Emma had been back in Storybrooke for two months, and instead of things getting better, they were getting more complicated.
She knew she should give Neal a chance, for Henry's sake. And Neal loved Henry, that much was clear. He said he loved her, and part of her recognized the truth in that, but part of her also realized that despite their history, Neal really didn't know her. Not anymore.
He didn't know everything that had shaped her since he left and who she'd really become in those years. She was a far cry from the young girl who'd fallen for him all those years ago.
Hell, even she wasn't sure who she was and what she wanted, other than Henry. He was her sole concern, and the rest of any kind of life she'd eventually have would just have to fall in place around him. What she wanted was secondary. Henry came first.
And now that they were back and all this Henry and Peter Pan crap had been sorted out, she was ready to relax for once in her damn life and just try to enjoy it. But instead of being able to do that, she was getting inundated by Neal with requests for lunches or dinner dates, he kept showing up in the morning with bagels and stopping by every night to help her tuck Henry in.
Of course, it didn't help one bit that Henry was loving this. His parents were hanging together and as far as he was concerned, life was perfect.
It wasn't perfect.
Emma stood in the middle of the pharmacy, scanning the shelves for Advil, knowing that she'd need a large supply to stave off the stress headaches she was experiencing. She rolled her head on her shoulders and was just about to reach for a bottle off the shelf when a warm hand suddenly came to rest on the back of her neck, kneading the knots out in just the right way.
"Uhhh." Emma made an appreciative sound. "Whoever you are, I owe you."
"I like the sound of that, love, indeed I do."
Emma whirled around, batting the hand away, and came face-to-face with a completely unrepentant pirate.
"Hook. I should have known."
He leaned carelessly against the shelving. "I don't know why you would have, love. I've been playing hands-off, in case you haven't noticed."
Emma stared at him for a long moment, then looked around before lowering her voice. "And why is that, by the way - not that I'm trying to start anything."
Hook gave a rueful grin. "A pity." He reached out, lifting a lock of her hair and twirling it around his finger. "As I told your rather undependable suitor, Henry deserves a chance at keeping his family intact. Ergo, I become nothing more than a lingering memory of intense passion." He leaned in, speaking softly. "And it would have been, love. It really would have been."
Emma's lips parted and she was speechless for a minute. He backed off for Henry? She would have never imagined that. She'd just assumed he'd found plenty of more fish in the sea when he hit port and had forgotten her shortly after.
"I don't know what to say."
"You could tell me you've made a terrible mistake." He gave her a cocky grin. "No? Well then, you can start by telling me something else. How's Henry?"
"He's...uh...he's fine." Emma's mind was still trying to process what she was hearing, and the effect it was having on her. She'd reconciled herself to the thought that Hook was back to his old, though not-quite-so-villainous ways and that his behavior in Neverland was just a result of the pressure they were all under. The entire group had emerged from the experience far closer than they were and with a new-found respect for each other. He was just caught up at the time and he'd revert to his old rakish self once they hit land, or so she thought.
"I'm glad to hear it." Hook's eyes warmed. "Pan can really do things to a person's mind. Henry's got his mother's gumption, and it shows."
"Thanks. It was rough there for awhile, but we pulled it off. I know I said thank you before, but really, thank you. We couldn't have done it without you."
He chucked her under the chin. "Yes you could, love. For Henry, you would have found a way." He pushed himself off the shelf, and she noticed the basked handle looped into his Hook.
"Seasonal allergies?" She asked, looking into the basket. She did a double-take when she realized what she was looking at. The entire basket was filled with boxes of condoms.
"Holy crap! Do you really expect to use all that?" Her incredulous eyes met his, and he was biting his lip to keep from laughing at her.
"Just a re-supply." He gave her a wink and turned to go. "Good talking to you, love." He took a few steps, then turned back, and his eyes were dark with promise. "I said I'd be hands-off with you, but feel free to take all the liberties you'd like with my person. You know where to find me."
Emma rolled her eyes, but she couldn't stop watching him as he walked away.