Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me
I saw a post about Snow's ring on Tumblr and got caught up with writing this.
Emma Swan hesitantly pushed open the unlocked front door and stepped into the small cosy house. The magical wards guarding the house didn't react to her presence at all, but she could still feel them humming against her senses as she crossed the threshold.
"Hello"? She called out. She unslung her sheathed sword and left it in the conveniently placed umbrella holder beside the door. Storybrooke post curse had certainly resulted in some odd changes, one of them being the fact that she now walked around with a sword.
"In the kitchen, Emma", James's voice was oddly muffled.
Emma walked through the living room, hints of Mary Margaret apparent in the feel of the room. And it was definitely Mary Margaret and not Snow, as she preferred to be called now who was responsible for the décor. Snow was much harder and more pragmatic than Mary Margaret. She wouldn't have selected the cutesy animal print throw blanket or the soft cushions spread across the couch. It was odd seeing the differences in the woman who was both her former best friend and now her mother, all rolled up in one package. They were certainly no Gilmore Girls in their mother-daughter relationship, but they were trying. Both of them were still working out how to simply just be around each other.
She pushed open the kitchen door and her eyebrows crawled up into her hair. The kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it. There were puddles of water spreading across the floor, with several soaked through towels acting as makeshift sandbags. It also looked like a 100 piece toolkit had exploded its contents all over the kitchen. There were tools everywhere, with most of them spread in a circle around the pair of jean clad legs stretched out from under the kitchen sink.
"Should I be calling search and rescue?" Emma drawled as she extended a booted foot and poked at a socket wrench.
"Haha very funny". James pulled himself from under the sink and sat up. His shirt and hair was soaked through with water. He met her eyes and smiled gently at her. "Emma, hi."
Emma smiled back. "Hey James". Her relationship with James was not as complicated as her one with Snow. She hadn't really known the man that well, so there was less baggage in their interaction. "Need a hand?"
"That would be great", James answered gratefully. "Snow managed to drop her ring down the sink, and I'm trying to get it back". He ducked back under the sink. "Can you hold the torch please."
'Ok sure". Emma crouched beside him and grabbed the torch. She shone it into the cramped cupboard.
James fiddled with the pipes and managed to pry one away. He peered into the piece he was holding in his hand, before dropping it to the floor. "Can you shine the light a bit higher please"?
Emma did as he asked and he started working on the pipes again.
"I think I see it" James said excitedly. "Do you think you can reach it?" Both his hands were occupied with holding the pipes apart.
Emma ducked her head under the sink as well and squinted. She thought she could see a gleam of gold sitting in the pipe. "Maybe". It was a tight fit and she didn't have much room to work with. She awkwardly reached across James and hooked a finger into the pipe. Something caught on her finger and she slowly dragged it out. "Yeah. I think I got it". She carefully moved out from under the sink, her hand closing over the object she had retrieved from the pipe.
"Yes"! James exhaled in relief and let the pipes he was hanging onto go. He sat up, with a huge grin on his face. "Your mom…, I mean Snow's going to be so happy".
Emma opened her hand and her eyes widened as she took in the ring sitting on her palm. "Does it always do that"? The stone on the ring was glowing a soft green and it was obvious that magic had something to do with it.
"I haven't seen that in a long time", James's expression softened. "It doesn't glow when Snow is wearing it." He reached out and took the ring from her hand. The glow got slightly brighter. "The ring is enchanted to find Snow. It gets brighter the closer it is to her".
"Nice. Your very own magical Snow GPS". Emma said wryly.
"Right". James stared at the ring fondly for a few more seconds, before holding it out to her. "Think you can drop this off to Snow? I'm going to be stuck here quite a bit longer", he gestured at the mess the kitchen was in.
"Yeah I can do that". Emma carefully took the ring from him and put it in her jacket pocket.
James got to his feet and then immediately extended a hand to help her up. The gesture was instinctive, part of his nature that made him Prince Charming. Emma took his hand and allowed him to help her up.
"I'm sorry I won't be able to go on patrol with you today", he said seriously. Every Monday, Emma and James spent the morning walking the streets of Storybrooke. It had not only become a bonding thing of sorts, but it helped to settle the citizens seeing the Sheriff and her Deputy out and about.
"It's fine, really", Emma waved away his apology. "Town's been really quiet the past couple of weeks. I doubt that I'd be dealing with anything more serious than a stray dog".
James nodded. "Ok. But call me if anything bigger crops up. You have your phone on you right?"
"Of course." Emma held up her phone in response. "It's fully charged." It wouldn't last long though. With the return of magic, battery powered appliances hadn't fared well at all in Storybrooke. It had something to do with the way magic reacted with stored energy, but the end result was that anything with a battery was subjected to a draining effect around magic. It made everyday things like phones a pain to use as they needed to be charged every couple of hours.
"Well I'd better get going. Duty calls and all that". Emma straightened her jacket.
"Stay safe out there".
"Always do." She smiled reassuringly at James. "Good luck with the cleanup".
"Thanks. I'm going to need it". James scratched the back of his head as he looked at the mess in the kitchen. "See you later, Emma.
Emma waggled her fingers at him, before carefully picking her way out of the kitchen.
Emma fidgeted with the strap on her shoulder, as she strode along the streets of Storybrooke towards the town hall. She hoped to catch Snow there and return her ring to her. It felt a little ridiculous walking along with a sword on her back, but now that magic existed in this world, swords had apparently become the must have weapon of choice. She still carried her standard issue pistol, but she'd found that the sight of the large shiny sword seemed to be a much bigger deterrent than the small gun. Of course it probably didn't hurt that her own particular talents combined rather nicely with the enchantments woven into the sword by one of the most powerful magic users around.
It had been three months since the curse had broken, and Storybrooke was still adjusting to the changes. She was still the sheriff, but Snow White was now mayor after a landslide election victory. It also helped that Regina Mills hadn't bothered contesting the election.
Emma blew out a breath as she thought of Regina. The woman could be the most infuriating aggravating bitch, but she was also totally devoted to Henry, and Emma trusted her to make sure that he was safe from the chaos Storybrooke had descended into.
Of course it had taken a lot of yelling and screaming and tears to get Snow to even consider a truce with Regina, but she'd eventually come around once she realised how much they needed her magic.
Emma bobbed her head awkwardly as a woman half curtsied to her as she walked past. There was a notable deference to the way people interacted with her. It had nothing to do with the badge clipped to her belt, and everything to do with being Snow and James's daughter. The fact that she was royalty was yet another thing on the long list of changes she was dealing with.
She made her way up the stairs of the town hall. The building looked a little worse for wear at it had been a target during the initial few days of chaos. There were still a couple of scorch marks visible on the walls, but the majority of the damage like the blown out windows had been repaired.
Emma nodded at the two deputies stationed at the entrance, before entering the building itself. Storybrooke's sheriff department had undergone a significant expansion. Most of Snow's ex royal guard had joined up. She was still a little uncomfortable with the fact that she now had what amounted to be her own private army, but Emma had to admit that they had become essential to keeping the peace. Beefing up security at the town hall, and other tactically significant assets, like the school, had become a necessity to ensuring that the town kept running smoothly.
She headed for the conference room, hoping to find Snow there. The woman rarely used Regina's opulent mayoral office. She preferred the more approachable aspect of the conference room. Emma ducked her head in the door and scanned the room. Unfortunately there was no sigh of Snow. In fact the only person in the normally busy conference room was Ruby, or Red as she preferred to be called now.
"Emma!" Red grinned at her from over a pile of documents. "How you been girl? Haven't seen you at the diner the past couple of days".
"Hi Red". Emma smiled back and shoved her hands into her pockets. "Yeah was a busy weekend."
"Oh? Do tell." Red dropped the papers in her hand and sauntered out from behind the large conference table.
"Nothing like that". Emma responded quickly. "Henry's got a school project due. We spent the whole weekend on it."
The truth was she'd spent the weekend with both Henry and Regina working on a scale model of the solar system. It had actually ended up being a surprising amount of fun. She even had pictures on her phone of a paint covered Regina that she was sure she could save for future blackmail material.
The three of them were still adjusting to the changes that had resulted from the shared custody agreement that Snow had insisted on as part of the truce with Regina. Emma was meant to get Henry two nights a week and every other weekend, but recently it hadn't been working out that way. On the nights she was meant to have Henry, Emma found herself eating dinner at the Mills mansion. Dinner was usually followed by a movie or some other activity and by the time they were done, Henry was fast asleep and she didn't have the heart to drag him to her apartment. Neither Henry, nor her had protested the arrangement much, and Regina for her part actually let Emma spend time with Henry on the weekends that were meant to belong to her. It was working for now. She still got to spend time with her kid, and he didn't have to keep going back and forth between two places. The fact that her relationship with Regina was also much more cordial for the most part, had not escaped her notice either.
"You wouldn't happen to know where Snow is? Emma quickly changed the subject.
Red's face fell. "Oh you just missed her. She's doing a tour of the businesses that were affected by the flooding".
"I see". Emma sighed. It meant that Snow could be at any of a dozen places that had been hit when Hook had sailed his ship into the heart of Storybrooke.
"Is it urgent? I can send one of the fairies out if needed".
Emma immediately shook her head. "No it's okay. It can keep".
"Are you sure?" Red looked ready to leap into action.
"Really it's fine." Emma smiled reassuringly at her. "I'm heading back out on patrol now anyways. Maybe I'll run into Snow."
"Ok be sure to stop by at the diner. Granny's made her famous chilli".
"Thanks for the tip". Emma laughed as she backed out the door. "Bye Red".
Emma paused at the foot of the stairs as a thought struck her. She reached into her jacket pocket and retrieved Snow's ring. She turned in a slow circle watching the soft green glow on the ring, and stopped as it got brighter.
She grinned. "Snow GPS indeed".
Emma wasn't smiling though, when she found herself outside a very familiar house. She stopped and double checked the ring. The glow was so much brighter that it was almost white. There was no mistaking the direction it was pointing her in.
She suppressed a groan as she stared at the Mills mansion. If Snow was indeed in there, it could only lead to trouble. She may have made a grudging truce with Regina, but the two women really couldn't stand being in close proximity to each other without it turning nasty. To keep the fragile peace, both parties tended to avoid being around each other as much as possible. The fact that they were now alone together in the same house was bad, very bad.
Emma forced herself to open the gate and walk up the pathway, visions of bloody mayhem playing behind her eyes. She felt the wards around the house bend around her. Regina knew she was there now and there was no turning back. She hesitated a moment at the door, but then gathered her courage and rang the doorbell.
The door opened almost immediately to reveal a rather annoyed looking Regina Mills. She was dressed impeccably as usual, in a white silk blouse and grey pencil skirt, her 4 inch heels putting her at eye level with Emma. She could feel the now familiar hum of Regina's magic crackling in the air, and she forced herself to not react to it. The glow of power that surrounded the dark haired woman was almost overwhelming.
"Sheriff Swan, I thought I made it very clear to you that I was not to be disturbed today." Regina's immaculate collar length dark hair rippled like an invisible wind was stirring it. She stepped into Emma's personal space, the glare on her face enough to flay the flesh from bones.
"Hello to you too Regina. Why yes, I'm having a superb day. Thanks for asking". Emma didn't so much as flinch. She simply rolled her eyes and craned her neck, trying to see over Regina's shoulder. "Where's Snow?"
"Why would I know the whereabouts of that woman?" Regina all but spat at her. "And what is that?" She pointed at the ring Emma still held in her hand.
"Snow's not here?" Emma asked in surprise. "But the ring…", she broke off and looked more closely at her hand. The ring was now glowing an almost incandescent white. She slowly moved it closer to Regina, who tensed immediately as the ring started making a buzzing noise.
"Sheriff Swan", she began in a low dangerous voice. "You have a very small window of time to explain why you have brought an unknown magical artefact into my home".
"Relax Regina", Emma said distractedly as she moved the ring away from Regina. The buzzing noise stopped. "I'm sure it's perfectly safe. But I think it's broken. The ring's mean to find Snow. It's clearly not working".
Regina did not look at all appeased and continued to eye the ring like it was a live grenade. "In my experience Sheriff Swan, broken magical items are rarely safe". She held out her hand imperiously. "Give it to me".
Emma hesitated as she glanced between the ring and increasingly impatient brown eyes. It was Snow's engagement ring after all. She didn't think she would be able to smooth things over if Regina destroyed it. "Fine, but try not to damage it okay." She took a deep breath and reluctantly dropped it into Regina's outstretched palm.
The ring immediately stopped glowing and reverted to just a plain green stone. Regina didn't react, but Emma could feel her draw on her magic, her brow furrowing in concentration. Emma clenched her jaw and started doing math in her head. Being around Regina when she channelled magic, was always a difficult and distracting experience for her. It was like every inch of her exposed skin was a live nerve ending, reacting to the almost sensuous swirl of Regina's magic. Emma fought the overwhelming urge she had to reach out and draw the magic to her.
"Well it does seem to be a tracking spell", Regina said slowly. She frowned and directed more tendrils of magic at the ring. She recoiled almost immediately and hissed out one word. 'Rumplestilskin".
Emma reacted on pure instinct. One of the jewels on the pommel of her sword instantly dimmed as she drew the magic out of it. The air bent and warped around her, briefly outlining her in a heat haze like shimmer. In a blur of movement too fast to see, she snatched the ring out of Regina's hand and hurled it out the open front door. She grabbed Regina around the waist and turned, pressing the other woman into the door, and covering her with her own body. The ring hurtled through the air until it finally impacted the gate at the end of the footpath, chips of wood flying off into the air. It ricocheted back and bounced several times on the concrete footpath before coming to a stop.
Regina gave a startled gasp, as she found herself pinned to the door by the blonde's lithe body. She brought both her hands up and pushed ineffectually against Emma's chest. Emma ignored her, her attention focused solely on the ring.
"Emma, look at me", Regina said softly.
Emma felt delicate fingers on her jaw, coaxing her to turn her head. She reluctantly met dark brown eyes.
"The enchantment on the ring was made by Rumplestilskin, but I don't think it's currently in a state where it poses a threat." Regina was still talking in that same soft tone. She slowly stroked her thumb back and forth across Emma's jaw.
"Are you sure?" Emma almost growled the question.
"Not a hundred percent no, but I do have something that will render it inert, until you can get it checked out properly". Regina released her grip on Emma's jaw and held her hand out. A purple mist covered her palm until it coalesced into a small metal box. "It's made of a very rare metal that acts almost like your abilities do".
Emma stared at the box. The area around it was odd. Regina's magic was bending away from it, creating a void. She glanced back at the dark haired woman and noted the slight discomfort in her posture. It obviously wasn't pleasant for her to be touching the box.
"Fine". Emma was suddenly very aware of the soft curves she was still pressed tightly against. She stepped back and took the box out of Regina's hand. "You stay right here and don't move a muscle until I get that ring into this box".
Regina's eyes narrowed, but then she nodded tightly.
Emma disappeared out the door, blowing Regina's hair back in a woosh of displaced air. She gingerly picked up the ring and placed it into the box, shutting it firmly. She blurred back to the house and reappeared in front of Regina a moment later.
Regina shot Emma an aggravated glare and ran a hand through her hair, pushing back the unruly strands that had fallen into her eyes. "Are you quite done with invading my personal space today, Sheriff Swan?
Emma snorted in disbelief. "Lady, you're the last person who should be complaining about personal space". She held up the box. "Now what?"
"I suggest you give that to the Mother Superior." Regina all but snarled the name. "Let her and her band of colourful mosquitoes work out what it actually does".
Emma nodded. "Ok good idea". She shifted on the balls of her feet. She could still feel the magic running through her, fizzing in her blood and lending her strength and speed. It was like an adrenaline rush, but much much more intense. She needed to work it off. "I'd better get going then".
"Before you do, let me see your sword". Regina tone made it clear that it wasn't a request.
Emma sighed in resignation and simply handed over the sword. Regina drew it from the scabbard and ran her fingers over the three jewels that were inset into the pommel. The middle jewel was colourless and drained of all its magic. Emma once again gritted her teeth as she felt the other woman channel her magic. It was worse this time, given the magic flowing in her veins heightened her senses to almost painful levels. She was hyperaware of the nearness of the other woman, the smell of her perfume a potent heady mix. Her fingers itched to run across the smooth expanse of olive toned skin on display, and dip below the dangerously unbuttoned shirt.
Emma nervously licked her lips and kept her eyes firmly fixed on the sword. The jewel slowly took on a purple hue, until it once again matched its neighbours.
Regina carefully sheathed the sword and handed it back to Emma.
"Thanks", Emma mumbled, trying not to look at Regina as she slung the sword over her shoulder. She almost jumped in surprise when Regina stepped closer to her and adjusted her collar, where the strap of the sword had trapped it underneath it. Warm fingers brushed against the sensitive skin of her throat and Emma stopped breathing. She raised her head and looked into dark eyes.
Regina's hands tightened on the lapels of her jacket. "Sheriff Swan," she began warningly, but Emma cut off the rest of her sentence by leaning forward and capturing her lips. For a glorious instant she felt Regina respond to the kiss, soft curves melting into her own, when suddenly the warmth was ripped away, and she found herself airborne. She instinctively adjusted her body in the air and landed gracefully on both feet, halfway down the pathway.
"Regina, what the hell?" Emma glared at the woman. She'd just been hurled 15 feet through the air by magic. If she'd been anyone else she would have likely been injured on landing. Luckily she still had a tight grip on the box containing the ring.
"Sheriff Swan, I thought we'd settled this." Regina's voice was icy cold. She straightened to her full height and smoothed her skirt. "The attraction between us is merely a result of the interaction of my magic with yours, nothing more. You need to exercise more control".
"Control. Right". Emma laughed bitterly, stung by the other women's words. "You know what Regina? You can take your control and shove it." She didn't wait for a response, but turned and blurred away. She leaped effortlessly over the gate and accelerated down the road, trying to get as far away as possible from the dark haired woman.
If she had looked back, she would have seen Regina slump against the doorway and touch a shaking hand to her lips.
Ok I know I should be working on Cry Havoc, but this plot bunny just wouldn't leave me alone. I think I'm going to have to get it out of my system.
Would love to hear your feedback.