We Can Love Again

Stepping it Up

"Are you ready to go Emma?"

The blonde looked up in surprise towards the pirate. For a second, she didn't know what he was talking about. Then the memory of their past conversation hit.

"Now?" She asked back, setting down her fork.

"It's a great day outside, I don't see why not." Hook replied.

"Wait. What's happening?" Snow asked, seeing her daughters perplexed expression.

Emma sighed. "I... Told Hook we could go to the village today, nothing big."

She tried keeping her voice hushed; she really wasn't in the mood for a debate with her parents about her dating life. As she expected, Neal was up out of his bed as snapped into a defensive mode.

"Emma, you're... Going out with this guy?"

"No, I'm not!" She shot back irritably, knowing her son would be on her case next. "I just need a break from all this, that's it."

Before anyone else had the chance, Emma grabbed Killian by the hand and lead him towards the door. She tried her best to avoid the hurt expression on Neal's face as they left the Charmings behind them.

"Ugh, you had to do that in from of everyone?" Emma asked him irritably, slightly sad she left half her breakfast behind.

"Sorry, love, how was I supposed to know you wanted it to be a secret?" Hook responded, trying to keep up with her fast pace.

"Well now Neal's gonna be on my case! Henry too!"

"You shouldn't have to worry about what Neal thinks," he told her, "whatever is between you and him should stay between you two- let's just have a good time at the villages and forget all that."

Emma knew he was right. She was somewhat excited to finally have something planned; they had been in the enchanted forest for a month and all she ever did was hang out with her parents and meet old friends of theirs that believed she was a princess.

"So what are we going to do?"

Hook smiled. "There's a small festival of sorts going on around the south side, thought it would be fun."

In her mind, she pictured a undermined carnival- she was quite a fan of those when they rolled into town and she got to go while in the foster system.

The streets were flooded with people walking every which way when they arrived. Emma stayed close to the pirate so she wouldn't get lost in the massive crowd. Everything seemed alive that afternoon; the sun was beating down directly at them and the sky was a perfect blue.

"Where do you want to go first, Swan?" Hook asked, scanning past the people with narrowed eyes.

Emma did the same, soon spotting a ring toss station. Three teenage boys were standing in front of it, each holding one or two rings as they threw them at the targets (and failed miserably while doing so) She gave the pirate a nudge and started off for the station. Hook fished out a coin and handed it to the man behind the rope, who then presented him with ten wooden rings.

"Are you good at these, love?"

Giving him a look, Emma took her five rings. "Watch and learn." She then walked up beside the teenagers, taking one and setting herself up for the throw. They all gave her looks as they stopped to watch. Their expressions soon turned to shock when she nailed every single one in about give seconds.

"That's how it's done," she said, rather triumphantly. "Your turn." Emma gave Killian a lighthearted smirk.

"I didn't realize you were a professional..." He muttered, taking his stance. He bit his tongue to keep the pressure of Emma staring at him from making him worse than he knew he already was.

Hook missed all but two, causing Emma to let out a small laugh. "You have to put more force into it," she told him, swiping the last one from his hands before he could use it.

"Do it like this."

She pinned the target and threw the ring, watching it has it successfully landed on the rod. The man running the booth presented her with a box of prizes, and she quickly chose a glass necklace with a leather string.

"Whoa, lady you gotta show us how you do that." One of the teenage boys said, looking at her like she wasn't from this world.

"First off, lady? Oh hell no. Just because I'm thirty doesn't mean I'm a lady. Secondly, I don't give lessons to boys."

He raised an eyebrow. "I'm fifteen! And you're the hottest lady I've never seen."

"Now you listen here mate-"

"Okay, let's go Hook," Emma growled, forcing him away from them. They walked swiftly back into the flow of people.

"Gross," she muttered to herself, trying to wipe the disgusted look off her face. "Hey look, it's of those strength tester things." She said, pointing towards the tall rod with the bell on top. Killian knew he had to step up his game, she already beat him once.

"Are you feeling luckily today sir?" The man asked as soon as they got there, handing Hook a worn mallet.

"Always," he responded, fitting it comfortably in his palm before giving Emma one of his looks.

He propped it up on his shoulder and swung it down with an inpendable amount of force, causing the metal ball in the middle to soar all the way up to the top, where it caused the bell to clang loudly. Killian gave Emma an extremely pleased look.

"You're such a showoff," she said, rolling her eyes, "let me have a whack at it."

Hook gladly took his prize, a small wooden horse, and handed the mallet to her. "You can try, love."

Although she thought the pirate acting like a complete douche was amusing, she was tired of letting him take the lead on things. She was Emma Swan; she was a dragon slayer and a curse breaker. It was time for her to step up.

She shrugged off her black jacket, revealing her red t- shirt. Crashing the hammer down, the bell sounded in a split second. Emma straightened up and smiled slyly over towards the dumbstruck pirate who was without a doubt checking out her guns. She took her wooden horse and examined it for a few seconds.

"My horse is better than yours," she grinned, walking off before he could say a response.

Killian shook his head slightly, turning to follow her back down the street. So it began, he thought. Game on, Swan.

The man paced the floor of the small room back and forth, a puzzled look on his face.

Was Emma really not into him anymore?

Neal just didn't understand it- he knew he should have tried to make a move on her sooner, but he didn't want to rush anything. She was always so hesitant to have those conversations with him ever since he came back. But then, just like that, she goes for the pirate because he asks her out on a date?

"Dad, you can stop pacing now," Henry said, cutting through his rapid thoughts. Neal froze in place, taking a sigh and sitting down next to him.

"I know... I just don't know how I feel about Emma going off with that guy- you just don't understand Henry, he's not a good person!"

Henry looked back at him comfortingly. "Hey, Emma will be fine. She always is. She knows how to look out for herself."

"How... How are you so calm?" He asked, completely confused at his sons behavior.

Henry shrugged, seeming nonchalant. "I trust mom, that's why. And she never said she had feelings for him, she just wants to do something fun out of this room."

"But I know Hook, he'll try something on her!" Neal felt somewhat pathetic coming to his twelve year old son for confidence.

"Like I said, she can handle herself," Henry replied, giving his dad a serious look.

"But dad, if you want to get her back, you better step it up."

Neal knew he was right. Emma was his one and only true love, he didn't know what he would do if she didn't belong to him. But he also knew he had hurt her badly.

"What do you want Henry?"

The boy took a few seconds to process the question- he thought about his over complicated family; Regina and her new life, Emma and her tear between the pirate and his father, and his grandparents. He thought about the common struggle all of them faced while in the Enchanted Forest before; the struggle for a real happy ending. And he realized, that was what he wanted for him, as well as all of them.

"I want us all to love each other," Henry replied, "no matter what happens, we need to love each other like a family."

He couldn't be more right.


Their little outing had turned into a frivolous game. It was starting to become child's play; Emma would win, and Hook would loose horribly. Hook would win, and then Emma would loose horribly. The cycle was beginning to become tiring, but never any less entertaining.

The only thing that had stopped them from getting to all the booths was the rain that came around two. Most everyone cleared out of the streets and huddled into the indoor shops, leaving the cobblestone roadways almost completely barren. Emma didn't mind getting wet, neither did Killian apparently. Hook paid for their lunch, and soon both of them were walking down the middle of the street with a turkey leg in hand. The pirate had honestly never seen her this attractive before- raindrops dripped from her hair, she was completely soaked as she continued to take bites out of the meat.

They both found an empty table (that wasn't that hard to find) and sat down, not bothering to shelter themselves from the rain.

"You know, I really had fun today." Emma said, sounding completely genuine.

"Me too. See, I told you it was possible to get you out of that room." Killian replied, raising his eyebrow at her.

She took another bite of her turkey leg, loving the feel of the rain touching her skin. "I guess you proved me wrong, pirate."

Eventually they made their way back to the hotel building, after the rain had stopped beating down so hard. The two of them were still soaked; the wetness covered every surface of the world around them, the sun making it gleam like an unseen treasure.

Part of Emma didn't want to return; the daring, careless side of her was able to come out again and she couldn't help but love it. It seemed so easy to throw everything away and live the days by the second, but of course that would mean giving up more than she would receive. Never would she leave Henry, her parents, even Neal. The sense of belonging they gave her was something truly special. But now there was Killian Jones, a pirate she was supposed to dislike.

"Oh good, you're finally back!" Emma heard Snow exclaim as they entered through the doorway.

"Why are you wet?"

"We got stuck in the rain," she replied, smiling when she caught sight of her son.

"Did you... Have fun?" Her father asked, rather warily.

"Yeah, I did," Emma said, giving Hook a small smile. "Is Tinkerbell still not back yet?"

"She said that the other fairies are giving her another chance," Snow told her, "so I don't know if she'll ever be back."

Emma was suddenly curious as to why everyone looked like something big was on their minds.

"Emma, we need to talk about something," David said slowly- she was right.

"We're... Thinking about going back home."

The blonde's eyes widened slightly. "Home, as in Storybrooke?"

Her parents both nodded in unison.

Emma blew out a sigh- everyone wanted to go back, that was evident. Everyone except Regina.

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