Boston Freeway – Present
After two long hours driving, Emma straightened her shoulders, trying to relieve some of the weariness caused by hitting the road. The dense rain pelting the yellow Volkswagen had formed rivers that coursed through the road Emma drove through, making the already bad driving even more dangerous.
This cold is not helping either, thought the blonde trying to adjust the car heater, which had seen better days.
Turning on the radio, she gave a brief look at the passenger seat, wondering if the music would disturb her companion’s sleep. The woman by her side however, continued to sleep soundly with her face slightly turned to the window and a red leather jacket thrown over her shoulders.
Emma gave a half smile at the sight. This is really an atypical situation.
Turning attention back to the road, the sheriff straightened up in her seat and finally spotted a sign indicating that soon they would reach the city.
An old Bon Jovi song was playing on the radio and without noticing the blonde-haired woman began to hum along the familiar lyrics, while her fingers drummed the beat on the steering wheel. From the corner of her eye, she noticed her passenger stir in her sleep, now turning to face the driver.
Emma gripped the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white, her attention drawn back to the cuts on the woman's cheek, lips and brow. Even so, there was a certain aura of peace surrounding the woman while she slept. Locks of brown hair falling lightly over her face, her lips slightly parted, and a completely relaxed expression graced her features. She looked different, completely changed from how she was when she was awake, with her patented frowns, piercing stares, deadly glares, sharp tongue, sassy remarks and uptight outfits. Right now, wearing only Emma’s black t-shirt and old sweatpants, sleeping on the bug’s passenger seat she looked… beautiful.
Mocking her own trail of thought, Emma scoffed. Where did that come from? Perhaps the unusual situation in which they were now, she mused. A brief glance at her passenger caused her to recall the events of last night.
Storybroke – Day prior.
Everything happened fast, even within seconds. For a moment Emma thought she had lost Henry forever, and the next, he was opening his eyes and everyone around them were regaining their memories and looking at her so very hopefully. She had done it. She had broken the curse. The Evil Queen’s curse or… Regina’s.
She did not have much time to process however, Regina – saying her goodbyes to Henry – ran with Whale right after her, and Mother Superior – or any character she was or used to be – was smiling – frighteningly, in Emma's vision – and a purple mist, out of nowhere, was covering the streets.
Green eyes scanned the smoke through the hospital window and instinctively she hugged Henry, pulling him impossibly closer to herself. The boy, still dressed in hospital scrubs, looked at her with startled eyes and hugged her by the waist.
Closing her eyes as the smoke surrounded them, she waited. She waited for screams, pain, destruction or any other sign. However, nothing happened. With a cold breath on her neck, the fog disappeared exactly as it came: out of nowhere.
“What the hell was that?” She dared to ask after a couple breaths.
“Magic.” Mother Superior said. “Somehow magic was brought to this world.”
“Maybe I should say… Someone. Someone brought magic here. Breaking the barriers of realms and presenting itself in this world, the land without magic.”
“Magic… Magic is back?” Henry spoke and Emma looked down at his big brown eyes. “That is bad Emma,” he added.
“The villains…” She watched a strange and hurt look pass through his eyes. “They will have power… They…”
“Not only them Henry,” Mother Superior interfered one more time, “every magic being will also recover their powers.”
Emma opened her mouth to ask who the woman was – used to be – when her phone vibrated in her pocket as it started ringing. Looking at the device’s display, she pondered the idea of sending it to voice mail. It flashed MM incoming call. Deciding it was not the wisest thing to do given the circumstances, she picked up right before the last ring.
“Emma? Are you ok? Where are you?” Emma released the breath she did not know she was holding. Somehow, she imagined that something utterly impossible would have happened, that she could not even explain, that her friend would be completely gone. But, Mary Margaret still sounded like Mary Margaret, a worried one, but still the same. And the mere thought of that soothed her.
“Yes M.M. I’m okay.” Looking at Henry, she added, “We are good. I’m at the hospital, with Henry, but we both are fine,” she reassured.
“It is ok Emma. Everything will be fine.” She almost heard Mary Margaret smiling. An abrupt noise on the streets alarmed Emma and she peered over the windows.
“Where are you guys?” She could hear a lot of noise on the other end of the line.
“We’re near Mr. Gold’s shop and… Mob… Regina.” The line went silent, and through her spot in the window she could see the citizens walking in direction of Mifflin Street.
Something was completely off, that was a sure. Getting close to the bed and looking one more time through the window she kneeled before Henry, to reach his eye level and gave him a reassuring smile. Through the corner of her eye, she saw Mother Superior leaving the room.
“Listen Kid. I don’t know what is going on now. But I need to go and check okay?” She patted him on the shoulder and gave an apologetic look. She knew he would not accept this easily. “I’m going to Regina’s house, and I need you to stay here for me alright buddy?”
“But… No, Emma… She is the Evil Queen! You can’t go.” He protested weakly.
“Henry…” She sighed. “I know this is a lot to take in. But Regina… She IS your mother. She took care of you… She may be an Evil Queen from another land, but she is still the mom that loved and still loves you.”
“I know…” He shook his head in defeat. She knew this conversation was far from over, but it would have to wait. “Then I’ll go with you. She won’t hurt me Emma.”
“I know Henry.” She sighed passing a hand through her blonde her. “But you said yourself that there are a lot of people with magic now. And they are all very… Angry. I need you to stay here, where I know it is safe while I go to help your mom. Ok kiddo?” She smiled weakly.
“I…” He started, but she hugged him and whispered in his ear.
“It is going to be like an operation. Like Operation Cobra 2.0.” He hugged her back and she knew instantly she had won him over. “I’ll go, see if Regina is okay, and then we plan the next step. Copy that?”
“Yep.” He nodded on her shoulder.
“Good.” She reached into her pocket and grabbed her phone, passing it to Henry. “Call Mary Margaret and ask her to come pick you up. You’ll be safe with her.”
“And Henry?” She halted just outside the door, smiling and pressing her index finger against her lips. “Nobody can know about Operation Cobra remember?”
This time he smiled more widely and nodded vigorously at her and she finally left the room.
The minute she stepped out of the hospital, she could feel that everything was different. The air was cold, and the sky was grey and cloudy, as if a storm was coming. The streets around were quiet, which was extremely odd. Suddenly, she felt a cold chill down her spine; somehow Emma knew she needed to hurry. After running a few blocks, she reached her car. She entered it and for a minute, she froze, holding tight to the steering wheel, too frightened to react. Her first instincts were to run away, as always. She should not be there in the first place. She could not think straight, everything was confused inside her mind. The whole fairy tale thing… It still did not make sense. It was too much to carry. She was no savior, just a girl trying to survive in the big world. She had been alone her whole life, taking care of nobody else but herself. How could she be the savior of a whole town now?
While she was thinking, her eyes were staring ahead, and she spotted a huge amount of people running down the street – the gathering mob was large. The citizens were passing through as if she wasn’t even there. Their faces contorted in hate as they screamed their rage.
What the hell is happening? She needed to know. Realizing she would never pass through them by car, she got out and started to follow the mob, knowing that something was wrong, out of place. While walking down the streets, she could see more and more people getting together, some were carrying weapons, yelling many things. She had never seen the quiet city so noisy and mad. Some words started to make sense to her ears. “Let’s get her!”, “She doesn’t run the town anymore!”, “Let’s show her!”
However, the true understanding came when she actually saw her.
In front of the mayor’s house.
The whole city was gathered in a mob, their screams full of rage and hate – all they were missing were pitchforks. She could hear Regina’s voice, but she couldn’t understand what she was saying. She walked fast, getting close enough to see well. There was the mayor, standing tall, with a cold glare, talking to them, sharp words getting out of her lips.
“Leave my property!” Trust Regina to think they would obey.
"This won’t be yours when we finish you, witch," A man dangerously close to the mayor yelled.
“You need to pay!” someone yelled, right by Emma’s side, so she turned to see Granny, holding a crossbow. Nearby stood a not so friendly Ruby, with strange yellow shining eyes.
“Pay? What should I pay for? I did you all a favor! Taking you from that poor, disgusting life, to a new civilized place. You should thank me.” She opened her arms and sneered at them.
“A favor? The only favor you could do is to die!” Leroy shouted. “Let’s kill the bitch! Kill the Evil Queen!” He smiled stepping closer with his axe in hand.
“Do you really think you can destroy me?” The brunette mocked him with a cold chuckle. “I’m the Queen, you fool!” she spat the words, lifting her upper lip. “You are nothing but a peasant. One that will please me to destroy.” she raised an eyebrow and a devilish smile reached her lips. Regina’s left arm raised, pointing to Leroy, but whatever she was planning to do clearly failed, and Emma watched as confusion marred the mayor’s face.
“She is powerless!” Leroy yelled while Doctor Whale moved fast pinning Regina against one of the white pillars of her pristine porch. Emma watched surprised as the crowd started to get aggressive towards Regina, getting closer to her. The mayor was mad, even in a situation like this she demonstrated no fear. Her hazel eyes were shining in anger and she almost could see the rage feeding from Regina’s body. For a minute, that seemed to amaze her, but then the reality hit her. The woman couldn’t fight them alone. Before a second passed, she was already running through the crowd to get to the mayor.
The Queen however, managed to free herself and entered the house. People got closer, but now they were throwing things at the mansion. Emma started to yell, asking them to listen to her. To think about what they were doing, but nobody paid attention.
Thinking about what to do, she quickly realized she couldn’t enter the mansion by that door without bringing everybody inside. And someone was actually doing a job of trying to kick the door down. Horrified she moved away from the porch and watched Leroy trying to cut the apple tree with his pickaxe as she looked for another way in, and she felt sad for Regina.
For a minute she looked around, all the fuss surrounding her, all those people she used to know had turned into those crazy people trying to kill their former Queen, and even being so angry herself with Regina for everything she had done, she felt sorry for that woman, even if she didn’t deserve it.
She was overwhelmed with the feeling of being needed, and knew she couldn't fail. She walked around to the other side of the mansion, and found a door in the back. In the first try it opened. Shocking for someone who was hiding from a mob. She walked fast, searching for the mayor.
“Regina!” she screamed knowing that she wouldn’t get a response. “Please, Regina, answer me!” There was no sign of the woman down there, so she ran upstairs, trying each room in the house. “C’mon, Regina!” she was getting impatient.
The last room was the master one. Of course. The door was partially open, so she stepped in with caution. She heard a sigh, and she knew she was in the right place.
“What are you doing here?” that cold voice was now directed to her. She recognized Regina’s silhouette hid in the dark. “Leave me.” Her voice was low, but firm, somehow, darker.
“Are you okay?” Emma took a couple of steps. “What the hell is happening?” she looked genuinely confused what earned her a bitter laugh from Regina.
“Your inability to understand simple situations never ceases to amaze, Miss Swan,” she said in a rough voice. “Or maybe you are just mocking me perhaps? Making fun of the poor, fallen evil queen?” Regina’s voice sounded like poison.
“I am not mocking you Regina. I want to help…”
“Ah… I see… Trying to play the savior… I’ve always thought you were naïve, but now you have proved me wrong. You’re delusional and stupid, dear.” Regina stepped into light, her lips curled and she snarled. “I don’t need your help!”
Emma rolled her eyes. “Yeah? Guess what? You are getting it anyway. We have to get out of here Regina.”
“They hate me, Miss Swan.” She was bitter. “They want to kill me.” Now Emma could see the rage in her beautiful cold face. “Rip my heart out. Tear me apart.” She was smiling as if she was having fun while saying it, what frightened Emma. “There is no way we can pass through them alive,” the brunette added sounding defeated. “You should leave Miss Swan.”
“I won’t leave without you,” Emma actually crossed her arms and stomped her foot on the ground like a five year old. “What is that?” She pointed her head to a black case Regina was holding firmly, her knuckles almost white.
“Nothing of your concern,” the Mayor snapped, tilting her head defiantly. Emma took advantage of this moment to analyze the woman. There were a few scratches on her face and blood on her fingers. Her normally pristine clothes were now wrinkled, her hair, mussed, her eyes were up again watching Regina’s face, and she saw a glance of pain, which soon disappeared.
“Fine. Take or leave it, we have to go.” She started moving when a rock crashed through the window’s glass and scattered it across the floor. Emma’s eyes grew big as she quickly looked to the mayor.
“Fuck! Regina!” she yelled, but the woman seemed paralyzed. Rage filled Regina’s eyes, and she gripped the case tighter, her knuckles turning white. She curled her lips back as she clenched her teeth.
“We have to move! Now!” Emma stepped forward, extending her arm.
“I said no! Leave me alone Miss Swan!” Regina snapped.
“Regina, look,” Emma was getting desperate; she approached the mayor as someone would approach a cornered wild animal. Every cell in her body told her that they needed to hurry. “We don’t have time to fight now. I don’t care if you are the Evil Queen, Mayor Mills, Regina… All I care is that we, me and you, have to get out of here and go back to Henry.” At that, Regina’s eyes snapped to hers and the mayor took a few steps closer, invading her personal space.
Before the mayor could open her mouth to say anything, another rock came flying through the window and knocked at their feet. The putrid odor of gasoline filled Emma’s nostrils. She grabbed Regina by the elbow moving them away from the windows. She found no resistance. The former Evil Queen had a blank expression as she followed Emma’s lead. The only thing that indicated Regina’s presence was the sound that her heels made against the floor. As they reached downstairs, Emma released the brunette and tried booth doors. They would not budge.
Regina?” The foreign sound of her name on the blonde’s lips brought the woman back to reality. “The door is blocked. Is there another way out?” The whole room smelled to gasoline and she heard Leroy yelling from outside. “Burn witch,” he cried, followed by the chore of “Burn” protested by the crowd.
Something came flying through the window, but this time Emma watched in slow motion as it landed. An arrow, on fire. Everything around them combusted immediately as the fire licked the gasoline that was splashed on everything.
“Fry the bitch!” A man yelled outside.
“Regina? We need get out of here.” Emma panicked. “Please tell me there is another way out.”
“No.” Regina answered, and her chin trembled. “There isn’t.”
Emma rolled her eyes, her superpower working right away. It was a lie, and she knew that. “Damn it!” she yelled, cleaning her wet forehead with her arm. “There has to be another way out!” She ran across the room, looking for a possible exit. “You know, your ankle is just fine this time Madame Mayor, I would love some help to save our asses!” She retorted, and coughed as the smoke filled her lungs.
The brunette barely chuckled. “I told you Miss Swan. I don’t need your assistance. You should have left when you had the opportunity.”
That drove Emma insane. She pushed Regina against the wall, with her arm near her neck, the rage consuming her and the fear filling her with courage. “Jesus fuck! Regina, I am trying to save the both of us! I know you are lying! We both need to get to Henry. So why won’t you fucking cooperate?” She screamed the last part.
“Miss Swan, stop manhandling me, now.” Regina’s voice was calm but firm, and left no room to argue.
Emma did as she was told, still breathing hard, suddenly forgetting what was happening there. Regina didn’t even look at her, just walked to the fireplace, with the worried sheriff right behind her. She led them to a hidden spot where there was a door. She opened it, and Emma saw it led to identical copy of her living room.
Regina passed through it and waited for her to follow. “Anytime now dear.” Her tone was empty.
“Where does it lead?” Emma asked, following Regina through it as the door closed behind them.
“Regina,” Emma actually had to move faster as she followed the brunette across the room. “Where are we?” Regina opened another door that led them to a stone staircase just as Emma stopped her, not taking silence for an answer this time. “So?” The blonde asked again crossing her arms.
“The vault. Now, would you like a tour or can we start moving? I really don’t think that door will hold the fire for much longer,” the mayor answered annoyed, and the sheriff nodded. “Then get out of my way,” the former Queen said in a clipped tone as they climbed the stairs that led to the crypt. Once there they moved across the Graveyard quietly heading away from the city, to the woods.
Nothing more was said, nothing more was asked. The women walked consumed by their own thoughts. Emma wondered why in hell she was following Regina into the forest at nightfall, something that certainly could be dangerous. And even, why was she trying to protect Regina when the woman had tried too hard to push her away? She glanced at the woman a couple times. She knew the answer, no matter what the Queen had done; she needed saving too.
They had been walking for half an hour when they heard an explosion behind them. Looking back, they saw the sky in the mansion’s direction glowing orange, and they could see a thick column of smoke rising from it. Emma looked at Regina and saw the light from the burning house reflected in her tear-filled eyes.