3 Years Later

It was impossible.

Regina stared at the blonde woman in the red leather jacket and studied her. This was certainly the daughter of Snow White and Charming. She had her mother's face and her father's eyes.

And she looked exactly the same she as she did in the picture that her so called hit men had taken three years ago. Well, other than the brown hair of course.

The sound of Henry's…her son's footsteps faded towards the house. The girl stared at her, not bothering to hide the fact that she knew and understood the awkwardness of the situation.

How did she survive? Regina still had that picture of her lying dead in the truck. She knew this was the same girl because she knew her face better than her own. Had her…hired help tricked her? Taken mercy on the girl they had no reason to kill? It wouldn't be the first time and she knew that would be her luck.

Did this girl know that Regina had been sending people out to kill her all her life?

Was that why she was here?

Was she going to kill her for making her life miserable when she was growing up?

Regina was aware that the silence had stretched for too long and she snapped out of her shock. There was a good chance that this…Emma didn't know who she was or what she'd tried to do. She needed to keep playing ignorant until she had the full story on what Emma knew and what she didn't, "Y-You're Henry's birth mother."

The girl looked like she would rather crawl into the ground and die but instead she let out an uneasy, "Hi."

So she didn't know. No one could fake that sort of ignorance.

Regina tried to keep her face blank as she stared her down.

The savior was here.

But if she was the savior, then why wasn't the curse broken? She must not want to stay. Maybe if Regina could nudge her out the door by staking her claim on her son and letting Emma know that she was just a strict mother and Emma had no business with him then Emma could get on with her life.

The sheriff said something behind her but she ignored him.

"How would you like some of the best apple cider you ever tasted?" she said with a smile. Too bad it wasn't poisonous.

She would ease Emma out. And if it all backfired on her then Regina could wait until no one was suspecting anything….

…and then she would kill her.

Perhaps if she wanted something done right then she should do it herself.

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Gold knew the moment she came into town. Well, he didn't know the MOMENT she did but he knew it would be on her birthday, which was yesterday.

He'd closed up shop that day. He postponed rent and claimed he was ill just because he knew that going from building to building meant that he'd spot her eventually. He just wanted to see her. He wanted to make sure that all his hard work was for something and that she was safe. He had no doubt that she met Regina if the rumors he'd heard about how she came here were truth. Henry had run off to find her. Gold wished that he'd thought of putting the idea in Henry's head but Henry always managed to stay far away from him.

The inn was his last stop and he was starting to lose hope of seeing her until he saw a strange yellow….what on earth was that thing? It was unlike any car that he had ever seen.

She was at the inn. Good. If she was at the inn then it meant she was settling down. The rumors he'd also heard about her leaving town were false. This would no doubt irritate Regina if she knew who she was. She would try to drive her out of town and hang herself with her own actions when Regina's attempts just made Emma wish to stay more.

Regina was stupid like that.

He walked in behind her while Granny was checking her in. She'd changed her hair to a shade of blonde now. He wondered why, but women in this place were so fickle. Ruby changed her hair several times a month. If it wasn't for the curse freezing her in place, he was certain that she'd be bald by now.

She was also too thin. Gods, how was she supposed to fight Regina and the rest of the dragons if she was a toothpick in tight designer jeans?

OH well, he'd take what he could get. He was elated to see her. She was safe, she was alive. He had won that against Regina. He still had an infinitely long way to go; Emma still needed a lot of training but that could easily be handled now that he didn't have to drive across the country just to see her.

"Emma," he said and got her attention. She looked over at him and he could happily say that it was so nice to let her see him in his actual self on his terms and his playground.

She looked so world weary and yet so innocent. He knew that look as one he'd had himself once.

He nodded, "What a lovely name."

She didn't look bothered by him. He wanted to tell her everything. He wanted to tell her how much her parents had loved her and how far he'd gone to keep her safe. But he had a feeling that with all the things he'd done…she wouldn't see the sacrifices that he'd made for her in the same light as he did, "Thanks."

And he smiled.

The End.