The Promise


"Can you help him?"

Martha's urgently spoken words broke Emma out of her daze and she looked over at the women as if seeing her for the first time.

She'd all but forgotten about her…and the fact that Killian was injured. She was just so unbelievably relieved to see the pirate again that nothing else had mattered for a few scant seconds.

Now, though, everything came crashing back down around her as she remembered how the other woman thought he might die if he wasn't treated quickly.

She couldn't lose him now that she'd found him again.

Her gaze darted over his form taking in the pale skin and sheen of sweat that covered his brow. There was no obvious injury that she could see and she began to fear that it was something internal that they wouldn't be able to treat.

"Where's he hurt?" she asked, the worry evident in her voice as she swiftly moved over to the pirate and knelt down by him.

"Left shoulder," Charming supplied as he joined her, kneeling down on the opposite side of Killian's body. He gestured towards the woman standing at the pirate's feet and added, "Martha, here, told us he was hit by an arrow while they were escaping Gisbourne's guards a few days ago."

"He was so brave and it's my fault that he got hurt. He was protecting me," Martha explained before adding softly, "I've never had anyone do something like that for me before."

There was such an awe filled quality in the tone of her voice that it made Emma glance up at her and what she saw on the other woman's made her stomach fall.

Martha liked him. More than liked him judging by the tender way she stared down at the pirate.

Emma turned away and pushed down the wave of instant animosity towards the other woman that surged through her gut. Now wasn't the time to ponder about what might or might not be going on between the two. Now was the time to try and save Killian.

"If this happened a few days ago, why didn't you take him to a doctor before now?" she asked with a hint of accusation as she reached out with shaking hands and unfastened Killian's cloak. Her fingers brushed his neck and she frowned deeply at the betraying clamminess of his skin.

"I would have done but the guards pursuing us have been relentless," Martha replied defensively. Her voice broke a little as she continued, "There is a price on our heads and we've had to keep to the forest. We've hardly eaten or slept and he's also hurt his ankle which slowed us down as well. It's been terrible. I've never been so scared in my life and when he…when he collapsed I thought that he was…"

She broke off as tears started to roll down her cheeks and the prince immediately got up then went to her side and placed a hand on her arm.

"Hey, it's going to be alright," Charming told reassuringly as he shot Emma a pointed look, "Killian is a friend of ours too and we're going to do everything we can to help him."

"You know him?" Martha queried as her watery gaze flew back to Emma and her eyes suddenly narrowed in assessment.

The blonde nodded feeling her skin flush a little in contrition at upsetting the other woman. Looking back at Killian she pushed aside his cloak then slowly turned him onto his side so that she could see his wound. She drew in a sharp breath when she saw part of the shaft sticking out of his shoulder and glanced over at her father as he came to crouch down beside her.

"The arrows' still in there. It's probably what stopped him bleeding to death," Charming stated tersely.

Emma swallowed hard not even wanting to contemplate what might have been.

"He's burning up," she commented in concern then gently let him roll back to her before grasping his arm and saying, "Help me get his coat off."

Charming quickly got up then stepped over Killian's body and knelt down again before assisting her to haul him to a sitting position. The pirate's head lolled and she coaxed it to rest upon her shoulder, allowing herself a brief moment to relish the feel of his soft hair against her cheek even as she eased down the heavy leather being careful not to disturb the arrow.

"Robin, come and take these," the prince requested as he hefted the pirate up a little so that the archer could pull the coat and cloak away from underneath him.

"Now his waistcoat and shirt," Emma directed.

Her father quickly worked on the few metal fastenings as she held Killian tenderly in her arms and grimaced slightly at the heat that radiated off of him. They managed to divest the rest of Killian clothes with no extra damage, other than the holes the arrow had made, to his garments.

Once he was unclothed, they laid him back down on his front and took a good look at his wound. Surrounding the wooden shaft the skin was an angry red colour and that had spread outwards over his shoulder blade.

"It's infected," Charming said with an unhappy frown, "We need to get that arrow out. Now."

"And how are we supposed to do that?" Emma snapped, looking at him helplessly.

"By using magic, Miss. Swan," came Regina's voice from behind her.

She twisted around to look at the brunette and shook her head.

"I don't know how," she began.

"Maybe not, but I do," she replied as she stepped over and gestured at Charming to move away.

The prince did as he was bidden then Regina crouched down and held her hands out over the pirate's back. She gave Emma a pointed look and the blonde followed suit.

"Now, just try to relax and centre your emotions to concentrate on removing the arrow," the Queen advised before adding succinctly, "And think about who you're doing this for."

Emma glanced at Regina again then nodded and took a deep breath before closing her eyes and summoning her magic. Thoughts of Killian filled her mind, his gentle smile, his fathomless blue eyes, his parting kiss…

As her emotions began to surge, so did her magic and she could feel the power begin to whirl around inside of her. There were sudden gasps all around her but she kept her eyes tightly shut as she felt her fingertips practically go numb from the constant tingling.

Unbeknownst to Emma, Regina removed her hands and simply watched with a small knowing smile as the blonde eased the arrow out of Killian's back all on her own. Seconds later the redness of the infection began to recede then the wound itself began to close.

"You did it, Emma," said Charming, the wonder clear in his voice once the wound had completely healed.

The blonde's eyes flew open and seeing that he was right, she let her hands drop to her lap as a sudden wave of tiredness hit her. Using magic had been more draining than she'd expected but she still managed to direct a grateful smile at Regina.

"Thank you," she said sincerely.

"Oh, don't thank me," the Queen said with a shake of her head as she stood up and took a step away, "I just watched. You healed him by yourself, Miss. Swan."

"I what?" she exclaimed dubiously, looking to her father for affirmation.

"It's true," he confirmed with a nod and a proud smile, "You saved him, Emma."

"And burned our supper to a crisp at the same time," Regina added wryly as she gestured in the vague direction of the campfire.

Emma's mouth dropped open in shock when she saw the charred remains of the rabbits that hung over still raging flames. Instinctually she held out her hand towards it and was even more shaken when the flames immediately died down to a more manageable level.

"Sorry," she apologised contritely but Robin waved it away.

"Don't worry, Hook's well being is of more import than a couple of rabbits I assure you. I'm certain some of the other traps that my men will have been sure to set will yield more game that we can cook," he told her confidently before turning to his men and ordering Gilbert to take Much to go and see what they could find.

Emma relaxed a little then looked back down at Killian and reached out to run a finger lightly over his now unmarked shoulder. She was still amazed that she'd been the one heal him. Her magic had never been that potent nor so easily conjured before and she couldn't help but feel a certain amount of trepidation at what that might mean.

"Let's turn him back over," her father suggested softly as he crouched back down opposite her.

Emma gave him a small smile and nodded. She'd think about the ramifications of her newfound power later. Right now she just wanted to see Killian open his eyes and give her one of his outrageous comments. She could almost hear him making some flirtatious remark about her using any excuse to unclothe him.

They rolled him over and she was relieved to note that his pallor had been replaced by a more healthier colour. His skin no longer felt as though he were in the grip of a fever and his breathing seemed even and steady as she watched his chest rise and fall rhythmically.

"Why isn't he waking up?" she wondered aloud before adding worriedly, "Did I do something wrong?"

"No, he probably just needs to rest now," Charming surmised as he checked the other man over, "I'm sure he'll wake up soon."

"I'll get another blanket," Robin offered thoughtfully.

Once the archer handed them a slightly rough woollen covering, Emma smoothed it over Killian's chest hoping against hope that her just her touch might somehow revive him. That he'd feel she was near and wake up but his lids remained closed and she had to fight the urge to just grab him and shake him until he awoke.

The sound of leather jostling had her look up and she frowned when she saw Regina holding Killian's coat and rifling through the pockets.

"This thing weighs a ton," she muttered with a frown as she ran a hand down the inside of the jacket.

"What the hell are you doing?" Emma asked in annoyance.

"I'm checking to see if he managed to obtain any of the things he was sent here to get," the Queen retorted, shooting a side glance at Martha, "He was in the castle so I assume that's what he went there for."

"And you can't wait until he's awake to ask him?" the blonde challenged, her aggravation growing as she continued to watch Regina rummage through the outer pockets.

"No," she replied curtly, then suddenly her eyes widened and she pulled out a small purple vial and held it aloft.

"What's that?" Emma queried when Regina stared at the small bottle with a frown.

"I don't know," she admitted, letting the coat fall to the ground in a heap as she continued to study the bottle, "It's not something I asked him to get."

She pulled out the stopper and peered inside then gave the neck a tentative sniff and wrinkled her nose at the lingering smell.

"There was definitely some kind of potion in there but whatever it was, it's gone," she continued in a bored tone as she put the stopper back in then let the bottle drop to the ground. She brushed off her hands as though they were dirty then suggested, "Maybe he used it to get into the castle."

"No. He didn't," Martha suddenly revealed quietly, drawing all eyes to her, "The cloak is what he used to get into the castle. It has…had the power of invisibility. I gave it to him after he came to me with a list," she paused and looked at Regina before continuing, "Yours, I assume, but I didn't have all that he required and so he took the cloak instead."

"So…you're a witch?" Regina commented as she gave the other woman an appraising look.

"I was until Gisbourne stole my power," she replied bitterly.

"How on earth did he do that?" the Queen asked in surprise.

"He has a jewel that drains magic," Martha explained.

Regina tensed at that then queried tersely, "A jewel that drains magic? Was it a large sapphire atop a long wooden pole?"

"Yes," the younger woman confirmed looking slightly baffled, " did you know?"

Ignoring her question, Regina looked at Charming and Emma with a worried expression.

"That sounds like Myrddin's Staff," she told them unhappily. At their blank looks she let out a huff of annoyance then continued, "Myrddin was a wizard that lived many years ago. He made the staff in order to steal magic and become all powerful but the Dark One at that time stood against him and beat him through some kind of trickery. Everyone believed that the jewel was destroyed during their battle but it seems it wasn't and in the wrong hands it's a very dangerous weapon. We need to get it as soon as possible or Gisbourne could destroy the Enchanted Forest…and everyone in it."

"If it's as powerful as you say then it's going to take more than just us few to deal with it," Charming stated grimly after a moment as he glanced around at the small band of fighters.

"I'm sure I can round up many who would be willing to rid this realm of Gisbourne," said Robin with a nod.

"Good, then first thing tomorrow we'll set out and do just that," the prince decided.

Just then Gilbert and Much returned carrying not two, but three dead rabbits between them. Their traps had been overflowing they stated and Regina eyed them with distaste as they sat down and proceeded to prepare the meat for supper.

"At this rate we won't get anything to eat until the morning. Maybe it'd be a good idea if I use magic to actually help them cook their food rather than ruin it," she commented archly then, after giving Emma a faintly accusing look, she walked away with Robin following closely behind.

Emma rolled her eyes but remained silent. At least Regina seemed to be talking to her with some minor degree of civility finally. She really didn't want to anger her any further. It was wiser to have the Queen on their side than not.

Charming gave his daughter a faint smile but she could see that the latest development was weighing heavily on his mind.

"Don't worry, we can do this," she told him confidently.

"I hope so," he replied with a deep sigh.

There was a sudden poof of magic from behind him and he turned just as Robin called out that supper was ready.

"We'd best go and eat," the prince advised albeit unenthusiastically.

Emma glanced down at Killian then back up at her father with a slightly hesitant expression.

"You go, I'll be there in a minute," she hedged.

"How about I just bring you something over?" he countered wryly, knowing that she wasn't about to leave the pirate's side for something as mundane as food even if the camp was only a couple of feet away.

"Thanks," she replied relieved that he hadn't tried to persuade her otherwise.

She watched him go then belatedly realised that Martha had stayed behind with her. As she turned her head to look at her a glint of something shiny caught her eye and she saw the purple vial lying on the ground near to Killian's coat.

She'd completely forgotten about it with Regina's revelation but now she'd been reminded she gazed at the younger woman with a faint frown.

"So, what was in that bottle Regina found?" she asked curiously, "I mean I'm assuming it was you that gave it to Killian since you knew that it wasn't anything to do with getting into the castle."

Martha glanced down at the vial then back at Emma and nodded.

"I did," she confessed looking more than a little uncomfortable as she continued haltingly, "It contained a potion…to make him forget."

"Make him forget?" Emma repeated as she slowly stood up. A tiny trickle of apprehension began to wend its way down her spine as she pressed, "Forget what?"

"Not a what…a who," Martha clarified then before the Saviour could respond she hurriedly added defensively, "If you had seen him when he came to me you'd understand. A person should not just be expected to endure that much heartache at another's rejection. I was only trying to help him."

Emma stared back at her in stunned silence. Swallowing hard she took an involuntary step back and drew in a deep breath in order to cling onto some vestige of control as she felt the now familiar tingling of her magic beginning to build.

She'd be lying to herself if she thought the person he wanted to forget could be anyone other than her. The way she'd treated him…

She took another step back, the urge to run filling her being as it always did when she was confronted with something she didn't want to deal with but then she looked down at the pirate and stopped. Taking in his almost serene features, she suddenly felt a determination like no other start to hum through her veins causing the turbulent magic within her to quickly settle and calm.

She'd come this far to find him and she'd be damned if she'd let this feeling they had between them end before they'd even had a chance to see where it could go.

If he didn't know her when he woke up then it would be just another obstacle she'd have to overcome…and she would overcome it even though she knew it was going to be painful, because he'd done the same for her many, many times before.

What they had, even though they'd never acknowledged it aloud, was worth fighting for and Emma was nothing if not a fighter.

A sudden low groan from the pirate had her tensing up and it was with a mixture of the utmost joy and utter agony that she realised Killian was finally waking up.

He groaned again and she drew in a sharp breath as his head rolled to the side towards her then his eyelids fluttered open. He stared right at her then frowned and blinked a couple of times as though unsure of what he was seeing.

She remained completely still, hardly daring to even breathe, just allowing herself a moment to pretend that everything was right between them as she all the while braced herself for the hurt she knew was coming when he would undoubtedly turn away without giving her a backward glance.

Except he didn't.

Instead his expression cleared and was replaced with one of pure wonder as he murmured a word only loud enough for her to hear.


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