A/N: Every time I try to write my other story I always get distracted. Yay for having the attention span of Goldfish! Anyway this story is set in Storybrooke; I hope you enjoy! R&R

Disclaimer: I do not own Once Upon a Time.

~8~8~

Regina could not suppress an infuriated frown upon her sharp features as she marched briskly through the cold dimly lit hall of the police station. The hand that clutched her large black purse was curled so tightly she wouldn't have been surprised to see five holes torn through the supple leather when she moved her hand away.

Despite the moment of humiliation she had forced unto the always confident Mr. Gold his words, so angrily spoken, still had truth to them.

"You're never going to beat me, you'll never be stronger."

Even now his words made her purse her pink lips and almost hiss in anger like a serpent. He was right; they both knew it, which was the most upsetting part, some how she could not best his power. Even before this cozy little existence in Storybrooke, he had always possessed more power than her as the feared and devious Rumpelstiltskin.

Long ago she had searched volumes of dark books, asked the most knowing of magicians and conjurers, traveled far in wide to find a cure to rid her of the lanky fiend, and had found nothing that would help her gain power over his.

But there had to be a way, if life had taught her anything it was that there was always a way to overcome a hurdle at obtain their desire. Everyone had their weakness, the only challenge was to find it and exploit it.

Faint light from the overcast sky filtered through two small bullet proof windows on the steel double doors of the entrance to the police station like sightless dull eyes as Regina pushed the door open. The day was gray, and the sidewalk and street slick with fresh rain that brought a pleasant smell all about Storybrooke.

As always when looking upon her town the Madame Mayor could not help but have a thin superior smirk play upon her lips at her work from long ago. She had the whole place under her thumb; it danced to the tune she told it to with her hand on every pulse that beat inside her domain. Whenever out an about the town it let her know that while she may not be as powerful as the deviant Mr. Gold, she by no means was weak.

Her smirk faded as she looked across the wet road to see that thorn in her side Emma Swann and her adoptive son purchasing ice-cream from a gaily decorated cart of white and blue that seemed out of place given the dreary inclement weather.

The pair was laughing as they licked their colorful cones, and huddled under the ice-cream cart umbrella, sharing some private conversation that had Henry smiling from ear to ear, and miss Swann grinning patiently and perhaps even a bit of happiness at his words as her biological spawn prattled on a mile a minuet more than likely with his disturbing knowledge of the truth.

Regina's eyes narrowed as she zoned in upon Emma hatefully, instead of discouraging the ridiculous notions of a ten year old boy, the disturbing little spit-fire actually listened! What transformed the normally skeptical suspicious woman to veer from her nature? Was it love for Henry to simply go against her nature and humor him despite his ludicrous words?

The sudden thought brought a sort of brilliance to the hard mouthed major as she watched the pair. She knew all too well love was the biggest helper, or destroyer to another. It changed people's natures into something they never thought they ever could be. She knew from experience, it was the most dangerous things to be in or have. Love; yes perhaps that was a weakness of one Mr. Gold.

Looking down at her gold trimmed wristwatch she found that she'd not spent ten minutes in and out of the police station for her friendly chat with the calm Mr. Gold. Another smirk came creeping into her lips as she set a brisk pace down the wet gray sidewalk, Emma's time with Henry would be right about up after she planned on distracting and weakening the persuasive Mr. Gold from getting in her way anymore.

As the cold drops began to fall from the sky once more, Regina flipped up her black umbrella as she strolled down the street. She couldn't help by chuckle at the irony of the weather and her plot that she had for so long been saving for a rainy day.

~8~8~

Annabelle French never received many visitors from the asylum. Most of the time it was a quick peek of eyes from a nurse or an attendant through the small rectangular steel plate just to make sure she was still alive and present then harshly slammed back down with only the muffled sound of footsteps to tell her it wasn't her imagination.

Needless to say, she was surprised when the thick padded door opened fully revealing a nurse wearing a crisp white uniform, her hair neatly pinned in a brown bun, with thin lines of crows feet around her eyes, squinting at her as if she were some foreign animal, and another woman wearing a black pinstripe woman's business suit smiling at her as if she were some sort of prize she had found tucked away into a corner, alone and forgotten. Annabelle didn't know why, but the thin smile felt familiar and terrifying all at once.

"How are you feeling today, Miss French?" The woman in black asked her cordially.

Annabelle swallowed hard, but nodded at the pair. "Very well."

"I should hope so." Now the woman in black seemed to smirk at her as if knowing some sort of secret. Did she know something? "You're going to be released today." She finished pleasantly.

Annabelle couldn't believe it? She sat there blinking at the pair of women as if not registering the words. "R-released?" She echoed in disbelief. How, when they had told her she'd be in an institute the rest of her days?

"Yes." The woman clapped her hands together once briskly, as if it was the only amount of excitement she'd deem to ever show. "We've contacted your father and once he's signed your paperwork and filed for your meds you'll be shipped out of here my sundown."

She was looking at her in that odd way again, with a hint of satisfaction of something gone right. Whatever it was Anna was just happy to finally be able to see the outside world again, to be apart of it and feel like she had a place.

As her door closed the brown haired beauty stood up on the twin sized bed the served her to look out of the tiny rectangular window right above it. Of course it was built with hazy glass so that it was difficult to see anything outside of it but certain variations of colors such as greens and grays, but soon Anna promised herself, soon she would see it clearly; she would finally be free of her dungeon.

As Anna pondered her new found freedom, the Mayor could not help but feel a sort of reminiscent cunning like the days she had spun the webs of treachery in her kingdom as the dark queen. She hadn't done something like this in a long time, nor had she dared to in those lands against Rumpel. If it all worked out, she was certain Mr. Gold be out of her hair for a very long time, if not for good.

~8~8~

"Papa!" Anna cried as she raced out of the building sturdy dull building she had called home so long.

The night was crisp despite the on and off rain that had everyone bundling up in their warmest jackets to ward off cold, but Anna embraced the chill and the wet, having been so long apart from it. She was dressed simply in a gray sweatshirt too big for her and some old jeans that her father had managed to drum up for her.

Her father, Moe, looked a little worse for wear; puffy gray bags under his eyes red around the edges, his skin almost a sickly yellow, and gouty all about his bloated form. He looked sick or tired, perhaps both, but him to brighten when he saw his Anna rushing out the white hospital doors.

"Oh my girl!" He bubbled as she leapt into his arms almost strangling him with a hug. How he missed her, how he regretted ever having her put in an institution. His life had never been the same without his darling Anna, mental problems or not.

She wrapped her arms around his form never wanting to let go in fear she'd awake back in the same padded institution room. "I'm so glad to be out of the institution, I can't wait to go home."

"Home…yes…" Moe replied hesitantly, but Anna could tell something was wrong by his hesitancy.

Looking up at him with misunderstanding, he could only manage a small sad smile. "Not what it was, I'm afraid. Hard times, my girl."

"It's okay, Papa." She wrapped him in another hug, no matter where home was now it was most certainly better than a basement asylum lock up that had felt more like a dungeon than a room.

'Home' turned out to be a back room in the worst reputable motel in Storybrooke. It was a place right on the town limits, with a flickering old neon sign that was half broken reading: The Cloak and Dagger Motel. It had a reputation of being a cockroach infested little rat hole run by a cantankerous old coot named Laffue who magically managed to make enough to stay in business.

As her father had explained it, he'd had to foreclose on their old apartment when his truck was taken by one Mr. Gold. Now with no way of business he'd managed to cut a deal with the miser of a motel keep working back breaking labor to fix up old junk and in return be allowed to stay the worst room for only a little rent. It was a horrid affair, with the greedy old man leeching everything he could out of her father, but for now, they had a place to stay…barely.

"Home sweet home." Moe tried to laugh, but it failed pitifully in a coughing gurgle as he fiddled with the keys trying to jiggle the half broken lock to opening.

Anna grinned at her father softly as they walked into the cramped space. It had two old beds, a table, one chair and a shade- less lamp all jammed together. "It's a palace." She replied doing a twirl in the small confines that made her father break into a smile.

He could only laugh quietly and shake her head at his daughter's antics. Same old Anna, never letting a dire situation gets her down. And of course, he had to admit, it didn't seem so bad with her around.