Mr. Carlyle's performance last night gave me chills and I had no choice but to write this.
I have no idea about the true implications of last night's episode, but I certainly found glimpses of pre-Dark One Rumple.
Rated M for future chapters
The flight from Boston to New York City was definitely the least amount of time Emma had ever spent on a plane. Even so, the trip was unnerving. She waited for Gold to settle as the tension and fear emanating from him overwhelmed her. Henry downed his cinnamon rolls and then busied himself with a Manhattan visitor's guide she bought him in the gift shop.
Twenty minutes into the flight she softly laid her hand over Gold's, covering his injury. She desperately needed him to relax. His shoulders stayed stiff and his jaw didn't unclench as he turned his palm over into hers and grasped for her fingers. She was grateful Henry was too busy to notice as Gold tightly gripped her hand for the remainder of the flight.
"Whoa, this place is awesome!" Emma nodded in agreement as Henry explored the luxurious suite the two would be sharing. After checking out the bathroom and opening every drawer and door in the place, Henry finally climbed on top of the bed with his guidebook and resumed reading.
Emma looked at the wall her suite shared with Gold's and frowned. She quickly made the decision to get answers as she grabbed the ice bucket and room key. "Hey kid, I'm going to find ice and a vending machine. You want anything?"
He set the book down and looked at her, considering his answer as if she'd asked him something important. "Root beer and a Snickers bar. Oh, and Skittles."
Emma rolled her eyes as Henry continued her list.
Emma lightly tapped on his door, hoping Henry wouldn't hear. She waited briefly before trying again, this time pleading with the man she knew was on the other side. "Gold, please, we need to talk."
The door opened and he stared at her without a word. After a moment she gave up waiting for an invitation and pushed her way past him. She set the empty ice bucket on the writing desk and watched him close the door. He didn't respond with any of the snarky comments she would expect from him, just silence.
He looked down at the carpet next to her feet and then raised his eyes only high enough to stare at the ice bucket. For the first time since the day she met him, he refused to look at her face. Fear suddenly took ahold and she felt sick to her stomach.
"I thought maybe this was a fear of flying thing. It's not, is it?"
Gold quickly nodded before sitting at the edge of the bed, tossing his cane onto the mattress. His eyes still refused to meet hers.
Emma kept her hands flat against her body, determined not to show anger or fear. "Whatever this is, whatever happened, you need to tell me."
Finally, he slowly raised his head until his eyes locked with hers. If she didn't know better, she would have thought he was a different man than the arrogant bastard she knew in Storybrooke. Emma found the silence was lasting entirely too long and opened her mouth to speak.
He beat her to it. "It's gone, Emma, I lost it."
"Lost what? Your shawl is still around your neck. If you lost something on the plane or at the airport, we can-"
She thought maybe she misheard him. She brought a hand to her face and lightly rubbed her forehead with her fingertips, as if she could will her brain to understand the situation.
She guiltily looked away as tears began to streak his cheeks. Emma was never comfortable around crying people, but this took awkward to another level. He quickly wiped the tears from his face and continued.
"The dark one is gone."
Emma's frown relaxed a bit. "Wait a minute, isn't that a good thing? Tomorrow you'll have your son back. You don't need magic anymore." She tried to give him a reassuring smile.
His eyes still held hers but the anger and arrogance she was so used to finding in them had vanished and been replaced with fear and uncertainty. "How am I supposed to protect my son without my magic? I've finally found him and he could be gone in an instant. What about Henry? How am I supposed to look after him?"
Her eyes widened a bit at the mention of her son. That's funny; it wasn't too long ago you were threatening to kill him. Knowing he would never have followed through with the threat she held her tongue.
She knelt down in front of him, resting on her knees and taking his hands in hers. As on the plane, the recoil she had anticipated never came. "Listen, Henry is my responsibility. You and I have had more than a few disagreements, but you've also saved Henry more than once." She lifted a hand to his cheek. "I promise you, I will do the same for you. I will protect your son."