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Showing Gratitude

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After seeing David and Elsa off to secure a room for the Ice Queen at Granny’s, bidding Henry goodnight, and getting Neal settled in his crib, Snow returned to the living room. The loft was silent as she looked at her daughter, still curled up on Hook’s lap in the chair. She approached them silently and laid a hand on the top of Emma’s head. Hook glanced up at her, with a questioning look on his face. “I think it’s time to get her into bed,” Snow said, and Hook nodded slowly, turning his eyes back to the woman in his arms.

“Swan, wake up,” Hook whispered, shaking her slightly. Emma mumbled sleepily and buried her nose more firmly into his neck. He shifted his body, turning her so that her feet slid to the floor. Then he stood, with his arms still around her so that she was leaning on him. He looked over at Snow, who was watching them with a soft smile on her face.

“Do you think you can get her upstairs by yourself?” she asked. At Hook’s reassurance that he could, she said, “Good. I’m going to go on up and find a warm pair of pajamas for her.” She disappeared up the stairs as Hook started guiding Emma toward them, encouraging her to keep moving. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to carry her up the narrow, open staircase without possibly dropping her or knocking her head against the wall. After a couple of steps, her muscle memory seemed to kick in as she dragged herself up one step after another, with Hook holding her firmly against his side.

When they reached the top of the stairs, Emma stated her need to use the bathroom, since the three large hot chocolates that she’d had were starting to make her bladder a bit uncomfortable. After he closed the door behind her, Hook continued on into her bedroom. Snow had laid a pair of checkered, flannel pajamas on the bed and was rummaging through a dresser drawer. He walked over and picked up the pajama shirt. “These are what she was wearing when I found her in New York,” he murmured.

Snow whirled around so quickly that Hook stumbled backwards a step. She reached out to lay a hand on his arm as she spoke in a quiet, but fierce, voice. “You know, we never properly thanked you for bringing Emma and Henry home. If it hadn’t been for you, we never would have found her, and we probably wouldn’t have been able to break Zelena’s curse. You never have explained how you were able to do that.”

Hook shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot, with his eyes on the floor. Snow studied his nervous movements for a few seconds before she declared, “Well, that’s a story for another time. But, Hook…” He looked up at her at the sound of his name. “I do want to hear it someday. Soon.” He nodded in acknowledgement, though she noticed that the tips of his ears had reddened. She hesitated for another moment before seeming to come to a decision. “Stay here. I’ll be right back.”

Hook listened to Snow’s footfalls fading as she moved down the stairs. She returned just as Emma opened the bathroom door, and Snow wrapped her arm around her daughter’s waist, leading her over to the bed. Hook helped her settle Emma onto the mattress, and then he felt something being pushed into his hand. He looked at Snow with a raised eyebrow.

“That’s an extra pair of David’s sleep pants,” she explained. “They’ll be more comfortable to sleep in. Go put them on while I get Emma into her pajamas.” Hook continued to look at her unbelievingly. “Look, Killian…” At the sound of his given name, Hook’s eyebrows rose even higher. “You’ve been here for her all night, helping to get her out of that cave and then staying by her side ever since she got home. She fell asleep on your shoulder, and it couldn’t have been comfortable for you kneeling on the floor all that time. I think you deserve to stay here with her the rest of the night. So, go on now. Get changed.”

Hook smiled at her. “Thank you, Mary Margaret,” he said. Then he turned and headed into the bathroom.

Snow went to stand in front of Emma and started pushing her leather jacket off her shoulders. Emma sleepily helped remove the coat and her white shirt. She began to shiver again as the cool air hit her skin. Snow quickly wrapped the pajama shirt around her and buttoned it up after Emma slid her arms through the sleeves. Then she knelt on the floor and removed Emma’s tall boots. Emma laid down on the bed to shimmy out of her jeans, and pulled the pajama pants on when her mother held them out to her. As Snow covered her feet in the fuzzy socks, Emma whispered, “Cold, Mom.” Despite the circumstances, Snow smiled. It touched her heart in the best way to hear her daughter call her ‘Mom’, something that she seemed to do much more easily ever since she and Hook had returned from their mysterious adventure back in the Enchanted Forest.

“I know, Sweetheart. Here, get under the covers. I brought up a couple of extra blankets for you.” After Emma settled under the blankets that were already on the bed, Snow unfolded two more and draped them over her daughter. Then she kissed her forehead and whispered, “I love you,” before turning to leave the room. She barely heard Emma return the sentiment as she started down the steps.

When Hook came out of the bathroom, he saw the back of Snow disappearing around the corner downstairs. He was clad in the sleep pants and his billowy, black pirate shirt, which he had left on to cover his brace. He walked stealthily across the floor and stood by the bed, looking down at the beautiful woman who was barely visible beneath all the blankets. She appeared to be asleep already, but he still debated whether or not to take off his brace. Emma had never seen him without it, and in fact, had never seen the brace itself underneath his clothes. His mind made up, he laid his hook on the bedside table, slipped off his shirt, and went about undoing the buckles on the brace. He would just be sure to wake earlier than Emma, so that he could put it back on before she could see the ugly scars on his wrist.

He pulled back the covers on his side of the bed and slid between them. Even though the bed was rather small, he was still surprised when Emma immediately gravitated toward him and snuggled in tight. One hand moved up his bare chest to settle near his shoulder, and he was dismayed to feel that it was still chilly to the touch. He reached up to cover it with his own hand and wrapped his left arm around her waist. With a sigh, Emma breathed out, “’Night Killian,” and it warmed his heart far more than her breath warmed his chest. He kissed the top of her head and softly said, “Sweet dreams, Love,” then closed his eyes, feeling extremely fortunate to be holding a very-much-alive Emma in his arms.