That night, when the two of them lay curled up in each other's arms, Emma whispered, "He loves you, you know. Really, really loves you. And what you did tonight was beautiful."
After some hesitation, Regina asked, "How so?"
"You were just so tender and sweet to him. I've never seen you like that, except this morning."
"You're my family," Regina replied slowly. "How else should I treat you?"
"I just didn't think... I knew you loved him, I just never got to see it. You were always so angry about me that I never got to see you really interact with him. And... Well... I never thought you could... You know..."
"No... I don't."
"Love me," Emma finally said. "I knew you loved him, but I didn't think you could ever love someone like me."
"Someone like you? What does that mean?"
"I'm weak, Regina. I couldn't even protect my own son against Pan."
"Neither could I," the brunette pointed out in a low voice, then gently took her hand and stroked her lover's cheek.
"There's no point beating yourself up about it," Regina told her. "It's over. It's not going to happen again. He's safe here."
Then they heard the crash of glass breaking.
The two jumped up and stormed into the hallway, running for Henry's room. By the time they reached the door, the boy was gone.
"How could this happen?!" Emma screamed, pacing in the living room.
Regina stood and watched as the Charmings sat in chairs with their heads in their hands.
"This has Rumple written all over it," Regina finally said.
The others looked up in shock.
"You mean... Rumple took our son?" Emma pressed. "But why?"
"I don't know, Emma, but he's the only one who could pull this off."
Charming looked up fiercely, eyes ablaze, and said, "We'll get him back. We got him back from Pan, and we'll get him back from Gold."
"This can't keep happening!" Emma screamed, reaching down and flipping the coffee table in front of the couch, causing it to fly across the room, the glass cover smashing into thousands of pieces.
Then, she turned on Regina.
"You said he was fucking safe here!"
Regina's mouth hung open in shock.
"Emma, calm down. We're going to-"
"Shut up!" Emma bellowed, stomping into the kitchen and smashing dish after dish on the floor. "We're going to find my son, and we're going to find him NOW."
"Emma, don't be rash," Snow interjected, standing up and walking over to her.
When the woman put a hand on Emma's arm, the furious blonde jerked away.
"Don't fucking touch me," she snapped, storming back into the living room where she continued to pace. "I'm leaving now. If you don't want to come, fine. If you're not going to help me, stay the fuck out of my way."
Regina made her way over to her lover and put a hand on her shoulder.
Emma shook free.
"I was just going to say... I was going to say... I'm coming with you."
Blinking a few times, Emma stared at the brunette. At last, she nodded her head and turned to walk back to the bedroom where she gathered enough things to prepare her well for the journey.
"I'm coming too," Charming told them when they reappeared from the room.
Snow stood up from the couch and stomped her foot.
"Like Hell you are! You're going to get yourself killed! I need you here!"
"No, Snow, you don't. The girls need me. Henry needs me. And you need to stay here and take care of the kingdom while I'm gone. Don't you understand that? They need me."
Snow went silent, only partially understanding but unwilling to argue with her husband, who was clearly set on joining the mission. She knew how driven he was to protect his family, and could at least comprehend that much.
"Don't get hurt," she whispered, kissing him, causing both women to look away instantly.
When they heard the sound of lips separating, they turned back around and watched as Charming gathered his things too.
"You're really coming?" Emma asked, earning a nod from her father.
"I'm going to protect this family."
As they started the journey, each bringing along one bag of supplies and one horse, Emma felt a sudden sinking feeling in her stomach, which, coupled with her fury, spun her insides like a ferris wheel and caused her to lean to the side and gag.
"Emma!" Regina cried, jerking her horse to a stop. "Are you alright?"
"What if we don't find him?" Emma sobbed. "What if I can't save him?"
"We," Regina said, "will save him."
After a few more minutes of riding, having mostly collected herself, Emma asked, "So how do we find him? How do you know where we're going?"
"I just know where he'll be," Regina answered confidently. "I know him."
"Fine," Emma said. "Then where?"
"There's a spot in the forest where he likes to spend his time, when he wants to be alone. He brought me there when I was young to train me to use my magic. He's never told anyone else about it, to my knowledge."
"But how do you know he'll be there?"
"Because that's where he keeps his darkest magic," the queen told the woman hesitantly.
Emma opened her mouth, but found it dry and unable to make sound.
"Emma," Regina sighed. "We'll find him. We'll get him back."
"Don't worry, honey," Charming chimed in. "Everything's going to be okay. Together, we'll-"
"Stop it!" Emma snapped, wanting to scream but refusing to do so.
"Emma, please," Regina begged, looking over at her. "It's going to be fine."
Emma silenced her outburst and rode on without words. It would be days before they reached Rumple's lair.
Author's Note: Yep... So... Not sure what to think of this chapter. It just sort of happened. The story needed a quicker pace. Not sure if I did that tastefully or not. Anyway... What now, guys? I have some ideas but I'm a little stuck.