UPDATE: THANK YOU SO MUCH TO @CHOOKERS38 FOR DRAWING THIS AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS SCENE FROM THIS LITTLE STORY. IT CAME OUT SO BEAUTIFUL AND I’M SO GRATEFUL TO HAVE SUCH A SWEET AND TALENTED FRIEND LIKE YOU.
This story is my own creation set in season six, after the episode A Wondrous Place. Some wording is taken from the fantastic writers of Once Upon a Time to stay in continuity of the show. The rest are my own imagination.
“Do you know what day it is today?” Killian asked Ariel, sitting in front of a fire pit on the edge of the Agraban Gulf.
He’d been staring into the crackling flames since the moment they set up camp, shortly after saying goodbye to Aladdin and Jasmine.
“It’s Frigedag,” Ariel answered in some foreign language he did not recognize.
Killian arched his brow. “Frigedag?”
“Yeah, isn’t that what you call it. I’ve heard humans say TGIF before Thank Guppy it’s Frigedag, right?”
He had to laugh despite feeling like complete rubbish inside. “I think that saying is Thank God it’s Friday. I’ve heard Emma and Henry say it before.”
“Oh yeah, Friday – Frigedag that’s what Merfolks call it.” Ariel pushed the fire around with a stick she’d picked up along the way to the coast. “Speaking of Merfolk and Emma, want to try calling her again? It’s been an hour since the last time you used my shellphone.” She handed him the bauble.
“Thanks.” He accepted the tiny conch and spoke into it again, praying Emma was near his chest where he’d left his own enchanted shell. “Emma, it’s Killian. I didn’t mean to leave. Gideon sent me away. I would never leave you. Emma, he wanted me out of the way. I love you. I don’t know if you can hear me, but I’m trying to get home to you. And I won’t stop ‘til I do.” He’d say it a million times over if he had to. She had to know he didn’t leave in haste. Yes, he needed time to think, time to deal with the guilt about remembering he was the one who killed her grandfather. Never once, though, did he stop loving her. Emma Swan was his whole world. She made him a better man and nothing he could do could ever repay what she gave to him: redemption, forgiveness, love, and family.
“Someone will hear you, Killian,” Ariel said, taking back her shell.
“I hope so.”
Something leapt from the water, startling both of them.
Thinking it was another one of those krakens, Killian jumped to his feet, his sword in hand. “Stand back,” he ordered his innocent friend.
“No, wait! It’s a mermaid, not a monster.” Ariel ran to the shoreline. “It’s okay. Come out. We’re friends. We won’t hurt you,” she said to the gulf.
Killian followed her lead, seeing the top of a woman’s head cresting the water’s surface. She was beautiful, lifting her head and tossing back shimmering gold hair in the silvery moonlight.
The maid swam closer into the shallows, seating herself on the wet sand, yet keeping her tail submerged. Up close two things stuck out to him as familiar: a necklace made of leather carrying both a shell and a brass key, and her eyes. Those two pools of blue, the shade of the crystalline waters of Polynesia, drew him to her as if in a trance. He knew those eyes. He’d seen them on his older brother’s face and every day when he passed a mirror. Shock had him frozen where he stood.
Ariel wasn’t so much, and greeted the woman. “Hi. I’m Ariel, who are you?”
“Ondine,” the maid said and lifted her eyes to Killian. “I heard you… your voice on my shell. You were calling to your love, were you not?”
Words were absent from his mind, unable to form on his tongue. From the story he’d read all of a month ago, he knew this mermaid was a special one indeed. She was his mother.
Ariel nudge his ribs. “Uh, aye. I was,” he finally answered. “I’m Killian Jones, brother to Captain Liam Jones, and son to the unfortunate scoundrel, Brennan Jones.”
With each name Ondine’s blue eyes widened and teared. She covered her gaping mouth. “Killian. My Killian?”
The once brave and fearless Captain Hook knelt reverently in the sand. “Aye… Mother.”
She touched his face, cupping his cheeks, caressing his beard and jaw. “Look at you. You look so much like your father.”
As much as he didn’t want to hear that comparison, he took it as a compliment knowing how in love the woman before him loved his dastardly father. Brennan Jones was far from perfect, but he did love. “I do, at least from what I can remember of him. He’s been gone a long time now. But I don’t know you at all. How are you here in Agrabah?”
She continued to stare at him, taking in his every detail. “I know I haven’t been around for you and Liam, but not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought of you. My father was after us when you were small and your father sent me to another realm to escape him. All of you were supposed to follow and I waited but no one ever came. It wasn’t until the insane Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde brought us to this world did I leave the realm of Untold Stories.”
“Was that you in the reservoir the day Emma and I picnicked, reading your story?” Killian asked.
Ondine nodded. “I heard the familiar tale you two were reading, and somehow knew I had to stick by you. I didn’t know how to approach you, but stayed close.”
“That’s all right. I wouldn’t know how to react anyway. I’m still getting used to having a living brother in the same town.”
“Living? I don’t understand.”
Ooh, right, her Liam was no longer alive. The last time she saw him, her eldest son was a toddler. Gently, Killian cupped her cheek. “It happened a long time ago, almost three hundred years ago, Liam passed on as a Naval captain on the high seas. He was an honorable man all the way ‘til the end. He’s in a far better place now. I guarantee it. Father did have another son, though, named him Liam as well. He lives in Storybrooke.”
“But you’ve survived all this time?” Killian nodded. “Aye. I have and a lot of that has to do with the woman I’m trying to return to, my love, my Emma.”
Ondine smiled. Killian noted the pride in the lines of her perfectly, unaged face frozen in time by her realm. No one in the Land of Untold Stories had aged. Their lives were exactly as they were the day they’d turned the key to that world.
“Please, let me help you?” Ondine implored. “I could hear the love and urgency in your voice. You need to get back to her and I have an idea. It requires trust on your part though.”
Ariel nodded, as if urging him to trust his mother. “Merfolk don’t usually lie.”
“I understand, but you aren’t suggesting we swim, are you?” he asked, darting glances between both mermaids.
“Don’t look at me.” Ariel held her hands up, clueless as to Ondine’s plan. “I’ve never travelled with humans before. I don’t even know if it’s possible.”
“It is, as long as we have a tie to one another. We must hurry though. We only have until dawn.” Ondine flapped her tail signifying the part of her story Killian almost forgot. She only remains a mermaid for a day. Come sunrise she would returned to human form and her abilities to cross realms, breathe underwater, and swim at lightning speed vanishes for a week. It was now or never.
“What do I have to do?” Killian asked.
Ondine reached for his hand. He grasped hers and held out his hook for the other. The smallest flinch twinged her brow, and he could see questions in her eyes about it which were not important at the moment. He nodded once letting her know it was all right, and a soft smile spread on her face. “I need to kiss you.”
He angled a waried eyebrow, yet still knelt in the wet sand. He closed his eyes and felt the warm touch of lips on his forehead. A mother’s kiss so tender and dear, his heart ached as if is soul remembered her from when he was a babe. Heat drenched his body, sending tingles through his limbs and a quaking in his chest.
“Breathe, darling,” she whispered in a slow melodic tone.
Killian did as she asked. His lungs filled like the sails of his ship taking flight to Neverland. It left him exhilarated to the point of dizziness and fell over into the waves.
He caught himself, opening his eyes to his smiling mother. “You’re ready. Keep holding my hand. If you let go, you’ll simply be a man trapped between realms in the middle of the oceans.
He didn’t let go and Ondine took off with one flip her tail. One quick jerk and he was shooting through the water like a bullet from a gun. Hundreds of years of instinct had him holding his breath until he could no longer. He opened his mouth and took in a gulp of air, surprised to find he could breathe easily. Ondine’s kiss worked! They’d be in Storybrooke in no time; he couldn’t wait to see Emma’s face.
In a purple hue, they passed through Agrabah’s realm, then the outer rim of the Enchanted Forest, Camelot, and finally burst through into the world of Storybrooke as the red globe of the sun skimmed the horizon in the east. Ondine slowed passing Boston and coming up on Maine’s coastline.
“What’s wrong?” Killian asked, his own lungs unable to hold as much as they had before. The cold, too, crept into his bones unlike earlier. His teeth chattered and body ached to move.
“It’s almost time.” She was breathless.
Killian survey the land around them, wading in place as best he could. “Look! Over there, it’s Storybrooke’s beach. It’s not far. Come on, we can make it.”
Ondine bobbed her head, and started a slow swim. After a minute, Killian could no longer feel the weight of her fin against his legs. She was changing.
“Ondine?” he urged, seeing her straining to swim without the help of her mermaid abilities. She slipped away from him.
Killian caught her around the waist, careful not to pierce her icy, wet flesh with his hook. “No, Mum, you have to be strong. I’ve got you. Just a little further.”
With her head on his shoulder, he pulled them both through water one struggling paddle at a time through the last stretch of frigid water. When his feet could reach the earth below, he gathered Ondine in his arms and carried her to shore.
Leroy and the other dwarves came running the moment he called out, “Help me! Someone call Emma.”
Happy dialed. Leroy shrugged off his coat and draped it around Ondine’s shivering body. Killian dropped to his knees, frozen and weak. “Help him,” he thought he heard one of the dwarves yell before all went black.
The next flash he saw was a light as bright as the summer sun from behind his eyelids. Emma.
“Killian!” she shouted.
Heat filled him—no surrounded him—and Ondine beside him. The same heated magic he felt anytime Emma healed him. He opened his eyes seeing a white, glowing cloud swirl around him and his mother. Consciousness returned. His mother was safe. Killian was on his feet in the very next moment, yanking Emma into his arms, kissing her with all the regret, worry, and love he had inside.
“I’m so sorry, Emma,” he whispered, unable to stop kissing her face, her mouth, her neck. “I should’ve told you what I did to your grandfather all those years ago. And I should have never…ever… considered running away.”
“Shh,” she held his face in her hands, halting him, “It’s okay. I didn’t exactly make it easy for you to tell me the truth.”
Killian took a step backward, fishing for the box in his breast pocket. “There’s something I need to do before I get pushed into another portal. And this time I’m going to do it the right way.” Lowering himself to the ground, he knelt before his love, his Emma. “Swan, I know that you face an uncertain future, but there’s one thing I want you to be certain of, and that is that I will always—always—be by your side. So Emma Swan, what do you say? Will you marry me?”
“Yes,” she replied barely above a whisper. It didn’t have to be loud, it didn’t have to be for the world to hear. All that mattered was that he heard that one precious word.
The happiest man alive, Killian stood and kissed her with all the longing, all the devotion he had for this one perfect woman. He was whole in far more ways than one. He had his Emma. He had a mother, he had a brother, and forgiveness finally in his heart. He was a complete man from head to toe and everything in between.
“Tell it again, Grandmum,” Hope shrilled.
Ondine kissed her granddaughter’s blonde curls atop the five-year old’s head. “Hush now, darling. It’s time for sleeping.”
“But I love that story.”
“I know you do, but your mum and dad would be very disappointed if I let you stay up late. Besides, it’s Thursday night, you need to sleep, my love.”
Ondine stood and glanced at the clock; three hours until midnight. The excuse was enough for her precious granddaughter to lie back on her pillow and close her eyes.
She tucked Hope in under the covers. “Good girl, and when you wake all will be normal, and you will have a new baby sister joining us.”
Hope’s blue eyes flittered open wide, a smile lit up her rosy face. “And then you can tell the story about you and mommy and daddy again.”
“Yes, darling. I will tell the story again and again for as long as I live.”