Author's Note: Hey, many apologies for lack of updating this thing, but I couldn't quite figure how I wanted to play this out. But, I just had my 32 Bday yesterday, so I thought I might give anyone following this fic a little present for the occasion. I hope you enjoy it!
I know Emma might seem a little dark/harsh in this chapter, but this isn't Neal. He didn't send her to jail for noble reasons, and screwed her over for pretty bad ones. So, I think more harshness is rather justified. And don't worry, we'll get more Regina goodness in the next chapter. Hope you enjoy!
Chapter 26: Confrontation
Emma stuck her head just a bit out the window of her little yellow bug, letting her hair whip in the wind. It was refreshing.
"Hey, Scooby, you gonna loll your tongue out too?" teased August.
Emma pulled her head back in and narrowed her eyes at the former wooden boy. "Very funny."
"Well. There's not many dogs people know by name."
Emma took a sip of her coffee before propping her boots up on the dashboard. "The sun hasn't even come up yet - just trying to wake myself up. Which you should already know is the only reason I let you drive my car in the first place. Why are you such a morning person, anyway?"
"Must have something to do with photosynthesis," he joked. At Emma's raised eyebrow he shrugged. "Y'know the whole being created from a tree thing. Actually, I'm not. I'm a nightowl. Haven't been to sleep yet. Come sunrise? It's your shift."
Emma groaned. "In that case, screw this whole waking up thing." She pulled her knit cap over her eyes, reclined her seat, and flipped over on one side. Thanks to plenty of practice, sleep in her car came pretty easy.
"Wakey wakey princess," said August.
Emma flipped over. "Seriously? I just fell asleep."
"Yeah, that was three hours ago."
"Yes way. Look at the clock, miss 'I can't take anything on faith'. And it's your turn at the wheel."
Emma did eye the clock, though she was a discreet as she could manage. She didn't like giving August the satisfaction. "Fine. Where exactly is here anyway?" she asked.
"Half way there. That's why it's your shift," he replied with a smirk.
Emma sighed. "Fair enough."
As they shifted positions, with Emma adjusting the driver's seat, she frowned in concentration. "Did you bring the duct tape - you know, just in case? Or do we need to Google a 'Home Depot'?"
"In my bag," replied August.
Emma returned the smirk. "Good." She then paused as she restarted the car. "Is it bad I kinda want him to need that?"
August almost gulped, setting off Emma's bullshit alarm. She cocked her head. "Seriously?" He was silent. "I thought you said every shoe was dropped!"
He licked his lips. "I... there might be one more thing."
Emma rolled her eyes. "Oh. This should be good."
"I did it to protect you."
"Just freaking tell me. I'd rather not have this 'revelation' in the middle of the 290 highway, so spill it," Emma replied.
"Well... the whole leaving you thing."
"And that protected me how?" she ground out.
"Even at seven I could see... I knew we'd get separated at some point. When I got to this world I didn't know I should have said we were siblings or something. And even just a few weeks in I'd seen what the system did - and I..." He sighed. "If you got attached to me -"
Emma sunk her head onto the steering wheel. "Yeah. Yeah. You were a kid just arrived from fairytale land. I get it. It doesn't mean it doesn't suck."
"I'm so sorry Emma."
"Save it. I've got enough emotional crap I'm about to deal with. We can do this later... maybe over some beers or something. I've got... driving to do."
August didn't have an argument to come back to for this, so he simply nodded. Emma did the same and quickly pulled the car back on to the road.
It was another two and a half hours before they pulled up to Bailey's house, in a suburb just outside New York City. Emma was rather thankful the guy hadn't opted for an apartment in the city, given driving and finding parking there was a bitch. At least this way it would be quick. Well, at least confronting him would be. She sat, after parking, just staring at the house.
"You okay?" asked August.
Emma couldn't help but chuckle a bit bitterly. "Uh, no?"
"You've got your gun?"
Now it was a genuine laugh from the blonde. "That I do," she said, pulling her jacket back to reveal the weapon.
August smirked. "Then no worries, right?"
Emma returned the expression. "I guess not." She heaved a heavy breath. "Let's go get this jackass." August simply nodded and they both pulled themselves out of the car.
Seeing that a car was in the driveway, she was fairly certain he was home. She swallowed hard. This was gonna suck. Taking down perps wasn't usually a thing that intimated her but this was personal, and knowing what she did now - about him. About magic. About everything, made this different. God, how had her life gotten so complicated? Oh, right. She was 'The Savior'. She fought the urge to roll her eyes, even when she was dangerously close to losing it.
When they got to the door Emma held her fist up to the door to knock but then found it frozen, until August laid his hand on her shoulder. "You got this." She didn't know why, but it was somehow comforting. She nodded and then knocked. It was an agonizing thirty seconds - that seemed like an eternity - before the door opened.
And then, there he was. Looking not too unlike she remembered. Maybe some specks of grey in his hair, but the same little goatee and glint in his eye.
His eyebrows shot up. "Emma?" She couldn't help but relish finally being one step ahead of the bastard, even as miniscule the distance ahead that step was.
"Oh, so you remember after all," she drawled sarcastically. "And here I thought all those letters from jail had been confiscated." It was that instant it clicked in - the extent of what this guy's intentions for her had been all along - much like the magic she'd long thought unreal.
"Well, you must have come here for some reason. Found out I was single?" he needled devilishly.
Emma shot daggers at him with her eyes. The one thing she'd learned from her reunion with her parents was that deflection only showed weakness. It was an empowering realization as she took his behavior in. He was scared. She'd scared him then and she scared him now. The question was, why? Did he think she had magic or something? Then again, August had said people with magic in them, Fairy Tale Land, could sense magic from their realm. She shook her head. She wasn't magical. That would be ridiculous - and totally something she'd know about herself, right?
Her skin crawled as his eyes did the same to take her figure in, lingering in all the usual places, but then, to her surprise, he laughed. "What are you, a strip-o-gram girl now or something, Emmy?" His eyes caught the badge fastened at her waist. "Or should that be Officer Emmy Laygood?"
Emma felt her face flush, somehow both hot and cold at the same time, like trying to step into a bath that was too hot. She turned her back and swallowed hard against the lump in her throat, blinking tightly to squeeze the tears from her eyes. As a grown woman, how smarmy all this bullshit was was obvious, but she still remembered how, as a teen it had seemed a compliment. Mainly because she hadn't had anyone pay her any attention or compliments growing up. Now, the attention was hollow, and frankly, while it would have been hollow coming from one of the bail jumpers she would set up for a 'date', this was worse, knowing she'd fallen for that ten years ago. The remaining 'dew' on her lashes formed a distracting halo around Bae, which she wiped away as casually as she could with her thumb. Emma knew he'd picked up what was going on, of course, but she'd thrown away the sadness for their relationship years ago. But, she also knew that somehow guys never seemed to realize tears could also be the equivalent of a warning sound of a rattlesnake's tail. This was the man who may as well be credited as the contractor that laid the bricks in the wall her - the wall her heart had been trapped behind for a decade. He was the reason an already difficult reunion with her parents had stalled. The reason she had spent too many birthdays alone, because some paranoid insecurity in the back of her head - no, heart - had made sharing even the most basic personal information next to impossible. The progress Snow and David had made was a testament to them, and she could see where Henry's gumption had come from. Them.
"Ten years... the last time I saw you, I was in cuffs..." She grit her teeth, inhaling deeply in a rage. "Where the fuck do you get off?!" she growled, her voice more gravely with emotion than she would have liked. The look of surprise in his eyes brought a smirk back to her lips. The one thing his betrayal had given her was a tough edge not present before. "Yeah, I'm not Emmy anymore."
"Yeah. I believe it's Sheriff Swan now," added August as he sidled up beside her on the porch. Bay narrowed his eyes at the man, but there didn't seem to be any recognition there.
He quickly puffed himself up, smart-ass egotistic mask back in place. "Is this some kind of joke?"
"No joke," replied Emma flatly.
"So, what, you finally getting your revenge now?"
She shook her head. "Justice maybe. But no revenge."
"Oh, quite the hero. Or Should I say Saviour?" replied Bae.
"I prefer Sheriff."
"Convict turned law-lady."
"Lawperson," replied Emma.
Bae chuckled. "Right." It was that moment that he made a dash for it, but luckily August and Emma were fairly adept at chasing people down. Bailey only made it through his living room, the back door of the kitchen, and to the top of his backyard's fence before he was pulled back down to the ground and found a gun leveled at his head, the weapon steady as August quickly cuffed Bailey.
"There's no way you have jurisdiction here!" he complained.
Emma shrugged. "Hey, you're the one who ran. We could've just talked." She holstered the pistol.
"Why are you even doing this?!"
"Seriously? You sent me to prison and you're asking why I'd do this?"
"But you can't - there's no evidence!" said Bae as he struggled under August's weight.
"What? Send you to prison? Yeah. You're right. But I made a deal. And you're having a little family reunion."
Bae froze at this. "My father?!"
"I made a deal," replied Emma.
"You made a deal? With him? Are you nuts? What did he give you? That badge?!"
"I made a deal to save a kid he wanted to steal. Look. You want the whole story? We've got a five hour drive to share. So I suggest you settle down, 'cause I've got a whole roll of duct tape in the trunk of my car, but I'd guess the cramps would be quite a bitch by the end of the ride if I had to tape you up."
Bailey sunk his head. Seeing his father was the last thing he wanted, but he knew he didn't have much of a choice in the matter. Besides, maybe if he cooperated he might be able to make a run for it at a pitstop. They had to stop for gas at some point, right? "Fine. I'll go."