Written for an anonymous request for "first kiss in Neverland", and mooseravenclaw's request for a fic based on the Lauren Aquilina song, 'Fools'.
Heavily influenced by promo pictures for episode 3.05, "Good Form."
What if we ruin it all
And we love like fools
And all we have, we lose?
And I don't want you to go
But I want you so
So tell me what we choose.
-Fools, Lauren Aquilina
She realizes it suddenly, without any warning.
Hook is still talking but Emma's tuned him out. She stares at him, taking it all in – his shoulders are loose, his grin a casual but genuine thing, and his eyes – they've always been almost painfully blue, but they're so bright, so open and trusting and caring and, fuck.
Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck.
It's not like she hasn't thought about this before. To be honest, she was already thinking it before they even got to the beanstalk, but everything that's happened since has only made the thoughts more prominent. She's thought about it a lot of different ways, with different thoughts on what it might be – lust, irritation, empathy, sorrow, understanding, grief, and others. Things she doesn't dare to name.
Hasn't – hasn't, before now. Before Neverland. Because Hook's been right by her side through all of this, he's been right here and helping when Emma knows he has no reason to be. She urged him to be a part of something but she also knows very well that's not enough for what she's seen from him so far, and it's not like he's hidden his interest at all. She has been well aware for some time now how he feels, but has just kept shoving it off because now's not the time. She can't deal with this now, she can't let herself dwell on how Hook feels or how she might feel or – or any of it, now while Pan still has Henry.
She thought she couldn't, but this – they won tonight, small victory though it might be. And it's hitting hard, that this is possible because of him. If it weren't for Hook she wouldn't even be here, let alone one step closer to getting Henry back, and he's – so supportive, he's always backing her up, letting her lead, just fucking grinning and making all those little comments about "well done, Swan" or "excellent leadership" or, or giving her drinks and now he's just, the look in his eyes.
It hits her like your boy took off, like I'm your son, like fucking magic being real – Emma can feel her world, her walls shattering around her. She's feeling vulnerable and lost and broken, like Pan has been wanting all along, just a lost girl, little orphan Emma because she wants this. She knows better, god, by now she knows so much better, but he's been everything she could have asked for and he's looking at her like she's important, not because of her parents' True Love or some prophecy about a Savior, but Emma the orphan, the lost and lonely.
And what she realizes in this flash of a moment, staring back at him – this isn't something that can be denied, or delayed. She can't argue with this, she can't put it off till later, and not because she owes anything to Hook – simply because she wants it too, she can't even make herself care about anything else, she just.
Just reaches out and grabs on, yanks him closer and kisses him. And her eyes fall shut, the leather of his coat is smooth in her grip, his lips are startled and still, and the warmth just floods through her. For a moment, the kiss is nothing more than a press of mouth to mouth, almost chaste.
But then Hook starts to move. As Emma kisses him harder, she can hear him take a single shaky breath in through his nose and then he starts pressing back, opening up to her bit by bit. It's slow, and – and tentative, and nothing like Emma might have expected but she doesn't care. She can't care about anything right now but this, this moment, she feels like she's telling him all her secrets, all her hurts and hopes and just everything, this is not just a kiss. If this is a kiss then she's never kissed anyone in her life, and she can feel herself getting shaky with more than lack of breath. She wants to pull away, she wants to press in closer until there's no space between them, but she doesn't remember how to move, how to do anything but this.
Emma pulls back a little, dizzy and in need of air. She can't even gasp in a full breath before there's a hand in her hair reeling her back in, gentle but firm. Hook kisses harder this time, like he's daring her to even try pulling away again. He kisses her like he has no plans to ever let her go, like he won't let anything make him, like he'll never leave and Emma's hands clench tight around his coat until her fingers ache. She should know better, she wants to know better but she can't, she can't do anything in the face of this wordless declaration but melt back and kiss yes, yes, god yes. She kisses back with everything she's got, not in technique but just raw passion, just emotion and her mouth and his mouth, heat and heart and hope.
Finally they have to breathe again, but they don't want to let go. Emma lets him tip his head forward, resting his forehead on hers with their noses barely touching and she just – just breathes, quiet shaky gulps of air. She doesn't open her eyes, doesn't let go. She can't – Emma feels flushed and dizzy and raw, exposed in every way, and the last time she even came close to this, Graham collapsed to the floor and – no. No, that's not happening here, that's not what's –
She can hear Hook swallow. His hand's still in her hair, gently cupping the side of her head, and he rubs his thumb slowly against her jaw. Emma shivers at the touch, and she knows Hook feels her, he leans forward a little more so their noses brush against each other.
"Emma." His voice is quiet. So soft, it's just wrecked, and she can't open her eyes. She can't do anything to break this moment; this was such a stupid decision. Anything could happen from here, there's any number of ways to lose this and if only she'd never kissed him then it might not hurt so much when she loses him (she's going to lose him).
"Love, do you –" Hook stops, and huffs a breath of a laugh, and she can tell he's smiling. He's grinning that wide-open grin.
She still can't bring herself to regret it. Even as she's berating herself for being such a fool, Emma finds herself smiling too, finally gathering the courage to open her eyes and let go of his coat. His hand clenches in her hair a little as she's stepping back, but he lets her pull away. He lets her step back, but sways forward as if to follow, and that's just…
She ducks her head, trying to hide her grin, but she can't. She feels giddy with possibility, she wants to step forward into him again and kiss everything else away. She wants to let him kiss her like before, like he was looking at her just now.
(He kisses like his lips are making love.)
Instead, Emma forces herself to step back again, to take a deep breath and get some control over herself. She looks up and meets his gaze and – tries not to let those eyes punch the breath right out of her again, god – smiles.
She wanted to thank him before, but now that's not really the right thing to say at all. She doesn't know what to say, she feels like she's said everything and more with that kiss, but despite the smile on his lips he looks nervous. He looks… terrified actually, in a joyful sort of way and it's so exactly how Emma feels that she can't help the quirk to her lips.
"Come on," she says, reaching out for his hand. It closes around hers without a moment's hesitation, large and warm and gripping just a little too tight, sending a little frisson through her skin. "Let's get back to the camp."
He follows close when she tugs lightly at him, walks without a word, so close their shoulders brush with every step. And it feels so simple, so right that Emma knows this is going to end. She should know, at least. She should be preparing herself even now, but she can't, she doesn't want to think about losing things for once, she wants this, him. And – Emma thinks he'll let her, it's terrifying but she thinks he'll hold on just as tight.
They don't let go until the last possible moment.