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Drowning On Dry Land

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“You’re our only hope.”

“Then you’re all screwed.”

August stared back at her, completely frustrated and besotted with her at the same time. Emma watched him with that sad puppy look of hers before turning away from him. He stood, bewildered for a moment before he followed her, not yet willing to give up on this. Yes, he’d screwed up, but he hadn’t spent the past few months working on getting her to believe while concocting his own plan to break the curse to help her just to give up on her now.

So she hadn’t believed him right away. He’d try again. Then he’d try again. And he wouldn’t stop until she did.

Or he could take her by the shoulders, spin her around, and lower his lips onto hers while slowly backing her up against a tree.

Wait. That would be a horrible idea.

So why was he doing it?

Once he had her pressed firmly against the bark he closed the gap between their lips. Emma gasped but didn’t pull away. Encouraged, he trailed his fingers down her arms before pulling her to him, cradling her against his chest. She whimpered against his lips before moving her fingers into his hair and drawing him closer to her, using her tongue to deepen the kiss.

As they broke apart, he forgot his mission for a brief moment, wanting nothing more than to kiss her again, but the miserable look in her eyes reminded him of their confrontation.

And it also made him realize that kissing her hadn’t changed anything.

“It didn’t work,” he whispered.

Emma watched him, confused.

“What didn’t work?”

His heart fell into the pit of his stomach and he receded away from her slowly. Kissing her should have woken something. Even if they weren’t cursed, True Love’s Kiss would have at least opened her mind up enough to believe, but it hadn’t done anything. Which meant…

“I should get you home.”

He didn’t want to mention anything about the curse, it would only infuriate her and if this was going to be it for them, he didn’t want her to leave him thinking he was crazy. While the kiss hadn’t made her believe it had calmed her, for now.

She nodded and kept her eyes on him for a long moment before turning and heading back towards the diner.

August followed her slowly, unable to breathe. He’d been so sure she loved him. Maybe not as much as he loved her but enough for it to work. Even worse, she didn’t believe about the curse and he knew his time was running out. He wouldn’t live long enough to see her break the curse and he wasn’t sure which hurt more: that he’d be dead and forgotten soon or that he wasn’t her True Love.

They drove back to Storybrooke in silence, neither willing to risk ruining the brief stalemate they’d silently agreed to.

When they arrived at her building, August killed the engine but didn’t move from his spot as her arms pulled away from him and she hopped off the bike. She stood by him awkwardly while he worked up the nerve to stop staring at the bike handles.

“I’m sorry,” they both said at the same time as August looked up to meet her gaze.

Emma bit her lower lip, nibbling on it while she worked to find the right words.

“Maybe we shouldn’t see each other for a few days. I need to…Henry…” Emma sighed and he nodded, knowing she was trying to avoid another fight.

“Right…Henry.”

He wouldn’t live another few days. A stiff ache in his left arm told him the magic was fading again, faster now that he knew he’d failed in his mission. It wouldn’t be long before he met his maker and before he did that, there was someone he needed to spend time with.

Emma turned to leave but he pushed himself off the bike and jogged to catch up to her. If he was going to die without seeing her again then he wanted to at least make this last time count.

“Emma, wait.”

She turned and he moved his hand into her hair and pulled her against him, capturing her lips with his own. The kiss was too short for his liking but if he had his way he’d spend the rest of his life kissing her. He reluctantly pulled away from her and took one last look at her, his fingers moving to tuck a piece of her hair behind her ear.

“Goodbye, Emma.”

August turned before he could do or say something stupid. She didn’t stop him.

He’d be gone in a matter of days and his final thought as he walked away from her was that he hoped his death was the spark that would finally help her believe so she could save everyone else.