Emma stood over the still form of Jefferson's body. She had the fingers of one hand pressed against her temple, wondering if they could ever make it a few weeks without a tragedy.
Now Emma certainly had no personal love for the man. He had kidnapped her, provided the apple that poisoned her son and had since shown no remorse or helped anyone in anyway. However, when the call came into the station from a hysterical eleven year old girl, Emma's personal feeling were of no matter. She and David had rushed to the mansion in only moments but still, they had been too late.
Once Mary Margaret had taken Grace back to their home and away from the scene, the sheriff and her father got to work. Emma covered the deceased body with a sheet, awaiting the arrival of the town's coroner. After that, the pair fanned out, searching for any indication of Jefferson's untimely death.
There were no immediate physical findings. No gun, no knife, no bruising, no blood any where. There was also no evidence of any kind of drug use and the house hold alcohol was confined to Jefferson's basement. All locks found on the doors and windows of the home remained in tack. No broken glass. No mess or signs of struggle. Not one single item seemed out of place.
With Mary Margaret's soothing, Grace calmed enough to tell Emma what she had seen, although the information she provided immediately put the sheriff on edge. Apparently the girl had arrived home from school like she did everyday but when she walked through her home, she found her father unconscious and not breathing on the living room floor. The only abnormal thing she could recollect was a few specks of purple mist, evaporating into the air as she ran to her father. Those words had immediately tensed the room's occupants, though all held composure.
After thoroughly exploring the entire house, Emma sighed in frustration. She was specifically looking for anything that could create a suspect list. Beyond the one automatic name that was bouncing through her mind that is. No matter what, Emma kept trying to believe her son's adoptive mother really was trying. In the weeks since she had stopped her attempts at killing Mary Margaret, Regina had kept mostly to herself. She made several attempts to speak with Henry and the boy was slowly responding.
Emma had felt a little uneasy, not at all worried she would hurt Henry, only that she might make another attempt at taking the boy. However, Regina was proving trustworthy, only stopping him to catch up on his day to day activities, never keeping him longer than he wanted.
"Emma?! There's something you need to see!" David called from somewhere in the basement, breaking the blonde of her haze.
She moved quickly down the steps and through the wine cellar. She thought they had already explored every inch of the house but after turning a dark corner, she saw light streaming from an open door that had been hidden earlier.
"What did you find?" She asked but instantly her eyes widened as she took in her surroundings.
"Regina." David sighed. And they did find her. About a thousand of her in fact.
Every square inch of the eight by eight room was covered in photos of the former queen. Some were old, consisting of her moving in and out of town hall or walking a younger looking Henry to school. Then again there were others of her and Cora or alone under her apple tree.
"I thought his obsessions calmed after he got Grace back." Emma said, completely transfixed with the scene. Her eyes landed on a picture of Regina, a large, over dramatic X over her face.
"Well they don't call him "mad" for nothing. I guess we found our killer." David spoke with his jaw set, mind made up. Emma shook her head though, not wanting to believe it.
"Let's not jump to conclusions again, okay? I mean the scene was even more incriminating last time."
"Emma look around you. Look at the evidence. A man is dead, at this point most likely by magic. That narrows the suspect list significantly. Then we have the mysterious purple mist, which I think we can assume is magic and Regina's choice of transportation. Then we have this room. Four walls covered to the ceiling with pictures of the Evil Queen herself. It's no secret that Jefferson had a deep seeded grudge against her and we all know how Regina responds to threats. Objectively, she is the most obvious suspect."
"Objectively." Emma snorted, but then she knew she didn't have much of an argument in the brunette's defense. "Let's just get this over with." She muttered, pressing her fingers to her temple again, a significant migraine taking over at the thought of their next confrontation.
Regina was pacing the halls of her home, stopping intermittently to throw and break an item before moving on again. She knew it was only a matter of time before they would be here. Before she would once again be taken to the town's police station and questioned about a murder. And yet again, she had no alibi.
What was she supposed to say?
Regina where were you at the time of Jefferson's death? In his home.
Did you kill him? No.
So who did? He did.
He killed himself? Yes.
Why? It was an accident.
Do you have any proof of this? No.
Yeah, no. Regina was screwed and she knew it.
She should never had agreed to meet Jefferson and especially not in his home without a single witness. She should have known not to trust the man but her desire to start making amends and earn Henry's trust and respect had overshadowed anything else. Looking back, she really should have seen it coming.
"You actually showed." Jefferson answered the door with a surprised, yet happy smile that actually verged on over enthusiastic.
"Yes Jefferson, you said you needed help. I am actually trying to do the right thing so what do you need?" She was uncomfortable here and wanted nothing more than to get this over with and get out. Henry would be getting off of school about now and Regina wanted to catch him on the way home.
"Magic." He stated simply but Regina spun to face him, a skeptical expression crossing her features.
"Magic? You want me to give you magic? That's not really how it works Jefferson." At this, the man rolled his eyes dramatically.
"I want you to enchant something with your magic."
"And what exactly do you need magic for, may I ask?"
"I want to get home. The curse is broken, I have my daughter back. I want to go back to my life now."
"That's a lot of magic Jefferson. In order to have enough to transport you both there without me, I would have to enchant this whole house." She looked around so she missed the spark that flashed in Jefferson's eyes.
"Yes well you owe me Regina. You destroyed my life. Kept my daughter from me, sentenced me to twenty eight years in solitude! You owe me this!" He stood only a few inches from Regina's face, breathing hard as his anger grew.
"Fine." She gritted out, deciding at least this way she could rid herself of this man and her debt owed to him. "Stand back."
He moved away from her and Regina spread her arms, pressing her eyes closed in concentration. Slowly and steadily, an energy began shifting in the room. A light smoke like mist poured from her hands as magic engulfed the room. Each surface it touched began glowing faintly as they absorbed the strong magic.
It took only seconds, but as the smoke slowed from her hands and stopped, the former queen slumped back into a chair, her energy completely exhausted. She had paled slightly and was breathing heavier, trying to fight the dizziness fogging her head. When she looked up and focused, the deranged look on Jefferson's face sent a chill down her spine.
"What?!" She spoke with all the strength she possessed but her voice still wavered slightly, only increasing the smirk on the man's face.
"I just didn't think it would be this easy. Your love has once again blinded you." He pulled a book from his coat pocket, thumbing though the pages casually until he spotted the one he was looking for and stopped with a smile.
"You didn't think what would be so easy?" She was extremely uneasy now and stood slowly, using her hands to stable herself. She was contemplating her ability to transport herself out of there.
"Killing you." He laughed but moved quickly.
Aside from the ability to use the hat, Jefferson was not a magical being. In order for him to enact a spell or curse, he would need magic to absorb. At this point, the room was completely engulfed in the magical energy and so all the man needed was his curse. As Jefferson lifted the book, open to the proper page, as he had seen time and time again, he leaned in and blew over the words. Regina recognized the spell moving towards her but to Jefferson's shock, she smirked.
"Foolish foolish man." She muttered, actually crossing her arms.
And now because Jefferson was not a magical being, he did not know or understand the basic rules and laws. One being that a witch's own magic could not be used against her. As the dark mist of the curse touched Regina's skin, it practically bounced off her and recoiled in full force back at Jefferson. The blackened mist coiled around his chest and just as he intended, it squeezed and compressed until he couldn't get a single breath in. Regina watched in astonishment as the man dropped first to his knees, then down all the way, eyes fluttering until they glazed over completely.
Regina stood still for several moments. Her emotions were jumping from shock over the scene, anger that he had tried to kill her and a small amount of joy at seeing how this had so deliciously backfired in his face. All magic comes with a price. He should have known that.
The sound of the school bus brought Regina out of her haze and she reacted without completely thinking though the potential repercussions. In a puff of this purple smoke, Regina disappeared from the room but not before hearing the front door open. As she appeared in her foyer, she knew without a doubt she had been just a second too slow and there was no way she was getting out of this one.
Regina realized this was it. They would never believe her. Honestly she wouldn't either. Last time she had just risked everything to save the savior and her mother but they had still accused her of murder the very next day. This time Regina had no good deeds to her name. In fact, the best thing she had done recently was not kill anyone.
With an urgency that showed her panic, Regina spun and ran to her cabinet. She opened the glass door and picked up her own spell book, incredibly relieved she had not destroyed it. She started flipping through the pages, desperately trying to find anything that could get her out of this. Anything that could be used to clear her name.
A loud pounding at the door nearly made her lose it. They were here for her now and the realization that she could be losing Henry over this made her almost come undone. She heard the sound again along with David's voice demanding her open the door immediately. She was just about to give up hope when she saw the words that halted everything.
To go back to any time the caster desires
She heard the banging on the door increase and knew it would be only seconds before the prince had the door broken it.
Back to any time
Regina's heart leapt. She almost remembered learning about this spell at another time long ago and wondered how she had completely forgotten it. She could go back. Never go to Jefferson's home. She lifted the book and almost began the words when her eyes widened in realization.
Any time the caster desires
She heard the sound of glass breaking and knew it was now or never. She didn't stop and think. Didn't worry about the price of such extreme magic. She just lifted the book again and very slowly and carefully, she began reciting the cryptic incantation. The language was foreign and complex and she knew very well that one missed syllable or even a hitch in her voice would destroy the spell, possibly taking her life in the process.
Her eyes began glowing as she finished the final words, sealing the spell. She had just caught sight of the father daughter tag team running through the foyer before she pressed her eyes closed and concentrated on the exact date and time she desired. It wasn't difficult. One doesn't easily forget the day their life changed forever. The last thing Regina heard before her world disappeared was her name from the savior's lips.
When Regina opened her eyes, it took a moment to adjust to her surroundings. She wasn't quite sure what she had expected, mostly because she hadn't stopped to think through the possible outcomes, but she was a bit confused to find herself lying in her bed, clad in familiar pajamas. She didn't waste time dwelling on it though, just jumping up out of bed, needing to see it the spell had worked as she planned.
She took a deep breath as she stood at her son's bedroom door. No matter what she was about to see, Regina didn't know if she could emotionally handle it. Again though, she just wasn't in the mood to stall and worry. Instead, Regina pushed the door open slowly, her eyes immediately gaining moisture at the sight of her sleeping son, tucked under the covers. She covered her mouth as she slowly approached the bed, sitting carefully and pulling back the covers to see his face.
For a few moments she just sat, watching her son with tears in her eyes. All she hand wanted since the curse broke was to have her son backing his room and here he was, like nothing had ever happened. A smile suddenly overtook her face. It never happened. If the spell had worked like it should, there would be no Emma Swan. No savior. No Whit Knight. No birth mother to ruin her life.
Well not yet.
It was Emma's fate to come to Storybrook and break the curse. Fate was a difficult thing to play with. Regina though, was always up for a challenge.
Everything would have to be different this time. Once Emma crossed the town line, she never left. This time she had to try and keep her out. She doesn't get to town, she doesn't break the curse, she doesn't take Henry back. Regina was wishing she had thought through enough to go back further in time, but this day stood out so clearly in her mind, that the decision was made before much consideration.
Quickly, a plan formed in her mind. It was risky. But now Regina would try anything.
Feeling almost giddy, she stood slowly, looking around the room. Today, Henry was planning on taking a bus to Boston and finding Emma. It took only moments before Regina found the envelope with Mary Margaret's credit card, the printed ticket and a page of information with the number and address of his blonde mother. At least this wouldn't be going to waste she mused, because Regina was going to meet Emma. Emma Swan the bounty hunter that is.
With a triumphant smile, Regina moved back to her room, placing the items in her purse before taking a shower and getting ready for this life changing day. It was while making breakfast, still feeling exhilarated, that her son entered the kitchen. She saw the wary, confused, and slightly accusing look on his face and realized he had discovered his items were missing.
"Good morning sweetheart." She started in a chipper tone, leaning in to kiss his head. She could deal with the distasteful look on his face for now. All that mattered was that he was here.
When she returned, Regina would repair her relationship with Henry. One of her biggest regrets was the way she treated her son. Well after her Swan problem was taken care of, she would do what had to be done to gain his love. Even if that meant some painful truths. She didn't want to think about that now though. One problem at a time.
"Honey, I am going to be leaving town for the day. I have some business to take care of." She saw the flash of surprise and more confusion cross his face before an almost outraged look took over.
Immediately, Regina felt guilty. She wanted to do this right but keeping Emma out of her town was crucial. She had to try. During her internal debate, Henry had slowly crossed his arms, anger taking place as the dominant emotion.
"Where are you going?" He had his jaw set and Regina knew he was just waiting for her to lie.
In Regina's mind, two things had to be accomplished. Keep Emma out of Storybrook and fix her broken relationship with Henry before she lost him all over again. She knew completing part one would complicate part two but like always, Regina was had tunnel vision. She was bound and determined to make both those things happen no matter what. With that determination in mind, she faced her quizzical son.
"Boston, Henry. I am taking your ticket you got with Miss Blanchard's credit card, and I am going to meet Emma Swan." She held form as once again, every negative emotion crossed the young boy's face.
"You're going to meet my mom." He couldn't seem to comprehend what she was saying, finding her honesty unsettling.
"Your birth mother. But yes, Henry. There are a few things you don't understand right now, and at this moment, I can't explain. But I promise you Henry, when I get home, you and I are going to talk. Really talk to each other. No more lies, no more sneaking around. We will be happy again." She smiled, lifting his chin to level their eyes.
"You're just saying that, you're not gonna tell me the truth." She saw the sadness hidden under the anger and felt her heart break for the boy. She would do anything to stop that look again. As she started to speak, Regina heard a car pulling up and made a decision. She started walking them to the door, but stopped right in the foyer.
"I'll tell you what, Sheriff Graham is outside to take you to school and you will stay with him tonight. And trust me, he will call the second you disappear so don't try anything. But right now, you can ask me one thing, anything at all, and I will tell you the truth."
She knew what she was doing any felt an immediate fear. But she had to earn his trust. Lying didn't work with him, he was too smart. She had to try something else. She saw the immediate skepticism in his expression followed by a different kind of uncertainty.
Regina wasn't supposed to even know about the book yet so she was hoping he would pick something simple. Judging from his expression and the determination in his eyes though, she knew what he was going to ask. He knew this was a rare opportunity and he wouldn't waste it. She actually felt some pride as his eyes turned so challengingly on her.
"Are you-" He started but there was a knocking on the door. They looked to it but then back at each other, locking eyes. It was now or never. "Are you the Evil Queen?"
The knocking sounded again and Henry looked down at the ground, sensing he was just going to be disappointed again. Regina placed one hand on the doorknob and started to turn. She used the other to lift his chin again.
His shocked expression was nearly comical and Regina kept his gaze as she opened the door to a smiling Graham. She only spent a second at the sight, less time than her pause when the man had answered her call that morning. After that though, she knelt in front of her stunned boy, taking advantage of his shock by taking his hands in hers.
"I used to be, Henry. But I love you. More than anything in this world or any other. I love you. Stay with the sheriff tonight and tomorrow, we are going to start over okay?" She smiled and leaned in to kiss his head again. He still couldn't wipe the astonishment off his face and Graham actually had to physically lead him to the car.
Regina was pacing in her office, a drink in hand. She didn't have much time to complete her plan and make it to the bus on time and now her nerves called for a few drops of alcohol. Her only relief had been her three different calls made to school that confirmed her son's presence. Luckily, it wasn't too long before her visitor showed. As he walked in, Regina met his eyes and gave her best smile.
"My dear Jefferson, I see you got my message." She didn't bother offering him a drink, already knowing he wouldn't accept.
"How could I miss it? You know I watch her." He started, looking bored.
"Yes about Grace, I want to make a deal with you." The mention of his daughter's name immediately grabbed his attention.
"What deal?" His eyes were burning into Regina's back as the woman moved over to her desk, picking up a very familiar case. His eyes widened.
"I will provide a small amount of magic for you to get your hat working. Enough for you to retrieve an object from our land that I am in immediate need of." He still hadn't looked away from his hat as he started to respond.
"And what do I get for doing this?"
"I'll write a new story for you and your daughter so you can live happily together."
Those were all the words Jefferson had wanted to hear for twenty eight years and Regina wasn't the least bit surprised when he accepted the offer immediately. Everything proceeded just as it had the first time, though Regina didn't waste any moments, moving things along quickly and efficiently. Her only hiccup being the moment she had to let go of Daniel's ring again.
Leaving town had made her feel far more uneasy than anticipated. Regina had been rushing all morning from sending Henry to school, to pulling the apple from the hat and then baking the familiar pastry. She knew in the back of her mind that Henry would ask about what happened in Boston. What she did with his birth mother. But Regina was desperate and had tunnel vision. She had to stop the savior. She had to try.
That became the motto she repeated over and over as she endured the stuffy atmosphere of the enclosed Greyhound. The drive wasn't as bad as she envisioned, but her discomfort and apprehension didn't waiver and actually increased considerably by the time she exited the large vehicle.
She looked back at the address on the page she found with Henry's ticket before moving her eyes up the tall building. In all honesty, she expected something substantially more run down. With a deep breath, Regina entered the apartment building and made her way up to the correct number.
Regina pulled the apple turnover from her bag. She had her story straight. She had always had a way with deceit and felt confident in her plan. Keep it simple.
Lifting her chin, Regina pressed her finger to the bell next to Emma's door. She heard the sound echo off the walls inside and readied herself. As the door began opening, Regina lifted the dessert and plastered on her most friendly and neighborly smile, her opening greeting on the tip of her tongue.
But as she took in the sight of the blonde haired woman clad in a slim, well fitted dress, all words completely died on her lips.
I've had this written for a bit but i was nervous about posting it. I'm working on the next three chapters so the next one shouldn't be too long of a wait. Please REVIEW let me know what you think about this! Thanks for reading!