[ drabble prompts ]
It’s a test.
It has to be a test.
Rumplestiltskin is far more powerful than she, far more experienced than she… how he came to be injured is a curiosity she has no time to indulge in — but he stands before her, bleeding and pale and sickly and he expects her to heal him. Why can’t he heal himself? The all-mighty Dark One, capable of what should be impossible things, can’t cleanse a wound? It doesn’t make sense to her, and her gaze flitters between the stain in his vest and his face and he’s grinning at her, despite the normally fatal hole in his side and she feels ill.
She hadn’t expected this. Healing is light magic, and everything she’s learned lately has been tainting with darkness. Biting her lip, Regina’s hands rise, palms up flat as she steps forward hesitantly. She treats him as she would a frightened horse, as if he were skittish, reared, ready to charge or flee at the slightest wrong move.
He terrifies her.
( she likes it )
His eyes roll and he breathes a drawn out sigh, exasperated at her naivety and her gaze flickers up to watch his head loll from one side to the other, as if he were a clock and it dries her mouth, unsettles her stomach, and it has to be a test. She’s never healed anything before, not even the small cuts she so often gets from the parchment that litters her vanity. She licks her lips, ebony hues falling to the wound in Rumplestiltskin’s side and now that she’s closer, she can see it clearer. Her fingertips brush against it gently, and he hisses dramatically, causing her to startle, to step back and stare up at him with wide eyes and he grins, giggles a ‘oops’ and reaches out to tug her hand to his side and it’s warm, he’s warm, the blood is dark on her skin and her nose crinkles in distaste.
"Concentrate, dearie…" he mumbles under his breath, drawing her closer so it’s like he’s whispering in her ear and she swallows, nods her head and closes her eyes. She doesn’t need them to be open to know that he’s watching her with that look in his eye. The look that makes her feel as if he knows every inch of her being from the imperfections on her body to the thoughts in her head it’s just as unsettling as it is thrilling.
It’s a test.
It has to be a test.
And she’s failing.
"Concentrate!" Hissed words cause her to jump, eyes to fly open and she glares at him, flat palms curling in to clenched fists and he has taught her well, for she hisses right back. "I am!"
How can she when she has the Dark One whispering in her ear, his heart ( she didn’t know if he actually had one ) pulsing beneath her hand and he continues to bleed. Regina worries, concern marring her brow for, surely, any mortal man would have died by now but Rumplestiltskin is no mortal man and she forgets that, sometimes.
‘This is child’s play’, he mutters in her ear and his grip on her wrist tightens and she bites her lip to stop from crying out. He releases her then, brow creased in disappointment and his hand moves to wave over his side, but she shakes her head, snatching his wrist the same way he had snatched hers and bites through clenched teeth, "No…. I can do this."
He watches in silence even as the wound finally begins to ache and she’s waited too long, it will probably scar, but she is his favourite and she will learn to heal any wound that may find it’s way on to her body and he watches, in silence. Her brow furrows, and she is stubborn, even with her eyes closed he can see the determination hidden within dark, dark brown and he feels warm, her hand feels hot, and the light that begins to shine in her palm isn’t white, but it’s no where near black and for a moment he balks, glares at the light in her hand as if it burns his soul, rather than his flesh.
He needs a monster.
Monster’s don’t shine.
But when she opens her eyes, sees pinking flesh that had once been raw red, she grins. The smile is one that he won’t see often in the future and he knows that, drinks in the sight of it because he’ll be the one to tear it apart and he smiles, nods his head, and claps giddily.
The ache in his side is worth it.