somewhere inside her dark heart

broken together.

A/N: Every time I hear this song, it reminds me of CS. The idea is that Emma and Killian are married with children living out their “happily ever after” in the Enchanted Forest. However, as I know from personal experience, marriage isn’t always a fairytale, and the fact that Emma grew up the way she did may always affect her relationship whether she wants it to or not. Fluffy or angsty? You tell me.

”What do you think about when you look at me?
I know we’re not the fairytale you dreamed we’d be….
…Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together?”

-Broken Together by Casting Crowns

He is her happy ending and she is his, but things aren’t always so simple. The lost girl is always lurking somewhere inside the dark recesses of her heart, and every now and then she resurfaces and rips everything to shreds in the space of a heartbeat. Sometimes when they’ve both had a busy day and he’s forgotten to tell her how beautiful she is and that he loves her, a quiet voice whispers, “He doesn’t really love me, does he?” So she picks a fight about something stupid, and he’s mad and says something mean and she thinks, “I knew it, he doesn’t really…how could he?” The pain of these thoughts reverberates inside her mind until she breaks and the tears come slipping out, searing her cheeks like liquid fire. He watches her, and suddenly he just knows, and his arms are around her, soothing away the pain and pledging his undying devotion in quiet whispers.

Other times, she just fails – she can’t be a wife and a mother and a princess and a savior. “Not good enough, never good enough!” the voice accuses, and she runs and runs and runs until she can’t breathe, collapsing on the ground in a useless heap, her legs too tired to carry her any further. She covers her eyes and curls up tight in a ball and blurs her vision for as long as it takes to see the light again, breaking through in shimmering strands between her fingers. Memories come and go, and somehow she recalls words spoken a long time ago, with hope and with promise: “I choose to see the best in you. And I in you.” Sees his face in her mind and remembers that he isn’t perfect either - he was a pirate, but now a man of honor. Her prince and the future leader of the kingdom. Right now he is waiting on her, and she can’t let him down, has to try, has to be a part of something. Her need for him suddenly outweighs any other need, she thirsts for him more than water. So she picks herself up again, and dusts off her aching legs, ready to try again. Putting one foot in front of the other, her body leads her to the only remedy she knows won’t fail her – the solace of eyes as blue as the sea and often as tranquil.

Sometimes seeing the best in people is like trying to find a compass in a room full of treasure. “He’s done it again! He’s always doing it. Does he do it just to annoy me? Do I really love him, or has this all just been a beautiful fairy tale? Why can’t I find my way in all of this? Why can’t we have the marriage my parents have?” Despite the fact that she loves him more than anyone in the world, she still kind of hates him a little. She takes that hate and swallows it down and keeps it inside of her, flickering like a small flame, one she doesn’t know if she can extinguish completely. When he comes to her with rum-soaked breath and a red rose he somehow managed to find in the dead of winter, begging forgiveness on hands and knees, she resigns herself a little. Because no one has ever tried so hard to make things right with her. And maybe what he did wasn’t so bad. His face doesn’t hurt either, nor do the kisses he places tenderly along her jawline.

She hates herself the most when she gets jealous. Of her own daughter, no less. But watching them together – their laughter so free and easy, the joy that lights up his face – she can’t help but wonder quietly, “Does he love her more?” And she hears the pledge of her little girl’s voice, so innocent and pure, that she loves him more than anyone else in the whole world. In return, he tells her she’s his sun and moon and stars and Emma’s heart almost bursts with joy. Almost. Until the little lost girl comes to snatch away the moment with a gnawing pang, a secret wish that she were the only woman in his life, like she used to be – the most important one. And instead of feeling happy and complete, she’s uncertain and ashamed, turning away from them before they notice her presence.

When he breaks and she sees him – really sees him, she doesn’t always like what she finds. He’s not perfect, and sometimes his quirks aren’t adorable, they’re downright infuriating. “Why does he have to show that much chest hair, anyway? Please.” But instead of running, he comes to her, a moth to the flame. Saying nothing, but she knows his face by now, has studied every expression in excruciating detail. She knows he’s broken and lost - like she was, like she still is at times. She knows she can choose to love him then, and somehow his brokenness makes her stronger. Because she has to be strong, because she wants to be. For him. Wrapping her arms around him, she feels the warmth of their love surround them like a blanket, no magic required. He sags his weight against her, and she lets him, their bodies molding together like two pieces of a puzzle. “I can’t….I’m not…I’m not perfect, Emma. I’m just a broken man, an ex-pirate,” he says with tired eyes. “I’m not perfect either, Killian. Can we maybe just be….broken together?” she asks. This brings a smile to his face, no matter how tentative, and she knows she’s healed him a little, like he heals her. “Aye. That we can, love. That we can.”