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The Never Told Story of Neverland

Chapter Text

“Everyone looks at me as the evil queen, including my son. Let me die as Regina”

The look on Emma Swan's face after I said that was almost one of pity. As if I needed her pity. But still, it warmed something inside my heart, I supposed. Henry would be okay with her. As much as I despised the woman who took my son away from me, he would be okay with her. She would protect him, no matter what. I knew that now. Henry was going to be safe with her and the Charming clan. They would care for him. And maybe, just maybe Emma Swan would tell Henry what I did that I saved everyone in this town, even though technically, I was the one who put them in danger, to begin with. But in the end, I’m going to die like a hero and that is all Henry cares about. It was all he ever cared about. In a way, it’s not such a tragic death. It could be worse, I’ve seen it. Hell, I inflicted worse myself. I looked one last time at Miss Swan and focused on the glowing diamond right in front of me. It was time to do this. I lifted my hands around it and closed my eyes as I needed to concentrate on letting my magic run through my body. It’s been a long time since I last used this much power and the feeling of all that energy running through my veins like thick blood is excruciatingly painful.

“Regina…”

I heard Miss Swan call my name one last time but I’m already too gone now. My magic has already taken over my body and all I can feel is the overpowering addiction that comes with it. I let it use my body as conduct while my entire essence, the very same thing that makes me who I am leaves my body in a poor attempt to delay the imminent doom that trigger represents. It was never supposed to happen this way. I was supposed to escape with my little Prince while everyone else in this town perish. Do I think I was in my write of doing so? Yes, I do. They deserve to suffer. They all do. Except, maybe, for Emma. I was the one who caused most of her pain. And she did give me Henry, sort of. Not that I forgive her for also taking him away from me. No! Far from it. But at least, in a way, I supposed we were always even.

It’s exhausting the feeling of being drained. I’m already starting to feel tired of being up so long and there is nothing that I hate more than feeling tired. The physical kind, not the mental. The mental tiredness has never left my body ever since Daniel died. It was always one plot after another to try and kill the I hated the most and after I did manage to trap her in the curse I created, I almost wish I hadn’t, sometimes. It gave me nothing to do, nothing to look forward to. Until Henry. My baby boy had changed my life and if there was one thing, I regrated the most is how poorly I showed him that. Perhaps dying for him would reverse that. I looked forward and saw my little Prince running in my direction. Was the magic so powerful now that I have started to hallucinate?

“What are you doing here?” I asked now seen the whole Charming clan with my boy.

“You were willing to die to save us. That makes you a hero” Henry said “And now we are gonna be heroes”

“No” I whispered, feeling how full of water my eyes were.

“We’ll open a portal and throw this thing into a void,” Charming said.

“No! You don’t know that it will work,” I said, stating the obvious.

“We have to try,” Snow said.

I looked at Snow, her eyes were so honest and hopeful looking back at me that for a moment, I let myself have hope. Perhaps I don’t have to die today. Perhaps there is still time to gain my son’s love back. I watch as Emma turns her back to me and takes a few steps to the front. My magic is vanishing me fast and it won’t take long before it leaves my body completely.

“It’s empty,” Emma said looking completely terrified “Hook!”

“I can't contain this much longer,” I said, feeling my whole body quivering in pain.

I watch Emma walk to where The Charming’s were, her face so full of pain that I almost feel sorry for her. She cries and calls the two idiots’ mom and dad, which I suspect it’s the first time the woman has ever done that. She hugs them and I feel my heartbreak a little bit as I watch the whole scene unfold. Yesterday, such a scene would bring me joy. Now, it just makes me feel sorrow and regret. I see Henry squeezed between them and then my brave little boy comes to me as more tears fill the already crowded space in my eyes.

“I love you, Henry. I only wish I was strong enough to stop all this” I said feeling the pain of disappointing my boy stronger than the pain of my magic leaving my body “I’m just not”

He hugs me and I feel so overwhelmed by the love that I feel for my boy. My kind heart boy is still capable of loving me even after everything that I’ve done and I can only wish that somehow, during the ten wonderful years that I had him just for myself, I was the one responsible for raising such a wonderful Prince. My magic leaves me faster now, my body wanting to split in half with the pain but at least Henry is hooked to my side just like he used to be when he was a little kid and that brings me some comfort, in a way. It makes it a little more bearable. I see Emma walking in our direction, her green eyes widened and I can't help but wonder what's going through her head.

“You may not be strong enough. But maybe, we are”

She is right. How could I have not thought of this? She has magic! True love’s magic, she is the product of true love. Realization strikes me like a lightning bolt as I silently nod to her. It could work! She looks back at me her eyes even more widened now and then I look to the side to see the Charming’s taking Henry away from where we are. I look back at Emma, watching her approaching the trigger and I can tell just how nervous she is. Understandable! She mimics my position and it doesn’t take long before I see her magic flowing out of her hands, mixing it with mine. I can feel how strong it is, how powerful and instead of draining me more, it gives me more power. Enough to bring a small smile to my face as I let myself have hope that this could work.

The power runs through me, I can feel every bit of Emma’s essence running in my blood now. I like it. I like the way her magic feels inside me as strange as it may sound. I can feel the power of the trigger lessening and the next thing I know I was thrown back, flying in the air before landing on my back on the floor. Ouch! That hurt. Maybe not as much as the magic leaving my body, but considering the pain my body was already in that felt like I had just been hit by a truck. I stand up and see the three idiots hugging each other while I walk to retrieve that lifeless little thing that nearly killed all of us. I hold it in my hand staring at it, feeling ridiculously proud of myself.

“We did it!” Emma said.

“Yes, we did,” I said, victorious at last.

“I gotta handed to Henry he is right about a lot of things” Charming said.

“Yes, he is,” Emma said, “Isn't that right, Kid?”

“Henry?” I call for him, not spying my little boy anywhere.

I follow the Charming clan as one and then the other calls out his name. Where is he? He wouldn’t just leave, that is not my little boy at all even though sometimes, I really wish he had a little sense of fear. I see Emma getting down on her knees and catch something from the floor. It’s Henry’s backpack.

“They took him,” Emma said.

I feel a wave of disbelief first before anger takes over me. They have dared to lay a finger on my little boy. I will enjoy killing them slowly. Whatever debt I owned to Owen it’s more than paid now. I will kill him just like I killed his father. We run out of the miners to the port. I’m still with the three idiots as this is my best chance at finding my son. I can't use my magic, my body is too spent for it. I see them near the water with Henry and anger is replaced with fear when I realize what it is that Owen has in his hand.

“The last bean,” I said “They opened a portal”

We all run in their direction but none of us is fast enough. I see Tamara and Owen jumping with Henry in the water and then the portal closes, and just like that my little Prince is gone.

“It’s bad enough that we don’t know where they went but Hook stole the last bean,” I said.

“I don’t care” Emma screams still being held by her father.

“Without it, there is no way to follow”

“It has to be. We can't let them just take Henry”

“They’ve taken Henry?” I hear Gold’s voice behind us.

“Yeah. You are the Dark One, do something” Charming said.

“Gold, help us,” Emma said.

“There is no way. I spent a lifetime trying to cross worlds to find my son. There is no way in the world without a portal”

“So, that’s it?” He’s gone forever” I said angrily “I refuse to believe that”

“What is that?”

The bookworm said and I follow her line of view. I see Hook’s sorry excuse for a boat approaching us and it doesn’t take long before his ship is anchoring.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Emma asked.

“Helping” It’s his answer.

“You are too late,” Emma said back.

“Am I?” He asks.

“I thought you didn’t care about anyone else but yourself,” Emma said.

“Maybe I just needed a reminder that I could”

He handles Emma a small leather bag and when Emma pours the content on her hand, I see a bean. My breath catches in my throat as I look at the small magical bean that will take us to where my son is.

“Enough waiting around let's go,” I said.

“Go? Where? I thought we were saving the town” The idiot asks.

“We already did” The other two idiots answer.

“We need to get Henry,” Emma said and I finally feel like I can breathe again “Greg and Tamara took him through a portal”

“I offer my ship and my service and help following them”

“That’s great Hook, but how do we track them?”

“Leave that to me,” Gold says behind us “I can get us to where we need to go”

I quickly walked up the ramp that takes us to Hook’s ship feeling hopeful now that I know I have the means to find my son. I look around that sorry excuse for a ship that for the life of me I cannot understand why that one hand pirate is so in love with it. It’s decadent. I see Gold and Hook walking towards each other like two ridiculous male alphas talking to each other. I don’t pay much attention to what they said but Gold has my full attention when he uses his magic and a globe-looking object appears. He let his blood falls on it as I take a step or two closer, watching the red dance in the white globe, paying attention to its every movement.

“Where is that?” I asked, “Where did they take Henry?”

“Neverland”

Hook finally says and we all stay still looking at each other. I have never been to Neverland before and I have no idea of the dangers that wait for us. But it doesn’t matter. I’ll face anything this realm has to throw at me. The only thing that matters is Henry. I am going to take my son back!

Chapter Text

I hold the ropes as the one-hand pirate started to move his ship towards the portal the bean had just opened. The ship is shaking badly, water splashing everywhere and I have to hold on to the ropes with a strengthen that I don't yet possess. It had only been a few hours since the trigger drained me of half my magic. It's hard, but I close my eyes and think about Henry, I think about how I felt when he was hugging, how he so proudly said I was a hero now. That gives me all the force that I need to hold the ropes as we fell into the hole in the water, the portal swallowing us whole. It happens fast and in a blink of an eye, we are in calmer waters now, the ship sailing smoothly under the dark starry sky.

"How long until we arrive in Neverland?" I ask the pirate.

"Three days," He says "If everything goes smoothly"

"Three days?" I hear Miss Swan asking behind me "That's too long!"

"Sorry love," Hook said looking lovingly at Miss Swan "I'll try my best to make the jolly roger get us there sooner"

"Thanks, Hook," Miss Swan said and I can't help but roll my eyes.

"Are there any accommodations here?" Snow asks "If we are going to be here for three days, we are going to need a place to sleep"

"Yes, of course," Hook says "Follow me"

I follow the clan of idiot's down the boat, trying my best not to touch the rotten wood. One could never know what one could catch by touching that filthy ship. He shows the accommodations under the nose and I wrinkle my nose when I see a bunch of double beds, four of them on each side of a small corridor. There is just no way in hell I'm sharing such a confined space with the Charming's. I keep walking down the corridor until I see a small room on the back. I pushed the door open and to my surprise, the small space shelters two beds in the same fashion the ones outside the corridor did. One next to the other. The room is dark and one could feel claustrophobic in it but I had worse. At least, it was private. I let myself fall onto the bed, the first bit of rest that I have since…Well, let's not think of that.

The bed isn't all that bad, and I readjust the pillow under my head and look up at the ceiling. It's all black apart from the little bit of lightning coming from the moonlight through the even smaller glass window on the opposite wall. I close my eyes and little white and red dots dance behind my eyelids. I let my thoughts go to Henry. Is my little Prince hurt? Hungry? Cold? Scare? I take a deep breath and promise myself that every single person involved in his abduction will pay severely for what they have done. I will personally make sure of that. Then I shake my head thinking about what would Henry say about that. He wouldn't like it. And I want to be better for him. I want to be worthy of him. For once, I want my son to choose me. His mother.

"Hey, do you mind if I crash here?" I hear Miss Swan's voice by the door.

"I came here because I wanted to be alone," I said "There are plenty of beds outside this room for you to crash"

"Trust me, Regina, having you as a roomie isn't exactly my idea of fun" Miss Swan says "But I need to rest, and Hook snores. A lot"

"Doesn't he have a Capitan cabin?"

"Yes, but apparently there is no bed in the room" Miss Swan says "So, whether you like it or not I'm crashing here"

"If you were going to force yourself in the room why did you even bother to ask?"

"It's called being polite" Miss Swan says "You should try it"

"I'm too tired to even argue with you," I said as I roll my eyes "Just lay down and be quiet"

"That's what she says," Miss Swan says and I hear a smirk.

"Says who?" I asked feeling confused.

"What?"

"You said 'that's what she says" I repeat.

"Oh," Miss swan says and let out a breath of laugh "That is…a joke"

"A joke?"

"Yeah, it's… It's dumb. Sorry!"

"Okay"

I hear Emma…Miss Swan opening the zipper of the boots she was wearing and then I hear her body softly landing on the mattress. She stays silent and I imagine she drifted off. I close my eyes again imagining all the horrible suffering I wish to bring upon Owen and Tamara. Oh, how would The Evil Queen enjoy making them pay for kidnapping her little Prince.

"Do you think he's okay?" I hear Miss Swan asking.

"I don't know," I said "But Henry is a brave boy. He'll find a way to hold on until we find him"

"I keep thinking of horrible ways to make them pay," Miss Swan says "I would murder them with both my hands if I could"

"Not very hero of you"

"I know" Emma let out a puff of air "And Henry would be so disappointed"

"He would," I said "He is the only reason why I may not give them a horrible death for taking him away"

"She killed Neal," Miss Swan says sadly "He was gone right in front of my eyes"

"I know. And I'm sorry" I say sincerely.

"I told him that I loved him," Miss Swan says "But I lied"

"Excuse me?"

"He was being sucked inside the portal," Miss Swan says and I hear her sniff "I thought...I thought if said…I thought If I told him that I loved him he would hold on to my hand. Instead, he just let it go"

"Oh!"

"Fucking asshole," Miss Swan says angrily, "He told me he loved me, and then he left. Again!"

"Miss Swan…"

"And I can't even be angry with him this time," Miss Swan says and I hear she is openly crying now "Because he is dead. He died to save me"

"Why are you telling me all of this?" I ask trying to keep my voice soft.

"I don't know" Miss Swan half cry half laughs "I guess I just need to take it out of my chest and you are the only one here"

"Your parents are right down the hall"

"It's not the same, Regina"

"You and Snow were best friends when she was only Mary Margaret"

"God, don't remind me of that" Miss Swan says "The things I told her"

"Well…"

"Don't even bother pretending you feel sorry"

"I wouldn't dream of it" I smirk "What about the one hand pirate wonder"

"What?"

"Hook," I said "He is in love with you, I'm sure he would love to sit down on the moonlight and hear you talking all night long"

"God, Regina I just lost Neal!"

"But you didn't love him," I say, "You said so yourself"

"Yes, but that's mostly because they don't interest me anymore"

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing!" Miss Swan says "Never mind"

We fell silent again but it's not exactly uncomfortable. I can hear Emma moving in bed, probably turning around to face the wall. I don't know why, but I can't stop thinking about what she said only a few minutes ago. Yes, but that's mostly because they don't interest me anymore. What is that supposed to mean? If she wasn't interested in Neal or Hook, did that mean she was in love with someone else? But who in Storybrooke could possibly have caught the eyes of the Savior? I don't recall seeing her with any other man around Storybrooke but then again ever since she broke my curse it was hard to keep track of what was happening around the town. But still, that is the type of information I should know about, especially if she intends to put yet again another man in my son's life. But perhaps…perhaps that was not what she meant. Perhaps she meant that she was no longer interested in them because now she was…

"We'll find him, right?" Miss Swan asks pulling me out of my train of thoughts.

"Of course, we will," I say "He is the son of The Evil Queen and the Savior. Peter Pan doesn't stand a chance"

"I like that sound of that" Miss Swan says and as weird as it sounds, I can hear a smile forming on her face "How is your magic?"

"It's coming back," I say "It's not fully restored inside me again but I can feel it running through my veins already"

"That's good. We are going to need it"

"Yes, we will," I said, and a yawn forms upon my lips.

"We should get some rest," Miss Swan says "We both need to restore our energy"

"Indeed, we do"

"Good night, Regina"

"Good night, Em…Miss Swan"

I close my eyes again and this time, I let myself acknowledge just how tired I am. My whole body aches when I turn around to face the wall. As much as I hate to admit, Miss Swan is right. I need to rest. I need to let my magic restore inside me, I need to let it re-built to its full power. That is the only way that I will be able to save our son.

Chapter Text

I woke up with sunbeams bothering my eyes. I didn't really think I would be able to sleep last night, regardless of how tired I was, but I did. It's morning now and I have no idea if it's still fairly earlier or ridiculously late. I stretch my body on the bed and look to the bed next to mine, the one Emma slept in last night. It's empty. I don't know why I feel a pang of sadness by not seeing her sleeping next to me, but I do. What she had shared with me last night was…honest. I can't remember the last time someone was genuinely honest with me. I sit down in bed and shake my head. I lift my hands and try to make a fireball but only a few sparks come out. My magic hasn't been restored yet, but at least I can feel it inside me now. Just a weak spark, like the fireball I tried to make but it's there. By the time we arrive in Neverland, it should be in its full power, and then…then I will take my son back.

My stomach snores embarrassingly loud in a way I can only be thankful that I'm alone in this room. This is the first time I acknowledge hunger. When was the last time I ate? Two days ago? Three? No wonder my magic is so weak! I rose from the bed and make my way out of the room. I have no idea where the kitchen is…do they even call it a kitchen when it's in a ship? I walk in the corridor thinking I should head up when suddenly I hear voices coming from a room ahead of me. Gods, are all of them in there? Do I really need food this badly? My stomach protest by both hurting and snoring. That's my answer I guess. I walk to the door and stop before putting my hand in the doorknob. I inhale and exhale deeply and then I twist the knob.

"Good morning, Regina," Snow greets.

I nod and that is all I can do for the woman. I see Hook sitting across from them, drinking something from a cup that I really hope it's not rum. If he misses Neverland because he is too drunk to navigate properly, I swear I will shove his Hook in a place where the sun doesn't shy.

"How much progress have we made?" I ask him.

"Not much. The waters here are tricky" Hook says "But if we maintain course, we should arrive there in three days"

"Three days?" I ask "You said that yesterday. Shouldn't be two now?"

"Aye," Hook says "As I said, Love. Water is tricky"

"The water or you?" I ask feeling my anger get the best of me.

"I'll get you there, Love"

He stands up and leaves the room while I roll my eyes at the stupid idiot. Out of all the captains of course we ended up with the dumbest of them all. I sit down on the table chair, a spot that was right in front of Emma. I don't know why I notice that but I did. I spy the contents on the table and there are only porridge and a loaf of bread that looks older than…well, me. Not something my stomach would be very excited to eat, but, it's food. I reach for the porridge bawl but Emma's hand grabs mine halfway.

"You don't want to eat that," Emma says "It's pretty terrible and taste like rum"

"I'm guessing Capitan guyliner made it?" I ask.

"You guessed it right," Emma says "I'll make you some eggs"

"There is no need dear," I say only now pulling my hand from hers.

"It's really no bother, Regina," Emma says "And it's about the only thing I can cook"

Emma stands up and walks a straight line to where I supposed it must have some sort of stove. I look to my side and see Snow and Charming looking at me, and it's nerve-wracking to think about staying in that room another second sitting next to them. I should just go back to my room or go upstairs to the deck but then my stomach tightens inside me and my only other choice is Emma. I am between the knife and the sword here so I chose the best of two evils. I rose from my seat and walk to where Emma is, the smell of eggs and surprisingly bacon invades me and I feel my mouth water.

"Couldn't make it five seconds with my them, huh?" Emma asks.

"They annoy me and they weren't even talking," I said "No offense"

"None taken," Emma smirks "They do that to me too sometimes"

"Right"

"Is your magic back yet?" Emma asks.

"Not completely, no," I said honestly "But it should be fully restored by the time we arrive there"

"Good!" Emma says "We are gonna need it, Regina"

"I know, dear. Don't worry about it"

"I'm not," Emma says "We have common interests now. Our son"

"Yes, we do"

"Here," Emma says handing me a plate of eggs and bacon "Eat it. You need to regain your strength"

"Thank you," I said and I swear I felt something inside me dying for having said that to her.

I watch Emma leave the room and luckily, the Charming's go out with her. I take a seat again and have the first bite of the eggs that are either incredibly good or I'm just ridiculously hungry. Either way, I clean up my plate. When I'm done, I decide to go upstairs to the deck. The sun is bright but the wind is so cold. I walk to the bow of the boat and close my eyes feeling the cold wind on my face. Gods, when was the last time I was in a boat? Before the curse, that's for sure. The smell of salty water hits me and a picture of Henry when he was three invades my mind. It was summer in Storybrooke and went to the beach together. Back then when he still loved me. When I was his whole world. He was so scared of getting into de ocean and I didn't have the heart to force him to. It was one of the fewest times I didn't push him to be better even at such a young age. He grabbed my hand and asked me to go into the water with him and my heart melted right in the spot just looking into his big puppy eyes. I held in safely inside my arms and we walked inside the sea, his little arms wrapped around my neck holding tightly for dear life. Gods, I love him so much.

"It's a beautiful view, isn't it?" Emma says beside me.

"Miss Swan,"

"Hook says we might run into trouble tonight"

"And why is that?"

"Something about getting closer to where the mermaids live," Emma says "I don't know, this whole thing is still a little weird for me"

"You better get used to it, dear," I say.

"Yeah, I know," Emma nods. 

I feel like I should say something else to break the awkwardness that I feel for some reason, but luckily, Snow calls Emma's name and she turns around to leave. I watch her go for a minute or two longer than necessary before turning my head to the sea again. She is right about one thing. It is a beautiful view. I breathe the fresh air, letting it run through my lungs before releasing it. When Henry is home and safe, I am taking him to the beach when it's summer. Hopefully, he is not too old for that yet. We can enjoy a day together out there just the two of us like we used to do it when he was just a little boy. I'll change my ways for him. I'll do anything to make him happy. I'll change everything just so I can have my son back.

Chapter Text

It's nightfall and the cold wind of the night makes its way inside my coat but I barely register it. I'm looking out the sea again, the stillness of the waters both calms me and makes me nervous. The view of the night is as beautiful as it was in the morning, even though there is something about the dark that captivates me a little bit more. The silver moon up in the sky is glowing in the water, providing much-needed light in all the darkness of the night. Dark and light. Two opposites that yet complement each other. One can not exist without the other. Not here, at last.

The ship suddenly slows its movement and I look to my side only to see Capitan eyeliner slowing the steering wheel. I don't know why the idiot is doing that but if he thinks for a second I will let him delay our arrival at that cursed island one more second than absolutely necessary, he is sorely mistaken.

"Why are you slowing down?" I say "In case you didn't know my son's life is in danger"

"Oh, I know my hotheaded Queen. My plan is to bring us to the far side of the island makeup to the wireless part of the river and sail right through to take them by surprise" He says and sighed "The Irony"

"What irony?" I ask feeling annoyed already.

"I've spent more time than I can remember trying to leave this place to kill Rumplestiltskin and here I am sailing right into its heart with him as my guest of honor. Not quite the happy ending I was hoping for"

"Greg Mendell said something funny to me," I say looking at Hook "He said I'm a villain and that villains don't get happy endings. Do you believe that?"

"I hope not. Or we waisted our lives"

Hook says that looking at me and I can't hold the stare for long. He can either because he soon looks ahead of him as I look down the floor. The words of Owen...Greg had been playing over and over and over again in my head ever since I've spoken with Emma earlier. I don't know why speaking with her brought his words back to my head, but it did. What if they were true? What if I've gone too far? What if I'm doomed to never have a happy ending? What if, as Hook said, what if I've wasted my life?

I hear Emma's voice shouting and that pulls me out of my thoughts. I walk a little further and see her screaming at her parents. I know it's wrong but I can't help the smile. I don't hate them with the same force I once did, but it stills amuses me seen them been screamed at although it worries me that Emma is the one doing so. What have the two idiots done this time to make her this angry? Probably another hope speech. Gods, how much I hated hearing their hope speech. I wish I could shove it deep inside them up a place where the sun doesn't usually shiny. I jump a little when I see smoke on the deck and then Rumples voice saying:

"No, you won't"

"A wardrobe change," Hook says next to me.

"I'm going to get Henry," Rumple says.

"We agree to do this together," I said already feeling my anger built.

"Actually, we made no such agreements," Rumple says back.

"Why are you doing this?" I hear Emma's voice asking.

"Because I want to succeed"

"What makes you think I'm gonna fail?" Emma asks.

"How could you not? You don't believe in your parents, or in magic, not even yourself"

"I slew a dragon, I think I believe," Emma says.

"Only what it was shown to you. When have you ever taken a real leap of faith? You know the kind with absolutely no proof! I've known you some time, Miss Swan, and sadly despite everything you've been through you still just that bail bonds person looking for evidence. Well, dearie, that's not gonna work in Neverland"

"I'll do whatever it takes," Emma says. 

I keep on hearing the bickering between Emma and Rumple trying to imagine where he is going with this. It doesn't take long for me to figure it out. I see him spinning his cane on the wooden floor and then he is gone. Just gone. Right in front of my eyes. That traitor. I should have known. I should have known he would just abandon me alone in the ship with all those incompetents. That bastard! I walk downstairs to the place I'm now calling my room and sit down on the bed. I take off my coat and try to make my magic work again, but it's still too weak. I can't transport myself to the island as Rumple did but at least it's stronger than it was before. The ship tilts and that worries me more than my magic. I run up only to see the two idiots behind the steering wheel.

"What the hell are you two doing?" I ask.

"Trying to keep it steady," Snow's annoying voice says.

"Hold on" Charming screams.

"Prepare for attack" Hook's voice says behind me.

"Can you be more specific?" I ask.

"If you got a weapon then grab it" Hook shouts.

"What's out there? A shark? A whale?" Emma asks.

"A Kraken?" Charming continues.

"Worse" Hook says and pauses "Mermaids"

Right! The mermaids. Emma had warned me about them earlier and it surprises me that she asks only about the sea creature that she believes to be the truth. Rumple was right, her lack of faith can be a problem in a place like Neverland. Not that I know much about the place, but let's face it, an island full of pre-teenager kids with magic running around, that…it can't be good. The ship rocks and the annoying sounds they make are getting to me. Gods, weren't they supposed to have lovely voices to attract the sailors? The one I met certainly did! I hold on to the rope, trying to keep my balance as the waters became more and more agitated. They hit their tails on the wood and I'm genuinely afraid they might open a hole in that old bathtub. I see Charming running to the cannon and finally, the idiot does something that I can agree on.

"We caught one" Snow screams and I see her and Emma pulling a mermaid from the water.

"One?" I say "There are dozens of them"

I feel the anger building inside of me and then the familiar tingle on the tip of my fingers. I smiled as I realized that it's my magic. It has always come from a place of anger and right now, I'm damn furious.

"Enough of this"

The fireball burns hot in my hand and I throw it in the water. I feel another one coming and another as a keep throwing them trying to burn as many mermaids as I possibly can. It feels good to have my magic again to feel it burning deep inside me.

"There," I said when the mermaids swim away "They are all gone"

"Not all of them," Snow says "What about that one?"

I look down and see a mermaid caught in the net Emma and Snow is trying to pull up. I use my magic again and bring it to the ship, even though I know I shouldn't be using that much magic. Not now anyway. The mermaid appears on the floor and I have to admit she is not half bad, for a fish.

"Get that thing off my ship" Hook screams.

"No," I say "Now we have a hostage"

"I hate to say it but I'm with Hook. Those things just tried to kill us" Charming says.

"And perhaps we should find out why," I say. 

"How? By torturing her?" Snow asks.

"Well, if we need, sure"

Then suddenly the fish is blowing into a shell, a noise so loud that I have to cover my ears. She threats us, saying that this was a warning and Gods, how I want to kill her. I probably would if it wasn't for the Charming clan next to me.

"What did you do?" Charming asks.

"Let me go," The fish says.

"Not until you tell us," I say "Or we'll make you tell us"

We start to have an argument, Hook saying she is a liar and Snow defending the fish. Of course, she was. That doesn't even surprise me. The storms get worse, AND I actually jump when I hear lightning. I see Charming going for a sword and putting it around the fish's neck and for the first time in...ever, I feel something other than repulse for the man.

"That's more like it Charming," I say getting closer to them "Filet the bitch"

But the idiot suddenly has a conscious attack and walks away from her saying something about not being barbaric. Gods, out of all people I could have been stuck with, in this ship. I feel anger building inside me, much stronger than it was before and my magic is burning like hot oil inside my veins, ready to burn everything around me. The storm makes worse as I start to argue with fucking Snow White and it takes everything in me not to burn her right there and then.

"Stop, that's enough. We need to think this through" Emma screams.

"I already have," I say and use my magic to turn the fish into wood "There. That should stop the storm"

"Regina! What did you do?"

I don't know the answer to that. I don't know why have I done that. I shouldn't have done that, but something inside me was so angry at the fish that I couldn't stop myself. I look up and see the storm getting worse and then a wave, bigger than anything I have ever seen before is right in front of us. Shit! What the fuck have I done? I hold on to the rope with all of my force as we pass through it. Snows come to me screaming about how all of this was my fault. Of course, she would blame me. At least I've done something! I scream back at her and we start to argue, she wants me to undo my spell and there is just no way in hell I'm going to do that. I could if I wanted to, but I won't just to spite her. But then the unexpected happens. I feel a blow on my face and fall down to the impact. The fucking bitch hit me. It takes my brain a couple of seconds to process the fact but as I stand up, one thing is certain. She will pay for this.

"Is that your best?" I ask.

"Not even close. I'm so tired of you ruining my life"

"I ruined your life?"

And that's it. The audacity of that little cunt, accusing me of ruining her life? I strike back and punch her in the face, stronger than the little punch she gave me. She jumps at me and we start to fight and I feel alive again. Gods, it's so good to hit that little bitch! I don't even bother using my magic, I want to feel my fist on her, I like the feeling of her neck around my hands as I squeeze the air out of her lungs. I'm so close to throwing her into the water now, and I can't decide if I'm happy or sad to see her became fish food this fast. Maybe I'll cut her into pieces and then throw her parts in the water. Then somewhere on the back, I hear Charming screaming Emma's name and I don't know why that gets my attention. I let go of Snow only to watch the blond idiot jumping in the water. What the fuck is she doing now? And why the hell I feel my heart squeeze inside my chest when I see her falling down? Snow screams her name and I follow her to the opposite side of the ship. One of the ropes breaks loose and I see something metallic hitting her head and once again that horrible squeeze in my chest happens. Why am I so worried about her? It's not my fault if she is dumb enough to do something so ridiculously idiotic.

"EMMA" Snow screams.

"idiot" I can not help but say it. She is an idiot.

"Regina, get her up here"

"I..I...I can't. Not in this storm, I can't even see her" I say truthfully "I'll just bring up water and half her leg"

Then her idiot father decides to do something heroic and for the first time in my life I appreciate the act. I help Snow tie the rope around him and he jumps in the water. It takes a while before he reemerges again, but when he does, Emma is with him and I feel a relief wash over me. We pull them back inside the ship, and I put all my straighten into it. They are ridiculously heavy! Then Hook does something behind me and then he alone rolls the ropes to bring them both back inside the ship.

Emma lies on the wooden floor, her face completely pale and I feel anguish inside me. Gods, please make her be okay. I need her to get Henry back. I can't do this alone. I keep telling myself this is the only reason why I need her to be okay, but deep, deep, very deep down I know this isn't the only reason. I care for her. I don't know why I should, she IS the one who took Henry away from me, and yet, I care for this idiot. She spats water and I let out a big deep breath that I didn't even know I was holding as relief washes over me. She's fine!

Charming brings her down to the little room we share and lays her onto the bed completely wet. Emma is shaking with cold and instead of changing her out of her clothes the idiot just throws a blanket over her wet body. The cut on her forehead is nasty and leaking out blood and I know I should say something but I can't bring myself to do so. Not in front of them anyway. I go upstairs and leave them to deal with their daughter. The night is clear now, and the moon is shining bright above me. The waters are calm again and I feel less angry. I take a deep breath in and look out the sea again, trying to see a piece of land. But there is nothing apart from water.

I don't know how long was I upstairs but, I imagine it was a very, very long time because I feel ridiculously tired now. I sigh and turn around to go downstairs hoping the two idiots are no longer in my cabin. It's a relief when I walk the corridor and see them together on the bunker bed. I keep walking forward and enter my shared room with Emma. It's dark and silent and I imagine she must be sleeping. I sit down on my bed and try to be as quiet as possible can while removing my boots.

"Hey," Emma says scaring me.

"You are awake!" I state the obvious.

"Yeah, I was just pretending in case it was Mary Margarete and David again"

"Right!" I say "How are you feeling?"

"I'm cold and my head hurts," Emma says "So, not very good"

I look at her, the little light that came from the moon is enough for me to see how pale she still is. And wet! Gods, they didn't even bother to put on dry clothes on her. The wound on her forehead is no longer leaking blood but the nasty cut is still there with dry blood all around. Without thinking I summon my magic. I know I shouldn't do this, I've already used it too much earlier but I just can't leave her like that. I feel the usual burning on the tip of my fingers and then I look at her and stretch my hand. I make the usual movement with it and just like that her clothes are dry and the cut is gone.

"Wow," Emma says surprised "How the hell did you do that?"

"Magic, dear"

"Thanks," Emma says "Even my headache is gone"

"You are welcome," I say "We should rest now"

"Yeah, we should," Emma says "Goodnight, Regina"

"Goodnight, Emma."

Chapter Text

I wake up to the sound of gasping and grunt and every cell on my body are immediately alert. I recognize the sounds as coming from Emma and I look to the side, to her bed, but nobody is there. I move slightly on the bed and I see Emma doing push-ups on the bar. The muscles on her arms are flexing and I can't help but stare at them. I have never noticed how muscular her arms were before and the sight of them leaves my throat dry. I have no idea why but my mind suddenly wanders off to the rest of her body. Is she that muscular everywhere? Her tight jeans leave too little for the imagination, I know she has magnificent long legs and the shape of her ass in that tight jeans is almost indecent. Does she have abs underneath that shirt? And how would it feel like to run my nails on her flat stomach all the way down to… I cough and shake my head. Enough of this!

"Hey," Emma said stopping her work-out "Did I wake you?"

"No," I say feeling my cheeks burn "What are you doing?"

"Getting ready for a fight," She says and sits down on the trunk "Thank you, for last night"

"Don't mention it" I say.

"I brought you breakfast," Emma says, "I think it's cold now but I figured you would prefer to have it in here than with my parents"

"Yes, I do prefer that," I say, not bothering to thank her. It is cold after all.

"Hook says we'll arrive in Neverland tomorrow night," Emma says "How is your magic?"

"Much better," I say as I make a fireball to warm up the plate Emma brought me.

"Good!" Emma says "Things got out of hand last night"

"Indeed"

"You turned a mermaid into wood"

"She asked for it"

"Are you un-turning her?"

"No" I smirked "Why would I do that?"

"She's a living thing, Regina"

"And now she is decoration"

"It's not right!"

"Why do you care?"

"What if she has…I don't know a family?" Emma says "We should give her back to the sea"

"Mermaids don't have families," I say, and then, "I think"

"Please, turn her back?" Emma says "For me!"

"Why would I do anything for you?" I ask "I don't t even like you"

"Trust me, I know," Emma sighs "Do it for Henry then. He would like that"

"Fine dear. If it's so important to you, I will turn the fish back"

"Thanks," Emma says and smiles.

I rose from the bed at the same time she does from the trunk. The ship moves slightly to the side and that's enough to make Emma lose her balance and fall down right on top of me. Her whole body covers mine and I feel a shiver run down my spine, something that I don't even dare myself to properly acknowledge. She pushes her body up slightly and we ended up facing each other. She looks so intensely inside my eyes, her stare so deep that I can't look away from it. I feel my heart racing inside my chest and my breathing getting erratic and for a moment I think she is going to kiss me and if she did that, I would let her. The thought of that is scarier than many things I have faced before in my life and for this fraction of a second, it's even more scarier than losing Henry.

"God, you are beautiful" Emma whisper.

What? Did she just say what I think she said?

Emma doesn't move, neither does she look away from my eyes, and this overpowering feeling of wanting to push myself up and claim her lips with mine takes over my whole body. I want to do that. My whole body is on fire and it has nothing to do with the magic running in my veins. But then the ship abruptly balances again and the voices up on the deck bring me back to reality.

"Thank you, dear," I say deciding to break the moment. It's for the best. This is just too much "Now, get off of me"

"Right," Emma says and quickly stands up "I'm sorry. I don't know why I said that"

"It's alright, dear. It's not like you are telling a lie"

"Yes, of course," Emma says and I see her pale cheeks turn red "I'm gonna go upstairs"

"I too will be going up shortly"

Emma scratches the back of her neck and leaves the little room we share together. Once I make sure she is out of the room, I fall down onto the bed. My hands are shaking and I can hardly control my breathing. What was that? Why did she say that? Why she kept looking and me and said that? Why didn't she kiss me? And why the hell did I want her to kiss me? And worse, why did I want to kiss her back? Stop that, Regina! Gods, I am going crazy. I'm spending too much time on this ship with the Charming Clan and the idiot pirate. I need to get out of here. I need to get to land and I need to find Henry. That is the only thing that matters to me. He is the only thing that will ever matter to me.

I shake my head and breath, in and out, big and slow. I put myself together and decide to leave that little room. I walk up the stairs and the blow of the wind on my face is a welcome change. The sun is burning, the sky is completely clean, the wind blowing strong. I can feel the ship moving faster than we were the day before and hopefully, we'll arrive there before schedule. I walk to the starboard and breath in the fresh air. There isn't much to do in here apart from looking out the sea and…

"Regina?"

"Snow," I say "What do you want?"

"I need to talk to you"

"If it's about the mermaid I've already told Emma I'll undo the spell"

"It isn't, but thank you for that"

"What is it then?"

"We said pretty rough things to each other last night," Snow says "And I punched you"

"So? I punched you back" I say "I tried to kill you, multiple times. Including last night"

"Well, there is that,"

"Is there anything important you want to say? Because I would prefer not to be in your presence more than what is absolutely necessary"

"You know what, Regina? Never mind,"

"Already did, dear,"

Snow walks away from me and I am so very grateful for that. I may not hate her as much as I have in the past (for now) but she still annoys me to my very core. I look out the sea again and the sound of Emma's voice pop into my mind 'God, you are beautiful'. Damn her! Why did she have to say that? I breathe the fresh air again and then I look to the side. I see Emma and Hook together, she is smiling at something he said and I feel like setting his body on fire. He is probably trying to charm the pants off of her and that bothers me. I don't want to, but it does. It bothers me that he keeps flirting with her, it bothers me that she is laughing with him. Emma's eyes meet mine and she smiles, but I immediately look back out the sea. I didn't want her to catch me looking at them, but it's too late for that now. 'God, you are beautiful'. I hate her for saying that.

They talk for the longest time and I almost feel relief when Hook walks behind me. He goes up to the rudder and starts to move it from one side to the other and I can't help but roll my eyes when I catch him looking at Emma. He is trying to show off his big pirate skills to her. Idiot! Both of them are. I walk to where he is, controlling my hands not to accidentally throw a fireball on his ass.

"How long until we get to the island?" I ask.

"If the wind keeps blowing like that, we'll be there tomorrow night, Love,"

"Can't you make this thing go faster?"

"This thing is the greatest ship to ever exist," Hook says "And no, I cannot. Unless you want to use magic"

"I can't use that much of magic just yet"

"Then enjoy the trip, Love" Hook says "I doubt you'll have time to relax once we arrive there"

I sigh and shook my head. Enjoy the trip! Yeah, right. As if there was anything at all to enjoy about this. I look forward again and see Emma with her parents. She has her back to me, her beautiful blonde hair flying with the wind in a way that is almost hypnotizing. 'God, you are beautiful'. I close my eyes and wait until the words fade away in my mind. Tomorrow we'll arrive on the island and the mission to get Henry will finally begin. Hopefully, tomorrow night I will have forgotten all about those four stupid words and whatever meaning behind them.

Chapter Text

I toss in bed trying to find a comfortable position to sleep, but the truth is I wouldn’t be able to sleep even if my pillow was made of clouds. I look at Emma, her form is stiff in bed. Silent. She must be in deep sleep. Her blonde hair is reflecting the moonlight and I wonder how it would feel like to touch it, to run my fingers down her long blonde hair. I close my eyes and sigh. Those thoughts have no business in my head. Damn her for making me think such things.

I rise from the bed and walk up to the deck. It’s cold. So cold. The wind is blowing strong and I’m grateful for that. It will make the ship go faster. I walk to the prow and look out the dark night. The sound of the water crashing against the ship’s hull is rhythmic and soothing. The moon is big and bright up in the sky illuminating a patch of water in the dark night. I look ahead and feel my heart squeeze inside my chest. No sight of land. Everywhere is just water and darkness and a patch of light that leads to nowhere.

I think of Henry and feel my eyes fill with tears. Is my boy alone right now? Does he have a bed to sleep in? Did he have dinner? Is he scared? Does he miss me? I close my eyes and let the tears fall down. I love him so much. I’d give up anything for him, including my life.

“Hey” I hear Emma’s voice behind me.

“Hi,” I say, not turning around as I clean my face from the tears.

“Can't sleep?” Emma asks, standing beside me now.

“No!”

“Yeah, me neither,” Emma says and smile “You woke me”

“How could I have done that?” I ask defensibly “I wasn’t even in the room”

“And that’s exactly what woke me up”

“I don’t follow”

“You snore,” Emma says “the sound of it helps me sleep”

“I don’t snore” I scoff. How dare she?

“It’s not like snore, snore,” Emma says “You just make this sound when you are sleeping, and I don’t know…It’s soothing”

“My snore is soothing?” I ask skeptic.

“Crazy, right?” Emma laughs “Why can't you sleep?”

“Henry,” I say simply.

“We are going to get him back, Regina,” Emma says.

“I know” And I do. I will get my son back.

“Tell me something about him?” Emma asks.

“Like what?”

“From when he was little” Emma says “Anything will do”

“He loved helping me in the kitchen when he was three,” I say and instantly smile at the memory “We used to make big breakfast on Sundays and then bake something for later. He loved helping me make chocolate cake. It’s his favorite. He would always stick his fingers on the batter and lick it clean”

“I can picture him doing that,” Emma says and my heart beats a little faster when I see her smile.

“He tried to surprise me one morning” I continue ignoring the way her smile is making me feel “he woke up early and went straight to the kitchen. I obviously don’t know what happened there but I remember waking up with him on top of me covered in flour and chocolate powder. When I walked inside the kitchen there was flour everywhere. And I do mean everywhere”

“Oh boy” Emma laughs “Were you very angry?”

“Oh, I was furious,” I say “And then I looked down at his hopeful little face and all my anger faded away. He had made me a chocolate cake and pancakes. But he wasn’t allowed to use the stove so, he had to wake me up to cook them”

“That’s adorable,” Emma says.

“It was. And, to my surprise, his batter was better than mine. The cake and pancakes were delicious”

“Seriously?”

“Yes,” I laugh. It really was.

“I bet you wish you had magic to clean all that mess up, hum?”

“I did,” I say and laugh. It was hell cleaning that kitchen.

“We need to stay strong if we are going to get him back,” Emma says.

“I know”

“We can’t keep fighting all the time”

“I’m not sure that’s possible, dear,” I say looking at Emma. 

“We have to try,” Emma says “For Henry”

“For Henry” I agree and look out the sea again.

“We should get some sleep,” Emma says “I’m pretty sure it’s very late. Or ridiculously early”

“I’m not sure I can right now”

“It’s very cold too”

“Do you need to hear me snoring that badly?” I joke.

“Maybe,” Emma says sheepishly.

“I need more time alone”

“Okay,” Emma says “Goodnight, Regina”

“Goodnight, Emma”

I hear Emma walking away, but I don’t turn around. I can’t. For some idiotic reason, it’s hard to watch her go. This kind of feeling has no place inside me, especially coming from Emma. She made me feel warm. Sharing that memory of Henry with her made me feel warm in a way I haven’t feel in a very, very long time. I close my eyes and let the cold wind hit my face. It’s welcome. The cold is welcome. I open my eyes and see the dark around me, except for that line the moon insists upon shining. Tiredness suddenly hits my body and I yawn. Emma is right. I should get some sleep.

I turn around and walk back to our room. Emma is curled up in a ball facing the wall. I sit down on the bed and take off my boots but don’t bother with the rest of my clothes. I lay down and face the wall and I hear Emma shifting in bed. I know, without looking that her eyes are on me. I feel every little hair on my neck stand up. I close my eyes and images of her leaving the bed and laying down next to me cross my mind. I see her hugging me from behind and them turning me to her, claiming my lips. Her hands travel around my body, touching me everywhere. I see those green orbs of hers looking intensely at me and saying things like God, you are beautiful. I moaned and then I open my eyes. Shit! Did I do that out loud? I stop breathing for a second and pay attention to my surroundings. It's silent. There is only the sound of the water outside. Thank Gods, Emma is sleeping. I guess she didn’t need the sound of my snore after all. I close my eyes and force any thoughts of Emma out of my head. For a moment, everything is dark, and not long after that, I feel sleep claiming me for the night.

Chapter Text

It's nightfall and we are all up on the deck as the ship slowly approaches the island. I asked the pirate about an hour ago to speed up that old bathtub, but apparently, this sorry excuse for a ship can't go any faster. I am eager to get to land. I am eager to start looking for Henry. I'm eager to get my son back! I look forward, to Emma and I can see she is eager for the same thing as me. She keeps shifting her weight from one foot to the other looking out the island the same way I am. Or was it before I started to watch her. After three days we have finally arrived on that damn island and nothing matters now. Nothing other than Henry. I have been telling myself that over and over and over again since last night and I'm hoping against hope that I can shake ridiculous thoughts of a young blonde woman out of my mind. She has no place living in it. I hate her. I have to remember that.

"I'm going to anchor the ship now," Hook says "Then we take the boat and paddle to the shore"

I nod and come closer (closer than what I would like) to the charming clan. Hook anchors the ship and the five of us get inside the boat. Hook works the ropes with expertise that actually surprises me. For a one-handed pirate, I mean. The boat hits the water and Emma takes charge of the paddle on one side while Charming gets the other end. I try not to look at Emma and how her arms flexing at each row she gives on the paddle. I try not to stare at the way her muscles flex or the way she gasps for air or even how ridiculous strong she is. I try not to think about how would it feel like to have her pinning me against a wall, holding my arms up with one hand while the other... I shook my head as I feel my whole face burn.

I fucking hate her!

We finally made it to shore and I quickly get out of the boat. 

"It's time we stop running," Emma says when she leaves the boat "Gold was right, this land is run on belief, all of us have been too busy on each other's throat to be believers…I was as wrong as anyone else. But it's time for all of us to believe. Not in magic, but on each other"

"You wanna be friends?" I ask in disbelief "After everything that happened between us?"

"I don't expect that," Emma says and I can see hurt in her eyes "I know there is a lot of history here, a lot of hate"

"Actually I quite fancy you from time to time, when you are not yelling at me," Hook says and I can't help but roll my eyes.

"We don't need to be friends. But we need to know that the only way to get Henry back is cooperation" Emma says.

"With her? With him?" Charming says and I feel like burning his ass "No Emma, we need to do this the right way"

"No, we don't. We just need to succeed. And the way we do that is just by being who we are, a hero, a villain a pirate it doesn't matter which because we are going to need all those skills whether we can stomach them or not"

"And what is your skill, Savior?" I ask.

"I'm a mother. We both are. And now I'm also your leader so either help me get our son back or get out of the way"

I'm surprised at the way she spoke to me. She looked so angry when she said that and as much as I hate to admit, it hurt. It hurt the way she spoke with me, especially after the last three days in the Jolly Roger. Especially after what she told me when we were in there, but I guess that now that we are here on land that friendly atmosphere is over. I should be happy about this. I hate this woman with all that I am. So why the hell I feel on the verge to cry?

The group keeps on advancing through the woods, and as much as I hate, I follow them. Regardless of what Emma told me, one thing is true, our chances are better together. My magic is finally strong enough now, but still, it wouldn't be wise to go against Peter Pan all alone. At least not now anyway.

The woods are dark now, much darker than when we arrived. The moon is hidden behind a curtain of clouds and the only source of light we have is now gone. At that same moment, something hits me. We have no idea where we are going. The pirate says he knows this land, but he is walking in front of me while Emma is taking the lead. It actually surprises me that he isn't right by her side trying to charm the pants off the woman. Gods, how could she even fall for that type? He looks like he hasn't bathed in months!

Not that I care.

"Do you even know where we are going?" I ask.

"Yes, Emma we have been walking for a while now," Snow says.

"We are walking the land…looking for…Henry," Emma says lamely.

"So, you have no idea where we are going?" I say.

"If you have a better plan, feel free to share, Regina," Emma says.

"I thought you were supposed to be the bigger leader here,"

"Well, I…am"

"Worry not, Love," Hook says "I know exactly where we are"

"And where is that, Capitan?" I ask sarcastically.

"If we keeping walking ahead we will find an open field where we can set up camp," Hook says

"Set up camp?" I ask "We need to find Henry!" 

"Regina is right, Hook," Emma says "We can't waste any more time"

"We have no light, Love," Hook says "These woods are dangerous and trust me, you don't want to cross paths with a lost boy at night…or morning"

"So our plan," I say "Is to do nothing?"

"Now you got it, Your Majesty,"

"I can light up torches," I say.

"That would only make Pan aware of our presence and we would lose the element of surprise," Hook says "Trust me, Love, you don't want that this soon into the rescue"

"So we set up camp?" Snow asks.

"We set up camp," Hook says back.

I sighed and follow the idiots because, really, there isn't much I can do about it. The one-hand Saviors professional flirter has a point. I want to go out there and explore until I find Henry, but the woods are heavy and I don't know the ground. If this was the Enchanted Forest, I'd leave them behind in a heartbeat, but in here, as much as it pains me to admit, Hook is the best chance we have.

We find the spot Hook told us about and as I look around I realize that this isn't a good spot to camp. The grass is low and the ground is mostly sand. The woods, however, circle all around us, with big trees where people could easily hide and therefore trap us. I have years on my back commanding my troops to hunt for Snow White in the Enchanted Forest. I was their general. They followed my rules.

But do I say anything?

NO!

I'm not really in the mood for another argument with these people. I'll just make sure to put a protection spell around my tent.

I watch as they unload their weapons onto the floor. I turn around start to walk a little further away from them when…

"Where are you going?" Snows ask.

"To catch some air, dear," I say without turning around.

"No! I don't trust you alone, Regina"

"That's not my problem, dear,"

I start to walk away from the camp. Away from them. I need some fresh air and I need to process everything that is happening inside of me. I arrive at the beach, curious enough even though we walked for hours we were still near it, and I sit down on the sand. I have been staring at the sea for so long that it's sort of comforting now. Gods, please make Henry be okay. It's so dark out here and he is all alone. My boy. My little Prince. I close my eyes and the image of Emma makes an uninvited appearance. She had been so kind and gentle to me over the past three days that I can't shake off the hurt I feel about the way she spoke to me earlier. She was upset, I get that. I was too. But honestly, the worse part of this isn't even how she talked to me. It's the way I feel about it. I hate that she was capable of hurting me like that.

And what the fuck does that mean?

Was I…Was I having feelings for Snow White and Prince Charming's daughter?

I swallow thickly because that was impossible! And ridiculous! Just the thought of that should make my inners revolt. But it doesn't and I don't understand. I don't understand how this could have happened. I should hate her.

I do hate her!

"Regina?" I hear Emma's voice behind me.

"Miss Swan," I say "I would like to be alone please"

"I'm sorry," Emma says behind me.

"For what,?"

"I shouldn't…I shouldn't have talked to you like that," Emma says "That was uncalled for"

"Honestly Miss, Swan," I say disinterested "I dont care,"

Except that I do.

So much.

It means the world that she is apologizing, because yes, she did hurt me.

"Still, that wasn't cool," Emma says "I'm sorry"

"No problem," I say "Is there anything else?"

"Yeah, we kinda need you to make fire,"

"Excuse me?"

"At the camp. To warm up"

"I thought we weren't supposed to make any"

"Hook says it should be okay if we make a small fireplace for the night,"

"Does he now?" I ask sarcastically.

"Yep," Emma says "So, are you coming?"

"Yes, dear,"

I rose from the sand follow Emma back to the camp. Thank the Gods the night is cold and she has a long sleeve blouse covering her arms now. The sight of them still gives me the chills and I absolutely hate that. I hate the mere sight of her arms can distract me from my mission. And I hate even more that I started to stare at her ass inside those damn jeans as I walk behind her. I just hate her. Except, that I don't. Not anymore.

We arrive at the camp and I see Snow and Charming sitting on a log, exchanging affection with one another and the sight of it makes me sick. Them, I still hate. At least that!

"It's all ready for you, Your Majesty," Hook says and bows in a mocking way that makes me want to fire his ass instead.

I look down at the pile of wood on the floor and I move my hand in the air producing one of my beautiful fireballs. I stare at it for a moment, the fire burning hot in my hand, the flames flapping with the wind, the bright orange, and blue color that I majestically produce. I smile at it and then throw my creation at the woods on the ground.

"There," I say as the fire burns strong.

"Thanks, Regina," Emma says.

I nod and walk to the other side of the camp. I flicked my hands in the air and just like that a tent is right in front of me. It's big and purple with golden shades, fit for a Queen.

"Wow," Emma says behind me "Can I get one of those?"

"No,"

"Come on, Regina, we don't have anything," Emma says "We are going to sleep on the ground"

"That's not my problem"

"You are the only one with magic," Emma says. 

"You know that's not true"

"You are the only one who knows how to use it,"

"Well, that is true"

I walk inside my tent, please with what I had just produced. There is a Queen size bed and red carpet on the floor. A small fireplace where the fire burns strong, making the whole tent warm and cozy. And a little toilet room because I am NOT going back to those barbaric days.

"Regina, come on, you can't just…"

I hear Emma say and then there is nothing before I hear her body crash against a tree and then cursing. My protection spell worked and Emma went flying in the air when she tried to get inside my tent. I smile as I picture the scene outside. Now, we are even.

Chapter Text

The camp rises bright early the next day. It was still dark when we left because Hook says it's best if we do this at this hour. I don't complain. Not when we are finally going to start looking for my son. Henry! Gods, how I worry about my boy. He's been here for too long already.

I wave my hands in the air and in a blink of an eye, my tent is gone. I look over at where Emma stands and she looks tired to me. I don't think she slept very well, her eyes are a bit red and there is some purple underneath. Her hair is a mess and she is all wrapped up in a coat. It is a very cold morning. Maybe it was a little too cruel to let them all sleep on the ground. At least for Emma. Like it or not, we are in this together and I need her to be on her best in our mission to get Henry back. Perhaps I'll provide her with some air mattress for tonight if she behaves. I smirk to myself at the thought of that. As if Emma Swan can behave.

When everybody is ready, Hook leads us into the woods. We start to walk and the first thing I notice is that this place is nothing like the Enchanted Forest. The woods here are so thick that I find myself being slapped in the face by a leaf every five minutes. I hate this place already. Hook tells us that we need to go up to the ridge in order to see Pan's hideout properly. He says he knows where we are going but I seriously doubt that. I don't trust the pirate! He had betrayed me many times before.

The sun picks up and the once cold woods became really warm. We take a break for lunch if you can consider fruits a lunch, and some rest. The two idiots are gladly chatting with one another while Hook flirts with Emma. The sight of that makes me sick. I guess I'm looking at four idiots then. I stand alone and wait for the rest of them to get proper rest before we go back out there. This is so pointless! I should be out there looking for Henry, poofing myself from one side to the other in this damn island. I don't need them, I have my magic back. Fully restore! Why am I staying with them? I'm a powerful witch, I can do this alone.

I have always done everything alone.

"Hey," Emma's voice pulls me out of my thoughts.

"Hey," I say back with a hint of sarcasm in my voice. 

"Do you mind if I sit here?" Emma asks pointing at the rock beside me. 

"Don't you rather be with lover boy?" I ask sarcastically.

Why do I care?

"Hook?" Emma says and makes a face "I just need him to help us find Henry"

"Are you sure about that?" I ask "I see the way you two look at each other"

"What are you talking about?" Emma says as she sits on the rock right next to me "He is just a guide"

"He likes you" I pointed out.

"He's just a flirter," Emma laughs "I doubt he has any real interest in me"

"But you want him to?"

"I…"

"It's time to leave," Hook's voice says before Emma can answer my question "We should move before the Lost Boys finds us"

Emma smiles politely at me and gets up from the rock. She gives me her hand to help me up but I refuse to take it. I don't need her help. I don't need her. I get up from the rock, without her help, and our journey begins again. Hook leads us on a walk, and I stand right behind him. I want to have a clear view of where we are going. We walk for hours again and even though I know I can't tell one tree apart from another I'm positively sure we have passed by some of them already. I swear, guyliner is totally lost and he is making us walking in circles. We are not going anywhere!

The sun goes down on the horizon and suddenly it's all dark. And guess what? We are still walking! My feet hurt like a son of a bitch, but I don't say anything. I should be using my magic! Why am I not using my magic?

"The ridge is just a few paces up ahead," Hook finally says.

"You really think we are gonna be able to see Pan's hideout?" Emma asks.

"From there we should be able to see everything, including where he is keeping your son"

"You know I could've just poof us up here in an instead," I say feeling a little annoyed.

"Where? You have any idea what's up here or anywhere? There are dangerous all about. Only I can guide us past them"

I roll my eyes when I hear him saying that. What a pretentious little asshole.

"He is right, Hook has been here before," Emma says "If he says hiking up is the best way then we listen"

Now I really roll my eyes. Of course, Emma is taking the pirate side. Why wouldn't she? Her lover boy! They have been flirting with each other this whole trip. I wonder if she even cares about Henry at all. And what does she sees in him anyways? He smells and he is a pirate. I don't think I have ever seen him change his clothes, or even wash them. Maybe it's the leather, Emma has quite a fascination for leather as well. That can only be it because I can't imagine anyone going for that when they could have ME!

What the fuck? Did I really just thought that? No! No, no, no, no, no. This can't be happening! No way! I can not have…I do not have feelings for her. What is wrong with me? Why am I thinking of Emma like this? I take bigger and deeper breaths as we walk. I try my best to control myself, otherwise, I'll have a panic attack or something like that and I will not lose myself this way. Not here. Not in front of them. I shook my head and keep walking. One step after another. That's all I need to focus on right now, one step after another, one step, and her hair is so pretty. I wonder how it feels like to run my fingers all the way down her hair. Damn it! One step after another. One step after another one step after, she's moving on top of me, her lips leaving a wet trail down my neck, scraping her teeth on my flesh making me…stop this!

We stop as Hook and Charming start to fight over something and I'm grateful for that. It takes my mind away from her, away from Emma. Hook talks about poison on the tree branches and I can't help my amusement when Charming fights him. At least we have something in common. Suddenly, he's not such an idiot anymore. We walk ahead and when I look back I notice that Emma and Hook stayed behind. Seriously what is wrong with her? Or me! I can't really decide which I want to focus on right now. I wish I could just...magic his tongue off and keep him away from Emma. Gods, I really need to get over this ridiculous crush over the Charming pest. This is ridiculous! I don't even like her.

We finally arrive at the ridge and I feel like I should do good on my thought of taking his tongue out. Or giving him another hook for a hand. There is nothing out there. I am going to kill him. 

I stare at the void of trees and more trees that Hook showed us as if that was supposed to be some sort of hope. Hope for what? That I'll finally have the pleasure to rip his heart out? How the hell is that supposed to help us to find Henry? Unless Peter Pan is a monkey, I don't see why he is so cheerful about arriving here!

It's getting darker now, just as dark as it was when we left in the morning. We have been walking all day none stop except for food and water and a five minutes rest. Hook suggests that we set camp again and I feel outrageous. We should be out there looking for my son but then I take a step and as much as it pains me, I mentally agree with him. My feet hurt, badly and I'm exhausted. We all are.

I walk after him, to the place where he says we should make camp. I look back but Emma is nowhere to be seen. At least I know she is not with him, the pretentious bastard is right in front of me, unfortunately.

"So, Your Majesty" Hook says "Are you going to grace us with a tent tonight?

"If you are talking about mine, yes"

"Could you give me one too, Love," Hook says "I would like to dazzle Emma in it if you know what I mean"

I'm going to burn him.

I will rip his heart out.

How dare he talk about her that way?

"Very charming," I said angrily "But I believe Miss Swan has more important things in her mind to worry about right now"

"I know," Hook says "And I just want the opportunity to take her mind off things"

"And what makes you think she wants to take her mind off things with you?

"Are you jealous, Love?" Hook laughs.

"Excuse me?"

"Are you jealous that I'm interested in Emma?" Hook says "You are a very interesting woman, Your Majesty, but I'm afraid you are not my type anymore"

Oh my God, ew. Does he think I'm interested in him?

I should have killed him when I had a chance.

As if!

"Hook, there isn't enough tragedy in the world that would ever make me consider any sort of interests in you"

"You wound me, Your Majesty," Hook says pretending to have his heart hurt.

"What did you do to him, Regina?" I hear Snow's voice behind me.

"Excuse me?" I say angrily turning around. The idiot has her little bow pointed at me "I haven't done anything to him"

"Hook are you okay?" Snow asks "I've heard you say she wounded you"

"I'm fine, Love," Hook smiles "We were just chatting"

"Mary Margaret, what are you doing?" Emma says behind her "Why are you pointing that at Regina?"

"I thought she was hurting Hook," Snow says as she put the bow down "Sorry about that"

"Why would you think I was hurting him?" I ask.

"As I said, I heard him say you wounded him"

"And your first reaction was to point that on me?" I say feeling the rage inside me now "What if he had attacked me?"

"I didn't think about that" Snow says simply.

"Of course not," I say and wave my hands in the air to build my tent "You can make your own fire tonight"

I enter my tent and I feel like burning the place to the ground. Why do I even bother with these people? I should just do what I've always wanted ever since that bitch killed Daniel. I should rip her heart out. Why don't I? She is there, she is right there. I can just freeze them all and reach inside her chest and pull the heart out and then…then I'll finally have my revenge as I crumble it into pieces. That should make me happy. Then why it doesn't? I sigh as I sit down on the bed. Henry! He wouldn't like that and to be honest, neither would I. This is just not who I am anymore. I want to be better. For him, first. I want him to be proud of his mother. But I want to be better for myself too. I'm tired of being the Evil Queen, for once I just want to be Regina.

I bent down slightly and take off my boots. Shit! My poor feet. I wave my hands in the air and a bucket full of warm water appears. I love having my magic again. I strip to my underwear and put my feet inside the warm water. Gods, that feels so good. I throw my head back moving it to one side and then the other. My whole body is stiff. I close my eyes and try to enjoy the feel of the warm water soaking my feet when I hear her. I can't exactly understand what she is saying, but she sounds angry. Did something happen outside? Should I go out there? See if she is in any danger? Damn it! I'm doing it again. Gods, why? Just why? This can't be happening, I can't possibly…It's not gonna happen, Regina! So just stop this! She is never going to be yours.

"Regina?" Emma says and I nearly jump to the sound of her voice "Can I come in?

"Miss Swan, I'm tired," I say in a heavy voice "And I'm not in the mood for a talk"

"Please?" Emma says "It will only take a minute"

"If you must" I sigh.

"Is it safe for me to come in or will you splash me to the other side of the forest when I touch the tent?"

The protection spell.

Right!

I wave my hands in the air to remove the spell and then I realize I'm just in my underwear and with a quick move of my hands, my clothing is back on me and the warm water is gone.

"You may come in"

Emma steps inside the tent and I can't help the little gasp the leaves my lips when I see her. She told me once that I was beautiful, but Gods, so is she.

"Wow," Emma says as she looks at everything inside my tent "You have got to teach me how to do that"

"Is there something that you want, dear?" I ask more harshly than I intended.

"Yeah, right," Emma says "What Mary Margaret did, pointing the bow at you…It wasn't nice. We are in this together"

"You came here to apologize?"

"In a way," Emma says.

"Let me guess, you need me to make the fire?"

"We do, but I am not even crazy enough to ask that of you" Emma laughs.

"Then what you want, Emma?"

"Can I crash here tonight?" Emma asks with pleading eyes "I'm exhausted and I need to sleep and that's impossible outside"

"Not comfortable enough, dear?" I ask sarcastically.

"It's not just that" Emma sighs "Hook snores. It's horrible"

"I thought you liked snores"

"I like yours," Emma says and I see how her cheeks turn pink "You have a cute way of snoring, like a child sleeping or something. Hook sounds like a pig"

"I snore like a child?"

"It's a compliment," Emma says "Please? I really need my energy for tomorrow"

"What about your parents?" I ask "What will they say about that?"

"I don't give a fuck about what they are going to say, Regina"

"I am not sharing a bed with you"

"Seriously? That thing is huge!" Emma said outrageously. 

"I need my space," I said seriously. 

"You are going to make me sleep on the floor?"

"You were going to sleep on the floor outside anyway"

"Jesus, Regina!" Emma sighs. 

"You are welcome to leave, dear"

"Fine, whatever," Emma says "I just need to rest"

Emma gives her back to me and bends down slightly to remove her boots. In that position, I have a clear view of her ass and I can't help but stare. Those skinny jeans she always used are almost sinful. I trap my lower lip under my teeth as I imagine her moving on top of me, my hands running down her back and reaching her ass. I sink my nails deep in her flesh and she rewards me with a moan that it's both from pleasure and pain as she claims my lips with hers and…

"Regina?" I hear her voice calling me "Regina?"

"What?" I say blinking my eyes fast.

"Were you staring at my ass?"

"What?" I ask feeling my cheeks burn.

"Were you staring at my ass?" Emma says slowly.

"Oh, don't be ridiculous," I say feeling outrageous and yet, knowing that was exactly what I was doing "Why would I do that?"

"I don't know, Regina," Emma says with half a smile, "You tell me"

"I wasn't staring at anything" I lie "I was just…lost in thoughts"

"Of my ass?" Emma laughs.

"Miss Swan," I say angrily "In case you have forgotten, there is a reason why we are here"

"I don't ever forget that," Emma says and I can see I touch a nerve. She is angry.

"Good," I say feeling guilty now "Perhaps we should just go to sleep"

"Yeah," Emma says "We should do that"

I look at Emma and I feel my heart breaking a little at the look on her face. I hurt her. Damn it! I shouldn't have said that. I don't doubt she wants to find Henry as much as I do, we are both his mother. It's curious how the thought of that doesn't bother me as much as it once did. It's true, we are both his mother. And we both love him. I see Emma moving closer to the fireplace I have in the tent and suddenly an idea pops into my head. I know how I can make it up to her. I wave my hands in the air and make an air mattress and a pillow appear in front of the fireplace.

"Is that for me?" Emma asks.

"Well, I'm nothing but a good host"

"Thanks, Regina,"

Emma smiles at me and her eyes catch the reflection of the flames from the fireplace, dancing in her iris and I swear she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She literally took my breath away. I shook my head and smile politely at her as I remove my boots and then my jacket. Emma lays on the mattress and so do I in my Queen size bed, with my back to her. Perhaps I should have let her sleep in my bed. I supposed feeling her body closer to mine wouldn't be the worse thing ever. I turn around and watch Emma for a while. She is fast asleep now, I guess she really was tired from all the walk and the lack of sleep from the night before. She makes a little sound and my heart jumps inside my chest. Gods, I can not have her catching me staring at her again, one time was shameful enough already. Emma wraps her arms around herself and folds her knees. Is she cold? It is a cold night, perhaps the fireplace isn't enough. I wave my hand and a blanket covers Emma's form. Her body relaxes and I see a faint smile forming on her lips. I close my eyes with that image in my head and let myself succumb to the night.

Chapter Text

When I wake up the next morning I'm all alone in the tent. Not only that, everything is deadly silent. I can't hear a thing outside. Not a peep. Panic runs through me as I sit down abruptly on the bed. They left me! Emma left with the rest of them and left me behind. Gods, how could I be so stupid? Why did I trust her? Why…

"Good morning," Emma says entering the tent.

"Oh!" I choke "Good morning!"

"We are leaving in ten," Emma says and hand me some sort of a basket "Here I got these for you"

"What is that?" I ask spying the content.

"Berries. I don't know what kind" Emma says "They are good, though. Very sweet"

"Thanks," I say as I put one in my mouth.

She's right. They are sweet.

I wish they were bitter, though.

"Thank you for letting me sleep here last night," Emma says "I needed the rest"

"Of course," I nod "We need to be in our best if we are going to get Henry back"

"We need to get to him fast, Regina," Emma says "He's been here too long already"

"I know," I sigh "Trust me, I think about that every day"

"We need a solid plan,"

"We need a plan first, Miss Swan," I say "Following your loverboy around this damn island isn't exactly a plan"

"Will you stop that?" Emma says and I can hear the frustration in her voice "He is not my loverboy. I don't even like him"

"Not your type?" I try to joke. It comes out bitter even to my own ears.

"As a matter of fact, no. Not at all!"

"Emma? Regina" Snow says outside the tent "We have to go"

"We'll be right out" Emma shouts "Are you ready?" She asks me.

"I am"

I wave my hands in the air and in a blink of an eye the tent is gone and my boots are back on my feet. Emma looks surprised at the sudden lack of… well, everything, and I wonder if she will ever stop being surprised by magic. She blinks twice at me and then gives me a shy smile that goes straight to the center of my heart and I can't do anything but smile back at her. The expression is so stupid that I catch snow looking suspiciously at me before I shake my head and put my cold mask back on. I can't really blame her, though. I barely recognize myself.

The pirate leads us to yet another journey along this damn woods. Gods, I swear the island did not look this big from the ship. He is flirting with Emma, again and right in front of her parents. Idiot! I really hope David will stab him with the pointy end of his sword. It's better to clarify that part of the wish since the man is a walking donkey. The handless pirate says something and Emma starts to laugh. The sound of her laughter warms something inside my heart at the same time my brain reprimands me for it. I don't get it! She says she is not flirting with him, that he is not her type and yet there she is laughing at whatever coherent line that sorry excuse for a man said. Is that some sort of scheme? To make him help us get Henry back? If it is, I can respect that! Emma laughs again and I correct myself. I can absolutely not respect that!

The sun is burning hot today, and Emma is only wearing her grey t-shirt now and that bothers me in a way that has nothing to do with her poor choices of clothing. The sight of her bare arms does things to my imagination, images that have no place inside my head keeps popping up every time I look at her. Is her stomach as defined as her arms are? Hard? Would she gasp if I ran my tongue all the way down…No! For the love of God, Regina, you have got to stop this! It's not gonna happen. You hate each other! You two are just tolerable with one another because you have the same purpose in mind. Henry! He is the only thing that matters. Emma passes the water flask to Hook and he brushes his fingers against her arm and I feel rage build inside of me, one that is almost too much for me to handle. I should set him on fire!

"Where exactly are we going this time?" I ask irritably.

"To find your son, obviously" The pirate answers sarcastically.

"And where exactly, would that be?" I ask "We have been walking for hours. Again!"

"And now we shall stop to rest" Hook smiles at me. 

"Excuse me?" I ask.

"The sun is too hot, Your Majesty," Hook says "We need to stop for a minute"

"Hook is right, Regina," Snow says "I'm pretty beat"

"Then rest we shall," David says as he and Snow sat down on the ground.

I roll my eyes and walk away from them, into the woods. This isn't going anywhere. It's been two days already of just walking into these damn woods not really getting anywhere. This is pointless! That pirate is not taking us to Henry he is just trying to get inside Emma's pants. This is probably his plan, isn't it? Keep us trap here just long enough to seduce her and then look like a damn Prince Charming when he finally takes us to Henry. I close my eyes as I try to shake images of Emma, Hook, and Henry together walking around Storybrooke like a perfect little family. It hurts, and even I have to admit that.

"Regina?" Emma says behind me.

"What?" I answer harshly.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine"

"I brought you some food," Emma says "It's just hard bread and butter, but…"

"I'm not hungry," I say, still with my back to her.

"You should eat, Regina," Emma says sounding concerned.

"Thank you, dear," I say "But I'm fine. You should go back to your pirate"

"You have got to stop calling him that," Emma says "Do you mind If I eat here with you?"

"I'm not eating"

"Okay, do you mind making me company while I eat?" Emma asks "I can't stand the smell of Hook in all that leather in this heat"

I smile at that. I can't help it.

"Well, I can imagine that"

I finally turn around and see Emma sitting on a tree trunk, barbarically ripping a piece of bread. That thing must be really, really hard. I move closer to her and sit down next to her. She hands me a piece and I take it from her hand, feeling a jolt of electricity when our fingers brush against one another. Was that our magic or just my imagination? Emma seems unaffected by it and I chose to believe it was just my mind playing tricks on me.

"Do you think he knows where we are going?" Emma asks.

"What?" I have to ask again because I was too lost in thoughts of her.

"Hook," Emma says "Do you think he knows where we are going?"

"Of course not," I say "He's useless"

"We've been walking for two days now and we are not getting anywhere," Emma says "This island did not look this big from the ship"

"My thoughts exactly" I smirk.

"Part of me is starting to lose faith in him," Emma says "But it's not like we have any other choice"

"Well, you didn't look like you were losing faith in him at all," I say even though I hate myself for the way I sounded.

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing," I say "Nevermind"

"Regina, I do not have a thing for Hook," Emma says "Trust me!"

"Maybe not but you certainly encourage him"

"Excuse me?"

"You were laughing all morning at whatever that idiot was saying"

"Yes, because I want to get to Henry," Emma says "It has nothing to do with him"

"It's not very worthy of a hero, is it?"

"If I didn't know any better, I would say that you are jealous" Emma gives me a half-smile. 

"Excuse me?" I say.

This is just…outrageous. Truth, but outrageous.

"Are you jealous of Hook, Regina?" Emma asks and this time that little smile she displays annoys me.

"Oh my God, ew," I say. And it's true. Ew!

"He is not the one I'm interested in"

Emma says that looking so deeply into my eyes that I forget how to breathe for more than a second. Her featured are serious and her lips are slightly apart as she looks into my eyes and then, her gaze lowers to my lips and I see her moistening her lips. We are so close to each other that I can feel the warm breath that comes in and out of her mouth, and if I just let myself go, if I just leaned in half an inch I can kiss her. I open and close my mouth as if to try and say something but nothing comes out. It's like my brain stopped working and all I can think about is pale pink lips and how perfectly they would move against mine.

I'm breathing fast now, I can feel it and so can Emma. She looks into my eyes again and moves a little bit closer to me as if we are not already invading each other's personal space. I want to kiss her. I want to lean in and take her lips upon mine, taste her mouth, sink my fingers in her hair. Do I dare? I move closer to her now, so close that our breaths mix together and I can't tell which one is leaving her and which one I'm breathing. Am I really doing this? Do I want to do this? The answer is simple, I…

"Emma?" Snow shouts "Regina?"

And just like that, the moment is gone. I slide away from Emma and rose as if the trunk was on fire. I shook my head and open and close my hands trying to get my breathing under control. What the hell was that?

"Hey," Snow says when she sees us "We are leaving!"

"We'll be right there," Emma says.

I hear Snow walking away but I don't dare to turn around to look at Emma. I cant! My cheeks are all flushed and I'm bothered and confuse all over. I can't make up any of those feelings, they are just too much. All of this is just too much.

"Have you notice that she is always the one who comes to break us apart?" Emma laughs.

"Yes, she is very talented at that," I say back.

"Are you coming?" Emma asks. 

"Yeah, I just…"

"Need a minute?" Emma finishes for me.

"Yes!"

"Regina, I…"

"I'll be right out there, Miss Swan," I say as harshly as I can.

"Yeah, okay," Emma says "Just…don't take too long"

"I won't"

I keep my back to her until I hear Emma walking away. I close my eyes and try to get my breathing under control even though it feels like an impossible quest. I almost kissed her. I almost kissed her and the worse part of all is that I wanted to. I wanted to kiss her! How could I have been so stupid? How could I have not realized I was developing feelings for her? How could I have let it come to this point? The point where I almost humiliate myself wanting to kiss her. What would have happened if I did? What if Emma pushed me away and tell me I got it all wrong? What if…What if she kissed me back? Gods, Regina stop being so stupid. Love is weakness and the only one you are allowed to have is Henry. Not that I love her. I don't! This is just…This is just my mind playing tricks on me, I'm just lonely and in need of something physical. That's it! I just find her attractive, that's all. I don't love her. I cant. I hate everything about her, I would hate her very existence if she hadn't given me my son.

I open my eyes feeling more at ease with myself now. My breathing is under control and now I know what's happening to me. It's not about Emma, I would probably feel the same way about anyone I found remotely attractive. I feel so much better now. I turn around feeling confident, knowing that I was not stupid enough to have feelings for someone like her. I walk back to where everybody is just waiting for me so we can continue our walk. Emma smiles at me and my stupid heart feels like it's going to jump out of my chest as I notice stupid things like the way the sunlight makes her eyes brighter, almost deep blue, and her blonde hair shines like gold. Oh, for fuck sake! This is not the way physical attraction is supposed to work. Why can't I just hate her?

I keep my distance as the Pirate leads us on another endless walk. I just can't deal with her right now, there are far more important things to worry about, like my little Prince. Emma is walking behind Hook and I just hate the easy way they talk to each other, I hate the way he makes her laugh every now and then, and I hate that I hate all of this. I shouldn't care. It's not right! But I do. I don't want anyone else to make her laugh but me, and at this point, I have to accept the fact that it's not just physical attraction. I like her. I like Emma!

We walk and walk and walk again all day, getting nowhere. Again! It's nightfall and we find a place to spend the night. I don't interact with anyone as I magic my tent and walk inside. I seat down heavily on the bed before dropping my body. I look up at the ceiling of the tent as I try and fail to push thoughts of beautiful smiles and blonde hair out of my mind.

I look to the side as I hear steps going back and forth in front of the tent. I sit down in bed, breathing fast waiting for Emma's next move. I had put on a protection spell around it, but it's weak. If she wants to, she can get inside.

"Regina? Ouch!" Emma says "God damn it"

And there it is. It's just a small shock and she is completely exaggerating the reaction. It's not like the first time when she was thrown to the other side of the trees and if she really wants to, she can get inside. Emma sighs and walks away and the disappointment sets in the pit of my stomach. She should have tried harder. She should have let herself in. She could if she really wanted to. But I supposed I'm not being fair, I did put the protection spell after all mostly because I'm not sure if I can deal with her right now. I want to and at the same time, I don't, because I don't deal with rejection very well. I was never good at it.

I take off my boots and jacket and lay properly on the bed. I should try and get some sleep. True be told, I'm pretty tired. I'm not used to all that walking, not even when I lived in the Enchant Forest. If I wasn't poofing (As Henry calls it) I was in a carriage or better yet, riding my horse. I close my eyes and as I usually do, I let the darkness take over me.

Something is shaking me, pulling me out of my slumber. My body wakes up slowly, too slowly for my liking, you see, while my brain registers the voice calling out my name over and over and over again, my body simply remains still.

"Regina? Regina, wake up"

"Emma!" I say when my body finally caught up with my brain "What's wrong?"

"You have to come outside," Emma says "I've already woke the others"

"Why?" I ask "What's wrong?

"Just come outside"

Emma leaves the tent and I started to put on my boots and then my jacket. I started to walk when something suddenly hits me. She was inside the tent. This must be something really important considering she wasn't willing to face a little shock wave when she was outside earlier. I walk out of the tent and I see Emma sitting in front of a rock with a piece of paper on top of it. She explains what happened with Pan and how he gave her the map.

"He so likes his games," Hook says.

"What game?" I ask looking at him "There is nothing there"

There really isn't.

"If he says there is a map in this parchment, then there is," Hook says.

God, I hate him!

"Great, if I just stop denying who I really am, whatever that means, I won't be able to read this thing," Emma says.

"And how do we know Pan won't use it to lead us straight into a trap," I ask the obvious question.

"Because he doesn't need to. This whole Island is his bloody trap" Hook says.

Okay, he might have a point there.

The two idiots come back telling that they didn't find Pan anywhere. As if he would just be hanging around, waiting to get caught. Idiots! We argue about the map, I just want to use magic on it and use that damn thing to find my son, but Emma refuses to let me. In fact, she's a little harsh about it and that throws me off a little. Why does she get to be harsh at me? I should be harsh at her!

Emma stares at the map, saying one obvious thing after another, looking intensely at it, and quite frankly that scene is just too sad to watch. I lean against a tree while I wait for what, Im not sure. The two idiots are sitting in front of her, saying encouraging words and I'm not sure how much eyes rolling I can do before my iris gets stuck up my brain. Emma struggles with the "S" word, and if admitting that she is the savior to a piece of paper is what we need to save my son, well I'm screwed.

She finally says the word and I hold my breath as I walk to see the map to Henry but it remains blank. Of course, it does. Magic is about belief and Miss Swan doesn't even believe in herself.

"I don't get it, I said I was the savior there is nothing I deny more than that" Emma says.

"It's okay, we'll figure out," Snow says.

"No, you won't," I say as I walk to Emma because I had enough.

"Regina!" Emma says when I take the parchment from her hands.

"But I can," I say "I'm beginning to think there isn't a map here, but that doesn't mean it can't lead us to Henry"

"I thought we decided that using magic was a bad idea," Charming says.

Well, I didn't!

"For once I agree with the Prince," Hook says.

Idiot!

Sometimes I wonder if he is flirting with Emma or Charming.

Just saying.

I work my magic on the parchment and it doesn't take long before it starts to glow right in front of my eyes.

"What the hell are you doing?" Emma asks.

"A locator spell," I tell her "This parchment belonged to Pan. It will lead us to him"

I finish the spell and the parchment starts flowing in the air. It goes in the direction of the dark jungle and of course, Hook makes a comment on it. Emma stares awe-struck at it as I walk behind her.

"Well, Emma. You said you wanted to be the leader" I say "Lead"

Emma walks ahead and I follow her. The others come behind us, but Emma and I stay a few paces ahead of them. It's nice and I quite enjoy having her by my side like that. Our arms brush against one another and I regret wearing my blue jacket, it would be nice to feel Emma's bare arm on my skin.

"Ready to thank me?" I ask sounding as cocky as I feel.

"Actually, yeah"

"If you let me do it sooner maybe we would have found him by now"

Gods, how good it feels to boast in front of her. I wish I could do it some more but suddenly the parchment stops flowing and I know exactly what that means.

"Wait! He's there. Pan" I say "I can feel his smugness"

"Shall we?" Charming says "While we still have the element of surprise on our side"

Idiot!

I follow him, without looking back. Now that we are here I erase any thoughts of Emma from my mind. My son is here and I'm more than ready to take Henry back home. We follow a path that takes us to a camp. It's his camp, I know that. But…

"No one is here," Snow says "Maybe your spell was wrong, Regina"

"Yes, blame me. Again!"

Gods, can I just fireball her ass?

"Henry!"

Emma screams and now she has my solo attention. I run after her and I see a boy with his back to us. That's not Henry. I know my son. How could she not? The boy turns around and Pan is there, wearing Henry's clothes.

"Hi, Emma" Pan says.

"Where the hell is Henry?" Emma asks.

"You broke the rules. That's not fair. I expected some more from you, captain" Pan says.

"Give Henry to me," Emma says next to me.

"Sorry, can't. Don't you know? Cheaters never win"

It's a trap. I realize that too late. We are surrounded by lost boys who attack us with their poisoned arrows. I have just about enough with all of that as I throw one fireball after another while dodging the damn arrows. It's not an easy fight, but at least I manage my share. Suddenly, Pan whistles, and all the boys run back into the woods.

"Remember what I told you. That map will show you where Henry is only when you stop denying who you really are. I'll make sure to send Henry regards"

And just like that, all the boys are gone and we are left alone in the camp and I am left with an uneasy feeling inside my chest. This was supposed to have worked. I was supposed to get my son back and impress Emma with my abilities but now I just feel angry and embarrassed. If the only way we can get that map to work is by Emma accepting who she really is, then we are all screwed.

Chapter Text

I watch as Emma keeps staring at the parchment while her idiot parents are looking hopeful at her. It's sad to watch, really. It was sad the first time around and it's sad now. I give up waiting and go into the jungles to clear my brain…and eyes.

I still can't' believe the spell didn't work. Well, to be fair, it did work. It led us to the demon boy, but I can't believe it was a trap! Honestly, I have no idea why I'm waiting around for Emma to figure out that map because even if she does, it will only lead us to another trap. He wouldn't just give the map to Henry if he wasn't hoping for Emma to figured it out. Why? I have no idea!

What an epic fail this night was! Gods, I just want to find my son. I just want to take Henry and bring him back to Storybrooke. Back home. I walked to a trunk (This jungle is full of it) and seat down heavily on it. I'm exhausted! But even if I did try, I doubt I would be able to get any sleep. Besides, I supposed it will be morning in just a few hours and then we'll go back out there to look for Henry regardless of the map.

At least the prospect of finally finding him took my mind away from thoughts of Emma. The dream I was having when she woke me up was…not the kind of dream I should be having of her. Not that I should be having any sort of dreams about her, but Gods! Why? Just why? Why her? Maybe this is my punishment. Maybe this is my punishment for what I did to her parents and…her. I destroyed her life and I honestly don't think there is a way around that. I doubt Emma will ever forgive me for taking her away from her parents and inflict upon her a miserable life even though it wasn't directly my doing.

And why should I care about her forgiveness? I sigh heavily. Your fucking idiot, how, just how could you be so stupid? Gods, Regina, what the hell is wrong with you? Well, better not get into that right now, otherwise, I might never leave Neverland. I just need to find Henry. I just need to find my little Prince and taking him back home and then everything will be back to normal. Even if my feelings for Emma aren't stress-induced, at least in Storybrooke I can ignore her, and hopefully, with time, they will go away completely. Who knows? Maybe Emma and the one-hand wonder might actually fall in love with each other and make things much easier for me because if that what she chose to go for, I will definitely be dodging a ball there.

But then there are these things, you know? These little things that Emma says, like when they were inside the pirate's ship and she said 'they' no longer interested her. What was that supposed to mean? And that comment, saying I'm beautiful? That was what triggered all of that inside of me. And the moment we had earlier, I wasn't alone, right? I mean, yes I wanted to kiss her, I admit that but Emma wanted to kiss me too, didn't she? I didn't imagine all of that, did I? Gods, I wish I could hate her just for that!

"Regina?" Emma's voice comes behind me and I can help the jump "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you"

"It's okay" I smile a little "Did you make the map work yet?"

"No!" Emma sighs "And staying back there with them wasn't helping either"

"I can imagine"

"Do you mind if I sit?" Emma asks "I'm pretty tired of standing"

"Be my guest"

"Thanks,"

Emma sits down next to me and my body betrays me as I feel an unwanted shiver when her bare arm brushes against mine and once again, I wish I wasn't wearing a jacket. Emma looks at the map in her hand, frowning in frustration and I feel sorry for her. I really do, and not in a way of pity, not in a way that diminishes her. I share her frustration. It's the same as mine.

"You'll get there" The words come out of my mouth before I can even think about them.

"How?" Emma sighs "I tried everything!"

"Obviously, you didn't"

"I did, Regina!" Emma says "There is nothing here"

"You have to accept who you are, Emma," I say "You have to own it"

"I do!" Emma says "I do own it, Regina! I know who I am, I know I'm the fucking product of true love or whatever, I know I'm a fairytale character daughter and I know that…"

"That what?"

Emma turns to look at me and it takes my breath away how much you can see just by looking into her eyes. She bears her entire soul in them, one just has to look, really look at her to realize that. The hurt, the uncertainty that crosses them right before my eyes its almost too much for me to handle. I want to look away, but I can't.

"I'm the fucking savior" Emma finally says.

"You don't really believe that" I smile softly at her.

"I do! I broke your curse, didn't I?"

"You don't own it, Emma," I say "You believe you are the savior because of the things you've done and seen ever since, but you don't own that. Why?"

"Because I don't want to be" Emma shouts "Ever since I find out what Henry was telling me was true and I broke the curse, well, everything suck"

"You are right about that"

"I don't want this. I don't want this responsibility. It's too much!"

"But you have it," I say "That is what you were made for"

"Yeah, and I supposed knowing that is any better?"

"I guess…not," I say cautiously.

"When we were out there, I was fighting this boy, this lost boy, and…"

"And what?" I ask softly.

"Nothing," Emma sighs "Never mind"

I move closer to her and put my hand on her thigh. I don't mean anything other than to bring some sort of comfort, to show her that it's okay for her to keep talking. Emma turns to look at me and again, it's almost too much for me to handle all the hurt that crosses her eyes all at once. I wish I could do more. I wish I could wrap my arms around her, I wish I could kiss her hair and tell her everything was going to be okay, that we are going to find Henry and that we are going to bring him back home and that she will never have to go through any of this ever again. I wish I was brave enough to do this, but instead, I just keep my hand in place on her thigh and I just wait for her to talk again. Emma looks away from me and stares out the woods in front of us. It's quiet and the silence between us stretches but it's not uncomfortable. I know I should move my hand away from her leg, but I'm afraid if I do that, I will break some sort of invisible spell between us and that's the last thing I want. Eventually, Emma does that herself and the sound of her voice in the silent night almost takes me by surprise.

"When I looked at his face, I saw me"

"Go on," I squeeze her thigh softly.

"The look in his eyes. The despair, I had it back when I was in the foster system. Just a lost little girl who didn't matter, who cant think she ever would. A little girl who cried herself to sleep because she wanted her parents so bad and could never understand why they gave her up"

I take a deep breath as I hear the words coming out of Emma's mouth. The guilty that strikes me at that moment is bigger than I ever thought it would be. This is my fault, partially it's my fault. I can't be blamed for her never been adopted, never been loved. That was her curse, I suppose. The price she had to pay for being the savior but if it wasn't for me and my actions, she wouldn't have to go through all of that. I feel guilty, yes, but do I regret it? No! I can't because it gave us our son and Henry, my boy, he is something I will never regret.

"But you found them," I say as I remove my hand from her leg "Is it really that late?"

"I don't know" Emma cries "It's just on this island I…I don't feel like a hero or a savior. I just feel like what I've always been. An orphan"

I feel my eyes fill with tears now and I have to look away in order to not let them fall. I can't. I look down to try and get my thoughts and feelings in order when I see the parchment suddenly come to life between us. It's the map. It…it worked.

"Emma" I whisper.

"What?" Emma asks.

"Look"

Emma follows my gaze and her eyes widened when she sees the map drawn in what before was just a useless piece of paper. The change in features is fast and I'm relieved not only because the map is working now, but because Emma's face doesn't have that, too much to handle, pain that was spread all over her beautiful face.

"What happened?" Emma asks. 

"You accepted who you are," I say softly. 

"Oh!" Emma says "shit"

She let out a small smile with her last sentence and I smile sympathetically at her. I can only imagine how painful it was for her to let all of that out, especially in front of me. The deepest of her pain is something I can understand, I suppose. I know what it feels like to carry something so heavy inside of you, I know what it feels like to be lost.

"We need to tell the others," Emma says using the back of her hand to clear the tears.

"Yes, we do," I say.

But I wish we didn't. I wish it was just me and Emma. I wish we could just take the map and go after our son ourselves without the others. I don't see why we need them now and this would be so much faster if it was just us.

"Regina?"

"Right behind you dear"

Emma slowly starts to walk back to where we set camp. I figured she would be running to the others to tell them that the map is working, but she doesn't. She waits until I'm right behind her and we make our way back. She only runs when we are close enough that we can see them.

"The map is working," Emma says "We know where Henry is"

Hooks comes to stand right beside her and I have to suppress the eye-rolling when he takes the map from her hand poses as he examines the parchment.

"We are here at the southern tip of the island, in the middle of the dark jungle," He says the obvious "And Pan's camp lies due North"

"It's where he is keeping Henry," Emma says.

"Now that we know where he is keeping Henry hostage," I say "What are we waiting for?"

Hook looks at me with that smug expression that never seems to leave his face and tells me about the traps and misfortunes that we might find along the way. As if I don't know that already. As if I haven't been here long enough to see them. The Charming idiot agrees with him and starts to talk about a new plan of action and I'm not sure I like this. It should just be me and Emma. We have the map, I can just poof us to where he is and take him by surprise without warning. I understand this was impossible to do before but not now. Not now that we have the map, not now that we know where Henry is.

"It's time we stop playing his game and he starts playing ours," Emma says.

"And If I disagree?" I ask.

"Go ahead but I think you know our best chances are together"

"You better be right"

I walk away from them because I know it's to no vail to try and speak my mind. It has nothing to do with the look of hurt on Emma's face when I suggest the possibility of not going with them. Maybe I should tell her my plan. We have been friendly towards one another, perhaps if I could hold my temper I could explain my plan to her, how we don't need Hook to get us to Henry anymore. Our chances are better together, just Emma and I.

Gods, what am I talking about? Did I really just thought that? Was I really only thinking about saving Henry? I need to stop this. I need to stop this ridiculous fantasy that Emma and I could be more than just…former enemies? It doesn't matter now. We have the map and hopefully, the mission to save Henry will end soon along with any feelings for the Charming's offspring.

Chapter Text

It’s almost morning again and I feel both tired and electrify. Tired because I didn’t sleep at all last night, my mind was a mix of Henry and Emma. The worse part was that damn dream about me, Emma, and Henry living together like a happy family. If that wasn’t a nightmare, I don’t know what else it could be. I gave up sleeping at God's knows what time and just silently waited for the time to pass so I could resume our search for Henry. Not that the awake part of the night was any better. My mind kept on going to images of a certain blonde woman with those damn green eyes and a beautiful smile. If I didn’t know any better, I would say Emma put some sort of curse on me. Perhaps she did.

What she shared last night, was intimate, in a way. I know for a fact she had never shared that with anyone, not even her parents, but she did it with me. Why? Why did she trust me enough to share that? I mean, on one hand, it did the trick to make the map work, but on the other hand…

And then there was that look of hurt that crossed her face when I suggested I might not tag along with them. And it wasn’t just the look of hurt on her face, you know? It was what it made me feel. It felt like, she cared for me. It made me want to walk up to her and wrap my arms around her and kiss those pink pale lips of hers and tell her that everything was going to be okay. Tell her that we are going to find Henry and go back home. Together. Gods, what insanity!

Am I being blind here? And if I am, in which way? That damn woman confuses me. I don’t know if she is just being friendly or if she is trying to kiss me too. She sends all sorts of mix-up signals. She flirts with Hook, there is no denying that but then she says she has no interest in him. She opens up to me but she doesn’t cross a certain invisible line or whatever. It’s like she is waiting for me to make the first move, but that is just not going to happen. I’m a Queen.

And she is the offspring of my enemies, whom I admit, are not all that hateful anymore. Maybe she is toying with me. Would she do that? It’s not very hero-like but, neither is Emma. No, Emma wouldn’t do that. She’s not a villain, she's just an idiot. A God damn beautiful idiot, I sigh as I bury my face between my hands.

“Regina?” Emma’s voice says outside the tent.

“Yes?”

“We are leaving in ten minutes,” Emma says. 

“I’ll be right out”

I hear the sound of Emma’s boot walking away as I rose from the bed. At least my heart is a little less heavy today. Now we have the map. Now we have a way to find Henry. I need to find him, and I need to find him fast. It has been too long already that he is here. That I am here. I know Henry, deep down, is probably seen all of this as some sort of adventure, but it’s one thing to read about them in a book and another to actually live them. The tales of the Enchanted Forest aren’t as great as the book he reads makes it seems. It's dangerous. People get hurt. Many dies. I walk to where I left my boots last night and sit down on the bed again to put them on. A quick wave of my hands to make sure my face looks presentable (Rescue mission or not I am still a Queen) and I leave the tent. They are all ready now, just waiting for me. I wave my hands in the air again to get rid of the tent and follow the pirate inside the heavy jungle.

It’s still dark when we start to walk the path that dirty pirate takes us to. It’s dark and yet, it's burning hot. How is that even possible? Where is the cool breeze of the early morning? We walk for about half an hour before I realize I’m walking in front of Emma. I look over my shoulder and caught Emma staring at my ass. She didn’t notice me looking at her, I suspect she was quite entertained by the view of my backside. I look forward again and can't help the smile that forms on my lips. I even cooked up a flirt when the pirate says something to Emma and she laughs. It’s amazing how that woman can take me from ten to zero in no time.

“How much further?” I ask feeling annoyed.

“We should be getting closer to Pan's lair if we walk a straight-line course”

We all stop ad Emma unfolds the map to look at. Gods, why is it so hot on this damn island? My cloth is soaked in sweat.

“Son of a…” Emma says and looks at Hook “How is he now behind us?”

“How can that be?” Snow says.

“You got us lost” I state the obvious.

What?

She did!

“No, she didn’t,” Hook says “It’s the camp. Pan is moving it”

“He’s playing tricks on us,” Charming says.

“If Pan’s camp keeps moving, how are we going to find Henry?”

I look at the fear on Emma’s face and it takes a second or two for her words to finally sink in. That son of bitch! I’m going to kill him and I am going to enjoy it.

“So, this whole track has been for nothing,” Emma says.

“I told you walking was idiotic. If we could just use some magic we could materialize in the camp and grab Henry”

“We don’t know where the camp is, have you even been listening?” Snow says.

Forget the whole former enemies.

I want to murder her too.

“Pan has shields against magic and any attempt would end in your death and more importantly, mine,” Hook says “That’s why we are walking”

May I kill him too?

I suppress the eye roll because I could literally set the pirate on fire, right now, and let's face it, nobody would miss him. But instead, I gather my composure, as I am a Queen and say:

“Then what is your idea? How are we going to find it?”

“By using someone he trusts,” Hook says.

“Who?” Charming asks Hook “Because I guess he certainly doesn’t trust you”

“A fairy who lived here when I was about. She might still be on the island. She’ll be an inside source, knows all about the camp and she can get us in. She might even have some pixie dusty left, perhaps she could fly in”

“You mean, fairy dusty?” Emma says.

“No. Pixie dust. It's stronger like nuclear fairy dusty” Charming says.

Please!

It’s not that stronger. It never really defeated me.

“Wait, a fairy,” Emma says as her face frown “Tinker Bell?”

Holy Shit!

Not Green!

I try to control my features but I know I lost for a second there. God, damn it, there is no way in hell Tinker Bell would ever help me. Not after what I did to her. Not after that whole true love’s fiasco, which I still don’t believe I was entirely wrong, just like I’m not entirely wrong about every single mistake I made in the past.

Crap!

“It’s a bad idea,” I say, noticing the way Emma looks at me “Mark my words, this Tinker Bell is not going to save us”

Well, she won't.

And for once in my life, I wish they would just listen to me.

But alas, they don’t.

Hook says we need to get to Tinker Bell, says he has ways to convince her to help us.

Ew!

Just ew!

If Tinker Bell sank that low, we are all doomed.

The Charming idiots agree with Hook and this time I do roll my eyes. Of course, they do. Why wouldn’t they?

It's up to Emma now.

I look at her and I wish that for once, she would just agree with me.

I wish she would take my side.

I wish she could see in my eyes how much I do not like this idea.

But, how could she? My face is hard as a stone.

I’m barely breathing.

Barely holding my shit together.

“I know you think this is not a good idea,” Emma says looking at me “But we have to at least try,”

Of course, she doesn’t take my side.

Why do I even have feelings for her is beyond my reason.

“Good call, Love” Hook says.

“This is ridiculous,” I say “We should keep this between us. How do we even know if she is not working for Pan?”

“Don’t worry about that, Your Majesty,” Hook says looking at me “Tinker hates Pan just as much as we all do”

“And how do you know that?” I ask.

“I just know, Love” Hook says.

“How do we find her?” Emma asks.

“I know where she stays here on the island,” Hook says “I can get us there”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Charmin says “Let get a move on”

“Aye. I just need a minute to situate myself on the island. Then we can go”

Hook walks away, leaving the four of us behind. I want to argue that this is not a good idea, that we are wasting our time, but I can't. Not because I don’t have the words for it, but simply because I don’t have the arguments. Not without telling them what happened between Tinker and me back in the Enchant Forest.

Gods, how many more of my past demons are going to come back from the grave and hunt me? Out of all the fairies I’ve wrong in the past why did it have to be her here? And why is it so damn hot is this island? I run my cloth behind my neck, and it comes back drenched. Is it really just the heat? No, I don’t think so. I’m nervous and this is my body betraying me. Is it too much to wish that the pirate gets lost and we have to move on without him? Without Tinker Bell? I can use my magic, I can just magic us all around this damn island until we find Henry!

But as my luck keeps getting the best of me, the pirate comes back. He announces he knows the way to Tinker’s lair and soon they all started to follow the pirate. I stay behind, walking as slow as I possibly can. He didn’t get lost but before we even get there, I certainly will.

Chapter Text

The pirate makes his way through the jungle and we follow him like damn sheep. I stay behind the group walking as slow as I possibly can without calling much attention. I barely register Emma walking right beside Hook, I have other things in my mind to worry about right now, like Tink. I haven't thought about her in such a long time. I've done her wrong in the past and of course, destiny would be enough of a bitch to put her in my way again like this. She has to help us, right? Regardless of what I did to her, she is a fairy, and fairies are supposed to be good.

The heat in this jungle is picking up and the more we walk the more I feel like I won't really need an excuse to stay behind. This heat is killing me and I feel like I could pass out at any given second. Huh! That's an idea, I can't get there if I'm not conscious. Oh, who am I kidding? I rather die than show any sign of weakness in front of these people. I pick up the tissue from my jacket pocket and wipe the sweat from my face before putting it back inside my pocket again when I giant leaf hits my face. I fucking hate this jungle.

We keep on walking and sadly enough I can't stay behind that much longer. The line shifts and suddenly the Charming idiots are walking with Hook while Emma is behind them. Perhaps this could be an opportunity. Perhaps I can convince Emma of my original plan, the one where we can go get Henry ourselves without the help of the green fairy at all. I jogged after her when I notice that just like me, Emma is also falling behind.

"Emma!"

I say her name, and Emma turns around to see me. She looks tired and I hate that I noticed that.

"There is another way," I say.

"Is there?" Emma asks.

"Magic," I say.

"Didn't we just go through this?" Emma says. 

Well, we had, but she doesn't have to say it like that. Like she is annoyed. I'm the one who is supposed to be annoyed here, not her. But I have to think fast. Emma gives her back to me and then something clicks in my brain.

"I'm not talking about my magic," I say "I'm talking about our magic"

"I am not interested. One thing I learned is that it always comes with a price"

"Well, sometimes not using it comes with a price too," I say and look intensely inside Emma's eyes "I bet you and I combined are strong enough to overpower Pan"

"What if we are not?" Emma says "I'm not gonna take a chance on that, we are talking about Henry's life"

"I'm aware of that"

How dare she?

"Look, I know you don't like this plan. Let's just see it through. Let's see if we can find Tinker Bell"

"And you think it's the best plan because your boyfriend came up with it?"

"My boyfriend?" Emma says and looks into my eyes "Hook?

"You two always look very cozy with each other"

"I don't know how many times I can tell you this, Regina. Hook is not my type. At all. This tree right here has a better chance with me than he does"

"Sorry, I…"

"No!" Emma says and the look of hurt in her eyes is one that I know will hunt me in my sleep, "I thought you knew me better than this by now"

"Emma…"

"Let's just go find Tinker Bell," Emma says "We are wasting time here"

Emma turns her back to me and resumes her walk. I close my eyes and sigh because I can't believe I manage to screw up another interaction with her. Again! I don't even know if the comment was out of jealousy for her and Hook or my fear to see Tinker Bell again. Maybe it was a combination of both, but I prefer to think it was neither.

I follow them inside the jungle. We walk for hours, it's nightfall now and we are not even there yet. Perhaps I got lucky after all and the pirate got us lost. I'll still fireball his ass for making me walk this much, though. Unfortunately, for me, after a few more minutes the pirate announces we are closer to her home. I swallow dry, as I bite my lower lip. She can't see me. She won't help us if she does. I follow back behind the line now and for some reason so does Emma. She walks in front of me and I have a clear view of her ass and muscular arms. She really is a work of art, and that long blonde hair of hers only adds it to it. I shake my head let out a small laugh when I realize what I just did. Gods, what is wrong with me?

Hook announces that we are nearly at the fairy lair and I am brought back to reality. I can't go with them. I need to make myself scared. We walk through a good spot, one where I can just lay low and wait for them. This is good. Here is where I'm going to stay even though it kills me not knowing the next move, not knowing what they are going to talk about with her. What will she tell them? My throat suddenly goes dry and I have to cough in order to clean it. I look at the tree trunk on the ground and I walk to it, putting my lamp on top of it. I crack my neck from one side to the other and roll my feet. Perhaps a little rest will do me good.

"Hey," Emma says.

"Hey," I say back sarcastically.

"You are falling behind," Emma says "Hook thinks her place is right up ahead. Come on"

"Well, if she still lives there," I say trying to sound like I don't care "You go waste your time searching and I'll wait"

I look up at the sky trying my best to pretend that it's not a big deal. Luckily Emma will buy it and leave me behind while she and the others get to the fairy.

"What did you do to her?" Emma asks.

Well, she didn't!

Of course, she didn't.

I look back at her and Emma is close, too close for my liking and yet not close enough. She stands there waiting for an answer and quite frankly this is just outrageous. What makes her think that I'm the one who has done something, damn it?

"What?" I say feeling ridiculous annoyed "Why would you assume I've done something?"

"You met her before, right?" Emma shrugs "In the Enchanted Forest? What did you do, kill her brother, steal her halo…"

"She's not an angel," I say quickly cutting her off. Idiot! "Okay, we have a complicated history"

"I knew it"

"You don't need to know the details," I say "But if she sees me, she won't help. And if she is the way in well then, trust me, me staying out of her sight it is probably best for Operation Henry"

I move to seat on the tree trunk on the ground. My feet are killing me we have been walking all day.

"Operation Henry?"

"That's…That's what I've been calling in my head, because…"

"He would call that," Emma says softly.

"He would have a better name," I say "But, this is the best I can do"

Emma sits down next to me, so close that our shoulders are touching each other and once again I wish that I was wearing something sleeveless just so I could feel her skin on mine. She looks out the jungle not saying anything and I try to do the same. It's hard, though. It's hard to have her this close to me, it's hard not to stare at her face, it's hard to control the impulse of touching her face and kiss her lips. I shake my head as all of those thoughts invades my mind as if the movement could shake them away. Gods, will this ever stop?

Emma reaches for my hand on top of my thigh and squeezes without looking at me. The movement is so unexpected that I can't even form a coherent expression and if I had a mirror now, I know I would look like an idiot staring at her with eyes widened and mouth open.

"Okay," Emma says, when she finally looks at me "We'll get her, and then we'll come to get you"

"No, don't bother," I say pulling my hand from hers. Why does my heart hurt when I do that? "It's better if we never see one another. And if you don't find her, keep going. Just get Henry, don't worry about Tinker Bell"

"Regina, I am not leaving you behind," Emma says.

"You may not have a choice,"

"There is always a choice," Emma says "And I chose you"

"What?"

"We are leaving this place together, Regina," Emma says "All of us"

"I hope so," I smile sadly at her.

Emma stands up and looks at me. It's funny how her eyes can say so much of her emotions. She is conflicted, that much is clear. Is it because she is leaving me behind? Or is there another reason for her to look at me like that? Her stares become too much for me to handle and I feel like I can't breathe under her gaze.

"I meant what I said, Emma," I say breaking the moment "With or without her, just find Henry"

"What the hell did you do to her?" Emma asks.

"What I always do"

Emma smiles sadly at me and walks away. I watch her go for a long time, long before I lost sight of her. It's curious how I both love and hate her presence. Her gaze upon me earlier, was intense. Sometimes I feel like she can read all of me and again, I both love and hate that she can do that. The way she held my hand just a few minutes ago, felt like fire. When her skin touched mine, I felt like our magic had combined again and it boosted mine inside my veins. I had to pull away from her, the feeling was just too intense but the moment I wasn't touching her anymore, I felt an ache in my heart. What is this?

I feel my breathing getting faster now as the engines in my brain are trying to come up with a rational explanation for all of this. Why her? Why Emma Swan? It doesn't even make any sense! And the worse part of all of this is that I can't figure her out. What does she want? She touches my hand but laughs with the pirate. She shares personal moments with me but walks by his side. This is confusing, she is confusing and I am confused.

I hear movements inside the jungle, the leaves are making noises that I know not to be a product of the wind and that definitely pulls me out of my thoughts of Emma. I clear my mind to try to sense a smell, a different way of walking, anything that can give me a clue about who my attacker is.

"Let's get this over with," I say as I rose from the trunk "Shall we?"

"A complicated history?" Tinker says "That's quite a diplomatic way to describe it"

Shit!

It's her!

I honestly wasn't expecting that at all.

Gods, what happened to her?

"You look terrible," I say.

"You are trying to provoke me?"

"Come and get me, Tinker Bell,"

"You think you are so smart," She says and walks closer to me "But you are gonna fail"

Everything happened too fast after that. She's on my face, so close that I can just snatch her and make her help me find Henry. The moment the thought crosses my mind she blows something on my face, I don't know what it is, but I know it's not magic and suddenly, I don't feel like I'm in control of my body anymore. Everything is light, my arms and legs, and mind, and all I see is her angry face looking at me before everything turns black.

Chapter Text

Black.

White.

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.

A lot!

"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.

"Yes,"

Damn it!

"Good"

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"

"Gladly"

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?"

"Happy"

"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,"

"What?"

"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 was!

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?"

Yep!

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"

"Regina!"

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!

Seriously?

Ew!

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.

Chapter Text

"This is where they are keeping Henry," Emma says moving the stick on the sand as if we were supposed to understand her scribbles and rocks as a map "Pan's campout, according to ah…"

Is she serious?

I look at Emma and I see how she struggles with saying Tinker's name. After everything we've been through is this still a thing with her?

"Tinker Bell," Tinker says walking behind her.

"Yeah, I know, still weird to say"

I rolled my eyes even though the mix of confusion and embarrassment on Emma's face is adorable.

"Tink is fine," Tinker says walking back to where we are.

"I'm not sure if that's any better," Emma says "Anyway, she said that are entries positions across the front which is why we are going to come into the back entrance here," Emma says pointing at the rocks on the back of the map "We attack our way in and when the coast is clear we are going to snick on in"

"You still need to deal with Lost Boys once we are inside," Tink says walking back and forth again.

"I think we can handle a few children with pointing sticks," I say from my not very comfortable seat on a rock.

"It's not the sticks you need to worry about," Tink says folding a blanket "It's the poison they deep them with"

"Dreamshade, Hook warned us," Snow says.

"Good, because one nick and you'll spend the last…"

"Poison sticks equals death," Charming says and stood up from the floor abruptly "When can we put this rescue mission into action"

"I'm ready to go," Tink says "Just as soon as you tell me the exit plan"

Ah, shit!

She had to ask!

Tink looks at all of us waiting for an answer and Emma looks at me, with an expression that says what the hell are we going to tell her. I bit my lower lip and frown because one, I don't know what to tell her, and two, I can't believe I know what that face meant.

"You do have a scape plan, don't you?" Tink asks looking at us again.

"It's more of a last-minute trip," Snow says.

God, I think silence would have been a better answer.

But I suppose one can never expect Snow to be silent.

"If you don't have a way off this island then none of this matter," Tink says.

"We'll figure out," I say as I rise from the stone I was sitting on.

"You'll figure out?" Tink says "No one comes and goes from this place unless he allows it. This is a waste of time"

"When it comes to family, we always find a way," Charming says.

At least he got a point there.

"You don't get it. Here let me show you something" Tink says and opens her bag and I see her pulling a watch out of it "You what this is?"

"Yeah, it's a watch," Emma says.

"I got it from the people who brought your son here"

"Greg and Tamara?" Emma asks as she quickly rises from the ground and walks in Tink's direction "Where are they? Why would they give you that?"

"I got it off the girl's body," Tink says "I spent half the night cleaning the book off of it. And the other guy? Well, it wasn't enough left of him to find anything useful"

So, he's dead.

Gods, I can barely help the smile that forms on my lips.

Owen is dead.

That miserable bastard that I once thought I could care for like a son is dead.

Good!

I know that part of me should feel sorry for him. But I guess that part of me is dead…just like him.

"This is what Pan does to people he employed what you think he's gonna do to you? I'm not sticking my neck on Pan's chopping block without a way off this island. When you figured that out, you know where I live"

Tink walks away from us as we all start to discuss our escape plan, or better yet, the lack of it. The Neverland tourist boy in the shape of a Pirate says he was only able to leave the island because of a deal he made with Pan, and honestly, I don't even want to know what kind of deal was it. Apparently, there is no way off this island without Pan's permission or a way to open a portal, which is something none of us possess.

Hook says that Neal was the only one who was ever capable of leaving the island without magic or Pan's permission and the wave of pain and guilt makes an appearance behind Emma's eyes. It's so real that for a moment I feel like walking to her and pull her into my arms. But I don't do that. Instead, I just look down and wait for someone to say anything else that will pull her out of the dark thoughts she is probably having right now. But Emma is the one who speaks and asks Hook how did Neal got out of the island which is something that I should have asked instead of feeling sorry for her. Hook says that we need to find out how and starts to walk inside the jungle again and all of us follow after him.

Curious enough, this time around we don't walk for hours. After some point, God knows where the jungle became less dense and the warm wind of the night was actually soothing. The lamp I'm holding in my hand is weak but the moon is so bright up in the sky that we barely need it. We take a turn to the left and I see a huge rock with some sort of face shape on it and a little wooden door in the front and then Hook's voice announces that we have arrived at our destination.

"What is this supposed to be?" I ask starring at the construction in front of me.

"So, what, Neal swam out of Neverland on a vine?" Emma says staring at the rock the same way I do.

"If someone would be kind enough to give me a hand," Hook says and walks to the door "What you say, Savior?"

I roll my eyes at the little scene.

He got some nerve.

"I'll do it," Charming says the second Emma takes a step to help Hook.

I like him better every passing day.

Emma stands beside me as the two idiots works on getting the door open. Again, I could just use magic to make that happen, but I don't even bother to offer. If they want to put on a show for their respective love interest so be it.

Charming seems to get the best out of the competition between the two of them and I'm glad for it, although, he seems a little too out of breath for such an easy task. We enter the little stone house and well, it's just rocks. I have no idea what the hell are we doing here. Emma seems to think the same as me when she calls out for Hook.

I hate when she calls for him.

Hook and Charming finally join us inside and begin yet again a competition to get the fire on the torch. And yet again, I could have just waved my hand in the air and make the fire happen.

Idiots.

The place is finally light up and I can see scribbles everywhere. How old was he when he was staying here? Emma seems a little mesmerized by everything around her and honestly, I can sympathize with that. I remember all too well how it feels like to lose your first love. And we both carry the guilt of feeling responsible for their deaths.

We start to look around to see if we can find anything that can help us find a way out of the island. If you ask me, it all crap buy I play along with them. I look at Emma having a chat with Hook and I can't help the pang of hurt that crosses my heart. I can hear them talking about Neal and I supposed I should be rational and look at that as two people talking about someone they used to know, but my stupid heart seems to disagree with my brain.

I hate that he is closer to her.

I hate that she wants to be closer to him.

Emma turns around and walks to where I am with her parents. She asks if we found anything useful, and the answer is no. Another waste of time. Time we should spend looking for Henry. But then Emma picks up the coconut with the candle she was holding and puts it together with the other half Charming had and tells all of us to look up. And would you look at that? The bastard left a map behind.

Hook tells us a little bit of his story with Baelfire like a proud father and for a moment I don't totally despise him. The moment is gone the second I ask him if he can read the map and he says no.

The pirate is useless.

I don't know why the hell that still surprises me.

What does surprises me is the disappointment that crosses Emma's face. She leaves the cave house in a hurry and I want to go after her badly but her parents are already doing that, I stay behind with the damn pirate who just keeps looking up at the map as if he is going to find the answers we desperately need.

Useless.

I hear shouting coming from outside and then everything turns quiet. I walked out of the stone house and I see Snow and Charming hugging each other but Emma is nowhere to be seen. I turn around, not wanting to interrupt the moment, not that I care about their moment, I just really don't want…I don't know, make small talk?

I walk into the woods looking for a quiet and alone place so I can sit down for a second and put my thoughts in order. We still don't have an escape plan and without one, this whole quest is useless. How long until Pan gets Henry back if we don't find a way out of this damn island? I look out into the woods and I see blond hair contrasting with the deep green and brown of the woods. I quite like the way the moon reflects on Emma's hair, it makes it looks brighter. I walk in her direction, trying to be as silent as I can but the breaking branches on the ground give me away.

"Mary Margaret, David, please go away," Emma says without turning around in a heavy voice.

"Gods, I rather kill myself before I became them"

"Regina!" Emma whispers, still with her back on me.

She is sitting on a trunk (this jungle is full of them) looking out at nothing. I see Emma cleaning her face as I come closer to her and that only tells me one thing. She's being crying.

"Do you mind if I sit here?" I ask.

"Go ahead!" Emma says simply.

I move and sit by her side, looking out the same emptiness she's been staring at. It's soothing, sometimes, to look at nothing. I always find that to have a calming effect on me. The wind blows and Emma's hair fly with it and the sweet scent of coconut assaults my nose. I quite like the smell. Waking up with my nose buried on the back of her neck while her scent slowly brings me back to life wouldn't be the most terrible faith on earth.

"What are we going to do, Regina?" Emma asks, pulling me out of my train of thoughts.

"If there is something I learned from you heroes is that you'll always find a way"

"I'm not a hero, Regina!" Emma says "I just want to get our son back home"

"We'll find a way, Emma," I say as I turn my head to look at her.

"What if we don't?" Emma asks and turns to look at me "What if we get stuck in this damn island?"

"Then we'll defeat Pan and all the lost boys and built Storybrooke 2.0" I try to joke.

"And we'll do what, live up in the trees?" Emma smiles at me.

"Well, I'm planning on magicking a mansion up in hill" I smile back at her "Somewhere you parents can't annoy me"

"And how are we going to work out Henry's visits?" Emma asks.

"I suppose we can magic him up and down"

Emma laughs, such a genuine laugh that my heart dances with happiness. Her smile is honest and it touches her eyes and I just want to make her feel like this all the time.

"I'm sorry about Neal, Emma," I say sincerely "I know all too well the pain of losing your first love"

"I lost him a long time ago, Regina," Emma says looking out the emptiness again.

"But it still hurt, doesn't it?" I ask.

"It does," Emma sighs "I thought he was a bastard for so long. I hated him in a way I never hated anyone before"

"I'm sorry,"

"And I can't stand the way David and Mary Margaret make it look like I lost the love of my life," Emma says "I didn't. Neal wasn't the love of my life"

"No?"

"No, of course not," Emma says "It sucks that he died, especially the way he did. Henry lost his father and I lost…someone that I used to love"

"Why don't you just tell them that?" I ask curiously.

"I really don't want to be all touchy feelings with them" Emma sighs "I just wish they get a fucking clue"

"That's not your parent's strongest suit" I let out a small laugh.

"Why is it so easy for me to just open up to you?" Emma asks "Why can't I do that with them?

"I don't know," I say "Maybe because we have too much in common"

"We do,"

Emma stretches her hand to my hair and her fingers gently slide down my hair strands. My breathing accelerates as if I was running a marathon and I feel my whole body warm. She looks into my eyes and for a second my breathing gets caught up in my throat as I look back at her before my chest starts moving up and down again at a rapid pace.

Gods, why does she always do that to me?

How does she always do this to me?

"There was a leaf in your hair," Emma says showing me the leaf between her fingers.

"Thanks," I said back and quickly look down.

I can feel my cheeks burning.

Why doesn't she kiss me already?

"We should head back," Emma says "I really don't want David and Mary Margaret coming after me. Can I sleep in your tent tonight?"

"Sure"

Emma gets up from the trunk and stands in front of me. She stretches out her hand to me and for a moment, my brain shorts circuit as my eyes just stare at her hand.

"Shall we go?" Emma says.

I blink a couple of times as without thinking I just reach for her hand. I feel that jolt of electricity again when our fingers touch and once again I don't know what to think of that. I never felt that before. Magic doesn't behave like that unless…I shook my head and let go of her hand as soon as I'm up.

I do not want to think about things like that.

They are dangerous.

Too dangerous.

It's one thing to have feelings for Emma, but to think she could be...

No!

We walk side by side back where the three idiots have set up camp. I magic my tent but as Emma and I try to get inside, Snow calls for her. I know Emma doesn't want to talk to her, but I'm sort of relieved for a moment alone.

Emma goes with her and I enter the tent. I quickly magic Emma's mattress, pillow, and blankets by the fireplace and hide under the covers. It doesn't take long before she walks in again, and I stay quietly just listening to her movements. I hear a sniff and I guess her mother found a way to upset her again.

A chill invades my body in bed as the sheets are pulled up. The mattress sinks beside me, and then the chill is gone replaced only by warmth coming from Emma's body.

"I don't want to sleep in there alone tonight," Emma says in a small voice.

"Okay,"

Emma shifts in bed again as I stay still, completely paralyzed. Her breathing gets heavier and heavier and the little bits of air that escapes her lips tickle behind my neck. Every bone in my body wants to turn around and wrap her inside my arms. My skin feels like tiny little needles piercing my flesh with the desire to run my fingers at every inch of her body. Emma shifts in bed again and this time I can feel her nose brushing against the back of my neck and my body immediately tenses.

This is going to be one hell of a long night for me.

Chapter Text

I have been awake for Gods knows how long, unable to move. I'm actually terrified of moving and I'm not sure if the fear I'm feeling is for the right reason. At some point at night, Emma has wrapped herself around me. And I'm not talking about an arm covering my stomach I'm talking about her whole body molded on my back. I'm talking about her lips on my neck, letting out small puffs of air to the point of tickling. I'm talking about her arm tucked under my chest and one hand gently resting on top of my right breast. I'm talking about her core pressed against my ass and her leg thrown on top of mine. I'm talking about her body pressed against mine so tightly that I can feel her nipples on my back. And I can barely breathe! She hasn't moved a single inch ever since I woke up to this and the only indication, I have that she is indeed still alive is her steady breathing on my neck.

This is going to be so incredibly awkward when she wakes up. I feel my cheeks burning and I'm not even the one doing that. And the worse part of all of this is that…as much as it terrifies me, I want this. I want her pressed against me, I want her breathing softly against my neck, I want her arms around me and preferably, I want us naked when she's doing that. Gods, how I want her. How I want Emma. How I want to turn around and slowly wake her with gentle kisses on her face. How I want her to wake up slowly and smile at me before even opening her eyes. How I want her to hear her whisper good morning and then snuggle closer. How I want to run my fingers down her blonde hair before she looks up at me and smiles again. How I want her to move on top of me and capture my lips on a kiss and slowly run her lips and tongue down my neck. How I want her to open my blouse and kiss my collarbone, my breast, and my stomach. How I want her to open my pants and remove them along with my panties. How I want her to look mischievously at me and smile before spreading my legs and…

Emma grunts behind me and inhales deeply before pulling my body closer to her as if that is even possible. I'm so stiff that one could mistake my body with a corpus and I'm sure if my eyes widened just one millimeter more, they are going to pop right off the sockets and I have no idea if my embarrassment is due to the position we are in right now or the position I wanted us to be. This is a disaster!

Perhaps it's best to save us, well her, of this embarrassment. Maybe I can just snick my way out of her arms, she is sleeping so heavily I'm sure she won't even notice. I bit my lower lip as I think about my options. Do I need to get out of her arms? Yes! Do I want to? No! Not at all.

Damn it!

We fit so well. Our bodies are intertwined so perfectly together it feels like a shame to move a single inch away from her. Away from her heat and her tickling breath. She is so warm and I know it got nothing to do with the weather outside. I run the tip of my fingers along her arm, very gently not to wake her. Her skin is soft under my tips and I wonder if the rest of her body I soft like this. And she is so strong! Not that I didn't know that, her sinful bare arms already made me have thoughts way more inappropriate than the ones from earlier. But the way she is holding me right now is so strong like she's afraid I'm going to run away and at the same time is so gentle and protective like she is keeping me safe. And I do feel safe, right here inside her arms is probably the safest I ever felt.

Part of me wishes we could stay here forever.

Part of me wants to run like hell.

Emma moves again and I prepare myself for the awkwardness. Except that she doesn't wake up and however possible, she came closer to me, so closer that the tip of her nose is now pressing against my neck and her lips are touching my skin.

This is a nightmare.

This is pure heaven.

I need to end this.

I gently hold the hand that has been resting on top of my breast and push it down. I tried to lift it but the best I could do was putting her hand under my breast and that seemed to be Emma's cue to hold me tighter. She is so incredibly strong. I try moving her leg away from mine but that alone was an impossible quest. She didn't move a single inch.

I'm trapped.

But I supposed there are worse traps.

Perhaps I could pretend I was sleeping. Maybe I can just close my eyes when I feel like she is waking up and pretend I'm dead to the world. I'm sure she'll feel as awkward as I was when I woke up to this and probably do her best to free herself of me.

It could be fun.

Feel her silently trying to get away from my body. Maybe I should take a page or two from her book and keep her in place as she tries to get away. Yes, this could definitely be fun. Fortunately, for her, the only thing I truly want is to get away from this situation with my dignity intact. I just need to pay attention to Emma's every movement and sounds so I can put my plan and motion and pretend I'm…

"Good morning," Emma's muffled voice says.

I open and close my mouth a couple of times.

What the hell?

I clear my throat and swallow dry before answering her.

"Good morning,"

Emma hasn't moved a single inch. She is still all curled up around my body and I start to wonder if I imagine the whole thing but then, she inhales deeply again as her leg and arm get away from my body. I feel her moving behind me and…Is Emma stretching?

"How did you sleep?" Emma asks casually.

What the actual fuck?

I guess I did not consider the ignoring the situation option.

I'm still stiff, though.

"Fine," I say "How did you?"

"Is it weird to say this was the best sleep I ever had in years?"

"I believe so, yes"

"I didn't snore, did I?" Emma asks "I was exhausted last night. I'm sorry if I didn't let you sleep"

"Trust me your snore wasn't the problem"

"Oh!" Emma says and I feel her leaving the bed "Did I kick you or something?"

Is she serious about this?

Gods, that woman is worse than I am.

"No, you didn't," I say and finally turn around.

Emma smiles at me from the ground where she is sitting putting on her boots. Either that woman didn't realize what she was doing or she is really good at pretending.

And for what I know of Emma, the second option is a better bet.

"I'll see you outside," Emma says as she walks out of the tent.

I stare at the entrance for a very, very long time. My brain is blank. I cannot, for the life of me, explain what the fuck just happening. Is she really just going to ignore the fact that she was all curled up around my body? That she was touching me, that her hand was squeezing, yes squeezing, my breast? Is she just going to pretend none of that happened?

And why the fuck am I upset about this?

Gods, that woman is infuriating!

Why just why I feel anything at all for her?

I sigh as I rose from the bed. I pick up my boots from the floor and put them on before grabbing my jacket and walk outside the tent. The whole clan of idiots looks at me when I step outside. And Emma.

When did she stop being one of the idiots?

I turn around and wave my hands in the air making my tent disappear.

We spent the whole morning trying to cook up a plan to leave this island after we get to Henry. Emphasis on trying. We literally got nothing. Every plan had some unbelievable flaw in it and as much as I hate to admit, even my ideas sucked! This whole island is a fucking trap.

Emma didn't talk to me the whole day. Not only she avoided me, she did her absolute best to irritate me by talking and laughing with that damn pirate as if she didn't spend the whole night wrapped around my body. Okay, I don't know if it was the whole night, but judging the way I woke up and considering it was still dark, I believe it's a safe bet to say she was wrapped around me the whole night. She probably just waited until I fell asleep so she could, abuse me in my unconscious state. You see, that's what I don't understand! She does things like sharing a bed with me, and cuddle and then on the very next day, she stays with the pirate laughing with him.

What the hell is that?

Okay, I supposed that was extremely embarrassed and if it was me, I would be mortified. I am mortified. And I would probably avoid her like the plague but that doesn't give her the right to play the jealous card on me. I should be the one doing that to her. I look at everyone around me and sigh. I suppose the jealous card is out of the deck.

Gods, I really hate the way Hook insinuates himself on Emma. He touches her face and tucks a blonde lock of hair behind her ear and I swear I will make him lose that hand before we leave Neverland.

I close my eyes.

Swallow dry.

When I open them again, I catch Emma's eyes observing me. I don't think she expected to be caught and she smiles shyly at me and looks down. Suddenly, the sand looks very interesting to her and I smile.

That makes me happy.

We go on round two of epic failures brainstorming and by nightfall, we are all mentally exhausted.

And out of ideas.

Thank God!

Emma suggests that we go back to Neal's house and see if there is anything else we can find there that could help us leave the island.

It's the best idea anyone has had so far.

We all stood up from the ground (Well, they do, I magic myself a nice little chair thank you very much) and walk in the direction of Neal's lair.

Inside, Charming lit a torch and the whole place becomes illuminated as we start to search again. And of course, Emma and Hook are together.

I don't know why doesn't she just kiss him already.

It would make me get over her so quickly.

"Look here," Emma says crouched on top of a rock "Neal stopped counting"

"Because he got off the island," Snow says.

"He was here longer," Emma says still staring at the rock.

"Then why would he…" Charming says as he walks closer to Emma.

"Because he lost hope," Emma says.

How does she know that?

"You got that from scribbles?" I ask sarcastically.

She is not exactly my favorite person right now.

To be fair, none of them are.

"I got that because that's what I did," Emma says after she jumps out of the rock and looks at me "Every time I went to a new foster home, I counted the days until it kind seems pointless"

Ah, crap!

She had to use the orphan card.

Great, now I can't even bring myself to be angry with her anymore.

Will the guilty of what my actions did to her ever go away?

"You think the same thing is happening to Henry? Charming asks.

"Pan said that it would," Emma says looking at Charming.

"Hey," Charming says "We are going rescue him"

"Yeah, I know that and you know that but Henry doesn't know that," Emma says looking at her parents "Pan wants Henry to lose faith"

"So, what, you want to send him a message?" I say "Because I haven't seen a Neverland post office. What are you suggesting?"

"We take a page from Pan," Emma says looking into my eyes "And we start being clever we need to send a simple sign, a sign that we are coming"

"With lost boys running around trying to kill us all?" I say.

What are her plans, exactly?

"Maybe we can use that to our advantage," Snow says looking at me.

"How?" I ask.

"Follow me and I'll show you"

I follow Snow out of the stone house but as I look back, I don't see Emma behind me. Or the pirate. My heart sinks inside my chest thinking of Emma alone with him.

I shook my head and swallow dry as I keep following her back to where we are camped. When we arrive, I sit down on the stone rock and patiently wait for the rest of them to come.

It takes forever.

Maybe I should just go back there and make sure Emma is okay.

Gods know this is better than being alone with Snow.

I rose from the rock but as I do that, the rest of them arrive. I look hopeful at Emma, but she just smiles politely at me and nods before taking a seat away from me.

Did something happen back there?

Did that dirty pirate try something?

I sit down on the rock again and wait for Snow to reveal her plan. And for the sake of my boy, this is better be good.

Chapter Text

"A trap?" I ask after Snow explains her plan "That's your plan?"

"If the lost boys wanna go after us we need to go after them," Snow says looking at me.

Honestly, this is the stupidest plan I have ever heard.

But how could I expect anything else but from Snow?

I suppose I should be happy for at least to have a plan with these idiots.

Who knows?

Maybe this plan is so bad that will actually work.

"Do you really think the lost boys are going to betrail Pan?" Hook asks.

"Thanks for the advice," Snow says sarcastically "David, we need more vine"

"On it," David says out of breath before walking away "You are coming with me…Pirate"

"Why is that?" Hook asks.

"Because we need more rope," Emma says seriously looking at him.

"If the lady insists," Hook says making a reverence to Emma.

I roll my eyes at the gesture.

He is pathetic.

At least Emma doesn't seem to buy his bullshit anymore. I discretely look at her and watch as she angrily put the ropes together.

What the hell happened back there?

Why is she so upset?

If that dirty Pirate did this to her, I'm going to rip his heart out!

We all work with the ropes with Snow chatting away. I steal glances at Emma but she looks like she's not even present. Like her mind is miles and miles away. I wish I could go to her and ask what's wrong but I'm not brave enough to do that. I'm not brave enough to show her how much I care. Is this because of Neal? Because we have been inside his childhood lair? Why is it affecting her this much? She told me in the ship she had no feelings for him anymore. Is this because she lied to him seconds before he fell into the portal? Is she feeling guilty about his death? I look to my side at Emma and sigh.

I supposed I can understand the guilt feeling over someone else's death.

I hear footsteps coming from the jungle and I'm immediately alert. I wave my hand in the air already producing a fireball when I see the two idiots coming back from inside the jungle and I quickly put the fire out, which is a shame, by the way. So much energy to produce my beautiful fireball, imagine just how beautiful it would be if I had thrown on the Pirate's ass.

Charming starts to share the tale about a lost sextant that can help us find a way out of the island. It's funny how we have been here for so long but the Pirate never shared the tale of this miraculous object until now.

Curious, isn't it?

This stinks of lies.

"A sextant?" Emma asks as she rose from the ground "And you are telling us about this now?"

Thank you!

"How do we know you are not lying?" I ask right after and walk closer to them.

"Well, you don't," Hook says "But I'm not. This is the best hope we have of an exit plan and don't forget that we need one"

"Than what are we waiting for?" Emma asks.

"Emma…" Hook says and walks closer to Emma.

He touches her.

I need to kill him.

"You were right, you need to get that messenger to Henry," Hook says "Every day without hope is a day closer to become a lost boy. Your father and I should go"

"Hook is right," Charming says.

What the hell?

Am I really the only one seeing this?

This is bullshit.

"You want to split up?" Snow asks looking at Charming.

"It's the last thing I wanna do but if there is a chance that this can get us home…" Charming says as he walks to her.

"Okay," Snow nods.

"And Emma, while I'm gone just…" Charming says looking at Emma.

"Listen to my mother?" Emma says looking back at him.

"Be careful," Charming laughs.

"Always am," Emma says seriously.

"And when you send that messenger to Henry I want you to add something to it for me, would you?"

"Hum hum"

"Tell him," Charming says and pauses "Tell him Grandpa loves him"

Charming moves to Emma and hugs her and then he does the same with Snow.

There is something odd about the gesture. Something is not right. And then they kiss each other and my stomach revolts. I walk away from them and not long after Emma does the same. I guess I'm not the only one feeling sick at the display of affection.

"Hey," Emma says when she is standing in front of me "That was weird, right?"

"They kissing each other?" I say as if I didn't know what she was talking about "Unfortunately, no"

"No, not that," Emma says making a face "But David, he was…"

"Acting weird?" I finish for her.

"Yeah," Emma nods.

"I don't know," I answer her honestly "It was a little odd, yes, but you heroes seem to have a thing for dramatics"

"And you don't?" Emma arches an eyebrow.

"Not like that,"

Emma smirks, and it's such a beautiful little sound that I can't help the smile forming on my lips. She's adorable like that. And beautiful. Even out here in this jungle, she is one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen in my life.

Snow walks to where we are after Charming walks inside the jungle with the Pirate and I silently curse her for interrupting my moment with Emma.

"Come on," Snow says "We have a pig to hunt"

"We have what now?" Emma asks.

"A pig to hunt," Snow says cheerfully.

"Why do we need to hunt for a pig?" I ask.

"Oh, didn't I tell you this part of the plan?" Snow says tilting her head to the side.

"No?" Emma asks making a face.

"Well, we need to find a way to bring one of the boys to us," Snow says "And they probably only leave Pan when…"

"They go out to hunt," I finish for her.

"Exactly!" Snow says "Shall we go?"

"Okay, but…" Emma looks between Snow and me "I don't know how to hunt"

"It's okay," Snow says "Regina and I know"

"You do?" Emma asks looking at me.

"There is no such a thing as a grocery store in the Enchant Forest" I smile softly at Emma.

"But weren't you like a Queen?" Emma asks.

"Not until I was sixteen,"

"You married when you were sixteen?" Emma asks in disbelief "How old was he?"

"Emma this isn't really…" Snow starts to say.

"How old was he, Regina?" Emma asks looking intensely at me.

"Forty-five" I emotionless answer her.

"What the fuck?" Emma says angrily.

"Emma, things in the Enchant Forest were different," Snow says calmly "It's a great honor to marry a King"

"She was sixteen years old," Emma shouts at Snow pointing at me "How can you possibly defend that?"

"My father was an honorable man," Snow says, chin up.

"I'm sorry Mary Margaret," Emma says "But there is no honor when an old man marries an underage girl"

My heart races inside my chest as I hear Emma defending me like that. Nobody has ever done that, nobody has ever fought for me the way she does. Because yes, I was only a girl when I married the King. I was only a girl when my mother killed Daniel and sold me out to him. I was only a girl when…

"Regina wasn't underage," Snow says "We became of age when we turn fourteen"

"Jesus Christ," Emma sighs "I can't believe I'm hearing that. From you"

"Perhaps we should just go out and hunt," Snow says.

"Yeah, we should do that," Emma says her voice full of venom.

Snow turns around and starts to walk inside the jungle while Emma and I walk side by side behind her. Emma doesn't say anything and I can't bring myself to say anything either. Everything is running uncontrollably inside of me, and every bone in my body just wants to hold Emma and thank her.

"I'm sorry," Emma whispers.

"For what?" I ask turning my head to look at her.

"For what my grandfather did to you," Emma says "It wasn't right, Regina"

"No, it wasn't," I say back to her and nod at Snow in front of us "But she is right. Things back in the Enchanted Forest were different"

"Did you wanted to marry him?" Emma asks "To became a Queen?"

"Dear God, no," I say, the very thought of wanting to marry Leopold makes me sick "No, I didn't want to marry the King"

"Then I am sorry"

"Why did you do that?" I ask her trying (and failing) to keep the emotion out of my voice.

"Did what?" Emma asks.

"Defended me from Snow?"

Emma stops walking and grabs my wrist to make me stop too. I look down at her hand touching me, feeling every bit of my skin burn under her touch. I look back at Emma and she is looking at me so intensely that it's hard to ignore the way she is making me feel and if I'm honest with myself, I don't think I want to ignore it anymore.

I don't want to ignore the way I feel about her.

About Emma.

"Because someday had to," Emma says.

I swallow dry and feel my breathing getting faster. The intensity of Emma's gaze is so strong, that literally takes my breath away.

I give a step closer to her, not breaking eye contact.

God, I can't believe I'm going to do this.

I can't believe I'm about to kiss this woman.

I look down at her pale pink lips and moistened my own. Emma does the same and that glow of saliva upon her lips is so tempting that I feel myself leaning closer to her.

Gods, how I want to kiss her.

How I want to feel her lips moving against mine, her tongue exploring my mouth, fighting for dominance. A fight that I might even let her win.

Another step and now there is only a thin space of air between us. We are so close to one another that the air I'm breathing is coming out of Emma's lips.

This is it.

I'm kissing her.

I move my head in Emma's direction, ready to claim her lips with mine when suddenly an arrow passes between the few inches we still had away from one another making both Emma and I give a jump back.

"Damn it, I lost it," Snow says running in our direction "Why were the two of you so close?"

"We weren't that close," I quickly say smoothing my jacket.

"Are you insane?" Emma asks in disbelief "That arrow could have hit us"

"It wasn't going to hit you," Snow says "I'm good with arrows. Now come on. We need to find another pig"

"Why were you shooting at the pig?" I ask "I thought the plan was to capture one alive"

"Well, it is," Snow says "I was aiming for his leg"

"That high?" I ask incredulously.

How the fuck did that woman survive all those years back in the Enchanted Fores?

"The arrow was in decline," Snow says annoyed.

"We can't have an injured pig," I say "Don't you think they are going to notice it's a trap when they see the pig injured?"

"Well, do you have a better plan?" Snow asks.

"Yes! Magic" I say back to her.

"I thought we have agreed on not using magic," Snow says.

"I think we should be fine using magic to capture a pig," Emma says beside me.

"Okay," Snow nods "Yeah, okay. But just for the pig"

"Just for the pig," I half-smile at her.

We resume our walk and it doesn't take long before we find another trail. We follow the footprints of the animal and my heart almost skips a beat when I see one behind a bush.

When have I ever thought my heart would race like this because of a pig?

Or Emma!

Okay, horrible comparison.

But right now they are both making my heart race inside my chest. One for the possibility of contacting my son. The other for the possibility of…love.

Gods, help me!

Snow looks at me from where she is standing and nods. I nod back at her and wait until the little pig comes out of the bush and into the open field. I wave my hand in the air and a net falls on top of the pig and Snow runs to grab him.

The animal screams at first, but Snow pets him in that annoying way she does and the animal soon calms down.

We take the trail back to the camp and I can't help the smile on my face as hope fills my heart. This is going to work! It has too. Henry needs to know that we are here and that Emma and I are going to take our son back home.