Emma's head was spinning the moment she woke up on the hard, cool concrete.
"Shit," she mumbled to herself, trying to remember what happened last night. She didn't even remember going out. This was wasn't looking good.
She assumed she was lying in a parking lot, but as she sat up she realized she was indoors, in what looked like a creepy, dingy dungeon.
"Oh shit, oh shit," she whispered under her breath. This was it. She was kidnapped and being held hostage by some creepy pedophile and probably going to get murdered.
Her eyes scanned the room quickly, and she spotted another girl, passed out, who looked about her age, with dark hair and dressed way too maturely for a teenager. She crawled over to her silently and started shaking her shoulders. "Hey, you, wake up," she said, in a hushed voice. The brunette didn't stir and Emma leaned close to make sure she was breathing, at least, before standing up and looking around.
"Fuck, what is this place?" she asked herself, looking around, fully expecting the Crypt Keeper to pop up around the corner any moment. Emma shuddered at the thought. She looked back at the other girl, nudging her a few times with her foot, before continuing to explore.
Maybe she wasn't kidnapped, maybe she just drank way too much last night. She didn't feel hungover, and she wondered if maybe she was just still drunk. She hoped that was the case.
She heard a chiming noise, and felt something vibrating in her pocket, which nearly made her jump out of her skin. For the first, time, she realized that she was wearing clothes she didn't recognize – tight jeans, a white tank and a red leather jacket.
She reached into her pocket anyway, and pulled out… well, whatever the hell this thing was. The screen read 'Mary Margaret' and there was a green button saying answer and she could only guess this thing was some sort of high tech phone. She glanced around again and decided she should answer, because she wasn't sure if this was reality or a dream or she was drunker than hell and she kind of wanted to know what was going on.
"Hello?" she said, awkwardly, not sure exactly where the speaker on this thing was.
"Emma?" a voice came through the other end.
Oh fuck. This was getting weirder and weirder. "Uh… yes?"
"Where are you?"
"Uh… a dungeon? Or some shit?"
"Emma? Is that you? What's going on?" the voice sounded panicked. Emma wondered what the hell this lady was panicked for, she was the one trapped here.
"Yeah, it's Emma. Who is this?"
"Emma… you don't sound like yourself. Are you alright?"
"Hmm, well, I'm talking on a space phone and trapped in a crypt and some drunk-ass chick is passed out on the floor, so, um, I'm gonna go with no."
"Emma, have you been drinking?"
"Who are you, my mother?" Emma laughed. She was convinced this was a dream. A very vivid dream. What else could it be?
"Yes, Emma, it's me."
"Funny. Lady, I don't know who the hell you are, but if you're not planning on rescuing me from this serial killer's lair, then kindly – oh, wait, this chick's waking up. Hey, girl," Emma put the phone down without disconnecting it, and knelt down in front of the other girl.
"What happened? Where am I?" the other girl asked, blinking up at Emma.
"Your guess is as good as mine. What's your name?"
"Regina," the girl answered, rubbing her head as she sat up, slowly.
"Hey, I'm Emma."
Regina looked around, confused. "This… these are my mother's things," she said, looking around at the books and vials around her.
"Your mother lives in a dungeon?"
"No, silly girl. She doesn't live here, and this isn't a dungeon, it's a vault."
"Well, if this is your mother's crap, do you mind telling me why the hell I'm here?" Emma asked.
"How dare you! I'm a princess. You can't talk to me like that," Regina said, glaring at Emma.
"Oh, yes, you're an American princess. Newsflash, girlie, this is a democracy."
"I don't know what 'American' or 'democracy' mean, but I can assure you, I am a princess."
"Well, your Highness, mind showing me the way out of this vault, then?"
Regina stood up slowly, and looked down at her clothing. "What on earth am I wearing?"
"Forgot your ball gown and tiara at home, I take it?" Emma laughed. Regina glared at her again.
"My mother will have your head if you don't watch yourself," Regina warned.
Emma rolled her eyes, and wandered over to a shelf full of vials and small bottles. "So what is all this stuff? Like, perfumes or something?" she asked, picking up a bottle.
"Don't touch that!" Regina cried, grabbing it from her, and placing it carefully back on the shelf. "It's a potion. I don't know what it does."
"A potion?" Emma raised an eyebrow.
"Yes. My mother is Cora, perhaps you've heard of her? She has magic."
"Ohhh kay," Emma said, "maybe it's time someone laid of the magic mushrooms, don't you think?"
Regina narrowed her eyes. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Moments later, they both froze as they heard the sound of hurried footsteps coming down a set of stairs.
"If that's my mother, we're both dead," Regina whispered, her eyes wide. She breathed a sigh of relief when a woman with short, dark hair rounded the corner, and Emma guessed that wasn't Regina's mother.
"Emma!" the woman exclaimed, and Emma recognized her voice from the phone. This must be Mary Margaret.
"Look, lady, I don't know who you are but-"
"I know, it's alright," Mary Margaret cut her off, "I know who you are. Both of you."
"Um, okay, that's not creepy or anything," Emma said, casting a sideways glance at Regina, who just stared, silently.
"Emma, this is going to sound crazy, but… I'm your mother. Your, well, birthmother."
Emma gaped at her for a moment. "Yeah, okay," she said, trying to brush it off, though her stomach was now in knots.
"Listen, I know this is going to be heard to believe, but," Mary Margaret paused, seeming to collect her thoughts, and then turned to Regina. "Regina, you know about magic."
Regina nodded, uneasy, and looked at Emma.
"Ok, well, you two are here because of magic, somehow. You're, what, fifteen?"
"Sixteen," Regina corrected.
"Me, too," Emma said.
"You're actually not, though. You're actually adults, and Regina, you're teaching Emma how to use magic. You two must have had a mishap of some sorts, and changed yourselves into teenagers again."
"This is a joke, isn't it?" Emma asked, suddenly smiling like she figured the whole thing out. "My foster parents hired you, like a 'Scared Straight' kind of thing, right? Stop drinking and sneaking out or you'll end up at the mercy of some crazy person, right? Ok, you win, I'm convinced!"
"Emma, I promise you, that's not what this is," Mary Margaret sighed. "Here, look." She pulled a phone from her own pocket, and showed Emma a picture on the screen. "This is me and you, the adult you, last week."
Emma looked at the picture. The woman smiling back looked at lot like her, but this was insane.
"If this is magic, my mother can fix it," Regina said, timidly.
"No, honey, she can't," Mary Margaret sighed, "she's… I'm sorry, honey, but she's dead. She died a few years ago."
Emma turned to look at the other girl, who seemed to take the sudden news of her mother's passing extremely well.
"What about the fairies? Could they help?" Regina offered, maintaining her poise.
"That's actually a good idea," Mary Margaret nodded.
"What, so we're going to see Tinker Bell now?" Emma scoffed.
Regina looked at her and shook her head in confusion. "Who's Tinker Bell?"
Emma laughed. "Oh, this is too much!"
"Come on, girls," Mary Margaret said, heading back in the direction she had come from. Regina quickly stepped after her.
"Hey!" Emma called out, "you're not really going to go with her? You don't even know her!"
"Would you rather stay here?" Regina asked, casting her a quick glance.
Emma looked around the room again. She didn't particularly want to stay in a dungeon – or vault, whatever – but she wasn't sure that following a clearly unbalanced stranger was the best option, either.
Either way, she didn't want to be left alone, so she followed Regina up the stairs. When they reached the top, Emma felt a wave of nausea come over her.
"Is that… a coffin?" she asked.
Mary Margaret spun around quickly, but it was too late, Regina had already seen the name.
"My father's dead, too?" she asked. Emma noted that she seemed visibly much more affected at this death.
Two parents in one day, she thought to herself, that's shitty.
She didn't know what it would be like to actually lose a parent, since she went through foster parents like water, but the look on this girl's face told her it hurt like hell.
"I'm so sorry, Regina," Mary Margaret said, putting a hand on her shoulder.
Emma watched as Regina drew in a sharp breath, and straightened her shoulders. She was starting to wonder if this girl was telling the truth about being a princess. If she wasn't, she sure played the part well.
And if this girl was really a princess, then perhaps this dark-haired woman was really her birthmother. And perhaps magic really was real.
And maybe monkey would fly out of her butt.
Emma fought the urge to laugh at the ridiculousness of the whole situation, as they set off to find Tinker Bell.
I'm never drinking again.