Emma sat inside the diner with her traditional cocoa and cinnamon reading the afternoon edition of the Daily Mirror. There wasn't anything really newsworthy inside. Things had been fairly quiet in Storybrooke since she and her family had successfully rescued Henry and defeated Peter Pan. They had returned to the town only a week ago, but it felt like they had never been away.
That wasn't true, of course. A lot of things had changed. Their experience in Neverland had made them all discover who they really were. Emotions were raw many times and Emma only gave in to those emotions once. But since she did, she couldn't stop thinking about it. No matter what she told herself, the spark could not be denied.
Ever since they had returned to Storybrooke, Emma had been avoiding Hook. She would send David, who had become her new deputy at the station, on rounds so she didn't have to go near the docks and his ship where he continued to stay. She had even so much as taken to walking the long way around town to get to places since Hook knew her usual paths. He couldn't be avoided forever. She knew that. She just wasn't ready to talk about it.
Emma took a sip of her cocoa and flipped the paper over. As she began reading about the upcoming holiday festivities in town, she heard the bell of the diner jingle as the door opened behind her. A moment later, Hook sat himself opposite of her in the booth.
"Hello, Swan," he said firmly.
Emma stared at him, her hands still frozen in place holding up the newspaper. She glanced nervously around the diner and saw Granny eyeing the pirate suspiciously; no one else seemed to be bothered by his presence, which was a relief.
"You've been avoiding me," Hook continued.
"I've been busy," Emma replied as if the answer had been rehearsed in her head a million times.
"Fighting crime in this sleepy town? Drop the act, love. You haven't been the same since you kissed me."
"Would you keep your mouth shut?" Emma whispered slamming the newspaper onto the table. "No one knows about that."
"Yeah, I gathered that rather quickly when I didn't feel your father's fist in my face." He stared at her. "What are you afraid of, Emma?"
Emma bit her lip. She knew exactly what she was afraid of. Every time she got even the least bit emotionally involved with someone, her heart ended up breaking. She could feel herself getting more and more attached to Hook and no matter what she did, she couldn't get him out of her head. That was what scared her.
"I'm not afraid of anything," Emma insisted.
Hook cocked his head and raised his brow. "I know you're lying. What is it?"
"I'm not talking about this right now." Emma pulled a twenty out of her back pocket, grabbed her coat, and got out of the booth. She headed straight for the door, putting on her coat in the process.
Hook followed her out of the diner. "You can't avoid this forever, Emma!" Hook argued. He caught up to her and grasped her wrist to stop her from walking away. "Talk to me," he said heatedly.
Just for a moment, Emma allowed herself to indulge in the feel of his fingers curled around her wrist before jerking her arm back.
"What do you want me to say, Hook? What do you want from me?"
"I want you to stop denying what happened between us. I know you felt something just as I did." He paused waiting for her to respond, but Emma just looked at him. "Tell me I'm not mad. Tell me you felt what I did."
Emma fluttered her eyelashes, something that only seemed to occur when she was around him. "I don't know what you're talking about," she denied.
Hook hung his head back in frustration. "For god's sake, Emma, would you stop being so bloody stubborn?! I know you felt something! Just admit it!"
Emma's blood boiled. "Yes! I felt something, ok?!" Emma burst out. "I've never felt more connected to anyone before like I feel with you, Hook!"
"Then why have you been avoiding me? What are you afraid of? You afraid of your family finding out? The town? Afraid of them all judging you for getting involved with someone like me? Some good-for-nothing pirate?"
"Do you really think I'm the kind of person that cares about what other people think?"
"Of course not," Hook replied softly. "What is it then?"
Tears welled up in Emma's eyes and the words just came flooding out with them. "I don't want to lose another person I care about. I've lost too many people in my life. Every time I get close to someone, they get taken away from me for one reason or another and I'm not going to go through that again! I refuse to!"
Hook locked eyes with Emma and closed the gap between them. "If you haven't figured it out by now, love, I'm not going anywhere."
He grabbed the back of her head and pulled her in, kissing her with just as much passion, if not more, as she had done back on the island. That same spark ignited between them as their lips hungered for more. Emma brought her hands up, one grasping the lapel of his jacket, the other curling into his hair. Time seemed to stop as they savored the unforgotten taste of one another. Neither of them realized, nor cared, about the fact that they were in broad daylight in front of the diner.
That is, until someone interrupted them.
"Emma?" her mother's voice rang out.
Hook and Emma broke apart at once, turning to see Snow and David standing at the front gate. David rolled up his sleeves and started advancing towards the pirate, but Emma jumped in front of him.
"David, stop!" Emma said putting her hand out in front of her to halt her father.
"What the hell is going on here?"
Hook clicked his tongue. "What does it look like, mate?"
Emma rounded on Hook. "You're not helping the situation."
"How long has this been going on?" Snow asked.
Emma and Hook exchanged nervous looks.
"It's complicated," Emma said after a moment.
"What do you mean 'It's complicated'?" David asked not taking his eyes off of Hook.
"Can we take this somewhere private?" Emma asked.
Snow nodded and took her husband by the arm, leading him to the entrance to the diner. Emma and Hook followed separately and the four of them crossed through the restaurant and into the empty lobby of the bed and breakfast. David immediately began pacing as Snow sat on the arm of one of the couches.
"Out with it," David demanded. "How long has this been going on?"
Emma sighed. "Well, like I said, it's complicated. We're not..." She looked over at Hook who was standing in the corner well away from her father. "We're not together."
"Then what is this?" Snow asked.
"You just decided to have a little fun with my daughter?" David accused Hook.
"No, David," Emma insisted. "It's nothing like that."
"I haven't done a thing to your daughter, mate," Hook said through gritted teeth. "And besides, I thought I had won your approval now."
"That was before I knew you were playing tongue twister with Emma."
"David, calm down," Snow said gently.
"What's tongue twister?" Hook asked confused.
Emma glared at him. "Not now, Hook. And David," she said turning to her father, "I was the one who started all of this. Not Hook."
David looked at his daughter. "You? Why?"
Emma blinked rapidly trying to think of how to put it as easily as possible for him. "It was a head of the moment kind of thing," she said finally rolling her eyes at the ridiculousness of the situation. "Do I really need to tell you all the details?"
"No, Emma, of course not," Snow jumped in. "You're an adult. You don't need our permission to do things." She looked at her husband. "Right, David?"
He grunted in agreement.
"Thank you, Mary Margaret."
David strode forward. "Let me just say one thing." He walked past Emma and stopped only a foot from Hook. "You've made your way into my good graces for now, mate, but if I hear of anything negative surrounding you and my daughter, you'll be answering to me."
Hook smirked. "I've expect nothing less. Mate."
"Come on, David. Let's go." Snow pulled David away from Hook back towards the diner. She stopped before walking completely out of the room and turned back around. "Will we see you for dinner tonight, Emma?"
This was not the question that Emma was expecting. "Uhh, yeah, I think so."
"Ok," Snow confirmed. "And if you two figure things out, Hook, you'd be welcome to join us if you wish."
Hook, taken aback by the offer, nodded politely. "Thank you."
Emma and Hook watched them exit into the diner. Silence hung in the air for a moment before Hook cleared his throat.
"Don't feel obligated to come for dinner," Emma said beating him to the punch.
He walked slowly over to her. "I wouldn't mind sharing a meal with you, love. And as long as your parents aren't going to tear me to shreds, I'd fancy a good one."
Emma smirked. "Well, I can promise it will be good food, but I can't promise that they won't tear you to shreds."
Hook smiled and looked down at her hands. One was playing with the worn, brown string she wore around her wrist. He knew it meant something significant, but didn't know what exactly. It was one of many things he hoped to find out as time went on. Hesitating for a moment, he took one of her hands in his and gazed into her eyes.
"Just what is this, Swan?" he asked.
Emma shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know, Hook," she sighed. A beat of silence passed between them. "But I'm willing to explore it." She curved her mouth slightly upwards to show him encouragement. "Are you ok with that for now?"
"Aye," he smiled. "I can handle that."
"Thank you, Hook." She squeezed his hand before letting go and starting towards the exit.
"Can I request just one thing from you, lass?"
Emma turned on her heel to face back to him. "Depends on the thing," she joked.
Hook smirked and glanced at the floor before speaking. "Emma, when I first met you, I introduced myself by another name."
He hesitated. "I'd like for you to call me that if you'd be so kind." He paused and looked nervously at her.
"Of course," she smiled. "Killian."