Regina wished she could've been watching the spectacle taking place just below her feet. She'd just sent her hated rival, Emma Swan, down an elevator shaft to do battle with a mighty dragon... a dragon that was none other than Regina's other hated rival, her sister Maleficent. She wished she could indulge in her glee at the thought of the two ripping each other apart, of Maleficent's fire searing Emma's flesh and bones, of her teeth dashing Emma to bits... of Emma's sword slicing through Maleficent's neck, of the two of them crying out together in a harmonious symphony of pain.

But she could not take any joy at the battle, for she had a stake in it. Emma had to win. Emma had to seize the golden egg from Maleficent's neck, for if she did not, Henry would die, and that was something Regina could not accept.

How could I have grown to love him...? she thought, cursing that one small piece of her soul still capable of love. He's been against me every step of the way. He does not return my love. His heart can never truly be mine.

But of course it could. Regina knew that if she was to capture Henry's heart, she would have to take it the one way she could do so... through force. She would use the potion made from true love to turn Henry's heart toward hers and finally make the boy love her. Even now, the wheels were turning in the mayor's mind of how she would convince Emma to leave her alone with the boy and the potion. She couldn't kill her or the curse would be broken, and without her magic she lacked the strength to incapacitate her physically.

I will need to do this very carefully... thought Regina. Henry will be mine. I will not allow this curse to be broken, ever!

"Well well, dearie... so this is where you've been hiding it this whole time."

For the briefest of moments, the voice made Regina's cold heart go even colder. She started to tremble, but stopped herself in a split second and rose from her chair, turning toward the unwelcome visitor. From across the room, Mr. Gold stood looking at her, the slightest hint of a smug smile across his lips.

"What are you doing here?" snapped Regina, anxiety clearly showing in her voice. She already knew that Mr. Gold knew about this place, considering he'd been there when she and Emma came to him for advice about how to best save Henry. Still, she hadn't expected that he'd have actually followed them... but when she thought about it, she knew she was foolish to discount the possibility.

"Oh, I'm just here to collect what's mine," Mr. Gold replied, patting a small satchel that he'd slung over his shoulder. Regina knew exactly what he wanted, and he was not getting it.

"It's not yours anymore, Gold," Regina said coldly. "It ceased to be yours when you had Prince Charming place it in my sister's throat."

"Ah, now that's where you're wrong. You see, I worked quite hard getting all of the elements together to create that potion of true love. I had to arrange for both Snow White and Prince Charming to provide strands of hair for its creation. It takes time cutting deals, lots of mental prognostication, all the elements have to fall just perfectly into place..."

"I know full well about your skill at making deals. I am not letting you take this from me. I appreciate your help but now it's time for you to leave."

Mr. Gold just smiled, taking another step toward Regina.

"I don't think you understand, you don't have a say in this matter," he continued. "I will be getting my potion back. After Emma slays your sister, she is going to be placing that golden egg right into my hands."

Regina had to resist the urge to let out a laugh at the seeming ridiculousness of Gold's statement. It helped that she felt completely insulted.

"And you think I'm going to just let you walk past me and take it from her? From us?" Regina took a step toward Mr. Gold, her voice growing strong with anger. "You will have that potion over my dead body."

"I don't think it'll have to come to that," said Gold. "In fact, I think you're just going to sit right there in that chair and do nothing to stop me."

Regina was furious by this point, her fingers shaking with anger. She wasn't about to let anyone, particularly Mr. Gold, ruin her plans and take her potion and wreck her chance to have Henry's love. If she had her magic she would have struck him down at that very instant.

"And just what in the HELL makes you believe I'm going to-"

"Please."

As if by magic, Regina stopped mid-sentence. Her arms fell to her sides, and she felt unnaturally compelled to do exactly what Mr. Gold had just told her. She turned and walked back to the chair, obediently sitting as Mr. Gold walked over to her with a confident stride.

"You see? It's a lot easier now that you're cooperating," said Mr. Gold, pulling three lengths of thin rope from his satchel. Regina looked over and realized exactly what he intended to do, but felt compelled to remain seated, unable to do anything but glower with a look that could frighten a hardened soldier.

"You rat bastard," said Regina, helpless to resist as Mr. Gold placed her arms to the sides of the chair and began wrapping rope around them, binding her wrists to the chair's wooden frame.

"Oh, now if I had a nickel for every time someone called me that, I'd own a lot more than Storybrooke, wouldn't I? Let me guess, you were planning to trick Ms. Swan out of the potion."

Mr. Gold tightened the ropes, making sure Regina's limbs were secure. The magic would be wearing off soon and he didn't want any chances of her getting free...his own plans depended on being able to obtain that potion.

"...what...makes you think anything of the sort?" Regina huffed, not wanting to confess her plans even though she knew Gold was completely correct.

"What I'm wondering..." Gold continued as he used the third length of rope to secure Regina's ankles together to the bottom of the chair, "is why you're trying so hard to take Henry from her in the first place? Let's be honest, you didn't even start loving him until Emma got here. Now I wonder why that is?"

"..." Regina started to speak, but Gold cut her off.

"It's because you don't really know you love something until you're about to lose it. Isn't that correct?"

"I think you'd know about that that better than anyone else here," said Regina, mustering up a smile at the fact that she could take a brief measure of schadenfreude from Gold's tragic past.

"Indeed," Gold continued, showing little emotion as he finished securing Regina's ankles.

"You are not going to get away with this," she said, her eyes narrowing as she looked right into his own.

"And just what can you do to me, exactly? Have me arrested? Have me banished from Storybrooke? You have absolutely no power over me, and you know it."

The reiteration of a painful fact that Regina already knew and that was now extremely apparent made her seethe with rage, rage that was boiling to the surface. Here she was, on the eve of perhaps her greatest triumph, and it had been snatched away by the same trickster who'd been plotting against her for nearly three decades. She wanted nothing more than to stick a knife into his heart and twist it until he screamed... or better yet, she'd kill his son and make him watch.

And Belle too... thought Regina, the toxic thoughts entering her mind like a cloud of pure darkness, as dark as the one created by the curse that gave birth to Storybrooke. I will make him suffer for doing this to me!

As Mr. Gold reached into his satchel again, Regina could no longer contain the anger that consumed her mind.

"I will make you regret the day you ever stood against me! I can conjure up your worst nightmares... I will make your life a living hell, I will give you pain beyond anything you can imagine, you- mmph! Mmm...nmmm!"

Mr. Gold had just sealed Regina's lips with a piece of duct tape. He put the rest of the roll into his satchel, listening with hidden glee as she made futile attempts at speech.

"I think everyone in town's been wanting to do that to you, Mayor Mills..."

Regina continued to shout numerous curses and threats through her taped lips. Most of them were indecipherable, though Mr. Gold could understand a few of the louder ones.

"Oh, what's that, dearie?" Mr. Gold cupped his hand to his ear and leaned in toward Regina's face. "You'll have to speak up, I can't quite understand what you're saying..."

Now he's... mocking me? Regina's fury was now quite visible in her face, though she stopped her useless attempts at screaming, her eyes telling Mr. Gold exactly what she thought of him. When I get out of this, I will kill you.

"Now I think I should be waiting for Emma, she could come out of that elevator at any moment... wouldn't want her to finish off that beast without anyone up here to great her, eh?"

"Ymmll pmmm frr thms...!" shouted Regina through her gag, her limbs straining at the ropes. "Mm swmmmrr!"

O-O-O

Something was bothering Emma as she and Regina rushed to Henry's side at the hospital.

"Back there, at the library... I know you're not very tough without your magic, but... how could you let Mr. Gold overpower you without even putting up a fight?"

Regina seethed with rage at Emma's question, but knew an argument at this point would be counterproductive. Instead, she did something she almost never did. She told Emma the truth.

"...he said 'please'."

Emma was baffled... but it was then that she realized that Rumpelstiltskin's magic was much more powerful than she'd previously thought.

She didn't have time to mull it over further. Henry's life was at stake.