did you feel something else?” she asked him, curious as to what his response was going to be.

“No,” Hook replied without looking at her.

“Good”, Emma said to herself. She didn’t want him to think about that right now. Actually, she didn’t want herself thinking about that and what it really meant.

Emma thought about the moment the others found them. David and Mary Margaret were worried when they saw Hook on the ground. She saw it in their eyes, even if, if they were asked, they wouldn’t admit it to her. They were worried for him, maybe just as much as she was because just like her, they didn’t want any of them to die on this mission. They wanted everyone to get back to Storybrooke alive.

“They will ask again about what happened with you,” Emma said, looking where her parents and Regina were preparing the trap.

“I know,” he said turning his head towards her. “Thank you, for not telling them.”

Emma nodded and then spoke again.

“We should do something; come up with a story about what is going on with you. Regina will figure it out somehow.”

“We can tell them that I’m just sick. I spent some years away from this place and suddenly coming back wasn’t too good for my system. Keep the dying part out of the story,” he proposed.

“Okay,” Emma agreed with him, not having it in her to argue with him.

“You told Pan that you are going to save both me and Henry,” Hook said after a short silence.

“So?” Emma asked, looking back at him.

“Emma, if somehow it comes down to choosing between me and Henry, please never, ever, think about it as a choice. Henry is the one you have to save.”

“Don’t talk like that,” Emma told him.

“There is no way to save me. I told you that.”

“You said I am a stubborn person, Hook. I don’t care if you say there is no way to save you. There has to be something we can do.”

“Emma,” he sighed.

“Don’t even try it.”

“Why are you so hopeful?”

“I’m the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. I guess hoping is built in my system.”

“But hoping for a pirate to live? That isn’t something a princess should hope for,” he tried to joke with her.

“No. I’m hoping for a friend to live,” Emma said seriously.

He was looking at her again, his eyes intense on her. There was a hard silence between them that Emma didn’t know how to stop.

“Emma?” Mary Margaret interrupted them.

“Yeah?” Emma said, almost grateful for the interruption.

“We finished the trap. Hopefully one of those boys will be trapped in it soon.”

“Okay. Thank you,” Emma said with a small smile.

“How are you feeling, Hook?” Mary Margaret asked, moving her attention from Emma to Hook.

“Better, your majesty.”

“I’m glad to hear that,” Mary Margaret said and then moved her attention back to Emma.

“Emma? Can we talk?” she asked her.

“Yeah,” Emma looked at Hook with a questioning look and he nodded.

She rose from the ground and started to walk with Mary Margaret, not very far away from him.

“What is really going on here, Emma?”

“Mary Margaret, I told you I can’t say.”

“I’m your mother, Emma. I can keep a secret.”

“He’s sick, okay?! He’s sick and he doesn’t want you to know that because he doesn’t want you to take your focus away from Henry,” Emma said, finally letting it out of her system.

“And you’re worried about him,” Mary Margaret said, not making it a question at all.

“He’s here because of me. Of course I’m worried.”

“No, it’s not that.”

“Mary Margaret,” Emma said with a sigh.

“Emma, I can see that you care about him. A lot.”

“What if I do?” Emma snapped at her, Mary Margaret finally getting under her skin.

“That’s good. That’s really good.”

“I don’t think it is. I should focus on Henry.”

“You are Emma. You being worried about Hook and caring about him doesn’t mean that you care less for Henry or that you are less worried about him.”

Emma smiled at her. The thought of her caring so much about Hook still scared her, but she couldn’t let it go. She didn’t want to see him dead. Before she could think anymore on it, David interrupted her thoughts.

“We have one,” David said coming up to them. “We have a Lost Boy.”

“We’re coming,” Emma replied before Mary Margaret could say anything else.

Chapter Text

Storybrooke

Milah was supposed to meet with Belle and Ruby yesterday at the library to see if they could find anything about how and why she was still alive. They had to cancel their meeting however because, if she understood right, there was a mermaid in town, Ariel, who had a message from Rumpelstiltskin to Belle, and Belle had to help her with something.

It was still strange for Milah to see Belle everyday and understand why or how she fell in love with someone like her ex-husband, but she wasn’t going to comment about it in front of Belle. She was really sweet and helpful with everyone and, most importantly, full of hope. She had a good heart, anyone could see this, and Milah was sorry to hear about what Killian did to her while trying to get revenge on Rumpelstiltskin.

The mermaid who came into the town said she was sent by the Evil Queen (Milah had to remember her name was Regina) and Rumpelstiltskin to get a box from his shop. Belle helped the mermaid without any further questions, having hope that her lover will do the right thing in the end.

Milah preferred to stay away from Ariel, fearing that she would say something to Rumpelstiltskin when she saw him again. She was scared though, she wasn't afraid to admit that in front of anyone, because she feared about what he could do to her when he saw she was still alive. If their last encounter many years ago was any indication, Rumple still hated her for leaving him and Bae and running off with Killian. Thinking about Bae made her sad because when she came into town, she was fully prepared to talk to him, to explain to him everything that happened when he was little and apologize. But instead of seeing her son for the first time in 300 years, Milah found out that he was dead. She regretted that she would not be able to talk to him one more time, a regret that would last for the rest of her life.

On this particular morning, Milah was waiting for Belle and Ruby in front of the library to start their search, hoping that when Killian and his new friends came back, she would be able to offer some explanation to him. Belle told her that it was going to be a long day, that she had never heard of someone who survived after their heart had been crushed, especially after 300 years, but Milah was prepared to stay in the chair the whole day and read books to find out, finally, why she was alive. Not that she was complaining, thank you very much.

“Hi Milah,” she heard Belle’s voice from behind her. She turned to see Belle and Ruby coming towards her with cups of coffee in their hands and bags with food from Granny’s.

“Hello you two. All good?” Milah asked them when they were in front of her.

“Yes, a day without having to work is an amazing day,” Ruby told her, laughing.

“Me too. I helped Ariel yesterday and she just left this morning,” Belle explained while she was opening the door to the library.

“She went back to Neverland?” Milah asked.

“Yeah. I told her to get a message to Hook but she said she didn’t know where he was exactly and if all is good with Regina, she will come back here immediately because her True Love is here,” Belle explained.

“Oh, well then, I am happy to hear that. Although, it would have been nice to get a message to Killian. I’m afraid he will have a heart attack when he comes back and sees me.”

“Yeah, but hopefully we will have a way to explain it to him by then,” Belle assured her, opening the big doors of the library.

“To be honest, I can't wait for that,” Milah said with a smile, following her inside.

“I have to tell you I am not very good at what we are going to do today,” Ruby said following them.

“Don't worry Ruby, we are just going to read some books,” Belle assured her.

“Well then, that I can do,” Ruby said with a grin.

“Have you found any books that might be good for our search?” Milah asked Belle.

“Last night I found some books about hearts and magic but with Ariel here, I couldn't start reading them. She was so curious.”

“Well, she did just come to this world. It’s normal to react that way. Wait until she comes here for good. Her boyfriend will go crazy with all the questions he will get!” Ruby said while laughing.

With that, they started to read the books Belle prepared the night before. There were around 30 books and they shared them between the three of them. Milah read the first two books with excitement, not letting the lack of information stop her from trying. But after another two books with no results, Milah started to lose her hope.

“Have you found anything?” Milah asked after a few hours of reading.

“Nothing,” Belle said with regret, closing yet another book and adding it to the pile next to her.

“I did. I found out that I hate reading this stuff and that I could never do this for the rest of my life,” Ruby said closing another book.

“Ruby!”

“What? It’s boring! I would rather work at Granny’s all day than read this stuff.”

“We have to help Milah,” Belle said to her friend.

“I know, and I want to do it too, especially now that I know she's not here to murder us,” Ruby smiled at Milah remembering a few days ago that she was prepared to jump on her at the first wrong step.

“I know it’s hard, and I appreciate your help, truly,” Milah told them. “But maybe these books won’t help us at all. We have been reading for hours, book after book, and there is not a single piece of information about why I am alive.”

“I can take a look in Rumple’s shop. Maybe I can find some things there that can help us.” Belle wondered.

“No!” Milah answered immediately. “I don’t want any of his things close to me.”

“So what are we going to do if we can’t find anything in the books?” Belle asked her.

“Wait! I know! Blue!” Ruby said suddenly.

“What?” Milah asked confused, wondering why Ruby was suddenly saying names of colors. “What about that color?”

“No!” Ruby started to laugh “Blue is a fairy. She helped us many times in the Enchanted Forest and she is here, in Storybrooke. She has magic, good magic, so maybe she can help.”

“I don’t know much about Blue,” Belle said honestly.

“I do. Trust me, she helped Snow and Charming to catch Rumple back in the Enchanted Forest. She’s one of the good guys.”

“Well, then, maybe we should go and talk to her?” Milah said, although, it came out more like a question.  

“Yes, let’s do it,” Belle said taking her keys.

The three woman left the library quickly and started to walk together towards the convent.

While walking with them, Milah realised that she liked spending time with both Ruby and Belle, and that having friends to talk to was a nice feeling. She never really had friends, not back when she was married to Rumplestiltskin, since people often talked about her and her husband behind her back. And when she left with Killian, she tried to make friends with the crew, but they saw her only like their captain’s lover rather than their friend. Sure, Killian was her friend for a long time, not just her lover, but she wanted female friends, friends to gossip with, talk about her and her relationship with Killian, and she couldn’t talk to Killian about… well, Killian.

So yes, Milah liked spending time with them, learning about their lives in the Enchanted Forest and then in Storybrooke. Ruby told them more about herself, the fact that she was actually a werewolf and the story about her first boyfriend, while Belle talked about her life as a princess before Rumplestiltskin took her. Milah told them about the places she had been to, from the Enchanted Forest to Agrabah, to places with beautiful beaches or amazing mountains and different countries from this world, too.

After about an hour and a half of walking from one end of the city to the other, they finally arrived at the convent.

“So, do you really think she can help us?” Milah asked when they were in front of the convent.

“I know that she is the only one that can help us right now. It’s either ask Blue, or wait until Regina and Gold come back,” Belle explained.

“Ok then. Let’s try with Blue.”

And with that, the three of them started to walk towards the entrance of the convent, with Milah hoping that finally she will have some answers.

Neverland

Back in Neverland a new day was about to start. Killian Jones woke up from a deep sleep feeling considerably better than he felt in the last two days.

This is new, he thought.

He opened his eyes and realized that it was still dark outside and the others were still asleep. He looked at them, the Charmings on a cot, hugging; Snow White’s head was on Charming’s chest while he had both his arms around her. On the other side of the camp was Regina, alone, with what seemed like a portrait in her hand, and the mirror they used the night before to talk to Henry beside her head. Closer to him was Emma, who was on her right side, her face turned to him. He could tell her sleep was restless by her shivers and the frown on her face.

Hook hated to see her like this, not being able to get enough sleep, having nightmares and being haunted by the Lost Boy’s cries. She needed her sleep; she more than anyone because they were there to save her boy, and she needed her strength for any battle that might come soon. No matter how much Regina insisted that Emma needed to practice with her magic, Hook considered Emma’s skills in hand to hand battle were her best bet against Pan’s minions. And for that, she needed her rest.

Emma continued to move restlessly on her cot and Hook decided, against his better judgment, that it was better if he woke her up. So he rose from his place and started to walk towards her, quietly, so he didn’t wake up the others. He dropped down on one knee and put his hand on her shoulder, shaking her softly.

“Emma? Love? Wake up,” he whispered.

But Emma didn’t move. Instead, she continued to shiver, her lips starting to move, as if she was talking to someone.

“No,” Emma whispered.

“Emma,” Hook tried again.

“Hook,” she said clear enough so he could understand.

“Emma wake up.”

“Killian,” she murmured again.

“Wake up, Emma,” Hook said putting a hand on her cheek.

It was that exact moment that Emma woke up. She looked at him with her big green eyes and then observed his hand on her cheek. She opened her mouth to say something, just as he started to put his hand down.

“What happened?” Emma asked him, rising to a sitting position.

“Nothing, you had a nightmare. I wanted to wake you,” Hook said taking the same position in front of her.

“Yeah, I- I remember.”

“Are you alright, Emma?” he asked her, worried.

“It was just a nightmare. It kind of hit me hard,” Emma explained.

“You want to talk about?”

“I don’t. But something tells me that you are going to ask me about it, anyway.”

“I will,” he said smiling and thinking about the fact that she called for him in her sleep.

“I dreamed we found Henry.”

“That’s good, isn’t?” he asked confused about why that would be a nightmare.

“The fact that we found Henry is; what happened after isn’t,” Emma said, looking into his eyes. He had a vague idea about what could have happened in her dream, but he needed to know.

“What happened after?” he asked her.

“You died,” Emma said simply, still looking into his eyes.

“Emma.”

“Don’t. Don’t even try to talk to me again about this.”

“I’m not. I wanted to say something else.”

“What?”

“I... um … I heard you saying my name in your sleep,” he said, somehow embarrassed that he told her.

“Yeah, I figured.”

“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to,” Hook told her.

“Stop,” she said smiling at him. “I think you know why I did it.”

He didn’t know it. He hoped, yes, but he didn’t want to tell her his hopes just so she could crush them later.

“I want to hear you say it. You know, just in case you are not thinking about the same thing I am.”

“I care about you and I don’t want to see you dead. That’s why I did it. In my dream, I wasn’t going to let you die,” she said, finishing her words in a whisper.

“Emma,” he said coming closer to her.

“I was worried and scared,” she said leaning closer to him.

They were so close he could feel her breath on his face. Emma looked into his eyes and Killian into hers. He tried to see what was going on in her mind, read her the way he always does, but unlike other times, he couldn’t. All he could see was the color of her eyes. Her eyes moved from his eyes to his lips and then back up and she leaned even closer, if that was possible. This time, their noses were touching and he saw Emma closing her eyes. Hook closed his eyes too, in anticipation of what he hoped was going to happen between them. Their lips were so close, he thought he felt them touch when he heard a sneeze from behind them.

As the spell between them broke, Emma opened her eyes and backed away from him. He opened his eyes too and searched for her, but sadly Emma was looking in the direction of the sneeze. Snow White was the one that interrupted their moment and Killian cursed everything on this earth in his mind.

“Sorry,” Snow said looking at them. “Have I interrupted something?” she asked.

“No.”

“Not at all,” both Emma and Killian answered at the same time.

“Hook, how are you feeling?”

“Much better than yesterday, that’s for sure,” he replied.

“I am glad to hear that. You scared us a bit yesterday,” Snow said.

“I am sorry about that.”

Before Snow could say more, Charming started to wake up and Snow moved her eyes to her husband. Killian was grateful for that and he looked back to Emma, hoping that she hadn’t put her walls back up in just those few minutes. Fortunately, she was looking at him too. When she realized that he was looking at her, she moved her eyes away quickly and her cheeks started to turn a nice shade of pink.

“I-,” Hook started to talk but was stopped by Emma.

“It’s okay,” she said, smiling at him.

“It is?”

“Yeah, absolutely,” she said again looking right into his eyes. He hoped she was seeing what he couldn’t say out loud.

“Good,” he said smiling.

“Are you sure you’re feeling good?”

“Positive. I woke up feeling much better than yesterday. Almost as if nothing happened.”

“Isn’t that kind of impossible?”

“It is, but I’m not complaining.”

“Yeah, me neither,” she said with a soft smile.

Quickly, everyone was up and ready for another day in Neverland. This time they had a plan, a good one. All of them were feeling better than before since they got to talk to Henry the night before.

As they walked in the forest, they heard movement around them. They stopped, getting ready for another attack from the Lost Boys or even from Pan himself or his shadow, when someone unexpected came from behind the trees.

“Rumplestiltskin,” Regina said letting down the fire ball that was ready in her hand.

“Good to see you all again.”

“Do you have the box?” Regina asked him, making everyone curious about what they were talking about.

“What box?” Emma asked her.

“Yes, and the mermaid got her legs back,” Rumplestiltskin answered, ignoring Emma.

“Regina, what the hell are you talking about?”

“I added a little something to our plan last night while you were sleeping,” Regina said.

“What do you mean?”

“An old friend of mine, Ariel the mermaid, was in Neverland. I asked her to do something for me and as a reward, she gets to spend the rest of her life with her True Love, who is, apparently, in Storybrooke.”

“To do what?” Hook asked, not knowing what to expect.

“Back in my shop I had a box,” the Crocodile started to talk. “It has great power and it can help us catch Pan and never let him go.”

“What box?” Emma asked this time.

“Pandora’s box, Miss Swan.”

“You want to catch Peter Pan in Pandora’s Box?”

“I think I was quite precise about that.”

“We already had a plan, Regina. Don’t you think you should have talked about this with us?” Emma asked her.

“Don’t worry, the plan remains. Gold knows it, I told him. We follow the plan and at the end, after we have Henry, Gold is doing his little trick with the box.”

“Are you sure it’s going to work?” David asked this time.

“Yes. It will work and we are going to get Henry back and put Pan down once and for all.”

“Alright then. Let’s go get Henry back.” And with that, they started to walk again, this time with the Crocodile as part of their team.

Hook felt his wound start to make its presence known again, but he decided to ignore it. It wasn’t the time for that. They were going to get Henry. They would succeed, and he would be in his mother’s arms again. Emma would be happy with her family, he would make sure of that. Even if that was the last thing Killian Jones did in his life.

Chapter Text

Emma’s legs were hurting from so much running in the forest in such a short time.

She couldn’t understand how it happened, how their plan failed. Well, almost failed. Their plan was a good one, she was sure of that. Even Gold’s addition was good. They found Pan’s camp, thanks to Henry who held him from moving it again. They were prepared to fight with Pan’s minions and even with Pan. Emma was ready to really hurt those little fuckers.

They got Henry from Pan, Gold trapped Pan in Pandora’s box and for a few minutes, everything was good. Henry was back in her arms. He was safe, he was alive, and he didn’t hate any of them. She could finally breathe normally. Even Hook was much better after they got Henry back.

That was, of course, until everything went to hell. Pan’s shadow along with three other shadows attacked them when they started to walk back towards Hook’s ship. Tinkerbell came to their help, shooting fiery arrows at the three new shadows and scaring them away, but Pan’s shadow remained and attacked them. The arrows did nothing to it, Regina and Gold’s magic did nothing as well. The shadow was too powerful.

All they could have done was to start running back to the ship, hoping that they would lose the shadow in the forest. The only one who was not with them was Gold who, as the coward he was, disappeared in a black cloud as soon as the shadows attacked them. They continued to run, but the damned thing was still following them.

She felt her legs starting to slow down and she stopped, just for a moment, to catch her breath.

“Emma, run!” she heard Hook yelling behind her. She looked back to where he was and saw Pan’s shadow too close to him.

She looked at him and saw that he was starting to slow down; his face losing its color and turning a horrible shade of white that scared Emma. She decided right then that she would wait for him and help him get back to the ship.

“Run!” he yelled at her again.

“I’m not leaving you!” Emma yelled back at him.

“Take Henry! Go to the Jolly!” Emma hesitated, Henry was a few steps in front of her with Regina and her parents, running. “Go, Emma!” Hook yelled again.

Emma looked at him being chased by the shadow and with a big knot in her heart, she started to run in the opposite direction, towards Henry. She hated leaving Hook behind in his state, but deep down in her heart she knew Hook was right. They had to get Henry to the Jolly. Faster.  

Soon enough they were on the beach and they could see the Jolly in front of them. Emma stopped running and looked behind her, waiting for Hook to appear from behind the trees.

“Emma!” Regina yelled at her.

“Hook isn’t coming!” Emma yelled back.

“He will! Come on,” David told her.

With a sigh, Emma started to run towards them. While she ran, Emma was still looking behind her to see if Hook was coming but there was nothing. He was not coming.

When they were finally on the ship, they stopped running. Henry dropped onto a box sitting on the deck with everyone surrounding him breathing heavily. Some sat directly on the deck while others found some boxes to sit on. Everyone but Hook. She looked towards the beach, but there was still no sign of him. She looked towards the forest, hoping that he would be close but there was still no sign of him. Emma opened her mouth to say something about Hook, but David was faster. Jumping on his feet, he started to speak.

“Hook isn’t coming,” he said, looking at the others.

“He will,” Mary Margaret told her husband.

“He won’t,” Emma said, her back turned to them...

“How do you know that?” Mary Margaret asked her.

“I just know it,” Emma said, turning to face them.

She could read the hesitation on their faces and she could feel the question that was on everyone’s tongue. How did she know that? Why was she so sure that he wouldn’t come?

Fuck everything, Emma thought to herself before she decided to tell them Hook’s secret.

“Hook’s dying. When he jumped in front of that arrow a few days ago, he was poisoned by dreamshade. He has been slowly dying since then, but he didn’t want to tell you and I promised that I would keep it a secret,” she explained. “I’m afraid he won’t make it back to the ship. Not alone,” Emma said looking back to the forest.

“We have to help him!” Henry said, jumping to his feet.

“Henry, we just got you back,” Regina gently told him.

“Grandpa can go,” Henry suggested.

“I will,” Emma said.

“Emma!” Snow reprimanded.

“You can’t. Henry needs you here,” Regina told her.

“Hook is out there, alone, dying. I can’t leave him there.” Emma responded.

“Let me come with you,” David said, preparing his sword.

“No. I can do it. Give me two hours.” She started walking away before anyone could say something else.

“Tink?” Emma gestured to the fairy to come with her. When they were away from the others, Emma started to talk. “Hook has been poisoned with dreamshade. He said there is no cure for it, but I was wondering if maybe you know something?”

“I am sorry, Emma, Hook was right.”

“There is absolutely nothing? Are you sure?”

“There might be some things that can be done by those with light magic, but I don’t know anyone who has it. And these two,” she said, pointing to Regina and Gold, “are far from that.”

“Maybe we will find someone in Storybrooke. Do you think he can make it back there alive?”

“I guess it depends on how bad he is.”

“Okay. Thank you,” Emma said before starting to walk off the ship.

When she was back on the beach, Emma started to run back toward the forest. She didn’t know exactly where she lost him, or where he could be. All she knew was that he was there, somewhere, and hopefully not dead.

Not dead yet said a small voice inside her head.

Emma decided that it was wise to ignore that voice. She didn’t want to believe that she wouldn’t find him, or even worse, that she would find him dead. He promised her, after all.

“Hook! Hook!” Emma started to yell in the middle of the forest. “Hook, where are you?!” she continued to yell.

But there was nothing. Not even a small leaf moving in the trees. And even then, Emma could feel something bad was going to happen. She moved deeper into the forest and continued to yell his name, looking for him, but there was nothing.

“Hook!” she yelled one more time, louder.

This time she heard something behind her. She turned, with a smile on her face, expecting to see him but instead of Hook, she was face to face with Pan’s shadow.

“Fuck. You again?” Emma found a tree branch on the ground and took it, swearing at herself the moment she realized she dropped her sword on the deck of Hook’s ship.

“What have you done to him?” Emma said behind her teeth.   

Pan’s shadow started to fly towards her. Deciding not to run away, Emma used the branch to protect herself. Somehow it worked. The shadow didn’t come close to her, but then it wanted to attack her again. Emma used the branch again but this time, the shadow didn’t turn away from her.

“Where is Hook?!” she yelled again at the shadow.

This time, when the shadow attacked again, Emma wasn’t careful with the branch and somehow it got broken. With a swear, Emma threw away the remains of the branch and started to back away slowly. She turned around and started to run again with the shadow following her. Emma wasn't really being careful where she stepped so when the shadow flew on her right, she turned to defend herself but stepped on some tangled roots on the ground. Before she could catch herself, she started to fall. She continued to fall downhill, not being able to stop herself until she was at the bottom, her right arm hitting a tree hard.

“Fuck,” Emma groaned, turning to be on her back. “Fucking shadow.”

“Emma?” she heard from somewhere close to her.

“Hook?” she said rising to her knees.

She saw him a few feet away, supported on a tree, paler that she ever saw him and barely holding his head up.

“Hook?” Emma said softly, rising and walking toward him.

She sat on the ground beside him and tried to put her right palm on his cheek, but the pain in her arm was too powerful. She prayed that it wasn’t broken. Instead of touching him with her right hand, she put her left palm on his cheek.

“What happened?”

“I fell,” he said, weak.

“We have to get you out,” Emma said, preparing to help him get back on his feet.

“Emma,” he said, stopping her. “What are you doing here?”   

“I was looking for you. Pan’s shadow attacked me, and I fell.”

“You should have taken Henry back to the ship,” he said looking at her with soft eyes.

“He is there, safe with the others.”

“Emma, you have to get back there. Leave this island. Pan’s shadow won’t leave you alone for too long. Tink can take the ship out of here.”

“I told you, I am not leaving you.”

“Emma, I’m dying.”

“I know that! You kept reminding me of that fact the last few days.”

“No, Emma,” he whispered. “Right now, I can feel it.”

“Hook,” Emma whispered, feeling tears coming to her eyes. “Killian,” she said, putting both of her hands on his face, ignoring the pain in her arm.

“Your arm?” he asked, and she wanted to let out a laugh at the fact that even now he was worrying about her.

“It’s nothing. You have to stay with me for a little longer, okay? We are going to get out of here.”

“Emma.”

“Killian, please.” He smiled a little hearing her. “What?”

“You keep doing that,” he said still smiling.

“Doing what?”

“Saying my name. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard it,” he said smiling and letting his eyes drop.

“Stay with me,” Emma said, slapping him softly on the cheek.

He opened his eyes and looked at her. Since the moment they met, Emma noticed his eyes, both their blue color and the intensity that was there. The way the color changed from the color of the ocean when he was calm, joking with her or flirting, to the color of the night sky when he was angry or he wanted something really bad had always fascinated her. But right now, the color of his eyes was slowly fading.

“Emma, I am serious. You have to go before the shadow comes back.”

“I’ll go. When you decide that you are coming with me.”

“I can’t move, Emma.”

“I will help you.”

“You are so stubborn, Emma Swan,” Hook said with a grin.

“I know. Come on,” Emma said, putting an arm around him.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m trying to help you get up. I need a little help though.”

Together, they rose to their feet and started to walk slowly. Hook was whimpering from time to time. Emma was holding most of his weight and she was sure that if he hadn’t have been wearing his pirate coat, his weight would have been much lighter. With a hand still on his back, she moved the hand that was on his chest to touch the place where his wound was. She felt the wetness as soon as she put her hand there. When she brought her hand back to look at it, her palm was red.

“You’re bleeding,” Emma said, trying to keep her voice steady. “We have to stop and take care of it.”

“No, we are not stopping. It will be night soon, Pan’s shadow can appear around us at anytime. We have to get back to the ship.”

“No. We are stopping,” Emma said, stopping in front of a fallen tree trunk. “Sit.”

She helped Hook sit down on the tree trunk and then she knelt down in front of him, starting to work on getting his shirt off.

“You should have told me much earlier that you wanted to get me naked”, Hook tried to joke.

“Shut up,” she said with a small smile.

After a few tries and curses she managed to get his shirt off, and now Hook was in front of her in just his leather pants. If his chest hadn’t have been covered in black veins and blood from the wound, she would have taken her time appreciating his abs and the  generous amount of chest hair that was covering them, but she didn’t have time for that. Not now and maybe not ever if she didn’t take care of him and let him die.

“What are these?” she asked, tracing her fingers over the black veins that were inches away from his heart.

“The dreamshade’s effects. I’m going to die when they touch my heart.”

“Hook, these are inches away from your heart.”

“I know.”

Studying them closer, Emma remembered how they got in that position. His wound, she had to take care of his wound.

“I have to clean this.”

“The rum is in the pocket of my coat.”

Emma moved to take the coat and started to look for his flask. She found it and without another word to him she poured the liquid on his wound. Emma winced when he let out a cry of pain, but there was nothing else she could do. She tore a piece of her shirt off and started to clean the wound with it. When all the blood was cleaned, the only thing that was left behind was something that looked like a small scratch. Even she had bigger wounds back when she was a bails bond person. How something so small could kill him so quickly was beyond her understanding.

She kept the cloth pressed there to make sure it stopped bleeding, but the thing that scared her the most were the veins that kept moving under her eyes.

“I told you I was going to die,” he said, following her eyes with his.

“And I told you I won’t let you.”

“Why?”

“I think we already had this discussion,” Emma said.

“You said you care for me,” Hook said letting his head drop.

“I do.”

Hook let out a deep breath and looked at her with sadness in his eyes.

“I imagined this happening a different way,” he said.

“Imagined what?”

“Making you care for me. I was thinking about courting you when we got back to Storybrooke. I knew you had walls, I still know that. I can still see them sometimes, but I was hoping that when we got back, one way or another, I would have destroyed them.”

Emma felt tears coming to her eyes at his words. There wasn’t a single sign that he was lying. He was telling her the truth and she wondered why he was doing it. A deep voice inside her mind told her that he was saying these things now because he knew he would die. He would die knowing that he told her everything he couldn’t say when he was fine.

“You did it without knowing. You started to destroy them from the moment we met. That’s why I left you on the beanstalk. I was afraid. But then you came back, you helped us, you brought us here and you risked your life. For us, for me.”

“I wish you would have told me this sooner,” Hook said.

“I was afraid,” she whispered.

“I know. I also wish for one more thing,” he whispered.

“What is that?”

“I wish we would have had more time.”

Hearing his words, Emma let out a hard sob. She felt her tears starting to fall on her cheeks as she closed her eyes.

“Emma, don’t,” he said putting his hand on her cheek, wiping away her tears with a finger.

She couldn’t say anything so instead, she put both of her hands on his cheeks and brought his face towards her, resting his forehead on hers, her eyes remaining closed the whole time. She felt her hands getting wet, so she opened her eyes and looked at him. His eyes were closed as well, tears falling down his cheeks.

Emma let down all the walls that were around her and her heart and leaned into him, bringing her lips closer to him. Remembering the feeling she had that morning, before Mary Margaret could interrupt them. His breath was hot on her face, their lips were closer than ever, barely touching when they heard noises around them.

Fuck , Emma thought.

They separated and looked around them. The color on Emma’s face drained as she saw the shadow behind Hook.

“We have company,” she told him.

“Emma.”

“I’ll take care of it,” Emma said, rising to her feet and taking Hook’s sword in her hand, forgetting about the pain in her arm.

Emma started to walk behind Hook, holding the sword up to protect them both. The shadow’s eyes flashed and Emma could have sworn that she saw anger there, if that was even possible.

“I am going to end you once and for all,” Emma said as the shadow started to fly towards them.

“I am going to vanquish you from this world,” she continued, moving the sword to hit it, but missed.

“I am so done with you” she said attacking again but this time hitting the shadow. The shadow flew towards her and Emma raised the sword again.

“I am so done with this island!” she said, rotating the sword above her head as best she could with only one hand, hitting the shadow again.

This time after Emma hit it, the shadow flew towards Hook instead of her. Emma yelled out a ‘no’ and started to run back towards him. Seeing her coming, the shadow raised its hand and suddenly Emma found herself in the air, flying away from Hook. She found herself on the ground, sword thrown a distance away from her. She was back on her feet, ready to attack the shadow again, when she heard Hook screaming.

“No!” Emma screamed, starting to run toward him.

“Emma, run!” Hook yelled at her.

Emma found a rock on the ground and threw it at the shadow, but nothing happened.

“Get away from him!” she yelled.

“Emma, go!” Hook yelled again, his voice weaker this time.

She looked shockingly at Hook as she saw the shadow pulling out something from inside him. It took her just a second to notice that the thing that was being pulled out of Hook had his form; it was his shadow.

“Let him go!” Emma yelled at the shadow in fear.

The shadow looked at her and its eyes flashed again as it continued to pull out Hook’s shadow.

Emma didn’t know what to do. She was looking at Hook, crying in pain, and felt her heart hurting her as well. She had no idea what was going on, but his screams were getting worse with every second.

“No, no,” Emma continued to say to herself. “Find something to do, Emma. Something, anything, even something magic.”

Emma’s eyes flashed, remembering Gold’s words from a few weeks ago. Her magic was controlled by her feelings. She hoped that it would work. Last time her magic manifested, she was scared for Mary Margaret, she wanted to help Mary Margaret. This time it was about Hook; she wanted to help him, she wanted to protect him. She thought about what she felt for him, how much she wanted him, needed him, alive. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on the magic she knew was inside her.

She knew the exact moment her magic was about to manifest. She felt it inside her, like something that was waiting to get out. So she let it out. She let out everything while screaming, firstly letting out an indescribable yell and then screaming Hook’s name.

With her scream, there was another scream that filled the forest. It wasn’t human, that was for sure and Emma thought that it was the shadow’s. She opened her eyes and all she saw was a white light. A few moments later the light disappeared, everything coming back to normal. Emma looked around her, being ready for the shadow to appear again, but it wasn’t anywhere. She looked towards Hook and saw him on the ground.

“Hook?” Emma ran towards him, dropping to her knees.

He was face down, so Emma turned him on his back. His eyes were closed, there was no sign of any new wound, but Emma let out a scream when she saw the veins that were forming a black circle around where his heart was.

“No, no, no!” Hook!” she started to shake him. “Wake up, wake up! Killian!” She continued to scream at him and shake him.

“You can’t do that. Please Killian,” she said, pressing her hands on his chest.

She put two fingers on his neck, searching for his pulse and when she didn’t find anything, she dropped her head, listening for any sign that he was breathing. But still nothing, there was nothing at all. He didn’t have a pulse, he wasn’t breathing and no matter how many times she shook him or pressed on his chest, he didn’t move.

Emma let out a sob as she felt tears coming down her cheeks.

“Please wake up,” she cried, finally stopping herself from pressing anymore on his chest.

The veins didn’t move. They stayed there, frozen in a circle covering the place where his heart was and Emma knew, in that moment, that no matter what she tried, he wouldn’t wake up. She moved her hands to his face, one hand moving a strand of hair that was on his forehead and the other stroking his face. One of her tears fell on his cheek and she moved her palm to wipe it.

“I am sorry. I am so sorry,” she said, continuing to move her hand over his face, knowing that he wouldn’t even know it.

“I am sorry I killed you. I am sorry I never told you how I really feel. I am so sorry, Killian.”

Emma continued to stay on the ground, crying and saying over and over again how sorry she was for everything. She knew that sooner or later she will have to go back to the ship, go back to Henry and her parents, but she couldn’t leave him there. She couldn’t leave Hook alone in the forest, on an island where no one cared about him.

Emma looked again at Hook, eyes closed and not moving. She had to admit that he looked much younger like that, not a single worry on his face and she wondered if this is how people felt when they die. She stroked his face again, her eyes moving from his eyes to his lips. They were so close to kissing today, not once, but twice, and they had been interrupted both times, the second time bringing him his death. She never got to feel his lips on hers and now she never would.

Her tears continued to run down her face, falling onto his. One of them fell on his lips and Emma couldn't stop herself. She must be crazy, wanting to kiss a dead man, but she needed to. She needed to know how his lips felt, even in this state.

“Killian, I am so sorry I did this to you. You wanted to help me, protect me. I’ve been a bitch to you, yelling and punching you, without realizing that all this time my walls made me do it, in a desperate move to keep you away and protect my heart. But all this time I should have let you in. I should have let my heart have what it wanted from the very beginning. You. Deep down, my heart wanted you and I kept you away like the idiot I am.”

With one last stroke of her hand on his cheek, she leaned down and pressed her lips to his. She didn’t expect anything to happen, she knew he wouldn’t answer, but still, she couldn’t let him go. She pressed her lips harder to his and that’s when she felt her magic taking over.

She didn’t see any light, any rainbow like the time when she kissed Henry; she saw nothing. She just felt her magic taking her over, taking over them.

She kept her lips on his, not wanting to let him go. She was still kissing him when she felt it. Or maybe she imagined it? She felt his lips answering hers, but that wasn’t possible, right? He was dead. Then she felt his skin starting to warm under her hand. What was going on?

She wanted to pull away, to look at him and try to understand what was going on. When she started to raise her head, she felt a hand in her hair, pressing her back to him. Under her lips, Hook’s lips were forming what felt to her as a grin or even a full blown smile, kissing her back. She smiled too, feeling him alive under her hands so she gave in, kissing him harder than she kissed anyone in all her 28 years.

Chapter Text

Killian woke up with a tremor. It was dark around him, darker than he had ever seen and he just knew it; knew that this was it, this was his death. Apparently for him, death was a dark, cold place where he was just a lonely soul waiting for God knows what. But despite being alone, something inside him told him to start walking in the darkness. He started to walk and at one point, he felt he needed to start laughing at himself. After all this time, after having the darkness roaming inside of him making him crazy with revenge and taking him down villainous paths, now, he was drowning in it, both literally and figuratively.

He didn’t know how much he walked or if he walked at all since it was hard to tell in all that darkness, but slowly his mind drifted to Emma. The last thing he felt was Pan’s shadow pulling out his own, while the last thing he saw before the darkness overtook him was the white that was surrounding him, hearing Emma’s pained scream at the same time. Magic, he told himself. The white light was Emma’s magic and he was glad that she finally used it but at the same time, he was sad that he wasn’t there to see it fully. He cursed himself for that. He promised her that he would live long enough to help her save Henry and get them back to Storybrooke safely. They did save Henry, but they were still on the island; the others most likely waiting for Emma to return to the Jolly with him because she came after him. She didn’t want to leave him alone in the middle of the jungle.

Killian closed his eyes and touched his lips. He remembered the way they almost kissed that morning, before Snow White interrupted them and then again earlier, just before his death. Maybe he would have had a much more peaceful death if he had kissed her before. Maybe the thought of kissing her calmed him, made him be at peace with the thought of dying.

“Hook,” he heard Emma’s voice come out of nowhere. “Wake up, Killian!”

“Bloody hell! This place is mocking me. It’s hell!” Killian yelled out loud.

“I’m sorry I killed you. I’m sorry I never told you how I really feel. I am so sorry Killian,” he heard again. This time, he could also hear her sobbing between words..

It hit him then that it should have only been a fragment of his imagination. The Emma he knew would never be like this, crying over a dead man, telling him she’s sorry. It had to be just his imagination that was playing games with him, even now when he was dead. He continued to hear Emma’s voice, pleading with him to wake up, telling him how sorry she was for doing this to him. He wondered if this was his punishment after all the years he lived. If hearing Emma’s voice over and over again would haunt him for all eternity in this infinite darkness.

But then he felt something on his skin. A hand perhaps? No, not a hand. It was the feeling a hand leaves on someone’s skin when someone else is stroking that person’s skin. It felt more and more like Emma’s touch, but how was that even possible? He was dead; he wasn’t supposed to feel anything.

Then he felt water on his face. He looked up but there was nothing. Yet, his face was getting wetter with every minute.

“What the bloody hell is going on?” he said.

He then felt a light press on his lips. Was that the feeling of another pair of lips on his? He kissed so many people during his 300 years of being alive to know well enough what kissing felt like, so he was sure that what he was feeling right now was a kiss. He closed his eyes, trying to feel more and, surprisingly, he did. As he closed his eyes he concentrated on the feeling of the foreign lips on his own. Someone, or something, was kissing him, but who? Why? How was that possible? He knew deep down that the lips that were kissing him were soft and he could feel an actual breath on his face. He could have recognized that feeling anywhere.

“Emma?” he said shocked, opening his eyes.

Emma was kissing him? She was finally kissing him? She was kissing him and he was dead, not being able to respond to her kiss? Now Killian was really angry. Emma, the woman he dreamed about since the moment he laid eyes on her, was kissing him and he was dead, not being able to answer her kiss and show her how much he cared about her.

The feeling of Emma’s lips didn’t go away so he concentrated on them, wishing with all his heart that he was able to kiss her back and say her name over and over again in his mind. As he did that something happened behind his eyes. The darkness started to fade, and the same bright light he saw earlier when he died fell over him like a veil.

He felt the press of the lips harder and harder as the light was falling all around him. He closed his eyes, the light being too bright for him and tried to open them again after a few moments.

He opened his eyes just a little and was met with Emma’s closed eyes, her lips pressed on his. He wasn’t able to fully realise what was happening, but he continued to kiss her, putting a hand around her when he felt her trying to pull away. Emma fell on his chest, dropping both of her hands around his torso.

“Wait, wait, wait,” he heard Emma saying, feeling her lips starting to form a smile.

“No, don’t stop. If this is heaven, I don’t want it to stop,” Killian said, smiling too.

But Emma stopped the kiss and leaned on one hand, rising from his chest. Killian opened his eyes and looked at her. Her eyes were red from crying, but she had a smile on her face. Her golden hair was falling around her face and Killian could have swore he had never seen someone more beautiful.

“You’re alive,” she said, awe being present in her voice.

“I am,” he said, mirroring Emma’s smile.

“How?”

“I hoped you could have told me.”

“I don’t know. I was kissing you-”

“Thank you very much for that, by the way,” he stopped her and then nodded to continue.

“And then you were kissing me back,” she said still smiling.

She continued to look into his eyes and caressed his cheek for a bit but then her face became serious.

“But you were dead,” she said.

Killian sighed and rose to a sitting position. He felt no pain in his body when he did that and it felt good after having dealt with so many days of fighting with the pain in his bones.

“I was. I know that for sure.”

“Then how are you still alive? Because I tried every single first aid method I know.”

“First aid method?” Killian asked, slighty confused.

“Pressing on your chest, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Things like that.”

“Ah, I understand.”

“Yeah. I tried those and none of them worked, but then something inside me told me to kiss you and I did, and you just… woke up.”

Woke up by a kiss, Killian thought to himself.

He had heard stories about people being woken up by kisses. Hell, Emma’s parents were one of those couples he had heard about. But in all those instances? They were woken up with True Love’s Kiss. That wasn’t possible for him, was it? You had to love the other person with all your heart for the kiss to work right? Killian was sure of his feelings for Emma, but he wasn’t sure about her’s for him.

He looked at Emma and saw that she was lost in her thoughts. One of her hands was still on his chest, her fingers moving without direction, but her eyes were lost. He wanted to know what was going on in her mind and what was she thinking about.

“Emma? Say something?” he said.

“I was thinking... ,“ she said, looking at him.

“About?”

“My parents? And Henry.” Killian nodded. Of course she was worried about them. She was, after all, in the middle of the forest and they were on his ship, with the Shadow still flying around most likely.

“They are safe on the ship,” he tried to assure her.

“No, no, no. My parents did this…,” she said, moving her hand between them, “twice… Waking each other up with a kiss... And… um… I woke up Henry once like this as well. By kissing him. He was poisoned, cursed actually, with the same Sleeping Curse my parents once dealt with,” Emma explained. He knew, of course, of her parents’ story. But Henry? That was a story he wanted to hear.

“And what happened?”

“I don’t know how it was for my parents but with Henry, there was magic, a rainbow or something; a bright light around the both of us. There wasn’t anything when we…”

“When we kissed,” Killian finished her thought.

Emma nodded at him. Confusion was present on her face and he could tell that she wanted to know what was going on and what exactly woke him.

He thought back to the moment he started to feel her lips on his. The darkness that surrounded him until that moment started to slowly fade. He didn’t pay much attention then, too focused on what was happening with him but now that he was thinking back to that moment, the darkness started to fade around him, making place for the light that in the end woke him up. The light. Emma said there was a bright light when she woke Henry. Maybe the same bright light woke him up as well. He felt his eyes grow bigger as he looked at Emma.

“What?” Emma asked curious.

“A bright light. You said there was a bright light when you woke Henry. I saw that too.”

“What?”

“After the Shadow attacked and tried to pull out my own shadow, I woke up in darkness. That was all I could see, but then I started to hear your voice. At first, I thought it was just my imagination. How was it possible to hear your voice when I was dead, right? But then I felt your touch on my face, your lips pressed to mine and slowly the darkness started to fade. Before I woke up, there was a bright light that came over me so I closed my eyes. And when I opened them again, you were there and I was alive.”

“Do you think it was that? For us? Do you think it was True Love’s Kiss?” Emma asked, this time looking intensely into his eyes.

“I don’t know what to think.”

“But that would be impossible, right? I mean, we haven’t spent that much time together. We have to… to love each other in order for it to work, right?”

“Emma, when we first came to Neverland, I told you that I fancy you. I am quite sure of my feelings, even now,” he said seriously.

“Well, I am not,” she replied, looking at him. She probably saw the way his face fell at her words. “That came out wrong. I mean, I care about you a lot. I just don’t… know… I’m scared, to be honest ,” she stopped, looking at him apologetically.

“I understand, Emma. I am kind of scared too,” he admited.

“You are?”

“Of course I am! One moment, I’m dying and in the next, I am here, alive, thinking about the possibility of being someone’s True Love. After so many years of thinking that I had to suffer and I didn’t deserve to be loved, it’s a lot to take in,” Killian finally admitted to her.

“For a very long time I felt the same. And then Henry came, and my parents… And I’m not saying that it’s impossible for me to love you, because it’s not… But this kiss... It means we’re True Love. We are meant to be together,” Emma said, and he could see that she was still not sure of herself or her words.

“Emma, as I said, I am absolutely sure of my feelings for you. Even if you might not be ready to hear that, know that they are there and they won’t change,” Killian said, knowing very well that Emma wasn’t ready for a real declaration of love. So instead, he knew that for the time being, he needed to settle for this.

“You are very sure of yourself,” Emma said with a huff.

“Of course I am. Trust me, my feelings will stay like this for a very long time,” Killian promised her.

She leaned down and pressed her lips to his. It was something quick and if he wasn’t close to her he would have missed it. But then again, Emma was still there, close with her forehead pressed to his.

“Thank you. Just… be patient with me. Please,” Emma said softly, her eyes pleading with him to just give her time.

“Always,” he said truthfully.

She moved away from him and picked up his discarded shirt that had been tossed aside when she was trying to take care of his wound.

“We should go back to the ship,” she said, placing the shirt in his hand.

“Aye,” he said, starting to redress. “They are probably wondering where we are.”

“Oh gosh. David is probably planning a search party by now,” she said waiting for him to finish dressing.

“Aye. I can see that happening,” he said, smiling.

“What are we going to tell them?” she asked when they started to walk back to the beach.

“That you found me in the woods and that on the way back, we were attacked by the Shadow and we fought with it,” he replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Ok, that might work. But there is a little problem,” Emma said, avoiding his eyes.

“What?”

“I told them that you were dying. Tink knows that you were poisoned,” she said this time while looking at him.

“Why did you tell them?” Killian asked, shocked by the fact that Emma told everyone about his secret, even if she promised not to.

“I was worried when you didn’t show up on the beach. I wanted to come after you and they asked why I was so sure that you wouldn’t come. So I told them that you were dying but I didn’t tell them how. And then I told Tink that you had been poisoned because I wanted to ask her if there was any way to save you that maybe you missed,” Emma explained. Killian just nodded at her, understanding why she did it, even if he didn’t like it.

“Well, obviously there was.”

“Yeah, Tink said that light magic could do it.”

“From what I heard years ago, a True Love’s Kiss needs light magic,” Killian said, stopping to look at her.

“So I used magic,” Emma said, not really asking, but instead saying it more like a confirmation for herself.

“We can tell them that you used magic to fight the Shadow, which you did, and that it was that same magic that healed me as well,” he proposed.

“Do you think it could work?” she asked, looking at him.

“Of course. They weren’t there, so only we know the truth.”

“Okay then, that’s what we are going to do.” Emma agreed and without another word, started to walk again.

They continued to walk towards the beach in silence and when they finally arrived, they were able to see the ship close to them. Killian was glad to see his home again after so many days in the forest, and especially after dying.

He started to walk in the sand when he turned to look at Emma who should have been next to him. Only Emma wasn’t there. She was behind him, still at the edge of the forest.

“Are you okay?” he asked her.

“I… I want to keep it between us for now. If that’s alright with you.”

“Didn’t we just agreed on that?” Killian asked her, not really understanding what she wanted to say.

“No, I meant the True Love part. I want to keep it between us until we, I, figure out how I really feel.”

“Of course, Emma,” he said with a soft smile.

He expected that. Knowing Emma, he didn’t expect her to be excited from the first moment they found out they were True Love and he definitely didn’t expect her to jump up and down out of happiness and run to tell everyone. Half of him even agreed with her. It was better to keep it a secret until they figure it out on their own.

Emma smiled and then came closer to him and together they started to walk down the short path in the sand towards the ship.

Emma POV

“Emma! Hook!” Emma heard Mary Margaret’s voice as soon as they stepped on the deck.

“Mom!” Henry yelled and started to run, hugging her when he was in front of her.

“Oh, wow, easy kid,” Emma said with a smile while putting her hands around his shoulders and hugging him back.

“We were so worried, Emma,” Mary Margaret said while coming towards her with David by her side.

“Why?” acting as if nothing had happened in the time she was in the forest with Hook.

“We saw the light!”

“What?” Emma started to panic. Maybe they saw something she didn’t.

“That big, white light. It was visible from here. What was that by the way? Regina said it was magic. Light magic to be exact,” Mary Margaret explained.

“Yeah, that it was,” Emma said awkwardly, looking at Hook for help. But before he could say something, Henry started to talk.

“You used magic?” he said looking at her excited. “That is so cool, Mom! How did you do it?”

“Calm down kid. It happened once and I don’t think it’s going to happen again,” Emma tried explaining to him

“It should happen again, Miss Swan,” Regina said coming in their direction. “That was light magic; very powerful magic.”

“And?”

“How did it happen? What did you do to make it work?” Regina said, ignoring Emma’s comment.

“Nothing. The Shadow attacked us and I just… had to do something. I thought about protecting us from it and it just happened.”

“And speaking of the Shadow,” Killian said coming to her rescue, “we should get ready to leave this island. The Shadow may reappear at anytime.”

“It won’t, Captain,” Gold’s voice came from the other side of the deck. “Miss Swan’s magic was so powerful that it was destroyed.”

“I destroyed the Shadow?” Emma asked amazed by herself.

“That you did,” Regina admited.

“Still, Hook is right,” David started. “We should get ready to leave this island before anything else happens.”

“Aye, I’m gonna start preparing the ship. Tink I’ll need your help. Yours too, your Majesty,” Killian said looking at Regina.

“First, though,” Mary Margaret said, “I have to ask. How do you feel, Hook? Emma told us that you were dying before she left.”

“I’m no longer dying, actually. When Emma used her magic to destroy the Shadow, it also helped heal me,” he said with a small smile, following the little lie they concocted.

“I’m glad to hear that,” Mary Margaret said with a smile, looking from Hook to Emma.

“Enough of that,” Regina said. “Hook, what do you want me do to?”

As Hook started to explain to Regina and Tinkerbell what he wanted them to do, Emma took Henry away and hugged him again.

“I missed you. I am so glad you are finally safe,” she told him.

“I missed you too, Mom. I’m glad everyone is fine. Everyone got really scared when they saw the light in the forest,” Henry explained to her.

“Trust me, kid. I was scared too,” Emma said, thinking back to the moment when she thought she was going to lose Hook forever. And for a few minutes she really did. “I can’t wait to get back to Storybrooke.”

“Me too! I miss Granny’s hamburgers!” Henry exclaimed.

“And her hot chocolate,” Emma said smiling.

“With cinnamon!” they said at the same time.

“You have to tell me everything that happened here when we get back. I want to know everything!”

“It’s really not that interesting,” Emma said, thinking back to fights with the Lost Boys, Pan, and the Shadow.

“Doesn’t matter Mom! I want to know!”

“Okay, okay, I’ll tell you,” she promised, happy that she had her amazing kid back.

She watched with Henry how Hook, Regina, and Tinkerbell prepared the ship. They worked together to make the ship fly thanks to both the little magic Tink had left and Regina’s magic.

“Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning,” Henry murmured to her when the ship was up in the sky.

She smiled, getting the Peter Pan reference and then turned her eyes to Hook who was doing what he did best: being the Captain of the Jolly Roger. He was concentrating on his moves, holding the helm with his hand and his hook and moving it from left to right, guiding them in the sky.

“Emma?” Emma’s thoughts were interrupted by a small voice behind her.

She turned to see Tink with a big smile on her face, hands together in front of her.

“Tink,” Emma said, smiling at her.

“Can we talk?” Tink asked, looking from Emma to Henry and then back to her again.

“Sure,” Emma said, moving her attention to Henry. “Do you mind going around the deck or something?”

“Nope,” Henry said. “I’ll go and see how Mom is,” leaving the two women to talk.

“So?” Emma said looking back at the fairy, not knowing for sure what she wanted.

“I wanted to talk to you about something,” Tink stopped, looked behind Emma and then back at her again. “About Hook,” she said tentatively.

“Oh. What about him?” Emma asked warily.

“How exactly did you heal him? I heard something earlier, but not everything,” Tink asked Emma.

“I… um.. the Shadow attacked us and I had to use my magic to protect us. I’m not sure how I did it, but there was this light and then the Shadow disappeared and Hook was healed,” Emma explained, hoping that Tink would believe the lie.

“Just like that?” Tink asked suspiciously and Emma just nodded.

“Yeah. Just like that.”

“Emma, I know I don’t have my magic anymore, but I also know that dreamshade is not that easy to heal, even with light magic like yours,” Tink said, looking at Emma. Then she continued, whispering “and I also know some things about True Love.”

Emma felt all her blood leave her body and she froze at what Tink said. Tink was looking at her with an eyebrow raised and before she could answer, Emma darted her eyes from Tink to Hook. He wasn’t paying any attention to them, though. He was still concentrated on what he was doing. So Emma looked back to Tink and started to talk.

“What do you mean?”

“I haven’t seen you two together for long, but today when you went after him, you were very worried. And then when you came back, there was something between you two. Something not everyone could see.”

Emma knew very well what was between her and Hook when they came back, but she hoped Tink didn’t and she just wanted to get something out of Emma. Or was she just jealous? She remembered that in the book and the movie, Tinkerbell was jealous of Wendy, and Emma didn’t know this Tink for very long. She could be just like her book version. Besides,, Emma still didn’t know if there was something between the fairy and the pirate.

“Maybe it was nothing,” Emma tried to brush it off.

“Emma, what are you two trying to hide?” Tink asked bluntly.

“Nothing,” Emma answered too quickly for Tink’s liking.

“Did you two kiss?” the fairy asked again.

“No!” Emma answered again, too fast.

“Emma?”

“Okay, maybe?” she finally said with a sigh. “He… died, and I tried to bring him back and it just… happened,” Emma explained, not sure of how good her explanation was.

“He woke up,” Tink stated, sure of her answer.

“Yes,” Emma nodded.

“That’s True Love’s Kiss, Emma.”

Before she could answer, Emma looked around her to make sure that no one was around to hear her answer and to hear her admit to the fact that she and Hook were True Loves. When she saw that everyone was concerned with their own business, Emma finally gathered her courage and answered.

“Yeah, we figured that much.”

“I am so happy for you two!” Tink exclaimed. “He was miserable when I first met him.”

“Woah, Tink, easy there,” Emma said before the whole ship could hear Tink.

“Why?”

“We have to figure out what this means to us, both separately and then together. Nothing is going to happen for now.”

“I take it that it’s a secret?”

“Yes. Please don’t tell anyone,” Emma told her, hoping that Tink would keep the secret.

“Don’t wory, Emma. I will keep it to myself,” Tink said.

Emma tried to read her, tried to see if there was any lie to her words, but Tink moved her head quickly, looking behind Emma. She turned to see where Tink was looking, but the fairy was watching Hook, who was curiously looking at the two of them.

“Maybe you two should talk,” Tink said, moving her eyes from Hook back to Emma.

“We did. The ball is in my court now. He’s… being patient with me.”

“That’s good. He was never patient with me,” Emma looked at Tink with an eyebrow raised, wondering what prompted her to say that. Seeing Emma’s expression, Tink quickly reacted.  “Oh, don’t worry Emma. I promise nothing ever happened between us. He cared too much about his revenge. Now, it seems his priorities changed.”

Emma turned to look again at Hook, who was still looking at them. She remembered the moment they met a few weeks ago and realized that Tink was right. At that time, all he cared about was killing Rumplestiltskin, but now? Gold was on his ship and the two of them didn’t look ready to kill each other. She only hoped things weren’t going to revert back when they arrived back in Storybrooke.

“I will leave you alone because he looks this close to coming over here and sending me away,” Tink said smiling at Emma.

“He’s not,” Emma said rolling her eyes.

“He is, trust me,” Tink said, leaving Emma alone.

After Tink left Emma was, once again, alone with her thoughts. She still couldn’t believe that she admitted out loud to someone that what she and Hook shared in Neverland’s forest was a real True Love’s Kiss. But she also knew that there was no point in denying it, not to Tink at least, and she could see that the fairy was being honest with her. She would not tell anyone what Emma told her. She looked towards Hook, ready to go and talk to him, but he was with David and she didn’t want to go over there while he was standing with Hook. So she resigned herself to watching the view overboard.

She didn’t get another chance to talk to Hook after that. Her parents, Henry, and even Regina drowned her with questions about her magic. As the night came, Mary Margaret found something to make a small dinner for everyone and then, one by one, they started to go to sleep. Hook offered his cabin to Henry, saying that after so many days of sleeping on the ground, the kid finally needed a bed. But Henry refused, saying that he wanted to spend some time with his mothers.

So Emma, Henry, and Regina closed themselves off in a small cabin with two small beds and started to talk. As time passed, Henry started to get sleepy and Emma decided that it was time for him to go to sleep. Regina asked Emma if she would be ok with allowing her to stay in the cabin with Henry for the night. Emma didn’t have it in her to say no, even if her heart was screaming at her to stay in the room with her kid. So after a kiss to Henry’s cheek, Emma got out of the cabin and went in search of another place for her to sleep.

There was another cabin where she would have had some place, but her parents were in it and she didn’t want to spend the night with them in the same room. The other two cabins were with Gold and Tink. Tink would have let Emma sleep with her in the cabin, but she saw that the room was small enough for Tink alone; there wouldn’t have been any place for Emma as well. Tink suggested that she could try Killian’s cabin since he would be on the deck all night, and after a little thinking, Emma started to walk towards his cabin. She knew she should have went and asked him if she could stay in his cabin for the night. She knew that she was intruding on his personal space, but she was too tired and in need of a bed to do that.

She found his cabin and entered. She couldn’t see much, thanks to the dark of the night, but she found a candle and lit it. In the middle of the room was a table with a bottle of rum on it so she decided to take a small sip of it before going to bed. She sat at the table, took a hold of the bottle and drank. No sooner had she took a drink when the door opened, revealing a stunned Killian Jones.  

Killian POV

As Killian climbed down the stairs to his cabin, his mind drifted back to Emma and everything that happened during the day. It was all coming over him slowly and more than once during the day he wanted to go and talk to her. But every time he tried to get close and talk to her, David or even Henry came to talk to him. Now, seeing how late at night it was, he was convinced she was with her son, sleeping. So Killian continued to walk down to his cabin, trying to convince himself that there was time for talking tomorrow.

As soon as he opened the door to his cabin, he saw there was a small light inside and he was stunned when he entered the room and saw her. The very same person he was thinking about just mere minutes ago was right there, sitting on a chair at his table with a bottle of rum in front of her.

“Emma?” he asked stunned. “What are you doing here?” making sure the door was closed behind him.

“Couldn’t sleep?” she said taking one more sip from the bottle, her reply coming out more like a question.

Her tone made him think that she was lying and she was there because of something else. “We are no longer in Neverland’s forest and the Lost Boys are far from here, Emma. Why don’t you tell me the real reason?”  

“I’m not lying. I can’t sleep. Probably because I’m too tired to fall asleep,” she said, putting down the bottle with a sigh.

“Is that even possible?” he asked, getting closer to the table.

“It is for me. It’s happened before,” Emma explained.

“So? What can I do to help you?”

“Stay with me? Talk to me?” she asked softly.

“Ah, so I am so boring that just me talking makes you fall asleep?” he said laughing.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she replied, smiling and pointing her hand to the other chair.

Killian took another look at the door before he started to walk toward her. He took off his long coat, threw it on another chair nearby and then sat at the table in front of Emma.

“How is Henry?” he asked, truly wondering about how the boy was feeling, especially after he refused to sleep in this very cabin, just to go and spend time with his mothers.

“Asleep, with Regina close to him,” Emma said with a grimace.

“By your tone, I take it you are not really happy with that?”

“I am; Henry is her son too. I just…,” she said, not being able to finish her sentence, instead taking another sip of rum.

“You wish to spend time with him too,” Killian ended for her, taking the bottle from her hand and taking a sip.

“Yeah.”

“You will get to spend plenty of time with him back in town. He’s safe now,” he said, trying to encourage her, putting a hand on her chin and lifting it up so he could look into her eyes.

“Thank you for everything you did for us.”

“You’ve already said that.”

“Well, I am really thankful,” she said, still looking into his eyes and smiling at him.

Killian opened his mouth again to say something, maybe talk about the new bond between them, when Emma yawned.

“We will arrive in Storybrooke in the morning. Why don’t you try to get some sleep?” he asked, moving his hand to her cheek.

“I don’t even know where to sleep,” she said, tilting her head.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the only place that has one free bed is in my parent’s cabin. And to be honest, I don’t want to sleep with them there.”

“You could sleep here,” Killian suggested, not thinking very much about what he was saying.

“That was the idea, to be honest. That’s actually why I was here,” Emma smiled, her cheeks turning pink.

“Oh,” he said, amazed by the fact that she was there for that.

“But you are here now and I guess you want to sleep so I better let you do it,” she said, preparing to leave.

“Nonsense!” he said, not wanting to let her go. “You sleep here tonight,” he said, and he amazed even himself at the determination in his voice.

“What about you?” she asked.

“I won’t. I’ll go on the deck and do... pirate stuff,” he said. He was tired, yes, but he could sleep on the deck. It wouldn't be the first time, anyway. Besides, she needed her sleep more than he did.

“Pirate stuff?” she asked laughing.

“You know... be sure that we are on the right path, watch the stars, and stuff like that.”

“Watching the stars sounds more romantic than what a normal pirate should do,” she said with a soft smile.

“You can join me anytime to see just how romantic is it,” he said in the same tone.

Without another word, Emma leaned in and pressed her lips to his. He could taste the rum on her lips, combined with the sweet taste he could tell was specific to Emma. He wanted to deepen the kiss, but he couldn’t do that while he was still sitting on a chair on the other side of the table. So breaking the kiss, he rose from his place and went to stand in front of Emma. He looked into her eyes and when she nodded, he put his hand on her cheek and pressed his lips to hers again. Letting out a moan, she rose from her place on the chair and put both of her hands on his hips.

They continued to kiss, his good hand moving from her cheek to her hip while the hook moved to her back. Emma’s hands traveled from his hips to his neck, keeping him in place, moaning. Feeling her cold hands on his neck made Killian let out a deep groan.

“Emma,” he moaned when she moved one of her hands to the uncovered patch of skin onn his chest.

Emma didn’t say anything. She just continued to kiss him, drawing desperate sounds from his mouth at the same time he was drawing moans from hers. Killian pushed her back until she was trapped between his body and the table before lifting her to sit on the surface, parting her legs to make room for him between them. Killian broke the kiss, moving his lips along her jaw to her neck. Emma tipped her head back, making space for his lips on her neck. Emma’s moans, together with her taste, made Killian grow harder in his pants and something deep down told him to stop; to stop before it reached a point where it would be impossible for either one of them to stop.

He broke the kisses to her neck and pulled back; not too far, though, because he stayed between her legs.

“Emma, we need to stop,” Killian said, out of breath.

“No, we don’t,” she leaned back in, her lips ghosting over his.

“I don’t want you to regret this later,” Killian said, keeping his hands on her hips.

“I won’t,” Emma said in a sensual voice and Killian was sure that she used that voice just to drive him mad.

“Are you sure?”

Instead of answering, Emma moved her hands to his shoulders and started to push his coat off, while placing another kiss on his lips. Once his coat finally fell to the ground, Killian started to lift her shirt. He glided his hand and hook along the soft skin of her stomach, his thumb hooking along the fabric and pulling it up as he continued his movement upwards. After Emma’s shirt was off, Emma moved her hands to his own.

“You wear too many clothes,” she said tugging at his shirt.

“I can say the same about you, love,” pressing another kiss on her lips before pulling back. “Although, I like this very much,” he said, tracing a finger along the edge of her bra.

“Get your shirt off while I take my bra off,” she demanded.

“No, no. Allow me,” he said, pulling off his shirt in a single move, and then helping Emma rise to her feet.

He was in his trousers, his chest bare in front of her, while she was in just her bra and jeans. Killian pressed his lips to her neck again as he moved his hand and hook to open her jeans and pull them off. When she was left just in her bra and underwear, Emma pulled away from his lips and started to move her hands along his chest. She traced the muscles there, fingers twining in his chest hair, making him groan at the feeling.

She moved her hand to his trousers and opened them, drawing them down his hips. She glanced up and smirked at him when she found him to be commando and he grinned back at her. She took a look down at his member and hummed.

“See something you like, Emma?” he asked, following her eyes as she studied him.

Instead of answering, she brought his lips down to hers again and kissed him. As she continued to kiss him, sliding her tongue along his, her hand traced down his side and along his hip. He rolled his hips as she teased her fingertips along his skin, drawing them down before finally wrapping her hand around his considerable length.

He found it hard to breath as she continued to touch and tease him, alternating between barely there sweeps of her fingers and long, drawn out glides of her hand. “Emma,” he sighed, moving his lips to her neck and kissing a path to her ear.

“Take my bra and underwear off,” she commanded, letting her head fall to his shoulder.

“As you wish.” He brought his hand up from her hip to the back of her bra, twisting his fingers in the clasp to open it. He nudged the straps down as it loosened before drawing the tip of his hook beneath the fabric of her underwear and ripping it off of her. Killian pulled away from her to look at her.

“You are so beautiful.”

“I don’t want to talk right now.”

“Aye,” he agreed, lifting her up from the table and carrying her to the small bed in the cabin.

When the back of her knees touched the bed she sat down, pulling him down with her. He was now on top of her, on the bed, their skin touching while they continued to kiss. Killian felt like he was going to combust at the sensations that were running through his body in that moment. Having Emma there with him made him feel overwhelmed and happy at the same time. It wasn’t what he had in mind when he went back to his cabin earlier, but he wasn’t one to complain. Not when Emma’s hands were moving along his back and her nails were burying themselves in his hair.

Killian pulled away from her lips and moved his mouth to one breast while his hand was playing with the nipple on the other breast. He sucked on her nipple, making her moan and arch her back. His hand traveled from her breast, down her belly and stopped at her entrance while two of his fingers rubbed at her clit. Emma moaned harder as his fingers were playing with her clit, his movements varying in speed. Emma parted her legs more, suddenly desperate for his touch and pressed her body harder against the bed.

“Don’t stop,” Emma let out a gentle whimper.

Killian’s mouth let go of her nipple, and suddenly his head was replacing his hand on her clit. He started to suck on it, making her let out moan after moan, thrusting herself closer to him, needing the friction. He nibbled and sucked on her clit harder, occasionally flicking his tongue from side to side, making her move wildly against his mouth. Emma pressed both of her hands in his hair, while he wrapped his arms around her thighs and held her tight, pulling her tighter against his face.

“Come on Emma. Lett go, love,” Killian said with a groan.

For Emma, the feel of his mouth on her pussy and his rough voice made her tighten, making her cum harder than she ever did, moaning and gripping the bed sheets.

“Killian,” she gasped as he continued to suck on her clit through the orgasm before running his tongue over her and tasting her.

He slowly came back up to be face to face with her. He was hovering over her, pressing kisses on her neck and her lips, his good hand supporting his weight. Emma put her hands on his cheeks, pressing her lips against his and tasting herself on his tongue. The taste made her moan.

The feeling of his length on her stomach made her insides scream for more. She was trembling under his touch, his kisses over her skin made her head spin, and she just needed him again.  

“I need you in me,” she said between hard breaths.

She looked him in the eyes and then pulled him down to kiss him. One of her hands grabbed his dick and started to moveup and down on it, guiding it closer to her entrance before he slowly slid in. He let out a hard moan as he sank deeper and deeper inside her. He stopped when he was finally fully seated in her and looked down at her.  Emma’s head was tilted back, her eyes closed as she let out little whimpers of pleasure.

“Open your eyes, Emma. Look at me, love,” he said with a trembling voice.

She opened her eyes and expected to be scared of what she saw there, but the fear never came. The look in his eyes was soft but silently asking her if she was ready.

“You can move now,” she whispered.

At first his pace was slow, but as he moved in and out of her, Emma started to need more; to feel him deeper inside of her.

“Harder, Killian,” she said between moans.

Killian lowered his lips to her ear and began murmuring between moans words Emma was sure she wouldn’t remember the next day. She was shivering under him as he rocked against her. His thrusts became faster and rougher as Emma let out stifled cries, trying not to yell too loud, not wanting the rest of the people that were on the ship to hear her and know what they were doing. The room was filled with their moans, deep breaths, and the sound of skin slapping together.

“Yes,” Emma cried through panted breaths as she felt her insides tighten around his cock. She rocked back against him, feeling the oncoming waves building.

“Killian, come,” Emma moaned in his ear.

“Emma” he let out a shaking breath.

“Come with me. Together,” she said again.

He kept rolling his hips, pushing himself rhythmically in and out of her. Emma came hard, her moans muffled by his mouth. Killian’s thrusts became frantic, slamming his cock deeper inside her, his body going rigid and still as he came inside her. His grip on her hips tightened and he let out a growl as the waves of pleasure consumed him too, her name falling from his lips like a prayer. Unlike many other one night stands, this time, Emma felt as though time had stopped completely; like her body was floating on its own thanks to the pleasure that was rolling through her body.

Killian fell on top of her as their orgasms started to fade., The only thing that could be heard around them was their hard pants. Killian put his head on her chest while Emma moved one of her hands into his hair, stroking through the hair at the nape of his neck. He was still inside her and she could feel him starting to soften.

“That was…,” he started to say, but couldn’t finish due to his hard breathing.

“Amazing. Best sex ever,” Emma said smiling.

Killian rose from her chest and looked at her softly.

“Best sex, huh?”

“Fuck. Your ego is too big for things like these.”

“I think you just saw how big my ego was.”

“Huh,” she said bringing his head down to hers and kissing him again, slowly, with more passion than before.

Killian let himself fall back on the bed, both of them letting out sighs when he slipped out of her. Emma moved after him, putting her head on his chest and a hand around him, as Killian put his hand around her shoulders. She wasn’t the type of person to cuddle, normally she hated to cuddle, but something in everything that happened in the last twenty four hours made her want to do it with him. A comfortable silence fell over them as he drew her into his arms, holding her tightly in his embrace. Emma’s fingers played absently with his chest hair as his fingers were playing with her hair.

Emma smiled but said nothing, her eyes slowly falling closed as she laid there in his arms, his lips pressing small kisses in her hair from time to time. That’s how they fell asleep, minutes later.

Chapter Text

As consciousness came back to Emma, she started to feel a burn in the arm she hurt yesterday since she forgot to take proper care of it the night before. She hissed, not wanting to open her eyes and prayed that the pain would go away. But as the minutes passed, it became obvious that the pain was there to stay, so she gave up on trying to sleep.

Slowly, she opened her eyes and the first thing she noticed was that the room was still dark. She was confused for a moment, not recognizing the room but then she remembered the events of the previous night. She smiled, closing her eyes as she brought the blanket closer to her chest. As she moved, though, her arm burned her even worse than before and the pain forced her to open her eyes. She rose to a sitting position in the bed and looked towards the place Hook fell asleep the night before but to her surprise, the place was empty. She looked around the room but found he wasn't there. His clothes weren't on the floor anymore and even her clothes were carefully arranged on the table.

As she sat on the edge of the bed, the door opened slightly. She looked at it, praying that it wasn’t one of her parents and smiled when she saw Hook’s head appear.

“You’re awake,” he said with a smile.

“Yes. And so are you. How long have you been awake?” she asked, making a gesture for him to come inside before anyone else could see him.

“For an hour or two,” he said, coming into his cabin and closing the door.

“I didn’t want someone else to wake up before us and then question where you slept last night.”

“And? Was anyone awake before you?”

“Yes, Tink, since she was the one who sent me to sleep last night.” Seeing Emma’s confused look he explained to her. “She told me she would watch over the ship while everyone slept and that I should rest too. She was still there this morning. When I woke up, I told her to take a break, and not long after that, David appeared. He asked me, quite suspiciously, if I knew anything about where you were, so I told him that you slept in my room. He almost killed me until I told him that I was on deck all night,” he explained, winking at her.

“Thank you,” she said putting her head on his shoulder.

She was still naked, save for the blanket that was covering her and she felt the cold from his leather coat when she touched it with her skin.

“How early it is?” she asked raising her head and looking at him.

“Not that early, but since we are still flying, that’s why it’s still dark outside,” he explained.

Emma looked towards the window, amazed that they were in the sky. She was wondering now if she would have seen the stars last night if she would have stayed outside for longer. But at the same time, she didn’t regret that she sneaked into Hook’s cabin and waited for him to arrive.

“We are close to Storybrooke, though. We will be there in a few hours,” Killian said, interrupting her thoughts.

“Perfect.” She smiled at him and then realized that she was still naked. “I should get dressed and go see how Henry is,” Emma said, standing up with the blanket still around her.

“Do you want me to leave while you are changing?” he asked her.

“Really? You saw me naked last night and now you are questioning if I want you to stay in the room while I change or not?” she asked, looking over her shoulder at him.

“One can never know for sure,” he answered with a grin.

“Stay. But no funny business,” she warned him with a smile.

“I wouldn’t dare.”

For the next few minutes, as Emma rose from the bed and moved to get her clothes, she felt his eyes roam her naked body; especially after she let the blanket fall on the floor and moved to put on her underwear..

“You’re staring,” she told him as she put on her bra, turning her head to see him.

“You are beautiful,” Hook told her.

She felt him rising from the bed and coming up behind her. He put his arms on her shoulders and kissed her behind the right ear.

“I said no funny business,” Emma told him, turning and brushing his nose with his.

“No funny business,” he whispered into her ear.

He moved his hand and hook down her arms, but when she felt the pressure of his hand on her sore arm, she hissed from the pain.

“Are you okay?” he asked, worry present in his voice.

She turned to face him and started to talk.

“My arm is still hurting from yesterday when I fell in the forest. I didn’t really take care of it when we came back here.”

“You should ask your parents or Regina to take a look at it,” he said, worried.

“It’s fine; none of them are actual doctors and I don’t think it’s actually broken. Just sore from the moment I fell. I’ll go to the doctor in Storybrooke if it doesn’t get any better.”

“Okay, fine.”

“Now, I really need to get dressed,” she said as she stepped away from him.

“Okay. I’ll leave so I don’t disturb you,” he said.

“No, you won’t,” Emma said, while closing her bra.

“I don’t think anyone would be happy to know that I’m here while you are changing,” he teased her.

“Yes, because you did not see more than this,” she said, gesturing to her half dressed body.

“I’ll leave, though, before I distract you even more. I’ll see you in a bit,” he said as he left the room.

Emma finished getting dressed and then searched around the room for something to use to brush her hair. She found a mirror and went to it, happy to see that in front of it was a comb; his, most likely. After that, she took a look around the cabin since she didn’t have time to the night before; not before he came to the cabin and definitely not after that. Then, making sure that she didn’t leave anything behind, she left and went to Henry’s room.

She knocked twice at the door to his cabin before the door was opened and her kid appeared.

“Mom!” he exclaimed, making room for her to get in.

“How are you today, Henry? Where’s Regina?” she asked, putting a hand around his shoulders when she entered the room.

“I’m fine. I slept like a baby. It’s good to finally be able to rest. And Regina left earlier. What about you?”

“I’m great. Happy that we are finally close to Storybrooke,” she said, smiling at him.

“We are?” Henry asked with happiness on his face.

“Oh yes! I talked with Hook earlier and he said that we will be there in a few hours.”

“Cool!”

“We should go on a holiday after this whole thing, Henry. Do you want to?” she asked her son.

“Yes!” he said excitedly.

“Good. Because we both need it.”

Emma looked out the window of the room and saw that the darkness from outside was almost gone, making room for the morning light. She looked at Henry to ask him if he wanted to go on deck when she heard his stomach growl. Henry turned to look at her and started to laugh.

“Do you want to go and see if there is any food left?” Emma asked, laughing as well.

“Yes please!”

They exited the cabin together and climbed the stairs that led to the deck. Everyone was there already, save for Tink who, most likely, was asleep, and Rumplestiltskin. Hook was at the helm, Regina was looking overboard with a serious look on her face, and Mary Margaret and David were together talking in a corner. When they saw Emma and Henry, Mary Margaret came to Emma and hugged her.

“Morning, Emma, Henry,” she said with a smile.

It was clear to her now where Henry got his non-stop happiness from because it wasn’t from her and it definitely wasn’t from Neal. Mary Margaret on the other hand, much like Henry, was always happy and full of hope.

“Hi,” she told her and David, who joined them as well.

“Hello, Emma. Did you sleep well?” David asked her.

“Oh, yeah!”

“I heard you slept in Hook’s room,” David said, earning an eye roll from Emma and an elbow in the stomach from Mary Margaret.

“Um, yeah I did. I didn’t have anywherere to sleep, remember? He offered to give me his room for the night.”

“And what about him?” David asked, still suspicious.

“David!”

“Dad! He was here all night!” Emma said, remembering the small lie Hook told to her father.

“Mom. Do you think Hook would teach me how to sail?” Henry asked her, saving her from her father who was prepared to ask her something else.

“You could ask him,” Emma answered her son, moving her attention from her parents to him.

“Can I ask him now?”

“Of course. Let’s go ask,” Emma said, thankful for the distraction her son offered. But then Emma remembered her son’s wish to eat, so she turned back to Mary Margaret.

“Do we have any food left? Henry’s hungry,” she told her.

“Of course! I’ll go get some,” Mary Margaret answered and disappeared to get food for Henry.

Hook POV

After Hook left Emma to change in his cabin, he went back on the deck to make sure that everything was how it was supposed to be. But as hard as he tried, he couldn’t stop thinking about Emma and the night they spent together. Earlier that morning, he woke up with her head still on his chest, blonde locks spread on him and her hand hovering over his heart. He would be a liar if he said that he didn’t want to wake up like that for the rest of his days. He hated to leave her, but had to do it before anyone else could wake up and start asking questions. And he was right.  He knew David didn’t truly believe him when Killian told him that he was on the deck the whole time Emma was sleeping in his cabin, but he didn’t regret anything.

After he came back on deck, Regina was already there and as soon as she saw him, she started questioning him about when they would reach Storybrooke. He gave her the same answer he gave Emma: they were close. She seemed to like his answer because she nodded and retired to a corner, looking at the clouds and thinking. Not long after that, Emma’s parents came up to the deck. David looked at him suspiciously and then said something to his wife. Killian saw her rolling her eyes and then they started to talk about something. But the longer they talked, the more it looked like an argument between the two of them and if the looks David were sending his way were any indication, they were talking about him.

Then Emma and Henry appeared on the deck, and he did everything in his power to not stare at her as she was crushed in a hug by her mother, but it was hard. When he saw her earlier, her hair was a beautiful, tangled mess from the activities they partook in the night before. But now, her hair was falling carefully in a golden cascade down her back. He moved his eyes to her face and he could see that whatever David was telling her, she wasn’t comfortable with it. Then Henry looked at him. Killian smiled at the lad and Henry smiled back, then turned his head to talk to Emma. The mother and son talked for a bit and at one point in the conversation, Emma looked at him and then again at Henry. She smiled at him, put a hand around his shoulders and both of them started to walk towards Hook.

“Good morning, lad,” Killian told Henry.

“Hey,” Henry saluted him with a smile.

The boy looked at his mother as if he was waiting for her to say something. Emma blinked twice and then started to talk to him.

“Henry was wondering if you could show him how to sail,” Emma told him with a smirk.

Killian raised an eyebrow at her words and then looked at Henry.

“You want to learn how to sail?”

“It looks cool. And Neal showed me once how to do it, but it’s been a few weeks since then and I don’t remember too much.”

“When did that happen?” Killian asked, looking confused at Emma.

“Um… when we went to New York to find Neal and you came after us?” Emma said, somehow looking ashamed.

“Ah. Alright then,” Killian said, remembering very well the moment they took his ship and left him in the strange city.

“Sorry about that?” Emma said with a small smile.

“Aye. Well then lad,” Killian said, moving his attention to Henry. “Why don’t you come and take a look?”

“Really?”

“Of course. How else could I teach you?”

As Henry came to stand in front of him at the helm, Killian looked at Emma. She nodded at him with a smile on her face that he took as a thank you, and he smiled back at her.

He spent the next few minutes teaching Henry how to sail while Emma was watching at them. Henry was more like his father than he would ever know, especially when it came to sailing. He was a fast learner, Killian only had to show him twice what he had to do and then the lad was able to do it all by himself. Killian spent the rest of the time telling Henry stories about the time Neal spend aboard his ship and at one point in the story, Emma moved closer to hear what he was saying. He left out the part where he gave Bae to Pan and the Lost Boys, knowing that neither Emma nor Henry would want to hear that. He also left out the part where Bae learned about his own story with Milah.

“Will you teach me more about sailing when we get back to Storybrooke?” Henry asked him after he finished a story about how Bae challenged a member of his crew to duel on his fourth day on the ship.

“Of course I will. If you mother will give you her permission, of course,” he said, looking hopefully at Emma.

“I don’t see why not,” she said, smiling at them.

“Is that Storybrooke?” Mary Margaret said as she came over, holding a plate of food and giving it to Henry.

Emma, Hook, and Henry looked in the direction Mary Margaret was pointing at and indeed, there was the town. Only it had something that looked like a shield around it.

“What is that?” Emma said, pointing at the exact thing he was looking at.

“It’s a protection spell,” said the Dark One, his voice coming from an open door on the deck.

“Can we get through it?” Emma asked him.

“Yes. I can take down the spell easily,” he said, pulling a face that Killian wanted to punch.

“Then do it!” Regina snapped at the Dark One from the other side of the deck.

With a flick of his hand, an opening appeared in the shield and the ship passed through it without problem.

Killian guided the ship as it made its landing back in the waters of the town. The rest of the distance to the docks passed in a blink of an eye and faster than anyone could believe, they were dropping the anchor (Regina did it with her magic) and were preparing to get off the ship.

As they docked, Killian could see that the docks were starting to get full of people, all of them being there, without a doubt, to welcome everyone back. One by one, starting with Mary Margaret and David, everyone started to get off the ship. Still on the Jolly, Hook could see Mary Margaret and David being hugged by the owner of the diner while the wolf girl was hugging Emma and Henry. Then they changed places, the old woman was hugging Henry and then Emma and the wolf girl was hugging Emma’s parents. Everyone was hugging someone, except for him and Regina. Even the Dark One was met with a warm hug from his love. All Killian was able to do was to look at them, since the only person who cared about him was currently squashed into another hug by the cricket.

When the hugging ended, some of the people from the crowd started to leave. The only ones that stayed on the docks were those who were friends with Emma’s family and he heard them finally making plans for a big dinner and party at Granny’s later in the day. He didn’t want to intrude, not being sure if anyone actually wanted him at the party - though a part of him hoped that Emma will want him to be there with them - so he stayed behind. But before anyone could leave, Emma turned to look at him. Hook smiled at her and she smiled back, starting to walk towards him.

“Are you coming?” she asked him.

“Where?”

“To Granny’s,” she said as if it was an obvious thing.

“Do you want me to come?” he asked back.

“Of course. You deserve to celebrate just as much as we do,” she said, coming closer to him, taking his hand in hers. He looked towards her family but none of them were looking at what Emma and him were doing.

“Come,” Emma said again with a smile, tugging their hands closer to her.

“Okay,” he said, finally being able to smile back.

He expected Emma’s hand to drop as soon as they started to walk, but it didn’t; not immediately. She let his hand down when they were in front of her family. Everyone was ready to walk back into the city when Killian heard his name being called from behind him.

He turned, not knowing who might be calling after him, and he could have sworn his heart stopped for the second time in the last forty-eight hours. He felt the need to grab something and hold onto it, and the closest thing to him was Emma’s hand.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, panic evident in her voice.

“Do you see that woman?” Killian asked Emma, not being able to take his eyes away from the woman standing in front of him.

He was sure that he was seeing dead people. This couldn’t have been real. No way was it real or even possible in any realm. Should he expect to start seeing his brother? His mother? Or even his father? Was he going to start seeing the people he killed in the last 300 years? Was this his punishment for dying and then cheating death again by being awoken by Emma’s kiss?

Before he could think more, Emma started to speak.

“I do. I see her. Killian, who is she?” Emma asked, even more worried.

“Killian?” the vision in front of him said his name again. His real name, not his moniker, the name no one else had used in the last 300 years. The name Emma started to use from time to time when it was just the two of them, alone.

“Milah?” he finally said. Saying the name out loud after so many years shocked him even more.

Chapter Text

“They’re back!” Leroy started to yell as soon as he got into the diner.

“Leroy, stop yelling in my diner at 10 in the morning!” Ruby yelled back at him and Milah had to smile at the exchange.

She started to get used to the city and the people in it. She loved spending her morning at the diner, sometimes just drinking coffee, other times helping Ruby when there were too many customers.

“But Red, they are back. Emma and the others are back! One of the sailors at the docks saw Hook’s ship!” the man said again. Hearing his news, Milah let out a sigh.

Was it true? Was Killian back in town? Finally? Milah thought to herself.

She looked at Ruby, who was now standing with her grandma at her side and Ruby was looking towards her.

“They’re back,” Ruby told her.

“Let’s go to the docks!” Milah said, leaving behind her food in a rush to get out the door.

“Leroy, go and tell Belle. She will want to know. Tell her to come to the docks quickly,” Ruby said as she took off her apron and then looked at Milah. “Let’s go.”

The two of them, together with Ruby’s Granny and some other people from the diner started to walk towards the docks. She could already see the ship, her former home, in the distance and her heart started to grow more and more with every minute that passed as the ship was getting closer to town.

“Maybe you should stay away for now?” Ruby turned to look at her.

“No way. Killian will be there,” Milah protested.

“He doesn’t know that you are alive, Milah. Let me, Granny, or even Belle prepare him,” Ruby explained.

Milah thought about what Ruby was saying and realized that she was right. She didn’t want to give Killian a heart attack by seeing her there, but at the same time, she didn’t want to leave. Still, the rational side of her won, so she simply nodded at Ruby.

“You’re right. I shouldn’t be here. I won’t stay here with you, but I’m going to stay close and watch him from a distance,” Milah said.

“That sounds good,” Ruby smiled at her and Milah started to walk away when Ruby called out to her. Milah turned around and Ruby started to speak again. “I will let you know when I talk to him. I promise.”

“Thank you, Ruby,”

With that, Milah started to walk between the people who were already starting to gather on the docks to welcome the people from the ship home. She wondered if Killian had at least one friend in town. A person who cared about him enough so he or she would come here to welcome him back . Ruby told her that in the short time he had spent in town, she hadn’t seen him with other people aside from the people who tried to kill everyone prior to their trip, but that his old crew were in Storybrooke. Milah looked around at the people that were on the docks for any familiar faces, but there was none she recognized. Not even Smee, whom she saw in town in the week she spent there. Maybe he had a friend on the ship? Although she doubted that, thinking back about the things Ruby told her about the people that were there with him. Rumplestiltskin, The Evil Queen, the sheriff of the town and her family. None of them liked Killian very much before they left, if what Ruby told her was true.

That’s when she remembered that one other person would be on the ship, her grandson, Baelfire son’s. Milah couldn’t help but wonder what the child looked like. Did he look like Bae, or did he look more like his mother? Milah wondered if she was going to be given the chance to meet him and his mother, and maybe even ask them more about her son.

Milah watched as the ship docked and she smiled when she saw the Jolly so close after so many years. Not a single things had been changed. Killian clearly took great care of his “marvelous ship” as he liked to say. When the ship was ready, people started to disembark. First, it was a couple that were hugged as soon as they put foot on the docks by Ruby and Granny. The couple was followed by a blonde woman and a child, the sheriff and her son, if Milah had to guess. Then another woman followed therm and the last one was Rumplestiltskin.

At the sight of her ex-husband, Milah let out a deep breath. He didn’t look like the monster that killed her. He looked only a few years older than the man she married. He was walking fine, no longer needing a cane to help him walk and Milah followed him with her eyes as he was hugged by Belle and then the two of them kissed.

Not being able to look at the two of them for much longer, Milah moved her eyes around the crowd, trying to find Killian, but he wasn’t one of the people that were in the middle of the docks being welcomed by others. When she finally found him, Milah was shocked in a good way at what she saw. He was still close to the Jolly, alone, watching people hugging and talking. But what surprised her the most was the fact that he looked exactly as she remembered, still wearing the pirate outfit she knew from many years ago.

Milah watched his profile. He was still young and still in his prime. His hair was ruffled by the wind that was blowing on the docks, while he was half leaning on a pillar. She continued to study him as best as she could, and then her eyes moved lower on his body. He was clearly more muscular, she could see that in the way his biceps were covered by his coat. Then she saw the reason people around the town were calling him Captain Hook. Instead of his left hand there was a silver hook, making him look more fearsome than he ever was.

He was looking at the blonde as she talked to her family. She looked at him, turned back to her family and then turned again and started to walk towards Killian. Milah watched her starting to smile as she was getting closer to Killian and he was smiling back at her as well. Milah watched their interaction, talking and smiling at each other and then at one point, the woman took Killian’s hand in hers as they continued to talk. The two of them talked a bit more and then they started to walk, still hand in hand, back to the group of people that was still on the docks.

As Milah watched him starting to walk away with the woman, she felt the need to make her presence known. So before she could think more about it, she came out of her hiding place and said his name loud enough so he, and everyone else, could hear her.

“Killian,” she said, hoping he would turn around.

And he did. Killian turned around, looking at her with his blue eyes and in a flash, the color on his face disappeared. She watched him as he started to tremble, stretching his hand behind him to grab Emma’s. The woman turned to look at him, looked at his hand on hers, and then looked in Milah’s direction, only to then look back again at Killian.

“What happened?” she heard her asking him.

“Do you see that woman?” Killian asked, his voice trembling.

Emma looked again at her and then at Killian, a strange look appearing on her face.

“I do. I see her. Killian, who is she?” she asked him.

“Killian?” Milah said his name again, no longer being able to watch the confusion on his face.

“Milah?” Killian finally said her name.

Hearing her name coming out of his mouth made her smile. But he wasn’t smiling. He still had the same confused and scared look on his face so Milah took a few steps forward, stretching her hand out to him. As she did that, Killian took a step back, still holding Emma’s hand tightly.

“Who are you?” Emma asked her.

Ignoring Emma’s question, Milah started to talk to Killian.

“Killian, it’s me,” she said, trying to convince him that he wasn’t seeing ghosts.

“This is impossible,” Killian said, shaking his head.

“No, it’s not.”

“What’s going on?” Emma asked Killian.

“Milah, I told you to stay away!” Ruby came from behind Emma.

“I don’t listen, you know that,” Milah answered.

Ruby looked at her with an unpleasant look on her face but Milah didn’t care in that moment. All she cared about was Killian.

“How is this possible?” Killian asked again.

“How are you still alive?” A different voice came from the group and when Milah looked past Killian, she almost froze.

The person that just spoke was none other than Rumplestiltskin. He was looking at her intensly, but not with the same confused look that Killian had in his eyes. No, Rumplestiltskin’s expressions were more curious and half annoyed about the fact that she was there.

“None of your business,” Milah snapped at him.

“Hold on! What the hell is going on here? Who are you exactly?” Emma asked again, this time looking at Rumplestiltskin.

“Oh, I think you know very well who this is, Miss Swan.”

Emma shook her head at him and raised her shoulders, silently questioning Milah’s old husband. When it was clear that no one was going to answer her about who Milah was, she decided to take the matter into her own hands and introduce herself.

“I’m Milah. I’m Killian’s-” but she couldn’t finish the sentence because Killian talked faster.

“Nothing. My nothing. My Milah is dead!” he snapped.

“I’m alive!” Milah yelled at him.

“It’s not possible! Not after 300 years!” he yelled back.

Emma watched as Killian was yelling at the woman and she was yelling back at him. Milah, Emma had to remember. Was this really her? Was this really the person Killian loved the most in this world? Neal’s mother? Hell, Henry’s grandmother?

“Mom, Dad? Why don’t you take Henry to Granny’s?” Emma turned to speak with her parents, knowing very well that none of them should be there right now.

“Are you sure?” Mary Margaret asked, moving her eyes from Emma to what was going on behind her and then back again to Emma.

“Yeah. I’ll come there after I take care of this,” Emma said, trying to smile at her.

“Ok,” Mary Margaret said, still not very sure of the situation.

Emma watched as Mary Margaret turned to Henry, put her hands on his shoulders and then guided him towards town with David, Regina, the dwarves, and Granny. Only she, Killian, Ruby, Belle, Gold, and Milah remained on the docks.

“Ruby, what is going on?” she asked, since it was obvious that she knew more than anyone else there.

“This is Milah. She came into town after you left, looking for him,” Ruby explained, pointing to Killian.

“She is my ex wife and Hook’s ex-lover,” Emma heard Gold say. “What I don’t understand is how she is alive. I killed her with my own hands,” Gold hissed, looking towards Milah.

Emma looked at him, then at Belle who physically took a step back at his words. She imagined it wasn’t easy to hear something like that, especially coming out the way it did; like Rumplestiltskin enjoyed killing his ex-wife and would do it again in a heartbeat.  Emma looked at Killian who was still by her side, frozen in place, shock still present on his face.

At least he stopped yelling, Emma thought to herself.

“Welcome to the club, dear,” Milah snapped at Gold again. “No one knows how.”

“Well, it can’t be because of your heart, since I crushed it myself.”

“Rumple, maybe we should give them some space,” Belle tried to tell him.

“Oh, I think this is my concern too,” Gold said, ignoring the plea that was in Belle’s eyes.

“Please,” Belle insisted, this time looking straight in his eyes.

Gold must have finally seen the pleading look Belle had in her eyes because he agreed to leave without another word. What he did have was a dirty look for Milah. Belle looked at Milah with something that resembled worry, then at Ruby. Emma could see that the two of them had a quick discussion just with their eyes that ended with a nod from Belle to Ruby. After that, Belle took Gold’s hand and started to guide him back into town.

Emma felt like she could finally breathe when she saw Gold moving away. She wasn’t in the mood for a fight with him and she was afraid that if he would have stayed here for much longer, something bad would have happened.

“Is it really you?” Emma heard Killian finally ask.

Emma turned to look at him, but he was looking at Milah with something soft in his eyes.

“I am. It’s really me, Killian,” Milah talked, using a soft voice.

“But how?”

“I don’t know. I still have to figure that out, but I’m back, my love.”

Emma jumped at the use of the phrase. She could feel jealousy making its way into her head and she hated that. She knew deep down that she had no reason to worry, but another voice in her head was asking “what if”. Looking from Killian to Milah, Emma started to feel like she was out of place there like a third wheel, so she decided that maybe she should go back to Granny’s and be with her family.

“Maybe I should go,” she told Killian, putting a hand on his shoulder.

“No,” Killian said, quickly, panicking.

“I will be at Granny’s with the others,” Emma tried to assure him.

“Stay. Please, Emma,” Killian pleaded to her softly.

Emma let out a sigh, but nodded. She looked at Milah who had an annoyed look on her face, most likely because she was going to stay with them and then at Killian who was looking at her, panic still present on his face.

“Maybe I should be the one who should go back,” Ruby said, from behind Emma.

Emma looked at her with a small smile and nodded, knowing very well that Ruby might not want to be there in the middle of everything.

“Thanks, Ruby.”

“Should I let everyone know that you are still here, Emma?”

“Just my parents and Henry. Thank you, Ruby,” she smiled at her. Ruby just nodded at her and left with a smile on her face.

After Ruby left, all that remained on the docks were Emma, Killian and Milah. The silence grew between them and started to become more and more uncomfortable.

“Maybe we should move this to the Jolly,” Killian suggested.

Both Milah and Emma agreed it was a good idea, so the three of them started to walk back to the ship. When they got there, Emma didn’t know what to do. She watched Killian as he went to sit on a barrel while Milah stayed close to one of the edges of the deck. Watching her, Emma realized that she hadn’t introduced herself to Milah.

“I‘m Emma,” she said, holding her hand out to Milah. “I realized I hadn’t introduced myself.”

Milah took Emma’s hand in hers and put a fake smile on her face, simply replying “Milah”..

“So…” Emma started to talk. She knew what she really wanted to ask, but she didn’t know how to make it sound less… rude.  “You really don’t know how you are alive?” came out after a short time.

“I’m afraid not. I tried to figure it out, I even went to see the Blue Fairy. But she couldn’t do much for me,” Milah explained.

Emma closely studied her, trying to see if there was any lie in what she was saying, but there was none. What she said was true.

“So then why are you here?”

“To talk to Killian.”

“Actually, I was wondering what you’re doing here in Storybrooke,” Emma said awkwardly .

“I’m here for Killian,” Milah said like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“I understand,” Emma said, not really understanding, but at least trying to.

She looked at Killian who raised his head and looked at the two of them with a lost look. It was hard to read him in that moment.

“Killian? Please say something?” Milah asked.

“I don’t know what to say,” he said, looking at Milah and then at Emma. Emma tried to smile at him, tried to encourage him, but she knew she didn’t succeed.

“Anything would be good,” Milah said with a somewhat demanding voice that Emma didn’t like.

“I can’t believe you are alive,” Killian finally said.

“Well, me neither.”

“Although, it would have been nice if you knew why,” Killian continued.

“What do you mean?” Both Milah and Emma looked at him with puzzled looks.

“People just don’t come back from the dead out of the blue, Milah. Trust me, I know,” Killian said, taking a look at Emma and put on a small smile. “There has to be a reason why you’re alive.”

“Aren’t you happy?” Milah asked with a pained voice, making Emma feel sorry for her.

“I am happy, of course I am happy. I just don’t understand.”

“Well, you don’t look very happy,” Milah replied, her frustration showing.

“Milah. I’m shocked, okay? You came out of nowhere, telling me that you’re alive after all this time,” Killian snapped at her.

“Ruby was right. I should have let her tell you,” Milah said with a sad voice.

Emma hated the whole situation, but she sympathized with both sides. On one hand, Killian was put in an impossible situation, deciding to move on with someone new when his long lost love miraculously returned back from the dead after 300 years. And on the other side, if Emma had to guess, Milah came back expecting him to be happy for her return, but instead of being met with warmth and affection, she was met with coldness, being snapped at, and overall apathy. Milah was getting her very first glimpse of Captain Hook.

Looking at the two of them, Emma decided that they both needed some time for themselves.

“Maybe you could give him some time,” Emma said to Milah.

Milah nodded but then snapped at Emma.

“I still don’t understand why you decided to stay here,” she said quite rudely.

“I’m his… friend. I’m Killian’s friend, and I didn’t want to leave him alone.”

“Friend?” Milah said snidely, narrowing her eyes.

“Yes.”

“Maybe your friend is right, Killian,” Milah said. Emma could tell that she didn’t believe her. “Maybe I should give you some time alone.”

“Thank you,” Killian told Milah with real sincerity in his voice.

“I’m going to come back later. Or maybe tomorrow,” Milah told him before she started to walk down the plank.

“Yeah, ok” Killian simply said.

“Bye Emma.”

“Bye.”

Emma watched as Milah left the ship. She waited to make sure that she was far enough away before she let out a deep breath she didn’t realized she was holding. With Milah gone, Emma moved to sit beside Killian on another barrel.

“So that was Milah.”

“Aye.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes until Killian rose and went to lean on the railing, looking out towards the ocean. Emma rose from her place and went to him.

“Talk to me Killian,” she said, putting a hand on his shoulder.

“How is it possible?”

“I don’t know. Maybe Regina can find out. Or even Gold.”

“You saw him earlier. He doesn’t like the idea of her being alive.”

“Let’s think about that another time. Right now, something else is more important,” Emma said, trying to change the subject. “How are you feeling?”

“Confused as hell? I don’t understand. Why after all these years? Why now?”

“Why now?” Emma wondered about what he meant.

“It’s been 300 years. Why now? Why not years ago?” Killian questioned. “Why now, after everything that happened in Neverland with us,” he added, making Emma’s heart sink.

“There has to be a reason,” she started. “Maybe we were wrong. In Neverland, I mean,” Emma said, trying to ignore Tink’s voice inside her head, telling her that no, they weren’t wrong.

“No, Emma. We weren’t wrong. I know it. Milah being alive doesn’t change that,” Killian quickly dismissed her idea.

Emma tried to read him again and this time, things were clear in his eyes. There was no doubt in his eyes when it came to her and about what they shared. He had many emotions in his eyes in that moment, but there was one that scared Emma, even if she was expecting it.

“I should get back to Henry,” she said, trying to look anywhere other than his eyes.

“I’m afraid I’m not really in the mood for partying right now. Do you mind if I don’t come with you?”

“No. I know you need some space,” she said, being completely understanding.

“Aye. That I do,” he said with a small smile.

“Will you be alright?” she asked him.

“I’ll try.”

“Okay.”

Emma wanted to leave without another word, but he still had that look in his eyes; the look that some people might describe as a “lost puppy” look, so she did the first thing that came to her mind. She leaned in and pressed her lips to his in a small, but meaningful, kiss. She felt his smile against her lips and she couldn’t help but smile as well. His lips were soft and she was sure that if she proposed to stay there with him doing that for the next few hours, he wouldn't say no. But they both needed some time alone to think and get some sleep, so Emma broke the kiss, pressing her forehead to his.

“I really have to go back,” she said between hard pants.

“Okay,” he said with a small smile. “Will I see you tomorrow?” he asked, his voice sounding hopeful.

“Of course,” she said, turning away and starting to walk off the ship. “Bye, Killian,” she said, turning to face him one more time before stepping onto the gangplank.

She saw him smile and heard his “goodbye, love” behind her as she started walking down the plank.

She wanted to go home and change her clothes first, but she decided that a few more hours at Granny’s wouldn’t be that bad. Besides, her stomach was yelling at her to give it proper food, so she started to walk the short distance to the diner.

She still couldn't believe that Milah, the Milah, was alive and well in Storybrooke. She hoped that after Neverland, she would finally have time for herself, not only take a vacation with Henry but also take the time she needed to think about everything that happened and was going to happen with Hook. She wanted to explore this thing between them, to see where it would go, but she was afraid that now with Milah in town, things wouldn’t be that easy. They had to help Milah find out why she was alive, that was for sure. And that alone might take a lot longer than what Emma was willing to give away from her own time. Besides, she needed to find out what Milah’s intentions towards Killian were. Did she want to be with him again or did she want to be just friends? Right now, Emma felt like she was going to lose her mind.

Her stomach made strange noises again and Emma decided that for tonight, she was going to push all of that aside, and all she planned to do was to eat and sleep for at least ten hours.  

Chapter Text

Milah watched as Emma left the ship and started to walk back to town. She saw her and Killian kissing on the deck and felt something inside her crumble to the ground. She didn’t expect him to stay out of any relationship after her death, but Ruby also told her that he was alone, so she hoped that maybe they could continue where they left off. Apparently, though, Ruby was wrong and he was with Emma.

When Milah met Emma earlier, she was annoyed because Killian clinged to her, needed her support when Milah appeared in front of him. Then after everyone left, she stayed behind with him, because he wanted her to. That made Milah question how long they had been together. Emma said she was just Killian’s friend, but Milah didn’t believe her and apparently, she was correct in trusting her instincts. Ruby said he was single so they either weren’t together when they left, or they had kept it a secret from everyone else. Still, Milah was sad to see him kiss and hug another woman, but another part of her was happy to see him happy.

Milah made sure that Emma was gone before she got out from where she had been hiding and started to walk back towards the ship. She had told Killian that she would come back later, so she hoped that now that Emma had left, he would be willing to talk to her alone. She walked up the plank and stepped onto the deck. Killian wasn’t on deck anymore, so Milah though he might be back in his cabin. Without making her presence know, Milah started to climb down the stairs to his cabin. When she was in front of his door, she could hear movement coming from inside the room.

She knocked twice and waited for an answer. She heard more movement inside and then saw the doorknob starting to move.

“Did you come back, love?” the door opened, revealing a smiling Killian Jones. But his smile disappeared the moment he saw her. “Milah.”

“May I?” Milah asked, hoping that he will let her in.

Killian hesitated but then opened the door more and made room for her to enter. She stepped inside and heard him closing the door behind her.

The room was just as she remembered it, with just a few changes. There were more books spread out all over the room, on the floor, on the two tables of the cabin or in bookshelves. There were also more maps than she remembered. She looked behind her at the small bed they used to share. It was carefully arranged with a red and black blanket covering it. She could see on the wall two of the paintings she had chosen for the cabin many years ago in a land far away from there whose name she didn’t even remember. She missed this room and all the memories it held, both good and bad, lovely and sad. She smiled and turned to face Killian when she heard him exhaling.

“It’s like nothing has changed,” she said.

“Everything changed,” Killian answered, none too happily, making Milah’s smile fall.

“Yes, you’re right,” Milah said, turning her head to look again around the room.

“What are you doing here, Milah?”

“I wanted to talk. Just the two of us,” Killian looked at her and nodded at her answer.

He turned around with a sigh leaving his lips and went to one of the cabinets, pulling out a bottle of rum and two glasses. He put them on the table and poured rum in each of them. Sitting down in one of the chairs, he pointed at the other chair, gesturing to Milah that she could sit as well. She walked over to the table, took a glass in her hand and sat down on the other side of the table. She studied him with his ruffled hair, his eyes fixed on the glass he held with one hand while having his other arm on the table, the hook shining in the small light of the cabin. She now understood why people called him Captain Hook.

“So… how did that happen?” Milah asked, pointing to the hook.

“You want to talk about this?” he asked, moving the hook on the table.

“I figured it would be just as good of a point as any to start with.”

“I think you might be right. Especially since this happened right after your death.”

Milah raised her eyebrows in wonder and opened her mouth to ask what he meant, but he was faster.

“After the Dark One killed you, he still wanted the bean so he cut off the hand in which he thought I was holding it,” Killian explained.

“I gather it wasn’t the right hand,” she said with a small smile, knowing very well how tricky he could be.

“No, it wasn’t,” he said, the corners of his lips raising a little.

After that, neither of them said anything else, silence falling over them like a curtain. Milah continued to study Killian as he drank his rum, but he wasn’t looking at her. Milah could see that he was too lost in his thoughts. The silence between them was so deep that it started to feel awkward. And yet, Milah didn’t know what to say and it looked like Killian didn’t want to talk to her too much.

“Killian?” Milah finally said, not being able to stay in silence for another minute.

He lifted his head and Milah could see in his eyes that he had many questions but didn’t know how to let them out.

“Ask me?” she said, knowing very well what he wanted to ask.

“How long have you been alive?” was the first thing he asked.

It didn’t surprise her that he asked that particular question because that was one of the questions she was expecting from him. What truly surprised her was the soft tone of his voice when he asked. It was almost vulnerable, different from the tone he used earlier when Emma was still on the ship, and even softer than when he explained why he had the hook.

“For twenty-eight years,” Milah answered his question. “But I also have these foggy memories that I was awake before that. Although they might be dreams to be honest. I don’t know, they only started once I came here,” Milah explained, thinking about the different dreams she had since she came to Storybrooke.

She knew the difference between a normal dream and a memory and she was almost sure that those were memories she couldn’t fully see yet.

“How?” Killian asked with a grave voice this time.

“I told you, I don’t know.”

“Then tell me what you do know!” he snapped at her.

With that, Milah started to tell him what had happened in the twenty-eight years since she “woke up”. How she woke up in Hong Kong (Milah needed to make a break and explain to him that Hong Kong was a city in this world), how she lived with the Dragon, how he told her everything about this city and the people in it. Milah told him about the many times she and the Dragon tried to find a way to explain why or how she was alive, but there was nothing to help them since real magic couldn’t be used in the real world. So Milah decided to travel around the world, to explore. Killian smiled at her, telling her that that was what she had always wanted to do and that he was glad that she had already discovered so much of this world.

“I had twenty-eight years to explore. I’ve seen a lot, good and bad things. This world is amazing outside of this city, Killian. You would love it out there,” Milah said, knowing that Killian had the same love for travelling and adventure that she did.

Killian look at her the whole time, not talking and letting her tell her story. She could see different emotions on his face during this time, happiness, sadness, and amazement when she told him about some of the places she had visited. But now, he was looking at her with something that looked a lot like regret.

“I can’t believe that I tried to find a way to avenge you all this time, and yet here you are, alive and well,” Killian said, drinking the rest of the rum he had in the glass.

“You did what?” Milah asked, shocked at his response.

“I spent the last three hundred years trying to find a way to avenge your death and kill the Dark One. It became my goal and I didn’t care if it destroyed me in the meantime,” he said simply.

“Oh, Killian!”

Milah didn’t know what else to say. She couldn’t believe that he spent so many years trying to avenge her death. The question was, how did he stay alive for so long and not change one bit?

“How did you do it?” the question was out before Milah could think twice.

“What?”

“How did you live so long. I mean, three hundred years is a lot! And you look exactly the same as you looked like when I died. And you don’t have magic, not that I’m aware of anyway. So how did you do it?” Milah asked, this time clarifying herself.

“Neverland,” Killian said simply, taking the bottle again and pouring some rum in the glasses. “I went to Neverland after your death, using the bean Smee had, and there I tried to find a way to kill him.”

It all made sense now. She remembered, vaguely, a time when Killian told her about his brother and their trip to Neverland. She was curious about the place so she started to read more about it, and in one of the books there was information about the way time passed there. Killian swore to her that he would never go back to the place that killed his brother. And yet he did, right after her death and he spent year there trying to avenge her.

“Did you find a way?” Milah asked, curious if he succeeded in finding a way to kill Rumplestiltskin.

“I did,” he admitted.

“And what happened? He’s still alive,” Milah said, thinking back to the way Rumplestiltskin talked to her earlier.

“So are you,” he said with a smirk.

“You know what I mean.”

“My priorities… changed,” Killian said with a sigh, closing his eyes.

“Is this about Emma?”

Milah watched his reaction as she said Emma’s name. She needed to know what was there, even if she knew this conversation probably needed more rum. Something in Killian’s eyes shined when she spoke Emma’s name, but then it was quickly covered by confusion.

“How did you know?” Killian asked confused.

“I saw you. Kissing on the deck,” Milah admitted.

“Milah,” he said, letting out a sigh and Milah could understand that she was not supposed to see or know about that kiss.

“It’s okay,” she said with a small voice. She didn’t know what was okay, the fact that he didn’t know what to say or the fact that he was kissing someone else.

“You’re not happy,” Killian said, looking intensly at her and studying her.

“I had hoped you still loved me,” Milah said, realizing for the first time how much hurt was in her voice.

“I still love you, Milah,” Killian said, raising her head to look at him with his hook. “I have loved you all my life and I will always love you.”

Something in her head whispered “just not the same way” at Killian’s words and she felt the need to slap herself. Milah just smiled at him, not trusting her own voice. She could see that he was being honest with her. He still loved her, but she also could see in his eyes that it wasn’t the same love he once had for her.

Wanting to change the subject, Milah decided to ask him something else.

“So,” she started, taking a deep breath. “What happened? How did you end up here, in Storybrooke?” she asked.

“That’s a long story,” Killian said with a smile, probably thankful that she changed the subject.

“I have time,” Milah said, smiling at him and taking the rum to pour herself some more.

“Do you know anything about the Dark Curse that hit us in the Enchanted Forest?”

Milah nodded. “Ruby told me some things.”

“The Evil Queen wanted me to kill her mother to prove I would do anything to get my revenge. But her mother, Cora, offered me a better deal,” he started the story. “So I took it, not knowing at that time that I was going to stay frozen in time for twenty-eight years in the Enchanted Forest while everyone else came here. After twenty-eight years of doing nothing, time started to work again and we knew that the curse here had been broken. Shortly after time started up again, Emma appeared in the Enchanted Forest. Cora had a plan to use a portal to get us both here to Storybrooke, but after a short fight, Emma offered me a better deal.”

He took a sip of rum and then continued.

“Long story short, I had the opportunity to come here with Emma, but in the end, I chose poorly and I came with Cora. Emma and I were enemies at that time.”

“What happened after?”

“I came here, ready to kill Rumplestiltskin and everyone who stood in my way. I shot his new love, was beaten by him with his cane, been hit by one of the bloody things people in this city call cars, which resulted in broken ribs,” Killian started.

Milah wanted to laugh at the way he described a car, but then she realized he mentioned Belle and remembered her story of how he shot her.

“About that,” Milah said. “You have to say sorry to Belle. She didn’t deserve that.” Milah demanded.

“How do you know about that?”

“Belle is my friend. I do not approve of what you did to her, Killian,” Milah scolded him, just like she used to do when they were together.

“I’m just going to continue my story,” Killian said while rolling his eyes.

“Always the stubborn one, Killian,” Milah said to herself.

“After a few days in the hospital, I went after Rumplestiltskin again but I found out he was out of town,” Killian continued his story.

“Where?”

“Turns out that Emma took him out of town to go and find... someone,” Killian said hesitantly. Milah narrowed her eyes at him, but Killian didn’t elaborate. “I went after them, stabbed Rumplestiltskin with my hook covered in dreamshade because he just had to die. But Emma took him back here and he found a way to cure himself.”

“How did you end up back in Neverland? Ruby told me you were there when I arrived in town.”

“You won’t like this part of the story.”

“Humor me.”

“The person Emma and the Crocodile went after outside of Storybrooke? It was Baelfire.”

“Ruby told me that he was the father of Emma's child. Is that true?” Milah said with a small voice, her heart beating hard in her chest.

“It is. Bae, Neal, as he was named in this world, is Henry’s father.”

“Is he dead?” Milah asked, hoping that maybe Ruby and Belle were wrong and Killian knew what happened to her son.

“I’m afraid so, yes,” Killian said with regret in his voice.

“How did that happen?”

“I am not sure about the details because I wasn’t there,” Killian admitted but then continued. “All I know is that he had a fiancee and he brought her here. Apparently, she wasn’t who she said she was and she really wanted to destroy the town.”

“Tamara?” Milah asked, remembering her name from the first time she and Ruby talked.

“Yes, that was her name,” Killian confirmed.

“Ruby told me about her. Please continue.”

“Tamara and her partner kidnapped Regina and Emma, her father and Bae went to look for her. They found her and from what Emma told me, there was a fight. Tamara had a magic bean and she opened up a portal with it, trying to throw Emma in. But Neal has been shot trying to save Emma and he fell into the portal instead.”

“And my son is dead,” Milah concluded.

“That’s what everyone has said since he was shot and then fell into the portal.”

“How was he? Did you know him?”

“I’m afraid not. I didn’t get to interact with him here in Storybrooke,” Killian said regretfully. “But I knew him back when he was a child. He was in Neverland and for a short time, he stayed with me on the Jolly.”

“Can you tell me about him?” Milah asked hopefully.

“Of course.”

Killian spent the next few hours telling Milah stories about Baelfire from the time they were together on the Jolly. He told her about the night when Killian saved him from Neverland’s waters, about the many nights they spent together on the deck in the middle of the night, Killian teaching Milah’s son about stars and constellations and how to sail. Milah listened to his stories carefully. She laughed when Killian told her some of the moments when Bae tried to prove that he was just as good as Killian’s crew at sword fighting, and was sad when he told her about Bae’s talents, some of which he inherited from her like drawing or singing. Milah also started to cry when Killian told her about how Bae found out that he was the pirate his mother ran away with and how he thought Killian was the one that killed her because that was what his father told him. Killian always regretted the fact that Milah would never see Bae again, would never hug him, and would never tell him that she loved him more that anything in the world.

“Thank you for taking care of him, Killian,” Milah said after he finished another story about her son’s adventures in Neverland.

“I would have done it for much longer if he would not have left me,” Killian told her.

It was the truth. Killian had wanted to be Bae’s father figure both before and after Milah died. And if the boy had let him do it, Killian would have been willing to give his life for him. It was one of the things Killian had always regretted.

“I’ve missed you so much, Killian,” Milah told him, finishing another glass of rum.

“I’ve missed you, too. There were times when I wished you were still with me, when I had nothing, no one.”

“You do now. I am here. And so is Emma,” Milah said. Killian could tell that by bringing her up, Milah wanted to start discussing Emma again.

“Are you ready to talk about Emma?” he asked her, to make sure of her intentions.

“The question is, are you, my dear?”

“What do you want to hear?”

“Are you together?”

“What we are… well it’s a bit complicated,” Killian said, not being sure of what he should tell her.

“Why?”

“We… um…,” Killian started, but wasn’t sure how to continue. “Emma still needs to get comfortable with everything and we are both scared and …”

“Everything? Why are you scared?” Milah asked with narrowed eyes.

Killian let out a sigh, knowing very well that now he wouldn’t have any chance to lie to Milah about what was really going on between he and Emma.

“Promise me you won’t tell anyone.”

“I swear. Killian you know you can trust me.”

“Tamara and Greg kidnapped Henry, Emma’s and Bae’s son, and took him to Neverland. Peter Pan wanted his heart because he was dying and Henry has the Heart of the Truest Believer. We went after him and we had to fight with the Lost Boys. I had been hurt by one of their arrows poisoned with dreamshade.” Killian stopped as he watched for Milah’s reaction. She knew what the plant was and its powers. “And as you well know, the plant is deadly and the only cure is Neverland’s water.”

“But you are still here. How?” Milah asked shocked.

“Emma. She has magic.”

“She healed you with her magic?”

That was it. The moment of truth was coming and if he was being honest with himself, he wasn’t ready to say it out loud. But Milah deserved the truth and that’s what he was going to give her.

“Have you ever heard of True Love’s Kiss, Milah?” he asked, not wanting to drop the bomb on her just yet.

“Yeah, it’s when-” As realization hit her, Milah’s eyes grew larger and larger. “Oh my God,” she said putting her hands over her mouth and looking at him.

“Yes,” Killian confirmed what Milah already had been thinking.

“Are you two?”

“Yes,” he said again.

“Wow,” was all Milah could reply.

“Aye. Do you see now why it’s complicated?”

“Yes, I see,” she said not looking at him.

But even if Milah avoided looking at him, he was looking at her and her reactions. She was frozen in place, her eyes stuck on a crack in the middle of the table.

“Milah?” Killian said, trying to make her look at him.

“I’m just surprised,” she said, finally looking at him. “And shocked.”

“We are too. Emma more than myself.”

Milah had something in her eyes that Killian couldn’t read. He had a feeling that she was going to say something that he wouldn’t like.

“Do you love her?” Milah asked.

Killian swallowed hard after he heard Milah’s question. He knew the answer to that question, he had known it for some time, ever since before his kiss with Emma. But how could he tell Milah the truth? Milah clearly still loved him and he didn’t want to break her heart. He never wished to do that.

“Milah,” Killian said, trying to take her mind away from the question.

“No. I’m serious. I can take it,” Milah demanded from him. “Do you love her?” she asked again, this time more firmly and Killian knew that there was no other way around it. He had to tell her the truth.

“Aye. I do.”

And with that, he admitted in front of someone, for the first time, that he loved Emma Swan. And not to just anyone. He admitted it in front of the woman he had loved and cared about for more than three hundred years.

“I’m glad to hear that,” Milah said in a lower voice.

“Are you? Really?” Killian asked, knowing very well that Milah was lying.

“I don’t know,” she said letting out a sigh. “I need time to think about it.”

Without another word, Milah rose from the table and started to walk towards the door. Killian jumped after her, putting a hand on her elbow and stopping her.

“Milah, I still want you in my life. You will always be important to me,” Killian said. He couldn’t let her go after he had found her again.

He cared about her and he hadn’t lied when he said he wanted her in his life. He wanted her here, at least as his friend.

“Emma is your True Love. I don’t want to fight with her or anything,” Milah said with a hint of regret.

“We can be friends, Milah. I want that. And I’m sure Emma would understand.” Milah looked at him as if she didn’t believe him. “I know that. You don’t know her.”

Silence fell between them. Milah shook her arm to get Killian to release her elbow. They weren’t looking at each other and the tension in the room started to mount. Fortunately, Milah opened her mouth and started to speak.

“No,” she said, looking at him. “I don’t know her. But I want to. She’s your True Love and the mother of my grandson,” she continued.

“That she is,” Killian nodded with a small smile on his face, grateful that Milah at least considered the idea of getting to know Emma.

“It’s starting to get dark,” Milah said looking outside. “Maybe I should leave.”

There was nothing else they could talk about, at least not tonight, so Killian nodded at her.

“Okay.”

“Do you think I can talk to Emma tomorrow?” Milah asked before she moved towards the door.

“I don’t know. I can ask her.”

“Okay. Thank you Killian.”

With that, Milah left without another word to him. After Milah was gone, Killian didn’t know what to do. It felt good to talk to her those last few hours, but he felt like everything crumbled when he told her about his relationship with Emma. Still, Killian didn’t have it in him to lie to her and a part of him was happy that he told her and that she knew the truth now.

Killian wanted to talk to Emma and tell her what he talked to Milah about. He also wanted to let her know that he told Milah the truth about them, so he left his room and went outside, ready to go after Emma. But when he got on the deck of the ship, he realized just how late in the night it actually was and he thought to himself that Emma was, most certainly, asleep. So Killian decided to leave the talking for tomorrow and went back to his cabin, getting himself ready for the night. When he put his head on the pillow, he realized that the sheets still smelled like Emma from the night they shared. He closed his eyes, getting drunk on the smell of her perfume and hoped to have a good sleep surrounded by Emma, even if she wasn’t there in person.

Chapter Text

 

The next morning, Emma woke up with a soft breeze hitting her face. She opened her eyes and was surprised by the amount of light that was in the room. She turned to look towards Henry’s bed to see him, but then remembered that he had wanted to sleep at Regina’s house the night prior. She put her head on the pillow again and grabbed her phone. Looking at the clock, she saw that it was barely 8:30AM. Her heart told her to close her eyes again and get more sleep, but her stomach was screaming at her to wake up and feed it.

So she rose from the bed, went in the bathroom for a quick shower and then started to get dressed. While getting dressed, Emma remembered the promise she made to Hook the night before and she decided to have breakfast with him that morning. The problem was, though, that she had no way of contacting him. She had to drive all the way down to the docks and then take him with her to Granny’s.

When she was ready, she took her phone, her wallet, and the keys to the car and left the room. She hoped her parents weren’t awake yet because she was not in the mood to answer Mary Margaret’s questions; questions that she also deflected the night before when she went back to the diner after her discussion with Killian and Milah.


Entering the diner, Emma spotted her parents at a table with Ruby, while Henry and Regina were eating at another table. Emma smiled and waved at Henry to let him know that she was back, and then moved towards her parents’ table.

“Emma, you’re back!” Mary Margaret smiled at her when she was in front of their table.

Emma sat beside Ruby, facing her parents, and smiled at her mother. “Yes, I am. And I am hungry,” she said looking at Ruby.

“I bet you are. Grilled cheese?” Ruby asked with a knowing smile on her face.

“Yes, please. Oh, and onion rings!” Emma added with a smile.

Ruby continued to smile at her and then rose from her place and started to walk towards the kitchen.

“So, Emma,” David started. “Who was that woman?”

“Ruby didn’t tell you?” Emma asked with narrowed eyes, knowing very well that Ruby knew who Milah was.

“She said her name was Milah and that she was Hook’s ex,” Mary Margaret answered.

“Is she?” David asked Emma.

“She is,” Emma confirmed. “And also Gold’s ex. Ex-wife, that’s it,” she added.

“Gold had a wife?” Mary Margaret asked, amazed.

“Neal was his son; of course he had a wife,” Emma said, rolling her eyes.

“So that woman is also Neal’s mother? Henry’s grandmother?” Mary Margaret asked in a whisper. It took Emma a moment to realize what exactly her mother had just said.

“Yes. That she is.”

“Oh God, this family is getting more complicated with each passing day,” David said, leaning back in his chair.

Emma wanted to laugh at his reaction but then she realized that what he said was very true. Their family was growing with each passing day and she started to wonder how many relatives she had in town that she didn’t know about. She also realized that she would have to tell Henry that Milah was his grandmother. First, she had to know if Milah knew about Henry and if she had any wish to know him. There was no point of telling Henry about a grandmother if said grandmother didn’t want to know him.

“Why did you have to stay at the docks for so long, anyway?” David asked her.

“I had to make sure that she wasn’t some kind of new villain,” Emma replied, hoping that David will swallow the lie.

“Ruby could have told you that. She met Milah before us and I am sure if there was something wrong with her, Ruby would have known,” Mary Margaret said.

“Yeah, but as the Saviour and the sheriff of this town, I had to make sure for myself.”

“Is this really about Hook?” David asked out of the blue.

“What about him?”

“We saw his reaction when he saw that woman; he needed you there,” Mary Margaret said.

“No, he was just shocked.”

“And the reason why you had to stay there while we left?”

“I told you.”

“Yes, but you didn’t tell us the whole truth,” Mary Margaret pointed out. “Is there something we need to know?”

“About what?”

“I don’t know,” Mary Margaret said shaking her shoulders. “Perhaps something about you and Hook?”

“There is no me and Hook.”

“Emma,” Mary Margaret said, tilting her head and putting on the ‘I know you are lying’ face.

“What?”

“We know something happened in Neverland.”

“You really don’t,” Emma said, rolling her eyes at them. “Nothing happened.”

“Not even on the ship?” David asked her in a knowing tone.

“I’m not really in the mood for such questions, guys,” Emma said tired. “Can’t we talk about this another time?”

“So there is something to talk about!” Mary Margaret said with a smirk.

“Please!” Emma pleaded.

“Okay, fine. We will leave it for another time,” Mary Margaret agreed.


 

As Emma started to climb down the stairs toward the kitchen, she could already hear movements in the loft. The smell of coffee, bacon, and pancakes flooded the main room of the apartment and Emma felt her stomach starting its daily war for breakfast. David was at the stove making pancakes when she entered the kitchen.

“Morning,” Emma told him.

“Hi Emma,” he turned to her with a smile. “You’re up early.”

“It’s 8:30AM. I have to go to work.”

“Why don’t you take a few days off and let me take care of the station?” David asked, putting another pancake on a plate. Then he turned to her and asked, “Coffee?”

“I would love to, but I was actually on the way to Granny’s,” Emma said with regret.

“Oh, are you meeting with someone?”

Thinking about the fact that David probably wouldn’t like the idea of Emma having breakfast with Hook, she decided to lie a little.

“I was going to send Henry a message and see if he wants to join me,” Emma said.

“Oh, okay,” David said smiling at her. “I just made all of this food hoping you would join us,” he said, pointing to the table full of food.

“There is still time for a family breakfast. Why don’t you give Mary Margaret a breakfast in bed? I bet she would love that.”

“That is actually a very good idea,” David said excitedly.

“See!” Emma said and started to move towards the door. “I’ll see you later!”

“Oh, we still have to talk about those free days!” she heard David saying before the door closed.

She didn’t want him to think that she was ignoring him and his request, and she would love some free days for herself but right now, she had other things to do. Like figuring out what was going to happen with Milah, now that she was in town. 

On her way out of the building, Emma sent a quick message to Henry to ask him if he wanted to join her and Hook for breakfast, telling him that he could ask Hook if he still wanted to teach him how to sail. Henry’s message came back almost immediately, telling her that Regina was making pie for breakfast. Emma shivered at the messsage, thinking about what happened the last time Henry ate one of Regina’s pies. She quickly replaced the thought with new ones, telling herself that Regina loved Henry too much to hurt him like that ever again. Emma entered her bug and started to drive towards the docks. It was a short drive on the streets of the town and Emma was pleased to see that things were actually quiet for a change.   

She was soon at the docks, staring at the Jolly Roger’s sails. The plank that led onto the deck of the ship was down so Emma started to walk on it without further notice. The deck was empty so Emma started to call for Killian.

“Killian?”

Seconds later the door that led under the deck opened and revealed a surprised Killian Jones.

“Emma,” he said, letting out a breath.

“Hello to you too,” she said, with a smile studying him.

He was dressed in his leather pants and had a large, unbuttoned shirt that left very little to the imagination. Especially after the night they shared together. Emma’s mind flew back to that night and to the way his naked chest felt under her fingers, and she felt her cheeks starting to burn.

“What is going on in that beautiful mind of yours?” Killian asked with a smirk, coming towards her.

“Nothing.”

“What are you doing here, Emma?”

“I told you I would see you today,” she said, coming closer and putting a hand on his chest.

“But so early?”

“I wanted to ask if you wanted to have breakfast with me.”

“Really?” Killian asked, with a big smile.

“Yeah,” she said, mirroring his smile. “What do you say?”

“I’d like that very much,” Killian said, continuing to smile at her.

“Come on,” Emma said, taking his hand in hers and pulling him towards her.

“Now?” Killian asked surprised.

“I am really hungry,” Emma said, still feeling her stomach battling inside her.

“Okay, at least let me go get my coat,” Killian said, letting go of her hand and taking a step back. Emma nodded and watched him go back in the direction of his cabin.

As Emma waited for Killian, she went closer to the railing to look at the ocean. It was a nice view; the water was calm, the sun was mirroring in the glass of the water, and the birds were flying around. It was a beautiful view, and a sudden thought came unbidden to Emma’s mind: she wanted to see this view more on more mornings.

As she was looking towards the water, she felt two strong arms coming around her middle.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he asked her, putting his chin on her shoulder. Emma had a small feeling that he wasn’t just talking about the view.

“Very,” Emma said, still looking towards the water.

“I’m ready,” Killian said, keeping his arms around her.

“And I am hungry.”

“And yet no one is moving,” he pointed out, turning her so she could be face to face with him.

“Okay,” she said putting her hands on his shoulders and taking a step back, away from him. “I need food. Let’s go.”

Killian smiled at her and nodded. They started to walk back down the plank and when they were back on the ground, Emma started to walk towards the bug. Before she got too far, Killian stopped her with a hand on her elbow.

“Wait a second. Are we using your vessel?” Killian asked her.

“Yeah. Why?”

“I was wondering if perhaps you would like to walk with me there.”

“Why?”

“I just… I am not really that fond of that contraption,” Killian said and started to scratch behind his ear.

It hit her then that Hook hadn’t had too many positive interactions with cars. He was hit by one, which left him with a few broken ribs because of it and the only other time he was in a car was when Tamara and Greg had brought him back into town. He probably hated cars. So Emma just nodded at him, understanding.

“Okay, let’s walk then.”

They started to walk together towards the diner, keeping a small distance between them since they didn’t want anyone to suspect there was something going on between them. They walked in silence but from time to time, Emma snuck small glances at him when he wasn’t looking at her. She also knew that he was doing the same thing when he believed she was not looking at him.

While things were quiet, she could tell something was going on in his mind. From time to time, his eyebrows were coming together and she could see that something was bothering him. However, Emma chose to wait until they were inside Granny’s before asking him what was going on with him.

When they arrived at the diner, they entered at the same time and Emma looked for a table that wasn’t really close to the other patrons. She found one in the back and pointed it out to Killian. He agreed to it and they started to walk towards the table.

“Morning Emma!” Ruby appeared in front of her before she arrived at the table.

“Hey Ruby!” Emma saluted her.

Ruby looked between Emma and Hook and smiled mischievously at Emma. “Table for two?” she asked Emma.

“Yeah. That table,” Emma answered, pointing towards the table she saw minutes ago.

“Okay. I will bring you the menus in a bit,” Ruby said, and then left them.

Emma and Killian sat at the table and waited for Ruby to come back. Emma didn’t need a menu, though. She knew what she wanted from the moment she woke up, Hook, though, started to look at the menu like it was some kind of odd book. It was funny to watch him struggle with the list of foods Granny had, his eyebrows furrowing from time to time and his lips forming a straight line while he was reading. After five minutes of watching him, Emma decided that it was time to ask him if he needed any help.

“Are you okay?” she asked amusedly.

“I don’t understand half of this,” Killian admitted, putting down the menu.

“I can imagine. Granny has a lot of food on here.”

“What is a burger and why are there four different kinds of it?”

“It’s… bread and meat and…,” Emma stopped, realising that she can’t explain to him enough to make him understand.

“What do you order, Swan?”

“Grilled cheese with onion rings and a coffee.”

“Onion rings?” he asked with a questioning look.

“It’s basically fried onion.”

“I’ve never been too fond of onions.”

“You can have french fries instead of onion rings.”

“Are they good?”

“The best!”

“Then I will have those,” Killian said, smiling.

When Ruby came back, Emma told her what both of them wanted. Emma added a cup of coffee for Killian as well, and a plate of pancakes for them to share. As Ruby left with a smirk on her face, Emma and Killian were alone again and Emma remembered Killian’s worried look when they were walking there, so she decided to ask him about what was on his mind.

“Hey, are you okay?”

“Why would I not be okay, Swan?” Hook asked with a confused look.

“Ugh… I noticed on our way here that you were thinking, quite intensely, about something. You didn’t look okay.”

“Were you watching me, Swan?” he asked with a grin.

“Yes,” she admitted. “Just as you were watching me when you thought I wasn’t paying attention.”

“Touche, Emma,” he said with a big smile.

“So? What was going on in your mind?”

She watched him as he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He then opened his eyes, looked at her, and started to talk.

“Milah visited me last night.”

“Oh,” Emma’s smile fell, not being sure exactly what that meant.

“She wanted to talk,” Killian added tentatively.

Emma opened her mouth to say something, but she was interrupted by Ruby who came back with the food. She waited until Ruby was gone before she spoke again.

“And?” Emma asked, not knowing for sure what she was asking for.

“We talked about what I had been doing and how I had managed to live for so long. I also told her about my pursuit of revenge for her death.”

“What did she say?” Emma asked while putting a small onion ring in her mouth.

“She didn’t take it well.”

Emma didn’t know what to say after that. She didn’t know Milah and she didn’t know what ‘didn’t take it well’ meant for Killian, but she imagined that Milah wasn’t happy to hear that Killian spent 300 years not only trying to avenge her death, but also trying to find a way to kill Rumplestiltskin.

“She also asked about Neal,” Killian said, stopping the train of thought that was going through her mind.

Emma made big eyes and looked at him. Killian lifted a hand and started to talk again. “She wanted to know more about him as a child, but she also knew he was here as an adult as well. Sadly, I couldn’t tell her more about him as an adult.”

“So what did you tell her?”

“I told her about his time in Neverland with me and the crew on the Jolly.”

“Does she know about Henry?” Emma asked, thinking that if Milah knew about Neal being in town, there was a small possibility that she also knew about Henry. 

“She said she knew from Ruby that Neal was Henry’s father.”

“Oh. Did she say anything else?”

“She said she would like to meet him. Only if you agree, of course.”

Emma opened her mouth to say something but words didn’t come out. Instead, she took another bite of her grilled cheese. So Milah knew about Henry and she wanted to meet him. Henry would have another relative in this town, beside the ones he already had. A grandmother this time. She was glad Milah wanted to meet him, but did Henry want to meet her? Meeting Neal and losing him after a short time was hard enough for him. Did he want to meet another relative that he had never even heard about?

“Emma?” Killian asked, looking at her concerned. “Say something, please?”

“I was thinking about Henry,” Emma said, and he looked at her confused. “Don’t worry about it .”

“If you don’t want Henry to meet Milah, I am sure she will understand,” Killian said truthfully.

“It’s not about that. I don’t want to keep another relative hidden from him. I am more worried about if he would like to meet her.”

“I am sure Milah would understand his decision either way.”

“Did she say anything else?”

“She did,” Killian said, dropping his eyes.

Emma didn’t like his reaction but somehow, she was afraid to ask him what was going on. Milah clearly said something to Killian that either he didn’t like or it worried him and now he was afraid of telling her. Maybe he wasn’t sure how she was going to react.

Emma decided that it would be better if he just told her now; hit her with whatever it was. Emma looked at him, as serious as she could, and started to talk again. “What was it? What else did she say?”

Instead of answering, Killian took her hand in his and held it tight. “I don’t want you to get scared,” Killian confessed.

“You’re making me scared by not telling me and by behaving like this,” she said, pointing with her other hand towards their joined hands.

“Yes, but I don’t want you to run.”

“Killian, what is it?”

“Milah knows,” he stated, and then stopped to watch her reaction. Emma didn’t really understand what Milah knew about, so she looked with narrowed eyes at Killian until he continued. “Milah knows about us,” he finished.

“What?” Emma hissed at him. “What does she know?”

“That we kissed,” he whispered. “And about the other thing,” he added and she could see the regret in his eyes.

“And how exactly does she know about that?” Emma asked, half surprised and half confused. Milah was already gone when they kissed and no one knew about the True Love thing.

“Which part?”

“Both, Hook!” Emma snapped at him.

Killian shivered at the tone of her voice but didn’t say anything. Instead, he let go of her hand and looked at his now empty plate. Seeing his reaction, Emma instantly regretted her words, but it didn’t change the fact that she was still surprised and now was also intrigued.

“She saw us when we kissed on the Jolly,” Killian said looking again at her. “And it’s my fault that she knows about the other thing.”

“You told her?!”

“She wanted to know what was going on between us.”

“Killian, we agreed to keep it between us!” Emma replied, starting to get angry.

“I know we did, love, but-,” Killian didn’t get to finish his answer because Emma stopped him by raising a hand.

“No,” she said, getting her wallet and putting some money on the table. “I really wanted to try Killian, but you went and told the first person that asked you about us.” Emma rose from her seat.

“Where are you going, Emma?”

“I don’t know,” she said, and then she left without another glance at him.

She half expected him to follow her outside but she knew, deep down, that he wouldn’t do it. Not right now.

Outside of the diner, Emma looked around. Her car was still at the docks, so she had to walk back there to get it. But she didn’t feel like going to the docks right now, so she started to walk towards Storybrooke Park. It wasn’t a big park, but it had a small lake in the middle and it was a good place for her to sit and think; to put her thoughts in order.

As she entered the park, she started to regret the way she left Killian at the diner. Yes, she was angry with him for telling Milah about them. She didn’t want anyone to know about them and now, not just anyone knew, but Milah. Milah, Killian’s ex, whom Killian loved very much. She knew that, she saw it in his eyes yesterday on the ship. He still loved her, maybe not in the same capacity like before. It was a love that he would always have for Milah, the same type of love that Emma would always have for Neal. But Emma was still angry that Milah knew not just about the fact that they kissed, but also knew about the True Love’s Kiss they shared.

As Emma sat on a bench in front of the lake, she started to calm down and realized the fact that maybe what she felt in that moment wasn’t anger. Not just anger anyway. She was also scared; scared of the fact that someone knew about them and if someone knew about them, then it was real. Milah knowing about the True Love’s Kiss meant that it was real, it actually happened, and Emma and Killian were really True Loves.  

“Emma?”

At the sound of her name, Emma went stiff. She had heard that voice yesterday not for too long, but the sound of the voice stayed in Emma’s mind. She turned to face the woman who spoke, not bothering to put on a smile.

“Milah.”

“Hi,” Milah said, smiling. Emma was surprised to see that the smile on her face was genuine.

“Hello. What are you doing here?” Emma asked her.

“Since I came to town, I made a habit of coming here every morning. The fresh air  makes me feel better.”

“It is a beautiful park,” Emma said, trying to smile.

Milah probably saw the fact that Emma’s smile was a fake one, which caused concern. Worriedly, she asked “Emma, are you okay?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“May I?” Milah asked, pointing to the free space that was beside Emma on the bench.

Instead of answering, Emma just nodded at her. Milah sat down, looked at Emma and opened her mouth to speak.

“I want to apologize”, Milah said, surprising Emma.

“About what?”

“I was rude to you yesterday and I have realized that you did not deserve that.”

“It’s okay; it’s not the first time that’s happened,” Emma tried to assure her.

“Maybe, but I hate to be rude to people who weren’t with me. And you, Emma, you’ve been a sweetheart while I’ve been a bitch. So I am apologizing to you.”

“You’re forgiven,” Emma said, this time truly smiling at the woman in front of her.

“I… um... I also wanted to talk about something with you?” Milah said, though it came out more like a question. Emma nodded at her to encourage her to talk. “I talked to Killian yesterday, after you left the ship,” Milah admitted.

“I know,” Emma said, not looking at the woman.

“You do?”

“I had breakfast with Killian earlier and he told me,” Emma explained.

“He told you what we talked about?”

“He did.”

“Emma, I want you to know that I won’t tell anyone about what Killian told me,” Milah said with a grave voice.

Emma didn’t say anything at Milah’s admission. She didn’t know how to react. She expected Milah to be angry, mad, or even upset about the fact that Killian was with someone else, someone who apparently was his True Love. But she seemed.. oddly fine with it.

Emma looked at her with narrowed eyes. “Aren’t you upset?” she asked Milah.

“Why would I be?”

“Killian told you about the True Love thing, right?”

“Yes.”

“So?”

She watched Milah taking a deep breath and then the woman started to speak. “I am not upset Emma. You probably expect me to be, but I am not. Yesterday I was sad, yes, but not upset.”

“Why?”

“It’s been 300 years,” Milah said with a melancholic voice, as if she had made peace with the thought. “I didn’t even expect him to be alive, let alone to still love me.”

“He still loves you,” Emma assured Milah.

“Yes, but not the way he used to,” Milah said with a small smile on her face.

“I’m sorry,” Emma said, not being sure what she could say in a moment like this.

“Don’t be. I have to admit that I watched you for a bit on the Jolly after I left yesterday before going back to him. He had this soft look on his face when he looked at you. He never had that look before, with me.”

“What do you mean?”

“I am not an expert in True Love or magic, Emma, but I know Killian and the look he had when he was looking at you? It was pure love.”

“Milah... I don’t know…”

“Killian said last night that you’re not sure. Of what I don’t know. Do you want to talk about it?”

“Milah, look. No offense, but I don’t think that’s the best idea.”

“Emma, I want to try and be friends with you. If you want that. And I can see that you wish to talk with someone about this and since I am the only person who knows about you…”

“Do you really want to talk about me and Killian?”

“Unbelievable, I know,” Milah said, letting out a laugh.

“Yeah!” Emma said, laughing too.

“But I am serious,” Milah said again, using a more serious voice this time. “If you need a friend, you can talk to me.”

“Thank you, but I’m not ready right now.”

“What are you not ready for?”

“To talk. To open myself up about this situation,” Emma explained.

“It’s okay. Just know that if you ever want to talk to someone, I am here.”

“Thank you.”

The two of them sat on the bench looking over the lake’s water in silence for a few minutes. Emma couldn’t believe how nice Milah was with her and how she seemed fine with the whole situation. Then Emma remembered something else Killian had told her earlier.

“Killian told me that you want to meet Henry,” Emma said, breaking the silence between the two women.

“Yeah, I’d like that very much,” Milah admitted.

“I can talk to him,” Emma offered.

“Would you do that?”

“Of course. I’ll ask him later when I see him,” she said with a small smile.

“Thank you very much, Emma,” Milah said, smiling gratefully.

“I should let you go,” Emma said taking out her phone and looking at the time that passed while she had sat there with Milah. “Before I do, though, can I have your number?” Emma asked Milah. “In case I talk to Henry or anything else happens?”

“Sure! Here, give me your phone.” Emma gave Milah her phone and watched as Milah programmed her number into Emma’s phone.

After that, Emma rose from the bench and looked at Milah. “I will see you soon,” Emma said with a smile.

“Bye, Emma!”

Starting to walk away from the bench, Emma decided to head back to the station. She didn’t have her car and she was probably going to need it if she actually wanted to do her job today. At the very least, she might need it if something else came up. She realized she left her bug at the docks, so she headed towards that direction instead. On the way there, she sent Henry a message asking if he wanted to get ice cream with her after she checked the station. Henry answered her in less than a minute, telling her that ice cream sounded perfect and that he would ask Regina to bring him to the station in an hour, giving Emma plenty of time to see if she was needed around town .

Arriving at the docks, Emma looked around to see if Killian was in sight. When she didn’t see him anywhere, she walked the short distance towards the bug. When she went to open the car’s door to get in, she noticed that she had a piece of paper stuck in her window. Taking it, she looked at it and froze.

Emma,

I am very sorry I upset you. It wasn’t my intention, especially since you invited me to have breakfast with you. I am sorry love, I hope you can forgive me.

Can you forgive me? I will be on the Jolly all day if you wish to talk.

Emma held the paper and looked towards the Jolly. It was too far for her to see if there was anyone on the deck, but she had a feeling that Killian was there. She wanted to go to him, talk to him, but she needed to see Henry first. Reluctantly, she entered the bug and started to drive towards the station, Killian’s paper put carefully in her pocket.

When she got to the station, David was already there, drinking his coffee and looking at the computer like the thing would grow a pair of legs and start running away from him.

“Did the computer do something wrong so you are getting ready to arrest it?” Emma asked David with a smile on her face.

“You came!”

“Of course I did, it’s my job.”

“Yes, but it’s quiet right now.”

“And that’s why I am going to leave you alone, again, in like forty minutes,” Emma said, looking at the clock on her desktop.

“Oh?” David asked, seemingly confused.

“I’m meeting Henry for ice cream,” Emma explained to him.

“Wasn’t he with you at Granny’s?”

“Regina made him breakfast so he didn’t come.”

“And you’ve been alone at Granny’s?” David asked, looking even more confused.

“I was with Hook, actually,” Emma said, trying to avoid his eyes, knowing full well what her words would start with David.

“Oh?” David said, raising his eyebrows in question.

“Don’t,” Emma warned, this time looking directly at him.

“I didn’t say anything,” David said, raising his hands defensively in front of him.

“You were going to,” Emma said, rolling her eyes.

“What did you two do?”

“We had breakfast, Dad. And we talked.”

“Talked about what?”

“Things?” Emma asked tentatively, not being sure how to answer his question.

“Things?” David repeated, raising an eyebrow at her. “Why do you look like you didn’t enjoy those ‘things’?”

“It didn’t end well.”

“Do you want to talk?” David asked, coming towards her desk.

“Not really,” Emma replied. Hearing her answer, he stopped in the middle of the room.

“Okay,” David said, turning back and starting to walk back to his desk. He sat down in the old chair and looked at Emma. “Is this about his ex?” he asked.

“David!” Emma snapped at him.

“Okay, okay, I’m stopping.”

Emma turned her attention from David to the screen in front of her. She tried to concentrate on the file she had opened, but her mind kept flying to the discussion she and Milah had in the park; specifically to what Milah had said about the way Killian was looking at her.

However, Emma’s thoughts were soon interrupted by the sound of the station’s door opening and then closing again. David rose from his place and went to see who had entered the station, but was quickly back with a smile on his face.

“Henry is here,” David announced.

“Will you be okay?” Emma asked David, preparing to leave.

“Of course Emma,” David said with a smile and then his face turned serious. “Can I give you a piece of advice?”

“What?” Emma asked, narrowing her eyes and not being sure of what to expect from him.

“After you are done with Henry, go talk with Hook?” David said, although it came out more like a question.

“David...”

“Listen, Emma. I can see you are not happy. I don’t know what happened, but you are not happy and I hate to see you like this.”

“I will have to come back after I am done with Henry,” Emma said, trying to make him back up.

“No you don’t,” David contradicted her. “Go talk with Hook.”

“If I wouldn’t know any better, I’d say you are the one that wants him around,” Emma teased David.

“Me? Emma please, I’m a married man,” David said with a big smile on his face, a smile that somehow betrayed his words.

Emma rolled her eyes at David and then left him alone in the office. She started to walk towards the exit of the station where Henry was waiting for her.

“Hey kid!” Emma said when she was in front of him to get his attention away from his phone. “Ready?”

“For ice cream? Always!” Henry excitedly replied.

“Let’s go,” Emma said, smiling at him.

Emma put her arm around Henry’s shoulders and they started to walk together towards Any Given Sundae.

“How are you, Henry?” Emma asked him on the way to the ice cream parlor.

“I’m good! It’s so good to be back home and sleep in my own bed.”

“Oh, I know. Are you going to stay at the loft tonight?”

“Can I stay at Regina’s again?” Henry asked her, making puppy eyes at her. “I promise I will have breakfast with you tomorrow morning.”

Emma wanted to say no. She wanted to spent an evening in with Henry, maybe put on a movie or tv show they missed what with all the crises they had had in the town. She could see on his face, though, that he really wanted to stay at Regina’s again. Maybe she really needed another night to herself. So in the end, Emma gave up and letting out a sigh, she finally answered.

“Sure kid,” she said with a very small smile on her face.

They arrived shortly after that at the ice cream parlor and entered the shop laughing. They were met by Sarah, the owner of the shop, who was very happy to see them together and told Henry that she was glad he was fine and back home. She gave them some extra ice cream on the house and made them promise they would visit her again soon.

After they left the shop, they walked in silence until they arrived at the park.

“I was thinking we could take a walk,” Emma said, tentatively.

“Sure,” Henry said, taking another bite of his ice cream.

“And, I wanted to talk about something with you,” Emma said as they continued to walk deeper into the park.

“And what’s that?” Henry asked as they sat on a bench under a big tree.

“Did you see the woman that was there yesterday at the docks?” Emma asked, not being sure how else she could open the ‘Milah’ subject to him.

“The one that scared Hook?” Henry asked, confused.

“Scared?” Emma asked, intrigued by Henry’s choice of words.

Henry looked at her and nodded. “He looked scared.”

“He wasn’t scared,” Emma said, trying to remember Killian’s face when he saw Milah for the first time on the docks. But Emma couldn’t remember him being scared. Panicked, confused or even angry, yes. But he wasn’t scared. Emma looked at Henry and shook her shoulders, trying to get back to what they had to talk about.  “Anyway, yes, that woman.”

“Yeah, I’ve seen her.”

“Her name is Milah,” Emma started tentatively. “And she is… she was… um..” Emma said, not being able to finish; not knowing for sure how to tell Henry who Milah really was.

“She was...?” Henry asked, trying to help her continue her sentence.

“She’s part of our family,” Emma finally said. Looking at Henry’s face, Emma realized that she was just confusing him with her own words. So Emma tried to say what she needed to in a different way.  “She’s your grandma.”

“What?” Henry almost screamed. “You mean she was dad’s mom?” he said, dumbfounded.

“Yes,” Emma admited.

“Mr. Gold’s wife?”

“Well, ex-wife, but yes.”

“That is so cool!” Henry yelled.

“Really?” Emma asked, amazed by Henry’s reaction.

“Yeah! I mean, I have another grandma, not just Mary Margaret!”

Hearing Henry’s reaction made Emma let out a deep breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding. Henry wasn’t shocked by her revelations. Instead, he was very happy.

“Would you want to meet her?” she asked, remembering Milah’s wish.

“Can I?” Henry said with shining eyes.

“She asked if I would allow it, so yes.”

“I want to!”

“Good!” Emma said jumping to her feet. “I will let her know.”

“Do you think she could tell me more about my father?” Henry asked Emma.

“I don’t know Henry,” Emma said truthfully, not being sure how to answer that question.

“Oh wait,” Henry said, stopping her thoughts. “I forgot! I do know her! She was Hook’s girlfriend.”

“How?”

“It’s in the book?” Henry said, his words coming out more like a question.

“It is?” Emma said confused, not remembering seeing Killian’s story or even seeing Milah in the book.

“Yes! You read that book so many times!”

“I never saw that story there.”

“Anyway,” Henry said, rolling his eyes. “She’s his ex right?”

“Yes,” Emma confirmed.

“How is she alive?”

“We don’t know yet.”

“Can we find out?”

“I think that’s what she wants, yes.”

“Awesome! We can talk with Regina, or Rumple, or-,” Henry started to list everyone in the town that has magic and could help.

“Henry stop!” Emma stopped him mid sentence. “I think this is something we should talk with Milah about.”

“Okay, okay,” Henry said, a little disappointed.

After that, they spent another half hour in the park, with Emma telling Henry the little things she already knew about Milah and leaving out the parts that were about Hook. In fact, every time it became about Hook, Emma, more or less subtly, changed the subject, not wanting to talk about him.

When they decided that it was time to go back home, Emma took Henry on a walk along the streets of Storybrooke, back to Regina’s house. After Emma dropped off Henry in front of Regina’s house with a kiss on his forehead, she didn’t know what else to do. It was almost 6PM, the sun was slowly starting to fade, and she didn’t want to go back to the loft just yet. She wished she could be able to give David and Mary Margaret a night to themselves since they had not had one since they had come back from Neverland. She needed her own apartment for herself and for Henry, but for now she wondered if Granny had any free rooms for the night. She looked at the clock and realized that it was still too early to go to Granny’s and book a room. She sent Ruby a message to ask her if there was a room free for her for tonight and another message to Mary Margaret letting her mom know not to expect her for the rest of the night.

As Emma put her phone back in her pocket, she found Hook’s paper from earlier. She took it out and studied it. She should go talk to him. She had ignored him all day and right now, she felt bad for doing it. She was looking at his nice handwriting, the way he wrote her name, and she could imagine him, trying to write the small message and leave it on the window of her car, hoping that she would find it and read it.

Her heart was telling her to go and talk to him and for the first time in the last few hours, she listened. She practically ran all the way back to the station, jumped in her car and started the engine to drive towards the docks. She parked in the same spot as she did before and got out of the car. It had started to get colder as the sun continued to disappear into the ocean, so Emma tightened the jacket around herself and started to walk towards the Jolly Roger.

She couldn't see from the docks onto the deck of the ship to check if he was outside. Her intuition, though, told her that he was there for sure; maybe even waiting for her to arrive.

Emma walked up the plank and stepped on the deck slowly, stepping on an old piece of wood that creaked under her boot.

She saw him then, at the helm, his back turned to her and his face turned towards the ocean. She didn’t know if he had heard her or if somehow he knew that she was there, but she decided to make her presence known anyway.

“Killian?” she said his name softly.

She knew he heard her when she saw him stiffen his shoulders at the sound of his name. He turned to look at her and Emma wanted to slap herself at how sad he looked.

“I got your message?” she said, showing him the small paper.

“Aye,” was all Killian said and Emma heard the hurt behind his voice.

“Can I?”  Emma pointed to the space beside him.

Killian nodded at her question and after taking a deep breath, she started to climb the few stairs that led up to him.

Chapter Text

Watching Emma leaving the diner angry made Killian regret everything. From telling Milah about him and Emma, to not keeping it a secret as Emma wished, he regretted that his mistakes ruined their breakfast that started out so beautifully. He wanted to go after Emma, talk to her and explain to her what happened, but he knew that she wanted to be alone and didn’t want to talk to him right now. Instead, Killian rose from the table, not finishing his food, and started to walk toward the exit, ignoring Ruby’s worried look.

He went back to the docks and when he arrived, he was surprised to see that Emma’s car was still where she had left it earlier. Something inside his heart told him to wait there for her because sooner or later, she would have to come back to pick up the car. However, his brain thought that was a terrible idea that could possibly make matters worse. In the end, his brain won out and he went back to his ship. He went to his cabin, looked for a piece of paper, scribbled down a quick message for Emma, and then went back to her car. He carefully arranged the paper on the front window of her car and hoped that it would stay there until she came back for her vehicle.

After that he didn’t have much to do. He went back to his ship and waited, hoping that Emma would come back for her car and she would see the message and want to talk to him. Yet nothing happened all day. At one point her car disappeared, which meant that she had been there for a few minutes but he didn’t see her since he wasn’t staring at the car like a mad man. At least that’s what he liked to think about himself. When he saw that the car was no longer there, he hoped that she would come and not ignore him. Maybe she was busy as the sheriff since she had been gone from town for so long, or maybe she was spending some time with her family, or maybe just with her son. Killian thought about those things and hoped that at least one of them were true.

Still, as the hours passed without any sign of her, he started to get more and more anxious and the thought that he royally screwed things up this time appeared in his mind. When it started to get dark outside and the sun started to slowly disappear in the ocean’s waters, he was sure that she would not be coming to him today.

He was at the helm watching the sunset when he heard his name called out from behind him. He froze for a moment, hearing Emma’s voice, but then he slowly turned to look at her. She was still dressed in the clothes she had on that morning and she was playing with what he recognized to be the piece of paper he had left for her. She wasn’t smiling, but yet, she had another expression on her face that made him drop his shoulders. Regret. He could see the regret on her face when she looked at him.

“I got your message,” she said, still playing with the paper in her hands.

“Aye,” Killian nodded, not knowing for sure what else to say.

“Can I?” Emma said pointing to the place where he was, asking, most likely, if she can come there too.

Killian nodded at her and then watched her climb the five steps towards the helm. When she was beside him, she leaned on the helm, watching the water. He didn’t know how to react so he mirrored her, leaning on the helm, in silence, looking towards the horizon and avoiding her eyes.

They stayed like that until Emma started to talk to him. “I’m sorry I left,” she said with a whisper.

“I should be the one to apologize,” he said, still not looking at her.

“No. You always apologize, even when it’s not your fault.”

“But it is, thought. I’m the one who didn’t keep a secret when you asked me to.”

Killian heard Emma take a deep breath and then saw her moving to come to stand in front of him. She had a serious look on her face and he could see that whatever she was going to say, it wasn’t easy.

“You don’t have to say anything you don’t want to, Emma,” Killian tried to assure her, seeing how hard it was for her to open up.

“But I want to,” she said. She took another deep breath and started to talk. “I’m sorry for running away from you this morning.”

“It’s okay.”

“It’s not and we both know it. I run when things get complicated and in the process, I hurt you too.”

“You didn’t, Emma.”

“Stop,” Emma said, rolling her eyes. “Stop doing that. I know that I hurt you and I am sorry.”

Killian was stunned by Emma’s words and wasn’t sure what to say. He opened his mouth, but Emma stopped him, putting a hand on his shoulder.

“Listen. I have to get this out of my head, so please listen to me and don’t stop me before I’m done. Okay?” she asked, completely serious. Killian nodded and Emma started to talk again.

“When I left Granny’s, I thought I was angry; angry because you told Milah, angry because someone knew about us. But soon after that I realized that, in fact, I wasn’t angry. I was scared, and my walls went up faster than I could think. I was scared because Milah knowing, both about the kiss and about the True Love thing, meant that it was something real. Something that exists and is real. And I wasn’t ready for that, you know that.”

Killian looked at her, amazed by her confession. He imagined she had been angry when she left; she should have been angry. He knew that her walls were going up, because ever since they met when they were together, Killian tried to take small steps in tearing down her walls and always, at one point in the conversation, her walls grew back, higher than before. So when she left that morning, the fire in her eyes was hiding the walls that were starting to grow again.

“I met Milah,” Emma said, stopping his thoughts.

“What?” Killian asked, his eyes growing large at what she said.

“After I left, I went to the park and while I was there, she came over,” Emma said, smiling. “She told me I could go and talk to her if I ever needed a friend.”

“She did that?”

“Why, are you surprised?”

“She wasn’t too happy when she left last night,” Killian explained, remembering Milah’s face when she left.

“She told me that she was upset yesterday, but that she is not anymore,” Emma said, surprising him with her words.

“Why?” he asked with a high voice.

“She’s happy for you, Killian,” Emma explained.

“She told you that?”

“Among other things,” Emma said, and he could see that there was something else she wasn’t telling him. “She said we could try to be friends and it made me realize  something.”

“What?”

“That Milah knowing about us isn’t a danger. She won’t tell anyone, I know it.”

“She won’t,” Killian assured Emma. He knew that Milah would never do that to him.

“I know. I just needed to hear it from her.”

“I understand,” Killian said, totally understanding Emma’s reasons.

Emma looked at him with a look that somehow resembled shyness. “She also made me realize something else.”

“What was that?” Killian asked softly.

Emma turned her whole body to him and touched his biceps. “That I shouldn’t be afraid of you. Of us,” Emma said, moving her hand higher on his arm. “But I am still not sure of what I feel or what to do.”

“It’s okay,” Killian assured her. “I told you I can be very patient.”

“Yes, but I know how you feel, and I promise that I will take care of your feelings,” Emma said, her hand finally reaching his cheek.

“Thank you, Emma,” Killian said softly.

He saw Emma’s face leaning forward toward his and he closed his eyes, letting his head fall toward hers. Their lips pressed together in a sweet kiss and Killian could taste something sweet like chocolate on Emma’s lip. The feeling of her lips pressed to his made him feel better after a full day of worrying that he screwed this up.

When he wanted to deepen the kiss, Killian felt Emma’s lips starting to pull away so he opened his eyes and looked at her. Emma had a small smile on her face and that made him smile as well. He felt good in that moment and he would have been happy if a bubble would’ve fall over them and covered them to the eyes of the whole world.

But then she took her eyes away from him and looked at the sky. Killian did the same and finally realized that darkness was surrounding them.

“It’s dark outside,” Killian observed. “Should I accompany you back on your way back home?”

“Are you that eager to get rid of me?” Emma teased him.

“Never,” Killian said, looking into her eyes.

“I’m not going home tonight,” Emma said.

“Why? Where are you going to sleep?” Killian asked, surprised at the fact that she wasn’t going back to her parents’ home.

“I want to let Mary Margaret and David have a night of their own,” Emma explained. “I was going to get a room at Granny’s.”

“What about Henry?”

“He’s at Regina’s.”

Killian hummed at her words. If she was not going home and if Henry was at Regina’s, he wanted to ask her to stay, but he didn’t know how she was going to react.

“I can see you thinking, Killian,” Emma said, stopping him from thinking about what to do.

“I was wondering…,” Killian started, still not being sure of his proposal.

“What?” Emma asked him.

“Would you want to stay here tonight?” Killian finally asked her.

“I don’t have anything to sleep in,” Emma said with a teasing tone to her voice.

“We could easily take care of that,” Killian said, using the same tone she did.

Emma got closer to him and put a hand on his chest. “What do you mean by that?”

“That I can find some old shirt for you,” Killian said, continuing with the teasing.

“What about dinner?”

“Can’t you ask Ruby to bring some food?” Killian asked her, knowing very well that Ruby could deliver some food to the Jolly for them.

“That sounds like a good idea,” Emma agreed, nodding.

Emma smiled at him and then grabbed her phone to call Ruby. Killian watched her talking for a few minutes with the wolf girl and during that time, Emma gave her different names of food and instructions. While they waited for Ruby to come with the food, Killian made Emma stay on deck while he went back to the cabin to prepare it for the night. He knew he would be going too far if he did something too special, so he just lit two candles so there would be enough light in the room and found an old, long t-shirt for Emma to wear during the night. After that, he took a blanket and went back on deck to Emma.

Back on deck, Killian saw Emma sitting on a wooden box and perched beside her on another wooden box were two bags with Granny’s logo on them. Emma smiled when he showed her the blanket, and he moved closer to her. He put it on the deck and they sat on it while Emma took the food out of the bags.

Under the night’s sky, they ate together watching the stars. Killian pointed out some of the more important constellations, making certain that he showed her the Cygnus. He also made sure to tell her the story about that constellation. Emma listened to him, fascinated the whole time, and she told him that from time to time, he was a walking encyclopedia. Killian just laughed and continued to tell her stories and point out the stars.

After that, they retired to the cabin for the rest of the night. As they entered the cabin, they were hit by the pleasant warmth radiating from inside. Killian didn’t have any plans for that night. He wasn’t going to make a move, but as the minx she was, Emma had other plans.

She started to undress in front of him without a single warning and at first, Killian didn’t know how to react. He watched her as she pulled off the white t-shirt she had been wearing that day and then she started to swing her hips from side to side as she pulled off her jeans.

“Emma,” Killian whispered her name.

Emma just turned her head over her shoulder and smiled at him mischievously. That’s when Killian lost it. He went to Emma, put his hand and hook on her hips and started to kiss the place between her neck and shoulder.

As it turned out, Emma ended up not needing anything to wear that night to bed.


The next morning, Killian woke up with Emma in his arms. Her back was turned to him and he had his nose buried in her hair. He lifted his head as best as he could while trying not to move too much so he could look at her. She was sleeping peacefully in his arms and he couldn’t have been happier. He looked outside and saw that it was still early, so he tried to get out of bed slowly as to not wake Emma. When he saw that she hadn’t moved at all, he got up from the bed, put on a pair of pants and left the room.

Outside, the air was chilly but not enough to force Killian to want to put on a shirt. He sat on a box and enjoyed the fresh air of the morning while thinking about the goodness that was still asleep below deck in his bed. The blanket they shared the night before was still laying on the deck, neither of them bothering with it the night before and he smiled at the memory. He eyed the bag of food from Granny’s that had been left untouched and went to see what was in it.

He took out a box and when he opened it, he saw that there were what Emma asked for the day before at breakfast. Pancakes, if he remembered the name right. He smiled at the thought that Emma might have thought about them sharing breakfast together again. As he was looking at the other items inside the bag, he didn’t hear the movements behind him. He just felt two arms coming around him from behind.

“You’re up early,” Emma’s soft voice sounded in his ear.

He turned his head and smiled at her. Her arms were still around his torso, hugging him from behind. He smiled at her and started to talk.

“I am, and so are you. Although, you were asleep when I left the cabin.”

“I heard you when you left the room.”

“I’m sorry I woke you.”

“It’s okay,” she said, smiling softly at him.

She released him and he turned to face her. When he turned around, Emma started to move her hands on his naked torso, her fingers making different patterns on his chest hair.

“You know, people can see you,” Emma said, looking at him.

“If they can see me, they can see you too,” Killian said, taking a better look at her. She was dressed in just his black shirt, and she looked absolutely sinful.

Killian was getting ready to kiss her and maybe start, right there, on the deck of the Jolly, another round of the activities they had engaged in the night before in the shadows of his cabin. But as he was leaning closer to her lips, they heard a voice call out from behind them, making both of them jump.

“Hi!”

Emma and Killian quickly separated as soon as they realized the voice was talking to them. They looked behind them and saw Milah standing on the deck with a smile on her face.

“Hello you two,” she said again.

“Hi, Milah,” Emma said, trying to smile and hide her blush at the same time.

“Milah,” Killian saluted Milah, dropping his head down and scratching behind his ear.

Milah started to laugh at them and when she stopped, she started to speak, keeping the smile on her face. “Oh you two, stop. It’s not like I don’t know about you.”

“What are you doing here so early, Milah?” Killian asked her.


Hearing Killian’s question to Milah, Emma had to admit that she had the same thought ever since she saw the woman there before them. But Emma didn’t want to be rude and ask Milah why she was there, especially after Milah caught them in the middle of kissing.

“I came to talk to you,” Milah answered Killian.

“I should let you two talk then,” Emma said, not wanting to interrupt anything.

“Actually, Emma, I wanted to talk to you too. About the same thing,” Milah said.

“Oh. Then maybe I can go and put on some clothes and then come back?” Emma said, pointing to the single piece of clothing that was covering her. “I really hate to talk to someone if I don’t have some pants on.”

“Sure,” Milah said with a big smile.

“Maybe I should go and put something on as well,” Killian said too. Milah nodded at him and with that, he and Emma started to walk below deck.

As soon as they entered the cabin, Emma started talking.

“What do you think she wants to talk about?” she asked Killian.

“I don’t know, but maybe we should hurry?”

“Yes,” Emma said, pulling the black shirt she wore over her head, his black shirt to be exact. “Here,” she said, throwing it to him.

He failed to catch the shirt because he was staring at her. Emma realized that without his shirt, she was now just in her bra and underwear, and Emma wanted to laugh at Killian’s expression. She would have teased him about it if Milah wasn’t on deck waiting for them, soshe didn’t say anything. Instead, she started to put on her clothes from yesterday and went to the small mirror Killian had in his cabin to arrange her hair. After that, she turned to Killian who was still looking at her, only he was dressed now as well.

“Ready?” she asked, teasing him with a playful smile.

“Yes, let’s go,” Killian said, opening the door for her.

Emma exited the room with Killian close to her and started to climb the stairs that led back to the deck, where Milah was waiting for them.

“We’re back,” Emma announced once she returned to deck.

Milah smiled at her and waited until Killian came on deck too.

“I’m glad to see you are happier today, Emma,” Milah told her with a wink. Emma smiled at her and then Milah started to talk again. “There is something important I want to talk to you about Killian. And Emma, I am more than happy that you are here too to hear this.”

“Are you okay?” Emma asked. Milah’s choice of words worried Emma that maybe there was something going on, or that maybe Gold did something to her during the night.

“Yes, yes, I’m okay,” Milah assured her. She took a deep breath and then continued. “I was wondering if maybe you two could help me figure out why I am still alive,” Milah explained.

“You what?” Killian asked , and Emma could hear the surprise in his voice.

Emma didn’t know how to react to that. Milah’s request surprised her too and she didn’t know exactly what to say. How could they help her find out how and why she was still alive?

“Why us?” Killian asked, recovering from the shock faster than herself.

“So far, while you were still in Neverland, I trusted only two people in this town, and those people were Belle and Ruby. After you came back, I knew I could trust Killian with anything. And then I got to know you a little too, Emma. After our talk yesterday, I decided I really like you and as I said, I think we could be good friends. But back to my problem. Both Belle and Ruby talked greatly about you. They admire you and they always said that they wished you could have been here to help us with our search.”

“You trust me with something like this?” Emma asked at the same time Killian asked “Your search?”

Milah smiled at them and nodded. “Yes, Emma, I trust you. And our search, Killian, because both Ruby and Belle tried to help me find an answer.”

“How?” Emma asked, narrowing her eyes.

“First, we tried to find an answer with books. But then, when we couldn’t find anything, Ruby took me to this woman, Mother Superior, and said that maybe she could help me. We went to see Mother Superior and after exactly ten minutes, she waved a wand around me and then said that she can’t help me with anything.”

“To be honest, she was never that helping of a person,” Emma commented about Mother Superior, remembering that every time Emma needed help from the fairy, she could not or would not want to help her.

“Yes, I got that feeling too,” Milah agreed with Emma. “So I was thinking that maybe you could help me.”

“I would like to help you, Milah. But I have no idea how,” Emma said truthfully.

“Don’t you have magic?” Milah asked.

“I do, but I don’t know how to use it very well.”

Killian, who only listened until that moment spoke up. “We could ask Regina,” he proposed.

“The Evil Queen?” Milah asked, her eyebrows jumping at the mention of Regina.

“She is not that evil anymore, trust me,” Emma said.

“Maybe Henry could ask her?” Killian asked Emma.

“I want to talk to her first,. I’m sure I can convince her to agree,” Emma said, not really wanting to put Henry in the middle of things.

“Speaking of Henry-” Milah started to say, but Emma was faster, raising her hand to stop her from continuing.

“I’ve already talked to him,” Emma said with a smile. “He really wants to meet you.”

“Really?”

“Yes!’

“This is amazing!” Milah said, happy at Emma’s words.

“It is,” Emma agreed with her. “I can ask him if he wants to get together today. Maybe Regina can bring him to Granny’s or to the park to give you some time to talk while we,” Emma said pointing between herself and Killian, “talk to Regina and see if there is anything we can do.”

“Thank you, Emma!” Milah said happily.

What happened next surprised Emma and she didn’t know quite exactly how to react. Milah jumped in front of Emma and hugged her.


Almost two hours later, Emma, Killian, and Milah were waiting in the park for Regina and Henry to arrive. Emma was glad that she had time to go back to the loft to change her clothes. She left again without too many questions from Mary Margaret and David. She left as quickly as she could and jumped in her bug to get back to Milah and Killian who were waiting for her in the park. As she drove towards the park, she called Regina and asked her to bring Henry to the park and that Emma had something to talk to her about as well.

The three of them were on a bench drinking coffee, or hot chocolate in Emma’s case, when Emma saw Henry running towards them. She rose and walked towards him, hugging him when he was in front of her.

“Milah is here,” she whispered to him with a smile.

“Nice,” Henry said with a smile too. “So, am I going to meet her today?”

“Mhm,” Emma nodded. “You are going to spend some time with her while I talk about something with Regina.”

“And Hook?”

“What about him?”

“What is he doing here?” Henry said, pointing behind Emma towards where Killian was sitting.

“He has to talk with Regina,” Emma explained. “Actually, we both have to talk with her.”

“Must be important.”

“It’s about Milah.”

“Oh.”

“Come,” Emma said, guiding Henry back to Killian and Milah.

Regina was a few steps behind them the whole time they talked and when they started to walk towards the bench where Killian and Milah were waiting, Regina started to walk with them as well.

“Hi, Hook!” Henry said when he was face to face with Killian.

“Hello lad, how are you today?” Killian asked with a smile.

“I’m fine. A bit excited,” Henry said as he moved his eyes from Killian to Milah and then back to Killian.

Emma saw that he did it quickly and if she hadn’t have been watching him, she might not have noticed. But she did, and she could tell that he was nervous, and he had every right to be. She was too, to be honest, because she didn’t know what was going to happen. To encourage him, Emma smiled and put a hand on his back.

Emma gestured towards Milah. “Henry,” she said, looking at him, “This is Milah.”

“Hi,” Henry said, smiling at her.

“Hello Henry. It’s very nice to meet you,” Milah said. Emma could swear that tears were hidden behind her eyes.

“I’m Regina,” Regina said before anyone else could speak.

“Milah,” Milah said taking Regina’s hand and squeezing it.

“You’re Gold’s ex-wife, right?” Regina asked suspiciously. “And also his ex?” she continued, pointing at Killian.

“Regina!” Emma snapped at her.

“It’s okay, Emma,” Milah said with a calm voice, rising from the bench and coming face to face with Regina. “Yes. I was the Dark One’s wife and Killian’s love.”

“We call him Mr. Gold or Rumplestiltskin in this world,” Regina said.

“I will try to remember that the next time I say his name,” Milah said, and Emma could see that she was trying to hide the disgust in her voice.

Emma watched the whole discussion half amused and half annoyed that Henry had to watch it too. It was clear that Milah didn’t like Gold and Regina didn’t like Milah, so this was going to be something really interesting. Yet, she prefered if such discussions didn’t take place right in front of Henry where he had to witness it.

“Henry,” Emma started to talk to him. “Why don’t you and Milah go to that ice cream cart over there and get some ice cream so you can talk?” Emma said, showing him the small ice cream cart that was close to them.

“What?” Regina snapped, but Emma decided to ignore her for the moment.

Instead, she smiled at Henry and encouraged him to go with Milah. Milah smiled gratefully at Emma and together, they started to walk towards the little cart.

“You are leaving my child with a stranger, Emma?” Regina snapped at her again. This time, Emma took a deep breath and started to speak.

“No, I am leaving our child with his grandma.”

“Emma! You don’t know that woman!”

“Regina, they are over there,” Emma said, showing her where Milah and Henry were. They were in front of the ice cream cart, and Henry was excitedly talking to Milah.

“And what if she suddenly decides to take him away?”

“She won’t. We talked to her. Milah will stay here on a bench close to ours so you can both look after him,” Killian said.

“What do you know, Guyliner?” Regina snapped at him too.

“Stop it Regina. I wouldn’t leave my kid with someone I didn’t trust. Milah won’t hurt him; she just wants to talk to him.”

“And what do you want from me?”

“Sit? Please?” Emma asked, showing her the free space beside her and Killian.

Regina let out a deep breath but she moved towards the free space beside Emma. She sat down and Emma looked away from her to where Henry and Milah were sitting. They were now sitting at a bench near theirs, talking. Emma could tell that Henry was talking about something that made him excited, while Milah was listening to him with an awestruck look on her face.

“So? What did you want to talk about?” Regina asked her again.

“We wanted to talk about Milah.”

“What about her?”

“We want to figured out why she’s alive and we need your help to do that,” Emma quickly explained.

Regina moved her eyes from Emma to Milah and studied her for a few seconds, then looked back at Emma. “She looks fine to me,” Regina said, raising her shoulders in an indifferent move.

“Yes, but she shouldn’t be alive,” Killian spoke this time. “She died 300 years ago.”

“So she shouldn’t be alive,” Regina completed Killian’s sentence.

“Exactly.”

“I don’t know Emma,” Regina said again.

“Look, I know you don’t trust her, because you don’t know her, but look at her and Henry,” Emma said, pointing to the place where Henry and Milah were sitting, talking, and laughing.  “Henry seems happy. And she is, after all, his grandmother.”

“Look, Your Majesty, if you won’t do it because we’re asking you, then at least do it for Henry,” Killian told her.

After a few minutes of silence, during which Emma could tell that Regina was thinking about what she and Killian had said, Regina finally spoke again.

“What do you know so far?” she asked Emma, rolling her eyes.

“Milah said she investigated her situation before she came to Storybrooke, but she found nothing,” Killian said.

“She also said that she was looking for answers at our library with Belle, but they didn’t find much. They asked Mother Superior for help, but she refused to help,” Emma explained.

“Yes, that blue flying thing was never helpful,” Regina commented about Mother Superior. “Maybe I could take a better look at her?” Regina said, looking towards Milah again. “Maybe try a few spells on her?”

“She said she has some foggy memories. She said they were coming to her as dreams, but she is sure they are memories,” Killian said, surprising even Emma with that.

“We could take a look at that as well,” Regina agreed. “How willing do you think she would be to let me try some magic on her?”

“Not very,” Killian said.

“Then it will be hard to determine what exactly is going on.”

“We’ll talk to her,” Emma assured Regina.

“Good.”

“Moms!” Henry started to yell for them.

Emma and Regina rose their heads at the same time, looking towards him. Henry was running towards them with Milah close behind.

“Yes, Henry? Did something happen?” Regina asked panicked as soon as Henry was in front of them.

Emma could see the way Regina was looking at Milah. If Henry said that Milah did something he didn’t like, Emma was sure Regina would kill her a second time and she would make sure that Milah will not come back ever again.

“Yes, yes, I’m perfect,” Henry said, nodding frantically at them. “I was talking to Milah and she said she was trying to find answers about why and how she is alive.”

“That’s what we’re trying to do Henry,” Emma assured him. “Regina agreed to help us.”

“She did?” Henry asked, completely surprised.

“You did?” Milah asked at the same time.

“Yes,” Regina answered both of them. “But you will have to allow me to try some magic on you.”

“I am not sure about that.”

“It’s going to be okay,” Emma told her. “We’ll talk about this later,” Emma assured Milah.

“I was thinking,” Henry said. “Maybe I can talk to grandpa about helping us.”

“Henry, Mr. Gold is not really happy that Milah is here.”

“I know. But Milah told me that she is good friends with Belle. And Belle is Mr. Gold’s True Love,” Henry started to explain. “Between Belle and me, I am sure we can make him agree to help us.”

“I don’t know about that, Henry.”

“I want to help, and I really think I can help you with this.”

“We should let Regina try what she has in mind first, Henry,” Emma tried to make him understand.

“Okay, but if she can’t do it, can I talk to him?”

“Yes, Henry, you can,” she said, not wanting to argue with him on the subject any longer.

“Awesome!”

“I need to go see what I can find in my books,” Regina said, rising from her place. “Henry?” Regina asked with a questioning look to him, silently asking if he was going with her.

“I want to stay with Emma tonight,” Henry said, looking to Emma. “If you want?”

“Yes!” Emma said, afraid she might have sounded just a little too desperate.

“Okay, Henry,” Regina hugged Henry and then look at the others. “I will let you know what I can find, Emma.”

“Of course, thank you.”

With that, Regina left, leaving Emma, Henry, Hook, and Milah alone.

“So? What do we do now?” Henry asked Emma.

“I don’t know. I’m free today, so what do you want to do, kid?”

“We could show Milah the town. Have you had time to look around?”

“I did,” Milah said with a smile.

“Then…,” Henry said, starting to think. “I know! We can go to Granny’s and you can finally tell me more about Neverland.”

“Let’s go to the beach,” Emma proposed, not being in the mood for Granny’s dinner. “Since it will be much calmer and less crowded than Granny’s,” she explained to him.

“Okay,” Henry agreed with her and then looked at Milah. “Are you coming?”

“I’m afraid I can’t. I promised Ruby I would help her at Granny’s and since you came back in town, I haven’t had that much time for that.”

“Oh, okay,” Henry said and then talked to Killian. “What about you?”

“I think you need some alone time with your mother, lad.”

“Okay. Will you still teach me how to sail?”

“Of course.”

“Let’s go, Henry,” Emma told him. “What do you say if first we stop at Granny’s to get some take-out?”

“Perfect.”

All of them left the park at the same time. Killian started to walk alone towards the docks while Milah started to walk towards Granny’s. Emma offered to give her a ride, but Milah assured her that she liked to walk around the town and walking to the diner was fine with her. Emma and Henry climbed in the car and drove towards the diner.

There, she asked Granny to make them a picnic basket and when it was done, the two of them got back in the car and drove towards the beach for some mother-son bonding time.

Chapter Text

“So,” Henry asked before taking another bite of his sandwich. “What about Hook?” he continued with his mouth full of food.

Emma and Henry were on the beach for an hour and a half before Henry asked the question. They were sitting on the sand in a corner where people didn’t go, eating sandwiches and fruit and drinking hot chocolate from Granny’s. Emma spent the first hour telling Henry about the things that happened in Neverland when they went to rescue him, and the other 30 minutes were spent answering Henry’s questions. It had been fairly easily so far until out of the blue, Henry decided to ask about Hook.

“What about Hook?” Emma asked, not sure of what Henry was getting at.

“He’s still around.”

“Well, he helped us a lot in Neverland,” Emma said.

“Yes, but you spend quite a lot of time with him.”

“How do you know that?”

“He was there today in the park with you and Milah. And Ruby told me you had breakfast with him yesterday at Granny’s.”

“How do you know that?” Emma asked intrugued. “When did she tell you?”

“Earlier, while you were making plans with Granny about this basket of food,” Henry said, pointing towards the basket that was in front of them.

Emma rolled her eyes at Henry’s answer. She should really talk to Ruby and tell her to keep some things to herself. Emma having breakfast with Killian at Granny’s wasn’t something the whole town needed to hear about. Especially not the people in her family.

“So?” Henry asked again, bringing her attention back to him.

“He’s a friend, Henry. He’s trying to change and I’m trying to help him.”

“Hmm,” Henry puffed, letting Emma know that he wasn’t believing her.

“What does that mean?”

“He looks at you in a different way.”

“And how do you think he is looking at me?” Emma asked intrigued.

“With feelings in his eyes.”

“I see,” Emma said, looking towards the ocean.

She wasn’t sure what to say to that. Should she tell Henry about her kiss with Hook? The True Love Kiss to be more specific? She was worried that he might not take it well. He just lost his father and now his mother found out she has a True Love, a True Love that wasn’t his father. Emma knew that before Neal died, Henry had hoped that they were going to get back together again, so she had every reason to worry. She didn’t want to lie to him again, though, especially not about something so important. She promised him a long time ago that she would never lie to him again.

“Do you like Hook?” Henry asked Emma, interrupting her thoughts.

She didn’t look at him. Instead, she moved her head to the right where she could see the masts of the Jolly Roger. She could imagine Killian there, working on the ship. Then she remembered both the night they shared together and the moments they had that morning, before Milah interrupted them. Thinking back to these moments and how she felt back then, Emma realized that yes, she liked him. She liked Killian Jones more than she was willing to admit in that moment.

“I do,” Emma finally answered Henry.

Her son looked at her and smiled. “Good,” Henry said.

“Good?” Emma asked with an eyebrow raised.

“I like Hook,” Henry said, raising his shoulders. “And he can teach me how to sail.”

“Wait, what?”

“What? I like him.”

“For real?” Emma asked, surprised that Henry was okay with Emma liking someone else.

“Yes, mom!”

“And let’s say…,” Emma started, not being sure how to say what she wanted to say. “If I were to start seeing him, would you be okay with it?” she finally asked him.

“If, let’s say, he makes you happy, sure. Why not?” Henry answered with a smile on his face. Hearing him, Emma’s arms were around Henry before she could stop them. “You’re already together, aren’t you?” Henry asked when she let him go.

“It’s complicated.”

“Why?” Henry asked, looking at her confused. “Is it because of Milah?”

“No,” Emma quickly said.

“Then why is it complicated?” her son asked again.

“Because of my own feelings.”

“I thought you liked him.”

“I do!”

“Is this because of Neal?” Henry asked seriously and when Emma looked at him with narrowed eyes, he continued. “I’m not stupid. I know he hurt you, I just don’t know how.”

“I promise I will tell you. One day,” Emma said, hearing the hurt in her voice.

“I know. But if Hook makes you happy, you should definitely give him a chance,” Henry said, shrugging his shoulders and smiling at her.

Emma saw the soft look on his face and she knew she had to do something. Henry was okay with her and Hook dating but they were so much more, she knew that. She told Henry that she likes him but she wanted to tell him about the other thing too. So, deciding that her son was more important than any other secret, she opened her mouth and let the words came out.

“Henry, how would you feel if I were to tell you that out I have a True Love?” Emma finally asked.

“Do you? Have one, I mean,” Henry asked her and instead of answering, Emma just nodded. “Hook?” Henry asked again with narrowed eyes and, again, Emma just  nodded. “How? When did you find out?” Henry asked, jumping on his feet, suddenly excited.

And with that, Emma started to tell him how. She told him earlier about how Hook got poisoned and how her magic saved him, but she left out the part about when she kissed him. This time, thought, Emma told Henry everything, from the moment she used her magic to send the shadow away to the moment she kissed Hook and he woke up. She told him how they figured it out that it was True Love’s Kiss that woke him and how, later, on the Jolly, Tink confirmed the fact that it had, indeed, been True Love’s Kiss.

“Wow,” Henry said when Emma finished her story.

“Are you okay?” Emma asked when she saw that Henry wasn’t saying anything else.

“I just… it’s a bit unexpected?” he said, although it came out more like a question.

“You tell me.” Henry was looking at her, or more like, through her, without talking. So Emma decided to break him out of his thoughts. “Kid, are you okay?”

“I am! It’s just… wow!”

Seeing the lost expression on his face, Emma decided there and then that if Henry wasn’t okay with the thought of her and Hook together, she wouldn’t do anything more with Hook. It wasn’t like she had something to do exactly, they were True Love after all, but as long as Henry wasn’t okay with it, she wouldn’t pursue a relationship with him.

“I won’t make you spend time with him or anything like that if you don’t want to, Henry. I won’t even try anything with him,” Emma said, trying to assure him.

“What? Mom! I want to spend time with him!” Henry said, trying to stop her from panicking. “And I think it’s amazing that you found your True Love!”

“Really?” Emma asked confused. “Because the look on your face right now doesn’t make it seem like that.”

“Yes! I mean, I know you know that I wished for you and dad to be together again. But since he is.. you know…,” Henry said shaking his shoulders. “I am happy for you, truly. And don’t even think about staying away from him.”

“I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable, Henry.”

“I won’t, I promise. Not as long as he teaches me how to sail. And maybe how to sword fight,” he said, raising an eyebrow at her.

Hearing his words made Emma feel better and somehow warm inside. Henry was fine with her and Hook being together and that was all that mattered for her. Now, she just had to sort out her own feelings and get the courage to tell them to Hook. But for now, she stretched her arms out and put them around Henry while Henry hugged her as well.

“I love you so much Henry,” Emma said when she finally let go of him.

“I love you too,” Henry said, smiling at her. “Oh! Did you and Hook have a date yet? Or was breakfast the date?” Henry asked her.

“No. We’re trying to keep it between us for now. Only you and Milah know the truth.”

“I promise I will keep the secret,” Henry said with a serious expression on his face.

“I know,” Emma said smiling at him.

After that, neither of them said anything. There was another sandwich in the basket they had and Henry took it out to eat it. While he ate his sandwich, Emma was thinking about how good it felt to let the words out in front of someone else. She was happy that she told Henry the truth and that he was okay with it. Her poor kid had gone through a lot in the last few weeks, with Neal and Neverland and now this and Milah.

Thinking about Milah, Emma’s mind flew back to earlier when she was in the park with Henry, Milah, Killian and Regina. Henry seemed to click immediately with Milah, something that made Emma feel good. Milah seemed to be good with her son. Emma still didn’t know what the two of them talked about while she spoke with Regina, but she wasn’t going to ask Henry about that because she knew that if it was something she should have known, he would tell her on his own. Instead, she wanted to know what made Henry so determined to help Milah find out why she was alive, especially wondering what made him come up with the idea of asking Gold for help.  

“So, you want to help Milah?” Emma’s words were out of her mouth before she could stop them.

Henry looked at her with an eyebrow raised, a look that reminded her too much of Hook, and then he nodded. “I do.”

“Why?”

“She’s my grandma?” Henry said, the words coming out more like a question than an affirmation and Emma could see that he was lying.

“Henry?” She said, looking at him pointly.

“She told me a few things about Neal,” Henry said, dropping his shoulders. “What she remembered from when he was a child. And she promised that she would tell me more the next time we meet. She also told me she would tell me stories about all the places she’s seen both in the Enchanted Forest and in this world,” Henry finished.

“Henry did Milah ask you to help her?” Emma asked, suddenly worried that maybe Milah had just been using them.

“What? No!” Henry quickly denied. Emma looked into his eyes, searching for any trace of a lie, but there was nothing. Henry was telling the truth. “I want to help her.”

“You should let us take care of it,” Emma tried to explain to him.

“But what if Regina doesn’t find anything?” Henry asked.

“I’m sure she will. She is a resourceful person,” Emma assured him.

“Mom. I can talk to Grandpa.” Emma stiffened her back at the mention of Rumplestiltskin, remembering very well how he acted when Gold saw Milah days ago.

“Gold isn’t happy that Milah is here, Henry. I don’t think he wants to help her,” Emma said.

“Maybe I can convince him. With Belle’s help of course,” Emma raised an eyebrow at him and Henry explained further. “Milah said that she and Ruby and Belle became friends while we were in Neverland. I think together we can do it.”

“Just promise me you will wait until Regina has news.”

Emma could see on his face that he didn’t like the idea but she looked at him, daring him to argue with her again. He opened his mouth to say something but Emma looked straight into his eyes and when he saw her determined look, he closed his mouth again.


 

 “I can’t find anything,” Regina told Emma while sitting at the table she and Henry shared.

They had gone to Granny’s for dinner before returning to the loft for the night when Emma received a text from Regina asking her where they were. Rolling her eyes and thinking that maybe Regina wanted Henry to spend the night with her again, Emma texted her back and told her that they were at the diner.

Regina was there in less than 10 minutes, angrily entering the diner and sat down at their table even angrier.

“What?” Emma said, looking at her confused.

“I just spent the last six hours in my vault reading book after book, trying to find out why Hook’s ex-love bird is alive and there is nothing to be found,” Regina explained, trying to calm down.

Nothing, nothing?” Emma asked surprised.

“Nothing, Miss Swan! All I could find out about dead people coming back to life was about either creatures coming back for revenge or those that haunt those who killed them. Milah, or at least what I’ve seen of her, doesn’t seem to have three heads, nor a mermaid tail, nor sparkling eyes.”

“How is it possible? To be alive and not know why?” Emma asked.

“I don’t know, but it is definitely strange,” Regina said, looking at Emma. Regina opened her mouth to say something else but Henry interrupted her, excusing himself to go to the bathroom.

When Henry left the table, Regina started to speak again. “Have you tried her heart?”

“What about her heart?”

Regina rolled her eyes and then started to talk. “Have you tried to see if she even has one? Gold crushed it. Does she have a heart?”

“I don’t know, Regina,” Emma snapped at her.

“We should take a look,” Regina said. Emma could see in her eyes the exact moment when Regina decided that she wanted to take out Milah’s heart.

“I’m not doing that,” Emma told Regina. Pulling out a heart wasn’t on Emma’s ‘to do’ list, especially Milah’s heart.

“I can do it,” Regina said quickly. “Just talk to her, and convince her to let me do it.”

“I don’t know, Regina,” Emma said, still hesitating.

“I’m not going to kill her,” Regina said, rolling her eyes at Emma.

“I know, but what if she doesn’t agree?”

“She will if she wants to find out what is going on with her.”

As Regina finished talking, Henry came back to the table while Ruby came over with Emma and Henry’s food. She then asked Regina if she wanted something as well and Emma was grateful when Regina shook her head and said that she would leave the two of them alone.

She gave Henry a kiss on the cheek and then rose from the table, telling him good night and telling Emma to think about what they had talked about with a pointed look on her face. After that Regina left, leaving Emma and Henry alone again.

Emma wanted to start eating when Henry spoke up. “Does this mean I can talk with Belle?”

Emma rolled her eyes and pointed to his food, using her own fork. “Eat.”

Henry smiled at her but didn’t say anything else.


Later that night, back at the loft in her room with Henry sleeping in the bed next to hers, Emma was playing with her phone. She wanted to talk to Hook. She wanted to tell him what Regina said, to talk to him about what she had proposed, but she had no way to do that.

Instead, Emma opened her text messages, searched for Milah’s number, and quickly sent her a message. She waited for an answer, but when she saw that nothing was coming, she put her phone down and went to sleep.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Killian woke up determined to ask Emma out on a date. He knew it was probably not the best time for a date, but after everything that had happened with them in the last few days he felt, deep inside his heart, that he should plan a night out just for the two of them.

The only problem was that he had no way of contacting her privately. Perhaps it was time for him to procure one of those little boxes Emma and her son used to talk to each other when they were apart. He took into consideration going to her parents’ apartment, but he knew he couldn’t ask her on a date while her parents were there, firstly because they were still keeping everything a secret and secondly because David would, most likely, kill him. He could also wait a few more hours and then go to the sheriff’s station to look for her, but he was too excited to wait that long.

The only other person who knew about him and Emma was Milah. Killian saw her using the same device Emma and Henry had used, so he decided to go to her and ask her if she had any way to contact Emma.

He knew Milah was staying at Granny’s inn so Killian grabbed his coat and started to walk towards the inn. When he entered the building, Ruby was at the front desk, reading a book.

“Morning, Hook,” she saluted him when he was in front of her.

“Morning, lass,” he nodded at her and then started to climb the stairs.

At the middle of the stairs, he remembered that he didn’t know which room Milah was staying in. He went back downstairs to Ruby and asked her where he could find Milah.

“Her room is 514. Why?”

“I need to ask her something. Do you know if she is there?”

“I haven’t seen her this morning, so yes, she probably is still in her room,” Ruby answered with a smile.

“Thank you,” Killian nodded at Ruby and then started to climb the stairs again.

When he was in front of room 514, he started to knock. He knocked softly twice and then waited for an answer, but nothing came. He knocked again, harder this time, but he still didn’t get an answer. He pressed his ear to the door, but there was no sound coming from inside. He also tried to open the door but it was locked. Finally understanding that Milah probably wasn’t there, he dropped his shoulders, let out a deep breath, and started to walk down the stairs again.

“Any luck, Hook?” Ruby asked him when he was back in the hallway.

“Afraid not. She is not there,” Killian said with regret in his voice.

“Huh. Maybe she left earlier. She does that sometimes, going to the beach or in the forest to clear her mind,” Ruby explained him.

“I see,” Killian said, starting to think of another way to contact Emma.

Ruby probably saw the hard look on his face because she closed her book and looked at him again, more serious this time. “Can I help you with anything?”

“Do you know how I can send a message to Emma?” Killian asked, hoping that she would be able to help him.

“I can send her one,” Ruby said with a big smile on her face.

“Really?” Killian asked, suddenly feeling very relieved.

“Of course,” she said, taking out the small device from her pocket. “What do you want me to write?”

“Just ask her to come to my ship in 15-20 minutes?”

“Of course,” she said and then started to tap something on the screen of her box. “Done, Captain,” Ruby said with a smile.

“So fast?” Killian asked amazed.

Instead of answering him, Ruby started to laugh. “Yes, Captain. So fast. You should ask Emma to explain how a phone works.”

“Phone?”

“This,” she said showing him the machine, “is called a phone. You should have one if you are going to stay in this town.” Then she looked at him from head to toe. “You should also change your clothes.”

“What’s wrong with them?”

“They are very… Enchanted Forest,” she said, starting to laugh again.

Her phone made a sound and Ruby looked at it and then smiled at him. “Emma said she will be there.”

“Thank you very much, Ruby.”

“You are very welcome,” she said with a smile.

Killian nodded at her and then prepared to leave when he heard his name being called from behind him. He turned and looked back at Ruby.

“If you ever need a change of look and you don’t want to ask someone else, you can come to me,” Ruby said with a wink.

Killian smiled at her, thanked her for her offer, and then left to go back to his ship to wait for Emma and prepare his heart and soul for what he was going to ask her.


At the loft, the first thing Emma did when she woke up that morning was to check her messages to see if Milah answered the message she sent last night. But again, there was no answer from her. She looked at Henry but he was still asleep, so she got out of bed, took a quick shower, got ready for the day, and then left the room.

As she started to walk down the stairs, she could already hear David and Mary Margaret talking in the kitchen, but they stopped as soon as she entered the room.

“Morning,” she told them.

“Morning, Emma!” David welcomed her.

“Hello, sweetheart,” Mary Margaret said with a soft smile on her face.

Emma smiled at her too and then went towards the coffee maker to pour a cup for herself. The only problem was that the machine was empty. She looked at David and Mary Margaret and saw that they both had cups of coffee in front of them.

“No coffee left?” she asked.

“Oh, sorry!” Mary Margaret said. “I didn’t know if you were going to have breakfast with us.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” Emma asked confused.

“Well, I heard that you had breakfast with Hook the other day and I-,” she stopped, not finishing her sentence.

Emma looked at David, since he was the only one who knew that she had breakfast with Hook, but he shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.

“You what? How do you even know about that?” Emma asked her, suddenly more confused than before.

“Ruby told me.”

“Damn it,” Emma said under her breath.

“You two seem close since we came back from Neverland,” Mary Margaret said, taking another sip from her cup.

“We’re friends,” Emma said, rolling her eyes.

“Just friends?” Mary Margaret asked with an eyebrow raised.

“What is this, Mary Margaret?” Emma asked intrigued, putting down the empty cup.

“Where did you sleep the other night?” Mary Margaret asked her again, ignoring Emma’s question.

“At Granny’s,” Emma answered quickly.

“Are you sure?”

“Mary Margaret,” Emma said with a threatening voice.

“Emma,” Mary Margaret said, not letting her finish her sentence. “I know you weren’t there. I talked to Ruby.”

“Ruby should learn how to shut her mouth.”

“She actually didn’t say anything. She just said that you didn’t go back to the inn that night and that you ordered dinner on Hook’s ship.”

“So what are you trying to get with this?” Emma snapped at her.

“Did you sleep at Hook’s?” Mary Margaret asked directly.

“Okay, this is something I don’t want to hear,” David said, taking his cup and standing up from the table.

“Emma?” Mary Margaret said when Emma didn’t answer.

“Yes!” Emma finally snapped at her again. “Yes, I slept on his ship. So what?”

“Are you two together?”

“Mary Margaret, that’s not really any of your business,” Emma tried to make her stop.

When Mary Margaret prepared to say something else, Emma’s phone rang in her pocket, letting her know that she had a new message. She took her phone out, hoping that it was an answer from Milah but in fact, it was a message from Ruby.

Ruby LUCAS: Your boyfriend is here. He asked me to send you a message to tell you that he will be waiting for you to meet him on his ship in 15-20 minutes.

Emma rolled her eyes at the words “your boyfriend” because Ruby didn’t really know what was going on between them. She was just teasing Emma, but if only she knew the truth! Emma typed an answer to Ruby and then put the phone back in her pocket.

“I have to go,” Emma told Mary Margaret.

“Where are you going?” Mary Margaret said as Emma started to walk out of the room.

“To talk to Hook.”

“About?” Mary Margaret asked intrigued

“About Milah,” Emma answered, not bothering to give Mary Margaret another reason.

“Emma, I’m sorry if I pushed you too much.”

“We’ll talk later,” Emma said taking her jacket. She looked at David who was on the couch and started to speak to him. “David, I’ll see you at the station?” Emma asked. Instead of answering her, David nodded in answer to her previous question.

After that, Emma left the apartment without another look back. She still hadn’t had coffee and her stomach was screaming for some food, but both the coffee and the food would have to wait.

Jumping into her car, Emma started to wonder what Killian wanted to talk to her about and how he got the idea of asking Ruby to text her.

She drove the small distance between the loft and the docks trying to calm down her thoughts. On one hand, she knew she had to talk to Ruby and tell her to stop talking about her and Hook with Mary Margaret or Henry. On the other hand, she had to find a way to stop Mary Margaret from asking about what was going on between her and Hook. Emma herself didn’t know how to answer her own questions about what was happening between her and Hook. Having Mary Margaret ask those things every day wasn’t helping her much.

On top of everything, she had to worry about Milah, who still hadn’t answered her message.

When Emma arrived at the docks, she parked her car in what had started to be her usual spot and got out of the car. Emma started to walk towards the Jolly and knew, by the fact that the plank was down, that Killian was already waiting for her.

“I heard you were waiting for me,” Emma said, when she was on the deck. Killian was also there, his back turned to her.

Killian turned to face her with a smile. “I thought perhaps you changed your mind.”

“Sorry,” Emma said, starting to walk towards him. “Mary Margaret thought it was a good idea to start attacking me with questions,” she said going closer to him.

“Everything okay?” Killian asked, his eyebrows coming together in worry.

“Yes. I just need to talk to Ruby and tell her to stop telling my family about what I am doing.”

Killian looked at her with a confused look and an eyebrow raised. Emma looked at him and saw how cute his face looked in that moment. Then she realized that he was waiting for an explanation.

“She told Henry and Mary Margaret about us,” she said letting out a sigh. “Well actually, she told Henry that we had breakfast together and she told Mary Margaret that we had breakfast, and that I didn’t sleep at the inn the other night. She also told her that I had asked Ruby to bring food here,” Emma finished, rolling her eyes.

“Henry knows? And your mother?”

“Actually, Mary Margaret doesn’t know any more than that, because I didn’t tell her anything besides the fact that I slept here. But Henry knows the whole story,” she explained, moving her hands from between them.

“And?” Killian asked tentatively.

“Henry is surprisingly okay with everything,”

“Really?”

“Yeah. He said that he is happy for me.”

“That’s good,” Killian said, smiling at her. Then he looked at her with narrowed eyes. “Is it not?”

“No! I mean yes! It’s good. It just surprised me that he’s okay with this after everything that has happened.”

“You expected him to not be okay?”

“Henry wanted me and Neal to be together,” Emma said while shrugging her shoulders.

“Oh,” was all Killian said.

“But hey! It doesn’t matter now. We are here and so is Henry and he is okay with this,” she said moving a finger between them. “And he was actually excited when he found out that we’re True Love.”

“I am glad to hear that,” Killian said, smiling genuinely at her.

“Anyway,” Emma said, remembering the fact that Killian was the one who asked her to come to the ship. “What did you want to talk to me about?”

“Oh, yes,” he said, taking a step back and starting to scratch behind his left ear with his hook.

She could see from the way he started to turn red that he wanted to ask her something but he was shy. Huh. Shy. Killian Jones was actually shy in front of her. That’s a new one.

“Killian?”

“Yes.”

“What is going on?” she asked, raising an eyebrow at him.

“I wanted to…,” he said, opening his mouth, but not a single word came out.

“Yes?”

“I wanted to ask you out. On a date, I mean,” he finished, letting out a deep breath.

“You what?”

“It’s okay if you don’t want to. I just thought that maybe after the other night we could-” but Killian didn’t finish his sentence, because Emma grabbed him by the lapels of his coat and smashed her lips to his.

The kiss wasn’t a hungry one, it was different from all the other kisses they had shared and that was a thing that actually surprised Emma. With him, every new kiss was different than the others and she was starting to wonder how that was even possible.

They broke the kiss when they started to need air, but neither of them stepped back. Emma pressed her forehead to his and smiled.

“Is that a yes?” Killian asked with a smile on his face.

“Yes. That’s a yes.”

“Good,” he said, taking a step back. “How about tonight?”

“You have everything planned already?”

“No, but I know what I want to do,” he said with a smirk.

“Where are you taking me?” she asked with narrowed eyes.

“Nowhere in town, Swan. We don’t want people to know we are on a date, right?”

“Right. But I want you to come and pick me up from the loft.”

“You sure you want your parents to know that you are going on a date with me?”

“Mary Margaret already suspects something is up and David was there this morning too. I’m going to tell them that we have a date. They don’t have to know about the rest.”

“Good. Pick you up at 8?” Killian asked her.

“Sure,” Emma answered with a smile.

“Okay, Swan. I’ll see you then.”

“Yeah.” With another quick kiss on the lips, Emma left the ship and went back to her car.

When she was back in the car, she remembered that she still had to talk to him about Milah and what Regina said yesterday. She realized, though, that that should wait. They deserved a night just for them. Besides, Milah still hadn’t answered her message, so there was nothing Emma could do.

Instead of going back to the loft, Emma went to the station. She knew David was going to be there, and she hoped that he wasn’t as curious as Mary Margaret was about what she did in her free time.

When she entered the building, she saw David was at his desk, typing something at the computer. On her desk was a white box that smelled sinfully good.

“What is that?” she asked him, pointing towards the box.

“Bear claw,” David answered, smiling at her.

“What’s the ocassion?” Emma asked, looking at him with narrowed eyes.

David looked at her with a soft expression on his face and instead of offering an answer to her question, he answered with another question “Can’t I give you sweets?”

Emma looked at him trying to smile. “Of course you can.”

Emma sat down in her office and took a bite from the bear claw. She looked at David to see he was looking back at her. She raised an eyebrow in question and waited for his answer.

“So,” David started. “How went things with Hook?”

“We talked,” Emma simply answered, continuing to eat her bear claw.

“About his ex?” David asked again.

“Not really,” Emma said letting out a sigh. “But we will have to talk about that as well. Soon.”

“What does she want, anyway?” David asked, leaning back in his chair.

“She wants to find out why she is still alive and she asked me if I could help. I asked Regina to look in her books and she couldn’t find anything, so now we have to find answers somewhere else,” Emma explained.

“Is Hook okay with her being here?”

“Why wouldn’t he be?”

“I don’t know,” David answered, shrugging his shoulders. Yet, the look on his face was telling another story.

“Yeah right,” Emma said, still looking at him with narrowed eyes.

They sat in silence for a few minutes until David broke it when he started to talk again.“Hey, will you have dinner with us tonight?”

“Actually,” Emma said, making a grimace. “I can’t.”

“Oh?” David said, raising his eyebrows at her.

“If I tell you, you have to promise you will not use your sword or gun.”

“Why would I?” David asked suddenly suspicious.

Emma closed her eyes, let out a deep breath and then started to speak. “Because Hook asked me out.”

“He did what?!” David almost yelled at her words.

“David,” Emma said rolling her eyes and not being in the mood to argue with him.

“You are going out with him?” “David asked again, even more intrigued.

“I am,” Emma said, nodding.

“Like, on a date?”

“Yes, it’s a date,” Emma snapped at him. “Come on. You were there this morning when I admitted that I slept on his ship.”

David just raised his shoulders. “He has many rooms on that ship.”

“David,” Emma said, letting out a sigh.

“Emma, are you two together? And please don’t lie to me. I promise I won’t tell Mary Margaret,” David said seriously.

“Yes, we are.” Emma confirmed.

“And?” David tried to push her to reveal more.

Emma shook her head at him. “And that’s all I am telling you. We’re together and we have a date tonight.”

“Okay,” David said. “So, Milah?” he quickly changed the subject.

“What about her?”

“What else do you know about her?” David asked. “Besides being Hook’s and Gold’s ex and Henry’s grandmother?”

“Gold killed her after he became the Dark One and found her and Hook together. She shouldn’t be alive but somehow she is, and she wants to know why. She… appeared in this world, I think, 28 years ago, when the curse brought you all here,” Emma explained Milah’s story for the millionth time that week.

“And where has she been all this time?”

“Traveling? Trying to find out why she is still alive.”

“Does she know about Henry?” David asked with narrowed eyes.

“She does and she wanted to meet him,” Emma said, nodding at him. “They actually met yesterday.”

“How was Henry?”

“Really excited to find out about her and to get to meet her.”

Right as she finished talking about Henry, they heard the door of the station opening, followed by the sound of steps walking on the hard floor of the building. Soon enough her son, followed by Belle, appeared in front of them.

“Hi Mom! Hi Grandpa!” Henry announced when he was in the same room.

“Henry, Belle! What are you doing here?” Emma asked, genuinely surprised by their presence.

“I’ve been talking to Belle about Milah,” Henry said, looking at Emma.

“Henry!” Emma couldn’t stop the annoyance from creeping into her voice anymore.

“You said I could!” Henry said as if he did nothing bad.

“Yes, but not this early!”

“It’s okay Emma, don’t worry,” Belle tried to assure Emma. She looked at Belle and smiled at her thankfully. “Besides, Milah is my friend and I’ve been trying to help her since she came here.”

“What did you two talk about?” Emma asked Henry.

“I asked Belle if she could ask Rumple to help us about Milah.”

Emma looked at Belle, knowing very well what feelings her True Love held towards his ex-wife. Catching Emma’s eyes, Belle looked at her and nodded slowly. “It’s okay, Emma. I will try and talk to him.”

“We have to talk to Milah first. See if she agrees to let him help.”

“Leave that to me and Ruby,” Belle said with a wink.

“Good. Because I don’t really have time today,” Emma said with a small smile on her face, thinking about her date.

“Oh?” came from both Henry and Belle at the same time.

“I have a date,” was all she said.

“With Hook? Cool!” Henry said excitedly.

“Are you two together?” Belle asked softly.

“We are,” Emma answered.

“Congratulations,” Belle said, although Emma could see on her face how surprised she was by the fact that Emma and Killian were together.

“Mom, Belle said she will talk to Grandpa today and then with Milah. And Regina asked me if I wanted to spend the day with her. Are you okay with that?”

“Sure, why not.”

“And spend the night at her house?” Emma just nodded at him. She couldn’t see any reason why Henry wouldn’t be able to spend the night at Regina’s, especially if she might not spend the night at the loft herself.

“Cool! Thank you!”

“I should leave and go talk to Rumple,” Belle said.

Emma nodded at her with a grateful smile. “Thank you for doing this, Belle.”

“Always.”

“May I go as well?” Henry asked after Belle left the station.

“Sure. Please take care.”

“Okay. Bye mom! Bye Grandpa!” Henry said, while turning to start walking towards the station’s exit.

Emma looked at David and he was looking at her with an eyebrow raised.

“What?” Emma asked him.

“Henry is helping?”

“He really wanted to help and he came up with the idea of talking to Gold and asking him for help.”

“Doesn’t Gold hate his ex-wife?”

“He does, but Henry believes that if he and Belle team up, Gold will help.”

“You have to admit, Henry is a very hopeful person.”

“Takes after his grandparents,” Emma said softly, but not softly enough since David heard her anyway.  He just smiled at Emma but didn’t say anything else.

For the next four hours Emma and David worked together at the station, sorting the remaining files that were left behind when they went to Neverland.

When the clock turned 5:00, Emma couldn’t help but get nervous at the thought of the date she would be going on in just a few more hours. She had no idea what they were going to do, just that it wasn’t in the city. They couldn’t leave the town, though, because the barrier was still there, so he was either taking her out to the woods or out in the middle of the ocean. Knowing Killian, he was taking her out on his ship most likely.

“You know, if you want to leave earlier, you can do it,” David sayed, probably being able to see how nervous Emma was.

“It’s okay,” she said, turning her attention back to her PC.

“Don’t you want to get ready for your date?” David asked and Emma could hear a small trace of surprise in his voice.

“I still have time.”

“Emma, I’m serious. You can go home,” David said serious.

Emma looked at him and then again at the clock. She still didn’t know what to wear and now she had exactly three hours to get ready.

“Okay,” she said, letting out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. “Are you okay with being alone for one more hour?”

“Of course. Nothing will happen if I stay alone one more hour,” David said with a smile. “Go and get ready for your date, kiddo.”

“Thank you,” Emma said with a grateful smile.

She rose from her chair, took her things and with a kiss on the cheek from David, she left the station. She jumped into her bug and started to drive towards the loft.

When she arrived at the loft, Mary Margaret was in the kitchen, most likely making dinner.

“Emma!” she said, stopping when she saw her. “You’re home early.”

“Yeah, I have to get ready for something.”

“Oh, what is that?” Mary Margaret asked surprised.

“I have a date,” Emma said. “With Hook,” she felt the need to add.

“Really?” Mary Margaret asked, her eyebrows rising as she spoke.

“Yeah,” Emma said, and then started to walk towards the stairs that led to her room.

When she reached the first step, she heard Mary Margaret talking behind her.

“Emma, I’m sorry about this morning.”

Emma turned to look at her. “It’s okay.”

“Are you and Hook together?” Mary Margaret asked. Emma rolled her eyes at the question and her mother probably saw that because she immediately added, “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. I was just thinking about everything and...”

“Stop,” Emma stopped her. “Yes. I am with Hook. We’ve been together for a few days and before you ask, yes, I am perfectly sure of this.”

“But what about Neal?” Mary Margaret asked out of nowhere.

“What about him?” Emma asked, confused, not being sure what her dead ex-boyfriend had to do with this.

“Isn’t a bit too soon for you to be with someone?”

“What?!” Emma yelled at her, angry about what she had just heard.  “Look, I’ve been over Neal for about 10 years. He is dead and even if he was alive, I wouldn’t have been with him. Okay?” Emma said. “Now excuse me, I have to get ready for my date.”

Ignoring the guilty look on Mary Margaret’s face, Emma left the kitchen and went to her room to get ready. She was angry for what Mary Margaret insinuated and she thought that a hot shower would help her relax. She jumped into the shower and let the hot water droplets fall on her body. She was right. The hot water of the shower both calmed her enough so she could forget what her mother had said and got her to be excited again about the date.

When she got out of the shower she put a towel around her and went back to her room. Emma put on a matching set of sexy underwear and bra since she was almost positive on how this night would end, and then she stood in front of the closet, trying to decide on something to wear. The weather outside was pretty good, hot enough for the beginning of autumn, but if she was right and Killian was taking her out in the ocean, then a dress would not be enough. In the end, she chose a gray blouse with long sleeves, black jeans and a brown leather jacket.

While she was trying to arrange her hair in a high ponytail, she heard a knock at the door.

“Yes?” she said and waited for the door to open, revealing Mary Margaret’s face.

“You look amazing,” Mary Margaret said while entering her room.

“Thanks,” Emma said, turning back to the mirror to do her hair.

“Emma, I’m sorry for what I said.”

“It was, first of all, rude,” Emma started. “But I forgive you.”

“Thank you,” her mother said, coming closer to her. “Do you need any help?”

“I’m so nervous, it seems like I can’t even do a ponytail now,” Emma said, letting go of her hair, to fall free on her back.

“I can help with that,” Mary Margaret said, waiting for Emma’s approval.

Emma nodded, looking at her mother in the mirror and watched as Mary Margaret took the brush in her hand and started to comb Emma’s hair again. Emma closed her eyes and let herself enjoy the feeling of someone doing her hair for the first time ever.

She stayed like that until she felt Mary Margaret’s hands stop working in her hair. She opened her eyes and looked in the mirror. Mary Margaret made a beautiful, perfect ponytail.

Emma smiled at Mary Margaret. “Thank you.”

“You look beautiful,” Mary Margaret told her.

“Thanks.”

“Do you know where you’re going?” her mother asked, genuinely curious.

Emma shook her head. “I have no idea. I’m guessing somewhere on the water.”

“I’m sure it will be romantic no matter where he takes you,” Mary Margaret said with a smile.

Emma wanted to respond to her but as she opened her mouth, they heard a knock at the front door.

“He’s here,” Mary Margaret said with an even bigger smile on her face. “I’m going to go let him in.”

Emma smiled at her and nodded. Mary Margaret left Emma’s room and went to open the door for Killian. Emma took one more look at herself in the mirror then took her phone, put it in her pocket, and then left the room.

Emma walked down the stairs, ready to met Killian, but she had to stop herself in the middle on the stairs when she saw him. He was wearing modern clothes, from head to toe. He had completely new clothes, but what topped off the look was the jacket. He looked really, really good in that new black leather jacket. Even the usual eyeliner looked to be far less than the amount she was used to seeing on him. Realizing that she should probably, she started to walk down the stairs again.

“You look amazing, Emma,” he told her as soon as she was in front of him.

“You look.. good too,” she said, not being able to get out more words or be more eloquent. Instead, she continued to stare at him.

“Shall we?” Killian asked, offering her his hand.

Emma took it with a smile and with another shy smile to Mary Margaret, they left the apartment. She expected them to jump in her car as soon as they were out of the building but instead Killian told her that they could walk the distance to the place of the date. Emma agreed and they started to walk down the road, hand in hand in silence.

After a few minutes of walking, Emma recognized the road as the one that led to the docks and she actually smiled when she saw the Jolly in front of her. Only they didn’t stop when they were in front of it; they continued to walk.

“We’re not going on the Jolly?” Emma asked when they passed the big ship.

“No?” Killian asked with a smirk.

“Then where?”

“You’ll see,” Killian said with a wink.

They continued to walk for a bit, and in the end Emma realized that they were heading towards the beach. Suddenly, she was even more excited.

They started to walk in the sand and soon enough, Killian was taking her towards the part of the beach with rocks on in. Killian stopped in front of a circle of rocks and then turned to her.

“I found this place today and I knew that it would be perfect. I hope you’ll like it as well.”

Killian turned her around and she was face to face with a nice picnic arranged on the sand; right there, under the stars.

“How did you do all this?” Emma asked, looking stunned at the image in front of her. “And when did you have time to set it all up?” she added, this time looking at him.

“I had help,” Killian said, taking Emma’s hand in his and making them both sit on the blanket.

“Who?”

“Ruby,” Killian said, raising his shoulders and smiling at her.

“Is Ruby the person behind your new clothes as well?”

Killian nodded at her, still smiling. “I thought perhaps it was time for a change.”

“Everything is gorgeous,” Emma said, looking into his eyes.

“Are you talking about the picnic or my clothes?”

“Can it be both?” Emma teasingly asked.

“Of course.”

She smiled at him as he continued to smile at her. She opened her mouth to say something, but he stopped her by raising his hand.

“I have more prepared for us,” he said, grabbing the basket that was close to their blanket.

“Granny?”

“Yes. Ruby was happy to help me with this too,” he said opening the basket and looking inside. “She also said that this is going to win your heart,” he said, taking out a paper cup. He gave it to her and Emma smelled it. It was hot chocolate with cinnamon.

“Well, Ruby was right,” Emma said.

“It seems like she was right with many other things,” Killian said with an eyebrow raised.

“Was this her idea?”

“The picnic?” Emma just nodded at him. “Half of it. I wanted to show you the stars and she said that a picnic on the beach would be perfect. I would have taken you out on the water.”

Emma smiled at him, thinking about how she was almost right about his idea of where he was taking her out. “I like this,” she said, not realizing at first that she had spoken out loud. When she saw Killian’s big smile on his face, though, she realized what she had said. Instead of answering her, Killian took another paper cup from his basket.

The rest of the night went very well. They ate the food Killian bought from Granny’s and he even surprised Emma by having one of her favourite pies. They tried to drink the wine that Ruby had hid in the basket, but soon enough, they ditched it for his flask of rum.

They also talked and laughed, Emma listened to Killian tell her stories from his old pirate life and in return, Emma told him about her bail bondsperson days. She smiled when Killian told her that she was like a pirate before she came to Storybrooke and that it did not surprise him that she had such a job.

As the hours passed and the night was growing around them, the stars became more clear above them. Killian told Emma that the stars in this realm were different, just like the stars from Neverland and the Enchanted Forest were different, but that he was still able to recognize most of the constellations. He showed her the Cygnus and told her that it looked like a swan. He then told her a story about how in the Enchanted Forest, swans were important birds for sailors. Apparently, the flowing flight of the swans reminded many sailors of the gentle and victorious floating of the ships.

Of course the night didn’t pass without any action between them. They couldn’t stop kissing, which surprised Emma, because she was never the kind of person to be affectionate, especially during a date. She hadn’t been on many dates in her life; Neal never took her on a real date and after Neal, she hated the idea of going on a date with someone. She mostly had one night stands or a few dates that ended up being a one time thing. But with Hook, it was different in a good way. She liked being with him, spending some alone time with him and she would be the biggest liar on the planet if she said she didn’t enjoy kissing him.

For example now, as Emma’s hand was on his chest and he was slowly spreading her on the blanket beneath him.

The kiss started as soon as Killian finished telling her how beautiful she was and how happy he was that she agreed to this date. Emma couldn’t stop herself and she literally jumped on him, taking the lapels of his new jacket in her hands and kissing him with all of the power she had in herself. She started the kiss hard and hungry but Killian had something else in mind. He slowed down the kiss, making Emma slow down as well. The kiss went from fast and hungry to soft and full of emotions; emotions that Emma knew what they meant, but wasn’t ready to tell him yet. She knew that she was falling for him, harder and harder with each minute they spent together and she knew that it would have been like this even if the True Love’s Kiss hadn’t have happened.

They were close to throwing caution to the wind right there on the beach, to make love under the stars.

“Do you want to go back to the ship?” Killian interrupted the kiss to ask her.

“No,” Emma answered in a whisper. She was now fully spread on the blanket and he was on top of her.

“Are you sure?”

“I want to do this here. Now,” she said with a desperate tone in her voice.

Emma didn’t wait for his answer. Instead she pulled his head back down and started to kiss him again. In the meantime, their hands were busy exploring each other. Emma’s hands were traveling on his back and under his jacket and shirt. She was thankful for the new clothes, since it was much simpler now to find his skin. At the same time, Killian was moving his good hand under her blouse. She felt his fingers on her belly, travelling up and down on her skin, first towards her breasts and then down again, towards the hem of her jeans.

Emma closed her eyes and let out a moan as Killian moved his lips from hers to the base of her neck, at the same time pushing her hips up to bring them closer to his.

Just as Emma was ready to take off Killian’s jacket, her phone started to ring in her pocket. She decided to ignore it. It was past midnight and whoever it was most likely didn’t need anything important. Emma and Killian continued to kiss, ignoring the phone that was still ringing in her pocket. After almost a full minute, the phone stopped ringing and Emma let out a happy sigh. She continued to pull off Killian’s jacket while he was still kissing her neck.

Emma felt Killian’s head lift up so she opened her eyes and looked him in the eyes. His eyes were full of emotions that made Emma’s heart skip a few times and she knew that half of those emotions were mirrored in her own eyes as well. He brought his head down and pressed his lips to hers, at the same time trying to pull up Emma’s blouse with just one hand.

But they were interrupted again by Emma’s phone that started to ring for the second time.

Killian groaned and let his head drop onto Emma’s shoulder. Emma didn’t want to stop what they were doing so she put her hands in his hair and pulled his head back towards her. The phone didn’t stop, however, and Killian refused to kiss her.

“You should answer it,” he said.

“I don’t.”

“Could be your son.”

“Henry is sleeping at this hour.”

“Your parents?”

“They know I’m with you.” As Emma finished her sentence, her phone stopped ringing. With a thankful smile, she looked into Killian’s eyes and spoke again. “Kiss me.”

He was still on top of Emma so with a smirk, he pressed his lips to hers again. He didn’t get to move a lot, though, because Emma’s phone rang once again.

Both Emma and Killian let out loud groans. Killian dropped on the blanket, onto his back, looking towards the sky. At the same time, Emma tried to catch her breath and searched for her phone. When she finally found it in her pocket, she took it out and looked at the person who had been. It was Ruby. Emma let out a deep sigh and answered Ruby’s call.

“What?!” Emma half snapped, half yelled at Ruby.

“Emma, I know you are on your date,” Ruby said frantically in the phone. “But something happened,” Ruby’s voice broke.

“Ruby, what’s going on?” Emma said, starting to worry at the frantic tone of Ruby’s voice.

“Milah…,” Ruby stopped and Emma could tell that Ruby was trying to find her words. “I found her and she’s surrounded by this thing. I don’t know. It looks like blood Emma, but it’s not blood. I don’t know what’s going on, but she’s not moving!” Ruby explained, her voice getting more panicked with each word.

At her words, Emma scrambled to her knees and looked at Killian. He looked at her and probably understood that something was wrong because he was by her side in seconds.

“Where are you Ruby?”

“Inside Marina’s Garage.”

“We’ll be there in a few minutes,” Emma told Ruby “Call for an ambulance, Ruby,” Emma said, finishing the phone call.

“What’s going on?” Killian asked as soon as Emma put the phone down.

“Something happened to Milah,” Emma explained. “Ruby found her and there is something around her. Ruby said it looks like blood,” Emma finished, watching Killian’s face for any reaction.

Killian made big eyes at Emma’s words and jumped to his feet. “We have to go then,” he said, holding out his hand to Emma so she could stand too.

“We have to,” Emma agreed. “Let’s go,” Emma nodded at him.

Despite the urgency, neither of them moved. They were standing there, hand in hand, not moving or talking. Yet, Emma decided that she should say something.

“I’m sorry our date ended like this.”

“There are going to be more dates like this one,” Killian promised her.

Emma got closer to him and pressed her lips to his, softly, just for a few moments. “Let’s go and see what’s going on with Milah.”

Chapter Text

As Emma and Killian arrived at the garage, Emma could see Ruby in the distance, sitting on the ground beside an unconscious Milah. Even from a distance, Emma could see there was, indeed, something strange that looked a lot like blood around Milah’s body, just as Ruby described on the phone. At the sight in front of them, Emma and Killian started to run together towards the two women.

“Ruby,” Emma said as soon as they were near her, “whatt happened?” Emma dropped to her knees beside Milah.

“I don’t know,” Ruby answered, not looking at Emma. When Ruby finally raised her head and looked at Emma, Emma could see dried tear tracks on Ruby’s cheeks. “She had been missing all day so I decided to go and look for her after I helped Hook with your date,” Ruby started to explain. “I couldn’t find her with my usual methods, so I used my wolf smell and I tracked her here. She was like this when I found her. That’s when I called you,,” Ruby finished.

In that moment, Emma realized that Ruby was the one that had been calling her from the beginning and now she was starting to feel a bit guilty about the fact that she hadn’t answered her phone earlier.

“I called the ambulance as well. They should be here any minute now,” Ruby said.

Emma looked at Milah. She checked the woman’s pulse and was happy to see that Milah had one. It was faint, but at least it was there. Maybe she passed out? Emma took a better look at Milah and what was covering her. She stretched her hand to touch the strange liquid that was all around her. It was red as blood but its structure was like jello and it also had no smell. Milah’s hands were covered in it and Emma was really curious about what it could be.

“What is that?” Emma heard Killian ask from beside her.

“I don’t know,” Emma said in a whisper, still studying the substance.

When she finally heard the sound of the ambulance’s siren in the distance, Emma quickly snapped a few pictures of the substance to examine later and to also show them to Regina in hopes that she might know something. She then waited for the EMTs to come and take Milah.

The next hour passed in a blur. The EMTs came, put Milah on a stretcher, and lifted her into the ambulance to take her to the hospital. Ruby decided to go with Milah in the ambulance since she was the one that had found the woman and could give more information to the doctors, while Emma and Killian went back to the docks to get Emma’s car. The two of them walked in silence back to her car and that silence remained through the whole drive to the hospital. As they drove on the streets of Storybrooke, Emma noticed that maybe for the first time since she came to town, everything was quiet. The town was sleepy in every sense of the word.

When Emma and Killian got to the hospital, Ruby was already in the waiting room with no news from Whale or anyone else that was taking care of Milah. Apparently, they had put her in a room more than twenty minutes ago, and she was still there. Emma, Killian, and Ruby had nothing else to do than stay in the waiting room and wait for anyone to come and give them news on their friend. Ruby tried to talk to Emma a few times to tell her that she was sorry for interrupting her date, but Emma told her not to worry and that she was right to call her.

When Whale finally came to the waiting room, Emma, Killian, and Ruby, all at once, jumped on their feet to hear what news he had.

“She is alive,” Whale told them.

“Yes, that much we know,” Ruby said, before the doctor could say more.

“Let me finish, Ruby,” Whale told her. “She passed out, but we couldn’t find any reason as to why she did it.”

“Is there anything wrong with her?” Emma asked him.

“No,” Whale shaked his head at her. “Nothing at all. She is very healthy.”

“Then what happened?”

“Maybe you and your magical friends can find out,” Whale said in a mocking tone. “But for now we can’t do anything, except wait for her to wake up.”

Emma rolled her eyes at his response but then remembered what they had found around Milah. The doctors surely found that as strange as she did and she hoped they took some tests. “Whale, what was that thing that was surrounding her?”

“It’s not blood. I sent a sample to the lab to see what we could find out,” he explained. Emma nodded at him and then took a step back and sat on one of the chairs beside Ruby. “You all should go home for now,” Whale said looking at them and without waiting for an answer, he turned around and left them alone.

As Whale started to disappear down the hallway of the hospital, Ruby looked at Emma and started speaking. “You two should go back to the inn. Or to your ship,” Ruby told her.

“What about you?” Emma asked her friend.

“I can stay here until she wakes up,” Ruby explained.

“Are you sure, lass?” Killian asked before Emma could ask her the same thing.

“Positive,” Ruby said, nodding with a small smile.

Emma looked at Killian with a questioning look on her face and waited until he realized what she was really asking. Closing his eyes he nodded at her and Emma rose from the chair. “Take care of yourself, Ruby,” she said looking at the woman with a soft smile. “Call me if you need anything.”

With a hug to Ruby, Emma took Killian’s hand in hers and started to walk towards the exit of the building, leaving Ruby to watch over Milah for the rest of the night.

“Would you like to go back to your parent’s loft?” Killian asked her as soon as they were back in the car.

Emma looked him in the eyes. Seeing the big oceans in his eyes made Emma think back to their date; the dark ocean and the night sky that was surrounding them just a little over an hour before. They had to put their date on pause until they took care of the situation with Milah, but now they were alone again. Maybe they would get to finish their date after all.

“No,” Emma finally said, realized that she didn’t answer his question. “Let’s go back to the Jolly.”

“Are you sure?”

“I want to finish our date,” Emma said, with a mischievous smile on her face.

Killian smiled knowingly at Emma and nodded at her. With the same big smile, Emma started the engine of the bug and started driving back in the direction of Killian’s ship.


When Milah woke up that morning feeling a bit dizzy, she didn’t know why but she guessed it was due to the lack of sleep she had over the last few nights. The previous night, just like the others, was full of nightmares and what she still believed was some of her old memories.

She rose from the bed, took a quick shower, and changed into running clothes. A run in the forest would make her feel better for sure. She wanted to be fine for the rest of the day and she also hoped she would be able to talk to Emma to see if she found out anything. She also wanted to ask her if she could spend some time with Henry again.

Milah smiled thinking back at her meeting with the boy. He looked so much like Baelfire when he was a young boy and Milah almost had a shock when she saw him the first time.

The boy, Henry, was full of energy. He told her about his book and how she had to see it. He told her that she was in there and he knew about her, who she was, before Emma could tell him and that he understood what she did and why she did it. Milah was in love with him already and she hoped she would get to spend more time with him so she could get to know him more.

The run in the forest didn’t help her too much she realized after thirty minutes. During the whole run, Milah’s mind kept flying back to the things that appeared to her in the form of dreams the night before. She knew for sure she remembered a man and water.

She was surrounded by water; the ocean perhaps? But she wasn’t on any ship, she was underwater with a man she didn’t know. And she was able to breathe down there.

“Milah!” she heard a voice calling her name behind her.

Milah turned around, towards the sound but there was no one. She was still very much alone in the middle of the forest. She had probably just imagined her name being called due to the tiredness. That, or she was going mad.

And yet, she started to feel anxious there in the middle of the forest. The temperature suddenly fell and the silence of the forest started to be too much for her. There were no birds, no wind to move the leaves of the trees, and the whole scene was making her feel nervous.

“Milah,” she heard her name again, being called in the wind.

She looked around her but there was still nothing. No one.

Milah decided that it was better if she headed back to town and forget that anything happened in the forest. But as she started to walk on the trail that led back to the town, she found herself urgently needing to go to the water. So Milah changed her course and started to walk towards the beach.

“Milah.” She heard her name again. Looking around her, she saw that she was still alone. “Milah.”

The next time her name was called, she was able to recognize that the voice was a feminine one. Milah was starting to get nervous by everything that was happening around her.

When she was finally able to see the sand of the beach in front of her, she let out a deep breath she did not realize she had been holding. But as she stepped on the sand, a strange red fog started to surround her. She started to run forward, hoping to get out of the fog and when the fog disappeared, Milah could finally see a person in front of her. It was a tall woman with literally sparkling eyes.

“Who are you?” Milah asked the woman.

“You do not remember me?” the woman asked and Milah recognized her voice as the one that had been calling her minutes ago.

“Should I?” Milah asked confused.

“I am the one that brought you back to life,” the woman said with a trace of a smile.

At her words, Milah’s eyes widened. “What?” she snapped at the woman. “How is that possible?”

“You should remember me,” the woman spoke again. “I helped in giving you a purpose after you died and your lover threw your dead body into the ocean.”

“Who are you?” Milah asked with narrowed eyes.

“You will find out soon,” the woman said with an evil grin that scared Milah.

Before she could say anything else, the woman started to walk towards her and with a raised hand and red smoke, she started to come towards Milah. Milah closed her eyes and raised her hands, trying to keep the smoke away from her eyes. But when she let her hands down and opened her eyes, she found herself somewhere else. She was no longer on the beach, but instead she was in a room, decorated with gold and blue ornaments that reminded her of some of the places she’d seen when she was back in the Enchanted Forest. She looked around her, trying to find something familiar, but there was nothing that told her that she had seen or been in that room before.

“You are probably wondering why you are back here Milah,” she heard a voice behind her and when she turned towards the source of the voice, she saw a beautiful woman at the entrance of the room.

“Back here?” Milah started to talk, being very confused. “I’ve never been here before,” she said.

“Oh you have,” the woman said smiling at her. “You just don’t remember it,” she said walking past Milah and sitting on the big throne in the room.

“Where am I?” Milah asked in a desperate tone.

“This is Atlantis, darling,” the woman said, opening her hands in front of her, with a grand gesture.

“Now, I am pretty sure I’ve never been here,” Milah said determinate. “Atlantis is just a legend in the Land Without Magic.”

“Is it?” The woman said with a mischievous smile.

“Of course. What kind of magic is this?” Milah demanded.

“The only magic you will see around here is in your body,” the woman said. “And of course the magic Thetis used to bring you here.”

“My body?” Milah asked shocked by what she had just heard.

“I know some things are missing from your mind and sadly I can’t help you with bringing your memories back,” the woman said. “Maybe your friends back in Storybrooke can help you?”

“How do you know about them?”

“I know everything about our nereids, Milah,” the woman said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Now Milah was really lost. “Nereids?” she once again confusedly asked.

“Yes. What you are, and what Thetis, the woman that brought you here, is.”

No, something like that wasn't possible. Milah was human and she knew that. She wasn't some kind of creature, she was absolutely sure of that.

“I’m human,” Milah contradicted the woman.

The woman looked at Milah with a superior smile. “You were. Well, I guess you still are, thanks to Nereus.”

“What are you talking about?” Milah asked with her eyebrows furrowed close to each other.

“I asked Thetis to bring you back so I could tell you that Nereus doesn’t need you any longer as one of his Nereids.”

“Woman, I don’t understand a thing you are saying,” Milah snapped at the woman.

“Of course you don’t,” the woman said, rolling her eyes. She took a deep breath and started to talk again. “As I said, I can’t help you with your memories. But I can tell you this. You were brought here by Nereus, the King, a long time ago. You were dead. My lovely husband saw something in you and he brought you back to life. You’ve been one of our Nereids for quite some time. You had only one job, which you failed by the way, but apparently you are back on track now,” the woman said, moving her hand in a circle in front of Milah.  “Zeus knows what’s in that small head of my husband’s. Anyway, Nereus decided that he doesn’t need you anymore, but he promised that he will leave you alive.”

“I am still very confused,” Milah admitted.

“Then ask your friends to help you, darling,” the woman said, using the same mocking voice as before. “Just be grateful that we are leaving you alive.”

“Grateful?” Milah said dumbfounded. She looked at the woman who looked back at her with an eyebrow raised as if she was waiting for Milah’s thanks. “Thank you?” Milah said a bit confused.

“You are welcome,” the woman said smiling. “Now please leave my palace,” she said, gesturing to Milah to get out of the room.

“But-,” Milah started. She had questions and she wanted answers to every single one of them.

She took two steps toward the woman but before she could say something else, the woman raised her hand in front of her, stopping Milah. “Thetis!”

In a second, the woman that brought her to the palace, Thetis, came from behind the woman and pulled Milah out of the room. They started to walk together, even as Milah tried to get away from her.

“Hey! Where are you taking me?” Milah asked her.

“There are people looking for you,” Thetis told her. “I am taking you back to them.”

“This is like a bad dream, or something,” Milah said to herself.

“I am sorry dear, Nereids like us don’t get dreams. But you are no longer one, are you?” Thetis said with narrowed eyes.

Milah opened her mouth to speak but before words could come out of her month, Thetis led her to another room. It was just as big as the other one, but before Milah had the chance to study the room more or ask where she was, she saw Thetis raising her hand and the same red fog that had covered her before was coming towards her once again. Milah closed her eyes instinctively hoping that when she opened them again, she would be in Storybrooke.


The next time Milah opened her eyes, she was in a white room with machines surrounding her. She realized that she was in a hospital room so she rose quickly, wondering how she got there. She wanted to pull the wires away that were around her, but before she could touch anything, she felt a hand on hers.

She looked up and she was met with Ruby’s eyes.

“Wolf,” Milah said, smiling at her friend.

Only Ruby didn’t smile back at Milah. No, Ruby had dark circles under her eyes, and a worried expression on her face.

“Ruby?” Milah asked, worried about the way Ruby looked.

“What the hell happened to you? I thought you were going to die!” Ruby yelled at her. Milah opened her mouth to speak but Ruby was faster. “You worried us! You scared the hell out of me when I found you unconscious!”

“Breathe, Ruby!” Milah said, trying to calm the girl.

Ruby looked at her unbelievingly. “How could I when I didn’t sleep all night?”

Milah lowered her eyes and answered “I’m sorry.”

She was really sorry for what happened. It was the middle of the day when Thetis appeared in front of her on the beach, and Ruby said that she did not sleep all night, worrying about Milah. How long was she gone? How long had she been in Atlantis?

“What the hell happened?” Ruby asked, breaking Milah out of her thoughts.

Before Ruby could answer, the door to Milah’s room opened and the doctor came inside. “Ruby will you please stop yelling at my patient?”

“Shut up, Whale,” Ruby snapped at Dr. Whale.

“No, you shut up, Red,” the doctor said, coming beside Ruby and putting a hand on her shoulder. “I have to examine her, to make sure she is okay.”

Ruby let out a puff and rolled her eyes. “Okay, fine,” she said taking a step back.

“I will also have to ask you to leave the room,” the doctor told her.

“But-,” Ruby started to argue with him.

“Ruby!” Dr. Whale snapped at her.

“Fine! I hate you,” Ruby said pushing him in the chest with a finger. “I am going to call Emma and Belle. Let them know you are awake,” Ruby said, looking at Milah.

Instead of answering, Milah just nodded at her. Ruby left the room without another word to any of them and Milah turned her attention to the doctor.

For the next ten minutes, Milah tried to convince Dr. Whale that she was fine, nothing was hurting her and she did not know why she lost consciousness. It was a lie, of course, but she knew that he will think that she was mad if she would have told him what happened, so she kept that part to herself, waiting for Emma and Killian to appear and to tell them what really happened with her and what she had found out.

Chapter Text

The next day when Ruby called them, Emma and Killian were already prepared to go to the hospital and see if the doctors had any new news about Milah or if she was in a better condition. When Ruby called, she instructed them to go pick up Belle on their way to the hospital and assured them Milah was awake and she was perfectly fine.

Emma and Killian jumped into Emma’s bug and started to drive toward Gold’s shop, where Ruby assured them Belle would be waiting for them. On the way there, Emma sent a message to her parents and another to Regina, telling them to go to the hospital and wait for her there. She also said that Ruby and Milah would be there, knowing very well that Ruby would explain everything that happened in the last twenty four hours.

When they arrived at the shop and went inside, still hand in hand, the first person they saw was Gold. He looked at them and rolled his eyes when he saw their joined hands.

“I can't believe your standards are so low, Miss Swan,” Gold told her with a mocking tone.

Emma was about to say something about how being with his son lowered Emma’s standards very much, but she shut her mouth knowing it was not the time for that. Instead, she told him they were looking for Belle.

“Ah, yes. She said you would be coming to take her to the hospital to see Milah,” he said, indifferently. “Is she in danger?” he asked again as if asking about Milah was an obligation for him.

“Sadly for you, no,” Emma said, imitating the same mocking voice he used earlier.

“Yes, you are right, that’s too sad.”

“Cut the crap, Rumple.” Emma snapped at him, “I know Belle talked to you to help Milah.”

“That she did,” he said, nodding at her.

“So?” Emma said, waiting for him to continue.

“I did not agree with anything like that,” Gold said.

Emma looked panicked at Killian and somehow shocked that even Belle could make him agree to help Milah. “You must be curious as to why she is alive.”

“Actually no, I’m not. Milah was dead and now she is back. There have been cases like this one many years ago in the Enchanted Forest but before you ask me what I know, I know nothing. It’s never been in my interest to know how a dead person came back to life,” Gold explained.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Emma said looking at him with anger. She read him, she knew him, he knew something and he didn’t want to tell them what it was.

“Tell me Captain,” Gold said, ignoring Emma and moving his eyes to Killian. “How does it feel to have your first love and your True Love in the same place at the same time?”

Emma felt Killian stiffening beside her and looked at him

True Love. Gold said ‘first love and True Love’. He must know that Emma and Killian are True Love, but how? They had been careful and only Henry and Milah knew the truth. How is it possible for Gold to know that her and Killian were True Loves?

“How do you know that?” Killian asked Gold with narrowed eyes and Emma looked at him, also curious of his answer.

“Oh dearie, I’ve known from the beginning. I just don’t care about you two,” Rumple said simply. “But I must say, Miss Swan, in a different world, your parents would have killed him for seducing a princess.”

“Then it’s good you don’t care,” Emma snapped at him. “How are we supposed to help Milah?” she asked, moving the subject of the conversation back to Milah.

“Belle said my dear ex-wife has something like old memories coming back to her during the night. If some of her memories are missing, then this,” he opened a drawer to take something, “should help.” Gold said, putting a dreamcatcher on the front table.

“A dreamcatcher?” Emma asked, surprised.

Gold gave her the dreamcatcher, talking at the same time. “I am sure you remember how to use one, right, Miss Swan?”

“I do, but I only used it once, on a dog,” Emma said taking the dreamcatcher from his hands.

“There is no difference between that animal and Milah,” Gold commented and Emma wanted to kill him for what he just said.

“Rumplestiltskin!” Belle’s voice came from the back of the shop before she appeared too. She nodded at Emma and Killian and looked judgingly at Gold.

Gold looked at Belle but ignored the look on her face. “I mean, there is no difference in using it.” he said looking back at Emma. “You will use it the same way you did when you used it for Dr. Hopper’s dog.”

“And then what?”

“Then, hopefully she will have her memories back,” he said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world and Emma was just stupid for asking that.

“Thank you, Gold,” Emma told him.

“Don’t thank me, Miss Swan. I am only doing it because Belle is, for some unknown reason, friends with Milah, and also because Henry asked as well.” Gold explained. “But this is all I am willing to do.”

“Thanks,” Emma said before preparing to leave the shop. “Are you coming?” she asked Belle, remembering that she had to come with them to the hospital.

“Yes. Just give me five minutes,” Belle answered. Emma nodded at her and then took Killian’s hand and went back to the car.  

Back outside when Emma was in front of her car, she went to open the door and get inside,  when she started to feel a bit dizzy and for a moment, everything spun with her. That was when she finally realized just how tired she really was. Both her and Killian had only gotten a few hours of sleep after they came back from the hospital. They had decided to finish their date in a big style and then afterward, Emma felt too stressed about everything that was happening with Milah to fall asleep easily. Of course Killian, as the stubborn pain in the ass he was, decided to keep her company until she fell asleep. Which is why both of them got only four hours of sleep at most and when the alarm started ringing in the morning, Emma’s first instinct was to throw the phone out the window, right into the ocean.

Noticing Emma’s reaction when she opened the door, Killian looked at her with worry and with an eyebrow raised, silently asked her if she was okay.

“I’m tired,” Emma told him while getting in the car.

“Me too,” Killian agreed with a little smile and followed her inside the car.

Emma looked at him and sighed, “I hope Milah is okay.”

“Do you really know how to use that?” Killian asked, pointing to the dreamcatcher in Emma’s hand.

“I did it once,” Emma said looking at the dreamcatcher. “Hopefully I can make it work again.”

“I am actually surprised he helped us,” Killian said, looking back towards Gold’s shop.

“Me too. Maybe Belle is really good at persuading him,” Emma said raising her shoulders.

“I have to apologize to her,” Killian said, lowering his eyes to the floor. Emma wanted to ask why but as she opened her mouth to speak, Killian raised his eyes and looked back at her, “For what I did to her the first time I came to Storybrooke.”

“Oh…,” Emma said, finally realizing what he meant. “She will forgive you.”

“Do you really believe that?” Killian asked with worry on his face.

“She’s living with Rumplestiltskin,” Emma said. “If she can forgive him for everything he ever did, she can forgive you too.”

Killian let out a deep breath and spoke again, “But I shot her.”

Emma put a hand on his cheek. Killian looked at her sadly, “In time, she will. Trust me.”

As she finished talking, they heard the door to Gold’s shop open and they watched Belle come out of the shop and walk towards them quickly.

She opened the door to the car and sat in the backseat. “Sorry, I had to talk about something with Rumple,” she said with a small smile.

“It’s alright,” Emma assured her, starting the engine. “Let’s go to the hospital. Ruby has probably gone crazy by now.”

“You’re probably right,” Belle agreed. “Let’s go.”

The drive to the hospital was short but filled with silence, everyone thinking about something else.

When they got to the hospital, they went straight to Milah’s room. Mary Margaret, David and Regina were already there with Ruby, who was trying to explain to them what happened.

“Emma!” Mary Margaret said when she saw her. “I was so worried when you sent us the message to come here.”

“I know, I’m sorry, but I wanted you to be here,” Emma explained to her.

“You don’t look too good, Emma,” David said, looking at her.

“I know, I’m just tired,” Emma said, knowing that the lack of makeup and sleep allowed the bags under her eyes to be visible to everyone.

At the mention of her tiredness  Emma saw David’s eyes moving from her to Killian but she decided to ignore it. Instead, she started to talk to Ruby. “How is Milah?”

“Perfectly fine,” Ruby answered. “Whale checked her and he said that everything is fine with her. In fact, she says she feels much better than before, if you can believe that.”

“Then what happened?” Emma asked, surprised by what Ruby had just said.

“She didn’t say. But I get the feeling that she knows. Maybe you will be able to talk to her,” Ruby explained.

“Okay,” Emma said nodding to her. “Let’s go see Milah,” she said, starting to walk towards Milah’s room.

She knocked on the door and waited for the faint “come in” that came from inside. She opened the door and smiled at Milah who was still on the bed.

“Hi,” Emma said with a smile.

“Hi Emma. Come in,” Milah said smiling at her.

She opened the door more and soon she was followed by Killian, Ruby, Belle, her parents, and Regina. She saw Milah smiling at Killian, Ruby and Belle, but then, when she saw Mary Margaret and David, her smile fell. Emma realized that it was  probably because she didn’t know who they were and why they were there.

“Milah, this is Mary Margaret and David. My parents,” Emma explained and watched as Milah relaxed at Emma’s explanation.

Milah smiled at them and acknowledged them with a small “hi”.

“It’s so nice to finally meet you,” Mary Margaret said, smiling at Milah.

“You too,” Milah said.

“Milah,” Emma started. “What happened?”

“Someone took me,” Milah started.

“What?!” Emma, Killian and Ruby said at the same time.

“I will explain everything to you,” Milah said raising a hand to stop them from asking further questions.

After that, she started to tell them everything that had happened the previous day, starting with what had been going on in her mind the night before, to how she woke up feeling bad and decided to take a walk in the forest. How she felt drawn to the beach and how the woman with an impossible name came after her. Then Milah told them what happened in Atlantis and what she found out from the Queen.

Emma’s mind was blown by everything Milah told them. First because apparently, Atlantis, the story everyone knew but no one believed in, was a real place with a real queen and people that were living there. Secondly because, apparently, Milah was some kind of puppet or pawn in someone else’s game and she was now free of it.

“What else do you remember?” Regina asked Milah when she finished her story. 

“What do you mean?”

“From what you were telling us, your mind has been trying to tell you something all this time in your dreams.”

“They were just dreams,” Milah said with a shrug.

“They were memories,” Regina contradicted her.

“Really?” Milah asked amazed.

“Come on, Milah. What else did you see in your dreams slash memories?” Ruby snapped at her from behind Emma.

“Everything is a blur,” Milah started. “But now I am sure that I was always in that throne room. Thetis is there in most of them but so is another man. I know something is happening but I don’t know what. And I don’t know who the man is. I can never see his face completely.”

“The dreamcatcher might help with that,” Belle spoke for the first time since she arrived.

“What?” Milah asked, looking at her with an eyebrow raised.

“This,” Emma said, lifting the dreamcatcher in her hands, to show it to Milah. “It has the ability to pull out your memories.”

“Even those I don’t remember?”

Emma didn’t know how to answer that, so she looked at Regina for help. Regina nodded, “You don’t remember them, not entirely, but you memories are there trying to reach you. The dreamcatcher will work for sure.”

“Okay then,” Milah said looking at Emma. “Let’s do this.”

“Regina, I am going to need your help,” Emma said looking at Regina, not knowing for sure how to start making the dreamcatcher work again.

Regina nodded at Emma and started to explain to Emma what to do. “Just close your eyes, try to channel your magic and put the dreamcatcher above Milah’s head,” Regina explained. “And you,” Regina said looking at Milah. “You have to concentrate on what you dreamed about. The dreamcatcher is going to do the rest of the work for you two.”

Emma nodded at her and got closer to Milah. She closed her eyes and tried to channel her magic, as Regina said, but she could feel that it wasn’t working. Emma tried to think about all the other times she had used her magic and Rumplestiltskin’s old words came to her mind. “Think about what you feel, not what you do.”

So that’s what Emma did. Everytime she used her magic, she felt something strong inside of her. She felt the need to save her mother from Cora. She was afraid of the Shadow hurting Killian even more. She felt sadness and love and a special need of having Killian alive, back when she kissed him in Neverland. Now she felt determined to help Milah find out what happened to her.

With that thought, Emma started to feel the magic in her fingers starting to spread towards the dreamcatcher. She raised it above Milah’s head and waited. With her eyes still closed, Emma heard Regina telling Milah again to concentrate on her dreams and Emma just knew that it was working when she felt the dreamcatcher in her hand tremble. Emma opened her eyes and lowered her hand.

“Did it work?” Emma asked Regina.

“Only one way to find out,” Regina said. “Show us the dreamcatcher,” Regina said and Emma raised the dreamcatcher, showing it to everyone.

With her movements, the dreamcatcher started to glow and an image appeared in the center.

Emma could see Killian on his ship dressed in his pirate clothes. She could tell that he was sad. He was surrounded by his crew and they were lifting a piece of wood with a white pile on it and throwing it in the water. As the thing fell into the sea, Emma could see that the white pile looked more like a body rather than just trash. Looking at the Killian beside her, Emma could read the confirmation on his face. This was the moment Killian had to bury Milah’s dead body into the ocean. As Emma looked again at the image within the dreamcatcher, she saw Killian throwing a magic bean into the ocean and a portal opening, and then the Jolly disappearing into it.

Then the image changed to something else.

____________________________________________________

As another dead body had  been thrown into the ocean, Nereus sat on his throne and watched, rolling his eyes and thinking about the stupidity of the people above. He continued to look at the body while it was falling deeper into the dark waters.

“Sailors,” he thought. “All they do is send dead bodies into the ocean and start fights.”

Nereus was using his magical mirror to watch what was happening in the waters of the Enchanted Forest. Those were his brother Poseidon’s waters. Nereus knew he had no right to do that or to intervene in his brother’s work, but from time to time he loved to “fish” this or that body out, and give them another chance at life in Atlantis. People were strange creatures. They liked killing each other, or killing innocent people that shouldn’t have died. To those innocent people, Nereus liked to give a second chance, either as simple people in the waters of Atlantis or as servants in his castle. He also had a special place in his heart (and castle) for his Nereids.

There were beautiful women who died as innocents and if he saw in them something really special, they were made his Nereids. They were sent into the world, not just in Atlantis but all the realms, to help sailors in need. Their job was simple; they were to help sailors find their way home when they were lost in the ocean, to help them find their happiness or to help them when they were in danger. He knew sometimes the sailors fell in love with his Nereids, and sometimes even the girls were falling for their sailors. When that happened, if he was in a good mood, he would let her leave him and the life of a Nereid behind.

Watching the body that was falling into his brother’s waters, Nereus wondered if it was a woman or a man trapped inside the white cloth that was covering the dead body, so he called for Thetis, his first and only magical Nereid.

“Thetis! Come here for a moment, darling,” the king commanded.

In less than a minute, Thetis entered the throne room with the superior air of a princess. She was, after all, like a princess to him. He and his beloved wife, Doris, never had children so when he found Thetis and made her his first Nereid, he and Doris also started to treat her like their own daughter.

“You asked for me?” Thetis asked him with a smile.   

“There is a body in the waters of the Enchanted Forest. What can you tell me about it? Woman, man? Innocent or killed in war?” Nereus commanded.

Thetis just nodded at him and then moved her eyes towards the direction of the body that was floating in the water. Thetis’s eyes turned yellow while she studied the body and then she started to speak.

“Woman. Innocent. She was killed by a great source of dark magic.” Thetis opened her eyes and looked at him. “I can feel there was a great regret in her soul when she died.”

“What about it?”

“I don’t know exactly. I can tell that she lived with a sailor, a pirate she left behind when she died.”

“Could she be one of the future Nereids?” Nereus asked, suddenly excited at the prospect of having another beauty with him.

“She has potential,” Thetis said nodding at him. “Though she probably wants to go back to her pirate.”

“We should bring the body here.”

“How exactly? Poseidon was mad the last time we did that, if you don’t remember.”

“Let me worry about my brother,” he said putting his fingers under her chin. “Can you bring me that body, my sweet princess?”

“Of course,” she said with a big smile at the name he used.

Thetis closed her eyes and started to say the odd words of the spell she always used when she opened the bridge between Atlantis and the other worlds. The red smoke started to flow out of her fingers and form a circle in the middle of the room.

Soon enough, the body of the dead woman dropped in the middle of the room. Thetis closed the portal and they both looked at the covered body.

Nereus took two steps forward and knelt above the body. He started to pull the white sheet that covered it away and revealed a dark haired woman. She was beautiful, Nereus had to admit that. Her dark hair was still curly, even if it was wet, her lips were red and full, she had jewelry in her hair, ears and around her neck and was also dressed from head to toe in pirate clothes. Just like a queen. A pirate queen, perhaps.

“She is beautiful,” Thetis said from behind him, as if reading his mind.

“She is,” Nereus agreed with her. “She will make a beautiful Nereid.”

He raised his hand and put it over the woman’s heart. He tried to channel his magic, to bring her back to life, but nothing happened.

“Why didn’t it work?” Thetis asked him.

“I don’t know, it should have worked,” Nereus said, looking strangely at the woman in front of him.

“May I?” Thetis asked, coming beside him.

“Be my guest,” the king said, taking a step away from the woman.

He looked at Thetis as she started to work her magic over the woman’s body and then she looked at him shocked. “She doesn’t have a heart.”

“Can you take care of this?” Nereus asked her. “We’ve dealt with this before.”

“It’s going to take time,”

“We have an eternity, my dear,” Nereus said obviously.

“I am going to need someone to take her to my chambers,” Thetis explained. “And I will also need a new heart.”

Nereus raised his eyebrows at her request but chose not to say anything. “Ask the servants for whatever you need.”

He watched as Thetis left the room while some servants came to take away the body. Now that the room was empty again, Nereus sat in his throne and waited for news from his daughter.

Hours passed until he had news from Thetis. Up until then, he couldn’t even go anywhere near Thetis’ chambers and more than once he felt magic flying over the castle. He didn’t know what Thetis was doing to the woman’s body, but he knew that it would be good and he would not regret asking for her help.

“She is awake and alive,” Thetis said, entering the throne room five hours later.

“Amazing!” Nereus said, jumping to his feet. “Take me to her.”

The two of them walked together towards Thetis’ lab. When Nereus entered the room, he saw the woman sitting on a bed. When she realized that she was no longer alone in the room, she looked towards the door, directly into Nereus’ eyes. He was instantly mesmerized by her big, black eyes.

“Who are you?” she asked him with a demanding voice.

“I am the one who saved you,” Nereus answered calmingly.

“I thought she was the one who saved me,” the woman said, pointing to Thetis with her finger.

Nereus choose to ignore that and instead asked her who she was. “Who are you?”

“Who are you?” The woman asked instead.

“My name is Nereus, King of Atlantis. You are in my palace,” Nereus answered making a grand gesture with his hands in front of him.

“I’ve never heard of this kingdom in the Enchanted Forest.”

“That’s because you are no longer in the Enchanted Forest,” Thetis answered to her before he got a chance.

Nereus watched as shock came over her. “What is your name?” he asked again.

“Milah,” she answered slowly.

“That’s a beautiful name,” he said smiling to her. “What do you remember?”

“I died,” Milah answered letting her head down.

“That’s very true. What happened before that?” he asked again, needing to know more about this woman.

“The Dark One killed me,” she answered and raised her again to look at him. Nereus could see the anger in her eyes at the mention of the person that killed her.

Nereus nodded. “Ah, that monster.”

“You know him?” Milah asked with surprise in her voice.

“I knew him a long time ago, but I don’t know what his name is now.”

Nereus met a Dark One many years ago, back when it was a woman and she was killing many innocent people just because she liked to. Back then, the Dark One even tried to kill him because he was bringing people back to life, but Nereus’ magic was stronger and the Dark One was banished from even trying to reach Atlantis ever again. Since then he had not heard anything else about that monster and he had no idea whom he or she was now. And if Nereus was completely honest, he didn’t really care.

“Rumplestiltskin,” Milah’s voice saying the Dark One’s name interrupted his thoughts.

Nereus moved his attention back to Milah, “Why did he kill you?”

“He was my husband. I ran away from him and fell in love with another man.”

“Why did you run?” Nereus asked interested in her story.

Milah lowered her head down again and started to talk, not looking at him, “It doesn’t matter.”

“With whom did you run?” Thetis asked beside Nereus.

Milah raised her head again and answered. “With a pirate captain.”

“And you fell in love with him?” Thetis asked again.

“I did,” the woman answered with the smile of a person who was very much in love.

At the mention of a lover Nereus felt the need to find out what happened to him. If Milah was to be a Nereid, she would, most likely, wish to go back to this captain. “Did you leave him behind when you died?” the King asked her.

“I did. And I hope he is still alive even though I died,” Milah admitted.

“Milah,” Nereus said with a serious voice. “I am offering you the chance to be alive again, to go back to the Enchanted Forest and maybe be with your pirate again.”

Milah looked at him with big eyes. “How?” she asked, surprise being evident on her face.

“I am the king of Atlantis, and I like, from time to time, to save people that died when it wasn’t their time. I bring them back to life and I give them a second chance, here, in Atlantis. I also have a few... special girls, who are called Nereids. They help sailors in need. I am offering you the same chance. You could either stay here, in the city, or serve as one of my Nereids,” Nereus finished his explanation. “I would like you to be one of them to be honest,” he added with a smile.

Milah looked at him with narrowed eyes. “Why?”

“You have… potential,” Nereus said, not knowing for sure how to explain what he saw in her.

“There must be a catch. What do I have to do while I serve you?” Milah asked suspiciously.

“Nothing, really. Just to take care of your sailor,” Nereus said, shrugging his shoulders.

“And this sailor? Can it be my love?” she asked with an expression that almost looked like confusion.

Nereus nodded at her, “Yes.”

“And can I stay with him forever?” Milah asked again.

“Usually I am not in the habit of letting go of my Nereids so easily. But it is possible,” he admitted.

Milah sat in silence for a few seconds and Nereus was willing to bet that she was thinking about his offer, “Okay then,” Milah answered. “I agree to be one of your Nereids.”

“Amazing!” Nereus said happily, clapping his hands in front of him. “Allow me,” he came closer to her, with his hand stretched in front of him and Milah just nodded at him.

He stepped closer to her and raised his hand over her chest, mirroring the movements he did hours ago,when he tried for the first time. This time, though, when he tried to work his magic on her, he wasn’t stopped by anything. He worked his magic on Milah and watched as a new necklace, the Nereid’s necklace, appeared on her neck.

“It’s done,” the king told her with a big, happy smile.

Milah shook her head at him, “I don’t feel any different.”

“You will. You are able to breath underwater now. And you can travel between lands,” Nereus quickly explained.

“Thank you?” Milah said, although it came out more like a question than an actual thank you.

Nereus started to laugh at her. “Do not worry about thanking me, Milah. I am the one who should be thanking you for agreeing to this.”

Milah nodded at him and he was happy to see that the corners of her mouth were turned up in a small smile, “When can I go after Killian?” she asked, looking at him with pleading eyes.

“Whenever you want. But I advise you to stay here and rest for now,” Nereus said. “After all, you were dead a few hours ago,” Milah agreed with his idea and Nereus felt that it was time to let her rest. He left the room, letting Thetis explain to Milah more about what it means to be a Nereid and what she would have to do.

Milah left Atlantis two days later after she was recovered completely and after both Thetis and Nereus taught her what to do when she got back to the Enchanted Forest and after they instructed her on what to say to people who would, inevitably, ask how and why she was alive. She left for the Enchanted Forest with the promise of coming back soon, to inform Nereus of how things went with the sailor, Captain Killian Jones, as she called him.

Only, Milah came back weeks later, sad and almost crying that she couldn’t find Killian or any news about him. She begged Nereus to tell her if the pirate was dead, if perhaps he died after her death, killed at the hand of the Dark One, but Nereus couldn’t find anything. The man was, for sure, still alive somewhere. So Milah left again, in search of him.

Her search was in vain though. No matter how long Milah searched, there was no trace of him. She searched for years, both on land and on water and there was still nothing. After many years of looking for a ghost, Milah decided to stay in Atlantis. From time to time, she took little jobs to guide a sailor or two and to help them, but nothing big, because, deep down Milah was still sad for not being able to find her pirate, even if Nereus assured her that he was alive.

After a while, Milah forgot about her quest and even if her heart skipped a beat every time she was sent to help a new sailor, she stopped thinking so much about him. She understood that maybe he didn’t want to be found and she knew Killian well enough to know that when he wanted something, nothing could stand in his way.

Then one day Milah came in the throne room, asking Nereus for a favor.

“You want to leave?!” The king yelled so hard that almost every person in the castle heard him.

“I want to go and explore more lands!” Milah yelled at him in return.

At her words, Nereus sit back on the throne, pinching the bridge of his nose to calm down. “And what land do you want to explore first?” he asked, letting out a deep breath.

“There is a land without magic. I hear it’s quite beautiful,” Milah explained quickly to him.

“That land it’s not very welcoming to magical people,” Nereus said, knowing very well the people of that land and what their opinions were on magic. They even stopped believing in them, the old Gods of Olympus, and the powers they once had.  

“Then let me go as a human, not a Nereid,” Milah said, sounding almost desperate. “You said it was possible.”

The king looked at her and shook his head, “Not yet Milah.”

“Why?” she asked, intrigued by his denial.

Nereus let out a deep breath and tried to explain to her why he couldn’t let her go just yet. “You did not end your first and only official mission.”

“Killian,” Milah said, understanding what the king was talking about.

“Yes,” Nereus agreed.

“But I can’t. You know that. I can’t find him,” Milah explained, desperation starting to be present in her voice again.

“I know,” the king said, letting out another deep sigh. He closed his eyes and started to think about a way to give Milah what she wanted and keep up the rules at the same time. He liked the woman, she was a good one and he wanted to help her.

“I am going to let you go to that land,” Nereus started after coming to a decision. “But I will have to take away your memories,” he finished.

“No!” Milah yelled at him.

“I can’t let you know what you really are in that realm.”

“So how much of my memories are you going to take away?” Milah asked with a severe tone.

“Just those you made from the moment Thetis woke you.”

“I am still going to remember the life I had back in the Enchanted Forest?” Milah asked him.

“Yes.”

“Will I know why I am alive?”

“I am afraid not.”

“Then what will happen to me?”

“You will live as the human you once were.”

Milah closed her eyes and thought about what he was suggesting. She would remember everything; her son, Killian, her life with him, but she would not remember that she came back to life and spent years looking for him but not finding him.

“I agree,” Milah finally answered him.

With that, Nereus worked his magic on Milah’s mind. He took away the memories she had made since she woke up in Atlantis and then put her to sleep so his spell could work at its best intensity.

Nereus knew that the next time she would wake up, she had to be in the Land Without Magic. So with one last kiss to her forehead, Nereus nodded to Thetis to send Milah away to the Land Without Magic. Thetis couldn’t tell him for sure where she ended up since she didn’t know that land, but she assured him that Milah was there.

Now she was on her own, in a land unknown to her but Nereus knew that she would make it out there. Milah was a strong woman. She had proved it countless times and who knew, maybe she would even find happiness in the new land. Time would tell for sure, but for now, Nereus’ watch over Milah was done.

Chapter Text

As the image on the dreamcatcher disappeared, Killian let the shock come over him. They had just witnessed Milah’s story and what had happened to her after she had died in his arms. They found out why she was alive and the explanation actually made sense. Kind of. In a way. In a very strange way.

Killian was dumbstruck by all of the things they found out, but there was one thing above all that shocked him the most. Milah had tried to find him. She tried to find him after she was brought back to life and the reason she couldn’t find him was because he went to Neverland right after her dead. He knew that. He knew that she wasn’t able to find him because he was in a different land. Neverland was different from all the other realms. Pan wouldn’t let anyone come and go from the island if he didn’t had something to gain from that so even with her new powers, Milah wouldn’t have been able to find him there.  

“That was…” Milah started to speak, breaking the silence in the room (not to mention the river of thoughts that was flowing through his mind) while still looking at the dreamcatcher in Emma’s hand. “Wow.”

“So you are a… Nereid?” Emma asked, confusion being obvious on her face. Killian moved his eyes from her to all the others and saw that Emma’s look was mirrored on their faces as well.

“Apparently. Or at least I was one and now I’ve been released from that duty from what the queen told me,” Milah said haltingly.

“How? Why?” Mary Margaret asked from behind Emma. “The king said he couldn’t let you do that.”

“Because she found Hook,” Regina started to talk and Killian looked at her with wide eyes. “He didn’t want to let her go because she hadn’t found Hook back then. But she found him when she came here,” Regina explained.

“I was supposed to help Killian with something. What was that?” Milah asked, looking from Regina to Killian.

Regina shook her head. “That, I don’t know.”

The silence fell around them once again. Killian couldn’t stop thinking about Milah’s question. Her mission was to find him and help him. But with what? With his revenge? He doubted the king bought Milah back to life just to help him get his revenge on the Crocodile. Perhaps to help him get over her death? At that time, something like that would have been impossible for Killian. Almost as impossible as believing that he could love again. And yet, Killian couldn’t put away the thought that while he spent years trying to find a way to revenge her death, she was alive looking for him.

The silence in the room was interrupted by the sound of David’s phone. Killian looked at him and saw David’s eyebrows coming together while he looked at the screen.

“It’s a message from Grumpy,” David said, looking at Emma. “Something is happening at the docks and he’s asking for us to go there.”

“What about Milah?” Ruby asked.

“Are you okay? Do you feel better? Can you be released from here?” Emma asked Milah.

Milah nodded at her. “Yeah, I can’t wait to get out of this bed.”

“Emma, you could stay here, make sure everything is alright, while we go and see what’s happening at the docks,” Mary Margaret proposed.

Emma looked at her with an eyebrow raised, “Don’t you want me there?”

“I’m sure it’s nothing we can’t handle,” David said. “The problem is, most likely, just one of the dwarves.”

“Alright. Killian and Ruby, can you stay with me, too?” Emma asked, looking at Killian and then at Ruby.

“Absolutely!” Ruby answered while Killian just nodded at her, still not trusting his voice.

“Good,” David said and taking Mary Margaret’s hand in his, they started to walk towards the door. Regina asked Emma if she needed anything else from her and Emma told her to go get Henry and thanked her for coming and helping them.

With that, Killian watched Mary Margaret, David and Regina leave the room. When they were gone, Killian looked at Emma. She was looking back at him with an unreadable expression in her eyes and that worried him because since the moment they met, she had been an open book to him and he was able to read every single emotion on her face. But now something had changed. He raised an eyebrow at her, silently asking her if she was okay and let out the breath he was holding when she closed her eyes and nodded at him.

“I am going to go talk to Whale to get him to release Milah,” Emma told him.

“I’m coming with you,” Ruby said, coming closer to Emma.  

Emma looked at Killian, waiting for him to say anything and he had to search for his voice to finally be able to get out some words. “I am going to stay here. I need to talk to Milah,” he finally spoke.

Emma and Ruby nodded at him and then left the room. Finally alone with Milah, Killian couldn’t begin speaking the words that were stuck on his tongue, although he desperately wanted them out.

“I didn’t know,” Milah started to talk before him.

Killian moved his eyes to look at her. “What?” he asked confused.

Milah looked at him with sadness in her eyes. “I didn’t know about any of this, what we just saw.”

“I can tell that,” Killian said with a low voice.

“Killian, are you upset?”

“No. I’m not upset,” Killian said, shaking his head. “I am shocked.” The whole situation made him think back to the moment they shared together when they came back from Neverland and he found out that Milah was alive.

“I am too,” Milah admitted.

Killian let out a sigh and started to speak. “What I don’t understand is what you were supposed to help me with.”

“I think I was supposed to help you find your happiness,” Milah said in a whisper. “After my death that is,” she continued.

“I didn’t need that! I just needed you back in my life!” Killian finally snapped at her.

“I don’t understand why I wasn’t able to find you!” Milah snapped back at him. “We could have been together if I would have found you! Where were you, Killian?” Milah asked, dropping her voice.

“Neverland! I was in Neverland, trying to find a way to avenge your death. I was in that damned place for 300 years, trying to find a way to kill the monster that killed my love! And all this time, she was alive in a different realm trying to find me!”

Milah opened her mouth to say something in response to what he had just said, but she was interrupted by a knock at the door.

“Come in,” Milah answered and the door opened to reveal Emma’s head.

“I talked to Whale,” Emma started, looking straight at Milah and avoiding Killian’s eyes. “He said you are free to go.”

“Thank you, Emma.”

“David also sent me a message and asked me to come to the docks. The three of us, actually,” Emma said, finally looking at Killian.

“Okay. I’ll get ready and be out in a few minutes,” Milah said. Emma nodded at her and then closed the door, leaving them alone again.

“I will let you get ready,” Killian told her, as he headed towards the door and out of the room.

He went to the hallway outside of the room and found Emma leaning on the opposite wall. He looked at Emma and realized that she was trying very hard to not look at him. That’s when it hit him that she probably heard what he had told Milah just minutes ago.

“Did you hear what we were saying?” Killian asked her slowly, coming closer to her.

“I was coming back to tell you that David wanted us at the docks,” Emma said, avoiding his question. But judging by her reaction, he was a hundred percent sure she had heard him.

“How much did you hear?” Killian asked again, putting a hand on her arm.

Emma closed her eyes and let out a deep breath when she answered, “Enough.”

Killian looked her in the eyes. “Emma, it was nothing.”

“It doesn’t matter right now, Killian,” Emma said, taking a step away from him.

Killian’s heart dropped at her reaction. She was putting up her walls again because he was an idiot who just had to scream things he had wished were true hundreds of years ago. She was backing away from him, slipping through his fingers, because he was an idiot.

“Emma please,” Killian said, taking a step forward.

“I am serious, Killian,” Emma said, raising a hand in front of him. “We don’t have time for this now.”

As Emma finished speaking, the door to Milah’s room opened and she came out, not giving Killian another chance to say anything. “I’m ready.”

“Let’s go,” Emma said, not looking at him again.

Milah looked around, searching for something and then she looked at Emma and asked, “Ruby?”

“She had to go back to the diner after she talked to Whale,” Emma explained. “She said she would talk to you later. Just the two of you.”

“Oh,” Milah said, nodding in understanding at Emma.

“Let’s go,” Emma said once again, and started to walk towards the exit of the hospital without another word. Milah looked confused at Killian and he just shook his head and lowering his eyes, starting to walk after Emma.

The three of them exited the hospital and jumped into the bug. No one talked on the way to the docks, but it wasn’t like any of them knew what to say anyway. Killian was still thinking about how to make Emma understand that what she heard was really nothing to worry about. He was shocked yes, and yes, it was true that he had wished for Milah to be alive back in the Enchanted Forest. But that was back then and he got over it, eventually. What they had found out from the dreamcatcher and what Killian had said didn’t mean that his feelings for Emma had changed in any way. No, his feelings for Emma became bigger with each day that passed and he had to find a way to make her understand that. To make her understand that she was the reason so many things had changed in his life, changed for the better. She was the reason he opened his heart again and started to love her so intensely.

When they arrived at the docks, Emma parked the car and they all got out and started looking for Emma’s parents. When they finally saw David and Mary Margaret on the wooden pier, they started to walk towards them. While they got closer, Killian saw that Regina was with David and Mary Margaret as well, but there was also someone else talking to them. David had his back to Emma, Killian, and Milah, blocking most of the view, but Killian could see the form of another man behind David.

As they got closer to the others, Killian started to recognized the man. It was the god that brought Milah back to life. Nereus, Killian remembered his name. How was that even possible? And why was he here? Killian looked at Emma who was looking at her parents talking to the king and he could see that she was just as surprised as he was. Then Killian looked at Milah. Her face was somewhere between shock and unbelieving.

When they arrived closer to the others, David turned to look at them, offering a better look at the man that was still behind him.

“You’re here!” Mary Margaret jumped in front of them.

“Yeah,” Emma said. “What happened?” Emma asked Mary Margaret and Killian could see that she was trying really hard not to stare at the king.

“This happened,” Regina answered, pointing to the man.

“My name is Nereus,” he presented himself, his deep and hard voice making it obvious that he wasn’t just another normal person.

“You brought me back to life,” Milah said before anyone else could start talking.

“It’s good to see you again, my dear Milah,” Nereus answered Milah with a smile.

“I have questions,” Milah said, ignoring the smile on the king’s face.

“I am sure you all have questions,” Nereus said looking from Milah to everyone else. “I am sorry for the answers Doris gave you,” he said looking back at Milah once again. “Or should I say the lack of answers she gave you?”

Killian saw Milah roll her eyes and then she started to talk again. “What happened to me?”

Nereus looked at her with a raised eyebrow. “You didn’t find out?”

“I did. Doris told me that I’m no longer a Nereid.”

Nereus nodded, “You are not one anymore,” he confirmed.

“Why?” she asked with a grave voice.

Nereus simply raised his shoulders and answered, “I decided to let you go.”

“You told me you couldn’t let me go because I didn’t find Killian.”

Nereus looked at Killian and then at Milah again, “I see you found him now.”

“What was my job?” Milah asked him.

“To help your sailor,” Nereus said, pointing to Killian.

“With what?” Killian snapped at Nereus, starting to lose his patience.

“She was supposed to help you find your happiness. And you did that,” Nereus said, taking a quick look at Emma, a look so quick that Killian would have missed it if he hadn’t been studying the king’s moves. “But! You found your happiness without her help.”

At Nereus’ words Killian looked at Emma not expecting to catch her looking at him too. He smiled at Emma and saw her raising the corners of her mouth as well but then just as quickly she let them down, avoiding his eyes again and Killian remembered what had happened at the hospital. He still had to take care of that problem.

“But that’s not all,” Nereus continued, making Killian look at him again. “While you indeed found your happiness in the form of your True Love,” the man said looking from Killian to Milah, “you also found a new level of happiness when you saw Milah alive.”

Killian opened his mouth to say something but quickly closed it again when he realized he didn’t really know what to say to that. He looked around him and everyone had different expressions on their faces. Milah was looking at the king with narrowed eyes, Mary Margaret and David were looking at each other confused while Regina was looking at Killian with a smug expression as if she knew something he didn’t.

Then he looked at Emma and for the second time that day, his heart sank at the look on her face. Killian knew how Nereus’ words sounded to someone who didn’t know what was really going on between Emma and Killian. It sounded like Milah being alive was Killian’s true happy ending. But Emma knew what was going on between them! She knew they were True Love and Killian knew he loved her more than he had loved anyone in his life. But Emma also heard him saying how much he needed Milah alive and how that was all he had wished for. He had yet to tell Emma that he loved her. He knew it was too early for that, and he knew that by saying it, it was going to scare Emma.

“I can see you are all very confused,” Nereus’ voice stopped Killian’s thoughts. Killian looked at him and Nereus continued, “and it’s understandable.”

“It is,” Killian finally heard Emma speak.

“I am going to explain it to you all,” Nereus told them. “You, Milah, were his first love. He spent years looking for a way to avenge your death, not knowing that you were alive in another realm, looking for him. Seeing you alive bought both of you happiness,” Nereus explained. He moved his eyes from Milah to Killian and started to talk to him. “It brought you happiness because your first love was here, still alive and fine, and it brought Milah happiness because after all this time, she found you. Even if she didn’t know that she had been looking for you. But at that time, when she found you, you had both already gotten over each other in many aspects.”

Suddenly Killian was even more confused. He didn’t understand much of what Nereus was saying, only that Milah being alive bought Killian happiness.

“You, Milah,” Nereus started to talk again, “you learned to enjoy life as it was, to have adventure in your life. You realized that you don’t specifically need to be by his side to be happy. I’ve been watching you all this time since you left my palace, and you rarely thought about him. You had a period in which you tried to find out why you were alive and you learned about this town and that Killian would be here, but once you knew you were not supposed to come here until a certain time, you went on with your life. You traveled and you enjoyed this life just the way you wanted to when you left Atlantis. You were happy. Meanwhile Killian, you learned to love again. You opened your heart and you fell in love and you found your True Love. You became a better man, you fought for what you wanted, and you learned to put others before yourself. Not even once had you thought about Milah and what you could’ve had. You went forward with your life, even if, for a while, it wasn’t the right path.”

“Do you mean that they had to learn how to get over each other in order to be happy?” Emma asked again.

“Yes,” Nereus approved. “People only have one life, two in Milah’s case, and they have to learn how to live the best life. It’s not worth it to spend your life crying over someone, searching for someone that disappeared from your life or trying to avenge something, because this way you let your life fly over your head and you miss the best part of it. Living. Enjoying what life has in order for each other is important. That’s why I like to give people a second chance at life.”

“So you let me out of your strings because I had found out how to live my life?” Milah asked him and Killian could hear the surprise in her voice.

Nereus smiled. “You have friends Milah. You have a life. You’ve traveled and you have experienced the wonders of this world. In short, you are happy.”

Killian looked at Milah who had a wide smile on her face upon hearing Nereus' explanation. “Thank you,” Milah told the king and Killian could hear genuine happiness in her voice.

Nereus nodded at Milah and then looked at Killian with the same big smile on his face.

“You,” Nereus started to speak to him. “You found your True Love and you are happy with her. I can tell that. Stay like that,” Nereus encouraged him.

Killian didn’t know what to say to that. He was happy yes, he was happy the day before and the day before that, but right now he wasn’t happy. What happened with Emma at the hospital was still sitting hard on his heart and he was still feeling guilty.

After a while and with some more questions from Regina, Nereus left, leaving them alone with the promise of coming back to visit Milah from time to time and with an apology on his wife’s behalf, on how she behaved towards Milah.

After Nereus left, Milah excused herself and told them that she would go talk to Ruby and would fill her in on what she had just found out from Nereus. Killian smiled when Milah mentioned Ruby because he could see that the two of them were very good friends and he was happy to see that after all this time, Milah finally had friends she could rely on. She told them with a smile that she would see them later at Granny’s and then she left.

“Hook,” Killian heard David calling his name. Killian turned around and looked at the prince with an eyebrow raised. Seeing that he got his attention, David continued to speak. “Who exactly is your True Love?” the prince asked him with narrowed eyes.

Killian swallowed hard at David’s question, not knowing how it was possible to both answer that question and manage to stay alive. Killian opened his mouth to answer but Emma’s and Mary Margaret’s voices were heard before he could answer.

“David,” Emma snapped at her father, while Mary Margaret simply said, “Charming, don’t start.”

David looked at them and raised his shoulders. “I’m just curious.”

Killian took a quick look at Emma and saw that she was looking at him as well and then moved her eyes towards her parents.

“I do not want to hear this,” Regina spoke out of the blue. “Good luck, Emma,” she said, before disappearing in a fog of purple smoke. Emma was left wondering what exactly Regina knew.

“So?” David asked again after Regina was gone.

Killian opened his mouth to say something to him, anything, a lie most likely, when he heard someone else speak up.

“Me.” Emma answered, making everyone open their mouths in shock. On one hand, Mary Margaret and David were shocked because of what they had just heard Emma admit, but Killian on the other hand, was shocked because he couldn’t believe that Emma just revealed the truth to her parents.

“Emma?” Killian asked her but instead of answering, Emma looked at him, shook her head and then continued to talk with her parents. “I am his True Love.”

“And you know that after one kiss?” David asked suspiciously. Killian saw David moving his eyes back and forth from Emma to Killian a few times and every time he looked at him, Killian could see the anger in his eyes.

Emma rolled her eyes and answered him. “No. We know that from after I brought him back to life in Neverland.”

“What?” both Mary Margaret and David asked at the same time.

Emma raised her hands in front of her and spoke. “I will tell you the whole story if you promise to not kill him.”

David moved his eyes from Emma to Killian and looked at him with actual flames in his eyes. “That’s a bit hard right now,” David said between his teeth, still looking at Killian.

Mary Margaret put a hand on David’s shoulder and whispered something Killian couldn’t hear, when Emma spoke again. “David, I’m serious.”

David let out a breath and then answered Emma. “Okay, okay, I promise not to kill him.”

Mary Margaret let go of David’s shoulder and started to talk to Emma. “Let’s go to Granny’s. You can explain everything to us there.”

Emma nodded at her mother and then looked over at Killian. Killian looked back at Emma and raised an eyebrow at her. Emma nodded at him slowly enough just for him to notice and then she looked again at her parents.

“Actually, I was wondering if you could give us a few minutes?” Emma told them  pointing between herself and Killian. “We will meet you at Granny’s in a little bit.”

Mary Margaret nodded at her and added an “okay” with a small smile.

Mary Margaret took David’s hand in hers and started to pull him away from Emma and Killian. Killian watched the two of them walk away and then looked at Emma. She looked at him and started to come closer to him. Without another word, Emma took his hand in hers and started to walk in the opposite direction from her parents towards one of the benches that were facing the water. The two of them sat down and for a few minutes, neither of them said anything.

Emma POV

As Emma and Killian sat on the bench looking at the ocean, Emma wished she knew what was going on in Killian’s mind. His face was turned towards the water, but she could definitely say that his mind was zoned out.

If Emma didn’t know what was going on in Killian’s mind in that moment, she knew for sure what was going on in hers because her mind didn’t want to let go of the conversation she had overheard back at the hospital between Killian and Milah. Emma was aware of the fact that for a very long time, Killian had wished for Milah to be alive. But to be aware of it and to hear him say it were two different things. Then again, finding out that seeing Milah alive again brought even more happiness to Killian’s soul was also very odd for Emma.

Over the years she had been jealous of many things: watching kids with their parents, watching the other kids from the orphanage being adopted while people ignored her, seeing a nice dress and not being able to buy it, hearing people talking about happiness and family and not being able to have any of it. Seeing people being loved and not being loved herself. She was always jealous and with time, she learned how to hold everything inside her and ignore the things that made her jealous.

But now? Now it was something else entirely. At first she didn’t want to admit to anyone, especially to herself, that she had feelings for Killian, let alone being in love with him. But after spending time with him away from any major, life threatening problems, she started to be at peace with her feelings for him. Having their date and feeling loved was something new for her and that was all Killian’s fault. He had broken every single wall she had around her heart. He had slipped through the small cracks and warmed her from the inside out and made her love and feel loved; not the kind of love Henry or her parents were giving her, but another kind of love. The love Emma had not thought possible for her for many years.

She asked herself, from time to time, what if the kiss back in Neverland had been wrong. What if it was something else and they had just thought it was True Love, despite Tink saying it was True Love’s Kiss and even Gold stating it. She knew every time she looked at Killian, that his feelings for her were real, but Emma was so used to not being loved that for her, it was still hard to believe it.

“I can hear you thinking, love.” Emma’s thoughts were interrupted by Killian’s voice.

She broke out of her thoughts and looked at him. He wasn’t smiling but she could see that his eyes were full of different emotions.

“Sorry about that,” she said.

Killian raised the corners of his mouth in something that was supposed to look like a smile, but it wasn’t reflected in his eyes. “It’s alright. Are you okay?” Killian asked.

“You’re asking me if I am okay?” Emma asked, raising an eyebrow at him. Instead of answering, Killian just shrugged his shoulders at her. “I’m okay. I’m just overwhelmed by everything we’ve found out in the last four hours.”

“You and me, both, Emma,” Killian said. “But still, that look on your face doesn’t look like being overwhelmed.”

“What does it look like?” Emma asked him, not surprised that he was able to read her.

“Worry?” Killian asked with an eyebrow raised.

“I’m not worried,” Emma denied quickly.

“You are. Open book remember,” Killian said, raising a finger in front of him. “Is this about what you overheard at the hospital?”

Emma looked away from him again. It was, in fact, about what she had heard, but at the same time, it was about so much more. If only she could gather the courage to tell him.

Killian let out a breath. “I told you it didn’t mean anything, Emma.”

“It’s not just about that,” Emma said, finally looking at him. “It’s also about what Nereus said.”

“About me finding happiness when I found out Milah was alive?”

“Yes.”

“Emma, you have no reason to worry. Of course I was happy to see Milah alive again.”

“It’s not about you being happy ‘cause she’s alive!” Emma snapped at him.

“Then what? Help me understand,” Killian begged her.

“You weren’t fully happy with me! That’s what Nereus told us!”

“Emma, that is not true.”

Emma jumped from the bench and looked at him. “No. It feels like I wasn’t enough for you to be happy.”

“Emma, no,” Killian said, standing up and coming to a stop in front of her. “It’s not like that. I am happy with you and I would have been the happiest man alive just with you! You’ve helped make me become a better man since the first time we’ve met.”

“What about Milah?”

“I am over Milah. I have been for a very long time, and the fact that she is alive doesn’t change that,” Killian explained. “Emma believe me, I am here for you, I am here because of you and I will never leave you, not as long as you still want me. With or without Milah, you, my love, are still my happy ending.”

Emma’s eyes widened when she heard the words ‘happy ending’. “What?”

“Don’t look so surprised, Emma,” Killian said, putting a hand on her arm and pulling her closer to him. “I’ve loved you long before that damn True Love’s Kiss.”

“That’s not possible,” Emma said, trying to take a step back but Killian stopped her.

“It is possible. You made me a better man, Emma. You made me want to fight for something. To fight to be a better man, the man I was before, to fight for a place in this town, to fight for you, for your love,” Killian said putting a finger under her chin and looking into her eyes. “Everything I did in Neverland, I did for you, because I love you.”

At his words, Emma closed her eyes, trying to stop the tears from falling. His eyes were telling her that he had loved her from some time now. She knew that very well, and his actions have proved to her that he had loved her since the beginning. She was just too much of an idiot to see it and let it in. Killian had jumped in front of a poisoned arrow for her, he didn’t want to give up until she and Henry were safe. With every step, every touch and every kiss he was trying to tell her that he loved her and now, he was finally saying the words out loud for the first time. He let go of every mask he wore and every wall he had, putting his heart on a table in front of her and letting her know that he loved her.

Opening her eyes again, she looked into his eyes and knew that it was time for her to let him know what she really believed. It was time for her to let him in completely.  She put her hands on his cheeks and pulled him closer to her. Their foreheads touched and none of them said anything for a moment. Then Emma raised her head and pressed her lips to his.

They had kissed many times, especially in the last few days, and yet, this kiss felt like their first real kiss. Their feelings for each other were laid bare between them, truly, without walls or secrets between them, without any of them holding back anything. Emma tried to put in that kiss the words she couldn’t yet let out, even if she desperately wanted to tell him; to let him know that she felt how he felt, let him know that she loved him too.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, running her fingers through his hair. In return, Killian’s arms went around her back and pressed her closer to his chest. Their mouths were dancing with each other and Emma let out a moan against his lips. Encouraged by her moves, Killian moved his palm up on her back, to her neck and then to her cheek slowly, driving her mad with his touch. Emma opened her mouth against his, making space for his tongue, and in the next second, her mouth was flooded with a familiar taste. She let out another moan at the same time he let out a moan of his own. They were a mess, challenging each other to go deeper and deeper with each stroke of their tongues. Her fingers drifted down his neck, and placed themselves on his shoulders, making him shiver under her touch. Emma's body hummed and her heart hammered in her chest, every flick of his tongue and press of his lips making her head spin.

The sound of a ship honking in the distance made Emma aware of where they were and that anyone could see them. She broke the kiss with a gasp, Killian’s lips still following hers, trying to kiss her once more. But she was faster than he was, pulling away from his lips, burying her face against his neck, and digging her nails into his shoulders. His hand trailed to her hips, while his head fell on top of hers.

They stayed like that, embracing and getting drunk on each other’s smells for what felt like an eternity.

When Emma finally raised her head from his shoulders, she looked into his eyes and all the air in her lungs disappeared when she saw nothing but love in his eyes.

“I love you,” Emma said, not realizing that the words had come out until she saw Killian breaking into the biggest smile she had ever seen on his face.

Chapter Text

“So you two found out that you are True Loves back in Neverland?” David asked Emma with surprise in his voice.

“Yes,” Emma answered.

David nodded at her answer than started to talk again. “More accurately, when you bought him back to life?” he asked.

“Yes,” Emma answered for the millionth time, rolling her eyes at him. She knew very well David understood the story from the first moment she explained everything to them. He was just being stubborn.

After their declarations of love at the docks, Emma and Killian spent a few more minutes in each others arms, enjoying the quiet and the fact that they were alone. Then they decided that it was time to go to Granny’s and finally tell Emma’s parents the truth about what was really going on between them. So they started to walk towards the diner hand in hand, no longer caring if any resident of Storybrooke saw them like that.

When Emma and Killian entered the diner, still hand in hand, Emma saw her parents at a table, together with Milah and Henry. Mary Margaret saw them coming in and Emma could tell that she had told the others that Emma and Killian were coming back to the diner because Milah and Henry turned to look at the couple at the same time and smiled at them and their joined hands. Emma could swear David was having a stroke and Mary Margaret was trying to keep him alive at the image in front of them. When they got closer to the table, Mary Margaret and David were still staring at them as Emma sat beside Henry and Killian sat beside Emma. Yet, none of them said anything, even if Emma could see that Mary Margaret was trying really hard not to talk. Ruby came to their table as if she knew what was going to happen, with a hot chocolate for Emma and a coffee for Killian and then left with a knowing smile.

After Ruby left, David was no longer able to stay quiet so he started to talk. “Is this a new development thanks to your date or something?” he asked Emma, pointing with his finger between her and Killian.

“Actually, we have something to tell you,” Emma said with a small, awkward smile at David.

Before she started her story, Emma looked at Killian who was scratching slowly behind his ear with his hook, trying to avoid looking at either of Emma’s parents while David was looking from Emma to Killian with narrowed eyes. Milah excused herself from the table and with a small smile at Emma, she went to the counter where Ruby and Belle were waiting.

Emma knew there was no point in delaying the story any longer, so she started to tell them about what had happened in Neverland, the real reason why Killian didn’t die back there and how they found that they were True Love. As the story came to an end, Emma was observing her parents’ reactions. Killian was holding Emma’s hand under the table while Emma was looking at Mary Margaret and David. She saw happiness on Mary Margaret’s face, her mother smiling softly at Emma while she was finishing the story, but Emma could see David had a bit of a hard time dealing with the fact that she and Killian were confirmed True Love.

“Don’t mind Charming, Emma. I am happy for you,” Mary Margaret told Emma, still smiling. Then she looked at Killian and spoke to him. “I am happy for you as well, Killian.”

“I am not saying I’m not happy!” David commented. “I just never imagined that my daughter’s True Love would be a pirate.”

Emma felt Killian let go of her hand from under the table and she looked at him. He was looking at David with a very serious expression on his face. “What’s the problem, mate? From what I know, you were a shepherd and Snow was a princess when you two met.”

David shook his head at him. “That’s different.”

“How exactly?” Killian said with a groan.

Emma dropped her hand in the middle of the table between the two men before either of them could say more. “Enough you two,” Emma snapped at them.

Emma looked at David as he closed his eyes for a few seconds and then opened them again and spoke to her. “Emma,” David started. “I’m happy for you. I hope you are happy too,” David said with honesty in his voice.

Emma looked at Killian and he winked at her. Then she looked at David again and answered him with a genuine smile. “I am happy.”

“Then I will try not to kill him,” David said softly and then added one more word. “Yet.”

At his words Emma rolled her eyes, while Mary Margaret slapped David on his shoulder. “Be nice,” she told her husband.

“I am happy for you two, you already know that. But,” Henry started to talk, moving his eyes from Emma to Killian. “When are you going to take me sailing again?” Henry asked Killian, indignant.

Killian looked at Henry and started to laugh. “Whenever you want, lad,” Killian said and then looked at Emma. “If Emma agrees that is.”

“Tomorrow!” Henry said excitedly.

“You have school tomorrow,” Emma cut him off.

Henry turned to look at Emma with wide eyes. “But Mom!”

“School first, sailing second, Henry,” Emma said putting an arm around his shoulders. “You are already behind on everything thanks to our not so pleasant trip to Neverland.”

Rolling his eyes, Henry finally agreed that they could wait until it was the weekend with the sailing lessons. They continued to talk for a bit and afterwards, Emma listened to Henry and Killian making plans to go sailing and then they moved the subject to Killian teaching Henry how to swordfight. At that point of the discussion, David joined them and tried to convince Henry that he was just as good as Killian at teaching sword fighting lessons. That was the beginning of the end. Both David and Killian got into a long debate on who was the better swordsman between the two of them and who had better tactics in fights.

Not being really interested in what David and Killian were talking about, Emma started to look around the diner. She saw Milah at the counter talking with Ruby and Belle but soon after that, Belle left them and went to sit with Gold who was just entering the restaurant and Ruby was called back to work. Before Ruby left, she gave Milah a glass filled with something and then went to do her job, leaving Milah alone at the counter.

Emma watched Milah sitting alone, drinking from her glass and decided that she should go talk to her. She let Henry talk to Killian and David about swords and made a sign to Mary Margaret pointing towards Milah to let her know where she would be if any of them needed her. Mary Margaret just nodded and Emma rose from her place and started to walk towards the counter.

“Drinking alone?” Emma said to Milah when she was beside her.

“It’s just wine,” Milah said, smiling too and showing Emma her glass.

“Wine sounds good,” Emma said, sitting on a free chair besides Milah. “Are you okay?” she asked the woman, seeing as Milah was so silent.

Milah looked at Emma and shrugged her shoulders. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”

“Well, you are drinking alone,” Emma said pointing to the glass in Milah’s hand. “And you left our table.”

“You needed some alone family time,” Milah explained. “And I am still somewhat surprised from what I found out today.”

Emma nodded at her. “It was pretty big.”

“Yeah.”

Milah didn’t say anything after that. Instead, she moved her gaze from Emma to the glass of wine. Emma watched her as she looked almost lost at the glass. She could tell there was something more inside Milah’s mind and she was not fine.

“You look sad,” Emma said, making Milah look at her again.

Milah shaken her shoulders, “I’ve been thinking.”

“About?”

“What am I going to do now?” Milah said to Emma with a lost look on her face.

“What do you mean?” Emma asked, looking at Milah with narrowed eyes.

Milah let out a deep breath and started to explain. “Well, for the last 28 years, I tried to find an answer to how it was that I was alive and also tried to find Killian. I traveled a lot, yes, but the main goal was to find answers to what happened to me. Now that I’ve found them, I don’t know what I am going to do anymore.”

Emma nodded with understanding at her. Milah probably felt like she had nothing else to do with her life now that she had all the answers she needed to piece together the puzzle that had been in her mind and now that she had also found Killian. Emma understood her better than anyone. Even she had felt like that once or twice in her life, not knowing what to do with her life, where she was going or what was her purpose.

“You’re thinking about leaving Storybrooke?” Emma asked Milah in a serious voice.

“I don’t know,” Milah answered honestly.

“You could stay here,” Emma proposed to her.

Milah looked at her with wide eyes. “I’ve been thinking about it?” Milah said, although it came out more like a question.

“Then what’s the problem?” Emma asked, a bit confused.

“Would anyone in this town want me here now that I know what really happened with me? I don’t want to intrude in anyone’s lives.”

“You won’t be,” Emma assured her quickly. “Storybrooke was never a boring town and it never will be. Besides you will have us, you will have Ruby and Belle, Killian and Henry.”

“I know of one person who will not be happy to have me here,” Milah said, looking behind Emma. Emma turned around and saw that Milah was looking at the table Belle and Gold were at.

Emma turned and looked again at Milah. “We can deal with Gold, trust me.”

Emma saw Milah opening her mouth to answer her, but then Milah’s eyes moved behind Emma again. Emma thought she was still looking at Gold and Belle, but then she felt a hand on her back. She turned and was met with Killian’s blue eyes.

“What are you two doing here?” he asked them with a smile.

“Talking,” Milah answered.

Killian raised an eyebrow at Milah’s answer. “About?”

“About what I should do now that I’ve found the answers to all of my questions,” Milah answered to him.

“Don’t you want to stay in Storybrooke?” Killian asked with furrowed eyebrows.

Emma smiled at his question and looked at him. “That’s what I told her.”

Emma saw Milah looking at them with wide eyes. “Do you two really want me here?” Milah asked with surprise in her voice.

“Why wouldn’t we, Milah?” Killian asked her.

“Well, because you two are together now and we were together many years ago? Wouldn’t this be strange?” Milah asked, even more surprised than before.

Emma started to laugh out loud, making both Killian and Milah look at her confused. Emma looked around the diner and when she spotted the person she was looking for, she turned back to Milah.

“Do you see that woman Milah?” Emma asked Milah, pointing towards the back of the diner where Kathryn was talking with a man. “When the curse brought everyone to this realm, my father was married to that woman. And my mother had a relationship with Doctor Whale.”

“What?” both Killian and Milah yelled at Emma’s confession.

Emma decided to not go into the details of those stories but instead, she turned to their main subject. “Trust me, nothing would be weirder than that. And they are getting along well with each other,” Emma finished, but then remembered how David liked to punch Whale from time to time for sleeping with Mary Margaret. “More or less. David still likes to punch Whale from time to time.”

“Your father likes to punch people in general, love,” Killian said laughing.

“Anyway. The point is,” Emma said, looking back at Milah, “that you should stay here.”

“I’ve learned that Storybrooke is a place for second chances, Milah,” Killian said, moving his gaze from Milah to Emma, and then continuing with a smile. “You should stay here with us.”

“Besides, you promised Henry more stories,” Emma reminded Milah.

At Henry’s mention, Milah’s eyes grew bigger and she smiled. “I did that, didn’t I?” Emma raised her eyebrows at her, smiling. “Okay. I will stay in Storybrooke,” Milah finally answered.

Emma smiled at Milah while she rose from her chair and went to hug Emma and Killian at the same time. Emma was surprised by the move, but she didn’t say anything. Instead, she hugged Milah as well and smiled at her. After Milah let go of both of them, she asked Emma if she could go and talk to Henry. Emma told her that she didn’t had to ask for her permission to talk to Henry and watched Milah walk towards Henry.  Emma looked at Milah and Henry sitting together at the table. She realized from Milah’s gestures that the woman had asked her son something to which he started to nod rapidly and then Milah sat beside him at the table and started to talk while Henry was listening to every word that came out of her mouth.

As Emma watched the two of them, she felt Killian’s arm on her shoulder, pulling her closer to him. She looked up at him and smiled then put one hand on the hand he had on his shoulder and the other hand on the hooked arm Killian had around her abdomen.

“Looks like your father decided against killing me, after all,” Killian told her.

“He likes you.”

“Somehow I doubt that.”

“Trust me,” Emma said looking at him with a small smile on her face. “David likes you but he also likes to mock you.”

“Well, love, I can’t say anything to that. I am just happy he has decided to let me live and so I can enjoy-,” Killian took a break to let her go. He turned her around, so she could face him and he put his palm on her cheek. “Us.”

“Us,” Emma repeated after him.

“Us,” Killian said again. “Are you okay with that?”

“With us?” Emma asked confused. They just went over that; they had admitted their feelings face to face an hour or two ago.

“Not with us, Emma,” Killian said laughing. “With people knowing about us,” he explained.

Emma thought about it. Having her parents, Henry, Milah or even Regina and Ruby knowing about her and Killian was one thing but having the whole town knowing about them was another. Emma had to admit she hadn’t thought about that when she decided to tell the truth to her parents and maybe, just maybe, telling them the truth at Granny’s, where half of the town was spending time, especially Leroy, wasn’t such a good idea. But she did it and now there was no way to back down from that and frankly, she didn’t really care. Yes, the whole town would know that she and Killian were together, but it was better than having to hide themselves.

Killian let out a groan that broke her out of her thoughts and Emma realized that he was still waiting for an answer from her.

“Yes!” Emma quickly said. “Yes, I am okay with people knowing about us. I am done with caring what people think.”

Hearing her words made Killian smile wide at her. “Does that mean I can kiss you when I want to?”

“I guess?” Emma said and when she saw Killian coming closer to her she raised a finger in front of him. “Only when David is not close to us.”

“David is not close right now,” Killian said teasingly.

“He is not,” Emma agreed with a smile.

Without another word, Killian leaned closer to her and put a hand on her hip. He pressed his forehead to hers and Emma closed her eyes. “I love you,” Killian whispered when his lips were almost on hers.

“I love you too,” Emma said.

Killian pressed his lips to hers in a sweet kiss, and for the first time ever she knew she didn’t have to worry about him leaving her or her walls coming between them.

It was True Love. Emma knew it. Killian knew it. Her parents knew it and most likely the whole town would know very, very soon.

Chapter Text

When Henry brought Emma Swan to Storybrooke many years ago, she did not imagine she would have this.

A family.

She looked in the mirror at her own image. Emma Swan, dressed in a wedding dress, waiting to walk down the aisle to marry her True Love. It was an image Emma had never had in mind, but one that very slowly became a reality over the years thanks to her friends and family.

“You look amazing, Emma,” a female voice spoke from behind her.

“Thank you,” Emma turned around and smiled at the woman. “I am so happy you are here, Milah.”

“How could I not be?” Milah laughed at Emma. She came closer to Emma and took her hands in hers. “You two offered me a chance many years ago to stay in Storybrooke and build a life here. I am honored to be here with you, today.”

“Me too, Miss Maid of Honor,” Emma said, knowing very well that Milah hated the name.

Yes. Milah was her Maid of Honor, and if you told her that name face to face, she would have hurt you. But Emma knew that secretly her friend enjoyed the name.

She found an unexpected best friend in Milah. A best friend she needed when neither Mary Margaret nor Regina were free for a night out or a ‘drink all the rum’ night. A best friend that listened to her and offered her advice when it came to her own life or to her and Killian. Milah knew Killian better than anyone and that knowledge had come in handy more than once.

Milah was there for Emma when she needed it the most, especially when Killian had died at her own hands. She even went with them to the Underworld, and fought against Hades to free Killian from literal hell. Milah was almost gone forever when she almost fell into the River of Lost Souls but luckily, Killian saved her just in time.

The aftermath of the Underworld was the worst, though.

When they came back to Storybrooke without Killian, it almost destroyed both Milah and Emma. The two of them spent a full night alone on the Jolly, drinking rum and not really talking to each other. But they were together, in each other’s company, and neither of them had to spend a lonely night thinking back on Killian.

But then he came back and everything was right again.

Milah was more than helpful with anything that happened to them in the last few years. It didn’t matter if it was curses, witches, darkness or the Evil Queen fiasco. Milah was always there, helping and planning against the evil.

“Killian is going to die when he sees you,” Milah said, looking at Emma’s dress.

“Please. No more death jokes,” Emma said seriously.

“Yes, ma’am!” Milah said laughing. “This is your day, Emma.”

“The Black Fairy is still out there,” Emma said, looking out the window.

Milah put a hand on Emma’s cheek and turned her face so Emma could look at her.

“You’re right, the Black Fairy is still out there. But today, this day is yours. Yours and Killian’s. And we are all ready. If that woman comes within ten feet of your wedding, we’ll know. And trust me, I am ready to kill her or Stiltskin Junior if they interrupt this wedding,” Milah said, deadly serious and Emma knew it was true. Milah had became very protective of her and Killian during the last few years and she was ready to be their own personal bodyguard if any of them asked that from her.

“I’ll never know how to thank you enough for what you did for us, Milah,” Emma said.

“You don’t have to. I love you both, you know that,” Milah said with a wide smile. “Just promise me one thing.”

“Of course,” Emma said without hesitation.

“When your child comes to this world, I want to be his or her godmother.”

“That is without question, Milah.” At that, Milah smiled widely at Emma and both women hugged.

The two of them only stepped away from each other when David came, moments later, and announced that it was time. Milah winked at her and with a kiss on the cheek and a “good luck”, left to take her place as the Maid of Honor. Emma took David’s hand and together, got out of the room, Emma stepping slowly on the red carpet. Together she, David, and Mary Margaret started to walk towards the man that was about to swear in front of the whole town to love and protect Emma forever.

Emma didn’t need that. She knew that Killian was ready to die (again) for her. She knew that he would protect her by any means and that he would never make her suffer. She knew all those things just as he knew Emma would do the same for him.

Storybrooke had never been a normal town and it would never be a normal town, but people in it would always try to go on with their lives. Emma and Killian, together with the rest of their big family, would try to do that as well. Because no matter what happens and how hard it seems to be, when you have your friends and family surrounding you, everything is slightly easier to handle. No matter what is thrown their way, whether it be curses or witches or the latest crazy magic, they would find a way to defeat them all. Together.