Forbidden Fruit

Everyone froze as Emma lifted from the ground and spread her arms wide. She howled in ecstasy as the darkness ran through her. It set her gently on her feet funneling into her mouth and eyes. She stood panting with steam rising off of her shoulders, her skin flushed with the signature sparkle, and was dressed in the black robe again.

She looked around at everyone's scared expression and gave a laugh. With a snap of her fingers a wave of light went right through each of them individually that restored their memories.

"Oh thank god," Snow said rubbing her temples. They each felt instant relief. Regina was more overwhelmed than ever, and Rumple took the opportunity to shove her off of him and run.

Emma was too fast for that. The wide doors slammed before Rumple could rush through them.

"Just where do you think you're going?" she asked.

With a wave of her hand she lifted Rumple from the ground above them all. "No! Please, no!" he begged, kicking around in the air.

"You should have listened to Belle," Emma said finally.

Darkness shot out from Emma's hands in long ropes, bounding Rumple in the air. He screamed as the darkness rammed itself like a tentacle down his throat. With a gushing sound it burst through Rumple's other end causing him to bleed from his eyes and nose until with one long ripping noise the darkness finally tore his body in half.

Blood, flesh, and guts rained from the sky drenching all of them.

Somewhere, not too far off in the woods, Belle sat meditating watching the glowing rose a few feet away. The rose gave a shake before turning black and wilting apart to ashes, and the light finally went out.

Belle heaved a sigh, but couldn't say she was surprised. She always knew if Rumple didn't change his ways he'd end up getting himself killed. She suddenly felt a sense of clarity and began packing her things. With every step she took to return to civilization she realized her memories were returning.

Meanwhile, everyone stood frozen in shock. All of them were soaked in blood, which felt victorious somehow.

"Thank you, Emma," Charming finally said.

Emma nodded solemnly, and no one really knew what to do.

Emma walked towards Regina, who hesitated, but held her ground. The spell on Emma's lips dissolved and fell away in ashes as she put her arms around Regina and kissed her. A burst of light surrounded them both as they were lifted into the blinding rush.

Everything in the town seemed quiet, but the last thing Belle wanted was to sleep or be on her own. Granny's light was still on, and so she wandered in.

"We're closed," Ruby called turning.

"Oh," Belle's face fell.

"Oh it's you!" Ruby said. "Come in, come in," and she shut the door behind Belle and locked her in, and facing the CLOSED sign out.

"You don't have to let me stay," Belle said, shyly stepping back.

"I want you to," Ruby said looking at her brightly. "Did you get your memories back?"

Belle, nodded and sat at the bar and Ruby poured her a glass of red wine. "This is the best we have," Ruby said when Belle raised her brow at her. "Trust me. It's from our old land."

Belle took a long swallow, and felt a rush of warmth and joy flow through her. "God that's good after the week I've had!" Belle said.

Ruby nodded with a smile, already refilling her glass. "I thought you might need that."

They shared a smile and for the first time Belle saw how beautiful Ruby was. Little red the wolf, she thought. My what beautiful eyes you have.

"So...Regina is married to Emma now?"

Ruby poured herself a glass and sat with Belle at the bar. "I don't think they got to say I do," Ruby said. "Granny won't stop rubbing it in. She says she sensed the tension between Emma and Regina a while ago. I lost twenty bucks betting against her. Guess it takes all kinds."

They toasted their glasses and shared another brief silence.

"Rumple is dead," Belle finally admitted out loud, and was surprised to feel hot tears streak her face.

"Shit," Ruby said. "," she suddenly flung herself at Belle, putting her arms around her. Belle was surprised, but accepted the hug and put her arms around Ruby, breathing her in: Cinnamon and secrets of the wood at night. Ruby pulled back and took out a tissue offering it to Belle.

"You about it?" she asked gently.

"Don't you have anything better to do?" Belle asked, feeling insecure.

"Oh yeah. Cleaning the kitchen and mopping the floor. I'd rather put that off permanently," she confessed.

Belle laughed.

"Seriously, please stay," Ruby said putting her hand over Belle's. "Stay with me, and talk as long as you want."

It was one of the sweetest things Belle had ever heard. "Sure," she agreed shyly with a blush.

Meanwhile, outside Granny was trudging towards her diner to check on Ruby. She new that rascal Rumple had tried to change their memories and whatever the bastard had done must have backfired. She walked up to the door to see her holding Belle.

She halted and moved to the side, peeking in through the window. She saw her offer Belle a tissue and they were splitting one of the rare bottles of wine Granny had smuggled from the old world. "Well, well, well," Granny whispered. "I guess it runs in the family."

Back and Rumple's old shoe factory, the black light grew and grew around Regina and Emma while they kissed until it formed an explosion that blasted them apart, before fading out.

Everyone stood, still covered in blood. "Emma!" Regina called rushing towards her.

Emma had the wind knocked from her, but she was fine otherwise. "I'm ok," she said, taking Regina's hand. When she stood Regina saw the flush of shimmer was gone from her skin: Emma was human again.

"Regina," Emma breathed, and every memory that had been stolen rushed through her. They kissed again, feeling such relief. Henry watched with a peaceful smile, while Hook and Robin both hung their blood soaked heads.

"Ahem. You two should take a look at this," Charming said, upset he had to interrupt them.

Regina and Emma turned and they all circled around a black, sickly looking tree which had grown in place of the darkness.

"How did that get here?" Henry asked.

"Blood sacrifice," Regina said. "When you killed Rumple it allowed the darkness to choose it's own form!"

"So...this weird tree is the new dark one?" Snow asked, squinting her eyes like she always does when she processes new information.

"There's fruit growing on it," Henry said stepping closer. Indeed small black buds began to blossom into red fruit with transparent black skin, which glowed and pulsated at the center. Henry reached out to pick one of the dark apples, when Regina grabbed him by the hood of his blood soaked sweater and yanked him back.

"Don't touch it,' she told him. She looked at Emma. "What should we do with it?"

Emma shared a look between Charming and Snow. "We leave it here," she said. "We don't know what it might do, and it'll be safe here. No one else knows about this place. We can look into and figure it out tomorrow."

"What now?" Regina asked.

Emma took her hand, and Henry's in the other. "Now we go home."

Home they each went. Robin crashed with Hook, and Snow and Charming bid Emma and Henry goodnight.

"Can't wait to go home and wash the blood, skin, and teeth out of my hair," Snow said, taking Charming's arm as they walked fearlessly through the dark streets.

"Another great night," Charming joked.

Emma watched them go, before she turned back to go inside. She found Regina stoking the fire.

"He's asleep. Showered and exhausted," Regina told Emma. She poured them both a double scotch.

Emma sat down and took her scotch. "It's finally all over then," she said in disbelief. They each took a swallow, never breaking eye contact.

"Here we are," Regina said at last, sitting by Emma.

"Home," Emma said.

"Home? Would you still like this to be your home, Emma?"

"Of course," Emma said. "That's the one good thing out of all of this is I am certain I just want to be with you and Henry, Regina."

Tears welled in Regina's eyes. "You truly still want to be with me, after everything I've done?"

Emma put her arms around Regina and brushed sticky hair from her face. "Everything you've done is only give me everything I've ever wanted."

"What do you mean?"

"Regina, I love you. I have always loved you."

"But the curse-"

"The curse has been a blessing. Without that I never would have had Henry. We never would have had Henry. Don't you see Regina? Everything you've done has only lead us to this happy moment. I've tasted the power myself; I know all about how seductive darkness can be, but that still doesn't change who I am, or who you are."

Emma placed her hand over Regina's chest, where a steady, healthy beat drummed beneath. "I know what's in your heart, Regina. Do you know what's in mine?"

In a flash Regina remembered Emma's heart with her name engraved, and she knew all she wanted was to stay by Emma's side raising Henry together forever.

Emma stood and took Regina by the hands. "Come," she said. "Let us wash the decay of our past away. I want to start over with you. I still want you to be my wife, and for us to be a family."

"You did it," Regina said, tears spilling from her eyes. "I can't believe you really did it."

"Did what?"

"You gave me my happy ending."

Emma lead Regina to their luxurious bathroom where they showered, kissing, and holding tightly to one another as the blood, sweat, and tears of the last two weeks all went down the drain.

In the last two weeks they both felt like they had lived three lives, and now they cleaned the blood and skin from their flesh. After they were clean, Regina ran a bath with epsom salt, rose oil, and they laid together soaking each other's arms. Fresh.

Until finally Emma was pressing Regina gently into their bed, and they made love weeping with joy and gratitude until they slept.

Meanwhile, Ruby and Belle had finished the wine and were dancing to the radio in the middle of the night at Granny's. When they had started touching each other, getting lost in each other, Granny thought it best to let Ruby have some privacy, but she'd have questions for her in the morning.

"It was an old shoe factory?" Ruby asked.

"I think so," Belle was explaining. "He of course gave me some made up story about how it could be a book store in the future."

"Hm...I had no idea. I thought I'd seen everything in this boring pop-up book of a town."

Belle liked being around Ruby, and she knew it was late, but she couldn't bear the idea of going home alone and being left to dwell on everything she'd been through with Rumple.

"I could bring you there," Belle said, and Ruby's eyes lit up. "I could show you, but only on the condition I get free french toast in the morning," Belle said.

"What? You mean in two hours?" she said with a wink, and she realized she'd been having such an amazing time with Belle she'd lost track of time, and she didn't feel tired. "Deal," she said. "You show me, and then we can come back and make breakfast here. I'll have to start my shift at work-" she added with a frown.

"I know," Belle said. "But let's not think about tomorrow just yet."

She took Ruby's hand and the two set off, locking Granny's behind them. They walked, a little wobbly from the drinking, both enjoying the weight of the other woman leaning against them as they went arm-in-arm.

I think I like girls too, Ruby realized. I must get that from Granny, who had told Ruby is takes one to know one with a wink when Ruby asked how she knew Emma liked women. She didn't have any idea if Belle felt the same way, but she didn't let herself worry. Belle does have a thing for beasts after all.

"It's just up this way," Belle said as they made their way through the dark woods until at last they came to the tall, wide, double doors.

"Wow!" Ruby said. "I can't believe this."

Belle tried the door, but the one precaution Regina had taken upon leaving was at least sealing the door with a spell.

'It's stuck," Belle said.


"Hold on," Belle said moving around the back. She found an open window. "Here!" she called, and she climbed a nearby shrub just reaching the ledge enough to pull herself through. To her amazement Ruby transformed into the She-Wolf and simply leapt through the window landing on her feet in her human form before Belle.

Belle laughed in astonishment, totally impressed, which made Ruby grin widely.

They looked around. "I know Rumple kept some secret closet that had a bunch of weird, rare, magical objects."

"What's this?" Ruby asked, and Belle turned to see a tall, strong looking black tree bearing strange glowing, red fruits.

"Oh," she said as they walked closer. The tree hummed with life and seemed to call to both of them. "This wasn't here, last time I came tell Rumple goodbye."

"What is it?" Ruby asked.

Belle only shrugged. The apples on the tree glowed with life, like some sort of light fruit. Belle's heart skipped a beat when Ruby boldly plucked the ripest, reddest, and brightest of the glowing fruit. "Let's try it," she said, and to Belle's amazement she suddenly did feel very hungry.

"Are you sure we should?"

"Why not?" Ruby asked handing her one. "To new beginnings," she said.

She and Belle locked eyes, both holding the forbidden fruit in their hands, and Ruby stared daringly at her, waiting.

"To new beginnings," Belle agreed, and simultaneously, without ever breaking eye contact, they both took a bite.

Cue slow, creepy OUAT music.