Helping the Huntsman
James watched as the boy sat at the old rickety castle playground. He had spent the morning with Mary Margret, and he had found out that Henry had a secret spot. His castle. It was very appropriate.
With a smile, he went and sat next to his grandson. The book Mary Margret had mentioned was sitting open on his lap. The boy smiled at him.
"Hi, David," he chirped. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to speak to you," he told him. "About your book."
"What about it?" he asked cautiously, starting to close the cover.
"Well, I just wanted to know if you had a safe place to hide it from the evil queen. There may be things in there that she doesn't know about that she could use against us."
"You… You believe in the curse!" Henry cried in delight.
"A little more than believe," he laughed. "But I thought, you know about the curse, you seem to be trying to do something about it. So I thought I would try and help my grandson with his quest."
A brilliant grin lit up the boy's face. "You remember!" he cried quietly in delight. Then he threw his arms around James's neck, almost pushing him over.
"Whoa, hey, careful there, Kid." Laughing, he placed Henry back down beside him. "Alright, what have you got so far?"
"Well, we've got Operation Cobra."
"It's to throw people off. If we said Operation Fairytale, it would be too obvious."
"Ah, good plan."
"At the moment, I'm just trying to get people to remember or find each other. Oh, and get Emma to believe me."
"She doesn't believe in the curse?" he said, worry creeping into his voice.
"I think that she pretends to, for me. But she doesn't really."
"Well, pretending is a start. Does anyone else know?"
"Well, there's obviously you now," Henry started. "Dr Hopper, he's Jiminy Cricket by the way, but I don't think he believes either. Same with Mary Margret. Don't need to tell you who she is."
"I'm pretty sure the Evil Queen remembers… and that's about it."
"Alright, then you can add Mr Gold to that list."
"Mr Gold can remember?" James nodded. "Who is he, I never figured it out."
"He's Rumplestiltskin," he replied.
Henry's eyebrows rose and he nodded thoughtfully. "That makes sense. Rumplestiltskin makes deals; Mr Gold likes making deals. And he remembers because he's the one who created the curse."
"But Regina made the-"
"No, she just got the curse off him. I've read through the whole book. It says that he lost his son to this world. He must be looking for him. But to get the curse to work, you needed to kill the thing you love the most. And he had no one… Except Belle… Which is why he sent her away!" he realised.
"Slow down there, you're losing me."
"To make the curse work, you had to kill someone you love and use their heart. Rumplestiltskin had no one left. Then, as part of a deal, he got Belle as a housemaid. But he ended up falling in love with her, and she for him. When she kissed him, he sent her away. I'll bet anything it's because he realised he loved her and didn't want to hurt her. Probably why he wanted Cinderella's baby too, so he'd be able to raise someone he could love and kill…"
"But the curse happened not long after that deal," James told him. "Snow was already pregnant well before then. I wouldn't let her come with me to capture the imp."
"Maybe he just wasn't sure if Regina would do it," Henry shrugged. "Maybe the baby was just a back up. Why else would he want a baby?"
"Mmm, yeah. I can't really see Rumplestiltskin being the baby raising type."
"So I can count you in on operation cobra?" Henry asked excitedly. James nodded. "Great! Then first we need to get Emma to believe. She may not believe me, because I'm just a kid. But you're an adult, she'll believe you!"
"I'm not so sure of that," he disagreed gently. "She's too much like her mother. Too damn stubborn. I've just come out of a coma; she'll probably think I've gone mental."
"Then what do we do?"
"We've got to be subtle about it. Show her that it's real."
"Last time I looked for proof, I ended up in a sink hole," Henry said dejectedly.
James laughed. How typical of someone in his family. "Well then, we'll just have to look for proof in safer places." He ruffled the boy's hair playfully. "I'm going to Granny's. See if I can spot anyone else I know."
"Yeah, I have to go to my session with Archie soon," Henry said. He jumped up and put the book in his bag. "It's good to have you back, Charming," he grinned. Then he raced off to his bike, leaving James behind, smiling.
James looked about the room and smiled when he recognised another person. Well, in this case, finally figured out how he recognised him. He looked down at the notebook he had.
Snow - Mary Margret. A school teacher.
Queen Regina - Regina. Mayor. (Remembers.).
Rumplestiltskin - Mr Gold. Owns the town and a pawnshop. (Remembers).
Abigail - Kathryn. David's wife.
Jiminy - Archie Hopper. Shrink.
Granny - still Granny. Owns a B&B.
Red - Ruby. Waitress. Still wears a lot of red.
Sneezy - Mr Clark. Store owner. Constantly seems to have a cold.
Grumpy - Leroy. Town drunk.
And then he wrote down the newest person he recognised.
Magic Mirror - Sidney Glass. Reporter for the Mirror.
"I'm starting to see a pattern here," he muttered. He looked around again. There had to be someone else he recognised. As the drunken sheriff turned around, he found that he did recognise him… Yes, but from where? Like the Mirror, he probably wouldn't have seen him often.
He thought back… where had he seen that face? When he was escaping? Yes, that was it. It was one of Regina's guards who had killed the other one and helped him escape. He'd said that he'd given up his heart in place of Snows. Later Snow had told him that he was a huntsman… That was all anyone knew about him.
Huntsman - Graham. Sheriff.
He scrawled on the notebook. He had no idea how he was going to wake all these people up. But he knew that somehow, his daughter would. They just had to figure out how… And speaking of which, get her to believe.
He watched as Graham threw two darts at the board, both hitting the deer in the center. He had obviously lost none of his skill, coming to this world.
"Nice shot, chief," Sidney said to him. "I bet you twenty bucks you can't do it again." Defiantly, Graham took another shot of alcohol - not helping with his intoxicated state - picked up the next dart, and threw. It hit the deer bang on the nose. Sidney's face fell.
"Next round's on him," Graham told Ruby. He picked up the next dart and was about to throw when Emma stepped in. She froze on the spot, although, he got the feeling it had nothing to do with the dart aimed at her head.
James just stared at her. This was the first time since he remembered, the first time since he realised who this woman was, that he had actually seen her. She had beautiful long blonde hair, much like the colour his had been as a child. And she had her mother's gorgeous green eyes, only they had a slight blue tinge to them… But at the moment they were set in a scowl.
"Emma!" Ruby said happily. "What can I get you?"
"Nothing," she growled. Then she stalked past them, right towards the front door, despite the fact she had only just arrived through the back. But she was stopped when a dart suddenly stuck in the door frame, inches from her face.
At first James was furious. Was Graham trying to kill his daughter? But then he realised, even when he was drunk, he was a very good aim. If he had wanted to hurt Emma, he could have. He was just trying to stop her from leaving. And he had succeeded.
"What the hell?" Emma cried in indignant shock, tuning to face the offender. "You could have hit me!"
"I never miss," he told her with a shrug, walking towards her. He walked right past Sidney, who sat with a twenty held up. "You've been avoiding me," he stated, "since last night, when you saw me-"
"Leaving the Mayor?" Emma snapped. "And yes, that is a euphemism. I'm not avoiding you, Graham, I just have no interest in having this conversation. It's your life. I really don't care."
Almost dejectedly, she turned and left the dinner. Graham sighed in frustration a moment, running his hand through his mop of curly hair before sprinting out the door after her. There was a moment of silence, everyone just staring after them.
"Alright, that's it," Leroy was the first to break it. He pushed a twenty on the bench. "I'm in. Put me down for sometime this week."
"This week?" Sidney laughed. "Did you not just hear them? She just found out he's sleeping with the Mayor. I want to push my bet back now."
"Oh, please!" Leroy scoffed. "You couldn't cut the tension between those two with a sledge hammer, that's how thick it is!"
"I'm with Leroy," someone he recognised as Sleepy called out before attempting to stifle a yawn. "Put me down for the next two days."
"Erm… I'm sorry, what's this?" James asked in bewilderment.
"Bets." Ruby said brightly. "It's a small town. We place bets when something exciting finally happens. There's been a lot about Emma. The one they're on about, how long until those two finally get together."
"What?" he cried.
"Half the town's already placed a bet. I swear, those two are like… the only ones who haven't noticed they've got a thing for each other."
"…Right," he said.
"You wanna chip in?"
"No. No, I'm good thanks," he told her.
"Suit yourself," she shrugged.
This… this was something he hadn't expected to deal with for some time. Suitors to his daughter. Of course, he realised that this was a different day and age. And she was twenty-eight. Relationships were not like they were back in his world. And she already had a son. But even so, it was strange for him. He knew that Snow, however, would be supporting it wholeheartedly.
Sighing at how complicated his life had become, he placed money on the table and headed up to his room.
"David! David!" He looked up at the sound of his name being called to see Henry running up the path towards them.
"Hey, kid, what's up?" he asked. He noticed the look of distress on his face as he screeched to a halt before him and Mary Margret.
"Urgent Operation Cobra!" he panted. "It's Sheriff Graham."
"Yeah, he's been acting odd all day," Mary Margret commented. "He had this horrible fever and kept asking me if… if we knew each other in a past life or if he'd ever tried to hurt me. He seemed really jumpy."
"He was just at my house," Henry told them. "He wanted to know if he was in the book, and he was saying things about one of the characters before I even showed him. I think he's the Huntsman."
"And you think he remembers?" James asked sceptically, putting on the façade for Mary Margret's sake.
"Yes! And then after he left, I saw him talking to my mom - Emma. And then there was this wolf, and they ran after it!"
"A wolf!" Mary Margret cried in disbelief. "Are you sure it was a wolf? There are no wolves in Storybrooke… This doesn't sound good."
"No, it doesn't," he said. "Emma sounds like she could do with some help. Mary Margret, do you have her number?"
"Um, yeah, of course," she said in bewilderment, pulling her phone out and showing him the number he was after. Quickly he typed the number into his own phone and pressed call. The phone rung a few times before she picked up.
"Hello?" Emma said breathlessly, as if she were running.
"It's me, David. Emma, are you still with Graham?"
"If I can catch up to him, yeah," she puffed. "We saw this wolf and he just took off after it! I thought there were no wolves in Storybrooke!"
"Where are you now?"
"I think we're heading for… the cemetery?"
"I'll be there soon," he told her, then hung up. He turned to the rest of his family. "I've got to go help Emma. Henry, stay with Sn- Mary Margret." He bent and gave quick kiss to the woman in question before heading off to his car. Behind him, Mary Margret opened her mouth to say something, but she was so utterly confused as to what was going on that she couldn't even call out his name or say goodbye.
"It's okay," Henry told her. "He's Prince Charming. He always saves the day." This only got him another indulgent look, but he didn't care. He had proof that the curse existed. He had someone on his side.
The sun had set by the time James got to the cemetery, but it wasn't quite dark yet. He only just had enough light left to see where he was going in the dusk. He wandered around until he found a mausoleum. The symbol on the front was familiar, but the give away was that the door had been kicked open and he could hear voices inside and see the sweep of torch light.
He headed towards the light as it became darker. The sound of him coming in must have startled them because they both jumped a mile in the air.
"It's only me," he calmed them. Emma smiled at him in relief, but Graham completely ignored him.
"There has to be something," he growled frantically.
Emma placed a hand to his chest and stopped him. "Graham. Hey. Graham, there's nothing in here," she said softly. The two of them were standing so close their noses were almost touching.
"There has to be," he said. "If there isn't, then-"
"It's okay," she soothed. "It's going to be okay."
"What the hell do you think your doing?" a voice called to them from outside. All three of them cringed in response as they peered out the door to face the last person they wanted to see.
"What are you doing here?" Emma asked Regina as they exited the crypt.
"Brining flowers to my father's grave like I do every Wednesday," Regina exclaimed, slightly raising the bouquet of peace lilies in her hand.
"Don't blame them," Graham defended, walking closer to her. "It was my fault. I wanted to look in there."
"Really? Why? What were you looking for?" Regina asked, puzzled. James opened his mouth ready to cut over Graham and make something up on the spot if need be.
"Nothing," Graham said. "It was, uh… it was nothing." Smart man. He and Emma moved to flank him and support him.
"You don't look well, dear. Let's take you home." She grabbed his arm and went to drag him away, but he yanked his arm free.
"I… I don't want to go home," he told her harshly. "Not with you."
"Oh? But you'll go with her?" she said snidely. The last part sounded more like a statement.
"Hey," Emma said quickly. "This is between you two. Leave me out of it."
"She's right," Graham said. "It's between us. And things have to change."
"And I wonder why that is all of a sudden," Regina sneered, looking pointedly at Emma. James wanted to defend his daughter, but Emma was right. It was just between the two of them, no matter how much the evil woman tried to drag Emma into it.
"It has nothing to do with her," he said forcefully. "You know, I've realised that I don't feel anything, Regina. And I know now it's not me. It's you."
"So you're leaving me for her."
"I'm leaving you for me," he told her. Both James and Emma were so proud of him in that moment. James even more so, considering who he was speaking to… only that just made fear creep in at the edge of his mind. Regina didn't like this one bit… what would she do to him?
"Graham, you're not thinking straight," she tried to reason.
"Actually, for the first time, I am. I would rather have nothing then settle for less. Nothing is better than what we have. I need to feel something, Regina. And the only way to do that is to give myself a chance."
"Graham-" she begged, placing her hand on his chest.
"I'm sorry. It's over," he told her firmly, taking her hand away and stepping back. She just looked at him stunned for a moment before turning to Emma.
"I don't know what I ever did to you, Miss Swan, to deserve this." James had to hold in a disbelieving snort. "To have you keep coming after everything I hold dear."
"I told you, it's not her," Graham said, starting to get angry.
"None of this happened until she got here!"
"Hey, that's a little unfair, don't you think?" James said.
"I'm sorry," Emma said levelly. "But did you ever stop to think that maybe the problem isn't with me, but with you?"
"Henry came and found me," she said, walking around the two men and closer to the evil queen. "Graham kissed me. Both were miserable. Maybe, Madam Mayor, you need to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself why that is. Why is everyone running away from you?"
Suddenly Regina stormed forward and punched Emma so hard that she fell into Graham, knocking them both into the ground.
"Regina!" Graham admonished from the dirt. James was furious. He made to get back at her on behalf of his daughter. To protect her. But Emma was strong and she bet him to it. And she didn't stop with one punch; she grabbed Regina and rammed her up against the side of the crypt.
"Stop!" Graham cried. James was all for anything that bought the queen down, but he was starting to see how this was going to get very ugly. "Stop! Stop!" He managed to pull a struggling Emma off the other woman just before she took another hit. James went to help settle her down. Emma shrugged them off and paced a moment while Regina bent to pick up the flowers she's dropped.
"Not worth it," Emma said as she walked past Regina.
"Graham…" Regina tried. But he ignored her and followed after Emma. After a glare from the Evil Queen, James followed.
When they reached the edge of the cemetery, James got a horrible feeling. Graham was certain that his heart was in the vault by the sound of things. Was it really wise to leave her back there? He began patting down his pockets as obviously as he could.
"Crap," he said making the other two turn to him. "I dropped my phone back at the mausoleum." Emma gave him an odd look. But he ignored it and pulled his keys out of his pocket, careful not to let them see the phone. "Here," he tossed them the keys. "Take Emma back to the station and fix her up."
"But, I left my bug outside the Mayor's house," she said.
"I'll drive it back for you."
"Thanks," she smiled wearily. "Keys are on the seat."
With a nod, he turned and went back the way he came. As he got closer to the mausoleum, he saw Regina go inside, a determined look on her face. He watched quietly from outside as she closed the door. Going up closer, he pressed his ear to the door. For a moment he could hear nothing… Then came the sound of stone grating against stone.
He waited a moment longer before daring to peek through the door. Opening it just a crack, he looked in. Regina was no where in sight… And the stone coffin in the middle of the room had been pushed to the side to reveal a set of stairs.
Quietly as he could, he crept down and followed the sound of footsteps through the extensive catacombs. As they came into a larger room, he just saw Regina go through another door. But this room had lots of things inside. Just for safety, he grabbed a vase from a shelf and hid at the door.
Regina had stopped now. While he had been grabbing the vase, she had grabbed a box from somewhere. She had her back to him, but even from here he could see the bright red crystal like thing she pulled from the box. A heart…
The words of the Huntsman resounded in his head. "…I cannot. I gave up my heart so that the Queen would spare Snow's. Don't let my sacrifice be in vain."
A heart. Graham's heart.
Seeing Regina's fingers prepare to clench, and knowing it could mean nothing good, he snuck up behind her. As he got closer, she heard his footsteps and turned. But she never quite made it, because before she could, he smashed the vase around her head, knocking her out cold.
Carefully he picked up Graham's heart, and with one last look at the unconscious woman, left.
=D Now, I'm hoping you all know what that means? We gonna keep our Graham. We gonna keep our Graham!
Seriously, that was the worst part of the entire show. It broke my hearts. He was one of the best characters and they killed him off so early! It wasn't fair! Yup, as you can guess, I'm a huge Emma / Graham (Or Swan Hunter, or whatever you want to call it) shipper.
Already almost finished the next chapter. Also half way through the first chapter of another OUaT fic that's set post season 1. And After a HUGE writers block, I've finally started on the 'Blink' based chapter for 'The Invisible Rose'. The second part of 'The Unquiet Dead' is slowly getting there. I'm up to the basement scene, just not too sure how to do Rose in this part. But I'll get there. Constantly writing on all my work breaks.
So hold on for more of everything you love!