Disclaimer: Once Upon a Time, Storybrooke and any recognizable characters are property of ABC Studios and the Walt Disney Co. No copyright infringement intended.

A/N: I started writing this a really long time ago, and, when Snow and Charming suggested, on the show, that Regina was kept locked on Rumple's cell, I was so surprised that it kept me writing more and more, and now I decided to post it before the show steals more ideas from my head! :D Just to give you guys an idea, the whole wraith thing did not happen, so Emma and Snow did not go to Fairy Tale Land before, and Cora never went to Storybrooke either. It is post-curse, obviously, but most thing that happened post-curse on the show did not happen on this story. I have a fairly big portion of this story already written, but it is not finishd yet. Plus, it's an on going progress, so I would love to get your intakes and ideas, as well as your opinions on what is working and what may not be, so that maybe I can accommodate new things into the fic. Hope you enjoy! :) And worry not about how short this is, it is just the prologue, the actual chapters will be much bigger!

The World You Live In - Prologue

"Emma, you need to come with us," Snow White's voice resonated through her ears, "You have a family and we cannot lose you again. Please."

She looked from the city she had come to call home to the vortex, in front of which the pale brunette stood. Snow White. Her mother.

She was scared. She did not know anything about that world, about its rules and creatures and… magic. She did not want that. But Henry had already made his decision, claiming he always knew he did not belong in Storybrooke anyway. Or anywhere else in that world. With a deep breath and hearing a sigh of relief from Snow, she took a step on her family's direction and said goodbye to the only life she'd ever known.

The blonde woke up with a startle, sitting up in bed and trying to get her bearings. Quickly shoving her thick blanket to one side, her feet found her flip flops and she found herself walking to the big balcony which gave her the perfect view of the kingdom. Her kingdom.

It was too early for the sun to be out, so as soon as she looked up, what it felt like a million stars shone their light back at her. She took comfort in the fact that at least the stars seemed exactly the same as they always did. With literally her whole world changing, she needed to cling to those small things or she feared she might go crazy.

She couldn't say she was unhappy. For the past week, ever since they found a way to go back to their world, everybody seemed determined to get things as they were before the curse. New houses were being built, their palace was going through a huge restoration, even though the bedrooms seemed to have been magically fixed even for their first night, and when she looked into anyone else's face, they seemed peaceful. Everything will be just like before, they kept saying, a big smile crossing their faces as they did. Thing is, she did not exist before. She had no clue what it meant. And maybe she was having a little bit of trouble trying to figure it out.

Having been alone most of her life, her first instinct was to deal with this on her own, so the thought of waking anyone else did not even cross her mind. She walked through the wide corridors of the palace – places that were slowly becoming more familiar to her – and, after a few wrong turns here and there, found the kitchen and went straight to the coffee machine.

It clearly did not belong there and it clashed with the old fashioned pans and cutlery, but she could have hugged Ruby – or Red, as she was known here – when she showed up at the palace, only a few hours after they had come back, followed by four of the dwarfs carrying the heavy machine that used to be behind the counter at Granny's diner with a ridiculously big red ribbon around it. So you don't feel homesick, were the words she used, causing a thankful smile to spread over Emma's features. She thanked her – because Emma Swan was not a hugger –, not just for the fact that she could still have her morning coffee, but because someone in this place seemed to understand that this would not be as easy on her and it was on them.

Relieved that no one had turned it off for the night, she grabbed some coffee from the accompanying grinder, set everything up and pressed the appropriate button, the hot rich liquid soon pouring into the cup she'd placed there. Her lips were just about to touch the drink when she heard a loud scream. She closed her eyes and sighed. Looking at the heavy wooden door which led from the kitchen to the dungeons, she knew exactly who it belonged to.

She wasn't sure how it happened, but before she knew it, her legs were taking her closer to the source of the sound. The lock on the door opened with a loud thump, and, as soon as she reached the bottom of the stairs, one of the guards stepped in front of her, keeping her from going any further. His eyebrows scrunched up in confusion as he recognised who she was.

"Your Highness, what… what are you doing down here?"

The treatment was so surreal to her that it took a whole minute for Emma's brain to register he was talking to her. Immediately, she corrected her posture and tried to look as confident as she could, fighting to keep the shakiness from her voice as she heard another scream. Not as loud as the last one, but definitely coming from the same person.

"I need to see the prisoner," she finally spoke, with an authority she didn't know she possessed, but came quite handy as the guard made way for her to pass without an argument.

Who knew these dungeons were so big? She mumbled to herself when, after five minutes walking, she still hadn't reached her destination. Luckily, it was but one long corridor, so there was no way she could get lost down there.

Finally, she found the cell she was looking for. The very last and the only one that was currently occupied. Inside, tossing and turning in her sleep, was the Evil Queen.