She Promised Me Love

In Peril

They rode for just over an hour when the treeline to their left fell away to reveal a view of the land below. Emma imagined that it had once been beautiful but now there was nothing to look at but a vast desert of brown and grey. There were ruins and dead trees and nothing much else. They stopped the horses to look at it. Emma looked at Regina for a moment but her dark eyes were fixed on a point in the distance.

“What’re you looking at?” Emma asked.

Regina leaned forward toward her, stretching out her arm. For a moment, Emma thought she might faint with Regina leaning into her like this but then she made herself look into the direction Regina was pointing.

“Do you see that dark patch of land there with something that looks like wall attached to it to the west?”

Emma followed Regina’s pointing finger and nodded.

“That was my castle,” Regina whispered sadly. A whisper that caressed Emma’s ear and made her clench her jaw so as not to sigh, or moan, or whimper. She was aware of how inappropriate this was, of how ridiculous it was getting, but Emma felt her libido respond instantly to Regina’s close proximity and she felt helpless to do anything about it.

“Do you miss it?” Emma asked around the lump in her throat.

“It wasn’t like your parents’ place, not with all the light and the wood... it was just stones. I had to regulate the climate in my kingdom through magic or it would have been impossible to live there.”

“Wait, you can do that? Then why am I freezing my ass off most of the year in Storybrooke?”

Regina leaned back to be able to look at Emma better.

“That’s because it takes concentration. Part of my magical powers were always tied up to regulate the weather. In Storybrooke there’s central heating, problem solved,” Regina explained with a slight smile.

“You said you sometimes miss it, the power of the place,” Emma reminded Regina.

Regina concentrated her gaze back to where her castle had stood. “After you broke the curse completely, I used to have dreams of the place, nightmares. I walked the halls of my castle, not knowing where I was or how to get to my chambers. I always seemed to end up in the dungeons. I’ve lost control of something that should have felt like home to me. You made me lose that control but it was me who had failed. I had the same dreams after we came back from Neverland. My mother used to say that love made you weak and I had believed it too long to just let go of it. Do you remember that time?”

“You were pretty moody,” Emma did indeed remember.

“To put it mildly. Henry was still living with you and I couldn’t sleep, I could hardly eat, I was a mess. It was you who brought me out of it, savior, when you agreed to shared custody,” Regina confessed. “Ever since then, that castle had been like a looming threat to me, of bad things that could happen if I should ever return. I know that the kind of power I had then was deceiving and highly addictive. And that’s why I sometimes want it back. It’s the illusion of control I miss,” she said wisely.

“You sound a little like Archie,” Emma said with a smile, one she hoped was reassuring not mocking.

“I read up on dream analysis,” Regina said. “Let’s go, we should get a little higher yet.”

Emma nodded and they continued their way for another twenty minutes when they came to a plateau from whence the road became a steep path. They were about to dismount when Emma heard a whizzing sound. It reminded her of her mother and when she looked up she saw a swarm of arrows coming right at them.


Emma reacted instantly, throwing herself sideways over Regina. Had someone asked her later what her plan had been, she would probably have said that she just wanted them off the horses and roll under some trees but the truth was, there was no plan; Emma panicked. And that was why the deep drop over the plateau’s edge surprised her while the hard landing knocked the wind out of her. The rumble-tumble down this side’s slope made her just barely able to pull Regina’s head to her chest in an attempt to save at least on of them should a cliff follow. Emma reacted on pure instinct and wrapped herself around Regina as best she could while they were rolling and rolling.

To both their surprises the terrain flattened out and the dizzying motion stopped until Regina rolled off of Emma. They were both panting, both moaning in pain and somewhere in the back of her brain Emma marveled at their luck to not have hit a tree. She looked up into the canopy of some pretty big ones but there hadn’t been any on the slope. She was sure, however, that they had killed some saplings. She started laughing but a dull pain in her side made her stop a second later, she moaned.

Then she heard the voice:

“Emma, are you all right? Emma?” Regina was leaning over her, hair sticking out to all sides, leaves stuck in it and to her clothes which were in much the same state as could be expected after a tumble like they had just had. She was looking down worriedly at Emma and the blonde found a small smile in herself. All this wasn’t so bad if it made Regina lean over her like this, looking into her eyes, caress her face.

“Can you move?” Regina asked.

Emma stretched her legs. “Seems to work,” she said as they both checked the working condition of her limbs.

“Try and sit up,” Regina told her.

Emma obeyed though reluctantly. At first, she thought that the loss of Regina’s proximity would be the worst but then she felt the pain. “Ow, ahhhh. Damn,” she moaned as her back reminded her that she’d fallen onto it when she’d heroically – or recklessly – thrown them both from their horses.

“What is it?”

“My back hurts.”

“Small wonder, you could have killed yourself. You could have killed both of us,” Regina admonished her.

“You’re welcome,” Emma answered sarcastically as they both worked to lean Emma against a tree. The pain subsided when she rested her back against it and she looked at Regina. “Are you okay?”

Regina smiled a small smile. “I don’t want to know how I look but I’m fine, thanks to the Savior.”

“Now I really wish you would stop calling me that.”

“Oh, please. You love it,” Regina teased. “Here, let me have a look at that cut,” she then said and once again leaned over the blonde, taking her face between two soft, inquiring hands. She looked at Emma’s right cheek.

“Cut?” Emma seemed to just barely recall the sharp pain of one of the arrows nicking her but she had thought it had been in her shoulder. On further inspection that was true but it had scratched her face even before that.

“It’s pretty deep. What were you thinking, damaging that pretty face of yours?” Regina asked but she smiled. “I’ll fix it.”

“Wait. With magic?” Emma asked, her green eyes boring earnestly into Regina’s darker ones.

“Of course, with magic. It’s a deep cut; you could get an infection out here.”

“No,” Emma said. “I don’t want you to use magic.”

They looked at each other, Emma determined, Regina puzzled.

“All magic comes with a price, Regina. I don’t want you to heal the cut and then have one of my ears fall off. I’m quite attached to my ears, you know.”

“That isn’t even funny, Emma. There’s going to be a scar.”

“Don’t you have some cream prepared for cases like this?”

Regina shook her head as she also rolled her eyes. “No, and it’s a deep cut. It needs stitches. So, unless you reconsider and let me do the magic, I’ll have to sew you up,” she said. Emma’s eyes went round at this as Regina rummaged in her bag that still hung around her neck. “A good thing I’ve got my sewing kit with me.”

“Sewing kit? You can sew?”

Regina only smiled in answer.

Emma sighed to herself but she didn’t want to give in and have Regina magic her face.

As she thought of a way out of this, she looked around for the first time at where they were. They were on a relatively flat terrain on what still seemed her father’s land as there were trees around them, birds singing in the canopy. She looked up the slope they had rolled down from but couldn’t quite see the edge. Her restlessness made her get up but it was painful.

Regina watched her get to her feet and walk a few yards up that slope.

Emma could see the edge now and she could see something hanging over it. It was a red and white clad body of one of their guards.

“Damn,” she said and returned to Regina. She looked around some more and detected just how lucky they had been because the other side of this ledge fell dead away, overhanging the valley between the kingdoms. Emma carefully crawled to the edge and could see right into it. She had the satisfaction of having at least been right. There were huts and fires burning, men busy at work. Many men. From the number of haphazardly put together huts standing around, she assumed there were around fifty.

“Damn,” she once again exclaimed when she spotted some of the defenses of this little village of thugs. Being right sometimes sucked aplenty.

She went back to Regina.

“We should try and find a way back up, down is not really an option,” she told Regina.

“Come over here,” Regina took Emma by the arm and sat her on a fallen tree trunk. “Sit still for a minute so I can stitch you up,” she ordered.

Emma sighed. “Well, at least I can say it’s a battle scar this time. Not from falling off my bike,” Emma consented as she watched Regina pull a flask from her bag. “You were holding out on me.”

“Hush, it’s for medicinal purposes,” Regina told her. She disinfected one of the needles from her kit, then handed the flask to Emma. “Don’t drink it all,” she told Emma as she took a healthy swig.

It was some of the good stuff, not that mayor Mills had anything but good stuff. Emma took another pull and felt the liquor settle hotly in her stomach. “Good.”

Emma swallowed as Regina came at her with a needle and shaking hands. “Regina,” she said softly and put the flask down. She took Regina’s hands in hers and looked up into her eyes which swam in tears now.

“You could have been killed, Emma,” Regina said, her voice even raspier than usual.

Emma stood and put her arms around Regina’s shoulders. There was a hesitation in Regina before her arms came around Emma’s waist and then clung to her desperately.

Emma rubbed Regina’s back soothingly, whispering reassuring words. When she finally pulled back to look into Regina’s eyes, she had to wipe away tears from her lovely face.

“What would I have told Henry if...”

“That I died a hero?”

Regina hit her on the arm.

“Ow.”

“You would have died an idiot, savior,” she told her. “Saving my life.”

Emma smiled. “Well, I guess I could’ve killed us both in that fall.”

“Now, that’s a relief. And then Henry would have to live with Neal, in New York. That’s not exactly where I want him to grow up, Emma.”

“Would you rather, my parents took him in?”

“God, the choices are getting worse. Just... we have to stop doing this, Emma. Putting our lives in danger. Henry needs us,” Regina said. “Both of us.”

Emma nodded. “That’s why we should get going. Whoever attacked us up there will figure out where we must have landed. They’re probably on their way, if there is a way onto this ledge, that is... or off it,” Emma mused.

“First things first,” Regina said and made Emma sit down on the trunk again. Her hands were steady now as she started stitching up Emma’s cheek.

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