Carlos arrived at the Charmings' ball an hour late – deliberately – and made his way over to the table of drinks. He was under the impression that this was merely a glorified New Years' Eve party two years into returning to the Enchanted Forest – all thanks to Regina, who'd only gotten 'thank you's from Emma and Henry – when actually, it was a ball to find Emma a suitor and Henry a suitable father.
"James, something's not right with that guy. Something seems off…" Snow mumbled to her husband from her throne.
"I know what you mean. I'll go talk to him." He stepped down from the dais and made his way over to the man, who stood as though he owned the place and looked over the guests with what seemed like disgust. "Excuse me, sir? We don't remember inviting you." James' hand was on his sword but he saw no such weapon on the slightly shorter man.
He shrugged with bulky, broad shoulders. "That's because I'm crashing." His voice was deep, and any woman standing nearby may have swooned with the gravelly, sexy sound. James recognised the smirk on his lips, but couldn't place it.
"Well, my wife and I think that you should leave. You were not invited."
"What if I'm your daughter's true love?" He smirked. "Would you dare kick me out if I end up making her happy?"
James decided to change the subject. "I don't recognise you from Storybrooke."
"That doesn't mean I wasn't there, it just means we never met."
"Dad, it's fine…" Emma's quiet voice came from behind him. As Carlos looked over at her, his smirk fell and his eyes were filled with pity, sympathy and slight anger as he looked at the young woman.
The blonde fiddled with a string hanging from her corset, staring down at her hands. "He can stay. He's not causing any trouble.
Carlos could see that Emma looked uncomfortable in the clothing, and as she refused to make eye contact with anyone that she was afraid of her father.
He grit his teeth and glared at the back of James' head. How dare he cause his own daughter to fear him?
"It's not okay, Emma. We're going to find you a suitable husband this evening, and this man isn't him." He nearly yelled. Emma mumbled something. "What was that?" She mumbled again. "I said, what was that?"
"Nothing. It doesn't matter, father."
"Good." He turned back to Carlos. "Since Emma doesn't want you to leave, you're welcome to stay. But if you touch her… I'll have your head." He stormed off up to his throne again.
Emma stayed stood where she was, still fiddling. Carlos stepped forward, right in front of her. "Your father is cruel. I remember him being a much nicer man in Storybrooke." The blonde simply nodded. "His name isn't even James. That's the name of his dead brother – whose name was also false." She shrugged. Carlos sighed as a slow song began playing. Emma lifted her head and smiled politely as men gathered around her, each one eager to have the first dance with the princess – and maybe end up as her husband.
As she looked at the man before her, about to speak, her jaw dropped and she just stared. The man was gorgeous… High cheekbones, tan skin, deep brown eyes she could get lost in, short black hair and bulky muscles. Emma hadn't been attracted to men since Neal… But this man…
He wore plain black King's robes, and a few medals adorned his left breast. A deep blue sash crossed from his left shoulder down to his right hip, where a thin emerald green and silver band crossed to his right hip as a belt.
He smile politely, eyes sad, but happily taking in the beauty of Emma. "You are truly beautiful, princess." His voice would have been quiet if it weren't for its low pitch, the vibrations resonating loudly. "It's a shame that's all these men care about. Beauty. It's a mere side order compared to your intelligence, bravery, courage, honour… and surprisingly attractive arrogance." He said, never taking his eyes off of bright green ones. "I would ask you to dance if your father weren't going to behead me."
"Screw my father." She whispered, smiling softly at the compliments received.
"I'm not sure he'd like that, he's married." Carlos joked, smiling softly too and holding his hand out palm up.
Emma took the offered hand with a grin, and Carlos led her out onto the dancefloor.
James gripped his sword handle, growling, but Snow put her hand on his to calm him. "Leave them be… Let's just watch what happens."
Emma had obviously only been recently trained in Ballroom dancing, as her movements were stiff - unlike Carlos, who was dancing with practiced ease as he took the lead.
They swirled and danced around the room together, Emma looking down at his chest to identify the medals. He had a Queens Service Order, A Coronation medal, and a Silver Jubilee medal adorning the blue sash by his shoulder. Below, on his chest, were three breast stars. Two knights: A Most Noble Order of the Garter, and a Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and a Military: A Most Honourable Order of the Leekit Great Master. All of the medals were in the colours of the Summerlands, and Emma recognised them instantly as Regina's court.
How would she feel about the two dancing like this? The man was obviously held in high esteem in the Queen's court, as a knight. Would Regina oppose if the two struck up a romance? Why did Emma care what the woman thought, anyway?
The music came to a dramatic halt and their fronts were pressed up against each other, both brown and green eyes flicking between eyes and lips. The room was silent as it watched, no music playing.
"I'm gonna kiss you." Carlos whispered.
"I'd like that."
Their lips brushed gently before pressing fully against each other, strong arms wrapping around a lithe waist, and pale arms wrapping around broad shoulders.
Now, let it be clear that True Love's kiss not only breakscurses, but spells and potion charms too. Which is why, when the boom of true love emanated from their lips, Carlos – and his clothes – began to shrink a little. His features changed and the room watched on in horror as 'Knight Carlos of the Summerlands' morphed slowly into 'Queen Regina of the Summerlands'.
Author's Note: 'Leekit' is a fictional city in Summerlands that I've just made up. I took pro medal an jacket descriptions from our dear Prince Phillip. His Military medal says 'Bath', which is a city here, so I made one up. Please review, let me know what you think, and I'll try to update as soon as possible. Thank you x