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I saw the sign

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Mr. Gold and Neil were walking back to his shop after a long lunch at Granny's.

Bae had Pleasantly surprised his Papa when he walked into his shop late that morning. "I've been doing a lot of thinking...." Neil told Gold, ..."about You, Me and Henry".

Gold couldn't believe his eyes or ears. His son was voluntarily visiting him. No life or death situation was behind this. His Boy just wanted to talk....FINALLY talk. 250 years he had been waiting, longing, dreaming, craving this and finally, he was getting what he wanted. No magic needed.

"I've been alone so, so long...I don't know How to be Henry's father." "Heck, I don't even know how to be Your son." Bae confided. Rumple had been so surprised and happy by what he was hearing, he didn't realize that he was just staring at Bae. Unfortunately, at that very moment Neil realized that his father wasn't acknowledging anything he had said...but, just looked at him. "Just great." Neal thought, "I'm trying to reach out and he just satires at me like I'm from mars or something."

Before Neal's doubts could lead him out the shop door, he found himself wrapped in Gold's tight embrace. "Oh Baelfire...Yes! Yes!" Were the words that came from an emotional Gold. Neil was caught off guard by the hug. It almost felt like a boa constrictor's death grip (something he had experienced twice in Neverland). "Oh my beautiful boy, all I want is your love and happiness. Rumple continued as his hands gripped Neil's hair while burying his face in the crook of his son's neck.

Bae didn't know exactly what he was feeling or just what to make of his father's emotional display. Did it feel warm, awkward? A little of both maybe? Neal's mind had trouble registering that the same hands that let him go all those years ago were the same hands that couldn't seem to get enough of touching and holding him now. "Do I really want this?" Neal thought to himself. "All this emotion?" "YES!", His heart told him. "I need this man..he may scare me and I may not trust him completely yet...but, I need my father".

"I was thinking we could go to Granny's ", Neal said as he broke the embrace. "I'd like that". Gold replied. Actually, Mr. Gold would've preferred they talk in the privacy of his house, but Bae obviously needed to be on natural territory to feel at ease, something Rumple understood and respected.

The lunch had gone well, so well in fact that 3 hours passed. To Mr. Gold though, it only felt like 15 minutes passed. During that time, Bae had basically told him that he would let him in his life and in his heart, a little at a time.

" I need you Papa, to show me how to be a good father to Henry". "I remember the kind of man you used to be, the hardworking father always
giving me everything I needed." "We don't see eye to eye on many aspects
of life Papa, but I want to be the kind of father to Henry that you were to me before all this madness started". "The kind of father I know is still in there behind those eyes looking at me Papa.

Rumple felt something ster inside his soul. A kind of inexplicable warmth flowing through him. His son Needed...Wanted him! All of the gold he could spin, all the properties he owned, all the money he had to his name, even the unique goods in his shop, couldn't compare to his sons love. "Bae, there's nothing I wouldn't do to bring you happiness my boy." Gold told Bae. "Just tell me son." "You don't have to navigate fatherhood alone Baelfire....I'm here for you".

As lunch came to an end, they both felt like a bit of waight had been lifted from their hearts. The walk back to the shop had been spent mostly in silence. Not an awkward silence but one of reflection and anticapation of a real future as Father, Son and Grandson. It was at that monment that Gold was so focused on the future possibilities that he looked at the sign outside his shop. Before he even realized what he was doing, thick purple smoke encircled the sign.

When it cleared, Neil couldn't help but feel shocked and slightly uncomfortable at his father's boldness! 'Mr. Gold and Son Pawn Brokers' read the new sign!. "Whoa, Whoa, hold on a sec Father!" "You're getting WAY ahead of things". " I never said I was going to do all that". Neal was almost shouting. "I'm sorry son, I'm not sure what came over me" "I'm not going to force you to do anything, but this is something I want and hope for." Gold said. "maybe now is to soon, but you should know how I feel son.
Neil looked at his father with a bit if fear and love. Putting a hand on his fathers shoulder and turning him to face himself, he said, "I'm not saying no to you Papa...I'm saying that its a lot right now, I'm saying....Not right now." "Can you respect that?" Neil ask his father with an earnest, searching look.

What could Rumple say? His son wasn't shutting him out, just asking him to slow down a bit. He could do that! A 300 year old man who waited 250 years to be reunited with his own flesh and blood, what's a few more months of waiting. "Of course Bae, I respect you and your wishes, I only wanted to be honest about my hopes for us. That's all". And with that Father and Son reached a new understanding and a level of intimacy that both longed for but thought impossible before.
Fin.