Charismatic Young Men

"Do you trust him?"
"A lot more than I trust you."

Hot chocolate with a touch of cinnamon, the one drink that normally sent Emma off to sleep, refused to do its magic on the restless sheriff of Storybrooke. It had been a long day; Kathryn's sudden appearance and hospital trip which turned up no information as to what had happened to her, Mary Margret's party and Sideny's confession to the kidnapping of Kathryn when it was obvious that Regina had something to do with it. But the one thing that had been troubling her for hours was Gold. He had looked hurt at her comment, as if their relationship had developed past friendly rivals. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but there was something about the way he acted around her which was causing sleep to elude her in every form. Mary Margret had offered to stay up with her, but Emma quickly declined, saying that she just needed some time to think. It took a lot of convincing, but Mary Margret finally went to bed, saying that if Emma needed her, she was always there.

In the early hours of the morning, staring into the darkness of her room, Emma decided to confront him. Determined that no one would be awake at that time in the morning she quickly changing into a pair of dark jeans, a long sleeved white top and black uge boots. Emma tiptoed as she passed Mary Margret's room, trying to be as quite as she could while moving at a fast pace. Once at the front door, Emma paused briefly, listening for any sign of wakefulness from her roommate. On the way out, Emma grabbed the black coat hanging beside the door and her keys, and softly closed the door behind her, careful to keep noise to a minimum.

Completely alone on the road, not a headlight in sight, the nerves she had about being seen so early in the morning fell away with ease. Inside her car, Emma turned the heat up on the air con and placed one hand infront of the air vent, feeling the warmth against her fingers as she drove down the familiar road to the one place she needed to be at. In the darkness of the street, her headlights beaming like torches, she drove slowly, her tired eyes searching for any signs of life. A contentious throbbing made itself known, a reminder of the time, and her brain fighting against her body for wakefulness. Rubbing her temple, Emma purist her lips in pain but refused to give in, she was too close to give up now.

Outside the Pawnshop, Emma shivered in her flimsy shirt, rubbing her arms to try and keep warm. Leaning back into the open car, she grabbed her jacket and put it half on, keeping it unbuttoned as she shoved the car keys back into her jeans pocket, the metal cold against her fingers. Closing the car door as quietly as she could, Emma turned on her heel to face the front door to his shop. A quick glance around confirmed that she was indeed, completely alone. At this, she reached out and took hold of the door. To her surprise, as the sign said it was shut, the door opened at her fingertips. A small bell, his entrance bell gave her away as she quickly slipped into the shop, closing the door behind her. Complete darkness faced her, and she blinked a few times until her eyes adjusted to the new light that slowly made its way towards her. Remembering the last time she had crept up on him he had a gun on her, Emma decided to make her presence known.

"Mr Gold?"

Movement, the candle light swaying slightly, paused briefly as she heard the distinct sound of a gun being turned back to its safety lock. Breathing a loud sigh of relief, Emma lowered her defensive position and watched as the figure approached; glad the gun wasn't aimed for her anymore. His cane was loud against the floor, and she slowly approached to meet him halfway.

"Miss Swan?"

In the light which was growing closer, she couldn't help the apologetic smile at the obvious way he didn't hide his surprise at her appearance at such a ridiculous hour. Once he was within sight, Emma could see that a hint of curiosity radiated from his half smile, something that made her feel slightly uncomfortable in his presence.

"Is something wrong?"

Gold placed the candle on the counter and stepped forward, eyeing her with hidden concern. Had Regina finally lost her senses and started a war with Emma about Henry? His mind pondered as she looked away for a moment, rubbing her arms for warmth. Emma bit her lip, trying to come up with a good excuse for barging in at one in the morning, but nothing came.

"I-I couldn't sleep…"

The moment the words came out of her mouth she realised how utterly stupid it sounded. Embarrassed about how easily the truth slipped from her lips, Emma shifted her weight to her other foot, trying to deter it away from her face. Gold hide his amusement by taking a step back, resting his cane against the side of the counter.

"Sleep eludes us both then."

She sudden felt really stupid for coming into the shop. How could she not see that it was strange that he was still in his shop? Feeling bad about bursting in and assuming that he was ready to hear her rant, Emma shifted her eyes back to his and noticed a slight sadness in his expression. Something must have happened; maybe it was to do with his inquiry about August.

"Did you find out about August?" she asked quietly, wanting to know but feeling bad about asking.

A flash of emotion, something she hadn't seen before crossed his face before his mask kicked in, hiding the emotion that must have been keeping him up. Gold glanced over at her, a small smile on his face, obviously forced considering the day he just had. Placing the gun back into his suit pocket, he half turned to face her, raising a hand to perform a movement she was now accustom to.

"How about a drink? Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate?"

She couldn't help smiling at his obvious dodge to her question; the way he would elude a question was becoming quite familiar for her. A part of her knew her question had hit some sort of nerve, he did react with a rather ridged dodge at a very innocent inquiry, but she was compelled to explore further, her curiosity outweighing anything else.

"Hot Chocolate with—"

"Just a sprinkle of cinnamon? Of course Miss Swan."

Dumfounded, Emma watched him pick up the candle with ease, and made his way towards the back of his shop, the cane now in his other hand. How the hell does he know how I like my hot chocolate? Her mind hissed, as she obediently followed behind, not entirely sure what else she was supposed to do. At the little alcove, Gold turned to face her once again and passed her the candle. Emma took it gingerly, and watched as he pulled the cloth back and indicated her to go through first. She hesitated, not entirely sure she liked the idea of going first. Gold noticed this and chuckled softly.

"Don't you trust me?"

"You haven't made it easy to trust you." She admitted, realising that they wouldn't be going anywhere unless she took a leap of faith.

"If it's any consolation, you are not the only one who feels that way."

She smiled weakly at that; trust was definitely a big ask. With a nod, Emma walked forward and into the small workshop, holding the candle high to see the room clearer. Unlike the last time she was in there, he had moved quite a few things around to accommodate a large desk and several chairs. Gold brushed past her, just enough to cause a small shiver to course through her veins. Secretly, she knew it wasn't a bad shiver either. As he took the candle from her, his fingers soft against her skin, Emma couldn't help but notice a small tinge of an unknown emotion flash across his face, before his mask covered what would be an emotion she would be able to read.

"How did you know I like cinnamon with my hot chocolate?" she finally asked, as he lit another candle and placed it on the desk, careful not to spill the wax from the previous one.

Emma took a seat at the desk, and watched him pause briefly at the small room opposite where a small sink and a jug sat. Filling up the jug, Gold placed it back to its place and pressed the button to start its boiling process. He rested his cane against the sink with ease, and continued to stalk around the small room in search for utensils needed for the drinks.

"Mother like son, yes?"

It wasn't what the answer she wanted, but decided not to press. He was a better as a friend that enemy. He did still have that gun on him after all. If she hadn't been in such a rush she probably would have taken hers too, considering she was sheriff and all. Gold opened the cupboard under the sink and took out two cups, one tall and skinny and the other fat and small. A moment later he took out a teapot, silver in the candle light and placed it next to the jug. Emma watched him work, amazed at how well he moved despite his bad leg. A few times she did try to get up and offer assistance, but he refused each and every time with a wave of his hand.

A few minutes later, Gold came out from the small room carrying a tray with drinks and a few other assorted items. Emma jumped up and took the tray despite his protests, and placed it carefully down on the table so he could go back and get his cane. She noticed his limp seemed worse when he thought she wasn't looking, as if he needed to hide how much pain it caused him. Once back, he took the seat opposite and carefully moved the hot chocolate from the tray and placed it infront of her. Emma couldn't help taking a deep waft of the hot chocolate as she raised it to her lips, her hands finding warmth in the heat it produced. Gold moved the tray to his left and lifted out his cup which smelt a lot like green tea. She couldn't help smiling as he raised his own cup to his lips, as if in toast before taking a long sip.

"What seems to be troubling you, dearie?" he asked, once she had finished taking the sip of her hot chocolate, a slightly dreamy smile on her face at the taste, he knew to be the best thing she'd ever have.

"I don't know where to start." She admitted softly, gazing over at him with an apologetic smile. For some reason, she felt comfort in the fact he was willing to hear her out. Mary Margret had offered but Emma easily dismissed it, saying she just needed someone to vent at, and it defiantly wouldn't be her best friend. At that time, Gold just seemed like the right person to vent at, she just wasn't entirely sure why it was him.

"At the beginning." His smirk really did wonders on her. But when she didn't answer he added quickly, "I'm not going anywhere, anytime soon, take as long as you need."

For a moment she hesitated, her mind warning her that something didn't feel right about telling him everything. She knew it was stupid to listen to that voice; he had done nothing but good things for her, and yet she was ready to believe the worst. Dismissing that voice with a shove, Emma glanced over at him and smiled to which he smiled back, only with just a tad bit more emotion.

"I suppose it all began with Graham…"

As she explained everything about her lost love, Gold refilled her hot chocolate when it went low, and took sips of his own tea. Never did he interrupt her; nodding and smiling at each queue, but not a word was spoken. He knew she just needed to vent out everything that had been bothering her; the way she moved her hands about when she spoke about some things and then looked tearful at others, there was no reason to bother her any further.

"…The same guy who drugged me was now trying to convince me he was the Mad Hatter, which is totally insane…"

He smiled slightly at this, Emma just had that way of describing a person the way she saw them, blunt but perfect. He did feel slightly guilty about Jefferson, considering it was Regina's idea to use him to separate Emma and Mary Margret. But of course, he was always four steps ahead of the evil queen.

"Then of course, there's Mick Jagger and his motorbike…"

When he realised she meant August, he stiffened slightly, hate for the guy creeping back into his mind. She spoke about him, like she had about Graham; a very girly crush. This annoyed him slightly, especially knowing what August had done to him.

"Just… be careful, Emma."

Emma couldn't help her surprise when he finally interrupted her, concern showing on his face. At his words, she looked over at him with a raised eyebrow, curious at this sudden outburst.

"Why?"

"He isn't who he pretends to be."

Gold refilled her hot chocolate again, and watched as she roughly pushed it aside, as if trying to hide her annoyance at his riddles.

"And I'm supposed to what? Trust you?"

"Yes."

Emma sighed, rubbing her temple as she tried to piece together everything. Her body was reminding her that she needed sleep something that was starting to take its toll on her brain.

"Can I ask you something?"

"Of course, dearie."

She sensed the smugness in his answer, and scowled slightly. Her brain was starting to throb, anger at her for staying awake while she should be asleep. Gold raised the freshly made tea to his lips and took a sip, waiting for Emma to decide on her question.

"Why does my trust mean so much to you?"

If she hadn't been paying attention, Emma would have just missed the panicked look that crossed her face. It was the briefest flash; enough for Emma to know that she had asked the right question. Gold carefully placed his cup down again, and thought for a long moment, licking his lips as if tasting the answer.

"In its simplest form, Miss Swan." He began, glancing over at her with a smirk. "Two people with a common enemy can accomplish anything."

"I've heard that one before, Gold. Try again." She replied waving her hand with a bored expression.

"Everyone is afraid of me, dearie." He stated in a matter of fact tone, "Everyone that is, except—"

"Look I'm getting really tired of the dodging and you're damn riddles. If you don't want to answer, just say so, okay? "

Emma roughly grabbed the cup of hot chocolate in anger and raised it to her lips, ready to take a sip, but she stopped inches from her lips, a slight smile on her face.

"So why haven't you made my favour about trusting you? Seems like a rather simple solution to your problem."

Gold couldn't help the slight smile at that; it would be such a simple solution, but unfortunately life didn't work like that.

"Trust is not something you can give; it has to be earned to be worth anything."

Emma raised an eyebrow, her mind slowly processing what he had just said. Underneath the table, Gold had one fist clenched; waiting for the moment she finally took a sip of the hot chocolate. Everything was riding on that one moment, and yet she kept on stalling. She took a long glance at the cup, as if questioning its existence before she finally raised it back to her lips and took a long drink. Gold watched her, careful not to show any emotion.

"… It tastes different…"

"I used real chocolate this time." He lied slowly getting to his feet.

Something was yelling out to her, screaming that it wasn't chocolate that made her suddenly feel sleepy. Her body swayed slightly as it started to affect her every fibre, whatever it was, it worked rather quickly. Gold was beside her in a moment, resting his cane against the table. She tried to look up at him, but even that was too much effort. Her fingers were gently pulled from the cup, as he carefully placed it back on the table, her body swaying as if it was losing all its strength.

"Gold?"

Emma grabbed his shirt, her panic more than anything she had ever experienced yet. Gold smiled down at her, brushing her hair gently as she shivered underneath him, her body trying to fight the effects of the unknown substance.

"Shhh, It's going to be okay, Emma." He cooed, somehow soothing her panicked state, "Everything is going to be fine."

In her final effort, she glanced up at him and saw the sad smile that crossed his face before everything went dark.