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Making My Way To You

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December 23, 2013 Storybrooke, MA

As Emma drove the cruiser down the street, she took a deep breath in, taking pause over how far she’d come in her life. An orphan left on the side of the road by her “parents”, bounced around from home to home, and the whole Neal thing. Yet despite everything, here she was, a proud member of the Storybrooke PD, with a decent apartment, and some friends. For the first time, she felt comfortable with herself.

She had only joined SPD six months ago, but it felt right. She loved her job, and even her co-workers were slowly growing on her. Emma had been top of her class at the academy and was able to quickly put to rest any pranks usually played on rookies. The way she carried herself, everyone respected her and treated her instantly as an equal - not a probe.

She was the first of her class to be allowed to patrol alone. Although it was only the graveyard shift, Emma didn’t mind at all. She felt as though it gave her time to really become comfortable with the town, to learn some of the ins and outs. Not that there was much to learn. But she still appreciated the adjustment period that Sheriff Graham gave her.

The streets were dead, as they typically were in Storybrooke, even more so on a Monday night. Although this was a cute town, not a lot of people passed through unless they were heading to Boston, and wanted a detour.

Most people were already home for the night, and anyone who was out was harmless. Emma pulled up to the intersection, the only one in town with an actual light. It had taken her a few months to get used to the idea of living in such a small town, but it had eventually grown on her. And now, Storybrooke felt like home.

Then it happened.

In a blink of an eye, Emma watched as the semi truck barely missed her, ran the red light, and then collided with another car. The semi spun out of control, only stopping once it ran into the town’s Christmas tree. The vehicle, however, flipped twice before it finally came to a halt.

Without a second thought, Emma jumped into action, calling for backup and an ambulance, as she sprinted out of her car. She went first to the semi truck, the driver was moaning in pain, but conscious enough for Emma to go and check on the vehicle.

As Emma approached the other vehicle if you could still call it that, she was terrified of what she would find inside. She knew accidents happened, and this was a part of the job, but she just knew this one was going to be bad. The Chevy Malibu had probably been new, but right then it looked like a crushed soda can.

As she approached the car she saw two people inside, a male driver and a female passenger. The passenger’s side was crashed, from where the semi had crashed into. The woman appeared to be in her late thirties, brown hair. She looked beautiful. However, there were cuts all over her body. Without even having to check for a pulse, Emma knew that she was already gone. She could only hope that the woman hadn’t suffered unnecessarily. Emma took a breath, silently praying that this stranger had found some peace.

She quickly ran around to the driver’s side, where she got her first look at him. His black hair was a mess from the wreck, and he had a few cuts, but nothing like the injuries his passenger had sustained. Emma was able to rip the door open, and attempted to check his pulse. It was faint, but he was still alive. For now.

With a quick sigh of relief, Emma tried to assess the damage done to him. As she decided to look for anything, but as she gently dropped her fingers from his neck, she heard him grumble in pain.

“Sir, my name is Em - Officer Swan. I am going to help you. Sir, jut....” He responded only with a groan, but Emma would take what she could get for the moment.

It was then when she spotted his left hand. It had been completely torn to shreds as if he was trying to protect the female passenger, while the car was rolling. Emma realized a sigh of relieved when she heard the sounds of sirens in the distance, thankful that this man would soon be getting the help he so desperately needed.

“Sir, do you hear that? They’re coming to help. Sir? Sir!” He wasn’t responding anymore, and Emma knew what she needed to do. She reclined the chair as far back as she could, and moved him up so she could begin performing CPR.

“Come back to me. Come on, dammit,” she screamed in between breaths and compressions. Emma had to save him. She knew it was a part of her job, but there was something more. Something told her that she couldn’t let him go.

She continued administering CPR until the EMTs arrived to take over.

“Help him, please. Watch his left hand, it’s...you’ll see.” One of the EMTs ran over to the other side, but Emma stopped him before he could open the door, “She’s...she’s gone. The driver, he’s still alive, but he needs a lot of help.” They nodded in appreciation of the information, and Emma slowly backed away from the scene.

Sheriff Graham walked over to her, instantly bringing her into his arms. Graham was only a few years older than Emma, but he acted like her big brother. Emma must’ve been in shock, as she still couldn’t move her arms to go around him. “You did good, Emma. I hope you know that. Go home, and get some rest.” Emma was about to argue that she needed to finish her shift, but Graham added, “that’s an order officer. You need to rest. Get in the cruiser, Blanchard will drive you home.”

Emma looked over to see her fellow rookie officer, Mary Margaret Blanchard, waiting for her. She slowly made her way over to where the other woman was expecting, and Mary Margaret didn’t hesitate to wrap Emma up in her arms before she escorted Emma to the cruiser.

Mary Margaret drove them both in silence. They understood this was a part of the job, but this was Emma’s first accident, and she had a feeling she’d never forget her first. As her fellow rookie put the car into park Emma realized they were not at her complex, but before she could speak, Mary Margaret interrupted her.

“Emma, I know we haven’t known each other very long, and I have a feeling you usually keep to yourself. But I just - well I just figured tonight maybe you wouldn’t want to be alone.” They sat there in more silence, as Emma tried to process why this woman was so kind to her, even though they barely knew each other. “Listen, if I was wrong to do this tell me, and I will drive you back to your place, but I wanted to-”

“No, thank you. This is, uh...I’d like to stay here.”

Mary Margaret just nodded, as she attempted to keep her enthusiasm at a minimum, knowing this was not the best reason for a sleepover. As they walked into her apartment, Emma was still on autopilot and she remained that way as she attempted to get ready for bed.

Before Emma went upstairs to the guest bedroom, Mary Margaret stopped her. “Hey, you know I’m here for you, right? As much or as little as you want, I have your back.”

Emma was overwhelmed by the woman’s kind words and finally pulled Mary Margaret in for a hug, as she let out the tears she had so desperately tried to hold back. After a few moments, she finally managed to pull herself together. Giving Mary Margaret one last squeeze, before both women headed for their own beds for the night.

Emma knew she did everything right. Or she thinks she did everything she could to help everyone involved. She knew that needed to move on from the accident, and not let it hold her back from being the officer she had always wanted to be.

What Emma failed to realize that night, amidst all the chaos, was that her soulmate mark had disappeared.

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November 2018

As Emma drove the cruiser down the street, she took a deep breath in, taking pause over how far she’d come in her life. After working with SPD for the last five and a half years, Emma had moved up the ranks. In fact, as of last year, she was now the new sheriff of Storybrooke.

No one had really seen it coming, but Graham had decided to step down after he had started his own family. Although Storybrooke wasn't a criminal hotspot, he felt that it was the best decision for his family. Graham had asked Emma if she wanted the job, and at first, she had laughed him off. But when she realized that he was serious, Emma had run unopposed for the position. It was the fastest election in the town’s history.

However, as proud as Emma was of her career success, the real progress was that she now had friends. Friends who had somehow sneaked their way into her life, and she was so thankful for that. Mary Margaret had also worked her way up the ranks, side by side with Emma, and their friendship had grown along the way.

As Emma thought back on how much had changed, she noticed the kid. She had always tried her hardest to give back to others in the community, that’s given so much to her. Emma had made it her mission to make sure anyone who needed some assistance in town, got it. But she took a particular interest in helping the kids of Storybrooke, making sure they always had a warm meal and a place to stay.

Emma recognized this particular kid right away. Grace. Emma knew things weren’t always great at home, for her, and sometimes Grace would roam the streets to find something to eat. She reminded Emma a lot of herself, refusing help at first, and not always trusting of others. However, after a few run-ins Grace had opened up to Emma about her situation, and Emma couldn’t help but take the young girl under her wing.

The two of them made their way to Shelter by the Seashore, a fantastic shelter that always tried its best for the community. Due to Storybrooke’s somewhat limited size, the place’s resources were rather limited as well. Sometimes if the shelter were lucky, some of the more prominent organizations in Boston would send some of their leftovers down to them.

As the two made their way over to the front door, Emma was a little shocked to find a notice tacked to the window while Grace pushed her way inside.

Attention Storybrooke residents,

It is with great sadness we announce that Shelter by the Seashore will be closing its doors after 15 years, after Thanksgiving. It has been with great joy that we have served you, our community. We are forever thankful for the memories we have shared together.

Thank you for everything!

All the love,

Shelter by the Seashore

“Yeah, I know, Emma. It caught me off guard at first, too.” Emma turned her head at the sound of the voice. Ashley was the owner of the shelter and had become a good friend to Emma over the past five years. “But, it’s for a good reason. Someone bought the shelter, they’re going to do this big renovation. It’s going to be better than ever before. We’re even going to have different classes for people to take for free, like how to open a bank account, and help with searching for jobs.”

“Oh wow, that’s amazing, Ashley. But what about you? I thought this place was your life.” Emma moved over to the counter Ashley was sat behind.

“I’m not gonna lie, at first it was heartbreaking. But now? I know the shelter is going to be in better hands. Oh, and the new owner is letting me stay on as manager, so I still get to do the work I love.”

Emma reached her hand out to Ashley’s shoulder and decided to get back out to her cruiser. She had this feeling in her gut, telling her that this new shelter was going to be important, not just for the community, but to her as well.

Emma shook off the feeling as quickly as it had come. She wasn’t some grand romantic, or anything even close to that. With her soulmate mark disappearing a few years ago back, she had completely given up on the idea of finding love.

She thought she had met soulmate one. She had been sure that Neal was it for her. After a life of bouncing around the system, and living on and off the streets, Emma thought she had found someone to make a home with. Neal, however, had different plans.

Before she could carry on with her pity party, Emma decided to snap out it of, and finish her patrol.

She was almost able to ignore the strange sensation on her left wrist.

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December 2018

With all the craziness - as much as Storybrooke could have - over the last few weeks Emma missed the grand opening of the new shelter. When she first saw the name, Neverland Shelter, in the newspaper she couldn’t help but laugh. Emma hoped that this shelter would bring some hope and magic to the area.

Emma drove past the new shelter every day, she meant to stop in by now to introduce herself, but she never had a free moment from work. Speaking of, work seemed to have taken a whole new level of busy. Nothing too crazy, but little squabbles over how late Christmas lights could be on for, a few porch pirates, but nothing SPD couldn’t handle.

As Emma walked into the department for her evening shift Mary Margaret was already there waiting for her with her drink of poison, hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon on top. Emma took a moment to reflect on their friendship, how far they’d come in the years since that car accident.

She instantly became a confidant, her person, and someone she was genuinely thankful for. Emma was never a girly girl who had a lot of girlfriends, never had any friends really. And yet, her and Mary Margaret just clicked. Although Mary Margaret loved to tease Emma about finding true love and pushing her to put herself out there, there was an understanding and respect between the two women’s perspective on the whole soulmate thing.

Mary Margaret was your stereotypical fairytale princess, Emma swore she was like the real-life version of Snow White. When Emma found out her marker resembled an apple, Emma about lost her mind, saying she only proved her point further. Mary Margaret ever the optimist kept her eyes out for her Prince Charming. It, of course, wasn’t until a horrible case of a missing child brought SPD and the neighboring town of Lancaster together.

The case was on the brink of driving the LPD insane, they asked Emma and the rest of the department for assistance. Their sheriff, August, reminded Emma a lot of herself and they instantly bonded. However, their bond was more brother/sister than romantic, and Emma was always thankful for their relationship. August didn’t come alone, he brought Deputy David Nolan.

One look and Emma could tell, Mary Margaret and David were smitten They had one of those slow-motion movie moments, even massive love critic Emma knew this was something special.

The Charmings, as Emma dubbed them, took only one week before they showed their soulmate marks revealing they both had an apple on their biceps. One year later they had their fairytale wedding, it was honestly perfect. Now three years later, they even more disgusting in love. As much as Emma loved to make fun of them, she admired their passion and dedication to one another. It wasn’t just because they were soulmates, they legitimately loved each other.

Mary Margaret only asked Emma once about her mark, as closed off as Emma was to love her losing her mark just reified her commitment issues. She explained to Mary Margaret how one day it was here and the next thing Emma knew her mark disappeared from her wrist. Emma wondered if she would ever find someone to spend her life with since she lost her mark Emma believed she lost her soulmate.

“Hey, you okay? You left me for a minute.” Emma was finally pulled out of her own thoughts, eventually grabbing the hot chocolate for her.

“Yeah, sorry about that. You know just thinking about stuff.” Mary Margaret gave her a questioning look but decided not to press Emma on the matter.

“Anyways, I was wondering what your plans were for Christmas? David and I are going to host our annual party, and we wanted to make sure you were still free?”

Emma couldn’t help but to laugh, “Well since I’ve gone to the last four Christmas parties I guess I could make an appearance.”

“Oh good,” Mary Margaret squealed, “and I know we promised no setups, but Davids old friend is going to be there, and I was just hoping you would just help make him feel welcomed. He used to live here a few years ago apparently, but moved back to England for whatever reason.”

Emma gave her friend a wary eye, but figured to give into the Christmas spirit and perhaps being nice to him wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

“Fine, I’ll be nice to him - whoever he may be - as my good deed for the world. Deal?”

“Thank you, Emma. Seriously, we really appreciate it.” Mary Margaret walked over and embraced Emma to help show her thanks.

“Alright, lady time to get to work, I want to make sure all of this is done before Christmas.” Mary Margaret gave a fake salute and went to work herself.

Emma relished in the thought of actually being helpful to their friend, in helping someone adjust to life in Storybrooke, and giving someone perhaps the very same thing Emma once needed - a home.

Before Emma could get too comfortable, a call came in. Someone spotted another teenager on the street, the caller couldn’t get to them in time, but wanted to make sure Emma was aware someone should help take the kid to the shelter. Emma loved these types of calls if she was honest with herself. She loved that everyone looked out everyone else, even if they didn’t know them personally.

When Emma walked outside she decided to leave the cruiser at the station, it was still early enough in her shift that the sun was shining and would be for another hour or so. Luckily, Emma’s hunt for the teen didn’t last too long.

Emma found Kate with ease on Main Street, and even better Kate was more than happy to go to the new shelter with Emma. The two walked in comfortable silence across town to Neverland. Emma was excited to see the renovations and to hopefully meet the owner to finally introduce herself.

When the two women walked to the front door Emma could instantly feel the difference, it was absolutely fantastic. However, Emma’s joy was quickly short lived upon entering the new shelter.

Emma walked up to the counter to find a short blonde hair woman, the name tag said Tink. Either she was really dedicated to the whole Peter Pan thing, or that was an unfortunate coincidence.

“Hey there, I’m Sheriff Swan, I was wondering if you all had room for one more tonight?” Emma turned her attention towards Kate who was sitting in the waiting area which looked more like a living room with the couches and TV.

Sadly, a frown overtook the blonde’s face, “I’m really sorry to say we’re out of beds for the night. We ordered more, but they haven’t come yet, I’m sorry ladies. If you’d like Sheriff Swan, I can give you the number to -”

“Oi, wait for a second, Tink! There’s always room in Neverland!” Emma turned around to see the man with the beautiful British accent was also by far the most handsome man alive, and immediately captured by his baby blue eyes. It seemed she the only one affected, he instantly froze in his place when he saw her too.

“Mr. Jones,” Tink said ruining whatever moment they were having, “we just gave the last bed away for the night.”

“Ah, but you see lady Tink, we did not give all the beds away,” he paused for dramatic effect Emma assumed, “there’s still my bed!”

Emma was in awe of this man, not only was he handsome, but he seemed to have a good heart as well. It was incredible to see someone like this in the community, perhaps he really did bring the magic Emma wished for.

“Are you sure, Mr. Jones? There’s another shelter I can take her to out of town, I don’t want to put you out for the night.”

Mr. Jones finally made his way over to Emma, who seemed to be stuck in place unable to move a muscle. “Aye, love, and please it’s Killian. I have a spare cot in my office, I’ve slept here the last few weeks to make sure everything is in tip-top shape for the opening. Plus I have an apartment with an actual bed I should make use of eventually. Besides, it’d be bad form not to help the sheriff out.”

Emma let out a giggle, which made her seem like a school girl around her first crush. She didn’t even know the man’s first name, and she was already acting like a ten-year-old. “Well then, Mr. Jones seems like we have a deal.”

“Aye, we have an accord. Oh, and remember it’s Killian, love.” Emma reached out her hand to shake his, he immediately reached out to meet her and then she felt it.

This spark.

It was unlike anything Emma had ever felt before, so of course, she quickly removed her hand from his in an attempt to get a hold of herself.

“Well, uh Killian thanks for the extra bed tonight I appreciate it. If you all ever need anything here’s my card or just dial 911 that works too. Well, have a good night!” Emma tried to escape with an ounce of her dignity still intact, but Killian - or fate - had other plans.

Killian quickly reached his left out without even thinking, and seamlessly grabbed Emma back from leaving. What he did not realize was that he used his prosthetic hand instead of his right hand, he then took his turn in quickly removing his hand from Emma.

“Sorry about that, I didn’t think I just -”

“Please, Killian, it’s more than fine,” Emma wanted to reassure him that his prosthetic was nothing to hide or that it was off-putting by any means.

“Right, well good. I know you have to get back to the station it’s...well, uh, you just seem so familiar. Have, have we ever met before?”

Of course, without thinking, Emma said, “I doubt I’d forget a face like yours.” Emma immediately turned bright red while Killian scratched behind his right ear.

“What I meant to say, uh, what I meant was I have an excellent memory, helps with the job, and you have very distinct features that I would not forget if you were in a lineup. Not that you would be in a lineup, you seem like a very stand up guy, I mean look at this shelter! It’s never looked better, and you look fantastic - I mean the shelter looks fantastic. I’m, I am just going to go back to the precinct now so if you need anything please call, but it was nice meeting you, Killian.” Emma finally took a breathe, realizing she hadn’t stopped to breath during that rambling rant.

Killian seemed to enjoy her rambling, he laughed as she came to the end of the speech. In Emma’s attempt to keep any dignity she reached out her hand to give him a farewell shake; however, Killian takes her hand and brings it up to his lips for a soft kiss on the knuckles.

Emma let out a breathy gasp and walked back outside without another word. As she walked away, Emma could still feel it, that spark. She swore it was all inside her head, but she couldn’t shake this feeling. Perhaps it wasn’t just the shelter that brought some magic to Storybrooke, maybe it was a tall, dark, handsome British good-doer.

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For the next week, Emma and Killian could not help but to continuously run into each other. Although Emma made frequent stops at the shelter to see her friends who still worked there and to get the grand tour, but they also ran into each other all over town.

No matter where Emma went, Killian was never far behind her or vise versa. One morning Emma decided to get one last outside run in for the year, and although she was not the fastest woman in the world she enjoyed getting her heart racing.

Not even ten minutes into her run she found Killian, who looked like he was about to begin a run of his own. Emma debated going over to him, not sure where they stood as professionals or if he would consider them friends. Emma was still not over how incredibly handsome he was and somehow made a fool of herself every chance she got.

While the debate continued on in Emma’s head, Killian spotted Emma and decided to work his way over to her. The two ran together, silently challenging and pushing one another throughout their run.

The two parted ways, Killian jokingly mentioned how tomorrow he was going to be at Granny’s around noon if she just so happened to be hungry around that time. At first, Emma felt the panic set in, but quickly it diminished on her own. There was no harm in getting lunch together, she merely nodded and headed back to her apartment.

Emma was enjoying the rest of her day off when Mary Margaret texted her saying how they should do a girl’s night. Although Emma was hesitant she knew it was harmless, Ruby was busy, so Emma knew she was safe from any real danger.

Like always, Emma waited until the last minute to get ready, it was her thing. She took one look at herself in the mirror for any final touches. For waiting until last minute Emma was actually pleased with herself, her bright red dress hugging her curves perfectly and her hair fell naturally.

Mary Margaret seldom invited Emma to go out, only because this was not Mary Margaret’s scene at all. However, the girls did enjoy the occasional night out, but that usually included wine nights at someone’s house.

The Hole was unusually packed, but when Emma walked inside, she spotted two seats at the bar for them. She rushed over to make sure the seats were not swiped last second. Emma sat there as she waited for Mary Margaret to show up. Mary Margaret was never late, that was Emma’s thing. Emma checked her phone and found a new text from Mary Margaret; the said that she didn’t feel well and wouldn’t be making it out tonight.

Emma slid off her barstool and grabbed her stuff when she heard a familiar voice, “Hello, love, fancy running into you here.” When she looked up, she was met by her favorite pair of blue eyes, Killian.

“Well, hello stranger. Don’t you have a shelter to be taking care of?” Emma was surprised at the teasing tone that came out, but she couldn’t help it. She had a few drinks in her, she felt good, and this was harmless, right?

“Ah right, well sometimes I enjoy the occasional glass of rum or two, and a beautiful maiden's company is always an extra bonus.” He added a wink for good measure and that smirk that made Emma’s stomach flip. “What do you say, love? Fancy another round?”

Without a word, Emma slid back on her stool while her hand grazed upon his leg. She saw his Adam's apple bob at the touch, made Emma happy that she was not the only one affected.

As the night continued and one drink turned into five both and both their inhibitions lowered, the flirty eyes, and the accidental touches lasted a second too long. At one point without a thought, Emma leaned into Killian's embrace, and he held her for a moment. Emma felt his warmth come over her, she felt safe in his embrace and wanted it to last forever. Then she realized what she just thought and instantly sobered up.

Killian felt Emma tense up and decided it was time to go home. The two of them of slid off their stools, and as they walked outside Killian kept his arm around Emma. “Alright, thank you for a fun evening Killian, but I, uh, I think I should head home.”

Killian pulled away to look down at her, “Aye, I agree love. Let me walk you home?”

“Oh, no I’m fine I can walk home, Killian.” He kept his eyes on her, he could tell her walls had crept back up, and she was spooked.

“I know, but it wouldn’t be good form to let you walk home alone love. Please allow me to do the honors?” His made sure to make his tone was light, an attempt to help ease any of Emma’s worries.

“Oh so now you’re a gentleman?” Emma teased right back at him.

“I’m always a gentleman.” Killian walked towards Emma’s apartment, and Emma caught up to him so they could walk arm in arm.

When they arrived at Emma’s apartment, the two of them stood at the door neither one of them knowing what to do next.

“I know, uh, this wasn’t the original plan for the night, but I had a really nice time tonight, Killian.”

Killian met Emma’s eyes and a wide smile took over his face, “Aye, I had a wonderful time tonight too, Emma.” She was caught off guard when he actually said her name.

“Well, I should get inside early morning. Thank you, Killian, for being a gentleman and walking me home, I appreciate it.” Before Killian could say anything, Emma reached up and gave him a kiss on the cheek and ran inside before anything else could happen.

Killian stood frozen on her stoop, unable to process what happened. Killian moved his hand to his cheek, he still could feel her soft lips on his stubble. He never thought he’d feel this warmth again, for the first time in five years he felt alive again. He walked home a smile plastered on his face.

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Throughout the week which led to Christmas Emma and Killian spent every moment together - well as much as they could with the shelter and is the sheriff of a small town. When they weren’t together, they would text or call one another.

As nervous as Emma was she knew that she couldn’t ignore her feelings for Killian. He was attractive, but it was more than that for her. She felt this connection to him, she felt safe, and she was tired of being alone. She decided that after Christmas she would finally admit her true feelings for Killian, because who didn’t love a late Christmas gift of sharing your feelings?

Killian, on the other hand, was ready to share his feelings with Emma. After everything that’s happened during his life, especially what happened five years ago. He was prepared to move on, he was ready to do so with Emma. Even though Killian lost his mark and would probably never find his soulmate, he still wanted to find some form of love.

Killian decided to be honest and direct with Emma, so he called her and asked her to come over. Of course, he did not thoroughly think that through and tried to quickly clean his apartment. He was usually a tidy man, but he wanted to make sure everything was perfect for her. He made sure to organize the magazines he pretended to read to make himself look good. Picked up any clothes or jackets there were not hung up.

Then he finally looked at his outfit and decided to freshen up for their impromptu hang-out-not-date-but-he-wished-it-was-a-date date. He went with a dark blue henley that brought out his eyes and some jeans that he knew for a fact made his arse look good. As he made the final touches in his bed hair, Killian heard his bell ring.

He rushed to the door and took a deep breath before he opened the door, and there she stood once again taking his breath away.

“Hi, Killian, thanks for asking me to come over.”

As Emma stood there Killian took her in, still amazed she would give a lad like him a second glance. She was more than just beautiful, she was fierce, funny, and she had this sparkle in her eye when she smiled that Killian found so remarkable. Killian then realized he had been staring for too long and finally moved over so Emma could finally come into his apartment.

“Here love can I get you a drink?” He said as he helped removed her jacket.

“Ah gentleman thing was real, that’s refreshing. And I’ll take water thank you.”

Killian moved to be right behind her, “why’s that, love? Afraid you’d find me even more irresistible after a few libations?”

Emma started to laugh, but when she turned around to face him, she could only feel the tension between them. The two stood there in silence taking the other in until the spell was broken by Killian’s bell.

“Right, that would be the pizza I ordered for us. Although I do love to cook my own meals, I seem to remember a certain lass the other night who said she would kill for a slice of pizza. Now, I wouldn’t want my favorite sheriff to be locked up now, would ruin my plans I have with her.”

“Oh and would plan would that be Mr. Jones?” Emma teased him, perhaps to her it was harmless, but Killian figured it was time to stop hiding.

“Ah, well you see my darling, Emma, I have every intention of knowing you better. Although I would come and visit you if you just so happened to murder for said slice of pizza, I would be irrevocably sad to see you behind bars.”

Killian could tell Emma was taken back by his confession, joking or not, she could read between the lines of what Killian said. Right, when Killian thought he’d gone too far, Emma reached out to him and said, “I would be sad too if I couldn’t see my favorite shelter owner either.” She then walked by him, which then left him frozen. Right when Killian thought he finally had her, she was already two steps ahead of him. One of the things he loved about her.

Oh shit.

Well, Killian was not actually that surprised by that admission, but figured it was best not to tell Emma quite yet about his feelings.

The two settled in and ate their pizza, the conversation flowed naturally. Even if there were silent pauses, it was never uncomfortable, in fact, both relished in the ability to be with another person and feel so at ease.

As the night continued on both unconsciously moved towards the other so that there was only a merely inch between the two of them. Emma eventually closed the space between them so that she was leaning into him, Killian held her and without thinking opened his mouth.

“How can someone as phenomenal as you not have found their soulmate by now?” That’s when he felt her tense in his arms once more. “Emma, I’m sorry I shouldn’t have asked that I’m sorry I-”

“I lost my mark...that’s why, uh, I haven’t found my soulmate.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean to pry like this, Swan.” Killian couldn’t imagine knowing you had someone and then it just disappearing.

“You can ask Killian, I can tell you want to.” Emma broke him out of his train of thought.

“Do you know what happened to them?” He held her a bit tighter scared himself of what her answer could be.

“No, I never knew them. I just had it one day, and then I looked down, and it was gone. I never met anyone with my mark, and honestly, it’s probably for the best. After everything else, I just don’t think I could’ve survived meeting the one person who’s supposed to be there for me and then losing them like that. You know?”

Emma stayed still as she laid in Killian’s arms. Killian had to pull away for just a moment to make sure the angel in his arms was real. When she finally looked up at him, she could see the tears welled up. He held her tighter, he tried to reassure her that he isn’t going anywhere.

“Emma, I promise I would never hurt you.”

“You say that Killian, but you have to understand I have a lifetime of proof that people do leave. My parents left me on the side of a road, they didn’t even bother taking me to a hospital. I bounced around in the system a lot. Then I met Neal and he...he fucked me up.”

Killian didn’t interrupt and stop her from opening up to him. He merely nodded for her to continue if she wished.

“I was 16 and decided that it was time for me to be on my own, I was going to age out anyways. Figured just to get it over with, you know? Then, I met Neal, and I thought I found my home. He was older, and I knew he was trouble, but he was fun.

Few months went by, we did what we had to do to survive, I’m not proud of it. But then, we decided to go on the straight and narrow, to find our forever home. We had everything ready to go, but then Neal’s face was plastered all over town. He had robbed this watch shop a few months before we met, and now the cops were after him. He still had the watches in some locker, too. Neal threatened to cancel the trip and leave me, and it almost broke me. I thought I found my person, so stupid naive me offered to get the watches for him. Got them, no problem, thought I was in the clear. Until the cops, he called on me caught me. I was still a minor, so I did a few months in juvie and decided to be a cop to help others on the streets.”

Emma held back her tears during her story, but the moment she looked up at Killian the floodgates opened. This was the first time she had told the story in full, it took her nearly three years to tell Mary Margaret the truth.

Killian rubbed her back, he tried to let Emma catch her breath on her own time. Finally after a moment of silence that overtook the two of them. As Emma leaned back into Killian.

“Thank you for sharing, Emma. Truly thank you for letting me see a bit more of the beautiful lass that’s completely bewitched me. But I did already knew that one part love, we orphans all have the same look.” Emma looked at him confused for a moment, “I too am an orphan, I lost my family when I was young. My mum died of cancer, I barely knew her. My father, if you could call him that, left after things got too hard. He left my brother, Liam, in charge of me. A wee lad himself, only 15, in charge of his own brother? Liam tried his best, and he was my best mate.

When I turned 17 he left for the Royal Navy, I joined him a year later. Finally, we were supposed to go on this mission together, but I...I was sleeping off a bender, and I missed the car to the ship. When I finally realized I was late, our commanding officer was already on the other side of my door. Their ship barely made it to open waters before an engine fire blew up the damn thing.

I drowned myself in liquor, like you I am not proud of some of the things I did in my past, but I did them, can’t take them back. But I’m here, now and -” Killian got emotional as he thought of everything he’d been through during his life.

“Oh Killian, I am so sorry. I didn’t -”

“Shh shh, it’s okay, love. I didn’t tell you for you to feel sorry, I told you, so you know that you’re not alone.” As he stared at her, Emma felt that spark again and knew there was something special between the two of them. But in an attempt to lighten the mood after everything Emma decided to change the subject.

“Killian, do you mind me asking why did you open the shelter?”

Killian pulled Emma back, so she was able to rest her head against his chest once more.

“Well, I never thought about opening a shelter until I met Milah. She was the most wonderful woman I knew, she had this spirit about her that just encaptured you. I fell in love with her, we weren’t soulmates, but we didn’t care. She had a rough childhood, like me, and she said if she ever had the money she would open a shelter to help others.

One night in December a few years ago we were out, we finally had the money for a shelter. We were actually here in Storybrooke celebrating with some friends. Anyways, we decided to call it an early night and get ready for the hard part of running the shelter now.

I was the DD for the night, and we were driving home like we’d done a million times and then this truck...it came out of nowhere. Milah died on impact, I, however, gained this souvenir,” he raised his prosthetic hand, “the driver had a stroke so I couldn’t even hate the man. I don’t remember much about the accident, but I do remember this angel.”

Emma let out a gasp, she finally knew why Killian looked so familiar. He looked so different now, he looked alive. Killian seemed to have missed Emma’s revelation, he continued to share how this angel kept him alive long enough for help to arrive.

“Everyone thought I was barking mad, said it was a police officer that saved me. Regardless, she’s my angel, my savior.” Killian looked away from his hand to see Emma who looked off into the distance as she tried to explain how she was the one that saved him.

“Swan? Emma, are you alright?” Emma moved away from Killian, which only added to his concern.

Emma refused to make eye contact when she finally spoke she slowly looked up at him. “Was the accident on December 23, 2013, at Main Street?”

“Aye, it was. How did you - oh Emma, you’re my savior aren’t you?” Emma only nodded in response. “Emma Swan, I have been searching for you for nearly five years now to thank you. Thank you for saving my life, my sweet Emma.” He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “And of course it’s no one other than the woman who has starred my dreams for nearly the last month.”

With that admission, Emma’s head snapped to meet his eyes. Both of them holding back tears of their own. However, as much as Killian knew Emma felt this too, but of them had shared a lot tonight. Both of them had experienced a massive emotional rollercoaster and Killian could not in good conscience take advantage of Emma while they were in this state.

“Killian, listen I-”

“Shhh, it’s okay, Emma. You don’t have to say anything back to me, love. I just want you to know that no matter what I am not going anywhere, not without you.”

With that, Emma slowly leaned in and placed a soft kiss on his lips. “Be patient,” she merely said.

Killian gave her a boyish smile in return and said, “Aye love, I have all the time in the world.”

Emma decided it was time for her to drive home, as much as she didn’t want to leave Killian. He walked her town to her bug where he gave her one last goodbye kiss.

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December 24, 2018

As the weekend came to a close Emma and Killian had barely spoken, both so busy with work. Emma missed him, more than she thought possible. She was at the Charming’s Christmas party wondering what Killian was up to, where he was and who he was with.

A new spark ignited in her, jealousy. Emma Swan was not a jealous person, but apparently, when it came to Killian Jones, she had become a bit jealous of anyone else who had the pleasure of being in his company. She’d already debated texting him inviting him over, but she didn’t want to bother him. It’s not that Emma wanted to play games, but she didn’t want to push any chances she had.

Emma was in the kitchen when Mary Margaret and David came in, with cups in hand - well cup in David’s hand. Then Emma figured it out.

“Holy shit! M’s are you…?”

Before Mary Margaret even confirmed it, she ran into Emma’s arms. The three of them enjoyed their moment in the midst of the party. “This is why I bailed the other night, I’m sorry! I don’t know why they call it morning sickness when you get sick at all hours of the night. Regardless, you are going to be Aunt Emma in a few short months. How’s that sound?”

Emma closed the space between them once more, “Sounds perfect. Congratulations to the Charming family!”

“Oi, who are in the bloody hell are the Charming’s?”

Emma looked up and found Killian, decked out in the ugliest Christmas sweater she had ever seen. He seemed to be just as surprised to see Emma there with the Nolan’s.

“Swan? What are you doing here?” He made his way over to the trio, and they broke apart from their hug.

“I was just about to ask the same of you, Jones. Crashing parties now?”

“Uh, so Emma seems as though you don’t need any introductions since you and Killian already seem to know each other. Which don’t think I won’t question you about later. But Killian is our friend we told you about that just moved back here.”

“Oh, the one I was supposed to welcome?”

“One in the same missy.” Emma could feel her blush as it crept up her neck to her face. “Right, well David and I are going to say hi to a few other people. You two play nice or whatever.” David reluctantly went, wanting to investigate the relationship Emma and Killian already have.

The two are stuck like glue throughout the rest of the night. Throughout the night both slowly become more comfortable with little displays of affection with touches that last longer than they should for just friends. Both enjoy the night in each other’s company, both let down the walls that have held them back in the past.

At one point Emma excuses herself to use the restroom; however, both seem to miss the comfort of sitting next to one another immediately, so Killian walked over to the kitchen while he waits for her to return.

That’s when they question him. He was surprised they waited this long.

“Killian, why the hell didn’t you tell us that you knew Emma?”

“Listen, she came into the shelter one night with Grace, and we just started talking. It’s nothing I swear, love.”

Neither of them seemed to believe his line, he wouldn’t of if he were them. “Bullshit, Killian I’ve never seen you like this.”

Killian scratched behind his ear, the three of them begin to chat about how their friendship and their recent developments. What the trio failed to realize was Emma had returned from the bathroom and decided to listen in on the conversation. She didn’t mean to, but she didn’t want to interrupt and then she just couldn’t stop.

“Killian, I am so happy for the two of you. Seriously, both of you have this glow about you tonight, it’s incredible. Have you guys talked about your marks at all?”

Emma was surprised Mary Margaret brought this up, she knew Emma lost her mark all those years ago.

“No, I lost my mark because of the accident. When they cut off my hand my hand, they also cut off my mark in the process. I thought, I thought maybe the mark would return after time. I thought...with all this time I’d been spending with Emma it would appear again. I’ve never felt like this before, it’s incredible.”

Emma felt her smile creep back on her face. She felt it too, whatever it was, it was incredible to hear Killian say he felt the same way.

“Oh Killian, you know marks don’t come back. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. I’m so sorry you lost yours. What even was your mark?”

He looked down at his left wrist, where his mark used to be. “It looked a wee bit like a compass. I know some people thought it was a blob, but I always thought it was a compass leading me to my soulmate.”

Emma swore for a moment time stood still and she was hot. Too hot. She had to get out of the apartment right away. She came into the kitchen with the rest of them, she refused to make eye contact with Killian.

“Hey, sorry but I’m not feeling well I’m gonna go home. Thank you for an amazing party.” Emma tried to make her escape, but Killian was concerned about her.

“Love, let me drive you-”

“No! I mean, no thank you, I just want to get home. Good night, Killian.” She stormed out the apartment and left behind a very confused Killian.

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The week between Christmas and New Years was always this awkward time, but now it was indeed the worst. Emma spent the last few days avoiding Killian. She couldn’t believe that Killian was her soulmate. She could believe it, but she didn’t want to.

Emma always thought she lost her soulmate, that they left before they even knew her. Turned out her soulmate was the man she had slowly fallen in love with. Which scared the hell out of her.

She felt terrible, but she couldn’t give him this power. Emma just couldn’t take that final leap, and she hated herself for it. She also hated ignoring his messages and calls, but Emma knew if she heard his voice she would give in. Then she debated if giving in was such a horrible option, which for some reason the little voice in the back of her head kept saying yes.

Emma still took people to Neverland when she found them, she just would drive them to the shelter. She never dared to take a step in there. She couldn’t face him, Emma couldn’t face the hurt she brought to him either. Emma could tell in his messages that she wasn’t the only one suffering from her childish behavior.

Emma decided to take the New Year’s Eve shift, not much in the partying mood. The only people she’d want to spend the night with were surely spending their time with the one person Emma could not be around at the moment.

These nights were usually easy enough, Storybrooke didn’t have much of a nightlife. While Emma drove around, she spotted someone who seemed to have fallen in an alley.

She walked over to the person, they were mumbling to themselves. Emma figured it was someone who was inebriated and needed to sleep it off. As she approached them, Emma announced her presence, which apparently was the wrong thing to do.

They quickly became aggravated with Emma’s help and tried to resist. Emma didn’t recognize the boy, he was taller than her with curly sandy blonde hair and a hell of a lot stronger than he looked. Emma was able to finally pin him down and reached for her cuffs. She was thankful she decided to bring them out with her, she had almost left them in the car.

That’s when the guy flipped her over. Emma’s head was the first thing to hit the pavement, knocking her out almost instantly.

The only thing Emma saw was the kid fleeing instantly. Right before the darkness took her, she heard someone. A voice, she recognized it immediately.

“Swan! SWAN! Stay with me, Emma!”

That’s when Emma passed out.

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Emma woke up with a pounding headache. When she finally opened her eyes, she realized she was in a hospital. Then she saw Killian sitting there in the chair pulled right up to her bed. She can’t believe what an ass she’d been the last few days, as she looked at him she knew there was no one else she wanted by her side.

“Killian,” she croaked out, “Killian, hey sleepy wake up now.” Killian slowly came to, and for a moment it seemed as though he also did not recognize his surroundings.

“Emma, love oh god. Are you alright?”

“Yeah, my head hurts, but I’m fine. Far better than what I deserve after what I put you through.”

Killian moved from out his chair so that he was now sitting on the bed with Emma, he took her hand as well. “You stubborn woman, ha, I am so happy you’re alright love. But why? Why did you run, Emma? I thought things were going well.”

Emma then realized he must’ve not come to the same conclusion that she had, she wasn’t sure if that made things better or worse. “It’s just, I may have overheard the conversation you had with the Charmings, and I ran because-”

“Emma, did I say something too far? I keep replaying that night over and over again, and I can’t think of anything. Please tell me, love?”

“Killian, you mentioned something about your mark to them, and I, phew god this is harder than I thought. You know I lost my mark? I lost my mark after December 23, 2013, I lost my blob of a mark that if you tilted your head looked like a compass. I ran because we’re…”

“We’re soulmates,” he said it with every ounce of hope he had left in him. Then a realization hit him which caused his features to fall. “You didn’t want me to be your soulmate though.”

“OH! God yes Killian, I wanted it to be you so badly. But I ran, that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. It’s the one thing I’m good at. And then I realized too late that I didn’t want to run, not from you and not anymore. But I was a fool, and I hurt you, and I couldn’t face you after that. I couldn’t...I couldn’t see the pain I caused you.” Emma began to cry which caused Killian to get in the bed and he held Emma until she calmed down.

“Emma Swan, look at me love, I love you. I loved you before I knew were soulmates, and mark or no stupid mark changes how I feel about you.”

“You love me?” Emma’s voice broke as she heard his confession, unable to believe he loved her back.

“Aye,” he nodded, and with that Emma closed the distance between them. The kiss was passionate and full of love; however, it did not last long because Emma’s heartbeat picked up too much which caused a concerned nurse to come sprinting in. The nurse left after giving them a harsh pair of judgy eyes.

The two of them were back in their own world until they heard the nurses counting down to the new year.

“This feels all like a fairytale, Killian.”

“Aye, love it does. So does that mean you finally have it? Your own happy ending?

Five...four...three…two...one

“No, it’s a happy beginning.”

Next year, the two rang in the new year with a wedding of their own, with new matching compass tattoos on their right wrists.