The next hour passes in a blur. Cars and vans with sirens and flashing lights descend on the cannery. Men in uniforms pour from the vehicles and begin inspecting the bodies Hook, Jackie, and Evie left strewn across the parking lot—those that are still alive are put on stretchers and taken away immediately; those that are already dead are zipped into black bags.
Two black bags are carried from the warehouse itself, and Hook recites a silent prayer to whoever's listening that Jekyll and Hyde's spirits find only torment in the afterlife.
David and Henry put Killian on a bench along the seawall, facing the water. He sits with his hand pressed to his stomach, staring out at the horizon, the line where the rippling black of the sea meets the velvety blue of the night sky.
Evie sits beside him. Killian's hook arm lifts to circle her shoulders. He presses a brief kiss to her forehead before returning his gaze to the sea. Jackie chooses Killian's other side, and perches along the top of the bench with her sneakers on the seat—Mary Margaret attempts a look of disapproval, but Jackie either doesn't see it or just ignores it.
Hook keeps his distance. No one pays him much mind.
He watches the group gathered around Killian, talking, asking questions, piecing together the events of the night. Their voices are low, soothing; they laugh, smile warmly, touch Killian on the shoulder. The man has friends here, people who care about him, people who see him as an equal, a peer.
It's a stark contrast to a captain's life amongst his crew—a stark contrast to Hook's life. He has no one like Will Scarlet, who's like a younger brother to Killian, and an uncle to his children. He has no one like Robin, whom Killian has spent many a long evening with, discussing fatherhood and the tribulations of life in the Land Without Magic. He has no one like David and Mary Margaret, whom, despite the similarities in age, are as protective of Killian as they are of their daughter.
Hook feels Killian's emotions, feelings of comfort, of calm. They resonate in Hook's mind, part of him, and yet separate.
When the various cars and their flashing lights and their sirens are finally gone, Will and Robin depart, filtering away into the night with calls of "Goodnight!", "See you tomorrow!", and "Glad you're not dead, mate!"
Neal leaves more quietly, with a mumbled farewell to his parents, something about Lancelot and needed at the station, and then Chloe and Leo and lunch tomorrow. Hook searches Killian's memories for the names mentioned: Lancelot is the captain of one of Storybrooke's three precincts, and Neal's a deputy under his command; Chloe Herman is Neal's girlfriend and the mother of their young son Leo, a boy with green eyes and honey colored hair.
Killian looks over then, eyes finding Hook's in the dark, and Hook takes it as his cue to approach. Henry, David, and Mary Margaret shuffle aside, create a gap for Hook to step into.
"Do you have any idea why Jekyll and Hyde did this?" David asks, his tone suggesting that his question is a continuation of a previous discussion.
"No, and I didn't exactly stop to ask," Hook says.
Henry shrugs. "In the book, Hyde was an embodiment of pure self-indulgence, vice without restraint or morality. If he and Jekyll used the serum they used on Killian on other people it would have created chaos in Storybrooke—I mean, imagine if they put it in the water supply-"
"But why did they use it on Killian first?" Mary Margaret interjects.
"To test it out?" Jackie suggests.
"And Killian just happened to be the first person they came across that they thought they could kidnap?" David says skeptically.
"That's not it," Hook says. He can feel everyone's attention on him, feel their curiosity like something physical against his skin. "They chose Killian on purpose. They thought a man with a dark past—even a reformed man—must still have that monster inside of him, just waiting to be let loose."
"They were wrong," Jackie says loudly, angrily, green eyes blazing. Hook thinks she's defending her father, until she adds, "Hook's a pirate, but he's not a bad guy."
Something flares along the thread that connects Hook and Killian—something hot and bright.
Killian's worst fear was that his children would find out about his past and would reject him for it. He worried that would be his punishment for not deserving them, for not deserving Emma and their life together.
He was wrong, of course, but the depth of his children's love for him, the fact that it's equal to his love for them, still astounds him, still makes his heart swell with joy. Hook lets that feeling wash over him, consume him. He never thought he'd feel that way again—never thought he could feel that way-
A buzzing sound pierces the night, and Henry jumps, startling everyone around him. He fumbles a cell phone from his pocket and squints at its screen. "Mom's almost here," he says.
Jackie stiffens. "Someone called her?" she asks, gaze straying to Evie, who rolls her eyes.
"I called her," Henry says, tucking his phone back into his jeans. "Before we got to the warehouse. I didn't know what we were getting into. She's bringing Ian."
Killian nods. "Thank you, lad." His emotions have cooled, receding back along the thread between them, leaving nothing but a faint, lingering warmth in Hook's chest that he cups both hands around and cradles.
"I'm gonna go then," Henry says. "Sam's sick and Olli hasn't been sleeping well. I don't wanna leave Ava alone to deal with all that." He pauses, brow furrowing in concern. "You're sure you're okay?" He looks pointedly at Killian's stomach, which Killian is still clutching.
"Aye, I'm fine. I just need some fresh air," Killian says.
"I guess we'll go too," David adds, glancing at Hook, looking him up and down once more with that glint of amusement in his eye.
"Would you mind dropping the girls at the house on your way?" Killian asks.
"Sure," Mary Margaret says. "Do you want one of us to stay with them?"
"We're not leaving," Jackie splutters loudly.
"They should be fine on their own, provided they steer clear of any other versions of me that may be currently running around Storybrooke," Killian says to Mary Margaret with a faint grin, then, to Jackie, "Yes, you are. You've done enough. Go home, and wait for your mother and I to return."
Jackie doesn't move.
Killian's stern stare softens. "Give your old man a moment of peace with his younger self, would you, lass?"
Jackie bites her lip, arms tightening, hunching in on herself slightly. "Is he...does he have to go?" she asks, glancing at Hook.
"Aye." Killian glances at Hook too. A ripple passes between them. "He's a part of me."
"He can't stay to, you know, teach me how to fight?"
"What's wrong with my teaching?"
Jackie shrugs. "I don't know. He's kind of more...badass than you."
"Now he definitely has to go."
They share a smile.
Jackie slides off the bench and steps onto the gravel. She turns, waiting for her sister. Evie leans into Killian and hugs him. Killian presses his cheek to her hair.
"See you at home," he murmurs.
"I love you, dad."
"I love you too, lass."
Then, before Hook knows what's happening, Evie's up off the bench and hugging him, thin arms crushing his ribs, her face buried in his coat. His heart stutters a beat, and he freezes.
"Are you really leaving?" she asks.
"Aye," Hook says. "This is farewell."
Tentatively, he eases his arms around her shoulders.
Her arms tighten, and he presses his nose to the top of her head. Her hair smells of flowers, and he smiles. Gardening. Evie was never particularly fond of swimming or sailing, so gardening is what she and Killian did together, how they grew their bond.
"Goodbye," she whispers.
"Goodbye, my little goldfish."
She laughs. It was their nickname for her—something about being the smallest, mixed in with some other thing about a type of cracker she was crazy for as a child. Even in Killian's recollections the exact origin is a bit hazy, lost in time and buried beneath layers and layers of other memories.
Evie pulls away, taking the scent of flowers with her. Hook knows better than to expect a teary send-off from Jackie—and he's not disappointed. She passes by with something like a smirk on her face, and a look in her eye that's not quite approval, but very close to it.
"Oh, dad," Jackie says, over her shoulder as she follows her grandparents towards the parking lot, "tell Ian I want my dog back. He can't keep her all to himself in Boston."
"You can tell him yourself when we get home," Killian says.
Hook watches Evie and Jackie until they're out of sight. His heart feels pulled in their direction. He suddenly wishes he had more time, though he knows it's not possible. He turns, forcefully dragging his eyes away from where he last saw the girls, and finds Henry grinning at him.
"Are you sure he can't stick around?" Henry asks. "The kids will kill me if they find out Captain Hook was here and they didn't get to meet him."
"I'm sure," Killian answers. "Whatever Hyde did to us has to be reversed. We weren't meant to be separate."
"Yea, but what if you guys-"
"Goodnight, Henry," Killian says firmly.
Henry rolls his eyes skyward, exasperated. "Fine, but you're the one who's going to explain to Bea and Minnie the reason why they didn't get to meet Captain Hook."
"Bold of you to assume they haven't met him already."
Henry chuckles as he walks away. Hook watches him as well, turning over Killian's memories of the boy while he does. Their bond grew slowly, and took a lot of work; it wasn't until Henry was about to become a father himself that he and Killian became truly close.
A spike of agony pulls Hook's attention back to Killian. He whirls, and finds Killian hunched over on the bench, hand pressed tightly to his stomach, fingertips digging into his shirt.
"You alright, mate?" Hook asks, rushing to Killian's side.
Killian nods, but a pained gasp hisses through his teeth.
"Do you need—should I get someone?" Hook asks, twisting around, searching for Henry.
"No," Killian says quickly. "I'm fine—rather, I will be once Emma gets here."
Killian's memories of her shine the brightest in Hook's mind.
He hesitates, watching as Killian lets out a deep breath, and lets his shoulders sag. He leans back, tips his head back, and closes his eyes.
"You sure you're alright?" Hook asks.
"Yes, it's just the bullet."
Hook blinks. "The bullet?"
"It's still in there?"
Hook frowns, but Killian merely smiles. After a moment, he laughs.
"I almost died," Killian says. He sounds shocked.
"Aye, but you didn't," Hook says.
"How many times have we said that to ourselves?"
Hook sighs. "Too many to count." He sits next to Killian, and gazes out at the harbor, at the moonlight reflected on the still surface of the water. Calm nights at sea were always his favorite, when nothing seemed to move, when the only sounds were the creaking of his ship and the gentle sloshing of the waves against its hull. It was the only time he ever felt truly peaceful.
"I wish I still looked like you do," Killian says quietly.
"I wish I had what you have," Hook replies instantly.
A moment of silence passes, and then Killian asks, "If the Dark One hadn't been dead, would you have gone after him? Sought your revenge?"
"No," Hook says. "After seeing the girls...no. Were you afraid that I would? When you first saw me?"
Hook raises an eyebrow at that.
"I know what Hyde didn't," Killian says. "You and I aren't like him and Jekyll. We weren't driven by the desire to sin for the sake of sinning, or from the pleasure we derived from it. We were driven by revenge."
"And there's no revenge to be had here."
"Correct. But more importantly, our family's here."
That bit of warmth Hook's nursing in his chest grows.
"He underestimated us," Killian continues. "And he paid the price for it."
"He's not the first to have done so."
"Aye, and he certainly won't be the last."
He underestimated the girls as well, Hook thinks, but he senses it would be unwise to speak those words aloud, so instead he asks, "Are you still angry with me?"
He knows he doesn't have to specify for what.
Killian looks over sharply. "I'm their father," he growls. "It's my job to murder anyone who puts them in danger—so yes, I'm still angry."
In spite of his heated tone, no actual anger flows along the thread in between them. Then, out of the corner of his eye, Hook sees Killian smile.
"They fought?" he asks.
"Aye," Hook says.
"I wish I could have seen it."
"I imagine you will, in my memories—though you may be disappointed."
"Jackie used what I believe is actually Prince Charming's signature move to defeat Jekyll."
Killian's eyes narrow. "She threw her sword?"
"Who taught her that?" Killian says, voice rising indignantly.
"I imagine your father-in-law taught her that."
"How dare he."
Hook huffs out a laugh. "If it makes you feel any better, she threatened me with a knife to my throat. And I think she would have stabbed me in the kidney if I'd given her a reason to."
"Oh, she would have, and it does—I taught her that last one. The first bit's all her mother though."
As if summoned, Emma Swan arrives.
A gust of wind brushes Hook's back, and he turns in time to see an enormous cloud of pale gray smoke clear, revealing three figures. Two of them are clearly human, one of them barks. The barking one launches itself over the bench and into Killian's lap in a flurry of teeth, claws, and drool
"Argh, bloody dog!" Killian snaps, as a dog with mottled gray-and-black fur smothers his face in kisses.
The remaining two figures are bickering.
"What the hell was that?" Emma demands.
"What?" Ian says. "It was just a little magical speeding. The Bug's full of latent magic. It'd be insulting not to take advantage of it."
"No, I meant teleporting us! Did you even bother putting the car in park first?"
"I don't know. Does it matter?"
"It matters if my car's currently buried in a tree!"
Hook stands up from the bench, drawing their attention. Their argument fades as they both look over.
The boy—man, Killian amends—grins, and the woman steps forward. Her hair is somehow still more gold than silver, and she's as stunning as the moment Hook first laid eyes on her. He can't be sure if that memory is his, or Killian's; he's not entirely sure where they diverged, where their edges meet, or even if the border between their two selves is crisp or blurred.
What he does know is that she's the light that guided him from the darkness, and he loves her.
Emma reaches up, cups his cheek with her hand, and regards Hook with calm green eyes.
"I'm quite real, love, I can assure you," he finds himself saying. It's difficult to breathe. He feel both light and heavy at the same time. Heat flushes his cheeks, spreads down his chest, below his belt.
"Careful, mate," Killian says, out of the corner of his mouth (clamped shut against the dog's assaulting tongue).
"Oh, God," someone else drawls, someone with a voice eerily similar to Killian's but lacking his accent. "This isn't going to be like the last time there were two of dad, is it?"
Hook pulls his eyes from Emma's to look at Ian, his firstborn, the son that made him a father. Killian's memories cascade through his mind, memories of watching the boy be born, of guiding his newborn son into the world, of singing him to sleep at night, rocking him in his arms when he was fussy, reading him stories, teaching him to swim, of watching him grow from a squalling babe into the man that stands before him. He's a startling sight to behold. Hook has the strange sensation of looking into a blonde mirror—a mirror that's also taller, which Hook is surprised to find profoundly irritates him.
"This is a story I definitely need to hear," Ian says, folding his arms over his chest—arms and a chest that are both broader and more well-defined than Hook's or Killian's, which is also incredibly annoying.
"Later," Killian sighs, standing. The dog jumps from his lap but stays pressed against his legs, gazing up at him with her tail wagging. Killian glares at her for a moment before rounding the bench and joining them. He winces as he walks.
"Are you hurt?" Emma asks. Her hand disappears from Hook's cheek, and he barely restrains himself from snatching it back.
"I'm alright," Killian says.
Emma snorts, and Killian smiles guiltily. His hand strays to his stomach, and Emma pounces. Killian flinches, but remains otherwise still as Emma runs her hands over him.
"Evie got most of it," he says.
"She did a pretty good job," Emma mutters.
There's a small crease between her brows. She stills, bringing both hands to rest over Killian's stomach. Soft white light pours from between her fingers and spreads, rippling outwards, passing over Killian's entire body before fading. When she brings her hands away, once of them is clenched in a fist.
"Better?" she asks.
Killian stands straighter, taking a deep breath and blinking, as if coming fully awake. "Aye," he says. "Thank you, love."
Emma opens her palm, revealing a small, round bullet.
"I thought so," Killian says, grinning down at it. "Don't tell Evie."
"I won't," Emma says. She lets the bullet fall to the ground, then goes up on her tiptoes to kiss Killian. Killian's hook arm snakes around her waist, bringing her closer, and his hand raises to tangle in her hair. The dog squeezes out from between them just in time.
"So," Ian says, turning away from the display his parents are putting on. "What's up?"
"Pardon?" Hook asks, leaning down to pet the dog snuffling his pant leg. Her fir is thick and wiry, but not unpleasant to touch. When she raises her head, he runs her velvety ears between his fingers, and she licks his wrist.
Ian smiles. "Her name's Bonny. You got her for me-"
"For Christmas," Hook says. "The year your sister was born."
Hook does the math quickly in his head. "She's rather spry for being 18."
"I may have, uh, fed her a little Elixir of Eternal Youth."
Ian actually blushes. "One of grandpa's dogs died when I was 12. I didn't want Bonny to die too."
"So now she'll live forever?"
Ian tilts his head from side to side, considering. "Probably. I don't know how well we made that potion though. Honestly, she could start aging again any day."
"Me and Rowan-" he cuts himself off. His mouth snaps shut, and his expression becomes suddenly closed.
Before Hook can react, Killian's voice interrupts.
"Officer Jones," he says, and sweeps past Hook to pull Ian into a crushing hug.
"Hey, dad," Ian grunts, grinning and returning his father's hug even as his father squeezes the air from his lungs. Killian claps him heartily on the back a few times before stepping away.
Hook tries not to stare. Standing that close, the resemblance between Killian and Ian is even more striking. The shapes and angles of their features are identical, from hairline to cheekbones to chin, and from jaw to eyebrows to ears. The only difference between them, aside from height and breadth, is their hair color, the splash of freckles across Ian's nose, and Ian's clean shave.
"I know," Emma says, appearing beside Hook to pat his arm sympathetically. "I still can't get over it, either." She sighs. "God, it feels like he was born yesterday, and now he's...that." She ends her sentence with a gesture in Ian's direction.
"He's an officer?" Hook questions, more for an excuse to continue talking to her than anything else.
"Police officer," she clarifies. "In Boston."
"He's been there for some time?"
"Three years, I think. We're trying to convince him to come back home, but he's being stubborn."
"Aye, well, from what I understand, it runs in the family."
Emma smiles up at him. Hook feels that flood of heat again, and memories rise unbidden to the surface, memories of what her body looks like naked in the moonlight, what it feels like wrapped around him, the sensation of being sheathed inside of her, her nails raking his chest, her lips pressing kisses to his neck-
"Oi!" Killian's voice rings out, making Hook jump several inches. "That's my wife and the mother of my children you're having those thoughts about."
A loud groan from Ian follows. Emma smirks, as if she too could read Hook's thoughts, and then says, "You ready to go?"
"Not really," he says, breathlessly.
"It won't hurt."
"I know. That's not why-"
She silences him with a kiss. He freezes, afraid to move, afraid she'll pull away if he does. Her lips are soft, her kiss light and warm. There's a catcall, somewhere in the background, sounding much more far away than it probably actually is. Hook's vaguely aware of Killian's protests, also distant to his ears.
Emma pulls away, but the warmth on his lips remains. He opens his eyes slowly, to find her smiling gently at him. She takes his hand and places it between her breasts, over her heart. Hook swallows the moan that tries to climb out of his throat. She covers his hand with one of hers, and then places her other hand on his chest, over his heart.
"Goodbye," she says. Her palm grows hot. Her other hand is squeezing his.
"Goodbye, Emma," he says, just before a bright flash of white light nearly blinds him.
Her smile is the last thing he sees before everything goes black.
Killian opens his eyes. He's lying on the ground, Emma and Ian hovering over him.
"What happened?" he grunts.
"When Hook disappeared, you collapsed. You okay?"
Bonny appears and thrusts her wet snout into his face. He splutters and rolls to the side, away from her slobbery kisses. Bonny tries to follow, but only manages to get in one good lick of his ear before someone yanks her off of him.
"C'mon, Bonny," Ian says. "Let dad get up."
Killian pushes himself slowly to his feet. When he straightens, the world spins, and he presses his hand over his face. Emma's hands appear on his back and elbow to steady him, and he leans gratefully into her, inhaling the wonderful mix of scents that is his wife.
Hook's memories rear up in Killian's mind when he closes his eyes, and he lets them play out. He relives the night through Hook's eyes, everything from his flight from the docks and his first encounter with the girls to the fight in front of the cannery and Hook's brief duel with Hyde.
Evie and Jackie both killed a man tonight, Evie in defense of Jackie's life, and Jackie in defense of Hook's. Emma and Killian will need to talk to them, assure them they did what they had to do. Killian regrets that it happened. He would have spared them that, if he could.
Even so, he smiles to himself. They fought well.
"Killian?" Emma asks, voice low in his ear.
He opens his eyes, and looks into Emma's. While he was bleeding to death in that warehouse, he'd thought mostly of her, had tried to replay every memory of her his tired brain could dredge up. He held on because of her, hoping that she'd find him, if he could just stay alive long enough.
He was angry at Hook for dragging the girls into the situation, but the truth is, without them Killian would probably be dead, and Emma would be weeping over his corpse right now instead of standing in the circle of his arm, fitted to his side.
"Let's go home," he says.
They start walking towards the road. Ian stays a few steps ahead, giving them some space and some privacy. Bonny trots at his heel, tongue lolling from her mouth.
"You know," Emma says, playfully, "my birthday's coming up soon, and I bet if we looked we could find some more of the serum Jekyll used on you-"
Ian lets out a roar of disgust. "Oh my God! If you're gonna say shit like that then would you please fucking whisper it?"
"No one asked you to eavesdrop," Killian points out.
Ian's fists clench. Then, in a petty gesture, he waves his hand, conjuring a cloud of pale gray smoke to whisk him away, leaving Bonny to bark at the empty air.
Emma sighs. "You know, it's actually pretty impressive that we can still provide him with a few traumatizing childhood memories at this stage of the game."
Killian tightens his arm around her. "Did you manage to convince him to come home?" he asks, ignoring the way his insides clench in immediate, hopeful anticipation.
"Not yet," Emma says. She shrugs, but she leans her head into Killian's shoulder. "He'll come home eventually."
"Are you certain?"
"You've seen it?"
"Seen it, seen it?" he asks, referring to her occasional prophetic glimpses into the future.
"Yes—oh, by the way, how do you feel about more grandchildren?"
"When?" Killian asks, stricken.
"A ways off," Emma says. "But sooner than we think."
Emma doesn't respond, but the look on her face says that she knows, but doesn't want to say.
"Rowan?" Killian guesses.
Emma's glance answers for her.
"I thought they broke up-"
"I know, I know," Emma says. "But their story isn't over yet."
"Yes," Emma says, a brief smile flickering over her lips.
"Did you tell Ian that?"
"He might come home if you did," Killian says.
Emma scowls, and guilt twists in Killian's gut—Emma considers herself responsible for Ian's departure from Storybrooke, as she was the one who initially pushed him out to go to college.
"I'm sorry, love," Killian says quickly. "That's not how I meant it."
Ian left because Rowan broke his heart, and just like his parents, Ian ran from it and buried his pain in a fruitless pursuit—not the pursuit of vengeance, but the pursuit of achieving a purpose in life great enough to distract himself from the truth. And the truth that Ian either hasn't figured out or hasn't accepted yet, is that there's only one place he belongs—only one place he's ever and will ever belong.
Emma nods, then leans forward, into his chest, and wraps her arms around his waist. He hugs her back, wrapping his arms around her shoulders, fingers tangling in her hair.
"Tell me more about our...our grandchildren," Killian says.
Emma chuckles into his shirt. "I think we're going to have a lot."
"We already have a lot."
"We have four."
"Four is a lot." Killian shakes his head. "I'm not ready."
Emma's hands fist in the back of his shirt. "I just want him back," she says.
"He'll come back, Swan."
"Oh, now you can read the future?"
"No, but I know our son, Emma."
He closes his eyes and lays his cheek atop Emma's head. In his mind, he sees what Hook saw, he sees himself standing next to Ian—two men, nearly identical on the outside, and nearly identical on the inside, too.
Killian smiles. "Family will bring him home."