Never Enough Cinnamon

John stalked out of the hospital tired, sore and irritated. He had just completed his physical therapy for the day; he was doing all in all very well according to his therapist, nearly 100%...except for his left arm. Most of the time he was able to cover how limited it was in range of motion, dexterity and strength, and with the rest of his body more or less in perfect working order people easily overlooked it, but at moments like this; after the simple activities in therapy they had him do, things that the average person would probably not even have to think about, but that he struggled so hard with, it was easy to get frustrated and angry. The fact that his therapy to retrieve his memories was going even worse – nowhere in fact – didn't improve his temper. All in all he was not at all in the mood to go back to a house that didn't feel like his home or a wife that he didn't love and have to deal with her pique again. Yes, he had finally admitted to himself that he did not love Kathryn; when he had told this to his shrink this morning, the man had not looked overly hopeful, though he had babbled on about time and triggers and such, however just as John was leaving he had said – "off the record" of course – that maybe what John really wanted/needed was "an entirely fresh start". He was beginning to really think that the good doctor was right.

That morning, before he had gone to his psychiatry appointment he and Kathryn had had a disagreement – not a fight, because the word "fight" indicated that some passion was involved, which there most definitely not been, but a disagreement, nice and neat…and basically passionless. She had been complaining about something he had done or hadn't done – he wasn't entirely sure what it was – and he had said something about her trying to fit him into her life rather than working on their life; then she'd asked what he wanted from her and his answer had been, "Nothing." That was the moment when it really dawned on him that he really did not want anything from her, or with her; that he felt nothing for her. Not love, not hate, not attraction, not dislike, not anger, not happiness…nothing. John was pretty sure it was that little revelation that pushed his shrink to give him the "off the record" recommendation.


A youthful voice broke through his thoughts and had him turning to look across the street.

His black mood faded a great deal at the sight of young Henry waving at him ecstatically; then disappeared entirely when he saw the woman at his side.


At the sight of her something seemed to slip into place in his heart. He grinned as they looked both ways and hurried across the road to him, Henry a little ahead of his teacher. "Hello, Henry. Mary." As it always did when they met, the connection between them hummed to life.

A blush crept up her neck to stain her cheeks. "Hello, John," she greeted. Her soft, dulcet tones coiled through him warmly.

Henry had glanced back in the direction John had just come from and a small frown formed on his face; he turned back to him. "Were you just at the hospital?"


"Is something wrong?" Henry asked before the man was able to elaborate.

John noted that Mary's face was equally distressed, though she seemed to be trying to quell it.

"No," he assured the boy. "I just had physical therapy."

"Oh." They child's face immediately relaxed.

Relief chased over Mary's features followed by concern.

Henry hopped up next to him, canting her head to the side. "Miss Blanchard and I are heading over to Granny's to meet Emma, do you want to come?"

Oh, did he ever, but, "I don't want to intrude."

"I'm pretty sure it's not intruding if we're inviting you," Henry said in a serious, thoughtful tone.

John stifled a grin. "Well, then," he swept his arm in a grand gesture. "Lead the way."

The boy smiled broadly and headed off down the sidewalk, the two adults walking side-by-side just behind him. John marveled over how right it felt to walk along with her beside him

"How's your shoulder?" Mary asked quietly.

He frowned. "Pardon?"

She nodded at his left shoulder. "You said you were just at physical therapy; how is your shoulder doing?"

He raised his eyebrows in surprise. "I thought I was doing a better job of hiding it."

An amused half-smile quirked at her lips. "You are; I think that Emma, Graham and myself are the only ones who've noticed."

He chuckled lightly. "Well, that makes me feel a bit better."

She gave him an understanding smile.

He looked back down the street, taking a deep breath. "Slow and frustrating."

"Well," she said gently, "from what I have heard that's how most people feel while in physical therapy."

He grimaced. "So I've been told. Doesn't make it any less irritating."

"You know," she lowered her voice a bit more, "if you're too tired from therapy I'm sure that Henry would understand."

He was already shaking his head before she completed her sentence. "I'm all right, sore, but all right. Besides," he added, "I could use the company."

She bit her lip, before saying hesitantly, "What about your wife?"

He pressed his lips into a thin line. "I'd rather not deal with her right now."

She tilted her head in concern. "Did you have a fight?"

He smirked mirthlessly, remembering his earlier thoughts. "Not exactly." He looked back down at her. "I just really don't want to think about her right now." Especially not with Mary walking so closely next to him.

She frowned but nodded slowly.

They had reached Granny's at that point, Henry had already skipped inside; John held the door open for her; she blushingly said thank you. They began heading over to the booth where Emma and Henry were already sitting on one side.

Mary glanced over at Ruby, who was behind the counter; then turned back to John. "You go on over; I need to talk to Ruby for a moment."

He nodded. "All right."

"Would you like me to order for you while I'm over there?" she asked.

"That'd be great, thank you. Hot chocolate."

Humor flashed in her eyes making them sparkle. "With cinnamon?"

He grinned. "With cinnamon," he confirmed.

Her smile had his heart tripping in his chest. "I'll be right back."

He watched her move off to the counter; then made his way over to the booth where Emma was sipping her cocoa and Henry had pulled out some homework.

John slid in across from the blond woman. "Deputy," he greeted her with faux seriousness.

She rolled her eyes. "Emma," she corrected.

He grinned at her. "Just get off shift?"

Emma nodded. "The crazy life of a cop in the crime capital of Storybrooke…" she said sarcastically, but at the same time he heard a hint of peace and satisfaction in her voice.

John chuckled, "Indeed, quite terrifying. Good to know our deputy is on the job."

Emma smirked, as Mary slid into the booth beside him. He couldn't stifle the satisfaction of having her near him, or the magnetic pull he felt toward her.

The dark haired woman met his glance briefly, blushed, and looked away quickly to glance at their companions inquiringly. "What did I miss?"

"Oh, just discussing the exploding crime rates of Storybrooke," Emma commented lightly.

Mary leveled her roommate with a look. "Just because this isn't Boston…"

"Oh it definitely isn't that," Emma agreed drolly.

"Really," Mary looked at the blond woman, "how did it go?"

Emma shrugged taking a drink of her cocoa. "Same-old, same-old. Leroy got locked in jail again last night; we released him this morning, as per usual."

Mary shook her head.

John looked back and forth between the pair. "That's a regular occurrence?"

Emma leaned back in her seat, tucking a blond curl that had escaped her ponytail behind her ear. "The first time I ever met Leroy he was just being released from jail that morning after being stuck in there the night before."

He raised his eyebrows.

"Graham or I will regularly pick him up off the street falling down drunk or, on a rare occasion, get called out to a bar to get him because he started a fight," she elaborated. "We'll lock him up for the night, let him sober up and then release him in the morning, occasionally with a small fine."

John canted his head to the side. "Isn't that supposed to teach him a lesson?"

"That's the theory," Emma confirmed glibly, as she took a sip.

"Doesn't seem to be working too well," he pointed out wryly.

She shook her head, setting her mug down. "Nope. Not in his case anyway." She ran a thoughtful finger along the rim of the cup, there seemed to be the slightest hint of a softening in her eyes.

John eyed her, making a mental note of it, and filed it away for later.

Ruby came up to their table and distributed the three cinnamon-spiked hot chocolates to John, Mary and Henry; then she handed a bag of ice wrapped in a towel to Mary, who thanked her.

John looked at the dark haired woman inquiringly until she turned to him, handing it to him.

"For your shoulder," she explained softly, the slightest hint of pink on her neck.

A half-smile lifted the corner of his lips as he accepted the ice pack. "Thank you," he said intently.

The color rushed up her cheeks, and she looked down at the table, murmuring, "You're welcome."

With her help he pulled aside his jacket on that shoulder and settled the ice, he had to stifle a few grunts of pain at the movements, but was ultimately grateful for the cold weight on the sore and swollen joint. He also couldn't deny that the contact with woman beside him and the heat that flared between them was pleasant. He met Mary's gaze for a moment, thanking her again; she lowered her lashes, a small smile touching her lips.

As he looked back forward he caught Emma watching them with narrowed, watchful eyes. The moment she noticed that his gaze had shifted to her though, she cleared her expression and turned her attention to her drink.

Henry was frowning. "Is something wrong with your shoulder, John?"

The man gave him a wry smile. "You know how I said I was at physical therapy earlier?" The boy nodded. "Well, it was for my shoulder, it's still healing from when I was hurt and the exercises that they have me do, make it sore."

"Oh," the child nodded in comprehension; then turned his attention to his hot chocolate. He took the cinnamon stick, scooped some whipped cream up on his and then stuck it in his mouth, slurping on it like a straw.

Emma raised an eyebrow. "Nice, kid."

He pulled the stick back out and canted his head to the side, giving her a look. "What?"

She rolled her eyes, shaking her head. "Nothing." There was humor and fondness in her voice.

Henry shrugged and glanced over at the front counter; then his eyes went wide. "Oh! They just brought out some of Granny's cinnamon rolls!" The three adults turned to look in the direction indicated. The kid was out of his seat in a flash. "They're best fresh and hot!"

"Henry!" Emma reached for him, but much too late.

The three of them let out helpless laughs; Mary slid out of the booth. "I'll make sure he doesn't get too carried away."

"Thanks," Emma told her.

The remaining pair sat in silence for a few moments.

John took a bracing sip of his hot chocolate, set the mug down; then rested his forearms on the table, fingers loosely interlaced, and leveled Emma with an even look. "Out with it."

She met his stare head on, giving him a measured look, and not bothering to deny that she had something to say. She tilted her head slightly to the side, thoughtfully. "I'm going to make this short. I like you, John, which you can count in your favor since I tend to trust my instincts about people. I think you're a good man."

"But…" he prompted.

She leaned forward. "Mary is a very good woman; not the type of woman to have an affair with a married man, and I don't want to see her hurt."

John sat back, looking at the blond woman thoughtfully, getting the message loud and clear.

Emma's stare maintained its intensity. "I don't know what's going on with you and your wife," John pressed his lips together at the mention of Kathryn; Emma read him as easily as he did her, "I do know that you have no real fondness for her. But don't start something before you've finished the other."

Their eyes held for several moments longer.

John slowly nodded, his respect for the woman across from him rising even higher than it had already been. "I have no intention of hurting her," he assured the woman.

She gave him a wry smile. "People never do." She sat back.

"She's lucky," he stated.

Emma looked at him inquiringly.

"Mary," he clarified.

The aforementioned woman was making her way over to them with Henry, both carrying a cinnamon roll in each hand.

Emma continued to look at him with question.

One corner of his mouth creased into a smile. "To have such a good friend as you."

Surprise flooded her expression and she opened her mouth, to protest if he read her expression correctly, but then shut it again as a thoughtful look entered her eyes, followed closely by a surprise. Shocked vulnerability lingered in her eyes before finally a smile began to pull at her lips and she nodded. "Thanks."

John returned the smile. "You're welcome."

"Ok," Mary's voice was tinged with laughter as she and Henry slid into the booth again, "we got everyone a cinnamon roll."

Emma rolled her eyes overdramatically. "What, cinnamon in our hot chocolate wasn't enough?"

Mary reached over to help John adjust the icepack which had slipped down his shoulder.

Henry gave Emma an "are you crazy?" look. "You can't ever have enough cinnamon," he said obviously, drawing a laugh from his mother.

As he gave Mary a grateful smile, receiving a glowing one in return, and took a bite of the roll John couldn't help but agree with the boy.

One of the few truly clear ideas I had when I started this part that I wanted in it was the conversation between John and Emma. All in all I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I hope that you all liked it! Thank you so much for reading. Please let me know what you think! :D

Back                         Home                              Once Upon a Time Main Page                          Next

Your Name or Alias:      Your E-mail (optional):

Please type your review below. Only positive reviews and constructive criticism will be posted!