Killian’s eyes scanned the horizon, watching the stars twinkle in the fading twilight. The soft footsteps on the deck drew his attention and he spun quickly, sweeping Emma up in his arms.
Her squeal of laughter echoed over the water, drawing the attention of the few crew members still on deck. They chuckled, returning to their duties and leaving their Captain to his woman.
“Put me down, you crazy pirate!” Her laughter resonated across the open sea, bouncing of the waves like rocks skipping on the surface.
“But I like having you in my arms, Princess. How long do you think it’ll be?”
“Any day now. Why, are you excited?”
Killian smiled, setting her on her feet and wrapping his arms around her. He laid a gentle kiss on her lips before pulling back, his hand and hook migrating to her extremely pregnant stomach.
“Of course I am. I’ve always-I mean…well, you realize that this little Prince or Princess will be part pirate, aye?”
Emma bit back a grin, letting him get away with hiding his welling emotion.
“Of course. And technically I’m not a Princess anymore, so the baby won’t technically be royal either.”
The light in his eyes dimmed slightly. “I never meant for you to give up your life. I would have let you go, to marry that pansy ass tosser your parents picked out. All I wanted was for you to be happy.”
Her delicate fingers gripped his chin harshly, tugging his eyes up to her own. “I AM happy. I’m happy with you. These past two years have been the best of my life and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I never cared about being a Princess…I was a horrible Princess, remember?”
They laughed together for a moment. Then Emma calmed, taking his good hand in hers and bringing it to her heart. “You have my heart, Killian. You always have. And I would be miserable without-”
Her breath caught as a sharp pain ripped through her abdomen. She hunched forward, bracing herself on Killian’s arm, squeezing her fingers into his flesh.
“What?!? What is it?! What’s wrong?”
The remaining crew rushed to their aid as Killian panicked. Emma smirked through the pain, waving off their helping hands.
“I think your child is going to enjoy interrupting us. I think it may be time.”
“Shit! Someone go to shore and fetch the doctor!”
A moment later a splash sounded as the rowboat dropped to the water and Emma tried to slow her breathing.
“Come on, love. Let’s get you below deck.”
Hunched over and still panting slightly, Emma felt Killian’s arm go around her waist. She grabbed onto the hook he offered, knowing that she could squeeze as hard as she liked without hurting him.
Together they trekked to their cabin, pausing only once as Emma breathed through a contraction. Killian settled her into bed, pouring her a glass of wine that she promptly spit back on him as another round of pain attacked.
The doctor, a royal physician stationed in the port near them specifically for this reason, arrived three quarters of an hour later. Killian opened the door to usher him in and was astonished to see the crew, nearly every single man, clustered in the hall outside-waiting for news of the babe.
They received a tilt of the head from him before he disappeared back into the room, leaving the crew to pace and bet and gamble as they waited.
Killian paced as Emma labored, biting his thumb nail down as far as he could before starting on his other nails. The doctor finally gave him a task-propping her up and rubbing her lower back-just to keep him busy.
The night turned to day as the hours slipped on and Killian couldn’t believe the horror and ugliness of birth. Truly he was astonished the race had survived at all, given the enormous trial this was.
The sun was high in the sky when the doctor prompted Emma to push. Killian propped himself behind her to help pull her legs back, mindful of the sharp point of his hook as the doctor knelt on the wooden floor at the end of the bed.
“Come on, love. You’re almost there. Almost done.”
The sweet whispers were lost in sobs and screams as his child fought to enter the world. Emma, his beautiful brave Emma, pushed for over an hour when finally-with a mighty yell fit for a warrior-she sagged back against him and a sharp shrill cry rang out from below.
“You did it! Oh, Emma, you did it!”
He pressed soft kisses to her sweat-slicked forehead, craning his neck to see the baby.
The doctor stood a few moments later, cradling a small bundle wrapped in a soft linen blanket. Killian’s heart skipped a beat as the older man placed the child in Emma’s arms. Tears sped down her cheeks as she pulled the blanket back, propping the baby against her legs.
Killian felt a tear slipping down his cheek as he watched Emma hold their child. He glanced over her shoulder, resting his chin there as he sniffled lightly.
“So, love-do we have a Prince or a Princess?”
Her beaming smile turned towards him and she pulled the blanket further, causing the tiny little person in her lap to let out an affronted squawk.
“Seems you’ve got yourself a tiny Prince. Do you have a name for him, Captain?” The doctor asked, quill poised above a bit of parchment ready to be dispatched to Emma’s parents.
A small nod from Emma as she settled the baby at her breast and leaned back into him gave him an immeasurable surge of fatherly pride.
“Henry. This is my son, Henry Jones.”
x . x . x . x . x
“What do you mean you can’t get it?!?”
Mr. Gold leaned heavily on his cane as Emma railed at him. Regina and David stood by the door, ready to beat feet out of the loft as Mary Margaret hid in the kitchen. Only Henry was brave enough to stand near his mother.
“Just what I said, dearie. This particular curse is complex and the ingredients for the counter curse are rare, even in our world. In this world-well, there’s absolutely no way to get what I need.”
Henry’s hand on her arm deflated the remaining anger out of her. She sagged, her arms wrapping around herself as Rumplestiltskin’s words sunk in.
“So, essentially, you’re saying there’s nothing we can do. And he’s going to-” she choked, not able to get the word out.
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying.”
Regina and David braced themselves for whatever explosion of emotion Emma would dish out. But she surprised them.
“Thank you. I think-I think I’d like to be alone. Now.”
Without another word, she turned and dropped into the chair beside the bed. The others filed out of the loft, Henry placing a gentle kiss to his mother’s head before walking out after his grandparents.
Emma couldn’t even bring herself to acknowledge him. She grabbed Killian’s hand, squeezing until her fingers cramped and she left small indentations in his flesh. The lack of response nearly broke her.
She glanced down his body, lifting the corner of the blanket. They’d changed him into a pair of David’s sweatpants the day before and the small strip of skin above the waistband was a sickening mixture of bruised translucence. She pulled the soft cotton shirt back down over his stomach before covering him again with the thin blanket.
She shook her head. He loved her-that’s the only reason he’d jumped in front of her. But didn’t he realize that she couldn’t live without him now?
Her eyes welled with tears as she remembered the last words she’d spoken to him. Vague threats of returning to New York and a scathing remark about his uselessness-her head dropped to the bed, a sob ripping out of her throat as her hand found his again.
“Please, Killian! I need you with me. God I just-FUCK!”
With any hope draining out of her she wept against his skin, never noticing the color leaching from his fingers. `