Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, or either of these two wonderful characters.
"Mr. Gold? Mr. Gooo-old?" Henry's singsong voice echoed through the bathroom stall. "We're boarding soon. Are you coming?"
Gold waited until he heard Henry leave. The boy had no idea how badly he wanted to say no. To call the whole thing off and drive back to Storybrooke. Back to safety. To magic.
Shaking, Gold realized he was still staring at his hand, his knuckles bloody. He swallowed hard, fighting back a wave of fear and a terrible sense of vulnerability.
First things first: he needed to take care of his hand. Since magic was now out of the question, he took a deep breath, composed himself, and opened the stall door. Gripping his cane in his injured hand, he made his way to the sink. Gold winced as the water washed away some of the blood.
At that moment, the door opened, and a man bustled in, fiddling with his shirt, which was stained brown – coffee, by the smell. Gold looked away, trying to appear as unremarkable as possible, but he was badly out of practice.
The stranger chuckled softly. "They can't be that bad." His voice was pleasant – kind and fatherly. Gold looked up into a face that matched the voice: good-natured and a little amused.
"To whom are you referring?" Gold asked, wondering for a moment whether the man had mistaken him for someone else.
The stranger shrugged. "You tell me. Your daughter said you were on your way to a family reunion. So who is it you don't want to see that could possibly be worth all that?" He indicated Gold's hand with a wave.
Gold shook his head sadly. "It's complicated."
The stranger nodded. "Family always is. Here." He reached into his pocket, pulled out a small kit, and removed some gauze. "Always carry a medkit – I learned that from my son. May I?"
Gold hesitated, but thought better of it and nodded, dried his hand, and held it out cautiously. "Your boy – is he a doctor?"
"A nurse," the stranger corrected, applying some sort of gel to the gauze. "The very best." There was an odd note in his voice. Fondness and pride, but also sadness. Regret. "I miss him sometimes." He shook his head. "This might sting a little."
It did, but only for a moment. "Are you traveling to see him, then?" Gold asked as the stranger wrapped a few more layers of gauze.
"In a way. He's … he died. He and Amy are buried in New York, so, every now and then, I like to pop in for … for a visit."
"I'm sorry." The sincerity in his own voice caught Gold by surprise. "How long since you lost him?"
"It's … complicated," the stranger answered vaguely, shaking his head. "I keep telling myself that he was happy. That he had a good life. But that doesn't change the fact that, for so many years, he had it without me." He blinked away a tear. "Oh, look at me. You don't want to listen to my troubles. From the look of it, you've got plenty of your own, and—"
"My son," Gold said quietly. "That's why I'm here, too. To find my boy. I haven't seen him in so long, and for the first time in a very, very long time, I … I don't know what to expect."
The stranger tore off a last bit of gauze and finished wrapping. "He's your son. No matter what's happened between you, they'll always love you, just like you'll always love them."
"It's not that simple. It's—"
"Complicated. Of course it is. But that's the thing about love – it can be both." He tucked his medkit back in his pocket. "All done," he concluded, smiling warmly. "Good luck to you."
"Thank you." Gold turned and started to leave. Almost at the door, he turned back. "Your son. What was his name?"
The stranger smiled. "Rory. And yours?"
"Baelfire." Gold pulled Bae's shawl a bit tighter around his shoulders. "And I'm going to find him."