I feel like I haven't quite gotten a handle on writing for this fandom yet. I've written one other, but haven't published it yet because it's not quite my best work. I almost didn't publish this one either, but... I'm afriad, one way or the other, I won't be able to do so after tonight.

He knew she didn't like her. He knew the feeling was mutual. He remembered Regina's reaction to his "betrayal" of hiring her. She required something of an offering to be appeased.

Lying to Emma was hard, and he wasn't quite sure why. He'd just accepted Regina's orders before, not quite agreeing with them, but not willing or feeling able to defy her.

But it felt like he was getting stronger, braver. And it felt like Emma was causing the change.

He found her intriguing. He found her refreshing. Most of all, he found her fascinating. And, if given the chance, he thought he could find more with her…a happy ending, maybe.

But looking at that pain in her eyes when she realized he was sleeping with Regina… Well, she obviously didn't see Prince Charming in him.

Maybe one day, when he'd freed himself from Regina, when he'd proven he was more than just a hired hand…maybe he'd try again. Maybe he could be her happy ending then.

But first, he had to break Regina's hold on him. He had to prove he was better than that.

He could, though. He definitely could. Emma brought out the best in him.