(WARNING: I do not take credit for the wooden swords idea. That was inspired by Moats and Boats and Waterfalls, which is a fantastic fic.)
Emma was an October baby, but there was something about the summer air that every year, without exception, made her feel happier than she had been since the summer before.
The sky was turning a purplish pink, a sign that her day of patrol was almost through. She had a few more rounds to make around Storybrooke in the station car before she could call it wrap.
Nothing ever happened in Storybrooke. Okay, that was a lie. But nothing ever happened that you could take care of with only one officer, and that was the truth. And whenever there was a real emergency, you would hear about it before anyone called in the station. The town felt too small sometimes.
She usually passed the park on her ride home, and tonight was not an exception. Everything seemed in order, except for a few key things.
Sometimes Emma forgets who he is, and she wishes she forgot who she was. 3x10, after Henry is saved and they travel home.
His hair is a little matted from Neverland’s grime, but it’s still soft and she can’t help but run her fingers through them. Henry’s safe, alive, breathing right in front of her. She’s never felt such relief in her life.
Emma should back off and let Henry sleep, but God she’s so restless. Any movement keeps startling her, and whenever she sees the Lost Boys a tiny part of her wants to clasp her hand around the cutlass. It may take a while for her to calm down, but she can only imagine what Henry is going through.
Attempting to relax herself on Hook’s bed without waking Henry up (why is it so small?), Emma’s eyes gaze on his quarters, noting little trinkets here and there. There are plenty of sea navigation items and other tools scattered about. Turning her head to the side, Emma sees a headboard filled with old, thick books. Briefly they remind her of fake book holders she’s seen in stores, but something tells her Hook might actually read them.
She hears a slight creak. Her head snaps up; she’s cautious and suspicious, but as the door slowly opens inch by inch an ocean of black emerges. Immediately Emma eases and gives a small smile.
"Pardon me," Hook whispers. He enters the room shyly and softly shuts the door. "I need to gather a few items."
She doesn’t fail to notice how exhausted he looks, from the way his eyes flutter slower and slower each time, to the way his body sags, almost to the floor. Hook goes straight to a drawer and produces a medium-sized pillow, and he’s careful not to let his heavy boots make any racket. Emma swallows and focuses her attention back on Henry, her gaze landing on the books again.
"Thanks for letting him take your room," she says quietly. Emma has a lot to thank Hook for, but baby steps, Savior. This thing they have is tentative and standing on the edge of a knife. Ironically, it’s the most stable she’s felt in her entire life, but it’s making her confused. Too many emotions are swirling inside her head.
Hook sighs loudly and leans against the wall, pressing the pillow against his chest. “The guest of honor deserves the best, hmm?”
A grin forms on her lips for a split second. “He does.”
Silence washes over them. She hasn’t realized how used to she’s gotten to Hook being there. If someone had said Emma would be alright in the presence of Captain Hook a month ago, she would have sent them to the station without a moment’s hesitation. But things have changed. And Emma finds that she doesn’t mind as much as she should.
Once again, Emma’s eyes land on the stack of books above Henry’s head and she hastily comments, “I didn’t even know you could read, considering you were a pirate too busy pillaging homes and women.”
He chuckles, his cheeks turning a bit red from the smile. Emma likes it. But for a quick moment something flickers across his face, and she’s seen it plenty in Neverland: honesty. He shifts his feet. “I’ll have you know, Swan, I was part of the Royal Navy, and went through three years of rigorous training on sea navigation, memorizing and utilizing mathematical formulas on angular distance, and most importantly knowing how to take care of my home. It may surprise you, but they all required books," Hooks teases.
He was in the Navy? Emma suddenly realizes how little she knows of him, but if she were to think back to the way he fights and the kind of words he uses, it doesn’t shock her. He’s always been a man of refined tastes, and it seems, refined education.
Something bubbles inside her chest. Guilt for thinking Hook was an illiterate man and jealousy. Pure, unadulterated jealousy. It’s a juvenile thought, but she can’t shake it off. Because even a pirate had more education than Emma ever had, and it makes her sad knowing she missed out on so much.
"What about you, lass? How did you acquire education in your land?"
Emma concentrates hard on Henry’s sleeping form, desperate not to look at Hook. It unnerves her how well he’s able to read her, but she should be used to it. It comes with the package. A lump pushes its way up to her throat, and she attempts to tamp it down. “Education is mandatory in the States, so I learned what everyone else learned.” Picking locks, stealing cars and food doesn’t count as proper education, right?
"It’s mandatory? You mean everyone goes?" he questions. Emma senses wonder and amazement in his voice. Is it really that big of a deal?
"Yeah . . There’s even extra school." It’s hard to explain a basic concept as education, but she tries. "I mean, you can even go to another school and learn more about a particular subject, and maybe even become an expert on it."
"Odd." Hook seems genuinely bewildered. "Education in my land was a luxury." The pillow is still pressed on his chest. "I was fortunate to have gone."
"Did you receive additional schooling? Are you an expert on a ‘particular subject’?" Hook implores innocently.
She lies instead of telling the truth, because God it’s humiliating. “Yeah … I went to school. Everybody does.”
Her hand fists the blanket underneath, but years of practice has taught her how to create a flawless façade. Emma tries to appear as nonchalant as possible, but she’s green with envy and red with embarrassment. She’s not sure if she can hide it. This time around, though, the silence is awkward and uncomfortable. Cursing silently, she wishes she never brought this conversation up.
"You didn’t go, did you?" he asks quietly.
Her first reaction is to deny it as vehemently as possible. But this is Hook, and as he’s pointed out, she’s an open book around him. It happens out of nowhere, but Emma’s head automatically hangs low and her eyes sting with frustration. She rests her elbows on her thighs, defeated. Resigned, Emma scoffs and says, “That obvious?”
She refuses to look him in the eye, but through her peripheral vision Emma sees him shrug. “There’s no need to feel ashamed, love.”
"I’m not." She scolds herself for the hasty and false response. She should know better than to lie in front of him after (unwillingly) revealing her secret.
"No? I may not be able to detect a lie as well as you do, but Emma, I’m fairly decent in knowing when you are," Hook states, calm as smooth sails.
The fight is futile. Taking a quick peek and making sure Henry’s still asleep, Emma lets her shoulders drop for the first time in … ever, really. “I learned how to pick locks when I was ten,” she blurts out.
"I always knew you would make a good pirate," he responds cheekily. She can see that Hook wants to lighten the atmosphere, and she’s beyond appreciative, but now Emma’s mind is thinking about the past and she does not want to do there.
Emma finally raises her eyes at him. He’s guarded and hesitant, but he’s not judging her. For a moment it looks like Hook pities Emma, but it’s swept away as he adds, “I got caught stealing an apple from the market when I was young, It was the first time — and it certainly wasn’t my last.”
Emma smiles at his honestly and the little story. She can almost visualize a young Hook — Killian, actually — getting chased down by a fat, old vendor. Smiling a sad smile, Emma utters, “Sometimes I think to myself … ‘what if?’”
What if she hadn’t met Neal and ran away? What if she chose to leave him in the Bug and pretend he never existed? What if she hadn’t gotten pregnant? What if Emma decided to keep Henry and give him a life without magic and Peter Pan and danger?
"Don’t we all?"
Emma rests her hand against Henry’s leg and watches him, the boat gently moving against the wind. “All I can ever think about are the alternatives to the world I’m currently living in,” she confesses. “They all include Henry, but none of … this.”
She notices how Hook keeps switching his feet and adjusting his position against the wall; clearly he’s uncomfortable. He should have sat down at some point, although he probably wants to give her space. “You have something wonderful now, Emma. You may have lost your chance at a different life due to a greater good, but you have gained much more — more than any secondary education can provide.
"Not attending doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not valuable. Your experiences gave you a lesson very few understand. They have made you who you are. Be proud of them. Without it, you wouldn’t be here."
For the first time since this conversation started, Emma feels calm. Calmer. He’s right — without whatever she went through, Emma would not be here. And maybe it hurts more often than it should, but she does have something good now. She has a family she always wanted, albeit an odd one. For the longest time Emma believed feeling nothing provided her strength, but it’s family, friends, and succeeding in any task bestowed on her which pushes her. Which makes her strong.
Emma is unique, and her experiences are what sets her apart. It’s a constant mindfuck, she won’t deny it. But baby steps, Savior. That’s what she needs to do. Process each thing in her own terms, and accept it as slow as she wants. Life is an ongoing form of education. There’s an occasional F and an average C, but there is always a chance to stand back up. She missed plenty of opportunities at another life, but Fate always has a plan.
And perhaps this the education she’s meant to have.
Pardon me for any grammatical mistakes, because instead of posting this I should have been studying lol. Hope you enjoyed!
no but Emma Swan is literally the personification of true love, she was born because her parents never stopped fighting for each other, because they loved each other above all else, because they believed that she would find them and save them, and yet this child of the purest and highest and rarest kind of love spent her entire life alone, thinking she was unlovable, unwanted, broken, betrayed, and that she didn’t deserve happiness, that she wasn’t good enough for it, that she was just a lost little girl who didn’t matter
and of course she met Henry and got to know him and let herself love him and save him, but he can’t be the only one for her forever and no matter how much her parents adore her, it’s been shown how deeply and how much those twenty-eight years apart have cost them, they are still struggling to be parents to a grown daughter broken and guarded and damaged by the sacrifice they had no choice but to make
and now, enter Killian Jones. a man whose capacity to love is literally the most powerful thing about him. a man whose love has led him to some awfully, awfully dark places. who has lost his family, his father, his brother, place in the world, his beliefs about everything, his lover, his foster son, his very name. he became Hook so completely that he believed it himself. he doesn’t think he’s worthy of love or affection, he thinks he’s the worst human around, and now he meets this woman born of true love who wants to find her own true love, and who needs someone to love her until the stars burn out and the world ends
and it just so happens that not time, not death, not evil, not grief, not loss, not physics, not worlds, not his own darkness, not anything, can stop Killian Jones once he loves someone
and it just so happens that he needs someone to love him back the way he loves someone, that he’s a lost boy at heart, that beneath the swaggering pirate is still the boy who realized his father wasn’t coming back, the young man whose brother died in his arms and took his entire world with him, the man who didn’t even think he was a man after the woman he loved was murdered, who drowned, and who didn’t believe in anything for 300 years until he met Emma
tell me again how they are not fucking perfect for each other and the most epic of epic love stories and yes it’s almost 1am and the feels are going to get me goodbye friends i am gone
…And the fairytale never ends.
Thank you, Emily. Here’s your 1k yay win prize- :D I had fun drawing Captain Hook! Hope I did him some justice.
I just had a thought what if the scenes in NY are after the Hook on a horse thing?
when you accidentally start watching a crime show and can’t get yourself to switch the channel because now you wanna know who fucking did it
nice people are rare we must protect them at all costs
guys what if she’s trying to memorize his face
Letting go of the past to embrace the future…
imagine if girls used the same style of joke to degrade men like “cool story bro now go chop some lumber”GO CHOP SOME LUMBER
"what r u doing out of the garage go fix my car"
Captain Swan in Neverland