… in which David follows Emma, Hook and Neal on the way to Dark Hollow, and regrets his choices immensely when they meet an unexpected obstacle that threatens to get way too personal.
David ignores his wife’s exasperated look as he turns towards the narrow path that leads deeper into the Neverland jungle. Ahead, out of sight already, he can still hear the crash and snap of branches and the crunch of footsteps on the leaf-strewn ground.
He knows that Emma is a grown woman. He knows that she doesn’t need him to protect her.
He also knows how Hook and Neal both look at her. And he really, really hates the idea of her traipsing around the jungle with Hook and Neal. The only way it could be worse would be if it was just one of them.
And, after all, if nothing happens, they need never know he was there.
His mind made up, David sets off in pursuit.
He can hear Hook’s voice up ahead. The words are unintelligible, but the tone is his usual mix of insolence and flirtation, setting David’s teeth on edge. Emma’s voice cuts him off, the words equally unclear, but she sounds sarcastic. David permits himself a smile.
The jungle gets thicker, and David quickens his steps a little to make sure that he won’t lose them. This brings him within earshot, just in time to hear Hook say, a little smugly, “—want me to show you, all you have to do is say the word, love.”
“I can manage just fine on my own.” Emma sounds annoyed, at least. Good.
“You’re the one who complained about your technique not working for you,” Hook says, still sounding far too smug.
David feels his fists clench.