"Oh great," David muttered, seeing Ursula walk in. "A goddamned Queen of Darkness."
Emma looked up sharply. "Huh?"
"You know… her, Cruella, Maleficent—the Queens of Darkness. They use dark magic, not light magic."
"Oh. Yeah." Emma looked over at Ursula as she went to the counter of Granny's Diner, looking to order. "Well, she doesn't seem to be causing any trouble."
"Not right now. But you know what those people are like."
"Those people?" Emma asked.
"Villains," David explained, his voice making it clear how obvious he found this. "Always ripping people's hearts out, throwing fireballs around—sometimes I just wish they'd go back where they came from. The Enchanted Forest."
"Uh-huh…" Emma said slowly. "Well, I mean, Regina uses dark magic, and you're friends with her."
"Yeah." David sipped his coffee. "She's one of the good ones."
"Yes… she is… I guess…" Emma stood slowly. "I'd better get back."
"You know what I don't get?" David asked. "Why are all their names so funny? MalEFIcent. CruELLA. Why can't they have a normal name like Betsy or Jean? I have four normal names, they can't have one?"
"Do you know what the teacher caught Henry calling another kid at school today?" Emma demanded, practically dragging Henry into Mary-Margaret's apartment by the shoulder. "A darker!"
"Henry!" Mary-Margaret gave up on the dishes, dropping her washcloth into the sink. "You know how we feel about calling names in this house. Bad language makes for bad feelings!"
"Uh, yeah, that too—" Emma agreed, momentarily taken aback. "But I really wouldn't mind so much if he just called the kid a loser. It's the language I really don't like."
"I was calling him a loser," Henry insisted. "Darker, as in a dark magic user, as in a villain, as in someone who loses all the time."
Mary-Margaret let out a giggle. "That is a bit clever."
"Mom!" Emma said disagreeably. "I don't want Henry to grow up believing in those kinds of stereotypes."
"They're not stereotypes if they're true. Emma, now's not the time for rainbows and unicorns," Mary-Margaret said. "Those are light magic."
The doorknob twisted, Regina sweeping into the apartment as if she owned it. It was possible she still thought she did. "Emma! A word!"
"Did you give her a key?" Mary-Margaret asked.
"I leave the door unlocked," Emma said, and led with her head towards Regina, who stepped back out into the hallway waiting for Emma to join her. As soon as Emma was outside, Regina shut the door behind her.
"I hope you're planning on doing something about the rising paranoia about dark magic users in this town!" Regina started.
"You want me to stop people from distrusting villains? Y… they do cast curses."
"Mary-Margaret has cast just as many curses as I have."
"That is—factually correct, but I feel like—"
"Do you know what happened to me today?" Regina demanded. "I was taking public transportation to help the planet, taking my usual place in back of the bus, when some of your fine citizens informed me that I had to sit at the front of the bus! They were worried I would throw a fireball into their backs while they weren't looking!"
"That's not fair. You are pretty good at throwing fireballs in people's faces."
"Emma, this is serious."
"Regina," Emma replied, mimicking her tone, "will you relax? Everyone knows you use light magic."
"Yes, I can pass as a light magician. But the truth is… my mother was a Queen of Darkness."
Emma sighed. "Listen, I've watched most of the X-Men movies, and if there's one thing they've taught me, it's that Hugh Jackman deserves better. But if there's two things they've taught me, it's that people fear what they don't understand. If Storybrooke just understood dark magic users, they wouldn't be so afraid of them!"
"Alright, guys," Emma said, standing in town hall alongside Cruella. "I think there's been a lot of misinformation and harmful perceptions going around about our dark magic using neighbors, so I'd called this meeting for all of us to get to know how rich the real dark magic culture is, not the urban legends you may have heard."
"Thank you, Emma," Cruella said. "Dark magic is just like any other magic and I'm going to show you a few simple spells so you'll see that there's nothing to be afraid of. Now, first I have to kill this puppy…"
Emma saw in Granny's Diner, waiting for Regina to come find her. It was only a matter of time.
Ruby arrived with her grilled cheese. "Hey, have you seen Maleficent's transformation?" Ruby asked.
Emma shook her head. "No, but I've seen Mother Superior's transformation."
"That scrawny little pixie? Oh, no, a dark magic user's is much bigger. Maleficent turns into a dragon."
"Really? How big is it?"
"She has a huge wyrm."
Behind Ruby, Regina cleared her throat. "You know, some dark magic users don't transform at all."
"I know! I just like transformations, okay?" Ruby cleared out.
Regina sat herself in the other side of the booth, giving a sneer at Emma's lunch. "I would've brought you some seafood if I knew you were hungry enough to go dumpster-diving."
"You want to tell me what's bothering you?"
"What's bothering me…" Regina said wonderingly, rolling her eyes upward. "Oh yes. I woke up in the middle of the night to find an inferno on my front yard!"
"What, like a—"
"Like a burning D, for Dark magic!"
"My boyfriend had a burning D once!" Ruby cried.
"Quit eavesdropping!" Regina told her.
"I'll look into it," Emma said. "Just don't do anything rash. Let me handle this."
Regina sniffed, looking away. "I'm not sure I trust the law enforcement in this town."
"Why not? You're related to most of them."
At the other side of the diner, Grumpy was getting his coffee refilled by Granny. "You know what really gets me? They're villains, they chose to be villains, but they're always moaning and groaning about how they can never win! I mean, don't be a villain if you want to win, right?"
"Right," Granny agreed.
Regina was resolutely ignoring them, sipping her coffee, while still making it clear from her posture that she heard every word.
Grumpy poured some more creamer into his coffee. "At least with Gold, he doesn't complain all the time. But Regina and those other three, they've just gotta whine and whine and whine. They're all just a bunch of naggers."
Regina set her coffee down. "What did you call me?"
Granny turned to face her slowly. "You heard him—nagger."
"I can't believe you shot Maleficent!" Emma cried.
"She was going after Pongo," David replied, "I had no choice!"
"She was petting him!"
"I saw strangling.
"She was unarmed!"
"She had a wand!"
"It was a stick, they were playing fetch!"
"Come on!" David almost screamed, about to pull his hair out. "You know that darker has a whole coat made out of puppies!"
"They all look alike to me."
Emma groaned. "David, there's going to be a trial, you could go to jail for this!"
"Jail? My wife's the mayor, I'm not going to jail."
"And how do you think the Queens of Darkness are going to feel about that?"
David shrugged. "They'll get over it."
"Ladies," Regina said, "I propose a Million Mage March."
"Okay," Emma said, standing on the steps of city hall over a sea of picket boards and protest signs. "I think this has gotten way out of hand."
"Why?" Regina asked. "Because us dark magic users are finally standing up for our rights?"
"Because you invited Sauron!"
"And what's wrong with Sauron? He's nice!" Regina waved at Sauron. He waved back. "And unlike some people, he gave me a ring—"
"I am not talking about inter-magical relationships right now."
"You know what I think? I think you have a problem with dark magic users, especially now that there are so many of us in your nice little white magic town!"
Emma put her hands on her hips. "We both know that most of them are Orcs who are only here because they're loyal to Sauron."
"Oh, now you have a problem with Orcs?" Regina asked, loud enough to be deliberately overheard. A cry of 'black magic power!' went up from the Orcs.
"I never said that!"
"I bet you wouldn't have said anything if I brought a bunch of Dwarves into town!"
"Okay, that does it!" Emma went to the podium where Regina had been giving a speech, something about how they hadn't landed at Storybrooke, but been cursed there by Mary-Margaret—again, correct, but a bit insincere Emma thought. She adjusted the microphone to her height. "Everyone! Listen to me!"
"Yes," Regina said, "let's all listen to the white magic savior."
"You're not helping," Emma told her. "Everybody! I don't know how many of you are movie buffs, but there was a film that came out recently—got nominated for an Academy Award—and I think it's surprisingly relevant to our situation here. Tell me: how many of you have seen The Theory of Everything?"
Some of the Orcs' hands went up.
"Thank you!" Emma said, pointing at Thrash Bonekill, who had his hand up. "Yes. Stephen Hawking had a pretty tough time of it too. Went through some real rough patches. But did he get angry? Did he go around hurting people? Did he cast any curses? No. He didn't. He invented physics. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I know my life wouldn't be the same if it weren't for physics. So, maybe instead of using our rage to grow a hundred feet tall and splash around in the harbor—Ursula—"
"What?" asked Ursula, who was a hundred feet tall.
"We should try to do something constructive. Come on, people—isn't there some passion you have, something you want to do with your lives that you can just do instead of complaining about how hard your life is?"
"Take over the World of Man!" Thrash Bonekill shouted.
"Okay, one, you shouldn't call it the World of Man, there's such a thing as intersectionality—"
Kuga The Destroyer spoke up. "I've always wanted to take over the World of Man too!"
Emma tried to regain order. "Okay, I'm sure we've all felt like that, but, uh—"
"No, no blood!" Emma looked to Regina. "Now might be a good time to step in."
"What do you want me to do? They're a bunch of dirty fucking Orcs."
"Well, now we're slaves to Mordor," Emma said. "So I hope everyone's happy."
"I'm not," Mary-Margaret griped. "This is not nearly as much fun as Song of the South made it look."
Emma glared at her.
"Work faster!" Tarz Skullblood ordered, cracking his whip.
"Don't worry," Belle said. "I've got a plan. We just find Emma Stone and get her to write a book about us…"
Emma glared at her.
"What? I think slavery's bad!"
"Hey guys," Henry said, holding up a ring. "You think I should throw this out?"