The Winchester brothers were driving through rural Maine, making their way to Bobby's after receiving a call for some help with a demon situation.
"Could you turn that down?" Sam asked Dean for the umpteenth time that day. In response, Dean turned the volume dial up.
"What? Sorry, I can't hear you!" he shouted over the music. Sam scoffed and turned his head to look out the window. They were in a forested area and it was almost evening. Sam turned his attention back to the road just in time to spot a wolf standing in the middle of the road directly in their path.
"Woah, Dean, look out!" Sam yelled.
The car swerved, narrowly avoiding the wolf and instead hitting a sign that read 'Welcome to Storybrooke.' The two brothers crashed forwards. Dean braced himself with one hand and then soccer-mommed Sam across the chest.
Smoke was coming out of the hood of the Impala. Dean glanced sideways at Sam.
"You okay, Sammy?" he asked.
"I'm good." They sat there for a moment, processing.
"I didn't know there were wolves in Maine," Sam said. Dean shrugged and got out of the car to survey the damage.
"Apparently," Dean answered as Sam stepped out of the car.
"How bad is it?" Sam asked Dean.
"I dunno, but it looks like we'll be staying in Storybrooke for a few days, that's for sure." Dean answered before sighing dramatically. "And I just rotated the tires."
Sam side-eyed with pursed lips. He reached through his rolled down window and grabbed his laptop and case from the seat.
"We better get going. Town can't be too far away." The two set off down the road.
Emma and Henry were eating grilled cheese in their booth at Granny's Diner.
"Hey, Mom, look!" Henry exclaimed, pointing out the window with a cheesy finger. Two strangers were walking in the road, heading for the diner.
"Huh. Who are they?" Emma asked her son. He shrugged.
"I don't know, I don't remember seeing them in my book," he answered.
The door opened and the two men walked in. One was tall with brown hair that went past his chin and tucked behind his ears, brown eyes, and a face kind of like a lost puppy. The other was shorter with shorter blondish hair and hazel eyes. His face seemed more hardened and tired than his companion's. Emma took a mental note that they were both attractive. Very attractive. They sat down at the bar.
She turned slowly back to face Henry. "You're sure you haven't seen them in your book?" she asked again.
He nodded. "Yup."
"Huh," she puffed. "Okay, Henry, stay here. I'm commencing Operation Tiger Shark, alright?" He nodded again. She slid out of the booth and approached the bar.
Henry took another bite of his sandwich. "Mom's getting good with code names," he murmured to himself, chewing.
Emma sat down at the bar to the left of the newcomers, a stool between herself and the shorter, yet hotter, stranger. Ruby was working behind the bar and taking the orders of the newcomers.
"I'll have a bacon cheeseburger and a cherry pie," the hotter one said.
"I'll have a Caesar salad, thanks," the long-haired guy said. Ruby nodded while she wrote their order, and then she walked over to Emma. Long-Hair Guy pulled out a laptop almost as soon as Ruby was gone.
"Hey, Ruby. I'll take the usual, please," Emma told her friend.
"Coming right up," was the response and Ruby went off to do her job again.
"Come here often, I take it?" the hot one said. She turned slightly, just enough to face him.
"Yup," she answered slowly and popping the 'p'.
"Would you happen to know who could get us a tow?" He gestured to himself and his companion.
"Yeah, why?" she responded.
"Need a tow," he answered grudgingly. Emma studied him.
"How long are you two staying?" she asked.
"No longer than we absolutely have to," he answered. "I'm Dean, this is my brother, Sammy." He gestured to the man with the laptop who muttered, "Just Sam."
"Emma," she said. He bobbed his head once in acknowledgement.
"Where can we go to get this tow, Emma?" he said slowly. Ruby swung by with Emma's hot chocolate with whipped cream and cinnamon. The hot one, Dean, eyed the combination curiously.
"Billy can probably get you one. I thought I saw him in here earlier," She swirled around on her stool, hot cocoa in hand and took a small sip, looking around the diner for his face. She frowned when she realized he was no longer there. She glanced at Henry quickly to see if he was doing okay and he caught her eye, gave her a thumbs-up, and smiled and she returned one. She swiveled back around to face Dean again. "Sorry, he left already. But I can give you a ride to his shop, if you want."
Dean nodded. "That'd be great, thanks.
"So, who's the kid?" he asked her, motioning in Henry's direction with a casual hand.
"He's my son. Henry," she answered.
"Oh, so… you're married?" She could've sworn his face fell, but only for a second. He was either good with keeping his face in check or she had misread him. She was leaning towards the former.
"God, no. His dad left the picture before even I knew I was pregnant." Emma crumpled a napkin, trying to control her facial expressions and look calm. For some reason, she didn't seem to be tricking Dean, but he didn't say anything, probably because Ruby was coming over with his and his brother's food. Emma slid off the stool and stood up.
"Well, I'll leave you two to your food. Just holler when you're done, and I'll take you to Billy's." Dean nodded again and she walked away from the bar to sat back down in her booth with Henry.
Henry was practically bouncing with curiosity. "So, how's Operation Tiger Shark going?" he asked.
"So far, pretty good. We're going to give them a ride to Leroy after we're all done here; they need a tow. I'm going to drop you off at Regina's before I drop them off, okay?" Henry's face fell.
"Do I have to?" he begged her.
"Sorry, kid. I have to investigate for the mission." That perked him up just a little.
"You'll tell me everything?"
"I promise." He grinned and she smiled back at him. They finished their food in companionable silence.
"I'm telling you, Dean, there is no mention of a Storybrooke, Maine ever, anywhere. It's like this place doesn't exist," Sam said dumbfoundedly,
"There's gotta be something. Obviously, this place is real-people actually live here. Maybe this place has a library we can check out or something." Dean finished up his burger and nudged Sam with his elbow.
"C'mon, we're getting a ride with my new lady friend." He wriggled his eyebrows suggestively and Sam muttered, "God help her," under his breath and put away his laptop. They got off their stools and approached the two at the table.
"We're ready when you are," Dean told Emma, then turned to face Henry. "Hiya, I'm Dean." He offered him his hand. Henry looked at it, shook it eagerly. "I'm Henry."
"Nice to meet you, Henry. This is my brother, Sam." He gestured to Sam, who was on his phone, searching up Storybrooke. Dean rolled his eyes for show and whacked the back of Sam's head.
"Introduce yourself to the kid," he barked.
"Ow, okay!" Sam winced and rubbed his head. "I'm Sam." Henry and Emma shared a look, one that Dean called the 'I don't really know these people and I feel like I'm missing something here' look.
"Alrighty then, let's head out," Emma said, then turned to lead the way, Henry close behind and the brothers following him.
"I call shotgun!" Henry called as they walked out of the diner. Dean and Sam looked at each other and shrugged.
When Dean realized they were heading to a small yellow bug, he groaned loudly. "I'm bigger than that thing!"
"Hey, that thing is your ride! Don't insult my car unless you want to walk," Emma said, defending the bug like Dean would defend his Impala.
Dean and Sam somehow managed to crawl in the back of the bug and sit without suffocating, but they were still squished and extremely uncomfortable and what the hell was digging into Dean's back? Emma and Henry sat smugly in the front seat and she started up the engine and pulled away.
After a moment, Sam spoke. "Is there a library in town?" he asked.
"Yeah," Emma answered. "Why?"
"Oh, um, I'm just doing some research and wanted to look something up."
Henry took interest in the conversation. "What kind of research?" he asked.
"Well, uh, mostly ancient myths and stuff like that." Dean stepped on Sam's foot for being stupid and saying too much (honestly, he was supposed to be smarter than this) and Sam cringed in pain.
"Oh, so you mean like fairy tales?" Henry said, turning in his seat to face the back. Dean noticed Emma looked pretty tense as soon as there was a mention of fairy tales. "Storybrooke knows a lot about those. I have a book you can borrow if you want." Emma looked uncomfortable now.
"I don't know if you should be lending that to people. Remember when you lost it?" she cautioned. Dean looked at Sam, who looked just as interested as he felt.
"Yeah, but I trust him." Henry turned back around to look out the window.
"You just met him! How can you trust him? No offense," she added, making eye contact with Sam in the rearview mirror.
"None taken," he said.
"Henry, you're keeping your book." She sighed, obviously trying to relax, before continuing. "Anyways, the library is part of the clock tower. You can't miss it." Emma pulled the car over next to a large, refined house. Henry sighed and unbuckled.
"Do I have to go?" he asked, pleading with his eyes.
"Yes, now get out. Tell Regina I'll pick you up tomorrow." He got out of the car and left the door open.
"Okay. Love you." She smiled.
"Love you, too. Bye." Henry shut the car door and turned to walk down the sidewalk leading to the mansion.
"Who's Regina?" Dean asked Emma.
"Henry's mom," Emma said distractedly as she pulled away from the fancy house.
"Wait, what? You're- you two are together?" Dean failed to keep the disappointment out of his voice.
"What? No. It's complicated," she said, making eye contact with him in the rearview mirror for a second.
"Please. Try me." He honestly wanted to know more about this blonde woman who seemed pretty badass and yet not a bitch.
"Fine. Long story short- I'm his birth mom, she's his adopted mother. She raised him, I didn't." Her voice was filled with regret as she spoke the last sentence.
"Well, why?" he asked as they turned into a different street.
Emma let out an exasperated sigh. "His dad left, and I couldn't raise him on my own, I was only eighteen and I didn't really have the best living situation. I wanted to give him his best chance and it wasn't with me. That's how Regina got him. And it's really not your business."
Sam nudged Dean and mouthed 'I got nothing' waving his phone in defeat. Dean gave him a slight nod.
The rest of the ride was spent in an almost, but not quite, awkward silence, until they pulled to a stop next an auto repair place. Emma hopped out of the car first, helping Sam wriggle out of it before she helped Dean.
After they were finished stretching, Emma spoke. "Okay, I'll take you guys into see Billy, but then I have to go to work." Dean looked at her curiously.
"Where do you work?" he asked. He was genuinely interested.
"I'm the sheriff," she answered. Dean's hazel eyes widened slightly, and he choked out, "Sheriff? As in law enforcement?" She regarded him with a look of wariness.
"Yes, a sheriff as in law enforcement. What other kind is there?" she said, filled with sarcasm.
He stared back. "Good point," he said after a moment. Sam cleared his throat uncomfortably and Dean turned to glare at him.
"Uh… Billy's in here, right?" Sam asked, pointing to the auto shop. Dean heard Emma sigh from beside him.
"Right." Her voice was hard, almost like ice. Dean almost turned to look at her but thought better of it. Instead he waited for her to lead the way into the shop and he couldn't help but wonder just who this Swan woman was exactly as he trailed behind her.
Emma had left after introducing them to Billy, who seemed like a nice guy, but kind of squirrelly, like a cornered mouse. He sent out a guy with a tow truck to get the Impala and bring it in for repairs.
Now Sam and Dean were at Granny's Bed and Breakfast (who the hell was this Granny woman?) and Dean was just getting comfortable when Sam asked him, "So what's the deal? Do you like Emma or something?" Dean scoffed.
"No, I'm not interested," he said out loud, but inside he wondered if that was really the case.