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Chapter Text

As Regina had relayed the way to Rumple's lair to Charming, the man was able to find it with little difficulty, since he knew exactly what to look for. The small break in the thick forest beside a particularly large tree was his first sign.

"I think this is it," he announced quietly, looking over at his anxious daughter, who was staring intently at him for some kind of direction.

"Now what? We just waltz in there and demand he heal her and give us back our son?"

"Something like that," Charming mumbled, looking around the small clearing.

Hopping off the horse to explore the area, the man went silent, leaving Emma to wait impatiently for her next order. It wasn't like her to stand aside and let someone else lead, but she trusted Charming to take care of her lover, so she allowed him to be their guide.

"Here," he whispered, pointing to a pile of rocks at the base of the large tree.

"What about it? It's just rocks."

"Regina said she'd have to use her magic to open the door."

"But she's unconscious!"

"You're going to have to do it, Emma."

"But I don't know how!" she protested, whining rather like a teenager.

"Emma, do it now! We don't have time for this!"

Emma hesitated, but moved closer to the tree, looking down at the moist, mossy rocks on the ground. After a moment of silence, she reached out her hands towards the base of the tree and concentrated hard on channeling her energy into whatever magic there was there, but alas, it was no to avail.

"I can't do this," she said, exasperated.

"Yes, you can. You have to. Do it for Regina. Do it for Henry."

With the second attempt, the pile of rocks began to illuminate bright green, and each raised up into the air and separated. From the base of the tree, there was a crack that grew and spread, until a small door appeared. Assuming it was locked, Emma looked over at her father.

"What now? More magic?"

"Try it."

She reached for the handle and was surprised to find that it turned instantly, with no effort whatsoever.

Although he hated being incapable of drawing his weapon, Charming carried the unconscious queen inside the small entrance, ducking as he passed through the doorway and into the dark hallway.

"I guess it's bigger on the inside," Emma said quietly, looking around as she held up their lamp to light the way.

They descended down a spiraling staircase, deep into the Earth, for a long time, until finally, they reached another door.

"This is it," Charming said slowly, looking intently at Emma.

She nodded and opened the door. Neither was surprised to find Rumple sitting at his desk. There was no sign of Henry.

"Come in," he said, his voice chipper and bright. "I've been expecting you."

"Where's my son, you piece of shit?" Emma snapped, charging at the man, but her father grabbed her arm and held her back.

"No, Emma," Charming said. "We attempt talk this out first. That's who we are."

"That's who you are," she countered, turning on her father. "That's not who I am. I'm the person who's going to crush this little rat into a pile of bones and mashed up, melted flesh."

"No!" her father said sternly, refusing to release his grip on her arm.

"I hate to break up the love fest," Rumple interrupted, "but I have better things to do with my time than listen to you two bicker."

"What do you want, Rumple?" Charming asked. "What do you need for us to get Henry back?"

"I see you've brought company," the man responded, ignoring the other man's questions. "Sick, is she? Allergic reaction to a healing plant. Truly unfortunate, considering that if she's not treated, she's well on her way to a painful and agonizing death."

"Bastard!" Emma screamed, trashing in her father's grasp, but unable to break free.

"What do you want, Rumple?" Charming repeated.

"I hadn't really thought about it," he said slowly, "but now that you're all here, as a big happy family... I suppose there is one thing you could give me..."

"What?" Charming asked.

"Anything," Emma added.

"Some time ago, I made a potion from your father and mother's genetic makeup. True love's bond created a very powerful elixir."

"Yeah, so?" the blonde asked.

"So, to my great surprise, I seem to have found a bond even stronger."

"Whose?" the woman asked.

"Yours, Emma. With Regina and your son. The precious Swan-Mills family."

Mouth agape, Emma stared at the man, considering the consequences of giving in to his request.

"And what will you use it for?" Charming asked him.

"That, young man," Rumple began, "is none of your concern." Then, he turned to Emma and asked, "Do we have a deal?"

"A lock of our hair?" Emma confirmed.

"Yes. I've already taken Henry's."

"This is too easy," she said. "What are you up to? Why did you take Henry in the first place?"

"Because I knew you'd be indebted to me somehow, and that you'd be of use to me in the future. This just worked out far better than I ever could have imagined. I didn't expect you all here at once."

After hesitating, Emma finally said, "You have a deal. Heal her and give me my son back."

"As you wish," Rumple giggled, handing Emma a pair of sharp, glistening scissors.