Chapter 1: Prologue: The Vicious Queen
Queen Regina stormed through the Main Hall of her castle so fluidly, she appeared to fly. Her abrupt entrance seemed to had gone unnoticed by her guards.
"It's so damn COLD!" one guard said to his colleague.
This comment made Regina slow her movement. She concealed herself in the shadow of a pillar behind the two guards.
"Why can't this witch keep all her fire places burning day and night?" the guard continued.
"I'll wish on the Blue Star tonight for it," the other joked with a laugh.
Without a sound, Regina transmutated herself directly in front of them in a cloud of black smoke. Both men stiffened and instinctively moved a pace backward.
"Too cold, are we?" Regina asked.
She smirked and conjured fireballs in her hands, releasing them both at the first guard.
His screams weren't loud enough to drown out her question of "Warm enough?" to the guard left with his mouth hanging open.
As the fire died, Regina vanished his ashen body away.
"Friend of yours?" Regina asked lowly of the remaining guard.
"N-no, Majesty," he said through trembling lips.
"A traitor AND a liar," she said with a single scoff. "Remind me of your name."
He could do nothing now but stare and blink at her. She rolled her eyes in annoyance.
"Ah, you're in shock," she droned and tore his heart from his chest. "YOUR NAME!" She yelled into the glowing heart in her right hand.
"My name is Aaron Dodger, Your Grace," he stammered automatically.
With her free hand, Regina grabbed him by the neck and brought his face close to hers.
The Queen wrenched her mouth into a twisted smile. "Beautiful blue eyes," she said softly, nearly touching her lips to his.
He let out a faint whimper.
"Don't worry," she released him with a shove. "You'll soon be joining your friend, but first-" she paused and grazed her eyes over his body. "I could bare to see you tortured and put on display in your uniform, as a warning to all my employees that should they feel the need to complain-" she replaced his heart into his chest and snapped her fingers.
Instantly, he was hung low by his neck from the ceiling. He was still conscious, as there was a stool just about toe-height for him to be able to precariously stand. His gasps for breath made Regina grin.
"-They'll just think of you- The One Who Complained- and remember to never speak ill of the way I run this castle or my kingdom again."
With that, she raised her royal and magic finger, and began cutting away at his flesh from her stance below him, letting his screams echo throughout the hall.
Chapter 2: What Happened
Rumplestiltskin raises a hand up with a short intake of breath, a question forming on his tongue so obscure, even for him, that he has to stop from speaking it.
He takes in the sight before him. A messy blonde who claims to be Emma Swan, daughter of the fateful Princess Snow and Prince David, and his own dirty, hook-handed nemesis.
"I understand who the fuck you are," Rumplestiltskin hisses at them. "What I don't understand is why I haven't murdered you," he walks closer to the man, his arm still outstretched and sparking with magic, "With my bare fucking hands."
"Whoa, Mr. Go-" Emma starts, then stops with a brief sigh, "I mean.. Rumplestiltskin, you need to keep him alive. Look- We know how crazy this is, coming from the future, but you of all people should know that magic is unpredictable. Regina's wicked sister sent us here from a land without magic from your future, and well... If something happens to either of us while we're here, who knows what consequences that could entail. You have to help us. Snow White and Prince Charming were supposed to have met in a robbery on the way to King Midas' Kingdom. I intervened slightly, and, well- it didn't happen."
To this winded response, Rumplestiltskin breathes out a long and extended sigh.
These two idiots, he thinks. Obviously they're telling the truth. Who else would know to tell him these details in order to get him to cooperate. He has no choice.
"You've got to be fucking kidding me," he eventually says. "Fine, you goddamn idiots. Emma, you of ALL PEOPLE SHOULD-" he finds himself a little too close to her with his hand in her face. He breathes deep again and draws back. "Where did you get those, woman?" he asks, gesturing at her clothes.
"Uhm-" she says, dumbfounded, and looks away.
"For darkness' sake," Rumple whines and poofs them to their original home. In their place are black lace boots, and a blood-red, long skirted dress. A black and gold embroidered bodice cinches her up neatly, and as a spontaneous finishing touch he adds a thick gold necklace, embellished with modest rubies and black opals. For necessity, he doesn't bother to adorn her with a complete set of undergarments.
"Uhm" she says again.
"We-" Hook begins, but Rumple just yells.
"Don't!!!!" he demands, "Speak to me! I will tolerate your presence, but not your voice!"
"What is all this for?" Emma asks, lifting her expansive skirts up.
"That, dearie- Is for The Ball. Unfortunately, you will have no escort. For this-" he looks at Killian with one of disgust, "Pirate. Has other business to attend to. You will be collected by this pirate in a days' time. In that time, his job is to fix your mishap with your dear, True Love bound parents."
Emma's face appears as though she's having a tough time taking this in. Rumplestilskin smirks with a quiet laugh and they stare at each other.
"And me?" she finally asks, breathless.
"You, sweet summer child. Must stall the young and terrible Queen Regina from hunting after your mother."
Rumplestiltskin doesn't miss the barely concealed anger Hook betrays in his desperate glance at Emma.
Chapter 3: Regina and Leia
The sun hasn’t shone in the Enchanted Forest for over a year. Not since Snow had been framed for her father’s murder and marked for treason. This is the way Regina prefers it; dark, misty- with no sign of life. Alone in her dim chambers, she prepares herself for the Ball at King Midas’ castle. She stands before the looking glass in which she had pushed her mother through years ago. Still in her nightgown, she transforms its plainness into a lavish black gown, decorated with silver pattern and lining and black jewels. Her hair magically fixes itself into an exquisite headdress and falls down to her right shoulder, crisp and curly. She breathes in deeply, scrutinizing her eyes and lips blackened with makeup. Of her 20-odd years of life, she has only ever experienced two forms of happiness, both fleeting. One was the love she received from her ill-fated lover, Daniel; the other from riding her horse at a young age, free from responsibility. Those days are far over, now the thought of riding gives her a pit in her stomach so large, she refuses to even touch a horse. The despair of losing Daniel still resonates inside her unceasingly, willing the weather to remain so dreary. She glares at the looking glass, wishing she had caused more damage to her mother before sending her away.
“My dear?” Henry, Regina’s father, says quietly from the entrance to her room.
“What is it, Daddy?” she asks after a short sigh.
“There is a maiden come to see you in the Great Hall… She wishes to speak with you regarding the Ball this evening,” he states carefully.
Regina spins around and looks hardly at her father. “A maiden? Does she have a name?”
“She didn’t introduce herself to me properly, but she was very keen to see you.”
“And you’ve never seen her before?” Regina questions further.
“Never, My Queen,” he says, shaking his head. “Shall I tell her you’re busy?”
As a response, Regina vanishes to appear on her throne in the Great Hall. She does so, and watches silently as the maiden paces the floor, wringing her gloved hands together. Maiden, Regina thinks, she’s no maiden; she’s a grown woman, appearing to be at most ten years my senior. She has gorgeous blonde hair, pinned up in an array of braids, and is wearing a beautiful red and black gown that Regina admires. Now, Regina stands and clears her throat.
The woman stops pacing and stares at Regina for a long moment with her mouth agape. Then, as if breaking from a spell, she approaches the throne and curtsies so lowly she sits on the ground and remains there.
“Your Majesty,” the woman says smoothly with her eyes at Regina’s feet, “I am Princess Leia, baring an invitation to the Ball of King Midas’ tonight.”
“Leia,” Regina says with a slight smile, “That’s a beautiful name.”
Now Leia lifts her eyes and meets Regina’s. Again, she appears to be placed under a speechless spell and stares for another long moment.
“Thank you,” she says after awhile, “Your Grace.”
Regina’s smirk remains as she descends the stairs to her throne slowly, “Please, rise, Princess Leia.”
“As you wish, Your Grace,” Leia replies and stands.
“So, you’re invited to King Midas’? Have you no escort?” Regina inquires, taking this moment to look about the Hall for a sign of an unfamiliar man.
“I haven’t one, My Lady. Which is why I’m here. Word has reached my Kingdom of your husband’s unfortunate death. I am so sorry for your loss, and for the betrayal of your step-daughter.”
To this, Regina gasps, and brings her teary eyes again to Leia’s face. Her heart beats wildly, and emotions she thought to have buried with Daniel rise steadily in her chest. “N-“ she starts, but her voice falters. She pauses to breathe easy. “Only one person in my life has said those words to me. It’s… kind to hear them from you. Thank you,” Regina says, voice softening.
Leia bows slightly, looking down at Regina’s dress.
“Your Majesty,” Leia now says with a confidence Regina didn’t expect, bringing her eyes up again to meet hers. “I would like to ask for your permission to accompany you to the Ball tonight. It would be my privilege to attend with you.”
Regina’s head is now spinning, her thumping heart being of no assistance. Her palms begin to sweat as she gazes upon the glorious face of her date.
“Please, Your Grace?” Leia asks, and extends her hand forward.
Well, it’s a good thing they’re gloved, Regina thinks to herself, as she reaches down and takes it.
Chapter 4: Magic Touch
Queen Regina and her princess companion walk slowly toward her carriage with their arms linked. They don’t notice those around them, as their heads are bent together, engaged in conversation.
“Your castle is much grander than mine,” Leia observes without taking her eyes off Regina, privately amusing herself with comparing the castle to her family’s loft in Storybrooke.
“You think so? I suppose it’s alright,” she replies, then sighs. “My mother would have liked it.”
“Oh…” Leia says quietly and searches Regina’s morose expression. “I’m sure she would be proud of you, too, Your Majesty.”
Regina smiles sadly. They continue in silence, comforted by the ease of it.
Once they’re outside, Regina glances around the courtyard and notices only her own carriage in sight. “How did you arrive here?” she inquires.
Leia smiles shyly. “I… Well, I was hoping to show you a little later on when the timing was right, but-“ she stops walking and brings her left hand up to draw it down through the air.
Out of nowhere, she conjures a bouquet of black and red roses for the Queen.
Regina gasps and gingerly accepts the gift. “You- Have magic?!”
“Light magic, to be exact. I was born with it,” Leia smiles and laughs. “It took a long time to realize that I could wield magic, but- someone close to me helped show me the potential I had.” Leia stares deeply at the Evil Queen, remembering her and Regina’s adventure in Neverland to find their son. Her heart breaks at the missing memories and the knowledge that she is so far from her beloved friend. She inhales sharply and suppresses hot tears.
“I can’t believe you have magic,” Regina says giddily. Then she laughs, “I’ve never met anyone like you, Princess.”
“Nor I, you, Your Highness,” Leia replies with a heavy heart.
Regina refused to allow more than two guards accompany them to King Midas’ castle, which was unusual. She is in rare form, with her companion constantly awakening a mood in her that she thought to be dead. For once since the night Snow White caught her and Daniel in the stables all those years ago, her smile is sincere enough to reach her eyes. They arrive at the castle of King Midas’ fashionably late. The footman holds open the door and Leia allows the Queen to exit first.
They enter the castle, talking and laughing. Both, though, are more than a little anxious.
King Midas notices them immediately and is pleased to see Regina already enjoying herself.
“Your Excellency!” he calls with an enormous smile and walks over to receive them. “You look ravishing, how are you?”
“I’m well, thank you. Midas, I’d like to introduce you to my friend, Princess Leia,” Regina says and gestures to her.
“Princess Leia,” King Midas says and bows to her. “It’s a pleasure to meet you and have you join us this evening.”
“Thank you, King Midas, it’s an honor to be here,” Leia replies with a curtsy.
“Please, join in the festivities, I must receive those who have arrived behind you,” he smiles.
“Of course, Your Grace,” Regina says and her and Leia inch from the cusp to the edge of the party.
For a few minutes they just stand there, arms still linked, watching the people watching them.
“You’re going to think I’m ridiculous,” Leia says after awhile, looking around at the skilled dancers on the floor.
“I doubt I ever could, Princess,” Regina says soothingly.
“Well- to be honest with you-“ Leia pauses and blushes. “I don’t know how to dance.”
To this, Regina bursts out laughing. It’s music to Leia’s ears.
“You don’t know, either?” Regina says, “Well, this is a disaster, isn’t it? I haven’t the slightest clue how to dance.”
Leia smiles brightly at her, “If you don’t either, then, why don’t we get a drink and study the poor fools that do? Wait here, I’ll be right back with two goblets of wine for us.”
Leia turns to go, and although Regina knows she won’t even be leaving the room, she finds the thought of being without her unbearable.
“Wait-“ Regina says and catches Leia’s elbow.
“What is it, Your Grace?”
Regina can't find words so she searches every millimeter of Leia’s face with her eyes and ends focusing on her lips.
Leia draws nearer to her, and brings a hand up to the side of Regina’s head. She gazes lovingly into her eyes, and both dare not to breathe. Leia leans in and kisses Regina’s soft lips. A spark of intense longing shoots through their connection, and they pull each other close. The kiss seems to last an eternity, and Regina reluctantly pulls away when she feels lightheaded.
“You needn’t worry, My Majesty,” Leia says quietly. “I will always find you.”
Chapter 5: One for the Books
By the end of the night, Leia’s head is spinning from all the people met and fun had. She and Regina had been the life of the party, which seemed more than odd to the other guests, given the fact that one half of the couple was the Evil Queen herself. But, they didn’t want to question it. This strange Princess who seemed to have come from thin air was a blessing to all. The Ball continued well into the night, until the only guests remaining were the Queen, the Princess and the host. Even the host’s daughter and her fiancé retired before them.
“My Goodness!” King Midas says loudly as they relax in front of a golden fountain in his garden. “That was one for the books,” he smiles broadly.
Regina and Leia are on a loveseat together and Regina leans in close to her partner. “You could say that again,” she says sleepily.
“You two were such a joy to host this evening, please, I must insist that you don’t travel home tonight, stay in our Royal Guest Chambers,” Midas says.
“You’re too kind, Your Highness,” Leia says with a smile. “I believe that won’t be a problem, will it, Majesty?”
“Mm, nope,” Regina breathes as her eyes start to close.
“Come, then, follow me and we’ll get you settled in. Judith,” he calls to a servant, “Bring some spare nightgowns to the Guest Chambers for the ladies, won’t you?”
“Yes, sire,” she says and quickly disappears.
Midas talks loudly to the women as he leads them to their bedchamber, but they barely hear him. They’d been inseparable all evening and seem now to be glued at the hip. They walk behind him, arm in arm, heads leaning against each other’s, sighing contentedly.
“Well, here we are. Ah, I see Judith has laid the nightgowns on the bed for you. I would like to invite you to stay through lunch tomorrow, then, as well, it will be served right at mid-day. Do you ladies require anything further this evening?”
Regina shakes her head and Leia says, “No, thank you, Your Highness.”
“Then I bid thee goodnight, and I’ll see you at lunch,” he says with a bow and both women curtsy a ‘goodnight’ in response.
Leia closes the door behind him. She stares at it for a moment before turning around to watch Regina.
“My Majesty?” she asks quietly.
Regina turns and looks at Leia. Her beauty and charm is impossible for Leia to resist.
“Yes, dear?” Regina replies.
“I… I don’t want this night to end,” Leia says, searching the floor and absent mindedly moving closer to her.
The thought of leaving the past in half a day frightens her more than facing the dragon Maleficent or the Ogre from the Enchanted Forest; more than the thought of Regina finding out who she really is. The fear would be enough to stop her heart if it were possible. She begins to shake and feels a panic rising in her throat that she fears will flood her eyes with adrenaline.
Regina walks to her and takes her hands, but Leia can’t bring herself to look at her.
“Then, it won’t,” Regina says softly, and encourages Leia to meet her eye.
“I...,” Leia starts then lets out a singular laugh. “Believe it or not, in my Kingdom, I’m not accustomed to wearing such exquisite costumes. After being in mine all night, I must be rid of it.”
“Let me help with that, dearest,” Regina says and steps backward.
With a whoosh of her hand, Regina replaces their gowns with the supplied white nightgowns.
They both take in a deep breath.
“Ah,” Leia says, smiling, “Much better.”
But the smile begins to fade as she takes in the magnificence of Regina’s appearance. Regina’s bare body is silhouetted through her nightgown due to the bright candles behind her. She doesn’t care that Regina notices her eyes lingering on her body; in fact, she hopes Regina is doing the same to her. A sensation Leia has never felt before courses through her blood, and memories of Mayor Regina flood her mind; all the magic they’ve shared and the true love they have for their son. She isn’t able to stop a tear from forming as Queen Regina kisses her. It falls as she leans into it with a passion she’s never experienced. They grab roughly at one another and Leia leads them toward the bed.
They both fall onto it, and Leia straddles Regina as she takes off her nightgown. Slowly, Leia assists Regina with ridding her gorgeous body of the clothing. She rubs her hands up Regina’s front and lifts it over her head. For a moment, Leia only gazes at Regina, taking in the sight of her unfathomable beauty.
Leia leans down and their lips connect. The heat of it intensifies, and Leia feels Regina’s hand finding its way to her sweet spot. A moan escapes her lips when she finds it. She lifts her head up and shuts her eyes tightly, overwhelmed with pleasure while Regina bites her neck, breathing heavily. Leia moans louder as she nears climax, and shudders in ecstasy when it comes. Their lips find each other again and soon Leia inches down, kissing Regina’s neck, breasts and stomach before reaching her clit. The taste of it is sweet, and Leia caresses it with her tongue gently before bringing her hand down to penetrate her with. She works her mouth and fingers in synchronization and feels Regina grasping at the back of her head, hearing her gasp and moan. Regina trembles and shakes from the pleasure of it, letting out a high “Woo” and then a laugh. Breathing hard, Leia lifts her head and smiles brightly at Regina. She continues to laugh as Leia crawls up to her.
“I love you,” Regina says with a grin, staring deeply into Leia's green eyes.
“I love you, too, Regina.”
Chapter 6: Time Has Come
"Well?" Rumplestiltskin asks of Hook as he comes through his door, "And be quick about it."
"The engagement ring... Was returned to Prince ~Charming~ by Snow White, and they parted ways as they had in the Storybook. Now, where is Emma?" Killian says urgently.
"Not so fast, strumpet," Rumple says, baring his teeth, "I have something for you and I."
He raises his hands and conjures identical magic potions in each of them.
"These are Forgetting Potions. Nearly impossible to come by. Now, Emma previously disclosed information about my future that I had not foreseen, therefore, I must drink one," he explains, bringing one hand in to touch his chest, "This other. Is for Regina. No matter what, you must have Regina drink this potion. If she remembers last night, she'll never cease her search for Emma. And we will all pay," Rumplestiltskin warns sternly. "So, this one is for her. Also, I must give you this." With his now free hand, Rumple reaches into the air and summons a silver wand. "This Wand allows any who posses magic that have been through a world jumping portal to recreate it," he says matter-of-fact-lly. "Emma Swan is one of these people. You must collect her, and return here."
He then knocks Hook's forehead with the palm of the hand he holds the wand in. Killian stumbles back as a wall of magic enters his mind.
"That is a map for your use on how to get in my vault undetected. When you reunite with Emma, you must take her there to activate the spell. Future me can't go around wondering where the fuck I put my Portal Recreating Wand, now can he?" Rumple says as he holds the wand out for Hook to take.
Killian grabs it, but Rumplestiltskin doesn't right away release it.
"And, Captain," Rumple remarks darkly, "If you fail to give the Forgetting Potion to Regina, I will eat your heart in my soup. And you can count on me remembering that through mine."
"The roast was fair, wasn't it, dear?" Regina asks Emma as she slides into the loveseat beside her.
They've just finished lunch and have gone to the back garden's fountain to relax in the sun a minute more before leaving for the Evil Queen's castle.
Emma's heart beat uncontrollably fast, and anxiety-soaked rocks lay in her stomach, chest and head.
"It was," she responds flatly, staring into the shimmering fountain.
Regina sighs and gives Emma a concerned look, "What's the matter?"
Emma immediately brings her eyes to meet hers. She doesn't know if she can do this. Lie to Queen Regina's softened face, leave the past and go on living her life as though the bliss of the previous night never happened, denying her instincts when she sees Mayor Regina, again. All of these concerns swirl through her mind as she tries to concentrate on Regina's intoxicating gaze that is the cure for all her strife.
"I'm so proud of you, my love," Emma declares. "You're the strongest woman I know and you inspire me every day."
"What?" Regina asks with a confused giggle. "And you just may be the strangest."
"I meant it. You may not know, but I've admired you for a long time. And I'm proud to be able to say that I love you."
"Wh-" Regina starts, but Emma interrupts her with a heated kiss. Emma then reaches in and embraces Regina tightly.
It's then that she sees what she has been dreading; Hook waiting for her in the expanse of King Midas' shrubbery.
Her throat catches harshly and bitter tears flood her eyes.
"Regina," Emma says and holds her soulmate at arms' length. "You're going to think that I'm crazy, and that's what I want," she says as she begins to sob. "What I just said is all true, I promise you. But there's something I need to tell you. I cannot go home with you, Regina. Not today, not ever. I wish I could with every ounce of my being. But I have to leave you."
At first, Regina only gazes at her in a playful confusion, but eerily that puzzlement returns to wretchedness.
"You-" Regina growls viciously as dark clouds engulf the sun.
They both stand but Regina backs away to stare coldly at Emma.
Emma's cries are uncontrollable, and there's a ringing in her head she can feel in her eardrums. "Regina," she chokes out desperately.
She sees one tear roll down Regina's cheek, and then she vanishes in a cloud of purple smoke as loud thunder ripples through the air.
Emma cries out in agony, bending over to use the love seat as support for her weakened body.
Killian comes running to her, "Emma, we have to go. Now!"
He takes her waist and holds her hand as he leads her through the garden. Emma sputters and gasps for breath through her sobs. They move quickly, too quickly, and Emma pushes Killian away to vomit, twice. Once they reach outside of the King's land, they come upon a river with a boat to take them to Rumple's vault. Killian holds it steady as Emma climbs in, and he follows.
"So, uh-" Killian starts hesitantly as he paddles down the river, "We're heading to Rumplestiltskin's vault where you'll use this wand to re-open the portal we fell through."
Emma nods mindlessly, rubbing her nose on her sleeve.
"I have to ask, Emma... Why did you do that to the Queen? Why didn't you just leave?" Killian asks her tenderly.
"Because I couldn't live with myself if I left without her knowing the truth."
Hook grins deviously behind her back. He fingers the flask filled with a shot of rum spiked with Forgetting Potion in his pocket.
The two of them continue down the river in silence and arrive to the tunnel entrance of Rumplestilskin's vault.
Emma repeatedly sniffles loudly as they make their way through the dank and dripping wet tunnel.
"This route is as dense as your sinuses, Swan," Hook attempts to joke and falls flat.
They finally reach the center of the Dark One's vault, and Emma grips hard the wand to return them home.
"How the hell am I supposed to use this thing?" she asks, angry and overwhelmed.
"Just think of Henry? I suppose," Hook offers. "Don't forget to drop the wand once it's opened."
Emma breathes deeply and concentrates her eyes on the wand. Henry. Mom. Dad. Regina. She imagines their faces, focuses on the feeling of home and missing it so terribly- and a whirlwind of magic rips open the air from the tip of the wand.
"You did it!" Hook calls.
The portal spreads as Emma tosses the wand out of its range.
Killian grabs her hand and they both jump into it. They land together on the other side, in the barn where they had fallen through.
Hook laughs and stands, brushing himself off. He then extends his hand to help Emma up.
"Well done, love," he beams at her. He retrieves his tainted flask and offers it to her. "Cheers. You deserve it."
Regina can wallow all she wants, Killian thinks, and the crocodile can do his worst. Emma will be mine no matter what it takes.
Emma grabs the flask, and chugs every last drop as though her life depends on it.
Chapter 7: Time Will Tell
The Forgetting Potion washes through Emma, taking with it the memories of the night spent in the Evil Queen's arms.
Though, not the entirety of the trip to the past.
Emma brings the flask from her lips and hands it to Killian.
"Whoa!" she says after a cough, "What the hell happened?"
He looks at her curiously, "Well, what do you remember?"
"I remember... We arrived in the past from Zelena's spell, and then- Nothing. Absolutely nothing."
Hook breathes a sigh of relief and says, "Well, you'll be happy to learn that nothing went awry while we were there. You hit your head as we landed, I brought us to Rumplestilskin's and managed to convince him to send us home!"
With a puzzled expression, Emma studies Hook.
"Yeah?" she asks as memories begin to multiply in her mind.
The Dragon Maleficent in which she had defeated in order to steal the True Love potion is now conflicted by memories of breaking the first curse without killing her.
"Something must have happened, Hook, because this is not right," she says, looking at him. "Some of my memories have changed, unnaturally."
"Well," Hook begins, searching for an excuse, "It must have been Rumple. He wasn't able to forget our arrival, so perhaps a few things played out differently than they had the first time 'round," he says, not caring if Mr. Gold could disprove his statement.
"Hm," Emma mumbles skeptically. "Well, I suppose I'm just glad we're home. I need to see my family."
Emma and Hook enter the party being held at Granny's.
Immediately she sees her parents with Henry and approaches them, leaving Killian behind.
"Emma!" both her parents say and smile brightly at her.
"There you are, we were starting to worry," David says and grabs her arm as Henry hugs her.
She takes in the relief of their presence and returns their warm smiles.
"Mom," she says lovingly, "Dad. I missed you."
Mary Margaret and David can't help but look surprised as their daughter embraces them tightly, but they quickly hug tightly back.
It's at that moment Regina sees her. A blast of horrible bitterness soaks through Regina's heart. Her throat closes up and memories of decades of missing Leia flood her entire being. She had still gone through with the Dark Curse in revenge against Snow White for being the cause of Daniel's death, but she never forgot the disappearance of her lover, Leia. Though, something else had changed. She has no memory of being led to the man with the lion tattoo by Tinker Bell. Regina doesn't know how she does, but she can feel it in her blood that the dirty pirate Emma just arrived with has everything to do with it. She catches Hook's eye and glares at him evilly. His shifty eyes and rigid body language gives him away. Leaving the side of a confused and baffled Robin, she waltzes up to him.
"Wonderful to see you well, Killian," she says sarcastically. "Where were the two of you that delayed you so?"
"We went to check out the Wicked Witch's Spell," he explains nonchalantly, "We were sucked through her portal only to be returned unharmed shortly after."
"Is that so?" Regina asks him lowly.
She then turns around to gaze at Emma, who is casually chatting and laughing with her parents.
Emma appears radiantly beautiful amongst the love and openness of their family. A desperate aching claws at Regina's soul, and she resists the temptation to steal Hook's heart to forcefully retrieve the truth from him with all of her strength.
She turns back to Hook and gives him a cold smile, "I suppose we'll see about that, won't we?"
Regina watches Killian hatefully as he dismisses himself to join Emma at her side, sliding his arm around her. She takes a deep breath and decides to seek advice from a confidante who had been there for her since before she became the Evil Queen.
Chapter 8: Swan After Page
Before even making Emma aware of her attendance, Regina leaves the party undetected.
She enters her black BMW, slamming the door beside her.
For a minute she sits there with her hand at her mouth, listening to the tic-toc of her watch.
Suddenly, a wave of sorrow washes through her, and so she starts her car before tears reach her eyes.
She peels off and before continuing on her way, she stops at Mr. Gold's Pawnshop to collect a crucial piece of information.
She drives in silence, and it takes her nearly a half an hour to reach her destination at the edge of town. She smirks slightly at the sight of the enormous mansion as she pulls up the driveway. After parking, she approaches the front door and knocks. A moment passes, and she raises her hand up to knock again when the door swings open.
Regina smiles fully as she lays eyes on her old friend.
"Regina!" Maleficent exclaims with an alarmed expression. "What are you doing here?"
"I didn't know who else to come to. May I come in?"
"Of course," Mal says sweetly and steps aside.
Regina enters, and Maleficent leads her to the sitting room. Before sitting down, Regina's curiosity takes over her momentarily and she picks up a curious-looking rounded blue and gold box. Realizing she may be overstepping her boundaries, she sets it down and sits opposite of Mal.
"So," Regina says after a sigh, "How have you been?"
"Oh, you know," Maleficent begins sadly, "My boyfriend and I have tried everything to locate Lily, even to try and see if she has passed on- But we've had no luck. Even though in the past he was able to find her and tell her about myself and her heritage, we have been unable to replicate the spell. It's hard to maintain hope when the finality of it is that she's gone forever."
"That's not true, Mal, it can't be," Regina assures, "I will be able to help you, but first I need your advice."
"What is it, my dear?"
"After you and I broke up, I was so relieved to have kept you as a close friend and confidante. I did have one other female partner while still in the Enchanted Forest. Her name was Leia. Have I ever spoken to you about her?"
Maleficent looks around, thinking. "No," she says after a moment. "No, I don't believe you have."
Regina sighs again and pushes her hair behind her ears.
"It makes sense for you to say that because she wasn't always there. These memories of my short lived relationship with Leia are brand new. I just came from a party in which I was told that Emma Swan and Captain Hook were sucked into the past by my sister's time travelling spell. Hook claims they were returned by Rumplestilskin without any obstacle. But the Princess Leia I met and brought with me to King Midas' ball was Emma Swan in disguise, I'm sure of it. And, Maleficent," Regina confesses, beginning to bawl, "That night was the most magical of my life. In this new reality, I was never tempted to allow Tinker Bell to lead me to my soulmate, because I had already found her. And I was so devastated when Leia said she was leaving me after only one evening together I didn't want to find her, again. But now Emma has no memories of that night, and I know Captain Hook cursed her with a Forgetting Potion. Why else would I still have these memories? It's obvious that Forgetting Potion was meant for me, because Rumple wouldn't have let a change like this occur without a preemptive solution. I don't know what to do. Hook is continuing to court Emma now that they're back, and I can't harm him without breaking my promise to Henry."
She brings a hand up to stifle her sobs, and Maleficent passes to her a handkerchief.
"That's quite a predicament, my old friend," Mal observes, "I'm sorry that this love has been stolen from you by such a disgusting excuse of a human. Have you considered the ultimate curse-breaker to show Emma the truth?"
"What, True Love's Kiss?" Regina says with a scoff. "No."
"Then, I don't see any other option for you. Your magic is strong but even you don't have the ingredients for a Cure-All Potion."
Regina looks down, considering the truth of her friend's advice.
"Well, that's that," Regina concludes, nodding her head once. "Thank you for your help. And, now, back to Lily Page- I know what Snow and Charming did to your child. They stole her from you, cursing her with the entirety of Emma's potential for darkness and sent her to a land without magic- this land. She is still alive, and I know someone who'll be able to find her."
Maleficent gasps, and calls out, "Apprentice! Come here!"
The white haired Apprentice soon comes shuffling in.
"My love, Regina has the most exciting news," Maleficent says and joins him at his side. "She will be able to find my Lily."
They beam gleefully at each other, and he kisses her with joy. He then takes Regina's hand to lead her to stand, and they embrace her.
"You're a strong woman, Regina," the Apprentice laughs with tears in his eyes. "The darkness you once had consuming you is nearly completely gone, I can sense it. Your conscience and strength will be the cure for all."
Chapter 9: Catching Up
The next morning, Regina sits in her car outside the entrance of Emma's family's loft.
She's frightened of entering it. All of the devastation she has been feeling for so long isn't so easily squelched. The thought of looking Emma in the eyes is enough to bring tears to her own. When Emma left the past, Regina could feel it. She felt the tear in her world, just as she had felt the first time Emma and that wretched man entered it. The sound and vibration of it courses through her now, unsettling her to the core.
She hears the steady ticking of her watch, and it helps soothe her fast-beating heart.
She then thinks of the words of sense and strength that the Apprentice had spoken to her the night before, and raises her eyes to the door.
With a deep breath, she exits her car and approaches it. She opens the door and ascends the stairs slowly.
Every step brings a tighter squeeze on the vice of nostalgia around Regina's heart.
Once she reaches the apartment door, she immediately knocks. Nearly as quickly, Charming opens the door.
"Regina," he says, surprised, "What are you doing here so early?"
Annoyed, she pushes past him and calls for Emma.
"Hey, Regina," Emma yells from the top loft. "I'm getting dressed, hang on a sec."
Regina huffs, and begins to pace.
"Hey, what's going on?" Snow asks caringly.
"It's nothing that concerns you, Snow White," Regina answers and glares at her.
After a moment, Emma comes down the stairs looking radiant in plain jeans and a white wool sweater. Regina can't help but to be placed under that same speechless spell Leia was when they first met.
"Alright, Regina, what is it?" Emma inquires. "Hey?" she says when she notices Regina's state. Emma reaches for her hand, "You okay?"
"Oh!" Regina says, blinks, and draws back, "I need to speak with you alone."
Emma gives her a quizzical look.
"We'll take Neal on a walk," Snow says from the kitchen. She quickly gathers Neal as Charming sets up the stroller. "Henry!" Snow calls to Henry, "Come on a walk with us!"
"Coming! Later, Moms!" he says and runs to catch up with them heading out the door.
Once it closes, Regina takes a deep breath and slowly breathes it out.
"What's going on?" Emma pushes.
"I need you, Emma," Regina finally says to her and sits down at the kitchen table. "My friend's daughter is missing. I have to warn you- What I'm about to tell you won't be easy for you to hear."
With that, Emma takes a seat across from her and looks at her.
"When Snow was still only a few weeks pregnant with you, your parents were able to find a way to visualize your future," Regina explains carefully, "Charming saw a loving one, while Snow saw one filled with darkness. They wanted to rid the latter possibility of ever happening with you. So, they sought out help from the Sorcerer's Apprentice. He warned them of the consequences of their actions, but they pressed him to carry out with it just the same. They stole Maleficent's child, Emma. They transferred all of your potential for darkness into Maleficent's child. Snow and Charming had thought it was a dragon baby they kidnapped, but it turned out to be a human. Since the baby was cursed, it had to be sent to a land without magic. Here, to this land. She is still alive, of this I have no doubt. We need to find her."
Emma's breath comes in short bursts, and her hands on the table clenched into fists.
"My parents?" Emma's able to manage as her eyes search the table furiously. "What's her name? What's the child's name?"
"It's Lily Page," Regina responds.
Through eyes of malcontent Emma glares at Regina.
"Lily Page?" she asks bitterly.
"Yes. Why, what does that mean?"
Emma laughs, lowly and unamused. "Lily Page was my only friend growing up," she confesses.
Regina gasps and leans forward, "Emma."
She sighs and loosens her fists, "I had just ran away from the orphanage after a lifetime of disappointment. Lily and I met and immediately we stuck on to each other. We spent every waking moment together, helping each other survive. I thought her and I had something special, that we'd be together forever. But she betrayed me and I wasn't strong enough to forgive her. She tried to get me to stay with her. Told me that it seemed like her whole life was darkness, but that being around me made it brighter. But I pushed her away so far that she never bothered me again," Emma finishes with a tear glinting in her eye.
"Fate's a bitch, isn't it?" Regina says with a playful smile. "It pushes us. Maybe it's time we push back. You and I are meant to find Lily to change her fate. What do you say?"
Emma looks at Regina resolutely and asks, "Whose car we gonna take?"
Chapter 10: Redemption?
After stopping at a rest area, the Savior and Queen enter the yellow bug in synchronization and they each shut their door simultaneously.
Before they left, Regina had been the one to make the call to the Charmings to tell them they had to watch Henry for a couple days. Emma found herself boiling over with rage at the thought of her parents. The urgency she felt for finding Lily overpowered every emotion inside of her. It didn't take her long to receive an updated address for Lily from one of her old contacts.
"Emma, you sure you don't need me to drive the rest of the way?" Regina offers.
"I'm fine, Regina," Emma says deeply, and Regina gives her a concerned glance as she stares out the windshield and takes off.
After tens of miles of driving in silence, Emma mumbles a thank you.
"What, Ms. Swan, I didn't catch that?" Regina chimes and pushes her ear out toward Emma.
Emma quickly gives her an annoyed look.
"Thank you," she reiterates, and continues, "I had no idea my own mother and father could do something like this; make me responsible for the life of another. What happened was... is horrifying and vicious. If it weren't for you, I'd still be living under that lie, not knowing the impact my family and I had on Lily and Maleficent's life. So, thank you."
Regina focuses her eyes on Emma's, and feels as though her heart is being crushed into dust. The grief and longing in which she feels for the love of her life overwhelms her.
"I'm sorry, Emma," Regina whispers.
"What? Regina, I'm thanking you, here," Emma says in a goofy tone.
"I know that, I know. But, I'm still sorry."
"Well," Regina says when Emma comes to a halt in front of a run-down apartment building. "This is it?"
"This is it."
The two exit the vehicle and make their way to apartment number #420.
"What do you plan on saying to her?" Regina inquires as they climb the stairs.
"Oh, you know, something like: Remember me, your old partner in crime? Well you'll never have guessed it but I'm the reason you ended up in this shit-hole."
"That's not true, Emma. I'm sure her choices in life were her own," Regina assures her.
"Yeah, well, I'm not so sure about that," Emma says glumly, "Last time we saw each other, things got really ugly. I was living with a foster family who was looking to adopt me. She showed up our house after she had been caught on camera robbing a liquor store with her boyfriend. She'd told me that he sprung it on her all of a sudden, that she didn't have a choice. I didn't believe her, and she ended up ruining my chances with that family. But now I'm second-guessing everything I thought I knew about her."
They reach the apartment and knock.
"We'll be able to make it right. Don't worry," Regina says and pats Emma's shoulder.
They give each other a hopeful glance as they hear shuffling behind the door.
Soon, Lily opens it.
"Lily!" Emma breathes out. "It's Emma. Emma Swan from Minnesota."
"Emma?" Lily asks, and then looks at Regina. "Who are you?"
"Lily, this is Regina Mills," Emma says, "She came with me because she's the reason we were able to find you."
"Find me? Find me for what?" Lily demands, blocking the entrance to her apartment.
"We want to take you back home with us. We know your mother," Emma announces. "And she misses you. I've missed you, too, Lily. I'm so sorry for everything."
Emma then wraps her arms tightly around Lily, and Regina can't help but need to look away.
For a moment, Lily is unresponsive in Emma's arms, undoubtedly processing all the news. But then she smiles, laughs and returns the hug.
"Emma!" she squeals. "I can't believe it! You're finally bringing me home. Thank you!" Then her eyes meet Regina's and she laughs again. "You, too, Regina, get in here!"
Regina looks at Emma reluctantly, but is pulled into their embrace regardless.
Chapter 11: Darkness
Maleficent paces impatiently on her porch, unable to cease moving around in her anxious state. The trio arrives in Storybrooke, with Emma parking in the driveway of the Sorcerer’s mansion. Mal begins to tear up as she notices a third head behind Emma and Regina’s. She approaches the car slowly as they all exit the vehicle.
“Mal,” Regina smiles warmly at her and gestures to Lily, “We found her. This is your daughter- Lilith.”
“Mom? Is that really you?” Lily asks, tears flooding her eyes.
“Yes, my dear child,” Maleficent says and begins to laugh
They look at each other for a long moment before embracing. Mal doesn’t seem to want to pull away, but she knows familiarity will need to be worked at, so she soon releases her.
“Regina, my darling friend, and Emma, thank you so much for bringing her home to me. I am forever thankful. But, would you be able to excuse us? I’d like to take my daughter out to lunch,” Mal says, beaming at Lily.
“Yes, of course,” Regina says and hugs Maleficent briefly.
“Emma!” the Apprentice calls from the house and comes rushing out with the strange blue and gold box Regina had been intrigued by in his hands. “Emma, Regina. Belle just called, it’s Rumplestiltskin. Something awful is happening to his heart. We have to get to Mr. and Mrs. Gold immediately.”
Regina and Emma look at each other in alarm.
“Nice to see you again, too, old man,” Lily says to the Apprentice. “We’ll meet you there. Good luck."
Lilith brings her ice cold hand to her head and rubs her forehead in frustration. She had been so willing to come along to Storybrooke as she has been searching for this cursed town since her young adulthood. The darkness sent into her by Snow and David fuels every decision she makes. And she needs for them to pay. After relaying this thirst for blood to her mother, she is appalled to find out Maleficent is content in doing nothing.
“Wait, WHAT?” Lily demands incredulously of her mother. “Who the hell are you? You don’t want revenge against the Charmings for what they did to our family?!”
“Lily, I did want that,” Mal says confidently, “I wanted it for a long time, and for 28 years I did have it. Regina’s curse sent us here, and their family was broken apart. You know this for a fact, as you knew Emma as a child. They lived every day the same for 28 years without each other. Why ruin what we have now? Having each other? If you murder them, Lily- You’ll be sent away to prison for your entire life. I would much prefer to take them to court over this and send them there instead.”
“You’re unbelievable,” Lily sneers, “I thought you were supposed to be this formidable foe that no one dared to cross. Now I see that you’re nothing I hoped you would be.”
“Lily, wait-“ Maleficent pleads, but Lily ignores her and storms out of the café.
Chapter 12: The Dark Dagger
"Thank goodness you're here," Belle says hysterically to the Apprentice, Emma and Regina as they come through the door. "Rumple just passed out. He was acting completely crazy and tried to get me to leave," she explains as she leads them back to where he's laid down. "He said that we're all in terrible trouble. That the darkness in his heart is taking it over completely, so that there won't be any conscience left in him- his ability to love will be gone. Is there anything you can do?"
Both Emma and Regina turn to the Apprentice apprehensively as he stares grimly down at Rumplestiltskin's still body. The Dagger is somehow still gripped tightly in Rumple's hands, with his name face-up.
"He wouldn't let me near him or the Dagger," Belle says as she begins to cry.
"There is only one thing to be done," the Apprentice begins, "You see, long ago- The Sorcerer battled the Darkness. He was able to keep it from consuming all the realms by tethering it to a human soul which could be controlled by the Dagger. This Hat," he says, and waves his hand over the box, making a blue Magician's hat appear in its place, "Has never been asked to contain such a force. But we have no choice. If we let it consume Rumple, nothing but malice will be left inside of him and he'll kill all of us."
"What do we do?" Emma asks, looking from Regina to the Apprentice.
"Take this," the Apprentice says and pries the Dagger from Rumple, then hands it to her. "And stand back."
The Apprentice then reaches into Rumple's chest, and pulls out his heart. The entirety of it is nearly completely black, with only a sliver of red shining in the center. The Sorcerer's Apprentice closes his eyes, and wind bellows all around him. He mutters a spell that Emma can't understand the words of, and all of a sudden the Hat begins to absorb the Darkness in Rumple's heart.
Regina, Emma and Belle watch tensely as the Hat appears to contain it. The Hat returns to its home, and the rounded gold and blue box appears back into the Apprentice's hand.
With the Darkness now pulled from Rumple's heart, it is now nearly completely white- Apart from the sliver of red that seems to be glowing a bit brighter.
"You did it!" Emma smiles in relief as the Apprentice replaces Rumple's heart back into his chest.
It's at that moment that the box shakes violently and tips itself out of the Apprentice's hands and onto the floor.
The blue center of it seems to disappear as a dark swarm of blackness takes over.
"What's happening?!" Regina yells.
The swarm of Darkness shoots out of it and begins to circle her.
"Regina!" Emma screams and watches her wildly as the Dark Magic appears to envelope her.
Then, she looks down at the Dagger in her hand.
"NO!" Regina demands through her struggle, "Emma, I can hear its thoughts, don't do this!"
"I have to," Emma cries, "There's no other way, Regina, I won't let it take you! I can't!"
"Please, Emma! No!" Regina begs.
Desperately, Emma grips the Dagger with all her strength and shoves it into the tornado of Darkness.
Immediately, the Dagger absorbs the Black Magic and it disappears within.
Regina looks up at the Dagger that Emma still has extended into the air. To her dismay and horror she sees that instead of baring Rumplestiltskin's name, it now reads 'Emma Swan'.
She then brings her eyes to Emma, and is frightened to see that her hair has turned pure white.
"Emma?" Regina asks softly.
Emma glances at Regina for a split-second, then vanishes in a cloud of gray magic.
As dread consumes her, Regina shudders at the maniacal look she had in her eye.
Chapter 13: The Dark Swan
The Dark Swan appears in the center of Hook’s hovel.
In the darkness of it, she sneers at her surroundings.
After waiting only a moment, Hook comes around the corner and startles when he sees her.
“Swan?” he breathes out in surprise. “What the bloody hell are you doing here?" Then, he notices her appearance, "...What happened to you?”
She glares at him as the electricity in the apartment begins to flicker.
“Well, you’ll be happy to learn,” she begins, speaking slow and deep, “That nothing went awry while we were there. You hit your head as we landed; I brought us to Rumplestiltskin’s and managed to convince him to send us home.”
Killian stares back at her, his heart filling with a terrible anxiety.
“It must have been Rumple,” Dark Swan continues, “He wasn’t able to forget our arrival, so perhaps a few things played out differently than they had the first time ‘round.”
“Swan, I can explain…”
“There’s nothing to explain, Captain,” she argues ominously. “I remember everything. I suppose becoming cursed with the Darkness enacts an automatic reset of other curses I had been saddled with.”
Killian gulps and dares not to move as she steps closer to him, “You cursed my memory to keep me from Regina, Killian Jones. You wanted me all to yourself and couldn’t stand the thought of me in the arms of another. You’re the most selfish and sniveling coward I’ve ever known. Well, now I’m going to do what Rumplestiltskin was never able to,” she says with a psychotic grin and plunges her hand into his chest.
Killian screams in pain as she rips his heart from it.
“You will never have my heart,” she says sweetly to him, “But I will certainly have yours.”
She looks upon his anguished face as she squeezes his heart into dust, just to see the life leave his eyes. As it does, she smiles gratefully and casually brushes her hands off on her jeans.
"Well, Mom," she says aloud with a look of wonder on her face, "Looks like your premonition was right."
Now it's time for you to pay for what you did to me and Lily, she thinks to herself and disappears from Hook's old apartment.
Chapter 14: Cure for All
“Regina?!” Belle runs to her as soon as Dark Swan vanished. “Are you alright?” she asks and grabs her friend’s arm.
“I’m… fine, Belle,” Regina lies.
Physically she may be in perfect health, but the dread Regina feels is nearly overwhelming.
“Where do you think she went?” Belle inquires, looking around the room.
“I believe-“ the Apprentice starts, “That she has nearly already carried out her main desire. Her next course of action will be directed toward her parents. Lily and Emma share a history that won’t easily be forgotten.”
Regina nods, knowing herself how it feels to despise the acts of a parent. But, still, a puzzled expression lingers on her, “Her main desire? What is that?”
The Apprentice sighs, “There’s nothing we can do to stop her. She has already killed him.”
With a rush of relief, Regina gasps and a sob breaks through her strained composure. She remembers! Regina celebrates to herself. Then she realizes darkly that although Emma remembers, she is now the Dark Swan and far from the Savior she loves.
“What, Regina? Who is it?” Belle presses and shakes her gently.
“It’s Captain Hook,” Regina says solemnly. “She has killed him because she and I spent a night together in the past, and he cursed her with a Forgetting Potion so he could be with her. It appears that becoming cursed with the Darkness restored her memory.”
“Right you are, Regina. We mustn’t delay any further,” the Apprentice rushes, “We have to reach Lily before Emma does.”
“Hold on to me, then,” Regina advises to Belle and the Apprentice, and teleports them into the dining room of Granny’s.
They see Maleficent in a booth, wiping tears from her eyes, with no Lily in sight.
“Maleficent,” the Apprentice says with care and immediately goes to her side. “What happened? Where is Lily?”
“She isn’t satisfied enough with just being reunited,” Maleficent sobs. “She left to find Snow and David, to seek revenge on what they did to her.”
In a flash of purple smoke, Regina transmutates herself to Snow and Charming’s loft and, to her relief, finds only them there.
“Regina?!” Snow startles from the kitchen. “What the hell?”
“I have bad news,” Regina calls out, “Charming, Snow. You may want to sit down. It’s about Emma.”
The two go to each other and Charming grabs Snow’s hands.
“What is it?” David asks, his face strained with concern.
“Emma and I asked you to watch Henry for the last couple days because there was something we had to do. My old friend Maleficent asked the two of us to find her child that you had cursed,” Regina says.
Snow’s jaw drops and sorrow fills her eyes. David sighs and looks at his wife morosely.
“We were successful in finding Lily and brought her back to Storybrooke. As soon as we did, Rumplestiltskin, well, he- Was about to be killed by the Darkness inside his heart that he first took on over 300 years ago,” Regina pauses and takes a deep breath to stave her hysteria. “In order to try and stop it from invading him completely,” she continues, “The Apprentice attempted to trap that Darkness in the Sorcerer’s Hat. But, it failed. Knowing the only way to contain it was to tether it to one’s soul, Emma took the Dagger and- Absorbed the Darkness. She is now the Dark Swan. She has already killed Hook and may be on her way here with Lily to… Kill you.”
“Whoa-“ David gasps. “She’s already murdered somebody? Her boyfriend, Hook?”
Regina glares at him, “He was never her boyfriend. In all honesty he has no one to blame but himself,” Regina states coldly. “Had I not made my promise to Henry, I would’ve killed him myself the moment after they returned from the past. Your daughter and I spent an unexpectedly romantic and blissful evening together while Emma and Hook were in the past. Hook witnessed part of it, and cursed Emma into forgetting about me. But, I never forgot. I never… Forgot the peace she brought me, and the devastation I felt when she left. She is able to remember, now, but I’ve lost her to the Darkness. I’ve lost her, again.”
Regina tries with all her might to remain strong, but soon despair washes through her. She begins to sob tears of agony from missing Emma for so long. Bringing her hands up, she buries her face in them and cries uncontrollably.
“Regina,” Snow says softly and approaches her. “You haven’t lost her. In fact, I believe you’re the only one who can return her to us," she reasons and gently pulls Regina’s hands to hold them. Snow then looks deeply into her friend's eyes, "Maybe that’s the whole purpose of the endless suffering you’ve felt over her loss; to have the knowledge that you love her... and that she loves you. You have to find Emma, Regina- and break this curse.”
Chapter 15: Dragon Pal
In a furious rage, Lily exits Granny's and a shriek begins to gather in her chest and throat.
She reaches the sidewalk and continues walking into the street.
After thirty fucking years of waiting, she thinks to herself, my mother tells me to just move on?!
Lily screams savagely from deep within her.
The Potential of the Savior's Darkness that was sent into her by the Charmings had begun to rip apart her soul the moment it filled her. This turned her into a Cursed child; one who was sent to a world unaccustomed to any sort of magic, let alone Dark Magic. For years in her youth she could never understand why her life only worsened, no matter the decisions she made. Until she met Emma Swan. When they first met, Lily helped Emma escape prosecution for stealing. That had been the most joyous day of Lily's entire life. For once, she didn't make matters worse. For once, she was able to assist somebody who she needed help from, too. They survived the streets together, for awhile. Until the Darkness lurking within Lily sent their lives in opposite directions and she was informed by the Apprentice of her heritage.
Unable to cease the storm of hatred inside of her, Lily all but loses consciousness as her eyes change to the color gold. Her senses aren't able to measure up to the level of change occurring to her body, so she falls into a type of shock- One where she loses her sense of self; of humanity. A loud roar escapes from her as she is transformed into a black, twenty-five foot high dragon. She roars again and fire shoots out of her mouth at the sky.
Maleficent, the Apprentice and Belle run out of Granny's towards her.
"My Lily!" Maleficent yells to her with a proud look in her eye, but panic in her voice, "Please be careful!"
"'Careful'?!" Lily scoffs, looks down at her and laughs, "I'll be anything but careful with those Charmings! Those pitiful fools must pay for the curse they cast upon me. They will feel my wrath, Mother. There's nothing you can do to stop me."
"Lily, please!" Maleficent cries. "Don't do this. We can be together!"
"I don't need you, Mother. I never have, and I never will," Lily growls.
Instantly, Dark Swan appears between the mother and daughter.
The Apprentice, Belle and Maleficent gasp collectively and back away.
"Now, now," Emma says with a tease of a smile on her lips. "Mustn't get started without me, dearie."
Lily feels the innate connection she has with Emma is intensified.
"Emma, you're..." Lily begins but can't find words to describe the majesty of Emma's presence.
"Oh, I'm still the Savior, only-," Emma briefly looks around as if searching for a word, then laughs out, "Well, Dark." She turns to the Apprentice with a thankful expression, "You. You little rascal!" she squeals in delight and pokes his stomach. "You heard my call, didn't you? I was trapped in that dreadful man, oh! For far too long. Thank you for setting me free so I could inhabit my true vessel. The Savior was always meant for the path of the Darkness." Her eyes drill into his with such force, he breaks contact. "And, you," she directs at Belle, "His sickly-sweet Beautious Belle."
She wrenches her hand into Belle's chest and extracts her pure red heart.
"Look at that," Dark Swan breathes mystically while staring at it, "It's a true marvel, this untainted heart, it really is. Still," she shrugs and tightens her grip, "You were a true annoyance, as well."
Belle coughs and braces against Maleficent as Dark Swan squeezes her heart harder until it disintegrates into dust.
Maleficent and the Apprentice cry out and brace her corpse from falling too hard to the ground.
"Maleficent," Dark Swan says, ignoring the urgency in their actions. "I heard that you and Regina go way back. As it turns out, I may have had an impact on your life, as well. For that, I apologize," Dark Swan pauses as Maleficent brings her eyes up to glare at her, "And I intend to avenge the separation and cursing of your child. Lily," she then says to Lily, looking up at her with a smile, "I like your new style. It suits you."
"As does yours, Emma," Lily responds and gives her a knowing look.
Dark Swan grins at her old friend deviously and says, "Time to visit my parents, Lily."
Lily dips a shoulder down, and Dark Swan pulls herself up onto Lily's neck by her wing. Dark Swan grips tightly as with two powerful wing strokes, Lily takes off toward the Charming loft.
Chapter 16: Loyalty
'Emma,' The Darkness whispers through her mind as she and Lily fly toward their revenge. 'Emma, you innately knew that what Regina said as I began to swallow her soul was right. She could hear my thoughts, as you can, now. You know that you and I were destined for each other, Emma. In a way not unlike how yourself and Regina are bound.'
The Dark Swan cocks her head as if trying to listen closer to the Darkness.
'I can sense her,' The Darkness hisses harshly. 'She lives! Because you sacrificed your soul to me in order to save hers! You love her deeply, dearie. I can still taste her lips and more after sampling your restored memories- You're welcome for those, by the way.'
Emma's mouth twitches a momentary smirk as she remembers the pleasant release of Regina's touch.
'If you care for Regina's safety, don't allow Lily to enter that loft,' The Darkness warns. 'Not to mention, us.'
For a brief moment, Emma breaks through and she worryingly glances down at Lily. But seeing the beastliness in her eyes reawakens the Darkness, and a thirst for blood courses through her so powerfully that she laughs out loud.
They approach the top levels of the apartment building and Emma's mania grows as the distance between them shortens and they finally collide.
Dark Swan and Lily crash through the living room window of the loft as Lily once again becomes human. The broken glass and hard fall do nothing to harm the two and they stand deliberately. Dark Swan turns toward the kitchen and regret consumes her as she sees Regina standing between her and her parents.
"Emma!” Snow calls, but Dark Swan can barely hear her.
A force unlike anything Emma has faced urges her to strangle Regina with her bare hands. The Darkness senses the goodness and light in Regina. It knows she can break the Dark Curse, and wants her destroyed. Emma’s vision begins to blacken as her heart beat climbs in her resistance of the Darkness. The tension and struggle within her nearly ceases her ability to breathe.
“Regina?” Dark Swan forces out with her heart having sunk to her gut and her throat closing, “What are you doing here?”
“What do you think, Ms. Swan?” Regina answers with a challenging expression.
“Step aside, Regina,” Lily demands as Snow and David grab onto each other tightly. “I appreciate your efforts in having found me, but do not stand in the way of my revenge.”
Regina smirks and lifts her head up high, “Make me, dragon bitch.”
Lily huffs out angrily and her eyes flash gold.
“Lily,” Dark Swan barks while keeping her gaze on Regina. She takes a strained, shaky breath and says, “You will not hurt her.”
Regina’s face softens as she looks at Emma quizzically.
“What? Emma…” Lily asks incredulously.
“I said you will not harm her,” Dark Swan stutters fervently, her core trembling in order to contain the Darkness. “That’s an order.”
Lily lets out a single, bitter laugh. “Fuck you, Emma," she spits, "I thought you were on my side.”
“And I thought this was ~our~ revenge, Lily,” Dark Swan growls in an attempt to manipulate her feelings and closes her eyes.
The trick fails. Lily ferociously charges Regina and before Regina has time to throw her first lit fireball, Dark Swan appears between them in a cloud of grey smoke. With a decisive motion, Emma grabs Lily by the neck and pulls her in closely. The twisted expression of tearful rage on the Dark Swan's face causes Lily to frantically claw at her blackening hand as the breath is choked from her. Emma grasps firmly onto Lily's heart and fights to pull it from her magical body.
Lily's eyes and face redden as her heart is ripped from her. Dark Swan possessively takes it to hold against her chest. She releases the choke hold on Lily, and brings that arm in front of Regina protectively.
"You're not harming any of us, Lily. That's an order," Emma commands shakily.
All Lily can do is stand perfectly still, petrified and forever unable to move of her own free will.
"Emma-" Regina starts boldly.
Immediately, she turns to faces her. "It's okay, Regina," she gasps desperately, "No one will hurt you. Don't you see?" she sobs quietly and brings her free hand up to stroke Regina's cheek. "I can't let them hurt you."
Dark Swan looks upon the frenzied face of Regina and watches as she notices the charcoal-blackness spreading toward her palms from her fingertips. Regina gasps and backs away from the darkening, ice cold hand.
"Don't worry," The Dark Swan whispers hauntingly.
Chapter 17: Curses
It takes nearly all of Emma's energy to resist murdering Regina with the Darkness. Emma uses the last of her strength to teleport herself and Lily deep into the Storybrooke forest, far from Regina and the rest.
The tension inside her lessens, but doesn't dissipate as much as she'd hoped.
Gasping, she collapses to her knees and drops Lily's heart into the mud. She brings her blackened hands up and cries at their appearance. Rubbing them together, she realizes it is only worsening, and is creeping up her wrists. Emma stares deeply into her unearthly dark hands.
"Emma," Lily says weakly, clutching her chest. "Emma, please."
The Darkness tugs at the back of Emma's neck. Horrified, she digs her fingers at the spot in an attempt to somehow contain it, but it seeps through. She screams and shudders as it overtakes her.
Sputtering for breath, the Dark Swan falls forward to her hands and almost collapses. After a moment, she catches her breath and straightens up to glare at Lily.
"Don't speak," Dark Swan hisses and snatches the heart from the ground.
In her hand, she conjures a red velvet bag and slips the heart inside. She then ties it to her belt loop and wearily stands.
Having become bored of her current, goody-two-shoes outfit, Dark Swan abruptly waves her hand over herself.
Tight, black leather pants replace her bluejeans. To replace her sweater, a tailored, black waistcoat with a train of the deepest black flowing down in dream-like wisps to her feet. Her shoes transform into black leather boots that come to a point at the toes. Her stark white, curly hair is styled in a low half-ponytail, with diamonds studding around her ears and the back of her head. Her hair glows in the contrast of the darkness of her outfit.
The red velvet bag is still secured safely at her hip, though it is slightly concealed. She drops her dark hands to her sides and they become lost in the black mists of her train.
"Lily," Dark Swan says with a smile as she begins to regain energy. "By now I'm sure you've surmised that I have strong feelings for Regina. And, that she feels the same for me. Or at least, for Emma, who is still cursedly inside here somewhere. I can sense Regina's Lightness even from here," she muses, then scoffs. "I detest it. She knows as I do that she can break the Dark Curse I hold over Emma Swan. But, still-"
Emma imagines the immeasurable joy of witnessing Regina's radiant smile, and for a moment the Darkness can glimpse it. The Darkness will never know joy, no- But, pleasure...
Dark Swan can sense the panic of the Savior struggling to break through, but she grins psychotically as she feels the ice cold darkness crawling up her forearms.
She giggles lowly to herself as she realizes how easily attainable it all is to her- Now that she is inside of the Savior.
"Lilith Page," Dark Swan chimes, delighted. "How lucky I was to have found you. You must wait right here for me, though, promise?" she says with a cruelly playful expression.
With that, she vanishes to appear stealthily inside the back room of the pawn shop of Mr. Gold.
She chuckles at remembering having crushed Rumplestiltskin's lover's heart. Because of this, no one has yet bothered to remove his comatose body from the shop. She ignores him and focuses her powers on a familiar source of magic.
Many power sources call out to her, and she struggles to sort through them all.
Concentrating deeply, she locates what she requires at the west side of the back room and instantly poofs herself there.
The layers of garbage the past Dark One had hoarded deter her only for a moment as soon she grasps the Portal Recreating Wand in her hand.
Dark Swan now laughs heartily and magically returns to Lily.
"Now, I know this can't possibly be easy for you, my dearest Lilith. What with having your heart stolen by your closest friend and being held against your will, and all," Dark Swan mocks and steps into her closely, "But, please know that I plan to exploit every. Single. Cell. Of power that you possess, for not even the Dark Savior has enough power to cast another Dark Curse on her own."
Stepping away from her, Dark Swan retrieves Lily's heart with one hand and holds the wand up with the other. She raises them up and touches them together as she gathers her magic. In a strong burst, she forces her Dark Magic to merge with Lily's and a portal shoots out from the end of the wand and into the sky. Dark Swan giddily watches as the portal engulfs the sky and opens itself up to swallow Storybrooke whole.
Chapter 18: The Evil Queen and Her Darkness
Queen Regina stands completely still as she watches the hanging guard struggle for either life, or death. Whichever it is, she can't tell and doesn't care. For more than an hour she has stood here, ensuring the acceleration of his bleeding to death by slicing at his flesh with her razor sharp magic.
Suddenly, she feels a fierce tear through her heart. In a crazed frenzy, she decapitates the poor soul in an attempt to distract herself from the pain. It doesn’t work, and for a moment Regina is utterly terrified of how bitterly cold her heart feels. The body falls to the stone floor, bones breaking with a loud crack, and the head falls right into her hands. She catches it, and as though transfixed, Regina loses herself staring into the dead, blue eyes of the One Who Complained.
It has only been one day since Leia abandoned her, and the Queen has taken her anger out on countless unfortunate souls.
She curses her mother’s mantra of ‘love is weakness’ that she should have learned from ages ago. Truly, love is weakness, and will only make one weaker to be so foolish as to allow someone in. How could she have not remembered that? How could she have let herself enjoy Leia’s company?
Just then, she feels the unmistakable tremble of her world being penetrated. It’s the same source she felt directly before meeting Leia, and, therefore, the same she felt after Leia told her she was leaving forever. Without a doubt, the Queen knows she has returned. With a quick wave of her hand, the corpse before her dissolves and disappears.
Regina’s body tenses and she conjures a fireball when she senses her former lover’s presence.
“My Majesty,” Dark Swan whispers from far behind her.
Regina lifts her head high, staring at the spot where the guard had been hanging.
With all her strength, she whirls around to strike her, only to have her magic squelched out like a mere match by Leia's power.
"Oh, you're gonna need something much more clever than that to stop me, dearie," Dark Swan teases with a whimsical smile on her lips.
She begins to saunter forward confidently.
"D-Dearie?!" Regina startles at the familiar phrase. "Leia, wh-" she stops and takes in her changed appearance for a long moment. "What happened?"
Dark Swan laughs lightheartedly, “Leia was an alias I had to give in order to protect you. My real name is Emma... But, lately I've been calling myself the Dark Swan.”
“How can that be? You told me that you wield Light Magic,” Regina asks, hating the excitement building in her chest.
“I did. Er- Still do… I’m sure it’s inside here somewhere, but it’s not the magic I use anymore. I was recently cursed; twice, in fact. And, Regina," Dark Swan pauses and slowly steps into Regina. "Being cursed with this Darkness helped open my eyes. I know there's nothing I can do to take back the hurt I've caused both of us. I'm so sorry I had to leave, but you and I were both fucked over by someone who got what they deserved. I made sure of that, personally. Please, my dear Regina. Forgive me."
“That’s curious,” Regina blinks and tries to casually put distance between herself and Emma. “Cursed with Darkness? How does something like that just occur out of the blue?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Dark Swan shakes her head and looks at Regina tenderly. “I’m just glad to be back here in the Enchanted Forest… With you.”
Regina meets Dark Swan’s intense green eyes with her own sultry browns. Immediately, her heart melts and relief rushes through her. Tears begin to form as she giddily walks up to Dark Swan. My mother and her advice can burn in hell, she thinks to herself as she takes Dark Swan’s black hands.
“Emma,” she breathes with a grin. “I thought I was a fool for loving you. But, looking at you right now- I've never been so sure of anything in my life. I forgive you.”
Dark Swan laughs joyfully and picks Regina up, twirling her around in the air before dipping her down to kiss her passionately. The two break away after a long moment, and Dark Swan celebrates her victory internally while looking intently at Regina’s beaming lips.
Dark Swan chuckles mischievously as Regina plants a few sweet kisses on her cheek.
The Evil Queen is not Emma's True Love, and that's what Dark Swan was counting on.
Together, the Dark pair will be unstoppable.
Chapter 19: Cursed
Mother! Regina screams at Cora, rage bubbling in her growling voice. Let her go! Let her go, you can't do this to me, again!
You're speaking nonsense, Regina. Her fate was always to become corrupted. Only this time, you cannot blame me for your... misfortune. The only person to blame is you.
A noise outside Regina's Storybrooke bedroom window causes her eyes to flutter slowly open. Consciousness takes over her horrendous nightmare as she gasps sharply, pushing herself up against her headboard.
Not remembering having fallen asleep here, or anywhere, Regina harshly breathes out, "What the-?!"
Wildly, she looks around the black room as her heart rate climbs.
"Emma?" she calls out, knowing she won't get an answer, but to calm herself.
She sighs and swings her feet over the side of her bed. Her silver silk pajamas ease her dismount, and soon she's scurrying down the hall to Henry's room.
"Henry?!" she yells as she turns his light on with her magic.
"Whoa!" he says, alarmed, yet sleepy. "Mom, what is it?"
He shades his eyes from the light.
"Where's Emma?" Regina asks, voice strong.
"What? Who?" Henry says and squishes his face up in confusion.
"Your mo-!" Regina starts, then with a wave of dreadful realization, shuts her mouth. She sighs and brings the back of her hand to her forehead. "I'm- I'm so sorry, dear. It was just, ah-" Regina pauses to clear her throat and stave her quivering jaw, "An awful nightmare that I had. Please, go back to sleep."
"If you're sure, Mom," Henry says with a shrug.
Regina smiles and nods at him, and uses the light switch to turn off his light on her way out.
Cursed! Regina thinks to herself as she makes her way downstairs in the dark. In a land with magic and no memories. Yet, I have memories? How can this be? Last I remember- Dark Swan left the loft with Lily. Snow, David and I were beginning to discuss a plan for when they'd return, when- I woke up, here. "Oh, Emma," she whispers woefully. "What have you done?"
Chapter 20: Dark, Too
The next morning, Dark Swan finds herself waiting for Regina to awaken from her slumber. The pair lay naked together in bed, with the Queen nestled comfortably in the crook of Emma’s arm. Emma had been unable to sleep the entire night, as drowsiness never took over her ever-persistent state of consciousness. The Darkness had been badgering her all night with memories of the past Dark Ones. Or, more specifically, Dark One, being Rumplestiltskin. When she had to face the silence of night for the first time, the memories were overwhelming to sort through. But her fast-working mind was finally able to sort through them by morning. She had a clear idea of the treachery Rumple had shown toward her Queen, and it did not bode well for the future of the current, and should-be only, Dark One. Dark Swan grit her teeth with abhorrence so intensely that Regina began to stir beside her.
Taking in a deep breath, Regina stretches and gazes up at the enchanting woman beside her.
“Oh,” she breathes out, eyes still adjusting to the bright white sun of morning. “You’re awake.”
Dark Swan smirks slightly, “That I am, my love.”
“I’m sorry,” Regina says and tries to rub the sleep from her eyes. “Have you been for long?”
“I’ve been up all night,” she answers solemnly.
“Oh? What’s wrong?” Regina asks with concern and sits up to better see Emma’s face.
Dark Swan sighs. She can visualize the moment Rumple had turned Regina into the Evil Queen and it makes her blood boil. He had corrupted her, and the thought of furthering that corruption itches incessantly at the forefront of her mind.
“It’s…” Dark Swan begins, but hesitates a long moment before continuing, “The Dark One,” she finally says.
Regina lets out a brief chortle, “Who, Rumple?”
Realizing the seriousness of Emma’s tone, Regina furrows her brow in confusion. “What about that dickhead?”
Now is Emma’s turn to give a short laugh. After a brief moment, Emma sighs again and takes Regina’s hand in hers.
“I have all of his memories,” she confesses, “His and all the other past Dark Ones. Despicable creatures, all of them. But I will be better. We will be.”
“We? What do you mean?” Regina questions.
At this response, Dark Swan is almost annoyed. She swallows the bubbling irritation and forces a smile at her love.
“Why, my precious jewel- I know he taught you everything you know, but he is unfamiliar with my style. Have you ever thought about… Oh, I dunno-” Dark Swan says and looks away.
“Overthrowing him?” Regina offers after a beat.
To this, Emma grins deviously at Regina’s mischievous expression.
Regina then purses her lips and clicks her tongue with a shrug. “I dunno,” she says, fluctuating her voice from high to low. “Maybe.”
Chapter 21: Destination: Unknown
“Henry!” Regina calls to her son from the top of the stairs.
A moment passes, and he opens his bedroom door.
“Yeah, Mom?” he says with cheeriness in his tone.
“We need to talk,” Regina says after a brief sigh.
Henry looks at her with a caring expression and leaves his bedroom to show his mom that he’s listening.
“I know this may seem strange, but I just got off the phone with Mary Margaret. I’m going to need you to stay with her for a few days.”
“Why? Where are you going?” Henry asks. “You’ve never left Storybrooke before.”
“Yes… I know that. But there’s a family emergency of... sorts, that I have to see to. It’s something that can’t wait. Would you please pack the things you’ll need? I want to leave within the hour.”
“I mean- Yeah, for sure. But, I’m sad I can’t go with you. Is everything okay?” Henry says and grabs Regina’s hand.
She squeezes it as she suppresses hot tears with all her might and forces a smile.
“Yes, it will be. And you’re sweet for wanting to come along, but this is something I must do myself.”
She then pulls him into a hug and rests her hand on the back of his head. “Thank you for being so understanding. I love you very much, Henry.”
“I love you, too, Mom,” he responds, and pulls back from the hug to smile at her. Then, he retreats to his room to pack.
Regina watches as his door closes. The distraction from conversation dissolves and new memories flood her mind. Dark Swan is in her past, planting dangerous ideas of overthrowing Rumplestiltskin as the Dark One. Regina needs to act fast. Dark Swan is insane and power-hungry, with no regard to how her actions will affect the future.
Regina’s heart rate climbs as she feels the pressure mounting inside her. She then enters her bedroom, shuts the door, and locks it. A long sigh escapes her lips as an eerie silence surrounds her. Sad eyes survey the pristine room and she can’t help but catch some errors Emma had made in recreating her Dark Curse. Though, she had been relieved to hear Dark Swan had kept David awake and unmarried to Katherine so that him and Mary Margaret could remain together. And Regina thinks there must have been some part of Emma controlling the curse or else she would have lost her memories along with everyone else.
Standing stock still, Regina tries to remain in the present and not be sucked into the new memories of her with her former lover. She ponders this for a long minute, until the silence is broken by the subtle ticking of the watch on her wrist. Absentmindedly, she checks it, knowing that it won’t portray the true time. She rolls her eyes in annoyance and again fights back bitter tears.
The way she had built her Storybrooke curse had made it impossible for any who were cursed to be able to leave town. Originally, only Henry could leave because he had been brought there from the outside world. Then, it hits her, that the curse had been broken by a True Love’s Kiss shared between Emma and Henry. Regina and Henry, too, have shared a True Love’s Kiss that broke Zelena’s wicked spell. With new purpose, Regina snaps her fingers and a packed suitcase appears before her. It contains the food and clothes she’ll need on her journey.
Once the curse is lifted, of course.
Chapter 22: To Darkness
Dark Swan watches her raven-haired lover slip out of the bed they share. A small smile turns up one corner of her lips as Regina approaches the tall looking glass to scrutinize her naked appearance.
“Me,” she muses aloud, tracing her finger gently along the glass, “A Dark One.”
The smirk remains on Dark Swan’s lips as she, too, leaves the bed to join Regina.
“It is a delicious temptation, is it not?” Dark Swan asks lightly as she presses her bare body against Regina’s from behind.
She brings her hands around Regina’s front and caresses her breasts, nibbling at her neck.
“It is… But, how did you get so lucky as to only receive this glowing hair & blackened skin as payment for the darkness? How do we know I wouldn’t turn all… I dunno, scaly?” Regina asks with a playful snarl.
“Oh, my ravishing Evil Queen,” Dark Swan says sweetly and looks at Regina’s eyes in their reflection, “The Darkness will treat you with the same respect it’s shown me. It’s been with Rumple far too long. That’s why he looks the way he does, you see- Because the Darkness is punishing him for keeping control of it for so long.”
A bright smile lights up Regina’s face and she turns to wrap her arms around Dark Swan’s waist.
“Do you really think so?” she asks giddily.
Dark Swan nuzzles Regina’s nose with hers.
“I know it to be true, my darling. The Darkness tells me so as we speak,” she assures.
“Then, I’m in. Let’s overthrow that rotten bastard, and we’ll both rule terribly over the Enchanted Forest. Together.”
Immediately, Dark Swan conjures two goblets of blood red wine to celebrate, and offers one to Regina.
“To Darkness,” she toasts, and holds her glass up.
With a smile, Regina clinks her glass with hers and replies, “To Darkness.”
Chapter 23: Into the Light
The drive to the loft is one taken in silence. Regina can’t bare to think about leaving Henry, so she distracts herself as best she can by scourging her memory for all the details of the Enchanted Forest she can remember. Henry gazes out the passenger window, drumming his fingers on his leg and glancing over at his mother from time to time. The chilling uncertainty Regina feels grows inside her as she gains memories of Dark Swan furthering her plans to corrupt her past self with the Darkness. Regina dreads to imagine what her future, or, more appropriately, her present, will turn into if she would be successful. The mother and son arrive to the loft and Regina pats Henry’s leg once.
“Have I told you lately that you’re the best?” Regina says.
“Mom, come on, stop acting so weird!” Henry chuckles. “You’re not helping your case for me to not insist on coming with you.”
Regina smiles, “Alright, then, kid,” she can’t help but use Emma’s term of endearment for him in her absence, “You ready?”
“I guess so. Staying with Ms. Blanchard is gonna be weird, though, I’m glad it’s summertime so the kids at school won’t know about it,” he chuckles.
Emulating the poise of a true royal, Regina masks the panic she feels with an amused smile.
“I hadn’t thought of it that way, so I suppose you’re right. Me, too, then, my little prince,” Regina coos and scrunches her nose as she pokes his. “And I’m sorry, again, for having this dropped on us so quickly.”
“It’s okay, Mom,” Henry assures her.
She takes in a deep breath and makes to exit the car.
“You ready, Henry?” she asks.
“Yep,” he says and swings the car door open.
Together, they walk up to Mary Margaret’s loft, Regina toting his duffel bag and Henry carrying a backpack.
With every step comes a blinding fear for what will happen next. Will she be able to break the curse? Will she ever lay eyes on her son, again? These were all questions she couldn’t bare to face, for she had no choice. In order to save the entire realm she had once doomed to live stuck in time for all eternity, she has to abandon all she knows and loves from that place.
Laying eyes on Mary Margaret’s door is like setting eyes on the Unknown, itself. And, like a fool or a savior, Regina knocks on it.
In a flash, Snow answers and Regina is temporarily comforted by a familiar presence. Although she knows Snow doesn’t know who or what they truly are to each other, Regina is confident in her decision to leave Henry with her if the curse does not break.
“Hello, Madam Mayor. Henry, my goodness, you’ve grown so much already!” Mary Margaret gushes.
Henry shrugs with a smirk as Regina nods.
“Please, call me Regina. Thank you for helping me, Mary Margaret, I won’t ever forget this,” Regina states, looking deeply in her eyes. “And, as for you, Henry. I’ll be back soon, and remember- I love you so much. Don’t change too much while I’m gone,” she says and smiles at him.
He returns the smile as she bends down.
Regina holds her breath as her lips contact with his forehead. She waits for the push-back of magic being released but, she feels nothing.
A terrible sadness grates at the bottom of her heart as she pulls away from Henry. It isn’t either of their faults that the kiss did not work. There is only one explanation, Regina thinks to herself as she bates her shaky breaths; This curse wasn’t built to be broken by True Love’s Kiss. Her mind reels at this foreign source of magic. What had Dark Swan done to cast it? It’s then she remembers that last she saw Dark Swan, she had spirited away with Lily Page, the Dragon.
“I’ll try, Mom. I love you, too,” Henry replies sweetly, tearing her away from her intense plotting.
“Oh, Henry,” she whispers and scoops him into a long, tight hug.
Drawing from the strength and hope inside her, she is able to pass him off to Mary Margaret without tears.
Shakily, she descends the stairs and re-enters her black BMW.
Taking a moment to gather her thoughts, the realization hits her that she must now improvise a Plan B.
Immediately, she starts her engine and peels off toward the mines.
In the time it takes her to reach them, she assumes the worst. That Dark Swan had murdered Lily in order to enact her Curse and in doing so, admitted that Lily was the thing she loved most. And she sacrificed her. Regina parks in front of the only open mine she knows of and sobs. The tears are for many things, but mostly for this possibility. Her love for Emma is her drive in all that she does. Without it, she would be lost. But, they’re still gaining speed, the addition of memories to her already cloudy recollections as her as time as the Evil Queen. Regina breathes in the knowledge that they are together, in some form or another. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she steps out of the vehicle, grabs her backpack of supplies, and walks toward the entrance of the mine.
It’s dark, dusty, with sparse light to be seen inside. Regina magics a flashlight in her hand and flicks it on.
She looks at the crooked entrance, then breathes out a frustrated sigh.
“What the hell am I doing?”
Desperately, instinct urges her to turn around, and her eyes fall on her car. The car she’s become so at home with, the one that drove Henry to school every morning, and home from every afternoon. But, all of that is in the past. Dark Swan is too dangerous to let roam around the Enchanted Forest, enchanting the Evil Queen into twisted fantasy. Two Dark Ones. To this thought, Regina shudders, and returns her sights to the mine.
“No, I will not give up,” Regina avows. “I’m coming for you, Emma.”
With this, she begins her descent into the mines. Her stomach tightens as she begins to stumble in the dark. Light from the entrance fades quickly and Regina is faced with a crushing darkness all around her. The fact that it’s daytime shows no certainty here. As she wanders deeper, the middle of the path becomes too treacherous and she’s forced to scale the side, using the wall as balance. Her breath becomes parched and in a small patch of sunlight, she pauses for a drink of water. Greedily, she sips from her canteen, and swallows gratefully. And listens. She quiets her breathing and walks toward the opposite wall, where she swears there are sounds can be heard coming from. Reaching it, she presses her ear to the wall.
“I don’t know, Carlisle,” she hears a woman say. “If you’re not careful, the wrong person will hear the things you say, and the Evil Queen will have your head in an instant. So, shut up, and help with supper.”
“How?” she whispers.
Dark Swan has transported all of Storybrooke to the past? Why? To keep track of us? Regina thinks.
Stepping away from the wall, the chatter falls out of earshot.
I’m a powerful sorceress, yes. But a cloaking spell? Oh, gods. Rumplestiltskin has done it for me once in the past, and I’ve only cast the spell once since then.
Without potions it will be especially difficult, but- I’ll try my best, she thinks resolutely.
Regina shakes out her arms and hands in an effort to jump start their power and synchronization. Inhaling a deep breath of dusty air, she channels her magic at herself. This causes a light blue shield to be cast around and fall upon her like a gentle wave. The shield encases her. It falls to her feet, hitting the ground in gentle wisps. With an unbelieving laugh, she steadies herself, laying a hand on her chest to catch her breath, and the other on the wall in front of her. She lets her fingers trace it until nothing can be heard beyond it. After walking for an hour or so, Regina stops. Her hand still on the wall, she lets it spark with magic as she brings up her other hand to help tear it down. Pushing with all of her might, she forces her magic to make dust of the wall before her.
With one hand she whips at the air in front of her face, sputtering in the debris of her triumph.
Slowly, the Majesty’s head peers out from the rubble. Luckily no one is around, as she’s emerged in the forest at the outskirts of town. She takes a couple of careful steps out of the mine, and repairs the mountain from which Storybrooke is hidden. Her eyes linger on it for a brief moment as Henry’s face appears in her mind. A dreadful longing tempts her to tear down the wall, again, and run back to him, to hold him safe. But she knows he wouldn’t be safe, not really, not with Dark Swan holding them all for her own enjoyment. Regina steps back from the mountain, and transmutates herself to the secret entrance to Rumple’s vault in a cloud of purple smoke.
A look of uncertainty washes over her face as she surveys the pathway. Figuring it would be a safer path than using magic to enter the vault, the decision is made to continue on foot. The tunnel is musty, and wetter than she had expected. Soon her shoes are soaked up to the ankles.
Only Rumple would devise such an eerie setting for his secret entrances, Regina thinks amusedly to herself.
Before long, she comes upon the doorway to the vault.
She listens closely for any movement on the other side, and waits.
For a long while, she waits, to ensure there is absolutely nothing to be heard. The chance of her running into Rumple is one she’s not willingly going to allow. After awhile, using magic to help her only with the lock, Regina slips noiselessly inside of the Dark One’s vault.
Once there, she is faced with an odd sense of deja vu. It’s one she’s become quite accustomed to in the past couple days, but this is something different entirely. To be returned to the past is something no one should have to face. But, there's too much to be done to linger on that thought. One Forgetting Potion for the Evil Queen, and one Retaining Memory Potion for me, Regina lists in her head as she walk over to Rumple’s cabinet of potions. Relying on her memory of potions making for resemblance, she discovers the two needed and steals away toward the Evil Queen's castle.
Chapter 24: The Princess and the Queen
The balcony of the Royal Quarters is bathed with sunlight. Wind rustles through every so often, offering a welcome coolness from the scorching heat of it. Dark Swan lounges on a day bed, staring blankly into the cloudless sky. She sighs, imagining a world where she had never left the Enchanted Forest; That Rumplestiltskin had never corrupted Regina into the malicious woman she has become. A thought of desperate anger surges through her as she remembers her host’s parents. Emma flashes to mind and, for a moment, she hears her. Telling her to release Lily, Henry- Regina, and all of Storybrooke. To this, the Dark One laughs. They’re no concern of mine, she says to Emma. I have what I want, and soon, Regina, your precious love, will be exactly like us. Like me. There’s nothing you can do, Little Miss Savior.
Now, Dark Swan physically laughs, her body eventually shaking and heaving. An overwhelming giddiness perpetuates this outburst until her muscles ache and tears are rolling steadily down her cheeks. Slowly, the laugh attack subsides, and she sniffles, wiping the tears from her eyes.
The prospect of Regina achieving the ultimate revenge upon Rumple by stealing his life and his power sends excited shivers through the New Dark One. The Dark One, she laughs to herself, now what will we do? Call us ‘the Dark Two’?
A residual chuckle escapes through her lips.
“Emma,” Regina calls to her as she enters the bedroom.
Straightening her jacket, Dark Swan stands and turns with a smile on her face.
“Darling,” she breathes when her eyes take in the beauty of her beloved.
Regina is dressed in a red velvet dress with black lace cinching her torso, accentuating her flawless figure.
“I thought you had to hear petitions, and meet with the council and all that this afternoon?” she says sweetly, walking towards her.
“I know, it’s just, I feel bad leaving you here by yourself. And, besides,” Regina muses as she meets Dark Swan in the middle of the room. Taking her hand, she continues, “I think that we should be doing all of these things together.”
“You mean-?” Dark Swan looks at her quizzically.
“I know it might sound odd, but it would be nice to have an equal. I’ve never truly had one since becoming Queen,” Regina looks into Dark Swan’s eyes with a tender and hopeful expression.
“My poor dear. You must have been dreadfully lonely,” she says.
Regina glances away with a sad smile on her face, “I was. Having my father here helps, but being around Snow- it’s insufferable.”
A sense of purpose hits Dark Swan as she abruptly asks, “She’s here, then? In this castle?”
“Yes. Why? Emma…”
And for the first time truly looks her in the eye. Her breath hitches as she sees her arch nemesis’ features in the one she loves. She steps away on instinct, and raises her head up high.
“You know her, don’t you?” she accuses lowly of Emma.
With this, Emma steals back control to explain her situation to the woman she loves, words spilling out quicker than the Dark One can stop them.
“She’s… My Mother. The Dark Curse you will cast, sends us in separate times. Me, to the Land Without Magic, you to your Cursed City in that same land. You were stuck in time in Maine all those years, while I grew up in the foster care system in America. I met someone when I was young and gave birth to a baby boy. There wasn’t a way for me to keep him, so I gave him up for adoption. When I was twenty eight years old- My son found me. Our son, Regina. You’re the woman who adopted him. He brought me to your Cursed City. And we broke the curse together, him and I. With True Love’s Kiss. Once the spell broke, I found my true parents- Princess Snow White and Prince Charming. I’m the product of their True Love, which embedded in me the Light Magic I wielded when we first met. For a time, I was Storybrooke’s Savior. You and I,” she breaks off with a brief laugh. “We didn’t get along, at first. But after awhile, we started seeing eye to eye. I’m glad my meeting you now hasn’t been as dramatic.”
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! The Darkness screams at Emma. She’ll try to kill us both! But Emma stands firm and refuses to step down, clenching her fists tight to help maintain control.
Regina stares at her for a long moment, processing this intriguing tale of her supposed future.
“You expect me to believe that?” the Evil Queen spits. “How do I know you’re who you say?”
With this, she ignites a fireball in her hand.
Emma puts her hands out defensively and cocks her head.
“Regina, why would I make up such a ridiculous story? It’s the truth. I’m Snow White’s daughter. But, without her, I’d never have found you. I know you despise her. And so do I,” Emma says resolutely, shaking slightly as the Darkness strains to gain back control.
To this, the fireball that had burned so brightly now only smolders.
“You despise your Mother? Snow White?” Regina says softly and blinks at Emma.
“Well, yeah, she’s a horrible woman. Left me to die in a tree, for starters. So, yeah, I’ll say she sucks pretty hard,” she says, then smiles with uncertainty.
A churlish laugh erupts from Queen Regina, and she extinguishes the magic flame still burning in her hand. Unable to resist the pull of the Savior, she steps into her.
“I see you’re becoming an equal in more ways than one in this Queendom, Emma Swan. It appears to be that you’re the rightful Princess of this Royal House,” Regina ponders aloud.
Emma gasps as this wild actuality allows room for the Darkness to slither through and take over. Dark Swan feigns surprise, acting as though she needs to rest. They join hands and sit together on the bed.
“A Princess, and a Dark One?” she breathes with a bemused smile.
“That’s right, a new type of Dark One,” Regina laughs. “What about- Dark Princess Swan? No, that’s too long, hmm- How about Regal Dark Swan?”
“Ooo, I like that very much. The Evil Queen and Regal Dark Swan, rulers of the Enchanted Forest,” she breathes out, barely able to conceal her excitement.
Dark Swan blushes and brings her face closer to Regina’s.
“Yes!” Regina laughs, again. “Queen and Princess, ruling together. Think of it, my beloved. We could have the naming ceremony tonight. I can announce you as our Long Lost Princess, pretend you’re my dead husband’s sister, or something. Would that not be grand?”
The two women entangle their hands as they gaze into each other’s eyes. A sensual friction draws them close, and Dark Swan nuzzles her nose on Regina’s. Her breath starts to quicken as Regina pulls her in. Their lips connect with a passion hotter than the fireballs the Evil Queen can conjure. For a moment, all thoughts abandon them apart from one; Magic. It courses through them both, evaporating their conjured clothing and exposing their toned bodies. Regina separates her hands from Emma’s, tracing along her shoulders to her chest to cup her breast. Dark Swan gasps and pulls back to look at the infamous Queen she’s become so fond of. Her raven locks fall around her, framing her face like the portraits of old, and she chuckles shyly.
“What is it?” she asks.
At first, Emma only smiles at her. She brings a hand to the Queen’s soft face and gazes at its entirety, then breathes a contented sigh.
“Morning, noon, and night, I long to call your name. Every chance I have to look upon your exquisite face and figure is one I do not take for granted. You are the North star, the sun and moon all in one. Being the product of True Love, it ingrained in me a sense of distrust toward that concept. Never did I expect to actually find it myself,” Emma says thoughtfully.
Regina looks at her, entranced and infatuated.
“You love me? Truly?” Regina laughs in disbelief.
“Oh, yes, my ravishing Evil, I do.”
“Please,” she whispers and brings her face to touch Emma’s, “I want you. Take me, now.”
With a brief and wicked grin, Dark Swan pushes her lips to Regina’s, guiding her to lie down. Her hand slithers down the Queen's side to find its way to her silken thighs. Regina’s breath hitches as Dark Swan fingers her wanting pussy. The sensational feeling allows an unabashed smile to grace her scarred lips. A soft moan leaves through her throat as Dark Swan moves to her side and begins to kiss her neck. She brings her hand up and licks her fingers. The two then become entangled in their passion and rub their naked privates together, faster and faster until they both yell out their satisfaction. They finish, and Regina snuggles safely into the arms of the Dark One.
“Thanks for the ride,” she chuckles.
Dark Swan smirks with a contended sigh and says, “Anything for you, Wild One.”
Chapter 25: Finding the Past
A dreadful yet familiar feeling of wanting to cause destruction pierces Regina as new images gather in her mind, muted yet vivid memories of once again laying down with Dark Swan. From the edge of the forest, she takes a deep breath and brings her eyes to look upon her old home. The sight of her castle does nothing to dim the hum of wanting to give into her dark desires, so she lets out a frustrated sigh. The constant war between heroism and evil is one that has taken a toll on her in recent years, though never as intensely as this. To be back in this environment triggers the burning rage she had felt that caused her to cast the Dark Curse in the first place. She furrows her brow as she struggles to remember all she’s been through since then. The endless days before Henry arrived to Storybrooke and how horrified she was when she discovered he went missing. The relief she felt when he returned, only to be knocked back into uncertainty when she was introduced to Emma Swan. And then the sweet release of being able to accept she couldn’t force Henry to love her and changing her villainous ways to maintain the relationship with him that she’d fought so hard for.
A single, burning tear rises to her eye as she realizes the unshakable fear over the precariousness of Henry’s future. If Dark Swan is to succeed in coercing her past self into a different life, what does that mean for him? She shudders at the thought. Goodness once again takes a firm grip, tugging her forward. Soon she finds herself nearing the secret, underground entrance to her palace. Before entering, she takes a moment to recast the cloaking spell in case it had been weakened in any way and consider her plan. Does she even have a plan? The panic that had been growing within her since she awoke in Storybrooke again begins to bubble to the surface. With a large shrug of her shoulders, Regina decides there doesn’t need to be a plan. The potions are secure in her pockets and with her magic ready at hand, she’ll just have to improvise.
Entering her castle feels as though not a day has gone by since last she was there. Also, a feeling of sadness comes with it, for she can’t help but remember all the pain and devastation she caused the people of the Enchanted Forest at this time of her life. It angers her slightly that facing it is being forced on her. For a moment, she lets it consume her because she cannot fathom the recklessness of the Savior. Sure, she’s under a Dark Curse of her own, but there’s no excuse for messing with time. For all Regina knows, they could be stuck here forever. Slowly, she finds her way through the tunnel to the crypt where the Evil Queen keeps her prized and stolen hearts. They all glow a deep yet vibrant red against the cool dark of the stone they’re set in. The sight makes Regina cringe slightly, yet she walks past them with her head held high.
As she nears the stairwell, she hears a small noise from the dungeon. It nearly escapes her notice, as the Evil Queen commonly had numerous innocents locked up for her amusement. But this was a familiar sound, a gasp of breath with a tone to it that peaked her attention. Rounding the corner, it was now Regina’s turn to gasp as she set eyes on Lily Page, crumpled on the ground near the door of her cell.
“Lily!” Regina whispers fervently and rushes to her, crouching down to try and reach her through the bars.
She shakes her gently, “Lily,” she says, again.
Lily moans and rolls backwards to see who’s there, apparently too weak to lift her head.
“What are you doing here, witch?” Lily grumbles.
“It’s not… I’m not the Evil Queen, Lily. It’s me, Regina. From Storybrooke.”
This causes Lily’s eyes to pop open fully, and she tries to push herself up.
“Regina? What are you doing here?” Lily asks.
“Trying to save Storybrooke. And, you, and Emma. Where is she? How did we get here?”
Lily laughs wryly, “There’s no saving me. It’s the Dark One. She cursed my heart to hold us all here. The only way back is to crush it. She’s bunking with the Evil Queen and has my heart tied to her at all times.”
Hearing this makes Regina’s heart sink to her gut.
“No. There must be a way back that would spare you,” she insists.
“Regina, no. There isn’t, but that’s okay. I always knew my death would come at the hands of Emma Swan. She has already marked my death, please. Just find her and save your town. Save her.”
Tears sting Regina’s eyes as she struggles to take all this in. A small whimper breaks in the back of her throat and she brings a hand up to stifle the cry.
“I’m sorry,” Lily says quietly. “I never should have come with you to Storybrooke. I only had evil intentions towards the Charmings, I was foolish to think I could have my vengeance on them with their wicked bitch of a daughter around,” Lily says with an impish smile.
“I’m sorry, too, that you were robbed of a life filled with love with your mother. She loves you more than anything,” Regina says, masking her shaking voice to comfort the star-crossed woman in front of her.
“I’m glad to have known it for the short time I knew her. Please, give her this,” Lily then grabs at the necklace around her neck and tugs at it. “It’s a shard of the shell from the egg I hatched from.”
“I will, I promise,” Regina avows and takes the piece of jewelry from her.
“Thank you, Regina.”
She blinks and tears plop down, splattering on the dusty stone floor. Grabbing her hand for a quick moment, she squeezes it before turning to go.
“And, good luck,” she hears as she passes through the threshold of the dungeon toward the stairs.
Regina pauses for a moment there, looking one last time at Lily Page. They nod to each other, then Regina disappears to find her lover who’s been led astray.
Chapter 26: Dark and Light
The Evil Queen breathes a satisfied sigh as she brings herself to sit on the side of her bed. Pulling a short, black satin robe from her nightstand, she loosely affixes it to herself.
“I wish we could just rest in bed all day, but there’s a lot to do if we want to fool my subjects into accepting you as their Long Lost Princess,” she says in a playful tone.
Dark Swan laughs and stretches, noting the darkness encroaching her skin has nearly passed her shoulders.
“You’re right,” Dark Swan muses, but rolls over to Regina and wraps her arms around her waist. “It’s just so nice here with you.”
“We’ll have plenty of time for it once the feast is over. I haven’t even told my cooks we’re having a feast, yet,” Regina chuckles, trying in vain to escape the Dark One’s grasp.
“Sounds to me like that’s their problem,” Dark Swan says in an attempt to coax Regina back into bed.
“Well, you’re not wrong,” Regina laughs, again. “But, come, Emma. We have to do something about your skin.”
“What do you mean?” Dark Swan asks, slightly offended.
“What do you mean, ‘What do I mean’? You think my people will accept you’re their Long Lost Princess looking like that? No, they’ll sense you’ve come under the curse of the Dark One, Rumple has been around far too long for them not to know the Darkness when they see it.”
“But, I’m nothing like that scaly creep,” Dark Swan insists with a frown, now feeling strangely self conscious.
“I know you’re not, sweetheart, but no one looks like this, not even myself who’s allowed darkness into my life. My heart may look like that, but not my skin. See?” Regina then takes out her heart to show Dark Swan to blackness of it.
Dark Swan’s breath catches as she sees the red of her heart being drowned out by the same darkness that’s cursing her complexion.
“We’ll just have you in gloves and a long-sleeved gown,” Regina says assuringly, “Don’t worry, my love.”
Dark Swan brings her hand over Regina’s heart in her hand, “I’m not. May I?”
Regina looks at her lovingly, and smiles, “Please.”
She takes the heart and brings it close, moving so that she can sit beside Regina. Gently, she caresses it and notes how some clouds of black are deeper than others, and they appear to swirl around the red center of it.
“How terribly intriguing,” she breathes.
“Strange, isn’t it? How the Darkness chooses to infect us? I think Rumple believes he’s the only one to wield it, but I think that it’s all around us. We can choose whether or not to give in, but it’s always there. I don’t know if that’s right, it’s just my opinion. How else would the Darkness have infected my heart, though?”
This causes even the Dark Swan to wonder what the bounds of her magic are. Does she even have any limits? Could she infect others’ hearts with the Darkness like Rumple had with Regina? She imagines so and it causes a rush of excitement within her. Though, she can still feel the annoying persistence of the Savior trying to break free, and it irks her.
“Intriguing inquiry, indeed,” Dark Swan says softly. “Well,” she brings her face to Regina’s and kisses her as she inserts her heart back into her chest. “Let’s get to work, then.”
Regina’s face brightens with a smile as she stands, “Right! Let’s see, what needs to be done? First thing’s first,” she walks to the looking glass and conjures a new and exquisite outfit for herself: A fitted black gown with a black feathered collar and large skirt. “Now, you,” she steps aside and motions for Dark Swan to stand before it.
She does so, and summons a sleeveless black leotard over a black lace bodysuit and a sheer black, floor-length duster. Blood red, lace gloves cover her hands, hiding the Dark Curse from plain sight and matching the red bag secured at her side.
She then turns to Regina, holding out her hands to show-off her new look, “Well, what do you think?”
To her surprise, she says nothing. In fact, she is stood looking at her, stock-still, seemingly frozen.
Confused, Dark Swan approaches her, “Regina?” she asks cautiously.
It’s then the realization hits her, and a deep rage sets in as she grabs for the velvet pouch containing the heart of her cursed counterpart. But to her dismay, she finds it missing.
“Looking for this?” she hears an all too familiar voice taunt from behind her.
A hollow laugh comes from the Dark One, and she takes a moment to shake her head before saying, “Madam Mayor.”
Dark Swan then turns and sets eyes on the reformed Evil Queen.
“Hello, Ms. Swan,” Regina greets with her signature sass.
She rejects the comfort that it brings and pretends not to have missed it while they were apart. “What the hell are you doing here?” she asks, eyeing the pouch in her hand.
“Seriously?” Regina retorts with a sly smile, “You need to ask me that? You know exactly why I’m here. I’m here to save Henry, and everyone else you have trapped in Storybrooke in the mountains.”
“Nobody asked you to be their Savior, Regina,” Dark Swan spits.
“Well, nobody asked for you to drag them into your mess of a Curse, either, yet here we are.”
“Yes, here we are. I must say, I’m impressed. Breaking into Rumplestiltskin’s vault must not have been easy,” Dark Swan smirks as her abilities sense the illegally obtained potions hiding in her pockets.
Regina opens her mouth to speak, but no words come out. She had underestimated her power and for once, is frightened.
“So, your plan was to have your past self drink the Forgetting Potion, is that right?” she sneers.
In an instant, Dark Swan magics herself directly in front of Regina and grabs her heart before she has time to react. Regina gasps and stares at her in saddened horror. With a low laugh, Dark Swan watches her struggle to move. She looks at the Mayor’s heart, and to her surprise, finds it to be a much more vibrant red than that of the Evil Queen’s. This change shakes her up a bit, and she struggles to swallow the realization that the Darkness in her beloved Evil Queen will not be permanent.
Becoming blind with the need of having an equal at her side, she grips tight on Regina’s heart. “Drink the Forgetting Potion,” she orders into it.
Unable to restrain the order, Regina’s hand slowly reaches into her pocket and extracts the one Forgetting Potion she had pulled from Rumple’s vault.
Dark Swan watches with an evil pleasure as she uncaps it and brings it to her lips. It is then that something inside her stirs and her grip on the heart loosens slightly. Unsure of what is happening, she commands, again, “Drink it.”
Regina’s motions stop in their tracks. It’s then that the Dark One notices a bright light beginning to shine through the palm of her gloved hand. “No,” she gasps, and doesn’t realize her influence over Regina has been compromised.
“Emma,” Regina says quickly, sensing her True Love is there.
All at once, Regina reaches up, cupping her face with both hands and leans into the Dark One. Her lips meet Emma’s, as does their combined light and dark magic. A rainbow stream of magic bursts from their connected lips and the power of True Love breaks through, defeating the curse residing inside of Emma.
“Oh, my God, Regina,” she breathes once the kiss ends.
“Emma? It worked!” Regina grins as tears of relief flood her eyes.
“It worked. You saved me. Looks like you’re the true Savior, now,” Emma says with a giddy laugh. But, her smile soon falls, as she brings her eyes to the bag still held in Regina’s hand. “Oh, no,” she bemoans, “Oh, shit, oh, fuck, oh God... What have I done? Lily.”
“I saw her in the dungeon. She’s in rough shape, Emma. But, she’s come to terms with her fate, as hard as it is. She asked me to save Storybrooke, and get this back to her mother for her,” Regina says, motioning to the necklace hanging around her neck.
“I have to see her and apologize. This never should have happened and I have to take full accountability for it.”
“As you wish,” Regina nods. “But, first thing’s first,” she says and walks over to the Evil Queen. She then drinks the Memory Retaining potion, and pours the Forgetting Potion into the Evil Queen’s mouth that is still held agape. “Now I’ll be able to keep the memories we had together here in the Enchanted Forest, but she won’t remember a thing.”
“You tricky minx,” Emma smiles slyly at her.
And with that, they synchronize their magic and transport themselves to Lily’s cell in a cloud of smoke.
“Lily,” Emma cries at the pitiful sight of her.
Immediately, she disables the magic on the cell door keeping it barred, and opens it.
“Emma Swan, the Dark One. Or is it back to being the Savior, now?” Lily jokes sarcastically as Emma helps her up.
“It’s neither. Regina is the true Savior here,” she says, and they look at her.
“So, you succeeded? Congratulations, Your Majesty,” Lily smiles weakly.
“There’s no celebration here,” Emma says darkly. “Lily, this was never supposed to happen, I’m so sorry I used you to curse us all to remain in the past,” her voice breaks as she begins to cry with regret. “Your entire life has been ruled by the insanely poor judgement of either myself or my family, and for that I deeply apologize. I’m so sorry, Lily.”
Lily’s expression changes to that of deep understanding and caring, “Well, at least we can say most of it wasn’t your fault. I brought a lot of anger with me to Storybrooke which certainly didn’t help. But, I appreciate your apology, seeing as you are my only friend and the one who is going to kill me.”
Emma and Lily give each other a small, sad smile for a brief moment.
“Lily,” Regina says, “Thank you. Without you, I wouldn’t have known where to start with breaking the curse.”
“Just make sure everyone gets back safely, yeah?” Lily looks at her with a knowing eye.
Regina gravely bows her head.
“Well, let’s get this over with then,” Lily says resolutely.
Emma tearily takes the pouch from Regina and pulls from it the nearly pitch black heart of Lily’s.
“See you on the other side, guys,” Lily smiles.
“Wait. No, this isn’t right. Emma, put her heart away. You helped me by ensuring in the curse that I keep my memories. Maybe there’s a loophole for you, too. Either way, we can’t leave you behind,” Regina states. “First, I suggest we leave this fortress before the Evil Queen finds us, that spell I cast won’t last.”
“That’s fine by me ‘cause that would be really awkward,” Emma responds with a relieved laugh and receives a look from Regina that says You’re in trouble, Swan.
“So, what do you suggest?” Lily asks with conviction.
“We need to head back to Storybrooke,” Regina says urgently. “It’s hidden in the mountains, not even Rumplestiltskin will be able to find us there.”
“Of course, let’s go, I, uh, know exactly where it is,” Emma mumbles, and holds both women by the arm as she teleports to the empty home on Mifflin Street in her cursed town.
“Whoa,” Lily gasps, taking in the grandeur of Regina’s mansion, “Nice digs.”
“Thank you,” Regina nods. “Any ideas on where to start, Swan?”
“Just one, or two,” she replies and sets the heart in the center of the coffee table. “I’m gonna try to reverse it, so just, hold tight.”
She then brings her hands above the heart, channeling the powerful light magic inside her. Using it to feel her way around the constructs of the Dark Curse within Lily’s heart, she concentrates for any weak spot that might dismantle it.
After minutes of searching, a frustrated groan fumes from the back of her throat.
Regina looks at Lily with an apologetic eye.
“Okay, so, that didn’t work. Let’s just see what happens if we put your heart back?” Emma offers, picking it up and walking over to Lily.
“Are you sure you’re a professional at this?” Lily pesters, cocking her head.
“Har-har,” Emma drones. “Now, hold still, this shouldn’t hurt.”
Watching from a few steps away, Regina takes a deep breath as she sees Lily’s heart disappear in her chest. They wait a few seconds before accepting that didn’t work to break the curse, either.
“Fuck,” Emma whispers in defeat.
“Listen, guys, I am set to die at any time,” Lily admits, “I appreciate you’re trying to save me and all, but honestly, do I really deserve it? I lied about my true intentions of coming with you to Storybrooke, I almost murdered your parents-”
“That doesn’t matter,” Emma says coolly. “It isn’t your fault we’re all stuck in the past, it’s mine. I can figure out a way to get us home.”
“Emma,” Lily starts, gently taking her arms in her hands. “You already know the way. I know there’s nothing I can say that will make you accept my decision, so I’ll do it myself.”
Still holding Emma with one hand, she brings her other to her chest and pushes her fingers in. She strains to wrench it free, but soon extracts her cursed heart.
“No,” Emma whispers with a cry. “I won’t let you.”
“Sorry, Savior,” Lily shrugs and pushes Emma back with her magic.
“Lily!” Regina calls in desperation, beginning to run toward her as Emma is sent halfway across the room.
“Say bye to Mal for me,” Lily says to her with a smile, and crushes her own heart before Regina reaches her.
Then, everything goes white.
Chapter 27: The Swan and her Queen
A blinding bright light invades the interior of Regina’s house, and as soon as it arrives, it vanishes. Regina falls forward, bracing to catch herself before crashing into Lily. It isn’t until they’ve straightened themselves up that they realize she’s vanished.
“Where the hell did she go?” Regina yells.
“I don’t… know. But, I feel different. Like, I don’t know? There’s this weight on my chest,” Emma stammers.
“What do you mean?” Regina says, walking over to her.
“I don’t know,” she says, beginning to weep. “But, I know she’s gone.”
She buries her face in her hands as Regina pulls her in for a hug. Emma leans into it and soon wraps her arms around her, thankful for the comfort it brings.
“Lily... saved us,” Regina whispers, thinking of her in awe. “Sacrificed herself for us.”
“And, it feels like the part of me that was missing has been returned,” Emma cries softly.
Regina looks at her curiously, “You don’t think...?”
“I do,” she sniffles and gives a short laugh. “I think my potential for darkness was restored.”
“Oh, God,” Regina groans jokingly, “Like we need more of that.”
“You know you love it,” Emma retorts with a teasing smile.
A lifetime of sadness reaches Regina’s eyes, and soon, she is crying, too.
“I do,” she laughs, and brings her lips to kiss Emma’s tears. “I do.”
Their lips meet and taste each other’s salty tears. The relief of being together again, juxtaposed with the grief of losing their friend, fuels a charged connection between them. Emma brings her hand to hold Regina’s cheek, and they look longingly at each other.
It’s then that Regina’s phone begins to ring.
“Oh, shit, Henry!” she says, and reaches into her pockets to answer it.
“Regina! Where are you? Is Emma with you? What happened?” Snow blurts on the other line.
“Snow, slow down. Yes, I’m with Emma, we’re at my house in Storybrooke. We’re okay. How are you, David and Henry?”
“We’re fine, just worried! We were in the loft with you after Emma and Lily flew in, then *bam* no memories! Guess we got ‘em back,” Snow says.
“Yeah, we did,” Regina says with a light chuckle.
“Can I speak to Emma?”
Emma hears this and takes the phone from Regina.“Hey, Mom… It’s me.”
“Emma, honey! What happened? We were so worried after you left here with Lily!” Snow spills.
“Well, it’s… kind of a long story,” she trails off.
“Well, tell me.”
“The Darkness that cursed me fueled my anger toward you about what you’d done to Lily when we were babies.” she explains. “I just want to say that I’m sorry for ever trying to hurt you, mom.” A soft whimper escapes her lips.
“It’s okay, Emma,” Snow responds gently.
“Both Regina and Lily were the Saviors I needed to be able to defeat the Darkness within myself. Unfortunately...” Emma breaks off, letting a few tears escape before continuing, “Lily didn’t make it. She died to save us from my curse.”
Snow gasps, “Oh, Emma. Emma, I’m so sorry.”
She sobs and is once again pulled into an embrace by Regina.
Taking the phone from her, Regina says, “Snow, we haven’t let Maleficent know. Why don’t you come to the house with Henry and David, while I go over there? I have something I have to give her.”
“Certainly, we’ll be right there.”
“See you soon. Bye,” Regina says and hangs up.
“I don’t want you to go over there, alone. This is my mess, I should be the one to tell her her daughter’s dead,” Emma laments.
“She’ll take it easier from me, trust me. And, besides, I think you need some quality time with our son. I’ll wait here with you until they get here.”
The two women walk slowly from the living room to the foyer, arm-in-arm, leaning into each other for comfort. They walk outside and sit silently on the front steps of the house, thinking about all they’ve been through in the past few days. The twisting of time really does a number on the mind and soul.
“Regina,” Emma says, turning to her. “I will not to blame the Darkness for what I did. The Darkness wouldn’t have been able to hurt anyone if I had the strength to stop it. But there are parts of me that influenced it, I can’t deny that. I have no excuse for endangering our son’s life, and yours, and that of everyone else’s in Storybrooke. I know that what we have is new… Well, as it turns out, our history is quite old,” Emma pauses with a smile.
Regina smiles back with a loving twinkle in her eye.
“But, I just hope that, you know, you’re able to forgive me,” Emma continues, and again, begins to cry. “I’m so sorry, Regina. I’m so sorry for everything, I’m so sorry.”
Regina wraps her arms around her. They sit on the stoop together, Emma’s shoulders heaving and Regina’s eyes stinging.
“It’s okay, Emma. I’m here.”
A strange yet tranquil stillness enveloped the town of Storybrooke, Maine. Its residents had long been unaccustomed to the comforts of freedom from worry over some villain or another. They wasted no time in taking advantage of it. The Mayor declared a mandatory holiday for everyone to spend time with those they love. Granny’s Diner remained open after hours to invite the jubilant townsfolk to blow off steam and party. A low wind blew down the streets, dragging with it some noisy, dried leaves on the ground. As she walked down the sidewalk with the voices of her girlfriend and son mixing with the sounds of nature on concrete, the Mayor felt a warm feeling budding inside of her.
A feeling of home.
WOW! Thank you everyone for sticking with me through this 2.5 year writing process :') I had a blast writing this story and hope the delve back into the world of SQ soon! <3, rolystatz