Disclaimer: I own nothing! I wish I did, though.

Summary: Neal knew, the moment he saw Emma in that tight reddish dress, that their last gig would not go as planned. She knew it too, when she saw that predatory look in his eyes as he leaned against the bug wearing that black leather jacket she remembered so well… Oneshot. Parody/Smut. Crossover (see note below). Response to the "Criminal" prompt for Swanfire AU Fridays. Rated MA for violence, foul language and explicit sexual content here and there.

Time frame: The final battle began, and then it was over. Good won. Hooray! Tamara was caught in a mudslide, eaten by a lion, got run over by a crappy purple Scion. Or something like that. Who cares, anyway? Here, she is as gone as gone could be.

Warning: Smut ahead. Not the usual loving and caring lovemaking, but dirty stuff, like… Emma getting roughed up by her man and having a helluva good time. If it's not your cup of tea, don't drink it and it won't leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

Guest appearances: The Governor and his goons (The Walking Dead - ! - seriously, what was I thinking?), Beverly Hofstadter (The Big Bang Theory), Frasier Crane (Frasier) and Rose Nylund (The Golden Girls).

A/N: One of the craziest things I've ever written. Meresger, after your amazing comment on "Maid to Love You", I had to borrow you "doing un-princess-y things" line. I hope you don't mind!

The last gig

"Come on! I know you want it!"

Neal kept looking at the woman sitting across from him at Granny's. He knew Emma Swan. He knew he was right.

"What makes you say that?" she asked.

"Don't you think I saw the look in your eyes that day in Manhattan?" he replied, leaning forward after looking over his shoulder to make sure there was no one around. "When you thought we would hot wire her car?"

The allusion to Tamara made her blood boil. At least, Neal seemed as intent as her never to use that name again.

"Well, anyway," he continued. He was not about to give up anytime soon. "I mean it, Emma. Don't you think about it? One last gig? Just to show we still have it in us?"

She took another sip of her cocoa, raising an eyebrow. So maybe she did think about it. So what? She had been thinking about a lot of things lately… mostly, about getting into that man's pants. But thinking and doing were completely different things.

"Don't you… Dirty?"

She spilled a bit of her cocoa on the table when he heard her former alias.

"Stop calling me that."

"Call you what?" he asked again, with a sly look in his eyes. "Dirty?"

Emma knew she was blushing. Why was he doing that, making her remember the day she confessed to him that hot wiring cars gave her the hots? He had pestered her with that nickname for all her life after that… mainly when they made out after, well, hot wiring cars.

That bastard!

"Stop it," she hissed.

"Dirty…" he whispered in return.

"What's dirty?" Henry Mills asked, popping up from behind Emma, who once again saw her cocoa slip from her fingers.

"Hey, buddy!" Neal exclaimed, trying to dissipate the awkwardness of that moment. "Nothing is. Just… the table. Nothing much."

"Henry," Emma asked, "shouldn't you be home by now?"

"I wanted to stay at Grandpa's tonight, but he asked me to check with you guys first."

"Fine with me," Neal replied, looking at the untouched cocoa in front of him.

Emma raised her eyes to him with a frown. There were a couple of things they still had to discuss about parenthood, and one of them was that it was not okay to play the cool dad just to make her look evil when they had different opinions.

This time, however, there would be no disagreement. If she really was going to do whatever it was that Neal had in mind, she would feel better not having Henry around as she prepared for it.

"Yeah… that's ok, I guess," she said.

The two of them watched as the boy left the diner, and then it was Neal's turn to speak again.

"What do you say?"

"What do you have in mind?" she asked, crossing her arms and leaning back on her seat.

"High end jewelry."

She snorted.

"Let me guess. Watches?"

"Yeah," Neal whispered, and his eyes were dead serious as he looked at her.

Emma honestly hoped it was a joke.

"Are you… are you insane?" she said, feeling eyes were about to jump from her skull.

"I just think we need to get some closure, that's all," he replied, trying to keep his cool despite Emma's ominous glance. "The first time I pulled it off, it blew up on your face. This time, if I screw up, I'll take the fall. I have it all figured out."

Everything in his little speech sounded ridiculous. Emma didn't even know where to start.

"Oh yeah?" she said. "And what if it goes right?"

"Then you go ahead and fence them. And then you keep the money."

"Just like you did, when you fenced the watches that night?"

Whatever cool Neal was managing to keep disappeared with those words. He looked absolutely mystified and offended.

"What do you mean?" he whispered. "I left you all the money I got!"

Emma chuckled, marveling at how good that man was at lying. A professional con artist, indeed.

"Emma," he whispered again, and there was no hint of humor in his voice as he spoke. "I left you twenty thousand dollars in cash."

When she frowned and tilted her head, Neal realized she had no idea what he was talking about, and his face grew pale.

"Please tell me August gave it to you."

Emma realized he was not lying. He had left her the money. He hadn't been a heartless jerk back then, just plain stupid and incredibly naïve.

"You trusted Pinocchio with $20K?" she asked, and there was a strain of disbelief in her voice. "Neal, what is wrong with you?"

"You never got the money," he whispered, and by now his face was as white as a sheet.

"Hey. Hey," she reached out for his hand. Somehow, there was something noble in how much that man seemed to believe in others. Maybe that was the reason he had had the rug pulled from under his feet so many times in his life, to begin with. Truth was that she couldn't hate him for trusting others. She could hate him for a lot of things, but not for that. "Ok. We can do this. But on one condition. We catch the fish, then let it back into the ocean, ok? We don't need the money. It's just for the thrill."

Across from her, Neal remained despondent.


"I just… I," he muttered. "I can't believe it. I'm so s-"

"We're fine," she said, squeezing his hand reassuringly. "Just let go, ok? I… I appreciate the thought. I really do."

She did. The fact that Neal had actually left her everything he had only showed that he really cared about her, after all, and that warmed her heart.

"Meet me tomorrow morning at my parents at 5 sharp," she said, with a little smile curling her lips, lowering her head to whisper something in his ear. "And do not expect me to call you Boss."

She then gave him a quick kiss on the lips and left, leaving Neal behind with a hopeful grin on his face.

And so it was that August had screwed him over, badly. Worse, he had screwed Emma over badly. Neal now hated that man so much he didn't even know where to start. He had asked him to leave, he left. And he left thinking August would take care of Emma. Wrong. Well, at least he would give her the money so that she could start over, have a decent life.

Wrong again.

Kid Pinocchio would better watch out. For the first time in his entire life, Neal actually contemplated the thought of chasing a child down and then beating the snot out of him.

He took another long, deep breath as he leaned against the bug. Well, at least the bug had made it to her hands. And she had kept it, all those years, just like the keychain. And although she had come up with that stinging line 'to remind myself to never trust anyone again' to justify the latter, she could only wince in silence when he saw the car. Their car.

She cared. He knew she still did.

He crossed his arms, and let his mind wander. It was still night outside the Charmings, and the cool breeze of dawn made his skin tingle despite the leather jacket he was wearing. He looked at his own attire for a moment, and wondered if she would remember. He wished she would. If she did, maybe she would let him kiss her, and not just those Disney family-show prude kisses. No. He wanted hot, wet, out in the open making out. Enough of holding back.

And then, his mind cautiously reminded that if it was sex he had in mind, they should just get a room and have a blast. Having those thoughts when you were about to steal a car and rob a high end jewelry store was definitely not the way to go, unless he was looking forward to landing his ass in jail.

He rubbed his eyes and stifled a yawn. His mind was right. He should focus. Sex could wait.

And then, she showed up.

All of a sudden, sex could really not wait.

"Emma?" he asked, as his eyes darted around her body in absolute despair. "What the hell is that?"

She had the nerve to smile.

"Excuse me?" she said, placing her hands on her hips.

No, no, no, no, no. There was no way in hell she would get into the car wearing that obscenely tight reddish dress. And what were those black fuck-me pumps, by the way? What the hell was she thinking?

"The…I…Why… B-But…"

He must have looked ridiculous as he stuttered incoherently , trying to come up with words that accurately described how… uncomfortable her attire was making him.

"You… you should go get changed," he whispered, running a hand over his hair and trying, rather unsuccessfully, to tear his eyes away from her body.

"What?" she exclaimed, with a frown. "Why would I?"

"Emma, I'm serious," he said, knowing that pretty soon his reasonable self would give in to a much more primitive one. "We can't go into a gig with you wearing… that. It's just not going to work."

'Because I'll be too busy fucking you senseless,' his very sharp mind admitted, in defeat.

"Oh, really?" Emma crossed her arms, with a defiant smirk. "Spoke the man with the infamous leather jacket of lust!"

Oh yeah. She remembered that jacket all too well. Now that she took her time to study his attire – dark jeans, tight fitting green shirt unbuttoned to let just enough of his chest show, leather belt, that stupid leather jacket that looked so good on him – she actually had to applaud him for the effort: he had pretty much managed to recreate the look he had on the night they had sex for the first time, in the same bug he was leaning against.

Very clever.

"I know exactly what you're trying to do," she said, raising an eyebrow.

"You do?" he asked, stuffing his hands on his pockets. "And what is it?"

"Not saying."


He could really do with some Dirty talk. Maybe it would release some of the tension building up below his waist. If she remembered the jacket, she remembered the rest. And if she did…

"I'm surprised that jacket still fits you," she said, interrupting his naughty train of thought.

"What is that supposed to mean?" he asked with a frown.

"If anything, that you are in very good shape," she whispered in his ear, before giving his butt a quick squeeze and moving to the other side of the car.

He was getting the feeling that gig would not go as planned.

'Yeah…' he thought to himself as he took the driver's seat, still marveling at the very obvious prospects of getting down and dirty with his partner in crime. 'And when our picture makes it to the front page of the local newspaper, people will be too busy drooling over the blond knockout to even notice the idiot by her side with a bulging erection!'

"Neal, the day's just begun," she said with an amused smile, ignoring the own wetness between her legs as she eyed the bulge in his pants. "You really should cool down."

"Easy for you to say…"

As he tried to get the car moving, he barely realized he was doing a lousy job with the transmission, and the bug complained with a very ugly, loud sound when he shifted into the wrong gear. After a few more moments of struggle to remember what he was doing, the bug finally moved forward with a jolt, just for him to let the engine stall less than one minute later.

"You know, I think I should drive," Emma said, trying to stifle a chuckle.


Neal didn't even argue as he left the car. As it was, he wouldn't even make it to the road without some sort of accident. He avoided Emma's glance as she walked past him to take the driver's seat, knowing that their little adventure had barely begun and he was already making a fool of himself.

It would be a hell of a long day.

"I got doughnuts. I got jelly," Emma announced joyfully a few hours later, as she joined Neal at the parking lot of the Marriot Mall. "And… I got them for free!"

"I wonder why…" Neal muttered, taking a sip of his Starbucks coffee and glancing at her with a raised eyebrow.

"You should be proud of me," she replied, trying to sound serious as she spoke, "Boss."

He cast a look towards her legs as she leaned against the railing next to him, clutching a paper bag in her hands.

"If you keep teasing me, you will get into trouble," he answered. His eyes were dark, and his voice was hoarse and serious.

Emma stared at him for a long minute, biting her lip as arousal made her nipples more evident under her dress. She liked it when he took charge. She liked it when he played the role. Of course, she loved caring, sweet Neal. She loved how thoughtful he was around her, how he respected her. But at times like those, she knew he could be a beast. She knew he would end up having his way if he wanted to. He would rough her up, and she would love every minute of it.

Neal held her stare, and wondered. Could it be? Was she really inviting him into that dance? He thought she never would, not after everything that had happened between them. What if he had gotten it all wrong, and decided to play Boss to his Dirty only to get kicked between the legs?

Nah. It was better not to take the chance, not while he could still manage to keep his throbbing erection under wraps. How long that would be was a mystery to him.

"So…" Emma spoke, after Neal broke eye contact, much to her disappointment. "Which one of these are we going to hot wire today?"

She let her eyes dart around the parking lot with a grin on her face. They had parked the bug not that far away, and if she had gotten it right, their childish plan was simply to steal a car, steal the watches, go for a ride, feeling proud of their wicked manners, then return to the mall, return the car, return the watches, and go back to their righteous lives feeling in peace with themselves.

Of course, that and the promise of a lot of wild, forceful, boiling hot, out in the open dirty sex.

She could hardly wait.

"Sorry, baby," Neal replied. "We are not hot wiring anything this time."

He then pulled out a case from inside his backpack, looking around to make sure there was no one watching.

"We'll steal the keys."

When Emma saw him open the case, she couldn't help but whistle. What the hell? Her eyes darted around the key replicas Neal had gotten: BMW, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, Bentley and Porsche.

"Neal?" she asked, as her eyes remained glue to the keys on the case. "Care to explain?"

"This is our last gig, Emma," he whispered. "Why just go for the usual? I want it to be big."

"Wow," she replied, after shaking her head. "You're telling me that we will try to steal a luxury car for the first time in our lives as our retirement act?"

"No, not try," he answered, biting his lip as he turned to face her. "We will steal a luxury car."

And that was when a potentially harmless prank usually turned into a living nightmare.

"How?" she asked, eyeing him with a certain amount of suspicion.

"We'll wait," he explained. "When our car gets here, we wait for the owner to get out, and then it will be the the good ol' street bumping. We get the real key, and hand them one of those."

"Right," she said, crossing her arms as the first hole in that little plot became evident. "What if no millionaires drop by today, Sherlock?"

"Then we'll come back another day," he muttered, looking away. Honestly, he didn't feel that would be the case… but if it were, he was dead serious. If he was going to retire, then he would at least get to drive one of those precious things first.

"You are so kidding me."

"Come on, Emma, have a little faith…"

She snorted.

"Do you really bel-"

The roaring sound of a light blue Ferrari California driving past them made her words die on her throat.

"What did I tell you?" he whispered, smiling gleefully as he kissed her lips and fished the two versions of the Ferrari key out of the case.

They watched as a dark haired man got out of the car, and in a matter of seconds Emma Swan was bumping into him.

"I'm sorry!" she said. "I'm so sorry!"

Behind her, Neal had crouched to catch the key the man had dropped, as well as his sunglasses.

"Whoa!" he exclaimed, wrapping an arm around Emma's waist. "Honey, you have to be more careful," he chuckled, before returning the driver the things he had dropped. "I'm sorry… My wife can be really clumsy sometimes."

The man nodded gratefully, and walked away.

Neal waited until he had disappeared behind the glassy doors of the mall to hold up the key.

"Nice move, baby," he whispered, before kissing Emma on the lips with a lavish grin on his face.

"Oh my God," she muttered, unable to believe her own eyes. "We have a Ferrari! We have a Ferrari!"

"Yes," he replied, thinking of all the nasty things they would be able to do after they completed the second part of their plan. "Yes, we do!"

Now, they only needed the watches.

There were only the two of them in the elevator. Neal saw her stealing glances towards him, humming some silly song with a very wicked smile on her face.

The jewelry store was on the 7th floor.

Emma let out a sigh. He only looked sideways at her ridiculously sexy dress.

"Will you stop?" she said, still smiling. "You're making me uncomfortable."

He smirked.

"At least you're not the one with a hard-on."

"Well, deal with it," she shrugged, raising an eyebrow. Perhaps he would catch that drift?

That was it. He had had enough. He had been intent on not giving in to his… dark passenger, so to speak, but she was clearly asking for it, so he would not disappoint. He punched one of the buttons and the elevator came to a halt, making the two of them lose their balance for a split second.

"What the…?" Emma exclaimed.

"I'll need you to take this and cover that camera," he said, giving her what looked like a sticker and a coffee cup lid and nodding towards the top left corner of the elevator.

"Very resourceful," she replied. "But why should I?"

"Just do it."

She felt a shiver go down her spine. That look in his eyes… that voice… The Boss was back. And oh, boy… was she going to get it for being a tease!

"Give me a hand here," Emma said, motioning for him to raise her body so that she could reach the camera.

He held her body up, and on the way down, without any further ado, he shoved her face first against the elevator wall, holding her hands behind her back. He knew that the line 'Emma Swan, you are under arrest. You have the right to remain aroused' was off the table due to their very troubled parting eleven years ago, but one could dream.

Outside the elevator, on the 5th floor of the Marriot Mall, some of the participants of the 35th Annual Conference on Psychiatry and Human Sexuality heard a loud thud, and turned to look at the closed silver doors at the entrance.

"Did you hear that?" Dr. Frasier Crane asked a fellow psychiatrist, as he made to move closer to the elevator. "I think it came from here!"

Inside the elevator, Neal pressed against Emma, grinding his hips against her back.

"You know what happens now, don't you?" he hissed in her ear.

"No," she moaned back, feeling her legs quiver.

He grabbed a handful of her hair and gave it a tug, making her groan in response as his other hand reached for the front of her dress, pulling it up to her waist hastily.

"Yes, you do."

She felt the tip of his tongue slide into her ear, and her nails dug into the solid surface her face was pressed against.

"I'll teach you not to be a tease," he whispered.

Emma chuckled, and once again he tugged at her hair. By that time, however, his other hand had already made its way into her panties, and he was now rubbing his fingers against her dripping wet slit.

"So wet…" he moaned, letting go of her hair to unzip his pants. "So… dirty."

She moaned louder this time, feeling her heart race as her wetness soaked his hand. Boy, had she waited to be manhandled by him again! Eleven years of craving! She was simply overwhelmed. And then, just when she was starting to feel her orgasm building up, he withdrew his hand from between her legs and laughed quietly over her shoulder.

On the other side of the silver doors, Dr. Frasier Crane's eyes were wide as he pressed his ear against the silver doors.

"This is like listening to an Erotica Audiobook!" he whispered, searching around for his colleague, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter. "Dr. Hofstadter!" he raised an arm, trying to be as quiet as possible as he gestured to the tall blond woman with an austere look on her face. "Wasn't it you who wrote a paper about the female neurological response to engaging in intercourse in public places?"

"That is correct, Dr. Crane," she replied, "And I am very proud to say that before that, all the studies related to the topic relied on nothing but questionable photoplethysmographic measures."

He nodded, looking very impressed.

"Well, you might want to listen to this," he whispered, pointing at the elevator. "There is a case study right behind those doors!"

"Neal…" Emma moaned, unaware of anything else happening around her, inside or outside that elevator, except for the man behind her and the persistent throbbing between her legs.

"Who?" he moaned in return, and she could feel he was jerking off a mere inch from her back.


She tried to press herself against him to get some contact with his hot throbbing flesh, but he had taken hold of her neck and pushed her head against the wall, again.

"What do you want?" he whispered, finally rubbing the tip of his cock against her panties.

"You," she gasped, trying to steady herself as her heart pounded even louder.

"You know I'm not gonna treat you like a princess, don't you?" he said, between gritted teeth. His shaft was twitching in his hand, and he couldn't wait to lodge it where it belonged. However, he still had a few warnings to give. "Actually, I'm gonna make you do very un-princess-y things… We're not in Fairytale Land, oh no. I want it dirty, and you're gonna give it to me, the way I want it."

Outside, Dr. Crane frowned at such words.

"Hatred towards women, typical case of unresolved issues with his mother!" he whispered, pinching his chin with a thoughtful expression.

"I second that," Dr. Hofstadter replied, taking another sip of her tonic water with nothing but indifference in her eyes.

"What is going on here?" asked a beaming Rose Nylund, a lovely elderly lady with fluffy blondish hair and sparkly blue eyes who was only attending the conference to help her daughter Gunilla with her poster presentation.

"Just listen, Ms. Nylund," Dr. Crane whispered, with a deadly serious look on his face. "Just listen, and you will understand."

And then, the old lady pressed her ear against the silver doors, unaware that right behind them, a man was turning a woman around and shoving his tongue into her mouth as his hands cupped her breasts.

Emma moaned when Neal pulled down her dress and then broke the kiss to catch one of her nipples in his mouth, sucking it and biting, making her yelp in a mixture of pain and pleasure. She grabbed a handful of his hair as he lifted her legs and wrapped them around his waist, moaning against her neck as her groin pressed against his erection.

"You know why I spend so much time polishing my stupid sword?" he panted, grazing her neck with his teeth. Emma suspected she knew the answer, and let out a sly smile. "Because I keep thinking of how it feels to have it inside you…You know what sword I'm talking about, don't you?" he said, pulling her panties aside as he rubbed his cock against the inside of her thigh. "This one."

Outside the elevator, Ms. Nylund looked horrified.

"He has a sword!" she gasped. "Goodness grief, that girl is in terrible danger!"

Inside the elevator, Neal captured Emma's mouth in another ravishing kiss as he shoved his length all the way into her, with one forceful thrust. No foreplay. Just raw, hot, borderline vicious fucking. He saw her roll her eyes as she gasped, and knew he had hit the first homerun of the day when she clenched her muscles around his cock as orgasm rippled through her.

"Oh, she certainly seems to be enduring the most agonizing torment," said Dr. Crane, smiling sarcastically when a rather loud and throaty female moan could be heard from inside the elevator.

"We should do something!" whispered a desperate Ms. Nylund.

"I agree," said Dr. Hofstadter. "I, for one thing, should have their brains scanned."

Behind silver doors, Neal kept banging his partner in crime, feeling her body respond to each and every trust, eliciting loud moans as he rubbed his glans against her clit, a moment before sliding them back into her wet sex, sometimes in a smooth stroke, sometimes just downright recklessly.

When he felt he was about to come, he withdrew his cock from her moist hole and forced her down on her knees in front of him. He stared into her hungry eyes as his hand slid up and down his spurting shaft, and as he emptied himself in her mouth, he realized that yes, yes, he would grow old with Emma Swan. There was nobody else he wanted to be with. And then, as he reveled in that post-coital bliss, he could see, at the back of his mind, the day when his very old and very wrinkled white-haired wife would sip tea with her girlfriends to tell them what had happened to her late husband. 'You see, we had just left the geriatrist's office,' she would say, 'and I decided to surprise him with some action on our way back home. But his heart couldn't take it. The poor thing died with a happy smile on his face.'

He hoped it would be a smile just like the one that was now stretching across his lips.

Emma was smiling as well. More than that, the woman was giggly. Oh, the joys of doing the wrong thing with the right person! It was him, it had always been him. As she struggled to get back on her feet and wiped the remnants of his semen from the corner of her mouth with the back of her hand, she barely realized she had accidentally pushed one of the buttons behind her while trying to regain her balance.

And then, the silver doors opened, and Neal found himself under the stare of a very tall blond woman, an elderly lady and a balding man wearing a suit and a tie.

"Wait a minute!" Rose Nylund's eyes were wide as she spoke, when she failed to spot any swords in the elevator, and finally realized what weapon the man actually had in his hand. "That is a penis!"

"Yes, Ms. Nylund," Dr. Crane said, only to add in his most solemn tone of voice. "That is, indeed, a penis."

Neal was almost sure it was his penis they were talking about, but his mind, at that point, had already fled from his body, leaving him behind with nothing but a mortified look on his face. Near him, Emma pressed all the buttons she could reach with her trembling hands, and finally the doors closed again.

"Wait! I think we should talk about your conflicted relationship with your mother!" Dr. Crane exclaimed, but it was too late. His and Dr. Hofstadter's case study was already heading to the 7th floor.

"Neal," Emma asked, as Neal gulped down a glass of water at the café across from the jewelry store. "Are you okay?"


"Are you sure?"


Well, he had just been caught with… well! She had seen it! How could he be well?

"But I'll live," he replied, trying to shake away that last part of their naughty endeavor. "Good news is, you can get away with this one. The public indecency was only mine."

"Not if they heard me…" Emma said, leaning against the counter to look at him with an amused look in her face, "which I think they did."

He had to let out a chuckle. One day, when the embarrassment wore off, he would laugh at it.

"Well, never mind that," he said, standing up and giving Emma a peck on the lips. "We just stole a Ferrari. Who cares about other minor charges?"

She flung her arms around his neck, marveling at his train of thought.

"Let's do this," she said, and soon enough the two of them had closed the distance that separated them from the jewelry store.

"Good morning," a woman said politely, greeting them at the door.

"Good morning," Neal replied, as he flung his arm around Emma's shoulders.

"How can I help you?"

"So, honey…what is it going to be?" he asked. "It's your birthday, so you get to choose. A ring? A necklace? A watch?"

"A watch…" Emma answered, with a loving smile on her lips as she held her little clutch bag like a real socialite. "Definitely a watch."

Neal kissed her on the lips, and then turned to the woman in front of them.

"A watch it is, then."

"Certainly, sir."

He looked around as the woman unlocked the case with all the shiny, most expensive watches she had, and his mind took him back to those days when he was a janitor in Phoenix… all he needed was some sort of diversion…

"Everybody on the floor, now."

He glanced behind him, and saw a man with an eye patch and a dark coat holding a gun.

Well… Not that kind of diversion, for fuck's sake.

He looked at Emma as two other men entered the store, and panic ensued as the saleswomen and a couple of other customers threw themselves on the ground, covering their heads.

"Are you deaf?" he heard the eye-patched man say behind him. "I said, everybody on the floor!" he snarled, before turning to look at Emma. "Except for the knockout here…" he whispered, before grabbing her butt. "I can do you standing up."

He had just pressed Neal's berserk button.

"Son of a bitch!" Neal yelled, throwing himself over the man without the shadow of a second thought. "Stay away from my wife!"

Perhaps because he wasn't expecting anyone to be as stupid as to jump over someone with a loaded gun on his hand, the man with the eye patch simply stumbled backwards and came crashing down one of the counters, dragging Neal with him and firing an instinctive shot towards the ceiling.

"Governor!" one of the man's goons screamed as glass shattered and flew everywhere. Taking that moment of distraction as her clue, Emma lunged forward and grabbed his arm, hitting his elbow with her knee and forcing him to drop his gun. Then she pushed him towards the third man that was aiming at her, and when the two of them were sprawled on the floor, she picked up his gun and smacked the back of his neck with it, watching him go unconscious.

Meanwhile, Neal was punching the Governor in a blinding fit of rage.

"Fucking… son… of a cocksucking… bitch!" he spat, as his fist connected with the man's face again and again.

Much to his bad luck, the Governor had managed to wrap his hand around a particularly flamboyant watch and used it to hit Neal right above the eye, and the stream of blood that gushed from the cut gave him pause.

Damn those stupid watches, always screwing up his life!

In a matter of seconds, the Governor had pushed Neal away and risen to his feet, walking towards Emma, who had successfully handcuffed a struggling goon to an iron rack behind one of the counters.

When she was about to turn her head, the eye-patched man had already grabbed a fistful of her hair, and threw her over another counter before climbing on top of her.

"Stupid bitch," he snarled, as his hands closed around her neck.

Feeling her lungs close up as no air seemed to be passing down her throat, Emma blindly reached for a piece of shattered glass, aiming at his other eye.

"No!" she heard the man scream, in a panic. "Not this again!"

And then, he fell limply over Emma's chest.

Behind him, a bleeding Neal had struck him in the head with a stony statue of a black goddess holding a samurai sword.

"Emma," he muttered, grabbing her hands and helping her back onto her feet. "Are you hurt?"

"I'm fine, I'm fine," she panted, massaging her neck. "Oh God, Neal, what happened to you?"

"Let's just get the hell out of here," he replied, trying to wipe away some of the blood pouring from his eyebrow.

She took off her shoes to keep up with Neal as he held her hand and, after a moment of hesitation as they reached the elevator, took the stairs down to the parking lot. To think that a few hours ago she thought they would just hot wire a car, steal some watches and fool around.

"I don't know about you," she whispered, tending his wound as they sat in the guardrail of the parking lot. "But this is not what I had in mind when I signed up for this gig."

Neal let out a chuckle.

"Things never seem to go as we plan, do they?" he asked.

Emma smiled sadly. That was the most absolute truth. Nothing that she and Neal had planned, until that day, had ever worked out the way they expected.

"Maybe we should just give up," she whispered.

"Meaning?" he whispered back, trying to ignore the flutter in his stomach. He could not afford to lose her… not again.

"That maybe we should stop making plans," she replied, with a smile. "Just live the moment… See where it goes."

"Emma…" he said, blinking as he looked into her eyes. "I don't know about you, but for me… I know where this is going."

She swallowed the lump in her throat as he said those words. The truth was, she knew it as well. Now it was time to find out if they were on the same page.

"I want to spend the rest of my life with you," he whispered, reaching out for the swan pendant in his pocket. "Even if that means nothing we plan ever goes right. Even if everything goes wrong… I want to be with you. I want you to be the one by my side."

She had to bite her lip not to cry when she saw he had fixed the chain. She had waited so long to be with him… To hear those words…

"And I think I don't wanna lie to people anymore when I tell them you're my wife, so…" he chuckled, trying to hide his nervousness as his heart raced. "Will you marry me?"

She covered her mouth as he held out the chain, then pulled her hair to the side and lowered her head, so that he could fasten it around her neck. When he did, she sobbed, and flung her arms around his neck.

"I love you," she whispered.

Neal took a long, deep breath as he hugged her back. So what if his family jewels had been exposed to half a dozen strangers? So what that his knuckles were sore, and his eyebrow bleeding? So what if their last gig had fallen apart at the seams?

Everything was well with the world.

"I love you too," he whispered back, kissing her hair and feeling he was the luckiest man to walk on earth.

And then, his eyes fell upon the light blue Ferrari California parked a few feet away from them.

Emma turned around when she realized where his dreamy glance was headed.

"Wanna go for a ride?" she asked, smiling.

It was rather tempting, he had to admit. When in his life would he have another chance to drive a car of that magnitude?

All of sudden, it didn't actually matter.

"You know what?" he said, rising to his feet and stretching a hand so that Emma would follow him. "Let's just go home."

She nodded, wrapping a hand around his waist as his arm closed around her shoulder. And then, they made their way back to the bug after leaving the key to the Ferrari under its wheel well. Although each of them was lost in their own thoughts, years later they would come to the same conclusion.

It had been quite a memorable last gig, after all.