"What do you want for a snack?"
"Um… I don't know. A cookie?"
"Coming right up!" Emma screwed her eyes shut and twisted her hand. One of the cookies from the case on the counter appeared on a plate before her. She smiled. She twisted her hand again and it appeared on the table in front of Hook.
"I am getting so good at this," Emma said.
"Very nice, love." Hook moved the plate off his book and went back to reading. Emma rolled her eyes.
"Fine, I'll eat it then." She magicked the cookie off the plate and into her hand and took a bite.
Hook finally looked up. "That is the fifth dessert in an hour," he said, suppressing a smile. That eyebrow went up. "Can you send me things I don't have to eat?"
Emma laughed. "I guess there are limitations of practicing in a diner."
They were in Granny's again, Hook with a book at the table and Emma practicing magic. She loved that he kept her company while she studied, doing his own "homework" too even though he didn't have to. It had become a routine the last few days, once Henry was in bed and Granny had closed up, and for a couple of hours in the dark café with no Henry to worry about, no one watching them, no Zelena, Emma felt like she could fully be herself. Even if Hook had been in a mood the last few days. He was still here, at least. That was what she kept telling herself. He could've gone. He was still here.
"I have to start practicing the transformation spells, anyway," Emma said, putting the cookie back down on the plate. She sat with it for a while, first just making it break into pieces and come back together, then changing the chocolate chips into M&Ms and things like that. Regina had said to start small.
After a while, Emma sat down next to Hook and pulled her book across the table. Regina had lent it to her to help with the magical history stuff. Emma put her feet up on the other side of the booth and settled in next to Hook, opening her book. He didn't look up, but just turned a page of his own book. They sat there in silence reading for a few minutes.
"Don't you wish life could be like this all the time?" The words came out of Emma's mouth before she thought about them. She felt Hook inhale sharply and she froze. "I mean, you know, just hanging out, without a Peter Pan or Wicked Witch to worry about. Just being normal. Like having a normal life."
"Right," Hook said tensely.
Emma closed her eyes. That turned out to be a bad idea, because an image of her and Hook in this same position but in bed, reading together, swam into her mind. Don't you wish life could be like this all the time. Emma swallowed hard and opened her eyes, firmly training them on her book.
"But we do have a witch to worry about," Hook said after a minute. He pointed to her book. "That's what you're doing right now. This isn't normal. It's why you're learning magic, it's why any of us is here in the first place."
"Really?" Emma turned to face him, suddenly feeling challenging. "That's why you're here?"
"Aye, that's why I came to find you," Hook muttered, looking back at his book.
"And that's why you've stuck around this whole time? At risk to your own life when you don't have to be here? You just care so much about defeating the Wicked Witch, which you can't even do. Mr. Moral Support, is that why you're here?"
"Not now, Emma," Hook said. His fingers went to the corner of his page, but he didn't turn it. Emma grabbed the book from his hand and snapped it closed.
"I don't know what's going on with you lately, Hook, and I want to. Tell me."
"I said tell me!"
He glanced up at her, raising an eyebrow. "I'm just out of sorts, love. A little stressed out. Not that I can imagine why any of us would be."
They glared at each other. Then Emma sighed.
"Fine, then," she said. "So it's coming to this? I can play your game, Killian Jones." She shifted on the bench so she was on her knees and facing him, and she placed a hand on his thigh. She leaned over him, slowly running the hand higher. "Tell me, pirate," she whispered. She raised a finger towards his lips.
"No!" Hook said harshly, grabbing her hand and forcing it away from his face.
"Whoa." Emma sat back, staring at him. Hook put a hand over his eyes. Both of them were breathing hard.
"It would be best… if you didn't get too close to me," Hook finally said in a strained voice.
Emma raised an eyebrow. "And why's that?"
"I'm serious, Emma! More serious than you know."
Emma unfolded her knees and sat back down, staring at him. "Hook, you have to tell me-"
"It's nothing," Hook muttered, looking away.
"Hook. For the entire time I've known you I have never known you to tell me—or women in general, for that matter—not to get too close to you. More like, 'nothing can be too close, love,'" she waggled her head in an exaggerated imitation of him. She stared at him. "Wow, no laugh? Seriously, Hook, you're starting to freak me out. You've been acting this way for days."
"It's nothing," Hook said again. Suddenly he got up, forcing her out of the booth. He looked at her for a split second. "Go home, Emma."
The bell on Granny's door jingled as she stared after him.
Hook escaped into the night air and began walking towards the dock. His chest was heaving, his heart pounding, and he bent over for a second, pressing his hands into his face.
"Damn!" He stomped a foot and looked around at the empty street. Damn that wicked witch, damn his infatuation, his weakness, damn Emma for the way she'd put her hand on his leg like she was going to seduce him, like she meant it, and damn her for the image he had in his head now of her on her knees above him, biting her lip and raising her hand to his mouth…
He heard the yell behind him and closed his eyes, a sigh dropping out. He'd been expecting it, really.
He turned swiftly and strode the distance between them. "Hush!" he said, grabbing hold of her wrist. "Are you mad?"
Emma looked at him. "Don't walk away from me, then!"
Hook shook his head, looking away. He dropped her wrist. "Good night, Swan."
"Wait." She grabbed the back of his coat. "We're doing this now. Tell me what's wrong."
"Do you ever listen to anyone? Could you possibly try to trust me enough to know that I have good reason for not talking to you about this right now? Or do you always think you know best?"
Emma stared at him, her mouth open. She blinked. "Okay, fine, then. Have it your way."
"Emma," Hook whispered. "I just—you have no idea the danger you're putting us in. Please, love, go."
"Danger? Wait a second, does this have to do with Zelena?" Emma asked incredulously. She grabbed his arm, forcing him to look at her. "Hook!"
"Go home, Emma," Hook said without meeting her eyes. He turned and began walking away.
"No! I can't let you go! Not—alone, like this! Not if you're in danger!"
Hook stopped and turned around. "It's you who's in danger, love." His voice cracked. "Please go home."
"Something's going on. Did she get to you?" He didn't answer. "I don't like you being alone when there's danger," Emma said. She sighed, crossing her arms self-consciously. "Everyone else is together. Come stay with us tonight."
"Oh no," Hook said with something resembling a laugh. "I will not be staying in the same quarters as you."
Emma shook her head, holding his gaze. "You are so frustrating, pirate."
"Emma." Against his better judgment, Hook reached out and took her hand. "Do you trust me?"
"Then trust me," he whispered. "Please." His voice nearly broke on the last word. As he looked into her eyes, he was afraid his own might fill with tears. "Please, Emma."
She blinked at him, and for a moment they were caught in their gaze. Then there was the distant noise of a car door slamming and Hook remembered that they were in the middle of the street, highly vulnerable and standing far too close together to be safe. He dropped her hand.
"Good night, Swan."
He swept away before Emma could say anything.
Hook had finally fallen asleep when he became conscious of the bed shifting, and the presence something warm behind him. He jerked up, but a hand on his arm stopped him.
"Hey," Emma whispered. "It's me. Go back to sleep."
He felt fingers on his cheek, stroking his face, and a moment later her whole body was pressed against his, just lightly.
"Emma, you have to go."
"I'm not going, so there's no use in arguing with me. I'm here. It's safe. Go to sleep."
"I wasn't sleeping," Hook said sleepily.
"Yes, you were. Shhh." Gently, experimentally, Emma touched her hand to his upper arm and slowly rubbed it. She tried not to think about the muscles under her fingers or the fact that he was shirtless. "Shh."
Hook was quiet for a moment. Emma waited. He let out a frustrated sigh.
"Emma, you shouldn't—"
"Killian," she cut him off. She rested her chin in the crook of his neck. She took a breath. "I'm scared, too."
At this whisper, she heard his breath catch, then felt his body relax under hers. His hand found hers and he laced their fingers together. A very involuntary sigh escaped Emma's lips. She slid back down to lie flat and curled her legs against his.
"Good night, pirate," she whispered.
Couldn't get them out of my head after the last two eps! I'd love to hear your thoughts! Second installment coming very soon.