Stupid smuff about a second date, some grilled cheese, and Emma not giving a shit about the man he was – only caring about the man he is. Grinding, soggy french fries, and cuddles ahead.

Will you want me always?

It isn't until after she knocks on his door at Granny's that she starts to overthink it, frowning down at the styrofoam boxes balanced carefully in her left hand, the smell of fried batter and buttered bread seeping through the lids. She knows he likes grilled cheese – knows he practically devours it every day at noon when he has his lunch at Granny's (the man is freakishly disciplined about meal times) – but she isn't sure if this is allowed.

It's been a long time since first dates and second dates and the formalities in between and she knows from the women's magazines that Mary Margaret leaves on the coffee table and David loves to read that she should wait a day or two, maybe play hard to get, but –

But she can't stop thinking about the way he pressed himself against her in the hall outside her door, the way his fingers barely grazed the ends of her ponytail with a light tug before he moved to cupping her neck, his rings cold and heavy against the flushed skin of her throat. She's already zoned out four times today thinking about how she could feel the groan caught in the back of his throat against her chest and really – she never was one for formalities anyway.

(Plus, she's played hard enough to get – jungles and portals and emotional baggage to boot – if she's being quite honest.)

He opens the door with a scowl, eyebrows drawn low on his forehead and she doesn't even have time to ask him what's wrong because he's not wearing his brand new vest, just the dark blue button up with the sleeves rolled up over his forearms and dear god – conscious thought leaves her mind with the way he braces himself against the frame.

(He may be a pirate but she knows a thing or two about pillaging and plundering and her thoughts are certainly not decent right now.)

"Swan." The darkness that clouded his face a moment ago disappears in an instant, shy smile curling the corners of her lips, and really, it's outside of her control when she takes a strong step forward, pressing him back with a hand against his chest and shutting the door with a kick of her boot. The grilled cheese takes a tumble to the ground in her attempt to get closer to him and his groan of appreciation tastes delicious pressed against her lips.

(She's sure this is rushing along the whole dating process but she's wanted him since she kissed him in the Neverland heat, her hands fisted in the lapels of his jacket and his skin warm beneath her fingers.)

His mouth opens against hers as she walks them backwards, his tongue curling around her own, her stomach flipping when his palm grazes the small of her back. He presses there lightly before dipping down, fingering the hem of her sweater in quiet consideration before deciding to slip underneath, the drag of his rings heavy and perfect against her skin. He brings her closer to him as she continue to move them with determination, tilting his head and practically attacking her mouth with his – pulling her deeper, further – desire coiling tight and hot in her belly with every languid stroke of his tongue.

He pulls back when the back of his knees hit the bed, eyes dark and heavy lidded as he blinks rapidly, trying to keep up. She shucks off her coat and toes off her boots, climbing right onto his lap as he stares up at her like she is special and important and god – she just burns hotter.

"What are you – " He groans again when she cuts him off with a kiss, nipping at his bottom lip and worrying it between her teeth. His fingers clench on her hip with enough force to bruise and oh – he likes it a bit rough.

(Like she is surprised because she heard the sound he made when she scraped her fingernails across his scalp, felt her own goose bumps rising in the wake of his experimental tug of her ponytail.)

(Maybe she likes it a bit rough, too.)

"Emma." He breathes out her name when she presses her hips down, angling just right so that the sparks of pleasure flame and bloom outward, making her feel breathless and alive. She does it again and he presses up with an answering motion, rocking slowly beneath her until he is hitting just where she needs through the material of their pants, until she gasps and threads her fingers through his hair. She feels it everywhere – the way he's moving carefully beneath her – between her legs, in her chest, deep in her belly. She wants to know what he feels like without the denim and leather between them – how his skin feels pressed bare against her own and what his eyes look like as he unravels above her.

Their panting is harsh in the quiet of the room, a steady autumn breeze blowing in from the open window and brushing over heated skin. His fingers slide just barely between the hem of her jeans and bare skin as he slows his hips beneath her, a heavy exhale pressed in the valley of her breasts as he drops his forehead.

She cards her fingers through his hair as she wills the inferno to calm, reading the tension in his shoulders as she stills.

"Hey." She whispers, and his body shakes in amusement. He leans back and arches an eyebrow, his eyes dark and clouded in arousal, his thumb tracing the dent in her chin.

"Quite the hello, love." He grins, boyish and stupid, and she can't help it when she brushes her lips against his again.

"I brought you grilled cheese." She supplies quietly, noses brushing, the limited space between them and the way his breath glances her collarbone with every steady exhale making her feel safe and small.

(It's been so long since she has felt safe that sometimes it still scares her – makes her want to run – but she's learning not to. With him, she's learning not to.)

He peers up at her through thick black lashes and she traces the scar on the apple of his cheek, watching the shadows and demons battle it out as he traces his teeth with his tongue. She wants to ask him what's wrong but she knows it will only push him deeper, that he has the same fears and insecurities hidden beneath the bravado and swagger.

So she sits quietly, hand working at the tension in his neck as he considers his words.

"I've done things, Emma." She stays quiet and tries not to break at the desperation in his voice. Fear and uncertainty rises like a tide, threatening to pull her under but she focuses on the way he smiled when he first opened the door – dimples flashing in his cheeks. "I've hurt people and made deals and I'm not the man you think I am."

It explodes out of him in a whispered rush, the crease between his eyebrows deepening as his shoulders curl forward, the self-loathing a heavy mantle on his weary shoulders. She tangles her fingers in the charms of his necklace and tugs until his eyes blink up to meet her own, and she makes sure she has his full and prompt attention.

"Recently?" He nods and she chews on the inside of her cheek, considering. It dawns on her in a moment of startling clarity and if she could light the little imp on fire and watch him burn, she would.

Instead she sighs, and tells herself maybe no more binge watching late night Syfy movies if those are the images her mind comes up with. "Your hand?"

His shoulders slump further. "Aye, I made a deal with the Dark One. I – " His mouth opens and closes and no sound comes out, his blue eyes so very sad in the solitary candle that sits on his nightstand. He swallows hard and proceeds to tell her everything as she runs her fingers back and forth over the line of his necklace, following the warmth of his skin as he tells her about his dealings with the dark one. He is ashamed, she knows it when he pulls his hook from her thigh, but she curls her fingers around the metal and places it back.

"And did you ever want to do any of these things?"

He shakes his head and she nods, sliding off his lap until her feet hit the ground, her knees a bit unsteady as she wobbles towards the toppled grilled cheese. They're probably a cold, congealed mess of ruined cheese and soggy fries by now, but it's at least worth an inspection.


She doesn't look up from the boxes, poking lightly at the golden brown bread with her pinky finger. It's spongy a bit – probably salvageable – but it might just be worth going back downstairs and enduring the disapproving glare from Granny for some fresh sandwiches.


"Are you – " He sighs and she looks up, watching as his thumb glances over the curve of his hook. "Are we still – "

He gestures with his hand between them and she smiles, forgetting the formalities and the glossy magazines and focusing instead of the steady thrum of her heart and the way he's looking at her like she is something precious and powerful.

She closes the lid on the grilled cheese and walks back over to him, sliding easily back onto his lap.

"Yeah," she sighs into his lips. "We are still."

(The grilled cheeses end up being a moot point anyway when she yawns against his neck, his chuckle deep and warm against her ear. He tucks her into his arms and pulls her against his chest, whispering into her hair about running herself into the bloody ground as she falls asleep, her toes pressed against his calf.)

(He is adorably disheveled when he first wakes up, eyes squinting into the sunlight as his hand blindly reaches for her and really, formalities are for suckers anyway.)