Title: The Raven Saves the Worm
Once Upon a Time
Swan Queen
Uh, the season finale?
"We can figure it out.""We don't have time." Purple smoke surrounded Regina, slowly at first before it became thicker, forcing Emma to close her eyes and turn her head away. "Take care of him, Emma." The weight that was Regina's hand in hers disappeared and she was left to cry out at the loss.
Author's Note:
A prompt from Tumblr: Post curse, Gold kidnaps Henry in exchange for Regina, who gives herself up. Regina is tortured in front of the town, Emma and Henry (and some others?) mount a rescue attempt.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.


"Don't." Emma grabbed her hand, not caring that her Mother, Father, and all Fairytales characters were standing right behind her, scrutinizing the simple action. Regina stopped her movement, but only darkly stared at the blonde who had convinced Snow and James that the Evil Queen was needed to help defeat Rumpelstiltskin.

"I have to." There was a low rumble in her voice and Emma knew that it wasn't for anyone, but the boy who was not standing there with them. It was for Regina's son.

"No you don't." Emma insisted taking the woman's other hand and looked at her pleadingly.

"What other choice do I have?"

"We can figure it out."

"We don't have time." Purple smoke surrounded Regina, slowly at first before it became thicker, forcing Emma to close her eyes and turn her head away. "Take care of him, Emma." The weight that was Regina's hand in hers disappeared and she was left to cry out at the loss.

"Emma," Snow stepped forward, draping a comforting arm around her daughter. Emma shook her head.

"We have to get her back."


Emma whirled around, yanking her hand from Snow's. The tears in the young woman's eyes cut Snow to the core and she did her best to repress her own for her daughter's sake. "No! You don't know what he's going to do to her!"

"Then tell me." Snow pleaded with her calmly. "Tell me why he wants her. Why is he risking a child's life to get to her?" It was one of those rare things about Rumpelstiltskin that screamed humanity. He never hurt a child on purpose. The man was known for doing every devious thing in the book, but children were out of the question and he made that clear through his intentions.

"She…" Emma rubbed her forehead to ease the headache blooming behind her eyes. "She told him that Belle was dead, but she wasn't and now he's looking for revenge in blood."

"And he took Henry because he's the one thing she truly loves." Snow said with a horrified look on her face. She turned away from her daughter to glance at James who shared her expression. The Dark One fought dirty, they all knew that, but that was always for his own amusement. They've never seen him fight purely with death as the end goal.

In a smoke that Regina just disappeared in, Henry arrived in the same fashion. He fell to the floor, his sobs ringing loud in the stunned silence. Emma ran to her son and lifted him into her arms. Henry clung to Emma as his body shook with the force of his cries. The blonde rubbed his back to calm him. She pulled away to look him over. "Are you okay? Did he hurt you in anyway? Henry?"

Henry's small dark eyes struggled to focus on her and when they did, Emma could tell some part of his innocence had been taken. "No." He finally answered in a childishly high voice, trying to hold back his sobs. "But Mom," he whimpered, talking about Regina as he shook his head, "Mom is so hurt."

"Henry, do you know where Rumpelstiltskin and your Mom are?" James asked, walking closer to the pair. Emma shot him a glare that would have killed him had she had that kind of magic in her. He put his hands in the air to show he meant no harm. "If you want to get the Evil Queen back, we need to ask him. I'm sorry," the Father in him apologized sincerely, "but we need to ask him now while his memory is still fresh."

"Dav-James," Emma corrected herself, "we are not-"

"At Granny's diner." Henry interrupted quietly from where he rested his head on Emma's shoulder. "He said he wanted everyone to know that her blood ran black."

"He's putting on a show." Red growled angrily. "To kill her."


"Admit it." The thin man demanded from where he stood over her. Regina watched him with defiant eyes that spoke the words she wasn't allowed to say. As if being tried to a table flat on her back wasn't bad enough, he had asked her nicely to not say a word the whole time she was with him. Now the crazy eyed man was asking her questions and each time she didn't answer, she suffered a magic lashing.

Her wounds bled freely through her clothes and across the table top and down the silver legs that held them up. A question was lifted into the air and he watched her for a good thirty seconds before ticking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. He waved a finger and Regina felt another part of her back open.

The magical whipping didn't bother her though. She had developed a metaphorical thick skin from when her Mother would do it to her. No cries, whimpers, or winces. That made Mother mad and only resulted in harder, more furious whippings. Even if she hadn't had years of practice behind her, she would have kept quiet for Henry.

The more the Imp focused on her and her pain, the less he was thinking about the other people in her life that he could use as tool against her. Only when she broken would he use Henry to relight the fire in her survival. She needed to keep her natural will to live and Henry would be fine.

Rumpelstiltskin gave an angry shake of his head and swiftly brought his hand up. Regina arched off the table as multiple lines crossed her back in all different directions at the same time. She couldn't count, there were too many and the pain made the brunette see spots dancing at the corner of her vision. The Dark One gave a delighted little laugh at her reaction. "I see. Well, consider this your level two punishment." He stepped closer, bringing his face inches from hers. "Now admit that your Mother was right."

When Regina didn't seem to hear him, her back still lifted off the table, Rumpelstiltskin slammed his hand down on her ribs, slapping her back down onto the sturdy top she was tied to. A wet snap met his ears, but all he cared about was the tears that glossed Regina's eyes. An evil smirk lit up his features.

He suddenly pushed down on the broken ribs, laughing delightedly when her semi-screams floated into the air. "Mommie never did this, did she?" He asked tauntingly, adding more pressure to the bones above the broken ones. Her mouth opened wide as she tried to shift her body away from his hand. "Ah-ah-ah." The man grinned as a scream tore away the almost serene feel around them. Another sickening snap could be heard as a rib cracked and broke under the pressure.

"So this is all it takes to take down the Evil Queen?" He pouted almost disappointedly. She opened her eyes that she didn't remember squeezing closed and glared at him weakly. "Now, now, your Majesty, no need for that. You'll get wrinkles and we wouldn't want that, now would we?" He held out a hand, palm up. Before she would make a noise, he formed a fist and four marks were gouged into the scarred skin of her back.

The diner door flew open and the room erupted in chaos.

Faeries flew above while people filed into the room in a disorganized mess, the Charming's heading the attack. Rumpelstiltskin frowned before stepping away from the bloody woman to deal with the sudden interruption. The floating faeries dropped magical power bombs on him grabbing his attention and bringing it away from Regina.

As he moved toward the creatures attacking, Emma and Snow went to the woman on the table. They didn't stop to look at her wounds, not wanting to be frozen by the horrible reality of it. Snow brought her sword down on the rope holding the dark woman. Emma spoke softly to Regina while getting her into a sitting position. The brunette held tightly onto Emma, her other hand wrapped around her ribs so she wouldn't jostle them.

"Now!" Snow cried out, her blade cutting the last piece of rope holding Regina's leg. The Dark One cut his gaze to her, yelling something that didn't make it to their ears as the Blue Fairy raised a hand, circling them all in a light blue light, bringing them all back to the Mayor's mansion where Henry was waiting.

"It's okay." Emma whispered quietly to Regina who slumped in her arms. The two sat on the floor, everyone surrounding them with sad eyes. Red left the group to find any kind of first aid. Regina breathed in sort bursts to not aggravate her broken ribs or her cut-to-ribbons throbbing back. She allowed herself to relax into Emma's body with Emma's slow reassuring words bringing her to a blissful state of numbness. "It's okay. It's okay."

"It's okay." The blonde's fingers scratched lightly at the base of Regina's skull, burying her face in the dark brown stands. "It's okay." Her body was still to not bump or move the injured woman the wrong way. "You're okay." She murmured only caring if Regina heard her. Tears blurred her vision when the brunette didn't move. "You're…okay…"