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Dangerous is the Vexed God

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Emma was waiting for her outside. Her long legs sticking out, feet firmly planted on the pavement and arms crossed over her chest. The same nuns who’d watched Regina suspiciously were a little more furtive with their spying on Emma, but the stiff set of Emma’s shoulders and the thin line of her mouth suggested she was well aware of the eyes on her.

She pushed off the car with her hips when she saw Regina. Wordlessly opened the passenger door to let her in. 

Now discussion. No argument. Just mute agreement that things could, and should, be left unsaid.

When they were back on the road she let out a long breath. “Thanks for talking to her.”

“It made sense.”

“Did she help?” 

She looked down at her fingers. They were gray like dye from a new pair of black jeans had rubbed off on them. “No.”

“Can she?”


Emma’s hand twisted on the steering wheel.

“How’d you know where to find me?”

She checked the rearview mirror before changing lanes. “I would like to say it’s because it’s what I do, but really I just used the locket.”

“That’s why I made it.”

The weight of what they weren’t talking about started to weigh heavy between them. Thick as magic fog.

“Aren’t you going to ask why I left?”

“If you’d wanted to tell me you wouldn’t have left,” she took a right, putting them on the road out of town.

“And now you’re kidnapping me?”

“Taking you to dinner.”

“Out of town.”

Emma’s eyes darted to Regina’s hand. “Less eyes on us. And no over protective men lurking with shotguns.”

Regina groaned, “David?”

“And Hook. But mainly David.” She glanced at her knowingly, “He heard everything.”

“Why do you think I left?”

It was a quick quip meant to whitewash over the real reason.

A frown tugged at the corners of Emma’s lips. She turned back to the road. “Maybe next time don’t leave me holding the bag.”

She didn’t need the locket to get that she’d hurt Emma by fleeing the scene, but she didn’t think the details of why she’d fled would make anything better.

All she could do was pry one of Emma’s hands off the wheel and bring it to her lips.



Dinner was McDonalds.

Regina asked if it was punishment for leaving so abruptly earlier. Emma insisted it wasn’t—even if it sort of was. They were both acting like the WASPs neither of them were and pretending something really weird hadn’t happened when Regina had gone down on her.

And McDonalds helped. It was bland comfort food as easy as they were supposed to be. Coke, a quarter pounder and a large fry later and Emma was feeling a lot less wounded about what had happened. Particularly as Regina was happily humming to herself as she dipped chicken nuggets into sauce.

“You know what’s pretty adorable,” Emma asked.

Regina raised an eyebrow and kept eating.

“You humming over chicken nuggets.”

Regina flushed. “They’re oddly comforting.”

She’d embarrassed Regina, and somehow that just made the whole scene more endearing. It wasn’t like she was breaking the facade Regina wore most of the time. More like she was getting to peak at the woman underneath.

Like when she’d found her about to house an entire pan of lasagna by herself.

“Does the whole magic burning calories thing work out here?”

“I hope so. I don’t think my ass needs what twenty chicken McNuggets will do to it.”

“I don’t think twenty will hurt it. It’s a cute ass.”

Regina seemed game for flirting and watched her out of the corner of her eye, “You look at it often?”

“I mean, I can’t say I’ve had the best view of it yet, what with you not even taking off your skirt this afternoon, but I like what I’ve seen.”

She sighed and set her food down on the dashboard. “You’re not going to let that go are you?”

“I am letting it go. In spurts, followed by snide comments about it, and then more spurts.”

She looked down her nose at her—like she did when she was lecturing Henry. “That’s not letting it go, Emma.”

“If I bailed on you after going down on you in a very spontaneous, but very welcome moment would you just let it go?”

The lights in the McDonalds parking light were garish and too cool. They cast strong shadows on Regina’s face and hid her eyes. But she could still see Regina studying her. “No. I wouldn’t. However instead of McDonalds and conversation in your car I probably would have lured you somewhere comfortable. Ideally furnished with a bed.”

Emma sighed and pushed her seat back. “This is not a seduction attempt.”


“I don’t seduce people in fast food parking lots. That’s how I got my niece.”

“You’re an only child.”

“Foster sister.”

“Thought you were a loner with no family whatsoever.”

“Well, we don’t talk now, but a little more than ten years ago we were best friends.”

“And she got knocked up in a McDonalds parking lot?”

“Jack in the Box.”


Emma nodded and looked away smiling at an old joke, “We’re just glad the guy’s name wasn’t Jack.”

Regina groaned.

“But yeah, it was, you know, after everything with Neal.” And Henry. 

Regina digested it all. Probably better than either of them would digest the fast food. “And you don’t talk to her anymore?”

“She wasn’t…she wasn’t crazy about how I handled Henry.” She wadded the wrapper for her hamburger up just to give her hands something to do, “and then when I moved in with her and not-Jack to help with the baby it wasn’t…”

Regina had turned to fully face her, her back pressed to the door. There was a lot of shame at the back of her mind when she thought about those times. She hadn’t been a very good “sister.”

“I say we were foster sisters, but it was very Flowers in the Attic you know? We were stupid hormonal teenagers, and the both of us were trying to figure out our..who we were.”

The sort of confession didn’t phase Regina. “You were lovers.”

She winced at the name. It was too adult—too romantic—for what they’d been. Sweaty fumblings and hushed professions weren’t exactly the things romance novels were supposed to be made of.

“It was just easier to call ourselves foster sisters you know? People took us a little more seriously than if we’d called ourselves “friends who grew up in the home together and played doctor to figure our sexuality out.”

“Certainly less of a mouthful.” She tilted her head. “Does she know about Henry? Now I mean. That you have a relationship with him?”

“I think my life is just complicated enough that it might be difficult to explain.”

“What? T

hat you live with your mother and father who are the same age as you and you’re dating a woman who once functioned as your mother’s stepmother and you have to share your son with her and his long lost father who happens to be the son of a man in a very complicated relationship with a librarian and a woman who would ‘technically’ be your step-great grandmother?”

“Yeah. That.”

The springs in Regina’s seat creaked as she leaned forward and over the center console to kiss Emma gently.

“What was that for,” she whispered against Regina’s lips.

“You should take me home,” she said softly. Her nose nuzzled Emma’s gently before she kissed her again. “Let me make up for what happened this afternoon.”

“Talking about exes really does it for you huh?”

Regina laughed and kissed her again before flopping back into her seat carelessly. Her hair was mussed from the movement and made her look decidedly less like the Regina Emma was accustomed to. 



They were a block from the mansion when Emma got a call from Mulan. “What happened,” she asked in confusion. She listened to Mulan’s explanation while shooting worried glances at Regina.

Then she sighed and at the stop sign made a U-turn to point the car back towards the forest.

“Something wrong,” Regina asked.

“Apparently the forest is in an uproar and every single damn princess in town was freaking out about it. Mulan and Aurora want me to come see and it sounds magic enough that—“

“You’d like me there.”

“That okay?”

As they were getting further and further from her house Regina didn’t really have a say in the matter. “It’s fine. But I feel like I have to say that the next date we go on I get to choose the itinerary.”

“You haven’t liked my dates?”

“Lobster rolls and the beach were great. McDonalds and crime scenes are a little less my speed.”

“I’ll be sure to mix it up next time. Wendy’s and the morgue.”

“I’d prefer Burger King and the hospital.”

“If we’re eating at Burger King the hospital’s a given.”

They were guided to the crime scene by the flashing lights of Mulan’s cruiser. Neither she or Aurora commented when Regina got out of the car. They were too busy staring at what had the forest in a riot.

Emma winced at the cacophony coming from the tree tops. “The birds gonna shut up anytime soon.”

“I’m wearing earplugs,” Aurora shouted. “It helps!” 

She tossed a pair to Emma and then began explaining the scene.

Which…it wasn’t a traditional crime scene. At least not like something out of Law & Order. Instead it was a stretch of forest flattened. Trees were shattered and the remains of animals crushed into the forest floor.

“Did a giant fall over,” Emma joked, her voice too loud because of the ear plugs.

“Storybrooke doesn’t have giants.” Mulan’s tone was dry. “And they usually don’t crush small woodland creatures with their ass.”

Aurora shouted, “Right?! This is clearly something else.”

“What,” Emma shouted back.

“This is clearly something el—“

“I mean what is it!”

“Oh! I don’t know!”

Regina stepped close to Mulan, “Are we going to keep letting them do this?”

Mulan shrugged.

She could be no help sometime—Regina clapped and the clamor of birds went silent.

Emma was the first to take her ear plugs out. “You didn’t just murder half the forest did you?”

“Cone of silence,” she deadpanned. “If I had to listen to that Who’s On First routine any longer I was going to murder something.”

Emma’s eyes flickered to Regina’s bandaged hand and then up to her eyes for silent confirmation she was okay. It was a sweet gesture.

Regina shoved her hand into her coat pocket. “So what sat on the woodland creatures?”

“We don’t know. That’s why Emma, and you, are here.”

“All that noise and the birds couldn’t tell you?”

Emma shook her head, “They just keep shouting ape.”

“Over and over again,” Aurora complained. 

“So…” she wanted to be very clear on this, “a monkey?”

“Ape,” Mulan corrected her. 

Emma grinned. “Yeah Regina.” She was egging her on with her teasing tone, “There’s a big difference. One has a tail. The other apparently squishes deer for sport.” 

“If an ape is big enough to do all of this shouldn’t it still be around?” That was Mulan, always asking the important questions.

On queue all four of them went silent, listening for some distant lumbering giant ape monster. But in the dome of magic Regina had made there was nothing. An eerie absence of sound she was regretting having made.

“Could we track it,” Aurora stage whispered.

Emma carefully picked her way through the “crime scene” and peered around the edges, shining her high-powered flashlight out into the darkness. “Doesn’t look like our ape left much of a trail. Something this big there should be broken branches or fur. We should have some idea of where it went.”

Aurora flashed her light into the wilderness. “There’s nothing.”

“Which means magic,” Regina announced. Saying what none of them wanted to hear.

“Traceable magic,” Mulan asked hopefully.

She cracked her knuckles. “We can certainly find out.” 

But before she could cast another spell Emma caught her arm. “You sure that’s a good idea?” She was watching Regina’s hand again. Like it would suddenly go gray and wrap around her throat.

“I’m not trying to break through enchantments on wands. Just tracing a giant monkey.” She plucked her hand off her arm. “I think I’ll be fine.”

Emma’s voice was low enough that Mulan and Aurora couldn’t hear her from a few feet away. “You nearly went gray this afternoon, so excuse me for being worried.”

“I’m not going to stop using magic just because an old curse is acting up.”

Emma frowned. “Old?”

“And this is different,” she said in a hurry. “It’s not nearly the same as what I attempted this afternoon.”

“But what do you mean by old?”

“We’ll talk about it later.” 

Emma’s jaw was set, and she had a cranky look on her face that was identical to the one Charming usually wore around Regina. “Long talk. Until dawn kind of talk.”

She turned away from her. “Romantic,” she teased over her shoulder. Then she cast her hands out before her and wove a spell.



The easy domesticity wasn’t lost on Emma. Regina cast her spell, declared the suspect poofed away, they all agreed to keep an eye out for giant apes, and then she and Regina returned to the mansion.

Up the stairs and into an argument that had been brewing since Regina said the word “old.” But they had it while getting ready for bed, and, again, it wasn’t lost on Emma.

“So your hand is…cursed? Like, cut by the Dark One’s dagger kind of cursed,” she asked. She was sitting on Regina’s chaise lounge and prying her boots off her feet.

Regina was in the bathroom taking off her earrings and removing her makeup. Emma could just see a sliver of the back of her. Mainly just the butt she’d already made mention of and the curve of one calf.

“No. More ‘I am supposed to become the Dark One’ cursed.”

She dropped her boot. “That might be worse.”

“One’s fatal and the other gives me immense power.”

“And turns you evil!”

Regina stepped into the doorway. “I’ve been evil before.”

“But that was—“

Regina waited, eyebrow raised.

She dropped her boots on to the floor. “This time magic is making you evil.”

“Only if I let it.” 

Regina disappeared back into the bathroom and Emma had to get up to follow her. “That’s not how this is supposed to work.” She hung back in the doorway, watching Regina rub lotion onto her neck. 

Regina laughed, “When did you become the magic expert?”

“Okay, so what did the expert say? You can’t tell me the Mother Superior is okay with you taking Gold’s place.”

Regina paused in her nightly ministrations. She held Emma’s gaze in the mirror. “The Dark One’s a necessity Emma. It’s how our world keeps balance.”

“She wants you to be the Dark One?”

“Someone has to.”

She stepped into the bathroom. “Not you.”

“Better the devil you—“

Stepped closer. “Not you Regina.”

They stared at one another in the mirror. Neither moving. Finally Regina turned around. “How do you propose we stop it?” She spoke softly but her voice was still drenched in pride.

“We’ll find a way.”

Regina’s hand fell lightly on Emma’s hip. “A fairy murderer. A war. That giant ape. Now a curse? You’re collecting mysteries like Henry collects comic books.”

“Some of them I plan to solve sooner than later.”

They were just near enough in height that without shoes Regina didn’t have to look up at her. She chewed on her lip. “You really think you can end the Dark One?”

And they were standing so close that Emma felt silly talking any louder than a whisper. “Isn’t that what saviors are for?” She leaned in for a kiss but Regina ducked smoothly under her and darted into the other room.

“Seriously,” she called after her.

“I had a long day and need sleep,” Regina called back.

“What happened to making up for this afternoon?”

Regina was pulling pillows off the bed and stopped. “We’re to the bargaining for sex part of our relationship already?”

“That’s not—“

Regina lobbed the pillow at Emma’s head and she snatched it out of the air.

They unmade the bed together, Emma in nothing but her underwear and a borrowed t-shirt and Regina in full silk pajamas. When they climbed in and turned off the lights Emma stared up at the unfamiliar ceiling and listened to the settling of an unfamiliar house.

“I feel underdressed,” she whispered into the darkness.

Regina sighed.

There was the sound of fabric brushing against fabric and then a bare leg ran down the length of Emma’s bare leg. “Better,” Regina whispered loudly.

Emma laughed and turned to face her. “Why did no one ever tell me your adorable when you want to be?”

Even in the darkness she could see Regina blanche—like she’d struck some unexpected nerve. Then, slowly, a smile spread across her face. “I try to keep my cute factor under wraps. More powerful than a fireball.”

Emma pulled her close and kissed her forehead—her heart beating quickly at the intimacy of it— “I’m positively ash.”



He called her adorable. When she’d leapt into the hay and emerged victorious, barncat clutched to her chest. Daniel had plucked a strand of straw out of her hair and rubbed it between his fingers and called her adorable.

But that had been when she had been young and stupid.

She stayed up too late running the word over and over again in her head. Like it was an object to hold in her hand and examine.


Emma, soundly asleep, reached across the bed and pressed her hand to Regina’s chest. “Shh,” she cooed—eyes closed.

Regina presumed her talent for sleeping came from being a bounty hunter. Something about catching sleep when one could. She envied Emma’s talent and had to watch her a while to stew in her envy.

And affection.


That wasn’t a word reserved for Evil Queens or madam mayors or a Thief. “Adorable” was a domestic word.

She and Emma were anything but.

“Go to sleep,” Emma mumbled.

Regina’s eyes drifted close.

When she opened them again Emma was sitting on her knees on the bed, a speck of tooth paste at the corner of her toothy grin. Early morning sunlight was caught in the gold of her hair and even after a relatively late night and not an ounce of makeup there were no bags under Emma’s eyes.

“Morning,” she said.

Regina sat up on her elbows and peaked at the clock behind Emma. “Morning.”

“I let you sleep.”

“It’s seven. I don’t get up before ten unless Henry has school or I have a meeting.”

“I’ve been up since six.”

“Just staring?”

“I brushed my teeth and read the ancient Cosmo on your chaise lounge.” 

She straddled Regina like it was the most normal thing in the world. 

“I’m a winter.”

With legs for days. 

Regina rested her hands on the smooth bare skin of Emma’s thighs. “You don’t feel too cold.”

That earned a groan and a roll of the eyes. But didn’t stop Emma from leaning down and kissing Regina like they were normal.

“Remember what I said yesterday,” she whispered against her lips.

“You talked a lot Emma.”

Her teeth tugged on Regina’s lower lip. “I said I wanted to wake up next to you.”

Regina let her thumbs dance at the edge of dark black underwear. But Emma caught one wrist. 

“I’m pretty big on the whole fairness thing.” She ground her hips into Regina. “Something about growing up in group homes has me big on give and take.”

“I don’t mind giving.”

“I know you don’t. For some evil type-A bitch you’re very magnanimous.” She’d caught her feet on the covers and reached down to pull them over her and Regina, creating a pleasant cocoon of warmth. “But I’m the Savior remember?” She slid down Regina’s body. Her movements excruciatingly slow. Her touch feather light and maddening. “I got to give too.”

Her mouth, open and hot, pressed into Regina through her underwear and her hips bucked as an embarrassing groan escaped her mouth.

Emma looked up. Grinned. “Is that why you didn’t want me reciprocating at the police station?”

Regina tried to use her words. Emma’s finger playfully ran down her lips and she failed.

“Very vocal,” Emma observed with too much pride.

Regina wasn’t always vocal. She’d just missed sex.

A lot.

More than she could have guessed.

Emma pulled Regina’s underwear off and settled back between her legs. “Just try not to wake the rest of the house.”

Her mouth was on her again and Regina was seeing stars.

She wasn’t thinking about another Emma, or the last person to call her adorable, or even the sea of faces that had knelt between her thighs over the years.

She was just thinking about this Emma and her wicked tongue and the way she had a sense of humor. Emma teased. Joked with nothing but her mouth and fingers. 

Regina laughed.

“Something funny,” a muffled voice asked—amusement coloring her voice.

Everything was funny. Funny sat on one side of a razor’s edge. Tragedy sat on the other. All Regina had to do was tilt her head and see the chances she’d lost with another Emma. The one that had loved her.

“She’ll never love you,” a dead woman reminded her. Chilled breath in her ear.

She covered her eyes with her bandaged hand and tried to sort out what was bubbling out of her. Humor or hysteria. She couldn’t be sure.


Emma had stopped. Her chin was resting lightly on Regina’s belly and her eyes were dark and curious. 

“You want to tell me what’s up?”

She went back to covering her face with her hand and shook her head.

“Because, on my end, it feels like you’re having a panic attack.”

She had no idea how to respond to that. People snorted fairy dust in the Enchanted Forest when they had panic attacks. 


The door was kicked open with such dramatic flare that Killian had to have known what he would find on the other side.

And the bird did too, because the little bastard was wolf whistling before the door even finished swinging open.

Killian, glad to have the little eye full he was getting, grinned. “Well, if this isn’t a sight for sore eyes and romantic foo—“ He only barely dodged the fireball that smacked harmlessly against the glass-covered portrait behind him. “Easy love.”

Emma through the covers over her head.

“Oh like I didn’t already see plenty.”

Regina drew another ball of fire into her fist and Killian held up hook and hand in surrender. “At least fifty percent of me coming up here was to tell you Mulan was downstairs.”


“Sinbad made me do it.”


Sinbad, being a lecherous pervert, tried to fly in for a closer look, but Killian caught him by his squat little bird body and tugged him back. 

“We’ll be downstairs. Join us when you’re decent.”

When he was gone Emma flipped the covers back. Her chin was still resting lightly on Regina’s stomach. “Bright side is you don’t seem to be having a panic attack any more.”

She glared.

“Less bright side is you’ve replaced it with the kind of anger that’s gonna give me frost bite.” She put her weight on one elbow and pulled painfully at her locket with her other hand. “At least let me put on a bra first.”


She stopped fussing with the locket to eye Regina furtively, “Hook’s really getting to you isn’t he?”

“He’s being an ass.”

“He’s been an ass. That’s just Hook.”

It would have been easier if that were true. 



They gathered around the kitchen aisle. Emma and Regina and Hook and Mulan. (Aurora was apparently “busy.”) Maleficent stood to the side sucking down Coke with a straw to avoid ruining perfectly applied lipstick.

The noise rankled Emma.

And Mulan. She glared, “Why is she here?”

“Because I had to see this,” Maleficent said vampishly.

“And she’s bound to be more useful than her sisters,” Regina added.

“Honey, Killian’s hook in bed is more useful that those ladies.”

Emma closed her eyes, but that didn’t do anything to help with the grotesque visual.

“How would you know,” Regina dared.

“None of us need to know,” Mulan said quietly.

Emma nodded, “I’m with her.” She picked her latte up and sipped it gratefully. Regina had made it with a practiced hand. One for her, one for Mulan and one for herself. Hook had refused her mute offer and was swilling regular coffee that smelled more like Irish creme.

"Right," Hook said loudly, “back to the matters at hand." He grinned at his bad pun, but it worked at refocusing the conversation.

Regina's hand.

She had it laying flat on the counter. Dark skin against pale granite. Easy to stare at. To judge. 

It looked normal. The discoloration she'd seen creep into it wasn't there the night before. But looking at it also felt…wrong. There was something unsettling about that hand.

"Nasty curse," Maleficent observed.

"Not helpful," Mulan shot back. "How long do you have?"

Regina shrugged. "Days. Years? It hasn't been consistent so far. Just always…there."

Their eyes all returned to the hand. Like it'd spring up and murder them.

Hook finished his coffee in a gulp. "Right, I say we chop it off."

Maleficent laughed.

Mulan actually nodded and came around like she was going to hold Regina down as Hook tried to pull a sword from the scabbard.

"What! Woah. No," Emma shouted, stepping between Mulan and Regina. "We are not just going to chop off her hand--and where did you get a sword!"

Hook gave it a practiced swish while the rest of them looked at Emma like she was the crazy one.

"Emma…" Regina said carefully.

She rounded on her girlfriend, eyes wide at the hesitation she heard in her voice. Regina looked like--like she agreed. "You want them to chop off your hand?"

"Right now the curse is localized to the hand and removal--"

"Would mean taking your hand. And for what? How do we know the curse won't hop into the rest of you? Or that it hasn't already?"

"Point to the sheriff," Maleficent opined.

"Thank you."

"I think it's worth a shot," Hook declared--his voice a little slurred. "Plenty of us get along just fine without a hand."

"Because you're doing so well," Mulan snapped.

"You don't see me wandering puppy-like after princesses do you?"

"I am not a puppy."

"Oh I've seen the eyes, love. Aurora tells you to sit and you'd ask how long."

Emma sighed, "That's not how puppies work."

"Like you'd know. The only one more whipped than the two of you is that one." He jerked his thumb in Regina's direction.

Maleficent laughed again. A big brassy "hah."

Then the whole house shook.

A rush of bitter cold went through Emma and she looked to Regina's whose eyes were wide in surprise.


"Was that?"

Maleficent set down her coke and look towards the window. "Nothing good."

"You felt it too,” Emma asked.

"Anyone with an ounce of magic felt that," Regina said.

"Felt what," Hook asked.

Mulan was glowering, her hand fidgeting on the pistol at her hip. "Magic."

“Am I the only that didn’t feel it,” he asked incredulously.

"No. I inferred. Those three felt it."

"Same as last night," Maleficent noted.

"Wait. Last night?"

Regina's lips were pursed. "We were outside of town so we missed it, but this," she held her bandaged hand up. Magic skittered across it. Aftershocks of whatever had just poured through them all. "This is a lot of magic. The kind that could transport something very large."


It dawned on Mulan too. "And hairy."

Shit shit shit.

The front door banged open and Aurora rushed in, "Everyone. You have to--"

"Where the hell did you come from?" Hook was more surprised by Aurora than the idea of whatever had just happened.

"I was outside," she snapped.

"What? Just sitting in the car? You couldn't even bother to come in?"

"I wasn't going to sit in a room pretending that you and her," she pointed at Maleficent without looking at her, "weren't here."

"You don't have to pretend little one." Maleficent managed to sound sweet and creepy as hell in one go.

"I can't believe you'd rather avoid me than apologize."

"Apologize!" Aurora was furious at the idea.

A noise filtered through the open door. A distant…roar.

But Aurora was still focused on Hook. "You're the one that threw me into a pit with the zombie form of my arch nemesis!"

"So, okay, we're just gonna keep doing this," Emma asked.

"He tossed me too," Regina reminded Aurora.

"Yup. Just gonna keep doing this. That's cool. Not like there isn't a giant--"

Another roar. Closer. Glass rattled in its frame.

"Like you can talk," Mulan mumbled, “you're housing the asshole."

"Because you left him on my doorstep!"

"You didn't have to keep him! But you'd rather worry about dating Emma than Killian's very clear problem with alcohol."

"I do not have a problem!"

Emma wasn't going to agree with that one. The man was sweating irish creme.

"The familiar discord is really adorable," Maleficent had pulled another soda from the fridge and opened it with a crack and hiss, "but are any of you 'heroes' gonna address the giant monkey outside?"

"It's an ape actually." Why was Aurora taking time to be snotty when--

The next roar was definitely closer. Close enough that they all migrated outside and stared at the tree line.


Big. Giant.

Emma closed her eyes because staring at it any longer wasn’t going to help.

The thing was huge. Hairy. Alive. The trees and homes just coming up to its elbows.

And a peek at the others showed that Emma was the only one even remotely fazed by goddamn ape lumbering down the street.

Regina stood closest to Emma. She crossed her arms as she craned her neck to stare up at the beast. "This is a terrible way to start the morning."

Yeah. As mornings went this one had gone from one of the best to definitely, categorically, the worst.

King Kong roared.