Feels nice to be able to post a chapter without having to apologise for my tardiness.
Here it is!
Thanks to Loweze for the beta 😊
They arrived at the barn a few minutes late, but considering they'd just spent a quarter of an hour arguing the finer points of ladies' dress etiquette in the enchanted forest, Emma didn't think they'd done too badly. She was just glad that for this time traveling experience, they'd agreed on pants.
"There you are," Snow said, joining them outside of the barn. "They're all ready to go. Do you have everything you need?"
"Think so," Emma shrugged as she dropped her travel bag at her mother's feet. "Regina changed my entire packed wardrobe to olden-day clothes," she said matter of fact. "So at least I'll be fashionable."
"We can't have you galivanting around the Enchanted Forest dressed like a teenage boy," Regina defended her actions. "You want to blend in, do you not?"
"Mom!" Henry ran out to meet them, closely followed by his grandfather. "You changed clothes," he frowned. "What about your lucky jacket?"
"You're looking at it kid," Emma plucked at the blue, velvet, thigh length, belted tunic she wore over black pants and flat knee-high boots. "It's just in disguise."
Snow touched the fabric on Emma's arm.
"It even feels real," she said, seemingly impressed.
"Grandpa's got something for you," Henry sidestepped to allow David the space to present his offering.
"Here," David said, with a gentle smile as he passed his daughter a sword and scabbard. "I want you to have this."
"Your sword?" Emma eagerly took the proffered item. It gave her comfort to feel the weight of the family heirloom in her hands.
"Hopefully, you won't have to use it," David said as he shoved his hands in his pockets and took a step backwards.
"Thanks, dad," Emma smiled at him as she, with the help of Snow attached the scabbard to her belt.
"Somebody is eager to get started," Regina said, a hint of suspicion in her voice.
Emma and the others followed her gaze over to the entrance of the barn, where Gold now stood in the doorway holding an ancient looking book.
They watched him for a beat. He simply stared blankly back at them, before retreating into the barn.
A sense of unease washed over the blonde.
Over the past two weeks, Emma had tried to figure out what Gold was up to and what the mysterious package was that he wished for her to deliver. The Sheriff knew that he wasn't just going to come right out and tell her, but she thought at the very least, using her superpower, she'd be able to tell if he was lying.
Unfortunately, Rumpelstiltskin appeared to be a master politician and he somehow managed to twist every single one of his answers to her questions.
The truth was, Emma knowing what he wanted her to deliver was not part of their deal, which meant that he was in no way, under any obligation to tell her.
In the grand scheme of her mission to the past, the delivery of Gold's 'package' was the least of her worries, she did however wonder what repercussions it would have once she was back.
That's a problem for another day.
"You ready to head in?" David asked, once Gold was out of sight.
"As I'll ever be," Emma shook off the disquiet, picked up her bag and with the rest of her family, trudged towards the barn.
"Glad you could join us," Gold snarked as they entered the building.
Inside, Zelena, Ursula and Maleficent were congregated at the back of the large space; the latter two were dressed in full on Disney Villain regalia.
"Seems I'm not the only one in costume," Emma muttered so only Regina could hear.
The brunette smiled at the blonde's observation as she moved over to speak with the other women, and Emma took the opportunity to take in the surrounding space.
Central to the barn, a large square had been drawn in the dirt. At each of the corners was a circle with a symbol drawn in the centre; Emma assumed they were the magical symbols for the 4 elements – but they could have been hieroglyphs for all she knew.
As she watched Regina discussing plans with the other witches, a hollow, sick feeling formed in the blonde's stomach and she swallowed thickly.
This is really happening.
"Second thoughts?" Gold asked, appearing at her side.
"You have that package for me?" Emma asked, not taking her eyes off of the brunette on the other side of the room.
When Gold didn't answer however, the blonde turned to face him and was presented with a fancy looking envelope. He appeared to have just pulled it out of the, now open, book he was carrying.
It looked to Emma, like a spell book.
That doesn't bode well.
She took the envelope and turned it over in her hands. It was a gold with a red wax stamp, and it wasn't addressed to anybody.
"Who's it for?" She voiced her thoughts, only to be met with a stony glare from the imp. "Ok," she said with a sarcastic lilt as she tucked the envelope into her tunic. "Forget I asked."
"You recall my instructions?"
"Find the cave with the twisty vine things, leave it there and never go back," Emma answered his question with little enthusiasm. "That about the sum of it?"
"Enter the cave obscured by vines, open the door using a switch below the alter and place the envelope inside," Gold corrected her.
"Right," she responded. Emma knew exactly what he wanted her to do, it wasn't rocket science; she just enjoyed making him sweat. "Gotcha."
"Well then," Gold snapped the book shut. "Darkness is approaching."
As the pawnbroker then left to round up the other women, a shiver ran down the blonde's spine. There was something about the way he had said 'darkness is approaching', that made Emma's skin crawl.
It's probably nothing. She reasoned; Gold had always been one for theatrics.
Emma turned her attention to her family who all hovered on the periphery of the square. None of them had roles to play in her journey back, however all of them had wanted to be present.
She was going to miss them all, dearly.
Behind her family, across the fields, the sun was setting; they were running out of time to say their goodbyes.
With a heavy heart, Emma tossed her bag into the centre of the square and as Regina and the other women took up their positions at each of the four corners, the blonde strode towards her family.
"You'll be fine," David said, reading her mind and instantly enveloping his daughter in a hug. "Just stay away from ogres."
"And Evil Queens," Snow added as she pulled her daughter towards her. "Remember she's not our Regina," she gave her daughter a squeeze before releasing her. "You can do this, Emma. I know you can."
"Have fun eating chimera butt," Henry, now at the age where public displays of emotion embarrassed him, kicked at the dirt with his shoe and tried to hide behind his own humour.
"I can bring some back for you, you know." Emma teased. "Just say the word."
"No," Henry laughed, looking up at her through his floppy hair. "I'm good."
"C'mere kid," Emma grabbed him into a fierce hug. "Look after your mom for me, okay?"
"Sure ma," Henry said as she released him and ruffled his hair. "Be careful not to step on a bug."
"World without Velcro?" Emma asked, with a smirk.
"World without Velcro," he nodded with a smile.
"Got it," she pointed and winked at him for effect. "No bug crushing."
She turned then to Regina, who had been watching her goodbyes with a mournful expression on her face.
Emma smiled solemnly and made her way over and took the brunette's gloved hands in her own. The west facing barn meant the red glow of the setting sun fell upon the brunette's face and Emma thought Regina had never look more beautiful.
"Regina I-" Emma started, but faltered; her feelings were too big for words.
"I know," Regina nodded and smiled, her eyes glazing with tears. "Me too."
"I need you in your positions!" Gold called from somewhere behind them and Emma didn't need to be touching the brunette to know that she was fighting the urge to fireball him.
"Try not to kill him while I'm gone," Emma joked. "We kinda need him to bring me back."
"Well then," the brunette nodded and squeezed the blonde's fingers. "Now that's two things I have to look forward to happening in 30 days."
They both smiled broadly, before Emma moved in for fierce hug.
"I love you, Regina," she whispered into the brunette's hair and to the blonde's surprise, there was no stiffness or awkwardness from the Mayor at all.
Reluctantly, Emma pulled back with slight confusion in her expression, only to be met with a warm, loving smile from the brunette.
"I love you too, Emma."
Before Emma knew what was happening, the brunette's lips were on hers.
The muttering and gasps of the barns other occupants faded as Emma completely lost herself in the sensation of being loved. Her heart swelled, her mind whirled and she soaked up everything the brunette was giving her.
The emotions felt more controlled than at the mansion.
This was what would get her through the next 30 days.
This was the goodbye she had needed.
Eventually, just as the sun disappeared on the horizon and the barn was plunged into darkness, they parted.
The inky blackness successfully concealed the blush which now coloured the saviour's usually pale cheeks.
Without taking her eyes off of the blonde, Regina waved her hand and released a fireball which illuminated several strategically placed torches around the barn.
The two women stared at each other for another beat, before Emma finally forced herself to turn away and address Gold.
"Alright," she said with finality. "Where do you need me?"
The elements of earth, air, fire and water appeared in magical streams of green, purple, red and blue; they collided with a loud crack in the air above the Saviours head. There was black smoke, the tell-tale tingle of magic and then for a beat…nothing.
The four witches stood silently, their hands outstretched towards the space above Emma, but no visible magic poured out.
Regina watched as the blonde, still standing beneath where the streams had collided, looked to the brunette first and then to Gold; a confused look on her face.
She thought it hadn't worked.
She obviously wasn't feeling what Regina now was.
The four witches were now connected; a strange, invisible energy surrounded them. It swopped around the space between them, moving from one woman to the next. Each passing became faster until it swirled so fast that Regina felt it permanently residing around her body.
"Now!" Gold bellowed and the brunette felt a sharp jolt of power; it moved quickly from her toes to her spine; and she felt the floor disappear beneath her. She watched as the women around her levitated upright too, a glowing light, the colour of their magic, created an aura around their floating bodies. Each looked as surprised as she, before one by one, starting with Zelena, their heads flew back as a surge of magic escaped their throats. Regina was powerless to stop it. She felt the burn at the back of her throat, before everything went black.
"Regina!" The brunette heard the blonde calling her.
She was laying on the ground.
She saw Emma's bag drop to the floor and saw the blonde's feet moving towards her.
"Hold your positions!" Gold shouted from somewhere in the background and the Saviours movements stopped.
"Regina!" Emma called again.
"Regina, get up!" Mal shouted from across the room.
The brunette raised her head.
The other women were still up on their feet, a steady stream of light feeding a blinking, unstable vortex above the Saviours head.
They needed her.
Emma looked terrified, her gaze fixed on Regina. Unwavering.
With all the energy she could muster, the brunette got to her feet.
"I'm fine, Emma," she said.
And weirdly, she was.
Whatever had just happened had left her system as quickly as it appeared.
With renewed energy, Regina joined the other women with her power and the vortex levelled out.
Emma visibly relaxed, however still looked as confused.
"How the hell do I get up there?" She asked, looking up at the vortex. "Do I jump or something?"
"Wait for it," Gold answered. "On the count of three ladies, lower your arms."
Emma picked up her bag and looked at her family; they watched what was happening, their expressions a mixture of fear and pride.
Emma and Regina locked gazes and the brunette glimpsed sheer determination in the blonde's eyes.
This is going to work.
With a sweep of their arms, all three women simultaneously pulled the vortex down and over the saviour and she disappeared in an instant.
Regina fell to her knees. Her face was wet from tears she didn't realise had been falling. Emma was gone.
The other women around her looked similarly exhausted.
She felt a supportive hand on her shoulder and looked up to see Henry and Snow standing at her side and it offered her some comfort to know that they were there for her.
She smiled softly at them and Henry helped her get to her feet.
"She'll come back, Mom." Her son promised, with confidence. "Our family," he looked over his shoulder at his grandparents. "We always find each other."
Regina smiled more broadly and pulled her son in for a hug. Snow shared her sentiment; however, David still hadn't moved since the vortex closed. He had a perplexed expression on his face.
"David?" Snow asked, moving to his side.
He looked to Snow, then to Regina, then back to Snow again.
"Emma," he said, his frown deepening.
"What about her, honey?" She placed a comforting hand on his arm. "What's wrong?"
Prince Charming shook his head, as if he were trying to dislodge something irritating.
"Emma," he said again slowly, his eyes narrowed in thought. "…and Regina?"
"Uh," the Mayor uttered, her face flushing red.
David didn't know.
Everything was black, but Emma knew she was falling.
She was spinning and turning and twisting but there was no breeze against her face, no wind in her hair; there was just the sensation of her stomach dropping, like it would on a fairground ride.
Her guts churned.
She wasn't sure how much more she could take.
Suddenly, a light appeared ahead, and she appeared to be hurtling towards it at lightning speed.
Then the light was everywhere; it was blinding, and she closed her eyes against the glare as she felt herself slowing to a stop.
When the light mellowed, she found herself on a dusty path, surrounded in lush woodland.
Well, that was anticlimactic, Emma thought, and she was thankful for it. She'd half expected that she'd fall from the sky and land on her ass.
She looked around her in awe as she padded down her body, partly to make sure that she was still all there and partly to be sure that she was still herself.
"Holy shit balls!" She finally exclaimed, dropping her bag to the floor. "It actually worked!"
Her excitement, however, was short lived.
As the blonde took a step back backwards, still taking in her surroundings, she both heard and felt a crunch under her foot.
"Uh-oh," she cringed as she looked down and cautiously lifted her boot.
The remains of a large beetle type insect were now both on the ground and stuck to the bottom of her shoe; the two halves connected by a lot of yellow goo.
So, there you have it. Emma is now in the past 'eek!'
Hope you liked it.
As always, your comments are welcomed (craved, actually)
And thank you to those of you that took the time to watch our short film Little Love - especially to Juliet Rocks for her lovely comment on You Tube! Thank you, so much 😊