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She’s curled up, cocooned in blankets, still shivering. She’s moved from the arm chair to the couch, wondering how long she’ll feel this cold. The space heater helps, and her heart swells with affection for the overly concerned pirate currently standing in the loft’s kitchen, stirring a pot of hot chocolate.

Snow sweeps through the living room, her face tired and worn. She stops at the couch, brushing her daughter’s hair from her eyes. “Are you warming up any?”

“Mmhm,” Emma vocalizes, looking up at her mother. “I’ll be okay.”

“I know you will,” Snow sighs. “You’re strong.”

There’s a small commotion as Killian roots around in the cabinet for a mug. Snow chuckles at his efforts. “And I think you’re going to be well taken care of,” she says with a knowing smile.

Emma laughs lightly and leans against her mother’s hand. “He’s… Something else.”

“He means well,” Snow whispers as Killian makes his way to the couch, hot chocolate in hand. “I love you, Emma. Good night.” She slips away to the hall.

“How’re you feeling, love?” Killian asks, setting the mug on the coffee table. “Are you warm yet?”

“Not entirely,” she says, an involuntary shiver wracking her body. “But I think the cocoa might help.”

He smiles at her, a gentle smile, one that she doesn’t often see. “Well then, lass, you’d best drink up.”

She sits up and wraps her hands around the mug, sighing into its warmth.

Killian just stands there, unsure of what to do or where to go.

“Sit with me?” Emma asks, sounding more vulnerable than she cares to.

A smile plays on his lips. “Aye, lass, that would be nice.” He slides into the vacant spot beside Emma’s blanket fortress. She scoots closer and snuggles into him, taking a sip from the steaming mug.

“Perfect,” she says, her eyes locking with his.

xxxx

Three hours later finds a bleary-eyed David pacing the loft with his infant son, who, despite being overtired and needing sleep, had woken up in the middle of the night, demanding to be fed. The baby quiets as they shuffle through the kitchen, warming up one of the bottles Snow had prepared for late-night feedings.

“There ya go, big guy,” David croons to little Neal as he offers him the bottle, which the baby latches onto all too happily.

David hums under his breath as he moves toward the living room, fully intending to turn off the space heater that Emma had forgotten about. She really should know better, he scolds mentally.

Except that she didn’t forget at all, he realizes, because she’s still curled up on the couch. Or, rather, Hook is lying on the couch while Emma is curled comfortably into his chest, both swallowed by a very large quilt.

A smile ghosts across the prince’s lips. While he is worried about his daughter’s apparent taste in men, it’s a relief to see her, to see the both of them, seemingly carefree and peaceful. Happiness is all he wants for his daughter, and if Hook is the conduit… Well, then so be it.

He doesn’t mention it to anyone the next morning, answering Snow’s questioning look with a nonchalant shrug when they wake to find the pirate in their kitchen, trying to decipher the coffeemaker, Emma still asleep on the couch.

Later, though, when Hook goes to leave, David catches him at the door.

“Hey,” he mumbles, running a hand through his hair. “Thank you.”

Hook looks confused. “For what, mate?”

“For making my daughter happy,” David relents, clapping his hand on the pirate’s shoulder. “It’s nice to see her smile every now and then.”

The Captain gives a smile of his own as he opens the door. “I find that she makes me want to be the reason she smiles.”

And David can ask for no more than that in terms of his daughter’s happiness.