“Emma, are you sure you don’t want me to come over?”
“Moooommm, for the last time, I’m a grown woman. I can be at home alone for a few hours” Emma groaned, exasperated. This was the fourth time her mother had called to ‘check on her’.
“I just think you should have some company”
Emma rolled her eyes. Snow wasn’t fooling anyone, “Mom, why don’t you just go ahead and say you think I going to get cold feet”
“No, Honey, no, of course not, it’s just weeelll…”
“You do know who I’m marrying right?” Emma deadpanned
“I know, but do you?”
“You honestly think I would run away from my wedding, my wedding with Regina. I know I can be a bit of an airhead sometimes, but I’m not insane”
“Well, you’ve never really had much fear when it comes to Regina and if you were to-”
“Mom, If I stood up Regina, she would hang me and burn my strangling body to a crisp”
“Okaayyy, but you would tell me if you were nervous right?”
“Ugh! I promise you if I get nervous, you’ll be the first to know”
“I still think I should come over until it’s time to go to the station”
“Mom! I…wait, I thought you were going to be at town hall with Regina”
Her mother made a displeased noise in the back of her throat, “Regina said I wasn’t allowed to come anywhere near town hall until the ceremony”. There’s more to that story than she’s letting on, but Emma doesn’t bother asking. She’ll find out later when she inevitably gets yelled at for whatever idiotic idea her mother deemed necessary to share.
“She also told you not to wake me up before my alarm today, but here we are, talking at…9 am when I should have been asleep till at least 11” She points out instead. She’s still pissed about that. She hadn’t realized how much her sleep depended on Regina until she had to sleep without her. Her sleep had been incredibly fitful without the brunette by her side and if she had to guess, she probably didn’t get any decent sleep until around 2. Not only that, but when she did finally manage to get some sleep she was thrown into the most wicked awesome dream of her life. She was a superhero and Regina, naturally, was her nemesis turned lover and they had been getting ready to fight a supervillain together when her phone rang.
“I had a feeling” Snow says, completely unapologetic.
“Your feeling probably killed Savior Swan” Emma mutters under her breath. God, she hardly ever had dreams that good and to think, all that hard work getting into dream Regina’s pants gone to ruin with one single phone call. If she wasn’t tired as shit, she’d magic her lovely mom a whole new perspective on life. She’s honestly considering banning the woman from the wedding.
“What was that, honey?”
“Nothing” She rather her mother not know the tragedy she has caused her daughter. That way, she won’t see the revenge coming. “Look, I got to go. I’ll see you at the station later, so please stop calling me”
“Wait! I wasn’t done talking-”
“You’re never done talking” Emma snarks, rolling her eyes again.
“Emma! That was rude”
“Yeah, well, so was waking me up this morning, but I don’t see you apologizing”
“I told you already! I had a-”
“Feeling, yeah, I heard. Not that I’m not grateful for your misguided concern and all, but I do actually have a few things on the to do list I have to complete before I have to start getting ready at the station. So, I’m going to let you go now”
“Wait! Emma, what are those things? Maybe I can help”
“Bye, mom. Don’t bother calling back, cause I won’t answer”
“God, that woman” Emma sighed, slumping backwards over the armrest of the couch. Her phone rang again and groaned when she saw that it was her mother. She was tempted to block her, but knowing Snow, she’d just call from different numbers until Emma answered. She decided to just leave her phone in den and go to kitchen in search of food.
“This is it folks” Emma says, imitating a sports announcer’s voice. She’s standing at the top of stairs, peering over the railing to the grape littered foyer below. “This is her last chance. If Emma Swan can make this shot, she will become the world’s number 1 magic grape ball champion. Her prize you ask? Well, ladies and gentleman, if Emma can make this shot, Regina, her beautiful fiancé, will take her last name and…Regina will do that thing Emma likes in bed tonight. So, as you can see folks, Miss Swan has a lot riding on this last shot. Does she have what it takes?”
She finishes her monologue with an imitation of a crowd screaming and cheering her on. “Emma, Emma, Emma” she whisper-shouts in lieu of a crowd. When she’s done making her name sound like its echoing off the walls, she reaches into her snack baggie, curtesy of Regina, for the last grape. Last grape in hand, she lets the empty bag float to the ground below and takes a deep breath. She focuses on her magic, pulling it to the surface and getting ready to teleport. She winds her arm back when her magic is at the brink of bubbling over and starts a quick mental count down. With lightning speed, she whips her arm down and sends the grape flying through the air to the floor below. Just as quickly, she poofs to the foyer and opens her mouth, intent on catching the edible projectile.
“Ouch!” instead of landing in her mouth like she predicted, the high-speed berry slams right into her eye, exploding on impact. Clutching at her now weeping organ, she’s almost glad the grape missed. It probably would have hit the back of her throat and killed her. “Alas, Swan did not have what it takes to become a champion. She’ll have to settle for hyphenated names. Fortunately, it’s her wedding night so that other prize might still be on the table. That is, if she can clean up this mess”
“Man, that was a drag” Emma grunted, having finished the paperwork she’d been told to complete by one at exactly one on the dot.
It was last on the list of things she had to do and now with it out the way, she was officially bored (not that paperwork was fun). Too bad Henry thought spending the night in the vault with his mother was cooler than playing video games all night with Emma. They could have had so much fun, but nooo, he wanted to sleep in that creepy ass vault.
“News flash for you kid, your dead grandfather’s also sleeping in that vault” is what she wanted to say yesterday. She didn’t, of course, because that would have scared the kid shitless and Regina would have hurt her, but she thought it and that’s what counts.
Wondering into the kitchen, she opens the fridge and her eyes light up when she spots something she hadn’t seen earlier. “Thank you, babe” she singsongs to herself as she snags the parfait from the top shelf. She’s halfway through the delicious snack when she notices something else.
“Oo, parfait and a love note. My, my, my Regina’s trying to spoil me”
Emma, I’ve made you this treat because
I trust that you are going to do your paperwork and packing
on time today like I asked you to do and that you
won’t do anything stupid and get hurt on our wedding day.
Also, if you go on your morning run today, please
avoid the west side of the forest. There have been a few reports of strange
sightings and the brush is too thick for a normal run.
I’m serious Emma, if you come to the wedding
with cuts and scrapes all over your face, I will string you up by your toes.
Well, that was less of a love note and more of a warning for Emma to be good, but she signed it with their soon to be last names so Emma will take it.
While she finishes the rest of her parfait, Emma ponders the last part of Regina’s love letter. Between Snow’s obnoxious phone calls, her chores and all the goofing off she’d been doing in between that, she completely forgot about her usual morning run. Her morning runs always helped her wake up and clear her head before she started her day and now that she knew she skipped it, she realized just how much she could use it right now. Not only was she still tired, but she was starting to get the jitters from being cooped up in the house and excitement for what was going to happen later today.
The clock read 1:45 which meant that she had a little under an hour and a half to be at the sheriff’s station for her hair and make-up and last-minute adjustments to her suit. Her runs usually took an hour to complete so if she got dressed now and ran straight to the station for a shower instead of home, she’d make it just in time.
Her phone rang just as she was reaching for it and she huffed when she saw that it was her mother. The woman was relentless. Why was she even calling? She was going to see Emma in an hour. Making a split-second decision, Emma tosses her phone back onto the couch and heads for the door. She wouldn’t be able to focus on her run if she had to keep hitting mute every few minutes. Besides, she didn’t really need her phone today anyways, it wasn’t like was taking any calls and if someone really needed to reach her, everyone knew she’d be at the station later. She’d be fine without her phone for an hour.
“What’s wrong mom?” Henry asks, noticing his mother’s face pinch up for a second. “Did you get poked?” he asks, gesturing to the seamstress whose taking in the dress a bit around the waist.
“No, I’m fine darling” Regina smiles sweety at son before frowning in annoyance. “My wards picked up on some magic inside the house, it seems your other mother is playing with her magic again”
“Most likely” she sighs pinching the bridge of her nose. “I knew you should have stayed with her last night”
“But I wanted to spend the night with you in the vault”
“I know, dear, but our insurance won’t cover anymore Emma related accidents and, quite frankly, this is too important of a day for your mother to be your mother”
“I’m sure Ma wouldn’t do anything too stupid; she’s knows better than to ruin this day” at the look his mom gives him, Henry sighs. “I’ll run by the station later and make sure she’s in one piece”
“Thank you, dear” she smiles, watching her son go back to his comic. “oh, and Henry?”
“If my beautiful corridor is covered in smashed grapes again, I’m going to have your mother hung and hold you personally responsible”
Henry swallow’s and nervously clears his throat, “Right, well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that”
“Hm, that’s weird” Emma muttered, stopping at what she thought was the intersection to her favorite trail. She could have sworn the old maids trail was to the right, but according to the sign, it was to the left. Her instincts told her to go right anyway, but if she was wrong and the right path really was the little piggy’s trail then that would take her west and Regina told her not to go that way. She did tend to zone out when she ran, perhaps she just got turned around bit. With a shrug, she went left.
She was a few meters in when she hears something odd and stops once again. Holding her breath, she closes her eyes and listens closely. It takes a moment, but eventually the noise starts back and Emma’s eyes snap back open. She has to bite back her anger when she realizes it’s a child crying. Living in a town full of fairy tale characters with incredibly dated beliefs, meant finding unwanted children abandoned in the forest was a fairly common occurrence. They tried to spread the word about leaving children at the fire and police stations instead, but few actually cared to followed that suggestion.
Emma leaves the trail and follows the sound until she reaches the top of a hill and can see a little figure hunched against a tree below.
“Hello? are you lost buddy?” at the sound of her voice, the kid jumps up and dashes through the brush with such amazing speed, Emma almost has to do a double take. “Hey! kid wait! Its sheriff Swan. I’m not gonna hurt you!”
The kid doesn’t listen so Emma gives chase, stumbling down the hill as fast as she can. The kid is fast, too fast, and short enough to duck and dodge around sticks and bushes. Emma has no choice, but to run into most of them just to keep up, hopefully Regina will find it in her heart to overlook the scratches. The kid starts getting further and further away until the only indication she has that she’s going the right way is the wiggling of the bushes he’s past through.
“Err! where did that little bastard go?” she sputtered upon entering somewhat of a clearing. “Yo! Kid!!! Come on, come out. It’s just the savior!!” she glances around until she spots a little shadow dart behind a tree and smirks. “ah, ha gotcha” she mutters.
Creeping up to the tree, Emma swings around it, arms out to catch the little turd before he can dart. Only…he’s not there.
“How did he-” before she could process what was happening, something grabbed her legs and the world went black.
“Ohhhh, my head” Emma whines, clutching at her throbbing head. Her entire body feels weird and when she gets her blurry eyes to focus, she sees why. “What the fuck!!!” she exclaims.
She’s upside down, suspended nearly 2 stories in the air by her ankles. Her head throbs not only from being upside, but also from being knocked out. There’s a small puddle of blood below her from a gash on her forehead. Her watch reads 3:30. She was supposed to be at the station at 2:30.
“Welp, Regina’s going to murder me” she sighs sadly, already resigned to her fate. “Better not waste any more time”
Taking a deep breath, she focuses on her magic. Teleporting to the station after using so much magic today is probably going to put her back out for a little bit, but it’s better than walking and being even later than she already is. She paints a picture of her office in her mind, aiming for the couch to cushion her fall, and summons her magic to teleport. Like earlier, her magic builds until it’s at the very brink of spilling over and then….it fizzles out.
“Huh?” Emma blinks, confused. She tries again and gets the same result. “Okay, what the actual fuck?”
She tries again and again and again and again, each time, nothing happens. She starts to get winded from the amount of times her power just dissipates right at its peak and she has to stop to catch her breath. Of all the times her magic had to quit on her, it just had to be now.
“Why do these things happen to me?” she whines, running her hands over her face in annoyance. She lets herself bask in her misery for a full minute before pulling herself together. “Okay, guess I’m getting down the old fashion way”
‘It’s a good thing I work out’ she thinks as she does a sit-up in the air. She grabs her shins when she gets up and holds herself there for a moment to work out a plan. She decides the best course of action is to hold the rope while loosening the noose so she doesn’t fall when her feet are out. One hand grabs the knot while the other grabs just above it and she tries to ease the knot up. With her putting lax on the rope above the knot, it should loosen and come right up, but it doesn’t. Each time she gets the rope even the slightest bit loose, it seems to slide back and tighten even tighter than before. She stops when her ankle bones are press so close together, they feel like they might crack.
“Okay, okay, think Emma, think. If you can’t loosen the rope, what can you do?” she hugs her knees to remain upright and keep pressure off her head while she thinks. Looking up, she sees the branch the rope is hanging on is at least another two stories above. “Geez, someone’s really paranoid of bears” she mutters, pulling herself back up to her ankles.
She begins climbing the rope. She doesn’t have a lot of arm strength, but she’s pretty sure she can get herself to the branch. She was going to be sore tomorrow that was for sure. She keeps a steady pace, slowing pulling one arm above the other with little strain. It’s around the halfway mark when something strange happens. Her hands start tingling. She shakes them out, thinking they’re just tired. Though, as she continues up, the tingling increases. Shockwave after shockwave rip through her hands and arms until she’s gritting her teeth just to hold back groans of agony. Regardless, she continues, her mind set on going up.
“AHHHH!!!!” her hands fly off and she goes soaring through the air until the rope catches and she’s dangling by her ankles again. “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? MAGIC ROPE? REALLY?”
“Hey grandma, what’s up? I’m just about to head over to the station to check on Ma”
“HENRY!” Henry pulls his phone away from his ear with wince. If she didn’t sound so frantic, he would have yelled at her for nearly busting his ear drum.
“Hold on a sec grandma” covering the receiver, he glances up at his mother who’s eyeing him with a raised brow. He shrugs at her with an eye roll. “Just grandma being grandma. I’m going to head over there now”
“Alright, sweety. Call me if something is wrong”
“Everything is going to be fine mom. I’ll see you later, love you”
“I love you too!” his mother calls behind him as he steps out the door.
He waits until he’s down the hall to put the phone back to his ear.
“-and that is why I think Emma ran” he catches the tail end of Snows rant.
“Woah, hold up. Ran? Grandma what are you talking about?”
“EMMA’S NOT HERE” She screeches.
“Gram! Stop screaming in my ear and take a breath”
“Emma’s not here, I think she skipped town”
“Grandma, it’s only 2:35 and it’s Emma. She’s usually like thirty minutes late to everything, that’s why her appointment’s really at three”
“yeah, mom told Emma 2:30 so she’d be on time”
“But...the hairdresser is here”
“Well there’s always the off chance that ma is actually on time for once”
“I don’t know Henry. Marriage is a big commitment and I know Emma’s changed, but today might spook her”
“Grandma you should really have more faith in ma. She loves mom and she may be a bit of an idiot, but she’s not insane”
“I have a feeling”
“Sure it’s not gas?” Henry chuckles at his grandmothers shocked gasp. “Sorry. Anyways, I’m heading over there to wait with you so tell me about it then”
“HEEELLLPPP!!!!” Emma screamed. She’d been at it for thirty minutes now, but she was starting to think it was pointless. She needed another plan.
Suddenly it hit her, “Oh, I’ll just call someone!!” Emma exclaimed, reaching into her pocket for her phone. She facepalmed when she realized why that plan wouldn’t work. “Yes, I’ll just call someone with the phone I left at home because my mother had a fucking feeling. You happy now mother? your feeling was my death!!”
“HEELLLPPPP!!!!!” she tried one last time. “this isn’t working” she sighed.
Some shuffling below caught her attention and she canted her head back to look down. Picking around the undergrowth was a large raven. Emma mentally cheered. Help had arrived. Talking to birds was like a trademark of the fairytale folk. She’d never done it herself because, well, she was a sane person, but surly it couldn’t be too hard. Snow talked to birds almost every day so...
If her mother could talk to birds, so could she. “Hey! hey bird! Yeah you! I need your help. Go find my mom, you should know her, Snow white, she talks to birds all the time so you’re probably best friends with her. Anyways, go get her and tell her Emma’s stuck in the woods”
The raven stares up at her, his black eyes unblinkingly observing her as she dangles above him. His head rocks back and forth as if hypnotized by the gentle sway of her body from the breeze blowing through the trees. For a moment, the forest seems silent as they stare at each other. Everything around them fades away and it’s just the two of them communicating a silent understanding. Then the raven slowly opens his wings and Emma grins, thinking the bird was about to go get help. Except, his wings aren’t open to fly off and get help, they’re open because he’s decided her exposed navel looks like a snack.
“Gah!!! Stop…Ow!!.. Get... Get ow!! No..Fuck…Shoo..Ouch!!” She swats wildly at the bird as he pecks at her little outie. It’s a vicious fight and the bird’s determined. He’s also oddly good at blocking her blows with his feet. Finally, after what feels like hours, she hits him away and he flies a few feet to a tree branch level with her head. “Fuck you! you beady eyed bastard!!!” she growls when she rotates into his line of sight, the battle having caused her body to start spinning.
He tilts his head to the side, “Fuck you!” then flies away.
(Blink)…(blink)…did that…did that bird just... “Oh, yeah? Well, when I get down from here, imma fucking find you and fucking cook you and fucking eat you and then I’m gonna give your little foul ass mouthed beak to my wife so she can make potions with it!!! Yeah! NEVERMORE MOTHERFUCKER!!!” She calls after his retreating form.
“Hm, weird, Emma should be here by now” Henry frowned, glancing at is phone to check the time. “She’s never been more than thirty minutes late before”
“I knew it!”
“Grandma, where are you going?”
“I’m going to go catch Emma before Regina finds out and becomes The Evil Queen again”
Henry gives his grandmother a sour look, “You should really have a little more faith in them”
“T-pose aaannndd stop! T-pose…and stop!.. dammit…T-pose and stop”
She was doing just that, T-posing. She’d been slowly spinning ever since her battle with the raven. Hanging upside down was already a headache, but spinning…spinning was gradually driving Emma mad. She couldn’t handle both the pressure in her head and being dizzy. No, one of them had to go and since she couldn’t get down, she had to stop herself from spinning instead. Only, the task was proving harder than anticipated. She could slow herself to a near stop with a T-pose, but once she released the position, she’d start spinning again.
“Come on, come on…T-pose…and stop…dammit!!”
This was going to take a while.
“See grandma, the bug is still here; Emma wouldn’t leave without it” Henry points out as they round the corner to Mifflin street. “She probably fell asleep”
“At this hour? Henry, that’s prosperous, who could sleep this late?”
“No, no so somethings wrong, she wasn’t answering my calls earlier” There’s an odd lite to his grandmother’s voice, but before he can question her on it, she’s pushing past him to the front door. “Hurry up Henry, we have to investigate”
“Investigate? Gram’s it’s not a crime scene”
“We don’t know that. When I called her this morning-”
“Wait, called her? Didn’t mom tell you not call her in the morning?”
“Never mind that, Henry. When I called her this morning, she sounded out of breath and panicked and she was muttering something about a big battle, but I didn’t pay it any mind because Storybrooke hasn’t had any villains for a while. Now, with Emma obviously not here, I think it’s possible Emma was being targeted”
“We haven’t even opened the door yet, so no, it is not obvious that Emma is not here and we can’t dub her not here until then so please stop talking crazy”
“Well, stop dilly dallying and open it already!”
“I don’t appreciate your tone” he grumbled, turning to open the door. Something squished under his shoe as he stepped into the house and he grimaced, lifting his foot off the smashed grape.
“See! evidence of a struggle”
“No, it’s not. Emma’s just a shitty cleaner” He huffed; he was going to have to clean up the little bits of grape splatter Emma had missed. He didn’t understand how she could make such a big mess with magic, but not clean it up with magic.
“Sorry, but ma’s a slob” he grunted, picking up a lone grape and heading to the kitchen for some cleaning supply. “I’ll clean this up, you go get her from upstairs”
Snow dashed up the stairs, leaving Henry to the mess. She felt a little giddy, seeing as she wasn’t allowed in Regina’s room and had never seen the inside. She took the room in with awe. Elegant vanity, large canopy bed, a chaise sofa and a beautiful hardwood floor. If it wasn’t for Emma’s clothes scattered across what was obviously her side, the room could be used as a magazine setup. Snow was honestly a little jealous.
“Grandma, what’s taking ya’ll so long?!!”
Oh, right, she was supposed to be looking for her daughter. Emma wasn’t in sight so she checked the en suite, another room she quickly found she was jealous of. Emma wasn’t there or in the closet or in the spare room or Henry’s room. Snow ran back downstairs in a panic.
Henry rushed out the kitchen at her alarmed voice, “What? Why are you yelling again?”
“She’s not here! I told you Henry; Emma’s gone missing!!”
“Will you stop that! She probably just left before we got here. I’ll call her and ask her if she’s at the station yet” He dialed Emma’s number and put it on speaker phone so his grandmother could hear. He groaned when he realized there was an answering ring, sounding off somewhere in the house. He followed the noise to the den where Emma’s phone sat on the couch.
“That doesn’t prove anything, Emma forgets her phone all the time. We’ll just call the station” He dialed the station and frowned when the person who answered said his ma wasn’t there. Ignoring his grandmothers pointed look, he called Granny’s and got the same answer. Okay, now he was starting to panic. “Emma’s gone missing” he confirmed when the bakery also gave a negative.
“I told you! We have to…Wait, what are you doing?”
“I’m calling mom” he answered, dialing his mother.
“What!! No, why would you do that?!”
“If ma’s gone missing, mom needs to know”
“Nooo that’s a horrible idea, we have to find Emma and get her back before Regina ever finds out, hang up”
“Hello?” his mom finally picked up. “Henry?
“Hey mom, mmhm, gram’s stop that!” He darted away from his grandmother who was trying to cover his mouth”
“Don’t do it Henry” Snow whisper-shouted.
“Henry? What’s the matter, why is Snow shouting? Did something happen to Emma?”
“She’s going to kill us, Henry. Don’t tell her, please think of your little baby uncle. How will he survive without a mother and his nephew?” Snow begged.
“Shh, stop” He hissed.
“Henry Daniel Mills tell me what is going on this instant!”
“Um” His mother’s stern tone gave him pause, that and his grandmother dramatically mimicking being hung. Perhaps they should try to find Emma first. It couldn’t hurt to look. “Nothing! grandma was just freaking out because…uh, ma has a pimple!”
“A zit? That’s what the big fuss is about?” his mother asked, sounding skeptical.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s huge. It’s kinda grossing me out”
“Oh, you Charming’s are always so dramatic. Just pop the thing and put some alcohol on it”
“Oh, okay. Well, um, I’ll go tell them”
“Are you alright dear? You sound a bit jumpy”
“Oh, yeah I’m fine mom, everything’s fine”
“Are you sure Henry?”
“Yeah, totally. Anyways… gottagobye!” He hung up and looked at his grandmother. “If I go down for this, I’m taking you down with me”
“And a one, and a two, and a three…Oh, oh come on reach it, almost, shit”
She couldn’t do it anymore, hanging upside down. Her head throbbed, her ankles pulsed and her stomach burned like hell fire from periodically sitting up. Sadly, she couldn’t do anything for her ankles, but she could at least fix the head/stomach problem. The solution, two branches on a tree across from her. They were just high enough to level her head and low enough for her to reach. All she had to do was swing to them.
If she didn’t kill herself slamming into her tree, that is.
“Okay, almost there, almost, yes!... No!!!, stupid left hand and you wonder why I don’t use you”
Alas, she missed again.
“Oh…Oh, … This is a good swing, come on…YES!!! I AM THE CHAMPION OF SWINGER’S”
“That… didn’t sound right. Um, maybe the swinging champion, no… YOU KNOW WHAT FOREST, JUST FORGET I SAID THAT…I LOVE MY WIFE!!!”
Questionable victory aside, she did it. Her head and part of her back were horizontal, therefore relieving the stress of being held upside down.
“We should tell mom” Henry was getting nervous now.
“Nonsense, we’re close to finding her. I feel it”
“Again, with these feelings grandma! I don’t think they’re very accurate”
“Look Henry, if your mother finds out Emma went missing after I called her, she’ll kill me…Besides, we have to save the wedding”
“There will be no wedding if there’s no Emma”
“That’s why we have to find her”
“Mom can find her, she’s her true love. They have a magical link”
“We don’t need your mother Henry, I’m an excellent tracker”
“Grandma… We’re in the clock tower”
“All villains like the clock tower”
“It’s empty” he deadpanned.
“We don’t know that, they could invisible. I have a-”
“I swear to god grandma if you say feeling, I will push you down these stairs!”
“Hmphed, rude” she muttered. “I was going to say hunch”
“That’s it, I’m calling mom”
“No” Snow swatted the phone out of his hand.
“Grandma!!!” Henry screeched as he watched his phone fall to its death. “I paid for that!”
“I’ll buy you a new one”
“With what money!? You’re an elementary school teacher!!”
After making it onto the branches and resting there for some time, exhaustion and boredom had finally caught up to her. Despite her discomfort, she was able to doze off. Though something was determined to wake her up right now.
Something hit her square in the face and with a start, she tumbled from her resting place. As she swung through the air her blurry eyes could just make out the shape of a small figure below her. It must be the kid from earlier.
“Hey!! Ow, hey kid! Ouch!!... Ow! Stop hitting me with-OUCH- rocks…Ouch!!”
As the rope slowed down and her vision returned to her, she realized two things.
One… “THAT’S NOT A KID!!!”
And two, whatever that thing was, it was probably going to kill her.
“AAHHH!!! HELP!!! SOMEONE!!! HELP”
At her terrified cries, the little childlike creature gasps and drops his armful of rocks. He looks around panicked, like he believes her calls for help will suddenly bring a hoard of people to her rescued. A little wail escapes his lips and he drops to his knees, covering his head, dissolving into a fit of tears.
“AH?” Emma stops screaming, confused. With its two tiny horns, triangle pointed tail, and red tinged skin, she was sure this was a demon taunting her before it ate her. However, she’s pretty sure a demon wouldn’t cower like this little thing was doing, even if it was a kid. Whatever it was, it was definitely more afraid of her than she of it.
“Hey, what’s with all the tears? I’m the one who just got pelted with rocks” despite her gentle tone, the thing gasped again and hugged himself tighter. “Oh, hey now, none of that. What could I possibly do to you from up here?”
That got a reaction and he slowly peeked up at her. She offered him a smile when one white and one purple iris met hers. They were the most unique eyes she had ever seen.
“Wow, those are some pretty eyes you have their” Her complement got a little smile out of him. “There you go. Feeling better now?”
He nodded his head and wiped the tears from his eyes. He was still sniffling and shaking a little, but he seemed fine enough.
“Now, why were you throwing rocks at me?”
He frowned up at her for a moment before opening his mouth and, “Die beast!!” came out. She blinked several times. He didn’t move his lips and what came out, sounded like several voices. It was like he was playing recorded audio.
“Um, you thought I was going to kill you?”
Again, he opened his mouth and, “Err! where did that little bastard go?” Okay, now that was weird. That was her own voice coming out of the mouth of what looked like a little boy.
“Because I was chasing you?”
“Wait! did you switch the sign?”
He hesitated and that was all she needed.
“I’m not mad, just why?”
“You thought it would be funny?”
“Then why were you crying? was that a trick too?”
He shook his head ‘no’ and held up his hand. From her position she could just barely make out a cut.
“You got hurt…Did you know about this trap?”
“Was it set for you?”
“And you led me into it on purpose?”
It was a rhetorical question, but he didn’t know that and nodded guiltily.
“Its fine, what’s done is done. Can you get me down though?”
He shook his head.
“Ouch!” he parroted her voice again.
“It hurts you too…. Well, can you go get me some help?”
“Guess that’s a no” she sighed. “I’m Emma by the way”
“Emma” he mimicked.
“What’s your name?”
“You don’t have a name?”
Again, he shrugged.
“Well, what are you? Maybe I could call you that”
Once again, he shrugged.
“You sure don’t know a lot about yourself, do you? Okay, well I can’t just call you thing…Hmm, you were throwing rocks at me and you kinda look like a creature from hell…how about Igneous?”
He smiled and parroted the name, “Igneous?”
“Cool, Igneous it is” At that moment, her stomach let out a loud grumble. “Whoops, guess I’m hungry”
Igneous giggled and pulled off the satchel tied around his bare chest. Without warning, he tossed it up and giggled again when it hit her in the head. Luckily, she caught it.
“You’re a mischievous creature, that’s for sure” She grumbled, opening the bag. Inside was an assortment of nuts and berries. “Food!!! Aw, man you rock!!”
“What the hell are you two doing?” Regina demanded, appearing in her den. After the strange call from Henry earlier, she called Emma. When the blonde didn’t answer, she thought she might actually be busy getting ready and decided to wait for Emma to call her back, she always called back. After an hour had past and Emma had yet to call back, Regina grew suspicious. She called Emma again and still got no answer so she called Henry. When he didn’t answer, she knew something was up.
“AAHHH!!!!” Snow and Henry screamed in unison.
“Regina, what-what are you doing here?” Snow stuttered.
“I’m the one asking the questions here. Now, why are you two here and not at the station and why hasn’t Emma answered my calls or you mister?” she barked
“GrandmabrokemyphonebecauseEmma’smissingandshewouldn’tletmetellyou!!!” Henry was quick to cave, spilling his guts out in a single breath.
“HENRY!!!” Snow was appalled by how quickly her grandson tossed her to wolves.
“What?” Regina’s voice was deadly.
“Grandma called Emma earlier and said she was muttering something about a big fight and then Emma went missing and she left her phone here and I tried to call you, but grandma wouldn’t let me”
“HENRY!!!” Snow couldn’t believe it; her grandson was a snitch.
“Do not yell at my son, Snow White. Didn’t I explicitly tell you not to bother Emma today?”
“Yes, but I had a feeling-”
“A feeling? Was that ‘feeling’ a fireball to the face?”
“Please don’t kill grandma mom, she can’t help she’s dumb!!” Henry begged.
“Quiet, the both of you”
“Yes Ma’am” they both squeaked.
“You two are going to sit here and think about what you have done. Do not move until I get back”
“Good” Just before she left, Regina caught sight of the empty parfait glass in the kitchen. She rolled her eyes; she knew exactly where to look.
“Hey, wait! where you going?” Emma asked when Igneous suddenly stood and dusted himself off.
He pointed in the direction of the deeper part of the woods.
“You’re just going to leave me like this? I thought we were friends?”
He yawned and put his hands under his head to show that he was sleepy.
“Oh, you’re tired?” she watched his eyes droop. “hm, I guess you are little…and you’re still sure you don’t wanna get me some help?”
“Right, right…well, my wife probably knows I’m missing by now and will probably be here any minute. Well…if my mother hasn’t convinced her I skipped town. Anyways, I should be fine…I think”
“Fucking find…Igneous?” Emma chuckled at the use of her earlier words; She hadn’t been aware he was watching her for that long.
“You want to know if I’ll come back to see you?”
“Of course, man. I mean, you did switch up the signs on me and got me stuck in this tree and pelted me with rocks, but you fed me and you sat with me so your pretty cool”
He smiled and yawned again.
“Alright, buddy. Off to bed for you, sweet dreams pal”
“Sweet dreams…. Emma”
She chuckled, watching him stumble off. When she was sure he was out of ear shot, she sighed.
“Hanging solo, once again”
“Noooobody knooowsss the sorrows I’ve seeeeennn, noooobody-”
“Oh, you’re about to see some sorrows alright”
“Regina, my wife!!!”
“No, dear. Someone decided to go missing and I had to come find them so instead of happily reciting our vows at our moonlit ceremony, we’re here”
“Eh, all that fancy smanshy stuff doesn’t really count. What’s really important is that I’m yours and you agreed to be mine, so no take backies”
“Ah, how delightful” Regina hummed, pursing her lips.
“Did you read my note, dear?”
Emma sighed, she knew this was coming, “Yes”
“And what, pray tell, did that note say?”
“Not to go to the west side of the forest and not to get cuts and scrapes”
“And where are we right now?”
“The west side of the forest”
“And what is on your face?”
“Cuts and scrapes”
“And what’s this I hear about you running off to battle some villain?”
“Battle? What are you talking about? Storybrooke’s been clear for months”
“Your mother mentioned something about a battle”
“I don’t know what she’s talking. The only battle I can think of is the one I was going to have in my dreams before she rudely interrupted it”
Regina scoffed, of course Snow would take Emma’s sleep induced rambling seriously, “Then, if there was no battle, what are you doing in that tree?”
Perhaps it was the likely concussion she had or lack of oxygen from her lungs being compressed, but for whatever reason, the only thing Emma can think to say at that moment is- “Oh, hehe, ya know, just…hung up on your love” Regina doesn’t find that as amusing as she does and a fireball is quickly summoned to her hand. “NO! wait! babe, I’m sorry. It’s all Snow Whites fault, kill her not me!”
Regina quirked a brow, having a private chuckle over how quickly her two true loves would throw her ex-mortal enemy, their blood relative, under the bus.
“I’ve been her all day. The rope’s magic, I couldn’t get out of it and I didn’t have my phone. My head hurts so bad. Gina, please! Get me down, please, I’ll tell you everything!”
“Very well” with a flick of her wrist, the fireball she’s holding flies toward the rope and Emma panics.
“I thought you weren’t going to kill me!! AHHH!!!” the fireball burns right through the rope and she plummets toward the ground. Magic stops her just before she hits it. “Oh”
“Dramatic much?” Regina approached, accessing the true damage.
Emma looked away from her loves scrutinizing gaze, “Tch, wouldn’t be the first time you’ve tried to kill me” she muttered, pushing herself to her feet. The transition from being upside down to suddenly trying to stand caused her to grow lightheaded. Her weak legs buckled, her vision faded, and for the second time that day everything goes black.
“Idiot” Regina scoffed, teleporting them to the hospital.
A week later…
“Tell me again, why we are traversing through the woods”
Emma rolled her eyes, “Because if we use magic, we might scare Igneous”
“Ah, yes, the second reason we had to elope in the hospital”
“You’re the one who wouldn’t heal me”
“Aht ah, it’s Mrs. Swan-Mills now”
“Not when you’re being an idiot”
Emma pouted, “That’s not fair”
“Life often isn’t, dear…Now, as I was saying, in order to heal a concussed brain and a busted eye vessel, one must have an intricate understanding of both the eye and the brain. I may be well versed, dear, but even I have limits”
“I still don’t understand why you can’t just ‘poof’ the blood from my eye”
“Because, dear, when I agreed to be “yours”, as you so put it, you came with two eyes and I would like to keep it that way”
“Wait… Are you saying you wouldn’t love me if I lost an eye?”
“If you’re the direct cause of it, yes”
“That’s so messed up!”
“You married me, dear”
“Yeah, and you married me, what ever happened to sickness and health?”
“Hm, I do believe someone once told me ‘all that fancy smanshy stuff doesn’t really count.’ So, I have to ask, what about it?”
“Please stop using my own words against me” Emma groaned, trudging a couple of steps ahead. She ignored her wife’s amused chuckle from behind. “I just-Oof!” she grunted, falling onto her back as something heavy dived into her stomach.
“Emma!” a boyish voice squealed from atop her stomach.
“Igneous” She groaned, still recovering from being tackled to the ground. She didn’t even notice that he didn’t use her voice to say her name. “I know you did that on purpose, you little sour patch kid”
He giggled innocently as she stood with him in her arms and hugged her tightly around the neck.
“Yeah, yeah, you have a sweet side, I know how this works” she grumbled, hugging him back.
“Interesting, Imp’s rarely come in chimera and when they do, never this uniquely” Regina hummed, observing the creature in her wife’s arms.
Igneous gasped, finally noticing Regina, and tried to scrabble out of Emma’s arms. “Die beast!!” he cried out when she wouldn’t let go, but that didn’t make her let go either.
“Hey, no, no, you’re okay bud. Regina’s not going to kill you” Emma assured, holding him tighter. Then casting a wary look at the fascinated look in her wife’s eyes. “Right?”
Regina scoffed at her wife’s wary look, “Of course not, do you think I’m some kind of monster?”
Emma diverted her attention away from the offended brunette, wisely choosing to forgo mentioning the time she killed that sprite for rare ingredients after it bit her.
“See, your safe. I wouldn’t let anyone hurt you. We’re pals, remember?” Igneous still looked fearful until Regina conjured up a cupcake and though he didn’t reach for, his curiosity was peaked. “See, she’s nice…sometimes”
“Sometimes” Regina raised a brow.
Chuckling nervously, Emma grabbed the cupcake, handed it to Igneous and changed the topic. “So, he’s an imp? I thought Rumpelstiltskin was an imp”
“No, darling. Rumple is an impish man. This, this is an imp. A very rare one. In fact, this species hasn’t been seen in nearly a century”
“Wait, so there’s more than one type of imp?”
“Yes, several, but this one was thought to be extinct”
“How come?-oh, ah, Igneous!” Emma hissed, pulling the cupcake from her face. “you’re supposed to eat it” she huffed, shoving it in his face in return.
“Emma!” he exclaimed, upset his own actions were used against him. “Oh!” he gasped when he actually tasted it.
“See, its good you little asshole” she goaded, adjusting her hold on him. “So, extinct?”
“Yes, well, they were killed off for looking so much like human children”
“Oh, that explains things”
“Igneous, ew, I don’t want that!” Emma gagged when the smooshed cupcake was smashed into her mouth.
“Regina!” the boy-like creature offered his cake smeared hands to the other woman.
She grimaced, “No thank you, dear” she smiled at his pout. “Do you want another one?”
“No” Emma exclaimed, but it was overruled by Igneous’s frantic nodding. “Aw, don’t give him that Gina”
“Gina! You rock!!” he cheered.
Emma blinked, finally noticing the difference in his speech. “Hey, say that again”
“Weird, you didn’t use my voice and your lips moved. I thought you only mimicked. I didn’t know you could talk”
Regina’s eyes blew wide. Imp’s couldn’t talk unless…
“Emma, how did you learn Igneous’s name?”
“Huh, oh, he didn’t have one so I gave him one” She hummed nonchalantly, too distracted to notice her wife’s sudden dread.
“Oh, dear god” Regina groaned, covering her face. If you name an imp and the imp accepts that name, it became your familiar. Becoming your familiar allows the imp to form a mental bond, thus allowing it to learn to speak. Properly trained, imps were actually brilliant familiars for experienced sorcerer’s, but for someone like Emma….
“Ah! You little shit!!! you know magic?”
…They were trouble, “Someone hang me now.”