Regina wasn't sure how much more of this insanity she could take. She paced back and forth as they dropped anchor a mile off the shores of Neverland. Waiting once again. Planning. Regina didn't think she could bear it a second longer. The trip to Neverland had been lengthy and tense; the fact that they all had a common goal only barely minimized the tension. Regina stopped pacing to glare hatefully at Charming as Hook as they bent over a map of the magical island; she would have sent a fireball at them if her powers worked in this awful place. Hook happened to glance in her direction and his look caught her off guard. He didn't smile, that wasn't a wink or a nod, but he managed to reassure her all the same. Partially mollified she began to pace the decks once again.


So much for their damn plan. Regina crouched behind a rock near the mountain as Lost Boys scoured the area. She hadn't seen a single ally in over an hour. She looked towards the mouth of the cave. Skull Rock, a system of caves and tunnels that lead deep into the mountain; only the Boys knew their way in and out...well, and Hook. The captain claimed he knew the island just as we'll as the current inhabitants and the plan had been for him to scout out the caverns and find Henry and then signal for the rest of the group to come in and assist with the rescue. Regina sighed deeply as she heard the Lost Boys moving in the opposite direction. If I want anything done right I might as well do it myself. I'm not going to wait around all day why my son is in there with that... that... monster. And with that she ran as fast as she could into the mouth of Skull Rock.


Regina sat in total darkness, an unconscious Hook at her feet. Water dripped somewhere nearby and the echo made a lonely, mournful sound. She had become hopelessly lost in the tunnels after only a short time. She had come across the Captain completely by accident and had hit him over the head with a rock before she realized who it was. She dragged his body into this lonely cavern and waited-for what she didn't know. She bandaged Hook's head as best as she could with a strip of cloth from her shirt, dampened by the stream water running through the caves. What an interesting way for us to die, Killian. She had no way of finding her son and no way of finding her way out and so she wished for a miracle. She wished for a savior.


Ironically, it was Emma's voice she heard first, somewhere above them in the rocks. "Miss Swan?" She voiced hesitantly. The speaker ceased talking and small rocks and bits of dirt began falling from overhead. Small streams of light began to flow into the cave as Emma and Charming dug at the ground above them.


Finally, a plan I can work with. Regina walked hesitantly through the treacherous caves holding the flashlight Charming had given her in one hand and a single string of golden thread in the other to lead her back to them.


Henry was abandoned to one of the highest ledges in the room. Regina looked cautiously around the huge cavern, illuminated by two dozen torches nestled into the rocks. She saw no one and quickly ran for her son. Magic certainly would come in handy right about now. Hook had explained that, something about the fairy dust made their type of magic useless while only fueling the magic of The Boy. "Mom?" His sweet voice echoing across the great room made Regina's heart leap for joy. But his voice quickly took on one of fear as he warned her away. The ledges, Regina quickly discovered, were made to crumple only seconds after touching them. One could very easily climb up but coming down would require wings... or pixie dust; neither of which Regina was likely to possess anytime soon. But it didn't matter. She had to be with her son. Henry needed her and she would not fail him again. She began to climb the slippery walls of the great cave. When she made it to Henry they clung to each other like they never had before, neither needing to say a word.


The Boy, Peter was coming into the great room. Regina could hardly see the human form in the midst of the hundreds of swarming fairies. The golden light surrounding the antagonist was both beautiful and terrifying. She attempted to be as still as humanly possible but the moment the evil creature laid eyes on her she knew it was over. Henry wrapped his arms tightly around her waist and they both shut their eyes, anticipating their separation or death. The fairies began to buzz angrily about the room and Regina opened her eyes to see a rather unsteady Captain Hook on the floor of the cavern, his sword drawn. He wasted a precious moment to touch his bandaged head gingerly with his hook while giving Regina a little wink. The fairies swarmed about him, kicking, biting, pulling in every direction as he fought with the unnatural boy. He swatted enough of the sprites away to reach into his waistcoat and pull out a small pouch, which he threw to Regina with all his might. Henry reached out, almost toppling off the ledge to grab the leather package. He undid the drawstring and a beautiful, soft, golden light streamed from the bag. Pixie dust.


Mother and son ran frantically down the black passageway, tripping almost every other step while Regina clung desperately to the golden lifeline that would lead them back to Emma and Charming.


Regina tied the rope around Henry's waist and just as she was about to grab hold a tiny nip at her conscience made her pause. She looked up at Snow, who had replaced Charming at the top of the cave while he battled the Lost Boys. "Henry." She began to speak hesitantly. Her beautiful son stopped her apology by wrapping his loving arms around her. "I believe in you." He whispered. "You're a hero." He had read her thoughts without her even saying a word. Regina smiled sadly and cupped her hand around his chin. "I love you." She whispered softly. She left him safely in the hands of his mother and grandmother as she ran back into the caves, doing the selfless thing for a change; doing the right thing.


Regina sat on the side of the bed, gingerly brushing her hair while avoiding the many microscopic cuts around her face and neck. Stupid pixies. Hook entered the cabin without knocking and a pointed look from Regina told him the action was not appreciated. "It was an interesting day." He commented quietly, sinking down comfortably into the large leather chair in to corner; it was his cabin after all. "It was a good day." She countered after a moment of thought. "Henry is safe and we all made it out alive." She stiffened as Hook stood and approached her. "I wasn't so sure that was going to be the outcome." He stated tensely. Regina looked up at him defiantly, refusing to cooperate with the direction of this conversation. He took a gentler approach and sat beside her. "You saved my life, Regina." He sounded bewildered. "You came back for me." Regina nodded curtly. "And you did the same." Neither party was used to showing gratitude and it showed painfully. Regina smiled rather sarcastically. "I suppose we could call it even." She offered. The captain shook his head in disagreement. "I'm not so sure about that, love. You did give me a pretty severe lump on my head." The scraps of her shirt had been replaced by mostly-white bandages, spots of blood still shining through where the cuts persisted in bleeding. Regina winced at the memory of bashing the rock over his temple but the she couldn't help but laugh. "I suppose I do owe you then, Captain."


Everyone had disembarked the ship for Storybrooke. Only Regina and the Captain remained. She walked over to him slowly as he was struggling to secure one of the sails. Regina reached out and held the canvas firmly while he finished tying the knot. "You're a fast learner, lass." Regina accepted the complement with a small smile. "It has been quite the adventure, Killian." He grinned and leapt past her to secure a loose rope. "Aye, that it has. I've met many new people." He stared intently at her and Regina did not miss his meaning. " Where will you go?" She asked, sounding far too interested for her own liking. "I may stay for a while." He replied lightly. "I would like to go home if at all possible." Regina frowned slightly. Home? Where is home anymore? "Henry is staying with Emma tonight." She wasn't sure why she volunteered the information. "After you saved him?" Killian asked in surprise. "That hardly seems fair." Regina shrugged nonchalantly although she completely agreed. "It's his decision." She offered weakly. Killian completed his task and came to stand in front of her. "Letting go is a hard thing to do." Regina didn't respond as he looked directly into her eyes. "You are a very brave woman, Regina." With these words Regina felt something stir within her that she hadn't felt since she was a girl-she felt hope swirling up within her heart. Not hope for validation or for love but for the chance of being proud of who she was once again; hope for the chance to be able to hold her head high and to laugh with a clean soul. Maybe, just maybe she was on her way. "About that favor I owe you." She smiled sweetly, too sweetly. "Perhaps I can offer you a place to stay for the night? I'm sure you're weary of your ship." Hook grinned widely and offered Regina his arm. "Gladly, Your Majesty, on one condition." Regina raised her eyebrows in suspicion. "What is this fabulous dish I keep hearing about? Lasagna?" Regina chuckled, her spirits already lifting after the long journey. "Maybe another night." She promised. "Tonight, I need a strong drink and a long shower." Killian's smile only widened. "I'll be all too happy to join you." Regina frowned in mock disapproval as the two walked the path into town arm in arm.