Chapter One: Tragedy
No. No. No!
Killian muttered and turned ghost white, stumbling backwards onto the rain slicked asphalt. His eyes widened, his horror dimmed only slightly by inebriation. His breath smelled strongly of rum, and his brain was awash with its effects, enough that he barely felt the pain of his broken foot and sprained wrist.
“No. Please, no.” Killian felt nausea bubbling up in his stomach, as he stared numbly at the mangled car. Fighting the numbness, he darted towards the wreck, stumbling slightly from his broken foot.
He tore at the mangled car door, using all his strength to pry it open. Even as his hook became lodged in the door and ripped violently from his forearm, he focused on getting to the car-seat just on the other side of the door. His breath hitched after a flash of lightning illuminated the sky above, and the door finally opened.
“Gid….” Killian faltered, unable to breathe or think at the sight of the two year old’s crushed body. Shaking and swallowing back wave upon wave of nausea, he pulled the tiny body from the wreckage, his senses keen for any sign of life from the toddler. His insides froze at the coolness of the toddler’s skin and the matted blood in Gideon’s hair.
No no no.
Killian felt sick, holding the toddler’s limp body, the day’s events flashing through his thoughts. It’d started off so normal, the only thing unusual was him and Emma offering to babysit Gideon to give the boy’s parents a chance to celebrate their anniversary.
“No.” Killian shook his head numbly, his rum-inebriated brain pulling away from the reality. A loud crash of thunder pulled him swiftly back, and he frantically struggled to find the cell phone Emma had given him. Searching his pockets and then the road, he tensed - his chest and stomach tightening in panic. It had to be somewhere. It...his breath hitched again when he glanced at the car, at the space beside the child car-seat - the cell phone stared back at him, silently ringing.
He quickly grabbed it, hoping to get help in time despite his stomach shouting at him that it was too late.
The overhead lights were dimmed, allowing the candle on the table to illuminate the darkened dining room. A soft tune crooned from an antique gramophone matching the ambiance of the flickering flame.
“...you’re beautiful.” Mr. Gold whispered into his wife’s ear, the two of them holding onto the other and just swaying to the music. Belle smiled demurely, and glanced up at her husband.
“You’re always beautiful. No matter what, you’ll always be beautiful.” Gold purred and kissed Belle’s ear. One hand about her waist and the other cupping her cheek, he nibbled on Belle’s earlobe. Chuckling at her gasp he continued his oral caress down, trailing kisses along her neck.
“Rumple….ah.” Belle gasped, her breathing growing heavy as Gold nuzzled her neck. She shivered when he reached her collarbone, nipping teasingly at it. His hot mouth on her skin and the firmness of his hand about her waist felt perfect; the shivers it sent down her spine delectable. Belle closed her eyes, allowing her husband’s ministrations and savoring them.
“Ah...Belle.” Gold breathed heavily while he sucked on his wife’s collarbone, his starving body enjoying the way Belle quirmed from his touch. His hands inched to the zipper of Belle’s dress, fully engulfed in the moment and thankful they decided on a romantic dinner home for their anniversary. “Ah….”
The sudden clamor of the house phone cut through the dining room, its sharp cry overpowering the gramophone and romantic ambiance. Gold gritted his teeth, almost growling at the interruption, except something stopped him. Instinct? An inner sense that shouted at him that no one would interrupt them unless it was important. He shivered and glanced at Belle, her face reflecting what he felt.
“Rumple….” Belle’s voice trembled, she watched her husband reach for the phone, her blue eyes wide. Those wide orbs stared beseechingly as Gold answered the call, widening when her husband froze - the look on his face horrific.
“...what? No….” Gold blanched listening to the caller, every second seeming surreal. He grabbed Belle’s hand, holding it tightly. “No, that can’t….”
Belle squeezed her husband’s hand just as tightly as he did her, her lungs burning as Gold hung up the phone, and then flicked his free hand. A puff of dark gray smoke billowed around them, engulfing them in teleportation magic.
The clock on the wall in hospital waiting room ticked the seconds by slowly, each click of its hands like a blow from a heavy hammer. Time itself seemed poised to pummel them and rend the present into nothing but prolonged moments of torment.
“I didn’t...god...bloody hell….” Muttered Killian, sitting down a few chairs from Emma who paced the floor, trying to make sense of the senseless. Her cheeks were drained of most of their color, and her lips pulled thin trembled. “Em….”
“No.” Emma shook her head, covering her mouth with a shaking hand. She took in a deep, steadying breath, fighting the urge to retch. “You...you were drinking. You were drinking and yet you drove….” She faltered, closing her eyes and trying to breathe steadily; she failed and instead fell into a coughing fit.
“Emma! You need to sit and rest!” Alarmed, Killian grabbed his wife’s hand and pulled her towards the chair next to his. His eyes widened, flicking from Emma’s face to her abdomen, her baby-bump only slightly noticeable beneath her shirt. “You already collapsed once today, please….”
“You drove despite….” Emma swallowed, her brain a mix of emotions, dominated by the urge to either hit her husband or collapse into his arms. She did sit down, but in a chair a few feet away from Killian. “....and now Belle and Gold...they’re going to be….”
“Emma….” Killian tried again to explain, but choked on his words. How could he tell his wife that he was in that car, driving to the hospital despite being drunk, because he’d heard she’d collapsed? How could he tell her that he’d been so concerned about her and their unborn child that he didn’t even think about how stupid he was being when he buckled Gideon in the car seat and drove despite drinking? “I….”
“Where is he?! Where’s Gideon?!” Belle’s voice, hysterical and anguished, interrupted. The way her usually calm voice filled the waiting room, chilled Emma and Killian. Belle’s wide-with-panic blue eyes latched onto the two of them, beseeching them to explain that it was all a hoax; or that the hospital made a mistake. That her baby wasn’t….
“Where’s our son?” Gold growled, trailing close on his wife’s heels. His own anguish tempered by a desperate hope that it wasn’t too late and that he could heal his son.
“Gold...Belle...I….” Emma started to speak, her throat going dry. She felt the urge to retch climbing up from her stomach, an urge she squashed. “I’m sorry...Gideon….”
“No….” Belle shook her head slowly then more fervently as she read the others’ body language. Her racing heart cleaved and nausea jostled about in her stomach. Behind her, Gold inhaled sharply and reached out to hold his wife; his warm hands holding his wife’s upper arms. He glowered at Emma and then Killian, his scowl darkening more on the pirate. “Gideon’s just hurt...right? He can be healed, right? He….”
“I already tried.” Emma replied, her voice cracking. “By the time I got to him, he was...it was too late.”
“No.” Belle trembled, tears leaking from her eyes, completely unnoticed by her, but not to Emma or Killian. “No! You’re wrong! He can’t be….my baby can’t be….” She gasped, her throat closing tightly at the thought of her baby - her Gideon - being dead. Her husband’s hands tightened around her arms, drawing her attention to him, the plea in her blue eyes clear.
Gold nodded, understanding his wife’s silent plea, and agreeing with it. He whispered to Belle. “I’ll heal him.”
“You can’t...he’s already….” Killian stood up, wincing slightly the act put pressure on his broken foot. He had, despite Emma’s insistence, refused to have it be healed by magic. Even after it was obvious Gideon was beyond healing, he had himself insisted Emma focus on the toddler and not waste magic on his foot.
“Don’t.” Gold silenced the pirate with just a flick of his wrist, magically pushing Killian back down on the chair. “Don’t you dare finish that sentence.”
“But….” Killian protested, only for Emma to grab his arm and shake her head. After quieting her husband, she met Gold’s eye.
“If there’s any chance….do what you have to….” Emma said shakily, and pointed down the hospital corridor. “He’s….the last door down the hall after you turn left.”
Gold nodded curtly, him and Belle heading off towards the room indicated. After they left, Killian turned on Emma.
“Why did you say that? You know as well as I….”
“Gideon’s their son. If there is any chance, any at all that Gold’s magic can heal him….” Emma glowered at her husband, grabbing his hand and placing it on her abdomen. “You would do anything for our child, right? No matter the cost, no matter how little hope there is.”
“Yes. Of course I would. But….” Killian faltered, unable to continue. His wife was right, if there was any chance healing Gideon wasn’t as impossible as it seemed. If there was any chance Gold’s dark magic could revive the toddler….neither he nor Emma had the right to interfere. “I just….”
“Oh!” Emma gasped when she felt her unborn baby kick. Her distressed face brightened as did Killian’s.
“Did the baby just…?”
“Yeah, she did.” Emma beamed, reveling in the moment, despite everything else that had happened that day. “Her first kick.”
Killian beamed back, staring agog at Emma’s baby-bump, his hand still pressed against his wife’s stomach. He gasped in delight when their baby kicked again. “That’s….”
A distraught scream echoing through the corridor pulled Emma and Killian from their private world and back into reality. The anguish in that scream was much more than either had ever heard, enough to erase the delight their baby’s first kick had brought.
“Belle….” Emma swallowed, tears streaming down her face listening to the monstrous sadness in the other woman’s cry. The kind of cry only a mother could make.
“I guess not even the Dark One’s magic could….” Killian faltered and pulled his wife close, neither of them knowing what to say or do. They simply listened to Belle’s distraught cries and screams filling the corridor, frozen by their own despair and guilt.