Emma was talking with Henry, or rather said the kid was doing most of the talking all while she half listened to his new ideas for Operation Cobra while her mind was back at the station where she had left Regina, alone, facing Mr. Gold.
Granted, the man was behind bars, but he had proved he had no qualms using his cane as weapon of sorts to harm others and the blonde knew that if anything happened to the Mayor not only would she blame herself but also the other woman would do it, no matter if the brunette had basically kicked her out of her own office to face Mr. Gold.
"Emma?" The blonde's head snapped up and looked at Ruby, as after buying ice cream they went to Granny's or else, they'd be colder than the treat they got for Henry.
"What is it, Ruby?"
"You were supposed to be with Henry for half an hour and almost an hour has passed." The waitress said with a smile.
At that, Emma's eyes widened and cursed to herself.
"C'mon kid, or your mom will kill me, then you and then me again just to make sure I'm dead."
"No buts. She gave us half an hour and we got an extra half, she won't be happy about it."
Finally on their feet and putting on their coats, the blonde thanked the young waitress and left with Henry. Aware that if they walked to the Mayor's manor would take them too long, they took Emma's patrol car to drive there and within five minutes they made it. The blonde wasn't exactly sure as to why she drove to the Mayor's home but somehow she suspected she'd no longer be at the station talking to Mr. Gold.
The black Mercedes was nowhere to be seen which meant Regina hadn't returned yet. With a sigh, Emma turned to her left to check on Henry, who had just jumped out of the car and run home; with no other choice, the blonde left her car and followed the kid inside but as soon as she put a foot into the house she felt sick.
The Sheriff didn't know how or why it happened but she instantly felt sick to her stomach, dizzy and partly disoriented. She called out for Henry, she knew she did it as she felt the muscles on her face moving as well as the movement of her lips but she didn't hear her voice. She tried once more, hoping it was louder this time but heard nothing. Emma then began to panic, even her breathing was out of control. She felt as if her lungs were at first burning and then just as if a thousand ice cold needles stabbed her each time she took a breath.
Suddenly, she felt something tugging her jacket. As she turned back she saw it was Henry, and he was talking to her but she couldn't hear anything yet. Again, she spoke but now fully aware that she couldn't hear anything Emma didn't know if she was yelling or what the hell was she trying to say anymore. She noticed the desperation in her son's eyes and then he run off, passing her and it was almost enough to bring her down.
The blonde was feeling weaker, but she gathered what was left of her strengh to follow the kid or else she knew Regina would end her with a snap of her fingers, or at least she would if Henry was right and his adoptive mother was indeed the Evil Queen.
Turning around once more, Emma saw in the not so long distance that Henry was talking with his mother. The blonde knew she needed to at least try to explain herself to Regina, which meant walking from the spot she felt she had taken roots on the floor to the woman outside. As she took one step at a time, she felt heavier and weaker and by the time she reached the threshold she swore that both Regina and Henry were close to running to help her. Emma was only able to take three small steps more before she collapsed, hitting her head hard against the marble stairs. She felt the hit as the pain ripped through her skull, making her feel as if it was breaking in two, and something warm quickly followed; she supposed it was blood, her own blood, but she wasn't sure anymore. The blonde only felt as if darkness was taking over her, just as she fought to keep herself awake but deep down Emma knew it was impossible.
The last Emma saw was Regina's face, tears rolling down her cheeks as the brunette craddled her head to try to stop what the blonde still thought as the open and bleeding wound in her head, just as the mix of horror, pain and hopelessness was reflected in her dark brown eyes. With the image imprinted in her memory, Emma allowed the darkness take over her.
The blonde swore she heard birds chirping just like she woke because the sunlight hit her eyes. And then, there was the headache she had and the source of pain was exact point in which she hit her head in the marble stairs.
Opening her eyes, she quickly reached to touch her head carefully to see if there was anything new on it but no scar under her hair was found, it still felt like usual. She then looked around to see she was in a forest, but as far as Emma knew that was not Storybrooke's forest. At least not what she had seen of it.
Regina couldn't have dropped her out on her own after what happened, could she? The blonde knew the Mayor could be anything, but she had never seen her being as evil as Henry believed her to be. Hell, she had even tried to stop the bleeding from her head after she fell.
With a sigh, Emma stood up and cleaned up as much dirt as she could from her clothes and she was surprised to see she was wearing the same as when she blacked out. Aware that she couldn't stay there forever, she looked around until she noticed a small path to the left and decided to follow it and see where it led her.
It took her twenty minutes to come up with a road, just as the sky darkened with a storm. She not only saw the now menacing clouds but also the sounds of thunder filled her ears, doing nothing for the headache.
She kept walking up north, or what the blonde hoped to be north, until she stopped dead in her tracks as she now heard the noise of both horses and a carriage. As she looked back, her eyes widened.
"You have to be kidding me." She muttered to herself.
The carriage then stopped next to her and the door was opened; Emma pinched herself because she couldn't believe who had just stepped out of it and was actually walking to her, sly grin in place. And yet, before she could stop herself, she talked.
"Excuse me?" The brunette said, raising an eye brow.
Emma knew she had to react fast because, right now, she knew where the hell she was and it didn't look good.
"Regina. From where I come from, that is an ancient word for queen or princess and, unless I'm mistaken, you are the Queen."
"Ah, so we have a foreigner." The Queen said, amused, as she looked up and down the blonde woman and set her eyes back on her face. "And, by your clothes, you must be very far away for that attire doesn't belong here."
"I'm not from here," Emma said. "I don't belong here, I'm not supposed to be here! I don't even know how I got here."
"Get in the carriage."
"I said get in the carriage. Must I repeat myself?" The Queen was clearly annoyed.
Emma, silently, approached the carriage and stepped in. She then sat in what she supposed to be the opposite seat to the Queen's. The brunette woman followed her inside shortly after and, indeed, across from her. Just as the door closed, they were back on the road.
"So, how did you get in here?"
"I told you, I don't know. The last I remember... I felt sick and dizzy; I couldn't hear anything or anyone, not even myself, I felt heavy and weak. I could barely breathe. And, at some point, I fell and hit my head against marble stairs and I was bleeding. Next thing I know, I wake up in the forest and come across you twenty minutes later."
The Queen was silent for a few minutes, until she spoke. "So, you felt sick, hit your head and magically you appear in the Enchanted Forest. That sounds like a banishing curse to me."
"Magic doesn't exist where I come from. There's science but no magic or curses or enchantments." Emma explained briefly and then continued. "I mean, like not for real. You can read about it in books but it's fiction, fantasy. No one can make anything happen with magic."
"Well that must be one little sad world you come from, dear."
"If you only knew." Emma sighed.
"Any friends or family that will miss you?"
Emma then looked through the small window, unable to look at the Queen... Or Regina, she wasn't sure anymore except it all seemed to fit on Henry's book.
"No. I don't have a family, I don't really have friends, and I never stay anywhere for long."
In the back of her mind, Emma didn't want to answer but somehow she knew she had to. What if this woman, this version of the Regina she knew, could at some point remember what the one Emma knew had found out about her? No point in lying to her. But if she knew nothing and was indeed the Evil Queen of Henry's book then the blonde was screwed.
"My parents abandoned when I was born, by the highway; I was moved from house to house until I was able to fend for myself. I never took roots anywhere, so no one will miss me or even think that I'm gone. Just... Vanished."
The blonde also knew that was a lie. Mary Margaret would miss her, and Henry, and Ruby, and Granny, maybe even Mr. Gold and that was only to name a few. Who knew, maybe even Regina too even if only to have someone to spar with.
"That is sad," the Queen said, in an almost mocking tone. "You have nowhere to go and no one to be claimed to. Makes me wonder what to do with you."
"Anything you see fit to do with me, Regina." Those words came out of the blonde's lips before she was aware to have them in her mind.
The Queen was smirking again. "What's your name? Assuming you have one."
"I'm Emma. Emma Swan."
"Very well, Miss Swan," that brough Emma back to facing the Regina she knew, even if only for a moment. "I think there is something you're not telling me."
The blonde, finally, looked back at her companion. "I had a son, but I gave him up for adoption because I couldn't give him the life he deserved. I didn't want him to be raised like me, but I also knew finding a family was his best shot at everything. Ten years later, he showed up in my doorstep. I took him back to his family, to his mother, and ever since the woman thinks I'm trying to take him away from her life."
"Does she have any reason to believe you're trying so?"
"I don't know." Emma answered truthfully. "I mean, I know she sees me as a threat because Henry, the kid, seems to favour more my company lately but I don't want to take him from her. He's still my son, even if just by birth, and I love him, or as much as I can for knowing him just a few months, but she raised him. She gave him a home and education and took care of him when he was sick and a hundred things more. I just... I just want to know him a little and spend time with him, I can't take him away from her because she is his mother and she loves him."
"Love is such a dangerous emotion, Miss Swan, you should be careful."
"I don't do love, Your Highness. That implies finding something or someone to make you stay, and I don't stay anywhere for long." Emma then said, coldly.
That earned her what, to the blonde's judgement, was a sincere smile from the Queen.
"I have another question. Who was that woman, the one who adopted your son?"
Emma cursed herself inwardly for calling the woman before her Regina but she guessed, again, she had no choice but being both honest and explaining everything.
"Her name's Regina." That earned her a stern look from the Queen. "In my world, it is nowadays used as a name. Barely used, but at times it is given to baby girls. It no longer stands as a word to refer to a queen, but upon meeting you I found feeting using the arcaic word to show my respect." Emma could've kicked herself for talking like that, but if she was right and she was indeed in Happily Ever After such language was needed at times. "So, she's the Mayor of the town the kid lives in and everyone respects her. But I think something happened to her. I mean, other than seeing me as a threat. It's in her eyes, they're so... Cold and void of emotion, it's like something in her froze long ago, maybe died, and the only times I see any life in them is when we're arguing over Henry."
Emma didn't know if she had made a mistake, but ever since she last mentioned Henry the woman before her was quiet. They both were quiet, even as the storm finally broke out. Neither spoke until the carriage stopped again, the Queen stepping out first and looked at the blonde as if to tell her to step out as well and Emma obliged. The younger woman then face an impressive castle and, as she looked back, she saw the forest behind them as well as surrounding the area. As the Queen walked, she followed her silently.
"I do not keep people around here who are of no use to me, Miss Swan, and for now I will make you my maiden." The Queen glanced at her, briefly. "However, I want to hear more of your world. There has to be a reason as to why you're here, and I intend on knowing as much as you can share with me. I want you to tell me of those tales involving fantasy and magic, any of those you can remember."
Emma found herself nodding in both thanks for being given a place to stay plus job as much as agreeing to share stories. She knew she couldn't kid herself, because as much as the Regina she knew, this one never asked anyone to do anything. She ordered it, demanded it, commanded it but only changed the words and tone to make it seem less like that and more as if it was a mutual agreement.
"Your Majesty, I'd like to request something, if I may." Emma said and was graced with an inquisitory look. "I've had this gods-awful headache since I found myself in the forest and my head still feels like it's going to break in two. Is there anything I can take to ease the pain?"
She was then shocked as the Queen approached her and stood right before her, then lifting a hand and it hovered over her head until it reached the exact spot that caused Emma pain. She flinched with the hand that came in contact with her head but the Queen silenced her.
"Be quiet, close your eyes and relax." She commanded.
Emma obliged closing her eyes and keeping quiet. She didn't know what was going on, until she heard the brunette woman whispering something in a language she didn't speak and, instantly, she felt as if her head was again in one piece and the piercing pain disappeared. As the hand was removed from her skull, Emma opened her eyes and smiled brightly.
"How are you feeling?" The Queen asked, almost showing concern in her tone.
"Much better, it doesn't hurt anymore. Thank you, Regina."
The Queen gave her a curt nod and ordered her again to follow her; Emma was guided to her new room, or as she would have to refer to it from now on, her bed chambers. The brunette asked her, which Emma translated as yet another order, to stay there and explore her chambers as she wished while waited for someone else to bring her new clothes; after all, if she was going to be the Queen's maiden she actually had to look the part and not only behave like it.
Alone again, the blonde's mind went back to the moment she talked about the Gods when she complained about her headache and that gave her an idea for her first story: the birth of Athena. In that moment, Emma was glad that as a child and teen she spent as much time as she could reading mythology books to escape reality, as all that knowledge was key to save her skin and survive another day in the dragon's lair, so to speak. Ironically, she felt like Scheherazade and if sharing a story a night helped Emma to keep her head over her shoulders then she would until she found a way to go back to Storybrooke.