She Promised Me Love

5

When Emma came down the stairs, everybody was already gathered in the hall. Regina stood a little to the side with Henry and Emma walked over to them.

“You can spend some time with David and Mary Margaret… and Killian,” Regina just told Henry.

“Ma,” Henry turned to Emma as she came closer. “If you all go, I wanna come, too.”

“I’m sorry, kid, but your mom and I have made a vow to protect you, always. And taking you with us on a potentially dangerous trip would be breaking that vow.” She tried to ruffle his hair.

He pulled his head back, annoyed. “And who’s going to protect you?”

“Well,…” Emma was at a loss, she didn’t really feel like she needed a protector.

“I’m going to look after Emma, and she is going to look after me,” Regina helped her out.

Emma nodded quickly.

“You could be looking after me, too, while we’re away,” he argued weakly.

“I think I’m going to have my hands full with one dare devil, Henry,” Regina said, winking at him.

Henry couldn’t help but smile. He looked at Emma who rolled her eyes.

“I’m hardly a dare devil,” she complained.

“Well, I hope not. Recklessness is a sure way to get yourself killed in an endeavor like this, and others with you,” Robin supplied as he stepped closer. He had just told his son goodbye; Roland would stay at the castle with three of the Merry Men.

Henry looked worriedly at Emma and Regina.

“Thank you, Mr. Hood, that was very helpful,” Regina admonished the man sarcastically. “Henry, what I told you – Emma and I are going to look out for each other, nothing’s going to happen to us,” she repeated.

Henry nodded, but he didn’t smile anymore. He let himself get hugged by Emma, however.

Emma looked at Regina behind Henry’s back, remembering a time in Neverland when this topic had come up before. They could have died and they had agreed that the surviving parent would take care of Henry. This pact included Neal. Should they die, Snow White would inform Neal and he would take Henry back to New York. That was the deal.

“I heard that you’ll be joining us,” Robin said to Regina.

“I’ve decided to, yes,” Regina answered, giving the tall man her wide politician’s smile.

Emma always thought of it as her ‘shark smile.’

“I also heard that you’ve got… special talents?”

“I’m a witch, Mr. Hood. I think that is still the predominant term used here.”

He nodded. “A sorceress is a valuable advantage to have, especially when one walks into unknown territory.”

Emma watched Regina squint her eyes at him. Robin looked back at her pleasantly and Regina’s face relaxed into an easy smile.

“I only hope that you can keep up with the riding, we’re going to go at a swift pace,” he added.

She laughed. “You should be so lucky to be able to keep up with me, Mr. Hood. I could ride before I could walk.” As Henry now turned to her, she gave him her sole attention. She hugged him fiercely.

Emma, meanwhile, looked at Robin suspiciously. Watching his interaction with Regina, she had only liked it to the point where Regina had started to smile at the man honestly.

He was still looking at Regina.

Emma took a step toward him. “Are we all ready to head out?” she asked the obvious question because she couldn’t think of a more creative one. The only purpose to approach him had been to divert his attention from Regina’s assets.

“Yes, we’re all set. Mulan is already waiting.”

Emma nodded. She turned and kissed Henry’s cheek once more while he was still hugging Regina, laying a comfortable hand on Regina’s back as she did so. Regina turned to her.

“We’re ready to go.”

Regina nodded. “Aren’t you going to say goodbye to your parents?” she asked.

“They’ll be outside.”

They picked up their bags and walked outside with Henry between them. The courtyard was a noisy ruckus of horses, armored guards and Merry Men. There were two wagons with supplies and a big man in monk’s robes waving his arms at the drivers to get in some sort of line only he could see.

Henry nudged Emma in the side and nodded toward the monk. “Friar Tuck,” he whispered to her.

Emma looked at the man. She grinned and looked back at Henry. “I sometimes forget,” she said.

“I know. I guess that’s what happens when your mom is the Evil Queen,” he joked.

“You know she’s not--”

“I know, ma. Hell, I’m the one who should finally know that my mother is not evil. Don’t think I don’t feel bad about ever having thought that,” he said quietly.

Emma hugged him again as a stable boy brought her horse. “I’m kinda grateful that you once did. You wouldn’t have come looking for me if you hadn’t,” she whispered in his ear. “But don’t tell your mom.”

When she pulled away from him he was grinning.

“I won’t,” he promised. “Have an eye on her. You know how she can get around… peasants.”

Emma merely rolled her eyes then turned to hug her parents. They had some advice to give before Emma finally pulled herself into the saddle. Regina was already sitting on her own white horse. She smiled easily at Emma.

“Someone must have mixed up our horses, Savior,” she said pointing at Emma’s black stallion.

“Looks good on you, though,” Emma gave back.

The progression slowly moved out of the courtyard. About thirty horsemen, fifty foot soldiers, two supply wagons with drivers and the friar left the courtyard to the waving hands of Snow White, King James and Prince Killian. Robin Hood’s son ran beside his father’s horse for as long as he was able to then returned to the three men who acted as his bodyguards but were really friends he had known all his life.

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