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Mistake into a miracle

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Emma pushed herself up with loud groan. Leaves crunched under her as she stood from the forest floor. It took one glance around for her to realise she was no longer in Storybrooke.

"Aw, hell." She huffed, brushing dirt from her jacket as she set off in a random direction.

"We’ll start easy, she said. Just a simple spell, Emma, what could you possibly do wrong?" Emma mocked Regina as she wandered through the forest.

She should be getting used to this by now. The amount times she'd been forced into the enchanted forest was not normal. Not that practicing magic with the former Evil Queen was normal.

She stopped as she came across a track in the woods, and with a shrug turned onto it.  Not long after she’d begun down the track she spotted a man further ahead. Ducking behind a tree she watched him amble down the path.

He seems harmless enough; then again with the Enchanted Forest you really couldn't be sure. He could be Cora for all she knew - even death wouldn't be able to stop that woman.

He was humming as he bent near a fruit bush and gathered whatever was ripe. He seemed to smile before eating it. No cold-blooded killer hummed while eating fruit. What cold possibly go wrong?

Taking a deep breath and calling her magic forward for potential use she stepped out from the tree.

It took a tense minute before he looked up and met her eyes. He passed a hand over his balding head as he took in her clothes

"Are you lost, my dear?" He asked with a kind smile.

"You could say that." Emma answered. "What... um, what kingdom am I in?"

"Avalden." He said. He hadn't run yet, probably because it looked like he wouldn't be able to outrun her. Older people weren’t well known for their running abilities.

"Right." Emma nodded like she knew where that was. Why couldn't Regina have taught her goddamn Enchanted Forest geography?

"And, um, who is ruling Avalden at present?" She sounded ridiculously formal. Regina would be impressed... no, she really wouldn't. She'd probably shut her up before saying something stupid. Which was bound to happen eventually.

"That would be Queen Regina."

Time travel. Again. "Fuck."

"Pardon?"

"I - I mean... fudge! Yeah, fudge." He met her eyes with amusement at her apologetic rambling. He was teasing her, obviously a father.

"Would you like some tea? It's almost tea time." He held out his arm for her as she cautiously wandered closer.

"You're not gonna poison me or anything are you?"

"Do I look like I could?"

"You look like a grandfather. Doesn't stop you being a potential murderer." She crossed her arms as she stared the kind older down.

"I'm not a grandfather yet. And I should be more worried about you, my dear. You're not from here."

"What gave me away? My questions?" Emma let her arms go as she walked beside the man further down the track.

"Your garb."

Emma looked down at her jeans and t-shirt. Compared to his doublet and linen trousers there was quite a difference. "I guess so."

"Now as I was saying before, tea?"

Emma smiled at the older man and wound her arm through his as it was offered. 

--------

"Fancy digs." Emma mumbled as the manor house came into view.

"Pardon?"

"Oh, sorry. It means lovely house." Emma watched the man shake his head in wonder at her slang. "Is your family home?"

He could obviously hear the weary tone in her voice as they approached the entrance. "My wife has... gone. And my daughter has greater ambition than I."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that."

"It's no matter. She will do great things, so long as she listens to guidance."

Emma fell back as they walked through the elaborate entrance hall. The staircase was once the spectacle of the hall. Now, the carpet was faded and covered in dust. A shame for what was once a beautiful home. There were barely visible paths carved through the layer of dust on the floor. "Do you live here?"

"Not any more. I needed some time to myself so I came back."

Before Emma knew it she was seated in between cushions and sipping at peppermint tea.

"Now, where exactly are you from?" He leant forward eager to hear her response. Hi eyes glittered with youth that no longer showed in the wrinkles on his face.

"I'm- I'm not sure I can say." Emma shrugged. She'd watched all the Back to the Futures enough to know rules of time travel.

"You're from a different land, I know that much." He sipped his Rea and watched her over the rim. There was something so familiar about that look in his eye. Maybe she had seen him around Storybrooke...

"Yeah, I've been her before though. Not as nice a time as this." She smiled at him.  He seemed happier at her response. 

"Kindness is vastly overrated. Some people believe they win through force and power. But kindness and love are vastly more powerful."

"That the kind of thing you try to teach your daughter?"

"Try being the opportune word." He smiled sadly.

"What's your name?"

"Henry." He smiled.

"Good name." Emma smirked "I'm Emma."

"Lovely to meet you, Emma. Now when are you from?"

Emma stopped mid sip as her brain tan over the question. Placing her cup down carefully she watched him.

"Where am I from?"

"No, my dear. When."

"How do you know I'm not from this time?"

"That device you tried checking in your pocket for one. And I do remember you're reaction to learning if the Queen."

Emma ran her hands over her face. What should se do? Truth or lie? Would it make a difference if he knew? One man living in an abandoned manor, what harm could it do?

"I'm from the future." She kept her eyes on the ground. She waited for a gasp, a laugh, any reaction. When the silence continued she looked back up.

His face spoke of indecision. About what, she didn't know but knew she wild soon find out.

"What happens to her?" The teacup shook slightly as he placed it back down. His hand s clasped immediately to try hide the tremor.

"To who?"

"The queen."

"Oh, Regina?" Emma asked casually. 

"You know her?" His eyes brightened. A smile began forming on his lips shocking Emma. Why was someone under Regina's reign of terror happy to know she was still alive?

"I do. How do you know her?"

"She's my daughter."

If Emma hadn't already placed her cup down she was sure it would be smashed on floor right now. Holy Crap.

"You're... you're that Henry? Wait, your wife… Cora?!"

"Ah, you met her as well." He nodded in understanding at the horror in her tone.

"Yeah. Oh god! This is so weird!" Emma groaned as her hands covered her face. Her temples began throbbing at all the things running through her.

"Just tell me... is she happy?"

"Regina is... Regina's..." What could she do? Was Regina happy? Well probably not after Emma managed to send herself back in time but generally... "Yes."

"She is?" He began tearing up. Emma watched him smile happily at the prospect of happiness s for his daughter. No wonder Regina spoke of him so fondly.

"She is. She has a son." He gasped happily. "She named him after you."

"He is... his name’s Henry?"

"Yeah, he's great. You'd love him." Emma sucked in a breath as she related what she'd said.

"Oh, don't get like that. I'm old, I know I win be around for long." God, he had no idea what was going to happen to him. His heart was still beating in his chest.

"I'm still sorry. I don't know you that well but from today, and what I've heard from Regina, you would love him to bits."

The throbbing in Emma's temples grew until it began drowning out whatever Henry was saying. She closed her eyes against the pain. Her magic began flaring. It was time to go.

Her eye shot open ands warm hand s grasped her own.

"Give her my love, Emma. Tell her how proud I am of her. And how happy I am that she found her happiness."

"I will. I promise."

"Thank you, my dear. Look out for her. Advise her if I can't." Emma nodded as he released her hands. She watched him smile at her with teary eyes before darkness took over her vision.

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"You're an idiot. I'll make it official this time, I swear!" Regina hissed as she helped Emma from the ground. Emma groaned and swiped at a leaf sick to her face.

Forest again. Great.

"We're in Storybrooke, right?" She asked grabbing Regina's shoulders before she could march away dramatically.

"Yes. Why?"

"What year is it?"

"2015. What in earth happened, Emma?" Conner over taking the mocking tone as she met Emma's wild eyes.

"I went back. Again. Whatever simple magic you had me do sent me back in time. Again!" Emma ended with a shout be of leaning back against the wishing well.

"What did you do? Did you change anything?"

Emma shook her head before Regina could launch into another lecture. "Not majorly I think. But I think… I did something right."

Regina's arms were crossed and her foot began tapping on the first floor. "Oh, really? And what did you do this time?"

"I gave someone hope." Emma smiled.

"Who?"

"Your father."

"You- you... Please don't joke about this, Emma." She whispered her hand covering her mouth.

"Barely batted an eye at a strange woman from another realm and time crossing his path. He invited me for tea. I'm guessing at your old house, it was covered in dust by the way."

Regina's hand was shaking as it covered her mouth.

"When he found out I knew you he had a few questions." Emma shrugged looking away before Regina grabbed her arms roughly and forcing her to meet her eyes.

"What questions?"

"He wanted to know if you were happy."

"What did you tell him?"

"That you were. That you had a son named after him, he loved that by the way."

"Of course he would." Regina huffed with a smile as her eyes glazed over with tears.

"He also wanted me to do something."

"What?" Regina sniffed.

Emma cupped Regina's cheeks softly. "He wanted me to tell you that he loves you. He's so proud of you. And he's happy that you're happy."

Regina couldn't stop the tears falling down her cheeks. She fell into Emma's open embrace as she cried. The hole in her heart from casting the curse felt as though it had finally filled the last crack. She felt whole.

And most importantly, loved.