AN: This ficlet can be blamed on Laura (Addicted_oncer), who tweeted this quote: "Daddy, someday I will meet my Prince Charming, but you will always be my King." And then she proceeded to ask that someone write an OUAT fic for it… This is entrapment, I tell you! XD Thank you, Laura for putting this in my mind because I haven't really gotten to write a Daddy Charming and Emma moment in far too long! ;-D I hope that I did your prompt justice! :-D

Soundtrack that I wrote this to: Skyfall by Adele, Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman, Stealing Cinderella by Chuck Wicks, Delicate by Damien Rice, It Won't Be Like This For Long by Darius Rucker, Broken Bridge by Daughter Darling, In My Veins by Andrew Belle (feat. Erin McCarley), All-American Girl by Carrie Underwood, Arms by Christina Perri, Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift, Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift

Disclaimer: If I owned anything would I be the poor college grad in the CG with a mountain of debt? XD Not mine! I'm just playing in the proverbial sandbox. ;-}

This is post season 2 finale, the gang has rescued Henry from Neverland and somehow ended up in the Enchanted Forest and met up with Neal, Mulan, Aurora and Phillip. So right now it's a little prompt-induced ficlet that is masquerading as canon…for the moment. XD



Charming was tired and he knew he wasn't the only one. First, they rushed off to Neverland to get Henry back, then they were suddenly dropped into the Enchanted Forest–now he understood another reason why Snow had been reticent to return, the ogres really were a problem–and found Neal–alive!–shocking them all to say the least.

Now they were settled into the new camp that Mulan, Phillip and Aurora had helped build for the people who hadn't been taken from the Enchanted Forest. Their weary band taking a rest before deciding on their next move. Where they would go... What they would do… Save for Emma, who seemed to just be trying to take things as they came, they were all torn. They were happy to finally be back in the Enchanted Forest, but they missed their friends back in Storybrooke. And with the protection that 'Stiltskin had given to Belle to enact they had no sure way of ever finding that place again. Too many worries…

The whole trip had seemed surreal honestly; most everyone on the boat had tried to kill at least one of the others at least once. For all of their having a truce Rumplestiltskin and Hook had barely been able to hold up the paper-thin veneer of icy civility, both obviously still hating the other. Regina, surprisingly, had been less hostile toward Charming and his family, even Snow, her focus so wholly on getting Henry back, and even after they found Henry again. It was almost as if she had gotten into the habit of being kinder to their family, and she just didn't think to fall out of it. That wasn't to say they were friends now, but Charming was willing to admit that they weren't enemies anymore either.

Charming watched his wife from where he sat sharpening his sword. Snow was applying a poultice she'd made to a man's wound from an ogre attack. His wife, for all her protesting that she wanted to stay in Storybrooke, truly blossomed in their native land, flourishing in the old familiar trials, habits and ways. As if the very air was helping her heal and deal with the darkness that supposedly now resided in her heart. He was much the same, while they'd both adapted to the other world, both had still felt more comfortable with the methods of the Enchanted Forest. She lifted her head, catching his stare and giving him a loving grin, which he returned, before returning her attention to her task.

Henry seemed quite happy and content at the moment, constantly going on and on about all of the adventures their family was going to have here. Frequently hinting at him, Emma and Neal getting a castle of their own. Neal would cast Emma looks that varied from chagrined to longing to confused to regret and a whole other gamut of emotions. Emma sometimes would give him a wry, almost apologetic smile before turning to Henry and ruffling his hair, telling him, "We'll see, kid." She would then go about whatever she'd been in the middle of, obviously avoiding the topic.

Charming had seen the many torn glances Neal would give his daughter, the man seeming unsure of what to do, of what he could do. And he wasn't the only one showing interest.

Hook had shown more than a passing fancy in Emma, and if Neal's attention set Charming's teeth on edge, the Pirate's engendered the familiar desire to shoot him (though perhaps somewhere else than his face like he'd previously threatened.) The prince had learned that Hook tended to flirt with every woman that crossed his path, available or not, and he'd learned to quell the urge to sock him in the jaw when he would leer at Snow, but it was different with Emma. There was something there when he interacted with Emma that was absent with anyone else, or perhaps the better way to put it was that it was what was absent. He didn't flirt quite as outrageously with her, it was more long glances shared and an understanding that ran deep. And Emma wasn't entirely unreceptive to his attentions.

She might have been a grown woman, a woman whom Charming hadn't gotten to raise but was proud of. Emma might've been more than capable of taking care of herself, like her mother, but that didn't mean that Charming liked all of the male attention that was turned her direction. She was his daughter, and he'd only just gotten her back! Selfishly he didn't want to share her with anyone outside of their family yet. She'd only just finally started calling him "Dad" occasionally. He wanted more time with his little girl before he had to give her to someone else, damn it!

"What did that rock do to piss you off?"

Charming's head snapped up at his daughter's sardonic comment, gaze finding a grin that was all-too-familiar, it was a mirror image of his own. He cocked an eyebrow. "What?"

Emma settled down on the log next to him, only a few months ago she wouldn't have felt comfortable doing so, now she did it without a thought. She nodded to a stone sitting on the ground in front of him. "You were glaring at that rock like you wanted to burn holes through it."

Charming's eyes flicked to the two men who'd really been the focus of his frustrated thoughts, not lingering for even a moment before returning to his daughter. "Nah, just a lot on my mind." He gave her a grin that matched her own.

His daughter was too sharp though; Emma caught that quick glance, her own eyes going to where he'd looked, before returning her gaze to his. She fidgeted with a branch she picked up. "You've been pretty distant with Neal and Hook, not that I really blame you for not wanting to deal with Hook." She smirked at him amusedly.

Charming looked toward the bonfire that was being built for the night in the center of the encampment. He knew Emma didn't like discussing emotional "stuff" much, though she'd opened up to a shocking degree over the last year and a half, since the curse broke. He worried that if he tried to tell her how he really felt that she'd get uncomfortable, that she might pull away again, and he'd undo all of the progress they'd made in their relationship. And, truthfully, he was embarrassed by his own selfishness.

Finally he took a chance. "They both seem very…interested in you."

Emma went still beside him.

Charming took a deep breath. "I just got my daughter back. I missed everything in your life. I never got to hold your hands and help you take your first steps. I never got to teach you to dance with you standing on my feet. I never got to kiss you good night or read you bedtime stories. I never got to watch your mother brush your hair or see her laugh while you played dress up in her best ball gowns and forest-wear. I never got to escort you with your mother to your first ball. I never got to teach you to sword fight or watch your mother teach you archery. I never got to interrogate the boys who were interested in you. I didn't get to hold and comfort you when your heart was broken." He swallowed hard. "I never got to hear you call me 'Daddy.'" He heaved a deep breath. "And as selfish as it is… I finally found you and…I really don't want to lose you again." His eyes blinked rapidly, forcing back the tears that burned in the back of his eyes.

They sat there. Side-by-side. Staring into the growing bonfire. Silence hanging between them.

"I don't…" Emma bit her lip, staring down at her hands. "You know that I don't let people in easily."

He turned to watch her, holding his breath without realizing it.

She swallowed hard. "Neal…with Neal it's…complicated." Her eyes went back to the flames. "We'll always have Henry as a connection, and I'll always…feel some love for him. But…I don't know that I could ever trust him with my heart again." She threw the demolished stick into the fire. "Hook…" A snort escaped her. "Well…he's Hook." Emma threw him a half-grin before looking forward again. "And I don't know really how I feel about him."

There were a few heartbeats of silent stillness before she looked at Charming.

"Right now…for the first time in my life, I have a family. My family. I…" She kept her face toward him, but her eyes darted to the ground. "For the first time I know I'm loved, wholly and unconditionally. I finally have my parents." She slowly drew her gaze back to his. "My life, for all of the craziness in it, is emotionally stable for the first time ever… And I'm not really ready to risk that. To add someone to the mix who could upset that."

Slowly, hesitantly, Charming wrapped his arm around her shoulders–he's done this before, but he's always so cautious when initiating such affectionate gestures with her, unsure what his daughter will be comfortable with in a situation, especially with him. Without any further prompting Emma leaned into him, laying her head on his shoulder; he sighed, resting his cheek on the top of her golden head.

Her voice was so soft when she spoke again. "Daddy," he nearly let out an audible sob, "someday I will meet my 'Prince Charming,'" her teasing tone drew a choked laugh from him, "but you will always be my King."

Charming squeezed his eyes shut, sending tears streaming down his cheeks, then turned his head and pressed a kiss to his daughter's curls. "I love you, Emma," he murmured against her crown.

She didn't say anything, but leaned more into him, and it was all right, she'd opened up more than she usually did, letting herself be more vulnerable with him than she usually allowed. And he didn't need the words, not when she wasn't ready to say them with words. She said them loud enough with her actions and what she was able to articulate. Like letting him hold her like this. Like telling him he would always have a place in her life, the reassurance that no matter what, or who, came into her life that spot was his. And like a simple "Daddy." One word that completely covers three, and encompasses a feeling bigger than could ever really be described by feeble human language.

Sitting in the middle of the Enchanted Forest, his daughter in his embrace, Charming truly felt the pain from 28 years lost really begin to heal.


So my darling readers…what do you think? :-) Good Charming Family feels? :-D For those who wish to know, YES I promise I'm working on Once Upon a Time and Again, but I sadly do have a real life that has been rather demanding of my time and attention. This has been a great diversion from my regular writing of Hot Chocolate, OUAT & Again and my own book that I'm attempting to write, I had forgotten how helpful the occasional one-shot can be to the muse! Again thousands of thanks to Addicted Oncer; Sassy, my dartie ;-D; and all of you readers for putting up with my eccentricities! I hope that you enjoyed this just as much as I did writing it!

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