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Now Or Never

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They'd been home for four days now. And for the first time she has been fortunate to call these people family, things were... good. And normal.

With that feeling of normalcy, Emma also had some very huge issues on her mind: Hook. In those few days she could count the times she had seen him. In those instances there had been little to no actual communication involved.

Hook had been in sight of her. At Granny's Diner, he would be sitting at the counter, joining in conversation with those around him. Even the unlikeliest of companions- like Leroy- was on the receiving end of a good-natured word. She'd only seen him share one on one conversations that seemed to include deep conversation only with Tinkerbell though. Was there...

No, there couldn't be anything been them. Because of everything she and Hook shared. There was a bond, strong as ever! The fact that days had passed without talking or acknowledgment of the other was no big deal. Right?

Was it SHE that had given up on them, she wondered, frowning and not understanding. Is that the reason that in all this time they were apart? Friendship is important, and she felt as if she'd lost her friend.

■■■■■■■■■■

"Emma. " Neal's hand came up to touch her elbow.

She smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. "

They, including Henry, were spending the evening together at her home. Just some family fun, including talks, games, snacks. But Emma couldn't help it when her mind wandered. She was definitely loving that Henry could have this. It was nice that she and Neal could co-parent in this manner. It was something that she or Neal had not experienced in their own childhood. Supplying this to her own child gave her a feeling she had never known before. It was like letting out an audible breath she did not realize she was holding. She had a sense of being able to breathe.

And then there was the other end of this family life... Their days home, Neal had made his feelings and intentions known. No matter how Emma tried to avoid the matter, it was inescapable. She tried whenever possible to ignore that tightening in her chest and the pit of... something in her stomach when they were together. Neal wanted them to be a real family. He wanted the house and the dog and the picket white fence out front. He wanted the dining room table to be the place where breakfast and homework and dinner were shared. He wanted smiles and laughter and love. He wanted her. And she...

Didn't.

Chapter Text

He was up on deck, so he saw her when she reached the port. He looked busy, taking care of business busy, pirate readying his ship busy.

Oh my God, he really is leaving.

"Emma, " he greeted, a question on his lips. His focus had now switched completely from that at his helm as he watched her closely.

"Hook," she called up to him.

"What are you doing here, Lass? "

"I came to talk to you." Emma headed towards the Jolly Roger.

Hook was quick to meet her halfway.

When they stood in front of each other, there was a hungry and greedy need to take everything of the other one in.

"We haven't talked, " Emma stated, sounding a bit confused. Her lips pursed and her eyebrows furrowed.

Standing right in front of her, Hook's stance was firm. She couldn't read anything from it. She had his full attention, she knew. But his thoughts were his own.

"I was giving you space, " he finally got out. "You, Henry, Neal." His lips twitched into a smile. "Did you miss me, Love? "An eyebrow shot up in that sexy way that was all Hook.

Emma met his eyes and searched.

"Yes, " she answered simply.

Hook squirmed. "Bloody hell," he murmured thickly. He turned his back to her and started walking towards the deck. "Come on."

Emma followed him up onto the ship. There was a slight breeze in the air, softly whipping stands of hair around her face.

"Are you leaving?" she bursted out. "Are you leaving Storybrooke?"

He turned back towards her.

Emma stopped right in front of him. Her eyes were sad and her mouth slightly turned down.

"I'll be leaving tomorrow actually," he conceded.

Emma had already known the answer to that. But her heart ached at it coming from his own mouth.

"Why?" she asked stiffly.

Hook quirked his head. His eyes never left hers. "The seas are beckoning for my return."

What to say to that? The truth?

"But... but what... about..." Her stammer ceased as she watched him step even closer.

"What about... what, Emma?" he asked in a whisper.
Emotions ran over her. Her eyes, she couldn't help it, filled with tears. Her whole body gave way to tremors.

"Emma, " he called, concern in his voice. He grabbed her by the shoulder firmly with his hand while his other arm wrapped around her waist.

She blinked back her tears and stiffened her back.

"What about... being a part of something? " she finally got out. "Here."

Hook gazed at her face for a long moment. He slowly slid out of their embrace.

"Aye. I appreciate the comraderie and friendships that I've found here, " he answered. "And I will be back. One day. But for now, I think... space is a luxury to be had." He sighed. "It's a pirate's life for me, love."
Emma frowned. Shaking her head, she said, "You're more than just a pirate. "

Hook's features grew dark. His eyes narrowed as they locked on hers.

"I didn't know you realized." Before Emma could say anything, Hook stepped away and continued. "It's time set off."

Emma's arms lay limply at her sides. she stared at his profile, fighting internal conflicting feelings.

"Don't go." It was a whisper, barely audible to her own ears.

Hook watched her with a furrowed brow. "What?"

Emma shook her head. "Why have you been ignoring me? " She pushed back her emotions towards him leaving. "We've been back four days now. And you've ignored me the entire time." She stood stock still, but firm in her position. "What happened, Hook?"

The slightest of smiles reached the corners of his mouth.

"I was giving you your SPACE, darling," he told her, his voice raising slightly above a whisper. "You finally have your son back." He shrugged. "You have. .. NEAL back." A dashing quick smile and a twinkle came to his eyes. "And then there are your parents, of course. Four days, darling? It's not much time.?

Emma nodded as she looked away, taking his words in. And remembered his words in Neverland. And the emotional turmoil of what she wanted from all of this.

"But you're leaving, " she stated, watching him closely. "Four days will be... I don't know how many it will turn in to before you come back."

"Emma." It sounded like a declaration. It sounded like a challenge. Hook's walk back to her was one of purpose. His face showed a vulnerability that she was not sure he absolutely wanted to show.

Inches from her now he repeated. "Emma."
"Hook, " she breathed out.
Tick. Tick. Tick.

"Emma. Say..."

"Don't go!" It rushed out of her. Followed by all those feelings and desires, and hopes and fears. "Don't go, Hook, because I want you here with us- with ME. I want you! You're a part of me now. I was just worried I only had room for Henry. To be a mom. A relationship shouldn't matter right now while I'm figuring out how do and be that. How selfish and greedy does that sound, having both? But I know my relationship with Henry is good and it wouldn't be wrong to... love you. To love you now."

She paused because she'd said the L word. And then she realized everything she had said.

Hook pulled her into his arms that very second, his lips seeking out and finding hers in a passionate kiss.

And Emma's breath was taken away. She stiffened for only a brief second in hesitation before her arms entwined around his neck She melted. She could absolutely feel her body melting into his body as she matched his passion with her own.

When they finally pulled back- just a bit- from one another, Hook smiled against her cheek.

"I love you, Emma." Was he trembling?

Damn those tears of hers, she thought as she placed her hands on his cheeks.

Staring into his eyes she let him know, "I love you, Killian."