Actions

Work Header

Savage Heart

Chapter Text

Savage Heart Summary:

A love story between a pirate and his savior. An innocent, beautiful, selfless woman meets a man with no manners, no formal education and not even a last name. Will Emma fall in love with Killian once she discovers that beneath his tough exterior lies a heart-wild, but a heart of gold? This is a Captain Swan AU

Disclaimer: I own nothing but the love and crazy obsession for A&E's creation.

A/N: This is the first story I have written. Normally I am the one reading fanfiction so I am extremely nervous but my need to tell this story is stronger than my anxiety. This story has been a labor of love for me. It's inspired by another story as well, the first story I ever encountered with a pirate in love.

In my culture, there are stories (soaps) but their air time is only for a couple of months only and then on to the next one. It was a period piece I saw back in 1993. I know a lot of you were not around yet, but trust me it was good. The original characters include a pirate with dark hair and green eyes, a dark haired woman with blue eyes that breaks his heart and a blonde with blue eyes that mends his heart.

I could not help but remember this story picturing Captain "Killian Jones" Hook, Emma Swan, and Milah. I believe this story works perfectly with our lovely Captain Swan. But I do need to provide just a bit of a warning: There will be some differences in attitudes or character traits and some names have been changed a bit and locations… This is an Alternate Universe fic and as such, I have twisted the characters to meet my needs.

Please keep in mind that I could not "cast" different people in the main roles. My vision would not allow it.

Just to make it clear I do not hate Milah but she will be one of the villains in the story. I chose her because she was Killian's first love and no one else would do. If you are a fan of Milah's this might not be the story for you.

Chapter Text

sh

 

Chapter 1: The Wedding

E-POV

Emma stares at her reflection in the full-length mirror. She looks at the image she makes today, dressed in the most modest white wedding dress she has ever seen. It's plain and simple, nothing exquisite or extravagant about it, nothing like the dress that she had always dreamt of when she was a young girl.

Once upon a time, the day she'd been promised a betrothal to August, she'd envisioned such a dress. Unfortunately, she will not be marrying August, the man she loves, as she must protect him and her family's honor.

This is my duty, is all she keeps telling herself. She knows it is crazy, but she still longs for August, even though he chose another. Tears slowly fall and it makes her more determined to conclude this transaction because essentially, that is all it is - a business deal.

A soft knock raps lightly at the door and Mother Superior's voice sounds softly. "Emma, it is time. They are ready for you."

Emma slowly walks to open the door and closes her eyes desperately hoping for a sign that she doesn't need to go through with it, alas nothing happens. She has no choice, so she slowly covers her face with the sheer material her veil is made of. This is her final moment of freedom.

She can faintly hear the wedding march playing on the other side of the tall twin doors. Suddenly the doors open and she starts her walk down the aisle. She holds her head high and the voices fade into the back of her mind by the time she reaches the altar.

The priest starts reciting the exchange of vows consent.

"Emma and Killian, have you come here freely and without reservation, to give yourselves to each other in marriage?" They both answer in unison, "Yes." The priest continues, "Will you honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?" They answer, "Yes." "Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?" The answer is prompt, "Yes."

"Since it is your intention to enter into marriage, join your right hands, and declare your consent before God and his Church." They heed the priest's words. Killian looks at Emma and says his vows.

"I, Killian, take you, Emma, to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. "

Emma takes a breath and starts her vows in reply. "I, Emma, take you, Killian, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life."

They follow the traditional vows with the Blessing of Rings and a kiss that seals their union. Although this is not their first kiss, Emma has never experienced a kiss like this one before, a kiss tinged with the promise of something more. Quickly composing herself, Emma puts that thought in the back of her mind. Suddenly everything is a whirlwind around her and the next thing she remembers is finding herself in a carriage with her husband, headed to an unknown destination.

Not long ago she was ready to make vows of a different variety. Losing her love had broken her heart. She couldn't bare living under the same roof as the happy couple. She tried not to let it show that she was hopelessly in love with her cousin's husband. She knew love would never find her, so the only choice was the convent.

But now, so many changes have happened so fast. This marriage is the only choice she's decided for herself, no one can take this from her. Never again will Emma find herself at the mercy of others.

That lovely chapel in the convent had been her haven for a short time, but now a new endeavor is upon her. Emma looks at her husband and hopes that God will forgive them for a marriage that was not entered in the name of love. They had lied through their teeth to the priest.

She had felt the guilt right away, but the alternative is not an option.

K-POV

Killian Jones always considered himself a patient man, but right now that ability to wait is nowhere to be seen. He feels powerless and he hates that feeling. Killian looks toward the doors, willing his bride-to-be to finally show herself. For a few seconds, he fears Emma has betrayed him.

He looks around the chapel. There are no loved ones here to show support on either side, just some novices and a few of the older nuns. He has no family in town left alive, only a longtime friend that refused to show because he does not agree with this marriage.

When he finally hears the music begin to play, Killian takes a breath and tries to form a smile. He looks to the opening doors and finds himself entranced by the woman slowly making her way to him. He is not a blind man, she is beautiful, but sadly she is not the woman deeply embedded in his heart. But he will have his happy ending and it does not matter what needs to be done or how long it takes for him to get it.

The priest starts reciting the exchange of vows consent.

"Emma and Killian, have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?" They both answer in unison, "Yes." the priest continues, "Will you honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?" They answer, "Yes." "Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?" The answer is prompt, "Yes."

"Since it is your intention to enter into marriage, join your right hands, and declare your consent before God and his Church." They heed the priest's words. Killian looks at Emma and says his vows.

"I, Killian, take you, Emma, to be my wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. "

Emma takes a breath and starts her vows in reply. "I, Emma, take you, Killian, to be my husband. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life."

They follow the traditional vows with the Blessing of Rings and a hope-filled kiss that seals their union. It is a first kiss that holds so much promise for both Killian and Emma, they are unknowingly courting danger as neither suspects true love could soon be in the cards for them.

Not long after the ceremony, the newlyweds find themselves in a carriage headed home.

Killian can see the guilt all over his wife's face. He didn't know how it was possible to be able to see her truly. Yes, he knows his way around women, but with Emma, it is something entirely different.

"Darling, we will arrive soon to our new home," Killian says, and their eyes meet and time stands still for a brief second.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: The First Born Son and a Rebirth

Flashback

Brennan Booth, a wealthy landowner that owns most of Misthaven sits in his favorite leather chair reviewing some estate documents that were left pending by the unexpected death of his steward. Suddenly there is an urgent knock on the door.

"Enter," he says, and his wife, Cora, promptly enters.

"You have a visitor," Cora says.

Brennan looks up to see his longtime friend, Archie.

"Brennan, John is dying and he is calling for you."

Brennan scoffs. "What would John need to speak to me about? We are far from friends."

Archie answers, "You have Madeline in common, or have you forgotten about her?"

Brennan looks up to his friend and gets up to respond. "Fine, let's go see what that lowlife wants to see me about."

They leave his house on foot and take to the street, walking at a fast pace, both lost in thought. Brennan remembers Madeline fondly. She was such a beautiful woman, possessed a smile that brightened the darkest days. He would never understand how Madeline Jones ended up married to a wretch like John Long.

"We are here," Archie suddenly says.

They stand in front of a shack that barely seems suitable for housing animals, much less a family. The thought of Madeline withering away in a place like this fills Brennan with guilt. He should have fought for their love, but in the end, they both settled for people who never truly loved them, he was nothing but a coward.

They knock on the door and slowly enter when no one answers.. There is a man lying on a cot, thin and brittle. If Brennan wasn't aware of where they are, he might not have recognized the man before him.

"You sent for me?" Brennan asks curtly. He turns around when the door to the home bursts open, and a boy barely older than his son August enters.

"Who are you?" the boy asks looking between the men.

John's eyes dart from the boy to Brennan. "Killian, get out! I have business with them."

The boy, Killian, walks to the door and before leaving the shack glances back at the men one last time.

John glares at Brennan and goes on. "Must I say the words?"

Brennan looks at him and shakes his head. "What are you talking about? You wanted to see me. Here I am."

"You must be blind if you do not see the resemblance. Killian is your son. The son you sired with my wife. Madeline tried to pass him as mine, but the older the boy got, the more I could see the man that had an affair with my wife. We both saw it, and where she loved Killian for being a part of you. I hate him for it," John says.

"Madeline would never have kept this from me! She would have found a way to let me know of his existence!" Brennan screams at the man.

John only laughs before replying, "What makes you think she didn't try? She hoped to her last breath that you would come to rescue her and that little bastard son of yours. The truth of the matter is, she was not good enough for you. Madeline went to see you and was welcomed to your home by your pregnant high-class wife, the one that was good enough for you to give your name. She was heartbroken once more by your actions and settled for me.

"I never confronted her, so she always wondered why I was so cruel to Killian when I loved Liam so wholeheartedly. When the heartbreak finally was too much to bear for her and she was too weak to care for the boys, we decided to send Liam away to be with my sister. She wanted to send Killian too, but I told her that my sister would not be able to handle both of them. Killian was three years old when Madeline passed. The truth is, Killian did not belong with my sister, or here for that matter. For years I have had to take care of him, and he's not even my blood!"

"He is truly my son?" Brennan asks to no one in particular, standing in disbelief in front of the man that destroyed his lost love. He has a son, another son to be exact. Killian, is his first-born.

A fit of coughs take over John, and the frail man looks to Brennan before taking his final breath, hoping that his last confession will be enough to redeem him.

"What are you going to do? Cora will not welcome Killian," Archie asks.

Brennan knows his friend is right. "I will tell her he is the son of the steward of my estate, who recently died. She doesn't bother getting to know anyone she considers below her class. I will say August is lonely and since she can no longer have any more children, he will be August's playmate."

After discussing what arrangements need to be made for the deceased man, Brennan and Archie head outside to collect Killian. They tell him that John has passed away and has asked for Brennan to take Killian in.

Killian is confused that his father has attempted to make any sort of arrangement because the man has never shown any form of love towards him, but he accepts the story since he has nowhere else to go.

As months pass by, Killian and August bond, they truly act like brothers. Brennan tells Cora he wishes to adopt Killian to give him a better chance, but Cora doesn't like the idea. She tells Brennan that he needs to send Killian away because he is a bad influence on August, but she is unable to deter him, and he adopts Killian.

Why would her husband want to give his last name to a nobody? Cora is not blind, she sees the way Brennan looks at the boy and decides to confront him. "Brennan tell me the truth! Who is Killian to you?" Cora yells.

He looks at her and finally answers. "Killian is my firstborn. He is a Booth, and I want him to be an equal to August in every way, that is why I gave him my last name." He picks up a folder from the desk and holds it up towards his wife. "All there is left for me to do is to update my will and then August and Killian will have equal rights to my fortune."

A sharp boom of thunder rumbles outside, coinciding with Cora as she snaps, livid with her husband's decision. "There is no way in hell that bastard will have the same rights as my son!"

Tucking away the documents in his breast pocket, Brennan ignores his wife and heads to the stables. He mounts his horse and urgently rides away. He pays no mind to the weather, or anything except that he needs to get these documents to his friend and lawyer Archie.

As he rides through the pouring rain, a flash of lightning catches his attention. By the time he glances back to the path in front of him it is too late, a fallen tree blocks his path. Brennan tries to get his horse to jump it, but instead the horse's front hooves catch on the felled trunk and both rider and horse are thrown precariously through the air.

Brennan is found lying unconscious by a good samaritan. Archie who had been on his way out to see the Booth family, curious as to how the adjustment was going with a new son living in the home came across his friend and the man trying to help. Once Archie and the good samaritan get Brennan back home a doctor is summoned, and the samaritan takes his leave. Cora sits by her still unconscious husband's side and discreetly searches for the papers that will secure her future fortune.

The doctor uses smelling salts to revive Brennan and he regains consciousness, but after a quick assessment of the bruising taking over the injured man's body, the doctor knows he will be unable to stop the internal bleeding in time."

"It'd be wise to get your affairs in order," the doctor says gravely.

Brennan frantically calls for August as he realizes this may be his only chance to pass on the truth that Killian is his true son.

Brennan is quickly deteriorating when August rushes to his bedside.

"What is it, Father," August asks, taking his father's hand in his own.

With his last breath, Brennan is able to say, "August, please take care of Killian." The lasts words Brennan Booth says to his youngest son are not the ones he had hoped to utter.

With Brennan Booth's sudden death, Cora, always a clever conniver formulates a quick plan.

"August, please send Mr. Hopper back in, I need to discuss a few things with him. Once you have done that please go to Killian and tell him what's happened."

August complies with his mother's wishes. As Cora sits staring at her husband's lifeless body she decides she must get rid of the only other person that knows of her late husband's illegitimate son.

Archie arrives at the door and knocks quietly. "You wanted to see me?"

"Yes, this will be quick, no need to get comfortable. You are fired. You can go now." Cora states coldly.

Archie just stands there looking at her as she gets up from her chair and leaves him behind.

By day's end August is the sole heir to the Booth fortune, Killian has been sent away without August's or Archie's knowledge, and Cora is already contemplating her next move upon society.

Rebirth

Time never stays still. Years pass by and Killian grows up out on the streets of the port-town, unloved, and in the company of sailors and pirates. He has so few happy memories. The only time he had felt like his luck had changed for at least a brief moment was during his time with the Booth's. That was the closest he had ever been to having a family after the passing of his mother.

His father had always treated him with hatred, but his father's final moments puzzled him. Why would he ask Mr. Booth to give him a home? He seemed like a different man at the time of his death, his final request did not seem like the man that had raised him without love and guidance, in poverty and neglect and never gave him his last name. Some questions would stay unanswered.

As a young man Killian became part of Edward Teach's crew, a known pirate. He moved up quickly in the ranks. He grew to enjoy drinking, women and especially the rush of being an outlaw. He won Teach's position as Captain of The Jolly Roger at a young age in a duel. The crew of the Jolly Roger rejoiced in the new life their young captain breathed upon them.

The lost boy and fatherless son of Madeline Jones thus became a ruthless, womanizing pirate. His dastardly reputation harbored him an unbound loyalty with his men. Killian renounced the last name Brennan Booth had given him before he too abandoned him. Killian embraced his mother's last name because in reality, she had been the only one that had truly loved him. He was simply Captain Killian Jones from that day on.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: The Betrothal

Flashback

The Nolan's are a very respectable family in high society even though they now find themselves in bankruptcy. Their financial problems had emerged from one too many bad deals made by James, David's identical twin brother. James Nolan had always been known to be the reckless brother of the two. He had angered so many people in his dealings. Those actions were the reason for his tragic demise.

His death leaves Count David Nolan, his lovely wife Snow, and their beautiful, young daughter behind with a tattered and uncertain financial future.

Despite the insecurities they now face, Emma Nolan is loved and adored by her parents. She is especially close to her father. Emma will forever be her father's little duckling, his sweet little princess.

Months after his brother's death, David receives a letter from Jackeline, James' coming of age love. She tells him of Milah's existence, a niece, a cousin to Emma. Sadly, by the time the letter arrives, Jackeline had met her death as well.

David decides to fix the injustice that his young niece and her mother had to face. David tells Snow the story and then leaves with her blessing, on a quest to retrieve Milah.

Ten-year-old Emma sits waiting as her mother tells her she has big news. "Emma darling, we will soon have an addition to our small family."

Emma's ears perk up to the news, and a wide smile covers her face, she has always hoped for a little sister, she would even settle for a brother. "Mother, am I getting a little sister?" Emma asks, trying and failing to hide her excitement.

Snow takes a breath. "No sweetheart, I am not expecting. Your cousin Milah is coming to live with us. She just turned eleven years old. Your father has gone to bring her home."

Emma sits calmly taking in the information, she never knew her Uncle James had children. She scrunches her face in confusion, she's always been an extremely curious child, so she does the only thing that can appease her. She asks questions.

"Mother, how is it possible? Uncle James never married. How can he have a daughter? What is her mom's name? Where have they been? Why are we only finding out now?"

Snow nods and tries to answer her inquisitive daughter's questions as best as she can. "No, he didn't marry, but there are situations that happen unexpectedly. This is not something we can discuss completely at this time. However, we will embrace and love Milah because she is family."

Emma nods vigorously, agreeing with her mother. She already loves her new cousin and she hasn't even met her.

David soon arrives home with his niece in tow. Milah is a beautiful girl that has inherited her mother's looks, she has long, wavy, raven hair and blue eyes. Emma, also a beautiful girl, has inherited an equal mixture of each of her parents. She is the polar opposite of Milah, with her blonde locks from her father, and her mother's lovely emerald eyes.

The exterior is not the only thing that makes the young girls different though. Milah is envious and secretly longs for all that Emma has, she hates that she never met her father, while Emma grew up with her parents doting on her. Milah's mother Jackeline had tried her best but she could barely scrape enough money together for meals. Jackeline had worked in a tavern to provide for Milah and that made her resent Emma for her charmed childhood.

Emma is sweet, loving, and caring, she does everything she can to make Milah feel like a part of the family. She's naive to the manner in which Milah was brought up, and therefore she is unaware of the discourse Milah feels toward her. She has grown to love Milah like a sister, but sadly the feeling is not mutual.

It's not long before talks of a union between two of the most established families in town begin. The Nolan's need to rebuild their financial future and hope that tying themselves to the Booth's will help. The Booth's can think of no better way to secure their good name than being linked to the Nolan family. They decide Emma and August will be joined by marriage.

Emma had met August several times when she was younger. She had only fond memories of him. Despite being a few years her senior, he was always sweet and kind to her, so it didn't bother her that her parents had agreed to the arrangement.

Once the betrothal is arranged, David Nolan decides he must leave his family in order to seek out a way to rebuild his own fortune. If he's able to, he won't have to see his daughter entered into an arranged marriage. As a young man, he had been betrothed to Kathryn Midas. His father George thought that it was the best match for the family.

He had hoped to never put Emma in that position. He had gotten lucky because Kathryn had fallen in love with Frederick Knight, a business partner of her father, and she married him instead.

David had met Snow not long after, and he is forever grateful to have had the fortune of meeting his true love and marrying her. Snow tries to stop him, but he refuses to stay. He wants his daughter to marry for love not to save them. He still has time.

11 Years later

Emma grows up to be even more beautiful than her mother, and as dedicated as her father. She misses him dearly, but remains at home with her mother to keep her company, while Milah travels, spending the money Emma's father has been able to send home. David still waits for the big payout that will allow him to finally return home from Arendelle.

Emma's parents give Milah everything she asks for. Guilt is such a powerful incentive. It always goes back to what she didn't have when she was a child.

Milah's trip is coming to an end. On her last week in Port Royal, she comes face to face with her cousin's betrothed, August Booth who is en route to Misthaven after a long absence from home.

"Don't you remember me?" Milah asks while looking at August through her eyelashes. Milah knows she is beautiful, and she knows exactly who he is.

"I am afraid I don't recall my lady," August responds promptly.

"I'm Emma's cousin, Milah."

The rest, as they say, is history, they spend a whirlwind week together and August falls deeply in love with her. The only reason Milah shows any interest in August is because of his wealth, power, and influence.

Milah returns home and never mentions her interactions with August to Snow or Emma. Milah tries to make the best of her time in Misthaven, but she misses what the big city has to offer. She had gotten too used to the big city and all its fine distractions.

She takes daily strolls on the sandy beach to pass the time. On one of her excursion,s she comes across a modest cabin and stops short when something catches her eye. She sees a man bathing, and quickly hides and keeps observing. Unbeknownst to Milah her presence does not go unnoticed by the handsome man. Even from the distance that separates them, she can clearly see that the man is gorgeous.

He suddenly yells, "Smee, bring my towel and get rid of the dirty water."

Once Smee is close enough, with a smirk, he whispers, "There is a lass by the oak tree, follow her and find out who she is."

Soon Smee returns to give his Captain the information he was able to uncover. "Sir, she entered the Nolan's household. She didn't use the servant's entrance."

"Do the Nolan's have any daughters?" Killian asks lost in thought.

Smee quickly answers him, "They have one daughter, and they took in the daughter of the Count's twin brother who was killed some years back."

"That will be all, for now, Smee," Killian says quickly.

For days Milah shows up by the cabin in hopes of seeing Killian again. As soon as Smee notices her he reports to his Captain. "Sir, she is back."

"Is she now? I guess I better go introduce myself," Killian says with a smile.

Milah is waiting patiently by the oak trees to see if the handsome man will make an appearance.

Killian slowly approaches her from her blind side. "Hello, my lady. Killian Jones at your service."

Milah gasps when she hears him, then smiles and says, "Milah Nolan."

"Countess Nolan, would you like to join me for a glass of wine, or is the request completely out of line for a lowlife like me?" Killian asks.

"I'm afraid I don't drink wine," Milah responds but quickly adds, "I could keep you company."

Killian smiles and guides her inside his cabin, where they talk for hours. As nightfall approaches, Milah reluctantly lets him know she must take her leave. Killian offers to escort her home but she declines.

Over the next couple of weeks, their meetings become a ritual. They get to know each other and quickly fall in love. Killian and Milah soon explore their physical attraction, and Milah gives her maidenhood to Killian not long into their relationship. The truth is, they are being extremely reckless.

One beautifully sunny day, Milah and Killian go swimming. Milah gets out of the warm water to lounge and bask under the horizon. Killian emerges out of the clear blue water to join her. He looks like an Adonis, not a pirate as the water travels down his glistening and toned body. He finally reaches her and leisurely gets on his knees then crawls on top of her to kiss her passionately. They end up in his cabin enjoying each other.

That same night, Killian proposes to Milah and informs her of a business trip that he will be taking on his ship, The Jolly Roger. He assures her that on his return they will be able to marry. He knows it will be a very lucrative deal and he will be able to offer her the life that she desires. Milah accepts his proposal quickly.

"Mother it is so lovely to see you. I have missed you," August tells his mother upon her arrival to Port Royal.

She smiles and leans in to kiss his cheeks. "I have missed you too. I came to surprise you; I hope you don't mind making the trip back home with your mother."

August smiles and only nods his agreement, he wishes he was making the trip back with a certain young brunette who stole his heart just a few days ago.

"Are you excited to finally be going back home? I know Emma is looking forward to seeing you again and starting wedding preparations as soon as poss-"

August cuts her off, "Mother I am afraid I cannot marry Emma. I have fallen in love with Milah. I will not marry someone I do not love. I am truly sorry."

"August, how could you do something like that? You knew very well of the betrothal," his mother seethes.

"Mother, you mentioned it once or twice in passing when I was young. How was I supposed to know you were serious?" August quickly snaps back the retort.

After hours of arguing Cora finally relents and agrees to break the news to Emma and Snow.

The arrival of August in Misthaven will surely break more than one heart.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Betrayal and Acceptance

Cora and August arrive at Misthaven days after Killian was supposed to have returned from his trip. This works to their advantage when Cora goes to see Snow to break the engagement with Emma and to ask for Milah's hand.

"Mistress, you have a visitor waiting for you in the study," the maid tells Snow who goes to the study to see who has come calling. "Cora I'm so glad you are finally back. Should I go get Emma so we can get started with the wedding preparations?"

"There's much we must discuss, you might want to sit down," Cora says, pausing until the other woman sits. "I'm afraid August wants to marry Milah." After bluntly dropping the news, Cora proceeds to tell Snow the story her son told her.

Snow sits quietly absorbing the information she is hearing. She simply asks, "How am I going to tell my daughter? She'll be heartbroken. For years she has waited patiently for her wedding day to come. Now I have to tell her not only does August not want to marry her, but he wishes to marry her cousin. The same cousin she loves like a sister."

"I'm truly sorry Snow; I tried to talk sense into him. He claims he is in love and will not listen to reason. I have always believed Emma to be the best match for him."

"I suppose the only bright side is that David can finally come home. He always thought Emma accepted her fate for the good of the family. He wanted Emma to marry for love," Snow says sadly.

"Mother, was that Mrs. Booth leaving? When will August come to visit?" Emma rushes down the stairs looking so hopeful as she asks her mother.

"Emma, please come sit down, we need to talk. I don't even know where to start. I'm afraid I have some bad news to share. August, he has fallen in love with someone else." Snow feels her own tears begin to well in her eyes as she watches the sadness cloud her daughter's expression. "Oh, my sweet darling girl, I'm afraid there is still more to tell, and I think it's better if you know the whole truth now... he has fallen in love with Milah."

Emma sniffles and says to her mother. "I don't understand. How? When? Did I do something wrong?"

Snow pulls Emma into a hug and responds in a firm voice. "I'm so sorry this has happened, but August's choice has nothing to do with you. You did nothing wrong. Sometimes one's happy ending isn't the one that was planned. You will survive this heartache; you are so strong and brave."

Emma backs away from her mother and asks point blank, "He wants to marry her, doesn't he?

"Yes, he does. I'm so sorry. He asked his mother to make the arrangements."

"I understand, I will not stand in the way." Emma gives her mother a small smile before adding, "One cannot lose what was never theirs, to begin with."

Killian should have returned by now, Milah worries as she heads to his cabin in search of answers. On her way through town, she overhears some fishermen talking about the capture of The Jolly Roger by the Arendelle Navy. Milah cannot believe the news, she knows the military will not be lenient with him, he will never return to her. She feels so empty, her heartbreaking as she walks back towards her home.

"Milah, sweetheart could you please come and take a seat. We need to talk," Snow says warmly.

Milah walks to her aunt, trying to gauge her mood. She knows she and Killian were very reckless, and she's nervous Snow might have heard of the dalliance with the notorious Pirate Captain. "Of course," she complies sweetly, taking the seat her aunt had pointed to when she called her over.

"Milah, it seems that you have made quite an impression on August Booth. I'm a little hurt you never mentioned the encounter to Emma or me."

Milah smiles and answers, "Aunt Snow, I honestly did not see the importance. Why do you say I made an impression?"

Snow takes a breath and continues, "August feels that you would be a better match for him, he is quite fond of you. In fact, he asked his mother to speak on his behalf in requesting your hand in marriage."

Milah gives her Aunt a smile and asks, "What was your answer? Are you giving me a choice?"

Milah knows this is the best option for her. If she cannot have her love, she will happily accept a life filled with riches and power. She also knows that August was betrothed to Emma, and so she does not wish to appear too eager to accept. "I will do whatever is best for the family. It's the least I can do in exchange for all the kindness you have shown to me." Her cousin's broken heart doesn't garner a moment's thought as she imagines her new life and lifestyle. This is my time, she thinks, finally, I will have everything instead of perfect little Emma.

Later after the heartbreaking conversation with her mother, Emma decides she needs to have a talk with Cora about the situation. Emma knows her mother will not approve so she sneaks out of her house to go see Cora. She soon arrives and sits patiently in the office of the Booth Estate waiting for Cora to make her way to see her.

Cora is completely stunned to see Emma. She really hopes that she is not there to reproach her about the engagement being called off. She really did think she had more class and dignity. "Emma, sweet girl, it is so good to see you. To what do I owe such a lovely surprise?"

"Mrs. Booth I'm sure my visit cannot truly be a surprise considering the reason for your last visit to my home. I only came to assure you that I have no problem with Milah and August's upcoming nuptials. If anything, I am quite relieved."

Cora looks unconvinced as she replies, "Your mother said that you would be heartbroken once you heard the news. I was under the impression that you were truly in love with my son and looking forward to getting married."

Emma smiles. "I do feel love for him, but in reality, I see him more as an elder brother. I was simply trying to make the best of the situation. I also trusted that my father would have believed I was truly happy with the arrangement. Unfortunately, he simply would not give up his silly quest to save me and come home. I expect now when Mr. Hopper gives him the news he will finally find his way back to the family. I can lastly do what truly makes me happy. I have always felt a spiritual calling. Now that I am free from the engagement I can take the vows to become a nun."

Cora looks at Emma intently.

Emma smiles and continues confidently, "If my marriage to August would truly have been destined to take place I would have accepted that fate and embraced it. However, that is clearly not the case."

Cora finally seems convinced and smiles.

Emma slowly gets up and says, "Thank you for your time but I really need to leave. I left the house so suddenly I was unable to inform my mother of my destination, and I have other errands to run before I return home."

Cora says, "It was so lovely to see you Emma and I am truly happy that you now will be able to follow your heart's desire."

"Mrs. Booth, thank you for your kind words and it was so nice seeing you again. Good day," Emma says and promptly takes her leave.

The reality of the situation is simple, Emma is hurt, heartbroken, humiliated and the last thing she wants is anyone's pity. So she leaves the Booth Estate with her pride intact, at least whatever is left of it. Emma makes her way to the convent after leaving the Booth Estate.

She speaks to Mother Superior about her desire to join the convent.

Mother Superior is hesitant since the betrothal was well known to the majority of the small town, but decides to accept Emma under one condition, a trial period of 90 days.

"Emma, if after the allotted time you still want to take the vow, I will gladly support your decision and welcome you with open arms into this convent.

When Emma returns home, she tells her mother of her decision to join the convent.

Snow cries and begs her to reconsider. "Emma, once the news reaches your father, he will return. At least promise me you will wait until he has returned home to truly commit to this decision. There are always other choices. We can find another match for you," Snow implores.

"Oh mother, this is not about August! This is truly what I want. You insist that all you want for me to be is happy but somehow you cannot accept that this will do just that. Emma insists that becoming a nun is her true calling and stays firm in her decision.

Within 48 hours she finds herself walking into the convent. Mother Superior gives her a tour of her new living quarters. "Emma, there are only two things required, your prayer and hard work. Remember this is only a trial, you still have time to change your mind," Mother Superior says.

"Thank you." Emma soon adapts to the overwhelming changes in her life. She does chores for Mother Superior on a daily basis.

The courtship between Milah and August starts almost immediately after Emma enters the convent. They don't wait for the murmurs and rumors to subside. No courtesy is awarded for her. Granted, to the outside world the betrothal had been mutually called off.

As days go by, Mother Superior encourages Emma to go visit her mother. She knows that Snow is having a hard time accepting Emma's decision. Truth be told, the wise nun senses that Emma just needs time to deliberate on the situation, and soon she will realize this is not the life for her.

On one of those visits, Milah and August are relishing their privacy as Emma bursts into the house looking for her mother.

August has the decency to look embarrassed while Milah just smiles as she touches his chest in a suggestive way.

"I'm sorry, I was looking for my mother," Emma says while trying to avoid looking at the scene in front of her.

Milah responds, "Oh, she stepped out. She went to go sign some documents Uncle David sent to Mr. Hopper for her to look over. She should be back soon, I could tell her you stopped by."

"Thank you. Do you know if Mr. Hopper has been able to contact father to let him know of the change in plans? Father would want to be here regardless of who the bride is, he loves you too Milah," Emma says.

"She hasn't mentioned anything of the sorts. I was telling August that Uncle David must be ecstatic that you will be taking your vows since that is what you have always truly desired. I hope that doesn't stop you from attending our wedding, it simply would not be the same without you. We have decided on the date by the way. It will be in a couple of weeks. Will you be able to be there?" Milah asks.

Emma had a feeling that the wedding would be soon but 14 days is truly an insult to her and their so-called engagement. To know that their wedding will take place before her 90 day trial period is over, kills her. August is so eager to marry Milah. In all honesty, she detests the idea of being there because it still hurts. Seeing the way August looks at Milah, with an adoration she knows he will never ever look at her with is truly a slap in the face.

They seem so happy, and it kills Emma knowing that if he hadn't met Milah, she'd be the one getting his undivided attention. He should be planning his wedding and future with her. Fate has truly been cruel to her.

"I'm sure I will be able to be there. I wouldn't want to miss such a joyous day." Emma answers after an inordinately long pause which goes unnoticed by the couple.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: Catch and Release

Flashback - The Road of Redemption

Once the betrothal is arranged, David Nolan decides he must leave his family in order to seek out a way to rebuild his own fortune. If he's able to, he won't have to see his daughter entered into an arranged marriage. As a young man, he had been betrothed to Kathryn Midas. His father George thought that it was the best match for the family.

He had hoped to never put Emma in that position. He had gotten lucky because Kathryn had fallen in love with Frederick Knight, a business partner of her father, and she married him instead.

David had met Snow not long after, and he is forever grateful to have had the fortune of meeting his true love and marrying her. Snow tries to stop him, but he refuses to stay. He wants his daughter to marry for love not to save them. He still has time.

Torn, David Nolan travels north. He has been hearing an awful lot about a booming port town called Arendelle. David Nolan soon arrives at Arendelle in search of a chance to redeem his family's good name. All he wants is to be a hero for his daughter, his family. There is one benefit of traveling so far, James' reputation didn't follow him.

The climate there is so different from Misthaven. It's cold and somber, there's no color. Or maybe, it isn't the town at all.

He misses his family, his beloved wife, and precious daughter. Milah too, Even without knowing her that well he misses the opportunity to be there. His desire was never to take his brother's place, but to enrich her life.

He soon makes friends with a kind woman named Ingrid Foster. He only approaches the woman at the market when one of her daughters runs straight into him. The girl reminds him so much of his little duckling, his sweet Emma.

Goodness, he is so homesick. He misses his love and his little girl. She is blonde too like his princess but a little more platinum than golden, with blue eyes. He hears a woman say the young girl's name, Elsa.

Elsa is chasing her younger sister Anna. Anna is a little bundle of strawberry red hair and blue eyes with an energy that never seems to end. Young Anna can talk for what seems like hours without taking a breath.

Ingrid apologizes profusely for the two young girls, but David just smiles softly. He then finds out that the lovely young girls are actually her nieces. That reminds him of Milah. He regrets not spending more time getting to know her better before leaving Misthaven.

Ingrid and David bond over tales of family and lost loved ones. He mentions the loss of his brother, and she talks about her sister and brother-in-law's passing.

Ingrid had never found love herself but gladly accepted the responsibility of care provider to both girls when their parents had perished. That is how she became Anna and Elsa Frost's appointed guardian. She has been raising the girls alone for the last two years. Anna is 9 years old and Elsa is a year older, like his Emma.

His longing for his family isn't as bad when he is around the young girls. His Emma would love Elsa and Anna. Someday he will be able to introduce them in person. In his letters, he tells her stories of both young girls and their antics.

Ingrid introduces him to some amazing connections and not long after his arrival, he has started a small trading business. David never knew he had such a knack for this type of business.

He imports anything from silver and silk to spices. Exporting goods include honey, wheat, wool, and various types of furs.

He is truly happy with the success of the small business. Sadly though, the business is growing and prospering a little too slow for his taste. He wants to go home. He sends letters and money to Snow with Archie Hopper's help. He lives very modestly and has no need for any luxury. No sacrifice will ever be too considerable if it meant his little girl's happy ending.

Arendelle Present

David Nolan has slowly amassed enough money to live comfortably. Would that be enough? He knows Emma and Snow have never desired riches.

Milah, on the other hand, has taken to the privileged lifestyle quite well. She enjoys luxury and craves more. Whatever he sends, it's never enough. That thought breaks his heart.

Throughout the years, each time he had sent money to Snow he would ask Archie if it had been enough for their needs. Archie would simply say, "Snow and the girls are fine." Then in the space of seconds, he would always add some sort of remark about Milah wanting to go on a trip or a new wardrobe. His niece's thirst for riches was unquenchable, and Snow always gave in, the money was eventually spent on something for Milah.

Sometimes it was for trips and others for jewelry or whatever she must have. Archie keeps telling David that even his guidance is not enough to deter Snow from granting Milah all she desires. Snow and Emma are extremely sensible when it comes to their expenses. However, the guilt Snow feels because of Milah's lack of a happy childhood leads her to just about squander the little bit of extra money he was able to provide them with.

His friendship with Ingrid has endured through the years. He happily takes the role of Uncle to both girls.

Anna has found love at the young age of seventeen, his name is Kristoff and he genuinely adores Anna. He seems a little eccentric but it's clear that he is an honorable young man. Soon they will marry. That is the kind of relationship David so desperately wants for Emma.

David and Kristoff bond soon after their introduction and David even offers Kristoff a job at Nolan Importing & Exporting.

The threat of the business becoming a target for pirates indicates the success he has accomplished. There have been rumors of a pirate captain from Misthaven making a move towards David's company.

That is how David crosses paths with a dashing Navy Captain by the name of Liam Long. Liam has an impressive reputation at a young age. He has been successful in his counter attacks towards all acts of piracy so far. David befriends the young man and introduces him to his adoptive family.

The young Captain takes to Elsa quite rapidly. Elsa, on the other hand, is a little more closed off, but it's obvious the attraction is not one-sided. Elsa and Liam start by being friends and are slowly moving towards more.

Soon enough, all these lives, near and far, will be intertwined.

~~~~~

KPOV:

In a dark corner of the local Arendelle tavern, Killian is deep in conversation with some of his associates. His eagerness to conclude the transaction has blinded him to see the officers arrive. To be honest he had stopped paying attention to any sort of officials long ago. He was so used to the corrupt Misthaven legal system that would gladly look away in exchange for a small contribution.

He's finally wrapping up the once in a lifetime endeavor and soon will be able to return to his love. Suddenly chaos broke loose, and it becomes apparent that Killian Jones has become overconfident in his excitement to get back to Misthaven. There is an eruption of swords clashing, chairs breaking, and even some cloth ripping. The yelps of the injured are heard throughout the room as swords pierce skin.

The aftermath is bloody and devastating. There are losses on all sides. The dead pirates, civilians, and military are scattered on the floor. In death, nothing differentiates the men.

This is how Killian Jones finds himself rotting away inside the Arendelle prison. He was so close to returning to his love. He no longer feels the need to pillage and plunder. The infamous scoundrel had finally given his heart away.

He had found an odd familiarity to the arresting officer, and had asked one of the guards for the officer's name. The answer was a simple Captain Liam Long. He had felt a connection to the man and for some reason, he had thought of his mother.

He had been so young when his mother died, and the memories, although faint, had stayed with him. To satisfy his need for the connection and trying to never lose her completely, a total stranger had made him pause and now he was rotting away.

He should have killed the Captain when the opportunity had presented. His death would have easily guaranteed the escape of what was left of his crew on his beloved ship and he would now be back in Misthaven.

Killian comes to the realization that love only makes you weak. He had fallen in love, and now he is in a prison far away from where his heart longs to be. Weakness or not, he will find his way home, to Milah.

Liam's POV:

Captain Liam Long was the pride of the Arendelle Navy. He had come from a modest upbringing. He was sent away for his best chance by his parents. He had been almost six years old when he had arrived at his Aunt Annie's house.

She had always talked so fondly of his father, John. She barely mentioned his mother. Every time he would ask if he could send a letter home she would simply say, "Sorry Liam, but your mother is very ill and she will not be able to respond."

Then not so long after his arrival, his aunt told him his mother had died. That is something a child doesn't forget, no matter how young. His father would send letters for years until he also succumbed to death.

Liam had grown up to be an exceptional young man. He was seventeen years old when he joined the Arendelle Navy. Pure dedication drove him to rise in the ranks and became Captain at 28 years old.

Now Liam and his men find themselves walking into a seedy tavern on a tip. Quickly surveying the scene and coming to the conclusion there is, in fact, a big deal closing gives them the reasonable cause they need. Liam acts fast and gives his orders, detain everyone, dead or alive.

Soon he comes face to face with a man that he feels an instant camaraderie with, it makes no sense to him. The man is a pirate; he stands for everything that is bad form. The battle is quick, and Liam gets the upper hand, he captures the notorious Captain Killian Jones.

When Liam visits his Aunt, he tells her of his latest capture. The look on her face when she hears the name Killian Jones gives Liam pause. "Why did the mere mention of that name make you white as a fresh sail? Who is he?" He asks over and over to no answer.

Finally, she gets up and reaches in the cupboard in her small kitchen. She pulls out an old letter and hands it to him. Liam takes a breath when he recognizes the handwriting, his father's.

He slowly starts reading it, and the name Killian Jones takes a new meaning for him. He has a brother. Now he remembers his mother's maiden name, Jones.

"Why are you giving me this letter now? Growing up you never once mentioned Killian to me, ever. Father didn't either in any of his letters until this his last letter. I could have gone to Misthaven to look for him! He grew up to become a pirate. He had no one!"

"I only followed my brother's instructions. He wanted you to forget about Killian. You were young enough that the memory would eventually fade," Annie sobs.

"Yet, somehow I find myself holding a letter that was meant for me to have read after his death. The telling of a sordid tale. He is still my brother and you kept it from me, why? Oh yes, I read that too. My mother made a mistake and Killian was born from it. For someone that has always told me how important doing the right thing is and to be kind to the less fortunate, you sure did not follow your own teachings."

Annie simply answered, "My brother, while on his deathbed, grew a conscience. What are you going to do?"

Liam smiled and answered, "Be an older brother and release him. My record is impeccable; I will get away with a slap on the wrist." Liam leaves his Aunt's house and heads to the prison while still holding the letter. Once he arrives, he tells the guards he needs a word with the prisoner.

Liam is guided to the well-known cells, and when he finally reaches Killian's, for the first time since they had been separated, he looks into the eyes of his younger brother.

Liam asks the guard for a bit of privacy.

"Captain Jones, I remember hearing you mention to your associates there was a very specific reason for your urgent return to Misthaven. What was that reason?"

Killian looks at the Captain who captured him, and for some reason, he knows this man will appreciate a story of love.

"I was heading back to my betrothed. I am to marry once I return. I will be leaving this life to become an honorable man." Killian answers honestly as he has nothing left to lose.

"I will personally escort you to your ship so you can make the trip. Better late than never. Before I let you go I would like for you to read this letter."

Killian looks at Liam suspiciously before agreeing. Taking the letter to the most lit section of the cell he begins reading.

Killian cannot believe what he's reading. He has a brother, and finally knows the reason why his father, no, his stepfather hated him, though the identity of his real father is not revealed in the letter.

Not long after the cell door is opened, he is quickly engulfed in a hug from his brother. He returns the hug awkwardly.

Liam explains to the guard how everything was a setup and that Killian, in reality, was the victim of foul play. It doesn't take a long time for the guard to finally agree to let Liam leave the prison with Killian in tow. His excellent military record is the reason why his explanation is not doubted.

Once back on the deck of his ship, Killian thanks his brother Liam and sets sail. Soon he will be with his love.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: Deception

Milah is looking out the window in her room contemplating her wedding to August which is fast approaching. Her soon to be mother-in-law Cora is preparing everything to make sure the wedding is perfect for her son. Milah knows she has one thing to take care of before she says her I do's. She has some loose ends to tie up.

She enlists the assistance of her trusted maid to ensure that the dalliance with Killian did not leave her pregnant, and to help cover the fact that she no longer has her virtue intact.. In her short stay in Misthaven, she has heard of a healer that can help her with these details. The healer gives her some herbal tea that will solve the pregnancy issue if she is in fact expecting. To cover up the loss of her virginity she is given an animal's blood, the healer didn't specify which and she was not going to ask for specifics. She is not too excited about using it but desperate times call for desperate measures. Milah has all her bases covered. She is ready to become the lady of the manor. To be waited on hand and foot.

As she walks down the aisle, Milah casually glances at Emma. It is not the wedding Milah had wanted, but the look on Emma's face is worth it. Her cousin is such a hypocrite who can't hide her feelings, she's always going on about how truly happy she is about their wedding and how eager she is to finally be able to take her novice vows. All lies, Milah knows it. If only Emma could just be honest and not be a damn martyr, Milah thinks. The vows are exchanged, and Milah really tries to show some excitement..

With her Uncle David still gone and Emma at the convent, Milah decides to ask Snow to come live with them so she is not alone. If she is truly honest, it is a simple tactic to show to her new husband August and his judgmental mother Cora, that she has a good heart, especially since she had heard her mother-in-law only talk praises about Emma. She knows that if it had been up to Cora, August would have married selfless Saint Emma.

Milah settles into being August's wife. She looks at him while he sleeps, he is not Killian, but he will do. She misses Killian though, he was so good at pleasing her in bed, unlike the man that lays next to her. Things could be worse, she could have married beneath her. One of August's redeeming qualities is he enjoys lavishing her with expensive gifts.

Milah smiles to herself, she does love seeing Emma suffer. Days turn into weeks and soon it has been almost two months of marriage. He is dull and he just doesn't thrill her like Killian. Perhaps later she can find someone exciting and take him as a lover. Killian is irreplaceable in that area, pity he got captured, such a waste.

She should alleviate Emma's pain and tell her she truly did her a service by marrying August in her place. She really is not missing out on anything. However, Emma might have been extremely satisfied with having August as a lover, she is so frigid. She wouldn't know what to do with a real man if she ever got one. Milah snickers at the thought.

She walks around the large estate, avoiding her mother-in-law and limiting her time with August as she typically did. She uses the excuse of keeping Aunt Snow company to make sure she doesn't feel unwanted in the household.

One day the unexpected happens. Her maid tells her that Smee is on the outskirts of the estate with a message. Milah thinks it must be a letter from an imprisoned Killian and she quickly sets out to go meet with Smee.

Unfortunately for Milah, as she is leaving, she is seen by Emma who is there to visit her mother. Emma follows her and sees Smee hand her Killian's message. Unbeknownst to Milah, Emma wonders why Milah would be meeting with that man and decides to keep an eye on her.

Milah quickly reads the note and tells an anxious Smee she will go to Killian as soon as she can, but that she needs to be careful.

Flashback - The Road So Far

Killian Jones was the worst human around. The people of Misthaven were in a quandary when it came to the pirate captain. The higher class had quickly labeled him a thief, scoundrel, and the scum of the earth. The lower class saw a completely different man, simply a godsend. More like a blessing in disguise.

In the beginning, after his christening as Captain of the Jolly Roger he had truly earned his devious reputation. He had done it all. Pillaged and plundered without a thought to anyone else's needs. He had eagerly created an image to instill fear amongst his crew and other pirates to stop any mutiny attempts. What better way to control or motivate than fear? He had refused to be underestimated because of his young age.

Perhaps the first reminder of the humanity that still resided within him was a young girl he had met in his darkest time. The young girl's name was Kristinka; she had been orphaned at a very young age as well. Like him, she had no family to help her and was forced to learn to survive by any means.

She had been working in the tavern owned by his friend Tiny. The Golden Goose Tavern was exploding with the excitement of the crew of the Jolly Roger. They had just arrived for a night of celebration, she had offered him services that were not on the menu and he foolishly accepted. It didn't help that his crew had cheered and encouraged the deed.

She was only eighteen years old at the time and that was three years ago. He should have known better. He had just turned twenty-two and was eagerly trying to live up to the image of the pirate captain. Even then he knew he had made a mistake, it was bad form to lay with a lady one had no intentions of loving or marrying. They soon got to know each other better and became friends of sorts.

In the orphanage she had grown up in, there'd been a copy of her favorite book, Peter Pan. Although Tink had never learned to read, one of the nun's used to read to her behind the Mother Superior's back. Killian reminded her of a key character, and she had even given him the nickname Hook. That alone was an indication of how young she was when they first met.

As a boy, he had loved the story of Peter Pan also. He had prayed to be swiftly transported to Neverland to be able to escape his cruel reality. He began calling her Tink, short for Kristinka and for the fairy she reminded him of. She was not happy about the nickname but loved the camaraderie it afforded, she was always pouting when he would call her by that name.

He knew she'd had fallen in love with him early on, but he just didn't see her in a romantic light. She would only ever be a close friend, he could not give her his heart. Meeting Tink made him remember his youth and he soon the lower class saw him in a different light. To the ones that had no savior, no voice, he became their protector. Each time the local law tried to pin any sort of crime on Killian, the locals protected him. He began donating some of his ill-gotten riches to help provide for those who couldn't provide for themselves. He donated to the orphanage anonymously since he knew if the nuns realized where the money came from they would never accept it.

Present

By the time Killian returns to Misthaven months have passed. Bloody Arendelle prison is all Killian Jones can think. Yet he is happier than he has ever been. He has an older brother and soon he will marry Milah. He enters The Golden Goose Tavern with a confidence he had forgotten during his time in prison.

He doesn't even go home once he makes port. He just wants a bit of rum to welcome him home while Smee runs his errand to Milah.

Then he hears the news. "Countess Milah married August Booth," one of the fishermen says and continues with his story. "Her family almost missed out on the opportunity that comes with marrying someone with that name, who knows why the other girl wasn't the one that married him."

His heart shatters and a darkness creeps into him as his elven like ears perk up to that bit of information. At first, he thinks he has misheard… he must have. Milah couldn't have betrayed him like this, wouldn't have, they were to be married upon his return.

He approaches the fishermen and asks, "Oy, August Booth married the Countess Milah? I thought he was betrothed to the other Countess?"

One of the fishermen responds, "Aye, he did. In my opinion, he made the wrong choice, but I am partial to blondes."

"Sorry, mate. I didn't mean to intrude on your private conversation. In my line of work, information is power," Killian says with a smile that doesn't reach his eyes. His jaw clenches as he nods and walks away swiftly. He is angry. He wants to hurt someone; anyone will do at this point.

No, she would not dare betray him. Oh, there will be blood. He wants to inflict the same pain he is feeling. She will pay, they will all pay. He is shaking uncontrollably.

He has no idea how or when he reaches his home. He looks around the room at the mess he's made, glasses and bottles are broken, chairs and the wooden table are overturned, books have been torn to shreds and papers are scattered all over the normally tidy room.

"Smee! Come here!" Killian yells.

The stocky man approaches slowly while playing with his crimson hat. He had heard the Captain arrive and then the noise coming from the little office erupted.

He must have heard about the Countess marrying August Booth. "Sir, you are finally back," Smee says nervously.

Killian rolls his eyes in frustration. "Apparently you are a very observant man Mr. Smee. Now is there anything of importance that you have yet to tell me?"

"Sir, Countess Milah has married August Booth in your absence," Smee says to his Captain. "Sir, there had been rumors of your capture throughout the port cities. We didn't expect to see you again."

Killian smirks and responds, "Aye, I was captured by the Arendelle Navy and imprisoned alongside most of the crew, some were not so bloody lucky. Now, I do not recall any attempt from the lot of you trying to free us."

Smee's eyes go wide open. "Sir, I was told that there had been attempts to sway the authorities but they are not as easily convinced as the Misthaven officials."

"It matters not anymore. How did Milah end up marrying her cousin's betrothed?" Killian is really struggling to stay calm while he waits for the man's responses.

"The true story is not known, sir. All that is common knowledge is that Countess Emma joined the convent and that within a fortnight her cousin had married August Booth."

Killian scratches behind his ear and says, "I will write a message for her that you will figure out a way to have delivered to her. Is that understood?"

"Of course," Smee answers rapidly.

Killian turns to look for some paper to write the message in what is left of his office. The message is simple.

Milah, we need to talk.

KJ

She will know the note is from him and where to go, all that is left for him to do is wait. Several hours pass by the time Smee finally returns.

"It's about time, Mr. Smee. You know how much I abhor waiting."

"Captain getting the message to her was not an easy ordeal. She is living in the Booth Estate; I had to be extra careful," Smee replied as he played with his hat nervously.

Killian nods in agreement, but that didn't mean he had to like it. "Is it fair to assume you have been successful in your task?" Killian asks.

"Of course Sir, I would never fail you," Smee replies.

"Did she say anything?"

"All she said was that as soon as she could get away without arousing suspicion she would make her way to see you, Sir."

"Hmmm, wonderful, how very considerate of her," Killian hisses. "Did she look happy in her new role of wife to Booth? What was her reaction after reading the note?" Killian looks at Smee as he waits for the answer, dread in his heart.

"She seems content enough, she didn't seem unhappy. Though she did seem happily surprised after she had finished reading your note. She will come, I'm sure of it."

"She best not make me wait too long and force me to go looking for her. I'm sure her new rich husband will not like to know that he is enjoying my leftovers. She still has to answer for her betrayal."

Killian had started to lose his temper after Smee said that she seemed content. He'd been under the assumption she had been forced to marry August. The fact of the matter is simple. He knows she enjoys riches more than anyone else he has ever encountered and that reality has made him quickly realize that she may have entered into the marriage quite willingly and all for the wealth.

He'd never felt the need to flaunt his wealth. He'd only used it to his advantage when having the need to bribe some judge or another greedy corrupt official to look the other way, but never to enjoy an extravagant lifestyle.

Killian knew he would never be able to provide her with the riches and comfort that August had surrounded her with. Perhaps if that last venture had been successful he may have been able to compete with Booth's wealth, but now, he couldn't come close. He has wealth but not to that extent. He can give her a reasonable cozy life. She may have accepted that life before but now after having a taste of the lavish life Booth has to offer, he isn't so sure.

The problem is that he doesn't like to share. He is a pirate after all. Once upon a time he had cared for August. The little time he had spent in the Booth Estate as a boy, he had grown quite close to him. Too bad he had taken something that had been his. Perhaps a visit to see Archie for some Intel on August Booth is now in order.

Milah's family was still well respected and had gained some financial stability in recent years. Still, the marriage between Milah and August has benefited them a great deal already.

He has to be tactful in how he does things. He cannot let his anger blind him. He has to be smart about how he handles the situation from now on. He has an opportunity to get Milah back and maybe a small fortune.

They will sail away on the Jolly Roger once everything is over. His hand reaches his trimmed beard and strokes it as he plots and comes to a realization that he could use the friendship they once shared in their youth to get close to August and gain access.

Archie will happily help; he has tried to get him to leave the pirate's life in exchange for an honorable one for so long. He hates the idea of using Archie. Archie has been his only true friend for so long. He had even provided him with the most basic of education.

He knows his crew can help too, they are extremely loyal; but only because of the riches they have acquired since he became their Captain. As long as there is a big payout he can count on them for whatever he needs.

He will not lose his love. Maybe they can make a home in Arendelle with his brother.

Soon he will meet with Milah and let her know of his plans.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: First Meetings and Secret Meetings

Milah wakes early and gets dressed before August wakes and has a chance to question her. She is so excited to see Killian. She smiles to herself and doesn't realize she is not alone until it is too late.

"Where are you heading so early cousin?" Emma asks.

Milah turns to look at her cousin and answers with a taunting comment, "Oh Emma, I didn't realize you were still here. I assumed that you had already returned to the safety of the convent." Milah continues, "I thought you were only checking in on Aunt Snow and would have left as soon as possible. I just assumed that spending too much time here would be somewhat uncomfortable for you. I'm only looking out for your wellbeing."

"I'm doing just great, you don't have to worry about me. I'm just not used to seeing you awake so early. You, dear cousin, have never been an early riser." Emma smiles as she answers and tilts her head to the side as she observes Milah. She can tell she is nervous. Why is she so nervous?

"I was just heading out; I wanted to go check on the house to make sure everything is running smoothly since Aunt Snow is currently staying here." Milah tries to sound convincing and fails miserably even to her own ears.

Emma smiles sweetly. "I see. To answer one of your questions, you are correct. That was the original plan, a quick visit. Unfortunately, your mother-in-law Cora insisted I stayed longer to help lighten my mother's spirits because she is worried about her, and how can I refuse such an invitation?" Emma takes a breath and adds, "I apologize, dear cousin if that is not an acceptable situation for you. I don't know why you would think I would feel uncomfortable?"

"I thought you wouldn't want to be here seeing as you were trained by my mother-in-law to be the perfect wife for her son. Isn't it extremely hot wearing that awful nun's habit? I suppose you have to get used to it. I better go, I don't want to be gone that long. Could you please let August know? I did not want to wake him, he looked so peaceful in his sleep."

Emma nods and waits for Milah to leave the room, then rises quickly to follow Milah. She doesn't want to lose her. Soon they reach the beach and what appears to be a little cabin. Emma wonders what business her cousin has at this place.

She had made sure to keep a good distance while she followed Milah. She looks around to make sure no one had noticed her as she approaches the slightly open window and strains her ears to listen to the conversation inside.

Milah walks into Killian's cabin as if she owns the place. Killian just stares at her, she looks beautiful. He had sent Smee away earlier to do some errands and arrange a meeting with Archie. He also wanted to ensure some privacy if Milah was to make an appearance.

"Killian I have missed you so much; I truly thought I would never see you again..." Milah begins.

"Oh love; I can see how broken-hearted you were about my absence. To prove your devotion the first thing you do is marry the bloke with the biggest wallet that offers to make you his wife?" Killian yells at her. "You promised yourself in marriage to me and you broke your promise and for that, you will pay, I will tell your husband how many times I had you in my bed and how each time you begged for more."

Milah looks at him with wide eyes trying to think of a way to calm him.

"I married him to save my family Killian, I had already lost all hope of happiness with you and that is the only reason I accepted the proposal. You have to know what marrying into his family could mean to anyone. The advantages it offers. So when my frigid cousin lost the opportunity and I was offered the chance I had to take it." Milah hates the way he is looking at her.

Killian had always looked at her with such love and admiration. She was used to being second choice. She knew her aunt and uncle loved her, but Emma would always come first. Killian was hers alone and she didn't have to share him.

"How exactly did the opportunity present itself? And before you answer, I know how that mind of yours works and what it holds value to. Make sure you are telling the truth."

"I bumped into August during my stay in Port Royal before I met you and he took a liking to me right away. I knew who he was and to be honest I didn't care. I hold no true loyalty to my cousin. I thought if he chose me I would be getting the life I deserve, and at the same time, I could take something my cousin loved. It would have been a double win for me. If you knew my cousin you would understand. The poor thing wouldn't know what to do to captivate and maintain any man's attention even if her life depended on it. To be honest, I didn't have to do much. I just wanted something that was meant to be hers because she has had it all. I had no idea I had been successful until after you left for your deal."

"Oh, lass do not even try to lie. I know you well enough to know you must have worked extra hard to charm him into picking you. You, my dear, do not like to leave anything to chance. After all, you came looking for me."

Emma stands dumbfounded listening to the conversation that starts to fade as her worst fears are confirmed. She had noticed that some of Milah's comments seemed to show she enjoyed flaunting her marriage in Emma's face. She likes hurting her. Milah had set out to get August's attention. Not only that but she seems to have had some sort of dalliance with the man she was meeting secretly.

It hurts so much, she had loved Milah like a sister and now she is finding out how little Milah cared for her in return. The resentment her cousin felt for her was so great. Tears start to fall. Emma refocuses on the conversation inside, sniffling quietly

"Killian we can make this work. For a while, we would need to meet in secret and see each other whenever it is possible and enjoy our time together thoroughly. We can enjoy our time together while my dear husband regales me with jewelry and riches and one day soon, we take it all and escape." Milah approaches him and reaches out to touch him.

Killian ponders her offer. His first thought had been to steal her away, but that is too simple for the offense. Then he'd just wanted to make August pay with his life for taking his love away. But now he wants to humiliate him, he has taken what was Killian's. He wants for the great August Booth to be ridiculed. He smiles at Milah and answers. "I accept your offer, but know this, if you try to double-cross me in any way, I will make you pay dearly. You'd better leave now, I have an important meeting to attend."

"Oh, I thought we might have time for a little reconnecting."

"I'm afraid this meeting is something I cannot postpone," Killian said.

"When will I see you then? You are not going to meet with another woman are you?" Milah asks angrily.

"Jealous, love?" Killian asks with a smirk. "To answer your question, I'm meeting with an old friend. Now go!"

Milah storms out of the small cabin to make her way home.

Emma stays hidden contemplating what to do with this newfound information. Suddenly someone grabs her. She turns to look at the culprit. He towers over her, dark hair and a nicely trimmed beard. He's dressed in all black, but what captivates her are his brilliant blue eyes.

Killian had seen a flash of blonde hair and at first, he'd thought was that it was Tink. He wanted to make sure she had not listened in to his conversation with Milah. He studies the woman in front of him carefully. She is beautiful and wearing a nun's habit. He realizes who she must be... Milah's cousin, Emma. He is about to question her when she beats him to it.

"How is it you know my cousin?"

Killian answers, "Oh lass, I know your cousin," Killian pauses, licks his lips and takes a step closer, invading her space, he leans over as he finishes his answer, "intimately."

Emma takes a step back. "Why would my cousin want anything to do with a dirty, filthy pirate like you?" She stands her ground and waits for an answer.

Killian laughs and responds. "Oh darling, I assure you I bathe quite frequently, but if you would like to ensure my cleanliness, I would gladly oblige." Killian winks at her and smirks. He can tell she is uncomfortable with the conversation.

"How dare you speak to me in that manner? You are disgusting!" Emma says and continues, "How long have you known my cousin?"

"That is not your concern. I am curious, what did you overhear? Even for a lowlife like me, eavesdropping is not good form."

"I don't owe you an explanation, but since I was raised with manners I will, I was simply walking by and saw my cousin leaving your home. I too was curious. If I had heard any part of your conversation, I would not be asking you, would I?"

"Oh darling, you are feisty, not at all like your cousin described you. She truly did not do you justice. I have never seen a more beautiful nun in my life. Even with that dreadful habit you are wearing, you are simply alluring." Killian wants to distract her and continues to rake his eyes over her form.

Emma just looks at him and says firmly, "Stay away from my family. I don't care what you think you shared with my cousin in the past. She is married now, so for once in your life try doing something honorable."

Emma walks past him and does not look back.

Killian watches her walk away. Too bad he's not an honorable man, he is nothing but a selfish pirate.

He needs to tell Milah that her cousin knows about their dalliance and most likely has an idea about the plans they wish to set into motion. He had been surprised by the way Emma talked to him. Milah had described a pushover. He'd assumed she was someone who he could easily intimidate into submission. When she didn't back down during their conversation, he knew he was terribly wrong. They were going to need to be more careful in the future. The good news is that she couldn't really cause trouble if she was hidden away at the convent.

Now all he needs is Archie to reintroduce him to August and he will have direct access to Milah. He knows his reputation could possibly be a problem, but he will use their friendship, albeit brief, as an opening to get close to him and secure the steward position that has been vacant for a while.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: Best Laid Plans

August wakes up to find that his wife is missing. He assumes that she is eating breakfast with his mother and Emma, maybe Snow, but probably not as she hardly leaves her room. He gets up and gets ready. Walking into the dining room, he finds his mother eating breakfast alone. He decides to take advantage and talk to her about another matter.

"Mother, have you seen Milah?" August asks.

"Sorry son, I'm afraid I haven't seen your wife once since I have been up. I do know she was seen leaving the estate earlier by one of the staff, but she didn't say to where," Cora answers.

"Oh. I will ask her about her whereabouts later. There is another matter I would love to discuss with you. Mother, I was wondering if you knew what became of that boy father had brought to the house to keep me company when I was a boy. It was shortly before father had that accident and died?" August waits for a response from his mother.

Cora looks at August and tries not to show any emotion as she answers, "Oh yes that lowlife boy your father decided to take in as a charity case? If memory serves me, his name is Killian Jones. Well, he ended up becoming the only thing someone like him could have, a dirty pirate. I was right about the path in which he was heading. I'm just happy I was able to send him away and save you before he could do any real damage." Cora's tone is cold and uncaring as she remembers her husband's bastard son.

"Mother, I never understood your dislike for him. I cannot help wonder, if he would have stayed with us, like my father had intended, perhaps he may have made better choices? Father must have seen something special in him to have seen him worthy of living with us. Now that I'm a full grown, married man, and not a boy that has to listen to you, I will finally be able to fulfill my father's dying request," August said firmly.

"What are you talking about? Your father's request... " Did her dead husband reveal Killian's true lineage? Cora is dreading the answer.

"Mother, all father said was for me to take care of him. I intend to offer him the vacant steward position. Why are you so pale, are you feeling well?" August inquires.

"I'm sorry to say this, but we are not in need of a steward. We have not had the need for one since your father died. Even if that was the case, we have you. To be honest, just the thought of you wanting to bring that pirate into this house makes me ill. Are you sure doing this is a good idea? You recently married a young impressionable girl that could easily be seduced by that scoundrel, especially with the reputation he has with women. Son, I know you care for him, but I don't believe bringing him to work as a steward is a good idea." Cora truly hopes she is making her case.

"Mother, I was unable to give Milah the honeymoon she deserves because of her aunt's sudden health issues. Emma is at the convent on the verge of taking her vows. Mr. Nolan is still away. I want to take her on an extended honeymoon traveling. That is why I want to offer Killian the position. I never intended for us to stay here permanently."

Cora fumes as she stares. "You want to leave me again? This must have been your wife's bright idea!" Cora screams.

"Mother if memory serves me correctly, it was your decision to send me away to study abroad when I needed you most. I had just lost my father and you just sent me away… and Milah has no idea of my plans," August states calmly. "It is decided mother; I will honor my father's last wishes and offer Killian the job of steward. I will not negotiate this decision. I will meet with Mr. Hopper to ask him for help in reaching out to Killian. It is unfortunate that Emma decided to join the convent. I believe a woman like her would have been a perfect match for Killian. If he is truly the man you describe, a good woman would certainly make him see the need to become a better man," August adds.

"How dare you say such a thing? Son, I helped in Emma's education to ensure she would have made a wonderful wife for you, not for some lowlife filth! You see her worth only to pair her off with that man?" Cora is disgusted by her son's thoughts.

Milah returns to home after her tryst with Killian and quickly checking on the Nolan house. She had hoped for a more enticing reunion with Killian but it would have to do for now. As she walks down the hall she overhears the end of the conversation between August and his mother. Who were they arguing about, she wonders. Then she hears steps approaching, she turns to see her cousin Emma.

"Milah, I will be leaving for the convent later today. I'm just here to check on my mother," Emma says. "Please don't bring any more shame to this family. My father has been away from the family for so long already, he hopes to recover some of that lost honor. Please, don't make the sacrifice of the family be in vain," Emma pleads with her cousin.

Milah just stares at Emma as she speaks. Does she know something?

"I will promptly say goodbye to my mother and then find the rest of the household and let them know I will be leaving," Emma says quietly.

Emma wonders if she should mention to Milah that she knows of her affair with the pirate, or if her little speech will be enough. She knows she cannot have that conversation with her in the house. Before she can make her way to her mother's room, August followed by Cora come out of the dining room.

Emma smiles and says, "I was telling Milah I will be leaving later today. I was on my way to visit with my mother for a while and then say my goodbyes."

Cora answers, "Oh darling girl, I wish you would stay longer but I understand."

August adds, "Emma, please know this is your home and that you are welcome anytime. We will make sure your mother is well taken care of."

"Thank you, I truly appreciate the gesture," Emma answers and walks to her mother's room.

Cora follows after Emma and says loud enough for everyone to hear, "Emma, let me walk you to your mother's room. Then I will go lay down, suddenly I have a headache."

August looks toward Emma and his mother and silently mutters a few choice words, then turns to his lovely bride with a smile. "Milah, where did you go this morning?" August inquires.

"I went to go check on the house; I had asked Emma to let you know," Milah answers.

"Oh, that is good of you sweetheart," August says. "Milah, I will be offering the steward position to an old childhood friend," August tells her.

"Your mother didn't sound happy; I could hear the argument all the way to the front door," Milah says.

"I don't care if she is happy, it's not her decision. I will do this, then I will be able to give you a proper honeymoon." August says.

"I'm not complaining. I just don't want your mother to think it was my idea. She hates me. I know she wishes you would have married Emma."

"It doesn't matter what she says or thinks, I love you. I chose you. Your cousin is a lovely woman and it is a shame she has decided on becoming a nun. I was telling my mother that it would have been perfect if my old friend was to meet her. I believe they would be good for each other. He needs the love of a good woman."

"Oh, I had no idea you wanted to be a matchmaker." Milah smiles as she teases her husband.

"It doesn't matter now," August says.

Soon the conversation ventures into small talk as the couple discuss ideas for their honeymoon. Emma emerges sometime later and says her goodbyes. Cora keeps to herself, still not recovered from her conversation with her son.

Killian walks into Tiny's Golden Goose Tavern after his meeting with Milah and his encounter with her cousin Emma. He really needed a drink to calm his nerves. He is supposed to be on his way to Archie's office to set his plan into motion. The reality is simple, he was truly caught off guard by the fierce owner of emerald green eyes and a repulsed expression on what he considers a stunning face.

He had been so entranced by her and for a brief moment, all he had wanted was simply to reach out and touch her. He had not even realized he had moved his hand to reach out to her. Then she suddenly stepped back, away from his touch. That is the moment he snapped out of the trance and he came back to his senses.

He doesn't understand why she had affected him so much. Without thinking, he smiles at the thought of her and that horrid outfit, despite which she was still gracefully beautiful. She has a light to her that he is so drawn to, like a moth to the flame.

He can't stop thinking about what she had said to him. This is the first time he truly questions his actions and selfish thoughts. Sure he can be charitable, he donates anonymously to the orphanage, but this is different, this is about him, it had felt different.

No one had ever made him feel ashamed of who and what he had become. Countess Emma Nolan must be a Saint to make him feel this way. He secretly dubs her Saint Emma. After just one meeting she has gifted him remorse, how very generous of her.

Yes, he knows Milah is married, and by all accounts, he should just walk away and be a better man, but he still wants her. He loves her, he is selfish. If only he didn't feel so guilty now. None of this matters though, as a man unwilling to fight, deserves what he gets.

Killian takes a swig of his rum, trying to get lost in the burn of the alcohol when he notices one of the locals harassing Tink. He quickly gets up and heads towards them.

"What the bloody hell do you think you are doing? Unhand her!" Killian grits out.

The man simply looks at him and continues fondling Tink who is struggling against his hold.

Killian snaps and punches the man repeatedly, until his head is bruised and bloodied. No one makes an attempt to stop him. He has unleashed all of his bottled up anger of finding out Milah has married another upon this poor nameless man.

His knuckles are bloodied and cracked from the vicious assault. Tink quickly grabs him and pulls him up the stairs to her room.

She cleans the blood off his hands and as soon as she finishes he tells her he must leave as he has an important meeting to get to. Giving her his thanks, he makes sure the coast is clear and heads out to see Archie.

He had it coming is all he can think. He hates that Tink works at the tavern, he had asked Tiny to keep her in the kitchen, but sometimes she ventures out to the dining room. She is a pretty young girl so she is bound to attract some unwarranted attention.

Killian now has two reasons for his meeting with Archie, he mulls over his newest request as he rides toward his friend's home. He doesn't want his notorious reputation to have a negative impact on his longtime friend, so he always meets him at his home instead of his office. Knocking on the door, Killian waits anxiously for Archie to answer.

Archie is out of breath as he had hurried to open the door. "Killian, I was worried. I was expecting you much earlier. Please come in and sit down." Archie guides Killian to his small living area.

"I'm sorry for being late, I made a quick stop at Tiny's." Killian raises his bruised hand to scratch behind his ear.

"By the looks of your hand am I to assume you are in need of my legal services? Archie asks scoldingly.

"I don't believe so. I was only defending Tink." Killian answers. "I was hoping you could help with finding her a good home to work at, I need her out of that place. I know Tiny tries to keep an eye on her, but it is impossible for him to protect her at all times."

"I don't know of anyone in need right now. Have you considered taking her to the nuns? I know they offer a safe place for young girls to live in." Archie suggests.

Killian's thoughts immediately go to Emma What is it about that bloody infuriating woman?

"I don't know how Tink would feel about that," Killian answers after finally returning to the present.

"It's a good place for her. She will be safe. I will be heading that way tomorrow morning to deliver a letter to the daughter of a long-time client. Maybe you and Tink can accompany me to see the place. It will be only for a short while Killian." Archie assures him.

"I honestly don't think Tink would be very receptive to that idea."

"I don't mean for Tink to take vows," Archie replies. "I only mean as a temporary place while I find her a good home to work for. That way she can be out of Tiny's."

"I will send Smee to let her know of the plan. I know she will not be happy, but she will do it on my request. I'll make sure she is ready to go."Killian scratches the back of his ear and says, "Since you mentioned your old client. I was wondering if you could re-introduce me to August Booth. I'm looking to make a change in my business dealings and thought of our brief friendship growing up. Maybe he can help an old mate. I know my reputation is not the best, but I'm hoping you can put in a good word for me?"

"How is it that you know of his return?" Archie asks.

"The prodigal son returns to Misthaven and you thought that bit of information would not find its way to me?"

"You've never mentioned him before. Why now?" Archie asks.

"Ah well, I may have found a lass worth settling down for," Killian smirks as he answers the question. It is not really a lie.

"Oh, I'm so happy to hear that. Will you tell me about her? She must be a very special woman to have been able to keep your interest for longer than one night. I believe your father would have wanted you to find happiness alongside a good woman," Archie says.

"My father hated me! Why would you say that? You know exactly how little he cared for me and my happiness," Killian snaps.

"Killian, please calm down. It was not my intention to upset you. I only said that because in his final moments he had asked for Brennan to take you in and perhaps it was his way to make up for the terrible way he had treated you." Archie wishes he could tell Killian the truth, but without proof, there is no point.

Killian studies Archie's face. He looks as if he wants to say more but something is stopping him.

Killian has always considered himself fairly perceptive. It doesn't matter though, he trusts Archie with his life.

"Archie you have not given me an answer. Will you help me?" Killian asks.

"Of course, you know I have longed for the day that you would come to me asking for help. I will gladly do all in my power to help you become the man I know you truly are." Archie smiles softly as he answers.

"Good. Will you keep me posted on that matter? As for tomorrow, I know we have plans. We will be ready to go to the convent to take care of the issue with Tink and to deliver that letter. Archie, I truly appreciate all your help. I better go now. I have taken too much of your time. I will see you early tomorrow morning." Killian shakes hands with his old time friend and bids him good night.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: The Launch

The following day all seems peaceful and calm. Emma is pacing in her small room at the convent. She was unable to sleep the previous night as she'd worried about the situation with Milah. Could she trust her cousin to do the right thing? Should she have made an attempt to extend her stay longer at the Booth Estate? She hopes Milah will heed her warning, no her plea.

What could Milah possibly see in that despicable man? Sure he is a very attractive man, she's not blind, but other than looks, what could it be? What did he have to offer? His reputation is horrible. Even someone as sheltered as she has heard of him.

Tink arrives at Killian's cabin and becomes irate when he explains the reason for the meeting with Archie.

"I don't want to be a nun, Killian!" Tink screams.

Killian sighs and patiently massages the bridge of his nose. "Tink you are not to become a nun. This will only be temporary until Archie finds a nice home for you to work in."

"I don't understand why I cannot stay here with you. I can help you keep the cabin nice and clean. I could cook for you too," Tink says hopefully.

"It would not be proper for you to stay here alone with me. Someday you will find a man to love and eventually marry, and I don't want to be the reason you can't have that."

"I have already found that man," Tink says. "You."

"Tink, sweetheart I'm not that man. You deserve someone far better than me. This will be good for you. Trust me," Killian implores.

"Fine, but when the nuns kick me out because I'm too much trouble, I'm coming to live with you. No matter if it's proper or not, got it!"

"Bloody hell, alright I agree. Now let's go, Archie must be waiting for us."

"Good morning, Killian," Archie greets as he opens his door ready to go. "Tink it's always a pleasure. I assume Killian informed you of the reason for the visit to the convent?"

"Yes, I'm not happy about it," she pouted.

Archie provided Tink with a soft smile. "Your stay will not be long. That is not the only reason for my visit. I'm also going to deliver a letter to Emma Nolan. Perhaps, I will introduce you to her. She is a lovely young lady."

Killian scratched behind his ear at the mention of Emma's name. She had returned to the convent, he mused.

"Archie, perhaps it would be wise for me to not go inside with you and Tink. My reputation will no doubt be off-putting."

"Nonsense Killian, it's a place of worship. You have as much right to be there as anyone else," Archie assures him.

The truth is he is not ready for another meeting with Emma. Especially since she knows of his relationship with Milah, and most likely of their plans.

"I will wait outside. I want Tink to make a good impression," Killian insists when they arrive at the convent.

"Fine, it shouldn't be long," Archie says.

Killian leans against the wall as Archie and Tink walk through the convent doors.

Archie and Tink are guided to an office where Mother Superior looks up from the stack of papers on her desk.

"Good morning Mother Superior. I'm here for two reasons. I would love to deliver this letter to Emma Nolan on behalf of her father," Archie says, holding up the envelope, "and I'd like to speak with you about this young lady."

"I will get one of the sisters to get Emma, please take a seat," Mother Superior says as she stands and leaves the room.

Archie nods in agreement and motions for Tink to take a seat next to him. Not two minutes later she returns. "How may I be of assistance?"

"I was hoping that I could request asylum for Miss Greene," he says, gesturing to the young woman beside him, "she prefers to be called Tink. Her stay would be temporary, and I will pay for her expenses."

Mother Superior nods her approval and the three of them wait for Emma's arrival. Soon there is a knock on the little office door. "Emma, please come in."

"Good morning Mr. Hopper, Mother Superior," Emma says and smiles at Tink.

"Emma, meet Tink. She will be staying with us for a bit." Mother Superior smiles as she makes the introduction and adds, "Mr. Hopper also has a very important delivery for you."

"Nice to meet you, Tink," Emma says and smiles.

"Emma, I will be showing Tink and Mr. Hopper around, please feel free to read your letter here in privacy."

Archie takes out the envelope and hands it to Emma

Staring at the envelope, Emma smiles and decides she'd rather be outdoors to read it. There is a big tree on the side of the convent that shades the window to her room. That spot is so calming to her. She reaches the tree, sits on the grass, and starts reading.

My Darling Princess,

I miss you and your mother so very much. I wish I was there. I have missed so many milestones in your life already. I'm writing this short letter to let you know that I will, in fact, be arriving at Misthaven soon. Hopefully, within a month we will be reunited. I was hoping I could ask for you to reconsider your decision of taking vows. Sweetheart, I believe your heart is broken now, but I know you are so resilient and strong. I know you will find the happiness you deserve. Please don't give up on love just yet. Please, let your mother know we will soon be together again.

Love,

Dad

Emma can't stop the tears from slowly falling. She looks around her new home, and that is when she sees him. She stands and walks toward him, intent on questioning his reasons for being here.

"What are you doing here?" Emma asks coldly.

Killian had not seen Emma approaching him; he had been lost in thought. "Good day to you too, Saint Emma, I'm here waiting for a friend, or is that not permitted to a man like myself," Killian replies.

Emma looks at him and asks, "Who can you possibly know that would have any business here?"

Killian smirks and pushes himself off the wall before he leans into her space. "Well, I know you. Would you rather I visit your lovely cousin? I would gladly comply."

Emma's breath hitches as he sways into her space and she takes a step back. She glares at him and says, "I told you to stay away from her!"

"Calm down. That is unless you would like to draw the attention of the lovely nuns. Would you like the whole sordid story of how a Countess fell into bed with a lowlife pirate revealed? I'm dying of curiosity. May I ask you a personal question?" Killian asks as he stares at Emma.

"What do you want to know?" Emma hisses. She has backed herself up against the wall as Killian continues to encroach on her personal space.

"Why do you still have such loyalty towards someone that simply discarded you? I know you are desperate to protect Booth."

Emma looks at him. "I'm not protecting him. I'm protecting my family."

"I know you are protecting him. 'Tis bad form to lie," Killian says confidently as he licks his lips. He is standing so close to her now he can feel the heat of her body. "What a shame, such devotion wasted on someone that obviously didn't see your value."

"Even if I was to admit that what you say is true, and the only reason I'm asking you to stay away from my family is because of August, that is none of your business."

They are at a standoff and fail to notice Archie has exited the building and is headed their way. Killian is blocking Emma's view as he is standing between her and the rest of the world. Emma's back begins to ache and she realizes she is pressing herself hard against the wall as Killian's body scorches her with the heat that rolls off of him.

"Killian, everything is taken care of," Archie calls out.

Killian slowly turns around to face Archie. "Thanks, mate. Were there any problems?"

"No problems, as predicted. Tink will be sharing a room with Emma," Archie paused as the blonde behind Killian was revealed, "oh, I wasn't aware you two knew each other."

"We don't. I was just making conversation with the lass," Killian answers to quickly

"We were just making small talk. I had just come outside for a little privacy is all," Emma agrees.

"Oh, I assumed that you two must know each other, you looked quite engrossed in conversation," Archie says still looking at both of them.

"Thank you for the letter, Mr. Hopper. I should go inside and continue with my chores," Emma says and smiles softly before hurrying to the safety of the convent walls.

That girl is special, Killian. She has such a beautiful soul. It is a shame August called off the engagement. Don't misunderstand me, Milah is a beautiful girl, but Emma is an angel. She is the type of girl that I had hoped you would fall in love with and be lucky enough to marry."

"Sounds to me like the lass already has an admirer." Killian winks at Archie.

Archie turns beet red and says, "I only meant to say that she is a special young woman. If anything, I believe she could be the kind of girl to tame the beast within your heart. Too bad she is adamant on taking the vows."

"I believe the lass would object to the assumption that she would make a good wife for a man like me. I had no idea you were so adamant in playing matchmaker, besides, I told you I've met someone already, and if things work out with August Booth, then I will gladly answer whatever questions you may have."

Killian looks in the direction Emma just headed. If he were an honorable man would Emma look at him with the same fondness as she had Archie? He had only seen contempt in her eyes. He was no stranger to that kind of look, but for some reason coming from her, it made him question his life.

"Before you ask, Tink seemed fine. Let's go to my home and send August a note requesting a meeting. Let's get you started on the right path toward a new life," Archie says fondly.

"Aye mate," Killian replies.

Emma walks into her room later that evening to find Tink sitting on the other bed in the room. "Are you okay?" Emma asks.

"Yes, I hope I don't have to stay long. This place brings back bad memories," Tink answers.

"Oh, if you ever want to share your burdens I will gladly listen."

"Thank you. I can see why Archie thinks so highly of you."

"Well, he has always been very kind. I have known him since I was a young girl. My parents are very fond of him. How is it you know Archie?" Emma asks.

"Oh he is a very close friend of Killian's," Tink says with a dreamy look on her face.

"You seem very fond of your friend Killian."

"I know he doesn't have the best reputation, but he has always been good to me."

Emma just blinks and arches her right eyebrow. "That is good to know." Sensing that she should tread carefully as it might be a sensitive subject, Emma decides to change the subject "How did you like the tour of the convent, Tink?"

"I will only be here for a short time, so it doesn't matter if I liked it or not. How long have you been here?" Tink asks.

"Almost 90 days. At the beginning of next month, I can take my vows."

"I have no idea why you would want to become a nun. You are very pretty and refined. I'm sure you can find someone to marry," Tink says.

"Thank you for the compliment. I was betrothed from a very young age, but things didn't work out. To be honest, I want to help and I feel this is the best way to do that," Emma says.

Tink looks at Emma and smiles softly. "I believe that man is an arse, and there are other ways to help without becoming a nun." Tink likes Emma, she's never had any other friends besides Killian. The girls share a giggle before Emma comments, "Colorful language for such a nice young lady."

"Killian would have said something like that. And I would have told him the same thing I am going to tell you, I'm not a lady," Tink responds.

Emma thinks maybe she has upset Tink. "I was teasing. I've had a long day and I have a feeling yours wasn't any better. Maybe we should turn in already?"

"It takes more than that to upset me, but you are right, today was a very long day."

As they get ready for bed, Emma takes a glance at Tink and wonders if perhaps Killian Jones is not a complete scoundrel like she thought. Emma drifts to sleep and dreams of getting lost in the bluest of oceans.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10: Sapling

As August is getting prepared to visit with Archie, Milah is waiting for a chance to escape for an impromptu meeting with Killian.

Cora walks into the office and watches her son intently. August smiles, looking up from the chaos of papers littering his desk and says, "Good morning mother, I see you are up quite early today. You look better." Something in his mother's expression causes him to quickly add, "Before you start, I don't have time to argue with you. I have a lot of work to do. I have to get some things in order before I go to meet with Mr. Hopper. I don't want to overwhelm Killian when he takes over."

"I had hoped that conversation was a nightmare. You have inherited all the horrible traits from your father. You are as stubborn as a mule, and you share the same need to help that lowlife. Too bad you haven't changed your mind on the matter. I hope you know what you're doing, because mark my words son, you will live to regret it," Cora says and storms out of the room.

August stares at the door and sighs. Milah walks in right after Cora storms out.

"Good morning. Your mother is as pleasant as ever," Milah says as she kisses his cheek and adds, "she is never going to accept me."

"I love you, darling, and that is all that matters," August says, making his wife smile. "Milah, I'm hoping I will be hiring my childhood friend to take over my duties at the estate and we can finally go away and be able to take that honeymoon trip we were unable to take when we first married," August says as he reaches for Milah's hand.

"Oh, how long will we be gone and when will we leave?" Milah asks, trying to display excitement at her husband's news.

"I want to finally take an extended honeymoon trip with my beautiful bride, and to answer the second part of the question; we will leave by the end of the week if everything goes as planned. If it is possible to leave sooner we will do so," August answers.

"I prefer not to leave my aunt alone for too long. Please just remember that Emma is in the convent."

"I understand, sweetheart. You have such a loving heart. How about a month? I would love to spoil you for longer but I understand your reasons for not wanting to stay away for too long. So it is settled, we will make it a month long trip."

Milah smiles and just gently nods in agreement as she loses herself in thought. The thought of a nice lavish vacation sounds amazing but she has a feeling Killian is not going to be very happy with the news. She knows it will be hard to convince him it's for the best. She needs for August to be completely in love with her and trusting so he doesn't see the treachery coming. She must ensure he is oblivious to the fact that she is not in love with him. She can fake it as long as it takes, he's nice enough, but he isn't the man to satisfy her needs, at least not intimately. Financially he is very well equipped to satiate her desires and so far he is doing an amazing job.

"I was wondering if it is satisfactory for me to take a trip to my uncle's house today. I want to ensure everything is okay. Before you say anything I know I went out there yesterday but since we are now expecting to leave soon I need to make sure everything is in order. My Aunt Snow is still not in shape to go over there her and I need to help her in any way I can. I know I'm not as capable as Emma but I need to do my part." Milah hopes this reasoning is sufficient enough to sneak away to see Killian and let him know of her husband's plan.

"Could that possibly wait until tomorrow? On second thought, I can go to the house in your place and do whatever needs to be done. I think your presence here is needed. You need to keep your aunt company especially since we will be leaving her here alone with my mother for a month," August says in a firm voice.

Milah blinks away her frustration. She needs to get away and meet with Killian to let him know about her husband's plan for a honeymoon trip. August isn't making things easy for her and she can't afford to make him suspicious of her actions.

"Ok, I will let you take care of everything," Milah relents.

"Good, I will stop at the house on my way home from Mr. Hopper's office." August smiles and leans in to give her a kiss before taking his leave.

As August walks away Milah feels her anger rise. Now how will she be able to find time to talk to Killian?

"Emma," Mother Superior starts as she motions for Emma to sit, "I was thinking you should go see your mother to tell her about the letter Mr. Hopper delivered, and to check on her of course. I still think you could have asked to stay longer."

"I didn't want to take advantage, but I would love to go show my mother my father's letter. I think it will brighten her day." A smile lights Emma's face as she thinks about the contents of the letter.

"Emma, I have an ulterior motive. Your trial period is almost over and I want to suggest something a bit out of the ordinary. You will go show your mother the letter and stay at the Booth estate for the remainder of the trial. I think it would be good for you to confront your feelings for August. Remember that taking vows is going to be a lifelong commitment. During your extended stay, you can decide if you still want to become a nun or if it's possible you can find love in another. Oh, and before I forget, you don't need to wear the habit while you're away."

Emma stares at Mother Superior. She is about to counteroffer but thinks better of it. She could keep an eye on Milah and make sure she stays away from that pirate, at least for as long as she can.

"I will gladly take the letter and I look forward to spending some time with my mother before I take my vows, but that will not change my thoughts. I accept your generous proposal," Emma agrees with Mother Superior.

"Emma, before you leave to go see your mother I want to make something very clear to you. I want you to know I'm doing this because I like you and in all honesty, I don't want you to make a life-altering decision if there is any doubt in your heart. I want you to make sure there are no residual feelings for August. You just came back from the estate; did you feel anything for him?"

"No, I didn't," Emma answers and looks down at her hands.

"Your family has always been very generous with the convent, but that is not the reason I'm going out of my way to make certain you are not making a mistake. I need you to be sure of your commitment before you take your vows. I also know that right now you might feel like you've lost your happy ending with the marriage of August and Milah, but I want you to take my following words to heart; sometimes happy endings aren't what you think they should be. Now go get ready to depart."

As she gets up, Emma smiles softly at the wise-sounding woman. Maybe she's right, Emma thinks.

"Emma, is everything okay?" Tink asks. "I overheard the nuns talking about Mother Superior wanting to speak to you."

"Yes, everything is fine. I'm to go stay for the rest of my trial period with my mother at my cousin's husband's estate. I was really looking forward to getting to know you better, maybe one day soon," Emma says as she gently pats Tink's hand.

"It's fine, I'm hoping I won't be here too long anyway. You should steal him back. Your cousin is horrible for what she did, it would be well deserved."

That morning as the two women had gone about their chores, they had talked and had quickly shared with each other their troubles. Emma had listened intently to Tink talk about her friendship with Killian. She knows that Tink has no idea of his relationship with Milah. She had initially thought of enlightening her but didn't want to break her new friend's heart. One broken-hearted woman was enough. Emma finishes packing and is soon out the doors of the Convent.

"Hello, young Sir. Am I in the presence of young August Booth? How are you? It has been far too long," Archie rambles as he holds the door open. He had thought he was going to need to seek August out, and now the man is at his door.

"Mr. Hopper, it is so nice to finally be able to come visit you. I'm sorry I was unable to get away sooner, but I'm sure you still remember my mother. She barely lets me out of her sight," August laughs.

"Oh, I remember your mother quite well. To what do I owe the honor?" Archie asks.

"Do you remember that boy my father brought to the estate when I was young? I was hoping to offer him a job. My father's dying wish was for me to help him."

"Quite interesting," Archie murmurs. "I was going to pay you a visit at the Booth estate for that same matter. To be honest, I'm happy I didn't have to set foot there. Your mother and I did not part on good terms," Archie confesses.

"Imagine my surprise to hear that my mother left a bad impression. Regarding Killian, what did you have in mind? I want to offer him the steward position. I just hope that if he accepts he can deal with my mother. She will most likely antagonize him. She doesn't have the best opinion of him."

"That is a wonderful idea and I know he will accept gladly. I have confidence that Killian can handle your mother. To be honest, if I was in your place I would be more concerned for your mother. Killian can be quite a gentleman, but if he is pushed he will not bite his tongue. Killian will not be intimidated by her. I hope that is not a problem?"

"That will be a refreshing sight. I don't think anyone other than my father has ever been able to handle her. So then, it is settled. I hope he can start soon. I want to leave town this weekend and finally go on my honeymoon. It would be amazing if we could leave sooner."

"I believe he will be happy to hear the news. Although he is not an educated man, he is smart, and if it is okay with you I will guide him as best as I can," Archie offers.

"That sounds wonderful," August says with a smile.

"Do you think it will bother him greatly if we don't actually meet until my return? I'm just so eager to leave and have my bride all to myself," August tells Archie.

"I'm happy to say that if it pleases you, you can leave sooner. Do you have anything in particular that you would want me to review with him?" Archie asks as he looks over all the estate papers he was handed.

"Those papers are similar to a power of attorney, I'm giving him the same authority I have, in case my mother decides to make things difficult for him," August says.

Archie looks at the papers knowing that this could be the closest Killian will be to his birthright.

"If you don't mind I still have another stop after this and since you have said it will not be a problem for me to leave sooner, I will take you up on that offer. It is still early, I will check on the Nolan house then go home and prepare to leave tonight," August says excitedly.

"Oh, then don't let me hold you up any longer. Go on and take care of your business."

Even in death, Brennan tried to help Killian.

August arrives shortly at the Nolan house and everything is as it should be. He quickly leaves and is back home telling Milah to get everything ready. They will be leaving sooner, in the early morning the following day. By the time August arrives, Emma is already there and is soon helping Milah prepare for the trip at August's request. Emma has a small smile on her lovely face because she knows that for now, Milah will not be able to do anything inappropriate.

Milah exudes frustration, knowing she is out of time. She will not be able to warn Killian.

The following morning, not long after August and Milah leave on their honeymoon, there is a hard knock on the front door. Emma heads to the door and opens it. Facing her is one Killian Jones, dressed as a gentleman should, with a nice pair of trousers, vest, and coat that bring out his eyes.

Killian just stands there staring at her. Emma stands tall, looking every bit the angel she is. She is not wearing her habit, and he notices that fact.

"Mr. Jones, how may I be of assistance?" Emma asks.

Killian blinks and responds, "Good morning lass, I'm here to see August."

The color drains from Emma's face.

Before she says anything Killian assures her, "I'm not here to cause any trouble. He is an old friend and has generously offered me a job."

"You are the old friend?" Emma asks in disbelief.

"Aye, I met him when I was a young lad. I have decided to become an honorable man and he has chosen to see past my long list of bad actions." Killian looks at her intently as he speaks.

"Oh, you just missed them, they will not be back for a month," Emma informs Killian.

Killian's jaw clenches "I thought they were set to leave upon the weekend."

"Well, it seems that he trusts you enough to leave without meeting with you. He did mention an old friend would be stopping by and to make sure that he was welcomed. To be honest, I'm very surprised to find that the old friend he mentioned is you."

"I see." Killian ponders this information, trying to quell the frustration he's feeling.

"Would you like some tea?"

"Is Saint Emma actually going to be cordial?" he asks teasingly.

Emma smiles and just starts walking to the dining room. She stops and turns to see if he is following her. "Well?"

Killian cannot help the smile that escapes him. She seems different. "I accept, lovely Emma."

Chapter Text

Chapter 11: Getting To Know You, The Real You

"How did you end up with the job of giving me a tour of the estate and making me feel welcomed? Last time I saw you, we were at the convent, not being extremely friendly if I recall correctly," Killian asks as he sits in front of Emma while drinking his tea.

Emma looks at him closely and answers, "Well, August's mother Cora isn't feeling well. I know the estate well enough to have been tasked with the job no one else here can fill."

"I suppose, I forget you were groomed to be the perfect little wife for August. I imagine that included being familiar with the estate."

Emma looks away for a brief second and answers, "Yes, I was groomed by Cora to be the perfect wife she thought her son would need. In the end, it didn't work out."

"I too know the feeling of rejection all too well. I went away on a business trip thinking on my return I would wed the woman I love, only to return to find out that the woman I love had given herself to another in marriage."

"She told you she would marry you?" Emma asks as she looks around to ensure no one is listening. "Are you finished with your tea, Mr. Jones?"

"Mr. Jones? Hmm, I like the sound of my name on your lips." He realizes his comment makes her uncomfortable and adds, "Sorry lass. I apologize for the improper comment. To answer your question, yes she did."

Emma smiles, rolls her eyes and gestures to his cup.

"I'm done."

"There is more I need to show you," Emma says.

Killian bites his bottom lip, holding back the comment that naturally wants to come out.

"August mentioned he met you as a young boy. Do you remember anything about your stay here at that time?" Emma asks.

"I wasn't here that long, love," he answers.

"Yet August cares for you deeply and sees you as a true friend," Emma says trying to guilt Killian. She hopes that reminding him of their childhood friendship will deter him from whatever plans he may have.

"Ah, perhaps he does."

Soon Killian is walking after Emma out of the house. She is pointing to different areas of the ranch. The estate consists of vast farmland and to fill the awkwardness as they walk along, they keep talking.

"How long were you here? I used to visit often and I don't remember seeing you."

"Hmm, I was here for maybe a couple of months. Once Mr. Booth passed his wife kicked me out. I didn't even have a chance to say goodbye to August."

"Why would she kick you out, did you do something?" Emma asks and adds, "She has always been so generous, and I cannot believe she would just toss you out."

"Automatically you assume I did something? I was a child, I had lost my father. Mr. Booth generously gave me his last name and you spontaneously believe me to be at fault?"

"Sorry, I didn't mean to upset you," Emma starts as she sees Killian getting upset, "It is hard for me to believe from my experience with Cora, but if you say that's what happened, I believe you." Emma reaches to touch his hand as she says her apology.

Killian looks down at where they are connected and finds her touch soothing. "No need to apologize. Just like everyone else, Mrs. Booth never allowed me to forget I was nothing, all she saw me as was a simple charity case."

Emma is rubbing little circles on his hand, though she doesn't even know she is doing it. As they walk, they come across some of the workers huts and hear someone screaming in pain. They look at each other before hurrying to the door. They find a man bloodied, lying on a cot. Emma looks at Killian, her big green eyes tearing up at the sight. "We need to call the doctor," Emma says urgently.

Killian kneels next to the man. "He was beaten like an animal. These wounds are not older than a day."

Emma asks, "Who would do such a thing?"

Killian laughs as he is getting a rag wet and cleaning the blood from the man's body. "Who is in charge? Or can you not believe your perfect August could be responsible for this?"

"August is not a cruel man. Someone else must be responsible," Emma insists.

"People from your class, like August and Cora only see their workers as pawns, worthless and disposable."

"I know you believe I'm too sheltered and you are correct, but I do have my own opinions. Even though everyone has blood inside them, there are only a few that are more fortunate. Some people lack things that others have plenty of. Some have nothing, and deserve it, and those that have everything their heart's desire don't deserve it."

"Maybe heading to the main house now and getting a doctor out here would be more beneficial to the poor bloke than breaking your romanticized illusions of August Booth," Killian says as he grabs Emma by the arm and pulls her toward the door.

"I don't understand your obsession with Milah if you hold 'our' class in such low opinion," Emma says as she walks with him to the main house.

"Milah was my chance at a happy ending. Women want a man with money and power. No woman wants a man without a last name or financial stability to care for her. I have only one of the requirements. I can offer a comfortable life, not one in the league of Booth, but a nice life. The surname is my mother's. My father didn't see me worthy of his. But that is a long story," he says and adds, "too long for now."

Emma looks at him as she hurries to keep up with him. "I'm sorry," Emma says.

Killian slows down to look at Emma, she is not judging him for his misfortunes. He has no idea why he is sharing so much with her. "I have known Archie since I was young. He thinks it's my choice to not marry and to live my life as is. He doesn't understand that it is not only my decision. I ask you, what honorable woman wants to be saddled with a man like me? Don't you think I would love to marry and have a family? Milah accepted me as I am, and then she changed her mind. What she took from me no one can replace." Killian's jaw clenches as he speaks his troubles aloud.

"What did she take away from you?" Emma asks as the reach the main house.

"The same thing August took from you, hope."

Emma pauses for a second and calls out for the Booth's maid. "Enith, please go fetch Dr. Whale. There is an injured man in one of the worker huts." Emma smiles as she gives her order.

"Oh, I need to make sure it's alright with Mrs. Booth for me to leave," Enith says.

"Enith, the man is in bad shape. August gave instructions for our orders not to be questioned. Mrs. Booth is not feeling well, therefore you will follow our instructions or am I to inform August that you didn't follow his?" Emma's tone is firm, surprising even herself.

Enith glares at Emma and says, "I will leave to go get Dr. Whale."

He's in awe of Emma taking charge, and he tells her as much. "I'm impressed, Emma," Killian tells her in a soft voice filled with admiration and pride.

Emma looks at him and says, "I'm sorry. I should not have been so harsh with you the last time we met. You are not exactly what I expected. Did you know I shared a room at the convent with your friend, Tink? She thinks the world of you. To be honest, at first, I thought she was biased because of her obvious feelings for you, but now I see, there is more to you." Emma starts to walk away and says, "I'm going to get some supplies that may be useful when Dr. Whale arrives."

When she comes back with some clean rags, Killian is standing just outside the door waiting for the Doctor's arrival. He looks lost in thought. He must have heard her approach and turns to face her.

Emma joins him outside. "I need to make sure that your room is prepared. August wants you to be comfortable. He also mentioned that there is housing in the estate for the steward, but that he will take care of that in his return."

Killian smiles and looks intently at Emma as he says, "Of a gentleman, as you can see all I have are the clothes. But, I also want to tell you that if I'd had you, only becoming blind, deaf or an imbecile would I have left you for another woman, much less for a whore like your cousin."

Emma stares at Killian in disbelief as they wait outside for Enith and Dr. Whale.

Cora peers outside her window at the sound of voices. She notices the resemblance between Killian and her late husband. In a moment of panic, she rushes to her locked trunk, frantically struggling with the key she hides close to her heart and finally is able to open it. She digs until she finds what she is searching for, a letter. The same letter Brennan had written to Archie in hopes to acknowledge Killian as his first born son to be precise. She should have ridden herself of such damning evidence then. If it was to be found out now her son would have to share his inheritance with that bastard.

She knows there are still workers who knew Brennan, what if they notice the resemblance? She might need to force them into retirement. Sure she had heard rumors of Killian's good looks, but she had never been curious enough to see for herself. He truly has too much of his father in him, more than August. She is baffled how August could not see it? Then she remembers August hasn't seen Killian, Archie had made the arrangements. Her attention is drawn back to reality and the commotion outside.

They stand outside of the Booth main house while the doctor checks on the patient. Killian is watching Emma sway back and forth she is so nervous. The doctor had finally arrived and now they were waiting on his prognosis.

"The man was beaten badly, in addition, he has pneumonia and it has not been taken care of. If he makes it, it will be a miracle," Dr. Whale says as he hands Emma medication for the employee.

How could they treat their workers so poorly? "Thank you, I will make sure he takes it," Emma says confidently.

"Pneumonia is always dangerous and you have to take into consideration the poor physical state that he is in as well. If he makes it through the night it will be a good sign, but he will need much care," Doctor Whale says.

They head to the little hut where Emma administers the medicine to the ailing man.

"Emma, you have to know that there is a chance he may not make it," Killian tells her.

"I have faith he will," Emma says.

"If he makes it, it will not be because of divine intervention, it will be because of your care," Killian says as he holds Emma's hands within his. He slowly lifts her hands and places a soft kiss on each as he keeps his piercing eyes on her.

After showing Killian to his room, Emma is walking to her mother's room to wish her a good night and is stopped by Cora.

"Emma, I couldn't help notice that you spent all day with the pirate," Cora says.

Emma looks at Cora and responds, "I was only following August's instructions. He mentioned that you were not feeling well and for me to make sure Mr. Jones felt welcomed."

"I wonder how welcomed you make him feel. You two looked very cozy," Cora says and walks away.

Emma stares after the woman who had always shown such affection to her, and now her current attitude is the opposite.

Cora heads to Killian's room. She is assuming that there is much more to what is being said. She knocks loudly on his door.

Killian opens the door and is surprised to see Cora.

"What do you want in exchange to leave the grounds?" Cora asks.

Killian only smirks and responds, "I will not be leaving without what belongs to me."

Cora is stunned he knows he is the elder son of Brennan.

"I can have my husbands' last name reinstated as yours and money alongside a beautiful honorable bride," Cora says.

"I don't need your husband's surname or for you to find me a wife," Killian answers. He is confused by Cora's offer.

"Think about it, don't discard the idea," Cora says and walks out.

Killian stands dumbfounded. It is an interesting proposition. He could marry and accept the money. He would appear less threatening. Perhaps this could work for his benefit.

All Cora can think of is that she needs that bastard gone. Her son will not share his inheritance with that lowlife. She knows Emma still cares for her son. She will use that to push her to make the decision to protect August. Cora decides to apologize to Emma for her behavior and plant a little seed. She is not blind, she saw how Emma and Killian had interacted. She arrives at Emma's door and knocks softly.

"Darling girl, please forgive my attitude from earlier. I know it is not an excuse for my poor behavior, but it is not a secret that I'm not happy with the presence of Killian Jones in my home. I know for a fact that he is only here because he covets all that my son possesses. He will take everything that is within reach. If August was to know of his true mission here, I cannot imagine what would happen. All I wish is to find a way to protect the family. I even offered him some money among other things for him to take his leave. If only somehow, someone could find a way to protect us from whatever that man is up to. Sorry to bombard you with my concerns. Good night sweet girl."

Emma watches Cora leave her room and quickly comes to the conclusion that Cora must know of the prior relationship between Milah and Killian. What else could Killian want that August has?

Chapter Text

Chapter 12: Everything We Need Is Right In Front Of Us

The next morning Killian walked confidently towards the dining room for breakfast. He isn't surprised to see Emma already sitting at the table. He wonders if he should mention to Emma his conversation with Cora. He notices the way she is looking at him. The mistrust seems to be back in her beautiful emerald eyes.

"Good morning, lass. Sleep well?" He tries to act as if things are the same as yesterday.

"Good morning," she answers, refusing to hold his gaze. No smile or emotion, so unlike the day before.

Killian sighs and shakes his head. "I see we are back to me being the villain in this story. I thought I was starting to win you over," Killian says with a bit of hurt in his features.

"Why are you really here?" Emma asks.

"I thought we had gone over my intentions yesterday? Let me guess, the lovely lady of the house, Cora paid you a visit after she left my room and tainted our new found friendship?" Killian sits down in the closest chair to her and studies her lovely face for a reaction to his inquiries.

"Yes, she did," Emma sighs, she has a feeling he will be able to tell if she is lying.

"You know what your problem is, Saint Emma? You have the soul of a martyr, you are willing to face off with anyone to protect August. You have put up with my insults and my presence just to prevent August the shame of knowing that his wife is a whore. Don't you notice that the others take advantage of you?"

"Are you taking advantage of me?" Emma asks.

"No, I'm trying to open your eyes," Killian tells her, and Emma can tell he is sincere. "What did Cora tell you of our conversation?"

"Nothing. She just insists that you are not a good person."

Killian stands up from the table defeatedly. "It seems she has convinced you." He begins to walk away and suddenly stops, he doesn't even turn to look at her when he adds, "Emma, I thought we had reached a new level in our relationship but I see that I was a fool. It only took a single conversation with Cora to make you question me. I have lost my appetite. I will go check on the patient."

She wonders if she should go looking for him as a sadness seeps into her. She's lost in thought and misses Cora walk in.

"Good morning," Cora tells her with a tight smile, then calls for Enith to serve them.

"It seems I missed Mr. Jones. Such a pity."

"He seems very fond of you. I can't help wonder though, with such an unlikely friendship we may have an advantage. I'm not judging, dear. Do you by chance happen to know why he accepted the position here?" Cora asks.

"He says he wants to become an honorable man and perhaps even someday find a woman to marry. I think he is sincere."

"Oh. Do you know if he may have set his sights on anyone? Perhaps with my support, we can help him move along faster in his quest. I just want him to leave before he can do any real damage to this family."

Emma studies Cora carefully. There is something she is not telling her, but she knows better than to push for answers. "I don't believe there is anyone in particular. "Please excuse me. I must go check on the injured man we came across yesterday."

"Of course, dear," Cora answers and doesn't even bother asking how the poor man is doing.

Emma gets up and quickly finds her way out of the dining room, she feels she can breathe once she is out of the house. She knows there is something that she is not being told. Walking absentmindedly around the property, she suddenly collides with a very solid wall. She looks up and is met with stormy blue eyes.

"Oh, I'm sorry; I should have been paying attention to where I was going." Emma apologizes profusely once the shock of being in his arms wears off.

"So how was he?" Emma asks as she pulls herself away from the warmth of his body. "I was on my way to catch up with you."

"His name is Michael Thomas. I bet no one here, including you, love, has even bothered to learn that poor man's bloody name. He is so beneath the lot of you." Killian walks past Emma and keeps his strides long and purposeful to put distance between them.

Emma stands there trying to process what just happened between them. Wait did he just call her love?

She finally starts to move and heads back to the house. She is dazed and confused about her own feelings. Why does it bother her so… if he is upset or how he sees her? Sure she was raised in a sheltered environment, but she does care for others. In her education, she was never taught that women could make a difference. Sure there was an exception to the rule like Cora Booth, but she inherited her position with the death of her husband. At least until August, the man of the house would take over.

Killian is furious as he enters the house, he heads to his room. He's inexplicably angry that she assumes the worst of him just because she had a bloody conversation with Mrs. Booth. He should tell her exactly what that horrible woman offered him. Money and a bloody wife. Yet she assumes he is the scoundrel in the story. He knows his reputation is not the best but he had enjoyed their conversations and he thought the feeling was mutual. He shared with her some of his innermost thoughts. Thoughts that he had not shared with anyone, insecurities he has not revealed to anyone. He will not even entertain the real reason her opinion matters to him. He is about to reach for his door and suddenly hears his name.

"Mr. Jones. Have you decided to accept my offer? I can sweeten the deal for you. I'm sure I can guarantee a wedding with Emma," Cora says.

Killian freezes as he listens to the woman. Did she really just offer him, Emma? Does this mean Emma mentioned an interest in him? He turns around to face the older woman. "Excuse me?"

"Oh, you heard me perfectly, Captain. I'm offering money and Emma. I know Emma well; I know she will make an excellent wife. Sadly my son did not see the value in her he seems to see in her cousin but I have a feeling you might see her worth."

"Since when do you address me as Captain? I thought you only saw me as a rogue. And as far as Emma is concerned, only her feelings matter not mine."

"Isn't that how you are so well known in town? A scoundrel and a womanizer who just happens to have a soft spot for a very specific blonde. You chose her. If you want her, all you have to do is accept my offer."

"You are so eager for me to take the same woman you had invested so much in to become your son's wife. Me, a lowly pirate. Does she even know that you are offering her like she is a commoner? Why are you so eager to be rid of me?" Killian asks as he steps closer to Cora.

Cora stands proud and simply replies, "You have not turned down the offer. Hmm. You like the possibility, the thought that someone of her class could be yours for the taking." Cora smiles and turns to go, leaving him standing in front of his room.

He sighs as he enters his room. Could he be so selfish to accept? The problem is that he wouldn't be so tempted if it was just any other high-class woman but the idea of it being her, Emma. No, he wants her to want him. That thought scares him and confuses him. No, he is here for Milah. He knows Emma loves August, but just the idea of having someone love you in that capacity makes him curious. He envies August; he has Milah and Emma's devotion.

Archie knocks upon the door to the Booth estate and greets Enith who answers the door. "Good day, could you please let Mr. Jones know that I'm here?" He had decided this morning was a good chance to see how the adjustment has gone, but he is also there to check up on Killian after hearing that Dr. Whale had been to the residence to treat an injured man. He hopes it is not something Killian did, he knows the man has a temper.

After wandering for a bit longer, Emma finds her way to the house after her disconcerting encounter with Killian. She knows it wouldn't be proper for her to go to his room and attempt a friendly conversation with him, but she feels so guilty. She sees Archie arrive and enter the house just before her. This will give her an excuse to go look for Killian and start a new dialogue with him, hopefully avoiding the whole disaster of the topic of their last conversation. She smiles and rushes in and is just in time to hear Archie asking Enith to retrieve Killian.

"Enith, I will retrieve Mr. Jones for Mr. Hopper. You can go back to the kitchen and get Mr. Hopper something to drink," Emma tells Enith as she smiles to Archie.

"Emma I don't want to impose. Enith can go get him," Archie says softly.

"It is no trouble and besides there are a few things I need to discuss with him. Please make yourself comfortable. We will be with you shortly," Emma says as she hurries to go looking for Killian.

Emma finally arrives at Killian's door and knocks. There is some scuffling and then the door opens.

Killian is surprised to see Emma standing in front of him. "How may I be of assistance Saint Emma?" Killian asks.

"Mr. Hopper is here to see you. But before you go to see him, I just wanted to apologize for my behavior earlier. I just cannot seem to stop myself from offending you," Emma says to him and gives him a hopeful smile

.

"Thank you," Killian says and tries not to read too much into her apology. He swiftly walks past her to find Archie. He knows that when it comes to Emma he is in trouble. He had a simple plan, gain trust and access to the Booth fortune. He's got that, but somehow it has lost its appeal. The moment he arrived at the estate and found out that Milah had left on her honeymoon he was angry and upset, but somehow or perhaps it was because of someone, he had forgotten of Milah and the plan. He needs to keep his distance from Emma to keep a clear mind.

Emma just stares at his back as he gets further away from her. Racing, to catch up to him, she swiftly reaches for his arm.

Killian is startled at the contact as he turns to face her.

"Killian, I just apologized for my behavior from earlier and you just walk past me? I know I made an error in judgment, But this is me telling you I want to try to see the best in you. Seriously, what is wrong with you?" Emma asks frustratedly.

Did she really call him by his first name? Killian had stopped walking as soon as he had felt her touch.

Emma realizes why Killian is gaping at her."Oh, I'm sorry. I just... I didn't mean to overstep. I know we have never been properly introduced. My name is Emma Nolan. I just want to start over, go back to before the whole misunderstanding. Mr. Hopper and Tink seem to care for you a lot. I think maybe we can be friends," Emma says looking at him so hopefully.

She is truly making an effort. Could it be so bad? He couldn't avoid her forever. They would be living in the same place for the foreseeable future.

"Killian Jones at your service, my lady." Killian bows slightly and grabs her hand to bring it to his lips without losing eye contact. He hears her breath hitch and smiles softly at her and adds, "I accept your proposition." He can't help wondering about the other offer that concerns the blonde in front of him.

Killian and Emma are walking side by side when Archie sees them approaching, and he knows he has never seen Killian with that glow.

"It was nice seeing you, Mr. Hopper. I will leave you two," Emma says and walks away.

"Killian, if I remember correctly when we were at the convent I recall asking you if you two knew each other and you answered no. There seemed to be a familiarity between you two. I really think this could be a good thing," Archie adds.

"Archie, you know her parents. Do you really think they would approve anything between Emma and me? Let us not forget the fact that she is a novice. Even I have some respect for the habit." Killian says to his old friend. Sure he has made an improper comment here and there but he is not a complete scoundrel. But if she were to change her mind... he really needs to stop thinking this way. It must be all those insinuations and comments that Cora Booth has made.

Archie smiles and says, "I will drop that subject for now. I just stopped by to see how things were going. I heard Dr. Whale stopped by."

"Aw, so that's what this little visit is about. You are here to check up on me." Killian can't help feeling a little hurt. "To satisfy your curiosity, I will answer. First, Emma is here being my host, per se. While on tour of the grounds we found and injured man. If you would like, Emma could confirm my story. The good Doctor was not needed because of my actions."

Archie looks fondly at his friend and says, "Emma? You two are on a first name base? Killian, is it Emma, the one you are trying to be a better man for? I'll gladly offer you my last name and you can marry her. Her parents would not object. We are good friends an-"

Killian rolls his eyes. Didn't Archie just say he would drop the subject of Emma and he has just started again? Killian interrupts before he can finish what he was going to say, simply stating, "I have realized that all I want is for the woman I choose to want me for me. I want her to accept me as I am, simply as Killian Jones." He ignores and chooses not to correct his longtime friend's assumption about his feelings toward Emma.

"I was wondering if you could help me with something. I want to legitimize my business. Could you help me with that process? Perhaps my employment with August Booth can help with the transition. The man we found, when he gets better, I would like to offer him a job. I believe I can provide him with a better work environment."

"Killian, do you really think that he will regain his health?" Archie asks. The man had pneumonia and was badly injured maybe he shouldn't be so hopeful about his recovery.

"Emma was taking care of him. She has hope he will mend and that is enough to get me to believe as well," Killian says.

Archie looks intently at Killian. Does he not see what it is so obvious? He will not keep mentioning Emma because he notices how Killian tries to deflect his comments and questions. Yet Killian keeps talking about her like she is a savior. For now, he will stop pushing. "I will take care of setting up the business for you. Just remember, if you need any help here just get the word out to me and I will be over as soon as possible," Archie offers. "Have you had any issues with Cora?"

"Nothing I can't handle," Killian says.

"Good to hear. I should leave now. You have given me much to do. Please say goodbye to Emma for me. And, Killian? Emma is special, please never discard the idea."

With those final words, Archie Hopper leaves Killian Jones pondering if his future will involve a young, beautiful, blonde woman. One that he knows he will certainly never be good enough for.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13: The Proposition

Mr. Smee approaches the Booth estate grounds. He hates giving his Captain bad news. Captain Jones is known for having a horrible temper and sadly it is his peril to give him the bad news today. He takes a breath and as he is about to knock on the door he hears his Captain's voice from behind. He quickly turns only to see his Captain walking towards him with Lady Emma Nolan. They are smiling at each other. He notices Killian's smile fade when he notices him.

"Smee, I wasn't expecting you. Is there a problem?" Killian fidgets because he notices the sure sign of nervous energy in his first mate's behavior— Smee is nervously playing with his bright red hat.

"Get on with it, you know how I bore waiting," Killian says.

"Sir?" He pauses to glance at Emma.

"I have nothing to hide from the lovely lady," Killian says.

"Sir, there have been comments made about your relationship with Lady Milah, they are not specifying names, but it is rumored that you had a dalliance with one of the Nolan Countesses." Smee waits for Killian's reaction as he finishes telling them. He glances between the two and he can clearly tell Emma is not happy.

Emma stands there looking at Smee with a look of dread. "Everyone will soon hear about it, rumor or not. That is if they haven't already. Misthaven is a small town," Emma says.

"I suppose we were more reckless than I thought," Killian says. Killian slowly turns his gaze to Emma. He knows this is upsetting her.

"My family will be ruined; we barely survived Uncle James' scandals. My mom can't even leave her room because of her headaches and she is so heartbroken over my father not being at her side." Emma sighs and looks at Killian.

"Smee, is that all they are saying? Is anyone claiming seeing anything?" Killian asks as he raises his eyebrow. "Could it possibly blow over?"

"No way to tell for sure, sir. This is almost as big of news as the marriage between Lady Milah and Mr. Booth. There are some rumors that say the dalliance was with Lady Milah and that it continues even today. Lady Emma has an immaculate image and Lady Milah is seen as the trollop of the two," Mr. Smee answers sincerely as he plays with his red hat.

Killian snorts at the final comment made by his first mate. Bloody hell, they have no idea what that woman truly is.

"I have to think. Please, excuse me," Emma says to Killian. "Oh, I'm sorry. Mr. Smee? Is that correct?" Emma asks and while looking at Killian adds with a small smile, "You were not lying when you said that the only part of you that is a gentleman is your clothing. You never properly introduced me to Mr. Smee. Shame on you, Killian," Emma chides him.

Smee is waiting for Killian to react over her small lecture only to be surprised by Killian's brilliant smile.

"Ah, where are my manners? Please forgive my rudeness. Countess Emma Nolan," he slightly mock bows and winks at her, "Mr. William Smee, my first mate."

Emma smiles and says, "Nice to finally meet you, now that Mr. Jones is finally behaving like the gentleman I know he can be. Please, excuse me. Have a nice day."

Killian and Smee watch Emma disappear as she opens and closes the front door. He turns to his first mate and orders, "Smee, find out all you can and report back."

"Emma, is something wrong?" Cora asks.

Emma stops and schools her features. "I was on my way to see my mother," Emma smiles and makes her way to her mother's room. What can she do? If the truth about Milah's prior relationship with Killian comes to light, it will be a disaster to her family.

The rumor doesn't specify which one of the two had the affair. She knows Cora wants to get Killian to leave and maybe she can proposition Killian. He says he wants to be a better man and maybe this way he can help redeem her family's image, especially since he is partly responsible for the mess they are in.

She could tell Cora that she is volunteering to marry Killian to help ease her mind. In all honesty, she is puzzled by Cora's reasoning for wanting Killian to leave the estate. She doesn't want to assume Cora knows of the affair, especially when it could be something as simple as his reputation, or that she just sees him as beneath their class. She knows Cora feels superior to others. Emma needs to be careful. Her mother will be hard to convince and her father will not like the idea, so she will need to move quickly. She will ask Cora to help placate her mother. She knows she will gladly help her since she is a little too eager to get rid of Killian.

First, how will she ask Killian? Yes, he flirts, but what if she is not to his liking. Will he accept, and if he does will he want to have other women to satisfy his needs? She knows that some men have other 'women' on the side to satisfy when the wife fails to meet their needs. The thought bothers her more than it should, but she refuses to give it deeper thought.

Snow is looking out the large window in her room, lost so deep in thought that she fails to hear the gentle knock at her door.

Emma slowly opens the door and peeks inside to see if her mother is still in bed. She has been back a couple of days and has not been able to see her mother yet. She still hasn't told her of the letter Mr. Hopper delivered to her. The good news found in that letter will put a smile on her mother's face.

Snow is in desperate need of a smile. Then again, once Emma tells her she will withdraw from the convent, she knows that will also make her mother happy; at least until she tells her of her plans to marry.

The marriage is what makes Emma nervous. Snow will want to know if she loves Killian, but she needs to stop getting ahead of herself. She will cross that bridge when she comes to it.

First, she needs to talk to Killian and see if he would even agree. The thought of him declining her proposal scares her. Cora insists that he is fond of her. She hopes this will fix everything. If she is honest with herself, she will admit that he has won her over, they have somehow become friends.

Emma loves that Killian doesn't hold back just because she is a woman. He tells her what he thinks, and it doesn't bother him when she says what is on her mind. She was always told by her mother to mind her manners, and she had to learn to keep quiet on certain things because Cora had told her that her husband would not appreciate it. The funny thing is that she has never once thought that Cora would be the kind of woman that keeps her mouth shut, but she doesn't remember August's father and their relationship.

Her mother has always told her that not all men are like her father. Not all men appreciate or recognize that women have their own minds or opinions. Her father would hate for her to marry someone that didn't appreciate her and that includes her beliefs. The thought of her father always makes her smile.

"Mother, may I have a word," Emma says. Her mother slowly turns and returns her daughter's smile and waves her in.

"Mom, I have some good news for you, Father will be returning soon. He had hoped to arrive before my vows. And about my vows, I know you have never approved of that decision. I admit that the reason for my rash decision was due to the rupture of the betrothal. You once said that I could find someone else, and... I think I have. Please, don't get too excited yet. I have some things to sort, and when everything is more concrete I will give you more details." Emma prattles everything so quickly, her mother barely has a chance to react to each piece of news.

"Emma, why didn't you tell me before of your father's return before?"

"I'm sorry, I meant to tell you sooner. You've been locked in your room and feeling so unwell due to your migraines and I didn't want to bother you,"."

"That's okay," her mother smiles. "I'm happy to hear you have found someone. Do I know him?"

"Actually he is a childhood friend of August's, but I will tell you more about him later. I have some matters to attend to. Perhaps you will be able to join us soon, if you're feeling up to it.

"Perhaps," Snow says as she studies her daughter. She hopes perhaps Emma has found someone worthy of her.

Emma needs to talk to Killian. She has searched most of the house and the property, nervously looking for him. She doesn't think he left with Mr. Smee. The only possible place he could be is the one place she hasn't gone, his bedroom. She knows it is highly inappropriate, but she needs to have this conversation with him.

How is she going to ask? There is no precedent for this situation. She arrives at his door and simply stares, afraid to knock. Gathering her courage, she knocks and patiently waits for the door to open.

The door opens and Killian smiles as he leans forward and asks, "Emma, are you sure you want to be seen with me? It's kind of compromising with the rumors and all. We can assume that the assumptions will soon enter the Booth estate, that is if they haven't yet."

"Oh, you are so thoughtful. Now may I come in, or are you going to make me have this conversation with you from the door?"

"Come in, darling. Just don't say I didn't warn you." He allows her passage into his room.

"I think we should get married," Emma blurts out. She closes her eyes; maybe she inherited her father's tact after all. She really doesn't want to look at his reaction but she slowly opens her eyes needing to see his expression.

Killian Jones stands there dumbfounded. What the bloody hell was that? Did she just ask him to marry her? He couldn't help the beat of his heart speeding up. He needed to make sure he didn't hear wrong. "Emma love, did you just ask me to marry you?" Killian asks as he nervously scratches the back of his ear.

Emma stands in the middle of Killian Jones' room realizing she didn't even lead up to it. She just blurted it out. "I did ask. I know that you are still in love with Milah. I just need you to do this for me. Killian, I honestly believe that you are a good man. These rumors going around will destroy my family. My mother specifically will not survive it. She has no idea of Milah's actions. I know my cousin is not the same person I once saw her as. She is selfish and all she cares for is herself. She has betrayed all of us, her family and you. She married another man even though she promised to marry you. I feel like we have become friends. At least I hope we have. Please, help me fix this. You mentioned earlier that you both were reckless, and now it is time to help correct the situation. Killian, I don't care if you have no last name or that you have a less than stellar reputation. I see a good man and one that I wouldn't mind entwining my life with. So will you marry me?" Emma finally takes a breath and waits for his response.

After a long pause in which Killian's mind continues to reel, he finally finds his voice. "If we do this, I want honesty. Are you doing this to protect your family or August?" Killian asks. He will not admit to himself or anyone for that matter how much he hopes it is the former of the two. He has grown fond of Emma and finds himself jealous of her devotion to the ones she loves, more specifically August.

"My family, but you have to realize by extension, August as well. Before you tell me I'm a fool. He is a victim in this mess too," Emma answers honestly.

"This proposal has nothing to do with the offer that Mrs. Booth made me?" he asks.

"No," Emma looks confused about his question and she shakes her head.

"Oh, let me guess, she didn't tell you? She offered me money, to reinstate me with her deceased husband's last name, and a lovely wife to boot," Killian says, waiting for her reaction.

"She mentioned that she made you an offer but didn't specify what it entailed other than money. Why would she reinstate the Booth last name? Oh! You think I'm the wife she offered? No! I'm asking because of what your first mate told us earlier. Where is Mr. Smee by the way?" Emma asks.

"Mr. Smee and I parted ways not long after you left us. He was going to find out more information about the town's gossip. I just wanted to find a way to ease your mind," Killian answers while smiling at her. "The offer Cora made is of no consequence. However, your lovely proposal is quite intriguing

Emma is staring at his beautiful blue eyes, have they always been this shade? "I'm being honest, I want to do this. I know I'm not Milah, I know she is the one you truly want. I just hope you realize that Milah is not coming back to you. She enjoys the lifestyle August gives her. She may come to look for you when she has tired of his bed, but the truth is she will not hold any loyalty to you." Emma feels justified in speaking frankly after all that has transpired.

"Does that bother you, the thought that she may seek me out for pleasure?" Killian asks as he steps close to her and leaves little space between the two.

"Yes, it does, because no one should be used."

"Hmm, is it over him or me?" Killian is not sure if he truly wants to know, but he asks anyhow.

"You want honesty? Both of you. I care for him because he is a good man. I also care for you. Deep inside I know you too are a good man. You two have so much in common and yet you keep seeing him as the enemy. He is blind to Milah's treachery, and you know her well enough to know that she has no loyalty to anyone other than herself. If you accept my proposal we could have a good marriage based on true friendship and honesty. You told me not that long ago that you wanted someone to accept the real you. I accept you, even with your flaws and I will not be ashamed because you only hold your mother's surname. I would be honored to be your wife. I have gotten to know you better and even with your hard edges I know I'm making the right choice." Emma lays everything on the line for Killian. Blatant honesty, and she hopes it is enough.

"What do you expect from our union?" he asks as he points between the two.

"I know what my duties would consist of, I was betrothed before. I would just expect for you to be good to me," she says with a smile that is not at all real. Would he expect a dowry? Her family is doing better financially, but it is not like she is doing this with their knowledge. She could ask Cora, she knows she wants Killian gone and he did mention she offered money. He is a pirate. The thought of him expecting a dowry scares her, why does she feel all this fear? She listens to his words as patiently as she can.

"I can offer you a comfortable life, not in the league of Booth's, but I will endeavor to make you happy. You have to promise me that you will tell me what is on your mind. You will not keep quiet like it is normally expected." Killian says while looking at her with an expression she has never seen on his face before.

She can feel her heart speed up. How is it possible for him to make her feel this way?

"There is no dowry," Emma says and lightly bites on her bottom lip nervously.

"There is no need for one; you are all the treasure I need. When do you want to have the nuptials?" Killian asks.

Emma blushes at his compliment, and her heart hopes he means it, even if her brain tells her to he is a shameless flirt. "I would need at least a week to prepare. I need to inform Mother Superior of my change of mind. I seem to be cutting it short. My probation is almost over. I also have to give my mother the news. We will need to move fast."

"As you wish," Killian says with a bow.

It is settled, they will marry as soon as possible. She knows she cares for Killian, but is it too soon? Her feelings confuse her. The truth of the matter is, she is afraid of how she feels for Killian. She knows his heart belongs to Milah, and to fall in love with him knowing he will never be truly hers would break her.

He feels a pull to Emma that clouds his mind. The reason for his arrival to the Booth estate was Milah. Yet when he is with Emma, Milah does not even cross his mind. He still loves her, or at least he thinks he does, because the alternative scares him. He could not survive falling in love with Emma Nolan for her not to feel the same. He will tell Milah that his decision was only strategic. If she is unhappy with his decision to marry another, well, he knows the feeling.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14: Courting Danger

Emma wakes up the following morning feeling refreshed. She is engaged once more and maybe she should be nervous, seeing how great it worked out for her last time. The difference is this time it is her choice, she wi the one making the decision, not her parents or anyone else. Technically she had a little push in this direction because of the rumors but ultimately it was her decision to marry. The thought alone gives her butterflies. She finds herself smiling so brightly at the idea. It is funny; she doesn't remember feeling this way the last time.

She dresses quickly and is out her bedroom door. As she has promised to speak to her mother about Killian, she must tell her the news, and although things are moving fast, the decision is hers. Emma knocks at her mother's door and enters when Snow's voice comes through telling her to come in.

"Good morning, mother," Emma says a little too happily. She is happy though, and it scares her a little, but she will not dwell on that right now.

"Emma sweetheart, there is a glow to you. You look so happy," Snow says cheerfully, and then she gasps and asks, "Does this have anything to do with the mysterious man you mentioned yesterday?"

Emma looks at her mother and nods. "Yes, Mother! His name is Killian Jones and he is the steward here and-"

"Emma, did you say, Killian Jones?" her mother interrupts. "Please, tell me you are not talking about the pirate? I believe that is his name, Killian Jones, am I correct?" Snow asks.

"Yes, mother. I know Killian has a reputation but he is trying to be a better man. I thought if anyone could appreciate someone looking for a second chance, it's you," Emma says to her mother and starts pacing around the room, "How many chances did Uncle James get? Hmm? No one made more mistakes than him, Mother. I have not seen my father for years because he is out there trying to fix his brother's mistakes. You don't get to judge Killian. He is trying to atone for his past choices, not leaving the mess for someone else to clean up."" Emma says defensively.

"Emma, don't you dare compare your uncle to that man!" Snow is almost yelling at her daughter. Her loving daughter has filled her life with nothing but joy and has never given her a need to raise her voice, until today.

"Well, the man I'm to marry and the same man you obviously disapprove of is the same one. Where is your excitement for me now? You were so happy for me seconds ago and now all I hear is disapproval in my choices," Emma says as she is about to walk out of her mother's room.

"Emma, if he truly wanted to be a man of honor, why not come to me? He could have also waited for your father's arrival to ask for your hand in marriage?" Snow says, desperately trying to prove her point.

"This marriage is my idea. And as for your approval Mother, it is not like you have been in the greatest health. Please, do not blame him for any of this," Emma waves her hands between the two of them, "if it matters to you at all, he actually encourages for me to voice my opinion, above all he is my friend, we understand each other."

Emma walks out of her mother's room with unshed tears in her eyes. She'd had a feeling that her mother would not be as accepting as she'd originally led her to believe, and although things could have gone a lot better, there is nothing she can do about it right now. She will deal with what she can, therefore, she will go to the convent and talk to Mother Superior about her decision. Emma smiles in spite of the conversation she just had with her mother when she catches a glimpse of Killian in the dining room.

He sees her and smiles broadly as he stands, quickly pulling out her chair, hoping she will join him for breakfast.

"Oh, such a gentleman, but there is no need. I will not be joining you. I was actually on my way to the convent to let Mother Superior know that I will not be returning," she tells him.

Killian smiles and looks around to see if anyone is watching them. He slowly takes her hand while watching her face, and as he raises it to meet his lips, he slyly changes his tactic and catches her off guard as he pulls her to him for a kiss. Their bodies collide and somehow Killian manages to cradle her head and hold her in place. It's a soft, sweet, tender kiss that ends faster than either would have liked. They part and are both inarticulate, still lost in the sensation. For him it is a kiss so unlike any he has ever had before. For her, it is a first.

Emma's eyes slowly fluttered open and her stomach is full of butterflies. She has never been kissed before and although it was highly inappropriate, she doesn't regret it.

He looks at her and has to stop the need to touch his lips. The same spot where hers had been seconds ago. It feels like the sun has finally emerged from an abyss.

Trying to detach themselves from the overwhelming feeling, they both smile and say their goodbyes before parting.

Emma's heart is beating fast, that had been unexpected. She knew there would be some physical interactions but she never expected to feel the way she does right now. Perhaps leaving the convent is the right choice for more than just protecting her family. The thoughts and feelings she feels are in no way shape or form fitting of a nun.

Killian sits down once again and stares at his food. He is jarringly brought back to reality when Enith walks in to announce, "Sir, Mr. Hopper is here to see you."

"Thank you, Enith, I will take it from here," Killian says as he gets up from the table and walks to greet his old friend.

"Good Morning, mate. To what do I owe the honor of your visit on this amazing day?" Killian asks with a little too much glee.

Archie takes a good look at Killian. "You are awfully chipper today. Are you aware of what they are saying about you in town? To be precise, of you and one of the Nolan girls. Girls I know personally?" he asks, waiting patiently as he paces the foyer.

Killian grabs him by the arm and guides him outside of the house. "Aye, Smee stopped by and gave me the news."

"The girl you were going to marry was Milah, right? Is that the true reason you wanted the job here? Killian, what are you doing?" Archie asks, disappointment coloring his tone.

"Why assume that it was Milah? Why not Emma? Am I not good enough to capture fair Emma's, heart?" Killian asks as he purses his lips together and locks his jaw.

"First of all Killian, don't put words in my mouth. I mentioned a possible pairing between you and Emma at the convent, and you told me you two were only engaging in small talk. You dismissed the idea rather fast, if I remember correctly. I made the same comment again the last time I was here and you dismissed it once more. Now you tell me it was Emma all along? You know I love you as if you were my own flesh and blood, so don't take this personally, but I know both girls well and Milah was the obvious choice given the scandalous nature of the rumors."

"I hate to be the burden of bad news. It was always Emma, she thought that she had lost me and that is why she opted to join the convent. When she saw me, she was so bloody furious at me, she said she never wanted to see me again, that is why we lied about not knowing each other, I was just trying to protect her."

"But she was betrothed to August, we all just assumed she was heartbroken about him breaking off the engagement," Archie countered.

"About that, we met and fell in love rather fast. She was heartbroken, just not over the loss of the man you assumed. The foremost reason for the last trip I made was in hopes of becoming a better man in order to obtain her family's approval." He looks down toward his shoes, wondering if his story will hold any weight with Archie. "Alas, we have cleared the air. My love and I have resolved our issues and have decided to move forward and marry. She went to the convent to inform Mother Superior of her decision not to take the vows. I'm happy I was able to return before it was too late. I was wondering if you would be willing to help me find a house fitting of my lovely, Emma."

Archie looks at Killian and nods. He is still hesitant. He hasn't lied to Killian about knowing the Nolan girls. The rumors of the dalliance between Killian and one of the young countesses had finally reached his ears and he automatically made the assumption, that the woman in question was Milah. To him, she was the obvious choice since she had always been so reckless and Emma was the opposite.

"Archie, I know you don't believe me but I'm telling the truth and Emma will confirm my story. Now allow me to change the subject for a bit. How is the business coming along, have you had any problems?" Killian asks.

"Have you talked to her mother? Killian, please tell me you asked for her mother's blessing. Snow is a very kind woman, I don't believe she will oppose. I know she was heartbroken by Emma's decision to enter the convent. Her parents are good people, but if you are worried about the last name. I offer you mine once more," Archie tells him.

Killian smiles and answers, "Emma, accepts me as I am."

"I know of all her qualities and I'm not surprised. I'm more concerned with her parents. Sadly, you are not exactly the type of man they envisioned their daughter to marry. Killian, they are good people but your reputation may not make it easy, perhaps if you had my last name it would be easier?"

"I will ask again, is the business running well?"

"Everything is running smoothly. A lot better than I thought it would. I was also thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to contact Emma's father. He has an export business in Arendelle and we could perhaps partner with him," Archie says enthusiastically, finally letting Killian have his change of subject.

"Emma's father is in Arendelle?" Killian asks.

"Yes, I have mentioned him before. His name is David Nolan, he owns Nolan Importing and Exporting," Archie replies.

Killian turns whiter than a fresh sail. Her father is the owner of the business he had gone to Arendelle for, the final job.

"Is everything alright?" Archie asks with concern. " Killian?"

"That is where I was when I was detained on false accusations, I may add, luckily I came across an honorable Navy officer. One that happened to be my long lost older brother. Liam Long. Did you know of him?" Killian asks.

Archie simply smiles, "That is great news, and I vaguely remember hearing your father mention him once, a long time ago. I'm very happy you two found each other. Why not mention it before?" Archie asks as he pulls Killian into a hug.

Killian looks at Archie. "To be honest, I didn't feel much like celebrating at the time. I returned from the trip to the news I had lost my love." He is being honest, just not about the particular love he had lost.

"One last thing Killian, I support your relationship with Emma. The only thing I have a problem with is how the two of you have dealt with the situation," Archie says as he zips his lips to confirm that it is, in fact, the last thing he will say on the matter.

"Good Morning, Mother Superior," Emma greets the head nun.

"Emma, is everything alright?" Mother Superior asks with concern as she picks up on Emma's demeanor. "Is your mother okay?" she asks as she remembers the declining health of the convent's old benefactor.

"Yes, Mother Superior, everything is okay. My visit is only temporarily as I have come back to inform you that I will not be returning. I want to thank you for all your generosity. I found love, just like my mother and you had told me I would, I apologize for being so stubborn," Emma says to her kind confidant.

"I'm happy for you Emma, I hope to meet the lucky man soon."

Emma just nods her head, avoiding making any promises. "I'll just collect my things," Emma says as she excuses herself and heads for her room.

Emma knocks at the door and is welcomed by Tink.

"Oh Emma, are you back?" Tink asks.

"No, I'm here to pick up my things, I have some news I would love to share," Emma tells her friend.

"Oh, of course," Tink says as she sits on the bed and waves for Emma to join her.

"I'm getting married," Emma says, she takes a breath and continues, "to Killian, your good friend."

The look on Tinks face goes from curious to furious in seconds. "When you left I advised you to go after your cousin's man, not mine, how could you? I thought we were friends!" Tink screams at her.

"I am your friend, I'm sorry," Emma says. "We don't always choose love, Tink, sometimes it chooses us."

Tink doesn't respond, only stares at her with anger and hurt before getting up and storming out of the room.

Emma quickly finishes packing and leaves the convent.

Emma arrives at the Booth Estate to find Archie and Killian who have moved back inside, lost in conversation in the office. They both smile as soon as they see her.

"Am I interrupting?" Emma asks hesitantly.

"Of course not, love," Killian answers as he approaches her and gently grabs her hand and guides her to the available chair in front of the desk.

"Archie heard the rumors and I have confirmed our torrid love affair and plans to wed," Killian informs Emma. She looks between the two men.

"I'm sorry if I have disappointed you, Archie," Emma says.

"I'm not disappointed in you. I had hoped for a relationship between the two of you," Archie says and points to them, "Killian, kept insisting it was not a possibility. So imagine my surprise when I heard a rumor about Killian and one of the Nolan girls having an affair. An affair Killian assures me was real and with you."

"He is not lying; we met and just fell in love so fast. Then I feared I had lost him and I just couldn't go on. I joined the convent because of my broken heart, but when I saw him at the convent once again I knew my heart was still his. I'm sorry we lied about knowing each other but Killian was only trying to protect my image. Mother Superior never truly believed my vocation was true. I think she was just giving me time to heal my broken heart. Now I understand what a mistake I was going to make." Emma knows full well that although she is being honest about the feelings she had and what had led her to the convent's door, it was for a different man. She cared for August but she had never really known him. How could she claim love for him if she had no idea who he truly was? Then there is Killian, she had gotten to know him. They have talked about things that may not be suitable but he truly listens to her.

Archie studies her face and simply says, "Emma I'm truly happy that Killian found you. I know things may not be easy but I will support the two of you. I was telling Killian that I think it would be a good fit for his new business to work with your father. I wanted to suggest for me to take a trip to propose a joint business venture to your father."

"I thought my father was set to return by next month?" Emma asks.

"Yes, that is true, but there was an attempt on his business and he wants to tie up some loose ends before he departs. I could go and help him with the legal aspects and God willing, we will return together by the time he had planned," Archie says. Standing from the his char, Archie announces that he will be taking his leave. "Please, excuse me with your mother for not saying hello. I will be leaving now as I want to leave for Arendelle as soon as possible. Killian, I will be leaving Smee in charge while I'm gone.

"Aye," Killian replies simply as he sits there deep in worried thought. He doesn't believe David Nolan or Archie are aware of his involvement in the failed attempt on the business. At least he hopes there is no proof. Should he tell Emma?

Emma notices his change in mood after Archie takes his leave. "Killian, you are awfully quiet."

"Just basking in your beauty, love," he flirts.

Emma smiles and looks away. Should she tell him about her dreadful conversation with Tink or how well her mother received the engagement news?

Snow decides to ask Cora for help, she hopes that she can help get through to Emma and change her mind about marrying Killian. She has heard the staff mention her dislike for Killian on several occasions. She knocks on the woman's door, hoping to find the assistance she seeks.

"Snow, good morning, darling," Cora says as she greets her old friend and guides her inside. "What brings you out of your room? Is there a problem?"

"It is Emma, I'm afraid she is about to make the biggest mistake of her life. She wants to marry Killian Jones, your new steward," Snow says with shame all over her face.

Cora looks at Snow and she cannot help feel triumphant. She knew Emma would heed her concerns.

"I gather you don't agree," Cora says.

"He is a pirate! Cora, how can you ask me that? You are not his biggest supporter either. Why are you so calm about this?" Snow asks with outrage.

"I'm not calm about this. I just feel so much guilt over what my son did to her. He broke her heart and if my support in this marriage is what she requires, I will grant it. I'm sorry Snow."

Snow leaves the room in shock, she can't believe Cora would support this union. She hopes David is back before it is too late, he is her last hope.

Chapter Text

Chapter 15: The Lies We Tell Ourselves

The window is ajar and the breeze slowly enters and engulfs the room, filling it with a hint of sea salt air. He misses his home by the sea, and yet he can not blame his sleepless night on the nostalgia that plagues him. Emma is the true culprit of his current sleeplessness.

Killian tosses and turns; he is anxious and that scares him. He knows he needs to tell Emma the true nature of his trip to Arendelle, but he is crippled with fear by the thought of her once again seeing him as she did when they first met. That thought makes him second guess his decision more than once.

The truth is simple; they are going to be married soon and although they are not marrying because they are madly in love, he still needs to start this relationship with a clean slate. He has no idea if her father is aware of his involvement and to avoid her hearing the sordid tale from another source, he prefers for her to hear it from his lips. He feels he owes her this much, at the very least.

That's his decision and he is sticking to it. It is settled he will tell Emma the truth. Although he had no prior knowledge of the connection between the owner of Nolan Shipping and Exporting and the Nolan's in town when the business had first been targeted, he knows this surely will not absolve him of guilt.

The influential people that were known to use Nolan's services had painted a target on the business, if it hadn't been him it would have been another. He knew that the strong room in the cellar would surely be filled with treasure. He had no doubt that his talented nimble fingers would be able to crack the lock. It was supposed to have been an easy score for someone of his skills.

Finally, with the decision made to tell her the truth, his eyes begin to feel heavy, he can barely keep them open and he succumbs to sleep.

The next morning Killian wakes and sets out in search of Emma. He finds her outside picking flowers in the garden.

He approaches her and once he is close enough he clears his throat to capture her attention. Emma finally looks up and smiles brightly at him.

"Good morning, love. You look stunning," Killian says while he is slowly approaching her. He looks down at the flowers in her basket and gently picks one up and tucks it in behind her ear along the loose strand of her golden hair.

She blinks dazedly at the contact and without knowing holds her breath as she turns her eyes to Killian. She tilts her head and smiles as she offers her reply, "Good morning, sleep well?"

Killian's demeanor changes quickly and he looks around, anywhere but at her. "Love, I have something I need to speak to you about, and I believe it to be important." He scratches behind his ear while he waits for a response.

"Oh, of course, should we head back inside and go to the office?" Emma asks as she takes a step toward the house.

He shakes his head, quickly dismissing the idea and guides her back to the lovely little patch of flowers she was at seconds before. "I would prefer to continue to enjoy the lovely scenery with you a bit longer, we can talk here," he says. Killian takes off his long coat and lays it on the ground for her to sit upon.

She smiles as she takes his hand and he helps her lower herself to sit on his coat. The fabric is so much softer than it looks, she thinks as she caresses the coat. Looking at him as he slowly sits down next to her she can tell he is nervous, but why?

"Emma, I will just get this over with. I hope you understand how difficult this is for me, and although that should not sway you into forgiveness, know that I am doing to this to give us our best chance. As you know, I have led a life of crime all my adult life and I have done a variety of questionable things I am not proud of, but what I'm about to tell you may change your mind regarding our upcoming nuptials. Months ago, when my relationship with Milah was in full bloom, I went to Arendelle on what was meant to be a very lucrative job for my associates and myself. It is safe to say it was not a lawful endeavor and I was caught by the Arendelle Navy. I was put in prison on charges of piracy against a shipping and exporting company there. That business was your father's," Killian says and looks at her carefully.

Emma studies him for a moment, she ponders what he's told her, and why he is telling her. "You are telling me that you were going to rob my father's company. Why would you simply be released without a trial? I don't understand."

"Yes, Emma, I was there to steal from your father's' business. I admit it. At the time I had no idea of the connection between him and Milah, much less you. I was released not because of my innocence but because my long lost brother felt mercy for me. I would have most likely met my death there. Arendelle shows no leniency when it comes to pirates. I could have easily kept this from you and hoped you would have never become the wiser, but I made the choice to share this tale with you. I solemnly believe I would not have pursued the job had I known of the familial connection you share with David Nolan. I only made the connection between you and the business during my conversation with Archie yesterday."

"Your brother let you go, just like that? Doesn't that affect his job?"

"Aye, it could. I suspect he was only doing it because I mentioned I wanted to get back to my love that I was to marry," Killian says.

"The job was unfinished, correct?" she asks.

"Aye, I was in jail and the rest of the crew was either killed during the capture or in a cell not far from my own," Killian says. "Emma, I know this is a lot to take in. I will give you time to take into consideration what I have just shared with you. If you choose to cancel the wedding, I will understand," Killian says, "but please know that is not what I want, I just needed us to start our life with no secrets between us." He gets up and offers her his hand.

Emma looks at him and takes his hand, letting him pull her to her feet. "I appreciate your honesty. I don't believe this changes anything, at least not for me. I'm disappointed, but I understand that was your life then and this will be your life now. I am going to choose to see the best in you, you are a good man that has made mistakes in his past. You are very good to the workers; a man that feels such empathy for those less fortunate cannot be a lost cause."

"Are you sure? I must insist you think it over, I would hate for you to leave me at the altar if you had a last minute change of heart like your cousin. I have some business back in town, before I go I will go check on Mr. Thomas and maybe check in with Archie on some things."

"I will not keep you any longer, and if you would like we can talk some more once you return," she says with a smile that lets him know her decision has already been made.

Killian returns her smile with one of his own and brings her hand that he is still holding to his lips for a gentle kiss, then he makes his way to the little hut Michael Thomas resides in. His knock greeted with a muffled come in.

"Good morning, Mr. Thomas. I hope you are feeling better," Killian says to the older man as he walks into the tiny room.

"I am, thanks to you and the lovely angel, Miss Emma." Mr. Thomas hesitates as he scrutinizes Killian. "Are you here to fire me, too? I have heard that you have fired most of the older workers." The thought that seems to linger in his mind is how much the younger man reminds him of his old boss, Brennan Booth.

"Of course not, actually I would like to offer you employment that may be safer for a man your age. As for the other older employees that have been let go, that was not on my order. Now about the employment, it will have to wait until you are completely healthy seeing as the lovely Miss Emma would sooner cut off my hand than let me encourage you to start working before you are truly healed from your injuries and sickness." Killian arched an eyebrow and grinned at the old man as he spoke. "I have some business back in town, upon my return I will surely get to the bottom of the firing of our older workers."

The man smiled as he saw Killian close the door shut on his way out. He truly had a remarkable likeness to Brennan Booth - and it was not just physical, he shared a good heart too.

Killian is finally away from the Booth Estate. He misses his simple life and yet all the eyes on him say his life will no longer be simple. It seems the rumors have not died out. The curious glances and the hushed whispers he keeps getting from the simple commoners to the rich and noble are an indication that it will not happen anytime soon.

He is walking towards his new office at Tiny's Golden Goose Tavern where his old friend has allowed him to rent one of the rooms as an office, at least until he finds something more suitable. He hopes Smee is in there assisting Archie as he was previously instructed to do so.

He walks in and greets his friend with a cordial nod then heads up the stairs to the modest room he is renting. He opens the door and is met by the sleeping forms of Smee and a couple of Tiny's workers. No doubt in his mind the men had entertained themselves the prior night with some libations from the bar.

"Rise and shine, you bilge rats! No offense, Mr. Smee," Killian says loudly, even though Smee does remind him of a rat from time to time.

The other men in the room scurry away, but Smee just stretches lazily as his chair shakes and rattles slightly out of balance. He sleepily replies, "None taken, Captain. For some reason, I keep dreaming of cheese."

Killian laughs at his first mate's comment, perhaps he had lived as a rat in a previous life. "Smee, there is no need to report on the town's gossip since I got the gist of it on my way here. Are you not going to congratulate your Captain? It appears I'm in the market for an engagement ring," Killian says as he shuffles some of the papers thrown on the desk.

"Sir, does the engagement ring be for Miss Milah?" Smee asks.

"Of course not! For my bride to be, Miss Emma Nolan," Killian answers as he tries not to lose his temper.

"I don't understand, sir, the plan was for you to get Miss Milah back, alongside the considerable Booth fortune," Smee tells his longtime boss.

"Are you questioning my actions, Mr. Smee?" Killian asks as he crowds the portly man and waits for a response.

"No, of course not sir, it's just... I cannot help but mention that you seemed different on my last visit to the Booth's. I believe it is because of her." Smee's voice gets higher and higher as he cowers from Killian's piercing glare.

"Smee, don't misunderstand my actions, it is all part of the ruse I have concocted in order for my plan to succeed. I'm only entering into this marriage to cover up the little dalliance I had with Milah so her rich new family will not be suspect of her misdeeds. You see if I'm part of the family, my presence will not be questioned or unwanted and in order for the plan to be successful, I have to act like I want to be a better man. Finally, if with my marriage to Emma, Milah is to experience half of what I felt on my return from Arendelle, then who am I to question my good luck? Milah hates her cousin and if my revenge is provided by her lovely cousin, I will allow it," Killian says as he looks around.

In the heat of the conversation, they both had missed Archie entering the room and subsequently overhearing their conversation. The look of disappointment on his face was enough of a warning to Killian of the lashing that was about to be directed at him. Killian clenched his jaw in frustration as he made his order known. "Smee, go get me something to eat from Tiny's kitchen and take your time. I have some things to discuss with Archie."

"Yes, sir," Smee scurried out of the room as fast as humanly possible.

"There was no need to dismiss him. I will just say this to you, Emma deserves better than to be used and lied to. She has a good heart and she seems to see the same thing in you as I do. She was devastated by August's actions and now you are using her too. Killian, don't you see how lucky you are?" Archie asks shaking his head.

"Are you going to tell her what you heard?" Killian asks. His stomach drops and he cannot admit to anyone, much less himself, that he cares so much more than he should.

"Killian, I should tell her so she can call off this wedding, but I won't. I will give you the chance to do the right thing, to do the honorable thing. I came to tell you that I had found a lovely house that would be perfect for you two. Mrs. Lucas is selling her home because of her deteriorating health, and since she will be moving in with her granddaughter, Ruby Whale, she has no need for the furniture. Earlier today I went to Dr. Whale's home to finalize the deal on your behalf and the house is available to move in as soon as possible," Archie says and looks at Killian as he waits for a response.

"Is there anything else you need to add?" Killian asks stubbornly. He hates seeing the disappointment on Archie's face, but he will not fold on this matter. He will marry Emma because she is the means to an end. Killian is back to feeling angry and he was a fool to ever think that he would ever be seen as anything other than the worthless, womanizing, selfish scoundrel that he will undoubtedly always be.

He will not give up Emma as she will surely lead him to his happy ending, whether he deserves it or not. He thought for a brief second that he could join her and be a part of something special but alas, that is not in the cards for him, at least not with someone like her. Milah, on the other hand, is someone like him, one of the worst humans around.

He doesn't deserve light, he only is worthy of darkness. The truth is, he lied to Smee, he said those words because Smee made him feel weak and not in control of his feelings. He had felt a shift in his core because of Emma, but he will not lie to himself and think that there is a possibility that she could possibly feel as he does. He will not be made a fool by another Nolan woman.

Emma finally walks into the house after regaining her composure. She understands who Killian Jones was and she knows who he can evolve into. She cannot deny the fact that she had been upset about his story but at the time he didn't owe her anything. She hopes that tidbit stays in the past.

She hears her name and turns to meet the source. "Good morning," Emma says to Cora, cordially.

"Good morning It seems congratulations are in order," Cora says.

"Oh?" Emma responds. "Your mother informed me of the upcoming nuptials between you and the Captain," Cora says.

"Let me guess, my mother came to you in hopes you would be able to talk me out of it," Emma says, rolling her eyes at her mother's antics.

"Yes, she did, but I will do no such thing. I'm actually happy you two are to wed. I can now relax, since I'm assuming the two of you will leave once you have married, and subsequently he will forget about whatever brought him here. Thank you, you are a savior," Cora says as she smiles and walks away.

Emma doesn't see the triumphant smile on Cora's face as she leaves her standing in the long hall, mulling over her actions. The only reason she is marrying Killian is to save her family, not because she sees a happy future with him.

Snow is walking aimlessly in her room and she glances out the window. Her daughter cannot marry that man. Earlier she had seen them interact outside among the flowers. It had been a highly romantic setting and she could not help but notice that there were no advances on his part.

She knew of his reputation with women and her fear was that he would not be able to show her daughter the respect she deserves.

Maybe she could agree to meet him and cautiously get to know him. She could request for Emma to not rush into the marriage. Emma has barely recovered from her previous heartbreak, and she is afraid of what could become of her Emma if this relationship fails as well.

She needs David to help her convince Emma to wait. Sadly, her daughter seems to be set on marrying soon. There is no time to lose, so she writes a quick message to David letting him know of the situation. She needs someone to go into town to deliver her message to Archie who will then send the telegraph to Arendelle. Her maids are gone, so the only option left is to send Enith and she seems to dislike taking orders from anyone that is not the lady of the house.

Snow calls for Enith who surprisingly quick to answer her call.

"Enith, I need to send you on an errand. Please take this to Mr. Hopper; he will know what to do. Oh, and you don't need to wait for a reply." Snow smiles warmly as she hands the letter to Enith sends her on her way with hopes there will be enough time to delay Emma's wedding.

Unfortunately, when Enith finally returns, it is to tell Snow that Archie has already left for Arendelle according to the man in the red hat. Snow thanks her and is left alone once more to ponder her next move.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16: Relic of Lost Love

Archie can't believe his good fortune as he looks at the sight before him. While scouring the town and its surrounding areas in search of a house for Killian and Emma, he had come across the ring that Brennan had gifted Madeline during their affair, while at an Estate sale. It wasn't a surprise that the ring had been disavowed. He knew that John must have found the ring and sold it for a good amount of money to pay for his vices. John was a greedy man that no doubt had noticed the value of the ring as soon as he laid eyes on it.

Archie had never approved of the relationship, he had told his friend many times but that is in the past. However, in this moment in time, he knows for a fact and beyond a reasonable doubt that the ring belongs in the possession of its true owner, their son Killian. Archie honestly hopes the ring will be the start of the beginning of a happy ending for both Emma and Killian; a new hope.

Perhaps the ring will be a symbol of bliss this time around and erase its past curse. He had known Brennan's feelings for Madeline were true; sadly they had fallen into an all-too-common affliction around those parts, not to mention bad timing and unfortunate circumstance. The ring had been meant as a pledge that only ended up being a broken promise of love. It was the other half of a set; he gave her the beautiful engagement ring and Brennan kept the bands in hopes of someday making it a reality. Archie knew of his friend's wishes to someday make Madeline his wife, sadly it was not meant to be.

Madeline Jones family was considered upper-middle class and she was an only child. She had married John Long due to her father's demand; growing up, her mother had been her only ally and had died some years prior, so she had no other choice but to follow her father's instruction.

John Long was an ambitious merchant that seemed to be destined for greatness. Not long into the marriage, he had proven to not be the match that her father had hoped for. Sadly, the prediction never came true. He drank away his riches with whores and the small inheritance Madeline had received upon her father's sudden death not long after her nuptials was long gone too.

Madeline had met Brennan Booth two years into her marriage and had fallen madly in love with him but she knew that John would not let her go; especially because they shared a young son, Liam. She found out of her pregnancy with Killian after their affair had ended. She had tried to reach out to Brennan in hopes of a dashing rescue for her and her children, only to come face to face with his new high-class, pregnant wife.

Madeline knew that once upon a time she would have been considered a good match for Brennan; her family at the time was far from being destitute by any means, that is until her husband got a hold of anything of value and squandered it away. If only she had met Brennan first.

Madeline had finally accepted her life, and with it, the shame of her youngest son not having his father's name. Not knowing that her husband knew of her affair and had denied Killian his last name.

Archie had never had a problem with Madeline but the circumstance that engulfed her relationship with Brennan which left much to be desired. He had helped Brennan acquire the ring, a token of devotion for his forbidden love, to have whenever she couldn't be with him. The ring was a platinum 2.5 rose-cut diamond, flanked by two baguettes with the inscription 'eternally yours'. He knew that his friend truly would be hers eternally but alas, it was time to admit that they would never be free to be together.

Once his marriage to Cora became a reality, Brennan had no choice but to end all ties with Madeline. The last bond he had were the wedding bands he had so foolishly purchased to match her engagement ring. He didn't have the heart to completely make them disappear and instead he gave the rings to Archie for safe keeping. Unbeknownst to Brennan, she was already pregnant with Killian, his first-born and eldest son.

Like father like son, Archie thinkst as he shakes his head in disappointment. They are both good men that sometimes don't listen to their hearts. Brennan had loved Madeline and instead of fighting for their love, he simply accepted the arranged marriage to Cora. He had seen the interaction between Killian and Emma when they talked to him about their relationship. It had felt so honest, so real. It could not all be lies. Yet neither man was willing to fight for the love they had in front of them.

Archie is too upset and doesn't realize at the time of his altercation with Killian that he never mentioned the rings. Before boarding the ship to Arendelle to rendezvous with David Nolan, he spots a messenger that he knows Killian trusts well, and quickly writes a note for Killian with the exact location of the rings and the house.

Killian lingers at the tavern after Archie leaves. He knows he's disappointed Archie and he is still trying to make sense of what had happened. He had told Smee the truth, but that did not mean he did not care for Emma. There is no way he would admit to anyone, much less himself that perhaps there is more to this tale.

After receiving the note from Archie, Killian leaves the tavern. He ventures into Archie's office and follows the instructions that should lead him to the objects he is searching for. He's standing inside the organized office with the paperwork of the house Archie had purchased on his behalf; to be his new home. The house purchase includes furnishings and all that was left behind by the prior owner, Lady Lucas. It was meant to make the transition easier for all parties involved; especially easing the older woman's move to her granddaughter, Ruby Whale's home.

In his other hand lays a ring with an inscription and wedding bands. The irony is that he had just asked Smee to find him rings. The ring with the inscription feels familiar, somehow. The engagement ring is beautiful and he knows it will be perfect for Emma. He chooses to ignore the inscription for now, refusing to acknowledge the reason for his thoughts.

Killian Jones next heads to the part of town that as a young boy he never would have thought one day he would call home. The difference in class is obvious, even to the blind. The roads are not made of dirt and gravel, the houses are grander, too. As a boy, he wished to live in one of those houses, filled with love unlike his own.

Walking to the address listed on the paperwork, he eventually finds himself standing in front of the house that is meant to be his new home with Emma. Today is the day that his childhood wish becomes a reality, he stands in front of a house that is his, the house Emma and he will make into a home.

The house in front of him is a beautiful white-washed cobblestone, two-story, gated house. The neighboring houses are at a distance that provides seclusion and privacy to each homeowner. Their new home is surrounded by sky-reaching trees and possesses a well-lived home feeling to it. Around the corner, it has a direct entrance to a beautiful balcony of what appears to be the main living quarters by means of stairs that seem to snake around the side towards the backyard.

The house appears to be modest but upon closer inspection, it is bigger in size than the other houses in the immediate neighborhood. Yet it is not exactly as large as what Emma had grown up in, but he still has a feeling that she will love it.

As he explores the property, he is stopped in his tracks by a breathtaking garden with flowers of so many vibrant colors. He can smell the flowery, sweet, fresh aromas mixing together into a perfect floral natural fragrance. The flower beds are comprised of some easily recognizable flowers, like red and pink middle mists and bright white and yellow buttercups. Then there are others he doesn't recognize because he's not exactly a is an added bonus since he knows Emma enjoys gardening.

The house and its surrounding property is encased by trees and grass all around. The trees provide the perfect amount of shade and an earthy crisp smell. He can picture them taking walks around the large backyard together whilst she picks flowers to brighten the house with the sweet smell of blossoms that overpower the soft scent of the morning's dewy grass.

He finally finishes his inspection and heads back to the estate with a bright smile on his face.

The wedding is almost upon them. He has kept busy with his duties as steward and his new business. Michael Thomas seems to have taken to the business almost instantly and has proven to be an asset to Killian, despite his instant dislike for Smee.

Smee seems to rub everyone the wrong way. He may be a pirating rodent but he had been loyal, and for that, Killian would always be thankful.

Despite his excitement for their new home, Killian has been distant with Emma since returning to the Booth house following the incident with Archie. He is avoiding her all in name of self-preservation, but he misses her.

Emma has hardly seen Killian since their talk with Archie. She is busy organizing for the wedding with help from Cora. She would have preferred her mother's help but Snow has yet to soften towards the idea of the marriage.

Cora has helped her obtain her gown and a very simple yet beautiful negligee. The impending wedding night is starting to make her a nervous wreck. She can still hear Milah's words, "The poor thing wouldn't know what to do to captivate and maintain any man's attention, even if her life depended on it," echoing in her mind.

On top of all she's had to endure at her cousin's selfishness, there is more; she has to add insult to injury, because in her near future she is going to be competing with Milah once more, since Milah had shared a bed with Killian. Her cousin must be a great lover since Killian had been so eager to get her back. She would dwell on that later, but for now, she has other priorities.

With the wedding quickly approaching, she has talked to Mother Superior tells her that they need to meet with the priest to go over final details and submit baptism certificates and so on.

Emma wonders if there will be a problem because he only has his mother's last name? It doesn't bother her, but will it be an obstacle?

She worries about Killian backing out at the last moment, the thought of him rejecting her scares her more than it should given that her first betrothed left her for her cousin.

Emma has to calm down her nerves. She knows that the wedding is but a mere arrangement, but sometimes she can't stop herself from experiencing feelings that do not align to those of a business transaction. Emma glances in his direction when she thinks no one is watching. She misses their camaraderie.

As the wedding grows ever closer, Emma and Killian are ignorant to the meddling going on beneath their noses. News of their impending wedding is about to reach Milah and August on their honeymoon trip, courtesy of Snow Nolan.

After the failed attempt to get a message to David regarding the nuptials, Snow sent Enith on a new mission to get the missive to Milah and August.

Archie smiles as he steps off the vessel that has brought him to Arendelle. He looks around the docks, trying to find the familiar face of his friend. He waves hello when he sees David Nolan.

"Hello, old friend! How have you been?"

Archie smiles while looking around, "Great and happy to finally be here. It is a nice place you have found and made into a second home." The two make small talk as the leave the port and head to David's, but. Archie finds himself in a dilemma; should he tell David of the wedding expected to take place within days at Misthaven?

As the two sit down, David wastes no time in getting to the important questions. "Tell me about my family. Are they happy?"

Archie looks around the small dining room, choosing his words before he speaks. Offering his friend a genuine smile, he starts, "Milah is on her delayed honeymoon, she and August are traveling." He averts his eyes as he reports the next part. "Snow hasn't been in the best health."

David sighs and with downcast eyes tries to hide his guilt. "And my Princess? My little duckling, is she okay?"

Archie is obviously uncomfortable with the question his friend has asked, even though he had expected it. He knows of his friend's love for his family, especially his daughter. "I enjoyed her company at the Booth estate and she was positively radiant, she glowed."

David is happy to hear that. "Tell me; was she not too heartbroken over the betrothal being canceled and that idiot marrying her cousin? I was never happy with that match."

Archie considers mentioning the wedding but reconsiders swiftly since he has no idea if Killian took his advice. He opts for giving his friend some good news. "I believe her heart has healed from the horrible experience with August, she is living temporarily at the Booth estate with her mother. She has reconsidered taking the vows."

David is confused about the living arrangements. "Why are they staying at the Booth estate?"

Archie unconsciously shifts in his seat and looks at his empty cup and then there is a knock on the door. "Should I get that?"

David quickly gets on his feet and goes to the door. There stands one of the most honored captains in the Arendelle Navy and his adoptive nieces, Liam Long.

"Archie, please allow me the honor of introducing Captain Liam Long of the Arendelle Navy." David stands proudly next to the young man.

"Liam Long?" Archie says as he carefully peruses the young man, he holds a resemblance to someone, but at the moment he cannot say who.

Liam stands there and without knowing, his right-hand goes to scratch behind his ear. Archie doesn't miss the action and that is when the realization hits him. "It is so nice to meet you, young man. I'm sorry; do you happen to have any family in Misthaven?" Archie knows that this is Killian's brother. He remembers the name now and his conversation with Killian.

David and Liam are a little confused by Archie's question.

"I apologize; I believe I know your younger brother, Killian Jones." Archie carefully smiles as he notices recognition in the young man's face.

"Yes, he is my brother." Liam avoids David's gaze for a moment before mouthing, "I'll explain later."

After the girls go off to entertain themselves, the three men sit back down at the table. "Archie, you have yet to answer my question." David stares at his friend awaiting his answer.

"Snow moved in with Milah to the Booth Estate because of her health, Emma was still at the convent at that time. It was only temporarily so she wouldn't be left alone." Archie cannot help but glance at Liam. He doesn't see much resemblance between Killian and Liam, but the eyes are Madeline's. The brothers share their lovely mother's piercing blue eyes.

"David, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind my company on your trip back to Misthaven. I wanted to surprise my brother." Liam waits for an answer as he looks around the room.

"Sure, we would be happy to have you. Archie, is this Killian the one you are here on behalf of?" David gets up to put a new kettle of tea to enjoy.

"Yes, he is starting a small business much like yours. I thought the two businesses would fit." Archie takes the offered cup.

"Liam, did you know of this?" David hands a cup to him.

"Killian's existence was recently revealed to me. I know nothing of his business endeavors," Liam admits as he adds a bit of sugar to his tea.

"The name sounds so familiar to me." David sits down with his own cup and gestures for Liam to pass the sugar.

Liam and Archie share a look that the third man completely misses.

August unfolds the missive and reads the message aloud. "Milah, please, come home soon. Emma and the new steward are to marry. Help me stop my daughter from making this mistake. With Love, Aunt Snow."

The message had been intended for his wife but it was an obvious cry for help. He is confused with his conflicting feelings, because not long ago he would have applauded the union, but to be honest he never truly thought Emma would accept Killian Jones' advances.

August feels wounded by the news of the swiftness with which he has been replaced in Emma's heart. Milah cannot hide her anger and wrath. Killian is crazy if he thinks he is going to betray her; especially with her cousin of all people.

August is too busy lost within his own thoughts to contemplate his wife's obvious ire at the news.

Chapter Text

Chapter 17: Revelations

David is thoroughly enjoying having Archie around. His presence provides a familiarity he's missed. He would have preferred a visit from one of his favorite girls but soon he will be home with them. That thought alone is the reason he doesn't let the guilt of Snow's declining health and the heartbreak his beautiful daughter must have felt at the ending of her betrothal kill him.

He will ask Archie about Emma once they get back to his little house. Today, they have gone to the office to ensure all the papers needed for Kristoff's power of attorney are signed. He will also introduce Archie to the rest of his adoptive family.

A couple of hours later Archie and David find themselves in front of a beautiful two-story, brownstone house. There are a few oak trees not far from the front door. The houses in Arendelle are built closely together and all look like replicas of each other because of the speed in which the town keeps growing.

David is about to knock on the door when a beautiful blonde woman opens the door with a smile on her face.

Archie blinks a few times because the woman is so beautiful and he knows he will be unable to put a sentence together once their eyes meet. He cannot help smile as he sees the fondness in which she greets David with and while they talk to each other with smiles on their faces, she suddenly turns to acknowledge his presence and with a similar warm smile says, "Hello," and waves them in.

Archie knows that not all love stories share the same beginning. Some are love at first sight, others start with a simple friendship and there are the rare ones that blossom from a little dislike of the other person and turn out to be some of the greatest love stories ever told.

He listens carefully, trying not to miss a thing; he has heard that story many times before from his friend. He is happy to finally be able to put a face to the tale of his friend finding a friend in his time of need. He could definitely listen to her retell that story over and over and never tire.

Soon Elsa and Anna arrive, and it is a big family reunion. They talk about all of the exploits of the two young girls and both of them blush.

David is hit with an old favorite. The longing he feels for his family. He smiles as the conversation continues and nod in response only when needed; he soon will be reunited.

Liam finds his way to the little get together at Ingrid's house later that evening.

"I know your brother," Archie shares with Liam conspiratorially.

"Oh, that is good. How is he?" Liam looks to the older man.

"Killian is a survivor. Your brother has had a hard life."

"I can only imagine the life he has had to endure. I hope you know that had I known of his existence, I would have gone looking for him. I would have never left him behind."

"I believe you, and I think Killian knows that your words you speak are true."

"Tell me, did he marry the woman he was so adamant about returning to?"

"He told you he wanted to get married?"

"I helped him so he wouldn't be apart from his love longer than he had to. I would hate to be apart from Elsa," Liam says as he glances to his love.

"I'm afraid not. He will soon be marrying. Sadly, I don't think we could make it back in time to make the wedding. He will marry Emma within days."

"Who is marrying Emma?" David looks at Archie expectantly waiting for an answer.

"David, I have been meaning to break the news since I arrived."

"Why haven't you? I ask again, who is marrying my daughter?"

Liam interrupts, "My long lost brother and the man marrying your daughter are the same man, Killian Jones."

"Your brother is the same man?"

Ingrid, Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff are looking between the three men in a heated conversation.

"David is everything okay?" Ingrid is the first to speak.

"Liam, what is going on?"

In a surprisingly out of character twist Anna and Kristoff are abnormally silent.

David answers first. "Archie has just informed me that my daughter will be marrying a Killian Jones within days. A detail he failed to mention when he first arrived and talked this Jones character up for a business merger."

"This Jones character is my younger brother," Liam adds a bit insulted at David's reaction and smiles at Elsa.

"Wait, is he the same man that was arrested all those months back? He is the man that was going to steal from me? The name sounded so familiar." David's anger is visible.

"David, I explained the reason he was released. It was a mistake. He had no idea what his men were up to. They confessed and indicated he had no knowledge of their plans." A little fact that no one in the group knows, Liam made arrangements with the crew to confirm his version of the events. The only goal was to protect his brother, and thanks to the loyalty the crew holds to Killian, he can.

"Oh, so it has nothing to do with the fact that he is your brother, as I just found out."

"I didn't mention it before because of your obvious reaction. I found out about the familial relationship around that time."

"Killian mentioned this to me too. He said it was a mistake. I believe he is telling you the truth." Archie interrupts.

"David, I know I should have mentioned this as soon as I got off that ship but I got distracted." He says while stealing a glance at Ingrid.

"I just feel like I keep missing out on my daughter's milestones."

"Once we return you will be there and never leave her again."

Elsa goes to reach for Liam's arm. "Hey, are you planning to make the trip back with them? That way you see your brother and meet his new bride."

"I don't know, David is upset and besides I would prefer if you went along on such a trip." He squeezes her arm reassuringly.

"So does that mean I will be seeing you soon on the Misthaven shores? I'm just happy everything is set and we can leave tomorrow." David smiles faintly as he looks at Liam and lastly confirms the plans with Archie with a slight nod.

Cora is ecstatic about the impending wedding between Emma and Killian. She has spent a good amount of money ensuring the union comes together. She sees it as an investment to get Captain Jones away from her son and his inheritance. A small price to pay but it is definitely worth it.

She had fired all the older workers when Jones had started working at the Estate in hopes to keep the secret in the dark. Just one last thing, erasing the existence of the letter Brennan wrote - all she needs to do is find it. Where could that damn letter be? It should be somewhere in this damn house.

Lost in her thoughts; she is wrecking her once organized bedroom in search for that wretched letter once again, that is the only thing that could stop the demise that surely would come. Then there is a light knock on her door, "Madam, there is a man here to see you."

Cora goes to open the door. "Enith, I recall telling you that I did not want to be bothered."

Enith had told the man as much but he had insisted, and now she was getting on her boss's bad side and no one should ever be there. "The man said it was very important and that he would not leave until he could speak with you. He said it was either you or Mr. Jones."

That comment caught Cora's attention. "Did he at least say who to announce?"

"He said to tell you that he is a Good Samaritan, once, a long time ago."

"Oh, is that all he said?" The only Good Samaritan Cora could think of was the one that found Brennan after his accident. This could mean trouble. She barely contains one threat.

She finally makes it to the office. It is a good thing she saw Emma taking a walk with Jones earlier.

"I hope you are not here in hopes of a reward for helping my dead husband home years ago."

"Please, allow me to introduce myself before you start berating me. Malcolm Peters." He offers her his hand, which she rebuffs. She notices a pair of bags next to him but doesn't waste her time in acknowledging them.

"Get to the point. What do you want after all these years?" She sits up regally in the chair.

"Well, after that mournful day I enjoyed success in a town not that far from here. Sadly, even with great success, a sudden bad luck streak can shatter even the most successful person." He is looking at the contents of the office, the wealth displayed is obvious.

"Please, explain, what does that have to do with me?"

"The explanation is actually very simple when I found your husband's body. I tried to assess his injuries before moving him and found a very interesting letter, do I need to continue?"

"What do you want?"

"I want a mere reward for keeping quiet. After all, it is a very interesting tale. Perhaps your steward would like to hear it? Isn't his name Killian Jones, or should I say, Booth?"

Cora turns pale; she thought maybe he was bluffing. "All you want is money?"

"I also want housing and a job." Malcolm smiles at her.

"I doubt you want to be a mere worker, but since the steward position is taken that is all I can offer."

"I'm sure you can think of something and you will if you want that bit of knowledge to stay hidden."

"Where should I put my bags?"

"I will have Enith fix you a room. At least my son isn't here and I will not need to come up with any explanation."

She gets up and leaves the room. She soon finds Enith and requests the room for Mr. Peters.

It doesn't take long for Milah to convince August that they need to head back to Misthaven. "I thought you would be happy with the pairing?" August smiles tightly at the comment. In reality, he honestly thought it would never happen; Emma was bound to the convent and Killian was a notorious womanizer. "I suppose you are correct, I just didn't think it was truly a possibility."

He supposes it is his fault, he did put them in the situation together. It bothers him and that is confusing.

"My aunt surely sounds distressed over the news." She lifts the message and rereads it for the millionth time. "Do you think we will make it in time?"

"I honestly don't know, the trip is long, I specifically chose this route because I wanted to take a long trip with my lovely bride. Now I'm afraid it may be counterproductive." They had rushed to pack their belongings and now finally found themselves back on the road.

Milah cannot believe that Killian would do this to her; betray her in the most heinous way possible, he knows of her distaste for her pampered, insipid cousin. How could he do this or even think about it? What of their plans?

She hopes they make it in time; she will not lose Killian to Emma.

Emma and Killian are enjoying a walk, heading towards her favorite spot, the flower bed. He has been so quiet lately.

"Love, what do you expect of our marriage?" He scratches the back of his ear.

"I don't know, I haven't really thought of it. I, uh-" She gets flustered." I suppose, I just want us to be friends."

"Friends, love? I think there will be some more intimate situations between us, which friends don't share." He raises his eyebrow and smiles.

"Oh, I know that, but I just don't want us to lose the friendship we have been able to build in such a short time."

They stop walking once they have reached their destination. He takes his coat off and arranges it on the ground and reaches for her hand to help her down. They lay on top of the coat and are surrounded by beautiful fragrant flowers.

He turns to her and cups her face gently as he slowly leans in to kiss her. Soon the kiss escalates as he finds himself on top of her slightly pushing her legs apart with a nudge from his knee. He can hear her breathing speed up to match his and it only fuels his need for more.

Suddenly, he feels her hands push him off and she is on her feet and running back to the house.

He lays on his coat and covers his face with his forearm. That was unexpected. He likes kissing Emma a little too much for his taste.

Emma is about to walk into her room and then she hears her mother's soft voice. "Emma, are you okay? You look flushed." Her mother is looking at her with such concern.

"Yes, I think the heat got to me." She doesn't want to tell her mother exactly which heat she is talking about.

"Oh, I could ask Enith to bring you some water to cool off?" Snow smiles at her.

"No, it's fine. I feel better now."

"Sweetheart, I am your mother and no one else knows you better."

"It is nothing." She avoids her mother's knowing eyes.

"I had asked for you but I was told you went on a walk with Mr. Jones. I was hoping to meet him."

"You want to meet him?"

"Well, you seem adamant in marrying him and he is going to be my son-in-law."

"Oh, I can arrange a meeting. I could go fetch him if you'd like." Emma's mind goes back to the kiss.

"Emma, you are blushing again. What is it?"

She takes a breath before answering. "Well, we kissed."

"Oh, then I do need to meet this man. No more kisses Emma. You know very well that it is not very appropriate behavior to be alone with him and now you tell me it has been more than that." Snow smiles and shakes her head in disbelief, her daughter has always been so proper and now she acts so differently. She doesn't know if it is to be applauded or feared.

"It was just a kiss mother."

"Yet you turn beet red every time you think of it."

"Emma, I'm willing to meet him. I would have preferred for your wedding to take place after your father's return but since I hear things are moving extremely fast; I will at least meet him." Maybe she can reason with Killian Jones and convince him that a long engagement would be better.

Emma and her mother are soon on their way to the living area and find themselves sitting while they wait for Killian to make his presence known.

Killian walks inside; the ring burning a hole in his pocket. He wanted to give her the ring at the flower bed she enjoys so much, but he had ruined the moment.

Emma stands up and clears her throat. He stops mid-walk and approaches them.

"Killian Jones, please allow me to introduce to you my mother, Snow Nolan."

He bows slightly. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, my lady." He takes her hand and kisses it.

"Thank you. I will get to the point. I think you two are rushing into marriage. I think it would be better to wait for my husband's return to proceed."

"Mother, I thought you said you would be open to the marriage." She notices her mother studying Killian as if he were familiar to her.

"No, I said I was willing to meet him and I have. One more thing, Mr. Jones I hope you know that there will be no more kisses. No more walks without a chaperone. Nothing as such until the wed-"

Emma stops her from continuing. "Mother, you never put those restrictions on Milah and August. You will not put them on us."

"Emma! I'm only doing this on your behalf, for your protection."

"No, I will no longer be treated like a child. Please, be honest, if I wanted to marry any other man you wouldn't be so eager to enforce proper protocol."

Snow glances at Killian once more and that is the moment she realizes who he reminds her of, Brennan Booth.

"If Emma wants to wait, I will not oppose."

"Good, it shouldn't be long. I have sent a message to Milah as well."

"You did what?" Emma closes her eyes. "Killian, I thank you for offering to wait but we will proceed as planned. Mother, I will not be waiting for my father to arrive. It was his decision to leave the family after all. No one asked him to abandon us in the pursuit of money. Milah shouldn't have been bothered. Oh, but your intention was another wasn't it. You were trying to thwart the wedding. I will only say this, mother, I love you but you will not be changing my mind or delaying anything. In a few days, I will be Killian's wife." She reaches out for his hand and his automatic response is to entwine their fingers together.

Emma can only think that Milah knows of the wedding and she soon will have to face her. She looks at Killian for a reaction at the mention of Milah. The thought that he would change his mind upon Milah's return scares her.

Killian is reminded of the reason for his presence at the Booth's Estate and who truly holds Emma's heart.

Snow is standing there shocked at her daughter's attitude. She stands up with as much dignity as she can muster and leaves.

"Emma love, are you okay?"

"Sorry, I thought that she was coming along. Why did you say that, that you would wait to get married?"

"I thought it was the right thing to say."

She tilts her head and smiles. She had noticed a change in his demeanor at the mention of her cousin's name.

"Since you are so eager to be my wife, how about we do this properly?" He drops to his knee and holds out the ring. "Emma Nolan, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

Emma gasps and she shakily puts out her hand so he can place the ring. "Yes, I will marry you." She laughs as he puts the ring on her finger. "You do remember that I asked first?"

Chapter Text

Chapter 18: Bliss Before the Storm

A soft knock at the door and Mother Superior announces, "Emma, it is time. They are ready for you." She can faintly hear the wedding march playing on the other side of the twin, tall doors.

Killian looks toward the doors willing his bride-to-be to finally show herself. He finally hears the music begin to play and takes a breath.

Shortly after they are pronounced man and wife, they are bound to their new residence.

The carriage stops in front of a cobblestone house on the opposite side of town from her childhood home. He offers her his hand to help her out and promptly starts to guide her to the door.

She looks at him and offers him a smile. She is a little embarrassed because she knows her hands are clammy from her nerves. Despite her nerves, she cannot help but admire the house, it is beautiful; cobblestone, two-story and it is surrounded by immense trees. That is all she can admire in the short allotted time before he opens the house and without standing on ceremony picks her up to carry her over the threshold.

He is giving her a tour of the house. They go from room to room starting with the living room, foyer, a little office, kitchen, dining area, and patio. She is sure there were more rooms to quickly explore but then he stops in front of the master bedroom. The door remains shut.

"I had Smee drop off some essentials for us and," he clears his throat, "the trunks that Mrs. Booth indicated belonged to you, she insisted they were needed for tonight. You will find them inside." He points towards the closed door.

"Oh, thank you for thinking ahead. I had so many last minute things to do, I'm lucky I had help at the Chapel getting ready."

"Sorry, your mother didn't attend."

"She was proving a point but that doesn't matter anymore. We are married now, she made her choice."

She keeps glancing at the closed bedroom door, nervous if he will demand to take her now.

He doesn't notice that she keeps stealing looks toward the bedroom as he opens it for her.

"I shall leave you to get comfortable. I will return in a bit." He smiles and slowly walks away.

She opens the door fully. In the middle of the room sits an oak canopy bed. She notices some candles alongside the smaller trunk and finds a note. "Cora insisted for the small trunk to be placed in the bedroom; the others are in one of the guest rooms." Emma opens the trunk slowly and finds out the reason the small trunk needed to be in the bedroom. It has some intimate essentials but there is one that catches her eye. It is not as skimpy as the others. She had tried to talk Cora out of providing a dowry; she had agreed but only if she allowed her a few gifts to sate her guilt for August's choice. Finally, she accepted and now she had trunks of clothes and some very revealing undergarments. She had insisted for her to take a lavish milk and honey bath; rose petals had been added also.

Enough of those thoughts, she had to get ready. She was just afraid that Killian might not find her to his liking or that he would be dissatisfied with her. She bit her bottom lip nervously.

She slowly undressed; picked up the white corset negligee and matching robe. It was simple just like her dress. She finished changing and turned on the candles in the room; she decided to sit at the foot of the bed to wait for her husband. Time passed by a little too slowly for her liking. Killian's absence was making her even more nervous.

Killian was sitting in the living room. He was now a married man and his bride waited not too far from where he stood; in their bedroom. He would need to get used to that fact. He got up and walked toward the wine closet. He pulled out a rum bottle and poured two fingers into a glass. A little liquid courage couldn't hurt. He slowly ran his fingers through his silken black hair.

Was she waiting for him? Would she recoil from his touch or would she welcome it? In the past month, they surely had shared some memorable moments and yet he was unsure of their true meaning.

He had decided to give her a bit of time to get ready both physically and mentally. If he were to see the slightest hesitation on her part he would give her time. To be honest he needed the same to put his own thoughts in order.

She had looked beautiful in her wedding gown, and although the dress looked simple and plain she had truly been a vision. He had worn a three-piece black suit. The coat had long been discarded. He had rolled up his sleeves. The vest was open and of his shirt, he had unbuttoned the top buttons putting on display a good amount of chest hair. The perspiration of nerves ensures some of the dark hair sticks to the sides of his face by the sideburns.

He remembers their last kiss fondly; it quickly had escalated only to become aggressive and then quickly stopped by her. He cannot help but smile at the memory. There was definitely passion in her to explore. He decides to finally try his luck and quickly heads towards the bedroom. The rum had surely given him back his swagger. Once he reaches the door he loses some of that confidence. He lightly taps on the door and when he gets no response he almost backs away but decides to continue on.

He slowly turns the handle until it clicks open and pushes the creaky door open, then closes it behind him. He stops dead in his tracks at the vision in front of him. The room is illuminated by the flicker of the candles. A warm light that makes her body glow, as if it is calling out to him. He would gladly answer the call. She is breathtaking.

Emma looks up from her position at the foot of the canopy bed as soon as the door creaks and announces his presence. She stands slowly; her nerves starting to reemerge.

Killian takes in her appearance. She is wearing a white silk corset negligee that hugs her curves perfectly with a lace robe that hangs open. He can see her long legs, so much skin to be admired. She looks like the perfect combination; innocent and sinful. Her golden hair cascades down her shoulders in loose curls. Even in the candlelight, her hair shines bright like the morning sun.

She watches him stand in the doorway. His hair is no longer properly groomed, but falling across his forehead just above his intense ocean blue eyes; it gives him a dangerous quality. He's still mostly dressed but in the low lighting of the room, her breath hitches as she takes in his appearance. She can see how handsome he truly is; he stands before her looking at her with his beautiful eyes, they appear darker in this lighting. His hair falling on his brow; his light ginger trimmed scruff covering a sharp squared jaw that frames his luscious lips.

She had always known that he was a good looking man; that fact had not gone unnoticed by her, but in that moment she saw him in a different light.

He smiles softly and as if asking for permission to come closer, waits for acknowledgment on her behalf. She nods in a silent agreement. Taking calculated steps toward her he takes the last step to reach her. The moment that his fingertips touch her almost bare skin the spark he feels consumes him. He lifts her dimpled chin to meet his lips. The kiss starts slow and tender then rapidly picks up speed.

Her hands travel from his waist up towards his chest; she slowly grazes her fingers to the open buttons of his shirt and can feel his heartbeat below the softness as his chest hair tickles her fingers.

He kisses her along her jaw and toward her long neck. He can taste the honey mixed with aromatic fragrant flowers and vanilla on her soft skin. He moves to lower the straps of her negligee to gain more access. Nuzzling along her collar bone, his tongue slowly licks on her skin. Her natural aroma is starting to invade his senses and he can tell that his actions are arousing her. He gently guides her to the spacious bed that awaits them.

Emma lets him guide her, kiss uninterrupted. His kiss tastes like liquor and she can smell his manly, musky scent. She unbuttons the last of the remaining buttons by finally yanking the shirt open. Soon his shirt and vest find their way to the floor. She lets her hands travel up and down his chest. The hairs on his chest map a trail down his torso as if leading her to a lost treasure. Her fingers move onto the next target - his trousers and finally the last barrier, his boxers.

She hears him chuckle as he frees her of her robe. He starts unlacing the corset and once finished, he lets it fall next to the robe. He doesn't lose any time to grieve for the obstacles that previously had prevented him from admiring the beautiful woman before him as he lowers her onto the bed.

Removing his undergarment, he promptly joins her on the bed and continues to swiftly explore her body. She can feel his arousal between her thighs and emits a soft whimper. He stops, "Emma, if you are not ready, please, tell me now." She breathily gives her answer, "No, don't ever stop." He can hear her breathing heavily and does as instructed. He moves his hips to meet hers and slowly seals the union. Her body welcomes his like a sailor returning home from sea.

She feels lightheaded from all the overwhelming sensations he is eliciting from her. She can barely react and reciprocate; touches, kisses and she feels like she is moments away from an internal explosion. Her heart races out of her chest. She never wants it to end.

It is much more than a physical connection or emotional; it is the joining of two souls finding their mate. Hours later they lay on the bed tired and sated. Their bodies still intertwined, glistening from their activities. Her head rests on his shoulder and his jaw on top of hers as he holds her bare body to him. Her fingers dance up and down the hard plains of his body and feel along the scars life has given him.

She remembers her thoughts at the Chapel, she had been certain she was only getting married to protect her family, now if she is truly honest, there was never a moment of dread about the impending nuptials. She had said her vows, and finally married, she felt a peace; she is where she truly belongs. The feelings she felt earlier were anticipation and nervous excitement and now that she is with her husband she feels happiness. She knows her feelings are new but it is simple, she had fallen in love along the way.

Before walking into the marital chamber he had wondered if she would shy away from his touch after their last encounter. Now he lays motionless in awe of her; granting her access to explore his body. In that moment his thoughts and moments of uncertainty at the Chapel have become crystal clear. He remembers those thoughts of insecurity as he waited for her at the altar. He had been worried that she would change her mind and the thought had scared him.

Now that she is in his arms he knows why that possibility scared him. She provides happiness to his soul. He breathes easier when she is around, the relief he felt at the realization that she had not denied him had led him to the conclusion that his feelings had morphed into something much grander... love.

They both soon drift into a blissful sleep.

Emma is the first to move as the sun enters the room. She moves to get a look at his face and cups his cheek. "Killian, I'm a little hungry, I will be in the kitchen." He hums sleepily in agreement.

She slowly disentangles from his hold and gets out of bed. She ventures to gather her discarded robe from the floor and opens the window for the morning dew to refresh the room. She takes a quick peek at her husband and leaves the room.

He slowly rouses completely from sleep. He had never experienced such a restful slumber. Missing her warmth, he reaches for Emma only to find the spot she occupied empty, for a mere moment he panics, thinking she has left him. He faintly remembers her telling him she was going to the kitchen.

He is alone with his thoughts once more. He has bedded a lot of women, if he chose to use a more colorful language, he could simply say that he had fucked many women. Yet, he had only made love to one, his wife Emma. He now can admit what he knew all along, he had fallen in love.

The thought of Milah no longer holds the same weight in his heart. Killian now knows the difference, she had only been a release for him. He was only a man after all. What man denies a woman? He will confess his feelings to his bride; all that remains is to find out if Emma feels the same.

He decides to join her in the kitchen. He gets up and grabs his boxers and makes his way to his Emma. He strides to the kitchen and his stomach growls loudly. On the table he sees tea and coffee, then a platter of eggs and ham, cheeses and bread, as well as some fresh fruit.

"For a brief moment, I thought you had escaped."

Emma looks to see Killian standing by the door staring at her.

"I would never; I told you I was coming to the kitchen, I guess you were still half asleep. I was just about finished here. I just need to put the food onto the tray and we can take it to bed if you would like."

"There is no need for you to go through all that trouble love. We can enjoy the spread here."

"Doing this for you is no trouble. Why are you up? I truly did want to wake you with a little treat."

"It seems I have married an enchantress and have been bewitched by my beautiful bride."

She blushes a crimson red shade. "I would never use such trickery and bewitch you."

"I didn't mean it as an insult, love."

"We can eat here then perhaps find our way back to our room, to enjoy some pleasurable activities once more. That is only of course if you feel up to it. I would love to have a serious conversation first."

Emma looks at him as he rushes to her side to hold her chair out for her. He goes to his side in a less rushed stride. "Did I do something wrong? If you didn't enjoy our evening, I can learn. I know I have no experience-"

He interrupts quickly to say something to encourage her. "Sweetheart, you were bloody amazing, brilliant."

She blushes even redder if possible. "Then I don't understand."

"I have a confession to make. I never thought I'd be capable of letting go of my first love, of my Milah, to believe that I could find someone else... that is until I met you."

"Does that mean what I think it does, you love me?"

"Aye, I just hope that in time you feel the same."

"I don't think it will happen in time." She looks at his face become crestfallen. "I meant to say there is no need to wait, I love you, too."

He gets up from his chair without thinking and rushes to her side where he kneels down to be eye level with her. "Are you sure, you truly are in love with me?"

"I know it seems so fast, but yes, I love you." She smiles, cups his face and kisses him.

The kiss ends and he leans his forehead to hers.

"I have lost my appetite for food." He bites his bottom lip.

"You may have, but I think we will need our energy in order to enjoy the pleasurable activities that you mentioned earlier."

He smiles and goes obediently to his chair. They enjoy their little energy fortified spread. He keeps his eyes on her, and she finds herself unable to look away as they eat. As soon as they finish eating, they get up and head back to their bedroom to enjoy each other again and again. They spend days indulging in good food and each other. Unbeknownst to them, when they emerge from their happy sanctuary, they will face the storm that has been brewing beyond their four walls.

Chapter Text

Chapter 19: Unfortunate Encounters

Time has ceased to move forward; at least that is how Emma and Killian feel. They find themselves in an almost euphoric state. They are so happy and they don't want to go out in the real world. They are currently sitting in the small kitchen enjoying the last of the food in an attempt to nourish them for the day.

Yet they will without a doubt soon find themselves venturing out into the world.

He knows that she wants to go check on her mother and he needs to check in on his business since he has left Smee without supervision for far too long. He trusts Smee but there is no need to give the man any temptation to possibly betray him. He knows his first mate to be a greedy man and for as long as he has been in his employ they have been successful in obtaining riches. He knows that is one of the main reasons he has remained loyal for so long; Killian has been a generous Captain and the relationship has been lucrative for the crew but none have enjoyed his generosity like his plump, red hat wearing first mate.

He is brought back to reality at the sound of his wife's soothing voice.

"Killian, I was wondering if I may join you on your trip to the Booth Estate. While you go about your duties I can visit with my mother but first, we will need to stop at the market for some food and other essentials."

"My love, I would love your company. I do need to stop at my office and check in with Smee. Then on my return, we can make a quick trip to the market and after that, we can head to the Booth's together."

"I can also go with you to the office. I would love to see it."

"Love, under normal circumstances I would be honored if you would accompany me but it is not a normal office. It is a room above my friend's tavern." He notices her eyes downcast at the mention of the tavern because although his wife has led a sheltered life she will still know the kind of dealings that go on in a tavern. "The location is only temporary; I will find an appropriate location soon. I will also need some sort of warehouse for the products. Last time I spoke with Archie before his departure he mentioned everything was flowing smoothly. If it would please you I can also send Smee in search for our food and whatever other supplies you require. That way we can have some extra time together and we can enjoy each other's company a bit longer now." He was looking at her with a gleam of mischief and promise of very enjoyable activities.

He would rather continue to enjoy his time with Emma; he had become addicted to her in such a short time. He wants to reach out and grab her and show her how much enjoyment he has to offer.

She looks into his cerulean eyes and feels a shiver go down her spine. She shakes off the desire and her mind clears.

"You look at me like you want to devour me and I would love to continue to enjoy your company but we both have some duties to fulfill. If you cannot accompany me to the market I am capable of going alone while you go to your office and take care of your business. Then we can go to the Booth's together."

"My love, I believe I have proven extensively that I can, in fact, devour you and I gladly will continue doing so until the end of time." He smiles as he holds her hand. "If I didn't know better I would say that you are denying your husband. That is simply bad form, love."

"I'm not denying my insatiable husband anything. Besides, one of us has to be reasonable and I thought you liked my form." She smiles and bites her lower lip. "All I'm saying is that you need to report back at the Estate and I need to check up on my mother. If only to prove I'm still alive and that you have been good to me." She flushes at the last statement. He had been good to her and made her feel things she knew nothing of.

Killian studies her face and smiles at her slightly flushed face. She is correct although all he wishes is for them to remain in the comfort of their home. They have duties and he feels reassured at the realization that they have their futures ahead of them. The vow was simple 'until death do us part'.

"It seems I cannot deny you anything, since you insist on going to the market instead of allowing me to send Smee in our place. I should be done in an hour. Is that enough time for you to go to the market and return home and then we can make the trip to the Booth Estate together."

"Yes, Killian, that should be enough time."

She notices he looks upset. "What is bothering you?"

"I don't like the idea of you going alone to the market. Before you jump to conclusions it is not because I think you are not capable." He takes a deep breath. "Sweetheart, I know you are more than capable of going to the market but everyone that has ever mattered to me has been snatched away from me and I'm afraid to lose you too."

"Nothing is going to happen to me if I go to the market alone. I may have a solution for that. How about we get Tink out of the Convent and bring her to live with us? We could get her a tutor or I could do it myself. I was homeschooled by the best tutors courtesy of Cora."

"Emma, would you truly do that for her? Wouldn't it seem improper? We are newlyweds and I hate to admit this but my reputation with women may not be the best and sadly it was well earned." In reality, he doesn't know how to tell her of his past with Tink.

"It will not be improper because we are married and besides we both know she hates the Convent. I know your reputation with women but I know you love me and Tink is my friend."

"We will discuss this later once we are in the comfort of our home."

"I have another question before you go. Killian, shouldn't Archie be back from Arendelle by now?"

"I believe the question you are truly asking is if your father should have returned by now and the answer is yes, but it truly depends on the weather, love."

"Oh, that is good news I can share with my mother." She smiles brightly then suddenly starts fidgeting in her seat.

"I was wondering if you plan on staying as Steward at the Booth's after August and Milah return."

He knows that is not the real question she is asking him. "No sweetheart. Once August returns I will tender my resignation. My business is doing fairly well and I have enough money saved for us to live comfortably. If you want to talk about this further we will."

They finally say their goodbyes and he leans in to kiss her. He truly wishes that she would have succumbed to the temptation of staying home and finding sustenance within each other.

Killian is walking to The Golden Goose Tavern thinking about the rest of the day and what it holds for them. He knows Cora doesn't object to his absence. He hates that he will be providing Cora a bit of information that will surely brighten up the rest of her life. He will be giving her her heart's desire once he informs her that upon August's returns he will be tendering his resignation. He hates giving that woman the satisfaction.

He has no idea how soon he will be giving his resignation and coming face to face with a scorned ex-lover.

Enith is tending to the garden when she sees a carriage approaching. She runs towards the house and goes straight to Cora's bedroom. She knocks urgently to get her mistresses attention.

"Come in," the older woman commands.

"Mrs. Booth, Mr. August, and Miss Milah have returned." The maid is filled with excitement at the news. She knows her mistress will be in a better mood now.

"Good, finally, thank you." Cora promptly gets to her door and in seconds is on her way to greet her son.

"Milah, I saw the carriage from my window. Oh, August it is so good to see you both." She hugs them tightly.

"Aunt Snow, we left as soon as we received your message. Did we make it in time?" Milah hopes that is the case.

"I'm afraid not. The wedding took place last week. I wasn't even present at my daughter's wedding." Snow says with tear-filled eyes.

"Emma is so different now and it is all that man's fault. I tried to convince her to wait for her father, for you but she refused. I tried anything and everything to deter her."

"That does sound unlike her. I wish we would have made it in time. I'm sorry; we really tried to arrive to stop Emma but we failed."

"Mrs. Nolan, how is it possible that Emma agreed to marry Killian? Last time we saw her, she was still insisting that being a nun was her aspiration."

"I have no idea. They spent a lot of time together because of that man they found sick and beaten. He found a way to corrupt her thoughts. She would have never thought to raise her voice at me before coming across that man. I just want my daughter back." Snow sniffles. "August, I asked your mother for help since I knew of her dislike for the man but my pleas fell on deaf ears."

Sadly, Cora is not the first to reach the newly arrived company. She is astounded at the speed in which Snow arrived to greet August and Milah. She cannot help but think that for someone with health issues, Snow sure moves quickly. She arrives just in time to overhear the end of the story that her old friend is telling them. She should have known that Snow would tattle and complain she did nothing to stop the wedding.

"Mother, it is so good to see you." August greets her and goes to hug her.

"Mrs. Nolan was informing us about the endless assistance you offered to Emma in marrying Killian, a man you despise and no one knows the reason." He looks at his mother curiously.

Cora lets out a laugh at the scene in front of her. "Let me guess, she was complaining that I did nothing to stop the wedding. That I didn't forbid Emma from marrying Mr. Jones."

"Mother, we all know that you hate Killian. I remember mentioning a match between them before he started his Steward position here and you were appalled. Then we leave on our honeymoon and come back to the news that you pretty much gift wrapped Emma for Killian. Explain to me, how any of this makes sense?"

"Oh, well, it is quite simple. You married her cousin instead of her. To make up for that unfortunate circumstance and lack of judgment on your behalf, I helped the poor girl since her mother just about disowned her for merely following her heart."

Milah cannot stop herself. "Following her heart? My cousin hates Killian just as much as you do and if it's possible even more." She completely misses her slip of the tongue but her mother-in-law catches it.

"Oh, my darling girl referring to another man by their first name indicates a very intimate knowledge of said person, and to come to his defense? I'm sure Killian would appreciate the gesture coming from a stranger. That is very unbecoming behavior for a newly wedded and young girl of your class to say of a mere stranger." She is intensely studying her reaction as she finishes speaking.

"Oh, I didn't mean anything by it. I have just heard August refer to Mr. Jones in such an affectionate way that it slipped."

Snow just watches the conversations between them.

"Of course darling, I'm sure that is all it is." Cora analyzes Milah's face and she can tell there is so much more to this story. She will leave that for now.

"August, dear, I thought you would be happy and approve of my assistance in the union of your," she rolls her eyes, "childhood friend and Emma, after all, you boasted of what a wonderful match it would be, did you not? Interesting, isn't it, Milah dear. How upset my son is to hear of the wedding of his ex-betrothed?"

Milah glances at August. "Does it bother you that Emma married someone else?"

"Of course not, I'm just concerned since she assured everyone that she wanted to take the vows and look at how distraught your poor aunt is."

Enith is still frozen in place and suddenly volunteers some interesting information.

"There was a rumor going on in town about a young countess getting involved in an unsavory relationship with Mr. Jones."

Snow snaps. "Are you implying my daughter had a prior relationship with that pirate before? She was betrothed to marry August and once that was no longer an option she was heartbroken and joined the convent."

"I'm sorry, I'm only repeating what I heard in town. If it wasn't Miss Emma, the only other choice would be Miss Milah." Enith cowers under Snow's glare.

All eyes fall on Milah. She takes a breath and defends herself. "I have lived in Port Royal most of my life and once I arrived here I was soon courted by my husband. It wasn't me. Oh, dear, it seems my perfect little cousin was not as innocent as she has led all us to believe." She looks in her mother-in-law's direction. "Maybe now you will see that I was the best choice for your son."

"Milah, you know perfectly well, Emma would never do anything like that." Snow is outraged that her niece would so easily taint her daughter's name.

"Aunt Snow, you have to admit she was adamant in marrying him. You said it yourself, there was no stopping her. No way to reason with her. Haven't you asked yourself why?"

Snow glares at Milah and walks away with her head high. "I don't need to further defend my daughter's honor."

"Mother, do you think Emma was in a relationship with Killian, prior to my return?"

"I would find it hard to believe but seeing as she just married him. I don't know, but I do know of the gossip that erupted once the news of the upcoming nuptials and leading up to the wedding day was extreme. I can only imagine that there was quite a spectacle at the chapel. Oh and the whispers of the gossiping commoners as they gathered around only to witness the fall from grace of a woman of honor degrading herself by joining her life to a lowlife bastard scoundrel. Sadly, I could not attend and show my support for such a union in public even if I hold Emma in high regards. I need to maintain some sort of pride in our image."

Milah cannot believe it; they are too late. "August, sweetheart, I'm going to go check on my aunt she was so upset. I hate that my cousin has disappointed her so much."

"Yes my love, you are so sweet and caring."

She smiles at him sweetly and glances at Cora as she walks away to follow her distraught aunt.

"Son, maybe we should continue this conversation inside. Even though we are in our home it will not stop the help from talking." Cora then turns to her faithful housemaid and waves her to follow. "Enith, go make sure that my son's bedroom is ready for him and his wife to rest because of the long trip they just endured."

They walk inside the big house. Cora cannot help herself and assesses her son's behavior to the news. It is almost as intriguing as her daughter-in-laws reaction.

"Mother, I have to admit that I'm shocked at the turn of events."

"Son, why are you lingering at the fact that Emma married Mr. Jones? What truly bothers you? The fact Emma married your old friend or just the fact that she married at all? Cora cannot contain her smile. "My dear boy, you wanted her to pine for you in perpetuity. I would never have thought of you to be such an egotistical man."

August looks away from his mother to avoid her knowing eyes. "Mother you are wrong. I'm just surprised at the swiftness of the events. It does make me wonder if perhaps there had been a hidden affair between the two."

"I will not dwell on those thoughts. I'm just glad it is over with. The thought of having to continue being civil with the man tires me."

"Mother, how much help did you offer?"

"Enough to move things along and I may have offered a dowry as well."

"That sounds generous of you."

"He declined the dowry. Maybe you were right and they are a good match. Now I feel a headache coming, please excuse me."

She leaves her son standing in the middle of the living room as she walks to her room in a triumphant strut.

August, feeling dejected walks aimlessly towards the office and finds solace in the company of his father's ghost.

Milah walks to her aunt's room and knocks.

"I don't want to talk to anyone."

"It's me."

Snow opens the door and looks at her niece and waves her in.

"I'm sorry for the things I said."

"You know perfectly well that Emma would have never done anything to disgrace the family name."

"That means you think it was me."

"I never said such a thing. Milah, people talk because they have nothing better to do. I believe that sometimes situations are misread. Perhaps my sweet Emma was just seen being polite and nice to the pirate and because of his reputation it was seen as scandalous."

"I think you are right. It was probably just an innocent encounter."

"Aunt Snow, maybe I should go see her and talk to her. I know it is too late but there are possible solutions. Offer the pirate money to leave her and send her away."

Yes, that could definitely work. They could send Emma away and keep the money for themselves. That solution would be perfect. She would keep Killian and no one would ever know that it was her. Actually, they would realize it by the time it was too late. She could see herself and Killian in a faraway land enjoying each other.

"Milah, I think that is a lovely idea. I don't have the address but Cora does. I'm sure she would not object to giving you the information."

"I think it would be a better idea if you ask her for it. She still has not warmed up to me."

"I will go ask her for the address. I really had hoped you would have arrived in time. I will be right back."

Snow leaves Milah behind in her room. Milah hears the door shut close behind her aunt. She walks to the window and thinks of her next move.

Meanwhile, Emma and Killian are leaving their home after an early day of errands.

Killian had quickly gone over the daily reports. Michael Thomas had proven to be a fast learner even though he was left to be trained by Smee. He would catch Mr. Thomas looking at him once in a while and then he would smile and ask him if there was anything else for him to do. Killian found the behavior odd and had asked him numerous times the reason behind his stares. The man would simply answer, "You remind me of someone I used to know."

Killian thanked Smee and Mr. Thomas for their work and informed them he needed to leave early to meet with his wife.

Smee would smile at him slyly as if he was in on a secret.

Killian noticed Mr. Thomas open his mouth and promptly close it.

"Is there anything else, Mr. Thomas?"

"No, I just wanted to extend my congratulations on your marriage and wish you a good day sir. I would greatly appreciate it if you would say hello to Miss Emma. I hope that I'm not overstepping."

"You are not overstepping. My wife is very fond of you. I will gladly convey your wishes and greetings to her. If that is all for the day, I have to meet my wife at home, enjoy the rest of the day."

Killian finally makes his way to his lovely wife. They exchange a quick kiss hello mostly because Emma is afraid Killian will get carried away and are quickly on their way to the Booth Estate in the carriage.

Emma is looking out of the small window admiring the scenery. "Are you nervous to go back to the Booth's?"

"No, I'm just hoping my father is here soon. The longer I wait for his arrival, knowing he is on a ship finally coming home, I worry something has happened."

"My sweet love, everything will be fine and before you know it your father will be here."

"You do know we both will have to answer to him about our rushed wedding among other things. My mother will not stay quiet about her position on the nuptials."

"For you my love I would face anyone, including an unhappy father. Besides, I truly believe I will win him over once he gets to know me like I did his stunning daughter."

The ride had ended speedily because of the discussion and the kisses Killian sneaked in during the conversation. They arrive at the house only to come face to face with an irate woman.

Milah sees the carriage approach the house from her aunt's window. She runs out of the room and makes her way to meet the carriage occupiers.

She is so full of anger she cannot think straight. Once she reaches her destination she stops in her tracks as she sees the intimate interactions between the loving couple. Milah glares at the pair.

"How does marrying my cousin help our plans? Please explain your reasoning to me."

Killian straightens his back and the tension rising there causes a loud crackling pop.

"Oh, Milah you are back. You must share details of the honeymoon, since I owe my breathtaking bride a much-deserved honeymoon of her own. It seems that some plans change and are not meant to come to fruition." He holds on to Emma's hand and looks at Milah. "You have personal experience in that matter. If you recall, there was once a long betrothal entered by an innocent young girl and a short courtship between a very different woman and a commoner that led to a proposal as well. The young girl got her heart broken and the other only thinking of her well being accepted the second proposal forgetting the promise she had made. In that moment a familial bond and a commitment made of love were broken."

Milah doesn't back down as his gaze stays focused on her every move, it is not fueled with passion but with fury.

"The man you left behind is no more."

"I refuse to take this lying down and be miserable, married to August? You and I had plans." She turns to Emma and back to Killian and laughs. "Shall I tell her? We were going to run away with all the Booth money we could get our hands on."

"Those plans are over and done. The only woman I want to run away with is my wife. You made the choice to marry Booth and it is only fair for you to suffer the consequences of your betrayal."

"I will not be the only one that is unhappy. You and my cousin will not enjoy your so-called happy ending for long."

"Do not threaten my marriage because I surely will forget that you once held a place in my heart or bed."

"How about you dear cousin, what do you think of our plan?"

Emma looks Milah in the eye.

"I cannot say it surprises me." Emma looks at Killian and looks back to Milah.

"Emma, sweetheart, I should have been honest with you..."

Emma shakes her head. "I asked for your intentions the minute you arrived and you lied to me. I didn't just ask once did I? Your response was the same; I want to be a better man."

"I did not lie about my feelings for you. I became a better man because of you. I love you. I fell in love with you. Yes, at first my intentions weren't honorable but the more time I spent in your presence and the conversations we had, those were real." He is looking at her with regret in his eyes. "We can overcome this. My love, if your love for me is real, I know we can."

"I'm not the one that lied. I do love you and that is the reason it hurts so much. I chose to see the best in you."

"I will never stop fighting for us."

Emma looks at Killian and smiles softly at him. Milah's voice brings her out of his loving gaze.

"Emma dear, you do not love Killian. Your heart has always belonged to one man and that is my husband. Just admit the truth; you only married Killian to get back at me for marrying your beloved. I still remember the vile things you would say to keep me away from him." She points at Killian. "I'm the one that loves you, she doesn't and never truly will."

"You are correct, we may not have started as a couple in love but we do love each other now. We lied to ourselves trying to convince ourselves that we were only marrying to protect your family from the rumors, but it is real. I love Emma and she loves me too. The here and now is all that matters."

"You two are delusional. It is hard to know who is conning whom."

"Milah that is enough! He is right, we love each other and we will honor the vows we made before God."

"Emma, tell me how it felt when he took you for the first time? Was it filled with passion and heat? That is the way it always was between us."

"He made love to me and it was beautiful."

"I don't know if I should feel sorry for you, cousin. That just means you do not inspire passion in him and he will soon get bored with you. He will soon take a lover."

"Let me guess, with you?"

"You have no idea how right you are. The fact that you arrived at that conclusion so rapidly is outstanding. You may not be as delusional as I thought you were."

"Bloody hell, Milah, we are over. There will be no rendezvous or clandestine meetings. Let me be clear about the simple fact that I made love to my wife because I love her. I will never tire of her. You have no idea how I hunger for her."

Killian walks toward his wife and holds out his hand for her to take, once she does they intertwine their fingers and walk into the house hand in hand.

They have no idea the luck that has shrouded their exchange as nobody's the wiser to the conversation. Snow is talking to Cora. Enith is following her mistress's orders to ensure August and Milah's room is clean. August had descended to the office to sort his thoughts.

The ship finally docks at Misthaven and David and Archie are finally home. Archie spots a young man named Felix and calls him over.

"Felix, is there any news on Captain Jones?"

"Mr. Hopper, the Captain married a countess just last week."

Archie turns to look at David. "We should head to the Booth's. I believe that is where we will find them."

"Alright let's go find my family."

Chapter Text

Chapter 20: Bad Blood

David and Archie finally arrive at the Booth Estate. It is as he remembers it. They approach the door and David hesitates in knocking, he knows he is stalling but he cannot prevent his nerves from wreaking havoc.

"Do you really believe that Snow and Emma are here? Do you think we should go to the family house instead? Would Milah be here as well?" David is about to see his family for the first time in years. He is so nervous.

"Last time I spoke to August; he was taking Milah on an overdue extended honeymoon. I don't believe they will be here. I strongly believe Snow will be here because at the time Emma was considering taking vows, Milah had insisted for Snow to stay here so she wouldn't be alone. I saw Emma here before I left to Arendelle. She was here with Killian." Archie notices a change in David's demeanor.

"How well do you know this man? He married my daughter, my princess; can I trust him to make her happy?"

"David he is a good man that has made some bad choices and although I cannot in good conscience guarantee that Killian will make Emma happy. I know he will do whatever is in his power to make her happy." God, Archie hoped he was right, that Killian had taken his advice and made the right choice. If he is wrong they both would be miserable.

This time Archie is the one who raises his hand and finally that pounding of the solid oak door is heard. "David, you cannot over think this. You are finally home and are about to be reunited with your family after a very long absence. If they are not here, all that means is that you will see them again after a small delay. What difference does it make if it is seconds or hours?"

The door flies open and they are greeted with a small gasp coming from the longtime maid of the Booth's Enith. She smiles and slowly moves out of the way to allow them to enter the house.

"Please follow me; I will go and announce you both." She guided them into the living room. The room was large enough to accommodate the group.

"I have never been so nervous in my entire life, well, perhaps the day I proposed to Snow and Emma's birth." He smiles and suddenly the realization hits him that he has missed so much of his daughter's life and he is filled with shame and remorse. He hopes that she understands that all he wanted was to give her a better chance.

Milah had been wandering around the large house after her altercation with Emma and Killian. The betrayal from Killian was still fresh. He had claimed to love her and somehow ended marrying her self-righteous cousin. He no longer looked at her with love and perhaps a part of her believed him as he uttered the declaration of love for Emma. She felt her eyes sting from the tears that she was struggling to keep in. No, she would not let him go. Her feet had dragged her aimlessly for what felt like hours. Now she stood in front of Emma's old room. She grabbed the locked doorknob and slowly turned it and then she heard the click and she pushed the door open.

There has to be something useful in the room. She quickly opens empty chests and looks around frantically. Then she sees the old suitcase, oh she remembers watching Emma leave to the convent without that one. She rushes to it and opens it holding her breath. Just her luck some old clothes, but she keeps looking until she reaches the bottom and her fingertips recognize the feeling of that of an old photo. She yanks at it since it seems like it's stuck and finally frees it. Oh, this might just work.

An old photo of August that Cora had given Emma years ago. She remembers Emma being so excited to have a memento of her betrothed. She smiles wickedly as she hides the photo and rushes out of the room before she is caught. She is walking towards her bedroom since she hasn't seen her husband in a while and she doesn't want to make anyone curious to her whereabouts.

Once she is safe in her room and confirms she is alone she pulls out the old photo from its hiding place. She studies the photo carefully. August wasn't unattractive but he lacked that ruggedness Killian carries so well.

She reads the inscription, "My Only One True Love". Oh dear lord, Emma is such a sap.

I wonder how Killian will feel if he finds this in Emma's belongings. Maybe with this, she can prove to him that Emma is still in love with August.

Other than the lone photo she didn't find anything else she could use. Now all she needs is to sneak the photo into Emma's possessions and for it to be discovered, preferably by Killian. It isn't necessarily a lie; the photo is in her old luggage. She keeps reassuring herself this will work. He will soon realize that Emma is not in love with him.

Milah needs to convince everyone that she's reconsidered her position and that she accepts their marriage. She knows that it will be easy to fool everyone else and that the difficult part will be to convince Emma and Killian of her change of heart.

She knows that her cousin wouldn't deny her a second chance would she? All she needs now is the right opportunity to plant the photo and hope for the best. She is so lost in her thoughts that she almost doesn't hear the knock on the door.

She goes to open the door.

"Mrs. Booth, your uncle and Mr. Hopper have arrived and are waiting in the living room."

"Thank you, Enith, is that all?"

"Yes, ma'am that is all."

"Enith, wait, who else have you, shared the news with so far?"

"You are the first one that I have shared the news with. I have yet to give the news to anyone else. I'm on my way to tell Mr. Booth, Mrs. Cora, and Mrs. Nolan and finally the Joneses. It would be a lot faster if I could find either of your incompetent helpers to assist."

Milah rolls her eyes. "I gave them the rest of the day off. You do realize that we were traveling for a long period and it can be quite exhausting."

Enith just stares at her and clenches her fists.

"Perhaps this bit of information might make the task easier for you. Last I saw my aunt she was on her way to talk to my lovely mother-in-law. I have no idea on the whereabouts of my husband or cousin. Now hurry and go."

Enith smiles tightly and leaves the room as she mumbles a thank you. Milah follows closely behind and is on her way to the living room while Enith continues with her news delivery.

In Cora's room, Snow is talking and pleading to her old friend. "Cora, please help me reach out to my daughter."

"If this is about you being against the wedding, that ship has sailed, and there's a pirate on it."

"No, I accept her decision. It is not like we can have the marriage annulled."

Cora stares at her longtime friend. "Snow, how do you want me to help?"

"Milah and I were talking about maybe visiting her, in her new home. I'm a horrible mother, I don't even know, where my daughter lives." She looks at Cora with remorse in her eyes. "It should have been me, the one that helped her."

"Snow, you raised an amazing daughter. I know she will forgive you."

"Do you truly think this man is good to her?"

Cora thinks about the question bestowed upon her. "I hope so." She answers as sincerely as she can because although she wants Jones out of the estate, she does care for Emma. Sure she had no problem encouraging the marriage seeing as it would help her agenda but deep down she knows Emma is special. After all, she had in fact groomed her to be the perfect wife for her son but that idea had been destroyed once August met Milah.

Cora goes to write down the address for Snow. She is curious about Milah's sudden turnaround but she will investigate later.

Snow looks around the room as she waits and notices an open chest with old papers flooding out so she decides to tidy them a bit. She gets closer as she notices Cora is still scribbling and at the top, she notices a legal document. She squints to make sense of the writing. She picks up the paper and she recognizes some words, son, Killian, and Brennan's signature.

Cora turns to hand Snow the paper and notices her friend looking over a paper and snaps.

"What the hell are you doing? Are you going through my property?" She yanks the paper away from her and crumples it in her fist in her rage.

"I was trying to organize the chest a little, the papers were coming out. I didn't mean to overstep..."

Cora throws the paper at Snow as she raises her voice. "Of course you didn't, now get out!"

"Cora is Jones Brennan's son?"

"How dare you say such a thing!"

"Cora I saw it with my own eyes."

"No, of course not, no, he wanted to adopt him." She knows it is a lie because Brennan did, in fact, adopt Killian and gave him his last name. The fact that Killian didn't keep the last name still baffles her, instead, he took his mother's maiden name.

"Cora I'm not blind, he looks so much like Brennan."

Enith can hear the end of the heated conversation between Cora and Snow. She knocks lightly, afraid of how the interruption might be received.

"Come in." Cora is still looking at Snow like she wishes she could rip out her heart and crush it.

"Sorry to interrupt but Mr. Nolan and Mr. Hopper are in the living room waiting for you all." Enith glances between the two.

They both look at each other and Snow is the first out, followed by Cora. The crumpled paper falls to the floor, forgotten. Enith stops as they leave the room, picks up the discarded paper and stuffs it in her apron. Finally, she starts to follow behind them having no idea the importance of the document she saved.

Emma and Killian disappear to his room in the Estate, the farthest from the rest of the bedrooms. They enter and find a seat to get ready to have the impending uncomfortable conversation.

"My love, I know I owe you an explanation."

"Do you still have feelings for Milah?"

He is surprised by the straight to the point inquiry. "I do, but not the kind that would inspire me to want to be with her. I could never want another, now that I know the meaning of true love. My sweet love, without her self-serving actions we would not be here together. For that, I will forever be grateful for her selfishness."

"That is all, nothing more?"

"I wish she would truly fall in love with her husband. I will never be the man I used to be. I love you and my future is with you. I regret my earlier infractions. I will never be proud of the man I once was. Love, I do have one question for you, how will you explain the change in your relationship with Milah?"

"I don't know. I cannot exactly tell my parents everything she has done. You are right about one thing, without her we wouldn't be here. I just hope that I can be as good at lying as she is." She reaches out for his hand and he eagerly gives it to her.

"Killian, I know you are not too sure about having Tink live with us. I saw first-hand how unhappy she is at the convent. We could give her the choice to live with us or stay at the convent with some restrictions."

He is so nervous he has to tell her about his former interaction with Tink. "Emma love, there is a story I need to tell you. Now, if after hearing this you have no problem with Tink coming to live with us, we will go rescue her."

She looks at him intently, he is nervous; she knows Tink is extremely fond of him, she may even have a crush on him. "Okay, what is it?"

"Well, when Tink and I first met we had a dalliance. I know that she still has feelings for me, I have tried to discourage her but I have failed. I know she has some unrealistic expectations. Emma, I love her, but not the way she wants me to."

"Oh, I suppose that is not a big surprise."

Killian looks at her and if he is honest he is a little hurt. "Emma?"

"I suppose I should clarify, on her first day at the convent she talked about you with a dreamy look on her face."

He looks uncomfortable as he scratches behind his ear. "Love, I just don't want to put you in an uncomfortable position. I know your heart is in the right place and you care for her but I would never dream of imposing her presence on you."

"Killian, if I recall correctly, it was my idea, not yours. I made the suggestion, not you."

"I have no problem with her staying with us for a while, I wouldn't have made the offer if it was."

"If you are sure, we will go get her. Just a bit of warning, she can be a handful at times."

"She is like a little sister to you, isn't she?"

"Yes, even with our history, I just don't want any tension between you and I. Emma, I swear that you are the only one who matters to me."

"I know. I admit, Milah's words did upset me but I believe that you love me."

"Good. I hate to say this at this time but Archie may have heard a not so flattering conversation between Smee and me."

Emma is becoming exasperated. "Killian, how many things are you keeping from me?"

"It was only a misunderstanding I did not correct but if he repeated any of it to your father, I fear I may not make the best first impression. I may have felt that way at first but just know that the more time we spent talking and getting to know each other, it helped me forget the dastardly plan."

"You do realize you haven't yet won my mother over, therefore it will be the same with him. You will see. They communicate just by looking at each other."

"Well, then that kind of connection is all I strive for in our future."

She cannot help but dread the news he is about to provide and she tries to be strong and offers him an encouraging smile. "What did Archie hear?"

"Emma."

"Look, I would rather be prepared. I know Archie loves you and if he felt that repeating what you said to my father would affect you negatively, he will not repeat anything... but it would be better not to be caught off guard."

"This was said only for Smee's benefit. I may have insinuated that the only reason I was marrying you was a ruse to cover up my true intentions-"

"The plan you and Milah had concocted."

"Archie overheard and warned me against marrying you if that was my true intention."

"Yet you still married me."

"Aye, I just couldn't walk away and the thought of you doing so frightened me. I was unable to admit the reason at the time, but now I know I cannot lose you."

"Killian, there can no longer be any secrets or any more surprises between us."

"I know love, and I truly cannot think of anything else."

Emma glances around the room. "Did you pack everything before the wedding? Or did you leave anything behind?"

"I will check to make sure."

"I want to go talk to my mother and check my room one last time just in case."

They are interrupted by a sudden knock and Emma gets up to open it.

"Mr. Hopper and Mr. Nolan have arrived and are waiting in the living room."

"Thank you, Enith."

"Love, your father has finally arrived. Now you can relax."

"I am happy, but I'm nervous. Do you think my mother already talked to him?"

"I don't know my love but he loves you. If anyone should be nervous, it should be me."

"Come on, I'll protect you. Let's get this over with." She holds out her hand for him to take and go on their way.

August stands in the center of his office, contemplating and thoroughly lost in his thoughts. He still cannot believe Emma has married Killian. Sure, he had believed them to be a good match, but the truth was he never thought it could become a reality.

He realizes that the more time he gets to spend in Emma's presence the more his thoughts get jumbled. She is smart and kind. She has so many amazing qualities, not that he regrets his marriage but it makes him wonder about what-ifs. He finds that it truly bothers him, the thought of them having a relationship prior to the wedding. Perhaps his mother is right. He will need to deal with his feelings.

"Come in," he says when a soft knock sounds at his door.

"Sir, Mr. Nolan, and Mr. Hopper are waiting in the living room. You are the last one I've made the announcement to."

"I better hurry then." He smiles and heads for the door.

"It's alright old friend. You are about to see your family." Archie smiles and pats his friend on the back as they wait for everyone to arrive.

"Uncle David?"

"Milah, is it truly you?" He quickly gets to his feet to greet her and is stopped by a gasp and turns to meet his wife's eye.

"David you are finally home."

He rushes over and hugs her so tight.

Cora watches the display of affection between the two. She herself had never loved her husband and he knew it. A marriage of convenience is so much better in her opinion. Love is a weakness.

Then another voice is heard. "Father, is it really you?"

David turns to the melodic sound of his daughter's voice. A voice he longed to hear and there she stands holding hands with a dark-haired man he assumes is the husband.

"Emma sweetheart, I have missed you so much."

Killian releases her hand and gently pushes her in the direction of her parents still holding each other as they make room for her to join them.

Milah is just staring at the picture perfect image in front of her. She truly never felt like a part of the family. August decides to approach his wife and hold her hand. He tries to imitate the movement Killian did with Emma to encourage his wife towards her family, only to feel her stiffen and let go of his hand.

Snow slowly disentangles herself from the warm embrace to call out to Milah to join them.

Emma stiffens for a second but realizes they have no idea of the dubious character of her cousin. Snow and David call out to her, "Milah sweetheart, come joins us."

The whole group in the room looks around to see the door close and Milah is gone.

Cora clears her throat. "It is lovely to see you again David. Mr. Hopper always a pleasure."

To that comment, Killian raises an eyebrow. He knows for a fact that to her it is not a pleasure to have Archie or him in her home for that matter. However, he cannot help but feel overjoyed to see his wife in the long hearty embrace of her family, more specifically, her father whom he knows she has missed and longed to be with. He scans the room and finds a comforting presence in Archie, he smiles at his friend.

"Is it true?"

Killian turns his eyes towards the culprit, August. "I apologize I have no idea of what you speak of?"

"There seems to be a rumor going around about you and Emma. Is it true that there was an illicit relationship between you two while she was betrothed to me?"

"I don't see how that is relevant considering she is my wife and you married her cousin."

"She was still betrothed to me and I know I married Milah, but I did not pursue her until after my engagement had been called off."

"Why does it matter now? You said it yourself, you married the woman you love."

He knows if he is to tell him the truth, Emma will never forgive him. Milah deserves to be revealed for the conniving wench she is, but he will respect his wife's wishes.

"I want to know if I was wrong about her."

"Excuse me? The only thing you did wrong was not seeing her worth. She is truly an amazing woman. There is no truth to the rumors. I befriended her and we fell in love. Our tale is nothing like the one painted by those who spew out vile lies. It would appear you have taken those words as truth. I imagine that I have no need to tender my resignation with the way you are speaking to me."

August stares at him. "I had not considered ending your employment but if you believe that it is for the best, I will not object. Yet, you have eluded my question. I would love an answer."

Killian is getting angry and he can feel his temper rising; his jaw clenches as he fights to maintain his self-control, he'd love nothing more than to punch the man in front of him. "I would suggest you choose your next words regarding my wife very carefully." He gets closer to August with a predatory stance.

"Am I interrupting?" Killian hears the soothing voice of his beloved and instantly calms down. He glances at her and smiles.

Emma stares between the two. She gives Killian a pointed look. "I'm sorry to interrupt but I was hoping to introduce my husband to my father."

August is the first to answer. "No, of course not; you are never a bother. I will go and find my wife and make sure she is alright."

"Thank you. It is nice to see you again." She smiles and turns to face her husband, only to find him brooding. She reaches for his hand and holds on to it.

August looks at the scene unfold in front of him and finally storms out.

"Killian, what was that about? You looked like you wanted to kill him," she tells him as she slowly guides him to where her parents are talking to Archie.

"He is a bloody git. I will never understand what you saw in him."

"We will talk about the little talk that you two had at home."

"My love, I would rather forget the whole thing but if you insist." He knows his wife is stubborn and if she wants to know what happened he will share the tale.

"Father, this is Killian Jones, my husband."

Without warning, a punch lands on Killian's face and he stumbles back at the power infused within the hit. Emma quickly stands between the two."Father, why would you do that?"

"He should have waited for my arrival to ask for your hand. You both should have waited. Emma, you ignored your mother's pleas. How am I supposed to ignore that?"

"It was my choice. Isn't that what you wanted for me?"

Archie is now standing next to Killian in solidarity.

She is angry and letting her father know exactly her feelings on the matter. "Father, perhaps you are right but I'm happier than I ever thought possible. I was a fool to think that mattered more than protocol. We love each other."

Her mother speaks. "David maybe we need to get to know him. Emma is right, her happiness is all that should matter."

"Snow, I know you well enough to conclude that you weren't too happy with the idea."

"That is in the past now. I hate being at odds with Emma and this should be a happy time for the whole family. We are finally together after a very long time apart."

"If we are to do this, I want to have a one on one chat with my new son-in-law."

Archie puts his hand on Killian's shoulder encouraging him forward.

"I have no problem with that," Killian responds as he gazes into his wife's eyes and finds reassurance.

Cora is seated in her chair enjoying the show the group has inadvertently played for her viewing pleasure. Enith stands next to Cora, always loyal. Sadly Cora has no idea that her faithful maid has the letter that has caused her so much grief. "Enith, come with me. Perhaps it is about time we allowed some privacy to our guests."

"Yes, ma'am, of course, it would be for the best." She follows Cora out of the room. Sadly, Cora has no idea that her faithful maid has the letter that has caused her so much grief.

Emma holds out her hand for her mother. "Mom, would it be all right if we go to your room while Killian and father speak?"

Snow smiles in agreement. "Yes, you could help me pack to be ready to go back home."

With those words, they both look over to their loves and walk out. "I just hope that father is not too hard on him. I'm too young to be widowed."

"Emma, your father would never…" Snow realizes her daughter is trying to lighten the mood in lieu of the darkness that has befallen them because of the disagreement due to Emma's choice in a spouse.

"David, Killian, I believe it is time for me to go home," Archie excuses himself as the room grows emptier and emptier. "Killian," he approaches the young man and holds him in a tight hug as he wishes, "congratulations," then whispers, "I believe you two will be extremely happy. Please, do not aggravate your father-in-law. Think of Emma."

Killian nods in agreement "Archie, I believe we have a conversation to finish, the last time we spoke there were some things said which, I need to clarify-"

"It is not necessary. I will see you soon," Archie assures his friend.

"David, I will leave you two to your conversation." With those final words, Archie leaves the two alone.

"I suppose it is too late to ask of your intentions towards my daughter. However, I will warn you that I do know of your reputation, both in business and with women."

"I'm sure that words will not be enough to convince you of my honorable feelings towards your daughter. I will endeavor to prove it."

David eyes him carefully. "I suppose only time will tell. I do feel it is my duty to say the following though, if you hurt my daughter, I will ensure your painful and untimely death."

"I understand your duty as her father is to protect her and I hope you are willing to share the task. I would gladly give my life protecting her and her heart."

"I'm not asking for your help, pirate."

"I never said you were, all I'm saying is that I agree and I hope you believe I'm sincere. To prove my honesty, I have a confession before we end this conversation. First, I need to apologize for taking the liberty of marrying your beautiful daughter without your permission and I regret that it is not the last of my transgressions against you and your beloved family. I aim to become the man your daughter believes me to be."

David waves him to continue and he clearly cannot hide his dislike for his son-in-law's words.

"As you know, my past actions are not to be proud of. I was a very successful scoundrel and thief."

David notices he is struggling with the words, so he finishes the story for him.

"You were responsible for the attack on my business in Arendelle. Liam denies your involvement adamantly."

"I never asked my brother for my freedom. I think he let me go because he wanted to aid me at least once. We have been kept apart for too long and he feels guilty. To answer your question, yes, I admit I was the one that was planning the heist. As you know, we didn't even make it to your building. We were stopped before we set foot inside your business."

"Does my daughter know of your past?"

"Aye, I have not kept any sordid detail of my past from her. She believes I truly want to become a better man and I do. I would do anything for her."

"I'm willing to try to embrace you as my son-in-law because it is clear you make my daughter happy. I also choose to forget about your previous transgressions and that includes the one you had planned against me. Just a word of advice, don't think I'm taking my eyes off you for a second."

Killian nods in agreement.

"Now let's go find them."

Emma helps her mother pack her belonging to finally leave the estate and go home with her father. She cannot help but feel overjoyed by the outcome. The only concern she has is the conversation between her father and husband. She is trying to distract herself as she maintains her focus on her mother. Her mother is extremely happy and keeps talking about getting together every Sunday for lunch. Of course, those family gatherings include her cousin and her husband.

Dealing with Milah is going to be harder than she thought. Then there is the tension-filled conversation Killian and August were involved in earlier that leads her to believe Milah may not be the only one that could cause trouble.

"Is everything okay Emma?"

"Yes, I'm just wondering about the little talk father is having with Killian."

"I'm sure they will come to retrieve us in no time."

A few minutes later a light knock on the door is heard by both women. Each couple retires to their homes once they leave a message for the remainder estate occupants instead of interrupting anyone at the late hour.

Milah watches as the couples depart, each in their assigned carriage. She hates that she is confined to a marriage to a man she doesn't love. She's certain Emma has stolen her lover using trickery. She decides it is time to try to get some rest.

"Milah, where have you been?"

"I was walking around trying to wrap my mind around all that has happened."

"I have been looking for you. I wanted to make sure you were alright." He looks at her with love and sometimes she wishes she could give him her heart.

"Why would you be concerned with my well-being?"

"You walked out of the living room during your family's warm moment."

"I left because I have never felt like a part of the family."

"Sweetheart, they love you."

"Do they really love me? I guarantee you that if they had to make a choice between Emma and myself they would pick her every time."

"That would be an impossible situation for anyone to endure."

"You are just lucky you are an only child. You never had to compete for your parents' attention."

"I have been fortunate but I would have loved to have a brother. My father was very fond of Killian and I suppose in some ways I see him as the brother I never had."

"Is that the reason you are not happy Emma married him?"

"I'm happy if they are. I was just surprised by the rapidness of their courtship."

"It did happen rather fast. I guess the rumors are true. My cousin is not pure or innocent like she has convinced everyone she is."

"I asked Killian about that and he leads me to believe they could have been an exaggeration on some people's minds."

"Of course you two would defend fair Emma's honor."

"Milah, please don't get upset."

"August, I just want to rest and perhaps tomorrow will be a better day."

She just looks away and keeps her gaze out the window. He gives up on helping her find comfort.

"Goodnight my love." He quickly changes and lies down.

She turns to face the bed once his snores fill the room. Joining him she tries to find rest, but she is restless and cannot sleep.

She decides to take a walk around the house. No one should be awake at this time. The house feels cold and empty.

Not far from her son's bedroom Cora is lost in thought. The letter was there and now has disappeared. She has to find it and finally destroy it. She cannot ask about it without making the contents of the letter an interesting read. That is a risk she will not take.

Snow is her immediate problem. She seemed to accept her explanation, but for how long? She needs to find a way to keep her quiet about her findings. The recent events seem to be bringing out bad blood between the families.

Chapter Text

Chapter 21: Treacherous

Malcolm Peters decides to take a walk and get familiar with the little port town he now calls home. He wanders to the docks and he notices the beautiful view. During his trek in the distance, he notices the conversational exchange between two youngsters and two older men. The men he can surmise from the luggage are just arriving in town. The men seem to be satisfied with the conclusion of their chat and had departed leaving the boys behind.

The young boys resume their observation of a lone ship docked and are lost in an animated conversation. It is obvious that the ship is special to them. In all honesty, he can see the allure of it. The magnificent vessel stands tall on the water, rocking in a hypnotic motion, attempting to lure the boys and to prove that it warrants their undivided attention. He wonders if they will even acknowledge him if he approaches.

"Excuse me, young men, do you know who the owner is?" he asks as he points at the ship they are mesmerized with.

"That is Captain Killian Jones ship The Jolly Roger, the fastest ship on the sea. It has outrun all the military ships that have attempted to capture her," Felix volunteers the information in awe.

"Captain Jones, is that the same man that recently married?"

"Yes, the same. I wonder if he will get a new crew. Hey, Rufio, do you think he will finally let us join him?"

"No, he thinks we are still too young. That is what he keeps saying." The two share a wistful look.

Malcolm notices the disappointed looks on the youngsters faces.

"I believe you are both ready for a little responsibility. How about your parents? Do they feel the same as the Captain?"

Rufio is the one that answers. "We are both orphans and so is the Captain. He looks out for us as much as he can and lets us help him with the minor repairs on the ship but now that he married that fancy lady, we have no idea if he will have time for us or the Jolly."

Malcolm wonders if he is the same Killian mentioned in the document he read long ago. The name doesn't seem to be all too common. "Well, I was actually offered a very promising job at the Booth's Estate and might consider hiring a few hands. Would you two be interested?"

"Sir, the sea is what calls out to us."

"I'm sorry to hear that. I understand and perhaps you are wrong about the good Captain. I hope you understand he may no longer be able to spend time with you two. I know that the young lady he married comes from a fine family line."

The two young men look sad and lost at the confirmation of their worst thoughts. The lack of attention from the Captain will only lead them to trouble. Kids their age don't have many options and Captain Jones had always tried his best to lead them away from a life like his own.

"If you both would choose to come to work for me I guarantee I will never cast you aside. I don't have a wife or any children; you will never have to worry about my priorities. Think about it and once you decide you can find me at the Booth estate. Just ask for Mr. Peters."

Malcolm wants some allies he can mold in his likeness and there is no way he can miss with two orphans craving attention. He heads back to the estate, hoping Mrs. Booth has already taken care of any issues that may impede him from starting his new job.

Milah is lurking in the shadows of the Booth estate, sulking while everyone sleeps. She is still angry about the day's events. Her love married the only person she despises, actually one of the people she despises. The other is her husband's shrew of a mother. Her mind wonders for a while if Cora will die anytime soon. She has to, the woman is a hag. She cannot live forever, at least she hopes.

Her mind finally decides to resume her prior ponderings. She needs someone to help her with her plans. She is tired of everything working out in Emma's favor. She sees the silhouette of a man standing in the darkness of the office with the doors wide open.

"Hello?"

He turns and sees her. "Hello."

"You are the new steward my mother-in-law hired to replace my cousin's husband, Mr. Peters, is that correct?"

"I am. It is an honor to make your acquaintance, even at this late hour. Shouldn't you have retired for the night?"

"I don't think my husband or mother-in-law would like to know you were in their personal office alone. I won't tell if you will keep my insomnia secret. I hope I'm not disturbing you. If I may be completely honest with you, I have had many restless nights recently." She approaches him in an attempt to use her womanly wiles to gain him as an ally. At this point, she doesn't care who it is or what she has to do.

"What could possibly cause a beautiful young woman to lose sleep?"

"I would love to be completely honest without being judged? My cousin, Emma, married the man I love, to keep us apart. I know I'm married to August but I only married him to save my family. Everyone thinks she is perfect but they don't truly know the darkness in her heart."

"I'm sorry."

"I know I just met you but it is obvious you haven't yet been bewitched by her. She has everyone fooled. If only a miracle would happen and she would somehow be removed from the way. I know Killian still loves me and we could still find a way to be together, if not for her interference. I would be forever grateful if someone could make that a reality."

She is staring at the older man trying to read if he is willing to help her. She leans in towards him to see if she can persuade him. How far is she willing to go? Physically hurting her cousin should not be a consideration but she cannot help see the allure.

"I have an idea that may help. If she disappeared for a few days, it could help prove that the young captain's heart doesn't belong with his bride and that the pair should not be together. I imagine with the influence that the Booths have, anything is possible. I have a feeling my aunt and uncle would do anything to rid her of him."

"No one has to know of our involvement in her disappearance. If this works out I could help make you a very rich man. I would be indebted to you if you keep my relationship with Killian a secret."

Malcolm considers her proposal and he holds no loyalty to anyone, only to himself. "I accept your offer, my lady. However, I may be many things but I am not a killer. If you desire your cousin's death, you will have to do it yourself."

"I just need her out of the way long enough for Killian to realize the error of his ways. I know Killian, and if there is one thing he loves above anything, it's his ship, The Jolly Roger. The ship has been his true home for a very long time and he would never sacrifice it for anyone."

"We could give him a choice of his ship or his wife?"

"That sounds perfect."

"My lady, have you considered that he may pay the ransom."

"If that happens I would request for you to burn the ship to ash."

"If I was to do that I would lose my payment. I do endeavor to aid your quest but I will not lose my profit should things not work in your favor."

"I understand it would not be fair but I know it will not come to that. That union should have never happened and I will make sure it is wiped from existence as if it never was. Please believe me, Mr. Peters; I will have my happy ending at Killian's side."

"I have to confess madam, I enjoy your confidence."

"Thank you, now I will bid you goodnight, it seems our conversation has calmed my nerves and I should fall asleep without a problem. We will need to meet at a discreet time to finalize the plan."

"I will look forward to it."

The next morning Cora is upset, that damn letter has disappeared. She is frustrated and angry. This cannot be happening right now. Her son has returned home with his duplicitous wife. She will never trust Milah but for right now she needs to find that letter and destroy it.

"My dear Cora, what is troubling you?"

"Peters, if you must know, that letter you owe your employment to and like to hold over my head has disappeared."

"Am I to believe someone with your intellect kept the letter after all these years?"

"It would appear so. Apparently, I am not as astute as you imagined. To top it all off, my dear friend Snow saw it. She didn't read it but she was able to get the gist of it."

"What do you plan to do about it?"

"I think I was able to convince her of my version but there will always be the doubt. She recognizes the pirate's resemblance to my late husband. As long as that letter is out there I have to worry."

"How about we give her a scare?"

"What do you propose we do?"

"Her lovely daughter could disappear and during that time of turmoil perhaps her focus will shift and she will realize that her family is all she should concern herself with."

"This would be done only to scare her? I wouldn't want any harm to come to Emma. I'm quite fond of her but I cannot deny it is a good idea. I just wonder if it is possible. The pirate doesn't seem like the kind to let his bride out of sight for a long time."

"Do not worry, I will find a way. I actually have an acquaintance in the town a day from here and he will be of great assistance for the right incentive."

"A day from here, are you referring to the small town Golden Cove?"

"Are you familiar with the town?"

"I believe I passed through there with Brennan a time or two. It is small but quaint. I don't remember it being too prosperous."

"I learned that the hard way, along with many other people. That includes my friend. He was an upcoming doctor that unfortunately lost his medical license due to a feud with a colleague. He had it all and once he lost his practice, his wife Mary followed."

"I'm sorry, but how will a disgraced doctor help in the matter at hand?"

"I'm going to need something to put the young lady to sleep and I cannot go to the local doctor with the request."

"I imagine you will need to travel to obtain the drug required."

"I will take the fastest horse available and return promptly but I do require the monies to convince my old friend Dr. Hyde."

"I don't hold a lot of money within the walls of the house but I have some expensive jewelry that should suffice and get our point across."

"I will leave tomorrow morning then."

"I will give you the jewels tomorrow. Please try to hurry and not be gone long. I shall tell my son that I sent you on an errand to inquire about perhaps purchasing some lands in the neighboring towns."

"I don't plan on being gone that long, perhaps three days tops. One to go and one to return, the extra day will allow me to convince my old friend to obtain the drug. He should come around right away once he sees the jewels. The last I saw of him he was still seeing patients and should still be stocked."

"How can he still have patients? Do you believe there is a chance he will turn down the offer? This could complicate things for us. I just cannot think of an alternative plan. Let me reiterate we don't have time to make another plan. The sooner we set the plan in motion the better."

"Don't worry Cora he will not turn down the offer. Yes, he sees patients but these are people that cannot afford the services of a doctor under normal circumstances. He doesn't enjoy the clientele he once did. I will be making Hyde an offer he cannot walk away from. He needs this as much as we do."

"I hope you are right, I will be preparing the jewelry that you will offer in payment. Good day, Mr. Peters, and thank you for your assistance in the matter."

"I haven't done anything yet, my lady, but I look forward to exploring our newfound alliance."

He sees her walk away. He wonders if he has time to go to the docks and invite the orphaned boys he met before to go on the trip and perhaps convince them to help. Lady Jones seems to be pliant and he thinks she will not be any trouble. He doesn't mind keeping these women's secrets at all. The knowledge provides leverage for him, he would be a fool to turn away.

In his brief time in the house, even from afar he has noticed the coldness between the two; the young new bride and the matriarch of the house. The irony of their similarity is not lost on him. He muses that he would be gaining favor with the two with one simple action; the capture of Emma Jones. He will stand by his words to both, he will not hurt the young woman, only keep her away to appease his new allies. He has no doubt that in the future they can turn on him and then all will be revealed. A tryst before a wedding and a bastard son who will be extremely well respected and wealthy once his lineage is revealed. Somehow it all ends with the young Pirate Captain.

Malcolm Peters is not an honorable man by any means and surely once upon a time he did a good deed or two but now he needs to ensure his future. He will take his leave and obtain the chloroform needed to render the girl unconscious and with that, he will be closer to endearing himself to the ladies. Perhaps even get Cora to consider him as a real partner. He could show her that a union between the two would be rewarding.

Milah wakes from her slumber to find her husband getting dressed for the day. "August, after sleeping I have reconsidered some of my thoughts. I think you are right and my family does love me equally to Emma. I was hoping I could visit with my aunt and uncle since I didn't partake in the reunion."

"I would love to accompany you. I have yet to apologize to your uncle for the change in betrothal and now his daughter is married to a scoundrel."

"August, I thought you saw the good in your old friend? But now that he married Emma he is a scoundrel? I expected comments like that coming from your mother and my aunt, especially my uncle but you were his biggest supporter and now you retract your support."

"I just think there is more to the story. I hate to think he may have taken advantage of Emma in some way."

"Of course this has to be about Emma. It always leads to her somehow."

"Milah, this is not about her. I think you are the one that makes everything about her, you make it into a competition between the two of you."

"I don't want to argue anymore about this and I'm not the one that makes it into a competition between us, it is all of you. My uncle, aunt, your mother and now even you!" She desperately wants to add Killian to the list but has to hold her tongue. The slip would only lead to questions she cannot answer yet. Once Killian is hers again she will not care about consequences.

"Shall we ready ourselves for the visit?"

"Give me about 15 minutes and I will be ready to go." She would rather go alone but it appears that is not in cards for her. "Oh, I need to let Joanna know she finally will be going back home."

"That is fine, I should be ready by the time you are done."

She quickly finishes the final touches. "I will be right back, I'm heading to the servants quarters. Do you mind if Lucy stays behind? I'm sure my aunt would not object, after all, she allowed both of them to accompany us on our honeymoon."

"No, I don't mind, and I'm sure Enith doesn't want to have to take care of all of us. Imagine poor Enith, my mother is enough work for anyone."

She cannot help smile at the remark. Her mother-in-law is quite demanding. "I think you mean she is too much work for all of us."

"Milah!" She is sure he means it in a scolding way but she cannot help notice the silly grin on his face.

Soon Milah, August, and Joanna are in a carriage on their way to Nolan's house. The house is beautiful in its simplicity. Two-floored white stone, large windows in almost all the rooms downstairs and some large oak trees to provide shade. A part of her had missed her home; she had not enjoyed it growing up as much as Emma but it still was the closest thing to home to her. Her mother Jacqueline was never able to give her that.

August knocks on the door with Milah and Joanna flanking him.

David answers the door with a big grin on his face at the sight before him. He quickly grabs Milah into a hug and mutters some words to her about missing her and so on.

"Snow, it is Milah and August. Oh, and Joanna is here too."

"I will be there in a second."

"Uncle David, what is Aunt Snow doing up there?"

"She is removing blankets from the covered furniture and airing out the rooms."

Joanna looks at the group from the corner she is currently occupying waiting for her orders. Milah then turns to her and gives her instructions. "Joanna, be a dear and go with me to help my aunt. That will also allow the men to talk."

"Yes, Mrs. Booth." She curtsies and leads the way up the stairs. Milah follows right behind and then she disappears up the stairs.

"Mr. Nolan, I had asked Milah to give us a minute or two to converse. I fear it is my fault that Emma married Killian."

That comment makes David curious. "What do you mean?"

"I believe that once I called our engagement off and pursued Milah, she may have been too broken-hearted to deter advances from a man like Killian. I mean an experienced man with women. In her innocence, Emma may have misunderstood his attention for her."

"August, if I may be frank. I was never happy with the betrothal between you and Emma. I always wanted her husband to be her choice. I'm not happy with the current situation but I believe my daughter when she tells me that she is happy. That is all I wanted for her. Jones seems sincere in his feelings for my Emma. He and I had a similar talk and although I will keep an eye on him as I stated to him, I stand by my assessment. He seems sincere and only time will tell. Now about Milah, I will have to advise you the same I did to Jones, I will keep an eye on you; I hope I don't need to clarify any more than that."

August is dumbfounded at the threat made to his person. It makes sense for him to say that to Killian but to say them to him, an honorable man. He doesn't understand the need for the warning.

Meanwhile, upstairs Joanna drifts away to the other rooms to give the ladies time to talk.

"Aunt Snow, I can see how happy you are. You are practically glowing."

"I am very happy. David is back and I was able to mend some fences with Emma."

"Oh good, did you ever find out her new address?"

"Yes, Cora gave it to me but I may have stumbled onto something."

"What do you mean?"

"I think Killian is Brennan's son."

Milah looks confused as she hears the news. "What do you mean?"

"He looks so much like him, at first I didn't notice because I was so upset that Emma wanted to marry him, but the resemblance is striking. He looks more like Brennan than August does."

"Do you think Emma knows of this?"

"I'm not saying for sure but it is a high possibility that he is his son due to Cora's reaction to my comment. I sincerely doubt Emma knows about this, she has never mentioned it to me."

"The possibility is there Aunt Snow. My mother-in-law loves her and she may have shared the information with her. Do you think that is why she was so eager to marry him? If he is, in fact, a Booth that could still be beneficial to her."

"Milah, Emma has never cared for any of that."

"She never cared because it was supposed to be hers to begin with, but then August fell in love with me and that all changed."

"My daughter was about to become a nun and take vows of poverty. I know her well enough to say that she had no idea and Cora would never share that kind of information with her. Milah, it is only speculation on my part. I have no proof to support my theory. There is no need to repeat my words to anyone."

Milah looks at her aunt intently and nods in agreement. "I agree aunt, this is only a theory. I will not share it with anyone."

"Thank you, sweetheart, so how was the honeymoon?"

"It was a nice trip. We got to see so much of the country."

"Milah, I know you prefer big cities and I'm sorry I dragged you both back."

"We are family and you needed us at the time. It truly is no problem." Milah knows she would have been blindsided on her return if her aunt had kept quiet about the wedding.

"Here is the address for Emma. I wanted to send an invitation to her and her husband."

"I could deliver the message for you tomorrow. I also came across some clothes Emma could use along with her little chest, the one she loved in her earlier years."

"Oh Milah, that would be amazing! I know Emma didn't think she would have a use for it at the convent. I would greatly appreciate the assistance."

"It will be my pleasure." A thought occurs to her that this is her chance to plant the photo and have a talk with Killian. She will find a way to have a private chat with him. Milah's knuckles turn white as she clenches her fist at the mere thought of Killian's new title. She wonders if he suspected about the possibility he could be August's brother or if her own husband knew. No, he cannot know, seeing as he deems Killian unworthy of Emma. She can use the information she has gathered.

Snow and Milah continue with their tasks and eventually find their way downstairs to join the men. The men seem in an awkward silence throughout the rest of the day. Soon Milah and August say their good nights to finally go home. She is armed with a small trunk and information she can use.

The following day Milah wakes replenished and tells August she wants to go have a private talk with Emma and deliver her trunk and invitation.

"I wish you would allow me to come with you."

"I haven't had anyone on one time with my cousin since our return and besides I doubt that her husband will be home. What are you going to do while we talk?"

"I know you are right but I do want to apologize to Killian for my words. I upset him with my questions."

"I could extend an invitation of our own for them to join us for lunch."

"That sounds lovely, I will have the carriage ready for you."

The Jones home had found a routine the newlyweds loved. They would enjoy their mornings with some enjoyable activities and sometimes it went a little long. They would have to forgo breakfast and Killian would get ready to go to his office.

Today was not one of those days. The roles had reversed seeing as Emma was the one to leave early to obtain some things from the market. Food and other basic necessities were on her list.

The knock comes as a surprise to Killian. It cannot be his wife because she has her keys. Smee and Thomas know he will be in the office by midday. They know better than to interrupt him at home. He values his time with his wife and if his men value their life they will stay away from his home.

He opens the door. "You better have a damn good reason to be at my doorstep."

"Is that any way to treat family?"

"Milah, what are you doing here?"

"Oh, I have a delivery for the lovely Mrs. Jones. Is she here?"

Killian scratches behind his ear, a habit of his. "She stepped out, I will fetch her things from the carriage and you can be on your way."

"You are falling short on your hospitality." Milah waves to the coachmen to bring the chest and luggage. "My aunt sends these things for Emma. She also wanted me to extend an invitation for lunch for the two of you."

Killian lifts an eyebrow in disbelief that this is the only reason for her visit.

"Killian, before I go I would like to ask you one question."

"If that is all it takes to get you to leave, ask away." He places Emma's things on a small table by the door.

"Before I forget, did Emma tell you that she married you because she thinks you are a Booth also?"

"Milah, what are you talking about?"

"It seems you share an uncanny resemblance to Brennan Booth."

"I knew him when I was a young boy and I don't see the resemb-" He remembers Thomas mentioned he reminded him of someone he once knew and surely he would have met Brennan Jones. There was no way he was his son. It could not be possible. Emma couldn't know or even suspect such a thing and not share it with him. This was a con from Milah.

"Oh my God Killian, you actually believe she fell in love with a dirty pirate? She has to know or at the very least suspect it and that is why she took a chance with you. You do know that Cora thinks very highly of Emma and she may have mentioned it to her. I just want you to realize I'm the one that truly loves you."

"You are lying, my Emma truly loves me. We love each other deeply. I admit part of the reason we bonded was that of the affair between you and I, and the impending revelation of it due to gossip may have started it, but the feelings are real. Nothing you say will ever make me doubt her or our marriage."

"Don't say I didn't try to warn you of my dear cousin's duplicity. See you soon; you will come back begging me to forgive you."

Milah looks at him one more time and walks out of the house. She hopes that the plan she has created with Peters will be set into motion soon.

Killian closes the door after Milah leaves and in his frustration knocks the little table over. The little chest tips open and then he sees an old photo. He kneels to pick it up; perhaps it is a photo of his love in her childhood. He stops once he notices the face looking back at him is not that of his wife but of a younger August Booth, he slowly picks it up and cannot take his eyes off it and he flips it around to read "My Only One True Love." Why would she still have this photo? He starts pacing and he can feel the anger rise within.

The door opens to an unsuspecting smiling Emma. The smile quickly fades as she takes his demeanor in. "You look like a caged animal."

"Do you care to explain this to me?" he asks as he flips the photo in her direction.

She picks it up and once she realizes what it is, she understands. "How did you get this photo?"

"That is not an answer Emma."

"I know and I will answer once I find out how you got it."

"Milah stopped by with all those things from your mother's house." He pointed in the direction of some things she recognizes from her old home.

"Milah dropped these things by? That was not enough to make you wonder about her motives?"

"Emma." He looks angry, clenched jaw and his eyes seem darker somehow.

"Sorry, that is an old photo. Cora used to give me photos of August during my engagement. Look at the photo, it is clearly old. I must have left it behind when I first left for the convent. I never went back to my old house. That is why I never got rid of it. How could I?"

"That is the only reason?"

"Killian, I love you and only you. I have to admit that I truly never loved August. I didn't know him. I still don't know him."

"Is August my brother?"

"What do you mean?"

"She also said that you know that I'm also Brennan Booth's son. She claimed that is the only reason you wanted to marry me."

"How would I know if you are his son? Killian, that makes no sense."

"Maybe Cora shared that information with you, I have no clue."

"If this is true, Cora would never share it with me or anyone else. Killian, I love you because you are a good man. You treat me like no other. You don't see me as weak because I'm a woman. You respect me and I know I will never love another man because you are truly a pirate and you stole my heart."

"I'm sorry my love, the photo really upset me."

"I know. Do me a favor and throw it away or burn it for all I care."

He laughs at her request. "Are you sure that is what you want?"

"Hand it over." She waits for him to give her the photo.

"I, Emma Jones, love and honor my husband Killian Jones above any other." She rips the photo into small pieces as she recites her vows to her husband. "I know at the time we exchanged vows we were not honest with each other but I hope now you accept them as true."

He rushes to her and hugs her tightly. He whispers his vows in her ear. She giggles and melts into his embrace. Milah's words are long forgotten.

Milah eventually has a moment for a quick word with Malcolm. He tells her he will leave to obtain an object for their venture. She quickly understands his meaning and wishes him good luck. Finally, Malcolm finds his way in the direction of Golden Cove.

Chapter Text

Chapter 22: Capturing Emma Jones

After leaving the Jones' residence Milah had made her way back to the Booth Estate, her home. At least she hoped it was only for the time being. Her idea to separate Emma and Killian had to work, she wanted the original plan she and Killian had orchestrated to come back to life but in order for that to happen, Emma, had to be out of the way.

Milah was extremely pleased with her completed task. She knew she had caused discord in her cousin's marriage and that thought alone made her so happy and satisfied with her exploits for the day.

The moment Malcolm informed her he was leaving made her heart flutter. She couldn't help but rejoice as she saw Malcolm fade away from sight which meant he was that much closer to his destination and where she needed him to be. She hoped he would keep his word and return quickly to finally take Emma.

Milah's thoughts drift back to her actions and she can't help but to wish she could have seen Emma's face when Killian confronted her. She knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will confront her as soon as she crosses the front door. For a brief second, she feels a little remorse but it quickly fades as it always does. The moment her cousin arrives home she will not be getting a warm welcome.

She knows Killian won't go easy on her. She had experienced Killian's rage once. If things worked out in her favor maybe he would kick her out. She can only hope.

"Don't you look happy?" her husband remarks as he gazes upon his smiling wife.

"I have to admit it was a nice visit. It went a lot better than I expected."

"That sounds great, my love. How is your cousin?"

She doesn't miss the fact that he only acknowledges Emma and not Killian.

"Sadly, I missed her but left a message with Kil-uh Jones, along with the things Aunt Snow sent her."

"Oh, I don't understand how the visit went so well then?"

"I meant it was successful in the sense that the door wasn't slammed in my face because of your ungentlemanly comments regarding my cousin. I hope you still remember your conversation with your friend from the other day?"

"Yes, I still remember Milah. I will need to apologize to him for my remarks. I hope he didn't mention them to Emma. I will not be able to look at her if he did."

"I agree your behavior wasn't ideal but if he told her, I'm sure she will forgive you. I have been thinking maybe you are right; their relationship moved too fast. What if he used some sort of information to convince her to marry him? After all, my family is still considered prestigious and along with our own union, this could be good for someone like him. He is only a nefarious scoundrel that took advantage of my cousin's good heart and her unrequited love for you."

"Milah, I don't think she feels that way about me anymore. She may have felt affection for me in the past but I doubt she still does."

"Perhaps you are right but she cares for you and all of us. I wouldn't put it past her to marry Jones to sacrifice herself for the family." She can practically see the wheels turning in his head. "August, how exactly do you know Jones? I know you mentioned being childhood friends but how did you two meet?"

"My father brought him to the estate one day and after he died my mother just sent him away. I don't remember all the details but he cared for Killian a lot. He wanted me to look out for him."

"Did you ever wonder why?"

"I never really gave it much thought. What are you getting at?"

"I have been thinking that the interest your father showed in Killian was rare. Perhaps your old friend has wondered himself. He must know the extent of the Booth wealth. Perhaps he thought this could be an easy score and he could use your friendship to his advantage."

"Milah, what are you trying to insinuate about my father? My father had an impeccable reputation."

"August, all I'm saying is that maybe your old friend wanted to gain access to the house and to you. You do realize that provides some benefits. Are you telling me it doesn't strike you as odd that a pirate decided all of the sudden to become a legitimate businessman and accept a steward position in the same house he stepped into in his youth?"

"Do you think Emma accidentally uncovered his nefarious intentions and to protect the family, married him?"

Milah would roll her eyes if she could; always Saint Emma, the savior of the land.

"I have to find a way to get her out of this. I can't let her sacrifice her happiness. She deserves so much better."

Milah bites her tongue, she wants to ask him if he means himself.

The day continues as any other. Enith complaining about all the work she had to do by herself because Lucy her maid is too lazy. Cora giving her disapproving looks. August distancing himself from her.

The Booth Estate is filled with plots and ploys to obtain their deepest desires. And both Cora and Milah wait impatiently for their ally to return, while August contemplates rescuing a phantom damsel with the hopes to be her hero.

They all go on with their menial tasks to pass the time as the hours pass by. Hours that soon became days.

The Nolan residence is the complete opposite. Snow and David plan and prepare for the upcoming meal to be enjoyed with their daughter and her husband. Killian and Emma had happily accepted the invitation relayed to them. Killian is so eager to put his best foot forward. He desperately wants Emma's parent's approval.

The happy parents have truly decided to embrace the new addition to the family, putting their doubts away at the sight of their daughter's happy face. They welcome the newlyweds as planned the next day and enjoy their meal.

Days have passed since David's return home. His daughter and wife have welcomed him happily back. It has become a routine for them to spend time together to make up for lost time.

Later that week, Milah sees Malcolm has finally returned. She has to wait to approach him to inquire about the outcome of his trip.

She decides to take a walk around the estate hoping to bump into him without rousing suspicion and get some time alone with her ally. She stumbles upon him and finally has her chance.

"Malcolm, may I have a word?"

"Yes, of course, Mrs. Booth."

"Please don't call me Mrs. Booth, it makes me feel old. As you can see I'm not. You can call my mother-in-law that, it fits her much better. Call me Milah."

Malcolm smiles at her. He is escorting her back to the house.

"I know why you are seeking an audience. I have what we need. I will be able to grab her in the following days."

"Days? I thought you would nab her upon your return. This was not what we agreed."

"Milah, I need to figure the best time to grab her. Obviously, she has to be alone. We cannot be sloppy. Unless you want your family to know you had a hand in the kidnapping of your cousin."

Milah isn't too happy with the response, but it makes sense. To add to her discord, it becomes obvious that her little visit to the Jones' home was fruitless. Emma and Killian are still together.

Since August's return, Cora has been more active. She takes walks in the garden and asks for the breakfast to be served on the patio. On her walk back from the garden she notices Milah and Malcolm talking. She approaches them slowly trying not to spook them.

"Malcolm, I hope your trip went well. I see my lovely daughter-in-law decided to welcome you back."

"My dear Cora, the lovely young Mrs. Booth was just being friendly."

Milah smiles mockingly at her mother-in-law. "I guess I better go find August. I will leave you two alone. Good day to you both." She walks away with a sway of her hips to irritate Cora.

Malcolm turns his complete attention to Cora. "Have there been any new developments?"

"The letter is still missing but I worry my biggest concern is Snow. I know it's a matter of time before she tells someone. That is assuming she hasn't mentioned it to someone by now."

"How will you know for sure?"

"Well, during Emma's loss, I will offer my assistance in retrieving her. Of course, I will hint for her to keep the secret in exchange."

"All right, I will need to spy on her comings and goings. I understand you cannot cover for me anymore. My absence would be too noticeable. I met two young boys I can give the task. I also brought the friend with me and lodged him in one of the empty worker's huts if that is acceptable?"

"That is fine and no harm will come to her correct?"

"Nothing permanent, she will be afraid of the unknown but no physical damage."

"I hate doing this to her but I need a guarantee that my secret stays secret."

"I understand and I should be able to proceed within a few days. I do need to go and provide instructions to the boys."

"Go on, I don't know how long I can keep August at bay and out of the Estate matters before he decides to get involved."

"I will be quick." Malcolm walks away and heads for the docks where he he quickly spots the two boys. "Hello, boys, I'm glad I found you both."

They turn at the same time and answer. "Hello, sir."

"Have you considered my offer?"

"We have and our answer is no."

"Oh, I see you two still have faith that the good Captain will take you under his command. How about you two help me ensure that outcome."

Felix answers for the two. "How can we help?"

"We have established that the issue is his new bride. I know of someone that wants her out of the way. How about you two help me with that task? Before you ask, no one is getting hurt. She will be temporarily removed."

"How will that help us?"

"He will return to his old ways. He will not try to be something he is not. We will simply give him permission, permission to be the man he really is. Not some puppy dog chasing after the object of his affection, but a ruthless pirate who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He will realize that she is not the life he craves."

Finally, Malcolm returns from his trip to Golden Cove, but he isn't alone.

His trip had been quite successful. His old friend had not let him down. The deal had been completed successfully. They had quickly exchanged the jewels for the chloroform and that had ended their exchange. Until Dr. Hyde had a change of heart.

Malcolm's biggest surprise came when the good Doctor surprisingly made an unexpected decision to help him in the acquisition of the girl. He had only given him the most basic information about the job. Hyde had insisted that he didn't want any more involvement but he would accompany him and help secure the young woman to ensure he wouldn't overuse the chloroform.

Hyde knew what he was doing was wrong but he had no choice. His practice was destroyed and he was barely making enough for scraps as opposed to the luxurious meals he once enjoyed. He didn't want to be responsible if Malcolm did something wrong and something happened to the girl.

He should have just grabbed his new found wealth and left but what of his doctor vows? The Hippocratic Oath he took so long ago. The thought of betraying it and that guilt alone wouldn't allow him to leave. He knew that his actions were criminal but he wasn't a complete monster.

After the exchange, Malcolm went to his old home and prepared one of the little rooms for the special occupant. It wasn't much, just a little cot, nothing luxurious.

The house is not in the best condition but it is his and no one knows it better or its location. It is the best place to hide her until the exchange.

He tells Hyde they will be leaving the next day. They don't have time to lose.

"Remember Malcolm, I will only be joining you to ensure the girl is fine. I will not be part of the rest."

"I know you have made your position clear."

"Malcolm I still cannot understand the reason you have accepted this job."

"You are not the only one that has had financial troubles. Look at my home! It was once beautiful, now it is falling apart."

"I'm just surprised, I never thought you had it in you to be a scoundrel."

"Neither did I but sometimes want outweighs one's conscience. You know that better than anyone."

It has been a few days since Milah's visit. Emma knows her cousin won't stop once she realizes that her plan failed. Killian had attempted to calm her and for the most part, he had succeeded but she knows it is not over.

Killian hasn't mentioned the photo or the conversation he had with Milah again, only that she should visit with her parents and that is what she has been doing since.

The only positive thing that had emerged from Milah's earlier visit was the invitation offered by her parents. She knows it is meant as an olive branch.

The next day she convinces Killian to go with her. He had been hesitant at first but as time passed by, his insecurities seemed to dull with her encouragements.

She quickly falls into a routine. She goes to visit her parents while Killian is working. She executes her chores at home in a timely manner getting the guest room ready for the day that they will go get Tink.

Emma kisses her husband goodbye as she makes her way to the front door. She knows he would prefer to escort her to her parent's house for her visit as he has insistently mentioned but she insists on not being some sort of a damsel in distress. She loves him dearly but sometimes he is so overprotective.

To her husband's dismay, she has opted to walk today and not to take the carriage. She insists it is a beautiful day and that the trek will be nice. She loves the path in Sherwood Forrest Lane that she will inevitably take. It is filled with lovely flowers. The walk is not a long one she will be with her parents soon.

Two young boys approach her on the route to her childhood home and catch her unprepared.

"Hello, Mrs. Jones," one of the boys greets her.

"Hello and good morning to you both." She will never tire of hearing her new last name. "It is a beautiful day isn't it?"

Rufio looks at his friend with doubt in his eyes.

"It is a very lovely day ma'am," Felix answers.

"Do you two know Killian?" she asks because of their way of greeting her.

"Yes, we do, he lets us help on the Jolly," one of the two boys answers.

Emma adds that tidbit to everything she learns daily of her husband. "Oh, so you must love the sea like him."

"Yes we do, but he hasn't taken us out yet."

"Well, I will need to speak to him about that. I will let you in on a little secret; he hasn't taken me out either. I will ask him to bring you two along the day he does."

"That would be very nice." Rufio seems to be the only one opening up to her.

The other one, Felix seems cold to her. "We had hoped the captain would let us join his crew but now that he married you, he will surely forget about us."

"Maybe he cares so much for you two he is afraid you would get hurt on his watch. Just wait a few more years and I'm sure he will allow you both to join."

"I doubt that will be a possibility now."

Emma shakes her head and is about to continue with her response but is cut off. There is a sweet smell invading her senses and for a few minutes, she struggles with her captor and then everything goes dark. The last thing she thinks of is her husband's ocean blue eyes. She should have listened to him.

Emma wakes disoriented and cold; she reaches for her husband to share his warmth. Killian's spot on the bed is empty. She tries to sit up but the room spins and she closes her eyes to get her bearings but falls asleep instead.

Killian goes about his day as best as he can. He gets side glances from Smee and Thomas. They can tell he is upset so they work in silence, trying not to irritate him. As the day goes on he becomes more antsy and irritable. He is always thinking of his tough lass. He misses her so much. He really wishes she would have let him escort her at the very least.

Killian has finally moved his office from Tiny's Tavern to share Archie's office. They had decided to share the office for the time being. He wants to show his father-in-law that he is serious in his reformed ways.

Somehow his thoughts always lead back to Emma. Bloody hell that woman will be the death of him. She is too stubborn for her own good. He feels something is not right. He has to go to her. So he decides to go to her parent's home to escort her home. He knows she will not be happy and most likely scold him once they are in the comfort of their home.

Killian knocks when he arrives at the Nolan's. He still feels uncertain.

The door flies open to her father.

"Hello, Jones, is Emma with you?" He looks around to see if he catches a glimpse of his daughter.

Still standing at the doorstep, Killian is staring at his father-in-law with a clenched jaw and his fists turning white. "No, because she is supposed to be here, I'm only here to escort my wife home."

"I don't understand, she is not here and if she is not with you-" They turn white as they stare and realize Emma is missing.

For a second, Killian thinks David is hiding Emma to keep her away from him, his insecurities resurfacing briefly. "She left the house in the morning; she left to come here!"

"She never arrived; we thought that perhaps she decided to stay home."

"Emma left to come here," Killian says the words so soft the older man almost misses them.

David pushes him gently out of the entrance and closes the door behind him so they are outside. "Jones, calm down, I'm sure she is okay. Perhaps she is at home."

"No! I will not calm down, my wife is missing. I know something is wrong. I can feel something is wrong. Since we parted I have felt dread. Something is wrong."

"Jones, look at me, we cannot tell Snow of your concerns, yet. Let's take the carriage and go to your house. We cannot jump to conclusions yet."

"She is not home."

"All right, but we need to confirm first."

"Well, what are you waiting for?"

"Let me inform my wife I will be right back."

Killian nods his agreement. David swiftly turns and goes inside the house. Meanwhile, Killian paces in front of the house like a mad man. Soon David emerges from the house and is walking towards him.

"I told Snow we needed to discuss business. She wanted to come to visit with Emma while we talked. I told her it was late. I know she wanted to argue with me but relented."

"What are we waiting for?" Killian fumes as he walks towards the carriage.

David hurries to catch up with the pirate. They ride in silence as Killian looks out the window. Once they arrive, the carriage hasn't made a complete stop as Killian opens the door and jumps out. He walks quickly towards the door and opens it, leaving it wide open for David to enter.

"Emma! Sweetheart, are you here? Emma, where are you?" He keeps screaming her name trying to make her answer his call but is met with silence. The last of the hope he had in his heart fades. He knows that it was a long shot, but he had still hoped.

David enters and finds himself looking around the house his daughter has made into her new home. He remembers for a brief moment how it was for him and Snow when they first married. His daughter truly is in love with the man that is tearing the house apart in his desperation to find her. He would do the same if it was Snow.

David heads towards the sobs. He slowly peers into a bedroom. He finds Killian kneeling in front of the canopy bed holding onto Emma's discarded clothes. Killian meets his gaze and the devastation is evident. His eyes are red and his hair is sticking all over.

"Killian, we will find her."

"How can you be so sure? We have no idea why she was taken or by whom? We know nothing! She could be gone already."

"My daughter, your wife is not dead. No, this has to be about money. We have to be patient and smart. They will contact us soon."

Killian gets up and walks past David. "I will find my wife and when I do, the bastards that took her will pay."

"Killian, we can go to the authorities and report her taken. I don't think my daughter would want you to head into the darkness. Remember you are a better man for her."

"Do you honestly think they would offer to help me? I'm not exactly considered a respectable member of society, mate."

"You may not be but I am and we can also ask the Booth's for help."

"I don't need anyone's help. I will find my wife on my own. I have my own contacts. I will take your words into consideration but should there be one hair damaged on her head, I will gladly lose myself in darkness if it means that the culprits are punished accordingly for their actions."

"Killian, listen to me. I know you are worried and so am I, but jumping to the worst possible scenario is not going to help. I still have to tell Snow that Emma is missing. She is going to be heartbroken and scared."

"Let's get you home." Killian gestured to the door. Killian Jones is not a man to wait around. He knows something is wrong.

"Wait, what are you going to do?"

"I will go to the office and maybe confer with Archie."

"Let me come with you."

"I assumed you would want to go home and inform your wife of your daughter's disappearance."

"First we need to put a plan into motion then I will let her know."

Killian and David leave the Jones' Residence.

Chapter Text

Chapter 23: Plan of Attack

Booth Estate

"Miss Milah, I think it is time to take the young bride."

"You are taking her today, good; I'm going to need to prepare for my act, I need to convince everyone I'm distraught over her disappearance."

"To not attract attention I had to recruit assistance but the job will be today. Your cousin has enjoyed visiting her parents for days now. She maintains a routine, the only change that was noticed is that she sometimes goes with that husband of hers but for the most part she goes alone and uses the same route."

"That is lovely news, thank you, Malcolm I will be forever in your debt." Milah leaves happily over the news.

Malcolm goes to search for Cora to inform her of the status of his task. He walks toward the office as per Enith, she was last seen there talking with August. He arrives and listens carefully since the door is not completely closed.

"Mother, please, doesn't make this into something more. I will never regret my decision to marry Milah. I love my wife, I just feel a responsibility towards Emma. A need to protect her, she is family after all."

"If you say so son but those thoughts you are having are a little out of the ordinary and besides, you both made your bed, now lay in it."

She walks out of the office and runs into Malcolm.

He leans to her ear and whispers, "It will be done today." He walks away and heads to the front door.

Golden Cove: Much later that day…

Emma's eyes suddenly go wide as her panic takes over and she realizes her situation is not a nightmare. She is not home in the warmth of her husband's embrace. She squints as she tries to make sense of the dark room.

She doesn't recognize her surroundings, and in that moment Emma Jones realizes two things. She will find her way home and she knows Milah is behind her predicament. Milah had warned them that if she was unhappy so would they be. Well, Milah is in for a rude awakening because Emma is not about to give her the satisfaction.

Emma focuses on remembering how she ended up in her current situation. It has to be her cousin's idea, she feels sorry for the poor idiot she convinced to help her. She wonders if she is to be killed off so Milah can have Killian. The thought angers her. She may have taken August away but she will never sink her claws into Killian ever again. She will reveal her for the conniving witch she truly is, to everyone if she has to. She can't help but feel sorry for August.

She has to be smart to find her freedom. She wants it dearly but if she is to find her way home, she needs to plan not rush things. She waits for her captor or captors to appear. The last thing she remembers is speaking to those two boys. What if they were taken because of her?

She hears the door creak and slowly open. She doesn't know if she should pretend to still be asleep or just confront her keeper. She closes her eyes and calms her breathing while assuming the fetal position facing the wall.

"Felix, should she still be sleeping? Should I go get the doctor?"

"Rufio, you worry too much. The Doctor said she would slowly gain consciousness."

Emma slowly turns her body toward the voices whilst keeping her eyes closed.

"She looks fine."

"He said she wouldn't be hurt. Felix, Captain Jones is going to be angry. I still think we shouldn't have done this. We should have gone to him, to warn him."

"Do you really think he still cares for us? If she is around he will forget about all of us."

"She seems nice; I think she would help us."

"You are so naive. We are nothing to a rich girl like her. I still don't see why the Captain married her. She is pretty but he has had so many women. What makes her special?"

"Felix, you talk like you want her to disappear."

"Rufio maybe the Captain isn't wrong about you. You are not ready to be in anyone's crew. You are soft." Felix pokes at Rufio's chest to enunciate each word. "You are weak and no one wants a man like that on his crew."

"I'm not weak! I just think there was another way. Felix, she is not going to disappear, at least that is what the man said."

"Accidents happen all the time."

Emma is listening carefully and although the words she is hearing scare her she knows she has a chance. The boy Rufio is her chance and if he helps her get home she will promise him the moon and the stars. She knows Killian may consider this as a betrayal on the young boy's part, but she will beg him to forgive Rufio if she has to. She hears the door open and slam shut.

She slowly opens her eyes only to be met with brown eyes and a dirty face. She hadn't really looked at the boy before. He has dark shaggy hair that hasn't been washed in a long time. She manages to smile at him.

"May I please have some water? My mouth is dry."

The boy rushes to a little table in the corner that she had missed in her earlier inquiry. There is a small pitcher with water and a small cup. He pours the clear liquid without taking his eyes off of her. He smiles sheepishly at her as he approaches her with the half-full cup. "Mrs. Here is your water, please drink it slowly."

"Thank you." She drinks the water as instructed. "May I please have some more."

"Yes, but keep drinking it slowly." He goes to get her more water leaving the pitcher now empty. He grabs a wooden chair and pulls it next to the little cot she in on.

She hands him the cup. "Why would you help someone hurt Killian? You have to believe me because this will hurt him."

"I'm sorry." He gets up and walks to the door.

"You know him better than I do. Help me and I will make sure he knows that."

He stops dead in his tracks, she is correct he knows Captain Jones. His temper is known all over the docks.

"Help me go home to him and I will make sure he knows. He will overlook this because he doesn't deny me anything. Please at least think it over."

The door shuts behind him and Emma stays put. She slowly rises and goes to walk around the barren room. She realizes it has been a while since she last ate. Her stomach growls as if confirming her thoughts. She hopes Rufio is back to check up on her soon. The other boy Felix seems to have made up his mind, from the conversation she heard he would let her starve if he could.

As if reading her thoughts or perhaps he had heard her stomach growl too, Rufio enters the small room with a small basket with crusty bread and some fruit along with a few pieces of cheese.

Hours turn into days as their routine continues. Felix hardly shows his face and when he does it is only to sneer at her and show his distaste toward the young woman he blames for putting a stop to his pursuit of happiness, in the shape of joining Captain Jones' crew. It is well known how strict Jones is but being a part of his crew for a lowly orphan is a dream come true.

Emma misses Killian so much, well her parents as well but she worries for Killian. She has asked Rufio to share some of the stories he has of Killian with her. The boy is happy to. She learns little bits and pieces of her husband and his generosity. He donates some of his bounties to the orphanage anonymously. She falls, if it's was at all possible, more in love with him. She shares the food she is given during those conversations. She can see moments when he is leaning towards letting her go. She will not give up until he has decided to help her.

Killian and David leave his and Emma's house. The house feels so empty without her, he is glad to be anywhere else. They venture to Killian and Archie's office. His father-in-law, always the optimist saying words of encouragement to the distraught younger man. As soon as they enter the space, Archie knows something is amiss.

"Killian, David, what is wrong?" The concern is evident in the kind man's voice.

"Emma is missing, she's just disappeared," Killian answers.

Archie is looking at Killian's appearance and glances to his old friend. "Disappeared, but how?"

"We have no idea, we haven't heard anything yet. She left in the morning for her visit with her parents and vanished."

"Killian, she will be okay and we will find her." The older man tries to reassure his friend in an effort to calm him.

"Why is everyone trying to convince me of that?"

"Killian, I understand there hasn't been any information but she was just taken. I'm sure this is an attempt to extort money from us."

"I hope you are right but I will not stand here waiting. I'm going to Tiny's and the docks. Maybe someone has talked. Most men cannot keep quiet and have to boast about their exploits." Killian walks out and heads to the tavern.

Archie looks at David. "I'm sorry David, he is obviously distraught and he has never really had anyone to be there for him before."

"Will he be okay out there?"

"Killian is a survivor; I worry more for the idiot that thought it was a good idea to cross him. Taking Emma was an error that may come with dire consequences."

"That is all I have ever wanted for her, someone to love her as I love her mother and somehow she found it in the least expected place."

"He truly does love her and if there was ever a doubt, it has disappeared. He truly found his happiness with your wonderful daughter."

"Archie, he is like a son to you, like the son you never had."

"He truly is; his father was one of my closest friends." Without realizing the small slip, Archie smiles his most encouraging smile to David. The same smile he always gives his closest friends. He has always been so supportive and encourages him at the times he is about to lose hope. "Come on old friend, now for the hard part." Archie looks again and finds his friend's sad face.

"We have to tell Snow. I have to tell her that within days apart; her husband has returned only for her daughter to disappear. How do I tell her?"

"Snow is strong and resilient. Where do you think Emma gets it from? Emma will be okay, there is a reason she and Killian fit so well together. There seems to be a connection between the two, just like you and Snow. Now let's go and tell Snow about the situation." Archie grabs his hat and they leave the office. His sudden stop grabs David's attention, as the other man looks at him a bit confused. "David wait we need to make a quick stop."

"Why would we need to make a quick stop Archie?"

"We need to send Liam a message asking him to come, his brother needs him. He also has an exemplary military record he may be useful."

"It is a good idea Archie, but I hope Emma is not gone for that long. A missive to Liam would be fast but how long will it be before Liam arrives, at minimum 10 days and that is if the weather cooperates."

"I know David but Killian needs his brother and even if by the time he arrives Emma is safe, a little reunion of their own would be nice."

With their minds made up, they head to send the emergency message and then go to the Nolan's. Archie and David arrive at the Nolan's home. Archie gives his friend an encouraging look. The scene feels so familiar but this time it will not be to deliver happy news, but the opposite.

"I will be here waiting for the two of you when you are ready," Archie says.

David slowly makes his way toward the bedroom he shares with his wife He opens the door gently and the creak stirs his wife from sleep.

"David, is that you?"

"Yes, my love."

"Sorry, sometimes I forget you are truly back." She sits up and her head rests on the headboard.

"You look tense is there something wrong?"

"Snow," he approaches the bed and sits next to her, "I have some news to share."

She looks at his blue eyes and smiles to encourage him to continue. "David, from the expression on your face I can tell it is nothing good." she raises her hand to caress his face. "I'm all ears."

He gets as close as he can to her as he puts his hand over hers. "Killian came earlier to pick up Emma, to take her home."

"He was here to take her home? But she wasn't here."

"Snow, Emma left their home in the morning to come here."

She darts out of bed. "But she never got here, she must have stayed home."

"Sweetheart, that is the same conclusion I reached but sadly it is the wrong one."

"David, how can you be so sure? Maybe-"

"Snow, Killian and I went to their home to check to see if she was home and the house was empty. There was no sign of her."

Tears slowly shed as she closes her eyes. "He is keeping her from us-"

"SNOW, he is as upset as we are, if not more. He doesn't know where she is anymore than we do."

"David, she has to be okay. This has to be a sick joke." She paces the room to alleviate the fear rising inside her.

"We will find her."

"Snow, Archie is downstairs waiting for us. We need to establish a plan."

She goes to grab something more suitable to wear. "I will be down in a few minutes. Go keep them company." Snow always the hostess.

"Keep them company?"

"I assume that Killian and Archie are both downstairs."

"Killian ventured by himself. It is just Archie waiting."

"What do you mean Killian went off by himself?"

"I think he is frustrated and he thinks maybe his old connections may help."

"Well, he is not the only frustrated one or one with connections. We should go ask Cora for help. She cares for Emma," Snow says, not realizing how well she is playing right into Cora's hand.

"We will decide once we are all together. I hope he has the sense to come here after he is done with his inquiry at his old haunts."

The Golden Goose Tavern

After leaving his father-in-law with Archie, Killian had done as he had said. He went to Tiny's to see if he could learn anything about his wife's disappearance. So far his visit has been fruitless. He knows it is late in the evening but he can't even think of going home. The house without Emma is nothing but walls and spackle.

Killian leaves the tavern drunk after imbibing one too many rum glasses. He tried to monitor his consumption, but the thought of Emma, out there without him is killing him. He wanders to the docks and looks around, there it is, his beloved ship, the Jolly Roger, swaying in the water.

He instantly calms. His lass is a beautiful, stubborn, amazing woman and in that moment he knows they will find their way to each other. He remains at the docks looking at familiar faces.

He notices a few faces missing from the lost boys; they usually all swarm to him whenever he is at the docks. He forces a smile and tells them that there is someone he wants them to meet, soon. He waves goodbye to them and makes his way back to the Nolan's home. He can't go home right now, not with the ghost of Emma too fresh in his heart and mind.

He knocks and is greeted by Snow. Her eyes are still rimmed red from the tears that she has been unable to stop and with the fresh ones that threaten to spill as she sets her eyes on him. His hair is a mess and his eyes match hers. His clothes are unkempt, his vest open and the shirt untucked loose over his trousers. She opens the door wide enough for him to enter as she scrutinizes his attire. He looks lost and distraught.

Soon they are all gathered in the living room; the trio of men and a lone woman talking and arguing over the best tactic.

David and Archie agree that they need to wait for a ransom or note before they proceed. The most likely outcome will be for them to reach out to Sheriff Nottingham.

Snow wants to ask Cora for help, to use the Booth name, power, and influence. Killian hates both plans. He doesn't want to wait, but he does see the validity in the theory. He for sure does not want to go to the Booth's for help, much less deal with a corrupt lawmaker like Nottingham.

David had hoped that Sheriff Humbert was still in the position, instead of his now-successor. The good sheriff had retired not long after David had left Misthaven all those years ago. He can understand Killian's hesitation with Nottingham in office.

Sadly, Killian is outvoted and it is decided to reach out to the unsavory sheriff as early as possible the next day.

"I believe it will be best if I don't come with. The meeting with Nottingham will flow better if I'm not there," Killian says.

"Killian, Emma is your wife and it would be expected for you to accompany us."

"Yes, I'm aware Emma is my wife but Nottingham and I don't have the best history. Besides, I have to go home, perhaps there has been news or a ransom letter delivered to the house by now."

"Alright, if you truly believe this is the best way, Archie and I will go."

"I will stay here in case the ransom letter gets delivered here." Snow chimes in. She has decided to go visit Cora the next morning on her own, without the men.

"Then it is settled, Archie and I will go to talk with Sheriff Nottingham, Killian will stay home, and Snow will stay here in case there is news on either residence."

"Killian, we can share the carriage. David, I will be here early. Snow, Emma will be brought home soon, please don't doubt that."

Killian nods in agreement. Snow and David finally attempt but fail to sleep. Archie goes to his empty home and prays he is not wrong because the heartache they would suffer would be too great. Killian finally goes home and he cannot find rest in their bed. Her scent is still too fresh. He decides to forgo sleep and goes to the guest room Emma was readying for Tink. She is just about done with the room. He walks throughout the room, seeing each small detail. The bed is comfortable, much more than Tink had ever had before. The room is engulfed by the scent of flowers, each picked by his wife.

He takes a note of the flowers she picked, mostly roses of different colors. He will make sure they are fragrant once Emma gets home. They will retrieve Tink as soon as she wants. Killian has decided to make sure upon Emma's return that she has all her desires.

Chapter Text

Chapter 24: Distressed

Snow wakes early and leaves for the Booth Estate. She knows Cora will help her find her daughter. Cora has always held a fondness for Emma. In this moment she couldn't be more thrilled. Snow's carriage arrives and she is greeted by Enith.

"Please, come in. Is Mrs. Booth expecting you?"

"I'm afraid not, this visit is unexpected."

"Follow me to the dining room. I was about to let her know breakfast is ready."

Snow trails behind Enith. She knows the house well enough not to need an escort.

"Please take a seat, Mrs. Nolan. Mrs. Booth will be with you shortly."

Snow sits and she feels lost. She needs to find her daughter. Why would anyone take Emma?

"Snow, good morning," she leans for a side hug and a kiss, "what brings you to visit so early?"

Snow wastes no time. "Emma is missing."

Cora stares at Snow and fakes being surprised. "What do you mean she is missing?"

"She was taken and we have no idea why. I was hoping that you would use your connections to help us get her home."

"Get who home?" Milah asks as she enters the dining room followed by August. "Aunt Snow, who are you trying to get home?" she repeats her question knowing the answer already.

"Emma, she was taken. She was on her way to visit us and she never showed up. Your uncle and Archie are going to go talk with the Sheriff."

"Why? Emma is the sweetest person. Who would do such a thing?" Milah asks as her voice cracks and she rushes to her aunt's side to hold her in a comforting embrace.

"And her husband, what is he doing?" August asks.

"He is asking around to some of his less reputable connections to see if they have heard anything."

"It was probably because of those connections that Emma was taken. One of the many people he has wronged before. They are most likely using Emma to get to him. She is missing because of him." August's seething words do little to give Snow hope.

"I don't care why I just want my daughter back."

"Mother," August says, "I will go meet Archie and Mr. Nolan at the Sheriff's office. I will ensure he knows that this disappearance should be his main focus." He turns to face Snow. "We will bring your daughter home safely." August storms out of the room not paying attention to anyone.

Milah tries to reassure her Aunt, "I'm sure she is alright, Aunt Snow. Maybe August is correct and her new husband is at fault." I wouldn't have had her kidnapped if Killian hadn't married her, Milah thinks bitterly.

Cora says to her daughter-in-law, "Milah, do you mind giving me and your aunt a bit of privacy?"

"Of course, I will be in my room." Milah is so happy her twit of a cousin is gone, maybe she should go visit the poor distraught husband Emma has left behind.

"Snow, I will happily help to locate Emma and bring her home. All I ask is that you keep your suspicions about her husband being my husband's bastard son. Obviously, I'm not offering you help in exchange for your silence, but it would be appreciated."

"I could care less right now if he is Brennan's son or not. All I want is my daughter home safe, so yes, I will not utter a word about it. I accept your deal." Snow has mentioned it to Milah already, but she doesn't care, all that matters to her at that moment is getting her daughter back.

Archie arrives at the Nolan Estate to meet with David as previously planned so they can go see Sheriff Nottingham. Archie is worried for Killian and hopes he is not coping with Emma's disappearance by drowning in endless amounts of rum.

David eagerly opens the door. "Archie, let's go, the carriage is ready." They both get inside the carriage and head to the Sheriff's office.

"David, Emma will soon be home. I know she is strong and smart. She knows we are all fighting to get her back."

"I know my princess is strong. I think a lot of it has to do with Killian. He lets her embrace her strength. Not a lot of men would."

"Speaking of Killian, I'm worried about him. He seems so lost without Emma."

"He will be fine Archie, he is strong too. It is strange how they feed off each other, I mean they give each other a strength that is rare."

"You mean their love gives them strength."

"Yes, I would have never thought that my daughter would find true love in a pirate. That fact still amazes me."

Upon their arrival to the Sheriff's door, they are greeted by an office that flaunts riches a man in his position wouldn't be able to afford. The obvious display causes pause to David and Archie, but sadly they have to find Emma.

"Good afternoon gentlemen to what do I owe the pleasure."

David speaks first, "Sheriff Nottingham we are in need of your assistance."

"How may I be of help today to two of Misthaven's finest?" He waves for them to sit but the two remain on their feet.

"My daughter, Emma, she was taken."

"Is she the one that married August Booth?"

"No, that is my niece Milah. Emma is married to Captain Jones." David explains, hoping it is enough. He's hesitant because of Killian's previous disclosure of the Sheriff's distaste for him which resulted in his absence in their current quest.

"As I was saying, my daughter was on her way to visit with her mother and me but she never showed up."

"Was there any sign of a struggle?"

"We believe she was taken on her route to our house. Her husband went to escort her home only to find out she never arrived. We went to their home and the house was empty. No sign of a struggle there."

The Sheriff's disinterest is obvious to both David and Archie.

Archie speaks loudly enough for Nottingham to hear. "David, once Liam arrives we will have the help we require. It is obvious that Sheriff Nottingham only shows interest with the right incentive. Liam will be here and he is a highly decorated officer, I'm sure he will move heaven and earth to help find Emma."

"Mr. Hopper, I never said I wouldn't help. There is nothing to go on. Did anyone see anything? Is there a ransom letter? I hate to say this Mr. Hopper, but you are starting to show similarities with your pirate friend."

"You just sit there and act as if we are only here to bother you. Is the lack of involvement because Emma is Killian's wife, the pirate's wife that you have failed to best? Just know that if you fail to act in the young woman's well-being, it will be heard. She may not be married to August Booth but she is still part of his family. We leave you with this question; will the most powerful family in town still support your office if you don't help bring Emma back?"

Sheriff Nottingham looks between the two men.

David wants to punch the idiot man in front of him. "Nottingham, I have no idea whose favor you gained that led you to become Sheriff; I still have connections in high places. The Booth's aren't the only family that can make or break you. Listen to me carefully, if you do not investigate my daughter's disappearance because of whom she married, I will bury you." He storms out with Archie hot on his tail.

"David, please wait, I know you are upset and you have every right to be. That man doesn't deserve the office."

"I didn't want to believe Killian was right, but he was. My daughter is missing and the first question that stupid man asks is if she is the one that married August Booth. What the hell was that?"

"We should stop by Killian's house and inform him of the visit. If we have to wait for Liam to arrive we wait."

"Don't you think we should have received a note or something by now? The not knowing scares me; I hope she is alive and well."

"I know it feels longer than it has been but you have to know she is alive. Hurting her cannot be an option for her captors. They have to know that keeping her healthy would be the best choice."

August arrives at Nottingham's office not long after Archie and David are gone.

Killian had been restless since Emma's disappearance. They had yet to receive the ransom letter everyone had expected. He would scours the docks and he frequents the taverns daily ,in hopes to hear anything. The silence is killing him.

He thinks of his love and decides to retrieve Tink. He knows Emma wants her out of the convent. He will explain the rules and conditions to her. Emma wants her to study and if she objects she will stay at the convent.

He also wonders about the visit his father-in-law and Archie are taking to the Sheriff. He hopes not attending works favorably.

First, he will go to the convent and depending on Tink's answers he will decide whether to leave her longer or take her home. Then he will go to the Nolan's to find out what happened with Nottingham.

Killian arrives at the convent and is quickly invited in. He asks to speak with Tink and he waits for her presence. He had asked if it was acceptable to wait outside by the little area that he had found Emma the last time he saw her at the convent.

"Killian!" Tink rushes to his side as she hugs him, "I thought you had forgotten about me."

"Tink, you should know better than that."

"So, where is the new bride or did the good girl tire of the bad pirate already?"

"Tink, as much as I care for you, do not speak of my wife that way. I'm only here because of her. Shall I leave?"

"Killian," she grabs his arm, "what is wrong? I know you well enough to know something is terribly wrong. Where is Emma?" She looks into his eyes and sees the pain that resides in them.

"Tink, first thing, I love you dearly but not in the way you wanted me to. I'm in love with my wife."

He waits for her reaction and when she waits intently without arguing, he continues, "It was Emma's idea to come get you but there are conditions. You will study, be it with a tutor or with Emma. You will learn to be a proper lady."

Tink couldn't help but burst out laughing. "I don't know Killian, I'm not lady material but I'm willing to try if it gets me out of here."

"Good, I spoke with Mother Superior about you continuing your studies but living with us. Once Emma is back she will tutor you."

"Once Emma is back? Where is she, Killian?"

He takes a deep breath. "She is missing, she was taken."

"I'm sorry, Killian." She rushes to his side and hugs him. He cannot stop himself and allows the tears to shed. "I didn't mean it. Killian, I'm sorry. I admit I was hurt by your marriage. Emma knew of my feelings and I felt betrayed by my only girl friend."

"Tink, she loves you and because she knows that you are not happy here she had convinced me to come get you. It was her idea for you to come live with us. She knows of our past and she doesn't care about it."

"You really do love her don't you?"

"I do love her and she loves me. I still don't understand the reason she was kidnapped."

"Killian, I hate to say this, but do you think it could be someone out to hurt you?"

"Aye, I have thought that. I have gone to the tavern to see if anyone has any information but all there is silence."

"Do you know of anyone that might want to hurt her?"

"My Emma is an angel but you weren't the only one upset because of our marriage."

"What do you mean?"

"Do you remember that last job I went on, the one in Arendelle?"

"Yes, that is the one that landed you in prison. What of it?"

"What I never told you was the reason for it. I wanted to make enough money to be able to settle down with a woman I had met. I thought I was in love and it turned out I was not enough for her. This woman married someone else in my absence, someone with power and honor."

"So you wanted to marry her too. You truly never wanted to marry me, it was never going to be me."

"I'm sorry love. I had hoped that my intentions were clear."

"They were, I just didn't want to see them." She smiles sadly. "What does that woman have to do with Emma?"

"She is Emma's cousin."

"Are you talking about the same hateful woman that married her betrothed?"

"Aye, she is the same one." He continues wistfully as his memory is fills with his first encounters with Emma. "You know, Emma and I didn't fall in love at first sight or maybe we were but we were too bloody stubborn to admit it. I fear we have lost so much time."

"Do you truly think she would do this to Emma?"

"Milah has proven to be a very deceitful person. She has tried on several occasions to cause trouble, and failed. I hope I'm wrong because Emma's parents love her and if it is discovered she had a hand in the disappearance, it will break their hearts."

"Then for Emma and her family's sake I hope she is not at fault."

"Thank you; Tink, do you accept the terms?" he asks with a watery laugh.

"I do, I'm sorry Killian. You will find her and then you two will boss me around."

"There will be no bossing around. She loves you as much as I do. You are part of the family. Now go get your things and let's go home. We need to make sure everything is taken care of for Emma. I want her to come home to a well-maintained home."

Nottingham is still sitting in his chair looking over some documents when he heard his door open. He looks up and is met with a very angry August Booth. He stands up so quick he would get whiplash.

"Mr. Booth, how may I be of service today?"

"I was wondering if Mr. Nolan and Mr. Hopper have paid you a visit."

"Yes, they did. They left not long ago."

"Yet I found you sitting on your ass instead of looking for my wife's cousin."

"Sir, to be honest, I don't believe there is a chance of retrieving the girl."

"Why not? She hasn't been gone that long."

"I believe this is the outcome of her becoming a dirty pirate's wife."

"Dirty pirate's wife or not, she is still family. I suggest you get off of your ass and get looking for her. I imagine you like your job, don't you? Are you familiar with my mother? Keep this in mind Sheriff, my mother is very fond of Emma."

"Mr. Booth, if I had known the family was so eager to marry the poor girl, I would have volunteered and saved her from a lowly pirate."

"Sheriff Nottingham, you're under the impression that being in this office makes you a good match for someone like Emma but from my point of view, you are no better than her current husband. I know the kind of man you are and it doesn't matter to me as long as you do your job. Get her home!" With those last words, he turns and leaves.

August decides on one last stop before heading back. He stops at the old church. He married Milah there and Emma married Killian. He swiftly enters the old weathered building in search of the priest.

"Good day, Father. I was wondering if you could spare me a minute."

"Good day to you too August, how have you been? Are you here to reserve a date for a christening?"

"I'm afraid not, I'm here to see if it would be possible to annul a marriage?"

"I don't understand, annul a marriage. I thought you were happy with Milah."

"I am extremely happy with my wife; I was hoping to annul Emma and Killian's marriage."

"I don't understand. There is no reason for an annulment. Besides if that is what they wanted, shouldn't one of them be here inquiring about it?"

"Emma is unable to be here. I believe she was coerced by Killian into the marriage."

"That may be grounds for an annulment but they would have to come in seeking it."

"I understand, I will get Emma to come and request the dissolution herself." August stands and walks out of the old church as the bells ring throughout the streets.

Without realizing, he heads to Killian's home instead of his own. He is on automatic; he gets to the door quickly and knocks loudly. A young blonde with big hazel eyes opens the door.

"I'm sorry, is this not the Jones residence?"

"It is the right house. Killian is in his room."

"I'm sorry are you the maid? Should you be addressing your boss by his first name?"

"First of all, I'm not the maid. I have known Killian most of my adult life and I'm friends with his wife, too. That is why I call him by his first name, not that it is any of your business. Who are you to come and lecture me about the way I address my friend?"

August smiles at the spitfire in front of him. "My name is August Booth, I met Killian a long time ago and his wife is my wife's cousin. That makes us family. May I come in?"

Tink opens the door and invites him in. "I will go get him." She guides him to the living room. "Sit down."

Tink knocks lightly on Killian's bedroom door and opens it slowly. He is sitting on the floor with his flask in one hand and a white as snow nightgown on the other.

"Killian, I'm sorry to bother you but you have a visitor."

"If it is not my father-in-law or Archie, I don't want to see anyone."

"He said his name is August Booth."

"Fine, I'm coming, I would rather tell the wanker to fuck off but my Emma will scold me good if she ever found out of my poor behavior."

He rises from the floor and gently puts the nightgown on the bed. He quickly reaches the living room and finds August sitting.

"August, to what do I owe the honor of your visit?"

"I came to inform you that all the Booth power will ensure Emma's prompt return. I paid a visit to Nottingham and encouraged him to do his job."

"Are you telling me this in hopes of a thank you?"

"I'm here to ask you to let Emma go once she is safe. After all, it is because of your ill reputation that she is in danger."

"She is my wife and will remain so unless she wants to go. I'm not forcing her to be with me."

"Then you will have no problem letting her walk away, do the right thing for her safety. I doubt this will be the last time your past catches up with her."

"We love each other dearly but if she chose to leave I would not stop her."

"Then I have your word that should she choose to end this marriage you will not object."

"I would honor her choice."

"Alright then, soon she will be home."

"Before you go August, how did you find out of Emma's disappearance?" Killian has a clue but wants to make sure.

"Your mother-in-law went to the estate to ask mother for help."

"I see, and you couldn't stop yourself from being a knight in shining armor."

"Look, Killian, this is not personal, I just believe Emma will be happier without you in her life."

Tink had been eavesdropping on the whole conversation. "Hey, Mr. Rich and Powerful, how about you leave and don't bother coming back. What kind of nobleman are you to come here and kick him when he is down?"

Tink walks toward August and not so gently guides him to the door and slams it behind him.

"Killian, please do not listen to him. Emma will be home safe and you two will have your happy ending."

"Tink, I truly hope so."

Emma Jones sits in her little cot. She has been getting to know Rufio better and Killian at the same time. It truly feels like she has been separated from her family far longer than she actually has. She shares her meager meals with Rufio as they talk. Their talks seem to halt every time Felix walks in and scolds Rufio with a simple look. She is also confident that they don't mean to physically hurt her which is a blessing.

Rufio smiles sadly at her every time he has to rise from his seat to leave her alone. She still has no idea what it is they want from her or how long they plan to keep her. As she pondered her next move, she hears voices just outside her door. Hushed murmurs, she has to strain her ears to make out the words. "Soon your little friend will be gone and you will be forgotten." It was obvious Felix disapproved of her growing friendship with Rufio. She knows her plan is working, even if slower than she had hoped.

She will find her way back home to Killian. She cannot lose any more time. "I'm working my way back to you."

Chapter Text

Chapter 25: Thwarted Dashing Rescue

Killian is pacing back and forth in Emma's garden. The flower's fragrance fill his nostrils. He misses her so much, but he needs to clear his mind. Thoughts of her are so painful and distracting. So he decides to go to the only place that allows him to gain perspective, the sea.

He walks into the house and calls out to Tink. "Tink, I'm going to the docks, to the Jolly. If anyone stops by, that's where I will be."

She rushes out of her hiding place and smooths her simple green dress. "I want to go with you. I was locked up for far too long at that convent."

"Tink, I'm sorry but I would rather go alone."

"Killian, you are not the only one that needs to breathe the salty fresh air or see the waves crashing against the hull of the ships."

"Fine, you come along then. Do you mind if we walk?"

"Are you kidding me? Killian, it's really far."

"No, it's not... but I suppose we can take the carriage if you'd prefer."

"No, we can walk. I know you would rather walk. I'm still coming along. You are not getting away from me. Killian, I know you are worried about Emma and I also know for a fact that she will come home soon and torture me with studies." She scrunches her nose and bumps his shoulder with her own.

They walk towards the docks using the route opposite of Sherwood Lane, the same road his love had been taken from.

"Don't worry, I will give you the space you need to think."

Once they reach the docks they separate. Tink quickly wanders the docks as she celebrates finally being free.

Killian's brows furrow in thought. He stares at the calming waves beyond the Jolly. He feels so at peace and the solitude is welcomed. Something doesn't feel quite right. He is very perceptive and right now he knows something is amiss. Normally the lost boys' gang flocks to him; he rarely reaches the Jolly without being bombarded with their questions and requests for sailing trips. It is surprisingly quiet. His two biggest fans are nowhere to be seen. Some time back he had caught a few of them aboard the ship hoping to stow away on one of his trips. He quickly turns and walks to a small group of boys playing on the docks. He recognizes one of them. "Johnny, lad, I was wondering where I could find Rufio and Felix?"

"Captain they are gone, they left with a man."

"They are gone? What man did they leave with? Johnny, how long ago was this?"

The boy thinks of his answer before replying, "Almost a week I think, maybe less."

He's a bloody git, he had been too busy looking for clues at the taverns. Sure the docks were filled with newcomers daily, but how many of these people paid any attention to the kids that dwelled there. The short answer is none. Not unless it suits them in some way. He knows this because he has lived it. He was once a lost boy; one of the lost ones. That is one of the reasons the boys look up to him. He was one of them and he managed to survive.

"Johnny, has the man returned to the docks since Rufio and Felix left with him?"

The boy shook his head slowly. "Are they in trouble Captain?"

"No, they're not Johnny." He kneels to be at eye level with the boy. He smiles at the young boy and ruffles his hair. He knows he cannot save them all but he knows Emma will know what to do. "My boy, I need a little bit of help at the office. How would you like to be my personal messenger?" He can offer the boy a place to sleep at the office. There is a small room in the back with two bunks. He knows Michael will not mind. He is a kind, old man. The alternative is his old beach cabin but it is too far.

Tink arrives, "Hey, what is going on?"

Killian turns to her, "Felix and Rufio aren't here; they left with some man, days back."

Tink looks at Killian confused.

"It's too much of a coincidence. Some man appears and persuades two very impressionable boys to leave with him. The sea calls to those two and I cannot picture them anywhere else. Then not long after, my wife disappears."

"I don't know Killian." She looks at him with pity.

"Tink I would gladly take that wager, I know I'm right. Let's get Johnny here to the office and then we go home."

"Fine, but are you going to tell Emma's parents of your theory?"

"About my suspicions; I will tell everyone once I have figured out why she was taken. Tink, I don't know why this man, whoever he is, would target Emma?"

"Killian I don't agree with you but if you feel that strongly I will help however you see fit."

"Good, let's drop off the boy and go home. Maybe Archie and Mr. Nolan will have news."

They each grab one of Johnny's hands and head towards his office with the boy in tow.

They quickly make the drop. Thomas welcomes the boy while Smee turns up his nose. The man truly is a rat.

"Sir, before you go, is there any news of Mrs. Jones?"

"Thank you for asking, Mr. Thomas," Killian stresses the name since his first mate has not mentioned his concern for his wife's abduction. He glares at Smee who in turn cowers in the corner. "I'm sure she will be home soon. I can feel it."

"I'm happy to hear that, sir. She is a wonderful woman."

"Is there anything else?"

Smee and Thomas answer in unison. "No sir, the business is going well."

"Good. For the time being, you two will be in charge. Johnny can deliver messages to the house in case it is needed. I have to head home. Please keep an eye on the boy."

"Of course sir, it will be a pleasure." Mr. Thomas looks fondly at the boy already.

Killian and Tink leave the boy behind and head to the house.

Snow promptly arrives back home after her conversation with Cora. She knows the idea of reaching out to her was not well received, but she knows they will understand and accept her decision. The end goal is to get Emma home. Not long after her arrival David and Archie arrive.

"David, Archie how did it go? Is he going to help?"

"He wasn't thrilled with the idea, that was obvious, but he will. Especially if he knows what is good for him." Archie nods in agreement with David's words.

"I went to go see Cora. She agreed to help. Not long after I delivered the news of Emma's disappearance August left to meet with you both at the Sheriff's office."

David looks at Archie as they both respond at the same time. "We didn't see him there."

"Oh, he seemed eager to help. He cares for Emma."

"Sweetheart, he must have arrived after we left. I thought we had agreed to meet with the Sheriff first."

"This is Emma we are talking about; I'm not taking any chances."

Archie cuts in, "I'm sure things will work out."

David looks at his friend and nods in agreement. "Snow, with Cora's support, I'm sure in no time we will have our daughter back."

Archie smiles, "I should go update Killian."

Snow and David agree for him to go talk to Killian.

There is a pounding on the door and Killian rushes to answer, maybe it's news. He opened the door wide and is greeted by Sheriff Nottingham, who steps inside and makes himself at home without being invited.

"Killian Jones, oh, how you have moved up in the world. Marrying above your class; how fortunate for you."

"Nottingham, what do you want? Are you here to ask for a bribe?" Killian knows he's struck a nerve because the Sheriff goes red.

"If I was you, Captain, I would not anger the person sent to help you find your wife. Your father-in-law and your good friend Mr. Hopper came to see me, and last but not least, the all-powerful August Booth was there later. If you ask me, everyone is putting too much importance on the wife of a pirate."

"My Emma is bloody amazing and you would be lucky to breathe the same air as her. You should keep in mind that she is not only my wife. She is the daughter of Snow and David Nolan. She is close to the Booths. She is not an expendable orphan no one cares for or a simple barmaid that just disappeared."

"Oh, I've gathered that. Mr. Booth was adamant about me finding her. I do wonder why he puts such an effort in looking for his ex-betrothed. Interesting, isn't it? Do you think maybe there is more to his interest?"

"What are you getting at? Just spit it out!"

"He was betrothed to her and then he changed her for the cousin. I don't know, Captain, he may be having second thoughts."

"I don't bloody care if he is having second thoughts or not. Emma is my wife and we are very happy together."

"And yet, she is not here to confirm your story. I think she wanted to run away after she realized that she ruined her life by marrying you. Maybe she got tired of you and found a new lover or went back to an old one." Nottingham smiles and strokes his chin.

Killian laughs at his snide remark and slowly approaches the Sheriff. "I think you are confusing my wife with Lady Marian. Weren't you two to be betrothed? Oh yes, I recall now, she met the dashing Robin Locksley and married him instead. I hear they have a lovely son."

Nottingham closes his eyes as he squeezes his hands into fists so tight that they turned white. He tries to look around the house for a distraction. "I'm only here to do my job."

"Are you mate? You could have fooled me. You are here to get a rise out of me."

"If it was up to me I would let the pieces fall where they shall but in no uncertain way, I was threatened to action by your father-in-law and August Booth."

"Look around if you need to. I've got nothing to hide."

"It appears so, Jones." He tilts his head towards the interior of the house.

Killian starts to walk and is interrupted by Tink. "I will show Nottingham around." He has no doubt Tink is only giving the Sheriff the tour to avoid them from shedding any blood. So he easily makes his way once more to the garden.

After Snow's departure, Cora summons Malcolm to the office.

"Mrs. Booth, how can I be of assistance today?"

"I need Emma brought back. David and Mr. Hopper have reached out to the Sheriff. August went to assist them. Snow agreed to keep her mouth quiet. The plan was never to keep her away forever."

"Oh, so soon; I thought it would take longer for her to agree."

"Malcolm, you seem to underestimate a mother's love. It is never a wise choice."

Malcolm maintains eye contact with her. "I would never make that mistake about you."

"Bring her back, and Malcolm, make sure she is unharmed." With those final words, she leaves him in the office with doors wide open.

Malcolm stays behind trying to think of a way to break the news to the other Mrs. Booth.

He searches for Milah to give her the news. She will not be happy to find out that it is time to bring her cousin back. He will claim that with the pressure the families are applying he cannot risk getting caught.

The volatile personality of the younger Mrs. Booth has been evident to him from the start. He finally finds her walking back from her carefree walk in the gardens.

"Miss Milah, may I have a word?"

"Of course, how can I help?" She offers him her sweetest of smiles.

"I heard that your Aunt came by to request assistance in recovering Mrs. Jones. I'm just informing you that she will be returned soon. I will have to leave to retrieve her."

"Wait, we need to make the demand for her return to Killian. I cannot wait to see how easily he discards my cousin and keeps the ship. That will show everyone; especially Killian, that he doesn't love her as he claims."

"Don't worry I will have the ransom letter dropped before I leave."

"I could deliver it."

Malcolm stares at Milah. "I could go visit him feigning concern for Emma and say I saw the messenger and that he handed it to me or that it was on the floor."

"Don't you think they would question you further?"

"I could say I didn't pay attention. It doesn't matter."

"If you feel confident, I will not object. I will write it quickly. I need to leave and there will be two days for Jones to respond."

"Should I follow you?"

He looks around to see if he can spot anyone that could question their conversation and he didn't find any.

"Alright, follow me. We have to do this quickly."

"Malcolm, wait. Won't my precious mother-in-law have a problem with you leaving?"

"No, she knows I need to leave. I told her that I have some loose ends to tie-up."

"She has been very accommodating to your little excursions."

"Mrs. Booth and I are on good terms is all."

Milah can't hide the disgusted look on her face as they walk in silence to his room. He grabs stationary from the small desk and quickly composes the letter. Simple, direct and to the point.

Milah stares intently at Malcolm as he hands her the note to examine. She reads aloud, "Mr. Jones, Your wife in exchange of your ship. You have 24 hours to comply. You will sail the ship to the border of Misthaven and Port Hook. Leave the title of the ship in the Captain's Quarters to indicate compliance. Your wife will be returned within 24 hours. Let's keep this between us, the first sign of a third party will result in you never seeing your lovely wife again."

"I think this will do perfectly. Malcolm, why does he have to sail out of Misthaven?"

"That question surprises me coming from you. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be caught. It will be a quick sail for him."

"I really wish you didn't have to retrieve Emma."

"You should be happy. You have insisted that he doesn't love her. This will be proof. Now, I have to go. I had asked Dr. Hyde to check in on her. He had reluctantly agreed only because he was afraid one of my helpers might hurt her. He is concerned due to the obvious hate for Mrs. Jones. It seems like there is someone out there that dislikes her even more than you do."

"I don't dislike my cousin but I have never been one to share."

"Have you considered that perhaps this time she is the one that doesn't want to share? I have to go now."

Milah stares at him as he leaves. She has to leave to deliver the letter. She ponders if she should go look for August or Cora to inform them she is leaving and decides against it. The letter, ready to be delivered is neatly hidden from prying eyes.

Milah arrives by carriage to the Jones Residence. She smooths her dress and feels for the letter. She walks confidently toward the door and schools the expression on her face to show concern. She knocks hurriedly. The door opens after a few moments. The look on her face changes instantly as she faces an unknown woman.

"I'm here to see Mr. Jones," she stammers.

"He is not accepting visitors."

"He will see me," Milah says as she forces her way inside.

"I said he is not accepting visitors. You should leave before I force you."

"How dare you? I'm family. I have no idea where he found you but he will be very angry to know you are talking to me this way."

"You are not family. The only woman other than me that can claim to be his family is not here right now."

"I don't know who you think you are but I'm family. My cousin is his wife."

"Your cousin?" Tink repeats with recognition, "Oh, you're Milah. I know of you. Emma mentioned you. What are you doing here? You come to offer yourself when he is distraught. Wasn't it enough that you stole her betrothed now you are here to go after her husband?"

Milah turns beet red. "My cousin would never say such a thing."

"What do you truly know of your cousin or even care? If you would have cared you would have turned down a proposal you knew would break her heart."

"Oh I see, my saintly cousin only told her side of the story. What about her? She married Killian knowing that I loved him."

"What are you talking about, how do you know Killian?"

"That is none of your business, would you step out of my way. As I left my house I saw a boy headed up to the door and he just gave me this and said it was for Killian." She waves the letter in front of Tink. "It may be something important."

"Wait here and don't get any ideas. I'm not Emma; I will not hesitate in hurting you. Just so you know, I'm no lady."

"I can tell. Could you just get on with it? Go get Killian."

Tink glares at her and goes in search of Killian.

Killian had entered the house through the back door completely oblivious to the scene that is playing out inside his home.

Tink finally finds him in his and Emma's bedroom. He is reminiscing gently caressing her possessions.

"Killian" Tink whispers.

"Aye," he sniffles and gives her a smile.

"Killian, when we came back from the docks you were so sure of yourself and now you are back to the defeated man that you were in the morning."

"I know if Emma was here things would be different."

"Killian, I know you are upset but there is someone here to see you."

"I have been expecting Archie or my father-in-law. Is it them?"

"I'm afraid not, it's Milah."

"What the bloody hell does she want? Tink, I cannot deal with her."

"She has a letter with her. She said that a boy was going to deliver it but left it with her when he saw her."

"Do you think it's the ransom letter?"

"I would think so. I hope so."

"Come on Tink, let's go find out."

"Is it true?"

"Is what true?" He arches his brow as they walk toward the living room.

"You and Milah had a dalliance. That you were in love."

"Ah, I thought I was but now I know for a fact that Emma has been the only woman I have ever truly loved."

She smiles and gently reaches out for his hand. "I know, I understand now. At first, I was so angry and hurt but you never gave me false hope."

"I'm sorry love; I believe that the right man for you is out there and that you will find him."

"Just so you know, I'm not leaving you alone with that witch. Emma would kill me."

"She would kill us both."

Killian clenches his jaw as he greets his unwanted guest. "Milah, what are you doing here?"

"I came to see how you were doing only to find out you already have my cousin's replacement living with you. How would Emma feel to know that?"

"I don't have to explain myself to you but Tink is not Emma's replacement. Emma wanted her to come live with us."

"This is priceless; my cousin is more naïve than I gave her credit for."

"You will not come into my home and insult my wife. Get to the bloody point or get out!"

Milah rolls her eyes at him. "I would prefer to have this conversation alone."

"Either you start talking or leave," he demands through gritted white teeth.

Tink hisses at him under her breath, "The letter Killian."

"Milah, give me the bloody letter or was that a lie?"

She holds out the letter for him to take. He grabs the letter unceremoniously from her hand and opens it.

Tink stares at him as he reads it and mutters random words.

"Killian, is it the ransom letter?"

"Aye"

"What do they want?"

"The Jolly"

Emma is pacing in the little room, she has to get out now, she has no idea what they plan to do to her. She will not let fear thwart her plans. Suddenly there are footsteps just outside the door and she stays still and grabs her empty water cup slowly to go unnoticed and flips it. There aren't any options for weapons so she will use what she can. She sees the door knob turn slowly and then the door is open. The sunlight shines through and she can make out a silhouette of a man stepping into the cot. Before she can strike the intruder, she is stopped by the voice of her young friend. The cup drops to the floor.

"Miss Emma, it's me. Hurry, I don't know how long they will be gone. They went to town for supplies. We are lucky they left the carriage behind but they took one of the horses. The carriage will be slower with one horse but you'll have a head start."

"Rufio, thank you, I will never forget this. You are helping me get home. Come with me." Her eyes are teary and full of hope.

"I cannot come with you. I will lie and tell them you ran right before they got here."

"I will not know where to go. We have a better chance together."

"No, I hope the Captain can truly forgive me for my part in your separation. You are going to need to knock me out."

"No, come with me," she asks again, she fears for his well-being once she is gone.

"We have no time to argue. Come." He grabs her hand and pulls her out. The sun shines bright and hurts her eyes. She lifts her hand to shield her eyes as she follows him.

He abruptly stops in front of the carriage. She still can't focus her eyes as she hears the rustling and the horse neighing.

"Here, let me help you climb. You need to go. Now!" He looks so sad.

She stops suddenly. "Wait, I thought I was taking the carriage."

"No, it will be much faster if you ride the horse. The carriage will be too much weight for the lone horse and slow you down. You will surely be caught again."

Emma looks at her dress. It is dirty and rough to touch. If she is to ride the horse she cannot care for propriety. She reaches for the bottom and tears it enough to allow movement.

He helps her mount the horse, her torn garment making the climb easier. "Rufio, before I go. Do you know who is responsible?"

"I just know his last name... Peters, but I don't think he is in charge. He always said you were not to be hurt and that you would be released but I'm afraid of what Felix will do, he scares me."

"I know he doesn't like me. He blames me for losing Killian."

"I still think you should come with me."

"If they hadn't taken the other horse, I could, but two people on one horse. The horse will tire and we cannot take that risk. Please go, follow the dirt road and you will reach the crossroads, take a left turn and keep going. That will lead you back to Misthaven."

She rides the horse as fast as she can, following Rufio's instructions and disappearing into the sea of trees.

Rufio looks on as Emma gallops away to her freedom. He slowly walks back to the cot she had been held in. He grabs the cup she had in her hands and repeatedly strikes himself in the head, blow after blow until blood runs down his face. It has to look believable that Emma had assaulted him in her quest for freedom. He hopes that she has gained enough distance.

Chapter Text

Chapter 26: New Friends and Allies

Emma keeps a steady pace after leaving Rufio behind. She'd almost turned back on several occasions but if she did, she may never see her family again. She would remember the route taken and beg if needed to go back to retrieve the boy. Killian wouldn't deny her.

She rides the horse in full gallop as long as she can. Later she switches to a trot and a few walk breaks in between. She pays close attention to her surroundings, admiring the view.

She had never left Misthaven before. Her mother had offered to send her on holiday alongside Milah countless times but she had never accepted. She enjoyed her time with Cora preparing to be the perfect wife for August.

Emma wanders away from the road and into the woods. She needs to find some water for both of them and maybe if she is lucky she can find them something edible. Maybe she should let her horse lead. Survival instinct must kick in at some time. There are horses in the wild and they survive perfectly fine on their own.

She's afraid to get lost in the woods and there is also a possibility she will be recaptured if she stays on the main road.

The scenery is beautiful. The trees seem to almost reach the sky and the wildflowers are vibrant and fragrant; it looks like a rainbow layout on her feet. Her thoughts drift home. She follows and the horse is grazing on some grass. She looks around the trees and shrubs and notices a path. It seems like a well-traveled trail. She doesn't want to disturb the horse, but slowly approaches him to not disturb his meal. She ties his rope to the closest tree.

She walks toward the trail and keeps glancing back to make sure the horse is there and no one is following her.

Emma followed the trail and keeps walking. The further into the woods she walks the more calming and beautiful it is. She has never walked for so long and soon she stops dead in her tracks. There is a deer drinking water from a creek. She is so enthralled and slowly kneels down to avoid the deer's attention. Then without a warning, she hears a swish pass her right ear and hit its target as the deer slumps to the ground.

She is standing there blinking away the disbelief. She turns to look at the perpetrator and yells at him. "You could've hit me!"

"I never miss."

"You never miss? Are you crazy?" She notices the wolf standing next to the man. The silver wolf snarls at the offensive comment made at his master. Emma steps back slowly.

"Don't worry. He is gentle, he is just hungry." He pats the head of the animal that locked his one black and one red eye with her.

"Yes, he looks very sweet."

"He is." He smiles at her. "Just don't make any sudden moves around him." He walks towards Emma leading the way for the silver wolf close behind him.

Once he reaches her he guides his pet to Emma and slowly extends his hand for her to place hers on his. She does so slowly. The wolf slowly nuzzles her palm and licks her.

"He likes you."

"I just hope he doesn't like me enough to eat."

"Oh no, he is domesticated. Well at least as much as he can be. I rescued him as a pup."

She looked unsure.

"I do apologize for scaring you."

She tries to play it off. "I was not scared I was just surprised; I was admiring the beauty of nature."

"I agree with you, nature is beautiful. I missed it so much, I gave up my life in town to find solace in a little cabin, not far from here. I have always been more of a hunter than anything else."

"Oh, and what life did you give up?" she asks genuinely curious. They walk as he guides her.

"Well, I used to be a lawman in a town not far from here."

"But you missed all this and you left," she says as she pointed to the scenery.

He simply nods his answer.

She suddenly stops, "I left my horse back there, I think." She points to the opposite direction they were headed.

"Then we should go get him. I'm sure we will find him." He changes direction. "I don't mean to be rude but you don't seem to belong here. I'm sorry I don't have the best people skills."

"I know. You almost killed me with that knife. And you are right, I don't."

"I already told you, I never miss. So, tell me how is it you got here? Of course, if you don't mind me asking." He has noticed the wedding band on her hand.

"I was taken on my way to visit my parents by some men."

"What? Are you alright?" He looks her over to assess injuries. She doesn't appear to have any, but she does look dirty.

"I escaped with the help of a friend. I was on my way home but I didn't want to tire my horse and I may be a little lost now." She admits her predicament with a nervous chuckle.

"I could help you go home. I could also look into the men that took you. Do you remember where you were held?"

"I just want to get home."

"Alright, then we will go retrieve your horse and get you home. Where is home?"

"Thank you. What should I call you? Maybe, crazy man that almost killed me?"

"Graham Humbert."

Emma thinks she recognizes the name but fails to recall from where."And what should I call you?"

"Emma Jones, I'm from Misthaven."

"It is an honor to meet you. Now let's get you home."

Emma stops. "Wait, what about the deer? You said that you were both hungry." She points at him and the wolf.

"We still have enough back home for a couple of nights and besides we need to get you back to Misthaven. It will not be long before you are reunited."

Killian loses his death grip on the ransom letter; Tink bends to pick it up.

"Killian, are you sure? She looks at the letter and hates that she cannot understand its contents.

He gives her a grim smile and nods his confirmation.

"What are you going to do?"

Milah's ears perk up to listen to the answer to the question. It is the moment of truth. She knows he will pick his ship and realize that Emma means nothing to him.

"Isn't true love more important than a few planks and a sail? TInk, she is my home. I will do whatever is needed to get her back."

Milah can't stop herself, "You are willing to give up your ship for my nitwit cousin? Are you crazy? She is not worth it, she doesn't love you. I love you. Let them keep her and we can be together."

"What are you still doing here? Shouldn't you be with your husband?" Tink snarls at her.

"TInk, I have to go see Archie. I have to hurry, time is of the essence. As for you Milah, you need to go home to your husband. I'm going to go get my wife," he says as hope finally fills his heart.

"Are you truly willing to trade your ship for her?"

"Aye, without a second thought, I would and I am."

"But you love that ship; you cannot trade it for her!"

"Milah, I love my wife. I think I may have loved her since I first laid eyes on her. I was just too stubborn and too angry to see it."

Milah blinks back tears as she storms out of Killian's home after hearing his decision. If he thinks he is going to have his happy ending with her cousin he is wrong. She subconsciously walks to the same road Emma had been taken from as a fury engulfs her entire being. Emma had everything growing up and now she has taken her love.

Milah startles as she hears footsteps approaching her. She looks up to see a man walking toward her and she wipes away her tears. He looks like he has lost something.

"Excuse me, Miss, do you live around here?"

"No I don't, my cousin does." She points to the direction of Killian's house.

"Why do you ask?"

"I have been tasked with finding a kidnapped woman and I was curious to know if there had been any witnesses to the act but so far I have not found one."

"Oh, you must be the Sheriff. Sheriff Nottingham, if memory serves. My husband went to see you. My cousin is the one that was taken."

"I see. I'm sorry."

"No worries, I will be giving my husband glowing reviews on your search for her."

"Your husband seems very fond of your cousin."

"He feels guilty."

"Ah, for her marrying the pirate," Nottingham spits the word. "You don't seem too distraught over her disappearance."

"Why Sheriff Nottingham, are you accusing me of not caring for my cousin?"

"I never said that, but there is something there, and dare I say it, Mrs. Booth, I find you to be a very interesting woman. I feel I should keep an eye on you."

"That is good to know." She smiles coyly as she walks away. She knows that he may come in handy.

Chapter Text

Chapter 27: Coming Home

Emma and Graham make their trek to his cabin. He has a horse and a small carriage. They had found her horse in the same spot she had left it. Once they arrive at his home he hurries with preparations for the trip. They feed her horse and his so they will have the stamina to make the trip. He offers Emma some old, worn out trousers and a shirt which she accepts as she looks at the dirty clothes she is wearing. At least these clothes are clean. She is nervous and excited, she wants to see her husband. The smile that covers her face doesn't go unnoticed by her companion.

"Mrs. Jones, you will be reunited soon," Graham assures her.

"Thank you for your help. I'm really sorry I'm taking you away from your hunt." Emma smiles sadly at the man.

"No worries," he smiles at her, "I needed to go for supplies, normally I go to Port Hook but in this case, I will gladly go further down to Misthaven. I used to live there."

As they finish gathering a few supplies for their trip they continue with some conversation.

Emma looks curiously at her companion, "Wait you used to live in Misthaven? I think I would remember meeting you." She blushes slightly, as she realizes what she's said. He is a handsome older man, she has eyes, but her heart is only Killian's. She is finally going home. Lost in her thoughts, she almost misses his answer.

"I did live in Misthaven, a long time ago. Perhaps too long ago for you to be aware of my presence." His smile brightens his rugged features.

Emma smiles as she replies, "You might know my parents. My father is David Nolan and my mother is Snow Nolan."

He laughs as he stares at her, "I don't know how I missed the resemblance. You look so much like your father. I do see your mother, but you are your father's daughter." He smiles fondly at her.

"So you knew my dad? What a small world."

Graham smiles, "He is a good man and your mother is the fairest in the land."

Emma grins at the thought of her parents. They have all they need for the trip and finally leave the small cabin. Emma can't help admire the scenery. For the first time in her life, she wishes she could have traveled a little.

Graham is quiet as he steers the horses. The wolf rests his head on Emma's lap. The small carriage moves swiftly through the landscape not allowing the bumpy road to slow it down. Its occupants enjoy the view as they get closer to their destination.

Emma's thoughts keep drifting back to her husband. Once she gets home she will talk to Killian about finally going on a Honeymoon. They had never discussed it before, but now things are different, they loved each other. Besides, it would be nice to get away from her cousin and her mischief. The thought alone makes her smile. She knows her cousin is involved in her kidnapping, who else would want to hurt her?

Emma is eager to see her husband once more. Her heart is racing with anticipation the closer they get. Sometimes she wonders if he's missed her as much as she has missed him. She laughs at her brief insecurity. Milah has tried several tricks to separate them and has yet to succeed. in her gut, Emma knows Milah is somehow responsible for her kidnapping; the only question is, why keep her alive? She remembers Rufio saying that she wasn't meant to be killed. Wouldn't it be easier to have her killed? She would be out of the way- she knows Killian wouldn't fall into her loving arms, but once upon a time there had been a plan for them to be together. Milah and Killian would take August for all he was worth. Would her absence send Killian into darkness? He was trying to be an honorable man. Emma's thoughts are driving her crazy. She will feel better once she sees his face and looks into his deep sea blue eyes to calm the storm brewing within her.


Sheriff Nottingham watches as Milah walks away. His eyes glance towards Killian's house. He still can't believe it, a dirty pirate marrying into an honorable family like the Nolan's. He needs to find the girl to appease the Booths.

He grumbles thieving scum as he walks back to the house. His knock is loud and powerful.

A startled Tink opens the door with a scowl and crossed arms as she stares the man down. "What do you want? Killian doesn't want to see you and you know that."

Nottingham smirks, "I know that but I'm here to help him find his wife that's all." He leans into her space, "How do you think her family would react if they were to find out he was making my job difficult."

Tink stands her ground and considers the options. She knows he is right and it is obvious that the Sheriff does want to find Emma, even if it is just to be in the good graces of such powerful families.

Sheriff Nottingham stares at TInk as he waits for her to allow him passage inside the house. He would rather be doing something else with his time but he knows upsetting such important people won't end well for him.

Tink releases a breath, "Killian is not here, he just left and I'm not just saying that to give you a hard time. He-" she mumbles, "gotaransomletter."

Nottingham stares at her, "Wait! What did you say?"

Tink is second-guessing herself because she knows Killian wouldn't want him to know but he is trying to help. She gnaws at her bottom lip as she looks in the direction of the letter.

Nottingham purses his lips, "So are you going to let me in or not?"

Tink makes room for him to pass by her.

"Where is Jones? I was in the area and I didn't see him leave." Nottingham asks, doubting her truthfulness.

"Well, he left not long ago. Maybe you were distracted. I don't know. He got a letter."

"He got the ransom letter. May I see it?"

"He wanted me to show to Mr. Hopper and Mr. Nolan when they arrived but I can show it to you for a second."

"You and that damn pirate are making things so much harder than they need to be," he grumbles in frustration.

She walks quickly to the little table by the door and grabs the letter. Walking back toward him she hands the letter to him.

Nottingham reads the letter fast. "Is he going to do it? Is he really going to give away his ship?"

She rolls her eyes, "Of course he is! Do you really think he would hesitate? He wouldn't risk someone's life, much less the woman he loves. His wife."

"You do know this could be a trap. He could easily be walking towards his death."

Tink laughs, "Like you would care if that was the case."

"You're right, I could care less but I have a feeling that you care for the good Captain and want to protect him."

"He is my family, of course, I want to protect him."

Nottingham hands the letter back to her. "I'm going to the harbor and I'll take one of the small ships to Port Hook. I hope I get there in time." He storms out of the house as he considers the options. He could make a deal with the sheriff in Port Hook and they could keep the Jolly and sell it. They would make a good profit. Maybe arrest the kidnappers and get the girl home. He isn't too happy about helping the pirate but the Jolly would be a good price to extract from the scoundrel. Upon arriving at the harbor, Nottingham is able to procure transport on a ship to Port Hook.


At the Booth Estate, Cora sits in the office awaiting news. She is anxious for this to be over. She hated using Emma to her advantage but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Malcolm had proven to be trustworthy so there was no doubt in her mind Emma would be okay. Perhaps a bit frightened but no real harm. So she waits for his return.

August walks into the house and calls out for the maid. "Enith!"

The poor startled woman quickly approaches him, "Yes, sir?"

"Where is my mother?"

"She's in the office, sir." She curtsies and starts to walk away.

"Enith, I haven't excused you. How about my wife?"

Enith turns white, "I'm sorry sir, I thought you were done. I haven't seen Miss Milah. I'm sorry. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

August waves his hands and rushes to the office to talk to his mother.

"Mother, I spoke with Sheriff Nottingham and he will be working hard to bring Emma home." August notices his mother is upset. "Don't worry mother, she will be home soon. I also spoke to the Priest. I want to have her marriage annulled. It's Killian's fault she was taken. His dastardly actions have caused this."

"Son, don't you think this should be her decision?" Cora asks. "Why the interest? You made your choice and so did she."

"I'm only concerned with her well being. Have you seen Milah?"

"No, I haven't. Perhaps she's in your room."

"Alright, let me know the moment there is news," August requests as he walks out.

Milah sneaks back into the house. She is furious. She cannot believe Killian is willing to trade his ship for Emma. She paces the bedroom. Emma will soon be home and once she returns, Milah's window closes. She will lie and tell Emma that while she was missing Killian had eagerly fallen back into bed with her and they had not used any contraceptive. Now all she needs is to bed her husband. The thought makes her want to throw up. He is a poor substitute for the man she truly wants in her bed.

The door opens and August enters approaching her as he holds her gaze. "Hello, sweetheart. I know you are worried about your cousin. Don't worry, we will have her back. There will be no stone left unturned."

Milah tries not to roll her eyes as she gives her husband a small smile. "I know." He grabs on to her and holds her, the situation quickly escalates into Milah's favor.


At the Nolan's, Snow sits by the window waiting for news. Her daughter is coming home and she doesn't care if she has to make a deal with the devil. She is waiting for any kind of news.


At the Jones home, Tink is still waiting for David and Archie to arrive to give them the news about the ransom letter. She is worried about Killian. She knows that Nottingham is right. This could be a trap and it could end badly for Killian. The waiting feels eternal.

Not long after Nottingham leaves, there is finally the knock Tink has been waiting for. She opens the door and lets Archie and David in. She tries to act like a proper lady in David's presence. She knows he is Emma's father and she doesn't want her presence to upset him. This is his daughter's home.

"Tink?" Archie is surprised to see the young girl there, but the smile he gives her is genuine.

"Hi Archie, uhm, Killian- picked me up from the Convent. He said it was Emma's decision to bring me here."

Archie nods "Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Nolan, Emma's father. David this is Tink, she is like a little sister to Killian."

David smiles, "Hello, nice to meet you, Tink. Where is my son-in-law?" David looks around the living room.

Tink clears the throat and both men turn their attention to her.

"He got a ransom letter, and he went to go pay for it." Tink warily replies.

Archie and David exchange looks, but it is David that responds, "I'm sorry, he went to pay the ransom, but didn't think about waiting for us to arrive?"

"He just wants Emma home, he rushed out to make sure he arrived on time to pay the ransom. I tried to convince him to wait for you two, but Killian is stubborn."

"I know he is. Tink, did he take the letter with him?" Archie asks.

"No, he left it here for me to give to you two. I think I made a mistake. Nottingham was here looking for Killian. I showed it to him, and he left right after."

"Tink, you know he hates Killian. Why would you show it to him?"

"He said it could be a trap. I'm worried about Killian. I don't think he is thinking clearly. He just misses her so much."

The silence that had enveloped David as he paced the room while Archie and Tink talked comes to an end. "May I see the letter?"

Tink quickly grabs the letter and hands it to him.

David holds the letter in a way he can share it with Archie. They read swiftly.

Archie speaks first. "The Jolly Roger was the cost?"

"That ship has been his home for as long as I can remember." Tink's eyes water at the thought.

"He is trading his ship for Emma. Is he at the docks?" David asks, ready to leave.

"Mr. Nolan, he left a while ago. He is probably at Port Hook by now."

"We can go to the docks and hire a ship to takes us to follow him. The Jolly is easy to spot. And it is possible that Killian is walking into a trap." Archie worries for the younger man he sees as a son.

"Let's go then!" David agrees.

The two leave the Jones home and make their way to the docks, hoping they will get to Port Hook in time for the exchange.

Port Hook is a much smaller port. Once Killian docks the ship and disembarks the vessel he looks around to see if anyone is paying too much attention to him. No one stands out as he approaches an older sailor.

"Excuse me mate, I was wondering, where I could go about purchasing a horse?" Killian inquires.

"A horse? You have a magnificent ship there." The older man questions, clearly confused.

"I do, I need to travel on land for a while, and my crew will stay with the ship." He is lying, since no one is with him. He can handle a short trip by himself. He should stick around and keep an eye on the ship, but he needs to go home and wait for his Emma to be returned.

The man finally points him in the right direction and Killian Jones is quickly on his way back home.

After hours on horseback without any rest, he arrives at his house. He doesn't expect to find what greets him once he crosses his threshold.

His Emma! She stood, wearing some old clothes, looking like a vision. She wears a simple smile as she greets him. "Did you miss me?" His answer doesn't require words as they rush into each other's arms and reunite with a tearful kiss.

Chapter Text

Chapter 28: Reunited

 

Emma arrives sometime before Killian. She slowly opens the door to her home, unaware that he is not there, and hoping to surprise him. She is startled to see Tink, asleep on one of the couches in the living room. Emma shakes her head as she smiles at her friend. Killian had gone to get her because he knew it would make her happy. She gently rouses Tink from her sleep. 

 

Tink blinks a couple of times before her eyes adjust and she realizes she is not dreaming. Emma is back. 

 

“Emma? Is that truly you? Tell me I’m not dreaming,” Tink urges her friend as she rushes to her feet and embraces her.

 

“It’s me, I’m home. Where’s Killian?” Emma looks around the room.

 

“He shouldn’t be long. He went to go pay your ransom,” Tink answers.

 

“My ransom? Oh. I escaped from the kidnappers. Rufio helped me. I hope it wasn’t too much money.” Emma gives a sad smile. 

 

“Wait, Rufio? Was Felix with him?” TInk can’t believe it. Killian was right.

 

“Yes, and he doesn’t like me very much. I think my cousin was involved somehow.” Emma shrugs.

 

“Killian found out the boys had left with an older man. DId you see anyone else with them?”  

 

“No, they were the only ones that would come to feed me. I heard voices but that’s all. The only ones I saw were the kids when they approached me.” 

 

“Oh, maybe we should send a message to your parents to give them the great news that you are home.”

 

“Actually, my friend, the one that helped me get home, he went to let them know. I just wanted to come home but I know my parents are worried sick so I asked him to go.”

 

Tink smiles, “Killian is going to be so happy. Emma, I’m truly sorry I was such a brat when you told me of your plans to marry him. I’ve never seen him in love, and I’ve known him for a long time. He was so worried for you.”

 

“It has been forgotten. I’m happy he wasn’t alone.” 

 

~~~~~

 

Snow looks out her window as she worries a hole in the floor from continued pacing while waiting for news. She quickly opens the door when she notices movement outside. An oddly  familiar man stands on her porch smiling. 

 

“Graham, is that you?” she gasps as a smile forms. 

 

“Yes, it is. I come bearing good news.”

 

Snow quirks a brow. “Good news, seeing you is great but I’m waiting to hear news about my daughter.”

 

He nods, “A young blonde that shares your chin and her father’s charming personality? The family resemblance is uncanny.”

 

A silent Snow opens the door wide enough for him to enter. 

 

“I came across your daughter and she is now safe at home. She asked me to come and give you the news. Is David here?”

 

“Emma is home?” Snow hesitantly asks, but the hope in her eyes is evident.

 

“Safe and sound. She couldn’t wait to reunite with her husband. Do you have any idea who would want to do such a thing?”

 

“No, Emma has always been a light to everyone she knows. There is no one I can think of who would want to harm her, but that husband of hers is a different story.” Snow purses her lips. If that man was responsible in any way for her daughter’s disappearance she would never forgive him. “Cora Booth and her son have actively been involved in trying to find her.”

 

“That is good to have powerful people helping. She is no damsel. Snow, you should be proud. I have a feeling no one saves her but her.”

 

Snow smiles as she realizes she will soon be able to hold her daughter and relax.    

 

He smiles, “You can relax now, I’m sure she will come by soon, and we could find out more about her captors.”

 

“I’m just happy she is okay, I’ve been worried sick,” Snow sniffles. 

 

“Snow, a word of advice. I haven’t known your daughter long, but she loves her husband. If you truly believe he is somehow responsible, I would suggest you keep it to yourself.”

 

Snow’s memories fill her mind. She knows he is right, things with Emma had been difficult once she announced her plans to marry the pirate. She also remembers how distraught Killian had been since she’d disappeared. They were in love and for a second she let the fear of never seeing her daughter ever again cloud her mind. Graham’s words reassure her that she can let go of that fear.

 

~~~~~

 

Milah and August get dressed after their activities. She had noticed her husband’s attitude was darker and somehow she found it arousing. That thought surprises her. Somehow the menacing quality that engulfs Killian and makes him dangerously attractive had emerged in the very proper August. They await news in their bedroom.  

 

~~~~~

 

Cora eagerly waits for Malcolm to return. She is happy things have gone her way. Soon Emma will be returned and Snow will keep her mouth shut. If only she can find that damn letter, she’d have all her loose ends tied up..

 

~~~~~

 

When Malcolm reaches his destination, Golden Cove, he remembers how much he truly hates the place. He enters the old house and everything seems in order. Now to return the girl. He makes his way to the room the boys were sharing and knocks The door opens and there stands a beat up Rufio, his eye barely open. The bloodied bruises on his face don’t go unnoticed. “Rufio, where’s Felix? And who beat you up?”

 

Rufio winces, “Mrs. Jones escaped. The last time I came to check on her she got the upper hand and beat me. Felix found me on the floor knocked out. He and the doctor left to go look for her. They’ve been gone for a while now.” 

 

Malcolm paces the room. “She got the upperhand?” He approaches Rufio. “I’m here to take her back. Now what am I gonna do? If she is not found, I cannot return her home safely. There will be powerful people after us.” 

 

Rufio hopes Emma had gained enough of a head start. Once he regained consciousness he was interrogated by the doctor and Felix. Felix had gone into a rage and the doctor had to stop him from making his injuries worse. 

 

The duo returns empty-handed shortly after Malcolm’s arrival. Rufio hides his relief as best as he can. 

 

Malcolm glares at the trio. “I have to go back. If by some miracle she made it home, everything will be fine. Did she see you Hyde?”

 

Hyde shakes his head, “No, she didn’t.”

 

Malcolm turns his attention to the boys, “She only saw you two?”

 

Felix glares at Rufio, “Yes, we fed her. Rufio here was quite fond of the new Mrs. Jones.”

 

“Did you say anything to her that might come back to us?” Malcolm turns his focus to Rufio. 

 

“I didn’t say anything to her. She already knew we know the Captain when we approached her. She just talked about him.”

 

Malcolm seems happy with the response. “Hyde I think you should go home. You two are coming with me.”

 

“Why can’t we stay here?” Felix asks.

 

“Because I said so, let’s hope your absence went unnoticed. I have to go back to find out if the girl arrived home or not. If she is home, I’m sure everyone will be happy and perhaps she will want to just forget the ordeal. For your sakes, I hope that’s what happens.” Malcolm points to the boys. “If she is still missing, or something happened to her on her return. We might not be so lucky.”

 

Rufio nods his agreement and adds, “The Captain might not be as forgetful as his wife. He will want to know what happened.”

 

Felix glares, “This is your fault, you let her go. You wanted to because she was nice to you.”

 

“I didn’t let her go!” Rufio returns the glare, “she hit me with that cup.” He points to a discarded bloodied cup on the table. “Yes, I liked her because she was nice but that doesn’t mean I would let her go.”

 

Malcolm’s voice booms, “It doesn’t matter anymore. We are going back and that is final. Grab your things and we will be on our way. Hyde, thank you for your help. I will send word if the girl returned safely home. I know the reason you agreed was to ensure her safety.”

 

“Thank you old friend.” Hyde smiles and makes his exit.

 

The boys grab their few belongings and soon they are on their way back to Misthaven.

 

~~~~~

 

Killian returns from Port Hook brokenhearted, not only was his wife missing but now his ship is gone as well. He has to believe that the kidnappers would be true to their word and return his wife. He doesn’t care as long as he has her. He is about to walk into his home and hopes to avoid Tink. He doesn’t want to talk about anything right now. His Emma would tell him to have faith, and that thought makes him smile.

 

He doesn't expect to find what greets him once he crosses his threshold. His beloved Emma, with a simple smile upon her face.

 

"Did you miss me?" she greets him.

 

He doesn’t need words to express his answer as they rush into each other's arms and reunite with a tearful kiss.

 

Killian is just happy that Tink has vanished to her room. He doesn’t want anyone to have any part of their reunion. They quickly make sure their reunion is complete and the days apart melt away as they merged into one. 

 

~~~~~

 

The day after her return Emma wants to do nothing more than spend it with her husband in bed, reconnecting. But she also knows that a visit to her parents is inevitable. Killian agrees with her assessment and is getting dressed begrudgingly. While she waits for him, TInk announces the Priest’s presence. Emma is surprised when he requests to speak to her alone. He is waiting for Emma in the living room.

 

“Good day, Father. How may I help you?” Emma quickly greets the priest as they exchange pleasantries.

 

“Emma, I’ve had a disturbing visit.” He stares at her.

 

Emma furrows her brows in confusion. “I’m sorry father but I don’t understand.”

 

“August Booth paid me a visit on your behalf, and it left me concerned for your well being.”

 

Emma is now more confused then ever. “I’m sorry father but that doesn’t help me understand. I was kidnapped and I’ve barely been back home. I have no idea why he would go see you and make you worry about me. Sure, my ordeal was not pleasant but I’m okay. I’m home with my loved ones.”

 

The priest smiles, “I’m happy you are back and safe. August mentioned that he felt Killian coerced you into the marriage.”

 

Emma’s eyes widen. “Killian would never coerce me into doing anything I don’t want to do. Our life together is as much my choice as it is his. He has been wonderful. He encourages me to be me. I don’t have to let a man speak for me because I’m a woman. Like August did by coming to you. If his claim was true, shouldn’t I have come to you? Why would I need him to talk to you? Perhaps if I would have married someone like him, someone who sees me as a weakling, I would need to, but I married someone that sees me as an equal.” She is pacing the room like a caged animal. 

 

The priest’s small smile tells her he understands. She slowly starts calming down. “Emma dear, I believe you. You are positively glowing with happiness. Even if I’ve managed to upset you, for that I’m sorry. I will take my leave now.”

 

She smiles and walks him to the door. She is just happy Killian didn’t hear any of the nonsense August told the priest.

 

Killian joins her minutes after the priest has left and wraps her in his arms whispering in her ear, “Darling, I’m not letting you out of my sight, ever again. I cannot lose you, my love.” They go visit her parents together, holding hands, possibly more in love than before.

 

~~~~~

 

Days later the families come together for a “ family ” dinner to celebrate Emma’s safe return. The only reason Milah is excited about the get together is because she can use it to her advantage. She will get to spend time with Killian. How she hates her cousin. She rolls her eyes at the way everyone goes out of their way for her. Doting on princess Emma. She has made her dumb cousin into a martyr. 

 

The dinner had been pleasant only because she was seated so close to Killian. She could smell his scent. She missed him so much. His voice took her out of her thoughts many times, thoughts where they were the only ones. No Emma. No August. That thought makes her smile.

 

After dinner everyone is scattered into small groups. Snow, David, Archie, and Graham catching up.

 

Cora and August in the opposite corner talking. Cora occasionally inspecting her surroundings. 

 

Killian and Tink had opted for the garden to get some fresh air, most likely to avoid Milah.  

 

~~~~~

 

Milah excuses herself to go to the powder room. Emma wants to keep an eye on her to make sure she isn’t going to follow Killian, but is distracted by August.

 

Emma is not as happy to see him as he is to see her. The dinner had been her parent's idea. What was she supposed to say? Mom, Dad, I don't think it's a good idea. Milah wants my husband because she had a relationship with him before she married the man I was supposed to marry, and August tried to annul my marriage because he thinks I need to be rescued.

 

August hesitantly approaches Emma. "I'm happy you're home safe." He smiles at her. 

 

Emma sighs, “I’m home safe and extremely happy.” Her normally sweet voice is annoyed.

 

August quirks an eye.

 

“The day after my return I had a very interesting visit from the town priest. He said you paid him a visit. An uncalled for visit in my opinion.”

 

“Emma, I only did it because you are not safe with Killian. He is the reason you were taken. Don’t you see?”

 

“The only thing I see is that it’s not your business. You had no right. How dare you?”

 

August’s eyes are blown wide and he stammers for an excuse.

 

Emma shakes her head furiously. “Remember, you’re the one that called off our engagement. You’re the one that fell hopelessly in love with my cousin.”

 

“Emma, wait a second. You said you were happy I called off the engagement because your true calling was the convent. Then later it turned out you had an illicit affair with Killian while you were engaged to me.” 

 

Emma turns her face to the side. “The point is, you had no right. We are not married. You married Milah and I married the man I love. I have no idea why you suddenly dislike Killian so much, but this ends now. If you want to be welcomed in our home, your attitude will have to change.” Her gaze pierces through him and she turns to walk away.

 

Cora notices the exchange and slowly approaches them. "Is everything alright?"

 

August is still shocked by Emma's attitude and mutters a response, "Yes mother, everything is alright."

 

Cora smiles and lets her gaze follow Emma's retreating body.

 

~~~~~

 

Milah attempts to approach Killian in the garden.

 

"Killian, we need to talk."

 

He tenses, "We've nothing to talk about." His eyes never meet hers. He looks around to make sure no one is watching them.

 

"We do, Killian. I know you still love me, you're still angry because of what I did.” Her voice cracks with emotion.

 

Killian glares at her. "Milah, I'm sorry, how do I have to say it? How do I make you understand? I love Emma, my wife. You were a mere dalliance. Lass, please forget about us, about me."



"Killian, am I interrupting?" It is Tink with the drinks she had gone to obtain for them. Her voice has a bit of bite, he hopes it's for Milah and not him.

 

"How long do you think the company is going to stay?" Tink asks, ignoring Milah's presence completely. She hopes she will get the hint.

 

"Let's go find out." Killian holds out his arm for Tink to take and they enter the house.

 

Milah's eyes water as she stands in the dark.

 

Not long after, Milah finds a moment alone with Emma. “Cousin you should know I took very good care of Killian in your absence.”

 

Emma squints at her cousin as she studies her. “Just come out with it, what are you trying to insinuate?”

 

“Oh dear, if you want me to be blunt, we fell into bed together. I told you he would never be completely yours. Deep inside, he still wants me.”

 

“Is that so, I find it hard to believe since my father told me he was with Archie and him most of the time I was away, and later on with Tink. I know for a fact that Tink would toss you on your behind if you tried something while I was away.” Emma leans into Milah’s space. “And just to be clear, I know you had something to do with my kidnapping.”

 

Milah’s eyes widen and she tries to quickly hide it. “Did I? Why not tell everyone? I know, because you want to protect your true love August’s reputation.”

 

“Oh, please, you know this is about your reputation. Our family, the one you seem to care so little for. I loved you like a sister, but that didn’t stop you from dishonoring our name, and on top of that, you married August knowing full well who he was to me. You are a selfish brat, and the most ungrateful person alive. You are just mad. I have something you want and you cannot believe he wants me and not you. Your deceit will eventually come out. In the end, all treachery is revealed. So no, I’m not falling for your lies. I know Killian loves me as much as I love him.” Emma walks away as Milah stares at her back.

 

~~~~~

 

Cora is brushing her hair getting ready for bed. The evening had been a bore to her. She was concerned with August's heated conversation with Emma. She’d wondered what had happened, but when she asked him he had brushed it off. There’s a light knock on her door that brings her out of her thoughts. "Come in."

 

Enith stands embarrassed in front of her boss, "Ma'am, I was wondering if you needed anything before I retire for the evening?"

 

Cora waves dismissively, "No, I'm fine, but maybe check in on my son."

 

Enith stands still, she’s nervous. "Ma'am?"

 

Cora rolls her eyes, "Dear lord, Enith, I don't have all night. Just spit it out!"

 

Enith takes out a crumpled paper and a vial from her apron's pocket and hands the items to her.

 

Cora smooths out the paper and when she realizes what it is, the damn letter, her heart pounds, Cora can’t believe it. "You've had this all along? Why give it back now? What are you after?" 

 

"Ma'am, I don't want anything. I was afraid of your reaction, that’s why I didn’t return it sooner. Ma'am you were so upset at Mrs. Snow." 

 

Cora cooed "Alright, I suppose that's plausible, but why now?" she enunciates. 

 

Enith’s whispers in a low voice, "I just wanted you to stop worrying about it, if you must let me go for not handing it over as soon as I found it, I understand." 

 

Cora tisks, "Yes, I would have preferred you return my property as soon as you came across it but you're doing it now and I'm just relieved. What about the vial? That is not mine." As she starts to open it, Enith stopped her, "Please, don't do that, it smells like old blood." 

 

"Blood? Why are you giving it to me?" 

 

Enith’s nervousness returns, "I found it right after Mr. August's wedding, I saw Miss Milah burying it. I didn't know what it was so I dug it out.” 

 

Cora tenses. "Milah had this? That harlot, you can retire for the evening after you check on my son."

 

Cora is unable to rest after Enith's visit. The letter should have been a relief but the vial, she’s no fool. She knows what the vial means. It was not uncommon, she had been a young widow at the time her match with Brennan had been made, so there were no illusions there. There was no doubt in her mind why Milah had used the blood in that vial. Now, how was she to deal with her whore of a daughter-in-law? She had not been pure when she first laid down with her son. She had made fools of them all and that was not acceptable. Her first thought is to expose her, but August would be ridiculed. Sure Milah would be shunned but the damage to their name would be done. 

 

The next morning Cora looks for her son. “Enith, where is August?”

 

Enith answered swiftly, “He went riding.”

 

Cora smiles, “Thank you, Enith, what about Milah?”

 

“She left to go visit her family.”

 

“Let me know when they return. I’ll be in my room.”

 

~~~~~

 

Felix and Rufio had been returned to the docks where they had been admiring the Jolly all those days before.

 

Felix had begged Malcolm to take him along but the older man simply said that they couldn’t be seen together or suspicion would arise. He did give them some money so they could stay in a room rented from one of the old maids. 

 

Rufio understood better than Felix that they should avoid the docks. He also hoped Emma was able to convince Captain Jones that he had helped her. 

 

~~~~~

 

After the dinner, Emma had wanted to express her worry for Rufio to Killian without him threatening bodily harm to the boy. They had briefly talked about her abduction right after her return. She had insisted that the subject could wait for now since Graham, Archie, and her father had gone back to find any indication as to who was involved and why. Graham is a great tracker and was able to find the house she was held captive at, but there were no signs of anyone. 

 

That worries her when she is informed no one is there. They find that the house belongs to a woman named Fiona Black. So far it’s the only information they have. Emma confirms Killian’s theory about Felix and Rufio. The anger that clouds his blue eyes makes her think it’ll be best if she waits to talk about Rufio in a positive way. She had promised the boy she would give Killian a good word about him. 

 

Emma smiles at Killian as she tries to think of a way to bring up the subject of Rufio without her husband muttering explicits.  

~~~~~

 

Nottingham’s Office

 

Milah stands outside of the Sheriff’s office. She has no idea why she came here but she needs Killian to pay for rejecting her. Actually she knows why she is here. She knows the good Sheriff is not a fan of Killian.

 

Knock, knock

 

“Come in,” a strong voice says. 

 

Milah enters slowly and Sheriff Nottingham stands when he sees her. 

 

“Mrs. Booth, please come in, take a seat.”

 

She laughs, “Mrs. Booth is my mother-in-law. Please, call me Milah.”

 

It’s his turn to laugh, “I imagine you are happy to have your cousin back.”

 

Her face must answer for her. “Let me ask you, something Sheriff.”

 

“Please, call me Keith.”

 

“Well, Keith. How would you like it if the person that gets everything in life had done it again? To answer your question, no I’m not happy Emma is back.”

 

“May I ask why?”

 

“Growing up with Miss Perfect wasn’t easy. She had everything given to her. Even the perfect match to a rich powerful man to marry. She always gets everything.” 

 

He understands her, “I know someone like that.”

 

“Who would that be?”

 

“Why your cousin’s husband of course. Jones is lucky beyond belief. He has escaped capture each time I’ve attempted to rid the town of him.”

 

“How about we make a deal, Keith? We can do something about it.”

 

“What do you have in mind?”

 

“First, let’s seal the deal, Keith.” She smiles and approaches him, and sits on his lap. 

 

After sealing their deal and making themselves presentable once more, he tells her that he has the Jolly. He was able to confiscate it since no one claimed it, it was fair game.

 

~~~~~

 

Snow and David are eating breakfast. "Honey, dinner last night was nice, wasn't it?" 

 

David offers his wife a charming smile. "It was nice, but I sensed that something was bothering Emma. She was upset. I was going to ask what was troubling her, but I didn't want to pressure her while there was company." 

 

Snow sighs, "She looked fine, maybe she was just nervous about the dinner. Which I think she did an amazing job hosting by the way." 

 

He proudly adds, “She did an amazing job. I hope Emma and Killian are ready to host another dinner party soon.”

 

She quirks a brow. “Why soon, is this about the infamous brother?”

 

David smiles, “I think you will like Liam, he is a good man.”

 

Snow starts to fidget nervously. 

 

His eyes bore into her. "Snow, why are you so nervous?" 

 

She shakes her head, “I can’t say but can I ask you something?”

 

“What do you mean you can’t say?” Since when can his wife keep secrets from him or anyone for that matter? He decides to indulge her. “Ask away, my love.”

 

“Does Killian remind you of anyone? An old friend perhaps.”

 

David ponders the question. “I can’t think of anyone.”

 

Snow is getting frustrated because she made a promise. A promise in exchange for help to get her princess back home safely. Now that she thinks about it, Cora didn’t really do anything. Emma found a way home on her own. She couldn’t say the words but she could plant the seed. “Well, Killian reminds me of one of Archie’s dearest friends. There used to be a portrait at the Booth Estate, and now it’s gone.”

 

“Wait, are you talking about Brennan? Cora’s dead husband.”

 

“Yes!” Snow finally relaxes, “Killian looks so much like him, and I found it odd that right after Killian arrived at the Booth Estate the portrait disappeared.”  

 

“Sweetheart, that is not something one can say without any sort of proof.”

 

Snow bites at her bottom lip. She is pretty sure that she had that proof in her hands. Oh dear, Killian is Brennan’s son .

 

~~~~~

 

The Nautilus is one of the fastest ships. Its captain had avoided a nasty storm but in doing so it had deterred their arrival. Finally, the ship docks at the Misthaven harbor, and the port is overwhelmed by activity.

 

Captain Nemo had offered passage to his former Lieutenant and his companions. The old captain had become the father young Liam Long craved during his earlier years.  

 

The passengers emerge from the ship, Liam setting foot on his birthplace, decades after the passing of his mother. After reading the message he knew he had to be there for his brother. He could finally be the brother he desperately wanted to be. Sadly mother nature decided to make it hard for him. He was happy he bumped into his former Captain after getting the news. His superiors didn't even bat an eye when he asked for time off due to a family emergency. They were still upset about him letting Captain Jones slip through their fingers. The fact that the young captain had claimed Jones as his surname didn’t go unnoticed by his superiors. 

 

His love Elsa jumped at the chance to accompany him. Then Ingrid invited herself, saying that they wanted to support David in his time of distress. The group found transport, and a guide to the home of Killian Jones. 

 

A thundering knock is heard in the house. An irritated pirate captain swings the door open. “Buggering--” Killian’s insult dies at the tip of his tongue once he realizes who the visitor is. 

 

Liam’s smile broadens, “Hello, brother.”

 

The brothers Jones are once more reunited.

Chapter Text

Chapter 29: Truths Told

 

To say Killian is surprised to see his long lost brother at his doorstep is putting it mildly. He cannot stop the happiness he feels seeing Liam, he opens the door wide with a big smile - a clear invitation to enter.

Killian introduces Liam to Emma and their friend Tink. Liam smiles sweetly as he makes his own introductions. First, Elsa his love. Emma and Elsa share a moment of recognition. Emma's father had written about Elsa to Emma and vice versa. Then he moves on to Ingrid, Elsa's aunt and finally his former captain, Dakkar Nemo.

As the night's goes on, Liam and Killian share a moment away from the group.

"Brother, I'm happy you found a special lass like Emma. You made the right choice leaving the scoundrel behind." Liam pats Killian on the back.

Killian smiles, "Who says I've left the scoundrel behind?" and waggles his eyebrows. "My wife is quite fond of that side of me."

Liam shakes his head in disapproval. "That's no way to speak of your wife."

Killian rolls his eyes. "Brother, I'm sorry I offended your sensibilities. Sometimes the pirate is hard to be rid of. My Emma, she knows this and still loves me. I'm so happy you've come, how long are you staying?"

Liam ponders the question. "I have to first find accommodations for all of us."

Killian smiles, "We have more than enough room, I'm sure Emma wouldn't object-"

"I'm sorry, brother, but I'd rather not intrude on recently reunited newlyweds. I'm sure we can find lodging somewhere," Liam interjects.

"How about with my parents?" Emma suggests. "They have room and my mother would love the company. I'm sure my father would offer as well."

Emma and Killian escort the group to the Nolan's home once the evening has come to an end. David and Snow warmly welcome the group as the introductions are made. Snow is already planning a big dinner for the following night, to properly welcome their visitors.


The next morning at the Jones home, Emma wakes up first, she turns to face her husband. He's still in a peaceful slumber, she had missed him so much. She slowly pushes the hair on his forehead out of the way, and gently leans over to softly kiss him. She rests her head on his shoulder.

After a few minutes, he begins to stir. "Good morning, love."

"Good morning, Killian. Any plans today?"

"I was going to meet my brother at Archie's. I want to show him that the second chance he gave me was put to good use. I found myself a beautiful bride," he plays with her soft blonde hair, "and the business is one of honor. How about you?"

"I have some errands to do," she feels him stiffen at her words - the same words she'd spoken before she was taken - and rushes to reassure him, "don't worry, I'm taking Tink with me. Later in the afternoon we will go visit my mom and get to know Elsa and Ingrid." She also wants to look for Rufio, and Tink knows the boys well, but that has to stay a secret from her husband for now.

He nods his agreement. "I should get one of the men in my crew to keep you and Tink safe. It would have to be someone I trust."

"I think Tink and I will be okay. We can talk about this later."

Killian knows his wife is a force of nature and Tink will not go down easily, so for now he won't push her.


Cora waits in her room for the return of her daughter-in-law. She still hasn't decided if she should expose Milah to August, how would he survive the ridicule he would suffer if the truth comes out. Cora's smile becomes wicked as she thinks of ways to make Milah's life difficult. Perhaps the situation requires a permanent solution.


August had gone riding to clear his head. His frustration is overwhelming, all he wants is to understand Emma's attitude toward him. Her safety is what matters to him, and she is not safe with Killian.

He spots Malcolm, and walks towards him. "Mr. Peters, may I have a word?"

Malcolm had hoped to avoid August, he prefers to deal with Cora. "Of course, Mr. Booth. How can I be of assistance today?"

"First, I want to know where you've been? You disappeared for days without a word. That is very unprofessional."

"Mr. Booth, I was on an errand for your mother. I'm sorry, I thought you knew."

August sneers at the man. "You are to report to me and me alone, not my mother. If that's going to be a problem, perhaps you should look for employment elsewhere."

Malcolm tries to stay calm. He will tell Cora and hope she deals with her son. If all else fails, he will ask for a good amount of money. He knows her secrets after all.


Milah arrives at the estate with a big grin on her face. As soon as she enters the house, she is greeted with Enith's face.

"Ma'am, Mrs. Booth would like a word. She's in her room and she is not in a waiting mood."

Milah rolls her eyes. "I don't have to run to her side. I'll go talk to her whenever I feel like it." Milah turns around and starts to walk to her room, leaving Enith with her mouth open.

Enith storms to Cora's room. She knocks and soon is rewarded with an invitation to come in.

"Ma'am, Ms. Milah arrived home and I informed her you had requested her presence but she said she would come talk to you whenever she feels like it."

Cora smirks, "Oh, did she say that?"

Enith simply nods.

"Alright, I'll wait for her to come to me when she is ready, but this humiliation will be added to her tally of misdeeds," Cora promises as she sits on her chaise.

Enith curtsies and leaves.

Moments later, a sudden pounding on her door startles Cora. "Come in."

Malcolm enters with a scowl. "Your son just informed me I no longer report to you. He wants me to report to him and he was upset I left with no explanation. I tried to explain that I was on an errand for you, but he didn't seem to care."

Cora has to admit she is proud of her son for finally showing some backbone. Too bad he doesn't show it with his wife. "I'll talk to him, but you must do something for me."

Malcolm sighs in frustration, before asking, "What do you want me to do?"

Cora's back straightens. "You seem close to my daughter-in-law."

"I don't know what you mean, we are simply cordial."

She studies him for a second. "Good to know, that ensures the task I'm about to give you is done without hesitation."

That catches Malcolm's attention. "What is it you want me to do?"

"I would be very happy and generously inclined if an accident were to befall Milah, but unlike her cousin, I wouldn't object if she didn't survive."

"Cora, I don't know if I can do that. I've done some questionable things but never anything as such."

Cora's brow raises. "Oh Malcolm, don't tell me you've fallen for her charms."

He ignores her. "What did she do to incur your wrath? I know you are not particularly fond of her but to kill your son's wife?"

"My son's wife is a common, lying whore. She bewitched my son and made a fool of him. She let us believe she was entering the marriage pure but she had fallen into bed with someone already. Who knows how many men have been in her bed."

"Why not a simple divorce or an annulment. I'm sure you know someone that can do it for you."

"My son has no idea who he married. This way he can mourn her and find someone else. Too bad Emma married the pirate. She was the perfect fit for my son."

"You mean the eldest Booth, your son's brother."

Cora glares at him. "You keep your mouth shut, we don't need someone overhearing us. Especially now that I have the letter back in my possession."

Malcolm nods.

"So will you do it?" Cora asks. "Or don't you have the stomach for it?"

"I'll do it, but it will cost you."

Cora smiles, "It will be worth it."

"Do you have something in mind?"

"No, I don't, maybe while horse riding. I'm sure you can figure something out."

"All right." He nods in agreement and leaves.


Milah is in her room relaxing, nothing could sour her mood, not even her witch of a mother-in-law. She knows she will need to go see what she wants before she is summoned again. Putting it off longer than she has is not an option. Milah checks her reflection in the mirror and finally leaves to go have a talk with Cora.

She arrives at Cora's closed door and knocks.

"Come in," the older woman says.

"You wanted to see me?" Milah asks as she enters the room, leaving the door ajar and promptly sitting down.

"Milah, darling. I just wanted to tell you that things are going to change around here. Your insolence will no longer be tolerated, and you will behave the way you're told to." Cora smiles as she thinks to herself, at least for as long as you have left.

"August has no problem with the way I behave and once I tell him how you are speaking to me, he will tell you so."

Cora laughs, "Oh dear girl, I know your secret." She makes a show of pulling the vial out of a small box. "I know what kind of woman you are. You were never deserving of my son and this proves it."

Milah looks at the vial and the recognition is clear on her face - but still she tries to deny it. "I have no idea what you are talking about."

"Under normal circumstances, I would reveal the truth to my son, but, for whatever reason, he loves you. All I can do is make sure you are the wife he deserves."

Milah glares at her mother-in-law. "I'm not Emma, I will not fold to your demands. If you have a problem with that, I have no problem telling August the truth myself."

"You will do as you're told and that is final!" Cora seethes.

August stops just outside of his mother's door when he hears his mother and wife arguing. He tries to piece together the bits of the conversation he is hearing.

"You know what, you are right! That vial is mine. I had a lover before I married your ponce of a son. I'm just so tired of having to deal with you. You are right, your beloved son deserved my nitwit cousin."

"I knew you were not in my son's league. How in the world it is possible for you and Emma to come from the same gene pool is beyond me. You disgust me."

August finally walks in shaking his head in disbelief. "No,no,no,no! Tell me this is not true," he pleads as he drops to his knees and wraps his arms around Milah's midsection. His tears flowing, he sniffles, his voice muffled by her dress. "Milah, sweetheart tell me it's a lie. You love me and only me."

Milah tries to push him away with disgust. "For the first time in a very long time, I'm telling the truth, I had a lover before I ended up in your bed. I love him and only him. How could I love you, you are pathetic!" she finally pushes him away successfully.

Cora tries to approach August to comfort him, he turns to glare at her and she stops in her tracks and stills. "Who the hell is it? Hmm? Tell me who!" he screams.

Milah simply smirks and tilts her head. "Don't you know?" Her gaze burns through him as she laughs then turns to Cora. "Really, you still cannot figure it out? Well, let me spell it out for you both. Killian Jones. You both were so eager to believe that Emma was the woman rumored to have had an affair with him. I still cannot believe you two fell for that. Emma, my insipid cousin would have never fallen in bed with him."

August's eyes darken as he glares at his wife. "I'm going to kill him," he declares and then storms out.

"You stupid girl," Cora berates.

Milah taunts Cora, "You should have said goodbye to him, Killian will kill him. You and I both know that. Oh well, I suppose soon there will be two Booth widows." Milah walks out of the room and heads for her bedroom, with August out of the way she is free - all she needs is for Killian to walk away from Emma.

Cora's angered face is shaking in disbelief, no, no, no, not him. Cora glares at Milah's retreating body. When Jones had showed up, she thought it was money he wanted and she had sacrificed Emma to him in order to protect her son's inheritance. She hated to admit it, but if August was successful and Killian agreed to a duel, her son would not survive. Without thought, she grabs the letter and holds it to her heart. This will save her son. Cora calls out for Enith. She needs to get to Emma, she will help her save her son.


Emma is sitting in the living room waiting for Tink to finish getting ready when a loud banging on the door startles her. She gets up and smoothes out her skirt before walking to the door.

August stands there wearing a scowl on his face. "Where's that pirate?" He pushes his way inside.

"August, what's going on?" He looks upset and she tries to calm him.

"Did you know?" His scowl turns to anguish. "How could I have been so blind?" He slowly approaches her, to try to touch her. "You are an angel, and I threw you away for a harlot. I'm so sorry."

Emma's eyes widen the more he speaks. He knows, he found out about Milah. "August, it's okay." She avoids his touch but is unable to evade the smell of alcohol that oozes from his pores. He must have gotten drunk after finding out the truth.

"You deserve the world and that bastard took advantage of your good heart. I know you married Killian to protect me. I don't need protecting anymore, I will save you. I'm going to kill him and I will send Milah away after I divorce her. Then we can make things right. We can marry and have the life we were meant to have."

"August, I'm sorry you found out about my cousin's treachery, but I'm where I belong. I truly love Killian, and you have to know that he didn't know about Milah's betrayal until after he returned from Arendelle. Their affair has been over for a long time. She tricked all of us."

"No, you only married him to protect me, because you love me!" he screams as he starts to pace the room. Suddenly he turns to face her, his anger is back. "If what you say is true and you love him, I think it's only fair for me to have you as he had my wife!" He lunges at her, grabbing her and pulling her down to the floor. His alcohol-infused breath blows on her face. She tries to push him off, attempting to grab anything to aid her. She keeps kicking and pushing his face away.

Tink had heard voices while she finished getting ready. As she arrives in the living room she sees Emma on the floor struggling with a man on top of her. Tink looks around the room and grabs the first thing she sees, a big, heavy book. She swings at the man's head.

August winces at the impact and lets go of Emma as he tries to get up while rubbing his head. He turns to the intruder and all he can see is Emma's disgusted face next to the pirate's friend. He feels his stomach churn at his actions.

Emma finds her voice, "Get out! Leave now and never show your face here again. What you just did, I will never forgive. You claim Killian is the worst human alive, but he would never do what you just tried to do."

August looks at her one last time before he leaves.

"August knows about Killian and Milah, we need to warn him," Emma urges Tink toward the door.

Tink holds on to her tight. "Emma, I can go. Stay here in case Killian comes home, and don't open the door."


After August's exit, Cora had quickly dressed. She had to hurry, everything was a blur to her. She was glad Enith had noticed her son leave, and had quickly came to her aid. She had fetched Malcolm and soon Cora was out the door.

Emma is pacing the living room. She wonders if Tink has gotten to Killian on time. She is still shaken by August's behavior. She knows that if Killian laid eyes on her, he would know something happened and she was afraid of his reaction. Not afraid for herself, but for anyone who stands in his way avenging her. He has worked so hard to become an honorable man, and although she is still upset, August's death isn't the answer. This mess is all Milah's fault.

There is a knock on the door. Emma knows that Tink told her not to answer the door for anyone, but maybe it is them? She stands quietly in front of the door and the voice she hears is unexpected.

"Emma, darling girl. Please, open the door... hurry."

Emma opens the door after recognizing Cora's voice as an urgent plea.

Cora enters the house. "Emma, I assume your husband isn't home?"

"No he is not, he is at his office."

"Has August been here?" Cora has a feeling of what the answer will be.

"Yes, he was here and he was drunk. He attacked me," Emma answers. She still has no idea what Cora knows.

"Oh dear," she gasps as she paces the room and takes a paper out of her pocket. "You have to help me. August overheard a conversation I had with your cousin." Cora sighs, is Emma aware of the history between her husband and cousin or is she about to find out? She continues, "He found out some unflattering news about Milah and your pirate."

"August told me what he found out and I tried to explain to him things were not as he claims."

"Emma, did you know?" Cora asks.

"I did."

"How long have you known?"

"I found out after Milah and August married."

"Why didn't you come to me? We could have fixed this."

"Do you honestly think August would've believed us? He would've accused me of making up lies. I had no proof, it was my word against Milah's. I also had to protect everyone. My family, my parents adore Milah, this will break their hearts. I thought it was for the best to keep quiet, but then Killian showed up at the estate." She sighs, "That is when I knew he wasn't going to let her go."

"Yet, you still married him. Why?" Cora asked.

"That doesn't matter anymore. August went looking for Killian, and although I'm afraid of what will happen, I hope my husband does everything he can to come back to me. I'd prefer without any bloodshed."

"That is why I'm here. I need your help convincing your husband to walk away. He cannot hurt August because-"

"Your son tried to force himself on me. He is out of control. I will not ask Killian to refuse the duel in order to protect August's pride."

Cora's face hardens. "Emma, it was your cousin who did this to us all, I know, but time is of the essence. We need to go find them and stop this madness. Is it truly acceptable to you, dear, if your husband kills his brother?"

"His brother?"

"I know they will not believe me, but I have proof and they will listen to you. Please, help me save my son."

Emma stares at Cora in disbelief, all this time Killian had been alone, unloved, he was denied both brothers- his family. "I want to see this proof."

Cora hands the paper over, Emma reads it quickly and shakes her head. "You kept them apart, Killian and August could have grown up together."

Cora yells, "We are running out of time, that is no longer important, we have to go before your husband kills his brother."

Emma folds the paper and walks to the door. "Let's go, I sent Tink to warn Killian but I don't know if she got there in time."

Cora and Emma rapidly climb into the carriage after a quick introduction to Malcolm Peters, the new Booth Steward.


Smee and Thomas are working quietly, while Archie and Killian give Liam and Nemo a small tour of the office. Things are busy when August arrives at the shared office of Archie and Killian. He slams the door open with all his pent up anger, the rage he feels blinds him and he fails to notice the other men in the room.

"I loved you like a brother!" August yells as he rushes Killian and punches his face. He tries to take another swing but he is pulled off by Archie. He looks at Killian who is being held back by two unknown men.

Archie stumbles as he tries to keep August away from Killian. "August, what is the meaning of this?"

"Did you know? Of course you did, you've protected him his whole life." August sneers at Archie and turns to Killian. "You thought I'd never find out? About you and that whore I have for a wife!"

Killian stops the struggle to get away from his brother Liam and the older man, Nemo. The realization and understanding of his former friend's anger dawns on him. Months back it had been him in his place, from his return to the moment he found out about Milah's betrayal.

With an insincere smile, he says, "I will not lie. I've had many a man's wife, but Milah was unattached when our dalliance took place. She was going to marry me, if anyone should be outraged it should be me."

August shakes his head in disbelief. "Is that right?"

"August, your father wouldn't want you to fight with Killian. Remember his last words," Archie implored.

"You want me to honor my father's wishes? This man, I thought was my friend. He sullied my wife and if that wasn't enough, he seduced Emma into marrying him. I'm here defending their honor! I demand a duel to make things right."

Archie looks at Killian as the pieces fall into place. It was Milah, the woman Killian was to marry, but somehow he found love with Emma.

Liam finds his voice, "I will be his second."

August turns to Liam, "Who the hell are you?"

"I'm his brother," Liam answers.

August scoffs, "Brother? Well, your brother dallied with my wife, and still claimed to be my friend."

Liam turns to Killian and raises an eyebrow.

Killian shakes his head. "I haven't touched his wife."

August tries to get away from Archie who tightens his grip. "That's not what she claims, she admitted the affair quite proudly."

"Brother, is this true?" Liam asks.

August yells, "It doesn't matter, I demand retribution."

Liam answers curtly, "And you shall have it."

Killian turns to Liam, hurt at the doubt in his character.

August sneers, "At least one of you has honor."

Killian interrupts, "I do not deny my past with women is colorful, but I haven't laid a hand on Milah since she married you."

Realization dawns on August. "The rumor was true... but we were wrong about the identity of the woman, it was her, it was always Milah. Whether she was promised to you or not changes nothing. Once you're dead. I will be able to marry Emma and make things right."

Killian roars, "You will stay away from my wife."

August enjoys the anger he sees on his former friend's face. "You will die knowing I will make her mine. Just like you enjoyed my wife's companionship, I will enjoy Emma's. Meet me at Deadman's Peak in an hour. Make sure your affairs are in order." He storms out, followed by Archie who only nods at Killian.

Killian knows he has some explaining to do. Bloody hell, once Emma's parents find out, they will beg her to dissolve the marriage. He runs his hand through his hair. There's no time to think of that. Perhaps he can ask his brother to take care of Emma if he doesn't survive.

Liam claps Killian's back, "Was this Milah the woman you were to marry when we first met?"

Killian admits his truth, "Aye, when I returned she was already married. I will not lie to you brother, I still wanted her and at the time, I would have taken her, but then I met Emma and from the start I felt a pull to her. Slowly she filled my dark heart with her light."

Liam nods, "Good, her father is a close friend and she is a lovely lass. Let's get ready for this. Do you have a weapon?"

"Aye," Killian responds as he goes to his desk and pulls a revolver from the top locked drawer.

"This is obviously not going to be a proper duel. Anything else you need to do before we leave?"

"I can't face Emma. If I do, I know I will not be able to leave her. How could I? I don't doubt my ability to win the duel, but how will I face her after? All I want is to be the kind of man she deserves."

Tink had never ran that fast before in her life. She used every back alley and road she could think of to make her journey shorter, only to open the office door and simply find Mr. Smee and Mr. Thomas. She had missed them! Mr. Thomas had kindly offered her some water, while she was catching her breath, and Mr. Smee recounted the tale for her.

She is about to leave to go give Emma the bad news when the door flies open for the third time. Emma rushes inside, followed by Cora. Mr. Thomas' demeanor changes rapidly at the sight of his old boss.

Tink confusedly asks Emma, "What are you doing here?"

"Where's Killian?"

Tink answers sadly, "We missed him and yes, that jerk was here. Mr. Smee said they all left to go to the duel."

Both Cora and Emma pale at the information.

Emma turns to Mr. Smee, "Where did they go? What's the location?"

Smee looks down, "I'm sorry ma'am, I don't know if I should. A duel is no place for a lady."

Emma turns to Mr. Thomas, "Michael, please, we need to know. We have to stop it and we are losing time."

Cora snaps as she looks between Smee and Mr. Thomas, "You idiots, we need to know now! If we don't stop it and my son dies, I will make it my mission in life to ruin the rest of your lives!"

Mr. Thomas turns to Emma, "Ma'am, they went to Deadman's Peak. Mr. Hopper left with Mr. Booth, and Captain Jones' brother went with him and so did Mr. Nemo."

Emma smiles gratefully at the man. "Thank you, Michael. So where's this place?"

Michael Thomas looks at Mr. Smee as to ask for permission.

"I can take you. It's hard to get to if you don't know the area," Smee reluctantly offers. "Ma'am, you have nothing to worry about. The Captain has never lost a duel," Smee tries to calm his captain's wife.

Emma gives him a small smile. "Thank you, Mr. Smee."

Deadman's Peak is an accurate name for the cliff. So many men had lost their lives here. The less honorable people simply kicked the deadman's body down the cliff into the welcoming waves of the sea. The proper duels followed protocol. Archie Hopper knew all of this, he also knew that Killian was the more experienced of the two brothers, and that once the truth was known, he would never forgive himself. His attention turns to a pacing August. "August, are you sure? Your father wouldn't want you to go through with this."

"Are you serious? That pirate-" he spits, "he deserves to die, he was never my friend."

"August, you can't be serious? I saw you two together when you were young. Your father's wish was for you two to look out for each other like brothers."

August glares at Archie. "Why are you here? It's obvious you care for him as if he was your son and yet you're here with me?"

"Killian has his brother Liam and Captain Nemo. You're alone, and although I don't agree with your desire for a duel, I feel like I owe it to your father. He was my best friend."

August turns to look at the small trail that leads to the peak. "Thank you," he whispers.

"August, are you sure you want this to be to the death?"

August sighs, "He deserves to die."

Archie's head falls in his failure to persuade a different outcome as a reluctant Killian arrives followed by Liam and Nemo.

Emma and Cora hear a single shot as they are closing in on Deadman's Peak. Emma picks up her pace as she tries to run up the cliff. She almost trips a few times in her haste to reach the top.

Emma arrives as Killian is about to take his shot.

"Killian!" she cries out as she hurries to reach his side.

All the men turn to her.

"Killian, you can't do this. Please, both of you have to stop!"

Killian's right arm was scratched by the bullet. Emma sobs with relief as she finally reaches him. She gently touches his face, blocking him from August's view. She slowly turns to face August and takes out the paper. "This," she waves the paper in the air, "is the reason why you two cannot do this. You are brothers, both sons of Brennan Booth, and this is proof."

August shakes his head. "No, you are lying! He is not my brother."

Emma slowly walks up to him. "This says otherwise. Look at it!"

August reaches for the paper, as a frozen Killian looks on.

August reads the paper and he recognizes his father's signature.

"This is a lie, lies to save him," he points at Killian, "this is not over!" He throws the paper on the ground and rushes past the group.

Killian and Emma hold onto each other as they make the trek down the cliff.

Liam, Captain Nemo, and Archie are behind them.

Cora had raced after August as fast as she could, but her son had ignored her pleas to listen to her.

Cora gets on the carriage with the help of Malcolm and heads to the Booth Estate hoping to find her son there.

Killian, Emma, Liam, Captain Nemo, Archie, and Smee head to the Jones home.

Emma's head rests on Killian's left shoulder.

August walks into the tavern and heads to the back. He waves at the barmaid and sits down. The chair next to him slides noisily on the ground. August turns to glare at the intruder.

"Mr. Booth, fancy seeing you in a place like this," Nottingham says as he sits down.

August smirks, "We have an enemy in common Sheriff. How do you feel about working together?"

Chapter Text

Chapter 30: New Beginnings

~~~Golden Cove

After a celebratory dinner at the Nolan's home, celebrating Killian and Emma's union, Emma's safe return, and the fact that the whole family was all back together, along with a few new faces, Graham had decided to go back to Golden Cove.

He is determined to find out the culprits of the capture of the young Mrs. Jones. She had mentioned two young boys, both from Misthaven, the Doctor, and a man they called Peters. One of the boys had aided her in her escape. Graham had asked a few locals about the Doctor and Peters but they had claimed to not know anything about either man. The frustration he feels is great, he has lived on the outskirts of town not far from them for years. He has sold them furs and meat but he is still seen as an outsider. They still don't trust him.

After days of having no leads he decides to go to one of the seediest taverns in town since alcohol is known to loosen people's tongues. He hopes to find a little luck in his pursuit of justice. The tavern is small, but it's filled with rowdy men and a few familiar faces. There is one that catches his attention. A former Doctor, who usually keeps to himself is surrounded by drunken men. The man is spending a lot of money, yet there is no explanation for his small fortune. His practice is currently nonexistent.

Graham approached the table with a smile. "Good day, Mr. Hyde." The Doctor smiles, "Good day, huntsman. How's hunting treating you?"

"It has been a bit slow, how about you? You seem to be in good spirits." Graham sits down across from the man.

"I came into a bit of money thanks to an old friend." There is a slight slur to Hyde's voice.

"An old friend?" Graham asks. Perhaps this is the lead he needs.

The Doctor nods, "Yes, helped out an old friend and he was generous."

"Sounds great, do you think your friend could help me out? Hunting has been too slow lately," Graham prodded.

"I'm afraid that is no longer a possibility. He's gone back to town."

"Too bad, I could have used some generosity myself," Graham sighs. "Could you let your friend know about me in case there's another opportunity?"

"I'll keep it in mind. You never know, maybe Malcolm will need help once more."

"Is your friend Malcolm from around here?"

"Yes, he owns a house just outside of town."

Graham starts piecing the puzzle together. The house where Emma was kept was outside of town, the mysterious Malcolm, and the Doctor. "Outside of town, isn't that property owned by Fiona Black?"

"Yes, that's Malcolm's late wife's maiden name."

"Oh, isn't it uncommon for a woman not to take her husband's name?"

"Fiona was a piece of work. She enjoyed making Malcolm feel worthless. When she died, Malcolm didn't shed a tear."

"The name Malcolm sounds familiar, what's his last name?"

"Oh, Peters. I doubt you know him, he has long been gone from town."

"I just thought I had heard someone mention him recently," Graham responds. He just has to act natural so Hyde won't get spooked. He wants to appeal to his good side and hopes to convince him to provide information. When Graham has what he needs, he parts ways with the Doctor.

Unfortunately, Graham isn't the only one that had noticed the good doctor's newfound wealth, and on his walk home, Doctor Hyde finds himself on the wrong side of a blade.

All that Graham finds at Doctor Hyde's place is the last piece of jewelry the man had squirreled away.


~~~Booth Estate

Cora arrives back home with Malcolm and is greeted by Milah casually leaning on the wall facing the front door, a smirk dancing on her face. "Please, tell me I have to play the grieving widow."

Cora clenches her jaw and sneers at the woman she has grown to hate. "In a perfect world, you'd be dead."

Milah rolls her eyes and sighs. "So that's a no. Too bad, I look great in black." She walks away thinking that luck isn't on her side, she had hoped Killian would free her from her marriage. All she can do is wonder why he didn't kill August?

Enith nervously asks, "Is there anything I can do for you, ma'am?"

Cora quickly responds, "Did my son come home?"

"I'm afraid not, ma'am."

Cora sighs as she walks toward the open door she had forgotten to close when she first arrived home. She looks out and wonders where the hell August has gone. "Enith, let me know the moment he arrives."

Enith curtsies, "Yes, ma'am."


~~~Nottingham's Office

"Mr. Booth, tell me what you have in mind?"

"Simply take everything from him. His money, his wife, his freedom."

Sheriff Nottingham smiles. "I like the way you think, and I may have just the perfect place to start."

August nods. "Tell me."

"I'm in possession of the pirate's ship. We recently raided a different ship with stolen goods. The pirate claims he has a reputable business. We can claim otherwise. We fill his ship with contraband. He will lose his newfound reputation, and his wife will see him for the louse he is. He will rot in prison for the rest of his life."

"Do it." August quickly agrees with the plan.

Nottingham smiles wickedly. "I'll take care of it."

August leaves the office with a smile.

Nottingham orders some of the guards at the prison to transfer the confiscated items to the ship.


~~~Misthaven

After being dumped by Malcolm back at the docks in the port town, Felix had been in a bad mood. He had taken out his anger on Rufio, talking down to him and even giving him an occasional beating. Rufio has had enough.

They had been told to stick by the old woman's home and not to venture to the docks. The older lady is kind to them, but Rufio is tired and he misses the smell of the sea. He also wants to make sure Emma had made it back home. He knows that she will get the Captain to forgive him. It doesn't take long for him to reach the house, staying in the shadows. He won't approach Captain Jones until he knows the Captain has talked to his wife.

Felix, on the other hand, tries to contact Malcolm and fails, so he starts hanging out at the docks, blatantly ignoring the man's instructions. He's currently sitting on top of some old discarded crates looking at the horizon.

The older sailors just walk by him like he doesn't exist. The only one who had ever acted like an orphan like him mattered, was Captain Jones, but he went and married that woman. He knows Rufio let her go. Felix is surprised when he sees Mr. Peters walking toward him with a scowl on his face.

"Felix, what are you doing here?" Malcolm hisses. "I told you to stay put." He grabs the boy's arm. "I don't have time for this."

Felix glares at Malcolm. "Maybe you'll make time if Captain Jones found out you were responsible for his wife's disappearance."

Malcolm stares at him. "I'm sorry, you're right. Come along." Felix complies with a smile.

The older man leads him to the tavern by the docks. "Stay here, I have to go inside to look for someone."

"I can go in there," Felix whined.

"Just wait here, it will be a second." Malcolm walks inside and minutes later he emerges. "Alright let's go."

The smile returns to Felix's face. As they walk back to the docks, Felix stops. Malcolm turns to the boy annoyed. "Why are you stopping?"

"I want to show you something." Felix takes off running towards the beach.

Malcolm watches the boy run to the beach. He has a job to do but it seems the day has turned into him taking care of children. After the threat Felix made earlier, he decides to go after him. When he finally reaches him, he finds Felix kicking rocks into the water. They're standing on a ledge on a cliff overlooking the water. Malcolm peers over, the water is surprisingly calm.

Felix turns to Malcolm. "We call this Skull Rock. All the lost boys come here to watch the ships arrive. We would watch the Jolly from miles away and then run to the docks to meet Captain Jones."

Malcolm smiles and nudges Felix. The boy reacts fast enough to grab onto the ledge, the rocks crumbling under his grip. "Please, help me. Don't let me fall. I don't know how to swim." Little does he know that the fall will kill him before he drowns.

Malcolm smirks. "Felix, what kind of sailor doesn't know how to swim?" With those words, he kicks at Felix. Felix loses his grip and falls. One last look and Malcolm walks away. He liked the boy, he really did, but he had threatened him. What was he to do?

Now to find his boss.

Malcolm was so busy trying to get back to his task that he failed to notice Rufio had just witnessed the whole thing.

An hour or so later, Malcolm finds August at the Golden Goose Tavern, passed out.

Malcolm finally returns to the Booth Estate with August in tow.

~~~Jones Home

The group arrives at the house and seats themselves in the living room. Everyone is still shaken by this new secret that's come to light.

Emma is caressing Killian's stubbled cheek while she sniffles. She is trying to come to terms with today's events and the scare of possibly losing him.

Killian turns his attention to Archie. "Did you know?" he asks, then laughs humorlessly at his own question. "Of course you knew, that's why you looked out for me, right?" His eyebrow raises. "Not because you cared for me, but because of him - my so-called father. I always wondered why I was so lucky to have your protection." Emma kept her hand on Killian's arm as he ranted.

Archie stayed quiet.

Killian turned to Emma. "Milah was right, and you didn't know before today?"

Emma locks eyes with her husband. "No, Killian. I found out today. The only reason Cora told me was because she wanted my help in stopping you from killing August. We already talked about this, before I was kidnapped. I'm sorry, Killian, that you had to grow up alone, thinking you had no one, when in actuality, you had two brothers. I wouldn't have kept this secret from you." She flinches as she looks at Archie's fallen face.

Liam finally breaks his silence. "Brother, do you think you and August can mend your friendship?"

Killian scoffs, "I doubt it; he wants me dead and my wife in his bed."

Emma and Tink share a look that isn't missed by Killian. "Tink, what was that look about?" He is glaring at her.

Tink mouths sorry to Emma. "He came here looking for you and he got handsy with Emma."

Killian turns to Emma. "Darling, you didn't think I should know that? What did he do, did he hurt you?" He looks her over to make sure there are no bruises.

Emma sighs. "He was drunk and I was going to tell you but I wanted to wait until the shock of finding out your brothers wore off. He got handsy and when I said no, he tried harder. Tink helped me but I just didn't want you to do something you'd regret. He is your brother."

"Darling, you should have said something. He shouldn't have touched you. This is all my fault."

"Brother, I hate to interrupt, but I'm afraid we need to inform Emma's parents of the situation. Not everything bad people do is your fault Killian." He turns to Emma. "I'm happy you're alright." He smiles at her fondly.

"Liam is right, they need to know about Milah. It's about time they find out the truth. It's gonna break their hearts, but it's for the best."

Killian sighs. "They're going to hate me. What if they ask you to leave me?"

Emma shakes her head. "I would never do that. I love you. They might be angry at first but you didn't force Milah into anything. Milah has always done whatever she wants."


~~~The Nolans

After a lengthy conversation, Emma and Killian go talk to her parents about the Milah situation. Emma wants to make sure her parents get Killian's side of the story before Milah's. Her cousin is conniving and she would use any means to ensure that Killian is seen as the villain. His past is going to make it hard enough to believe their version rather than whatever fanciful story Milah comes up with.

Liam and Nemo hesitate in going with them, but Emma convinces them to go since Ingrid and Elsa are staying at her parents' house. The mere mention of Elsa puts a smile on Liam's face after the day they've had. Nemo agrees saying it is sensible for someone with a clear head to be there. Archie is quiet as he accompanies them and Tink decides to stay home.

The Nolans are engaged in a lovely post-dinner conversation with their visitors Ingrid and Elsa, and Snow has just excused herself to get some cookies and tea for the group.

David enjoys having his old friends around him; it feels like old times. Of course, there is the added bonus that he is back with his family, his lovely wife, and daughters. Although Milah isn't his, he loves her as if she is. She is all he has left of his brother. While enjoying the company, Emma and Killian arrive with the rest of the houseguests.

David notices Emma's demeanor. He knows his daughter and she looks upset.

"Father, we need to talk to you in private," Emma tells him after she says her hellos to everyone.

"This sounds serious." He turns to their guests and excuses himself. "Should I fetch your mother?"

Emma turns to Killian. "Yes, it would be best if we don't have to repeat the story. We'll be waiting in your office."

David goes to go get Snow and they return to their guests with enough cookies and tea for the new arrivals as well. They excuse themselves from their company to tend to Emma and Killian. The young couple is sitting down by the time Snow and David arrive and take their seats.

"All right, what's going on?" David asks.

"Mom, Dad, there's no easy way to say this… so I am just going to say it. Milah and Killian had a relationship before she married August, August found out and he challenged Killian to a duel but Cora and I stopped it because it turns out that August and Killian are brothers." Emma summarizes the events, relaying them as quickly as she can.

Snow and David turn to each other and for a brief second have a mental conversation. Then David gets up and approaches Killian. Emma reacts quickly as she stands to block her father's path. Killian squeezes her arm.

Snow gasps. "The rumor, it was her! It was her all along and she didn't think twice about saying it was Emma."

David is glaring at Killian over Emma's shoulder. "What rumor are you speaking of?"

Emma is the one to answer. "There was a rumor around town about one of the Nolan Countesses having a relationship with Killian. And yes, Mother, it was Milah."

"Emma, how can you be so calm? Did you know about this?"

"I did, Dad," Emma answers with a small smile.

"And you still married him?" David is itching to punch Killian. "Did he force you to?"

"He didn't force anyone. Not me, not Milah."

David's glare intensifies.

"Dad, they were betrothed, Milah promised to marry Killian and instead married August, while Killian was away on business. Yes, I knew. I found out shortly after she married August. I thought about exposing the affair but who would believe me? I would be accused of lying because I was being spiteful."

Snow is quiet. "This is all my fault; I've spoiled Milah. I remember when the rumor was mentioned, before she claimed it had been Emma, and it was her. How could she accuse Emma knowing full well it wasn't, David?" she sighs. "Emma is right. If she would have said something, she would have been accused of lying. Milah didn't even think twice about accepting August's proposal."

"Mom, Dad, that's not the worst thing. I think she was responsible for my kidnapping."

"Emma, how can you say that? She is your family." David shakes his head in denial.

"I say it because she is vile and she wants Killian." Emma glares at her father.

David turns his face away to avoid his daughter's scowl, and so he doesn't argue further. "Alright, so August knows and there was a duel?"

Emma nods. "Yes, and I helped Cora stop it with a letter saying that Killian is Brennan Booth's son. We just didn't want you to be surprised by the revelation if Cora or August come here. I don't know what they plan to do about Milah, they might want to return her."

David and Snow exchange looks before he sighs. "Snow what are we going to do with her?" Snow closes her eyes and tears fall out. "We tried to be good parents. I went out of my way so she wouldn't feel we favored you - but it seems as if it was all for nothing. As for the Killian situation, I'm not surprised. I did tell you I saw a resemblance."

"Mom, you knew?"

"I wasn't sure. I saw the letter but when I asked Cora, she denied it. I'm guessing because of reputation."

"I guess saving August's life was more important than that."

Killian finally spoke. "Mr. and Mrs. Nolan, Milah approached me. I'm not saying I have no responsibility in the matter. I was going to marry her upon my return from Arendelle but I was too late. I was angry and I wanted her back. Then I met Emma and we got to know each other and little by little the anger was replaced by something else. Before we knew it and were able to accept it, we fell in love. I swear I only want to be a man deserving of her love. I've made mistakes, I cannot deny that, but your daughter is the love of my life."

Killian's words appease his in-laws, not to mention, neither Snow nor David can deny the love that flows between the young couple.

As the day comes to an end, Killian and Emma make their departure, retreating to their home. Her parents hadn't opted to make her a widow and she is grateful because she's extremely fond of her husband.

As they lay down for the night, Emma notices Killian is very calm and decides to take advantage, "Killian?"

He turns to look at her with a smile, things had gone a lot better than expected. "Yes, my love."

"Rufio, uhm he helped me and I'm worried about him." Emma feels him tense up. "Killian, I told him you would forgive him if I asked. So I'm asking, when I find him, please forgive him. He took care of me. He talked about you nonstop and I think it was for my benefit, so I wouldn't miss you. He helped me escape. Please."

Killian sighs. "Your wish is my command. I'll do my best to look past his actions."

"I don't think it was their fault. They were led to believe that without me, you would go back to your life at sea."

"Who would do that?"

"Rufio mentioned a man, Peters, and the name didn't sound familiar until today."

"Why today, love?"

"Cora introduced him to me while we went looking for you. That's his last name. It has to be more than just a coincidence that he lives at the Booth Estate. I've suspected Milah from the moment I woke up in that place."

Emma snuggles closer, his strong arms engulfing her. There's a silence between them as they contemplate what has transpired since they met, and soon they fall asleep. Tomorrow will be a better day.


~~~Booth Home *Next Day

Cora is anxiously still waiting for August to wake up. He had been passed out when Malcolm had retrieved him from some tavern. She could smell the cheap alcohol coming off him when Malcolm brought him home. She couldn't regret her actions because all that mattered was that her son was alive. She would deal with the consequences of her secret being out later. She just hopes he didn't make any more stupid decisions.

August wakes up hungover and he's a little disorientated. All the memories come back from the previous night. He stumbles as he dresses to go get something to drink. His mouth is dry and he has a headache. The path to the dining room is too bright but he carries on. The only thing that gives him comfort is that his mother thought of making up one of the guest rooms for him. Just the thought of going to his marital room makes him sick.

He will go see the Sheriff to make sure that Jones is taken care of. Oh, and he will ask Nottingham to ensure that he will not allow Emma passage to see Killian. He knows that in time, Emma will realize Killian isn't the man for her.

His mother sits at the head of the table, eating some fruit. She looks at him as he enters the room. "Son, good you're awake. We need to talk."

"Good morning, Mother. I don't want to talk right now." His eyes turn to Milah. "Whore, shouldn't you be on your back?"

Milah smirks. "You loved me on my back." She returns her attention to her tea.

"Apparently I wasn't the only one, but soon your lover will get what he deserves," August mocks.

Milah studies August's demeanor, he has an appeal he didn't have before. She shakes her head. She looks down at her plate and pushes it aside. She hasn't been able to keep anything down.

Cora glares at Milah. "I hate you, and you will get what you deserve, you vile whore." Cora stands up and storms off.

Milah has an idea of what ails her but she hopes she is wrong. She can't go to the doctor, but she can go to the healer. She goes back to her room and dresses. No one seems to care about her whereabouts anymore. She has a horse saddled and makes her trip.

The healer confirms her suspicions. She is pregnant and the father has to be August. Her little indiscretion with the Sheriff was recent and she had felt the symptoms shortly after her honeymoon. Now to decide if she wants to claim the child is Killian's and destroy his marriage or tell the truth and have the child be the heir of the Booth Estate.


~~~Jones Home

Emma and Killian are sharing breakfast with Tink while they tell her about the events from the prior day when there's a pounding at the door. Tink smiles. "I'll get it. You two enjoy your breakfast." Tink rushes to the door since the pounding is getting louder.

Sheriff Nottingham is standing at the door. As soon as the door opens, he pushes his way through. "Where's Jones? I'm here to arrest him. We found contraband on his ship, The Jolly Roger." His men follow him inside.

Tink glares at him. "You know perfectly well that he gave up the ship for Emma's return."

The Sheriff waves some documents in her face. "These papers name him as the owner of the ship and the warehouse. Jones, come out and face me!" he screams.

"What the bloody hell is going on?" Killian demands as he and Emma come into the living room.

"Killian Jones, you're under arrest for contraband of stolen goods," Nottingham informs him.

Killian is frozen in place and he turns to Emma. His strong, lovely Emma.

Emma glares at Nottingham. "What proof do you have?"

"Ma'am, this is really not any of your business. You should go to your room," Sheriff Nottingham says, annoyed.

"You bloody git, you will show my wife the respect she deserves," Killian growls through gritted teeth.

"If she wanted respect, she should have married a man of honor," Nottingham mocks. The two men standing next to the foul lawman start walking toward Killian.

Killian turns to Emma. "Love, get Archie. He has proof about the legitimacy of my business. Don't worry, I will be home before you know it." Killian agrees to go with Nottingham if only to save Emma any further embarrassment from watching him being arrested.

As they watch Killian being manhandled into the Sheriff's carriage, Tink turns to Emma. "I'll go get Archie. Don't worry Emma."

Emma's eyes are watery from the tears that are threatening to fall. She turns to Tink. "I think my dad can help too, and Liam. He needs to know about Killian."

"Emma, you do know this is not true. Killian has turned his life around and it's all because of you."

Emma sniffles, "I know."

Tink takes off to go fetch Archie.

Emma is restless. She wants to go ask her dad for help getting Killian out of trouble. She keeps pacing and she is going to go crazy if she doesn't do something.

Rufio had slept on the beach, he's lucky it's still warm. He doesn't know if Peters is looking for him to get rid of him too. He needs to go talk to Mrs. Jones, and can only hope Captain Jones doesn't kill him on sight.

Rufio arrives at the Jones home. He's second-guessing his decision but he's alone. Felix was his closest friend and now he is gone. He can't go to the Sheriff because he won't care about an orphan.

The door flies open and Rufio is startled. Emma's eyes widened. "Rufio?"

He smiles. "Is it safe?"

Emma opens the door wider. "Come in," she tells the boy.

"Mrs. Emma is everything alright?"

"Rufio, everything will be okay. I've been so worried about you. What are you doing here?"

"He's dead," Rufio mutters as his bottom lip trembles.

"Who's dead?" she asks.

"Felix," he whispers as Emma pulls him into a hug.

Nottingham's Office

Sheriff Nottingham is grinning as he finishes filling out paperwork. Killian sits in the chair as the Sheriff hums happily at his turn in luck.

"Alright, take Jones here to his new home. Oh, and make sure it's the filthiest cell. And no bunkmates," Nottingham orders the two henchman standing guard at the door.

The men grab Killian roughly by the shoulders and head to the dungeons.

Tink arrives at Archie's office and tells him the news. He tells her to go be with Emma since Killian wouldn't want her to be alone. He promises to gather David and Liam and then head to the Sheriff's office.

Once at the Nolan's, Archie informs them of the situation as relayed to him by Tink. Archie, Liam, and Nemo head to the Sheriff's office and David heads to Emma's side.

As soon as Emma opens the door, she crashes into her father's arms. "Dad before you say anything, Killian is innocent. That horrible man made a show of arresting him." She tries not to let the tears flow.

David holds her tight and sighs. "Sweetheart, I know you love him, but is he worth all this trouble? The thing with Milah and now this?"

Emma stiffens and pushes herself away from her father's embrace. "If you're not here to help then maybe you should leave. I love him, Dad, and I know he is innocent. The thing with Milah, it wasn't just him. Yet somehow he is the only villain in the situation."

David nods. "Alright, I will go see him once we have more details. Archie, Liam, and Nemo went to go talk to the Sheriff. All we can do for now is wait. Emma, your mother wanted to come but she was convinced by Ingrid and Elsa to wait for more information."

They head to the kitchen where Tink and Rufio are drinking some hot tea.

David quirks a brow at the sight of the young man.

"Oh, Dad this is Rufio, He helped me escape."

David's eyes go wide. "Emma, how can you have someone in your home that kidnapped you?"

"Dad, stop it." Rufio stands up, but a quick look to Emma makes him take his seat.

"He and Felix were manipulated by an older man who used their desire to be in Killian's crew. The other boy was killed yesterday by the same man."

"Emma, do you know who kidnapped you?"

"I know there was the doctor, Rufio, and Felix. The one that gave instructions was a man named Peters, who happens to be the steward at the Booth Estate."

"What?" David's voice rises.

"It can't just be a coincidence."

"Shouldn't we go to the Sheriff with this information?"

"You want to go to the man that arrested my husband?"

"We have to go to someone. If that man was truly responsible, he needs to be held accountable. Emma, he's the law. We have to inform him."

"I want to go visit Killian."

"Sweetheart, that place isn't somewhere you should be. I don't think Killian would want you to see him there. I'll go check on Killian. I know Liam, Nemo, and Archie were going to go find more information."

"Fine, I'll go talk to Cora. She owes me for helping her stop the duel and she needs to know what kind of man is working for her. Dad, make sure Killian is okay. I'll take Tink with me, Rufio will stay here."

Rufio looks up at the mention of his name.

Emma smiles at him. "It's safer this way. That way Mr. Peters doesn't see you."

Tink stands up. "I'm ready to go. But, Emma are you sure she can help?"

Emma tilts her head. "She is a Booth and they're powerful. If Sheriff Nottingham wants to keep his job, he will listen to her."

Emma is determined to get Killian out of that prison and she is starting to worry about just how dangerous Peters could be. Did Cora know what he was up to? If that was the case, that meant she was responsible for her kidnapping. Milah made more sense. Why would Cora want her kidnapped? Emma tries to think of possible reasons.

The carriage arrives at the Booth Estate. Emma and Tink walk to the door and knock.

"Darling girl, I didn't expect to see you so soon," Cora greets them, opening the door herself, for them to enter.

"Is Enith sick?" Emma asks as they enter the house.

Cora rolls her eyes. "No, she's fine. Now tell me, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit."

"I need a favor," Emma says as she and Tink follow the older woman toward the office.

"A favor, what kind of favor?" Cora asks.

"I should say it's more of a payback for all those years my husband was alone."

Cora's smile thins. "What trouble has befallen the pirate?"

"He was arrested."

"I'm sorry Emma, but I can't say I'm surprised."

Tink scoffs. "Lady, Killian is innocent. Sheriff Nottingham knows this. He is saying there was contraband on the Jolly, but Killian gave it up in exchange for Emma. Nottingham hates Killian."

Emma smiles. "We still have the letter. The one that saved your son's life."

"Well, this is interesting. I'm being blackmailed by the pirate's wife."

Emma shakes her head. "Think of it as you wish. All I want is my husband home."

"Fine, I'll see what I can do."

"Oh and Cora, how well do you know Mr. Peters?"

"Why do you ask?"

Emma sighs and continues. "He was the one that ordered my kidnapping and that's not all. One of the boys he tricked into helping him was killed by his hand."

Cora turns white. "How can you make such serious accusations?"

"I befriended one of the boys and he helped me escape. He told me Peters' name and he saw him kill the other boy. I don't understand why he would want to kidnap me, but I think it has to do with Milah."

"I'm sorry darling, but your cousin is despicable. I wouldn't put it past her." Cora knows that Malcolm acted under her own orders, but blaming Milah couldn't be an easier out and it didn't bother her one bit.

"Is she here?" Emma asks.

"She was here earlier. I'm sorry dear, but I'd rather not have to lay eyes on her. As for your favor, I will see what I can do."

"Cora, you owe him. You owe us."

"I'll go talk to the Sheriff and I will stop by your house with news."

"Thank you." Emma nods to Tink and they both rise to leave.

Cora follows them out. As she watches the carriage leave, she wonders what trouble Malcolm has gotten into.

Nottingham's Office

Liam, Nemo, and Archie arrive and the quiet mannered man pounds on the door. Sheriff Nottingham welcomes them with a wide grin on his sleazy face.

"Please, come in and sit. Would any of you like something to drink? It's a special occasion for me so please don't judge me too harshly if I enjoy some rum," the lawman says as he pours himself a drink.

Archie is outraged. "You have no case against Killian and you know it! I have proof." He throws some documents on the desk.

The Sheriff smiles and tisks. "After all these years, you should call me by my first name, Keith. We have proof of stolen goods found on the ship."

Archie laughs. "You know that the ship was forfeited by Killian as a ransom for his wife. So you got your hands on the ship when Tink told you about the letter. We all know that the warehouse is clean of any stolen merchandise. This is just an attempt to finally best Killian by framing him. You didn't realize that he is not alone. He is not that poor orphan you've tried to step on."

"I agree with Archie, my brother is innocent and the proof you claim to have was planted by you. If we have to prove it we will, but mark my words Sheriff, you will pay for your treachery. Your questionable reputation is well known."

"Perhaps you all should be more respectful since I'm the one that decides if any of you get to see the pirate," Nottingham mocks. "But since I'm in such a great mood I will allow all of you to visit him." He smiles and yells out, "Guards!"

Nottingham sweats a bit but he feels confident that with August's support and the fact that Killian has a reputation, it will all turn out in his favor.

The men descend to the dungeons. Nemo and Archie quietly follow Liam and the guards leading the way. The cell is small, with a cot against the wall and a small barred window. Killian is looking out the window.

"I'm not in the bloody mood, Nottingham."

Liam clears his throat. "Brother, it's us."

Killian turns and walks to the barred door. "Liam, please take Emma to Arendelle. I don't want her to live with the humiliation that being married to me will inevitably bring. She deserves better. Perhaps even in time, she will find a suitor. I doubt I will get out of here. Nottingham will do everything in his power to make sure I rot in here."

Archie approaches from the back. "We will get you out of here. I promise."

Killian turns away as the three men leave with an unspoken promise to reunite the Captain with his wife.

Nottingham is sitting at his desk unable to hide his joy when the door opens and August saunters inside, uninvited.

August smiles. "I'm assuming it's done?"

"It is," he confirms with a wide grin.

"Any chance he'll try to escape?" August asks, sitting down.

"No, he wants to be an honorable man. If he attempted it, it would only make him look guilty."

"Sheriff, a favor, please. Ensure he isn't allowed visits from his wife."

"Of course. Hopper and some other men were visiting with him. The guards just let them out."

"I saw them come out before I entered. I should pay his wife a visit, to offer her my shoulder to cry on."

"How noble of you," Nottingham says. "Although, I'd advise you not to do that. Perhaps act as if you're unaware of the trouble that has befallen them."

August ponders the man's words, he could instead apologize for his behavior. "Thank you for your advice. I have a feeling things are going to start looking up for me."

The Sheriff wonders what Booth means by that, but he doesn't care to ask.

Hours later, David arrives at Nottingham's office and the man reluctantly allows him to visit Killian.

Killian swears to his father-in-law that he didn't do what he's accused of and begs him to keep an eye on Emma and to not bring her to see him like this. The thought of her in this place kills him. Mr. Nolan assures him that he believes him, if not only for the faith his daughter has in him. The distress he shows only increases the belief in his innocence.

Cora enters the office a little while later with an air of royalty. "Mr. Nottingham, I'm here to give you two choices. Please make sure you pick the right one. Release Killian Jones or cross me and bear the consequences. I'm sure you enjoy your job and the luxuries that come with it."

The Sheriff stares at her dumbfoundedly. "I'm sorry, are you threatening me?"

"Oh, dear Sheriff, you don't want to make an enemy out of me." She glares at him with her lips in a thin line. "I expect Mr. Jones to be released as soon as possible." Cora doesn't wait for an answer before sauntering out the door as regal as she had entered.

Emma is growing impatient, her dad has been gone for a while. No news from Cora or him is driving her crazy. She needs to know that Killian is okay, safe. As safe as he can be. So she sneaks out when Tink and Rufio are busy trying to make something for her to eat.

She reaches the Sheriff's faster than expected. She knocks and is called inside.

Sheriff Nottingham stands up as soon as his eyes land on her. She is a beautiful woman. He wonders if her desperation will lead her to some unsavory decisions. If he's honest, he wouldn't object to her trying to persuade him for her husband's freedom.

"Mrs. Jones, how can I help you?" His smile is lecherous to say the least.

"Sheriff, I'm here to see my husband." She stands tall with her head high.

"I'm afraid that's not possible," he shrugs.

"Excuse me? Why can't I see my husband?" Her fierce eyes threaten to burn him alive.

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Jones, there are some things I need to check before the nuns visit tomorrow for their weekly visit. Please, excuse me." He stands and goes to the door, and she makes her way to the door as well.

Emma is not happy but she has an idea. She remembers that the nuns visit the prisoners weekly to take them food and blankets.

She smiles as she decides her next stop The Convent.

Mother Superior is surprised to see her, and has nothing but pity in her eyes when Emma shares the reason for her visit. At first, Mother Superior feelsEmma shouldn't visit Killian, but when Emma shares the information about the donations Killian has been making anonymously to the convent, the nun has a change of heart. The nun offers her help in the form of a habit and veil for Emma to wear.

Mother Superior hands her the items. "You will wear this. Perhaps, arrive early enough to change and then we can leave."

"Thank you, Mother Superior. Please, don't deny Killian the ability to give money to the orphans. He has a good heart and he thought you wouldn't accept the money if you knew where it came from."

Mother Superior smiles kindly at Emma.

Jones' Home

Tink is startled by a knock on the door and she goes to answer it. August Booth stands there with a smile on his face.

She locks eyes with him. "What do you want?"

"Is Emma home? I would like to apologize for my behavior."

Tink stares. "And you think it's proper for you to come looking for Emma and not ask for her husband to be present?"

"I owe Emma an apology, not the Pirate," he shrugs nonchalantly. "Could you please fetch her."

"I'm not the maid. And you should apologize to both Emma and Killian. All of you rich people think you're above Killian, but you did something Killian would have never ever done or had the need to. I'm sorry your wife lied to you but you're not the only victim here. She hurt Emma and Killian as well. To be honest, I don't think Emma is ready to see you." She slams the door in his face.

August stands in front of the door, reeling from what the girl had said. Not a lot of women would have talked to him like that. His position would have warranted him special treatment, but this girl didn't care who he was.

He decides to leave before she comes out to lecture him more. He feels dirty and ashamed.

Sometime later Emma arrives home just before her father arrives with an update. Emma is not happy to hear from her father's lips that Killian doesn't want her to go see him. She'll give him a piece of her mind when she sees him.

The last visit is from Cora to let her know she paid the Sheriff a visit and gave him an ultimatum. She assures Emma that he will take it.

That night, Emma finds comfort in the fact that she will see her husband soon.

After her visit with the Sheriff, Cora summons Malcolm. She tells him that he needs to finish his job before he leaves. He cannot stay if he values his freedom.

Malcolm meets Milah near the fields of the Booth Estate as she makes her way back home from her visit with the healer. He knows her well. He startles the horse which jumps and throws her off. She lays on the ground grabbing her stomach. "Malcolm, what are you doing?" she hisses.

Malcolm locks eyes with her. "My job." He presses his foot on her stomach.

Understanding dawns on Milah's face. Cora's words. In a perfect world you'd be dead.

"Wait-" she gasps, "the baby, it's a Booth."

Malcolm pauses for a second then resumes his attack. It must be a trick, a last resort for pity.

Once her life is gone he picks her body up and carries it to the horse and heads back to the Estate.

August can't get the blonde girl out of his mind. She has a fire that calls to him. He shakes his head. Last time he thought along the same line his heart got broken.

His thoughts are interrupted when he sees Malcolm walking beside his horse. The horse appears to be carrying a body. As the man gets closer it's easy to see who it is: Milah. He stays away.

Malcolm tells Cora about the mention of a baby. He swears it was a trick, but Cora asks him to get the doctor.

Sadly the doctor confirms the death of both the child and mother. Her grandchild. She's killed her son's child.

Malcolm decides it's his time to leave, Cora had given him his payment. He left, but not before telling her he was going to Port Hook to secure transport on a ship. He asks her to go with him.

Graham arrives at the Nolan's with a piece of jewelry and news of the doctor, and David informs them of what Emma had told him about Malcolm Peters.

Snow recognizes the piece. It was one she stopped wearing some years back, but it was one of a kind. Brennan had gifted it to her when she announced her pregnancy.

The question was simple: why kidnap Emma?

Who had to gain from her disappearance? Snow keeps wondering. If Emma is correct, Milah makes sense, but would the Booth steward do something like that for her?

The only person with power is Cora and the jewel belonged to her.

Snow remembers how desperate she was to find Emma. She asked Cora for help and in exchange, she wasn't supposed to reveal that Killian was Brennan's son.

That's the only thing that makes sense. Emma also said that she was not meant to be harmed. It was a scare tactic.

Ingrid and Elsa keep Snow company while the men try to get Killian out of prison. Graham had made a comment that Nottingham is not a man to be trusted and that he has heard rumors of people wanting to get rid of him.

Snow wonders if Cora is somehow behind the arrest of her son-in-law. If not Cora, it has to be August. He was the only one angry enough to pull something like this.


~~~Next Day

Emma wakes up earlier than normal to go to the convent. She is nervous and excited. It's thrilling to sneak around to go visit her husband. She wastes no time and dresses quickly and sneaks out before Tink and Rufio wake up. They are taking their job in keeping an eye on her too seriously. They both claim that would be the number one order from Killian. To keep her safe.

She arrives at the Convent soon enough and she is guided to one of the rooms to change. It is odd to be wearing the habit once more. She is sure to put on the veil. She hopes that the Sheriff doesn't notice her. Once they arrive at the prison, Mother Superior tells her to stay in the back so she is not visible.

Sheriff Nottingham greets them as soon as they arrive and he sends one of the guards with them.

The nuns split up and the guard keeps his attention on Mother Superior. She smiles at the man. "My girls are only going to hand out food and blankets. How dangerous can that be?"

The man gives them space. Emma distances herself from the group. She really hopes she is going the right way, something tells her she is. When you love someone you just know.

She walks to the last cell. It is dark and dirty. She approaches the bars. "Killian," she calls out as softly as she can.

The movement from the back of the cell catches her eye. A figure slowly approaches. "Emma, what are you doing here? I asked your father to not bring you."

Emma rolls her eyes. "As you can see, my father didn't bring me, the Lord did. And I don't listen, I never do."

He quirks a brow, and takes her in. She is wearing a nun habit.
"Why are you wearing that?"

"The Sheriff didn't allow me to come see you. I had to see you. I needed to know you were alright."

"Love, I just want you to know that I'm innocent. I love you."

"I love you too, I miss you terribly. Tink and Rufio are driving me crazy!" she laughs.

"Yet, you're here without them. I will have words with them."

"No, Killian. This was the only way I could think of to get in here to see you."

"Love, be careful. You need to stick with Tink. I hope this is the last time you sneak away from them. I worry about you."

"I promise I'll take care of myself and I'll wait for your return."

"Emma, you have to consider that my return may not be possible."

"Well, I'm not giving up. No one is. We are getting you home. Cora will help."

"Love-"

"Don't say it-" she raises her hand.

"Sister, Emma. Sister."

"I have to go, but this is not over. I don't care what I have to do."

Killian stares as she walks into the dark hall leading her out.

Bloody hell.

The men are actively working together to overthrow the Sheriff. Graham had mentioned an old friend wanted to end the Sheriff's reign of terror. His beloved had experienced it first hand. They were tired of the poverty that man pushed upon the lower class. Nottingham is a greedy man but he still has one weakness. Marian Locksley. The one that got away. The one that chose another man. His pride would be the end of him.

Snow decides it's time to confront Cora, her oldest friend, and Cora welcomes Snow with open arms. After all, she does have to deliver the news of Milah's passing.

As soon as they are alone in the office, Snow can't keep quiet any longer. "You had my daughter kidnapped? Why, because of a secret?"

Cora stares at her with wide eyes before she can deny it.

Snow throws the piece of jewelry Hyde had in his possession.

Cora sighs. "I meant the girl no harm. I had to find a way to motivate you into staying quiet. In the end, the secret was revealed regardless."

"My daughter was just a pawn to you. You could have simply asked me to keep quiet."

"Snow, we both know you cannot keep a secret. It was a desperate move. I was just trying to protect my son."

"I may not know Killian that well, but he couldn't care less about your money."

"Please accept my apology. I will make things right. I'm helping Emma get her husband out of prison."

"And you think that makes it alright?"

"I haven't even mentioned your niece's horrible behaviour."

"Oh, Milah will be dealt with."

"Snow," Cora's face changes for a second. "About Milah, I'm afraid she had an accident and she is gone."

"She had an accident?"

"Yes, I was going to send word to you but you arrived."

"What kind of accident? I want to see her, and please don't pretend like you cared for her. You hated her."

"Doctor Whale is going to send a carriage to pick up her body, for now it is in her room."

"I still want to see her," Snow said. "She is my family."

Cora nods and escorts Snow to the room.

Snow gasps as she sees the body of her niece. She is so still and it's so surreal. Milah was full of life and now it's gone. The tears flow. How is she going to tell David?

"I'm really sorry, Snow. You have to believe me. If I had known about the baby, I would have made sure she was taking care of herself."

"Baby?" The one word makes August's presence known. He had been standing silently in the door entrance.

"She was with child?"

"I'm sorry, son. I meant to tell you."

"Did you do this? Did you hurt her to make her pay for her behavior?" Snow asked. "Like you had Emma kidnapped to keep me quiet?"

August turns to his mother. "Oh my god, you had Emma kidnapped? Milah was found by your right-hand man, Malcolm. What have you done?"

"Oh please, son. Get off your high horse. Tell Snow that you had her son-in-law arrested, your brother, all because he had the misfortune of meeting your wife first. And before you try to deny it, I had a talk with the Sheriff and he wouldn't release him when I asked because he thinks he has a better ally, and you're the only one that fits the description."

Snow scoffs. "You two deserve each other. I cannot believe there was a time I considered you both family." Snow storms out.

"I'm nothing like you, Mother." August spits the words like venom as he shakes his head and leaves as well.

Cora stands alone. Port Hook is starting to sound more appealing. Her son is as stubborn as his father. He will not forgive her.

August has never felt more sick. His mother had Emma kidnapped. She kept his brother from him. Yes, he still feels betrayed. Milah, oh how he loved her. She is gone, her and their child. His mother made sure of it. She didn't even deny it. The girl, Tink, had said his actions were beneath Killian. The pirate captain with the dastardly reputation was a better man than him. His brother. He had to make things right. Be the best man he could be and perhaps someday he could have a brother.

Marian Locksley waits for Sheriff Nottingham. She sits patiently in his office while he is no doubt torturing the inmates.

The Sheriff's surprise is evident when he notices her in his office. "Marian, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?"

She simply smiles but doesn't respond.

"Does your husband know you are here?"

"Yes, Robin knows I'm here. Now the reason for my visit is simple. I'm here to tell you that you're out. You are no longer Sheriff of Misthaven."

"Oh Marian, you have no power to do so."

"Keith Nottingham, did you really think no one knew of your disgusting indiscretions? How you take advantage of all the women that walk through your door? These women are so desperate to see their husbands freed, they are willing to do anything. They share your bed in exchange for their husbands' freedom and in order to keep their secrets, you blackmail them to continue. Let me tell you, it wasn't unnoticed."

He looks at her with sheer hatred. "You know, you are not as desirable as you once were. The years have not been kind to you. I've shared my bed with women who are breathtakingly beautiful like you once were. Now you are only an old hag."

"Yes, the years have not gone unnoticed, but those years? I would not trade them for one second with you. Now tell me, what deal did you make to get your hands on Captain Jones?"

"That doesn't concern you."

She pulls out a pistol and aims it towards him. "Actually, it does, because he helps the people. The orphans and all the people you like to step on. Why do you think you never had any proof to arrest him?"

"Guards!" he calls out.

"I'm sorry, no one is coming to save you. They're not your men."

The pistol goes off and from that distance, it is a fatal shot.

In the end, many changes came.

Killian was freed upon the death of Sheriff Nottingham, and August Booth confirmed to the town that the charges weren't valid. Killian was once again home with his beloved wife. Growing up an orphan had made him believe he would never have a family of his own. But now he has a wife he adores. Family and friends he never thought were possible. And, he was not the only one that found a family.

Killian and August were able to move past their issues. With Milah's death, Killian's brother was able to see past his anger and remorse set in. After realizing the depth of his treacherous behavior and making amends, he eventually found a surprising match with Tink.

Rufio was welcomed as an addition to the Jones crew. In fact, Captain Jones had taken Rufio under his wing and is teaching him how to sail.

Cora had found her way to Port Hook just in time to board the ship with Malcolm Peters. The two were never seen again. Then again, the ship never made another port.

Misthaven found a new Sheriff, one that was honorable, Captain Nemo. He'd fallen in love with the small town and never left.

Archie and Ingrid fell in love. Liam and Elsa moved to Misthaven and live a few houses from them. Graham too decided to give up his lonely life on the outskirts of Golden Cove and moved back to Misthaven. Eventually, his old friend Snow introduced him to the woman who would become his wife.

There's also one more addition that is coming in a few months…

Blonde hair dances in the salty sea wind. A small hand gently caresses a swollen belly. The woman's glowing smile gets bigger as she sees the sails of her beloved's ship fast approaching. "Your papa is home, little bean."

This is their happy beginning.