Title: Is It Love?
Summary: A dramatic change in weather has our group finding refuge and making a startling connection when it comes to two of their members... members who wander off on their own in the Neverland jungle and grow even closer.
Genre: some fluff, a little angst, the usual…
Pairing: Snowing, CaptainSwan
Dis: I don't own OUAT
Spoilers: up to 3x03
NOTE: So I've always thought it was Tinkerbell until I searched it and it's actually Tinker Bell…. Well. Who knew? Also, for my TMNT fans who read this, I've recently opened a tumblr page for Alice, the protagonist in my 'To Catch a Thief' series, feel free to ask her a question before the start of Book 3: Tempest. The link to her page is on my profile page!
Emma looked up at the sky in confusion. Something cold hit her nose and melted, a wet drop sliding over her skin. She blinked as large, fluffy flakes of snow attached themselves to her eyelashes. She held out her hand and frowned.
"You have got to be kidding me," grumbled Regina as she started brushing off her arms. "It snows here?"
"Sometimes," said Hook.
"And you didn't think to tell us?" asked Emma. Moments ago she'd been sweaty and hot. Now she was shivering, pulling out her coat from her bag. Lifting her hair out of the collar she glared at the pirate who only rolled his eyes at her.
"Oh, yes, sorry," he said bitingly. "I guess my talent of predicting the weather is off."
"How bad does it get?" asked Snow, folding her arms over her chest to ward off the chill.
"Sometimes it lasts an hour or two… Sometimes more than a day. I suggest we find shelter it's only going to get worse," said Hook, looking up at the sky.
"A few snowflakes aren't going to deter me from finding my son," said Regina.
"Be reasonable, Regina," said a soft voice, the newest voice of the group. Tinker Bell. "Hook is right. These storms get really nasty. I know of a place that we can take shelter in until it ends."
"Honestly," said Emma, her hazel eyes searching out Hook's. "Just how bad can it get?"
"Okay!" said Emma, hunched over as she trudged through ankle-deep snow. "This is bad!"
"Are we almost there?" asked David, doing his best to shout his question over the roaring of the wind.
The jungle trees waved violently in the wind, painted white from the blasts of snow that stung the travelers in the face repeatedly. They huddled together like a pack of animals, using the other as a shield as best they could. David was doing his best to hover over Mary Margaret and Emma was more than a little thankful that Hook was doing the same for her.
"Here!" shouted Tinker Bell as she pushed aside tangles of roots and vines. Hook rushed ahead and used his hook to clear the entrance. They all rushed inside the cavern and though it was still cold they were thankful to be out of the wind and snow. "C'mon. Follow me."
It was dark but Regina held up her hand and soon her fireball was not only coating them in warmth but lighting the way ahead. The narrow passage opened up into a larger cavern. Tinker Bell went to one wall and clapped in glee before pushing a rock aside and pulling out large leaves that were wrapped around something.
"I never knew when I'd be back here. Wanted to be prepared. It isn't much, but it will do."
She handed them each a bundle and upon opening it they found dried fruit and meat. They all offered their thanks and huddled together. Regina's fireball hovered, for there was no wood inside for the flames to catch and after eating his ration, Hook volunteered to go out and get some.
"I'll come with you," said Emma, brushing her hands over her pant legs before pulling up the collar of her wool coat. (Which she was thankful to have in that moment.) She had gloves, but they had been misplaced after leaving the Jolly Roger. Hook just nodded at her and together they left the cavern.
"See, Regina?" Tinker Bell smiled brightly while looking at the Evil Queen. "Even Captain Hook has found his true love."
Regina rolled her eyes while David and Mary-Margaret: Snow and Charming, looked at the path the retreating couple had taken with dropped jaws. Tinker Bell looked between the three of them with a look of confusion on her face.
"What? It's obvious, isn't it?" she asked, playing with the ends of her blonde hair nervously. She had been told she was a bad fairy one too many times… Perhaps her perception was off? They walked close together, even in the snow he had tried protecting her against the chilly blasts of the wind. Upon entering the caves his hand had settled at her lower back to guide her in and they had sat so close the other night and shared the coconut meal. Not only that, but she had left with him just now, and Tinker Bell swore she saw a flash of caring in Hook's gaze when she volunteered to go.
"Emma just lost Neal," said Snow. "She's still grieving over the father of her child."
"For the man that abandoned her and left her in a jail cell?" scoffed Regina. "Unlikely. Not to mention he had ample opportunity to return once the curse was broken. If he was my ex and he pulled that crap with me, I'd have turned him into the jackass that he is."
"Donkey," giggled Tinker Bell whose smile fell from the glare she got from Princess Snow and Prince Charming. She cleared her throat and settled her hands back into her lap.
"How did you…" Snow sighed. "Henry. He told you all of that?"
"No. He wouldn't tell Emma's secrets. I'm the Evil Queen. I have my ways." Regina smirked. "You know, for being the walking campaign for True Love, one would think that you'd recognize the signs."
"There is no way my daughter is going to find true love with that pirate!" scowled David.
"My, my David. You sure sound a lot like King George," said Regina, her words like venom. "Perhaps more of him has rubbed off on you than you think."
"Stop," said Snow, standing from her spot on the cave floor and offering her hand to David. "She's just trying to egg us on. C'mon. Let's set up camp."
"This sucks," gasped Emma as she took a step and ended up waist deep in snow. Hook offered his hand and she took it, allowing him to pull her up onto sturdier ground. "We're wasting our time. Whatever we find will be wet and just smoke up the place."
"Giving up so soon, Luv?" he asked, finding a fallen tree and following it to the smaller branches. He and Emma both took out their swords and started hacking at the wood. Emma paused before lashing out at the tree with her armed sword.
"No! I'm just being realistic!" She attacked again. "It's all pointless! And what's with the sudden optimism from you? I get enough of that from my mother!"
Hook stepped back, watching as she attacked the limbs with increased bravado. He sheathed his sword then found a moss and snow covered tree to lean against. He felt the chill through his leather coat but ignored it to observe the maddening duel between Emma Swan and a fallen tree. Suddenly her legs gave out and she fell into the snow, sobbing.
What had been his entertainment turned into something completely the opposite.
"Go away," she said softly as he approached, but he was never one to listen. He knelt down with her in the snow then placed his hand on her shoulder. She tensed a moment before relaxing, her hands still clenched around the sword. "I'm tired…"
"We all are, Luv. Just need a good night's rest and-"
"Not just that." She twisted around in the snow, her lower-half completely covered in it now as her puffy, hazel eyes searched his. "Of everything. Of curses and dragons and evil queens… I… I wish I had my old life back. Oh God that makes me a horrible person because that old life didn't have Henry but this is just… It's so damn hard and I feel myself slipping and-"
"Hey," he said, interrupting her, putting his hands on her shoulders, now kneeling in the snow with her. "Look, Swan, bloody hell I'm not good at stuff like this… Listen. You're a good person. Things may look grim now but what's that your family is always sprouting on about? Good always wins? We'll win this, yeah?"
"Pan has him," she said, lips trembling. "It's my fault. If I'd have just taken him out of Storybrooke like I had wanted too…" She looked down, blonde curls hiding her face. "I can't protect my own son. I've put everyone's lives in danger because… because…"
'Ah, to hell with it,' he thought before pulling her in against his chest. Once again she stiffened and in all honesty he'd been ready to get launched into the snow but she surprised him by wrapping her arms around him. She buried her face against his chest and he pressed a kiss, as gentle as the flakes now falling around them softly, into her hair.
Neither of them noticed that the wind died down to nothing. The snow still fell steadily, but it was more like a lover's caress than a crack of a whip. It coated their shoulders, stuck to their hair, but they didn't care. She needed comfort and he was willing to give it to her without a price. Finally, after a moment, she shivered and he sighed before pressing one last lingering kiss to her head before standing. He offered her his hand and she glanced up at him, looking ever like the orphan she had called herself all those nights ago when he had been listening in on her conversation with Snow.
"C'mon, Swan, let's bring the wood you so valiantly slayed back to camp."
She chuckled, rolling her eyes before taking his hand and allowing him to help her stand. She looked up at him, biting her lower lip before sticking her hands in her pockets.
"Thanks," she said.
"What for?" he asked with a smirk and she smiled brightly once more. This was, apparently, to stay between the two of them. She had been about to ask him that: to not tell anyone about her moment of weakness. "C'mon, Swan! Help me carry this!"
"I did all the work!" she shouted, playing along. "Why should I carry it, too?"
"Oh, sorry Princess, didn't mean to insinuate that you had to do some form of labor," he mocked, picking up a larger piece of wood and tucking it under his hooked arm.
"You're such a jerk," said her mouth.
'Thanks,' said her eyes.
"And you are a spoiled, rotten little girl," said his mouth.
'You're welcome,' said his eyes.
The group looked up as Emma and Hook entered the cavern. Hook was carrying most of the wood, complaining about it. Emma was shooting insults at him about his laziness and was telling him to buck up and that just because he was missing a hand didn't mean he got let off the hook when it came to labor.
Yes. She had used those words.
As the two continued to banter, Charming had relaxed. He knew, without a doubt, that there was NOTHING between his daughter and the pirate. He'd been ready to warn the pirate off, though he trusted him to keep HIS secret about the poison. Now, he felt like he had nothing to worry about…
Snow, however, looked between the two with an ever growing look of dread on her face. They reminded her so much of how she and Charming had been when they first met. It was… Disturbing. Was Tinker Bell right? Was there more here? If there was… Who was she to get in the way of true love? Was that what this was? If it was she knew she had her work cut out for her when it came to David…
Tinker Bell smiled from her spot in the cave, wrapped in an old blanket she had brought along. She could see it now. She ignored their words and watched their expressions. With barbed words came soft glances and small smiles made in secret. When across the room from the other, their eyes would meet and Tinker Bell KNEW she was right about them. It was true love! It had to be! If only she had some pixie dust to prove it…
Regina didn't care either way. She almost hoped Emma and Hook got together. The look of horror on Charming and Snow's face would bring a smile to hers. Also, with Emma distracted by her new true love, perhaps that would give her ample opportunity to be with Henry. So yes… Regina will gladly side with the idea of Captain Hook and Emma Swan. Until then…
Operation Henry was still a go.