Once...And Forever Ch 1 Gold, Lockes, and Barrys

A/N Okay, I've done a potentially dumb thing, but yeah well. This spawned from not being able to make up mind about my fave ship. Skin Deep really helped me with that, as did Hat Trick, but anyways... Let's pretend for a moment that we never saw Belle at the end of Skin Deep, and that Emma and Jefferson never fought it out. This goes slightly AU, but I tried to stick with the story as much as possible. Also this is my first Once fic, so if it's not wonderful, no curses...please. ;) Oh also anything you see in italics with is a dream sequence. I hope you all enjoy it...

The alarm clock blared beside the bed. With a groan, and a few muttered curse words Emma Swan swatted at the offending noise-maker and rolled over pulling the blankets back over her head. Another nine minutes of blissful slumber awaited, and man did she need it! After she'd gotten home the night before she'd been plagued by a legion of very weird dreams.

Ever since Graham's death she'd found herself wondering in strange places in her dreams, surrounded by unfamiliar sights and sounds. She never saw her own face, it was always as if she were living it, and seeing it all through her own eyes. She felt everything her dream-self did, and it was very unnerving.

With a sigh she snuggled deeper into her pillow, and drifted back into that warm cozy place between awake and asleep and willed her mind to shut up so she could steal few more moments. Just then she heard the door open a crack, and then, a feather-light tapping behind her. If she'd didn't know better she'd think a bird was tapping on the door instead of a person. She knew that knock as if she had been hearing it for years. She turned to peer over her shoulder.

"Have you always been such a morning person Mare?" Emma inquired groggily, herself being a perpetual night person. The only good thing about early mornings was sunrise. Emma loved to watch a good sunrise every now and then, but that generally only happened if she had been up all night. Her roommate giggled at her.

"I have been as long as I can remember. You were out late last night," she remarked politely. "Did you make up with that writer guy? What's-his-name, uh August?" she leaned on the door-frame and sipped her cocoa. Emma sat up and smirked. She and August were so not gonna happen. Not after the crap he'd pulled. He'd marched up to her and kissed her in the middle of the street and when she'd tried to get away from him he wouldn't let go of her. Jefferson had got him in a headlock and dragged him off of her. After which she'd happily punched the idiot in the face and berated him daring to touch her, saying next time she'd skin him alive earning her a chuckle from Jefferson.

"I wish a guy was the reason I came dragging in late," she sighed. "No, I had a call at the station. It looks like we may have a prowler in town. Some one broke into the Barrys' place while they were out last night. They say that nothing of value was taken, but a some of their food was missing, and things were strewn about, and knocked over. I didn't know whether to call it a robbery or a vandalism, and of course, no one saw, or heard anything which made my job so much easier," she said sarcastically. Mary-Margaret nodded understandably.

"Well, fighting the good fight isn't ever easy, even here in a small town like Storybrooke. Come on, there's a cup of cocoa with your name on it, if you want it," Mary-Margaret said, waving her cup enticingly at Emma.

"Way to get me to get up mom," Emma teased tossing back the covers and swinging her legs over the side of the bed. Mary-Margaret chuckled.

"Ha ha funny girl, come on or you'll be late," she reminded her. Emma nodded, and Mary-Margaret walked away leaving Emma to ponder the dream she'd been having.

She had been walking down an unfamiliar road, and then she turned at a noise and saw the mayor, wearing the most god-awful outfit she had ever seen. All black, of course, to match her heart, and her general mood most of the time. She had smiled at her, and a chill, like ice-water, had run down her spine. Then it had changed. She was sitting in a dark cold room, and outside it sounded like the place was about to crash down around her. Someone was smashing and cursing and banging around somewhere nearby. The voice she heard didn't sound human. It had been so weird! And the weirdest part of all was it had seemed familiar to her. Less like a dream, and more like a memory. Emma had dreamed of memories before, on the odd occasions she remembered her dreams, but that was not a memory, at least not one of hers. She stood up slowly and made her way down to the kitchen where Mary-Margaret was sitting at the table watching the morning news.

"It's going to rain today," she remarked as Emma sat down and picked up the mug of cocoa, and sipped it slowly to keep from burning her mouth.

"It rains everyday here," Emma grumbled. Storybrooke's weather was dreary most of the time. It did nothing to lift her spirits. Mary-Margaret looked at her and grinned.

"You are in a mood today. Not that you aren't everyday, mind you," she teased. Emma eyed her over her mug and scowled. So she wasn't Little Miss Sunshine, shoot me why doncha?" she thought

"I'm sorry I'm not flitting around singing show tunes this dismal morning," she replied dryly. Mary-Margaret laughed.

"Don't be so grumpy. You need to have a little fun you know. You've been doing nothing but police work forever now," she said, and Emma shrugged.

"I'm not allowed to see the reason I'm staying here. You'd be grumpy too," she observed and Mary-Margaret made a sympathetic noise.

"I know sweetie. Don't lose heart, Regina will come around. You'll see," she reassured her. Emma rolled her eyes.

"I made a complete ass out of myself, and made her look like Mother freaking Teresa! She wonder-mayor, and I'm a schmuck. I never should have trusted Siddney! He had to know what was going on, I could feel it! I should have listened to my gut," she groused. It was true. The man had been working against her the whole time, and he had almost cost Mary-Margaret her freedom, the bastard! "I won't make that mistake again," she declared downing her cocoa in one drink. It warmed her to her toes and she would need it for the walk to work. She grabbed her hat and scarf from the hook, and put them on. "I'm going."

"Have a good day. Hope you catch that prowler," Mary-Margaret called after her as she exited the room. Emma waved over her shoulder and kept on walking. Most mornings Mary left before she did, but today was a professional development day, so she didn't have to leave until ten.

When she stepped outside she shivered. It wasn't raining yet, but the air was damp, and held the early morning chill Storybrooke always had. She longed for days in the sun, on the beach. She hoped spring would come soon. It was her favorite season, next came hot summer. She missed Florida sometimes. She'd love to take Henry to Disney, and to the beach. She could do with some rays herself. She was looking paler than the moon nowadays. Glancing around the dreary streets she sighed. Another day, another dollar.

Her cruiser had needed some repairs, and her car was having bodywork done. The cruiser would be ready that afternoon, but for now she was walking to work. Fun, fun. That meant having to speak to everyone she met on the the street. Not that she was an anti-social person, but she was a bit uneasy ever since the playground fiasco, and some of the townsfolk were a little upset at her for trying to drag the mayor's name through the mud. In truth she was mad at herself for doing it. From now on she was just going to do her job, and try to go about seeing Henry the legal way.

She really wished she had something to do with her hands, or eyes so she could pretend she didn't see the passers by. She'd read a newspaper or something, but reading while walking could get you hurt. Her luck she'd walk into a mailbox, or fall down a manhole, or worse, walk into the mayor and knock her down a manhole. Happy as that would make her she could see it now. "Sheriff Swan 28 is accused of attempting to mangle our lady mayor. News at 11." Emma smiled to herself. It would almost be worth it.

"Good morning Sheriff Swan," called Granny from across the street. Ruby was walking with her.

"Hey Emma!" Ruby called as well. Emma smiled and waved at her friend, but kept walking. She didn't want to get roped into a conversation with Granny. The woman could talk the leg off of a wooden horse. Not to mention she was still a little peeved at her for the way she'd treated Mary-Margaret during the whole affair debacle.

"Any word on who robbed the Barry place?" Granny called. She shook her head in reply, and kept walking, trying her best not to look like she was avoiding them.

"Not yet," she called over her shoulder. "I have some more digging to do today. I'd lock my doors and windows to be safe, just in case," Ruby gave her thumbs up.

"Will do. See ya!" she called. Grateful to her friend for ushering her grandma along. Ruby understood at least. She did live with the woman after all.

Emma had to go back by the Barrys' house and look around. The lighting in Ben Jr's room wasn't the best in the world, and most of the crime had been committed in there. She began to go over what she'd discovered the night before. The lock had been picked, so whoever it was was a good thief, except that nothing of value had been taken. Just food, why food? That was the red herring here. Who in the hell, broke into a house as fancy as that and just took food? Not expensive food either. Most of it was junk food, which made her think of a kid. She thought of the little Zimmer kids stealing to survive. She wondered if maybe there were more little lost kids running around hiding in this town.

Emma had become distracted by her thoughts, and wasn't watching where she was going. It cost her as she barreled right into someone. That someone had been carrying a briefcase which had hit the sidewalk and sprung open spilling the contents all over the pavement. Emma immediately scrambled to gather the errant paperwork before the wind could carry it away, and babbling apologies all the while. Then she spotted the shiny wing-tipped shoes of the person she had ploughed into, and looked up, past the well tailored suit and into the amused face of Mister Gold. Of all people she'd just had to walk into him! He didn't seem all that put-out by it though. He switched his cane to the other hand and knelt to help her pick up the papers and put them back into his case.

"Woolgathering dearie?" he asked as he took the papers from her and stuffed them back into the case. Emma swallowed hard, and nodded. She loved his voice, though she'd never admit it to him, or anyone for that matter. And it didn't help matters that he was looking very good this morning, in his long dark coat, and bright blue tie, sunglasses tucked in the collar of his shirt. Of course if she was being honest with herself, he looked good every time she saw him.

"I was thinking about the break-in over at the Barrys' place. Trying to piece it together," she said as he stood and offered his hand to help her to her feet. "Thanks," she told him, and he smiled.

"Try not to over-think it," he suggested. "The answer is probably, right in front of you." he remarked. Emma smirked.

"So, is that a confession then? Considering you are right in front of me," she quipped gesturing up and down in front of him. He chuckled.

"You wound me Miss Swan. You think I'm a thief now?" he asked laying a hand over his heart as if offended. Emma chuckled too.

"Of course not. I know first hand how you feel about thieves," she eyed him, her mouth twisting into a wry smile. He returned it and she cleared her throat. "So anyway, I really didn't get to talk to the Barrys too much. I don't know anything about them, like who'd rob them, and why they'd break into a house like that, and just take food," she caught the look of surprise on his face.

"Food?" he asked. "They are one of the wealthiest families in town, and I know that first hand. They must have all sorts of things a thief would like," he said in disbelief, snapping the briefcase shut. Emma nodded.

"Yeah, no kidding, and get this. Of all the rooms in the house the teenage boy's room was the only one that was damaged, and nothing was taken, just ruined," Emma looked away, befuddlement clouding her face.

"Well that changes things doesn't it?" he mused, looking ironically at her. Emma's brow furrowed in thought.

"What do you mean?" she asked. He shrugged, and gestured in the general direction of their house.

"This was a personal crime. Someone has it in for the boy," he replied. Emma nodded in agreement. She'd considered that, but still.

" But then, if that's the motive... then why take food? Why not just break in and tear up his stuff?" she wondered aloud.

"That is a puzzle isn't it? I haven't a clue, but no matter. You are a capable lass. You'll figure it out soon, I'm sure," he smiled appraisingly at her and she had to return it. He'd called her lass. A lesser woman would have swooned, and on the inside, she did. Just a little, and she made sure not to let it show. He'd never let her live it down.

"Not soon enough for my taste. If you can think of anything that might help, will you give me a call? I don't want this person breaking into anymore houses, on the off chance that this was not their only target," she asked him. He considered her words for a moment, then nodded.

"Of course, I'm always pleased to help you Miss Swan, as long as you do me the same courtesy when the need arises," he looked into her eyes mischievously. She bit her bottom lip, and shook her head at him.

"Ever the opportunist Gold," Emma chided him. He swept a short bow at her, his eyes never leaving hers. He enjoyed the way her lips quirked up on one side when he amused her. His eyes darkened slightly as he thought about her lips. Not a good road to go down, he decided, and grinned at her.

"Ever, my dear," he replied, leaning on his cane. "Well as much as I may desire to stand here with you and chat the morning away, I do have a business to run. You have a lovely day now," he said, and brushed past her, just a hint of his cologne wafting past her nose. She breathed in and stifled a sigh. No one knew about her little crush, and she tried really hard to keep it under her hat. That was all it was after all, just a crush. She knew she was getting a little too old for crushes, but ah hell, she couldn't help it.

Her eyes followed him as he crossed the street, as always limping slightly. She found herself, as she usually did when she was around him, wondering how he had injured his leg, or if he even needed the cane at all. More than once she'd as she thought it was just for show, to make him look like less of a threat. He certainly hadn't needed it while he was pummeling Moe French with it. But that could have been adrenaline, and he had been very upset. He hadn't been faking pain that day he was locked up. Maybe a car accident, she thought. Or maybe he'd played football in high school. Just then he stopped walking.

"It's very rude to stare dearie, captivating though my backside my be," he quipped. Emma's mouth fell open. She had not been looking there! Not that she'd never looked, but she hadn't been looking there then! She huffed indignantly and could hear the laughter in his voice.

"I was looking at your cane! Not your... anything else!" she argued. His chuckle made her want to take the cane from him and if he didn't already, make him need it.

"Oh I believe you dear. I had no idea you were a expert on canes. Tell me what is it you like so much about mine?" he turned and glanced at her over his shoulder. Emma fumed at his mockery. She couldn't think of what to say back.

"Bite me Gold," she said in a low tone. It was lame and childish, but it was better than standing there catching flies.

"Careful what you ask for, Emma," he replied, pronouncing her name very clearly, pausing on each syllable, letting them roll from his lips, before continuing across the street with a little more swagger in his step. And thrice damn him he was making sure she looked there this time! She scowled darkly, turned on her heel, and stormed on down the street.

Oh that man was so... so, ugh! So chokable! Right then and there she decided she didn't care how he injured his leg and would never ponder that again, at least not with him standing right there. God knows the man would probably think she was sizing up his, well anyway she just wouldn't look at him anywhere but in the eyes.

Emma headed over to the Barrys' house to look around a bit more. Their day maid was happy to assist her. She assured Emma that nothing had been touched since the night before, and it had made her job difficult to say the least.

"I haven't been able to clean Ben Jr.'s room, or the kitchen at all today. I hope that you catch the intruder soon," she said as she let Emma upstairs.

The room was, as the maid had said, exactly as it had been the night before. Ben Jr.'s bed was wrecked. The mattress had been pulled off the box springs, and shredded with what seemed to be a hunting knife. Wonderful! Another hunting knife. What ever happened to a butcher knife? What next, a broadsword?

All the posters had been torn down, and crumpled up, and his clothing was pulled out of the closet and dressers, then had been scattered all over the room. There was a family picture on the wall. Ben Jr. looked to be about sixteen, and had dark brown hair, and eyes, and had the same burly build as his father. He had left for a friend's house the night before, and had said he wouldn't be coming home until the culprit had been caught. She really didn't blame the kid, but he was being a brat. He'd been uncooperative last night, refusing to talk to her about anything. She'd figured that he'd want the person responsible behind bars, but he had been more concerned with his safety, than justice.

She looked around at the rubble, and just when she was about to leave, she spotted something shiny snagged on one of the broken bed springs. It looked like a thin golden chain. She moved closer to examine it. It was an intricately woven golden chain, made out of hair.

"Hair!" she exclaimed, and took a plastic bag from her pocket. "Score!" she said gleefully. All of the family members had brown hair, and the maid had red hair! It had to belong to the intruder, in fact it looked like a calling card. A creepy calling card, but still, it was something. Now if she could just find the owner of the hair she'd have her thief. She wrapped up the hair in the plastic bag, and put it in her pocket.

On her way out she would question the maid again. The lady had sworn that there had been no other people in the house that she had seen, but she needed to be sure. She also needed to speak to Mr. and Mrs Barry before she got too excited, but her gut was telling her the hair belonged to the thief, and from now on she'd be trusting her gut.

She wondered why anyone would leave such an intimate thing as that. In her experience hair bracelets were tokens of love, though she'd never understood the romance behind giving someone a lock of your hair. I mean Ewww! Give her flowers, or chocolates, or a puppy for crying out loud! This was like saying here take some of my blood to remember me by, or how about a toenail, yuck!

"At least it's not a heart in a box," she said aloud to the empty room, recalling the grisly evidence Ruby had turned up for her before. She'd take hair over that any day. She headed down to speak to the maid once more, before leaving.

"Sheriff, if you want to catch Mrs. Barry she will be at the ladies auxiliary club until two thirty," the maid informed Emma. She nodded to the maid, and hurried to the ladies club.

Mister Gold headed on to his shop after his brush with his own personal leather-clad disaster. She was almost as good at baiting him as he was her, he thought with a shake of his head. And that had become one of his new favorite pastimes, getting Emma riled, and teasing her mercilessly, and he had to admit, she was lovely when her blue eyes were snapping, and she was breathing fire. Things had really begun to perk up a bit since she arrived. Emma, the long awaited heroine.

He felt confident that she would get down to things soon. She had met the hatter recently, and he had certainly shaken her up, although he could have gone about it differently. When she and Mary-Margaret told him of their adventure he had appeared shocked, but he had known of Jefferson's plight for a while, but there was nothing he could do to fix it. Emma was truly the only one who could.

Everyone's happiness hinged on her, an she was teetering on the edge of belief and disbelief. The idiot Booth had tried and failed in getting her to believe. In fact all the man had succeeded in doing was pissing her off. He'd been tempted to throttle him as he'd done French for putting his hands on her like that. He certainly had no love for the man, the liar. Fortunately her new found friend Jefferson had come to her rescue before he'd had to resort to murder.

It had made him ill to see Booth kissing Emma against her will, and he had say he had wanted to dance a jig when she'd slugged him in the face. She definitely had an arm on her, and he was certainly glad that it had been him she was hitting. The problem was now she was even more grounded in her belief that magic wasn't real.

Gold limped around the counter and sat on the three legged stool behind the register. Another day in seemingly endless hell. He longed to be back home, in the wild countryside, away from all of this suburbia nonsense. He wanted his power back, and his castle. He wanted the queen out of his hair for good. Emma would confront her soon and he wished he could see the outcome. Emma was more powerful than the queen, if she would only see it. He sighed, as if sensing the thought of her in the door walked Regina in all of her regal ferocity.

"Gold, I need a word with you," she said firmly. He glanced up at her and smiled mildly.

"Which word would that be dear? There are so many to choose from," he joked. The woman made his skin crawl. If he pissed her off she may leave sooner. She made a sound of impatience.

"I don't have time for your games Rumpelstiltskin!" she snapped, using his forbidden real name "I have a city to run. I want to know what you know about Kathryn turning up like that. She was gone, I saw to that personally," she said acidly leaning on the counter. He sighed.

"I have no idea Your Majesty. I was a surprised as you were," he wasn't lying. He had no idea that would be the result of his spell. He had a little bit of his magic, but he didn't dare use it openly, for fear the queen would find out.

"You broke our deal! She hissed at him. "You promised that this would be it for her!" he sighed.

"I can only do so much. I suggested planting the key, and she took it. Then came back. You told me to set her up with the D.A. I did that, but it went in her favor. Not my fault," he said with a shrug. "I had to defend her to the best of my ability. I'm not ruining my reputation for your little grudge," he told her defiantly. "It was all going well, until little Kathryn turned up, and you never said to kill her dear. I don't have my powers here, so I'm forced to do things within the system to a point," he held up his hands in surrender. "Have you ever though of letting it die? She is miserable, isn't that enough?" he suggested.

"Never!" the queen spat. "She will pay for what she did to me for the rest of all time!" she declared. Gold shrugged.

"Well, then you should try something else dearie. Another tactic perhaps?" he hedged, picking up a dusting cloth and wiping down a vase that sat nearby. She eyed him.

"I'll think of something. I'm not dealing with you on this matter anymore," she told him, and turned to storm out, slamming the door behind her. His hand flew to his heart in mock-hurt.

"How will I live?" he chortled to himself. He was tired of dealing with her anyway. If she was annoyed with him she'd stay away for awhile.

Mrs Barry was the secretary, and sat behind the table with an Ipad making notes on the meeting. Emma tried not to make a disturbance, but she drew everyone's attention, so she made her way over to Mrs. Barry. The older woman looked anxious, as if Emma's presence would embarrass her, but she waved her closer.

"Hello Sheriff Swan. Have you discovered anything regarding the break in?" Mrs. Barry asked stiffly.

"I may have. First, I need to know if there has been anyone else in the house beside you, your husband, and your son before the break-in," she asked her. "Like, does your son have a girlfriend or anything?"

"Not that I'm aware of. He's never mentioned one," she replied. "You know how children are," she said snidely.

"No, actually I don't Mrs. Barry. I found something in you son's room that would indicate a person with really blonde hair was in there," Emma said, and reached in her pocket to take out the lock of hair she'd discovered.

"Forgive me, but aren't you a blonde Miss Swan?" asked the older woman in a condescending tone. Emma gritted her teeth, and looked up at the woman evenly.

"Real observant of you Mrs. Barry. I am in fact a blonde, but I was not the one who left a hair-bracelet at the crime scene. The thief must have done it, unless you have another explanation?" she fired back, and held up the hair for her to see. The older woman gasped and looked at the hair, then up at Emma in horror.

"What does this mean?" she asked fearfully. Her hands were shaking so hard she had to lay her Ipad down before she dropped it. She was worried about her son In earnest now.

"It means either a secret girlfriend, or maybe an obsessive crush. Look I need your son's cooperation with this," Emma said tucking the hair-bracelet back into her pocket. "He wouldn't talk to me last night, and that makes me suspicious. He may know who this belongs to, and if he does know, it could close this case and it would all be over," Emma said tiredly. Mrs. Barry nodded.

"He is with his friend Jerald right now. Jerald Fowler. If you can wait until I'm finished here I will come with you and we can sort this all out," she replied. Emma nodded.

"That's fine. I'll be outside when you're ready," she said, and turned to walk away, smirking at the look on Mrs. Barrys' face when she'd seen the love knot. That would teach Mrs. Snit to mess with her. She was in no mood for attitude.

Emma sat down on the bottom step and leaned her back against the stone wall. She tried to relax and let her mind wander for a moment. She was still so tired from last night, and today would be just as fun as it had been. Slowly her eyes drifted shut, and she snapped them open.

She could feel stone against her back. It was cold and damp, but the sky must have darkened. There were shadows everywhere. She was alone, and she could hear the sound Regina's voice telling someone where she was, followed by the sound of running feet. Fear crept up her spine. The fear that no help was coming. She was well and truly alone.

Suddenly the doors burst open and she wanted to scream but her voice failed her. Men carrying torches came in the room and spied her sitting on the floor. One of them grinned a sinister grin.

"Here she is lads. Just as the witch told us she would be. Alright there pretty?" he sneered. "What sort of tricks did the bastard teach you eh?" he came closer to her, and hauled her to her feet. "I'll wager we can teach you much better than he could," he let his eyes rake over her body and she turned away, repulsed by his advances. He grabbed her face and forced her to look at him. She spit in his face, and he slapped her.

"You should be grateful beauty, we are a step up from him." he snarled. "Now lads, lets find out if beauty really is skin deep," the other men laughed and advanced on her as well. Emma struggled and got loose from her captor with a well aimed kick, and ran towards the only unguarded exit, the open window.

She looked down, and found that she was in a high tower. The ground was far below, and shrouded in mist. She took a gulping breath and looked back. They were almost to her. It was now or never, and certain death was better than than being left in their hands. She flung herself backwards, and closed her eyes. It almost felt like she were flying. The wind rushed beneath her, whipping her hair into her face as she drifted, almost on slow motion towards her impending death. With her eyes still closed the ghost of a memory swam before her eyes and the feel of a kiss brushed her lips. She smiled.

"I'm sorry, I love you," she heard herself whisper into the night, hoping that the wind would carry those words to the one that they were meant for, and that he would hear them, and believe them.

Strangely enough, she never felt the pain that should have come, there was only a sudden plunge into darkness. The whole world, all color and sound was just, gone. Then just like that the world grew brighter...

"Emma?" a voice cut through the haze of the dream and the light around her grew brighter still, until she was staring up at a overcast steel gray sky. The voice came again. "Emma, are you alright?" the speaker was David Nolan. He was kneeling in front of her with a worried look on his face. Emma sat up and shook her head to shake the memory of the dream from it. Across the street someone cleared their throat and walked away. Emma looked around David, and found herself, for the second time that day looking at the backside of Mister Gold. Had he been watching her sleep? She didn't know if she should be comforted because he had been keeping an eye on her, or creeped out because he had been, well, keeping an eye on her. She shook her head again and looked back at David.

"Hey there," she tried to say lightheartedly. "What are you doing in this neck of the woods?" she asked, stretching her neck til it popped. He grinned good-naturedly.

"Waking sleeping maidens, I guess," he replied with a shrug. She chuckled. "Are you okay Emma?" he asked, standing and pulling her up with him as he stood. She sighed.

"Yeah, just tired. I was up almost all night last night after that break-in," he nodded.

"I thought when I saw you lying there that you'd passed out or something. Then you started thrashing around like you were having a bad dream. Are you sure you are going to be alright?" he asked again. She nodded.

"I'll be fine dad," she quipped and he chuckled. Mary-Margaret had filled him in on the whole Snow- Charming-Emma family situation. He'd found it to be very cute and commented that he hoped if he ever had a daughter, that she would grow up to be like Emma one day.

"Well, you know how I worry pumpkin," he teased back, and rumpling her hair. Emma laughed, and shook her head, pushing him away playfully. David had been a good friend lately. After he had come through with his testimony for Mary-Margaret, and they had made up, somewhat, he's been around more. Emma liked his jokes, although most of them were so bad they made her roll her eyes.

" Seriously, all I need is a nap. A longer one I mean," she reassured him, brushing off her jeans and glancing at her watch. The day was getting away from her. David smiled.

"If you say so. I gotta run. My lunch break is almost over. Take care," he said patting her arm before turning to go. Emma smiled. David had a very comforting presence, and a soothing voice. It was just one more weird thing she had discovered while living here. Somehow she always felt safe when he was around, and it wasn't a romantic notion. It was like he was the first real-life hero she'd ever met, and she was in awe. Maybe it was the concept that Henry had planted in her head about him being her father. She shook her head.

"Right, a guy who is like two years older than you is your dad," she snarked at herself. "And your roommate is your mom. Well what does that make you Mister Gold? My prince charming?" she guffawed at that. She'd have to suggest that to Henry the next time she saw him, just to see him laugh if nothing else.

These dreams really had her rattled. They were getting longer and more detailed. She could feel the wind, and the brute's grip on her skin. She felt sure if she pulled up her sleeve she'd see bruises. It was so real! Maybe she should pop by and see Archie, just to find out what he thought. Could they be a sign? Emma really didn't believe in such things, but still, strange things were common in this funny little town.

When Mrs Barry finally came along, she led the way to the Fowler residence. They found the boys playing video games. Ben Jr. was the opposite of his friend, who was was tall and thin. He also had black hair. That eliminated him as a suspect. She couldn't rule out the possibility that this had been a guy. The boys looked at each other, and back at her.

"Well, have you found anything yet?" Ben asked Emma in a snide, condescending way that hinted that she wasn't doing her job to the best of her ability.. She gritted her teeth, trying not to tell the little punk off, and nodded and sat on the end table beside him.

"Look Ben, I found something that must have belonged to the intruder, but I need to ask you. Is there anyone you've been seeing, like a girlfriend, or something?" Ben shrugged, and shook his head.

"Nope, I'm available. Why? What did you find?" he asked. She took out the bag and showed it to him. He made a face.

"Is that hair?" he asked with a grimace. Emma nodded.

"It's a bracelet, or love knot. What ever you want to call it. Girls usually give these to guys they like. Is there anyone you know that this could belong to? You might have a stalker," she stated. Ben looked at his friend knowingly.

"Carrie Locke," they said to each other. Emma's brow furrowed.

"Am I missing something? Who is that?" she asked and Ben shared a chuckle with his friend.

"She's a psycho sheriff. She thought she was in love with me earlier this year. I thought she was over it. I guess I was wrong huh?" he grinned, and leaned back on the sofa. "So, what are you waiting for? Go get her, I'd like to get back to my house some time this year," he said dismissively to Emma. She gaped at his audacity.

"You are sure it's her?" she asked him. He nodded.

"Yeah, she's nuts. She needs to be in a padded cell," he replied. Emma looked over at Mrs Barry.

"You heard my son sheriff. There is your intruder and I can give you her address right now," said the lady taking out her Ipad and after punching a few things on it she looked up. "326 Goldenrod Dr." she read off. "So, run along and arrest her then."

"Well, I'll get right on that, but first, I want you to know that while I may be a public servant, I don't work for you. I work with you, and you will drop the snooty attitudes when you are speaking to me. Is that clear?" she demanded.

"Well! I..." Mrs. Barry began.

"Do have a nice day!" she said with a little curtsy before turning and flouncing out of the room in full-on diva princess mode, leaving the three stunned people in her wake. Emma didn't like Mrs. Barry, or her son, and the boy wasn't being honest with her about something. She had no doubt that it was this Carrie girl, but he was lying about their relationship. Something wasn't right, and she had to get to the bottom of it.

The house where Carrie lived was large. Emma counted three stories. She knocked on the door, and a little blonde girl about nine or ten answered. She was wearing a blue princess dress and a tiara.

"Hi, I thought you were Sara," she said brightly. Her teeth were like little white pearls when she flashed a smile. Emma smiled back.

"I'm looking for Carrie, or your mom. Are they here?" she asked kindly. The little girl picked up her train and turned to walk back in the house.

"Carrie, there's someone here to see you," she called. Carrie came down the stairs in a minute dressed much as the little girl was. Her long blonde hair shimmered like spun gold. Her dress was white and had a silver overlay. Once Carrie spotted Emma her face fell.

"Christie, go up and play in you room," she said quietly. The little girl gave a very practiced pout.

"But Carrie, Sara's coming over. We have pageant practice," she said sadly. Carrie rolled her eyes.

"Yes I know. I'll call you when she gets here. Now go play!" she said firmly. Christie held up her dress and stomped up the stairs. "Princesses don't stomp, they glide!" she called after her, and Christie walked the rest of the way quietly. Carrie turned back to see Emma eying her getup.

"Fairest Of Them All pageant," she explained. "Sara's our coordinator, shows us how to stand, sit smile, walk, all of that," she said dully. Come in, I wondered when you'd be here to get me," she said calmly. "Do you want to sit down, or do you just want to cuff me and get it over with?" she asked. Emma gave her funny look, and then said.

"Think we'd better save the handcuffs until I've talked to your mother. You do realize you have the right to remain silent?" Emma asked her. Carrie sighed, and sank onto the sofa.

"Why bother? You know, don't you?" she asked. Emma looked at her kindly.

"So it was you who broke in?" she asked. The girl nodded. " Well I know what you did. But I don't know why. Would you care to explain?" she asked her. Carrie's face crumpled, and she stifled a sob.

"I wrecked his room because that's where we were when he wrecked my life!" Carrie replied, bursting into tears. Emma's eyes flared in surprise and she sat down beside her. She handed her a tissue from the pack in her pocket.

"What do you mean?" Emma asked gently almost knowing the answer before she asked the question.

"I mean the son of a bitch got me pregnant!" she sobbed into her tissue. "He said he'd do anything for me, that he loved me," she looked around the room shaking her head in agony. "I told him we were a perfect fit, that we just made sense, and he said he thought so too. So he had me over one night when his parents were gone. It was romantic, and he was so sweet. He thought he hurt me and he cried when we..." she blushed when Emma's eyes got big, and looked away. "Sorry, TMI," she assumed.

"Yeah, little bit. But go on," Emma said gently. Carrie sniffed, and dried her eyes.

"Well, anyway two weeks ago I was feeling funny so I took a test. When I told him," she gulped and swallowed a sob. "When I told him he laughed and said he didn't know what I was talking about. That we'd never slept together! He said, right in front of his friends, that I was just a crazy slut trying to pin my problems on him! That I wasn't even his type!" she wailed, heart heart breaking with each word. Emma clucked her tongue in sympathy. She could tell the girl was being honest which was more than she could say from Ben.

"I know how you feel hon. I was in the same boat once. But why did you leave this behind?" she held up the hair-bracelet. Carrie sniffed and shook her head.

"Because like an idiot, I still love him, and I wanted him to know," she said sadly. "I really do love him you know. I'm not crazy! I just wish he'd see that we aren't that different, that what we had was real, and true" she said unwaveringly.

"Kid, I know love can make people do crazy things. But vandalism is a crime no matter what the motivation. Do you understand that?" Emma asked her. Carrie nodded.

"I was just so angry! After what we shared he'd just deny it all!" she snarled tossing the tissue down on the table. "My mom doesn't know about the baby yet, and she's going to kill me. Us doing these pageants are her life," she said distastefully.

"I take it that they aren't yours?" Emma asked her. She shrugged.

"They were fun for a while, but they've gotten tedious, stupid really. I'm just tired of all the drama, and backstabbing," she sighed.

"Would you tell me why you stole food? That one has had me stumped all day," Emma asked, needing to solve this once and for all. Carrie smiled a dry smile.

"I'm not allowed to eat what I want. My mother monitors what we eat very carefully. No one will sell us sweets, or chips, and I was craving things we don't keep in the house. So I took them from his house. I guess I thought he owed it to me after the way he treated me. Plus, I figured I only had one or two days of freedom left, so I was going to make the most of it. I pigged out last night. I haven't had ice cream since I can't remember when. I don't think Christie has ever had any," she mused.

"Alright look. I'll see what I can do. We'll say you were hormonal, and maybe get you off with probation or something, as long as your mom agrees to pay for the damages. I'll still have to arrest you though," Emma told her. Carrie nodded.

"I know," she said wiping her eyes.

"Do you want to go change first?' Emma suggested.

"God yes!" Carrie cried, and hurried upstairs to change into jeans a loose t shirt.

Sara arrived, and was filled in, and called Ms. Locke and stayed with Christie while she took her in. She really hated to do it, but she had no choice. And in just a bit she would have to deal with a pageant mom. Joy of joy.

She didn't have long to wait. Ms. Locke came barreling in the room, yelling at the top of her voice for her daughter. Carrie heard her mother, and began to cry.

"What is the meaning of this Sheriff? Why is my daughter locked up?" she cried, slamming her purse on the desk hard in front of Emma making her jump. Emma stood up.

"Hey, calm down!" Emma demanded. "I didn't want to arrest her, but she is the one that broke into the Barrys' house! She waved her rights and confessed," she said. Ms. Locke turned to face her daughter.

"Is this true Caroline?" she huffed at the sobbing girl. All she could do is nod. "Well what the hell is wrong with you girl? I did not raise you like this! How do you think this is going to reflect on me? Huh? And just think of your sister, and the ridicule she'll have to endure! What on earth could you have been thinking of?" Ms. Locke seethed. Emma came around the desk.

"Now hold on. You need to discuss this rationally. She has some things she needs to tell you about, so if you'll sit down over here the two of you can talk it out," she said, indicating the sofa near the cell. Ms. Locke sniffed and walked over to the sofa. Emma took a deep breath and sighed.

"I'll be at my desk if you two need me," she said tiredly. Right now all she wanted was to go home and go to bed. The two talked for a few minutes before Ms. Locke exploded again.

"You're what?" Ms. Locke screeched, making Emma wince in ear-splitting pain. "How could you be so stupid? How did this happen?" she raged.

"I had sex mom! That's how these things usually happen!" Carrie fired back. Emma snickered at that.

'Way to go Carrie,' she thought. But she winced at the screeching woman's voice again.

"You little tramp! How dare you talk to me like that!" she howled.

"Alright!" Emma shouted over the clamor. "If the yelling doesn't stop then I'm going to arrest you for disturbing the peace! Now, you need to control you temper!" Emma demanded roughly. Ms. Locke was red in the face, but she took a breath and rounded on Emma who had her hands on her hips ready for battle.

"How much are you setting bail at sheriff?" she asked tersely.

"Two hundred dollars. We'll be setting a court date soon, but I figure you'll want to be taking her to the doctor, about the baby and all," Emma replied. Ms. Locke set her lips in a hard line.

"Yes, we certainly will. If we act fast her figure won't be ruined, which is more than I can say for her reputation," Ms. Locke said contemptibly Emma's mouth fell open, as did her daughter's.

"There's no need to act hastily. You are both upset right now," Emma said trying to placate the irate woman. She couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"Mom I can't believe you said that! I'm not getting rid of my baby! Forget it!" Carrie said hotly. Ms. Locke rolled her eyes.

"I'm not doing this now Caroline! You know good and well you can not have this baby! Your pageant days would be over!" she said, taking out her checkbook and writing a check for her bail.

"Then they are done! I'm done mom! I want to be able to eat again, and I want to keep my baby! I can pass my high school equivalency test with flying colors, and get a job tomorrow! Ashley did it, and so can I!" she said firmly.

"Ashley has her little prince to help her, now you are being ridiculous Caroline! I have heard enough for one day!" she handed the check to Emma. "Now release her so we can go home! I swear this has been the day from hell!"

"You can say that again lady," Emma said pulling out her keys, and walking to the cell. Carrie looked pleadingly at Emma. "Don't worry kid, it'll be alright. If you have any trouble call me," Emma said low so only Carrie could hear, and slid her a piece of paper with her cell number on it.

"I hope so, thanks," she sniffed. Emma unlocked the door, and let her out.

"Good luck," Emma called as she followed her mother out of the station.

Emma turned and walked blearily back to her desk and plunked her head down on her folded arms. One more hour, just one, and she could go home and crash. Now I everyone in town could just avoid disaster for the next twenty-four hours she'd be a happy girl.

A/N There's Chap 1! And it was a long one. Every time I'd reread it for editing purposes, I'd end up adding more to it. Does it make sense yet? If not then hopefully it will soon. Most of my stories are very heavy on the dialogue, so if you don't like that then turn back now before it's too late! (Hee hee) Tell me what you think. More Gold/Emma in the next chapter...yay!