Long A/N: So, I'm trying something new here. I keep mentioning how I want to do Gold/Emma fics, but I just haven't come up with a satisfactory idea (at least to me). So this is a new story that is AU in that it takes place after 'Skin Deep' but I probably won't be mentioning Belle. I don't know yet. Anyway, was wondering if someone would like to volunteer to beta this one for me. My regular beta, OldRomanticEm, graciously beta'd this first chapter even though Gold/Emma doesn't appeal to her. PM me if you're interested.
Mr. Gold was sitting on the curb outside of his shop when Emma arrived. The shattered window told her why he had insisted she come out here in the middle of the night.
The icy night wind was biting, and she pulled her scarf up to cover her nose in a vain attempt to keep it warm.
"So, who did you tick off this time?" she asked, almost teasingly, but then gasped when he looked up to glare at her.
A bloody gash crossed his forehead and left temple. His eyes were glassy as he looked up at her, and she could hear the sound of his teeth chattering.
"What happened?" she demanded, dropping to her knees in front of him.
It looked as if he was trying to answer her, but he couldn't seem to get his jaw to unclench. It was then she noticed that he wore no coat.
"Never mind. C'mon. Let's get you in the car to warm up," she said, and helped him to his feet.
His cane was nowhere in sight, and he leaned heavily on her the whole way.
Luckily, it did not take long for the car to get heated, and he gratefully sipped at the still warm thermos of cocoa that Mary Margaret had shoved into Emma's hand before she left.
"So, can you tell me what happened?"
He was quiet for a long moment, just staring out the window at his shop.
"C-can you just take me home?"
His entire body was shaking, so slightly that Emma hadn't noticed until he spoke.
"What? Mr. Gold, who did this to you? Don't you want to file a report?"
She was unnerved at seeing him look so vulnerable.
"No, I want to go home."
The words were steadier this time, but his hands still shook.
"We're not going anywhere until you tell me-"
"Moe French is out of the hospital."
Emma sighed and frowned.
"The hospital was supposed to let me know before... I'm sorry."
He didn't respond.
"So, this was revenge?"
He still didn't answer but he did look at her, and she was once again struck by how... vulnerable he seemed.
"Please, take me home," he said again.
Emma looked up at the broken shop window and then back at him.
"Shouldn't I get evidence first? I mean, you called me to come out here so you could file a report, right?"
He shook his head.
"No. I just want to go home."
Emma blinked and tilted her head at him in confusion.
"You called me out here in the middle of the night just to give you a ride home?"
He nodded, rubbing his hands together.
He kept staring at his hands as he asked, "Who else would come?"
Wordlessly, she put the car in drive and headed to his house. He remained silent in the seat next to her, but his words from earlier resonated through her mind.
C-can you just take me home?
I want to go home.
Who else would come?
Tears stung her eyes as she drove. Why was she upset? It wasn't her fault that he was such a pariah that no one wanted to come to his aid. She had nothing to do with the bad and sometimes downright cruel decisions he had made. But still...
Emma thought of Ashley and the deal she had made with him regarding her unborn baby. She had thought Mr. Gold was a horrible person for not letting the poor girl change her mind. But then, he had given it up so easily when Emma promised him a favor, she wondered if that hadn't been what he was going for the whole time.
She thought of how he had manipulated her into standing up against him in front of the whole town. It had won her the election, even if she hadn't won it the way she had wanted. Emma had been so concerned with showing Henry that you didn't have to play dirty to win that she lost sight of why it was so important that she did win. But Mr. Gold didn't. He got his hands dirty so that she didn't have to.
Clearly the man had his own agenda as far as she was concerned, but he had never been cruel to her. In fact, after Graham had died, he willingly gave her a few of the former sheriff's personal belongings. Had he ever done anything like that for anyone else?
And now tonight, calling Emma to help him because she was the only one who would. Did he... did he think she was his friend?
Emma glanced at him out of the corner of her eye and was alarmed to see his cut had started bleeding again.
"Gold, I probably ought to take you to the hospital," she said, and was about to change lanes when he placed a hand on her arm.
He looked almost... frightened.
"I have everything I need to take care of this at home."
Emma glanced at his hand still on her arm, and he moved it.
"I don't like the hospital. There's something... and the nuns have been volunteering there a lot lately," he added, turning to look out the window again.
He had said the word 'nuns' like they were the worst people imaginable.
"You have a problem with nuns?" She asked, trying to keep the smirk off of her face.
"Just the Storeybrooke ones," he huffed.
She stopped the car in front of his house and turned off the engine.
"There's another cane in a case by the desk in my study," he said, holding out a key for her.
Glad she wouldn't have to drag him all the way to the house, she got out of the car and hurried inside to fetch the cane.
The house was large and cold. It wasn't the first time she had been there, though it was the first time she had come at night. The heels of her boots clicked on the hardwood floors and echoed throughout the house, making it feel like an empty cavern.
Emma had always liked living alone, but coming home to this every night must be lonely. She had never felt more grateful to Mary Margaret than she did at this moment. Small though it might be, her house was always warm and cheery. Even when her friend wasn't home.
It made the small pang in her chest for Mr. Gold grow into an ache.
Emma quickly grabbed the cane, and hurried back to him.
He was out of the car, leaning against the closed door.
She handed him the cane, then put his left arm over her shoulders. It took several minutes, but they finally made it into the house. They had a brief argument about where she should leave him. He wanted her to drop him in an armchair and leave. But Emma insisted that it would be better for her to go ahead and help him to his room. She didn't want him to try to climb the stairs on his own, and he needed to sleep in a bed tonight.
Reluctantly, he agreed, and they slowly made their way upstairs.
He looked exhausted by the time he collapsed onto his bed.
Emma shivered and looked around the cold, dark room. The king-sized four-poster was large and extravagant, she had expected nothing less from him. The room was filled with what were probably very expensive furnishings. A mahogany dresser with a hutch lined one wall, its shelves held various 'nick-knacks' of crystal, china, and glass. Plush Persian rugs lined the hardwood floor, a few book cases lined another wall, and there was an over-sized leather armchair next to a mammoth fireplace.
She was glad to see a basket full of logs on the hearth, deciding the first thing they needed was to get warm.
"Is it alright if I make a fire?" she asked, turning back to look at him.
He stared at her for a long moment before giving a slow nod.
"There, that's better," she said aloud a few minutes later.
The warmth and golden light from new fire made the room much more comfortable. Emma slipped her coat off, draped it over the arm of the leather chair, walked quickly into an adjoining en suite bathroom and started going through the cabinets.
"What are you doing? Go home," Gold groused, voice little more than a hoarse whisper.
Emma just ignored him and came out a few minutes later with what she needed to attend to his wound.
He grunted as he pushed himself into a sitting position and reached out to grab the damp wash cloth from her, but she batted his hand away.
"Just keep still, and let me help you."
He glared at her, but was clearly too tired to put any real malice in it.
She carefully cleaned the wound, gentling her ministrations whenever he would hiss or jump from pain.
Soon the cut was cleaned and bandaged. Emma stood back to study him.
"Your eyes are so dark...it's hard to tell, but they could be dilated."
He tilted his head at her.
"I don't have a concussion."
"You don't know that. Are you hurt anywhere else?"
He shook his head, wincing again.
She sighed, knowing he was probably lying, but unsure what she could do about it.
"I only saw aspirin in your medicine cabinet, do you have any Tylenol?" Emma asked, knowing aspirin was the last thing you wanted to give someone who might have a concussion.
He started to shrug out of his jacket and winced again. Emma immediately moved to help him, but he stopped her.
"I want to do this myself," he insisted, turning away.
"Don't be stupid, let me help-"
He cut her off with a glare.
"Don't touch me."
She blinked, backing away as it suddenly occurred to her that he was really uncomfortable having her there. She wondered if it was because he didn't trust her or was just too unused to relying on anyone.
She nodded and looked down at the floor.
"I think I have some Tylenol in my purse. It's in the car, I'll go get it."
Emma returned to his bedroom a few minutes later with the Tylenol and a glass of water.
Gold's suit, shoes and socks were lying on the floor. He was in the bed with the covers pulled up to his chin.
She brought the medicine and water.
"You can leave it and go," he said, not looking at her.
"No, Mr. Gold. I can't leave until we're sure you don't have a concussion," she insisted.
This time it was Emma's glare that broke him off.
He sighed and then struggled to sit up.
Emma reached out a hand to help, but he stiffened and shook his head at her.
When he was finally sitting up she handed him the water and pills. He let her, but didn't look happy about it.
"I'm not here to hurt you, you know," she commented as she watched him swallow them down.
"I know that," he snapped, but she could tell that he was lying.
She arched a brow at him.
"You would never hurt me, not intentionally. You're too good to do that, dearie, I know."
Emma considered his words.
"You think I'm going to unintentionally hurt you?" she asked, confused.
Gold smiled; it was the first one she'd seen from him all night.
She crossed her arms and gave him a skeptical look.
"And just how would I do that?"
He gave her an exaggerated yawn.
"I need my sleep. You should go," he looked away, showing her that he was done talking.
Emma sighed and grabbed a small blanket from off the foot of the bed.
"Sleep then. I'll wake you in two hours, and if you're still sure that you're okay, I'll go," she informed him plopping down onto the chair in front of the fire.
She pulled her phone out of her pocket and set a timer, then curled up under the blanket and shut her eyes.
End Chapter One
A/N: Sorry for the abrupt ending. The next chapter will pick up from his POV.