notes: So many people are talking about pirates, and when I think Pirates, I think of the "curiosity" scene from POTC: Dead Man's Chest. Thinking of that scene brought me to this little ficlet. No, it does not happen on a boat. No, you do not need to know the curiosity scene to read (and potentially enjoy) this. Happy reading.

"It's not going to be enough for you," Regina says. Despite how low she says the words, they ring in Emma's ears, stopping her before she can even reach the front door. She eyes it anyway as her words catch in her throat.

Emma never should've come here. Yes, her relationship affects Henry, which means it affects Regina, but Emma should have just let the mayor find out through the rumor mill. Regina makes everything more difficult than it has to be. Two minutes of talking in the foyer and Regina latches onto — what? — some thought that Emma's going to mess this up. She won't. Emma's finally getting a chance at the life she's always wanted. She has parents who would do anything for her, a son who's trusting her again, and now she has Neal ready to drop everything for her. She's not letting Regina ruin this. Actually, of all people, Regina should understand how important this is.

Emma asks, "Would it be enough for you with Daniel?"

She can almost hear the way Regina tenses at the name. Emma might not know the whole story when it comes to Regina's lost love, but she knows that it was enough to make Regina hate Snow. It was enough to change her. Silence her. Emma expects it to happen again, but Regina doesn't back off. She strides forward until her breath singes up the side of Emma's neck.

Regina hisses, "You know nothing about Daniel."

"And you know nothing about Neal," Emma returns. She reaches for the door, but Regina yanks at her wrist. Emma falters at the pull. She practically turns straight into Regina. Emma stiffens slightly at the heat radiating off of the other woman. The rage radiates as well.

It's only when their eyes meet that Regina calms slightly. Emma wonders what Regina sees in the look that makes the mayor's lips twitch up into a smirk.

Regina says, "I know you, Miss Swan." Emma nearly scoffs. No one knows her, not completely at least. "You are not the same girl you were when you met him, and as much as you would like to be, as much as you would like to start over, you cannot. You need more than the life your mother intended for you. Living in a castle, living with him, will kill you more than you can admit."

Despite the dark tone of her words, Regina almost smiles. Emma's blood cools at the empty, almost reminiscent look that creeps into Regina's eyes. Her own gaze drops down to the hand still on her wrist. Regina's thumb traces circles on her skin, only the circles continue, growing smaller like a the slow spiral Regina paints with her words.

She says, "You'll pull on a smile to distract from the way you linger in the doorframes. You'll joke about taking the carriage and never coming back, but it's no joke. It's who you are. You crave adventure. You need to run simply because you can and to do so with nary a word of warning. They will never give you that. They will trap you, bind you into the role they need filled in their lives — a princess for the throne, a mother who does no wrong, a wife to keep the bed warm. And the worst thing is that you will do it. You've already begun to, haven't you? Change for them?"

Emma's throat tightens up. She's not changing for them. She's changing because that's what people do. People grow older, and they settle down. They wear sweaters instead of leather jackets. They sit at the table for dinner and walk their kids to school and make promises to never lie, to never leave, to never cheat. They do what's best for their entire families, no matter the cost to them. They — she hasto change. If she doesn't…. If I don't, they'll leave me.

Regina chuckles, her grip on Emma loosening before falling away. She makes no move back. Emma could run, could walk out of here, but the words hold her in place. If I mess up, they'll be gone. It will all be gone.

"You'll do it until the day when you realize that every doubt you've ever had, every moment you've ever wondered if this is truly what you want, comes back tenfold. When that moment comes, you'll run, hoping that they don't follow. You'll run, and you won't go to Boston, or to some pub; you'll come to me. And do you know why?"

The word slips from Emma's thoughts to her lips. "Why?"

"Curiosity." Regina leans in enough for Emma to recognize the scar above her lip. Enough for Emma to spot the joy in the queen's eyes. "You'll want to know how I did it. How I knew."

"How do you?" Emma asks. She gulps to keep the bile in her throat down. The doubt. She steels herself. "Why do you think—"

"Because it isn't enough. Nothing ever is. Not for people like us."

Emma shakes her head. "We are nothing alike." Regina laughs.

"You keep telling yourself that. One day, you'll know."

Emma takes a step back. Regina's laugh turns darker, more sinister. Emma turns around. Regina's wrong. She has to be. Emma will be happy with Neal. With Henry and her parents. She doesn't need anything else. She storms out of the house. And I sure as hell don't need you.

I might do a second part to this. Thoughts?