Black and white again.
I blink my eyes as I slowly return to consciousness. It's mostly dark where I am but I can see fire dancing on torches. My head hurts. A lot. And I can't move my hands, something is holding them. Squeezing them together. That hurts too. I gasp as I move what I can of my body to the side and that's when I see her. The ghost from the past staring right back at me. I close my eyes and open them again, just to be sure. She is still there. This is not going to be pretty!
"About time you woke up," She says "I've been looking forward to this chat for quite some time"
"Look, you don't know why I'm here," I say as I try to stand up.
I'm lying down on top of several rocks in what appears to be a cave. The rocks are sharp against my skin, and guess what? They hurt too.
"Oh, I know exactly why are you here," Tinker says "You are trying to find your son"
"I take by the restrains," I say as I look down at my wrists "You are not helping?"
"Hell, no. You are the last person I ever help, after how you burned me"
"Burned you?" I ask not following her thoughts "You are the one who interfered in my life"
"And threw away my own in the process"
"So, what you want from me?" I say and I can tell there is a spark in my eyes when I ask the next question "To kill me? You think it's that easy? Whatever you knocked me out I can tell it's not magic"
I reflect upon my own words. No, that was definitely not magic. It was too rough, too relapse, too raw. I try to pull through memory what could it be that she used on me to knock me out that fast, without giving me time to react. I moistened my lips before expressing my suspicion to the fairy.
"Maybe poppies, but they are wearing off. And since you had to resort to that" I say as I stand up from the ground "It only means one thing, you don't have magic"
I stare deep into her eyes and a hint of the old me runs through my veins. I want her to watch me as I get rid of those ridiculous ropes she used to restrain me. I'm nearly insulted! Did she really think that would hold me?
"But I do"
To my surprise, the second I get rid of the ropes around my wrist, the fairy stands up, holding something against my neck that even though I can't quite see what it is I can tell is sharp. Very sharp!
"Yeah, I know," Tinker Bell says "But even your magic can't stop this"
I look at her, feeling a bit of fear now. The look in her eyes tells me that it's not about the sharp end I should be worried about.
"Ever heard of Dreamshade?" Tinker Bell asks.
I look at her, really look at her now and a pang of sadness that I can't quite understand hits me. She is so very different now from the fairy I met, Gods knows how many years ago, back in the Enchanted Forest. She used to be this sparkly little thing full of hope and joy for life and now she is…dark, and dirty, and savage. This is not the Tinker Bell I knew. Did I do this to her?
"How the hell did you get like this?" I ask.
"I met you"
And there is my answer. But that's not fair, is it? I didn't ask for her help. I didn't ask her to use the pixie dust and spread it around the Enchanted Forest to find my one true love. That thing wasn't even right, how was a random man with a lion tattoo in a tavern my one true love? That's not even my type! It's not fair of her to blame me, to put this on me. She did that because she wanted to, she wanted to help, I didn't ask for it and I sure as hell didn't have to go along with it. A mix of anger and dare takes over me as I look at the savage fairy in front of me. She wants to be tough? She wants to know what real darkness looks like? What wanting to kill another really is? Well, she got it.
"Okay, you wanna kill me? I can make it easier"
I reach inside my chest and pull my heart out. Gods, that hurts. I forgot how uncomfortable it is to rip off your own heart.
"What are you doing?" I hear the fairy's desperate voice saying.
"You wanna kill me?" I ask holding my heart in front of her "Well, don't let the poison do it. You should do it"
I look at her and I see fear in her features. Are those tears filling her eyes? She keeps the hold strong of the pointing thing against my neck, the sharp ending scratching but not quite cutting.
"Go ahead," I say feeling powerful now "Crush it"
"You think I won't take it?"
"No, I'm counting on it," I say softening my voice slightly "Show me who you are, Tinker Bell"
She takes the heart from my hand before lowering the Dreamshade stick from my neck. Thank the Gods for that. That thing was really starting to bother me. Okay, she does have my heart in her hands now, but she had been staring at it for quite some time and still nothing. My bluff was right. She is not dark and twisted, she is just heartbroken, mostly because of me, yes, but deep, maybe very deep inside, she is still that fairy. A good fairy. A good person, unlike me.
But perhaps I spoke too soon. She squeezes my heart with her hand, not too hard but enough for me to feel that constriction feeling inside my chest. Shit, that hurts. A lot! I almost feel sorry for all those hearts I ripped and squeezed and turned to dust. Almost!
"Do you know what you cost me?"
She looks deeply inside my eyes and makes a shoulder movement before turning around and walks away. It seems like the two of us do that a lot in order to make a point. We are very similar that way, and I can help but think what a shame it is that she hates me that much. We could have been good friends, you know if I was one who knew how to do that. I also know why she did what she did. The thing that I cost her. I try to run away from it, I try to block it from my mind, I try and try and try but the guilty consumes me in a way I didn't even know was possible, especially without my heart.
"Your wings," I say.
My words sound more like a whisper.
I feel tears forming inside my eyes.
Why do I always have to ruin everything?
"Why?" Tinker Bell asks.
"Why what?" I ask confused "Why did I hand over my heart?"
"No! Why did you lie?" Tinker Bell screams "Because I've been over a million times and that spell worked. You never went in. It's the only explanation. Why didn't you just go through that door and meet your soul mate? Was been happy such a terrible faith?"
"Yes, yes, it was," I say "You are right I never went in. I was afraid. I didn't…You said I could let go of the anger that was raining me down and suddenly it felt like without it I would just…float away. That anger was all I had. What would I be without it?"
"Weak," I say.
The tears are falling down my eyes now and I hate just how choked my voice is. I'm not sure if I should tell her this or not, but since I'm out with the truth, the whole truth, maybe it's about time she knows everything.
"I didn't go in that night," I say "But I did meet him,"
"It happened a couple of weeks after that night," I say "I had a fight with Leopold, he was…He wanted me in his bed and I couldn't, I didn't want to. He forced me. After he dismissed me to my room I…The guard outside my door fell asleep and I snuck out of the castle. I went to the tavern and I found him, the man with the lion tattoo… He was nice. Easy to talk to. But I didn't feel anything"
"You are lying,"
"Why would I do that?" I say "It's the truth, Tinker Bell. It didn't work! It wasn't him"
"More lies," Tinker Bell says "It was him, the spell worked. I know it did. You are lying because you wanted to be powerful and strong but, what good it did you? That strength you gained? Because I'm holding your heart in my hand and I'm not hearing one truth reason not to squeeze it into ash"
"Alright, you wanna reason? Here you go! You think I'm lying? You think I was afraid? You think I did the wrong thing? Well, fairy, right now you are making the same choice. I picked revenge over hope. And you are holding the result"
I reach for her hand and, my heart so dark that I hardly believe it's mine. I don't even dare to think of all the horrible things I did for it to look like that.
"Small, hard," I say and then I lift it to her face "Dark heart. If you make the same choice I did then what you are looking at is your own future"
She let go of my hand with force and once again, she stares into my eyes. I look back at her ad I feel like I can see her whole soul, her pain, her doubts, and I can't help but feel responsible for them. Her spell didn't work. I'm sure of it. Had I go in that night, it wouldn't change anything. It wasn't him. But maybe, if I had handled things differently when she came to me, we wouldn't be standing here now. But then again, she might as well end up hating me for a completely different reason. She turns her back to me and I honestly don't know what to think of this whole situation. Perhaps the only way is by keep on being honest. That's kind of a bitch!
"I'm not gonna tell you what to do. The choice is yours. Kills me or…act like the fairy you are" I say.
"You said I was a terrible fairy"
She really was!
Terrible fairy. Good person.
"Well then prove me wrong. Pick hope over anger. Chose love and help me get my son back"
"You love your son?"
"Very much," I say "With Henry, I finally got something right. Don't you want to be able to say the same thing?"
"It's too late for me"
"Only if you kill me"
"I won't kill you," Tinker Bell says "But won't help you either. Besides, it's probably too late. He's been with him too long"
What is she talking about?
What exactly is that supposed to mean?
She looks down and hands over (sort of) my heart. I take it from her hand and I watch her go, not quite understanding what she just said. I understand the words but not the meaning behind them. What is that supposed to mean, he's been with him too long? Yes, Henry has been on this Island way longer than I had expected, but Henry is different. He won't break. That pest will not corrupt my son.
I look down at my hand, at my heart. It's so dark! But the glowing red under all that darkness is still bright red and I know with all that I am that it's thanks to Henry. My boy! The thought of my little Prince warms my soul in a way I didn't even know was possible without my heart beating inside of me. I take a deep breath as I push it inside my chest again, that familiar uncomfortable pain that always makes me lean forward as I push the magic organ inside. Doing that always throws me slightly out of balance.
"Where is Regina?"
I look at the cave's entrance as I hear my name. Is that…Is that Emma? Did she come back for me?
"Who the hell are you?" I hear Tinker Bell's voice asking.
"A piss off mother, where the hell is she?"
That's definitely Miss Swan!
Subtle and polite as always.
Why the hell did that just made me smile?
I take a big breath in before running outside. If I know the Charming clan (and I do) they are probably pointing all their pointing ends toys at her.
I do not need any more reason for that fairy to hate me.
I've done enough.
I speed up my pace and as I get closer to the entrance, I see that all my suspicions are right and I have to roll my eyes. So predictable.
"I'm fine," I say as I finally make my way out "I'm fine"
Emma says my name in a mix of whisper and relief and I'm shocked when she runs to me and wrap her arms around my body. And as this isn't already shocking enough, she starts to run her hands all over me, my face first, then down to my arms, checking for any sign of visible injuries. It's sweet and nerve-wracking at the same time and I don't even know what to feel about it at this very moment. I want so badly to hug her back, to bring her closer to my body again to assure her that I'm fine. The look of worry in her eyes is one that I have never seen before, perhaps from my father, but I definitely haven't felt the force of that stare in a very, very long time and all I want is to stay lost in this moment for a little while longer. This feeling of having someone else caring for me, the feeling of not being alone. But then I look at the faces in front of me, the puzzled look on Snow's eyes, and reality comes crashing down. I look at Emma and I want to be rude, I want her to stop looking at me like that, but I can't. I can't be rude to her, not like that. Not when she is looking at me like that. I reach for her right hand, the one still holding my wrist and I squeeze as I smile at her.
"I'm fine, Emma," I say with a nod "I'm okay"
"Do you mind lowering those?" Tinker Bell says "You may stick me but I'll take you down with me"
I let go of Emma as I need to stand up for Tinker Bell but the second I let go of her hands (Yes plural, one is my hand and the other is still holding my left wrist) I feel like a burning sensation where her hands were on me and my whole body begs for her touch again. This is torture. I still can't believe this is happening to me.
"She's okay," I say as I step behind Tinker Bell "She is not gonna hurt us so just, stand down"
"But is she going to help us?" Hook asks.
"Well, loot what The Queen dragged in," Tinker Bell says "Hello, Hook"
"She is not gonna help us," I say.
"Why not?" Emma asks standing beside me now.
"Tink, after all, we've been trough together…a little assistance?" Hook says.
Oh my God, Thinker Bell!
No wonder you hate me!
"She doesn't have any magic," I say in her defense.
"No pixie dust?" Charming asks.
I nod as that familiar guilty runs a marathon in my heart again.
"Not even her wings," I say.
"How?" Emma asks.
"I guess people just stopped believing in me," Tinker Bell says "And even if I wanted to help you, he's too powerful"
"But you know where Pam is?" Snow asks.
"Sure. But it won't do you a bit of good" Tinker Bell says.
"Can you get us inside his camp?" Emma asks.
"Maybe," Tinker Bell says and crosses her arms "Why should I help you?"
Typical Neverland Tinker Bell!
It's almost comical how different she is now from that fairy always meddling in everybody's business.
"Just get us inside and we'll take care of things from there," Emma says.
"And what's in it for me?" Tinker Bell asks "Other than a death sentence from Pam when you have gone with your boy"
"You can come with us," Emma says.
"That's right," Snow says "Home! That's what you want, isn't it?"
I look over at Tinker Bell and I see the hope in her face. One could even touch it as the perspective of finally leaving this damn island becomes something real.
"Okay, listen closely," Tinker Bell says "Pam trusts me, he will let me in, and maybe, just maybe, I'll leave a way open to you. But you only got one shot so you better have a good plan"
"Thank you, we will," Emma says.
I thank her too, even though I don't express it in words. Or gestures. Or at all. But I am grateful that she is going to help us. I am more than ready to leave this damn island with my son and surprisingly, Tinker Bell.