Disclosure: Once Upon A Time owned by ABC. Not me.
Pre Edit Count – 2,737 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Your Guardian Angel by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
What woman wouldn’t want a man to fight for her that way?
Killian watches her face, committing to memory every flicker, every twitch, every expression in order to learn to read her thoughts. She is an open book to him, but then he has never read any book as avidly as he is reading her now and he will do everything in his power to woo her the way his True Love deserves to be. Even if she were not his, even if she were destined for another, he would treat her like the Queen he knows her to be. This woman is his, his other half and he will make sure she knows it for the rest of their lives; every second of every day, for the rest of eternity.
Emma finally comes out from her own inner monologue to find those blue eyes she is growing to love trained on her with a startling depth to them. Sighing, she finally says, “Ok.”
He smiles, drops his hands to hers and raises them to his mouth, never taking his eyes off her. Kissing them with all the tenderness he is feeling he says, “Thank you, Emma, my love. You will not regret it.”
Hating to ruin the moment, Killian once more leans his head forward to rest on hers and sighs, “It is almost morning and we will be waking soon.”
Nodding, Emma revels in the feeling of him so close to her once more and says, “I guess we should make good use of the time we have left then.” She smirks as Killian’s eyes twinkle in mischief.
“Oh, that we will My Love. That we will”.
Pausing a moment to enjoy the teasing between them, Killian sighs as he mutters to himself, “We need a bloody list.”
Emma lifts an eyebrow at his comment. “List?”
He grins at her once more and this time she takes the time to really look at the man holding her in his arms. Within his gaze she can see an innocence that she has never witnessed before; the eternal boy of legend in his looks and eyes and she finds herself truly believing that this man was once Peter Pan.
“Yes, my love; a list. We need a list of who is who and what is what for each of our lives. A list of who means what to us, and I have an idea you have many more on that list than even you realize. Emma, darling, we need to communicate. I don’t think there is much time left to your night if Mulan is in charge. She will push hard to reach camp. I will work as hard as I can to get to you, but, you need to prepare yourself in case I don’t. Do what you need to survive. I will get to you, and once I do, we will need to act like we don’t know each other until I can determine if it’s safe.”
He looks deeply into her eyes and then his face softens, “Darling, I’m so sorry it has to be this way. I would rather announce to the worlds that you are mine, my very own miracle; instead I need you to be safe and this is the only way I can determine it. By you not letting anyone know about us, you are saving us. The prophecy is so particular it won’t take much to give us away and we don’t need that, sweetheart.”
Emma stares into his eyes, unconsciously searching as she always does for the truth of a person’s words, then frowns as she realizes that the game is up for him no matter what; for them both.
“Killian, I’m the Savior. There was already a prophecy about me and I fulfilled it. I was named the Savior to break the curse. It must be someone else for you.”
Her heart hurts as she realizes that had to be it. That explained it. This man, this beautiful man in front of her doesn’t deserve someone as broken as she is. He deserves someone with a fire to match his own, who has love to give him freely and without reservation and one who belongs by the side of a legend. She must not be The One for him after all. He has to be mistaken.
Staring at her, Killian can see the sadness flit across her face before settling into resignation as she comes to some sort of conclusion; one that is causing her pain. He reverently takes hold of her face in both his hands and, tilting it upward so he can stare into her eyes, he tells her, “No, darling! What ever it is you are thinking you are wrong. You ARE the Savior and my True Love; my whole heart. Please don’t throw that away because you think so little of yourself. I am here for you always, by your side, will be there through it all. Emma, stop finding reasons for me not to be your True Love. I know you have had people not live up to your expectations but please, I implore you, give me that one more chance.” From the little he has heard from her, he has reached the conclusion that everyone has left her and now, she fights for their son because he will never leave her; not of his own volition.
Emma shakes her head, trying to pull herself free from his grasp and his searing gaze.
“No! Everyone leaves! My parents, August, Neal, Graham… Henry will leave me eventually but until then I will do everything I can to be by his side and to keep him with me. I can’t let my heart be trampled on anymore Every time I let someone in, they leave me!” Wracking sobs begin to shake her body as she breaks down in his arms. Turning inward, her mind begins flipping through the list of everyone who has left on a continuous loop, name after name, image after image flashes through her mind as she begins to dissolve into panic. Almost incoherent with grief, she begins mumbling once more, “My parents left me, August left me, Graham left me, Neal left me. Everyone leaves me. Everyone. Not good enough. No one……..”
Pulling her more tightly to his chest, Killian allows his fragile mate to sob in his arms, suspecting this is the first time she has ever truly allowed herself to show, or to even feel, such emotion. For long minutes he simply rocks her slowly in his arms, not speaking, allowing her to feel and think as she needs while he himself attempts to control the rage building inside of him for the damage done to his Love.
Shortly after, Emma’s sobs subside as she forces her mind back to the here and now. Mortified by her uncharacteristic emotional display, she attempts to pull away but Killian won’t have any of that, simply locking her in his embrace as he gazes upon her tear-streaked face. Taking a shuddering breath of finality, Emma allows herself to look Killian in the eye as she voices the decision she has reached.
“I will work with you. I will allow you to help guide me in this strange world but anything more…. I just can’t….” Dissolving into tears once more, Emma looks directly into his eyes, beseeching him to understand.
Once again pulling her to his chest, he tucks her head under his chin as he murmurs, “Oh, my beautiful girl, what have we done to you?” He strokes her back softly as she silently cries in his arms. Taking this moment while she has her guard down, he softly drops kisses on her head.
As she becomes quiet once more, Killian simply continues to hold her, rocking her. “Darling, as hard as this bond between us is to grasp, you must understand that the two of us are bound closer than any other two have ever been. You can use me, abuse me, yell and scream at me and I will simply stand there and take it all, waiting for you. Nothing can cause me to betray you, nor to leave you. I will do whatever is necessary to get you to understand this. I. Am. Here. For. You. No matter what.”
Her eyes remain closed as Emma breathes in his scent, this man who confuses her, making her feel as though everything will be alright when history has taught her that everyone will let her down. She whispers against his chest softly, “I want to let you in, I do. Every instinct I have is telling me you are telling me the truth and that you truly will stick around, but my head is screaming at me, reminding me that no one else who has ever promised to stay, has. If they did stay, they were taken from me. I don’t want that for you…”
Killian loosens his grip on her minutely as he allows her space to look in his eyes once more. “I won’t be going anywhere, Love. If you think you have lost me, you just have to ask, or kiss me.” He smirks, “I daresay that a kiss from you, Beloved, will be the highlight of any man’s life, or was. There will be no more kissing of anyone from now on that is not family!” He gently chides her.
Raising an eyebrow at his proclamation, Emma can’t help but to smirk. Unable to contain the small amount of joy bubbling up inside of her, she laughs brightly, causing Killians heart to constrict at the beauty of it. Closing her eyes, she rests her forehead against Killians chin; enjoying the feel of his stubble against her sensitive skin. Sighing deeply, she feels the fight go out of her. She knows it will return later but for now she will allow herself this moment to believe. This is just a dream after all. Emma is exhausted, unsure of what is to come next, and Killian himself is exhausting. The emotions she feels coming from him, the ones directed at her, are heady, powerful, so all-consuming that she realizes he is absolutely determined when it comes to her. He steadfastly believes she is it for him.
She mutters into his neck, “How are you so sure?” She cannot help but to question him, it is in her nature, and little does she know that this side of her excites Killian as nothing else. A headstrong, stubborn, fiery woman who is as beautiful as she is brave? Killian cannot believe his luck.
He chuckles, the sound vibrating his chest. “I just told you I spent a very long time learning all I could about True Love. Plus, if you had been there in Neverland the second I felt you…” His gaze becomes dark as he remembers, “It made me fall to my knees. It was one of the best feelings I had ever felt… Until I held you in my arms tonight. Darling, you never forget nor mistake something like that. I know you experienced the same; however you would not remember the initial bond as you were literally a babe in arms, but when you reached this land you felt it didn’t you, my Swan?”
Seeing his imploring look, she sighs, mostly because she can tell that he is once again being truthful with her, but also because she feels she needs to be truthful with him also. Steeling herself she admits, “Yes. As soon as we arrived here I felt this all-consuming rush through every part of me. It’s what knocked me out and allowed Mulan to capture us.”
Shaking his head at her, he bestows another kiss on her hair. “Nothing is easy for you, is it Love? Now, what did I tell you about who to watch out for?”
Looking him squarely in the eyes, Emma goes into business mode. This she can do! Reiterating his earlier warnings she says, “That Cora is evil and cannot know about us under any circumstance; that no one can. Mulan is honorable, which I am still finding questionable by the way, and she is going to take us to the camp where Cora lives and secretly leads them”.
Smiling at her, Killian grins. “See? Not too hard, right?”
Rolling her eyes, she says, “No, nothing too hard.” Pausing, Emma falters for a moment. Chewing on her bottom lip she decides to ask the question that has been bothering her this whole time. “Tell me, how are you getting into my dreams? Why haven’t you done so before?”
His smile wanes as he painfully remembers all the years he had yearned to be with her, to join Tink in her dreams. “Your fairy is my best friend. She is the one who grants me the wish to see you, to warn you. She was unable to allow me access before as we were not in the same world. Even her powers have limits. Once we have both submitted to the bond between us however… Once you do that, nothing will separate us and we can reach other in many different ways; in many different worlds.” Killian cannot help his smirk as he tells her, “Once we are completely Bonded, darling, there is so much more open to us. I can show you that I’ll be the one. Your only one.”
Emma looks away and gazes off into the distance before finally saying, “Killian, I don’t see how this is going to work. I live in my world, one where magic only exists in the tiny town I live. I have responsibilities, a job. My parents live there as well as my son. I have, for the first time in my life, friends. It may not be a perfect world but it’s the only one I know and I may have been dealt a shitty hand but I’m quite fond of it all; now. Not that I would admit to that if this wasn’t a dream but that’s just it; this is just a dream. Nothing that happens here is real.” She blinks away the tears that are threatening to form again.
Sighing as he takes her face in his hands again, he wipes the few tears that managed to escape with his thumbs. “Darling, I can’t seem to stop saying this but it just hasn’t ceased to be true. We really have done a number on you, haven’t we? I WILL prove myself to you though. In fact, I think this could prove to be most interesting; me, trying to woo you while also having to act as though I have no idea who you are. This will certainly test my acting skills. You have to admit, this will be quite the challenge?” He ducks his head down to look into her eyes better and waggles his eyebrows.
She smirks at his attempt to tease her. “I guess we’ll just have to see what happens.”
Grinning, Killian leans forward and kisses her forehead. “Just promise me, my Swan, that you will not say anything about us. It is not the best way to protect you, but until I can be with you, it is the best I can come up with. Until then, Tink will be my substitute.”
A wry smile forms on her lips as Emma answers, “I am not sure what a small fairy that used to appear in my dreams as a child will be able to do.”
At this, Killian cannot help the laugh that bursts from his lips. “She can do more for you than you can ever imagine. She wasn’t even my fairy and she was still able to keep me out of trouble… for the most part. For her human though? She can move moons. Trust in her. She is the one that watched over you for most of your childhood. She is devoted to you, though I will warn you; she is just as eager for us to be together as I am. She thinks that you are perfect for me.”
Eyebrow arched, Emma snarks, “Great. Another person jumping on the True Love Bandwagon.”
Killian just snuggles her closer to him and rests his head on hers again, relaxing as he takes in her unique scent. “Soon enough, Darling. Soon enough.”
Emma closes her eyes and allows herself to relax against him, feeling all of the fight go out of her. She figures that she might as well enjoy her dream for as long as she can before she has to wake up and let reality take over.
Suddenly, before Killian is ready to let her go, or more shocking, before Emma wants to go, she disappears from his arms. Feeling the weight of her still between them, he brings his arms around himself as he sighs. Looking around, Killian sits and soon, he too fades away.
After being unceremoniously woken with a kick, Emma and Snow now find themselves being dragged behind Mulan’s horse, much the same as the previous day. Having glared at Mulan for her terrible impersonation of an alarm clock, a glance from her mother had stopped Emma from mouthing off, realising they weren’t exactly in the best position at present.
As the two trudge along behind their captors, they discover that if they keep the rope a little taut, Mulan will keep them at a steady pace. If they allow the rope to slacken in any way, she spurs the horses on faster. It is hard going on their wrists but nothing can be done about it at the moment.
The group steadily make their way to a large body of water that has logs washed up all around it. Princess Whoever is in front of them, looking around in a manner one could only describe as ‘regally’, as she rides in the direction Mulan indicated.
Swan finds herself thinking about her dream often. She has had many dreams before that had felt real but this one… Everything about it, right down to the smell of the tree, to the feel of the man’s stubble, to the way she could feel his emotions as though they were her own; never before has she felt such a connection to anyone as she has to this Killian. For the first time in her life, she has felt what it was like to be whole. That yearning need inside of her to find whatever it is she lacks had been gone and for a few brief moments she allows herself to become lost in the memory of it all. Stumbling over a rock, Emma shakes her head to clear her mind and reminds herself once more that it was just a dream.
Snow glances at her as Emma stumbles for the umpteenth time that day, instinctively watching to see if her daughter has caused harm to herself. Noticing her gaze, Emma simply nods to her mother to let her know that she is ok. Taking in her surroundings as she walks, Emma realises it’s probably not the smartest thing to allow her focus to be split, for if she is to remember the way back, she needs to be observant.
Soon, they slow to a halt and as they have learned, both Emma and Snow keep the rope taut. This time however, Snow speaks up and asks, “What is this place?”
Mulan doesn’t even acknowledge them with a glance, simply answering, “Our home.” With her pronouncement, she kicks her horse and jerks Emma and Snow into following.
The unlikely group make their way across the small part of land that is jutting out and once they reach the outcrop of land, Mulan allows them to rest as she unbinds them from her horse. Soon, when they are no longer breathing so hard, she forces Emma and Snow in front of her with her drawn sword to make her meaning obvious. Walking steadily along where Mulan directed, they round a bend in the road and stumble on to a small camp. The people gathered there spot them quickly and either run for cover or grab weapons.
Unable to believe her eyes, Emma blurts out, “It’s like they’re refugees!”
Mulan hands the reins of the pack horse to one of the people who came forward and snaps as she hands over the care of her own beast, “We’re survivors.”
Looking cautiously around them, Snow and Emma walk forward with Aurora close behind them. Once Emma is a little ways in front of her, Snow kicks Aurora and yells, “Emma, run!”
Mulan, acting on instinct, grabs a bolo and quickly whirls it over her head and gets it spinning. Aiming at Snow, she lets it fly and knocks her off her feet. Emma looks back and seeing her friend, her mother, fall, she runs back screaming, “Mary Margaret!”
Rushing to her mothers side, Emma’s voice breaks as she demands of Mulan, “What did you do?”
Not even bothering to answer, Mulan simply glares at the pair and commands the men around her, “Take them to the Pit.”
As one grabs Snow at her bound wrists and drags her off, another makes a grab for Emma and pulls her away from her mother. Protesting feebly as the events of the past few days catch up to her, she simply says, “No”.
Realizing that they are taking her away to be locked up again, her fight suddenly returns and she starts struggling with the hands holding her. She soon finds however that they have her overwhelmed. Before she knows it, she is thrown through a door hard enough to make her grunt but moments later, a guard throws Snow in the Pit as well. Emma runs to her side, pleading, “Be careful! Oh!!! Be careful!”, as she crouches beside her mother. She pleads with the unconscious Mary Margaret, “Hey, come on. Wake up!”
Falling to her knees she shakes her again, “Can you hear me?”
Suddenly, a voice comes out the darkness, “Do you need help?”
Quickly looking up, Emma can barely make out the figure of a woman, but she can see the red of her hair glinting in the faint light.
Emma leans back protectively; ready to jump to her feet as she asks, “Who are you?”
The woman’s voice comes back to her and replies, “A friend.”
As she walks forward, Emma can see it’s an older woman and begins to relax slightly. All the tension rushes back into her stance as the woman looks her over and introduces herself.
“My name is Cora”
Final count, 3,803 words.
Fairfarren~Wendy & Sharon