It had been five weeks since Emma Swan left Storybrooke.
Five weeks since she'd left her family behind because she was too blind to see they were the home she'd been searching for her whole life.
Five weeks since she'd last seen him.
Killian Jones; the man who had captured her heart and shaken the very foundations of her protective, emotional walls.
No wonder she'd run away. It was far easier to deny that she felt anything than face the fact that she'd fallen in love again. Far easier to push him away than welcome him in and take a chance that he could be 'The One'…because if she was wrong then she knew without a doubt that she'd break and she wasn't sure that she'd ever put herself together again.
The door to the apartment opened and Henry trudged in. His unhappy expression had become the norm and she felt the usual stab of guilt that was borne of knowing that she was to blame.
He acknowledged her with a semblance of a smile then headed into his room. Emma sighed at the quiet click of his door then stood up and walked over to the large window to stare down at the bustle of the city below.
Henry had agreed to go with her because he hadn't wanted her to be alone. She knew he was still in contact with Regina and his grandparents. She'd also spoken to her parents herself at first until it just felt to awkward and then she'd done what she did best and pulled back. It would be better in the long run she'd told herself.
Only it wasn't because everything she'd convinced herself to do was currently falling about her ears in one miserable heap.
When she'd made her decision to leave it had been because she needed to know without a shadow of a doubt that Storybrooke was her home. Was it so wrong of her to want some certainty that what she felt was not being confused with a misplaced sense of duty because of her role as the 'Saviour'?
In a town full of fairy tale characters and evil around just about every corner, couldn't she be forgiven for wanting to make sure that what she felt was real?
Long ago Henry's father, Neal, had told her that home was somewhere you just missed and boy had he been right for once. She missed her parents and Killian so much that at times it was a physical ache. She'd never experienced the like in her life.
Six months is what she'd told herself when she left and the pain was still freshest. If she felt the same in six months then she'd return, if not…
That's why she'd not told them. She hadn't wanted to get their hopes up and then not go back.
Problem was she hadn't bargained on the crushing sense of loss that had filled her entire being ever since she'd driven away. Each day the hollow feeling seemed to gnaw at her a little more so that even having Henry with her wasn't enough of a comfort.
Running a hand through her hair she closed her eyes and grimaced as the image of her parents distraught faces filled her mind. They hadn't understood her need to go and had tried to persuade her stay but when they realised their pleas fell on deaf ears, they'd tried to be as supportive as possible.
Regina on the other hand had been absolutely furious. She'd threatened and shouted until Henry had stepped in to talk to her. She'd finally acquiesced but Emma knew the woman would forever hold it against her.
Then there had been Killian. Emma groaned as she recalled the utter desolation on his face as he'd slowly walked over and tried to speak to her. She'd immediately turned away and tried to get into her car, unable to deal with his or her own pain. But then he'd surprised her and caught a hold of her arm before jerking her around to face him. She'd expected him to say something, an entreaty for her to stay perhaps, but not for the devastating feel of his lips suddenly crashing down upon hers.
He'd poured everything into their kiss that she'd not let him voice aloud. She knew that because she had done exactly the same, clutching him to her one last time as she memorised his scent, the feel of his mouth, the soft chest hair under her fingertips…everything about him.
When they'd broken apart, both flushed and breathing hard, Emma had blinked rapidly to hold back her tears then pulled herself forcefully from his embrace before taking a step back.
"Promise me you won't come after us," she'd whispered with a hint of desperation. He'd swallowed hard at her request and shook his head slightly until she'd repeated a little more urgently, "Promise me, Killian."
It was a few moments more before he'd finally let out a resigned sigh and nodded.
"You have my word, Emma," he'd vowed tonelessly, his own protective walls already being hurriedly reconstructed at what he'd realised was her inevitable departure.
She felt him pull away from her emotionally as effectively as if he'd taken several steps back. It was a good thing she'd told herself even as her heart broke a little.
She'd turned away then and had gotten into her car only looking in her rear view mirror once as she'd driven off. A clean break…almost.
Opening her eyes, Emma let out another sigh then turned away from the window and headed towards Henry's room with a sudden determination.
Six months she'd told herself but she wasn't even going to make six weeks. It was too hard and getting harder. She needed…wanted to go back.
Finally, she knew where her home was, she knew where her heart lay and she wasn't going to deny herself or Henry any longer.
Not bothering to knock, she opened her son's door and he looked up at her in surprise from where he sat on his bed.
"What's up?" he asked curiously, unsure of what to make of her heightened colour and sudden smile. "Are you okay?"
"Never been better," she assured him before adding brightly, "Pack your bags, kid, we're going home."