As I tore the curse from its scroll to use as protection from the curse Pan set, we were all sent back to the Enchanted Forest. Many of us were located in one of the sections that wasn’t totally destroyed when I cast the first curse. Anger, sadness, and hatred filled my chest; I wanted my son and…even Emma back. Over the years she grew on me and I started to care for her. She wasn’t the mother I was but she, in a way, gave me Henry. I heard the two idiots talking with the others but I couldn’t care less for what they said. “Regina,” it was Snow.
“What?” My voice was flat and by the cringe she gave she could tell I was furious.
“We need to go home; to my father’s castle.”
“My castle.” She sighed and opened her mouth again to speak. “Don’t. I’m not in the mood to argue with anyone. We will go to my castle because it is protected.” I started to walk away towards my old home. If they followed, good for them. If they didn’t, well that was their problem. As I had guessed, they followed me. It was the only place in this Godforsaken land that was protected and safe. They knew their way so I fell behind and went in a different direction.
I couldn’t take this pain anymore; I had to get rid of it. I couldn’t help but think of my mother at this current moment. I was about to do the same thing she did so many years ago. It was more painful than I thought; ripping my own heart out. But once it was done, the pain started to weaken. I knelt down and dug a hole with a small branch I found. As I looked at my beating heart, I was surprised to see that it wasn’t totally blackened. There was still red in it. I’m guessing that red was because of Henry and somewhat Emma. I needed to get them back somehow. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing of your concern.” I continued to bury the thing that caused me pain.
“Is that your heart? Regina, don’t do this.”
“And why not?” I stood and faced her. “It’s only causing me agony and anger?!” My voice rose with each word. “All I can think about is Henry and E…” I had to stop this nonsense.
“Regina, Henry wouldn’t want you to do this. I know how you feel. I had to say goodbye to my daughter twice now and will never see her again. You know Henry wouldn’t want you to do this to yourself, so please, put your heart where it belongs. In your chest.” I twitched inwardly at Snow’s speech. Not feeling like arguing, I picked the retched thing back up and pushed it back into my chest. “Thank you.” I smirked and felt the sorrow and anger hit me again.
As we walked back towards the trail where everyone was, I was stopped. “I-I can’t move.”
“What?” Snow turned back to me and her eyes grew wide. “What’s going on? You’re starting to…” I was being concealed in a cloud of purple smoke. The last thing I heard was Snow yelling my name. When I came to I was in a park. My head was pounding and when I looked down, luckily I was in what I wore in Storybrooke.
“What the hell…” I rubbed the back of my head and felt a knot.
“Need a hand m’lady?” I looked towards the voice and saw a man dressed in a black business suit. He held out his hand to me but I waved it away.
“Where…am I?” He watched me a moment.
“You must’ve either drank too much or hit your head on something. I’m guessing you hit your head. I don’t take you for the heavy drinking type. But you’re in Central Park.”
“New York City?” How the hell did I get here?
“Yes ma’am. That’s the place. Do you have family here? I can give you a ride if you need one.” The man was very nice but I was weary about asking him for any favors. “I can give you directions to a good hotel if you need somewhere to stay. My brother is the owner so I can see if he can give you a good deal on a room.”
“That would be nice.” When I stood it was hard keeping my balance; I was a little woozy. I followed the man out of the park and he flagged down a cab. As we rode I peered out the window. This place was so different from Maine and definitely different from Storybrooke. As we were stopped at a red light I saw a blonde out of the corner of my eye. “Emma…”
“Hmm?” The man looked out the window. “Do you know her?” I didn’t answer. Anxiety, excitement, and terror filled me. “Cabby would you follow that blonde please?” I knew I should’ve said for him to not but the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth. When Emma entered a slightly sketchy looking building the cab stopped. “Here’s the name of the hotel I was talking about,” the man scribbled on a piece of paper. “Tell the manager that Matty boy sent you.” I took the paper from him as I got out of the cab.
“Thank you.” He smiled as I closed the door and headed towards the building. It was a little nicer on the inside but still a place where you needed to be on the lookout for trouble.
“Well hey good lookin’ can I help you with somethin’?” I glared at the man who spoke. He was fat and starting to go bald. Obviously he didn’t care much about hygiene because his shirt was stained and he smelt like he hadn’t had a shower in days. “Okay, okay. Sorry.” He threw his hands in mock surrender as I turned towards him.
“The blonde, Emma, who just walked in, where is she?” The man cringed at the tone of my voice.
“Up the stairs, last door on your left. She’s in with Ricky getting a new job.” I walked quickly towards the stairs and went up them rather quickly. Surprisingly since I was in my favorite high heeled boots. As I entered a long hallway, I heard Emma’s voice. A small smile crossed my lips a moment as I walked towards the open door.
“So you want me to search for this dude and turn him in or just find out stuff?”
“Just find out stuff. If he starts to run, then yes apprehend him.” I leaned against the wall close to the doorway.
“Alright. I’ll see you in a week. Thanks for the case.” I should leave. I can’t see Henry and if I see Emma… “Hey!” I quickened my pace. “Hey!” Emma jogged up towards me and took me by the arm to spin me around. “Who are-,” her eyes grew wide as she saw me. “You…” I said nothing. She hasn’t changed a bit in the year she had been away from me. We stood there awkwardly as her demeanor changed from tough and forceful to relaxed and easy. “Do I know you?”
“No.” I turned and walked away quickly. She couldn’t remember me. I took the stairs and went quickly. As I exited the building and rounded the corner, she stepped in front of me.
“The fire escape works quicker than the stairs.” I stood there not saying a word. I just placed my hands in the pockets of my coat. “Who are you?” She took two timid steps towards me. “Look, I get if you don’t want to tell me who you are but you shouldn’t be around this part of town. It’s not a good place for attract…uh for women to be.” I smirked at her use of words. Maybe she did feel something for me back in Storybrooke and it leaked over somehow into these memories. She swallowed hard as I stared her down. “Can I get you out of this part of town? You really shouldn’t be here.” I eased my stare.
“Coffee sounds good.” There was a twitch at the corner of her mouth as she gave me a slight nod.
“Coffee sounds good. Follow me and I can give you a ride.” I followed as we walked behind the building. I tried not to chuckle when I saw the beat up yellow bug. “Uh…sorry for the mess.” As she opened the door, I saw paperwork everywhere. “Here, let me just toss it in the back seat.” As she was franticly doing so, I noticed a small blush on her cheeks. We rode in silence for a few minutes until she gathered the nerve so speak. “So, why were you in that part of town anyway?”
“It’s hard to explain.” I should keep my answers short and not give any information. This was going to be tricky since I couldn’t see Henry. I wasn’t sure what would happen if I did.
“There’s a coffee place a few more blocks from here, in a good part of town that has great coffee and bear claws.” Old habits die hard I see. Even with false memories her food and drink habits and choice of vehicle stays the same.
“I’m more of an apple person than bear claw. But a coffee person for sure.”
“I thought I smelt apples….” I quirked an eyebrow and looked at her with a smirk. “Uh…here we are.” Emma zipped into a parking spot and turned off the engine. As I tried to open the door, it wouldn’t budge. “Sorry, I’ll have to open it.” She ran around the front of the car and opened the door. “It sticks for some reason. Not sure why.” Her other bug did that too. I followed the blonde into the small coffee shop and was glad to be in a warm place.
“Emma! You’re here early.” The man behind the counter greeted her like an old friend.
“Hey Tim how are you?” We walked up to the counter and the man looked at me.
“I’m doing well. A large coffee and bear claw for you and what would your lady friend like?” Emma’s cheeks turned pink again.
“I’d like a coffee and….” Of course there was nothing healthy on the menu. “By chance, you have apple pies up there but do you have just the apples before they’re made into the pie?” Both Emma and Tim looked slightly thrown off by my question.
“Uh…I think so. Yes. So a large coffee and an apple?”
“That’d be nice. Thank you.” The man gave me a nervous smile and typed in our order. I reached for my wallet but Emma stopped me.
“I’ve got it.” Emma smiled as she gave the man a ten. “You can keep the change.” She motioned towards one of the tables by the window. “Shall we?” I started for the table and took a seat.
“Thank you for paying.” I gave her a warm smile and she returned it. The shy Emma started to show herself each time I looked at her. The only time I saw this side of Emma was the first night we met outside my home.
“You’re welcome. I’m Emma by the way.” She held out her hand and I was hesitant to shake it. When I did she paused and looked like she was in a dazed state.
“Emma? Emma?” Was she remembering something?
“Huh? Oh. I’m sorry. I zoned a second.” Her cheeks turned pink again when she realized she was still grasping my hand. I chuckled slightly as she took her hand back quickly and placed them both in her lap.
“I’m Regina.” Before I could say more, Tim brought our coffee and food.
“Thanks Tim.” Emma gave him a quick look before taking her coffee.
“Thank you.” I smiled as he turned to walk away. The coffee was good but the apple wasn’t. Well it wasn’t as fresh as the apples I grew anyway. “So, Emma, what do you do for a living?” She swallowed the bite of bear claw before answering. At least she has manners now.
“I work as a tracker basically. Sometimes I actually apprehend people but not normally.”
“So, something like a bail bonds person?” She looked surprised when I said that. I guess old habits do die hard.
“Please tell me you don’t have a warrant out for your arrest or something like that. I don’t want to turn you in for a reward.” I chuckled before taking another sip of coffee.
“No, nothing like that. Just a guess.” We sat and talked for a bit. She told me about her life and when she spoke of our son I had to tighten my jaw and keep my emotions in check. After we spoke, Emma dropped me off at the hotel Matt sent me to. “Thank you for the wonderful time Emma.”
“You’re welcome. I guess I’ll see you around?” I gave her a warm smile.
“If it’s meant to be.” With that, I closed the door and walked away. It was hard walking away from Emma. I could feel her eyes watching me until I got into the doors. When I glanced back she was driving away. Matt was right, the owner did give me a large discount on the room. I wasn’t sure how long I was going to stay but I did know I wanted to stay at least a week. I asked him where the nearest clothing store was and it wasn’t too far of a walk. Luckily, when I was transported back to this world I still had my debit card on me.
When I got back to the hotel, I unpacked my clothes and just turned on the TV for background noise. I came across a bookstore on the way back to the hotel and bought a few books to keep me occupied. I would just order room service tonight and figure more out tomorrow.
The next day, I woke up around ten and wanted coffee. I flagged down a cab and went back to the shop Emma and I went yesterday. “Hey, you’re back.” Tim waved to me from behind the counter.
“You have good coffee so of course.” I ordered a cup and sat in the same booth I did yesterday. It was drizzling rain and was muggy outside. The window had condensation running down its cold surface.
“So are you new in town?” I looked up as Tim brought me my coffee.
“Yes actually I am. I’ve never been to New York before.” He smiled down at me.
“Do you mind?” He motioned towards the seat across from me.
“No. Go right ahead.” It would be nice to speak with someone I knew and maybe I could find out some information about Emma.
“Can I be blunt?” I raised an eyebrow as I took a sip of the heavenly liquid in the cup I held. “How do you know Emma?” I cast a curse ripping every fairytale character from the Enchanted Forest and placed them in a hidden town in Maine. Oh and I adopted her son.
“We just met yesterday. I got lost in town and ended up wandering into the building she worked at. Or I guess she worked at.” The man gave me a nod. “Why do you ask?”
“I’ve never seen her with anyone before, besides her son, and was curious since she paid for your order.”
“She seems to be very nice.” I finished my cup and placed it back on the table.
“She is. I think she’s lonely though. All she has is her son. I mean, she tries to date women and the occasional man but it doesn’t work out.” So she dates women huh? Interesting. “The two of you seemed comfortable around each other so I thought…” I chuckled.
“No, we just met. I thought though that she was into women.”
“Yes, she’s fond of strong, independent, feminine women with dark hair and dark eyes.” Hmmm. Maybe things did leak between the curses. “I’ve said too much. You’re so easy to talk to. Please, don’t tell her what I’ve said.”
“I have no clue what information you’re talking about.” I gave him a knowing smile and he refilled my cup.
Later that afternoon, I stayed in the room and read. It was dinner time so I ordered a salad with grilled chicken. The owner had a bottle of expensive red wine sent up to my room with dinner. They had lasagna on the menu but I refuse to eat any lasagna but my own. As I poured myself a glass, there was a knock at the door. I wasn’t expecting anyone so I was surprised when I opened the door and saw Emma standing there. “Emma?”
“Hi.” She stood there timidly like she did the night we met. The corner of my mouth twitched upward when I realized she was wearing the same outfit but with the silk shirt Henry gave her instead of the white tank top.
“How did you find me?” Her cheeks turned a little pink. This happened a lot around me apparently.
“The owner owed me a favor….” She looked down the hall and mumbled. I leaned against the doorframe and folded my arms.
“I do believe that’s abuse of power.” She fidgeted as I watched her. “Would you like to come in?” She smiled sheepishly and I moved to let her enter. As she walked by, I couldn’t help but give her a once over. I will admit, to myself, that Emma is attractive. I’ve thought that since the day I met her.
“It…might be…but I needed to see you again.” She spun around. “I mean…I needed to give this back to you.” She held out a pair of gloves. “They must have fallen out of your coat when you were in my car.”
“Thank you.” As I took the gloves, our hands touched and Emma got that look in her eyes again. She must’ve seen something. I just let the vision or memory play through and she snapped out of it.
“Uh…you’re welcome.” She glanced behind me and saw the food cart. “Oh I didn’t realize I was interrupting your dinner. I’ll just head out.”
“You could stay for a glass of wine. I can’t drink a bottle by myself.” Her hand just rested on the doorknob as she thought my invitation through. I was glad when she turned and smiled. “They always send two glasses anyway.” She stood awkwardly as I poured her a glass. I caught her peeking down the front of my shirt since I always keep the first three buttons undone. When I glanced up to hand her a glass, I gave her a devilish grin and she turned as red as her jacket.
“So, how’s your day been?” She sipped the glass as she took a seat on the corner of the bed.
“It’s been rather uneventful. I went to the coffee shop you took me to, went to get some clothes, and found a small bookstore.” Silence fell upon us again and I had to ask how our son was. “How’s Henry?”
“He’s doing well. He’s spending the night at a friend’s house to do a science project. The boy’s mom is okay with them making a volcano at their house; me, not so much. I know how Henry can get over excited when things go boom.” I chuckled. That was exactly like Henry. The day he made a volcano at school in Storybrooke I had to bring him a change of clothes because he got the contents all over him when it erupted. “Do you have children?” I clenched my jaw.
“I did once.” Emma bit her lip and regretted the question. “But he’s in a better place now.” I poured her another glass of wine but before she could take a sip, her phone rang.
“Oh shit!” She answered it. “Hey, how are you?”
“Hey Emma, where are you? We were supposed to meet at the Italian restraint an hour ago.” Horror spread along Emma’s face.
“I am so sorry Brad. I’ll be there in fifteen.” The man said his goodbyes and Emma ended the call. “I am so sorry. I totally forgot I have a dinner date with him.” She downed the rest of the wine in her glass. “And now I just had two glasses of wine…”
“I can drive your bug if you’d like. Then take a cab back here.” It didn’t take us long to get to her destination.
“Thank you Regina. Uhm…” She had a guilty look in her eyes. I don’t believe she wanted to leave me.
“Go, have a good time on your date.” She locked eyes with me but couldn’t say a word. “Unless you think he’s going to hurt you….”
“No. Brad is a nice guy…it’s just…complicated. I’ll see you around. Stay safe getting back to your hotel.” I gave her the keys to the bug and watched as she went inside. I flagged down a cab but as I was getting in, I got an overwhelming bad feeling something was about to happen.
“Hey lady, you getting in or not?” I looked at the taxi driver with a glare.
“No.” I moved out of the way so a couple could have the cab and walked inside. I saw Emma’s red jacket and kept my distance. I got close enough to hear what they were saying but far enough so they wouldn’t notice me. I was angered when I saw this Brad fellow get down on one knee to ask Emma to marry him. It took everything I had to not rip his heart out and crush it. She was mine and mine alone. I just had to get her back somehow. I couldn’t take much more so I left the room. Somehow, I found myself on the roof overseeing the city.
“Brad, I’m sorry. I need to think about this. It’s a big step for us and…” The door to the roof opened and they walked out. “ Oh Regina…” I turned to look at them as I saw Emma’s eyes fall on me.
“Is there a problem here?” I glared at the frail man who stood behind my woman. Emma was tongue tied and couldn’t find her words.
“Who is this? Is she where you were before you came here? You know what Emma, it’s sad that this is how it’s going to turn out. I actually was starting to like you.” Emma fell backwards when Brad transformed into a demon monkey type creature.
“What the hell is that?” It swooped towards Emma with its sharp claws. Luckily it didn’t pierce the leather of her jacket. Out of habit, I tried to conger a fireball but nothing happened. I guess the creature knew I wasn’t from this world and aimed towards me. Emma jumped to her feet and blocked me. I placed a hand on her back and the creature ran into a clear dome that surrounded us.
“Believe in yourself Emma. Conger that fear and use it,” I whispered into her ear and her body took over. She did as I said and sent the flying monkey down in flames. Emma dropped to her knees and continued looking at her hands. “You really are the Savior.”
“What the hell was that thing? And what the hell did I just do?” She looked up at me with panic clearly on her face. I knelt down and took her hand in mine.
“You did what you were born to do; protecting others.” Emma got that look in her eyes again. She was gone longer this time and when she came to something changed in her eyes.
“Regina….is it…really you?” My eyes grew wide a moment. She remembered.
“That depends; who do you think I am?” With her other hand, Emma closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose a moment.
“You’re Henry’s adoptive mother and the Mayor of Storybrooke. You’re the Queen and I’m your Savior.” I quirked an eyebrow and she realized what she said. “I mean…I’m the Savior.” I gave her a warm smile.
“I guess you broke the curse again. Or at least broke through the memories I gave you. I’m glad you remember me and everything else. I’m guessing.”
“What about you and Henry? Can you still see him? I mean, something is going on. Hell, there’s a flying monkey in New York.”
“I’m not sure. Do you really want him to know the truth and complicate his life again?” She was quiet a moment and realized her hand was still grasping mine.
“He deserves to know who you are again. I mean he loves you…or loved you before we left.” I smiled warmly knowing that Henry really loved me. “Regina, can I tell you something?”
“You love me.” Emma’s eye grew wide a moment and then she smiled sheepishly. “I’ve known for awhile now. Or at least, had the feeling you did.”
“I do.” She took my hand into hers again. It was a comfortable silence on the roof. The sound of the city was comforting to us.
“Can we agree that Saviors should only date Queens because obviously men turn into evil flying monkeys when you break up with them?” Emma snorted when she laughed.
“Yes, we can agree to that. My parents won’t like it very much but at this point I don’t care.”
“Good.” I stood and brought Emma to her feet. I didn’t know what to say really. I couldn’t see or be with Henry. “I guess I’ll go so you can take Henry and go back to Storybrooke. Here,” I reached into my pocket and brought out my keys. “You can stay in my home. Henry’s room is still there and everything else. You need a place to stay and I can’t be there.”
“You still carry your keys?” Emma toyed with them.
“Old habits die hard Miss. Bear claw and coffee.” She laughed and bowed her head. “Now go, be with our son and be happy. Figure out how to fix this so we can be a family again.”
“I will.” I was surprised when Emma took a quick step forward and kissed me deeply. A burst of green smoke spread from us and across New York. Emma leaned back and looked over the city. “Did I just…”
“I don’t know….” Emma’s phone rang and it was Henry. She put it on speaker before answering.
“Hey kid, everything okay?”
“Mom! What’s going on? Why are we not in Storybrooke? We need to…”
“So you did it…again. You broke the curse.”
“Is that Mom? How has she been here? I thought she was sent back with everyone else.” Joy filled my heart when I realized Henry was happy to hear my voice.
“Yes Henry it’s me. I’m not sure how I got back here but we’ll figure it out. Where are you?”
“I went outside to call you.” Such a smart boy.
“We’re coming to get you. We need to get back home and figure this out.” Emma ended the call and turned back to me. “Let’s get our son and save our home.” I agreed and we were on our way.