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The Custody Arrangement

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     “Hello Snow.” Regina says as she walks into the White’s sitting room.
     “Regina!” Snow says as she turns around. David instantly stands in front of her. 
     “How did you get in here?” David asks.
     “Your guards are easily manipulatable.” Regina replies.
     “What did you do to them?” Snow asks
     “I did not kill them if that is what you are asking.” Regina says while nonchalantly checking her nails.
     "What do you want?” David asks
     “I heard about your pregnancy and I have a proposal for you.” Regina replies.
     “We do not want anything from you” David says.
     “Even if it means you will not lose your daughter and get to raise her?”
     “We do not car-“ David starts before Snow cuts him off
     “I am listening.” Snow says.
     “I will not cast the curse, if when after your daughter’s eighth birthday, she will start spending one weekend a month. When she is nine, it will increase to four days a month. Once she is ten, she will stay one week a month. When she turns 14, she can choose how often she would like to stay with me, with a minimum of one week a month. Everything is in this letter there is a contract on the last page. You have until her birth. When you go into labor I will know. You will have seven hours to let me know. If you have not replied by then, I will cast it. If you try to send her away to protect her, I will find her and kill her in front of you before killing both of you. Goodbye Snow.” Regina leaves the letter on a table and teleports away.

 

Dear Snow,
     I will not cast the curse and destroy your life if you agree to the following terms.

     1. I will be allowed to visit her at least once a month, on a random day of my choosing until she is eight.
     2. After her eighth birthday, she will start spending one weekend a month at my castle.
     3. After her ninth birthday, she will start spending four days a month, in a row, at my castle.
     4. After her tenth birthday, she will stay at my castle with me one week out of the month.
     5. After her 14th birthday she will be able to choose how long she would like to stay with me. One week a month is still required.
     6. On her 18th birthday she will be forced to choose between two choices.
          a. Stay at my castle full time and visit you one week out of the month and when she wants.
          b. Or stay at your castle and continue the current custody until she is married.
     7. You may not marry her off before her 18th birthday.
     8. She will have a say in who she marries.
     9. I have final approval of who she marries.
     10. You need tell her about this agreement before her seventh birthday.
     11. More terms may be decided when she turns eight.

     You have until you go into labor to decide. After that you will be given seven hours after that to give me your decision. If you have not responded after that, I will cast the Dark Curse where you will be separated from your daughter forever. If you try to hide her or send her away from me I will find her and she will be mine.
I hope you make the right decision,
     Regina Mills, Queen of the Kingdom of Darkness

     “David, we have to accept.” Snow says.
     “She cannot hurt us.” David replies. “Killing us is an empty threat.”
     “We have a few months to decide.”

***

     “Send the bird David!” Snow yells before she screams.
     David fumbles as he ties a note to a dove and sends it out the window. The bird flies across the land to Regina’s window. “Let us see what their answer is.” Regina says to herself. Regina opens the note and smiles. “They accept the deal and have signed the contract.” Regina chuckles to herself and seals the contract with magic. “Now the real fun can begin.” Regina teleports to her potion room and finds the potion she created the day after she gave Snow and David the letter. She pops the cork off and drinks the potion. Her body has a white glow around it for a moment. “Now I will be the same for 28 years.”

***

     Regina stands in the back of the ballroom leaning against a wall. She watches Snow and David get ready to make an announcement with the baby in Snow’s arms. “We would like to present, Princess Emma White, next in line for the throne. This day will be for celebrating the new life and new era of our kingdom. Enjoy yourselves.” Regina pushes herself off of the wall and walks through the crowd.
     As Regina approaches Snow, the guards stop her. “Nobles only.” One of the guards say.
     “Do not make me snap your neck.” Regina whispers to them.
     Both guards take a step back. “We are sorry, your majesty, we did not know it was you.”
     Regina rolls her eyes and walks past them. She walks up to the cradle where baby Emma is. “So cute.”
     “Guards, why is there a peasant up here?” David says.
     “Because not everyone knows about the truce so, if I showed up here normally, I would cause a scene.” Regina says.
     “Oh, Regina.” Snow grumbles.
     “Sorry do you want me to drop the glamour and cause chaos?” Regina snaps back.
     “No.” Snow quickly replies. “Thank you for hiding yourself.”
     “Whatever.” Regina says before looking down at Emma. “So cute, so innocent.” Emma giggles and tries to reach for Regina. “I see she already likes me.”
     “She does that to everyone.” David says.
     “If you say so. Hello Princess.” Regina smiles down at Emma. “Your parents finally made a smart decision in their lives.” Regina steps back from the cradle. “I will be back in a few months.” Regina teleports away in a cloud of purple smoke, causing all three royals to cough.

***

     “Hello, little one.” Regina says as she appears sitting on the floor next to Emma in her sitting room.
     “Gina!” The blonde yells as she jumps on Regina’s lap.
     “How are you?” Regina asks
     “Momma keep say that you mean.” Emma says in her jumbled 3-year-old vocabulary.
     “I have been mean to her. I will never be mean to you, Princess.” Regina says. “What are we doing?”
     “Puzzle” Emma replies. “Help?”
     “Of course. What is the puzzle of?”
     “I don’t know. It new.” They work on the puzzle together. “Oh, it another horse.” Emma says sadly. Regina flicks her wrist and the horse turns into a unicorn. Emma giggles before she yawns. “You comfy.” Emma curls up against Regina. Regina freezes up and holds her hands off to the side. Emma starts to fall asleep as Regina holds her. Regina uses her magic to levitate Emma. Regina stands and uses her magic to carry Emma to her bed. Regina carefully tucks Emma into bed. She quietly slips out of the bedroom and goes into the sitting room. Regina starts to pick up the puzzle.
     Snow bursts into the room. “What is going on?” She almost yells.
     “Be quiet Snow.” Regina says. “She is fine and taking a nap.”
     “Blue felt your magic longer than normal.”
     “I levitated her to her bedroom. She fell asleep on me and is getting too heavy to carry.”
     “I thought this was a horse puzzle.”
     “I changed it. She was tired of horses.”
     “I thought she liked horses.”
     Regina puts the pieces of the puzzle back in their box before standing. “Maybe she does, that does not mean to get her a lot of horse items. She will get tired of horses quickly.”
     “Regina why are you here right now? You normally send us a letter warning us.”
     “I have my reasons.” Regina says as she walks over to the bedroom door. She peeks in, checking on Emma. “She looks so peaceful in her sleep. Sadly she looks too much like you in her sleep as well.”
     “How are you Regina?” Snow asks.
     “Do not act like you care.” Regina says as she rolls her eyes. Regina walks over to Emma and kisses her forehead before teleporting home.
     Snow leans against the doorway to let her heart rate down. “Everything okay?” David says as he walks in.
     “Yes.” Snow says. “Regina was just putting her down for her nap. Nothing to worry about.”
     “Good.” David replies.
     “I am worried about her.”
     “Emma?”
     “No, Regina.”
     “Why do you care?”
     “She was my mother for a while. Something is bothering her.”
     “Maybe she is finally realizing she is a bad person.”

***

     “I am getting too close to her.” Regina says.
     “Why is that a problem?” Sir Henry asks.
     “I have plans Daddy. Plans that can be messed up if I get to close.”
     “She loves you Regina.”
     “I know. I will let her cling to me for another year.”

***

     “It is time for bed Princess.” Emma’s nanny says.
     “But Gina said she would tuck me in.” Emma replies.
     “Her Majesty left an hour ago.” The nanny replies.
     “But she promised.” Emma says as she starts to cry. “She promised she would tell me a story and tuck me in.”
     Regina waves her hand over the mirror and the image fades. “Why do I feel so bad about this? I broke a little girl’s heart so what.”
     “Maybe it is because you care for her.” The man in the mirror says.
     Regina rolls her eyes as she stands from her vanity. “I do not care for a little princess. Especially when she is the spawn of Snow White.”

Chapter Text

     “Hello, G-Your Majesty.” Emma says as she curtsies for Regina. “Thank you for coming to my birthday ball.”
     “You are welcome Princess.” Regina replies. “If I may, I would like to talk to you alone later.”
     “Yes, Your Majesty.” Emma says before Regina walks away. Emma takes a deep breath and wipes her hands on her dress.
     “Emma, do not wipe your hands on your dress.” Snow says. “What did Regina say?”
     “I thanked her for coming like I am supposed to and then she walked away.” Emma replies.
     “If you say so.” Snow says before she walks away. Emma rolls her eyes and sighs. Emma walks around and talks to people as well as dancing with the young princes.
     “Princess,” Regina says as she walks up to Emma. “Come with me please.” Regina walks away without letting Emma reply. Emma runs to catch up to Regina. Regina walks out of the ballroom and into the hallway. Regina leans against the wall staring at Emma. “So, do you have any questions?”
     “About what?” Emma asks.
     “The terms of the truce.” Regina says
     “What terms of what truce?”
     Regina sighs. “Of course, she did not tell you like she was supposed to.” Regina kneels down to Emma’s height. “Before you were born, your mother and I came to an agreement that resulted in a truce. She was supposed to tell you before today. The main arrangement that you need to know about right now begins after your eighth birthday. After your eighth birthday you will start coming to my castle for a weekend, once a month.”
     “What?” Emma says with a shocked look on her face. “I mean I am perfectly happy to do that but why did my mother not tell me?”
     “I have no idea Princess.” Regina says. “I know she does not really want this getting out for fear of rebellion.”
     “Oh,” Emma says.
     “Since she has not told you, I would like you to keep this information our little secret.”
     “Of course, Re-Your Majesty.”
     “So, do you have any questions?”
     “So, I would be staying overnight?”
     “Yes. Is that okay with you?”
     “It should be. What will I do?”
     “Well I have some ideas but we will go over those when the time comes.” Regina stands. “We should get back before Snow notices we are gone.”

***

     “Mother, when will Regina be back?” Emma asks Snow. “It has been three months since my party.”
     “I have no idea, she gives us a warning the day before if at all.” Snow says before turning to Emma. “Why do you ask?”
     “I guess,” Emma says as she looks at her feet. “I guess I miss her.”
     “Emma, I told you not to get attached to her.” Snow replies. “She is evil. She will only ever hurt you.”
     “You keep saying that but she has never done anything to me.”
     “Which surprises me.” Snow sits down on a couch and pats the spot next to her. “I know she has not done anything to you but it is only a matter of time. I know that you know the story of how we met and that she betrayed me and your grandfather, but I never told you anything else she did. She hurts people Emma. When she is very angry, she wipes out whole villages. No one is safe from her. She has magic, bad magic. She spent years trying to hunt me down and kill me. She played nice for a long time but her true colors started to show. I was on my own. If I stopped at a village and she found out, she would interrogate all of the adults and kill them if they did not give an answer she liked. Hundreds of people die because she hated me. She never told me why she hated me so much until years later. She was mad that I could not keep a secret when I was ten.”
     “Is she the reason you hate all magic but the fairies’?”
     “Yes, I have seen what her magic can do. I used to think the woman that saved me was still in her somewhere, but her heart is black.”

***

     “Hello, Princess.” Regina says as she walks into the garden.
     “Hello, your majesty.” Emma replies, shaking slightly.
     “Is everything okay?” Regina asks, stepping towards Emma.
     Emma takes a step back. “Yes.”
     “Emma, what is going on?” Regina says as she reaches towards Emma and kneels down to her height. Regina sighs when Emma flinches. “Your mother talked to you again.” Regina stands and sits down on the stone bench.       “What did she tell you?”
     “Nothing.” Emma says as she turns away from Regina. Emma picks a flower, ignoring Regina.
     “Emma, what did she tell you?” Regina repeats with a slightly raised voice.
     Emma flinches again before freezing up. “Please do not hurt me.” Emma whimpers.
     “Oh,” Regina replies with a frown. “She told you more of my past.” Emma picks another flower, moving slowly.      “Emma, I told you before I will never hurt you, I promise.”
     “It would not be the first promise you have broken.” Snow says as she walks into the garden. “So nice of you to show up finally, without warning.”
     “I have said that warning you is just a curtesy and I may not always warn you. I noticed you have scared her again. What did you tell her this time?”
     “The truth. That you hurt people.” Snow says as Emma covers her ears.
     “The only people I hurt are the people that deserve it.”
     “Is that what you told yourself when you wiped out villages that helped me?”
     “No, then I did not care.” Regina says as she stands. “Now I do.”
     “We both know that one day, someone will slip up when Emma is around you and you will take it out on her.”
     “I would never hurt a child and you know this.”
     “Stop fighting!” Emma yells before running into the castle, crying.
     Regina takes a deep breath and lets her mask slip back into place. “Well I guess this visit is over. I am trying to be a good Queen. Pissing me off is not helping.” Regina says before she teleports home. Regina screams with frustration upon appearing at home.
     “Everything all right dear?” Sir Henry asks.
     “No Daddy. Snow poisoned the girl’s mind again and she is scared of me. Snow and I got into a verbal fight and Emma ran off crying.” Regina says as she slumps onto her chaise. “She does not trust me anymore. I have 6 months to get her to trust me again. I do not want to bring her here if she does not trust me.”
     “What did she tell her?”
     “I only know it is about me hurting others. Neither of them would tell me.”
     “I will help you dear, I am excited to meet the little princess.”

***

     “Emma?” Regina whispers as she appears in Emma’s bedroom.
     “Your majesty?” Emma says as she rubs her eyes. “It is the middle of the night.”
     “I know dear, but I needed to talk to you without your parents showing up.”
     “I am not scared of you.” Emma says as she sits up. Her face is scrunched up in a “tough guy” expression.
     Regina sits on the edge of Emma’s bed and Emma flinches. Regina smiles to herself. “What did she tell you?” Regina holds her hand out towards Emma.
     “That you hurt and kill people when you are mad and that you killed whole villages when they helped my mother.” Emma replies as she looks up, finally getting a good look at Regina. “You are pretty without all of that makeup and jewels.”
     “Thank you dear, I was about to go to bed when I remembered I needed to talk to you.” Emma takes Regina’s hand and pulls her farther onto the bed.
     “Your hair is so long.” Emma says as she runs her fingers through the ends.
     Regina laughs. “I used to do those things, now I only hurt people when the deserve it, like any other ruler.”
     “But my mother does not hurt people.”
     “She may not, but she orders guards to do it. We can talk about this more when you are older alright?”
     “Mhm.” Emma says after yawning.
     “I think it is time for you to go back to sleep.” Regina says. “Hopefully I will be back before your birthday but if not, I will see you at your party.”
     “Mhm.” Emma says as she falls back asleep. Regina stares at Emma for a moment before teleporting away.

Chapter Text

     “Emma.” Snow says. “There is something I need to tell you before your party tomorrow.”
     “What about Mother?” Emma replies.
     “The treaty Regina and I signed when you were born.”
     “Oh, Regina told me about it at my last birthday.” Emma says with a smile. “I am excited.”
     “She told you?”
     “She said you were supposed to tell me before my seventh birthday.”
     “I was going to but I decided to wait, I did not know she would tell you.”

***

     “You are early.” Emma says as she runs over to Regina.
     “Emma…” Snow warns.
     “Sorry.” Emma says to Snow before turning back to Regina. “Hello your majesty.” Emma curtsies before facing Snow. “Now can I say ‘you are early’?”
     “Apologize first.” Snow replies without looking up from the list in front of her.
     Emma turns back to Regina. “I am sorry for the disrespect, your majesty. I am supposed to great a royal before talking to them.” Emma says with her head bowed.
     “It is okay, Princess.” Regina replies. “Yes, I am early. I have a present I wanted to give you before the party.”
     “Presents are opened after everyone has left.” Snow says, checking something off of her list.
     “Fine, I will wait.” Regina replies with an eye roll. Regina squats down to Emma’s height and whispers. “Ask your mother if you can go to the garden.”
     “Mother, may I please go out to the garden.” Emma asks.
     “Yes, be careful, do not get your dress dirty.” Snow replies. Emma smiles and drags Regina outside.
     “Your dress is beautiful.” Regina says when they get outside. Emma’s light pink shimmers in the fall sun. It is sparkly but not jeweled.
     Emma shrugs and replies. “Too pink for me.” Emma freezes in place. “I mean thank you your majesty.”
     “You do not have to follow all of your mother’s rules when it is just us.” Regina says as she sits on the stone bench. “Come sit down.”
     “My dress will get dirty.” Emma replies with a frown.
     “It will be fine.” Regina replies. Emma sits down next to Regina and smiles.
     “What is my present?”
     “So impatient.” Regina laughs. Regina holds out her hand and a jewelry box appear in a cloud of smoke. Regina opens the box and shows it to Emma. “I had a necklace made for you.”
     “Oh pretty.” Emma says as she looks at the necklace. The necklace is a silver chain with a butterfly pendant.   The butterfly has a lot of tiny jewels on it, making it sparkle in the evening sun.
     “May I put it on you?” Regina asks. Emma nods and turns her back to Regina. “Hold up your hair dear.” Emma holds up her hair and Regina gently clasps the necklace in the back. “There we go.”
     “Its cold.” Emma says with a giggle.
     “It will be for a few minutes until your body warms it up.” Regina says as Emma faces her again. “Now, this is a special necklace. You can wear it as often as you want, it will not break. None of the jewels will come out and it will always shine. No one can take it off of you unless you want them to. So if your mother tries to take it from you, she will not be able to.”
     “What will happen?”
     “If I am being honest, I wanted it to throw your mother away from you, but I decided that was a little mean.” Emma giggles as Regina continues. “It will give her a light zap. Like this.” Regina pokes Emma in the side and gives her a little zap.
     Emma laughs, “That tickles.”
     “We should be getting back inside. People will start coming soon. As for the weekend terms, I believe we will start next weekend. Gives you a week to get ready.”
     “Alright.” Emma says as she stands, she sighs as she looks at the back of her dress. “I told you it would get dirty.” Emma snaps before correcting herself. “Sorry.”
     “I knew it would too.” Regina says as she stands. “See, mine is too.” Regina flicks her wrist and the dirt disappears from both of their dresses.
     “That is amazing.” Emma says.
     “Run ahead inside, I will be in after a moment.” Regina says. Emma runs back inside, careful not to fall. Regina rolls her neck and lets her mask fall back into place. “Cannot have anyone thinking I have a weakness for the princess.” She says to herself.
     Emma runs back into the ballroom. “I am back mother.”
     “What did you and Regina do?” Snow asks.
     “She gave me my present.” Emma says proudly.
     Snow sighs, “Of course she did.” Snow turns to Emma. “What was the present?”
     “A pretty necklace.” Emma says as she shows it to Snow.
     “Emma, may I please hold onto it until after the party.” Snow says. “I do not want you breaking such a pretty necklace.”
     “Her majesty enchanted it. It will never break.” Emma says with a smile.
     “Fine, I do not want you to have it during the party.” Snow replies.
     “Why not?”
     “You are opening presents later, you can have it back then.”
     “No” Emma says. “I want to have it now.”
     Snow sighs and kneels down to Emma’s height. She gives Emma a hug, trying to take off the necklace. “Ow.” She says as she steps away. “It shocked me.”
     “It will do that. I do not want you to take it off so it will not come off. The shock hurt you, she did it to me and it tickled.” Emma turns to face the doors as they open. “Daddy!” Emma runs and jumps into David’s arms. “You are home.”
     “Do not run Emma.” Snow says.
     “I told you I would be here for you party.” David says as he hugs Emma. David puts Emma down and hugs Snow
     “Try to get that necklace from her please, Regina gave it to her.” Snow whispers into David’s ear.
     “I heard you got a new necklace.” David says as he lets go of Snow and kneels down to Emma’s height.
     “Yes, it is a pretty butterfly and the Queen gave it to me.” Emma says as she shows it to David proudly. “The Queen enchanted it, it will not break or get dirty. Mother tried to take it but it shocked her.”
     “Why did it do that?” David asks.
     “It is part of the enchantment.” Regina says as she walks in. “If she does not want it removed, it will not let anyone remove it.”
     “Regina, so nice to see you.” David says as he stands.
     “Emma people are starting to show up, go greet them.”

***

     Near the middle of the party, Snow and David stand on the dais. The music stops and all attention turns to them. “Thank you all for coming to Princess Emma White’s eighth birthday party. Please help yourselves to snacks and beverages. We would like to take this opportunity to make an announcement.” Snow smiles as she continues. “Emma has been my only child for eight years and I could not love her more, but I have more love to give. Which is why I am proud to announce that after years of trying, I am pregnant again.” The crowd cheers as Emma slips through them. She runs out of the ballroom and into a side hallway. As Snow makes this announcement, Regina keeps her eyes on Emma. Regina quickly follows Emma.
     “What is wrong Princess?” Regina says. “Are you sad that you are going to have a baby brother or sister?”
     “No, I mad that she announced it at my party. She made the day all about her.” Emma says.
     “I know a lot about your mother. She loves being the center of attention.” Regina says as she sits against the wall next to Emma. “Whenever they actually remembered to have a ball for my birthday, she made it all about her. No one ever remembered they were there for my birthday. I hated it.”
     “I do not want to see her right now.” Emma says as she starts to cry. Regina gives Emma a quick hug before speaking.
     “I know I said we would start next weekend, but it is Friday, would you like to start tonight?” Regina asks. Emma nods. “Let me write a note for your parents.” Regina stands and summons a quill and paper. She quickly writes a note for Snow and shakes it to dry it quickly. She folds it up before offering Emma her hand. “Let us go. I will leave the note with a guard.” They walk to the front doors, where two guards stop them. “She is starting her weekend with me today. Here is a note for her mother. I am taking her right now.” She hands a guard the note and walks right past them, not looking back. “I rode in my carriage this time so we will need to ride back.”
     “Why did you not appear here like you normally do?” Emma asks.
     “As I said I know a lot about your mother. I had it ready in case she did something like this that made you mad. You have not teleported before and some people get sick the first few times so I did not want to do that tonight.” Regina’s guard helps Emma up into the carriage before holding a hand out for Regina. “It is an hour trip.” Emma nods and stares out the window.

***

     “I would like to thank you all again for coming. Emma, come up here and thank everyone.” Snow says near the end of the party. The guard walks up to Snow and hands her the letter.
     You idiot. You made your daughter mad and feel bad. Congratulations on the pregnancy, this was not the time to tell everyone, it is her day. I found her crying in the hallway. Her first weekend starts now. I am taking her home with me. This is her decision.
     -Regina
     “It seems Emma started to feel sick and went to bed early.” Snow says as she hands the letter off to David.

***

     By the time the carriage makes it to Regina’s castle, Emma is curled up on the seat asleep. Regina gently shakes her. “We are here Princess.”
     “Huh?” Emma says as she rubs her eyes.
     “We should get you to bed.” Regina says. Regina’s guard helps both of them out of the carriage. Regina quietly leads Emma up to the spare rooms next to hers. “This will be your rooms when you are here. We can decorate tomorrow.” Regina leads Emma to the bedroom. Regina flicks her wrist and Emma’s dress is replaced with a night gown.
     “That is amazing.” Emma says. “Where is my dress?”
     “Hanging up in the closet.” Regina says. “We will need it tomorrow. I do not have anything else for you to wear. I am going to be in my rooms. I am just down the hall if you need me. Turn right in the hallway and my rooms are at the end.”
     Emma climbs into the bed and curls up under the covers. “Good night your majesty.”
     “Good night Princess.” Regina replies as she walks out of the bedroom, leaving the door open. Regina walks into her rooms and sits down on her chaise. “Mirror please have Daddy come in here please.”
     “Yes, your majesty.” The man in the mirror says before disappearing.
     A few minutes later, Henry walks into the room. “Everything okay?”
     “Yes, no, maybe.” Regina says. “The princess is here a week early.”
     “Why?” Henry says as he pours Regina a small glass of wine.
     “Snow announced her pregnancy at her party. Emma did not want to be there.”
     “How did Snow react when you told her you were taking Emma?”
     “Who said I told her? I wrote her a note and gave it to a guard.” Regina says. “She would have made a scene.”
     “Is everything ready for the little princess?”
     “Yes, Daddy.” Regina says. “Other than clothes. I had a feeling Snow would do something stupid so I was ready.”
     “When can I meet her?” Henry asks with a giddy smile.
     “Tomorrow, she fell asleep in the carriage so she went right to bed.”

Chapter Text

     Emma wakes up and rubs her eyes. “Where am I?” Emma mumbles.
     “Good morning Princess.” Regina says from her place at the vanity. “You came home with me last night.”
     “Oh ya.” Emma says before she sighs. “Why did she do that?”
     “I have no idea Princess.” Regina replies as she stands. “It is breakfast time. I will be with you for most of today. We have to go to the tailor after breakfast to get clothes for you, since we left in a hurry.”
     “All right.” Emma says as she follows Regina downstairs. “What is for breakfast? What are we doing today? Why is-“
     “Do you always ask so many question in the morning?” Regina snaps.
     “Sorry your majesty.”
     “It is fine. I am not used to children.”
     “Good morning Regina.” Sir Henry says. “Is this the little princess?”
     “Yes.” Regina says as Emma hides behind her. “Princess, this is my father, Henry.”
     “Hello.” Emma says. “Nice to meet you.”
     “Hello Princess Emma.” Sir Henry says as he kneels down to her height. “I am very excited to meet you.”
     “Will you be joining us for breakfast Daddy?” Regina asks.
     “Of course dear.” Sir Henry replies.
     “You call your daddy, Daddy too?” Emma asks.
     “Yes,” Regina says. “How about breakfast.”

***

     “Stand still.” The tailor says.
     “Sorry.” Emma says. “The Queen said we can go on a horse ride so I am excited, I cannot stand still.”

***

     “This horse very gentle.” The stable hand says. “Perfect for a little princess.”
     “Thank you, sir.” Emma says.
     “May I help you?” The stable hand asks. Emma nods and he helps her up onto the horse.
     “What is its name?” Emma asks.
     “His name is Felix.”
     “Hello Felix.” Emma says as she pets Felix’s mane.
     “Are you ready Princess?” Regina says as she pulls up on horse.
     “Yes, your majesty.” Emma replies.
Regina and Emma ride out into the woods. They ride in silence. Regina speeds up to pull ahead of Emma. A rabbit runs in front of Emma’s horse and spooks him. The horse rears up and Emma falls off, hitting her head on a rock. “Emma!” Regina yells as she spins around. She jumps off her horse and runs to Emma. “What is with your family and horse problems?” Regina kneels down in the dirt next to Emma. “Emma, Emma wake up.” Regina looks around. “What the hell? Why is there not any blood?”
     “What happened?” Emma asks.
     “Your horse threw you off.” Regina replies. “I know I said we were not going to do any teleporting this weekend but you need to see a healer. I am going to pick you up.”
     “Alight.” Emma says. Regina carefully picks Emma up. “My head hurts.” Regina teleports them to the infirmary.
     “Your Majesty?” The healer asks. “What is going on?”
     Regina lays Emma down on one of the beds. “She fell off of her horse.”
     “My tummy hurts.” Emma says. Regina hands a bucket to Emma. Emma throws up before laying back down. “I am sleepy.”
     “No, do not fall asleep.” The healer says. “We need to keep her awake long enough for me to check her out.”
     “Sit up dear.” Regina says. Emma groans. “Come on Princess.” Regina helps Emma sit up and then sits behind her.
     The healer does his inspection. “Any idea why she threw up?”
     “First time teleporting.” Regina replies.
     “Alright. She is fine which is very surprising.”
     “Especially since she hit a rock.”
     “She hit a rock?”
     “Yes, there was no blood at all.”
     “Have you ever considered that she may have magic?”
     “I do not think she does.” Regina stands and lets Emma lay down gently. “Is it okay if I take her up to her room?”
     “It should be okay. Don’t teleport her.” The healer says.
     “I can carry her.” Regina says. She uses her magic to lighten Emma and carries her upstairs. Regina sets her on the bed. “Sleep dear.” Regina storms out of her room and goes down to the library. “Daddy?”
     “Regina, is everything okay?” Sir Henry asks.
     “I guess. Emma fell off of her horse.” Regina says.
     “Is she okay?” Sir Henry asks quickly.
     “Yes, she was not injured at all.” Regina. “I need books on light magic. Do we have any?”
     “I do not think so dear. Why do you ask?”
     “The healer suggested that Emma may have magic. She obviously will not have dark magic. I want to be the one to train her if she does. That stupid fairy will corrupt her.”
     “You mean teach her correctly?”
     “Yes, but in teaching her correctly she will corrupt her mind against me. She can manipulate her mind.”
     “Why are you so worried about this?”
     “I do not want her to hate me.” Regina replies. “I hate that I do not want her to hate me. I hate that I care about it but I do. I have some work to do, could you please be in Emma’s rooms when she wakes up.”
     “Yes, dear.”

***

     “Do I have to go home?” Emma asks.
     “Yes, I made a promise to your parents.” Regina says. “We will teleport home. That is why we teleported a few times yesterday. So you could get used to it. Are you ready?”
     “I guess.” Emma says. “I am still mad.”
     “I know you are. So what are we not telling your parents?”
     “That I fell off a horse and you used magic on me to help me.”
     “Good girl.” Regina says. “Let us go.” Regina takes Emma’s hand and teleports away.
     Snow jumps as smoke appears a few feet in front of her. “Regina do not do that, please.”
     “So you do not want your daughter back? Okay.” Regina says with a smirk.
     “Wait.” Snow says. “Welcome back Emma.”
     “Hello Mother.” Emma says. “Goodbye your majesty.” Emma curtsies before starting to walk away.
     “Is that a new dress Emma?” Snow asks.
     “Yes.” Emma says.
     “Thank you for reminding me Snow.” Regina says before flicking her wrist. Emma’s dress turns back to the dress from the ball. “It will be in your closet at my castle. I may not be back until next month.”
     “Thank you for the nice weekend, your majesty.” Emma says.
     “Is that my little girl I hear?” David says.
     “Daddy!” Emma yells as she runs at David.
     “How was your weekend with Regina?” David asks.
     “Good. We had fun, I cannot wait until next time.” Emma says.
     “Hello David.” Regina says.
     “Hello Regina.” David replies. “Thank you for taking good care of her.”
     “I will be back in a month, I may be back before.” Regina walks over to David. “Goodbye Princess. Goodbye Whites.”

Chapter Text

     “Daddy,” Regina says. “Why is my magic dark?”
     “I am guessing it has something to do with your mother and the fact that you use your magic while angry.” Sir      Henry says. “Why do you ask?”
     “I have been reading into light magic.” Regina says. “I do not think Emma has magic but I want to be ready just in case.”
     “Why do you think she has magic?”
     “A few months ago, when she was here, she fell off of a horse and hit her head on a rock.”
     “Oh my. Is she okay?”
     “Yes, that is the problem. There was only a bump on her head and she fell from a decent height. As far as I know my magic could have reacted and healed her. Her head should have split open, she should have died or at least very injured.”
     “What are you going to do if she has magic?”
     “I do not know. Based off this book it does not react like dark magic. You cannot force it. I have to wait for it to come out on its own.”
     “How long could that take?”
     “It could take days, months, years, it may never happen.”

***

     “Hello, your majesty.” Emma says as Regina walks into the ballroom.
     “Hello Princess.” Regina says. “What is this party for?”
     “It is a surprise.” Emma says before motion for Regina to kneel down. “Mother gave birth. The main surprise is there are two of them.” Emma giggles before running away.
     The ball goes on for a few hours before Snow, David, and Emma go up to the dais. “Thank you all for coming. We have an announcement to make. Recently the new royal baby was born, but we had surprise. Instead of one baby, we had two. We would like you all to meet Prince Leopold and Prince Neal.”
Emma walks off the dais and goes to Regina. “Are you okay? You do not look okay.” Emma says.
     “I am fine.” Regina says. “I am going to head home. Have a good night Princess.” Regina teleports away.
     “You are not okay.” Emma says when they reappear.
     “Emma!” Regina yells. “You cannot just grab onto someone when they are teleporting. It is not safe. Now I have to go back.”
     “Why are you sad?” Emma says.
     “I am not sad Emma. I am just… I do not know how I feel. It is something I cannot explain to you until you are older. Come on, I will take you home.”
     “No, I want to stay here with you.”
     “Emma, you need to go home. Your weekend is next weekend.” Regina says before taking Emma’s hand. Regina teleports them back to Snow’s castle. They land in front of Snow and David. “I believe I have something of yours.” She says as she lets go of Emma’s hand. “Decided to hitch a ride home with me. I will see you next weekend, goodbye.”

***

     “Regina, Emma is here?” Sir Henry says as he walks into her sitting room. “Regina. Regina!”
     “Huh?” Regina says as she looks up from her book. “What?”
     “Emma is here.”
     “Okay… I am busy. I will see her at dinner, maybe.”
     “Regina she really wants to see you.”
     “I do not care. She is nine, she can entertain herself.”
     “Alright.” Sir Henry says as he leaves. He walks down to the foyer to Emma. “I am sorry little princess.”
     “It is alright. I did not really expect her to come downstairs. Can I go on a horse ride?”
     “Sure, may I come with you?”
     “Okay.”

***

     “Mother?” Emma says. “Why has the Queen not been here in a few months? I was supposed to go for a week starting yesterday. Why can I not take one of our carriages to her castle? I am 12. Her father said he will pick me up in the Queen’s carriage.”
     “I have no idea Emma.” Snow says. “She is probably just trying to hurt you. Is it not time for your lessons?”
     “No, those ended a few hours ago.”
     “Oh sorry. I have been a bit busy.” Snow says. “Go play or something. Your brother needs something.”
     “Where is Daddy?”
     “Busy running the kingdom. Go find something to do. Stop worrying about Regina, she does not care for you and you should not care for her.”
     “Alright.” Emma says as her shoulders sag. She walks out of the nursery and through her sitting room and to her bedroom. “Mother has not had time for me, Daddy has not had time for me, Nanny even has not had time for me. I miss Regina.” Emma walks over to the bookshelf and gets a book. She leans back on her bed and starts to read. She sighs as she cannot focus. “I am worried about Regina.” Emma leans back and closes her eyes.
     “Emma?” Regina says.
     “Huh?” Emma says as she opens her eyes. “How did I get here?”
     “I have no idea. You just showed up.”
     Emma looks at Regina’s tear stained face. “What is wrong? What happened?”
     “Nothing, you need to go home.” Regina says. “How did you get here?”
     “I have no idea. I was just thinking about you because I was worried.”
     “Everything is fine.”
     “No it is not.”
     “My father died.” Regina says as tears fall down her face. Emma gives Regina a hug.
     “I am sorry, I did not know.” Emma whispers. “When?”
     “Two months ago.”
     “That is why you have not picked me up.”
     Regina nods. “I… you are always so happy. I did not want you around.”
     “Have you left your room at all?”
     “No.”
     “Come on, we should go for a ride.”
     “I do not want to.”
     “Regina, I mean your majesty. You need to get up. Come on.”
     “Fine.”

***

      “Do you feel better now?” Emma asks.
      “A little bit.” Regina says. “Do your parents know you are here?”
     “Oops.” Emma replies. “I just appeared here.”
     “That is just what I need. Your parents mad at me. I cannot handle this right now.” Regina sighs.
     “Your majesty, it will be fine. I will send them a note.” Emma walks over to the small table in Regina’s sitting room. She opens the drawer and pulls out a quill and paper. She write a quick note and walks back over to Regina.     “Can you send it?”
     “Sure. How long did you tell them you will be here?”
     “A week. I will spend time cheering you up. We can play chess.”
     “Thank you. You know how to play chess?”
     “Your father taught me how to play.”

Chapter Text

     “You made it!” Emma says when Regina walks in the door.
     “I told you I would.” Regina replies. “I have a present for you.”
     “Oh?”
     “Do you still wear the necklace I gave you years ago?”
     “Always. Why do you ask?”
     “May I please see it? Your present is a new charm for it.” Emma unclips the necklace and hands it to Regina. Regina pulls out a flower charm. It is a simple five leaf flower. Regina carefully slips it onto the chain. Regina clips the necklace back around Emma’s neck “There we go. Happy Birthday Princess. Per the treaty you can now come over to my castle whenever you wish.”
     “There is a problem with that,” Emma says. “My mother will not let me ride in a carriage by myself and it is hard to contact you.”
     “I knew that may be a problem. When you want to come to my castle, rub the flower charm. I will either teleport to you or contact you through a mirror.”
     “Emma.” Snow says. “Come here, there are some princes I want you to meet.”
     “Yes, Mother.” Emma says as she follows Snow.
     “Emma this is Prince Victor.” Snow says.
     “Hello,” Emma says as she curtsies. The two dance for a moment before Regina catches Prince Victor’s eyes. Regina glares at him until he gets uncomfortable. Victor excuses himself and walks away. Regina continues to glare at the princes as Snow introduces them to Emma.
     “Hi your majesty.” Little Leopold says as he runs around Regina.
     “What do you want?” Regina snaps.
     “Play with me.”
     “Go away child.”
     “I am a prince, I told you to play with me so you have to.”
     “I am a queen and have magic so I do not have to.” Regina says as she conjures a fireball. Leo screams and runs away. Regina rolls her eyes as Prince Neal approaches her. Regina kneels down to his height. “Hello little prince.”
     “Hi ‘Gina.”
     “How are you?”
     “Bored.” Neal says.
     “I know parties are boring.” Regina says as she holds out her hand. “Would you like to dance?”
     “Sure.” Neal says as he takes Regina’s hand.
     They dance until Snow storms up to her. “Neal go find your brother.” Snow waits for Neal to get out of earshot before speaking again. “What the hell Regina? Why did you threaten Leopold? Why are you always nice to Neal but not Leo?”
     “I do not want that child anywhere near me. Just hearing that name makes me sick.” Regina spits. “Leave me alone Snow. I do not have the patience to deal with you right now.”
     “Why does it make you sick?”
     “You know exactly why Snow.”
     “What is going on?” Emma asks.
     “Regina is being mean to Leo again.”
     “Why your majesty? You told me you would tell me when I was older.”
     “I am not going to talk about this here.” Regina says. “I need to go. I will come back in a few hours for you Emma.”

***

     “Emma,” Regina says with a sigh from her spot on her chaise. “Your mother has told you what is expected of the woman in a royal marriage, correct?”
     “Yes, why?” Emma replies questioningly.
     “Imagine the man you marry is over twice your age, old enough to be your father. You end up having to take care of a ten-year-old when you are 18. This man is the nicest person in public but is a horrible person when his daughter is not around. Imagine not having a choice in your life. No choice in anything, anything. My life was decided by one man, after my marriage. Now, realize that it is worse than you can imagine. Having to cover up all of the time either with clothes or make-up. No one to talk to, no one to help you. They were all scared. I do not hate your brother, I hate his name, because of who he was named after. Every time I hear that name, I feel like a teenage girl with no control over her life again.”
     “Oh, your- Regina.” Emma moves from her chair to sit next to Regina. “I never knew.”
     “I know, only my father ever knew.” Regina says before she swallows.
     “Did you ever tell my mother?” Emma hugs Regina.
     “I though about it, but at that time I decided she should not have to know how horrible her father was. He had just been killed.”
     “By you?”
     “No.” Regina sighs. “By a genie who loved me.”
     “What happened to the genie?”
     “He has to spend eternity on the other side of a mirror.”
     “What does that mean?”
     “Sidney” Regina says looking towards the mirror above the fireplace. The Man in the Mirror appears in the mirror.
     “Yes your majesty?” Sidney asks.
     “Nothing, just telling the princess about your punishment. She did not understand what I meant.” Sidney rolls his eyes. “You are dismissed.” Regina turns to Emma. “There is a reason your mother cannot marry you off until you are 18. Even then you have final approval after me.”
     “Thank you.” Emma yawns and stretches. “I think it is time I went to bed.”
     “Goodnight Princess.”

***

      “Your majesty?” Emma says as she knocks on the study door. “Is it okay if I go out to the lake and swim?”
      “Go ahead, take some guards with you.” Regina says without looking up.
Emma goes down to the stables and climbs on her horse. She steers the horse towards the southern border of the castle. Five guards follow behind her. Emma takes off her riding clothes and dives into the lake. Emma swims for an hours before getting out. Emma goes to her clothes and gasps as she sees one of the guards bleeding out on the lake bed. “What the…” Emma looks up to see the guards surrounding her, swords drawn.
      “You are coming with us. Put your clothes on.” One of the guards says. Emma puts her pants and shirt back on. “I wonder which Queen will give us more money for you, your mother or the Evil Queen.” The guards move closer to Emma. Emma closes her eyes and shrinks into herself as two of the guards grab her.
     Regina feels a pulse of magic from her study. “Shit, Emma.” Regina quickly teleports herself to the lake. “Emma.” Regina says as she runs to Emma. “Emma wake up.” Regina gently shakes Emma.
     “What… what happened?” Emma asks.
     “I do not know, why are the guards all dead?”
     “One of them is dead. I do not know what happened to the others, they were going to take me and see who would pay more, you or my parents. I closed my eyes when they touched me and the next thing I know, you are waking me up.” Emma sits up. “I was scared.” Emma shrieks as magic crackles around her hands. “What is going on? Gina, I am scared. Help me.”
     “Do you trust me?” Regina asks. Emma nods and Regina takes Emma’s hands. Regina closes her eyes and pushes her magic into Emma. Suddenly, Regina gets thrown back into a tree knocking her breath out of her. Regina goes back to Emma and takes her hands again. Regina fights against Emma’s magic, repressing it, as it pushes back. Regina lets her magic wrap around Emma’s wrists to form bracelets. She releases Emma’s hands and looks at Emma. “You have magic dear.”
     “How is that possible, my parents do not have magic?” Emma says.
     “I have no idea. These bracelets will contain your magic for a while. I will help you contain it before I send you home. It is strong. I have studied light magic for years. I am willing to teach you if you would like.”
     “Who else could teach me?”
     “The Blue fairy, but I do not trust her. I am surprised she has not used magic to poison your mind yet.”
     “I think want you to teach me. I have never trusted her either, no one can be that nice all the time.”
     “Alright.” Regina says. “Let us go back to my castle.” The guards start to stir as Emma and Regina stand. “But first,” Regina flicks her wrist and the guards disappear. “They go to the dungeons.” Regina takes Emma’s hand and teleports back to her castle.

Chapter Text

     “Today we have two things to do, magic lesson and trial of the guards.” Regina says.
     “Do I have to be at the trial?” Emma asks sadly.
     “Sorry you have to dear.”
     “Why?”
     “You were the victim.” Regina says. “I am thinking of bringing your parents over for the trial, since the guards were going to try to ransom you to them too.”
     “If they find out they are not going to let me come back.”
     “They can not stop you. Especially if you magic is strong enough.”
     “What are you talking about?”
     “If it is strong enough to teleport short distances you can teleport yourself and a horse out of the castle walls.”
     “Alright.”
     “Now, I will send a bird to your parents and invite them.” Regina walks into the hallway and to her study.

***

Dear Snow and David,
     There has been a problem between your daughter and some of my guards. I am holding a trial this afternoon and would like you to attend. Feel free to bring some of your guards.
     Queen Regina
     “Someone find the King!” Snow yells.
     After a few minutes David runs in. “What is going on?”
     “Something happened between Emma and some of Regina’s guards. Regina is holding a trial this afternoon.”
     “What happened?”
     “The letter does not say.”
     “Send a letter back saying we will be there. I will have the stable get a carriage ready.” David says before he walks out
     “Make sure we have a few guards on horseback!” Snow yells after him.

 

***

     “Alright, we are going to start with simply being able to control your magic. I am going to take the bracelets off. We are in an empty room so nothing gets broken. I do not expect you to be able to control it before the trial. Focus on keeping calm and relaxed. Ready?” Regina asks. Emma nods and holds her arms out. Regina uses her magic to unweave the bracelets. The second the bracelets disappear, Regina gets thrown back against a wall.     “Shit!” Regina groans on impact.
     “I am so sorry! Are you okay your majesty?” Emma says as she scrambles towards Regina. Emma’s hands spark as she moves.
     “Yes, I am fine.” Regina says as she stands. “Your magic is very strong, very light, or both.”
     “I am so sorry. I did not mean to hurt you.”
     “It is fine. You do not know how to control it yet. Just relax and focus on keeping it calm.” Emma closes her eyes and focuses on her hands. She smiles as her hands stop sparking.
     The doors opens, scaring Emma. Emma jumps and her magic surges. The guard who opened the door gets thrown back. The other guard sticks her head in. “Everything okay?”
     “Yes, your partner scared the princess who is trying to learn to control her magic. Her magic surged and went after the guard.” Regina says. “What do you need?”
     “The Whites are here.” The guard says. “Should we start the trial now or wait?”
     “Send them to the public sitting room. The princess and I will join them there after lunch. Offer them food and drinks.” Regina says. Regina waits for the guard to leave before speaking to Emma. “I am going to put the bracelets back on. Could you relax so I do not get thrown again?” Emma nods and Regina takes Emma’s hands. Regina lets her magic flow out of her and around Emma’s wrists. When the bracelets reappear, Regina lets go of Emma’s hands. “Let us go have lunch.” Regina starts to walk out of the room, limping slightly.
     “Are you sure you are okay?” Emma says.
     “I am fine Princess.” Regina says. “Just a few bruises from getting thrown into a solid object two days in a row.”

***

     “Emma!” Snow says as Regina and Emma walk into the public sitting room. Snow runs to Emma and checks her out. “Are you okay? What happened?”
     “Relax Snow.” Regina says. “She is fine.”
     “Regina what the hell happened?” David says calmly.
     “She went to the lake with five of my guards. Four of them killed the other and then tried to kidnap her. Luckily I arrived to meet her before they got far. I invited you to sit in on the trial since she is your daughter.”
     “Why were they going to take her?” Snow asks
     “They wanted money.” Emma says as she sits. “They were going to kidnap me and send ransom notes to both of you. They knew you would both put up a large amount of money to get me back.”
     “Now, this is how this trial is going to work. You will be on the dais with us off to the sides and Emma will be next me. You will not speak, you will be able to take them back with you and have your own trial. This trial is just a formality, if they stay with me they will rot in my dungeons for the rest of their lives. Normally they would be put to death, but since the princess is not a princess of my kingdom I cannot do that.”
     “She is our daughter, we should be able to speak for her. Also this trial should happen at our castle.” Snow says.
     “I can speak for myself.” Emma mumbles as she slumps in her seat.
     “The incident took place in my kingdom.” Regina says. “I am not having this argument. It is time.”
     “Are you going to change Emma?” Snow says looking her up and down.
     “I am not changing. R-the Queen said it was fine.” Emma says. “It is a nice shirt.”
     “But princesses wear dresses to courts and trials, not shirts and pants.”
     “Mother”
     “Emma you need to change. I do not want you representing our kingdom in that.”
     “Fine!” Emma yells as she stands “Your Majesty, if you may?”
     “I will…” Regina says before flicking her wrist towards Emma.
     “What are you doing?” Snow yells as purple smoke surrounds Emma.
     When the smoke clears, Emma is in a white dress. Emma looks down and rolls her eyes. “Is this better Mother?” Emma asks
     “Yes, thank you.”

Chapter Text

     “Bring them in.” Regina says from her throne on the dais. Emma sits on a throne to her left while Snow and David stand to the back, one on each side of the stage. The traitorous guards are walked in by other guards with their hands tied behind their back. The traitorous guards are pushed onto their knees. “We are gathered for the trial of these four guards. They are accused of attempted kidnapping of a noble from another kingdom while in our kingdom. They are accused of trying to kidnap Princess Emma of the White Kingdom from the lake behind my castle. How do you plead?”
     “Not guilty” all but one of the guards say.
     “Guilty.” The other says.
     “You.” Regina says pointing to the guard on the far left. “What happened at the lake?”
     “Nothing. The princess got out of the water and we rode back to the castle.” He says
     “I distinctly remember have the princess take five guards. What happened to the other?” Regina asks.
     “Umm… I do not know. Maybe he wandered away.”
     “The other two who pleaded not guilty, do you agree with his story?”
     “Yes” the other two say.
     “What about you?” Regina asks pointing to the guard who pleaded guilty.
     “We went to the lake with the princess. One of us killed the fifth guard. When the princess got out of the water we surrounded her with a swords drawn. We waited for her to put her clothes on and me and another one grabbed her and next thing I know I was waking up in the dungeon.” The guard confesses.
     “What were you planning to do with the princess?”
     “We were going to try to ransom her off to you or the White royals.”
     “Princess Emma. What happened?” Regina asks looking at Emma.
     “I went to the lake with five guards. I swam for a while and when I got out I saw one of the guards bleeding out on the lake bed. They remaining four surrounded me with their swords drawn and made me get dressed. They said that they wondered who would pay more for me between you and my parents.. I closed my eyes when they grabbed me… then you, your majesty, showed up and threw them away from me. You then teleported them to the dungeon and us back here.”
     “Alright, everyone is dismissed for five minutes while I make my decision.” Regina says as she stands. “Princess, come with me please. Snow, David, stay here please.”
     “Yes, your majesty.” Emma says.
     Emma follows Regina out into the hall. “Why did you lie?” Regina whispers when she turns around.
“I figured we were planning on hiding my magic from my parents, so I said you threw them not me.” Emma whispers back.
     “Good idea.” Regina replies. “Alright, as I said before, I can only charge them with attempted kidnapping of a noble. Your parents will take the guards back with them and they will probably be put to the death. After the trial we will resume or lesson.” Emma nods. “Let us go back inside.” Regina walks back into the throne room with Emma trailing behind her. Regina and Emma sit back on the thrones before Regina speaks. “I have reached my decision, because the princess in question is not of this kingdom, these four men are being charged with attempted kidnapping of a noble, in my kingdom. They are sentenced to life in the dungeons, their families will receive a small payment. The King and Queen of the White Kingdom will be taking the four guards to their kingdom and put them on trial there. This trial is over and everyone is dismissed. Get these lowlifes in a jailer cart for the royals.” Regina stands and walks out of the throne room.
     Emma stands and starts to follow Regina. “Emma where are you going?”
     “My week is not over yet.” Emma replies
     “Oh no, you are coming home with us. If her guards will attack you I do not want to leave you here with her.” Snow says as she grabs Emma’s arm. “I do not even want to know what she will do to you.” Emma tries to pull away and Snow holds on tighter. “Emma she will hurt you. Please come home with us.” Emma rips her arm from Snow’s grasp and continues to follow Regina. Snow tries to go after her but the guards stop her.
     “I hate her sometimes.” Emma says as she walks into the empty room.
     “What did she do now?” Regina asks as she sets some candles on the floor.
     “She tried to stop me from following you. What are you doing?”
     “Your magic should have calmed by now so you can start learning basic magic.” Regina walks over to Emma and unweaves the bracelets with her magic. Regina gets thrown a few feet back but manages to stay on her feet. “I was ready this time. Alright so your magic is not calm yet. Guess we still need to work on control.”

***

     Emma sighs as she walks through Regina’s castle. “I am so bored.” She says to no one. Emma wanders until she finds an old hallway. She opens the first door she finds. “Are these more chambers?” Emma walks into the rooms and glances around “This is way too fancy to be guest rooms. Who’s rooms are these.” Emma’s gaze goes to the fireplace. “Were these my mother’s rooms?” She says as she stares at two paintings. One is a painting of Leopold, Eva, and baby Snow. The other painting is Leopold, Regina and a ten-year old Snow. “Mother looks more like her mother than her father.Emma goes over to the bookshelf and takes one of the journals down. She skims them and scoffs. “How was she so oblivious? How did she not know something was not right between her father and Regina?” Emma replaces the journal before going to the bedroom closet. “No wonder the kingdom was near bankrupt.” Emma stares at the shelves full of tiaras and jewelry. “He was spoiling her, probably to distract her from noticing that something was wrong.” She takes one of the dresses off the rack and looks at it. “Seriously, there are so many jewel weaved into this dress. All of these dresses have jewels in them.” Emma continues to look in the closet. “Of course the only clothes that are not dresses are riding outfits.” Emma goes back to the hallway and goes to the next room. She opens the door and coughs when the dust gets kicked up. “It is really dusty in here.” She glances towards the fireplace and looks at the painting above it. “I am guessing this is my grandfather’s room. The painting does not include Regina.” Emma walks into the closet and glances at the clothes. There are only men’s clothes. “I guess Regina had her own rooms. Was my mother really that oblivious?” Emma finds a journal on a bookcase and skims it. “Most of this is him just complaining about Regina and him punishing her. How did my mother not notice any of this? How did Regina live through this?” Emma walks into the hallway again. She goes into the last room. “What happened in here? This is a mess. I think these were Regina’s rooms.” The rooms has been torn to shreds, glass and wood everywhere. Emma carefully makes her way over to the bookshelf. She finds another journal and skims it. She starts to cry as she reads about Regina’s life. “How can a mother do that to her daughter?” Emma grabs a few more journals before running across the castle to her own room. Emma lays in bed and tries to sleep. After a few hours of being unable to sleep, she gets up and goes to her vanity.      “Sidney?”
     “Yes Princess?” Sidney says as he appears in the mirror.
     “I found journals of my mother, grandfather, and Regina. How did my mother not notice what my grandfather did to Regina?”
     “Where did you find those?”
     “East wing.”
     “I thought the Queen locked that wing years ago.”
     “It was open when I went through there. Was I not supposed to be in there?”
     “Well I am guessing you were not to be in there since it was supposed to be locked.”
     “Oops. Could you answer my question?”
     “Yes, she was always full of herself. She only helped people when it would benefit her. To everyone, the Queen was just a figurehead. She was there so that Snow would have a mother and hopefully give the kingdom a prince. At the Queen’s 24th birthday ball, Snow made it all about her. She had turned 16 and was getting all of the attention of the princes and their family. Regina ended up walking out of her own ball and spending the rest of the ball in her rooms reading. No one noticed she had left, not even the king. Regina got a few presents on her birthday but Snow always got more, on Regina’s birthday. Her life has never been easy. Her mother was a horrible woman.”
     “I know, I read what she did. Her mother killed her true love. I knew her father, I know he is the only reason she has made it this far in life. Her mother is more evil than Regina ever was. Thank you for talking to me. I have one more question. Are your powers restricted to this palace or could you appear at my castle?”
     “I have not tried it before. I will ask Regina later.”
     “Alright, I think I can sleep now. Goodnight.” Emma gets up from the vanity and lays down in bed.
     “Goodnight Princess.”
     On the other side of the kingdom, a hole is blown in a thick tree and a woman steps out.

Chapter Text

     “Time for another magic lesson dear.” Regina says as she walks into the library.
     “I am tired.” Emma says.
     “You need to be able to control your magic before I send you home.” Regina replies.
     “Why?”
     “Your mother’s pet fairy is able to detect my magic. The bracelets are made of my magic. The fairy will try to take them off and if she succeeds your magic will reveal itself. Knowing your mother, she will block your magic off instead of having you taught to control it.”
     “Fine.” Emma groans as she stands from the couch.
     Regina walks out of the library and down the hall to the empty room. “I think you are old enough to call me Regina. I hate it when you use my title but you were too young before.”
     “Alright Regina.” Emma says as she closes the door behind her. “What are we doing today?”
     “Still working on control.”
     “I will try not to throw you across the room again.” Emma says with a chuckle.
     “That would be great.” Regina says as Emma sits on one of the tables. “Why are you sitting on the table?”
     “I am sitting on the table because I want to.”
     Regina rolls her eyes and walks over to Emma. “Alright, I am going to remove the bracelets now.” Regina removes the bracelets and nothing happens. “Good, nothing happened. Looks like you may be able to control it now. We should try lighting a candle.”

***

     “Good job, Princess.” Regina says.
     “Thank you.” Emma replies.
     “There is one more thing I want to teach you before you go home. If you are anything like your mother you hurt yourself very often, so I want to teach you to heal yourself or someone else. We will start with a little.”
     “Do you really think I can do it?”
     “Do you remember what happened on your first weekend? You fell off of your horse. What I never told you is that your head hit a rock. There was no blood when I picked you up. You should have died or at least been very injured.”
     “Really? Okay, I am ready to try it.”
     “Ugh.” The woman says as she watches Regina teach Emma in the mirror. “She is getting attached to that princess.” The woman paces in the small cottage. “I can use her.”

***

     “What are we doing this week?” Emma asks as she walks into Regina’s study.
     Regina glares at Emma. “Knock next time dear.”
     “Sorry. I am just excited to learn more magic.”
     “We will do that later. I have a job for you to do though. I need you to go down into the town and get reports from the businesses in the square for me.”
     “Why are you sending me?”
     “My normal messenger is doing another job and I need these reports right away.”
     “Alright. I will be back in a bit.” Emma leaves the study and walks to her rooms. She goes onto her balcony to feel the wind. “Heavy cloak.” She grabs a heavy cloak before leaving the castle. Probably should take a horse. Emma leaves her horse at the stables outside town and walks to the square. She collects all the reports and walks back toward the stables. She gasps as she is pulled into a building by her arm.
     “Nice to finally meet you Princess.” The woman says.
     “Who are-“ Emma is interrupted as the woman plunges her hand into Emma’s chest. She rips Emma’s heart out. Emma’s eyes go wide as she sees her heart. “What the-“
     “Be quiet” the woman says into the heart. Emma looks confused as she tries to talk. “It does not matter who I am. You will be rude and mean to everyone you love.” Emma tries to speak again. “I am guessing you want to know what will happen if you don not.” The woman squeezes Emma’s heart and Emma yells and doubles over in pain. “I will kill you. I am Cora Mills, Regina’s mother, but” Cora smirks. “You cannot tell anyone what happened here. Now, go back to my daughter.”

***


     “Here are you reports.” Emma says as she throws the papers onto Regina’s desk. “Do you need me to run anymore dumb errands or can I go do something else.”
     Regina looks at Emma in disbelief. “What is wrong with you?”
     “What is wrong with me? Nothing, I am a princess not your messenger.”
     “Why are you acting like this, Princess?”
     “I have a name you know. My name is Emma. Now if you will excuse me, I would rather be anywhere else than here. Thank the Gods I am going home today. Actually I am going to go now.”
     “Emma-“ Regina starts before Emma storms out. What is going on with her?

***

     “Emma, you’re back early.” Snow says in a surprised tone.
     “Well I was bored.” Emma says with a hand on her hip. “Do you need something or can I go to my rooms?” Snow is stunned into silence. Emma rolls her eyes and walks towards her rooms.
     “Emma!” Neal says as he runs towards her. He tries to jump into her arms but Emma side steps him and he falls onto the floor.
     “What do you want?” Emma snaps.
     “I wanted to give you a hug and ask you to play with me.” Neal says.
     “Well I do not have time for babies right now. Go play with your brother.”
     “Leo wants to see you too.”
     “Well I do not want to see either of you so scram. I have better things to do.” Emma walks away as Neal starts to cry. She rolls her eyes as she walks into her rooms. She locks the door behind her and drops to the floor. She starts to cry as she leans against the door.
     “Emma, what is wrong with you? Your mother told me you were rude to her and I saw Neal crying in the hallway.” David says from the hallway
     “Nothing! Go away. I have better thing to do than talk with you.” Emma yells.
     “Emma unlock this door now!”
     “No.” Emma stands and goes into her bedroom. She locks that door behind her too. She lays in her bed and cries herself to sleep.
     An hour after she falls asleep, Snow and David unlock the doors to check on her. “What did Regina do to her?” Snow asks.
     “I do not think this is Regina. Regina loves Neal and would never make Emma be mean to him. Something else is going on.” David replies.
     “What are we going to do?”
     “We will try to talk to her tomorrow and call upon Regina if we need to.”

Chapter Text

     “Emma, you have dancing lessons today.” Snow says. “There is a ball in another kingdom this weekend.”

     “Why the hell do I have to go?” Emma asks.

     “Emma, watch your language” David says.

     “You need to meet princes and make relationships.” Snow says.

     “Why? I get to choose who I want to marry.” Emma says.

     “Why are you being rude Emma?”

     “I am tired of you being on your high horse. I do not want to make friends with princes. I want to learn to fight but you will not let me.” Emma stands from her chair and storms out of the room.

     “Get Regina.” Snow says as she rests her head on her hands.

 

***

 

     “What do you want Snow?” Regina says.

     “What did you do to Emma?” Snow asks.

     “Nothing. What is going on?”

     “She is being rude to everyone.”

     “She was being rude to me before she left. Something is not right.” Regina paces as she speaks. “Someone bring the princess down here. Force her if you have to.”

     The guards look at Snow and she nods. The guards run out of the room. “Why do you need Emma?”

     “I think I may know what it is wrong, but I need her here to check.”

     “Let go of me!” Emma yells as the guards drag her to Regina. Emma tries to leave but Regina freezes her in place.

     “You are not going anywhere Princess.” Regina storms over to her and waves her hand over Emma’s head. “Just what I thought. Someone took her heart.”

     “Did you take her heart?” Snow yells.

     “No, someone else did.”

     “I do not believe you.”

     “Get your fairy down here. She may be able to figure out who it is.”

     After a few minutes, Blue flies into the room. “What is wrong?”

     “Emma’s heart is missing. I believe Regina took it but she said she did not.” Snow says.

     Blue waves her wand over Emma. “Well I can feel Regina’s magic but that is only the spell holding Emma in place. The magic around her heart feels like Regina’s but it is not hers. Close enough to hers that it has to be a family member.”

     “Fuck!” Regina yells as she throws a fireball at the wall. “Damn it!”

     “Regina what is going on?” David asks.

     “My mother. It is my mother. She is alive.” Regina says. “I thought she was dead by now. I guess she is still alive.”

     “Cora?” Snow asks. “Why would she do this? She was so nice to me.”

     “Nice to you, but tortured me my whole life until I sent her through that damn mirror before the wedding.” Regina silently snarls as she says wedding. “Keep Emma away from her brothers. I recommend keeping her in her room. Give me a few days to find my mother. Cover all of her mirrors and seal the covering so Emma cannot remove them.”

 

***

 

     “Fuck, I cannot find her.” Regina says in anger. Regina writes a note before sending it. She gets a note back and then teleports to Snow’s castle. “I cannot find her Snow.”

     “What are we going to do?” Snow asks

     “Well it has been 3 weeks so it is time for Emma to come to my castle. I may be able to lure my mother out of hiding. I will make it seem like I do not know what is going on and am hurt. She will think I am weak and will come ‘help’ me. I can block her magic and get Emma’s heart back.” Regina replies.

     “Are you sure it will work?” David asks.

     “No, but it is the only plan I have. Well, the only one you would agree to.”

     “Do we want to know what the other plan is?” Snow asks hesitantly.

     “No.” Regina replies. “Alright, I am going to go get Emma and go back to my castle.” Regina teleports to Emma’s room, not bothering to wait for a response. “Come on, Princess.”

     “Go away.” Emma says. “I do not like you.”

     Regina takes a deep breath before storming over to Emma and grabbing her wrist. “You are coming with me whether you want to or not.”

     “Let go of me! Guards! Help!” Emma yells.

     The guards outside Emma’s doors storm into the room. “What is going on?” One if them asks.

     “She is trying to kidnap me.” Emma replies.

     “It is time for your week with me.” Regina says as Emma pulls herself out of Regina’s grasp. Regina manages to grab the back of Emma’s dress and teleports to Regina’s foyer. “You are being very annoying right now.”

     “I am going home.” Emma says.

     “No you are not. All of my guards have strict orders to keep you in the castle.” Regina replies with a smirk.

     “Watch me.” Emma says as she runs to the open door. When Emma tries to step over the door frame, she gets thrown back.

     “Did I forget to mention I put a magic barrier around the castle?”

     “You are such a bitch. I am starting to see why you are called ‘The Evil Queen.’”

     Regina rolls her eyes. “Go up to your rooms. I do not have the patience for you right now.”

     “Fine!” Emma yells before storming off.

     Regina lets her shoulders fall and her mask slip. She starts “crying” as she walks towards her study. “Oh darling.” Cora says from behind Regina. “It will all be okay. Mother is here now.” Cora rests her hand on Regina’s right shoulder. Regina quickly raises her right hand and spins around. She snakes her arm around Cora’s, locking it in place. Regina carefully kicks Cora’s legs out from under her and goes down with her. While Cora is still surprised and in shock, Regina quickly lets her magic wrap around Cora’s wrists.

     Regina teleports Emma to her and grabs her arm with her open hand. “What the hell are you doing? Let go of me!”

     “Shut up” Regina says as she pulls on Emma’s magic. She pushes Emma’s magic out of herself to join with her magic. Regina releases both Emma and Cora. “Do you really think I am stupid, Mother?” Regina spits as she stands. “Where is it?”

     “I have no idea what you are talking about.” Cora replies as she stands. “I am just here to comfort you and you attacked me.” Cora brushes off her dress.

     “Emma’s heart, where the hell is it.” Regina asks.

     “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

     “Last chance, Mother. Where is her heart?”

     “I told you I have no idea what you are talking about.”

     “Stop lying.” Regina says as she starts to choke Cora with magic and lifts her in the air. “Is this really how you want to die, Mother?”

     “You do not have the guts to kill me.” Cora replies with a breathless chuckle. Regina growls and chokes Cora harder until she passes out. Cora falls to the ground. The moment she hits the floor Emma yells and doubles over in pain.

     “Emma?” Regina says worryingly. “Are you okay?” Emma does not reply as sweat begins to gather on her brow. “Shit!” Regina yells as she realizes where the heart is. She quickly rolls Cora over and Emma falls to the floor, breathing heavily. Regina searches Cora’s bag until she finds a small bag. “Here it is.” Regina peers into the little bag before pulling out Emma’s heart from inside. “Sit up.” Regina walks over to Emma. “This is going to hurt a bit.” Emma sits up and Regina plunges her hand into Emma’s chest. She pulls her hand out. “Are you okay?”

     “I think so. I am sorry for what I said.” Emma replies.

     “You have nothing to apologize for. You were being controlled.”

     “I have a question. When you grabbed my arm it stung. What were you doing and why was part of your magic white?”

     “I drew from your magic. The white was your magic. I know she could possibly break the bonds if they were just made if my dark magic. ”

     “So you needed some light magic.”

     “Yes.” Regina says as she yawns. “Guards, take her to the dungeons, I will deal with her later.” Regina helps Emma stand before speaking again. “One more thing Emma.” Regina takes one of Emma’s hands and places her open hand on Emma’s chest, right over her heart. Regina closes her eyes and lets their magic mix and surround Emma’s heart. “There, now no one can take it again.”

     “Thanks.” Emma says as she looks Regina in the eyes. Regina lets go of Emma and Emma suddenly feels empty.

     “I used a lot of magic so I am going to go to bed.”

     “Alright. See you in the morning then.” Emma replies as Regina walks away. Emma leans against the wall and stares at the ceiling. What was that feeling?

Chapter Text

     “Welcome home Emma.” Snow says as Emma walks into the public sitting room. “How was your week at Regina’s.”

     “She caught her mother.” Emma replies. “R-the Queen got my heart back from her.”

     “That is go-“ Snow starts before she is interrupted by Blue flying into the room.

     “I felt Regina’s magic.” Blue says.

     “Where?” Snow asks nervously.

     “In here.” Blue replies before she waves her wand around her head, spreading her magic around the room. “Emma.”

     “Yes?” Emma says.

     “Regina’s magic is all over Emma.” Blue says.

     “What did she do to you?” Snow asks as she rests her hands on Emma’s shoulders.

     “She did not do anything.” Emma replies with an annoyed sigh. “I do not know why you are feeling her magic.”

     “Blue,” Snow says. “Why is Regina’s magic on Emma?”

     Blue waves her wand over Emma’s head before she speaks. “The magic is around her heart. There is also another magic I have not felt before.”

     “Oh, I forgot she did that.” Emma says.

     “What did she do, Emma?” Snow asks sternly. 

     “She put a spell around my heart so no one can take it.” Emma says.

     “Who does the other magic belong to?” Snow asks.

     “I have no idea. I think she has reserves of light magic she stole from other magic users.” Emma says. “She must have used that.”

     “Why did she protect your heart? She should have told us it was back in place and Blue could have protected it.”

     “Well her mother is very strong and it is not that hard for her to get through fairy magic. Can I go up to my rooms please?” Snow nods and steps out of Emma’s way.

 

***

 

     “How are you feeling, Mother?” Regina asks from her place outside Cora’s cell.

     “My shoulder hurts.” Cora replies.

     “Well that is your own fault. You took Emma’s heart to manipulate me!”

     “You like that girl more than you should Regina. I was just trying to protect you.”

     “I am an adult! I have magic! I know how to fight! I do not need you to protect me!” Regina sighs as she pinches the bridge of her nose. “Move her to the nicer cell. You will be let out of the dungeon when you can prove you actually care about me”

 

***

 

     Emma growls as she slams another book closed. “Why do I have to do this?”

     “Because your mother said you needed too.” Her tutor replies. “You need to know about other kingdoms.”

     “Why do I need to know this?”

     “A ball is coming up and your mother wants you to meet princes. You are 16 so she wants you to make friends with princes.”

     Emma rolls her eyes. “Of course she does.”

     “There you are Emma!” Snow says as she walks into the library.

     “What do you need mother?” Emma says in a happy tone.

     “It is time for a ball gown fitting.”

     “I do not have the time. I told R-the Queen that I would be early this week. She expecting me in a few hours so I need to leave soon.” Emma replies as she stands.

     “You have been spending a lot of time at her castle. I do not like it, you are not going early.”

     “Why do you hate me going over to her castle?”

     “She is a horrible person. She is just going to hurt you.”

     “You have been saying that for years but she has not hurt me.”

     “Emma she has tried to kill both your father and me. She put me under a sleeping curse because of something I said. She killed my father, your grandfather. She chased me out of and took over my kingdom. She destroyed families and villages.”

     “You told her secret! The man she loved died because of you! She did not kill your father, the genie did! The vipers that killed him, she was going to use them on herself! She killed and destroyed out of pain because she did not know any other way to release it! Her mother hurt her in ways you could not imagine. She had no one to teach her how to deal with stress or pain or anger!” Emma yells before she takes a deep breath before speaking in a calm tone. “I enjoy being at her castle.”

     “Come with me Emma.” Snow says angrily before storming out. Emma rolls her eyes before following her mother. The two walk in silence to the infirmary. “Blue?”

     “Yes Your Majesty?” Blue asks.

     “Can you use the dreamcatcher to show Emma one of my memories please?”

     “Yes, one moment.” Blue finds the dreamcatcher and hands it to Snow. She waves her wand over it and an image appears.

     “We’ve gone further than I thought.” Wilma says as she stands next to Snow, looking over a village full of bodies.

     “These people are dead, because the helped me.” Snow says with a broken voice.

     “No. You didn’t do this.” Wilma says as she places a hand on Snow’s shoulder.

     “Oh, I know. She did it. I take it back. It is to late for her.” Snow says as tears well in her eyes. “I could never forgive her. There is no good in that woman. None. I was wrong. There never was.”

     “What about when she rescued you? The horse.” Wilma says in a semi hopeful tone.

     “What are you talking about?” Snow whispers.

     “Your story, about being saved.”

     “I never said it was her.”

     “I read between the lines.” A second after Wilma stops speaking, Snow quickly draws her bow and points an arrow at Wilma.

     “It was you.” Snow says accusingly. “Regina, your dark magic is hiding you somehow, but it is you.”

     “Yes, it is me.” Regina says, still looking like Wilma. “But there is good in me.”

     “If this is your idea of ‘good’,” Snow pauses. “I want no part of it.”

     Regina tries to make a fireball. “Damn.” She whispers when it fails. She yells. “Rumplestiltskin!” She drops the sword and runs.

     Snow lowers her bow and looks over the village again.

     “She killed all of those people because they helped me. That was when it all started.” Snow says as she places a hand on Emma’s shoulder.

     Emma closes her eyes before speaking. “I… I need to go.” Emma runs out of the infirmary up to her rooms. She trips on her dress and rips it slightly. She runs into her bedroom and belly flops onto her bed. Emma starts to cry as she rolls over onto her back. She stares at the ceiling as she takes off the necklace Regina gave her. She absentmindedly rubs the flower charm with her thumb for a minute before throwing the necklace towards the wall.

     Regina runs over to a mirror when she feels Emma rub the flower. She waves her hand over the mirror just in time to see Emma throw the necklace. “Emma?” She says.

     “Go away. My mother was right, you are evil. I do not want to talk to you.” Emma says as she continues to stare at the ceiling. Emma’s chest feels heavy as she breathes. 

     “What happened Emma?” Regina asks. Emma continues to stare at the ceiling. “Emma.” Emma stands and walks into her closet. She changes into leggings and a shirt before returning to her room. “Emma! Please answer me!”

     “My mother showed me a memory. You killed an entire village because they helped her!” Emma says before she storms out of her bedroom and into her personal library. “What happened to you Regina?” She whispers to herself as she pulls a few books off a shelf. She slides a hidden panel open and reads the spines of the hidden books. She takes out one of the books and opens it. “Why did you kill them all?” 

     My husband is dead. Finally I am free. I need to figure out how to get rid of Snow now.

     Emma turns a few pages before she finds the page she is looking for.

     Snow has escaped again. I found the last village she hid in. I am going there later. Someone will be greedy enough to give up information for gold. I need to find her. I need revenge.

     Emma turns the page.

     I went to the village today. No one would give up any information. I hate myself. I made a rash decision out of anger. I told my guards to kill them all, no mercy. I hate myself for this. They will never love me and I made it worse. I do not know what to do. They will not forgive me, even if I apologize. It is days like this I wish I used the vipers on myself. I feel so much pain and regret and I do not now what to do about it.

     “She was in pain. She just wanted to be loved but she did not know how.” Emma whispers. “She still just wants to be loved.” Emma replaces the journal and closes the panel. She puts the books back in front of it. “I do not know what to do. Why does this hurt so much?” Emma looks out the window and sighs. “I should go to sleep. I will go to Regina’s tomorrow,” Emma pauses. “Maybe.” Emma walks back into her bedroom and picks up the necklace. She clasps it around her neck and changes for bed.

     Regina smiles as she feels warmth. She put it back on. “Sidney,” Regina says. “I… I think I have a problem.”

     “Yes, Your Majesty?” Sidney asks.

     “Do you have any idea why it hurt so much when Emma yelled at me?”

     “I think you know why.”

     “It cannot be that. She is 15. She is 13 years younger than me.” Sidney gives Regina a pointed stare. “Alright I am 28 years older than her. I am technically 28 and your know that. I cannot have these… I cannot like the princess. She is Snow’s daughter.”

 

***

 

     “Regina?” Emma whispers as enters Regina’s rooms. “Regina? She repeats louder as she opens Regina’s bedroom door.

     “Emma?” Regina asks tiredly. “What are you doing here? It is the middle of the night.”

     “I could not sleep so I snuck out. We need to talk.” Emma replies.

     “Go sit in the sitting room. I will be out in a moment.” Regina mumbles.

     “Alright.” Emma replies as she quietly closes the door. She sits on a chair and fidgets.

     Regina comes out wearing a robe. “What is going on?”

     “I am sorry for yelling at you. My mother showed me one of her memories. You were disguised as a peasant and you both came upon a village.” Emma says.

     “Oh no.” Regina replies as she puts a hand on her head. “That village.”

     “It… it hurt to see what you did. I found out later that you did regret it and that made me feel a little better.”

     “What makes you think I regretted it?”

     “Um… just a guess?”

     “Emma…”

     “The month after I turned 14, I got bored and wandered the castle. I… I found the East Wing. It was unlocked so I explored. I found your old diaries. I snuck them home with me over the next few months. I found the entries for before and after that event and read them. I am sorry. Sidney told me I should not go back in there after I found out it was unlocked, but I ignored him.”

     “That is impossible. I make sure it is locked once a week and it always has been. I locked it with a key and magic.”

     “My magic…” Emma says. “It must have let me go through your spell.”

     “I do not know.” Regina says.

     “I wanted to tell you that I am sorry for yelling at you earlier. I felt betrayed.”

     “It is okay.” Regina says.

     Emma yawns. “I think I should go to bed.” Emma hugs Regina before leaving. The moment she stops they both feel empty. Is this feeling what I think it is? She is too old for me.

Chapter Text

     “Emma you need to start getting ready.” Snow says.

     “Will the Queen be there?” Emma asks.

     “No, Regina is at war with this kingdom.”

     “Oh.” Emma says sadly.

     “Since she will not be there to scare them off, you need to dance with princes tonight and find a suitable man.”

     “Mother, I cannot be married until I am 18.” Emma replies with a sigh.

     “I am aware. The right man will wait until you are allowed to be married.”

     “Mother.” Emma whines.

     “Emma White you will do what you are told and will not whine about it.”

 

***

 

     “Emma, this is Prince George. He is the prince from this kingdom.” Snow says as she leads a man over to Emma.

     “Hello.” Emma says as she curtsies.

     “Hello, it is nice to meet you Princess Emma.” George says. “May I have this dance?”

     “Yes, it is nice to meet you too.” Emma replies.

     “You two have fun. I need to go find your brothers.” Snow says before she walks off.

     “How are you tonight?” George asks.

     “Good I guess.” Emma replies. “How about you?”

     “I am fine. I have heard rumors about you.” George says.

     “What kind of rumors?”

     “Well for one it is rumored that the Evil Queen controls you. It is also rumored that you have to go to her castle.”

     “Yes, I have to go to her castle, but she doesn’t control me.”

     “Oh” George says sadly. “I know your mother hates her. Do you hate her?”

     Emma shrugs. “I do not know.”

     “Our parents want us to wed but you cannot until you are 18. My parents and I came up with a plan. You will help sneak me into her castle and lead me to her. I will use an old powder I found to disable her magic and then I will kill her.” George says. “Then we can be wed.”

     “I… I need to go.” Emma says before trying to walks away.

     George tightens his grip on Emma’s wrist and leads her out to the garden. “What is your problem?”

     “I cannot go along with your plan. She trusts me.” Emma says as she rips her arm out of George’s grip.

     “That makes it even easier.” George says as he steps closer to Emma.

     “I cannot do it.” Emma says as she steps back.

     “Why not?” George asks as he continues to step closer to Emma.

     Emma keeps walking backwards and her fingers start sparking. “I cannot do it, I just cannot.”

     “Why?” George growls, not noticing Emma’s fingers

     Emma’s back hits the garden wall and George stands in front of her. Because I care about her and do not want her to die. “Stop asking, I just cannot do it.” Emma tries to step around George but he grabs her arm and pins it to the wall.

     “Answer me Princess” George says as he gets into Emma’s face.

     “I..” Emma starts

     “Do not say you cannot do it. Give me a real answer.” George grabs Emma’s other wrist and pins it to the wall. The second it touches the wall, George is thrown back away from Emma. Emma runs out of the garden and to her carriage. She sits inside the carriage, hugging her knees and  catches her breath. George gets up and storms into the ballroom. “Where did she go?” He looks for Snow and storms up to her when he finds her. “Why did you not tell me your daughter has magic? She just threw me across the garden for no reason.”

     “She does not have magic.” Snow says. “She must have just pushed you hard. You are bleeding. Did you hit your head?”

     “Gather your family and get out of my castle.” George spits before walking away.

     Snow finds David and the twins and goes out to the carriage. “I need to go find Emma.” Snow says before David opens the carriage door.

     “Found her.” David says. Emma is sitting in the carriage, still breathing heavily.

     They all get into the carriage and Snow sits next to Emma. “What did you do?” Snow asks accusingly.

     “Nothing.” Emma mumbles.

     “Emma, tell me the truth. George said you threw him across the garden.” Snow says. “Do you have magic Emma?”

     “No”

     “Then how did you throw Prince George?”

     “I do not want to talk about this right now.” Emma replies before she stares out the window and rocks slightly.

     “Emma, Emma.” Snow says.

     “Snow, leave her alone. I do not know what happened but I have not seen Emma like this before. Something is very  wrong.” David says. When they get home, Emma runs up to her room and changes into a nightgown. “I will go talk to her.” David walks into Emma’s sitting room. Emma is sitting on the couch, staring at the fire. “What happened?” David sits down next to Emma and Emma leans against him.

     They sit in silence for 15 minutes until Emma speaks. “He attacked me. He was trying to get me to sneak him into the Queen’s castle so he could kill her. I told him I needed to go and tried to walk away in the ballroom. He dragged me to the garden and tried to get me to tell him why I would not help him. He started getting aggressive and moved towards me. I backed up, but I hit a wall. He pinned my wrists against the wall and the next thing I knew he was on the ground 3 meters away from me.”

     “How did he get there?” David asks.

     “I think the magic that protects my heart, protects me too.” Emma says. She sighs as she cuddles into David’s arms. It was my magic. I want to tell you Daddy but I cannot.

     “Why did he want to kill Regina?”

     “So he could marry me when he wanted to.”

     “Are you okay?”

     “I am now. Thank you.” Emma yawns and stretches. “I think it is time for me to go to bed.”

     “All right.” David carefully stands and then kisses Emma’s forehead. “Goodnight my little Princess.”

     “I am not that little anymore.”

     “You will always be my little princess.”

 

***

 

 

     “My mother is making me flirt with princes at balls.” Emma says to Regina.

     “She knows that I will declare war on your kingdom if she tries to marry you early.” Regina replies as she clenches her fists.

     “She says ‘The right man will wait.’” Emma replies. “My parents almost found out about my magic.”

     “How did they almost find out?” Regina asks.

     Emma retells the story. “I told them it was your magic and they believed me.”

     “I need to teach you to teleport so you can get out of these situations.”

     “I do not want to marry a prince but my mother will not listen.”

     “You do not want to be with any prince?”

     “I do not know.”

 

***

 

     Regina sits back in her throne as court moves at a sluggish pace. Suddenly the doors open and two men walk in. “What is the meaning of this?” Regina says.

     “We found what you were looking for.” One of the men say.

     “Oh, you are the scouts I sent out two years ago.” She says. “Well, what are you waiting for? Bring it to me.”

     “Yes, your majesty.” The second scout brings a wooden box up to Regina.

     “Yes…” Regina says with an evil smile as she opens the box. She closes the box and it disappears in a cloud of smoke. “Court is dismissed. We will resume tomorrow. I have important business to take care of.” Regina walks out into the back hallway. “Someone ask the princess to come down here. Guards, go get my mother.” Regina walks back into the throne room once it clears.

     “What is going on, R-Your Majesty?” Emma says.

     “Let go of me!” Cora yells as the guards lead her in.

     “Shut up, Mother.” Regina says. “Come over here please Emma.” Emma nods and stand next to Regina.

     “What is going on?” Cora asks.

     “I finally found it.” Regina says.

     “Found what?” Cora replies.

     “This.” Regina teleports the box back into her hands.

     “Where the hell did you get that?” Cora yells.

     “I have had scouts looking for this box for almost two years. They finally found it last week.” Regina sets the box down on the throne and opens it. She carefully picks up the contents of the box.

     “What is that?” Emma asks.

     “It is her heart.” Regina replies.

     “Why is it so black?”

     “Giving into darkness or doing bad deeds cause a heart to blacken.” Regina says. “Mine is just as dark, if not worse.” Regina walks over to Cora and smiles. “Maybe a mother with a heart is better than the one I had.” Regina roughly plunges her hand into Cora’s chest and replaces her heart. “Come here Emma.” Emma walks over to Regina and takes her hand. Regina lets her and Emma’s magic wrap around Cora. “There it is sealed. You cannot take it out. Take her back to the dungeon. I will give her a few days to adjust to being able to feel.”

 

***

 

     “Emma,” Snow says as they sit at dinner. “We have something to tell you.”

     “Yes?” Emma says.

     “We have arranged a marriage for you.” Snow says.

     “You cannot do that.” Emma says. “The treaty says you cannot.”

     “Emma you are 16 now.” Snow says. “You need to be married soon or no one will want to marry you.”

     “I do not want to marry anyone! I am not allowed to get married until I am 18.” Emma says. “If you do this the Queen will declare war.”

     “She will never know.” Snow says.

     “What is stopping me from telling her?”

     “Blue.”

     “Blue?” Emma questions. Emma does not hear Blue fly up behind her. She shudders as she feels fairy dust sprinkled on her head.

     “Now you cannot tell anyone about the impending marriage.” Snow says with a satisfied smile. Emma sits back in her chair and huffs. Emma eats in silence while the rest of the family talks. “You may go now Emma.”

     Emma storms up to her rooms and into her bedroom. She locks the door behind her and sits at her vanity. She rubs the flower charm until Regina appears in the mirror. “I need help my mother is-“ Emma says.

     “Your mother is what?” Regina asks.

     “My mother is-. Damn fairy.”

     “Let me guess. She had the fairy make it so you cannot tell me something.” Emma nods. “Could Sidney give me the message?” Emma shakes her head. ”Come over to my castle. We will figure it out.”

     Emma goes down to the stables and rides a horse out of the castle walls. She rides into the forest until she gets to a large tree. “I am far enough away. Ready Bea?” Emma says to her horse. Bea neighs and Emma teleports to Regina’s gates. She rides in and leaves her horse at the stables before walking into the castle. “Where is the Queen?” Emma asks a guard.

     “Magic tower.” The guard replies.

     “Thank you.” Emma says before she teleports to outside the door. She knocks on the door before opening it.

     “Hello Princess.” Regina says.

     “Regina, help me.” Emma says with a frown.

     “I do not know what to do yet. Grab a book and start looking.”

     “I give up.” Emma says as she slams a book close. “I am going to bed.”

 

***

     They spend two days looking before  Sidney appears in the mirror. “I found it.”

     “What did you find?” Emma asks.

     “I found what your parents are hiding. Snow and Blue were talking near a mirror and I overheard it.” Sidney says. “Your Majesty, you are going to want to hear this from the princess. Luckily Blue assured Snow the spell could not be reversed.”

     “How is that lucky?” Regina spits.

     “She told Snow the only ways to reverse it. There are two options, Blue has to remove the spell or someone with light magic needs to perform a spell.”

     “What spell?” Regina asks.

     “Fairy dust reversal.” Sidney replies before he frowns. “The only problem is, the caster cannot be the person it is being casted on.”

     “So basically we are screwed.” Regina says.

     “Not necessarily,” Emma says. “You can control my magic through yourself. You have done it before. You can pull from my magic and cast the spell.”

     “Of course!” Regina says as she digs through her books. “Are you ready to do it now?”

     “Yes.” Emma says and holds out her hand.

     Regina takes Emma’s hand and casts the spell. Emma glows for a moment before the light shatters around her. “All right, why did the fairy put that spell on you?”

     “My parents have arranged a marriage for me and they are going to do it behind your back. They are going to marry me next month.”

     “Damn it! I am going to hurt them! Someone get the captain of the army!” Regina yells before she starts throwing fireballs at a target.

     “Regina,” Emma says, trying to get her attention. “Regina!”

     “What!” Regina spits.

     “They cannot know that you know.”

     “Why not?” Regina says. “I am going to kill them! Did you have a choice in this?”

     “No.” Emma replies. “They put the spell on me right after she told me.”

     “Now I really am going to kill them!” Regina growls. “They are going to regret messing with me.”

     “Regina, relax.”

     “How can I relax? You told me they cannot know that I know. I told them you needed to have a choice.” Regina continues to rant.

     “Regina!” Emma tries to get Regina’s attention again.  When she fails she sighs. Okay, so this is happening. Emma takes a deep breath before gently grabbing Regina wrist. Emma spins her around as Regina continues to rant. Emma pulls Regina into a gentle hug. “Shut up.”

     “Huh?” Regina whispers.

     “Shut up.” Emma repeats. Emma carefully places her hand on Regina’s cheek.

     “Emma what?” Regina says. Emma takes a deep breath before kissing Regina.

Chapter Text

     Regina melts into the kiss and Emma quickly pulls back. “Sorry, I could not think of another way to-“

     “Shut up” Regina says before she kisses Emma. Regina pulls back and rests her forehead on Emma’s forehead.

     “Did that just happen?” Emma asks.

     “Yes,” Regina says. “How long have you been wanting to do that for?”

     “Two years. It started when I read your journals. Realized what it was a few months ago.”

     “That long?” Regina says with a chuckle.

     “I am sorry. That was horribly inappropriate.” Emma says before starting to walk away. “You are 28 years older than me.”

     “Emma wait.” Regina grabs Emma’s wrist.

     “I… I need to go.” Emma rips her wrist from Regina’s hand and runs to her rooms. Emma sighs as she closes her door. “What did I just do? Fuck! I am 16 and she is 44.” Emma storms out onto her balcony.

     Regina sighs as Emma runs out. “How am I going to explain my age to her?” Regina runs her hand through her hair and walks out of the room. Regina knocks on Emma’s door. “Emma, please open the door. I need to talk to you about this.” Regina leans against the door. “Emma, I am not as old as you think I am. We need to talk. I did something years ago, I am younger than you think.”

     “It is open.” Emma says.

     Regina opens the door and walks out onto the balcony. “What are you doing out here? It is freezing.”

     “I do not know.” Emma replies. “What do you need?”

     “I need to explain something important. Can we go inside?” Emma nods and Regina leads her to the couch. Emma sits on the couch and Regina sits on a nearby chair. Regina takes a deep breath before speaking again. “Before you were born, I made a potion that halted my aging.”

     “Why is that so important?”

     “Two reasons. One, I am only 12 years older than you, I am 28 until your 28th birthday. Two, the way I did it. You know I have killed many in the past. To make this potion, I had to drain the life out of people. I killed hundreds of peasants to make the potion. Before you ask why it was so many, I only killed elders who were already near death. I made it look natural."

     “Why did you do it?”

     “So I could outlive your parents and watch them suffer as I got my revenge. I am not proud of it.” Regina hangs her head.

     “So… I do not know what to do about this.” Emma says with a sigh. “I am interested in seeing where this could go, but you are my best friend. I do not want to lose that. My parents, I will not be able to hide this. I want… I am not sure what I want.” Emma runs her hands through her hair in frustration. “I just turned 16 two months ago.”

     “How about we take our time?” Regina says as she stands. “I am interested in this.” Regina sits down next to Emma. “Now remember, this has to be a secret. I can make sure the secret stays within my castle. I will have to gatherer some friends together to help us.” Regina pushes a strand of hair from Emma’s face and tucks it behind her ear. “But right now, I want to known more about you. You have read my diaries so you know a lot about me but I do not know as much about you.”

 

***

 

     “Sit up dear.” Regina says to Emma. “I know I am more relaxed than your parents but you still need to sit nicely in court.”

     “Yes, your majesty.” Emma replies as she sits up straight.

     “All right, let them in.” Regina says. Court goes along smoothly until Emma notices something going on in the back. Emma nudges Regina with magic. Regina looks angrily at Emma for interrupting her attention. Emma nods towards the back and Regina looks in that direction. A man is trying to silently drag a young lady out of the room. Regina’s hand shoots out and the doors close. “I apologize for interrupting. I will come back to your problem in a moment.” Regina says as she looks at the man who was speaking to her. Her head turns back to the man and young lady. “Release her.” Regina stares down the man until he lets go of the lady. “Is something wrong?” Regina asks sweetly.

     “No, your majesty, my wife thought we had a problem that needed your help but she was wrong.” The man answers.

     “Is this true Miss?” Regina asks. The young lady nods. Regina closes her eyes as she takes a deep breath before whispering to Emma. “Emma, I do not believe what he is saying. I am going to separate them and send the lady with you. I want you to take her to the sitting room and offer anything she needs. Find out what is going on.”

     “Yes, your majesty.” Emma replies with a nod. “What are you going to do with the man?”

     “He will stay with guards until we figure out what is going on.” Regina turns back to the  couple. “Miss, please come up here.” The lady looks hesitantly at the man before walks up to Regina. “Please go with the princess.” Regina speaks before whispering. “We will help you.”

     The lady nods and follows Emma to the sitting room. “Would you like something to eat?” Emma asks as she sits.

     “No, thank you. I have to…” the lady starts as she stands awkwardly near the door.

     “Please, sit.” Emma gestures to one of the chairs. “I may not be the princess of this kingdom, but I know its laws.” The lady sits as Emma speaks. “If something is wrong and you need help, tell me, we are here to help.”

     “Um…” the lady starts again and whispers. “Could I get a glass of water?”

     “Of course.” Emma says before she walks over to the drink cart. “Would you like ice? We also have small cakes and sandwiches.”

     “Ice would be nice. No snacks please.” Emma puts ice and water into a glass. As she puts a small cake onto a plate, the lady speaks again. “Actually, if you’re serious about helping, I would like something to eat.”

     “All right. I apologize is this scares you.”

     “If what-“ Emma teleports the snack tray to the coffee table. “You… you have magic… like the Queen.”

     “Sorry, yes I do,” Emma says as she sets the glass and a small plate down. “But it is different. I have light magic.”

     “Sorry, your highness, I was startled.”

     “It is all right.” Emma sits opposite of the lady. “I want to start with one thing. What is your name?”

    “Annabella” she replies.

 

***

 

     “Why am I bein’ held here?” The man asks again.

     “Because the Queen said so.” The guard says

     “This is stupid. The brat snuck out to get here. If I knew she would be such a pain I wouldn’t’ve accepted her daddy’s offer. ‘She is a good girl, she will listen to everything you say ‘cause I trained her to listen to the men who own her.’ Stupid man.” The guard chuckles quietly to himself.

 

***

 

     Emma rubs the flower on her necklace after Annabella stops talking. After a moment she jumps as if she was startles “What was that?” Annabella asks.

     “I can use magic to communicate with the Queen. When I rub the charm, she know that I need her help or to talk to her. I jumped because she decided to be funny and shock me through the necklace.”

     “Are you okay?”

     “Yes, it was very small. It felt like a tickle but it scared me.”

     “Oh, okay.”

     “Everything alright, Princess?” Regina asks as she walks in.

     “Yes, we are done talking. She told me everything.” Emma replies.

     “All right, let us go back to court so we can finish this.”

     “Wait, Annabella, if we go through with this it could ruin your life. Based off what you told me, you will probably be forced out of your current and home village.”

     “In that case, I don’t think I wanna do this.” Annabella says with a frown. “I don’t have any money.”

     “Do you have any skills?” Regina asks.

     “I mean, I can cook, I can patch up clothes, basically all the things they teach women in my village. Im not very good at most of them.”

     “I will help you after this.”

     “Are you all right with doing this?” Emma asks

     “If the Queen says she’ll take care of me, than yes.”

     Emma nods to Regina and the three women walk back out to the throne room. “Court is back in session.” Regina and Emma both sit as Annabella stands off to the side. “Bring the man in.”

     “What’s going on Your Majesty?” The man asks angrily.

     “Princess Emma talked to your wife. Considering her age, I can already tell this was an arranged marriage, which is illegal in my kingdom.” Regina says. “The princess will tell me what your wife told her.”

     “I was told that he has physically hurt her in many ways including…” Emma takes a deep breath before continuing. “sexual. This was an arranged marriage as she was a ‘free spirit’ according to her father. He thought he could pawn her off on another man by offering a large sum of money. They have been married for two years and she is 16. She was beat anytime she did something that he did not like. The village turned a blind eye to the abuse. She snuck out to get here to request a divorce.” As Emma speaks Regina’s jaw tightens.

     “That is a lie.” The man says. “I have never hurt her and we love each other. She is 26 not 16.”

     “Your majesty,” the guard with the man says. “If I may, I was with the man in the side room. He did not think I was listening and said that it was an arranged marriage and that she was a brat.”

     “Fine it was an arranged marriage. Her father paid me to take her. She belongs to me. I would like to take my wife and go home.”

     “Enough!” Regina yells in anger. “Arranged marriages and domestic abuse have been illegal for over two decades. Women have had all the rights of men since I became sole leader. Women cannot be owned, they are not property!”

     “Your majesty.” Emma whisper.

     “I was never told-“ the man starts before Regina interrupts him.

     “Do not say you were never informed of these laws! I sent messengers to every house of every town and village to inform everyone of the new laws!” Regina continues.

     “Your majesty.” Emma says louder.

     “I am tired of listening to men say they did not know the law! I made these laws because I know how it feels to be a woman in that situation!”

     “How would you know? The King was a wonderful man.” The man says. “He would never hurt anyone.”

     “Enough!” Regina yells as she pulls the man to her with magic. “I am done with this.” Regina snaps the man’s neck without a second thought. Emma’s eyes widen and she pales. “Someone preserve the body and then take it around the kingdom as a reminder of the laws and the consequences. Everyone is dismissed!” Regina takes deep breaths to relax as Emma runs out of the room. “Princess!” Regina shouts as Emma runs. Regina sighs and turns to Annabella. “Give this note to the treasury and they should give you money to stay at an inn. I have a few options for you. I can get you a job at the bakery or tailor’s shop in town or join my cooks here.” Regina sighs. “I need to go. Give it some thought and let me know your decision.”

Chapter Text

     “Emma?” Regina says as she tries to follow Emma. “Damn it.” Regina sighs. “I should have known she would freak out if I killed someone in front of her. I need to find her.” Regina searches her castle, including the bedrooms, until she gets to the magic tower. “Emma?” Regina says lightly as she opens the door.

     “Why did you do that? How could you do that?” Emma says as she continues to stare out the window.

     “I… I do not have a good explanation. You have read my journals. You know what I went through when I was married.” Regina sighs sadly as she sits at a table. “When a man says or acts like he owns a woman… it hurts. I see red. When someone… someone says the king was a good man... I just lose it.”

     Emma drags a chair next to Regina’s and sits down. “I know, Regina.” Emma wraps her arm around Regina and Regina leans on Emma’s shoulder. “I… I am not mad at you. I was just surprised. You never have killed someone while I was here.”

     “Personally, I have never personally killed someone while you were here. There are days in court where I send people to the dungeon for their crimes when they are really going to be killed for them.” Regina says. “Your mother has told you, I am a bad person. I know that, I just hoped you would never see it.”

     “Regina, I know people get punished by death. My mother has had to execute people. She has had public executions and I have had to be there. It is just part of royal life. I just had not seen you do it.”

     “I am sorry.”

     “There is nothing to be sorry about.”

 

***

 

     “Regina!” Emma yells as she storms into Regina’s library.

     “Calm down.” Regina says as she pokes her head around a shelf. “What is going on?”

     “My mother told me who I am marrying. Do you remember Prince George?”

     “Yes I do.” Regina says before it dawns on her. “Are you kidding?”

     “No, she apparently does not care about what happened. I know my father told her.” Emma drops onto one of the couches. “I am so tired of this. My mother at least has agreed to move the wedding to a few months after I turn 18.”

     “That is good. You have time to possibly chase him off.”

     “I do not think I can.” Emma whispers.

     “What do you mean?” Regina says as she sits next to Emma.

     “He does not remember the ball,” Emma leans against Regina. “And no matter what I say he will not leave.”

     “I have a feeling the damn fairy is to blame.”

     “Maybe. I have no way if telling.”

     “My friends will be here soon. We need to get ready for the spell. Emma,” Regina pauses. “I need you to remember that you have only been doing magic for two years. You will need to be careful. If you feel dizzy or tired back out of the circle.”

     “I know, you have been reminding me since the last time I was here.” Emma replies as she tucks pulls her feet onto the couch. “Do we have to get ready now?”

     “Yes.” Regina says. “Why do you ask?”

     “Well I thought we could wait a few minutes. Sitting like this is calming.”

     “I know it is comfy but we need to get ready.”

     “Can it wait a few minutes?” Emma says as she nuzzles her nose into Regina’s neck. “Please?” Emma whines. Regina rolls her eyes before turning her head and kissing Emma’s forehead. Emma closes her eyes as she goes to kiss Regina. Regina stands suddenly and Emma face-plants on the couch. Regina laughs as Emma grumbles.

     “You are cute when you are annoyed.”

     “I will go get the ingredients.” 

     “I will meet you at the circle. I think a few people are here already.”

     “Wait, I have a question. How do I address you in front of your friends?”

     “Address me like you would when we are not in public.”

 

***

 

     “Emma,” Regina starts. “This is Mal, Elsa, Hilda, Lily, and Ingrid.”

     “Hello.” Emma says with a small wave. “So many people my mother hates.”

     “Why is the White brat here?” Lily asks with an attitude.

     “She is here because she has light magic and the secret includes her.” Regina replies as she arranges the ingredients in the circle. “Is everyone ready?” Everyone nods and Regina looks at Emma. “Remember if you get tired or dizzy step out if the circle. We do not need much of your magic.”

     “I know, you have reminded me repeatedly, Regina.” Emma says as she rolls her eyes.

     “Regina?” Mal repeats with a raised eyebrow.

     “Shush Mal, it will make sense in a moment.” Regina says as everyone gathers in the circle. They all start the spell. “No one in all the realm may share this secret I may tell. Especially the White Kingdom’s royalty. Regina Mills, ruling matriarch of the Dark Kingdom, and Emma White, third in line for the White Kingdom throne, are courting each other. No one may tell. The ones here this day are safe. Those who try to tell will be teleported to my dungeons.” Emma steps back and kneels down. Regina glances at Emma, restraining the urge to check on her. Everyone raises their hands towards they sky. Dark clouds gather above them and slowly spread out. The clouds thin as they spread across the realm as rain starts to fall. They all lower their hands and Regina steps out and kneels next to Emma. “Are you okay?”

     “Yes, I just got a little dizzy.” Emma says. Regina kisses her forehead before they both stand.

     “What the hell Regina?!” Elsa yells. “You are courting your enemy’s daughter in secret.”

     “Yes.” Regina replies dryly.

     “Are you trying to get killed?” Hilda asks. “If her parents find out they will kill you.”

     “That is why we did this spell. No one can tell them. As long as I do not kiss or show I am interested in Emma in front of them they will never know.”

     “This is not going to end well,” Mal says.

     “I do not care.” Regina says.

     “I care enough to deal with my parents if I need to” Emma says.

     “Regina, are you seriously doing this,” Mal eyes Emma. “Especially with her.”

     “Yes Mal.” Regina growls.

     “Is anyone staying for dinner?” Emma asks after her stomach growls.

 

***

 

     “Emma,” Snow starts as she find Emma hiding behind the shelves in the library. “Why have you been ignoring Prince George? He is here to get to know you.”

     “I already told you, Mother. I do not want to marry him.” Emma says as she spins to look at Snow. “It is time for my ride.”

     “Oh, good, I will have George join you.”

     “Mother,” Emma sighs. “I want to ride alone.”

     “You cannot go out alone. You need to have an escort. You will either take guards or George. I do not want you to go riding off to Regina’s again.”

     “I will ride with George then.” Emma says. “I should probably go change into my riding gear.”

     “No, I want you to actually talk to him. You will keep what you have on and ride side saddle like a lady.”

     “Fine.” Emma sighs as she walks towards the door. “I will try to get along with Prince George. I need to talk to Daddy first. Where is he?”

     “I think he is in the study. Do not bother him, he is very busy.”

     Emma walks out before Snow can continue talking. She holds her dress up as she runs to the study. “Daddy?” Emma says as she knocks on the door.

     “Come in, dear.” David says. Emma opens the door and locks it behind her. “Emma, why did you lock the door?”

     “I want to talk with you without any interruptions.”

     “Alright.” David says suspiciously. “What is wrong?”

     “Why is George here?”

     “You two are going to get married. Are you all right?”

     “I know that Daddy. You do remember what happened at the ball?”

     David sighs as he puts down his quill. “Yes I do, Emma.”

     “Then why does George not remember? Did you tell Mother about it?”

     “I did. Your mother had Blue replace it in his memory.”

     “He wanted me to let him into Regina’s castle so that he could kill her. He still is asking me to do it. As much as you and mother hate it, Regina is my friend. I will not let him kill my only friend.”

     “Emma, sit down please.” Emma sighs as she sits nicely on a chair. “I do not hate Regina as much as you think I do. I know she has done bad things in the past but she has not in a long time. Your mother refuses to look past the past. Regina is a good queen and I respect her for that. I hate that your mother wants you to marry George but there is nothing I can do.”

     “I know.” Emma stands with a sigh. “I guess I have to take that ride with George now.”

     “Be careful. Remember what I have taught you.”

     “How to put a man on his ass if he does something I do not like?”

     “Yes. Make sure you do not say that around your mother.”

     “I know” Emma laughs as she unlocks the door and walks out.

Chapter Text

     “Emma,” Regina says as she walks into Emma’s rooms. “I need to go into town. Would you like to go with me?”

     “Yes, I am still trying to get dressed.” Emma says from inside her bedroom.

     “How are you still getting dressed?” Regina asks in a extremely confused tone. “Breakfast was over an hour ago.”

     “I took a bath first.” Emma says. “That took 45 minutes. I have been spending the last 15 minutes trying to tie this shirt.”

     “Do you need some help?” Regina asks.

     “No.” Emma groans. “Yes, please.”

     Regina chuckles as she walks into Emma’s bedroom. “Ah, one of the shirts that tie in the back.” Regina grabs the ties from Emma and quickly ties them. Regina moves Emma’s hair from the side of her neck and kisses it.

     “Regina” Emma giggles. “That tickles.” Emma laughs as Regina continues. “Regina, you said we were going into town.”

     “Fine, ruin all my fun.” Regina says as she steps back.

     “Aw. Is it cold outside?”

     “It is the middle of summer!”

     “It is sometimes chilly in the summer. It was this morning.”

     “Where were you this morning?”

     “Training with your guards.”

     “How long have you been training with my guards?”

     “Um…” Emma thinks. “Well it is actually a joint training. I train with the guards twice a week wherever I am. I get up at 4 and start at 4:30. I am done before you or my parents wake up.”

     “How long have you been hiding this from your parents and me? Also how are our guards working together?”

     “About 6 years. We wrote out a lesson plan and they follow it.”

     “I guess we need to fight sometime soon.” Regina says with a smirk.

     “Maybe we should.” Emma smirks. “Could we go now?”

     “Yes, do you want to walk? The market is not far.”

     “Sure, let me get my shoes on first.” Emma grabs her flat boots and puts them on. The two walk out of the castle in silence, standing side by side. “Why are we only bringing two guards.”

     “We do not really need any but they are here just in case. Why do you ask?”

     “No reason.” Emma says as they walk into the town. “Woah. This place is beautiful.” Emma stares at the clean streets and beautiful fountain. There are very few stalls and a dozen shops. The two guards spread out across the square. The people continue to act as if there are not two royals in the square. “This is amazing. It is so clean, no one is mobbing us. They do not even notice you are here.”

     “They notice dear, they are just used to it. I have always put pride in making all of my towns and villages look nice and clean.” Regina stands in line behind two commoners. “Is your market not like this?”

     “No, it is dirty and tight. I always have to bring ten guards. They are always protecting me from the citizens. They are always trying to yell at me or attack me. It takes us an hour just to get out of the town on in a carriage because we have to push our way through the crowds. There are so many beggars.” Regina nods as she browses the fabrics. “That is why I usually go around the town when I go leave by myself.”

     “Emma feel this. I think it is cute.” Regina says.

     “Huh?” Emma steps next to Regina and feels the fabric carefully. “It is nice. I think I would like nice on you.”

     “Have it sent up to the castle, please.” Regina says as she pays the vendor. The two walk around the market as a crowd starts to gather. “Why do I have a bad feeling about this?” Regina says with a sigh.

     “What do you think is going on?”

     “Pro-Snow protestors. You would think after 20 years they would give up. After all I have done there are still people who oppose me.”

     “Seriously?”

     “Yes, I do not think they know I am here.”

     “Why do I have a feeling I am going to enjoy this?”

     “The woman on the throne is not our queen. Queen Snow is our true queen. Death to the Evil Queen!” The leader yells.

     Regina shoots a fire ball above the innocent crowd and lands in front if the protesters. The innocent crowd steps aside to give Regina room as she storms towards the protesters. Out of the ten protesters, seven run as they see Regina. “All right. Who is in charge here?”

     “I am.” The leader says as he steps forward. “I do not care what anyone says. Snow is our true Queen.

     Emma walks slowly behind Regina as Regina speaks again. “If she is your queen then why are you here? Why not go to her kingdom?”

     “Um… it is nicer here.”

     “And who made it that way?”

     “…you, your majesty.”

     “Do we still have a problem anymore?”

     “No, ma’am.”

     “Then go away.” Regina says with a smirk as the man runs away. Everyone claps as Regina turns back to Emma. “We should be getting back. Remind be to give you some money when we get back.”

     “Why?” Emma asks.

     “To give to the people in your town. It is money I was going to use for dresses but you bring your own or wear shirts and pants.”

     “Really? You had money set aside for me?”

     “It was not much. I do not want you to have the same reputation as your parents. You care for the people, but you are always being forced to hide behind your parents. They need to know you care in case something happens to your parents.”

     “Are you trying to warn me that you are going to kill them?”

     Regina laughs. “No, not at all. Since your brothers are not 14 yet, if anything happens you are in charge of the kingdom for six years.

     “Thank you. I appreciate it.”

 

***

 

     Emma stares out the carriage window as it goes through the town. Emma notices some of the beggars. “Stop the carriage please.”

     “Emma, we are in the middle of town.” Snow says in shock.

     “I know just stop please.” Emma says with a sigh.

     “No. Not until we get out of town.”

     “Stop or I will get out anyways.”

     “No absolutely not!”

     “Fine.” Emma opens the door and steps out, stumbling slightly as the carriage is still moving.

     “Emma!” Snow yells as Emma closes the door behind her. Emma pushes past the guards and over to the beggars.

     “Hello.” Emma says as she kneels down in front of them. Emma pulls the bag Regina gave her out of a hidden pocket. The carriage stops and Snow steps out. The guards instantly surround her before the people mob her. Emma grabs a few coins for each beggar and hands them out. She smiles as she gives extra to the children.

     “Emma get back in the carriage.” Snow yells. “Now!”

     “Thank you, Princess.” A few of the beggars say.

     “I don’t want your pity money, royal.” One of them say.

     “It is not pity money.” Emma says as Snow grabs her arm. Emma rips her arm from Snow’s grip.

     “Any money is pity money from you people.” The beggar says. “Non’ of you ever listen to us.”

     “That is your princess you are talking to.” One of the guards say as he points his sword towards the beggar.

     “Stand down.” Emma says angrily. “What is wrong?”

     “The town is a mess. People are sick all the time, there is not enough medicine or food to go around.” The beggar says.

     “I promise I will find a way to help you,” Emma says before whispering. “Even if I cannot get my parents to help. Get me a list and give it to the stable boy. I believe he lives near here and he can get the list to me.”

     “Thank you, Princess.” The beggar says. “Thank you.”

     “Take the money please.”

     “I will.” The beggar says as she takes the coins from Emma’s hand. “Thank you again.”

     “Emma come on!” Snow says.

     “You are welcome.” Emma says as she stands. She dusts off her dress as she walks back to the carriage. “All right. We can go now.”

     They get back in the carriage and Snow glares at Emma. “Why did you do that?”

     “They need help.”

     “Where did you get that money?”

     “Regina. It was money she was going to use to buy me dresses but I always brought my own.”

     “That was very risky, Emma.” David says. “You could have gotten hurt.”

     “I know Daddy.” Emma says. “They need the help and you,” Emma stares at Snow. “do nothing to help them.”

     “Now your dress is all dirty.” Snow says. “Prince George will not like it.”

     “You know I do not care what he thinks.”

     “Emma, you need to get along with him. You will be the queen of his kingdom in a few years.”

     Emma ignores Snow and continues to stare out the window. Emma rolls her eyes and leans her head against the door.

Chapter Text

     “I could use some help.” Emma says to herself. “Where did all the money go?” Emma looks through the papers until she finds a discrepancy. “What did they pay that much for?” Emma grabs her pocket mirror and opens it. “Sidney?”

     “Yes, your highness?” Sidney says as he appears in the mirror.

     “Could you get Cora please? I have some questions for her.” Emma asks with a sigh.

     “Are you sure?”

     "Yes, I am sure Sidney."

     “What do you need Emma?” Cora asks as she appears in the mirror.

     “Any idea why my parents would pay 50,000 gold to other kingdoms?” Emma asks.

     “To what kingdoms?”

     “Almost all of the ones surrounding ours and a few further out.”

     “I have a theory but I will have to look into it.”

     “Thank you.”

     “Why are you looking at your kingdoms finances?”

     “I promised the peasants in the town I would help them. They live in filth and barely survive.”

     “Why did you promise to help them?”

     Emma glares at Cora. “Because unlike some people I care about others.”

     “Watch it Princess.” Cora snaps. “I meant why promise? If you end up being unable to give them what you promised they will hate you.”

     “I have a back up plan. Regina said she would help.”

     “All right. I just wanted to make sure you would not fail. Give me a few hours and I will have Regina alert you.”

     “Thank you Cora.”

 

***

 

     “All of those kingdoms have or have had eligible princes.” Cora says.

     “What do you mean by eligible?” Emma asks as she continues to look over the papers.

     “The payments were bribes that failed.”

     “Why did they pay that much money?”

     “Well in your mother’s case she never learned how to do this stuff. The men always learned and since your father was a shepherd, neither of them knew that was too much.” Cora says with a laugh.

     “All right.” Emma says as she runs her hand through her hair. “There is a little bit of money I could sneak out if my parents will not listen. Thank you for your help Cora.”

     “You are welcome.” Cora says. “When will you be over again?”

     “If Regina wants to know, she can ask me herself.”

     “No, I want to know. Regina will not let me leave the castle walls without guards or her. I need to get away from everyone. I hate being cooped up in here.”

     “And you think she will let me go with you?”

     “I hope.”

     “I will be there this weekend if I can sneak out.”

 

***

 

     “Regina I need help.” Emma says as she walks into the study.

     “What do you need, dear?” Regina asks.

     “There is not enough money in the budget to help the town.” Emma sits on the edge of Regina’s desk. “How much can you help? I have a plan to distribute it but I need more supplies.”

     “How much do you need?” Regina asks. Emma takes a piece of paper out of her pocket and hands it to Regina.

     “I was able to get food from my castle’s supplies. We can make the medical salve and potions here. We just need to go into the garden and forest to get more ingredients.” Emma stands. “If you gather the garden ingredients, your mother and I can –“

     “You and my mother?”

     “She is begging me to get her out of the castle walls. We can collect the forest ingredients.”

     “All right. I need to finish this and then I will join you in the foyer. Could you make a list of what I need to get?”

     “Already did that.” Emma says as she drops another folded piece of paper on the desk.

     “Please still wait for me.”

     “I still have to drag your mother out of her bed.”

     “Just shock her.” Regina says without looking up.

     Emma laughs as she walks around the desk. “I will if she refuses. I have a feeling she will move quickly the moment I tell her she is going to get to go outside the walls for the first time in two years.” Emma carefully turns Regina’s head and kisses her.

     “Go wake my mother up.” Regina says as she pushes Emma away. Emma rolls her eyes as she walks out.

     "Cora!" Emma yells as she walks into Cora's bedroom.

     "Noooo." Cora groans as rolls over.

     "Get up, Cora."

     "Why?"

     "Oh, I do not know. Maybe because Regina is letting me take you into the forest to collect supplies with me." Emma says with a smirk.

     "All right." Cora says. "Get out, I will be ready in a few minutes."

     "We are meeting in the foyer."

 

***

 

     “Everyone ready to go?” Emma asks the 15 plain clothes guards. The guards nod and one helps Emma up onto the wagon seat. Emma adjusts her cloak before sitting. Emma looks back at the contents of the wagon before putting her hood up. Emma nods at the driver and they start driving down the path. When they get to the town, one of guards leave a horse tied outside. Emma directs the driver to the town square. Emma steps off the cart and glances towards the people staring at them. Emma uses her magic to make her voice deeper before speaking. “Princess Emma has requested a cart of supplies be delivered to you all. Please get into a line and we will give each person a bag of supplies. The bags all have the same things in them.” The peasants line up by shoving each other. “Relax, we have more than enough supplies for everyone. I promise.” Emma goes to the back of the cart and helps hand out bags of supplies.

     “May I ask what is in the bag?” A peasant asks.

     “Different types of medicine, food, coins, and supplies to help make clothes.” Emma says. More carts come in behind the first and Emma directs them to the market square. “Make sure these supplies go to the right shops. Have them sign the parchment saying they will not over charge. Tell them that we will know if they do.”

     A carriage rides in from the castle. “What is going on?” The captain of the guard asks. “We had a report of riots.”

     “There are no riots, sir.” Emma says, voice still disguised. “Just people getting what they need.”

     “It is all right your majesty.” The captain says into the carriage window.

     The door opens and Snow steps out. “What is going on?”

     “I am just giving the people what they need, Your Majesty.” Emma says. “Things you cannot give them.”

     “Who are you to be doing this?” Snow asks in anger.

     Emma stands on top of the wagon before talking “Well I am the princess for one.” Emma says as she lowers her hood.

     “Emma!” Snow yells as her face goes red. “How did you get these things?”

     “I found some left over money in the budget and gathered the extra food from our kitchen. Also, the Queen helped me gather the rest and we made the medicine together.” Emma says with a proud smile. A few peasants step back as Emma says ‘the Queen.’ “She did not do anything to the supplies. I was with her the whole time.”

     “Why are you doing this?” Snow asks.

     “The people need to know that someone cares.” Emma says as she crosses her arms. “Because obviously you do not.”

     “I care. We will talk about this at the castle.” Snow says. “Get in the carriage.”

     “No, we are not done yet.” Emma says.

     “You are done.” Snow motions to her two guards and they draw their swords.

     “Did I forget to mention that my helpers are the Queen’s guards?” Regina’s guards unsheathe their swords as well. “Stand down, Mother. It is 16 against three, assuming you have a weapon on you. They could take your men out before reinforcements get here. Go back to your castle. I will be there when we are done.”

     “Fine.” Snow growls as she steps onto the carriage stairs.

     “Oh, and Mother? Do not send more guards to make us stop. I can have the Queen here in a moment.” Emma says with a smirk. Emma waves sarcastically as the carriage drives away. The peasants sing Emma’s praises as they continue to hand out supplies. Emma steps off to the side and talks to Regina’s guards. “Did everyone sign the contracts?”

     “Yes your highness.” One of the guards reply. “Some of them were apprehensive at first. I made a separate list of those, so that they could be watched.”

     “Thank you.” Emma says. “Go ahead and take the carts outside the town. Could someone bring my horse to me?”

     “Yes, your highness.” The guard walks off as Emma turns.

     A few hours later one of the guards come up to Emma. “We are done. What would you like us to do with the extra bags?”

     “Please give them to the families with children ages 0-4 and families with more than 5 kids.” Emma says. “Once you are done go ahead and go back to the Queen. Let her know everything was a success and we did anger my mother.”

     The guard laughs before saying “Yes, your highness.” The guard bows and walks off.

     Emma sighs as she pulls herself onto Bea’s back with an extra sack. “Time to go to deal with my mother. Hopefully she has calmed down.”

Chapter Text

     Emma rides through the castle gates and into the stables. “Your parents are waiting for you in the public sitting room.” The stable boy says.
“Thank you.” Emma says as she dismounts Bea. Emma gets the extra sack from her saddle bag. “Made sure to keep an extra for you.” Emma hands the bag of to the boy. “Which entrance should I use to avoid them?”
     “Five.”
     “Servants’ halls?”
     “Yes, straight to your rooms is best. Thank you for the supplies. I will let you know what I hear about you.”
     “You are welcome. Thank you for helping. There are some extra supplies in that bag for your family.” Emma says before she walks to the last stall. “Will you cover it behind me?”
     “Of course.”
     Emma kicks the hay off a trap door and opens it. “Thank you for not telling them.” Emma climbs down the ladder into the tunnel. “So glad she does not know about these.” Emma whispers to herself as she walks through the tunnel and into a small hallway. She follows the red marks on the walls, being as quiet as possible on the stairs, until she hits a wall. She pushes on the wall and it slides to the side. She silently closes it behind her and pushes her dresses out of her way. She sighs as she takes her boots off and puts them away. She takes the dagger off of her belt and hides it in the boots. She leaves her closet and goes into her bathroom. She wipes the dust off of her face and arms. She dusts the rest of the dirt off of her clothes. She leaves her bathroom and brushed her hair at the vanity. “Where is my book?” Emma looks in her nightstand. “I guess I put it back.” Emma walks out to her sitting room and groans. “Damn it!” She yells with a stomp.
     “Watch your language Emma.” Snow says. “No man will marry you if you talk like that.”
     “How did you get up here so fast?” Emma asks.
     “Your father is in the sitting room. I came up here in case you snuck in.” Snow says with her arms crossed. “Why did you embarrass me like that?”
     “How did I embarrass you?” Emma walks over to her bookcase.
     “You undermined me. You gave out unneeded supplies to the peasants. You used Regina to publicly humiliate me. What are you two trying to get out of this?”
     “I gave them the supplies that they need and that they asked me for. I did not use the Queen, I asked for her help, I knew I could not do everything on my own. We are not trying to do anything. The people need to know someones cares about them because obviously you do not. You used 50,000 gold to bribe other kingdoms to try to get them to have their princes marry me. You bribed over 20 kingdoms, no wonder the kingdom is broke.”
     Snow looks at Emma, shocked. “How do you know about that?”
     “I looked through the books to find if there was any money that I could use. I found about 10 silver coins and that was it. There are people who are dying because they do not have the supplies. I have sent supplies to all of the villages and towns. No one other than the castle town know that Regina had a hand in this. They were told the supplies were from me. As far as they know you were a part of it. You will look at least some what better. Now people will be happy to live here for a while.”
     “You are in so much trouble.” Snow says angrily. “You cannot randomly visit Regina anymore.”
     “How are you going to stop me?”
     “I will find out all of the ways you sneak out.”
     “Good luck.” Emma says with a smirk.
     “I hate this attitude of yours. Do you not see what Regina is doing? She is turning you against me.”
     “You are turning me against you. Please get out of my rooms.” Emma grabs her book and strides into her bedroom. She locks the door behind her and face plants on her bed with a groan. Emma flips over and rubs her charm. The mirror on Emma’s dresser lights up before Regina appears.
     “So I heard you made your mother mad.” Regina says.
     “Red in the face and yelling.” Emma replies. “She was ready to kill my ‘helpers’ until I told her they were your guards. She only brought two guards to a ‘riot’. I had to try so hard not to laugh.”
Regina laughs as she leans back on her bed. “I love making your mother mad.”
     “I know you do. She ‘grounded’ me. She said I could not come see you more than the week a month. She thinks she can find all of my ways out.”
     “I thought you had more than ten ways?”
     “15.” Emma says with a smirk. “16 if you count magic.”
     “No magic.” Regina says firmly.
     “I know Gina.” Emma says. “I want to be 18 already so I can spend most of my time with you.”
     “I know dear. Did you call me ‘Gina’?”
     “Yes. I think it is time for bed. I spent all day giving out supplies.”
     “Good night, dear.”
     “Good night Gina.” Regina disappears from the mirror and Emma lays back and stares at the ceiling. I love you.

***

     “What are we going to do about Emma?” Snow asks.
     “What do you mean?” David asks.
     “Regina is turning her against us. She had Emma give supplies to the peasants.”
     “I do not see a problem. Emma wants the people to see she cares. Regina just helped her.”
     “Regina is corrupting her.”
     “Regina is being her friend.”
     “Regina is no ones friend.”
     “She is Emma’s friend. Emma likes her.”
     “What!”
     “She told me about 2 months ago.”
     “I am going to kill her. Regina is going to turn her against us.”

***

     “Emma!” Regina yells as she storms into throne room.
     “What did they do now?” Emma asks from her place on her throne.
     “Who?”
     “My parents. That is who you are usually mad at.”
     “For once it is not them. Why are you in here?”
     “The stained glass windows are beautiful at sunset. Who has you mad this time?”
     “A few of the border villages have joined your mother’s kingdom.”
     “Come on, I have the perfect idea.” Emma takes Regina’s hand and leads her upstairs. They go into Regina’s sitting room. Emma sits down on the chaise she has Regina sit on the open end. Emma gently rubs Regina’s shoulders. Regina leans back into Emma’s hands. Emma smiles to herself as she lets her hands rub Regina’s upper arms. Emma leans forward and kisses the side of Regina’s neck. Regina takes a quick breath as she leans into Emma. Emma sits back and pulls Regina onto her lap.
     “What are you doing?” Regina whispers.
     “Taking care of you.” Emma whispers back. “You need to relax, Gina.” Emma loosely holds Regina, giving her room to get comfortable. Regina rests her head on Emma’s shoulder and stares at the fire.
     “This is nice.” Regina says as she plays with the strings of Emma’s shirt. “Thank you, for this.”
     “You are welcome, you need this. You are so stressed all the time.” Emma carefully takes the pins out of Regina’s hair. She carefully runs her hand through Regina’s hair to smooth it out. Emma kisses the top of Regina’s head. “How many villages went to my mother’s side?”
     “Five.”
     “You know they will not stay on her side for long. Their villages are good because of you. The taxes my parents have will reverse that quickly.” Emma massages Regina’s scalp.
     “I know. It is just frustrating when they crawl back to me. This is about the fifth time they have done this in the last two decades. I should just not help them this time.”
     “You are too nice to do that now.”
     “Tell anyone I am nice and I will slit your throat.” Regina mumbles.
     “Good luck with that.” Emma laughs. “You like me too much.”
     “What makes you think that?”
     “You are letting me hold you, you let me kiss you, you let me hug you.”
     “True, true.”
     “You’re cute when you are trying to look evil.” Emma says with a giggle.
     “Really? What about when I am being evil?”
     “Still cute, but kind of want to run. You are cutest when you are relaxed though.” Emma kisses Regina’s forehead.
     “Mhm.” Regina says. “You are never cute.”
     “Really?” Emma gasps.
     “Yes” Regina chuckles. Emma lightly kisses Regina’s cheek. She slowly moves down to Regina’s mouth. Regina returns the kiss, smirking.
     “Am I cute now?” Emma asks as she pulls back.
     “No now you are just a brat.”
     “Why?”
     “I was enjoying that. You also asked if you were cute. You are not cute. Your are beautiful.”
     Emma blushes as she mumbles. “Thank you. You are too.”
     “I know.”
     “Smart ass.”
     “I did not know a princess knew such language.” Regina says with a fake gasp.
     “I have read a few books in your library. Plus you do not always use the best language when you are mad or accidentally hurt yourself.”
     “Shut up.” Regina gently grabs Emma’s chin and pulls her face as close as possible.
     “Gladly.” Emma whispers before kissing Regina again. They kiss for a few moments until Regina bites Emma’s lower lip. Emma lets Regina’s tongue slip into her mouth, deepening the kiss. Regina slowly starts to let her hands go down Emma’s side. Emma tenses the lower she goes.
     Regina stops and pulls back. “I forgot, I am sorry. Are you good?”
     “Yes.” Emma says. “My legs are going numb.” Regina laughs and sits next to Emma. Emma teleports a book into her hand. Emma tucks her legs under her and leans against Regina. Emma rests her head on Regina’s shoulder and Regina rests her heads on top of Emma’s. After a few minutes, Emma takes a deep breath and closes her book.
     “Are you okay?” Regina asks.
     “Yes, I just… I want to tell you something but I do not know how. I am nervous. I do not want to ruin this.”
     “Emma,” Regina whispers. “Relax and speak.”
     “I think,” Emma takes a deep breath before continuing. “I think I love you. I say ‘think’ because I do not know what-“ Regina interrupts Emma’s ranting with a kiss.
     “I know you do.” Regina says with a sweet smile. “You know I cannot… what is the word… show my emotions well. I care for you.” Emma smiles and hugs Regina.
     Emma looks out the window and sighs. “We have been here for a while. I think it is time for me to go to bed.”
     Regina holds Emma tight. “I do not want you to go.”
     “I need to Gina. If I do not sleep soon I will miss my training in the morning.”
     “Fine.” Regina kisses Emma’s forehead and lets go.
     “Goodnight Gina.” Emma leaves Regina’s rooms and goes into her’s. Emma goes into her closet and changes into a nightgown. She walks out and is instantly grabbed by a cloaked figure. They disappear in a cloud of smoke before Emma can yell.

Chapter Text

     Regina sighs as she slumps in her chair in the dinning room. The servants come in with one serving of food. “Where is the princess?” Regina asks.
     “I don’t know.” One of the servants say.
     “How do you not know? Did she show up for breakfast or lunch today?”
     “No your majesty.”
     “Guards. Where is the princess?”
     “We do not know. She did not show up for her training this morning.” The guard replies.
     “What!” Regina yells as she shoots up out of her seat. “Are you telling me no one has seen her all day, and I am just now hearing about it? Get me your captain before I strangle someone.” Regina slams her hands down on the table. The guard runs out and comes back a few minutes later with the captain.
     “What do you need your majesty?” The captain asks.
     “Why is it that I just heard that no one has seen the princess all day?” Regina says. She cuts him off before he can answer. “I do not want any excuses. Spread out and look for her. I will check her room.” Regina teleports up to Emma’s rooms. Regina holds her hand out and slowly moves it horizontally in front of her. She goes into Emma’s bedroom and does the same thing. She walks over towards the closet and kneels down at the spot where Emma was taken. She growls as she spots a black scale on the floor. “Maleficent.” Regina teleports to Maleficent’s castle.

***

     Emma groans as she opens her eyes. “Oh look. The brat is awake.” Maleficent says from her seat, outside the cage Emma is in.
     “What is going on?” Emma asks in a daze.
     “I just saved Regina from death.” Emma sits up with great difficulty, as her hands are tied behind her back.
     “What time is it?” Emma asks.
     “Around noon” Emma screams as she tries to teleports away. “Right. I forgot to mention, you have no access to magic. Anytime you try, the cuff will burn your wrist.”
     “How is Regina friends with you?” Emma spits.
     “Shut up, brat.” Maleficent spits.
     “Oh is she awake?” Lily asks as she walks into the room.
     “Yes, I am awake.” Emma says with an eye roll.
     “And now you are not.” Maleficent says with a smirk as she shoots a bolt of electricity at Emma. Emma slumps to the ground. “She has picked up Regina’s sass apparently.”
     “Just what we need. Two people with Regina’s sass” Lily says.

***

     Emma wakes up a few hours later to an empty room. “I wonder if I can break the cuff.” Emma whispers to herself. Emma bites her lip as she pushes her magic into the cuff. She whimpers quietly as her wrist burns. Just as the pain gets too unbearable, the cuff cracks and breaks. Emma makes licks her lips, tasting copper. “Shit.” Emma says as she makes the ropes disappear. She runs her finger across her lips, healing as she goes. Emma used her magic to unlock the cage door as Maleficent walks back in.
     “What the-“ Maleficent starts before Emma throws a ball of light at her. The ball knocks Maleficent back into the hallway and knocks her out on impact.
     “What is going on?” Lily asks as she runs in after seeing her mother.
     “You are going to join your mother.” Emma says as she throws a ball of light at her.
     Lily laughs as she sidesteps it. “You missed.”
     “Did I?” Emma asks as the ball acts like a boomerang and hits Lily in the back, throwing her forward. Emma takes a deep breath and fall to her knees. “Too much.”

***

     Regina teleports to Maleficent’s castle. She storms into the foyer and yells “Maleficent!” She sighs when she does not get an answer. She walks around the castle until she finds Maleficent lying on the hallway floor. “Emma?” Regina runs into the room as Emma falls to her knees. “Emma!” Regina catches Emma as she falls. “Oh gods.” Regina teleports to her infirmary.
     “What happened your majesty?” The healer asks.
     “I do not know. I found her as she passed out.” Regina says.
     The healer examines Emma before speaking again. “Well her wrist is badly burnt and I can take care of that. I cannot find anything else wrong with her. I have one idea but you need to do it.” The healer pulls a book off a shelve and shows Regina the page. The healer rubs a salve on Emma’s wrist before wrapping a bandage around it.
     “All right.” Regina says. She waves her hand over Emma and sighs. “That was it. At least I know how to fix it.” Regina takes Emma’s and pushes her magic into Emma. Emma shakes slightly and slowly starts sweating. “I will take her upstairs.” Regina teleports to her bedroom and lays Emma on the bed. Regina goes into her bathroom and wets a rag. She goes back into the rooms and sits on the bed next to Emma. She uses her magic to change Emma into a clean nightgown. Regina gently wipes the sweat from Emma’s face. Regina grabs the book off of her nightstand and leans against her headboard. She reads for an hour before putting it down. “I do not think she is waking up tonight.” Regina says to herself. Regina carefully moves Emma over and then under the covers. Regina goes into her closet and changes before carefully taking her hair down. She climbs into bed and lays facing Emma. She quickly falls asleep.
     Around three am, Emma slowly opens her eyes and looks around the room. “Where am I?” Emma whispers. Emma hisses in pain as she tries to sit up. “I forgot to heal my wrist.” Emma unwraps the bandage from her wrist and waves her hand over it. .She looks to her right and stares Regina. “She looks so peaceful. This is to only time she has looked peaceful.” Emma moves Regina’s hair from her face and tucks it behind her ear. Emma scoots closer to Regina and takes Regina’s hand. She smiles as she falls asleep again, holding Regina’s hand against her chest.
     Emma wakes up before Regina. Emma kisses the top of the hand she is still holding and smiles. Regina slowly opens her eyes and smiles back. “You are awake.” Regina whispers.
     “I am guessing you found me?” Emma says.
     “Yes. You used all of your magic and passed out.” Regina says.
     “Thank you.” Emma says as she scoots closer to Regina.
     “You are welcome.” Regina says as she stares at Emma’s lips. Emma quickly kisses Regina. Regina pulls back and checks Emma’s wrist. “Did you heal your wrist?”
     “Yes,” Emma replies.
     “Do you know why Maleficent took you?” Regina asks as she moves closer to Emma.
     “She said ‘I just saved Regina from death.’ I am guessing she was thought my parents were going to find out easily.”
     “Who knows, she is crazy.” Regina kisses the top of Emma’s hand. “We should stay here this morning, or at least for a while.”
     “I may be up to that.” Emma mumbles before kissing Regina. Regina rolls onto her back, pulling Emma with her so Emma is straddling Regina’s waist. Emma braces herself on her forearms, one on each side of Regina’s head. Regina weaves her fingers in Emma’s hair as they kiss again. Emma kisses across Regina’s cheek to under her ear. Regina turns her head to the side as Emma kisses down her neck. Emma lightly bites, not hard enough to leave a mark, the spot where Regina’s neck and shoulder meet before repeating her trail on the other side. Instead of biting lightly, Emma bites hard before soothing the spot with her tongue. She repeats this process one more time, making sure it will leave a mark.
     “Fuck,” Regina moans when Emma bites the second time. “That had better not leave a mark.”
     Emma kisses back up Regina’s neck so she can whisper in her ear. “I made sure it will.” Shivers run through Regina’s body as Emma speaks again, with a smirk on her face. “What are you going to do about it? We both know you cannot heal yourself.”
     Regina tightens her grip on Emma’s hair and holds Emma in place. She turns her head so she can whisper in Emma’s ear. “What am I going to do about it, you ask? Revenge.” Regina rolls them over before Emma can register what is happening. Regina attacks Emma’s neck biting hard and then soothing it. Regina kisses the spot while mumbling something. Regina kisses Emma’s lips again, forcing her tongue into Emma’s mouth. Emma groans as she pushes Regina back.
     Emma sits up, Regina still straddling her lap. “I want more.” Emma says breathlessly. ”I want to see more.”
     Regina smirks before speaking. “Not right now.” Regina moves off of Emma’s lap before getting off the bed.
     Emma falls backwards. “Fuck.”
     “Come on, time to get up.” Regina says with a smirk as she walks into her closet.
     Emma groans as she stands. She walks over to the vanity and inspects the mark Regina left. “Luckily I can heal myself.” Emma whispers to herself. Emma runs her finger over the mark but nothing happens. “What did you do Regina?!”
     “Whatever are you talking about?” Regina chuckles from inside her closet. “Oh, do you mean that mark. I sealed it. You cannot heal it.”
     “Why?” Emma whines. “I am going to have to wear makeup to cover it. I am pretty sure my mother will notice me wearing makeup.”
     “She will not notice.” Regina says.
     “Why do you so boldly assume she will not notice it?”
     “You have court tomorrow morning, your mother always makes you wear makeup. Just tell her you forgot to take it off after.”
     “I hate you.”
     “No you do not.”

Chapter Text

     “Emma,” Snow starts. “When would you like your handmaiden to come up and help you get ready.”

     “I am getting ready on my own today.” Emma says as she walls down the hallway.

     “Emma you will need help with your dress.”

     “Fine, send her up in an hour. I will do my makeup or at least the base.”

     “Alright Emma.” Snow says with a sigh.

     Emma goes into her rooms and goes into her bathroom. She takes a quick bath before wrapping a towel around her chest. She sits at her vanity and examines the bite. “Damn she is good.” Emma covers up the bite with her makeup. The bruise lightly shows through. “It is not enough. I will leave my hair down.” Emma goes into the bathroom and uses a serum to curl the tips of her hair. She lets her hair fall down her shoulders. “That works.” Emma rubs her flower charm and Regina appears in the mirror. “I hate you.”

     Regina chuckles. “I can still see it.”

     “Well I covered it with makeup and my hair. I did my best. What else can I do?”

     “Pray that your mother does not see it.” Regina laughs.

     “Regina, I am serious.”

     “I will let you heal it a bit.” Regina touches the mirror and Emma heals her bruise slightly.

     “Thank you.” Emma says with an eye roll. “I just hope the fairy did not feel that.”

 

***

 

     “Why are you still wearing your makeup?” Snow asks Emma at dinner.

     “Oh, I guess I forgot to take it off.” Emma says with a shrug.

     “Emma, will you play with me after dinner? It has been a long time.” Leo asks.

     “Sure, L-kid.” Emma tries to say his name but can’t.

     “Yay!”

 

***

 

     “Emma,” Leo says as he tries to get Emma’s attention. “Emma!”

     “Sorry.” Emma says as she turns back to Leo. “What did you need?”

     “I want you to read my story tonight.”

     “Alright, let us go see if Neal wants to join us.”

     “No, I want you to myself.”

     “Alright come on.”

 

***

 

     “How did you resist killing my mother all those years?” Emma asks Regina the next time she goes to her castle.

     “Remembering that I would be killed if I killed her.” Regina says. “Why do you ask?”

     “One of the twins always bug me.” Emma says. “His name does not help.”

     “Little Leopold?”

     “Yes.” Emma says with an eye roll. “He is pissing me off. He want my attention all of the time. He is manipulative, he only asks me to do something in front if my parents so I have to say yes.”

     “Your mother did that too.”

     “I hate being manipulated all of the time.”

     “Well, how about…” Regina takes Emma’s hand and leads her towards Regina’s rooms. “We stop worrying about your family,” Regina opens the door and drags Emma into her sitting room. “And start worrying about me.”

     Emma closes the door behind her and is gently pushed against it. “Hello.” Emma whispers.

     “Hello.” Regina replies before she kisses Emma. Emma’s left hand slides down Regina’s back to her ass and her right finds its way to Regina’s hair. Emma slowly takes down Regina’s hair, constantly running her fingers through it. Regina’s hands go down Emma’s sides but stop at her waist. Regina pulls back and looks into Emma’s eyes. “How about we sit down?” Regina steps back.

     “What?” Emma says with a confused look.

     “Please.” Regina says as she holds out her hand. Emma takes the hand and Regina leads her to the couch. Emma sits on the couch and Regina sits in her chaise. She leans on the arm and spreads her legs down. “You said you wanted more, but I need to know what you meant.”

     “I… I want,” Emma blushes. “I want to see more of you. I want to do more.”

     “Like what…” Regina says with a smirk.

     “Regina…” Emma says as she turns redder.

     “If you cannot say it, than I cannot know what you want?”

     “I want to…” Emma stutters as she speaks. “I want to have…”

     Regina chuckles. “Take your time. We can start with the seeing more.” Regina stands up and stalks over to Emma. “What do you think?”

     “I… I am okay with that.” Emma manages to stammer out.

     “Would you like to help?”  Emma’s jaw drops as Regina turns around.

     “Uh-huh.” Emma manages to spit out. She stands and fumbles with Regina’s dress strings. Emma manages to untie the strings and pulls Regina against her. Emma moves Regina’s hair from the back of her neck. Emma kisses the side of Regina’s neck as she lets go of Regina’s dress strings. Regina gasps as the cold air hits her skin, only wearing her under clothes.. Emma takes Regina’s hand and sits down on the couch. Regina sits on Emma’s lap and kisses Emma. Regina nips at Emma’s lips. Emma threads her fingers in Regina’s hair. Emma lets Regina’s tongue invade her mouth. Regina straddles Emma’s legs.

     Regina’s hands fall to Emma’s back. “May I?”

     “Please.” Emma replies. Regina unties the back of Emma’s shirt and slowly takes it off. Emma gently runs her hands down Regina’s back to under her ass. Emma gently picks up Regina and stands. Regina wraps her legs around Emma’s waist. Regina kisses Emma’s neck as Emma walks into Regina’s bedroom. Emma sets Regina down on the bed. Regina lies back against the pillows. Emma straddles Regina’s legs and leans down to kiss her. They kiss for a while before just cuddling. “Thank you.”

     “Thank you.” Regina replies with a chuckle.

     “I want more. I want to sleep with you.” Emma says.

     “Well you are about to sleep with you.”

     “Shut up. I want to have sex with you. Not yet but soon.”

     “Finally you said it.” Regina pulls Emma close. “We will worry about that later. Now, you need to sleep.”

     “I love you, Regina.”

     “I know dear.” Regina replies as her mind says I love you too.

Chapter Text

     “Would you like a glass of wine?” Regina asks.

     “Why?” Emma asks carefully.

     “If you are up for it, we can get,” Regina leans over to whisper in Emma’s ear. “A little closer and I do not want you to get too nervous.”

     Emma gulps. “I think I will skip the wine.” Emma closes her eyes. “Maybe dinner too.”

     “Now I really want to make you wait longer. Eat.” Regina sits back in her chair. They eat in silence, Emma shoveling the food into her mouth as Regina eats slowly and carefully. Emma frowns as she notices Regina’s pace and slows down herself. After dinner Regina leads Emma upstairs to her rooms. Regina sits on the couch and pulls Emma down next to her. “Do you want me tell you what is going to happen or would you like to just explain as we go?”

     “I do not know.” Emma says as she shakes with nerves.

     “You are nervous.” Regina asks carefully. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

     “Yes, it is just new and exciting.”

     “I will ask one more time. Are you sure you want to do this, especially with me?”

     “Yes, Regina.” Emma says. “Only you.” Emma kisses Regina once. “I do have one question.”

     “What would that be?”

     “Is it going to hurt? My- people have said that it hurts the first time.”

     “Possibly, but given how active you are, the part that makes it hurt could have already been torn.”

     “Okay, okay. Yes I am good.”

     “Alright. If you want me to stop at anytime just tell me and I will stop. No questions asked.”

     “Of course.” Emma scoots closer to Regina. “Now excuse my impatience but shut up.” Emma kisses Regina lightly. Regina rolls her eyes before returning the kiss. Regina gently pulls Emma onto her lap. Emma straddles Regina’s lap as Regina threads her fingers into Emma’s hair. Emma slowly fumbles with the pins in Regina’s hair. Emma lets the pins fall to the floor. Emma lets Regina’s hair fall so that it does not tangle. Regina’s open hand slides down Emma’s hand down Emma’s back to her ass. She pulls Emma closer, deepening the kiss. Regina nibbles on Emma’s bottom lip. Emma pulls back to take a breath. “Fuck.” Emma says as she pants.

     “I am just getting started dear.” Regina whispers into Emma’s ear. Emma practically melts in Regina’s lap. Regina kisses Emma again as her hands roam. Regina’s hands end up on Emma’s ass before she gently stands, using magic to make it easier. Emma wraps her legs around Regina’s waist. Regina carries Emma into the bedroom. Regina sets Emma down next to the bed. “Can I help you get rid of some of those clothes?”

     “Y…” Emma starts before she stops herself. “I do not know. Can you?” Emma smirks.

     Regina takes a deep breath to steady herself before continuing. Regina gently unties the laces on the front of Emma’s shirt. Regina kisses Emma again before slowly moving her kisses down the side of Emma’s neck. At the same time, Regina’s hands sneak under Emma’s shirt from below. Emma quietly moans as Regina touches her breasts for the first time. Regina unhooks Emma’s bra before moving her hands back down to the bottom of Emma’s shirt. Regina kisses Emma on the lips again. She runs her tongue across Emma’s lips and Emma parts them, letting Regina slip her tongue into her mouth. Emma whimpers as Regina steps back and Regina chuckles proudly to herself at the sound. Regina grabs the bottom of Emma’s shirt and pulls her shirt and bra up. Emma raises her arms as Regina pulls the garments over her head. Regina steps back and admires the revealed skin. Emma shivers as the cold air hits her skin. “I will keep you warm.” Regina steps close to Emma again and kisses her again. Emma lets Regina slip her tongue in her mouth again. Regina’s hands find their way down to the top of Emma’s pants. Regina pulls back for a moment, silently asking Emma for permission to continue. Emma reaches down and unties her pants herself while kissing Regina again. Regina stands back and kneels down,  slowly pulls Emma’s pants and panties down Emma’s legs. Regina stands and gently pushes Emma against the bed. Regina waves her hand and her clothes disappear.

     Emma pulls back slightly, resting her forehead against Regina’s. “I wanted to do that.”

     “Another time.” Regina says as she sits on the bed. “Tonight is about you.” Regina leads Emma to the middle of the bed. Regina smiles at the scene in front of her. Emma laying naked in her bed with her blonde hair fanned out across the pillows. “Perfect.” Regina whispers. Regina straddles Emma’s legs before leaning down and kisses her gently. “You are beautiful.” Regina kisses Emma’s neck, slowly and gently. Emma moans as Regina suddenly bites down on her collarbone. Regina pulls away and balances herself on her right arm as her left hand wanders to Emma’s breasts. Emma whimpers as Regina’s thumb grazes her nipple. Regina leans down and takes the nipple into her mouth. Emma’s hips buck unconsciously. Regina speaks as she speaks as she switches sides. “Someone is excited.” Regina takes Emma’s other nipple into her mouth while playing with the other. Regina sits back on Emma’s legs. Regina opens her mouth to speak but Emma interrupts.

     “I swear if you are about to ask if I am sure I am ready or I am sure I want it to be you, I am going to scream of frustration.” Emma says.

     “I would love to make you scream,” Regina says with a smirk. “But not in frustration.” Emma whimpers as goosebumps spread down her body and heat rushes through her. Regina smiles before leaning back down on her arm. “Are you ready?”

     “Please.” Emma manages to whimper. Regina brushes the hair from Emma’s face before kissing her. Her hand runs down Emma’s side to her hips.

     Regina gently spreads Emma’s legs. She runs a finger up Emma’s slit. “You really are ready.” Regina smirks as she brings her hands up to their faces. Regina licks her finger before taking it into her mouth. Emma closes her eyes and whimpers. Regina kisses Emma, slipping her tongue into her mouth. Regina’s hand goes back down Emma’s body. Regina pulls back as she runs her finger up and down Emma’s slit. She waits until Emma is looking her in the eyes before she slowly pushes one finger into Emma. Regina stills, giving Emma a moment to adjust. Regina kisses Emma before moving. Regina slowly pumps her finger in and out.

     “More, please.” Emma groans out.

     “Getting impatient dear?” Regina asks with a smirk.

     “Yes, I am-“ Emma starts before she is cut off by Regina pushing two fingers inside of her. “Oh gods, yes.” Regina lets Emma adjust again before moving.

     After a few thrusts she pulls her fingers out. Emma makes a whining noise as Regina sits up next to her. “Shh” Regina whispers. “I am not done with you yet.” Regina sits on her knees between Emma’s legs. Regina slowly pushes her fingers back in. “Do you want more?”

     “No, I feel full.”

     Regina smirks. “That’s not what I meant.” Regina leans down and nips at Emma’s hips, smiling at the sounds coming from Emma. Regina sits up and her unoccupied hand finds Emma’s clit. Emma’s hips involuntarily buck at the touch. Regina slowly draws circles on Emma’s clit. Regina thrusts her fingers faster as she rubs Emma’s clit. Emma’s hips move of their own volition. Regina curls her fingers against the spongey wall. Emma moans as she grasps at the sheets. Regina moves faster as Emma starts to tense. Regina smiles as Emma tightens around her fingers and her breath quickens. Emma moans out Regina’s name as her back arches and she cums on Regina’s fingers. Regina stills as Emma comes down from her high. Emma whimpers as Regina slowly removes her fingers. “I am still here, dear.” Regina kisses Emma lightly before speaking again. “I am going to go run us a bath.” Regina stands and walks into the bathroom. She washes her hands before leaning against the counter. Shit I am starting to really love her.

Chapter Text

      Regina waves her hand and the bath pool fills with warm water. She walks back into the bedroom. “Come on, Emma.” Regina sits in the bed next Emma. “You need to take a bath before you sleep.”

     “But I am comfortable.” Emma mumbles. “I am too tired to walk.”

     Regina rolls her eyes as she pulls Emma towards her. Regina gently picks Emma bridle style and Emma wraps her arms around her neck. “Idiot” Regina steps down the stairs into the water and sits on the bench. “You do not even have to do anything. You can just sit here.” Regina grabs a rag and gently washes Emma’s body. “Just going to wash you off.” Regina grabs a vial off the side of the pool. She pops the cork off of the vial and pours it into the pool.

     “What was that?” Emma mumbles into Regina’s shoulder.

     “Lavender. It will help you sleep.” Regina says.

     “I think you took care of that already.” Emma chuckles. “I am tired.”

     “Do you want to sleep in my room or yours?”

     “I wanna stay with you.” Emma nuzzles her nose into Regina’s neck.

     “Alright,” Regina says as she stands, carrying Emma with her. Regina flicks her wrist and the two dry. Regina lays Emma on the bed and Emma scoots up to the pillows. They both curl up under the covers. Emma falls asleep fast as Regina lies awake thinking.

 

***

 

     “Happy birthday!” Snow yells as she walks into Emma’s rooms.

     Emma groans as she rolls over. “What time is it?”

     “Time to get up for a happy day of celebration.”

     “Is it eight yet?” Emma groans.

     “Not yet.”

     “Then I am not getting up.” Emma rolls back over and closes her eyes.

     “Emma, you are spending the day with George.”

     “Why?” Emma whines.

     “You have not seen him much. You have been at Regina’s too much.”

     “Did it ever occur to you there is a reason for that, like I am avoiding him.” Emma rolls to the edge of the bed and sits up.

     “Do you wear that to bed every night.”

     Emma looks down at her clothes. “What is wrong with it?” Emma is wearing cloth leggings and a spaghetti strap nightgown that has been cut and hemmed into a shirt length.

     “You are a princess, you should be in a cute nightgown not leggings and a shirt.”

     “It is a nightgown. Well it was a nightgown.” Emma stands and walks towards her bathroom.

     “Come here for a moment.” Snow says.

     “I am getting my dressing gown.” Emma says before she walks back out.”

     “Why do you have bruises on your arms?”

     “Oh,” Emma looms down her gown at her arms. “I have no idea.”

     “Go see Blue once you have eaten to get those healed.”

     “Yes Mother.” Emma turns and goes back into the bathroom. Emma waits until Snow leaves her rooms before she rubs the flower charm. “I forgot to bring the healing salve so now I have to go down to the fairies. This is why I said it was too late to have fun before I left.”

     “Do not act like you did not like it” Regina says with a chuckle. “I will see you later dear, birthday girl.”

     Emma blushes. “I love you.”

     “I know dear.”

 

***

 

     “Happy Birthday Princess.” Regina says as she approaches Emma. Regina is wearing a black ballgown with dark purple lace trimmings. The corset has the same lace laid over it.

     “Thank you, your majesty.” Emma replies. “Your dress is beautiful.”

     “Thank you dear.” Regina kisses her cheek as Snow approaches.

     “Regina.” Snow says shortly.

     “Hello Snow.” Regina replies. “I will give you your present next time you are at my castle.” Regina steps behind Snow before winking at Emma.

     Emma looks down and blushes. “Did you need something Mother?”

     “Why are you talking to people? You should be with George.”

     “I wanted to say hello to some people.” Emma says before someone screams by the door. Emma runs over to the doors to investigate as the sound of swords being drawn echo through the room. When Emma arrives at the ballroom doors she rolls her eyes before speaking. “Stand down.”

     “But, your highness-“ one of the guards start.

     “I said stand down.” Emma says as she shoves past them.

     “Emma what are you doing?” Snow asks worriedly

     “Well I would like to say that is the worse greeting I have gotten, but I would be lying.” Cora says.

     “Come on in Cora.” Emma says as she holds out her arm. “I apologize for the horrible welcome.” Cora links her arm with Emma’s and they walk to Regina.

     “Why do I have the feeling that scream was caused by my mother?” Regina says as she pinches the bridge of her nose.

     “All I did was walk to the door.” Cora rebuts. “I guess someone here met me in Wonderland.”

     “Ripped out a few hearts?” Regina asks sarcastically.

     “Look who is talking.” Cora replies.

     “Hey, be nice to each other, or at least civil.” Emma says. “We really do not need to give my mother more reason to be irritated with you two.”

     “What did I do?” Cora asks.

     “Seriously,” Emma raises an eyebrow. “You took my heart and controlled me.”

     “I thought everyone was over that.”

     “Not my mother.” Emma sighs. “She can hold a grudge like Regina does.”

     “Rude” Regina remarks.

     “Sorry, like her majesty does.” Emma says

     “That is not what I meant.” Regina says as Emma starts to walk away.

     “I know.” Emma says over her shoulder.

     Once Emma walks away, Regina turns to Cora. “Did you actually need to fix your dress or did you want to create a scene?”

     “I need entertainment.” Cora says before walking off to find the food.

     Regina stands off to the side of the ballroom, just observing. After a while, Snow walks over. “I know about you and Emma.”

     Regina manages to hide her fear and shock as she speaks. “Whatever are you talking about?”

     “That she thinks of you as a friend.” Snow replies with a sneer. “We both know you are not her friend and will use your friendship to either hurt her or me.”

     “Seems like someone thinks she is more important in my life than she really is.” Regina laughs.

     “I knew it, you are using her.”

     “I meant you Snow.” Regina says with a smirk as she gets in Snow’s face.

     Luckily for them, Emma runs over after noticing the tension. “Everything alright here?” Emma asks with a fake smile.

     “Yes, dear.” Snow replies with an equally fake smile.

     “Your majesty, if I may ask, why did you bring Cora tonight.” Emma turns her attention to Regina.

     “She was nagging me about getting out of the castle. Apparently being able to go riding or into town with guards was not enough for her.” Regina rolls her eyes.

     “Emma!” Snow says, shocked. “Are you questioning Regina’s decision? That is rude.”

     “Honestly, yes.” Emma replies.

     “In my defense I asked her not to cause a scene, but she does not listen.” Regina replies.

     “Mothers are like that sometimes.” Emma says before she walks away. Regina stifles a laugh at the statement. Emma walks over to Cora next. “Did you really need to cause a scene?”

     “Oh you enjoyed it.” Cora replies

     “I did, but that is not the point.” Emma replies.

     George walks up to the two. “Come dance Princess.”

     “Not right now please,” Emma replies. “I am talking with my friend.”

     “I was not asking.” George says as he grabs Emma’s wrist.

     Emma rips her wrist from his grasp and Cora steps in front of her. “Do you know who I am child?”

     “Someone unimportant’s mother by the looks of it.” He says rudely.

     “Let me put this nicely.” Cora says with a obviously fake smile. “I am Queen Regina’s mother. You believe she is evil correct?” George nods once and Cora continues. “Where do you think she learned it from.” Cora smirks evily and George goes pale. “Now I believe the princess said no so run along.” George stands still so Cora speaks again. “Oh, did I mention I have magic too.” Emma discreetly places her hand on Cora’s back and pushes some of her magic through her. Cora looks surprised for a split second as a fireball appears in her hand.  Georges eyes go wide and he quickly runs away. Once he is out of earshot the two start laughing.

     “That was perfect.” Emma says.

     “It was,” Cora replies. “It is totally worth Regina’s eventual anger at us.”

     “Us?” Emma questions.

     “Well it was your magic.” Cora whispers. Emma rolls her eyes and walks away.

     “Emma!” Snow hisses as she storms over to her. “If George wants to dance, you will dance.”

     “I was talking to people.” Emma replies.

     “I know, he said the Evil Queen’s mother threatened him.”

     Emma bites back a laugh. “I will go dance with him now.”

Chapter Text

     Emma looks up from her packing as she realizes something. “Sidney!”

     “Yes, your highness?” Sidney asks as he appears in the mirror.

     “I need to talk to Cora.” Emma replies.

     “One moment.”

     Emma continues to pack until Cora appears in the mirror. “What do you want Emma?" Cora asks.

     “Are we still in trouble?” Emma asks.

     “Yes.”

     “How much trouble?”

     “I have not seen her this angry since she banished me.”

     “Oh so this is going to be a fun time.” Emma says sarcastically.

     “She is still more mad at me than you.”

     “What was your punishment?”

     “I am living and locked in a small house on castle grounds.”

     “Well if she kept you in the castle she would have to listen to you whine.”

     “You are a rude little princess.”

     “You know you love me.” Emma says. “Hopefully Regina will let me see you while I am there. Sidney?” Cora disappears from the mirror as Sidney reappears. “Let Regina know I am leaving please.”

 

***

 

     Emma browses the books Regina’s library early the next morning. Emma grabs a book off of the shelf and skims it. She sighs as she closes it. She goes to put it away and is suddenly shoved against the bookcase. Her body is pinned against the shelf as her hair is pulled to the side. “You are in so much trouble.” Regina whispers into Emma’s ear. Emma whimpers and Regina starts kissing the side of her neck. Regina bites down on Emma’s neck and Emma moans. She stops when she tastes copper. She soothes it with her tongue. Emma smiles to herself before Regina bites another spot. Regina unties the back of Emma’s shirt before continuing her marking on the visible skin. “You are going to regret using your magic to scare George.” Emma shivers as Regina moves Emma’s hair to the marked shoulder, exposing her other shoulder.

     “I do not see how.” Emma replies.

     “You will.” Regina smirks as she brings her knee up to meet Emma’s core. Emma emits a whimpering moan as Regina bites down on the unmarked shoulder. Emma unconsciously grinds on Regina’s knee, building herself up. Regina puts her knee down and lets her hands wander down to Emma’s pants. She kisses Emma’s back as she rubs Emma’s covered mound. Regina mumbles something into Emma’s skin before stepping back. Emma whimpers as all contact disappears. Emma turns around to a smirking Regina. “Enjoy your punishment.” Regina states.

     “I did.” Emma says, thinking Regina is asking if she did.

     “It has not even started yet.” Regina starts to walk away.

     “Are you going to finish what you started, or will I have to do it myself?” Emma asks.

     “Try all you want. You will not be able to finish what I started.”

     “What did you do?”

     “A little spell. Enjoy the feeling of frustration, you will be feeling it for a while.”

     “How long is a while?”

     “At least until tonight.” Regina laughs as she leaves the library. Emma leans against the bookcase and closes her eyes, trying to will the wetness away.

 

***

 

     That night, Emma waits in Regina’s rooms. Regina walks in late and sighs. “I am sorry dear, I forgot. I am too tired. I will take the spell off and you can do what you want.” Regina says before she waves her hand.

     “All right.” Emma mumbles as she walks out. She lays awake in her bed for a while before she can fall asleep. After training in the morning, Emma goes to her check up with Regina’s healer.

     “How are have you been feeling?” The healer asks.

     “Fine, a little more tired than usual but that may just be stress.” Emma replies.

     “When was the last time you bled?”

     “Um… little over a month ago but again, I have been stressed.”

     “Have you been sexually active with anyone?” Emma blushes and looks down at her lap. “Remember the only people who can know about what you say here is the Queen and me.”

      “Yes, I have.” Emma says.

     “You do not have to answer this question but with who?”

     “The Queen.” Emma mumbles, just loud enough for the healer to hear.

     “Oh, alright. I feel like we may need to do a test. How long will you be here this visit?”

     “Longer than a week but other than that I do not know.”

     “Alright, in that case could you come back in a few hours. I only have one vial made of the test and I would like to do a few at once.”

     “Will you tell me what kind of test?”

 

***

 

     “Alright I have the tests ready. All I need from you is a drop of blood for each.” The healer says as Emma walks back in later. The healer takes Emma’s hand and pricks her finger with a needle. Emma hisses and the healer lets one drop of blood fall into each vial. Emma heals the prick as the healer puts a cork in each of the vials. “Here,” The healer hands Emma the vials. “Keep these on your dresser or your counter.”

     “I will probably put them in my closet.” Emma says. “I do not want the Queen to know unless I am sure.”

     “If the Queen asks I will have to tell her.”

     “Just tell her I am fine because as of right now, I am fine.”

     “I have something else for you.” The healer scans his bookshelf until he finds the right book. He takes it off the shelf and hands it to Emma. “Read chapter 30 if you have any questions about how this may have happened.”

     “Thank you.” Emma says. “Do you know where the Queen is? I have not seen her all day and that is not normal.”

     “No.”

 

***

 

     “There you are Regina, I was looking for you yesterday. “ Emma says as she catches Regina in the hallway.

     “Come with me.” Regina says in a serious tone.

     “Alright” Emma replies questioningly. They walk in silence to Regina’s study.

     “Sit.” Regina commands. Regina sits in her chair after Emma sits. “We need to talk.”

     “About what?”

     “Us.” Regina sits up straight in her chair. “I have apparently developed some form of a conscience recently. I cannot keep leading you on like this. I do not care about you. You fell in love with me and ruined my plan.”

     “What?” Emma says, shocked.

     “Your mother was supposed to push you away by telling you how evil I am. I would be nice and let you think I was your friend so I could get information. Your mother was to corrupt you on her own, driving you towards me. Eventually you would leave your parents and either run away or run to me. I would have you trained and you would eventually kill your mother.”

     “You act like I would believe that.” Emma says. "I know you better than you think I do."

     "Oh, really?"

     "Yes, this is not you."

     “How the hell would you know? You only know what I want you to know.”

     “Something is wrong. I am going home.”

     “You cannot leave. You have to stay your whole week.” Regina smirks. “Stay in your rooms. I do not want to see you. Get out.”

     Emma stands and walks to the door. “I will find out what is going on. This… this is not you.” Emma leaves and goes straight to her room. “Sidney!”

     “Yes, your highness?” Sidney says as he appears in the mirror.

     “Ask Cora to come here please.”

     “She is on her way.” Sidney replies after a moment.

     Cora knocks on the door before walking in. “Thank you for getting her to let me out of that cottage. What do you need?”

     “Is something wrong with Regina?” Emma asks.

     “Not as far as I know.” Cora replies. “Why do you ask?”

     “She just told me she did not care about me and was just using me to hurt my mother. She is pushing me away.”

     “This is my fault. She never knew love and she pushes people away when she gets too close.”

     “Thank you Cora for being the mother of the year.” Emma says sarcastically.

     “Yes, yes, I know I was a horrible mother.”

     “Sorry. I need to talk to you about something else.”

Chapter Text

     Emma goes pale as she uncovers the vials. Emma takes a deep breath before putting them in a box. She takes the book and the box to her bed. She sets them down and reads the book. “Shit.” Emma finishes the chapter before she walks over to the mirror. “Sidney, could you have Cora come here please, Quickly”

     “Yes your highness.” Sidney replies.

     “Is everything all right?” Cora asks.

     “I am not sure. I need to talk to Regina before I will know. I need to make two potions before I talk with her.”

     “Why do you need me?”

     “I am not allowed out of my rooms so I need the guards that do not tell Regina everything you do. I need them to help me get up to the magic tower so I can make this potion.”

     “Alright.”

 

***

 

     Emma storms towards Regina’s study, holding the box and book close to her body. She is stopped at the door by guards. “The Queen wishes to be left alone.”

     “I do not care, I need to talk to her.” Emma replies.

     “Wait, you are supposed to confined to your room?”

     “Shut up and let me in, now.” Emma tries to push by them and they draw their swords. “Really did not want to do this.” Emma flicks her wrist and sends the guards flying against the wall behind her.

     Emma goes to open the door but Regina beats her to it. “What the hell is going on out here?” Regina glares at Emma. “What are you doing here?”

     “We need to talk.” Emma replies as she tries to walk in.

     “No, we do not.” Regina blocks Emma’s path. Emma closes her eyes before pushing Regina back with magic. Regina slams into her desk.  “What the hell?” Regina says when she regains her balance. “What are you-“

     “You told be you did not care about me, but I have proof you are lying.”  Emma seals the door with magic and soundproofs the room. Regina pushes Emma against the door with magic.

     “What, did you find another journal or talked to my mother? Found I push people away when they get too close.” Regina says sarcastically. “My mother does what I tell her and do you really think I write the truth in those journals. I told you I do not care about you. You are as stupid as your mother and as stubborn as your father. I told you I do not l-“

     “I am pregnant.” Emma interrupts.

     “Well I hope you and George are happy. Not all that surprised this happened. Your mother always-“

     “Shut up and sit down” Emma says firmly as Regina looks on in confusion. “Sit. Down.” Emma repeats.

     “What do you think you are doing?”

     “Sit down now!” Emma yells. Regina’s eyes go wide and she sits quietly. Emma places the book and box down on the desk. “Do you really think I would sleep with George? Trust me he has tried. My mother even gave him a key to my bedroom door, but Blue protected it a few years ago. Only my parents, Blue, and I can get in.”

     “Are you sure you are pregnant?”

     “Yes” Emma opens the box to show the five vials. “First three are the pregnancy tests. Light pink is positive, grey is error. Grey one was an old vial.”

     “If George is not the father than who-“

     “You.” Emma interrupts.

     Regina chuckles. “What makes you so sure it is mine?”

     “I have not slept with anyone else.”

     “Could have happened when you did not know?”

     “Regina. Shut up.” Emma snaps. “I am sure. It is the same reason I am sure you love me.” Emma opens the book and reads from the page. “A woman can be blessed with a child when she is with another woman only if the two are in love.”

     “So, there is no point in hiding is there.”

     “Not really.” Emma walks around the desk and leans on the edge next to Regina.

     “I am sorry.” Regina says as she takes Emma’s hands.

     “I know you are.” Emma replies as she is pulled into Regina’s lap.

     One of Regina’s hands rests on Emma’s stomach. “So, how long?”

     Emma reaches across the desk and grabs the fourth vial. “Red is one month or less, orange is 2 months. It is a red orange color so about month and a half.”

     “What is in the fifth vial?”

     Emma bites her lip before speaking. “Termination.”

     “Why would you make that?”

     “I did not know how you would react, and I wanted to be ready.”

     Regina grabs the vial from the box and throws it into the fireplace. The fire surges for a moment before calming again. “Does that answer your question?”

     “Yes.” Emma kisses Regina.

     Regina pulls back after a moment. “How are you going to tell your parents?”

     Emma laughs. “I am not going to.”

     “Emma, there is no way for you to hide this the farther along you are.”

     “I just spent the last two days stuck in my rooms. I have a plan already.” Emma says. “My parents do not know what my present was, which I still have not gotten by the way. My present as far as they know is me staying here until my eighteenth birthday.”

     “Why would I do that?”

     “So, I can learn how your kingdom runs in case something happens to you.”

     “That should work.”

     “In case they think you have a spell on me I am willing to stay there for a month.”

     “You know they will not let you have any contact with me at all.”

     “I am willing to do it.”

      “Are you sure?” Regina asks.

     “Yes” Emma says before kissing Regina again. Emma pulls back as she feels a tear fall on her face. Emma wipes a tear from Regina’s face. “Are you alright?”

      “Yes, yes, I am just happy.” Regina smiles. “I never thought I would be a mother.”

     “Well I am glad to be the one to give that to you.” Emma says. ”Now,” Emma teleports them to the couch in Regina’s sitting room. “I believe,” Emma straddles Regina’s lap. “I am owed a birthday present.”

     “I thought your present was going to be spending a year with me.” Regina smirks.

     “Uh-no. I believe I was owed a better present.

     “Oh, a year with me is not enough for you.”

     “Shut up.” Emma cups Regina’s chin and kisses her. Regina kisses her back as her hands travel down Emma’s back. Regina smiles as she pulls back.

     “I… I love you.” Regina whispers.

     “I love you too.” Emma says before kissing Regina’s forehead.

     “Tell anyone I said that and I will kill you.” Regina mumbles.

Chapter Text

     “Why do we have to do this?” Emma asks with a groan. “I do not want to see Maleficent again.”

     “You will not have to. It will be just you and me. All you have to do is be there so I can draw magic from you.” Regina replies as they walk to the circle.

     “Fine.” Emma groans.

     “You can even sit on the ground.” Regina says with fake enthusiasm. Emma rolls her eyes as she plops down on the ground around the circle.

     “So, what exactly are you doing?”

     “I am editing our original spell to include your pregnancy and our true love.”

     “Alright. Why the true love part?”

     “Because people are smarter than we give them credit and could figure out how you got pregnant. Now be quiet so I can focus.”

     “Alright.” Emma sits in silence as Regina works on the spell. A scroll appears in front of Regina and she writes on it with a quill pen. Emma starts to open her mouth to ask a question but decides to wait.

     “I am writing in the changes to the spell.” Regina explains. Regina pushes the scroll into the middle of the circle and pulls magic from Emma. The scroll catches on fire and the ashes are pulled into the ground. “All done.” Regina glances over at Emma only to see her asleep while sitting up. Regina chuckles as she kneels. She gently shakes Emma while saying her name. “Emma wake up dear.”

     “Huh.” Emma opens her eyes and leans against Regina. “Sorry. It has been a tiring three days.”

     “It takes three days for the test to work?”

     “Yes.”

     “So, we are not telling your parents, what about telling my mother?”

     “She already knows. She had to escort me to the magic tower so I could make the last two potions.”

     “Really, my mother found out before me. Wait, how was she able to escort you?”

     “You do know she has a group of guards who do not tell you everything she does, right?”

     “I am going to kill her.” Regina mumbles.

     “Just be glad she is not freaking out.”

     “I am.” Regina says as Emma yawns. “How about we get you upstairs for a nap?”

     “Please.”

 

***

 

     “I do not want to go home tomorrow.” Emma says to Regina as she lays her head on Regina’s shoulder. “I am not ready to be without you for a month.”

     “Neither am I.” Regina replies.

     Emma turns her head and kisses Regina. “Maybe we should make sure we have something to think and dream about.” Emma smirks as she pulls Regina towards her. Regina straddles Emma’s lap and kisses Emma again. Regina digs her fingernails into Emma’s sides at the same time she bites Emma’s lower lip. Emma moans into the kiss and Regina takes the opportunity to slip her tongue into Emma’s mouth. Emma uses her magic to lighten Regina before standing. Regina wraps her legs around Emma’s waist. Emma carries Regina into the bedroom and sets her down on the edge of the bed. Emma carefully unties the back of Regina’s dress and corset. Emma steps back and Regina stands, letting the dress and corset fall to the ground. Emma makes Regina sit back down before moving Regina’s dress to the side and kneeling down at the foot of the bed. Emma bites her lip as the aroma of Regina assaults her nose. She slowly unties the laces on Regina’s boots and help her slide them off her feet. Regina moans happily as the boots are removed. Emma rubs Regina’s feet fo a moment before kissing the inside of her left knee. Emma kisses up Regina’s leg before repeating it on the other side. Emma hooks her fingers in Regina’s panties and pulls them down her legs. Emma smiles at the sight of Regina in front of her. Emma kisses the inside of each of Regina’s thighs before gently kissing Regina’s folds.

     “Emma…” Regina warns. “I am impatient. It is best not-“ Regina is cut off by Emma biting the inside of her thigh. If Regina hadn’t soundproofed the room then, the whole castle would have heard them.

 

***

 

     “Emma,” Leo whines.

     “What?” Emma snaps. “What do you need now?”

     “Why are you being mean? I just wanted you to take a walk with me.”

     “I am sorry.” Emma says. “Come on, let us go for that walk.” The two walk to the gardens in silence.

     “Why did you snap at me?” Leo asks when they get to the gardens. “Why do you hate me?”

     “Mother and George have been aggravating me. Usually I talk to the Queen, but I have not talked to her in two weeks and I will not see her again for another two.”

     “But you see her for at least a week every month.”

     Emma leads them over to a stone bench and she sits. “The Queen made me an offer. She wants me to spend my seventeenth year with her.” Leo sits down next to Emma. “I accepted the offer and the only way Mother will let me go is if I do not talk to her for a month.”

     “Why one month?”

     “Most mind control spells have to be casted at least once a week.  A month will make sure I am not being controlled.”

     “Are you being controlled?”

     Emma chuckles. “If I was, I would not be able to tell you. The answer would be the same. I am not being controlled.”

     “There you are Princess.” George says as he walks over. He tries to kiss Emma’s cheek, but she lightly pushes him away. “I was trying to find you. I want to go for a ride.”

     “Why are you telling us this?” Leo says. Emma holds back a laugh.

     “Your sister comes with me on my rides, little prince.” George replies.

     “As much as I would love to, I am with my brother right now.” Emma takes Leo’s hand as she stands.

     “Your life is going to get very difficult after we are married if you keep this attitude up.”

     “Leave her alone.” Leo says.

     “You cannot tell me what to do. You are just a kid.” George replies with a smirk.

     “As Prince of this kingdom I command you to leave her alone.” Leo says with even a bigger smirk. The two stare each other down until George growls and stomps off.

     “Good job.” Emma says. “Leo, how much do you know about a royal marriage works?” The two start to walk again.

     “Well I know that I find a lady, marry her, and she is mine.”

     “That is what I was afraid of.”

     “What do you mean?”

     “Do you want to know why I call you kid or Leo?”

     “Yes.”

     “Come with me.” Emma leads them farther into the gardens, far away from anyone. “I will not tell you everything since you are only nine,”

     “Almost ten.” Leo interrupts.

     “Still too young. I really am too young to know as much as I do.” Emma sits down on a stone bench.

     “I have never been this deep into the gardens.”

     “I do not think anyone other than me has.” Emma moves a vine that falls in her face.  “In royal marriages, the lady is treated as property. She has no say in how her life goes, starting from the moment she is born.”

     “Can she just not listen like you do?”

     “Not often. I am an exception because I was an only child for almost 8 years, so they treated me as a prince. They let me do almost what ever I wanted until you were born.”

     “And that is why you cannot call me by my name?”

     “No, I am getting there. The Queen, Regina, for most of her life she did not have a say. When she saved Mother, her mother, Cora, spooked Mother’s horse so that Regina could save her. Then Grandfather, who you were named after, proposed to Regina and Cora accepted for her. Regina was forced to marry him. She basically became his plaything. He was nice and sweet to everyone but Regina. He hurt her in many, many ways. She still has nightmares about it. I will not go into any detail because it is not any of your business. He never loved her like he said, and she never even liked him.”

     “Does the Queen hate mother because of this?”

     “No, it is kind of part of it, but it is not the main reason. Regina planned to run away with the stable boy, who she loved, but Mother caught them kissing. She made Mother promise not to tell Cora. Mother thought she could mend the troubled relationship between Cora and Regina by telling Cora she did not love Grandfather and loved the stable boy. Cora killed the stable boy in front of Regina because Mother could not keep a secret. Mother was a brat and rude to Regina. No one ever taught Regina how to manage her anger. Her anger built up and she finally snapped. Then everything happened.”

     “So, you cannot call me by my name why?”

     “I cannot say that name because he hurt Regina and she is my best friend. He was always rude to women, except Mother and made sure Mother never saw him being rude. He thought he was better  than everyone, especially women. He was also a horrible king. Taught Mother everything she knows. Which is why Regina’s kingdom is doing better.”

     “Did Regina’s kingdom used to be Mother’s.”

     “Yes and no. Mother was the princess. Regina became the Queen when she was married and chased Mother out after Grandfather was killed. She kept the kingdom and made it what it so today. Mother took this kingdom from Father’s adoptive father.”

     “So, Grandfather was a bad man and that is why you cannot say my name?”

     “Yes. Now, I believe he was a bad man, but others think differently. You cannot tell people about it if you feel the same way I do. We cannot get into trouble because he was not king of this kingdom, but it still makes Mother mad.”

     “I understand. I will not ask you to call me by my name anymore.”

     “Thank you.”

     “How do we get out of here?” Leo asks.

     “Follow me.”