Okay, so I have decided to take a stab at writing a OUaT fanfic because I love the possibility of the whole Emma/Henry/Neal dynamic. This story is classified as just 'Emma' for now, as I am reluctant to officially label Neal as Bae or Peter Pan or random stranger or another fairytale character until I'm sure. But there will be allusions to who I think he may be. There will also be other relationships explored in this story, such as Emma with snow, Emma and charming, Snow and charming, henry and his grandparents … a bit of august (prick!) … you know… just the regulars

ANYWHOO I do not own OUaT…. (I wish I did) and I hope you like this story

Neal Cassady groaned and slammed the 'snooze button' on his alarm clock as it trilled loudly. Having been awake all night, staring up at the ceiling of his small, cluttered, one roomed, New York apartment he was exhausted, but too conflicted to relax into sleep.

It had taken a few moments to recognize the meaning of the postcard delivered the evening beforehand. After having dropped his new phone out of the window, the approach of the white messenger bird had been a shock, and the message on the postcard, even more so.

From the one simple word "broken", which was scrawled on the back of the postcard Neal had felt guilt, excitement and nerves mingling into his stomach. Flipping over the card had only confirmed his suspicions.

August had been true to his words. After 11 years, Neal had begun to lose hope that he would ever see Emma again. But ever since her 28th birthday, he had one sentence ringing in the back of his mind, one that reminded him of all his past, present and future possibilities.

"I'll send you a postcard"

Neal had spent months after his arrival in Canada drowning his sorrows in alcohol, trying to forget the biggest mistake of his life; trying to forget the heartache; trying to ignore the guilt that he had, and beyond all others, hoping that Emma would not hate him for the rest of her life.

After selling all the watches Emma had stolen for him, he realized he couldn't keep the money; it was a visual representation of his betrayal. The car was as well. He couldn't survive with the daily reminders of her, and she would need a way in which to start a new life. With almost 18 thousand dollars and a car, he was giving her what he had always wanted for her, her best chance possible at a good life. During the last six months with her, he was sure that that life was with him, but maybe this was the only way.

What they had had together was special, but he knew that he needed to give her space in order to fulfill her destiny. No matter how much he hated the interference, he knew that the people of the enchanted forest were relying on Emma. She was needed to help her people. To help his people.

At first he couldn't believe what had happened. How the evil queen's curse had come to the very land that he had sought solace in, the land where no magic was present. Of course, August had explained his side of the story to Neal all those years ago, but he needed more. He needed proof. He needed to stop living in the past, and pondering the 'what if's' that were overtaking his life.

Neal climbed out of bed, stretched and reached for the postcard on his windowsill.

Storybrooke Maine. That's where he was heading. To at least prove to himself that she was fine without him. As long as Emma was happy and safe, that was all that mattered.