Regina smiled as she started to wake up feeling a familiar body slowly moving over her under the covers. Emma languidly moved against Regina with bare limbs and searching, soft hands. Regina had to bite her lip to stop the giggle that was bubbling up as Emma’s fingers tickling her behind her knees and soft lips nipping Regina’s inner thigh. She couldn’t help the languid stretch or the contented sigh that escaped her lips as she felt Emma’s warm breath on her core. Emma wasn’t one to linger at times like these, which made Regina eternally grateful. At the first touch of Emma’s tongue, Regina moaned. Emma started in earnest at the sound, bathing Regina with long slow strokes and worked two fingers into her tight passage. As she started to pump with long slow strokes into Regina, she nibbled and sucked on the little bud. She upped the tempo when she heard the brunette’s little gasps. Regina started to come undone, shuddering all around her. Giving her one last kiss, Emma pulled away and laid her head on Regina’s silk-clad stomach. She pulled back the covers and smiled up at Regina.
Regina’s eyes were still closed but a smile spread across the brunette’s lips. “Good Morning, Sheriff.” She finally opened her eyes and looked down at glowing green eyes. Her blonde curls stuck out at all angles as she gave Regina an endearing smile. She tucked one of those wayward curls behind her ear and stroked her cheek.
Emma smiled into Regina’s stomach and placed a kiss on the soft expanse while Regina ran her finger through her hair. “Good Morning, Mayor Mills.” They laid in comfortable silence as the sun started to rise over Storybrooke. Regina shifted to get up and Emma moaned. She curled herself around Regina stronger in an attempt to keep her in the bed. “No! Lets just stay here all day. We’ll read the paper, well you’ll read the paper I’ll do the crossword puzzle, I’ll give you foot rubs and . . . other rubs.”
Regina laughed as Emma wiggled her eyebrows at her. “Not today, I’m afraid. You have to go relieve Miss Lucas, and I have to finish working through budget proposals.” Emma grumbled into her stomach some more. “Not to mention the fact that our son will never get up without the use of a crane if I don’t start breakfast. Now let me up.”
Emma frowned but complied. She rolled to the other side of the bed, and watched her girlfriend get up. As Regina walked towards the bathroom, her blue silk-clad hips swayed causing the blonde to whistle. Regina smiled back with an eyebrow wiggle of her own, and Emma didn’t need further invitation. Some time later after the women shared a thorough shower and breakfast, the Swan-Mills trio left for the day.
Regina dropped off Henry and Emma as she made her way to City Hall. Regina was waist deep in proposals from the newly composed City Council, which turned out to be Snow old council, when a knock pulled her away. Although the person who came in wasn’t exactly who she was expecting. Snow sat down in one of the chairs across from Regina’s carved stone desk. She held a large binder stuffed to the brim and she seemed a little nervous. “Hello Regina. I’m sorry to interrupt you.”
Regina smiled as she played with the pen in her hands, “It’s no problem Snow. You’re welcome to see me any time. What can I help you with?”
“Well, I have been talking to a few people in town and they were talking about how great the Spring Festival was, and really how grateful they were to you and your help with that.”
Regina looked shrewdly at Snow. She could see the pixie haired woman was going somewhere with this. “It wasn’t just me. I believe it was the council spearheading the whole event.”
“Yes, well it would have never been approved if it wasn’t for you, and that is precisely why I’m here. When I was talking to those same people they indicated that they would really appreciate it if there was a way to have a harvest festival this year.” When Regina started to hedge with a denial Snow stopped her, “You wouldn’t have to worry about budgeting it so much. I have talked to vendors who have indicated they would be happy to donate services and goods, and for those that would need funding they have indicated extremely fair prices for us.” Regina lifted her eyebrow at Snow. “You don’t have to make a decision right now. Here is everything I have. Look it over and just consider it.”Snow put the large binder on Regina’s desk and backed away, “I have to go. David’s waiting for me at home. Thank you for listen, Regina, and please consider it.” Snow left and Regina looked over at the large blue binder before turning back to the proposals.
Emma waited in their booth at Granny’s and watched the lunch crowd. Like clockwork Regina came in precisely at 1:05pm. Except for this time she had a blue binder tucked in her arms. She dropped the binder on the table and leaned down to give Emma her pre-lunch kiss. “Hello dear, I trust work is going well.”
“Yea, its been pretty slow thankfully. I only had two cats in trees and three kids skipping school. How ‘bout you?”
Regina sighed, “Fine, busy. You’ll never guess who visited me today.”
“Your mother.” Emma looked surprised as Regina opened up the binder and started to flip through it, “She wants to hold a Harvest Festival, and from the looks of it she’s already got it planned out.”
Emma leaned over to catch a peek in the binder, “Sounds fun, can the town afford it?”
Regina looked through again, “I suppose. I’ll have to dig around and see if there’s any money not being used. This means longer nights.”
Emma groaned but smiled as Red placed their food in front of them. Emma dug into the turkey club and fries while Regina ate her cobb salad. Pushing the binder back she looked over at Emma, “I think this might actually be a good idea. I mean any time you can celebrate without the threat of destruction is a good thing, right?”
Emma stuffed two fries in her mouth, “hey, you know me. I have a soft spot for festivals.” They shared a smile remembering how Emma stood up to Robin during the Spring Festival, ultimately leading to a fake relationship turned very real in a matter of weeks. Regina thought Emma was trying to make up for bring Marian back by posing as her girlfriend. She still remembered that night of the double date with the Charmings. As Emma confessed her feelings, Regina felt relieved and ecstatically happy. When Emma tried to pull away after their first real kiss Regina pulled her into the house. There was no way they would pass this up. After all the years they had been fighting this, Regina wasn’t going to wait any longer. They had snuck upstairs after making sure Henry was really asleep in his room. The look in Emma’s eyes was something Regina would never forget. It was the same she had every time Regina walked into a room--a mixture of awe and desire. When Emma touched Regina it was hesitant and gentle, but had quickly turned feverish and desperate for more. Emma was no longer hesitant to touch Regina, but she was still gentle and desperate when she need her to be.
“Then I guess Storybrooke is having another festival.” Emma smiled as she polished off her sandwich. Regina opened the binder again and flipped to a back page and smiled over at the blonde. After snagging a french fry Regina said, “and it seems we’ll also be having a Ball.” Emma’s face fell instantly.
“I don’t understand why I have to go to some STUPID Ball!!!” Emma wanted to puke on all the ridiculously princessy dresses. Yards of silk, lace, and ribbons littered the living room in the apartment. “This isn’t the Enchanted Forest. Its not like it’s an obligation.”
Snow gave her a face that said otherwise, “actually Emma you kind of have to go. Not only are you the sheriff, a high government official, but you're also a princess. And princesses go to balls and wear pretty dresses.”
Emma sat down heavily and buried her head in one of the stuffed pillows, “but I don’t want to. I don’t even really like wearing dresses. The only reason I ever wear a dress is if I’m trying to catch a bounty or when I’m trying to get laid. Since I’m no longer a bounty hunter and I have a girlfriend I don’t really need to worry about it anymore.”
Snow had enough. She threw up her hands and reached for her phone. After hammering out a fierce text Snow went back to sorting through all the dress. Soon after, Emma got a call that she answered quickly. “Emma you have to go the ball.”
Emma groaned, “come on Regina. Not you too.”
“Yes Emma. You have to go to the ball, because if I have to be subjected to that torture then so do you.”
Emma shot a dirty look at Snow who just smiled at her. Emma stuck out her tongue and turned back to the phone, “Fine but I am NOT wearing one of these God awful dresses.”
“Of course not dear, that’s not your style. Just tell your mother you're going and that’s the best she can hope for. I’ll take care of the rest, ok? I’ll see you tonight.”
“Alright; I love you.” Emma ignored her mother’s misty look as Snow put her hand over her heart.
“Love you too, Emma.” She hung up leaving Emma to deal with Snow.
“She said to tell you that I am going and that is the best you can hope for.” Snow just sniffed as she started to put everything, away cutting her loses. “So what’s this going to be like? Is it going to have stuffy music and tiny food portioned?”
Snow looked affronted amidst a sea of taffeta, “The music won’t be stuff. We’ll have some formal music and some dance music.Most importantly, Regina’s royal chef is making the food so it will be absolutely scrumptious. You’ll eat your fill, I’m sure. He’s even making these strawberry chocolate pastries. They are to die for.”
Emma laughed, “yeah, and I’m sure you would have died if you got close enough to have one.” She looked up to see Snow avoiding eye contact. “Wait, did you . . . ?”
Snow smiled shyly, “I had snuck into one of her balls before I was . . . banished when I was younger. I stole one from a waiter, and the rest of the night I watched from balcony as she worked her way around the ballroom buttering up all those aristocrats and dignitaries. She used to be quite the diplomat before everything. Although I guess she had to be. Being queen is never easy, but coming from a lower station like the daughter of a fifth son in a small kingdom like her father’s . . . it had to be very hard. She definitely had to prove herself.”
Emma scratched the back of her neck, “oh yeah, I can see how a fifteen year old girl who had lived in an abusive home and had witnessed her first love get his heart ripped out only to be immediately married off to a man twice her age would need to prove herself to everybody.”
Snow signed forgetting who she was talking to. “Emma, where we are from. . . life is hard and filled with incredible amounts of pain. More pain than Storybrooke has to offer. I’m starting to realize how much our family has been responsible for Regina’s share, and I’m heartbroken by it. But I believe that you are making great strides in righting those wrongs. I have always believed Regina was capable of good, and that all she needed was a little bit of love, even though there have been times I lost sight of that. When I see her with you I see that she finally has hope again, and it makes me optimistic.”
Emma nodded her head, “Thanks. It just hard sometimes thinking about everything that happened to Regina, you know? I appreciate you being so understanding.” Snow smiled and finished putting everything away. “Well after that depressing little talk I have to go see my girlfriend.” That night Emma had seemed unusually quiet but incredibly attentive to Regina.
Preparations for the festival went by fast and fairly easy with Snow’s extensive planning. Emma brought on the auxiliary help from last festival, using three men that had been soldiers for Snow and Charming. They were happy to help given they had been working in the grocery store this entire time. During the fair Emma, David, and Red patrolled the fairgrounds keeping the peace. Emma soon found out that Harvest Festival meant Oktoberfest with some crafts and farming competitions. When she asked, Snow just shrugged, “well what else did we have to do in the Enchanted Forest. We didn’t have television or music like here, and books weren’t necessarily easy to come by, so we drank and made things.” That makes sense I guess. Still, Emma kept a close eye on the rowdy revelers in the beer tent. One o’clock came and the auxiliary relieved them for the night. Emma was exhausted from working a ten hour shift, so the first thing she did when she got home was pass out on the bed.
It felt like only minutes had passed when Regina firmly grabbed Emma’s ankle and shook her awake. “Coming on dear, you have to get ready for the Ball. She looked over to see Regina had already showered and had her hair blow dried. Emma rubbed her hands over her face when she noticed, “how did your hair get longer?”
“Their called extensions dear now hurry up.”
With a groan as she rolled out of bed and looked over at the clock and found it was already after 5:30. She had less than an hour to shower and get ready. She showered in record time and was walking from the bathroom wrapped in a towel when she caught sight of the black garment bag. It must have arrived earlier today while she was sleeping. She remembered two weeks ago when a small man was kissing Regina’s cheek and left the mansion in a hurry. When Emma asked Regina told her it was her old dress maker. When Emma heard that she stopped dead in her tracks, “Does that mean we’ll be seeing. . . the ‘royal cleavage’ again?”
Regina just smiled slyly. Emma was celebrating when Regina’s words stopped her, “he’s making your outfit as well.” Emma stopped and looked at Regina with worry. She wouldn’t give her any clues as to what it was until Emma threatened to arrest the guy. Knowing Emma would follow through with the threat, and she didn’t want to delay her dress, Regina finally gave the desperate blonde a little hint,“I’ll tell you that it will satisfy a fantasy I’ve been having.” That didn’t help at all. Instead, some of the most outrageous thoughts started running around her mind. Looking at the garment bag now Emma still wasn’t sure. Hesitantly, Emma reached for the zipper, and like a bandaid she whipped back the bag. Emma gaped at what was inside. Well that IS interesting.
Regina walked back into the bedroom ready to finally put on the creation Gustavo made for her. As soon as she walked in she was struck dumb by the sight. Emma had her hair pulled up in a messy bun with a few curls around her face with sweeping bangs. The tight black pants hugged her legs and ass nicely. Emma turned around with the strip of black silk hanging around her neck, “how do you tie this thing.” Regina smiled as she bit her lower lip. She took hold of the tie and with a few deft twist straightened the windsor knot. After tucking it under the crisp white collar, she ran her hands along Emma’s shoulders and looked her over. Emma smiled at her, “This is it, huh? Suits are your thing?”
Regina could only smile back. Quickly she reached for the black blazer and held it out for Emma. As she smoothed the black fabric on Emma’s shoulders and arms, Regina could only smile in appreciation. She looked better than in her fantasies. It could have been the thought of Emma’s lack of propriety wrapped up in the attire of respectability that spurred on the idea, or it may have been the many ways they could really use that tie. Either way, Regina loved it. Emma turned away from the mirror, “alright enough gawking. You need to get dressed. We’re late already.”
Regina stepped back. With a roll of the wrists purple plumes of smoke started bubbling and rising around her feet and legs. As the smoke rose to her chest, the blue robe dropped. As the smoke dissipated Regina was left standing in red velvet and black lace. The velvet hugged her curves like a glove, along her waist was a bejeweled corset, and her cleavage was somewhat modestly covered with a black lace cutout. It wasn’t as much “royal cleavage” as she was hoping for but something about the peek-a-boo look was so much more sexy. She looked every bit the Evil Queen, and Emma loved it. Seeing Emma was properly enticed, Regina held Emma’s hand, “Come along dear. We don’t want to miss the festivities.”
Regina and Emma arrived in the hallway outside the large meeting hall-turned-ballroom in a puff of purple smoke. Emma blinked a bit of magic dust out of her eye as they stood there. They could hear the Ball in full swing on the other side of the doors. As Emma was straightening the sleeves of her jacket she saw Regina turn towards the doors, her breath catching in her throat. Emma had missed that the dress would have been backless if it wasn’t for the black lace. “Regina, how do you get out of that dress?”
Regina looked back at Emma with a raised eyebrow, “Why?”
“Because if I don’t know how to get you out of it now, I’m gonna rip it off of you later.”
Regina just smiled as she turned back to the doors. “Are you ready dear?” Without waiting for a response Regina walked towards the doors, and with a waving motion the doors flew open. Everyone stopped and looked at Regina who stood with her hands on her hips exuding confidence which hadn’t been seen since the Enchanted Forest. People forgot for a minute where they were as the sight of the Evil Queen stood before them. That was until Emma came walking up behind her, hands in the pockets of her pants. She smiled and gave a half-hearted wave, “sorry we’re late.”
Snow quickly motioned the for the music to resume, and approached the two. Everyone started to murmur around them, some wives and girlfriends swatting at drooling husbands and leering boyfriends. “Glad you both could finally make it. What took you so long?”
Emma pulled Regina close with a possessive hand on her girlfriend’s hip. “I took a nap and slept a little later than planned. We’re here now. How’s the Ball going?”
Snow started nervously brushing her hands down the silver and white ballgown she wore. “Good; everyone seems to be having a great time.” Emma looked around to see people standing around talking with drinks in hand. Everyone was dressed up like they were in a fairy tale book, which I guess was the point, yet as Emma looked around, “great” didn’t seem to be the best word to describe it. The princesses seemed to be enjoying themselves, and some of the other people seemed to enjoy rubbing elbows with the upper crust, but there seemed to be an obvious lack of party in the atmosphere.
Regina pulled away from the two to go talk to the familiar and very well dressed little man. “So I see you’ve managed to weasel your way out of a dress.”
Emma smiled at her mother, “I had nothing to do with this. Regina was the one to set this up. Seems Regina has a thing for women suits, and I must say I look damn good in it too.”
Snow just rolled her eyes when David and Henry came walking up. “Hey kid, you look great.” He blushed as he straightened the red and black silk vest. “You look like you stepped out of victorian novel.”
“I look stupid. How come I couldn’t just wear a suit like you? I’m not even from the Enchanted Forest.”
“Because your mother was, and because Wendy obviously seems to like it.” She glanced over to where the girl was standing by her brothers.
Henry looked over to see her quickly looking somewhere else. He smiled up at Emma, “She’s been doing that all night. I guess this isn’t that bad.”
Emma smiled as she straightened her tie. She looked over at Regina who was openly leering at the blonde, “I’m gonna have to agree with you.”
The Ball went on for a couple hours. Emma took part in the free liquor as did some others, but after three hours, Emma had enough. “When are we going to get some actual music going.” Snow’s only response was soon, but Emma was getting bored. Red came up to where Emma was finishing her third chocolate strawberry pastry and sipping her bourbon. Red, like some, chose to wear more modern clothing with a red dress she borrowed from Emma. “We may have to hijack this shindig.”
Red smiled as she sipped her beer, “what were you thinking?”
“I was thinking how lucky spoons are.” Confused Red followed Emma’s gaze and zeroed in on Regina talking to Tink and eating creme brulee in a little cup. She was taking a bite and sucking on the end of the spoon.
Red heard Emma’s groan and laughed. “I was talking about your plan to liven this thing up, you perv.”
“Oh that, well . . . I’ve got my man on the inside working on that one.” She nodded over to Henry who had Wendy and two of the lost boys around him. He was obviously orchestrating something over there, and Emma thoroughly approved. They watched as the group broke up and started to scurry. The two the lost boys slipped outside. Soon enough, one of them came walking in and approached the man in front of the little group of musicians. With a tap on his shoulder and a whisper the man started running out the doors. Emma nudged Red and pointed to Henry who was talking to Snow. “Watch, he’s going to pull the Makoto Bicycle.” They watched as Henry smoothly walked over to the guy who was sitting behind the DJ booth. After some words they both looked at Snow who smiled and nodded at the two. The DJ nodded and started to cue up some music. Suddenly, a well known Marvin Gaye jam started filtering through the speakers.
“I used to go out to parties
And stand around
'Cause I was too nervous
To really get down”
Emma and Red stopped and stared in wonder as the words drifted throughout the room. Emma put the glass down and looked over to the leggy brunette, “wanna dance?”
Red just laughed and watched as Emma slowly boogied her way onto the now empty dance floor. She started to take off her coat and flung it at her son who stood off to the side recording it all on his phone. Red could only laugh as Regina called out to her girlfriend, “are you drunk?”
Emma continued to swivel her hips and body roll, “not nearly enough to do this alone.” To Emma’s relief Red jumped out there with her and started dancing. That was all the encouragement people needed as they joined the two on the dance floor. As soon as the dancing started the liquor started flowing freely. It wasn’t long after that Henry found Emma to tell her he was leaving with the lost boys for a sleepover at their house. That was Emma’s cue to find her girlfriend who was standing off to the side, watching everyone in the room. She snuck up and held her close, kissing her on the neck. “Want to dance?”
“If by dancing you mean getting groped by a drunk in the middle of a dance floor filled with sweaty bodies, than no thank you.” Emma laughed in her ear as she started to sway with her. She loved the feel of Regina’s supple body pressed up against her front. Regina leaned back with an indulgent smile. Emma started nibbling behind her ear when Regina murmured, “we should go to my office. I have something important . . . I need you to see.”
“Hell yes,” Emma whispered as Regina led her away. Emma started to turn towards her office, but Regina pulled her down a different hall. Her heels reverberated loudly down the dark hallway and through a heavy metal door. From what Emma could tell they were in a room that led them out towards the apple tree. She could vaguely see it’s outline through the wall of green-tinted glass windows. All around them were potted plants and flowers. “What is this place?”
Regina pulled Emma close by the tie and kissed her hard. As Emma pulled away Regina caught her lower lip between her teeth and pulled away. “It’s the greenhouse. The groundskeepers use it to breed all the plants and flowers around town.”
Emma picked up Regina and set her down on the worktable. “That’s very interesting. I didn’t--”
“Shut up. You have more important things to do right now.” Laughing, Emma followed Regina’s orders trying to kiss all the available skin she could reach on Regina. Emma started gathering up the velvet skirt sliding her hands along the outside of her legs pushing up the skirt up to Regina’s thighs. She need to feel more of Regina. She reached up to get access to find a way to get Regina out of the dress, but she couldn’t figure out how to get past the black lace. She reached around trying to find buttons, a zipper, anything but it seemed as if Regina was sewn into the dress. Emma groaned in frustration at not having full access to Regina’s body and she had finally had enough. When Emma just couldn’t take it anymore she reached back and with both hand ripped the lace down the middle. Regina gasped at the sound and Emma started pulling the dress down off her tanned shoulders. “You wouldn’t do that if you knew how much this dress cost me.”
Emma pulled the dress down revealing perfect breasts and smiled, “I’m sorry babe, I love the dress and everything,” Emma started to brush a taut nipple with her thumb drawing a shuddering breath from Regina, “ but I really don’t give a damn.” Emma looked in awe at what she was seeing. No matter how many times she saw her like this, it always amazed her how beautiful Regina was. With the full moon filtering in, bathing the whole room in a glowing green light. Purple, yellow, pink, and red flowers surrounded her on the table. “God I love you, Regina.”
“I love you, Emma.” Emma leaned over and kissed Regina softly on the lips. Pushing the skirts higher on Regina’s lap, Emma reached down to softly touch her. Regina sighed at the first brush of Emma’s fingers. The caress wasn’t hurried but strong, spurring a moan from her lips. As Emma straightened up, Regina followed her with a tight hold on Emma’s tie. Emma placed a smiling kiss on Regina’s lips as she curled her fingers inside her. With shaking hands Regina reached for Emma’s pants barely able to get them unbuttoned and down her hips. She pushed the tucked in shirt out of the way. Regina found Emma was just as wet and aching as she stroked in time with Emma. Emma buried her face in Regina’s neck and rocked her hips against Regina’s strong hand. Regina was pulling Emma close to her as Emma was softly cursing against her skin. They reached the precipice together and as Emma fell over the edge she saw gold, violet, and blue sparks all around them. She leaned on Regina for support, not trusting her legs to hold her up. Regina had pulled her hand slowly from Emma’s center and pulled her close in a comforting hug. “Wow.”
Emma laughed and pulled back, “Yeah. That was . . . wow.” She leaned over her and smiled at Regina’s well-loved look. She was relaxed as she leaned back on her elbows. Emma reached over, plucked a sprig of the purple flower, and placed it behind Regina’s hair. Regina smiled and looked around her. As Emma leaned over her spreading kisses all over Regina’s breast, Regina spotted a pot of honeysuckle right next to her. The white and yellow blossoms seemed to call to her as she reached over and plucked a white bloom. After holding it to her nose to smell the sweet scent she tucked it behind Emma ear.
It wasn’t long after that, that the two quickly found themselves home, but their night did not end there.
Emma woke up with a languid stretch that you can only do on your day off. She cracked her eyes open to see the room bathed in sunlight. Her sleeping and very naked girlfriend was tucked in tightly against Emma’s front and the fingers of Emma’s left hand were intertwined with Regina’s. Feeling Emma move besides her, Regina stretched as well. Rolling away Emma reached up and started to rub her face. As her hands moved a shadow caught her eye and Emma pulled her hand away. “What the hell?” Emma held out her left hand to see a dark purple design encircling Emma’s left ring finger. She brought her hand close trying to figure out when that happened. Surely she wasn’t that drunk last night.
Regina looked over and saw what Emma was looking at and grabbed the blonde’s hand. “Oh no.”
“Look, you have one too! How drunk were we?”
Regina looked down at her hand to see the blue design on her finger. She immediately jumped out of bed and paced back and forth in front of the bed. Emma did not see waking up like this. Emma looked down at the design and rubbed it with her right thumb, “that’s weird. Usually tattoos are sore.”
“That’s because they aren’t tattoos. They’re markings.”
Emma finally sat up reading the anxiety in Regina, “Markings? What kind of markings are we talking about?”
Regina started pulling on clothes roughly, “as in the matrimonial kind.”
“Wait, what? You mean ‘matrimonial’ as in married?”
Regina was ignoring her as she was searching for matching shoes, “I knew something seemed off about that situation.”
Emma finally got out of bed and grabbed Regina by the shoulders. Emma caught Regina’s wide brown eyes, “Regina, what’s going on?”
She took a deep breath and pushed the hair from her face, “last night when we were in the greenhouse you said you loved me and gave me a flower. What did it look like?”
“Uhh, reddish purple; had ruffly petals.”
Regina walked over to the bed and picked up her phone and showed her a picture, “yeah, that’s it.”
“Myrtle. When I gave you the honeysuckle we completed a ritual accidentally. When you confess your love to the Harvest Moon and exchange myrtle representing true love and marriage and honeysuckle, which signifies the bonds of love, that means you’re committing yourselves to each other for eternity.”
Emma could see the distress playing over Regina’s face. Emma was taking the whole magic marriage idea better than she thought she would, but she didn’t want it if Regina really didn’t want it. she tried to calm Regina down, “hey, it can’t be that bad being married to me can it?”
Regina grabbed Emma by the face and meeting her eye to eye, “every time I find myself truly happy and in love it is ripped away from me. This is usually the point where I lose everything and I don’t want to lose this.”
She was afraid. Regina wasn’t panicking over being married it was fear of losing everything. “Ok. I get. I’ll get dressed and we’ll figure this out together.”
Sorry for the late post. I blame it on all the good fan fiction that has been updated and all the great stuff submitted for Swan Queen Week. Congratulations to the the luck SOB that won the signed poster, and thank you to all of those that submitted.
More importantly thanks to all of you who are reading and commenting. I love hearing from you guys and if you ever want to find more from me or to get in touch look me up on Twitter and Tumblr. You can find me under my writing handle: boxxybrown506.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Regina was pacing furiously in the Charming’s apartment livingroom. Snow was breastfeeding Neal in the corner while David was sipping coffee with Emma at the kitchen island. Emma looked down at the marking and traced the design. “So you guys accidentally performed a marriage ritual during the Harvest Ball and now you're married. I can see you doing something like this, but Regina? She knows better than that. What were you two doing?” Emma looked over at Regina who slowed her pacing at the question and looked hesitantly at Emma and David. David picked up on the tension and unspoken words quickly enough, “Nevermind.”
A knock at the door stopped all conversation as David opened the door. The Blue Fairy came strolling in on fast feet stopping short as she saw Regina standing in front of the worn couch. “What is she doing here?”
Regina barely held back the sneer when Emma came forward. “We need your help.” As blue looked them back and forth she stepped in, “why would I help her?”
“Because I asked.” They looked over at Snow who was stroking and patting baby Neal’s back. Regina was surprised to see some steel behind Snow’s blue eyes as she stood in front of her magic advisor. She didn’t expect Snow to stand up to Blue like that for her. The fairy looked at Emma and nodded stiffly, “What do you need help with, Savior?”
Emma stood with her thumbs tucked into her back pockets, and looked over at Regina who stood with her arms crossed over chest. When she realized Regina wasn’t going to talk she sighed, “okay so Regina thinks we may have done a binding ritual.”
“Thinks?” Blue looked shrewdly at the pair. A knock at the door interrupted the group in the living room and Regina was the one to open the door. To their surprise Tink came bustling through the door.
She grabbed Regina’s hand quickly and pulled it close to her face, “oh, Regina! This is so beautiful. The pattern is so intricate. What did his wife say?”
The group stared at the two as the short blonde gushed over the markings. Blue’s demeanor became that much more icy with the addition of the pixie. Her words finally hit Emma, “Hey what the hell are you talking about ‘his wife’?”
Blue interjected before anyone could say anything, “what is she doing here?”
“Surely you didn’t think I would trust you after everything you have done to me.”
David finally stepped in and held up his hands, “this is actually a good idea. The more info we have the better we can deal with this. Maybe we can call Rump--”
“Absolutely not!” They looked over Regina who had her hands clenched by her side. “I don’t want him anywhere near this. The power between a bond like this . . .”
David looked confused, “But he’s changed. With true love--”
“True Love doesn’t change who you are; at least not what Rumplestiltskin was. He may have True Love, but he’s still the Dark One. Evil like that doesn’t leave you.”
Blue scoffed, “you would know.”
Emma was about to backhand the “nun” when Regina’s words stopped her, “you're right; I do know. I certainly know better than any of you. Dark power is like a drug and the more power you hold the stronger it holds on to you.”
“I’m inclined to agree with her.” The Blue Fairy looked as if those words took too much out of her. “Could I take a look at the markings?”
Regina held up her hand as Blue and Tink leaned over to look closer. Blue hummed in interest, forgetting whose hand she was looking at and even the woman besides her who answered murmurs. “Absolutely stunning. What is that design?”
Tink answered quickly, “myrtle and honeysuckle I believe.”
“Fascinating. The magic must be incredibly strong to have produced such delicate work.”
Tink looked over at Emma who was scowling at the pixie, still miffed at her welcoming words. “Can I see yours Emma?”
Emma held out her hand and the pixie looked it over. “Indeed this must be strong. You wouldn’t happen to have magic would you?”
Emma shook her head, “not since our fight with Zelena.”
“You mean since you kissed the pirate,” Regina sneared.
Emma sighed in exasperation, “I told you I was performing CPR. It wasn’t like I was just making out with him, he was going to die.” Regina just rolled her eyes when Emma looked over at the pixie already riled up, “And you, what the Hell was that about ‘his wife’?”
“Well with a bonding mark, the design is based on how strong a connection is, both magical and personal. Usually an intricate design such as that can only be accomplished through True Love.”
“She’s partially right.” They looked over at Blue who was still studying Regina’s. “The type of bonding ritual you two performed only works with True Love. However, the intricate design is due to the magical abilities you two possess. Regina is powerful, but she could not achieve this detailed of a design by herself.” Blue crossed her arms and looked at Tink who tapping her chin with her index finger. “Could be that when they consummated the bonding their combined magic broke the Wicked Witch’s curse.”
Tink started to nod and looked to the Regina and Emma who stood by the island now, “if they could break that bond their magic must be immense.”
“So how do we break the bond?” Everyone looked over at Regina who was stoneley staring at Blue and Tink. Emma tried to push down the hurt at those words, but it seemed as if she didn’t hide it very well.
Snow looked at confused, “Regina, why would you want to break this bond? Seems to me that this is a cause for celebration between friends and family. A royal union to end the blood feud.”
“And it puts a huge target on not only Emma and I, but Henry as well. This bond will only attract more attention; mostly unwanted at that.”
Blue and Tink looked at each other, understanding exactly what Regina was saying. If word got out that an ancient bond had joined two of the greatest magical powers in Storybrooke, the couple wouldn’t be safe. More importantly, if someone were to get their hands on that power no one would be safe. Coming to some sort of agreement the fae turned towards the couple, “you will have to wait for Beltane Night. Then you can break it without killing either one of you.”
Regina sighed but Emma choked on her own spit, “Wait, what did you just say?”
“If you try to break the bond or if someone tries to take it themselves either one or both of you will die.”
“Great. So we have to figure out some way to keep this a secret for seven months before we can break this. Any ideas?”
I'm thinking one more chapter and an epilogue.
Ok, so I had promised that I would have this done at the end of July but if you hadn't noticed it late August. I had written something up and after rereading it I didn't like it. After some thought I went back and rewrote it. So sorry for the long wait. I am almost done with the ending so you won't have to wait too long. I was going to wait till I was completely done, since you've waited so long I figured I'd share what I have now. Hope everyone likes it.
After a few weeks it became obvious that keeping the binding hidden from the town was going to be exponentially harder than what they imagined. Tink and Blue had said that the binding had not just conjoined their magic but their souls. They had said there would be a slight issue concerning headaches when they were apart. The pounding that rang through her head the first time she left Regina to go to the precinct was so intense she could hardly see straight. She had to text Regina a frantic SOS, and when the brunette found her lying in the fetal position under her desk she decided now was a good time to work on the finance budget for the sheriff’s department.
“God, I don’t know what’s giving me the bigger headache: the binding or all this accounting bullshit.” Emma tossed the papers across the coffee table in front of fireplace. She leaned back on couch and looked over to Regina who was busy on the computer. She could see a faint reflection of an excel spreadsheet on the glasses perched on the bridge of Regina’s nose and smiled to herself. “How is it you can make sense of all this?”
Regina snorted, “I ran a kingdom long before I ran a town, dear. You have to learn how to balance a budget and keep track of taxes to make sure the local magistrates and lords are not trying to cheat you. You would be surprised how many men thought I wouldn’t notice. Often times when you’re a women, men tend to underestimate you.”
I’m sure I wouldn’t; Emma remembered all those bond jumpers who took her size for granted. “What did you do when you found out?”
Without looking away from the screen Regina answered, “I had them stripped naked and hung their bodies from the parapets of their own holds.” Emma just stared slack jawed when Regina finally looked at her. Seeing the horrified look on her face Regina looked back at the expense report, “I suppose it sounds barbaric now, but you have to remember the archaic way of life that is the Enchanted Forest. What I did was better than what the king did before.”
“But I thought Snow said Leo-“ Regina cut a scathing glare at Emma. Regina had warned Emma long ago that she didn’t want that name to even grace her lips. “Snow said her father was beloved by the people.”
Regina gave a short laugh and finally looked at Emma, “Of course the peasants loved him. He was sticking noblemen’s heads on pikes and selling off their families as slaves. He called it ‘payment rendered’. Any time a ruler takes a nobleman down a peg they like the show. Slaughter him and destroy his family they’ll sing your name in the taverns. Peasants generally don’t like nobles because they’re the ones directly taking everything from them.”
The more she heard about her grandfather the more she didn’t like him. Snow tried to talk about how amazing and loving her father was, but all Emma could see was an old man not caring that a very young girl was being forced into something she didn’t want. “Why is it that you and Snow have two completely different versions of the same thing? I mean she was old enough to know what was happening in the kingdom when this was going on.”
Regina gave up on the expense reports and stood up from the desk. She joined Emma on the couch and placed her feet in Emma lap. So used to the action, Emma took the incredibly tall high heels off and started rubbing the arches of her feet. “Well, you have to remember that the king loved Snow more than anything, so it is within reason that he would not share his most sordid actions with her. There is also the fact that where we come from, ladies of good breeding were expected to be biddable and quiet. You weren’t supposed to question what your husband or father did in any manner, but it more in practice in royalty. A ruler had to be strong and had to keep a firm hand on his family. For the most part women weren’t truly involved in the political sphere till . . . well myself. Women worked behind their husbands and children. My mother was a skilled politician and manipulator but it was always behind the guise of my father or myself. You have the advantage of growing up here where women could do and say what they wished without having to answer to men, but that has only been till recently.”
Emma sat as she looked out the window and watched snowflakes land on the casing. Sometimes it was hard to imagine Regina as young and biddable and not the strong woman she loved. She thanked Regina everyday for the dark curse. She turned towards the brunette and smirked, “Why are you so smart?”
Regina leaned back and enjoyed the compliment and soothing touch of Savior’s hands, “Because Emma, I have to make up for you Charmings.” Emma tweaked her little toe playfully and smiled when she was shoved with the other foot.
The rest of the week went much the same as the last. Ruby and David took care of patrol and calls while Emma and Regina worked in her office. They tried to play it off as best as they could, but they were catching attention. As Belle sat the counter at Granny’s reading she heard the bell ringing as someone came into the diner. She ignored them as she immersed herself further into Kafka; that was until she felt a nudge and her bag spilled everywhere onto the floor. She looked over to see Emma swearing softly as she bent down and picked up everything on the floor. “Shit Belle, I’m sorry.”
By the time she got off her stool Emma had already picked everything up and was straightening. She held out the purse when Belle saw it. Wrapped around Emma’s left ring finger was a purple tattoo that looked an awful lot like a ring. Emma saw what she was looking at and immediately pulled her hand way and retreated to her own booth. Intrigued, Belle left and headed straight for the pawnshop.
She was pouring over a spell book she found buried under some of Rumpel’s oldest books. The language was easily identifiable as from the far Northern Kingdom. There were many tombs that were filled with stories of clans, sprites and myths from the Northern Isles, but the only one Belle was interested in was on magic. She was slowly turning the pages. Each page filled with information many had forgotten over the centuries. When she finally turned a page to see a design all along the border of the page she knew she had found it. The problem was she couldn’t quite read it. It was a mix of runes and some other language.
“What do you have there, my love?” Rumple laid his hand on her soft shoulder. She looked up and smiled at him sweetly. She was by far the loveliest creature he had ever seen.
“Oh just doing some reading. I saw Emma earlier today and saw she had some strange marking on her finger. I’m sure she will be by soon looking for some information.” Belle looked back to the tomb and sighed knowing it was no use for the time being. “I’m sure she touched something she wasn’t supposed to.” He chuckled and watched as she put the book back on the shelf with mindful eyes. “Would you like some tea, love?”
“That would be lovely.” She gave him a chaste kiss and he watched her walk towards the back. When he was sure she was out of sight he summoned the tomb to him. With a flick of the wrist the tomb opened to the page Belle was looking at. The symbols swirled till they revealed a readable language. He could feel the Dark One’s power coursing through his bones as he read. If what Belle had seen was true there was power much stronger than in any of the realms combined. He knew he felt something shift during the Harvest moon. He felt it even now radiating across town. The evil within called for it. His thirst for power was renewed ever since he took his dagger back. Belle came back in with the tea tray and smiled at him. He loved his wife more than anything, but the Dark One was too powerful to deny. Belle was his heart, but the Dark One was his very being. Right now the Dark One was telling him that he must take that power for himself. The only real question was how?
Emma was making her way down the street towards Game of Thorns on patrol. After a few weeks she was learning to manage the bonding better. She could now work out of her office without a crippling pain. After last night Emma needed some time alone. Regina’s words still echoed in her ears.
Regina came out of the bathroom rubbing lotion on her arms. Emma forgot the thick book she was reading as she watched Regina slide into bed. She always thought she was beautiful, but there were some times when she looked at her and she just couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
“Still reading, dear?”
Emma looked down at the book and ran her hand over the old pages, “yeah, just trying to find more information. Did you know that Soul Mates are so rare that there have only been two pairs at one time in all of history? Once they die and move on, another couple is born. Some say that the world needs one pair of soul mates, and that all the realms feed off of the magic they create.”
“I don’t know about that, but I could see why there would only be one couple. All that magic couldn’t exist in many places at once. The chaos alone would tear the world apart.”
“That’s a lot of pressure on us. I mean the whole Savior bit is exhausting enough; I can’t even begin-” Emma looked over at Regina who looked confused. “What?”
“What do you mean ‘pressure on us’?”
Emma could only look at her in shock. She was remembering Tink’s earlier words when she found out, and the odd dismissals here and there from Regina whenever Snow talked about True Love. It was starting to click into a soul crushing realization. “You don’t think we’re Soul Mates do you.”
Regina sighed and rolled her eyes in annoyance. “Emma, we’ve been over this. Tink showed me that Robin was my True Love. That being said there can be nothing more for me. That’s just what it is, Emma. That is how magic works.”
Emma didn’t know what to do. This terrible ache started to spread throughout her chest. Her instinct to run kicked in as she got up from the bed and grabbed the pillow. When Regina tried to stopped her she couldn’t stop the tremor in her voice, “The fact that you can sit there and even think that what I feel for you is somehow nothing more than second rate to whatever the hell Robin could EVER give you is complete BULLSHIT!!! I love you more than I ever thought I could love anybody, and the thought of you not feeling even the smallest bit as I do, kills me. Can’t you see this for what it is? FUCK, we’ve pulled off something people thought was impossible, COUNTLESS TIMES NOW. Until you can figure this out I think I’ll spend my nights on the couch.”
If Emma could stand being apart from Regina for a night, she would have went to the apartment, but the binding would never allow it. She just couldn’t understand how someone who was so smart could be so oblivious. Mrs. Simmons gave a polite nod to Emma who returned with a wave. She turned down the corner to head to the café. Maybe a bearclaw would help her forget this mess? As she walked further on she started to feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She looked around, but saw nothing wrong. She walked further not even seeing the dark figure sneak up behind her knocking her out and dragging down the alleyway before anyone could notice.
Regina walked into the precinct carrying a bag of bearclaws and wearing her especially tall Manolo Blahniks and the tight blue asymmetrical dress Emma liked. The past two nights, Regina couldn’t sleep a wink. Emma’s words haunted her throughout the day and when she didn’t come home she decided she wouldn’t play this blame game with Emma. How dare she make Regina feel like the bad guy. She sighed again as she stood in front of Emma’s desk. She loved Emma with all her heart, but she was a product of the Enchanted Forest. She was taught that True Love was final. Nothing could stand in the way of True Love, and Pixie Dust doesn’t lie. She was content in the knowledge that she was never to be with Robin, and was even thankful for it. She was happy with Emma, happier than she had a right to be in her opinion. She didn’t want to be with anyone else. Why did Emma have to dwell on True Love?
“Regina, what are you doing here?”
Regina looked up to see Charming strolling in with a grin on his face. Regina looked down at her watch to see it was 6:30. Emma’s shift should be ending right now. Usually that meant she would be finishing all the paperwork for her shift. “Where’s Emma?”
David looked at her confused, “don’t you know? I thought with the binding, you guys would know where each other was 24/7.”
“It doesn’t work that way, now where is she?”
He shrugged and took out his phone. “She hasn’t answered any of my texts, how about you?”
“No, but she could still be angry with me.” Regina waved off his question before he could start, “what about the patrol car, shouldn’t she have it if she’s on patrol still?”
They watched as the patrol car pulled up into the parking lot, but when Red got out panic started to crawl down her spine. Something was very wrong.
There was something dripping into a puddle and she could smell dirt all around her. She tried cracking her eyes open but her view was blurry thanks to the hard knock on the back of her head. After a bit of effort she managed to make out she was in a dark storm shelter not unlike the one they found Gold in, except there was nothing in room. Her handcuffs cut into her hands and a chain suspended Emma from the rough ceiling. This was not good. The door opened and Emma watched as a familiar face came close to hers. “Good evening, dearie.”
“What do you think your doing, Rumpel?”
He laughed as he strolled around the room. “Well, I know what I’m doing. The really question is do you know what I’m doing?” When she only glared he giggled with glee. He could feel the power radiating throughout her being. To be around it was dizzying. He couldn’t wait to tear it out of her with his bare hands. “Oh my dear, you have something that I want, and your going to give it to me.”
“I’m not giving you shit. Think about this Rumpel. Belle wouldn’t want you to do this; your wife who you’ve worked so hard to see again and be with wouldn’t want you to do this.”
He smiled at her as a shudder passed through his eyes. They faded from yellow to brown only to turn back to yellow. “All that won’t matter once I have what I want from you.”
Regina was ready to pull her hair out. Something was wrong; somebody had Emma. She just knew it. This was one of her worst nightmares come true. Her mother’s voice ran through her mind love is weakness. This was when she understood what her mother was saying. The fear of losing Emma was crippling her. The great cosmic joke that was her life: just like Daniel, Emma was going to be ripped away from her. She was doomed to be heartbroken and alone. As Regina stared straight ahead sitting in Emma’s chair everyone was all a buzz around. They had gone to the apartment and even had Red tried to follow her scent but could find nothing. She could only find traces leading to an ally. Snow and Tink had joined them at the precinct as they tried to figure out what to do.
No, she could not let this happen. She had to be strong and focused. She needed to find Emma. Regina closed her eyes and tried to reach out for Emma. She was out there somewhere. She could feel her, but she just couldn’t locate her. She tried to think of Emma. She saw Emma’s green eyes looking up at her, pupils blown wide as her calloused fingertips slowly moved over the soft skin of Regina’s sides. She saw golden curls sticking up haphazardly as Emma sat up in bed as she woke up slowly. She could feel strong arms wrapping around her waist and Emma’s strong body flush against back from thighs to shoulders.
The whisper surprised Regina, and when she opened her eyes it wasn’t the cluttered desk she saw but a dark cellar. Regina, can you hear me? She didn’t move, not wanting to lose her tenuous connection. “Emma, where are you?”
Everyone looked over to Regina. They could see she was concentrating very hard. Snow came forward, but Tink stopped her with a hand, “They’re speaking to each other.”
Emma gasped as she felt Regina flooding her senses. “I don’t know but it’s Gold. He brought me somewhere.” She felt a red hot rage boil deep in her chest. She tried to hold onto Regina in her mind but the pain was distracting her. She most definitely had a cracked rib maybe two. The cuffs had cut into her wrists and hands but she had lost all feeling in her hands a long time ago. She tried to lick her battered lips but her swollen tongue was like sandpaper. All these were bearable, and after living in some of the worst foster homes she could easily pushed away this type of pain. It was the chest pain that was really starting to get to her. Do you remember anything, see anything? Emma smiled as Regina’s voice washed over her in a soothing balm. “I’m sorry Regina. I didn’t . . . I love you so much. You know that right?”
I will find you just hold on, okay? I love you.
“NO!! You can’t, he’s trying to take our magic. If you show up he’ll kill you. I just . . . want you to know how much you—“
Stop it! If I lose you . . .
The cellar door opened and footsteps bounced off the stone walls. Regina watched in horror as Rumpelstiltskin strolled in with pep in his gait. His eyes were a sickly shade of yellow letting her know the Dark One had once again won over the man. He smiled as he gazed into green eyes noting the purple shimmer dancing in her irises. “Ah, took you long enough, dearie! I was beginning to wonder if I had gotten the right Soul Mate.”
He smiled malevolently as he could feel the rage radiating from the other woman through her match. He started to prance in excited joy and came back to the blonde striking her with the end of his cane. He giggled when he could practically hear the Queen’s howl of fury. He smiled into her beaten face. He may have been a little overzealous when he beat the blonde, but she was just too strong for her own good. He needed her to call for his pupil for help, and it seemed as if the only way was through pain. He reached forward through her chest to grab her heart. The blonde gasped in pain and writhed as he tried to squeeze the heart of stone. He started to yank trying to pull it out. He knew it was impossible to take her heart or even crush it for that matter, but the anguish it caused was enough to bring her to her knees. Well, it would if she could fall to her knees.
“I won’t bore you with the details, but I will be taking your Soul Mate’s powers, and she will most definitely die. Of course, you are welcome to join us, dearie. That is if you can find us. Ta-Ta, Your Majesty.” With one final yank he released the heart and cold cocked the blonde.
Regina’s cry was a mix of wrath and anguish. The others could only watch in distress as the once fearsome Evil Queen let out an almost animalistic sound. Fire erupted from her hand and set the papers on Emma’s desk ablaze. Gathering all her self-restraint she stood up and with an angry swipe extinguished the flames. She looked to group in front of her with a look they hadn’t seen since the Enchanted Forest. “The Dark One has her. He’s going to take her power.” She started to march out of the office, magic rolling off of her like. When someone tried to ask her where she was going she coolly replied without looking back, “I’m going to kill the Dark One.”
This is it. The final showdown. This was hard to get through but I'm pretty pleased with the results. If you're wanting a little insight into my writing mood the play list I listened to while writing this is eclectic but it works (at least to me).
Mirror-- Ellie Goulding
Letters from the Sky-- Civil Twilight
Over the Love-- Florence + The Machine
Confluence-- John Williams
Crystal-- Stevie Nicks
Cosmic Love-- Florence + The Machine
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (excerpt)-- from Master and Commander
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Emma moaned in pain as she slowly started to regain consciousness. I really wish he would stop doing that. Getting cold cocked was becoming Emma’s least favorite thing right now. One small mercy was that Emma wasn’t hanging by her hands anymore which her shoulders and wrists were really excited about. She opened her eyes as wide as she could, which wasn’t by much, and saw that Rumpel had taken her to some clearing deep into the forest close to the river. She blinked when little white spots started to dance in front of her. At first she thought it was just due to a concussion but as cold pin drops soothed the swollen and aching flesh of her face she sighed in relief. It was starting to snow again. Snowflakes were piling up on the window casing. A warm fire cracked and hissed as she rubbed Regina’s feet. Emma looked over at her with an indulgent smile as the brunette leaned back against the sofa arm and smiled. She felt a ball of regret forming in her sore chest. This was going to be hard for Regina, but she was the only one who could stop him. She just hoped that Regina didn’t lose herself when it was all done.
Everyone came running after her as she made her way through the station. They all talked at once, but Regina didn’t hear them. They had been playing this game long enough. She knew that it would come down to this eventually. Rumpel and herself had been circling each other since the beginning. They were both smart enough to know that they would have to deal with the other. They had tried to play nice, but it was never to last with them.
“Wait, Regina please!” She stopped at the pleading note in Snow’s voice that sounded too much like Emma’s. She felt strong hands hold her arm, but for once she didn’t shrug them away. “I know your angry and you want blood. For once I’m not inclined to stop you, but we need a plan. If he’s really the Dark One we can’t just rush in there. You’re strong but . . .”
Red cleared her throat and spoke up, “what if we get the dagger?” They all looked to the wolf, and for once Regina was inclined to listen. “Belle and I have been talking and she said that Rumpel gave her his dagger for safe keeping. If we go talk to Belle I know she’ll help us, and we won’t have to kill him.”
Regina scoffed, “he would never leave himself vulnerable like that.”
“OR . . . he was hoping that with the dagger in Belle’s possession, she could make him stop. Let’s go talk to Belle at least and see if she’ll give us the dagger.” Snow turned to David, “get the Blue Fairy. If we’re going up against the Dark One we’re going to need as much magical help we can get.”
“What about Henry? He’ll be expecting Em—“ her voice choked up at the thought of the blonde. Red pulled her phone out of the back pocket of her jeans. “I’ll call Granny. She’s watching Neal tonight. I’m sure she can watch him as well. She’ll protect him.” Regina nodded in thanks. They all turned to leave not noticing the swinging door on the other side of the station.
Henry watched as they split up in the parking lot: the three women heading for the pawnshop as David went off towards the convent with his phone in hand. When they were out of sight he leaned back against the wall and slid down as his leg gave out. He came to the station when neither of his mothers were at home thinking to meet them there, but instead of finding them making up after that huge blowup he found everyone here discussing what to do. His grandfather was going to kill his mother for the power she had, and his mom was going to kill him for trying. He banged his head on the wall in frustration. Why the hell did he have to have this crazy life? Sometimes he wished he had a relatively normal life like any other preteen. It would be nice to only have to worry about his inability to grow a beard and the cracking of his voice. He closed his eyes as everything started sinking in. If he didn’t do anything both his mothers were going to die. He shook his head and tried to think hard. If he were the Dark One he would never give the dagger to Belle. There was just too much risk in giving it away to her. That meant the dagger had to be somewhere he could watch it all the time and knew no one could find it. He tried to think where it could possibly be when saw his grandfather in the pawnshop. That’s it! Henry took off after his mother towards the pawnshop. He knew exactly where it was.
Belle was settling for the night with a cup of tea and a beaten up copy of Notre-Dame de Paris. She kept one eye on the door waiting for Rumpel. He had said he would be late, but she didn’t want to go to bed alone. He had been a bit distant since Neal’s death. His son had been a driving force in his life for so long, and now that he was dead she was sure he was feeling a bit lost. She loved Neal as well. They had gotten closer in the Enchanted Forest, and she mourned his death just as Rumpel did. She didn’t know how to bring her husband back, and didn’t know if she ever could. She just hoped that she didn’t lose him as well.
A knock brought her out of her thoughts, and when she answered, she was surprised to see Red standing there. She felt a twinge in her chest as she looked into blue, smiling eyes that she once knew so well. “Ruby, what are you doing here?”
“We need to talk.” Two other figures pushed their way into the pawnshop, and she was surprised to see it was Regina and Snow looking around with worried eyes.
“What’s going on?”
When Regina looked like she was about to talk Ruby held up a hand to stop her. Surprisingly, she did and Belle watched as Snow pulled her in with a supportive arm. Something was wrong. She turned back to Ruby and noted the red flannel shirt, jeans, and boots; looks like something serious if the werewolf was dress for tracking. “Ok so I don’t know if you are aware, but Regina and Emma kind of performed a binding ritual by accident.”
“The marking. That’s what that was.”
“She told you?”
“No, I saw it at the diner a few days ago. She was handing me my stuff after she knock it off of the counter when I saw it, but she walked away before I could ask her about it.”
Regina walked closer to Belle threatening. “What did you do? Did you tell him?”
“Regina,” Red rounded on the brunette with a fierce look stopping the angry monarch, “I got this.”
When the queen walked away from the two with a huff Belle had enough and turned to Regina, “what’s going on and why are you here for that matter?”
Purple shimmered across Regina’s skin as she looked at the girl. Her patience was gone at this point, “your husband has taken Emma, and he’s going to kill her to get her power. Now Red seems to think he gave you his dagger, but I say it’s impossible. He wouldn’t be that stupid.”
Belle was shocked and enraged by the audacity of this woman. “How dare you come into my home and start slinging these, these accusations—“
“I SAW HIM WITH MY OWN EYES!!! He has been torturing her for the last two nights. I don’t have time for this. We came here as a favor for you. Maybe an easier way to end this, but if you aren’t going to help then I’m just going to kill him.”
Red pulled Belle away from Regina and stood in between the two. Red held her by the shoulders and looked her in the eyes, “Listen Belle, I know you don’t want to believe what is happening but we are sure Rumpel has Emma. I know he gave you the dagger. We were hoping to avoid any type of bloodshed.” Belle didn’t want to hear any of this. She didn’t want to believe what they were saying, but her mind kept pushing this nagging feeling from the back of her mind that he had been different lately. She looked up into Ruby’s soft blue eyes. She knew Ruby would never lie to her, especially after they had been so close while everyone was in Neverland. The two ran Storybrooke while their friends were away. She could have never done it without the werewolf’s support and friendship.
Belle nodded and turned to the staircase that led up towards the apartment. She went to the bookcase that held all her most beloved books and pulled out the puzzle-locked box. With deft hands she managed to open the lock and pulled out the velvet covered dagger. When she turned she saw all three women standing there in her cozy living room. After chewing on her bottom lip she handed the dagger to Ruby who smiled in thanks. When she turned to the other two, Regina grabbed the dagger and looked it over. Leather clad fingers stroked the engraving on the knife and a sneer formed on her face. With a vicious move Regina gripped the blade in both hands and snapped the dagger in two.
The others stared in shock as she threw the pieces in a violent fit of rage. When all looked at her with questions in their eyes she took a deep breath in trying to calm herself, “it was a fake.”
Belle could only look on in confused horror. Rumpel lied to her? How could he when they had True Love? Why didn’t he just tell the truth? Was their entire relationship a lie? She didn’t know what to do. The other three were talking but Ruby was rubbing Belle’s back in a soothing gesture. “How . . .?”
“We need to make a plan.”
“We need to figure out where he took her. Nothing happens until we know what we’re walking into.” Snow was biting her lip as they stood around the pawnshop trying to regroup. David had brought Blue over almost completing the chunk of the Charming War Council.
For once, Regina wasn’t inclined to turn them away. “I can do a locator spell that will lead us to her, but the question is what to do once we find her.”
Blue shook her head, “with the Dark One, it will be a tough battle.”
Belle shoved away from Ruby who was holding her with one arm around her shoulders in comfort, “STOP CALLING HIM THAT!!!! He is my husband, not some monster.”
“I beg to differ, dear,” Regina replied while flexing her hand in anticipation.
“Your one to talk. You’ve caused so much pain to everyone and yet we’re supposed to ignore that because you’re with the Savior now?”
Regina rounded on the young woman and grabbed her by the arm ignoring Ruby’s growl of warning, “Yes, okay. I’ve done terrible things in the past that are unredeemable. Some could even say that what I did was worse because I chose to do those things of my own free will. I chose to do things that would haunt many, but you know what the difference is between Rumpel and I? I can choose to change, and I have. Because of my son and Emma, I choose everyday to be better than the monster that I was. I choose to do the right thing because I’m still human. He has no choice. Once he stuck that dagger in that old man’s chest he gave up his humanity. He is tied to the Dark One, and the only thing that can change that is death. You may have fell in love with the man, but that man has been gone for a long time now. So, you can try and help us, or you can stay here. But I promise you this; if he has taken Emma from me I will take his very soul. And if you get in my way, I will take your heart and crush it without mercy.”
Henry watched as the group left the pawnshop heading off in different cars. Wendy and Marcus, at least that was what he wanted to be called now that they were out of Neverland, were squirming right besides him as they leaned against the rough brick in the alley. When the last taillight vanished around a corner he nodded and they scurried towards the door. Marcus pulled out the lock pickets from his pocket and got to work on the door. They watched fidgeting while he got to work, “thanks again you guys. I owe you big for this.”
Marcus’ dark head dipped low and soft chuckle passed through thin lips, “breaking into the Dark One’s place, yeah I’d say you owe me.” With a soft click they watched as the door swayed a fraction. With a shaky hand Marcus pushed the door open and it swung inward. They looked around and saw the place was empty. Two pairs of eyes swung over to Henry and watched as he made his way into the shop. After five minutes of standing there and no spontaneous combustion they followed him in. Henry scanned around the cluttered shop as the two started poking around. Wendy finally came up behind Henry with a shake of her head, “there is so much junk. How are every going to find the dagger?”
He stood there looking around the pawnshop when he finally moved behind the counter. He stood where his grandfather always stood, and placed his hands on top of the polished glass to look forward, but he couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Wendy just watched with confused interest as Marcus started poking at stuffed raven with its wings outstretched. He shifted his weight to his right when he felt the give in the floorboard. When he looked down he could see nothing different in the boards, but when he looked closer he could see a subtle groove between the two worn boards. He knelt down and pushed on the board and could feel there was a little give, “guys I need—“ He looked up to see Wendy leaning over the counter and holding out a small pocket knife towards him. “Thanks.” He was able to pry the board up and saw the hole was deeper and darker than he thought. Slowly he reached in praying Rumpel was too confident in his hiding place to set a trap. His hypersensitive fingertips slide across metal making him snatch his hand back in fear causing two twin yelps behind him, effectively scaring the ba-Jesus out of him.
He held his hand close to his chest and looked up at the two staring down at him. Wendy’s eyes were like saucers and Marcus just wiped the sweat from his brow and gave him a shocked look, “Sorry man.” Shaking his hand out, Henry reached in more purposely, grabbed the metal box, and pulled it out. He was surprised by how ordinary the box looked. There were no carvings or marks of any kind, and there wasn’t even a lock on it. It was just a grey rusted deposit box with a latch on the front and a brown smudge on the top. He opened the latch with ease and lifted the squeaky top to see a wad of satin lying in there. Henry took it out and unwrapped it see the blade. He held it out away from his body and the three just looked at it. Marcus just scratched his head, “how do you know it’s real?”
Henry tilted it back and forth and saw the green shimmer dance along the expressive letters engrained in the blade. He could feel a sinister power creep up his arms and immediately shoved it into his backpack, “it’s real. Now all I have to do is get it to work.”
The group stood on at the edge of the forest as they laid out the plan. Charming held the pummel of his sword and paced back and forth, “Regina and I will take the front while Snow and Blue tries to flank him from the rear. Belle you’re coming with Regina and I to try and talk him down, but at the first sign of trouble Ruby is pulling you out. Is everyone clear on that?”
Regina was deep in thought as she prepared herself for this the final battle. She was pushing everything far away to focus all her energy on her magic. She could feel Emma close by, her power radiated even from here. In a strange way she was comforted by it.
“Can anyone join this party?” All but Regina looked towards the voice to see the unruly gang of Merry Men standing armed and ready. Robin walked forward and shook Charming’s hand, “don’t mean to crash your little shindig but I figured you might need a little help with this one.”
David took the proffered hand in confusion when Regina finally spoke up, “I called him for the support, and the warning.”
“If things go badly we’re all in danger. If this is our only chance then I’ll get you all the help I can find.”
Regina looked to him with solemn eyes, “Thank you Robin.” He could only nod in reply.
Charming scratched his neck breaking the tense moment. “Ok, how about you guys give a little cover fire from the side.”
Charming shrugged as he pulled sword from its scabbard, “We don’t know yet.”
Robin smirked, “fair enough.” With that Regina took the necklace she had given her for her birthday and the group watched as it lifted from her fingers to float towards the forest.
When they start off Regina pulled Red off to the side. “Red, if this doesn’t . . . take Henry and run. Get as far as you can from here and don’t ever stop running.” Red knew what she was asking, and nodded in agreement. She watched sadly as Regina squared her shoulders and took off into the woods following the others.
Emma didn’t know how long Rumpel had left her out here to shiver on the stone altar, but exposure was starting to set in. Her teeth were chattering and her body was starting to tremor painfully. She tried to focus on where she was and pick up anything she could. She could hear running water not far to her left and all she could make out was tall pine trees and stars peaking through the branches. As she looked up could see the moon was climbing but it wasn’t at its peak yet, which would make it 10:15 maybe. That was all she could really make out when her tormentor cam waltzing through a nearby bush interrupting her thoughts. He started laying out various tools on the stone beside her that she would rather not think about at the moment.
He smiled with glee as he looked down at her, “are you ready, dearie?” If she had any saliva in her mouth she would have spit in his face. Reading her malice he pointed to a timber log, and with a crook of his finger it flew towards him to rest on the stone above her head. She couldn’t see what he was doing as he mumbled beneath his breath, and with a vicious swipe he slashed one of the knives across his arm and dripped the inky blood along the log. The wound closed easily, and with another flick of his fingers Emma’s upper half was seized and raised from the stone. Emma couldn’t hold back the moan that slipped from her lips at the movement. She didn’t notice until it was done that Rumpel had removed her coat and shirt leaving her in just her undershirt and bra, and that rough cord had wound its way around the log binding her along her wrists and biceps. Her breath was coming quickly as she looked up at the ominous man working on selecting the right tool. He held up one shinning blade catching moonlight along its surface. She could see it was carved intricately much like her binding brand. As she looked closer at the blade she could see it wasn’t a blade at all, but a polished, silver stake.
He calmly splayed out her hand on the log and held the stake in the center of her palm. She moaned in dread as she tried to push it away but only found the pain of the very sharp spike held her hand in place. He looked down at her as he held a rough mallet in his other hand, “now this is really going to hurt.” All she could do is mutter a plea as he raised his arm, mallet high in the air and watch it fall nailing the stake through her hand and out the other side of the wood.
The war party moved through the forest trailing the locator beacon when a gut clenching noise filled the night air. Everyone stopped dead to listen as it bounced off the trees. Snow looked back at Regina in agony, “Emma. We have to find her now.” Regina just pushed on, feeling the rage stoke the heat that radiated through her body. The closer they got the more power she felt coursing through her veins and along her skin. They were getting close; not only was the locator spell starting to waver, but the sheer energy radiation was getting stronger. Charming stopped and looked around at the group, “I think we should start splitting up. Snow, head northwest till you reach the river and start closing in. Robin, take your guys to the northeast and do the same but try to stay a little close. I don’t want him to know you’re here but I want you close enough to hit him where it hurts. Regina . . .” She looked up and he could see purple flames literally dancing in her eyes. She was more than ready, “lets go.”
Before they all split up Snow reached out to Charming and pulled him in for a tight hug. “Do you remember what you told me when the curse broke?” He could only shake his head as he listened to his wife. “You promised me we would never lose our daughter again. Remember that.” She kissed him hard and took off with Blue through the bushes before he could say anything. He had to get his daughter back. He failed her so long ago; he wasn’t going fail her again.
Three bikes skid to a stop as they approached the road to the Toll Bridge. Nervous sweat was pouring down Henry’s back as they sat there waiting. He watched as shadows shifted and a lanky form slipped through the bushes to meet them on the road. The dark figure stepped forward and took down the hood releasing tightly coiled dreadlocks and golden eyes. Henry got off his bike and walked closer. “Thanks for this, Simba.”
Those eyes assessed the ex-lost boy in front of him. “Are you sure about this? This will be a hard battle.” Henry shook his head. There was no going back now. “It’s time. We need to get moving if you want to defeat the Dark One.”
Henry walked after him when a surprisingly strong hand grabbed his wrist. He looked back to see Wendy look at him with a weird look. Without warning she reached out grabbing him by the lapels of his coat and pulled him into a surprising kiss. He couldn’t breath as firm lips smashed his against his teeth and her vanilla shampoo invaded his senses. When she pulled back she looked as surprised as he did. She swallowed and started to smooth down his coat as she stepped away, “be careful, Henry.”
He could only shake his head as he watched Marcus hide a smile behind his hand and gave him subtle thumbs up. They couldn’t tear themselves away from this moment for some reason. Tired of standing around, Simba grabbed Henry by the collar and started to pull him towards the forest. He turned around and followed Simba further into the dark forest. Great, he has to save the day now that he has a girlfriend. Wait, does he have a girlfriend? He shook his head. One thing at a time, man.
The first thing that hit her as they stepped closer to the clearing up ahead was the smell. Red had started to whine as they got closer and Regina had to agree with the sentiment. She could make out the dark oily smell of Rumpelstiltskin’s magic and the unmistakable metallic tang of blood. When they broke through rough hedges her stomach dropped at the sight.
The small clearing sat perilously close to a river washout. The grass seemed to have withered and died from the insidious magic, and torches stood around the clearing giving it an eerie yellow glow. The stone altar sat on the farther side of the clearing and held an inordinate amount of candles. In front of the alter sat three large boulders with transmutation circles carved into the surfaces each one covered in blood. Above the stones hung the battered body of the Savior lashed to a rough timber with rope and a stake in each hand. Matted blonde hair hung off to the side giving the newcomers easy view of the Dark One’s work. Her face was a mess of purple and her once white shirt was covered in blood. Regina could hear nothing as she took in the sight. She walked closer on unsteady legs, drawn to the sight before her. “Emma.”
“Ah, ah, ah. Don’t want to get too close to her, dearie. I don’t know if you noticed but those stones bind her right where she is. One small move and—well, I’m sure she wouldn’t enjoy it.”
Tears started falling down her cheeks as she looked up at Emma. When she was mere feet from where she hung she saw the slightest flutter in her eyelids. She could barely hear the raspy whisper that left her lips but she knew she was calling for her.
Emma; Dear God. Please just . . .
I know what needs to be done. It’s going to be okay, and you and Henry will be safe. I understand now what needs to be done.
Understand what? Don’t you dare do something so stupid as letting go. You promised me . . . You promised me that you would never leave me. You swore.
It’ll be okay. Just trust me. I love you so much.
I can’t do this without you. Please. Don’t leave me.
I will never leave you.
Red was holding back an incensed Charming who was screaming for Rumpel’s head while Belle was trying to make some sort of sense of the scene before her. Rumpel was actively ignoring them as he watched the two soul mates. He could feel the their energy like a strong current flowing over the whole area. He looked up to see the moon was almost at its apex. Just a little bit longer and all that power was finally his.
Belle refused to believe this was her husband. He would never do something so . . . depraved. She shuffled forwards with her hands held out beseechingly, “Rumpel; I know you’re in there. Please don’t do this. You can stop this. This isn’t who you are.”
He looked over at his wife to see pleading tears, but felt very little. There was a small part of him that felt a sense of sorrow, but the Dark One had killed that last bit of humanity in the cellar. He pulled a sorrowful face as he looked at his wife, “sorry dearie. This is exactly who I am. No matter how much I try to pretend this will always be who I am, and nothing can change that, and unfortunately there is no going back now. You see, when the moon gets right about,” he waved above him pointing to where the moon was so close to standing, “there those markings are going to rip every last bit of magic out of the Swan. Once that happens I will have all the power I need to take every last bit of magic from all the realms” She just shook her head at the stranger before her. He could see she was finally starting to get it. Thank the Maker. Tired of all this melodrama he flicked his wrist pushing the petite brunette across the clearing. He heard a threatening growl as the werewolf bared her teeth at him. He waved a taunting hand at the bitch but she wisely stepped down and followed his wife into woods. “No that that’s taken care of where was I? Oh I believe we’ll start with—” He swung over to the two Soul Mates to taunt the Evil Queen just a bit more when he stopped at what he saw.
Soft warm light seemed to glow around the two. Like fairy dust, particles of magic fell from the blonde to land on brunette. Regina lifted her hand towards the falling shower beseechingly when Emma lifted her head, and with a great roar blue light burst from her eyes and mouth bathing the brunette in a blindingly, bright warmth. As the light lifted he could see Emma’s body fall limp against the timber. “Well I wasn’t expecting that so soon.”
Regina could feel a sense of peace settle throughout her being as all Hell broke loose around her. Red was pulling Belle away as Charming was swing at the ghostly creatures Rumpel had summoned from the desolate ground. Arrows were raining down around the clearing from all sides while Rumpel was easily defending himself against Blue’s attack. Trust me, Regina. She looked over at Rumpel and smiled as she let it happen. The warmth grew from her heart and outwards engulfing her entire body in blue flames. She could faintly hear the screaming when Rumpel turned towards her with a raised eyebrow. She smiled as she gathered up the flaming energy and threw everything at the evil imp. Clearly not ready for assault the fire hit him square in the chest launching him against a solid oak cracking the old tree near in half. He stood and shook himself as he assessed the new magical being in front of him, because this was most definitely not the Evil Queen. The Regina he knew would have never been so relaxed in a fight, especially with him. Her impassive face showed no rage or confidence that he was so used to. For once the Dark One wasn’t quite sure what he was dealing with. He wasn’t even sure he was still dealing with Regina. That was until a cocky smile spread across her face and she waved him on in challenge. Magical fight it is.
Henry followed Simba closer to what sounded like a war zone. He could hear the metal crashes of sword and heavy objects colliding with other heavy objects, and as they rounded the river’s bend they could see the fires all lit around the clearing. Simba stopped him with a strong hand and motioned forward. Taking the hint Henry moved closer as quiet as possible. The lost boy pulled a nasty knife that had spikes along the hand guard as they approached closer. Taking that as a sign Henry took out the dagger and stuffed it up his coat sleeve just in case. Once they climbed up the washout they could make out the battle that was ensuing. His grandparents stood back-to-back fighting off what looked like draugrs while Robin and the Merry Men gave air support from the sides and trying to push back the harpies that were swooping from all sides. Not far off he could see Rumpel fighting off a double assault of the Blue Fairy and his mother. Astonishingly, they were working well together to combat the Dark One, but he couldn’t see where his other mother was.
They stayed low to avoid detection as they made their way around the fight just when the moon had final reached its apex. Suddenly, his mom crumbled where she stood gasping for air and a low humming rumbled on his right. That was when he saw her hanging above the altar that was now glowing with all the runes and transmutation circles etched around it on the rocks. A scream was ripped from his lips at the horrific sight. Without thinking he ran for her, desperate to get her down and save his mom, when he was grabbed roughly around the neck. The arm that held him tight against the slight yet strong body was suffocating and he watched as a ring of fire spread around the clearing, and the fighting seemed to cease. He struggled and cursed the evil imp who just cackled in his ear.
Regina watched horrified as the Dark One held her son in a choking hold. She could feel her powers slipping away as the runes started leaching out her energy. Stumbling forward she held out a pleading hand, “don’t; your fight is with me. Let him go.”
“Why should I? He’s the only one protecting me at the moment from all of you.”
She looked up at Emma’s lifeless form. This was it. The only thing she had left was being held hostage by the one thing that would destroy everything one fell swoop. She couldn’t feel Emma any longer and all she could feel was the cold spreading throughout her body. Without Emma and her love there was nothing left to keep her warm. The only thing that gave her a reason to breath was being smothered by ultimate evil. Her options were clear. “I’ll give you anything you want. We can make a deal.”
The trickster’s ears perked up at the word, “A deal. What kind of deal could you possibly offer me? I hold all the cards, and as we speak I can feel all your power waning.”
He was right but she wasn’t going to let him know that. Shoring up all her strength she shuffled closer to the two, “The hearts. I can unbind my vault so you can have them; all of them. You’ll never get into my vault thanks to the blood magic that’s binding it. Just let him go, and it’ll all be yours.”
He just laughed as he held his hand out towards the once powerful sorceress. Blue tendrils grabbed her around her throat and lifted her up till her toes barely scuffed the dirt. Charming came charging forward but he flicked the man away to land on the Blue Fairy and Snow. A cracking noise could be heard overhead and a large tree limb landed on the pile effectively pinning the group outside of the fiery circle. Within a second a dagger hovered straight at the Dark One’s face as an unbelieving Simba stood not far off. Rumpel tsked the impetuous youth and blew at the young man as if her were a gnat. Simba was launched into the air and landed with a sickening thud against distant rock. Henry cried out, but the outburst died with a crushing squeeze to shut the kid up.
Rumpel finally turned towards Regina pulling her closer towards him. “You see that Regina. I already have her powers. It will be just as easy to take yours. And your son is as insubstantial as the rest of them. You have nothing to offer me, and I’m going to enjoy tearing everything you hold dear apart. The only thing is I almost wish I could do it while you watch, but I’ll just have to settle with you knowing that you can’t stop—“
He didn’t feel anything at first. The first noticeable effect was the feeling of a slow hemorrhage of power that was leaking steadily. He lost his grip on Regina as she fell heavily to the ground, and Henry ripped himself away to help his mother up. They both looked to see the Dark One lean back heavily against the altar with the dagger stick in his chest. Green magic shimmered along his skin as he watched mother and son hold each other tight. “You . . . you found it . . . You used—” He could hear the old sear’s voice foretelling this very moment. He fell to his knees his power releasing in large streams of light and spreading across all the realms. A small part of him wept; not in sadness or pain, but in joy. He was finally set free from the curse that held him. He was free to be with his son at last.
Regina watched as the imp’s body was engulfed in light before crumbling to ash and falling on the ground before the altar. She held her son close as he clutched her neck. Her eyes lifted to her Soul Mate and saw the stakes that were holding her hands secure were dissolving as well. She watched a blue aura seemed to bath the blonde in pale light. Henry looked back to see it and let go of his mother. He watched slack jawed as she hoisted herself up on top of the altar and cut down the blonde with Simba’s knife. She took her lover’s weight and laid her down on the altar. She cradled the blonde and brushed back her hair to look down at her battered face. She was so ashen and cold. She stroked Emma’s swollen cheek but felt nothing. Her lifeless body lay heavy in her arms and she finally felt alone. “Please Emma, don’t leave me. You said you’d stay. You promised you’d stay.”
Henry watched in confused anger as his mother held Emma and nothing happened. This wasn’t supposed to happen. In all the fairy tales they would fall in love, defeat evil, and live happily ever after, but all he could see was pain etched all over his mother’s face as she held Emma close. A strong arm pulled him close. He could recognize David’s aftershave and dove his face into his grandfather’s chest. They held each other tightly not willing to give up to the pain.
Regina leaned down to rest her forehead on the blonde’s. “This can’t be it. I refuse to lose again.” She closed her eyes and gave a heart-felt plea to the universe. With everything that was in her she begged and whispered softly to her, “I love you, Emma.” She sealed the declaration with a soft kiss. Her lips caressed Emma broken, chapped mouth willing it to be true.
There was only silence throughout the forest as snow proceeded to fall. Those soft cold pinpricks landing on swollen flesh. As more snow fell little shards of light followed close behind, leaving warmth along cold skin. Regina traced one that fell on Emma’s cheek and gasped as a healthy pink hue started to grow underneath unmarked skin, and with a shuddered gasp Emma’s eyelids fluttered open. Clear green eyes searched for brown. Regina could only watch as Emma looked at her with a crooked smile, “told ya.”
“Wha-wha . . .”
“Told ya . . . nothing could keep me . . . away.”
Regina just laughed as tears fell down her face. She kissed any part she could reach ignoring Emma’s groan of discomfort, and smiled. Henry watched the two and smiled ignoring the tears in his eyes, and sighed in relief. Somewhere off to the side his grandparents were holding each other and crying, which was fine. It was all over.
Henry walked down the hospital corridor towards the hospital room he knew well. As soon as he pushed open the door he was greeted by many faces some not as welcoming as others. He ignored them as warm arms and vanilla engulfed him in a tight hug. Wendy’s blonde hair tickled his nose as he looked over at the bed. “How are feeling, Simba?”
“Like I have a broken back.” He waved the others away and he was surprised to feel a couple pats on the shoulder as they went. Wendy squeezed his hand as she turned to leave with the rest. He squeezed his girlfriend’s hand before she left. That was still so awesomely weird to say. He turned to the bed to see Simba picking at some lint on the hospital blanket. “How’s the savior?”
“She’s good now. Slowly healing, but it beats being dead.”
Simba nodded as he looked down at his useless legs, “yeah, I guess.”
Henry stuffed his hands into his jean pockets and looked down at his feet. He didn’t think he could do this while looking at his the boy. “I wanted to thank you. I’m going to do everything I can to repay you somehow.”
The room was silent till Henry looked up to see Simba staring at him. “My father died when I was much younger than I am now. For years I thought it was my fault that he was gone. It wasn’t until I found Pan that he told me the Dark One promised my uncle the throne if he killed my father. Once my father was gone my uncle gave him the Eye of Buk and all the rivers dried up. The lands died and my people died a slow horrible death because of his thirst for power.” Henry didn’t really know what to say as he stood there. “When we came here I couldn’t face . . . him; not knowing what he did to my people. I knew that the kind of lust for power that was deep inside him would never end. Now that it’s over I can live my life, and know my people are at peace. Helping you gave me that, so anytime you need my help I will do anything I can.” Simba held out his hand and Henry grabbed it in return. They smiled at each other in understand.
Down the hall Regina sat next to the hospital bed that held Emma. Two cracked ribs, a broken eye socket, one mild concussion, and various cuts and bruises were all the injuries Whale had reported. Not to mention the two puncture wounds to the palms that miraculously had no nerve damage. “She’s a real fighter,” he whispered under his breath as they stood over her bed. Regina could only smile as she looked down at her Soul Mate. You have no idea. News of last night traveled quickly through the town. Rumpel was dead and they all had some how managed to walk away from the fight. Red took Belle home to stay with her and Granny. Belle didn’t want to be surrounded by her husband’s things after what happened in the woods. Snow and Charming handled the visitors and well-wishers with ease leaving Regina to watch over the blonde.
“How’s she holding up?”
The gravelly accented voice was hard to mistake. She turned her head slightly to see Robin standing by the door to the room. She turned back to Emma and smiled, “good. She’ll live.”
“Good. I’m happy. For you that is.”
She reached out and took Emma’s hand gently and smiled when her fingers curled around hers, “thank you for helping in the woods. I know you two didn’t really get along.”
“I didn’t really do it for her you know. I mean, I was happy to help her out, but like you said he needed to be dealt with for all our safety, and . . . you asked . . . Any time you need me you know you can always ask.” She heard him scuff his boot on the linoleum floor and smiled at such a boyish gesture. “I’m sorry about not talking to you about the whole Marian—“
“Robin,” he stopped and waited for her to continue. She stood up and turned towards him with a soft smile on her face. He had never seen her so at peace before. “It’s okay. I understand now what it’s like to get something back you thought was taken from you. Nothing else really matters does it.”
He smiled and shook his head. He looked over at the sleeping blonde before he turned to leave. “Take care Regina. And I’m really happy for you both. You know at first I didn’t get it. You two together seemed like an odd pairing, but I understand now. You bring out the best in each other.”
Regina smiled as he left turning back to the blonde on the hospital bed, and caressed her arm lovingly.
“You know I still don’t like him.” Regina laughed as she looked down at the blonde. She still had her eyes closed but a small satisfied smiled started to part her lips. Regina leaned down and kissed the indulgent smile, still not tired of doing that, “but I do like that.”
“Ha, I’m sure you do. I’m not sure if you were aware of it at the time, but he did help save your life.”
“Oh what, you mean he’s the one who kissed me and woke me up?”
“Hardly, but he did help with the covering fire.” Emma gave a noncommittal sneer as she looked up at Regina. She watched green eyes take in every detail of her face and smiled a crooked smile. “Your beautiful.”
Emma laughed lightly trying not to jar her broken body, “I’m badass.”
“You look like you had your ass handed to you.”
“Same thing.” Regina snorted in derision. “So. What do we do about these things?”
Regina leaned over to snag the wagging ring finger that held the binding brand. She lifted Emma’s hand and lightly played with the digit. All of this mess over a stupid little flower. She kissed the purple markings, “we’ll figure something out.”
Emma gave a rumbling laugh, “we always do.” She reached up and held Regina’s cheek letting the warmth and softness sink into her fingertips. Covering her hand gently, Regina smiled and tears started to roll down her check. Emma caught one with her thumb and wiped it away with a frown. Her pain medication was starting to make her groggy as her body started to feel like it was floating. “Love you, Gina.”
“Yo te amo tambien, mi alma gemela.”
Emma smiled and closed her eyes, “Finalmente.”
Regina looked on in shock, “how did you . . .”
“Babe, that’s a story for another time.”
Okay. That's it. What do you guys think? I'm going to do an epilogue because I just can't end it there. I hope you all enjoyed it. Thank you to everyone who read and especially to all you guys who sent me encouragement to push through. I love all you guys. Vive la Swan Queen!!!