In case you didn't catch it in the description, this is based off the snippets from the latest promos about the final episodes of the season so possible SPOILER ALERT.
So I did a lot of rewrites for this story and I'm not sure I got my point across toward the end, but hopefully it's still a good read. Enjoy. :)
Emma knew disappointment all too well. As she watched Henry stare at the candle on his birthday cake with a frown, she knew he also knew disappointment much in the same way. Recent events caused her son to seem sad and detached. Those events all had something to do with Regina Mills, his adoptive mother.
She sympathized with him as he made a wish and blew out the candle. She'd called the brunette too many times to count, both at her office and on her cell. Regina had made herself truly unavailable. On a normal day, Emma would have understood the older woman's avoidance in light of all that happened to her in the past few weeks, but not on Henry's birthday. She knew Regina a little too well to know even if she wasn't wanted there by anyone else, she'd still show up for her son. She loved him.
Henry turned after the flame from the candle was out and Emma forced a smile.
"Did you make a wish," she asked him as he stepped away from the counter in Gold's shop and closer to his family.
"Yeah," Henry softly said as he continued to frown.
Emma tried to maintain her smile for him.
"Did you make it a good one," she teased as he got closer.
"I'd keep it a secret if I thought it was gonna come true, but...it won't."
"What do you mean? It could come true. Why would you think it wouldn't?"
"Because Mom-Regina...isn't coming," Henry confessed as he tightly wrapped his arms around Emma's waist and hugged her.
He closed his eyes and tried not to cry.
"I know she did a lot of bad stuff and...at the well when I wanted to destroy magic...things were tense, but I thought... She's never missed a birthday," Henry sulked into Emma's stomach.
The blonde's heart sank.
"I'm sorry, Henry. But there's still plenty of time. We've got the rest of the day to see if she'll show. Maybe she just assumed we'd be at the apartment," Emma tried to give him hope.
He relaxed as he tried to believe it and after a few seconds, Emma did the same as though she wanted to believe it too.
The two of them stayed in an embrace for a while before Henry pulled away.
"I think I'm gonna wait outside...in case I see her."
"Okay," Emma nodded as she forced another smile.
As he walked out of the shop, Snow stepped in front of Emma.
"Did you call her before we left?"
"Yeah," Emma frowned.
"Maybe...it's for the best," Snow said.
"Did you see his face? He's crushed. I refuse to let my kid think he isn't loved or cared about."
"We let him know that every day," Neal piped up to Emma's left. "He's got a whole family to show him he's loved."
"But he doesn't have her," Emma calmly argued. "You heard him. She hasn't missed a single birthday. She's still his mom. It hurts when your parents aren't there for you. You and I should know better than anyone, Neal."
"We weren't there for you because we had to give you your best chance," Snow argued for the millionth time.
"I spent a lifetime looking for you, Bae," Rumpelstiltskin defended himself by the counter.
Emma clenched her jaw as she tried not to snap.
"We still grew up without parents," Emma tried to say flatly, the hurt only slightly masked in her voice.
"She's the Evil Queen," he stated.
"I'm not exactly a fan of hers, but I don't want Henry to feel like this. I don't want him to think that she doesn't want him or doesn't love him now that we're all hovering."
"Then what do you suggest we do," Snow asked. "If Regina wanted to be here, she would've been here."
Emma furrowed her brow as she thought about it.
"That's what's weird about all this. She would go out of her way to be with Henry. Even if that meant dealing with us. Something's not right."
"There's nothing you can do, Emma," Snow gently said.
"The hell there isn't. Watch Henry."
Emma made a beeline for the door and hurried outside.
Henry sat on the curb in front of the shop. He turned when he heard the door open and looked quizzically at Emma.
"Where are you going," he asked.
"I'm gonna check on Regina. See if I can't get a hold of her in person."
"You don't have to get her. I don't want to force her to be here."
"Henry," Emma said as she crouched down next to him. "I know things have been rough between all of us. Your mom...she's...going through something. I don't really understand the relationship she had with her mom, but...I think of it like this, if something were to happen to Regina, even with all the terrible things she's done, you'd be sad, right?"
He nodded after a few seconds.
"I think she's gotta find herself again. She just lost her mom and she's already lost you. She's on her own right now and that's tough. She hasn't made the best decisions lately, but...I think she did them for you. The fact that she isn't here to celebrate your birthday tells me there's more to the story than her avoiding you or anyone else here. Okay?"
"So I'm gonna find her and I'm gonna figure this out. Stay with your grandma."
Emma ran a hand through his hair.
"I'll be back soon and no matter what it takes, I promise I'm gonna make that birthday wish of yours come true. I'm gonna bring Regina back with me."
"You're gonna bring her back before midnight?"
"Yep. Even if I have to walk barefoot across a path of burning hot rocks. She hasn't missed any of your birthdays and I'm not gonna let that change. She's not gonna miss this one."
Emma looked him over for a few seconds before she leaned in and kissed him on the forehead.
"I love you," she said when she pulled away.
"I love you too."
It was the first time they'd said those words to each other.
Regina yelled as she felt the magic drain from her body into the mechanisms placed on her temples. She tensed as she tried to fight it, but she could feel herself weaken with every notch clicked on the machine.
Craig, or rather Owen, cranked up the amplitude of the machine with Tamara by his side.
Regina's yell echoed in crescendo in the dingy room. She squeezed her eyes shut and threw back her head as the magic was ripped from her.
Owen cut the machine and Regina collapsed onto the table as sweat ran down her face. She trembled and panted as she kept her eyes closed and tried to stay grounded. She could feel her mind becoming cloudy and soon she feared she wouldn't be able to think at all.
"Tell me what happened to my father," Owen demanded as his hand hovered above the machine's knob.
Regina didn't say a word.
"We've been at this for about an hour now? I could do this all night."
Regina took deep but labored breaths.
"I'll count to three this time. If you don't tell me what you did to him, the pain's only going to get worse."
"Why not just kill her already," Tamara asked as she ran a hand down Owen's arm. "Clearly she's not going to talk and eventually, she'll barely even remember her own name."
"And when that happens," Hook grinned as he stepped out of the dark corner. "I'll take over. She may not be of any use to you at that point, but she'll still be valuable to me."
Owen looked from Hook to Tamara.
"See? Even if I don't know what happened to my father, at least everyone still wins."
Tamara slowly, wickedly grinned.
"Fine. Two more notches should convince her to share," Tamara suggested.
Owen mirrored her grin then turned the machine on and flicked the knob two notches more.
Regina yelled again before she nearly screamed. She tried not to show weakness, but her strength, her energy, was being drained.
The pull from the machine lasted a long minute. Regina shook and suddenly felt cold.
"Hen-nry," she she jaggedly whispered as she stared up at the ceiling with wide eyes.
"What's that," Owen asked as he baited the brunette.
Regina couldn't say it again. She'd barely been able to the first time.
"Oh, your son. Henry. Yeah, I'm afraid you're not going to see him. In fact, you'll probably never see him again. Just like I never saw my dad again. Isn't it funny how life works out."
Tears welled up in her eyes though her face appeared frozen solid, her eyes almost glazed over.
"Why don't you shock her," Tamara suggested. "We keep taking her magic, why not give her a jolt in return?"
Owen smirked, a demented gleam in his eyes.
"I like the way you think."
Owen flipped a switch then turned the knob to a higher number.
Regina emitted a low guttural groan before she cried out in immense pain. The electricity that circuited through her body hit every nerve and drew out her magic before what little she had left painfully flowed out of her.
Owen stopped the machine.
"Tell me, when was the last time you saw your son."
A tear streamed down her face as she became stiff, almost paralyzed.
"You see, when you do bad things, you're creating two problems. One, you push others into exacting revenge, which most of the time makes more bad people like yourself. And two, you've hurt so many people who could easily rescue you, but they won't. You want to know why? Because nobody cares about you."
Tamara slowly sauntered up to the side of the table Regina was on.
"I think it's more than that," she started, her tone dark and condescending. "The way I see it is that this town is your life. You've never left because...well, you made it so you couldn't get out and no one could get in. The only people you know are the people you trapped here and among the whole lot of them, not a single one loves you."
Before Regina had time to let that sink in, Owen turned on the machine and Regina made little noise, her body weak and defenseless with nothing left in it. She still felt the pain, but the outside of her body was numb while the inside felt like an inferno.
The machine stopped and Regina's eyes finally glazed over. Her skin had started to pale and her heart had slowed almost to a stop.
Tamara touched one of Regina's wrists and grinned.
"Cold to the touch," she reported.
"Is there still a pulse," Owen asked.
Tamara slipped Regina's wrist into her hand and touched an icy blue vein.
"Not much of one."
Tamra carelessly dropped Regina's wrist back on the table then strutted over to Owen with a satisfied smirk.
Owen wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her. Their lips attacked each other or several moments as Hook pulled out a cloth and cleaned his hook.
When Owen and Tamara parted, he looked at Hook, more than satisfied, and grinned.
"She's all yours," he said as his words got Hook's attention.
"Thanks, but I'll also need that lovely device we talked about. The one that kills magical creatures? I've still got a crocodile to skin."
"Right. Deal's this," Owen started. "We give you one and you find out what happened to my dad."
"I told you, mate. If the wench didn't talk, I'd gather up what information I could about him. Knowing the Evil Queen, I'd say he didn't go far. She likes keepsakes. Has a whole vault of hearts in her family's mausoleum from what I understand."
"Okay," Owen said as he pulled out a taser looking device and extended it to him.
Hook reached out to take it, but Owen pulled back seconds before he could.
"But if you don't find him, don't stay good on your word, you're a dead man."
"Got it. Now the device if you will?"
Owen handed it over and Hook grinned from ear to ear as he marveled at the mobile piece of equipment.
Owen turned and started to leave, but Tamra got in Hook's face.
"You've got a week to find out about his dad. If you don't have anything for us, we'll gladly take that back and maybe even do to you what we did to her."
Tamara turned and went to the base of the machine. She opened it up to reveal a jar filled with purple smoke and crackling sparks of magic they'd extracted from Regina.
Hook watched her leave the magic before he directed his attention to the brunette on the table.
"Looks like it's just you and me," he said as she held up his hook and reflected the overhead lights with it.
Emma sped down Mifflin Street as she tightly gripped the steering wheel. She swerved into the driveway and parked, knowing it would upset the brunette if she saw the eyesore of a car in her driveway as though Emma belonged there.
She was angry about the situation, no matter the unknown circumstances, and decided to take it out on Regina. She was good at being confrontational with the older woman. They hadn't stopped fighting since the day Emma drove into town. They'd had their moments of understanding, but eventually they'd be back at each others' throats. She could handle Regina. She couldn't handle not knowing why Regina hadn't showed up and disappointed Henry.
She pounded on the door like she had an angry mob with her demanding the Queen's head. When she realized the similarity, reminiscent of Dr. Whale and a group of disgruntled Storybrooke citizens, Emma slightly changed her approached.
"Regina! It's Emma. Open up!"
She rang the doorbell a few times then pounded on the door again.
Emma sighed and looked at the driveway. The Mercedes was gone, but something still felt off.
She snagged a bobby pin out of her coat pocket and broke it in half. She bent down and stuck both pieces into the lock and picked it. Within a minute or two, the lock clicked open and Emma quickly made her way inside.
She shut the door behind her and looked around. It had been a while since she'd been inside the house. Come to think of it, the last time she had been inside was when she told Regina she was leaving town and then accepted a poisoned apple turnover from the brunette. It'd been almost a year since then. Emma realized in that moment just how much had changed.
She didn't have time to dwell, though. She had to find Regina. She promised Henry they'd see each other before the day ended. Emma went straight to the kitchen. Nothing looked out of place, but that feeling. It was an eery emotion, a near fear she couldn't escape. Her heart pounded vigorously in her chest as her brain screamed, "This is all wrong!"
She went upstairs and opened doors to almost every room. She opened the linen closet, the bathroom, and then Regina's room. She crept inside as though Regina would be there complaining about the blonde being in her bedroom without permission, especially when the two weren't that close let alone pleased with each other at that time. But the brunette wasn't there.
She opened Regina's closet and immediately dropped her jaw. On the top shelf, there were two carefully wrapped boxes, one small and the other a decent size, in blue and white paper that read, "Happy Birthday" over and over again.
Emma wasn't entirely sure what that meant, but at least she knew Regina had planned to give Henry gifts somehow, at some point that day.
Emma started to worry as that "something isn't right" feeling intensified.
Suddenly, the front door was thrown open and Emma tensed at the sound. At least two sets of feet shuffled through the foyer as Emma focused all attention on who could be inside.
Then the intruders spoke.
"She's got to have a spell book around here somewhere," a female voice said. "All witches have them, don't they?"
"She's got one. If she has a bunch of hearts in a vault, she's got a spell book," a male voice explained.
"Those hearts," the female started. "You think we could do something with them?"
"If we find her spell book, I just might be able to answer that question."
The two strangers moved through the house, toward the living room.
Emma quietly but quickly closed the closet and tip-toed to the bedroom door. She leaned against it and listened through the door to try and make out who was talking.
"That magic was...something else," the woman said. "I've had my fair share of magical taste, but hers...that Queen surely proved to me why she carries the title."
"Don't forget what she did to my father," the man bitterly said. "Her magic may be strong, but she's not someone to admire or adore. She's a monster and she deserved what she got. Whatever that guy wanted with her after we left, I'm sure she deserves that too."
"Owen," the woman soothingly started. "I want you to find out what happened to your dad as much as you do. I gave the Captain a little incentive to make sure he doesn't try to double cross us. He's got a week to find something out. It doesn't have to be big, but it's got to be a lead. We'll know soon enough what happened to him. Besides, once we take all the magic from this place, there's nothing that can stop us. Not even an Evil Queen if she survives after today."
Emma panicked. She kept still, but her mind jumped from one bad thought to the next.
Regina was in trouble. If she didn't find the brunette soon, Henry would fall apart at the loss of his other mother.
Dammit, Regina. What kind of trouble did you get yourself into?
She heard the footsteps ascend the stairs and her eyes widened. She turned to the window across the room and took large, quiet strides toward it. She unlocked it then slid it open, which was a challenge due to the noise it made every time she pushed it upward.
Emma clenched her jaw, her muscles tense as she tried to sneak out of Regina's house. It was never something she thought she'd have to do, but there she was climbing out a second story window that lead to the brunette's bedroom.
She hurried to close the window behind herself and pulled away just as the door opened. She threw herself to the side and pressed her back flush against the house. She sat on the roof with her knees to her chest as she tried to remain hidden beside the window.
"Where do you think she keeps it," the woman asked.
"I don't know. Somewhere she feels she holds the most power."
"Like a powerhouse?"
"Yeah, but it could be buried in the backyard, under a bench, in a tree."
Tree, Emma thought. The apple tree.
"What kind of spell are we looking for," the man asked.
"Well, I don't know about you, but I want all the magic in this awful, miserable town. I want power. I want to win," the woman said. "With magic, we can help ourselves. We don't have to feel like we did growing up. We don't have to be the victims with emptiness in our hearts because something was taken from us. With magic, we can be the ones that take it all away."
Emma knew she'd heard that voice before, but she still couldn't tell who was talking. She didn't even remember anyone in town named Owen, but at least she knew one name.
"Let's check the yard," the woman said after a few more minutes of rummaging through things.
Then a phone rang from inside the room.
The woman sighed.
"What is it," the man asked.
"He's calling again."
"Answer it. He might have something for us."
For a few seconds, everything was quiet. Then the woman started talking again, but not to the man in the room.
"Hello? Hey. Whoa, whoa. Neal, slow down."
Emma's eyes nearly popped out of her head.
"No, that's okay. I'm...do you want to meet somewhere? ...Okay. I can do that. Yeah, I'll see you in a bit. Bye."
"I've got to go," Tamara told Owen.
"Okay. I'll keep looking for the book while you handle that."
"Sounds good. See you later."
Emma softly scrambled down to the edge of the roof and waited a few seconds to see if Tamara would emerge. She figured she only had a few seconds before the Owen character would catch her crouched down on the roof so she didn't waste time when Tamara didn't immediately come out. She took her chances and jumped off the roof.
She landed on her feet, but made sure to roll on her side to keep herself from over-sticking the landing and sprain her ankles. She rolled several times in the grass beside the walkway until she ended up on her back.
She hurried to her feet and pulled out her keys before she put her car in neutral. She pushed it out of the driveway and nearly ran to catch up to it once the forward momentum picked up toward the street.
She turned the wheel until she and the car disappeared behind the bushes in front of the house.
The front door opened.
She knew she had to act fast and the car had been harder to push once she reached the street. She slid inside and started it up. She put the yellow bug in reverse and drove it backwards down the street to avoid Tamara seeing her car at all. When she reached the stop sign at the end of the street, she backed her way around a corner then put the car in drive before she sped off toward the main road.
Emma sprinted into the Sheriff's station and didn't even notice her dad was there until he spoke up.
"Whoa! Emma. Where's the fire," Charming asked as he stood from the deputy's desk and frowned at his daughter.
"Not a fire. Possible homicide and magical theft," she briskly stated as she went into her office and grabbed her gun and holster out of her desk.
"Regina's gone. She could be dead right now or being tortured or something else not good!"
"Are you going to look for her?"
"I'm still looking for her. I left Gold's shop to find her and when I went to her house, this guy showed up with Tamara."
"Wait, Tamara? As in, Neal's girlfriend Tamara?"
"Fiancee," Emma corrected as she bolted for the door.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm going to the Mayor's office. That might be where they abducted her."
"What about the magical theft thing?"
"Tamara wants to steal all the magic in Storybrooke. She and the guy she showed up with were talking about Regina's magic, how it felt. I don't really know what that means, but I'm sure it isn't good for Regina."
"Well, if Regina doesn't have her magic, aren't we all safe?"
"I don't know about you, but I felt a lot safer when Regina was the one that had some strong ass magic, not some sociopath who doesn't know the first thing about it. At least Regina has some self-control. Who knows what Tamara will do if she gets her hands on more of it."
"So...does this mean Neal knows about her plans too? Was he the one with her at Regina's place?"
"No. It was some guy named Owen."
"Then what does that mean for Neal?"
"I don't know," Emma admitted after a minute as Charming followed her out of the station, his gun already in his holster. "And I don't really care right now. I've got to find her."
"You're not going alone. I'm coming with you."
"I can handle this," Emma said before she stopped at her car in the parking lot.
"I'd feel much better if you had back up. Going against those two, maybe even Neal as well...that's a dangerous thing. It's nice to have someone there in case things get rough."
Emma sighed as she realized he wouldn't back down.
"We should take the cruiser," Charming suggested.
Emma rolled her eyes and moved from her car to the work car.
"I'm driving," she flatly demanded as she walked around to the driver's seat.
Charming led the way as both he and Emma had their guns drawn. He opened the door to the Mayor's office and took long strides inside. He went straight, toward Regina's desk, while Emma covered him and turned to her left.
Emma approached the mirror and tried to listen for any indication that Regina was nearby.
Charming looked out the office window and stared down at the apple tree.
"What is it you were telling me about the tree," Charming asked.
"We need to get to it before Tamara and Owen do."
"And why is that again?"
"Because I know where Regina keeps her spell book. Without it, Tamara and Owen won't be able to take any magic, at least not the way they want to."
"I'll go get it," Charming said.
"Shh," Emma took a hand off her gun and held it up to Charming. "I hear something."
It was barely audible, but a muffled humming came from behind one of the walls.
Emma furrowed her brow and listened closer. As she stood in front of the mirror, she felt a tingling sensation throughout her body as the humming grew louder.
She faced the mirror and listened again. The humming sounded at random intervals. She focused and listened for almost another minute before she realized it wasn't humming. Someone was talking.
"Uh...this may be a stupid question, but...the Evil Queen had this thing with mirrors, right," Emma asked.
Charming moved away from the window and closer to his daughter.
Emma took a deep breath and lowered her gun. She took her left hand off it and reached out to the mirror. She touched it and gold smoke swirled around in it before she saw Hook standing over a pale and stunned Regina.
"Damn," Emma breathed out as she stared wide eyed at the mirror. "I'm gonna need that book."
Emma pulled her hand away from the mirror and the image of Regina and Hook disappeared. She turned to Charming, still shocked at what she'd done then looked ahead. She went out back to get to the tree and holstered her gun on the way out.
Charming hurried after her as he kept his gun at his side. When they were outside, he stopped a few feet behind Emma as she knelt down in front of the bench by the apple tree.
"The apples are almost black. The tree is dying," Emma said as she stuck her hand under the bench and felt around.
"If the tree dies, so does her magic. This is a..." Emma trailed off to find the right words. "Honey crisp tree. It can survive temperatures as low as forty below and keep growing. The weather is maybe sixty degrees at the lowest this time of year and yet, her tree is still dying. She's weak."
"How do you know that?"
"She told me once. My first week here, she offered me a basket of apples and talked about this tree before she tried to run me out of town. She said she's tended to it since she was a little girl. It's the only apple tree I know of in Storybrooke and Regina's known for using apples to poison people. She did it to Mary Mar-Sno-Mom and she tried to do it to me. This is where her power comes from."
"And you remembered all that?"
"Well," Emma said as she felt something under the bench and pulled at it. "It's kind of hard to forget since I did take a chainsaw to this thing the same day. I cut off a branch trying to work out some aggression."
Emma smirked as she remembered the day well and placed the spell book she'd taken from under the bench in her lap.
"You should've seen her face. She was pissed."
Charming was impressed she'd found the book, but that didn't stop him from silently questioning his daughter's change in mood toward the brunette. The way she'd smirked about an incident between the two of them had Charming wonder if she actually saw it as a good memory. He tried not to believe that's what she thought because then they'd need to have a talk. Nothing about Regina was good, not even memories of her as far as the town was concerned.
Emma opened the book and flipped through the pages.
"What are you looking for?"
"Regina can just go poof in a puff of smoke. She can go anywhere. I want to know how."
"To get to her. I may have seen Hook with her while she's lying stiff on some table, but I don't where that is. If I'm gonna find her, I need to know where to go."
"Using magic as a shortcut to get to her? Emma, that's personal gain. That's the start of dark magic."
"She doesn't have a lot of time. Magic's the only chance I have of saving her."
"Okay, what's with you," he asked as she continued to look through the book. "First you're adamant about finding her, now you want to save her? She doesn't deserve kindness from us and I'm pretty sure that everything with Henry has made her hate you as much as she hates your mother."
"That doesn't mean she's not worth saving. She could hate me until forever. I'm got gonna let Henry lose her."
"There's no hope for her, Emma. Even if you saved her from whatever is going on right now, she'll still be evil. She hasn't redeemed herself and she's had one too many chances. Every single one of them ending in her causing a great deal of pain and destruction. She'll never change."
"She has Henry."
"It won't make a different."
"She at least tried this time! She said she was gonna change and I saw her change. What happened with Archie...she didn't do it. He wasn't even dead. It was Cora."
"Yeah, and then she teamed up with Cora and tried to kill us all."
"Can you blame her? She lost everything and then her mom came back with this promise of getting Henry back. That's all she's wanted. Whatever Cora had in mind wasn't on Regina's radar. She blindly believed her mother and got sucked into magic again. Redemption isn't easy and no one seems to understand that."
"I think you're putting too much faith in her. You're only going to get let down."
"If that happens, oh well. I've been let down enough times in my life to know how to deal with it. I've got to believe her because...I don't think anyone else does. Henry...maybe. He doesn't seem so sure anymore."
"Then you probably shouldn't be either."
"If I do that then Regina's gonna have to try a hell of a lot harder. It sucks when no one believes in you. You're your own worst enemy and the world tells you that you can't do it and you tell yourself you can't do it. Then what have you got? Nothing. Regina's still human. I may have had a moment of doubt after what I saw in the dream catcher, but you know what, I still know her. I still believe her. And I'm gonna save her."
Emma flipped through a few more pages before she found what she needed. She started reading.
"If this is all for Henry then where does that leave Neal? He is Henry's father."
"I know that. I'm the one that had that has his kid, remember?"
She kept her eyes on the book and continued to read.
"Well, Regina already doesn't like it that you're in Henry's life. How's she gonna feel with Neal in it?"
"If Neal has something to do with Tamara's plans, he's not gonna be in Henry's life."
"So he makes one mistake and you'll keep him away from Henry, but Regina spends years and years ruining everyone's lives over and over again? Constantly making bad decisions? How is that fair?"
"I don't have time to get into this with you. Regina needs me. Henry needs me."
She looked down at the book and read the part about how to visualize what you're searching for, what you want.
Think of the person or place you're trying to reach, it read.
Emma closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Nothing happened.
She frowned and opened her eyes.
"Why isn't it working," she asked.
"It's a different kind of magic. It's not something you're used to. And you don't really know how to use the magic you are capable of either. Magic isn't something you can just do. It takes practice."
"Here's me practicing," Emma bitterly said as she glared at him.
She stood up and stormed back into Regina's office.
Charming sighed and followed after her.
"Emma...Emma," he called after her, his tone regretful and almost soothing as he tried to fix his mistake. "I didn't mean it like you were bad at magic. I don't have magic and your mother doesn't have magic. We don't know the first thing about it, but we know it's dangerous if you're not careful. We just worry. That's all."
Emma went straight to the mirror and tucked the book under her right shoulder. She touched the mirror with her left hand and the image of Regina reappeared. The pirate raised his hook in a threatening manner.
"Regina," Emma called out as she wanted nothing more than to stop Hook before he did any more damage.
Within seconds, a red puff of smoke engulfed the blonde and the image of Regina in the mirror vanished with her.
"No," Charming yelled as she ran toward the mirror and tried to wrap his arms around Emma.
It was too late. She was already gone and there was nothing to embrace but a dissipating red cloud.
Emma reappeared in the red smoke behind Hook as he jabbed Regina in the heart with pointy metal.
Regina hadn't moved.
Without hesitation, Emma jumped on Hook's back and reached for his left wrist.
Hook grunted and struggled to rid himself of the blonde.
Emma grabbed his wrist and pulled his hook away from Regina only to reveal the blood on the end of it. She tried not to focus on it as he thrashed around beneath her.
He shucked her off his back with the use of his shoulders while his elbow slammed into her ribs.
Emma groaned and fell onto the floor as she held her side.
Hook turned and stared down at her with a grin.
"Would you look at that," Hook started. "Someone's come to save the Queen. Never thought it'd be you."
"I'm a mystery like that," Emma angrily said through gritted teeth as she tried to fight the pain.
"Well, unfortunately for you, there won't be much saving. She should be dead within a few minutes and you can join her."
He raised his bloody hook and swung down at her chest as she quickly drew her gun and fired.
He touched his right thigh and winced before he keeled over and fell on top of Emma.
She held out her hand to prevent Hook's weapon of choice from connecting with any part of her before she grunted and pushed him off of her.
"That won't be enough to stop me," Hook said. "After what she and Cora did to me, the way they set me up. They were never going to help me. Since Cora's dead, Regina will be the one to suffer."
"Not if I can help it," Emma said as she turned to Regina and removed the small devices from her temples.
She brought them over to Hook and placed them on his temples. He put up a small fight, but she stepped on the bullet wound in his thigh to get him to cooperate.
She went over to the machine and turned the knob to a sensible but still effective number as she kept the switch on the last setting applied to it.
Electricity flowed from the machine to Hook and caused him to yell. He seized on the floor as the machine shocked him until he passed out.
Emma turned off the machine and took a few long strides to the table.
Emma looked over the other woman's features. She winced as her eyes found the hole dug into her chest from the hook.
The brunette remained as stiff as a board.
Emma reached out and tried to find a pulse. She checked both the older woman's neck and wrist. She couldn't find one.
"No, no, no, no, no. Please. Not today. ...Not ever. Come on. You still haven't given Henry his presents. The kid needs you. He misses you. Regina...he loves you. Don't do this to him."
Emma shook her, but nothing happened. She sighed in defeat and looked Regina over from head to toe. She wore a red shirt and black skirt, the ones she had worn to the dinner at Granny's after she got Emma and Mary Margaret out of the well months ago.
"I'm not gonna let you die. There has to be a way to save you."
Emma ran a couple fingers through Regina's hair before she stroked the brunette's cheek. Suddenly, her hand glowed as she felt a warmth between her and Regina. It was a soft, subtle hue of gold that illuminated the side of Regina's pale face.
"I found you."
Emma closed her eyes and touched Regina's shoulder. She felt something drag out of her and into Regina. She gasped as she hunched over the brunette. She tried to grab the side of the table to steady herself, but held Regina's hand instead.
Gold light glowed between Regina's shoulder and hands where Emma touched her as the color came back to Regina's face. After a few seconds, she blinked then gasped for air.
Regina arched her back and Emma felt her energy rush to the other woman.
Her eyes flashed gold much like Regina's flashed purple whenever the brunette used magic, but she could feel herself weakening. She gave Regina everything she had.
Beneath her, through their magical connection, Emma could feel Regina's life return to her. At that point, she couldn't stop. What she wanted to give Regina and what she had to give Regina were two different things and only one would ensure the Queen's life. What she wanted to give wasn't enough to bring her back, but what she could give meant everything.
She drained herself until she had nothing left to give. The glow faded from her hands as her eyes returned to their natural green color and she tiredly collapsed onto the floor.
Regina took a deep breath and sat up. The slash in her chest from the pirate's hook was gone. She looked at Emma as the blonde lay on the floor, a little worse for wear.
"You saved me," Regina breathlessly said.
"I made a promise to Henry," Emma said as she painfully sat up.
Regina shook her head.
"That couldn't have been just about Henry."
"Then what else was it? True love?"
"We don't have time for this. I'm missing Henry's birthday and I never-"
"Miss a birthday. I know, but there's something we've got to do first," Emma said as she stood.
Emma used her newly acquired skill of disappearing in a cloud of smoke and stopped Tamara before she could hurt Neal or steal the magic from Storybrooke. She also managed to learn a new magic trick, but it was taxing on the body and confused not only her, but Regina as well.
She'd body checked Tamara and tossed her to the ground then pinned her down. When she did, she reached out for Regina without thinking about it and grabbed her wrist. She transferred Regina's magic from Tamara back into its rightful owner. She dragged Tamara's sorry ass back to the station along with Owen who had decided to follow his girlfriend to meet an innocent, unsuspecting Neal.
As she locked Tamara and Owen up, Charming tried to play twenty questions and figure out what happened when Emma vanished to find Regina. Emma dodged every single one of them and eventually, Charming said he was glad she was okay and left it at that.
Emma drove Regina home and called Snow on the way as Charming went to the apartment with Neal in the cruiser.
"David's on his way to pick up you and Henry. He's gonna bring you guys over to Regina's place."
"It's a surprise for Henry."
"Okay. Are you already there?"
"I will be in a few minutes."
"Okay. We're leaving right now."
Emma hung up and felt Regina staring at her from the passenger's seat. She briefly took her eyes off the road and met the brunette's gaze.
"It's going to be a long night, isn't it," Regina said.
"Probably, but at least you'll get to see Henry and you'll still be around for his next birthday."
"I barely made it through this one."
"As long as I'm around, you're not going anywhere. Unless you die of natural causes. How old are you anyway?"
"A woman never reveals her age."
"Good thing for me that you're not a woman. You're a witch," Emma teased with a smile.
"Just because you saved me today doesn't mean you get to make jokes about me."
"Even though we still have to talk about how that was even possible?"
"Tomorrow. We'll talk about it tomorrow. I just want to see Henry. The worst part about what happened today was not knowing if I'd ever see him again. I don't want death staring me in the face and have that regret that I didn't say everything I needed to say to him, that I didn't do everything right by him."
"Well, you've got tonight and that's a start."
"You're not going to keep from him anymore?"
"I want to take things slow. If he wants to see you, he can. At first, I might just tag along with him to make sure you're okay, you know, with the magic stuff. If you prove to me you're doing better then you can have him to yourself for a little while. And we'll go from there."
"Wow. No, 'he's my son. There's no need for a chaperone when I see him'?"
"I would never hurt him, at least not on purpose, but things have been a little difficult lately with not being able to see him and then with my mother. I was in your shoes once. I didn't think having you around would be good for him and now, I don't think that anymore. You're just looking out for him. Today I realized, among other things we'll discuss later, you want what's best for him as well. Right now, I'm not so sure I'm what's best for him. I don't want to mess this up. If taking it slowly is what's best, which I agree that is it, then I'm willing to do that."
"Okay," Emma said as she parked in Regina's driveway. "Let's go see our son."
Regina smiled as Emma got out of the car. She followed the blonde's lead, but forced the smile to disappear when she shut the passenger's door.
"Oh, Miss Swan," she caused Emma to stop and look at her. "Just because I'm willing to cooperate with you doesn't mean you get to park in my driveway."
"I couldn't resist. I love it when you get angry."
Regina grinned as she fell in step with the blonde.
The two of them went inside the house and Emma was the first to break the silence.
"Oh, I think you're gonna want to find a new place to hide your spell book. My dad was there when I found it."
"Noted. What did you get Henry for his birthday?"
"You didn't buy him a gift?"
"I didn't know what he wanted and I asked him, but he kept giving me silly answers like, 'I just want you to be there' or 'All I need is maybe a cake and the family together.' I mean, the kid is really profound."
"Well, I suppose family is as good a gift as any," Regina said.
"What did you get him," Emma asked.
"You'll just have to wait until he opens it."
"Speaking of gifts, I should go get his from my room."
Regina went upstairs and collected the two presents. It took her only a few minutes to return downstairs and make herself comfortable in the living room.
Emma stood in the archway of the living room and stuffed her hands in her pockets.
"So...tomorrow. Maybe we could talk about how things are gonna change between us over breakfast," Emma asked.
"That sounds nice," Regina warmly smiled.
"Maybe we could have breakfast here. Just you and me."
"I'm okay with that."
"And I'm kind of tired so..." Emma purposely trailed off.
Regina tried not to laugh.
"Would you like to stay the night, Miss Swan?"
"You can stay in the guest room."
The doorbell rang and Emma nervously looked from the door back to Regina.
"Time to see what those big family dinners are all about," Emma joked.
Regina smiled before the blonde turned to get the door.
"Emma," the brunette called out after the younger woman had taken only a few steps.
The Sheriff came back to the archway and waited for Regina to continue.
"We'll figure this out."
And just like that, it clicked. Emma had never felt more safe and secure in her entire life. She didn't know what would happen next, but she knew one thing.
"I believe you."
In some of the "scenes" I cut out, there was less of a jump between Emma saving Regina and "how things are gonna change between us" in terms of the two of them coming to an agreement there was something more than the excuse that Emma had saved Regina for Henry.
Other than that, why'd you think? Leave a review and even request a follow chapter if you'd like. If I get enough requests for one, I'll try my best to add it by next weekend. :)