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When Emma began this journey to Neverland, she did it to save her son. She did not do it so that two guys could spend entire afternoons bickering over her. 

“Remind me again why you all thought it was a good idea to bring him back?” mutters Regina. Silently, Emma can’t help but agree.

For the entire time they’ve been trekking through this forest today, the two have been insufferably squabbling behind them like overgrown gerbils battling for dominance. Even now, probably hours into the journey, they do not stop. 

Emma clearly prefers roguish charm.” You’ve clearly never met my Ems then. She likes the heart of gold .” “ Who says I can’t have that too? Dashing good looks, roguish charm, my poetic soul… ” 

Actually, she prefers mentally picturing herself skewering the both of them with plastic sporks. Slowly. Painfully. Brutally. 

Externally, she meets Regina with a scolding look. “We can’t leave someone to die. What would Henry say?” 

At the mention of their son, Regina softens. As she always does when it comes to Henry. “It’s not what a hero would do,” she says softly to herself. “Fine. But can you at least pick a boyfriend so they’ll shut up.” 

I could take her on better dates, Hook. I actually know how cars work .” “ I’ve woo’d a thousand women in my time, lad. I assure you, time on my ship is better than anything you could try. ” “ Sure. A ship is better than the arcade. You two won’t last a week.” 

With more force than necessary, Emma slaps away another large leaf in their path. “I’m not here for a boyfriend. I’m here for our kid.” 

“Tell guyliner and imp spawn that.” 

Emma scoffs. “Trust me. I’ve tried. They just don’t listen.” 

“Do you need me to try harder for you?” She wiggles her fingers, letting small sparks burst from them. 

Emma’s lips curl into an amused smile. “Her Majesty has jokes. Who knew?” 

“Dear, I am not joking. I assure you.” 

“Has it been a while since you’ve had a chance to barbecue someone?” 

With a dramatic sigh, Regina nods. “Much too long. My magic is itching to burn something to a crisp.” 

“Well, once we find Pan’s evil layer, you can definitely have your turn doing that.” 

They did not realize until it was too late that loud disputes tend to attract attention. 

 


 

“Trying to find Regina would just slow us down right now. She’s got more firepower than any of us. She can hold them off while we find their camp,” argues David. The five remaining members of their party sit in a small clearing to regroup. 

“But that’s exactly the point! We can’t get Henry back without her power. She’s got magic, and so far all she’s taught me is to light tiny campfires!” Honestly, she's not even too good at that yet, either. 

Snow gives a sympathetic look. “I know you want to save her sweetie, but how long will it take to find her? Think about it. For all we know she’s been taken to Pan’s camp too. We can’t get off course more than we already have.” 

She reaches out to take Emma’s hand, but she swipes it away. “We can’t just leave Regina out there! That's so— Are you insane? Why is this different to when she got taken by Tink? We need to go back for her!”

“Because we also needed to find Tink then, remember? And Regina was about to head back to camp when we found her. She talked her way out of danger. She’ll be fine.”

Emma glares daggers into her doe eyed mother “And if she isn’t? What then? What do we tell Henry? Her son . Who we’re here for. ‘Sorry we left your mom to be kidnapped so we could find you’? That’s crazy! We need to—” 

“Emma, calm down,” urges David. “Your mother is not suggesting we don’t look at all. Her idea is to simply keep on task and look while we find the camp.” 

“How are we supposed to do that without Regina! She’s our biggest chance at pulling this off. We need her!” 

“The lass is right. The Queen’s magic is our most powerful asset right now. Even if it takes days more, we’d be fools to storm that camp without her.” 

“Finally! Someone with sense in this group,” says Emma. Hook beams under her praise. 

Seeing that his rival has gotten an Emma point, Neal begins to nod. “Yeah, Emma has a point. This is Pan’s domain, remember? A sword can only do so much.” 

Following her blindly is better than arguing, at least. 

“That’s three to two.” Emma crosses her arms, leveling them with a look. “Majority rules. We’re going to save Regina before getting anywhere near the Lost Boys' camp.” 

 


 

Finding Regina would not prove to be an easy task. Emma has searched the area inch by inch, but the Lost Boys are a tricky group. They don’t leave many clues. 

Why would they take Regina specifically, though? After their first fight, they know she has magic, but is that why? Or does it have to do with Pan’s mind games? 

There has to be something she’s not seeing. A clue. An angle. 

An angle! 

On the ground there may be nothing, but there’s one place Emma hasn’t tried yet: the forest trees. 

Rough bark covers them from every inch without a speck of damage. It’s like they’re perfectly preserved almost, no rain or wind to rough them up. 

That must be a part of Neverland’s natural beauty. It’s a shame the island is overgrown with evil teenagers or it might make for a good vacation spot. 

Her climb up the tree is slow, but clinging to branches is a lot harder than walking around. It will all be worth the effort if she can spot something. Anything that could lead them back to Regina. 

If Emma was the one lost, she could’ve easily used some kind of locator spell to find her. That woman is efficient like that. Always getting things done where her parents want to argue over every possible thing there is to consider. 

This would all be so much easier if she had a fraction of Regina’s magic knowledge. A simple trail or object to follow. Regina makes it look so easy. 

Emma shakes her head. No use getting frustrated. Emotions like that won’t get her anywhere closer. 

But what Emma doesn’t expect to see is a trail of golden mist leading through the forest. That was not there before. 

From where Regina was taken, it weaves into the woods until it abruptly stops. 

Emma smiles. “Looks like I can add tracking spells to my list of skills,” she murmurs to the open air as she begins her climb down. 

 


 

“Are you sure this isn’t one of Pan’s tricks? This could be leading us into a trap,” says Snow, urging her to slow down. 

But Emma can’t slow down, not when she can feel how close they are to their missing party member. “I cast the spell, remember? And trap or not, we agreed we can't do anything without getting Regina back.” 

Snow shakes her head, but doesn’t make any more comments. Good. They’re too close to be talking anyways. 

Emma holds up a hand, urging them all to slow their pace as they begin the careful approach. Surprise is their best friend with these boys. As long as they don’t have time to prepare a dreamshade arrow welcome, they have a chance at winning this. 

“She’d want me to fight by her side. I’m the better swordsman,” Hook hisses quietly. 

Neal shoves him, causing the other man to stumble. “You’re still so full of shit. Arrogance isn’t attractive, it just annoys everyone around you.” 

Hook returns the gesture. “What would you know about that? It’s not like you have any friends. And it is rather annoying to abandon your girlfriend in prison, yes?” 

“You’re a pirate! Like you’ve been a better man.” He scoffs. “You’re the reason I didn’t have my mother growing up! Papa was a good man before you!” 

Emma whips her head around, glaring furiously at them both. “Will you two shut up . We could be killed and you’re acting like idiots!” she hisses. 

But the damage has been done. 

“Boys, it looks like we have guests with no manners,” says one of the older boys. 

No use in waiting anymore. Emma rolls her eyes, and steps out of the brush they’d been using as cover. “Where is Regina?” 

The others step out behind her like bodyguards. Especially the two idiots who flank her sides. 

“The bitch we captured?” The boy, the one who’d spoken before, laughs with the rest of their small group joining in. “What’s it to you? You didn’t put up much of a fight when she was taken.” 

“You snuck up on us! How could we?” With a snarl on her face, she unsheathes the sword slung over her back. “Where the hell is she? I’m not asking again.” 

Their leader shrugs, flashing her a boyish grin. “In the tower getting drained.” He jabs his thumb at the rickety treehouse to the side of their camp. “What are you gonna do about it, Lost Girl?” 

“Let me take her back, and no one gets hurt, you understand?” 

Not another second is wasted before the arrows start coming. 

“No! Where’s the fun in that? Take her from us!” He lunges towards her, grabbing a thick stick, whacking her side with it. 

Emma stumbles onto Neal who unsuccessfully tries to break her fall. 

“You little devil!” yells Hook, lunging towards him, sword in hand. Her parents follow suit, each taking on one of the vicious boys. 

“Here, I’ll help you—“ 

“I’m fine, Neal. Cover me while I get Regina, yeah?” She barely gives him a chance to reply before bursting off towards the treehouse. Narrowly, she dodges the coming blows and endless barrage of arrows. 

She just needs to get Regina to safety. They can retreat once she’s out. 

“She’s trying to take the witch!” yells one of the boys from below. Emma doesn’t bother to see who. Doesn't matter. 

She hauls herself up the rope ladder with her only company being the raging fight below. Well, that and the arrow that lodges itself right above her hand. 

With newfound speed, she reaches the top finding an exhausted heap collapsed on the floor. 

“Regina!” She rushes to her side, rolling her onto her back. Delicately, she wipes the hair away from her sweat covered forehead. 

A grimace takes over her face at how pale she’s gotten in the few hours she’s been here. 

“Regina? Regina! Regina, wake up.” She softly slaps the side of her face hoping for something, anything , to happen. But the only proof she’s still there is the steady rise and fall of her abdomen. 

“Em..ma?” comes a labored whisper. 

A sigh of relief escapes her. “Yes, it’s me Regina. I’m getting you outta here, okay?” 

“Care...ful…Pan… magic… the island… it—“ 

Emma places a finger on her lips to stop the labored wheezes that can barely be called words. “Tell me when we’re at camp, okay? I need to get us out of here.” 

“Okay. Do… your thing… savior.” 

A warm fondness creeps into her chest as a blush overtakes her face. Even in a state like this, she manages to tease her reluctant ally. How very Regina that is. 

She scoops the frail woman into her arms, hesitating as she looks down at the rope ladder. No matter how she does this, it’ll be a difficult climb. 

So, maybe it’s stupid, but Emma doesn’t climb. 

She jumps. 

It’s not that high. And really, her ankle only feels a little shattered after that landing. 

Regina’s okay, though. She’s safe. 

“Let’s go!” she calls out. “Back to camp, everyone!” Her gaze returns to the woman in her arms. “I’ve got her,” she says, softly. 

 


 

Emma gives Regina a chiding look as she tries to sit up. She sits beside the woman on the ground while the others circle around them. “You’re still drained. You sure you wanna keep pushing yourself.”

She nods once, but by the way her eyes scrunch, it takes more effort than she lets on. “I’m fine. Trust me. Water does wonders for magic depletion.” 

Emma does her best to flash a light grin. “I’ll be sure to note that, teach’.” 

“You murmured something about Pan and magic,” cuts in Snow. “What do you mean? Is that why he took you? Is Emma in danger too?”

“No.” She lays herself back down. Emma frowns, silently offering the water canteen again. Regina shakes her head. 

“‘No’ to what? Is Emma in danger?” asks Neal, looking all too much like a guard dog ready to fight. 

“Calm yourself, oaf. She’ll be fine as long as she doesn’t show them her magic.” Regina lets out a deep exhale. “Henry doesn’t have magic, but they seem to think he’s magical in some way. Likely thanks to his unfortunate genes.” 

Emma’s eyes widen, and suddenly the group is all the more alert. “Henry? Is he okay?” 

“As far as I know, our son is fine. Too fine. That’s why they needed me. Neverland is run on magic that is quickly running out. It'll simply be a normal island again if they lose that magic.” 

“And they need your magic until they can get Henry’s,” Emma finishes. Her lips press into a hard line. 

“Until Henry feels like a true Lost Boy, he’s no use to them. Thankfully.”

“Well,” Emma says. “Guess that makes things a lot more urgent.” 

 


 

But even in the face of the worst scenario, those two do not stop. After they gave their position away, she could just wring their necks. 

A hero does not snap necks like twigs. She needs to keep repeating that. A hero does not snap necks like twigs. 

“My spot at the campsite is clearly the warmest. I have the best position near the fire, lad,” brags Hook. “It’s a shame Swan will be sleeping closer to me tonight.”

Neal chuckles. “You don’t know Ems. She’s always preferred things to be a little chilly. That’s why this spot is just right.” 

They both claim to want her, and neither of them ever bothers to ask her what her preferences are. It’s only assumptions between them, huh? 

Doesn’t even matter. She lays her sleeping bag beside Regina’s at the edge of camp. Close enough that she can still make sure she’s okay, but far enough not to crowd her. Hopefully. 

“My magic was drained. I’m not dying, Emma,” she grouses from her own sleeping back, comfortably laid on her side, facing into the forest. 

“I mean,” she slips into her bag, “you just called me Emma instead of Miss Swan. Kinda seems like you’re dying to me.” 

“Ha. Ha. Very funny.” Her tone is dry and humorless, yet so much more lively than the rasp of only a little while earlier. 

“Thank you. I take a comedy class when I’m not fixing fairytale drama.” Emma may not be able to see her face, but she has a feeling Regina is rolling her eyes at that. “So, serious talk, are you really gonna be okay?” 

“Yes, Emma. My magic is already returning. Nothing permanent was done.” 

“Well, that’s good. I’m… That’s great.” 

“You already said that.” 

“No, I said that’s good. Then I said that’s great. There’s a difference.” 

A small chuckle escapes Regina. Emma’s chest flutters a little. “A single word.” A moment of comfortable silence passes, but Regina visibly sobers. “I know you’re the savior, but I don’t need to be saved right now. I’m alright. I don’t need you to keep an eye on me. In fact, I’d rather you not.” 

Another long beat of silence passes before Emma gains the courage to reply. 

“What if I just want to sleep here tonight?” 

Regina turns on her side to give Emma an incredulous look. “Really? You want to sleep in the coldest part of the camp?” 

“Yeah. I mean, it’s away from my parents and their… married-ness. And it’s away from those two.” 

Regina’s lips curl into a small smirk. “Have Snow and Charming traumatized their darling girl?” 

The tacos incident was bad enough, but to hear them kissing all night? Pure torture. “Yep,” she says simply. 

“And the two peacocks?” 

“Still won’t give up,” Emma confirms. “When we were coming to get you, they nearly got us all killed by being so loud. It was ridiculous. Wish you could’ve set them on fire.” 

“There is still time to.” 

Emma laughs. 

“Oh. It seems I’ve made the mighty savior chuckle. What a feat.” 

Emma scoots her bag closer to try and kick Regina through it. “You’re so full of it, Mills.” 

“Are you sure this is where you want to sleep tonight, oh noble one? You’re going to grace me with your divinity.” 

“Yeah, peasant and all, it’s a good spot. I like it here.” It’s nice being this close to Regina, too. Being able to talk with her to their heart's content, no distractions until the morning light. 

Because once you get past the murderous tendencies, Emma finds that Regina is one of the most endearingly enchanting people to be around. She is an experience beyond pretty words. 

“Did you call me a peasant, Miss Swan?” 

“What? No. I’m totally asleep right now. Snore, snore, snore…” 

Regina huffs, but even there, the fondness leaks out like an overflowing sink. “You are such an idiot…” 

 




They may have lost a day, but Regina’s determined that they won’t lose any more. No amount of Emma’s complaints that they should all rest longer can stop her. 

So, as a compromise, reluctantly, she walks leaned against Emma for extra support. 

Last night’s rest was good for her, but Emma’s not taking any chances until she absolutely has to. Her arm is wrapped around Regina’s shoulders protectively, resting vigilantly for any other surprises. 

“You know, what Swan and the Queen are doing now is child’s play. I could easily carry them both,” brags Hook. 

“Emma? You really think she’s someone who cares about stuff like that? It’s all about personality. Which is why she’ll never be into you, dude.” 

Emma glares at the forest ahead of them. Why do her parents insist on traveling together? This could all be stopped if they each traveled with one of those two. 

“I’m not so weak as to not be able to turn them into actual peacocks, you know,” remarks Regina. 

She grimaces. “Have you met actual peacocks? Those things are menaces. Way worse than this."

“Oh? Do you speak from experience?”

“I worked at an exotic pet rescue sanctuary for a few months once. Only job I could find in town strangely enough. Peacocks are the only animals they let free roam. Those birds are always trying to get a bite of something.” 

Regina looks at her with mirth dancing in her eyes. “Or someone?” 

“Okay, yeah. Those guys may have bit me once or twice.” She shrugs, forgetting for a moment Regina is resting against her. The woman in question gives a light hearted glare which Emma returns with a sheepish smile. 

“I have no doubt you deserved it. You can be quite the nuance.” 

Emma scoffs. “I’m literally carrying you through the woods, yet you’re still so mean to me. You should thank me more.” 

“To be fair, you did volunteer after forcing me to ‘keep resting’. This is your own fault.” 

“Such a smart ass. I could drop you here if I wanted.” 

“Please.” Emma feels more than hears her chuckle. “You’re too noble to even attempt that. A hero through and through.” 

“I’ve been to jail before. I’ve punched people too. I can be bad if I want.” She doesn’t mean for it to come out as a near whine, but yet… 

“You were framed, and frankly, a lot of people deserve to be punched. If that was the worst I did, we wouldn’t be on this island.” Emma squeezes her shoulder gently, hoping it can provide some sort of comfort. “Anyone can be bad, but I know you well enough by now to know that you aren’t someone who wants to be.” 

“Are you?” 

Regina’s eyes fall shut, and no answer comes. She’s probably crossed a line. Why would Regina want to talk about something like that with the person who broke her curse?

Sure, they’re allies now, but only because of Henry. 

Stupid Emma. Stupid, stupid, stupid Emma. 

“I am someone who wants to be better than what I was,” she says at last. A weight lifts off Emma. 

She’s not giving Regina enough credit. Maybe she’s too used to being the only one trying. Maybe she shouldn’t doubt that Regina’s trying too. 

“Henry would be proud of you. He knows you’re changing. Becoming one of us heroes.” 

Regina’s nose scrunches. “I wouldn’t go that far.” A sigh. “I hope you’re right, though. If he doesn’t have faith in us, he won’t stand a chance against them.” 

“Hey. He’s our kid. Belief runs in the blood. He’ll be okay.” 

 


 

With the help of Tink’s poppy dust, all of Pan’s camp are sent to sleep. The six of them creep into camp, scanning the area for where Henry may be. 

Only, these boys are from Neverland. They’re prepared for all of the things that may grow here whether that be dreamshade or poppies. 

The boys all burst up, trying to pull the nearest intruder with them.

Except, they also came prepared. 

Their hands bounce away thanks to a small shielding spell protecting them all. Regina’s idea, of course. Emma’s magic helped create it, but Regina is the one who needs to maintain it. 

The woman in question stands towards the back, warding off attackers with one hand and using the other to keep it active. 

“Emma, find him! It might not last long!” There’s already a layer of sweat forming on her forehead. It can’t be a good idea to use that much power so shortly after getting drained.

Emma tried to convince her not to. Really tried.  

But this is how Regina wants the rescue mission to go, and Emma can respect her enough to at least try it. All she needs to do now is find Henry while the others keep them distracted. 

Playing games with Henry. Eating cereal with him. Telling him about New York. Listening to him talk about his childhood. Pictures in Regina’s house. 

Henry, Henry, Henry. 

Where are you, kid?

Like with Regina, slowly, a small golden trail appears to her in the dirt. She smiles to herself. “Bingo.” 

It leads up into another treehouse, and Emma groans quietly to herself as she begins her climb. 

What's with this place and treehouses? First Tink's, then that other camp, then this one. Hopefully she won't have to jump out the window again to get down. 

Unlike Regina, she finds Henry in a wooden cage. He’s pushed to one of the corners with his body curled up in a ball. 

“Oh, kid. We’re here,” she says, walking over. 

His head bursts up revealing dried tear tracks. Her chest aches

Surprisingly, the door of the cage opens. 

“They heard you guys coming. Said you were making a lot of noise. I don’t think they had time to lock it,” he explains before bursting into her arms. He clings to her so tightly that Emma could start sobbing. But he's safe. He's safe. “Mom.” 

“I’m here. We’re all here. I promise. We’re all gonna get outta here.” She rubs her hand up and down his back soothingly. He nods, face still buried against her. 

“Is Mama okay? And Gram and Gramps?”

“Yeah, we’re all okay, kid.” She pulls away, with an encouraging smile. “Now, let’s get down and get back to the bo—“ 

A scream pierces the air. Both of their eyes widen. 

“That sounded like Mom. We need to go.” He rushes down the ladder with her close behind. 

“Time to go! Time to go!” shouts Emma, taking Henry’s hand as she takes the last step. A myriad of heads turn to her, a mix of both friends and foes, but amongst them is not Regina. 

The distraction only lasts a moment before swords return to clashing and bows return to shooting. Typical. Who knew fairytale characters were so bad with directions? 

Emma purses her lips. “You think we can make it around?” 

Henry shrugs. “Probably easier than making it through.” 

Also probably less likely to end in losing a finger or three. “Yeah. Follow me and duck, okay?” 

The two of them creep into the brush circling the camp, carefully slinking around the raging battle.

No Regina in sight. Either she’s been taken, or she’s been lost in the battle herself. Or worse. 

Worse, as it turns out, is right. 

Regina stands there on shaky legs, facing off with one of the Lost Boys. A fireball glows in her hand, but the flame flickers in and out as she struggles to even keep standing. 

With one swift slash of his sword, Regina collapses to the ground. 

“Shit!” Shit. That son of a bitch. Fucking motherfucker fuck. And many other words Regina would kill her for saying in front of Henry. 

Oh, Regina...

Henry tugs at her arm. “What? Did something happen?” 

Emma grimaces and nods. Don’t cry, don’t cry. “Regina." She clears her throat. "Keep moving and don’t look back until you reach the ship . I need to get her. We’ll meet you back there.” 

“What if they catch me.” 

She gives what she hopes is a reassuring look. “You’re a Mills, kid. You can do it. And your Mom will raise hell again if anything happens. It’ll be okay. Just sprint, ‘kay?” 

He hugs her again. “I’ll do my best. See you at the boat.” 

“Love you, bud. See you soon.” With one last look, Henry bursts off. Emma’s face hardens. 

Either Regina has drained herself to the brim or… the unspeakable has happened, but either way, Emma has to get her, and everyone else, out of there. 

No time like the present.

Regina can't wait. Henry needs her. Hell, maybe Emma needs her too.

She bursts through the brush, and into the battle with a new found determination.

“Guys! Let’s go! Mom, dad, Hook, Neal!” Hopefully that’ll finally get their attention. 

“You heard the lass!” calls Hook. “Time to go!” 

“We heard her!” returns Neal. 

Emma rolls her eyes, quickly sobering as she reaches Regina. Just like finding her yesterday. Except for the nasty cut on her cheek. 

Please be okay, please be okay, please

She scoops her up with a growing pained look. Hopefully this is the last time she has to do something like this. “We’re going home, Regina. Stay with me, okay?” 

 


 

It’s a close call, but they all manage to make it to the boat and out of the shallows safely. 

Now, on the open sea, Emma and Henry sit beside Regina. Her eyes are closed, but she smiles weakly at both of them. 

“You’re such a brave boy, Henry,” she rasps out, linking their hands together. “My sweet, brave boy.” 

“I don’t think I like Peter Pan anymore,” he blurts out, scrunching his face. 

Both his mothers laugh. Emma ruffles his hair with a sympathetic look. She has definitely had similar thoughts. 

“Meeting fairytale characters each week will do that to you. I know I’ll never see those movies the same.” 

He glares at her, batting away the offending hand. 

"Yes, this adventure has been quite taxing," murmurs Regina. “We all came out of it okay, however. And that’s what matters. We’ll be back home come morning.” 

“That’s assuming we don’t bump into a sea monster though,” says Emma. 

Henry groans. “Way to jinx it, Ma.” 

 


 

“Are you really okay, though?” 

Regina lets out an unregal groan. “Yes, Emma. It’s only a superficial cut. I assure you that I am not dying.” 

“You weren’t there. It was bleeding a lot. I had to wash my hands after.” She crosses her arms, childishly turning away from the woman. “So, sue me for being cautious.” 

“I don’t think any legitimate lawyers would ever take a case like that.” 

A surprised laugh bursts from her chest. She nudges her leg. “Shut up. You’re not funny.” 

“It made you laugh, though.” 

“Maybe I was laughing at something else. Ever consider that?” 

“If that’s what your pride needs to heal, Swan.” 

“You’re so annoying.” Emma groans. “I don’t know why I even worry about you.” 

“You were worried about me?” Emma turns to give an incredulous look, but stops when she notices how serious Regina is. “What? What’s that look for?” 

“How dense are you?” Emma asks. 

Regina jolts back, adjusting her body away from her. “No need to mock me. If you don't want to answer simply say that."

Emma places a hand on her leg. “Sorry, foot-in-mouth syndrome. I didn’t mean it like that.” 

Regina relaxes, but her weary expression doesn’t change. “What exactly could you mean by that?”

“I mean,” Emma exhales deeply, “All I've been doing for the past two days is worry about you. I thought that was clear when I kinda carried you halfway across the island.” 

“No, you were doing that so I’d be strong enough to help you all fight,” she objects, but her resolve is visibly faltering. 

“You know, you call me an idiot, but I think we might actually be equals on that front.” Emma smiles. 

Regina rolls her eyes. “I am no where near as idiotic as you.” 

Emma moves closer, laying beside her. She props her head up on her hand, gazing happily down at her. “You thought I volunteered to carry you across a forest out of the kindness of my heart?” 

“What exactly did you do it for then?” Somehow, Regina’s hand slips into her own. 

Regina has such soft skin. And the gentlest smile. “Maybe I had a few selfish reasons for doing that.” 

Regina props herself up as well, leaning her forehead against Emma’s. “That doesn’t answer my question, my dear.” 

Emma tilts her head, moving it closer. “Does this?” she murmurs against Regina's lips. 

"Perhaps," Regina returns, closing the distance. 

 


 

Neal and Hook stand by the ship side, watching Emma and Regina stop to admire the view on the opposite side. 

“I’m glad Emma has a friend,” says Neal.

“Yes. I’m sure she’ll be happy to watch Henry when Emma and I go on our date back in Storybrooke.” 

Neal turns to him. “You asked her out?”

“Not yet, but I will. And it will be the best night of her life.” He winks, smirking. 

“Well, maybe I’ll ask her out first then.” 

He snorts. “Once you have this,” he gestures to himself, “as an option, nothing else can compete.” 

As they say this, Regina rests her head on Emma’s shoulder. It’s hard to make out their faces, but there’s no mistaking the kiss she presses to Regina’s forehead. 

Eyes widen in mirrored surprise. 

“I wouldn’t be so sure about ‘nothing else can compete’.” 

“It seems I’ve been worrying over the wrong parent…”