Emma Swan was really hoping for a quiet moment, an entire quiet night, really.
But no – she just had to wake up to alarms. Otherwise known as Leroy screaming, no less.
“Ughh…” Emma groaned, rolling over and pulling the covers over her head and tighter around her. She accidentally bumped her elbow into Killian’s chest in the process, causing him to grunt and half-wake up himself – she supposed years of rum made him a heavy sleeper.
“Shouldn’t you get that?” he muttered.
“Are you getting up?”
“…maybe…no…unless you are.”
“Then neither am I.”
But Killian just had to not listen to her – or himself – and sit up.
“Is that fire?” He still sounded groggy, which Emma begrudgingly thought was adorable.
“Something in the forest…how did I end up sleeping next to you, Swan?”
That snapped her awake.
“What?!” She shot out of bed. Indeed, something on the edge of the town, near the forest, was burning. Though the view wasn’t that clear, she hazarded a guess that it was near Zelena’s farm house.
“Emma! Hook! Wake up!” She heard her father holler from the downstairs of the loft. “Duty calls!” Neal started fretting at that point and she could hear her mother alternating between shushing Neal and scolding her father.
Emma scrambled out of bed and made a dash for her closet, digging for a pair of pants and a sweatshirt to throw on over her night shirt – which may or may not have just been the t-shirt from the day before. Upon procuring the desired clothing items she spun around, only to find that Killian, although he was still wearing pants, thank God, was still shirtless.
“Oh my God, cover yourself. Put a shirt on! We're in freakin' Maine!”
“Yeah, well, do know where that is?”
“Oh, come on…” Scanning her wardrobe quickly, she yanked out a black sweatshirt that she knew was oversized on her and threw it at him.
“It’s your color scheme - Just move!”
They ran out the door after her father with Hook still struggling with one arm.
Ruby had to admit it was easier to follow the smell of smoke than of blood, even it was still a bit unnerving. It didn’t help that she knew she was headed for the place where the Wicked Witch of the West formerly dwelled.
Still, it felt good to stretch out her wolf legs. And she was glad her grandmother was with her.
“We getting any closer, Ruby?” Leroy grumbled above her. “Granny? I’ve got to get back to a card game with Doc.”
If you stop griping, we might get their faster, Ruby thought. Granny growled at the irritable dwarf.
“Hey, I’m the one holding your cloaks, you two.”
She could see David’s truck coming into view as the group approached the farm-house. Regina was nowhere in sight, which wasn’t helpful seeing as she was probably the most knowledgeable person with magic that they knew, but she supposed that wasn’t that big of a surprise after the Marian incident. The truck was barely in park before Emma jumped out of the vehicle and jogged towards the scene, with Hook – wearing a modern sweatshirt of all things - and David following shortly after. Ruby could hear a firetruck’s sirens in the distance. She nudged Leroy in the side, gesturing to her cloak with her head. Her cloak fell over her body, and less than a minute later she was able to stand on her two human feet.
“Ruby, what can you smell?” Emma said tersely as they approached.
“No bodies, I think, but the smoke smells not quite like a random wildfire or a kitchen accident. I just can’t put my nose on it…”
“No bodies is good. Thanks, Ruby – trust me, it helps.” The sheriff gave Ruby a small smile and a reassuring hand squeeze. Ruby felt minutely better – at least Emma understood how nervous this investigative stuff made her feel after the missing-Kathryn’s-heart situation. It just brought back too many memories…
“Now, do any of you know when this started? Or how long did it take for you to realize there was a bonfire going on, Leroy?” The blonde woman couldn’t help the dry sarcasm dripping from her voice on the last sentence.
“How am I supposed to know? You paying me for this? If I hadn’t alerted everyone, the whole forest could have been destroyed by the time you noticed it on your own!”
“Oh, for the love of…just…yes, fine, thank you Leroy.”
“Domestic looks awkward on you, pirate.”
“And you look like a lumberjack.”
“I think it looks good,” Ruby cut in, batting her eyelashes at the pirate and hip-checking him.
“Alright guys, that’s enough of that. Let’s see if I can detect anything more,” and then Emma moved ahead of them, hands glowing with light magic.
Emma could only go so much farther, seeing as the fire department still had to get there to put out the fire, but she agreed with Ruby that something was peculiar about it. It didn’t look like Zelena set it – although she wouldn’t have put it past the wicked witch to set the house to self-destruct once her plans started going pear-shaped – but there was something magic in the fire.
Upon closer inspection, the fire seemed to be coming from the shed – the same one she’d helped to save her new baby brother one, and the same one that once held the time travel portal. As the firefighters started moving in, Emma noticed that no matter how much they worked, there was still a faint glow coming from that shed. Creeping closer, she reached for the shed door, but had to yank it back right away because it was hot. Taking one look at her hands, which no longer glowed and she wasn’t entirely sure why, she made a quick grab for the door.
She was shoved to the ground with a yell of, “Swan, look out!” before the doors burst open and a line of actual purple fire roared above her.
“Is that a…?”
Another shot of fire erupted as Emma could distinctly hear a creature roaring.
“DRAGON!” Leroy yelled. “Run for your lives!”
“Hook, get off me!” Emma shoved the pirate off her before jumping to her feet and taking a few shaky breaths in an attempt to channel her energy.
“You can do it, love” Hook said from somewhere behind her on the ground. Vote of confidence never hurt anyone, I suppose… She closed her eyes and struggled to concentrate on the pushing magic toward the scene in front of her. If she could just make it clear enough to see…
Emma cracked an eye open to see a creature that she could only describe as a winged lizard about the size of Henry, except for the fact it was crouching down and cowering in a corner of the shed. The animal had shiny purple and green scales, substantial legs, and huge wings that were half-bent around itself, almost covering the creature like a blanket but held up almost like a shield, just enough to still let its fire through without potentially burning itself. Its teeth were extremely sharp, from what she could see, and there was an impressive ridged crest of upright spikes on its back side.
Most of all, though, Emma could see the dragon’s eyes: wide, green, almost human, and terrified.
Great, we’re dealing with a terrified wild magical creature child.
Before she could process this further, the dragon shot across the shed and out the doors, wings outstretched, and flew into the woods – away from all humans, and away from anyone who could keep track of its whereabouts.
Where the hell was Regina when you needed her?