hi! captain swan please and "Ooh love/ no one's ever gonna hurt you love/ I'm gonna give you all of my love/ nobody matters like you/ Your life ain't gonna be nothing like my life/ you're gonna grow and have a good life/ I'm gonna do what I got to do" (rockabye by clean bandit)
Eva runs away about a month after she came to live with them.
It’s just as well that the lady in the group home warned them; even knowing it, Emma’s heart won’t stop racing with fear, thoughts of witches and dragons and flying monkeys overriding her reason.
“We’ll find her,” her father assures her, though his eyes are shadowed with memory. He knows what it is to lose a child, after all.
Emma nods, and hands him a flashlight. “I know.”
“Let’s get on with it, then,” Killian says, the words harsher than he means them. He’s pale and haunted, but his face is set in familiar, angry determination, ready to tear the whole town apart to find his daughter.
Self-recriminations and doubts whirl around Emma’s mind as they set off. Does Eva not like it with them, after all? Have they not done enough, been enough, loved her enough?
Emma is the one who finds her, huddled in a corner of the play park, knees drawn up against her tiny body as if to ward off the falling night.
“Killian!” she shouts in the direction where she last saw him. “She’s here!”
She hurries forward. Eva looks up at her approach, dark eyes wide and defiant-fearful, her mop of hair untidier than ever.
“Hey,” Emma says, and falls to her knees in front of her. “We’ve been looking everywhere for you, what are you doing here?”
Emma reaches for her, and gently pulls her into her arms. The child goes willingly, folding into the embrace with an ease that still surprises Emma.
Then Killian is there, his arm brushing Emma’s back as he hunkers down beside her. “There you are.” His relief is palpable as he, too, hugs their daughter.
But then he pulls away, and holds Eva out at arm’s length. “Don’t you ever do that again. Do you understand me?”
Eva’s lip trembles at his tone, and Emma gets it.
She never wanted to run away. All she wanted was to be found.
“We’ve been worried,” Emma says, gently but firmly. “Eva, honey, when we realised you were gone, we got really scared. How would you feel, if we were just gone one day?”
Eva shakes her head, her eyes filling with tears. “Dunno,” she mumbles. And then, quietly, desperately, “I don’t wanna go back.”
“To the group home?” Emma asks, her heart wrenching, wanting to punch everyone who ever sent this frustrating, wonderful, precious child away again.
“Do you want to come home?” Killian asks, and his voice is gentle now, too, a tone Emma knows all too well. A question for a lost girl, asked with earnest blue eyes and the hint of a smile.
Eva gives him a tremulous look. Then she nods, and the tears spill over, and Killian catches her in his arms and holds her tight.
“Eva,” Killian says, letting out a long breath, and Emma hears the echo all of his fears and losses in that sound. “I promise you, no matter what, we will always find you. As many times as it takes.”
Emma reaches out to stroke a hand over Eva’s curls, leaning in to kiss her temple. “Yep,” she says, and she’s never meant a vow more than this one, simple as it is. “Always.”