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Keep Your Enemies Closer

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"You knew..."

"Knew what exactly?"

"The child that you located for me in Phoenix?! His mother was found in the woods, outside of Storybrooke... Eighteen years ago..."

"... What a startling coincidence."

"Eighteen years ago?!"

"I'm afraid I'm missing the significance? You'll have to forgive me; my memory's not what it used to be..."

"Henry's mother was found as a baby, on a very significant day... The day this town... The day this town..."

"...'This town' what?"

"...She's important isn't she? This... Mother...?"

"Is she important?... I suppose in as much as she gave birth to your son..."

"You... You built this... Into a whole thing, didn't you? You made this happen! Because the mother... She's... She's..."

"She's what, Madame Mayor? This mother that you seem to fear so much?"

"Oh... You really know nothing of what I'm talking about?!"

"Well, I know you're upset; that much is clear..."

"You told me I'd come to you... That I had a hole in my heart! And... You want this to end... This town what I built... You want to destroy it all by bringing this mother back! That's why you did all this!"

"...Did you know you have dark circles beneath your eyes? And a weary tremble to your voice?... Look what motherhood has done to you..."

"Play dumb all you want, you little imp! You should know who you're dealing with by now... I sacrificed everything to build this life! And nothing will tear me away from my revenge!"


... Heated words... The brunette frowns as she studies herself in the looking glass; tweezing away the few errant imperfections to her brow.

Gold...

... The mother...

Her scowl furrows deeper as she purses her lips and shuts away her makeup case.

She is unsure what to make of the information gleaned from Sydney's fax. It is ominous... More than ominous... But what to do with such a threat, she knows not.

What to do about this Emma... This Emma Swan...

Henry's birth mother...

... And a woman found abandoned- according to her files- not much more than a mile away from where she now sits.

"...Woman?"

She sniffs dismissively; her full lips curling a little at their sides.

Hardly.

An eighteen year old hussy more like.

Not unheard of in that old, better world, but here, in this world, the girl she seeks isn't even old enough to buy liquor.

...Whom I seek?

Dark eyes glitter behind glass... But she supposes some truth lies in that notion.

The imp seems oblivious to the reasoning behind her anger, and thus she concludes her curse has worked...

Shoddy, then, to allow that last little nuisance to live.

The girl.

The girl found in the forest.

... Emma.

Snow's whelp.

The Savior.

She chuckles darkly at the thought... At the thought of some pale little wretch born of that traitor's womb coming to best her... She sees the little bitch now; soft spoken, fair skinned and sporting dark, raven hair just like her mother's... Perfect...

And that simply won't do.

Plucking her phone from the dresser, she dials swiftly and waits for Sydney to answer.

The reporter heralds her upon the forth ring.

"Sydney?"

"Madame Mayor?"

"I need you to look over Henry for a short while... I have some business to attend to out of town... I can't imagine it should take too long..."


Regina grimaces; stretching her back with a wince as she has been sat behind the wheel of her Benz for the past two hours.

She studies her surroundings shrewdly.

Nervously.

Ordinarily, nerves are not customary in her way of approaching things, but, to be so far beyond her little town's walls- out here in the unknown- is something entirely unheard of.

True, she had travelled beyond Storybrooke's boundaries in order to collect her son, but that had been both a special occasionion, and in an area far less worrisome than that in which she finds herself now.

Ghastly words sprayed upon dirtied walls.

Streets she is unsure as to where the hell they might lead to.

A curious woman with a fat paunch and skeletal limbs swaying against a garage door with metal links entwining her scrawny wrist with a mean-mannered dog.

A young, dark-skinned boy strutting the street in a cardboard ensemble informing onlookers that their greed will amount to the world's end; two-toned hair greasy and unkempt.

The brunette wrinkles her nose; checking for the third time the placard at the corner of the street.

'Pleasant View'.

... The irony lends her a sardonic grin.

"What a joke..."

Not that getting this far has been all that much of a joke...

Quite the opposite.

It has proven hard tracking down the Swan woman; this elusive 'Emma' born of the Fair Wretch's filthy deceit seeming to favour the road over any concrete address.

Not that the 'address' registered in Phoenix could have been any more concrete.

A jail cell.

And doesn't that just fill in any areas of doubt...

Regina smirks; slim hands tightening around the wheel of her car.

It has taken her a lot more effort than she might have liked to wind up here... Wherever here might be...But her search is at an end.

The Swan woman pays rent to a landlord that owns the buildings that surround her... And she doesn't plan on leaving until she susses out which one.

...And then what?

She doesn't know.

Originally, her thoughts had been that she would bring with her a small blade and render her business with the Fair Queen and her hateful spouse final once and for all... But... She has learnt to take caution where the Golden Imp and his creations are concerned.

Death may prove a little too permanent for the promiscuous little whore she seeks.

Best play it safe.

Let it suffice for now to at the very least spy on the enemy.

Giving an authoritative sniff of resolution, she steps swiftly from her car; making her way to the first of the beaten doors that line the militant block of apartments.

She raises her fist to rap upon flaking iron, but is interrupted by a low wolf-whistle that sends the hairs along her spine rippling on end.

Turning swiftly on a sharp heel, she scans the dilapidated parking lot shrewdly for her perpetrator.

"... Oh..."

Is all that leaves pleasantly full lips as her gaze falls to the far right of the strong smelling tarmac- festering in the summer heat- upon which she has parked her car.

It seems she should have factored in a plural threat; three men pushing themselves to their feet to saunter closer and closer in a fashion that hardly speaks of kindness.

"Hey Baby-"

"-What you doing here?-"

"-What you want, mamacita?"

Sculpted brows furrow, and the brunette shakes her head irritably

"Excuse me?"

"You lost, bella?"

"... I'm looking for someone. Maybe you could-"

"-Ain't we all, ain't we all? And you, girl, you got a fine piece of meat out on offer. You-"

"I beg your pardon?!"

Regina hisses; tightening her stance as her companions stalk ever closer.

"You had all better stop-"

"-That real silver round your neck? That real silk hiding the prize? That-"

"-Why... Looking for an outfit to wear to trial, Denny?"

A low growl from the Queen's left.

Feline.

Predatory.

The man closest to the brunette scowls- offering a remarkably visual gesture as to where their new guest can shove their opinions- before striding off with his apparent cronies lumbering in his wake.

Frowning up at the eroding stone that lines the path above the lot- and hosts the owner of the low growl that had sent her possible assailants on their way- Regina flicks back perfect hair with practiced arrogance; narrowing her eyes as her gaze falls upon a skinny little blonde regarding her curiously from her idle perch upon a crumbling pillar.

"You-"

"-You stupid or something? Rocking up here dressed like that?"

"No... I'm looking for someone..."

"Uhuh, I heard you say."

"... Who are you?"

"... Who's asking?"