Having Hook around last chapter was nice, wasn't it? But you guys wanted more Neal, didn't you? ;)
The clash of swords comes as a shock to her when she walks down by the Jolly Roger the next morning, Killian and Neal chasing each other up and down the ship, their faces angry and determined. If it weren't for the hazy red of the sky and purple hue of the water she would have sworn this was reality, but as she calls out to the men, her voice coming out thick and dull it just confirms that this is in fact a dream she's having.
It's a weird sensation, knowing that you're in a dream, but she's annoyed to find that she still has no control over what's happening before her eyes.
She steps closer to the ship, her feet heavy within this place, and calls out again, asking them to stop, telling them that they're going to hurt each other. The sound of their swords becomes louder and louder, the metallic clang resounding in the air and drowning out everything else.
Killian's eyes meet hers and she sees the apology in them and knows in that moment exactly what they're fighting over. Who they're fighting over.
It's hard to watch. She knows of their history together, that at one point in their lives Killian would have given up absolutely anything for Baelfire. But seeing him now, fighting like this, fighting for her; she knows he's not going to give in until there is a clear winner.
And she doesn't want that. She doesn't want to lose one to gain the other. It makes her stomach lurch to think of any world without one of them in it. Neal may have hurt her, but he's still Henry's father and it would kill her son to not have him around, she's seen it once and she never wants to see it again. And Killian…she can't explain Killian and that excites her. All she knows is that if Neal's sword was to pierce his skin right now, she would never forgive him.
"Stop!" she calls again, "Please stop it."
Her voice comes through louder this time, but they still won't listen. She notices the edges of her dream fading into darkness, the red turning brown, the purple turning black. Calling out once more in vain, she is pulled completely from her slumber, a dying scream on her lips, tears streaming down her face, breaths caught in her lungs.
So swept up in the emotions of the dream she barely hears the knock to her door, but manages to quickly wipe her face on her sheet before she says, "Come in."
To her surprise, it's not her mother coming to check on her, but Neal. Her eyes widen and she flicks her head around to check the clock. 10am. She thought it had been so much earlier than that.
"What are you doing here?" and she really doesn't mean for it to come out as harshly as it does, she's just still trying to wrap her head around her dream.
But he's not interested in answering her just yet, not when her face is tear streaked and her eyes still red, "Emma, what happened?"
She wipes her cheeks with her sheet again, embarrassed and just wanting to hide, "It's nothing, it's fine."
Her curt answer is enough of a message for him and he moves back towards the door he's just stepped through, "I can wait out here if you'd like?"
She just nods, scared to speak in case she reveals the realisation she's just had.
Her tears are for Killian. Because while losing Neal would be heartbreaking for her son and it would hurt her too, she's coming to see that losing Killian would absolutely destroy her.
When she comes out of the room ten minutes later, she's still not entirely happy with her appearance, knowing her red eyes are screaming out of her face, begging anyone to ask her what's wrong, but she also knows Neal wouldn't be here for nothing.
"Sorry about that, caught me at a bad moment."
She deliberately leads them downstairs, away from her room, away from the nightmares in her bed, from the scary emotions and feelings that are attached, "It's okay. I shouldn't have come in to start with."
Emma frowns, "Actually, yeah. What were you doing in there?"
"Your mother let me in."
They reach the bottom of the stairs, Mary Margaret coming into view behind the kitchen counter. She locks eyes with her daughter, then seeing the daggers, quickly grabs her coffee and runs into her own bedroom with a frightened squeak.
Emma had wanted her best friend back, she hadn't realised it came with terrible and ill placed wing woman skills.
"Coffee?" she asks Neal, rolling her eyes at her mother.
He shakes his head, "It's okay, I was just dropping in quickly to let you know that I'm heading back to New York today."
And despite being almost certain that she is finally moving on from this man, she still feels her stomach plummet and her heart drop, "Oh. Okay." She sort of grabs at a mug and spoons some instant coffee into it, not really knowing what else to do, "You know you can't just flit in and out of Henry's life when you please."
He pulls the coffee from her hands, grasping them and pulling her towards him, "Em, I'm going back for a couple of days to pack up my things and move here. I want to see where this goes, see if we can work."
She's in shock for a moment, so almost doesn't notice him tucking her hair behind her ear, his face drawing nearer to hers.
"Neal wait," she starts, pushing him back a little. It would be so easy to fall into this. But she knows it would be so easy for her to be hurt again. She's already on edge around him, always waiting for the excuse, for the moment where he runs and she's left with a broken heart and a jail sentence. "I can't."
He steps closer to her again, "It's fine, Em. We can take it as slow as we need to."
But she's adamant, "No. No we can't. And I'm sorry, I'm so sorry Neal. Everyone deserves a second chance, but that includes me and I think I know what I want now."
His eyes narrow and she can tell that he knows. She doesn't owe him any more in explanation than that though and so she keeps her mouth shut as he accepts her statement.
He nods slowly, running a thumb across his lip in contemplation. She can see the anger and the hurt lurking in his eyes and knows that it's going to take some time for them to even be civil towards each other, but she also knows that she's making the right choice.
Because it doesn't matter if he comes back to Storybrooke and proves that he is stable and going to be there when she most needs him. In the end, he's coming back for Henry first. And while that warms her heart, she knows that she is first place in someone else's heart.
Faith, trust and pixie dust are all essential things in my life. And reviews…did I mention reviews?