A/N: May contain spoilers for season 2 if you haven't seen the finale (or really any of the season) yet. This story will be my Swan Queen version of season 3, but it will take quite a few chapters before the Queen and her Savior get together. But this story is rated M for a reason so...wait it out with me until then?
Also, I'd like to thank SpookshowBabyx for helping me wade through my thoughts. If it wasn't for her, I probably wouldn't have been able to figure this story out. If you haven't read her stories yet, please do. She's amazing!
The Jolly Roger erupted from beneath the sea, though none of its passengers were drowned or drenched. The Charmings, Hook, Rumpelstiltskin, Regina, and Emma had come through a somewhat violent green portal. The only people affected by the strange experience were the Charmings and, of course, their daughter Emma. Though the blonde had been through a portal or two, she didn't travel realms frequently and she didn't think she'd ever get used to the feeling of portal hopping. It certainly wouldn't be an activity she'd take up by choice if it wasn't life or death or didn't involve bringing her son home.
"Everyone alright," Charming asked.
The only sound at sea was the small waves crashing against the ship.
Though the question was addressed to all of them, Charming stared straight at Emma and the blonde knew he only cared for her answer.
The rest of them grunted or grumbled in response.
"Yeah," Emma breathlessly said with a nod.
Rumple dusted his hands together as he limped toward the center of the deck to look at the globe he'd brought along for the trip.
Regina ran a hand through her shoulder length hair before she stepped away from her post at starboard and followed Rumple.
"Well? Are we close," Regina asked with notable concern.
Rumple flashed gritted teeth, his expression almost a wince, as he studied the blood drawn map of Neverland presented in the globe.
"Afraid not, dreary. We've got a ways to go before we get to Henry."
Regina frowned as worry quickly filled her chocolate brown eyes. She stared at the globe and tried to understand all that stood between her and Henry.
Everyone but Hook surrounded the globe and squinted at the murky image created by Rumple's swirling blood.
"Here's where they've taken Henry," Rumple pointed to the globe's main focus.
"And where are we," Snow asked as she looked from the globe to Rumple.
"We'd need a locator spell for that," Rumple informed her though he didn't look at her. "We can track where Henry is simply by the blood I provided, but we won't have an accurate placement of ourselves."
"You've got magic in this world, right," Charming asked as he took a step toward the globe and kept his focus on Rumple.
"You don't want to use magic here unless absolutely necessary," Regina explained.
"Why is that," Charming asked as he shifted his attention to the brunette.
"Using magic attracts the most unsavory of creatures here. Not to mention alert Peter Pan of our arrival. We'll be lucky to get through the night without any trouble considering the portal we came through," Regina continued.
"So…magic is like a big neon sign saying 'come and get it'," Emma asked.
Regina looked at the blonde and nodded.
"If anyone gets word of our presence," Rumple started. "There's no telling who will come for us."
"Well, I've only heard the Disney version of this story," Emma said as she looked between Rumple and Regina. "What else do we have to worry about besides the apparently evil Peter Pan?"
"Bottom feeders," Regina blatantly stated.
"King Triton's kingdom exists somewhere below these waters," Hook added from his place at the wheel.
"No doubt Ursula will be among it," Regina finished.
"Um, no offense, but…aren't you friends with her," Emma asked. "I would think she'd be your best friend considering the similarities between you two."
Regina rolled her eyes.
"Of course you'd think that. No, we're not friends. I don't even know her. Only of her reputation."
Regina locked eyes with Emma before she continued.
"Don't think for one second she won't take you down to her sea castle, string you up, and toy with you."
Regina watched Emma stare at her in disbelief though the blonde clearly tried to process the information anyway.
Most likely using that "superpower" of hers, Regina thought.
She turned her attention to Snow as she displayed a serious look that told the raven haired woman it was a strong possibility.
Charming clenched his jaw and narrowed his eyes as he glared at Regina.
"If this is a scare tactic," he started only to be cut off.
"It's a warning," Regina flatly said. "She should know the dangers of this world."
"You could be lying," he argued.
"About Ursula," Regina asked with a chuckle. "If anything, I'm sugar-coating."
"No, that I believe. You wouldn't have any trouble lying about knowing her, though. If you so much as think about conspiring with her to get rid of Emma-"
"Relax. You have my word I'm not going to get rid of her."
"Your word doesn't mean much," Snow piped up. "You've lied to us plenty of times before and I'd go as far as to call you a master of manipulation."
"Of the three people on this ship that haven't exactly been on your side, I'm the least of your concern."
"As much fun as this little squabble is," Rumple interrupted. "Ursula isn't our problem. If she does become a problem, however, we can revisit this subject then. For now, I suggest we organize sleeping arrangements and get some rest."
"Fair enough," Charming agreed after a moment, his eyes never leaving Regina.
Emma looked between her father and Regina before she walked behind the brunette and moved toward Hook.
"Refresh my memory," Emma started as she climbed the stairs. "What's the room situation like?"
"Two rooms not including mine, which is off limits," Hook answered.
Everyone but Rumple turned their attention to Hook and Emma before the pirate continued.
"Unless you're in the mood for a little Shiver Me Timbers," Hook grinned.
He chuckled as his eyes left Emma to look at Charming.
Charming growled as he tried to lunge at Hook. Snow pressed an arm to his chest to stop him when Emma spoke up.
"I'm gonna take a break from…all this," Emma gestured around the ship though her hands seems to focus on those who joined her on the quest to save Henry instead of Neverland as a whole.
Emma walked past the others and went to the hatch that led below deck.
"I think we all should get some rest," Charming said after a moment as he wrapped an arm around Snow's shoulders.
"Someone should stay out here with Hook, take the first watch," Snow added and formed her last words into a question.
"We'll take a look at the rooms," Charming started. "Then I'll come back up and keep an eye on things."
Regina and Snow nodded.
"Good," Rumple said. "Don't leave me alone with him unless you want blood on your hands."
He limped over to the hatch and Charming sighed as he turned to Snow.
"This is going to be a long trip, isn't it," he rhetorically asked, though he'd stated it like a discouraging fact.
"If you'll trust me enough," Regina started. "Come get me when you're tired and I'll take the second shift."
Regina breezed past them, not waiting for a response, and disappeared under the deck. She stepped down the short ladder and peered down the hallway in both directions. To her right, there was a large wooden door marked "Captain's Quarters" and a moderate, though not immense, room adjacent to it that was unmarked.
She went toward the mystery room, the door ajar, and peeked inside. It was an infirmary complete with an exam chair in the center of the room, a sink without a faucet, and several organized medical supplies scattered about on countertops and inside the few cabinets there were.
Once she caught a glimpse, Regina turned on her heels and slingshot her way to the opposite end of the hall. There seemed to be more than two rooms, however. Having only two rooms being something she thought she'd heard Hook say before he'd invited Emma into his room for a booty call. When she looked inside the rooms, though, she found only ropes and nets along with a few things to help maintain the ship.
With a frown, she turned a corner and found a small hallway with three rooms. At the end of the hallway there was only the option of turning right, but Regina didn't bother to look any further than the last room on the left.
The one room that resided on the right was a bathroom, but it wasn't at all up to Regina's standards. It was more like an outhouse with more space and a slightly grimy mirror. But it would have to do considering the fact that they were on a ship and there could have not been a bathroom at all.
Straight across the narrow hall, she saw Rumple through the open door as he inspected the almost queen sized cot. He ran a finger over the thin white linen that covered it and swiped his finger up to eye level when he reached the pillow. He scrunched up his face in disgust and rubbed his index finger and thumb together to get rid of whatever filth he'd apparently collected.
Regina ignored him and went to the undiscovered room, the last room on the left. She leaned against the doorway and watched the blonde move within it.
Emma climbed up the end of a bunk bed and crawled across the mattress until her head hovered above the pillow. She turned to her side and collapsed on the top bunk. She rolled onto her back and sighed as she rested one hand on her stomach and reached up to touch the ceiling with the other.
"Since Rumple has taken an interest in the other room, I have no idea where my parents are going to sleep," Emma tiredly said.
Regina was slightly stunned that she'd said anything. She didn't think the younger woman had spotted her in the doorway. Emma certainly hadn't shown that she had.
"But I thought you'd want the bottom bunk. That way you don't have to climb into bed, you can just slip into it," Emma added.
"Thank you," Regina awkwardly smiled. "Though I doubt Rumple will stay in the other room. He seems to have an issue with the sheets."
Emma smiled as her eyes stayed trained on the ceiling while she picked at bubbly paint specks.
"He didn't like the amount of dust on the desk either," Emma lightly laughed. "Guess he's more particular with living conditions than Mayor Regina 'If It's Not to My Liking, You're Doing It Wrong' Mills."
"I'm sure you can come up with a shorter title for my preference of order and cleanliness, dear," Regina said as she tried to purse her lips in an attempt to hide her small smile.
Emma turned her head and finally looked at Regina.
"Queen of Anal Retentiveness?"
Regina rolled her eyes and stepped inside the room as she folded her arms over her chest.
"And here I thought you could do better."
Emma dropped her extended hand to her stomach to join the other.
"I'll have better insults when I'm not exhausted."
"Is that a promise?"
Emma stared at the ceiling again before she answered.
"It's a hope."
Regina looked around the room as she uncrossed her arms and brought them down to her sides. There was nowhere else to go but the bunk bed. She uncomfortably shifted from foot to foot as she weighed her options.
After a long moment of awkward silence, Regina took a couple steps toward the beds. She kept a small distance between herself and the blonde. She cleared her throat as she stared down at the floorboards then spoke.
"Are you tired from the magic? In the mine? Or is this about Henry."
Emma hesitated before she turned her head to look at Regina again.
"Both," she softly replied.
"Well, the magic is a quick fix," Regina said. "Get a good sleep, six hours minimum, and don't try any spells for the next twenty-four hours. As for Henry, it'll take longer, but…we'll find him."
"Do you even believe that?"
"I have to," Regina admitted. "If I don't, I've got nothing."
"Then let's make a deal," Emma started as she rolled onto her side and propped herself up on an elbow. "You can be the positive one and I'll be the brooding one that kicks ass and takes names as a coping mechanism."
Regina tilted her head and looked around the room before she took one more step toward the beds.
"Will you settle for me being the occasionally positive one and you can just focus on finding Henry? Everything else, what happened in the mine, having your parents in your life, and whatever else that might be affecting you stays in Storybrooke."
"I want to do that. I really do, but…it's too much. There's just…" Emma trailed off then stared into Regina's eyes. When she remembered who she was starting to open up to, she shook her head and fell onto her back on the bed. "Never mind."
"Fine," Regina said as she took the last few steps toward the beds and dipped her head below the top bunk.
She eased herself onto the bottom bunk and closed her eyes as she let out a deep breath.
"I'm gonna kill Greg and Tamara."
After what felt like only a few minutes, Regina slowly awoke to the sound of Emma thrashing around above her.
Emma whimpered and yelped as she tossed and turned. At one point, Regina thought she'd heard the blonde say, "I love you", but there was no mistaking the cry that came next.
Regina's eyes shot open and her entire body stiffened with her back to the door.
Before she could check on the other woman or even think about shouting at her to wake up so she didn't have to hear what sounded like a nightmare, someone rushed into the room and went straight to the bunk bed.
As if Regina needed another complication, Snow had come to her daughter's aid.
"Emma, wake up," Snow urged as she reached over the edge of the top bunk and shook the blonde.
Regina slowly rolled onto her back as Emma gasped and shot awake with a singular burst of motion heard and felt from the bottom bunk.
"It was just a bad dream, sweetie," Snow soothed Emma as she ran her hand through straight blonde hair.
Emma took a few ragged breaths and shook her head.
"It was real. All of it. I… The portal. Tamara. He was…he was right there."
"I know, but we'll get Henry back soon."
"No. Not Henry. Neal."
Regina furrowed her brow. She hadn't thought to ask about Henry's father. She'd heard Emma tell Henry he was gone, but she wasn't sure what that meant. At least not in the entirety of how that came to be.
"Oh, Emma. I'm so sorry," Snow softly said.
"I grabbed his hand when he fell. I had him! All he had to do was wait for the portal to close and we would've been okay. …But he let go."
Suddenly, Emma started to cry.
"I told him not to let go," Emma said before she sobbed. "But he did."
Snow placed a foot on the edge of Regina's bed and pulled herself onto the top bunk with Emma.
"Shh, shh, shh. It's okay," Snow assured her as she pulled Emma's head onto her shoulder. "It's going to be okay. He did it to save you, Emma. He loved you and he loved Henry. He didn't want anything terrible to happen to either one of you."
Emma continued to sob as Snow rubbed her arm.
"I know you're much too old for me to be doing this," Snow started. "But you let me know when it stops helping."
"Okay," Emma quietly choked out as she nodded against Snow's shoulders.
"Snow," Charming's booming voice called out from the next room.
He hurried over to Emma and Regina's room when he didn't get any response and sighed with relief when he saw his wife and daughter together. His expression quickly changed to one of concern as he saw Snow's sad, pained face while tears escaped Emma.
"What happened," he asked as he slowly approached the bed.
"Emma had a bad dream about Neal," Snow informed him.
Charming's face fell as sympathy overtook him.
Regina got up and removed herself from the bottom bunk.
"I'll be on the deck," Regina said to Charming. "You and Snow can have the rest of the night off and I'll stay up there with Hook."
Regina passed him to leave, but he grabbed he wrist and spun her around to face him before she could exit.
"Thank you," he said.
Regina gave a single nod and Charming let go of her. She looked over his shoulder at Emma in Snow's arms and took a deep breath as she maintained a mask of indifference. She turned to the door again and left.
When she joined Hook, he immediately grinned at her.
"Ah, won't this be fun. You and me together again."
"You so much as try and double cross me while I'm trying to find my son and I will end you," Regina growled.
He chuckled as he took his eyes off her to look at the vast sea ahead.
Regina made her way to the globe as she stared at the point meant to represent Henry's location. She let out a long breath she hadn't necessarily been holding, but definitely needed to release.
"You ever been to Neverland, Regina," Hook asked as he tilted the wheel slightly to the left with one hand, his eyes still on the water.
"No, but I've heard the stories," Regina flatly said as she continued to stare at the globe like it had her in a sad, dark trance.
"Ah, but stories aren't the real thing. Stories don't prepare you for what might come next," he glumly informed her.
As Regina narrowed her eyes, she pulled herself out of the trance and eyed Hook.
"Are you going to tell me a bedtime story then…Captain," Regina asked with authority.
When she said his title, it dripped from her parted lips in a belittling tone.
"Not at all, Your Majesty," he spat back. "It was more of me thinking out loud."
"Well, stop. I don't care about your thoughts unless they're actually helpful, which is rare."
Hook ignored her insult and paused before he spoke.
"How's our blonde friend?"
Regina set her jaw and held it shut tight for a moment. The image of Emma in Snow's arms, crying over a lost love, popped in front her of eyes. She took a deep breath and blinked away the fresh memory.
"She's had better days," Regina vaguely replied.
"Surely," Hook nodded. "This trip, being here…it'll be a nightmare from Hell come to life for her."
Regina refrained from nodding though she agreed with his statement. Instead, she turned away from the globe and walked to the front of the ship. She rested a hand on the wooden banister and studied the quiet water.
For countless minutes, Regina stood there. She listened to the waves lap and smack against the ship as the indigo sky gave her an unsettling feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Emma woke the next morning with her mother scrunched up behind her on the twin size mattress. Snow had a hand lazily draped over Emma's waist as she continued to sleep, but Emma put that to an end as she slowly sat up.
She gently took Snow's hand and moved it off herself. She let go and it fell onto the bed between the two women with a soft thump.
The pixie haired woman remained undisturbed and Emma took that as her cue to slide down to the makeshift ladder she'd used to get onto the top bunk in the first place. She contorted her face as she attempted to silently remove herself from the bed. She occasionally looked over her shoulder as she moved closer to the ladder to ensure she hadn't stirred her mother. Successful in that regard, she swung a leg over the foot of the bed and climbed down.
When her feet hit the floor, she brushed her knuckles under her eyes to wipe away dried makeup that stained her face when she'd been crying the previous night. As she blinked away the sleepy haze from her vision, she noticed her father asleep in the bottom bunk. He was on his back, mouth partially open though he wasn't snoring. After a moment, she turned to the door and slipped out. She immediately disappeared into the bathroom and flicked her fingers through her hair. It was still messy but looked presentable. She dabbed and swiped under her eyes to get rid of the remnants of misplaced makeup and, after a minute or so, she was cleaned up.
She tip-toed through the hallway and went up to the deck. Hook was no longer at the wheel when she emerged from the hatch, but Regina was wrapped in a thick rope net by the globe. Her eyes were closed and her chest rhythmically rose and fell.
Emma observed her as she walked toward the sleeping brunette. She glanced around the still ship and stared at the calm water. She furrowed her brow and stopped before the curled up Regina as she felt a twist in her stomach.
She shook her head as if to shake off the uncomfortable feeling, the sky cloudy and gray. She turned her attention to Regina and reached out for the older woman. She touched Regina's shoulder and gently shook her. She had barely rocked Regina back and forth a second time before the brunette jolted awake.
Regina tensed when she felt the hand on her shoulder. She whipped her head to the side and found herself staring up into green eyes. Her body relaxed when she realized it was Emma and closed her eyes as she sighed with relief.
"Sorry," Emma started. "Didn't mean to startle you."
"It's my fault. I shouldn't have fallen asleep," Regina groggily said as she sat up.
"It seemed planned if you ask me," Emma flashed a small smile. "You look pretty cozy, bundled up under that net."
Regina grabbed the net and flailed with it for a few moments before she flung it off herself.
Emma chuckled as she watched Regina struggle, but held out her hand when the brunette tried to stand.
Without hesitation, or much acknowledgement, Regina accepted Emma's hand and pushed off the other woman's hand. When Regina stood firmly on two feet, both she and Emma made a face and looked at each other.
It dawned on them how similar the situation was to that of when the wraith had nearly sucked out Regina's soul and Emma had helped her up.
The memory played in Emma's mind at the same time it crept to the forefront of Regina's and after a split second of realization, both women pulled their hands away from each other like they'd been shocked.
Before either one of them could say anything in an attempt to side-step the awkward moment, a loud thud sounded from below deck. They snapped their heads to the hatch, but didn't move toward it to investigate until they heard grunts and incoherently growled words.
Without another word, both of them rushed over to the hatchway. Emma bent down and pulled it open. She extended a foot to start her descent to the brig when she jumped back in surprise as two angry figures slammed into the ladder.
Regina peered down at the figures from behind Emma and shook her head when she realized what she saw.
"Really," Emma asked before she sighed and threw up her hands in defeat.
A/N: Even though I proof read before I post, there always seem to be little mistakes that get past me. All mistakes are mine.
Please review and let me know if you want me to continue. Your support will significantly fuel this story and I've already got so many ideas of where to take this.
Thanks for reading. :D Also, if you want to check out my blog and/or follow me on Tumblr I'm sultrysweet.