Chapter One - Shorely You Can't Be Serious
Regina slowly came to, groaning quietly. Her head was pounding and she felt groggy. It took her a moment to realize that she was lying in water. Startled out of her daze, her eyes flew open. Realization dawned quickly as she took in her surroundings. "What the Hell am I doing in Neverland?!" She desperately tried to recall the events that had led up to this. She remembered breaking into Rumpelstiltskin's shop looking for something from her past that she thought could help get Henry back. Just as she'd put the golden shell necklace around her neck, she'd heard the dull thud of the cane behind her. And then everything went black. Her hand flew up to her neck, feeling for the necklace but it was gone.
All too familiar maniacal laughter came from behind her. "Good morning, Dearie. You wouldn't be looking for this would you?" The imp dangled it off of one finger. "Come and get it."
Her face hardened and she tried to push herself onto her feet, his laughter growing immensely as confusion and horror filled her eyes. Regina looked down, but instead of her toned legs she found a shimmering green tale. Her heart raced as her gaze slowly moved up over the rest of her body. Her designer blouse had been replaced by a strapless shell bikini top. She swallowed hard as she touched her hair. Her short sassy tendrils where now long, beachy waves adorned with water lilies. "WHAT DID YOU DO!?"
All she received in response in a sneer. "I'm going to KILL YOU!" She tried to create a ball of fire, but nothing happened. "What…?" She stared at her hands in bewilderment. This could not be happening to her again.
"You'll have to get yourself out of that water first, Dearie and without magic. Mermaids don't tend weld magic very well. "
"This isn't funny, Rumpel. Turn me back!" If looks could kill, he'd have been dead.
"Ah, see well that's the beauty of it. I can't turn you back."
Her nostrils flared. "What do you mean 'I can't turn you back'?! You're saying that I'm stuck this way forever? You said yourself that every curse can be broken."
"Who said anything about being stuck swimming the rest of your life? I said that I couldn't undo it. Walk or swim…that's all up to you."
"You blocked my magic, how am I supposed to undo this when I'm powerless?"
"You're a mermaid. They have their own type of magic. If you want to get rid of the tail, you need to enchant yourself a pirate."
"SERIOUSLY!?" She fumed. "You have GOT to be kidding me. The only pirate here is-…" Her voice trailed off as realization dawned. He knew exactly what kind of complications he had created.
Rumpelstiltskin feigned innocence. "OH? Is there only one pirate that visits this land? Well, you poor unfortunate soul. You haven't had much luck with him have you? In fact, let's be honest, Regina. You seem to have left your powers of seduction back in the enchanted forest."
"Screw you." She hissed through gritted teeth.
"Even controlling poor Graham's heart wouldn't keep him by your side. Amnesia and murder charges couldn't help you win David from Snow. Then there was that stranger that came to town and rejected you. You haven't had much luck in the past 28 years. In fact, you've been pretty…miserable, lonely, depressed…pathetic." He smirked at her glare. "And your only hope rests on the pirate that chose your mother over you. Haven't you learned by now not to cross me, Regina? I thought I taught you better than that. Think things out a little better the next time you think of stealing from me or messing with Belle….Lacey…whatever her name is. Have a nice swim, your Majesty." He turned away from her with a knowing glint in his eyes.
"Wait! And just how am I supposed to get out of here? I'm a freaking mermaid with no magic to offer."
Rumpel chuckled and knelt, tauntingly caressing her cheek. "You have your looks…your pretty face…and don't underestimate the power of body language." He let his eyes trail over her. He knew it was infuriating her to have her own words used against her. "Muck like you, karma is a bitch, Dearie."
"You're going to pay for this. And so help me…the Dark Curse had nothing on the wrath that I will unleash on you." She slapped his hand hard as he patronizingly tapped the vein on her forehead.
"Now now, Regina. I am being way fairer than you were when you were dealing with your little mermaid issue. At least I'm letting you keep your voice. Although with your tendency to piss people off, that might be a detriment for you, not an asset. So you'll have to rely on those I suppose"
Regina crossed her arms over her chest to stop his gaze. "I'm not playing your games."
"Have it your way. You can play along or you stay in the ocean for the rest of your life. Life's full of tough choices, isn't it?" Satisfied that he'd thoroughly gotten under her skin, he stood and started to walk away before turning back to her. "But, I should clarify something. Lust will not break this spell. You have to get the not-so-good Captain to fall for you-to connect with you-to care about you. And we both know the only thing he cares about is revenge and while you have in the past succeeded in getting men to want you…love has eluded you."
The truth in his words hurt, but she tried to hide it. "Why are you doing this? You're normally not so petty about your revenge."
"Well, if you don't succeed. Then you learn a less and I never have to deal with you again. And if you do somehow manage to trick Hook into falling for you, you'll get your legs back and I'll even give you the necklace for your troubles when you break his heart. I'll get to enjoy the pain he feels when he realizes that it was nothing but a means to an end for you. And that I took two loves away from him. It's a game that I will win no matter what. There's nothing petty about that. Either way I get what I want. Either revenge on you for interfering with Belle or revenge on him for trying to kill her."
She lifted her head defiantly. "And what if it backfires on you? What if I succeed and break the curse and don't break his heart."
He laughed at her. "You mean what if it ends up being real and you two find true love together?" The love struck tone in his voice dripped with sarcasm. "You'd have to have a heart for that, Regina. And we both know you're not capable of loving anyone but your poor stable boy."
Her gaze lowered to the sparkling water around her.
"And the necklace will only be returned to you when the deed is done. And I don't think even dearly departed Daniel could stand a chance when the other choice is the possibility for you to get Henry back. I have faith that your little Henry obsession will lead you to the right choice here. Now, if you'll excuse me, Lacey and I are going to enjoy a nice stroll on the beach. " He smirked at the annoyance on her face as she flipped her tail. "Good luck, your Majesty. You're going to need it."