Emma got back to the station after yet another call and collapsed in her desk chair. Since she and Gold when to New York to search for his son, things were a little out of control back in Storybrooke. Cora took Gold and Emma's exit as a free-for-all on the town. The only way to temporarily keep peace was for Emma and Henry to return to Storybrooke and agree to regular visits with Regina. That was three weeks ago, and there was a lot to clean up since. Emma kept her promise to stay in touch with Gold. He said he found his son about a week ago, but that's all she got out of him. As she sat at her desk and started to fill out some paperwork , Emma jumped when the front door slammed.
"It's 3:00!" Regina yelled.
"Thank you, there's a clock on the wall, but this works too," Emma said, recovering from the jolt of surprise. Regina marched over to her desk and leaned over it.
"You should be picking up Henry from school. Why are you still working?" Regina demanded.
"Things have been busy lately, so I found a friend to watch Henry after school," Emma stated, looking over her paperwork.
"A friend? And who might that be?" Regina questioned. "It can't be that wolf from the cafe or the girl with the baby."
"It's Hook." Emma replied.
"Yes, Captain Hook," Emma said, continuing to fill out the papers. Regina grabbed them away from her, crumpling them in her grasp.
"You are sending my son to be in the care of a pirate?! Have you completely lost your mind?"
"Hook offered. After I got back he said he wants to be a part of Storybrooke while he's here, however long any of us are here, and he and Henry really hit it off. They have fun. And while he's in my care, it's my choice. And with everything that you and your mother pulled while I was gone, I didn't have much of a choice on the working late for a while part."
"He's going to be a bad influence on him!" Regina protested, tightening her lips. "You've made a strong error, Ms. Swan."
"Do you remember when I first came to town and I asked who Henry's friends were?" Emma asked, finally looking up at her. Regina folded her arms and looked more cross.
"I don't see what that has to do with anything."
"Well, Hook is a friend to him. Henry gets so excited to see him, he talks about him all the time. And I think Henry's brought a softer side in Hook," Emma stated. "That's why I let Hook pick him up after school, except on the days you have him, of course."
"Henry may have a friend, Ms. Swan, but that doesn't make him the right choice in friends."
"But that's part of growing up- learning to make the right choices. And I think Henry has made the right one. Let's trust his judgment." Regina stiffened, thinking about how she always used to try to make decisions for him, which were always met with resistance and distance from Henry.
"Alright, for now, as long as Henry's happy. But of that pirate so much as teaches him a curse word, you better do something about it. And if you don't- I will. And it won't be pretty." With that, Regina turned on her heels and stomped off. Emma sighed and picked up her crumpled paperwork. Just a few more forms and she was done for the day.
Meanwhile, at the marina, Henry charged ahead of Killian and rushed aboard the Jolly Roger. Hook chuckled at Henry's enthusiasm, but was slightly concerned. "Henry, what are you doing? You know you shouldn't run on the dock. It's slippery." As Hook reached the ship and jumped aboard, he found Henry standing at full attention with his hand in a salute.
"Captain on the deck!" Henry said proudly. Hook smiled and put his hand on his shoulder.
"Good form, lad," Hook picked up Henry's school bag and gently dropped it below deck. "I promised Emma I'd make sure your homework got done before dinner tonight." Henry was obviously disappointed.
"Can't you teach me more swordfighting first?"
"Absolutely not! I promised your Mom," Hook said sternly, then he let a grin and bent down to Henry's eye level. "So let's sail to a quiet place to work on it." Henry's face lit up.
"Sure, lad. The Jolly Roger has been docked for far too long, and so have I. Come! I need a first mate to help me get her started!" Hook said. He then proceeded to tell Henry what to do as they both ran around the ship, running around like excited children. Just watching them, it was hard to tell who was more excited to get the boat out on the water. Hook had Henry pull the final rope and the Jolly Roger let out a loud creek as it started to sail. Hook grabbed the wheel as Henry held onto the side as it pulled out of the marina.
"You can't appreciate the view from down there, lad. Come on up here at the wheel with me!" Henry carefully walked up to the captain's deck, holding onto the rails as instructed. Reaching out his Hook, he pulled a small barrell over to the wheel and put Henry on top of it. "Now, Henry, hold onto the wheel, here & here," he pointed with his hook. Henry grabbed onto the wheel, and Hook put his arms around him and grabbed different points of the wheel. As soon as he knew they were straight on for their course and the boat was steady, Hook smiled and said "See that patch of land straight ahead? Hold on tight and aim right for it." With that, Hook released the wheel and Henry was in control. They both let out a laughter of joy as Henry steered the ship. "Ah, you're a natural, mate! You'd be a great captain someday."
"Do you think it's okay if I can be a knight AND a captain?" Henry asked.
"You can be whatever you want to be, lad," Hook said with a smile. As they got close to the island just off of the Storybrooke coast, Hook grabbed the wheel again and asked Henry to jump off the barrel so he could turn easier. They lowered the anchor and Hook helped Henry off the ship. "Alright, now time for your homework. It's quiet out here, so you can concentrate."
"And what are you going to do?"
"Help you, of course! I'm a pirate, but I was educated as a boy. How do you think I got so smart?" Henry started to get his books out of his bag and Killian looked over his homework as he completed it. There were some things he could help him with, and the others he would simply reply "Save that for your Mom to check." Killian was enjoying lying on his back in the sand while Henry worked quietly. He was loving being out at sea, on his boat, and in his natural element. He was enjoying this land, but the pirate instinct in him needed this time. In the middle of his spelling homework, Henry paused.
"We're friends, right?"
"Of course! You're my best mate!" Hook said, sitting up and putting his arm around him. "Why do you ask?"
"I'm not good at making friends. And I guess I'm still not since you're not my age," Henry said sadly as he realized he still didn't have "normal" friends for his age.
"You must have some friends at school," Hook encouraged.
"Yeah, there's a couple kids, but no one wants to hang out with me after school. I think they're still afraid of my Mom...well, Regina that is."
"Well, they don't know what they're missing," Hook said, tussling his hair a bit with the curved side of his hook. "And do you want to know a secret, Henry?"
"YEAH!" Henry yelled. Hook leaned close like he was telling his deepest secret of all.
"Of all the people in Storybrooke, you're my best friend."
"Besides my Mom," Henry corrected. Hook let out a small chuckle and tensed a little.
"Yeah, besides your Mom. Although, we have our moments."
"Yeah, you do." Henry said with a smile.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Hook said, slightly defensive.
"Nothing!" Henry said and buried his face in his spelling homework.