It was three hours later than the pirate, David, Snow, Elsa and Henry came back to Regina’s house, Rumple himself was walking behind the group with a little smirk planted firmly on his lips.
An hour ago the Charming clan minus Emma, Hook and Elsa had come barreling her shop demanding explanations of why Emma had disappeared suddenly (and Regina too as Henry calmly remained) but the man didn’t have any information about that, in fact he didn’t know that the former queen and the savior have disappeared so all of them tried to explain at once what had happened.
Apparently, or that was what Rumplestiskin had finally understand, Emma had entered Regina’s house five to six hours ago trying to talk about them but hadn’t come out and no one near the vicinity of Regina’s house had seen her, or the queen for that matters, Emma wasn’t responding to her father’s and Hook’s calls via phone and the queen wasn't responding to the calls that her son had been making either.
So now they were going to try to enter Regina’s property in order to find Emma. The dark one smiled to himself one more time, he didn’t know what was happening but several hours earlier he had felt a punch of magic coming from Regina’s so he assumed that, at least, things were going to become interesting.
Glancing at Hook who was trying to break the door he shook his head disapprovingly before waving his hand and making the door disappear.
- Let’s go- ordered David while looking pointedly at his wife- You stay here Snow, I want you to be safe.
- I’m a grown woman –muttered the brunette- so don’t tell me what to do and let me in, I’m going to be perfectly fine.
Elsa simply looked at Rumplestiskin and sighed, she didn’t know what she was doing here with them but she felt that, maybe, if their daughter and… Whatever was Regina to them disappeared maybe they started trying harder to find her sister as well.
Finally they all entered in the house that looked perfectly fine, no scorching marks, no broken things and no residual magic floating in the air so the theory of a fight was discarded by Rumple and Henry as well by Hook who frowned.
- Emma? - started the pirate but with no avail. Finally they entered Regina’s study that looked spotless as the rest of the house but, this time, Rumplestiskin noticed something.
- They had been here- said to the rest of the group that was moving towards the upper floor of the house.
- How do you know? - asked Snow, David and Hook at the same time, Henry and Elsa looking at the study with confused eyes, they didn’t see anything.
- Because of the magic, I can sense both of their magics working together, mingling, so they must have been here, but I don’t know where they are in this moment.
- So there isn’t something that you could track? - asked Henry at the same moment that Elsa exclaimed “You can feel traces of Magic?”
- Indeed, dearie- answered the dark one looking at the Queen of Arendelle- But I cannot know where are they, you see, I’m not a dog. - The blonde sobered and looked at the floor ashamed.- And Henry, no, I don’t see anything that could led us to them but, as I see and the rest of you as well, there aren’t traces that had been abducted, it doesn’t look like a fight was held in the house so maybe they weren’t kidnaped.
- I hope that you are telling the truth, crocodile- exclaimed Hook while looking with rage at the older man but Rumplestiskin only nodded and smiled.
- You certainly can find that the truth is something that comes with practice, pirate.
- Enough- started Snow- If Emma is not here, where is she?
- And where is my mom? - Asked Henry looking at Snow- She isn’t here either.
- We will find her- Said Elsa- When I first met you you told me that you were good finding people; we are going to find both of your moms and my sister.
The boy nodded but looked at his grandfathers that were looking less enthusiastic.
- Yes mate, I will find Emma, don’t need to worry- intervened Hook clapping Henry’s shoulder, something that made the boy cringe- And Regina too, of course.
- We will see that- muttered Rumple while looking at Regina’s desk intently.
Hours later in the Enchanted Forest
Emma woke up with a groan; certainly she hadn’t missed sleeping in the forest floor.
- Morning Miss Swan, I’m happy that you aren’t in a coma, I was starting to fear that- said Regina’s voice with smugness.
- Oh, cut the crap, my name is Emma and you know it and, besides, I haven’t overslept, the light is too dull for that- answered the blonde while looking at the brunette sitting next to a little fire, Emma could have sworn that the other woman had blushed. - Have you been trying to open the book the whole night? - asked while approaching the other woman who was still looking intently at the book.
- Of course not, dear, but I have been thinking in a plan to fix this.
Emma hummed and took the book with curiosity.
- This ink is enchanted and it worked when it sensed magic, I didn’t have written much with it but my intentions were clear, try to change something to make myself and my past self less…
- Evil? - Provided Emma and the brunette sighed in annoyance.
- You could say that. As I was saying the ink noticed two strong magics and started working immediately so, maybe we can do the same thing backwards, thinking in the moment of time that we need to be.
- But for that we wouldn’t need to open the book?- asked Emma looking at Regina intently, they were both very close so the blonde could see the reflection of the now weak fire in the eyes of the brunette who shifted a little, distancing herself of Emma.
- The last time I used one of my old quill and a piece parchment, maybe it is another thing that adds up the reason why we are in the past.
- So we need something of our present to write on it- realized Emma. - But we can’t open this book and is the only thing in which we could write so…
- We need to travel until we find some event that can open the book- finished Regina firmly.
- And how are going to do that? If I remember correctly the book told us Rumplestiskin story but you don’t want to meet him.
- Miss Swan, we are going to ask for quill and we are going to travel in the future of this past until we find the moment in which Daniel… died. It was after that that Snow came into the story so the book will open- the last sentence come through gritted teeth and Emma patted Regina’s hound for a second before realizing what she was doing.
- I’m sorry- muttered as she moved away from the former Queen who looked as she hadn’t even acknowledge the blonde- I can be the one that is near you and Daniel.
That got Regina’s attention.
- Why would you that? - asked looking intently at the younger woman who shrugged.
- As I said I’m trying to fix what I did and I suppose that that memory is not one that you would want to see it again.
- Very well then, Miss Swan, then you need to talk with my younger version and ask for a quill and parchment.
The blonde nodded and, returning the book to the other woman she stood.
- When did you usually woke up back here? - asked while grabbing the blankets and folding them.
- At this hour more or less- answered Regina, her back still turned facing the blonde- It was the only time in my day that my mother wasn’t there to scold me or to punish me- her voice trembled for a second before continuing- I used to go to see Daniel, now that he has appeared I suppose that I will be with him any minute, if you go to the cottage I think that you would see them near the stables.
Emma muttered a yes and started walking to the property but, after leaving the clearing she looked at Regina once more and smiled tiredly.
- I’m going to prove you that you can trust me.
The brunette waited that the other woman had disappeared completely in the foliage before whispering “I still trust you”
The younger version of Regina was exactly when her older version had told the blonde, the two children already talking and laughing while Daniel did his chores diligently, the old stable man looking them from the distance with the same smile that Emma was sure she was wearing.
Daniel was pointing at a tree and explaining something to Regina, who giggled with the story, they were adorable and Emma felt again the glass cutting in throat when she thought about the destiny of those little kids.
Finally the man disappeared in the stables and Emma approached the children while waving her hand.
- Hei- exclaimed loudly and Regina was the first of the two that turned, beaming when she saw who it was.
- Emma! - yelled happily and the blonde grinned.
- Yes, that’s me, I’m happy that you are ok- whispered to the little brunette who simply nodded.
- My mother didn’t catch me.
- I’m glad of that- answered the blonde before looking at Daniel- I’m happy that you now has a place to live kid.
Daniel shrugged and didn’t say anything but his smile was almost as big as Regina.
- What are you doing here? - asked Regina at the same time that Daniel asked if the blonde was lost again. Something that made the woman laugh.
- No, I’m good, I wanted to see both of you and, also, ask a little favor to Regina, if she wants it of course.
The girl frowned but nodded, she didn’t want to say no to the woman that had helped her.
- I need a quill and some parchment. Do you think that you could give me some?
- You need them for an enchantment? - asked Daniel innocently and Emma looked at Regina who blushed.
- I told him that you were a good witch. - The blonde smiled a little before feeling again the pang of regret, seeing Regina like this, carefree and young was something harder that she had first thought about it. It was like seeing herself with the same age, still believing that someone could be kind to her but the idea that someone could love her actually disappearing from her mind.
- Yes, I need them for an enchantment but don’t worries, is not for something bad.
- We don’t want you to be hurt because of the spell - exclaimed the brunette with sudden worry in her eyes and Emma shook her head.
- It’s fine, is not something dangerous, I can assure you that.- assured Emma and, finally, both kids smiled.
- My mother is in her study right now but this evening I will go there and grab some parchment and a quill. – whispered the girl and the blonde nodded.
- Then I will see you at the evening, and take care of each other ok?
- Ok! - was their response and Emma quickly went to the woods, hoping that the little delay didn’t upset Regina.
She thought about her parents and Henry and sighed, hoping that they were ok with the Snow Queen and Elsa, in an afterthought she wondered if Hook was ok but the question quickly disappeared from her mind.
A/N A little side note, I have always wondered how much of the flashbacks were in the book so I'm assuming that Regina's story is present although with a lot of lapses.