a heart that was never lost

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Emma finds him tall and stoic before the water, Henry's castle behind him. His boots scuff at the sand idly, turning it over and over. His curls toss in the light wind, and he's mumbling something to himself. Her lips still tingle from the earlier kiss, and she's not sure what to think about that, only that it's really weird and this is all really weird and she really really really enjoyed the feel of his mouth pressed against her's. She shakes her head, flicking blonde strands out of her face, and digs her heels into the sand, marching towards him.

"Hey, Graham!" she calls, just a few feet behind him, and he turns, ever so slowly.

"Emma." he answers, eyebrows lifting. His teeth dig into his lower lip, and she has to tear her eyes away from him.

"What are you doing?" she questions, ignoring the way her heart jumps when his lips twitch at her nosy personality.

Graham ignores her, turning back to the water, and what? Just. What. This place is so sketchy, she swears. Like, nobody is ever straightforward or—

And they're all so moody.

Especially Regina but she is definitely not getting into that one. At least not now.

Graham rubs at his chest, just over his heart. I have to find my heart. I feel nothing. I have to find my heart.

"Graham?" she questions again, voice lighter. "Are you still going with the heart thing—"

"You know what's beautiful?" Graham interrupts, far away look in his eyes. Like he's seeing something, maybe someplace, that she's not. "The way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's sent away. It never stops chasing, never gives up."

Emma blinks once.

Twice.

"Ooookay?" she mutters, giving him her patented you're-batshit-insane-why-do-I-work-with-you-what-did-I-do-to-deserve-this-town look. "Are you feeling okay, Graham?"

"No." he turns his brown eyes on her, "I'm not. I have to find it."

"Your heart?"

"Yes." he backtracks, "No. Not my...not my heart, exactly. I have to find something—something that makes me feel. Something that makes me come back. Like the ocean and the shoreline." he peers at her, long and hard, "You're the ocean, Emma, and I guess that makes me the shoreline." and with that bombshell, he shoulders past her, walking towards his parked car.

Emma's mouth drops open, "Hey, woah! You can't just—Graham! You can't just say things like that and leave! Like, who do you think you are? Just because you're the sheriff doesn't mean—"

Graham's lips twitch into a wide grin, and he slows his walk, just enough for Emma to catch up to him. "What are you whining about now, Deputy Swan?" he questions, his usual cheer and snark back.

Emma glares at him, "You're a brat." she says childishly. Graham smiles.

"You're the ocean."

Emma punches his arm as hard as she can, and while Graham is rubbing at her arm, she takes a really crazy chance, jumping up onto her toes, lips pressing against the scruff on his chin. "Guess you'll just have to keep chasing then, huh, shoreline?" she questions before she takes off, jumping into the passenger seat of his car before he can hear her heart thumping and crashing like the ocean's waves.

fin.

because maybe graham's 'heart' is a metaphor and we're all being punked and this is canon ok