A/N: So I got my muse back for this story, more Swanfire goodness to come. This chapter was an interesting one. As usual I do not own Once Upon a Time. That belongs to ABC and the creators Adam and Eddy. Anyway, enjoy.
Chapter Four:How Could You?
After Rumpelstiltskin left, Regina turned to the royals. Snow was staring at the spot where the Dark One had been, a frown overtaking her normally cheerful demeanor.
"Well," Regina sighed. "He certainly knows how to ruin a celebration."
"No." David shook his head grabbing his wife's hand. "He won't ruin today."
Regina looked around as the guests continued their exits. She admired the optimism of the Charmings, but she certainly couldn't fathom how the princess would let pass the matter of trying to have a celebration, acting like everything was normal when there was not a guest remaining at the grand birthday ball.
"We still have time." Snow said. "Time that we can spend with Emma." Regina heard something else in her stepdaughter's voice, something more than strength. She was struggling to hold it together. Regina could tell by the appearance of a familiar head of golden hair that keeping their optimism was going to be even more difficult.
"How could you?"
"Emma," Snow turned to see her daughter. "Sweetheart…" She reached out a hand, but Emma stepped back, glaring at her mother and father in turn.
"How much did you hear?" Regina decided it would be best to cut to the heart of the matter.
"Regina!" Snow looked to her stepmother with wide eyes.
"Dear, it won't do to pretend she hasn't. You know your own daughter."
At this point, the young lady in question was staring down at the marble floor as her cheeks grew pink.
"Emma," David sighed. "Talk to us."
"Why?" The rest of what she said was a murmur.
"What was that Emma?"
"You're just sending me away. Why should I tell you anything?" Emma turned and attempted to run up the stairs, but Regina caught her before she could.
"Let me go! Let me go!"
"Very well Dear, but no running off." Regina released her grip on the princess' arm as the girl's shoulders sank.
"Your Majesty…" An attendant appeared in the ballroom. "What are we going to…?"
"Fenrid," Snow spoke to the man, but her eyes never left her daughter. "Later."
"Majesties… I must…"
"They said they will deal with it later. Leave them be." Regina walked around Emma, heralding the attendant out of the room.
Snow looked at her daughter. What could they say? Emma for her part was standing on the step, watching and waiting, but looking as though she wanted to be anywhere but there.
"Emma," Snow walked over to her daughter placing a hand on her shoulder as she felt her little girl tense in her grasp. "Please,"
"Did I do something wrong?" Emma's voice was soft, broken.
"Oh...Emma...of course not, never." Snow pulled her daughter in for a hug. "Never."
"Then why?" Emma looked between her mother and father.
The Charmings exchanged a look. "There's something you need to know," David says.
Baelfire stirred the soup in front of him, little more than water in taste and appearance. He kept his gaze down, scarcely daring to breathe, or rather... daring to control his mood. He could not distinguish which, had stopped distinguishing such things long ago. He kept a tight grip on the wooden spoon. He kept replaying the princess' broken question to him in his mind. Won't you come with me? It infuriated him that his father could alter what was supposed to be a joyous occasion in such a way for someone who deserved none of it.
"Bae, are you alright?"
He looked up slowly, not saying a word simply studying his Papa. In this moment, he could scarcely recognize the man he loved and admired so, despite the all too familiar concern in his expression. He only could see the chaos at the birthday party, the girl with tears filling her eyes and quelling the spark he had glimpsed when he had found himself in her garden. His words came out more measured than he expected. "What deal did you strike?"
Rumplestiltskin, the man who molded with darkness, folded in the slightest bit. His shoulders slumped as he released a breath. "Nothing that was not anticipated."
Baelfire sighed. "Please don't make me solve a riddle Papa. Just tell me."
Rumplestiltskin told his son of the broken kingdom, Camelot, the wizard who had sought him out several months after the battles began: the misconception that the king had regarding the young girl of great power. And the deal he had struck to protect their princess.
"I had hope that the boy would understand my words: the balance he seeks is in peace between the two kingdoms. The balance of the realms depend on the princess embracing her second title. For I fear, for Arthur, it is already too late. He sees her only as a pawn as he later came to view me. Her bloodline holds the key to the union of Excalibur, or it's utter destruction, a piece of which you hold Dark One."
Baelfire listened to the story his father told, a frown overtaking his features. "You tricked their Majesties into sending their daughter to stay with us...for the dagger?"
"I thought you were going to do things differently." Baelfire glared at his father. "You promised…" He moved his chair back rising to his feet.
"It's more complicated, if you'll just let me explain." Rumplestiltskin said.
Baelfire stood stock still not turning around to leave as he'd intended. "Okay,"
Rumplestiltskin then began to explain, a visit he made to the castle of Snow White and Prince Charming when Bae was young at the behest of a former student.
His son listened struck silent, not quite sure what to make of the pit in his stomach.
Eight Years Earlier
"No!" The four year old shook her long hair wildly. "No icky!"
"Lady Emma, please quiet yourself this instant, you must allow me to…"
"Noooo!" The toddler princess' wail increased despite her sore throat as the governess made her way to the bed where the young princess stood bare footed, atop the quilt clutching her baby blanket tight in one hand.
An illness had struck the kingdom's children, a seasonal ailment. The potioneer, a local gentleman by the name of Dr. Jekyll, had devised a tonic. This was the tonic that the princess' governess was trying to administer now.
"Princess, please," The governess opened the bottle. "I promise this will make you feel better."
"Nooo!" Emma punctuated this wail with a jump as she held out her hands to defend against the spoon she knew was coming once the bottle opened. Then there was a flash of white light, and a massive breeze, as the governess was pushed across the room by an invisible force.
"Madlaine," Emma, shocked by what had happened, stopped her bouncing with one giant bounce off the bed as she runs across the room to where her governess lie, a scrape on her head and the tonic bottle shattered upon the floor, the lavender liquid melding with crimson as the scrape bled.
"Emma," Madlaine grabs the young girl's hand. "It's alright Dear, it's perfectly fine."
"Mama! Daddy!" Emma shouts. "Mama!" Emma feels her hands grow warm and sees Madlaine flinch as she hurriedly moves her hand away. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!"
Regina hears the young princess' cries as do several of the guards. The king and queen were in a council meeting doing business with Camelot.
Regina and the guards stop outside the young princess's bedroom to see
Emma's eyes filling with tears, and most alarmingly her hands, which were shaking aglow in a white light.
"It's alright Love," Madlaine continues her work trying to soothe the young girl.
Emma's eyes widen and she lets out a shriek as she hears the sound of metal scraping. She raises her hands and a blast veers toward the group of guards and her grandmother.
Lancelot, one of the more seasoned members of the guard looks over to see one of the new guards drawing his sword.
"Scarlett, have you gone mad?"
"Not I, but apparently the princess has." Scarlett replies. "That there's magic, that is. She could kill us."
"Raise a sword against my granddaughter again," Regina moves toward Scarlett after she counters the wayward blast making it disappear harmlessly. "And you'll be back on the street outside the tavern pulling cheap sleights for your next bite Thief."
"Graham, handle Scarlett will you?" Lancelot grabs Scarlett by the chainmail and pushes him toward his fellow guardsmen.
"Yes of course, come along...now." Graham led the younger man out of the room.
"Lady Madlaine," Lancelot kneels beside the governess. "Are you alright?"
"Quite, just a bit woozy is all." Madlaine replied.
"May I take you to the healers' wing Lady Madlaine?"
"That's really not necessary Sir Lancelot,oooh...oh dear." Madlaine goes to get to her feet and wobbles. "Well I suppose it is after all."
Emma looked between her parents. "I...did that?" Her voice cracked. She had noticed the scar above Lady Madlaine's eyebrow many times. But she had never asked how she had received it.
"It wasn't your fault." David soothed. "It was an accident, and Lady Madlaine is fine."
"But...I don't have magic!" Emma cried. "I...I never have. I would, I would know wouldn't I?" Emma looked from her father to her mother. "Mom…"
"You do have magic sweetheart," Snow said. "Beautiful magic, you always have, but...we had to protect you."
Emma blinked, looking at her mother in disbelief. "Protect me...protect me how?" Emma was scared to know the answer. "What did you do?"
A/N: Evil, I know, but it seemed a good place to stop. Next chapter: Snow and Charming answer the question and the fallout, as well as Baelfire's reaction.