Emma's sitting by the docks on a frozen bench, her gloved hands twisted together in her lap, the knot in her stomach twisted even tighter, Neal's question echoing in her ears.
"Hey Em, can we make some time to talk?"
"Isn't that what we're doing right now?"
"Yea, I thought maybe just the two of us..."
Neal—in what he probably thought was a romantic gesture—asked Emma to have dinner with him on Valentine's Day.
Meaning it's a date.
"Neal, I don't—"
"Okay, look, I'll make this easier for you. On Friday I'm gonna be hungry right around dinner time, so I'm gonna go to Granny's and sit in a booth and you're welcome to join me."
She smiled blandly, because she knew Henry was listening, and apparently Neal took that for agreement because he grinned and left before she could clarify how very not into his offer she was.
It wasn't supposed to get complicated, but it did, right around the time her parents got involved.
(Henry must have told them about it.)
Mary Margaret cornered her in the schoolyard one morning to tell Emma that she owes it to herself to go on a date with Neal, and David repeated Mary Margaret's sentiment word for word two hours later in the break room at the station.
They don't know about her and Hook.
No one knows about her and Hook.
Emma's been living what feels like a double life for 2 months, balancing this thing she has with Hook and the game she's currently playing with Neal.
The game—making nice with a man she never wanted to see again—is for Henry, because Henry adores his dad and Emma wants for her and Neal to be on good terms for Henry's sake. Keeping what she and Hook do at night aboard his ship a secret is part of that.
But it's all about to crash and burn.
Emma sighs and closes her eyes.
Neal's probably at the diner by now. It's 6:30 and he told her to meet him at 6. She's late.
Emma snorts to herself.
She's very late, and that's precisely the problem.
Her period was due two weeks ago, and it never came. The pregnancy test she finally had the nerve to take that morning confirmed the suspicion that's been sitting at the back of her throat like acid since the end of January.
And now she's here at the docks, partly because it's become a place of solace for her, and partly because she's hoping Hook will find her.
He does, of course, and it doesn't surprise Emma to see that he already knows she stood Neal up; there's a cocky tilt to his head, a teasing smile playing along his lips.
"Everything alright, Swan?"
"Yea, why?" she asks, as casually as she can.
He drops down onto the bench beside her and drapes his arm along the back. "Well, I saw Neal waiting at the diner all by himself, and I wanted to come make certain you're okay."
"You mean you wanted to come gloat."
He doesn't bother hiding his smirk.
Emma looks away. Out of the corner of her eye she sees his grin fade. In an instant, the charm and swagger evaporates and she's sitting next to the Hook she likes to think of as her Hook, the Hook that only reveals himself when they're alone together.
"I'm serious, love," he says quietly. "Is everything alright?"
His hand shifts, grazes her shoulders. When they're in bed together he's free and bold with his touches, but beyond the confines of his ship he's cautious, wary of both their surroundings and her limits. Emma stiffens, not because the contact is unwelcome, but because she's trying not to lean into it.
She stares forcefully at the horizon, the faint line where the black sea meets the deep navy of the night sky. It steadies her enough to meet Hook's eye.
"How did you know where to find me?"
He shrugs. "I didn't. I was just…hoping."
His mouth twitches in a smile, and Emma has to look away again.
This is the bench they sit on sometimes, afterwards, when he walks her as close to her apartment as she'll let him.
Usually they sit and talk for a few minutes, gaze out at the horizon like Emma's doing now. It's different on the bench than it is on his ship, the heat between them cooling, becoming something less fervent and more…comfortable.
She likes it, she likes listening to him, to the sound of his voice, the enthusiasm in it when he names the constellations for her. Emma's familiar with most of them at this point, but she doesn't stop him when he informs her for the fifth time that Polaris is the brightest star in Ursa Minor, or for the hundredth time that Ursa Minor is commonly referred to as the Little Dipper.
But the sound of his voice now, so full of hope…
It makes her knotted insides twist even tighter, because he thinks this is some sign, some indication that things between them are evolving.
And that's one possibility. That they'll evolve.
Another possibility is that they'll shatter completely.
Emma doesn't want that. She wants to keep doing what they're doing. She likes this thing they have going, just the two of them, and she doesn't want it to end.
And just like that night 2 months ago on Granny's patio, if it is going to end, if they're about to shatter, she wants it to be over with, she wants the ache in her chest to stop so she can just be numb.
She looks at Hook. She didn't really plan what she was going to say, how she was going to tell him; she didn't want to think about how he'd react. So she says it now, as fast as she can, before she can't make herself go through with it.
He blinks. "Come again?"
"I'm pregnant," she repeats, annoyed that he's making her say those words aloud again when she's barely even processed the fact that it's real, no longer just a suspicion hovering in the back of her mind.
Emma sees him swallow, Adam's apple bobbing in his throat. "Are you certain?"
"Of course I'm certain," she snaps.
"How am I certain?"
She didn't think to bring the positive test as proof—or to wait and take it with him.
(She's already operating as if she's on her own in this.)
(It's easier that way.)
"No. How—" Hook inhales shakily. "How did this happen? I thought…" His brow crinkles. "I thought you said—"
"I said I was on the pill and I couldn't get pregnant, yea."
She is—well, was taking birth control.
And she was using it correctly.
Hook doesn't press her on the matter though, so he must understand to some degree, that this was just an accident, that the same thing could have happened if they were using condoms instead.
He breathes out slowly, then asks, "What are you going to do?"
You. He said you.
Emma knew he might blame her for this—hate her, even, but…
"What are—" Hook starts, then pauses, squeezes his eyes shut and shakes his head. "I know there are…options, Swan. What I'm asking is…"
He's asking her if she's keeping it.
Of course she's keeping it. Not keeping it was never an option. It's not ideal, obviously, and she has Henry now to take care of now, but…
(God, Neal's probably going to be an asshole about it, and her parents—she has no clue how her parents will react.)
"Yes," she says. "I'm keeping it."
He swallows again, nods.
"If you're…" She takes a deep breath, holds it. "Look, you can walk away right now if you want. You don't have to be involved."
It would be easier if he decided that right now as opposed to five or ten years down the line.
Emma can handle heartbreak, but this baby shouldn't have to.
"No," Hook says, so sharply that Emma's surprised the air doesn't part around his words. "No, Emma. I'm…I'm here. Whatever you want to do—whatever you need from me—I'm here."
The hard edge in his voice softens.
"This isn't going to scare me away, love."
And that scares Emma.
She nods, mutely. He watches her for a long moment before offering her his hand. She takes it without thinking and sees something—triumph, maybe, or relief—flicker across Hook's face.
His thumb strokes across her knuckles lightly, just once. "What do we do now, Swan?"
Emma doesn't know exactly what he's asking but there are some conversations she's definitely not ready to have, so she gives his hand a squeeze before sliding hers free.
"I'm going home," she says. "I need to rest."
Mostly, she needs to process. And think about next steps. And eat her weight in ice cream.
She stands, and Hook rises to his feet beside her. "When will I see you again?"
"I'll call you."
He makes a move like he wants to follow her—to walk her back to her apartment, probably, as if she's suddenly more vulnerable because there's an embryo the size of a pea in her stomach—but he stops himself and lets her go.
When Emma gets home she closes the door and leans back against it, then she sighs. "Fuck."