Emma strode along the corridor and down the stairs then came to a halt when she reached the bottom and glanced around. The last of Gisbourne's men appeared to have gone finally and as the hall was empty she headed over to the room where Prince John's right hand man had met his end.
Upon entering she saw her father hunched over a table at the far end of the room perusing what appeared to be a map. She walked towards him and he looked up, a smile immediately lighting his face.
"Emma," he greeted warmly, "How did it go with Regina?"
"The protection spell worked and the castle's safe," she replied, glancing around. The elation she felt at being able to perform such a tricky casting ebbed a little when she realised Killian wasn't there to share in her triumph and she continued flatly, "She said she was tired and went to her room. I think it's more to avoid Robin than anything else."
"Well she needn't have bothered," the prince replied wryly, "He's gone. Went to check on his men. We left Martha with them when we came to find you. He's worried she might have hurt them."
"I hope they're all right," the blonde commented in concern.
"So do I," Charming concurred before adding, "If there's a problem, he'll send word. All being well though, tomorrow he'll journey to Anton and ask him for another bean so we can get back to Storybrooke."
Emma nodded, relieved to hear that he had their predicament in hand. With no way to set up a permanent portal and her father using the bean they were stuck in the Enchanted Forest. It was something that Regina had been all too quick and too loud to point out once the realisation had hit that the bag with all the magical items they needed had gone through to the Underworld with Martha. It was the main reason that she'd quickly ushered the queen out of the room. That and the fact that the brunette had then rounded on Killian, her words cutting as she reviled the pirate for trusting the young witch in the first place.
The distraught look on his face had been enough for Emma to give his hand a slight squeeze to go along with her reassuring smile before swiftly taking charge of the situation. Once outside of the room she'd barely held back at giving Regina a few home truths that had been a long time coming but decided that the woman was unhappy enough without adding to her misery.
She had a feeling that things weren't going to be resolved between her and Robin for a good long while...if ever. She felt bad for the situation but not the woman. Actions had consequences after all and it seemed that this time Regina was going to have to face them. Her only concern was that it didn't send the queen down a dark path again.
In order to ensure that, she'd come up with the idea of putting a protection spell around the castle in order to keep Regina's mind off of Robin...if even for only a short while.
That had been an hour ago and she'd been itching to get back to the pirate the whole time just to check on him and make sure he wasn't blaming himself for everything that had happened.
"Where's Killian?" she asked.
"He went outside to check the grounds and make sure that all of Gisbourne's men had gone," Charming replied absently as his gaze went back to the map.
Emma was about to turn and go in search of him when her father let out a heavy sigh causing her to frown.
"Is something wrong?" she queried, moving closer so that she too could see.
He glanced up at her then huffed out another small sigh as he shook his head.
"I just don't think Prince John is going to give up that easily," he admitted reluctantly, "The kingdom is still vulnerable to attack and he'd be a fool not to press his advantage even with Gisbourne gone."
Emma felt a twinge of foreboding at his words, her frown deepening as she enquired a little hesitantly, "So...what are you going to do?"
"For now, go back to Storybrooke and discuss everything with your mother," he answered decisively, "With the castle protected we have some time to plan but eventually..."
He trailed off and looked away his expression one of someone who had bad news to deliver but didn't know how to do it. With a sudden flash of understanding she finished his thought for him, "You're going to come back here. Permanently."
Charming's gaze flew back to hers and he nodded, his voice optimistic as he told her, "Not just us I hope. You and Henry too, Emma. I know it's unexpected but I also can't just ignore what's happened here. These are our people, they depend on us and we need to make sure they're protected. We can't do that if we're in Storybrooke. They've already suffered enough under Gisbourne's tyranny."
Emma nodded and held her hand up to stop any further appeal on her father's part. She wasn't upset by the news, more taken aback. It was a lot to process after only just having accepted that Storybrooke was her home. What she was rapidly realising however, was that it wasn't just the place that made something home, it was the people that were there too. And if her parents felt they were needed back in their kingdom then she knew that she had to consider the possibility of moving to the Enchanted Forest too.
A small dart of excitement shot up her spine at the prospect but hard on its heels came a healthy dose of trepidation. Life would be vastly different and she'd be lying to herself if that didn't concern her somewhat.
"Before I make any kind of decision like that I'd need to talk to Henry," she finally told him with a half smile.
The prince relaxed and smiled back obviously pleased that she hadn't rejected the idea of coming with them outright.
"I know," he acknowledged then took the couple of steps that separated them and put his arms around her to draw her into a hug.
Emma embraced him back for a few moments, enjoying the sense of closeness she felt then they broke apart with easy grins.
"It's getting late. I'm going to go and find Killian," she said walking backwards as she jabbed her thumb over her shoulder at the door.
Charming's smile faded a little and his eyes narrowed then he commented sternly, "Just remind him that his room is at the other end of the corridor to yours and mine is in middle."
"Oh please," she muttered, good-naturedly rolling her eyes and turning away.
"And I'm a very light sleeper," he called out as she reached the door.
Emma glanced back at him with a wry smile and shook her head before leaving the room. While her father's over-protectiveness was touching she wasn't about to let it interfere with whatever did or didn't happen between her and Killian that night. Picking up her pace she walked briskly through the hall and out of the castle.
Dusk was drawing in but the evening was warm with just a gentle breeze that ruffled her hair as she glanced around wondering where to start looking for the pirate. Out the corner of her eye she suddenly caught a movement on top of the ramparts facing the sea and she smiled to herself when she realised that it was Killian.
Hurrying over, she climbed the stone steps that led to where he stood and paused when she reached the top. A few feet away Killian stood staring out across the ocean that lay beyond, the last rays of sunlight tinting the sky with an orange hue that warmed and caressed his face.
Her heart lurched a little at the rigid line of his jaw and troubled expression he wore and she mentally cursed both Martha and Regina for their part in his obvious misery.
Shoving her hands into the back pockets of her black jeans she took a small fortifying breath and slowly walked towards him.
"Penny for your thoughts," she commented mildly as she drew near, "or should that be a doubloon?"
She said the last with a terrible pirate drawl that had him turn to look at her with eyebrow raised.
A faint smile touched his lips and his tense stance relaxed slightly as he countered wryly, "Not sure they're worth that much."
"I'd be willing to pay it," she told him pointedly with a quick grin.
She caught a flash of self-recrimination in his eyes as his posture went rigid again and he looked away to gaze back out over the sea.
"I think you've already paid enough for one day, love," he muttered tautly.
Emma's stomach sank at his words as she realised that her concerns about him still blaming himself had been warranted after all.
Moving closer she took her hands out of her pockets then reached up and laid one on his chest before cupping his cheek with the other and gently coaxing him to turn his head to look at her.
"Hey, you know I can handle myself and fighting the bad guys kind of comes with the Saviour territory," she told him firmly.
"Aye, I do know," he assured her quickly, "But it doesn't help when the people by your side are the cause of the trouble. Trouble that today got you hurt and I fear someday maybe even worse."
She frowned sightly and let her hands drop to her sides as the first trickle of unease started to inch its way down her spine. She didn't like where this conversation was going one little bit. She could almost feel the tension radiating from his body as he stared back her, sadness and resignation swirling in the cerulean depths and gut instinct suddenly told her that there was more bothering him than just what had happened with Martha.
"So, what are you saying?" she asked, her tone accusing, "That for my own good it's best you leave or something?"
Killian glanced away, unable to hold her gaze and she took a stumbling step backwards, her breath catching in her throat as she felt the sudden rush of sickening deja vu. This couldn't be right. Killian wasn't supposed to be like all the rest, he was the one that always stayed. How could he think about going now that she'd finally allowed herself to let him in?
She started to take another step back, the urge to run instinctual but then he suddenly reached out and grabbed her hand. His blue eyes flashed with determination as he turned his head to look at her again and tightened his hold.
"Aye, I admit I've been thinking it," he bit out hoarsely, causing her to gasp, "How could I not question everything...me after today and what happened with Zelena before that? But that doesn't mean I'd do it. While I'm still a pirate and I believe you deserve better than the likes of me, I'll not leave you, Emma. Ever. Not unless you tell me to. It took me three hundred years to find someone who made me want to really live again and now that I found you I'm too weak...too selfish to just let you go," he paused then his expression turned earnest as he vowed, "I might not ever get there entirely, love, but I promise that I'll never stop trying to be a man worthy of you...and you and I both know that I'm a man of my word."
Emma stared back at him, the dismay of moments before completely vanishing as stronger, more turbulent emotions rioted through her at his declaration...because she had no doubt that's what it was even if he hadn't actually said those three little words.
Gaze unflinching, she brought their hands up between them and brushed her lips over his knuckles before taking a step closer, a new resolve lighting her eyes.
"Were you weak when you resisted taking Martha's potion? When you didn't want to forget me even though you thought you wouldn't ever see me again?" she asked softly.
He opened his mouth to speak but she briefly placed a finger over his mouth and gave him a little shake of her head to silence him. Off his nod of agreement she continued, "Were you selfish when you gave your ship up for me? Not even knowing if you'd find me or get me to remember?"
His eyes widened in shock at the knowledge that she'd found out about that and she nodded at him before adding, "You brought me home, Killian, back to my family. You've stood at my side even when I kept pushing you away. Can't you see that you don't have to try and be anything for me? You're already everything I want."
"Emma," he breathed incredulously, shaking his head slightly.
Sensing he was going to protest, she cut off anything else that he was about to say with a brief, but tender kiss then pulled back and gazed into his eyes a moment. He still looked dubious and she was filled with a sudden pressing need for him to believe that she'd meant every word. Having already admitted as much as she had, she just needed to find the courage to voice aloud what had she'd felt in her heart for a long while. Gripping his hand a little harder, she looked up at him from under her lashes then confessed in a tremulous whisper, "I love you, Killian."
The pirate swore his heart actually stopped for a moment as he stared back at her completely stunned. More than anything he wanted to say the words back. To tell her that he felt exactly the same. That hehad done from the first moment they'd kissed in that Godforsaken Neverland jungle, but the shock of finally hearing her say what he'd desired for so long held him speechless.
It felt like an eternity as he mentally scrambled about to find his voice and when he realised that he wasn't going to be able to utter anything anywhere near coherent in the immediate future he did what he always did best...and spoke with actions instead.
Releasing her hand he surged forward suddenly, his lips finding hers again with searing accuracy. She responded immediately, wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing herself fully against him with a groan. His arms went about her waist holding her even tighter, closer. Again and again they kissed, heads slanting, bodies straining, tongues duelling as they lost themselves in the moment and each other.
"I love you, Emma," he told her ardently when they finally broke for breath, his heated gaze locking with hers momentarily before the lure of her proved too much and he dipped his head to trail kisses along her jaw then down her neck, "I love you. I love you so bloody much," he murmured between each caress.
Emma closed her eyes and let out a soft sigh as she succumbed to the myriad of sensations he was creating. Every touch of his lips, every scrape of his beard, every uttered word of love sent sparks of awareness through her system. Her body felt aflame, heat racing through her veins as she pressed herself wantonly against him, trying to get ever closer.
He found a particularly sensitive spot just below her ear and she gasped loudly before grabbing hold of his hair and tugging his head up. She kissed him hard then broke away abruptly to demand urgently, "Let's go to my room."
Killian groaned, the knowledge that she wanted to consummate their love as much as he did causing his already taut body to harden further, throbbing with an insistent need.
"My bed chamber is nearer," he countered gruffly.
"Even better," she commented then pulled away from him and grabbed his hand, "Come on."
He went willingly, exchanging smiles and longing looks with her as they hurriedly made their way to his room. Once inside Emma waved her hand and a handful of candles flickered into life, lighting up the dimness surrounding them before Killian pinned her against the door and kissed her until she was breathless.
"Are you absolutely sure, love?" he couldn't help but ask when she began tugging at his clothes. He'd be loathe to stop but this was still so new and he didn't want her regretting anything in the morning.
"Never been more sure of anything in my life," she assured him, "You?"
"I gave myself to you a long time ago, Emma," he admitted soberly before suddenly grinning down at her and adding, "you just haven't taken me yet."
"No time like the present," she murmured grinning back at him and then there was no more time for talking as by some tacit unspoken agreement their lovemaking became less frantic and more intense.
They took their time undressing each other, worshipping every scrap of skin that was revealed with gentle touches and tender lips. Eventually they tumbled onto his bed in a tangle of bare limbs and heated moans.
They made love slowly. Touching, caressing, exploring until neither of them could wait any longer and he filled her with one sure stroke. Pausing a beat, they simply stared at each other in wonder, relishing the feeling of finally being one...and then he began to move.
Quickly finding their rhythm, Emma wrapped her arms around him and greedily pulled him closer. She felt him shudder then increase his pace as her hands clutched convulsively at his back then slid down and down further, sinking into firm flesh, urging him faster, harder.
Killian's breath started to come in short pants, matching his ever quickening thrusts as he drove them both relentlessly towards fulfilment.
All too soon Emma felt the first tendrils of pleasure begin to unfurl then suddenly her climax exploded in a haze of white heat that shot through her body like wildfire. She called his name just as his hips faltered then surged into her one more time, her release having triggered his and he emptied himself inside her with a ragged groan.
Harsh breathing punctuated the air as they lay still for a moment too spent to move. Eventually Killian lifted his head and gave her a soft smile before capturing her lips lingeringly with his.
"I love you," he murmured when they broke apart.
"I love you, too," she told him, reaching up to pull him back in for another deeply satisfying kiss.
This time when they parted, the pirate rolled off her then gathered her to him with a contented sigh. She snuggled in closer, lazily nuzzling his neck while her fingers traced the whorls of hair that covered his chest.
Killian gently smoothed his hand up and down her back, his hand threading through her hair every now and then as he lifted the ends and let them run through his fingers. It had been a long time since he'd felt this at peace, this happy. It was almost too good to be true. He felt Emma shift slightly then she raised her head to look to him and he was struck, not for the first time, by her beauty.
Green eyes shone back at him, no longer guarded. Her kiss swollen lips were curved up into a carefree smile and there was an openness to whole demeanour that came with the knowledge that she knew she was really, and had been quite thoroughly, loved.
"I spoke to dad before I came to find you," she said, seemingly as unable to stop touching him as he was her when she lifted her hand to run a finger down his cheek and under his chin, "He said that he and mom are probably going to have to come back here to live."
Killian's eyes widened in surprise at her apparent lack of concern, his hand stilling in its administrations as he gazed back at her trying to get a gauge on her feelings.
"And you're fine with that, love?" he asked dubiously, "I thought you'd be upset being as you've only just decided that Storybrooke is your home now."
"If there's one I've learned from all this, it's that home isn't just a place, it's being with the people you love," she told him, sharing the epiphany she'd had earlier, "I'll talk to Henry when I get home but I pretty sure he'll be fine with coming here. I just wanted to check that you were too?"
Killian nodded, his heart skipping a little at the knowledge that she included him so easily in her future plans, that she considered him a part of her home.
"I'd follow you to the ends of the earth, Emma," he vowed solemnly, reaching up to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear as he gazed at her adoringly.
The blonde stared back at him, her breath catching as the extent of his devotion hit her square in her heart. Uttered by anyone else, she would have brushed the words aside as nothing more than romantic flattery but coming from this man, she knew that he meant every single word.
She leaned forward and kissed him languidly at first but it wasn't long before their passion ignited anew. The second time their union was quicker with Emma taking the lead and riding him until the pirate swore he almost blacked out with the intensity of his mind blowing release.
In the aftermath of sweat slicked limbs and heaving chests, Killian pulled her close again and she gave a wide yawn as the events of the past couple of days finally caught up with her.
"Go to sleep, Swan, I've got you," he murmured into her ear as she succumbed to her exhaustion.
She smiled sleepily to herself, her last thought being that he was right.
He did have her.
All of her.
Every single part.