Snow White had been calling it a mixed blessing. At least, that's what the rumour mill of the kingdom was saying. There were still parties in the streets, celebrating the return home and the annihilation of the Queen...but her defeat came at the price of the one who saved them.
Emma Swan, daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming and the saviour of entire kingdoms, was doomed to sleep forever.
The Queen had cast the sleeping curse on her with her dying breath, knowing that Emma did not have a true, romantic love to awaken her from it. If she was to be defeated, than the one who ended her reign would be as well, and Emma's family could only sit by her bedside and hope that, somehow, there was a love out there waiting to awaken her.
Henry had barely left her side since his mother had been cursed. He would occasionally read to her, or tell her that the kingdom was holding another candle lighting ceremony in her honour. None of it made any difference, of course. There could be an entire marching band in the room, and Emma wouldn't wake up. Today, he was simply sitting, watching her chest rise and fall slowly, and wondering if she was dreaming about what was going on around her.
"Everything truly does come with a price," a voice said from the corner, "not just magic."
"You. How did you-" Henry rose from his chair, shocked at Rumpelstiltskin's sudden presence, "-my grandmother said that you could go free if you never returned to this kingdom again."
"Oh, she knew I wouldn't listen. She's a smart woman. I just have to make sure I don't get caught," Rumpelstiltskin's attention quickly landed on Emma, and Henry rushed to put himself between them, "there's no need to worry, little prince, I mean her no harm."
"I don't believe you."
"Oh, well how unfortunate for you," he lightly manoeuvred Henry aside, approaching the bed with a small smile, "and this is how young Miss Swan is rewarded for all her troubles. Eternal sleep."
"Are you just here to make fun of her?"
"Of course not. I'm here to wake her up."
"Wake her up? Nothing can break the curse but true love's kiss and there's no one out there who—you're not going to try and kiss her, are you?" Henry scrunched up his nose at the thought.
A most annoying smirk tugged the corner of Rumpelstiltskin's mouth, "Certainly not. I have...other methods."
He bent over Emma, pausing to take in the peaceful look on her face, "Emma."
"That's not going to-"
"-Emma," he repeated, this time firmly, as though her name were a command.
Emma's eyes snapped open at once. She gasped loudly, her whole body convulsing as she tried to get more air into her lungs.
Rumpelstiltskin gripped her shoulders, keeping her still until she could manage to rasp out, "...what?"
"Are you alright?" Henry asked, "You were cursed! The Queen cursed you! You've been asleep for a month!"
"A month?" she repeated, rubbing her eyes, "but how...?"
"He came and woke you up. How did you do that?"
Emma froze, turning her gaze to Rumpelstiltskin, who simply smirked once more in response, clearly entertained by the confusion, "Some magic is stronger than others."
"He has your name?" Henry asked, looking appalled.
"You mustn't hold it against your mother. She had no control over the circumstances. In fact, I imagine we'd all be trapped in Storybrooke if Snow White hadn't given me her name before she was even born. Not to mention a few other...problems," his eyes lingered on Henry, who to his credit did not shrink away like so many others did.
"Henry...I should probably explain..." Emma pursed her lips, trying to look for the right words.
"He's my father, isn't he?" Henry asked, "You lied to me about the whole fireman thing."
"You told him I was a fireman?" a look of glee crossed Rumpelstiltskin's face, "Wonderful!"
"At the time, I didn't know he was your father. I just knew there was an older man, and I didn't want to make things more messed up for you than they already were."
"But you two weren't a couple or anything...?"
Emma laughed at that, "Oh god no."
"It was...complicated," Rumpelstiltskin said.
Henry paused, studying Rumpelstiltskin's face.
"Look, Henry, I know this is a lot to take in," Emma sighed, "and I'll make it up to you, I promise."
"Actually, it makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it."
"I'm glad that's settled," Rumpelstiltskin motioned towards the door, "why don't you go tell everyone that Emma is awake and that the guards should come an arrest me."
Henry nodded and walked out, taking the hint that his parents needed some alone time.
Rumpelstiltskin shook his head, smirk returning once more, "Clever boy."
"Yeah, I like to think he takes after me."
"You would like to think that, wouldn't you?"
"He sure as hell didn't take after you."
"What makes you say that?"
"He's a good person."
"Miss Swan, you wound me."
"Back in Storybrooke, I told you that any alliance between us would come to an end once the Queen was defeated," Emma got out of bed, still a force to be reckoned with, even if she was only wearing a nightgown, "and she is. So it will."
"Is that what you want?" Rumpelstiltskin said, opening his hands as an extension of good will.
"If everything were right with the world, you'd be in jail."
"If everything were right with the world, Henry probably wouldn't exist."
"Don't pretend like you care about anyone but yourself."
"I woke you up, didn't I?" he countered, eyes flickering from Emma, to the door, and back again, "I'm surprised you told him."
"He deserved to know that truth."
"That he did," Rumpelstiltskin looked out the window and raised his eyebrows, "I suppose I should be going."
"You are a wanted man."
"Not many people would call me wanted...or a man for that matter."
"I'm feeling generous today."
"Excellent," he bowed with a dramatic flourish, "Emma Swan."
He took her hand and kissed it, then turned it over to kiss her palm as well. Emma didn't even flinch away, instead nodding politely as he stood straight once more, eyes traveling back to the door, "Henry."
Henry walked back in, looking guilty, "Sorry."
Rumpelstiltskin's laugh was strange and high pitched, while Emma simply shook her head and smiled.
"Enjoy your new lives," he said, "and should you ever need me..."
"We won't," Emma said firmly.
"Well, the option is always there."
And with that, he simply stepped outside the window, politely shut it behind him, and walked off the ledge.
"We're on the 8th floor," Henry said after a moment of silence.
"Something tells me he'll be fine," Emma said, before looking down and groaning, "Who dressed me in this?"
"We should go let everyone know you're awake!" Henry grinned, "Everything is finally alright again."
"Yeah...I suppose it is."
Henry noticed Emma's little glance towards the window, but didn't comment on it. After all, just because they were getting their happy ending didn't mean there were no more adventures to be had, and he had a feeling his family would go on plenty of adventures.