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Roni knew she had one too many drinks when she woke up on what was obviously not her bed, and in chains. At first she thought she was dreaming, one of those languid dreams that slowly builds arousal within her where she ends up being topped for once. She shifts to see who would be featured in this one (usually it was a woman with blonde curls, her face always slipping from Roni’s memory), but finds herself alone in the dark, with metal digging into her skin. 

Fear clutches her heart at where she is, trying to recollect. She remembers joking with Ruby, cleaning up a shot glass and placing it back into the cupboard, closing up her bar for the night, and then..

A slight pressure presses against her head, and she winces. She reaches through her hair to touch her head, imagining there to be a lump or blood, but her arm rankles against the chain, unable to reach. She is still in her old clothes, grateful she chose to wear a leather jacket to work that night. Or was it a few nights ago? It didn’t seem as though she was out of it for that long, but she knows concussions can play tricks with a person’s measure of time. Though there is no breeze in here, she felt the dampness pressing against her clothes. This isn’t the casual jailcell she would find herself in after roughing up patrons who harassed her staff. Or perhaps the electricity was out?

“Jones.” She calls out into the darkness, her voice rough against her dry throat. She blinks one, two times. Her sight is filled with black shapes surrounding her, slowly evolving into boulders as her eyes adjust to the dimness. This was clearly not the police station. Or anywhere close to a place she recognizes.

A harsh laugh escapes her lips. Only she would have the luck of being kidnapped and taken into some unknown forest. Though being in the city, she couldn’t imagine where this person has found a forest to hide her in. Perhaps she is underground? Some inner sewer system within the city? Granted, the city has its somewhat shady areas, but nothing that would count as a place for real convicts to lurk within.

She couldn’t comprehend why anyone would abduct her. She did not have ransom money; she barely got by with the money she made from the bar. Enough for her to have her own apartment, sure, but nothing that would get her noticed by others sniffing for cash. She had no living family ties that would pay for a ransom, and last she checked she hasn’t inherited anything from anyone. The more she thought of her financial situation, the more she tried to reassure herself she wasn't abducted, surely. 

She jolts as she feels something brush against her ankle. Scooting up, she hears the flutter of something tiny moving around her, and shifts backwards until she hears it: the sounds of rats. She was familiar with that, coming into contact with such in the alley of her bar, thinking briefly they’re here to avenge the cousins of those she has killed. Something is bulging at the wall behind her, and she finds the connecting link to her chain, wondering how on earth did she sleep through being chained to a wall. She gives it a few tugs, testing its sturdiness.

“I would give up on that. Those chains are covered in my magic.” She hears someone calling from above. She glances upward, unable to see who it is talking. Finally light seeps into her surroundings and the darkness begins to take shape, a boulder here, the wall indented to show the cave she is in, and on a top of a few of the rocks, there lies a woman in pure black leather with white hair. She looks down smirking at Roni, comfortable against the boulders.

“I finally got to catch you, Regina. You crossed Kingdoms to run away from me.” Despite her cool tone, Roni can sense the predatory gaze in the woman’s eyes. She wonders who this damn Regina is and why she was abducted for her sake.

“My name is Roni and…I don’t know you.” Roni sighs, playing at the chainlink between her hands, hoping it will still her nerves, wondering what the woman’s reaction will be to that.

 

***

“Are you sure this is going to work?” Her tone brusque, short. She barely talked the past few hours, as they magicked from one area to the next.

“I don’t know. But we don’t have time, and this is the best choice we have.” She’s fumbling with the potion bottles in her bag, trying to find the right one. The woman next to her doesn’t look any better, tensing every few moments against some invisible enemy.

“And he’s safe?” The blonde shifts the straw-like hair from her face. In a different realm, the woman’s hair was gold and healthy, but fighting the demon within her has made her look haggard and near to death. It did not help that she stopped eating the past few days.

“He is.” She doesn’t dare say his name out loud now, knowing they can hear her. “He’s safe, and he is with people we can trust.” She catches the blonde’s gaze, trying to reassure her with a smile. She finally finds the bottle she is looking for, and brings it up to their sight. She stares at it, pulling on all her strength for what comes next.

“Remember, I need to drink it all before you let go. No matter what happens, they can do whatever they want to me, at least our son will be safe.” Regina tells the blonde as she uncorks the bottle. She startles when she feel’s Emma’s hand on her knee, squeezing it in support. She bites back the tears threatening to spill, and sips the bottle all in one go, the last memory she has of her son the day she brought him home for the first time.

Emma gives her a few minutes, muttering words under her breath. As soon as Regina opens her eyes, Emma questions her hesitantly, “Where is Henry?”

“Who?” Regina looks at her blankly, no sense of any recognition or warmth in those brown eyes. She takes in her surroundings, seeming confused, then looking especially scared at the dark magic swirls surrounding them, gaining size as Emma keeps moving her hands.

“Good. That’s good.” Emma smiles sadly, and despite wanting to hug the woman one last time, she gives her a harsh push, and watches as Regina stumbles into the portal behind her. They awake, slowly realizing what is done, and Emma lets out a piercing scream. 

 

***

 

“My name is Roni and…I don’t know you.” Regina replies, and the Dark Swan feels her insides flaring. It comes in waves, rolling down her fingertips, leaving little sparks spurting out. Despite having come into her powers for a while now, she still needs to control her temper with magic. She has the inclination to fireball the woman on the spot, not in the mood for games. It took months to find her after a year of trying to confirm  she was in this specific realm. After all that time she only wanted one thing, and for the woman to pretend she’s not even herself, it has her boiling. The little girl’s whispers inside her beg her not to and she startles, surprised. She hasn’t heard the girl in awhile but at the sight of Regina, she’s back. The Dark Swan ignores it,swishes those voices further back into her mind where sound can’t reach, and leans back into her seat, giving the air of confidence fully on display. She’ll crack this woman at her game, and then Regina will rue toying with her.

“Of course, new hairstyle, new outfit, but I do still hold Emma’s body. She clearly needed a change of wardrobe and the people she allows into her life.” Dark Swan replies, motioning to the chains. “You don’t have to know who I am, but if you want to be freed of those, you need to give me back what you stole from me.”

“Stole – honestly, sister, you have the wrong woman.” Regina replies with a shrug. Her accent is different, her tone laced with something bolder, and the Dark Swan imagines it in a different situation, how it would sound like if she had her yelling while she peels her skin off her body one layer at a time. Another voice wonders if Regina would hold on to that haughty tone as she makes her cry out between the bedsheets. Both scenarios have a voice muffled in the back of her head, bellowing in anger at her thoughts. The voice didn’t mind when she was torturing others, but seemed to care if she even thought of harming this woman. Well, well…

“I think you are who I am looking for, R e g i n a. Pretend all you want, but you will give him back.” She kept her calm tone, her need to yell or scream gone along with her human side. The dark powers within her didn’t need to be loud to be powerful.

“Look, psycho,” Regina groans, folding her arms, looking ever the affronted person not being satisfied with her location. The Dark Swan is impressed with that, as Regina continues, “I’m not sure what you’re aiming for, but people will start looking for me, so you’d best let me go, and I’ll pretend you never chained me here.” Regina replies, all bravado, but the Dark Swan can hear the lie within it, smiling at how Regina really still tries to be in control.

“Suit yourself. Perhaps keeping you here for a little while longer will make you see things clearer. I can wait.” She tells the woman, then leaves in a swirl of magic. She had other pressing items to address, using the break in her schedule to check in on the woman. At least she is awake now. She had been worried how much of a hindrance it would have been if it turns out the magic had brought the woman back to this realm dead.

 

***

Roni blinked once, and then blinked again. She’s clearly seeing stuff. Definitely. The woman did not just disappear on her, the swirl must have been the mist or dust from the boulders or something –

She’s seeing things, clearly. She lets out a breath, relief coursing through her body. Despite the space between them, she felt the woman could easily reach out to her from her spot. Relaxing her shoulders, she leans back against the boulder after a few more tugs at the chain. She probably would’ve been more frantic at the chain, but she was tired, and her energy was feeling low. She must have been asleep for a while to be tired out this easily. Or hungry.. as her stomach rumbles, she realizes there isn’t any drink or food in sight. Is there even a toilet?

Oh shit.

***

“You’re back, master.” The child says, finding her on the throne. The throne is thin and towers over the woman with runes carved on it. She’s been sitting here for an hour, going into one of those trances. Her servants would find her in such trances frequently, and know not to disturb her when she is in that state. They weren’t really her servants -- she didn’t want servants, she didn’t really need them, but they came with the castle and when they saw she left them be if they didn’t disturb her, they stayed and served.

“Have I been gone long?” she asks the child, cricking her neck. She found she needed no sleep, but her body would still follow the ticks of her past life.

“Not much. The younger kids were asking after you.” She brooked on somberly. For a kid her age, she was very serious. She lived in the castle, not one of those the Dark Swan brought in over the years. Being much older than the other children, she took over their care when the Dark Swan brought them to the castle. She was one of the few who did not fear talking to her.

“They found another child. Fallen near the river stream. A few marks on her. She is being nursed now.” The girl reports, watching on as the Dark Swan stretches and stands up. She moves down the hall to the window, peering out. The courtyard was filled with snow, the trees covered in white as she watched the children playing about. Most were wearing clothes too big for them, others in wolf or bear fur. She took  note to see if a dressmaker was nearby. She’s been gone too long, based on how the kids have grown.

“Her guardian?” She calls over her shoulder, as the kids throw snowballs at one another below. She spots two of her servants standing overseeing the children.

“Vanished. Ran away after the first warning. Not before killing the child’s brother.” She says as she follows the Dark Swan down to her room. The main corridor was empty, stripped of fabric or decorations. Only candles were present, magicked to be constantly lit.

She growls at that. “I’ll see the child once she is better. Prepare a drop of her blood for the tracking spell.” The dark powers within her became excited at the news of a hunt. She quelled them down.

“Did you find what you were looking for, master?” The girl asks right before leaving. They never entered her room, only waiting at the front of her door. She liked to keep it as such.

“Yes. I’ve placed Regina in the cellar. Bring her up in a few days, she needs to learn her manners for now.” She tells the girl, and glances to see if she reacts. The girl barely blinks, no recognition showing at the name. She was barely a toddler when Regina was last seen here.

“Of course, master. I’ll inform the jailer.” She says, and leaves.

The Dark Swan closes the door, and places the magic wards. Others knew better than to attack her castle, but being safe is better than being attacked in surprise. She lets the anger boil in her and unleashes it into the room, watching as the mirror and glass shatter, and bed cracks into two. She keeps unleashing it, allowing the dark forces to rise and cry out,enjoying the mayhem. Every thought and despise they had against Regina fell into the room, sweeping it into a mess, breaking every fiber of the surrounding

Then she takes a breath, and calls them all back in, one at a time. They struggle, enjoying the taste of freedom, but she pulls them in, power coming in waves as she pulls them back into her, eyes flaring red at the power unleashed. Shuddering as they finally stop, she waves her hand to fix the room back up again, before tumbling into the bed, falling into a deep sleep, and dreams of Regina,Henry and others she knew once in a different lifetime.

 

***

“Wake up.” A boot nudges against her leg, and Roni grabs at it and bites. The person yelps, but she doesn’t let go, holding on as she bites harder, trying to tear through his boot. It is made of leather and cloth, and she keeps on chewing at it despite being punched. It’s only when another person tugs at her hair that she’s forced to let go, head pulled back hard.

“Wench. She’s bled me.” The man hops on one foot, swearing under his breath. He reaches for her,slaps her face and she whimpers at the strike. She still uses the moment to spit in his face and the other man laughs.

“She’s a fiery one, ain’t she? I wonder if the dark lord will give her to me later.” He pulls her up, and she doesn’t resist, barely any energy left. It has been a while since they brought her food. She prepares another attempt to shove the man off when a sudden gust of wind startles them and with it, light fills the cave. Her eyes close against the sudden light.

“I ordered you to bring her in, not to abuse her.”  A dark voice whispers, and the men jump away from Roni. She falls to her knees, swearing as the floor scrapes her skin. The men behind her start to yell, and she squints, trying to see what is going onbut by the time her eyesight adjusts to the light, all she sees are two piles of grey dust where the men were standing, with smoke rising atop of them and no other person in sight.

 

***

 “Slow down, Henry, the castle is not going to disappear!” Regina calls out, ignoring the strain in her leg due to her heels. Snow had made a comment about switching them, which made Regina all the more stubborn not to.

“But mom, this is Camelot! Arthur! The round table! Merlin! I can’t believe it’s real!” Henry grins, and Regina’s heart lightens. She is glad he is still having some fun, letting go for a moment of his worries. Her eyes glance back to the blonde at the end of their group. She wasn’t sure why the whole town wanted to come along. The spell brought them, and the Blue Fairy reassured them they can return to Storybrooke whenever they want to. The majority just wanted to see their old life, which Regina couldn’t understand for the life of her. Did they not enjoy indoor plumbing and electricity?

Emma was walking slower than the rest, keeping her distance. Her eyes seemed haggard, and once in a while Regina catches the woman talking to herself. But any time she senses Regina’s gaze, she smiles, as she does now, before Regina is called again by Henry.

As soon as they reach a rest spot, she makes her way to the blonde. Even while everyone sits in circles with each other, the blonde would be found sitting alone. Regina was irritated at how the townspeople rallied for the savior but kept their distance when Emma didn’t fit that job role anymore.

She watches as Emma tries to control the flicker of magic trailing between her fingers, biting her lower lip as the strain clearly shows in her body. Regina only steps in when Emma’s magic swirls away.

“How is it going?” She gently asks, using her own magic to procure the tent to stand up.

“Fine.” Emma replies, not looking at Regina. Since she had turned, the woman didn’t hold anyone’s gaze when directly talking to them.

“I could help. Teach you to control some of the magic.” Regina murmurs, hand reaching to cup Emma’s hand. The woman lets her, and after a few moments even leans into her touch, relaxing her head against Regina’s shoulder.

“Will this really work? Talking to Merlin?” Emma asks, her cold hand clutching at Regina’s.

“Yes, and if not, we are still going to face this. Together.” Regina replies, as they both watch Charming practice sworld play with Henry. 

***

She couldn’t sleep. She kept her distance from the dust piles, not allowing herself to think what they could mean. Her leather jacket has stopped becoming comfortable, and she takes it off, using it as a blanket. She wonders how long she’ll survive at this rate. She remembers reading somewhere that humans can survive weeks without food but only days without water. Thankfully, the crevices between the boulders had some water, and after drinking a sip and not vomiting her entrails out, she kept drinking from it. It’s been days since anyone dropped by, and she is starting to think they forgot she existed.

“Oh, you’re awake.” She glances to her left, and this time a girl, no taller than her waist is standing near her. She eyes the kid warily, wondering if she’s a hallucination. The girl is in plain clothes, plain hair across her forehead, and plain look about her face as she looks at Regina.

“Are you real?” Roni couldn’t help asking, unintentionally reaching out. The kid steps back, a smile on her face. She throws over something small and warm to Roni. Roni isn’t ashamed of the noise that leaves her body when she sees it is a fresh loaf of bread, and starts to chew at it ravenously.

“Yes. I think she didn’t mean to keep you here this long. She doesn’t see time as humans do. Come with me.” The kid replies, and turns around, starting to walk towards the cave wall.

“Kid, that’s the wall, be carefu—” She stands there looking as the girl walks through the wall. She’s dreaming. Definitely dreaming then. She does scream when a tiny hand pops out of the wall, and motions to her.

What the hell? She glances at her surroundings and seeing that the crazy woman hasn’t popped up from any of the boulders, grabs the kid’s hand, and follows her into the wall that she starts to realize was just a cover. She starts to laugh hysterically, wondering why she kept herself in a cave that she could have easily gotten out of. But she knows, she /knows/ she checked every corner of that place during the first few days.

“What the hell is going on!?”

The kid motions at her to be quiet, and she follows her lead, expecting someone to follow them or try to grab them. But the kid takes her from one room to the next, the ground slowly transforming into carpets, the boulders slowly turning into tapestries, until they’re suddenly in a large hall, still damp and cold, but spacious and filled with people. Roni cries out, ready to run to someone and seek help, but finds herself without a voice, her legs frozen in their place. She strains against it, yelling with her voice still unheard. No one from the room turns to look at them in the back, and the kid reaches out and holds her hand.

“She won’t let you speak. Just watch, the Dark Lord has her audience now.” 

She bites back the tears threatening to escape, feeling helpless. The kid’s hand in hers helps somewhat, and she wonders what kind of psychological trauma the kid is going through seeing all this. The audience looks normal at first, although unwashed and dressed peculiarly. They seemed to be part of a play, dressed in clothes from a different century. Is she part of some weird cult sacrifice?!

Above their heads, she spots a decorative tall chair, and sitting on it is /that/ woman. She is still dressed in the same outfit, black on black leather, with her white hair pulled up in a tight bun. The woman doesn’t even glance towards her, looking unamused at the audience.

“Please, Dark Lord, I meant no harm!” A man cries out, and Roni looks for the voice. It comes from a stock-built man, taller and bigger than the usual men, twisting a cap tightly between his arms as he looks on at the woman sitting on the throne, begging. “I only meant to teach her, so she listens!”

“Listens to her graveyard? That is a first.” The woman replies, tone low, yet everyone can hear her. She sees others crying out but hears no sound, and realizes she’s not the only one with her voice trapped. Most stand, some swaying on their feet, but none of them are talking.

She focuses back on the man who is able to talk, but all he does is protest and gives one excuse after the other about someone under his care, and all the while the ‘dark lord’ listens with closed eyes. It is only when the man mentions how “it’s just a kid”, that the woman opens her eyes. Roni is startled when a hand squeezes her. She has forgotten about the child  holding her hand, and is now squeezing it hard, with a frenzied smile on her face.

“Just a kid? And who are you, to treat her as such?” The woman sits up in her seat, and everyone in the audience takes a step back. The man tries to backtrack and get a few words out, but then he starts to scream as dark swirls circled around him. Roni looks on in horror as the dark swirls turn the man into a pile of dust.

The woman relaxes back into her seat and motions her hand. “Next.”

 

***

She knew Regina was in the room. She can sense each and every person in her hall, as well as  those within the castle. The dark powers swirling within her never reacted as such to others, rising up at the scent of the woman being closer in the vicinity now. She ignores their whispers and focuses on the men brought in. Not all of them are guilty, but instilling fear in the other would ensure they don’t try the same with their kids. She could just kill them all and be done with it, get rid of these weary gatherings and the everlasting rumblings of the men. But as she learnt from previous experiences, not all the kids will be pleased with that. Some do still love their family, and there are those who did not harm the kids.

But as the dark powers within her will not stay silent, she gives them two more men, those she knew for certain had harmed a child. She can always tell from the look in their eyes, even as they glance away, what darkness they brought forth. For the darkness in them always resonated with the darkness within her.

She didn’t care that Regina was watching from her corner of the hall. Let her see what happens when she doesn’t answer her questions.

 

***

She needed to sit down. The loaf of bread only lasted so long, and she started to sway on her feet. There were no chairs in the hall and no one was sitting on the floor. The kid seems to notice, and guides her to sit against the wall. She pulls out another loaf of bread, this one stale and hard, but Roni still eats it, chewing on it as she eyes the room. She starts to calm down, taking in her surroundings. Even if she could run or move, release herself from this grasp on her body, there is no exit. The glass windows are too high, the only door she can see is unguarded, and she looks at it with yearning.

“You won’t make it past the door. The last one who tried burst into flames.” The kid mentions, bringing a cup of water to her lips. Roni takes it in sips, studying the girl.

“What’s your name, kid?” The kid looks at her, blinking.

“It’s been awhile. I think it’s Ivy.” Is all the girl says, and looks back toward the throne. Roni continues drinking the water, leaning her head back against the wall. Staring at the ceiling, she squints when she notices how in the glass reflection, she can see someone moving between the people, slowly making their way towards the throne. The person is covered in wool, hunched down, and thin. She can barely spot him as he blends between the men. But he moved with purpose, and she doesn’t know why but she yells out to the woman to look out, forgetting she had no voice. The drop of her cup does catch the audience’s attention long enough for the covered person to jump up between them and attack the lady on the throne.

Ivy jostles next to her, running past her towards the throne but stops as everyone can see the man floating into the air, a hook attached to his arm, glistening with blood. The dark lord sits up in her seat, eyeing the floating man with disgust.

“For the leniency of my host body, I left you alive. But I see that even through centuries of bumping into you, you are no more than a pest.” She growls, the cut on her throat slowly disappearing, not a trace shown of it being there in the first place. The floating man yells profanities at her, then starts to beg, calling her “Emma”, calling her “love”. She looks on, dark swirls slowly covering her body, then releases them as she calls out, “Decease.” Roni reaches for the kid and covers Ivy’s eyes and closes hers as the man starts to scream.

Hours, or what feels like hours, later, she opens her eyes to an empty room, and the dark lord standing in front of her, looking at how she holds Ivy.

“Come. I think it is time we discuss.”

***

“Easy, now. You’ve got this.” Regina hums, watching as the piece of wood floats hesitantly into the air. She glances at Emma, the only tell-tale sign of her efforts in the shaking of her hands as she tries to make the wood float. They’ve been at this for a while now, and still each time Emma continues trying to use her magic as Regina teaches her. This time the wood floats for a few moments before dropping to the ground. Emma sags as soon as it drops, shoulders tensing as she walks backward and drops into the chair behind her.

“That was better than the last time.” Regina murmurs, passing Emma a cup of water.

“Still, I can’t control it. I’m still not any good at it.” Emma huffs, taking huge gulps of water before trying to stand again. Regina places an arm on her hand, stilling her.

“Stop. You need a break.” She feels Emma’s hand close to pushing her off and doesn’t move as she sees Emma struggling with the dark powers within her to not push her off. Last time when Hook placed an arm on her, trying to woo her, he found himself flying off a few feet away. He was still sulking somewhere in the castle.

“Regina, I need to get this down. How am I going to control the dark urges if I can’t even control this little bit of power?”

“Oh? What kind of dark urges?” Regina teases, trying to lighten the mood. Emma suddenly blushes, and Regina feels herself warming up at what that could mean.

“H-Henry should be here soon.” She changes track, stepping back from the blonde. She can visibly see Emma relax at that. They’ve noticed he has a good influence on Emma’s state of mind, making the whispers disappear for a while whenever he is around.

“Did Merlin teach him anything?” The wizard had a great interest in Henry. He explained that his powers as the author might help, and is taking daily sessions with the wizard to see if they can find something to help Emma, while Regina is allowed access to Merlin’s library for research.

“Only to go over the history of the author, nothing on this yet.” Emma gives a small reassuring smile to Regina. She knew the woman had concerns about letting anyone else teach their son magic, but Merlin proved to be trustworthy, or at least on their side, when Arthur tried to kick them out.

“It’ll be fine.” Emma says, without any conviction in her voice. The whispers within her disappear as she spots her son, and all her tiredness disappears as she leans in to hug him

***

Ivy stood outside as usual but the Dark Lord let Regina inside her room. She tells Ivy to leave them be and closes the door. She keeps her distance from Regina, watches the woman as she takes in her surroundings. She had removed the silencing spell on Regina, a payback for the time Regina used the dagger and didn’t let her speak. Still, the woman is silent as she walks about the room, making her way to a chair and taking a seat.

The Dark One is starting to lose her grasp of understanding the little girl within her. Where she cried out at her not to hurt Regina, she was silent when the pirate was on his death count. She knows the woman is the mother of the child, but still does not understand why the little girl awakens when this woman is in the room. She needs to get rid of her fast, before the girl starts to regain power.

She studies Regina. Weak, yes, and dirty, yes. She magicks the bathtub to fill with hot water.

“Clean yourself.” She tells the woman, and turns around to check on her potions. When she turns back, the woman is still sitting with no sign of changing her clothes. “The water will not harm you, get in.”

“Fucking hell that I will undress and shower in front of you. No thanks.” Regina growls at her, making the Dark One laugh in surprise. The fact that the woman still had some resistance after that show in the hall has her insides tickling. She had intended to leave and come back later once the woman finished her bath, but after this she takes a seat on her chair and crosses her legs.

“If you want your freedom, you will get cleaned now, or else I’ll throw you back into that cave.

She watches as Regina struggles with the options. She smiles as the woman starts to shrug off the shirt, dropping her leather jacket to the floor. The woman undresses herself quickly and steps into the bathtub. The water is up to her neck, and the woman’s breasts glisten in it even as she brings her knees up to her chest and glances back at her, eyes daring her. It is the look in Regina’s eyes that draws arousal within her. She’s surprised her body can still feel that. With a raised eyebrow, she magics a loofah and soap, and watches as Regina takes it and scrubs her face, her shoulders, her legs with it, and then her whole body, all the while with her back to the woman. She sees the way the woman’s back strains and muscles shift as she bathes and feels her heart hammering harder, wanting to run her nails down the woman’s skin. She shifts her legs tighter against the chair, and grips at the armrest. She won’t let the woman see she is aroused.

 

***

Years of working in a bar made her aware of when a man, or a woman, wanted to fuck her. Of when a drink and arousal made a person lower their defenses and enjoy the moment. This scenario is no different. Her heart is hammering in her chest, yet she can still feel the way the woman zeroes in on her body. She can feel the woman’s eyes on her skin, and considers it. Maybe there is a way to escape, if she distracted the woman enough..

She slowly eases her back against the tub, and slowly brings the loofa to trail down one leg then the other. She tries not to be too obvious, just a few rubs here and there, before shifting her back against the bathtub, and allowing her chest to rise above the water, bringing the loofa to slowly and gently rub across her breasts. She moves it in a languid circular motion across her skin, letting out an audible gasp as the loofah brushes against her nipples. She closes her eyes,still feeling the woman’s eyes on her, and gives in more, spreading her legs to sink the loofah into the water, bringing it between her legs.. “Why don’t you join me?” She hums as she opens her eyes to glance at the woman, and notices that she isn’t in her seat.

Blinking, she only notices the force behind her when the Dark One tugs at a wet hair curl. “Your hair is shorter than before.” She murmurs into her ear, and disappears, leaving Roni alone in the bathtub, the water becoming cold.

***

She grabs the closest person and pulls them into a hard kiss. The person reacts, moaning into the kiss, whispering in between begging for her power. They were many of them, those who were obsessed with the Dark One, wanting to bask in her power. She usually stayed away from them, but after that image of Regina in the bathtub, she needed release, and a fast fuck to get this itch out of her. The woman is ready and willing, and she keeps whispering how she wants the darkness inside her. She focuses on how the woman’s hair comes in waves as she pulls at it, remembering how Regina’s breasts looked in the swirl of water, and nips at the breasts offered to her.

Afterwards, she would deal with Regina. After, she would make sure to get the woman to confess where the boy is. But for now, she tugs at the woman’s dress, and bends her over she claims her between the benches, ignoring those looking on.

***

Roni felt relieved, yet somewhat disappointed that her bait didn’t work. She doubted she would have gone through with it, maybe just reached for a lamp and smashed it on the woman’s head while she had her distracted. Either way, she quickly scrubs and enjoys feeling clean after days in the cave, and gets out of the bathtub. There is no towel, so she makes use of a blanket to dry herself off. Thankfully she finds a set of clothes in the cupboards as she snoops around. She didn’t care if the woman would get mad, she grabs what she can and quickly changes, hoping no one walks in. For a while it's just her in the room, and Dark One doesn’t return. She wonders if she can take a quick nap, and all thoughts leave her as she curls onto the bed, exhaustion overcoming her.

***

“Emma, calm down.” Hook growls, tugging at the woman’s dress. She barely responds, the dark swirls covering her face as Hook tries to get her out of the castle. King Arthur’s men are trying to reach them, with Regina throwing one fireball after the other.

“Regina needs me, they need me. Let me go.” Emma gasps, glancing over Hook’s shoulder. She can see Regina wince as a sword slices at her, and Charming stepping in to help her.

“Regina has it, you can’t do anything in this form. Come on, Swan.” Hook keeps insisting, pushing her out the door. The King has figured out the switch, and how Emma can’t control her powers, and wants to kill her before she can fully turn into the Dark One. It did not help knowing that he was the one who imprisoned Merlin in the first place.

Emma’s dark magic pushes Hook away and she runs to Regina’s side. They both start using their magic together to push the men off, until it was only them and King Arthur. Emma starts running towards him, when she hears their kid yell out.

“Moms!” Regina and Emma both turn to look and find a guard holding Henry at sword point, the sword grazing his neck, and Emma’s magic disappears.

 

***

A knock wakes her, and she blinks, taking in her surroundings. Man, she needs to get ready for her shift at the bar. She sits up, and reaches for her phone, finding no table next to her. The knock comes again, and she feels the panic sink in as she realizes it wasn’t a dream. Breathe in, breath out.  You got this, Roni.

Opening the door, she finds the same girl as before, this time a basket with her.

“Ivy, was it?” She yawns, leaning against the door.

“Yes. Here is some food, please eat while I show you around.”

She moves, ready to run past the girl, when she notices her foot stills.

“As long as you’re here, you won’t be able to move if your intention is to escape.” The girl speaks up, motioning to the basket. “Eat.”

Sighing, Roni reaches for the basket, pulling out a croissant. “Are you guys just into bread?”

“It’s the only thing Tiana knows how to bake.” The girl shrugs. “Better than what most townspeople get here.”

“Mhm.” Roni finishes the croissant and follows the girl. She eats another one as they walk through the hallway, glancing through the open spaces. It was snowing outside. She clearly wasn’t in New York anymore.

“Are we in Scotland?” Roni asks the kid, not expecting a true answer. The girl just looks on confused, and keeps walking, with Roni trailing after her. The walk does her good, gets her legs stretching, and she keeps an eye out on each door she spots. One of them should lead her to her freedom.

“Where is that woman? Are you going to let me go?” Roni asks the kid again, and this time Ivy answers. “The Dark One is preoccupied. The kids wanted to see you.”

“Me?” Roni replies confused, and suddenly hears the laughter of children. The hallway takes them to the courtyard, and she spots the children, many of them, playing in the snow. A few glance towards them, and the older ones start yelling and run towards her.

 

“Regina!”

“Oh my god, Regina! Are you back?”

“Is it really you?”

“Gina!”

 

The teenagers crowd around her, squealing and crying out ‘Regina’, grabbing at her. Eyes widening, she takes a step back, but still they crowd in, and she lets them hug her and hold her, as she glances over them to Ivy.

“Who is this Regina? I’m sorry, I’m not Regina.” She tells them, panic in her voice, and slowly each one quiets down and watches her.

“Don’t you remember?” A boy no older than eleven asks her, his voice evidently trying to hold back tears.

“I’m…”

“She will talk later. You all have classes to attend.” Ivy tells them. A few start to protest, but suddenly shut up, glancing up behind Roni. They say their goodbyes, some leaning in to hug her again, and go back to their group.

“What are all these kids doing here?” Roni wonders out loud, her arm tightening against her stomach.

“The Dark One brings them here when they are abused at home. They stay in her keep until they find new homes, or are old enough to fend for themselves.” Ivy explains, pulling out a casket. She offers it to Regina, who sniffs at it then takes a lick, finding water.

“The people in the audience hall were those who abused the children under their guardianship. After the Dark One arrived here, she has started to avenge us.”

“She doesn’t kill you guys or torture you?” Roni asks, passing back the flask. She watches on as the younger children are pulled up by the women, guiding them back inside.

“No. She keeps us safe.” Is all that Ivy replies. Roni senses someone behind her, and glances to find the Dark One standing atop at the wall, looking down at them. Her fingers unconsciously flex and reach for a baseball bat that isn’t there, her usual defense.

“Come. She will want to discuss with you.” Ivy tells Roni. This time Roni does not feel scared, but trepidation as she wonders what their encounter will be this time.

 

***

Regina looks better than when she left her earlier. Besides being dressed in her old human clothes, she finds the woman seemingly more calm than before. Time to interrogate her once more.

“Ivy, you may leave.” The Dark One tells the child, and then faces Regina, waiting until the door closes to speak. “So, I see you stopped trying to run away. What do you think of my nifty spell, Regina?”

“I don’t know how many times I need to repeat this, or what you’ve been telling those kids, but I’m not Regina. My name is R-o-n—”

The Dark One doesn’t give her a chance to continue as Roni suddenly finds herself floating above the ground, hands and legs bound.

“Woman, I’m tired of your lies and pretending. Where is the child?” She tells Regina, and doesn’t look away as her eyes start to burn red.

“What child?” Regina whimpers, gasping. “Honestly, woman, I don’t know who you are talking about.” She hisses as she fights against the invisible chains. The Dark One keeps her struggling for a few more minutes, wincing as the scene awakens the little girl yelling inside her thoughts.

With a snap of her fingers, the magic tugs Regina all the way until she is floating in front of the Dark One. She grips Regina’s chin and pulls her to face her head on.

“Look here.” She murmurs, and keeps Regina’s gaze on her. She did not want to use this spell, knowing she still did not have a full grasp on it, and how the men she had used it on fell crying and mad at her feet. But she needed the child, and since Regina won’t answer, she gazes into her eyes and utters the spell. The woman’s eyes roll up and with it the Dark One’s mind slips inside the woman’s thoughts. She swirls through them, one memory after the other: of her as a kid, of working at a bar, of hookups and breakups and days out with her friends, but nothing of the child, or even of Emma pops up. After the second wave of resistance pushes her out, she leaves the woman’s body, and lets her sag against the ground as she pulls her senses together.

“You do not know where the boy is.” She concludes, leaning back into her seat. Regina doesn’t reply, just gasps and whimpers as her mind readjusts after the dark swirls leave her head.

“Still…Ivy, come in.” She calls across the room. The girl walks in, and Regina looks up at her from the ground. The Dark One makes sure Regina is watching before she reaches inside the child’s chest and grabs her heart. Regina lets out a scream and struggles to get off the ground.

“Where is the child, Regina?”

“I honestly don’t know! Please let her go, I’ll tell you anything—” Regina cries out, as the Dark One tugs again, and Ivy shows the strain of it, face tensing in pain.

“I want to know where Henry is. Tell me.” The Dark One repeats. Regina keeps struggling against her magic, trying to reach the child. She swears randomly about anything, rambling off about different locations, all that the Dark One knows are lies.

“One more chance. Tell me where Henry is, or the kid dies.” Regina starts to beg, to offer money, to offer herself, to bring whatever person the Dark One wants. But no mention of Henry whatsoever. Tired of this, the Dark One pulls out the heart and squeezes it in front of Regina’s eyes, the girl tumbling to the floor. Regina cries out, a piercing scream ringing the room. The Dark One studies the woman and finally believes her statements. She sighs, throwing her head back. “It seems you truly don’t remember. What a waste.”

The door opens to the room, and the Dark One tells the person at the door, “Find some use for her around the castle. Get her out of my sight.” And with a gust Regina is pushed out of the door before it slams closed.

***

She can’t stop crying. The poor girl, and it’s all her fault. She ignores the person standing towering over her, wanting to be anywhere but here. She should have just made up some story about the kid, anything to save Ivy.

“Come, you can’t stay there forever.” The person tells her, waiting. The voice is familiar, taunting at memories, and she looks up. Through teary eyes, she sees Ivy standing there, in her same old clothes, looking down at her.

“Ivy? But how, what, you were just there –” Roni starts, tears still running down her cheeks. She wipes at them with her palm, staring at the girl, waiting for the girl to somehow disappear. She can’t match this image with the one of the girl fallen to the ground just a few moments ago. 

“I was waiting for you. I did not move from my space.” She glances to the door and back to Roni, offering her hand to help her up. “No one is allowed in there, or can hear anything happening inside.”

A mirage. It was all just a trick. Furious, she shoots up and starts rapping on the door. “Hey, asshole! What the fuck was that show!” She keeps slamming at the door, swearing at the woman, all while Ivy stands next to her.

“Roni, we cannot stay here.” She gently waits as Roni gives the door one final kick, then turns around. The hallway is empty, and she starts walking down the corridor, and realizes she can move. She can /run/. She turns around and grabs Ivy’s hand.

“Come with me. I can get us out of here. We’ll go and – ” Ivy gently drops Roni’s hand and shakes her head.

“My place is here. This castle is my home. If you want to leave, I will not stop you.” Ivy tells Roni, and gives her the basket of remaining food. “Goodbye.” Ivy smiles for the first time, and heads her way down the hall and out of Roni’s eyesight.

Roni wipes at her tear stained cheeks, and focuses on the hallway. She starts to walk, then runs when she sees no one following her down the hallway and out to the courtyard, and stops when she hears the children laughing. The children…

“Regina! Are you going to play with us now? Will you read to us?” The kids come huddling to her, all bright eyes and smiles. She can’t just leave them.

“Yes, let’s play. But my name is Roni.” She glances to the bridge above, promising herself to leave as soon as she figures out how to take the children with her.

***

“Did you ever think of having more children?” Emma asks Regina, one day as they stroll through the Queen’s garden. The fight with King Arthur is over, and now they take stock of those remaining. They were no closer to breaking the curse, but Emma was getting better with controlling the dark magic, and her sessions with Regina became less of magic lessons and more of someone to talk to. The others were still wary of her, and she was grateful for Regina’s company. Henry and Regina were the only two who kept the shadows and the whispers away.

“I did, a long time ago. I was in the process of adopting a child, before Henry. Well.. more like take him from his father. It did not work out. And then I thought maybe when Henry is older we can get a sibling, except he found out he is adopted and then..” Emma smiles sheepishly at Regina, who shrugs her shoulders. “Henry is enough for me.”

“I never thought I would have a kid again. Having Henry again in my life is all I ever needed. He gave me hope, and a home.” She looks to Regina, eyes searching hers, as she locks her hand with Reginas. Then the whispers in her head came, stronger and stronger,

“Kill the boy, and you’ll be free.”

 

***

It didn’t take long to find him. The tracking spell led her to a rutted house, hinges and wood way past worn, close to falling into pieces. It was not far from the castle, located in one of the remote villages in the forest. The other cabins were abandoned, with smoke rising only from this hut. She finds him huddled in the corner of the room, with a rusted sword at his lap.

“Stay back. Not one more step closer.” He utters in a voice barely heard, raising the sword and directing it at her.

“Are you the father of the children by the lake?” She asks, not moving from the door. What can be seen by the light is a cooking pot and not much else. No children toys, no blankets or clothes on the floor.

“I have no runts.”

“A boy, beaten and bloodied and dead. A girl, with a scar below her left eye.”

“Aye. Might I know runts like those. What is it to you?”

“You know who I am?”

“And I don’t care for your kind. I did no contract with ye, or ask for a deal.”

“I run a different track from my predecessors.” What light there was disappears as the dark swirls of magic seeps out of her body, trailing like flickering flames, licking against the man’s tattered clothes. “You will be punished.”

His screams rang through the abandoned village, nothing as scary as the pleasured glee laughter that followed it.

***

“The room is a bit cold, but only when the Dark One is away. Once she is back, she magics the castle back to warmth for us. You’ll find a fresh set of clothes on the bed.” Ivy explains as she watches Roni circle around the room, taking in her new surroundings. After deciding to stay, she followed the children’s direction to Ivy, who was apparently in charge of everything around here. What adults she has seen have shied away from her

“Thank you, Ivy. I don’t plan to stay here long..” She murmurs, glancing outside the window. This side of the room offers her the view to the castle gate, where even there, no guards are standing. It seems a castle doesn’t need defense when you know who is the owner residing there.

“This room is yours until you decide to leave.” Ivy tells her, hands folded against her front. Even now, she didn’t show any expression on her face. Roni is starting to think that the smile she did see was part of her imagination.

“Ivy, can I ask for one thing?” Roni calls out to the the girl, just before she leaves.

“Yes?”

“I need my old clothes back.”

***

The kids are very energetic this evening, the Dark One muses as she crosses over the line, the defense spell building back up after her. Her steps are silent and slow, her mind buzzing with the darkness, the whispers ravishing that kill. The kid’s laughter and screaming are what pulls her out of their revelry, spotting them running around the courtyard. They did not see her yet, and she kept to herself, looking on as she finds them throwing a ball from one to the other. A woman laughs and yells out to them, and the Dark One is taken aback to see it is none other than Regina.

“You’re still here.” She magicks behind the woman, and feels a smugness when Regina jumps at her voice. The woman turns and looks at her with a raised brow, but with wariness as she takes a step back.

“Got a problem with that?” She holds the ball to her hip, waiting for her to reply. The Dark One takes in her jeans and tank top, the same clothes she came to in this world. She’s not sure how the woman was not freezing in this weather in that outwear.

“Not really, no, but I would appreciate it if you don’t fall dead frozen in front of the kids.” She tells Regina, eyeing again her outfit. Its completely different than this world’s clothes, the woman dressed up as though she is a man. The image of Regina being the man in a relationship, the thought of her fucking someone with a strap between her legs, has the Dark One suddenly and completely aroused. She ignores whatever Regina was starting to reply with and transports herself away in a swirl of magic.

 

***

Roni doesn’t see much of the Dark One after that. The castle rooms did warm up, yet she doesn’t bump into the woman. Roni uses the time to check out the place, looking for any phone or computer she can find. The kids are so reclused from the real world that they don’t even know what she is talking about, and going from room to room, she finds nothing from the modern world. The only time she thought someone was talking on the phone, was when the Dark One was talking to herself. Perhaps on a Bluetooth speaker or something. She doubted her capturer would give her the phone to talk to anyone.

A laundry room she couldn’t find. Her clothes always came back clean and crisp, and noting that the Dark One always wore black leather, shes thinking there might be a laundry shop somewhere nearby. She tried one time to walk outside, but did not get passed the gate before finding herself unable to move again. That day she went up to the tallest tower she could find, and looked outside. She tried not to let the panic and hopelessness overcome her when all she could see were miles and miles of trees. No main road, no other buildings. Just this stupid castle. 

She barely left her room after that. But the kids would knock at her door, and some would peek in, and she couldn’t ignore them. They were all she had left of this place, they gave her a reason to move out of the bed.

And they didn’t stop coming. Every few weeks, when the castle became cold, Roni knew another child would show up within the next few days. Each time they would either be trailing after the Dark One, or if too badly wounded, carried in by her. Roni didn’t let it get past her that the woman was a saint; she has heard the children as well as the kitchen staff whisper of parents or guardians killed or left in a broken state back in their houses. The children themselves won’t say anything, but Roni would talk to them gently, gives them hugs and affection until they start to open up and interact with the other kids. They have started to call her Ma in some occasions – the little ones – and she didn’t have the heart to tell them not to.

Ivy would join their group sometimes but would not play with the kids. She would bring her basket of bread, and sit besides, Roni, looking on to the others. No matter how much Roni would tease her, she would not join the kids in their games. But she would stay after and listen to Roni’s storytelling time, of kids who play baseball and go to college, of living in a house with two parents who loved them. They wondered how did Roni know so many fairytale stories of weird places, and the woman would just smile sadly, and promise them to take them there one day.

She does come across the Dark One on her throne one time. Though she calls the woman many names in her head – none of them pleasant – she found it strange that none of the kids or the others have ever named the woman. She asked Ivy once if the Dark One had a name, and it was the first time the girl looked frightened. And so in her mind Roni called the woman Swan, for the whiteness of her hair. And the way they were always so deadly silent but attacked whenever she waved a piece of bread infront of them.

This Swan was quiet, probably asleep, as she made no move or open her eyes when Roni stepped into the hall. She seemed peaceful, nothing like the awake version, and Roni wondered if the woman ever relaxed when she was awake.

“Is there something you need?” The woman asks her, eyes still closed. Roni thought she was used to the woman’s sudden appearance, but she still jumped startled when the Swan appeared behind her. The woman seemed to have a thing for towering over her.

“You bring a child in every week.” Roni starts, turning around to face the woman. Her hair was impeccable as always, tied neatly into a tight bun. It made Roni want to mess it up abit.

“And your point?” The woman replies, tilting her head curiously.

“Why do you need this Henry kid so bad, if you already have all these kids?” Roni asks her, eyes searching for some kind of answer in the Dark Ones. Something flashes in the womans eyes, but disappears as quick as it came, and before Roni could ask again she finds herself pushed and pinned against the throne chair.

“Are you going to give me him, then?” The woman asks Roni in a low whisper, and Roni internally swears at her body getting aroused at being pinned like this. She ignores the way the woman’s voice hums at her ear, the urge to shift and pull her lips into a nip, and instead kicks up to push the woman off. It barely does anything to the Dark One, only to have her smile at the attempt.

“Don’t.” She says as she feels the woman’s magic probe her mind, not wanting the woman to sift through her memories again. For some reason, Swan listens and steps back.

“You see how I treat these children. Henry will be safe if you let him come here.” She tells Roni, and Roni doesn’t know why but she could tell that last line was a lie.

 

***

“Tell me.” Regina urges Emma, locking the door after them. She places a silencing spell as well, not sure of who could be eavesdropping. The past few days were worrying, and she needed confirmation from the blonde that her concerns weren’t valid.

“Tell you what?” The blonde looks at her confused, though her smile does not reach her eyes.

“Tell me what is it the dark magic is whispering to you, and why you stopped talking to Henry.” Regina knew they were related, was afraid of what it could mean, but needed to hear it from the blonde herself. Emma doesn’t reassure her at all. She lowers the book she was holding and avoids eye contact.

“Emma, just tell me. Whatever it is, we will deal with it, together. I trust you.” Regina tells Emma, cupping her cheek to look into her eyes. What she finds there is frightening, but she keeps her gaze, using her magic to keep the dark ones swirling within Emma’s eyes at bay.

“They want – they want Henry.” Emma gasps, eyes tearing up as she forces out the words. “Gods, Regina, the way they whisper to me, I was tempted – I don’t know how long I can push them away. They think if we get rid of Henry, my powers won’t be threatened or disappear.”

Regina soothes the woman, while her fears come true. She knew the darkness weakness was true love, but she did not expect the darkness within Emma to focus on her son. Running her fingers through her hair as she presses a kiss to her cheek. “We won’t give them our son. Are you listening, Emma? They won’t have Henry.” She tells the woman confidently, willing the words to be true. She takes a deep breath, focusing on voicing out loud what she knows they must do.

“I have a plan.” 

***

That night, Roni couldn’t sleep. Something one of the kids told her bothered her. They did not go to school, and when she mentioned bus or cars, the children’s faces when blank. Was she really in a such a rural area that they did not know what buses or school were? Or even pen and paper? She know they have their own classes here, but when asked what are they being taught, they listed reading letters and counting sheep. She had to consider the fact that they’re kids and being taught the basics, but other factors don’t add up. Their clothes, their speech, even their haircut, it seemed as part of some cult. Maybe Roni did stumble upon a hidden cult in the forest. But wouldn’t there be some hint of technology around the place?

She shifts in bed, unable to find a position to relax in. Her eyes drift to the tapestry hanging in her room. It was a painting of knights on horses with lances, surrounding a woman with blonde flowing hair, and a sword resting between her hands. The woman was beautiful, and her head dressed with flower braids. The bottom of the tapestry had different wildlife, and with the air flowing beneath it, it moved as though it were alive –

She sits up in her bed, squinting at it the lower part of the tapestry. She glances to her window, and then to the door. None were open to have some kind of air flowing through. She remembers how in movies, castles sometime had a secret passage between rooms.

“No way…” Roni gets out of her bed and moves closer to the hanging tapestry. She peels it upward, and comes face to face with the wall. But she feels the cool air at her feet, and presses her fingers against the wall, looking for any opening. A sudden click, and the wall starts to shift, showing her a doorway and a long dark hall. “No fucking way.” Grabbing at her lighter, and leather jacket, she takes one more glance to the door. Seeing no one rushing in, trapping her at finding the door, she flips the lighter on, and starts to move down the secret hallway.

***

The door goes slamming close as she stalks into the room, barely having time to control herself as the dark swirls escape her body. Today was not a good day, and with the report of another child found bruised and at her gates, her temper was flaring. It did not help that the dark swirls of magic kept whispering wanting the boy, telling her to just torture the woman again to get information. They were driving her insane, feeling the boy so close but no where to be found, insisting that the woman will tell them.

She needed to lose control, to let them out so they don’t overcome her body. She let them wreak havoc in the room, making sure none of the darkness go farther beyond her room.

***

Roni keeps walking in the dark hallway, the lighter not showing more than two steps infront of her. It might have been a few minutes; she couldn’t tell with the watch on her arm dead and useless.

And so she keeps walking, keeping an eye out on the small light behind her, constantly reassuring herself it’s a straight path, that she can always turn and get back to her room. Besides dust and cobwebs, the secret hallway was empty, probably not even used in a long while. A sudden swirl of wind flows towards her, her lighter flickering off, and she follows the whirlwind, coming across another wall, with two holes hallowed out in the wall, serving as peeping holes. She can hear a person yelling and things tumbling, and takes a step back. But curious as to who it is, she steps back again towards the holes and peeks in.

Roni looks on into a room, what can be seen from the holes is a mess, with a woman bent over as dark swirls climb out of her body. Some darkness swirls dashing here and there, flying around as though looking for something, and she spots one coming right at her. She jolts backward but finds the dark wave seeping into the wall and surrounding her. She screams as soon as they touch her skin.

 

***

A piercing scream rings in the room, the voice familiar enough that the Dark One pulls out of her reverie, and looks around for the woman. She senses her but can’t see her, and so follows the screams, all the while trying to pull the dark magic back within in. But they resist, finding a prey they wanted for so long, and the Dark One finds herself using most of her powers to call them back in, ordering them not to hurt Regina. The little girl awakens during the mayhem, and the Dark One is surprised to find the girl not arguing with her but aiding her in pulling the dark magic off of Regina. Together they call back the darkness, feeling it struggle against them as they seep the magic away.

Finally when the swirls disappear that the Dark One finds Regina behind the wall, fallen on the ground unconscious. She carries her up, surprised to find her heavy, her scent alluring. She never was this close to the woman and ignores the way the darkness within her want to claim her, telling her this woman belonged to her, and places the woman on the bed. No damage can be seen, but the Dark One can feel the strips of pain radiating from the woman’s body. She tries to heal Regina, knowing it would be futile, and swears when the injury does not lessen even with her magic. She growls and leaves the room, needing to silence the voices in her head. She magicks to the kitchen, and orders Ivy to wrap the bandages around Regina. She ignores the look of surprise on the child’s face at being allowed into her room, and barks at her to get going. For all her magic, she still failed at this.

She stays away from her room, and that woman, for the next few days.

***

Henry wanted to show her the lake he found. Not really found, since most of the land surrounding Camelot is already on its King’s maps, but supposedly Merlin has shown him a super secret lake, only for the royals to visit. She hasn’t strayed much from the castle the past few weeks, and only joined them because Henry wanted her to see it. Supposedly the lake has mermaids floating and swimming about, and despite Regina’s disgust for them, she went along with Henry’s request. Emma doubted he was interested in them romantically, the boy was still a kid. He was growing taller, even taller than Regina now without the heals, but she still saw him as a kid. Perhaps she and Regina need to give Henry “The Talk” soon, unless Regina already covered it with him…  

“Earth to Emma? Hello?” Emma looks up, distractedly as Henry waves at her face. Her body tenses for a moment, and she pulls the swirling thoughts away, ignoring how they want her to kill her son. Regina distracts Henry and leads him away, before coming back to her, placing an arm on her hand.

“Are you alright, Swan?” Regina asks, concern etched in her face. She hasn’t seen the woman much, as they kept arguing about what plan is best. She just nods and they follow Henry, sensing how Regina is taken aback as much as she is at how beautiful the lake is as they come across it. It was secluded, covered by giant willow trees and tall grassy fields, but the lake itself was range of blue colors, the sun flickering golden lights against the surface. A smile erupts from both of their faces, and she feels the burden of the past few months disappear for a few moments. Her grin matches Henry, and just for one moment she catches his eyesight, surprised to find them seeking hers as well.

“Race you to the lake?” She tells him, hearing Regina groan behind her.

“You’re on! No cheating or magicking there!” Henry hollers over his shoulder as he gets a head start. Emma yells a “Hey!” and follows him, laughter filling her chest as she runs after him. She feels so free, enjoying the moment. She gains on Henry, but holds herself back, knowing her dark magic gives her more energy that counts as cheating. She beams as she sees him run faster, and jump into the lake first, with her following.

The dive into the water is cold, even to her skin. She dives in deeper, noticing how she doesn’t need to breath or catch her breath. She could go on for ages downward. But she stops, and finds her way back to the surface.

“I won!” Henry beams across the water, doing a silly swim dance. Emma laughs, and pulls him into the water. They play fight in the lake, and Emma turns to spot Regina lounging by the rocks, and ofcourse magicking herself a lounge chair.

“Regina, join us!”

“Yeah, mom, come swim with us!”

With a raised brow, she ignores their request and just waves to them, her smile turning into a screech as Emma lifts her and carries her into the lake.

“Miss Swan, don’t you dare put me down or I’ll –” Emma laughs as Regina goes under, and prepares for retaliation when she hears Henry’s pained yell. They both turn and swim to him, barely catching him as his head goes underwater.

 T hey pull him to shore, helping him balance on one leg as they check on the other. They can see the claw and bite marks on his leg, large enough to be a shark bite, but with markings distinct to a human mouth. Emma waves her hand over the injury to heal it, but finds only dark magic seeping out, making Henry cry out in more pain as it seeps over his leg. Regina quickly jumps in and uses her own magic to erase the dark magic, as well as to heal the bite. By the time she is done, she finds Emma holding Henry’s hand, with guilt and fear in her eyes.

Later, much later, as they sit drinking wine, with Henry asleep and wrapped up in bandages, does Emma break down, asking Regina what is the point of her magic if she can’t even heal her son with it.

 

***

She uses her magic to track and find more kids. When she first started, it was by mistake, just killing a guest at the castle who was abusing the maid. Afterwards, cases just fell into her lap, and as she rescued the kids, she could never stop herself from harming those who harmed them. And the village was filled with them, those who saw their strength and gender give them a free reign to ignore or abuse the children. And then the children started to slowly trail to her castle, hearing how it was an asylum for their kind.

Even now, after years with the word spreading about the Dark One, the boogeyman associated for adults, she still would find guardians who betrayed the trust of their kids. With poor people giving birth to so many children, a few find themselves sold off or traded for food. The Dark One did not blame the parents, but she also did not excuse them when she found a child.

At least in this aspect, her dark powers could do much. The little girl within her was silent after saving Regina, and the Dark One wanted to keep it as such. She is tired of having her still in her body even after becoming the Dark One. She had expected the girl to disappear by now. But it seems she is stubborn than previous hosts combined.

“Follow the staff, they will take you in.” She tells her latest rescue, a toddler barely walking, barely speaking. She found this one being auctioned off for a tavern. She left no one behind, burning the place to the ground as she spelled the toddler to only hear music as the men screamed in the fire.

She watches as the staff takes the toddler in, and makes her own way to her room. She has told Ivy to change Regina’s room, as to not have it next to her anymore. She barely saw the woman, perhaps she was already wrapped and ready to be bur-- /thwack/.

The Dark One blinks, and glances to her shoulder. There is snow on her leather jacket, but no snowstorm to reason why there should be. A few giggling sounds has her turning to find a group of kids in the snow, all looking in fear but unable to stop the giggles. As she eyes the direction the snowball came from, she comes in sight with Regina, with a smirk on her face and another snowball at hand.

“Oops, my bad. Didn’t realize it’s the Dark One.” Regina calls out, an amused smile on her lips. The Dark One looks on confused, unable to register that this is the same woman who she left in pain just a few weeks ago.

“What? Never got hit in a snowball fight?” Regina asks her, and again aims another snowball at her. The Dark One starts to think the first hit wasn’t a mistake. She takes a step, then another, and hears the kids gasp whizzing by as she grabs Regina and magicks her around the corner, and has her pinned across the wall.

“I thought you were dead.” The Dark One tells Regina, and before the woman can reply the Dark One kisses her hard on the lips. Hearing the kids following them, she lets go of Regina and magicks herself away.

 

***

“…What the hell was that?!” Roni swears to herself, running a hand through her hair to calm herself. That kiss was strong, abrupt, and not what she expected to come out of the woman’s mouth when she had her pinned. The blonde disappears on her for weeks after that incident, only to come back and kiss her and disappear??

No fucking way.

She forces a smile to the kids surrounding her, telling them she is fine, and searches for Ivy. The girl always knew where the Dark One went. Ivy points to the main hall, and Roni heads towards there, marching as she keeps an eye out for the woman, feeling the heat of her arousal. She finds her at the throne chair, with closed eyes, as though she didn’t just make out with a woman behind the corridor.

“Dark One. Whatever the fuck your name is.” She calls out, and marches up towards the throne. The Dark One’s eyes flutter open, and she doesn’t try to escape this time. “Regina?”

“Its Roni.” She grabs the woman by the leather jacket lapels, pulling her upward, eyes flashing. “and I’m not some toy you kiss and run. If you kiss me, you better follow through.” She growls as she tugs the woman back into a kiss, picking up where they started. She pushes all her frustration and anger into it, nipping at the woman’s lower lip. That pulls a groan from the blonde, and Roni feels smug at the reaction she gets. Well, well, it seems the Dark One does have human desires… 

Roni shifts and sits on the woman’s lap, letting out a moan as the Dark One starts kissing her back, hands running down Roni’s body as she deepens the kiss, tugging at her clothes. She lets out a laugh in between the kisses as the woman can’t find the zipper to her jeans, and gasps when her clothes are instead spelled off. The room is cold, but it doesn’t account for the way her nipples harden, as the Dark One takes one between her fingers and squeezes, making her whimper. She tries hard not to squeeze her thighs, to show how wetness seeps down her legs. She pulls back once she hears noises at the main door. The Dark One doesn’t let her get up, instead she lifts her and turns her around, having her knees balance against the chair as she holds her up, an arm circling around her hand as the other brushes against her breast.

“Wait, what are you d—” Roni starts, then moans out loud as she feels a strap brushing against her wet folds.

“Oh? I think you mentioned something about following through?” She murmurs at her ear, nipping at her earlobe. Her fingers tease at her breast, gently squeezing at the underswell of her breast as she teases her with the strap, rubbing against her clit but not slipping it in yet.

“You’re fucking teasing me.” Roni growls, breath staggering as the Dark One tugs at her nipple, her lips lathering her neck with open mouth kisses.

“Wasn’t that the plan?” The Dark One hums, before thrusting it into her. Roni gasps out loud, head thrown aback as the Dark One pulls back and starts to slide it in inch by inch.

“Oh my god..” Roni moans, grateful that the woman was holding her up. The hand at her breast reaches to between her leg, and she whimpers as fingers brush against her clit.

“The name is Emma.” The Dark One murmurs into her ear, before pulling away and starts to fuck her with the strap, holding her steady as she fucks her into an orgasm, not even stopping at the second, or third one.

Its only as she flips Roni over, her mouth closing over her clit, that she remembers to soundproof the hall.

***

“Why don’t you just claim her?”

“Isn’t she yours?”

“Look at how she yearns for you. Her heart belongs to you.”

“Just take her.”

“Her powers with ours will be magnificent. Just think of all you two can accomplish.”

“Just one taste. Let us take a taste of her magic.”

Regina finds her hand with jagged cuts into it, her hand trailing carefully against her smashed forehead, the mirror next to her broken into pieces. She doesn’t ask her this time what the whisperings tell her to do.

 

***

The Dark One couldn’t really focus on the audience in the hall. It was so hard to pay attention to their requests when all she could think about is how she fucked Regina right there. How the throne chair still smelt like the woman. And whether she could bring the woman here and fuck her right in front of the people. Or would that be too much for Reg—Roni?

She needs to play along and call the woman by the name she prefers. She wanted to believe the woman she kissed was Regina, but the woman she fucked seemed completely different than what her body expected the woman to be. Roni it is, then.

And there she is, yawning as she enters the hall, making her way to the back of the room. That won’t do. She motions for her to come forward and is amused by Roni’s surprise at being seated right besides her.

The audience barely whisper at the new person sitting next to her before she gives them a look, and they all go back to their own business.

Roni leans into her, and she expects the woman to protest at her seat. “You’re sitting there as though we weren’t just a few hours ago fucking right in that spot. Are you enjoying knowing that the seat is still wet and no one knows?” She murmurs, then sits back into her seat normally.

The Dark One guffaws, causing some to look up at her. She really didn’t expect /that/ from Roni. Well, then. Two can play that game. She leans back into her seat, a mask of indifference falling into place, while her hands whirl as she conjures up the toy and a spell.

 

***

Roni looks on to the hallway, noting that none of them were women. She has come to understand that the Dark One (Emma, she remembers, with a slight blush at /that/ memory) only brings them here to either punish or make an example of. It seemed she was bias towards women, and Roni knew even women could harm children, if her mother was any example. She glances to the blonde, disappointed that her comment did not rile her up. She seemed bored, and barely looks to Roni, even with the woman gazing at her. She plans to murmur another comment to throw her off when she suddenly feels something between her thighs. She jumps from her seat.

“Are you alright?” The Dark One asks, eyes still on the audience.

“Yeah..” Roni frowns, but shifts in her seat again. A few moments again she feels the vibration, this time something tickling against her clit.

“What the ---” Before she can even get up, she feels invisible hands keeping her in place, and another one cupping her between the legs. Glancing to the Dark One, she spots the smirk on her face, and catches on.

“What are you doing?” Roni hisses, eye twitching as feels the hands fondling her breasts, unable to shift in her seat for release.

“Seeing how long you can control yourself.” The Dark One shrugs, and Roni bites back a shudder when that action has her breasts lifted and squeezed, an invisible knee nudged between her legs.

“Fuck—” And that word alone seems to bring the idea to life, as something like a vibrator brushes against her clit, and her head falls down as she bites her cheek. She will not cry out in pleasure infront of all these people.

“That is the idea.” The Dark One motions with her hand, seeming to call the next person forth, while Roni whimpers as the same motion applies to a hand smacking her ass, and against her clit at the same time.

“Feeling okay there?” The Dark One asks, and a few heads turn to glance to Roni. As soon as they turn, the Dark One spells them all to have their eyes on the ground, and orders them to leave.

Roni feels smug that she won, whatever this round was. The Dark One seems to sense her smugness, “I don’t intend to share your reaction with these men. Now then,” she tells her as she gets off the throne, facing Roni. “Come for me.”

And with that, the invisible hands stop at their teasing, and the Dark One leans in to touch Roni herself, sifting past her jeans to rub once, then twice before slipping two fingers into her. Leaning in, she rests her head against the chair as Roni pants into her ear, crying out Emma’s name as she comes at the fourth thrust.

She sags against the chair, catching her breath, the woman’s fingers still within her. She’s not given a moment before she finds herself transported to The Dark One’s room, with the woman pressing soft kisses against her skin. She’s surprised by how gentle the woman is, and guides her hand to her lips, tasting herself on it. That has the Dark One’s eyes darkening, and flipping her over the bed.

“Someone is needy..” Roni teases, a breathless gasp escaping her lips as the Dark One spreads her thighs, tongue flicking between wet folds. In this position Roni spots the chains in the corner of the bedroom, and feels a jolt of arousal.

“All this time you had your power and magic, yet you kept me chained in that cave to keep me from running. Enjoyed seeing me in them?” Roni hums, glancing back at the Dark One. She expected some refusal, even an annoyed rebuttal. But she sees the woman freeze, and she grins, turning around, placing her hands over her shoulders.

“My safe word is apples. I don’t mind being chained while being fucked.” Roni murmurs, and feels her clit throb at the look the Dark One gives her. The woman straddles her stomach, placing a chain on each hand, and tying them to the headboard, all the while her eyes never off of Roni. As soon as the lock clicks, the woman leans in and kisses Roni, tugging at her hair.

“Call me ‘Emma’ again.” She hisses to Roni after, with three fingers thrusting in and out of her. Roni comes while crying out the woman’s name, hands straining at the chains as Emma drives her into another orgasm.

 

***

Later, the Dark One watches on as Regina sleeps, floating off the bed. The Dark One had sensed the woman’s magic, but she did not think the woman knew herself yet. She keeps watch of Regina while she sleeps, ignoring how the dark magic whispers to her to get rid of Regina before it is too late.

***

The kids have made a mess out of her outfit. With winter gone, the kids play with mud and sticks, and Roni is not exempted from being pulled into a mud battle. She gave up on staying clean throughout the day, enjoying how the kids keep her mind off Emma. She blushes as she remembers their last fuck, two weeks past. The woman was off stealing children away again, and left Roni to see the kids. Now she had free reign around the castle, and started to get used to living without her phone or wifi.

The kitchen staff start calling out for the kids for lunchtime. They run off inside, with Ivy staying on with Roni. She’s become fond of the child, even as she furrows her nose at her.

“Do you not bath where you come from?” Ivy asks, and Roni rolls her eyes, pulling at her tanktop. She forgo the leather jacket as soon as it stopped snowing in the area. Ivy suggests a lake not from there, one that is secluded, and Roni takes up on the idea.

It didn’t take her long to find it, and she stood in awe just from how untouched by civilization it was. It could be a picture on one of those touristic maps, that pushes people to give up their work life and move to the island.

Seeing no one for miles, and Ivy reassured her that no one visited the lake, she pulls her tank top over her head, and kicks off her jeans then dives in. The water feels refreshing, and she smiles as the sun warms her face as she breaks off the surface. She swims around, enjoying the feel of the cool water, the freedom the lake gives her to roam.

The second time she dives into the water and comes out, she hears Emma calling out.

“Oh, I see a mermaid.” Roni smiles and turns around, finding Emma lounging at the edge of the lake, her feet dipping into the water. She doesn’t know when she started to see the Dark One as Emma, but she still wouldn’t call her name outside the bedroom.

“Careful, or I’ll bite.” A flash of something crosses Emma’s eyes, but she still smiles, and starts to unzip the leather outfit down her body. Roni’s eyes unabashedly looks on as the woman strips, feeling her arousal coiling in her body. She couldn’t get used to the way her body reacted to seeing Emma’s skin.

Laughter fills the area as Emma dives in and tickles her under the water, not caring if anyone hears their screams as they tug and play, or their gasps as Emma shows her how long she can breathe underwater, as she eats her pussy out.

***

“We came here one time.” She tells Roni, the woman resting within her arms. Both naked as the day they were born, they lay by the lake, the Dark One trailing her fingers down Roni’s shoulder, watching the sunset. Tasting the woman was never enough, but she enjoyed having her in her hold as well, and was content with just sitting here with her.

“Yes, you and the mysterious Regina. Of course you did.” Roni huffs, and the Dark One smiles despite herself.

“Is that jealousy I hear in your tone?” She hums, her hand snaking down to cup Roni’s breast, flicking at her nipple. The woman retaliates with turning over, straddling the Dark One, rotating her hips. It has the desired affect on the Dark One, feeling her clit hardening at the way the woman rides her.

“No.” Roni growls, but stills in her teasing. She studies the Dark One’s face, cupping it. “I’m sorry you still couldn’t find her.”

“It doesn’t matter. I found you instead.” She answers truthfully. Roni leans down to kiss her, and this time instead of feeling arousal, a light explodes around them, and she finds the woman opening her eyes and coming face to face with Regina.

“You…”

 

***

“What do you mean, it would kill her?” Regina asks Merlin, trying to get his attention. The man was lost in his books, fumbling from one book to the other, flipping through pages as he tries to find what he is looking for.

“I mean, if you use that spell, it would kill the dark one.” Merlin mentions, moving to another table and pulling out other books. The man’s library was a mess, and worse after Regina and Henry joined in trying to find the cure.

“Isn’t that the point? To kill the dark one?” Regina asks, getting weary of the back and forth.

“Yes, but Emma is tied to their force. If you kill the dark one now, it would also kill Emma.” Merlin explains.

“Then what is the point of the spell?” Regina groans, slamming the book shut as she closes her eyes, trying to reign in her composure. They’re so close, and yet still no results.

“The spell is all you need, but first Emma needs to somehow be separated from the dark magic. If her soul is not entangled with their power, she will survive.” Merlin finally looks up from his book, glancing to Regina. “We need to find a way to split them from each other.”

 

***

“You’re awake,” The Dark One starts, and Regina jumps back, jostled by where she is. She magics on clothes, and feels her cheeks reddening as the memories come back, including what Roni has been up to with the Dark One.

“Excellent.” The Dark One forces out, seeming to not care she was naked. Reeling her emotions in, she sits up and gazes at Regina. “Where is Henry?”

“You won’t have him.” Regina replies before unfurling a fireball. She hesitates in unleashing it, and that’s all the second the Dark One needs to jump up and magic behind Regina, reaching for the dagger. Regina quickly turns around and throws the fireball, missing the blonde by a few hairs. She starts pulling up a defense ward as the Dark One starts attacking her, and despite being asleep for a long time, the magic comes back to her, and she starts regaining her foothold against the Dark One.

But its still not enough. In between spells the Dark One poofs herself to the ground, and pulls at the woman’s leg. Regina tumbles over, but doesn’t hit the ground as the Dark One holds her into a tight lock hold. Pressed against the Dark One, Regina tries to catch her breath, confused by the arousal she feels as well.

“Emma, I know you’re in there somewhere, you can fight this.” She starts, her voice then muffled as the Dark One kisses her, and she’s lost for a few moments in it.

“Stay with me. We could rule this castle together. I don’t even need the kid. Regina or Roni, we could be so good together.” The Dark One hums, Regina sensing the woman was close to begging. Regina uses the momentum to hit her head backward into the blonde, getting her to release her hold onto her, and turns around to face her.

“I don’t care for the power. Emma Swan, you better fight this shit, or so help me god—” Her words are disrupted as the Dark One slams into her, and they tumble into the lake. Regina uses her magic to float upwards, but feels the Dark Swan clamping onto her leg, and not letting go. They fight as they magick from one place to the other, Regina using Roni’s skills to sneak a punch at Emma. It has the Dark One flying off, and just as she goes for the second punch, the Dark One stops holding back, and uses her magic to freeze Regina in her stance.

“God damn it, woman, I don’t want to kill you, stop being annoying.” The Dark One starts, eyes turning red as she approaches the frozen Regina. A few steps and she freezes in her place, looking confused. Then suddenly drops to her knees, hands to her head as she starts to scream.

“Emma?!”  Regina calls out, rushing to her, the spell broken. She reaches for Emma, but steps back at the sudden thrust of the woman’s face upwards, catching her gaze.

“Regina, its time. Do it.” She can hear her Emma in the voice.

“I can’t! The spell, you’re inside the dark one, if I use it –”

“You have to do it, now. There is not much time, I can’t hold them back any longer. Do the spell, Regina. Do it!” Emma cries out, and Regina can see how she struggles, how the darkness take over her eyes again. She grits her teeth and motions her hand into the circle Merlin taught her, and keeps her gaze with Emma as she pushes the spell into her. The Dark One reaches for her neck, squeezing it as she tries to strangle her, but by then Regina pushes the whole spell and utters the word that enacts it.

The woman’s hold on her neck relaxes, and she topples over.

 

***

Its so very dark in here. So very cold. And dark. Darkness covered her, shrouded her from the noises she hear. It made her feel sleepy, feel the need to close her eyes and let it overcome her.

The light is what wakes her. She calls out, her voice the only sound echoing back. She sees where the light is, and how the dark waves tempt to snuff it out, only to flicker back as they touch it.

She starts to remember, and starts working on making more room for the light. Pulling at the dark tangles, it feels like a year until she has one unraveling away. And starts on the next one.

A name keeps repeating in her mind, urging her on. She knew she can depend on it, on Regina to find her and eliminate this darkness.

***

Regina pulls the woman into her lap, looking for a pulse. She finds one, weak, but still there. The woman’s eyes remain closed, the dark tangles seeping out of her body doing nothing to waking her. She keeps calling out Emma’s name, trying to wake her. Her hands motion over the blonde’s body, looking for something to heal. But a quick scan shows that nothing is wrong, and Regina swears as Emma still doesn’t wake up.

Biting her lower lip, she wills the tears to not spill, and leans in, whispering to Emma in a desperate voice, “Please come back to me.” She closes her eyes and kisses the blonde, wishing with all her might. This time, no light explodes or surrounds them.

This time, Emma just kisses her back, her hand touching Regina’s face as she cups her cheek and pulls her in.

“Took you long enough.” The blonde murmurs, and Regina smacks her, laughing as she kisses her through her tears. They stay there in each other’s hold, until Ivy finds them there.

“Is Emma back to normal?” The girl asks, and they both look up to her, smiling. Regina’s eyes widen as she recognizes Ivy, while Emma replies, “Yeah, kid. I’m back.” She turns to look at Regina, eyes worried. “Lets bring our son home. Where is he?”

“He’s fine.” Regina kisses her cheek, looking up to Ivy. “Aren’t you, Henry?”

The girl looks back at them, a smile slowly spreading her cheeks. “Yeah, I’m good, Ma. Mind turning me back into a boy now?”

Emma blinks. People later on at the castle would tell them they could hear her voice ringing throughout the castle, yelling “THIS WHOLE TIME?”

That is, if they can get in between Emma and Regina’s kissing session, with Emma’s room door locked and soundproofed. (they kept the chains, though.)