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When You Least Expect It

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When the smoke cleared Emma found herself strapped to a table. She immediately started to struggle, trying desperately to free herself.

“Emma.” A terrified voice made her suddenly stop in her attempts.

Turning her head, Emma saw that Amelia was strapped to the table next to her. The little girl was looking at her with eyes filled with tears and acceptance, knowing as well as Emma did that their chances of getting out of here were slim to none. 

Looking at Amelia all Emma could say was, “I’m so sorry.” 

A noise tore their eyes away from each other and to where Gothel was standing over a large cauldron, throwing various ingredients into it. Behind her on a shelf were several jars, each with a different colored light floating inside. Emma immediately knew what they were, the magic from the other children that Gothel had taken. 

She must have sensed that she was being watched and lifted her head to look at them. “It’s time,” she said in a quiet, almost calm voice.

When she began to walk toward them, Emma saw that her hand was glowing bright red and knew in that moment exactly how she and Amelia were going to die, by having their magic and lifeforce ripped from their bodies. 

Emma's heart hammered like a bass drum as she watched Gothel start towards Amelia first. "No!" Gothel stopped in her tracks and faced her. "Take my magic first. I'm the Savior, my powers are stronger. I won't fight you," Emma begged, knowing that while she had failed to keep the little girl safe, she could at least postpone Amelia's torment for a little while longer. 

Gothel seemed to think about it for several seconds before changing direction toward Emma. When she was finally standing over her the witch looked down at Emma with triumph on her face. 

“I told you that you wouldn’t win. You should have just handed the brat over to me and none of this would have happened.”

Emma scoffed. “Please, you still would have tried to kill me.” 

“True, but it would have quick. I intend to make you suffer, and I really am going to enjoy myself while I do it,” Gothel sneered.

Emma closed her eyes as Gothel started to raise her glowing red hand toward her. She began thinking of her family. How she never got to say goodbye to her parents and Henry, or her wonderful, loving husband, her true love.

“I’m so sorry, Killian. I love you,” she whispered as she waited for the end to come. 

Except it never came. A gasp of disbelief had her snapping her eyes open and what Emma saw shocked her. A bright white light was hovering around her, preventing Gothel from penetrating it. 

“No! How is this possible!” Gothel said in outrage as she tried again only to be jolted back by the strange light once more.

Emma had no idea what was happening, but she knew it started with thoughts about her family. So she focused on the way her mother always included her favorite dishes at Sunday family dinners, or how her dad always cradled the back of her head when he hugged her and her sweet Henry, who had such a positive outlook on everything and who made you want to be a better person. And Killian, who came into her life when she believed herself unlovable and never gave up on her, who broke down her walls to become the love of her life.

Suddenly Emma felt a pulse of energy burst from within her. The straps that had held her down and the cuff around her wrist instantly vanished. She immediately jumped from the table to find that the pulse of energy had knocked Gothel out.

“Emma!” Amelia called out from the other table.

Emma turned to see that Amelia had also been released from her bounds. “Amelia!” she exclaimed as the little girl rushed toward her and immediately wrapped her arms around her. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah,” Amelia said as she pulled back from the embrace. “How did you do that, Emma?” Before Emma could respond, she saw Gothel start to struggle to her feet. Pushing Amelia behind her, she braced herself for whatever the witch did next.

When Gothel turned around, Emma was ready for the magic that shot her way from the witches hand. Their magic met in the middle, both fighting for the upper hand. 

“You’ll have to kill me, Emma, because I will never give up. No matter what you do to me, or where you send me, I will always come back until I have what’s mine,” Gothel said menacingly.

Emma knew she was telling the truth, knew that Gothel would never stop being a threat to her family. Almost as soon as the thought left her head Emma felt the same pulse of energy form earlier swell from within her. She felt the energy start to fuse with her magic, amplifying it, making it stronger.

Gothel noticed the chance right away. Fear immediately began to cross her features as she felt the intense magic begin to weaken hers. 

“How are you doing this?” she said, struggling to hold her own.

Emma started to move forward, the light encasing the dark with every step she took until she was toe-to-toe with Gothel, looking her right in the eyes.

“Try coming back from this." closing her eyes, Emma concentrated with everything she had until she began to feel the magic wash completely over her from head to toe and then burst from her.

Gothel began to scream as the powerful white magic started to wrap around her like a cocoon. “No! This isn’t how it was supposed to happen!” she cried out in despair as she tried to blast her way out of it.

Emma watched as the magic continued to surround her until Gothel stopped moving. She started to approach the immobilized witch with her hands still raised when suddenly her eyes widened in astonishment as a blinding light started to emanate from within the tomb-like structure. Emma quickly turned and grabbed Amelia, taking cover behind one of the tables to shield themselves as the light continued to grow brighter and brighter until the capsule finally exploded into a thousand pieces.

When the dust settled Emma opened her eyes to find Amelia looking up at her. 

“Emma. What happened?”

She shook her head at the little girl. “I don’t know, baby.” They slowly stood up to find nothing left of either the capsule or Gothel.

“Is she gone?” Amelia asked with a small wobble in her voice.

Emma looked down at Amelia, realizing that after all these years the little girl was finally free of constantly having to look over her shoulder  wondering if Gothel was going to find her. She crouched down and put her hands on Amelia’s arms. “Yes. Yes, she is.”

The little girl’s face lit up and she threw herself into Emma’s arms. “Thank you,” Amelia whispered into the crook of her neck. 

They stayed like that for several minutes, both just happy to be safe and alive when they suddenly heard noises coming from the tunnels. Startled Emma rose to her feet and put an arm around Amelia, quickly moving her over to a spot along the wall of the cave hidden from view. 

“Stay here and don’t come out until I call for you.” Emma turned back toward the tunnel opening, wondering if maybe Gothel had a contingency plan in case of her demise. “Who’s there!?”

“Emma!” A very familiar, deep accented voice called out.

“Killian!” Emma yelled, hurrying toward the opening of the tunnel where her husband's voice was coming from. 

Their eyes locked at the same time. Nothing else mattered, only getting to each other as soon as possible. They crashed into one another, their lips meeting in desperation from thinking that they were never going to see each other again.

When they pulled away from each other Killian brought his hand up to rest against her cheek. “Are you alright Swan?” he asked as he began to look around urgently. “Where’s Amelia?”

Emma reached up and took his hand in hers. “Yes. We’re fine,” she reassured him, as she looked over her shoulder. “Amelia. It’s okay to come out now.”

Peeking her head out, the little girl's eyes lit up. “Killian!” she cried out happily as she began to run over to him

Killian bent down to catch and lift her up into his arms. “Oh! I’m so glad that you're okay, little lass,” he crooned softly as he held her tight. He turned back to Emma with a perplexed look on his face. “Swan, what happened? Where’s Gothel?

Before Emma could respond, she heard several more voices coming from the tunnel, then a second later her parents and Regina came into view. “Mom! Dad!” she said joyfully, running to embrace her parents.

“Oh, Emma! We were so worried! Are you okay?” Snow asked, concerned.

“Yeah. I’m fine.” Emma looked around and noticed that someone was missing. “Where’s Henry?” she asked.

“He stayed back at the convent, rather reluctantly I might say,” Regina informed her. 

“Okay good,” Emma sighed with relief. “How did you all find us?”

“It was Silver, love,” Killian stated as he made his way over to them, Amelia now standing beside him, holding on to his hook. “She left a message telling us she brewed a potion that would help us find this place,” he finished.

Emma still didn’t know how she felt about the deceased fairy. On the one hand, Silver had been in league with Gothel, but she had also given her life while trying to save Amelia and herself.

“Swan?” Killian’s voice broke through her musings.

Emma looked up into his questioning gaze. “It’s nothing, Silver...” she paused, giving him a knowing gaze, not wanting to upset Amelia with the memory of what happened. “Anyway,” she said before turning to her parents, “Mom. Dad. I want you to meet somebody. This is Amelia.”” She held her hand out for the little girl to take and brought her over to them. “Amelia, sweetheart, these are my parents, David and Snow.”

David stepped forward and bent down to greet her. “Hello, Amelia. It’s very nice to meet you.”

The little girl gazed up at them and smiled shyly. “Hi.”

“Emma, I’m sorry to interrupt but what happened with Gothel,” Blue asked as she approached the group.

“Gothel’s gone.” 

Emma  proceeded to tell them everything that had happened. From when she talked to Gothel at the hospital, to waking up imprisoned, to Silver trying to rescue them, then finally the battle with Gothel and the strange magic that had helped her defeat the witch. After she was done she took in everyone’s reactions. Her parents looked stricken, while listening to how close they had come to losing their daughter, while Killian had taken her and held it in a vice like grip. When she glanced up at him, Emma saw  his jaw was clenched with quiet rage. She could only imagine what was going on inside his head, so Emma brought her other hand up and stroked his arm lovingly.

Killian calmed instantly at the gentle touch of his wife. Just hearing about what Emma and Amelia had been through made him want to resurrect that bloody witch just so he could have the pleasure of killing her again. Taking a deep breath to quell those thoughts he then turned to Emma and gave her a grateful smile. 

“Emma. Do you have any idea what the magic was?” Blue asked her.

Emma shook her head. “No. All I know is that it wasn’t coming from me.”

Killian cocked his head. “What do you mean love?”

“Gothel used the cuffs on us, so I couldn’t use my magic and neither could Amelia. It also felt entirely different from my own magic, plus once Gothel was defeated it went away,” Emma explained.

Regina stepped forward then with an incredulous look on her face. “So, what you're saying is this magic just came out of nowhere, helped you do that ,” she paused and pointed at the dust on the floor that indicated all that was left of the witch, “to Gothel and then just disappeared.”

“Yeah, that is exactly what I’m saying. Listen to be honest, right now I really don’t care where it came from. I’m just glad that this is over with.” Emma  looked up at Killian. “Can we please go home now?”

“Of course, love.” Killian bent down to once again pick Amelia up  then put an arm around Emma. “Let’s get out of here.”

The group (minus Blue, who had stayed behind to take care of the jars of magic) made their way through the tunnels and out of the catacombs. They emerged into a wooded area that Emma instantly recognized. 

“The Apprentices Mansion?” she asked, turning to see that the entrance to Gothel’s hideout had been directly beneath the grand house.

“Yes. We were just as surprised. My guess is that Gothel was drawn here because this place still has some strong magic associated with it,” Regina stated.

Emma remembered all too well the kind of magic that resided in the mansion. Shaking her head to clear the unpleasant memories she turned to Regina. “Will you bring Henry back to the house for me?”

Regina nodded. “Yes. Of course.”

“Thank you,” Emma said gratefully, turning to her parents she gave them a knowing look, trying to convey everything she couldn’t voice out loud. When they both gave her a nod of understanding she reached for Killian, who was still holding a now sleeping Amelia, and the three of them disappeared in a plume of white smoke. As soon as they reappeared inside their house, Killian stepped away to lay the little girl down on the sofa. 

Emma watched her husband for several minutes as he stood there silently before walking over to him and gently placed a hand on his arm. 

“Killian?” she whispered. When he turned to look at her, Emma was taken aback to see tears running down his face. “What is it?” she asked concerned.

“I don’t know what I would have done if I had lost you,” Killian said, his voice trembling.

Emma reached up and tenderly cupped his face. “Oh, Killian. I know exactly what you were going through. When I was down there, I thought I was never going to see you again, never get to hold you in my arms and.. " she stopped. Her voice cracking as she started thinking about what had almost happened down in the catacombs.

Killian wrapped his arms around Emma and held her close. They stood there in each other’s embrace for what seemed like an eternity until the sound of the front door broke them apart. They looked up just as Henry came into view.

“Mom!” Henry called out as he rushed over to her and threw his arms around her. “Are you okay?” he asked worriedly.

Emma closed her eyes as she held him tight. “Oh, Henry. I’m alright,” she reassured him as she pulled back.

“And Amelia?” Henry asked, equally concerned about the little girl who he had come to care for deeply.

“She’s fine. See,” Emma said, moving aside to show him the sleeping girl on the sofa.

Henry’s shoulders slumped with relief. When his mom and grandparents showed back up at the convent alone, he'd feared the worst. Not even their reassurances that Killian, Emma, and Amelia were okay could calm him down. He needed to see for himself that they were fine, and immediately asked Regina to bring him back to the house. “I was so scared, Mom.”

Emma reached out and placed a comforting hand on his arm. “I know, Henry. I was too, but Gothel is gone and we’re all safe and together now.”

“Aye, my boy, your mother is right. Everything is going to be alright now that we are all back together,” Killian stated, joining in to try and calm his son’s nerves.

Before Henry could respond, a noise drew their attention to the sofa where Amelia was starting to wake up. The little girl blinked in confusion at first, unsure of where she was until her eyes landed on the three of them and a smile immediately spread across her face. 

“Henry!” Amelia shouted happily as she leaped from the sofa and ran over to him, wrapping her arms around his waist.

“Hey! I’m happy to see you too!” Henry said, beaming down at her. He crouched down so he could be eye level with her. “You okay, squirt?” he asked with affection.

Amelia nodded her head. “Yep. Emma saved us. She’s a hero,” the little girl replied, looking up in awe at the woman who finally freed her from the fear that one day, somehow,  Gothel would find her.

“That she is little love, that she is,” Killian agreed, giving his wife a proud smile.

Emma could feel herself begin to blush at all the praise being thrown her way. She looked to change the subject and found the perfect way out when her stomach started growling. 

“Um… anyone else hungry?” she asked, realizing that they all probably hadn’t eaten since that morning.

A series of Yeses rang out, and the four of them made their way to the kitchen. Not wanting to wait too long, they all decided on grilled cheese and soup. As they all sat down to eat, Emma looked around the table and once again realized how close she had come to losing everything. Suddenly ,a gentle hand lay upon hers and she found Killian’s gaze on her. He gave her a knowing smile and brought her hand up to place a kiss on her knuckles.

After they were finished eating, everyone could feel the day start to catch up with them and they decided to call it a night. Henry went first, climbing the stairs tiredly after one last hug from his parents. Next, Emma took Amelia upstairs to get cleaned up while Killian locked the house up.

  After she helped Amelia out of the bath and brought her to the spare room, Emma realized the little girl still didn’t have any clothes of her own, so she quickly ran to grab an old shirt for her to wear.

As soon as Emma got Amelia into bed the little girl was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. She sat there for several minutes just watching her sleep until she felt a hand on her shoulder. Glancing up, she saw Killian standing behind her and she reached up to place her hand on top of his, holding on to it like a lifeline. 

“She barely made it to bed, started falling asleep as I was brushing her hair,” she told him.

“Poor lass. She’s been through so much, yet stayed so strong during it all,” Killian responded as he grasped her and pulled her to her feet. “Come on love, let’s go to bed.” 

Emma didn’t have the energy to drag herself into the shower, and decided that could wait until morning. As she was changing into her pajamas, Emma said something to Killian that had the potential to change their lives forever. 

“We still need to go to the convent and get Amelia’s things. The poor girl has been wearing the same thing for two days straight.” When she didn’t get a response she turned to see Killian looking at her in surprise. “What is it?” she asked in confusion.

“You want Amelia to come stay with us,” Killian asked, hoping she was saying what he thought she was saying.

Emma looked at him in bewilderment. “Well. Yeah. We said that we wanted her to. Remember?’

Killian walked over to where she was standing by the dresser. “Aye, love. I do. I thought it was just going to be until Gothel was taken care of, though.” He stepped closer and placed his hand and hook on her arms. “Are you saying that you want her to live with us permanently?”

Emma stared into his eyes, searching until she found what she was looking for. “Yes,” she said smiling at him.

Killian returned her smile and surged forward to catch her lips in a passionate kiss. When they pulled back he couldn’t contain his excitement. “Oh, Swan! I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.”

Emma giggled at his excitement, barely able to contain her own. "I know we haven’t talked about it, but I’ve fallen in love with Amelia and I want her to be part of our family.”

Killian reached out and cupped her cheek in his hand. “Emma, I feel the exact same way. I’ve felt this connection to her since the first moment we met her and I think she was always meant to be with us,” he said with conviction.

Emma gazed lovingly into his eyes, tears pooling in her own. “We are going to have a daughter.”

Killian let out an amazed chuckle. "Yeah. We are.” He stopped when he noticed Emma starting to sway on her feet. Realizing she was exhausted, he gently steered her to the bed. “But first you need to get some sleep, love.”

When they climbed into bed, with their arms wrapped around one another, they both fell asleep thinking about how much their lives were about to change, and knew that they would be able to overcome anything as long they had each other.