(A/N: I though I'd give this a try. It's based off a role play I did with my friend. I've always loved the fascinating Regina and Rumple dynamic, and I really wanted to explore into it. It's going to be a somewhat short fic and very interesting, so get ready for a ride! I haven't established what ships will be in this, as I'm an avid Swan Queen shipper, but I also like the other ships. So we'll see. There will probably be sprinkles of both (and a lot of Emma and Regina.) Set shortly before "Operation Mongoose")


The crypt was as desolate as always and somehow more gloomier then Regina remembered it to be. Perhaps it was because most of the memories of this vault now brought pain instead of glee. Sometimes it hurt to be reminded of who she was, and what she knew that deep down she'd always be. So many things had changed since then, but still so much pain was triggered by what she saw around her.

"So this is the coffin that my Mom was in?" came Emma's voice from the darkness. She glanced down at the broken shards of glass entwined by old withering vines and picked up a shard. "Pretty fancy."

Regina scoffed. "Yes, well those dirty old dwarves adored her, worshipped her. It doesn't surprise me that they poured most of their gold into crafting a tomb for her." She stared at the coffin for a moment longer and then disintegrated it into a pile of ash. "I used to keep it as a momento. It always made me smile." She curled her arms over her chest and cast her eyes to the ground.

Sensing the self loathing in her friend's voice, Emma gave Regina's shoulder a squeeze. "Hey come on, we didn't come here to wallow over your evil misadventures of the past. "It's over and done with now."

Regina nodded her head and turned back to the pile of artefacts they were sorting through. Emma looked up when she heard a frightening thudding sound, repeating. "What is that?"

"Hearts," Regina answered without looking up. The Savior fixed a wide-eyed look on her. "Hearts?"

"From people."

"Yeah I get that. That some sort of weird kink you used to have?"

Regina couldn't help but laugh. "Something like that. You could say it was passed down from my mother, blame her. I've wanted to return them, but for the life of me I don't know who they belong to, and I've dealt with so many people from so many different realms that most of them probably aren't in Storybrooke."

"Well it'd be easy to see who they were," Emma teased. "Just look around for someone that looks like they're a zombie. That'd be most people in Storybrooke though."

Regina rolled her eyes and tried to look annoyed, but anyone could see the curl to her lips."Focus Swan, we have more important things to attend to."

"Right," Emma agreed as she leafed through Regina's possessions. "So what is it we're looking for here? And can it kill me?"

"Mother's magic?" Regina answered, smirking a bit more darker. "If you don't handle it properly, certainly. Of course when it came down to it I don't think even she handled it properly. Mother knew spells even I didn't, and her book contained magic stronger then perhaps the scaly imp himself knew."

"Didn't Gold teach her?"

"He did, but only in the beginning. She refused contact with him after my birth, and I know she trained from other sources over the years. I used to walk in on her conjuring when I was quite young." She dusted off an old cabinet. It was so covered that you could hardly make out the bronze engravings of the door knob underneath.

"We don't know what's going to happen and what we're going to face," Regina reminded gravely. "But we do know that you're a target, a big one. And I can't protect you on my own, not without...some form of assistance. A stronger magic that can counter Rumple's."

Emma gave a slow nod. "And your mother's magic can do that?" The look of Regina's face showed that she wasn't so sure and her shoulders shrugged. "It's our best chance."

They explored the drawers of the old dresser, pulling out different bottles and scrolls. Emma flipped through a book. "So how come you brought all of this over during the curse? If you...don't mind me asking."

Regina's lips gave a pensive curl, like she wasn't sure if she did mind or not. "Despite everything, it...helped keep her close, especially when I felt I had no one. She was still my mother. And I could always use some extra magic reinforcement. Smart, conniving woman she was, and she was a strong sorceress. One of the Dark One's best students."

She found a leather covered book. It was a rusted red that Regina could tell was once purple. There was a jewel on the cover and calligraphic smoke engraved on the front. She recognized it from a young age. One of her mother's first spell books. She remembered seeing it strewn on a table when she was barely four. She flipped through the torn pages and an envelope fluttered to the floor.

"Can any of these potions turn anyone into a cockroach? I feel like that'd be handy." Emma wasn't looking over at the queen, who was transfixed on a letter with Regina delicately written across it.

"Ah..." Regina hastily shoved the letter into her pocket. "Most likely, but I don't recommend you nosing through them to find out. Unless of course you want to become a roach yourself. Anyway..." She snapped the book shut. "I think this book will have what we need. I'm going to head back home."

Emma blinked. "What?"

"I...want to start reading the book right away," Regina lied, unable to shake the nagging compulsion of needing to read that letter. "The sooner I do the sooner I can find something that can help us."

"Wait, you're going to just head home already? We're supposed to be going to Granny's later for dinner. Come on, I don't want to have to deal with my mom's excited baby chatter alone. And you promised you'd buy Henry a large milkshake for passing that math test!"

Regina hesitated. "Yes, but Emma, we're threatened right now."

"News flash, we're always being threatened!" Emma snorted. "But we can't just stop living life because of it. We've gotta give Henry a normal life, and ourselves a normal life the best that we can. And I haven't really gotten a chance to get to know Robin Hood. I bet he'd like to come. Maybe we can drown our sorrows in a few shots after."

"I..."

Then Emma pulled the last and dirtiest weapon in her arsenal. "You're gonna just disappoint Henry?" Regina's eyes darkened and Emma smirked triumphantly.

"Fine," she gritted out hating the smug look on her friend's face. "But I'm leaving right afterwards I hope you know."


"Are you sure you aren't going to stay later Regina?"

"I'm sure," the queen mumbled. She could hardly focus on her dinner as it was, and the pasta in front of her was becoming ice cold. The letter practically burned where it sat in her pocket. She wanted to just rip it out here and now. She was sure she was twitching in her seat in impatience. She was only able to tolerate so much of Snow's baby stories. Did she bother people with Henry's this much?

"He seems to be teething," Regina mused, watching the baby as he gummed at a cold plastic ring. Curious, sweet eyes looked up at her and he gurgled and smiled. She let her fingers trail down to the babe's and Neal gripped them.

"Right?" Snow grinned. "I found that out when he got a hold of one of my books the other day. Luckily, we already had teething rings on hand." Noting the other's behavior, Snow tilted her head. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." She tapped her nails on the table and watched Emma at the bar with Robin Hood. They seemed to be getting along, like she knew they would. They both loved alcohol; that was enough to bond two people honestly, even if you hated one another. At the far side of the diner Henry was with the pirate throwing darts. He struck a bullseye often and would recieve a head ruffle when he did.

Everyone was so happy, the scene was so familial. Laughter and eating and busy chatter that Regina longed to be a part of, and now that she finally was she was unable to focus on it. She was antsy. She just wanted to go home, read the damn letter. She'd never be able to focus on any of this unless she did.

"Emma? Robin?"

The two drunkards turned to her and Regina had to roll her eyes. Albeit, she was really interested in staying to see how this panned out. "I'm heading home now."

"Oh." Robin stumbled from his chair and Regina scoffed in quiet amusement. "Did you want me to come with you?" He ran his fingers through her hair and she smiled, catching his hand and pulling it off gently.

"N-not tonight. There's a lot I have to do." She squeezed his hand. "I think Emma wants a drinking buddy anyway." Not that they weren't already well on their way there... I'll give you a call tomorrow." She pressed a kiss to his lips. "Okay?"

She shut the door to the diner after casting a final look behind her and started to stalk through the streets. Hopefully no one else would stop her or she'd be tempted to tell them where they could go. When she saw who was on the other side of the street she was really tempted to tell him where to go.

The imp's cool gaze burned into hers, but he bowed his head to her almost mockingly. "Your Majesty."

"Evening, snake," she retorted back in a cool purr. She didn't turn her head but she imagined the glare the imp gave her. That gave her the biggest smile. It was quite satisfying to see the man wandering the streets like a homeless bum, alone and alienated. Karma was a bitch indeed, and so so marvellous.

Reaching her manor Regina shut and locked the door in case anyone was tempted to wander in. It was most likely to be Emma plastered out of her mind anyway.

She was grateful this wasn't the night that Henry was supposed to stay over. Her thoughts were far too preoccupied with whatever was in that envelope. She had no idea why she was so enamoured in finding out what was in the stupid envelope. It couldn't be anything too important, the letter was...gods knew how old.

At the same time, it was from her mother. Cora was an expressive woman that hardly kept secrets. So whatever this was, it had to be important enough to conceal it in an envelope for gods knew how long. Intrigued, Regina finally flipped it open. It was crumpled and the paper was frail, but she could still easily recognize her mother's handwriting.

My dearest Regina,

I'm writing this for you, to read when you're older and ready to hear the truth. It took a lot of contemplation but I realized that you deserved to know where you really came from and I didn't have the courage to tell you in words, nor did I have the time.

After you pushed me through the looking glass I was...afraid, for you. You were alone, without my guidance and vulnerable. I only ever wanted just what was best for you, and I hope you realize that one day. And what was best for you...was keeping a great secret from you for most of your life.

I wanted you to be queen, to have it all and build a name for us that I never could, but to do that I had to keep you away from him. I couldn't let him have you because I knew he'd ruin everything I planned for us. I wanted to keep you away from him, but you sought him out. I never wanted him to know, but it's only fair that you do.

Rumplestiltskin and I were together before you were born. Very shortly before you were born actually. He created a contract that we would create a child together and I found a way to break it. I had to marry Henry, but before any of the arrangements were even set I already knew that I was pregnant.

The letter trembled in Regina's hands, which had become white and sweaty. Her vision blurred and her head spun. She was terrified to continue.

I married Henry, but I had to extend the pregnancy with a spell so I wouldn't show before we even consummated the marriage. And I had to prevent Rumplestiltskin from ever knowing that you were his. I placed a lock on you through magic. It's a powerful spell and one that can't be easily broken, except through a certain potion. The spell renders you untrackable through any type of blood magic. It would hide you from Rumplestiltskin, and he would never discover you're his daughter.

But if there's one thing that I want to make sure before I die, it's to reveal any secrets I've kept from you. I'm enclosing this potion that'll break the blood lock, and it's up to you if you want to seek him. But as your mother, I don't advise it. He's poisonous for you Regina, and he'll only use you as a pawn. I kept you from him for a reason. I hope you'll make the right choice.

Mother

No...

She was hyperventilating before she even realized it, a full blown panic attack. Funny how she could confront the worst of monsters daily and yet it was a simple letter that sent her into hysterics. A simple letter that had suddenly twisted her entire world upside down.

It's not possible. But it was there, all in writing, solid on paper. The small bottle attached to the parchment confirmed the truth. No amount of blinking would make the letter disappear, and the rest of this reality.

Regina's hands clawed at the air for some sort of leverage and she went down on the couch. Her foot swept off a glass of wine from the table and it stained her white carpet a crimson red. Yet Regina didn't even seem to realize. The letter fluttered from her shaking hands and Regina lunged out to grab the envelope. She snatched up the turquoise potion and pressed it against her chest like it was her life line. The bottle was cold and hard, but right now it was the only thing that kept her from falling apart.

"I knew you long ago Dearie. It's been some time...but I knew this day would come. And I'm so happy we're back where we belong."

"Where's that?"

"Together."