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This one is a little longer than most chapters I post. But I'm going away for a few days for a fandom weekend, so I won't be able to post for a little while. Hopefully this gets you by until then!

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..:::..

The Spark and the Void

Chapter Two

..:::..

Regina paces back and forth, running each scenario through her mind, "So she eats the fruit, we have control on her, correct?"

From behind her, Gold nods, knowing full well that she can't see him but also knowing that she's only asking questions to hear her own answers.

She stops at the counter, watching him tend to the plant, "And we get it to her through Snow?"

He nods again.

"They'll suspect something."

"No dearie, they won't," he carefully plucks the delicate purple fruit from the small tree. It's about the size of an apple and holds a magical glow to it. Rumple holds the plump fruit up and squeezes it until it becomes dried and slowly begins to crumble into a waiting bowl, "If there is one thing our Mary Margaret always makes for her daughter, it's hot chocolate with cinnamon." Rumple runs his hands across the dried fruit, turning it to dust before sprinkling a portion into a waiting cinnamon shaker.

"And the spell will only work on Emma?"

He nods, "Yes." He seals the lid, waving a hand over the contents to ensure the fruit's dust blends in with the spice before throwing it into thin air, watching it disappear in a puff of black smoke, his magic guiding it back to the pantry it had come from. "All we must do is wait."

They turn their attention to the branches of the fruit tree looking for the glow that will indicate that they are in control of the saviour.

..:::..

Emma's body feels tingly and she rolls over in the morning light to find her pirate watching her curiously, "What?"

He smiles, swooping down and capturing her lips in a searing kiss, brushing her hair from her face and pulling her close to him as they listen to the sound of rain beating down on the wooden decks of the ship, "You're still here."

She smiles, slightly dazed from his touch, "Of course I am. I told you I want to be here."

He's still cradling her face, looking at her in awe, "Excuse an old pirate for having his doubts. And you did sleepwalk a touch through the night. I really did think you were leaving me"

"I did?"

He smiles, "You were a right mess, pacing and muttering about how you would never be able to find a better lover than I so you were stuck with me forever."

She swats his shoulder, but smiles, "Well that must definitely have been a dream."

"You wound me, Swan," he says, clutching his chest, "You really did wander though."

She shrugs, "I do that sometimes. Ever since I was little." She kind of loses herself in memories for a moment, but shakes herself out of it, leaning in to give him another peck on the lips, before rolling away from him, taking the blankets with her as she stands, "I have to get going." She begins collecting her clothing from the ground, leaving ripped shreds of particular items where they are as a kind of souvenir for him.

He pouts, actually pouts, at the prospect of her leaving, but stands to help her anyway, "Come back later?" She accepts her coat from his hand, appreciating the confidence with which he is just standing there, stark naked. He has every reason to be as well; in the daylight she is able to take him in without shadows and darkness getting in her way and she finds herself chewing her lip, contemplating never leaving here again. But she knows she has to.

Pulling her coat over her barely covered torso, she reaches an arm around his back to draw him in, "I'll try my best." And with a smile and a wave, she makes her way from the cabin before she ends up naked beneath him again, pulling her hood over her head against the cold rain outside.

"I love you," he calls out. It's not about hearing it back, it's about just letting her know. He could go the rest of his life without ever hearing it from her, but she must know how he feels. However, her face turns in the rain and he sees a grin plastered on her features. She ducks her head and turns back to her walk, but that smile tells him things she doesn't even know yet. She's not just tolerating him, she has feelings for him as well. And that gives him all the hope in the world.

..:::..

"And where were you last night?" It's amazing how despite them hardly having a physical age difference, Emma can feel completely mothered by Mary Margaret.

The blonde pulls the hood from her head and begins to unbutton her coat before remembering how little she's wearing underneath. Her eyes widen and she goes to make an escape upstairs to the bathroom to ready herself for the day, "Nowhere."

Mary Margaret smiles knowingly at her retreating back, "And how is our favourite pirate?"

She turns at the top of the stairs, rolling her eyes. There's no point hiding it, "He's great," she says before continuing onto the bathroom.

It's as she's washing her hair that she hears the distinct ringing of her phone. She figures they can wait a few minutes and continues with her shower, however when the phone immediately starts ringing again, she begins to feel that nagging sensation in her belly usually associated with the responsibilities of being sheriff. She completes the rinse in a hurry before reaching a wet hand out the door to grasp the device, "Hello?"

"Emma, hey. You don't think you could come down to the beanstalks, could you? I have a situation."

The voice of her father and the nature of the message he is giving actually calms her somewhat. There have been a few of these 'situations' at the site of the magic beans in the last week. Apparently a few of the dwarves weren't impressed with Anton giving away one of the precious beans so easily to a pirate and had tried to have him fired from his job. What they didn't realise was that it was more than a mere job to Anton. This was his family's legacy and so it had all blown up and was obviously continuing to cause a rift in the workers.

Knowing exactly what needs to be done to calm the whole thing down, she agrees to meet David there in twenty minutes.

It takes her less than ten before she is walking back out the front door, passing Mary Margaret on the way, "I made you a hot cocoa."

Emma smiles, looking longingly at the warm beverage. It's been a while since she's had anything to eat or drink, "When I get back, okay? I shouldn't be too long, just another fight at the beanstalks."

Mary Margaret rolls her eyes, "When are they going to learn?" She takes a swipe of cream and cinnamon from the top of her own mug, before adding, "I'm heading into the school today, so I'll hold you to it tonight."

..:::..

It's not long before she has Leroy locked up in the holding cell of the Sheriff's station, "This is just until you calm down and can assure me you're not going to hurt Anton," she says, locking the door.

The dwarf leans heavily on the bars, making pleading eyes at her, "Come on, sister. Every moment I'm in here is a moment I'm not working and that's a moment further from us being able to go home."

She looks over her shoulder, "You should have thought of that before you tried to barrel over Anton."

He sits down with a sigh, grumbling about the injustice of it all. A dwarf taking on a giant and he's the one in a jail cell.

Emma can't help but let a laugh escape her as she leaves the station, dialling Neal's number on the way out.

"Yes I got him to school on time and yes he ate breakfast."

She can practically hear the eye roll through the phone, "I was actually calling to make sure you got everything moved it alright yesterday, I have a dwarf who needs a timeout if you need help."

"Oh!" He sounds genuinely surprised, "Yeah, no. We got it all in, but thanks."

She stops just outside the station, sensing something off in his tone, "What's going on, Neal?" Henry is first and foremost in her mind and if he's done something that's going to hurt him…

"Tamara's leaving."

"Huh?" She can't help the abrupt nature of her tone.

"She's freaked out by…everything. She wants out of Storybrooke and out of whatever might be between us."

That takes her by surprise, "There's nothing between us."

"Oh thanks, Em."

She rolls her eyes, "You know what I mean." A pause, then, "I'm sorry she's leaving Neal."

He sighs, "Yeah, me too."

She had previously been heading towards Granny's which is right on the way to Neal's new apartment, so she makes a decision to just keep going, "You need some food? Something to distract you? I'm going to drop by."

"You really don't have to…"

But she's already ordering as she hangs up on him, making the choice before he can argue.

..:::..

"These are the best sandwiches in America," he comments, taking another bite of the gourmet bread roll from Granny's, "Thanks for coming by."

Emma leans back in the couch, her stomach full, "It's a slow day. May as well spend it with a friend."

He smiles at that, "So we're good, yeah?"

She shrugs, "Yeah, we're good." There was a point in her life where she would have been mad at him for suggesting they were 'good', but now having seen him with Henry and knowing how hard he is trying, she finds herself at peace with what happened all those years ago.

They let silence encompass them for a moment or two, digesting the ease with which they seem to have fallen into this friendship, "I've missed this, you know? I missed you."

Emma smiles sadly at him, recognising immediately where this conversation is going and stopping it before it can get there, "Don't do this, okay?" At his confused look, she continues, "Losing Tamara is going to be difficult, but you are here because of Henry, that's all." She had missed him as well. Even in the part of her life when she hated him, she had missed him. But that part of her life was over now. Sometimes things end to make way for bigger and better things; she is a big believer in that.

He nods, "I know. I just…"

"You're feeling nostalgic, I get it. It's fine." She rocks on the couch, pushing herself up, deciding that now might be a good time to leave, "You can pick up Henry from school this afternoon, you shouldn't be alone tonight."

He stands with her, wrapping his arms around her in a friendly hug, "Thank you for being so understanding. I know none of this has been easy on you."

She accepts his hug, snaking her arms back around him, "We're all dealing with a lot. It's the least I can offer." She pulls away, thanking him for having lunch with her and then makes her way towards the door.

From across town Killian is trying to convince himself that he wasn't spying on her, he had only been people watching from a distance and his eye glass had just caught her figure through a window as she had been walking into Neal's apartment building. But seeing her hug her ex-lover so intimately was playing on his mind now, definitely. He lowers his looking glass and hangs his head, the doubts fill his mind once more despite the hope he had felt just hours ago. He feels this desperate need to show her what she means to him, to make her understand that she is important to him. To claim her and to never let her go.

..:::..

"Hot chocolate?"

Emma nods, though her mother notices that she's not completely in the room with her, "What's up?" she asks as she pulls the milk from the fridge.

The blonde shakes her head, coming back to herself with a put on smile, "Nothing."

But Mary Margaret doesn't miss the way her eyes glance towards the door, "Expecting someone?"

She shakes her head, "No."

It's at this point the Snow literally groans, rolling her eyes and reaching across the bench to grab Emma's hands in hers, "Emma, I know you're still getting used to this, we all are. But you need to talk to me. Before the curse was broken we spoke about everything and I know that now I'm your mother and that's… unusual, but it doesn't change the fact that for your first year of living here we were friends. So please, what's wrong?"

She can feel only love in her mother's words and knows she should talk to someone about it, "It's Hook," and her father really does have impeccable timing because just as she lets the name out, David comes walking around the corner, his eyes narrowed.

"Hook?" Snow whacks his shoulder, giving Emma an encouraging look.

She fights the urge to say 'yes dad' as sarcastically as possible, because actually calling him dad freaks her out, but she does give him an expert roll of the eyes, grimly smiling at him, "I was supposed to go see him again today."

David's eyebrows rise this time, "Again?" but Mary Margaret places her hands on his shoulders and turns him towards the couch.

"You knew this was happening, Charming. Now go sit down before you hurt yourself."

The prince does as he's told, allowing the ladies to continue their discussion, "So why aren't you going to see him then?"

Emma shrugs, still not really sure herself, "There's just been a few things he's said that make me feel like this is going too fast and I don't know if I'm ready."

Mary Margaret turns back to the stove to continue heating their milk for the hot chocolates, "Remember what I said when you were going through this with Graham though? Your walls are high and deep, Emma." Her tone holds a warning.

"Yeah, but look what happened to Graham," it still sends ripples of pain through her to think about the man who was her first hope in years and how he had died in her arms, on the verge of something so unknown and so precious, "What if something happens to Killian now because he's with me?"

Snow's eyes flick towards her husband who has made his way to their bedroom to escape the girl talk in the kitchen, "Sometimes the chance is worth it."

She adds the cocoa to the warmed milk and begins to stir it in just as there is a knock at the door. Sensing who it could be, Snow turns the heat to low on the stove top, making a quick exit to her bedroom as well. She has no desire to make her daughter feel any more awkward than she already does around her and with any luck, after a few words shared in private they'll be able to enjoy their drinks soon enough anyway.

Emma pulls the door open and is faced with a devious looking Hook. His leather is once again in place on his body and that combined with the glint in his eye sends a shockwave of heat rushing through her. His chest is heaving and it looks as though he's been running, but she barely gets a chance to process his appearance before he is pushing his way inside her apartment and then pushing her up against the door as it slams shut. He doesn't speak, just presses his lips into hers, surrounding her with the heat of his body, consuming her with his harsh kisses. She lets out a moan as he finds his way to her jaw line and the curve of her neck and his hand comes up to rest over her mouth, his lips barely grazing her ear as his hot breath carries a whisper, "Where are your parents?"

And she feels like a teenager, sneaking around in her family's home. It feels dangerous and exciting. Unable to speak, her eyes slide towards her parent's bedroom and Killian nods, "Well you'll just have to keep quiet then, won't you?"

Her eyes widen as the curve of his hook runs up the inside of her thigh, pushing the seam of her jeans into her core. She bites down on his hand and he lets out a sharp growl, pulling it away, "I only have one good one left, lass."

She shoots him a wily grin, "Better put it to good use then."

And then he is all over her again, his hand slipping up under her shirt and across the curve of her breast as he whispers words of possession against her skin. She feels positively on fire, her own hands working their way past the leather and straps and buttons and finally touching the warm skin of his chest, moving his clothing to the sides, but not removing it. Not yet. She's enjoying the way he looks completely undone under her fingertips.

"You're mine," he growls into her ear, his hook pressing suggestively into her again making her bite her lip to keep from making too much noise.

Something niggles at the edges of her memory though, something important. But she's so wrapped up in Killian that it takes the clearing of her mother's throat to remember that there was a pot on the stove and realise that its contents are now all over the floor.

The pirate breaks away, but remains standing in front of her, protecting her modesty or his own, she isn't sure. For her part, Emma's eyes can only widen as she looks over Killian's shoulder to see Mary Margaret bending down to mop up the spilt milk, "I'll just…I can't let it stick. I'll be gone in a second though," she calls out, her voice an octave higher than usual.

Emma laughs then, because it really is amazing how many awkward experiences she's been able to have with her parents despite not knowing them for the first 28 years of her life, "It's okay. Put another pot on, I said I'd have a drink with you and I will."

Killian throws a mortified look at her, but she just shoves his shoulder. Lowering her voice, she says, "It'll be fine. What are they gonna do?"

He quickly does up enough buttons and straps to make him look presentable before leaning in close to Emma once more, "This isn't over."

She nods, before slipping back over to the kitchen to help Mary Margaret, "I would hope not."

..:::..

To say they're having a happy family moment would be a huge overstatement. Emma and Snow sip on their hot chocolates while David asks Hook increasingly personal questions.

"So, just how old are you anyway?"

"Do you have tattoos with other names?"

And the dreaded, "What exactly are your intentions with my daughter?"

It's at that point that Emma grabs Killian's hand and tugs him from the couch announcing that they're going to bed. In the same room. Together.

She makes a pointed effort to ensure David knows that he can't just do this type of thing. He being her father only gets him so many outs and tonight he's definitely used them all up.

"Thanks for the hot chocolate, Mary Margaret," Emma throws over her shoulder as she and Hook make their way upstairs to her room.

David immediately turns to his wife, "We can't let this go on."

But Snow just smiles a sad smile, "We missed those years, David. We missed being the commanding parents, the ones who got to teach her things and be wary of the princes that came to try and whisk her away to far off kingdoms."

"What about pirates though, Snow? Don't we get a say in that? She doesn't know how dangerous they are in our land."

She shrugs, picking up the mugs from the table and walking them to the kitchen sink, David following behind, "She met Hook in our land. I really do think there's some good in him. I think we need to give him a chance."

David still feels unsure about the whole thing. He's not quite used to the dad instincts yet. Some parents feel like their kids grow up so fast, but for him, he had literally held his daughter in his arms when she was a baby and the next time he saw her she was 28 and completely grown up. He aches for the moments he missed.

"I can give him one chance."

Snow wraps her arms around her husband, leaning up and into him for a sweet kiss, "Thank you."

And as the occupants of the apartment all find their way to their rooms and fall asleep, Rumpelstiltskin is awoken by a purple glow coming from the soil of his fruit tree. A smile spreads itself across his face and he waves a hand in the air, ensuring the spell has indeed connected to Emma.

From miles away, he feels the tug of the magic as the spell begins to work and laughs a high pitched laugh, so pleased with his efforts. With Emma gone Hook will follow anywhere and that gets rid of him without drawing a single suspicion towards themselves. With a flick of his wrist, Rumple wakes Emma up, the woman gasping and swinging her legs off the bed, unbeknownst to her that she is under a truly terrible spell.

..:::..