Disclosure: Once Upon A Time owned by ABC. Not me.
Pre Edit Count – 2,590 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Call Me by Shinedown.
No; he wants a woman to stand beside him, not a damsel in distress. And Emma is no fainting princess; nope. He grins; she was made to be his other half, and he has no doubt she will stand beside him on his ship, or anywhere.
Yes, Emma Swan is the one who he will enjoy being at his side for the rest of eternity.
Snow is gathering wood, her memory playing back to when she met Charming’s mother for the first time. She had tears in her eyes, seeing the hope in her soon to be mother-in-law’s eyes. And Snow remembers the pain she felt knowing her mother-in-law would never hold a child of Charming’s.
Back then, Snow had been heartbroken at meeting Charming’s mother right after she had been dealt the pain of being cursed and knowing that she would not bear the child of the man she loves so much. Then to know that what should have been a happy reunion of child and mother was one of pain because Snow had been too late to warn of the attack… There was not enough time to tell Charming of the threat, of the curse. There was not enough time for any of them.
Bringing her mind back to the here and now, Snow tries to hurry up because it is dark and she needs to get back to her daughter. She tries to get the sticks in front of her into an easy bundle so she can make it back to camp faster. It’s amazing how things come back to you from living your life in a forest.
As she leans forward, a knife comes to her throat and she hears the words “Don’t move.” She is forced to stand upright. She hears the tears in Princess Aurora’s voice as she says, “Philip’s gone because of you.”
Snow immediately grabs her attacker, throwing Aurora over her shoulder. Then Snow is on top of Aurora, her hands and feet holding the princess down as she growls out, “You listen to me, Princess!” The princess fights to get free as Snow informs her, “You think I don’t know what it’s like to be separated from the people I love?”
Aurora closes her eyes, not wanting to listen to anything this murderer says to her.
Snow shakes her, trying to get her to see reason, to understand. “What happened to Phillip was not our fault.” When Aurora again tries to close her eyes at Snow’s words, she’s shoved against the ground hard enough to make her head bounce as Snow tells her, “So I suggest you find another way to channel your anger.” Snow ends in a loud whisper, her anger racing through her. She did not need this baby princess trying to kill her. There are more important things on her mind; trying to keep her daughter safe; trying to get them back home to protect her grandson; how to survive in this version of the Enchanted Forest…
Aurora stares up at the Queen. Before anything else can happen, Mulan comes out of nowhere grabbing Snow.
Snow surges to her feet, defensive as Mulan tells her, “Don’t talk to her like that.” With her anger clearly displayed, Snow retorts back, “She tried to kill me.” She stands up to the legendary warrior, showing exactly what had made her a name that everyone knew.
Mulan angrily informs her, “I will deal with her,” as she reaches down to the princess.
Snow and Mulan stare at each other, both jumping as they hear a loud noise. They both turn to face the person who made the racket, the one that could kill them.
Emma feels discombobulated from her meeting with Killian. She has no idea what is going on, and while she felt so much better with him, now that he is leaving, she can’t help but feel lost.
Her eyes track his lithe form, clearly showcased in his leathers, as he moves away. She feels like she is being abandoned yet again.
Tink hovers at her side, and she looks up to see her human dangerously close to tears. She tells her, “He loves you. He has loved you since he first felt you come into the world. I think he had no idea how to feel, knowing that you were coming, but once you were born-everything in him strove to get to you. He was so scared that something would happen to you before he could meet you. Then it did; the curse came. He hid away from everyone and everything. He lived your life with you, all the while frozen in his time.”
Emma takes a deep breath, feeling the ache flaring and pulsing in her, knowing it is him moving away from her. “I’ve been living my life out of suitcases, just waiting for everyone around me to leave. Because they always –always– do. How do I know he won’t do the same thing?”
Tink moves up and hovers close to Emma’s face. “We will be talking about this, Emma. You need to understand him, as well as he understands you. But just know this-that man is never going to give you up. When he loves someone, he gives them everything. But you? You are his soul mate, his True Love. For you, he will go to the ends of the world, through time itself to be there for you. He will never let you go. And to find you have a son that is also his? He will do so much to protect the two of you. Do you really think that it is easy for him to leave you? This has to be hard on him, and if you reach inside yourself, you will see this, feel this. You and your son are the most important things in his life and will be until he takes his last breath.”
Shaking her head, Emma tells Tink, “My life’s been flipped upside down in less than a month. I’ve accepted that there is magic in this world, but now I’m supposed to flip everything even more and just accept that this man-this unknown stranger-loves me? It’s a nice thought, really but all I know is that love hurts. And I’m in no rush to go down that path again.”
Tink shakes her head, wringing her hands in front of her. “I am sorry, Emma. This is partly my fault. I should have found you earlier and been with you. All I knew was that there was a human for me, and that I would find them through Killian. I made friends with him when he was Peter, and became his confident when he came back to Neverland. I was with him as he learned he had to give up a very legitimate quest for revenge, or he would lose his True Love. Just… give him a fair chance.”
Before Emma can say anything, they both hear sounds of a fight. They take off to find out what is happening. When Emma comes up to the three women, she could see that a fight is about to start, and this is not a time to be fighting. She couldn’t make it to her friend in time, so she did the only thing she could think of. She pulled her gun out and fired it into the air; thankfully there was no one nearby and no chance the bullet would hurt anyone.
Sure enough when they turn around, Tink is invisible, and Emma is still holding the gun in the air. She prayed Killian didn’t hear the shot and try to come back to her; she couldn’t handle him leaving her again. Plus, their plan wouldn’t work if he came back now.
She lowers her gun, using both hands to hold it as she was trained, moving forward in a slink.
This is what Killian finds as he appears suddenly in the tree line. He has no recollection of how he got here, he was moving steadily away to make sure he would put enough distance between them. But then he felt a kick of fear from his True Love, and he had nearly turned to go back to her, but he’d found himself here.
When he arrives with the sound of the blast still echoing in the clearing, he kicks himself for not telling her about the other reason he had not wanted her to fire the weapon. But bloody hell, he can’t be expected to keep track of who knows what!
But he pauses to admire his Swan and how she moves like a predator as she walks up to the three women. He also understands why she would fire the weapon; he wouldn’t want to get in the middle of a fight with any of these women, especially Mulan and Snow.
He watches as Snow whisper yells, “Emma, what are you doing?”
He laughs quietly to himself, unable to keep it in. Whispering with all these animals and after that noise?
Then his eyes widen. That noise!
He looks around, trying to figure out where the ogre will be coming from.
Emma is terrified, but she is strong, and answers her mother, “Protecting you. Drop. The. WEAPON!”
Snow tries to keep her voice down, but she chastises her daughter, “Do you have any idea what you’ve just done?”
Then they all look as they hear some growling and rustling. Emma looks over her shoulders as she thinks of the only thing that would scare Snow since she’s sure Cora is still back at the camp. “Ogres?”
Snow has no problem thinking of what needs to be done and she screams out, “RUN!”
Mulan calls out to Aurora as the two other royals take off running. “Aurora, this way!”
Killian curses, but before he can do anything, Tink is there. “Killian! You’re not really here! I don’t know what is happening, but I can see you still walking away.” She is bouncing with her fear for her human and the need to keep Killian sane. No one needs Hook to come out now. Though if Emma is not safe, there will be no safe place in any of the realms.
He growls at her, “I didn’t want to leave her, and then I found myself here. What the bloody hell is going on?” He is watching his Swan as she moves towards the clearing they had been in earlier.
Tink grabs him, hustling him forward to keep up with Emma and tells him, “Your shadow!!”
He moves along now, suddenly comprehending. He had been Peter Pan, and what is Peter most famous for? His wayward shadow, of course! Killian came away with the ability to be in two places at once if need be, though it is not an easy process. As he moves to keep up with Tink and Emma, he is thinking that this may be a side effect of the True Love thing.
He watches the women run from the monster at their back, with screams of “Come On!” Then he hears Snow yell, “Split up!” He curses under his breath. “Dammit!” Though he would have tried to save them all, he cannot leave his Swan out there.
So he follows her, breathing a sigh of relief when he notices Emma and Snow run the same way. He dives behind them as he hears Snow saying, “Over there.”
Then his heart drops out of his chest as he sees his Emma trip over a log in her way and sprawl across the dirt. “Emma!!!!”
He starts to rush over to her, but he freezes at the sound of branches breaking. As the ogre steps into the clearing, the same clearing that Killian and Emma had met in only hours earlier, Killian moves in front of her, ready to die defending his love if he must. But he is reminded of his non-corporeal form as the beast crouches right through him.
He turns in time to see his Emma-his brave, brave love-grab her weapon and hold it out to defend herself. He growls as the monster grabs the gun from her, crushing it in its hand. He smirks a second later as he hears a “Seriously?” come out of her mouth, but his anger continues to smolder and build.
He can see the edges of his body start to glow as he rages over the danger she is in, and growls back at the beast as it makes his Emma cower. “You bloody arsehole! Do you have any idea who you are messing with?!?!?!” His eyes are full of fire and his entire being strains with the need to protect what is his!
As he starts to feel the rush signaling that he is becoming more corporeal, he hears a whistle. His head whips around and he sees Snow standing there, every inch the queen she was born to be, as she demands, “Back away from my daughter!”
He smirks, seeing instantly where his Swan gets her fire from. He yells to Tink, knowing she’d understand immediately. “Help her!” After all, Tink’s highest priority is keeping Emma safe.
Killian moves to help Snow. As she stands there drawing an arrow, Killian concentrates, seeping into her and calming this huntress defending her cub. Together they take a breath and aim, releasing the arrow with a soft whoosh.
Tink is standing in front of Emma and she waves her hand, adding her power to Snow and Killian’s. The shot is true; it brings the ogre down before them, making a heavy thud as it hits the ground.
The arrow pierced through the eye of the beast and Snow exhales in relief, stepping forward and out of Killian. She moves to grab the arrow from the beast, and Killian grins. Snow is a superb archer and probably could have fought the ogre by herself. But the woman she was defending is his True Love and he will do anything to keep her alive.
While Emma slowly picks herself up and walks toward her, Snow tells her calmly, “You have to shoot them in the eye.” She is shocked at how calm she feels, but then it is a familiar feeling, having experienced it many times in the past.
Emma stares open-mouthed at her mother and asks, “When was the last time you shot an arrow?”
Thinking quickly, Snow answers, “28 years ago. I guess it’s like riding a bike.” She looks down, confusion fogging through her brain. She frowned; she shouldn’t have been able to make that shot. She was good, but after 28 years? That shouldn’t have been as easy as it was.
Tink looks at Killian, knowing he is a master bowman. As well as a swordsman and so on. With the age he is, you learn pretty much everything. She suspects he did more than power the arrow; she suspects it was him that shot it. He ‘helped’ Snow’s body remember the movements of shooting.
Emma is frowning as she looks down at the beast. “Yeah, but how did you know you could hit that?”
Snow tells her frankly, “I didn’t.” The two friends look at each other shocked.
Killian watches the two of them, ready to be corporeal to make them stop fighting if need be. He remembers his Emma’s words about her mother, and he would hate to see her hurt anymore.
But Snow takes a deep breath, and then tells her daughter softly, “Next time, listen to me. That kind of thing is not going to work here.” She sighs softly, knowing there is no reason Emma would know any of this. And she hasn’t been exactly helping her daughter.
Emma lifts up the hunk of metal that had been a gun, remembering what happened when she fired it, even after Killian warned her not to. “Yeah; I noticed.” She is lost, and she hates the feeling.
Snow smiles at her daughter, and tells her gently, “We should get going,” and moves off.
Emma looks down at the monster crumpled before her, holding her gun gingerly by the elongated trigger. Before she moves away Killian appears, moving to her side when he sees the lost look in her eyes. His heart aches as he sees the underlying fear clear as day. “Love,” he says to her. She looks up at him and he tells her gently, “Its ok. This is my fault. I didn’t think to tell you how they move, how they hunt. Please forgive me.” He wants to touch her, but is scared to do so. Even this early on, he has already failed her.
She looks at him in amazement. “But you helped.”
He nods, “I told you I would be here. I didn’t think it would be this way, but I am here.” He is staring at her face, needing to make sure she will be ok-that she is fine after this brush with death.
“How? Seriously, how is this possible?”
Tink appears next to her, “He is a Shadow. He is still moving off, but he is also here. Emma.” When Tink attracts her attention she tells her, “You need to follow Snow. Killian and I will be here. But now we need to get Killian to the point where you can see him, but no one else can. Go.”
Emma looks up at Killian and he tries to touch her face, but his hand fades through her. Closing his eyes, he opens them again telling her, “Emma, I will be with you. Soon. Let me remember all I need to know about this form, and then I will be ready when you are on your way.” She can see the pain of him knowing he cannot be by her side. Instinctively she knows this is a powerful gift and she can sense the pain of him not being ready to wield it fully.
She tries to smile and he tells her, “I am so proud of you, my darling. You faced an ogre. Not even the Dark One could face one without running in fear. Don’t doubt yourself. Your mother is fighting with her need to be a mother, but knowing you as her friend as well. It is hard.” Staring at his love, he truly wishes for nothing more than to be able to pull her in his arms and shelter her from the world. But his Swan is a strong one.
She smiles and turns to head out, glancing shyly over her shoulder as she goes.
Killian watches her leave and sighs. “Tink, I have a feeling this isn’t going to be easy.”
Final count, 3,143 words.
Fairfarren~Wendy & Kelpie