Author's Note: This fic was written directly after seeing episode 3 (Snow Falls), so anything that happens after said episode and somehow clashes with this fic is well eh, not my fault. (I even tried to make the fic take place in as little time as possible to avoid this.) With that I must also warn you that there are some minor spoilers for episodes 1-3.


Walking down the road of shattered remnants of your life, trying to put the pieces together, you cover yourself with your arms. The night is cold and the haze of your breath in the air only immerses you in your thoughts more. All these new people, all these new faces and voices; you're not used to it and you doubt you can arrange them in the right order. Mary saw you frowning as you sat in the kitchen, sipping that delicious camomile tea of hers, and asked whether you wanted to talk about it. You declined the offer and walked outside to "get some fresh air". Still walking in the same general direction, you're not even sure you can find your way back by now, but you don't care. You need to think, and after all, it's not like you've ever had much of a home in your life, so who cares if you're on your own again for a while. You do better that way.

You fail to realize you've entered the forest and are almost out of Storybrooke, until you trip and fall down on the floor of leaves, so unexpectedly torn out of your thoughts. You curse under your breath, get up with visible difficulty and brush leaves and dirt off your knees. Then you stand frozen. It's the wolf again. There it is, staring right through you as if you were a ghost. It growls and you don't think twice before running in the opposite direction.

It's still behind you. You can hear its paws hitting the ground in a periodic rhythm. You swear to keep yourself from looking back and immediately break the promise. It only takes this one time that you falter to stumble and fall and watch helplessly as the wolf's fangs dig into the calf of your leg. Frankly, you are too scared and focused to feel it, though, and you quickly grab a fallen branch and slam it on the wolf's head. It whimpers and takes a few steps back, glaring at you, its teeth sticking out like pearls in the sea of blue and black.

"Miss Swan!" You hear a voice calling out from behind you but can't look back. You can't get up, either. You can only fight.

Suddenly, bright light fills your vision. It's a torch; no, someone's waving a flaming branch in the animal's face. The wolf howls and runs off, and when the improvised torch is put out, you can make out the identity of your savior.

"Of course you would do that – run off, alone, who knows where in the middle of the night! You irrensponsible idiot! This isn't Boston, Miss Swan. You're lucky I was here to rescue your incompetent behind. Get up," Regina commands sternly and suddenly you feel like you understand Henry's situation a bit better.

You attempt to get up and wince in pain when you try to shift your weight on your right foot. You look down to see blood trickling down your leg and stifle a few choice words because having Regina around makes you feel like she would make you rinse your mouth with soap if you let them out. "How did you find me?" you inquire when you gather to courage to look her in the eye.

"I was returning home from my meeting with Mr. Hopper when I heard a cry coming from here. And you're welcome, by the way," she scoffs and shoots you a look, not bothering to help you get on your feet the least bit.

You frown at that; you have no recollection of crying out. "So why didn't you just let it kill me when you saw it was me? It's not like we're BFF's," you mutter, ignoring her remark.

You're now both walking – well, she's walking, you're limping – back into town, which is closer than you thought. She looks genuinely shocked. "You really think that of me? Please, Miss Swan, I'm not too fond of you, but I am by no means trying to get you killed."

"Well, you did have me arrested. Multiple times," you scoff. "Doesn't take a genius to figure out you'd rather have me out of the way."

She sighs and throws her hands up in the air. "Fine! You got me. The only reason I saved you was so I could bewitch you, spirit away your memories and make you my faithful servant."

You freeze on the spot, not entirely sure where exactly the sarcasm begins and where it ends.

Regina doesn't seem to notice your uncertainty and continues. "I need to get the Sheriff to get rid of that beast," she says to herself.

"Yeah. Yeah, that would be nice," you respond and shake your head at your stupidity. Now you owe her. Oh damn. It's like you've sold your soul to the devil.

She leads you all the way to the hospital and gets ready to part ways with you when you realize something. "You know, your job ended back there. You could have let me get here on my own; I've been here before," you tell her and refuse to stop a grin from forming on your face.

"With your impeccable sense of orientation, you would probably wind up in my bed instead and I'd have to nurse you to health myself," she narrows her eyes at you to make it clear she would also make you pay for all the expenses.

"Wishful thinking?" you reply, grinning from ear to ear like a child who is waiting for their teacher to sit on that farting pillow.

"I beg your pardon!" Regina's jaw drops so low you think she's going to have to pick it off the ground. "It's enough I take the time to help Henry when something happens—there's no way I'd ever break my back for—you!"

"Uh-huh," you mumble, still smiling and slowly disappearing behind the door. "Good night, Mayor. Don't worry, I'll be back soon for some more apples. Thanks, by the way!"

You can still see her rolling her eyes at you in exasperation. "Good night, Miss Swan. I'm counting on it."