Birds; there were birds chirping somewhere outside. Emma groaned as she rolled away, trying to burrow her head into the hard body she’d shared the bed with.
But he wasn’t there.
Gasping, she jolted awake, sitting up in a rush of fabric as the sheet fell away from her naked body.
“Finally awake, love?”
Her eyes sought her pirate, finding him slouched in the chair she’d been a resident of for the last few days. The dark circles under his glassy eyes spoke volumes to her and she winced at the stench of rum still wafting off him.
“Yesterday wasn’t a dream, was it?”
Terrified of the calm he exuded, she shook her head minutely, gathering the fallen sheet to cover herself.
“Somehow you pulled me out of the curse. Then I left and you found me drunk.”
She nodded, still silent.
“Then you brought me back here and gave me a pity fuck before you send me on my way.”
“What?! No! Killia-”
“What Emma, what? No, that wasn’t it? How could it not be?!? You woke me from the perfect life I could never have just so I can watch you drive away. AGAIN!”
“It wasn’t a pity fuck! What the fuck happened that made you hate me so much?!?” Emma’s strong words tapering into nothing as she deflated, crumbling in on herself. When she looked up, she saw nothing but resignation in Killian’s eyes, as if he’d given up on happiness.
“I had-everything. You renounced your throne and joined me on my ship. We had a baby-Henry-and then we were married. Then we had a little girl. You wanted to call her Leia.” He paused, smiling at the memory. “And then you told me you were pregnant again. The next thing I remember was waking up in this life that has done nothing but disappoint me. I had-everything…everything.”
He choked, almost inaudibly and her eyes misted over as she watched him. His head reared back and he blinked rapidly before clearing his throat.
“Well-I’ll leave you to it, Ms. Swan. Have a safe journey.”
He stood up more quickly than he should have been able to given the approximate alcohol content of his blood. His swift footsteps echoed through the loft as he strode to the door, yanking it open and disappearing.
Emma sat there, stunned at the last few minutes. Her heart started beating furiously in her chest, threatening to break into even smaller pieces. She jumped up, gripping the sheet tightly to her body and tripping as she darted to the door. She yanked it open, throwing herself into the hallway as she chased after Killian.
“Killian!” She caught sight of his leather coat as she rounded the corner at the bottom of the stairs. “Killian, stop!” She heard the door slam as he kept walking and she silently cursed the pirate who she knew she’d make a spectacle of herself for.
She punched through the door, skidding to a halt and hurting the soles of her feet on the sidewalk. Her head darted to the left, then to the right where she caught sight of him leaning against the brick wall, head down, and hand over the bottom half of his face.
She marched over to him, clutching the thin sheet around her and shivering in the autumn air, her finger poking into his chest when she reached him.
“Listen here, you stubborn pirate! I had to save you! I just-you were dying and-” Her hand closed over her mouth as she choked back a sob. His hand reached for her before dropping, as if he didn’t want to touch her. “Look-you took a fucking curse for me. You were dying and I had to save you! I just-I couldn’t…fuck!” Her free hand raked through her tousled hair, pulling it harshly.
His eyes softened and he tried to tug her inside, glancing around at the few onlookers out and about this early in the morning.
“No! I just-you need to hear this!”
“I can hear it inside, Swan. Come, let’s get you-”
“NO! Killian, just listen to me! I fucking love you, you idiot!”
Time seemed to freeze. Even the birds stopped chirping. Marco froze across the street, gawking at the pair and Ruby stared wide-eyed at them from down the street.
Killian’s eyes had flown wide open as Emma sagged, her confession hanging in the air between them.
“I just-I had to tell you…I had no idea-I mean, Regina said you were living the perfect life and I tried to make the best choice…and-I just…I couldn’t lose you.” Her hand covered her mouth again as a sob ripped its way out of her chest. “And now-well, now you hate me and my heart is broken yet again. Great to know it still works, huh?” She laughed derisively, feeling achingly hollow. “So-yeah…I’ll just-yeah, I just had to tell you.”
She turned, rushing back inside, fleeing the complicated emotions that she was not at all used to dealing with. She didn’t want an audience for her shame and grief and she couldn’t face Killian when he told that he hated her.
She slammed the door, throwing herself across the room and into the bed they’d shared for those few precious hours. The tears finally fell as she curled on her side, wrapping her arms around the pillow.
She laid there forever, or so it seemed, in absolute agony. Not only did he leave her-because who would ever stay with unlovable, unwanted Emma Swan?-she had to deal with the guilt and grief of knowing she’d ruined his life. He’d had everything he ever wanted; what he thought she’d never give him. But she wanted to; she wanted that life with him. She wanted to have babies with him;cuddle on cold nights with him; have disasters trying to cook with him…she wanted it all. And now she’d never have it. Her sobs choked her; the agony spearing through her chest as if it were a spear.
Then she felt a hand on her bare back.
“I do NOT want to talk about it, Mary Margaret. I’m sorry, I just-can’t.”
A pregnant pause filled the loft before she heard the voice she never thought she’d hear again. “It’s not your mother, love.”
x . x . x . x . x
“Leia! It’s time for school!”
Emma laughed as Jack ran past, whipping around her, using her legs as a pole. His giggles echoed off the tile as he slid out of the kitchen in his sock-covered feet.
She laughed even harder at Killian’s exclamation, dropping the spatula into the pan of eggs she was cooking.
The door slammed, a shout sounded, followed by a large thud.
Emma bent over, holding her ribs as she guffawed loudly. She straightened up, stumbling over to the kitchen entry, her hand flying to her mouth at the scene before her.
Henry was sprawled across the hallway, glaring at his little brother who was draped across his chest, while Killian stood above them, hand and hook on his hips.
The icing on the proverbial cake was when Leia appeared at the top of the steps, her blonde ringlets bouncing as she shook her head, her hands on her hips, mimicking her father, as her toe tapped. Killian’s eyes traveled up the staircase, taking in his daughter’s stance and he broke out into laughter.
He stepped over the boys, crossing the hall and wrapping Emma in his arms, where he laid a huge kiss on her to the chagrin and catcalls from the children.
“Come on guys! Ugh, you’re so gross!” Henry gently pushed Jack off him, popping up to his considerable height and swinging his little brother onto his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. “I seem to have a surplus of brother here. Where do you guys want him?”
He grinned widely at his parents and they beamed right back. “Eh, got room in your dorm for him?”
Henry snorted. “Hell no! Besides, he’d cramp my style.”
“You do know women flock toward men with small children who aren’t theirs, right lad?”
Emma smacked her husband as he laughed again. “And just how would you know THAT, pirate?”
He laughed as Henry murmured a “Busted…” and Emma playfully huffed. A moment later she pressed a soft kiss to his cheek as she darted back to the kitchen to finish the eggs.
“Come on, hooligans! Breakfast is served!”
Killian watched the mad dash for the breakfast nook, complete with tripping and laughing from the boys and a dainty step past from the girl. He crossed the kitchen to where Emma was plating the eggs, along with the pancakes and fresh fruit she’d prepared earlier. He wrapped his arm around her, resting his chin on her shoulder as a sigh escaped.
He grinned at her question. What indeed.
“This is just…this is perfect, love. Absolutely perfect.”