She Promised Me Love

An Old Acquaintance

There wasn’t any light yet but the birds could already smell morning and started singing. Emma woke drowsily in the cramped space they had hidden the night before, but she still felt somewhat rested and comfortable. The warm body she held in her arms had something to do with the latter and as her eyes grew accustomed to the semi-darkness Emma looked at a sleeping Regina.

It was like a dream she’d never had, like a yearning she hadn’t felt or let herself feel because this was what she’d always wanted, but had never acknowledged. To wake with the one she loved. To feel them, to be able to touch them. And she closed her eyes to enjoy this moment for a second longer, a second she stole from the day and the urgency of their situation just to be close to Regina – without her knowing.

When she opened her eyes again, she pulled her arm from around Regina and touched her shoulder. “Regina,” she said softly, far too softly. Emma cleared her throat to lose the tenderness in her voice and make it real, audible.

“Regina.”

Regina stirred. “Hmm?”

“It’s almost morning,” Emma said quietly.

Regina turned her head toward her. She blinked at Emma.

“How’s your back?”

“Feels better,” Regina answered sleepily. “I guess I’ll have to see when I get up.”

“May I...,” Emma cleared her throat again. “May I have a look at the bruise?”

“Are you going to buy me a drink first?” Regina smiled wickedly.

“You’re the one with the flask, but sure, when we’re back in Storybrooke we can go for drinks,” Emma tried to sound nonchalant but she could see that Regina was onto her, that this was Emma asking her out on a date.

“We’ll see about that,” she answered non-committal. “You wanted to look at my back?” She then reminded Emma who nodded.

Emma put as much space between them as she could, backing into the roots behind her. Then she pulled Regina’s jacket and shirt up.

“How does it look?” Regina asked.

“It’s a pretty purple that leans toward blue, not likely to disappear in a day or two,” she told Regina and pulled her clothes back down.

“I didn’t think it would,” Regina answered. She gave Emma a brave little smile and was about to find her way out of this enclosed space when Emma touched her shoulder again.

“Regina?”

She looked back at Emma.

“Thank you,” Emma simply said.

“I think I should be thanking you, considering that you saved my life Taking that bruise from you was the least I could do.”

“You know you shouldn’t have,” Emma admonished but not in earnest.

“That’s what friends do, they share,” Regina answered. “We should get going.” She then reminded Emma and they both worked to push at the roots to get out of their hiding place.

“Last night you said you recognized one of the men by his voice. Do you know from where?” Emma asked as she was helping Regina to her feet. “The back holding up okay?”

“Yeah, so far. It hurts but it’s not as bad...” But Regina didn’t get any farther before they heard noises above them and a moment later six men had jumped out of the tree above and surrounded them.

Regina’s hands filled with fireballs immediately.

Emma drew her sword at the six armed men.

“Hold on, just a second,” one of the men said.

Emma recognized his voice from last night and looked at Regina. The frown on her face told her that she was thinking hard from where she knew the man.

Meanwhile, he had stepped closer, holding up his hands. Of course, one of them held a sword of its own, but he didn’t seem likely to use it just yet. Instead he bowed deeply to Regina. “My Queen,” he said and smiled. It wasn’t a very pleasant smile.

Emma stepped forward, trying to get Regina behind her.

Unfortunately, Regina didn’t move. She faced the man, extinguishing the fire in her hands with a flick of her wrist. “Marcus,” she addressed the man. “Would you kindly tell me what this is all about?”

Emma looked at Regina. She seemed to have grown several inches, standing tall and even though she was smaller than the man before her, she seemed to look down on him.

“The queen has come back to her kingdom, to her people,” he said and grinned.

Regina smiled also but Emma recognized it as her shark-smile which wasn’t a good sign. Emma just wasn’t sure for a moment for whom.

“Well, it’s certainly changed,” Regina said pointing in the direction of her former kingdom.

“Yes, they poisoned it. But with your help – your magic – the land will recover. And those miscreants will suffer our vengeance,” Marcus said in grand gesture. And then he grinned even wider.

“Our vengeance, Marcus? Where do you figure yourself in my kingdom?”

“Well, I have an army, former soldiers of the evil queen plus some recruits from these woods. They’re very loyal,” he told Regina.

“Loyal to you, I presume?”

“That is correct,” he answered.

“And you figured that I would want to combine my magic with your army to bring this kingdom to its former glory?”

“Well, not just your magic,” he said and let his gaze travel over her body.

Emma who’d been quiet until now stirred, stepping in front of Regina.

Marcus glared at her. “And who would you be?”

“Think of me as the Savior,” she told him.

Marcus grinned then he started laughing and his men laughed with him.

Regina touched Emma’s arm. “I will deal with him, Emma,” she said and stepped next to her.

“Marcus, you know I’m grateful for all the years you and my loyal soldiers served me, but you can’t seriously think that I would form an ally with a former guard? I’ve been forced to marry a man I didn’t love once, I’m not going to do it again.”

“Love?” Marcus laughed some more. “My queen, please tell me you don’t suddenly believe in something like love. This is not about love, it’s about power. And we can have that power back. You and I,” he explained as if to a child.

Regina looked at him then she looked at Emma, their eyes locking for a moment, before she looked back at Marcus.

“I will let you in on a secret, Marcus, something I learned after I left the Enchanted Forest. There is no greater power than love, not in this world. Good never loses because good people believe that they’re always right. Bad people – like us – we know we’re wrong and that defeats us every single time. So, the answer is no. There’s not gonna be an alliance for you, not with my magic, and certainly not with my body,” she told him in much the same tone he had used on her. And she had barely finished her little speech before the fireballs were back in her hands and she was firing one at Marcus.


Marcus ducked surprisingly fast for a man of his height and the fireball hit the earth, stirring up a cloud of sand and leaves. Regina kept shooting fireballs while Emma was fighting off attackers with her sword, kicking at them with her long legs. They held up well against their six enemies but, unfortunately, six additional men appeared out of their hiding places among the trees around them.

Emma felt herself losing ground as three men attacked her at the same time. She was blocking three swords above her head, kneeling, her left hand forming a fireball and throwing it at her attackers who were pushed backwards. Regina turned and grinned at her, her complexion heightened by the adrenalin that rushed through her. But that was the moment, one of the attackers got behind her, grabbing her.

“Regina!” Emma yelled.

Then her attention was diverted by vibrations in her feed from a group of horses, rushing closer.

Everybody felt it, everybody ceased fighting and looked around.

Then Emma saw them: Robin, Mulan, Little John and about ten soldiers were heading toward them.

Already the first of their attackers was running toward the cliff over the valley - and it was Marcus.

Emma turned back to Regina and saw her fall to the floor. The man who had grabbed her, small, a little overweight, started running.

“Mulan, get him!” Emma called out, pointing after him.

Mulan reacted quickly, turning her horse and chasing after the man.

Emma ducked another attack and kicked the man to the ground. She pushed herself up and ran over to Regina. “Regina,” she called out, leaning over her. “Regina, what..?”

But Regina’s eyes were closed. She was unconscious, she was like dead.

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